Sandalwood Sisterhood

narniaOf course, it was obvious all along, but I never saw it.  Call it one of those annoying instances when your subconscious mind realized something from the get-go but chose not to share it with your waking consciousness.  Very irritating, very sneaky, very left brain of it, but then, as it is the left brain, very typical as well.

The apercu in this case is that the great classic  Chanel Bois des Isles is of course, a do-over of Caron’s Nuit de Noel.

Oh yeah! Right?  You always knew that. We always knew it, but critical opinion had a way of making us think that the two things were poles apart and probably at opposite ends of the good taste spectrum – well, not so much. Continue reading

The Oriental in All of Us

Once in an idle interval, I remember toting up all the perfumes worn by every member of my extended family according to scent families. An idiotic little game of parallelisms and no doubt OCD as all get out, but bear with me.

What I discovered was that of about a dozen of us, only one of us wore Orientals, and that was my Mom with…drum roll… Tabu.

Even Chypres were better represented (by me), but of Orientals there were, well, only that one .

Why was that? Now that there are more of us, and several of us are a good deal younger than the original test sample, I find the exact same thing.  The ladies in my family wear fruity florals, and aldehydic florals and the odd citrus perfume but now, only one Oriental, namely Poivre, worn by me. No one else wears them at all.  Continue reading

Twelve Smells of Christmas – Day Six: Beginning to Smell a lot like Christmas

Two of my fellow bloggers, Meg at Parfumieren and Michael at Top to Bottom  both posted about that old Christmas classic Nuit de Noel recently. You can see that they had fairly different opinions about the venerable standard, the favorite perfume of Ayn Rand by the way, and it got me musing about the Christmas fragrance itself, the designated driver of oh so many Holiday fetes down the decades.  Do old Christmas fragrances really get you where you want to be?

Let me start by saying that there are definite misses in this category.  Winter Delice was certainly one.  At best a candle (but really, I’d chose an old Rigaud candle over it) you had to wonder what Guerlain were thinking?  Winter Delice was the slow motion crash of vanilla into evergreen, like something they should screen for perfumers in Perfume ED as a cautionary lesson.  WD constituted a very rare collision for Guerlain with its unusually good driving record, and one of the few times that their standard vanilla trailer did not hitch itself obediently to a perfume’s rear hook-up. Continue reading

Some Like it Hot

Then there is the perfume in which the whole spicy carnation floweriness I have been writing about sinks in a morass of heavier, hotter materials like a bouquet in a lava flow.  The one time floral composition becomes an oriental and a heated one at that.  This is what happens in Caron’s Poivre from 1954.  The perfume belongs to that group of Caron compositions done after the death of the house’s founder Ernest Daltroff in 1940.  Daltroff’s companion and business partner Felicie Vanpouille was still in charge at Caron and she employed the perfumer Michel Morsetti as in- house talent( he had been Daltroff’s assistant.)

Continue reading