So, just before Christmas, and having recently received some free samples, I finally did what I’ve wanted to do for literal years – I bought some Demeter perfumes. Having never had the chance to smell any of them, I decided to buy a number of the small roll on oils, so that I could then go back in the future and buy larger perfume sprays of the fragrances I decide I really like best. At AU$8.50 each, the perfume oil roll ons were a perfect way to try a wide variety of scents at minimal cost.
For those of you in the dark, Demeter specialises in creating one note scents – that is, scents that have a single recognisable smell, rather than being a multi level, multi note fragrance.
For instance, Demeter scents include Orange Blossom, Violets, Mango, Tomato Seeds, Wet Garden, etc. Demeter has also recently created some more complex yet still simple fragrances designed to evoke the smell of particular cocktails and locations, such as White Russian, and Great Barrier Reef.
I had a lot of trouble deciding which fragrances not to get, as so many appealed to me! In the end, this is what I bought:
You’ll notice that I have one bottle of perfume spray – this is because it was on sale, so I took the chance and bought it as well (and I’m glad I did).
What do I think of these fragrances? Let’s break it down…
What Demeter says: “So close to America, yet so far away and exotic to most Americans – that contradiction made Cuba a perfect subject for the initial Destination Collection. And exotic is the perfect starting point for this fragrance. We focused on the rich, vibrant nightlife of Havana, warm, inviting and sensual, with lush notes of tobacco leaves, green sugar cane and Latin spices.”
What I say: This is nice…I really like it, and I think it would be a great scent for men as well. Spicy but subtle, this is a definite favourite.
Would I buy it again: I’ll definitely be buying a larger bottle of this.
What Demeter says: “Banana, liquor, sugar: What could be better?”
What I say: This is sweet and very banana-y. As someone living in the “banana state” of Queensland, it really appeals to me. It might be a bit much for shyer people, as it is a strong scent, but I actually really like it.
Would I buy it again: Yes, I’ll consider buying the larger bottle of this.
What Demeter says: “We apologize to other cities at the beginning but the Philadelphia Flower Show really is the best in the U.S.: Philadelphia gave birth to America’s first horticultural society, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, in 1827 and the nation’s first flower show, the Philadelphia Flower Show, in 1829. The Show was held in an 82-by-69-foot building called Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street. Twenty-five Society members showed off their horticultural treasures including a variety of exotic and native plants like magnolias, peonies from China, wonderful Orchids, an India rubber tree, the Coffee Tree of Arabia, and sugar cane from the West Indies. In 1996 the Show moved to its current location at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where it encompasses 33 indoor acres, with exhibit space taking up 10 acres of the main exhibit hall. The Show’s expanded size and scope makes it the largest indoor Flower Show in the world, entertaining crowds of over 275,000 people annually. Demeter has captured the size, variety and freshness of that Philadelphia experience in our Flower Show Pick-Me-Up Cologne, for you to experience whenever you choose.”
What I say: This has a clear scent of lillies and pollen as the main scent, with a general greeness backing it up. I think it does genuinely smell like a bunch of mixed flowers, and it’s very fresh and verdant.
Would I buy it again: Yup, if I only buy one flowery scent from those I sampled, it would probably be this one.
What Demeter says: “Demeter’s Gingerbread is a rich, spicy ginger scent, extremely warm and sexy. If Hansel and Gretal had only had this, things might have been very, very different. Gingerbread has been baked in Europe for centuries. In some places, it was a soft, delicately spiced cake; in others, a crisp, flat cookie, and in others, warm, thick, steamy-dark squares of “bread,” sometimes served with a pitcher of lemon sauce or whipped cream. It was sometimes light, sometimes dark, sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy, but it was almost always cut into shapes such as men, women, stars or animals, and colorfully decorated or stamped with a mold and dusted with white sugar to make the impression visible.”
What I say: This is nice, warm and subtly spicy, and is clearly gingerbread, not ginger root or ginger flower. It’s a great scent for wearing at Christmas or in the depths of winter, when you’re snuggled up in scarves and coats.
Would I buy it again: No, simply because I think the little bottle I have is large enough to satisfy my Gingerbread needs.
What Demeter says: “Close your eyes. Take a whiff. Breathe in these Feminine and Irresistible Aromas. Experience Demeter’s Apple Blossom, a warm, delicate floral scent with just a hint of sweet apple.
The apple tree is so ubiquitous in America, in legend, lore and our daily lives that we hardly slow down to take notice. At Demeter, a big part of our job is to notice and capture those everyday scents, like Apple Blossom, for your olfactory pleasure.”
What I say: Subtle and very floral, this is great if you’re after an every-so-slightly-powdery feminine scent.
Would I buy it again: Maybe. I like it, but there are other scents I like more.
What Demeter says: “Our founders always had a difference of opinion on this one. “Big white flowers………ugh” said one. “But they’re lovely and people love them.” said the other. The bargain was struck when we found a way to remove the chemical Indole. Indole is the culprit in Gardenia, in the sense of it causes the rotting meat that some flowers of this type leave behind. Without Indole, you get a big, lovely, creamy, happy flower. Consequently, Demeter’s Gardenia is unlike traditional gardenia perfumes. Demeter’s Gardenia is the delicate scent of fresh blooming gardenias still on the bush. Instead of being overpowering, we have created a classic, rich and creamy floral scent.”
What I say: I’ve always like the scent of gardenias, so I had to buy this one to try. It is a very definite floral (no pussyfooting around, here) that will appeal to fans of gardenias but may be too strong for those who prefer a generalised floral perfume.
Would I buy it again: I’ll certainly consider it.
What Demeter says: “Autumn in a bottle, with notes of sweet apples, cinnamon, spices……. Cider is a relative of wine, with almost as ancient a history. Cider was common in England back before the Christian era, where apple trees were worshipped as sacred. Especially in New England, cider was an immensely popular drink with the pilgrims and was drunk at meals by everyone, including children. Even clergymen, while denouncing ‘harder spirits’, would drink cider as a matter of course.”
What I say: This is everything it says on the bottle. With clear apple and cinnamon notes, it’s great for winter and/or Christmas, making you feel all festive and warm. And since the apple stops the cinnamon from being overwhelming, it’s a very wearable festive scent.
What Demeter says: “If you love Egg Nog, you’ll love Demeter’s Egg Nog… and if you don’t love it, maybe you just haven’t had GOOD Egg Nog. At Demeter, we strived for the perfect Egg Nog, at least from an olfactory perspective. Demeter’s Egg Nog is a delightful, creamy, concoction with touches of nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon. Irresistible anytime. Wear this and you won’t need mistletoe!”
What I say: Egg nog is almost impossible to find in Australia (or at the very least in Queensland), but I have had it once before, and this does a good job of recalling that scent. Creamy and tasty-scented, it’s a great Christmas scent that isn’t as obvious and strong as Mulled Cider. Egg nog is the sort of scent you put behind your ear so that someone leaning in to speak to you or kiss you gets a whiff of the yumminess.
Would I buy it again: Yup, this is a Christmas/winter favourite I’ll want to keep using.
What Demeter says: “Extracted from the white flowers of the Orange Tree, and a traditional element used in perfume making, this is one of the most popular of flowers in perfume making. Our version is full, lush and exquisite. Just like the living flower on a gentle breeze on a warm summer’s eve.”
What I say: I bought this because I’m obsessed with the scent of the flowers of the “mock orange” (Murraya) bush that is common to so many gardens here in subtropical Queensland, and I was hoping this scent would be similar to that of the Murraya. It is…kinda. Slightly sharper and greener than the mock orange, this has a verdant undertone and a slight bitterness, like orange peel. It’s a great scent for hot summer days..
Would I buy it again: Yes, as a perfect summer evening scent for tropical and subtropical Queensland.
What Demeter says: “”Do I dare to eat a peach?” — T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Sure, let it drip all over. That’s the great pleasure of juicy ripeness. And the scent: heavenly! And perfectly captured, juicy and fresh, but still light an invigorating, in Demeter’s Peach. The Peach is mentioned in the books of Confucius, fifth century before the Christian era, and the antiquity of the knowledge of the fruit in China is further proved by representations of it in sculpture and on porcelain. It is said to have been first cultivated in England in the first half of the sixteenth century. Gerard describes several varieties as growing in his garden, and speaks of a ‘double-flowered peach,’ as a rarity, in his garden. In Italy there is still a popular belief that if fresh Peach leaves are applied to warts and then buried, the warts will fall off by the time the buried leaves have decayed. A syrup and infusion of Peach flowers was formerly a preparation recognized by apothecaries, and praised as a mildly acting efficient purgative. The syrup was considered good for children and those in weak health, and to be good against jaundice.”
What I say: This is lovely and fresh – a juicy, sweet scent that conjures up thoughts of my favourite stone fruits, peaches and nectarines.
Would I buy it again: Since peaches are one of my favourite fruits/fruit motifs/scents, I’ll definitely be buying a larger bottle of this scent.
What Demeter says: “Radiant and captivating, Frangipani is an irresistibly, timeless and enticing fragrance. Nothing evokes that tropical feeling like the serene scent of Demeter’s Frangipani. Frangipani also known as Plumeria, is perhaps the queen of all tropical flowers. For centuries, Frangipani has been one of the great plants for human adornment. In modern Polynesian culture, the Frangipani can be worn by women to indicate their relationship status – over the right ear if seeking a relationship and over the left if taken. Demeter’s Frangipani is meant to be worn, anytime, anywhere regardless of your status. History says: the name, frangipani, comes from the Italian nobleman, Marquis Frangipani, who created a perfume used to scent gloves in the 16th century. When the frangipani flower was discovered its natural perfume reminded people of the scented gloves, and so the flower was called frangipani. Another version has it that the name, frangipani, is from the French frangipanier which is a type of coagulated milk that Plumeria milk resembles.”
What Demeter says: “This fragrance is really subtle and fruity, fresh not syrupy or overly sweet. It makes us want to go back to Cozumel. Now! Mangoes are one of the most popular tropical fruits. It’s been grown in India since before 2000 B.C.. In fact, in Indian Vedic literature the Mango is spoken of as a blessed transformed creature. From India the fruit was spread by the Portuguese who took to Africa in the 17th century. By the 18th century it reached Brazil and the Caribbean. And in the 19th century; Mexico, Florida and Hawaii. A young tree will bear fruit after four years. There is a folk belief in India that pouring milk and treacle around these young trees makes the fruit sweeter. We believe in pure fruit, no sweeteners thanks!”
What I say: Mango trees are every-freakin-where in Queensland – taking up the backyards of old Queenslander houses, shading old schoolgrounds, planted on footpaths in old neighbourhoods, and everywhere dropping their fruit to softly rot in the summer heat. As a fruit lover and a fan of the nostalgic old mango tree, I was keen to try this scent. Thankfully, it delivers pretty well. It is a clear mango scent: sweet, but (unfortunately, I feel) without that slight sharpness of fresh mangoes – the sharp tang that makes your mouth water. Still, it’s a nice scent.
Would I buy it again: Yes, I think it’s a nice scent for summer, though I would like it even more if they could add in the tangyness one expects from fresh mangoes.
What Demeter says: “In 1950’s Puerto Rico, Don Ramon Lopez-Irazzy developed a delicious homogenized cream made from coconut. The product became know as Coco Lopez and was used for tropical dishes and desserts. In 1957, Ramon Marrero, a bartender at Puerto Rico’s Caribe Hilton, combined coconut cream with rum, pineapple juice and ice in a blender to create this famous drink. Victor Bergon, of Trader Vic’s borrowed Marrero’s recipe and called it the Bahia. To make a great Piña Colada, the trick is to use both light and dark rum, a dash of bitters and a little double cream. Demeter’s Pina Colada is a luscious mixture of Cream of Coconut, Fresh Pineapple and Light Rum, blended to a perfect sweetness and richness.”
What I say: Ok, so I’m more than a little obsessed with pineapples. I love informing people that pineapples are the “king of the bromeliads!”, and I can’t get enough of pineapple motifs, fresh pineapple for breakfast, canned pineapple with dinner…you get the picture. So I had high hopes for this scent. Luckily, Demeter did a good job at translating the wonderful tropical freshness of pineapple mixed with coconut milk. The result is a fragrance that is strong enough and fresh enough to last well on the skin and garner compliments from people I pass.
Would I buy it again: Definitely yes.
What Demeter says: “We’re heading for a wedding………. Neroli Oil is better known as Orange Blossom as it comes from the white blossoms of the bitter orange tree which originated in China. It was best known in the US as the wedding flower of earlier days. It is a medium floral, both slightly sweet and slightly powdery, and, of course, displays hints of orange. Neroli oil was discovered in the late 1600’s and was thought to be named after the 16th century Italian Princess Anne-Marie of Nerola because she used it as her perfume and the Italian aristocracy followed suit. The oil is purported to have sedative and antidepressant qualities as well! (You might need those after you get married.)”
What I say: I bought this in order to see how it compared to the Orange Blossom perfume. It’s similar, but has a slightly more floral tone.
Would I buy it again: No, not when I think the Orange Blossom scent is my favourite of the two.
What Demeter says: “A soft and sensual combination of coffee liquor, cream and vodka, Demeter’s White Russian is a balanced approach to the bitterness of the coffee scent, the sweetness of the liquor, and the richness of the cream. White Russian is part of the new Happy Hour Collection from Demeter Fragrance Library, consisting of scents inspired by our favorite cocktails, from old standbys to the unique and unusual.”
What I say: This one definitely grew on me, the more I smelled it. At first, I was a little put off by the vodka tones, but I kept feeling the compulsion to smell it again, and the more I did, the more I liked this perfume. It’s fantastic for a night out when you’re dressing up in a great dress and heels, as it adds a grown up, yummy, almost musky scent as a finishing touch. I wore it to this year’s Gatsby NYE party, and it fit perfectly into the style I was going for.
Would I buy it again: Definitely. Despite being unsure about it at the start, I’ve quickly grown to really really like this one.
Have you ever used Demeter fragrances? What are your favourite and least favourite scents?