Indie special ~ three quick fragrance reviews

the forest, with moss

Quick reviews of three fragrances: Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk, Ayala Moriel Treazon and The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom. The theme: indie fragrances I've added to my buy list.

Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk

I tried Forest Walk when it came out earlier this year, and I liked it right away but it didn't match my summery mood so I set it aside. Then, of course, I lost it, and had to tear my office apart to find it again — raise your hand if your perfume samples are in desperate need of reorganization! Anyway, Forest Walk is just what it says it is: "the earthy, mossy smells of the forest floor with tree bark, tree needles, and soft floral highlights". It's brisk but deep, and as advertised, beautifully earthy, and it has a meditative quality that's perfect for chilly fall evenings. It might be the cold weather version of Annick Goutal Nuit Étoilée — if you found that one a little too thin, Forest Walk might be just what you're after. Bonus: the travel spray can be had for a song.

Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk smells unisex to me, and despite the fact that I set it aside in June, it isn't really so heavy that it couldn't be worn year-round. The notes include galbanum, olibanum, patchouli, orris, black hemlock, oak, western red cedar, New Caledonia sandalwood, fir balsam, oakmoss, jasmine sambac, violet, benzoin, amber and labdanum. It is available in 5 ($21), 17 ($54) and 34 ($105) ml Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Sonoma Scent Studio under Perfume Houses.

Ayala Moriel Treazon

The opening blast of wintergreen will knock your socks off — it's reminiscent of Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle, but with less mothballs and band-aids, more green. Treazon, which is a natural perfume, softens into a silky, dusky, not-buttery tuberose accented with vanilla and spices. It has an almost wine-y undercurrent. The Non-Blonde called it "breathtakingly beautiful", and I'll second that, and add "very wearable" (at least, once the wintergreen settles) — it has a mysterious demeanor, but it's not a big diva sort of tuberose. On my buy list (along with Etrog), but probably outside of my budget.

Ayala Moriel Treazon is due to launch in December; it will be available in 4 ml ($90) Extrait or 15 ml ($180) Eau de Parfum. The notes include African stone, anise, benzoin, birch, cassis, cinnamon, orris, tuberose, orange blossom, vanilla, massoia bark and wintergreen. For buying information, see the listing for Ayala Moriel under Perfume Houses.

The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom

This fragrance has come up here in the comments several times, most recently in the comments to my review of L’Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l’Aube. And now that I've tried it, I can see why: it's a near perfect example of a cheerful, relatively straightforward orange blossom soliflore. It's much simpler than Séville à l’Aube and it's not as ethereal as the L'Artisan harvest orange blossom scents; it's not as iris-y as By Kilian Prelude to Love and not as dewy as Le Labo Fleur d'Oranger 27. Like Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger, it's given fullness by a significant dose of jasmine, but it isn't nearly as rich or spicy as the Serge. It's the sort of fragrance you might reach for to cheer yourself up on a grey dreary day when your brain is too tired for esoteric niche scents, and happily, it's cheaper than your average esoteric niche scent. One final comparison: it might be just what you need if you wanted to love Jo Malone Orange Blossom, but found it overly brash.

The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom is $70 for 50 ml Eau de Parfum, and can be found at The Bay in Canada or at the brand's web store.

Note: top image is run forest, run! [cropped] by mugley at flickr; some rights reserved.

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46 Comments

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  1. lucasai says:

    Robin, I had exactly the same feelings smelling SSS Forest Walk. I also found it earthy, rooty and… wormy! As far as I’m concerned Nuit Etoilee ix hundret times better for me. I really love the blue bottle on my perfume shelf.

    • Merlin says:

      LOL on the ‘wormy’! What an interesting note that must be.

      Robyn, how did you find Forest Walk comparing to O.Js woman? Both contain the curious hemlock…

      And, I was wondering how Afghanistan Orange Blossom compares to Atelier’s Orange Sanguine, as they seem similar in mood.

      I tried Tuberose Criminelle for the first time this week and I loved the opening. It smelled like an old chewing gum you used to get in South Africa called Wicks. It smelled wonderful and used to be made with real rubber that could be chewed forever. The reformulated version is apparently inferior…

      • Robin says:

        OJ Woman is a much darker & & heavier & more intense perfume, and although it’s woodsy, it isn’t as focused on that one aspect. This is closer to a soliflore in spirit if that makes sense.

        Atelier Orange Sanguine, to me, is more of a citrus (orange, the fruit) than a floral (orange blossom). And I bought a small bottle but have been disappointed in it; in comparison to other orange scents I own, it smells really flat after about 30 minutes. Love the top notes though.

        • Merlin says:

          I find the mood of Woman quite intense but the fragrance on me is quite ethereal in that it does not have much sillage. It seems that there is a group of us, in general, who find most O.Js extremely light. I don’t think we are anosmic to iso-e-super, I just think that there is something in the OJs that disappears on a certain kind of skin…

          I just ordered a decant of O.S. so hope it works better for me : /
          At worst I’ll keep it in my bag and use it as a quick and brief mood lifter!

          • Rappleyea says:

            Merlin – on my skin, FW and OJW are two completely different scents. The iso E in OJW blows up the violet until that’s about all I get. And it lasts like the energizer bunny (in a bad way).

            FW is softer, earthier, and has that beautiful forest green going on. Not a drop of iso E in sight!

          • Robin says:

            That’s so interesting. OJ Woman is overwhelming to me — I don’t wear it for that reason, although I think it’s a great scent.

          • annemarie says:

            I’ve so far only tried Frangipani Absolute and Champaca, and whie, I like them, they were rather light and fleeting. I have Woman and Ta’if on the way, so I’m hoping for a better result from them.

            Orange Sanguine is all about the top notes, in my view. Beautiful, sunny, and very like freshly squeezed orange juice. It makes you smile. But I agree with Robin that after a while it falls flat. If a bottle fell into my lap I would wear it for sure, but my perfume dollars have to work a lot harder for me than this. :)

          • Robin says:

            I wore it once next to Guerlain Mandarine Basilic, and the Guerlain was SO much better, and since I love the Guerlain’s top notes too, I was really sorry I bought the Atelier.

          • Marjorie Rose says:

            Just wanna throw in my two scents–as a total OJ Woman addict! I find Forest Walk too soft, floral and not “piney” enough for me. I far prefer the dark complexity of Woman, and I don’t smell earthiness in Forest Walk–at least not in that dark way. I suspect that there will be few people who will adore both.

        • 50_Roses says:

          I was hoping Forest Walk would be somewhere along the lined of OJ Woman, but on my skin it is not. OJ Woman is one of my favorite perfumes of all time. To me it really does smell like a walk in the forest. Forest Walk, though, has a very strong, bitter, burnt smell in it that lingers forever. I don’t know what it is, but I have picked it up in other things I have tried recently, such as Andy Tauer Dark Passage.

          • Robin says:

            Really interesting to me how many people even thought of OJ Woman. I don’t think of them as even related, but I guess they must be.

          • 50_Roses says:

            To my nose, they are not related at all; I was hoping they would be from the notes and from the name “Forest Walk”, which I think would be a very suitable name for OJ Woman. Unfortunately, I do not like Forest Walk, nor did I care for the previous SSS release, Nostalgie. (Sigh) :(

          • Robin says:

            Gotcha. Nostalgie wasn’t really my style either — this one is. Be happy there’s something else you don’t need!

    • Robin says:

      Wormy! I think that’s a first; never heard a perfume described as wormy.

  2. djron91 says:

    When I want to talk in a forest, I reach for Slumberhouse Norne.. it transports me with a single spray.

    • Robin says:

      Sounds nice!

    • hajusuuri says:

      I have a sample of Norne and while I haven’t tried it, a quick whiff of the sprayer reminded me of Forest Walk, which I like but since a little goes a long way, my 2.5 mL will last me quite a while.

      • hajusuuri says:

        A reader from the Pacific Northwest claimed the Champagne de Bois sample.

  3. dolcesarah says:

    I have a liking to Grand Neroli and serge’s D’ Citroner( spell )?
    I have both and like both. I even pitched the buy to my husband as it would be my signature scent ( Neroli) but haven’t stayed on track. I’m lost in a CHYPRE mode and at the beach. I brought Aoud Blossom, and 10-12 others for a week stay. Miss Dior made an appearance with a tulip pink gown and metallic shoes for dinner. I’m regretting that and will mix with Borneo by Serge. In a bit… Seville L’ Aube is on my horizon as is PdN Musc. Stamatis, the best man in perfume retail is sending me a hearty sampling. I just cannot beat his loyalty to CS and his buyers. He’s a gem. [ed note: sentence removed]

    • Robin says:

      Dolcesarah, I keep telling you not to bring your disputes with retailers here, but I suspect you never read my comments. Anyway, I removed your last line.

  4. Rappleyea says:

    Robin – it makes me ridiculously happy that you love Forest Walk! :-D

    When I opened the vial of the final tester, I swooned at the sillage, and I haven’t felt that way about a fragrance in a long, long time. Vol de Nuit in extrait was the last time to be exact! I think it is such a beautiful, and beautifully different scent while remaining very wearable. The dry-down, like all of Laurie’s scents, is warm and cuddly.

    The “earth note” may push it into true perfumista territory for some (i.e. those of us who like smells of gasoline, or wax, or dirt, etc.), but that note doesn’t last very long on me so I hope it won’t keep anyone from trying it.

    Also happy to see the review of Treazon. Ayala’s scents always sound fabulous, but the price skeers me away! I’m afraid I’ll love them if I try them!

    • Jill says:

      Does Forest Walk have “big” sillage? Seems like the sillage on the SSS scents I’ve tried is quite ginormous.

      • Rappleyea says:

        Jill – I don’t think the sillage is as big as say, Champagne de Bois or some of the musk scents. The hemlock is softer and wears closer to the skin. Try a sample and let me know what you think.

        • hajusuuri says:

          I can attest to Champagne de Bois having ginormous sillage. It is unfortunately in my “never wear again in the presence of family” list and since I am working through a lot of samples (and also FBs) of many other perfumes, I am happy for my 2.5 mL sample to go to a new home, no strings attached (not a swap or a sale). I will mail it to the first person in the U.S. who emails me their mailing address – click on my name for the email address to use.

        • Jill says:

          Thanks, Rappleyea! I do want to try this one.

    • Robin says:

      I am happy you are happy! and I’m so glad I finally found this darned sample. I was going to be really embarrassed if I had to ask for another.

      I am assuming that is what Lucasai (above) means by “wormy”. Cracks me up because there is no smell in perfumery that gives me more pleasure than a really good “warm earth” note.

      Treazon is fantastic, and I am sure some of these natural materials are very expensive. I just can’t afford it.

      • Rappleyea says:

        As an aromatherapist, I can attest to how very expensive some of the essential oils are! I can only afford them for therapeutic blends for clients – not my own perfume!

        And yes, I agree that that’s what Lucas meant by “wormy”. Great description! lol! But I also love vetiver (as I know you do), so the earthy works for me!

    • nozknoz says:

      Oh, I should just go straight to Indie Scents for Forest Walk – Vol de Nuit is my favorite Guerlain!

  5. Treazon sounds PERFECT, but at that price, it just ain’t happening for me.

    I recently tried Seville a l’Aube, and while I’m not sure it’s purchase-worthy for me, it may inspire me to go on a big orange blossom sample-buying spree…

    • Robin says:

      The 7 Virtues scent is not a replacement for Seville, mind you! But it is worth a shot if complexity is not what you’re after.

  6. farouche says:

    My first try of Forest Walk didn’t go well, but for some reason I was thinking about it on my way home from work today and decided to track it down for another spritz. How surprised i was to find your review! I hope it will be as easy to find my sample ;)

    • Robin says:

      How funny! And I hope your samples are better organized than mine :-)

      • farouche says:

        It kinda creeped me out. Definitely ESP at work. Found my sample as well as SSS Winter Woods, which I also want to retry.

        • Robin says:

          Oh good! (that you found them, not that I creeped you out!)

          • farouche says:

            No, the ESP creeped me out. Not you :)

          • Robin says:

            Ah. Then maybe I should be creeped out by you ;-)

  7. Omega says:

    Jo M’s O blossom liked the lilac but the water lily or lotus note-watery- didn’t do it for me.

  8. nozknoz says:

    I’m very glad you reviewed these three, Robin. They are all perfumes or houses that I’m interested in due to recommendations of commenters, and your assessment and many comparisons to perfumes I’m more familiar with are very helpful.

  9. 50_Roses says:

    Robin–I just have to say that I really love the photo you chose for this post.

  10. body67 says:

    thanks robin. i’d have to check out sss forest walk, sounds like something i’d enjoy. i have a bottle of nuit etoilee and i have to be honest, i’m not impressed. it’s nice but ‘nice’ doesn’t cut it for me anymore. as an annick goutal creation i find it quite disappointing (very poor longevity and sillage), this coming from a huge fan, i own quite a few ag’s (vetiver, eau de monsieur, encens flamboyant, eau du fier, sables, ambre fetiche, just to name a few). there’s also an artificial/plasticky note in nuit etoilee that really bothers me. anyone else found this or is it just me?

    • Robin says:

      I have not found it plasticky, and I did like it, but did not adore it and so far have not been moved to buy. Then again, Mandragore really did grow on me slowly.

  11. Dionne says:

    It was a lovely surprise to see your review of Afghanistan Orange Blossom here, Robin. I’m glad it’s slowly starting to get more attention in the perfumista community. Like you said, it’s a very simple and happy orange blossom scent, in my mind it’s an “orange blossom training wheels” type of scent. And the humanitarian aspect appeals to me as well.

    I don’t have a massive bottle collection, but whenever I trade decants with someone, I always include a sample of AOB – owning a bottle is one of the perks of living in Canada.

    And I really must try Forest Walk, considering how many SSS fragrances I either own or plan to own.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, excellent way to put it — ob training wheels. Except I do think we all need to keep scents like this around even after we graduate :-)

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