Many of you already read this post from Perfume Smellin’ Things about the Private Reserve fragrances at The Perfume House in Portland. Always in search of something more obscure and hard to get or otherwise limited, tightly controlled, closely held and usually big bucks, I flew to Portland this last weekend to participate in a showing of the Private Reserve scents. These are scents that were made for private individuals — wealthy familes, I presume, because poor families very rarely worry about commissioning bespoke fragrances for their daugther’s 16th birthday and instead fritter away their worry capital on things like food and shelter.
These perfumes will be shown to 1,000 people. Once that has happened, they will be never shown again. If you attend a showing, as long as you buy something at lest once per year, you can buy any of the fragrances forever, presumably. You cannot buy any of the fragrances unless you attend a showing. You order at the showing or later, and it takes about two weeks for the perfumes to arrive from Europe.
Oh, you jaded scent tarts, stop rolling your eyes. Yes, it is all very secretive and closely held and hushy, and the answer to the only question that should be asked now is, is it worth it? Well….. yeah, she said, as she sniffs the still-blooming snow rose on one arm and fondly remembers the Peluche that smells like home and Christmas and love. These scents are not for anyone who is more fond of the current trends in modern perfumerie towards very light scents, ones that don’t really say anything, but also never offend. These aren’t heavy skank monsters either, though that Yasminale does keep arching its back on my other arm. It is classic, rich perfumery at its best. Each scent is an oil, and as Donna commented, there is no nose fatigue at all, which is surprising. The oils last forever on the skin (sniffs Snow Rose again). The entire collection of scents, while a few are similar to each other in feel, are all very different, from rich, warm orientals to light bubbly perfumes, to deep vetiver and woods and incense.
I loved Many of the same ones as Donna did, setlling finally on Semiramis, Yasminale, Snow Rose, Marie Antoinette Violette, #4, and Peluche, and filing Chalain, Anyssa and Jane away as three I need to buy later, along with a couple of other possibilities.
Peluche has notes of basil, cumin, green notes, thyme, carnation, olibanum, leather and cedar, and it is just a nose hug for me. It fell into the men’s category classifications, and many of the “masculine” scents had more traditional male notes, but Peluche is truly unisex and perfect. I should have stuffed that cotton ball into my purse with the scent on it so I could keep sniffing it.
Yasminale is mostly jasmine, and it goes on all feminine and pretty until you smell it an hour or so later, and the musk is doing the bump and grind all over the lovely flowers. Gorgeous, but not just another pretty face.
Semiramis tends to be a favorite of many people, and almost everyone in my group loved it, and it’s easy to see why. It’s easy to wear and just beautiful, with notes of amber, sandalwood, jasmine, iris, rose, violet, narcissus, ylang-ylang and vanilla. Classic oriental, elegant, rich, warm and lovely.
This is hard to do this from memory! Anyssa was another favorite of mine — trying to remember why – it was fresher without being gree– oh, the grass!! Now I remember why I adored it! Hay slut here was all over it for that reason. I decided to wait on that one until the next round, but that may be a short wait, I miss it already.
I wish I could talk more about the ones that weren’t my favorites, but still had a lot to recommend them. It’s difficult to remember specifics of any but the ones you really loved when you smell 75 scents in a couple of hours!
Snow Rose is definitely all that that everyone has claimed it is. If any of you have tried Shiseido’s White Rose, that’s a good reference point to Snow Rose, very familiar territory, and I’d be hard pressed to pick which one is the better of the two. Beautiful rose scents, both of them, but believe it or not, the Snow Rose may actually be easier to get.
Marie Antoinette Violette — as Donna said, just a perfect violet scent. I don’t have anything else to say about it except I smelled deeply twice and sighed… loudly and longly.
No. 4 is just perfection, one of those that takes your breath away when you smell it.
Jane was probably the only gourmand in the group, but despite that, I quite loved it. I reserve the right to change my mind once I have it and can wear it at leisure and by itself, but it was an unusual gourmand, sweet and some bitter and sharp all mixed in, never one dominating, a truly balanced gourmandish floral. It has notes of vanilla, chocolate, red currant, rose, jasmine, sweet orange, cedarwood, amber and Myrrhe.
Again, I wish I could talk in more details, but my brain just won’t work like that, if it works at all. I have to have the scent right in front of my nose when I’m writing about it, and my memory is never more than a sketch at this distance.
Is it worth going up there to smell them? If you like the hard to find and classically beautiful, yes. The Perfume House is a wonderful perfume store all on its own and well worth the trip, as well as enjoying the hospitality of the store’s owner, Chris. There was also some talk that if there were a group of us that wanted to go one weekend, that there are some even rarer things that could be brought in for us to sniff. Portland is beautiful in the summer. 🙂 Just say the word, and I can start working on that for, say maybe the spring? April or May?