Friends of JV: Fumerie

Come along to SE Portland to visit Fumerie Parfumerie, a tiny shop that would be at home in Paris’s Saint Germain district. Gaze through the windows at the paneled interior, as sleek as a gentlemen’s club. Enter and be enveloped by the magic of fragrance. The owner, Tracy Tsefalas, has created a world apart that is based on her knowledge of and passion for the art of perfumery. With a focus on small, independent perfume houses, Fumerie offers a curated niche collection of daring and innovative scents. And its highly-trained perfume experts specialize in helping find the perfect scent.

In Portland’s active creative scene, it is hardly surprising that Jane’s Vanity and Fumerie would  connect. In fact, Jane’s Vanity showcased Fumerie at one of JV’s recent winter events. Both businesses share a commitment to bringing exquisite, unique products to their customers. As Tracy notes, “The joy I feel when spraying a beautiful fragrance for the first time is comparable to trying on a finely tailored piece of lingerie--both immediately lift one’s spirits.” An additional perk is to know that these products are created with integrity, offer quality rather than quantity, and tell a unique story.

At Fumerie, Tracy will meet you with a gentle smile, often clad in a vintage dress with footwear selected from her extensive boot collection. Her blond-streaked Renaissance hair suggests the opulence of her inventory. You will enjoy your discussion of the perfumes as you take in their scent. Tracy finds that Portlanders prefer fragrances with earthy or woody tones--and individuality. Customers appreciate Fumerie’s decision to eschew traditional gender designations. No “masculine” vs “feminine.” Portlanders also recognize the value of a small business that offers handcrafted, rather than mass-produced, creations. Since Fumerie’s opening in early 2016, the PDX response to it has been overwhelmingly positive.

Because small perfumeries are very selective about their vendors, Fumerie introduced itself to them by sending each perfumer a deftly-designed presentation box. It explained the Fumerie ethos via photo collage, tiny vials of scent, and stories of imagined customers: the experientialist, the connoisseur, the sensorialist. The perfumers were charmed. Tracy, in turn, admires their heart. Rather than trying to please everyone, these perfume designers put everything they have into creating works of art. She is grateful for their support of Fumerie.

A Few Questions:

How to wear perfume? No need to walk through a cloud of scent (wasteful!). Instead, spray or dab. For yourself to enjoy: focus on the chest. For others to appreciate: the neck. And don’t rub, you will lose the top notes of the fragrance. Test a fragrance on back of wrist or lower arm.

A signature scent? Tracy gravitates toward patchouli, leather, woods, tobacco, and oakmoss. She chooses a daily scent as a mood-enhancer, a catalyst, or even a protector. Her favorites include Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens (vintage version), Psychedelique by Jovoy, and Patchouly by Profumum Roma.

What to where when?

  • For a first date: Nudiflorum by Nasomatto. “This fragrance is sexy in an understated, compelling manner.”
  • For a stroll in the Japanese Garden: Osmanthus Interdite by Parfum d’Empire. “A fresh tea scent softened with Osmanthus and musk. This is a clean scent that wears beautifully for any occasion.”
  • For Thanksgiving: Au Coeur du Desert by Tauer. “Rich and earthy with a beautiful balance of cedar and patchouli.”

And a Jane’s Vanity item to accompany the perfume? Tracy’s wish list includes the Madame Aime Rue Monsieur Black Bralette Set and Elise Anderegg’s Sompteux Georgette Robe.

Traveling with scent? Avoid checking your fragrance. Instead, tuck five-milliliter travel sprays into the allotted quart baggie for carry-ons (note: 14.7 sprays per milliliter).

For more information, check out the fabulous Fumerie website (thank you, Andre!):

As one sits in Fumerie’s lovely boutique and admires the wealth of possibility contained in its elegant bottles, the words that come to mind are grace and sustainability. These are terms not always synonymous with the perfume counter scene. Tracy has established a space on her own terms that connects true artisans with a population that is excited by scent and interested in learning about its creation. Fumerie also offers events that bring the world of perfume to life. In the future, Tracy hopes to expand these opportunities. And to continue to discover new fragrance lines for her customers. We look forward to all of it.      

-Kate L

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