More biehls


I had a crushing perfume blow last week that I can´t quite bring myself to talk about yet, mostly because I´m embarrassed by how much it bothers me the way things didn´t quite work out.  So I, your trusty perfume handmaiden, turned to my long-ignored stash of biehl parfumkunstwerke once more, figuring that if the first two I´d tried at random (mb03 and al02) turned out to be sniff-worthy, maybe I´d find some more love in that bag of samples.  I did a little pre-research on Luckyscent and decided to sniff two by Egon Oelkers because the notes sounded interesting.

eo01 is described as a “woody oriental” with notes of tangerine, blood orange, cardamom, nutmeg, apricot, coconut, rosewood, pimento, iris, orchid, lily of the valley, styrax, vanilla, cinnamon, tonka bean, cedar, vetiver, patchouli.   I was kicking myself for not trying this earlier, because I´d be hard-pressed to come up with a list of notes that sounds more like something I´d be guaranteed to love.  I´m also laughing because somewhere (I think on my Baume du Doge post) we all solemnly agreed, enough with the spice-box scents! 

Really, this is lovely.  It opens with quite a kick – the citrus in combination with the spices veer in the direction of spicefests like the original CdG.  But it calms down pretty quickly within the first two minutes into the sort of creamy spicy-woody comfort scent that some of us can´t get enough of.

Or can we?  As lovely as eo01 is, it is not wildly original.  Sniffing it reminded me strongly of two scents, Organza Indecence and Annayake Tsukimi.  (I noticed later, when I went back to bloglift the notes from Lucky, they state “this is our holiday treat for the fans of Feminite du Bois and Organza Indecence.”)   Well, okay.  It´s less vanillic than OI, and less woody than Tsukimi, and I´m not entirely on board with the comparison to FdB, which is in my opinion on a higher plane of perfumery, and feel free to argue with me.  If you want another spicy-woody comfort scent in your arsenal, check this one out.  I will concede that it smells “niche-ier” than OI, which I adore but would be the first to admit is maybe not the most highbrow thing I own.  If OI is a moist, delicious vanilla cupcake, eo01 is tiramisu.

eo02 is “a men´s fall or winter fragrance mixed just perfectly so that it becomes appropriate in any season …. Blending gourmand notes of clove, cinnamon and vanilla with the deeper elements of incense and patchouli then surprising you with a robust and zippy citrus.” Notes are: bergamot, grapefruit, galbanum, cardamom, cilantro, thyme, davana, fir, rose, jasmine, clove, atlas cedar, patchouli, sandalwood, incense, vanilla, cinnamon, ambergris, musk.   Unfortunately I don´t have a sample, so let´s move on to…

eo03 — green leaves, orange flower, pepper, peach, raspberry, neroli, lily of the valley, egyptian jasmine, tuberose, ylang, clove bud, violet, elemi, sandalwood, vetiver, almonds, ambergris, musk.  The Luckyscent blurb talks about elegant understatement and discreet luxury.   So.  You don´t smell this every day, particularly at the department stores.  For those of you who read this blog and use me as some sort of reverse indicator in terms of scent preference, you may want to sample this one.  It opens on a tart citrus, peppery, sap-green note so powerful its astringency literally made my eyes and mouth water, like I was sucking on a sourball.  It is elegant, but very much in the high-style green-and-white organza rustle of galbanum/muguet/white florals that simply doesn´t suit my personal tastes.  As the spicy middle notes emerge, the fragrance calms and it becomes warmer and woodier without ever really losing its edge.   The blurb-writer makes a point about its diminishing potency – “the quiet opulence of the base of almond, ambergris, musk, balm and sandalwood, finishes this white symphony in pianississimo … a wonderful comfort skin-scent”.  Which raises an interesting point.  Lovers of big green meanies and white flower bombs like Vent Vert, Sous le Buis, and Givenchy III should find something to love here.  At the same time, the drydown is pretty sedate compared to the rest of the ride.  I prefer the soft, musky drydown myself, a non-powdery, white floral musk, but fans of the bombast at the opening would probably be re-applying.

Who bought these?  Not too many people would be my guess.  Honestly, I’m as much of a niche snob as anyone — by which I mean I’ll put up with some foolishness if you give me a really awesome scent.  But a certain amount of perfumery is the wand-waving hokum-pokum of marketing.  Biehl clearly puts the effort in there, insofar as you can read all sorts of blather about what a genius Thorsten Biehl is — I mean, the man’s not exactly hiding his light under a bushel.  And he gives good coverage to the perfumers.  But how much excitement can you feel browsing through 15 scents named mb01 and eo03?  Not that much, in my opinion.  And that’s too bad, because I really feel like they deserve better.


  • Robin says:

    Dropping by a day late to say agree w/ it all, and did I understand correctly that these were all supposed to be a limited edition series, with more to come? If so, will be interesting to see if they ever do more. Even the Mark Buxton scents didn’t seem quite up to snuff, and a few from other perfumers I thought were downright dull.

  • tmp00 says:

    I know I tried these and for the life of me I can’t remember them.

    I for one am riveted over the unspeakable tragedy 🙁

  • simone says:

    you have been tagged, check the rules of the game in my blog.


  • Musette says:

    I hope the Crushing Perfume Blow didn’t involve anything beloved/shocking expensive turning rancid, biting you on the arm or breaking all over the floor!!![-o< On the Biehls - I ordered one samp (maybe 2?) and like others on this thread, cannot now remember which one it was (it was one of the mb's, that's all I can recall). I remember it sort of being nice - but nothing of any staggering genius. In fact, the one thing I do remember about the Biehls is that it was at the beginning of my sophomore perfumista phase, when All Things Niche just had to be good. It was the Biehls, along with TDC's Sel de Vetiver, that set me back on the path of common sense. All were nice - but I expect more from a scent I have to take out a loan for. Don't want to sound all cranky or nuthin' but Fem d Bois is 'holiday treat' enough for me, thanks! xo>-)

    Hey! wore Guerlain Attrape-Coeur to the scrapyard today, where not only did I have to offload – by hand – all the scrap myself….but I was stunned to find that scrap metal prices have dropped 40-70%! Like Elle, I am feeling very recessionista today! But I smell nice.

    • March says:

      Babe, Feminite du Bois is holiday treat enough for anyone. In my opinion. These just don’t hold a candle.

      Nah, the crushing blow is silly on my part. Over-invested emotion. You’ll see. I’ll blog on it. 🙂 Really, people have much bigger things to worry about.

      Yeah, I knew a lot of prices for some things had dropped. Not food, unfortunately. I’m glad to see gas coming down (under $3 here at last!) although the high price is better for the environment, I am sure. I really cut back on my driving, and got my trips more organized.

      • Shelley says:

        I want to put a sign on my desk: Feminite du Bois, the ultimate gift for the ultimate teacher. Musette there hooked me up, and despite having doubts when last I encountered it, I’ve fallen. Hard.

        What’s a trip to the scrapyard without a waft of Attrape-Coeur? Though I’m wondering, were you wearing the steel-toed pumps when offloading? 😉

        So, the Biehls aren’t all that, eh? I just tried Bond Chinatown for the first time…beyond “meh,” not quite “bleh.” Speaking of hard economic times, it’s actually a piece of good luck, I suppose. I don’t even like the bottle that much (cowers from the fans), so I’m off the hook. But will I have the fortitude to save up for the FdB, or a Bel Respiro? Hmmm….

        • March says:

          The Biehls thus far, while nicely done, feel like an art-house project. I haven’t dropped to my knees, you know? Feminite du Bois is a fall-on-your-knees.

          • Shelley says:

            I’m with you on that one. Wow. And really, I’m still trying to figure out what in the world changed from last April (?) to this September. I did just fall into all of this last winter…so it may be a nose evolution…but I already knew I liked leathers and a couple other “more challenging” scents by the time I tried FdB…

            …not that it matters. I just know that I. love. it.

  • Elle says:

    I think I may actually have a sample of eoO1 floating around somewhere. I know at one point I ordered quite a few samples of the Biehls. I *have* to organize my samples. I bought several of those things you hang in closets w/ clear pockets for your shoes to put my samples in. Have had them for over a month now – still inside the box they came in. 🙁 I’ve actually spent money reordering samples from TPC rather than take the time to dig through my 3 trillion samples to find something I’ve redeveloped a curiosity about. *Must* not do this again. Years ago I started out organizing them in several of those cool antique letterpress printer’s type trays. I then graduated to a dozen or so interesting boxes, plus drawers. Then more drawers. Then bowls and more drawers. You can now find samples in every room in our home in anything that might possibly hold them. My full bottles are fairly well contained in one large closet and then current rotation scents in my study in a smaller closet, but samples are my feng shui nightmare. If DH wouldn’t kill me for doing it, I swear I’d hire someone to come organize them for me. Deep recessionista sigh. Off to reapply Mitsouko, today’s comfort scent of choice.

    • March says:

      I feel like such a dope, doing perfume sleuthing with a friend this morning, THEN found my samps. Things are definitely better over here in terms of the things I’ve filed. It’s the things I HAVEN’T filed that get me in trouble. :d btw I think those hanging shoe things are an awesome idea. Mine are in plastic boxes from that organizational place, sorted A-Z.

      I feel your recessionista pain. The girls are really surprised at the things we are NOT buying these days.

  • Melissa says:

    Ordered a few Biehl samples some months ago. Liked one or two, but low tolerance for confusing names rendered desire for full bottle of interesting niche fragrance nil. End of story. 🙁

  • Marina says:

    The only one I liked was that incensey one by Mark Buxton, I think it is MB02 (or MB01?) But even that was not staggeringly original.

    • March says:

      mb03 is the “popular” one, although I haven’t tried the other two and for all I know they’re incense-y too. But I didn’t love it enough to get a decant, either, and at least that one I tried months ago based on word of mouth.

      Also realizing (you are in the same boat) how funny it is when you get to the stage when your sample set is so massive things sit around forever before you try them. I’d never have believed it, early on… 😮

  • carmencanada says:

    I haven’t even gone near the Biehls, due to their utter unavailability in Paris — I mean if you can’t smell a fragrance in Paris, guddurnit…. We don’t have the equivalent of Luckyscent in France.
    My only exceptions have been Veroprofumo and Andy Tauer. Otherwise, I simply do not have the nose and skin time for ultra-niche, though I admit the Biehls got me curious — as a lover of (vintage) Vent Vert, I’d kind of like to see what it’s about.

    • March says:

      You made me laugh out loud — I agree, totally. If you can’t smell it in Paris!– it wasn’t until I traveled in Europe that I realized how varied the fragrance choices are in stores.

  • Louise says:

    So sorry about the Tragedy that Will not be Named :((

    I’ve got several samps of the Biehls, and remember liking the gourmand one quite a bit…but not enough to recall where the little vial went. I didn’t order the full set, just too much for me. I guess there is truly a lot to the names, or rather lack thereof!

    Happy Monday to all :d/

    • March says:

      Oh, I’ll name it eventually. 🙂 When I can write more rationally about it, or at least as rational as I ever get.

      See, this is what I’m talking about. All perfumista conversations go, well, I liked one of those biehls, the (whatever) one, can’t remember which … why didn’t they release five, and give them fricking names? [-(