We find Demeter Fragrance Library in the midst an uncomfortable identity crisis; not quite a drugstore shelf staple, yet not elusive enough to be called a niche brand.
Its unique distribution strategy places Demeter in an interesting position in the market of low-end cosmetics. You won’t find Demeter at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart, but search your local supermarket and you might be surprised.
Being situated between the produce and the fresh cuts doesn’t stop Demeter Fragrance Library from dreaming big. They claim they “want nothing less than to change the way fragrance is sold and used in America1.” To them fragrance is meant for layering, experimenting, and maximizing the bond between scent and memory.
The important thing to remember about the Demeter Fragrance Library is that their collection is vast and inexpensive. At $15 per bottle these ‘pick-me-up cologne sprays’ are intended for unique combinations. Why would they have Strawberry Ice Cream, Waffle Cone and Dark Chocolate scented colognes if not to bring back fond memories of sundaes at the parlor? And what man-cave would be complete without Log Cabin, Moonbeam and Mountain Air colognes? The combinations are endless thanks to the linear nature of DFL’s olfactory creations.
The last fragrance I tried from this peculiar line was Pink Lemonade, a new-car smell and lemon thing that I went so far as calling cursed. I hardly had time to try it in combination with their other scents before it went in the trash and a new Demeter found its way to my perfume shelf. As spring is finally upon us, I wanted to share with you the flip side to Demeter’s perfumes; that is, the good side.
Meet Wet Garden, your new best friend for Spring/Summer 2015.
The apothecary style glass bottles of Demeter have grown on me since my previous review. Despite the crooked label on mine, I think that a shelf of them would be very elegant. Their size is appropriate for travel and storage, but I could do without the giraffe’s neck of an atomizer.
When it comes to describing fragrance for a blog audience what I go by is my personal experiences and a pool of adjectives and metaphors. What all reviews boil down to is personal taste and opinion, and in this particular case of single-note, memory-inducing colognes my suggestion is to try before you buy.
That said, for me Wet Garden is a light yet complex fragrance that I wear all on its own. What it brings to mind the most is a freshly trimmed lawn that weeps tears of green leaf volatiles. What science-types will already know is that among the chemicals released by an injured plant are various aldehydes and alcohols2, common ingredients in perfumery. This gives Wet Garden a watery leafiness that fans of manicured greens will appreciate.
In addition there is definite warmth to WG that I think is either clove or cinnamon at a very low concentration. As the wear of the cologne progresses a few floral notes emerge, like a flowering bud after the rain. The effect is fresh, clean, and altogether very pleasant.
If you spend any time at all on fragrance forums you’ll know that the number one complaint most Demeter fans have about the line is the performance. On a particular Fragrantica thread about Demeter one user said “they fade so quickly that there is no opportunity to even enjoy them3.” Another complains, “the ones I’ve tried were spectacular for 5 minutes and then disappeared completely.” Still a third member added that “they don’t last past a whiff.” If I was a chemist working for the company I would be cringing, because one could easily come up with an extensive list of perfumes that last a long time and cost about the same.
For me performance was not such a problem, and I found that Wet Garden lasted at least three to four hours on my skin and radiated softly. My personal recommendation for extending longevity is to apply thoroughly to the neck, wrists, behind the knees and on the back of the hair. Feedback from peers was mixed, and in certain environments this scent is sickening (I’m thinking dusty classrooms, if you must know). Still, most agree that this is not a bad scent for a man. It might just take a bit of getting used to.
Verdict: I am pleased to find at least one cologne from this line that I enjoy so much, and know that there is an audience for a grassy scent such as this (fans of LUSH Cosmetics Grass shower gel should give it a try!). Wet Garden is a breath of fresh spring air and I am sure that in the coming weeks I will enjoy it often. At the moment it appears that Demeter also offers this fragrance in atmosphere sprays, so take a leap of faith and buy yourself a reasonably-priced impression of a well-groomed garden. It’ll make the nagging guilt of spending your day indoors reading about perfume not so bad!
1Demeter Fragrance Library: About Us
2Mental Floss: What Causes That “Fresh Cut Grass” Smell?
3Fragrantica: Demeter Fragrances