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.

Really.

Pumpkin.

Lavender.

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

Myrrh-myrrhings

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

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

Unpretention

If you watched the riding events this last summer at the Olympics, you will have noticed a continuing trend in horses’ names, their length.  In all of the events there were horses who had monikers that would have done justice to a Bourbon prince, things like Millthyme Corolla, or Oscarina du Chanois, or the truly polysyllabic Gazelle de la Brasserie or Lully des Aulnes, or even Apollo van Wendi Kurt Hoeve.

Yeah.

Then there was a horse ridden by the German Gold Medalist Michael Jung named: Sam. 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.

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(Rose 10) – Rose on a Bender

Roses can be big drinkers.  They certainly are in gardens, where you can easily go through gallons of water for thirsty roses on hot days, but perfumers have discovered the affinity that roses also have for alcohol.  Perfume roses can belly up to a bar with the best of them.  There are rose liquors out there, and I’m sure that somewhere some ambitious bartender has come up with a rosatini, but in the perfume world, the contenders for the booziest rose on the block are rather few.

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Monstre Sacre

When Caron’s Parfum Sacre first came out in 1990, I did not like it at all.  It was, to give me some modicum of credit, not the same perfume that it is today.  It was much, much stronger, and in a perfume guide  from 1993, the sole notation I wrote about it is: ooph. Monstre Sacre!

This is really getting to the heart of the matter, because the perfume was made in order to attract attention.  The original version was a show-boater of a scent, designed for maximum olfactory impact in the way that something along the lines of Flowerbomb is today.  Never being a fan of the overly emphatic scent, I avoided it.

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