San Francisco-based Ineke has just released Field Notes from Paris, their sixth fragrance. Field Notes from Paris is a perfect bookend to my year’s perfume reviews; like February’s John Varvatos Artisan (the first 2009 perfume release I enjoyed), Field Notes from Paris is an immediately likeable — and interesting — orange blossom-centered fragrance.
I’ve struggled to describe Field Notes from Paris’s effect, so I’ll use a “piano” to help me. Since orange blossom is ‘active’ throughout Field Notes from Paris’s development, think of it as the piano’s sustain pedal. Now imagine the other 10 listed fragrance notes (bergamot, coriander seed, tobacco flower, tobacco leaf, patchouli, cedar, tonka bean, leather, beeswax, vanilla) as piano keys: middle C up to A. Hold down the sustain pedal (orange blossom) and begin playing an uncomplicated tune using the ten piano keys (perhaps a melody by John Cage?) The musical notes, blending together, producing moments of beauty, moments of dissonance, are like Field Notes from Paris’s fragrance notes: melding, merging, mixing — but still maintaining their “integrity.”
I smell almost all Field Notes from Paris’s notes; some are on the quiet side (cedar, leather), some flare up, strong and forceful, then soften (coriander seed, tobacco flower) and others demand attention by their strength or persistence (orange blossom, sweet patchouli, tonka bean and beeswax). Field Notes from Paris is a unisex, non-soapy, non-powdery, non-wussy, modern-smelling, orange blossom fragrance that lasts and lasts (and never turns stale); if you love, or hate, orange blossom fragrances, give Field Notes from Paris a try — it may surprise you or change your mind about orange blossom-rich perfumes. As for myself, I tried Field Notes from Paris, deemed it very good, and went on about my perfume-smelling business. Then, I wore it again…and again. Now I’m writing about it. We all know where this is leading: a “present-to-self” with the “holiday season” providing all the justification I need (and I have been a good boy this year — only two full-priced bottles purchased in 2009).
Field Notes from Paris was created by Ineke’s owner-perfumer, Ineke Rühland (you can read an interview with Rühland at Basenotes). Field Notes from Paris is an Eau de Parfum, 75 ml for $88; for buying information, see the listing for Ineke under Perfume Houses. Ineke offers a sample set of its six fragrances (1.5 ml. each) for $25; if you buy the sample set from the Ineke website, you may deduct $25 from your first purchase.