Candy Samples

By March

I ate all the pumpkin pie.  It’s time to get into the candy, isn’t it?

After reading Joe’s beguiling review of L’Occitane’s new Immortelle de Corse EDP, I took a trip to the mall to smell it.  Immortelle and honey are two of my fave fragrance notes.  And … well… okay, I got the honey, although it didn’t hang around too long.   I got no immortelle at all.   Sadface.  Instead it became an odd bread-like thing on my skin, sort of like L’Artisan Bois Farine only sweeter, and then vamoosed shortly thereafter.  I’ll stick with my wonderful imported-from-Europe bottle of Honey & Vanilla LE they did last year.  I still miss their Honey & Lemon.  And there’s always Miel de Bois.

While I was there I tried the L’Occitane Labdanum EDP (both this and the Immortelle are part of their Voyage en Mediterranee collection).  This got raves on their website.  Gah.  AMBER AMBER AMBER.  The online reviews say “spicy and not too sweet,” but, man, was it sweeeet on me.  Like any other potential scrubber, of course this one lasted for hours.  But I’m clearly in the minority on this one.  The men were loving it (for themselves.)

The Different Company de Bachmakov came out a million years ago (2009? 2010?) and I sniffed it then and thought it was kind of a snooze, and forgot all about it.  I’ve been playing with it recently; notes are cedar, bergamot, shiso leaves, coriander leaves, freesia, nutmeg and craie douce.  It’s kind of a cold tea fragrance.  It should be right up my alley but I hate the top – that coriander/herb combo reaches out and strangles, for about ten minutes it smells like peppered urine on me.  And I don’t mean in a good way, either.  Then it settles down into a really pretty scent – dry spicy tea.  I think of it at that point as somewhat in the same vein as Prada Infusion d’Iris – an office-appropriate background fragrance that doesn’t bore the crap out of me.  For something fairly subtle, it’s tenacious.  I got a full eight hours out of it.

The next two were in my package from Neil Morris, I have no idea what the notes are and I’m going to amuse myself by not finding out.

The Darkness of Trees reminded me of why it’s always good to give a NM scent time to set itself up on the skin.  I sprayed it expecting a fir forest, got something entirely different and strange, thought ugh, and waited.  Then I spent 45 minutes trying to place the smell.  I found it.  It is the exact smell of the inside of a summer cabin at sleep-away camp in the mid-1970s.  It’s mostly fresh-sawn lumber and forest (not pine forest, just the woods) with a hint of dirt and old cotton mattresses.  If I’d custom-ordered this from CB I Hate Perfumes, CB himself couldn’t have done it better, and it would be called Summer Cabin 1973.  I highly doubt this is what Neil was dreaming of, and it’s wonderful.

Finally, Tea House – hehehe, I know why you perfumistas are loving this one.  Tea, hay, and a hint of leathery barnyard, like the barnyard JAR scent or that vile Miller Harris Jane Birkin thing, dialed way down.  I have zero interest in smelling it on myself.  On a man, however, I would be on that like a duck on a junebug.

Neil Morris notes for those of you who can’t find these on his site – “Midnight Shadows is available now, even though it’s not yet on our site. If someone wants a sample all they have to do is go to our VAULT section and order ANY vault sample. Then in the comments section at checkout, write that you’d really want Midnight Shadows. The same for FB’s. Order any VAULT FB and tell us in the comments section you want MS instead. That’s it! We’ll hopefully be adding it soon but till then this works fairly easily.”

And for those of you who might have missed it in Thanksgiving travels, I posted on Neil’s Midnight Shadows last Weds.


Samples: the mall for L’Occitane, Neil Morris, and Anita for de Bachmakov.




  • (Ms.)Christian says:

    Oh, March. “…smells like peppered urine on me. And I don’t mean in a good way, either.” I screamed with laughter over this. DO tell me HOW peppered urine can be good. Or don’t and I will continue to use my sick imagination.

    I love the Miller Harris/Jane Birkin thing. It’s one of my office scents because it’s so cozy and cuddly on me. You wrote about something quite awhile ago (it was a sleeper scent and you liked it) and I was so taken with the review I bought a full bottle unsniffed and was thrilled to discover that on me that one (damned if I remember the name…) was M.H. Birkin on steroids. Obviously it wasn’t on you, or you wouldn’t have raved about it.

    The joys of skin chemistry and peppered urine…

  • sweetlife says:

    Huh. I was right there with you on your Midnight Shadows review, (which I got to smell at the Sniffa on Louise’s skin! Yay!) but I get an entirely different de Bachmakov than you do (mine is basically the smell of cold air and new leaves, love that opening green note, followed by icy icy gin and tonic–loved it this summer. (Though come to think of it gin=juniper berries=coriander so maybe we aren’t actually that far apart,but no tea,) ANYWAY it makes me want to run out and give the Imortelle thing a try. Will have to make a stop soon.

    So great to be reading you again semi-regularly!

  • Darryl says:

    Yeah, what is up with that Labdanum? I sprayed it expecting a warm, rich, resinous amber – y’know, like labdanum – and got a candied floral amber that shrieked for hours. Spicy, my ass. I’ve been meaning to try the Immortelle since reading Joe’s fabulous review, but after your evaluation my jets are a little cooler.

    Ooh, I do like me some tea scents. I’ve not yet smelled a single Different Company (I know! Not even Rose Poivrée!), but de Bachmakov has me intrigued. Spicy tea sounds ideal; I find too many tea scents focus on the damp, floral, “watery grey” side of tea rather than the more robust, pungent aspects (I thank my lucky stars every day for Annick Menardo and her love affair with lapsang).

    • March says:

      Yay, I’m not alone in Labdanum-ville! I dunno about that immortelle…

      Okay, if you like a dry/spicy tea you should definitely try de Bachmakov.

  • Joanna says:

    I make a point of avoiding scents evocative of urine so thanks for the heads up!
    I can’t wait to try Tea House but it’s funny, when you began describing The Darkness of Trees as the scent of sleep away camp my mental nose immediately went to urine. I swear I won’t let that stop me from siffing and trying to appreciate though. I was not only a camper for many years I was also a camp counselor and the camp image brought up memories of dealing with bed wetters.

  • Neil says:

    Hi March! Hi Everyone! David & I are so appreciative to you for taking the time to review The Darkness of Trees and Tea House. Many thanks! And thanks to all of you who’ve commented too.

    When a perfumer creates a fragrance he/she may have certain ideas and inspirations in mind but we never know what memories the perfume will evoke in others! I love that TDOT brought you back to summer camp and specifically the cabin! I certainly hope it was a positive memory for you. Here are some of the notes: Myrrh, Cedar, Black Pepper, Bois De Rose, Green Fig, Labdanum, Tonka, Pacific Sequoia and Patchouli.

    Tea House has been my go-to fragrance of late. I love the way it develops on my skin, the smokiness of the Russian Leather and the Black and Green Tea notes keep my nose glued to my arm for most of the day. The notes for that are Black Tea, Anise, Green Tea, Russian Leather, Black Amber, Cedar and just a hint of Castoreum!

    Thank you again, March! Fragrant Dreams to All!


    • March says:

      Neil, it was definitely a positive memory, I attended the same camp for 10 years, more or less. And thanks for the notes! Reading them, no wonder I like it.

      AHA!! CASTOREUM!!! When I do these things, sometimes I wonder if I end up sounding like an idiot. But your list for Tea House sounds just about right. And anise, of course, that’s the faint sweetness.

  • Faylene says:


    With all of the blog talk about Immortelle and Labdanum, I’ve wanted to sniff these two but the nearest L’Occitane is about 85 miles away. May I purchase a small sample of these two from you? Please respond to faylene505 at gmail dot com. Thanks.

  • Francesca says:

    Another instance of our being occasional evil scent twins, March. I don’t like Imortelle and I usually don’t like honey, though I did detect it in Botrytis and thought that was warm and lovely.

    I really do have to get some samps from NM.

    Loved the bit about CB.

    Great post.

  • Melissa says:

    I haven’t tried Darkness of Trees, but I have tried Midnight Shadows, which I really think I now Neeeeed. As for Tea House, I already bought some. Tea, leather, a little naughty stuff. Just fine by me!

  • Louise says:

    I liked the Immortelle quite a bit, and it lasted well on me-this may be the first recorded instance of my getting better longevity than you, sweet March. The opening was meh, but the drydown was comforting, with the classic maple syrup immortelle and loads of honey. No bread, though I love Bois Farine. The thing is, I have my 2 fav honey scents-Miel and Toyko Milk’s Honey and the Moon, and seriously, how often do I wear a honey-based scent? If it were, say 30 bucks, yeah, I’d get it.

    I smelled Dark Trees on male skin first, and just adore it-but don’t think I could get away with it. Though I would prolly get good at-home use out of a samp. And Teahouse-just gorgeous, wears long and deep on me, truly unisex and gourmand, not sweet. Yum.

    • March says:

      Wah, I want what you got! Also, before I forget — so, I was at Montgomery sniffing these, and I left the L’Occitane store and Santa is set up there — and Boy and Khang were on his lap getting their photo taken! It was hilarious. I wish I’d thought to whip out my phone and snap a pic…

      Anyway, yes, you outdid me. Maybe I’m anosmic? And I didn’t even check the price, these are probably more expensive than some of the rest of their scents. That Tokyo Milk is so pretty on you, as you know…

      I’m not sure I want to wear Trees on a regular basis, but it was a fun memory-scent for me. And I’m tempted to put on Teahouse again today. Could not get enough of that smell.

  • nozknoz says:

    “…it smells like peppered urine on me. And I don’t mean in a good way, either.” LOL!

    Got to smell more NMs.

    I thought de Bachmakov smelled great last spring but too chilly to wear. Maybe it will be paradoxically better in fall when I’m in full fear and loathing of impending winter…

    • March says:

      de B dried down so nicely. I loved it for hours after that. But, man, that top. Ugh. I wonder if it actually smells that bad on me or whether someone else would say, it smells fine!

      Fear and loathing, baby. It’s been really warm here, which I’ve been enjoying. I figure we’ll have Snowmaggedon again this year as punishment.

  • Janice says:

    I love the vile Miller Harris Jane Birkin thing, but I can definitely see how having it dialed way, way down would also be good. I haven’t tried any NM scents yet but now I’m going to have to find a sample Tea House. All three sound pretty good, actually.

    • March says:

      I really like his “Vault” fragrances, which are separate on his site. He’s got a certain style, and if you sample a few you’d probably know whether they work for you or don’t. Even the ones I don’t want to own/wear (he does a lot of rose, not my favorite note) I think they’re nice.

  • Musette says:

    Wait. I’m confused (sur-prize, sur-prize SUR-PRIZE 8-| ) –

    Darkness of Trees is different from Midnight Shadows? Right?

    Darkness of Trees sounds really interesting! Well, they both do but I really am curious about a sleepaway summer camp scent (I was SO there with your description). Tea House sounds like it might smell a little bit like Fougueuse (there may be an extra ‘u’ in there – sorry)…what say you?

    xo >-)

    • March says:

      Yeah, different, sorry, I was clear as mud. Darkness of Trees is also new. Neil was letting me/us know that for any scents not yet listed on his site, you can order samples/bottles through the “Vault” part of his site. A couple people noticed last week that Midnight Shadows wasn’t on there, so I asked Neil about it.

      Honey, I swear — sleepaway camp! I wonder if they all smell the same? And Foo-goose (I have no idea how to smell it) I have to find my sample of!

    • Ann says:

      Hey, sweet March! Great post; thanks for taking several for the team. When I saw Tea House I thought of Fougueuse as well. I could kick myself, though, as I was in L’Occitane recently to try the immortelle one (not so great on me) and wish I had thought to try the labdanum. Darn!

      • March says:

        Okay, so I’m not the only person the immortelle was a fail on, that makes me feel better. And I’m rooting around for my sample of the Cartier for comparison.

    • Sharon C. says:

      Musette, I have samps of both Darkness and Tea House from a recent NM order; I’ll drop them in the mail to you. They’re well done, but didn’t suit me as well as others I already have.

      March, Was the L’Occitane Labdanum an amber-y sweet on you, or more of a syrup-y sweet? The Imortelle is suiting my curent honey craving, but fortunately it doesn’t go over the sweetness line. Not sure I’m getting any imortelle, but then, I’m not certain I know what imortelle is supposed to smell like.

      • Musette says:

        Sharon, thank you! You are my ‘sweet surprise fairy’!! 😡

        Have you tried Fougueuse? lmk. It would be interesting for to compare, I think.

        xo >-)

        • Sharon C. says:

          Have not tried Fougueuse (or the other Cartiers in the series) unfortunately, so I can’t say how it compares to Tea House. Tea House is well-done, but having L’Artisan Tea for Two and Tokyo Milk’s Lapsang Su Chong already, I wasn’t in need of another tea fragrance right now.

          • Musette says:

            well let’s do a reverse-sniff, shall we? Hang on to those NMs, I’ll be in touch.

            xo >-)

          • Sharon C. says:

            Well…er…em… Since I knew I could catch my mail carrier this morning after our initial exchange, I got all efficient and packed them up. Since I doubt I can run down the mail truck en route before the pkg reaches you in the Great Frigid North, I’ll defer to you for a comparison–maybe a topic for a future Posse post? Hmmm….

            [FYI email is snchamness at msn dot com.]

      • March says:

        Ambery sweet. Not syrup. Which immortelle smells like, sort of. Like hay and maple syrup, as odd as that sounds.