The fragrances themselves reveal vignettes in Ineke's mind which she was searching a way to communicate to the public, given her preceding love for literature.
Ineke Rühland is a Canadian perfumer, the soul behind the Ineke line. She is a classically-trained perfumer who creates beautiful, original scents in her independent studio in San Francisco. She studied perfumery at ISIPCA in Versailles, France (the only official school of perfumery), under the guidance of Yves de Chiris who also helped her train at Quest thereafter and with formidable mentors such as Dominique Ropion and Isabel Doyen.
She apprenticed for three years at a fragrance house in Paris, making pilgrimages to Grasse, perfume capital of the world. Ineke finally decided to move to San Franciso, where she makes her luminous, modern fragrances.
The innovation of the collection is that each fragrance begins with a consecutive letter of the alphabet: A - After My Own Heart; B - Balmy Days and Sundays; C - Chemical Bonding; D - Derring-Do; E-Evening edged in Gold (the latest which came out recently). This original concept allows for both a little literary word play as the fragrant stories pick up from a word starting with each letter and it also serves as a wonderfully practical reminder of which perfume is the latest one, easing the customer into experiencing the evolution of the line.
The Deluxe Sample Collection contains spray samples of all 5 fragrances wrapped in a beautiful soft box with almost the tactile feel of brushed suede and the price is fully redeemable with any product purchase: A great way to try the scents!
After My Own Heart, which Ineke describes as "the scent of fresh lilacs floating on the early breeze" will get a full review shortly. To whet your appetite, I will merely state that it is a soft, subtly sweet, realistic enough lilac scent full of the airy feel of mid-spring. Lilac is an elusive blossom (because it can't be successfully distilled or a true essence extracted) which I dearly hold close to my heart indeed, so some more attention will be given to this one on Perfume Shrine. It has notes of bergamot, raspberry, green foliage, lilac, sandalwood, heliotrope and musk.
Balmy Days and Sundays veers towards a green floral scent with a lightly earthy backnote. It derives its name from The Carpenters' song "Rainy Days And Sundays" but it is in fact its antithesis. Sunny, optimistic and laid back, not rainy at all. Officially described as "a perfume about perfect moments on a relaxing Sunday, lying in the grass, breathing the smells of sweet scented flowers and fragrant leaves", it encompasses notes of freesia, leafy greens, grass, honeysuckle, rose, mimosa, a chypre accent and musk. There is an ozonic note mingled with the freesias that somehow doesn't clinch it for me, although I have to admit that it is not the usual screechy ozonic that we have come to associate with 90s perfumery. The feel is limpid and airy, without the dreaded feel of getting your nose hairs singed by the intense icy "freshness".
Chemical Bonding has uplifting citrus notes with a powdery, clean musk dry down. It is a fragrance that "playfully juxtaposes Chemistry 101 principles with human attraction", comprised of notes of smooth citrus cocktail, tea, blackberry, dewy peony, vetiver, amber and powdery musk. Although musk (as well as powder and vetiver) always catches my attention and I was fully prepared to love this above all others, it proved to be my least favorite in the lineup. Perhaps it is the wrong feel of fresh, a little too high pitched for what I imagined as a soft powdery and earthy with the grass musk. However I can fully see how it fits a summery mood of laid-back lifestyle, cotton clothes drying in the breeze and a cool juice sipped on a bright morning shared between a loving couple.
Derring Do is "an ode to the literary rogue" and comes from old English; a masculine with aromatic touches in the fougère family. Built on a fresh citrus blend, rain notes, cyclamen, magnolia, fougère accents, cardamom, pepper, guaiacwood, cedarwood and musk, the composition is really pleasant, soft and nicely unisex with its subdued woods and spices.
With its effortless character it managed to garner two compliments the day I wore it and its remnants on skin were beckoning me to apply again and again.
Evening Edged in Gold is a departure for the line in that it misses that sparse and translucent feel of the Jean Claude Ellena and Olivia Giacobetti school of thought going instead for a full bodied floriental that aims at serious evening seduction. Like munching Life Savers and plums under a blossoming tree in the heart of summer, it shows that Ineke has diversity and explores new horizons. Who knows what the next one will bring! It comprises notes of notes of osmanthus, plum, angel's trumpet, saffron, cinnamon bark, midnight candy, leather and woods. Angel's Trumpet and Midnight Candy are both plants (poisonous! closely related to datura) which project their sweet smell far in the evening breeze to aid pollination. Their magic is rendered through synthesis and married to the heavenly apricoty aroma of osmanthus, a flower prized in the East, they render a charming composition with a subtle leathery, slightly spicy and woodsy drydown that holds the whole in check, vaguely reminiscent of Daim Blond by Lutens.
Fragrances come in a sparse, hefty glass bottle of 75ml/2.5oz Eau de Parfum concentration and retail at 88$.
They are available at: Beautyhabit, Takashimaya, Begdorf Goodman, Fred Segal, Louis Boston, Luilei online, Holt Renfrew in Canada, Liberty in the UK, Bioty Bar in France, Sundhaft in Munich and Department Store Quartier 206 in Berlin, Germany, Profumeria Scarazinni in Milan, Italy and with plans to expand in many more countries (take a look for full list of stores)
To try the Ineke Deluxe Sample Pack, click here.
Pics through Ineke.