Worth the Time Travel: Parfums d’Empire

A Serov painting of the Tsar’s court.

There really aren’t many perfume makers I trust myself to these days.  I am afraid of boredom, and ugliness, or of being the recipient of a giant headache from an overdosed ingredient.  I don’t want to smell a “lily” which smells nothing like a lily- as I did recently from a trendy brand which had obviously never gone near a garden in its life. I won’t name names, but suffice it to say that I could not cream  the ersatz lily off fast enough.

That particular brand is not alone. There is far too much awful out there. So it’s a relief when you find that a few brands do know what they are doing and actually do it well.  Parfum d’Empire is one.      Continue reading

The Zaftig Floral

Florals come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are fusspots, some are exercises in carnality – tuberose comes to mind – and some are simply comfortable.

Of all these varieties, I find the comfortable ones, the ones with curves and a tendency to sit down on the job quite a lot the most pleasing.  They are seldom completely synthetic, since formulae that are molecularly sparse just don’t conjure up the requisite Mae West or Lillian Russell curvature. You need some big juicy naturals there to fill out a bottle.  The zaftig perfume is bodacious.

She’s also built for comfort and not for speed, so the formula is never simple or sleek, and the zaftig is seldom a soliflore perfume.  In fact I can’t think of a one that is based on a single flower.  They need to be big generous bouquets, the sort that fill your arms and start falling all over the carpet.  What actually fits this criteria? Continue reading

(Rose 9) Cats, Roses, and Late Summer

The cat, a creature of refined sensibilities, likes to lie under  our rosebush.  There is a small hollow in the cedar mulch underneath it which is her favored resting place, and at first my assumption was that she chose this spot because it provided cover.  Cats, of course, adore near invisibility,  but there are plenty of other places which give her better cover than what she commands there, and so my conclusion is that she chooses that spot based on smell.  Charcoal literally does what the rest of us only dream about. She stops and smells the roses.

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