Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wife of Paul, and famously lesbian, Jane Bowles was a fascinating anomaly. How to explain the relationship between these two authors; both equally queer? Jane's writing was often (and even now) overshadowed by Paul's (The Sheltering Sky, et al), yet in some ways her work was perfectly comfortable in the dark. Her wryly comic characters smuggle ferocious idiosyncrasies. In "Camp Cataract", a woman comes to remove her deranged sister from the clutches of a rural retreat which has taken her imagination over the edge, with disastrous results. In Bowles' single novel, Two Serious Ladies, Christina Goering is a wealthy spinster in pursuit of sainthood who ends up as a high-class call-girl, while Frieda Copperfield leaves her boring husband and heads for Panama where she falls in love with a prostitute. Jane Bowles was as complicated and unlikely as her characters and the situations they found themselves in. Writing was an arduous ordeal for her, and in her lifetime she published very little; along with Two Serious Ladies, a play and a body of short stories. She eventually followed Paul to Morroco, where he chased boys and she fell in with a local woman named Cherifa who some believed poisoned her, hastening her early death. She was under-appreciated by the public at large, and chronically insecure, yet critically revered. Poet John Ashberry called Bowles "one of the finest modern writers of fiction in any language." Truman Capote considered her "one of the really original pure stylists".
An obvious choice for Bowles would have been Bandit. The contradictions embodied in Cellier's constructions are perfectly in keeping with Bowles' askew outlook, apparent in almost any line from her writing: “She was torn between an almost overwhelming desire to bolt out of the room and a sickening compulsion to remain where she was.” A more unexpected choice might be Heeley's Fine Leather. Fine Leather, too, is a contradiction: it smells more like hay than hide, evoking the sickly sweet aroma of an evacuated horse stall. Underneath this, a honeyed sweetness. Some people think of Chanel's Cuir de Russie when the word leather comes to mind: of sweetness and the supple, well maintained car seat of a Bentley. Others, like Bowles, go into the barnyard, lifting the saddle to find the smell it left on the horse's perspiring back.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
To me, Camille Goutal captures the simplicity and freshness of orange blossoms most perfectly. I’ve always loved the smell of orange blossom from the first time I smelt the real thing, when I was a little girl visiting Walt Disney World in
Annick Goutal created a series of soliflore fragrances (Le Jasmin, Le Muguet, La Violette and Le Chevrefeuille) and they are all beautiful. Someone I met online asked me for perfume recommendations for her wedding day. AG Neroli was in my top five suggestions for a summer wedding and she ended up falling in love with it and choosing it for the big day.
Annick Goutal created Neroli as a soliflore, so it’s meant to smell like real orange blossoms, in nature; there is nothing strange or sweet or woodsy added as an unusual twist, it’s just simple, ethereal neroli. There’s a fresh green coolness to AG Neroli, which is easily worn in the hot summer. I would recommend AG Neroli to anyone who finds most floral perfumes overwhelming or too sweet. If my calculations are accurate, I’ve used six bottles of AG Neroli in my lifetime….one every summer since 2003. My 2008 bottle of AG Neroli is about 50% full so it will last me until the cooler fall weather arrives.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Whenever I smell something new, or even read about it, I search the perfume blogs to see what other people have said. It's an abbreviated discourse or primer on the general consensus about the scent: do people like it, do they think it stinks, are they divided, are they nuts? Sometimes, it's months, or longer, before I can actually smell some of the things I read up on. I only smelled Parfumerie Generale the week before last. For the longest time, it drove me nuts wondering what exactly Kilian's line must smell like, and, being a violet nut, I was desperate to get my hands on Bois de Violette. When I did (thanks to Abigail, who's a total sweetheart) I broke the decant--before even getting it out of the package. The rest of the night, as I picked little glass slivers out of my skin, I smelled it on my fingers. That seemed, strangely, an ideal way to experience the chilly remoteness of that scent. Another note which has become a passion is Iris, and at a local shop which carries all of three Santa Maria Novella perfumes, I found their version.
I looked Santa Maria Novella Iris up online, and found...nothing. Today, I bought it anyway--regardless--and I couldn't be happier. Like Bois De Violette, SMN's Iris is a bit cold. It starts out vaguely candied, but in an oddly medicinal way. Like Bois De Violette, it wears its weirdness on its sleeve. Like Iris Silver Mist, it has a funereal radiance to it, projecting detachment, a pastel picture of iris under ice. It lacks the woodsy undertones of Iris Nobile, which, truth to tell, smells only indirectly of Iris, as if the scent is wafting over from a neighboring flowerbed, with who knows what in between. It has some of the fetid rootiness of Hermes Hiris, just barely, and precious little of the brightness Turin refers to in Ferre. But who needs bright when dim feels so good? SMN Iris makes things so dim they become spectral. The powder of most iris scents is handled so judiciously here that it registers more as a light layer of dust: again, under ice, and what does dust under ice smell like? You tell me.
Santa Maria Novella Iris smells like a ghost of iris, a memory left in your mind, melancholy and even a little sinister. It would smell great with the long black overcoat left behind in Ichabod Crane's closet.
This is my formal request, submitted on Monday, July 28th, 2008, at 8:52 pm, that I hereby wish that Ellen Page be the new face of a really really really good perfume. (if you've been in a coma the past few years, Ellen Page was the main character in Hard Candy, Juno and played a supporting role in Smart People. Ms. Page is very cool, imho). I admit, she looks 12, but she's not. This perfume should be really good. It should aim to become a new classic. It can't be fruity or overly floral or too "pretty," it should have guts and charisma and break a few rules. Daring and fun comes to mind, too. So, whoever might be reading, please call Ms. Page. You'll have to talk her into it I'm sure, tell her it's a groundbreaking new perfume, simply extraordinary, and tell her there's a witty and interesting story behind it's creation. You'll need to woo her, but it will be worth it. Oh, and don't make her get naked for the ads, unless she wants to, let her be herself, you'll sell so much perfume, you'll make a mint, I promise.
I’ll start with the good review. It’s Sonoma Scent Studio’s Champagne de Bois. Champagne de Bois is a nice little number. To categorize it, it strikes me as a woodsy musk with some effervescence and spice. This is what I wore during the day and I was sniffing my wrists frequently and enjoying the aroma wafting around me. Champagne de Bois is subtle, although I think there’s a soft sillage due to the slightly aldehydic effervescence. My husband actually told me I smelled good today and this is big news! Champagne de Bois is so easy to wear, it has a very natural/organic aroma, and there’s nothing overtly synthetic or “perfumey” about it. I find the spice, musk, woods combo calming and well done. To me, it smells like a well-blended amber, musk, sandalwood, clove once dried down. There’s a slight sweetness, very slight, perhaps stemming from jasmine which is listed among the notes. To compare it to something mainstream, it reminds me a little bit of Givenchy Organza Indecence, which is one of my favorites, but Sonoma Scent Studio has created a more organic and natural woodsy aroma. (By the way, I’m not saying Champagne de Bois IS organic or natural per se, just that it smells that way).
Champagne de Bois is aptly named since the aldehydes make it start off with a bubbly blast. For the first 5-10 minutes it’s effervescent and citrusy. I think Champagne de Bois is an absolute gem of a woodsy perfume. CdB is delightfully smoooooth, I could wear this very often. The lasting power is excellent, on me I could still detect it after 5 hours.
Sonoma Scent Studio, Champagne de Bois’ listed notes: aldehydic top notes, clove, jasmine, sandalwood, amber, labdanum, vetiver and musk.
Now for the bad. This evening I removed Champagne de Bois and applied Laila eau de parfum by Geir Ness. I was looking forward to Laila since I’ve begun to like “fresh/watery” fragrances this summer for the first time in my life. There’s something about Laila hailing from
Laila’s listed notes: Norwegian lilies, watermelon and Norwegian snowflower.
(I should have known since watermelon is listed in the notes…)
Sunday, July 27, 2008
(Alphabetical order, not preference)
- Annick Goutal Neroli – gorgeous delicate neroli
- Caron Bellodgia – perfect spicy carnation
- Diptyque Oyedo – bracingly refreshing grapefruit & mint (yuzu = Japanese grapefruit)
- Diptyque Philosykos – verdant woody fig
- Gucci Envy – green, fresh, modern
- Hermes Eau des Merveilles – oceanic, sandy, salty, tinged with orange
- Hermes Un Jardin En Medinterrenee – soft citrus, herbs and florals in a fig base
- Hermes Un Jardin Sur La Nil – green & refreshingly dry fruit, green mango
- Jo Malone French Lime Blossom – Tilleul soliflore (linden/lime Blossom)
- Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger – softly spicy
- Keiko Mecheri Ume – unusually spicy dry Asian plum
- Miller Harris Bourbon Geranium – scented geranium leaves, rose and citrus
- Montale Sandflowers – sand, salt water, juniper, oddly mesmerizing & addictive
- Prada Infusion d’Iris – light happy iris with citrus and ambery woods
- Sage Machado Onyx – sweet beachy scent, black coconut, tobacco flower, vanilla
- The Different Company Sel de Vetiver – dry woodsy & green vetiver with a smidgen of salty skin
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
I spent the last week in Los Angeles, and while most of my time wasn't killed anywhere near the perfume counter, I did go to Barney's and the Luckyscent shop, and during these brief visits I felt like I was making up for a lot of lost time. My top priority was getting over to the Chanel boutique on Rodeo Drive. I'd read a lot about the Exclusives line, particularly Cuir de Russie. I heard it was like nothing else and wanted to verify that high praise. It was several days before I could get over there, and when I did, I had four travel companions in tow, none of them the slightest bit interested in perfume--at least, not in smelling it for hours on end.
Chanel was pretty close to the picture I'd imagined. Rich, portly men buying impossibly expensive trinkets for younger women, who pulled out credit cards as if to pay their own way but were intercepted by said men, who then explained that the bills all come to the same place anyway. One saleswoman held up a petite, quilted handbag, pricing it at 2400 dollars. There were two floors. The fragrance counter was stuck in the back near the door onto the parking lot. The Exclusives were lined up along a high shelf. The bottles are about 6 ounces, chunky things, with magnetized caps which snap shut with a strange gravitational suction. Cuir de Russie was everything I'd been told to expect, and more, and they were out of it, and wouldn't be getting any more until after I left town. I was given a miniature and, once it was determined I wouldn't be accessorizing, sent on my way. I did pick up a bottle of Antaeus before leaving. My friend Bard wrinkled his nose, delivering the usual verdict. "Cat pee."
Knowing the patience of my friends was quickly wearing thin, I raced down Rodeo, first to Lalique, then to Dior. Versace was a bust. Inside, someone stated that Versace only made two colognes and when I asserted otherwise he stared at me as if he might call security. Two enormous Arab women with cheap hair squiggies took up most of the room at Lalique, asking questions which sent the sales staff running around in circles to find prices and check stock and dry the sweat under their arms in the privacy of the back room. It won't surprise you to know they left without purchasing anything. I suspected they'd done this many times, but, when they do spend money, they throw it around like confetti at a wedding.
The exasperated woman who ultimately helped me wore a skirt she probably doesn't do a lot of bending over in, and her hair was piled high on her head artlessly. The effect was very chic, making me feel overdressed and under-dressed at the same time. They had one more bottle of the divine Encre Noir, a peppery, grungy vetiver which is Guerlain's vetiver with a cigarette in its mouth, a bit of a hangover, and a big, boozy, let's screw this very minute look on its face. Dior is one long row of a place. with the clothes off to one side, threatening to gang up on you. Luckily, the fragrances are on the other side, where you instinctively rush for refuge. Eau Noire is similar to Annick Goutal's Sables, though I didn't recognize it until I got home to Memphis. Of the three masculines in this Slimane trio of special issues, it smelled the best, at least at first. Later, I smelled something incredible and found that it was Bois D'Argent, which I'd sprayed on my other wrist and lost interest in instantly. Now it smelled richer and deeper and kept evolving in ways that surprised me.
As we left Rodeo I spotted an Etro store, and wished I'd insisted on going in. I made a mental note to return, but it was several days before I could get back. The next day, I was again in the area, but after my extended trek down Rodeo I was given the option of one shop and one shop only, and the obvious choice was Barneys, where I could kill many birds with one stone. As we entered, my friends disappeared--to me at least. I'm sure they were still there. They might have been standing in front of me, waving bloody stumps where their arms had once been. All I saw was Serge Lutens and L'Artisan, Yosh, Strange Invisible Perfumes, S-ex, Baghari, Iris Nobile, and fill in the blank.
A dark-haired woman with an accent I took to be French approached and, ascertaining my familiarity with perfumes, went right to the good stuff. After spending several minutes with her, I realized she wasn't trying to push anything on me, and she knew the answer to almost every question I had. When I expressed my appreciation, she explained that she isn't in sales. A specialist, her only real job is to know what she's talking about.
She even had her own opinions, based on personal taste rather than sales figures. She had no interest in Baghari (I loved it) and, to her, the only outrageous thing about Outrageous was how synthetic it smelled. She convinced me to buy Daim Blond. I needed no help when it came to Iris Nobile and Bois de Paradis. The former is rich (I bought the EDP) and robust. Bois de Paradis is nutty and grassy and lists among its notes French Rose, Cinnamon, Blackberry, and Fig. It smells incredible; to this nose, the best of the Delrae line. The specialist gave me eight small decants to take with me. Among them: Arabie, Noir Epices, and Baghari.
Days later, when I made it over to Etro, I was less than enthused. Expensive clothes don't impress me; even with dangly, flashy things hanging off them. Yes I like your pants. I'm even vaguely intrigued that you paid several thousand dollars for them, but only because I'm imagining how much perfume I could buy with that kind of dough. It impresses me even less when you treat your small but somewhat impressive line of fragrances as if they were trifles you hand out as free gifts with purchase, ugly things cluttering your counter's real reason for being.
They had no tester for Messe de Minuit and had no intention of opening one. They only really sell it at Christmas, they said, as if I had the nerve to think of it out of season. They were gracious enough to let me smell a dust-laden candle, then laughed openly at me when I shipped my purchase back home to me. "You're sending it to yourself?" the salesman snickered. "Why yes," I said. "Should I send it to someone else and have them forward it to me instead?"
In case you're wondering, Messe de Minuit is sublime, an incense as true to its name as the Comme des Garcon line, it adds to their dry iterations a fantastically resinous quality, giving you both smoke and source.
The rest of the week was fairly dry, until I discovered, my last day in town, that the Luckyscent Scent Bar was a mere two blocks from where I was staying. Obviously, I raced right over. By the time I left, I had purchased five bottles of perfume. I returned from my car to buy one more. The saleswoman was polite and informative but decidely remote, as if she'd left the oven on at home. She answered my questions patiently but in such a way that the patience I required was made clear. I told a few jokes and she laughed, so I know she wasn't talking in her sleep. For a while I wasn't sure. I got to smell things I'd only read about, like most of the Parfumerie Generale line, Eau D'Italie, Heeley, Kilian, and others I forget. There were so many to smell. No wonder the saleslady was out of it.
I left with Heeley Fine Leather, Sienne L'Hiver, Les Nereides Patchouli, Un Crime Exotique, and Cedre Sandaraque. I returned a few minutes later for Washington Tremlett's Royals Heroes 1805 (I'd mailed everything else home. I needed SOMETHING for the plane trip).
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Today, the band members have updated their scent wardrobe due to the huge success of Mammia Mia! First the play and now a film (with Meryl Streep no less!).
These days, ABBA likes to wear Tom Ford's Black Orchid. They are, however, all looking forward to this Fall's release of White Patchouli.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Patchouli is, without a doubt, a strong smell and it doesn’t wash off easily. It surely is one tenacious little note. I often see posters on the fragrance boards saying that they liked xyz fragrance until they noticed a hint of patchouli, then it was ruined. I can’t say that I’ve ever hated the smell of patchouli. In a way, I like it. To me, it’s rather clean smelling in its oddly musky earthy way.
I’ve been to several ‘Dead Shows,’ not because I love the Greatful Dead but because I’m utterly amused by the scene. The overpowering smell of patchouli is always a given, as are people begging for a ‘miracle’ (a ticket) and selling vegetarian fare (Dead Heads needed to eat since they camped out in parking lots for days on end). Sometimes I think the smell of patchouli mixing with an unclean person’s skanky body odor is what many people consider the actual smell of patchouli. If you subtract the skanky body odor, which is what the patchouli was meant to cover, you actually find an interesting fragrance. I’ve been one of the (perhaps few) who always try a scent when it’s blended with patchouli. L’Artisan Voleur de Roses is one example of this. I couldn’t wait to try it, and I loved it. I love the scent, but like most L’Artisan fragrances, it disappears within 20 minutes, even the patchouli note couldn’t make a L’Artisan last a full hour.
This brings me to a patchouli fragrance that I just love and wear often. It’s Keiko Mecheri Patchoulissime. So far, no one has commented or made a face that I stink like patchouli when I wear Keiko Mecheri’s patchouli. I’m so happy to have finally found a perfumer that treats patchouli as the centerfold of a fragrance and does it in a beautiful delicate wearable way. Perhaps if enough time passes, so that most don’t remember the association between patchouli and unclean hippies, everyone can stop hating patchouli so much. I think it’s a misunderstood and sadly unused note in most perfumes. It adds a gorgeous depth and lasting power, especially to musky perfumes but also to florals. Congratulations to Keiko Mecheri for being brave enough to take on the “dreaded note.”
Cruel Gardenia opens with a lush, creamy spicy tuberose note, to my nose. There are hints of neroli and violet and a light spiciness that make you stop everything and pay attention to it. I sniffed and sniffed and kept doing so every 5-10 minutes trying to understand this beautiful creation. Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia is like a dominatrix, she orders you to pay attention, and you do. Once Cruel Gardenia settled in, I was smitten. This is a subtle, sophisticated masterpiece. It doesn’t smell very much like other Guerlain fragrances that I’m aware of, at all. Cruel Gardenia has a smidgen of powder, just the teeniest dusting once it’s completely dried down. It is most definitely floral but in a very confident and non-attention seeking way. The floral notes eventually blend together to create a unified floral scent that is indescribable, it’s like a newly discovered flower growing in Bali that no botanist has ever seen before nor smelled. Yes, there is a slightly prominent gardenia note with hints of tuberose, violet, perhaps ylang and neroli but they all blend together into this gorgeously jaw-dropping aroma. The unified floral scent is perfectly balanced, it isn’t sweet and it isn’t dry. There is a musky spiciness that envelopes the overarching floral note which gives it complexity and a “grown-up” sophisticated quality. There is a little sillage, but it's definitely not a heavy or overpowering scent. It lasted about 4-5 hours for me, so I'd call it average in this regard. I'm smitten.
I’m thinking that the name, Cruel Gardenia, is dead-on, because now I want to buy a full bottle of this stuff, and that’s just cruel.
Per Guerlain, the list of notes and description of the fragrance is as follows:
"....Essence of damask rose with hints of peach and neroli create a refreshing initial burst of florals. Gradually, the scent of gardenia develops with the grace of violet, warmed by ylang-ylang from the
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
LiB starts off with a blast of violet/iris and tar, almost like a hot asphalt driveway on a 100 degree day. LiB remains fairly linear; the violet, iris and floral notes settle atop this tarry dark stew and eventually blend seamlessly into an unusual floral aroma. This is particularly unusual for Creed. I’d go so far as to call LiB rather edgy for a Creed fragrance. The floral notes are sweet but the tarry, musky, spicy notes definitely counteract any overdone sweetness and create a nicely balanced aroma - perfectly sweet and dry at once. After a few hours, LiB becomes a smidgen powdery, but in a good way; overall I don’t smell much other than the violet, iris, tar and musk notes and it doesn’t morph into something very different or complex. I rather like LiB, more than I anticipated I would. I’ve worn it three times now and each day I liked it more. It has nice sillage, so it’s not a close to the skin fragrance, and it also has good lasting power. I’m a stickler for lasting power so I’m pleased when I can still smell LiB on my skin at the end of the day. LiB is most definitely a unisex scent, but then again, I’m of the thinking that anyone should wear anything they want.
For another review of Creed's Love in Black, check out Marlen’s at PerfumeCritic.com
For purchasing information and everything you need to know about CREED: http://www.creedperfumes.us/
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sarah Silverman is to satire what Julia Child is to cooking.
For the most part, I find iris fragrances cold and verging on dreary and sad. When I’ve worn The Different Company’s Bois d’Iris or Aqua di Parma Iris Nobile, I seem to become melancholy, introspective and quiet. When a fragrance seems to change my mood I do think there is something to the science of aromatherapy. I am deeply affected by the aromas around me and by the fragrance I wear. Iris fragrances make me feel like a character from Jane Eyre or
Prada’s Infusion d’Iris is a completely different sort of iris fragrance. I feel happy when I wear this scent. It most definitely smells like the traditional cold metallic iris, but this iris is suspended in light & joyful citrus and wrapped in a gauzy earthy green aroma. Prada’s Infusion d’Iris speaks to me of spring, summer and celebrates rebirth, budding, damp gray April days after a rain shower, but, with the promise of beautiful vegetation and blue skies just around the corner. Prada’s Infusion d’Iris is perhaps not for the typical lover of iris, there aren’t any clumps of cold wet dirt or flower bulbs nestled 6 inches under the cold March soil here. For the person who hasn’t yet found an iris fragrance to love, perhaps because they find the cold, wet dirt smell off-putting, then this could be your new iris. It is a very easy scent to wear, it’s extremely subtle and sheer and by that I mean I have about 8 heavy-handed sprays on right now and I still have to bring my wrist to my nose to smell it. It is subtle and delicate yet it does remain on my skin for many hours. If it’s possible to be both delicate and tenacious, Prada has managed this. I’m pleasantly surprised by this fragrance. I bought a bottle a few months ago and I’m glad I purchased the 3.4 ML size because when I wear it I apply a lot so the bottle is already only half full.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Last week I was at the salon having my hair done. I use salon time to catch up on all the gossip and fashion magazines. Last weekend I came upon a very sad announcement. Mimi La Rue passed away in June.
My eyes filled with tears when I read this from People magazine:
Mimi LaRue died at home surrounded by her family, including Spelling's husband Dean McDermott, 41, son Liam, 1, and newborn daughter Stella, 10 days old. "I'm devastated," said Spelling, who reveals her dog had suffered from medical problems relating to her hips and neck for years. "I'm convinced she waited around to make sure I had the daughter I always dreamt about before she left us."
Monday, July 14, 2008
In the beginning, after the initial spritz, the EdT smelled mostly like alcohol and the parfum smelt immediately like buttery suede with spices (clove and carnation). The parfum stayed surprisingly true to form from the first spritz all the way through the dry down and it’s about 3 hours later now. The EdT on the other hand (on the other arm I should say) was the one that morphed the most. The EdT started off much like an unsettled blast of alcohol, almost gasoline like, but after 5 minutes began to exhibit the lovely suede-leathery spicy carnation smell that I adore so much about Tabac Blond. The EdT stays a bit tamer in the dry down, exhibiting more sweet vanilla spicyness compared to the truly rebellious parfum, which stays in a smoldering tobacco, leather, spicy mood throughout.
I’ve read Chandler Burr’s interview with Luca Turin where
While I think the parfum extrait version is the clear winner in a side-by-side comparison, I still think the EdT concentration is a beautiful perfume. If you can’t easily find the parfum, don’t fret, the EdT is less expensive, easier to find and still a knockout. Tabac Blond in either concentration blows most leathery, spicy, tobacco perfumes out of this stratosphere.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
A few months ago, I was in an elevator with a stranger. She said “what’s that weird smell in here, it smells like cleaning fluid?” I sniffed the air, I didn’t smell cleaning fluid, I suspect she smelled my perfume. Oh, God, I thought, she thinks my perfume smells like “weird cleaning fluid?” I was wearing L’Artisan Voleur de Roses.
A few weeks back, one of my colleagues was leaving the company for another job. I hugged her as she was all packed up and ready to leave the office. She said, “you always smell so good, yet so unusual….what is that you’re wearing…it smells like snickerdoodles.” I had to think for a moment, I was wearing Prada, which has a vanilla base. Snickerdoodles? I wouldn’t have thought that.
I saved the best for last. One day this spring, I was wearing Guerlain L’Heure Bleue at the office. My boss came around behind me so he could see my computer screen since we were making changes to a document. So, he was just a few inches away from me for a few moments. After we finished the document and he was leaving my office, he said “it smells like those Flintstone’s chewable vitamins for children in here.”
Thanks goodness I don’t really care what other people think about my taste in perfume. Well, I don’t care and I do care all at once. I know for sure that I don’t wear too much (overpowering) perfume because I’m very careful about that. I haven’t stopped wearing any of the above fragrances and love them just the same. It just strikes me as hilarious that perhaps I’m so obsessed with perfume that it smells entirely differently to me than it does to others who aren’t such, well, who are such perfume connoisseurs. If I was wearing Apothia Velvet Rope and someone said I smelled like a martini, well that would be expected. If I was wearing Serge Lutens Musc Koublai Khan and someone said I stank, well, that would serve me right! But when I’m wearing perfumes that seem to smell nice and relatively normal (all of the above scenarios are perfumes I consider “normal” enough for office wear) I find it perplexing. Is it because I know what a carnation perfume smells like, that I would never consider it smelling like anything other than carnation? L’Artisan Voleur de Roses – is it because I know its basically roses and patchouli so I only smell that and not cleaning fluid, which is what others might smell? It’s not that I go out of my way to wear perfumes that no one else is wearing, it’s just that I’m attracted to very specific perfumes and they aren’t usually the uber popular one’s. Actually, I did wear Thierry Mugler’s Angel for a few weeks in 1997 before it became the hit perfume of the decade. When it first came out I loved it. I still love it actually. It was so unique and stunning. But when everyone and her mother, sister and best friend starting wearing it, well, I just couldn’t do it. I have a bottle of Angel and like to wear it during the holidays because it reminds me of Christmas.
Anyway, to conclude this little ditty about smelling weird to others; I sure hope I don’t smell really weird….because I like what I like and it wouldn’t be me to leave the house without perfume. I’d rather leave the house with wet hair than sans perfume! But there are times when a non-perfumista nose picks up the strangest aroma from a fragrance I think smells like something else entirely.
And, just for the record, so you don't think I might actually smell strange, I get compliments most of the time....but there are the occasional off-the-wall comments.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I'd like to express my gratitude for the indie perfumers. I’m focusing on the indies, not the niche perfumers, who seem to be an entirely separate category. Niche perfumers are usually well-funded and spend much of their production budget on sexy packaging, designs and bottle labels. The true indies, are usually one-woman/one-man acts, who are seriously passionate about fragrance. Most indie perfumers, to me, seem more adventurous than any large perfume house. They might have little financial backing but they are willing to take risks, because the juxtaposition of scents intrigues them. I love that indie perfumers aren’t necessarily concerned with what’s trendy, what the “it” note is that year (pink pepper!). I imagine indie perfumers to create what they think will be interesting.
I don't want to rule the world; I just want to keep experimenting.'' Recently, balmy spring days made her think of sangría. ''Don't you love that smell? Wouldn't you like to bottle it?'' Ms. Terry asked. '' I think I will,'' she said.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (memorable website)
Creative Universe by Beth Terry
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Neil Morris (just discovered this week, where have I been?)
Soivohle' by Liz Zorn (adding on 7/15/08, Gail pointed this out to me in her comment and I knew I had forgotten someone!)
Strange Invisible Perfumes (SIP is now being carried at Barneys, is SIP still indie?)
Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer has hit it big time, Aedes de Venustas is now carrying his line, so can we still consider him an indie?!)
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Mr. Walken has said that his adopted name of "Christopher" sounds "like a sneeze” and he prefers to be called Chris.
He has different-colored eyes (one blue and one hazel). This is a condition known as heterochromia.
Chamade was virtually the first thing I ever smelled at the Guerlain counter, though not the first thing I saw. It's possible to find Guerlain's greatest hits here at the mall, but don't expect anyone to pull them out and show you without being asked. When you do ask, the saleswomen do a double take, either because they've never noticed them before or have but can't believe someone's looking for them. Pink and purple, L'Instant and (My) Insolence sit right up front, bracketing Hilary Swank's toothsome smile. Samsara and Shalimar are stored below, behind glass, very old fashioned in their staid red and blue rows. Chamade is behind the counter. Its gold box nearly disappears into the wall, alongside Mitsouko, Jardins de Bagatelle, and sometimes, if you're lucky, Jicky, all similarly packaged. You can forget Nahema, and the masculines don't even rate an appearance. Where Champs-Elysees is placed depends on the whim of whoever happens to be bored on the clock that day, and how old she is. Its pink and gold markings straddle the fence of old and new. Of all the Guerlain names, Chamade was the most intriguing to me.
I've since purchased L'Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, Nahema, Coriolan, Vetiver, Shalimar, Habit Rouge, and Samsara, in no particular order, but only finally picked up Chamade this afternoon. Why I saved the best for last is something of a mystery to me. Something about Chamade convinced me I wouldn't be able to pull it off; whether the heady impression of narcissus or the overall potency of the fragrance, I don't know. At the time I first smelled Chamade it did seem overwhelmingly, inarguably feminine to me, of no particular age but of very definitively gendered. What gave? Mitsouko is arguably masculine by conventional standards, but L'Heure Bleue? Samsara isn't exactly butch either. I think my tastes keep expanding, and my nerve keeps building. I might not have worn Chanel No. 19 a year, or even a month, ago. I might have said, like my friend when he smelled Cannabis Rose on me, "Hmm, too girly."
Something's changed; probably, mostly my mind. Outlook is everything. The Perfume Guide helped. The idea of a Best Feminines for Men list, like everything else Turin does, isn't simply about itself, about the idea of better and best. It's about expanding your view. Once you've allowed that Mitsouko might be worn by a man, you inevitably question why you ever thought it shouldn't have been. What exactly about Mitsouko, and, by extension, any other fragrance, makes it masculine or feminine? Very little, it gradually seemed to me. That the Perfume Guide was written by a male/female duo who happened to be romantically partnered makes that process of re-evaluation even more interesting.
What I noticed right off the bat this time, picking up Chamade, is that, yes, there are florals. But once you process that, and move on, you smell everything else. Chamade is slightly oily, as Turin praised and others have complained. Inside that, or beyond it, you smell all kinds of things. Exactly what I'll leave to your own discovery. It's a favorite of mine and I enjoy the hard won right not to defend the position with detailed analysis. I love it more than anything because it waited patiently for me and, once I came around, held nothing back. It's as complicated as it ever was, and I'm a little less simple-minded.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
We take the bag off our head so that you don't have to. We protect your right to privacy. We salute one's right to hide behind a mask! How else would you throw eggs without risking getting some flung back at you?
It is for this and so many reasons that we present to you the latest in paper bag fashion, right off the runway:
Ladies, what could be more fashionable than this, the height of chic? Dare we say nothing? Notice please the off-set eye holes, for that seductive come hither look. The shoulders are custom fit, the bag deceptively durable. Once home, you can even store fruit and sundry goods in it.
Not everyone wears her bag out on the town. Sometimes, you want a jeans and t-shirt look, for a night at the movies. Well, casual can be glamorous too. Notice the chin gear on this one (perfect for convertibles). And note the pleasantly blank expression. The eye holes are conveniently located in the back, for the scary parts during your feature presentation. The bag in question, using the latest technology, can actually be rotated on your head, as if to turn the other cheek.
A word of caution, as this is a perfume blog. Please, please, do not apply perfume while wearing your bag and lighting a cigarette. Bags are fashionable but highly flammable. It might feel like fur, but they don't call it paper for nothing. (Disclaimer: No bags were injured during this re-enactment)
And remember: your dog friends can easily give you away!
As you can see from this limited medley, anonymity doesn't have to be annoying.
We would like to take this opportunity to point out that, because we recognize that ugly, untrue rumors are often started by anonymous people, in the future we will be more selective about publishing posts by those without profiles, unless you have something which isn't hateful to say, or we know you and understand that, as with your colleagues in the CIA, your identity must be protected at risk of death.
Apparently, the rumor that Tom's of Maine supports anti-abortion groups has circulated for some time. Finally, the company responded with a press release, which we include here in the spirit of abject contrition:
At Tom's of Maine we fell that abortion is a very private and individual decision. We have never and will never support operation rescue or any other anti-abortion organizations. Our co-founders Tom and Kate Chappell have never and will never support anti-abortion groups personally or through corporate efforts. In a related area, we do not use company funds to support political causes. To us, respecting employee and customer freedom and valuing the diverse opinions we hold is part of our strength.
This Week at the Perfume Counter: In which your roving I Smell Therefore I Am reporter makes the marketplace rounds, nostrils flared
For the rest of this review and others, visit perfumecritic.com.