Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis Cologne Absolue – Fragrance Of The Month Review

Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis - Fragrance Of The Month
Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis Cologne Absolue

Atelier de Cologne Pomélo Paradis was launched in 2015.


Ralf Schwieger (Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine, Etat Libre d’Orange The Afternoon of a Faun EDP, Frédéric Malle Lipstick Rose EDP, Hermès Eau de Merveiilles EDT, Mugler Womanity EDP).

Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis - Fragrance Of The Month

Notes (according to

Top notes: pink pomelo from Florida, mandarin from Calabria, blackcurrant bud from Burgundy. Heart notes: Moroccan orange blossom, Bulgarian rose essence, mint from China. Base notes: vetiver from Haiti, iris from Tuscany, amber (main notes in italics).

About the brand

Founded by Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel in 2009, the Parisian niche fragrance brand takes its inspiration from the citrus profile of the classic eau de cologne. According to the duo, they launched a new olfactive family, Cologne Absolue, that blends citruses with “the most precious natural raw materials”.

Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis - Sylvie Ganter

PURE: Sylvie Ganter is the co-founder of Atelier Cologne.


Pomelo notes can be harsh and off-putting. Not this one. It’s sunny and full of life. The addictive kind you want to experience again and again. As the fragrance develops, the second main note, mandarin, starts coming through. Smooth and super-realistic, it maintains the invigorating vibe going with aplomb. As a vetiver-lover, I was very keen to experience the other key-note, hopefully, in a big way. But it’s more of a subtle, grassy hint in Atelier de Cologne Pomélo Paradis. However, that’s a quibble in the scheme of things.

Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis - Fragrance Of The Month


It’s only when I did some more research that I discovered that this fragrance comes from the brand’s Joie de Vivre collection. That’s exactly what Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis does so well. If you believe a perfume can have uplifting, mood-enhancing qualities, this one is definitely for you.

What others say

“Delightful and probably the best thing in this genre since Guerlain Pamplelune).” – Luca Turin, Perfumes: The Guide 2018

To buy 

From R1 055 – R2 640

For more info

Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis - Fragrance Of The Month


Grooming Goodies: Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50, Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum, Mincer Pharma VitaC Infusion Hand Cream, Dentyl Dual Action, Below The Belt Instant Clean Balls, Redken Brews Shave Cream

Grooming Goodies - Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50

There’s a reason why I haven’t posted that much about grooming goodies over the last few months. Partly, because I’ve been a slacker, but mostly because I was giving myself the time to properly use the following selection of grooming goodies. I’ve also included one product in this grooming goodies line-up for a laugh, but more about that further on in this post.

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 

I was first exposed to this product last year when I went to my local Dermalogica store for one of their express facials. It’s packed with anti-ageing active ingredients to hydrate ageing skin. These range from a polypeptide, glucosamine and soy combo to stimulate collagen synthesis to skin-firming tripeptides, yeast extract and phytoestrogens. In addition, this star product provides UVA and UVB rays protection with an SPF50. As with all the Dermalogica products I’ve used in the past, Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 delivers on its promises. It also earns extra points for its absorbability and for being artificial fragrance- and colourant-free. R1 199 for 150ml.

Grooming Goodies - Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum 

A mouthful of a product name that perfectly describes my main skin concern. Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is renowned as a highly effective anti-ageing ingredient due to its all-important collagen-building properties. Retinol can have a drying effect on the skin, so the inclusion of ceramide, with its moisture-boosting benefits, makes this product a powerful tool to combat wrinkles and lines, and boost skin texture and tone. I’ve already started seeing results. But what about the capsule format? Well, retinol is a highly unstable ingredient and exposure to sunlight and air can affect its performance. The mono-dose capsule counters these effects and means that you don’t use too much or too little of this highly recommended product among my grooming goodies. R565 for 30 capsules and R965 for 60 capsules.

Grooming Goodies - Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum

Mincer Pharma VitaC Infusion Moisturizing Hand Cream

I recently reviewed two products from this Polish brand: Mincer Neo Hyaluron Strongly Firming Day Cream SPF10 and Mincer Neo Hyaluron Intensive Reconstructing Night Cream. I was impressed with them, so I decided to give this moisturising product a go, even though I don’t normally bother with hand creams. Too greasy. Too sticky. I just haven’t felt the need to use them. I’m glad I approached this product that “protects against harmful urban environments and damage caused by detergents” with an open mind, as the condition of my hands has improved since I started using it. That would come down to the active ingredients: sea buckthorn oil, camu-camu extract and shea butter. I also like the light citrus scent of this product. R85 for 100ml.

Grooming Goodies - Mincer Pharma VitaC Infusion Moisturizing Hand Cream

Dentyl Dual Action Alcohol-Free Mouth Wash

I have dental issues, so any product that claims to gently, but effectively improve oral well-being should be given a chance to prove itself. Dentyl Dual Action uses a dual-action process to fight plaque (the aqua-based phase one removes bacteria and plaque) and freshen breath (this phase contains natural essential oils for oral moisturising). The good news is that this product is alcohol-free, so goodbye to stinging and drying out of the mouth. It also contains fluoride. I’ve been using it for over a month as part of my daily oral-hygiene routine and am hoping my oral hygienist will notice the difference when I next see her. It’s available in the following flavours: Fresh Clove; Smooth Mint; Icy Cherry and Icy Mint. R82,95 for 500ml.

Grooming Goodies - Dentyl Dual Action Alcohol-Free Mouth Wash

Below The Belt GROOMING Instant Clean Balls

Well, here’s a product I never knew I needed! But for a laugh, I decided to see what it’s about. The market is awash with female hygiene products and this product is classified as a male hygiene product for when a man’s balls need a bit of freshening up. It’s recommended for use on the groin area when a shower isn’t available to combat chafing and perspiration. I used it on those days when I was having a pyjamas-and-no-need-to-bath kind of day. Mostly, I felt a warm, tingling experience when using it, but couldn’t really detect much of a difference. Perhaps I need to use it when I am next camping at a three-day music event and bathing facilities are negligible. R149.99 for 75ml.

Grooming Goodies - Below The Belt Grooming Instant Clean Balls


Redken Brews Shave Cream

The American brand launched its Redken Brews range for men fairly recently. It includes a full range of hairstyling, grooming, beard and face products. As I have been balding for a long time, I decided to focus on this shaving cream. As you know, I’m always on the lookout for shaving products that make this ritual that much easier. I’m enjoying using Redken Brews Shave Cream because it’s sensitive skin-friendly and it moisturises my skin while I use it. My only gripe is the price, but then it is imported from the USA. R580 for 150ml.

Grooming Goodies - Redken Brews Shave Cream




Marie Salamagne Interview: Cherishing The Atelier des Ors Creative Adventure

Marie Salamagne - Atelier des Ors

Marie Salamagne might not have “been raised in the world of perfumery”, but this hasn’t stopped the 42-year-old perfumer from attracting attention with her various creations. These range from Alaïa Nude EDP, L’Artisan Parfumeur Histoires d’Orangers EDT and Aura Mugler EDT to Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium EDP, Jo Malone Tuberose Angelica Cologne Intense and Maison Margiela By the Fireplace EDT, among others.

Since 2015, Marie Salamagne has been the de facto in-house perfumer for Parisian niche fragrance brand Atelier des Ors. She has created 11 unisex EDPs for the company.

Marie Salamagne - Atelier des Ors Aube Rubis

ATELIER DES ORS AUBE RUBIS EDP: With notes of bergamot, grapefruit, black currant, sage, violet, iris, patchouli, vetiver and praline.

In this Fragroom interview, Marie Salamagne talks about her background, love of perfumery and her work for Atelier des Ors.

Where were you born?

I was born in Paris, France.

Where did you study perfumery?

I studied perfumery at ISIPCA. It is a renowned school of perfumery in Versailles near Paris.

Where are you based now?

I work in Paris for Firmenich.

Marie Salamagne - Atelier des Ors

Did you always want to be a perfumer? 

Unlike many of my colleagues, I have not been raised in the world of perfumery. Coming from a family of doctors, after my baccalaureate I started studying medicine. At the time I wanted to be a child psychiatrist, but I quickly realised that it was not for me. I was studying chemistry when I discovered ISIPCA and the work of a perfumer. From that point it was an obvious choice for me.

“I felt immediately at ease in the world of perfumery. Everything made sense to me.”

Marie Salamagne - Atelier des Ors Bois Sikar

ATELIER DES ORS BOIS SIKAR EDP: With notes of nutmeg, guaiac wood, styrax, cedar wood, cedar needles, tobacco leaf and vetiver.

What was the attraction of perfumery for you?

I’ve always been sensitive to “smell”, but I knew very little about the craft when I started. I quickly realised that the world of perfumery suited me to a tee. More than a special effort, it takes passion and very hard work to become a perfumer. I followed my intuition and the path of fragrances. Since then scents have always intrigued me. I felt immediately at ease in the world of perfumery. Everything made sense to me.

“I fell under the spell of Jean-Philippe’s brief. We had this deep connection.”

How did your involvement with Atelier des Ors come about?

I received the first brief when the brand was under creation in 2012 from our Dubai team. Jean-Philippe Clermont [the founder of Atelier des Ors] was living in the Middle East at that time. His concept of creating this amazing collection, positioned as he said as “haute parfumerie”, was extremely appealing. I fell under the spell of Jean-Philippe’s brief. We had this deep connection, sharing the same passion and vision. That’s how it all started.

Marie Salamagne - Jean-Philippe Clermont, Atelier des Ors

PASSIONATE VISION: Jean-Philippe Clermont is the founder of Atelier des Ors.

He gave me the freedom of using the most beautiful ingredients to create his first collection made of five fragrances. These included: Rose Omeyyade, Cuir Sacré, Lune Féline, Larmes du Désert and Aube Rubis. We are still working on each of his fragrances together, in co-creation.

Did you create all of the Atelier des Ors fragrances?

Yes, I created the 11 fragrances of the collection.

What do you like about the brand?

The collection is anchored in precious know-how and reinterprets the heritage of French haute parfumerie. I select materials that bring to life the spiritual and symbolic dimensions of the creative storytelling. As I work to sublimate them in my creations for Atelier des Ors, my craft helps to reconnect fragrance-lovers to the dreams and mysterious universe of luxury fragrances.

“The collection is anchored in precious know-how and reinterprets the heritage of French haute parfumerie.”

Marie Salamagne - Larmes du Desert

ATELIER DES ORS LARMES DU DESERT EDP: With notes of incense, cypress, patchouli, guaiac wood, cedar, citruses, amber, benzoin and woodsy notes.

What was the general brief for creating the fragrances? 

The first idea was to give back to fragrance a sense of mystery and dreams. And also draw inspiration from the crafts to offer olfactory bouquets with distinctive and captivating accords. The project engages with gold, which represents the noble and eternal side of the material and the brand itself.

Marie Salamagne - Atelier des Ors Cuir Sacré

ATELIER DES ORS CUIR SACRE: With notes of juniper berries, cardamom, cypress, incense, saffron, cedar needles, leather, vetiver and cypriol oil.

How much creative freedom do you have when creating the fragrances?

Passionate and imaginative, Jean Philippe shares his creative ideas with me when we start working on a new fragrance. They are nourished by his incredibly rich experience. His professional life includes various domains of excellence where “savoire-faire” is key. Then I feel free to translate his vision into fragrant poetry. We only keep real “coups de coeur”, as we both like to only pursue rare and unique experiences. I cherish the precious moments of the creative adventure. I enjoy true mutual respect, sharing, listening and a kindred open-minded spirit.

Marie Salamagne and Jean-Philippe Clermont - Atelier des Ors

KINDRED SPIRITS: Marie Salamagne and Jean-Philippe Clermont work very closely together on the various fragrances.

One of my favourite fragrances from the collection is the very sensual Rose Omeyyade. How did you create that EDP?

Rose Omeyyade explores the captivating smell of damask rose, infused with velvet raspberry tones and intense woods, such as the mystical agarwood and gaiac wood.

Tell us more about the new White Collection.

The White Collection was released in 2018. It comprises three fragrances: Nuda Veritas, Crepuscule des Ames and Choeur des Anges. This collection is very special and creative.

White signifies purity, radiance, new beginnings. This new collection pays homage to the white space. It is very relative to art as directly inspired by the work of the artist Gustav Klimt, The Search of Happiness. It’s a monumental artwork completed for the 14th Vienna Secessionist Exhibition to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Beethoven’s death. This artwork is organised in three chapters. Each one was the main inspiration of our three compositions.

Marie Salamagne - Atelier des Ors Gustav Klimt

INSPIRATION: The Atelier des Ors White Collection is inspired by Gustav Klimt’s The Search of Happiness.

Nuda Veritas has been made for Chapter 1. It is a floral creation, representing the lightness and the beginning of a new spiritual quest for the search of happiness. The composition opens with floral notes, delicate jasmine and osmanthus, combined with ambroxan and subtle woods.

Crepuscule des Ames has been made for Chapter 2. It’s a woody aromatic fragrance, evoking the duality within all of us. The duality is expressed by the usage of very contrasted ingredients. These include: bitter and luminous citruses, energising aromatic herbs, animalic notes and an addictive patchouli.

Marie Salamagne - Atelier des Ors Crépuscule Des Ames

CONTINUITY: Marie Salamagne has also created the fragrances for the Atelier des Ors White Collection.

Choeur des Anges has been made for Chapter 3. It’s a fruity-floral fragrance, a celebration of joy, colours and happiness. It is made of blood orange, carrot seeds, with a floral heart and some radiant fruits. I have used osmanthus and a touch of honey.

Are you working on more Atelier des Ors fragrances?

Of course! We have a lot of new ideas and developments in progress. Jean-Philippe is always sharing new inspirations. This year will be very busy for Atelier des Ors.

Fragrance News Snippets Edition 4 – Jean-François Latty Dies, Armani Launches Code Absolu EDP, Gucci’s The Alchemist’s Garden Makes Its Debut, Another Flanker For The YSL Black Opium Range And Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Gentle Gender Fluidity

Fragrance News Snippets - Gucci The Alchemist's Garden


Welcome to the first edition of Fragrance News Snippets for 2019. Perfume-land never sleeps and the first launches of the year are already on the shelves. The Fragrance News Snippets I have included in this edition tell us a lot about the state of the fragrance industry. It’s all about flankers galore, gender fluidity and upmarket fragrance collections on the market.

If you come across anything news-worthy you’d like to contribute to Fragrance News Snippets, please pop me a mail at

Fragrance News Snippets - Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Duo



Jean-François Latty died in early January 2019. The veteran perfumer was best known for creating Givenchy III, YSL Jazz EDT and all of the fragrances for French niche brand, Téo Cabanel. He trained at Roure Bertrand Fils and Justin Dupont’s in-house perfumery school. Latty then worked for Roure, IFF and Takasago.

Original source for more info: here.

Fragrance News Snippets - Jean-Francois Latty


One of the first fragrances on the market for 2019 is Armani Code Absolu EDP. It’s the 16th flanker and/or limited edition in the Armani Code range, which was originally launched in 2004. Created by Antoine Maisondieu, it features notes of green mandarin, apple, orange blossom, nutmeg, carrot seeds suede, tonka beans, vanilla and woods. I haven’t had the opportunity to try this fragrance yet, so I can’t tell you if it’s a worthwhile purchase or just another churned-out flanker.

Fragrance News Snippets - Armani Code Absolu EDP



And in another flanker episode, YSL launched Black Opium Intense this month. Black Opium was originally launched in 2014 and the line now includes 16 flankers and limited editions. The new EDP features notes of blue absinthe, boysenberry,  jasmine sambac, orange blossom, black coffee, sandalwood, liquorice and vanilla. It was created by Nathalie Lorson, Olivier Cresp, Marie Salamagne and Honorine Blanc.

Original source for more info: here. 

Fragrance News Snippets - YSL Black Opium EDP Intense



Gucci has gone seriously upmarket with the launch of the Alchemist’s Garden “inspired by the art of alchemy influencing the old art of fragrance-making”. The collection is another collaboration between the Italian luxury brand’s creative director Alessandro Michele and master perfumer Alberto Morillas. It consists of seven eaux de parfum, four perfumed oils, three acque profumate and a scented candle. With a nod to the trends for layering and customisation, the entire collection ensures 48 possible fragrance combinations.

Original sources for more info: here and here.

Fragrance News Snippets - Gucci The Alchemist's Garden


Whether you call them unisex, shared, or (the clunky) gender neutral, they’ve been a growing trend in perfumery (although designer fragrances still have a lot of catching up to do). In an innovative twist, Maison Francis Kurkdjian has launched a duo of unisex fragrances: Gentle fluidity EDP (silver edition) and gentle Fluidity EDP (gold edition). They both have a focus on the same notes – juniper berries, nutmeg, coriander, musks, ambery woods and vanilla – but are treated differently. An intriguing Fragrance News Snippet…

Original source for more info: here.

Fragrance News Snippets - Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity


Mincer Pharma Reviews: Neo Hyaluron Strongly Firming Day Cream SPF10 and Neo Hyaluron Intensive Reconstructing Night Cream

Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron

I’d never heard of Mincer Pharma until recently when I started spotting it on Instagram. I’m vain enough to take care of my skin as I approach 50, so I was keen to try this Polish pharmacy skincare brand.

“I’m vain enough to take care of my skin as I approach 50, so I was keen to try this Polish pharmacy skincare brand.”

Mincer Pharma has an impressive selection of product ranges. These include Oxygen Detox, Vitamins Philosophy, Vita C Infusion, Antiallergenic, Antitiredness, Daily Care, Hyaluron, Folic Acid and Argan Life.

Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron

I was sent two products from the Neo Hyaluron line for dehydrated, mature skin: Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Strongly Firming Day Cream SPF10 and Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Intensive Reconstructing Night Cream. Both are packed with anti-ageing hyaluronic acid goodies.

Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Strongly Firming Day Cream SPF10


The Mincer Pharma website gives a good explanation why this active ingredient is so important in the fight against ageing:

Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in all living organisms. In humans it is responsible, among others, for proper hydration and firming the skin. Spectacular effects of hyaluronic acid result from the fact that it has very strong properties of bonding collagen fibres and of binding water molecules, thus enhancing firmness and nourishment of the skin. Hyaluronic acid is not only acting deep in the skin, but it also forms a protective coating that prevents loss of moisture. Unfortunately, with age it decreases in our tissues. 

Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Intensive Reconstructing Night Cream

Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Strongly Firming Day Cream SPF10 and Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Intensive Reconstructing Night Cream contain a quartet of hyaluronic acid active ingredients for deep hydration and rejuvenation: cross-linked hyaluronate, hyaluronic acid microspheres, pillar hyaluronic acid and molecular hyaluronic acid.

Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Intensive Reconstructing Night Cream

I have used these products for more than a month and have already starting seeing results. My skin looks fresher and firmer, definitely more hydrated and (I like to think) the wrinkles are looking a tad less noticeable. These results are all the more impressive when I consider that we’ve been having a relentless heatwave here in Johannesburg for quite some time.

Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Strongly Firming Day Cream SPF10, R260 for 50ml, and Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Intensive Reconstructing Night Cream, R260 for 50ml.

Mincer Pharma Neo Hyaluron Strongly Firming Day Cream SPF10 2

Fragrance Shopping in Johannesburg – Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection

Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection - Louis Vuitton Johannesburg

For one of the major players in the luxury goods industry, Louis Vuitton’s fragrance releases have not been part of the churn-‘em-out philosophy so prevalent in the designer fragrance category. The company launched its first fragrances in the 1920s and 1940s and then not much else. That’s why the launch of the Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection in 2016 was such a big deal.

Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection - Louis Vuitton Johannesburg

In a way, the brand had a lot of catching up to do, when compared to its contemporaries. But as a luxury brand that places a premium on attention to detail and craftsmanship, it could not appear like it was in a hurry to do so.

The Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection was launched with seven EDPs for women. These included: Apogée, Contre Moi, Dans la Peau, Matière Noire, Mille Feux, Rose des Vents and Turbulences. Since then the following EDPs have been added to the range: Au Hasard, L’Immensité, Nouveau Monde, Orage and Sur la Route (all for men); Attrape-Rivesand Le Jour Se Lève (for women)and Ombre Nomade (for men and women).

Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection - Fragrance Shopping in Johannesburg - Au Hasard

All of these fragrances are created by Louis Vuitton’s in house perfumer, the legendary Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud. He has created Pasha de Cartier EDT, Issey Miyake l’eau d’Issey EDT, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique EDT, Van Cleef & Arpels Zanzibar EDT, among others.

Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection - Drawers of Detail - Fragrance Shopping in Johannesburg


When I first stepped into the Louis Vuitton store in Sandton City, Johannesburg, I was immediately impressed by the professionalism of the staff. Although I didn’t look I was there to shop, shop, shop, they all treated me with respect and attention.

Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection - Marco Matthews - Fragrance Shopping in Johannesburg

AT MY SERVICE: Fragrance manager Marco Matthews writing down all of the names of the Louis Vuitton fragrances on the blotting cards.

I was particularly impressed by the service I received from fragrance manager, Marco Matthews. He gave me over half an hour of his precious time to talk me through the various fragrances in the collection. A personalised consultation is standard for all shoppers.

“Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection are not just fragrances – they are a luxury experience.”

It was abundantly clear from what he told me that Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection are not just fragrances – they are a luxury experience. And I certainly felt that while trying the various scents on offer.

Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection - Samples - Fragrance Shopping in Johannesburg

BAG OF SAMPLE TRICKS: I was given a set of samples from Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection to try at home.

I enjoyed all the fragrances I tried. For a brand that is often associated with conspicuous consumption and logo-a-go-go, the fragrances are notable for their discreet elegance. Also look out for the travel cases and sets.

Les Parfums Louis Vuitton Collection - Orage EDP Fragrance Shopping in Johannesburg

My favourite would have to be Orage EDP. It opens with citrus notes of bergamot and grapefruit. But it’s the play between the iris, vetiver, white musk, hedione and ISO E Super that make it really intriguing.

Louis Vuitton, Sandton City Shopping Centre, Shop U26, Upper Level, Rivonia Road, Johannesburg. Tel: 011 784 9854.

Linda Song Cape Town: Launching Givaudan’s Road Stories

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Portrait

I was recently in the Givaudan Johannesburg office when I was introduced to the fragrance giant’s Road Stories project. What started out as a tourist trip to Cape Town for perfumer Linda Song turned into the launch of the company’s “scent souvenirs” initiative. After smelling the evocative fragrance accords that Linda Song created after her journey to the South African city, I knew I had to interview her.

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Image


Linda Song is an up-and-coming perfumer. She has already started making her mark in the industry with her recent co-creation for Tom Ford (Fougère Platine EDP). She also created RPL Maison XVIII Tubéreuse EDP, which was launched in 2017.

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Broadtoothed Sagebush

UNIQUE FLORA: Linda Song examines a broadtoothed sagebush.

What is Givaudan’s Road Stories project all about?

Road Stories came about from our NY team of perfumers sharing “scent souvenirs” from our travels in an informal setting and turning it into a creative collection platform. My visit to Cape Town is the debut of the series, which originated when I was planning a trip to Cape Town purely with the intentions of being a tourist to discover the city with friends. On learning more about the region, I found that the Cape Floral Kingdom is a wealth of diversity and endemic species. I couldn’t pass up on the chance to explore and smell the thousands of plants that are only found in this small region of South Africa.

“I couldn’t pass up on the chance to explore and smell the thousands of plants that are only found in this small region of South Africa.”

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Bloodbell Heath


How did you get involved?

I pitched the idea to Emily Bond, the Head of Fine Fragrances North America. She was immediately on board and it gave her the idea to start the collection of Road Stories. I did my background research on the location before leaving on what plants I could expect to find in late summer/ early autumn. I also reached out to Dr Roman Kaiser on what olfactively interesting plants I should look out for. A distinguished, retired colleague, he’s also the originator of our Scent Trek technology, a noted botanist and an intrepid world explorer.

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Bottles

When did you arrive in Cape Town?

April 2017.

How long did you spend in the city?

Nine days.

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Golden Pagoda


What were you expecting to discover before you arrived?

Through my research I was already expecting a dynamic city. It would have  a lot to offer in terms of history, culture, art and design, with a backdrop of nature between the mountains and sea.

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Immortelle Everlasting


What did you actually discover?

That all of the above was massively amplified in real life! Stunning vistas, extremes of dry and wet, and an extremely diverse, laid-back and cool cosmopolitan city.

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Erica taxifolia


Who helped you make these discoveries?

I was lucky enough to have some friends living in Cape Town. They are themselves well-travelled nomads and showed us their favourite parts of the region. I used the information Roman provided, in addition to the amazing amount of information that’s available at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. It’s an impressive garden whose ethos is in preserving the region’s unique flora.

Linda Song Road Stories - Collection

COLLECTOR’S ITEMS: The Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town collection includes 12 accords.

Do many South Africans know about these plants?

This is my question to you as a South African! [I don’t at all.]

“They were chosen specifically with the idea of adding to the perfumer’s palette. It’s similar to adding new colours to a painter’s palette.”

The fragrances that resulted from this visit really impressed me with their unique quality. They are so enticing! tell us more about this collection.

It was a perfumer’s dream – like being a kid in a candy store. There truly are so many beautiful plants – both visually and olfactively – to the point of sensory overload! It took a lot of time to edit to the 12 accords that are in the collection. They were chosen specifically with the idea of adding to the perfumer’s palette. It’s similar to adding new colours to a painter’s palette. I’m constantly astounded by nature’s version of perfumery and that was the true inspiration. With interesting combinations of aromatic with balsamic notes, surprising notes of gourmand, floral bouquets…these scents were chosen for being uniquely beautiful.

Linda Song Road Stories - Selection Of Bottles

Will the fragrances be available commercially?

These are accords recreating what I found in nature, so they won’t be commercially available alone. But we are sharing the accords with the hope to transport both the stories and scents as staring points for a finished fragrance.

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Mona lavender


What else did you discover while you were in Cape Town?

This is one of my favourite cities in the world! I have an equal love for nature and urban environments and this city manages to beautifully marry both. You can go from surfing or hiking in the morning to being at a gallery or museum within minutes. There’s a beautiful aesthetic to the city that falls within a large range of being local, modern, quirky, hipster and classic. There truly is something for everyone and the discovery seems endless.

Linda Song Road Stories Cape Town - Aloe Arborescens


What perfume project are you working on now?

I’m working on developing finished fragrances with many of these accords, so stay tuned!

*All images, except of Cape Town, provided by Givaudan. 

Cheap Thrills: 8 Best Budget Fragrance Buys

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Giorgio Beverly Hills EDP

So you’ve spent more than you should have at Christmas. Or you are scaling back on your expenses and something has to give. But dealing with these financial realities doesn’t mean you have to compromise on smelling good. With this selection of best budget buys fragrances, for example, it’s possible to spend way less than you would normally do and still stand out for your fragrance finesse.

“With this list of best budget buys fragrances, it’s possible to spend way less than you would normally do and still stand out for your fragrance finesse.”

Of course, you can also keep your eyes on bargain bins, where sometimes incredible deals are to be had. And don’t forget sales where 20-50% discounts are not uncommon.

NO 4711 Original EDC

This bargain fragrance is apparently still made according to a secret recipe from the late 18th century (yes, it’s been around that long). While 4711 Original Eau de Cologne lacks staying power, it more than compensates with its uplifting mix of lemon, bergamot and orange oil. More than a fragrance, it’s a superb pick-me-up tonic. R235 for 90ml and R575 for 200ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - No 4711 Eau de Cologne

The Body Shop Activist EDt

This one has been around for over 23 years – and for good reason. A light oriental with a clean, fresh vibe, it features standout notes of green grass, citruses, amber, spices and woody notes. It doesn’t have the most impressive staying power and projection, but at the price, a couple of re-sprays is not a problem at all. While you’re in The Body Shop mode, look out for White Musk. It’s a highly rate Body Shop classic that features notes of lavender, jasmine, geranium, sandalwood, vetiver, tonka bean and, course, musk. R320 for 100ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - The Body Shop Activist EDT

Giorgio Beverly Hills edt (ML Quince, Francis Camail, Harrry Cuttle)

I’ve never been shopping on Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive in a Rolls-Royce with the top down, but this classic from the 80s would be the perfect choice for it. It’s such a happy, carefree, almost hedonistic scent. This floral features standout heart notes such as tuberose, gardenia, orchid and ylang-ylang. After all that spending, champagne is so necessary. R599 for 90ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Giorgio Beverly Hills EDP

RODEO DRIVE, HERE WE COME: Giorgio Beverly Hills EDT is one of the best budget fragrance buys from the 80s.

Rogue Love by Rihanna EDP

Rihanna has amassed quite a respectable fragrance portfolio and word is that she’s more involved in the creation of her scents than the average celeb. Her fragrances, while not in any way revolutionary, certainly deserve consideration if you’re on the hunt for budget fragrance buys. Rogue Love is a very appealing scent with fruity, floral, musky overtones. It features big hits of plum, suede, patchouli and vanilla notes. Like most celebrity fragrances, it’s sweet, but it’s handled smoothly and sophisticatedly in this EDP. R620 for 125ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Rogue by Rihanna EDP

Zara Tobacco Collection Rich Warm Addictive EDT

A seemingly simple composition of tobacco, coconut, sandalwood, honey and cedar notes, it yields so much more than its structure suggests. It’s on the sweeter side of things, but who cares when this EDT is so smooth and creamy. Zara has numerous examples of cool cheapies like it, so it would be time well spent to visit your local store or the website for more options.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Zara Tobacco Collection Rich Warm Addictive EDT

Elizabeth Taylor Love & White Diamonds edt (Carlos Benaïm)

I recently reviewed Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds as a classic powerhouse (read here). A flanker, Love & White Diamonds is inspired by the actor’s passion for flowers and diamonds. It features a citrus twist on the original, with opening notes of petitgrain, orange blossom and neroli. The heart is all floral and features notes of gardenia, Turkish rose, jasmine sambac and tuberose. Although not as complex as the original, it earns its spot on this best budget fragrance buys list for its charm and longevity. R750 for 100ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Elizabeth Taylor Love & White Diamonds EDP

Jeanne Arthes Cobra Man EDT

There’s more complexity to this woody-aromatic fragrance than its price tag suggests. It opens with notes of citrus, orange blossom and rosemary. The heart is quite unusual and features notes of ginger and angelica among the more familiar cinnamon and lavender. The base is warm and cosy, with notes of sandalwood, tonka bean and vanilla bringing smoothness. Jean Arthes is a French fragrance company that’s based in Grasse, the heartland of French perfumery. Another option from the brand well worth sniffing out is the leather-licious Colonial Club Legend EDT. R209 for 100ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Jeanne Arthes Cobra For Men EDT

Elizabeth Arden Red Door EDt (Carlos Benaïm)

Originally launched in 1989 (and now with five flankers), Elizabeth Arden Red Door EDT is still one of the company’s best-sellers. Sweet and complex at the same time, it features over 20 listed notes. The sweetness comes through from the beginning, courtesy of peach and plum notes. But it’s really the honey and abundance of floral notes (carnation, tuberose, orchid, violet, rose, freesia, lily, jasmine, ylang-ylang and heliotrope) that makes this EDP such a sweet and agreeable bouquet, depending on your preferences. R750 for 100ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Elizabeth Arden Red Door EDP



Art of Fragrance

Art of Fragrance - Hermès Concentre d'Orange Verte EDT

We all know that perfumery is an art, but what about the other art of fragrance? That is, creating arty images from fragrance bottles. In this more visually led art of fragrance post, I will share some of my examples with you.

“In this more visually led art of fragrance post, I will share some of my examples with you.”

When I’m in the art of fragrance mode, I want my images to really have an impact. Often these have quite an emotional impact, as I take great pleasure in breaking empty perfume bottles and seeing people’s reaction to them. I’ve also been trying an art of fragrance technique on my computer scanner, with intriguing results.

Art of Fragrance - Reconstruction


In a previous lifetime this was a bottle of Armani’s mega-seller, Acqua di Gio EDT. I smashed the bottle and shot it against a very clinical metallic service (that is, the kitchen sink). For extra coolness, I added some ice cubes.

Art of Fragrance - Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio EDT


I had to think a lot about smashing this bottle of the Hermès classic, Concentre d’Orange Verte EDT. Eventually I gathered the courage to do the deed. I placed the pieces on one of my own pastel colour therapy works.

Art of Fragrance - Hermès Concentre d'Orange Verte EDT


I find samples very hard to shoot in an interesting way. So for this collection, I decided to place them on the computer scanner intermingled with some flowers and leaves.

Art of Fragrance - Sample Sunday

ART OF FRAGRANCE: Sample Sunday style.


After smashing this bottle of Paul Smith EDT, I scatted various pieces on the scanner. I then placed some flowers to add interest to the effect.

Art of Fragrance - Paul Smith EDT


I noticed I had two beautiful bottles (Hermès Concentre d’Orange Verte EDT and Armani Acqua di Gio EDT) smashed mostly beyond recognition. So the only thing to do was to create a fusion of the two. This is very much a work in progress. I plan to do a bigger piece with a number of smashed bottles.

Art of Fragrance - Reconstruction Soft

Caroline Sabas Interview: “I Work On Anything. I’m Up For Any Challenge!”

I first started chatting to perfumer Caroline Sabas a couple of months ago on Instagram when I inadvertently didn’t credit her contribution to the creation of Britney Spears VIP Private Show EDP. Since then I’ve been wanting to interview the 44-year-old who has created a very diverse selection of fragrances over the years. These range from Etat Libre d’Orange You Or Someone Like You EDP, Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Air EDT and Narciso Rodriguez Santal Musc EDP to Rihanna Reb’l Fleur EDP and Commodity Vetiver EDP.

Caroline Sabas - Narciso Rodriguez Santal Musc EDP

Caroline Sabas grew up in the heartland of French perfumery, Grasse. Her perfumer father had a big influence on her decision to pursue the career she says she was “born into”.

In this interview, I asked Caroline Sabas questions about her work, her ultimate ambition and her favourite ingredient to work with, among others.

Where were you born?

I was born in Cannes, France, and grew up in Grasse.

Where did you study perfumery?

I studied at ISIPCA in Versailles and my apprenticeship while in school was at Chanel.

Where are you based now?

I moved to NYC a year after I finished ISIPCA, which is 21 years ago. I’ve been working at Givaudan New York for 15 years now. I love New York. It has such a great vibe and so much energy.

Caroline Sabas - Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Air EDT

SUMMER EFFECT: Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Air EDT is one of the fragrances created by Caroline Sabas.

When did you know that you wanted to be a perfumer?

As I lived in Grasse and my father was a perfumer, I can say that I was born into it. Growing up surrounded by all those amazing naturals, such as mimosa, jasmine, honeysuckle, rose, moss, just to name a few, made me aware at a very young age that my nose was a great asset. I’ve always been sensitive to smells around me and they always provoked in me a lot of emotions. Then when I was 16, I stepped into the lab of my father’s company. Working with all those gorgeous materials was like a dream. I felt like a chef or a painter. From that moment on I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do.

“Working with all those gorgeous materials was like a dream. I felt like a chef or a painter.”

What do you remember most about studying perfumery?

I loved smelling and having to memorise olfactively both natural and synthetic ingredients. Learning about the classics and how they had been created. It’s such a fascinating world and I couldn’t wait to be part of it.

Caroline Sabas - Britney Spears VIP Private Show EDP

FRAGRANCES FOR EVERYONE: “I do not want to be labelled as a certain type of perfumer. Therefore, I work on everything…. mass, prestige, celebrities, designers, niche, women’s, men’s,” says Caroline Sabas.

What’s your ultimate ambition as a perfumer?

I would like to be able to create fragrances for absolutely everyone. I do not want to be labelled as a certain type of perfumer. Therefore, I work on everything…. mass, prestige, celebrities, designers, niche, women’s, men’s, etc… I’m up for any challenge! And ultimately I am hoping that one of these creations will end up being a best-seller. Mostly because it makes me so happy and moves me when I smell one of my creations on someone else. It is the best feeling. I realise that I touched someone’s heart.

Caroline Sabas - Elizabeth Arden White Tea

One of my favourite fragrances you’ve created is Etat Libre d’Orange You or someone like you edp. How did you create this fragrance?

This was a fantastic project. A great collaboration between Chandler Burr and myself. In 2009, Chandler Burr wrote the book You Or Someone Like You. Later on, Etat Libre d’Orange approached Chandler about making a fragrance having the same title. Chandler asked me if I could be the perfumer behind it. I was more than happy to accept, as I had never approached a project with such a different concept.

Caroline Sabas - Etat Libre d'Orange You Or Someone Like You EDP

Chandler and I started to work together and tried to create what would be the perfect fragrance for the novel’s narrator, Anne Rosenbaum. She lives in LA, is reserved and is an avid reader. She is a gardener as well. Chandler and I kept talking about what kind of notes would be perfect for Anne. But mainly, the fragrance that was created for her is not a perfume. It is a scent. We do not talk about ingredients or notes as we describe it. It is an experience. It is what you want it to be. That’s how Chandler described it to me before I started the creative process.

“We do not talk about ingredients or notes as we describe it. It is an experience. It is what you want it to be.”

You’ve created several celebrity fragrances. Is it different creating a celeb fragrance, as opposed to a designer or a niche scent?

I find the process a little bit different, yes. When I create a fragrance for a celebrity, I have to think about all their followers, their fans. It seems like the crowd to please is very big, so I need to make sure that it has a broad appeal from top to bottom. Whereas for a designer, or a niche brand, I can really think out of the box and pour my creativity into it, without thinking too much about who I am going to please. Here, I am inspired greatly by the designer’s vision that they seek to capture through scent.

Caroline Sabas - Sean John Unforgivable EDT

Do you have a favourite ingredient?

It is hard to come down to one ingredient when we have so many beautiful materials around us. But I will say my favourite is Vetiver.  Five years ago, I travelled to Haiti to experience the vetiver harvest. Haiti is where the very best vetiver in the world is grown.

Caroline Sabas - Vetiver

Givaudan has a very important platform of ethical sourcing, which we call Sourcing for Shared Value. We are dedicated to strengthening the vetiver supply chain, including supporting a co-operative in Les Cayes which helps the farmers and villagers to have a better life. It ensures that the vetiver producers can benefit from a guaranteed minimum price and regular technical support from both Givaudan’s and our partner teams. Our initiative aims to ensure that appropriate practices for vetiver harvesting and distilling are in place.

Caroline Sabas - Vetiver

EARTHY: Caroline Sabas loves vetiver for its many qualities.

This process produces the highest quality oil. I experienced the whole process of distillation, from the fields where the farmers uproot the plant, clean it, and then send it to the distillation factory. At the factory, the air smelled wonderful. I felt like I was wearing a blanket of warm vetiver. It is such a faceted material, woody, sensual, unctuous, golden, elegant, earthy, warm. Very addictive to me. Vetiver had been used so much in men’s fragrances. But with this quality, we can create a gorgeous woman’s fragrance as well, using a classic and beautiful ingredient that supports people and the environment.

“It is such a faceted material, woody, sensual, unctuous, golden, elegant, earthy, warm.”

Do you a travel a lot for your work?

I do travel for work and I enjoy spending time in our office in Paris and our office in São Paulo. This allows me to stay current with marketplace and lifestyle trends and also participate in various projects in places other than New York and spend time with my colleagues in other countries.

Caroline Sabas - Vince Camuto Divina EDP

DIVINE: Caroline Sabas also created Vince Camuto Divina EDP. It was released in 2018.

Which fragrance do you wish you’d created?

There are a lot of fragrances that I wish I had created. Starting with Chanel No 19, which I find exquisite. Also, one that set such a huge trend and influenced the fragrance category is Angel, which is a Givaudan creation. I am inspired by these classic trend-setters that were so different, so sensual, so disruptive for their time.

Caroline Sabas - Chanel No 19

Do you have a mentor?

My mentor is David Apel [her husband and vice-president senior perfumer at Symrise]. I love what he taught me and always value the incredible education on perfumery he shared with me: from ingredient expertise to his creative approach.  He is one of the best perfumers in the industry today.

Caroline Sabas - David Apel