New Sniffs + Thunked: 14.2.2019




Hey Hey Perfume Junkies,

OK I’m adding a THUNKED section here too. It’s becoming an APJ obsession and I love the idea of us using our fragrances and hoiking the vial, decant or bottle. Thunk is the sound of an empty hitting the bin so you must empty it for the thunk to count.

Anything worthy of comment, either good or bad, that’s passed under my nose through the week will get a short write up. If I think something is terrible, shamefully lazy, greedy or stupid and you should know about it, it will be said. As always YMMV.

I’d love it if you get involved: agree, respectfully disagree, have any thought-out opinion and want to share, do so in the comments below. The point is starting a conversation.

New Sniffs + Thunked: 14.2.2019

Continue reading

Scent Diary: 1.1 – 7.1.2018




Happy New Year APJ,

What a week! It’s been super hot and sweaty here in Oz. Some of our peeps are in Sydney on holidays or have been off work for part of the week. So many fantastic catch ups.

Scent Diary: 1.1 – 7.1.2018

Monday 1:

This is what midnight looked like where we were. My BFF Kath took this photo just after we’d done the countdown. Cool shot huh?

Wishing you all a wonderful 2018. Fill it with loads of good stuff so the shit seems less deep. Continue reading

Vetiver Des Sables by Montale 2004


Post by Portia


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


Velvet Flowers by Montale


Post by Ainslie Walker


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.

BenegasPhoto Stolen Benegas

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


Post by Greg Young.


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