Vanilla in bean and blossom
Once upon a time Mysore sandalwood was hard to find. The material had been over harvested and the Indian government laid down the law about how much Indian sandalwood was going to be sold each year in order to protect stocks.
Something similar, at least regarding tightness of the current market, is happening with vanilla. The trouble is that vanilla is difficult to grow, has to be hand pollinated, and the beans themselves have to age. They have to go from their scentless green stage to their nearly black and perfumed maturity. In the meantime, some people steal beans and secrete Continue reading
Atmospheres we enjoy
The end of the twentieth century was very concerned with clear atmospheres. This was probably because of crowding in public spaces which I suppose also meant crowded air. Perfume and cigarettes, those two great offenders, were sometimes banned, although the evidence that perfume harmed anyone was extremely spotty. Still what it meant for me was caution. Now I do not wear perfume anywhere that contains a large number of people e.g. airplanes, offices, restaurants, theaters. What’s left?
Here’s the odd part. I used to like shared atmosphere as a child. I enjoyed going to church and huffing whatever the lady in the fur wrap was wearing. My mom’s Tabu I avoided but when she changed to Fidji, that was quite another matter. Women on subway trains trailed something cheap and cheerful like Friendship Garden (essentially a knock off of No 5) or later there was Coty’s Sweet Earth series and patchouli made the nearness of hippie chicks bearable. Continue reading
Rogers and Astaire
Not the cute pairings of masculines with feminines worn by couples. What I mean by perfume couples, are scents in your wardrobe which you know will form a stable partnership with at least one other perfume you own. Maybe that might strike some people as odd, but I have done this for years.
Bear with me. Fond as I am of the fragrance wardrobe concept, I tend to change it seasonally or even monthly, and usually in this way, morning or daytime scent with evening or afternoon one. If you use two perfumes from the same house it’s often easier to pull off since they frequently share a base. Right now I’ve done this with Le Temps d’un Fete and Vanille Tonka from de Nicolai. They play off one another extremely well and can be worn for a month or so at a time. You feel like you have choice but also harmony and some familiarity. Try this with any maker, from DS and Durga to Estee Lauder, the only common point being a house signature.Since the idea is not layering per se here(although you can try that) but to wear both in the same day with one perfume giving out as the other takes over and the overlap smelling wonderful. Continue reading
This is an illusion. You can’t really ever have perfume flowing along your veins but there is a quality certain perfumes share which makes them a great deal easier to adopt and to wear, and that is this phenomenon of “melting” into the skin.
So many perfumes have passed through my hands, and so few have stayed with me over time that I have developed a sense of those perfumes which might actually make a home with me based on a very simple criterion: surface or subcutaneous? If I don’t feel that I’ve absorbed a perfume and am now radiating it, then I seldom get to the point of finishing a bottle. Continue reading
Marilyn Monroe in Niagara
Maybe this is an ooh la la sort of question, but I wonder what are the best fragrances for nudity? Now I realize that the answer is going to vary a good deal because the subject of skin and what works on the skin also varies considerably from one person to another, but factoring that in, which are the very best scents for nothing at all? Continue reading
How many people who wear perfume are seasonal I wonder? Many aren’t, the folk who wear perfume as a fashion accessory or who have favorite notes that they always wear. If you adore vanilla, or if amber is your personal vice, it’s difficult to exile the essence for six months just because of a little planetary activity. You know what you like and what you like accompanies you all the time-in one formula-or another.
This strikes me as being efficient and polished and disciplined. Selectivity makes so much sense on every level, including the budgetary one, and wouldn’t you know? I just can’t. No matter how much I talk myself down, there are always about six to ten scents in my wardrobe every year, and I change them as soon as the seasons change. I can’t help myself. Continue reading
Having recently written about myrrh, I’ve had it somewhat on the brain. Myrrh is one of those notes that you think you know or think you like, except, I find, when it’s actually under your nose and then you remember: “Oh yes, there’s that note.”
I’m not sure if all myrrh worth discussing is bitter, but the two myrrh notes that I know best are. They are inside two veteran perfumes, Coty’s L’Aimant and Jean Patou’s Caline. It was Meg of Parfumieren who first introduced me to L’Aimant. It’s an aldehydic floral that is, to my way of thinking, much easier to wear than No 5.
I know, that’s an outrageous statement, but in my experience the old Cotys are almost flawlessly wearable. There’s no insistence on being avant garde, or opinionated. The Cotys are simply lovely on skin. But to return to my point about myrrh, about ½ way through the evaporation of L’Aimant, you get the note. Continue reading
The smell of snow is one of the most ethereal smells on earth. It’s very difficult to catch, being essentially frozen water and ozone, and I can’t think of many perfumes that even try. Of course, one famous house did make the attempt.
The perfume is No. 5, the house is Chanel, and the scent was possibly incarnated once or twice before, as Rallet No. 1 and earlier as La Bouquet de Catherine, both composed by Ernest Beaux when he was in the employ of Rallet, then a fashionable perfume house in Russia. Continue reading