Tag Archives: Back to Black.

En Avion : What Airplanes Smell Like

An early advert for En Avion

An early advert for En Avion

Air travel used to be sort of glamorous. No really, before you fall over laughing, it truly was. Clean airplanes, cocktails, pretty stewardesses in un-stained uniforms. I barely remember this, my younger sister doesn’t remember anything of the sort, and no one conceived after 1975 can even imagine it.

All we can recall now is how awful our last flight was and how we swore that next time no matter what it cost, we were definitely going to bid on a seat in business class. Yeah, right.

In the 1930’s things were not only glamorous they were dangerous.  That was still the era of long distance solo flights by those impossibly thin entities Lindbergh and  Earhart.  A large number of people swear by Vol de Nuit as evocative of this adventurous airbourne history, but I just don’t think that smells anything like airplanes. Lovely perfume, nothing to do with airplanes even though it’s named after the St. Exupery novel.  En Avion though, the Caron perfume from 1932 actually does. Continue reading

Three Cult Orientals

Dragon fruit Seviche from honestcooking.com

Dragon fruit Seviche from honestcooking.com

Orientals had been rather passe.  I’m not sure when the turnaround came, but sometime around the end of the oughts, oriental perfumes came back into fashion and the previously ubiquitous fruity florals were back- catalogued. Something had shifted in the zeitgeist, or fashion, or the cloudy upper ether of the fragrance world.

I realized that the change was complete when I leafed through a book on Berlin fashion and discovered that some cool Berliners were now wearing Frederic Malle’s Dries Van Noten (a woody oriental, specifically an update of Nuit de Noel and Bois des Isles). They wouldn’t have been doing that five years ago. Continue reading


keeperaThe world of perfume blogging dearly loves a list.  Who knows why we are so very fond of these sequential processions of names and titles, but I do know that nobody who loves perfume can resist them.  I thought it was time to compose a list of the best of the last ten years, a list of the perfumes that have struck me as lasting presences on the scene, keepers, potential classics, if you like.

A list like that should have kept me deliberating for days, but actually only kept me busy for one afternoon. Why?  Well, despite the enormous numbers of releases these days, not much really strikes me as all that durable.

So here is a list that includes perfumes I don’t necessarily like myself, but which I think are classics or potential classics in the making. Just because I don’t care for it personally, doesn’t mean it isn’t in the running. Continue reading

Twelve Smells of Christmas – Day Nine: Black with Fruit

My husband has an uncle who insists that fruitcake is a very civilized pleasure and the best way to go about eating it is in the evening along with a glass of sherry.  He’s probably right about that. (He tends to be right about everything else.)  I expect most of us could get through fruitcake with a good sherry, although I’m not sayin’ how much sherry it might take to get it down.

Are there a lot of good fruitcake recipes out there?  Do people really eat it?  I used to wonder as a child because half the ladies of my father’s parish would try their hands at fruitcake and as children, we always felt that the essential business of prizing the green cherries and candied orange peal out, left a sad, barely adequate scaffolding of cake behind, certainly not enough to satisfy us, although the ladies had poured a lot of expensive ingredients in there.

Continue reading