The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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New Release: Silphium by Stora Skuggan

WHAT I SMELL:  Silphium goes on the skin incredibly herbal, medicinal, warm and mentholated.  It really vibrates with a vaporous sheen and the perfume is incredibly reassuring without being soft and cuddly.  Instead, since there is a medicinal edge it feels more like an elixir of health.  As the perfume begins to settle, the herbal turns to an energized spice that is somehow flat, yet full of movement.  Still rather medicinal, the perfume throws out an aura of energy which now begins to lighten with a rounded moisture fused in ginger and a slight citrus.  After some time, the perfume removes the majority of the medicinal tone and lightens to a fuzzy and lightly powdered wood that albeit full of projection, feels somewhat ethereal and wispy brought on by the breath of an opaque incense.  In the end, the perfume softens considerably and becomes a comfort scent…in the sense that the therapeutic aspects of the fragrance make you feel like you don’t only smell good, but the perfume is good for you.

From the Stora Skuggan website:

Silphium (probably of the genus Ferula) was a plant that grew in the area of Cyrene, present day Libya, and was widely renowned as a spice, medicinal herb and perfume ingredient throughout the empires of the classical antiquity. It was praised by Greek philosophers and writers, as well as Roman emperors and cookbook authors.

There were many attempts to cultivate Silphium, but they inevitably failed. It would only grow wild in a limited area of the north African coast. This in combination with its qualities as seasoning and medicine made Silphium the most valuable spice in the world, outshining both saffron and cinnamon. The demand for Silphium eventually became so overwhelming that it was harvested to extinction, and the taste and smell of the once greatest spice in the world was lost in time.

Our rendition of this historical plant is created by researching surviving assumed relatives of Silphium, using aromachemicals (the molecular building blocks of scents) to create an accord that we feel represents what descriptions remains. This is set against a background of ancient incense, woods and leather.

Silphium features top notes of Silphium accord and Cistus. The heart notes are Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Tobacco, Ginger, Geranium and Clove. Base notes are Frankincense, Myrrh, Cedarwood and Leather.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Medicinal cotton.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE SILPHIUM: herbal, medicinal, therapeutic

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SILPHIUM:  None found.

BOTTOM LINE:  This new release from the Stockholm Sweden based Stora Skuggan is interesting and different and I love the fact that they are creating a perfume through the re-creation of an extinct and historical plant as a central theme.  And for perfume lovers who also gravitate towards incredible bottles…Silphium does the trick.

  • Bone Rating:  3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Spicy
  • Nose: Olle Hemmendorff and Tomas Hempel
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $140 for 30 ml eau de parfum

Sample provided by Twisted Lily Fragrange Boutique and Apothecary.  Opinion my own.


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New Release: Le Jardin Retrouvé Cuir de Russie

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As you probably know, I love traditional french perfumery.  I also love seeing former perfume houses being resurrected.  Le Jardin Retrouvé fits both of those bills and I’m thrilled that they’re back.  Le Jardin Retrouvé debuted in 1975 with master perfumer Yuri Gutsatz at the helm giving birth to the “niche” perfume market by selling and creating perfumes that were personal and which rejected mass marketing and retailing.  The company flourished for years, but unfortunately, after Yuri’s death in 2005, the company faded away.  But through his son Michel and his wife Ciara this “niche” brand is once again creating perfumes…the same perfumes that Yuri created back in the 1970s.  A total of seven perfumes have recently re-debuted.  Cuir de Russie is hands down my favorite in the line…and that’s quite something because the entire line is fantastic.

WHAT I SMELL:  Cuir de Russie has a soft, warm, sparkling violet and peppery opening.  It feels like it dances on the skin with its warmth, yet cool embrace.  There’s so much movement to the perfume as it whirls and twirls to the delight of my nose.  Not long after that initial rush and exhilaration, a cinnamon note becomes equal with that of the florals, along with the lightest of leather.  The perfume falls in a netherworld between masculine and feminine and at times it feels as if it’s a demure beauty, only to feel strong, masculine and self-assured a minute later.  As the perfume continues to develop, it warms and deepens as it produces a wonderfully radiating wood tinged with leather and incense.  Cuir de Russie is a perfume that is full of positive energy and optimism and these days that’s a welcomed state of being.  In the end, the dynamic whirl of the perfume settles into a softened powdery chypre that’s a little bit dirty, but which is incredibly easy to wear.  Delightful.

From the Le Jardin Retrouvé website:

1920. The opera hall is packed. Diaghilev is presenting his Ballets Russes. You are seated with a group of flamboyant Parisians in the front row. Wide-eyed, you watch Nijinsky and his soft leather boots. He leaps, he spins, he fills the stage with the bewitching scent of ylang-ylang, violet, and cinnamon enveloping a harmony of cade wood and styrax. You wish that this moment could last forever.

Floral Leather: Ylang Ylang, French Violet, Indonesian Patchouli, Cinnamon, Spanish Cade Wood & Styrax

24_vaslav_nijinsky-theredlistWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  I can’t argue with the imagery of the Ballet Russe, it fits the perfume perfectly.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CUIR DE RUSSIE:  positive, energizing, classical

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CUIR DE RUSSIE: EauMG, I Scent You a Day, Pierre de Nishapur

BOTTOM LINE:  Cuir de Russie doesn’t try to be anything but an easy to wear, but beautifully engaging perfume.  As such, I could see this as an anchor perfume in any collection.  I also love Le Jardin Retrouvé’s La Nécessaire packaging where the perfume is housed  in an aluminum bottle along with two empty glass bottles to transfer the perfume to, allowing you to choose how you want to use  and store your perfume.  Brilliant!  Welcome back Le Jardin Retrouvé.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Leather
  • Nose: Yuri Gutsatz
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $185 for 125 ml eau de parfum.  Available exclusively from the Le Jardin Retrouvé website.

Perfume sample provided by Le Jardin Retrouvé.  Opinion my own.


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New Release: Aftelier Perfumes Amber Tapestry

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WHAT I SMELL:  The opening of Amber Tapestry hits the skin with a burst of heliotrope quickly met with a gorgeous, calming and deep mandarin.  There’s a very cautious beefiness about the perfume and it radiates a rather marigold golden hue.  There’s also somewhat of a gourmand feel as a cinnamon note becomes prominent in a few minutes.  The perfume has movement to it, but in a way that feels like it’s rocking in a sun ladened porch swing. After a bit, the fragrance turns a bit darker and the glorious positivity in the beginning moves to the more serious.  Here the perfume begins to really project and it moves to an early 1970s vibe as it reminds me of shades of brown, orange and yellow…and yes, it does remind me of a tapestry.  The perfume is now dominated by spice as it continues to cradle between the gourmand and amber.  The perfume is incredibly vintage…as it really takes me back to a bygone time and place.  In the end, the warm yellows, oranges and browns calm down to a softened purr.  Amber Tapestry is the comfort you need for those days when it’s cold, damp and rainy outside.

From the Aftelier Perfumes website:

Amber Tapestry is an Oriental Amber perfume evocative of vintage perfumes where the various amber facets are woven together like a golden tapestry. Shot through with other textures and colors, it wraps around you like sumptuous warm cashmere.

Top: heliotropin, yellow mandarin.
Heart: jasmine grandiflorum, jasmine sambac, pear, cinnamon.
Base: ambreine, labdanum, maltol, benzoin, castoreum, ambergris, coumarin.

carole-king-tapestryWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The most famous modern-day tapestry of all….Carole King’s 1971 Tapestry album.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE AMBER TAPESTRY: vintage, heady, beefy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AMBER TAPESTRY: Now Smell This, I Scent You a Day

BOTTOM LINE:  Amber Tapestry is a great segue from the warmth of the summer to the winter cold.  Wearing it is just the layer of golden fabric that you need to keep you warm and cozy.

  • Bone Rating:  3 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental
  • Nose: Mandy Aftel
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $180 for 30 ml eau de parfum.  Also available in parfum extrait.

*Sample courtesy of Aftelier Perfumes.  Opinion my own.