Sonoma Scent Studio, Nostalgie

When Laurie offered to send a sample of her newest fragrance along with my purchase of 2011’s Fig Tree, I (of course) accepted the gracious offer. While I don’t categorize myself as a vintage-fragrance lover, I most certainly categorize myself as a die-hard SSS fan (one bottle of each fragrance in my cabinet is a dream I hope to one day fulfill).

When that little vial arrived, I glanced at the attached note-card “notes” listing:

“aldehydes, jasmine, rose, mimosa absolutes, mysore sandalwood, violet leaf, orris, amber, oakmoss, musk.”

Those notes don’t particularly speak to me. If I was reading a review on say, Now Smell This, and the reviewer listed those notes, they would not inspire a blind-buy, even from the catalogue that I’ve had the most consistent success with. Because, let’s face it, I’m not an AldeHo. And while I like (maybe even love) rose, I don’t much care for jasmine, and on top of that, there are only a few vintage style fragrances that really appeal to me (Unspoken, Citizen Queen, Ivoire de Balmain).

But the reality of a perfume can transcend the perfumer’s list of notes, and Nostalgie is a fine example. One sniff and I’m sold. This stuff smells like gold.

The aldehydes don’t employ the blasting quality made famous by Chanel— a plus in my book— just a golden effervescence, followed by a warm, velvety textured melange. Here’s what I love best: while I can identify some sultry jasmine, for the most part, each of the notes is so well-blended into the others, I can’t pick apart the composition. There are a few fragrances that “read” this way for me, and they all happen to be favorites. It’s seamless, and it’s beautiful.

Nostalgie smells of fine things. The image it paints for me is of a woman who is used to the finest of everything, but isn’t haughty or superior about it. She sees her privilege as an opportunity to do good, and we love her for it. A modern woman with an old-fashioned taste for masterfully artisan crafted things.

In my obviously biased opinion, it’s what Kate should have worn instead of that bland, boring, White Gardenia Petals thing.

35 thoughts on “Sonoma Scent Studio, Nostalgie

  1. I hope that one day you will have a bottle of each SSS perfume too!

    As for Nostagie, it just goes to show that in the right hands, notes you might not normally go for can suddenly work wonders. Modern scents with a vintage feel are very appealing to me but I don’t own any as yet (I have to learn to love the cinnamon in URC). Sounds like this was a very pleasant surprise.

    1. It’s SO true Tara, it’s all in how those notes are handled! I’m pretty sure that Laurie is my scent-twin, because she seems to balance each scent perfectly to my tastes, lol!
      It was a pleasant surprise, because unlike Natalie, I didn’t like the earlier mod very much! I’m not sure what happened between that version and the one I have now, but it was surely magic 🙂

  2. Perfect review! I got a sample of Nostalgie as well, and I love it.

    The recent “old-fashioned perfume” trend is so beautiful and I’m glad it is on the up.
    After DSH Pandora and Vert pour Madame and Mandy’s Secret Garden this is the next indie “vintage”, I find irresistible.

    I love how you paired Nostalgie with Kate.

    1. Nostalgie is the perfect fragrance for Kate, never mind that it didn’t exist when she got married, haha! 😉

      I agree with you completely—the old-fashioned trend is just what we need right now! That Roja Dove Unspoken parfum about knocked my socks off…


  3. I really need to try this – you are creating too many SSS lemmings Dee. I didn’t know I liked vintage fragrances but it turns out I do! I am with you on the aldehydes though- i think I like BdI inspite of the aldehydes not because of it..Come to think think of it I don’t like ‘fizz’ in drinks either- don’t like sparkling water And as a child I’d let carbonated drinks like pepsi and fanta sit around until the fizz disappeared and then drink it. There must be a connection, no? But I do like the way Laurie handles aldehydes- I didn’t find Champagne de Bois very ‘fizzy’ and I like that about it..:)

    1. Lavanya, I hope that you do! Sonoma Scent Studio offerings get more sophisticated with each release— which is pretty profound for a perfumer who’s earlier work is still on par with Guerlain’s offerings (Yep, I’m biased).

      She does aldehydes just right, which is probably why I ultimately prefer Champagne de Bois to Bois des Iles, even though that BdI dry-down is heavenly 🙂

  4. Laurie Erickson is one of my all-time favorite perfumers, and one of the VERY few from whom I’ve ever bought a full bottle. I still need to try her newest ones.

    I think the creation of neo-vintage perfumes is an exciting trend, since there are now many more materials to work with, allowing us indie perfumers to fuse modern techniques and concepts with traditional quality.

    1. Ellen! Thank you so much for commenting! And speaking of indie perfumers, I still want a bottle of Olympic Amber… it’s on the list 🙂

      Modern techniques and traditional quality is exactly where the niche industry should be: it’s such a refreshing change from the plethora iFrags on the market.

  5. “Golden” is a perfect description.

    I received a sample of this today and I kept thinking it smelled Golden, too. I expected something very different given the rose/jasmine but I love this Golden Elixir.

  6. Nostalgie is really beautiful. I hope it will continue to help inspire the trend among perfumers to look back to the great vintages for inspiration. Can’t wait for the release so I can get my bottle!

    1. Ann, I too am coveting a small bottle of Nostalgie… can’t wait for the release! I know that this one will be more expensive than the others (because of materials used), but surely I can find room in my budget for at least a purse spray 😉

  7. Have you tried Miriam, Dee?

    I am definitely a AldeHo, no question, so I would like to try this. I haven’t tried anything from SSS but have wanted to for a long time.

    1. I haven’t tried it yet, but I would really love too! Some of Andy’s scents work for me, while others don’t; Miriam sounds just gorgeous though!

      SSS is a house worth sampling!

      1. I really like Miriam, even though it wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. For me, it is almost more of a sandalwood fragrance than a aldehydic fragrance.

          1. Ah, and you also love Champagne de Bois, don’t you? So, if I like one, do you think it follows that I’ll like the other too?

  8. Wonderful review, Dee. I am very interested to smell how this turned out. I tested an earlier iteration and quite liked it.

  9. Uh-oh, and that sounds lovely, because you know, I _am_ an AldeHo (as you remember from me meowing at Chanel counter at Nordies in Portland), with a penchant for a well done mimosa and a newly discovered love for rose… uh-oh… time to get some samples of SSS… AFTER MOVING SOME OTHER SAMPLES OUT, THAT IS!!!

    1. Olga, you seriously need to get caught up on your sampling! 😉 yes, I remember you, the AldeHo! Haha, I think that you will like this one, even if the aldehydes are a low hum, and not the fizzy Chanel version.

  10. Laurie’s blog link sent me over here, and now I’m even MORE excited about this new release. I’m an SSS fangirl too, and would like to eventually own most of her fragrances. There’s no other line I’ve ever tried that consistently works so well.

    A story about sampling Laurie’s work: A few months ago I had a friend ask me to help her find a new signature fragrance – I’m a bad influence, since she now wants a wardrobe;) – and we very quickly discovered we’re almost evil scent twins when it comes to skin chemistry. We got into the habit of both of us wearing whatever scent of mine she was sampling, but it was just so fascinating to smell the differences. All of Laurie’s lighter frags that go a bit sour on me – Velvet Rose, Voile de Violette, Rose Musc, Cameo, Lieu de Reves – smell divine on her. And anything with cedar in it went overwhelming block of hamster cage on her. I swooned at VdV on her, and said wistfully, “Ohhhh! I wish that smelled like that on me!” and she laughed as she replied, “I’d kill for Velvet Rose to smell on me like it does on you.”

    SSS was one of the first lines I sampled after getting the perfume bug, and it helped me understand why I thought for years perfume just didn’t work for me: my skin is snobby. It likes ingredients that aren’t commonly found in department store frags, like incense and iris. It was such a relief to find out I could smell fabulous.

    1. Dionne, I’m so glad you found us; welcome!!!

      “Snobby” skin is something I can relate to, and it sounds like we might have similar skin chemistry–of the SSS frags you mention work well for your friend, the only one I can wear is Rose Musc (which I actually love). Those others don’t work at all!
      But the rest of the line? Amazing! Even Jour Ensoleille, which isn’t my style, smells great on my skin. We’re lucky to have found Sonoma Scent Studio!

      Fan-girls unite! 😉


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