Ineke F: Field Notes from Paris- Perfume Review
At the tender age of 18, T.S. Eliot wrote The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in which he reveals the internal musings of a young man preparing to ask for his beloved’s hand in marriage, wondering if his restrained, carefully meted out collection of life experiences has created a man worthy of her love:
For I have known them all already, known them all:One of the inspirations for Ineke Rühland’s new release, F: Field Notes from Paris, is that lovely line about coffee spoons, how it evokes a metering of memories, of nostalgia, of that Proustian moment of clarity when all that has come before coalesces into one instant in time.
Rühland has metered out her fragrances not in coffee spoons, but in alphabetical letters. Her early creations A though C can all be characterized as florals of fresh, sparkling, effervescent clarity. In D: Derring-Do she pushed the transparent quality into a more literal realm with a masculine/unisex fragrance that played with magnolia and aquatic notes on wet cement, to capture those first moments of a summer rain shower hitting pavement. Derring-Do was her first foray into unisex fragrances.
In her latest creations, E: Evening Edged in Gold and her brand new release F: Field Notes from Paris, she has turned down the wattage, moving away from bright fizzy transparency toward a warm glow, from champagne to cognac. Evening, which features gold osmanthus and angel’s trumpet (brugmansia, which releases its perfume only during the nighttime), is a fragrance for warm sultry nights and feels more formal, elegant, opera-ready. With her latest release, she continues the trend toward warmer, denser creations.
Despite the line about coffee spoons, there is no coffee in this juice. The accompanying box notes and “story” for F: Field Notes from Paris tell us that the fragrance is meant to evoke the “nostalgic feeling” of sitting in Parisian cafés, lingering over café crème, perhaps jotting down our adventures in a journal. Described as a “woody oriental”, the top notes are listed as coriander seed, orange flower and bergamot; middle notes of tobacco flower and leaf, patchouli, and cedar; and base notes of tonka bean, leather, beeswax and vanilla. The coriander seed adds a sweet spiciness to the opening which balances the slight sourness of the bergamot and patchouli, which predominate (for me in) the first 15-30 minutes. The patchouli adds radiance and depth to the early proceedings and as it recedes a bit, Tobacco leaf, leather, and vanilla take center stage, with vanilla and cedar more evident in the dry down. While notes of orange flower and tobacco flower are listed, it is never overtly floral. This fragrance opens as more traditionally feminine patchouli fragrance and ends as a vanilla tobacco and leather masculine fragrance. The tobacco here is not the harsher smoked variety, but the slightly damp leaf of pipe tobacco still in its leather pouch. The progression and development is a pleasure to experience, the sillage is moderate, and the tenacity is excellent. For me it lasted the entire work day.
The amber/tobacco colored bottle is wonderful, with a hand drawn map of Paris visible through the class. I believe Ineke, as a line of fragrances, has achieved the perfect marriage of bottle and perfume design. There is a simplicity that manages to be fresh and contemporary, and yet still feels solid and luxurious. Looking at her perfumes lined up in order of release, the bottles provide a visual cue of the progression from effervescent to more dense perfumes.
F: Field Notes from Paris is original (a feat these days!), well constructed, warm, approachable and wearable by men and women alike, especially if you are fond of the leather tobacco accord. I predict it will be added to many lists of Best Fall Fragrances, and the timing of the release could not be better. Like J.Alfred Prufrock, who agonized over whether he was marriage-worthy, I too have agonized over many a sample of perfume, wondering if it was bottle-worthy. In this case, it is.
Scott Lauzé, MD
Dr. Lauze is a psychiatrist in private practice in San Francisco and a perfume enthusiast.
Image source, Ineke.com