So, part 2 of my sampling of some of the Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances. My final three were Winter Woods, Ambre Noir and Fireside Intense. My general feeling about the line so far is that most of them would wear far better in the cooler months. I could particularly see myself sampling these again in the autumn. Nevertheless, I tried these on fairly warm spring days and these are my initial impressions:
Winter Woods - This opens quite dry, woody and spicy, with no citrus note embellishment. I think I detect a bit of incense, but mostly it is about light smoke, wood and spice. I thought I detected a floral note too, which seemed a bit rooty, so perhaps iris, but I honestly don't know for sure. It started to become quite sweet after a while, with what I think is a hefty dose of vanilla. I sort of like this, but I need to try it again in cooler weather. I couldn't quite figure out what was going on here.
Ambre Noir - this has to be the strangest amber perfume I have smelled. It opens with a weird, skanky note. It's hard to describe, but it smelled to me like slightly rotting vegetation, like stems that have stood in water for too long! It's one of those perfumes that is oddly compelling and repulsive at the same time, so certainly no lack of interest here. The amber seeps through soon enough, but it is a bone dry amber, no sweetness at all, and almost smoky. I think I detect a floral, rosy note, but again, quite dry, more like potpourri rather than dewy fresh. It develops a little like Rose Poivre or even Voleur de Roses, so I wonder if there's not perhaps a bit of patchouli in here as well. I need to try this one again. It's very strange, but a take on amber that I haven't encountered before, so I am quite excited about this.
Fireside Intense - I was scared that this would turn out like Tauer's Lonestar Memories. I don't mind that one, but I wasn't in the mood for scary, pungent birch tar, and thankfully this one turned out to be possibly my favourite of the lot. It opens with an almost boozy, cognac-like note and quickly becomes peppery, with spicy cedar and a faint birch tar accord. It is nice - smooth, rich and slightly smoky. I'm reminded a bit of Gucci 1 for men, the very pencil-cedar one, but richer, sweeter and more well-rounded. The sweetness fades in the heart, when the smokiness intensifies, but this is not an acrid smoke, but more like the fumes released from dying embers. I get a lot of cedar too, and what I think is guaiac wood. In the dry down it stays nicely woody. I'm getting a cedar and sandalwood combination, I think, and suddenly a number of fragrances spring to mind, such as 10 Corso Como and Let Me Play the Lion in particular. Overall, I think it is a lovely fragrance.
So, overall verdict? As I said above, I think a lot of these would perform better in the cooler months, but I like the overall style of the line. I think my two clear favourites are Incense Pure and Fireside Intense. The most quirky is Ambre Noir, while the slow burners may be Winter Woods and Wood Violet. I didn't care much for Sienna Musk I'm afraid, while Tabac Aurea reminded me too much of the Histoire 1740 perfume, with its immortelle feel, which I'm not a huge fan of.