Floral perfumes are a very variable bag. Here at The Sniff we tend to find high street florals cloying, synthetic, too intense and – in broad terms – somewhat intimidating. Walk into any department store perfume counter and you’re bombarded with these headache-inducing synthetic scents that seem so far removed from what a real bloom smells like. On the other hand, we love flowers and think that some of the most wonderful scents can be found in the garden. Thankfully niche perfumery has got our back on this, and Nikkos-Oskol has come up with a fragrance that is properly fruity-floral whilst remaining true to the plants it references.
Fragrance number 13 is an absolute delight for the nose. We were excited by fragrance number 7 (check out our review on it), but no 13 made it straight on to our “Have to buy it” list. It’s outstanding.
Nikkos-Oskol is a relatively new discovery for us here at The Sniff, but we have fallen in love with the brand after testing just two of their creations (cannot tell you how excited we are to test more!).
What makes Nikkos-Oskol different to regular perfumes is that they have no alcohol in them whatsoever. The alcohol has been replaced by oils and distilled water instead. These oil-based fragrances moisturise the skin instead of drying it as alcohol can, and they are good for people who have sensitive skin and who may otherwise be unable to wear perfume.
The other great thing about this company is that they have a massive range. Bloom’s website lists around 12 different fragrances, and Nikkos-Oskol’s own website shows around 20. They’re handmade in small batches and the company controls everything from sourcing materials to sealing the bottles.
When you first apply this fragrance the initial scents are citrusy and bright. It is lemony but a soft, sweet lemon that isn’t at all abrasive or sour on the nose. The scent notes list that citrus burst as tangerine, but we found it much more like lemon or yuzu than the orange/tangerine/clementine end of the spectrum.
There’s also a hint of a lovely sparkling aldehyde here too that gives the initial notes a bit of a pop, but it’s subtle and doesn’t overwhelm the mellowness that generally seems to come with these oil based fragrances (we noticed that this mellowness was a quality apparent in fragrance number 7 as well).
To temper the citrus and aldehyde mix there is also greenery in the top notes too. This gives the initial impression of a very lush mix that is both refreshing and uplifting at the same time. Think along the lines of a lemon grove first thing in the morning after a heavy dew.
Once the perfume has had time to settle on the skin, the gentlest hint of marzipan comes through. It is very subtle and utterly delicious, just giving that citrus a slightly cake-like edge. It never goes as far as really gourmand, instead it’s just a fleeting hint that teases you into wanting to smell it more.
There’s also a spicy note in the mix here, more than the citrus zing, this is something a bit deeper and more robust, a note of pink pepper that beefs up the overall impression of the scent. Everything we’ve mentioned so far is quite fleeting and transient but this slightly spicy note gives the fragrance some real body.
We could spend all day waxing lyrical about the beauty of this perfume and the interesting layers that unfold as you wear it. It really is like walking through a beautifully manicured garden, new, gloriously scented plants around every twist and turn of the path. One thing that it is worth highlighting though is the note that comes through once you have been wearing the perfume for a while: honeysuckle.
Honeysuckle is one of the most amazing scents. It’s up there with cut grass and leather as one of those fragrances that most people can agree on as being delightful. Despite that, few perfumes have managed to capture that balance of sweet but not sickly, floral but green, twiggy without going over into full on wood-bark, that make up this captivating blossom.
Fragrance number 13 has to be one of the closest replications of the joy of breathing in the heady scent of honeysuckle on a summer’s evening that we have come across.
If you are at all inclined to breathe a little deeper as you pass honeysuckle clambering over the old stone of a neighbour’s wall, then chances are you are going to enjoy this fragrance.
The base of this perfume is beefed up with crushed petals, a juicy ripeness and soft, warm skin musks. It just smells so good.
The other stuff
The longevity of Nikkos-Oskol fragrances are great and this one is no exception. It was noticeable all day, and although it mellowed, it never really went away. The oil in the formulation seems to enhance the longevity of the scent and allow it to really stick to, and blend with, your own skin.
Although this perfume is described as unisex, it sits more comfortably at the stereotypically female end of the perfume spectrum. Don’t let that stop you buying it though if you are a guy who makes it smell fantastic. We’d never discourage anyone from wearing something if they love it!
The projection, or sillage, of this perfume is subtle. We did get whiffs of it during the day as we wore it, but it is by no means a “loud” perfume. That’s absolutely fine though, this is elegant, sophisticated and timeless, it doesn’t need to shout that you are wearing it.
Nikkos-Oskol fragrances are available exclusively from Bloom Perfume London who very kindly supplied us with a tester of this fragrance. Fragrance number 13 is priced at £98 for 35ml extrait in oil (at the concentration of around 40% fragrance). When you see the size of the bottle, this looks like an awful lot of money for a very tiny thing, but it seems to go a lot further than a regular alcohol based fragrance, you don’t need to use as much at each application and it lasts, so you may not need to reapply as frequently either.