Perfume Portrait

The first smell I remember is the smell of humid dry grass on a summer night. I still catch whiffs of it in Fougere Bengale and Habit Rouge eau de parfum.

The first perfume I remember is Jacomo Eau Cendrée. My uncle used to wear it and I just could not believe how different the bottle looked. I have recently managed to relive its mossy beauty.

The first bottle I bought for my self when I was about 16 was Benetton Colors Uomo. In its original form it was presented in a black opaque bottle and it smelled nothing like the newer blue version. It was a heavy, spicy oriental, quite unfit for a teenager.

The bottle that got me hooked on the internet fragrant community was Donna Karan for Men. It was my initiation to leather and when it got discontinued I tried to find it online and my search led to Basenotes. The rest is history and a lot of plastic money spent.

My first niche buy was Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver and to this day it is the closest I will ever get to my Holly Grail. It is also the perfume that taught me the hard way the meaning of the term “reformulation” .

Since then I have emptied several bottles and accumulated even more. My favourite notes are

Vetiver: Route du Vetiver is obviously the king of the crop for me but I have discovered and loved its many facets on the way
Iris: it has the ability to simulate a wide range of temperatures from ice cold to warm and this fascinates me.
Leather: more of an illusion than a note actually
Immortelle: a quintessentially Mediterranean note, hard to tame but warm
Earth: the smell of damp earth, rain, mildew
Green: anything green, fresh, bitter, herbal

Favourite houses:

Serge Lutens: what can I say? I just “get” them. Most of them I love. They all tell tales and I am eager to listen.
Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier: the stylised elegance, the old world vibe, the right pitch for my nose. Easy to wear but not simple
Parfums Divine: an underrated house that has a line-up of hits at down-to-earth prices
Parfum d’Empire: probably the most impressive collection of perfumes under one roof
Kerosene: they say that those who cannot do teach and those who cannot teach review. John Arthur proved that where there is talent a reviewer can also do very well.
Ormonde Jayne: the definition of style and class. It takes a lot of guts to wear these with jeans but it is doable.
Parfums Heeley: there is something in the combination of British genes and French culture that creates magic
Montale Parfums: the controversial house. Call it Montale or whatever you want, if you can keep up with the multitude of releases and Pantone-like investigation of oud and other notes, you will find amazing gems in their line-up.
Jil Sander: all of the earlier releases that have sadly been discontinued
Lalique: classic compositions with an interesting twist

My treasure chest, things I wouldn’t want to be without:

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver
Serge Lutens Sarrasins
Montale Black Aoud
Chanel No19
Jils Sander Man (original release)
Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist
Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Iris Bleu Gris
Chanel Anteus
Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir
Serge Lutens Serge Noire
Serge Lutens Daim Blond
Donna Karan (Fuel) for Men
Kerosene Creature
Lalique Encre Noire
Divine L’Homme de Coeur
Parfum d’Empire Fougere Bengale
Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman
Serge Lutens Musc Koublai Khan
Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental
Annick Goutal Sables

My wishlist:

Montale Greyland
Montale Sandflowers
Helley Cuir Pleine Fleurs
Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman
Ormonde Jayne Tolu
Ormonde Jayne Ta’if
Jo Loves Pomelo
Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles
Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Fleur d’Iris
Agent Provocateur L’Agent
Pascal Morabito Or Black
Divine L‘Être Aimé Homme
and the list goes on…

This is my collection (some of my bottles are not listed yet)

For some information on how I write my reviews and what note reporting is to me please read this disclaimer.


  1. cheryl

    I visited Biarritiz in 1974 and found MY lifelong fragrance a Jean Laporte “Fruit de la Passion” that was simply beyond belief. I was able to have friends traveling to Europe get it for me a few times since, but haven’t had it or ANYTHING near it for years and SO miss it. I can’t tell you how sorry I am that Jean has passed and I can only hope that someone will carry on his legacy with this amazing fragrance. Please tell me how I can get it or a semblance of it. CG

    • I know this tantalizing feeling of trying to recapture lost fragrance memories… The best I can do is suggest to try Fraiche Passiflore from the Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier line. It was created by Laporte and the name refers to passion fruit so I imagine that this is as close as you can get to your memory. The Biaritz factor will be missing but still this is your best chance. Let me know if you don’t know how to get it and also let me know how close you got.

  2. Pingback: Photographic view of a Laguna | IAMontheRun

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