Perfume Pen Pals: Demeter Fragrance Library (various)

So check this out, KP. I returned from my run today to find the UPS man had left a package for me from Scented Monkey containing seven big bottles from the Demeter Fragrance Library. In all my years as a perfume enthusiast, I've never tried Demeter scents and I felt it was time.

Upon exiting the shower, I randomly decided to spray on Wet Garden and it turns out it smells exactly like CB I Hate Perfume's To See a Flower. Of course, Christopher Brosius was once the nose behind Demeter before some kind of falling out, and I assume this one must go back to his days with the company. I also assume, if price is any indication, it won't last as long as the CB, but it's pretty gosh darn good for $17. So hear hear to Demeter for the summer!



Wet Garden is a fave Demeter of mine, along with Incense, Tomato, and Dirt. I remember there's a Holy Water, do you know if they have a Holy Smoke?



They do have Holy Smoke, but the reviews aren't great. Though reading reviews for Demeter is probably as useful as reading reviews for Gilligan's Island.

Along with Wet Garden, I bought Rain, Dirt, Lavender Martini, Laundromat, Salt Air and Grass, which doesn't compromise its realism by trying to be a legitimate perfume, it just smells like fresh-cut grass. I sprayed a few more on paper and they smell so nice, I just bought more! From Fragrance X (more big discounts): Poison Ivy, Cappuccino, Funeral Home, Play-Doh, Rubber and Leather. Plus, from various other sources: Holy Water, Paperback, Licorice, Sambucca and Dust. All 4-oz. bottles and altogether they cost just a little bit more than the retail price of one Indult. Which I realize is a dumb thing to say. I could get ten bags full of burgers from In-N-Out and crow about how they're less than the swordfish at Fleur de Lys, but it's apples and oranges. And burgers and swordfish. So that's my cheap splurge for the summer. Which beats last year's Marc Jacobs Splash splurge by a mile. Dan P.S. I've just sprayed on Lavender Martini, and it's the most god-awful shit I've ever experienced. I smell like I just bathed in a tubful of Mr. Clean.
I suspect any Demeter created post-Christopher Brosius sucks. And any perfume based on a cocktail really sucks. Which means Lavender Martini both sucks and really sucks.
Dan, I do like Demeter Incense, it smells just like...incense. But like all the Demeters, it lasts for five minutes. Five minutes of "pick me up." Katie
Katie, Five minutes? That's silly. It's insulting is what it is. Even if it were the best-smelling incense ever. What if George Clooney asked you out, picked you up, drove you around the block, and dropped you off five minutes later? How would you feel? Cheated, right? Cheated and disrespected. (Though probably not as disrespected as some of his dates.)
There must be some variance among the Demeters because Lavender Martini is still with me. And isn't that always the way? Clooney drives you around the block while Andy Dick sleeps on your couch for a month and a half. I was in last night and so I tried Funeral Home. Jeez, it's awful. It smells like the typical white flowers in a funeral home, along with some furniture-polish accord, and it's just terrible. I'd more likely wear Sécrétions Magnifiques than this crap. Some of these Demeters are funny funny, some are funny clever, some are funny strange, but Funeral Home is funny terrible. Like The Hangover II. Now I'm wearing Demeter Play-Doh, which smells more like Play-Doh than does the current version of Play-Doh. You spray it, you smell it, you smell like Play-Doh, and you get on with your life and try not to think about the empty spaces that allowed this to happen. Dan


  1. Dan - awesome, best Pen Pal yet. And please, take solace in the fact that your empty spaces can be filled up with cheap, fun scents than say, cheap grain alcohol or women who smoke Kools and wear animal prints.

    I'm with you on the Demeter line. They disappear fast and aren't complex in the least. They wear like a Drew Barrymore movie on the skin - either fun and cute or grating and too sweet by half.

    You do prompt me to go back to their website and see what's on offer, though. It was Demeter, among other entities, that helped me get addicted to scent in the first place.

  2. Stefush, If Demeter is a gateway to scent addiction, what are women who wear animal prints a gateway to? (Other than dangling prepositions.) Don't answer that. Seriously, Stefush, don't.

  3. Hysterical discourse...

  4. I knew Lavender Martini was going to be awful. Whenever someone tries to replicate booze in a cheap way, it just smells bad. But boozey (boozie?) done well is nice.

  5. Maggie - the best boozy notes can only come from booze. You want to smell like a nice whiskey? Order one, and dab a little on your wrist is my advice.

    PRO TIP: don't drink a ton of this and then say you were only doing it to "smell nice." Just trust me.

  6. Dan - I can't help you with your query. Just tell me where you are, and who's keeping you chained to the bedpost and I'll do the rest.

    If you can't open your mouth for any reason, just type something on your Blackberry. Don't strain - just write down the address or even a license plate number. Hold tight, Dan, help is coming.

  7. Stefush, do you command a perfume SWAT team?

  8. Dan, my answer to your dangling question would be one or more of the following:

    Jersey fabrics
    Lipstick marks on your face that you can't quite account for when you wake up on a bench in the park around daybreak
    Sore limbs from too many "latin" moves on the dance floor
    Calvin Klein Obsession

    I'm not familar with Demeter fragrances - do people actually wear them, or are they in reality the perfume world's version of (not necessarily very succesful) occupational therapy?

  9. Demeter was likewise a gateway for meee....

  10. Marie - Demeter are real fragrances, they're just funny one-note caricature scents.

    Very fanciful and not at all serious. Ever want to smell richly of egg nog or a Christmas Tree? How about New York at Christmas or a huge handful of dirt? Demeter is your one-stop shopping for such things.

    People do wear them, but I've never heard of someone using one as a "signature scent."

  11. Katie Bag O' Donuts:

    No, not a SWAT team exactly. I'm more of a Perfume Negotiator - I pull people off of ledges and life-or-death bridge jumps when their Guerlain boutique runs out or Luca Turin slaps them inna face with a fish.

  12. I love this crazy mixed up perfume world and all y'all in it.
    Yr pal,
    Suzy Q

  13. Marie, could we switch the order to your answer? Don't you think that Jersey fabrics are the gateway to women in animal prints? Which in turn, leads to the lost night ending on a park bench, smeared in lipstick with sore limbs, reeking of Obsession and Kool cigarette smoke? Perhaps frantically texting Stefush's Perfume SWAT, oops, Negotiation team? It could happen.

  14. Melisand61 - there is no way that mere fabric can be the harbinger to the Kools, the animal prints, the large wine bottles. "To the manor born," as they say. The fabric is incidental, an outcropping of an inherent NEED to be jungle fierce and cougar quick.

    I can speak only from experience, and from my dry-cleaning spreadsheet, mind, but you get the picture...

  15. Stefush,

    1. you clearly have not been around many women wearing animal print fabric, or you would know about the jersey fabrics - trust me. They appear everywhere - the fabrics, that is - not only on the women themselves, but also on cushions, blankets etc. Getting to know a woman who wears animal print will take you into jersey fabric land.

    2. I realize the Demeter fragrances are real fragrances - I simply do not get the point - "caricature scents". I don't want either meanings of "Oh, Marie, you smell funny today!" from a colleague or a friend. Would I wear a "funny" lipstick? No. Although, I might once in a while have worn one - unintentionally. When I was younger. Of course.

    Melisa, I can definitely see that happening. I hadn't quite considered the possibility of jersey fabrics attracting women who wear animal prints - and many things happening after that. Good thing we hae Stefush to get us out of the messes we get ourselves into.

  16. I remember thinking that Demeter fragrances were "so cool" when I was 22 or so. "Wow, this one says it smells like dirt...and it DOES!"

  17. I've been quiet, here, because I realize I have a healthy subsection of animal prints in my wardrobe. The zookeeper counts cheetah, leopard and snake. You all keep an eye on me, in case you need to conduct an Obsession intervention.

    Nora, I know exactly what you're talking about - that absolute astonishment that a smell coming out of a bottle smells like a thing - or a place where we've been. I witnessed the wonder of a fume newbie the other day at a perfume store when he was absolutely hornswoggled that Avignon smelled EXACTLY like church incense. He couldn't get over it, and kept going back for another sniff.

  18. So Stefush, you are saying oozing booze is not the way to go? I have so much to learn from you.

  19. For a Demeter that is astonishly true and also wearable, try Gingerale. It fizzes!

  20. Katie, there are animal prints, and then there are animal prints. I have a certain type of woman in mind when I think of animal prints, but I don't see her very often anymore. It was a phase, I think, when it was the way to be femme fatale - and too much of a good thing.

    I myself used to own an animal print scarf that I wore for years. Perhaps not an animal print that can be associated with any specific, real animal, but I thought it looked great with jeans, a white t-shirt and a black classic blazer.

  21. Maggie, for a boozey scent you could try Parfum d'Empire's Aziyadé - it's booze with an after a long day and after an even longer party feel. If memory serves me right. Sigh.

  22. A friend of mine discovered Aziyadé when she was trying to find a replacement for Lancome Magie Noire, which had been reformulated beyond her recognition and enjoyment. She loves Aziyade, but reports that it doesn't hang around for very long.

  23. Aziyadé does seem to have a short cycle, I agree. The drydown - which you'll get to fast - is my favorite part. And after that there's nothing a whole lot left.

    I like it, but I'd rather smell it on someone else, preferably a man, than on myself - a bit heavy on the cumin. I'm fine with cumin, but in Aziyadé it's a bit too prominent for my taste. But it definitely does provide that sweat note that is probably supposed to render the fragrance extra sexy.

  24. Demeters are fun. I have tried grass (to give me that just mowed the lawn smell), dirt (to give me the just dug around in the garden smell), tomato (to give me the just touched the stalk of a tomato plant smell - ah, the real green stuff that coats the tomato plant stalks is just so much better though) and I think they had/have a dandelion (?), very light from what I remember. The Demeters are decent recreations, not exact and not as good or complex as the real thing but fun and inexpensive, at least back when I bought them :).