Body Heat: Perfumes under Extreme Temperatures

There are people who love running, playing tennis or swimming. I heard they can experience a withdrawal if they have to skip several training sessions. It’s not my story. I hate exercising as long as I can remember myself. I do engage in different activities but do it out of the necessity only: if I could get Kathleen Turner’s body and don’t worry about my health without exercising I wouldn’t (I wonder which perfume bottle she’s holding in that scene).

Kathleen Turner in Body HeatWell, since a lean gene wasn’t one of those passed to me from my parents I do my part in at least keeping myself healthy.

At least as much as physical activity, if not more, I dislike heat. I don’t like cold either.  My comfortable zone is somewhere around 24°C (75°F).

All that makes it hard to explain why out of all available types of physical activities I chose Bikram yoga – a system of yoga practiced in a room heated to 40°C (105°F). I’ve been practicing Bikram yoga (with some breaks) for 18 months. I still hate every minute of a 90 minutes class. But I plan to keep doing it.

For me yoga is just an exercise. I do not subscribe to the philosophy. If I follow the breathing instructions I do it only if it helps to maintain the posture. I do not try to clear my mind and concentrate on what I’m doing. I’m not pushing myself too hard. I’m just trying to survive. One of the things that help me through the class is thinking about perfumes – about which I read or plan to write or which I want to try.

For a long time I tried not to wear any perfumes to my classes thinking they wouldn’t perform well in high heat or would bother me or my neighbors. And then one day I didn’t think about the class I had scheduled in the evening. I wore a perfume to the office and even re-applied it mid-day. By the time I started the first breathing exercise I forgot about it. And when my body heated up enough suddenly the perfume started blooming on my skin. It was magical. It was much more interesting than what I experienced earlier that day with the same perfume. It was Serge LutensBoxeuses.

Since then I started experimenting with different perfumes. I apply just a little bit of a perfume in the décolleté area and on my wrists an hour before I go to the class and then during JanuShirasana or Pavanamuktasana I inhale wafts of the hot air mixed with moisture and perfume particles. It makes my classes go by faster and gives them some additional purpose.

Perfumes that performed the best under such strange conditions: another Serge Lutens’ creation – Ambre Sultan, Ubar by Amouage and Alahine by Teo Cabanel.

Tom Ford’s Arabian Wood, Chergui by Serge Lutens and Mitzah by Dior were very nice but didn’t survive Garudasana (approx. 15 minutes into the class). All three were applied from a dab vial so maybe a more generous spray application would produce a better effect – I’ll re-try them when I get those into my collection.

No 19 Poudre by Chanel didn’t work at all. Not possessing a remarkable staying power as is, it disappeared from my skin by the time I unfolded my yoga mat. It was a strange experiment but I thought that maybe it had some hidden powers. It didn’t.

I remember reading on one of the blogs that I always read a topic about a “treadmill scents” (or something to that effect) but now I can’t find that post. If an owner recognizes it from the description or if you covered this topic in your blog, please post a link.

What is your torture of choice and what perfumes (if any) make it more enjoyable?

Image: Kathleen Turner in Body Heat by



WTD, Episode 4.3: Noir de Noir, Oud Wood and Arabian Wood by Tom Ford

Dark roseNoir de Noir by Tom Ford – created in 2007 as a part of the original Private Blend collection, notes include saffron, rose, black truffle, floral notes, patchouli, vanilla, agarwood and moss. I cannot make up my mind about Noir de Noir: once when I tested it I liked the opening rose darkened by agarwood and on two other occasions I got overwhelmed by this rose-agarwood combination. I thought that I didn’t like agarwood itself but after testing Oud Wood I realized that it’s not just pure agarwood that I don’t like but it’s a combination with some sweeter flower note. I tried really hard to find a “black truffle” note in Noir de Noir. For a change I know exactly how it smells because I use black truffle salt in cooking. I kept sniffing my wrist during the day and couldn’t say I smelled it. It was only when I got home and smelled my salt for the comparison that I finally noticed something that reminded me of black truffle in the perfume. Noir de Noir is nicer on my skin in the drydown phase. Longevity is shorter than some other Tom Ford’s scents (4 hours and after that just some residual smell on the skin). All in all I should say that with Noir de Noir my wallet is safe with this one. But if you have a chance please give it a try.

For real review read The Non-Blond.

Oud Wood by Tom Ford – created in 2007 as a part of the original Private Blend collection, notes include pepper, cardamom, rosewood, agarwood, sandalwood, vetiver, tonka bean, vanilla and amber. It’s much dryer than Noir de Noir but I’m not sure it’s more masculine (I understand that gender in perfumes is a relative category so I’m talking just based on the official designation). I like Oud Wood’s drydown phase and wouldn’t mind wearing it if I could skip right to it. But since I can’t I’ll use my sample and stop there.

For real review of Oud Wood read Now Smell This.

Arabian Wood by Tom Ford – added to the Private Blend collection in 2009, notes include galbanum, bergamot, lavender, freesia, orange blossom, Bulgarian rose, honey, ylang-ylang, jasmine, may rose,  rose absolute, gardenia, tonka bean, patchouli, sandalwood, moss and cedar. Arabian Wood starts creamy, develops with sweeter undertone but it feels transparent rather than resinous. Through many hours in stays still very smooth and attractive on my skin. Arabian Wood reminds me of polished wooden balls (the feeling of touching those). You must be familiar with the feeling: you try a perfume for the first time and start contemplating how to get more of it even before your sample is gone. That was the case with Arabian Wood for me: I found myself bidding on a test bottle of this perfume before the last traces of it disappeared from my skin. I didn’t win it and decided it was a sign that I should go my regular route: finish the sample first, then think if I need a decant or a FB. I still have half of the sample left and I still like Arabian Wood and want it in my collection.

For the real review read EauMG.

I like this brand and I will keep testing more perfumes from the line but this post concludes my weeklong test drive of Tom Ford’s perfumes.

Do you own any perfume from the Private Blend collection?

See all episodes:
Weeklong Test Drives, Season 4: Tom Ford
WTD, Episode 4.1: Neroli Portofino and Jasmine Rouge by Tom Ford
WTD, Episode 4.2: In the Search for the Perfect Violet