New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Tallulah’s Camellia- Spring Floral Abstract

One of the things I enjoy knowing is when a flower can’t be extracted into an essential oil. What that means is a creative team must create their own reality. When you have a scent from the real-life bloom it is easier to simulate that. What if the flower you want to emulate has no scent? What does a creative team decide? Shay & Blue Tallulah’s Camellia offers an answer to that.

From its founding in 2012 there has only been one creative team at Shay & Blue. Owner and creative director Dom de Vetta and perfumer Julie Masse. This is the twenty-fourth perfume they have made together. I think this kind of long-term association is to the advantage of an independent brand. Knowing where they have been allows them to decide where to go. It also lets them translate a flower that is purely visual into fragrance.

Julie Masse (l.) and Dom de Vetta

Camellia is a late season flowering shrub. It puts out deeply colored silky soft flowers. My grandmother had a few scattered among her gardenias. When she told me it had no scent, I stuck my nose inside a bloom to confirm it. What Mr. de Vetta and Ms. Masse do is use the balance they have made an attribute of the brand to create their own abstract of camellia.

What do they think represents the scent to go with the vision? The floral accord is primarily a combination of the spring-fresh qualities of lily and bluebell. Both have a gentle green facet. They both also have a chilliness to them which seems appropriate for a flower which is around in the colder months. This gentle accord is given a bit of depth through gardenia. A suite of light woods and some teas are what interact with the camellia accord over the life of the fragrance on my skin.

Tallulah’s Camellia has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

To answer the question I posed at the start. According to this perfume camellia smells fresh which I can endorse. It fits my memory of them. Tallulah’s Camellia is the oddest of spring florals because it is an abstraction of the concept. A good one.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Blackberry Woods- Fruity Done Right

There are times when realization hits me like a facepalm right in the center of my forehead. It changes my perception of a brand along with my preferences. I have written many times about my lack of interest in perfumes which feature berries or non-citrus fruits. Most of the time it is because they appear at elevated amplitude which moves beyond my ability to enjoy them fully. When I received my sample of Shay & Blue Blackberry Woods I learned something about myself.

Dom de Vetta

Ever since Dom de Vetta founded Shay & Blue in 2012, he has created perfume with the same perfumer, Julie Masse. Blackberry Woods is their twenty-third fragrance together. I look forward to their new releases but until a few days ago I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Now I know. Blackberry Woods is another brilliant fruit-centered perfume from this brand. What is it that sets this apart from others? It is the balance they achieve. The fruit is not blaring it is part of a simple ensemble where Ms. Masse finds ways to make it shine.

Julie Masse

The blackberries are what greeted me straight away. This is not that thick jellied version. It is more like freshly picked berries right off the vine. Dew glistening in the nooks and crannies. This type of fruit carries a natural musk which Ms. Masse teases out. Neroli comes next and it also carries its own sparkling personality into the duet with blackberry. There is an uplifting quality here I usually don’t encounter in the typical fruity floral. The final piece is cypress. This is a clean sophisticated woody foundation that allows the blackberry and neroli to shine on for hours.

Blackberry Woods has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I don’t know why it took Blackberry Woods to realize what it is I liked about Shay & Blue. The facepalm moment happened when I looked at the group of blue bottles on my shelf all having names with some fruit In their name. The ones which I wanted to own are all fruity. Blackberry Woods will soon be joining them.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue White Peaches- Frozen Peaches

When we moved to Poodlesvile I had some favorite fruits and some that were low on the list. One that was low on the list was peach. One thing living in an area surrounded by farms has taught me is that there isn’t just one kind of peach and the variety makes the difference. We have a huge peach orchard near the Colognoisseur Home Office. On a summer day I go over and grab a basket of what ever is ready. There is a point in the summer where there is a variety which is the ideal crisp refreshing fruit you want to bite into. If peach was low on my list when we moved here it has changed. Peach is a familiar ingredient in perfumery. One could even say it is too familiar. Which is why Shay & Blue White Peaches is such a nice change of pace.

Dom de Vetta

Shay & Blue has been one of those underappreciated perfume success stories. Founded in 2012 by Dom de Vetta he has overseen the production of a line of 22 perfumes working exclusively with a single perfumer, Julie Masse. If there is a consistent theme to the ones I enjoy most, is the creative team presents something I think I know in a new framing. Which is exactly what occurs in White Peaches. Peach is used as part of the classic peach chypres as well as a semi-gourmand peaches and cream; most of the time. In this case Mme Masse finds a refreshing chilly heart to the peach.

Julie Masse

That difference appears right from the start as this peach has that crisp snap to it that is unusual. Mme Masse underpins it with the support of narcissus to further keep things focused. Then in the heart she takes the herbal quality of elderflower and subsumes it into what she calls a “granita” accord. There is a hint of grape floating here along with the elderflower. This comes together like a frozen drink featuring St. Germain liqueur. It finishes with a gorgeous sliver birch wood foundation.

White Peaches has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Outside of citrus I tend to avoid the heavier fruits in warm weather. White Peaches is the antithesis of that as I will be reaching for it on the warmest days this summer. Probably on a trip to the orchard to pick up some real thing.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Kings Wood- Szechuan Pineapple

There are many things I believe contribute to the long-term success of an independent perfume brand. I write often that a clear creative vision shared with a single perfumer creates an aesthetic that becomes as recognizable as the bottle or the label. The lines which have all of that tend to be better. There is one brand which has all of that, but I wonder if there is another factor which might be missing; distribution.

Dom De Vetta

When I was working at CaFleureBon in 2012 we heard about a new English brand called Shay & Blue. Creatively directed by Dom De Vetta who started the brand after his time with Jo Malone. He also made the decision to work with an in-house perfumer, Julie Masse. They kept their goals modest working out of a boutique in London. It was always on my list of brands I expected would do well if it was more widely available. A couple years ago that became the case. What also happened was a creative uptick from a brand which I already admired for that. The most recent release keeps that roll going.

Julie Masse

Shay & Blue Kings Wood takes two of the most popular perfume ingredients of the last couple of years; Szechuan pepper and pineapple and shows them to their best effect. Mme Masse expertly finds new aspects of both to include in a modern evolution of fougere.

When I sprayed Kings Wood on I braced myself for the pineapple. It’s not my favorite ingredient. For the first minute or so the insipid sweetness I find unappealing was out in front. Then the Szechuan pepper I have found so versatile steps up and turns the pineapple in to something much more palatable. There is a kind of green herbal character to the Szechuan pepper. Mme Masse uses that to strip away the tropical fruit juice by overwriting it with that herbal-ness. That leaves an unripe tart fruit to represent the pineapple. It went from insipid to inspired in a flash. The Szechuan pepper accentuates the part of the pineapple I do like. This opening then nestles into a soft green fougere accord. It is a beautiful setting as the plush green picks up the green threads from the top notes. Making this a contemporary version of a fougere. The base accord is made up of oak and leather. Mme Masse uses a polished version of both wood and animalic effects.

Kings Wood has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

There have been a lot of pineapple perfumes this year which have shown me that there is more to it as an ingredient than I thought. Kings Wood is right at the top of that list. I’m beginning to think it has more to do with the brand and the creative team than the ingredient. Kings Wood is ample proof of that hypothesis.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Scarlet Lily- Intelligent Accord

It is a great thing when a good European-based brand finds its way to the US. I always root for the good ones to have as much coverage as they can. The English brand Shay & Blue is one of these. Started by creative director Dom De Vetta five years ago it was a UK exclusive for a long time. Mr. De Vetta founded Shay & Blue after a tenure at Jo Malone London. As he started Shay & Blue he had the freedom to be a little more creative which has become one of the brand hallmarks. He has worked exclusively with perfumer Julie Masse developing an effective partnership which also helps define the Shay & Blue aesthetic. The latest release is Scarlet Lily.

Julie Masse and Dom De Vetta

Lily is a hard note to feature in fragrance; in its most prevalent version it can have a sterility to it. What gets forgotten is there are other versions of lily instead of the white version seen at weddings and funerals. There is a tawdry pink version called the Stargazer Lily which has a spicy core to it which imparts a bit more life into things. It is that one which is featured in Scarlet Lily.

Mme Masse opens Scarlet Lily floating on a watery lotus. It is a lovely choice as the aquatic nature is burned away by the spicy lily as it rises over the lotus like the sunrise. To keep the spicy heart out in front Mme Masses uses red pepper to provide an opaque piquancy. To buff the floral parts a bit of muguet and ylang-ylang provide support. All together it forms a lively spicy lily accord which is where Scarlet Lily lingers for hours before descending into the warm embrace of amber at the end.

Scarlet Lily has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Scarlet Lily is yet another reminder of the top-notch collection Mr. De Vetta is compiling here. They are all simple constructs but each carries more heft than their simplicity would imply. Scarlet Lily is another which shines by forming a compelling accord intelligently.

Disclosure : This review was based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke