Singular Scents – Review: Demeter The Library of Fragrance

By Tara

Earlier this year, my fabulous friend Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume was quite rightly nominated for a Jasmine Award by The Fragrance Foundation.

She was shortlisted in the Blogger category for her fantastic post “Men and (Wet) Sheds: dipping into The Library of Fragrance in a focus group down the pub”. This covered a lively discussion about a selection of Demeter fragrances among Vanessa’s “civilian” friends. It’s highly entertaining and a must-read.



Here is my rather more prosaic take on some of the same scents.


Cloud_to_ground_lightning_strikes_south-west_of_Wagga_Wagga (1)

This fragrance first of all conjures up the slightly metallic, electrified atmosphere just before the storm breaks, as well as a touch of ozone. Then as the heavens open, we get petrichor – that wonderful musty, earthy smell you encounter when rain first drenches the hot, dusty ground.

Thunderstorm is very much an aroma I recognise from a summer downpour in the city. Amazingly realistic, if not something I’d actually want to wear as a personal fragrance.

Sex on the Beach


I love the fact that Vanessa thought this captured the aroma of people having sex on a beach rather than the far less titillating tropical cocktail it’s actually named after.

I can appreciate her disappointment. Sex on the Beach is a facile fruity perfume which smells sweet and artificial. It’s largely strawberry flavoured syrup without any hint of booze whatsoever. Rather more cordial than cocktail.

Fresh Ginger

Wooden spoon with grated ginger, ginger root against a wooden board

Whoa! Yes, this is ginger all right. A bright opening which is a cross between the grated root and ginger biscuits, plus a dash of lemon.

Sadly it fades extremely quickly and you’re left with a barely there, gently spicy, skin scent.



Here comes the rain! Well, actually here comes the calone.

Rain basically smells of watery melon pulp. This accord often indicates the presence of calone; an aromachemical used in many aquatic perfumes such as L’Eau d’Issey.

It’s not my idea of a pleasant aroma but it gets a bit better as it becomes a little earthy in the dry down. It’s very light and not a patch on Thunderstorm.



I think Demeter are at their best when they capture novel aromas. As we all know, amber is a common fragrance accord and so this is rather uninspiring. It’s a vanillic amber with a rather unpleasant medicinal tinge in the opening stage.

For me, Amber was the least interesting of the bunch. However the fact that it is extremely light may make it good for layering with some of the others.

Orange Blossom


Like Amber, we are used to orange blossom perfumes. This one is sweet. sunny and easy to wear. It’s rather syrupy but it isn’t the shrill, soapy scent I expected it to be.

Overall, it’s not half bad for an inexpensive orange blossom fragrance with better lasting power than most of the others.

Fig Leaf


This is a fig cologne with surprising depth; refreshing, fruity and green.

It’s the one out of these seven that feels most like a “proper perfume”. Fig lovers may wish to check it out as a potential cheap thrill.

Fig Leaf could make a good casual option on warm weekends and days when you’re less bothered about longevity and complexity.

I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed testing out these Demeter fragrances. No doubt this was in large part because of the high novelty factor of the more abstract scents.

Generally, they don’t last long but treat them as fun, fleeting colognes and you need not be disappointed, especially considering the price-point. The quirky ones can also be great conversation starters, as Vanessa’s post proves.

Have you tried anything from The Fragrance Library? Please tell me your experience in the comments.


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22 Responses to Singular Scents – Review: Demeter The Library of Fragrance

  1. Sabine says:

    I’ve tried a few when they were still available at Roullier White. I liked Thunderstorm but was unimpressed with Sun and Snow. Using them for layering seems like a good idea, but now that they are stocked at Boots I have actually trouble finding them. And it’s a pity that the weirder sounding ones are not available in the UK.

    • Tara says:

      I bet they are only in the largest Boots stores and I’m not surprised they aren’t stocking the weirder ones. Shame about Sun and Snow but I think Thunderstorm would be pretty hard to beat. I reckon layering is the way to go.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Really enjoyed reading your reviews of these, Tara – and it was nice to hear the word ‘petrichor’ given an outing, even a rainy one. 🙂 And I do agree that some of these perfumes are good enough to be a ‘potential cheap thrill’ like the fig or orange ones, while others have considerable entertainment value! My ‘respondents’ also thought some of the line might make good room scents or work better in a layering combo. I have additionally tried Snow and Fireside and a few others, and would like to continue my exploration of what is a massive range. Snow was indeed like burying your face in the stuff, as I recall. Thanks very much for the shout out too!

  3. cookie queen says:

    I wouldn´t mind giving these a sniff – just out of interest. I cannot possibly imagine, not even for a moment that they would be something to put on my skin. Nozzle sniffing and paper would more than cover it. Snow sounds worth a go. Hugs. xxxxx

    • Tara says:

      They are a lot of fun to try out and compare to whatever it is they’re supposed to smell like. Definitely more fun with friends as V proved.
      Snow sound intriguing.

  4. Asali says:

    I can’t honestly say that Demeter was ever something that caught my interest, but it was a fun read, and I can certainly imagine it being fun to test them with others like Vanessa did. I remember smelling ‘Dirt’ which smelled like dirt, only quite synthetic. They are definitely more of a novelty item than perfumes to me, like CC, I could not imagine wearing any of them, but if they were available to sniff here I would certainly give them a go.

    • Tara says:

      I have to admit, I had quite a lot of fun testing them on my own but it would be better with pals. It is definitely the novelty factor which is appealing. I probably wouldn’t purchase one either (unless Paperback is good) but I wonder how you’d like Fig Leaf.
      I remember when Dirt was quite the “It” frag after a couple of supermodels said they wore it.

  5. I’ve tried only a few from Demeter and it would be interesting to try some more out of curiosity. Now I’m craving to try Rain and Thunderstorm. I can’t remember the last time when I smelled the real rain and the thunderstorm… I’m missing them.

    • Tara says:

      Come to the UK!
      Seriously though, Sandra also told me she fancied Thunderstorm because she experienced them a lot growing up and misses them in Vienna. Rain is less realistic, to me anyway.

  6. stina says:

    I’ve tried about a dozen Demeters in the past year, and the two I liked the most were Thunderstorm and Gingerale. If Thunderstorm had better tenacity I’d wear it fairly often, I like it that much. And I’m planning on buying a 2-oz bottle of Gingerale; it’s completely true to the beverage, right down to the carbonation/fizziness in the top notes, and it’s a fun (and unusual) summer cologne!

    I tried Dirt and thought it smelled like raw carrot peel, not actual dirt. A couple of the tobacco scents were pretty good, but whatever you do, avoid Pizza Crust; “nasty” doesn’t begin to do that one justice. 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for adding your experience of Demeter, stina. I think their ideal use is as fun and unusual summer colognes. I hope you enjoy your bottle of Gingerale. I do fancy Gin & Tonic. With the small bottles you can just chuck in your bag and keep re-applying.

      Dirt does not sound appealing from what you say. I had no desire to try Pizza Crust, but even less now!

  7. Melissa Pham says:

    I haven’t tried these but I would have chosen Rain anyway, I love rain and its effect. But your description about it sure is interesting: “watery melon pulp”. Thanks for the review!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for reading Melissa. Rain was a disappointment to me because I don’t care for that melony calone aroma but maybe you’d have better luck. Like I say, the drydown is better. I guess the smell of rain is a tricky one to capture.

  8. Undina says:

    I think that Demeter’s perfumes are a great fun – to play, sniff and discuss in a group of friends (you wouldn’t really want to go spritzing around your cherished vintage Vol de Nuit or beloved Ormonde Woman, right?) or to add some inoffensive hint of scent to your linens but it’s not something to actually put on your skin (as in “to wear” – I don’t think they’ll harm you, don’t get me wrong).

    • Tara says:

      Yes, exactly. I think they are much more likely to be purchased by “civilians” 🙂
      I missed Nick Gilbert going through the Library at Perfume Lovers London. I bet they had a lot of fun with them

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