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Independent artisan made perfumes.



January Scent Project thoughts and musings.


Burvuvu, New Season and New Location

John Biebel

So much has been happening for January Scent Project in the last few months that it would be hard to summarize, but I will do my best. Most importantly, the enterprise made an important move to a new location in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, just a few miles over the border south of Massachusetts. The operation was becoming too large to manage from my painting studio so now it has a space all its own. I've spent the summer relocating the works there, continuing development on the latest perfume release, and working on what will be the next release later in 2018. 

Prior to this big change, I was able to join a number of my colleagues at Excense in Milan, Italy as a reporter for Fragrantica, and had some wonderful exchanges with perfumers, writers, bloggers and all kinds of enthusiasts from the fragrance community. It was an unforgettable experience, completed with another week soaking in the arts of Firenze. One of the highlights of this April was meeting the fantastic video blogger Yanna (Tommelise). It's one of the few times that I really felt pleased with the results - she is a natural interviewer!

While I was there, I passed around a prototype of a cedar-based fragrance that I had been tinkering with, but wasn't quite sure if it was ready. I got some great feedback from folks and a few months later after the move was complete and I was able to put the last bits in place, Burvuvu was finished. I smelled about 12 different kinds of regional cedars in order to find the ones that worked best for this. I narrowed it down to three: Texas cedar, Canadian White cedar, and West Coast red cedar (Californian.)

Burvuvu Retro Ad Poster 

Burvuvu Retro Ad Poster 

There are many other notes as well, including some spices (ginger,) and some balsamic greenery (basil,) and some unusual notes that bring out a particularly leaf-scattered, peaty kind of cedar that I'd been hoping to arrive at (mushroom, henna, honey.) Burvuvu is now available and will be shipping on September 7th, 2018 in the 30 ml size, and at the end of September for the 100 ml size (when new packaging has arrived.)

Burvuvu 100 ml

Burvuvu 100 ml

Special offers will be available to accompany the new fragrance, so stayed tuned for details, and thank you again for your support for January Scent Project.


Reviews, Products, Action, Awakening

John Biebel

Greetings my friends, it has been a busy and somewhat hibernating few months of winter. During that time, I created a new scented parfum oil, Treebuoy, for the fantastically ethically-minded perfume shop Avé Parfum. It was an exclusive for February and is now also available here on I'm excited to have begun with this relationship with Avé Parfum and their exciting line of work.

Treebuoy Parfum Oil

Treebuoy Parfum Oil


January Scent Project has received some extremely thoughtful reviews and some awards wrapping up 2017, many of which have peered deeply into the fragrances and made them come alive. Now Smell This wrote about Vaporocindro in December 2017, saying about the lilac note: "as though I'd stumbled across a lilac bush growing in an abandoned factory yard, rooted in gravel and dusted with soot." I am so stirred by this stark depiction, it's poetic! Take One Thing Off, a particularly fascinating blog, wrote an earnest review of all the perfumes, with a great analysis about why niche and indie scents make sense in today's world, vis a vis some of the sameness of department store offerings :

Although like most fragrance wearers, I am personally drawn to polish and creaminess and well, a certain slick mouthfeel to the perfumes I wear, the lack of real creativity and new ideas in niche can be a bit of a turn off. Increasingly, I am asking myself if the price bump for nicheyness is justified if I can find the same ideas and the same polish on the department store shelves.

That’s why I have been gravitating more and more towards the indies and the naturals. Raw and weird they may (occasionally) be, but when I want to experience real creativity over mouthfeel, that’s where I go. The January Scent Project fragrances, by artist, Fragrantica editor, and all-round good egg John Biebel, are the perfect embodiment of long tail thinking. Highly unusual, kooky, outlier scents that would go down like a lead balloon at a department store but flourish online because there is enough people in this small, scattered, but passionate community of ours who love outliers and want to buy them.
— "January Scent Project: Selperniku, Smolderose, Eiderantler - Reviews (Sort Of)" Clair, of Take One Thing Off

JSP was on a number of Best Of lists for 2017, which was humbling and makes me grateful for how far this has come within one year since the big releases of last March. The Muse in Wooden Shoes, a Netherlands blogger, listed all the scents as Best Of's for the year, saying "I’m still not sure any of these are “me,” but they are bold and unexpected and, best of all, wearable. Hurrah for the indies."

A true highlight of the year was talking to the author of A Scent of Elegance / The Silver Fox, and his minutely detailed reviews of the perfumes in his piece "Strange Pilgrims". He not only describes the perfumes at length but also makes comparisons to the surrealist painter  Leonora Carrington, drawing mythic parallels between her work and mine. It's not only apt, but extremely revealing about process, intentions, and psychic reality. His writing is intense, fruitful, and super revealing to me about my very own process of working. It was a pleasure to get to know his writing through this process.

CaFleureBon awarded January Scent Project two excellent commendations for 2017 including Rising Star, and Top Ten list of Ida Meister for Eiderantler. This was particularly nice for me because Ida had offered some important guidance as I showed her early "drafts" of some of my work as I began - and her feedback was sincere and helpful. 

Work has begun anew on a new perfume which is coming closer and closer to a finished state. Along with that, I've been engaging in some excellent side projects that could easily turn into proper perfumes themselves! I have been working on a perfume challenge with Alexander Chesebro of Fitzgerald and Guislain - our project has been to assign ourselves a perfume type to each work on individually but then to pass along samples to each other for critique. The process has been illuminating for as I get to understand a more collaborative way to working, and speaking directly to what I'm doing, want to do, and hope to achieve. It's one thing to have a notion and follow it along as it snakes an unfamiliar territory, but quite another to be more methodical in one's approach toward an end goal. This has helped me maintain a focus I may not have had before. I hope to keep working with Alex and Fitzgerald and Guislain, as they are excellent perfumers with a vast collection of ideas. Alex writes about the Evergreen Challenge here.

More will come soon about the new perfume, the Evergreen Challenge, a lecture and workshop planned for May at the de Cordova museum in Lincoln, MA, a visit to the Esxence festival/perfume conference in Milan (which I will be attending, representing Fragrantica,) and more. JB 

New Sample Structure for 2018, Wrapping up the Year

John Biebel

It is extremely cold in the northeast right now, but an extremely busy time for January Scent Project. I was visiting my brother and his wife's family in Iowa over Christmas, and came back to a large group of shipments to be sent out. There are some other shipments waiting to go which have slowed down slightly due to the blizzard we've had in recent days.

New sample packaging for January Scent Project.

New sample packaging for January Scent Project.

Along with the new year, I've created new promotional material for the January Scent Project samples. When the newest perfume (Vaprorcindro) was released in October, I listed it as a separate purchasable unit on the site. It's also the most costly perfume to make due to its ingredients, so it required a slightly higher cost. Moving forward, however, Vaporocindro is now happily part of the full line of perfumes and shall be included in the standard sample kit.

People have remarked that they like the "Elevated Samples Kit" because it offers 3.5 ml parfum sprays, which really gives people a decent way to experience a perfume properly. Later this year I will be introducing some new options for sampling, but for the beginning of 2018, I'm going to move over to the full sample kit of all the current 4 perfumes and Smolderose Oil. The price of Vaporocindro will be added in; so this will explain an adjustment in prices. This change in sample options will occur starting Monday, January 8th. I hope you enjoy the new packaging!

As the Project continues, I want to keep revisiting the way that people sample the perfumes. I think that some things always hold true: Generally people like to spray their samples, they like to have options, and they want to get a sense of what the whole project is "about", not just a group of random smells that aren't in some way connected through a vision of sorts. I want to continue to offer as much of this as I can in the sampling experience while keeping it affordable and accessible. 

Much more to come as we brave the cold in the fascinating new year.