In celebration of tonight’s perfume event, we have a close-up with two of our hosts, Josh Meyer of Imaginary Authors and Sarah Stuart of Demiscent. Josh has put together a shopping guide for men and a suggestion of unisex fragrances for guys and gals. Sarah introduces what she does – a world of decanting fragrances – in an interview with Eden staffer Consuelo.
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FRAGRANCE SHOPPING FOR GENTS AND APPLICATIONS OF UNISEX SCENTS: AN INTRODUCTION FROM JOSH MEYERS OF IMAGINARY AUTHORS
As a perfumer, I use the term perfume too often and too loosely where I should instead use the term fragrance. It’s nothing short of devastating when I am asked if I make “colognes for men” too. Dude perfume is a real thing.
Colognes are two things 1) a concentration and 2) a structure of fragrance – just like an IPA is a structure of a beer. Perfume is the term for a stronger concentration, whereas cologne is a predominantly citrus fragrance with a few florals to hold them in place or simply a much weaker concentration of a perfume.
Fragrance as a rule is not strictly masculine or feminine. An analogy for this variance is color: pink may be representative of ladies, but who doesn’t know that a man wearing pink can be the pinnacle of masculine? The color ‘light green’, depending on the exact shade and perhaps your current mood can be seen as unisex, slightly masculine, or incredibly feminine. There are general guidelines for who can wear what: big white florals are generally feminine, while notes like oak, smoke, leather and sandalwood lean more masculine.
With independent (and Portland-based!) fragrance houses like Imaginary Authors and Slumberhouse coming into the light, the boundaries for unisex fragrance is widened or completely absent. My more masculine creations (including Memoirs of a Trespasser, The Cobra & The Canary and Bull’s Blood) are much more popular with the ladies than I could have ever expected. Understandably, many women crave a scent more unique than something marketed towards “every girl” at Sephora. With a little searching, one can find niche brands and small fragrance houses with fragrances that not only smell like no one else you know, but also present a completely new and unique olfactory experience.
Here are a few of my own notes:
• Ladies, give Slumberhouse Norne a spray or two on a cold February evening when you’ve got a fire burning and a book in hand.
• Dudes, give Norne a try when you’re wearing a scarf and are out on the town.
• Ladies, give Imaginary Authors Bull’s Blood a spray when you’re feeling particularly saucy. This is a late night happy hour with a third date type material.
• Dudes, give Bull’s Blood a try on Friday at the office. Pair it with a red shirt and an expensive watch.
• I’d like to see more ladies and more fellas wearing Serge Luten’s Gris Clair – this is contemplative and creative during the day, and alluring and soft during the evening. Fantastically unisex and easily wearable.
• Ladies, The Cobra & The Canary by Imaginary Authors is a leather scent waiting for destruction. Wear this to take over the world.
• Fellas can wear The Cobra & The Canary anytime, it is distinctive and can be worn with a leather jacket or a blue blazer.
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INTO THE REALM OF PERFUME WITH SARAH STUART: DECANTER & PERFUMISTA
I wasn’t sure how to go about introducing Sarah Stuart of DemiScent. I knew that I wanted to let her tell her own story. She seemed she had to have one, to have such a vast collection of fragrances and a knowledge that one would think only a perfumer could have. I asked her to tell me how she developed her interest and what her background in perfume was. She sent me this account, addressed to you.
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From Sarah: My love of perfume has developed over the years to the point where it is not possible for me to have just one favorite scent; too many wonderful options exist in the realm of perfume, and it is increasingly difficult to keep up with the plethora of fragrance launches that flood the market each year.
I believe in the idea of a fragrance wardrobe, a concept that may appeal to the modern consumer of fine fragrance, as there are different styles of fragrance for different moods, occasions, and changing seasons. But how to distinguish what is worth even sampling?
For years, I have scoured department stores, online resources/blogs, read hundreds of perfume reviews, and questioned local and distant perfumistas in order to obtain knowledge about what are, in fact, the most worthwhile fragrances to spend time with. These include fragrances which have earned top five star rating, fragrances both new and old which have withstood the test of time and will remain classics (according to the “experts!”). Some are difficult to come by, either being discontinued or non-export (those which cannot be purchased in the United States).
I offer my customers an excellent selection of the very best in fragrance, from traditional to niche brands, in small quantities so that more than one fragrance may be chosen to embellish a given wardrobe. Each is hand decanted into small spray vials or bottles, to give as a gift, or to add to oneís personal collection. The vials are conveniently sized for carry-on air travel.
I hope you find something that appeals to what is your most intimate of the senses. This particular selection I have chosen as appropriate to the artistic sensibility of Portland’s Eden, scents you might reach for as you would a favorite accessory or piece of clothing.
If there is something in particular you are searching for, please let me know and I would be happy to seek it out for you (It may very well be something I have in my inventory that is not on the event’s fragrance menu).
Thank you and enjoy!
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On reading Stuartís statement, I was struck by several things. First, I still want the backstory! How does one enter the ìrealm of perfumesî? What was the moment when Stuart realized she was attracted to fragrance in such a big way, as to start a business of decanting? How does one gain access to the world of fine fragrances?
Here is just a fragment of my conversation with her.
Eden: Sarah, I’d like to go back to the beginning, how you made your way into the world of perfumes – can you talk about that?
Sarah: Yes, it was the year that I lived in France, in my 20′s. Well, I had received two gifts. The gift, that my mother brought back – a bottle from France, I think she went on a trip with my dad. I was quite young to have such a sophisticated bottle of perfume and I loved it!
Then my very first boyfriend, my first love lived in Germany, and we traveled to Paris together and he bought me a little bottle of Diorissimo, the pure perfume, which is this beautiful Lily of the Valley, not complicated or anything, just that one note. I think that’s where it first started. I lived in France and that’s when I, you know, I would walk by people and everyone just smelled so good, there were so many fragrances there that I had never heard of, or seen, and so I started collecting them. I wore, basically one. I had one favorite one for a year, and then I’d move on to another. Then I started being unable to choose any longer, which one was my favorite one, because my mood – I had maybe 5 or 10 bottles and I would get to decide which fragrance to wear that day.
So anyways, over the years I collected and I started reading and reading and reading blogs. There is this whole sort of culture of perfumistas; perfume lovers, and I just followed what came out. Any time I went by a store that sold perfume, I had to; I felt compelled to go in and smell everything, what was new. So it just kind of got to the point where I realized I wanted to share what I had. I had the idea of just starting to decant, and then of starting a business of decanting. What I love most about it is finding women who love fragrance and who are like you, enthusiastic about it, and curious. Also, I love introducing people to that world.
And, you CAN narrow it down! There’s a moment when someone finds their scent and they’re like, YEAH! (She laughs.)
E: I love the idea of what you’ve called a “fragrance wardrobe,” because it seems to normalize fragrance. Can you talk more about that?
S: Yes, you know you reach for a scarf, or a pair of gloves, or a pair of shoes, or a hat. How can you do all of those things and not have a perfume?
There’s a lot out there that is really wonderful. I am really glad to be affiliated with Eden in any capacity because I love what you’ve chosen. There are so many fragrances that are coming out, new houses, and you have some of the really good ones. I think you’ve made good choices! It’s important for people to be able have access and exposure to stuff thatís not in department stores, that are in a store like yours. I am glad to have the opportunity to share what I’ve collected and what I think is worth it.
To me it is such a great part of life. Every day at some point in the day I really breathe something in, and it gives me so much pleasure. It is an exquisite sense that we have as human beings. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to go through life, without a sense of smell!
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The 50 perfumes Stuart will be bringing to EDEN are just a small fraction of what she she has collected over the past 20 years. (That is not to say that they are vintage, that is itself an entirely different subject.) Stuart says, “One day down the road I’d like to make perfumes.” I hope we see her fulfill that. If not, her gift to us has already been in sharing what she has gathered, curated, and found to be some of the most wonderful scents.
I want people to experience it, to know about it, and to be able to have little vials, and keep it going.
Thank you Sarah and Josh! We look forward to tonight’s event!
Spring is creeping up… the daphnes are beginning to bloom, the cherry blossoms, crocuses, come! We invite you to a night of perfuming in the garden of Eden! Please join us for a sniffing and decanting party at Eden on Saturday, February 16th. Eden staff will be joined by Portland perfumer Josh Meyers of Imaginary Authors and Sara Stuart of Demiscent as they talk fragrance and help you explore a wide range of scents, including our beloved Serge Lutens, D.S. & Durga, Annick Goutal, Imaginary Authors, Slumberhouse, Tocca, L’Aromarine / Outremerlines and many more! Stuart will be bringing 50 perfumes, from houses Eden does not carry, but which fall into the realm of what we see to be Eden’s palate. These will be available for ordering in small, travel size vials, from $12 and up – a steal without committing to an entire bottle! We’ll have cocktails from Jinx for you to sip, treats to nibble and two expert “noses” to consult with your perfume queries and to help you find the perfect scent for spring, for a special occasion, or for every day.
We’re excited to announce the inclusion of a new fragrance line to our perfume selection! Meet D.S. & Durga, a boutique fragrance line produced in Brooklyn, NY using small-batch processes and natural ingredients. The name is eponymous; D.S. designs the perfume, Durga –formerly an architect– handles the bottles and branding. The line began with the creation of after-shaves and tinctures made exclusively for friends but the popularity of their compositions allowed the couple to expand to producing colognes for a larger audience.
(D.S. studio photos by Collin Hughes.)
Each scent is inspired by nostalgia, historical movements, war, peace, travel… imagine catching a whiff of a fragrance that conjures a memory belonging to your great-great-grandfather, or perhaps your past life as a Russian Tsarina. Such is the effect of D.S. & Durga scents. We’ve smelled each on men and women and our six scent selection is remarkably versatile and egalitarian. Explore the full selection here.
What a joy it is to announce that spring has at last arrived in Portland, hallmarked by several days of 70°+ weather, sunshine and blue skies. It’s also showing up all around Eden with all sorts of beautiful, brightly colored arrivals: vintage furnishings, gowns, lingerie and ephemera; cosmetics and fragrances, jewelry and more!
Above photos from our Instagram feed. You can follow us at @edenpdx, and follow our sister shop Flutter at @flutterclutter! If you don’t have Instagram, you can still check these photos out in our Facebook album or Pinterest board.
V&A Pattern Books: Garden Florals, Spitalfield Silks and Walter Crane (background images in above collages are from the excellent dvds from these three books, which feature all of the artwork included in digital versions as well!)
We’re so enjoying the beauty of the season and these wonderful items reminiscent of spring – come visit Eden soon to see what’s new!
For a little pre-Valentine’s Day shopping inspiration, owner Cindy and a few of our staff each compiled selections of Eden merchandise that we imagine would make dazzling, singular gifts to a beloved. Two Eden jewelry designers, Jess of Jesseca Anne Jewelry and Brehan Todd of Brehan Todd Designs threw in their picks. Next, we requested a little more input from multi-talented blogger, stylist and yogi Allison Jones of Allison Jones Design, who obliged us and rounded out the list to an even six. Here they are:
Eden’s owner Cindy chose this vintage toy soldier marionette ($150,) who could be gifted as a lovely symbolic gesture for hard-earned love and affection. Jesseca Anne’s bangle bracelets ($45) feature delicate chain tassels which provide a feminine touch to a classic and versatile style. Maison Bouche is an Oakland based chocolatier and these cat’s tongue chocolates ($14.50) are a sweet and sentimental gift for the cat lady (or cat man) in your life. Brehan Todd’s Volcano cuff ($112) represents a bold new direction for the Portland designer, who used glass, crystal, coral and bullet-shells on a vintage metal bracelet in this piece.
Julie always curates beautiful vintage and vintage-inspired outfits, so it’s no surprise that her Valentine’s selections are also heavy on the vintage side! Jan Michaels lariat necklace ($85) features a beautiful brass rope chain, smooth tumbled onyx beads and little chain tassels – Michaels draws inspiration for her jewelry from Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs. Tocca’s Cleopatra perfume ($68 for 50ml) is a full, deep fragrance with notes of grapefruit, greens, cassis, white jasmine, peach nectar, tuberose, patchouli, amber and musk. A beautiful silk robe from the 1920s ($275) displays a floral arrangement embroidered at front and back panel, with long tassels which swing as you walk. A colorful vintage tray ($68) shows an elegant lady out on her veranda on a bright day and could serve a number of purposes around the house (vanity table, serving cocktails, etc.)
Butterflies, slightly out of season in February, seem all the more poignant and interesting for Valentine’s Day. I also love the idea of a Valentine (such as this framed pair, $165) that could double as art to hang on a wall. This vintage glass vanity set ($85) is so darling with it’s tiny pink flowers and heavy glass stoppers (bonus points if it’s gifted full of a favorite candy!) The butterfly trend isn’t over yet – check out these wonderful, heavy metal bookends ($85.) Colored glasses make beautiful gifts, and the lily of the valley print screened on these ($8 each) makes a sweet present (these flowers symbolize sweetness and the return of happiness.)
This brass mirror ($95) would add charm and elegance to a dresser or vanity-top. A vintage Indian quilt ($165) is a thoughtful gift in which to curl up with your sweetie, and the romantic color palette of this quilt, in shades of charcoal and coral, make it a Valentine in itself. Serge Lutens Ambre sultan ($120 for 50ml) perfume is an irresistible, woodsy, spicy amber scent. Voluspa’s Mandarino Cannela candle ($16.50) provides a spicy, citrusy fragrance that when lit, transforms a space to be instantly cozy and inviting.
For the Valentine who loves editorial artwork and the printed word, La Vie Pariesienne ($39.95) provides a memorable glimpse at life in Paris during the early 20th century. This vintage lamp ($78) featuring an Art Nouveau lady against a little moon is small enough to fit into most any decor scheme and would make an original and unforgettable present. La Maison de la Vanille’s Absolu de Vanille ($100 for 100ml) is an incredible scent that blends woodsy and spicy notes against a vanilla palette. Maison Bouche chocolates (featured above in Cindy’s picks) also makes chocolate bars ($6.50,) including a limited collection for Valentine’s Day. With a number of incredible flavors (ranging from Creme Brulee to Violette to Rose with Mint) and sweet illustrated wrapping paper.
Allison Jones impeccable personal style is showcased in these selections. Mon Bijou’s Cort bracelet ($98) is sleek and modern, so you might not imagine that this design is actually based on an antique Turkish one! If you’re planning a Valentine’s excursion, this snakeskin print train case ($68) would be much appreciated (and useful.) Maripol: Little Red Riding Hood ($60) is a wonderful resource for style and fashion-history buffs. Voluspa’s Warm Perique Tabac candle ($28) has garnered a lot of nostalgic reactions from people reminded by the scent of growing up in the south, or those who say the scent (with notes of leather, wood and tabac) is strongly reminiscent of a man in their lives.
Allison Jones keeps a terrific blog, which you can see here – it’s a great resource for dressing, decor and color design. Jewelry designers Jess and Brehan also keep blogs that track their inspirations, see Jess’s here and Brehan’s here.
Interested in something you see but no link to buy? Call the shop at (503) 222-2285 or email info[at!] edenportland.com with inquiries.