This post will give you a bit of a pre-game for what lies ahead in 2023. If you follow me on Fragrantica (username: karlovonamesti) you've seen that I've reviewed about half of the perfumes offered by Nicholas Nilsson's company, Pineward. Those are just snapshots of my impressions of these fragrances, and there are many other fragrances not included in Fragrantica's database that I'll be reviewing. Essentially I'll be rendering my opinion on every perfume offered by the brand, including one or two that are not yet available.
With this in mind, I want to clarify the parameters and linguistic terms I'll be using. I view Nilsson's range as a product of the times. He's an independent ("indie") perfumer and I assume he's self-taught. He reminds me of John Pegg, a YouTuber who eventually self-taught his way into creating a perfume line that exists and thrives today, although I don't think Nilsson has a YouTube channel. He simply has an enthusiasm for perfumery, with a commendable focus on green-woody pine fragrances. Generally I find his fragrances to be well made and quite interesting, so my overview opinion of Pineward is that it's a worthy brand with several excellent perfumes. My one general critique would be that he offers too many perfumes, but he's not alone in that; nearly all the niche brands are crowding their boutiques with unnecessary and redundant offerings these days.
With that in mind, I think it's only fair that I explain myself here. Every serious house has its own "house note" or "house accord" that is distinctly recognizable in nearly every fragrance it offers. Classic Guerlains contain "Guerlinade." Creeds dry down to "Creed Water," i.e., ambergris. Pineward has a "house accord" as well, but here it gets a little dicey: I don't particularly care for it. That doesn't mean the brand is a wash, because there are several in the line that deviate from this olfactory connective tissue, and most of them are Nilsson's greatest achievements by my lights. It just means that many of the fragrances that feature Pineward's unifying theme aren't scents I'd drop $200 on. It's hard to describe this "house accord" without sounding churlish, so I'll just say that it's a sweet woody amber, and for whatever reason it reminds me of Yankee Candles. Whenever I address this effect in Nilsson's perfumes, I'll dub it "candle amber," i.e., room-spray material.
Having said that, I want to point out that there are two perfumes in the range that I want to bump past "good" and "great" to "transcendent." One I would wear on a daily basis and gladly fork over the big bucks for. The other is less my style, but still worthy of high praise and deserving of accolades across the fragrance community. They're so good that if Nilsson axed every other fragrance in his line and just offered the two, he would have the makings of a brand that could unseat some of the LVMH behemoths. He's clearly capable of replicating his successes. If I were his evaluator (if he had an evaluator) I'd recommend he do this and use his best work to develop a smaller product line.
I'll end by acknowledging that Pineward is a new Basenotes favorite, with a dedicated thread that at the date of writing is fully twenty-one pages long. I discovered this after penning my thoughts on every fragrance, and was not influenced at all by the contents of the thread. But I did find it interesting that a few members had impressions of the perfumes that were identical to mine, sometimes down to the exact same reference point (This one smells like *fill in the blank*). I find it mind boggling that there are guys out there who will drop thousands of dollars to own every full bottle Pineward sells, but it doesn't really surprise me. The love of perfume is an addiction, and I expect that in ten or fifteen years we'll see the emergence of therapists who specialize in perfume addiction counseling. Amazon accounts will be locked by court order, perfumers will be sued, and the first of twelve steps will involve dumping your niche purchases down the toilet.