Rose 31 by Daphne Bugey for Le Labo 2006


Post by Jordan River


In Iran, Iraq, The Middle East, Pakistan and India rose perfumes are an essential part of a man’s fragrance wardrobe.

Rose petals used to be crushed and mixed with oil to obtain a strong perfume which was labour intensive and therefore not easily mass-produced. Harun al-Rashid,  of A Thousand and One Nights fame, sent Charlemagne several gifts of non-distilled rose perfumes, along with the white elephant Abul Abbas, to his court in Aachen (modern-day Germany). The gifts of Charlemagne to Harun al-Rashid were woven woolen garments from Flanders and German hunting dogs.

About 200 years later, a Persian man, born in Bukhara (modern-day Uzbekistan near Afghanistan), called Ibn Sina, perfected the steam distillation of essential oils from plants when he distilled rose petals into a wearable fragrance which could be made in great quantities.

Rose Oil DistillationA distillation plant in Damascus consisting of multiple units for producing rose water – 13th century manuscript

Ibn Sina
Hakim (Doctor/Chemist/Alchemist) Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā, known as Avicenna in the west, took the most beloved flower of Islam, the rose, and made a fragrance which was eagerly worn by men as Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, encouraged the use of perfume ‘if it is available’ as part of the preparation for Friday prayer.

Rose 31 by Le Labo

Rose 31 FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Rose, caraway
Heart: Rose, vetiver, cedar
Base: Musk, guaiac wood, olibanum, labdanum, agarwood (oud)

Le Labo gives these featured accords in one line:
Grasse rose, cumin, pepper, clove, nutmeg, ginger, frankincense, cedar, amber, gaiacwood, oud, cistus, vetiver, animalic notes, ISO e-super and 16 unrevealed notes

Le Labo’s Rose 31, so named because it has 31 ingredients, is a modern rose using cumin to create a human scent among the other ingredients. Cumin in perfumery smells like a hint of fresh healthy sweat and when combined with rose is sensual. The warmth of this fragrance comes from ginger which is spiced up with pepper, clove, nutmeg and caraway. You will not smell like a spice rack or a kitchen as the essentials oils blend into a strong masculine scent-wall which is overgrown with Grasse roses and vetiver grass. Overlooking the wall are strong cedars, frankincense bushes and an agarwood tree which further enhance the masculine appeal of this scent.

Rose 31 Frankincense Tree WikiMedia Frankincense Tree Photo Stolen WikiMedia

This was my favourite and only rose scent until I discovered Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations. Rose 31 is a great everyday fragrance for men. Mohur is more a special occasion scent, although I find that spritzing Mohur as a sleep scent brings the sweetest dreams.
Nathan Branch recommends wearing this with jeans and t-shirt, or a black tux
Mary P Brown from Texas thinks that Rose 31 is like a hot rose conservatory full of sweaty men – but in the nicest possible way
Lucky Scent describes a rose for men destined to be stolen by women

Bottles are mixed on the spot if you happen upon a Le Labo store. Online orders are also freshly blended at the time of order. Rose 31 has become so popular that it is also available as a laundry detergent, a great way to wash 32 loads of your keffiyeh, khameez, khurtas or business shirts.

Further Reading
In-depth analysis – Kafka’s review
Le Labo store – includes alcohol-free options
Le Labo – travel spray

Options & Prices
Sample $US6
Travel Spray $US135
Oil Dropper $US120 – no alcohol
Perfuming Balm $US80 – no alcohol
Massage and Bath Perfuming Oil $US65 – no alcohol
Laundry Detergent $US45 – plant based and biodegradable

15ml $US58
50ml $US145
100ml $US220
500ml $US700

Jordan River

Jordan River


Mysore Sandalwood in Australia!


Guest Post by Jordan River


Hey there Perfume Junkies,

Don’t forget our Enchanted Forest GIVEAWAY <<<JUMP

Jordan River of The Fragrant Man has again got the hottest news, an Australian story that makes me very happy,
Portia xx

Mysore Sandalwood in Australia!

Santalum Album is Mysore Sandalwood Photo: J.M. Garb

Santalum album is Mysore Sandalwood, now growing sustainably in Australia
Photo: J.M. Garb

It’s all Good News here at Australian Perfume Junkies.

The demise of Mysore Sandalwood from India is well documented. The root stock of the Mysore variety, Santalum album was planted in Australian plantations sometime ago and is now being sustainably harvested.

Australia does have a native sandalwood, Santalum spicatum, with an interesting scent profile but it is not as creamy or luscious as the Mysore variety. Now Australia has Mysore Sandalwood plantations.

I know Kafka will be thrilled and I suspect Bertand Duchaufour, the man who ate niche, has left India and is in Australia right now checking quality and shipping. Suzanne R. Banks will be glowing with happiness. I also predict a sighting of Neela Vermeire in Australia soon.

So how does Mysore Sandalwood grown in Austalia smell? And can you buy it? How does 1 gram for 55€ sound?

Let’s travel now to Italy to see what perfumer AdbesSalaam Attar has to say about this development.

Click link: The Return of Mysore Sandalwood

Addition: The largest grower in Australia, Tropical Forestry Services has a purpose built nursery with the capacity to produce over 500,000 Mysore stock seedlings per planting season. They have an astonishing 7,600 hectares of trees planted in the tropical north of Australia.

Further Reading
Brie’s historic encounter with Mysore Sandalwood
Suzanne on Australian Perfume Junkies
Amer on Sandalwood
Perfume Shrine – see comments section
The End of Oud – a similar situation to Mysore Sandalwood
Ecological Conscience – Ensar Oud on sustainability at Australian Perfume Junkies

Afghan Woman Harvesting Orange Blossoms


Guest Post by Jordan River


Hey there Perfume Junkies,

Don’t forget our Enchanted Forest GIVEAWAY <<<JUMP

Following on from FeralJasmine’s story this week about Afghanistan Orange Blossom and the Jordan River, from The Fragrant Man, story about The Noble Rose: another of The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc. World changing economics in action through fragrance.
Portia xx

Afghan Woman Harvesting Orange Blossoms

In response to Ellen Covey’s comment on Make Perfume not War

Barb Stegemann from The 7 Virtues has supplied this photo of one of the women employed on this project.


Afghan woman harvesting orange blossoms for the perfume Afghanistan Orange Blossom by The 7 Virtues.
Her name is Rose Petals in the local language.

Further Reading
Afghanistan Orange Blossom – reviewed by Feral Jasmine on Australian Perfume Junkies
Make Perfume not War – Opium poppy fields turning into fields of roses

Make Perfume NOT War – The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc

Hey there Perfume Junkies,

Don’t forget our Enchanted Forest GIVEAWAY <<<JUMP

Following on from FeralJasmine’s story this week about Afghanistan Orange Blossom my friend and APJ contributor Jordan River, from The Fragrant Man, has put together a story about The Noble Rose: another of The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc fragrances aimed at giving farmers in Afghanistan something else as a cash crop than poppies. This is world changing economics in action and all through fragrance. AH MAY ZING!!
Portia xx


Guest Post by Jordan River


Pashtun People, Afghanistan

Pashtun People, Afghanistan 2007, Oil on canvas.
Artist: Durar Bacri, Palestine.

Make Perfume NOT War

The Story of The Noble Rose

Fields of rose bushes have replaced some opium growing areas in Afghanistan. The petals are handpicked and distilled into rose oils and absolutes for the world markets.

imageJalalabad, Nangarhar, Aghanistan. Photo: Sandra Calligaro

There is one fragrance company that has placed the Afghan Rose on the new ingredient shelf – The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc – and so far, only one perfume has been released from this rose source.

Noble Rose of Afghanistan was signed by Canadian perfumer Susanne Langmuir in 2010. This company is owned by Barb Stegemann, the same person who dreamt up the concept of an export path for the harvest conversion. Stegemann was considering the consequences of war and peace, and her considerations became reality after investment through the TV program Dragons’ Den where she found her investor and business partner, W. Brett Wilson.

Stegemann sources her rose oil from Abdullah Arsala who owns Gulestan Essential Oils based in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Abdullah also grows orange blossoms and distills them into essential oils for The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom Eau de Parfum.

Abdullah Arsala, Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Abdullah Arsala, Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

These essential oils travel to market on what Stegemann says is the most dangerous highway in the world.

Barb Stegemann

Barb Stegemann

The 7 Virtues pays $10,000 USD per litre of rose oil to the Afghan supplier, Abdullah Arsala and the farmers.

There are 178 hand picked rose petals in every bottle of The 7 Virtues Noble Rose of Afghanistan. Viewers of Name This – a show on History TV – chose the name of the fragrance, naming it Noble Rose to honour soldiers, and to reference the rose farmers who no longer grow poppies.

image image

Photo: Abdullah Arsala

Photos: Abdullah Arsala

Afghan Rose, Carnation, Clove, Peppercorn

This spicy rose, Noble Rose of Afghanistan is available from The 7 Virtues.
International shipping rates are available via email.

Samples from The Perfumed Court start at $US4.95 / 1 ml to $US36.95 / 8ml.

Pushtan People, Afghanistan   via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan
via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan   via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan
via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan   via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan
via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan   via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan
via The Pushtan Forum

Tribal people, Pakistan / Afghanistan

Tribal people, Pakistan / Afghanistan

Further Reading & Viewing
Afghanistan Orange Blossom – APJ review by FeralJasmine
Gathering the Ingredients for a Love Story
Elements New York
Barb Stegemann on Dragons’ Den
Naming the Fragrance
The 7 Virtues Review at Cafleurebon
Oil on Canvas $3,600 – Alhoush, House of Arab Art and Design

Oud Yaqoub by Ensar Oud


Guest Post by Jordan River


There are very few wild Agarwood trees left in the world due to over-harvesting. This has created another issue; the early-harvesting of cultivated trees. Harvesting these trees early has resulted in a less potent Oud oil, because the resin has not been aged long enough while the tree is alive.

Many of you will be familiar with the smell of synthetic Oud in modern perfumes. This is not what we are talking about. We are talking about Oud from nature, from a tree.

Oud is a journey through scent with all sorts of interesting ‘breezes’ making appearances over time; like a treasure trove of nature referencing smells from the barnyard to spring blossoms.

I like to think of ‘barnyard’ as the smell of Mother Nature regenerating. There are also other words used to describe this aspect of some Oud oils, especially the Hindi oils. Cambodi Ouds (agarwood trees grown in the Cambodia/Thailand area) are less barnyardy while the Papuan Oud is more floral. The medicinal note is a fleeting feature of many true Oud oils. These are very broad descriptions; a universe of scent swirls around in each Oud oil. We interviewed Ensar from Ensar Oud last month about The End of Oud and the beginning of sustainable cultivation.

Oud Yaqoub was distilled from the resin of this 60 year old cultivated agarwood tree.

Oud Yaqoub was distilled from the resin of this 60-year-old cultivated agarwood tree.

Ensar has been keeping his eye on a 60-year-old cultivated tree in Thailand that just recently began to show signs of readiness for harvest. An ethical choice to harvest, this tree at 60 years old instead of earlier means that a rare oil has just been produced. There is a video; you can follow the making of this oil from harvest, through distillation to its manifestation as Oud Yaqoub.

This is an Oud oil to keep and age as the scent profile will change with time. Keep away from sunlight and smell or swipe every year or as suits your yearning.

Ensar Oud Yaqoub

Oud Yaqoub
Single Tree Harvested

A perfumer-to-be would think this a rare ingredient. I would consider this release to be a collector’s item. The yield from the tree was 23 tolas ~ 268 grams.
Oud Yaqoub
Scent profile

Narcotic à la the finest jasmine, Oud Yaqoub is already the finest Cambodi you’ll ever lay nostrils on. Age it a year or two, and you’ll be in possession of one of the Greats of all time.
-Ensar Oud

The most interesting aspects of this oil are the intoxicating flowers: jasmine sambac, ylang ylang, sweet violet and rose that permeate the whole journey.
-Andrej, Croatia

Oud Yaqoub Experiment
3 grams is $US 299.99 from Ensar Oud
You can choose a decorative or sturdy glass bottle.
For Arabic readers you can visit Ensar Oud in Arabic.

Nomenclature: Lest you be confused by the word ‘experiment’ in the name Oud Yaqoub Experiment I have asked for clarification from Thomas at Ensar Oud. Here is his explanation.

When we started our journey with organic oud, our focus was not only on ethical and sustainable harvesting practices. We also wanted to imbue these new distillations with the techniques and standards that you find in our vintage ouds. The ‘Experiment’ not only refers to this oud being a custom distillation, but also that it’s a departure from the norm. Oud Yaqoub’s fragrance attests to how the distillation tweaks we put in place were able to produce an oil that’s against the grain when it comes to the typical Cambodi/Thai scent profile.
Thomas Kruger
Ensar Oud

See you next month,
Jordan River

Matt Lukjanenko Interview about Olfaction and Personality Survey


Guest Post by Jordan River


Matt Lukjanenko Interview

Olfaction and Personality Survey

Sydney. Photo: Matt Lukjanenko

Sydney. Photo: Matt Lukjanenko

Tonight The Scented Salon is in Sydney. With us we have Matt Lukjanenko, an Australian student writing a thesis on Olfaction and Personality. Olfaction is the science of smell.

You can assist his research, if it suits you, by filling out the survey on the link below:

The study will provide useful information regarding the differences in how thoughts and emotions are processed and expressed between those with a keen interest in fragrances and those without.

The study takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Further details about the survey are after the interview with Matt.

Now let’s find out more about Matt.

G’day Matt, welcome to The Scented Salon. Thank you for joining us. I know some people may like to know more about you before they fill in your research survey.

Matt Lukjanenko

Matt Lukjanenko

Thank you for your kind welcome.
A little bit about me – I was born in Sydney as were both my parents but both families are from Ukraine and Belarus. My parent’s first languages were Ukrainian and Russian and there was definitely an eastern European influence on my life growing up.

What was your first fragrance?

The first fragrance I bought for myself was Acqua di Gio by Armani. I liked the citrus and saltwater scents and its softness.

What did you waft in the 80′s and 90′s?

I am the youngest of 3 boys so whatever I wore was usually passed down from my brothers.

Do you buy for yourself?

I do buy for myself but I remember a while ago my partner at the time left for the UK. He gave me a bottle of what he used to wear as a parting gift which was Calvin Klein Crave. Whenever I wore it it would remind me of him. I thought that was a very smart and sweet gesture.

Or possibly completely debilitating. What are your perfume preferences or notes that you like?

Frangipani, Sandalwood and Lavender. I also love anything citrus or marine and natural.


My favourite at the moment is the Bulvgari Aqva – anything to remind me of the ocean when I’m not near it.

Matt's shelf

Perfume Collection – theres some Bulvgari, Paul Smith, Boss, Burberry and Natio which is a natural Australian brand.

What are you studying?

I am currently in my honours year of a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Macquarie University.

Which career will this lead to?

Following this year, I hope to get into a Masters program in Clinical Forensic Psychology either in Canada or here in Australia. I went on an exchange semester to Canada as part of my undergraduate degree and would love to spend some more time there. After Masters I hope to work for a government agency in correctional services or some other forensic setting.

What is your current research about?

The current study is about olfaction and personality. It builds on previous research looking into the effect that expertise in a particular field has on the brain. Expert musicians, athletes and even taxi drivers have shown functional and structural changes in the way their brains are organised when compared with novices and we are interested in how expertise in olfaction elicits similar changes in the brain and how this then relates to certain personality characteristics.

What about a fragrant experience?

Travelling is my absolute passion. I’ve been fortunate to rake up a number of stamps in my passport and the scents from each of the countries I have visited have always stayed with me long after I’ve left.

One of the most memorable pieces of information I learnt during my degree was that the pathway for the olfactory system has quicker connections with our memory when compared to any of the other senses. I experience that when I pass a person walking in the street who smells like someone else I know or somewhere I’ve been and all those memories come flooding back.

Just two of the highlights for me on my travels have been the smell of burning cigars in a Havana street in Cuba – it was exactly as how I had imagined it and it is one of my favourite cities. The decaying grand buildings, old cars and joyous people. We were fortunate to stay in a homestay with a great host and the lady upstairs would cook our meals and bring down roasted meats, rice and beans, cakes and fresh fruit. You would be intoxicated by the smells alone. But I remember the cigars most vividly.


Cuban flag draped from a building in Havana. Photo: Matt Lukjanenko

Also the smell of freshly baked bread from a Parisian boulangerie as you walk home from a club in the early hours of the morning and knock on the back door to buy a baguette fresh out of the oven and eat it on the way home. Simple things like that bring me a lot of joy.

Machu Picchu - I had always dreamt of visiting Peru and in particular Machu Picchu. We also climbed Huayna Picchu which is a bigger mountain next to Machu Picchu and it was probably the most physically challenging thing I had done. A steep vertical climb for almost an hour hugging onto the side of the mountain with a sheer drop if you put a foot wrong.

Machu Picchu – I had always dreamt of visiting Peru and in particular Machu Picchu. We also climbed Huayna Picchu which is a bigger mountain next to Machu Picchu and it was probably the most physically challenging thing I had done. A steep vertical climb for almost an hour hugging onto the side of the mountain with a sheer drop if you put a foot wrong.

What suits you for work?

I work alone most of the time so I could come in smelling like anything really and no one would notice but for everyday wear I prefer natural fragrant oils. Just taking a twig of lavender from a neighbour’s garden and rolling it between my fingers and dabbing it on my neck and wrists.

What do men smell like in Sydney?

Sydney is a summer city, it comes alive during summer and people, men and women in my area usually smell of the beach: saltwater, sunscreen and coconut oil. Having said that it does changes from season to season; in spring it’s more floral and in winter more cedar and spices.

Besides study and travel what occupies your time?

Surfing - at Bondi Beach near my home in Sydney. This photo was taken by the instructor on my first lesson. I've since had a few more and am keeping it up.

Surfing – at Bondi Beach near my home in Sydney. This photo was taken by the instructor on my first lesson. I’ve since had a few more and am keeping it up.

Aside from travelling, I love swimming, in the ocean or pool and going to the cinema. I go a few times a week and will watch pretty much anything; particularly films from Almodovar or Francois Ozon.

Matt snorkeling in Cartagena, Colombia.

Here I am snorkeling in Cartagena. I met many great people in Colombia and one who is very special. I have Colombian friends all over the world. They seem to travel as much as Australians.

The Gaining of Knowledge

my brother and I went to hear the Dalai Lama talk recently in Sydney and I like reading about his history and that of Tibetans and Buddhists. There's also a lot of travel guides and a few adult comics.

My brother and I went to hear the Dalai Lama talk recently in Sydney and I liked reading about his history and that of Tibetans and Buddhists. There’s also a lot of travel guides and a few adult comics.

Where and how did you gain perfume knowledge?

Online mostly, from websites like yours Portia and The Fragrant Man as well as from meeting people who then pass their knowledge onto me. I’m still very much a novice but I am enjoying the learning experience.

Do you think perfumery is art, artisanal, design and manufacturing, molecular architecture or something else?

All of the above, as someone you interviewed earlier noted it is both a science and an art but has different interpretations for different people.

What is the purpose of perfume?
Simply, to elicit an emotion in a person, whether it is arousal, calm, joy or sometimes disgust haha.

Vivid - Sydney has a lot of great festivals one being Vivid which is a light festival in May/June. There are installations and projections onto iconic sites like the Opera House (see top photo) and Harbour Bridge in this photo. Photo: Matt Lukjanenko

Vivid – Sydney has a lot of great festivals one being Vivid which is a light festival in May/June. There are installations and projections onto iconic sites like the Opera House (see top photo) and Harbour Bridge in this photo. Photo: Matt Lukjanenko

Thank you Matt. All the very best with your research and studies.

Further Information
Research Survey

My name is Matthew Lukjanenko and I am a Psychology Honours student under the supervision of Dr Mem Mahmut at Macquarie University in Sydney ( completing my thesis this year on Olfaction and Personality. I am interested in whether people who have a keen sense of smell, by profession or through interest, have differing scores of certain personality traits when compared with the general public. This is an online study and can be completed anonymously. The study should take no longer than 10-15 minutes and will involve completing online questionnaires. If you complete the study you can elect to enter into a draw to win one of three $20 iTunes cards which will be drawn in late October 2013.

Below is the link to the study

Please feel free to share the link with your colleagues or anyone you might think suitable to participate.

The study will provide useful information regarding the differences in how thoughts and emotions are processed and expressed between those with a keen interest in fragrances and those without.

I am hoping to recruit as many people as possible, there are no exemptions.

If people choose to participate, they will need to do so by Monday 22 July 2013.

Any questions please email:

Jordan River

Jordan River

Magnolia Grandiflora by Sandrine Videault for Grandiflora 2013


Guest Post by Jordan River


Magnolia Grandiflora by Grandiflora 2013

Magnolia flower

A fragrance is about to bloom out of Sydney, Australia.
Floral Artisan, Saskia Havekes and perfumer Sandrine Videault have combined their artistic talents to produce a perfume. First let’s take a look at some of Saskia’s other work or more correctly, heartwork which includes indoor and outdoor arrangements as well as books on floral art.

grandiflora sydney saskia the fragrant man thefragrantman tulips

Flowers by Saskia

grandiflora sydney saskia the fragrant man thefragrantman archway flowers floral grandiflora sydney saskia the fragrant man thefragrantman orchids

Grandiflora Arrangements cover


Many flowers today are bred to be beautiful but not necessarily fragrant. Saskia has sources for particularly fragrant flowers which she artfully combines with beautifully bred ones for a scented atmosphere with visual delights. Photographing nature is also a passion.

grandiflora sydney saskia the fragrant man thefragrantman orchid poppy

Grandiflora is the name of Saskia’s atelier in Potts Point. Magnolia Grandiflora is the name of her about-to-be-released perfume.

Saskia outside Grandiflora, her atelier in Potts Point, Sydney.

Saskia outside Grandiflora, her atelier in Potts Point, Sydney.

The story of this fragrance begins millions of years ago, before humans or many other creatures we know today existed. The ancient genus Magnolia appeared before bees did, and pollination occurred thanks to the help of beetles. The tree adapted to the strength of its hardworking pollinators, resulting in the longevity of this beautiful, fragrant tree.

The magnolia is a true sight to behold – tall trees mantled with startling blossoms come to life in the springtime, shrouding surrounding areas in a fragrance known to this earth for more than 20 million years. The magnolia’s timber is heavy and robust, and the flower has continued to bloom and burst with lush fragrance across the ages, yet the flowers fade so fast. To hold magnolia’s fragrance is a kind of magical blessing.

Amer who lives in the magnolia-filled country of Greece had this to say just last week:

this tree is very common where I live and now it is blooming. It is too tall to allow picking of the flowers but today while walking casually, a huge petal, as big as my palm landed in front of me. I picked it up and it smelled like lemon, very much different to the other, bush like variety with the flame shaped flowers. The petal was sturdy and somewhat fleshy. I was on my way to meet a friend for coffee so I brought it with me as a gift for her. A gift of one petal instead of a whole flower, stingy one might say but she seemed thrilled to receive it none the less.

Magnolia Grandiflora Bottle Hero

Magnolia Grandiflora
Perfumer: Sandrine Videault
Release Date: August 2013
Classification: Soliflore
EDP 100ml
Recommended Retail Price: $185 AUD / $168 EUR

Top citrus, grapefruit, pepper
Heart dry woods, fresh garden accord,
Drydown marine, musk

Saskia is currently traveling through Grasse on perfume business before returning to Sydney to launch her perfume.

grandiflora sydney saskia the fragrant man thefragrantman magnolia

Waking up in Grasse. View from Saskia's window.

Waking up in Grasse. View from Saskia’s window.
Photo: Saskia Havekes

A garden in Grasse.  Photo: Saskia Havekes

A garden in Grasse.
Photo: Saskia Havekes

We managed to track her down and ask her the following questions:

How long did you dream of making your own fragrance?

I have dreamed of creating fragrance for many years. The Magnolia grandiflora trees that line Macleay Street (outside our studio) start flowering in October and have been the inspiration for our identity and many photos by Gary Heery (my partner). As we base the beginning of nearly all our arrangements around this flower and its leaves it seemed the obvious first choice. Along with the unique fragrance and elegance, to capture her was a journey for both Sandrine and myself. The heart was illusive and very transient.

How long from the decision to act to the release date in August 2013?

The journey began three years ago.
In Grasse we were able to combine many personal highs with connecting with our manufacturers and their famous gardens. It was one of my most delightful moments so far when I was rolling in pink rose petals by the truck load on a sunny morning.

grandiflora sydney saskia the fragrant man thefragrantman rose petals
I really felt like a bee during the pollination process. On entering Grasse from Nice airport I spotted a Magnolia grandiflora tree loaded with masses of blooms, a welcome that was a sign of good things ahead.

Magnolia Grandiflora Packaging
Grandiflora is available August 2013.

(Stockist enquiries: )

Guest Post by Jordan River

Further Reading
Magnolia for Men
Magnolia for Everyone
Grandiflora in Potts Point
Grain de Musc – Denyse Beaulieu’s Top 10 Picks for Summer

Grandiflora by Sandrine Videault for Magnolia 2013: New Perfume

Post by Jordan River

Magnolia for Everyone


Sydney floral artisan Saskia Havekes and perfumer Sandrine Videault are preparing Grandiflora’s first perfume which will be a magnolia scent. The juice is macerating as we write. In the meantime you can enjoy Saskia’s aesthetic on the cover of Michael Edwards’s Fragrances of The World 2013.

Fragrances of the world 2013

Photo: Gary Heery
Flowers: Saskia Hevekes for Michael Edwards

When I lived in Sydney I would often walk past Grandiflora in Potts Point just to breathe the fragrant air. The sign of a superlative Sydney restaurant was and still is flower arrangements by Saskia whose signature flower is magnolia. Magnolia is also known as Grandiflora, and is therefore the name of her floral atelier and her upcoming scent. Branches, leaves and flowers are hallmarks of Saskia’s style.

Magnolia is the new white.

Jordan River xx

This is a simultaneous post with The Fragrant Man: New Zealand’s best loved fragrance blog and it’s blogger, APJ contributor and my buddy Jordan River

The End of Oudh: Ensar Oud: Interview


Guest Post by Jordan River


Hello APJ Family,

Many of you will be familiar with the smell of synthetic Oud in modern perfumes. This is not what we are talking about. We are talking about oud from nature, from a tree. Most of you would not have come across this smell in daily life unless you have spent some time in an Islamic culture. We will explore this culture today through the prism of scent.

The End of Oudh: An Interview with Ensar Oud


Agarwood, Oud, Aloeswood, Gaharu, and Jinko are all names for the Aquilaria tree which grows in South East Asia. This tree can be invaded by tree eating insects. To self-inoculate the tree produces a fragrant resin to repel the invaders. Not every wild tree produces resin and the older the tree the better the resin. The best resin was found in trees that were 60 to 80 years old. These trees have been over harvested and it is now rare to find a wild resin producing tree. They have all but vanished.

The best agarwood is called sinking wood as the amount of resin causes the wood to sink in water instead of floating. This grade of wood is usually reserved for Japanese incense. Chinese carvers also use this grade of agarwood for making fragrant beads and statues.

Khai Yai Oud  wood chip Ensar Oud

Khao Yai Oud wood chip. Private Collection: Jordan River

Portia and I have often spoken about how intense a particular Oud Artisan is. So tonight let’s talk with him. His name is Ensar from Ensar Oud. Ensar Oud specializes in Artisanal Oud oils that are traceable to specific jungle locations. In April 2012 Ensar rang the bell on the end of wild harvested oud by traditional gaharu hunters. He then researched organic Oud sources and re-imagined his business into the 21st century.

Ensar Oud artisan Oud

Oud Artisan Ensar at work.

Let’s zoom over to Medina now for a chat with Ensar.

Welcome Ensar, Peace.
Peace to you too Jordan.


Outside al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, after morning prayer. Photo: Americophile

What are the smells of Medina?
The copious smoke of Oud wood and burning bukhoor reaches you from all sides as you walk down the street. But to quote one vendor: “Oud is finished. There is no more wood these days. Back in 2004, you had Indian wood that was mumtaz (excellent). You had Malaysian as late as 2006 that used to boggle your mind. Real chips, solid. Now all you get is this stuff… (he points to a drawer of well polished Papuan gyrinops agarwood that feels as light as packing peanuts when you hold it) Nothing is real. Fabricated wood is all you get these days.”

This is known as Black Magic wood because it is impregnanted with synthetic scent and streaked with black paint to give the impression of Oud resin.
Indeed. As for the oils that you smell here, that’s an even bleaker story. I hate to say, none of the stuff you find is natural. Everything (literally) is a scent chemical, whether it be from the so-called ‘big houses’ or the small timers tending the corner shops. The French perfume industry is booming; that is certain; and Medina is one major outlet.

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, The Prophet’s Mosque

How do Muslim men think of fragrance?
As Muslim men, we are taught that to wear perfume is an act of charity towards others around you. Enabling others to smell something pleasant is equal to giving them a gift.

Why is incense burnt in the Middle East? Is this for fumigation or for spiritual reasons?
Incense burning for remembrance and invocation as well as personal scenting is woven into Arab and Muslim culture. Again, an innate love of anything that perfumes one is what drives Muslims to bukhoor and Oud wood. Fumigating the house, scenting clothing, and cleansing an area of evil spirits who abhor beautiful fragrance; spreading an unearthly scent to facilitate remembrance in circles of invocation;these are some of the uses of incense in the Middle East.

Do you scent your beard? Under your chin?
The way I apply Oud oil is by first taking a swipe on the inside of my left wrist. Then I rub the insides of both wrists. Then I apply that sheen to the left and right sides of my neck, right under the beard. I do not apply any Oud to the beard itself as the scent would be too overpowering.

Ensar oud

What terroir of Oud are you distilling next?
We have some logs of incense grade wood, of the quality that was offered by Baieido back in the day, going into the boilers this very week. They were harvested in Chanthaburi Province (in Thailand) a few years back, and are the last specimens of wild Thai oud wood of this calibre that I’ve seen in a very long time.

Ensar, thank you for your time and for sharing your fragrant thoughts. Let’s catch up with you soon in Amman. Khuda Hafiz.

The end of wild harvested Oud has become the beginning of organically farmed trees. All over South East Asia there are plantations, many of which need several more years to age the resin.

Organic Oud plantation

Ensar on an Organic and Sustainable Oud Plantation

See you soon,
Jordan River

(Ed: This is a much edited version of an incredibly interesting interview. If you’d like to learn how Ensar gets his oils, some of his best selling fragrances and a whole lot more go to TheFragrantMan<<<JUMP)

Autoportrait by Nathalie Lorson for Olfactive Studio 2011


Post by Jordan River


Autoportrait by Olfactive Studio 2011

Autoportrait by Nathan BranchPhoto Taken by Nathan Branch

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot and elemi
Heart: Benzoin, incense and musk
Base: Oak moss, cedar and vetiver.

Boys, here is one for the 21st century man, not a flower petal in sight. The brief to the perfumer was a photo – create a fragrance inspired by the picture below. I first encountered this scent in December at World Beauty. When I trial a new scent I make sure not to read reviews or the even the notes on the packaging. February came and Autoportrait was still wafting through the scentmills of my mind. Back to the shop for another spritz. Back to the shop twice in a day. On my fourth visit the SA read out the marketing notes before I could protest. When I heard the words Nathalie Lorson I swooned as the attraction made sudden sense.

Autoportrait LUC LAPÔTRE olfactive studio

The photo that inspired Autoportrait. Photographer: Luc Lapôrte

Natalie created one of my best-loved ‘fumes, the warm masculine vetiver that is Encre Noire from Lalique. Autoportrait is Encre Noire released from the woods and flying above the clouds. The vetiver smells like the roots have been washed by a waterfall leaving a clear hint of something that is usually more vegetal.

Let’s take a quick side trip to the Moonlight Waterfall in Issan. Will you stroll with me? There is a path behind the waterfall. The waterfall will be an olfactory reference.

Sang Chan Waterfall Issan

Sang Chan Waterfall


Sang Chan waterfall

Sang Chan Waterfall

Sang Chan Waterfall, Issan, Thailand Photos: Jordan River

Back to Autoportrait: A tonal quality like a chime is what wafts from the bottle. Back in the office I sprayed this new delight. My Social Media Manager said “I’ve tasted that scent”. He was saying he had eaten elemi berries from the Phillipines. Resin from the elemi tree make up the top notes along with lemon and orange. We are seeing a lot of berry notes this season; the blackcurrant Co2 extract and absolutes hidden in The Enchanted Forest is another example of this direction.

After 30 minutes the scent becomes nice and dry. This is a skin scent meaning that you have to be reasonably but not intimately close to smell this. Your skin ++. Benzoin resin from Thailand, incense and oak moss or more likely a well composed synthetic substitute with a tiny drop of oak moss, are the other notes which all evaporate on me within 4 hours. No worries there, just top up.


Autoportrait is smooth with a clean feel but not in the laundry musk or American sense. Maybe clear is a better word. It’s not about the notes; this is a harmony of composition. A beautiful blend by a woman I admire.

Nathalie Lorson

Perfumer Nathalie Lorson

Love your work Nathalie. But this is not really work is it? This is an artistic expression which moves the vetiver story higher into the fragrant stratosphere. Next I am expecting vetiver in outer space.

Careful if you wear this: someone may want to eat you if they move close enough within the first 30 minutes. I know I like to taste everything.

Perfume Fridge

Center shelf, a welcome addition to the fridge

Autoportrait from Olfactive Studio is an EDP available in 50ml and 100ml.

Céline Verleure

Founder and Creative Director of Olfactive Studio, Céline Verleure

The photo is included in the box. My solution to flatten the curl of the cheap paper stock is to frame the photo for my office. At this price point ~ $US145, €85 (50ml) a higher gsm would be appreciated to carry this beautiful piece of art.

Further Information
Elemi is a berry tree from the Philippines. You can taste a dried version of the fruit at most Asian food stores.
Luc Lapôrte photography
Olfactive Studio website
Picturing Perfume – The Olfactive Studio story by Denyse Beaulieu

What Men Should Smell Like – Clayton Ilolahia

Olfactoria’s Travels – Olfactoria

The Non-Blonde – Gaia Fishler