My fear is fading fast
I was worried that I was going to have a difficult time meeting people but one of the best things about Sniffapalooza is the people. Right from the start I met decker, a fellow Basenoter. Karen Dubin followed soon after and told me how happy she was I was here. At my table for breakfast I was sitting with Symine Salimpour of Hors LaMonde she asked me what I was wearing because she loved it, By Kilian Rose Oud I replied. We began to talk about the merits of Shiloh and Lady Shiloh and perfumery in general. Our table was full of fans and we enthusiastically shared our impressions of the fragrances that were presented to us. After breakfast as we strolled through the Bergdorf-Goodman beauty department the constant refrains were What do you think about .? Do you like this? You have to come with me and check this out! It was surreal to walk up to Chandler Burr, of the NY Times, and ask him about Annick Goutal's Ninfeo Mio and have a discussion about green perfumes. Then Katie Puckrick, of Katie Puckrick Smells, comes up and interviews Mr. Burr. It was so very interesting to see these people, for whom I have enjoyed their interpretation of perfumery, and have the opportunity to talk with them about our shared passion. I really got lucky and had Mr. Burr as my companion at lunch and had even more time to talk about the biology of smell and whether wine can be considered art, we disagree on the latter.
When you hold me, and your heart beats, and you love me
Of course the real stars of Sniffapalooza are the fragrances and there were many new ones we tried. I can't possibly mention all of them so I'm really going to pick out the ones that made my heart beat. Atelier Cologne really impressed me with their line of five colognes they are really not colognes if you use the concentration guidelines. If you use an aesthetic guideline I believe they are as they all have a wonderful lightness that the best colognes have and have a superior longevity due to the higher concentration. My favorites were Orange Sanguine, juicy orange; and Oolong Infini, ethereal smoky tea.
The idea of cologne seemed to be a trend as Guerlain showed off their brand new Cologne Du Parfumeur this might be Thierry Wasser's best creation for Guerlain; as you can tell I really like it. It feels like a seamless progression from the last cologne from Guerlain, Eau de Guerlain. One of the two newest entries in the Penhaligon's Anthology series is Eau de Cologne and it has a very retro feel to it and that retro feel appealed to me. The idea of retro was also evident from Krigler Perfumes as we sampled all of their line and Ben Krigler really has taken his family's historical perfume stewardship and brought it into the 21st century. Easily the most interesting fragrance I smelled all weekend was Established Cognac it has a smooth cognac accord and a funny hint of banana that some found distracting but I found reminiscent of a hint of the dessert Bananas Foster. It was instantly memorable for me. The whole Krigler line was really good, in my opinion. Another standout for me was Yosh's Sottile in EDP concentration. Sottile had existed in an oil form previously and Ms. Han debuted her EDP formulation and in this lighter formulation the tea rose and lily of the valley come vividly alive and sparkle on the skin a true garden walk. Our last lunch was a showcase for emerging natural perfumers and my favorite from this presentation was Jessica Buchanan's Reglisse Noire for her 1000 Flowers label. Reglisse Noire is a deep dark black jujube of a licorice flavored fragrance. It is a beautiful piece of composition on my skin and it shows all of the potential that can be had in an all natural approach to perfume making.
Also part of Sniffapalooza is getting first sniffs and a little gossip ahead of new releases upcoming. The most exciting for me was receiving a small vial of L'Artisan's newest by Bertrand Duchaufour, Nuit de Tuberose. Duchaufour has been on a torrid roll as of late and I don't think Nuit de Tuberose will be one to disappoint those who are waiting for it. I think it just might be the gateway to tuberose for many who have resisted a tuberose fragrance in the past. Ineke revealed the title and inspiration for the next fragrance to come for her. G will be Gilded Lily and she calls it Manga meets Shakespeare It sounds like a fusion I am looking forward to trying. Bond No. 9 debuted the newest addition to the Andy Warhol line Andy Warhol Montauk. It comes in beautiful sunset bottles and will be available early in the summer. There was some sadness as this would be the last visit to Takashimaya as they announced they will be closing in June and their very Zen-like perfume space will go away. The one nice thing was that as one door closes perhaps another opens as we visited a new perfume space in SoHo called MiN New York and the space has a very downtown hipster vibe to it. It carries a number of fragrance lines and it has a feel like a drawing room for fragrance. Chad and Levi the co-owners delighted in showing off the space and I am hopeful that they can be that space for some of the small brands that Takashimaya championed to still have a retail presence in New York.
Make me strong, yeah you make me bold
Two of the speakers on the weekend made bold provocative statements that were picked up by the attendees and it was great to listen to the different responses these assertions prompted. The first came from Chandler Burr at lunch on Saturday as he said that we should stop focusing so much on notes and instead appreciating the whole. As an example he used Eau D'Italie's Sienne L'Hiver by Bertrand Duchaufour. He opined that Sienne L'Hiver needs to be experienced as a whole and if you spend time focusing on notes you in essence miss the forest for the trees. I would have many conversations about this especially when we got to Lafco on Sunday and many of the attendees could actually sniff Sienne L'Hiver for the first time. This was the essence of what this weekend was about as we could discuss something without such a definitive answer and I think there was a full spectrum of people who felt many different ways about it.
This was like a Basenotes forum come alive and Mr. Burr and Ms. Barkley were bold enough to begin the discussion and it added another texture to an already wonderful weekend.
Didn't know how lost I was until I found you
So that was my first Sniffapalooza and it was a blast. This was an incredible experience and as Madonna so presciently sang I didn't know what I was missing until I experienced it for the very first time.
About the Author
Mark Behnke is a writer for Basenotes and Men's Style editor for FashionTribes. Mark is a regular poster on the Basenotes forums as Somerville Metro Man and on Twitter as @SomMetroMan.