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I adore perfumes as much as any woman but I'm restricted to buying cheaply or waiting for birthdays since I'm on disability benefit and it doesn't go very far. What makes it worse is that, although I love many cheaper perfumes there are some I'd adore to own but probably never will. My younger sister knows this and often manages to get sample bottles for me so when she visited this weekend she brought a few for me to try. These were a mixture of perfumes not eau de toilette, so they are normally expensive.
Two of these were from a company I've never heard of before, Miller Harris, a London based firm. Both samples are gorgeous but one stood out for me and I'd like to review this one. But first let me give you an idea of the inspiration behind the perfumes.
Lyn Harris, the founder has worked in the industry for more than twenty years, trained in France at the most prestigious schools of perfume she started the company in 2000. There is a great deal more about her and the company on the Internet but I don't like just copying words, I'd rather look for the truth in them and if I find it then I want to share it.
Lyn is inspired by nature and the raw materials that make the seasons so eclectic. Her passion is one I share in my painting; Lyn makes rare and lovely perfumes that are distinctive yet somehow subtle with a classiness that oozes heavenly products. I understand the motivation even though I can't express it so well. So instead of spouting a lot of hype I can say that I do believe the words that weave magic about the perfume.
La fumée is all about fire and being a bit of a believer in Astrology I know that I was born under a fire sign, an Aries who loves warmth, is passionate about things and people they love and seeks out the sensual in nature. The perfume suits my nature perfectly and I've been wearing some all day, not just for the review but delighting in the way it reminds me of smoky bonfires and a mixture of heady Autumn scents.
The perfume is described as thus;
'Incense encircles dry and sensual woods in this dramatic arrangement of citrus, spice, smoke and wood. The opening notes are cistus absolute, cardamom from Guatemala, and coriander seeds combined with cedar, elemi and incense from the Yemen. Santal Mysore provides a fragrant kindling to a blaze of birch tar. The final impression is one of smoldered embers smoke wood and amber.'
Doesn't it sound enticing? But words are just that without the meaning behind them and I see this perfume as appealing to people like me who love the spiciness of oriental but with a woody undertone. The first time I dabbed some on my wrists I was aware that this wasn't a strong perfume but would definitely hold its own. My initial impression was slightly fruity with a hint of something like sandalwood. Whether it's my heightened sense of smell or the middle notes come through straight away. Cistus suggests citrus cardamom is spicy but it must be the cedar I'm reacting to.
I have to research this a bit because I adore this perfume.
Cistus is an evergreen shrub, which is native to the Mediterranean, but there are a few enthusiasts who grow these in Britain. The showy white and pink flowers bloom profusely each day, lasting briefly and falling like nature's confetti-what a wonderful description! (slightly edited by me.) It's used in folk remedies and perfumes. Cardamom is an Asian spice and doesn't need much introduction. Elemi is a tree native to the Philippines and a resin is extracted from it for use in many things. The scent is a fragrant sharp pine and is also used for chest complaints.
Santal Mysore is now a protected species of sandalwood origin so this is probably why the perfume is so expensive. There are so many lists of cedar that I'm guessing the cedar mentioned here is the fragrant shrub of the cedar family and is not so exclusive.
So overall the perfume is a distillation of all things rare and shrub based, hence the way I keep thinking of smoky autumn days. Incidentally I've never really researched a perfume base before so forgive my brief indulgence.
As the day wore on the perfume has settled down and stays subtle yet still very fragrant. I imagine most women would find this a little too subtle, but to me it's a real find, a pure delight of a perfume that is so different to anything I've tried before. It wouldn't compete with the flashy newcomers but it has no reason to. I'm confident I could walk into any room and heads would turn, noses would twitch and I'd be in seventh heaven.
Unfortunately it's expensive at £60 per 50ml. This is pure perfume though, not eau de toilette which is not so strong or lasting. The bottle pictured looks classy with an olive green background with a floral pattern. Even the sample bottle is sturdy and the background card has the green floral design. Now I can't wait to try the blue one, but for now I'm imagining a time when I've saved for a bottle of this.
Thanks for reading and indulging my flights of fancy.
©Lisa Fuller. 2011.
La Fumee invokes a swirl of incense encircled by dry and sensual woods in this dramatic arrangement of citrus, smoke and spice. Opening notes of cistus absolute, cardamom from Guatemala, coriander seed and Egyptian cumin are combined with elemi from the Philippines and incense from the Yemen. What follows is a deep and smoky heart of cedar wood from Morocco. Santal Mysore provides a fragrant kindling to a blaze of Spanish cistus absolute, cade and birch tar. The final impression is one of smouldered embers; smoke, wood and amber. Notes Top- Lavender, Elemi, Encens Heart- Cardamom, Coriander seed, Cumin, Geranium, Chamomile Base- Cedar wood, Agar wood, Santal, Cistus, Cade, Birch, Amber