Ineke Deluxe Sample Collection

Zelda posing with the Ineke Deluxe Sample Collection

So, Ineke Ruhland! She is kind of a BAMF. Homegirl trained at ISIPCA, the world’s most prestigious perfumery school, without having a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field (this is particularly impressive when you consider that the very first entry requirement on the ISIPCA website is “a bachelor[‘s] degree in science”). She then developed her very own perfume brand, which she runs out of her studio in San Francisco. Interviews with Ms. Ruhland suggest a breathtaking savviness about perfume and perfume marketing, which is on full display in her response to a question about her ah-may-zing perfume packaging in a 2007 interview with Basenotes: “The average person has a rusty connection between their nose and their brain. I think it’s important to use visual cues to give some guidance as to what a fragrance will smell like, and for a niche brand without advertising, that has to come mainly from the packaging.”

Ineke’s results speak for themselves. As of a 2011 interview, the Ineke line was sold in over 200 stores. Ms. Ruhland also created an exclusive line of perfumes for hipster paradise Anthropologie in 2011. I have admired Ineke Ruhland’s achievements for a very long time, but I’ve only had the opportunity to actually try her perfumes in the last week. I needed to spend another $25 to get the Sniffapalooza Henri Bendel gift bag, so I threw the Ineke Deluxe Sample Collection into my basket. The price of this sample set can then be applied to a full-bottle purchase on the Ineke website (another terribly clever business strategy by Ms. Ruhland).

So what can I tell you about the Ineke perfumes? First, they are 100% not my thang. I favor warm, sweet gourmands, and the Ineke line is almost entirely composed of ethereal florals. The fact that I like them anyway really says something about the level of skill and thought that was put into these perfumes. So without further fan-girling, here are brief reviews of the six scents in my sample set! (All images used, except for those containing my cat, are from the Ineke website.)

After My Own Heart

Ineke’s first perfume is terribly pretty and terribly uncomplicated. It smells very much like Marc Jacob’s Rain splash overlaid with a sheer lilac note. I don’t usually like lilac (it ruined Jo Malone’s new White Lilac & Rhubarb for me), but even I can’t deny the simple loveliness of this perfume. I think that it  would be absolutely perfect as a first fragrance for a young girl.

Balmy Days and Sundays 

This is my least favorite Ineke, unfortunately. It’s supposed to be a green floral, but the alleged greenness is overwhelmed by a shrieking freesia note. When I think of “balmy days and Sundays”, I think “calm” or “relaxed”, you know? This perfume just puts me on edge.

Chemical Bonding

On a more positive note, this is my favorite Ineke! Such a juicy, cheerful orange scent. Despite the worrying “chemical” aspect of the name, Chemical Bonding smells blessedly non-synthetic. And I’m totally geeking out over the periodic table that decorates the bottle.


On the one hand, this mellow lemony fougere is not particularly interesting. On the other hand, it smells SO MUCH BETTER than most modern men’s fragrances. I would have no complaints whatsoever if bros everywhere started bathing in Derring-Do instead of Acqua di Gio.

Evening Edged in Gold

 The loudest and sweetest fragrance in the line, Evening Edged in Gold is clearly intended to be the “sexy” Ineke. And it undoubtedly would be, if it actually smelled like the promised notes of plum and saffron. Instead, Evening Edged in Gold is flat and a little plastic-y. I wish that I could love it, just for that stunning bottle.

Field Notes From Paris

Field Notes from Paris puzzles me. There’s no anise listed in the notes, but FNfP has that same discordant sweetness that I associate with anisic perfumes like Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille or Lolita Lempicka. In fact, Field Notes from Paris smells very much like a person wearing Lolita Lempicka and smoking a fragrant cigar. I’m still not sure if I like Field Notes from Paris, but I consider it the most interesting Ineke fragrance so far.

What do you think of the Ineke line? Do you have a favorite Ineke fragrance?

19 thoughts on “Ineke Deluxe Sample Collection

  1. My best friend gave me this for Christmas last year. I have to say my favorite is Field Notes From Paris. I like how it smells on snuggly scarves and sweaters. I’ll be getting a full bottle once winter rolls around again.

      1. LOL! Mine’s shoved under then bed. It needs some work done (buttons, lining and whatnot). She’s 10 years old, but didn’t get worn but maybe 3 times the 4 1/2 years we were in TX.

  2. Can you say BORING,and Why did they bother?????….just another slew of crap…send it to Sephora,where the girls(notice,I didn’t say women) will buy it…BLEH….I like Zelda wayyyyy better….carry on….

    1. LOL! But tell us how you REALLY feel, Annie! 😉 I have to say that I haven’t smelled anything as nice as the Ineke line at Sephora in a while, but maybe you have access to more impressive Sephoras!

  3. Ari, they tricked you with a really old sample set: I bought mine a year and half ago and it already had 7 samples.

    I really like Field Notes From Paris and will probably get it eventually in my collection. From the time I tested it I remember liking Evening Edged in Gold but I didn’t have a chance to re-test it again. Everything else was more or less OK but I didn’t see myself wearing those perfumes.

    1. Whaaaat?? I feel so deceived! Although not entirely surprised- I didn’t see the Ineke line itself at Henri Bendel, so I figure that they must have carried Ineke at one point, no longer carry it now, and are now clearing out old stock! Baah, I’ve always liked Bergdorf’s better than Bendel’s anyway…

  4. I don’t think I’ve tried any of Ineke’s main line, but I have tried the Anthropologie-exclusive ones… of those, I vaguely recall being iffy on a few of them, but I really liked Briar Rose. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting the sample set because of the great pricepoint.

    1. I’ve tried all of the Anthro Ineke line too, and I think that her main line is more complex. I say go for the sample set- you can’t go wrong with the price! I enjoyed 5/6 of them, which are pretty damn good odds.

  5. Undina already pointed out that you got an older sampler set, it now includes G, “Gilded Lily.” Ineke was one of my very first sample purchases after falling down the rabbit hole, and After My Own Heart was my Mother’s Day present two years ago. I only find myself reaching for it in the early spring, but there are days when it’s juuuust right. And I give Ms. Ruhland major props for her attention to detail: the boxes and bottles look fantastic, and I love that she deliberately makes all her jus clear – it’s the bottles that are colored. That way you can spray on clothes without a fear of staining.

    One combo you might want to try that was recommended to me by Ida Meister: do a combo of Evening Edged in Gold and Field Notes from Paris. They bring out the best in each other.

    1. After My Own Heart would be such a perfect Mother’s Day present! I think that if I do end up applying the cost of my sample pack towards an Ineke perfume, that’s the one it will be.

      Ms. Ruhland’s attention to detail is EXTREMELY impressive. I would consider her one of niche perfumery’s biggest success stories!

  6. You reminded me I have this same sample set in my closet, still largely untested — the first couple I tried were very clean musky/citrusy type things and not my style. I just sprayed on Field Notes from Paris — it’s actually pretty close to A*Men Pure Malt or A*Men Pure Havane (themselves very similar), but with a more strident citrus section, especially noticeable up close. I like it, but it’s not as well blended and delicious as the A*Mens, which I just love.

    1. Field Notes From Paris really did feel in need of a little further blending to me. Now I want to try those A*Mens!

    1. if you have to preface something with “not to be rude,” it probably means you’re being extremely rude.

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