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!

Inclement Weather Closure

Hello everyone! I just wanted to do a quick post letting everyone know that we are closing early today, Saturday, Jaunary 7, 2017 due to the inclement weather conditions in the Portland metro area. We may remain closed through the weekend if road conditions do not imporve. Please givev us a call before stopping by to make sure we are open. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenince and hope that you'll be able to visit us on a sunnier, warmer day. Please feel free to email us with any questions or cenerns. The good news is that our online store is open 24/7 and you don't need four wheel drive to get there. Stay safe!

Photos from An Evening with Andy Tauer

Andy Tauer stopped by Fumerie on November 18th to debut his newest fragrance, Hyacinth and a Mechanic, and to chat with his Portland-area fans. Over the course of the evening, he discussed the modest beginnings of the Tauer line, the release of his now-iconic fragrance L'Air du Désert Marocain, his overnight success and the impact of Tania Sanchez's 5-star review in Perfumes: The A-Z Guide.

One of the most exciting parts of the evening was the unveiling of Andy's newest fragrance, Hyacinth and a Mechanic. The fragrance is a daring combination of hyacinth, lilac, muguet, leather and petroleum and presented as a 100 ml eau de toilette. Hyacinth and a Mechanic is the first release of a new collection, Tauerville: Stories. Andy released the fragrance specifically for the event and currently has no plans to offer the scent as a regular part of his line.

Attendees were also afforded the unique opportunity to purchase Andy's vaulted fragrances that are normally available only in Switzerland or through the Tauer website.

You can check out photos of the event below. We would like to extend a special thank you to Kat Butler who was kind enough to document the event for us.

Perfume & Poetry






My wife Wendy Bourgeois got me into perfume. She has built her obsession for years now, while I am a total novice. It wasn’t precisely that I wanted to catch up with her nose, but I have my own obsessive ways of apprehending a thing. I began to think about perfume as a problem to solve, and it was out of this need to solve a problem that I came upon the idea to this project.

Patrick S. Rogers

Patrick S. Rogers

Wendy Bourgeois

Wendy Bourgeois

Wendy Noonan

Wendy Noonan

Sara Kolp

Sara Kolp

I had just applied and been accepted to PSU for an MFA in poetry, but at the last minute I found I was two credits shy of completing my undergraduate degree. I had to scramble to find a suitable course of study I could complete by the end of summer. I had been tinkering around and talking with Wendy about the idea of putting together perfume related description writing workshop. She suggested I use that idea as my class. 

I’m pretty heady when it comes to my obsessions and as a result of that headiness I have the tendency to make things more difficult than sometimes necessary. While constructing the class, I thought one way to think about perfume would be to think of each one like a text, or like a novel. I thought what if each perfume acted as a novel for the nose. With this in mind I wanted to bring the perfume to the writers stripped of context. I was interested in how one perceives the very thingness of scent. As a reader of perfume and then to write about them, I didn’t want to be influenced by the maker’s name, or the name of the perfume; I only wanted to read the smell. 

It was then Wendy and I contacted Tracy and André at Fumerie Parfumerie. They were gracious enough to curate the experience. For five weeks straight, Wendy and I devised a different writing exercise each week and each week André put together a package of unmarked samples for us to smell. After the first week, this exchange became like a conversation. We, the readers groped around in the dark trying to find new ways to access meaning, while André and Tracy were our light bringers showing us the way. Each week we came back with more questions, and each week they responded with their own questions: “What about this?”,  “How about these three?” or “What if you thought about this variation on a theme?”.

The work we writers performed is varied and expansive: ruminations on specific memories, philosophical questions of just how memory works, magical realist travel to places in the imagination, animals, plants, sex, love, revulsion—everything from the sacred to the profane. 

Profumum Roma Trunk Show Photos

The evening of October 26 was a celebration of the elegant creations of Italian niche perfume house Profumum Roma featuring special guests Luciano Durante and Fabrizio Cipriani. Durante is one of the founders of the perfume house and Cipriani is a longtime friend of the Durante family and currently serves as the North American brand manager for Profumum Roma.

Over the course of the two-hour long event, Durante and Cipriani discussed the origins of the house, the inspiration behind many of Profumum Roma's creations and what drives the Durante family to create new fragrances. Durante and Cipriani then fielded questions from audience members with Cipriani listening intently and acting as Durante's interpreter.

Audience members were then invited to sample the collection of over two dozen fragrances, all of which were laid out on the counter. Check out some of the photos from the event below. We would like to thank everyone who attended the event and a offer a very special thanks to Luciano Durante for flying all the way from Italy and to Fabrizio Cipriani for participating in and helping to plan this wonderful night!

Apologies for the low quality of some of the images—circumstances forced us to use an iPhone camera to photograph the event so they aren't as sharp as usual.

Slow Explosions Release Party

Fumerie Parfumerie hosted a release party for the latest addition to the Imaginary Authors range, Slow Explosions. The house's founder and perfumer Josh Meyer was in attendance. He chatted with attendees over drinks and hors d'œuvres and gave a brief presentation in which he discussed the inspiration for Slow Explosions. To celebrate the release, Josh was kind enough to donate a bottle of Slow Explosions for a giveaway. To enter to win the fragrance click here. The winner will be announced at the end of the month. We would like to thank everyone who attended the release party and give a special thanks to Josh Meyer. We are thrilled to feature his line here at Fumerie! Check out the photos of the event below and feel free to comment!

Photo: Alexis Tsefalas

Photo: Alexis Tsefalas

Photo: Alexis Tsefalas

Photo: Alexis Tsefalas

July 2016 Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Mark E, the winner of our July 2016 Giveaway! You are the winner of a full bottle of Jovoy's Rouge Assassin; we will be contacting you shortly. As we mentioned at the beginning of the month, this was our final giveaway for the time being. We are so happy to have been able to extend our opening celebrations well into summer and to keep these giveaways going for so long. Thank you to everyone who participated—we are so grateful for your enthusiastic support. We look forward to seeing everyone at Fumerie in the near future!