Monday, December 19, 2011

Amorvero: Back to My Roots

For months now, I've felt there's something wrong with me.  I was kept pretty thrilled by fragrances for a good four years, consistently surprised, enthused, and engaged.  It's been a real passion for me.  Every day I packed a perfume bag the way some would pack a lunch.  I'd sit at work sniffing one bottle after another.  I'd have four to five different things on, making comparisons.  I made my co-worker sneeze.

Suddenly, I wasn't so interested.  I went from buying samples and bottles on a regular basis, sniffing religiously, to a dry state of affairs where maybe every month or so I might make a single purchase, and I started visiting my perfume cabinet so infrequently it might have been a lost wing in a massive house.  It's been weird.

I couldn't imagine that the fragrance industry turned overwhelmingly boring overnight, so I thought it must be me.  Maybe I'd gone fickle.  Maybe I'm prone to boredom.  I know now that it isn't really me, because the fragrances that always surprised, enthused, and delighted me are still doing so.  And I guess I don't care too much to parse all the vagaries of the industry to determine what's happening on that end, when really the bottom line is that most of what comes out now feels uninspired or insulting.  Otherwise I think I'd be writing more - about my dissatisfaction, if nothing else.  The fact that I can't even be bothered to write about that is the biggest surprise, and disappointment, of all to me.  I feel the industry has finally turned a corner, where restrictions and cost-cutting have crystallized into banality and bottom line as standard practice.

I thought about doing posts during all this.  I thought, okay, so if I still love the same fragrances, what are they?  What would be my 25 desert island scents.  Granted, 25 makes for a pretty cushy island, but narrowing down to ten, while it makes for good type, has always been a struggle for me.  Even 25 seemed like a waste of time.  How often had I written about these fragrances, anyway?  How much more could I have to say?

I say all this mainly to give you some context for how even a simple, well made scent can seem like a revelation these days for me.  Back in October, for instance, I was in LA, and someone who didn't think much of it handed me a bottle of Amorvero.  I'm not sure what I might have thought about it two years ago, but in October I liked it instantly.  How much my liking it had to do with this dry spell I can't say, and I resisted writing about Amorvero until now because I didn't trust the pleasure it gave me.

After all, Amorvero isn't exactly anything new.  It's a throwback to the big picture vanillic florientals of the eighties, really - recalling things like Poison and Giorgio, among others.  But while many perfumistas look back to the pre-fifties fragrances as the benchmark for quality fragrances, the eighties are really my decade of choice in many ways.  Many of my top 25 scents came out of that era, and I would gladly trade some of the things I've bought from recent years for eighties fragrances I want but don't own.

Amorvero reminds me most of 24, Faubourg, a fragrance released in 1995 which feels more like an eighties scent itself.  Like Faubourg, Amorvero buttresses tuberose and jasmine with vanilla and amber on one end and citrus notes on the other.  Like Faubourg, it lasts all day.  A simple story, Amorvero, but the pleasures are pretty complex.  Each time I return to the scent I find new things to like in it.  The thing is an immediate mood lifter, and adds a level of drama to the dreariest frame of mind.

Amorvero was created for a hotel I've never heard of in Rome, the Hassler.  I believe it was in 2000.  The perfumer is Lorenzo Dante Ferro.  I can't see where one finds the stuff, other than a website I googled online.  It would be hard to track down and try. I'm sorry.  But I was glad to find it, and in comparison to most of the dreck currently being released, it's something of a Godsend for me.

There isn't much about it on perfume blogs, though I was happy to see, in the middle of writing this, that Cafeleurebon just wrote about it several days ago.  I like that it goes against current trends in perfumery, because those trends are really bringing me down.  And while I'm not yet sure it would enter my top 25, it has a lot in common with another fragrance favorite on that list, Miss Balmain.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TWRT 12.16.11

This Week's Random Thoughts ~

Note to perfume companies: I have an idea. Let’s not use the word chypre anymore since this category no longer exists. 

I have been wearing Kate Walsh Boyfriend off and on all week.  I like it.  But I desperately want to tweak it!  I want to amplify the patchouli-woods-chocolate to make it less of a vanilla fragrance.  It smells good, don’t get me wrong, but I just want to make it more than vanilla (which always makes me hungry).

So, after wearing Boyfriend, I went into an all-out frenzy over patchouli-vanilla-chocolate fragrances.  In the end, I realized I swoon every time for Serge Lutens Borneo 1834.  Chanel Coromandel does it for me, too, but Borneo is even more decadent.  What are your favorite sweet patchouli bombs (patch-vanilla-chocolate especially)? 

Just about the only thing I buy from Bath & Body Works are candles.  And I simply cannot wait for their Holiday sale every year when I buy their huge 14.5 oz candles for just $10!  Today I ordered so many candles, online no less (no schlepping heavy candles around the mall) with free shipping (DecShip50)!  How cool is this sale?

Almost everyone on American Horror Story is now a ghost.

I forced myself to finish We Need to Talk About Kevin because I enjoy Tilda Swinton but this was up there with Drive as one of the slowest, most draining movies I've ever seen.   And, no, I have not seen Tree of Life or Melancholia or Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene and at this point I’ll need some strong convincing to bother.  I thought We Need to Talk About Kevin would be fascinating, it’s about a woman destroyed by raising a child who is a sociopath.  Sadly, the film is incoherent and dreadfully slow.

I highly recommend The Sister’s Brothers by Patrick DeWitt.  The writing and characters are among the most memorable I’ve read all year. 

My book club’s assignment for February is 11/22/63 byStephen King.  This is going to be the book that breaks me and causes me to buy a Kindle!  It’s so heavy and huge (only in hardcover right now) and I’m now in the market for a Kindle so I don’t have to “heft” that book around.

I learned how to perfectly poach an egg this week and it’s my new favorite thing.  I don’t use any device just gently pour the egg into almost boiling water.   I dislike “runny” egg yolk, which I realize is perhaps the whole point of poached eggs, but nevertheless I cook mine an extra 2 minutes making sure the yolk is soft but not oozing (gags).  A poached egg on whole wheat toast with salt, pepper and paprika can be one of the most delectably simple meals.

Top perfumes for me this week: (in addition to above mentioned stuff) Love, Chloe Eau Intense, DSH Mahjoun, Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea, M. Micallef Gaiac and original Prada.

I haven’t seen The Muppet Movie yet but I want to.  I'll see The Muppet's along with Hugo and Tin Tin next week during family time (aka 'escape from family' time).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dior Mitzah

The recent 10 additions to Dior’s exclusive range have been met with lukewarm reviews at best.  Each fragrance in Dior La Collection could easily be called “good” but what most perfume enthusiasts are reacting to is that fact that the exclusive range should, by definition, be a step above mainstream releases.

If Dior Mitzah was instead a new mainstream release from Dior, available at every Sephora worldwide, which is to say easy to find, and available in smaller less expensive bottles, I would think many perfume enthusiasts and bloggers would have sung its praises.   

I’m going to put aside expectations of what a fragrance in Dior’s exclusive range should smell like and instead evaluate Mitzah as ‘any old’ perfume released in 2010.  Here’s the thing: Dior Mitzah is a beautiful amber.  It isn’t particularly unique and I’d classify it as a functional fragrance, but it’s one helluvah gorgeous and wearable amber oriental.

I’ve noticed myself leaning towards functional fragrances over the past year.  In an effort to pare down my collection (somewhat) I’ve begun pinpointing those fragrances I love and readily wear from within each fragrance category.  I have a lot of amber orientals.  Over the years, amber orientals have been my truest love.  Recently, a great number of my favorite amber fragrances suddenly smelled too sweet, a little cloying and very, very, musty-dusty to me.  I can’t explain this change and believe me it was a pretty sad realization at first.  What I’ve come to find is that I now require a very specific sort of amber fragrance.  Ambers I love lately need to be fairly dry, slightly herbal, and not too heavy, with some spice and incense.  The ambers I’ve been happy with this fall are Alahine, Histoires de Parfums Ambre 114, Agent Provocateur Strip, Calvin Klein Obsession and maybe one or two others I’m forgetting.   

Dior Mitzah hits the spot perfectly.  While it doesn’t break especially new ground, what it does for me is fix every other amber out there that’s either “too sweet” or “too heavy” or “too musty-dusty” or “too-foodie” and instead nails the perfect balance of what I think an amber oriental should be.  Mitzah wears like a sheer veil instead of a blanket; it’s present yet light.  Mitzah has touches of sweetness but it never reaches foodie realm.  Mitzah avoids the musty-dusty aspect many ambers fall prey to (this might be due to “Ambre 83,” discussed more in two blogs listed below) .  Mitzah is not a spice-fest like Ambre Sultan or Arabie, it’s much much (much) smoother.  I’m telling you what it isn’t, but I should also tell that it is a velvety, dry, softly spicy herbaceous amber that is dreamy.  I wasn’t blown away by Mitzah the first time I tried it because it’s quite similar to so many other ambers out there.  Once you’ve smelled a few ambers, you pretty much get the idea, and everything that starts off like a typical amber seems a bit generic.  Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche and Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan might stick out from the pack because they are so bold.  Mitzah isn’t bold; it’s tame, functional and effortlessly wearable.   I think it's gorgeous.

Notes include:  coriander, cinnamon, amber, rose, patchouli, incense, vanilla, and honey

Other reviews

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ahh, the smell of it! Calvin Klein Obsession

Calvin Klein Obsession for Women launched in 1985 when I was 14 years old.  I remember how profoundly the Calvin Klein brand permeated 80’s culture.  I remember the scandalous Brooke Shield’s jean commercials followed by the oddly androgynous and creepy child-porn Obsession perfume commercials.  I never wore Obsession when I was a teenager.  I was fixated on florals and florientals.  It probably wasn’t until I dove headfirst into my perfume habit in the very late 1990s (around 1999 I’d guess) when I first purchased and wore Obsession. 

Lately I’ve been obsessed with Obsession (so sorry, I had to!).  I’ve worn it a total of maybe 10 times since 1999 but all of a sudden over the past month I’ve worn if for days on end and I’m so impressed with it.  It’s possible this new-found love for Obsession has something to do with the lack of good mainstream releases.  When I compare Obsession with most celebrity scents and the latest stuff from CK, Gucci, Dior, Givenchy…well…pretty much EVERYTHING at Sephora (and almost everything which is a current bestseller) I come away thinking that Obsession is pretty fucking amazing.  Obsession is a classic oriental.  Truly classic.  It’s also sublimely dry and unisex.  It’s really a shame that Obsession is considered by many to be a “big over-the-top 80’s powerhouse” because I find it to be quite understated when not over-applied.  Obsession isn’t anywhere near as sweet or powerful as most current bestsellers at Sephora such as Flowerbomb, Prada, Pink Sugar, Juicy Couture, Lolita Lempicka, Ralph Lauren Romance, Dior Miss Dior Cherie and so on.  Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky (entirely possible!) but to disregard Obsession as dated or “too potent” seems short-sighted and inaccurate (or is the reformulated Obsession I now have drastically lighter?).

Recently I realized I can’t wear Shalimar but that doesn’t mean I don’t still love the idea of it.  Orientals are one of my most favorite fragrance types and I especially like dry, spicy, ambery-incense type Orientals.  Obsession is all this and more.  It begins with the Shalimar-type citrus burst, which might be off-putting to those who don’t admire this sort of oriental.  The vanilla and amber in Obsession are very close to the manner in which these notes are presented in Shalimar.  This is not foodie vanilla. Obsession isn’t too-sweet and doesn’t have those jarringly synthetic musks like virtually everything launched since the early 2000s.  This is a warm, spicy, ambery oriental that melds with your own personal chemistry especially in the dry down. 

Vastly underrated, truly unisex, Obsession blooms then mellows into a spicy Oriental which is classic but still effortless.  Obsession becomes me as opposed to the fragrance “wearing me.”  

For those around my age or older, here’s a fun blast from the past (Ahh, the smell of it!)

Pretty creepy, no?!

Here's a newer commercial, I think this dates from 2001, Benicio del Toro and Heather Graham look so young!

 I wonder when perfumes stop being considered "dated" and instead become enduring classics?  Do you think Obsession is or will ever become a classic (be honest, I have thick skin)?  Is Obsession already a classic?  Do you think Coco by Chanel has made it into classic territory or is considered by most to be dated or in the dreaded "old lady" category?  I'm just curious...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Draw Winner

The winner of the full bottle draw for the video "Fur" is Queen Cupcake.  Thanks everybody for participating.  It made for entertaining reading.  Queen, please email me within the next week to collect your prize.

Choose from the following bottles:

Bond No.9 Lexington Avenue (50 ml)
Caron Bellodgia (50 ml)
Guerlain Samsara EDT (30 ml)
Parfums de Nicolaï Vanille Tonka (30 ml)
Ava Luxe Queen Bess (30 ml)
Caron Third Man (100 ml)
Womanity (50 ml)
Bois 1920 Classic 1920
Chanel No. 19 EDP (50 ml)
Cartier Must Pour Homme (100 ml)
Guerlain L'Instant Pour Homme (100 ml)
Estee Lauder Beautiful EDP (100 ml)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving attire

Just a suggestion for Thanksgiving attire.  Yoga pants are oh-so-forgiving on the waistline, right?!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Don't eat too much (ha, ha)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Does This Woman Wear? A Full Bottle Drawing.

A friend I film a lot with, Savannah, got a fur coat from her aunt several months ago, and seeing as how she's not really a fur person, per se, making a movie seemed about the only good use for the thing.

Generally when I make movies it's a long haul, marathon type thing.  It means months of preparation - planning, budgeting, casting, et al.  The more I do it, the more I crave making films - even just once in a while - that are more like relays, more sketches than full blown murals.

Savannah and I decided to get together the other day and do something simple and abstract.  We've both always wanted to do silent movies, so we did.  We filmed a sort of character study - a woman waiting, maybe.  It was so much fun dressing up and jumping right in that we decided to continue the story every so often, to pick up where we left off and see where this woman goes, bringing other friends and places into the mix as it strikes us.

Any ideas who this woman is?  I'd love to know what perfume you think she'd be wearing, most of all.  But also maybe what she's doing there where she is and where she's going or where she's been.  I'll draw a name from the comments Monday after Thanksgiving.  Serious answers only, please.

The winner can choose from the following full bottles.  Random, I know, but I'm doing some late spring cleaning:

Bond No.9 Lexington Avenue (50 ml)
Caron Bellodgia (50 ml)
Guerlain Samsara EDT (30 ml)
Parfums de Nicolaï Vanille Tonka (30 ml)
Ava Luxe Queen Bess (30 ml)
Caron Third Man (100 ml)
Womanity (50 ml)
Bois 1920 Classic 1920
Chanel No. 19 EDP (50 ml)
Cartier Must Pour Homme (100 ml)
Guerlain L'Instant Pour Homme (100 ml)
Estee Lauder Beautiful EDP (100 ml)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Perfumes I ought to like... but don't

 Earlier today I tried wearing Jean Patou Sublime for about the fifth time. There are so many fantastic fragrances from Patou that I find it curious I don’t enjoy Sublime.  From Sublime’s list of notes it seems like a perfume I would cherish (listed notes are orange, Mandarin from Sicily, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, orange blossom, vetiver, sandalwood, oak moss and vanilla). Plus, Sublime is a floral oriental which is my favorite fragrance category.  But today, I tried Sublime for the final time, and I just don’t like it.   

This got me thinking about other fragrances it seems I should love, but don’t.  Take for instance the entire Ormonde Jayne line.  I completely understand why many of you hold up the Ormonde Jayne line as being one of the best.  Most of the Ormonde Jayne fragrances pair interesting and unusual combinations.  They seem unique, special and well-crafted.  The ingredients seem high quality and the bottles are lovely.  But, every single OJ fragrance ends up smelling virtually the same to me once dried down.  I’ve read that this might mean I’m hyper sensitive to Iso E Super, which is an aroma chemical, said to be used freely by Ormonde Jayne (and virtually all perfume houses, not just the OJ brand).  Iso E Super is supposed to be a wonderful “connector,” adding a smooth, robust quality to fragrances and smelling like velvety woods and/or amber [You can find a helpful article about Iso E Super over at PerfumeShrine].  For me, almost every fragrance (except Tiare and Frangipani) ends up smelling like murky synthetic, artificial woods.   I want to enjoy some of the fragrances from Ormonde Jayne, but sadly, I can’t.

Aside from some trepidation about wearing patchouli in public, I do love the smell of patchouli.  I enjoy many fragrances with a hefty patchouli base, some of which are the original Prada and Angel.  I also value and appreciate potent fragrances with excellent longevity.  Chanel Coco Mademoiselle can be described as a sweet patchouli number that’s both potent and lasts forever.  But the sum of its parts just doesn’t add up to something I can wear.  It seems like I ought to like Coco Mademoiselle but it makes me run, not walk, in the other direction.
I also love ambery orientals.  Teo Cabanel Alahine is my #1 BFF and I’d classify it as an ambery oriental or perhaps as a floral oriental.   I hold perfumer Maurice Roucel high regard as he’s created a whole list of wonderful perfumes I appreciate and wear.  But somehow, even though Guerlain L’Instant was created by Roucel and its an ambery oriental it is perhaps my most dreaded fragrance of all time.  Guerlain’s L’Instant is the olfactory equivalent of ‘nails down a chalkboard’ for me.  It’s been a very long time since I even tried to wear it and I don’t think I attempted wearing it more than twice.  When people say Thierry Mugler Angel is tooth-achingly sweet I often think they should be describing L’Instant not Angel.  L’Instant is a sharp juxtaposition of citrus and sweeeet that makes my skin crawl.  When I read the list of notes it seems like L’Instant should be beautiful, but the reality for me, is that it’s a fearsome monster.  I enjoy plenty of sweet fragrances (Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum eau Poudree is one) but for the most part I’m finding I like orientals to be dry (such as Alahine and Canturi) instead of sweet.  Or perhaps it’s simply that Guerlain L’Instant is my nemesis

A few other notes I typically enjoy are mimosa and almond.  And as I’ve outlined above I always appreciate long wear and potency.  Yves Saint Laurent Cinema is a potent, long wearing fragrance with prominent almond and mimosa notes.  In theory, I should like Cinema, but in practice, I don’t.  Now, don’t get me wrong, YSL Cinema is not my nemesis and it doesn’t make me run away.  In fact, I’ve smelled Cinema on others and find it pleasant.  But on me it’s a boredom issue, it just doesn’t do anything, anything at all, for me.  I’ve tried wearing it a couple times and within an hour always have the strong urge to remove it and apply something I really enjoy.

Last but not least is a cheery little number which features a pretty spring bouquet and most notably a strong linden note.  I love fresh, innocent, natural smelling florals, which is why I adore just about the entire Annick Gotual line and I especially enjoy the scent of linden.  La Chasse aux Papillons is one of L’Artisan’s  bestsellers, and it even has reasonable longevity AND has just about the prettiest fragrance name ever (La Chasse aux Papillons roughly translates to Chasing Butterflies in English). Nevertheless, I still can’t find anything to like about this fragrance.  I blame the pink pepper note which is quite strong in the Extreme version, but it’s also noticeable in the regular edt.  This pink pepper note seems jarring and throws off the easy-going florals for me.  Aside from this peppery quality, I just can’t get excited about La Chasse.  Sure, I could wear it without hating it, but it doesn’t make my heart sing; it’s as if I was wearing SJP Lovely or D&G Light Blue.

Do you have fragrances which seem tailor made for you, but somehow, they fall disappointingly short and you don’t like them? 

Friday, November 18, 2011

This week's favorite things

MOR Marshmallow Hand Lotion

Trader Joe’s Vanilla Cinnamon Tea

Dr Dennis Grossman Alpha Beta Peel

Walking with my dogs in the brisk weather

Annick Goutal Songes Body Crème

Planning the menu for Thanksgiving

New Silk Pillowcases

Homemade hummus on crisp (low-carb) tortilla strips

Wearing plushy pajamas and slippers

The smell of damp leaves & smoke from chimneys

Perfectly broken-in sneakers

Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Profumi del Forte Roma Imperiale (think I’ll wear this for Thanksgiving)

and, last but not least, a wonderful addition from museinwoodenshoes

Watch  William Shatner teaches us about the dangers of deep fried turkey

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Angel Appreciation

Can you believe Angel is almost 20 years old?  Thierry Mugler’s Angel launched in 1992 and is far and away the most groundbreaking fragrance of the past two decades.

The first time I smelled Angel was December, 1997.  I was Christmas shopping at Macy’s in the downtown crossing section of Boston.  Angel will always smell like Christmas to me.  I have never been able to sniff it objectively, my first impression of Angel being tightly interwoven with the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas.  I was so struck by Angel on this day in the winter of 1997 that I remember what I was wearing.  I recall the heft of my chocolate brown suede coat and the over-the-knee dark brown boots I had just bought myself.  I was really into brown in the late 90’s.  I remember carrying several shopping bags which were cutting into my fingers and struggling a bit with my coat tossed over an arm as it was now too warm to wear it inside the store.   As I walked through Macy’s I was accosted by one of those enthusiastic sales associates with what seemed at the time like a machine gun of Angel at her side.  It was unusual for me to allow myself to be sprayed, but this time I did. Tis the season I suppose.  I let the sales associate give me a spritz and then kept walking.  

A few minutes passed before I sniffed the wrist where Angel had been sprayed.  I stopped in my tracks.  I was dumbstruck.  Angel was unique, unlike anything I had smelled before.  Somehow I had managed to be completely unaware of Angel from 1992 until my first encounter in 1997.  I smelled it on myself for the first time without any association of others wearing it around me.  Within five minutes I knew I must have this perfume.  I knew I would buy a bottle on my way out.
As I walked around Macy’s that day the entire city was dressed for Christmas.  Boston was strung with lights and there were Christmas trees and decorations aplenty.  These Christmas images melded with my first impression of Angel and I will forever associate the fragrance with festivity, joy, pine trees, candles and sparkling lights.  I’ve never been able to smell Angel the way others do; I have never smelled the super-sweet candy accord others seem to despise.  If I really think about it, if I dissect Angel, what I smells starts with a shrieky citrus blast which then mellows ever so slightly into a highly aldehydic, metallic, mentholated, sweet earthy patchouli.  This is technically what I smell.  But what I actually smelled that first time back in 1997 and still smell to this day are sparkling lights, candles, pine trees, cold air, damp snow, ice and a house warmly decorated for the holidays with a blazing fireplace and baked goods.  I smell promise and happiness.

Angel isn’t smooth, it is rough, a little pitchy and full of character. Her personality is like that overly dramatic friend, who embarrasses you slightly but has a heart of gold and is perpetually fun to be around.  I absolutely adore Angel.  It was love at first sniff.  Happy 20th birthday, Angel.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

M. Micallef Gaiac

I go through phases.  With everything in my life, my perfume hobby has taken me on some fun and interesting trails.  This past year I seem to be entering a new phase which is quite the opposite of the last seven plus years.  Over the last seven years I’ve been constantly on the hunt and in a collecting frenzy.  Now I find myself wanting to reduce in order to dig in and enjoy my favorites.  I’m at a point where new releases don’t excite me, instead they annoy me.  I want to pare down my collection, to identify my top 25 or so and maintain a collection of that size.  I like the idea of approximately 25 bottles because this allows me to choose about 5 perfumes per season (5 for spring, 5 for summer and so on) with about 5 wild cards which aren’t seasonal but are my top favorites that I must have no matter what the weather.  A collection of this size allows me to actually wear my favorite scents, which is something I’ve been missing for quite some time.  So far, this “Collection of 25” is just an idea; one that I tinker with frequently, making  lists on napkins, tossing around in my head during nights of insomnia, weighing the pros and cons while driving in the car.   I’m getting close and think I might be able to achieve my Collection of 25 within the next year or so.  As of now, M. Micallef Gaiac is part of this collection, firmly entrenching itself in my fall/winter category. 

 I’m not a gaiac expert.  I’ve tried Le Labo Gaiac and don’t remember much about it (I think that fact probably says it all).  I’m pretty sure gaiac in perfumery is a tree resin and from what I’ve smelled it’s a resinous woody note. From my limited experience with the gaiac note, I don’t think it’s similar to oud/agarwood because it isn’t as precious nor is it as potent or medicinal smelling.  Forgive me for such limited research into what exactly gaiac is or what it specifically smells like; for the most important point in this post is to reveal how M. Micallef Gaiac might be just the perfect fragrance for those looking for a sweet rustic woody scent.

Micallef Gaiac is a mood scent. It’s an idealized memory of fall in New England.  It’s unquestionably cozy yet rustic chic.  It’s the sort of fragrance I long to wear in the fall and winter when I want something woody and softly sweet.   I have loads of fragrances in this sweet, woody, slightly gourmand genre. But after sniffing and testing and wearing so many, Micallef Gaiac comes out on top. 

Micallef Gaiac smells like a bonfire of gingerbread wood, caramelized maple leaves, crisp autumn air tinged with cloves, and smoky vanillic skin.  Micallef Gaiac starts off sharper then it ends up.  The beginning is prominently wood and cloves but once it dries down it becomes all sorts of smoooooth creamy-woody-smoky goodness.  It only takes about 30 minutes for it to settle into the dry down stage on me, so it’s relatively linear; meaning it becomes the scent it will remain from about the 30 minute mark and holds this gorgeous aroma for at least the next 6 hours.  It isn’t a sillage monster, but it’s enough for me to smell on myself and it lasts close to the skin for a long time.  If I want more sillage I simply apply it in spades, probably around 6-8 sprays.  At the very beginning it may seem a little medicinal but I hardly even recall this aspect now that I only associate the scent with what it becomes.  
I call Micallef Gaiac sweet, but it’s not really so sweet when compared with other sweet, woody fragrances.  It is miles less sweet than Dior Hypnotic Poison.  It’s a touch less sweet than Givenchy Organza Indecence.  It’s probably about the same level of sweetness as CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves.  In fact, it reminds me a little of CB’s Burning Leaves except that it’s woodier and lasts much, much longer.  M. Micallef Gaiac also reminds me slightly of Diptyque Eau Lente, mostly in aura, not its technical scent.  There’s also a similarity with the vanilla in Guerlain Tonka Imperiale, but I enjoy the rustic woody aspect of the Micallef more, and truth be told the Guerlain is about tonka bean/vanilla and not meant to be so woody.

I find M. Micallef Gaiac absolutely perfect when I’m in the mood for a sweet woody scent.  Over the years I’ve been impressed for short periods of time with many fragrances; which eventually fall out of my favor in some way.  M. Micallef Gaiac has only become better over time.  The dry down is nothing short of perfection and it doesn’t fall apart or turn into something inferior as the hours go past.   It is easily unisex.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

TWRT 10.21.11

This week's random thoughts ~

I’m loving the new creepy show on FX Wednesday nights: American Horror Story.  If you like gory, disturbing stuff check it out.

I already reviewed Love, Chloe Eau Intense and told you how much I love it. The oddball thing I’ve been doing the past few days is wearing both Love, Chloe and Eau Intense at the same time.  One on each wrist.  Somehow sniffing one makes me miss the other so I wear both.  Only a crazed perfume nut would understand this behavior.

I’ve made this pumpkin bread twice now and it’s beyond delicious.  One thing I add is homemade icing drizzled across the top once the bread cools a bit.  Icing is a cinch to make; confectioners sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract , milk and my secret weapon is some sea salt.  Of course this pumpkin bread is a giant splurge as I have been low-carbing for about 10 months now.
Tom Ford Violet Blonde has continued to intrigue me.  I’ve worn it twice since my review last week.  This is something I plan to start documenting.  How often do I actually wear the fragrances I review positively?  Do I like them enough for a review and then forget about them or do I actually wear them again?  So far, Violet Blonde has held my interest.

I completely do not understand fantasy football.  I don’t even understand real football so I suppose there was little chance I’d get it.

I ordered Llamasqua Freak yesterday (one for me, one for The Posh Peasant).  I desperately hope the bottle lives up to the online photos of it.  If it’s as adorable/quirky as I hope it will make my younger goth self happy.

The Wild Marinated Soy Ginger Cod fillets from Trader Joe’s are excellent.  

I use Splenda in coffee all the time.  I prefer Splenda over sugar.  But I can only use sugar for tea.  Splenda ruins tea.  Unless it's iced tea. 

I’m devastated about all those beautiful animals being killed from the Ohio zoo.  I can’t even think about it.

I’m trying to decide if I should buy more Decleor Aromessence Rose d’Orient Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum.  I don’t think it actually does anything for the price.  But it feels and smells so good when I use it.  It gives me the sensation that I’ve just had a facial.

Please, please, please let Kristen Wiig make another “Bridesmaids-esque” type of movie.  It’s about time women are lead roles in riotously funny yet crude, goofy and heartfelt films.  I still laugh every time I think of Melissa McCarthy’s scenes.  Hollywood: please make one of these for every lame romcom that comes out.

Seriously, what is better than crisp fall weather?

Have a great weekend ya'll!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Love, Chloe Eau Intense

Love, Chloe Eau Intense, the 2011 flanker to Love, Chloe (2010) is described as a more intense version of the original.  Even me, who prefers her perfumes potent with some sillage, was a little nervous about a much stronger version of Love, Chloe.  And, thankfully, this isn’t what Love, Chloe Eau Intense is about.

Since these names may get confusing I’ll refer to the original Love, Chloe (2010) as Love, Chloe and the 2011 flanker Love, Chloe Eau Intense as simply Eau Intense.  I adore Love, Chloe and now I adore Eau Intense just as much but for different reasons.  Love, Chloe is a smooth, polished powdery floral fragrance with emphasis on a chewy orange blossom floral with a big dollop of cosmetic powder.  In a way, after smelling by Kilian Sweet Redemption, I think of Love, Chloe as a more polished version of Sweet Redemption.  I thought I’d enjoy Sweet Redemption, but couldn’t help but find it juvenile after wearing it once or twice; it was just too sweet for me.  I have worn Love, Chloe dozens of time over the past year and this says a lot as I hardly ever wear anything but my absolute favorites more than a handful of times per year.  Love, Chloe agrees with me, it melts into my skin and even though it does have a good bit of sillage, it still feels like the most pleasant skin scent on me. It’s there but it isn’t obtrusive.  It’s me but better.  

Now along comes Love, Chloe Eau Intense, which turns out not to be a more potent version of Love, Chloe but instead a mellower version with amplified vanilla and heliotrope.  Eau Intense smells like the stereotypical ‘skin scent’ (soft and easy vanilla and musks) but with a little more oriental intrigue.  Eau Intense certainly exhibits the original Love, Chloe impression; this sort of chewy orang-y floral, but this only lasts for about 20 minutes after which it becomes a softer, much less floral and imminently cozy fragrance upon dry down.  In trying to think of a comparison, I vaguely recall Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang, but when I pulled out the Estee Lauder for an actual side-by side, I found it to be one dimensional and syrupy while Eau Intense is less sweet with slightly more florals and a more varied (less flat) vanilla/heliotrope oriental base.  I also smell something akin to leather once Eau Intense dries down.  The far dry down of Eau Intense is almost as if I’m smelling the inside of my nicest leather bag, the one with a gorgeous suede liner and my stockpile of far-too-many lipsticks and cosmetics in the side pocket.  Eau Intense is a ladylike scent yet it’s so supremely comforting with the addition of a gorgeous non-foody vanilla and fluffy heliotrope note.  It’s entirely possible to enjoy Eau Intense even if you didn’t like Love, Chloe.  

Love, Chloe and Eau Intense have saved me from “perfume ennui” over the past year.  Both of these fragrances are “permanent collection” status.   By that I mean I’m not just sniffing them, enjoying them enough for a couple days, reviewing them, and then forgetting about them.  I will definitely wear both Love Chloe and Eau Intense frequently.  I have already worn about 1/3 of my Love Chloe bottle since last year and I expect I’ll wear at least as much Eau Intense during the fall and winter months ahead.  An observation occurs to me about Eau Intense which is that this (Eau Intense) is my “Guerlainade.”  I love several Guerlain fragrances but never the ones with the trademark Guerlainade accord.  This Guerlainade accord just doesn’t agree with me, it’s too sweet and a little sickly.  With Eau Intense, I’ve found a comforting Guerlainade-type accord that suits me to a T.