Smoke and Spice – Review: L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

By Tara

I’m always attracted to fragrances with a good tea note. I think it’s the dark, smoky, yet comforting aroma that I love so much. In warmer weather I could happily wear Osmanthe Yunnan day after day, while during the colder months I wrap myself up in a layer of Tea for Two.


When I first got into perfume in a big way, Tea for Two was talked about a lot on Now Smell This but was discontinued at the time. Last autumn, to my surprise, it popped up on the L’Artisan Parfumeur website and without much hesitation I pulled the trigger on a 100ml blind buy. Thank goodness I did because it was love at first sniff.

Tea for Two is a cosy yet chic aromatic composition of smoky lapsang souchong tea, warm spice and leather on a vanilla base.

Originally launched in 2000, the Nose behind this fragrance is Olivia Giacobetti. The top notes are bergamot, star anise and tea; middle notes are cinnamon, ginger, spices and gingerbread; base notes are honey, vanilla, leather and tobacco.

Normally I have big problems with cinnamon because it can be spiky and irritating but thankfully it doesn’t put me off at all in Two for Two. It’s well blended with the other spices which lay beautifully over the darker accords.

I love the smell of smoke but often birch tar leathers feel too one dimensional or overtly masculine on me. Tea for Two has lots of smoke but it’s balanced out by the sweet spice, drizzle of honey and bed of vanilla. It may sound like a heavy-hitter but in keeping with Giacobetti’s usual style, it has a lot of buoyancy.

Its depth and contrasts can keep me interested for days on end. I find it both relaxing and stimulating.

It’s pretty linear and dry but a gorgeous vanilla does seep through from the base over time. It’s the kind of fragrance that you regularly catch wafts of over the course of a day’s wear and lasting power is excellent.

It’s the perfect fragrance for autumn because it encapsulates all of those wonderful seasonal aromas like bonfires, steaming hot cups of tea, warm spices and new leather boots.

At this time of year Tea for Two contains everything I crave.

Imagine it’s a cold Friday in November and you’re escaping the city with your other half until Monday. You’re in the car listening to the rain hammer the roof as you turn onto the gravel drive of a country hotel a couple of hours outside of London. You and your partner enter the warmth of the lobby and find you are just in time for afternoon tea.

You sink into leather chairs beside a crackling fireplace. Laid before you on a pristine white tablecloth is a pot of piping hot tea, with a jar of honey to add sweetness and a china plate of pastries and spicy gingerbread.


You smile softly, feeling soothed and excited as you look forward to the weekend ahead.

N.B. Great news! L’Artisan Parfumeur are re-releasing Tea for Two (100ml EDT) from November 2014.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried Tea for Two and what other smoky fragrances you’d recommend.

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Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, L'Artisan Parfumeur | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

Flowers At Dawn – Review: En Voyage Fiore di Bellagio

By Sandra

Shelley Waddington is the wonderfully talented nose behind En Voyage Perfumes. I was introduced to her work this year when a dear friend of mine presented me with Captured in Amber. I was gobsmacked with awe and could not wait to smell more from this house.

en voyage fiore di bellagio

Fiore di Bellagio is En Voyage’s newest perfume which just launched this fall. The details on her website describe the perfume as follows:

„An opulent blend of Florentine Iris, Bulgarian Rose Otto, and Vintage Resins form the sensual backdrop for the spicier facets of precious carnation.
Fiore di Bellagio is crafted in the 1920’s vintage style of fragrance worn by European and American beauties of the Golden Age. Exquisitely recreated and contemporized for the more modern noses, Fiore di Bellagio retains the quality of a vintage masterpiece that will forever delight and inspire.”


Top Notes: Italian Lemon and Citrus, Green Leaves, Ylang Ylang
Heart Notes: Spicy Carnation; Gardenia absolute, Jasmin absolute, Bulgarian Rose Otto, Muguet, Violet, Bois de Rose
Base Notes: Dark Vanilla, Antique Sandalwood, Iris Florentine (Orris absolute), Costus Oil, Vintage Resins, Civet and Musks.

Shelley Waddington’s inspiration for Fiore di Bellagio was „to create something that was likely to have been on the dressing table of the infamous and bombastic Zelda Fitzgerald. Given time, proximity, and Zelda’s proclivity for the outrageous, it was a small leap to Daltroff for Caron’s famous Bellodgia – and to then interpreting it from a contemporary viewpoint.“

Fiore di Bellagio is a beautiful name- isn’t it? The Eau de Parfum has a beautiful thick consistency which truly enhanced my experience with this perfume – it prepared me for the rich soulful fragrance which bloomed beautifully as my skin warmed.

Fiore di Bellagio it opens as a large floral bouquet – a bouquet at a mansion during the Roaring Twenties. This bouquet has been sitting overnight in the garden and the early morning sees dewdrops on the petals of the flowers. As the morning sunshine rises and warms the flowers, the flowers start to give off their exquisite smell. The rays of sunlight have brought out the iris to the forefront and soon the other florals join the chorus. I breathe deeply and exhale slowly steadying myself for the day to come. The perfume enchants and mesmerizes me and leaves me wanting more.

Bellagio, Lake Como

Bellagio, Lake Como

I feel as if I have been lounging in a adirondack chair after a night of too much music and dancing overlooking a lake watching the sunrise, hearing the call of the loons and having my nose buried in these flowers. The dewdrops are still present and give the petals a silvery sheen.

The memory of last night lingers on and the perfume still faintly present rejuvenates me.

Posted in By Sandra, Floral, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Michael’s Perfume Discoveries 2014 – Mini Reviews

By Michael

I thought my perfumed discoveries in 2014 might be a fun topic of discussion but boy was I wrong…

Sitting in front of me now are so many fragrances, so many more than I thought I’d acquired this year. I haven’t even worn a few of them yet!


Where do I start? I’ll start with the most precious….

Guerlain’s Habit Rouge Extrait

When Portia and I visited Guerlain HQ in January I had only one definite purchase on my list – Habit Rouge Extrait.

This version of Habit Rouge pushes clean slightly powdered patchouli and soft clean woods with a hefty dose of botanical musk. It’s cleaner, heavier and more rounded than the EdT and foregoes the originals aggressive citrus opening. Easily unisex. Wonderful.

Dior’s Mitzah

Possibly the best resinous amber I’ve experienced.

Incense, warm spices, honey, labdanum, patchouli and rose all working in perfect harmony to produce a wonderfully textured, long lasting and easy to wear amber perfume.

Mitzah also has that little extra something to make you smile.

Some say it’s boring. Oh well, it’s hard being perfect.

Guerlain’s Vega

Cool and clean aldehydes somewhat warmed by neroli, yellow florals and sandalwood. The jasmine and rose are there in the background but very much tamed.

Most women will happily claim this Vega for their own but it’s equally at home on a clean pressed shirt.

Vero Profumo’s Mito

Bam! Fresh galbanum and citrus wake you up with a lemongrass so strong it’s almost smoky. Champaca , magnolia and moss underline the freshness but never dominate or make the fragrance particularly floral.

Mito is bitter and green with just the right touches to keep it of the body.

I love this fragrance so very much. It reignited my love of perfumery just when I was in a lull.

The Voile is on my shopping list…

Etat Libre d’Orange’s Putain des Palaces

Putain des Palaces opens with ginger and a touch of lily but the smell of sweet, pink and powdery cosmetics make this provocative fragrance.

There are fruity berries that escape being too girly with rose and violets and naughty musks lurking underneath.

On the right skin in the right weather Putain des Palaces smells very, very naughty.

Comme des Garcons Odeur 71

Paper robots fastened with brown tape and dabs of craft glue in a huge room of metal and glass.
Odeur 71 is a weird scent and so difficult to describe.

From a practical perspective it wears like a traditional cologne – a fresh pick me up in the warmer weather. It smells nothing like a cologne foregoing almost all the typical cologne smells.

Spray it with abandon and enjoy a completely different smelling freshness.

Odeur 71 was released in 2000 and somehow is still unique.

You owe it to yourself to try this if enjoy avant-gardeperfumery or the weirder side of Comme’s creations.

Bogue Profumo’s MAAI

I know I’ve already written about this but I will mention it once more.

Like dirty-clean contrasts? Try MAAI.
Like vintage chypres? Try MAAI.
Like barbershop fragrances? Try MAAI.

Seriously, have you tried this yet?

MAAI is a challenging fragrance but very rewarding to wear.

There are so many facets and they slowly unfold over so many hours – just perfect on a cold winters day.

So tell me, have you tried any of these?

What did you think?

What are some of your fragrant discoveries in 2014?

Posted in Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Introverted Incense – Review: Serge Lutens L’Orpheline

By Tara

The recent Serge Lutens release L’Orpheline (the orphan) is the sort of airy fragrance I generally get on better with than the dense creations which make up a good proportion of the house’s output. It gives you a lot of room to breathe.

LuckyScent lists the following notes: aldehydes, cedar wood, fougere accord, coumarin, clouds of ambergris, patchouli, incense and cashmeran.

As usual, Lutens worked with perfumer Christopher Sheldrake.

lutens orpheline

For the most part L’Orpheline contrasts stark incense against soft aldehydes. A swirling mix of resins and soap which is light and dark, cool and warm, masculine and feminine. It’s like an olfactory Yin Yang symbol.

L’Orpheline is woodier than Kyoto and the antithesis of the powerful Avignon (both part of the Comme des Garcons Incense Series). Although it is quiet and vaporous it also feels grounded and this feeling intensifies over time. The aldehydes dissipate and the incense is much less pronounced in the drydown. It no longer has the flinty yet soapy feeling it did before. The overall effect is that of the dying embers of a campfire.

Lutens is burning everything down to the ground in order to rise again anew.

A circle of stones on bare soil surrounds ashy, charred pieces of crumbly wood. After starting out airborne, the fragrance becomes earthier. There are touches of spice and musty patchouli as well as a subdued ambery musk which gives relief to the dryness.

L’Orpheline is very spare and introspective in character. However, for such an inward-looking fragrance it projects outwards quite some way with a lot of throw in the first couple of hours. It has very good longevity.

It may not be complex or unique but I did find L’Orpheline wearable and contemplative.

I tend to use incense to clear my head and make me feel more centred. So although I don’t find L’Orpheline exactly comforting, I don’t find its lack of ornamentation isolating either. Sometimes I find relief in a perfume that has an aura of detachment. When everything is overwhelming me, a cosy fragrance can be too suffocating.

Although its mood is decidedly downbeat, occasionally you want company for your heartache, rather than to be shaken out of it. A kind of emotional communion which is often a necessary part of the therapeutic process.

If you’ve read anything Serge Lutens himself has to say about L’Orpheline you’ll know it’s very personal to him. It represents the healing of the wounded child within. I don’t pretend to follow everything he says on the subject but I can relate to the idea of something that in his own words is “fragile but whole”.

You can’t “un-break” something, but given time and effort you can put it back together again.


Photo by lambtroncorp


If you’ve tried L’Orpheline please let me know what you thought of it in the comments.
Otherwise, please do share your best loved incense fragrances.

Posted in By Tara, Incense, Serge Lutens | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

Atelier Cologne Discount Codes Now Available Worldwide!

A quick public service announcement:

Atelier Cologne just let me know that they made the two discount codes – OLFACTORIASAMPLES and OLFACTORIACANDLE, see sidebar – available worldwide.

Now also US readers can benefit!
Just in time for Black Friday! ;)


Posted in Atelier Cologne, Shopping | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Close To Perfection – Review: Caron Infini

Hiya Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse back on the OTs.

A while ago I found a small bottle of vintage Infini parfum on one of the Facebook pages For Sale lists and though there was only about 2ml left I grabbed it. Thick, orange and viscous it arrived and I thought I’d share with you my first wear.

Infini was created by Gerard Lefortis for Caron in 1970.

Infini Caron FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Jasmine, aldehydes, narcissus, lily of the valley
Heart: Iris, tuberose, lilac, rose
Base: Vetiver, musk, tonka, amber, sandalwood

Infini was reformulated from Ernest Daltroff’s original in 1970 and we are dealing with a parfum of that era.

Firstly, I love that the featured notes contain no citruses, and the narcissus in Infini is very like the Narcissus fragrance that CB I Hate Perfumes brought out last year.

Infini is so different to modern perfumery in that the opening, particularly in this aged state, is not friendly or warm but ferocious. It has that remarkable inky metallic edge that tells you the aldehydes are still in full force, maybe even turning, but if you hold on tight for about 5 minutes everything starts to smooth out and become rounded. That furniture polish squeak goes and a balmy bouquet is revealed.

The heart is a quieter purr of flowers, resins and animalics. Things I can smell not mentioned include civet, honey and wee but I’m pretty sure they can be attributed to the narcissus, tuberose and musk but really they read much more feral to my nose. Not feral in a bad way but beautiful, deep, intense, majestic and funnily enough soft and furry.

Here is fragrance to really lift you into a completely different mindset. Though I’m sitting here in Sydney on a cool Spring morning writing to you I could be a golden years of Hollywood movie star playing a Queen, or a strong woman brought low, a glittering ingenue or my favourite of them all Helen Lawson, played by Susan Haywood, singing I’ll Plant My Own Tree in Valley Of the Dolls.

Infini parfum takes forever to go through its stages and five hours later the bouquet has mainly gone, still a shiver of narcissus, and I am left with the warmest, most opaque amber and musk with what could very well be the real deal sandalwood. Obviously the blending is so superb that I’m not getting notes per se but impressions of notes hiding within a beautiful soft amber haze. This is about as close to perfection in vintage fragrance as I can imagine.

Further reading: Yesterday’s Perfume and The Non-Blonde
Beauty Encounter has $120/15ml parfum
Surrender To Chance starts at $4/ml

What about you? Do you have a favourite vintage fragrance?
Portia xx

Posted in By Portia, Caron, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Monday Question – Up, Up And Away! What Perfumes Do You Bring On A City Trip?

I am flying to NYC this week and I can hardly wait to get away. A few days just with my husband but without work and family pressures – ah.

(For New Yorkers: I will be at Osswald on Saturday, Nov 29 from 2-4pm. Come and say Hello!)

Despite my breathing difficulties I cannot live entirely without perfume, so I definitely will bring some sampes or decants with me. I feel naked and unpolished without perfume.

So for a short city trip, what would you bring?

Old faithfuls or exciting new things?

Stick with what you know or explore new fragrant territory along with the geographical one?

Which perfumes would you take with you?


My Answer: 

Normally I would say a bit of both. Something old, something new (maybe even something blue?) and something borrowed from my husband’s stash.

Since I have to be more careful what I put on at the moment it is Jean-Claude Ellena all the way for me. I will being a travel set of Rose Ikebana, Santal Massoia, Paprika Brasil and Brin de Réglisse. Happiness.

Also I will fit in perfectly at the Hermès boutiques in New York. They are required sightseeing, aren’t they? ;)

What would you bring with you? Or would you just shop your way to perfumed bliss?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , , | 49 Comments

Graveyard Rose – Review: Frapin Nevermore

By Tara

Nevermore is the beautifully wistful name of the latest release by Frapin. It comes from Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poem, “The Raven”, which was first published in 1845. In it, an increasingly distraught narrator pines for his lost love, only to be taunted by a raven who repeatedly chimes the response “Nevermore”.

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

- Extract from “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

The connection with Cognac producers Frapin can be found in the story of a mysterious figure known as The Poe Toaster who visited Poe’s tomb each year onwards from 1949, on the anniversary of the poet’s birth (19th January). After raising a toast to Poe he would leave behind three roses and a flask of Cognac.

frapin nevermore

Anne-Sophie Behaghel is the perfumer behind Nevermore which includes notes of aldehydes, nutmeg, florazone, black pepper, rose, amber, Atlas cedar and saffron.

Nevermore grabs your attention from the start, like a sudden gust of wind that takes your breath away. I get a sharp rose and dry cedar shrouded in ivy and veiled in an eerie mist of icy aldehydes. It’s sour, chilled and soapy, feeling like cold sweat on the back of your neck.

I thought Nevermore would be a deep, enveloping rose but it’s woody, thorny and very light in weight. During the early stages, its reminiscent of an overgrown grave among the trees with a few roses strewn across it.

I don’t know about brandy but there is a tart, wine-like quality to Nevermore. There’s also a metallic tinge, like a steel blade hidden in the undergrowth.

Three hours or so into its development, the sharp and soapy notes have faded and I find a little warmth and some spicy sweetness for the first time. It’s still not exactly plush but I find it more to my taste from this point on.

Apparently Frapin wanted to create a “masculine, modern rose”. Well, if a masculine rose can be interpreted as dry, wine-laced and rather subdued, then they’ve achieved this with Nevermore. But the theme and soapy aldehydes don’t make me think of it as particularly modern.

It definitely has the atmosphere of a desolate cemetery, where the only sound is the rustling of the leaves on the trees. Personally I like my rose perfumes to be more full-bodied and less bracing but Nevermore wasn’t intended for those who like a luscious, feminine rose. It has a striking, ghostly presence and its mood is cold, stark and wintry.


Like Poe’s poem, it’s a Gothic lament.

How do you like your rose fragrances? Green and fresh or dark and deep?

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Frapin | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

Colour in My Life Please! – Review: Nobile 1942 La Danza delle Libellule

By Sandra

I do not usually pay attention to the name of a perfume. But when one as beautiful as La Danza delle Libellule comes my way I sit up and pay attention. It means The Dance of the Dragonflies. This is a perfume which came out I believe in 2012 and when I received a sample in Rome I wore it and loved it for 3 days. I received another sample this summer and have been dreaming ever since.

nobile danza

Autumn has arrived and although the days are shorter and the temperatures have cooled off, the sunshine (which is unusual here in Vienna in November) and the crisp blue skies is making me dream of lazy summer days and I am searching for the perfect vanilla perfume. I pulled out my sample of La Danza delle Libellule from this summer and quickly used it up. The search was now on to find it in Vienna!

The Nobile 1942 website gives a beautiful description of this perfume. It is quoted here so that you understand of how spot on they describe it.

… claiming some time for frivolousness, cuddles and the gentle insouciance that all women deserve. All these elements form the background to the melody conceived by Franz Lehar, who composed the “Dance of the Dragonflies”, an operetta that met with great success. With this spirit, the new fragrance by Nobile 1942, brings all the lightness necessary to soothe even the most troubled hearts.
Pure vanilla, a gourmand fragrance that warms the heart and envelops you in a sweet cloud, around which three frivolous dragonflies flutter, as in the operetta by the celebrated composer of “The Merry Widow”.
It is good for our senses to be pampered and loved, in an Epicurean joie de vivre, with moderation but also indulgence with ourselves. (by the homonymous operetta with music by Franz Lehar, Libretto by Carlo Lombardo).

Fragrantica lists the notes for La Danza delle Libellule as follows: Top notes are bergamot and red apple; middle notes are cedar and cinnamon; base notes are musk, vanilla and coconut.

I spray it on and get a blast of freshness with vanilla and musk intertwining ever so delicately. The apple is not dominant at all and quickly morphs to something more cuddly with the cinnamon. Thankfully it is never an apple crumble or pie – it is more of a marriage between fresh and sweet.

For the last year or two I have finally understood musks and that is what makes La Danza delle Libellule stand out on its own. The vanilla and musk shine together and tame the fresh opening after about 10 minutes. This is where I start dreaming and where my heart is comforted. The vanilla is not as sweet as Tihota for instance – which is also a great love of mine. This is a year round vanilla scent for me. To be honest I cannot smell a distinct coconut note at all. Perhaps it is rounded together with the vanilla and musk to make this such a gorgeous perfume.

This is not a complicated vanilla perfume which will rock your world with new direction. No, it is a subtle perfume which will caress and comfort and ease my mind into a state of dreaming.

I love colour in my life – from bright colourful paintings to colourful fruits and vegetables and La Danza delle Libellule is a colourful dream indeed. I was taught to dream and to add as much colour in my life as possible. I am transported back to lazy summer days as a child poking holes into lids of jars so that we could catch as many fireflies as possible. We wanted to be princesses in a castle or fairies in a garden at dusk making sure everything was set for the night hours. We were taught to paint our lives full of colourful experiences.

This past summer I was sitting by a pond full of lilypads and a single dragonfly danced amongst the lilypads – light shining on its delicate wings – bringing out the beautiful shimmering colours of its body.

La Danza delle Libellule is a beautiful addition to my collection making it possible for me to fondly remember what childhood and summer is all about – especially with the looming cold months ahead.


While there is an Extrait version of La Danza delle Libellule available, I caved and bought the Eau de Parfum. The Extrait is stunning in the opening – it really brings out the apples and cinnamon together but the perfume as a whole is just like the Eau de Parfum. The Eau de Parfum is beautiful and smooth and definitely gives me the serenity that I need these days in dealing with the challenges of life. I certainly don’t mind respritzing this during the day either.

What do you dream about? Does perfume help you dream a little bit more during the day?

Posted in By Sandra, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

A Holiday Surprise From Atelier Cologne And Other Announcements

Hello all,

instead of a Monday Question this week, I wanted to make a few announcements.

atelier cologne set

1) First of all, and with a lovely timing for the Holidays, I teamed up with Atelier Cologne who kindly created two discount codes redeemable in their online boutiques (Atelier Cologne France and Atelier Cologne Europe) for Olfactoria’s Travels readers. (Note: I do not receive compensation in any form for this!)

The first one is OLFACTORIASAMPLES : This code allows you to have the Atelier Cologne Collection Sample Set for 10€ instead of 20€.

The second one is OLFACTORIACANDLE : Atelier Cologne offer an Orange Sanguine Candle for every purchase of a Cologne Absolue 100ml, 200ml, or for any Gift Boxes.

You just need to apply the code at checkout and it works.

For now they only work on the European sites, but I am working on it to make this possible also for my American readers.


2) The second thing I wanted to announce is that I am lucky enough to go to NYC soon. The Husband and I will spend the Thanksgiving weekend there. You may already have seen Portia’s announcements on Perfume Posse and Australian Perfume Junkies. S/he let it slip that I am at Osswald on Saturday, Nov 29 at 2pm as well. I hope to see some of the New Yorkers among you there.

I will definitely leave the stage to Portia though, as spending time in a small room with lots of people and plenty of fumes quite literally takes my breath away these days…

…which brings me to my third announcement of the day.


3) You will have noticed that I do not review perfume these days, that I stick to my MQ and am happy to have the blog’s more fragrant part in the competent hands of dear Tara, Portia, Sandra and Michael. (A huge thank you to the four of you at this point, I don’t know what I would do without you and I am so grateful and happy that you write for OT!)

So why is that?

I developed Asthma, the reason for which is not yet known, but what is certain is that perfume makes it worse, a lot worse. Over the past months I have stuck with dabbed microdoses of Hermès perfume and not more and it looks like that will be what I have to do for a while yet.

This is not easy for a fumie as you all can imagine and it makes me sad and even more angry. The Asthma is really bad and fighting for air, coughing to the point of breaking a rib is not fun at all. For the past two weeks I have had great new medication which makes me feel a lot better and more optimistic, so I finally decided to share this with you, my loyal readers.

I was strangely ashamed for the longest time, feeling like my body let me down, not only me but my entire readership. I felt like a fraud, a Perfumista without perfume, a smeller who cannot bear even a whiff of scent.

But that is how it is for now and I can only hope it will change again.

So that was enough whining for today, now go forth and treat yourself or your loved ones to some nice Atelier samples or bottles. I know I will, even if I shall stick to buying them for others this year.

B xx


Posted in Atelier Cologne, Shopping, Travels | Tagged , , , | 90 Comments