From the first spritz out of this sample collection I knew I had a lot of work to do. Incredibly dense and complex perfumes with a rough edge and strong notes jumping off my skin with claws to grab my nose. I have been smiling all the way as these fragrances unfold and tell stories. Each one is like opening a book and reading a short story. They are open to interpretation and dialogue. This is the first part of my version of the Slumberhouse library.
Eki (limited series) opens with a vast, clean, slightly minty breath of mountain air. Everything smells aqua and white, like a snowed mountain top. Incredibly cool and airy but at the same strong and assertive. I smell white musk and delicate floral notes coupled with a sweet balsamic note and light, minty, herbal ones. It makes me think of fresh chewing gum in the same way Goti Black Essence did and this is a very good way. In the drydown I get a whiff of cigarette smoke.
Notes from Slumberhouse: Saccharine jasmine, magnolia, natural damascenone. Millions of miniature white flowers
Notes from my nose: mint, sugar, white flowers, chewing gum
Sana is quite easy to describe. Let’s pretend Serge Lutens Chene is the distant cousin that has always become the centre of attention in family reunions, although rarely present, with his rebellious attitude. Now imagine you discover that Chene has an older brother so wild that everybody chose not to even mention him to you. This is Sana! Full of dark notes, tar, bitter woods and sticky sweetness. As it progresses Sana loses the strong birch tar edge and mellows into a sweet leather perfume.
Notes from Slumberhouse: tagetes syrup, fir balsam, suede, magnolia, thorns, honey, red raspberry leaf absolute, sweet birch.
Notes from my nose: birch tar, oak, tagetes, honey, leather
Baque opens with a strange sweet-and-savoury gourmand accord. I get butterscotch, coffee, whiskey, immortelle. If you like Eau Noire you are going to like this but don’t expect a copy-cat. This is very different! As it progresses the loud and rather masculine opening calms down and the composition balances in what smells to me like dried apricots steeped in Jack Daniels: apricot, real vanilla, oak. Although I had a little trouble coming to terms with the sweetness of the opening the drydown is infinitely more balanced and it rewarded me. I notice that the deeper in the drydown, the fresher and more real the apricot note, to the point that I can even smell an unripe, green element.
Description from the author: apricot tobacco
Notes from my nose: butterscotch, coffee, immortelle, apricot, whiskey
Norne comes out of the bottle a bit raunchy… turpentine, pepper and a little bit of sweat, well maybe not just a little… This is definitely resinous, pine-y and woody. The dry and acerbic quality of this wood reminds me of the opening of Santal Noble but where Santal Noble remains calm and composed Norne goes deep into the forest and chops down a giant pine tree single-handed. Coming back from the woods it is a bit more mellow but it remains hardcore and unconventional. I can’t help thinking that this is a more fitting smell for a fragrance named “Tom of Finland“, sexual connotations and Nordic forests included.
Description form the author: winter forest
Notes from my nose: turpentine, pepper, sweat
Rume opens as a delicious. thick, spiced gingerbread. Clove, cinnamon, ginger, raisins, plums, rum are rich, moist, just as sweet as they should be. Comparisons with Serge Lutens Arabie are inevitable but Rume is less sweet, less edible more medicinal and woodier. As it dries down woods become more prominent. Think of it as the smell of a vat where spices and fruit have been left to macerate for years. Rume is what is the spirit of this process against the wood.
Description from the author: antique cedar chest
Notes from my nose: clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, rum, brown sugar, cedar
To be continued…
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Great to see you exploring these – Rume was my favourite out of the ones listed. Although Vikt is the one I think I’ll be buying soon as I’ll undoubtably wear it more than any of the others. I found Norne a lot more tame than you described – however, these fragrances in the early days got reformulated an awful lot (but for the better, the perfumer’ is constantly improving them – I sampled the recent Grev recently and found it far superior to before), so I assume Norne has changed a little. He also said when it was first released that it would get better as it ages, I had a very early sample. Anyway – rambling. I haven’t tried Eki – though it sounds wonderful.
A great fragrance house 🙂
I must admit that I I approached these as a blank sleight, I had only read about Pear+Olive and I thought it could be interesting. If I had read my own impressions I would have been afraid of the sweetness and intrigued by how full they are. But smelling them I was completely drawn in by how complex, developing and evocative they are.
I love Rume for its whiskey note, I agree that Eki is more versatile, Norne is a beast to my nose 🙂
I love Rume for it’s coca cola note! Reminds me of Dr.Pepper more precisely – hadn’t smelt anything like it since Azemour by Parfum D’Empire. It’s probably my favourite in the line, but I wouldn’t wear it.
Slumberhouse makes some unique scents indeed.I own Jeke,Vikt.Baque,Norne,and a new one called Sova.As you described they are all thick deeply resinous scents.Initially some are a bit rough around the edges but that’s precisely why i like them.They take a risk.They’re definitely not the end result of some corporate market test.As we get into fall and colder temps here in NYC I think they will all work well.I’m currently enjoying Jeke which as Josh describes is literally the scent of a fall night with the blaze of a forest fire in the distance.Vikt is in my current rotation as well and it’s resinousness reminds me of Black Afgano by Nasamatto.I get a sweet Tobacco note from Baque with a pronounced dried apricot note as well.Sova which I’m currently trying to wrap my head around is unique simply for the number of exotic absolutes it contains.It’s similar to Baque but with a more pronounced clover like field note.I look forwards to reading the rest of your reviews on the line.I’m glad someone in the blogosphere is finally taking notice!
I am very impressed as well. Despite the earthy, resinous, forest references they have an urban, goth vibe. NYC would be the perfect setting for them.
It is true I rarely read about Slumberhouse. I must admit that Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies and her take on Pear+Olive was what drew my attention
never tried any of these.
They are really worth looking for if you like your perfumes strong and narrative
This brand doesn’t appeal to me at all but I liked your description of Sana. If I come across them somewhere at a store I might give them a try but, in general, “the new school of hiphop and graffiti artists” is not my thing.
I don’t think they are your style but I would recommend Eki if you find it. The perfumer’s description is “saccharine bliss” and although it is not too sweet it certainly is blissful.
I read the hip hop reference and I expected something different, although I do not pride myself on my knowledge of the genre. I think Josh’s visions and dreams have a lot in common with Serge Lutens’s obsessions.
I didn’t want to leave you with the wrong impression about Slumberhouse and Josh Lobb so this is a piece he references as an inspiration. It is by the Rachels, a chamber ensemble with minimalist influences. Quite different from hip hop or maybe not. Apparently Josh is very eclectic.
I ordered the sample set and am looking forward to testing them out. I am a bit worried that they may be a bit “too rough around the edges” for my liking as my princess being likes things luxurious 🙂
If luxury to you is rhinestone studded designer t shirts then you won’t like them. But if luxury is synonymous to cabins in the woods, fireplaces, good liquor and fur bedspreads then just expect an initial shock and wait for the drydown
I am LOVING these. What a great bunch they are. Wait till you try Pear + Olive Christos. AH MAY ZING!
I am saving this for the weekend Portia 🙂
Christos, though I won’t be seeking these out ( I’ve got an overwhelming number of samples to get through right now), your reviews were so much fun to read. Your review of Sana as the older brother of Chene cracked me up! Will look forward to reading part deux! 😀
These samples just made me smile the way you smile when you read something intelligent. They put me in an all round good mood and apparently this came through in the writing.
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I ve tried Rume, Olive&Pear & Baque so far. I will be harsh i’m afraid… Baque and Rume give me the feeling that they were not designed as most modern fragrances are, but as if they actually happened. Rume is definitely unwearable (and one of the very few fragrances I scrubbed off after about 1 hour). Spicy, boozy (reminds me of an aged black Jamaican rum that’s gone bad with time) and resinous (labdanum &peru balsam) notes thrown in, with no particular order and reason. For those seeking a cola note (if not just open a coke and sniff it), I would suggest a wonderful Cola fragrance oil sold by Perfumer’s Apprentice as a flavouring agent. Baque is better, still unwearable though ( the idea of the top notes-cut down sounds great but let’s at least leave intact the idea of a basic structure). Unlike Baque and Rume, Pear & Olive smells as if it was intented. Pear is obvious, (vanillin too), but olive (in any form) got lost in the way. Ιt has an oily quality but that’s far from being called “olive”. Perfect as a room spray or a candle.
I beg to differ… One hour is really nothing for these unconventional compositions, You should at least spray them on a blotter and forget about them till next day. Pear+Olive is not my favourite and it is made with olive fruit absolute but I agree that I don’t smell the olives, at least the way we are used to smelling them in Greece.
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