Saturday Question: What Are Some Indie/Artisan Perfumes You Love?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

At APJ we have a Saturday Question. Everyone gets to chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it’s a fun event each week. Taking sides never means taking offence and everyone keeps it respectful and light, even though we can sometimes trawl the depths.

The idea is you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back regularly and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them. The aim is to generate real conversation and connection even though we are scattered around the globe.


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100s Of Bottles And Nothing To Wear!!


Post by Portia


Hello APJ Fumies,

Sometimes I go to my fragrance wardrobe and am completely overwhelmed. The choice seems impossible because there is so much but also seems impossible because nothing seems to be 100% right either. It’s the grossest of first world problems and I am ashamed of myself but there you have it. So how do I cope with these titanic traumas?

I don’t cope at all, what happens is I do one of two things…..

100s Of Bottles And Nothing To Wear!!

A Perfumistas Problem

So imagine me, it’s work time. I have bathed, made up and am ready to spritz. Lets say for my bath today I have used a citrus bubble bath because I’m unsure of my fragrance choice and most fragrances have citrus somewhere through them, usually up top, so I feel it’s a fairly neutral choice. I’m at my cupboard, the boxes are all named so while my eyes run down them I get mental images of the bottles inside: Designer, Niche, “Hermès, Piguet, Versace, Jacomo”, “Rochas, Caron” etc etc. NOTHING is jumping out at me and I’m due to walk out the door in 10 minutes, I need to spritz, get dressed, grab my bag and go….

What do I do?

Portia I Really Liked This Sample Box

Hit The Sample Box

There are a few sample/decant boxes around here. One of them is my “I really liked this” box. It’s got a bunch of fragrances that worked for me when I tested them, may have stayed on the desk for a week or two and are then cleared away in the next influx. Sure they’re unfinished and I’ve probably not bought a bottle of them but they are fine fragrances awaiting their time to shine again.

Quite a lot of these are 3, 5 or 10ml decants that I have bought in splits, smaller bottles from the Indie houses and a couple of extraits. Sometimes when I sample something new but don’t feel I’d ever go through 50ml of it I go to Surrender To Chance or My Perfume Samples and grab 5 or 8ml. There are the gifts of things that I may like from perfumista friends, perfumers, perfume houses etc. Lastly there are a few manufacturers minis.

I can always come to this box and Lucky Dip. This is a sensational, fun, surprising way to solve the problem for me. It also has led to me finally falling in love with a couple of maybes and buying bottles. Lolita Lempicka Elle L’Aime, Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, Annick Goutal Ce Soir Ou Jamais and Divine EdP all came to be full bottles this way.

Spritz An Old Favourite Portia

Spritz An Old Favourite

All of us have 5 or 10 scents that are our favourites. Having so much and sampling so much these beauties often get ignored. We love them, it’s already decided, they’ll be there tomorrow and all manner of other reasons get in the way of us wearing our special forever favourites as much as we can. This then is the perfect fix. We know that they work, we know they’re eye rollingly gorgeous and we know that they smell good to others while we wear them too.

Some of mine are Guerlain Shalimar and Mitsouko, CHANEL No 5, Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur (You’ll notice I’ve recently opened my second bottle!!), Madonna Truth or Dare, Liberté by Cacharel and SOIVOHLE Rosa sur Reuse. All over the top gorgeous and when I get to wear them it always a surprise that I don’t wear them more.

Do you ever get overwhelmed? What are your coping mechanisms?
Portia xx


Salvidor Dali + Rosa sur Reuse by Liz Zorn for SOIVOHLE

Hi there APJ,

Two of my favourite things are art & fragrance. Today when I chose my scent it was Rosa sur Reuse that I reached for. I was pretty liberal (3 to chest and 1 to hair) and now I am sitting in a fragrant cloud that immediately made me think of the surreal works of Salvador Dali. There is something perfectly surreal and new every time I wear it and it’s much like rediscovering Dali’s works every time you come across them, the absolute surprise at his perfectly poised rendering of the bizarre, shocking, humorous and strange.

Rosa sur Reuse is beautiful and completely other-worldly, it is enticing and borders on the edge of way too much yet always remains perfectly blended and disarming. I think that because Liz Zorn is an artist too, that she feels things in an artistic way could be why my mind jumps to art when I’m wearing her creation. That she takes the same palette of notes as every other perfumer and creates this magical scent, something that speaks to me and moves me from such a physical primal level all the way to my art infested brain is prett incredible. Rosa sur Reuse always feels like an old friend and a new love.

So though I’ve talked about Rosa sur Reuse before I really wanted to record my joy today and share it with you.

Salvador Dali

Salvidor Dali Galatea of the Spheres WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Salvador Dali Lincoln_in_Dalivision WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Salvidor Dali The Burning Giraffe WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Salvador_Dali Illumined_Pleasure WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

Rosa sur Reuse by Liz Zorn for SOIVOHLE 2012

Rosa Sur Reuse SoivohlePhoto Stolen SOIVOHLE

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Tuberose, red rose, red berries, parma violet, jasmine, lily, lilac, orchid, oakmoss, vanilla, woody notes, musk

Sadly Liz has discontinued Rosa sur Reuse but I stockpiled a whole load of it and feel able to spritz with abandon. It’s a peculiar, particular joy when you spray a fragrance that was never a mainstream blockbuster because the chances of finding more are so slim. So when I do wear Rosa sur Reuse I feel as if I am gifting myself this joy, a real gift to myself that takes little more than the press of a nozzle and a deep breath.

Do you have a fragrance that works like this for you?
Portia x

Rosa sur Reuse by Liz Zorn for SOIVOHLE 2012

Heya Perfume Junkies,

SOIVOHLE (pronounced See-Voh) is an acronym for Sending Out Inspired Vibrations Of Healthy Loving Energy. What an amazing place to start for a fragrance house! Liz Zorn, the nose and also a famous American artist brings a joyful, light filled exuberance to fragrance and being an independent has less regulation than the big boys. Translated, that means when Liz says there is oakmoss in her creation you are getting the good stuff. Many of her fragrances have an old school feel simply because she can use ingredients not seen in fragrance this decade in the retail chains.

Liz is selling off the Mixed Media section of the fragrance business and is going to concentrate on the naturals. I wrote recently about her Alpha Musc and how I was ordering back ups of my two special favourites Rosa sur Reuse and Jasmine Summer. Really I do not want to live without them so I now have an EXTRA backup of Rosa sur Reuse, and the prices are so cheap!!

Rosa sur Reuse by Liz Zorn for SOIVOHLE 2012

Rosa Sur Reuse SoivohlePhoto Stolen SOIVOHLE

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Tuberose, red rose, red berries, parma violet, jasmine, lily, lilac, orchid, oakmoss, vanilla, woody notes, musk

So I write about Rosa sur Reuse fairly regularly on the facebook fragrance boards (Aussie Fragrance Network (Aus) or Facebook Fragrance Friends (USA) are good ones) but haven’t reviewed it on APJ. I don’t know why but I thought I had done a review here…..

We have planted some lovely spicy and jammy smelling small floribunda yellow roses on mum’s grave that seem to need zero care to put forth enormous stems of flowers throughout the season. The brilliant flowers in front are everlasting silk ones that my Aunty changes every season but you can see the sprays growing up the back filled with rosebuds. We were the first at the cemetery to ask if we could plant a garden in mum’s grave in 2001 and since then it has become a bit of a thing. The newer graves all look so bright and lovely and though we would visit Mum regularly anyway it does give us an extra reason and a thing to do while we are there. I must look like a complete MADster doing the gardening, watering, burning incense and Hell Bank Notes and quietly chatting to my Mum the whole time.

Mum's Grave January 2015

Strawberry sweetness like a strawberry cola over a beautiful big jammy rose

The sweetness that opens is the most luscious stylisation of roses ever. Though it’s so much more than a rose smell, that kind of makes Rosa sur Reuse even more photo-realistic. You know when you are smelling roses in the garden? Even roses on the same bush at different times in their bloom or throughout the day will have quite distinctly different fragrances. So in my mind it says, “Maybe there is a moment when a real life rose smells EXACTLY like this.” Intoxicating and beautiful there is no mistaking that you’re wearing a perfume, even one spritz of this EdT is a dense scent, of course when I’m home I give it 2 on the chest and one on each wrist and then I am a WALL OF ROSES! Maybe this is what it smelled like in Sleeping Beauty’s enclosure?

The sleeping beauty (1921) oil on canvas 91.4 x 111.8 cmPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

After the initial fireworks burn off, around the one hour mark, I get a green-ness that speaks to me of fresh cut rose vegetation and maybe even the woody green scent of stem too. It bolsters the fruity rose and gives a new dimension to Rosa sur Reuse. As we head towards dry down, the woods and vanilla move in to replace the fruit with a soft focus warmth but my skin never lets me lose sight of the fact that this is first and foremost a rose soliflore. I get 5-7 hours of wear depending on the day and Rosa sur Reuse stays heavily fragrant until during its last hour it fades to nothing.

SOIVOHLE still has loads of the Clearance Sale items left and you can get 11ml of Rosa sur Reuse for $12.50! While you’re there check out Liz’s other magnificent stuff aty drop dead gorgeous prices.

Portia xx


Orris Ochre by Liz Zorn for SOIVOHLE 2012

Hello Indie Lovers,

One of my favourite Indie Fragrance Houses is SOIVOHLE with it fabulous Artist turned Perfumer Liz Zorn, who still paints incredibly evocative images that have become less attached to pictorial representation and more to finding and conveying emotion. So too with her perfumery, when I wear a SOIVOHLE fragrance I find it completely mood enhancing or changing, depending on the scent and my intention.

Today I would like to introduce you to a fragrance that Liz currently has in her Sale Section for $15/11ml. I know, outrageously affordable and in a perfect size to fit in your purse or as a travel frag, it also looks very nice on the dresser.

Orris Ochre by Liz Zorn for SOIVOHLE 2012

Orris Ochre SOIVOHLE

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Orris root, wild orange, violet, honey, narcissus, cedar, suede, muhuhu (very hard to find wood), palisander rosewood

Orris Ochre opens on my skin with honey and orange peel, there is a soft powdery fuzz too that reminds me of pith. Dabbed I get much more iris in the opening and it is clear and clean, carrot rather than dirt but with a vegetative depth that may be the violet leaf. When I sprayed though I get a lovely warmth, a feral animal heat both sexy and intriguing. They could be two entirely different fragrances. Most interesting.

 Orris Ochre SOIVOHLE See-Ming Lee FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

It takes about 20-30 minutes for the two different applications to merge into more related scents and they seem to come together as the woods appear, old dry furniture wood made even more reminiscent of old through the honey. It smells like my 1960s sideboard that has been beeswaxed every few months by my mother and now me since it was new. There is a beautiful richness to its smell now that is both waxy honey and wood. The lovely iris goes all soft and fluffy on me, weaving through the woods and after about 4 hours my skin smells like that lovely, fresh washed, just worked out, healthy young flesh smell.

Orris Ochre SOIVOHLE Carlsons WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

It is absolutely intoxicating and I can’t help putting my nose down my top and huffing hugely. I smell like the lovely nubile young musclebound men I used to tryst with many, many years ago after the disco. It is an extremely specific smell of health: fresh, soft skin over rock hard muscles that have been dancing and are now fresh washed and ready to cavort. This is the EXACT smell. Gorgeous.

This lovely scent stays around for about 4 hours on my skin, much longer on my clothes. My jumper still smells beautiful at lunch time the next day, it will need a wash but maybe not this week. Really excellent scent.

Don’t miss the SOIVOHLE SALE<<< JUMP

Which of the SOIVOHLE fragrances have you tried?

Portia xx



NEWS! NEWS!! Kentucky Bourbon Rose by SOIVOHLE 2014. Limited Edition

Hello lovelies,What a wonderful bit of excitement this is. Liz Zorn has done a short run of 25 bottles of extrait and we are the first in with the news. Thanks Linda for the tip off. Below is stolen directly from the SOIVOHLE website and if you are buying here is the contact email sales@soivohle.comPortia xx

Kentucky Bourbon Rose

This Saturday is Derby Day. To be precise Kentucky Derby Day. To celebrate my Kentucky roots and birth state I am releasing Kentucky Bourbon Rose on Saturday. This is a Numbered Edition of 25/4.5ml bottles.


We will have a pre-order period beginning today. Included in all pre order packages will be an  early release 11ml atomizer of our Spring 2014 Limited Release: Magnolia 826 eau fraiche. Magnolia 826 will be available mid-May.

If we sell out during the pre-launch all orders will ship with the Magnolia 826.

Orders placed with a May 3rd or later date stamp will not have the Magnolia 826.

There are only 25 bottles in this edition that was created over a period of years. A fine Kentucky Bourbon was tinctured with organic Mexican Vanilla Beans to create the carrier/base for the parfum.

Rose Absolutes from Morocco, Bulgaria and Egypt were blended with a harmonious accord of spices including a touch of clove and cinnamon, with a natural oakmoss accord that included green and brown oakmoss. The concentration is +50%.

To insure that this is a truly artistic work there was no formula kept, no notes taken or measurements of any kind recorded other than the amount of carrier to materials used.

Kentucky Bourbon Rose will never be made again..

Top 10 Spring/Autumn Fragrances 2014 Perfume Reviews

Hello Gorgeous APJ Family,

It’s Top 10 Spring/Autumn Fragrances time again, my favourite seasons are Autumn and Spring, the mid seasons. I love that in both these seasons the weather can be remarkably similar, sunny and warm on one day, freezing or blustery on another, nights are cool to cold and so the overall wearings are quite similar. Yes, we can grab a white floral to really ring in Spring or remember Spring in Autumn but then it’s also nice to spritz a heavy amber on those super cold nights and a sweet fizzy citrus will work almost anytime. These fragrances are on my desk and within easy spritz reach and they only stay on the desk while they are getting regular spritz time, if they’ve been sitting there for more than a fortnight without attention they go back in the cupboard.

Top 10 Spring:Autumn Fragrances mrhayata FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Top 10 Spring:Autumn Fragrances PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Top 10 Spring/Autumn Fragrances 2014 Perfume Reviews

24 Faubourg EdT – Hermès: White flowers and fruit that melt into ambery goodness. How can you resist this lovely gem from Hermès. Every time I spritz it I wonder why I don’t do it every day. I love the bottle, that it’s Hermès and that I smell fantastic for 4-6 hours.

Anyway – Juliette Has A Gun: ADDICTIVE!! Beware Anyway. Nothing like I’d ever thought I wanted to smell. A citrus and, though it doesn’t say it anywhere, pineapple concoction that heads into woods and oudh territory throughout its life. the ultimate drag queen fragrance, so feminine and butch at the same time.

Futur – Robert Piguet: The ungreenest green ever. Sappy, sweet, green and extremely wearable all year round. Futur has been out of the cupboard and on my skin quite a bit lately and it fits any occasion.

Liberte – Cacharel: A screaming, sizzling, BarBQ’d orange that is so sugary and ends up in a vanilla/patchouli/orange finale. I’ve loved it for years and now that it seems to be discontinued I’ve had to grab a couple of back up bottles.

Mohur – Neela Vermeire Creations: The headiest, most complex and wonderful rose there is. Surrounded by interesting other notes and accords but it is the rose that shines through for the whole of Mohur’s life. I am crazy for this fragrance and can’t wait to have a Mohur Extrait bottle.

Shalimar EdP – Guerlain: My old faithful. Shalimar fits every season, every mood and every event. From it’s citrus gelato opening to the resinous, vanilla and leather dry down I love Shalimar through and through. If I had to pick a fragrance to be my one and only Shalimar would be it.

Sharp – Andrea Maack: A new entry into my life in FB. I am enjoying Sharp a lot. Weird, synthetic orange blossom packed tight with musks and an ambery vanilla, all washed over by an unearthly metal/marine accord that is both enticing and repellent. Sharp is both the freshness of Spring and the coming darkness of Autumn.

Skin on Skin – L`Artisan Parfumeur: Skin on Skin is an interesting fragrance, poo poo’d by many of the fragrance intelligentsia because of it’s similarity to Traversee du Bosphore. I have now spent time wearing both, though not simultaneously, but I like the plastic saffron edge and the cool suede. There are more similarities between Bottega Veneta and Skin on Skin to my nose and Iris Prima has some too. I spritz Skin on Skin a LOT.

Vanille & Narcisse – L’Occitane: So you want something cheap and cheerful? Something that has the narcissus of spring and the vanilla of autumn? Look no further. Vanille & Narcisse is wearable, pretty, inexpensive and a great wear. This is one I would recommend as a gift for any non perfumistas and many who are. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Wild Ginger Chai – SOIVOHLE: The sweet, spicy, ginger and milk opening. The dry, black tea smell and the memories of India. I love Liz Zorn’s work, she captures my imagination every time and her prices are so freaking reasonable for fragrances that are world class. Yum.

So there they are. My current mid-season Top 10. They will probably be changed by next week but right now these ten fragrances are getting good skin time and working extremely well in the changeable conditions that the mid-seasons hand us.

Loads of love to you all, wherever and in what ever weather,
Portia x

The roses of Heliogabalus oil on canvas 132.7 x 214.4 cmPhoto Stolen Wikipedia