I first tested a sample of this back in September, though nose Laurie Erickson has been working on this scent for about a year now. I tested another version in November, and Nostalgie has been tweaked slightly from that version, which I liked very much. The working name was “Classic,” and the idea was a vintage-inspired floral scent.
Seems that vintage-inspired is hot right now, at least among the independent perfumers – witness Andy Tauer’s beautiful Miriam, produced for Tableau de Parfums, and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ lovely-but-not-me Pandora, Vert pour Madame, and Mirabella. I couldn’t be happier with a trend in the perfume world: it means excellent raw materials, plenty of naturals, the use of aldehydes and oakmoss and hard-to-source real sandalwood. Above all, it means rich composition and quiet confidence, qualities I like in my perfumes and which are difficult to find in the current market, full of thin and skeletal iFrags, as Denyse of Grain de Musc calls them.
Laurie was so kind as to send me a sample of Nostalgie, and I’m very pleased to review it. In a word, it is gorgeous.
Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of florals, particularly aldehydic woody ones, and this scent is right up my alley: the listed notes are “aldehydes, jasmine sambac, rose, and mimosa absolutes, Mysore sandalwood, violet leaf, orris, amber, oakmoss, musk.” Additional notes include peach, violet flower, tonka, beeswax, aged patchouli, leather, vanilla, myrrh, and vetiver. The description from the carded sample goes on to describe Nostalgie thus: “Precious ingredients and vintage style create something special.”
When I sniff from the vial, right away I smell labdanum and beeswax, rich and golden, followed by aldehydes and a luscious floral blend. On skin, the aldehydes swirl for a few seconds before the florals come to the front. I cannot tease out individual notes at all; the floral blend is more than the sum of its parts. There is a brief period during which I notice the fresh-green, astringent glint of violet leaf, and then we’re back to the florals again, with the sandalwood joining in. This floral-woody accord lasts for quite a long time, with hints of oakmoss and vetiver and a soft, worn leather glove note, decorated with the snowflake sparkle of aldehydes here and there, even when you think they’re long gone. It is somewhat sweet, with the florals, beeswax and sandalwood, but the vetiver and orris tone down the sweetness, and there is absolutely no trace of sugar anywhere. Nostalgie smells like a bouquet of flowers in soft colors, tinted by a rich golden haze.
I cannot smell the patchouli, nor the moss or myrrh; they are probably present in small quantities serving as foils to the rich sandalwood. The sample I smelled in November was heavily vanillic in the drydown; the finished version is not and I find it more polished.
I will point out that if you have had difficulties with other Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances, you may have trouble with this one. According to Laurie, via this post at her blog, she doesn’t really have a base common to her perfumes, but she does tend to use some of her favorite materials in most of her fragrances. Nostalgie “smells like an SSS” to me, and I mean that in the best possible way. It share some of the same golden cast of Champagne de Bois and Jour Ensoleille, both of which I enjoy, though it doesn’t actually smell like those two.
Nostalgie lasts for about five hours on me, even dabbed from a vial; sprayed, it would probably be even more persistent. However, it’s never an in-your-face fragrance. It has an intimate but not bedroom feel, and that quiet confidence I mentioned earlier, ladylike but not retiring.
It reminds me, to a degree, of vintage Chanel No. 5 parfum, with its beautiful golden glow highlighting the flowers, though it is less sensual than that musk-rich vintage scent. It also reminds me of the gorgeous aldehyde-floral-sandalwood mix of Tableau de Parfums Miriam, though it does not have the wistful tenderness of Miriam. Other people have mentioned a relationship to Jean Patou Joy, less its jasmine-civet animalic character (I’m not a Joy fan, I can’t comment). This is high praise, a worthy description of a modern wearable fragrance that pays homage to the great florals of the past.
Nostalgie, like the other Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances, is parfum strength and available at extremely reasonable prices, either at the SSS website or at Indie Scents. I need a purse spray for myself, and one for my No. 5-wearing mother, too.
(Thanks for the sample, Laurie, and for the opportunity to participate in however small a way in bringing to fruition a lovely, lovely scent. Thanks even more for creating it. I send you big sloppy kisses. Mwah!)