As fragonerds we often compare our little hobby to that of oenophiles. We sniff the juice, take in the notes (real and imaginary), obsess about vintage and raw materials, and dream of France. Some of us buy wine fridges to store our precious bottles in a controlled environment and dream of having a perfume cellar adjacent to our bedrooms. That's where it usually ends, as wearing perfume is frowned-upon in wine tasting, and a grape note in perfume is pretty uncommon (I'm drawing a blank trying to think of any) and is most likely to smell too synthetic and grapejuicy.
Interestingly, Kelly of new the lifestyle brand Kelly & Jones was inspired to create her Notes Of Wine Collection after making the faux pas of wearing a vanilla-based perfume to a wine tasting and noticing how her fragrance affected her perception of the various wines. The Notes Of Wine Collection includes five eau de parfums. They do not smell like wine, but are trying to capture notes and nuances that appear in certain wine. They are supposed to go with wine and enhance the tasting experience. I can't comment on that aspect as I hardly ever drink, and I'm pretty much clueless about wine. So these are my impressions of the perfumes alone.
#1 Notes of Sauvignon Blanc: Notes of yuzu grapefruit, starfruit, green apple and a hint of camellia flower. This is the lightest of the Kelly & Jones perfumes, but it's not as weightless a citrus as I expected. As a matter of fact, it's more of a sheer golden fruity thing than a true citrus. There's something a bit metallic and green in the dry-down.
#2 Notes of Riesling: Aromas of fresh-picked white peach, anjou pear, bergamot and raspberry leaf. A surprisingly grown-up sweet fruity perfumes. Normally the combination of peach and pear would send me running up the vineyard's hills, but I survived and managed to really enjoy this bottled summer day. Riesling is actually restrained in the way it uses the fruity notes- not cloyingly sweet and none of the generic cheap musk we find in many mass-market perfumes of the genre. It dries down into a quiet smooth wood.
#3 Notes of Cabernet: Spicy notes of pink peppercorn, ripe black cherry, and tobacco flower on a base of vintage leather. This might be my favorite of the collection. Cabernet opens up with a vintage vibe, not just the promised vintage leather, but also a sepia-colored image, an attic full of treasures, sumptuous dark cherry, and oh that leather!
#4 Notes of Merlot: A blend of red currant, mission fig, rhubarb and lovely candied violet. this is another mostly-fruit perfume, sweeter than I hoped, with the red rhubarb drowning any hint of fig, at least on my skin. Still, Merlot is pretty and easy to wear, it smells very modern, for better and for worse, and I wish it had much more of a base.
#5 Notes of Chardonnay: Sweet honeydew melon, vanilla blossom, crème brulee, toasted oak. I had to brace and fortify myself before first trying Chardonnay. A sweet melon is among my most hated perfume notes, and that might be an understatement. However, I ended up fully enjoying Chardonnay. I get creme brulee, pipe tobacco and cough medicine, in an oddly appealing balance. This is going to be a love-or-hate perfume for most, and I'm firmly in the "love" camp. I never met a creme brulee I didn't like.
My overall impression of the Kelly & Jones Notes Of Wine Collection is very positive. These are truly nice fragrances, original enough to be worth my time and skin. They're well composed and are far beyond the gimmick I feared. I don't know if a professional nose was in any way involved in the creation of this collection. There was a moment or three where I smelled a familiar hint of that hay accord by Christopher Brosius (especially in #1, Sauvignon Blanc), but the Kelly & Jones perfumes are very far from his recognizable style, so I doubt he had anything to do with it.
The husband says that the fragrances smell closer to the feminine end of the spectrum, and he may be right. I do think that #1 Notes of Sauvignon Blanc and #3 Notes of Cabernet are unisex and will be easy to wear for a man. The sillage is polite, at least when dabbing, and longevity is pretty decent at 4-6 hours with moderate application.
Kelly & Jones Notes Of Wine Collection (each 1.69 oz EDP bottle retails for $84. There's a sample pack of all five fragrances at $20) is available from kellyandjones.com.
* With many thanks to Kelly Kreth who pointed me in the direction of Kelly & Jones Notes Of Wine Collection.
Photo of Lucy stomping grapes for wine-making from somewhere around the web.