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Post in Fragrance Fans

The Perfume Challenge

Do you have a box full of perfume vials and/or a vanity covered in perfume bottles? Are you the Goldilocks of perfume, just looking for the perfect signature scent? Do you want an opportunity to post daily about how your perfume of the day smells oaky and smoky with hints of blackberry and currant, like a cigar in a whisky barrel rolling through a Mediterranean orchard on a breezy summer morning?


If you answered yes to any of the above, or you just want to hop on board for the ride, join us for a 31 days of perfume challenge starting January 1st! Some of us from the 25 days of lipstick challenge wanted to continue the fun and exploration, and since many of us have so many perfume samples, we thought this challenge would be perfect. If you don't have 31 perfumes or hate everything that doesn't smell like Meyer lemons and fresh goat cream, that's fine--we're just aiming to use the neglected perfumes we have laying around and incorporate them into our perfume rotations.


And if you want more perfume vials, there's no better time than now to take a peek at Sephora's samples section.


Edit: Anyone can join in at anytime! We're here to support, live vicariously through, and encourage everyone in their olfactory adventures!

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Thanks, @curlychiquita ! 💖💖💖  Yea, vanilla is a migraine trigger as well for me too.  I was excited for a jasmine scented perfume so was very disappointed.  However, I'm going to try layering this with one of my citrus scents to see how that works.  I just need to cut down the intensity of the jasmine (I hope). 🤞

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Thanks to the lovely @Samtian who gifted to me around a dozen samples of purfumes!  Here are my thoughts on the ones I've tried so far (in the order I tried them). 😁


Olfactive Studio, Panorama

Top:  Lemon, bergamot

Mid:  Grass, wasabi, fig leaf, galbanum, violet leaf, cardamom

Base:  Balsam fir, myrrh, vanilla, tonka bean, patchouli, labdanum, musk

Comment:  I couldn't smell this one no matter how much I put on.


Byredo, Mojave Ghose

Top:  Sapodilla, ambrette (musk mallow)

Mid:  Magnolia, violet, sandalwood

Base:  Ambergris, cedar

Comment:  I couldn't smell this one either.


Neela Vermeire Creations, Rahele

Top:  Violet leaf, cardamom, green mandarin, cinnamon

Mid:  Osmanthus violet, rose, magnolia, jasmine, iris

Base:  Leather, oakmoss, sandalwood, cedar, patchouli

Comment:  Intense and astringent; definitely unpleasant


Atelier Cologne, Poivre Electrique

Top:  Black pepper, pink pepper, bitter orange

Mid:  Olibanum, pimento, Turkish Rose

Base:  Cedar, myrhh, sandalwood

Comment:  Smells like disinfectant; very unpleasant


Atelier Cologne, Emeraude Agar

Notes:  Guaiac Wood, Turkish rose, eucalyptus, sandalwood, black pepper, bergamot, geranium, angelica

Comment:  A nondescript light, fresh scent; neither pleasant, nor unpleasant


The Vagabond Prince, Bass Solo

Top:  Ginger, cardamom, saffron, lime

Mid:  Moroccan cedar, Virginian cedar, lavender, birch, fig leaf

Base:  Driftwood, sandalwood, amber, opoponax, musk

Comment:  Starts out with a light astringenty almost plasticy scent then quickly becomes a light warm woody scent; rather nice after it warms up


DS & Durga, Boston Ivy

Notes:  Ivy, oak moss, clover, sea water

Comment:  Light fresh green scent sort of like how your sheets smell after hanging out to dry on a late spring/early summer day--a combination of a fresh linen and fresh green scent; I would definitely buy this one!

Re: The Perfume Challenge

That is a nice soft fragrance, I Love perfume that are not to strong or give me allergies, I like soft smell fragrance.  And this sound one sound like I can mess with it. Will definitely get it. I recently purchased The New YSL and it smell fantastic.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@Titian06 Ah dang! Sorry most of them didn't work out. Boston Ivy was the one I liked best out of those as well. 

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@Titian06 Thanks for these notes! I've heard good things about Panorama, I'm sorry it was not detectable!! Neela Vermiere is a cool house but I haven't tried Rahele. My favourite is Trayee.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

The last couple Apoteker Tepe scents are both interesting


Brother Night is another smoky scent that's almost flinty at times. I've never smelled marigold before and it's not like a typical generic floral scent. It actually reminds me a lot more of a bitter citrus - pomelo to be exact but if you aren't familiar with pomelos, think of grapefruits which can also have that flintiness. So don't imagine smoky flowers, think slightly sweet pomelo smoke.


The Peradam. I actually tried this one earlier and was so blown away, I wanted to sit with it a bit before writing about it. I don't often come across fragrances that leave me speechless. This one caught me totally off guard and the notes pyramid really doesn't capture it. The quality of orris here is absolutely to die for. No hint of dustiness or candiness. It's an ultra smooth heart, rich like French butter, shrouded in a fine gossamer veil of jasmine and lily and cradled in a gentle sandalwood. The scent is both alive and full of emotional depth. My favourite of the set by a long shot.


Overall, this is the best house I've tried in a long time. If you enjoy unusual smoky scents, I would definitely recommend trying the sample set.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenus - I'm so glad you found something that worked out so well! 🙂  Both of these sound wonderful!  I love pomelo!  Peradam just sounds lovely.  Thanks for the thoughtful reviews. 💖

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@Titian06 Anytime! It was a real pleasure to go through this set 🙂

Re: The Perfume Challenge

More Apoteker Tepe reviews today!




Pale Fire opens as a fairly conventional boozy chocolate gourmand scent but quickly gains complexity and depth as a charred note settles in. It's a bit sweet, like barbecued corn on the cob. It's never harsh and it's smoothed out by vanilla amber. Along with Anabasis, this is probably one of the easier wears in the house and the most conventional, though I'll note this was released before woody ambers took off big time. Particularly if you are smelling from afar, it's nothing special. Closer up though, the burnt grains makes it odder than usual.


By contrast, Karasu is probably the most difficult from the house. The opening is particularly challenging, the starchy costus root having a more than a hint of unwashed hair. This mingles with smoky woods which tempers that unwashed vibe but it's present well into the dry down. This is an intriguing incense perfume. I will note though that while costus is used in some Japanese incenses, but the "hair" note doesn't remind me of any Japanese incenses I've tried. Definitely test this one. 

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenus Hmmm, this one definitely seems like it could be up my alley. Boozy chocolate, sweet barbecue and vanilla amber actually sounds like it could be a rather complex but lovely fragrance ❤️ 

Re: The Perfume Challenge



Tried Apoteker Tepe's After the Flood today. An interesting scent with a hyperrealistic opening of waterlogged soil. The kind you'd find in a forest. There's flinty stones but unlike scents like Coven or Bat where there's a focus on geosmin, this one is full of organic material. It's very vivid. You can almost see the wet bits of organic matter in the dirt. The mushroom accord that emerges is lighter and starchier than I imagined. So much so that if I hadn't read mushroom, I would have described it as more rooty and starchy. At one point it becomes positively creamy. But there's this hint of dankness that keeps it from being pretty. Not for me even though I like earthy scents but really interesting. I'll definitely test this one a few more times.


On my other arm, I tried Anabasis. This one is a terrific cooling fragrance. But very beautiful and not your typical citrusy freshie. You're immediately struck by pine and a shiso leaf so fresh and realistic, it's like it's just been sliced. Backed up by cedar. Imparts a sense of cleanliness while being gentle. There are no harsh or sharp edges here. Not as challenging as the other scents I've tried, but it's not boring. Versatile and sophisticated enough for a hot summer evening.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenus The way you describe Apoteker Tepe's After the Flood is super intriguing but I agree with your sentiment that it's probably "not for me". This one sounds like it could be a little bit too organically woodsy for my personal taste. Anabasis definitely sounds like the woodsy fragrance that would gel with me a lot better. 

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@QueenMarceline  Anabasis is definitely the more versatile, crowd friendly wear.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

The way your described Anabasis, I'm very intrigued, it sounds really nice @pocketvenus 🤩

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@CynthieLu It's probably the safest "blind buy" out of the ones I've tried so far 🙂

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Both of these sound interesting, @pocketvenus !  Looking forward to your next sample review! 💖💖💖

Re: The Perfume Challenge



My sample set of Apoteker Tepe arrived! I've been wanting to try this house for awhile. I've only ever tested Holy Mountain which was great, but also sounded the most conventional of the house.


I tested both perfumes side by side, the original, purchased from Luckyscent in 2018 and the 2022 re-release from Pineward Perfumes who purchased the formulas from the original nose, Holladay Saltz. While they're in the same territory, they are different enough that I would not have pegged them for the same scent. The original is brighter and more ambery sweet while the re-release is peatier and smokier and just stronger in general. They start to converge in the dry down and interestingly, quite late into the 2022 dry down, it started to remind me of the opening of the 2018.


I'm not suggesting the formulas are different. AT uses a lot of natural ingredients and where ingredients are being source may have had change over the years. I seem to recall Saltz explaining how she could not replicate the exact same scent from batch to batch. So this is not a disappointment. 


As for the 2022 scent itself. The opening is realistic and I'd class it with niche perfumes that evoke a sense of landscape like Slumberhouse's Norne. You feel very close to the earth with this one whereas the 2018 starts off more abstract. For this reason though, the 2018 also smells more balanced. The peat and smoky woods could have used a bit more luminosity to counter the richness. The smoke gets toned down as the scent develops but remains assertive with a strong sour peat accord. It's not that unique now in that there are so many smoky ambery niche scents but back in 2015, this would have been much closer to the forefront of the trend as it was starting to crest. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful wear, especially after it's calmed down and projection is fantastic without being overbearing.


Looking forward to trying the rest of this set!

Re: The Perfume Challenge

Best wishes on a positive experience, @pocketvenus !  You deserve something nice after the unpleasantness of Maison Crivelli. 😘

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@Titian06 Aw thanks! There is one on the list someone here recommended with Iris, I will definitely try that one. Most of them weren't bad, just overpriced, so disappointing.

Re: The Perfume Challenge



Testing Nishane's Unutamam today. It's fairly unique, masculine leaning and on the stronger side. Opens with a cooling note of mint and herbs. There's a slightly medicinal edge but the scent quickly grows warmer with oregano and shaded in with a bittersweet base that purrs gently with animalistic notes. It's better than I was expecting, which is to say my expectations were very low. Interesting, assertive without being overbearing, and not at all commercial. I'm vaguely reminded of Amouage's Interlude Man although Interlude is a smoky scent that's even more intense whereas this remains fresh and aromatic into the dry down.

Re: The Perfume Challenge

@pocketvenus Where would we be without your amazing reviews and contributions on this (and all other scent-focused threads)? ❤️ I don't think this one particularly fits my vibe unfortunately, most things that lean masculine are just not my cup of tea and it takes a special kind of perfume to break that barrier. 

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