by Barbara M. W. vanBok
Incense Rosé opens on clear notes of citrus, peat, herbals and rose. The composition quickly starts to round and become rich and there is a brilliant quality, that of a bright,dazzling day without any humidity. The peat note lingers while the rose opens and becomes more established. From the rose there is sweetness- a dewy sweetness- but it is tempered by earth and never becomes syrupy. There is very much the feeling of working around the last blooms of autumn, in a rose garden, as you are putting the garden to bed under layers of peat and mulch.
When the frankincense emerges it is bitter/sweet, not quite smoky- more still the actual drop of clear resin than the resin given up to smoke. It hits the nose a little more forward as the rose gently begins to recede into the background, still giving off
its intoxicating scent. Here, into the heart, the clear notes from the opening morph and begin to take on warmth. The initial roundness of the composition becomes drier, but deeper also, and the peat note still springs above the composition reminding us of earth and bright days in the garden.
Into the middle of the heart of the fragrance, the rose and incense level in pitch and while the notes don’t completely meld as one, they are now closer in harmony and you begin to see the true character of the perfume. The full heart of the fragrance sings a song of the rose, but once again, she is the mature rose of autumn, not the young, innocent bloom of early June. The fall sun warms her and her surroundings gently.
Into the dryout a note of an exotic spice emerges. I am reminded of the scent of henna – a strong, ancient perfume said to be a favorite of Cleopatra- thus keeping in rhythm with the earthy theme. The final dryout lends a lovely, clear note of
cedar and while there are other, fading bottom notes of incense, rose, patchouli and myrrh, the over-all tone is one of dry, earthy-woodiness, clear cedar, and pungently sweet henna.
On my skin, the heart of Incense Rosé becomes quite heady. I would describe it as rich- opulent even- however it never wanders into the realm of lush or humid. The dry earth is always there, grounding the sweeter elements and reminding us
of land warmed under a clear, open sky. The elementals of earth and air are juxtaposed against each other, giving a sultry, denser presence to air and a more exalted, luminous and lifted presence to earth. Here I can’t ignore the definite nod to L’Air du Desert Marocain. They are perhaps sister fragrances and, on me, each honor different aspects of air and earth: L’Air more to the dune and deep desert, and Incense Rosé to the warm loam and garden.
Overall, I imagine Incense Rosé as a rich celebration of the last blooms of summer. A glance back at the beauty of a fading garden and a remembrance of all the good feelings that connecting with the earth provide. This fragrance is elegant without being pretentious. It has warmth and mature seduction. The rose brings a feeling of tenderness that flows in and out of the composition while the earthy notes remind us in a bitter/sweet way that the glow of summer’s warmth is only temporary. A gorgeous autumn and winter perfume for those craving the kiss of mellow summer’s embrace.
by Barbara M. W. vanBok
Incense Extrême is a stark and ascetic fragrance. There is nothing frivolous, overtly sweet or prettified here. It comes across
as fairly androgynous and calls on the ethereal archetypes of air and fire, as well as the dry qualities inherent in earth and wood.
It opens on a bright and bitter note with herbs, iris, earth, frankincense and an accord that strongly reminds me of old-fashioned lipstick- yet I wouldn’t consider this a strictly feminine scent. The cedar bursts through in a brusque but not unpleasant way. For a moment I am surrounded by piñon and orris- smoke and skin- and it is a close-your-eyes-and-inhale-because-it’s-so-heavenly moment. This is followed by snuffed candles and hot wax and the cedar is a little stronger and almost sweet, but not quite.
Orris can often be a cool note, but this orris, paired with the cedarwood is warm and dry and oh-so-smooth. These notes of dry cedar, warm orris, and smooth skin stay for a very long time- well past the heart of the fragrance. Into the final dryout there is a lot of warmth, yet it’s not the raw heat usually associated with spiciness in fragrances. This heat has more to do with frankincense, cedar and skin. There is no bite, only
smoothness. This incense is very “second-skin-like.” There is also something about this scent that is very personal. This is the type of fragrance that has the potential to meld into your skin and become one with your presence. I would wear this when I need to focus, when I want to feel unruffled, refined, pulled together and when I need a boost to be taken seriously, but don’t necessarily want to advertise that I’m “perfumed.”
While there is an austere, almost Spartan kind of character to Incense Extrême, it is hardly simple or plain. There is a delicate quality to this fragrance; a graceful work of filigree forged from heat and flame. It is a refined scent, studious even, with an undercurrent that says, “I am cultivated, unrelenting, unbending, serious, and sober. Wear me if you dare!” This fragrance isn’t necessarily trying to be likeable and that, in and of itself, makes for one very intriguing perfume.
“I arise like ethereal steel;
Wisps of smoke from
The snuffed out nubs of tapers.
A fragile silver skyscraper vessel
Carrying the hot melted liquid.
The dry air magnifies my beautiful austerity.
Unadorned, smooth and unembellished,
I am now sueded silk over the
bare shoulders of the faithful;
She lifts her lips and rouges them with the tube.
In her arms she carries the fragrant boughs to the altar
While her clean heels click on the stone floor.
All is hushed and somber.
There is no one waiting in the shadows,
No romance or talk of escape
And I am happy to sit in the semi lit solitude.
Later still, the sky has started to glow pale orange,
While the morning air promises a day
Dry and fragrant with wavy lines rising from baked earth.
I try, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t here.
I am all at once and forever:
I am Incense Extrême.”
A kind and grateful nod goes out to Raphaella for giving me the
opportunity to sample Andy Tauer’s new fragrances. -
Barbara M. W. vanBok
Barbara M. W. vanBok is a long time member and moderator of the Perfume of Life,
where she goes by the name Artisankey. She is a life long lover of perfume and
perfumery, and a 16 year veteran of aromatherapy. She is a musician, graphic artist,
and dancer, and lives with her husband and two dogs in Bath, Maine.
Demeter Fragrance Review
By Juvy Santos
There is nothing quite like the remembrance of childhood pleasures, nothing nearly
so quaintly powerful as that memory of grandma's lap, or tea parties with little sisters.
I remember when the jiggle of Jell-O was new (lemon-lime! and with whipped cream!),
when September meant glue sticks on school-supply lists, and naptimes in class
were not only allowed--they were required. And oh, how I remember the crayons!
Every year, I prevailed on my mother to get me the 64-crayon pack. Remember those?
A rectangle of wonder, complete with its own crayon sharpener in the back--and with a
gold crayon inside.
I'd take my time opening that baby up, making sure to carefully perforate so that the
hinged lid would stay 'nice,' and then admiring those rows upon rows of fresh crayons,
the cleanness of their edges, the pointyness of their tips! And that unmistakable smell
of crayon, waxy and slightly industrial, instantly recognizable. These days, they come
in all imaginable variations--washable, giant, scented, twisted, blah...blah...blah.
I found myself at the corner drug store the other day holding a box of 96 crayons. Yes.
Ninety-six. Kids today can have NINETY-SIX CRAYONS, with a built-in sharpener AND
the classic hinged lid. As far as I was concerned, it was a bigger box of crayons for a
bigger girl. The Cadillac of Crayon Boxes, and all for around $6. I snapped it up.
I sniffed it. It made me happy.
Is it any surprise, then, that I greeted the arrival of Demeter's Crayon with a little scream of excitement? Demeter's given me more joy by the ounce than any other fragrance house out there. I mean, Serge Lutens is dramatic and poetic and all, but sometimes all I want is simplicity, you know? And no one does simple joy better than Demeter...they're a bit like the perfume equivalent of the smiley face.
Surprisingly enough, Crayon starts off with a fruity, citrusy accord...which quickly gives way to that waxy small I associate with crayon. It's like having a fruit salad right next to your 96-crayon box. It's not strictly crayon, by any means--it is Crayon Pretending to be Perfume.
Crayon-plus, if you will. The fruit aspects make the wax more approachable to those who want a scent to be more wearable than novel. Like other Demeter scents, though, it doesn't develop much more than that. If truth be told, though, I'm not complaining. I'll wear it, smell the wax, and smile.
Sniffapalooza Magazine Reviews Page 3
A Gentlemen’s Guide to Fall Fragrances
By Lucian Chanceux
As the final reminisce of natures long and glorious summer days, slowly fade into the golden vermilion hue of the autumns leafs, we bid farewell to those light crisp spring scents, thus exchanging them for the warm embrace of sensual woods and oriental spices. While the average Joe might be perfectly content to wear his trusty CK One all year round, those of us with a more discernable pallet for luxury fragrances will be looking to usher in the change of season with scents that are more akin to weather outside. In this, the question remains, with so many fine gentlemen’s fragrances out on the market to choose from, which ones are true and worthwhile head turners? To answer this, I have chosen five men fragrances; each one is uniquely irresistible and offers the gentlemen who are a connoisseur’s of perfumes something new to wear with this fall.
Tom Ford- Bois Rouge- Leave it to designer Tom Ford to create a fragrance line so
luxurious and original that it really has no competition except itself. Bois Rouge is
one of thirteen new scents from Tom Ford’s private blend collection. This is the
sexiest men’s scent out on the market. Whether you’re looking to attract a mate
or simply want to smell divine, Bois Rouge will answer all your fragrance prayers.
The top notes open with a woody oriental citrus spice, while the heart notes delicately
become warm, with cedar wood, patchouli, jasmine, and mugeut. The endnotes are
an exotic blend of sandalwood, vetiver, amber, refined leather, complimented with
vanilla and Tonka. The silage of Bois Rouge is in a class by itself, and offers it
wearer a depth that seems almost everlasting.
Available in either a 50ML / 1.7 spray, or a beautifully ornate decanter
250ML / 8.3 OZ Sold at Tom Ford Men’s Store 845 Madison Avenue in
This fall many of the top fragrance houses are turning up the heat or at least the intensity. Issey Miyake 'L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme Intense ' Eau de Toilette, is the newest scent from the eccentric Japanese designer created in collaboration with Beauté Prestige. This one is perfect to wear right after a hot shave, suitable for daytime or at the office.
The top notes of citrus, mandarin, spicy nutmeg, and wood are rich and
vibrant. The heart notes of yuzu, saffron and ambergris are masculine,
yet subtle in composition, paired against the endnotes of bergamot and
cardamond. Intense definitely lives up to its name.
Available in a 2.5 oz or 4.5 oz spray. Sold at Issey Miyake Boutiques,
When one hears the name Aqua di Parma, one immediately
associates that name with refinement, class and sophistication.
The same can be said for the new Aqua di Parma Colonia
Intensa Eau de Cologne. The first eau de cologne created
purely for men, Intensa offers the modern gentleman a taste
of tradition without coming across like your grandfathers
aftershave. The top notes begin with Calabrian bergamot
paired against Sicilian lemon, then enriched with sensual
essence of cardamom topped with ginger. The heart notes
are an aromatic blend of fine myrtle and mugwort, with a hint
of neroli. The one and only base note is leather, which for an
Italian perfume maker is perhaps nod to that which keeps
Italy at the top of its game. This scent can be worn day or
night. It comes in the classic Aqua di Parma bottle
available in 1.69oz or 3.8 oz spray. Purchase at
What happens when you give the world’s finest noses carte blanche creative authority?
Well, the result is utterly enchanting, and this is exactly what the French perfume
designer Frederic Malle envisioned with his line of custom ready to wear fragrances
Editions de Parfums. Malle recruited the best perfumers from all around the world
to contribute to this unique endeavor. Among them is Dominique Ropion, the IFF
(International Fragrance and Flavors) master perfumer who has created a long and
impressive list of fragrances. His best contribution to the Editions de Parfums is
Vétiver Extraordinaire. Vetiver in and of its self is a sent that can claim its rightful
place among the cherished essential ingredients of fine perfumes. Worn by kings
and queens alike its fresh pungent smell is timeless and classic.
Vétiver Extraordinaire is the cream de le crème of vetivers, with the highest consecration of any vetiver on the market. The top notes awaken your senses with a refreshing splash of bigrade orange, pink pepper, bergamot and nutmeg. The heart notes are floralozone (a "fresh air" note), Haitian vetyver, sandalwood, cedar wood, and oak moss evoking the sprit of the woods in northern France. The base notes are myrrh, cashmeran, amber, musketone and tonalide (synthetic musk) producing a strong masculine sensibility. If you like vétiver then you will absolutely love Vétiver Extraordinaire. I recommend wearing this one out on the golf course or outdoors as it is a dominant and acquired taste in fragrance. Comes in a 1.7 oz bottle spray. Available exclusively at Barneys New York www.barneys.com or to view the entire line www.editionsdeparfums.com
Rounding off our guide to Gentlemen’s fragrances is the latest scent from Japanese fashion designer Takada Kenzo, aptly named Tokyo. This fragrance is at once charismatic and electrifying, with top notes including essence of ginger, lemon, grapefruit, essence of pink pepper, and bitter orange accord. The heart notes are essence of shiso (a Japanese spice), maté absolute, and green tea accord. The endnotes are essence of guaiac wood, warm cedar, essence of clove and nutmeg. I adore the endnotes in this fragrance; it has the woody charm appealing to both young men and gentlemen alike. Perfect to wear out on date night.
Tokyo comes in an ultra sleek modern looking black 1.7 or 3.4 oz Eau de Toilette Spray bottle. Sold exclusively at Sephora. www.sephora.com
Lucian Chanceux is a fragrance designer from London England
who has a deep and unyielding affection for perfume. He plans on
opening a U.S. flagship store in Manhattan in the spring of 2008.
Parfumerie Chanceux creates custom scents from any memory
you can recall. These one of kind scents are both personal and
unique. Each scent is created using only absolute and organic
ingredients, without chemicals or alcohol. He is a student of classic
French perfume making and now resides in New York City.
Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille
by Kathy Patterson
Notes: vanilla, spices, benzoin, frankincense, cedar, pink pepper,
bergamot, Bulgarian rose, ylang ylang
I’m a vanilla girl. Not personality-wise -- there I would be more pistachio. What I mean is that I love vanilla scents. The rich, overtly-vanilla ones, decadent and gourmand, as well as oriental or floral fragrances that have a warm vanillaic base. My husband likes them too, which makes me more inclined to wear them. So imagine my dismay when he proclaimed, after sniffing a ribbon spritzed with Guerlain’s new vanilla-based fragrance, Spiriteuse Double Vanille, “it smells like Play-Doh.” I had been looking forward to experiencing this new perfume more than any other during the Sniffapalooza Fall Ball. I snatched the ribbon from his hand, for I had let him smell it first, and had my turn. It didn’t smell of much at all. I was crestfallen. But somewhere at the back of my mind, I was relieved that I would not be forking over $200 to the fabulous Guerlain rep.
Wanting to give it another shot, on skin, I raced out of Bergdorf’s cramped café straight to the Guerlain counter. Miraculously, I was the first to arrive, proclaiming, somewhat breathlessly, “I need to smell the Vanilla.” I was promptly spritzed. I closed my eyes, sniffed deeply, and my wallet instantly felt lighter. I waved my arm in front of my husband, who spent an uncharacteristically long time inhaling the fragrance. “Mmmm, spicy. I like it.”
Play-Doh was nowhere to be smelled. I would suggest foregoing the ribbon tester for a strip
of paper, or, better yet, some nice warm skin. Although vanilla is there from the start, cedar is the most prominent opening note, woody and aromatic. It is tinged with the subtly sharp spice of pink peppercorns and a whiff of other sweeter spice notes. As the scent dries down, the vanilla becomes more pronounced, rich and deep, but somehow gentle. As the vanilla takes center stage, a rich, resiny incense forms the backdrop. The rose is barely perceptible, and the ylang doesn’t speak to me at all. All of the notes combined create a fragrance that is somewhat reminiscent of tobacco. It’s honeyed, but not overly sweet. Eventually, the vanilla takes over almost completely, with tiny traces of the incense and cedar in the depths.
I told the nice Guerlain reps that I would have to think about investing in the fragrance and would probably be back. Fifteen minutes later, my husband was toting that little rectangular shopping bag….
Hermes Kelly Calèche
by Kathy Patterson
Notes: grapefruit, cassis, pepper, rose, iris, leather, cedar, labdanum
I had all sorts of issues with Hermes latest release. If it is a brand-new scent, supposedly a new combination of floral and leather notes, why not give it a brand new moniker? Instead, Hermes combines the name of its classic Calèche fragrance with that of their iconic handbag, once carried by Grace Kelly. “Kelly Calèche” doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. It’s an odd marriage of Irish and French, of leather goods and carriages. (A combination that might lead one to think of horses, perhaps a leather scent with an animalic note? But…no.) In fact, Kelly Calèche is quite an appropriate name for this latest Jean Claude Ellena creation – a pastiche for a scent that itself is a mélange.
Kelly Calèche opens with a jolt of woodsy grapefruit reminiscent of Un Jardin Sur le Nil. It subsides pretty quickly and allows a blend of rose sprinkled generously with pepper to come forward. Then there’s the leather – a very soft, very expensive kid leather. According to the Hermes rep at Bergdorf Goodman, the leather note in this scent is not the typical Isobutyl Quinoline or Suederol but a blend of floral notes centered around iris that produce a sort of leather accord. Pretty amazing how that works, huh? How a combination of notes can more than the sum of its parts? But I digress.
As Kelly Calèche begins to dry down, it again becomes similar to other Ellena scents. It’s almost as if the perfumer had vials of several of his creations at his fingertips and decided to mix them to see what would happen. A pinch of Rose Ikebana and a dash of Osmanthe Yunnan and poof! Kelly Calèche. It’s a completely lovely floral with a strong citrus component and a leathery iris. Deeper into the drydown, the leather becomes more pronounced and the grapefruit’s brightness is much less sharp. The scent on my skin after several hours is really quite wonderful.
If I had never smelled any other of Ellena’s scents for Hermes, I would have had a more positive reaction (well, except for the name…). It’s just not…different enough for me. But it may be the perfect scent for those who like Hermes’ other fragrances, but not all aspects of them. Or who wish Osmanthe Yunnan was stronger (like me) or that the citrus in the other scents mentioned was lighter. Or that one or all of them had a bit of a tomboy-ish edge with the addition of leather. Or, best of all, something that smells like those other perfumes but is far more reasonably priced.
Kathy Patterson has had an interest in fragrance all her life. Some of her fondest
memories involve digging through her mother's toiletries and playing with her
scented soaps. (She hated Mom's Youth Dew though.) At the ripe age of 40,
Kathy discovered niche scents and Sniffapalooza. Now she's getting out of
hand with the perfume collection, and her husband Neal thinks she's maybe
a little crazy. Kathy is a jewelry designer/graphic artist/research analyst who
lives in Baltimore, MD with her loving hubby and two cats. You can find her
Histoires de Parfums Parfums d’Auteurs
by Kathy Patterson
From the Histoires de Parfums site:
“Each Eau de Parfum is a voyage back in time to the origin of traditional fine French perfume making. In homage to the Master Perfumers of the 19th century, we use the finest ingredients and intricate formulations for our five original prestige Eaux de Parfums. And each one has a story behind its composition. You'll notice that we have given our Eaux de Parfums numbers rather than names. Each number is a date that corresponds with the birth year of a notable historic figure. Each perfume is named for someone who has shaped the world with their endeavors. We like to think we've captured and bottled their romantic essence. Inspired by adventures and vital personalities of the past and created to be worn by their modern counterparts our Eaux de Parfums are...memory etched in scent.”
There’s no doubt that Histoires de Parfums uses fine ingredients and intricate formulations – one sniff is all one needs to detect the high quality of this line. And their gimmick of naming their fragrances is pretty clever – if only the scents matched the personalities. At least, they don’t in my mind. But that’s certainly not a crime, and this line is certainly worth exploring.
1804 – George Sand
Notes: apricot, Corsican peach, Hawaiïan pineapple, banana, clove, nutmeg. Indian jasmine, French lily of the Valley, Moroccan rose, lilac, sandalwood, patchouli, benzoin, vanilla, white musk
The convention-defying female author George Sand was the inspiration for this scent. Her propensity to dress in masculine guise in order to guarantee that her work would be taken seriously would seem reason to fill this fragrance with more masculine notes like rich tobaccos or leather. But no, Histoires de Parfums George Sand is a fruity floral of the highest order. Let me assure you, however, that this is not one of those insipid department store scents marketed to the under-25 crowd. Feminine, but not girly, there’s no mistaking the opening note of tangy pineapple; paired with the peach and apricot it gives the aura of an even more exotic fruit, the guava. Under this tropical umbrella lurks a very powdery rose and sandalwood combination accented with faint spices and sweetened with vanilla. It’s almost as if a traditional, somewhat old-fashioned rose perfume decided to take an island vacation and came back festooned in flora evoking the trip.
A shame Gauguin did not have a daughter by his Tahitian mistress Tehura, for that woman would be the right mix of French sensibility and tropical romanticism to have been represented by this scent.
1826 – Eugenie de Montijo
Notes: Corsican peach, strawberry, Tahitian coconut, white flower bouquet, orange blossom, Egyptian jasmine, Bulgarian rose, incense, vanilla, cacao, benzoin, patchouli, cedar, sandalwood
Eugenie de Montijo was the wife of Napoleon III and the last Empress of France. Encouraged by couturier Charles Worth, her fashion-forward style influenced European fashion trends.
Her namesake scent is a fruity chypre. It’s one of those scents that is so well-blended, few ingredients really jump forward and speak for themselves. The opening is an elegant sueded peach note that is rich and deep, slightly musty, very much Mitsouko-esque. There is also the barest essence of sweet strawberry, with an underlying blanket of smooth white florals. As the fragrance dries, the rose comes forth and the peach dies out, while a sweet creaminess coats the balsamic woodsiness of the base notes. And then…it’s mostly gone except for a floral sweetness. For a fragrance that comes on so strong at first, the relatively quiet drydown is quite a transformation.
Eugenie de Montijo is, antithetically, not at all trendy, but a lovely perfume in a very classic mode.
1876 -- Mata Hari
Notes: French cassis, peach, black pepper, ivy, Moroccan rose,
broom, Indian jasmine, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, musk
The infamous Mata Hari was a Dutch exotic dancer and
courtesan who worked as a spy for Germany during World
War I. She was a promiscuous femme fatale, so her
namesake fragrance should be deeply sultry, perhaps
even a tad raunchy. Ah, but it’s another fruity floral,
starting out with a sweet cassis note, and a nice
fresh juicy peach. The ivy adds a touch of green before
the heady floral bouquet comes on strong with lots of
jasmine and rose. The basenotes, apart from a bit of
musk, do not assert themselves in any way as individuals
and serve merely to give a sturdy base to the loud flowers.
While certainly not bland, Mata Hari is merely a pretty
scent that gives no hint of wantonness, nothing that
will get the blood running or fan the flames of desire.
Robert Piguet Parfums Fracas
celebrates 60th anniversary this year
There seems to be a recurrent theme in my fragrance life that sometimes
I may have not understood or given justice to certain classics.
I never wore Fracas, maybe because it reminded me of my mother.
After falling head over heels with Tuberose notes all last summer,
I set out (feverishly) to collect every tuberose fragrance in sight.
It is a wonder, certainly, that I have fallen in love with Fracas.
In my search, Fracas seemed to suit my skin with a
luxurious creamy white floral quality that is completely different from
Serge Lutens Tuberose Criminelle. Both are absolutely stunning but
Fracas won hands down when my husband, (in a very studious manner)
sniffed my shoulders and neck, he declared it the winner.
He is still dizzy with tuberose overdose.
The associations with the "Mother" image is long gone now,
replaced with a heady spring and summer fragrance, reminiscent of seduction and glamour of an incredible past.
No two tuberose fragrances are created equal so be sure to search out samples. One truly has to "open the mind and heart" when understanding and choosing a tuberose fragrance. -Rapahella
Robert Piguet Parfums is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Fracas, Robert Piguet's star fragrance, all throughout 2008. New product
introductions and special offers will be launched and announced in the upcoming months.
Fracas by perfumer Germaine Cellier "Classic femininity and modern sensibility collide within this lush white floral fragrance. Seductive tuberose mingles with jasmine, jonquil, gardenia, Bulgarian rose and orange flower in a profusion of fragile white flowers before revealing a base of sandalwood, vetiver and musk. Fracas is the signature fragrance for those who want to make an unforgettable impression."
Robert Piguet Parfums also reissued two fragrances from the designer's archives in 2007. With the addition of Cravache and Visa de Robert Piguet, perfume lovers are now presented with a full collection consisting of five fragrances from Robert Piguet-Fracas, Bandit, Baghari, Cravache and Visa present a tailored library of compositions ranging from floral and spicy to fresh and woody.
Looking forward into 2008, Robert Piguet Parfums is proud to unveil some special initiatives starting with the launch of our newly-designed and shop-able website. Please visit the new website at www.robertpiguetparfums.com
Special thanks to Nanci DiGiaimo and Joseph Garces , President of Robert Piguet Parfums, photo courtesy of Robert Piguet Parfums.
Ulrich Lang Anvers 2
By Mark David Boberick
Ulrich Lang, a former L’Oreal executive and New York
art publisher recently launched Anvers 2, his second
fragrance for men this past Spring. The inspiration for the
scent came from a photograph of Belgian art dealer
Roger Szmulewicz by Katy Grannan. Roger has become
“the face of Anvers” and is featured on the packaging.
The idea of using art as inspiration is nothing groundbreaking
in the world of perfumery. Ulrich Lang, however, brings
this idea into deliciously modern territory by using photography
instead of more traditional art forms such as literature or painting.
The scent opens with a burst of Lemon and Lime and
quickly evolves to feature rhubarb, a most welcome top
note, especially in what seems like the year of violet leaves.
The Rhubarb is a delicious touch to the zesty, invigorating
opening. The cypress and the black pepper keep the opening
in a neutral territory – neither warm nor cool – but it also
keeps the scent from smelling “squeaky clean.”
We eventually get to the heart of the fragrance where sensual cedar and smoky sandalwood emerge paired with delicate Bulgarian rose. There is an interplay of other florals here, none of which are overpowering or even highly discernable. It is a well blended mix of jasmine, lily, and mimosa - flowers which can send some running, but here they are rendered in an extremely androgynous fashion giving this scent a definite unisex feel. While it is considered a men’s fragrance, the many women who have smelled this on me have pried the sample vial from my hand and applied it to themselves. The drydown does not come quickly, which is just as well because the warm heart is where this fragrance truly shines. Contemplative and confident – the base reveals itself as a gorgeous blend of musk and vanilla.
Anvers 2 is a fantastic, extremely unisex scent with very decent lasting power. There are many perfumes out there that have design concepts that are much larger than the perfumes themselves. This is not one of them. Ulrich Lang’s forward thinking idea of photography as inspiration is a most welcome addition to the world of perfume marketing. The moral of the story is not forced upon the wearer, for it is up to the wearer to draw his own conclusions. Looking at the stunning photo of Roger, his dark attire, the autumn environment, the expression, the body language, the floor of fallen leaves – what does the wearer take away from all of this? The possibilites are endless.
by Mark David Boberick
This past year, Robert Piguet Parfums re-released 2 more of their classic fragrances from days gone by. One of them is VISA. Originally created in 1945 by famed perfumer Germaine Cellier, It has been re-interpreted, re-imagined, and yes, re-formulated by Givaudan’s own Aurelien Guichard. The scent is considered to be an Oriental Gourmand, and if the word Gourmand scares you, sit tight, we’ll get to that in a minute…
There are mixed feelings in the Perfume World (at least in the virtual one) regarding the re-issuing of classic, vintage fragrances. Re-Issuing inevitably means re-formulating because French Laws being what they are, many original ingredients are no longer available or even legal. I have never smelled the original VISA, so I have absolutely no point of reference with this fragrance, and that’s just as well.
I’ve been doing my research. I’ve been reading a lot of opinions on many different scents that have been re-released over the past few years. Often, people are terribly unhappy with the results. (Balmain Vent Vert stands out in my memory as getting a lot of negative comments from people so very familiar with the original) The surprising general consensus among this community seems to be that they would rather the perfume houses didn’t even bother to re-issue the fragrances at all because they hardly ever smell like they “should.”
Well, I proudly disagree.
When I smell VISA, I am not immediately transported to Post-War Paris. There is nothing about it that smells vintage to me. And why should there be? This isn’t Paris in 1945. And since 1945, I think its safe to say – the market has changed, a bit.
In 2007, over 800 fragrances were released. Did you smell them all? Well, did you? Of course you didn’t. Of the ones you did smell however, I think it is probably safe to say that none of them smelled “old.” Alright – there may have been one or two, but for the most part? Times have changed and tastes have shifted. It’s a big market to drop a new fragrance into and if you’re going to do it – it needs to be forward-thinking and current.
VISA is current but it is, I’m happy to say - not redundant. On my skin, VISA opened with radiantly ripe fruits and a luscious dose of violet. The fruits die down quickly to reveal a floral heart with a surprise of immortelle. Maybe I’m wrong, but I personally never consider fruit notes to be gourmand. Crazy, I know. So it’s not until the appearance of the immortelle that this fragrance hints at gourmand territory for me. The seductive base is loaded with satisfaction. Vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, and benzoin keep it grounded. The highlight of this scent for me, is when the doughy immortelle starts to warm the leathery accord in the base.
VISA is the kind of scent you don’t mind smelling on your cashmere scarf or your leather gloves. Actually, you sort of hope the scent never leaves those items – it is always a welcomed accompaniment to any accessory.
The scent lasts quite well and has exquisite sillage – always there but no threat of asphyxiation. Robert Piguet’s trademarks of a “strict adherence to good taste, true luxury, a horror of the commonplace and an innate sense of seduction” have not been sacrificed. This scent is relevant and still manages to be unique. It is as exotic as it is comforting. VISA is at home on a body cloaked in sweats or sable.
Aurelien Guichard had a very difficult task ahead of him when he set out to transform a vintage classic into a modern classic. The good news is of course that, and this shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone, he is entirely capable. He has already given us the exquisite Chinatown and Andy Warhol's Silver Factory for Bond No. 9 as well as the Piguet re-issue of Baghari. He is a young perfumer with a modern vision that manages to honor the classic history of perfume as well as the future of it.
There is something luxurious in just knowing that you can reach for a bottle of fragrance that was once long lost and is now, once again available to us all. I shudder to think of how many incredible classics we have lost. So, even if re-issues manage to be ghosts of their former selves, (and I’m not implying that VISA is – remember, I’ve never smelled it) I still am fortunate that we can say we have them back with us.
Welcome back, VISA.
Perfumer Aurélien Guichard at the recent Sniffapalooza Fall Ball in New York City
VISA is available in eau de parfum and extrait formulations and can be purchased at Bergdorf Goodman or online at the gorgeous new Robert Piguet website: www.robertpiguetparfums.com
Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses
By Tamara Root
"... the Parisian orgy is a source of pleasure... Bodies slick with sweat, hot with the odours of sexual favours bestowed and received during the night. In line with the 18th-century libertine tradition, these [two] fragrances symbolize transgression, the pleasures of the flesh and defiance of prohibitions and conventions."
With that description if the juice is half-way decent, I am sold! In this case, the juice is more than half-way decent. When I met Kilian Henessy of by Kilian perfumes I was charmed by his looks and impressed by his humility. This former marketing executive of L'Oreal is an heir to the Henessy cognac family and a delightful Frenchman at that. (One sentence pronounced with a heavy French accent and I am intrigued beyond belief and a little hot and bothered.)
I was more than happy to sample these new, mysterious offerings in gorgeous black bottles at Bergdorf Goodman the morning of October 20th. And I found one to take home with me.
Liaisons Dangereuses is an interesting mingling of notes, one for
fragrance aficionados since it is not obviously appealing. Rather,
this fragrance offers mystery and elicits statements such as "What
is that fantastic smell?" I have seen descriptions vary, from one in
this month's Allure magazine describing it as plum over oakmoss
to this web page that suggests geranium over cinnamon. From
what I recall when I tested it, I was moved by heavy fruitiness over
just a touch of woods. As I wear this at home (which is usually a
more accurate impression), the fragrance begins smelling just
slightly of mint to my nose. The mint is mixed with fruit, like a
refreshing and uplifting herbal tea. After a full five minutes of the
minty-fruity accord, the fragrance dries and it becomes much
deeper and slightly animalic, something I would expect from a
fragrance meant to evoke the libertine 18th-Century. Plum over
oakmoss is not a bad description at all. And yet this fragrance is
so much more than that. The geranium slowly enters the olfactory
symphony during the heart stage of this fragrance and it dominates
the delicately spicy, sweet cinnamon making it almost undetectable.
Finally, earthy sandalwood and sensual musk round out the base, amping up the sex appeal to full tilt.
Freedom of sexual expression exemplifies libertine 18th-Century Europe. "If it feels good, do it" sparked a movement that bucked all laws, religions, morals and constraints. Simply no regard for social norms or "good" behavior counter-balanced the religious movements that had previously dominated politics and social behavior. Although libertines could not achieve anything politically due to their radical nature, they certainly brought forth some delicious entertainment. I applaud any fragrance designed to highlight this period of history, the age of one of my favorite painters Caravaggio, the intriguing poet Giambattista Marino and the Casanova, Giovanni Giacomo.
The most impressive facet of the entire By Kilian collection is its packaging. As Mr. Henessy expressed, your personal fragrance is your weapon as you go throughout the day. Thus, each bottle contains an ornate shield design. The gorgeous black bottle fits snugly inside a satin lined black lacquer box which can be locked with a small key that dangles from black tassel. Just superb.
By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses and the entire L'Oeuvre Noire collection are available at Bergdorf Goodman. The refillable bottle sells for $225. Casanova image courtesy of Britannica.com
Tamara Root is a conscientious healthcare worker by day and a serious fragrance aficionado by night. She longs to share her fragrance passions in a positive and uplifting manner. Interests include travel, yoga and fashion.
Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes
The appreciation of Annick Goutal fragrances has been a long time in
coming for me. I'd often spritz a random bottle on a trip around the
perfume counter at Nordie's and come away completely unimpressed.
Then I met Petite Cherie and fell in love. Soon after, I bought a big bottle of Passion and a bottle of Eau d'Hadrien. Grand Amour occasionally whispers, "buy me," but so far I have not succumbed to the siren song of Goutal again. Until now.
In late 2007, Annick Goutal released a set of three fragrances called
"Les Orientalistes" which are quite different from their familiar collection
of floral- and citrus- based scents. They are richer, darker, and warmer
fragrances that are just the kind of thing that floats my boat, so I had to
get my hands on some samples. Oh, my pocketbook! I fear I need to
own all three of these beauties!
Ambre Fetiche: amber, frankincense, labdanum, benzoin, styrax,
leather, vanilla, iris.
A rich dry amber underlined with a smoky frankincense that has a quality
almost like burning rubber. The rubbery impression fades after a few
minutes and is replaced with a sweetish resinous note. This scent
comes on strong at first application and is borderline unpleasant, but
this is one of those cases when the drydown is most certainly worth
the wait. Ambre Fetiche is stunning, and I couldn't stop sniffing my wrist all evening.
Myrrh Ardente: myrrh, benzoin, vanilla, tonka, gaiac wood, beeswax
Considering that there are so many potentially sweet notes in this fragrance, it is dry and warm. I do smell the vanilla and tonka far more than the myrrh itself, yet there is no sweetness. A faint burnt rubber note that may be the beeswax ties this composition to that of Ambre Fetiche, but it is a little more tenacious. Myrrh Ardente is somehow both rich and light, grounding and ethereal. A good fragrance for contemplative times.
Encens Flamboyant: incense, pepper, rose, cardamom, nutmeg, woods
THIS is the fragrance that should be called Messe de Minuit, as it reminds me of the many Midnight Masses I attended in my Catholic youth. Encens Flamboyant is anything but flamboyant; it is subtle, a cozy and soothing scent redolent of church incense, candles, and fresh evergreen trees. It's a familiar smell of my childhood, of a time I will never recapture but that lives on in my heart.
Fabulous Discount "Finds" in Fragrance
Carla Fracci & Giselle
Recently, a fragrant friend told me about a gorgeous white floral fragrance that she adores, my ears picked up because it seems I collect every white floral ever made, so of course, I was very intrigued.
I do not pay any attention to the discount fragrance outlets; either at the mall or the many on-line discount fragrance sites. After joining Sniffapalooza, there is no going back to ‘celebrity’ or highly commercial fragrances for me. The door had opened and one can never go back.
After reading some fragrance boards though, I realized that there are many fans of the "discount" fragrance companies and there deals are to be made. I am always reading how my friends buy great fragrances such as Christen Lacroix Tumulte (Homme and Femme are big hits) at Marshals, TJ Max, Ross, as well as the many numerous on-line discount fragrant houses. These friends also seem to discover a discount fragrance that I would normally never consider purchasing much less wearing.
I then found two fragrances that I fell for and both stole my heart. It made me want to devote a section every month to some fabulous little fragrance that has fallen by the way-side to discount houses, little finds, if you will, finds I would normally turn my little nose up to.
So we start this issue with Carla Fracci and Giselle from the Carla Fracci House of Italy. Finding the notes of these are almost impossible, the company no longer exists, the phone number from Michael Edward's book, no one ever answers, I find this all very intriguing.
I searched for hours on the internet looking for the notes for Giselle and Carla Fracci to no avail. I would have to purchase the Michael Edwards on-line tutorial for a few hundred dollars to get these notes, I imagine. These fragrances are also sold at Macy’s and Nordstrom’s, possibly Dillard’s. A search on-line produced numerous discount sites, not one had any notes listed. This absolutely drives me crazy.
Milan born Carla Fracci is a one of the world’s greatest ballerina's. She appeared with the London Festival Ballet, the Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, and was principal guest artist of the American Ballet Theatre.
Carla Fracci is renowned for her interpretation of the romantic roles and Giselle was her greatest success; she danced it with many great partners like with Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Erik Bruhn. Her unforgettable Giselle with Bruhn was filmed and is available on DVD. She is now director of Balletto dell'Opera di Roma.
Giselle, the fragrance, (of notes unknown for now) is warm, spicy, feminine with luscious notes, creamy and sexy, I am sure it has ylang-ylang. It is simply beautiful. It is a cross between Annick Goutal Songes and Miller Harris Fleur Oriental. The drydown is simply beautiful. Carla Fracci, her other fragrance, is a brilliant white floral of tuberose and ylang-ylang, very, very pretty, not cloying or sweet, I actually visualized yellow sunshine when this hit my skin, and it is simply gorgeous. It is white and yellow, all at once, singing of summer days and nights, a flirtatious fragrance but not too young or coy. The sandalwood is what seams it all together and keeps it from being too sweet. The sillage is wonderful on both of these fragrances.
Dora Truong spoke of Carla Fracci: “The search for Ylang was fulfilled with this gorgeous white flower scent. The notes list passion fruit, tuberose and Ylang on top with a heart of freesia, jasmine and just a bit of lily. The bottom is musk that I hardly notice with heliotrope, sandalwood and vanilla. The release was in '03 and this could be the end of the line. I plan to buy another bottle because this was one I truly loved.” -Dora
The bottles of both fragrances evoke the tall and graceful lines of ballet dancers and both fragrances are just as fluid, a dreamy Pas de Deux, melding into one's body. The fragrances take position just as a ballerina would and floats about the dreamy center stage as she is carried by her partner, she promenades, is lifted and turns. Two fragrances befitting a glamorous Italian Prima Ballerina.
I just picked Carla Fracci up for roughly $55.00. Surprisingly, these also come in EDP strength and I will seek those out as well. Yes, I am a woman who goes from expensive Creeds, Guerlain’s, Caron’s, Lutens', Frédéric Malle's and Amourage Jubilation 25, to my newly beloved, discovered discount perfumes.
There you have it. Two beautiful discount fragrances. A little smile forms on my lips, secretly knowing, my little discount "find" smells deliciously oh-so expensive. I smell great success.
Caution: Only purchase Creed and other high end fragrances at authorized dealers. According to a thread on Basenotes, there are some discount fragrance sites and ebay sellers that are selling FAKES. Make sure you purchase from outlets such as Bergdorf Goodman, Les Senturs, Aedes, Parfums Raffy, Sak's and authorized dealers! I prefer shopping at an authorized dealer because it is truly hassle free.
Parfums 06130 Feuille de Reglisse
By Tamara Root
When I met Nicolas Chabert, founder of Parfums 06130, or the French pronunciation Zero Six Cent-Trent, I was impressed with his knowledge of the art of perfumery and also with his origins. The prestige inherent in residing in Grasse, France was not lost on this perfumista! (Remember, this is where the art of perfumery was born.) Even more impressive is the name of this house. It is the zip code of Grasse, France which further underscores the owners' dedication to perfumery. Knowing all this, I was elated to try all of the fragrances he so passionately represented.
To say that the Feuille de Reglisse is original is truly an understatement. I would venture to say that it must be worn by a true fragrance connoisseur, for it is ineffably unique. Feuille de Reglisse translates to "licorice leaf" and lends itself to interpretation since licorice is actually a root, not a leaf. (I vaguely remember Mr. Chabert referencing this point and wish I had had a tape recorder with me!) That fact is only the tip of the iceberg. This fragrance is truly a study in dichotomy, a study that only true fragrance lovers can appreciate.
The leaf of a licorice plant would be subtly suggestive of the root, with a softer, more transparent scent. And that is exactly what this fragrance manages to pull off. The strong top notes of heliotrope and anise boldly announce the fragrance for the first five minutes of wear, however this sharp opening bears little resemblance to the heart and base of the fragrance. Herein lies the dichotomy. Very few fragrances have such a drastically different opening and heart. After proudly wearing Feuille de Reglisse for nearly a week, I have realized an interesting routine with it. Immediately following first spritz I avoid sniffing at all. Rather, I wait for the subtle, soft and soothing heart to emerge and wash over me like a warm blanket. It never fails. Delicate muguet and sweet orange flower bring forth the transparent and soft qualities of this fragrance. This stage is the one that I favor and I find it beautifully soft and slightly powdery. The base notes of sweetly spicy ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and earthy cedarwood substantially ground Feuille de Reglisse. Although the combination of notes alone could inspire fear in the hearts of those who loathe spicy scents, the spice of Feuille de Reglisse is deceptively subtle. It is remarkably well-blended, true to the company's mission. Finally, it is suitable for every day wear.
I predict this fragrance will not take the fragrance community by storm but rather will slowly sneak up on unsuspecting perfumistas looking for a soft, subtle and truly different scent that is destined to be a star. The contrast between notes, the distinct progression of scent from top to bottom, the company's commitment to the art of perfumery and the uniqueness of this fragrance catapult it into a very prestigious category - celebrated niche.
Feuille de Reglisse is available at www.aedes.com, Takashimaya and other exclusive retailers. A 3.4 oz. bottle retails for $145. Photo of bottle, courtesy aedes. Licorice plant courtesy of nccam.nih.gov.
Special Thanks to Brenda Welch of Takashimaya, NYC. -RB
Etat Libre d'Orange
Rossy de Palma
by Kathy Paterson
Those wacky and occasionally immature French perfumers Etat Libre d'Orange have come out with their first celebrity fragrance. Because of earlier ELDO releases like Secretions Magnifiques, I initially thought that this one was a cutesy/crude play on "rosy palm" (as in ..."and her five sisters"). To my surprise, it's named after a real live person, the Spanish actress, Pedro Almodovar favorite, and Marilyn Manson lookalike, Rossy de Palma. (I'm not completely clueless - once I saw a photo of Ms de Palma, I knew who she was. I just never paid much attention to Almodovar's stars, apart from Antonio Banderas, that is.)
I am immediately struck by a rich rose scent touched with a tangy citrus/ginger glaze. The patchouli background is also immediately prominent. The combination of the rose and the patch is strongly medicinal and reminds me more than a little bit of the syrup of Ipecac my mother used to sicken me with as a child. Also the original RL Polo. That association doesn't last long, but the fragrance is still a festival of patch and rose and continues to be so long into the drydown when the sharp edges are softened a bit by the benzoin and cacao.
I'm not a patch fan in the least, but I can almost get into Rossy de Palma. I find it much more wearable than the somewhat similar Rose Barbare (which goes all sour on my skin). ELDO, I'm finally impressed. Can you do it again?
Notes: ginger, black pepper, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, benzoin, incense, cacao, patchouli
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Notes: vetiver, African cedar, Sandarac resin, cereals, pralined amber
One of Parfumerie Generale's Private Collection fragrances, Cedre Sandaraque is a spicy gourmand that opens with a very brief but pleasant vetiver note that quickly becomes a sharp and sweet resin with a touch of clovelike spice to it. There's also quite a bit of booziness to the scent, to my nose, rich and intoxicating and alcoholic, but very sweet, perhaps like an Amaretto-type liqueur (but without the almond scent, of course).
Overall, Cedre Sandaraque is a woodsy gourmand with a lovely amber drydown. There's a brightness that comes out in the drydown as well, almost a gingery quality. I want to put it in the same category as Fendi Theorema as one of those scents that reminds me strongly of gingerbread, despite having only a vague resemblance to it. It makes me think a blustery winter day spent baking yummy things and putting this scent clearly into a "winter wear only" category. YMMV, of course.
Frapin Terre de Sarment
Notes: grapefruit, neroli, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange blossom, incense, benzoin, tobacco, vanilla
Mmm....I smell the spicy nutmeg and cinnamon first of all and then the bracing neroli and orange blossom. The opening reminds me a lot of a slightly more masculine version of one of my all-time favorites Must de Cartier, and it shares some qualities of Obsession for Men as well. I've seen Terre de Sarment called "soapy" but I don't find it to be so at all. Unless of course one washes with nutmeg-scented soap.
As the scent develops, it intensifies, and I get that pleasing Ditto sensation that some fragrances evoke in me. The sweet benzoin mingles with tobacco and has an overall musky quality that is really quite nice. There is also a very dry note that I detect, which may be the incense, although it does not have the smoky quality that I normally associate with incense.
Wow. I am really liking this one, and I thought it would be impossible for Frapin to create something that would be half as wonderful as their original 1270. I give them a lot of credit, especially for releasing a quartet of scents.
I like spicy, woodsy scents, so the first new Frapin scent to catch my attention was Caravelle Epicée. Upon application, it immediately reminded me of something that L'Artisan Parfumeur might concoct, with its combination of spices and hot pepper and woods. There's a nutmeg/pepper jolt at the opening with just a tiny bit of warm luridness, almost cumin-y, that must come from the sandalwood. The woods are almost immediately present, and at first they have the dry incense-y quality of one of my favorites, Gap OM. The drydown comes pretty quickly, and on my skin, the woodsiness is smothered by a healthy dose of sweet powdery amber. Oddly enough though, it seems to amplify the spice.
But that's not all, folks! Still later in the drydown, the amber fades away, the spices disappear, and we're left with a soft, cumin-y sandalwood. Nice, but a bit too subtle.
Caravelle Epicée is a rich warm Oriental fragrance that is sure to find fans, both male and female.
Notes: coriander, nutmeg, hot pepper, pepper, thyme, Gaiac wood, patchouli, amber, tobacco, sandalwood
Manuel Canovas Les Fantaisies
by Kathy Patterson
French textile designer Manuel Canovas has come out with a quintet
of fragrances called Les Fantaisies Parfumées. From Beautyhabit:
"Both the fragrances and their bold exterior packaging are borrowed footprints from personal journeys of Manuel Canovas. These locales were bastions of inspiration and enjoyment - vivid voyages through sunny, wind-swept isles of the Mediterranean, the intriguing Orient, remote Mexican pueblos, and French Provence. Manuel Canovas’ Les Fantaisies Parfumees collection fuses the exquisite textile designs of the house with delectable scent compositions. The collection depicts a fantastical world of colors, olfactory contrasts and moods that will envelop the wearer in an opulent aromatic universe."
"Blended with a palette of natural ingredients sought from around the world, Les Fantaisies Parfumees offer a luxurious collection of fine fragrances with a nod to the rich Manuel Canovas fabric heritage"
Enough with the poetry--what do they smell like?
Notes: bergamot, caramel, citrus zest, spices, tropical florals, musk, vanilla
This starts out as a citrusy floral with a very warm caramel note. The spices are faint, but there, and I can't quite tell what they are exactly. Sweet spices, for sure, of the nutmeg/ cinnamon/ cardamom ilk. The citrus fades rather quickly and a coconutty tone emerges to mingle with white floral notes. A lovely light musk comes out in the drydown with a tiny bit of vanilla to keep the scent warm. I was a bit disappointed in this one at first, because it seemed like it would be yet another fruity floral, but it morphs into something really quite lovely that would be perfect to wear on a warm summer night. Or on a blustery day when one wishes to be in warmer climes. Much nicer than Kai, Child, etc., to my nose.
Notes: violet leaves, Turkish rose, galbanum, Chinese ginger, agarwood, Madagascar vanilla
A rich, smooth, slightly powdery scent with a fabulous rose and violet opening touched with a galbanum note that is altogether too fleeting. There is a bit of greenness to it, but because the violet is so strong, it seems more of a dusty pale purple to me. The ginger is a dry note, only vaguely spicy, somewhat like the dried ground version rather than the fresh stuff. I don't get any of the agarwood, which I'm guessing is different than an oudh note, and I'm certainly not getting that at all. Of the five, this fragrance is the most linear (as the others develop quite a bit in the wearing) but it's also one of my favorites. Really lovely.
Juliette Has a Gun
By Kathy Patterson
Notes: Moroccan rose, musk, fruit.
The perfume of a virgin witch, docile and provocative, elegant and sensual. One instant, holding up the pressures of the world and the next, crying hot tears over the death of Enzo, her bowl fish! A joyful interpretation of the Moroccan Rose, musk and airs of wild fruits. A fragrance that makes up ingenuousness and lucidity.
Romano Ricci, the great-grandson of the legendary Nina Ricci, has hired perfumer Francis Kurkdjian to create the rose-based scents for his company Juliette Has a Gun. It's ambition is to "lead a new rock & elegant trend in the perfumery world, by creating romantic and original creations." Rock and elegant, eh? Well, whatever they call it, I love Miss Charming. I love white musk, and I enjoy the smell of roses, and together, combined with the sweetness of lychee and strawberry, they are divine.
Unlike Parfums di Nicolai Balkis and Rosine Roseberry, Miss Charming's berry/rose combo is not tainted by iris or vanilla or anything else that distracts one from its sweet rosiness. The rose is soft yet strong, the musk is light and elegant with the barest hint of powder, and the fruit is subtle and not at all cloying. Although the somewhat crazy excerpt from the JHAG site above is a fractured translation from the French, I do agree that Miss Charming is innocent, but still provocative and elegant.
The Juliette Has a Gun line is available at Beautyhabit, Henri Bendel in NY and Fred Segal in LA.
Courvoisier L'Edition Imperiale
By Kathy Patterson
I'm sorry. I can't help it. Every time I see "Courvoisier," I mentally pronounce it with a lisp and that conjures images of Tim Meadows as the Ladies Man. I have to wonder why this particular brand of cognac, like the champagne Cristal, is the brand of choice for those pretending to have class and/or taste? Why not Hine? or Delamain? or even Hennessey?
Anyhoo...Courvoisier the fragrance, "L'Edition Imperiale," doesn't remind me of alcoholic beverages so much as a pleasantly musky bar of soap. It's neither rich nor sultry, and it most definitely does not singe the nosehairs like cognac (armagnac and brandy too). I get a very nice cedar note, light spices, some violet, and an overall gently balsamic sweetness in the drydown.
Although the bottle is masculine, it's definitely a scent that could be worn successfully by a woman. But it's exactly the kind of fragrance I wish more men would adopt. Courvoisier speaks in a whisper - whereas a little dab will do ya of most fragrances, I had to strenuously swab the cap from my sample vial against my arm in order to smell anything other than sweet. Even the most strident application by an overzealous man post-shave would not offend the delicate sensibilities of those around him.
Notes: cardamom, mandarin, tagette, coriander, cedar, smoked tea, royal calla lily, violet, vetiver, fir balsam, leather, amber
L'Ete en Douce
Notes: mint leaves, rose essence, green hay, orange flower water, white musk
L'Ete en Douce is L'Artisan Parfumeur's Barney's exclusive. I got a generous sample of this light and summery fragrance on my recent trip to Barney's in NY. At first sniff, it reminds me of babies, or more specifically, of that familiar baby powder/lotion scent of childhood. It's gentle and delicate, a soft yellowy green fragrance redolent of hay and orange flowers with the barest buzz of mint. The drydown is soft and lovely with the addition of white musk.
L'Artisan scents continue to amaze me with their uniqueness. Unlike some other houses, those with equally large or larger collections, there doesn't seem to be a L'Artisanade (perhaps because it is so awkward to say?), although there may be similarities between two or three scents in the line here and there. I own three of them so far: Mure et Musc Extreme, Safran Troublant, and Tea for Two.
The plain glass bottles with oversized wooden tops (reminding me of English Leather) and their minimalist, almost afterthought labels made me think of a hobby perfumer's attempt at packaging. A couple of sniffs and a peep at the price tag changed my mind: these are well crafted scents made from high quality ingredients.
A later look at the Nasomatto site with its ridiculous "manifesto" made me wonder if the company wasn't run by the creators of South Park:
I take advantage of what you always said about me
I take advantage of your sexual essence
I take advantage of drugs and food
I take advantage of my olfactive memory and trips
I take advantage of mistakes
I take advantage from the Z1
I take advantage of the best raw materials
I give advantage to people longing to distinguish themselves
Then I read the description of Absinth, which "aims to invoke a degree of hysteria. It the the result of a quest to stimulate irresponsible behavior."
Now, why, with the amount of rampant irresponsibility already so prevalent today, stimulate it? And...hysteria? Not even close. Warm fuzzies, maybe.
I love woodsy scents. I love gourmand scents. I really love woodsy scents that are also gourmand and maybe a little masculine. Nasomatto Absinth is just that kind of fragrance. I first smelled it at Barney's last November - they had only just gotten in their stock and no samples were available. Absinth sprited on a piece of paper was just heavenly, and it was almost as good on my skin. (I hate when they're better on paper.) It took a while before I was able to obtain an actual sample of the juice, and I'm happy to say that it's very nice on my skin as well.
Absinth has a slightly bitter/medicinal herbal note hovering above a base of dusty woodiness. There's bright note as well that makes me think of ginger juice, and of Fendi Theorema, although they're really not similar.
I love it - I just wish it weren't so expensive.
Nasomatto Absinth Notes: absinthe, herbs, vetiver
In addition to Barney's, Aedes and Luckyscent also carries the Nasomatto line.
HANAE MORI PARFUMS
BUTTERFLY EAU FRAICHE
The light spirit and symmetry of the yellow butterfly are an inspiration for limited edition Butterfly Eau Fraiche. Hanae Mori Parfums introduces a limited edition fragrance for spring and summer 2008: Butterfly Eau Fraiche, the lightest formulation ever with a new sparkling tangerine and grapefruit top note that dries down to the classic Hanae Mori “house notes” of luscious fruits, wild berries and summer woods. With its light-as-air blend ideal for spring and summer days, new clear bottle and fresh yellow-butterfly box design, limited edition Hanae Mori Butterfly Eau Fraiche is a great ideal summer scent.
Hanae Mori Butterfly Eau Fraiche is the first non-linear Hanae Mori women’s fragrance that changes on the skin over time. The house has traditionally favored fragrances with one luscious, unchanging note as true as a sunbeam. This new limited edition fragrance features a summery top note of grapefruit and tangerine that lifts like a butterfly from the skin and leaves a light, sun-kissed blend of fruits, berries and woods.
Hanae Mori Parfums are named for Madame Hanae Mori, the first female Japanese fashion designer to show her collections on the runways of Paris and New York. Madame Mori is Japan’s most successful female entrepreneur. Among the honors she has received are the French Legion of Honor medal from the President of France and the Order of Culture medal from the Emperor of Japan. She is a member of France’s haute couture syndicate.
Butterfly Eau Fraiche is a gorgeous fragrance on my skin and one of my favorites out of the line, I do not notice as much, the opening notes of citrus but am more attracted to the beautiful middle notes of fruit and florals, and the rich base notes; this fragrance has excellent sillage and is perfect for the upcoming spring and summer months. For fans of ylang-ylang and jasmine, these notes shine brilliantly with the base of woods. The fragrance is truly sun kissed.
Top Notes of Citrus include tangerine and grapefruit; Middle Notes are Red Fruits of Strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and bilberries and Florals of Bulgarian rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine and peony. Base Notes of Woods include rosewood, almondwood, sandalwood and cedar.
The new Butterfly Eau Fraiche is available in April-May 2008 at $65 for 3.4 ounces at retailers including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, select Macy’s and Sephora.
Parfum d’Or Naturel
Parfum d' Or Naturel is literally a perfumed pot of gold,
a dazzling new way to wear perfume. The matrix (some call it a gel) is made of natural sugars mixed with perfume and real gold - and its alcohol free. This perfumed pot of gold is made to wear after dark for the full incandescent effect on the décolletage, shoulders and wrists to shimmer and slink your way through any season. The fragrance is very subtle and light, a shimmering beauty in a small pot of bright gold.
A little goes a long way and Parfum d’Or Naturel comes in three beautiful fragrances:
Orris Noir EDP by Ormonde Jayne is haunting. The Iris flower is named after the Greek Goddess of the rainbow, the messenger of the Gods and the Black Iris of Amman is the Royal symbol of the Kings of Jordon. Thriving in the landscape of ample sun, it is a rich purple black flower of smoldering beauty.
This is what Ormande Jayne wanted to create and achieved that as Orris Noir is a great beauty of a fragrance. Orris Noir is not for the shrinking violet. All of her fragrances seem to wrap an aura around one's self, which I find very beautiful and comforting.
Orris Noir is a rich, dark, spicy Oriental scent; a seductive aria of individual for those who wear this. Top notes of Orris Noir are Davana, pink pepper, cardamom, Bergamot Heart is also iris sambac absolute and base notes are incense, myrrh, patchouli, Chinese cedar and gaiac.
The story of this unique luxury perfume house is one of uncompromising perfection. Known for the rarity and purity of ingredients, sourced personally from growers in far flung climes such as Indochina, Arabia, the Amazon and Madagascar, and alchemized in her own London laboratory, Ormonde Jayne has attracted the admiration of the perfume cognoscenti and fine fragrance lovers worldwide.
The beginnings of Ormonde Jayne are far from glamorous, started almost by chance and at the time little more than the passionate hobby of an uncompromising perfectionist. Linda Pilkington’s interest in perfumery started as a teenager, intrigued by the passion and romance of perfume and perfume bottles and has over the years collected over 2000 flacons. Her interest in scent led her to her first career, growing flowers and selling them by the road side and learning how to make scented candles and bathing oils from books and courses, creating beautiful scented cushions for birthdays and Christmas presents. The following fourteen years were spent traveling and working around the world. With a keen business sense and an eye for detail, Linda gained valuable experience working in South America, Africa and the Far East, owning and running a boutique hotel, a Soy bean farm and even a small chain of ice cream parlors where created her own exotic ice cream mixtures. It was in these fantastic locations, surrounded by the luscious flora and intoxicated by heady scents, that she first learnt to appreciate and began to research exotic oils and essences - an extension of her child hood hobbies. On returning to the UK she took up where she had left off with her love of scent but now adding the experience of establishing, running and understanding retail and design. More importantly, Linda could apply her dedication to provide immaculate customer service and quality to clients, which forms the foundation of what Ormonde Jayne is today.
Linda decided to show her new scent collection at a trade show in
London and for 2 consecutive years, was awarded the first prize for
style and innovation leading to business inquiries from international
buyers and the attention of the beauty media. When asked to
create "The perfect scented candle'' for one of the worlds leading
luxury houses, Linda rose to the challenge. It wasn't long before
inspirational vision thrust Linda into the lime light. Spurred on by
her own and clients demanding standards, Ormonde Jayne's
breathtaking perfume range was born. Ormonde Jayne perfumery
opened on 30th November 2002 in London's Old Bond Street.
"In creating Ormonde Jayne, my goal was to combine elements
which I consider define true elegance: The quality of English
craftsmanship, the art of French perfumery and the sensuality
and natural harmony of the Orient."
When Linda talks about scent and ingredients, we hear about
new flowers, resins and woods, not commonly used in the
perfume industry today. "My aim is to be at the cutting edge of
creativity, defying convention in the world of scent".
What the Press has been saying:
"Ormonde Jayne is a relatively unknown perfumer and owns a
tiny shop in the London’s Old Bond St – Ormonde Woman by
Ormonde Jayne is seriously romantic – it contains black hemlock,
which gives you a delicious sense of being dangerous , it’s no way
crude or in you face, just subtly wicked, I love it and sure to wear
it for years"
Vogue: "Up until now, Ormonde Jayne has been one of the fashion pack's best kept secrets. This chic little shop is the place where those in the know go for fragrances, perfumed bath & body lotions and exquisite scented candles."
Harper's Bazaar: "Linda Pilkington launched a range of heady perfumes using black hemlock, pink pepper oil and basmati rice and, yes, they smell wonderful. Trust us, you’ll never look at a spice rack the same again"
Oprah Winfrey "O" magazine: Perfume critic Chandler Burr
"Ormonde Jayne has created a collection that possesses the quality I most value in perfume: a wonderful and mesmerising strangeness"
Available at Ormonde Jayne Perfumery, The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London WI, T + 44 (0) 207-499-1100
Look for upcoming reviews of Ormande Jayne fragrances in Sniffapalooza Magazine
Sampaquita is the National Flower of the Philippines) The scent opens with an unmistakable summer bouquet, bursting forth with sun-kissed Lychee and tropical white peaches, set on a canvas of bergamot, grass oil and magnolia flowers in full seductive bloom. The marriage of these elements, together with a dusky floral heart of Sampaquita absolute, freesia and muguet, combine to form a fusillade of fabulous intensity. An inspired quartet of base notes, musk, vetiver, moss and ambrette seed, unify and harmonize this sensational summer scent. Literally translated as "I Promise You", Sampaquita flower is a symbol of purity and fragility, coupled with fidelity-and resolve.
Top: Lychee, grass oil, bergamot and magnolia
Heart: Sampaquita absolute, freesia, muguet, rose and water lilies
Base: Musk, vetiver, moss and ambrette seed
Parfum d' Or Nature1
(A Damascus rose from Arabia)
Ta'if, a town rising 5000 ft from the shores of the Red Sea and overlooking the
Arabian dessert is renowned for its plantations of Ta'if rose. Ta'if by
OrmondeJayne is an intoxicating and audacious rose scent. This perfume
dislikes daylight preferring dusk, the night, parties, promises and assignations.
It is an opulent composition which makes a bold entrance and is confident
enough to sweep everyone else to one side - a real belle of the ball. Ta'if is
flamboyant but also sophisticated, a torrid blend of saffron, pink pepper, rose,
dark sappy tree resins and patchouli -it is dynamic, daring and madly in
love with life.
Top: Saffron & pink pepper. Heart: Ta'if rose, orange blossom and dates. Base: Broom
For those not familiar with Ormonde Jayne, samples consist of the
full fragrance library and it contains all 10 perfumes decanted into mini sprays
at Eau de Parfum strength. This is accompanied with a brochure explaining
each scent, the Ormonde Jayne philosophy and history.
Everything is housed in a velvet and satin pouch.
I have ordered samples and perfumes numerous times,
Available at Ormonde Jayne Perfumery
The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London WI
T + 44 (0) 207-499-1100
By Tracy Figler
The magic of modern travel lies
in the almost-instantaneous
change of atmosphere it affords.
One minute you may be
slogging through snow cone
slush at an alpine resort , then -
mere hours later - landing
timezones away, bathed by
strange, warm winds redolent
of mysterious greenery
and rare flowers.
Tarantella, a new release by
Australian house, Tommi Sooni,
does just that in a mélange of notes that suggest leaving your
coat behind. Promoted as Australia’s first prestige perfume,
Creative Director Steven Broadhurst marries niche and classic
in an ambrosial warm-weather blend.
A bright mix of aldehydes, citrus and florals characterizes the scent, but hanging over this exotic heart is a moist, green cloud with an earthy, vegetal quality. Right from the top, I found myself craving more of this odd cellulose-like opening. Verdant and unusual, it holds in check the rich heart of florals and fruit, the way a mature chaperone tempers a wild young girl.
Tarantella is exuberant and versatile. Lighthearted enough for afternoon weddings, garden parties and croquet, I imagine it trailing behind the parade of spectacular hats at the Royal Ascot. And still it is sophisticated enough for a serious night at the ballet – that special, scent that fills the theater making you wonder who might be wearing it and what it might be.
Unmistakably feminine and moderately tenacious with notable sillage, it is pretty without being cloying or predictable.
Classified as a chypre, the notes are listed as:
Top: aldehydes, galbanum, orange blossom, tagetes, Sicilian mandarin
Heart: frangipani, muguet, orris, Anatolian rose, bay laurel, clove, black hemlock
Base: patchouli, amber, leather, oak moss, sandalwood, intense musk
Tarantella, the first perfume for Tommi Sooni is named in honour of the beloved Sicilian dance.
Bronze Goddess Review
by Kathy Patterson
In the beginning: The sensuous heat of the sun. The core of this Radiant Amber scent exudes smooth sensuality. The creaminess of Coconut Milk, Sandalwood, and Vanilla unwinds with silky warmth. The exotic combination of Vetiver and Myrrh deepens the sexiness with its embrace.
In the middle: the silky softness of warm sand. Velvety smooth Amber, with its warm, mysterious scent, glows at the center, pulsing the uninhibited spirit of summer's sultry heat through the fragrance. The vibrancy of bright, zesty elements infuses the fragrance with sun-drenched lightness. Juicy Mandarin, Sicilian Bergamot, and Lemon blend with Pulpy Orange for a mouth-watering sensation.
In the end: the radiance of bronzed skin. An intoxicating blend of milky flowers adds to the creaminess of the Amber signature. Luscious Tiare Flower and exotic Jasmine blend with the tenderness of Magnolia Petals for an indulgent floral effect. Orange Flower Buds add a glimpse of sunshine with lustrous floralcy, while fresh Lavender adds a breath of softness.
Ok - so that's Estée Lauder's official press release for their new Bronze Goddess scent.
Let me let you in on a little secret - Bronze Goddess is the reincarnation of 2007's wildly popular limited edition Azurée Soleil. They are nearly identical, with that luscious blend of coconut and tiare, but I would say that Bronze Goddess has noticeably more citrus. It's still just as gorgeous as the original, so don't let the extra splash of orange deter you. It's actually a good thing. I dare say I love this version just as much, and will probably buy it (even though I have stockpiled Azurée Soleil).
Bronze Goddess is available this month, in Eau Fraiche Skinscent, Body Oil Spray, and Luminous Body Lotion. What are you waiting for - go buy it, but save some for me!
Eau de Shalimar
What if it were possible to enhance and heighten the freshness of the Shalimar top note? In touch with our every wish, Guerlain’s great talent resides in its ability to reveal new facets of an instantly recognizable fragrance. This is perfectly illustrated in Eau de Shalimar, a light yet sensual interpretation of the legendary Shalimar.
One of the masterpieces that has shaped the legend of Guerlain since it was established 180 years ago, Shalimar is a sumptuous oriental fragrance that cleverly combines bergamot and lemon, skillfully enhancing and contrasting with the amber and vanilla accord. A sensuous perfume creation that warms up instantly on the skin.
In Eau de Shalimar, citrus notes prevail in the top note in a vibrant, succulent harmony of lime, bergamot and orange creating an impression of intense freshness. Their sparkling accents linger in the heart before giving way to majestic vanilla. A delectable invitation enriched with a bouquet of rose and jasmine. The vanilla notes then gradually melt away to reveal the powdery, sophisticated tones of Iris and a fragrant trail of the utmost elegance.
The clear glass bottle and the pure lines of the new white box embody the freshness of Eau de Shalimar.
Price: $65 50ml Eau de Toilette Spray
Available: April 2008 Exclusive to Macy’s East ONLY (East Coast)
Ineke Evening Edged in Gold
by Kathy Patterson
Notes: osmanthus, plum, angel's trumpets, saffron, cinnamon, midnight candy, leather, woods
I've read other reviews of Evening Edged in Gold that talk about ripe fruit and sweetness, but I get none of that. For me, the scent is dry, almost iris-dry. The osmanthus is very delicate and it mingles with the barest whisper of saffron, so faint it's easy to miss, and an equal amount of cinnamon. There's also a cold cream-like scent lurking in the background.
After a few minutes, I notice some fruit. Not a lot, not enough to call this a fruity scent, just enough to add sweetness.
As the fragrance dries down, there is more sweetness of the floral type, but still very subtle. And there's a tantalizing bit of leather, as if someone walked into the room with a brand new butter-soft leather handbag and sat down next to you. You couldn't bury your nose in it, but you are very aware that it's so close.
Evening Edged in Gold is a lovely fragrance that I can imagine wearing on a warm summer's night. It's light, a bit floral, completely wonderful.
By Kathy Patterson
Notes: cedrat, peony, lychee, pink berries, freesia, jasmine, patchouli, vetiver, ambrette
Elle opens with a citrus topnote accompanied by patchouli and sweetness. I don't ordinarily like patch, but somehow I am completely unoffended by its presence here. In fact, I rather like it. On my skin, the rest of the scent is peony and some berries, all enveloped in that pleasant patchouliness. And it reminds me a bit of Stella, with patch in place of the amber.
I was prepared to hate this one. In general, most department store fragrances horrify me. But, I am almost ashamed to admit, this one had me at the first sniff. I bought it Saturday, at Bergdorf Goodman, tempted by the gift card discount. I'm wearing it right now, and I can't say it was a mistake.
No matter that Chandler Burr raised an eyebrow at me over lunch when I confessed my purchase.
Orange You Glad?
by Kathy Patterson
I had a craving for an orange-scented fragrance to wear in the summer.
Pure orange, like orange oil, pungently citrus, bright and fresh, not orange
blossom or neroli. I got a couple of suggestions from the fine folks at the
Make Up Alley boards, and was able to get my hands on two right away.
Marc Jacobs Orange
Notes: bergamot, mandarin, neroli, tamarind, water mint, freesia, white rose, moss, tonka bean, amber, musk, blonde woods
In the opening of Marc Jacobs Orange, one can detect citrus, a bit of mint, floral notes. Then there's a greenish mossy note, a bit of tangy tamarind (a note that deserves a fragrance of its own), and finally some very light woodsy notes. There's too much going on in this scent for my taste. It's citrusy, but doesn't scream "orange!" and overall, it seems to have a somewhat masculine quality. Unisex at the very least.
Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Arancia di Capri
Notes: Sicilian orange and mandarin, bergamot, grapefruit, and lemon, petitgrain, mate leaves, cardamom, musk, caramel
More bergamot than orange at the beginning, with quite a bit of lemon. The orange-y notes are more noticeable after a few minutes. I don't get any of the cardamom, and the musk and caramel only serve to sweeten up the drydown a little bit. This one is very orange overall, and a strong contender for my favorite.
I also have a sample of Bond No. 9 Little Italy in my possession.Notes: clementine, grapefruit, mandarin, tangerine, jasmine, sheer musk
Tangy citrus fruits, noticeable grapefruit and tangerine, all the way into the drydown. The jasmine is barely there, and serves merely as a support for the usually fleeting citrus essences. The musk lends a softness to the drydown. Pretty darn orangey though,and another close contender for my favorite.
And just the other day, I got a sample of L'Artisan Parfumeur Mandarin Tout Simplement
Notes: green mandarin, ginger, yellow mandarin, frangipani, red mandarin, and white cedar
Citrus and cedar, bright and refreshing at first sniff, and not at all sweet. A couple of minutes in, I can detect the slight dry spiciness of ginger. The drydown is mostly cedar with the barest essence of citrus oils. Subtle, lovely, but not exactly what I'm looking for.
Costume National 21
by Kathy Patterson
Notes: bergamot, milk, orange blossoms, saffron, cumin, pepper, cashmere wood, royal jelly, moss, clary sage, patchouli, olibanum, amber, sandalwood, oudh wood, cedar, vetiver, labdanum, tonka bean, vanilla, musk
Costume National's scent to commemorate their 21st anniversary is called, aptly, 21. It is a fairly complex composition, apparently composed of designer Ennio Capasia's favorite scents. I like it, but there's an overall "perfume-y-ness" that I'm not fond of, probably because it has an old-fashioned quality. And I find myself preferring modern fragrances most of the time.
The first whiff of 21 is of saffron and orange blossom, with spices and a brief hit of woods, all wrapped in a sweet creaminess. The saffron is a really nice version, smelling fairly true to the culinary ingredient rather than an iodine substitute. It, sadly, fades fairly rapidly and is not replaced by the oudh on my skin at all.
There's also a heart of sweetness in 21, a sort of fruity/jammy quality. And a powderyness too, scented with sandalwood. The drydown gets a bit sweeter, with lots of tonka bean and vanilla.
It's a nice scent, rich and interesting, possibly unisex although it's a little sweet for my man's taste. Definitely worth a try.
Kathy Patterson has had an interest in fragrance all her life. Some of her fondest
memories involve digging through her mother's toiletries and playing with her scented soaps.
(She hated Mom's Youth Dew though.) At the ripe age of 40, Kathy discovered niche
scents and Sniffapalooza. Now she's getting out of hand with the perfume collection,
and her husband Neal thinks she's maybe a little crazy.
Kathy is a jewelry designer/graphic artist/research analyst who lives in Baltimore,
MD with her loving hubby and two cats. You can find her all over the place as theminx,
including her site, http://theminx.com.
Gettin' Figgy With It
by Kathy Patterson
The common fig (Ficus carica) is probably the first plant cultivated
by mankind. Recently it was reported in the journal Science that
fossilized figs dating from 9400-9200 B.C. were found in the early
Neolithic village Gilgal I in the Jordan Valley. The Romans counted
figs as an important part of their diet. And today, figs are enjoyed both
fresh and dried, eaten out of hand or in jams or Newtons. :)
My dad was the one to introduce me to figs, he being a fan of things
different and exotic. (Ok, so maybe figs don't seem so exotic, but
keep in mind that I come from an ethnic Polish family, both of my
parents being first-generation Americans. The most popular dried
fruit in my household was the prune.) There was always a bag of dried
figs in the house, and often a jar of fig and walnut preserves as well.
It wasn't until I was in my late 20s that I encountered a fresh fig.
I found its appearance to be rather, er, sexual. But I ate it, and
it was good, and I've loved them ever since.
The tastiest figs I ever had were purchased at Pike Place Market
in Seattle. My husband and I were looking for lunch ideas when
we were offered a taste of a fresh fig by one of the produce vendors.
We bought a pint of them, a chunk of Sally Jackson hard goat cheese,
and some bread, and took it back to our hotel room for an afternoon feast.
And other things....
The scent of a fig can be described as green, fruity, woodsy, and
somehow both sweet and dry at the same time. There's a handful of
figgy fragrances out there, and here are two I've encountered recently.
Parfums de Nicolai
Fig Tea Eau Fraiche
Notes: fig, osmanthus, davana, tea
This eau fraiche opens with a very sweet, overripe fig and a cup of green tea. There's also a vague apricot scent lingering in the background, from the osmanthus, and a vanilliac warmth in the drydown. Fig Tea is in danger of teetering on the brink of being too sweet, but it is a very pleasing fragrance and will be ideal to wear in the Spring, when the first bits of warmth creep into the air, or in the winter, when one longs for warmer climes. I find this scent has a good lasting power on my skin, but YMMV.
Notes: fig, fig leaf, milk of almond, sandalwood, coconut
A softly green and woody fragrance, redolent of not-quite-ripe figs mellowed by a splash of almond milk. The scent of both the fruit and the bark are well-represented here. The coconut and sandalwood whisper gently in the background, neither making its presence known in an obvious manner, but tempering the figginess. Compared to Fig Tea, a very sweet fig, Premier Figuier is on the drier end of the spectrum.
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