All of the perfumes submitted are in the Fruity Chypre category. There are three challengers from the US and So. Africa. I've done my usual rounds of sniff test, blotter test, and skin test and they are all wonderful perfumes. Each person followed all of the directions well, so it all came down to the actual perfume they designed.
Here are the Challengers along with my review.
by Bruce Bolmes, USA
Bio: My interest for scents started many years ago. During the 1960’s and early 1970’s my fascination with scents exploded with the opening of the incense shops loaded with all kinds of new aromas and limited essential oils of that era. Later, during my years as a chef and owner of a European cuisine restaurant, I began to experiment with various essential oils and extracts in developing new and creative recipes. I also have produced various tinctures and extracts for the lure business. My natural perfuming interest is a way I can express my love for nature.
Vision: My fascination with animal scents was my inspiration for this entry. I imagined during the Ottoman Empire in Cyprus the air was filled with layered scents of various leathers and imagined a soft, feminine leather accord that would remind one of their wives while away from home. Aged Castoruem tincture was my choice to achieve the leather layer. I then thought the powdery dry down from civet tincture would be a perfect compliment to the dry leather and provide the soft feminine notes. The sweetness from the tonka bean tincture and Tahitian vanilla bean tincture balance out the feminine profile.
Notes: Oakmoss, Patchouli, Deertongue tincture, Tonka bean tincture, Orris butter, Labdanum, Benzoin tincture, Tahitian Vanilla bean tincture, Castoreum Tincture, Civet tincture, Ambergris tincture.
Review: Coiue Nero (Black Leather) opens with an overt and honest animalic aroma with lots of fruity notes dotted about but not featured. They are ‘as a result of’ not as an ‘intention to’. Five minutes later, it’s warming up and settling in. I’m detecting some smoky notes, at this point. An hour later, it is much softer and cohesive. Several hours later, the drydown is a wonderful accord between Oakmoss, Tonka bean, and Vanilla bean tincture. This perfume is a complex mix of the base notes that would be great to wear in the winter months when one is hunkering down and the lights are low; quite sexy and alluring.
No photo available.
Janet Teas, Zanesville, Ohio, USA
Bio: A number of years ago, I began to notice that when I cleaned the home with commercially-produced cleaners or wore synthetically-created fragrances, I consistently felt ill and developed migraine-like headaches that lasted for several days. Thus began a series of experiments to find an alternative source for my home cleaning needs and bath and body products, which ultimately led me to the study of aromatherapy. And, of course, aromatherapy then led me to natural perfumery. When creating perfume, I combine my interest in the glamour and luxury of the 1920s and 1930s Art Deco Jazz Age with my own sensibilities of natural, chemical-free perfumery. My goal is to create perfume products that are not only aromatically sumptuous and fitting of that bygone era, but also wearable for people with chemical sensitivities.
Vision: The Art Deco period was not only an age of joy and frivolity, but one of innovation and exploration. From transportation to architecture, both men and women strove to reach new heights. For the first time, onlookers looked skyward with awe and wonder as newly constructed monuments of the Art Deco era, such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, pierced the heavens.
For my fragrance, “Skyscraper”, I designed a perfume created to capture the essence of late 1920s and early 1930s skyscrapers. To represent the wonder of the technological expansion and upwardness of the Art Deco, I employed a light Chypre base to accentuate a carefree fruity tier and open the doors to skyscraper verticality.
Notes: Oakmoss absolute, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Angelica Root, Ambrette Seed, Cistus, Blue Cypress, Davana, German Blue Chamomile, Blue Tansy, Bergamot fcf, Distilled Lime, in a base of Fractionated Coconut oil.
Review: Skyscraper opens with a fresh clean uplifting chord of Lime, Bergamot, and Blue Cypress, which quickly evolves to the fruity accord between Davana, Blue Chamomile, and Blue Tansy. This fruity note stays throughout the drydown, which is resinous and lasts a good while on my skin. The blend warms and mingles with my own scent beautifully. This perfume goes through a minty/ozonic phase, a fresh/appley phase, and dries out with a wonderful labdanum phase. It does have some good lift and diffusion. It is a gorgeous blue/green that shines clear. The colour reminds me of the deep water in any tropical ocean. The data tag and packaging are quite beautiful with a lovely pearl broach adorning the organza pouch. Janet has found her niche in the early years of the 20th Century. I love the concept and the application. Janet shows a good attention to detail.
by Sophia Shuttleworth’s, South Africa
African Aromatics http://africanaromatics.com/wordpress/
Bio: The first time I was stung by a bee was when I was busy brewing a perfume from the local vegetation at six years old; I took it as a sign that the bee liked my perfume. Ever since then I have been exploring the scents of nature. Through my research into ancient anointing oils and early perfumes and aromatics, I discovered the art of natural perfumes. After many years of self-study I started to market my perfumes and founded African Aromatics. All my perfumes contain African elements in them as nature continues to serve as my inspiration and Africa is the environment in which I live and breathe in, and where I hope to continue to blossom for many more years.
Vision: I like to include in all my perfumes some elements that reflect my environment and at least one extract that I have made myself. The Cape, where I was born and live, with its Mediterranean climate, has a strong fusion of European Mediterranean and African culture. In spring the breeze often carries the fragrance of grape blossoms (much like neroli) from the vineyards, mingled with the scents of lavender, rose, jasmine, and the herbaceous green floral scents of the local fynbos (environment/area). This fragrance was something I always wanted to capture in a perfume. I was inspired to compose an African Chypre base which was for me the perfect medium to base my scent interpretation of the unique Cape fusion on, and so De Hoop was born.
Notes: Oakmoss, Labdanum, Vetiver, Patchouli, Muhuhu, Hyraceum, Fossilized amber, Ambergris, Orris root tincture, Morroccan rose, Egyptian jasmine, Tunisian Neroli, Omumbiri (myrrh-like resin), Cedar atlas, Buddleja salviifolia/auriculata (lilac-like) enfleurage, Ginger lily enfleurage, Marigold concrete, Clary sage, Cape snowbush, Cape rose geranium, Cape lavender, Cape May (sweet floral aroma), Orange bigarde, Lemon, African wormwood, in a base of Sugar Cane Alcohol.
Review: High fruity winey notes open this perfume. Grapes! Luscious, purple, lip-smackin’, tongue-staining grapes! This is a truly dazzling aroma. It’s straight up and honest like getting your face mooshed into a bowl of sun-kissed grapes or standing next to a vat of people stomping around on grapes. This scent is very joyous and free while still being contained within the structure of this perfume. After a while, it becomes very warm with floral highlights coming forth, underpinned by the lovely purple-pleaser. The drydown is a glowing combination of resins that go on and on. I loved the packages – very earthy; and the name “African Aromatics”. Everything about this suits me to a tee. Here I am, writing this the next day and thinking – what is that lovely smell. That’s right! It’s De Hoop, still going strong.
And the winner is:
All three perfumers captured the essence of the Fruity Chypre, though perhaps none intended to. They are each wonderful in their own way. So, it comes down to me, then. I would wear them all at certain times but which one would I wear most often? Skyscraper would be perfect for an afternoon tea. Coiue Nero would be the obvious choice for a sensual encounter with my partner. Which one would cover both bases? De Hoop. It starts out light and friendly, and moves ever-deeper into the radiant warmth of a Lover.
My appreciation and gratitude go out to Bruce, Janet, and Sophia for their fine work as Natural Perfumers, and for their lovely creations. I’m so happy you decided to come and play with me.
The grand prize winner is
South African Perfumer: Sophia Shuttleworth
Comment from Sophia:
Thank you so much for the opportunity and the time you invested in making the challenge possible. It is much appreciated. There are so few opportunities for independent perfumers to partake in such a challenge. I am thrilled that you enjoyed De Hoop; it is my first perfume I have sent for a review! Thank you so much for your lovely review, that in itself means so much to me. I did not expect to win, I just so enjoy any opportunity to let the creative juices flow through my favourite medium and the opportunity to get feedback. To top it, I am so pleased to make your acquaintance.
The other entries sound delightful too, which makes me even more surprised to have been selected as a winner. I enjoyed reading how everyone interpreted the same theme. Truly each vision gives a new window of insight into the scented universe.
I certainly will enter again, and will like to stay in contact with you.
Warm Regards and scented blessings,
Comment from Janet:
Thank you very much for holding the Autumn Chypre Challenge. I loved reading all of your reviews and enjoyed the experience very much. Thank you so much for your kind words about Skyscraper. The other two perfumes sound absolutely wonderful. Your positive words really brightened my day! I'm excited to learn more about natural perfumery and create more fragrances.
Thank you, Lyn.
Comment from Bruce:
Thanks for this, this was a fun challenge.
If I do not speak with you before the holidays, Merry Christmas to you and you family !
Hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and a fantastic New Years!!
All the best,