I mentioned in a post not that long ago that I had finally ordered some samples from Sonoma Scent Studio. Well, they finally arrived and I am now excitedly trying them out. This post is more a general description of my initial impressions of the line and if I do any detailed reviews, these will be published later. Firstly, I want to emphasise how lovely it is that a niche, indie line can be so reasonably priced, and secondly, how refreshing it is that you can buy Laurie Erickson's perfumes in a number of different sizes. I have purchased only small samples, but one is also able to purchase 5ml, 17ml and 34ml sizes, which makes absolute sense and I wish more perfumers would do this. I can only speak for myself, but I am far more inclined to buy say two or three 5ml or 17ml bottles than I am 200ml or 300ml vats that I could bathe in.
Anyway, on to the fragrances. I purchased samples of Wood Violet, Tabac Aurea, Sienna Musk, Incense Pure, Fireside Intense, Winter Woods and Ambre Noir. I haven't tried them all yet, but so far, my initial impressions are as follows:
Wood Violet - I am pleasantly surprised by this one as usually I am not a huge fan of the violet note. Even in this case, I am not convinced this is full bottle worthy for me, but the violet is cleverly balanced with Himalayan Cedar, so although the violet does dominate in the first half of development, the cedar is well present in the latter half and it makes a nice partner with the violet. There is plum in here as well, which at this early stage is not that noticeable to me, but I have not experienced this note much, so perhaps I am not quite attuned to it yet,
Tabac Aurea - funnily enough, this was the one I thought would be a huge winner for me, and it turns out that I am luke warm about it. It is nice, but it smells like a dead ringer for Histoire de Parfums 1740, aka Marquis de Sade. This is all about leather, patchouli and tobacco, but I find the tobacco quite light. Although not listed, I can almost swear that I detect an immortelle note in here; either that, or the combination of notes eerily creates the impression of immortelle. Either way, this smells very similar to me to 1740. As I said, I don't mind this, and in fact I don't mind 1740, but it doesn't blow me away.
Sienna Musk - again, this one leaves me luke warm. I usually like musk, but this particular style of sweetish musk, combined with the cinnamon note, does not do much for me. I know Sienna Musk has a lot of fans and I will give it another chance, but it is not really me. It reminds me a bit of the musk sweets I used to get in lucky packets when I was a small boy, slightly sweet, slightly talcy, even a bit powdery.
Incense Pure - of the four I've tried so far, this is the clear winner. If you like incense, this will not disappoint. This has got to be possibly the most linear fragrance I have ever tried, but don't let this deter you. The incense here is clear, effervescent almost and literally sings on my skin in the opening. It isn't particularly churchy or gothic and there is almost a resiny herbalness to it, like the smell of rosemary and pine combined, but in a very classy manner. The incense is there from start to finish and a gorgeous incense it is. In a way, Incense Pure is quite sheer and transparent even, but not really light. It's hard to describe, but the name Pure really does it justice. It is pure and unadulterated incense.
Once I've tried the others, I will post my initial thoughts on them too. So far, I do admire what I have tried. Some of them might not quite be me, but I can't fault Sonoma Scent Studio for being innovative and releasing some interesting product.