Monday, April 21, 2008

Ineke: Fragrant Presentation

It is often that I am taken by surprise in not having sampled lines which are making a ripple in the pond of niche perfumery: After all one can test only so much! My surprise turned into elation when I got the Deluxe Sample Pack that contains samples of all the current collection by Ineke. Not only is the presentation modern and aesthetically fabulous, it has the distinct air of care and understated luxury printed all over it. Coming in an anthracite box of velvety feel it opens like a matchbox to reveal five small cardboard boxes with different designs on them which you slide to open. Inside are little spray vials (actually there's quite enough quantity in each to allow for numerous tests!), each wrapped in correspondingly coloured paper. So cute! Perhaps the loveliest presentation of fragrances I have seen in sample form and a lesson for all niche brands.
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.


  1. what a fantastic summation, Helg! i've been curious about Evening Edged in Gold because Angel's Trumpet (also called Brugmansia, a very close relative of Datura) is such a love of mine, but near-impossible to find.

  2. Thank you Risa for your compliment :-) Glad you enjoyed it. I think you would like EEiG, if only because it has the intense headiness of those evening flowers.

  3. Anonymous15:44

    Hello E! Hope you're well. Have recently been through a phase of reading posts only but think my commenting voice has returned. I thoroughly enjoyed your Absinthe series, btw. A dear friend of mine has an Ineke sample pack and we have cooed over its perfect small beauty. I think I might cave and obtain one for myself and then cave again for the Evening Edged in Gold which I have sampled twice now in Liberty and feel myself falling for. The apricoty osmanthus note is bewitching. I thought I smelled a certain similarity to Armani Prive Cuir Amytheste but you are right - it's traces of Daim Blond - maybe the apricot. Nicola

  4. Welcome back Nicola, I am overjoyed to hear from you! Your commenting voice is wonderfull clever and erudite as usual: "cooed over its perfect small beauty" is a wonderful term for this little gem!
    When you get the EEiG I hope you get lots of pleasure out of it: it has indeed an apricoty smell (of osmnathus) just like in Daim Blond, but sweeter and with much more "projection" than DB. It has more ooomph!
    Do you enjoy Daim Blond, btw?

  5. Anonymous17:37

    Thanks, E you make me smile! I do enjoy Daim Blond now but it took a few attempts. It wasn't how I had previously enjoyed my leathers (Bandit, Diorling, one of the Balmains, Cuir de Russie) so I rather dismissed it. Once I had discarded the leather tag in relation to DB I loved it.

  6. A ha! We seem to have the same taste in leathers I see! (I like all of those you mention!)

    I might had been able to like DB perhaps if seen through this prism you mention; although for me that muted sweetness with heliotropin ruined it...(nevertheless, Kelly Caleche which was also touted to be a leather floral, in which I was searching to find the leather, I liked! Go figure! Maybe because it is non-sweet.)
    I see lots of people love DB though, so I am clearly missing something and your comment confirms it. Maybe at some point down the road I will try it again a few times and see how it goes.

  7. Anonymous23:05

    Hi Helg,

    I love the presentation also of the samples. I wish I loved the fragrances. When I tried them, they all smelled like fabric softener on me. I was disappointed. With exception to Derring Do, they share a similarity to the Clean line.

    And then I was sent a sample of EEiG and it was quite a departure from A, B, and C and did not have that fabric softener smell. I think your pretty right on with your comparison of this to Dame Blond. I never put that together, but yeah, they are reminiscient of one another.

    I like EEiG the best in this line. Can't wait to sniff "F" to see if that could be the one I fall for.


  8. Dear Dawn,

    I can see how the few first are not to your taste (I didn't love them either, with the exception of AmoH for its very specific reasons, more of which later on).
    The Clean line...God forbid, those were trully horrible...I'm sorry if fans of the line read us, but that's just my opinion.
    EeiG is very special though and has many fans! To me it's rather too sweet for a full bottle (although a decant is probably in my future) and like you I can't wait for the F.

  9. Thanks for this post--looking forward to sampling her wares.

  10. I am glad you liked it! (and I am going over to your project shortly: had no idea!)


Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu, below text box (Anonymous is fine too!) and hit Publish.
And you're set!

This Month's Popular Posts on Perfume Shrine