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Notes from a Sniffapalooza: Spring 2013

Roja Dove in Perfume Atrium at Bergdorf Goodman

Rock star perfumer Roja Dove at Bergdorf Goodman

I know there are a few of my readers who long to go to a Sniffapalooza but haven’t been yet (or weren’t able to go to this one). So here’s a quick writeup of just what occurs to me about the Sniffapalooza we just had, for May the Fourth be with you day and Cinco de Mayo.

Spring perfumes tend to be light and floral, and many a perfumista likes perfume that is darker and built on tougher elements, so spring Sniffapalooza perfumes aren’t for every fumehead; but they do have a very broad appeal. For myself, I would have been more interested in some of the launches if I hadn’t felt so strongly that it is foolish to introduce light airy versions of perfumes that have done very well in the last few years specifically because they aren’t light and airy. The past few years have seen some successes of perfumes that are far from difficult but still are fairly substantial, perfumes like Bottega Veneta and even, depending on how far you want to stretch it, Prada Candy. Do we need a Bottega Veneta Eau Legere? Some folks seem to think we do, “for summer wear”. Peh. I forgot it instantly, as I did Prada Candy L’eau, but if I bring myself to actually test them on skin at some future point you readers will be the first to know.

The breakfast at Bergdorf’s was exciting, as it always is; packed in a room with 70-odd perfume fans ready to hear about the new releases, you can’t help but get caught up in excitement. That said, as I’ve indicated, there wasn’t a ton I got excited about; though it is worth getting up at 6 on a Saturday to see Tom Crutchfield of the Annick Goutal department at Bergdorf and he is now introducing Hermes perfumes as well. I finally got to smell the Petit Fracas from Piguet; much as I love this brand, I did not get excited about this one. I suspect there may have been something up with my nose but I couldn’t smell at at all the chocolate that is supposed to be its claim to fame. (It’s supposed to be a lighter tuberose, á là original Fracas, with a hint of chocolate underneath. Didn’t work for me.) They also had the Pacific collection from Piguet and those were as forgettable as l’autres l’eaux. Jo Malone’s Osmanthus Blossom was probably the nicest of the bunch o’ l’eaux, but was completely overshadowed for me by THE ROJA DOVE COUNTER, and didn’t really have a chance of keeping my attention – even their own Blackberry & Bay is more interesting (though it is very pretty and I do love osmanthus).

Did I mention ROJA DOVE was there? I kept telling everyone I saw that I couldn’t believe that Bergdorf Goodman was now selling Roja Dove perfumes!! And everyone said “Duh, he was on the program.” Well, yes, but I figured he’d just be talking, not selling his perfumes!

I was super-excited because seriously I have been trying to figure out how to arrange a vacation to London and not look like I was just shopping for perfume (now that my friend the fabulous E. and her family have moved away from London it just looks suspicious, as I have no other real reason to go there).

More on Roja Dove himself in my next post, but it was just ridiculously exciting to get to smell so many of his perfumes right there in the store. And, as you can see from the photo (above, in the perfume atrium at Bergdorf Goodman), he was mobbed like the perfume rock star he is.

So my big perfume purchase of the weekend was a small bottle of his Amber Oud. I’d gone intending to buy another Amber Oud; I didn’t even know Roja Dove MADE an Amber Oud. A big purchase to make on the spur of the moment, you might say; but the perfume was that good, and it wasn’t that tough a call to devote most of my weekend’s budget to that one tiny 30 ml bottle.

Oh my god. No, I can’t describe it with any justice. I’m working on it.

And Roja Dove signed my bottle.

The Saturday lunch featured among other events a beautiful model wearing a beautiful crystal-embroidered lace Hayari gown, to backdrop Francois Damide’s presentation of the Hayari perfumes. Since I already own two of the three, I didn’t need more convincing, but it was a beautiful presentation and far more interesting than another paper flyer.

Bendel’s was crazy as it always is, but they were also carrying Tommy Sooni perfumes. For those who’ve been hoping Australian brand Tommy Sooni gets a storefront in New York (you can also buy them online at Luckyscent), the representative told me it was only an experiment, but I do hope this tough-to-find Australian perfume comes back to Bendel’s, or stays. Their scents are so classic. I rather liked Jinx the best – a big green-starting floral bouquet – duh. I am predictable.

Also got to see again The Loveliest Sales Associate In The World, and am looking forward to going back again.

The 7 Virtues had a nice spot in Lord & Taylor for the evening get-together, and it was nice to see so much attention being paid to this brand that works so hard to make a difference in the world with their perfume ingredient sourcing. Barb Stegemann of 7 Virtues (picture below) is very proud of their Vetiver and it is a very nice, very affordable Vetiver if you are looking for one.

Sunday I just arrived in time to sniff some biehl.parfumkunstwerke scents at Osswald, and the Denis Durand perfume by Micallef that has the beautiful lace-wrapped bottle. (It’s a gorgeous rose oud. Further thoughts about the biehls will be forthcoming.) Then headed over to the Emerging Artists Uncorked (EAU) lunch at Jo’s on Elizabeth Street. This is one of the big highlights of the weekend for me, as big as the Bergdorf breakfast; if you want to know what’s new and really cool, this is where to find that out. The incomparable Mark Behnke of Ca Fleure Bon MC’d as usual and as usual did a great job of introducing the small companies and putting their work into some sort of context so that they made an impression.

The highlights for me from EAU:

Nomad Two Worlds works with the aboriginal communities in Australia not just to make perfume but to make jobs. Their Raw Spirit – Fire Tree perfume is amazing. If you like wood, and I do, you will want to find it and try it (apparently only ABC Home? is carrying it in New York). It’s definitely a weird wood (fire trees are weird trees) and it doesn’t smell like anything else. They have a new perfume coming out, Sea Spirit, which contains actual extract of pearl and looks milky. It smells almost citrusy, but gets more light instead of more dark as it goes – it’s kind of weird too, not as weird as the fire tree and a hell of a lot more approachable for the average person, and I want some. Plus they do beautiful pearl jewelry, and I want some of that as well.

Blair Bloom is doing yet another subscription box program, JustBloom, but this one is for women over 40. Yay, and color me intrigued. Younger women can get in on it too, but for those of us over 40, I say again, yay. (Nice Mother’s Day gift idea.)

Francois Duquesne promises yet another collaboration between famous noses and the public where we can actually buy the perfume. Like a perfume development club, not reselling perfume produced by the big commercial houses. There’s been one of these announced a year for the last three years and nothing ever happens. I will be tuned in to see if this one, Fragrance Republic, gets off the ground.

7 Virtues at Lord & Taylor

Barb Stegemann and 7 Virtues at Lord & Taylor

And Ed Libassi, who tweets as the Frunkinator, has an app called Scent Trails which I cannot find in the iPhone store (I can’t figure out if it’s real yet or not? He talked as though it were), which will inform you of perfume stores in your area, and which you can update with your own inside info. I know from the popularity of Undina’s travel perfume shopping page (mirrored on this site) that people WANT to know about perfume info in other cities. Plus Ed was super engaging and isn’t planning to make a dime from this effort; it’s just based in the community. But if I can’t find it I can’t use it, so I’m a bit concerned about that. Hope it is wildly successful. He seems like a great guy.

That’s only about half the presentations but as you can well imagine, by this point, Brain Full. (Also, the banh mi hamburger was great.) I waved at the folks at Atelier Cologne but since I already own almost everything they make I schlepped on over to MiN NY to breathe for a moment, and due to the lovely sales folks and the 15% discount made my second purchase of the weekend, the Jovoy Ambre Premier I had planned as my primary purchase. I’m still half wishing I bought the Psychédélique but since I want them both this is perfectly fine.

Then I went home.

So what about you? If you went to Sniffa, what did you get? If you didn’t get to go, and wish you had, what would you like to have sniffed – or bought?

I have to go cuddle my Roja Dove Amber Oud.

Photos mine; published under Creative Commons license; may be used but only with credit and not for commercial purposes.

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8 comments to Notes from a Sniffapalooza: Spring 2013

  • I’ve never tried any of Roja Dove’s perfumes and hoped to do it this year in London but my plans changed and I’m not getting there 🙁

    It’s impressive: a bottle after the first sniff. How often doesit happen to you?

    • Judith

      I was going to say “not that often” but actually it does happen pretty often. If I decide I love something, it’s usually at first swoon. There aren’t many things that I just decide I like that I immediately decide to buy, but there are often things I decide I love and decide to buy.

      I don’t always buy it right away, though. I put it on a list and shop for the best price. Usually if it makes it on that list I do eventually buy it, though.

      Sniffapalooza can be a bit giddy-making and I do tend to make more impulse purchases there. Which is why I now set a budget. 🙂 Honestly some of the most interesting things are mentioned at the second-day breakfast and aren’t available yet. I totally would have bought a bottle of Sea Spirit if it were available; it doesn’t even have a US distributor yet.

    • Judith

      Also, I had gone specifically planning to buy another amber oud. So I had already arrived at a thought of what was the optimal amber oud, and that I wanted it. When I smelled RD’s, of course it hit that out of the ballpark; and since I didn’t have anything else I really wanted to buy (i.e., it fit into the budget), I bought the Roja Dove amber oud. Not a tough decision really.

      The honey note just slayed me.

  • Barbara

    A bottle signed by Roja Dove!! I own his book, but none of his fragrances.

    • Judith

      I’m not an autograph collector in the normal way of things, but it is nice to have and feels kind of special. It’s a nice reminder of getting to meet him in person, for sure.

  • […] you could’ve joined us for Spring Fling 2013? We do too! You can read the recaps at Unseen Censer and Many Cute Things. And… enter for a chance to win your very own Sniffapalooza Lunch Loot […]

  • Dear Judith
    Thank you for your kindness. I am thrilled you love my Amber Aoud.

    • Judith

      Oh my goodness, I missed this! Thank you so much – I still do love it. Such a beauty. And I’m delighted that your perfumes are available now at Bergdorf Goodman for more Americans to love!

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