Orange Sanguine from Atelier Cologne
Do you recall Soda Stream? That was the system which allowed you to create your own carbonated sodas . You could buy the equipment and the carbonating packets at Bed Bath and Beyond, and a few summers ago, in the lost era before the Paleo Diet took serious hold and before gluten became unfit for human consumption, there was soda pop.
Now soda is considered worse than wine, which at least has anti-oxidents going for it. Soda is merely an indulgence, a fattening, tooth decaying indulgence at that. I have to sneak about with my glasses of Dr. Brown’s Cherry Soda. Yes. I know. Continue reading
Early Fracas advertising
Peaches unexpectedly have a great deal to do with 20th century perfume. Peach sits so prominently in so many formulas, as it does in Fracas, next to the orange blossoms and the bergamot. What made this omnipresence possible? Success. Or sales. Or aldehyde C14 if you prefer. It’s in Chant d’Aromes, and yes , everyone points out the peach in Mitsouko, (that’s practically a tourist attraction by now.) Well, ditto Fracas.
Somehow or other Fracas is often the perfume of respectable women. How does that come about?One explanation may be that the heart has built in restraint, like a camisole over a bosom, consisting of orris and carnation, in other words the exuberant tuberose is there buxom as can be, but so is the fabric smell from orris, while carnation provides the starch. Continue reading
Oakmoss in nature
Oakmoss is pretty hard to find now. Once it was a cinch to smell the dry and pungent scent of oakmoss in fragrances, moss was part of every chypre, now because of regulations, oakmoss is largely banned and the sort that is allowed in fragrance (ie IFRA compliant meaning it is in line with the dictates of the Industry watchdog) has low atranol.
What is atranol? Besides being the operative bit of oakmoss? Apparently along with chloroatranol, it is the leading allergen in oakmoss absolute which is determined to be problematic by skin patch tests. So much for wonkery. What this means is less dryness and darkness in commercial fragrances. Perfumery loves sugar, like the girl I overheard at the wine shop saying that she really, really, liked her Rieslings and her Marsalas. Continue reading
This, due to my having cut my hand pretty well last night and so typing with three fingers, is going to be a very short post. I hope you will excuse my terseness this time out, but I recently had an interesting encounter with a vintage perfume, Pavlova actually. Which was named for the ballerina of course not the delicious meringue dessert. (Although I do love a good pavlova!)
Payot came out with this fragrance in 1977, but some perfume books notably Fabulous Fragrances, Jan Moran’s guide, date the scent to 1922. Was there an earlier perfume? La Pavlova was certainly very famous in the 1920’s, dying a swan’s death on stage with astonishingly regular fidelity all over the world. Payot as far as I know is a French skin care company, these days moving into the Chinese market.http://www.payot.com Pavlova, must have been one of their forays into the perfume world. If so, then their effort was a success. Continue reading
Original advertising for Coty Muse
The best perfume customer, Do such people exist? Can they exist? Are they us?
In the States we tend to reference Estee Lauder’s steady and entirely sensible business practices, the slow and persistent knock on consumers’ sensibilities with demonstrations, free samples, and gifts with purchase. Estee was in fact a follower of Francois Coty in all this. He too, wanted the wide market, and bet that he could obtain it-which he did of course- and with spectacular success. That all began though with demographic democracy by targeting the middle class consumer. Continue reading
Advertising for Narciso Poudree
Fashions in fragrance change from time to time, that is why perfume sometimes smells “dated” or simply “old”. The perfume isn’t necessarily old, but the style is, hence the comments. Recently the trend has been for heavy weight champ orientals featuring oud or something that smells like it, no doubt courtesy various bases. I was beginning to think that Mike Tyson fragrances were going to dominate the ring for several years to come, but in the interim something happened, bantam weight boxers like Sugar Ray Leonard triumphed. Powder made a comeback.
Powdery used to be, back in the early aughts, a Bad Thing. “Powdery” was a term like “soapy” or “perfumey” that was discouraging if applied to your favorite on Makeupalley or elsewhere. Fragrances should not disintegrate into little dry molecules in the nose and blow away, that was the consensus. No one wanted to smell like Johnson and Johnson, which was in the business of baby products afterall, not perfumery. I must say that the judgement handed down seemed harsh to me at the time, since I loved the feminine powder bomb Caron’s Narcisse Blanc, and was almost as fond of Orchidee Blanche from L’Artisan. How times change, now powder is back. Continue reading
Black iris painting offering from etsy.com
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
Winchester Cathedral photo our own
My roses have begun to be acclimated to the new garden and one has bloomed. It is such a pretty thing and the scent is so different from what rises out of perfume bottles that I am compelled to write about rose fragrances and how often they seem to go wrong when transplanted to human skin.
The rose in these pictures is David Austin’s Winchester Cathedral a white sport (A spontaneous change in flower, appearing on an established variety. It’s an odd term I know.) from his well known Mary Rose. Winchester has a smell that is not at all like what wafts from perfume counters. Continue reading
Black and White peppercorns
This is the sort of idea that tends to put people off. It’s already pollen season in the Northeast, and I’m hearing a great deal of sneezing going on all around me, but the fact remains that an irritant is part of the charm of floral fragrances. Possibly there should be something, just a little something, abrasive in all that prettiness.
Some perfumers have had the same idea, and that’s why there is a small sub genre of floral perfumes that feature pepper in a prominent position of the formula. I can’t say the trick is a new one, Chanel’s Gardenia contained pimento back in the 1990’s in its heart along with clove and sage, this followed a lavishly floral beginning crowded with orange blossom, jasmine and tuberose. This gave Gardenia a piquancy that was maybe missing from some of its later iterations. Anyway that touch of pepper showed that white florals did not have to be banal. Continue reading
Green Vanilla beans from pinteres
There are times when being green is not a good thing. Take for instance Madagascar vanilla beans. The island is the premier producer of vanilla beans world wide( just after Indonesia)* but has had troubles recently with the quantity of its beans and also with the quality. Although you can buy vanilla from other sources such as Indonesia and Mexico, the quality of the beans has consistently not been perceived as being as high as the Madagascan vanilla. That could be changing though.
The salient point here is that vanilla pods need to ripen before they are marketed. When they are green they are not saleable. The vanilla pods have to turn that tarry black before they are ready. Nowadays though some traders are harvesting the beans while they are still green and vacuum packing them, like off season sweaters, then opening the vacuum packed beans when the price of vanilla has risen enough to make their sale highly profitable. Continue reading