Woody Oriental-Oriental Woody

Nuit de Noel in old advertising

Nuit de Noel in old advertising

Woody perfumes are not so popular with women.  Don’t ask me why. I am one of the out-lying  oddities who like wood.  I wear vetiver and leather and chypres and all sorts of dark, dry things in winter.  You might think from the description that I was kindling some kind of aromatic fire, but it’s simply personal taste.

There is a small, repeat small, group of perfumes that lie right on the line between orientals and chypres.  I’m not discussing ambery orientals here.  Those are resin-y or incense heavy perfumes. The ones I’m writing about today don’t belong to that tribe.  They may contain some amber in the dry off, but they are not really amber perfumes. Continue reading

Flapper Winds

Cicada Bottle for Cigalia of Roger et Gallet 1911

Cicada Bottle for Cigalia of Roger et Gallet 1911

Once upon a time I knew that Tabac Blond was the first tobacco scent ever introduced to perfumery.  This turns out to be a canard. In fact it was the third.  The first was a perfume called either Cigalia or else Les Cigales by the old firm of Roger et Gallet, with a remarkably beautiful bottle done by who else but Lalique.  Here it is.  Lovely no?

You do end up finding out all sorts of odd things as time goes on, but the story of the first tobacco perfumes does not end with Cigalia.  In fact there was also a Coty perfume.  You knew there had to be one?  It seems that whenever anyone had any kind of new material or base or idea in the perfume world of the early twentieth century there was Francois Coty already set to market his version of whatever it happened to be.  As far as I can discover Coty introduced his tobacco perfume in 1912 inside a Baccarat bottle topped with a crystal cut stopper.  According to Edmond Roundnitska L’Or was in the air a lot in Continue reading

Had a Wife but Couldn’t Keep Her

Peter_Peter_PumpkinThe subject of the last line is, of course, Peter Pumpkin Eater.  Pumpkin is not on the short list of things that make me enthusiastic about anything, but according to the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, it’s the combination of pumpkin and   lavender that does it for men.




Uh huh.

You can forget your Shalimar, never mind the Mitsouko, detonate your Flowerbomb without him because it’s pumpkin and lavender that men love and respond to (the smell of cinnamon buns come in second by the way). Continue reading

Playing with Your Perfume

First of all, should you?  There are two schools of thought on this one and I remember a post on Bois de Jasmin from a year or two back, featuring a piece from French Elle on this subject of layering scents.  Some whole lines are predicated on the idea that you should combine things, Jo Malone for instance, but other people are adamantly against the idea, their notion being that a finished perfume is a complex piece of engineering, and should be worn as is, and not tinkered with.

I was in the latter camp for a very long time.  I don’t think it ever occurred to me to change anything about the scents I wore, except to switch them from time to time. I didn’t spray anything on top of anything else, I didn’t combine deodorant this with body crème that.  But of course I knew that some women did, however I figured that they were the sort of ladies who were more sophisticated than I was, and that they  had a better sense of olfactory style than I did, and – let us just cut to the chase here. I assumed they were French.

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The series about those scents so impossibly expensive that only the few, the financially unchallenged, and the totally mad would actually purchase them continues.  Today’s choice is Stoned, the perfume put out by the British jeweler, Solange Azagury Partridge . It retails for $US 285.00 for 50 mls and comes in a red glass bottle with a tiny little Buddha perched on the top.

What it smells like is Habanita. Well, it does!  Only I suspect that the Habanita referenced is not the Habanita that can be purchased these days.  This version has ingested more patchouli than is strictly healthy for it and mixed it with a double shot of simple syrup so as to call Angel to mind, and is ultra sweet.  It is also powdery and tends to be more than a little bit blurred about the edges.  In this case that merely means that it’s properly named.  This is definitely for those evenings when the ingestion of mood altering substances is on the program.  Not that this perfume would get with a program, twelve step or otherwise.

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