Tag Archives: Vetiver

Perfume Partnerships

Rogers and Astaire

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

Turkey, Relatives, Football: Perfume at Thanksgiving?

Flapper-Shooting-TurkeyI have a theory that Thanksgiving is the new Christmas.  Think about it, the heaviest travel weekend of the year isn’t at Christmas, it’s at Thanksgiving, and that is becoming the weekend on which the largest clan gatherings of the year customarily take place.  You see it all around you, particularly if you’re unlucky enough to end up at an airport on Nov.27th learning that your plane has been delayed…again. Continue reading

White and Green and Carven all Over

sweetpeasThe story is that when Carven came out with Ma Griffe in 1946 the company dropped little bottles all over Paris from tiny white and green parachutes.  Not long afterwards, the company found itself with a best seller.

Carven has always stressed youth and pert petite-ness in its designs, and the perfume first conceived for the designer was also youth oriented, a bright floral chypre. The fragrance ended up being one of those that everyone who was a young in Paris at the time either wore or remembered.  The trick of the scent was a combination of new aroma chemicals that Jean Carles* put together to give Ma Griffe its distinctive scratch, a new gardenia and citrus accord that was sharper and fresher and springier than anything that had gone before it. Continue reading

You Must Like It, And It Must Like You

BottomThe oddity of body chemistry is one of those imponderables that never cease to amaze me.  We all know the scenario by now, how two people can try on the same perfume and it will coalesce into a beautiful flower arrangement on one wearer’s skin, and devolve on the other’s, into a rotten soggy mess.  Hard to believe, but it does happen.

Sometimes the quality of the perfume is at fault.  If a formula is harsh or thin, then skin will not save it. Conversely, even well made scents can fall apart on an epidermis like an under rehearsed ballet on stage. Chandler Burr in The Perfect Scent laments the formulation of fragrances to perform best on paper, which isn’t very useful, he remarks – unless you are made of paper.  Continue reading

The Green Green Grass of Guerlain

Sometime around 1959, Guerlain found themselves staring at a new trend, exemplified by the consumers’ love of a particularly green and herbaceous note: vetiver.

The vetiver of choice back then was Carven’s Vetiver (1957).  Dry, resinous, as chartreuse as a macaw’s tail, and growing popular, Carven’s Vetiver was a hit.

The thing was that the venerable house of Guerlain was resting, as it often did in those years of Mad Mennic peace and prosperity, cushioned by laurels piled up in the past.  There was certainly competition out there, but was it strictly necessary to roll the cannon up to the ramparts just yet?  The competition’s sails were only just beginning to be visible on the horizon.

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