Friday, 18 April 2014

ETERNAL SCENTS sample winners

CONGRATULATIONS go out to our two winners of a His & Hers pair of ETERNAL SCENTS 3ml samples!

One name was chosen at random from comments left here, and one from comments left on the Sorcery of Scent facebook page.

They are:

Damir Gašljević and

If you're a winner, please send me a private message to sorceryofscent(at)yahoo(dot)com, and kindly provide me with your full name and preferred postal address!

Thanks again to Eternal Scents and to all those who entered!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Eternal Scents - NEW His & Hers seasonal duo + Giveaway!

West Australian perfume outfit Eternal Scents are ushering in the Southern autumn/winter season with a strictly limited His and Hers perfume pairing! As the days draw in and grow shorter we perfumisti always look to comfort and warmth from our fragrance wardrobes and it would appear Rafael and Sharon Rodriguez have just the ticket, offering us two new scents each of which provide both coziness and elegance.
Tabanesque for men and Winter Rouge for women are two new natural perfume oils being presented in strictly limited quantities and are already flying off the shelves. 

Here, Sorcery of Scent is reviewing each of these, and Eternal Scents will be offering 2 lucky readers a generous 3ml sample of each creation. More on that later in the article.


With a name somewhat evocative of vintage colognes of old, Tabanesque straddles the line between antiquity and modernity... I expect it would have appealed to an 18th century Dandy every bit as it is likely to appeal to a modern day hipster!
A lush opening of verdant green meets the nose, but its appearance is fleeting... for just below its leafy surface lies a most spectacular velvety red rose... one that blooms on the air and gives the impression of a meticulously-groomed man. Beneath, thick brown tendrils of spice and tobacco unfurl and reach up through the composition, filling it with a comforting ember-like warmth. Some time in, the texture feels warm and fleecy, like a freshly shorn sheepskin whose coat is still moist with sweat from the beast's back. The trail, which lingers for many hours, is one redolent of precious woods, musks and spices.

Tabanesque delivers uniqueness and refinement, but is in no way angelic. It is brawny and fecundant with gruff masculine vigour. Get it before it's gone.


Wintertime generally tends to make one reach for monochrome hues in one's wardrobe... lifeless grey, inky blues and coal black are worn in profusion, but its a special kind of woman who will assert herself in red. Winter Rouge is a celebration of vampish femininity in all of its forms... it embodies the burning blaze of sensuality that can be found at any woman's heart.
Winter Rouge is awash with rousing florals from the get-go... the main protagonist of which is a bewitching, carnal tuberose. Its predatory headiness is masterfully blended with Omani frankincense which brings a temperate warmth and balsamic quality to the composition. Rousing blooms of narcissus lie at the heart of this perfume oil, which feel delicate and silky to the touch and dance on skin with salacious intent.

Winter Rouge feels like a refuge... a warm, velvet-draped boudoir to retreat to when the snow falls outside. The Winter Rouge woman is sensual, libidinous, and calculated. Not to be missed.

WIN! To celebrate the launch of these pure perfume oils, Eternal Scents and Sorcery of Scent are offering 2 readers the opportunity to win a 3ml sample of each! Just leave a comment below, or on the Sorcery of Scent Facebook page, telling us what makes you a Tabanesque Man, or a Winter Rouge Woman.
The winner's names will be picked at random and published here on Friday April 18th.

Good luck!

Visit the Eternal Scents website here:

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Terre d'Hermès Eau Trés Fraîche

The most successful masculine to emerge from the house of Hermès in recent times is irrefutably J.C Ellena's woody/spicy triumph Terre d'Hermès... a scent launched in 2006 that went on to win the FiFi (Fragrance Foundation's) Men's Fragrance of the Year accolade in 2007. Ellena's proficient nose produced an eau de toilette that simply won the world over. Now, some 7 years on, Hermès have revisited Terre and breathed new life into its lungs with the launch of Terre d'Hermès Eau Trés Fraîche... a woody aromatic comp with an engaging thalassic slant.

Just before I continue with my review, I would like to pause for a moment to address the Hermès house accord that seems to have become more conspicuous in Ellena's recent work. To my mind, Jean-Claude has looked to the house's past to unify the modern Hermès perfume stable; particularly with the masculines. If one looks back at Roudnitska's masterwork Eau d'Hermès (1951), a genderless spiced-citrus splash with leathery animalic undertones, one can distinctly hear an echo in the opening notes of Ellena's latest 'Pirate' Hermessence Épice Marine. Similarly, Bel Ami Vetiver  (a new addition to the perfume portfolio in 2013)  opens with a distinct Eau d'Hermès bergamot / cinnamon quickstep before veering off into classic Bel Ami territory. The house's unique fingerprint - or Hermès DNA - appears to be more prominent in contemporary releases, which I - for one - am excited to see. It may come as no surprise then, that it also makes an appearance in the arresting flight of Terre d'Hermès Eau Trés Fraîche.

Eau Trés Fraîche, out of the gates, feels a little like one of the Hermès Eau de Colognes... in fact, Eau de Pamplemousse Rose springs to mind in the cursory moments it dances on skin. Grapefruit and bergamot meet the nose with a zesty tang that is somewhat less sweet than the pulpy orange opening of Terre d'Hermès... it already feels more sheer and diaphanous than its older sibling. Moments later, the familiar Eau d'Hermes prickle of spice, pale woods and leather wash over the nose, infusing it with evocations of yesteryear. But it is in this next phase that Eau Trés Fraîche starts to shift trajectory... a pelagic, watery facet shifts forward, proffering an almost saline quality. (I wonder whether the ocean-like algenone accord Ellena used in Épice Marine might have been re-introduced here)? The heart is awash with geranium that is both citrusy and aromatic, but the whole composition remains translucent and somehow feels almost blanched.
Interestingly, the dirt, slate and ozonic aspects that made Terre d'Hermès a hit feel all but absent in the Fraîche version... my nose struggles to  draw parallels between the pair, save for the warm woody foundation that both have in common and that both have been built on. Base notes notwithstanding, this scent is noticeably more fleeting than its big brother.

Terre d'Hermès Eau Trés Fraîche is a surprising departure from the original Terre, but one cannot feel disappointed with this fragrance that promises to deliver a cooling aromatic respite from the heat over the coming European summer. Terre d'Hermès Eau Trés Fraîche comes as a 125ml eau de toilette which is already available in France, and will be soon rolling out to other European retailers.

Unfortunately for us Aussies, we can expect an August / September 2014 release to coincide with the start of our southern spring.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Norma Kamali Incense: A Star on the Brink of Collapse

American designer Norma Kamali flung open the doors of her first Manhattan boutique in the late 60's and has helped define the course of American fashion ever since. Known for producing that red bikini worn by Farrah Fawcett in her 1970's Charlie's Angels promos, and for popularising the use of shoulder pads in womenswear in the 80s, Norma Kamali has always done everything with an bold sweeping gesture.

Fearless and plenteous is how she approached her perfume creation of ca. 1982: Incense. Norma Kamali in essence, created the quintessential incense fragrance against which all others might be measured... hers is Yggdrasil; the World Tree around which all others revolve. I can't think of any other incense scent - be it old or new - that wouldn't be drawn into its orbit like a bug to a mosquito light, and dispatched with a satisfying little bzzzt! But to make intelligible why would take some explaining, as anyone who has ever lifted a blotter or wrist perfumed with Norma's creation to their nose, can attest. Simply stated, it is just big. 
Bigger than anything your mind can conjure.

Lets take a time out for a moment to define 'incense', as according to how it is represented in perfume. To my mind, there are two basic styles... those that are smoky and/or ashen, ie: incense being burned; and those that are resinous and 'sappy', ie: those redolent of both the raw tree sap and petrified 'tears'. Each of these two styles have been re-rendered time and again by perfumers the world over, but Norma Kamali's creation is perhaps the purest. All told, it feels closer to the latter. Composed of bountiful labdanum, frankincense, myrrh and copal, Incense is a perfumed cornucopia of rich, ambery resins. From the bottle, it is simply titanic... a profusion of odours rush to the back of the nose and not all of them read on the receptors as they do on paper. For beginners, my earliest perception is one of dark fruits steeped in alcohol... those dried wrinkly raisins and fragrant peels reconstituted with a dark rum or a dry woody whiskey. Fortified dessert wines from South-West Australia, crushed leaves of tarragon, and an almost dough-like facet that feels slightly creamy and glutinous... they are all in there and they register well before a mountainous wave of labdanum washes over you.

A few years ago I blogged about Labdanum - a sticky resin harvested from shrubs of the Cistus variety - and it is indeed a major protagonist here. It's deeply balsamic quality floods this perfume with a rich ambery facet... one that carries with it subtle nuances of sun-soaked pollen and leaves. It serves as the monolithic backbone to this scent, to which yellow-brown kernels of myrrh, copal and frankincense affix themselves... each one of them redolent not only of the hardened sap, but also the unique characteristics of the tree they've been plucked from; some pine-like and coniferous, and some slightly woody. This openhanded layering of dense resins has erected what feels much like an impenetrable wall of perfume. This is precisely what makes Incense such a prototype for the genre... it is ceaseless and inexhaustible!

True to form, it is to the disappointment of the author and a great number of faithful perfumisti to learn that Incense is no longer in production. Several years ago, it was announced that a packaging redesign would transpire before Incense and a selection of other Norma Kamali creations would be restocked. But this has since been rebuked in perfume circles as heresy.

Only recently, a scant handful of 500ml flacons from 1982 were unearthed at NK HQ and offered for sale for $1200 USD a piece. At the time of writing this article, there is reportedly one flacon left... just one. Sadly, it seems this once-brilliant shining star is now on the verge of collapse. And perhaps truer still to cosmic form, the light from this supernova will reach our eyes long after it has gone... alas, with that light may come the unsettling cognizance that we have lost one of the most important perfumes of our time.

Smell it while you can.

Monday, 3 March 2014

A brief detour: Sorcery of Scent on Basenotes

A brief detour from my regular course... 

You cannot imagine the numer of messages I receive by email or comment form asking why I was permanently "banned" from Basenotes.

I made my departure in 2011, but now in 2014 it appears there are still quite a few people (most of them asking anonymously) who wish to know why. This mystifies me!
Until now, I haven't responded to such requests, but I thought I'd spend 5 minutes to spell it out once and well so that the question never has to be asked again. 

Its simple: I wasn't banned - I publicly asked to have my profile removed.

In a nutshell, ex-Basenoter Habanitta and I were in the process of negotiating a transaction when she was banned. I can't remember why - but I'm sure that paradigm of righteousness, moderator Stuigi, thought he had good reason. When I piped up and voiced my frustration, because I had no way of seeing my transaction through (Habanitta and I hadn't yet exchanged contact details prior to her banning), I was slapped with an infraction for "airing moderator grievances" by said moderator. Annoyed with it all, I publicly asked my profile be removed. Stuigi deleted my post requesting my account be closed, and hit the "ban" button, not the "remove account" button. The result; a blight on my name that was impossible to remove. 
And here I am several years on... still explaining his injudiciousness. Hurrah!

After I left, a member contacted me and told me Stuigi had posted disparaging remarks about me after my departure. So I took it to that sleeping lizard, Editor and Founder Grant Osborne, telling him that an 'impartial mod' Stuigi is not. He said he would look into it. The remark was eventually removed. 
When I asked if the word "banned" could be removed from beneath my profile, again, he said he would look into it. More than 2 years later, and there has not been a word.  
Am I surprised? Well, frankly, no.

I've no ill will against Basenotes, nor those that frequent it, but its no longer a place for me. I had my fun for a few years and now I seldom (if ever) look in.

It has been said. 
Shall we move along? :-)


Friday, 28 February 2014

A Gift from Guerlain: CUIR DE RUSSIE, revisited.

Loyal Sorcery of Scent readers may well remember my '5 Guerlains in 5 days' series from a few years ago... a collection of ten articles focusing on rare, limited edition or practically-unheard of Guerlain perfumes that have passed across my desk and under my nose. This series featured a handful of perfumes from history, created before olfactory pyramids and widely-disclosed formulas were the norm. This being said, with a number of them I was flying blind... attempting to pick out individual accords through my modest sense of smell, and intuition alone. One scent that moved me monumentally, and continues to do so to this day, is the elusive Cuir de Russie... a post-Industrial Revolution creation authored by Aimé Guerlain in 1872. I was blessed to stumble upon a small quadrilobe of the parfum, and a pair of stilboide flacons... each of which showed a distinct separation of the parfum from the carrier oil, which made it simple to remove the parfum component with a pipette. Long have I relished the perfume, and have used it as a signature scent on special occasions. But I've also lamented the thought that one day my reserves will dry, and there could be no hope ever of seeing it replenished.
Through a strange twist of fate, however, all of that changed earlier this week when I took receipt of a mystery package from Guerlain in Paris.

In-house perfumer Thierry Wasser and his right-hand Frederic Sacone have spent the last months leafing through the Guerlain archives... studying the brittle, foxed pages of hand-written manuals rich with perfume formulae. In doing so, they have been peering back across the ages, deep into the vast history of the world's most revered perfume house. Their intention - to populate the new "Hall of Mirrors" museum installation at 68 Champs Elysées with scents from ages past... a gallery of odeurs, that until now, have been largely lost to the halls of time. Visitors to the newly-renovated flagship store can freely sniff these resurrected perfume ghosts from scented mouillettes. Not only have Wasser and Sacone recreated the original formulas of parfums largely unknown, but they have also reconstructed known scents from the current Guerlain stable as closely as possible to how they would have originally smelled over a century ago. These perfumes are not for sale, unfortunately, but offer Guerlainophiles a unique opportunity to appreciate Guerlain's antique artistry. What it also suggests, is that Guerlain are being up front and transparent about the evolution of their known classics whose formulas must shift with time, trend and, more recently, regulations. I applaud this transparency... where most establish brands vehemently deny that reformulations exist, Guerlain have made it a point to illustrate how.

I believe my indulgent gift was sent to me because of my known love of Aimé Guerlain's unique take on Russian Leather. And in the Cuir de Russie spectrum, this one knocks all others that share the same name flat on their backs! There are none of Gabrielle Chanel's aldehyde-rich semi-transparent shenanigans... the Guerlain interpretation - I still maintain - is possibly the thickest, smokiest iteration ever made. The 'modern' extrait from my gifted bottle is the identical twin to my vintage... with perhaps only the citrus flight being more pronounced and intact, as compared to my oxidised, over-macerated antiques. Wasser and Sacone have been true to their word when they say their formulas are original... Cuir de Russie 2014 is every bit as unapologetic and robust as my bottles are from the 30s to the 50s.
Key notes present in this perfume are citrus, birch, styrax, and a floral nucleus including iris and gardenia. These florals are so seamlessly worked in to the composition that they only peer through the plumes of coal-grey bitter smoke from time to time. The trail is resolutely chypre in style with abundant musks and oakmoss. Cuir de Russie is dry, sooty, and still defiantly tippy-toes the line between masculine and feminine. I am not altogether certain if this arresting scent will join the others in the famed Hall of Mirrors at 68 Champs Elysées, but a part of me genuinely hopes it does. It would be an opportunity missed not to share this unique and arresting odeur with the world... if not to memorialise the work of Guerlain's masterful forefathers, then to celebrate Wasser's efforts in remaining true to Guerlain's vast and hallowed history.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Hermès - The Classics Collection - Bel Ami Vetiver

This December, Hermès are launching The Classics Collection - a selection of eight classic scents from the iconic French perfume stable that have been repackaged in the iconic 'carriage lantern' flacon.

The lineup will include one Jean Claude Ellena newcomer - a flanker to the 1986 masculine Bel Ami, aptly titled Bel Ami Vetiver. A vetiver / patchouli twist on the much-loved original, Bel Ami Vetiver will be available in Hermès boutiques and at Hermè from Decemberand will roll out to selected retailers in 2014. A special feature includes a discrete artwork seen through the bottle printed on the back of the label.

Other repackaged scents in the series will include: Eau d'Hermès (1951), Calèche (1961) in both Soie de Parfum and Eau de Toilette, Equipage (1970), Amazone (1974), Bel Ami (1996), Rocabar (1998), Hiris (1999) and Rouge (2000). 

I personally look forward to exploring the newcomer to the Classic family.
And it's time to rework my Christmas wishlist!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

City Shopping Feature: Perth, Australia: ETERNAL SCENTS

These days, Perth seemingly appears to be in a perpetual state of construction and renovation - cranes, scaffolding and maddening road closures plague the city. In a turbulent West Australian economic climate, as one retailer closes its doors, another soon arrives to take its place. So imagine my delight when, earlier this week, I came upon a brand spanking new artisanal perfume boutique in the Carillon Arcade called Eternal Scents. After suffering a disappointing string of many much-loved and oft-frequented perfumery closures in recent months, Eternal Scents was like a shining beacon, and I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

The beauty about this particular shopping destination for us perfumisti, is that Eternal Scents takes a very traditional approach to what they do. I say 'traditional' in the sense that owners/managers Rafael and Sharon Rodriguez have looked past the common mainstream inclination towards Haute French perfumery, and instead, have reached way back across the millennia to the style of perfumes that were being produced in ancient Mesopotamia, and during the rule of powerful Egyptian Dynasties. Eternal Scents are importers of exquisite perfume materials... raw natural ingredients in highly concentrated pure oil form, all of which have been hand-selected from reliable time-honoured distilleries and closely-guarded sources the world over. Their travels have taken them to Morocco, Egypt, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Dubai India and Saudi Arabia to name just a few, and they have done so, so that residents and visitors to Perth can experience a uniquely different style of perfumery than the masses are generally accustomed to.

The sparkling clean windows that face the arcade proudly affirm "No alcohol, No chemicals". What Rafael and Sharon are offering, is a selection of stunning oils that run the gamut from single raw ingredients (such as Arabian Jasmine, Narcissus, Frangipani, Vetiver Bourbon and Somali Frankincense), right the way through to beautifully custom-blended oil creations that are composed from a selection of these soliflore / raw material components, and mixed with artisanal mastery. The oils are not suspended in alcohol, (as is the case with most fragrances that are found on the open market), and I assure you that just one tiny drop will last the better part of an entire day. These custom blends are both exquisite and compelling... whilst I was there, I sampled a minuscule dab of Indian Oud and Taif Rose which blossomed on the air the very moment Rafael unstoppered the bottle. Its presence could still be distinguished on skin after several showers, the following day.

The oils are presented in beautiful 5ml faceted crystal flacons which catch the light like bewitching gemstones. In addition, a variety of pretty hand made gem-studded filigree / metal flacons are also available for perfumistas who like to carry their portable perfumes in their purse. Rafael and Sharon have also just launched a line of luxurious, non greasy body moisturisers to complement their range.

When asked whether they felt Perth has a demand for such a store, Rafael replied "Of course! We are the only commercial custom-blending perfumery in the region". Undaunted by the idea that they must effectively re-educate the masses on how to appreciate natural perfumery, it appears Eternal Scents' success has expanded exponentially ever since their humble beginnings selling their oils just a few days a week at Fremantle markets. Now, with a beautifully-fitted store in the Carillon Arcade, it feels like their star is on the rise. The pair have already enjoyed a celebrity clientele, including some well-known figures from the Harry Potter film franchise, a popular protagonist from one of Austarlia's longest running TV serials, and renowned figures from the West Australian Ballet.
From where I sit, it would appear that for Eternal Scents, the sky is the limit.

Whilst in Perth, drop in and say hello to Sharon and Rafael, and allow them to escort you through a startling and exciting (ancient) olfactory world of luxury and sensuality.

Eternal Scents is located on Level 2 of the Carillon City Arcade, between Hay and Murray Streets, Perth, Western Australia.

They are open:
Mon-Thurs from 10am - 5:30pm,
Fri 10am - 6:30pm,
Sat 10am - 5pm and
Sunday 12 noon - 5pm.

Tel: (08) 9481 4545

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

GUERLAIN - When Does 'Haute Parfumerie' Become 'Supermarket Cafeteria'?

Celebrating 100 years at their 68 Champs Elysees address, Maison Guerlain have finally revealed their intuitive execution of the boutique's recent renovations. After nine months being closed off to the public, this past November Guerlain flung open their doors to unveil the exquisite interiors that have been completely reworked by offbeat American architect Peter Marino. The reveal laid bare a keen sensitivity to the building's heritage and history, and its foyer and halls have been restored and preserved with great aptitude and panache. Several new zones have been introduced - one, a couture area in which one can view and purchase perfumed leather gloves, and and another, an underground restaurant that will serve you desserts and fiddly pastries. For every stoppered bee bottle and pricey limited edition I've bought in the last 7 years, I can now clearly observe where my dollars have been spent.

Contention has come, however, by way of a new controversial addition to the edifice, namely an area reserved for the conspicuous marketing of "Les Délices du 68" - a selection of specially blended teas and jars of Guerlain-branded honey. If you like your Oolong to smack of L'Heure Bleue, or your honey fussily tied and monogrammed in much the same manner that the famed Dames du Table do their flacons, then this is your jam... but to bandy about wine-tasting terms such as "Grand cru 2013" when referring to honey... it tends to make one guffaw.
Whilst one understands that the marketing minds at Guerlain wish to make 68 Champs Elysees an all-inclusive destination, one has to ask whether the pedalling of such souvenirs is wholly relevant to one of the world's oldest and most revered perfume houses. When did Haute Parfumerie become Haute Knic-knackerie? I cringe to think what might be next... perhaps some Shalimar-scented drawer liners and a life-size Theirry Wasser cutout by the registers to have one's photo taken with?
With paper-thin parallels being drawn between lidded pots of honey and the iconic house emblem of the bee, it's all starting to smell like a conspicuous revenue-gathering exercise to me. Perhaps to raise some capital to offset the renovation costs? Whatever the case, I, for one, am unimpressed. From now on - no matter how pretty it is - I think I might relinquish any future visits to Maison Guerlain... this department-store food hall style shopping I can enjoy at Harrods or F&M.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

GLASSHOUSE - LA MAISON - New scented candles

Aussie Parfums d'Ambiance outfit GLASSHOUSE strode onto the scent scene in 2006 with a range of reed diffusers and beautiful scented candles presented in apothecary-inspired receptacles. Since then, their vanilla/caramel gourmand nose-bomb Tahaa has perfumed Casa Sorcery of Scent, and my wife and I have gifted it to our friends many times over. Now, in 2013 (and just in time for the holidays) Glasshouse have launched their new La Maison range of perfumed delights - a series of six candles created by a team of French perfumers that speak of luxury and sublime reverie.

Presented in striking faceted vessels of obsidian black glass, the La Maison candles exemplify chic Parisian sophistication, and would look stunning in any office or home.
Six individual perfumes feature in these hand-poured triple-scented candles. They are:
No.1 BOIS MAGIQUES is a woody amber blend with leather facets
No.2 FIGUE DE LA FORÊT has a fruity green perfume featuring fig, jasmine and vetiver.
No.3 GARDENIA INOUBLIABLE is a marriage of woods and florals.
No.4 LES BAIES SAUVAGES is a lip-smacking fruity floral brimming with citrus fruits, berries, coconut and musk.
No.5 FLEURS MUSQUÉES (the author's personal favourite) is a musky floral, which features neroli, agarwood, resinous opoponax and musk. It has a distinct carnality, and smells like a hot lover's tryst in an ancient European library.
No.6 LE DÉSIR ARDENT is a woody oriental, ripe with light florals, patchouli and ambery woods.

Each of these creations has a distinct personality and it is impossible for anyone not to find at least one to adore. Shop now for Christmas.

La Maison Glasshouse candles retail for $59.95, and are available in selected stores, and online at: