Art Books Events Scented Snippets Fragrant Event: Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2016 Wrap-Up

Scented Snippets Fragrant Event: Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2016 Wrap-Up

05/19/16 14:01:04 (5 comments)

by: Ida Meister

This year's Spring Fling was jam packed with scarcely a moment to breathe. Team Karen {aka Karen Dubin and Karen Adams, the founding parents of Sniffapalooza, which began in 2002 as a sniffing spree for three on-line perfume aficionados at Bergdorf Goodman's} made certain of that.

The Sniffapalooza Karens, image from

Since folk - both within the fragrance industry and perfume lovers in general - have been known to travel from all over the U.S, Canada, the Southern Hemisphere, Europe and Asia to participate, the Karens worked hard to ensure that their trip was worthwhile.

That Friday night beforehand was hosted by Twisted Lily's co-founders/owners Eric Weiser and Stamatis Birsimijoglou, always gallant and generous hosts: wine, champagne, cheeses, fruit, charcuterie and pastry nibbles everywhere the eye could see. IF you were able to get near them, that is. The event was crammed full in an already tight space {you wouldn't believe how many fragrances manage to coexist in this petite bandbox of a boutique!!!}, much like the Zombie Jamboree {“back to back, and belly to belly” ;-) }.

Riccardo Tedeschi, Alessandro Brun and Cécile Zarokian

An unexpected delight of the evening was the presence of Masque Milano's Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi, who kindly produced samples of the new Luca Maffei offering L'Attesa and Cristiano Canali's Romanza {I had ordered a bottle of Romanza unsniffed, and was never so glad I did: pure heaven.}. Euphorium Brooklyn's quirky and utterly delicious perfumer Stephen Dirkes, Michelyn Camen of Cafleurebon, Mark Behnke of Colognoisseur, and many participants {including my dear friend Lucy Raubertas of Indieperfumes}. I was especially enchanted by one of the perfumes in Anaïs Beguine's new line Gri-Gri, Ukiyo-E – with its warm grainy, slightly smoky verdant subtlety.

Day One is always Uptown Day

This year Bergdorf breakfast was forsworn in favor of more time spent sniffing / more speakers at the two luncheons. My impression is that this was a positive thing: it enabled travel-weary perfumistas not have to rise at dawn. Marlen has previously outlined the brands available at BG's HERE. Many of these I'd already sniffed, but my pleasure is always to re-sniff, and it was a joy to do so with the marvelous Ruth Sutcliffe, who knows nearly all the perfumers personally from her lifetime in the industry {her extensive resume includes IFF Fragrance Development and Evaluation, fragrance designer for Coty Prestige, her recent scent consulting, The Scent Guru, and Creations Aromatiquers}.

Hernando Courtright & Karen Dubin

We particularly enjoyed sitting down with the new scent installation from Ex Nihilo, and watching the Osmologue at work: it will blend additional jasmine, vanilla, rose de Mai, orange blossom, iris, and/or Australian sandalwood to any existing perfume in the line{ Sweet Morphine was particularly delightful}.

I sniffed the newer Roja Dove Profumi D'Amore, and confess that they were lovely but not unusual enough to really capture my imagination, especially at that price - ditto Memo Paris Marfa and MFK Rouge 540. The Fragrance Kitchen, however, is a new collection worth investigating: Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah of Kuwait's distinctly Arabic perfumes are well designed with quality materials, the lion's share of bases falling into the musky/amber category. My favorite was a rather wistful Youth Memory – mandarin opening with a saffron/cedar heart, laid upon a bed of vanilla, castoreum and musks; it was tender and haunting.

Paula Pulvino of Villa of the Mysteries Perfumes at Atelier Cologne

Luncheon is always peppered liberally with speakers of all sorts. Saturday commenced with Mary Ellen Lapansky and Lyn Leigh of The Perfumed Plume Awards: they are advocating bravely for unbiased recognition of all manner /sources of fragrant writing. Big highlights included an extensive history of Italian olfactory culture dating from the Medici to the Rinascimento and beyond, delivered by Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi of Masque Milano; the lovely Stefania Squeglia of Mendittorosa introducing her unique lines of perfumery and philosophy to a primarily American audience {well-received! <3}. Mark Crames of Demeter playfully presented his philosophy: “Big complex stories don't work at the office on Tuesday afternoons”, admitting to the desire to create “Simple subtle scents that work all the time. The inspirations are familiar; the fragrances are linear and can be layered.”

Scentinvent Technologies' Caroline Fabrigas and Abby Wallach introduced their new product Linger  {in collaboration with Virginia Bonofiglio of FIT} which is a light mist that helps fragrances last {it does work}. Old friend Hiro Nakayama of Project Felicia {based in Singapore}discussed her ongoing work with fragrance marketing in Asia and her desire to encourage a like community overseas and distribute/develop fragrances for the Asian market, especially in Malaysia. Barbara Herman of Scent and Subversion and the blog Yesterday's Perfume spoke about her nouveau vintage line Eris created with Antoine Lie {she describes the goddess Eris as “a real party-crasher, the goddess of chaos and strife”}.  Fragrantican Miguel Matos has written about them HERE; it was a pleasure to catch up with her again {we had met before her book/ perfumes, several years ago}.

At the Annick Goutal boutique with a Sniffapalooza attendee

Representatives from Nomaterra, Annick Goutal, Tocca, and Floris spoke about their respective houses and origins. An unexpected treat was Shalini, the Bombay-born clothing designer and co-collaborator with brilliant perfumer Maurice Roucel. She generously provided samples of Shalini perfume, arguably one of the most exquisite tuberose fragrances extant. It is hard to argue with the stunning Lalique flacon, or the quality of this masterpiece.

Now, if only I could charm someone into gifting me with a bottle, well...

Attendees were welcomed with champagne and scotch at Molton Brown where we enjoyed their new Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise line, just in time for May 1st and Mother's Day. A visit to the Penhaligon boutique followed, where we sniffed Equinox Bloom.

{By this time, I was done in – but those who weren't attended a decadent cocktail party hosted by L'Arganique and their line of Moroccan-inspired spa treatments.}

Day Two is Downtown Day – aka neighborhoods including Greenwich Village, Nolita, SoHo, Little Italy.

It's usually the more physically wearing of the two days, with uneven sidewalks, cobblestone paths, and LOTS of walking; good shoes are a Must. We visited Annick Goutal first; Françoise Alessi has been with the company for years and was charming and very well-informed. The new Rose Pompon reminds me of a more effervescent Rose Splendide. {I confess that it was here I splurged: a new bottle of beloved Eau de Ciel, which is so hard to find; L'Ile au Thé, with its exquisite jasmine note; and sin of sins, the absolu 1001 Ouds – not at all what I'd expected – so subtle, rich, warm <3 }

Diptyque was our next stop: everything you can imagine was there to sniff and sample, including luxurious skin care. The Eau de Sens will sell well; it's all about a very clean orange blossom with no soiled underpinnings, and is very wearable and fresh. Atelier Cologne sported every line, including the Collection Orient and their latest oeuvre Bergamote Soleil – sunshine in a flacon.

Next off to Le Labo where there were no new releases -  but the atmosphere was friendly and I can perceive no big change since its acquisition by Estée Lauder. All the candles and bells and whistles! If you are fond of botanical and vegetarian products, then visit Red Flower, the organic dreamchild of Yael Alkalay. They provide a multitude of bath/body/facial/ perfumed products which delight: my favorites are the French Lavender and Icelandic Moonflower for their tonic aromas.

The author, Ida Meister, and Stephania Squeglia of Mendittorosa

Luncheon was Italian, five courses and served family-style at La Mela – very much in keeping with the European influences in evidence and sense of community among everyone in attendance. The Masque Milano Duo graced us once more, discussing their brand's creative vision and their desire to encourage talented young perfumers such as Luca Maffei, Cristiano Canali, Julien Rasquinet, Meo Fusciuni, Delphine Thierry and Cécile Zarokian to compose unusual perfumes of great originality/quality.

Speaking of Cécile Zarokian, she was present under several olfactory umbrellas: discussing her recent reworking of Jacques Fath creations, her Master Classes {May 3rd -4th}in collaboration with FlowerSchool New York's new PerfumeSchool New York {building an accord, perfumery basics and eau de cologne, raw materials, candle-making}, and her latest work “to be released later this year” with Puredistance, a woody oriental perfume named Sheiduna intended to “bridge the elegance of Europe with the sensuality of the Orient”, according to Mary Gooding of Puredistance's Communications in Groningen, The Netherlands.

I was fortunate to smell the Puredistance mod, and it's very promising indeed; I also tried each of the new Faths and especially appreciate Green Water – as I purchased a bottle for my husband 33 years ago and have an excellent reference point from which to consider it. I was honored that Cécile asked for my feedback, and thrilled to let her know how fine it is <3 The very spirit of Green Water is alive in its more current remastering.

Image from

Mary Orlin of WineFashionista discussed the similarities in describing wine and perfume, and presented some potential pairings, a sniff-and-sip exercise. We ALL enjoyed THAT. Arielle Weinberg of the Arielle Shoshana Boutique related her journey from blogging to opening the first niche perfumery in the Washington, D.C. area {Fairfax, VA., to be precise}. Irina Adam presented her Peach Tree Garden which I reviewed HERE; Stephen Dirkes of Euphorium Brooklyn regaled us with his circuitous path to perfumery - read more HERE.

Newcomer Paula Pulvino of VOTM {Villa of the Mysteries, a reference to the city of Pompeii} is a Brooklyn-based brand which was originally sold locally in fleamarkets in 2013. Paula's Neapolitan grandmother bequeathed her her own 'libro dei ricetti' – perfume formulae that she created and compiled herself, full of Mediterranean-style fragrances based primarily upon spices, resins, citruses and florals. Some of the materials include rose damascena, fig, calamus, benzoin, labdanum, honey, juniper berries; the names are often in Latin {Carthago Delenda Est – Carthage Must Be Destroyed}. The fragrances are very attractive and pleasurable to wear.

Image from

The last speaker was Anastasia Sokolow of Sulékó Perfumes, who now offers the master class {I attended last year} in an online format, with a scent sampler box and video – available in French, English, and Russian. It's a fun idea, and for the poetry, prose and painting alone, it would be worth it.

This was lunch alone ;-)

The afternoon offered visits to Harney & Sons Fine Teas, where one could sample/sniff any number of offerings. Also, the Byredo Flagship Store {their first boutique outside Stockholm!}, new Super Cedar, and leather goods along with their scented array.

I have merely skimmed the surface here, dear readers.

This time, it felt like France and Italy had come to New York. For those who couldn't be in Milan or elsewhere, the perfumers came to us – and it was a weekend to remember.

I've been to many Sniffapalooza events, and this may have been the best one yet.


Ida Meister (chayaruchama) has been an avid collector and sniffeuse for over 40 years. She adores consulting and collaborating with niche, budding and independent perfumers. Her hypervigilant nose has been of great help in her profession as a neuroscience/ oncology nurse, where she often smells fear, suffering, stress, and can identify most micro-organisms, medications, stages of disease, and has written about the amygdala. As a Senior and Natural Perfumery Editor, Ida has participated in many blog events with natural and mixed media perfumers and other writers. She has also been a teacher, translator, opera singer, dancer and caterer.


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Hi, Ida!

The Karens haven't changed a bit, I see!



All these event are always so far away!! Wish I could attend one some day!


Thanks, Ida!


Thank you for the detailed article. Definitely some good suggestions that I will be trying.


Wow, Ida! That looks like a heck of an event. :-) Glad to hear you had a lovely time there!


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