I recently 'threw the dice' and chose two newish perfumes to review; quelle surprise...I like them both!
Goldfield & Banks Southern Bloom
(listed notes: Tasmanian boronia, cassis, mandarin, ylang ylang, jasmine, iris, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, musk)
Southern Bloom honours the rare and enchanting native scented flower, the Boronia, during its short September ‘spring-bloom’ on Australia’s southernmost island, Bruny off the coast of Tasmania. The absolute of boronia is distinctive and one of the most expensive perfume materials in the world. An immediately lavish, pure and sensational floral-woody fragrance, with a smooth, velvety sensation and glimpses of exquisite green notes. Opulent, sophisticated and luxurious.
Smelling Boronia megastigma flowers (brown boronia) in situ is on my bucket list (I must act fast, climate change is affecting its bloom). I'll have to travel to Australia to experience boronia, since US florists don't stock this flower and I've never seen the plants for sale, either. The boronia absolute used in Southern Bloom is made in Tasmania from the plant's fragrant flowers and leaves. Stephen Clark, in Perfume World Goes Mad for Australia Wildflower the Brown Boronia for the Financial Review, says of boronia:
In the '70s it contributed citrus tartness to Coca-Cola's Mello Yello soft drink, and it's been used to flavour tobacco. Boronia was responsible for the fresh sweetness in Dior's Diorissimo Eau de Toilette way back in 1956 and Ralph by Ralph Lauren had fruity boronia at its heart.
l'll make a foolhardy assumption that what I'm smelling in Southern Bloom's opening is boronia absolute; it smells of intensely scented freesias mixed with a light woody note. Also detectable in the opening and mid-development is tangy cassis, a dash of ylang-ylang and a cool (camphoraceous) mandarin note. Southern Bloom's base still smells floral, but with added muskiness. Southern Bloom makes a great, non-traditional / anti-cliché beach perfume. It'll go perfectly with a bikini or Speedo.
Goldfield & Banks Southern Bloom is available in 100 ml Parfum, $205.
Les Bains Guerbois 1978 Les Bains Douches
Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour (listed notes: yuzu, bitter orange, whiskey, davana, clary sage, rose, heliotrope, blond tobacco, myrrh, maté, amber, cedar, patchouli)
Paris 1978 and another endless night in one of the world’s wildest nightclubs. Follow its powdery scent. Downstairs it’s a Negroni Yuzu for her and a Whisky Sage for me. Ribbons of tobacco smoke weave their magic. Leaning on the cedar wood bar, I watch her moving on the dance floor. Wafts of myrrh, vanilla, patchouli and oriental rose go to my head. Though I close my eyes for a second, the Bains Douches never sleeps.
Les Bains Guerbois has been reincarnated twice: it was a spa first (founded in 1885); a nightclub — Les Bains Douces; now it's a boutique hotel with a fragrance line.
1978 Les Bains Douces smells like a spoiled (big) "baby's" bath, with creamy citrus-scented bubbles and powders mixing with whiskey and coconut-infused tobacco leaf aromas (tobacco is the major player here). The base is smooth and sheer, mildly sweet, calming and satisfying, a refined medley of tobacco mixing with the usual suspects: vanilla, patchouli and cedar. A 10-15 ml spray of 1978 Les Bains Douces would have done nicely and I'd have bought in a second, but at $238 for a vat (140 ml!) — no thanks. I'd never finish the bottle. If you love tobacco perfumes, do seek out and give this a sniff.
Les Bains Guerbois 1978 Les Bains Douches is available in 140 ml Eau de Parfum, $238.
Note: middle image of Boronia megastigma flowers via Wikimedia Commons.
So curious to try Southern Bloom. Grandiflora’s Boronia stopped me in my tracks during a niche expedition and I bought a bottle that same week. It doesn’t last more than a few hours, but it’s such a beautiful perfume: dried fruit revived in rum, hay, and I guess the boronia? Something almost freesia-like. It smells like Betrand Duchaufour took over as Serge Lutens while Christopher Sheldrake was on holiday.
Coumarin…good description! I need to try that one.
I agree, great description!
I have boronia growing nearby and have grown it in my garden – it is quite fickle to maintain. I think it suffers from burnout.. To me (as a flower on the bush) it smells like a cross between cranberries and thick rapsberry jam. The smell carries a long way . In our botanic gardens the Australian garden smells of raspberries when it flowers. It is slightly dusty rather than woody. I don’t get freesias from it
Kanuka: well, the flower won’t smell exactly like the absolute. Certainly not a hint of raspberry in this one. Hope I can get a whiff of the real thing some day.
I am told (by a native) that Southern Bloom doesn’t smell like the actual flower, which doesn’t surprise me. But I did enjoy it a lot and bought it.
Cazaubon: doesn’t surprise me either…lots of notes in this one for one thing. I need to track down the absolute…but, again, it won’t smell like the flowers outside.