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: Neela Vermeire Creations Rahele

rahele“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.

Notes from the Neele Vermeire Creations website:

Top Notes:  Green Mandarine, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Violet Leaf Absolute 

Heart Notes:  Osmanthus Absolute, Rose Absolute, Magnolia, Jasmine Absolute, Iris, Violet

Base Notes:  Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Leather 

17th-century-wigsWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: What I envision a 17th Century powdered wig to smell like.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE RAHELE:  powdery, proper, engaging

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RAHELE:  Megan in Sainte Maxime, AustralianPerfumeJunkies, CaFleureBon

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.

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Woody Musk
  • Nose: Bertrand Duchaufour
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: $235 for 60 ml eau de parfum.


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New Release: Lubin Kismet

lubinkismet“Folly!” That’s how the elderly owner of the Lubin Perfume House, Monsieur Paul Prot, described the elephant-shaped perfume bottle that had appeared on his desk. It had been designed for a princess who was believed to be Indian, and so Lubin perfumers had consulted the writings of the famous Indian poet Valmiki. In his work, Valmiki paid homage to Woman by comparing her to the animal believed to be the noblest of all — the elephant. This seemed altogether odd to a well-mannered Frenchman in the early Roaring Twenties. But as for Kismet, the Eastern princess for whom this new perfume was intended, well, she liked it.

kismet-original

An original Kismet Baccarat bottle.

The beautiful Ottoman spy actually laughed when she saw the small crystal bottle of perfume that had been made especially for her. It featured a brightly decorated elephant, alluding to the verse of Valmiki’s Ramayana. Spiritual and multilingual, Kismet cultivated the mystery surrounding her background. She reigned over the Parisian parties of the Roaring Twenties for a time, then one day slipped away, never to be seen again. All that remained was the memory of her intoxicating scent — the scent of the perfume that Lubin had created for her.

Kismet was created in 1921 only to disappear in infamy like many other classic perfumes of the early 20th century.  Thankfully, Kismet once again is available through a modern interpretation.  Is it still worthy of a princess?

WHAT I SMELL:  Kismet unfolds gracefully with a warm, sweet, velvety smooth  citrus that quickly melds into a wonderful vanilla infused rose.  It’s soft and dreamy and it feels like it’s full of quiet whispers.  As the perfume develops, the focus remains on the warmed rose and the labdanum and vanilla, but the projection grows.  Never shouting, Kismet instead weaves a spell with the lightest of opoponax to let you know that it’s veil of beauty surrounds you at every turn.  Kismet is a mystery from the very start, slow to progress, the perfume moves quietly through its intepritive dance, mesmerizing you with every flourish.  Kismet is magic.

From the Lubin website:

Top notes are bergamot, lemon and petitgrain; middle notes are rose de mai, bulgarian rose and patchouli; base notes are labdanum, opoponax and bourbon vanilla.

salome1

Nazimova as Salomé, Salomé 1923.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Salomé’s Dance of the Seven Veils.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE KISMET: seductive, warm, inviting

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT KISMET: Colognoisseur

BOTTOM LINE:  Incredibly lovely, the opening is similar to Shalimar, but as it develops, it becomes a softer and more cashmere in its feel.  The vanilla, rose and labdanum mix together like a dream that unfolds while you’re awake.  Kismet is easily full bottle worthy.

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral
  • Nose: Thomas Fontaine
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: $186 for 100 ml eau de parfum.

Sample provided by Arielle Shoshana.  Opinion my own.