I’ve been considering Kevin’s sample-related post again lately. I understand his frustration with the abundance of niche brands; ever-increasing costs and attractive websites don’t always translate into unique or unforgettable scent experiences. I purposefully delayed trying the relatively new brand BDK Parfums (established in 2016 but only available in the US since 2020) because I suspected that, despite a flurry of positive reviews on the internet, this would be more of the same. However, I caved in when I was offered a BDK sample set as a gift with purchase—after all, why not?

Recently, BDK Parfums has become quite popular in the niche perfume market. Established in 2016, David Benedek’s Parisian house boasts a genuine French perfumery legacy and creates imaginative fragrances using premium raw materials that draw inspiration from characters, movements, and silhouettes. Every fragrance has a backstory that revolves around a particular raw material or olfactory family.

This checklist of standard components will look familiar to those who are familiar with French and French-inspired niche perfumery brands of the twenty-first century: “the most flawless raw materials” used in “conscientious artisan work enabling the creation of exceptional fragrances“; a founder who “grew up in the universe of perfumery,” along with sombre black-and-white photographs of that founder; a bottle cap that pays homage to Parisian architecture (see Chanel No. 5 or Maison Francis Kurkdjian for earlier examples); minimalist labels with a sans-serif font (these remind me of Edward Bess); and exaggerated scent descriptions.

Thus far, I’ve sampled five scents from BDK’s “Collection Parisienne.” In summary, I thought three of them were well-made but a little cheesy, but they should appeal to a specific type of person who loves Tom Ford and wants something a little more challenging to find; one of them, if it came in a smaller bottle, I might buy.

Rogue Smoking BDK Parfums

Rouge Smoking: Let’s start with this one since the salesperson recommended it both times. She thinks it’s her favourite. It also seems to be among the most well-liked offering scents from the house overall.

Created for BDK by perfumer Amelie Bourgeois, Rouge Smoking is a combination of bergamot, cherry, pink berries [pink pepper?], “black vanilla,” heliotrope, Ambroxan, Cashmeran, Tonka bean, labdanum, and white musk. A boozy cherry note opens the note. (Thanks to the aforementioned Mr. Ford, cherries are currently highly fashionable in niche perfumery.) In the heart notes, there’s also a hint of tobacco with a vanilla flavour, and then things start to feel familiar. The remainder of Rouge Smoking, with its slightly clinging vanilla musk and teeth-grindingly sweet orange blossom meringue, makes me think of Kilian’s Love (Don’t Be Shy).

Rogue Smoking Notes:

Top: Italian bergamot, cherry blossom, and pink berries

Heart: Vanilla bean, Heliotrope

Base: Labdanum, Tonka Bean, Cashmeran, Ambroxan, and White Musk

BDK Gris Charnel Extrait

2019 saw the release of Gris Charnel, an eau de parfum designed by Mathilde Bijaoui. I’m going to omit the lengthy Parisian romance story that BDK Parfums offers in place of an accurate scent description because it lacks any relevance or olfactory details.

It seems that the end of all those nights spent out in skimpy attire is near. Perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui created Gris Charnel, which has notes of Tonka bean, fig, black tea, cardamom, iris, vetiver, and sandalwood. Although its appealing spiced-fig introduction becomes less creamy, spicy, and interesting as the scent dries down into a more polished cedar, sandalwood, and ambergris alternative to Le Labo Santal 33, it is still a very smooth and well-constructed fragrance.

Gris Charnel Extrait Notes:

Top: cardamom essence, black tea, and fig

In the heart: absolutes of Iris and Bourbon Vetiver

Base: Indian sandalwood, pure Tonka bean

Pas Сe Soir BDK Parfums

BDK ParfumsPas Ce Soir is a floral scent for ladies. 2016 saw the launch of Pas ce Soir. David Benedek is the nose behind this fragrance. Ginger, Mandarin Orange, and Black Pepper are the top notes; Quince, Moroccan Jasmine, and Orange Blossom are the middle notes; Cashmeran, Amberwood, and Singapore Patchouli are the base notes.

Once more, here we go! The creator of the brand, David Benedek, created the blend of ingredients that makes up Pas Ce Soir, which includes black pepper, ginger, mandarin, jasmine, quince, orange blossom, Cashmeran, patchouli, and “amber wood.Patchouli with a synthetic scent, white flowers, and a semi-gourmand amber accord—not unpleasant, but also not particularly novel. Get the idea by visualizing a reformulated angel mixed with a small amount of ginger.

Pas Сe Soir Notes:

Black pepper, Ginger, Mandarin, Moroccan jasmine, Quince chutney, Orange blossom, Cashmeran, Patchouli of Singapore, Amber wood.

Velvet Tonka BDK Parfums

BDK ParfumsVelvet Tonka is a floral scent for both men and women. The Velvet Tonka was introduced in 2021. Alexandra Carlin is the face behind this fragrance. The top notes are orange blossom and Amanda; the heart notes are tambac and rose essential oil; and the base notes are tonka bean, amber wood, and Amyris.

The combination of black pepper and ginger in the reformulated Angel adds a unique twist to the fragrance, making it not only unpleasant but also intriguing. This blend creates a sensory experience that is both familiar and captivating.

Velvet Tonka Note:

Tonka bean, Ambroxan, Orange Blossom, Almond, Rose, Tobacco absolute, and Amyris wood.

Crème de Cuir BDK Parfums

For both men and women, BDK Parfums offers an amber floral scent called Vanille Leather. This scent is brand-new. In 2023, Vanille Leather made its debut. Dominique Ropion is the scent creator behind this perfume. Violet and pink pepper are the top notes; orange blossom, jasmine, and tuberose are the middle notes; and vanilla, orris, benzoin, leather, oak, and patchouli are the base notes.

Crème de Cuir Notes:

The top notes are Mandarin orange, pineapple, bergamot, and grapefruit.
Middle notes include Pink pepper, sandalwood, white suede, pepper, and pink berries.
Base notes: Absolute vanilla, birch, white musk, gray musk, cashmeran, and vanilla.


BDK Parfums, established in 2016, is a French perfume brand that has gained popularity in the niche market. The brand, based in Paris, creates imaginative fragrances using premium raw materials inspired by characters, movements, and silhouettes. The company’s scents have a backstory that revolves around a particular raw material or olfactory family. The company’s “Collection Parisienne” includes five scents: Rouge Smoking, Gris Charnel Extrait, Pas Ce Soir, Crème de Cuir, and Velvet Tonka. The latter is a floral scent for both men and women, with notes of orange blossom, Amanda, tambac, rose essential oil, tonka bean, amber wood, and amyris. The Velvet Tonka is a thick, rich, and sweet scent described as an elegant, seductive, and gourmand scent. The brand’s scents are characterized by their unique blends of ingredients, such as tonka bean, ambroxan, and almond, creating a delectable gourmand experience.

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