Slumberhouse samples part 2 and the beginning of a beautiful friendship

Picking this up right where I left it

Vikt is a smoky and slightly animalic scent. It is smoky enough to make you think that this is a vetiver scent. A fresh cut wood note starts poking through the smokiness but the first half hour gives you the impression of a rather crude smoky composition. This is a very superficial judgement however. It is not a crude a composition, instead it is a perfume with an extremely prolonged opening phase. After the first half hour the smokiness subsides, the fresh cut wood becomes moist and it acquires a lovely green fruitiness, almost like green apples. Instead of becoming darker and simpler it becomes fresher and more natural. About 3 hours into the wearing Vikt reminds me of Le Labo Oud 27, with this incredibly rich but fresh woodiness and an extra fresh citrus twist.

Description from the author: bronze smoke

Notes from my nose: smoke, fecal notes, fresh cut wood, green fruits

Jeke is cloves and camp-fire in the opening. The cloves go strong for about half an hour and after wearing it I read some reviews which all speak of a very pronounced medicinal quality in this. I would have agreed if I had stayed in this initial half hour. I have to wonder whether these people washed Jeke off before giving it a real chance because after this the camp-fire note becomes a ceremonial incense and a wonderful leather note appears. This is the spicy leather variety, in the same genre as Cuir Mauresque, but a bit darker a lot more incensy.  Jeke told me stories of holy wars and crusaders burning incense, praying and slaughtering infidels. It has a very spiritual and a very violent side at the same time.

Description from the author: rustic automn

Notes from my nose: cloves, smoke, leather, incense

Grev opens with a citrus like no other. Very thick and meaty, not your ordinary citrus, I can smell mostly orange with a little grapefruit and a bit of anise. Some clove mixes with the initial notes and at this point it reminds of L’Anarchiste. As it develops Grev becomes more herbal but it remains sparkling and bright. This is by all means the easiest to wear of all in the bunch but it is not banal nor classic. Imagine my surprise when I read that it is one of the slow sellers!

Description from the author: herbal apple suede

Notes from my nose: orange, grapefruit, clove, green notes

Sova opens like another version of the gingerbread only this time less edible. It smells like the wooden box where gingerbread is kept. I can also pick up hay, one of my favourite notes in perfumes. Cedar is also there. I really loved Sova for its complexity. There are all these dark notes playing in there and this is the one I would definitely run to buy. However I already own Fougere Bengale and those two cannot fit in the same wardrobe. They are not exactly the same, Fougere Bengale is greener. Sova has no detectable lavender and it is woodier, smells more red. But it is still an amazing scent. Full of nature and warmth.

Description from the author: autumn hay, honey, spice

Notes from my nose: cinnamon, clove, hay, tobacco, honey

Pear+Olive is the fragrance that made me explore Slumberhouse. It was Portia’s post that made me seek out my samples. I love the smell of pears but given my aversion to full blown fruity fragrances it is a real challenge to find something that will please me. The play of pear with olive sure sounds promising. It opens with a very real and fresh pear note coupled with a real naked skin accord. I cannot say that I get any olive from this one, at least the way I know olive. There is a milkiness that reminds me of the way olive leaves smell but the association is not strong enough to make me think of olives. Pear+Olive however succeeds in creating a pear scent that does not ooze with fruity sweetness. As it progresses it becomes milkier and greener but it remains a strange scent. There is a metallic hue in the naked skin accord that reminds me of Montale Sandflowers.

Description from the author: olive oil and fresh pear with a musky sunscreen finish

Notes from my nose: pear, naked skin, milky notes, green notes

Iska is a bonus sample of a perfume that I could not find listed in the Slumberhouse site and is probably a pre-release version as far as I could find out. It smells of delicate sweet white wine and white honey. I know the term sounds like silly marketing slang but It actually smells like pale acacia honey.  It also has a slight smokiness that is very unexpected in the company of the other notes but is really delightful. It reminds me vaguely of a tree in bloom, I don’t have a particular one in mind, but this is how trees with little beige flowers smell like. It is a lot more delicate than the other Slumberhouse perfumes that were included in my package but it is built on equally complex and unconventional accords. A creamy, boozy, smoky elixir. This is one to look out for!

Notes from my nose: sweet white wine, white honey, tree blooms, light smoke, hay

I enjoyed these few days with my Slumberhouses. Fantastic experience! And I also enjoyed reading Josh Lobb’s interview on Nottable Scents. It was interesting to read there that he doesn’t like using topnotes and he prefers using absolutes instead of essential oils because he prefers the way his perfumes smell after hours on skin. It all makes sense!

A few pointers for those of you who want to try this line: do not expect to smell what the fragrance is about before at least one hour into the wearing! They are incredibly dense, some of them going up to 25% and they last for very long. Eki and Grev are the most conventional and ethereal to my nose. Some of them are being re-worked and re-released and because of the high contents of absolutes variations from batch to batch are expected. The lack of formal topnotes gives them a strange opening and usually the deep drydown is brighter than the opening. They are a definite must try for perfume aficionados who are interested in exploring more unconventional perfumes without resorting to the gimmicks of industrial ambiances. Although they are mostly sweet, this has not put me off because their sweetness comes from the richness of their composition and is combined with dark and complex notes. My reference to similarities with other fragrances I have worn, especially Lutens perfumes, does not mean that there are similarities in notes but rather a similar vision.

Disclaimer: I purchased the sample kit from slumberhou.se and additional samples were kindly offered to me by the perfumer.

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About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas http://pantelismakkas.blogspot.com/. You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.

17 comments

  1. What a great run through the whole set. Thanks Christos.
    I think Josh might be a genius,
    Portia xx

  2. Nice impressions. Which do you like the best?

    • Christos

      I love Baque because it is truly unique. Jeke is really addictive. Vikt makes the most impressive switch in the development. But I think if I buy a bottle it will be Iska. I do not know if this will become available in the future or whether it is a limited edition that has be discontinued. Josh says in his interview for Notable Scents that he has to discontinue some fragrances because relies heavily on absolutes which in turn are very inconsistent from batch to batch,

      • lucasai

        Thanks for sharing. That’s too bad Slumberhouse is so expensive and I can’t even find a sample easily. Maybe I’ll get one when I’ll be abroad eventually in future

        • Christos

          The sample pack is quite cheap if you consider the per ml cost of the bottles and I think a bottle will go a long way. We are talking about up to 25% concentration here and they actually come out from the sprayer as oil.

  3. I love the sound of Iska. And Vikt sounds completely different to when I sampled it – I found it sweet and syrupy, only a touch smoky but not at all animalic. It must have changed! I’ll need to grab a sample (or a bottle) – both versions sound great :)

    • Christos

      I was a big adversary of reformulation when I started this game but after being serious for several years I have come to admit that they are necessary. It is commendable for a house to acknowledge the need to change a composition when an ingredient cannot be found any more and it only shows to me that they use natural ingredients and that they respect their customers. Slumberhouse and Le Labo do this. Others acknowledge the fact that some ingredients simply run out but would swear to their grave that the end result is identical. Jean Paul Millet Lage felt offended by my comparison of vintage and current Route du Vetiver even though this is one of the classic cases of reformulation.

      • smellythoughts

        Ha! Yes I’ve heard loads about the Route du Vetiver reformulation and am desperate to get my hands on some vintage – I think I’d love it.
        But yes – the great thing about Slumberhouse is they generally improve their formulations, I can only vouch in person for Grev, but your samples sound different to some of mine, but all good stuff. I’ve heard people on the forums talk about the changes too but all for the better. Also Josh admits to dodgy batches, I heard someone ordered one and it wasn’t as impressive as the sample so Josh reformulated and sent him back out something superior. Blah blah – the point is Slumberhouse is a great, solid line that bring something new :)

  4. I just received my sample kit. I haven’t had a chance to jump in yet. More to come… I look forward to comparing notes!

  5. Pingback: SOVA by Slumberhouse and 50 Lessons I Wish I Had Learned Earlier! « AustralianPerfumeJunkies

  6. These reviews were just delightful, Christos — I can tell how much you love these perfumes! The one that was most entertaining to read about was Jeke, as your description of it having both a very spiritual side and a very violent side (not to mention the idea of wearing something where you can imagine being one of the Crusaders, burning incense and slaughtering infidels!) makes it sound quite scary … and thus, quite fascinating. :D

  7. Suzanne I think that regardless of whether one likes them or not they will have a good time smelling them! They are not just a juice smelling good, they are an invitation to play. The quality of the ingredients is stunning and in case somebody didn’t read my comment above, the sample pack is a steal!!! I am very font of companies that sell sample vials at prices that very lower than the per ml price of the bottled perfume. Parfums d.Empire, Meela Vermeire, Slumberhouse, Parfums Divine, Ormonde Jayne do this.They all deserve our attention because they make a significant effort to be heard and I plan to publish a page where all these companies that offer reasonably priced samples will be listed. Anyone who has a suggestion please contact me.

  8. Christos, you’ve almost convinced me! :) When I resume buying samples I’ll take a close look at this brand: I’m always curious to try something that my blogo-friends are passionate about.

    • Christos

      What I enjoyed the most was how Josh Lobb takes the concept of slow smelling to an extreme with his creations. We all know that mass market perfumes are supposed to convince you in a few seconds but with his perfumes you really, really have to stop and smell the roses.

  9. Pingback: Slumberhouse samples part 1 « Memory Of Scent

  10. Slumberhouse is a strange one alright. I’ve sampled most of their things. When we hear perfumes described as “Unwearable” and that formulations frequently change….why should we be expected have patience with outfits like that, particularly when there are so many other small perfumeries coming on the scene, clamoring for our attention ? Frankly, it’s because Slumberhouse continues to stretch the envelope over so many different aspects of it’s products. Love them or think of them as too far out on some sort of foreign and previously-uncharted edge, their challenging originality continues to make them worthy of any perfume lover’s consideration.

    Now, if only there was some more of that briefly-released Brousse around….

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