Sycomore by CHANEL

Sycomore by CHANEL

Hey Crew. CHANEL is one of the worlds most iconic brands. The marketing team is second to none. It’s hard to stay current and afloat in the world of fashion. Let alone doing it in the 21st century. With the historic stories of Gabrielle Chanel and her personal and political choices, any other brand would have been cancelled or censured. For more information read Hal Vaughan’s book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War. She wasn’t alone according to this article. There has been some extra hype with No 5 turning 100 years old in 2021 and the release of the homewares inspired collectable Factory 5 Collection. They also manage to pump out some impressive fragrance in their Les Exclusif line. If you’re new to the perfume craving they are a good place to smell some beautifully crafted fragrance, accessible in most large department stores.

Sycomore by CHANEL EdP (2016)

Sycamore by CHANEL

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Aldehydes, Spices, Pink pepper, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Violet, Vetiver, Juniper, Cypress

Grassy greenness, the sweet shiver of pink pepper, the warm enveloping and silky smooth pairing of tobacco and sandalwood are all front and centre at the opening of Sycomore EdP. Less brilliant and sparkling than its EdT predecessor but warmer and more wearable by far. This feels more luxurious without the razza mattaz, showbiz style entrance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the EdT but there is a place in my heart for the EdP. Also, as more proof I own this small bottle of EdP and it wasn’t even on my list as an EdT.

The heart becomes a lightly spiced fresh hewn wood. Not a chest thumping, crackly, modern niche experience of woods. Here there is air between the notes. You aren’t in the sawmill, or even the lumberyard. It’s more like you’ve had a wood delivery at home and you can smell it as you enter and leave the house. I don’t know what it is but I also smell wood polish, like those lovely waxes that feed and nourish your wood table.

Dry down gets woodsier and woodsier as it fades over hours. Interestingly people around me can smell this long after I become nose blind. A perfect scent for those times you need to be softly fragrant for long periods of time.

Sycamore by CHANEL EdP

Sycomore is a modern, unisex fragrance. No matter that it was originally created in 1930. I never smelled the Ernest Beaux version but Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake have done a beautiful job of revamping the EdT.

Have you spent time with any of the CHANEL Sycomores?
Portia x

(EDIT: I spelled Sycomore as SycAmore through the whole post and then was pulled up. It is in fact SycOmore. Fixed now)

L’Esprit Libre by Divine NEW 2021

Hi Crew, L’Esprit Libre is one of two new releases from Divine this year along with Divine Intense, which doesn’t appear to be for sale on their site yet. Both crafted by the incredibly prolific Yann Vasnier, 91 named fragrances on Fragrantica. The email dropped into my inbox announcing the new arrival, and before I was even able to think it was checked out and on its way to me. All thoughts of lockdown business collapse, lack of funds and any skerrick of rationale deserted me. It wasn’t even a late night event, suddenly I’d bought it and L’Homme Sage, which has been on my list for years. Excitingly, they arrived in the mail this week. I’ve been lovingly looking at the pristine corrugated boxes in cellophane but decided it was time to open L’Esprit Libre up to share how it smells. It’s so rare for me to feel this kind of excitement about a new release.

L’Esprit Libre by Divine

L'Esprit Libre DivineAccording to the Divine site:

A light breeze, green and mellow with bergamot and green mandarine, then suddenly when you’re least expecting it, a ray of peony and magnolia. At its heart, a blue twinkle of iris, talc and earth, with essence and butter of iris and a leisurely finale of musk and ambergris.

WOW! Remember in the early 2000s and the world went mad for sheer feeling, radiant fragrances that had amazing projection and longevity like Elie Saab and SJP Lovely? They were almost always done with a white floral at the heart. It was like the logical next step from those enormous 1990s sheer/huge aquatics like L’Eau d’Issey and Aqua di Gio. This L’Esprit Libre feels like it’s the next progression in the story.

The citrus opening is sheer, tart and intoxicating. It starts icy cool and by the time the heart has arrived has warmed considerably. The peony and magnolia are only very peripheral, amorphous nods during the opening but make a more definite appearance well into the heart, but what does shine is an unmentioned woods note blown on the breeze. I’m wondering if it’s part of the dry rooty iris that feels sliced open as you pulled it up with earth still attached. (Edit: Amusingly, in today’s wear I have it on the back of both my hands and they both smell quite different. Left is much soapier and more floral, right features dry woods.) I’m surprised that there isn’t a mentioned green herbal note or a woody one. Maybe it’s a basil and an angelique, generic sawdust. These are what my brain keeps telling me but I’m not convinced.

L’Esprit Libre smells like a completely new direction for the Divine Parfums crew. Through the heart I definitely get the idea of breeze, or sky, or even that joyful feeling of being outdoors in the sun on a cool, breezy day. This is no loud 1980s showstopper, but it is wonderfully noticeable; I’m wondering if the more I wear it the more I can notice it? Maybe the more nuance I pick up? There’s something quite space age about it.

The ambergris is not a fecal, salty, bilge water adventure. There’s no hark to Womanity. It’s a sea breeze, not on the shore but maybe on a restaurant verandah overlooking thew sea, just a little up the hill.

For such a sheer fragrance the longevity is excellent. Projection is amazing for over an hour before it softens considerably.

Does L’Esprit Libre sound like something you might like?
Portia xx

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

Hey All. Portia here and I think it’s time we look at something a little bit lavender. It seems to have had a resurgence in the last few years but it never went away. Just got hidden and had to play some bit parts and sing chorus. French Grey by Elizabeth & James is a 2017 release created by Nicole Mancini Issaq and Linda Song! Love seeing two women names signing off. They have both been a part of some other perfumes but the only glam gig is Linda Song for Fougere Platine by Tom Ford.

I grabbed this baby for almost nothing on FragranceNet (not affiliated but love to give you all a bargain tip)

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Lavender, Neroli, Musk

If you’re thinking summer, elegant, relaxed, cool, unruffled and slightly different then French Grey could be that thing you’ve been looking for but didn’t know it. They are calling it a fresh floral scent. While that kinda works it doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, lavender is floral but it’s also quite herbal and the oil comes from the plant much more than the flowers.

French Grey smells to me like they have some green steering herbs and spices like basil or cardamom, or maybe even some violet leaves. Also, I smell some common base note that heads fresh white woods and some resins. All these hints and maybes play around the central pillar of sugared lavender lollies with a soft white floral undertow.

If you like Lolita Lempicka EdP but wish it was a little less playful and a lot more sophisticated then French Grey might be exactly your jam OR if CHANEL Boy is too expensive French Grey could be a fabulous substitution.

100% unisex, projection is moderate but trails off to low in the first hour, longevity is average. The bottle is fabulous, I love the way they have made an interesting yes oh-so-simple renovation to a historic look. VERY cool.

Would you French Grey?
Portia xx

Jaipur Homme by Boucheron

Jaipur Homme by Boucheron

Jaipur Homme is 20+ years old, Boucheron wasn’t really on my radar at that time. It wasn’t till late 2000s that I smelled it. In the early 2000s, I was living with a man who came from halfway between Delhi & Jaipur. He took me to the Rambagh Palace for a few nights on our first holiday to India, and he knew every nook and cranny of the town, so I got a really fabulous look at it. After we had broken up and he’d returned to India, I found the Boucheron fragrance. It was so subtle compared to the reality of India but there were lovely reminders and the name itself conjures happy memories. Over the years, I’ve brought or sent him bottles of Jaipur and it’s been his signature scent.

Anyway, thought I hadn’t bought myself a bottle of Jaipur Homme in years, so I grabbed a super cheap EdT from FragNet recently and have been wearing it a bit. It’s still very nice.

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Heliotrope, Cardamom, Lime, Lemon
Heart: Amber, Jasmine, Carnation, Nutmeg, Rose, Vanilla, Cinnamon
Base: Benzoin, Clove, Patchouli, Tonka bean, Cedarwood

If you know ground cardamom from your spice cupboard then you’ll instantly recognise it in the opening of Jaipur Homme. The citrus creates an initial sparkling, zingy opening, and the cardamom becomes apparent almost immediately. It stays after the citrus burns off, and the cool powdery fluff of heliotrope is then a tangible note that leads us into the heart.

I’m drinking chai as I write this post, and the heart of Jaipur Homme is a softer, more French perfumery armchair dream of it. Very softly animalic, vanilla-heavy amber with spices. Clove is more noticeable than anything else, but I definitely get the sweet milky tea reference. It’s not the MAIN heart accord, but it plays alongside everything else.

The dry down is sweet amber woods. I become nose blind to it after a couple of hours, but it stays on my clothes for days. When I pick up a top to wash it, I am hit gently with a beautiful spiced wood fragrance. It’s really lovely, so I know that’s what I’m wafting at the end of a day.

Don’t let the homme fool you. Jaipur Homme is unisex. It doesn’t even lean towards a modern traditional masculine. It could be brought out as a women’s fragrance today, and no one would have questioned it. Longevity is excellent, projection after about 30 minutes is moderate to low but oh so lovely.

Did you ever try Jaipur Homme?

Portia xx

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Hi gang. Omnia Profumi is not a house I’ve taken any notice of. Their perfumes have been around since 2004 but the brand seems to have  properly launched in 2009. An Italian jewellery family capitalising on their fame and expanding their business. I’m 100% up for diversification, especially if it pays off for perfumistas.

In a recent order from Australian perfume distributors and sellers LKNU I was sent three samples of the earlier fragrances in the line. Thought you might like to joinmme on initial sniffs?

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Acqua Marina

Briny spray as you skip across a sunlit sea towards  your fishing destination. Clean, fresh, free and glorious.  I can feel the wind in my hair, the anticipation of catching dinner for the crew, the fun and camaraderie of spending a day on the sea with buddies.

How are salt and water not mentioned in the notes. The opening is ALL about it. I know it’s probably the ambergris but the whole fragrance has this beautiful rich feel.

The floral heart is only a secondary player on me. It hardly registers with my nose. Maybe it is there to give lift and life rather than be the focus. I bloody love this, so beautiful.

Peridoto

This citrus opens weirdly on me. I’m not sure if it’s the perfume or me. Something a bit wonky.

After about 2 minutes Perdito settles into a pretty citrus underpinned by lightly salted vanilla woods. Think Guerlain Aqua Allegoria style and heft.

This is not my favourite.

Platino

WOW! The very first waft of Platino takes me back to the caramel coconut slice my Mum made for us. It’s uncanny. I could be anywhere school age, come home and sit at the kitchen bench, there would miraculously appear a glass or milk or juice and a snack of some kind. Usually Mum, my sister and I would have a chat about the day and give a rundown of our homework needs. In summer it would then be swim time before hitting the books before dinner. Great memories.

The heart is a floral vanilla and dry down soft focus vanilla and some smoke.

Does any one, or more, of these sound like you’d wear it?
Portia xx

Interlude Black Iris by Amouage. NEW! NEW! NEW!

Hey crew, It’s Portia in the Sydney spring sunshine.

What a lovely time of year down here. I was in Libertine Parfumerie (Australia’s most respected niche importer and distributor) offices the other day. It was so good to see everyone. Everything is being released by ZOOM meeting now, and we are all sent a package to sniff and join the conversation. It’s interesting but much more clinical discussion and little room for personal experiences or interaction. Got to sniff the new Amouage Renaissance Collection! Can’t wait to write about those for you. Also, I picked up my Press Bottle of today’s extravaganza, Interlude Black Iris. Yes, Amouage has released its first flanker of its most popular fragrance Interlude Man.

 

Interlude Black Iris

From Amouage:

Crafted as an overpainting, Interlude Black Iris uses a refined palette to smoothen the facets of the original creation. A complex interplay of dark stoic serenity and buried vibrant power bursting upwards, into the light…

Top: Bergamot, Rosemary, Violet Leaves
Heart: Orris, Amber, Frankincense, Cistus, Myrrh, Vanilla
Base: Leather, Agarwood Smoke, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedarwood

Right from open mixed with the zing of citrus and cool green of violet is the dry, dusty and earthy facet of iris. The opening is so fleeting on me I had to come back for a second and third round to really get an idea of how it flows. In the time it took me to write this paragraph we are already in the heart with all the resins surrounding and lifting the iris. At this point, the iris gets a buttery softness, and the resins start to feel very churchy. The cool heart of a busy, clean church with the memories of a thousands days of worship, incense, woods and their waxy clean/preservers.

I’m not sure if it’s the cistus, leather or oudh that brings darkness and a cold touch of otherworldliness to Interlude Black Iris. It descends like a whisper and then takes the iris to a carroty rootiness. GOSH! So interesting. It’s all this way in that I finally get a whiff of the green, herbal rosemary!

 

Amouage Interlude Black Iris Sept 2020

 

Dry down is a gentle woody melange with some patchouli and iris to give interest. Interlude Black Iris hums away quietly, nowhere near the beast mode power trip of the original Interlude. This is a refined, urbane, sophisticated journey. The word that I keep wanting to write is centered. Without being anything like it, I am reminded of the elegant aloofness and backbone inducing fortitude of CHANEL No 19. This is a much more 21st century niche offering, but the heart, the integrity of the scent seems similar to me.

I can’t wait to hear what you all think.

Portia xx