People In Perfumeland – Jordan River Of The Fragrant Man

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Once upon a time Jordan River was a shy lurker who one day decided to comment on one of my Monday Questions. The comment became so long he emailed it to me and it became a guest post here called Indefensible Amounts of Beauty. He thinks that I am like an airport; he landed on me and took off! A month after that Jordan launched his website called The Fragrant Man on Valentines Day this year. As well as writing for Olfactoria’s Travels and Australian Perfume Junkies he is a Basenotes contributor for whom he recently covered the first Australian album sandalwood harvest (Mysore sandalwood grown in Australia).

Jordan River Bottle Collection – Photo Nathan Branch

Jordan River, Bottle Collection.
Photo: Nathan Branch

Let’s find out more about this Kiwi man who lives on an island in the Southern Hemisphere. The island is poetically prosaically called North.

Jordan River

Jordan River

A good day starts with a carafe of coffee. I had hoped to be highly influenced by Mandy Aftel’s answer here which was “a pot of oolong tea” but, no, I tried, and coffee it is. I drink the whole plunge which is why I call it a carafe.

Good Morning Perfumistas, have a great day ahead!

Good Morning Perfumistas, have a great day ahead!

I’d never leave the house without fin de siècle Christian Dior sunglasses, usually blue, sometimes purple and occasionally rose-tinted Bulgari’s when the world needs to be looked at through such lenses.


I always feel good when summer is coming.

Photo: Jordan River

This is the spot where I write up The Fragrant Man and read what other Perfumer Whisperers are writing.
It is Tindalls Beach in New Zealand with typical NZ clouds in the distance. The original inhabitants of this land are the Maori people whose name for NZ is Aotearoa which means The Land of the Long White Cloud. These clouds keep NZ green even on a sunny day.
Photo: Jordan River

My favorite thing in the world is reading.

The next thing I want to buy is a plane ticket to… (see photo below)

My friend's garden

Photo: Jordan River

The places I always come back to are… my friend’s garden in Thailand (above) and…

Piman  Pu villa on the Adaman Sea

Photo: Andrew Truswell

Piman Pu villa on the Andaman Sea. This place makes a great writing retreat.

My personal style is
Work – suit, shirt, tie and belt, all from Thierry Mugler (unfortunately I do not like the fragrances) with Cesare Paciotti shoes or boots.

Casual – 3/4 length shorts with 1 of 14 similar (but differentiated by detail) made-to-measure white linen shirts – this makes getting dressed very easy. More time to contemplate the SotD.

My beloved perfume was Lalique’s Encre Noir.
Now I have to add an ‘s’: Jubiliation XXV, Memoir Man, both from Amouage, Nasomatto’s Black Afgano, Mohur, the masterpiece that is Trayee, both from Neela Vermeire Creations, La Labo’s man rose, Rose 31 and Ensar Oud oils.

My beloved 2013 releases are Neela Vermerie Creations Ashoka, Pure Distance BLACK, Amouage Fate Man, and Le Labo Cuir 28. The showgirl that is Zelda is a potent perfume; a magnolia that I wear on special occasions.

My beloved natural perfume is the original and potent Cuir de Gardenia extrait by Alchemist Mandy Aftel. This ‘fume gave me An Olfactory Orgasm.

On Christmas Eve I will be wafting Ma Folie de Noel from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. Christmas Day will be Spiced Citrus Vetiver by Sonoma Scent Studio.

When I travel, I pack extra-light; carry-on luggage only for ease and speed of movement. No waiting at the luggage carousal.

Let's go

Let’s go!

To relax I need either silence or green gardens. Preferably both. This one is my friend’s garden in Chiang Mai.

To relax I need… either silence and green gardens. This one is my friend's garden in Chiang Mai.

Photo: Jordan River

Or the colour and movement of a Bollywood movie. Hours go by with these movies and by then the real world has changed, usually for the better.

Or a Bollywood movie

Still from the movie Om Shanti Om. Clips from my favorite Bollywood movies are here.

I like to gift people with Oud oil in a 22 carat gold travel sized dip-stick applicator flacon with a diamond top which usually means Oud oil in a gold(en) travel sized dip-stick applicator flacon with a diamond(te) top. Unlike sampling sites with those ineffective dip sticks, these have thick applicators to create a drip and therefore avoid skin-oil contamination of the fragrance from swiping.

I like to gift people with… oud oil in a gold travel sized applicator flacon with a diamond top which usually means oud oil in a gold(en) travel sized applicator flacon with a diamond(te) top.

When I have a bad day, I play Mozart on a device as opposed to on the piano or on a violin. Mozart untangles and ‘combs’ your cerebral cortex and lets your creativity flow. A minimum of 10 minutes a day will improve not just your creative output but your mood as well.

When I have a bad day, I… play Mozart on a device as opposed to on the piano or violin.

I find my inspiration in the light of the morning sun, the beauty of your words Birgit, your photographs, as well as in reading and writing about ‘fumes.


The Heart of the Sun, 01 January 2000, Srah Srang, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Photo: Jordan River

Something I would never want to miss would be an Aretha Franklin concert.

Something I would never want to miss… an Aretha Franklin concert.

In my fridge there is always perfume, chocolate, CH3(CH2)4ONO and bok choy. Bok choy is known as the beauty vegetable in Chinese culture. If you eat it daily it makes your skin translucent.

Bok Choy.  beauty vegetable in Chinese translucent.

Bok Choy, The Beauty Vegetable.


A shelf in Jordan’s fridge.

On my nightstand I keep the Psalms, the iPad (which contains my Kindle library) and sleep scents. The sleep scents are Mohur and Trayee. This sleep scent concept seemed way too ‘out there’ to me when I first came across it while gazing into Undina’s Looking Glass. But as smell has an immediate brain connection I have found that these two scents do give the sweetest dreams.

The perfect weekend starts with making hummus as a toast spreader for the rest of the weekend.

Some things I have always wanted to be asked in questionnaires like this is…

Do you have a quote or two, a book, a painting and a song to share?

As it happens I do, Olfactoria…

A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.

– Rumi

Those words helped me choose one partner, rather than one a weekend. My partner is a war refugee from the ‘Pol Pot time’ in Cambodia who escaped jail, walked over the mountains to Thailand, then lived in a refugee camp before been sponsored by a church to come to New Zealand. 8 years later the Dad and 5 siblings were found scattered across Vietnam. They were reunited in NZ (although some remain missing) and they now all live close to each other.

Favourite Quote via a Perfumista:

Bloom as you were planted.

via The Alembicated Genie

Favourite Madonna Quote

Everyone is entitled to my opinion.


Favourite painting:

The Torture of Prometheus'' (1819), oil on canvas,  Le Puy-en-Velay, Musée Crozatier. Jean-Louis-Cesar Lair (1781 - 1828),  'El suplicio de Prometeo''

The Torture of Prometheus” (1819), oil on canvas,
Le Puy-en-Velay, at Musée Crozatier.
Jean-Louis-Cesar Lair (1781 – 1828),
‘El suplicio de Prometeo’

Favorite book:


and I have a song to share with your readers which has the lyric:

You’re so much better than you know.

(Click the lyric to hear the song)


Deep in the jungles of Cambodia… Stung Kbal Spean flowing from Phnom Kbal Spean.
The River flowing from The Mountain.
Photo: Jordan River

My role model is a river rippling over rapids, plunging over waterfalls, flowing into the sea of love and out into the ocean of happiness.


Well, what can I say? Jordan is special and so is his style of answering my questions. Thank you for this mulit-sensorial trip to New Zealand, Jordan.

Jordan has a lot of fans (his Fragrant Man page has an incredible 50 000 Likes on Facebook). Are you one of them?

About Olfactoria

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73 Responses to People In Perfumeland – Jordan River Of The Fragrant Man

  1. Lean S says:

    I recently came about his blog while looking for perfume giveaways. I read some of his posts and now I’m subscribed. I didn’t know he was so handsome!

  2. cookie queen says:

    The house is silent. My kids are still asleep. Santa filled stockings but they are slumbering on. The end of an era. I am about to get up to make the ton of Christmas hummous that is part of our tradition. Jordan I wish you could share it with us. One day I will smell your Oud stash! This interview has made my Christmas. Thanks so much. A 1001 bussis for you. xxx

    • Olfactoria says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Val!
      A big hug back to you! xoxo

      • Jordan River says:

        Hummus Queen – A Thousand Kisses to you! You know that that is Luther Vandross song? I featured a couple of versions of this happy happy song in the ‘A Mary Christmas’ post. The song is called Never Too Much. The lyric is “A thousand kisses from you is never too much, all my love…”.

  3. Lady Jane Grey says:

    What a lovely and sophisticated man ! Very inspiring too. I’m off to search the Oud oils and the book he mentions (oooh, those fabulous travel flacons…), and then I’ll cook some bok choy !

    • Olfactoria says:

      Must cook Bok Choy soon as well (I want translucent skin! 🙂 ).
      The book sounds very interesting, in fact many things Jordan says or does are very interesting…

    • Jordan River says:

      Lady Jane Grey, we first met here in this sumptuous Salon of Scent and Beauty. Those fabulous travel flacons are available but only periodically from Zahras but it is the most clunky website; Byzantine without any glamour. They also have amazing stock. You have to download each catalogue as a PDF to browse.
      So, clunky but reliable to deal with commercially. I am a customer. They are very good at email responses That can take several days but they do reply. I have had the note nightmare though where their listed notes were completely incorrect.

      A word to the wise; they stock accurate iterations of Western brands. Maybe start with the Surrati catalogue and then trawl through Swiss Arabian. Allow an hour or so of patience for this investigative task!

      Happy Cooking.

  4. dgambas says:

    I’m very, very happy to see Jordan in People In Perfumeland. Merry Christmas!

  5. Heya Jordan,
    Nice interview.
    I loved Shantaram too, while reading it people would stop me and ask where I was up to and we would chat about the magic imagery and heart stopping adventures the protagonist gets up to.
    You are great. Is that really the view from your office. I am officially jealous, but thrilled for you too.
    Blooming spectacularly thanks,
    Portia xx

  6. Tarleisio says:

    An extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary man. Thank you so much – and Merry Christmas, too!

  7. Sandra says:

    Wonderful interview. I love the views he has of the ocean.

  8. Walter Prötzel says:

    Fantastic interview.
    Much to learn from the experiences of Jordan River. Remarkable!!! 1000 thanks for sharing with us.
    I am looking to try the Ensar Oud Parfums Sampler in a short time.

  9. Tara says:

    Wow, Jordan really is special, as well as very stylish and cultured. He really seems to live life well.

    I really appreciated him sharing the difficult journey his partner went through and telling us his favourite things in life. I have wondered about Shantaram for a while so I should take the plunge now. Lovely pics too.

    What a treat on Christmas Day.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Tara!
      You say it in a nutshell: he knows how to live life well and that is truly admirable.

    • Jordan River says:

      Ah Tara. We first meet here on the Indefensible Amounts of Beauty post. How is your collection? Any remaining tendrils of guilt can be immediately dispatched if you view your collection as an art collection, curated by your good self. It was a treat for me too that this came out on Christmas Day. Plunge your coffee (unless you have a more sophisticated method) and dive into Shantarum. The picture inclusion was inspired by Birgit’s Beauty Spot posts which I have found so inspiring as mentioned in the interview. Those Beauty Post lift me up wherever I may be; like good news in a world where bad news is disseminated daily. Your Avatar is très chic; I see it often and everywhere I like to be.

  10. Sabine says:

    What a lovely man.
    I am just right now looking for places to stay in the Krabi area and this villa looks fantastic. Too big for two…but still. It seems that the Fragrant Man is another blog I need to follow more in 2013.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Glad I could introduce you, Sabine!

    • Jordan River says:

      Swadeekrup Sabine. Ha, that villa is perfect for a couple. The other rooms can then be co-opted for individual creative space. Note that there are no tourist faculties (also known as traps) on the island so you are splendidly isolated if that is your preference. You cannot go shopping which I found to be a relief.

      Your meals arrive on the veranda at the appropriate times and are cooked by the locals. That is my favourite part; sitting on the verandah and watching trays of food arrive up the outside staircase. And then there is the pool…

      To actually get there you need to be somewhat intrepid as the only access is by longtail boat and only during the day.

      I should also say that I know the owner of the villa. My Australian IP lawyer was having a mid-life crisis. This led him to search for an island on the Andaman Sea via Google Maps. Remarkably he found this spot and was then able to actually find it in real life and build there. Guest faculties include power sockets from most nations so that you can charge your phone and other devices should you forget to buy a local charging cord.

      Happy and Safe Travelling to you and your partner.

      • Sabine says:

        Oh Jordan, I didn’t read your comment till now. We have now booked a bungalow around the corner on the headland, Banyan Bay, because the villa really looked a bit too big for the two of us. But I will have a look at it while we’re there. It looks like a perfect place to stay with some friends. But if you happen to be around on Koh Jum in late Feb, let me know. It’ll be lovely to meet you.

  11. Jordan River says:

    Reblogged this on The Fragrant Man and commented:
    I only give one interview a year…

  12. Nafia says:

    Great interview Jordan! The spot you write from each day looks like heaven on earth, I’ve added it to my ‘Places to visit before I die’ list (God, that sounds slightly morbid when I write it out haha)

    Great interview and blog Birgit 🙂

    Nafia x

  13. leecleland says:

    One of the most interesting and individual interviews I’ve read. But what else to expect from you Jordan!

  14. hajusuuri says:

    Shy lurker = Jordan River does not compute! The pictures are lovely and the interview provided more insight into the man himself. Perhaps there should be a link to “Getting to Know You”.

    Is there a veiled reference to Jordan being a musician as well? Piano? Violin?


    Birgit, I’ve enjoyed your People in Perfumeland series!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Shy lurker is how he characterized himself. I agree shy is not how he comes over. 😉

      The series is not over, hajusuuri, I have a few more interesting interviews up my sleeve for 2014. 🙂

      • hajusuuri says:

        Eeek, didn’t mean to imply it’s the end of the series and I certainly look forward to meeting more perfume personalities virtually :-).

        I also should have added that one of my dreams (ha, nothing to do with Jordan) is to spend Christmas in Austria.

        Be well and a happy New Year to you!

  15. annamadeit says:

    Great interview.. I was particularly moved by the part about his partner’s family being scattered for so many years, and then at least partially re-united. Fate is a fickle mistress… The part about the carafe of coffee made me giggle – it sounded awfully similar to my own morning routine. And the gardens… a life lived well, indeed.

    • Olfactoria says:

      A beautiful story, I’m happy Jordan shared it with us.
      Glad you enjoyed the post, Annamadeit.

    • Jordan River says:

      Yes I am still moved by that too. When life does one of those unpleasant twists that story puts my own life into perspective and I can then handle anything. We say ‘handle the jandal’ in reference to the slaps of life as jandals are also used as a slapping device for naughty kids and adults. Green Green Gardens to you Anna of the Green Gardens.

  16. Ines says:

    It was lovely to see Jordan featured here Birgit.
    And now I can honestly say I really hate him. I mean, just look at where he writes daily?! 😉

    I really need to visit NZ, I’ve known that for some time (well, since LoTR came out at least). It must be a wonderful country, just look at what kind of nice people hail from there. 🙂
    Must try that bok choy as well, translucent skin sound good.

    • Olfactoria says:

      We are agreed, Ines! Let’s go there together, go swimming at Jordan’s beach and eat lots of Bok Choy!

      • Jordan River says:

        I will email you some recipes. It is easy to undercook and therefore hard to eat. It is easy to overcook and be unpleasant to eat. But just right: ah. I will sent the recipe directly to Dr O and yours to you Ines.

        I look forward to hosting you all when the moon is blue or even an everynight silver.

    • Jordan River says:

      Ines!, I spent 20 minutes trawling Fragrantica, Basenotes and other scented sites to find this unheard of LoTR. Finally it clicked. Over here, in many backyards today you find a spot like this built for children.

  17. Suzanne says:

    My first thought was similar to hajusuuri’s: Jordan a shy lurker??! He’s so passionate that it’s hard to imagine him every being shy – and his interview wonderfully allows us to see the many directions his passion extends. His photos are gorgeous: loved seeing where he likes to travel, where he sits on the beach to write. And it was especially moving to learn about his partner. Here’s wishing Jordan a great 2014!

  18. Maggie M. says:

    Jordan is a true citizen of the world and I love how he strives to include different cultural viewpoints on his blog. From his exotic coffee cup and friend’s garden to his “office” with a view and dripping oud, it’s clear Jordan appreciates beauty from all corners. And we’re the lucky benefactors of his engaging communiques!

  19. Vanessa says:

    I would never have described Jordan as shy either – he seems rather to be very much in the air of the blogosphere these days – as befits a plane who landed on you, B!

    There is much to savour in this packed interview, not least the photos of Jordan’s amazing location and travel haunts, but I have to say my favourite bit of all was learning the term – possibly of J’s own coinage – ‘the whole plunge’. 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      Much to savour here indeed. I overlooked that phrase, thanks for bringing it to my attention, one can count on you for any linguistic tidbits of interest, V!

      • Jordan River says:

        Hmm, airport does seem a strange compliment in retrospect. I should have said a very svelte airport or runway. Definitely I meant that this Perfume Portal was a launching pad.

        I must try the coffee method that Ines and Undina use. We call the coffee mentioned above ‘Plunger Coffee’ due to the method of expressing the caffeine through a sieve within the lid. Very home style but of course it pales in comparison to espresso machine coffee.

  20. Undina says:

    With others I smiled at the “shy” part but probably you know better since he was your blog’s lurker 🙂
    For a while I couldn’t figure out what bothered me in the work outfit list: “suit, shirt, tie and belt”. Now I know: either “belt” is extra or “socks” are missing 😉

    • Jordan River says:

      Two years reading this site without a comment says ‘shy’ to me but not in real life. Mind you Perfumeland is real life too!

      Socks; well as far as I know there are no socks to match that brand which is why I did not mention them. Of course down here we rarely wear socks except in winter; jandals and sandals are acceptable work attire here with a suit.

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  23. What can we say? Style guru and perfume lover! Very much enjoyed reading this profile of Jordan, so many interesting things to look up, though I’m not sure I’m going to forgive him for making us all feel jealous. Beautiful photographs by the way.

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