Greg Lauren by Ralf Schwieger for Barneys New York 2013


Post by Portia


Heya APJ,

Here is another from the Natalie APB Gift Bag. As I slowly make my waythrough them I am finding it increasingly interesting the things that she felt I ought to try, or that would be very me. This looks like a 5 or 8ml decant and when Natalie gave me the bag she said to pay special attention to anything larger than a sample.

Greg_Lauren_and_Elizabeth_Berkley Wikipedia

The backstory is that Greg Lauren is the nephew of “Ralph”, an actor turned artist and fashion designer. His 2016 S/S Mens is very down & out in Beverly Hills, working in a coal mine, plantation worker, op shop chic and sleeping rough. I saw only two pieces in the whole parade that had me even mildly interested but I think perhaps I’m no longer his target market. The boots in the first half reminded me of Van Gogh’s boots and some of the hats were killer in an Oliver kind of way. Actually, even though I hated most of it and thought it pretentious pap I did enjoy the theatricality and the bleak colour palette, there was also a fair amount of whimsy in there.

Greg Lauren by Barneys New York 2013

Greg Lauren by Ralf Schwieger

Greg Lauren Barneys New York FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Sea notes, tonka bean, vanilla

Greg Lauren for Barneys is really good. Fragrant but demure, yet it is insistent that you notice it. It calmly straddles the department store/designer/niche divide and elegantly plants itself as something other, something a little more interesting. For me the sea notes reign, they are a great crossover between the gym set aquatics of the 1990s and the modern beach scent, there is something oddly disquieting about the notes as if you are near the boardwalk and every now and then you get a hint of the seaweed and scunge collected there.

Tonka and vanilla are there right from the start and in the beginning it is ALL about the thick, sweet resinous warmth which is cut through with this seaside something other. My mind is taken firmly to one of the Andrea Maack frags and also to a crew that did seasonal frags that I liked but can’t remember their name. There is also a salty-buttered popcorn thing that wanders around and in & out.

Greg-lauren-edp-barneys-new-yorkPhoto Stolen Barneys New York

Every Greg Lauren for Barneys wear is different and each time I pick up new things: caramel, dried flowers, burning oil, spices, coconut, hair wax, Indian milk sweets and bread. There is also a salty-buttered popcorn thing that wanders around and in & out. Freaky fragrance but Oh-So-Wearable. This one will definitely get you noticed and it sticks like glue, 19 hours later there is still a hum of difference over my skin.

If I was in the USA right now I would have been on my way to the store by now and have bought myself a bottle, Natalie was right, this is totally freaking YUMMY!

A few of the reviewers talk about the perfumer Ralf Schwieger who has made some fairly sensational niche stuff including Afternoon of a Faun by ELdO, Iris Nazarena by Aedes de Venustas, Orange Sanguine for Atelier Cologne and Christopher Street for Charenton Macerations. Everyone talks about how he hand finished every bottle in a paint splattered, antiqued, derelict hipster way. I think that’s cool.

Greg Lauren Patchwork Hoodie Barneys New YorkPhoto Stolen Barneys New York

Further reading: Now Smell This and Ca Fleure Bon
Barneys New York site has $195/100ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml

Did you get to try it? Has Greg Lauren shown up on your radar yet?
Portia xx

Liam's Top 3 Frederic Malle Roses 2015


Post by Liam


The ultimate flower, a total chameleon of the fragrant spectrum. A rose’s nuances are broad and all-encompassing from woody notes, citrusy overtones, herbal impressions, and delectable fruity tinges whilst lending itself so easily to dank agarwood oriental creations, rich gourmands, and powdery scents with a focus on makeup or femininity. No wonder the Editions de Parfums lineup from Frederic Malle has several rose fragrances!

Frederic Malle Roses Daniele Barucco FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Liam’s Top 3 Frederic Malle Roses 2015

Lipstick Rose Frederic Malle FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Lipstick Rose by Ralf Schwieger for Frederic Malle 2000

The risk of smelling like a grandmother always scared me, however Ralf Schwieger turns the smell of lipstick into a sexy medley of intricate notes that firmly plays with the lipstick impression.

Here, the waxy aspects of lipstick are fully heightened. Sweet musks with an almost edible trail form the lingering base, which twirl around a duotone heart of rose and violet. The lipstick impression here is crisp, vanilla-hued and candy-like … And despite my gender this makes me want to source some lipstick and wear it, to experience the sensation of glamour and magnetic attraction without the prominent flounce found in larger floral bouquets. This is a respectable rose fragrance, with a subtle amount of glam found through the raspberry and its rich trail. The projection is subtle on the skin, but the lingering sillage is prominent – truly like a goodbye kiss.

For me, the vintage inspiration is most captivating and I am instantly reminded of times I snuck into my grandmother’s room and scuffled around her makeup drawers with an innocuous curiosity.

Une Rose Frederic Malle FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Une Rose by Edouard Flechier for Frederic Malle 2003

In this fragrance, the olfactory portrait of a rose flower is extended to feature everything. Imagine the anatomy of a rose – The bright red petals and the stamen, the green leaves, stem and thorns. Each fundamental feature of the rose utilised. Une Rose opens like a green and vegetal rose; particularly a dark shard of green with heavy and dense overtones. Une Rose, meaning ‘one rose’ or ‘a rose’, is a soliflore fragrance in the least soliflore way possible. One is hit smack bang with a wet rose pulled out of the ground, roots and all. Dank with the impression of earth, truffle, and petrichor in the background, Une Rose gives rose an exciting treatment combining it with a taut backbone of strong black Perigord truffle.

Une Rose melts and projects off the skin, with the truffle base at the origin of this sensuous rose. To link the carnal smell of skin and the vegetal nature of the flower, I detect an undercurrent of vetiver and patchouli adding a woody and lush edge, with the erotic severity of animalic castoreum. Dig deeper, and a warm and spicy red wine note can be found – adding to the deepness of Une Rose.

Wear it and own it. Une Rose is an intellectually composed fragrance that causes tremors when worn and projects sternly.

Portrait of a Lady Frederic Malle FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Portrait of a Lady by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle 2010

Portrait of a Lady has excited a perfume audience in a way that seldom occurs. Here the magic happens – in which natural compliments are explored and any richness is cut to give delicacy. What happens here also is overloading done to the extreme – with Malle claiming that the Turkish rose absolute and patchouli absolute here is the most used ever in perfume history, about 50%. To add to this lavish composition, orientalism is favoured with a symphony of ingredients added – oud, incense, pepper, and clove, appealing to those who love the drama of perfume, with evident transitions of rose that intensifies and perpetually changes on the skin.

This is a spicy turkish delight, with emphasis placed on the word ‘delight’. It is viscous, and screams opulence at the highest level possible with a penetrating angular projection – it is loud but never deafening.

Surrender To Chance has samples of all three fragrances

What’s your favourite rose? How would you describe it in 3 words?
Liam x

Breathe: Afternoon Of A Faun: Etat Libre d’Orange

Sometimes APJ,

You can merely tread water and breathe, stand still, look around you for a moment and breathe. Three deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. It’s interesting how this small thing can put a little perspective on the world you inhabit. It gives you time to remember that no matter how bad your predicament, others are much worse off. It also gives you a moment to say thank You for something, anything, the one thing good you may be able to recall.

Tonight I am wearing

Afternoon Of A Faun by Ralf Schwieger for Etat Libre d’Orange 2012

The Afternoon of a Faun Etat Libre d`Orange fragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Bergamot, pepper, cinnamon, incense, immortelle, orris root, myrrh, leather, benzoin, rose, jasmine, oakmoss

I like to spritz like crazy and just sit somewhere quiet and breathe in the green peppery leather that is both warm and cool on my skin and works perfectly in winter and summer, giving almost entirely different rides in disparate temperatures.

Today it’s been a fizzy green citrus floral that burned down to a slightly sweaty leather/woods/incense feel after wearing it to work. Now I’m home and changed I enjoyed the ride so much I am doing it again.

Double spritz on chest and Breathe



Aaaaaaah. Heaven.

I have been a super bitch this week. It’s the end of a completely fabulous year and I am tired, we are all cramped in this apartment, there is still masses of unpacking undone, Christmas is upon us and to be honest, I am a cranky ole bitch. It’s been a don’t even look at me the wrong way this week because I will gut you with a look and feed your entrails to the dogs with my words. Jin came and had a quiet word to me tonight about it and he is right.

Breathe sunset danigeza PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay


verb: breathe; 3rd person present: breathes; past tense: breathed; past participle: breathed; gerund or present participle: breathing
take air into the lungs and then expel it, especially as a regular physiological process.
“she was breathing deeply”
synonyms: inhale and exhale, respire, draw breath, puff, pant, blow, gasp, wheeze

Breathe Siam Sunset Steve Jurvetson FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Chemist In A Bottle and The Non-Blonde
LuckyScent has $149/100ml
Etat Libre d’Orange has €110/100ml (Delivers to the world)
Surrender To Chance starts at $4.50/ml

What do you do when the world overwhelms you?

I could do with some hints……
Portia xxxx

I have written about Afternoon Of A Faun before and it was 22 December 2013!! How freaky is that?

Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes Etat Libre d`Orange


Post by Ainslie Walker


This fragrance was a blind buy on ebay. I liked the idea of smelling something ricey and inspired by the Phillipines. I read about notes of ginger, coriander, lime and shiso. Coconut, rose, cardamom, jasmine, cinnamon and rose. Tonka bean, vetiver, musk, amber, leather and castoreum – They sounded intriguing and reminiscent of a good Asian inspired Spa menu…

Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes

by Ralf Schwieger for Etat Libre D’Orange 2012

Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes Etat Libre d`Orange FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica lists the following accords:
Top: Ginger, coriander, lime, shiso
Heart: Coconut, cardamom, jasmine, cinnamon, rose
Base: Tonka bean, vetiver, musk, amber, leather, castoreum

“Fils de dieu comes from the Philippines to spread a message of warmth and enlightenment. Here, find an innocent wisdom that points to dreams and liberation. This is the golden eye that reflects beauty and conflict, rapture and pain. Fils de dieu is an emotional fragrance, a scent that requires a sympathetic connection between the server and the served, the giver and the taker, and the willingness to exchange roles.” Controversially this fragrance was originally known as “Philippine Houseboy”

I did a sneaky snipe-purchase, getting the bottle for under $50.

Whist writing my review of Afternoon of a Faun, also by Etat Libre D’Orange I noticed it’s made by the same nose, Ralf Schwieger, in fact this was his first fragrance for them.

As soon as I collected my parcel from the post office I tore it open and sprayed it on my wrist. It was soft, powdery and ALMOST zesty..very citrusy, but more like the pith of a citrus fruit, not quite the fresh rind..possibly mandarine, tangerine and lime. I waited. I think I could smell some rice. Or something starchy, rounded. For a moment a glimpse of something from my memory…a year ago – eating “Thailands best” sticky rice and mango dessert in Bangkok..slightly ricey and very very slightly citrus-coconut.

Fils de Dieu Etat Libre D’Orange Thai Sticky Rice Mango WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

Was it now heading down the route of an eu de cologne…? More pith, powder with some ginger and cardamom..softened by a hint of jasmine. Then it bent unexpectedly, to synthetic castoreum. The end….well not the end, actually, the castoreum hung around…dancing nearby was a hint of some slightly cheaper floral bouquet notes, a touch of sweet warmth..maybe cinnamon and amber and sweetened babypowder with a hint of citrus and slightly dirty, leathery castoreum….this combination of smells, conjoured all sorts of images..(Some I don’t like to see when in Asia) It is certainly soft, fresh enough and never going to be too strong in an office on a hot and humid day. For me however, what starts out as a beautiful hint at something different, ends up bland and boring.

Fils de Dieu Etat Libre D’Orange Zesting_an_orange WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Not one to give up, the next day I sprayed it on some smelling paper strips, and all day the wafts from that were AMAZING – soft and breezy reminding me of soft, cloudy, citrusy smells..a touch of pina colada coconut, sticky rice, some gingery lime salt scrub in a spa. Lime which in drinks always has a slight coconut scent to me. Sunshine. Happy thoughts.
The package has a sub heading; Files de dieu “du riz et des argrumes” son of god of rice and citrus – he brings the sunshine. On paper, both written and sprayed, yes he did.

Further reading: Australian Perfume Junkies and Candy Perfume Boy
Etat Libre d’Orange has €69/50ml
LuckyScent has $80/50ml
Posh Peasant has samples from $4/ml

Has anyone had better luck than me on their skin? I would love to hear about it.
Ainslie Walker x

The Afternoon of a Faun by Ralf Schwieger for Etat Libre d`Orange 2012


Post by Ainslie Walker


Named after a Russian Ballet, this fragrance certainly is a dance, and tells a story. But not a pretty one. Nor a sexy one either. According to Wikipedia, a faun is a rustic forest god or goddess of Roman mythology often associated with enchanted woods and the Greek god Pan and his satyrs. Half man, half goat. I’m thinking big sexy leather and man smells, but I’m getting A LOT more goat. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE goats…but I think this this one’s going feral.

Nymphs and SatyrPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

CS Lewis describes Mr. Tumnus, the Faun in his Narnia series as having reddish skin, curly hair, brown eyes, a short pointed beard, horns on his forehead, cloven hooves, goat legs with glossy black hair, a “strange but pleasant little face,” and a long tail.

The Afternoon of a Faun by Ralf Schwieger for Etat Libre d`Orange 2012

The Afternoon of a Faun Etat Libre d`Orange FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Bergamot, pepper, cinnamon, incense, immortelle, orrisroot, myrrh, leather, benzoin, rose, jasmine, oak moss

I’m first hit with a big 80’s oak moss projection…My Dad wore grey flannel in the 80’s and it’s as if he has blasted past on his way out to work, doused. Saving the day, an aerated twist of iris and green dry foliage notes break in and take over. I feel its well structured, and giving me all the right imagery, but I’m not sure I like it. There’s something pungent. Daisies? Pee? Maybe it’s the immortelle?


Not a pretty mix….more like some herbal witches brew. I WISH I could smell the jasmine or rose, but nope. I’d like to smell some hints of violets and more orris, for an enchanted forest, but no. Suddenly I am reminded of the smell of autumn leaves, as if I am kicking my way through them, or rakeing them up, dry, crispy leaves, crackling, underneath earthy moist mossy smells are also being exposed. I THINK I like it a little more. In fact this is my favorite moment in my Afternoon with a Faun.

The Afternoon of a Faun Etat Libre d`Orange glade PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Spicy, sparkly and fresh it continues. Playful and tart. Despite all the spice I’m not reminded of any foods so to speak. There’s no gourmand. I don’t like it much on my skin, and I cannot imagine nuzzling up to someone with it on either. It’s old fashioned, almost old mannish…slightly dated, and synthetic. I’m struggling, but slightly enchanted to make it through to the end.

I have a headache. I can smell it all day on the other side of the room. I am sensitive to one of its ingredients, but which one??

There’s something sweet, maybe fruity I’m thinking berries and brambles, but again none in particular. Maybe some frankincense, but not the smoking variety, and some cinnamon-sweetness. I think the Faun must be trotting about on a warm sunny autumn day. Kicking up earth, herbal roots, moss, moss and more moss…berries…herbal…and peeing in delight. Something does sparkle..maybe more of a sprinkle? Perhaps the ballerina has an old injury and is wearing a STRONG herbal liniment…a Thai healing balm smell. Could be cinnamon, possibly medicinal Myrrh. Immortelle is also commonly found in liniments, so maybe why I make this connection.

The Afternoon of a Faun Etat Libre d`Orange Linament Francis Storr FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Australian Perfume Junkies and Chemist In A Bottle
LuckyScent has $149/100ml
Etat Libre d’Orange has €110/100ml (Delivers to the world)
Surrender To Chance starts at $4.50/ml

Dry. Green. Twisted green. I like the green. I’ve read one reviewer who thinks the green smells of celery. I know what they mean, and yet I don’t agree. Instead, I am picturing the dark green suede platform clogs my kindergarten teacher used to wear. Weird, but interesting. The drydown is gentler, leathery suede.

Despite busting to wash it off, and pack my decant away in a tightly sealed zip lock bag, far far away, I enjoyed trying Afternoon with a Faun. It’s EXACTLY what it says on the bottle!!

Ainslie Walker

Afternoon Of A Faun by Ralf Schwieger for Etat Libre d’Orange 2012

Hey Fragrance Fiends,

Having loved the Claude Debussy Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun as a child, it was on one of my Dad’s records and it had some heavy hitters after it but I thought that this was so beautiful and soft by comparison. A gentle, pastoral piece of loveliness. I could imagine the naughty faun watching beautiful languid girls going down through a paddock to the water to bathe, laughing and carefree, the trill of their voices mixing with the gurgle of the river. Anyway enough of that, Etat Libre d’Orange released their fragrance in 2012 with a sister, Dangerous Complicity (which I found a bit meh) but…

Afternoon Of A Faun by Ralf Schwieger for Etat Libre d’Orange 2012

The Afternoon of a Faun Etat Libre d`Orange fragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Bergamot, pepper, cinnamon, incense, immortelle, orris root, myrrh, leather, benzoin, rose, jasmine, oakmoss

Afternoon of a Faun is a totally different and much more enjoyable piece of fragrant art. Unusual, nuanced, enveloping and slightly awkward it is both fun and pretty. The lovely wet pepper and citrus opening that quickly becomes deepened and broadened by the spices and immortelle, it’s cool and elegant iris all underpinned by a sweet darkness that feels both alluring and a little bit wicked. Afternoon of a Faun is not sensual in the bodily scent or skank way but it does have a wonderful frission of notes that keep me sniffing my hand compulsively because i can’t quite believe that it smells like it does. There is a vegetal funkiness, a dankness or earthiness that must be the oakmoss, immortelle and leather combination (or quite possibly something unmentioned in the notes list). Sadly i am too unschooled to really be able to parse this out. Through the heart I am seriously thinking Afternoon Of A Faun is a vetiver fragrance on my skin, not in the notes but it does have that feel and later the spice and rose make definite star turns.

The Afternoon of a Faun Etat Libre d`Orange Henri_Rousseau wikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Excellent sillage but only moderate projection and a good life at around the 6 hours mark before I lose the ability to smell it completely, Afternoon of a Faun becomes a softly insistent resinous wash in its last couple of hours and I find the ride enjoyable and interesting when I take special note but easy enough to wear as a daily scent too.

Gaia says, “The Afternoon of a Faun” is the name of a French poem written by Stéphane Mallarmé between 1865 and 1867 and published in 1976 (thank you, Wikipedia). Lucasz tells us that it was the 100 year anniversary of original L’après-midi d’un faune ballet choreographed for The Ballets Russes by Vaslav Nijinsky and that the inspiration here are the nymphs and fauns playing together.

The Afternoon of a Faun Etat Libre d`Orange John_Reinhard_Weguelin WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

I don’t know if you ever read E M Forsters short stories but The Story Of A Panic tells the story of young Eustace being changed forever by the attentions of a faun. The whole omnibus is excellent reading but I always loved The Story Of A Panic especially. There is something of the foreboding in ELdO’s Afternoon Of A Faun that we get in the E M Forster story.

Here is Prelude to Afternoon Of A Faun by Claude Debussy, the music and fragrance are a perfectly symmetrical accompaniment.

Further reading: Chemist In A Bottle and The Non-Blonde
LuckyScent has $149/100ml
Etat Libre d’Orange has €110/100ml (Delivers to the world)
Surrender To Chance starts at $4.50/ml

What are your thoughts? Tried it? Wanted to?
Come on and join the conversation, I’d love to read your musings too>
Portia xx

Eau des Merveilles by Ralf Schwieger and Nathalie Feisthauer for Hermès 2004


Post by ElizaD


Holiday Greetings from the Emerald Valley! Here in Eugene, Oregon we have had the most extraordinary weather: it was sunny and bracingly cold, and then it started to snow. Snow in this valley is rare. When the weather gets like this, I always turn to one perfume, which I am wearing today. In fact, it will probably remain my scent of choice through Christmas. And here’s why.

Eau des Merveilles by Hermès 2004

Ralf Schwieger and Nathalie Feisthauer

Eau des Merveilles Hermes FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange, lemon, elemi
Heart: Amber, pink pepper, violet, pepper
Base: Fir, oakmoss, cedar, vetiver

Eau des Merveilles reminds me of fir trees, rum toddies and those chocolate oranges you can only find around here during the holidays. You know the kind–their yumminess is enjoyed by smacking the foil package against a table and eating the “sections”. The tradition in our family is to receive one in our stocking from “Santa”, and to enjoy it a bit at a time.

 SONY DSCPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Eau des Merveilles opens with that amazing squirt of orange, which never fades throughout the wearing, it just gets warmer and saltier, like the smell of someone who has just come inside after playing outside in the cold. After a half hour or so, the wood notes start to appear, and while I often find wood notes to be screeching, they are again softened, this time by the oakmoss. To me the vetiver and violet are barely detectable, but perhaps they are what also give Eau des Merveilles its saltiness. I am just beginning to learn how different notes play off each other to make another completely different smell. There has been some discussion about whether this fragrance contains ambergris, a waxy substance produced inside of sperm whales as a response to irritants in their digestive tract, and as precious as pearls, but since I have never smelled ambergris, I couldn’t say. With or without it, I love this perfume for its veritable lack of flowers: the salt highlights the sweetness of the other notes the way a few grains sprinkled on an orange bring out its juicy sparkle.

Eau des Merveilles Hermes Snowy_Mountains WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

The whole package conspires to transport me into the snowy mountains, where I have spent many happy hours cross country skiing through the glistening snow amongst the same evergreens that are used in this perfume.

Eau des Merveilles has decent sillage and longevity and fades away to soft woods and amber after a few hours. I find that this scent is best enjoyed when I wear it on the back of my neck or behind my knees–I am able to wear many fragrances this way, even though I work in a public office where strong fragrances are not always welcomed. And until the weather warms and it starts to rain and the holiday festivities are over, I’ll be sprinkled with drops of marvelous water.


Eau des Merveilles Hermes Alex FlickrPhoto Stolen Alex  Flickr

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and The Non-Blonde
Beauty Encounter has $20/15ml
My Perfume Samples start at $3/ml

Have you tried and did you like Eau des Merveilles or is it something that doesn’t interest you?

ElizaD xx