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.
Note: Orange blossom and map of Paris images via Wikimedia Commons.
Thanks for the review Kevin. So far in my nascent perfume explorations orange blossom has left me intrigued but cold. I’d love to grab and orange blossom frag that grabs me. All that having been said, I love, love, love that bottle, and may be compelled to try just in hope that I’ll like the juice enough to buy it.
Norjunma1: the bottle IS nice
Don’t forget you can order this one at Beautyhabit.com for 20% off using the coupon code INSTYLE until 11/30!
Just a little enabler there.
This has been on my radar since it was announced; looks like I need to get a sample sooner rather than later! Thanks for a lovely review.
boojum: you’re welcome.
“Present to self”! As if that needs justification….I feel one coming on too. I’ve been wanting to try this one. Thanks,Kevin!
Suzanne: I know…I can even justify a present to self when I’ve been bad…HA!
Ooh… every time I hear about this one, I’m intrigued. It sounds like I need to at least sample it. So far, my favorite orange blossom is Le Labo’s Fleur d’Oranger 27 – how does this one compare?
Cynthiaw: it’s been so long since I tried the Le Labo…if memory serves, it was “dirtier”
Well I love the bottle and I love every one of the notes, so to continue your analogy I guess this scent is playing my song! And I do believe it’s a siren song, luring my credit card to the rocky beach. I’m glad that they credit the cost of the sample set.
jirish: that is a good service, to credit the sample order.
I had set this one mentally aside to try other things, mostly because of that orange blossom, which often reads as soapy to me. Also, leather can be iffy for me, and my patchouli hypersensitivity dooms a lot of scents that I’d otherwise like. But a non-soapy orange blossom? With tobacco and nicotiana? Tonka, beeswax? My, my… scribbling furiously on the to-test list… my wallet is already complaining beforehand.
(I notice that my patchophobia did not keep me from falling in lust with MFK Lumiere Noire PF. It made me want to lick my fingers in inappropriate ways, like Wanda, in A Fish Called Wanda… but I digress.)
I enjoyed your piano concept, Kevin – how clever. I admit to being confused at first (“Middle C to A… that’s only six musical notes, and there are ten scent notes… Unless you go up an octave plus six… that’s fourteen… I still don’t get it…”) until I stopped being so darn literal, and then it made perfect sense.
Mals…yes, C, C-sharp, D, D-sharp, E, F, etc.! I must say though…if you don’t like patchouli you WILL certainly smell it in this, but it’s not earthy at all…sweet.
Well, duh on me… shall I blame the Sudafed, or the lack of sleep for NaNoWriMo?
The “shaving cream accord” Daisy mentioned is one of my most hated experiences. I almost think I’d rather smell like laundry. Or patchouli – I mind the grassy version far less than the dusty one.
I trust your judgement in perfumes and tend to like everything you mention. I bought this when beautyhabit first offered it along with the fancy coffret of samples. I had the same reaction Kevin did. I tried it, liked it, then started to reconsider my purchase. I thought I might give it to my daughter for Chanukah, but I kept wanting to smell it again and again. Now I’ve used too much to make it a gift and I like it anyway. She can have another bottle of Mademoiselle. I haven’t tried the other samples from her yet. The patchouli is sort of sweet and cinnamony. I love the tobacco flower in it. I don’t know how to get started sample swapping, but I would love to give you one since you have “recommended” so many good ones to me.
Kevin: The thing about great art is that it communicates something more than what’s on the surface, and that different people can have very different experiences of the same objet d’art. I loved your review, was intrigued to see that you appreciated the orange flower, for me holding down the sustain pedal would be all about patchouli for this fragrance. I am also learning with this one that I get different things on on different wearings. I’m appreciating it more day by day.
Twinpeaker: yes, Robin and I were talking last night and she got “patchouli” MUCH more than I did…and another reviewer felt tobacco was most prominent. This one does change during the day, but O.B. stayed constant on me.
So naturally I scrambled to the perfume cabinet to retrieve my sample kindly sent by the fine folks at Ineke only recently.
I like ‘most’ orange blossom fragrances—John Varvatos Artisan=yum, Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger 27= super yummy, Prada Infusion d’Orange= soapy, not so good. To me Field Notes is most reminiscent of JV Artisan –has much the same attitude and feel. In the opening there’s a note that reminds me a bit of menthol (?) then morphs into something that makes me think of shaving cream (look out Mals–the dreaded shaving cream note). Of the 4 scents I’ve mentioned, Field Notes is easily the most masculine (although I tend to like masculines so that’s not necessarily a bad thing) I’m just sayin.
And I detect no patch at all….possibly a tiny bit of tobacco leaf…it’s a nice fragrance ; an orange blossom for fall to be sure. It has more ‘body’ to it than the others (if that makes any sense). But it doesn’t activate my lemming glands….and for that I’m grateful!
Nice review Kevin! I’m glad you’re liking it enough to put it on your Christmas list….seems a while since you’ve loved something that much. Only 2 FB’s this year? You are a Man of Steel !!!
There’s been a lot of scrambling to your perfume cabinet recently.
There’s always a lot of scrambling to her perfume cabinet… I think she’s just mentioning it more often!
indeed, I’ve practically worn a path in the carpet with all my scrambling!
Daisy: RUST-PROOF STEEL! Indeed! The “menthol” you are smelling is coriander seed…smell some really fresh green coriander seeds the next time you come upon them and you’ll see what I mean.
scrambling to the pantry to sniff the ground coriander…..don’t know how fresh it is, maybe a couple months?…bought it a few weeks ago.
hmmm, maybe that’s it….I like coriander….usually. hmmm will test again tomorrow….could be a bad mix with Lyric and Chanel Bois des Iles……
What an interesting review, Kevin! Like norjunma1, I haven’t been truly wowed by any orange blossom based fragrances. I like the sound of this one! A question for you all: What does beeswax smell like? Are we just talking about honey?
Have you never smelled beeswax candles? If not, you should! Such a simple yet beautiful smell. There is a honeyed quality, of course, but it’s not the exactly the same as honey, or even honey-scented candles. It’s smoother, softer; where some people get a “cat pee” scent from honey, I can’t imagine anyone could get that from beeswax. Not sure that helps…I’m not the best with descriptions yet, I’m afraid…but I tried.
I guess I have! I do think I’m making a connection now. Thanks.
Haunani: beeswax is usually sharper than honey, not so sweet. But if you dislike honey, you’ll probably dislike beeswax.
Hi Kevin. I’m also impressed with your restraint (or is it just jadedness?) in buying only two bottles this year so far.
This sounds worth trying, and that price is certainly very attractive. I haven’t given Ineke a fair try, though I own one or two samples and love their packaging. Non-soapy and non-powdery is often a plus for me, and all those other notes sound deep and complex enough to ground the orange blossom and keep it from being headache-inducingly sweet.
You inspired me to pull out and dab on a bit of Artisan and I’m reminded how nice it is; it had lost out in this year’s “Orange Wars” to Dior Portofino, but I think I’ll start giving it some wear.
Joe: JADED and OVERWHELMED are two ways to describe my relationship with perfume.
I just ordered the sampler set from the Ineke website. Six 1.5 ml samples for $25, with no shipping charges? What a deal! The only scent I have reservations about in the set is After My Own Heart (not a big fan of raspberry fragrances), but the rest look very interesting.
I just ordered the sample set too. Good deal!!
I just got my sample set a few days ago. (Very fast shipping.) After My Own Heart is much less sweet than I thought it would be. The raspberry is very subtle. Haven’t tried Field Notes yet, but it certainly sounds good.
I was ready to turn my nose up at this–also not a fan of the orange blossom–but sampler set, you say… Hmm…
Thanks for the info Anita. Hand on hammer, piggy bank in other.
Sure ’nuff. Have fun!
Anita; hope you like at least one of them
Thanks, I hope so too.
Thanks for the review! I haven’t generally been a fan of orange blossom, but you’ve definitely intrigued me. I would also just like to have that bottle, I like it a lot. I have to say that my “gift to self” list is getting pretty long.
Jill: it’s that time of year for LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG gift lists.
I ordered the sample set a few months ago, and they kindly sent me a sample of Field Notes recently (great customer service!). I loved the name, and although I usually don’t care at all about packaging, the Ineke line is beautifully done in that regard. Field Notes was like rather than love for me – perhaps I need to give it another try. On the other hand, After My Own Heart was a surprising success!
I also ordered the sample set a few months ago and got Field Notes in the mail recently. I liked the coriander-tobacco vibe that reminded me of Fifi but I am sad to say that there’s some smell or sensation throughout Ineke’s line that puts me off even when I like the notes I’m sniffing. I have no idea what, but it was enough to get me to put the whole kit and caboodle up for swap on MUA (2scents there, too).
Aparatchick: Field Notes was my first Ineke perfume…so must try the others.
could this be the melody you are talking about?
Follow the link: it’s youtube John Cage In a landscape.
Thanks for the review I am curious for the perfume
Air: yes, that’s the one.
I enjoyed this one quite a bit myself, was reviewing it the other day. Interestingly I don’t get too much orange blossom (a note I love) , more the tobacco and hazy ambeince, which is such a fascinating comparison between our experiences. Like you say, people who love or hate OB should try it out. I personally think it will be well liked by many.
PerfumeShrine: it seems to be getting good reviews and “buzz” compared to other Inekes.
I love Ineke so much! Each one of their fragrances is a real hit for me — especially Chemical Bonding. I’m so glad they have something new.
I’ve gotta search this out. Anyone know of a storefront in New York City that carries this? Turtle Bay Spafumerie used to, but it closed.
I think Takashimaya had the line, but wouldn’t swear that they still do.
Looks like there are a few places in NY that have them (turtle bay is still listed so who knows how updated it is) –
Only two full-priced bottles, huh? And how many NON-full-priced bottles?!
Lilydale: I believe THREE and they were dirt cheap…I promise! All it takes is a look in the perfume cabinet to make be back off these days.
I hear you there — all it takes me is a look at my bank statement!
kevin, wonderful review!!
But now I’m curious: which were the two bottles?
(it’s the second time you mention them…)
I read abovewhere you explain the difference between honey and beeswax… I thought beeswax was the way you reproduce the honey note, stupid me!
Well, after due diligence, I can say I love perfumes with a STRONG beeswax note and/or honey. My nose hides a bear, apparently.
Muscs Koublai Khan and a big bottle of Diptyque’s Virgilio (before it disappeared). Now there are quite a few I’m pining for near the end of the year!
I agree, it is wonderful stuff, multi-dimensional and lasting. And so nice to be dreading looking at the FB price and not flinching, for once.
Olfacta: ain’t it the truth…
Kevin – beautiful review and analogy. I’ve been on a patchouli kick lately so I’d love it if I turned out to be in the patch boosting camp.
Great review, Kevin!
I’ve been wearing Field Notes from Paris for a few days now, and it’s quite addictive. I think it’s my favourite from Ineke now (my first favourite was After My Own Heart – one of the best lilac scents around in my opinion). Agree with you on the orange blossom being pretty dominant at first, but I think the tobacco flower note takes over afterwards and than becomes into a pipe-tobacco flavour with all the sweet and woody notes…
I just posted my impressions on SmellyBlog today:
Unfortunately, despite its notes being madly appealing, + despite my desire to like it, this was absolutely appalling on my skin. It had no discernible notes, and development; it started, and remained, a nose-hair-singeing, eyeball-piercing, brain-shattering blast of industrial-strength, bleach-based cleaning fluid. Its staying power was remarkable (but, of course~) So disappointed!
I agree with Tommasina.
Despite your lovely review, Kevin, I was disappointed in the combination of Field Notes + Me. (I had almost succumbed to an urge to buy sans-sniff because of my regard for the line and the compelling story behind the scent, however, a free sample landed in my lap, briefly made my day, then immediately destroyed all expectations of olfactory brilliance). I ended up running around trying to wash it off most of the rest of the day.
I must say, before I smelled it, i had been defending the perfumer on this site to some who were concerned about “death by pachouli” in Field Notes. It is “death by patchouli” on me, as well as “death” by most of the other ingredients. It reminded me most of hung-over mornings (when I was much younger – ;)), when I would wake up smelling like sweat, booze (in this case, Grand Marnier), and way too many cigarettes…
Probably quite “Parisian”, but not for me!
… However, I would like to add that I was impressed by the fact that the company mailed me a sample because i was a past customer (Evenings Edged in Gold). I wished every perfume house did that!