“Rahele (traveller) is the newest fragrance, an ode to exotic travel, an olfactory journey in the company of 17th Century French visitors to the East.”
WHAT I SMELL: Rahele quietly opens soft but very luxurious, with a dewy green and velvety violet, tinged with the lightest of citrus and spice. There’s an incredible warmth that immediately draws you in. Soon after opening, a cinnamon note moves forward making a nice balance between the florals and the lightly exotic spice. After a few more minutes, a demure, but noticeable osmanthus comes forward. At this point the perfume feels like a still life painting filled with the most delicate of flowers and fruit. As the perfume continues to develop it begins to powder and dry. Even with a projecting powder, Rahele remains incredibly subdued and meticulously blended, where no particular note stands out, but is perfection in the sum of its parts. In the end, the lightest of leather topped by a layer of oakmoss makes this a sublime ode to French perfumery.
BOTTOM LINE: Rahele strays from the exotic flourishes of the other Neela Vermeire Creation perfumes in the collection, although not completely. Rahele is all about classic french perfume and as I am a huge fan of the classics…I have to say that this might be my favorite in the collection. But that’s like stating which of your children is your favorite…it can’t be done.
Well, 2016 is finally upon us and today brings back the reality of going back to work after the holidays and all the festivities that have been enjoyed in the past month. The Scented Hound is not much for looking back at what “was,” but as an eternal optimist steers forward knowing that the year ahead is going to be the best ever. But before moving forward, we’ll take a little walk down memory lane at 2015, one last time!
The Best Perfumes of 2015 –
I, by no means, experienced the majority of new releases this past year. But instead, had the pleasure (or displeasure) of experiencing a small percentage of the new. As such, I’m not going to make any claims about what were the best new releases, but what I found to be my personal favorites of the year…
Puredistance WHITE: Undoubtedly this release was my favorite of the past year. The beautiful, warm and majestic florals have me craving this perfume almost on a daily basis. I cannot get enough of this radiant beauty. It easily is my favorite from the line and that says a lot, because the entire Puredistance line is magic.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Vitae Forte: Aqua Vitae Forte is the second cousin to Puredistance WHITE. Very similar in its composition, Aqua Vitae Forte has more of a citrus zing which I found to be perfect for the hot summer months. Easy to wear and absolutely beautiful.
Blomma Cult by Room 1015: As many of you know, I tend to lean towards the more traditional when it comes to my perfume likes. Blomma Cult veers away from the trend with its rock star energy and dynamic creativity. In the end, the perfume purrs like a kitten, but the stage show getting there is one hell of a ride.
Although technically launched in 2014, I didn’t experience the following until 2015…
Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Extrait: The original Mohur eau de parfum is incredible, but the extrait is like a satin and cashmere wrap of exquisite beauty. This is one of those perfumes that I wish that everyone could experience at least one time in their life.
Maria Candida Gentile Syconium: Maria Candida Gentile offers perfumes that either people love or hate…I find that there are very few in-betweens. Syconium I do believe is one of those perfumes that everyone can love. For myself, fig can sometimes be troublesome and overbearing, but with this creation, it’s a soft and creamy garden delight. And shout out to Maria Candida Gentile for offering smaller 15 ml amounts that don’t break anyone’s budget!
The Worst Perfumes of 2015 –
Juliette Has a Gun Gentlewoman: A nod to androgyny, this perfume is a basic citrus cologne that is a weak imitation of a man’s cologne. Boring, uninspired and pointless.
Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum: What started off with promise and beauty turned into a cotton ball chemical bomb. I’m not one that promotes natural ingredients, but this ended up like a lab experiment on my skin.
My 2015 Reality –
2014 to me was the year of the big florals. That continued to a point in 2015. I found that the perfumes that I wore the most were traditional florals…my top 3 being Puredistance WHITE, Roja Parfums Risque (Creation-R in the US) and Caron Tubereuse. All three of these perfumes I found myself craving time and time again.
But as I say that, I also found that I was heading back to traditional male perfumes as well. This year, Roja Parfums Danger, Vetiver and Amouage Dia Man were worn at least once or twice a week to work. None of these perfumes are overly butch in their demeanor, but both are easy to wear and rather buttoned up.
Less is More –
When I was first introduced to this wonderful world of niche perfumery, I, like many wanted to purchase, purchase and purchase new perfumes. Around every corner there was a new perfume that was wanted and desired. However, over that past several years, I find that much of my collection is not being used. Additionally, some of the perfumes that I couldn’t live without have now turned on me (has this happened to anyone else?). Case in point, Amouage Fate Woman. Two hours after wearing the perfume, the dry and dusty base, creeps up through my nose to give me this blinding headache. I thought maybe it was just a fluke, but every time I wear it now, the same happens. Needless to say it is sitting neglected on my perfume tray.
As a result of not requiring a great deal of perfume and by wearing many of the perfumes multiple times a week, I found that I only purchased two perfumes this year; Roja Parfums Danger a 10 ml bottle of HMC at Coqui Coqui Perfumes in Mexico. I was wracking my brain wondering if I had missed something, but that is it! My wallet is extremely happy and so am I as I don’t need a large collection to make me love this industry.
Looking Ahead to 2016 –
I have to admit that I possibly have become a bit jaded when it comes to perfume. Even though there are a plethora of newly released perfumes that are beautiful and of which would be a great addition to any perfume collection, there seems to be only a few new releases that really stand out as exceptional. Maybe 2016 will buck that trend and we’ll find that 2016 is the year of the “exceptional perfume!”
Once again ’tis the season for holiday magic. But finding that magical gift can sometimes be rather difficult as there are so many wonderful items to choose from. So here a few holiday offerings that are recommended by the Scented Hound…maybe just one of these will help you or Santa complete your holiday shopping wish list!
ROJA PARFUMS ESSENCE OF CHRISTMAS CANDLE
The best way to ease you into the holiday season is to enhance your surroundings with the festive scents of the season. And add Roja Parfums to your holiday decorating and you’ll end up with a luxurious feast for the senses. Fit for a king, the Roja Parfums Essence of Christmas candle incorporates fir balsam, fir needles, pine, guaiac and cedar woods which mingle with the gourmand delights of gingerbread, cinnamon, fenugreek, cocoa and toffee shot through with delicate heliotrope. In addition, birch tar, leather and vetiver are added to create a smoky effect redolent of a roaring fire with tonka bean, making a perfect bed for a rich offering of precious frankincense – the original Christmas gift.
“For me, Christmas is the magical scent of majestic pine filling your home. It’s the excitement of festive treats – of ginger bread and cinnamon in abundance. It’s the crisp, fresh smell of winter air that, for a fleeting moment, clings to guests as you welcome them in from the cold. It’s the comforting warmth of a cosy log fire that makes us feel safe as it brings out the eternal child in us all.” – Roja Dove.
One of the biggest issues in presenting perfume as a gift is that just because you might like a particular perfume, doesn’t mean the receiver of the gift will also. And what might work with your body chemistry, may not work for someone else. This year, Atelier Cologne has come up with a fantastic gift idea. With a minimum amount of a $70, the Atelier Cologne Gift Card is enclosed in a signature keepsake metal box and is accompanied by 12 Colognes Absolues 1,2 ml (Mandarine Glaciale, Sud Magnolia, Figuier Ardent, Cèdre Atlas, Orange Sanguine, Cédrat Enivrant, Pomélo Paradis, Vanille Insensée, Rose Anonyme, Vétiver Fatal, Silver Iris, Santal Carmin). This way the person receiving the gift card can sample and then pick out the perfect scent just for them. Now you won’t have to worry about if your perfumed gift is going to sit on the shelf unused anymore. What a fantastic gift idea!
ALEXANDRA VON FURSTENBERG ACRYLIC VANITY MIRROR TRAY
I know that some people will argue that you’re not supposed to leave your perfumes out on display because of light and air degradation. But if you’re like me, you don’t want to go digging through boxes and drawers to find the perfect perfume each and every day. Yes, I do rotate my collection based on the season, but for the most part, I want my perfumes to be easily accessible and displayed in all their glory. Perfume bottles can be art unto themselves. Alexandra Von Furstenberg offers this beautiful acrylic vanity tray that is simple in its beauty and as such, doesn’t take away from the beauty of the bottles. And what I love about the tray is that it comes in 3 colors; clear, bronze and black. With these options, even the gents can display their perfumes in a setting with a touch of masculinity. Trays come in varying sizes with prices starting at $180 at the Alexandra Von Furstenberg website.
BEARD AND MOUSTACHE COMB BY KENT
I think the hipster beard and moustache trend is beginning to fade, but that means it will continue to live on outside the realm of the big cities for some time to come. What I have noted however, is that many of the men folk are not grooming and caring for their facial hair as they should be. To me, there’s nothing more slovenly than an unkempt beard and moustache. It’s an easy fix. For $5.50 you can provide some help to tame the jungle with a beard and moustache comb. It’s cheap, practical and much easier than renting a lawn mower to fix the tangled mess. The Kent Beard and Moustache Comb is available via Parfum1.com along with other Kent products as well as beauty products from perfumes to soaps for any person on your Christmas list.
THE PEARL HOME COLLECTION BY KILIAN
By Kilian keeps upping their game with new and extravagant scented products that fall outside the realm of traditional perfume. The new Pearl Home Collection is infused with the fragrance, French Boudoir.
FRENCH BOUDOIR is an olfactory phantasm … the boudoirs of Ninon de l’Enclos, the Marquise de Montespan and La Castiglione.
A majestic bouquet of tuberose, erotic and elegant, just like these big scandalous 18th and 19th century.
And unlike other companies, By Kilian scented products go beyond the traditional candles and/or home diffusers. This new home collection does offer candles as part of the line, but they also offer a a scented paperweight, scented soaps and a perfumed tassel. Strangely enough, they also offer a mother of pearl box of matches, but at $125 euros, I think I’ll stick to a standard box of matches to light my candles. Check out the entire collection at the By Kilian website.
PERFUME DISCOVERY GIFT SETS
Discovery gift sets are the perfect way to introduce someone to a brand that they are not familiar with; or they are familiar with but would like to get to know better. A good discovery set provides a perfumed amount that is large enough to give a wearer the ability to try to test the perfume more than just once or twice, but yet small enough so that if a perfume is not exactly to their liking, they’re not stuck with an unused 100 ml bottle. The following discovery sets are a couple of favorites of mine:
L’Artisan Perfumeur Holiday Discovery Gift Set: The set contains collectible 5ml bottles of the following classic scents: Caligna, La Chasse aux Papillons, L’eau d’Ambre Extrême, Mûre et Musc Extrême, Rose Privée, and Timbuktu. And to boot, it comes in this wonderful presentation box. The best part is that it’s only $55; which equals less than $10 for each of the perfumes. You can’t beat this deal. The L’Artisan Perfumeur Holiday Discovery Gift Set is available at Arielle Shoshanna and other fragrance retailers.
Neela Vermeire Creations Discovery Coffret Set: If you haven’t discovered the magic of Neela Vermeire Creations, this is the perfect way to find out why this perfume house has some of the most intriguingly unique and beautiful creations in the niche marketplace. From the soft and subtle rose beauty of Mohur to the fantastically bright and full of energy Bombay Bling this coffret set allows you to travel to the mysterious east with just a quick spritz of perfume. Each of the 4 perfumes, Mohur, Trayee, Bombay Bling and Ashoka are packaged in a box each filled with 8 ml per perfume. You better act quickly though as each of these sets is sent from Paris and shipping ends on December 15, 2016. The Neela Vermeire Creations Discovery Coffret set is 125 Euros and can be purchased via the e-boutique at the Neela Vermeire Creations website.
AFTELIER PERFUMES SOLID PERFUMES IN AN ANTIQUE CONTAINER
A couple of years ago I included this item on my holiday gift list. I am doing so again because it truly is a perfect one of a kind unique and special perfumed gift. Perfumer Mandy Aftel has resurrected these beautiful antique works of art and has infused her own perfumed art to make this one of a kind gift filled with a solid perfume of your choice. Prices for each vary based on the particular container, but most vary from $240 on up. Depending on the perfume chosen, additional charges may be incurred.
Of course, if a special compact is not your idea of the perfect gift, Aftelier Perfumes has an extensive selection of unique gifts from perfumes, to candles to fragranced organic teas as well as collection of Chef’s Essences and sprays which would be perfect for the foodie lovers in your life. For more information on all the wonderful gift ideas at Aftelier Perfumes, check out Mandy’s website!
VINTAGE PERFUMED ADS
Sometimes getting a hold of an old classic vintage perfume isn’t enough for a perfumista. If you have a favorite classic you may want to get your hands on anything from a large factice to vintage ads that you can frame. I can’t attest to the integrity of each of the perfumed ads listed at this website, but what the site does offer is a centralized location to shop around for perfumed ads from yesteryear, most of which appear to be ads from magazines and other publications. But if the price and quality are right, one could be just the perfect gift to frame for your special lover of all things perfume! For more information click here.
NORDSTROM PERFUME ATOMIZER
Great as stocking stuffers, this is the perfect gift for all perfumistas on the go. If you have ever had to leave a perfume bottle behind with the airport Transportation Security Agency because they confiscated it because it contained too much liquid, then you know how important it is to carry these handy travel atomizers. Nordstrom offers these at an easy $6 per .5 oz. unit and they come in three very fun colors too (emerald, blue and gold)! Available via the Nordstrom website.
My yearly gift list would not be complete without the inclusion of the fantastic Archie McPhee. Archie McPhee carries the most irreverent gifts that are perfect for tickling even the most hard to buy for Scrooge on your gift giving list. This year’s favorite from the extensive list for me would be the Crazy Cat Lady Action Figurine!
This 5-1/4″ tall hard vinyl figure comes with a dash of eccentricity and six cats you can pose around her. She has a seventh cat perched on her shoulder and an eighth cozily tucked inside the pocket of her bathrobe. The house-shaped package gives you a glimpse into her home and even features a quiz to help determine if you or someone you know might be a crazy cat lady.
This “crazy” gift can be yours for the low-cost of $14.95 from the Archie McPhee website. If cats aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of other wacky gifts that might be just what you’re looking for!
I hope you found some inspiration for some fun and fabulous gifts for this holiday season. Happy shopping and Happy Holidays from The Scented Hound!