Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sonoma Scent Studio, Fireside Intense & Ambre Noir: Reviews

A few days ago, on MUA, a poster suggested that everyone would have a bottle of CK Obsession if it were under a Lutens of Malle label.

This statement got me thinking about under-appreciated and lesser known perfumers. The perfumer that immediately came to mind is Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio. Laurie is brilliant. Every single fragrance I’ve tried from SSS is gorgeous. I’m not exaggerating. A few months ago I fell in love with Champagne de Bois and Wood Violet. This week I tried Fireside, Fireside Intense, Winter Wood and Ambre Noir. All four scents floored me.

Fireside Intense is a smoky woody leathery masterpiece. Here’s the story behind Fireside and Fireside Intense, in the perfumer’s own words:
“Sometimes in the fall and winter when I step outside I'll feel the sudden rush of cold air touched with woodsmoke from a neighbor's fire. I associate the scent of burning woods with the cool season and also with crisp summer nights by the campfire when I was young (our parents treated us to wonderful camping trips each summer). From first sniff, I’ve liked the smoke-tinged, spicy scent of guaiacwood and the outright woodsmoke of diluted birch tar. I wanted Fireside Intense to be a bottled reminder of the scent of an outdoorsy campfire. Fireside is a slightly sweeter version without the leather notes for those who prefer a sweeter smoky scent.”

Fireside Intense is a realistic and linear fragrance. When I put Fireside Intense on my wrists I turn into a freakish huffer. It smells so good. On a chilly autumn or winter day it is the most refreshing, brisk, outdoorsy and natural aroma. The addition of smoke and leather make it nicely butch (or masculine) and dry. I feel like I’m sitting by a smoldering campfire – sifting through the charred wood logs with a stick. I tried both Fireside and Fireside Intense and the leather in Intense makes it kickin’. I love the smell of Fireside for myself but I imagine it would smell amaaaaazing on a guy.

Fireside Intense notes: Indian sandalwood, Himalayan cedar, Texas cedar, guaiacwood, nagarmotha (Cyperus), birch tar, myrrh, leather and agarwood.


Ambre Noir is a truly dark amber. Ambre Noir focuses on labdanum so this is not a syrupy sweet amber in the least.

Here’s the story behind Ambre Noir, in the perfumer’s own words:
“I love labdanum and wanted Ambre Noir to highlight it. Working with labdanum resin is a delight to the senses: it's a thick golden resin with a wonderful musky, woodsy, amber scent and is beautiful after it is diluted with alcohol and filtered. I held the vanilla in Ambre Noir to a minimum and added interest and complexity to the labdanum with incense, moss, leather, and woods. I wanted the darkest, richest, smoothest woodsy amber with incense and a hint of leather.”

Amber is one of my favorite notes, and I usually like almost all amber perfumes, even the sweet ones, such as Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. Ambre Noir is a luxurious treat. It is smooth as buttah and the woodsy quality stands out nearly more than the amber itself. For anyone searching for a dry woody amber this is it.

Ambre Noir notes: Labdanum absolute, amber, rose, olibanum, myrrh, vetiver codistilled with mitti, oakmoss absolute, aged Indian patchouli, Texas cedarwood, sandalwood, castoreum.

Bravo, Laurie Erickson, you’re an amazing talent!


Tania said...

Yes, Laurie is very talented - and so nice, too.
I have a few of hers now, and I love them all, especially the woody ones. I think they will really come into their own in autumn and winter.

Abigail said...

SSS's longevity is excellent, too. Fireside Intense lasted all night on me, I could still smell it this morning.

elizabeth said...

I am also impressed with Laurie's work. I bought a bottle of Ambre Noir recently and am awaiting autumn eagerly, as it is so dark and deep that it doesn't really suit the sunny, mild weather here right now. I am longing to hear about Winter Woods - will you be reviewing it?