Originally Published on http://www.cafleurebon.com 28 October, 2018
Elizabeth Rose of Avé Parfum ©
House Of Gray, a new perfume collection by Creative Director Elizabeth Rose will make its debut in November 2018. Elizabeth (Liz) Rose is the creator of the online fine perfume shopping platform Avé Parfum, and working with 2016 Art & Olfaction Best Artisan Perfume Award winners, brothers Eugene and Emrys Au of Auphorie Perfumes, they’ve unveiled three new perfumes which I suspect will be getting quite a bit of notice.
Eugene and Emyrs Au of Auphorie©️
Working with Liz’s personal memories and family histories, these three new offerings are a very personal and beautiful glimpse into Liz Roses’ childhood and family of origin.
House of Grey Bohemia ©
I begin with House Of Gray Bohemia, since that’s the one that caught my attention when the perfumes were announced in September. Liz Rose and I share a few commonalities; we are both San Franciscans who moved to the “country” in search of quieter and more interesting lives, and we each have roots in Bohemia (now the western part of the Czech Republic.) Although the more pedestrian meaning of “Bohemian” is described as “A socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts”, to both Liz and I the meaning goes much deeper than that. It speaks to our ancestry. My Dad was born and raised smack-dab in the middle of Bohemia; in the city of Plzeñ (World famous as the home of Pilzner beer.) So hearing about a fragrance called Bohemia spoke right to my heart. Actually it shouted. Loudly. The opening of House Of Gray Bohemia took me right back to Tanta Erna’s house in San Francisco. Tanta Erna was my Great-Great Aunt, and her house always smelled of the herbs and spices used in Czech cooking and the forest regions and orchards outside of Plzeñ. The first dabs of Bohemia are rife with apple notes and the caraway of her delicious pickled pot roast dinners (called Svíčková Na Smetanã), the other herbs and spices make themselves known, backed and mingled with a clear cedar note, and the birch and pine create a feeling of camping in a deep green forest. The civet adds a great animalic background, you’ll barely notice its presence but you will feel the plush roundness it brings to the perfume. All the notes are so expertly blended that upon application, I felt like I was back in my Aunt’s bedroom opening the cedar Hope chest at the foot of her bed which held all her precious memories of her carefree childhood in Czechoslovakia. I love “scent-memory” fragrances, and House Of Gray Bohemia went right to my heart. Notes: Apple blossom, caraway, coriander, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, rose, birch, silver pine, cedar, opoponax, myrrh, civet
House Of Gray Layebana©️
Memories of Liz Rose’s beloved Philippine Grandmother Victoria were the genesis of House Of Gray Layebana, specifically her “lola” (grandmother in filipino) reverse-smoking a Yebana “chorrito”, a fairly common practice throughout certain parts of Asia whereby the cigarette is placed lit-end in the mouth ensuring that a stander-by gets little if any secondary smoke.Drawing on other scents common to her lola’s home in the Philippine province of Pampanga, House Of Gray Layebana is essentially a fragrance centered around the sampaguita flower, a sub-species of jasmine found there, and sweetened with the creamy milky notes of pastillas de leche candy, and the smoky wisps of elemi, a tree sap akin to frankincense with it resinous notes.
The tobacco and jasmine combine to create an almost sweet pipe tobacco fragrance, but with all the harsh edges removed by the vanillic attributes of the pastillas candy. The elemi creates a slightly smoky and ambery base which beautifully supports the whole composition. The overall feeling is of a night blooming jasmine, but with a floralcy that’s soft as a grandmother’s skin holding a newborn grandchild in her arms in a moonlit tropical garden. Notes: tobacco, sugar, sampaguita (Philippine Jasmine), pastillas de leche (Philippine sweet milk confections), elemi
House Of Gray Paradisus©️
I love iris perfumes, and have enough various iris scents to last a lifetime or two. I don’t NEED another iris perfume! That’s not true actually, because in the words of the Queen of Pop Britney Spears; “Oops, I did it again…”, and House Of Gray Paradisus is firmly ensconced on my “must-have” list. At its heart House Of Gray Paradisus is a down and dirty iris, and by dirty I mean “in the dirt”, because the soil note in this concoction is a true humus note, like pulling up iris bulbs from a garden to winter-over in a cool garage. The fresh air note adds an almost petrichor vibe, like gardening in a cool foggy mist. The pure orris butter keeps the powder down-to-earth, allowing the iris to really shine without straying into a lipstick or cosmetics feeling. The oakmoss with its slightly fusty and bitter-ish scent adds a furry green leaf, and the palo santo wood lends a mellow spiritual-bordering-on-holy sensation. Liz describes it this way: “Time immemorial. May be worn as an olfactory amulet. The slate is wiped clean again. An earthy, elegant and emotionally uplifting fragrance.” I could not have said it better. Notes: Powder, orris butter, oakmoss, fresh air, soil, palo santo
Note: Through her Avé Parfum website, Liz Rose represents niche and artisan perfumes from around the world that are crafted by conscientious perfumers who have made the commitment never to use cruel animal musks in their products, and her new House Of Gray scents are no exception. House Of Gray fragrances are available exclusively on Avé Parfum
Disclosure: Thanks so much to Liz Rose for the samples. The opinions are my own.
-Robert Herrmann, Senior Editor