Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ineke Field Notes from Paris: fragrance review

Field Notes from Paris is the latest installment in the alphabetized line by San Francisco-based independent perfumer Ineke Rühland, a woody oriental inspired by her early days studying perfumery in Paris and at the Versailles, her strolls at le Marais and the fervour of trying to accumulate knowledge of her craft. The first four fragrances, alphabetized from A to D, came out in 2006. Two years later came Evening edged in Gold with its unusual candied and hypnotic Angel’s Trumpet floral note. And now the first scent to depart from the sharper flowers' schema into a more shadowy alley: Field Notes from Paris. The advertising slogan of "Life measured out in coffee spoons" recalls of course T.S Eliot and where else but in Paris, coffee capital of the world probably, would this hold any more true (romantically and not cynically so, I might add)?

Ineke aimed to capture "the romantic, nostalgic feeling of sitting at a café and writing in a journal while lingering for hours over a cafe crème". I can just picture her starting her day sipping one at Au Petit Fer à Cheval on Rue Vielle du Temple on her route to book shopping at the nearby La Belle Hortense. And what better (and more standard accompaniment) to coffee than a puff of a cigarette, preferably the unfiltered ones which Parisians love to drag on still? It's no accident that F.Malle commissioned perfumer Carlos Benaïm with a home fragrance called "Coffee Society"!
Conversely to the retro cool ashtray note that several old-fashioned chypres convey with much flair (just think of Cellier's Bandit in Eau de Parfum), the tobacco featured in Field Notes from Paris is cuddlier and sweeter, unlit, devoid of its tough exteriors in an enigmaric warm and comforting embrace of a little smooth, aged patchouli and hay (but no coffee notes to speak of), but ~wait! is there a delicious whiff of leather, some honey and some lavender somewhere in there? The impression I am given is of a mellow masculine fougère, feathered out to its woodier extremities, especially in the opening which features the most interesting mentholated little wink.
Judging by the retro fougère resurgence which we are experiencing in the niche sector lately (Geranium pour Monsieur, Fourreau Noir), I think Ineke is on to something; let's not forget how tobacco in perfumes is becoming the only acceptable way of getting your fix now, the launch of Havana Vanille and thevery densely tobacco-ish Bell'Antonio by Hilde Soliani other examples of the genre. Ineke's fingers are firmly on the pulse!
The finishing off in sweeter Virginian cedar (just a touch) and the rounding of lightly vanillic, resinous tones makes Field Notes from Paris wearable by both sexes, if so inclined, although women who usually go for smoother, more powdery vanillas in the woody oriental scheme (such as Trouble or Brit) and surypy thick ambers might have their expectations not met at all. The rest can breathe with relief; money well spent.

Notes for Ineke Field Notes from Paris:
Top: orange blossom, lemon and coriander
Heart: tobacco blossom, patchouli and cedar
Base: tonka bean, benzoin and vanilla

Field Notes from Paris is available in 75ml/2.5oz of Eau de Toilette for 88$ directly from the official
Ineke site.
In the interests of disclosure I was sent a sample in a cute "matchbox" by the perfumer as part of a loyalty scheme.
Pics via anxietyneurosis.wordpress and pinksith.com


  1. I was there only last month, I drank at Petit Fer A Cheval and picked up a bottle of Havana Vanille. But for my money a finer fragrance is Tobacco Mucho by Stephanie de Saint Aignan.

  2. This sounds wonderful- and I like the line generally- although I admit I am slightly sucked in by the lovely packaging. I am sure I must need some for my next trip to Paris to sit around in cafes!

    I am not and never have been a smoker but it distresses me when I say to friends that I like the smell of tabacco flower- I do try and explain it's different and that cigarettes are full of chemicals but it often falls on deaf ears- and they look aghast. It rather amuses me to know they are actually where scents full of the stuff!

  3. Hello there Mr.LS and thanks for stopping by and commenting! :-)
    How cool, it's been ages pour moi...I admit I haven't tried the Tobacco Mucho by SdSA yet, so making a mental note based on your recommendation.

  4. K,

    Ineke's packaging is one of the chicest among niche lines, I agree. BTW, I can't say that her line worked too well for me in the past, although After my Own Heart is to my taste (the others were either a bit too sharp or too sweet for me personally). This one I could see myself wearing quite a bit!
    Tobacco when unlit is a totally different affair than cigarette ash (or the smell of the smoke in a smoker's den, which is what it used to be here and in Paris till very very recently, you know, LOL!)Tobacco leaf has a very rich, honeyed smell with lots of aromas intermingled according to region produced and conditions of drying, from coffee and whiskey to cherry blossom even. It's fascinating!

  5. And I don't smoke either :-)

  6. "the romantic, nostalgic feeling of sitting at a café and writing in a journal while lingering for hours over a cafe crème" - these words, the image that forms in my mind caught me, I want to be there!

    this is the first that i've heard of Ineke's line. field notes from paris just might be my holiday fragrance for my trip to europe next june, which includes paris (but not greece at this stage ... though I am now wondering why not?)!

  7. brie12:12

    Bought a full bottle of this one until my teenage daughter stole it from me! I agree with the other commenter that the bottles and packaging are as enticing as the fragrances! I have tried them all and could see that there would be something for everyone in this line-it is quite diverse in notes and style. my favorite of the bunch is evening edged in gold-love the osmanthus and the leather note reminds me of delicately scented suede gloves. that one will be my next full bottle.


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