Demeter Fragrance Library (with update!)

*** Updated today, 11ish, an email from Mark Crames, Demeter CEO: “I just wanted to let you know that when the redesigned site goes live on May 1, we plan on offering 11 ml colognes, essentially giant deluxe miniatures, for $3.00 each, in all flavors. So while we will not be making sets, per se, we will be making all flavors available for trial, and you will be able to make whatever combinations you desire. Regards and thanks, Mark.” Yesssssss!!!! *** Okay, back to the original post:

Patty and I got an email recently from Mark Crames, CEO of Demeter Fragrance Library, offering us samples of some of their newer fragrances. (We´re having Full Disclosure here.) I´m using it as an excuse to revisit Demeter, a line that started in 1996 and was doing interesting, weird scents before some of today´s fancy niche houses existed.

It will come as no surprise that I´m fond their more unusual scents, like Dirt, Snow and Thunderstorm. When they first appeared there was nothing else like them. (Christopher Brosius, of CB I Hate Perfume virtual-reality nirvana, was Demeter Man before he started his own gig.) Their extensive, well-organized website is the sort of place I could easily waste an hour browsing – they have their fragrances grouped by family (green, industrial, savory, etc.) as well as alphabetically (Bonfire, Prickly Pear, Vinyl). The default choice is the $19.00 one-ounce cologne spray, although many items come as shower gels, lotions, and other formulas. The notes are often “simple” smells, not phenomenally long-lasting, at least on me (what do you want for $19?), and contemplating their list I start thinking of ways to layer them (Black Pepper over Gardenia? Tomato Leaf over Russian Leather?) These are dirt cheap as far as what usually appears on the fragrance blogs, and my guess is the brand skews toward a younger audience who might be just as amused by the name (Earthworm, Funeral Home, Dregs) as entranced by the particular fragrance.

Demeter isn´t stocked anywhere near me, except for a few occasionally at Sephora, and I could easily pick out six scents I´d like to try in 30 seconds (here´s my list: Coriander Tea, Fiery Curry, Firefly, Greenhouse, Holy Smoke, Holy Water – and that only gets me through “h”). A glance at their homepage also triggers a general criticism that I think their scents are getting sweeter and/or “boozier” – their “new scents” scrolldown featured Chocolate Chip Cookie, Mojito, Cotton Candy and Pink Lemonade as the first four scents. Of course, Demeter´s not doing things unless they sell, and I respect that. I was less than thrilled with their Happy Hour drinks line (Fuzzy Navel, Sex On The Beach, etc.) not because I´m a humorless old fart, but again because I find them very, very sweet. Also: in my experience, Demeter colognes start with a fairly significant blast of alcohol, and I´ve learned not to stick my nose in there for a minute or two until it dries off.

I got the following scents in my Demeter gift package, which I´m going to review (there are a couple more to follow, assuming Mr. Crames isn´t irritated by today´s post.) The scents are: Baby Powder, Lavender Martini, Clean Windows, Lychee, Vanilla Ice Cream.

Baby Powder – this one surprised me. I was expecting medicinal Johnson’s powder; instead I got a sweet, mildy-anise, powder-comfort scent quite similar to Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige (at, what, one-fifth the price?) After an hour it´s very close to the skin, whereas Teint has the half-life of plutonium.

Lavender Martini – I´m guessing lavender with a light herbal twist — juniper (from gin?) and a splash of vermouth, but that´s just a guess. It is sweetish rather than dry, but nice. I would use this as an interesting alternative to my regular lavender linen spray.

Clean Windows – this one made me laugh. I was expecting Windex. Instead what I got was the smell of … clean windows. If glass had a smell, this would be it. A light, very fresh, industrial-sour, oddly appealing smell.

Lychee – this could be a tart, cheerful, simple summer scent if it were only half as sweet. On their website they call it an “Oriental fragrance,” which is true to the extent that lychees are from China, but the fragrance itself makes me think of, say, the berry opening of Guerlain Insolence.

Vanilla Ice Cream – well … I’m getting something closer to Coconut Ice Cream. Again, it’s the sort of thing my kids would like, but lordy, it’s sweet. However, I’m not the queen of vanilla comfort scents, either.

Please comment: what interesting scents do you wish Demeter would offer in their lineup?

My two cents: I want Demeter to offer sample sets in smaller 5ml – 10ml sizes on their website, grouped by various criteria (Sour? Food? Outdoors?) with an eye toward layering. Frankly I don´t want (or need) a full bottle of Mesquite, and Demeter´s inherent playfulness lends itself to sample sizes and layering. If they came in spray sets I´d end up doing what I do with my other samples – carry them in my purse and probably end up giving them to other people, thereby increasing exposure, at which point I´d … buy another set! (Yes, I know – they´re cheap – but I can wish for whatever I want on my own blog, right?)

My suggestion for the first sample set: In The Garden: Dirt, Thunderstorm, Cucumber, Green Tomato (or Lettuce), Pruning Sheers, Wet Garden (there are several more scents that would fit in here nicely).

Or At the Beach: Paperback, Green Tea (or maybe one of those drinks scents? If only Sex on the Beach weren´t so sweet…), Ocean, Salt Air, Coconut, Bonfire.

I could go on forever, but you get the idea.

Is anyone still reading this? I´m going to give away the five scents I reviewed today in one of my semi-regular drawings. If you want one, in your comment say which one (one request per person please, choose from: Baby Powder, Lavender Martini, Clean Windows, Lychee, or Vanilla Ice Cream) and I´ll do a drawing for each, which I´ll announce next week. Let´s spread some love for Demeter around.

  • Elizabeth Kaempf says:

    :d Well I must say I stumbled onto this because I was just looking up where I can find places that sold this Demeter. But now that I have I want to voice my opinion if its not to late…..I tried “Pure Soap” and LOVED IT!!!!! Everytime I wear it I get so many people asking me what I am wearing for a scent. My husband jokes that I can be a walking billboard for it. So far that is the only I like but I honestly can say I tried them all. BUT if anyone wants just a nice clean scent….Pure Soap from Demeter is the BEST!!!

  • Jennifer says:

    Will you make one with the smell of pine trees?

  • whataworld says:

    These make nice hair and crotch spritzers… uh oh, TMI. Clean Windows please.

  • Sara says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog a couple days ago. I love it! Can you enter me for lavender martini or clean windows?

  • Divina says:

    Sorry, double post but corrected my typo-ed email addy!

  • Divina says:

    Please do enter me in the drawing for Baby Powder! I live in Europe and have been a demeter-site fan for so long but it is hideously expensive for me to order from them to ship to europe!
    This will give me the chance to sample one of the perfumes! Thanks a lot!

  • hmg says:

    Please enter me for “Lavender Martini”. Thank you!

  • Oh, please enter me for “Clean Windows”–scent—-love Demeter’s “laundromat”—fresh and soapy—and “dirt”

    what scent would little red ridinghood wear?

    • March says:

      Now you have me thinking 😕 what would happen if you LAYERED Dirt and Laundromat — would they cancel each other out?:d

      You’re in!

      Little Red Riding Hood secretly wears something naughty. I’m thinking Riding Crop.

  • Mike P says:

    Love Demeter – and now that they’re gonna do mini’s I will definitely indulge myself in the classics (Dirt, Thunderstorm & Tomato) – I only own Guava Nectar.

    I totally agree with you on not sniffing these babies right when you apply them, or I get an ‘alcohol’ blast…I thought I was the only one. 🙂

    My fantasy Demeter scents:

    Peanut Butter
    Copier Toner (the CdG Odeur 53 has this – but it gives me a headache the minute I apply it…yikes!)
    Spray Starch

    Please sign me up for the LYCHEE – I luv lychee notes in frags.

    Great blog too girls – I’m addicted. 🙂

    • March says:

      Mike — thanks for the compliments :”>

      I think Peanut Butter would be GREAT.

      You are in for the draw!

  • machula says:

    i’ll go for the lavender martini 😀

  • Dana says:

    Please enter me in the drawing for Baby Powder.


  • SteveH says:

    Please enter me into the drawing for “Lychee”.


  • calshopper says:

    Thanks for the Demeter update – it sounds like they are coming out with some interesting stuff!! The new smaller size will probably entice me to try more of their scents.

    I would love to see some fresh citrus like Meyer lemon, Clementine, or Key lime that are not so sweet.

    Please put me in the drawing for the Baby Powder – sounds interesting! Thanks!

    • March says:

      Well, the CEO read the post, we can always hope — I think a fair number of these I would like a lot better with half the sugar. I am not a huge fan of sweet-foody scents to start with, so maybe I’m not the best judge.

  • Cheezwiz says:

    Some fun scents I’d love to see from Demeter:
    candle smoke – I love the smell of smoking candle wicks once they are blown out.
    gasoline – can’t believe they don’t have this one yet!

    Some Demeters I’d like to collect:
    We have a limited selection where I live, and they tend mostly to be foody which don’t interest me. I’m fascinated by greenhouse and wet garden, and would love to try the following florals (mixing and matching would be fun):
    sweet pea
    lily of the valley

    I’d love to make my own citrus grove too, with the Mayer Lemon, Lime and Sweet Orange.

    If I’m not too late, please enter me in the draw for Lavender Martini – Thanks!:d

    • March says:

      Cheez — you’re in!

      I LOVE that candle-smoke smell. Sometimes I re-light the candles and blow them out again, just for that smell.

  • Aqua.Maureen says:

    Yes! Another warm smell – almost like coffee grinds!

  • Aqua.Maureen says:

    I’d really love to have a fragrance that smells like Dog Paws. That warm damp leather-y, earthy, almost Dorito-like smell of my dog’s pads. :d Am I insane? I’m sure there are people out there that love the smell of their dog’s feet!

    Please put me in the drawing for Baby Powder – thanks!

    • Kelly says:

      Oh, Dog Paws! Yes! I don’t get Doritos, but warm and leathery, YES!

      Which then begs recognition for Puppy Breath! Since I was little I wanted a Puppy Breath Perfume!!

    • March says:

      Okay, you and Kelly — in one of those weird space-time warps, I was having an email conversation with someone else and we were discussing the Dorito-like aspect of doggie feet. She was asserting it’s a cat-smell, too…

    • Maria B. says:

      I loooove the smell of dog paws. Our dog’s paws smell of clover to me. So did our sweet, late dog’s. There’s something so earthy about the scent. But I don’t get Doritos.

    • Lee says:

      I WANT A DOG! 😡

      (this is one of my favourite smells – the paws, that is)

      • March says:

        But do YOU think they smell like Doritos?

        Maybe it’s a dog-specific thing…

        • pitbull friend says:

          I’ve heard people say they smell like salted popcorn, too. I don’t know about cats, but dogs sweat through panting and through their paws. Hence, the saltiness!

          Oh, the clean fur of certain dogs who have just given themselves a snow bath! Luscious!

  • Maria B. says:

    I’m excited about the update to your post, that there will be samples for sale, so one can mix and match to one’s delight. I’m intrigued by Earthworm. It would be interesting to compare it with Wet Garden. I’m with you, March, on including Bonfire in a beach set.

    Please enter me in the drawing for Lavender Martini. One of Demeter’s new scents is Mojito, but, you know, I’d so much rather drink one than wear one! I don’t have the same feeling about a lavender martini.

    • March says:

      Maria — you’re in! I’m still a little baffled by the whole Drinks line. I mean, who wants to wear most of that stuff?

      OTOH, I’m sure most (normal) people would say that about Thunderstorm, so who am I to talk?

  • tmp00 says:

    I’d love to try clean windows.

    I’d love to have clean windows, and if they would just clean themselves, I would. :-w

    • March says:

      Tom — you’re in! I know what you mean about the windows. I say, if there’s still light coming in …/:)

      • dinazad says:

        If you wait long enough, you can call unclean windows a design feature. Like “milkglass”. AND you save money on curtains!

  • Gaia says:

    I’ll pass on the drawing. They should go to someone who can appreciate them. I’m with Lee on the room spray. They last in the air longer than they do on my skin.

    • March says:

      I dunno … nobody wants the vanilla ice cream so far? I just might mail it to you (buhWAHAHahahahaha)>:)

  • MC says:

    I’d like to be entered in the drawing for Baby Powder. Thanks!

  • Jennifer says:

    Please add me to the contest and I am the most intrigued by the Lavender Martini. I have to say my favorite demeter is the Fig (it was also the “fig” scent that got me into fig scents), I still think it is a great fig scent just wish that it lasted longer.

  • Tamara says:

    Good Morning March! Fabulous ideas for sample sets. I would buy them and you’re right, it’s much more appealing than an entire bottle. I would love to try the Lavender Martini! Sign me up. And have a great day.

    • March says:

      T — you’re in! It’s a cool scent, would make an excellent room spray. Or a car spray … of course I wear room sprays all the time as perfume, so you can’t trust all my decisions.:”>

  • carlene says:

    Great ideas for the sample sets! I’ve always loved their Tomato Leaf and Dirt, but never buy because why would I want a whole bottle of dirt? But those 2 go together wonderfully, as they should. I know their g+t smells exactly like a g+t, but it’s just fun to sniff, not to wear. I’ve worn a real g+t before (not on purpose) and it is not all that attractive. Better in the glass. Anyway, please sign me up for the Lychee, it sounds delicious.

    • March says:

      Carlene — you’re in! Trying very hard not to ask how you wore a gin and tonic … none of my business … I should try that one, though, I love that smell.

  • Patty says:

    I want an Ancient Library coffret — leather, books, cobwebs, must.

    I read to the end too!

    • March says:

      P — yeah, but do you read as fast as you type? If so it took you, what, nine seconds?:-w 😉

      Ancient Library sounds AWESOME! I want something to drink in there, though (it’s my home library) how about tea?

    • Lievje says:

      An Ancient Library coffret… drool


    • Maria B. says:

      Patty, CB has a scent called In the Library. Did you try it in your NYC expedition? I’m curious about that one.

      • March says:

        I tried it. Totally didn’t *get* it, although now I can’t remember at all what it smelled like?!? Maybe P will…

  • Marina says:

    Lavender Martini sounds nice. On behalf of my husband, I’d like to ask, no, beg, Demeter to make a scent resembling the smell of a NEW CAR. Please! Thank you. 🙂

    • Jacki says:

      Marina,New Car is a great idea!!! If I could also get them to make New Car Parts then I would be a very popular woman in this house 🙂
      I’d like to be entered in the draw for Baby Powder, please. I’m not sure I could handle the others.

      • March says:

        Jacki — see my note to Marina regarding “new car.” I bet Demeter could do it … you’re in for the Baby Powder.

    • March says:

      Marina — that’s an excellent idea. FWIW I *believe* CB told me when we were up there last summer that people are always asking him for “new car.” But he doesn’t want to do it (or much industrial scents in general) because he has chemical sensitivities (who knew?) and smelling the components makes him ill — he *hates* new car smell, which is, after all, offgassing of VOCs or whatever …

      it’s a great smell, though, isn’t it? Demeter could do it, definitely. I bet it would be a huge seller.

  • Elle says:

    Clean Windows? That sounds CdGish and something I might really like. Possibly to layer w/ a CdG. And Black Pepper and Gardenia sounds fantastic. I’m so w/ you in wishing they would do smaller sizes for layering. I think between CB and Demeter, most of my accord dreams are taken care of, but I don’t think they have a diesel fuel and I really would love that in a scent. And must go check to see if they have one for fresh baked bread.

    • March says:

      Yes — let’s pepper a gardenia!!! Seriously, wouldn’t that just be fabulous? The Windows IS rather CdGish, one of their weird industrial numbers. I do eventually get a hit of old Windex (the vintage ammonia accord, not the reorchestrated:) ).

      Do they not have a bread scent? CB had one … what was it? Something about a sandwich. It was amazing, but it would make me hungry all the time, I could never wear it.

  • sariah says:

    Morning March. My favorite Demeters are Pruning Shears and New Zealand. Pruning shears smells like a rose bush (not just the flowers). Sign me up for Lavendar Martini please.

    • March says:

      S — you’re in!! Pruning Shears I need to try. New Zealand they had at Montgomery Sephora for awhile, and I loved the opening, but then it went all muddy and bitter on me (but maybe it’s supposed to be muddy?):-? It was interesting, though.

  • Solander says:

    I also wish they had sample sets or trial sizes! I’d totally buy the leather sample set, and the “men’s club” sampler with the tobacco and booze (not fruity cocktails) scents, and the synthetic/industrial set, and the “circus sampler” including, dirt, riding crop, saddle, saw dust, stable and popcorn…
    $19 is not that cheap if you want to try more than one, and not if you don’t know what you’re getting… I ordered from Demeter once, but then they changed their international shipping cost from $10 to $40! I also noticed they seem only to release sweet and foody scents nowadays…

    • March says:

      Solander — great suggestions! I want the circus sampler… that international shipping is brutal, btw! Yeah, you’re right — even though $19 IS cheap, I don’t want one — I want ten of them (or more.) Hence my endless lusting for samples./:)

  • hausvonstone says:

    morning, march! i’m with you – dirt and basil were 2 of my first ‘niche’ frags. i still have 1/2 a bottle of basil and think it is a great wake-up scent for days when you need to clear your head. i’d love to try baby powder or lavender martini. and i really want to check out holy smoke someday! i used to have holy water, but can’t remember it. it would be fun to creat scent mixes just as non sequitors (sp) – drunken baby on the beach, clean vanilla windows…

    • pitbull friend says:

      Oh, haus, that is great! You could start a whole website of non-sequiturs that work! (And when you clicked on it, it would play “Strawberry Letter 23?”) I also adore dinazad’s idea of rain on hot street.

      But I’ve tried a dozen or more Demeters (someone on Ebay was selling samples) and I’m just not willing to play with them any more. Even ones that should be pretty straightforward to capture were awful to me — like Grapefruit Tea that only smelled like musty, dried up rind. The only one of theirs that I really like is the Quince room spray — it is a very good rendition of my underappreciated fruit friend!

      Give me CB’s Black March or Sisley Eau de Campagne for “play in the dirt” smells any day! At least to my skin, it seems worth the extra dough.

      • March says:

        Ellen — some of them definitely smell better than others. In my opinion they’re either great or — your result. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Thunderstorm (my first Demeter.)

        CB’s stuff is awesome, but to be fair he’s playing at a much higher price point now. I’m grateful for all of it — I just love virtual reality type scents.

      • dinazad says:

        Just got the awesome Diptyque Coing roomspray – it really captures the citrussy-apple fragrance of quinces (I sometimes buy quinces just to have them scent a room *blush*, even if I do like cooking with them!), you should try that one as well!

        • pitbull friend says:

          Thanks for the suggestion, Dinazad! And, March, even though Demeters pretty much don’t work for me, I am always happy to see reviews/mentions on here of less-expensive scents. With skin chemistry and personal preference being so varied, there is often no correlation between cost and enjoyment of a scent.

          • March says:

            Yeah, it’s nice to have something on here that doesn’t cost $200 and have to be smuggled from the EU, isn’t it?/:)

      • Leopoldo says:

        Ellen, you’ve sent me off to find out what I did with my Shuggie Otis CD….

    • March says:

      S — love drunken baby! There’s all sorts of potential silliness on there. Uh, is that you wanting in on the drawing? Or just expressing general interest?

      • hausvonstone says:

        march, yes, always game for the new stuff -aka – please enter me in the drawing. haven’t tried TdN on my skin, only sniffed it in a shop, but seems like a lite version would be better. “library of fragrance” (i think that’s what it’s called here) is now in Deutschland, but translating the names/flavors is more trouble than it is worth.

        • March says:

          Um, yes, personally I think regular Teint would kill an elevator full of people if you spilled it (can you powder people to death?):-?

  • Alica says:

    Dear Patty, to choose, I would like to be entered in drawing for Baby Powder. Thanks 🙂

    • March says:

      Alica — you’re in! Hey, look, the web hasn’t identified me as a spammer yet — yippee!

  • dinazad says:

    So did I read to the end! Don’t I always? 😉 I’m with you where the sample sets are concerned – I always wanted to layer Carrot with Dirt and possibly New Leaf! And I wish they’d make an elderflower scent. Or Tar, to layer with Thunderstorm or Rain for that unique smell of rain falling on a heated street in August….
    I’d love to be in the drawing for Clean Windows.

    • March says:

      J — tar would be excellent. Hey, have you smelled Farenheit (the men’s cologne) I know I just spelled it wrong? To me it has a very strong tar note.

    • Maria B. says:

      Le Labo Patchouli 24 is tar to the max, hardly patchouli.

      • March says:

        Hey … didn’t CdG make a tar scent? And of course there’s AG Fier. But they both seem like a lot of work to go through for Hot Street.

        • dinazad says:

          Hmmmm, now that you mention it – that CdG Tar wasn’t half bad. And they also did Rhubarb, if I remember rightly, something else I could wallow in. Eau du Fier – I would NEVER have thought of tampering with that, it’s so perfect! But if I ever get hold of a Thunderstorm sample, I might get tempted 8-|

  • Lievje says:

    Your sample size idea sounds great, March!

    I’m awaiting a set of 10 Demeter fragrances. It should arrive here in The Netherlands in 2 or 3 weeks, I guess.

    When I ordered, I considered Clean Windows, but I did not order4 this one in the end. So I’d like to be in your draw, please. :):)

  • Leopoldo says:

    I read to the end March, honest I did.

    I only do Demeters as room sprays where for me they work far more effectively. Love to squirt Wet Garden in Spring (it does smell like outdoors plus blooms in mid spring) and tomato Leaf in summer….

    That’s all.

    • March says:

      Hey, Lee — there’s an ad up there for removing cat urine — suppose it relates to my post?:-?

      They would make rather nice room sprays … okay, let’s see if this thing is going to identify me as a spammer today.:-w

      • Leopoldo says:

        The cat urine makes me laugh hard and long – love seeing that one. What scares me is the girl with the very heavy blush. Yowza. And the candle that splits in half – let’s not go there….


        • March says:

          I’ve never seen that candle?!?!?

        • Patty says:

          You two! are NOT allowed to make fun of our advertisers! [-(

          • March says:

            Hey … that little emoticon shakes his head!!! It’s so cuuuute!

            P, we’re not laughing AT them. We’re noticing that they mock us. Me, actually. Why do I always get the cat urine one, eh? Tell me that’s a coincidence.

    • Cara says:

      Please enter me in the drawing for the Baby Powder…please pretty please \:d/

    • Cara says:

      Please enter me in the drawing for the Baby Powder…please pretty please \:d/ Thank you thank you (hope I posted this right)

      • March says:

        Cara — you’re in! And you posted that just fine.

        Man … nobody wants the ice cream one, huh?:-“