My Top 5 Favorite Autumn Fragrances

As leaves are turning into beautiful orange, brown, red and yellow colors, we are slowly moving into autumn in Amsterdam. I have started wearing wool sweaters, thin shawls and warmer autumn fragrances although the weather we are having is exceptionally warm and sunny. But nature is showing us the season is really changing and we are getting ready for winter which is hard to imagine when feeling the actual temperature. I have been reaching for Mitsouko, PHI Une Rose De Kandahar, Slowdive, Flowerhead and burning Nordic Leather lately and will review them in a few  words to give you an impression.

1.Guerlain Mitsouko edt (bottle from 2017) is  a lighter, younger and more sparkling version of this classic perfume from 1919. Although I miss the warm peach and soft suede from the bottle I just finished (the one on the photograph) I love the brightness, citrus and powdery softness of this new Eau de Toilette for colder evenings and at night. It’s a very soothing and relaxing fragrance. I recently bought* a refill bottle at a very reasonable price online as these refill sprays will be discontinued. Worth a (re) try if you don’t like the edp, extrait or didn’t like it before. 

2. Tauer Perfumes PHI un rose de Kandahar, is a beautiful warm woody spicy rose, very much loved among perfume lovers. Due to the rare rose oil from Afghanistan it’s not always available. According to the official website it can be bought at the moment. Andy Tauer offers samples on his site as well so you can try them easily.

Notes: Apricot, cinnamon, almond, bergamot, Bulgarian rose absolute, rose from Kandahar, bourbon geranium, tobacco leaf, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, tonka bean, musk and ambergris. Perfumer: Andy Tauer Year: 2013

3. Byredo Flowerhead Eau de Parfum, this young and uplifting modern floral is not a warming autumn fragrance more a reminder of long sunny summer days and excellent for the warm sunny golden days we are having. A must try for tuberose lovers. It has quickly become ome of my favorite florale as it is such a happy fragrance. 

Notes: Angelica seeds, cranberries, sicilian lemon, sambac jasmine, rose petals, tuberose, suede and ambergris. Perfumer: Jerome Epinette Year: 2014

4. Hiram Green Slowdive. Slowdive is a honeyed golden warming and soothing fragrance. Although officially it is a tobacco centered fragrance on my skin it becomes much more honey centered. Slowdive is very suited for these warm autumn days inviting us to relax outside for a drink, cycle or lay in the grass in a park.

Notes: Neroli, orange flower, tobacco blossom, tuberose, honey, dried fruit, resin Perfumer: Hiram Green  Year: 2017

5. Scented Candle and Fragrance Cards Zara Home Nordic Leather. 
This scented candle is my favourite at the moment and excellent value for money. I wouldn’t have called the candle Nordic Leather as I don’t smell any leather. Nordic Oud or Wood would have been a more suited name as it is a very warming woody fragrance with sandalwood, incense and spices. Nordic Leather has incredible throw off and could be overwhelming if you are sensitive to fragrance. The candle is not very suited either if you don’t like fragrance leaning towards masculine.

The Nordic Leather fragrance cards are fabulous to scent clothes. But they could be overwhelming as well like the scented candle. Both are available online and at times on sale.

Concluding: Mitsouko, PHI Une Rose De Kandahar, Slowdive, Flowerhead and scented candle Zara Home Nordic Leather are my favorite Autumn fragrances at the moment.

*Read this excellent article of Persolaise on what to be aware of before buying and testing Mitsouko. Don’t let it scare you though!

All notes of the fragrances were taken from the Luckyscent website, except for the Zara Home Candle. Photographs made by Esperessence.

The Perfume: Play The Future Of The Navy District Of Amsterdam

About a month ago I visited cultural institute Mediamatic in Amsterdam to play an interactive perfume game. The game was organized by Mediamatic in collaboration with The Institute Art and Olfaction and Play The City.

Five fragrances had been created to represent different future options for an area used by the navy (Marine Terrein) in Amsterdam since 1655. A large part of this area was intended to be developed for other purposes than its original naval buildings.

The idea of the interactive perfume game was to smell 5 different fragrances through a vase (as on the photograph), choose a favorite, get a sticker with your choice and then look for 3 to 5 other visitors with the same sticker, to continue at the table of your chosen fragrance and get a decanted sample. Each perfume represented a different future for this naval area. A great and creative way to think about the future of your city. Every detail was beautifully executed from spray samples, vase to stickers as you can well see.

The 5 different future scenarios for the Naval Area were:

Scenario 1. Navy: Let the Navy stay in this area

Fragrance : White Military Marina

created by perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri

The first scenario was: Let the navy stay at this area. The perfume had elements of machines, green, canals, hygiene and humus to represent mechanical, natural and human parts of this area.

Perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri well known for his perfume house Nasomatto, lives in the centre of Amsterdam near the canals so he was a good choice to develop this fragrance. His creation scented of canals, manly sweat and iron. I used to live near a canal in Amsterdam in a student house and still remember the fresh and slightly salty smell of water, very well captured in this fragrance.

Scenario 2. Party Zone: Let’s have a party in this new hotspot

Fragrance : Love & Tonic

Created by perfumer Ricardo Moya

The second scenario was: Create a place for people to party outside. This perfume was my personal choice and created with gin and tonic in mind. It had elements of gin + tonic, love, dance, sunshine and flowers and scented slightly as a perfume people could wear to such a party. A light, happy and young scent.

Scenario 3. Luxury Apartments: create the home of your Dreams

Fragrance: Filtered Beans

Created by artist Niklaus Mettler

The idea was that coffee in a neighbourhood says a lot about the people who live in this area. The fragrance was created by tincturing 3 different kinds of coffee representing different groups living in Amsterdam. The classic Dutch coffee Douwe Egberts Rood Merk, Coffee from Ethiopia and Turkish coffee were mixed and left for 10 days in liquid (alcohol and dpg).  The idea was nicer than its scent. Not very surprisingly it smelled of coffee mixed with water.

Scenario 4. Create a place for social enterprises with refugees

Fragrance: Dew of Afghanistan

Created by Maki Ueda

Japanese Artist Maki Ueda was inspired by an Afghan woman she meet at a civic integration course. Maki Ueda used ingredients (I presume the rose) from Afghanistan bought from women trying to make a living in this country. For this fragrance she used rose, orange blossom and labdanum. I liked the scent of this uncomplicated light Rose and Orange Blossom fragrance as well. It could be worn as a skin scent.

Scenario 5. Create a place for sport, recreation and play

Fragrance: Splash! 

Created by Spyros Drosopoulos (Baruti perfumes and colognes)

Splash! was created as a joyful fragrance starting with water, grass and fresh air. As soon as the picnic starts a scent of prosecco wine mixes with sun tan and sweat. This scent smelled of grass, wet soil, joyfully fruity and slightly sweaty. Spyros Drosopoulos lives in Amsterdam as well and I can imagine he is familiar with the scent of having a pick nick in a local park.

The formula of three fragrances were published online as open source Filtered Beans, Dew of Afghanistan and Splash!.  I was given a sample of all fragrances to further try at home and be able to write about it.

The Dutch ministry of Defense quite unexpected decided  in the beginning of July 2018 to keep this area for their own purposes so option 1 the Navy staying was chosen. It’s rather unclear what is going to happen in the future with this area.

I like this playful way of making a decision for an area of Amsterdam although my choice was more inspired by the fragrance itself than the given options. Option 2 was my favorite scent representing Create a Party Zone but I would have chosen option 5 a place for recreation and play to benefit all inhabitants or option 3 apartments for people to live in, but not necessarily luxury ones. I thought the fragrances made by  Spyros Drosopoulos and Alessandro Gualtieri were quite interesting when I scented them more at ease at home on a blotter.

The way this project was executed was amazing, the vases to smell the perfumes at the beginning, the sprays which were given and the stickers were all very well prepared.

All fragrances can now be scented at Mediamatic as a permanent exhibition in Amsterdam. You can find more information here.

Disclosure: I was not given any compensation for writing this article. All photographs were made by Esperessence and my fiance.

Mood Scent 4 : Perfumes That Work For Everybody Else But You


It’s Mood Scent 4 time again! Tara from A Bottled Rose, Samantha from I Scent You A Day, Megan from Megan in St Maxime and I are all writing on the same subject every couple of months. This time we write about fragrances which work for everybody else except us. It might be due to skin chemistry, hormones or just personal taste. You can find the links to the others blogs at the end of this article.

I have chosen two fragrances very much loved amongst many perfume lovers: Parfum d’Empire Azemour and Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Portrait Of A Lady. Unfortunately both don’t work for me, here’s why.

Parfum d’Empire Azemour Les Orangers Eau de Parfum

Notes: orange, clementine, tangerine, grapefruit, coriander, cumin, black pepper, pink pepper, blackcurrant, galbanum, neroli, geranium, orange blossom, rose, hay, moss, henna and cypres (as of to Luckyscent)

Fragrance Family: Mossy Woods / Chypre (as of Michael Edwards)

Azemour was introduced in 2011 and created as a tribute to Morocco where it’s perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato was born and raised. The Eau de Parfum is said to contain all the parts of the orange tree from pulp, fruit, peel, leaves, to bark and earth. I found the use of all parts of an orange tree very appealing as I love everything from the orange tree. Azemour has had many positive reviews online (Bois de Jasmin, The Scented Hound and Olfactoria to name a few).

Orange Tree

Azemour starts very promising on my skin with golden sweet orange to continue quite rapidly into a very sour citrus. The glorious orange shines through from time to time showing a glimpse of the chypre I would like it to be but the dusty moss/hay and sour citrus notes ruin this Eau de Parfum completely for me. I was given a tester bottle when I purchased a fragrance a few years ago and used Azemour from time to time hoping for the better but alas the dusty moss/hay and sour citrus notes make it rather difficult for me to wear. My partner wore Azemour this summer and it smells amazingly warm bright and golden on him. I wish it smelled like this on me. My skin and Azemour just don’t match.

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Portrait Of A Lady Eau de Parfum 

Notes: rose, blackcurrant, raspberry, clove, patchouli,sandalwood, frankincense (as of the official Frederic Malle EU website)

Fragrance Family: Mossy Woods / Chypre (as of Michael Edwards)

Another well loved fragrance among many perfume lovers which doesn’t suit me is Frédéric Malle Portrait Of A Lady (often called in short PoaL). PoaL is said to originate from an accord of Frédéric Malle Geranium pour Monsieur. Some describe PoaL as a jammy rose with incense or as a dark rose. On my skin PoaL is very much about patchouli which I am not very fond of when it plays a prominent role. I get whiffs of jammy rose but mostly of very earthy patchouli which I can appreciate at certain moments but not for a whole day. Unfortunately the rose is not too noticable on my skin.

Bottomline: A perfume might not work for you due to personal taste, skin chemistry or hormones. Parfum d’Empire Azemour didn’t work due to my skin and probably hormones and Portrait of a Lady due to the prominent patchouli. So always test on your skin before buying a fragrance and monitor how it develops during the day. If you can test a few times.

You can read the choices of perfumes which don’t work for Tara from A Bottled Rose, Samantha from I Scent You A Day, Megan from Megan in St Maxime by klicking on their names.

Are there any perfumes which seem to work for everybody else except you?