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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ineke F: Field Notes from Paris- Perfume Review

By Scott

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:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
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.
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Blogger Flora said...

Oh, this one is on my list to try for sure! Leather and tobacco for me - your description is truly enticing!

12:50 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

This is a gorgeous review! Totally enticing and I cant wait to try it!

8:25 AM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:27 AM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

Beth: Thank you! Coming from you that is high praise. Definitely try this one. Even though the separate notes feel familiar, the composition feels completely unique to me. I hope you like it, let me know!

9:29 AM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

Flora: You are right! Leather, tobacco, and Fall, the perfect combination! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And I forgot to mention that its concentration and construction is such that a couple sprays last all day, making it more economical than others (which will go unmentioned...).

9:34 AM EST  
Blogger Aimée L'Ondée said...

Thanks so much for the detailed review, Scott! I've been dying to try this after one glance at that absolutely adorable bottle (usually such things don't influence me much, but I have a weakness for maps) and the magic words "paris," "tobacco," and "leather." I will have to try it, and soon.

11:04 AM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

Aimee: Lingering over coffee in a Parisian cafe sounds very good to me right now, too!

11:42 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Oh dear, and these are right over at Fred Segal. You might have created a lemming; thanks, I think.. :)

11:54 AM EST  
Anonymous HemlockSillage said...

Thanks, Scott for your lovely review. I'm with the other tobacco/leather accord enthusiasts. . .and the coriander seed/bergamot top notes appeal as well.

How potent is this fragrance's sillage? I'm not into huge sillage monsters, and that's about the only thing that would steer me away from it. (and thereby help my pockebook :D)

1:49 PM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

I wouldn't say monster sillage (not like Carnal Flower or Poison). I would say moderate sillage, very similar to Terre d'Hermes in how it radiates and makes it's presence known in a room. This does not stay close to the skin, but won't clear out the elevator either :)

1:58 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

I love both of these new, denser scents of hers, as they're more in line w/ my personal preferences, but I've appreciated the beauty of all her scents so far and her lilac scent was a staple of mine last spring. I also have to say that while I'm not a bottle person when it comes to scents, I'm afraid that I'd be seriously tempted to purchase one of her scents for the packaging alone (especially Field Notes). Stunning. I think she could easily win awards for best presentation of a perfume line. Her samples, pamphlets, bottle design, everything - all so meticulously and gorgeously done.

6:28 PM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

Elle: I completely agree, the whole artistic package is gorgeous without being pretentious. It doesn't try too hard, it's original: an easy-going luxury.

6:46 PM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

tmpoo: I know what you mean. I thank God everyday that I don't live within walking distance of Union Square, where Barneys, Niemans, and Saks all live. I would be in terrible financial straits (but I would smell FABULOUS!)

1:19 PM EST  
Anonymous Nathan Branch said...

Scott! Love the review, especially because it quotes from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (snapped me back so fast and far into college literature courses that I nearly got whiplash).

I'm sitting here wearing Field Notes as I type this and find myself agreeing with every single point you made. This bottle will be a perfect wear throughout the winter, though I'm sure I'll still use it for Spring and Summer, as well.

Nice piece of work, and it's good to see you writing for PST.

5:06 PM EST  
Anonymous Claudia0219 said...

OMG, this is beautiful........this review should not just entice you but force you to buy this fragrance. It is definitely a must have and my absolute favorite from Ineke and yes...nothing else out there like it at all.

8:03 PM EST  
Blogger Aldo said...

You said...This fragrance opens as more traditionally "feminine patchouli" fragrance but its so subtile...that I hardly found the patchouli which I'm soooo not into ...
the heart and end of this fragrance is a definate vanilla tobacco and leather fragrance.

12:08 AM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

sfonativeboy: The weird thing about the patchouli in this fragrance is that some people find it prominent in the first 30 to 60 minutes (after which it fades to the background), others barely notice the patchouli and are much more aware of the orange flower in the beginning. The great thing is that those who are averse to the patch-thang are discovering that they can enjoy Field Notes, too.

12:49 PM EST  
Blogger Scott said...

Glad you are enjoying Field Notes too, and what a treat to hear from you here on PST! I am looking forward to your review and the gorgeous bottle shots that I know will be there...

12:51 PM EST  

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