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Scents in the City: Fragrance: The Plaza Beauty Store by Warren Tricomi

By Michelyn Camen

There are at least three things that can make a woman feel wonderful; the perfect LBD, the most flattering haircut and finding a fabulous new fragrance. 

Warren-Tricomi’s is one of New York’s finest hair salons. Joel Warren and Edward Tricomi recently located to The Plaza Hotel in New York City, bringing their ‘cutting’ edge to one of New York City’s most historic and glamorous landmarks.

The Plaza Hotel asked the two style icons to hand select and curate luxury beauty and fragrances housed in one opulent boutique. The elegant, inviting space juxtaposes the classical and the ultra-modern to create an environment that maintains the integrity of the historic location while infusing the surroundings with a fashionable ambience. The boutique is divided by category; offering a brow bar, fragrance bar and skincare counter, all designed to encourage the visitor to approach and explore with ease.

According to Joel Warren,”I handpicked each beauty and fragrance brand to create an exclusive selection of the most luxurious, hard to find global favorites and beauty gems in a setting that captures the essence of Manhattan’s style, spirit and sophistication."

The scents at the fragrance bar at The Plaza Beauty Store do not disappoint.  Beth Terry, Cote Bastide, Esteban, Hierbas de Ibiza, Kai, Miller et Bertaux, Six Scents, Tocca, The Different Company and Washington Tremlett were each selected for even the most discerning pefumistos.

Can you imagine Eloise at The Plaza Beauty Store? She would run amok spritzing and spraying and yes dropping many a fine fragrance.

The Plaza Beauty Store by Warren Tricomi.  For additional information please visit  or call 212-223-4694


There is nothing more exciting then great acting on stage at a local theatre. It is something about the small theatres that are tranquil and the onstage presence from the actors seem that they are performing only for me. I am lucky to live in a city where there are so many local theatres in one central area and the price is right for any budget.

I am always amazed at the number of Tony Award winners who started acting on stage at small rustic theaters that most people have never heard about.

Acclaim perfumer and artist, Hilde Soliani put her love of the performing arts into a wonderful and passionate fragrance collection catering to the Parma Theater in Italy.

Ms. Soliani has a passion for flowers which comes naturally because her grandmother was also a perfumer. Each of these fragrances comes from years of research and dedication to the field of perfumery and more importantly the fragrances are updated from the old recipes that belonged to her grandmother.    When I wear a fragrance it is like putting on a costume to be worn on stage for the opening act.  I like to get into the part and imagine the story the perfumer was trying to portray.

Ms. Soliani is devoted to the performing arts and reads on the history of the Parma Theater which translates into a beautiful representation of waxed wooden floors and stage makeup Vecchi Rossetti Eau de Parfum, gives a tantalizing breeze of a rustic theatre at night after the completion of a successful performance. 

The fragrance features ripe floral accord and woody notes that give a hint of a masculine touch but light enough to be worn by women. I love the tobacco-like scent that makes it seem the theatre is filled with cigarettes and cheering fans. Vecchi Rossetti is definitely a winner and truly a command performance.

I have great admiration for Ms. Soliani because she values family and
she spared no details when creating Bell’ Antonio
Eau de Parfum. This scent is named after her father, Antonio.
This is a dark robust fragrance that captures fans after the
performance sipping coffee and having a smoke outside the theatre. The
tobacco and coffee notes gives the scent the title of masterpiece and a
repeat performance by any standards.

Ms. Soliani is great at taking you on a step by step journey through
her fragrance collection from experiencing a wonderful
performance at the Parma Theatre and then a romantic dinner, some
strong coffee and a smoke at the back of the theater. 


Brandimage, Desgrippes & Laga announced today that it will hold A CONVERSATION BETWEEN MANDY AFTEL & ROCHELLE BLOOM, PRESIDENT OF THE FRAGRANCE FOUNDATION on NATURALS in FRAGRANCE & FLAVOR, followed by a cocktail reception catered by Olives Chef Todd English, and sponsored by Robertet, a widely recognized global leader in natural aromatic raw materials. 

This occasion will take place on April 23rd, from 6 – 7:30PM in the wine room at Olives Restaurant, at the W, Union Square, 201 Park Avenue South, New York, and is open to the public.  Tickets are $ 35 and seating is limited.

This event is taking place in conjunction with the month long exhibit, Living Perfume: the Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel featuring her perfume, craft, collection, and the exclusive launch of her new perfume, Lumiere. The exhibit runs from Saturday April 18 through May 11, on the third floor of Henri Bendel and comes to a finale with the celebration of Mother’s Day.

Bloom is President of The Fragrance Foundation, established in 1949 by six industry leaders to develop educational programs about the importance and pleasures of fragrance for the American public.  She will join Mandy Aftel, natural perfumer and head of Aftelier Perfumes, in a dialogue about the growing public interest in Naturals for use in perfume, cuisine, and other product applications.  Naturals refer to the use of pure and natural essential oils and absolutes. In addition to interviewing Aftel, Bloom will invite the audience to participate in a question and answer session with Aftel.

The Fragrance Foundation has been a long time supporter of Aftel’s work – and gave her the Richard B. Solomon Award (for her book Essence and Alchemy) through The Sense of Smell Institute.  “Mandy Aftel is a recognized authority in Natural Perfume and a true pioneer in the modern field of Naturals” – Rochelle Bloom, President, Fragrance Foundation
This unique forum is designed and produced in partnership with Brand-Image, Desgrippes & Laga, and Sensory Runway.

This occasion will take place on April 23rd, from 6 – 7:30PM.
Limited seating is available and payable at the door.  To RSVP please contact Dru Sturgess  - 

Mandy Aftel, Aftelier,  is considered the world’s leading natural perfumer and the “Guru of Scent”. The nose behind Aftelier Perfumes, she is the author of three books on natural perfume including the award winning Essence and Alchemy: The Natural History of Perfume, which has been published in seven languages. Dubbed the “angel of alchemy” by Vanity Fair, Aftel has designed custom blends for Hollywood stars, writers, and restaurants, as well as private labels. She is passionate about helping the art of natural perfumery, once near extinction, to evolve and  thrive.   She lectures and teaches the art form that she has originated to perfumers, and diverse devotees and clients ranging from Apple designers to mixologists and chefs. 
The Fragrance Foundation,,  has the mission to enhance the image of Fragrance and to expand the appreciation and use of fragrance in all its forms across all distribution channels globally. Today, America is the largest fragrance market in the world and The Fragrance Foundation has become an international source for historic, cultural, scientific, and industry-related reference materials. 

Brandimage, Desgrippes & Laga,,  designed the Living Perfume exhibit. The company offers holistic services designed to deliver rich brand experiences for consumers, from brand strategy and consumer insight, to brand identity, industrial design, package design, graphics, innovation, interactive, retail experience and architecture in one integrated offering.
The exhibit, Living Perfume: the Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel, is being produced by Sensory Runway,, a company dedicated to accelerating natural perfume in the world, and runs from April 18 through May 11, on the third floor of Henri Bendel.


Lumiere is a sheer elegant floral composed of the precious essences of boronia, blue lotus and sacred frankincense. Mandy has created a sophisticated floral that is restrained but sensual. The base chord is built upon notes of fine green tea absolute and the rarest of Frankincense -- boswellia sacra from Oman -- with it’s ethereal and mysterious resinous woody notes. Lumiere's  exquisite heart features Tasmanian boronia  with its aroma of freesias and raspberries, and the transparent watery floral note of blue lotus.  Lumiere is available in one quarter ounce ($195) and 2.2ml mini size ($60).  Our one quarter ounce perfume comes with a complimentary mini kit.

Living Perfume:
The Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel

Henri Bendel
New York City
Henri Bendel, the iconic New York retailer announced that it will hold an exhibit Living Perfume: The Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel April 18 – May 11, 2009...
featuring the perfume, the craft, and the collection of leading natural perfumer, Mandy Aftel.  Henri Bendel is the exclusive retailer of Aftel’s Aftelier line of hand-blended scents which are created from the world’s finest natural ingredients.

This interactive and historic exhibit will showcase the extraordinary materials that bring to life the art and science of natural perfume. It will be created and installed using the responsible design principles of sustainable materials and eco-friendly sourcing, and draw its inspiration from the natural world where natural fragrance originates.

"It is rare to have the opportunity to usher in a new art form, especially one that embodies such great beauty. We consider Aftelier to be the leader in natural perfume and are excited about sharing it with our customers through this historic exhibit" states Claudia Lucas, Senior Vice President of Beauty & Gifts for Henri Bendel.

The recipient of the Sense of Smell Institute’s Richard B. Solomon Award, Mandy Aftel stands in the threshold of a new art form – her beautiful collection is based on the ancient art of blending aromatics and essential oils with a new exploration into the art, science, and meaning of natural perfume. 

“As potent as it can be, however, smell is the most neglected of our senses. Rational precepts and the industrial age have separated our minds, bodies and spirits, and further separated us from nature. Natural Perfume, created from natural materials and aromatics is multi-layered phenomenon:  In a breath, we are able to reconnect with the natural world and ourselves in new and profound ways.” said Aftel.

Living Perfume: The Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel exhibit is dedicated to the sense of smell, aromatics, and the art of natural perfume, with interactive learning opportunities for the public. The Exhibit will feature Aftel’s body of work: her perfumes and oils, her research and writings, her personal library of rare books, graphics, and artifacts - to offer a unique and foundational view of this world. 

Roxana Villa’s Vespertina
An Illuminated Perfume

by Trish Vawter

These past few months, I have spent a lot of time looking at Roxana Villa’s Illuminated Perfume website, reading her online journal, corresponding with her, and of course, wearing her fragrances. Delving into Ms. Villa’s creative work, and getting to know her has been an inspiration. Her love of nature, art and fragrance all flow organically through each other and so clearly through her, that one cannot help but be touched by her passion. I have had the honor to sample most of her fragrances and I can honestly report that Ms. Villa is an extraordinary perfumer who blends her fragrances with sophistication and a nature lover’s heart. Vespertina is the chosen perfume for review, and is intrinsically linked to the art and music of The Visions of Vespertina.

The Visions of Vespertina was recorded by Greg Spalenka, Ms. Villa’s husband, and Michelle Barnes. This was a ten year project that was first recorded by them and then later picked up for distribution and released in 1998. But it wasn’t until 2007 that Ms. Villa created Vespertina the fragrance, for what she refers to as a “threefold sensorium; music, art and scent”. Both the music and art of The Visions of Vespertina are moody, haunting, and medieval in tone. Not unlike the fragrance.

The citrusy, sparkly, subtly spicy topnotes of Verspertina conjure up an image of a mythical orange blossom wine that would be served during communion in a medieval church. Intoxicating, but reverent.

Uplifting, yet solemn. Apparently orange blossoms are not in Vespertina’s blend, but rather four different essential oils of citrus. But its floral heart emerges quickly, which might explain the suggestion of sweet orange blossom. Thankfully the sweetness is not cloying or overbearing. It is a nectar tempered by a medicinal, boozy twinge. Like heavy drunken buds, hanging from dark branches in the evening’s moonlight.

These images, one of non-compliant nature, and one of a devotional ancient ritual have occurred to me while wearing other Illuminated Perfumes.

It’s as though Ms. Villa is able to tap into the desire to connect with past reverential realms while staying grounded within the beauty of our present, albeit chaotic moments.

The evolution of Vespertina continues to ground its wearer as more of the woods move to the foreground, along with a slightly indolic jasmine. Rose and lotus are listed in the fragrance notes as well, but jasmine has the most depth and presence. As the fragrance ultimately settles into its drydown, very subtle hints of earthy leather can be noticed amidst the floral woodiness. Ms. Villa describes Vespertina as “orange woven with flowers, grounded by earth;” a concise and
entirely accurate depiction. Whether or not one is a seeker of natural perfumes, Vespertina is a compelling, complex citrusy floral, with much to offer all perfume lovers.

Vespertina Giveaway at Scent Hive:


By Manuela Pfannes-Völkel

Karen Dubin die Gründerin von Sniffapalooza organisierte eine Reise  für Mitglieder zur ersten deutschen Duftmesse in Düsseldorf. Sie folgte einer Einladung von Bernd Kruschka. (Premier de Luxe, Cospar GmbH Division Osnabrück) Zusammen mit  Frank Schnitzler ( Schnitzler Consulting Düsseldorf) und Ann Katrin Koch  (Pentacom PR Agentur Krefeld) wurde auch die Duftmesse organisiert.

Die erste deutsche Duftmesse war nun ein besonderes Ereignis für sich, da es eine solche Ausstellung, die sich ausschließlich mit Parfüm befasst in dieser Größenordnung in Deutschland noch nicht gegeben hatte. Vom 20. -23. März zeigten ca. 40 Aussteller im Künstlerhaus Malkasten in Düsseldorf Nischendüfte aus aller Welt, die teilweise schon einen gewissen Bekanntheitsgrad haben oder ihn natürlich erreichen möchten.

Die kleine Messehalle war meist mit vielen Besuchern gefüllt. Es tummelte sich ein buntes Völkchen aus Parfümeuren,
Händlern und Privatpersonen von einem Stand zum nächsten, das Interesse war sehr groß. Die Räumlichkeiten waren dem
Ansturm nicht so recht gewachsen, die Stände sehr eng zusammengelegt und die Luft im Raum, von vielen Düften schwer,
hätte einer besseren Belüftung bedurft. Viele Besucher bemängelten auch das nur sehr spärlich Proben verteilt wurden.
Trotz einiger Verbesserungsideen kann die erste deutsche Duftmesse als Erfolg verbucht werden.

Die den Event abschließende Podiumsdiskussion zeigte unterschiedliche Standpunkte zum Thema Nischendüfte in Deutschland.
Karen Dubin, die Gründerin von Sniffapalooza sprach als Verbraucherin und legte den natürlichen Wunsch der Kunden dar auch
neue eigenwillige Duftkompositionen zu erwerben und zu tragen.  Chandler Burr, Parfümkritiker der New York Times erläuterte mit
dem ihm eigenen, sehr offenen, Humor das  neben einigen Perlen auch in der Nischenduftbranche zu viel Mist angeboten würde.
Trotzdem bezeichnet auch er das Potential für den deutschen Markt als zukunftsträchtig.  Ulrich Lang Parfümeur mit eigener Filiale
in New York und Pafümeur Francois Duquesul (langjähriger Mitarbeiter von Yves Rocher) sind genau wie Karen Dubin der Meinung
das auch deutsche Kunden  sich langsam von ihrer klassischen Markenbindung lösen und neue Dufterlenbisse suchen.

Klaus Koberger vom deutschen Händlerverband und Martin Ruppmann von der Fragrance Foundation Deutschland sehen dies allerdings
noch fragwürdig und ...

Für die Sniffapalooza Community war es die erste Reise nach Deutschland. Im Rahmen der Veranstaltung wurde ein Programm erstellt. Ein Ausflug nach Köln mit Besuch der Parfümhäuser Farina und 4711 sowie natürlich den Kölner Dom. Es gab einen Abendempfang im Hotel Intercontinental Düsseldorf  und einen rheinischen Abend in einer Brauerei in der Düsseldorfer Altstadt.
Sniffapalooza zeigte mit berechtigtem Stolz seine internationale Seite. Man sprach englisch, es trafen sich Mitglieder aus Amerika, Deutschland Frankreich und England. Neue Kontakte wurden geknüpft, Bekanntschaften gemacht, über Parfüm gefachsimpelt und Informationen ausgetauscht.

Über Manuela Pfannes-Völkel
Parfüms und Düfte interessieren mich seit ich ein kleines Mädchen war. Meine Mutter, die sich sehr oft für elegante Bälle vorbereitete vermachte mir mit ihrem Stil und ihren herrlich duftenden Parfüms einen  tiefen bleibenden Eindruck.
Ich bin Parfümeurin und habe dies in Florenz und in Brüssel  studiert. Momentan entwickle ich meistens persönliche Düfte, ich führe auch eine eigene kleine Duftlinie. Meine erste proffessionele Erfahrung war in Mexiko,als mich eine Freundin ftragte  Düfte für ihr Unternehmen zu entwickeln. Das war sehr erfolgreich and andere mexikanische Firmen fragten mich nach neuen Duftkreationen. Meine webseite ist immer unvollständig, den als Mutter von zwei wilden Jungs ist meine Zeit begrenzt und ausserdem gebe ich  Duftseminare und Parfümklassen. Ich bin verheiratet und lebe mit meiner Familie in Fürth bei Nürnberg.


The first German Fragrance Fair presented itself as a special event, because such a exhibition, that shows only perfumes, has not been realized till now in Germany. From  20. -23. March about 40 exhibitors showed Niche perfumes from all over the world in the arthouse Malkasten in Düsseldorf. Some of this fragrances are already well known but they all want to get a stable place in the market.

The little hall was most of the time filled with many visitors. A well mixed crowd was swarming around between the scented stalls, perfumers, traders, sniffas and private fragrance passionate people. The interest was very big. The showing room was not up to the rush of people flouting through, the stalls built up too close one to another, and the air in this hall, heavily scented with all the fragrances, would have urgently needed a better ventilation. Many visitors also claimed that samples were given just sparsely from the exhibitors.
The program offered also workshops to some fragrance issues. They were given by  represents of some big fragrance concerns ( like Chanel and Symrise). They were very well frequented and got a high commendation.  The first German Fragrance Fair was a nice sucess and hopefully there will be following ones in the future.

The panel discussion that was concluding the Event was showing different points of view to the theme of Niche perfumes in Germany.  Karen Dubin, Sniffapalooza was speaking as a consumer and costumer. She suggested a natural wish in the client to smell and wear also new and unconventional fragrances and also of course to buy them.  Chandler Burr, fragrance critic of the New York Times declared with his own, very open humor that even in the Niche perfumery  and even on this fair there could be found some pearls but there's a lot of bullshit around. Anyway he had the opinion that Niche fragrances will have a good chance in the German market.  Ulrich Lang, perfumer with his own shop in New York und perfumer Francois Duquesul (for years in the perfumers stuff of Yves Rocher Germany) have had the argument, just as Karen Dubin, that the German customer will leave their classical perfume addiction to big companies behind and will search new fragrance adventures.

Klaus Koberger from the German traders association and Martin Ruppmann from the  Fragrance Foundation Germany don´t believe into a near future of Niche fragrances in the shelf's of Germanys perfumeries. To this, so their argumentation, the German customer is to conservative old fashioned and fixed on big selling companies.

For the Sniffapalooza Community it was the first travel to Germany. In the context of this event there was a very nice program offered. A  travel to Cologne within a visit to the perfume houses Farina and 4711. Farina gave a nice guide through its house and the old  fabric area. Of course a walk into the cathedral of Cologne was also part. There was a Dinner receipt in the bar of the Intercontinental hotel with a lot of possibilities to talk and knowing each other. And another evening was spent in a well known historical brewery in heart of Düsseldorf.  Sniffapalooza was showing with justified pride its international aspect. English was mostly spoken.  Members met members from America, Germany, France and England. New contacts where built, friendships started. There was talked and chattered about perfumes, information where flowing around and exchanged.  For the Sniffapalooza members such events are highly welcome. They are searching for Niche fragrances, for the new element in a scent and its individual point. They want to wear and smell this perfumes. Above all they want to meet people with the same scented passion and to swap and interchange knowledge. Karen Dubin, for his reason, wants to go ahead and open her Sniffapalooza website for articles in several languages. This way her members in all the world can more easily understand and communicate each other.

April 15, 2009

In this special issue, we feature The Perfume of the Wind: An Interview With Jean-Claude Ellena with an Introduction by Michel Roudnitska.

We also feature Niche, Nicher, Nichest: In Two Verses featuring interviews with Ralf Schwieger, Andy Tauer, Antonia Bellanca, Ron Robinson, Ulrich Lang, Gerald Ghislain, Beth Terry, Maria McElroy and Liz Zorn,
Roxana Villa’s Vespertina, An Illuminated Perfume by Trish Vawter and Hilde Soliani Parfums: A Collection That Commands The Spotlight.

We feature a new fragrance review; Parfums MDCI Peche Cardinal By Diane Artzberger, Sue Phillips and Bloomingdale's Presents Exclusive Custom Perfume Event at Roosevelt Field, NY, the First German Fragrance Fair in Dusseldorf By Manuela Pfannes-Völkel, Scents in the City: Fragrance: The Plaza Beauty Store by Warren Tricomi and we close with Living Perfume: The Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel at Henri Bendel.

               Winner of Guest Book random fragrance drawing is Rachel Heerema   

Jean-Claude Ellena
Joel Warren
Once you leave, there is an encounter of red and yellow tulips in the park giving
off a bittersweet floral scent.  The the sun peeps out at day break and then you realize
you have been walking in a trance for hours.  You have now encountered Tulipano
Eau de Parfum. The fragrance has the perfect mix of bergamot, blackberry, lime,
peach, kiwi and passion fruit with hints of freesia, lily of the valley and jasmine and then
the story performance ends in vetiver, sandal, oak musk and white musk.

Hilde Soliani Parfum is a story worth re-telling.  It is about family, culture, history and the love of the arts in any form.

Packaging is most impressive. It comes in lively colors that depict the exact reproduction of her paintings and it has
her handwritten signature on each bottle with an Italian cotton ribbon enclosed and dipped with the  fragrance.

These fragrances and others designed by Hilde can be purchased at

Editors Note: A very special thank you to Manuela Pfannes for working so hard on her English for this article!  We know her English friends will understand!  -RB
About Manuela Pfannes:

“I have been interested in perfumes since I was a child. My mother, who was preparing often for elegant balls and her fragrances were so delightful; it left a big impression on me. I am a perfumer and studied in Florence and Brussels.  Mostly I do custom blends and a have my own line of fragrances.  My first professional experience was in Mexico when a friend asked me to create fragrances for her business; this was very successful and I was asked to do more perfumery for Mexican companies.  My website is always incomplete because I have such a spare time as I am a mother of two wild boys and working as a educator giving classes and the perfumes.  I am married and live in Fürth, close to Nürnberg

Antonia Bellanca

“ I would love to know myself when and where the term niche first appeared- I honestly think all those wonderful small French houses were the first- what was the one on the left bank around the corner from the St. Simon –all those small company’s with longish poetic lines-Penhaligon from England together with those French lines were always sought out by discerning noses ...the big breakthrough would have been Annick Goutal capitalizing on those small French lines that came before her by invoking them and then launching here in the US, which encouraged other small euro houses to think differently and larger; here maybe Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose and then me from my Flower Shop in East Hampton-loads followed usually imagining they would begin as I had and then grow to  dept store lines-which I always thought was kind of funny and odd. My object has always been to be small and select-my goal was to start and end niche-and most of all to be committed to whatever fragrances I brought to market so that they would be available beyond whims and trends and swim with the classic;-fragrances can be created to express a particular time and mood BUT they have to be able to sustain by some kind of independent ageless spirit. My company is 25 years old I now have three generations wearing my original scent Antonia’s Flowers. It is what I set out to accomplish”

“Yes, the niche parfumerie makes sense today, especially during this recession time; because niche perfumes are products with a purpose, with a story. It was my vision for Histoires de Parfums. My perfumes are skin tells, smell instead of words, to read up to your mood: inspired by time, character, smell....When we wear a niche perfume we are wearing a story.

For example Chanel No. 5 could be a niche perfume because of the story behind it, contrary to so many other perfumes that are mostly a marketing story.

Niche perfumes allow transgression, breaking rules and codes, creating sense, the perpetual search for the beautiful, offering the wearer stories.”

Coco Chanel said: "no elegance without perfume. This is the invisible, ultimate, unforgivable accessory", that makes sense with the niche perfumerie.”

“In the 80’s I opened APOTHIA (creating the name from Apothecary + Utopia) as an addition to my already thriving fashion apparel business. Having always been attracted to the graphics and packaging of the beauty industry and knowing there was not a specialty offering available, it was a perfect complement to our business.  At that time, that our customers could purchase fragrance, personal care products and beauty items was from either a department store, a beauty supply store or a drug store.  The idea of having a selected and edited boutique approach was nonexistent, yet our customers thrived on that type of merchandise offering.

I saw so many special and unique items while traveling for fashion in Europe and Japan that it was a no brainer to bring these exclusive items in.  Our display was unique, not packed and stacked, but beautifully displayed and lit.  It was clear that once we began to curate and present specialty items more specialty makers also found us- and the customers responded!  Over the years we have been the first to support so many lines, from Czech and Speake, Hard Candy, Kiehls, Child, Lorac, Gendarme, Geir, Sarah Horowitz and literally dozens more.  We are fortunate to continue today with brands that are true specialty start ups such as Agatha and Infusion Organique.
Ron Robinson

“I think the niche perfume business was different because it was unchartered territory. There were only big houses and commercial fragrances and we brought a cult art form to the mix. The concept was if you wore TE and still do you are not going to smell like anyone else. A secret that was being passed from one fashionable person to the next . Although you couldn't see it like a handbag or a shoe it was immediately identifiable as you are in the know. Since there were only about ten fragrances at that time, there was a spotlight- and my fragrances became press darlings and the choice of top editors around the world.  There was innocence or maybe a sincerity that people believed in and the products sold: Antonia Flowers,Gendarme, Sarah Schwartz, Beth Terry Creative Universe, Flora Napa Valley, Aroma M, Demeter (Christoper  Brosius) and Jo Malone.

Then the flood gates seemed to open. Fragrance lines seemed to be using a niche identity but were not really niche at all. I think that is when the business took a new course.. I am now 13 years into my brand of cult fragrances and my customers still remain loyal to my original vision, of creating cult classic fragrances.”

Maria McElroy

“A cult fragrance, that is what I remember aroma M being referred to, not niche, as we launched at Bergdorf Goodman, back in the 90’s.  There were just a handful of us and it was a thrilling to be in the Bergdorf catalogue and sell out of our original Geisha o-cha perfume.  The buzz was different, no blogs or websites.  Kerry Diamond was a champion for many and I still love to read the article she wrote in WWD on me and aroma M “Asian Major”.

In the 1990’s oil perfumes were scarce and natural ones in fine fragrances even more so.  I remember finding the classic Chanel square French bottle to launch my oil perfumes in and a few years later in a roll on it was novel.

There was an excitement at the time because we were creating a new perfume category. My full page picture and article in the 2002 O Magazine along side Jo Malone, Beth Terry and Susan Kenward let everyone know that we had arrived. 

Aromas M is now in its fourteenth year and with the re launch of Geisha Nobara-cha in an oil perfume this month aroma M is still on the edge of an ever changing, now referred to as “Niche” perfume industry.

“There is a line drawn in some circles between niche' and indie. We consider ourselves more indie than niche' since niche' doesn't always mean small or independent, but rather branches connected to big corporate trees. Indie is often defined by quality, and most if not all natural perfumers could be considered indie, since they work outside the mainstream. Or perhaps the term micro niche' would apply. I was making perfumes long before I had an online presence, and although the internet is great for ready to wear, custom and bespoke scents are still locally and regionally fueled. I am sure there are many indie bespoke perfumers that we all known nothing about”.

Photocredit: Nathan Branch

Liz Zorn

Verse Two- The Flood Gates: The Blogosphere, the Critics and the Global E-tailers

“I am not opposed to the term 'niche'. As many others working in this field I believe that it appropriately refers to the size of this alternate market although even there you can observe an explosive multiplication of scents. I have not smelled all these fragrances closely enough to judge but I am not often impressed: I guess if you do not have to respond to marketing criteria and consumer testing you would try to conjure a miniature work of art... and be more daring. I appreciate that niche perfumery goes away from celebrity and fashion designer scents and back to the roots when perfumers had the say”

“My first commercial perfume, le Maroc pour elle, I started creating about 5 ago. Before this point, I only made perfumes for my private pleasure. This Le Maroc pour elle was something new for me and I wanted to create a feminine perfume built lots of natural scents from Morocco, specifically for a shop in Zurich, owned by a dear friend of mine, Pascal. He had tested some of my private creations before and while having dinner at my home I presented him some natural essences from Morocco. Like the Moroccan rose absolute or the Cedar wood essential oil that I like so much. He is a good friend of mine since 18 years and I trust him entirely. 100%. You see, although we have quite a complex business together by now (with money going from my account to his and a shared online shop and more) we never had anything written down. This is how I like to make business: Built on trust. Bottomline: Pascal asked me to create a perfume that is truly Moroccan for his shop. This is exactly how it started: With le Maroc pour elle. Originally, I had no clear idea how this perfume should look like and I just started with the idea that it should be an oriental perfume with lots of rose and jasmine in it. The longer I worked on it, the clearer the picture became to me. It took me almost an entire year to get the formula right, until it was fitting with this inner idea.

I still sell all my fragrances in Switzerland exclusively in this bookshop of Pascal’s with great pride and joy. Maybe I could sell more in a perfumery in Zurich? I guess so. But then, this bookshop is part of my story and I do not care too much about selling …And here a few lines about niche: Niche for me is the opposite of the gigantic banalization, printed, bottled and sold to innocent consumers. A big bubble of concepts and words, often high prices without much innovation when it comes to the juice. True niche is niche because of the quality of the fragrances, the creative energy that resides in it, the scents’ storylines and because of the love and passion of the folks that are behind the fragrances. Nichest niche is bottled passion and joy, soul and spirits. Lesser niche is characterized by a very present marketing, trying desperately to position a brand in a very comfortable, profitable and rewarded corner of the market, hoping that consumers will not realize the difference.”

Andy Tauer 
“I would certainly say that there has been a lot "jumping on the bandwagon" recently and quite a few lines have been "invented" by looking at what other entrepreneurial brands are doing / have done successfully in the past 5 years.  It would be good to look at a time line of niche brands and I would possibly say that 2006 marked a year when we saw more "niche" lines than ever before, it became more diluted and more "mainstream", accelerated by the internet, media and new developments in retail.   I like your definition of niche nicher and nichest.  Nichest comes closest to Andy Tauer's definition of "underground" we discussed when I saw him at the Duesseldorf Sniffapalooza. I also liked Susanne Stoll's (editor-in-chief of Germany's Inside Beauty Magazine) term "future brands" - this whole field is so new, we still don't know where it's going.  Look at Sniffapalooza five years ago.  Team Karen had only a few members.  I had a mere six accounts worldwide.  I think it's fantastic that there has been so much recognition by the consumer.  No wonder everybody wants a piece of the cake.

For me the "niche" aspect comes down to a) the entrepreneurial vision of the fragrance brand, not a line created by a multi-national cosmetics company (even if it is in selective distribution) as well as b) a (highly) selective distribution where other entrepreneurial lines co-exist.  In the end, what "true niche" should consist of is an alternative offer of outstanding fragrances for a discriminating new customer.   The flood of new launches by entrepreneurial brands will
force retailers to edit more and push us manufacturers to create even more outstanding fragrances that have a chance to become successful on
a global scale.”                                                                                                        Photo credit: Erik Swain
Ulrich Lang  
Gerald Ghislain 
New Fragrance Review
Parfums MDCI Peche Cardinal

By Diane Artzberger

Luxury French perfume house Parfums MDCI has released the first of 4 new perfumes, Peche Cardinal. I had the pleasure of meeting the founder ,Claude Marchal ,in 2007 on the Sniffapalooza trip to Paris and he was lovely, even remembering our previous correspondence.  In the interim we have emailed some , and when I learned of new additions to the line, I wrote to him to find out more.  I must disclose that I am a big fan of the line and feel Peche Cardinal is a wonderful addition to the Parfums MDCI lineup.

Peche Cardinal, is first, a perfume for the peach lover. If you do not like peach notes than this will not be for you. It is utterly gorgeous to my nose. All ripe, succulent peaches, fresh picked off the tree and crushed lightly in your hand to release their fragrance.

Mr. Marchal calls it “a little olfactory bomb that may be not expected from our little brand”. That it is. He feels it is may be more thought of as from a more established house. I don’t know if I agree. It’s different enough to be undertaken by a house not tied to tradition.  Tuberose is in there as well, and is such a perfect compliment to the peach. They go together well, both being creamy and rich notes.

As Peche Cardinal dries down, it becomes quieter, the peach is still there but not so heady. It does not overwhelm but the note is still present. The peach plays nicely with other notes, light musk being the most noticeable to me. I only like musk in small doses, and it’s just enough here.  There seems to be a tiny bit of soapiness appearing into the drydown as well. 

It’s a very fruity fragrance, but the best kind.  This is well blended and bears no resemblance to anything you will find in the fruity/floral section of commercial lines. The sillage is medium. You will smell it, but not everyone in the room will. It lasts nicely as well. 

Marchal loved the first fruity top note of the rough test sample, smelled in the midst of cold, damp fall weather, when he felt as if “reaching Spring was a vital priority”.  After much finetuning, he “settled” as he says, on the version now available. “ Not the tamest of all”. It is not for everyone, but no scent is. Marchal sees Peche Cardinal as the riskiest of his new scents due to the abundance of fruit in it. That said, I can see many people loving this. If you love a scent laden with fruit, any one , then this should be a winner to your nose too.

Marchal says that MDCI doesn’t cut corners on anything and all his perfumes bear this out. You can tell, or well, smell the quality.

Full note list:  Top notes: davana, peach, coconut, blackcurrant
Heart notes: tuberose, plum,lily
bottom notes:cedarwood, sandalwood, musk

3 new perfumes including 2 by Patricia De Nicolai are to debut soon. I will talk about them in the next issue.

Peche Cardinal is currently available at

The Perfume of the Wind: An Interview
With Jean-Claude Ellena


(Introduction by Michel Roudnitska)

"Jean-Claude Ellena has been a very close friend of our family for more than 30 years.  He is the contemporary perfumer who has best understood and followed a new creative approach initiated by my father, Edmond.

Jean-Claude has mastered even further the simplification and clarification of perfume formulas, creating truly innovative and fluent fragrant writing.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce, the in house perfumer of Hermes to you, the readers of Sniffapalooza, through Michelyn's interview - this great man, this great Artist and my great friend"

- Michel Roudnitska, Perfumer, and co-owner of ART & PARFUM.

‘The Man’

MC: Mr Ellena, please describe yourself in ten words or less. 
JCE: A quiet smiling man, who prefers to listen than to speak.

MC: If you could dine with two dinner guests, alive, deceased, historical or fictional who would they be and why.
JCE: They would be friends, not famous people because I would be too impressed.

MC: Your first olfactive memory?
JCE: Around four years old, in the kitchen, the smell of the cupboard hiding the cookies box.

MC: Your muse?
JCE: Life

MC: Does your creativity come always from within YOU, or has a spirit outside yourself, greater than yourself ever involve itself in your work?
JCE: From within me. I believe in humanity above all.

MC: Your favourite food?
JCE: Truffle

MC: An artist whose work fascinates you?
JCE: Cézanne

MC: Most memorable book?
JCE: La Nouvelle Grille d’Henri Laborit (and the movie from this book: Mon Oncle d’Amérique directed by Alain Resnais)

MC:  Your birth sign?
JCE: Cat! (I just invented it)  Note: Mr. Ellena is an Aries, Happy Birthday!

MC: The last dream you can remember?
JCE: Last night. It was about a lecture I was doing and for which I had difficulties (I actually give a lecture tonight…)

MC: Hermès is one of the greatest brands of all time. Some say you are one of the greatest perfumers of all time. Does one sacrifice a bit for the other?

JCE: No, it’s a genuine encounter, and I’m here to express Hermès

MCE: Each Hermessence seems to be an etude of a single ingredient. For example Brin de Réglisse is an etude of lavender. The Hermessence line seems built around the notion of reinventing an ingredient and presenting it in a thought provoking interpretation.  Which raw material has presented the most challenge and why?

JCE: Each is a challenge, a splendid challenge. But to answer your question, I would say Paprika Brasil because I tried to make perceptible (emotionally speaking) the sensation of burn of the hot piment on the tongue, which is not an olfactive sensation actually.

“The Friend”

MC:  The great Edmond Roudnitska was a mentor to you. Would you share a personal story about him that speaks to his true nature and to your friendship?

JCE: An anecdote could be a quarrel that I had with him. It was about the concept of the “Beau” (the Beautiful). For him it was a universal notion, for me a cultural notion. This universal conception is from a Platonic way of thinking. Mine is based upon the culture and even based on a generational view. We had tough discussions about that, speaking of philosophy, sociology

It was great!

“The Artist”

MC: Your favourite ingredients or raw materials ?
JCE: None. Materials are my words, the tools I have to tell a story.

MC: The fragrance you dream of creating?
JCE: The perfume of the Wind.

MC: Which of your other 5 senses (taste, sight, sound, touch, and intuition) has the greatest influence on your work?

JCE: The touch, the closest sense of the smell as it’s the most intimate.

MC: Many of your compositions share the quality of transparency.   What does that quality mean to you?  What emotions does it evoke?  Are there other works of art in addition to perfume (e.g. paintings and music) that seem to share this quality & feeling?

JCE: I do not cultivate mystery, complication. I prefer the clarity, the understanding. To give to understand it is to offer of the enjoyment.

MC: Five years ago, your name was known to a much smaller group of people, mostly in the industry. Today, with the impact of Chandler Burr's recent book, groups like Sniffapalooza and the blogosphere, you are famous.  Did you ever think you would be known to such a wide circle of people and have groupies like a rock star, who follow your every creation?

JCE: No and it’s “out of me”. I’m simply happy that my works, my creations are the supports to discuss the perfumery.

MC: Why is there a lack of great masculines being created in the past few years, although 78% of men wear fragrance?

JCE: I do not agree. Perfumes as Fahrenheit from Dior, Grey Flannel de Geoffrey Beene or Pour Monsieur from Chanel are beautiful perfumes. On the other hand I invite men to use perfumes said feminine and vice versa, the choice will be bigger and this might open the debate.

MC: Terre D' Hermes is an example of an outstanding modern masculine. Hundreds of new men’s fragrances are launched every year; men deserve quality fragrances and choice. Yet, it seems that the industry continues to recreate the benchmark fragrances you mentioned… like carbon copies.

JCE: I don't have/know the answer why perfume the industry invests less in the men fragrances.

MC: Some have said that you foreshadowed the trend towards 'unisex' fragrances with Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au thé vert. What are your thoughts about unisex fragrances in general? Are they an additional genre or just an excuse to cover the fact that there are so few new ideas for masculines?

JCE: I do not use the wording “unisex”, I prefer to say: to be shared. Actually, as I tend to conceive the perfume as an art, it’s an obviousness that perfumes are for everybody and for each of us, as all other artistic expressions. The distinction masculine / feminine is economic, not creative. The perfumery history and the culture of certain countries show well that perfumes do not have a sexual classification.

The idea is not to wear the perfume of his wife but to be curious, to ignore the social codes, the cultural codes which are mainly based on a commercial value. Then to be open minded which mean being able to wear women's fragrances if a man like one.

MC: You have composed a trio of new fragrances I previewed that will be released in May 2009. Please share with us what they are and their raison d’etre?

JCE: More than new fragrances, the Hermès Colognes collection actually invest a
new territory of olfactive expression: the Cologne (not the American way to describe men’s perfume).

The Colognes territory at Hermès has already been inaugurated with Eau d’orange verte,
created by Françoise Caron in 1979. I’ve added this year 2 new creations
Eau de pamplemousse rose and Eau de gentiane blanche that create the collection
and expand the territory.

Eau de pamplemousse rose is not about “pink grapefruit” but about grapefruit and rose.
I like this idea to play with the smells and with the words. This Cologne is a
contemporary ‘classic’ because with a main citrus basis.

The second one, Eau de gentiane blanche, is conceived as a counterpart
of the Cologne style at it expresses the idea of the freshness and “clean”
not through citrus but through the white musk, that converted in a
new symbol of freshness (so the gentian is called “white” (“blanche”
in French) because of the white musk, like a play on words.

The idea was born with a gentian absolute and the iris (to note that the gentian is
used for the first time in a perfume). With those two roots, the first one with its smell
of root, both bitter (I like the bitter) and darkly fresh, the second for its matt powder
effect, it soapy smell which is the link with the white musk that I’ve added as the
third main note. With those two different Colognes, I wanted to play with the
codes of the “freshness” from the 20th and 21st centuries.

MC: Your quote from the New York Times:
“When I write a perfume, the scents are the words,” he [JCE] said. “And with these words I construct a story. There is breathing, and there are transitions, just as in sentences. Perfume, first of all, is a mental construction.” 

MC: Tell us more about fragrance as a lingua franca.

JCE: The idea that the smells are words, my words to write (this verb is important for me) explains my way of thinking the perfume. I believe that the perfume is a cultural language, not universal as can be the music today. It is necessary to learn the smell to understand the perfume. We can like without understanding but it is to do without certain enjoyments.

I want my olfactive language to be harmonious, pleasant to ‘listen to’ because it’s moderate, and doesn’t support the concept of noise and shouting. In a way, it’s the very French way of literature for statement of love; it’s not just a chance that French is the language for love.

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank first and foremost the extraordinary Michel Roudnitska for his friendship and encouragement. Merci, Mr. Jean- Claude Ellena.

Thank you to both Mr. Olivier Monteil and Ms. Juliette Hayes of Hermes Paris.  Special thanks to Katherine Dowling, a ‘friend in fragrance’ for her support.

-M. Camen

MC: I am fascinated by the potential of orange blossom as an etude, there are so few that are well done. Do you have any plans for a Hermessence with this raw material?

JCE: Not at the moment. The raw materials by themselves don’t represent anything for me. However I do need them to create but the way I will work with the ingredient is more important.

MC: For your latest Hermessence Vanille Galante, I have a number of questions:

What story are you telling with Vanille Galante? And how does the word "Galante" using the feminine instead of the masculine relate to this story?

JCE: Another point of view, another glance on vanilla. The word “galante” uses the feminine because in French grammar vanilla is feminine, then galante as to be feminine as well, meaning subtle, delicate.

MC: What image or experience was your point of departure?

JCE: A new absolute of vanilla initially made for the aromas I’ve made transform for perfumery use. But this absolute was finally only a pretext for an exercise in style.

MC: I would love to know more about the salicylates in the base of Vanille Galante; as far as I've been able to puzzle it out, they don't seem to be aroma chemicals as much as structural elements.  Is this correct?  If so, how do they transform the other notes?

JCE: Salicylates are a family of material that is indeed not only creating the fragrance but also contributes to its structure. I consider that a structuring product is a raw material which moves the purpose of the perfume. Raw materials such as patchouly, clove, coumarine, phenyl ethylique alcohol are raw materials that structure a perfume.

MC: Please share the background on your updating of Kelly Caleche from the original Caleche formulation. 

As a follow up, is it unusual for Hermes to create what some in the industry call ‘flankers’, or updates on a fragrance.

What was the reason to keep the same name and to present three interpretations of Kelly Caleche. Please share with our readers the reason you reinterpreted Kelly Caleche into Kelly Caleche Pure Perfume and Eau de parfum. For me, the Pure Perfume is dramatically different from the EDT and even the EDT.

JCE: I respect Hermès customers and our perfumes, so for me it’s impossible to only increase the concentration to create a Pure Perfume.

These are not “flankers” but a Hermès creative approach, a creative way to see the exercise from Eau de Toilette to Pure Perfume as a genuine creation that goes beyond a technical or performance work. Actually, all my works are olfactive variations as they are creations in their own right, not a technical adaptation. It was actually the same in the past at Hermès, for 24, Faubourg for example whose Eau de Toilette is subtly different from the Eau de Parfum

So for the Kelly Calèche Pure Perfume, I wanted to stress the carnal, sensual expression of the original theme, and this is not only a matter of concentration but a matter of formula as well.

Niche, Nicher, Nichest: In Two Verses


I came of age when fourteen year old girls did not wear perfume, except, on special occasions when they borrowed a dab or two from their mothers’ beautiful bottles (I was in luck; my mother wore Molinard Habanita and Rochas Femme by Edmond Roudntiska, which I wear to this day).

My first memory of trying to find a fragrance was one of frustration; I couldn’t find a scent that suited me. This was during the mid 1980s; the years of big, loud and powerful fragrances that did not suit young women. So I wore Rive Gauche and Calandre, as well as my mother’s fragrances until one day my ‘olfactive spirit’ was awakened.

I was shopping at Henri Bendel on West 57th Street and wandered into the tiny boutiques. After buying lipstick from a new company  named  'mac', I accidentally ‘discovered’ a new genre , which I knew intuitively, was different- created by Artists. I didn’t detect what I called ‘that chemical smell” from these perfumes. That day I purchased my first two ‘niche’ fragrances: L’Artisan Parfumeur by Jean Laporte Pamplemousse and Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte.

It is only during the past six years that I understood that I WAS THERE to experience a revolution; independent perfumers whose ideas promoted fragrances with artistic values as well as traditional ones. These creative concepts favored unusual notes and a high proportion of natural ingredients and is now known as ‘niche fragrances’.

The dictionary defines the word niche as : ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.
2.a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one's niche in the business world.
3.a distinct segment of a market.
4.Ecology. the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals

Obviously, we refer to definition 3, but in 2008 there were hundreds of new ‘niche’ launches that year. I could not keep pace. I will be blunt; by that time most new ‘niche’ scents did not meet the criterion that I intuitively recognized that day in Henri Bendel’s.   The width of niche was no longer a crevice but a huge pit, and the depth was questionable. I wrote in an article, “But--- Niche's growth is so explosive there is danger here too. If a niche fragrance is not singular and different; if it tries to pass off expensive hard to find perfume as fine fragrance, it will become as ubiquitous and as boring as many of the commercial fragrances and lose its relevancy and cache.”

I posed the question--- ‘what is niche’--- to a number of renowned perfumers and advocates turning its ‘history’ and its future over to them and those yet to ‘bloom’.

Verse One:   In the beginning
Beth Terry
Ralf Schwieger
Sniffapalooza Magazine
Sniffapalooza Magazine
Sniffapalooza Magazine
Michelyn Camen is a New York City based writer and the owner of FifthSense N.Y.C.  Michelyn is the former Editorial Director/Fragrance Editor for Beauty News NYC & LA.  Ms. Camen provides personalized fragrance consultations based on body chemistry, psychology, fashion and lifestyle and consults for luxury perfumers and fragrance companies.



Bloomingdale’s is pleased to collaborate with Scenterprises Ltd., for The Perfume Studio Master Classes, which will be presented at the newly renovated Cosmetics and Fragrance Department at Roosevelt Field at 630 Old Country Rd, Garden City, NY 11530 on April 24 at 11am, 3pm, & 7pm and Pre-Mother’s day on May 8. Please call 516-873-2810 to confirm times.

Bloomingdale’s is excited to be the first store to launch this initiative in the United States as it recognizes that this is a compelling way to attract customers to their stores and to offer scentertainment™ to their customers.  Howard Kreitzman, VP Cosmetics and Fragrances, said “we continue to strive to offer unique, innovative products that encourage people to enjoy shopping in our stores. The Custom Perfume events are creative, informative, interactive, and customers leave feeling good about their experience.”  

Sue Phillips, President of Scenterprises Ltd., recognized international fragrance expert, who created, developed and launched TIFFANY perfume for their 150th anniversary, as well as numerous other internationally successful fragrances, has been named USA Director and Distributor of The Perfume Studio from the UK. 

The Perfume Studio UK ( has developed ‘bespoke’ perfumery or custom perfume events. This is one of most successful new business trends throughout the UK and Europe……. and is now available in the USA exclusively
through Scenterprises Ltd.

THE PERFUME STUDIO is all about Perfume - learning about and having fun with Fragrance. Much like a wine tasting, people come to the master class and Sue Phillips, fragrance expert, takes them on a 'fragrance journey' to experience 18 different, exquisite perfume blends. The blends have been created by a world-famous perfumer and are designed to be worn in
combination with each other or alone.  

The Perfume Master Class is for women and men to explore the magical and evocative world of perfume by trying the blends, and selecting the three or four that they desire as their own unique formula. Once they have made their selection their OWN customized perfume is decanted for them in a lovely designer purse spray, and they leave with their unique personalized signature fragrance, and a Certificate of Registration for ease of reordering.

View full article and information for Bloomingdales Event
Sue Phillips
Perfumers Dawn Spencer Hurwitz & Dorothy McCall
Diane Artzberger has been a fragrance person for most of her life, traced back to those solid Avon perfume pendants for kids (of which she still has one) and Loves Lemon, never Baby Soft.  She still loves citrus fragrance but has moved on from Loves, and clearly remembers that Christmas morning she found a sample of a high end French fragrance in her stocking, and was elated, surprised, and asked for the full bottle the next Christmas.  So, really, this is all her parents fault.  Diane discovered a love for writing when she returned to college after some years absence, took a journalism class, and went on to win a collegiate journalism prize. She has also written columns for her local newspaper, and writes the beauty blog The Beauty Alchemist.

View fascinating and in-depth Sniffapalooza Magazine with Roxana Villa here!

Trish Vawter is the creator of the natural perfume and beauty blog Scent Hive. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two boys, and works as a nurse midwife when she is not busy sniffing perfume.