Rosae Mundi by Profumum Roma 2012


Post by SarahK


Profumum is known for the strength, the depth, and the often sweet, gourmand nature of its fragrances. I find some of their fragrances far too rich for my blood (including their famous Ambra Aurea, though it is adored by many) but I am in love with Rosae Mundi. Portia has already reviewed this scent here, but I wanted to offer another take on this dark rose.

Rosae Mundi by Profumum Roma 2012

RosaeMundi FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accord in one line:
Rose, patchouli, vetiver, cedar

Rosae Mundi made me sit up and take notice from the very first spray. It’s a glorious perfumey, patchouli rose, which for some reason immediately brings to my mind the cool, dark spaces and stony walls of a soaring gothic cathedral. The aura created by the top notes is more than just a scent to me, it’s a physical space.

Rosae Mundi Profumum Roma Gloucester Cathedral GeographPhoto Stolen Geograph

Within five minutes, Rosae Mundi has developed a berry overtone that I find familiar: it’s the sweetness and muskiness at the heart of Kilian’s Rose Oud, though Rosae Mundi feels less neon bright and more earthy than the Kilian creation and contains no oud note. Not that I think Kilian’s Rose Oud contains much oud either… An hour or so in, the berries sitting on top of the patchouli rose become juicier and the powdery muskiness gets yet more pronounced. At this stage it’s quite hypnotic. Portia’s review of Rosae Mundi mentioned that this scent could be transportive for those around somebody who wore it as a signature scent, and I totally agree. Beneath its sweet rose facet, this is a deep and meditative scent experience for me. My nose is glued to my wrist for the first 4 hours! During the dry down, the scent continues for a long time as a musky-mossy rose and soft berry mix. At this stage, if the scent were fabric, it would be a dark red velvet. In the far dry-down the rosy patchouli becomes a soft candle-wax that lasts for several more hours.

Rosae Mundi Profumum Roma red velvet IndianWeddingSitePhoto Stolen IndianWeddingSite

Like all the Profumum fragrances that I have tried, this is potent stuff. A couple of sprays will last all day on me (20+ hours), with a good scent trail for the first few hours.

Further reading: NowSmellThis
LuckyScent has $265/100ml and samples

Have you tried Rosae Mundi? Are roses your thing? What’s your favourite rose?
SarahK xx

(Ed: SarahK will be taking a break from APJ. She is currently pregnant and finding her nose has gone a little wonky. We all wish her the best of luck with the whole shebang and can’t wait for her return)

Kalimantan by Pierre Negrin for Chantecaille 2010


Post by SarahK


Amber is a fragrance family that I really like in theory, but in practice rarely end up wearing. Many just feel too heavy for me to wear even in the dead of winter. I may like the smell, but if it doesn’t meld with my skin, and just sits there like a thick layer of gold, I feel like a fraud wearing it.

Kalimantan by Pierre Negrin for Chantecaille 2010

Kalimantan Chantecaille FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Thyme, rosemary, bergamot
Heart: Incense, labdanum, patchouli
Base: Benzoin, agar, styrax, vanilla, cedar

Kalimantan is not like this. It’s an amber suitable for any time in my book. It is my Goldilocks amber – not too sweet, not too spicy, it has some heft but is not too over the top. I can feel several layers in this scent. There’s a smooth labdanum-benzoin mix, some cedar, a gentle kicker of incense and some dry herbs, though these are not in any way foody. The aromatic green edge that the cedar and herbs give the scent means that I am as happy to wear it in the heat of summer as I am in colder weather. For me, this isn’t the smell of the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo after which the fragrance was named. It is the scent of a thyme-covered Greek hillside baking in the sunshine, so it suits the warm weather, while in cold weather it reminds me of the heat.

Kalimantan Chantecaille Hill GeographPhoto Stolen Geograph

There aren’t a lot of reviews around for this fragrance, but those that exist often compare it to Serge Lutens’ Ambre Sultan or Andy Tauer’s L’Air du Desert Marocain. For me, LADDM is a lot drier and has a gasoline note that I do not get at all in Kalimantan. It brings to mind a road running through a parched desert, not Kalimantan’s aromatic, sun-baked hill. Kalimantan does strike me as very similar to Ambre Sultan, and if you own one, I can’t imagine needing to own the other, but the Lutens fragrance is a touch drier, with a stronger incense note in the heart, while its herbs and cedar are less golden and honeyed until you reach the drydown. Kalimantan is my favourite of the three, but that may be because I tried it before Ambre Sultan.

Oia Iconic ViewPhoto Stolen HuffingtonPost

Further reading: EauMG and Perfume Posse.
Nordstrom has $175/75ml

Come and sit with me on a Greek hilltop at sunset, watching the last rays of sun bouncing off the warm stone of a church. The bells are ringing and incense is already burning.

Sandalo by ETRO 1989


Post by SarahK


Hello fellow ‘fumeheads!

I hope you’re all in your happy spaces, but for anybody feeling pressed or stressed, today I’m going to talk about a beautiful calming fragrance. It’s not new, but I’ve only recently had the pleasure of discovering it.

There’s a residual scent that I get from a number of my favourite perfumes, a sort of musky sandalwood base note that lingers on my skin sometimes after showering. I love that scent and I’ve often stood in the shower wondering if someone could just create a fragrance with that note. Well apparently Etro did just that, and it’s called ……

Sandalo by ETRO 1989

Sandalo Etro FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Rose, lemon, bitter orange
Heart: Sandalwood, geranium, rose
Base: Amber, musk, patchouli, cypress, vanilla

Of course, Sandalo isn’t quite as simple as comparing it to residual base notes makes it seem, but its overall effect gives me the same feeling. When I first apply it, and for about 15 minutes afterwards, there’s a slight petrol-like note, but after that, Sandalo is a pretty linear experience of gentle musky woods. Which is just fine with me, because it is pretty close to my ideal sandalwood fragrance. I get hints of geranium, and some rose, but this is primarily about base notes of sandalwood, powdery musk and some very smooth patchouli. The musk is soft and clean, but with no laundry-musk screech. The sandalwood note is not green, or creamy, or buttery and it doesn’t have a scratchy cedarwood kick. Instead it reminds me of the restrained, musky, dry scent found in some Japanese sandalwood incenses. If it had a colour it would be pale, ashy, grey-brown. I find it very centering and meditative.

Sandalo Etro Dead Calm Ann Baekken FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

It’s an entirely unisex scent, evocative of calm, collected individuals of any persuasion. It is not particularly strong, which makes it perfectly office-friendly. In fact, I wish it was a touch more forceful sometimes, though I think part of the issue is probably that my nose just gets used to the scent. That, I suppose, is the downside of a fragrance that feels as if it is mostly made up of base notes, and which melds so well with my skin. This factor makes it somewhat difficult to accurately judge longevity. Sometimes it seems to disappear only to reappear half an hour or so later. At a guess I’d say it lasts around 7 hours on my skin, but I suspect it is actually detectable to others who get close to me for some time after I think it has disappeared for good.

Sandalo Etro Mounted_on_Metaphors LothorioArtPhoto Stolen LothorioArt

I seem to have spent half this review talking about what Sandalo is not, as much as what it is, but somehow that seems appropriate for a scent that represents calm and space for me.

Posh Peasant says: Etro Sandalo launched in 1989 and is a beautiful oriental woody fragrance.  It’s not often mentioned but it’s one of the great sandalwood fragrances.

I was able to try Sandalo thanks to a little decant acquired from a fellow fragrance fanatic. I am very pleased to have found it and I’m currently lusting after a full bottle. I’m also inspired to get hold of some more samples from the Etro line. Portia has reviewed a few before here on AJP and they all sound interesting to me.

Sandalo Etro  Yoga-at-Wildflower-Hall-Shimla HillpostPhoto Stolen Hillpost

Further reading: Perfume Posse and Katie Puckrik Smells
Beauty Encounter has $75/50ml
Posh Peasant has samples starting at $3.50/ml

Do you have a favourite sandalwood-centric fragrance?


Hard Leather by Jerome Epinette for LM Parfums 2014


Post by SarahK


Hello ‘fume fans!

Today’s fragrance is one that I confess I first sprayed with trepidation. I enjoy leather notes in perfume, but am not generally one for heavy animalics or smoky leathers, and some other reviews mentioned the words ‘sweat’ and ‘faecal’, making me hesitate. So, one small spritz later, I was rather surprised to discover a smooth, true leather. It is the rich saddle-leather of Chanel’s Cuir de Russie, though Hard Leather is all leather, with none of Cuir de Russie’s soap and flowers covering it. There is some stable and horse in here, and the top and basenotes are more cowboy than show-jumper (particularly with a more generous spraying than I tried at first) but nothing I would describe as truly dirty. Believe me, I’ve smelled dirty ‘fumes – some vintage Detchema had me retching in the 15 minutes that I managed not to scrub it – but I would say that L’Artisan’s Dzing smells dirtier than Hard Leather.

Hard Leather by Jerome Epinette for LM Parfums 2014

Hard Leather LM Parfums FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Leather, rum
Heart: Iris, honey
Base: Sandalwood, cedar, agarwood (oud), olibanum, vanilla, styrax

Hard Leather has a tarriness that I’ve also found in some other fragrances with oud notes, like Dior’s Leather Oud, and Kilian’s Pure Oud. I have a limited tolerance for tarry notes, but here it’s soft enough still to seem like rich leather, rather than bitumen, at least until the drydown. Even better, I do not get the harsh rubbing-alcohol edge that I have experienced from some other modern leather and oud perfumes. This is a rich fragrance, particularly in its heart, but there’s a cool iris in it that, for me, adds a feeling of hauteur and restraint. Apparently there are rum and honey notes in here, but I don’t really notice them. The fragrance is never sweet or boozy on me, so those elements appear to serve just to smooth out the leatherHard Leather LM Parfums Wikimedia and styrax, occasionally even creating an impression of musky blackberries.

Photo Stolen WikiMedia

Hard Leather becomes drier and somewhat ashy over the course of its life. This makes the drydown feel more animalic, chemical and masculine – if there’s a ‘dirty’ stage in the fragrance, this is where I experience it. I still find the scent fascinating, but I much prefer the heart of the scent, and the way I experience the drydown means that I probably wouldn’t wear this fragrance outside the house, particularly because it’s the drydown stage that lasts and lasts.

To me, the heart of Hard Leather evokes the aristocratic world of the early 20th Century – a mix of power, money, straitlaced manners and Hard Leather LM Parfums Armando_Gabriel_Couture_Corsetry Wikimedianaughtiness. In other words, it’s a class act, and if the scent stayed that way in the drydown, I would love it. This is a long way from some of the reviews I have read (witness, for example, the sweaty New Orleans summer stink that Hard Leather’s topnotes evoked for The Scented Hound!). It’s clear that this is a fragrance where existing associations and skin chemistry can make a big difference in how you perceive it. I find the top and heart very enjoyable, but the long-lasting base is simultaneously too dry and animalic for me. However you perceive it, I don’t think the scent is a complete sillage monster, but it does project well for several hours, and its arid drydown sticks around for the whole day.

Photo Stolen WikiMedia

Further reading: The Scented Hound and
First In Fragrance have €295/100ml and 9/4ml Samples

What’s your favourite leather fragrance?

Nostalgie by Laurie Erickson for Sonoma Scent Studio


Post by SarahK


Hello AJP family.

Sonoma Scent Studio is a line created by indie perfumer Laurie Erickson. They aren’t that easy to get hold of if you’re outside the United States as the company won’t ship internationally but if you can find them, it is a line well worth exploring.
(Ed: IndieScents has a great SSS range and send to the world)
Some really don’t suit me, but others are just glorious. It’s not a natural perfume line (though some of the scents are made with all-natural ingredients) but, of the six scents I’ve tried to date, even the ones that use synthetics have a ‘natural’ feel to them. That doesn’t mean they aren’t long-lasting though – as a whole, this line has some of the best longevity that I’ve come across, and a little goes a long way.

Nostalgie by Laurie Erickson for Sonoma Scent Studio

Nostalgie sonoma-scent IndieScents.345.400Photo Stolen IndieScents

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Aldehydes, Indian jasmine sambac absolute, Bulgarian rose absolute, mimosa absolute, peach, violet flower, violet leaf absolute, tonka, French beeswax absolute, natural oakmoss absolute, aged Indian patchouli, East Indian Mysore sandalwood, leather, vanilla, orris, myrrh, vetiver, and musk

Today I’m going to talk about one of SSS’s rose-violet scents. Nostalgie opens on the skin as a gentle, woody-floral, aldehydic scent – something traditionally ‘perfumey’, but softly so. Half an hour into its development it is a powdery rose, with a hint of violet, a beautiful cosmetics smell, but less sweet, more natural, and altogether less in-your-face than, say, Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose. While the violet-rose combination in Lipstick Rose is backed by a sweet, slightly plasticky almond, in Nostalgie, it’s backed by a mossy beeswax spiked with a little vetiver.

Nostalgie Sonoma Scent Studio Eugène_Boudin WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

Nostalgie is a very appropriate name for this romantic fragrance, which conjures soft-focus images of an Edwardian beauty. She’s dressed in white and sitting in a sunny garden amid blooming flowers, bees and butterflies. This, to me, is the scent of Lucy Honeychurch in A Room with a View. Someone on Fragrantica likened it to Chanel’s No. 22, and I can see why – they share a sweet, floral, beeswaxy feel. But, while Nostalgie has aldehydes, they are little fluffy kitten aldehydes. Nostalgie has none of No. 22’s fizzy champagne rush attacking the nose. It’s all soft, powdery florals. As the scent wears on, the sweet violet shows more of its face. Sweet, but not at all cloyingly so, it is a bit like Palma Violet candy, though the fragrance is as much about rose as violet. The base is gentle sandalwood, with a touch of moss, patchouli and vetiver, which combine with the beeswax to give the scent a gentle old-school furniture polish vibe. I love it.

Nostalgie Sonoma Scent Studio PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Very much a classic floral, and traditionally feminine, but (to my mind, at least) there is no reason that a man who likes powdery, floral fragrances couldn’t wear Nostalgie. It doesn’t have huge projection, but is still detectable on my skin an impressive 14-16 hours after application.

SSS has another couple of rose-violet-aldehyde scents that I have tried. To Dream has more of the woody and incense notes that the house is famous for, while Lieu de Reves has notes up front (perhaps the combination of cedar and vetiver) that remind me of cola – in a good way. They both strike me as less rosy, and less floral altogether, though Lieu de Reves still has plenty of powdery violet in its heart.

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels, Now Smell This and Muse In Wooden Shoes
IndieScents has $105/34ml Extrait de Parfum
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $5/ml

See you soon,
SarahK x

Nectar of Love EdP by Tanja Bochnig for April Aromatics 2012


Post by SarahK


Hello all! Valentine’s Day may have been and gone this year, but love is, I hope, never far away, so today I want to share with you my experience of April Aromatics fragreances. April Aromatics is a line of natural, organic perfumes and cosmetics created by Tanja Bochnig and based in Germany and this is one of my favourite fragrances from the range. It is available both as an EDP and perfume oil: this review is for the eau de parfum only, as I haven’t tried the perfume oil.

Nectar of Love EdP by Tanja Bochnig for April Aromatics 2012

Nectar of Love April Aromatics fragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Tuberose, Indian jasmine, Bulgarian rose, sandalwood, fruit notes, amber

Nectar is definitely the right name for this scent. The notes Tanja gives for the fragrance include tuberose, neroli, rose and jasmine but, besides the neroli, none of these flowers jump out at me in their usual guises. Rather than a traditional ‘floral’ perfume, I experience Nectar of Love as a sweet plant perfume, in the way in which Clarins’ Eau Dynamisante is a plant perfume. When sniffing it I get crushed fleshy petals, pollen and nectar, mixed with some sweet benzoin resin reminiscent of the sweet balsams in by Kilian’s Sweet Redemption.

Nectar of Love April Aromatics Marina del Castell FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

The fragrance starts as an aromatic mix with green overtones and a bit of ripe apple. As the top notes develop, the pollen drifts up, along with the scent of a sugary, yet slightly bitter, green sap. All the floral notes combine into a concentrated version of the honeyed scent of purple buddleia. It’s as if you are a bee in a summer field, flitting drunkenly from flower to flower, poking your nose right into the hearts of the blooms and inhaling deeply. The fruit in the top notes slowly dries, and a couple of hours after application the fragrance is a narcotic mix of caramelized apples and prunes and a little bitter clove spice. It’s darkly sweet, but not overly so. Instead, the heart of the fragrance feels like drinking a cup of smooth, slightly citrussy chai. As it dries down, woody elements come out to play and there’s a touch of smoke and black coffee. The whole experience is rich and dense, but never overwhelming, and the presence of an aromatic element (mostly reading to me as cloves over neroli) keeps this within unisex territory, especially in the dry down. I’d love to smell this on a man.

Nectar of Love April Aromatics  bee PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

For the first hour Nectar of Love creates a noticeable scent cloud around me, but sillage drops noticeably in the second hour, and by the end of hour three the scent is hovering softly above my skin. It remains noticeable for 8 hours or so, ending in a caramel coffee whisper. The more I wear it, the more I love it.

Further reading: Smelly Thoughts and Bonkers About Perfume
April Aromatics has €189/30ml and Samples from €13.99/2.5ml

Have you tried any of the April Aromatics line?
SarahK xx

Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine and Magnolia Grandiflora Michel 2013


Post by SarahK



These are the first fragrances released by Grandiflora, a Sydney-based florist. Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine was the final fragrance developed by Sandrine Videault before her untimely death last year. Originally scheduled for release in August 2013, its launch was delayed following Sandrine’s sad passing. Instead, it was released in early 2014 together with Magnolia Grandiflora Michel, which was developed by Michel Roudnitska, son of Sandrine Videault’s mentor at the start of her career. Ainslie Walker also reviewed these two fragrances here at APJ, Jordan River did a wonderful lead up on APJ too, but as these two scents were only recently released, and there aren’t many reviews of them yet, I wanted to offer my take too!

Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine and Magnolia Grandiflora Michel 2013

Magnolia seems to be a popular note in perfumery currently, but these two scents are no bandwagon-jumpers. Do not try them expecting heady floral notes like those found in En Voyage’s homage to the magnolia, Zelda, or Guerlain’s powdery L’Instant. You won’t find anything like that here.

Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine Grandiflora FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Lemon, grapefruit, white pepper, green notes, woody notes, watery notes and musk

Sandrine: This, to me, is a grapefruit fragrance backed by fresh (not marine) watery notes and some clean musk. Imagine you’re breakfasting on grapefruit and a glass of spring water. You’re sitting at a table covered by a starched white tablecloth on the airy, sunny terrace of a posh hotel somewhere Mediterranean. The grapefruit note feels natural, though the underlying musk has a touch of the functional, starchy ‘laundry musk’ about it. For me, that doesn’t detract from the scent – rather, it adds to the feeling of airy breezes and stiff white linen. That being said, there is definitely an aromachemical in here that gives me a feeling of being smacked across the bridge of the nose, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others found it headache-inducing. The fragrance is not complex, and is pretty linear, but it’s nicely done, aromachemical reactions aside. I am not a fan of 90s-era ‘ocean fresh’ calone/citrus scents, but I would find this very likeable if not for the nose-smacking.

Magnolia Grandiflora Michel Grandiflora FragranticaPhoto Stoilen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Grapefruit, lemon, bergamot, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, magnolia, vetiver, patchouli and musk

Michel: This opens as an aquatic floral and stays that way for a couple of hours. It’s a realistic waxy, green, watery – even slightly milky – magnolia and, like the real thing, smells better from a distance than up close. When I sniff my wrist, I have to confess that, owing to the lactonic note, I don’t love it at this stage, though the sillage is nice. It’s very different to Sandrine’s interpretation of magnolia. Where Sandrine is the evocation of a breezy, sunny and warm day, Michel is a magnolia tree after a cool rain shower. Over time, the milky aspect fades and by hour three I am left with a fresh green floral that I like much more. By hour four we’ve reached the base, where there is an easy-wearing echo of the grapefruit and woods (though none of the starchy aromachemical) found in Sandrine.

Both fragrances are unisex and have moderate-soft sillage, though they last a good 8 hours on my skin (but I have to say most fragrances do).

LuckyScent has both US$185/100ml
Peony Melbourne has both AUD$185/100ml

Have you tried either of the Grandiflora scents? Were they what you expected?

SarahK X

Un Matin d’Orage by Isabelle Doyen for Annick Goutal 2009


Post by SarahK


Hello all!

Have you ever had one of those moments when a scent hits your nose and you’re stunned by its exquisite beauty? That was my reaction to my first sniff of Annick Goutal’s Un Matin d’Orage (EDT).

Un Matin d’Orage by Isabelle Doyen for Annick Goutal 2009

Un Matin d`Orage Annick Goutal  FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Sicilian lemon, ginger, green notes
Heart: Gardenia, shiso leaves, magnolia, champaca flowers, Indonesian jasmine
Base: Sandalwood

Un Matin d’Orage opens with the prettiness of a forest nymph in a Botticelli painting. She arrives carrying bridal white gardenias, but they aren’t heady and overwhelming. These flowers are fresh and slightly earthy, with a true-to-life mushroom note, and underneath her prettiness the nymph has a backbone of green wood, like the forest she came from. The heart of Un Matin d’Orage expands to become an entire gardenia-filled garden right after a rainstorm. Under the wafting scent of the flowers is a layer of greener and watery notes, like the stems of plants, broken under the weight of the rain. In summer, the effect is of a tropical rainstorm, or like walking into a hothouse, misty with water-spray, the scent of the flowers suspended in water droplets. In winter, the effect is a touch more bracing on me, like a rain-soaked garden in spring. The verdant floral notes soften over time, but are still there in the dry-down, which also reveals some green sandalwood.

Un Matin d`Orage Botticelli-primavera WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

My husband never makes comments on my perfume, good or bad, but whenever I wear this he snuggles up extra-close to me, so clearly something smells good, though I don’t think of this as a sexy scent at all. In summer I can get away with spraying liberally, but cold weather sometimes brings out a little bitterness in the green notes. It’s not an unpleasant effect to me – in fact I find it adds to the interest of the fragrance – but it does mean that I like to bring my spray count down in winter.

I love to put a single spray of this on my pillow at night for happy dreams. Once, I accidentally aimed a spritz at my mobile phone and for weeks afterwards the heavenly scent would waft up every time I used the phone, putting a big smile on my face.

Un Matin d`Orage Annick Goutal Storms Jason Hunter FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

In cold weather this fragrance can last an impressively long time on my skin. It’s often still detectable on my skin 10 hours in. I should note, though, that the same goes for Chanel’s 28 La Pausa, which is famously short-lived on others so it could just be my skin. In hotter weather, Un Matin d’Orage doesn’t seem to last half as long, but she’s lovely while she’s there.

Further reading:
Beauty Encounter has a $49/50ml EdT and 100ml Body Cream Gift Set
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/ml

What fragrances have brought you up short with their beauty?


Annick Goutal (1948-99) on APJ previously.

Annick Goutal Biography,
Eau de Sud/Songes/Mandragore,
Eau d”Hadrien/Eau de Camille/Ce Soir Ou Jamais,
Passion/Un Matin d’Orage/Ambre Fetiche,
Mandragore Pourpe,
Grand Amour,
Rose Splendide,

Nuit Etoilée and
Mon Parfum Cherie Par Camille