I had the luxury of testing out the entire Imaginary Authors catalogue this past week and let me tell you, they did not disappoint.
Imaginary Authors is an indie perfume house that bases its fragrances on stories with twists and turns. As of right now, the brand is fully vegan and sells fragrances that are paraben and phthalate-free. To sweeten the pot, all of the fragrances lasted over 6 hours on my skin!
As I said above, I was lucky to try out their entire collection. As I began smelling their scents, something immediately jumped out at me. Each one transported me to a place where the concept of time was abstract.
I was able to sit with bottles individually and pick apart why certain notes evoked such strong emotion. I will touch on this further below but, I found myself picking apart memories from as far back as my childhood whilst smelling these scents.
Before I begin with my review, I will leave you with this. None of these scents are “Sexy” or “Compliment monsters”. These fragrances are ones that you wear to uplift yourself, to remember great things about the past and even to create new memories.
A City on Fire
Notes: Cade oil, Spikenard, Cardamom, Clearwood, Dark Berries, Labdanum, Burnt Match
The first of many that I smelt was A City on Fire. This fragrance was created exclusively for Machus, a menswear retailer which focuses on forward-thinking in Portland.
When I smell this scent, I feel as if I’ve been shrunk down and dropped inside a neat pour of Lagavulin 16. Islay scotches are glorified due to the impeccable smoky accord that is produced when smelling and tasting the drink.
To accompany the smoke, I sensed a light berry note and an elevated gentlemanly accord which I attribute to the Cardamom and Spikenard. The overall smoky accord is produced by the Cade oil which is the showstopping note in this fragrance.
Notes: Vanilla, Heavy Cream, Salted Caramel, Amyris, Orgeat, Saigon, Cinnamon, Ice Cream Shoppe
A Whiff of Waffle Cone is an extremely divine fragrance that grabs me and pulls me in, wanting more with each sniff. The scent was developed for Salt & Straw, an ice cream shop that is based out of Portland and ships its products nationwide.
The best way to describe this fragrance is by asking a question. For my North American readers, do you remember going into Bath and Body Works and smelling all of the synthetically sweet hand sanitizers?
Yeah, you do! Take those scents that we loved ever so much and recreate them with a more natural smell and poof, you have Whiff of Waffle Cone. The fragrance is a luscious gourmand that takes the sweetness from Vanilla, Heavy Cream, Caramel and Cinnamon, Then, bakes it into a cake.
I would definitely recommend this scent for females although, when layered with Tobacco, it can create a pretty deadly Tobacco Vanille competitor.
Notes: Douglas Fir, Pine Resin, Western Hemlock, Vanilla Leaf, Strawberry,
Old Growth, Mountain Fog
Cape heartache was the first of many odd but stellar fragrances from this collection. Based on one of Philip Sava’s exploration novels, this fragrance takes us to a home in a coastal grove of old-growth trees.
Upon first smell, I got a very creamy Strawberry smoothie note, which later settled down. As the fragrance’s longevity progressed, I was met by a resinous woodsy accord that added a necessary oomph to the scent.
Once it became a conglomeration, your nose picked out the Strawberry accord that was mixed with very raw Vanilla and deep woods. Overall, this scent was intriguing although it was hard to place when I would wear the scent.
I concluded that I would use the scent as a way of sparking conversation. I would hope as well that the person who smelt it could go on the same vigorous journey as I did.
Every Storm a Serenade
Notes: Danish Spruce, Eucalyptus, Vetiver, Calone, Ambergris, Baltic Sea Mist
This fragrance did wonders upon first smell. I could feel that I was placed in a Scandinavian forest, where plants and flowers surrounded me. Imaginary Authors tell us on their website that this fragrance will “lull you with its well-designed sentences and intimate tone.”
The fragrance has a very nice, almost medicinal woodsy accord from the Eucalyptus. To add a green feel, Vetiver takes charge and tasks Calone to add a sea accord. These three notes create a showstopping trio that places me on a rock, in the middle of the forest.
I would highly recommend this fragrance to gentlemen who would like a signature scent for the daytime. It isn’t suited for the office but definitely is a great fragrance to have people smell on you as you walk by. Like the other Imaginary Authors scents, this fragrance creates a whirlpool of opportunities to ask questions.
Notes: Lemon, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lychee, Tropical Flowers, Warm Sand
Falling Into the Sea was the first scent to take me back to my childhood. I vividly remember going to the shopping mall with my parents, where they would purchase me a Lychee bubble tea for the trip home. The drink was chock-full of sugar but damn it was tasty!
This fragrance brought me back to these times as the Lychee note is so prominent. To help balance it out, the group of citrus accords act as a sourness that is pleasant and effective. Finally, the flower accord helps by adding a more robust background, pushing the other notes to the surface.
This scent encapsulates the first published book by Nica Galas which chronicled her short and torrid love affair on the hot beaches of Naples. The fragrance transports you to the happier moments of her tale, directly on the beach.
Memoirs of a Trespasser
Notes: Madagascar Vanilla, Guaiacwood, Myrrh, Benzoin Resin, Ambrette Seeds, Oak Barrels
To add to their boozy arsenal, Memoirs of a Trespasser projects a terrific Bourbon note, along with prominent Oud and Vanilla. This accord stirred up memory as most of the whiskeys that I enjoy are finished in Oak Barrels.
Taking inspiration from another Sava novel, this fragrance details his true experiences of travelling while infusing these thoughts with hallucinatory imagination. When he was asked by the press about his lifestyle, he asked them, “who needs love when there is still cognac in the glass?”
Memoirs of a trespasser take his way of thinking and bring it to fruition with a strong Oud component that is settled down by Vanilla and Benzoin sweetness. Never mind the competition that arises from the Oak Barrels and Myrrh which settle down the rather harsh Oud.
This fragrance is masculine down to its core and should be worn by someone confident. The scent is indistinguishable from other Oud based scents and will make you the most interesting-smelling person in any room.
Notes: Black Tea, Lapsang Souchong Tincture, Orris Butter, Kyoto Moss, Musk Balsam, Sandalwood, ???
“At the risk of sounding bleak, this night could be your last. Splash on O, Unknown! and plunge forth into prosperity and joy. Repeat as often as you are able.”
Quite the perfect description for this fragrance. Off the top, I get a very prominent licorice note along with medicinal sweetness. It smells as if my mother had spilled cough syrup on the kitchen counter but in a positive way.
As the fragrance progresses, I get a slight but noticeable fresh paper accord that is difficult to attribute. Once the fragrance settles, you’re met with a deep powder and floral accord that is mixed with a resin-like sweetness and licorice.
O, Unknown! is a terrific fragrance by the house and one that deserves to be worn as a signature scent in the fall months. Personally, this fragrance ranks highly on my favourite Imaginary Author fragrances.
Notes: Sweet Mint, Tangerine, Southern Magnolia, Bourbon, Grisalva, Sugarcube
The backstory leaves me in awe as this fragrance perfectly depicts “Saint Julep”. In Clarksdale, Mississippi, a small church was converted to a sort of speakeasy. People would head over to Saint Julep with moonshine in hand and stress on their minds. As the night progressed, people would begin socializing and dancing their troubles away.
The oral history of the establishment lives on to tell us that “the smiles are always free and the salvation had the distinct smell of sweet mint.” My guess is from the menthol cigarettes that were most likely being smoked but, I digress.
This fragrance encapsulates the old church by projecting an immensely powerful Mint note, along with Tangerine and Bourbon. The best way to describe this fragrance is to personify it.
Take the strong mint from a menthol cigarette and mix that with the sweetness from the white and red after-dinner mints that you receive from steakhouses. Then, drop the mint into an old-fashioned cocktail but, the bartender ran out of oranges so they used tangerine instead. It’s truly a minty, boozy masterpiece that I would love to wear on a date night.
Notes: Saffron, Rose Absolute, Leather, Apple, Benzoin, Cashmeran, Arpora Night Market
When I first smelled this fragrance, only one thought popped into my head.
Wow, this is delicious.
I believe that this fragrance is an elevated version of Moschino Toy Boy and is better in every which way. It has a very unisex Rose note that is bumped up by the Leather, Saffron and Cashmeran. The apple note likes to weave itself throughout the opening but it ends up sitting on the back burner.
Slow Explosions lives out most of its life as an oriental, manly fragrance with tinges of curiosity here and there. The Rose note is prominent but not overpowering, as you may still enjoy the Leather and Saffron accords. But, I still can’t get over the use of Apple. It amazes me how seamlessly it can maneuver itself through such a robust note breakdown.
Notes: Neroli, Rhubarb, Honeysuckle, Rose Water, Orange Zest, First Kiss
Sundrunk is by far my favourite fragrance from the house. It is absolutely spectacular and here’s why.
Never in my life have I asked myself what an exploding sun could smell like. I probably have never even thought of it as a concept. But the second I laid my nose on Sundrunk, I knew.
Neroli, Rhubarb and Orange Zest instantly jump through the skin and nestle themselves in your nose. They produce a citrus accord that is spicy and foreign to my mind. Once I got over the immediate impact, I was able to enjoy the rest of the scent.
The sweetness from the Honeysuckle emerges and dances with the pre-existing notes above. Then, the Rose steals the Neroli and takes it to the side. What you’re left with is an extravagant combination of refreshing citrus and playful floral.
Sundrunk is a signature scent-worthy fragrance for the warmer months and could honestly be worn year-round. The beauty that lies within this fragrance is astounding and kudos to the amazing people at Imaginary Authors, you created a masterpiece.
Notes: Talc, Lavender Absolute, Black Pepper, Teak, Amyris, Vanilla Powder, Fresh Linens
Telegrama tells the story of two Argentinian lovers who manage to stay in touch as the world pulls them further and further apart. After years of sharing memories and love through letters, the pair are finally reunited after a transatlantic flight.
This fragrance is one that could be worn as a dumb reach. The Lavender and Vanilla project primarily in a way that is sweet, floral and inviting. Once mixed with Pepper and Talc, the fragrance becomes aromatic and easy to enjoy.
I can see this fragrance working well layered with other fragrances in the Imaginary Authors collection.
The Cobra and The Canary
Notes: Lemon, Orris, Tobacco Flowers, Leather, Hay Fields, Asphalt
“Don this scent on hot, hazy weekdays when you can put your life on hold and enjoy a simple luxury like a fast drive in the country.”
The Cobra and The Canary is a very easy to wear, Tobacco fragrance that is lightened up by Lemon and Orris. The fragrance leans towards masculinity but could be deemed unisex. This is another solid fragrance from the house but not one that is showstopping.
Although, the use of Tobacco Flowers in this scent is quite unique. Instead of the heavy Tobacco that is usually paired with complimenting notes like Tonka and Vanilla, this Tobacco is light and floral.
The fragrance is neat and can be worn at almost any point throughout the day. I would try layering it with Telegrama for a manly, fresh fragrance.
The Soft Lawn
Notes: Linden Blossom, Grapefruit, Laurel & Ivy leaves, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Fresh Tennis Balls
The Soft Lawn is another great scent that depicts the name phenomenally. This fragrance begins with the aromatic note that is found when opening a canister of tennis balls. It rapidly shifts to a thick, green scent that reminds me of fields in Scotland.
The Vetiver is dense and of the times, whilst the Oakmoss adds to the green accord. The fragrance leans towards masculinity although the green notes are cut through by the Grapefruit and Linden Blossom.
I believe that this is a very refreshing take on a green scent. I love how they advertise the scent on the website, telling us that we should wear the scent “on weekends or anytime you wish it were the weekend.”
Notes: Natural Cambodian Oud, Cantaloupe, Cedarwood, Muskdana, Honey, Salvaged Shipwreck
This scent is definitely one for fragrances lovers and veterans. Oud is known as a very stinky note and one that is either loved or hated. Whispered myths takes an extremely unique note of Cantaloupe and pairs it with Oud.
The combination is not one that I enjoyed personally, but there are definitely people out there who would adore this fragrance. The scent is musky, woody and slightly fruity to categorize it basically. The cantaloupe adds a subtle sweetness to the Oud but is overpowered by the Cedarwood and other woodsy accords.
Overall this is definitely a gentleman’s fragrance and one that must be paired to perfection. I picture someone who loves the outdoors, appreciates nature and can’t stand designer fragrances.
I would highly recommend grabbing a 2ml tester of this fragrance as it is something that everyone should experience at some point in their life. Who knows, you may even love it!
Notes: Fig, Iris, Cream, Tonka, Tree Bark, Walnut Bitters, Orchard Dust
Yesterday Haze is the final fragrance amongst the ensemble and we conclude with a banger. The fragrance reminds me of the inside of a fig newton. These popular treats were given to me every day in elementary school, usually in packs of threes.
The fillings of this delicious treat are reimagined by the Fig, Cream and Walnut notes. They produce a delectable accord that is extremely gourmand and produces a “Wow, I could eat that” response that is similar to Montale Honey Aoud and A Whiff of Waffle Cone.
Yesterday Haze’s remaining notes produce a pungent background in order to complement the sweetness. Tonka and Iris stand out as they get behind the other sweet notes and push them forward, making them the stars of the show.
If I could recommend three fragrances to purchase, I would recommend Sundrunk, A Whiff of Waffle Cone and Falling Into the Sea. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing this entire collection so thank you again to the team at Imaginary Authors!