ÇaFleureBon Fragrant Awakenings: PK Perfumes Dirty Rose (Paul Killer) 2014 + A Rose with Thorns Draw

Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes (illustration courtesy of Paul)

Four years ago I made the transition from commercial to niche fragrances when I decided I wanted to study fragrance design and see if I could make something one of a kind for myself. As a painter, writer, and musician I’m a natural creative and assumed that I could make something more to my liking and much more original than the endless amount of clones that littered the fragrance sections of department stores. Since I had no chemistry background to apply to any perfume schools I came up with the idea to learn about the art as much as I could through online research, playing with aroma chemicals and making my own small blends, and reviewing fragrances from perfumers that I crossed paths through social media. Needless to say I underestimated the dedication and skill required to design a fragrance, but within my journey I was introduced to some of the most amazing fragrances I’ve ever set my nose upon, one of those fragrances was Dirty Rose by American artisan perfumer Paul Kiler of Pk Perfumes.  Shortly after I emailed Paul a request for samples the package arrived on my door step, by that time I had become familiar with the richness and decadence of niche fragrances compared to most commercial perfumes but I surely wasn’t prepared for what laid inside the tan bubble wrapped envelope that I so eagerly opened.

Isabella Blow photo Nick Knight

I received samples of every fragrance in his collection at the time, but out of them all Dirty Rose called my name the loudest and commanded that I introduce myself; it was love at first sniff. I knew from reading the description of the fragrance on his webpage that I was in for a far different experience with rose than I ever had before, but I was not ready for the erotic twist on the often demure floral that it’s named for.

McQueen Of England’ by Nick Knight for The Face November 1996

The opening begins with the crisp freshness of bergamot, but even from the onset the dirtiness of the fragrance is apparent with the addition of black spruce and cherrywood smoke, a little overwhelming at first but equally addictive. Once the top notes began to settle I was introduced to a note that I heard much about but never smelled before-oud. The way Paul blended oud in the heart of the perfume with rose and tobacco as well as a little bit of mahogany was breath taking to me, I was blown away by the fact that a perfumer could take such a sweet and sometimes cloying note like rose and give it a dirty and erotic twist. Far from a rose that clutter the market, it was dirty indeed and the tobacco and leather in the base of the perfume made sure you never forgot the sinister flower that you just encountered; this was the first true niche perfume I had ever experienced, vastly different from what one would find at a department store both in originality and quality of ingredients.

Nick Knight Melting Flora


  Never before had I known that a fragrance note could be stretched, bent, altered, and manipulated and from that day forward I developed a great appreciation for niche fragrances and the creative minds that design them.

ANDY WARHOL Untitled (Red Rose), c. 1955

Although my dream of creating a fragrance for myself is still but a dream I’m for ever grateful for this journey, I learned that fragrance design is truly an art form and I cherish each bottle in my collection like a rare Warhol that I personally received from the artist himself.

The Nosey Artist, Guest Contributor

Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s Note: The Nosey Artist was a bi monthly contributor to ÇaFleureBon and was on hiatus; we are happy to have him return to CaFleureBon. He has a memorable writing style that is a literary blend of poetry and rap that is unique to his fragrance reviews. Let’s welcome hime back!

Dirty Rose PK Perfumes illustration courtesy of Paul

Thanks to Paul Killer we have a worldwide draw for a registered reader (you need to do this or you are ineligible) for  15ml bottle of Dirty Rose EDP in the USA and a 4 ml sprayer for a reader anywhere in the world. To be eligible, please leave a comment with what you enjoyed about The Nosey Artist’s Fragrant Awakening and review, where you live and if you have a favorite PK Perfumes Fragrance.  There will be two winners. Draw closes  2/24/2016

Follow us on Instagram @cafleurebon @thenoseyartist and pk_perfumes.

Please Like CaFleureBon Fragrant Awakenings on Facebook here and your comment will count twice

We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS Feed…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.




New Perfume Review: House Of Matriarch The Longing (Christi Meshell) 2017 + Bespoke Fragrance for Joseph Sagona and Saudade Draw

Jose Roosevelt Brazilian Artist © who now works in France and Switzerland


“A spiritual chant I hear echoing in the distance

a mystical rhythm that pulsates through

every fiber of my existence

a sensual dance of an erotic essence

Flowers of the divine soothe the darkest of souls

fruits picked from the fragile shrub

as pure sweetness unfolds

an everlasting beauty that longs to behold

A tussle of sweet honey slides down your wet lips

dewy skin is a temptation I cannot resist

a balmy musky climax of love

tenderness and butterfly kisses

A longing for your aroma and fragile touch

is a blessing of pure heavenly lust

a warm purple hue that blossoms through

in my vivid dreams of you” -Joseph Sagona, 2016

Fragrance Writer Joseph Sagona

Perfume inspirations can occur anywhere at any time…while waiting for a delivery of perfume from House Of Matriarch, Joseph Sagona mentioned to perfumer Christi Meshell that waiting for a perfume delivery (as we all know) can be fraught with hand-wringing anticipation, and wouldn’t it be interesting to create a perfume based on that feeling…

Jose Roosevelt Brazilian Artist © 

 THE LONGING. One of my favorite words in the Portuguese language is “saudade” (sauw-DAHD-gee), a complex word that describes a feeling of love, longing, and desire (or loss) for a person, place, or thing that literally hurts your heart. The official meaning is “a deep emotional state of nostalgia or melancholy, a profound longing for an absent something, someone, or somewhere that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return….”

Robert Herrmann in Brazil 1980

Like the feeling of waiting for a perfume you simply must have so too, do many of my Brasilian friends who live away from Brasil, express this deep longing, or saudade for their country and family. The love runs very deep, and I know it well having worked in Brasil many years ago as a gemstone dealer and importer. Upon returning to the States, my desire for returning to Brasil was like a sucker-punch to the stomach, a need to be among familiar locations and surrounded by my South American Friends. Sometimes the need would be so great it would bring me to tears albeit joyful ones, for the love of Brasil and its inhabitants. Saudade. The Longing.

Christi Meshell House of Matriarch

The poem above based on that delicious feeling of anticipation was written by my friend, perfume reviewer, and co-moderator on Facebook Fragrance Friends Joseph Sagona. When I first read the poem, the words resonated deeply in my soul. When I discovered that the poem was actually a follow-up “brief” if you will, for a bespoke perfume being made for Joseph by the extraordinary Christi Meshell of House Of Matriarch, I could hardly sit still. I was literally vibrating with excitement. And longing. I have been following Christi’s professional trajectory from her first bottles of perfumes sold at Essenza in Seattle 5 years ago, to her perfumed presence In Nordstrom’s nationwide, the first all-natural perfumer to be given that honor. Her work is quite simply unforgettable, and I count Blackbird (now called Black No.1) and En Tendre (an enigmatic floral) among my favorites.

Jose Roosevelt Brazilian Artist ©

So what does The Longing smell like? To my nose it brings up a dark night in the small interior Brasilian town of Itambacurí. My friends and I had just attended a Candoblé service at the local Terreiro (Candoblé temple and yard), Candoblé is a polytheistic spiritual following brought to Brasil by African slaves in the 1500’s, as a way of preserving and passing on African ritual and religion in the new world. Candoblé (also Macumba and in the Americas, Santeria).

Jose Roosevelt Brazilian Artist ©

We had been instructed to venture forth in the dead of night to a nearby crossroads, to leave offerings for Êxu the God or Orixá of communications and travelers. We stood in the holy darkness, lighting candles and cigars, leaving glasses of Cacháca (rum) and Dendé (palm oil) as offerings. The smell of the dirt road and smokey candles mingled with the scent of the cigars, alcohol, and tropical plants and flowers on the roadside. The bitter scent of sweat on our bodies on that oppressively humid night, mixed with a slight whiff of fear and desire, as we unknowingly worked to scare ourselves silly. It was a moonlit evening filled with mystery, magic, and longing as we all prayed for our hearts desire.

Notes: Plum, Jasmine, Butter, Agarwood, Vintage Boronia, Vanilla Orchid, Gardenia, Orange Blossom, Honey, Vintage Osmanthus, Leather, Amber, Vanilla, Benzoin, Sandalwood, Ambrette Musk

THE LONGING, as a bespoke fragrance was created in an extremely limited edition of only 50 bottles. So if you want it? Get it. Now. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone!

20% of sales from THE LONGING will be donated to The Humane Society in Joseph's name.

Robert Herrmann, Contributor

Disclosure: Many thanks to Christi Meshell for supplying the sample. The opinions are my own.

Jose Roosevelt Brazilian Artist ©

Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief; I chose the surreal art of Jose Roosevelt who was born in Brazil and now an ex-pat who spends his time in France and Switzerland…saudade. His Art  explores complex emotions, beauty, religion, nature and humanity.


The Longing House of Matriarch

 Thanks to Christi Meshell we have a 15 ml  atomizer  of this oh so precious bespoke fragrance, The Longing for a  registered reader in the EU, USA or Canada (be sure to register or your comment will not count). To be eligible please let us know what appeals to you about The Longing based on Robert's review, Jospeh's poem,  a memory or saudade of your own, and where you live. a favorite House of Matriarch perfume, we would love to know, Do you have  Draw closes 2/20/2017

We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS feed…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.


New Fragrance Review: DSH Perfumes Onycha (Dawn Spencer-Hurwitz) 2016 +Perfume of A Past Life Draw

Priest offering ketoret in the Holy of Holies, painting by Binyomin Allen

And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto yourself sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense … And you shall make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy … and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with you: it shall be unto you most holy. — Exodus 30:34-38; 37:29.

Onycha, whose name sings of antiquity, is one of the ingredients of holy incense recorded in Exodus. But its origins remain a mystery. Some scholars believe it to be derived from the membrane of a mollusk found in the Red Sea, beaten to a fine powder, while others have favored the gemstone onyx or the resins benzoin and labdanum as the onycha of the Bible.

Two Men Contemplating the Moon, Caspar David Friedrich, 1825-1830

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes  Onycha combines all permutations:a tincture of onycha shell, labdanum and benzoin, and combines them with an amalgam of woods. Launched alongside Dark Moon as part of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s winter solstice scents, Onycha is a roasted, resinous dark oriental brew with the strange, pitch beauty of a starless night.

Pictures of You, photo by Federico Bebber

This is perfume as echo, plaintively calling to something very old in our DNA. There is something otherworldly in the smell of Onycha, a murmur of long forgotten voices intoning prayer, ancient rites where censers smoked with burning oils; outside the temple walls, the aromas of tangled forests of gnarled trees, and the vague salt tang of the sea far beyond.

Starry forest, stock photo

A first cousin to her stunning and justly feted Café Noir in its roasted, resinous darkness. But where Café Noir wanders into a Parisian brulerie, with a particularly delicious bitter chocolate-patchouli note, Onycha goes deep into the forest, surrendering itself to primeval woods and ritual smoke. The opening is rich with roasted choya nakh shell and benzoin. The toasted mineral smell contrasting with the richness of the resin is mesmerizing. As the first notes surrender to each other, the sour-sweet, just-turned-milk aspect of labdanum creeps in, bringing a subtle animalic touch. The fragrances meld seamlessly, as if part of a continuum.

Fire embers, photo by WhiteShirt 77

A vinous woody note, like old Rioja and stewed plums, wafts up in the middle stages as incense curls around the resins. Then, a slow rush of woods: the sandalwood becomes distinct, and the cellar woods smell of cedar comes forward. The blend of warm, syrupy and roasted-woody aromas is intoxicating, almost gourmand, and I find myself slightly dizzy from inhaling over and over. As Onycha dries down, there is a distinct smokiness very like burnt embers in a fireplace. A faint saltiness emerges, and I sense the mineral note again, like the residue of the sea on sun baked shells. But Onycha remains dominated by its fascinating brew of charred resins and aged woods. It is familiar and unearthly; the perfume of a past life, of a memory so far back in time it exists only in stories.

Herods palace ruins in Caesarea, Israel Stock photo

These are your temples. There are rows of stone countenances, pillar after pillar. As if walking through a forest filled with alabaster heads: here, the frown. The gaze. The luminous stare. Smoke from the incense curls, shapes itself against the archways, rubs against the grooves of the columns. Only a few men press their heads to their hands. Outside, archeologists excavate a stone torso. Bound in coils of fraying rope, it rises before us, pulled upwards by a backhoe. Its form momentarily hides the sun, though as it sways, the light strikes our eyes. Saying yes. Saying no.” – Dear Empire (these are your temples), Oliver de la Paz

Notes: Onycha tincture, Labdanum, Siam Benzoin, Oude, Fossil Amber, Himalayan Cedar, Siam Wood, Mysore Sandalwood, Choya Nakh, Oppoponax, and Frankincense (Sacra).

Disclaimer: Sample provided by DSH Perfumes – many thanks. My opinions are my own.

Lauryn Beer, Editor


Onycha, photo DSH Perfumes

Thanks to the generosity of DSH Perfumes, we have a 1 dram bottle of Onycha for one registered reader  anywhere in the world.  To be eligible please leave a comment with what appeals to you about Onycha based on Lauryn’s review, where you live nd if you have a favorite DSH Perfume. Draw closes 2/17/2017.

We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS option…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.