Halloween 2012. Rusty is clearly planning a World domination. Food supplies might become scarce. It’s scary.
Sending warm thoughts to everybody effected by weather. Stay warm, dry and safe.
Image: my own
Halloween 2012. Rusty is clearly planning a World domination. Food supplies might become scarce. It’s scary.
Sending warm thoughts to everybody effected by weather. Stay warm, dry and safe.
Image: my own
Summer was back this week in Northern California and we’ve got to enjoy sunny weather after very welcomed rains. It also made it almost enjoyable to walk to the next building to use a restroom (plumbing in our new office is busted for the past two weeks and counting).
I think that I read all the posts on my Reading List but I was busier this week (in addition to the regular job we did some serious office decorating for Halloween) so I might have skipped commenting on some of those posts.
Here are some of the posts that created lemmings, made me laugh or reviewed perfumes I love. And also something I felt important to mention but didn’t want to do a separate post on (the Leftovers section in the end).
Christos (Memory of Scent) made me questioning myself, how come I haven’t tried Gris Clair yet? Gris Clair… is unique in many ways. It truly stands out from the rest of the Serge Lutens releases as it is as cold and dry as lavender can be. There are no sweet notes, no embellishments in this fragrance. It is austere and ascetic.
It’s official: Ormonde Jayne is finally launching a new perfume in November… Well, actually, a new collection – Four Courners of the Earth: Montabaco, Nawab of Oudh, Tsarina and Qi. Linda Pilkington, creator of Ormonde Jayne, takes inspiration from the East, Latin America, China and Russia and gives them a London twist. I have no idea when these become available in the U.S. (if ever) or online but a horde of lemmings are just swarming in my head. I even want to try the one with agarwood!
Suzanne (Eidedown Press) describes new Arquiste‘s perfume in such a way that I want to run looking for it right now: Boutonniere no. 7 is a gardenia perfume that I feel confident in saying is the silkiest, easiest, most elegant gardenia perfume I’ve ever encountered. Forget that it’s marketed towards men—there is nothing that denotes this as being masculine: it is only a masculine scent by way of the things that it isn’t. It’s gardenia without any of the femme-fatale associations that often go hand-in-hand with that floral material.
Meg (parfumieren) sets an example of a proper way of expressing one’s feelings about an offending perfume. I don’t want to give away the best part so just go and read the post.
Michael (From Top to Bottom): I immediately detected that incense-like feeling Alahine evokes for me. Two thoughts crossed my mind – this smells delightful and no way is this a feminine perfume. I honestly find it to be perfectly wearable by a man and the resins on my skin, while sweetish, are dry enough to suit my tastes. I need to get my decant out and start wearing it: the weather will be fitting soon.
Robin (Now Smell This) reviews my recent new favorite: Hothouse Flower is a pretty, eminently wearable middleweight fragrance that should work in any season. It’s a gardenia you could wear to the office, with enough elegance to carry you elsewhere as well; for many people, that is probably a welcome thing. Here’s my attempt on reviewing Hothouse Flower byIneke.
Michelyn Camen (Ca Fleure Bon) published Mr. Duchaufour’s response to questions regarding his involvement in the creation of
the perfume for the daughter of the dictator of Uzbekistan. I hope Mr. D. was aware that his response would be published (because it looks more like a personal letter than an interview) but it doesn’t sound too convincing for me: he hasn’t stated his position even now. Either he thinks there is nothing wrong with him working on the perfume for these people or he had realized after the fact that he shouldn’t have done that – but either way he has to either own up to his mistake or stand by his decision. Just “I didn’t know” isn’t a position now when he knows. Also, I just have to mention that Ms. Camen’s censorship to exclude “blog initials” from one of the comments is sad: I don’t know which blog the commenter mentioned but all four where the topic had been discussed were much more popular than that post on Ca Fleure Bon. In case you missed any of the posts, here they are: The Non-Blonde, Bois de Jasmin, Now Smell This and Olfactoria’s Travels.
In the Episode 1 of the o Déjà vu series to explain how I see those scents that I feature in the series I cited Daphne du Maurier‘s book The Scapegoat. The plot concerns an Englishman who meets his double, a French aristocrat, while visiting France, and is forced into changing places with him… Today’s episode calls for another literature reference but I’ll get to it later.
Half a year ago, soon after I introduced my lemmings for the upcoming release of Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee in one of the Weekly round-up episodes, I was contacted by a person from Beauté Prestige International’s PR department. She asked for my address to send me press information and a sample. It was my first ever contact from PR people and it was about the perfume I was so anxious to try. Probably you can imagine my feelings. But being paranoid as I am, before responding I checked the name and the e-mail address. Everything was legit so I replied and started waiting… Well, the sample has never arrived but at least I felt thrilled for a while.
A month later Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) brought a small vial of Nuit Etoilee to our perfume sniffing rendezvous. I applied it to my wrist, inhaled – and immediately thought that it reminded me of another perfume that I already had in my collection.
As soon as I bought Nuit Etoilee I contacted my blogo-friends who previously helped me with similar projects and asked them to participate in another blind testing. They agreed and I sent them two color-coded spray vials – green and blue. The main question I asked was: Do you think these perfumes smell similar? I have an input from three bloggers so I recruited Rusty to help with visuals (click to enlarge).
Natalie of Another Perfume Blog:
To start off, and hopefully this doesn’t matter, but I feel pretty sure I know both of these. I believe the blue one is Nuit Etoilee. It has that kind’ve minty orange feeling at first, and then it is sappy and piney and quickly dries down to a certain ingredient that I smell in a lot of things and cannot figure out what it is. I think I’ve mentioned it to you before. It smells to me like hot dry cleaned clothes. Whatever it is, this ingredient is very prominent in the blue one and in Chanel Jersey.
Wearing the blue one side by side with the green one makes me smell something in the blue one that I don’t think I would have otherwise (and if blue is Nuit Etoilee, I never smelled this before in it), and that is tobacco. I feel like I sense some tobacco in the blue one when I wear it next to the green one. The green one, though, to me is very much tobacco (and the blue one isn’t). And the green is very chewy and dense and sweet, with a thicker sweetness than the blue one.
I think they have something else in common as well for a little while. I don’t know what it is. The closest I can come to an association is very weird: maple and raisins. People sometimes speak about berry as a component of tobacco, and maybe this is what they are talking about. I don’t know. Then, it goes away and they are very different again.
Overall, they smell somewhat similar to me, but less so than Gold and Climat (the reference is to the Episode 2 - Undina).
Judith of the unseen censer:
The answer to your question is yes, I do think that right at the beginning they have a similar green-galbanum-carnation-peppery thing that could be considered similar. The stuff in the green vial is so MUCH MORE than the stuff in the blue vial that even that first shot of peppery green is a lot more three-dimensional, to my nose, than the blue vial; but there is a similarity, enough that I would believe some of the same ingredients were used to get the effect, though the blue vial develops so much more simply and sheerly and the green vial develops immediately into the “swamp accord” that makes me think it must be Amouage Honour Woman or something in that line.
The blue vial turns into a VERY powdery iris, which for some reason reminds me of Prada Infusion d’Iris but I think must be Iris Silver Mist or another one of those very classic irises that I have smelled but do not wear and do not like. IT’S A LOT OF IRIS. The green vial has more of a general floral quality to it (which is why I think it might be Honour rather than Interlude Woman) and at the far drydown, where the blue vial is just trying to hit me over the head with powdery iris and makes me want to walk away, the green vial has settled into more of a clean woody base and what might very well be a bit of iris might be what is filling in the background of the wood and giving it that “clean” touch without there being a musk or something similar (I don’t think the clean note is musk but would be willing to hear that I am wrong). I think that it’s iris because it has something of the feel of Chanel No. 19 about the cleanness – it’s not a modern laundry clean, more of a soft/crisp vegetal clean that I associate with iris.
For the record, I don’t think these scents smell at all alike, but these two structural elements – the opening green, and the iris – seem to make them something like third cousins once removed, or something.
Suzanne of Eiderdown Press:
If I were a betting woman, I’d bet the farm that the perfume in the green vial is Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. The first words I wrote down on smelling the green vial fragrance were: “woody, spicy, amber, rum raisins, cedar or some kind of really dry wood … so dry and camphorous, it reminds me of oud.” The first two fragrances it made me think of were Amouage Opus VI and Serge Lutens Borneo 1834. In fact, it was hard for me to get off that track for a while … I kept thinking, deep, woody amber with patchouli. But after a while, the camphor seemed more like the tingliness of pine, and the scent was so spicy that I began to focus in these two directions, which is what led to pull out a dab sample that Birgit once sent me of Fille en Aiguilles. Funny thing is, when Birgit sent me that sample, I remember not liking the combination of sweetness and woods — and now, I am utterly infatuated. If indeed the fragrance in the green vial is Fille en Aiguilles, then all I can say is, what a difference spraying makes! In either case, I now madly want Fille en Aiguilles and whatever is in that green vial you sent. Deep, sensuous, masculine leaning … I’d better stop there.
The fragrance in the blue vial has pretty much thrown me for a loop. It smells so familiar, as if its name ought to be on the tip of my tongue, yet I can’t figure it out. To my nose, this is a very light and airy fragrance that smells of tea, citrus, hay-like greens, spice that leans heavily on anise (with hints of other spices I’ll mention in a minute) and lots of clean white musk. It reminds me of Cartier L’Heure Fougueuse in some ways, but I know it’s not that one, as it lacks leather and is sweeter than L’Heure Fogueuse. I thought in some ways it resembled Annick Goutal Mandragore, but Mandragore is deeper. The blue vial fragrance also strikes me as cologne-like, and I find some resemblance to the samples you once sent me from Atelier — Trefle Pur and Bois Blonds — as it has elements of both of those in it. In the end, I can’t identify it and I can’t detect much in the way of resemblance (or smell-alike notes) with the green vial fragrance, except for this: mid-way through its development, it has a similar smell in terms of spice notes: in both fragrances, I get hints of anise, wormwood/absinthe (which is obvously not a spice, but I’m lumping it here anyway), ginger, bay leaf, and a faint trace of lavender. I find the anise and absinthe smell — a very green-like spicy smell — the thing that seems most common to both fragrances (in the green and blue vials).
Natalie was right: the blue vial contained Nuit Etoilee – created in 2012 by Isabelle Doyen, notes include citron, sweet orange, peppermint, Siberian pine (balsam fir and everlasting absolutes) and angelica seeds. And Suzanne was right: in the green vial it was Fille en Aiguilles – created in 2009 by Christopher Sheldrake, notes include Pine needles, vetiver, sugary sap, laurel, fir balsam, frankincense, candied fruit and spice. And all three contributors did not think these two perfumes had too much in common.
As I said in the beginning, the situation reminds me of a fiction book. Despair. It’s a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. Hermann Karlovich, a Russian émigré businessman, meets a tramp in the city of Prague, whom he believes to be his exact double. […] After some time, Hermann shares with Felix a plan for both of them to profit off their shared likeness by having Felix briefly pretend to be Hermann. After that, though, Despair unwinds differently from The Scapegoat. After Felix is disguised as Hermann, Hermann kills Felix in order to collect the insurance money […]. But as it turns out, there is no resemblance whatsoever between the two men, the murder is not ‘perfect’, and the murderer is about to be captured by the police […]. If you keep reading Wikipedia article you’ll see from where I’ve got the idea of the title though I do not think they are correct: even though Nabokov is known for his love for playing with words in multiple languages, the novel was written in Russian and the English word used by him later in translation is just that – a translation the original title.
By now I wore both perfumes many times. I know that they aren’t identical. Perfumes I covered before in this series were much closer to each other than Nuit Etoilee and Fille en Aiguilles. I can tell one from the other and won’t mix them. I do not think owning both is redundant (did you see that beautiful blue bottle?!) But again and again when I test them in parallel I can’t help but thinking how much they have in common for my nose: they both smell of pine and fir – the scent I was looking for last year’s holiday season. This year I have two perfect perfumes for the upcoming season. I’m prepared.
Images: my own
As I’ve mentioned before, I love New York. Every time I go there I feel with utter clarity how much I miss living in a big city.
This time the weather wasn’t the best possible: the temperature dropped significantly the next day after we arrived; then there was a showering rain; it was cloudy and cool for several days and it got a little warmer by the end of our stay there with sun teasing us on the day of the departure. But we were mostly prepared for the weather and it didn’t prevent us from enjoying all the planned activities, of which there were plenty but since it’s a, more or less, perfume blog I want to highlight fragrant parts of my vacation.
I’ll start with saying a big thank you to Robin, Birgit and Gaia who created New York perfume shopping guides: it really helps to know where to look for which brand. If you plan a trip read through those posts, make yourself a list of everything you want to visit (with addresses) and try (with names) – you’ll be glad you did.
To Barney’s I went only to test newly available exclusive line of Serge Lutens perfumes (everything else is available at Barneys SF). All SAs I met there were very friendly and not pushy at all. I walked away with samples of two perfumes I liked the most (out of those I haven’t tried before) – Rose de nuit and Fourreau noir. I would have bought a bottle (one of several that I want to add to my collection eventually) but why on earth has somebody decided to charge almost twice for those bell jars in the US?!! How does the price 130 EUR including VAT translate into $300 PLUS tax?!! Stupid rich Americans who would eat up anything? I refuse to do that. I’d rather give business to Suzan who charges just 10% on top.
At Bloomingdale’s Chanel‘s SA who was very proud of their perfume testing system – an Olfactive Bar (a mirrored table top with porous ceramic rods immersed into vials with different perfumes), in reply to my question if they had a test rod for Bois des Iles in parfum concentration, told me that 1) it smells exactly the same as EdC concentration; 2) because it wouldn’t have been an Exclusifs if it hadn’t smelled the same; 3) it was created by Jacques Polge and … At this point I told him “Thank you” and left.
The Unseen Censer was a great company for a perfume sniffing at MiN NY. Unfortunately for our visit we chose the day when they held a launch of three perfumes for the new brand – Jul et Mad. I say “unfortunately” because my vSO was promised a comfortable couch where he would be able to relax after our almost six hours stroll through the lower Manhattan while we would do our best to sniff through as many new perfumes as perfumista-ly possible… Instead of it my faithful companion had to spend an hour standing next to the wall and reading his smartphone in a crowd of people having great time. I hope strong cocktails served by nice people from MiN helped a little but I felt bad and we left a little earlier than I’d wanted to (and before I realized how much I liked one of the three Jul et Mad’s perfumes Amour de Palazzo and thought of asking for a sample). Also I think I fell in love with one perfume… But it’s too early to talk about it, I need more time.
I didn’t plan to go to Bergdorf Goodman but it just happened on our way so I decided to check out Ramon Monegal. They had only seven perfumes from the line. When I asked a SA who was eager to help me with the brand if they had the other 7 somewhere else she was surprised by the fact that I knew about the brand and told me that they didn’t have the complete line. But when I expressed my regret that they didn’t have two perfumes that I wanted to try (Impossible Iris and Cuirelle) she answered me, with a smidgen of indignation, that those seven were the best sellers in the world. Oh well, I shouldn’t be upset if my tastes aren’t aligned with the rest of the world, should I? I didn’t feel like testing any of the seven they had on skin.
On the positive note, SA at By Kilian counter was very nice and even made me samples of three new perfumes from In the Garden of Good and Evil collection. The bottles and the box are as beautiful as they are on pictures. Now I need to test perfumes. My first impression: it doesn’t make much sense to test these three on paper; at least on my skin they developed very different from what I smelled on blotters.
At Saks I finally got to try Bois des Iles in both concentrations. What can I say? They don’t smell the same. But I still don’t know which one I should buy first. I got some other interesting samples there but it’ll be another story.
The last stop on my perfume journey was Henri Bendel. You wouldn’t know it by looking at their website but they have a very impressive and unique perfume selection. I didn’t have much time (I’d tested my vSO’s angelic patience more than enough by then) so I concentrated mostly on Huitième Art – the line I kept reading about but had never tested before. It is a very nice line! I didn’t test any of the perfumes on skin but found at least three I want to – Manguier Metisse, Ciel d’Airain and Ambre Ceruleen.
I haven’t bought any perfumes on my trip (traveling with just carry-on luggage helps fighting sudden perfume urges) but I think there will be at least a couple that will join my collection in future and I’ll associate them with this wonderful trip.
Have I mentioned how understanding and accommodating my vSO was? I have? I just want to say it again because I appreciate it very much. BTW, it was him who on our plane trip to NY pointed out that cartoon above from the New Yorker magazine.
Images: first one from New Yorker; the rest – my own.
When I saw these billboards just off Times Square I felt some significance in the fact that these were for two my favorite TV shows at the moment, one of which takes place in California where I live and the second one – in New York where I spent the last week. I love-love-love New York! Once I unpack and spend some quality time with Rusty I’ll write up some of the perfume-related impressions from my wonderful vacation.
How have you been? Do you watch any TV shows? If yes, what are your favorite ones?
Image: my own
Last week was unexpectedly hot. I think it was much warmer than most days during the summer. It was almost nice (for a change). And it helped to figure out a heating/cooling problem at our new office, which is nice since they’ll hopefully fix it before it gets really cold outside.
In addition to good weather this week was full of love. I mean, Loves: there were more posts than usual about my favorite perfumes.
Madeleine (guest author at AustralianPerfumeJunkies) created some lemmings by her review of Perle de Mousse by Bertrand Duchafour for Ann Gerard: Gently, you arch your back, loosen your hair from its tight chignon, smooth your crisp white shirt and remove your heels, delighting in the sensation of tingly grass blades on your soles. You lie back on the soft cotton rug, reach over to lay your head on your man’s shoulder. His shirt gently caresses your face, you smell the gentlest whiff of his citrus cologne. Your eyes close and you drift towards sleep in the soft yellow light.
If you missed it you just have to see Lenier’s (scents memory) post OBSESSION OR COMPULSION.
Steve (The Scented Hound) is one of those men who braves to wear of of my most favorite perfumes – Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle: With the name, I would have thought that this was going to be an over the top big floral. What a surprise. It start off very masculine and medicinal. I had no idea where this was going. After a while, out comes a very dusty and understated rose with black current along with a tempered cedar woody note.
Freddie (Smellythoughts) reviews another big love of mine – Ubar by Amouage. I think I wouldn’t be able to recognize this perfume by this description but isn’t it great how differently we smell things? [...] opens with a tenacious floral blast – a sweet/sour civet cut underneath straight away makes the huge florals fly off the skin in a powerful musk cloud. A sweet aldehydic orange turns into an almost bitter grapefruit, loud and mouth-watering but far too “perfumey” to be considered a “fresh citrus opening”.
Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) have a favorite color (and perfume) in common: Beige is easy to wear and doesn’t require any kind of effort, but smells very put together and refined, just like the most comfortable garments do.
Portia (AustralianPerfumeJunkies) reviews my most favorite perfume from Tom Ford’s Private Blends collection: Arabian Wood by Tom Ford should be on your “Must Try List” because in this day & age I am surprised at how well he has sculpted a Next Generation Chypre, reminiscent of some of the greatest but so modern and wearable. For my take on this perfume read Weeklong Test Drive, Episode 4.3: Noir de Noir, Oud Wood and Arabian Wood by Tom Ford.
September was warm and pleasant but autumn is already in the air: I start looking at the direction of favorite amber perfumes.
I was swapping a lot of samples with Perfumeland friends so between that and several new releases from favorite brands my testing went up significantly. I included some of the personal stats in the post but this month I decided again to entertain you with some calculations I ran based on Birgit’s (Olfactoria’s Travels) recent Bottle of the Month article (and a generous giveaway). She asked participants to name a favorite flower and a perfume based on it. Picture below is a graphical representation of the choices.
For those who prefers numbers (flower – number of votes): Rose – 20; Tuberose - 11; Jasmine – 10; Iris – 10 (it was my choice and it correlates to my personal stats numbers for notes below); Lily – 7; Gardenia – 7; Orange blossom – 4; Lilac – 3; Osmanthus – 3; Lily-of-the-valley – 3; Violet – 2; Narcissus – 2; Hyacinth – 2; Tulip – 2; Carnation – 2; other flowers – 11.
Quick September stats:
Numbers in parenthesis are comparison to the previous month’s numbers.
* Different perfumes worn1: 25 (+3) from 18 (+5) brands on 29 (+4) occasions;
* Different perfumes tested2: 52 (+28) from 25 (+10) brands on 60 (+33) occasions;
* Perfumes I tried for the first time: 22 (+13);
* Perfume house I wore most often: Guerlain;
* Perfume house I tested the most: Dior and Guerlain;
* Most popular notes (only from perfumes I chose to wear): top – (not counting bergamot) neroli, galbanum and orange; middle – (not counting rose and jasmine) iris root and ylang ylang (stays
the same for the last several months); base – musk, vetiver and sandalwood;
Are you surprised by the choices others made for a favorite flower?
1 For the testing I apply a perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. But, most likely, I’m the only one who can smell it. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time.
2 When I wear a perfume I apply it to at least three-four points and usually I plan to spend at least 4-8 hours with the same scent so I’m prepared to re-apply if the original application wears off.
Image: my own
First week in the new office was… interesting. We’re getting settled down, figuring out new quirks and trying to find positive things to counteract inevitable drawbacks.
The definite improvement to my office life is a nice view from the window: all those small dots on the picture below are birds (though they do look a little like lemmings).
Most likely I missed to link to some posts that fall into one of my categories but here are those that caught my attention. If you came across anything funny please share – I can use some extra laughs.
I really-really-really want to try perfumes from new By Kilian’s collection In the Garden of Good and Evil. It seems the brand is taking a different marketing approach with this collection: you can already pre-order it from Luckyscent but I still haven’t read a single review for these perfumes. Octavian (1000 Fragrances) hints that he’s tried and liked them but not much information even there.
Victoria (Bois de Jasmin) made Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire sound very appealing: It has a surprising combination of softness and warmth. Its presence is generous, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s dramatic without being heady or dense. Une Voix Noire feels velvety the moment you put it on, and it gracefully moves from one stage to another. Frankly, if Lutens said that he was inspired
by ballerina Maya Plisetskaya’s Black Swan, rather than by Lady Day, I would have believed him.
Freddie (Smellythoughts) reviews one of Annick Goutal’sperfumes that I haven’t tried yet and now I want to – Sables: Its aura and sillage is wonderfully ever-changing, flickering between a fragrant curry (but not so literally it could be mistaken for food residue), and sweetly spiced amber. Bone dry and dusty in the end, its power is still impressive – lasting hours and hours.
Most of you have probably read already Meg’s (parfumieren) dialog with spammers. But if you missed it – here’s a link. It’s funny and sad at the same time. I always wish people would have directed their efforts to something more productive than writing spam-bots and coming up with deceptive phrases for them.
Michael (From Top to Bottom) expresses exactly my feelings about Sonoma Scent Studio‘s perfumes.