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Where ya going, Little Red Riding Hood?

I long to walk through a cool dark forest. Long Island has been a little too horrible in the weather department lately: flooding from rain, boiling muggy heat, freezing temperatures in May. I want living nature but not to be fried or flooded or melted. Is it too much to ask?

Today the weather seems to want to make up with me, snuggling up to me with its cool breezes and its sunshine. Well, too late, Long Island. I’d still rather be in a forest.

Here are some forest-smelling options I’ve been considering:

EnchantedForestSampleEnchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince has some of the prettiest packaging I’ve yet seen. I was going to take a picture of the gorgeous sample I got from the Lovely Sales Associate at Henri Bendel’s but decided to swipe this better one from Fragrantica. Just look at this thing.

The Muse in Wooden Shoes has a much better in-depth review than I could do, and she’s absolutely right that this one is all blackcurrant, all the time, including that slight pee note that puts some people off blackcurrant. Like all Duchaufour fragrances, it’s beautifully done; like all Duchaufour fragrances that I can think of, it doesn’t wow me. If you like blackcurrant though, you’re going to like this.

As an overall perfume experience, though, you can hardly beat all the work that went into this one. It is absolutely not a perfume you’re going to smell everywhere; it is a very pretty perfume; it is a very pretty package (and the truly lovely people behind the fragrance who made presentations at Sniffapalooza were very clear about how much love and attention went into creating the packaging); and all of it together has a kind of a romantic air that feeds into some people’s feelings about perfume mystique. I can see this one making a great treat for someone who loves the smell of blackcurrant! But this one is not for me. It IS cool that you can buy a sample straight from the company; Henri Bendel in New York is carrying it too.

Nuit Étoilée by Annick Goutal has another ravishingly romantic nighttime forest in its packaging and ads. I think most perfume bloggers were captivated by the idea of a deep blue Goutal bottle. As with Amouage’s Interlude, I think for the most part this pretty blue bottle lured people in who were then disappointed. This is not a for-anyone type of scent. It has to be the scent for you. If you don’t want to smell yourself coming and going, as they say, then its uniqueness is a selling point. It doesn’t really appeal to the masses; it appeals to a certain person who wants to smell this way.

Nuit Étoilée opened much more fir-tree-like than I expected. But then it didn’t do anything that I expected for the rest of the time, either. It never resolved for me into anything that I could recognize, and perhaps that’s why it’s not one that I wear.

I’m not against mint in perfumes; I’m not against citrus, or conifer trees either. You might imagine that it’s kind of a weird combination, though, and to me, in the form of this perfume, it is. If there is tonka or anything else sweet in there backing it up, to my nose all I get is “weird”.

Like Interlude itself, I’m going to assume that this one is just beyond my smelling ability at this time. It’s clearly not a bad perfume, but like a wine that’s too nuanced or unique for me to appreciate, this one is just a combination that I can’t “get”. Some people like French cinema, some people like Laphroaig, some people like Nuit Étoilée. I did learn to appreciate Laphroaig, and perhaps some day I’ll crave this one.

If you want an interesting experience of a perfume meant to be walking through the woods, try this. It is far more woods-like than Enchanted Forest, which is a fruit bush at best. And it is far more challenging too.

norneNorne by Slumberhouse is the hardcore option for would-be Little Red Riding Hoods. This dark green scent from small house Slumberhouse rightly boasts that it contains not one synthetic or essential oil ingredient. This bottle (image swiped from, which carries it as does the house’s own online shop) is clearly for show, since when it comes I think it comes in one of their standard effectively heavy cylinder bottles (neither of the websites picture those bottles when you go to buy the juice). But this one doesn’t need pictures of a forest to tell you what it’s supposed to evoke.

Holy crap, guys. Seriously. If you didn’t know that it was composed entirely of absolutes created from local forest materials before you put it on, you’d certainly know it as soon as you did. This is, quite simply, a forest in a bottle. It’s composed, of course. So it is a perfumer’s creation evoking a forest in a bottle. But it also actually is a forest in a bottle, and the perfumer’s work here seems to be just balancing the incredibly strong, incredibly green materials into something almost wearable.

I say “almost” because to me this is a couture fragrance. You don’t spritz this on and go about your day like a ready-to-wear sweater. (My beloved questions sales materials that say that something is “easy to wear”. I respond that sometimes I do want to wear something that is NOT easy to wear.) You need to be willing to experience Norne. It is a great scent for meditating, for falling asleep, or for any time when you can be with your scent rather than just carrying it along with you.

Often perfume reviewers mention that lovely feeling of “What smells so great? Oh it’s me!” Norne will not do that for you, I think. You will never forget that you are wearing Norne. But if you want a real experience of olfactory art, Norne is not to be missed.

And if you want to play Little Red Riding Hood – remember to take your own axe. You can’t depend on passing lumberjacks to save you.

And because I can, the Little Red Riding Hood Chanel No. 5 commercial.

I’m not a big giver-away of stuff, because I have like six readers, and I don’t take freebies from any companies, and I don’t want to buy friends with give-aways; this site is just for my fun. But I do have an extra of these gorgeous carded samples of The Enchanted Forest and I hate to waste it and don’t have a perfume buddy in mind that I know would like it. So if there’s anyone out there who thinks they’d like it, drop a comment below. I’ll take comments till midnight Monday and then throw everything in a hat and choose a name. U.S. only please (sorry, Emily!) and you’ll have to be willing to email me your snailmail address so I can send it. OK? Let’s do this!

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