Detecting the principal notes of fragrances is one of the most annoying and confusing aspects of perfume collecting. Who would know-for example-that the main note of Fracas is Tuberose? And who would intuit that YSL Paris is largely concerned with roses? No one does. You simply have to find that out yourself over time checking out different websites, and ultimately, trusting your own nose.
So last year when Patricia de Nicolai’s fragrance Ambre Cashmere came out I thought it was an amber perfume because of the name, and since most of the reviews accused AC of a tooth enamel eroding sweetness, I let the matter rest, and it wasn’t until for entirely different reasons a sample came my way, that I actually tried Ambre Cashmere. Continue reading →
Oud sloshes about perfume retailers nowadays, you need waders or gumboots to keep the stuff from soaking your shoes. There is practically a flood warning out for it, and still the public seems to love the smell and to keep on buying. Sometimes I wonder if this is not due to the fact that the Industry killed off one of their better dry fixatives with the oakmoss ban imposed by IFRA? It could be, and after all, synthetic substitutes for oud have existed for some time, but the beginnings of oud and the Middle Eastern influence on mainstream perfume is a good deal older than you might expect.
Yves Saint Laurent’s M7, a synthetic oud fragrance for men, was introduced in 2002 and has remained a love it or loathe it experience ever since. However M7 wasn’t the first mainstream release containing oud. The first was probably Yatagan (1976) into whose formula a certain amount of oud wood was incorporated. The oud is not in the notes, neither in the H&R Guide of 1991, nor yet on any of the websites, but there is a reference to this note of Yatagan’s in The Book of Perfume by Barrille and LaRoze who claim that the perfumers of Caron, always interested in rituals (with their own Royal Bain de Caron allegedly part of Voodoo ceremonies) decided to include this nearly sacred material in their new masculine.* Continue reading →
If you go down to the woods today you’d better not go alone…especially not in China where you might be witnessing one of the biggest bear jamborees on earth. It seems that a fad of huge proportions was born this past year. The Bridestowe Lavender Estate in Tasmania had been selling only the occasional Bobbie Bear in lavender plush stuffed with dried lavender, ten a month or so up until 2013, when a Chinese actress posted a picture of herself with Bobbie on social media. Bobbie was, according to Zhang Xinhu, the perfect companion on a cold night in Shanghai.
After that, Bobbies began selling like crazy, up to 4 thousand a month and Bridestowe was at the limits of its lavender production. That was when their problems really began. Continue reading →
Married Couple by Jacques Dumont 1733, Notice the dog, symbol of faithfulness.
Once upon a decade I had a signature perfume and that time is so far behind me now that I have trouble remembering what it was. Oh yes, Chant d’Aromes, and in the summer Eau de Hadrian. It was pretty halcyon, you never had to think about what to put on. It was always the same stuff.
There are a lot of scents out there these days which strike me as only one part of a perfume. Alaia which I have been smelling round me on scent strips (from Saks) is certainly one of them. I’m kind of amused that many bloggers think that it’s a wonderful modern perfume. Alaia’s the coda to a modern perfume. There’s no heart, and no beginning, you could call this linear but there isn’t enough of a high note to pull you in. It’s a base.
Alaia smells totally synthetic and there is something dark and tarry that I remember from the days when I was toying with Kate Walsh’s Boyfriend (remember that? No?) and from Estee Lauder’s Sensuous Noir, although that had more of a presence than Alaia. Continue reading →
Perfume taste is different in different parts of the world, and it’s even different between states in the US, which is admittedly a big place. New York likes strong novelty perfumes, the niche stuff, you smell a lot of ambroxan, a lot of synthetic oud. Jersey likes fruitchoulis, and up market Jersey buys Bond No 9 and Creed, especially Virgin Island Water. Connecticut so far as I can smell depends heavily on the township, from low to very high end. Californians I understand go for the flowered stuff and will buy naturals.
If you’re Southern though you have been born with a fondness for the smells of humid afternoons in late Spring. I know, because I was and the scent of magnolias, of gardenias, and of those big old weed trees locusts, are among my favorites. Now here is a new perfume from Pierre Bourdon no less, with a 60% concentration of magnolia absolute and I cannot get my hands on a sample! Continue reading →
Fashionable in 1862 Roget et Gallet fron Vintagevictorians.com
Scented soap is one of my great pleasures in life. Sometimes I take a pratfall in the suds though. My latest purchase of Zum’s Sandalwood was a case in point. It had a label that read: Channel your inner sexual siren with Sandalwood. Responsible for emotions, sensuality, intimacy, and sexuality. (AKA if you want to be a minx in the sack.)”
My brother and brother in law who read the back of the label (which was more than I’d done) were charmed by this and ran around for part of Thanksgiving weekend trying to convince my husband that he needed a shower. My Hub was not going to be the butt of this Gallic humor and a hygienic standoff ensued. Needless to say I really should flip bars of soap and read the back label from time to time. Continue reading →
It’s such a perennial it seems that everyone has worn Jicky at one time or another including Mick Jagger and Jaqueline Kennedy Onnasis and Colette and Proust, well that was according to Colette, but it seems quite likely doesn’t it? What else was Proust going to wear? Fougere Royale? I don’t think so.
Of course by now everyone has read the stories about Jicky. The one about vanillin and the mixture of a slightly impure grade to get the offbeat, faintly smudged vanilla of the scent. The admiring comments of Ernest Beaux (creator of No5) about Jacques Guerlain’s use of vanilla, and the melancholy tale about Aimee Guerlain’s lost English love referred to as “Jicky” although that may equally well have been Jacques Guerlain’s nickname. Continue reading →
When the afternoon light turns amber that’s the end of summer. It’s a phenomenon that you see in many different parts of the world. The light is a clear bluish color in Spring, has a strong un-tinted intensity in summer but in autumn, light slants and steeps in the atmosphere like tea. There’s probably a perfectly rational explanation for this but so far I’ve never heard one.
Fall is brewing. The foliage is already beginning to turn ever so slightly in my town, and soon the whole place will be covered with the annual oranges, tobacco browns, saffrons and scarlets everyone loves. Except me that is, because for me, Autumn is a busy season clipboard clutching, the time interrupted by meetings, and oh yes I have to change perfume. Continue reading →