O Tannenbaum! A Joint Blogging Event

Welcome to the new BoTO! What better way to kick off a new year than with a new format and a joint-blogging project? Anne-Marie and I are delighted to share our thoughts on three woody perfumes to celebrate the holiday season: Ava Luxe Madeline, Tauer Lonestar Memories, and Sonoma Scent Studio Fig Tree… a scent we completely disagree on. Enjoy!



Floral perfumes usually induce a mood or a state of mind for me, in an abstract way. But perfumes with strong woody accents often do more than that: they take me to different place.

I like fig fragrances and dozing in the shade of a grove of fig trees is my idea of heaven, but sadly, Sonoma Scent Studio’s Fig Tree does not take me there. Laurie wanted to de-emphasise the coconut-y notes that fig scents often have, and indeed I don’t smell coconut specifically. What I get is a dense, creamy, swirling, curdling morass. The creaminess catches in my throat and feels sickly. I do get a little bit of sharp greenery, and quite a bit of earth, but not a kind of earth I want to be near. The creaminess is so strong to me that it must be preventing me from smelling the other notes. I get no vanilla, for instance, and none of the cedar that Natalie on Another Perfume Blog found so intriguing. The most I can say is that as the fragrance develops, a little bit of pleasant fruit finally gets a look in. Sigh. Sorry everyone. After writing this review I will be heading into the shower.

Andy Tauer’s Lonestar Memories is a fragrance I love to smell but rarely wear. Once you have been testing and wearing fragrances for a while you do begin to understand the difference. Like many other people I get the birch tar effect very strongly in the opening of Lonestar Memories, and while it reminds me of the creosote I used to notice on fences in the hot sun during my childhood, I love to smell it. How weird is that? The Lonestar Memories bloke is a man of few words; curt, even, while he is at work in the saddle. In the evening, as sunset gives way to firelight, he can finally relax. He doesn’t mind a yarn or two in front of the fire, and you might even catch a slow smile every now and again, as he muses over distant memories of other nights like this.


Unlike Anne-Marie, I don’t like fig fragrances. I love the distinctive figgy-smell of Estee Lauder lipsticks, and I love the smell of cooked fig (with prosciutto) on pizza, and the faintly fruity aroma of dried figs as I pop them into my mouth—but until I met Fig Tree, there wasn’t a fig fragrance  that I liked enough to own or even wear. I thought I wanted a ripe, fruity, fig… until I met Sonoma Scent Studio’s Fig Tree. It is my perfect fig fragrance: it possesses an addictive quality that I love, beginning with the green, almost sharp, opening that segues into  calming cedar with an earthiness that reminds me of playing in piles of leaves during the bright fall days of my New England childhood. For the remainder of wear-time (which is many hours on my skin) it’s all creamy woods, and when I catch a whiff of it on a sweater a day or two later, I swoon all over again. Despite  mentions of “creaminess,” Fig Tree isn’t at all gourmand.

A big perfume from the smallest state, Ava Luxe Madeline is bottled Christmas. Not Christmas as I think of it now—with accompanying traffic, greed, consumerism, and guilt, but the sacred days of childhood Christmas: excitement, anticipation, evergreen trees, spiced cider, apple pies, and the delight of a warm living room after a romp in the snow with my cousins. Madeline is comforting and enticing—it’s foody, though distinctly inedible. It’s sweet, and a little weird (spiced eggnog and Fir tree, with a juniper wreath in the background); it’s also one of my all-time favorite sleep scents.

Check out other participating ‘O Tannenbaum’ bloggers!

All I am… a redhead :: Another Perfume Blog :: Beauty, Bacon, Bunnies :EauMG :: Eyeliner on a cat :: Fragrant Reviews :: Muse in Wooden Shoes :: Olfactoria”s Travels :: Parfumieren :: Redolent of Spices :: Scent of the Day :: Suzanne’s Perfume Journal :: The Candy Perfume Boy :: Undina’s Looking Glass

56 thoughts on “O Tannenbaum! A Joint Blogging Event

  1. It is lovely to “hear” your beautiful writing voice again, Dee!
    Now I’m even more intrigued about Fig Tree, since you two have such different perceptions of it. I hope to smell what Dee smells here! 🙂

    1. Fig Tree is on it’s merry way to you! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it too— it will be interesting! 🙂

      It’s good to be “back.” I needed a face-lift, and I feel reinvigorated already 😉

  2. I am sorry to say that I don’t like Madeline or Lonestar Memories, and have a hunch that I would find Fig Tree a “curdling morass” too, if it was at all possible to do so. Great review though, even if some Tannenbaum-y type scents are not my style!

    1. These are each rather polarizing scents, aren’t they? I thought it was fun when Anne-Marie told me her thoughts of Fig Tree, since I like it so much 🙂

    2. But do give FT a try if you can. Honestly, I sometimes think that my nose must be upside down – I react so differently.

  3. Ha! Funny how you have completely different opinions of Fig tree. 🙂
    Now I’m wondering how would I like it, I’m a huge fig lover…

    1. Ines, I think that you and I have similar taste, so it will be interesting to see what you think of FT; I guess maybe it will depend on how it wears on your skin?

  4. Loving the new look BoTO!

    It’s interesting about Fig Tree. It was driving me crazy thinking of how to describe the problem I have with the SSS perfumes and the other night I hit on it – creaminess! I think some people, like me and probably annemarie, are sensitive to the SSS signature musk which we perceive as creaminess, but others don’t. Just a thought.

    Lonestar Memories is a great perfume but nothing I would want to smell of. It’s more greasy biker than cowboy to me 🙂

    1. Wow! I wonder what musk that is? That makes sense though, since musks can be perceived in wildly different ways. Mure et Musc smells like blackberries to some people, and like vomit to me, so I can completely understand! Did you find creaminess in Fig Tree as well? I feel like I’ve heard that it’s different in the base than her pillar fragrances. 🙂

      Greasy biker! Wow, that does not sound appetizing… Lol!

    2. You are right, I think there is something in the base of SSS perfumes that I cannot deal with. I’ve tried all or most of them, and some I have liked, but really the only one I can wear with any real pleasure these days is Femme Jolie (now d/c) which is similar to Lutens’ Feminite de Bois. I get coconut very distinctly from Champagne de Bois, and so does my teenage son. He also hated Fig Tree. Interesting.

  5. Loved reading your two polar opposite takes on fig tree! 🙂 Since I’m a fan of a good number of SSS fragrances, and since I think I often overlaps in my perfume tastes with Dee, I have a feeling I’m going to love this one when I finally get around to trying it.

    The thing you’ve really got me jonesing to smell, though, is Madeline. Dee, you make it sound a bit like some of my favorite Serge Lutens fragrances — do you find it so?

    1. Suzanne, I’ll bet you a dollar that you’ll love Fig Tree! 😉
      Madeline is really neat–it’s very over the top, in the way that ol’ uncle Serge does them, but I don’t think that anyone would mistake it for a Lutens… it’s quite bright, compared to the darker vibe I get from most of the Lutens/Sheldrake perfumes.

      But I hope that you’ll try both! 🙂

  6. Dee- you make Fig Tree sound sooo good! I haven’t really fallen in love with any ‘green fig’ scents either- so maybe I should try this one too. (The only fig I love is Mandy’s)
    Anne Marie- it was interesting to read your opposite take on it too..:)- My tastes usually overlaps with both of you so I wonder which camp I’ll fall into..:)

  7. Great post!
    I like SSS Fig Tree but I’m a fig fragrance fan. With Fig Tree, I get astringency and sharpness from cedar. It seems to be more about the greens/woods than the fruit on my skin.
    Happy holidays! Enjoy your first Texan Christmas, Dee!

      1. I don’t get any fruit from the straight Fig Tree, but I should confess that Laurie made me some fir absolute to go with it, which I use to layer (when the mood strikes). The fir is incredibly jammy and delicious, and works really well with FT.

    1. The greens and woods are soooo good here! I especially love how it lingers on clothes…

      Thank you! I love Texas so far, and I’m looking forward to spending our first Christmas here! It’s funny, that you’re a southern girl moved to the PNW, and I’M a PNW gal moved south… 😉

  8. Thank you Annemarie & Dee! I really liked the “opposing viewpoints” over Fig Tree. I’m always up for giving a new fig fragrance a try. (PS to Dee – happy blog makeover!)

    1. A face-lift is so refreshing… 😉

      I love the idea of Fig in fragrance so much, I am so happy that I finally found “mine.” I wonder if I’ll develop an appreciation for other figs now that I’ve fallen for one??

  9. I enjoyed the clashing Fig Tree reviews! I haven’t tried it, and I’m not sure I will – I don’t dig the fig.

    I also haven’t tried Lonestar Memories. I must admit I’m a little frightened of it! I do like the sound of the Lonestar Memories Man Anne Marie has created.
    A slow smile by the fire….le sigh…

    1. I love the smell of campfire, but I’m with you Joanne… a little bit frightened of Lonestar Memories!

      Do you like Laurie’s other fragrances I wonder? Because if Fig is the only thing you are opposed to, I’d say try it anyway, if you get the chance. Fig fragrances haven’t worked for me ’til this one, so it might be the fig-haters fig!

    2. Strength and tenderness, that’s the Lonestar Memories guy. It’s a sexy combination. Believe me, if I find him I’m keeping him!

  10. I love the new blog look, and so enjoyed your different takes on Fig Tree, as well as the other reviews (thanks for the link!). I can relate to you, Anne Marie, in not necessarily wanting to wear Lonestar Memories (although I do sometimes) but loving it as a scent.

    1. Thank you so much N! I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, and just needed an excuse. So a big thanks goes out to Joanne & Krista for suggesting the joint-blogging event!! 🙂

      Isn’t it delightful how differently we wear and perceive fragrance? I know that Anne-Marie has exceptionally good taste (it’s what brought us together in the first place), so it must smell completely different on her skin 🙂

      1. Oh flattery will get you everywhere dee! (But thank you!)Yes, it is weird but also wonderful how people react so differently to perfume. One of these days I really must try Secretions Maginfiques, just to see how I’d go.

        What would make a great post would be for someone to say ‘I LOVE [insert name perfume] because … ‘ and others could chime in and say ‘I HATE [same perfume] because … ‘.

        1. Let’s do it! I think if we can find a couple others that are polarizing to us, that would open a fun discussion! Maybe we should just send each other “hate” lists, lol! 😉

  11. Fig Tree sounds intriguing, and anything that polarises opinion is definitely worth trying.

    I have to admit that I can’t make my mind up about Lonestar Memories, I’ve had a sample for a while and I go from liking it to hating it, it certainly is unique.

    It’s great to have BOTO back 😀

    1. I agree Tommy—polarizing scents s worth trying! Because when they work fir you, they really, really work!

      It’s good to be back. I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be a very productive year for Anne-Marie and I… 🙂

    2. Thanks, it is good to be back. I love that the Tauer samples are generous, and the perfumes usually quite strong, so you get a lot of use out of one sample while you make up your mind.

  12. Hi Dee and AnneMarie, great idea to post both opinions on Fig Tree, I’m tempted to give it a go, when Dee, normally a non-fig- fragrance person (like myself;-)) likes it. I agree on Lonestar Cowboy, really great to take out and sniff, but I never actually wear it. And Madeline- bottled Christmas- wow, that’s me off to order some pronto 🙂 Thanks for ideas and a very happy xmas to both of you.

      1. Hihi AnneMarie, it just took me a second to realise that ” the fog for you” was not a fancy slang idiom for “dog’s bollocks” but just a typo. I hope it will be 🙂

  13. Thanks for joining O Tannenbaum! I feel exactly the same way about Lonestar Memories! It strongly reminds me of a fantasy cowboy character when I smell it. I love it for that, but I can’t wear it – it’s too much like cross-dressing, you know?

    1. Yes, fun for when you are at home by yourself. I wouldn’t dare wear it to work. I often wonder how successful it is for Andy in terms of sales. I lot of people seem to asy they like it but don’t wear it.

    2. You know Krista, describing Lonestar as “cross dressing” is the first time I’ve felt truly compelled to get ahold of a sample to try! Lol, sometimes all I need is an appeal to my perverse side 😉

      I’m so happy that we were able to participate! We needed a re-launching pad, and this was perfect! 🙂

  14. I don’t like fig scents (it’s the leaf, I’m almost certain), and I didn’t care for Fig Tree. Big surprise there.

    Still haven’t tried Lonestar Memories – but the smoky aspect worries me.

    Madeline, on the other hand, sounds lovely.

    1. Mals, I know you love Champagne de Bois, so I’m guessing that the bases aren’t a problem— was it the astringency that didn’t work, or just an overall dislike?

  15. What a fun idea to do two opposite opinions reviews! 🙂

    I love Fig Tree – so there I’m with Dee. I thought exactly the same thing as Anne-Marie about Lonestar Memories (like the scent but do not want to smell like it). And I put Madeline on my “Tannenbaum to try” list.

    Dee, I hoped you would tell us more about the special addition to the Fig Tree you’ve got…

    1. Undina, when I saw that you got a bottle of FT, and straight from the perfumer? I was green with envy! But of course, now I’ve got my own, and green has faded back to my usual olive 🙂

      We ended up not doing a special edition, because I couldn’t decide on the concentration of fir to be added—some times I liked it with more, sometimes with less, and sometimes with none at all, so she did a bottle of fir special for me, to layer with “as needed” which has worked out nicely, since now I have variety in application options 🙂

      Here’s an interesting tidbit: my love of her Champagne de Bois is no secret, but in the short amount of time I’ve had Fig Tree, I’ve already used more of it than I have of CdB in a year! I really spray the heck out of it….

      1. Since I got my Fig Tree cream I’m addicted to it: I use it almost every night and it feels just wonderful. I will use the perfume when it’s a little warmer. And, of course, now I’m curious about that fir addition (not edition – I realized earlier when you posted on FB that you ended up not doing it).

        1. I’m addicted to it too! Although I got the body silk, not the jar cream, because I have a personal hatred for jars 😉
          But the smell is sooo beautiful, and the formula is so great!!!


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