Still Life in Rio by Dora Baghriche for Olfactive Studio 2016


Post by TinaG


Hi there APJ!

Friday 5 August 2016 marks the beginning of the XXXI Olympiad, with the start of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Summer Olympics being held in a city which is renowned for its celebrations and colourful festivals, wide open beaches, and friendly people. We have quite a large Brazilian contingent here in Sydney and whenever our paths cross I feel like I’ve been swept up into one large loud colourful party – It’s not optional! You must relax and have fun! Well, OK then…. 🙂

Still Life in Rio by Olfactive Studio 2016

Still Life in Rio by Dora Baghriche

Still Life in Rio Olfactive Studio FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Yuzu, ginger, lemon, mint, mandarin orange
Heart: Pepper, black pepper, pink pepper, coconut milk
Base: Rum, copaiba balm, leather

On either side of the party you have the warm relaxed recovery times, lazy days by the beach enjoying the long sunsets, drinks and food. I feel that this is where Still Life in Rio fits in. As a fragrance, it is bright and invigorating. It opens with a burst of lemon pith and juice that is tart at first then warms with ginger and mandarin, with a touch of mint and a general milkiness (is that coconut?) behind it all. It’s a fragrance you want to wear on sun kissed and salty skin, the lemon taking centre stage for the first few hours. The ginger gets stronger by way of a ‘taste’ sensation on the back of my tongue, however I’m not sure that I pick up the peppers which are listed in the notes for this fragrance – the ginger is predominant as a spice.

After about 4 hours I find that I’m really enjoying the mandarin, and realise that the whole effect of the fragrance is like a mandarin caprioska, juicy and refreshing. I don’t find there’s much development in the fragrance after this but it has a good longevity of at least 10 hours, and I’ve noticed the fragrance wafting around me as I’ve been going about my day so it has a decent sillage. A great summer scent, light and easy wearing. You might head toward this if you enjoy the freshness of a cologne but enjoy the sophistication & longevity of a well-crafted perfume.

still-life-in-rio- Flavio Veloso olfactive-studioOlfactive Studio

I remember the Sydney Olympics back in 2000, it was such a fabulous time! A relaxed happy party atmosphere, the trains actually ran to their timetables (!!!), and you could stop and chat to anyone on the street with a smile and a laugh. Really great times. We had a ball. And although the world is a different place now to then I sincerely wish the best of everything that the Olympics holds for Rio.

Rio Olympics

Further reading: Scented Hound and Colognoisseur
First In Fragrance has €90/50ml + Samples
Libertine Parfumerie will have it in stock soon for the Aussies.

What fragrances do you wear in summer to beat the heat?

Till next time, Tina G. xx

Ombre Indigo by Mylène Arlan @ Robertet for Olfactive Studio 2014


Post by Tina G



I first laid eyes on Ombre Indigo in the lead up to Esxence in Milan, March 2014. I’d just written a few articles for APJ on Olfactive Studio scents, so nearly hit the floor when I spotted that they had a new one coming out! And the colour of that juice… oh my goodness… instant, unadulterated, WANT.

So, when I was gifted with a sample I was thrilled. And I couldn’t wait to try it. But when I did, I was hit with confusion. I didn’t love it. It was cloying and heavy and hurt my head. I didn’t really know what to do from there – I was supposed to be enthralled. Look at the colour of it, how could you not be? It is soooo pretty! What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was just at the beginning of one of the worst colds I’ve had in a decade, knocked me flat for about 2 weeks. The nose knows, it seems. I’ve come back to it under more friendly circumstances, and found the love.

Ombre Indigo by Mylène Arlan @ Robertet for Olfactive Studio 2014

Ombre Indigo Photographer: Gustavo Pellizzon

Ombre Indigo Olfactive Studio FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Plum, saffron, pettigrain, tuberose
Heart: Vetiver, papyrus, leather, olibanum
Base: Benzoin, musk, ambergris

The opening for me is strong incense and dry woods, the papyrus lifting and separating the incense from darker plum underlying it. Occasionally I will burn frankincense or myrrh on charcoal bricks so when I say “incense”, that’s what I’m finding here, a resin smoke. And the plums are heavy, in a sweet decay where they’ve just turned inedible by a matter of days. That smell you get when plums look OK from the top, but when you pick them up their skin is moist and splits as you touch it.

The image I get from this is walking through a neglected and overgrown orchard. The trees that fruited have dropped their baubles in the overgrown grass at their bases. Other trees have died, and their branches bare. Walking through the orchard there is a dappled autumnal light scattering through the trees, and my skin is at once cooled by the shadow and warmed by the sun.

Ombre Indigo Olfactive Studio 2014 GustavoPellizzonPhoto Stolen Olfactive Studio

After about 2 hours saffron joins the undertones, and a clean but fleshy tuberose comes into the middle of the notes. The fragrance then settles at around 4 hours into a musky floral, powdery amber combo, which I find quite delicious. Some of the listed notes I’ve not quite found, but my sample has now run dry so I need to decide on next steps…

I’ve read reviews on Ombre Indigo that quite happily assign this to being a summer scent, but here in Australia in the dead of winter (as much as we have one) the incense and wood is comforting. I wore the fragrance on a crisp bright sunshiny-day walk along St Kilda Beach whilst being pummelled by Antarctic winds straight out of Bass Strait. Ombre Indigo had ensconced itself thoroughly in my scarf, which allowed me nuzzle down, breathe deeply and keep a smile on my face against the howling wind.

Ombre Indigo Olfactive Studio  Winter Wind Miya Ku FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Now Smell This and Chemist In A Bottle
Olfactive Studio has a World Page where you can order wherever you are.
First In Fragrance has €85/50ml and samples
Peony Melbourne has $145/50ml

Do you have a favourite incense fragrance? What time of year does it work best for you?

Tina G xx

Flashback by Olivier Cresp for Olfactive Studio 2013


Post by TinaG


Perfume holds a vision of truth – a truth which can strike deeply to our core, a trigger which can bring to the surface a crazy mix of visions in a flash of memory, borne only from a single, deep breath. It is such a personal sensation, that rush, corners of the mouth relaxing into a smile and just the enjoyment of being swept away in an all-encompassing pure experience, if only for a few moments.

One of the challenges I find is conveying that feeling, those emotions to other people. How do you capture that? You can’t photograph a smell, but you can convey the sense of a moment through an image. Sometimes we write beautifully crafted landscapes to try and explain what it is that we are experiencing – I think that is often the most successful way, but ultimately one may need to go on that experience themselves to see whether they agree, disagree, or are led down a completely different olfactory path.

Flashback by Olivier Cresp for Olfactive Studio 2013

Flash Back Olfactive Studio FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Rhubarb, orange, grapefruit
Heart: Granny Smith apple, pink pepper
Base: Vetiver, cedar, amber, musk

Olfactive Studio’s fragrances have taken a different approach to their scent creations, by starting with photographic art, and creating a fragrance which reflects that moment. Sometimes I get it, like the half-light of a distant hotel room with Chambre Noir, other times I’ve been taken my own journey like the amazingly visual images I got whilst testing Still Life – albeit quite different from the photograph Still Life was created in conjunction with. And I’m OK with that, it is all part of the story.

Flash Back Olfactive Studio pic  FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

So here on another Olfactive Studio journey, I give my wrists a light dewy dusting of Flashback, allowing the fragrance plenty of breathing space. The reward is a whoosh of gentle pink pepper and a deep moist green rhubarb. The rhubarb here is freshly picked, the stem snapped in half with juices flowing. This fresh bitterness is countered and lifted by the beautiful understated warmth and sweetness of the pink pepper.

After half an hour it is joined by grapefruit, such as one which has just been cut and squeezed. It is crossing over between smell and taste in a big way as I can feel my tongue tingling from the sharp juiciness. The wallflower orange is shyly floating in the background but never really makes a stand. At two hours cedar comes through along with some pink musk which help soften the citrus, but this seems to fade after an hour and I get the predominant grapefruit back again but this time with a lingering underlying touch of vetiver, and this combination lasts and lasts.

Flash Back Olfactive Studio Alice Henneman FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: The Non Blonde and Olfactoria’s Travels
First In Fragrance have €72/50ml and samples

Libertine Parfumerie has 100ml/$195 including postage within Australia
Peony Melbourne has 100ml/$195

Because of the tanginess of this fragrance I’m considering it for a travel scent, as the rhubarb and citrus would be a refreshing pick-me-up after a long haul flight. So perhaps there may be stories in our future – always happy to make some new & fun memories!

Tina G

Chambre Noire by Dorothee Piot for Olfactive Studio 2011


Post by TinaG



The concept behind Olfactive Studio is the interplay between imagery and perfume – a picture can tell a thousand words, so can a perfume capture the essence of time and place. It is this junction where the two meet that is Olfactive Studio’s creative space. Each of Olfactive Studio’s five fragrances are the result of teamwork between a photographer and a perfumer, working together to capture not only a moment, but the interplay of thought and emotion around that moment.

Chambre Noire Olfactive Studio photoPhoto Stolen Olfactive Studio

Chambre Noire by Dorothee Piot for Olfactive Studio 2011

Chambre Noire Olfactive Studio FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Schinus (pink peppercorn)
Heart: Jasmine, papyrus, violet, incense, prune
Base: Sandalwood, patchouli, musk, vanilla, leather

Chambre Noire is another name for “Camera Obscura”, the first type of box camera using pinhole light exposure so there is a bit of mystery, play of light and dark and what is revealed in shadowy corners. The photograph that this fragrance was designed in conjunction with is a barely lit hotel room, the reflections revealing more about the room itself than the direct view.

On first opening I get a big waft of violet and sandalwood and what I think is amber, although it is not listed in the notes. Within 10 minutes the violet had dropped away, with incense, shinus and a woody scent that I can’t really place. Schinus is the genus of pink peppercorns, and are not related to ‘true’ pepper, in that pink pepper does not contain the fiery piperine of true pepper. Shinus has warm, fragrant, bright and uplifting qualities. I managed to get hold of some the other day, and could quite happily chew a few pink berries without my mouth slowly catching on fire.

Chambre Noire Olfactive Studio  Pink_Peppercorns WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

After 2 hours the violet & light florals make a return, along with some very gentle leather and the sandalwood humming in the background. A warm sensual mix, in a kick off your high heels & chat over a glass of wine kind of way. The feeling I get from it is more one of companionship rather than a mysterious liaison, like winding down for the day, but with enough of a zing in the air to keep conversation flowing.

The dry down at 4 hours has musk and vanilla joining sandalwood, which gently linger until it fades to a faint memory. I would wear Chambre Noir when going out with a small group of friends on weekends, or give myself a pick-me-up spritz in anticipation of Friday night after-work drinks.

Chambre Noire Olfactive Studio fragrancePhoto Stolen Olfactive Studio

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Smelly Thoughts
First In Fragrance has €125/100ml and €4/3ml samples
Olfactive Studio has $195/100ml Delivered to Australia

Have you tried Olfactive Studio’s fragrances? Did any of them stand out for you?

Tina G xx

Still Life by Dora Baghriche-Arnaud for Olfactive Studio 2011


Post by TinaG



One of the many blessings in my life is having whole new landscapes of experience opened up to me through investigation of fragrance. In a lot of respects I still feel very much like a “newbie” and can’t believe how lucky I am when friends drop the topic of perfume into a conversation, or hand me a sample, or take the long way round to lunch through a few shops to try new things. Portia kindly gifted me with a sample set from Olfactive Studio, who are a niche perfume company run by Founder and Creative Director Céline Verleure, with headquarters in Paris. The sample set included Autoportrait, Still Life, Chambre Noir, and Lumière Blanche.

Still Life by Dora Baghriche-Arnaud for Olfactive Studio 2011

Still Life Olfactive Studio  FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Yuzu, elémi, pink pepper, black pepper, Sichuan pepper
Heart: Star anise, galbanum
Base: Dark rum, cedarwood, ambrox

Usually when I am looking into new perfumes, I’ll do a bit of research on ingredients and accords and work out what it is that I “should” be finding. This time I decided to take a different approach, and to test cold, to see what story the fragrance was going to tell me. First perfume out of the box was Still Life.

olfactive studio still life FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

On first spray I encounter a bright harmony of sharp and sweet citruses and peppery notes, containing something slightly resiny and green. Although the top notes in Still Life are full of pepper – pink, black and Sichuan, they are balanced as a supportive counterpoint rather than a triple-barrelled shotgun. After half an hour some warmer notes come through, and all of a sudden I have an image in my head of the inside of an old school desk draw, cedarwood with the ink and pencils and paper that it holds.

olfactive studio still life Fruit_and_Champagne Helen Searle WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Traditionally in life drawings, “Still Life” subjects are typically fruit or flowers, but the warmth of the drydown as the citrus fades brings a feeling that the fruit bowl has now been overlooked, gently moved to one side for a subject with softer curves and skin. At four hours, I get a sense of focused calmness. There is a lot of wood and furniture, sunlight falling thick with dusty flecks through a closed window, and a female model posing half reclined on a soft sofa. But there is such an intense presence of that moment in time – she being relaxed, daydreaming but enjoying being observed, and the artist who is showing appreciation of her curves with every stroke of the pencil. However, the purpose of the moment is also its totality, and there is no sense of time passing – there is no before or after, no anticipation of “what next”. Just this rich, warm, sensual atmosphere captured in a bubble of time.

olfactive studio still life Rum Picasso Ben Sutherland  FlickrPhoto Stolen Ben Sutherland  Flickr

So, here I am in the middle of the day, overwhelmed and slightly disorientated by the strength of the image that this fragrance has managed to evoke. But how? How has that kind of beautiful false memory been triggered? One of the basenotes in Still Life, ambrox, I’m not at all familiar with so I do some research. Perfume Shrine describes ambrox: “(ambrox)…oscillates between an impression of ambergris (salty, smooth, skin-like), creamy musky & labdanum-like …something that smells warm, oddly mineral and sweetly inviting… approximating a person’s aura rather than a specific component…” Wow. That quite accurately explains how this story unfolded for me with Still Life. What a wonderful ride.

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Scentrist
Olfactive Studio has €85/50ml
LuckyScent has $195/100ml
Surrender To Chance has $20/the boxed set of four 1.2ml manufacturers samples

Tina G

Autoportrait by Nathalie Lorson for Olfactive Studio 2011


Post by Jordan River


Autoportrait by Olfactive Studio 2011

Autoportrait by Nathan BranchPhoto Taken by Nathan Branch

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot and elemi
Heart: Benzoin, incense and musk
Base: Oak moss, cedar and vetiver.

Boys, here is one for the 21st century man, not a flower petal in sight. The brief to the perfumer was a photo – create a fragrance inspired by the picture below. I first encountered this scent in December at World Beauty. When I trial a new scent I make sure not to read reviews or the even the notes on the packaging. February came and Autoportrait was still wafting through the scentmills of my mind. Back to the shop for another spritz. Back to the shop twice in a day. On my fourth visit the SA read out the marketing notes before I could protest. When I heard the words Nathalie Lorson I swooned as the attraction made sudden sense.

Autoportrait LUC LAPÔTRE olfactive studio

The photo that inspired Autoportrait. Photographer: Luc Lapôrte

Natalie created one of my best-loved ‘fumes, the warm masculine vetiver that is Encre Noire from Lalique. Autoportrait is Encre Noire released from the woods and flying above the clouds. The vetiver smells like the roots have been washed by a waterfall leaving a clear hint of something that is usually more vegetal.

Let’s take a quick side trip to the Moonlight Waterfall in Issan. Will you stroll with me? There is a path behind the waterfall. The waterfall will be an olfactory reference.

Sang Chan Waterfall Issan

Sang Chan Waterfall


Sang Chan waterfall

Sang Chan Waterfall

Sang Chan Waterfall, Issan, Thailand Photos: Jordan River

Back to Autoportrait: A tonal quality like a chime is what wafts from the bottle. Back in the office I sprayed this new delight. My Social Media Manager said “I’ve tasted that scent”. He was saying he had eaten elemi berries from the Phillipines. Resin from the elemi tree make up the top notes along with lemon and orange. We are seeing a lot of berry notes this season; the blackcurrant Co2 extract and absolutes hidden in The Enchanted Forest is another example of this direction.

After 30 minutes the scent becomes nice and dry. This is a skin scent meaning that you have to be reasonably but not intimately close to smell this. Your skin ++. Benzoin resin from Thailand, incense and oak moss or more likely a well composed synthetic substitute with a tiny drop of oak moss, are the other notes which all evaporate on me within 4 hours. No worries there, just top up.


Autoportrait is smooth with a clean feel but not in the laundry musk or American sense. Maybe clear is a better word. It’s not about the notes; this is a harmony of composition. A beautiful blend by a woman I admire.

Nathalie Lorson

Perfumer Nathalie Lorson

Love your work Nathalie. But this is not really work is it? This is an artistic expression which moves the vetiver story higher into the fragrant stratosphere. Next I am expecting vetiver in outer space.

Careful if you wear this: someone may want to eat you if they move close enough within the first 30 minutes. I know I like to taste everything.

Perfume Fridge

Center shelf, a welcome addition to the fridge

Autoportrait from Olfactive Studio is an EDP available in 50ml and 100ml.

Céline Verleure

Founder and Creative Director of Olfactive Studio, Céline Verleure

The photo is included in the box. My solution to flatten the curl of the cheap paper stock is to frame the photo for my office. At this price point ~ $US145, €85 (50ml) a higher gsm would be appreciated to carry this beautiful piece of art.

Further Information
Elemi is a berry tree from the Philippines. You can taste a dried version of the fruit at most Asian food stores.
Luc Lapôrte photography
Olfactive Studio website
Picturing Perfume – The Olfactive Studio story by Denyse Beaulieu

What Men Should Smell Like – Clayton Ilolahia

Olfactoria’s Travels – Olfactoria

The Non-Blonde – Gaia Fishler