Perfumer H Ink and Smoke

NB: Before we get started, I just have to note that I was mistaken in my post last Monday. Miller Harris is not owned by Estee Lauder. It appears, though I’m not entirely sure from my reading on the net, that Lyn Harris sold a stake (maybe not the whole) in the business around 10 years ago to NEO Investment Partners (PE — they also appear to have a stake in Victoria Beckham, which gives an idea of what they are into). I also saw that there were some issues for MH during Covid. Currently, at least in the UK, it still appears to be operating but may be in administration – which might explain why Tom couldn’t find it easily in the US.

In addition, I just have to say my world smells incredible right now. My next door neighbours’ mock orange (Philadelphus) is magnificent this year. Apparently our horrible, freezing, wet, grey winter made it happy. It’s covered in bloom and the smell wafts in through my kitchen window. Sadly, the tree (it is a tree) isn’t well taken care of – my neighbours both have serious health issues and are too proud to accept help with anything. So, the tree just manages on its own. Anyway, here’s a pic. And my jasmine is starting to bloom. So, AM and PM the waft is so beautiful. Mother Nature is being kind in some ways this summer.

Onward to Ink and Smoke.

After last week’s attempts with a few Miller Harris fragrances, today we’re going moving on to Lyn Harris’ newest brand, Perfumer H.

I only have two samples to play with – it turned out that my email asking about samples had landed in a junk folder. But somehow it was found and I was informed that the company would happily send me two liquid samples, a service I think only applies to the UK. Otherwise, if I’m recalling correctly (I appear to have deleted the original mail), they will send up to four impregnated blotters elsewhere.

Anyway. Lyn Harris launched Perfumer H in 2015 and I didn’t clock it till last year. When I mentioned this to a perfume-loving friend here she said, “Oh, yes, the new line – incredibly pricey”. I did some googling and had a toodle round the website. The main shop is in Marylebone in sort of mid-central London and ever so slightly north. I tried to get there on a couple of recent trips but it’s out of the way enough that I couldn’t swing it.

As my friend noted, in the scheme of things, these are pricey. If my two samples are any indication, they are well made and interesting. Well worth a sniff. One of the company’s things is a refill service though. You buy what look like gorgeous handblown glass bottles, in different colours depending on the fragrance, and when you’re done, you can buy a simple apothecary-like refill (as an example, Ink: 100ml handblown bottle [£530], 100ml refill bottle [£180], 50ml bottle [£130] – prices vary per fragrance). In addition to the Marylebone store, the juice is gettable in various places around the world, but most are more obscure than your regular perfume shop. For example, you can get the brand at a shop in Amagansett, on Long Island in New York, which is near East Hampton.

On to the perfumes.

Ink (2015) actually does smell like I would expect ink in a bottle for a fountain pen to smell (however much I liked Lalique Encre Noire it didn’t really smell like ink to me). Notes include elemi, black pepper (not pink! hurrah!), rose absolute, vetiver, patchouli, papyrus, cedar wood, frankincense and ambroxan. The opening of this is resinous. Vetiver and patchouli I can manage (usually these two do not work on me), with a nice black pepper kick. As it heats up on skin, the rose is there — it seems to anchor things and provide a bit of heft — and an incensy aspect that is full and deep (nothing sharp in this). This feels ancient, like something someone would have anointed themself with. It’s not new in an earth-shaking way but it, as I said above, is very well done. The drydown on this was surprising to me, and is maybe due to the rose. Basically, it’s gentle incense with rose. Not cool or watery. Longevity was good: I still smelled it on my wrist after 8 hours. All in, nicely done.

Smoke (2016) … is smoke. I get it. Notes of coriander seed, angelica grain, rose essence, chamomile, frankincense, agar wood, santal mysore, cedar wood, birch tar and cade. This opens like gentle wood smoke when you’re sitting near an open fire. What I guess is the coriander and angelica. Sort of toasted. It’s spicy but like a wood smoke spicy, if that makes any sense. This is gentler than Ink without losing any oomph. As it goes along, the rose emerges but along with the chamomile and the resins. And then the sandalwood in particular emerges and it is truly beautiful. Soft and ever so slightly sweet but in a nutmeggy way. Further in this gets spicy sweet and loses the smoky aspect. But that’s fine. The drydown is nutmeg and allspice within the loveliest sandalwood I’ve ever experienced. Good longevity but certainly ‘softer’ than Ink.

All in, I’m very pleased with my two sample picks.

The fragrances are broken out into categories of citrus, floral, fern, wood and amber. Sometimes things overlap categories. I’m curious about Charcoal and Saffron.

There are also candles which start from £55. Beyond the Ink one, I’m curious about Marmalade.

As noted above, even the pedestrian 50ml bottle for these perfumes is somewhat pricey.

If the ones I have tried are any indication, this is a brand worth exploring and the next time I’m upcountry I plan to do that.

Anyone have any of these? Sampled them? Thoughts?

Pics: Pexels and mine

  • Tom says:

    Well, I’m glad they weren’t Laudered. They offered to send me some blotter samples and I might, but it seems a little pointless: I’ve never had a blotter sample that really gave you any idea what the actual scent is like, and IDK if I’ll ever get within 3 yards of anyplace to smell them in person. Glad you got to, and thanks for the great write-up!

    • cinnamon says:

      No, I don’t think blotters are much help. They are available in two places in LA — Gallerie Half and Departmento. In fact, they only appear to be findable in sort of odd, seemingly up-market outlets — none of the usual places. I am scheming one of my mad up and back trips to London to include a visit here (and just to go to The City — I’m needing a break from the back of beyond).

      • Tom says:

        Thanks for the tip! Galerie Half is actually somewhat in the neighborhood, even.

        • cinnamon says:

          The outlets are a sort of odd mixed bag. None of the usual suspects. Be very interested to hear what you think of them.

  • Musette says:

    it’s been ages since I wore any of the original MHs (I remember liking several ) – these sound intriguing… but ooooof! those price points!
    The Philadelphus looks beautiful – what needs doing with it (pruning?). I have a neighbor who is recovering from a massive heart attack/stroke and boy howdy is he having trouble accepting help, even the most basic stuff. I’m treading that fine line between courtesy/respect and ‘feck it – this needs DOING! and you can’t risk doing it right now so shut up and lemme!’ – or something to that effect 😉

    • cinnamon says:

      Yeah, yeah, it’s a lot of dosh. I like the two I have samples of but I have this strange feeling that there’s something among the offer that is probably incredible — I just have to find it. I’m still not sure I’d buy but given how well done these are I’d at least like to know … I help the neighbours in underhanded ways as it’s impossible to help them directly. Nothing else to be done. At some point their situation will reach a tipping point and then we’ll see. The woman knows their garden needs help but she’s not in great shape and she can’t really go against the guy, who is a right royal mess. And the garden is the least of their issues.

  • Dina C. says:

    These both sound like very interesting scents, Cinnamon. I’m glad Lyn Harris has found a new venture for her perfume creativity to explore. Sounds like she’s not done yet thinking up new ideas. The price is pretty steep though.

    • cinnamon says:

      They are — and I imagine the other fragrances in the line are at the very least well made. And I wonder if the candles like Ink that also appear in perfume form smell very similar to the perfumes. As to price, yup. Not even within the reasonable realm. I continue to wish most houses offered travel sizes.

  • March says:

    Oh, these sound lovely and so interesting! I wonder how Ink and Smoke would be layered? Or worn adjacent to each other … I’m going to browse the website just for fun. (Also with you on the Marmalade candle.) I dunno, if I fell in love with one of these, 130 pounds for 50 ml in some boring refill bottle would be just fine. Also, the scents around your home sound amazing! Lots of roses here right now but I mostly can’t smell them at a distance. However there’s one honeysuckle on my dog-walk that I can smell way before I get to it, it’s glorious.

    • cinnamon says:

      The place is definitely on my list for next visit to London. The few pics I’ve seen and the faff on the website imply it’s more like a workshop than a perfume store. I’m quite curious. And the sandalwood in Smoke is astounding. Sandalwood is generally not one of my notes but this was so very good. My garden is in the process of switching over scent-wise, from the Philadelphus to the jasmine. In any case, all good. Hoping it continues to be stinky through early autumn. A lot of honeysuckle woven through hedges here. You get a surprise waft walking through the village.

  • Portia says:

    These sound so beautiful Cinnamon.
    Did you ever try the inky darkness of Byredo Nevermore?
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      They are quite high quality and interesting. I meant to say in the post in contrast to the current MH fragrances. I don’t think I’ve tried Nevermore. Goes on list.

  • alityke says:

    I was certain MH has been Laudered. Apologies from me too!
    Perfumer H are way out of my budget, even 50ml would be too much of a stretch. I daren’t sample in case I fall for one.

    • cinnamon says:

      Nope, private equity, it appears. Given what I read about administration I wonder what that actually means on MH — ie, is the company just concentrating on the UK or something else. These are indeed very pricey — even for the simple 50ml bottles.