Olfactif Perfume Subscription Box Review – March 2015
Olfactif is a monthly perfume sampling subscription. Every month, you’ll receive a curated collection of three niche fragrances each month (2.25 ml sprays of each) from perfume artists around the world. You will also receive an $18 credit toward the full-bottle purchase of a featured fragrance.
The Subscription Box: Olfactif
The Cost: $18/month
The Products: Three 2.25 ml sample spray bottles of 3 niche fragrances from perfume artists around the world.
Ships to: US
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your Wish List or Subscription List!
Every Olfactif box contains an informational card detailing the fragrances and theme for the month. This month’s theme is “Inspiration is Everywhere,” which points out the infinite number of people, places, and things can inspire perfumers (or any artist, really).
This theme card is also beautifully written and I love the themes Olfactif comes up with. When I first started reviewing Olfactif, I initially thought “How many themes can there be for a perfume sub? Flowers, vanillas, and woods?” I’ve been impressed with the creativity and originality of themes that they’ve presented.
There are a couple things that are very important to keep in mind when sampling perfumes: First, perfumes literally smell different on every person due to the way the fragrance oils play with an individual’s body chemistry. Secondly, there are many notes in each fragrance and perfumes are designed with a story and progression of notes in mind. The top notes are what you smell right away, the middle notes are what you smell about 10 minutes after spraying, and then the base note is what you smell about 30 minutes of wearing it and what stays with you throughout the day.
Neon Graffiti from Jazmin Saraï – This fragrance was inspired by the song “Sunshowers” by M.I.A. The perfumer is a classically trained singer/songwriter, and makes perfumes inspired by songs that hold sentimental importance to her. Neon Graffiti contains notes of bergamot, grapefruit, cardamom absolute, cool mint, mimosa absolute, sunflower accord, cedarwood, incense, and abrox. It’s a poignant perfume that feels crisp and tropical. After watching the music video (which is set in a rain forest), I can see a connection, too. It’s not my personal taste for myself, but I enjoy seeing the story and inspiration behind its creation.
Blood Sweat Tears from Atelier de Geste – Atelier de Geste is a Brooklyn-based performance-inspired studio, and the perfumer also makes clothing and sculptures. This scent, specifically, “is a flowing, pulsating, mutating scent featuring the essences that keep us moving in our daily lives: teas, tobacco, jasmine, ancient fruit.” Its notes include black tea, green tea, bergamot, tobacco, spices, fig, jasmine, wood, bark, and sandalwood. I wasn’t sure I’d like this perfume because of the bergamot, spices, and tobacco notes, but it’s actually much lighter than I thought it would be (especially after it settles into its middle and base notes). I can really smell the fig and teas!
1804 from Histories de Parfums – This perfume has an interesting story behind it. Here’s what the website says:
“1804 is inspired by Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, born in Paris on July 1, 1804. She would later become the baroness of Dudevant. But if you know her at all, you probably know her as George Sand, the pen name she used as one of France’s celebrated novelists. She smoked tobacco in public, wore men’s clothing, and had well-publicized affairs, including one with composer Frédéric Chopin.”
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin is definitely an inspiration for how she laughed in the face of stereotypes and gender roles, but this perfume is also a very interesting take on the way she inspired the perfumer. The main note is absolutely Hawaiian pineapple, and other notes include Tahitian gardenia, Corsican peach, clove, nutmeg, Indian jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, sandalwood, patchouli, benzoin, vanilla, and white musk.
This perfume is probably my favorite of the three. It’s a fruity, tropical, light scent that’s well balanced by the sandalwood, patchouli, and white musk.
Verdict: This month’s Olfactif had a really great theme and I enjoyed learning about the stories and inspiration behind each fragrance. I think Olfactif does a great job with their subscription: the packaging is really nice and I like that the cost of the box gets attributed to your account as a credit towards a full-size fragrance each month (they don’t stack up or carry over each month, though). Part of me wishes that there could be some light customization of the fragrances sent to you, but I know that this would limit/complicate their ability to present their own themes to you every month. Also, like I said before, there’s definitely some value in exposing yourself to more fragrances and learning more about them.
After trying a few months of Olfactif, I can say that if you’re someone who only really likes sugary and sweet fragrances, this probably isn’t the best subscription for you. Olfactif exposes you to lots of different scents and pushes you out of your fragrance comfort zone and most of them, so far, haven’t been super sweet perfumes.