One of the things about writing about the world of fragrance is my calendar tends to have some important events that mark each season. None of these events is more enjoyable to me than the twice-yearly event known as Sniffapalooza. Sniffapalooaza was created, and continues to be run, by Karen Adams and Karen Dubin. They are affectionately referred to as The Karens within the industry and among perfume aficionados. The Karens began as one of the latter but over the years the impact of Sniffapalooza has made them part of the overall industry. That being said they have never lost the enthusiasm for perfume that led them to create this event, and it shows.
Karen Adams (l.) and Karen Dubin
Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2014 will take place on Saturday and Sunday May 3 & 4, 2014 in New York City. It begins with breakfast at Bergdorf-Goodman where we are greeted every year by the fabulous Tom Crutchfield of Roja Perfumes who ushers us through the empty store down to the café. This is the beginning of the scenes which get repeated at every Sniffapalooza as perfumed friends re-connect and those who we might have only known through Facebook or a perfume forum is standing there in real life. The morning is jam-packed as every line in Bergdorf Goodman presents their latest and greatest. Once we are done we spend time on the beauty floor getting better acquainted with our favorites.
Tom Crutchfiled at Fall Ball 2011
Lunch is an opportunity for presentations from a varied roster representing almost every corner of the fragrance world. I will have the great opportunity to introduce Colognoisseur to this audience. After lunch we visit Henri Bendel and Krigler Perfumery at The Plaza, and finish day one at Molton Brown.
After a night of sleep we gather for more sniffing downtown at Osswald. This is followed by visits to two new fragrance initiatives that are very exciting to me. The Fragrance Republ!c is a subscription service and community which produces a new perfume every month for their subscribers. The Scentsorium is the brick and mortar home to Sue Phillips who has spent years teaching classes to enthusiasts on how to make their own bespoke perfume. Now there is a place where this can happen any day. Then my favorite part of Sniffapalooza comes next the lunch called Emerging Artists Uncorked where new indie perfumers present their creations. I was so enthusiastic about this The Karens have allowed me to be the keynote speaker and MC of the lunch. I love the opportunity to share the best new indie fragrance with this group.
The final part is free form wandering in The Fragrance District downtown as we visit MiN New York, Diptyque, Le Labo, and Atelier Cologne. Over the rest of the afternoon we share our last moments together and the best smelling group of people board various modes of transportation back home. I will be covering everything from this year’s Spring Fling right here on Colognoisseur. Viva La Sniffa, Baby!
One of the best things about the biannual event put on by Karen Dubin and Karen Adams (aka The Karens) called Sniffapalooza is the bringing together of fragrance fans from all over the world. Through the course of the weekend event there are three meals where you share a table with, usually, somebody you haven’t met before. I have had the pleasure of having the beginnings of many of my favorite, and long lasting, fragrant relationships begin at Sniffapalooza. It seems like almost everything has sprung up from these gatherings except fragrance. That has all changed with the release of Bellegance Midnight Promise.
Carmen Schaye(l.) & Karen Dubin at Sniffapalooza Fall Ball 2013
At Sniffapalooza husband and wife Gordon & Carmen Schaye began talking with Ms. Dubin and from those discussions they decided they wanted to make a fragrance. Ms. Schaye wanted to create a team of talented women to make a fragrance to celebrate women. Ms. Dubin asked perfumer Sarah Horowitz-Thran to join and to complete the Fantastic Four of Bellegance, Ping Li would design the flacon. During the process of designing Midnight Promise they would return to Sniffapalooza and ask the group to pick their favorite from a number of preliminary mods. In October of 2013 the process was finished and Bellegance Midnight Promise was premiered at Sniffapalooza to bring things full circle. While this isn’t exactly an example of crowdsourcing Midnight Promise feels like it has had a lot of midwives on its way to the perfume counter.
Sarah Horowitz-Thran (l.) & Karen Dubin at Sniffapalooza Fall Ball 2013
Ms. Horowitz-Thran starts Midnight Promise with a wonderfully chosen duo of mandarin coated in cinnamon. Cinnamon has a sweet spiciness which is complemented by the sweeter citrus of the mandarin. Ms. Horowitz finds a nice balance and, as top notes go, Midnight Promise holds that chord a little longer than most fragrances. A rose damascene holds the heart and it picks up the cinnamon as a running mate as the mandarin fades. Moroccan rose often has a slightly enhanced spicy character and the cinnamon enhances it. The base is a panoply of warm comforting notes as incense, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli, and amber weave a figurative woolen scarf to pull tight around you for soft warmth.
Midnight Promise has six-eight hour longevity and above average sillage.
For those who have followed Ms. Horowitz-Thran’s previous fragrances Midnight Promise feels like a more luxurious and intimate version of her Love Comes from Within. There are significant differences but the spice/rose/warm progression is the same. If you’ve never tried Ms. Horowitz-Thran’s fragrances this is a great place to start as she has become one of the more reliable American independent perfumers.
Every Sniffapalooza holds promise in the form of finding a new fragrance or a new friend or coming up with a great idea. Bellegance Midnight Promise is the culmination of all that potential into a great new perfume.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Bellegance Perfumes.