Chocolate Irises to Love: Iris Ganache and Dimanche

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANearing the end of February I find that I have not gotten around to one of my favorite topics: chocolate.

Perhaps it came to mind because last weekend I was in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and you can’t go far there without chocolate heaving into view in one form or another. Then I started to hanker after a recently discontinued Guerlain, Iris Ganache,  which yearning is sure to wind up making me poorer.   I’m mystified by Iris Ganache’s appeal for me anyhow, since I’m the blogger who said she didn’t own any gourmands. Continue reading

The Feel Good Factor

calesthenics Next spring I will have been at this for three years but have never discussed what is to me, the decisive reason for either wearing and keeping a perfume or letting it go: how it makes me feel.

Just to define a term or two here, I mean does the perfume make you feel healthy? Does it promote a sense of well being? Does it induce that feeling of being at home and happy in your own skin?  Or does it, alternatively, give you an uneasy sense that you may have sprayed on something too synthetic, something just the faintest bit nauseating?  Continue reading

Annunciation Lily

annunciation People get tangled up in lilies.  Half the time they confuse little lilies of the valley with towering Regale lilies, and that is why you sometimes notice posters on perfume  websites complaining that a “lily perfume did not smell like lilies of the valley”. The scents are quite different.

But the world of lilies is almost as crowded as that of niche perfumes.  It’s not as though you simply have Easter lilies, or Asiatics, you also have Orientals, Tiger lilies, and a whole assortment of lilies from China, which usually have been hybridized to produce huge blooms and sometimes an even more ginormous scent, a miasma of perfume. Continue reading

Mount Hymettos in November

hymeyyusSometimes a favorite note goes off your wrist until another season.  This happens to me every fall after Hallowe’en. My favorite green perfumes get banished until March, and it seems like a long time to me. Let’s face it, I’m a lover of green perfumes no matter what the weather conditions, and could be shoveling snow and still want to fill my lungs with something that smells like leaves. Continue reading

Pricey Niche

peacockThere’s a very odd thing going on out there in the world of perfume: niche fragrance prices are rising.  This year the cost of a 50ml. bottle is well over a hundred dollars US.  In fact, and in the interest of consumers, it’s worth pointing out that this hike comes at a time when many commodity prices are falling, natural gas, metals, pork, corn, etc, and when inflation in the US is running at or below 1.7% (the Federal Reserve’s target is 2%).  So, why are perfume prices up so much?  Is it demand, is it production costs, is it the dollar/euro exchange rate*, is it something that someone outside of the business can’t calculate, or are we…just being suckered for the sake of fashion? Continue reading

Twelve Smells of Christmas – Day Eight: Wholly Myrrh

Most of the incense scents out there have a habit of replicating the experience of being in church for many of us, but some of them have a habit of reproducing particular churches at particular times.

Now, a disclaimer-  for a Protestant, I have a very long experience of Catholic churches. Part of it came from growing up in Rome, and part of it came from having a high church mother who eventually converted to Catholicism: result of such equation, one Protestant with a Catholic education.

To me, myrrh is the smell of St. Peter’s Basilica. I went there on a number of occasions to see services- invariably long and impressive- due to the gigantic size of everything in St. Peter’s, a church designed for titans if ever one was. I was in the habit of staring at the huge canopy over the altar on its twisting black and gold columns just to bring the whole cyclopean pile down to the human dimension, only to find of course that the canopy itself was enormous, a sunshade for Gargantua. Continue reading

Missing Emeralds

“Aunt Alicia slid the great square emerald onto her slender finger and was silent for a moment. “Do you see…that nearly blue fire which burns at the heart of the green light…only the most beautiful emeralds contain that miracle of illusive blue.”

Gigi, Colette

I used to prefer green perfumes in daylight.  It seemed like the logical time for them, and for decades the perfume industry had pushed the notion of the green fragrance as a daytime scent, something to wear casually or to the office. Continue reading

(Rose 13) – Roses, Take a Bow!

Since there have been a dozen rose posts, this might a good time to take a breather,  go back, and re-cap.

For all the complaining that perfume consumers do about the industry these days, one thing is inescapably true: there’s more variety.  Once upon a distant time, Perfumer’s Workshop produced Tea Rose and Houbigant sold A Rose is a Rose.

That was about it in 1976.  Now you have entire lines devoted to the flower in all its variations.  Les Parfums de Rosine is one such house, and besides its twenty or so perfumes, there’s a slew of mainstream releases popular with the public such as Stella, or Valentino’s Rockin’ Rose.

Continue reading

(Rose 12) – Lovely Rose Pudding for Dinner…Again

What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She’s perfectly well, and she hasn’t a pain,
And it’s lovely rice pudding for dinner again!
What is the matter with Mary Jane?

A.A. Milne

Some perfumers put a decidedly sweet spin on roses.    It’s a perfectly viable strategy.  After all, get east of Athens and you’re as likely as not to find rosewater flavoring your deserts and candies.  Rosewater is in Turkish Delight, and in Mahjoun, also in a tremendous number of other confections, so many in fact, that you might be pardoned for thinking that rosewater is a denizen of the pantry and not the dressing table – but you’d only be partly right.

Continue reading

(Rose 7) – La Bee en Rose

“When I consider every thing that grows Holds in perfection but a little moment;”

Shakespeare on beauty, probably human beauty, since it seems to have been a frequent melancholy observation of his that it’s fleeting.

However, the observation’s just as applicable to the rose.  Even long blooming hybrid teas have a day, at most two, when their bloom and fragrance are at their most intense, and that’s the moment that I always want to find in a rose perfume.

This may be an oddball ambition.  Lots of people find that soliflore perfumes really don’t settle in well on their skins.  There’s a fundamental mismatch going on along the lines of ”We’re members of different kingdoms, you and I. You’re from the Animal and I’m from the Plant and we have got to stop meeting like this.”

Continue reading