Taif Roses by Montale 2007

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Portia

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Hi there Rose Lovers,

I have had a 5ml decant here for ages of Taif Roses. It’s about half empty now and I worried that it would never get a showing on the blog. So many people deride Montale as a house for their unlimited releases of virtually the same faux oud scents again and again. It’s a fair criticism but if you ever take the time to look into a few of their non-oud releases you may be pleasantly surprised. Some of them are really lovely, and I like that Montale has kept their product affordable in this age of aspirational pricing.

I think it was someone on FaceBook’s Aussie Fragrance Network that reminded me recently of Taif Roses. Thanks to that person I grabbed it out again today.

Taif Roses by Montale 2007

Taif Roses Montale FragranticaFragrantica

While looking for a note list everywhere I looked gave only rose. The Taif rose is special, while looking for information I found a link on BaseNotes that took me to this.

From Armco: No one is certain how the 30-petal damask rose first came to Taif. The impulse for its cultivation, however, assuredly lay in Taif’s proximity to Makkah (Ed: Mecca). That the rose of Taif is virtually identical to the famous Bulgarian “kazanlik” strain suggeststhat Taif’s roses may have been transplanted from the Balkans by the Ottoman Turks, who occupied that area from the mid-14th century and the Hijaz from the 16th century. However, the kazanlik rose—its Turkish name means “suitable for the [distiller’s] kettle”—has its own roots in the Persian rose plantations around Shiraz and Kashan, which in turn supplied fields in Syria. A legend among the growers of al-Hada says that the flower originally came from India.

Taif Roses is a woody, green leaves and snap of fresh cut stems rose. Floral petals of rose, intoxicatingly intense are surrounded by the bushes themselves and the dry, cool air of the early morning picking in the spring sunlight. often compared in my reading to Sa Majesty la Rose by Serge Lutens but without the honey to sweeten it, and far less of the spicy clove.

Taif Roses Montale

Montale

Longevity is exceptional, in the Montale way and sillage is very good too. A little goes a long way but I like to really douse myself and sit among the rosey fog.

Further reading: Scent for Thought and BOTO
Feeling Sexy Australia has $145/100ml

How do you like your roses? Green, jammy, spicy or otherwise?
Portia xx

Ainslie’s Pitti 2016 Photo Essay

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hi Fragrant Friends,

I popped over to Florence, Italy (Firenze as the locals call it) for Pitti Fragranze in September. The fair showcases the best in Niche perfumery, a whopping 270 brands exhibited this year! If you times that by how many fragrances in each collection, you’ll start to understand how much brain/nose cramming was done over the 3 days – I hope to share some of the magic so you feel you were there too!

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Ainslie’s Pitti 2016 Photo Essay

I saw a big sign in front of an almost rundown building, Stazione Leopalda announcing the event. The entrance served as an area where people could relax, interview and of course, being Italy, smoke! The interior was rustic and industrial but with loads and loads of shiny new stalls set up and numbers and flowers hanging from the ceiling. My Pitti app let me know the theme was Numbers and Flowers – an art show running simultaneously expressing connections of numbers and flowers – the right numerical proportions can create palpable sensory experiences.

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Die!! I WAS IN NICHE HEAVEN!!

I’d never been to Pitti before, so, full of excitement I began my first day’s journey and spotted Andy Tauer straight away. He was launching his new fragrance Tuberose Flash so I had a chat, sniff and also of newbie, At Coeur Desert…oh and of course had a quick selfie with him.

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Turning, I saw the new Atelier des Ors – Iris Fauve and sprayed it, knowing I was more than likely spending $400 if I fell in love – it’s divine: smooth, sensual – I need to wear it some more but the iris was almost caramelised and velvet during the dry down.

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Then my phone rang and it was Mark Buxton (OMG!!) – he was running a tad late to meet me – I resniffed his fragrances and neighbouring Eccentric Molecules while I waited for our scheduled interview…which of course you’ll be reading here in the upcoming weeks. HILARIOUSUS chap!

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One stall along further, I ran into Nicolas Chabot who not only had his beautifully reinvigorated Le Galion collection, of which I got to smell a few, new to my nose and his novelty for Pitti, Sang Bleu. I had been anticipating experiencing his new brand, Aether for some time as it rolled out on instagram so he took me through the collection – all based on molecules and there were some really interesting scents I need to try on skin STAT. Overall I love the packaging and vibe which is quite dark and apothecary-like.

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Montale had The New Rose on sparking and catchy metallic display – they handed me a small sample, so a review will follow (eventually).

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Carner Barcelona was showing newbie, Costarela.

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Lovely warm, Neela Vermeire and I had a half hour chat through the range and she doused me in her newest fragrance Raheme, ready for my evening, a lovely osmanthus based floral number made by perfumer Bertrand Douchfour. I left from day 1 in a cloud of exotic goodness!

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More Pitti to follow in my next post(s)! Have you ever been?

Ainslie XX

Vetiver Des Sables by Montale 2004

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Post by Portia

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Hi there Fumies,

Mondale gets some love from perfumistas but they also get a whole bunch of snark. Mainly due to their seemingly endless range, the oh-so-Montale-synth-oudh and their bro-woods. I get it, an enormous range with only the merest difference between them and so many having the half life of uranium, they are an easy target. What sometimes gets lost in the sneer is that they also do some really yum frags. I own a few bottles Dew Musk, Sandflowers and Sweet Oriental Dream. There are a couple on my list too Red Vetyver and Intense Pepper. Today I found this sample in my box and thought it might be fun to give it a whirl, you’ll be getting a first impression ride with me

Vetiver Des Sables by Montale 2004

Vetiver Des Sables Montale FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Vetiver, mahogany, sea notes, Indian spices

Salty woods. An aquatic woodsy summertime dream. Vetiver Des Sables is a spicy and salted version of the 1990s aquatic. A grown up version that leans heavily on the buff middle management lunchtime gym locker room. The opening is so refreshing and seaside reminiscent, even having that weird greasy petrol and electrical sparks vibe from the outboard motors. I can see why this has been soundly panned because it is such a synthetic feeling blend but it isn’t bad to me.

Respritzing over the top I find the vetiver (grassy, dry reeds, everlasting daisy, salty woodsiness) is much more pronounced. It has some smoky qualities and the spices make a better showing (maybe cinnamon, ground black pepper, cardamom and/or paprika) giving Vetiver Des Sables more nuance and a warmth not experienced on the first spritz, it’s cool and fiery which is a wonderful combination. I also detect some orange zest and dark rum through the heart, but I could be fantasising.

Kath Sunset July 2016Donated by my BFF Kath

I’d like to smell how this is on a woman. I think it could be very Catherine Hepburn on the right person. It’s certainly interesting and better than I expected after reading some fairly unimpressed reviews. If you already hate Montale fragrances Vetiver Des Sables will probably not change your mind but if you are on the fence or like their work then you’ll find this one of their more easy wear fragrances, it’s aimed at the men and I can easily place it on almost any guy who likes to smell like the modern image of manliness.

Once the open and heart have calmed down Vetiver Des Sables becomes a fairly linear cool vetiver/woods scent, imagine how just picked up from the beach at night driftwood would smell if you could amp it up 10,000x. That’s basically it. Or, better yet, here’s a pic of my mate Michael, he looks EXACTLY how Vetiver Des Sables smells in dry down. Enjoy!

Vetiver Des Sables Montale MichaelMy mate Michael looking like some hot driftwood

Further reading: Scent For Thought and Scent Critic
First In Fragrance has €94/100ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/ml

Do you do Montale? Which ones have caught your fancy?
Portia xx

 

Fragrances Inspired by the Sub-Continent

Hiya All,

You may know that I am a complete India-phile. The whole area including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka call to me and though I have only visited India I wish to travel all six countries before I die.

Fragrances Sub Continent WikipediaPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Today I thought we could look at a few scents with names that link them to my fave journey destination…

Fragrances Inspired by the Sub-Continent

Souffle des Indes Comptoir Sud Pacifique FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Souffle des Indies by Comptour Sud Pacifique: Imagine if you took all the lovely, sweet smells and tastes of India and added them to a creamy milk/yoghurt drink. It’s called a Lassi and I adore them. Souffle des Indies by Comptour Sud Pacifique then is the smell of a Lassi with fruit. MMMMMMM. Sweet, creamy, slightly spicy and lovely pureed or finely chopped fruit mixed in, really it’s worth the ticket to India to taste the real thing.

Ambra del Nepal Il Profumi di Firenze FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Ambra del Nepal by Il Profumi di Firenze: A beautiful opener with that medicine cabinet, herbal and caramelised sugar hiding a Crème brûlée sweetness that washes out from under the bold opening and gives the most divine caramel coffee, vanilla cream, bitter chocolate, Ambra Del Nepal is a sweet and spicy Oriental Gourmand frag hit. Ambra Del Nepal is more gourmand that the usual amber that I’m attracted to but I love it.

Nepal Aoud Montale FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Nepal Aoud by Montale: OK so this has the tell tale Montale signature all over it. Their own blend that is their oud, some leathery smell and the plasticky saffron note that I like so much. I don’t see the Nepal correlation but Nepal Aoud is a nice soft, not too in your face, synthetic oud fragrance that melts into your skin and becomes a lovely rough amber then vanilla till drydown.

Mohur Extrait Neela Vermeire Creations FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Mohur Extrait by Neela Vermeire Creations: As if Mohur was not big, beautiful and outrageous enough. Neela and Bertrand got together, tweaked the ingredients a touch and amplified the whole fragrance by doing an extrait. OMG! It is seriously heart stoppingly beautiful. Everything you adored about Mohur but more intense and it lasts for days, on fabric for weeks. If there is a fragrance that has blown out the back of my head by sheer enormity and still retains its rose scented languid beauty, it’s Mohue Extrait.

 

Tibetan Mountain Temple Pacifica FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Tibetan Mountain Temple by Pacifica: Sweet and spicy citrus woods open up Tibetan Mountain Temple and a fun GingerbreadMan accord. There is a cool resinous feeling of incense that evolves through the wear and a delicious creaminess that collides perfectly with the clean patchouli. This is a warming fragrance that smells a LOT more expensive than it is.

 

The Taj Mahal’s Eternal Love Romea D`Ameor FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

The Taj Mahal’s Eternal Love by Romea D`Ameor: Here we have a wet, fruity opening that hints at the very early morning, sunrise at the Taj Mahal. I love this time of day there. If you ever get to Agra make sure your guide gets you to the Taj Mahal about 40 minutes before it opens. If you are the first i line you will see the Taj as few others have ever seen it, empty of humanity. An aquatic floral that ends in woods, very wearable.

So we have had a look at some fragrances inspired by the subcontinent, did I miss something you know or love? Tell me in the comments please.

Portia xx

 

 

 

Velvet Flowers by Montale

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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It’s time for a Spanish pilgrimage. We know Spain is famous for its pilgrimages…Camino De Santiago in particular. Here at APJ, we are pilgrams of perfume, so therefore I want to tell you about an awesome little perfumerie in San Sebastian, Spain, which just might be worth “pilgrimaging” to when next you are in Europe.

The store was first started as an English style barbershop and perfumery in 1908, and was named Casa Benegas. The founder D.Francisco Benegas and his wife Dona Justa Echeverria were extremely entrepreneurial, incorporating the latest trends from both the French and the English. It’s a lovely store, on a corner in Donostia, San Sebastian and actually HUGE once inside. Shelves surrounding from floor to ceiling FILLED with beautiful gleaming packages. San Sebastian was and still is full of glamour: artists, celebrities and royals have headed there for their summers, even before the perfumery opened. These”high profilers” made up the majority of Casa Benegas customers, right from the start.

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Fifty years later the business was taken over by their son who concentrated on the perfumery, introducing international brands and then some cosmetics. Now in the hands of the 3rd and 4th generation of Benegas’s, this incredible family business still manages to show the original owners entrepreneurial spirit, selling many leading pioneering brands and yet keeping the feel of the original concept.

The personalized service is exceptional, and it was here my friend was guided towards a bottle of….

Velvet Flowers by Montale

Velvet Flowers Montale FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Peach blossom, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, saffron, fruit aroma, sandalwood, gurjan balsam, musk

Out of it’s Benegas giftwrap and box comes a sleek silk bag, inside an brushed gold aluminum bottle with a decorative pin which also stops it from being pressed unintentionally. Impressive. Modern, and not really giving away, what’s inside.

Benegas WrappingPhoto Donated Ainslie Walker

First spray is fruity and floral – peachy and clean, womanly but with a bit of flirty, sexy fun. Woodsy enough to feel a little unusual, and certainly robust. It’s warm, perhaps a touch of spice, and VERY sweet and intoxicating. As it settles its rosey-peachy waxiness goes on and on. Under this though is something interesting. Candy? I am reminded of opening a bottle of Darryl Lee ‘bo peeps’. YUM. Such an interesting fusion of strong woman and girl in a candy store! This fragrance screams fun.

Velvet Flowers Montale Jjb@nalog flickrPhoto Stolen Fotopedia

Strong and long lasting, it’s not necessarily the most natural of smells but there is something about it I like nonetheless and the fruity floral remains steady, even on waking the next day.. Sometimes that’s the great thing about synthetic smells, they are new to the senses. I am reminded of Mugler’s Alien, but my sample is not nearby for a closer comparison. But this is definitely peachier, rosey and less heady. There are also some softer tones to velvet flowers. On a hot day the floral evaporates faster, leaving me with an odd metallic musk smell, which is probably my worst moment with VF. The best time is the first 1-2 hours. It’s clean, fresh and slightly creamy….but more waxy.

Velvet Flowers Montale  Loo Treated Myself to FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Scent for Thought
Beauty Encounter has $130/100ml
First In Fragrance has €99/100ml and samples

Marketed as unisex, I find this fragrance hyperfeminine. I cannot imagine smelling it on a man. Really modern version of a fruity floral oriental, with additional sweetness. It’s certainly a pick me up kind of a fragrance, with more than 1 meaning! ;D

What other perfumes stores have you found around the world and where are they?

Ainslie Walker X

Intense Cafe by Montale Paris 2013

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Post by Greg Young.

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The house of Montale is pretty much all about wood. Especially aoud. Occasionally Pierre Montale will deign to include a stray gourmand, amber or leather note but really this Operation Iraqi Freedom house is for fans of wood. Especially aoud.

If the theory that packaging is a guide to the marketing strategy holds, then the house of Montale is also all about blokes. Especially DIYers who always have the oxy-acetylene torch or a spot welder ready to go, or those capable dads who are the first to set up the gas barbie on the weekend. At a pinch, their market may include Master Chef fans who wield a mean blowtorch in front of a quivering creme brulee.

Montale bottles are the blokeiest in the market.

If you are going to review Montale fragrances this is the time of year to do it. If you’re doing it around Easter, there is an obvious candidate: Chocolate Greedy. Fortunately, I was able to evade that cliche, but only because I don’t have any. As I write this Chocolate Greedy is almost the perfect, most succinct description of my current state. A missed opportunity to pair feast and fragrance, that’s for sure.

Photo Stolen Wikipedia

Intense Cafe by Montale Paris 2013

Intense Cafe Montale FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Floral notes
Heart: Coffee, rose
Base: Amber, vanilla, white musk

Instead I chose another of Montale’s atypical fragrances, the oriental gourmand Intense Cafe. Having had a big Easter celebration on at home, I felt that its warm vanilla would be more suitable on a pleasant autumn day than a big beefy aoud.

Intense Cafe is described by Montale as “A truly enticing fragrance. Brilliant Floral Notes reveal a surprising heart made of Delicate Rose and Sensual Coffee. This perfect duo leaves a very beautiful sillage of Vanilla, Amber and White Musk.” 

This one gets a pretty warm reception on Fragrantica, notably among men of my generation. Young ‘uns seem unimpressed, and it doesn’t seem to get much love from the ladies at all. Perhaps it’s the packaging. Consensus on Fragrantica is that rose predominates here and vanilla and coffee share a roughly equal second billing.

Intense Cafe Montale Rose PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Rose and coffee are among my favourite notes, so Intense Cafe should be right down my street, but I feel that it doesn’t really deliver in that way. It opens with the kind of warm coffee made at Starbucks, laced with vanilla flavouring and then served to coffee drinkers who don’t really like coffee. Far from Intense, this scent is like a mellow cafe au lait in a New Orleans riverside jazz cafe compared to New Haarlem’s ristretto in a New York hipster haven.

Which is not to say it’s bad, just that a luscious vanilla rushes to the fore and shoves the coffee to the sidelines, yelling “pick me, pick me”. Intense Cafe pretty quickly becomes intense vanilla, with a thorn’s-edge of rose to prick at the sweet gourmand. On this day, for this occasion, walking around in warm sweet vanilla was no bad thing.

Intense Cafe Montale Coffee Paul Wilkinson FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Where Intense Cafe really does deliver is on Montale’s vanilla and amber promise. It’s 12 hours after I put this on, and I can still smell a trace of vanilla on my wrist, but a big waft of it is still there on my shirt. There are no longevity issues with this one. So even if you don’t like wood, especially aoud, Pierre Montale still has one for you.

Further reading: The Non Blonde and Ca Fleure Bon
LuckyScent has $120/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4.50/ml

What Montales have you tried? Does coffee sound good in a perfume to you?
Greg X

Powder Flowers by Montale

Hey there FUMIES,

A few months ago I grabbed a bunch of the Montale fragrance samples, I tried a few of them but didn’t get to the rest, here’s one that I should have tried immediately. There are a few of the Montales that don’t seem to have come from the house, Sandflowers is one and this is another….

Powder Flowers by Montale

Powder Flowers Montale fragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Rose, jasmine, osmanthus, cedar, tonka bean

Clear, sheer and fresh are three words I would never have linked in my mind to Montale who usually go for heavy hitters. Powder Flowers is so far from my knowledge of the brand that I had to check I hadn’t mislabeled the spritzer. Even Sandflowers is more Montale-isah than this. Lovely, pretty and dainty are not words I had previously used either but all of these adjectives are absolutely accurate when talking about my skins reaction to Powder Flowers. If you have a celebuscent crazed teen or a fruitchouli addicted friend then this could be the first step in their rehabilitation. While giving the sheer, barely there feel of many of the current offerings there is a story, a level of interest and change, and it is fragrant. The sillage is excellent, changing the air as you walk past and making it interesting, drawing your nose after it, it sits close though and after leaving my office to make coffee and returning there is no appreciable remains of it.

Powder flowers PowderTower WikiCommonsPowder Tower, Prague Photo Stolen WikiCommons

Like many of the Montale fragrances though the parts are so reduced from naturals that they are barely recognisable, there is something in jasmine that reads salty to my nose and I’m wondering if it was in the sunscreen that I grew up with here in Australia and that the memory of the beach is forever locked in stasis with it, I also notice it in other scents featuring this super clean jasmine. Rose passes me by completely in Powder Flowers and though I have often liked osmanthus fragrances it doesn’t seem present because I get no fruity/lactonic emphasis, the cedar and tonka are there all through but it takes a while to notice them.

Powder Flowers Osmanthus Tanaka Juuyoh FlickrPhoto Stolen Tanaka Juuyoh Flickr

It’s called Powder Flowers, it is not a typical powder but an abstract, “If I was the Queen of all powders this is how I’d smell.” I don’t think the notes list tells us much here, could we be missing musk, iris, heliotrope and others? Having now drained my second sample of Powder Flowers I am thinking a large decant to see if I go through it as quickly. The only reason I haven’t bought a bottle already is that I can’t believe that I am so in love with a fragrance so definitively UN-me.

Powder flowers Powder DuboseLawFirmPhoto Stolen DuboseLawFirm

Further reading: Scent For Thought and I could find anything else specific
Parfums Raffy have $105/50ml
Neroli Budapest has €56/50ml
Surrender To Chance starts at $4/ml

You may wonder why the Prague Powder Tower pic is above, well, Jin and I were in Prague earlier in the year and we kept walking around and through this gate so when I saw it while looking for Powder Pix I instantly wanted to share this reminiscence.

Have you tried this far from usual Montale?
See you tomorrow,
Portia xx