In these times of brash crassness, not only politically and culturally, but also within perfume, it is nice to come across a new line of scents with a sense of detachment. A fullness of essence, but also an undeniable, quiet dignity.


The initial five fragrances in Lyn Harris’s new collection comprise two light hearted and exuberant creations (Heliotrope, which I reviewed recently, and the zingingly and refreshingly green Cologne, which I am definitely going to wear soon when Spring fully awakens), and three others – Rose, Leather, and Velvet, that all vibrate at lower, more reflective – even depressive – oscillations.














I must confess that I am tired of rose. This is not the fault of the flower or the aroma itself, but of the sheer avalanche of chemical, synthetic pink pepper ‘peony’ bouquets over the last few years that sicken me to my stomach. They have ruined one of my favourite essential oils, very nearly ( I can still enjoy the scent of a good rose otto, just about ), but it has been a two pronged assault: either the Salvatore Ferragamo Stella Mcartney Paul Smith Valentino plastic bride horror, or on the other, the fake oudh/ rose pseudo oriental harem that provokes equal levels of olfactory lassitude.



Perfumer H’s rose is not a scent I would personally wear either, but I do like it. Rather than a shrill soprano, this is a fulsome contralto: liquid and aromatic, the rose at the heart and within the perfume calling to you with magnetically soft fougere accents beneath –  gentle, uncliched patchouli; black pepper, carrot seed and smooth, delicate musk – a beautiful woman in a trench coat, perhaps, at twilight, on some secret assignation.










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Again, Perfumer H takes the route less travelled with Leather, avoiding the standard bitter hide quinoline of most cuirs or leathers and giving us in its stead a melancholically grey suede  – frowning but good hearted –  on a bleak, winter afternoon. Smelling this scent I was immediately reminded of the Arab perfumery I visited many years ago in Kuala Lumpur’s China Town,  years before the whole oudh craze began, when I experienced so many new kinds of smells that it was as if I had landed on a new  planet.


Besides the Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese oudhs that were so pungent and animalic I could hardly comprehend my nostrils, there were also other incensed, medicinal, clay-like scents on display in that fascinating purveyor of perfumes that transfixed me completely even though I didn’t quite know how to process or make sense of them. Perfumer H’s leather is no way near as ‘difficult’ from a western perspective, but it does very much remind of some of those perfumes, with their tendrils of Catholicism woven into the Islamic textures. There is a very cool (in all senses) aspect in this perfume, with iris, and Earl Grey tea accents layering the soft kid leather of the heart. It is a sophisticated scent, suave and seductive, but with just the right level of disengagement to make you want to find out more.







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Duncan was wearing Velvet when we spent an afternoon in Jimbocho two Sundays ago – the place you can see in these non sequitur photos. This scent has a quite classical feel to it – masculine but refined, a woody aromatic chypre with an orris/spice and oakmoss, frankincense/ patchouli undertow, that leaves a nuzzling, prickly sillage in its wake –  more like the tangible rasp of tweed to me than the smoothness of velvet, but it is certainly an excellent modern update of a bygone format. Gentlemanly – letting you read between the lines and slowly feel out its personality. Thoughtful. Sensual. But prudent.








Filed under chypres, Flowers, Leather, Rose

17 responses to “SUBDUED, CONSIDERED: : : ROSE + LEATHER + VELVET by PERFUMER H (2015)

  1. datura5750

    Again, wonderful photos!

  2. Yes, I agree…the photos are awesome!

  3. Katy

    Your writing made me want to try these! Mission accomplished!

    • …though in truth I wouldn’t wear these three because I don’t do the woody thing – don’t know if you do.

      One thing I am sure of though is that this woman can definitely craft a three dimensional scent with decent ingredients. I am beginning to realize that this is actually far less common that it should be, even in very expensive niche scents. Too many of them are just blocks of smells to me with no space or coherence, no message or internal chemistry, if you know what I mean.

  4. Nancysg

    I can’t resist noting the two cats with their little white sweaters are adorable.

  5. Dearest Ginza
    Lyn Harris is a rather remarkable perfumeur in such an understated way. Your words and the photographs that don’t, but do, go, capture that air of engaged disengagement that are essential to her mixes.
    Going about her craft, designing scents that make sense, are always diverting and occasionally quite remarkable. Stepping back from her own brand, just as it was, is, about to go global.
    I realised, quite recently, that I probably have as much by her as any other ‘nose’ bar Daltroff, Roudnitska, Angela Flanders and a handful of other ‘greats’ and favourites, yet I see her dismissed so often.
    I wonder if it might be because neither she nor her inventions clamour for the spotlight, but are quite happy simply to be.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Glorious musings once again. I love reading your reviews on these newer, yet interesting, fragrances. You give them life and breath, you help them to come alive for us, the readers. Thank you.

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