Scent Samples: Love & Loss





My fragrance collection had a bit of a rough ride last year. I packed up my house & put everything in storage in May while I travelled overseas for 7 weeks, and then it stayed in storage while I found another place to live. It wasn’t until September 2016 when I got access to everything again. The full bottles and decants were fine, but there was substantial loss from my samples. This varied from leakage & evaporation, to label text disappearing.

Scent Samples: Love & Loss

Moral number one of this is: samples are intended to be used. They aren’t there for you to build a mini-Osmothèque style fragrance library, the vials aren’t that robust at the best of times. Use them, make notes, talk about them, and if you fall in love… buy the bottle.

So, I’ve sorted my samples, laid them out, & thrown out the empties. The ones which have leaked but still have juice left in the vial have been put aside for testing. So today I grabbed two as I walked out the door to give them a run through. These are Fueguia 1833 – Don Giovanni, and Castillos.

And – do you know what? I looked up Fueguia 1833’s current catalogue, and these two aren’t listed. Some time back I purchased full sample sets of Destinos and Special Projects, of which Castillos and Don Giovanni and were included as at March 2016. Now in March 2017, a year later, they’re no longer available – which leads us to moral number two: things change. What was available 6 months or 12 months ago, may be discontinued and therefore so much more difficult to access. And if you fall in love, you’re screwed.

So what do I do with these two samples? Do I treasure them,put them in tightly packed glass vials or on the shelf? I think we need to go back to moral number one: samples are intended to be used.

Here’s what I think of both:


Castillos – Destinos collection

Notes: Tuberose, Jasmine, Mate.
This is weird. The mate isn’t dried powdered green tea, it’s fresh and floral and slightly rotten, with the tuberose and jasmine rounding out the overall indole. It is old flowers in a jungle – damp, wet and lush but with that meaty heaviness which you can find in tropical plants. Would I wear it again? Maybe. It’s dried down to have a woody background note and what I think is a touch of ylang ylang.


Don Giovanni – Special Projects collection.

Notes: Tuberose, Civet, Jasmine
Interesting that I’ve picked up another fragrance with tuberose and jasmine in it today, and once again they are pretty sexy and indolic. The civet seems to me to be refined, its funky but without being feral and I think there’s a lemon note in there smoothing things over. Think: a woman who’s been with her lover all day, but has freshened up and got dressed to go out to a movie premier. She’s looking elegant but still has a slinkiness & smell of dangerous liaisons about her. Rawwwwrrrrr.

Have you ever mourned the loss of any fragrances from your collection?

Have a wonderful week!

Tina G xx

Ultramarine Blue by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz for DSH Perfumes 2015




Hey All,

A while ago when I got the DSH Chroma Sample Set I grabbed every dabber out and had a quick sniff. It is fun finding the instant likes, loves and loathes. I will admit that Ultramarine Blue jumped into the WTF category. It was so interesting, unusual and confronting. No, I’m not sure why because it really smells like the beachside in summer but with an undercurrent of menace. Anyway I filed it away under Must Revisit and thought you might like to come along on the ride with me today to see if it lives up to its

Ultramarine Blue by DSH Perfumes 2015

Ultramarine Blue by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Chamomile, cassis, cumin, ozonic notes, musk, sea notes, orris root, petitgrain, sandalwood, violet woodsorrel

OK, so I decanted the whole vial into a spritz and did the whole 18 blasts on the back of my hand and forearm. WHOA!! No turning back now.

Salty citrus, briny seas, a herbal greenness that feels both freshly chopped and mulched. The cassis is green and biting, like pulling ivy off the wood fence and scrunching it up in the summer after swimming in the pool. There’s nothing easy about Ultramarine Blue. I find it disturbing and challenging. Imagine oversalting cucumber, add a little under the boardwalk bilge-e-ness, tear some rose leaves and dig in a super heated grass mulch pile. Then you can smell exactly what my nose is giving me from Ultramarine Blue.


Doesn’t sound appealing does it? Well, while it’s not exactly my fragrant cup of tea I do love the way it moves through the pieces of the story. Dawn has a deft way with ingredients that means even though it’s not a spritz & go frag it is compelling and keeps drawing my nose back to my hand.

After an hour or so Ultramarine Blue becomes driftwood. it’s absolutely beautiful. Calm, tranquil and an unruffled seaside escapade in the glorious sunshine.

DSH Perfumes has loads of sizes and variants of Ultramarine Blue starting at $6

Want something unusual, interesting, refreshing and ultimately peaceful? I think you might like to try Ultramarine Blue.
Is there an aquatic that you love?
Portia xx

NEW!! Suzanne R Banks: Banks Botanicals Fragrance Line


Post by Portia 


Woo Hoo Crew!

One of the things I really love in life is watching friends realise their dreams. Over the last couple of years I have watched Suzanne have an idea to write a book about using scent to promote growth and healing in your life and release a set of fragrances based the chapters of the book. I’ve put a link to the book down the bottom but this week I went to Suzanne’s house to sniff the finished products of her labours. SEE, dreams do come true. It’s amazing to have watched this journey unfold, it’s totally been the old trope of 1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration, and to see Suzanne smooth the way over & around setbacks, challenges and obstacles has been inspiring.

Banks Botanicals Fragrant Oils 2016 #1

What’s more I really loved a few of the scents and liked the rest. Only one of them totally didn’t work on my skin. That’s an amazing strike rate. They are all fragrant oils in roller ball bottles so they can be sent all over the world! Also, they’re the perfect purse popping size and excellent for travel. Let’s meet them then.

Banks Botanicals Fragrant Oils 2016 #2

Banks Botanicals Fragrant Oils 2016 #5


Banks Botanicals Fragrance Line

These are a hand blended botanical fragrance range and Suzanne has created each one with the intent to help you attain specific feelings and connections with your world. Historic and current knowledge combined to help lift your spirits and create a fragrant aura for your particular need. They’ve all been designed as stand alone scents but can be combined for more complex situations.

Banks Botanicals Fragrant Oils 2016 #6

Being botanical fragrances it’s a maximum of 3 hours wear time so the rollerballs are great for top ups throughout the day, or changing it up was each one does its job.

Banks Botanicals: 1: Double Happiness

Fizzy and refreshing citrus, mint and rose geranium combine over a soft focus patchouli base to give a joyous mood cleanse that ends with a soft, comforting cuddle.

Banks Botanicals: 2: Oneness

This is the earth mother , Empress. Humus rich garden beds and dark woods at dusk created through Australian sandalwood, cyprus, orange and spikenard. So Australian.

Banks Botanicals Fragrant Oils 2016 #8

Banks Botanicals: 3: Harmony

My favourite of them all. Harmony is a plush woodsy rose surrounded by green and balmy notes created through Indian rosewood, Virginian cedar, mandarine, sage & myrrh.

Banks Botanicals: 4: Bliss

A medicinal, spicy, fruit rose with all the thorns and twigs over patchouli with a stunning burst of ylang-ylang creating a creamy heart that is inspiring and surprising. Rose otto & rose absolute in abundance.

Banks Botanicals: 5: Fulfilment

Another one I really enjoyed. Petigrain, palmarosa, Virginian cedar, black pepper and cinnamon combine to give the impression of fresh cut capsicum, sunny days and salads. A spicy, compelling fragrance.

Banks Botanicals Fragrant Oils 2016 #3

Banks Botanicals: 6: Flow

Brush away the cobwebs with a sharp herbal tea that reminds me of the smell of steam from ironing. Roman chamomile, citruses, vetiver, lavandin, marjoram and patchouli will cleanse your mind in readiness for creative action.

Banks Botanicals: 7: Positivity

Basil is supreme in positivity with lemongrass and vetiver bolstering its green, sappy, delicious freshness, everything else is merely backing. Positivity smells like happily gardening on a cool sunny day with no time restrictions.

Banks Botanicals: 8: Purity

Peru balsam, pink grapefruit, lemongrass, juniper & thyme create a sweet resinous fragrance that is as comforting as a cough drop and as healing. A perfect negative energy purge, or wear it as a forcefield.

Banks Botanicals Fragrant Oils 2016 #4

Banks Botanicals: 9: Immortality

I have already used up my sample of this. Opening with a dusty, earthy incense moving through summer fruit punch and long sunlit days. Immortality combines neroli, bergamot, frankincense, everlasting daisy and clove.

Banks Botanicals: 10: Strength

An uplifting, bright, sensual orange blossom scent. Orange blossom, lavender, Indian sandalwood, jasmine and cardamom meld to create a simple and arresting fragrance that will help you be fully present.

Banks Botanicals Fragrant Oils 2016 #7

Suzanne R Banks Blog
Suzanne R Banks Aromatherapy
Suzanne R Banks FaceBook

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Rubis Rosé by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz for DSH Perfumes 2014




Hey Fumies,

This week is Use My Samples & Decants Week. You’ll be reading a bunch of first time experiences of fragrances that have been here in vials or decants and sat unworn so far. Yes, if it’s a 1ml vial I will pour the whole thing on and wear it for a day. Obviously they have been sniffed before and often dabbed but got put in the Must Further Investigate pile and then left. So hopefully I will get to use at least 7, hopefully more.

Rubis Rosé by DSH Perfumes 2014

Rubis Rosé by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Ambergris, black tea, Bulgarian rose, rose, olibanum, rose oil, oakmoss, green tea, guaiac wood, green leaves, myrrh, neroli, orris, pink pepper, raspberry, fruity notes, tea rose

Rubis Rosé opens dry, sweet and fruity. It’s an unusual opening that brings to mind rose petals in black tea with a lemon slice. The fruit isn’t quite lemon though, a bit less antiseptic and friendlier. Maybe more a Rosé wine, a dryer, less fizzy one, lightly chilled.

If you like the tea scent of roses in your garden then this will definitely be a winner. It’s as subtle and close as garden roses but every now and then I get a luscious, rich, fruity, red rose waft that’s just overblown at dawn and I’ve come across it as all dew has dissipated. Considering the extensive note list Rubis Rosé is surprisingly simple at first sniff. It ages greener and dryer, becoming more woody and leafy. The teas become more prominent too. Is this a rose chypre? is a question I have asked myself more than once on the journey.



Personally I have a plethora of rose scents here and the ones I reach for most are the heavier, denser and more swampy or oudh-ish like Midnight Oud by JHaG, original Agent Provocateur, Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations or Ballets Rouges by Olympic Orchids. If these babies scare the shit out of you then Rubis Rosé could be a perfect rose for you.

Further reading: Colognoisseur and EauMG
DSH Perfumes has samples from $6

How do you like your roses? Radiant or swampy?
Portia xx

Seeker by Liz Cook for One Seed




Hello Indie Perfumery Lovers,

A while ago Liz sent me this sample to try, which I promptly lost and it has only now resurfaced in my New Year Cleanup. PHEW! So finally I get to tell you about it.

Seeker by Liz Cook for One Seed

One Seed

One Seed gives these featured accords:
Coriander, coconut, vanilla, roasted basmati rice, oakmoss, ambrette seed
Oganic sugar cane ethanol, 100% natural fragrance (natural and organic plant extracts), purified water

Food. My instant correlation in the opening was food. Ice cream in fact. One minute later you can smell the rice and coconut, it’s like a Penang Curry. Deliciously fragrant and my mouth is watering like I’m really going to get my favourite Thai dish. HA! I have a huge happy smile on my face and wonderful memories of going to our fave Thai restaurant in Gordon that looks like nothing, very simple. The food though is abundant, consistently excellent and cheap as chips. The staff are all so friendly and we drive nearly an hour to eat there nowadays. We always get a second order when we are there now to bring home as dinner in two nights time. Yes, we are quite in thrall and have had years of dinners there with so many friends, often just Jin and I will go alone.


From One SeedSeeker is a youthful scent created for the young and the young at heart. It is for endless adventures, for seeking truth in all things. Featuring fresh greens and delicate mossy notes entwined with milky coconut, vanilla and the scent of salt on damp skin.

So Seeker is an incredibly happy fragrance for me, the memories flowed for hours. Even as it softened to dry down Seeker still smells like happy memories but they turn more Indian and religious as the fragrance seems to become smokier and darker, more filled with humanity and all the way to the end rice steam. The musk mallow does excellent work as a fleshy backdrop, this frag rocks. You’ll never pick that it’s a natural.

One Seed has $85/30ml EdP
One Seed
has a fabulous Sample Set. All 7 fragrances x 2.5ml atomisers

Is there a foody smell you love or wish was part of a fragrance?
Portia xx

Fort & Manlé Parfum: New Australian Indie Perfumers




Hey Hey APJ,

Here is a special new venture that will have the Indie lovers very excited. Two handsome young men from Australia have been working hard to create a range of electrifying fragrances. Now, if you are only a fan of the department store smooth, flawless perfection or fruit-choulis then these babies will be way too much for your sensitive tastes. Here we have flamboyant scents that will astound, excite and challenge your perception of perfumery. Scott and I tried 5 from the range and I came away with two very clear favourites.

Fort & Manlé Parfum

OK, so the men are from Melbourne. Known as the style and food capital of Australia, it’s always been characterised as the most cosmopolitan, adventurous, art and culture forward city we have. An oasis of multiculturalism in a predominantly white Australia. While Sydney was always viewed as the shallow but shiny party/business/waterfront town Melbourne was, and is, a slice of European grandeur.

You can see by their 50ml premium bottle range that these guys are serious. They are choosing to stand apart in a world getting more homogenised daily. Yes there are also much simpler 30ml bottles for the fans of modern clean lines too. The wooden lids are a very nice touch across the range.

So how do they smell? Well, the site offers no note list so I can’t check myself on what the ingredients are but here are what Scott & I smelled when we wee wearing them.

Amber Absolutely by Fort & Manlé Parfum

Initially Scott and I were smelling honeyed, caramel amber. Right from the start it is crunchy, chewy and delicious. If you like amber with a hefty hit of fur and bed head backed by a fizzy sherbet giving lift, fun and interest then you’ll love Amber Absolutely. I enjoyed it immensely and Scott wanted to keep the sample (but nope). I am wearing it right now in the summer heat and it’s holding up magnificently. Can’t wait to give it a whirl in cooler weather too.

Confessions of a Garden Gnome by Fort & Manlé Parfum

Winning the prize as the best frag name of 2016 Confessions of a Garden Gnome is green with some bells and whistles added for good measure. We loved the Citrus, grass, galbanum rich opening and the way the fragrance morphed into some fancy cool cocktail through the heart warming to what smelled to us like tobacco and hay with maybe a smudge of amber and incense through the base. As you know I’m guessing and we will all have a hearty laugh when we find out the real ingredients. The gear changes in Confessions of a Garden Gnome are very Indie, never disjointed per se but surprising and sudden jolts of new scent information kept my nose attuned and interested all the way to dry down. It feels like the seasons are changing and that’s what the garden gnome must experience, fabulous.

Here’s a sneaky peek at the two men behind Fort & Manlé Parfum

You should definitely try their stuff.
Go visit Fort & Manlé Parfum

Are you an Indie Frag lover? Which would you choose?
Portia xx


Karavanserai by Jocelyn Fullerton for Cult of Scent 2015 + DISCOUNT CODE




Hey there Indie Frag Lovers,

My mate Jocelyn is the perfumer at Cult of Scent. She is a fast talking, fun and passionate perfumer whose work is definitely Indie and really, really good. She was lauded by no less than Luca Turin in 2015 and we have written about others in the range here on APJ before. Here are links to those: Fire Amber Baby, Sweet Libertine, Something Beautiful and Hedonist.

So it was with real sadness that I read of the discontinuation of one of her best sellers Karavanserai……

From Jocelyn (edited): Just a heads-up folks. I am discontinuing Karavanserai. There is about 200mL left, then that’s it. I love it, but the Angelica root & Cedrat oils are hard to get good reliable stocks of, so it’s time to let it go. 
If you’ve been wanting to buy this dry herbaceous citrus cologne, now is your chance. 
To sweeten the deal, I am extending the DISCOUNT CODE APJ10 till the end of this month. 

Karavanserai by Cult of Scent 2015

Karavanserai by Jocelyn Fullerton


Cult Of Scent gives these featured accords:
Cedrat, Vetiver, Angelica, Bulgarian rose otto, Frankincense, Cedarwood

So, how does Karavanserai smell? Imagine a cologne fragrance based around rose. I know, it’s simple but revolutionary. Well, it’s not merely rose. It’s mainly citrus with a lovely slightly salted dry grass that last and lasts. The rose seems to be more about the rosewood and sharp green rose flower than the usual fruity or honeyed variations of the theme.

Karavanserai is not a bit what I’d expect from something of that name. In my mind I expect a spicy frankincense blend full of hot wind and dry, straggly shrubbery. Maybe some camel or goat and the smell of horses and their tack. Interestingly the Persian word means the inn or stop where travellers could rest and recover from the day’s journey, not the caravan itself.


Lasting power is excellent with the first hour having big sillage that softens off considerably for the rest of the ride. By 5 hours I can still smell the remnants and they still have a woody citrus wash about them. Very, very nice.

Nevertheless it is gorgeous and I’ve used quite a lot of my 8ml from my VAGABONDS CHOICE Travel Set.

Don’t forget the DISCOUNT CODE: APJ10 it works on the whole site till the end of January.

What would you expect to be the notes for something called Karavanserai?
Portia xx