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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Perfume Review: Parfumerie Generale Ligne Chapitre II. Part 2.

My enjoyable excurse through the second Parfumerie Generale collection continues. These are the final four scents in the Ligne Chapitre II.

Hyperessence Matale. Another tea scent in the line, Hyperessence Matale is a more concentrated version of L’Eau Rare Matale from the first collection. I do not have L’Eau Rare Matale to compare the two, but somehow Hyperessence does not strike me as a significantly “stronger”, richer, deeper fragrance. It is certainly a lovely tea scent, spiced up by pepper, brightened by a little citrus; it also has a faint and pleasant jasmine note and a delightful, dry, woody undertone…It is earthy and spicy and dark... Still, I feel as if it is lacking something…I don’t really know what. Perhaps it needs more sparkle, even more depth? I am not sure. Full bottle worthy? Perhaps not. For a tea scent with oomph and character, I would rather opt for Harmatan Noir.

Ilang Ivohibe. Romantic, feminine, vaguely exotic, this fresh fruity floral reminded me a little of Jo Malone’s Nectarine Blossom & Honey. The citrus fruit accord in both fragrances has a delightfully tart, green, under-ripe quality, and the flowers in the top notes of Ilang Ivohibe are as light and transparent as in Malone’s ethereal creation. The similarity ends halfway through the scent, when ylang ylang note gains momentum, becomes headier and sweeter, and when vanilla becomes apparent, bringing a certain ‘thickness” and more sweetness to the composition. The scent never becomes overwhelmingly White Floral and vanilla is never too sweet and overpowering, it is a well blended, very pretty composition…but it just not “me”. Full Bottle Worthy? Probably not, since I would never be able to use up even a 50ml bottle.

Iris Taizo. This was the scent that excited me most, when I first heard about the new collection. Iris, wood, cardamom…how can it possibly not be great? It did not disappoint me. Along with Aomassai, Iris Taizo is my favorite fragrance in Ligne Chapitre II and perhaps in the whole line. The first accord in Iris Taizo is a truly magical, intoxicating mix of incense, balm and honey. The cardamom brings that wonderful, sweet, velvety piquancy, for which I adore this note so much, and eventually the star note, iris, appears in all its rooty-earthy-floral-honeyed glory. Enriched by incense, wood and spices, this is perhaps one of the most luxurious, stunning iris scents I have encountered. Full bottle worthy? Oh yes!

Jardin de Kerylos. Fresh, dry, summery fig scent accented by sycamore, I assume it might have been named after Villa Grecque Kerylos built in early 20th century on Cote d’Azur by archaeologist Theodore Reinach to resemble an authentic residence from ancient Greece. Jardin de Kerylos most certainly succeeds in making one think about the sea and the sun and the endless blue sky of a summer spent in a beautiful white villa surrounded by the lusciously green trees…It is an enjoyably linear, uncomplicated and uncluttered fig fragrance that evokes all aspects of figs, from the bark of the tree, to the leaves, to the sweet fruits themselves. Full bottle worthy? It is a gorgeous scent and will most probably delight the lovers of figs in perfume, but I am not a big fan of the note and, although I liked the scent, I probably would never need a big bottle.

The verdict on the second collection? I liked all, loved two (Brulure de Rose and Harmatan Noir) and absolutely adored two more (Iris Taizo and Aomassai). The fragrances are undeniably well-done; they are satisfyingly rich and most are quite complex and ever so slightly strange, without being hard to wear. Quite honestly, I am once again rather smitten with this very interesting perfume line.

The fragrances are available in Parfumerie Generale's online store. Unlike the first eight scents, these are not sold in individual 7ml “micro-flacons”, but it is possible to buy them as a set of 7ml bottles, for €60.00. The full size bottles retail for €75.00-€135.00 depending on the scent and the size. The line is also availabe at The Perfume Shoppe in Canada, they do ship to the US.

The images are from


Made By Blog

Dear readers,

I and my dear friend Katie are extrememly excited to introduce you to a new project, a collective effort between Nobi Shyoia of S-Perfume, Scentzilla, and Perfume Smellin' Things. It is called Made by Blog and is a blog devoted to describing and discussing the process and creation of two special new perfumes. One will be created by Laurent le Guernec for Katie, and the other by Clement Gavarry for Marina. Both perfumers involved have previously worked together in the past on Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely for IFF. The blog would more or less reflect the development and evolution of the perfumes in "real time." We invite everyone to try samples of the trial fragrances as they are made available, as well as the final products, and to read and comment at your leisure at Made by Blog. Your feedback will prove most intriguing to read, and will be much appreciated. Registering to comment is as easy as clicking the "register" link on the sidebar at right, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Marina and Katie

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Perfume Review: Parfumerie Generale Ligne Chapitre II. Part 1.

Having been favorably impressed by the first eight Parfumerie Generale scents, I was excited to learn about their new collection. I am happy to report that the seven new scents are just as wonderful. They are sumptuous, smoothly-blended, interesting and supremely wearable.

Aomassai. I have noted in my review of the first Parfumerie Generale collection, that I loved the fact that most scent seemed to have a “twist”, a little unexpected something that made them fascinating and unique (for example, a sweetly gourmand Musc Maori had a surprisingly animalic quality that I found captivating). Aomassai’s twist is in the very beginning. Parfumerie Generale describes the scent as Oriental Woody Bitter, inspired by Southern Africa and the art of Baoule tribe…after reading this, the delicious, edible caramel-like top notes came to me as a shock. Before I could catch my breath, however, the luscious sweet dessert was gone and the promised wood accord started to unfold. Apparently Wengue (Wenge) wood is the core of this scent, a note I am familiar with from Karan’s Wenge and Black Cashmere, but to me the wood in Aomassai smells more like pine. Not pine needles; there is nothing redolent of a Christmas tree here, but of pine bark and of the pungent, thick and wonderful pine balsam. Add to that a hint of incense, subtle hints of bitter orange and even subtler traces of that gloriously gourmand beginning, and you can understand why I was immediately smitten with Aomassai. Full bottle worthy? Absolutely and urgently!

Brulure de Rose. I must admit that straightforward rose scents do not excite me. My mind is capable of appreciating a beautiful soliflore, but my nose is bored. For me to fall in love with and to wear a rose scent, it has to have additional and just as prominent notes (that is the reason why I adore most scents in Les Parfums de Rosine line). Brulure de Rose is a wonderful example of how a rose scent must be executed to suit my taste. This is an opulent, darkly-sweet fragrance, in which the rose appears as if surrounded by fragrant, smoky fumes of a fire made of aromatic wood and amber, of sugar, vanilla and spice. In a way, the scent makes me think of Turkish Delight with its honeyed, rosy smokiness …however Brulure de Rose is less sweet, more smoky and dark than Lutens’s Rahat Loukoum or the powdery-saccharine Keiko Mecheri’s version of the delicacy. Full bottle worthy? Definitely!

Harmatan Noir. Inspired by the Sahara, this is a dry, dry, dry and spicy mint tea scent. Complex and rich, it starts with the woody note that has a slight incense undertone and is accompanied by stunningly austere patchouli. The aromatic, pitch-black tea accord becomes apparent in a short while; it has a smoky aspect somewhat reminiscent of Lapsang Souchong, but is actually darker and smokier than Lapsang. This is the kind of tea that is brewed for hours, till it is darker than the Sahara night…it does have a very perceptible mint note, but, to my delight, the mint-ness is not overwhelming, it does not take over the scent as is so often the case with many mint tea fragrances. Full bottle worthy? Certainly!

Tomorrow, the other four scent in the second Parfumerie Generale collection.

As for the question of where to find these fragrances, they are available on Parfumerie Generale site. Unlike the first eight scents, these are not sold in individual 7ml “micro-flacons”, but it is possible to buy them as a set of 7ml bottles, for €60.00. The full size bottles retail for €75.00-€135.00 depending on the scent and the size. The line is also available at The Perfume Shoppe in Canada, they do ship to the US.
The images are from


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everybody! I am taking the Monday off, but will be back on Tuesday morning with the review of Parfumerie Generale's new collection of fragrances.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Genius and Evil Genius

March and Patty, two geniuses from Perfume Posse blog, came up with the idea of compiling lists of Genius Perfumes and Evil Genius Perfumes. This is my take on this fascinating topic, but before I begin I would like to try and prevent the shocked exclamations like, “What, no Mitsouko??” and “But where is Tabac Blond??”, by explaining what I mean here by “(good) genius”. A Genius Perfume for me is a scent that is without a doubt beautiful and original, but apart from its unquestionable pulchritude and uniqueness, a Genius Perfume also rocks my world, touches something deep inside my soul and works perfectly well with my skin chemistry. So here are the seven stunning fragrances that, to borrow Hemingway’s expression, make me feel the earth move.

Genius Perfumes (in alphabetical order):

Ambre Narguile by Hermes
Comfort scent extraordinaire, Ambre Narguile is a sweet, rich, smoky, luxurious delicacy that smells of amber, apples, pipe tobacco, cinnamon, and all things nice. As
Chandler Burr noted, “it is not merely the best; there is simply nothing like it on the market, period. And no one will ever do it as well again.”

Attrape-Coeur by Guerlain
One of the most exquisite and most versatile scents, Attrape-Coeur is all great things in one wonderful scent. It is woody, it is floral, it is oriental; it is airy, soft and golden, and its iris note is to die for.

Bois des Iles by Chanel
The proof that wood can be feminine, warm and sensual, Bois des Iles is the perfume that always makes me wonder why I even bother with other scents, when clearly nothing can compare to the perfection that is Bois des Iles, this bewitching potion, this olfactory equivalent of liquid gold.

Djedi by Guerlain
Dark, magical, bizarre, ugly-beautiful, this blend of vetiver, patchouli, leather and who knows what other witchy ingredients, Djedi is the scent of a dark forest somewhere in the land beyond good and evil. Supernaturally captivating.

Feminite du Bois by Shiseido
The second proof that wood can be feminine, warm and sensual, Feminite du Bois, this “Mother of all Bell Jars” (Patty), is a robust, darkly sweet elixir that I never want to be without. Not necessarily a conventional comfort scent per se, it feels so natural, so right on my skin, that I find it extremely comforting and centering.

Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens
Another ugly-beautiful wizard among my favorite scents, Muscs Koublai Khan is strange and dirty, at times smelling just like an unwashed, ruthless, blood-thirsty warrior of the steppes. And yet, somehow, this odd animalic creation is extremely wearable for me. But the most amazing thing about it is its extraordinary, raw sensuality. This scent is so sexy, it makes my mouth dry and my knees weak.

Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle
Musc Koublai Khan’s somewhat more refined, softer relative, this warm, spicy fragrance is a story of passionate love, from the initial spark of adoration to the rapacious love-making, to the loving, comfortable embrace afterwards…

Evil Genius Perfumes (in order of evil-ness):

Luctor et Emergo by People of the Labyrinths, a.k.a POTL is an Evil Genius because, with its “precious woods” and its “incense” and its “fresh grasses”, it sounded like a sophisticated, bohemian, super-duper wonderful fragrance, guaranteed to be my holy grail…whilst in reality, on my skin, it turned out to be a cloying, incredibly sweet, simplistic ambery mess. There are very few scents out there that clash this badly with my skin chemistry.

Cool Water by Davidoff. The Evil Genius perfume that launched thousand other aquatic perfumes, the fragrance category that I hate with undying passion. Evil. Pure evil.

L’Eau d’Hiver by Frederic Malle. Evil Genius simply because it managed to somehow hypnotize people into believing it smells of something, whereas this is really a no-scent scent, an olfactory empty space. Seinfeld was a sitcom about nothing, L’Eau d’Hiver is a fragrance about nothing…The difference however is that while Seinfeld was hysterically funny, the only hysterical thing about L’Eau d’Hiver is its price. [braces self for stones, rotten eggs and tomatoes from the many fans of L’Eau d’Hiver]

Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka. The original, purple one. The one with all the licorice. The relentless stalker that seems to follow me wherever I go, probably in hopes of one day, in a small closed space like a hot elevator, finally smothering me with its murderous, sweet, anise-leaden fumes.

Angel by Thierry Mugler. I must note that I have nothing against Angel as such, in fact, I rather like it, in small doses and on rare occasions. Still, I consider it to be an Evil Genius because of the staggering, ever-growing amount of spin-offs, wannabes, smell-alikes that this darkly-gourmand scent seemed to have spawned. Its offspring are everywhere, they are taking over the earth.

Next week, the second perfume collection by Parfumerie Generale.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Perfume Review: Lorenzo Villoresi Piper Nigrum

I realized that it has been a while since I talked about my comfort scents. And yet they deserve recognition and praise. They are there for me when I am cold, tired, lonely, grumpy and bothered. They don’t make life better, but they do make it more bearable. One of my relatively recently discovered comfort scents is Piper Nigrum by Lorenzo Villoresi. There is something about its spicy, creamy blend that never fails to soothe and calm me.

This is a strange scent, warm and chilly at the same time. The pepper, with its dry, warm piquancy, is quite apparent, but the mint note is just as strong, stronger even at times (especially in the beginning), it acts as a “cooling agent” of sorts here, and I find this contrast of hot and cold to be extremely appealing. The minty accord also has a certain discreet sweetness that softens the composition, adding to it an unexpectedly creamy quality. When the mint subsides, the green-herbal spiciness of marjoram becomes evident, as well as the balsamic woodiness of styrax and the velvety warmth of myrrh. The constant interplay of the cold and the spicy-hot, of the dry and the creamy is bewitching, almost hypnotic. Like with some of my other comfort scents, Angelique Encens and Passage d’Enfer, the comfort that I find in Piper Nigrum is akin to detachment, disconnection from whatever it is that pains and troubles me. When I wear Piper Nigrum I feel, like Tsvetaeva’s Tsar-Devitsa, that

Nowhere will you find me,
I’m lost in no place.
And nothing can catch me.
And nothing returns me.

Piper Nigrum is available at Aedes, $90.00 for 3.4oz.

*The image is from

Perfume Smellin' Things 10% Off Coupon at

The lovely people at kindly created a special coupon for the readers of Perfume Smellin' Things. Enter PST-BLOG at the checkout and get 10% off on any purchase, no limit, no expiry date.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Perfume Review: Guerlain Vetiver, Vetiver Frozen and Vetiver Pour Elle

Those, like yours truly, obsessed with vetiver, might want to try every and eventually own almost every vetiver fragrance ever produced. And yet one’s need for vetiver can easily be satisfied by Guerlain’s Vetiver. Created in 1959, this scent showcases all the best features of vetiver, the aromatic verdancy, the fragrant rootiness [the name for vetiver in Java is akar wangi, “fragrant root”], the subtle, refreshing citrusiness, the enjoyable earthiness, a wonderful hint of woodiness, and a certain Guerlainesque leathery-ambery darkness in the drydown. There is not a single thing I would change, take away or add to this wonderful scent, this Golden Standard of Vetiver. To quote Shakira, baby, this is perfection.

Vetiver Frozen, also known as Vetiver Eau Glacée, was created in 2004; it emphasizes the refreshing, bracing side of vetiver with the aid of the cooling agents (whatever those might be). Vetiver Frozen has a delightful, unexpectedly nutty, woody top accord that, to my nose, also carries a hint of patchouli. And then, I assume, the mysterious cooling agents kick in, because the fragrance acquires a quite literally chilly, mentholated quality on my skin. Fun and revitalizing as that stage might be, at that point Frozen stops being a vetiver scent, since the star note becomes overwhelmed by that menthol-camphor-like “cooling” accord. Only in the drydown does vetiver manage to gain strength again, and when it does, the scent becomes gloriously rooty, green, aromatic…all the things I love in vetiver scents. “Mint” is still apparent in the drydown, but it is not as obnoxious as in the middle stage. If I could take the nutty beginning and the wonderful intense vetiver of the drydown and skip the cooling agents…this would be a great scent indeed, but it would not be Frozen.

Vetiver Pour Elle (also 2004) is a scent built on the assumption that Elle cannot possibly wear the original (“men’s”) Vetiver. It is a lovely fragrance but, to my nose, it is not about vetiver. Vetiver Pour Elle is a floral scent with a note of vetiver as opposed to a vetiver scent with a couple of discreet floral accords. The beginning of the fragrance is beautiful; the orange blossom, brightened by bergamot and spiced up by nutmeg, has the same striking, almost indolic quality as the one I adored in Mona di Orio’s Nuit Noire. After the glorious start, however, the scent more or less goes downhill on my skin. In the middle stage it becomes a rather indistinct, though very pleasant and delightfully fresh floral with a rather more subdued orange blossom and lily of the valley being most prominent notes. Vetiver? Does not show up till the late drydown, when the flowers fade and the title note finally gets a chance to show off its marvelous grassy earthiness. Taken at its own merit, Vetiver Pour Elle is an enjoyable, tasteful floral scent. As a vetiver fragrance…as I already grumbled above, this really is not a vetiver fragrance.

Vetiver is available…everywhere and cheap; for example, Scentiments offer 4.2oz testers for $21.89. Vetiver Frozen is much harder to find. Recently I saw it being sold at, $42.58 for 2.5oz. Vetiver Pour Elle seems to only be available at duty free shops, and perhaps not even there anymore since, I believe, it was supposed to be a limited edition.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Two New Scents in Perfume d'Empire Line: Cuir Ottoman and Iskander

Parfum d'Empire, the maker of my beloved Ambre Russe, introduces two new scents in their collection of fragrances:

Cuir Ottoman, an "irridescent leather", which reveals the erotism and the mystery of the East. This perfume is "an olfactive print of Ottoman Empire and its Harems". The fragrance has notes of iris, leather, styrax, cistus, balsams tolu and benzoin.

Iskander, a "luminous chypre", which conveys the ardor, youth and beauty of Greece. This perfume is "an olfactive print of the Greek Empire and its ancient Thermal baths". The notes are citron, tangerine, tarragon, rosemary, musk and amber.

Both perfumes will be unveiled on June 29, 2006. (from the Parfum d'Empire press release)

Personally, I don't think I will be able to eat or sleep or rest till I get to try Cuir Ottoman.

Monday, May 22, 2006

No review tomorrow; will be back on Wednesday with a post on something by Guerlain or with vetiver or both.

The image is from

Perfume Review: Keiko Mecheri Mihime and Ume

Mihimé and Umé are two new fragrances in the prolific Keiko Mecheri line. Both are said to have been “inspired by the timeless Orientalist pieces of Parisian couture houses in the Art Deco period” (from Mihimé, with notes of hawthorn petals, bergamot, violet leaves, rose petals, ylang ylang, narcissus, peach, amber, vanilla, heliotrope and white musk, is a an airy, citrusy-green rose scent on my skin. The potential sweetness of the rose, the syrupy fruitiness of peach and the doughiness of the base of vanilla, amber and heliotrope are nicely balanced by the bracing bergamot, the chilly violet leaves and what I perceive to be an agreeably metallic lily of the valley note. The result is a scent that is bright, subtle, very pleasant and extremely wearable. It does not, however, have enough richness, oomph and originality to successfully pay “homage to the classic chypres of French perfumery”. Luckyscent praises Mihime’s “beautiful spare quality that keeps it modern”, but as far as I am concerned, the scent is too spare, too indistinct and generally pales in comparison with scents it was meant to honor.

My first impression of Umé, a “meditation on umé, the Japanese plum”, was that such meditation was being done in the temple worshipping Angel. The beginning of this scent has intense fruity richness not unlike that of the Mugler’s sumptuous creation. When the candied top accord of mandarin, persimmon and wisteria subsides, the scent, although quite sweet, loses some of its richness, with fresher floral accord and slight woodiness keeping the sweetness in check. Having said that, and I know I sound annoyingly hard to please, for what the scent is trying to do, i.e. be reminiscent of the decadence of the bygone era, it is almost not sweet enough, not rich enough, and like Mihime, rather hazy and indistinct. Furthermore, it smells like a multitude of scents, including the aforementioned Angel, both Flowerbombs and too many others to name. Even the fans of this fruity-gourmand genre (and, to an extent, I am such a fan) might judge Ume to be too similar to the scents they already love and own.

Mihimé and Umé are available at Luckyscent, $80.00 for 2.5oz.

*The images are from

Friday, May 19, 2006

Perfume Review: Rich Hippie Psychedelic

Rich Hippie create perfume by combining organically farmed or wildcrafted extracts of flowers and plants and 100% natural "spirits of wine" or wine alcohol distilled from grapes organically grown in the wine regions of California. The company professes that their scents are safe both for their wearer’s health and for the environment. I have tried several of Rich Hippie fragrances and each time I have been impressed by the richness and smoothness of their blends (you can find my review of Rich Hippie here). These are not complex, sophisticated fragrances, but I find them to be well composed, full of character and quite enjoyable.

Psychedelic, with notes of vanilla, ginger and orange peel, is a sumptuous, bright scent that has a delightful boozy-happy feel about it. It starts with a rich, warm note of vanilla; in a short while orange joins the blend and is almost immediately followed by ginger. I have been known to complain about the short-lived nature of ginger notes in fragrances, especially when paired with vanilla. In the case of Psychedelic, ginger stays quite perceptible till the very end adding a little sweetly-peppery twist to what otherwise could have been just another creamsicle-like scent. Make no mistake, this is still a sweet, gourmand composition, but it has a nice piquant kick and, without being overly foody, it makes me think of some wonderful, exotic sweet-and-spicy dessert, perhaps something from Thai cuisine. As I mentioned above, this is a rather simple scent, it isn't full of nuance and does not undergo much development, but its blend is very smooth and its notes are luscious. It is a joyful, pleasurable fragrance and I have a very strong suspicion that there might be a bottle of Psychedelic in my future.

Psychedelic is available at, $85.00 for 1/2oz or $185 for 2oz.

*The image is from

Thursday, May 18, 2006

From The Mouths of Husbands...Mr Colombina Reviews Fresh Cannabis Santal

When my wife, the lovely Colombina suggested I give this review thing another go, I thought she was kidding when she suggested Cannabis Santal. (by Fresh … Prince of Belair … I think she said).

I suspect though, that whoever the perfumer is …it is actually just a front for some Colombian perfume cartel.

OK, so I knew what Cannabis was … and for the life of me … couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to smell like bong water …or as they say in the perfume world … “Eau de Bong.”

But before I began, I wondered what Santal meant.

(time to Google)

The “Santals” are one of the largest ethnic groups in India apparently. So was I to expect a scent combining the smells of India? Perhaps a curry?

With my first sniff … and as you may know from my last post, I am olfactory-challenged … I again locked in just on the smell of alcohol. Cannabis, alcohol and a curry? Sounds like a good weekend with the Gallagher Brothers of Oasis fame

I then discovered that Santal is also the name of a popular range of fizzy fruit drinks in Italy, Portugal, Brazil and Australia. Confused, I asked the Mrs. And she told me Santal was French for Sandalwood.

Sniff number two and I began to get past the alcohol smell and my spidey senses detected something sweet and fruit-like ….well like a fizzy fruit drink actually.

Noted in its absence, was the smell of cannabis!

No contact high, no light-headedness, no desire to play air guitar and talk like Jeff Spicoli, no late-night search for cheese nips and other munchies. Clearly this was a case of false advertising.

I began to think of who they could use as an advertising spokesperson. Unfortunately Bob Marley is dead. Cheech and Chong seem too obvious!

What about Bill Clinton? How could you trust him to endorse the perfume if he never inhales it? How about Ricky Williams of the Miami Dolphins? “I failed my urine test again but really …it was only because of my cologne!”

I also now wondered if Cannabis Santal was available in various grades of quality (and what their associated street values would be). Was there a Maui-Wowwee version? A home-grown Alaska-windowbox skunk version?

OK, time to digress …

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant that includes one or more species. The plant is believed to have originated in the mountainous regions just north-west of the Himalayas in India
. AHA …the Santals must have something to do with this!

Though it could also come from Northern Africa
. It is also known as hemp, although this term usually refers to cannabis cultivated for non-drug use. As a drug it usually comes in the form of dried flowers (marijuana), resin (hashish), or various extracts collectively referred to as hash oil.

Sandalwood … well just a wood …and not good fodder for cheeky comments so I won’t say so much about it.

Getting back to the scent …

It is highly (pardon the pun) wearable and very pleasant. All kidding on the name aside, I would recommend it (and even wear it) though I think it could be a wee bit overpowering if you put on too much.

Though the cannabis won’t give you the munchies per se … I did feel a slight bit peckish from the food smells. I am guessing there was either a cocoa or vanilla bean kind of smell and as I mentioned earlier … fruit (Kind of like tangerines).

To be honest, I half expected it smell like POT pourri.

Surely my wife will tell me I’m from Mars and am just imagining those smells from ingredients that aren’t really there. That it’s just rose oil or some such. But that’s what MY nose tells me and I’m sticking with it.

Seacrest Out.


(Courtesy of:

* All schoolbooks were made from hemp or flax paper until the 1880s.
* It was LEGAL TO PAY TAXES WITH HEMP in America from 1631 until the early 1800s.
* REFUSING TO GROW HEMP in America during the 17th and 18th Centuries WAS AGAINST THE LAW! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769.
* George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers GREW HEMP. Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France then to America.
* Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America and it processed hemp. Also, the War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow's export to England.
* For thousands of years, 90% of all ships' sails and rope were made from hemp. The word 'canvas' is Dutch for cannabis.
* 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp until the 1820s with the introduction of the cotton gin.
* The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross's flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp.
* The first crop grown in many states was hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th Century.
* Oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization probably goes back to ancient Egypt.
* Rembrants, Gainsboroughs, Van Goghs as well as most early canvas paintings were principally painted on hemp linen.
* In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs;
* Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937. 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935;
* Henry Ford's first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the CAR ITSELF WAS CONTRUCTED FROM HEMP! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, 'grown from the soil,' had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Perfume Review: Burberry London by Burberry

Burberry London (not to be confused with Burberry, a 1997 Burberry classic) is a recent release meant to “capture and celebrate the city of London and its distinctive sense of style.” It was created by Dominque Ropion, the author of Carnal Flower, Une Fleur de Cassie, Euphoria and Alien, and the bold, sensuous Ropion’s touch is certainly apparent in Burberry London. Having said that, on the scale of 1 to 10 of originality, beauty and wearability, where Une Fleur de Cassie would be a perfect 10, Carnal Flower an 8,5 and Alien a 1, Burberry London is a 2, no more.

Burberry London starts deceptively soft and delicate, with a lovely accord of clementines and roses. The pairing of sweet citrus fruits and dew-sprkinled roses is truly delightful, airy and candied at the same time. And then, as far as I am concerned, things start going wrong. A very heady, very sweet tiare appears, overwhelming all other notes and completely taking over the composition. I don’t quite understand why tiare is included in a scent meant to represent London, but that is not really an issue. The issue is the unattractiveness, the aggressiveness of that heavy floral note. After the advent of tiare, all other ingredients become practically imperceptible. Forget the pretty clementine-rose accord, forget the promised peony; even jasmine, not a shy flower by any stretch of imagination, did not stand a chance against the incredible strength of tiare. Sandalwood and patchouli of the drydown? Forget them too. Tiare ruled supreme. Burberry London was heavy, basically linear and quite unappealing if not to say unpleasant. As it is so often the case with scents we do not enjoy, its lasting power was superb.

Burberry London is available at Imagination Perfumery, $34.99-$63.99.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Perfume Review: Yatagan by Caron

It is the strangest thing…Certain words, certain images are incredibly, inexplicably alluring for me, khan, sultan, janissary, yatagan…When I hear Middle Eastern, especially Turkish music, I feel an unaccountable longing... for what, I don’t even know. If I believed in previous life, I would have thought I was an Ottoman warrior of some sort in my prior incarnation. Perhaps, the blood will indeed always tell, and, as Bierce has said, a Russian is a person with a Caucasian body and a Mongolian soul. And it is that soul of mine that loves and craves Yatagan by Caron.

Created in 1976, this woody-leathery chypre is one of those odd, ugly-beautiful scents (like Muscs Koublai Khan, Kolnisch Juchten, Djedi) that somehow manage to be surprisingly wearable. Named after a Turkish saber with a curved blade, Yatagan smells of grass, moss, earth, leather and hot, hungry, cruel bodies. It is an uncompromisingly dry and austere fragrance with no frills, i.e. no sweetness and no flowers. The first accord hits you with dark, sharp greenness of wormwood and artemisia, and after that aggressive start the scent never subsides, never relents. It gets darker and earthier, with notes of patchouli, vetiver, moss and labdanum being most prominent in the composition. Several wonderfully weird hours later, the leather and musk creep in bringing an even drier and quite animalic quality to the blend. Dirty, dry, devilishly alluring, Yatagan is one of the strangest scents I have ever loved, a dark balm for my “Mongolian” soul.

Yatagan is available at Imagination Parfumery, $27.99 for 4.2oz.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Perfume Review: Guerlain Colours of Love and La Prairie Silver Rain

I love the work of Jason Brooks, the British fashion illustrator, whose images I have used in various posts (see Amouage Ciel and Rich Hippie). If ever a cartoon is made out of my life (ha ha), I want Jason Brooks to draw the super-glamorous, ultra-chic, uber-gorgeous version of me. Apparently The House of Guerlain are big fans too, since it was Jason Brooks who designed the packaging for their Love is All and the recent release, Colours of Love. Call me humorless, grumpy and wary of change, but I think that those images and those colors are just plain wrong to be used by Guerlain. I understand that Guerlain is trying to keep up with the trends and to appeal to a more youthful audience…But I wish with all my heart that they did not have to do that.

Now that I have taken that off my chest, on to the scent itself…The juice is sadly much less attractive than the packaging. It is a Pink Fruity Floral, in which the bright, tart and sparkling notes of grapefruit and kiwi clash in a disagreeable manner with the powdery and sweet notes of violet and mimosa. I kept hoping that the bothersome fruity notes would subside leaving behind the lovely flowers, but the grapefruit and the kiwi stuck around till the end, messing up and watering down the composition. Because of that watery, almost-aquatic quality, I found Colours of Love to be not just an unremarkable clone of Escada’s Limited Edition summer scents, but actually quite unpleasant.

As far as I know, Jason Brooks was not involved in designing of the packaging of Silver Rain by La Prairie, but in this case, he really should have been asked to draw an ad for the scent. If he had, it would have looked like this:

Much has been said about the discrepancy between the name, the packaging and the scent of Silver Rain, and I agree that this sparkly, fruity compote does not evoke rain or color silver. This incredibly overpriced concoction smells to me like a cross between Angel, with its heavy, sweet, gourmand accords, and Baby Doll, with its bright overload of grapefruit and berries. Silver Rain is not bad smelling at all, in fact I find it a little more agreeable than, say, Colours of Love. It is a sparkly little disco scent that might be fun to wear in a night-club in Ibiza. However, given the fact that Silver Rain smells like a legion of other Angel/Baby Doll smellalikes, I find the price of this scent to be almost offensive.

Colours of Love used to be available at Sephora, $51.00 for 50ml, but seems to have been already discontinued there. I believe it should still be available at Duty Free stores. Silver Rain can be found at Nordstrom, $135.00 (!) for 50ml.

The ad for Colours of Love is from The second image, called Warhol, is from, where you can also view his other works.


And the winner of the prize draw (drawn by my little daughter from her pink panama hat) is Mark (from Australia). Dear Mark, please send me your address using the Contact Me link on the left side or on the bottom of this page. Thank you very much, everybody, for being the part of our Mother's Day fundraising event and for reading my blog!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Fundraising, Prize Draw and Perfume Review: Lancome Climat

Happy Mother’s Day, everybody! This weekend Perfume Smellin’ Things is participating in a fundraising campaign. For each person who leaves a comment on today's, yesterday's or any of the previous posts, a $1 donation will be made to Orphan Foundation of America. Also, today, to celebrate Mother’s Day and to thank you for being a part of this event and for reading my blog, I am holding a prize draw. To take part in a draw, simply leave a comment on this post and indicate in some way that you do want to be included in a draw. The name of the winner will be picked at random by my little daughter tomorrow morning. Please do not hesitate to participate even if you do not reside in the States! Oh, and the prize…

The prize is a 1/6 ounce (5ml) decant of the fabulous Parfum des Merveilles by Hermès. Parfum des Merveilles is, as the name suggests, the pure perfume version of Eau des Merveilles. With notes of oak, patchouli, mosses, ambergris, Peru balsam, Siam resin, davana, Cognac, leaves and roots, this is a wonderfully rich, sumptuous rendition of Eau des Merveilles. In my humble opinion the parfum version is much superior to Eau de Toilette, so if you are a fan of Eau des Merveilles you are guaranteed to adore the parfum even more. And if you did not like Eau des Merveilles, there is a good chance that Parfum will change you mind.

And now for the Mother’s day perfume review:

Lancôme Climat

Climat is one of the perfumes my mother used to wear when I was little, along with Madame Rochas and Magie Noire. She does not wear them anymore having moved on to contemporary oriental and woody oriental fragrances like Sonya Rykiel and Wish by Chopard, but in my mind, she is forever associated with the supremely elegant classics I used to admire in childhood. Climat is perhaps my favorite of the scents my mother used to own and one of the easiest for me to wear. It is also an aspirational perfume for me; it paints an image of delicate, graceful femininity, a picture of me as I would love to be and a picture of my mom as she really was (and is) naturally and effortlessly.

My beautiful mama at 20

Climat was created in 1967 and I believe has been since reformulated. The fragrance I am reviewing, which came in the bottle identical to the one pictured here, smells more or less identical to the scent I remember from my childhood. It is a cool, “light green” (in feel as well as in actual color) fragrance of lily of the valley brightened by bergamot and sweetened by rose. A subtle violet note adds just the right amount of powderiness and brings a certain timeless elegance to the composition. The jasmine in the heart of the blend is sensual but gentle enough not to overpower the other notes. The drydown is warmed and softened by sandalwood, tonka bean and amber. The fragrance has a magical combination of subtlety and character, it is fresh and cool and yet wonderfully soft. To my forever enchanted mind, this gentle, refined scent is an epitome of truly “feminine”, of natural elegance, good taste and discretion.

Mom and yours truly twenty-some years ago

Climat is available on, $100 for 50ml of Eau de Parfum. Older-style bottles of Eau de Toilette and Parfum can be found for significantly less on various online stores. I am not sure how different the new release is from the older version; if you are familiar with both, please comment!
Please visit other blogs participating in Mother's Day fundraising:

Beauty Addict for Orphan Foundation of America
Blogdorf Goodman for FINCA International
Brain Trapped in Girl's Body for FINCA International
A Girl's Gotta Spa for Orphan Foundation of America
MonkeyPosh for Humane Society of the United States and Muscular Dystrophy Association
Mother Hen’s Place for Aga Khan Foundation Canada
Legerdenez for Orphan Foundation of America
One Child Left Behind for Heifer International
Perfume Posse for Orphan Foundation of America
Perfumery for FINCA International
The Scented Salamander for Orphan Foundation of America
Scenteur 7 for Orphan Foundation of America *Participating May 10th through the 15th
Scentzilla! for FINCA International
SmellyBlog for FINCA International
The Soap Blog for UNIQUE
That Obscure Object of Desire for FINCA International
Urban Chick for Womankind Worldwide *Participating May 12th 'til she returns from holidaying a few weeks*
Victoria's Own for FINCA International
Yankee Family goes South for Orphan Foundation of America

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mother's Day Fundraising and Perfume Review: Shiseido Message from Orchids

Today and tomorrow this blog is participating in a fundraising campaign. For each person who leaves a comment on today's, tomorrow's or any of the previous posts, a $1 donation will be made to Orphan Foundation of America. Also, tomorrow, to celebrate Mother’s Day and to thank you for being a part of this event and for reading this blog, I will be holding a small prize draw. I’ll say no more today, stay tuned!

Orphan Foundation of America "has served thousands of foster teens all across the United States. From teaching youth how to balance a checkbook, write a resume, and apply for that first big job, to testifying before Congress and State Legislatures, OFA has long been a vocal champion of foster teens... Each year OFA and its scholarship partners award more funding and provide a stronger safety net for those pursuing post-secondary education."

Should you decide to make a donation too, has an online donation option. Women are also invited to join the Pink Panel, run by The Benchmarking Company, who will donate $5.00 to a scholarship fund run by the OFA each time a woman joins or fills out a beauty survey.

And now the perfume review…

Message from Orchids by Shiseido

I decided to review this scent on the eve of Mother’s Day, because for me Message from Orchids is associated with my mom and the days we spent together in a beautiful, fragrant place. Almost exactly ten years ago, the summer of 1996 was one of the darkest, no, make it the darkest, times of my life. When I look back, I cannot believe that somehow I made it through that summer, and the main if not the only reason, that I had gone on, were the people closest to me, my friends, my family and of course first and foremost my wonderful mother. Hoping to ease the heartache by the means of traveling to an entirely different and gorgeous location, she took me to Sochi, a resort town in the south of Russia, on the Black Sea coast.

For years afterwards I have been looking for a fragrance that could replicate the smell of that place. The sea, the sun, the subtropical, blooming plants combine there to create an intoxicatingly luscious, sweet scent…Somehow the Japanese perfume Message from Orchids manages to smell exactly like the air in that beautiful Russian sea town. It is incredibly hard to find any information about Message from Orchids, because it seems to be one of the Shiseido scents exclusive to Japan. As far as I was able to garner, it was created in 1996 as an homage to Orange Cattleya Orchid and features the notes of carnation, hyacinth, orange blossom, orchid flower and vanilla. It starts on my skin with the succulent smell of apricots and mandarins, moves on to acquire a more floral feel, when it smells like a grove of exotic trees in full bloom, and then settles into an incredible, soft and luxurious, blend of ripe fruits, fragrant blossoms and sweet (but not overly sweet) vanilla. Message from Orchids is rich, even “thick”-smelling and yet it is never overwhelming, it does not have a syrupy, toothache-inducing quality of so many “tropical” fragrances. It is simultaneously robust and airy, sweet and strangely, inexplicably smoky. That smokiness has been commented upon by several reviewers of this scent, and it really is a remarkable, surprising quality. This is not the more traditional smokiness of woody notes or tobacco, the smokiness in Message from Orchids is that of fully blossomed, sultry, almost over-ripe flowers… This elusive Shiseido creation is most definitely one of the most exquisite, unbelievably gorgeous tropical scents that I have ever experienced.

For me, its beauty is poignant, heavy with memories. It speaks to me about the world that goes on no matter how badly your life has been damaged, the heartbreakingly beautiful world that smells of sea and exotic trees in full bloom. And it speaks to me about people in our lives who love us absolutely, unconditionally, who help us through the times of impenetrable darkness.

Apparently the potent combination of the impending Mother’s Day and Message from Orchids makes me wax awfully sentimental. Come back tomorrow for another soppy post and a prize draw!

Also, please visit other blogs participating in Mother’s Day fundraising:

  • Beauty Addict for Orphan Foundation of America
  • Blogdorf Goodman for FINCA International
  • Brain Trapped in Girl's Body for FINCA International
  • A Girl's Gotta Spa for Orphan Foundation of America
  • MonkeyPosh for Humane Society of the United States and Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • Mother Hen’s Place for Aga Khan Foundation Canada
  • Legerdenez for Orphan Foundation of America
  • One Child Left Behind for Heifer International
  • Perfume Posse for Orphan Foundation of America
  • Perfumery for FINCA International
  • The Scented Salamander for Orphan Foundation of America
  • Scenteur 7 for Orphan Foundation of America *Participating May 10th through the 15th
  • Scentzilla! for FINCA International
  • SmellyBlog for FINCA International
  • The Soap Blog for UNIQUE
  • That Obscure Object of Desire for FINCA International
  • Urban Chick for Womankind Worldwide *Participating May 12th 'til she returns from holidayin a few weeks*
  • Victoria's Own for FINCA International
  • Yankee Family goes South for Orphan Foundation of America

    • The photo of Message from Orchids is from The picture of Orange Cattleya Orchid is from The Sochi image is from

      Friday, May 12, 2006

      Perfume Review: Jean Patou 1000

      1000 was created for Patou in 1972 by Jean Kerléo (who is now the president of the Osmotheque). The story goes that it took the perfumer ten years to perfect the formula and that “1000” refers to thousand different submissions that were rejected before the final, perfect scent was decided upon. 1000, categorized by Michael Edwards as Floral Rich Bouquet, combines the notes of bergamot, coriander, eucalyptus, angelica, osmanthus, rose, jasmine, violet, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver and civet in a blend of incomparable smoothness and elegance.

      The House of Patou described 1000 as “the essence of extravagance”, hinting at the considerable cost of the ingredients and the luxurious feel of the composition. This extravagance however is of the most refined kind, the chic, supremely elegant extravagance that comes easily to a select few, lucky to be born with natural good taste and/or “old money”, and that is otherwise practically impossible to fake. Oxymoronic as it sounds, the extravagance of 1000 is inconspicuous. When I smell 1000, the words of Coco Chanel come to mind: “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”

      Chanel also insisted that “luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury”, and this philosophy was clearly followed by the creators of 1000. The smooth scent envelopes a wearer like the second skin, the way some very expensive and very elegant silky gowns do. From the shimmering, green top accord of bergamot and angelica, scattered with icy sparkles of eucalyptus, to the generous, lavish, heartbreakingly beautiful heart of golden osmanthus, slightly indolic jasmine, sweet rose and powdery hint of violet and iris, to the rich, darker, discreetly animalic base of woods and amber, 1000 is an absolute, utter perfection. The notes are blended seamlessly, not a single one is out of place; the scent has no sharp corners, it is soft and creamy and thus, even though it is a Rich Bouquet indeed and a Perfume with capital P, it is incredibly easy to wear. I may have compared it to a silk evening gown, but 1000 does not seem out of place worn with a much more casual outfit; this graceful scent is marvelously versatile.

      I will finish the post with yet another quote by the Queen of Elegance, Chanel:

      "I love luxury. And luxury lies not in richness and ornateness but in the absence of vulgarity. Vulgarity is the ugliest word in our language. I stay in the game to fight it."

      1000 is available at Bergdorf Goodman, where 2.5oz EDP Spray retails for $180.00.

      The image is from

      Benevolent Blogging - Saturday May 13 and Sunday May 14

      Just a small reminder that this weekend, May 13th and May 14th (Mother's Day), this blog will be participating in a mass-blog fundraising campaign. For each person who leaves a comment on the weekend posts or any previous posts, a $1 donation will be made to Orphan Foundation of America. I will be also holding a small prize draw, so please tune in on Saturday and Sunday!
      The current list of other participating bloggers:

      Thursday, May 11, 2006

      Perfume Review: Ralph Hot by Ralph Lauren and Missoni by Missoni

      I have mentioned several (probably too many) times before that I am not a fan of fruity-floral scents. Those joyful, almost always too “pink”, often borderline aquatic, dazzling blends are basically an antithesis of everything that I am and everything that I like in perfume. As far as gourmand scents are concerned, I am more inclined to like them, even though I am quite fussy when it comes to gourmand notes (I disapprove of too much vanilla or too much chocolate or in fact of too much anything). But what scares me more than the pinkiest of all pink fruity-florals and the foodiest of all gourmands, are the scents that attemp to be both and to mix the unmixable. Ralph Hot and Missoni are the latest examples of fragrances that are simultaneously fruity-floral and gourmand.

      Ralph Hot is a follow-up to Ralph and Ralph Cool, Lauren’s fragrances targeted for a youthful audience. They are “sexy, flirty, fun” and “capture the energy, spirit and personality of today’s young woman”. Like its Regular and Cool predecessors, Ralph Hot is an annoyingly cheerful and exasperatingly sparkling concoction. It is a bright-pink fruity floral, and if that was not enough to irritate my cantankerous old nose, some gourmand notes were also thrown into the mix for a good measure. If it were just fruity and floral OR just gourmand, Ralph Hot might have been a more pleasant, smoother scent. As it is, the edible accord and the fruits do not seem to blend; the fragrance has an unfinished, hastily-thrown-together feel about it. Of course the problem might simply be that I lack “the energy, spirit and personality” to properly appreciate the scent. In other words, I am way too old for Ralph Hot.

      Missoni, although undoubtedly much more “mature” and “expensive” in feel (as well as in actual price) than Ralph Hot, is yet another example of that worrying trend of pairing warm gourmand and fresh fruity-floral notes. “A fragrance colored by joy, scented by passion, fueled by "amore"”, Missoni mixes not three, but four “layers of scent”, Radiant Yellow (bergamot, nespolo and magnolia petals), Magenta Pink (peonies and roses), Intense Orange (mandarin, bitter orange and kaki) and Chocolate Brown (amber and Gianduia chocolate). What works for colorful Missoni fashion, does not translate well into perfume. To my nose, the scent is a mish-mash of incompatible ingredients. The intense, almost aquatic, strangely minty freshness of citrus fruits clashes with the dusty sweetness of chocolate-amber accord. Radiant Yellow, Magenta Pink and Intense Orange without the Chocolate Brown could have been a fun, bright if rather too sweet scent. The Chocolate Brown part on its own could have been much more appealing and perhaps even quite enjoyable. Thrown together, on my skin, they are frankly a disaster.

      Ralph Hot is available at Sephora, $28.50-$55.00. Missoni can be found at Neiman Marcus, $60.00-$110.00.

      *The images are from and

      Wednesday, May 10, 2006

      Perfume Review: CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea

      I miss home. I miss my mum, my dad and my grandma. I miss our kitchen, the heart of the house. I miss my mum’s cooking. I miss having tea with my family. The English are typically thought of as a tea-loving nation, and they truly are (something bad happened? - have a cuppa!), but the Russians worship at the altar of tea just as devoutly. In our family tea is drunk as many as three, sometimes four times a day; we take our tea black and strong, with a spoonful of sugar and a thin slice of lemon. Unsurprisingly, my ideal tea perfume is also “well-brewed”, just one step away from being truly pungent, it is a little sweet and has a citrus undertone. Unfortunately that perfect tea scent has yet to be found. The fragrances I have tried are either too spicy or too sweet or too heavy on citrus. Comme des Garcons Series 1 Leaves Tea is almost but not quite the scent I am looking for; it is a little too smoky and dark to be my Holy Grail Tea Scent. Russian Caravan Tea by Christopher Brosius is another almost perfect tea fragrance.

      I must confess that growing up in Russia I have never heard about Russian Caravan Tea. And yet, according to, “historically, the Russian Caravan tea was the most important drink” in Russia (”after vodka”, that is). Apparently, in old times, chests of this tea would travel “on camelback from China to Moscow”, thus the name, “Caravan Tea”. According to the same source, the smoky smell of that tea was due to the fact that, during the journey, the tea would absorb the scent of the campfire. Distant, mythical past aside, Russian Caravan Tea that I see being sold in the US, is a dark, full-bodied tea with a somewhat smoky flavor. On some online stores, Russian Caravan Tea is a blend of Oolong and Ceylon teas, in others Lapsang Souchong is mixed with Assam black tea to achieve a smokier effect.

      Christopher Brosius’s Russian Caravan Tea is a less smoky kind; I do not detect any Lapsang Souchong here, and that is one of the reasons I like it. It might be called “Caravan”, but it smells almost identical to the tea I used to drink at home, which, I can assure you, was not scented by the smoke of the campfire but was your regular black “Indian” tea found in your regular Russian grocery store. But I digress…CB Russian Caravan Tea is described by its creator as “smoked black Indian tea, bergamot and the hint of shelves full of old books”. The first sniff is amazingly true black tea scent, strong, robust and aromatic. Then a citrus note becomes apparent, and I love the fact that it is a very discreet note, just a mere hint to brighten the black brew. The scent has just the right amount of sweetness, which means that it is practically not sweet at all. I would have loved Russian Caravan Tea more were it not for a note there that keeps bothering me, some “foreign” accord that I cannot properly identify but that has no place in my ideal tea scent. It might be (cedar)wood of those “shelves full of old books”…whatever it is, I wish it were not there. Still, right now this scent is as close to my dream tea scent as I am likely to get.

      Russian Caravan Tea is available at, $35.00-$45.00.

      The painting is Russian Tea by Irving R. Wiles. The photo of Russian Caravan Tea bottle is from

      100% Love {More} by S-Perfume

      100% Love {More}, a new, more concentrated version of 100% Love, created by Sophia Grojsman, is now available at S-Perfume online store, $80.00 for 2oz.

      Tuesday, May 09, 2006

      Perfume Review: Parfumerie Generale Yuzu Ab Irato

      Yuzu Ab Irato is the newest addition to Parfumerie Generale’s collection of attractive, versatile, interesting fragrances created by (very handsome) Pierre Guillaume. Like the other seven scents, Yuzu Ab Irato feels both contemporary and classic, wearable and out of the ordinary. With notes of yuzu, spearmint, pepper, magnolia, jasmine, hyacinth, thyme, hyssop, myrtle and bamboo, this is a bracing, deliciously sour, green fragrance that is absolutely delightful on a hot day. If I could afford to fill a pool with Yuzu Ab Irato … ah, my skin tingles when I imagine how wonderful it would be to dive in and to luxuriate in this refreshing, cooling, dry, not even a tiny bit sweet brew.

      The scent starts with the tangy, tart yuzu note; the note has the kind of bright, delectable sourness that makes one’s mouth fill with saliva and one’s nose die a tiny little pleasurable death. From the appetizingly bitter greenness of yuzu, the perfume moves on to the chilly verdancy of mint spiced with a little pepper before developing into an herbal-green blend of thyme and hyssop. Citrus-green, minty-green and herbaceous-green, Yuzu Ab Irato is a delight for a fan of green scents. I realize that I used in this review some words (“bitter”, “sour”) that might make the scent sound harsher and more pungent than it really is. It is a gloriously green and fresh perfume but it is also quite soft. Perfumerie Generale calls Yuzu Ab Irato “a delicate show of force”, and that is a perfect description for this fragrance that is subtle rather than intense but that is still full of zest and character.

      Yuzu Ab Irato is available at Perfumerie Generale online store, €58.00 for 50ml. It is also availabe at The Perfume Shoppe in Canada, they do ship to the US.

      *The image is from


      Friday, May 05, 2006

      Perfume Review: Miriam Mirani Aqaba Spring

      I am not a big fan of fruity-floral scents. There are however some exceptions and Aqaba Spring is one of them. This delectable, joyful fragrance managed to charm even my dark, spices-and-woods-loving heart, which rarely flutters with excitement at the smell of romantic flowers and delicious fruits. Created by Miriam Mirani as a follow up to Aqaba, Aqaba Spring is the credit to its creator’s talent in that it smells both remarkably alike the warm, rich and spicy Aqaba and dramatically different from it. Aqaba was an exotic land in the midst of hot, sultry summer, Aqaba Spring is the very same place but in an obviously gentler season.

      This is undoubtedly a sweet scent; however that sweetness is not cloying, syrupy or jam-like. The beginning of Aqaba Spring conveys a pleasant image of fruits and berries (mandarins and blackcurrants) warmed by the sun. As the scent progresses, roses, peaches and apricots become more apparent and they are wonderful together, full of sunshine, of sparkle, of life. Cinnamon, which is evident throughout the development of Aqaba Spring, spicing up and enriching the blend, is especially prominent in the drydown, where it is blended with cloves and vanilla. The presence of spices amid the fruits and flowers is what makes Aqaba Spring so appealing to me and what causes it to stand out among the many insipid, uninteresting, life-less and depth-less fruity-florals.

      Aqaba Spring is available at, $55.00-$125.00 depending on the size.

      The image is from

      Thursday, May 04, 2006

      Perfumes for First Dates, Weddings and Future Queens

      Yesterday Patty from the sassy, classy and wonderful Perfume Posse blog asked herself a profound, heartfelt question that only a true Parfumista would ponder upon: “If I had lost everything in my life, my family, my position, my dignity, and was about to lose my head and there was nothing left, what bottle would bring back the memories of how sweet my life had been, even as it was ending?” Searching for the answer she came up with a poll. I have a weakness for making lists and answering polls, so here are my answers.

      Perfume for a first date. That would depend on what image I would want to convey. Most probably I would opt for Elegant Gentle Femininity, and nothing expresses that better than Climat by Lancôme. In case I wanted to step up my game a little bit and leave an impression of a woman who is Intellectual, Sophisticated And Sexy In A Not Too Obvious Way, I would reach for Le Parfum de Therese by Frederic Malle (Edmond Roudnitska). And finally, if I were in a mood for Getting Straight To The Point, for seducing, conquering, enslaving and having a breakfast together on the very next day, Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle (Maurice Roucel) would be my weapon of choice.

      Perfume for my wedding. If I had to do it all over again, I would walk down the aisle wearing Songes by Annick Goutal. That is truly one of the most weddingy fragrances I know, so very feminine, so very beautiful, so full of warmth, sensuality and promise.

      Perfume for my honeymoon. Again, it would be Songes. The honeymoon would take place in an exotic, tropical location and Songes, that luscious bouquet of frangipane, ylang ylang and jasmine, would fit right in. Besides, wearing the same scent for so many days in a row I will surely leave in my new husband’s subconsciousness the indelible memory of our happy days as a newly wedded couple, conditioning him like Pavlov’s dog…one whiff of my Songes and he is unable to resist me and refuse me anything.

      Perfume for begging for forgiveness for something really horrible I have done. Should I ever feel a need to punish myself and to express how truly sorry I am for my terrible sins, I would reach for the scent that is a torture for me to wear. It’s name is Luctor et Emergo by People of the Labyrinths, a.k.a POTL. Oh, POTL, how I hate thee. I particularly hate you, because your notes make you sound as if you were a custom scent, created especially for me. In reality you were made to torment and eventually kill me, the cloying, sweet, ambery mess, you!

      Perfume for a long lunch with my best girlfriends where there will be liquor and gossip. Some time (too long!) ago, when I was visiting home (now that is a contradiction in terms), I had a dinner at a Chinese restaurant with my best friend, T. There was great food, there was plum wine and there was jasmine tea…Ever since, I have been associating the smell of jasmine tea and jasmine tea perfumes with my friend. When I finally get another chance to dine and chat with her I will be wearing The Pour Un Été by L’Artisan, my favorite jasmine tea scent.

      Perfume for my coronation as Queen of the F*&^ing World. My favorite question. I gave it a lot of thought and still I cannot choose. It would have to be either Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens or Ambre Russe by Parfum d’Empire. These might not seem like obvious choices, so here is my reasoning. When I finally get to rule the world, I intend to do so by taking inspiration from such worthy examples as Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great and Marie Antoinette. That means that I will be ruthless, devious, extravagant and have lots and lots of lovers. If that does not spell Muscs Koublai Khan with its pseudo-refined perfumey veneer and its hungry, insatiable, brutal smell of a beast, then I don’t know what will. However, Ambre Russe is a strong contender. It was inspired by Tsarist Russia, it has vodka, leather, incense and all sorts of other fun and sinful notes, and has Excess and Imperialism written all over it in golden Cyrillic letters. What is a Queen to do? I might just wear both and never mind the terrifying sillage. I am the Queen of the World and I do as I please.

      Perfume to take to the Guillotine. It’s not hard to imagine reading the above paragraph that I will not be the most popular Monarch. My reign (tyranny, rather) will be overthrown and my head will be cut off. To taunt and further infuriate my frugal, prudent executioners, I will wear a scent that is very expensive and very sensual. It would also have to be something deep and soulful, something that would leave a profound impression on the masses and the historians who would be undoubtedly present to witness the momentous event. I might have been a cruel, loose-living dictator in my life, but I will die as a beautiful, tragic martyr. With that goal in mind, I will be wearing Parfum Sacre by Caron, in pure perfume form, naturellement.

      The first image, Top Date, is by Al Buel. Let the Games Begin is by Anne Tainor ( as is They Completely Redefined “Made For Each Other”. The image from the movie Elizabeth is from Marie Antoinette on The Way to The Guillotine is from