St. Clair Scents is a new indie perfume line located in Vermont.
When I posted my samples of St. Clair Scents on Instagram Stories, someone responded with “It’s Chef Keller’s butter lady’s perfumes!” with a heart emoji. I was completely confused by this. After doing a little more research, it made sense. The perfumer, Diane St. Clair is an owner of a homestead creamery that does supply Chef Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, etc.) as well as other well-known restaurants with butter.¹ Diane says that she approaches fragrance like she does her artisanal creamery. Everything is small batch and she’s inspired by the land.
The brand currently consists of a trio of fragrances:
Notes listed include bergamot, yuzu, rosemary, basil, tomato leaf, lavender, rose de mai, rose geranium, immortelle, hay, tobacco, oakmoss and vanilla.
First Cut opens with a freshness from citrus and aromatics. It’s like a lavender glazed in yuzu. It wears crisp and green, reminding me of grass. As it wears, it becomes drier and warmer. The green grass turns into hay. It’s not listed, but the fragrance starts to wear like honey/beeswax mixed with dried tobacco and hay. There’s also a delicate rose in this that doesn’t overwhelm. Essentially this is an aromatic fougère…and it’s a really good one.
Notes listed include Meyer lemon, tomato leaf, galbanum, bergamot, jasmine sambac, apricot, black currant bud, linden blossom, lily, rose, leather, saffron, patchouli, amber, vetiver, benzoin, castoreum and fir needle.
Gardener’s Glove is a tangy lemon with green vines. It starts to smell like a heady white floral. Underneath all of this is a buttery leather. To my surprise, there’s a fruity blackcurrant and green tomato leaf in Gardener’s Glove. Gardner’s Glove is one of those fragrances I forget I’m wearing and then hours later, I’m always like “What beautiful thing am I wearing?!” and then I remember. It wears as a fresh bouquet of flowers with a hint of stone fruits. But, what is so perfect with it is that buttery leather.
Gardener’s Glove is my favorite from the trio. It has some of my favorite notes (tomato leaf, blackcurrant). It really smells like a well-worn gardener’s glove. It’s leather, flowers, vines and earth. Out of all the indie stuff I’ve tried this year, this has been one of my favorites (this and Providence Perfume Co. Vientiane).
Notes include bergamot, mandarin, coriander, petigrain blossom, Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, rose geranium, elderflower, petitgrain, cistus, labdanum, vanilla, vetiver, cedar, smoke and clove.
This perfume is inspired by the poet Robert Frost. However, Frost reminds me of the first frost of the year. Frost opens with a cool crispness cutting through a smoldering campfire. The coriander in this comes across as cool and metallic, reminding me of a fire poker. The heart is like roses and elderflower lemonade. it dries down to a smoldering amber. To summarize Frost, I’d say it’s like “cool smoke”.
Projection and longevity for all of these are average.
I don’t like to compare a new line to others, but it can be helpful so I will. Diane appears to already have a cohesive style. The perfumes feel “environmental” in that they remind me of a place and you can tell they are inspired by natural environments (in this case, rural New England). If I had to compare to other brands, I’d say to try this line if you like perfumes from Sonoma Scent Studio or Hiram Green.
13 ml (about .44 oz) bottles retails for $65 at St. Clair Scents. Samples are also available for purchase.
¹It’s called Animal Farm and it’s in Orwell, Vermont. I have complained about the quality of buttermilk since moving to the NYC metro area and can’t wait to go by Saxelby Cheesemonger’s and pick up some of Animal Farm’s non-watered-down buttermilk.
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*Disclaimer – Samples provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. My opinions are my own.