Mother's Day

photo by guille-pozzi/ unsplash

photo by guille-pozzi/ unsplash

My family moved to Eugene, Oregon when my brother’s and I were very young. For those of you that aren’t familiar, it’s a bit of a hippie town. Every few years the painted buses would roll into town and settle in on East 13th street in anticipation of the arrival of the Grateful Dead. Our family belonged to a co-op where we would get our tofu out of large tubs and grind our own peanut butter. On special evenings out, my beautiful mother attired in dress and heels, would envelop herself in the scent of soft amber and spice as she hugged me an early goodnight. As she did not typically include fragrance in her daily routine, the noticeable presence of perfume was enough to capture my attention and I enjoyed breathing in the captivating aroma. The scent that she wore was her own combination of oils self-blended at the local Essential Oils shop in town. Other than those small hand-labeled bottles of essential oils, I don’t recall my mom ever having what would traditionally be considered an actual bottle of perfume.

After graduating high school, I moved up North to Portland, Oregon which impressed me as being a big city. After all, Eugene had only one main bridge while Portland boasted a dozen. At the age of 25, I married into a family that owned a fragrance boutique that specialized in classic fragrance lines such as Guerlain, Caron and Jean Patou. It was a world that was completely foreign to me but I was intrigued, so much so that within a few years I left my other job and began working at The Perfume House full time. My husband at the time did his best to introduce me to the many fragrant options and varieties. Initially, nothing really spoke to me and I figured that maybe I simply had the type of skin that didn’t compliment fragrance. It wasn’t until we landed on a spicy, oriental scent that I recall being surprised at how intriguing and nuanced the right scent could be on skin ( for those curious, the fragrance was Secret de Venus by Worth). As I delved further into discovering my own personal tastes, I began sharing samples with my mom. She gravitated towards the vanilla and amber scents, which she wore beautifully.

My mother and I have always been close and I’m deeply grateful for the support and acceptance that she has consistently shown even in some of my more experimental phases. One example was my punk rock phase in which I spiked my hair and blared angry music, which my twin brother responded to by counter blasting Billy Joel and Supertramp (guess who won that particular music battle?). When I realized that the world of fragrance offered more than just a job or a minor passing interest, I took a deep dive into researching scent and collecting vintage fragrances that spoke to me. I found myself unable to walk past a fragrance counter without stopping and immersing myself in the array of endless scents. Even today I experience a flush of pleasure when entering a fragrance boutique, with the anticipation of scent exploration. As always, my mother responds to my interest with sincere curiosity and engagement. She asks many questions and we have had numerous in-depth conversations on the topic of perfume. During one visit, I brought along a book, Perfumes the A-Z Guide, by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. I also brought a collection of samples for her to experience as I read to her the corresponding reviews that were notable for their remarkable descriptions and sly humor. My mom is an avid reader and found the book compelling and appreciated learning more about the world of fragrance in this manner. I’ve since gifted her the more recent edition of Perfumes the Guide, as well as several more samples for her to delve into and explore. Although she might not share the same passion for fragrance as I do, she is genuinely interested and always open to attaining more knowledge on the subject.

On my mother’s first visit to Fumerie, she expressed her delight through tears and wholehearted pride. She knows first-hand the profound challenges and adversity that I faced in realizing this dream, and I truly believe that her love and unwavering support throughout my life made it possible. My mother’s birthday is in August but she recently mentioned to me that she had fallen in love with the Jovoy fragrance Remember Me. Those that know me can attest that I tend to lack much in the way of patience, and I ended up gifting her the scent back in March in order for her to enjoy the scent now and throughout the year. It makes me happy to know

that she can spray this beautiful fragrance to her heart’s delight, and that she is experiencing the true pleasure of perfume. To my mom and all the mother’s out there, I unequivocally wish you a joyous and fragrant Mother’s Day!

Fragrances for Spring

Spring has sprung! The days are getting longer and warmer (and, in some cases, wetter). It's time to put away those heavy winter fragrances and break out your fresh, green spring scents. In this spirit, we have compiled a list of our favorite spring fragrances. Enjoy!

PÉNG LÁI  Berdoues: Collection Grands Crus
Osmanthus is a bit of a shapeshifter: sometimes it's fruity and apricot-like while at other times it is earthy and hay-like. In Péng Lái, it's the former—a gorgeous, sparkling osmanthus composition that highlights the bright, fruity facets of this fascinating raw material. Named for the legendary land of Chinese mythology, Péng Lái is a delicately fruity osmanthus composition that smells at once vibrant and subdued. The combination of the apricot-like fruitiness of the osmanthus and the warm, resinous vanilla-like aroma of benzoin produces an interesting effect: a delicate, almost edible warmth that radiates off the skin. The tonka bean reinforces the warmth of the benzoin and augments the hay-like nuances of the osmanthus. Sparkling and effervescent, Péng Lái is the perfect choice for a spring fragrance.

Floralust strikes with such immediacy, it can be a bit disorienting at first. In a world full of uninspired, wan florals, Agonist's magnolia-centric composition reminds us just how moving a truly great floral fragrance can be. Needless to say, I am quite fond of Floralust—in fact, I have been since I first encountered the fragrance last year. In addition to being utterly gorgeous, Floralust is perfect for springtime wear. It embodies all of the hope and rebirth of springtime with its delicate green tones and sweet white floral notes and achieves the perfect balance of frivolity and gravitas.

MONSERRAT  Bruno Fazzolari
It is hard to find a challenging fruity floral fragrance. Indeed, fragrances in this family typically convey a sort of carefree elegance that seems almost antithetical to difficult or demanding structures. Monserrat is one of the few exceptions to this rule: a complex and intricately composed fruity floral that always has something new and exciting to share. Inspired by the burnished colors of classical Italian frescos, Monserrat is built around a core of delicate osmanthus and sweet jasmine. The apricot-like qualities of the osmanthus are augmented by the addition of apricot and the citrusy zing of grapefruit. So, the basic ingredients for a fruity floral fragrance are in place and had Monserrat stopped there, it would have been a fine fragrance; instead, Bruno Fazzolari added an inspired twist: the rooty, chalky, parched aroma of carrot seed and a "setting plaster" accord. These peculiar aromas offset the sweetness of the central composition and help to make Monserrat one of the best fruity floral fragrances currently on the market.

AEDES DE VENUSTAS  Aedes de Venustas
When I first encountered Aedes de Venustas' signature fragrance, I was impressed with the hyper-literal rendering of the tomato leaf and rhubarb accords. Subsequent wearings have led to a deeper appreciation for the underlying structure and its ability to transform based on the angle of observation—like one of those drawings containing both an old woman and a young lady. Sometimes it smells like digging in a garden and at other times, it smells like fir trees in the dead of winter. Over the years, perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has become a master of modern chypres, composing around the empty spaces left by IFRA and EU regulations. Duchaufour fleshes out the greenery with earthy vetiver and an almost liturgical incense—in typical Duchaufour style, the composition is sparse and airy, leaving plenty of room for meditation and quite contemplation.

ICHNUSA  Profumum Roma
At certain concentrations, green notes can take on an almost petrol-like quality. I always enjoy fragrances that achieve this olfactory illusion if for no other reason than the fact that this particular combination of fresh-cut grass, gasoline, old wood and crushed leaves reminds me of the old toolshed where my grandfather kept his tools—along with a canister of gasoline. Ichnusa is one such fragrance. Opening with an intense burst of green notes, Ichnusa slowly opens to reveal a multifaceted tapestry of earthy notes. The fragrance hits several octaves at once, from the earthy hum of mulch and wet hay to the crisp high notes of fig leaf and myrtle.

PÉLARGONIUM  Aedes de Venustas
Aedes de Venustas Pélargonium is, at the time of writing, the newest addition to the line. Composed by Nathalie Feisthauer, Pélargonium is an ode to its namesake, Pelargonium graveolens: a specific cultivar of geranium with a unique rosy aroma. Unlike most flowers, the source of geranium oil is not the blossoms but rather the leaves of the plant. Feisthauer deftly accents the central geranium note, which she describes as “aromatic, with a crushed-leaf facet, less fruity and more balsamic than rose, almost incense-like," with cool, silvery orris and aromatic cedar. The earthy facets of the material are augmented by the addition of Haitian vetiver and oakmoss while the lemony-peppery facets of elemi enhance the fresh and balsamic facets of the geranium. The resulting composition is a tour-de-force of aromatic woods, suffused with the citrusy zing of bergamot—a perfect choice for springtime in the Pacific Northwest.

L'EAU  Tauer
Andy Tauer is not a fan of convention. A few years ago, when he first delved into fresh fragrances with Cologne du Maghreb, he put his own spin on the classic cologne structure. His most recent release, L'Eau is no different. This time around, we find Tauer approaching fresh fragrances from a different angle. Inspired by a blooming lemon tree on his estate, L'Eau is an attempt to translate fresh citrus notes into an eau de parfum. The result is both delicate and beautiful: a shimmering floral with citrus accents. The central theme is, of course, lemon blossom, a seldom-used material that is lighter and tangier than orange blossom with an odor profile close to neroli. A cool, rooty orris provides body, while a musky woody base rounds out the composition. The resulting fragrance is fresh and citrusy—it delicately shimmers in the light and suffuses the wearer in a gauzy, musky-floral haze.

An Evening with Miriam Vareldzis

There is perhaps no one more qualified to answer questions about the perfume industry than Miriam Vareldzis. She began her career with a degree in architecture and interiors from the University of Oregon and a job at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the largest architectural firms in the world. The story might have ended there had it not been for an adventurous career change and a meeting with one of the most successful figures in the fragrance industry: Ann Gottlieb. This meeting led to an apprenticeship with Ms. Gottlieb and eventually to a position as a professional fragrance evaluator at International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF). Over the course of her career while holding positions in fragrance evaluation, product development, marketing, and sales, Miriam has celebrated success with Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Gap, Banana Republic, The Body Shop, Neutrogena, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, John Paul Mitchell Haircare, as well as a bevy of celebrity and niche perfumery clients.

After the launch of her line 40notes, Miriam's interest in naturals grew. I was at this time that she first began to delve into the origin of these magnificent ingredients. This curiosity led her to join Robertet, a French fragrance house and raw materials supplier.

Miriam visited Fumerie Parfumerie on the evening of March 10, 2018. At the event, Miriam introduced the Palette Naturals Collection—her collection of 100% natural perfumery blending accords—and guided attendees through a mini-fragrance training workshop. She also discussed a number of topics related to the fragrance industry including how to define 'natural perfumery' in the modern marketplace, transparency in the fragrance industry, how fragrance development and the industry itself have changed over the past several years and where the industry may be headed.

Check out pictures from the event below and be sure to sign up for our upcoming Fragrance Swap!

How to Protect Your Perfume

Fellow perfume enthusiast Eric Hill's personal fragrance collection.
Image courtesy of Eric Hill

How long can a bottle of perfume be stored?

This is a question that we are asked quite often. It makes a lot of sense when you consider that a bottle of perfume is very often an investment. With ever-increasing bottle sizes, the question becomes ever more relevant.

So how long will your new bottle of perfume last? It depends.

Before we dig into this question, let’s first talk about what this question is really asking. The concern at the heart of this question is this: over time, the building blocks of a perfume can become damaged causing your favorite perfume to smell “off.” The prototypical “off” scent has been described as nail varnish or burnt sugar. This occurs gradually and if you are wearing the fragrance every day, you might not even realize that it has happened.

So what causes this to happen? There are three main environmental factors that can damage fragrances: light, heat and oxygen. The first two are really easy to control. Oxygen, however, is a bit more difficult. In order to protect your fragrances, we recommend following these easy guidelines.

  1. Hold onto the box. This can make a huge difference and extend the life of your perfume a great deal. Unfortunately, most people we have spoken to recycle to box immediately after unwrapping their new purchase. Next time you buy a fragrance, hold onto the box. Storing your fragrance in its box is a great way to protect it from perfume’s number one enemy: light.
  2. Clear out a cabinet. Clear out some space in a cabinet or a dresser drawer and start storing your fragrances in a dark place. The goal here is shielding your perfumes from both natural and artificial light. If you must display your fragrances out in the open, try to choose only the perfumes that you wear regularly and stash the bottles you visit infrequently in a dark place.
  3. Keep things cool. Heat can damage your fragrances just as easily as exposure to light. A cool, climate-controlled area is ideal but if you don’t have a basement or a wine cellar, your bedroom will do. Again, the goal here is harm reduction. Some people recommend storing perfumes in your refrigerator but I personally have some issues with this approach. If you really want that level of protection, I would recommend investing in a wine cooler.
  4. Break out the gas. This is on the extreme end of things and it is not even a feasible option for most modern fragrances that come equipped clamped-on with spray atomizers but I include it here because it addresses the third and final environmental factor that can make your perfumes smell bad: oxygen. The more you use a fragrance, the more oxygen enters the bottle. Exposure to oxygen will cause a fragrance to oxidize. In order to prevent this, you can purchase a wine preserver like Private Preserve Wine Preserver. This is just a pressurized can full of a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon. Simply spray a bit into the bottle and then replace the stopper and instead of a pocket of oxygen your fragrance is now protected by a pocket of inert gases. As I mentioned, this is not really an option for most modern spray bottles; however, if you really want to get serious you can take a cue from the Osmothéque (the perfume museum) and transfer all of your fragrances into aluminum bottles, top them off with a bit of inert gas, seal them up and store them in your wine cooler.

Obviously, most of us aren’t going to take every precaution listed above, but by implementing a few of our suggestions, you can dramatically increase the life of your fragrance. That being said, there are a few things to consider when thinking about long-term storage.

  1. The fresher the fragrance, the more fragile it is. Citrus fragrances like Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien and aquatic scents like L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake are particularly vulnerable. The reason for this has to do with fragrance chemistry. Generally speaking, fresher smells are produced by smaller more delicate molecules. The smaller the molecule, the easier it is to damage. When considering long-term storage, keep this in mind. These fragrances are going to be good candidates for refrigerator or cooler storage.
  2. Top notes are the first to go. You may notice that some older bottles lack the punchy opening you may be familiar with. Heart and base notes are hardier and tend to age more gracefully. About thirty minutes after applying the fragrance, the damaged top notes should dissipate leaving behind the preserved heart and base.

Hopefully, these tips will come in handy and you can pass them along to all of your friends. Together, we can clear up some of the misconceptions about perfume and save some perfumes from the damaging effects of light and heat in the process. We have bottles in our collections dating back to the 1920s and they still smell wonderful. There is no reason that the fragrances in your collection can’t last a decade or more if you take a few simple steps to protect them from light and heat.

An Evening with Barbara Herman

Vintage perfume expert and olfactive director Barbara Herman visited Fumerie Parfumerie on Saturday, February 10, 2018. Her name might be familiar to some from her blog Yesterday’s Perfume which as the name implies, focuses on vintage fragrances. Barbara has been collecting vintage fragrances for many years and decided to combine her passion for writing with her love of fragrance in her book Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume. At the event, she read from her book, shared some of her favorite vintage fragrances and discussed her magnificent line of fragrances, ERIS. Check out the photos below.

The Best Fragrances of 2017

Say what you will about 2017—it was a fantastic year for fragrance!

I can't remember a year in recent memory where the niche releases were so consistently strong and original. Some fragrances were included on this list because they push boundaries and explore uncharted terrain while others were included because they add something new and interesting to an established style. However, they all have one thing in common: they are unequivocally great fragrances that we haven't been able to get enough of.

Now, without further ado, our picks for the Best Fragrances of 2017.

Attar AT by Tauer

Andy Tauer's Attar is dark, rich and mysterious. Inspired by the centuries-old tradition of perfume making in the Middle East and Far East, Attar AT blends notes of leather, birch tar and cistus labdanum with sweet jasmine, animalic castoreum and rich sandalwood and vetiver. This fragrance is presented as a fragrance oil, with no alcohol or carrier oil added—one single drop is enough to last all through the day.

Dryad by Papillon

In 2015, Liz Moores released Salome to near-universal acclaim so expectations were understandably high for her next release. Thankfully, Dryad does not disappoint. This deep green chypre is built around a core of oakmoss and narcissus. Dryad epitomizes the rich, multi-layered style that Papillon has become famous for and proves that it is still possible to make sprawling classical compositions in this modern era.

Mx. by Eris Parfums

The latest fragrance to emerge from the artistic collaboration between perfumer Antoine Lie and blogger and author Barbara Herman, Mx. is a particularly timely release, inspired by gender fluidity and putting into words the shift that has been taking place over the past two decades as the masculine/feminine divide slowly disappears. In keeping with its theme, Mx. is a rich woody composition with notes of sandalwood, saffron, cedar, patchouli and benzoin—taking full advantage of the warm, woody aromas that don't scream masculine or feminine.

Nuit de Bakélite by Naomi Goodsir

Anticipation for this fragrance has been steadily growing since it was first announced several years ago. Nuit de Bakélite, composed by Isabelle Doyen is an absolute triumph—a tuberose unlike anything you have ever smelled. It is at once earthy, green, peppery, leathery and camphoraceous—more often than not, it tends more toward the inky green woods of Robert Piguet's Bandit than any tuberose fragrance in recent memory. Nuit de Bakélite is easily one of the best releases of the year and a must-try for any perfume lover.

O, Unknown! by Imaginary Authors

O, Unknown!, the newest addition to the Imaginary Authors line is an absolutely stunning, delicate composition built around black tea, Lapsang Souchong and orris. The fragrance shifts and oscillates as it moves through its various stages, from the dry parched aroma of an old library to smoky woods. A warm and comforting fragrance perfect for the holiday season.

Ummagumma by Bruno Fazzolari

Bruno Fazzolari keeps raising the bar with each release. This year's Ummagumma finds the San Francisco-based perfumer retreading some of the territory first explored with Cadavre Exquis; however, this time around he ditches the candy sweet accord for something darker and more satisfying—bitter chocolate. While there are gourmand notes present here, this is by no means a typical gourmand. The fragrance quickly shifts gears after a chocolatey opening and dives headlong into tobacco and burnished woods.

Andy Tauer Coloring Contest

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Patch Flash Coloring Contest. We received some great submissions and couldn't be happier with the results. We would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate Roxana S from Romania whose submission went above and beyond.

Roxana S (Romania)

Roxana S (Romania)

In addition, although we were not officially offering a prize for the runner-up, Andy liked Rodrigo R's submission so much he decided to send him his new soaps: Solar Engineer and Data Miner.

Rodrigo R (Washington, DC)

Rodrigo R (Washington, DC)

Fragrance Swap Recap

Fumerie's fragrance swaps are a great opportunity to trade your unwanted fragrances and meet other members of the fragrance community. We hosted our fourth fragrance swap on Wednesday, August 30. As usual, the selection of fragrances was absolutely amazing with everything from vintage Guerlain classics to cutting-edge niche fragrances on display. Check out the photos below and see how many bottles you can identify!

Fragrance Classification Event Recap

Thank you to everyone who attended our Fragrance Classification Event. We had a lot of fun and we hope everyone found the event informative and illuminating. A few days after the event I sent out an email to all attendees with PDF copies of all of the information that we passed around that night and a chart comparing the three classification systems that we discussed that evening: Fragrances of the World, Haarmann & Reimer and Société Française des Parfumeurs. Since we have been receiving requests for this information, I decided to post it here so it is permanently accessible to anyone who would like to use it. You can find links to both documents in PDF format below. Additionally, we have included some images of the event, taken by our good friend Nicole Amzallag-Divine. Thanks again to everyone who attended and be sure to sign up for our upcoming Fragrance Swap!

Fragrance Classification Documents

Fragrance Classification Presentation
Fragrance Classification Chart

My Favorite Fragrance Families

In anticipation of our upcoming fragrance classification event on July 18, I thought it would be fun to write about some of my favorite fragrance families and share a few of my favorite fragrances from each family. If you are interested in attending our event, you can sign up here. Now, without further ado, my favorite fragrance families:


It was leather fragrances that first ignited my passion for fragrance. While there are many fragrances that contain leather accords, the leather family is unique. It is characterized by the use of dry, woody notes that attempt to recreate the characteristic aroma of leather (smoke, charred wood, etc.). Classic leather fragrances typically feature white floral accents like orange blossom and jasmine.

Chanel's Cuir de Russie was the first leather fragrance that I discovered. I fell in love with it immediately and, to this day, it remains my favorite fragrance. Cuir de Russie is the archetypal leather fragrance with white floral notes of orange blossom and indolic jasmine and a warm leathery effect imparted through the use of birch tar. However, what really sets Cuir de Russie apart is the addition of a gorgeous, high-quality orris root.

This is the fragrance that Edmond Roudnitska hailed as the prototype of the "fruity-aldehydic-leather" family and lauded as a perfect example of a composition that evokes rather than represents a note in his 1980 publication Le Parfum. The long-discontinued fragrance features notes of leather, orris root, clary sage and oakmoss.

CUIR D'ANGE  Hermes: Hermessence
Cuir d'Ange was inspired by the Hermès leather vault and is as soft and supple as a fine leather glove. It has an airy feel and, in many ways, feels like the culmination of Jean-Claude Ellena's decades-long quest to strip away all extraneous elements from his compositions. What remains here is a sublime, subdued leather composition built around a core structure of leather, hawthorn, musk and heliotrope.


Leather chypre fragrances are a subcategory of the chypre fragrance family and are distinguished from leather fragrances by their dominant chypre structure (bergamot, cistus labdanum and oakmoss). The chypre framework provides a template that perfumers can dress in many different ways. In the case of leather chypres, leathery accents (smoke, charred woods and animalic notes) are added.

BANDIT  Robert Piguet
Perfumer Germaine Cellier's masterpiece is a no-nonsense tour-de-force of green notes, moss and leather. In Bandit, the central chypre structure is bolstered by the addition of an inky black leather note (courtesy of isobutyl quinoline), a huge slug of oakmoss, the resinous verdancy of galbanum and a bevy of animalic notes.

It is scary how good this fragrance is. Antaeus is the result of a collaboration between the in-house perfumer Jacques Polge and François Demachy (now the in-house perfumer at Dior). Antaeus was released in 1981 and features notes of castoreum, oakmoss, patchouli, rose and cistus labdanum.

AZURÉE  Estée Lauder
Estée Lauder's Azurée is truly a forgotten classic. Originally released in 1969, Azurée was inspired by the Mediterranean and features notes of oakmkoss, leather and sage and opens with a bright burst of aldehydes.


In the same way that leather chypres adorn the basic chypre structure with smoky, leathery notes, fruity chypres flesh out and embellish these compositions with the addition of fruity notes like peach and plum.

MITSOUKO  Guerlain
Jacques Guerlain's masterpiece is often cited as the best fragrance ever created. Taking Coty's Chypre as a starting point, Guerlain enhanced the rather skeletal composition with spices and fruits. Mitsouko's central accord of oakmoss, jasmine and a Firmenich base called Persicol (prominently featuring gamma-undecalactone aka aldehyde C-14) is mind-blowingly gorgeous and one of my favorite accords of all time.

FEMME  Rochas
I have been wearing Femme a lot lately—my wife came across a full bottle of vintage extrait at a thrift store and I have to say, it is beyond compare. At once leathery, fruity, animalic and mossy, Rochas Femme is one of my favorite fragrances. It has a dusky quality that makes it perfect for autumn (although I wear it year round). Femme features notes of oakmoss, leather, civet, jasmine and sandalwood. As heavenly as the fragrance is, Femme is just as notable for the unique story of its creation. Roudnitska composed the fragrance during the waning days of World War II. Supply shortages forced him to trade for hard-to-source materials and use whatever materials he could find in storage. One such material labeled simply "Fut Cinque" (or Barrel 5) had been sitting in the stockyard at DeLaire had been sitting in the sun and cold for many years. The material contained therein possessed a delightful candied prune scent. This material became a key part of the finished composition and imparted a crystalline fruity accord to the classic fragrance. Unfortunately, Femme has been reformulated many times since its initial release and its current form bears little resemblance to the sublime heights of the original.

Another Roudnitska classic, Diorella is perhaps the purest example of the perfumer's lifelong quest to strip away extraneous layers. Antoine Saint-Exupery noted that "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." This philosophy informed Roudnitska's approach to perfume composition and with Diorella is, in many ways, his greatest achievement. Roudnitska's signature accord of jasmine, sandalwood and oakmoss is present in a perfectly balanced composition that has been compared to a perfectly exposed photograph.

Notes No. 4 Photo Recap

In order to fully understand the fragrances we love, we must understand the materials that make their existence possible. This simple idea gave rise to our NOTES series. With each new event, we focus on a new class of raw materials used in perfumery. On Thursday, April 27 for the fourth installment of the series, we explored floral notes in a group led by Nicole Amzallag-Divine. Among the featured notes were jasmine, rose, osmanthus and ylang-ylang. Below we have included some photos from the event. Thank you to everyone who attended!


New Lubin Fragrance Epidor Coming Soon

The French house of Lubin just announced a new fragrance due out this summer. Epidor is the most recent in a series of reintroductions/reinterpretations of iconic scents from the house's expansive back catalog. This time we are whisked away to the French countryside during harvest— the most important time of the year for farmers in the French countryside a century ago.

The fragrance was composed by Thomas Fontaine, the in-house parfumeur at Jean Patou and the author of several Lubin fragrances including Kismet, Korrigan and Black Jade. The fragrance contains notes of plum, violet, orange blossom, jasmine, sandalwood, cedar, tonka bean and vanilla. This fragrance will be available soon as a 100 ml eau de parfum.

The Healing Power of Fragrance

In these difficult times filled with fear and uncertainty, we are all searching for peace and contentment. In times like these, I turn to fragrance. I have a small, precious stash of vintage Bornéo 1834 by Serge Lutens. This is my go-to scent in times when I need to feel empowered and confident. A year ago when I was getting the necessary funding together for Fumerie, I relied heavily on this fragrance to help keep me centered. I can still remember standing in that brightly lit conference room speaking to a panel of bankers with the warm, comforting aroma of Bornéo 1834 surrounding me. The right fragrance can provide comfort on a cold rainy day, confidence when it feels like the world is closing in around you or hope when nothing seems to be going your way.

When I was first dipping my toes back into the world of dating after eighteen years of marriage, it was both terrifying and exhilarating. It had been a year since my divorce and I embraced the opportunity to reaffirm my independence and identity. During that time, L'Artisan Parfumeur's Dzing! was a constant companion—its familiar scent grounded me in this time of change, excitement and new experiences. Of course, these experiences are not unique to me. After decades working in parfumeries, I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the power of perfumes and the immense pleasure and joy that fragrances can bring.

I recall one instance in which two adult sisters came into the shop looking for a specific scent that their recently departed mother had worn years ago. I passed them each a mouillette and as they sampled the fragrance, one of the women broke into tears. She seemed almost apologetic for her visceral emotional response. After she regained her composure she expressed surprise that the scent had such a profound effect on her. In that moment, the memory of her mother had come into clear focus and she was caught completely off guard. Such is the emotional power of fragrance.

More recently, a man visited us at Fumerie. He was not sure what he was looking for and open to suggestions. I began to guide him through a few scents and he mentioned that he was curious about marine fragrances. When I presented him with Profumum Roma's Acqua di Sale, his eyes lit up. He was so taken by the fragrance that he had to take a step back from the bar. Each time he revisited the mouillette, an unconscious smile overtook his face and at one point he broke into laughter.

Fragrances can have a powerful effect on our mood and, as a result, on the way that we see the world. In times like these, when everything can seem chaotic and disjointed, something as simple as a few sprays from a small glass bottle can make all the difference in the world. It is the little luxuries that get us through difficult times. So spray on a bit of your favorite fragrance and take a moment to enjoy all of those beautiful things right under your nose.

Glossary of Perfume Terms Used In This Essay

marine  A fragrance family characterized by the use of materials that evoke the smell of the sea. These fragrances are also referred to as aquatic or ozonic fragrances. Traditionally, fragrances in this family have relied on an aromachemical called Calone, which possesses a distinctive melon-aquatic aroma but more recently compositions in this family have relied on materials that have an algae-like or salty aroma. 

mouillette  A French term for the paper blotters used by perfumers to sample perfumes and aromatic components.

Closed Sunday January 15

I wanted to take the opportunity to give everyone a heads up that we will be closed on Sunday, January 15, 2017. We apologize for any inconvenicenthat this may cause and we will resume our normal business hours the following Tuesday, January 17. Please feel free to email us with any questions.

Perfume & Poetry Video

December 1, 2016 was an evening of perfume and poetry at Fumerie Parfumerie, featuring original works by Portland-based poets Patrick S. Rogers, Sara Kolp, Wendy Bourgeois and Wendy Noonan. The result of a collaboration between Fumerie and local poets, each of the works was inspired by a fragrance.

The fragrances in question were provided to the group and sampled blindly. Removed from their bottles and packaging, the poets had only their noses to guide them. One cannot truly understand the enormous influence of marketing on one's perception of fragrances until they are sampled blindly. For example, let us examine a scent like Serge Lutens' Féminité du Bois. The most obvious influence on our perception of this fragrance is the bottle. With its clean, simple lines, rectangular shape and minimally-adorned label, the bottle itself conveys a French elegance. The copper-colored lid may call to mind antique fixtures. The clean lines of the bottle may suggest old apothecaries. The quality of the packing is also immediately evident, leading to an expectation of quality on the part of the fragrance itself. All of these associations take place immediately and are the direct result of our personal experiences. All of this from a bottle—we haven't even begun to examine the effect of the name Serge Lutens, the name of the fragrance, the box and all of the things we may have heard about the fragrance (notes, family, marketing, etc.). Exploring fragrances blindly is perhaps the most pure and true way to appreciate fragrance as an art.

So, when viewing the video of the event, keep all of this in mind. If you happen to have any of the fragrances explored over the course of this event, consider sampling them while listening to these poems and try to appreciate these fragrances from the perspectives of the authors. Exercises like these shed light on previously unseen aspects of these complex compositions. If you find yourself inspired to take a leap yourself and blindly sample some of your own fragrances.

The fragrances featured in this video include:

COMPLEX  Boadicea the Victorious
BOMBAY BLING!  Neela Vermeire
CUIR VELOURS  Naomi Goodsir
ZEFIRO  Xerjoff: XJ 1861
L'ORPHÉLINE  Serge Lutens
BLAMAGE  Nasomatto

Thanks again to the poets who participated in this event and to all of the attendees. We look forward to seeing you all at our next event this month!

Snow Closure

Once again, Portland has been blanketed by snow. The winter storm that began yesterday evening covered the entire metro area in nearly a foot of snow. Earlier this morning the Oregon Department of Transportation said that all vehicles traveling on Portland-area highways must be equipped with chains and advised residents to stay home if possible.


Owing to the record-breaking snowfall and treacherous driving conditions, Fumerie Parfumerie is closed today. We are hoping that travel conditions will improve by tomorrow morning and that Fumerie Parfumerie will be open. Please check back with us tomorrow for an update.

The winter of 2016-17 is sure to go down as one of the snowiest in the history of the city. For now, go out and enjoy the beautiful snowfall, spend time with your families and stay warm and safe. As a reminder, although our boutique is closed today, you can always place an order online with free standard shipping to the contiguous United States on all orders over $100. So long as USPS and other package delivery services are operating, your orders will go out as usual.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email us at Tracy or I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you to everyone and stay safe!