Saturday, May 31, 2008

Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon: A Review

Miller Harris: (excerpt from the website) Lyn Harris is the nose behind Miller Harris perfumes. Lyn has been working in the fragrance industry for 14 years and founded Miller Harris in 2000. She spent 5 years training in France. It was while she was in Grasse that Lyn learned about the rare materials that form the souls of her scent portfolio today. Completing a very strict and detailed training has established Lyn Harris as one of the few classically trained noses in Britain.

Geranium Bourbon, listed notes:
Deep and rosy, a blend of cassis berries, lemon geranium and Turkish Rose – the scents of an English garden after the rain.

This is what I smell: Lightly rosy, not deep or heavy, with sheer fuzzy lemony scented geranium leaves, tomato plant and subtle grasses and savory herbs. About five years ago, I went on a scented geranium frenzy. I had about 20 different geranium plants in clay pots in a sunny room. If you don't already know, scented geranium plants come in an astounding variety of scents and beautifully different flowers and leaf shapes/textures. My scented geranium room was such a joy, it was peaceful and smelled wonderfully and the plants are so easy to grow and flower. When not in bloom scented geraniums are still pretty because they have interesting leaf shapes and textures and come in a variety of green & gray hues and patterns. I recall having lemon, rose, nutmeg, chocolate, bergamot, strawberry, tobacco, lavender and mint.

Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon beautifully captures the smell of a lemony-rose scented geranium, fuzzy leaves and green bits, too. I find it both green and floral but it is certainly a light floral scent. The rosy quality is quite fresh and natural. It has excellent lasting power - I applied in the morning before leaving for the office and definitely smelled it until mid-afternoon. It is a light scent so I applied it generously, approximately 8 spritzes in various spots and on my clothing. I think it's a fabulous summer scent, especially if you live in a hot, humid climate and want to wear something fresh yet floral and feminine, too.

Miller Harris perfumes have lovely packaging, which are rather charming and "British" but I'm a fan of everything British. I'm smitten with the bottles ~and~ boxes. I can't bear to part with the boxes so I store the bottle in the box most of the time.

Price: $140 for 100 ML bottle

Notes I like and Notes I dislike

Here is a list of notes I like and dislike. There are of course exceptions. At the end I've created a Wish List in the hope that a master perfumer will see my plea and create a stunning perfume focusing on a few notes that I think aren't currently done very well in fragrances.

LIKE: (in no particular order)

Neroli ~ aka orange blossom, Carnation, Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger, Yuzu & most citrus, Osmanthus (Asian flowering shrub, Keiko Mecheri & Ormande Jayne make nice Osmanthus perfumes), Almond, Vanilla, Pepper, Rose (particularly the way Les Parfums de Rosine treats rose), Mimosa, Sandalwood, Linden (Tilleul in French, Lime Blossom to the Brits), Verbena, Coffee, Fig, Leather, Incense / Spices, Bergamot, Patchouli, Vetiver, Smoke / Firewood, Tea, Geranium, Tomato plant

DISLIKE: (in no particular order)
Aldehyde, Iris, Jasmine, Gardenia (though there are some fragrances that do gardenia and jasmine very well, I don't go in search of perfumes that focus on jasmine & gardenia), Powder, Lotus / Waterlily, Melon, Lily of the Valley, Lavender (like Lavendar as home spray but not perfume), Frankincense, Violet (Brian is working on this), Marine / Ozonic scents, Syrupy sweet fruity florals (but there are a few exceptions of course).

Wish List
I think the following smells are gorgeous and unfortunately I've never come across a perfume that focuses on these scents and does them well. Let me know if I'm unaware of something!

- Lilac (the smell of spring in New England - slightly damp, cool, lilacs, daffodils, fresh grass, but not too sweet)
- Apple blossom
- Chrysanthemums: crisp fall foliage, apples, cool air & firewood
- The beach: sand, seashells, salt water, salty air, sun kissed skin
- Linden + Verbena Scent
- Peony
- Cilantro/Coriander, a soft, gentle, green herbal scent
- The smell of the Southwest (USA as in New Mexico); dry desert, juniper, mesquite logs, dust and leather
- The smell of snow, fresh fallen snow, with smoke from the chimney

The Best Laid Plans

I planned to create a blog that would be all about perfume, one of my biggest obsessions. I wanted to include loads of perfume reviews but then I was stumped, about just what else I should do with this blog. Then along came Brian. I met Brian at We hit if off instantly. We both love perfume and share many similarities and just as many differences in our likes, dislikes and thoughts about scent. One idea we both agree on: Perfume Is Art. Perfume is evocative. Perfume is a damn good time. Perfume is a medium through which we can write stories about our lives, experiences, dreams, rants, raves and day-to-day musings that will hopefully be interesting to others like us.

One thing is for sure, I sortof hate Brian right now. After agreeing to work on this project together, I've found that he is a shockingly beautiful writer. My writing will pale in comparison. (be quiet Brian, it's true, so get over it, Mr. Humble). I'm not sure what I'll do about this. Rise to the occassion? Be the one to write the more mundane reviews? We shall see what happens.

A note about my perfume reviews. I'm finding that I don't have the patience to go into the extreme depth of other perfume reviewers, discussing how each and every note unfolds over the course of a few hours. When I try a perfume, I usually either love it, hate it or just think it's 'meh' (not worth discussing). I can mostly detect individual notes, but prefer not to do so, I'd rather discuss the 'work' as a whole. So, I hope that I don't disappoint my imaginary readers, but I think my perfume reviews will be somewhat brief and to the point and geared towards giving you an overall impression of the "juice."

This may be too obvious to even mention but I'd also like to point out that my reviews are entirely subjective. This is my personal taste, it's what I like and dislike, so please don't ever be insulted if I happen to dislike something you adore. I mention this because it took me about 3 weeks to get over the agony of reading Turin & Sanchez' book, Perfume: The Guide. Turin haaaaates 3 (ok it's really 10) of my favorite perfumes.

I'm over it now, but for 3 weeks this tortured me. I think perfume is extremely personal. Even though thousands perhaps millions of people have all worn the same perfume, each time I apply one of my favorites, it feels as though the scent is personally mine. So to say one of my favorite perfumes is atrocious, well, that just hurts! I know I didn't create it but I buy it and wear it and that says something about me. Anyway, I finally realized that perfume, like just about everything else, is subjective, and what might not be my cup of tea, might be someone else's luscious chai latte.

In case you're wondering, I'll let you in on the one that hurt the most. The perfume that I adore that Mr. Turin hates. It's Amarige by Givenchy. Yes, Amarige is potent. But, that is, of course, why I love it. I have a preference for perfumes that are strong and lasting. I'd rather be careful about spritzing lightly than wear a perfume that is fleeting and lasts for 14 minutes. Amarige is absolutely gorgeous in my book. It's a floral oriental that turns into molten lava on my skin. It follows me around like a cloud. It literally feels warm - like a warm cloud enveloping me all day. Some say Amarige is a tuberose heavy scent, and I'm not sure tuberose is among the listed notes. It's meant to showcase Indian Mimosa. Amarige bursts with personality. It's alive, sexy, sensual, fiesty and feminine. I actually don't even smell individual notes but instead a well blended floral oriental bomb of a perfume that can only be described as Amarige.

To Luca Turin I say this: Someday I hope we get trapped in an elevator together when I am wearing 4 bold spritzes of Amarige. ;-)

To my readers: I hope you enjoy what Brian and I do with this blog. It will be great fun for us and we hope a fascinating journey for you.