Monthly Archives: December 2011

The 1912 Overture part I

There are watershed years in practically every field, and in perfumery, 1912 was the year of grace.   It is one hundred years since Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, Houbigant’s Quelques Fleurs, and Caron’s Narcisse Noir were introduced, amazingly, all three are with … Continue reading

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Pluperfect Purple

When was the heliotrope last in fashion?  I wonder.  It may have been sometime in the  nineties.  The 1890’s, that is. It went out no doubt with hair pomade and gardenia boutonnieres. What is the heliotrope?  It is a small … Continue reading

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Upon a Midnight Clear

Sometimes in smelling all sorts of things you stumble over a creation that is simply beautiful.  In writing about holiday scents – which is a difficult thing to do because there’s a jumble of scents tumbling about houses during the … Continue reading

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Monstre Sacre

When Caron’s Parfum Sacre first came out in 1990, I did not like it at all.  It was, to give me some modicum of credit, not the same perfume that it is today.  It was much, much stronger, and in … Continue reading

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Not Smoking…Really

Tobacco, tobacco!                                                                       Sing sweetly for tobacco,                                                    Tobacco is like love, o love it,                                                … Continue reading

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Rangtang’s Bet

Back in the day, and I mean a long time back in the day, about 1919 or so, my paternal grandmother decided to use her birthday money to purchase some stock. Now I know that to most readers, this seems … Continue reading

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Generational Snift and How to Avoid It

“It’s an old lady perfume!” is the dreaded judgment frequently handed down by young and (youngish) reviewers. Generally this classification is given to chypres which the neophyte perfumistas seldom appreciate.  It takes time to cotton to ingredients like oak moss, … Continue reading

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Brilliant, Brilliant! But Does Something Smell Fishy in Here?

When Guerlain came out with their l’Art et Matiere line some years ago, it was supposed to be, I guess, a dutiful effort by the venerable firm at edginess.  It’s been pointed out that the bottles are uncomfortably close to … Continue reading

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A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma

Lana Peters, aka Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Joseph Stalin, died last week in Wisconsin. Among the details of her life, the obituaries brought up the much repeated bit about her being the inspiration for a classic Soviet perfume, Svetlana’s Breath. … Continue reading

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The Stealth Assault of Rosemary

If there is ever a contest for the world’s most romantic perfume, one of the chief contenders, indeed, possibly the all time champ, will be Guerlain’s Apres L’Ondee. It is the most delicately decadent perfume in the whole canon of … Continue reading

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