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Thursday, August 31, 2006

CB I Hate Perfume. Secret History Series.

Review by Tom

I have to admit that I was bewildered by the number of perfumes at Christopher Brosius' site; I was momentarily overcome by the exact same problem I sometimes have at the video store. What should I choose? I decided to start off with the Secret History series, about which he writes "The perfumes in this collection all speak of single shining points of time in my own life.", from the descriptions, we have some shared history going on, so I thought I'd start here

At The Beach 1966 is written of as "The effect when you wear At The Beach 1966 is as if you’ve been swimming all day in the ocean.", with notes of "Coppertone 1967", and "North Atlantic". This means the dreaded aquatic. I'm not big on aquatics myself, since I feel that there's no real way to capture the essence of the ocean in a scent- or at least no-one has done it so far. The description of this scent I find almost eye-rolling as well, but I can forgive all of that, because the description is so very apt. Brilliantly, Brosius covers the fact that ocean smell is nigh unto impossible to pull off by covering it with the note of Coppertone and salty skin. I was really transported by this one: I was once again a 12 year old at the beach at Niantic, wet bathing suit at all. Of course, this scent makes for the most romanticized 12 year old in a wet bathing suit you can imagine, but since I am not 12, and not looking to [CheapShot] try to seduce R. Kelly [/CheapShot], I do not think that I will be getting a bottle of this one. But I do respect its beauty, and if there is someone who is looking for a simple, clean aquatic with great lasting power, then please click through and order.

Winter 1972 is described as "the blue frozen scent of fresh snow and silver stars" I have not idea what notes are in it, but it does smell, basically, blue and frozen, slightly ozonic, with the ghost of woods and grasses waiting for spring to be released. It's not quite as successful as a concept as the beachy one, but it is very nice.

Memory of Kindness is written of as his childhood memory of his Grandmothers garden, the tomato vines and loamy soil remembered as "a vast jungle of vines" with his child's eyes. I think this is the least ethereal and most interesting of the scents (well, maybe I just like it the best): the brightness of the peppery greens and the slight muskiness of the sun-warmed earth are both immediately apparent and absolutely perfect, managing to be allusive yet not obtrusive.

As much as I respect the achievement, I don't think that I'd actually seriously wear any of these. They are interesting, exceedingly well done, and even evocative in a way that's so shockingly personal I almost feel as if I had an intimate relationship with this man. I can see these being the ultimate comfort scent: if I was ever seriously depressed, these memories of perfect childhood would perk me up better than Atavan...

Like all of his scents, these are available at his website for $60 for the Absolute (oil) and $60 for the Water Perfume (spray). While these three are not going to be full-bottle purchases anytime soon, I will be revisiting him to test his others and urge you all to do the same. Brilliance always deserves to be rewarded.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sampling New Releases. Part 2.

Day two of speed-reviewing….

Esteban Sensuelle Russie. The first thing that strikes one about Sensuelle Russie is that it is a dead ringer for Ambre Narguile. Pale, diluted, not nearly as intense, robust and thus not nearly as interesting but still Ambre Narguile. Ambre Narguile Lite or Diet. The similarity is as obvious as that of, say, Wish to Angel or Bois et Fruits to Feminite du Bois, although far it be from me to imply that Sensuelle Russie is as beautiful as Bois et Fruits…To make your own Sensuelle Russie, take 1/3 of Ambre Narguile, 2/3 of water and mix in some cardamom. I suppose it was only to be expected that Ambre Narguile wannabe scents will start getting launched, in fact I am surprised it has not happened sooner, considering the striking originality, beauty and popularity of Narguile. Still, it makes me sad somehow. On a more positive note, Sensuelle Russie will certainly be a cheaper substitute for the very expensive Hermes scent when and if it is finally launched in the States.

Reminiscence Jammin. When you borrow from one source, it’s plagiarism, when you borrow from several, it is research, they say... Whereas Sensuelle Russie was heavily “inspired” by one particular scent, Jammin seemingly pays homage to several. It starts with an Angelesque bang, with an accord that makes me think of sugared patchouli or patchouli sugar (a la vanilla sugar) sprinkled with grapefruit and blackcurrant juice. Slowly, almost imperceptibly the scent begins to transform, the cardamom note creeps in, with tonka bean and woods tiptoeing right behind it, and before you know, instead of Angel it is Chinatown you are suddenly smelling. From the middle stage forward Jammin has the same lacquered Chinese box smell as the Bond No 9 creation, although Jammin is woodier, drier, and has a very noticeable pine note. It is actually quite interesting. I don’t know whether I would want to buy it, if it ever becomes available in the States, but it is a bright, slightly bizarre little scent that is certainly worth a sniff.

Givenchy Ange ou Demon. Jammin was sugared patchouli, Ange ou Demon is candied oak. Sounds a little odd but not altogether unpleasant, right? It could have been quite lovely were it not for the presence of a lily note of gigantic proportions. Lilies and I are not usually friendly, and given the fact that there was also lots and lots of sweet, powdery ylang ylang and a huge dollop of vanilla…well, I did not enjoy Ange ou Demon at all.

Perles de Lalique. As it is always the case with Lalique, the bottle is simply stunning. As it is always the case with Lalique, the scent is beautiful and, for the lack of better word, expensive-smelling. As is it often the case with Lalique, the scent is not strikingly unique, but rather plays it safe. Still, it is a beauty, and the lovers of rose notes in perfume should take notice of this one. It starts with a gorgeous, lively, lush rose, which has some darkness and yet some sparkle too. It reminded me of Une Folie de Rose and La Rose de Rosine as well as of Lancôme’s Mille et Une Rose, all at the same time. What I would have loved, is for Perles to have a more intense woody note, an even stronger chypre vibe. I also would have preferred if it did not have quite as much patchouli in the drydown, which, on my skin, was practically patchouli only, with maybe just a hint of vetiver somewhere in the background. But that’s just me and my issues. I strongly believe that many people will love the beautiful Perles de Lalique.

Sensuelle Russie and Jammin are not available in the US yet and seem to be impossible to order from abroad. Ange ou Demon is available at Nordstrom, Perles de Lalique at

Tomorrow, please tune in for the first day of our two-day CB I Hate Perfume special. Tom will be talking about At The Beach 1966, Winter 1972 and Memory of Kindness, and on Friday I will post about Black March, Burning Leaves and Tea/Rose.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sampling New Releases. Part 1.

Samples are taking over the house. They multiply what seems like overnight. The List of Samples To Be Seriously Tested and Reviewed is so long, it could easily be stretched from here to Champs-Elysées. (There is also a longer List Of Samples To Be Obtained, Seriously Tested and Reviewed, but that's a subject for a whole different post.) To help the “queue” move along, I decided, in the course of the next two days, to review several scents at once. Today is Part 1.

Bond No 9 Fire Island. Described as the smell of “freshly bathed skin, doused with a coating of premium Euro-sunscreen then warmed up by a midday siesta on the beach”, on me this is a fresh tuberose scent with lots and lots of clean musk, a tiny hint of orange blossom and even tinier one of cardamom. It is lovely, elegantly understated, easy to wear, but it is not “me”. To be “me” it would have had to have much more cardamom, sweeter tuberose and a different, not so clean, kind of musk. I must applaud the creators for not using the ubiquitous coconut note to evoke the beachy smell and feel and for not going over the top and making the scent too obviously "summery". As a result, this could be an everyday and every-season kind of scent, for men and women alike.

Ebba By Sand. Very pretty, very fruity, very edible, and, despite the fact that it is not called Miss Anything, very Ebba. Fun little scent, bright, sweet with gardenia, piquant with ginger, freshened up by lime. By Sand is an exotic Thai dessert of some sort, it is simple and lovely but the kind of thing that I crave very seldom, so I don’t need a bottle.

Badgley Mischka Fragrance. For no good reason whatsoever, apart from the fact that I love their designs, I was really interested in this new release. I am so glad now I did not give in to this irrational lemming and buy a bottle unsniffed. Because it could not be farther from what I like and find wearable. This scent should be called When Fruits and Berries Attack. I don’t know which fruits and berries exactly, there are lots of them and they are all jumping up at me at once so I cannot even think straight…I know for sure that there is the same kind of strawberry that grew on the pink, Barbie-esque fields of Miss Dior Cherie. As for other notes, jasmine did not stand much chance against The Evil Fruits; all I can smell underneath the pink mishmash is some amber and musk. I am sure it smells incredibly lovely on other people, but on me it was a scrubber.

Kenzo Amour. Even bigger disappointment than Badgley Mischka. Although I hated its fruity guts, The Mischka at least had some character and sparkle. Amour is yawn-inducingly dull. Pretty, I’ll give it that, very pretty. But so dull…Not only that, but it is remarkably similar to Lancôme’s a little less boring Hypnôse, especially in the beginning. Lots of sweet flowers (frangipane and cherry blossom), lots of vanilla, some wood with a fun name (thanaka!) , none of the promised rice steam and quite a lot of heliotrope-almond in the drydown …Quiet, fluffy and understated, I suppose Amour would be rather comforting and comfortable on a person with a better skin chemistry than mine. As far as I am concerned, those incredible bottles are wasted on this bland juice.

Jill Stuart Vanilla Lust. I must be going soft in my old age, because I quite liked this simple, smooth vanilla with a subtly fruity (peachy) undertone. There is not much to say about it, it is very linear, very straightforward, quite delectable. I might even be tempted to buy a bottle, because I imagine that Vanilla Lust would be great for bed time and for general lazing around the house. But the thing is, I know very well, that this is the kind of scent that starts boring me to tears within weeks of purchase.

To sum up, of these five, Fire Island most definitely stands out as the best-composed and the most interesting. Vanilla Lust, simple as it is, is another favorite simply because of its unselfconscious deliciousness.

Where to find these scents: Fire Island at, Saks and wherever Bond No 9 scents are sold, $110.00-$178.00; By Sand at, $42.00-$45.00; Badgley Mischka at Neiman Marcus, $65.00-$225.00; Kenzo Amour at Nordstrom, $48.00-$85.00; Vanilla Lust at Nordstrom, $62.00-$145.00.

Tomorrow, Reminiscence Jammin, Esteban Sensuelle Russie, Lalique Perles de Lalique and Givenchy Ange ou Demon.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Perfume Review: Jean Patou Colony

Colony, created in 1938, is Patou’s homage to the Tropics in general and to the French colonies in particular. According to Jan Moran, in 1930s-1940s, Colony “was a favorite bon-voyage gift for many a high sea journey”. It certainly awakens in me the most acute longing to be in a different epoch, to travel the world in supreme comfort and elegance or better yet to be a heroine in some exciting and dramatic work of fiction, perhaps Indochine, as Jan Moran suggests, or A Passage to India, or English Patient, or (my favorite option) Death on the Nile.

As I see it, the action in Colony takes place in a pampered, civilized oasis. The cast of characters, the chic, refined crowd, are enjoying the exotic refreshments and the juiciest of fruits under the palm trees…White dresses, exuberant laughter, secretive, meaningful glances…An experienced reader would immediately sense the dark undercurrents amidst all that gaiety, passionate and dirty secrets, wicked intentions. And lets not forget the wild life prowling outside the brightly lit oasis…Because under all that sumptuous, playful fruitiness of the pineapple note, under the languid sensuality of ylang ylang spiced up by carnation, there is in Colony a very distinct smell of an Animal, a gloriously stinky accord of leather, musk, and, I think, civet.

This is an intriguing scent, a little twisted, a little dangerous, very exciting. It is done with a lot of imagination and quite a bit of humor, and asks for the same from its wearer. To those who, like me, are intrigued by the presence of pineapple note in Colony, I must report that the note is very apparent and, especially in the very beginning, very true to the smell of pineapple. It is not a sparkly, fresh note like that in L’Artisan’s Ananas Fizz; the pineapple here is indolent, sweet in a languorous sort of way. And should the word “sweet” worry you, I will hasten to say that the very distinct chypre base balances the fruitiness very successfully. Not only are there leather and musk, but there is also an earthy, sharpish accord of vetiver and oakmoss. Fruity as it is, Colony is still most definitely a chypre.

The whole effect of Colony is stylized and stylish, this is truly a scent from a different, so much more glamorous time…and yet at the same time I find it to be very modern. I can easily imagine someone like Lutens producing a “tropical”, deceptively fruity fragrance based on the same contrast of flamboyant, vivacious top notes and a wicked, dark, animalic base.

Colony is available at, $39.95 for 2.5oz. Get it for that price while you can. Not anymore. :-) Try I must add that there is a wonderful little surprise tucked into each box, a pure silk Patou scarf (that is it serving as a background to the bottle on the photo).

The photo of Colony is my own. The vintage poster is from

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Perfume Section in The New York Times T Style Magazine

Dark Victory by Chandler Burr. On darkness as a quality in perfume and various ways of capturing it. Examples include Rose Barbare ("The result sweeps over you like the silent, massive shadow of an Airbus A340, a tactile component that makes you narrow your eyes"), Pomegranate Noir, Bigarade Concentrée.

Synthetic No. 5 by Chandler Burr. On predjudices and misperceptions about synthetics in perfume. "As all perfumers know, synthetics are the essence of modern perfume. Creating a perfume without them is like painting a picture without blues or reds. You could do it, but why? Synthetics give you range, from the amazing milky molecule lactone, which makes Gucci’s Rush the ingenious piece of abstract art that it is, to the gorgeous synthetic iris that the perfumer Olivier Polge created when he made Dior Homme. "

The Sweat Hog by Susie Rushton. A fascinating article on the work of an odor artist Sissel Tolaas. "Tolaas calls the West “the smell-blinded.” Overloaded with fragrances — from scented toilet paper to the fake aroma of freshly baked bread pumped out at grocery stores — we’re insensible to our own unadulterated body smells and what they may communicate (...) If each of us had our own body smell parsed into a perfume, Tolaas suggests, the ultimate bespoke fragrance would be at hand: “Perfumes smell different on everybody — that’s an old story. But if you wore your own base, your body smell, you could choose different molecules to add to it. Maybe you’d have one perfume for sex, one for business, whatever.”"

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Guest Perfume Review: Orris by Andy Tauer

Review by Kelley

Fresh out of the tester (the tester is quite generous I might add—thanks Andy!) the scent is all about iris. Iris or Orris, is in this case known to perfumers as orrisroot and is actually the tuber of an iris plant and doesn’t refer to the flower. Iris can be cold or metallic smelling and sometimes even earthy but not in this case…it’s a sexy iris. The iris here is a slightly powdery accord, which smells a little like violet, which is combined with rose and leather.

As the Iris starts to fade after about 30 minutes on my skin, and the middle notes start to come forward, the smokiest rose accord I have ever smelled starts to shine. I should probably add at this point that I have traditional male skin that tends to gobble up/destroy rose notes for some reason. In fact, when I wear my bottle of Creed’s Fleurs de Bulgarie, the rose notes are almost gone before the alcohol dries! In Andy’s Orris, the rose notes last and last. At this stage, I smell rose and birch tar and sandalwood and it’s all breathtaking. This is my favorite part of the scent.

For me, the middle notes carry the fragrance all the way until the end with smoky rose and sandalwood. The only thing I would like to add is that before the scent disappears there is a very strange marijuana odor (not that I have ever smelled pot, it’s what I would imagine pot would smell like, right?). I would guess that this is the expensive agarwood Andy mentioned several times as included in this fragrance.

While testing this the other day, I had a good friend ask if I had roses for her and she was hurt when I told her I was testing a new fragrance! I was going to say that sillage is decent but not spectacular and stays pretty close to the skin after an hour or so…but, the last time I tested this I would get a whiff of it from several feet away even after having it on for hours. I don’t smell any spices or citrus. I don’t detect any ambergris or vetiver at all. For me the scent lasts a good 7 or 8 hours. Is this full bottle worthy for me? Nope. If he was making this for sale I probably would pass because I am saving for a bottle of his Lonestar Memories, which I would marry if it gave me a ring. Would I like to smell this on a woman…you bet! It’s a long lasting, beautiful rose and sandalwood fragrance that starts off with (I am sure) a very expensive Iris note. Andy, you are truly a genius. Where is this available? Well, sorry, it isn’t.

The Orris Secret Formula (not so secret, I stole this from Andy’s blog)

Top notes: Geraniol, Damascenone, Bulgarian rose absolute, Phenylethylalcohol, lemongrass, Linalool, benzylsalicylate, with black pepper and grapefruit and bergamot. (These smell like iris, rose, pepper, cinnamon, and citrus).

Middle notes: birch tar, cinnamon bark, hydroxycinnamaldehyde, and frankincense. (These ingredients add smokiness, incense, and more cinnamon).

Base notes: Amboxan, Sandalore, sandalwood from Australia, sandalwood from Mysore, Vetiverol, vetiver, methylcedrylketon, and agarwood. (These ingredients smell like ambergris, sandalwood, vetiver and finally agarwood).

The image is by Kelley.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Perfume Review: La Sirenuse Paestum Rose

The long-suffering Mr. Colombina will tell you that I am fickle. I go through periods of craving and adoring something only to get bored if not disgusted with it soon after. It especially applies to food and, sadly, to perfume. I fall in love with a note or a type of scent and I want to wear nothing else and then I get tired of it, usually forever. (That is why I must have a very large perfume collection, so I never get a chance to wear the same scent over and over again…And that is my story and I am sticking to it.) Almost a year ago I was in my Rose Period. Oh, how I adored roses. How I wanted to try and own all rose scents ever created, the truer to the fragrance a real flower the better. The Rose Period lasted a couple of months and ever since I have been bored by roses. I am a weirdo who finds scents like Mille et Une Roses and Fleur de The Rose Bulgarie pretty but dull. To excite my jaded self a rose scent has to be much more than just a rose. And to conclude this long preface and finally get to the point, Paestum Rose is an example of how a rose perfume should be done to be loved by me. It is 30% Rose and 70% Other Stuff, and Other Stuff is what makes it so wonderful.

Paestum Rose is the second scent (the first being Eau d’Italie) created for Le Sirenuse, a beautiful hotel in Positano, Italy. It was inspired by the roses and temples of Paestum and is described as a blend of rose, incense and aromatic resins. It is, quite honestly, rather stunning. It starts with a sweet, dark-red accord of rose, incense and pepper; after that the fragrance acquires an interesting, appealing duality of slightly boozy, fruity and floral notes warmed by sweet, sweet myrrh and of dry, spicy, woody accord of frankincense, cedarwood and wenge. The indolent sweetness and the bracing spiciness compete for prominence but neither side overpowers the other. In the end, the dry woodiness does get the control of the scent, but only just. The drunk rose and her equally debauched companions, fruits and myrrh, are apparent even in the drydown, as a bright, ornamented backdrop and a contrast to the austere, sober woodiness.

Paestum Rose is the kind of scent that inevitably puts me in a mood to wax poetic. I won’t be quoting Baudelaire, however. Whenever I think of Paestum Rose, the words from Sting’s beautiful Desert Rose come to my mind and the music starts playing in my head. Click here to listen to it too and to watch the video:

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in pain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of fire
Those dreams are tied to a horse that will never tire
And in the flames
Her shadows play in the shape of a man's desire

This desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

And as she turns
This way she moves in the logic of all my dreams
This fire burns
I realize that nothing's as it seems

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in pain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of rain
I lift my gaze to empty skies above
I close my eyes
This rare perfume is the sweet intoxication of her love

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in pain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

Sweet desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

Sweet desert rose
This memory of Eden haunts us all
This desert flower
This rare perfume, is the sweet intoxication of the fall

Paestum Rose is available at Aedes, $120.00 for 3.4oz.

Tomorrow please tune in, to read Kelley’s review of Andy Tauer Orris!

The first image is from Aedes, the second from

A Scent for Bookworms: Paul Smith Story

Three nerdy cheers for Paul Smith! The British designer launched a fragrance inspired by his love of books. Created by Natalie Gracia-Cetto of Givaudan, Story is described as a mix of fruity, floral notes, featuring a central note of Haitian vetiver. It comes in a transparent glass rectangle-shaped bottle resembling a book and is packaged in a white carton with a front flap that opens like the cover of a book. The name on the packaging and bottle is printed in the typeface taken from an old Olivetti typewriter. British model Mathias Lauridsen is the hot geek in the Story ads.

Story will be launched the UK and the US, in September and October. The line will consist of three EdTs in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml priced at €38, €46 and €58; an after shaving lotion 100ml priced at €46, after shaving balm 100ml at €24, shower gel 150ml at €22 and deodorant stick 75g at €20. At this point the masculine scent will not be accompanied by a feminine counterpart, but the brand promises to launch women's Story in about a year's time. I am going to humbly nominate myself to front the women's ad campaign. I have glasses that are way geekier than those on Mathias Laurdisen.

The news and the images are from

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Interview with Clement Gavarry on Made by Blog

For those following the Made By Blog story, there is a short interview with Clement Gavarry posted on the site

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Review by Tom

I usually try to pretend to myself that there is no practical reason for a man not to be able to wear what has been considered usually a woman's scent. I usually just figure that one applies with a much lighter hand, say one touch of the perfume on the sternum rather than under each ear and on the wrist. Usually, I think that men can get away with this with
practically any note but one: tuberose.

Unlike Joe Gillis in "Sunset Blvd" I am not at all averse to tuberose, as a matter of fact it's the main note in one of my favorite women's scents Fracas. Fracas is not the scent for the young, the inexperienced, or the timid. It's the scent that an old-time movie star would wear- you can imagine that the scent that wafted off Joan Crawford or Barbara Stanwyck as they slung their mink onto the chaise while on their way to seduce, or shoot, or both their co-star. Fracas is the lady in the parlour who's a whore in the bedroom. Fracas is dangerous.

Tubereuse Criminelle is the post-modern Fracas. It defies almost every convention of conventional perfumery that you can imagine. It has an opening that almost defies you to loathe it; a strange, almost sickly mentholated, smokey, leathery accord that also has whiffs of something very much like gasoline. (While writing this and re-reading it I realise that the only way I could make this read less appetizing or pleasant is if I wrote that it smelled of road kill and fruit loops). It's not as strong as I had been lead to believe by other reviews, but it's distinct, different and disconcerting, as if serving fair warning that this is not you mother's tuberose. It's also not entirely unpleasant, and fairly fleeting, as the tuberose starts to take over almost immediately. The tuberose becomes more and more distinct as the scent becomes more and more warm, with the cool menthol fading to the background. There's a rubbery accord stays muted but discernible, mainly reminding me of the actual feel of the flower: the slightly rubbery feel of the bloom, and the musk adds to the skin-like feeling of the scent. I also smell hyacinth, jasmine and vanilla, but they are distant seconds to the wonderfully seductive tuberose- and there's the leather. This is tuberose in bondage. If Fracas would be the scent that Joan Crawford would dab on before plugging Sydney Greenstreet, Tubereuse Criminelle would be what Uma Thurman would dab before opening a heaping helping can of whoop-ass on David Carradine.

Needless to say, I would never wear this one out of the house. This is for you ladies only.

As one of the exclusives, it's available only as a bell jar at the salon in Paris. Were I female, this and Muscs Kublai Khan would force me to hock my kidney to finance that trip. As it is, the tiny decant I have I will be happy to open on occasion and sniff away.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Perfume Review: Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut

I’ve been putting off reviewing Alamut for almost two weeks. Whenever I think of writing about it, I stumble upon a very solid mental block. Alamut is nice, it is lush, it is very wearable. But gosh is it boring! Which is surprising, because, after all, this is Lorenzo Villoresi’s scent, and his other scents are anything but boring.

Named after the mountain fortress in the hills by the Elburz mountains, the scent has been described as something right out of The Thousand and One Nights, as a sensual journey to the Orient, as a fragrant Arabesque. As far as I am concerned, it is not nearly opulent and ornamented enough to qualify as such. It flirts with the idea of being exotic, dark, spicy and mysterious, but never fully commits to the idea. As a result, the scent is a case of Almost But Not Quite. It is almost opulent but not quite, almost piquant but not quite, almost interesting but not quite.

Alamut starts with a plummy, ambery, woody sort of rose, it is a lovely, velvety and dark accord that seems promising but evolves into a surprisingly pale and a little sharp sort of middle stage, where all kinds of flowers, from orange blossom to ylang ylang are jumbled together into a messy kind of a bouquet. From that point forward even the vaguest traces of the “fragrant Arabesque” disappear. Admittedly, the drydown, heavy on amber and sandalwood, is very much that of an oriental scent, but it is not sensual, mysterious and striking enough to be fit for even the least exciting of the tales in The Thousand and One Nights.

Alamut is available on First in Fragrance, €95.00-135.00.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tom Ford Black Orchid

According to, Tom Ford plans to create “the first true luxury brand of the 21st century”. [I guess brands like Chanel or Hermes are not luxurious enough for Mr. Ford. On a second thought, perhaps Chanel and Hermes never did strive to be seen as luxurious, perhaps their desire is to be chic. Some would say that this is an entirely different quality.] His new fragrance, Black Orchid, seems to be the first step on the way to achieving this ambitious goal. The oriental chypre formulated by Givaudan has notes of jasmine, black gardenia, ylang ylang, the custom-made Tom Ford Black Orchid, more orchid, patchouli, vanilla, molten amber and sandalwood. The EdP bottle, designed by Ford, is an Art Deco–inspired piece of jet-black fluted glass, with a hand-tied cord and a 23k gold-plated name plaque with engraved lettering. A limited-edition black-crystal perfume bottle, created by Lalique, comes with a 15ml glass vial filled with perfume and a gold funnel in which the fragrance is poured into the bottle. Each bottle is signed and numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity. The face of Black Orchid is Julia Restoin, the daughter of French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld.

Black Orchid EdP will cost $90 for the 50ml and $135 for the 100ml, the perfume mere $600 for the 15ml, and will launch in the US mid-October and in the UK, Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland in December. The second phase of distribution, in spring 2007, will launch 30ml EdP at $65, along with Luminous Hair Perfume ($70 / 50ml), Hydrating Emulsion (150ml / $40), Body Cleansing Oil (150ml / $40) and Finishing Oil Spray (150ml / $45).

The news and the image are from


Perfume Review: Andy Tauer Orris

Orris is a scent created by Andy Tauer and distributed by him in July to a limited number of the readers of his blog. I understand that Andy is not sure yet what he is going to do with the fragrance, whether he will actually ever release it …If you have tried and liked Orris too, please join me in my appeal to Andy to start selling it as soon as possible.

Orris is more or less what I wanted Ormonde Jayne’s Orris Noir to be, a rich, balsamic and spicy scent that is indeed dark enough to be called Noir. It is exotic, it is dramatic, it has va va voom. The beginning of Orris evokes a vision of a fiery flower, of a dark-red rose set ablaze by cinnamon and pepper. Soon a woody accord becomes apparent, and on my skin this accord has duality of velvety-sweet sandalwood and sharp, spicy, slightly medicinal woody note that makes me think of very strongly brewed black tea, and which I assume is agarwood. The sweetness of the former is emphasized by that honeyed, peppery rose; the forceful, piquant darkness of the “second woody note” is highlighted by a smoky leather accord. In fact, from the middle stage forward Orris becomes very leathery, in a meaty, birch-tarry, barbaric sort of way that pleases me immensely. The sweet, buttery, violet-like orris, which I smell especially strongly in the drydown, compliments this smoky note wonderfully and keeps it from going completely wild a la Kolnisch Juchten.

Orris is so unmistakably a Tauer scent that I believe if I smelled it in a “blind test”, and then was asked who I thought the author was, I would have not hesitated to identify it as Andy’s creation. It has what L’Air du Desert Marocain and Lonestart Memories have (and to a lesser degree, Le Maroc Pour Elle too), a certain common streak running throughout the compositions, sweetly-ambery, spicy-herbal, slightly leathery, woody SOMETHING that I am going to call Tauerade. That leitmotif to me is what makes Tauer Perfumes so intriguing, so exotic, so full-bottle-worthy.

As I said in the beginning, Orris is not available for sale, but perhaps if we beg and nag, it will be, at some point in the future…

The image, Flower of Flame, is from
On Saturday Perfume-Smellin' Things will feature another review of Orris, from "a male point of view", by my guest poster, Kelley. Tomorrow I will finally post about Lorenzo Villoresi's Alamut.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Perfume Review: Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir

Orris Noir is the latest and much anticipated (by me anyway) Ormonde Jayne fragrance. The name is said to have been inspired by Black Iris (Iris Nigricans), the symbol of Jordan. The scent has notes of davana, pink pepper, coriander, bergamot, iris, jasmine, pimento berries, bay, incense, myrrh, patchouli, cedar and gaiac wood.

Ina, thanks to whom I have been able to sample Orris Noir, has already done an excellent review of the scent. Like her, I must report the rather startling lack of any noir-ness in Orris Noir. There is nothing particularly dark about this fragrance and it is not an iris-heavy scent, at least on my skin. Its beginning makes me think, rather incongruously, about baked apples. These apples are either unripe or else they are sprinkled with some very green-smelling herbs; there is no sweetness here at all. What there is however is a slight booziness, as if some liquor (again, not a sweet kind) was used to make this dish. When I went to consult my H&R Guide to Fragrance Ingredients about the davana note, however, this is what the esteemed book told me: davana oil has “sweet, herbaceous (!) odor, somewhat tea-like, reminiscent of dried fruit (!!) and displaying a slight whisky note (!!!)". I guess my image of boozy-green baked apples wasn’t that bizarre after all.

After a while, the apples, the herbs and the whisky go away; coriander becomes quite apparent as well as jasmine; the scent, which was rather soft at the beginning, grows a little stronger, becomes a little more forceful. Yet when I start to think that perhaps now finally it will show its noir side, the fragrance settles into a very pleasant but again rather soft, understated drydown of gentle woods, powdery iris and quite a lot of velvety myrrh.

Orris Noir is a quiet, tasteful, smoothly-blended scent; I like it a lot, but I don’t love it. It leaves me rather cold, and to be honest a little bit disappointed that it isn’t a little more striking, that it doesn’t have a little more oomph and character.

As far as I can tell, Orris Noir is not yet available for sale at Ormonde Jayne online store, however it is bound to be launched there soon.

Please visit Now Smell This to read Robin's review of Orris Noir.

Tomorrow, a review of another Orris, this time by Andy Tauer.

The first image is from, the second is from
Some other perfumes featuring the davana note:
Balenciaga Talisman
Battistoni Marte Arte
DKNY Red Delicious Men
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Davana
Florascent Santal
Givenchy Blue Label
Givenchy Pour Homme
Gucci Accenti
Hermes Parfum des Merveilles
Histoires de Parfums 1740
Joop Rococo Men
Kenzo Jungle Le Tigre
La Sirenuse Paestum Rose
Lulu Guinness Cast a Spell
Michael Kors KORS
Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus
Parfums de Nicolai Fig Tea
Rich Hippie Maharishi
Salvator Dali Dalissime
Zirth Corduroy

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bond No 9 Site Launch

Today Bond No 9 launched its own site, Now it is possible to order directly from Bond No 9 online. The site is fun, I spent an hour just looking at the cool graphics. I liked the way Our Scents page was divided into Uptown, Midtown and Downtown scents. Make sure you click on every bottle to see the images. This one was my personal favorite:

My Life. My Perfume.

I am running late and falling behind, so please forgive the lack of review today. It seems this week was all about lists, polls and questionnaires. Ina of Aromascope and I started it by tagging each other and, instead of doing some serious perfume analysis today, we decided instead to end the week with this questionnaire, borrowed from American Express, 0% Intro APR, No Annual Fee.

My Life. My Perfume.

My name: Marina

Childhood ambition: To be a ballerina (only those who saw my chubby childhood pictures can understand how ridiculous that ambition was)

Fondest memory: Summers spent vacationing with my mum on the Baltic Sea coast, in Jurmala, Latvia

Soundtrack: Wiggles, Dora the Explorer, Winnie The Pooh and all sorts of other teletubbies

Retreat: Books

Wildest dream: To stop worrying and start living

Proudest moment: When I saw my daughter crawl for the first time. Rivalled only by when she took her first step. Or told me I was her best friend. Sentimental, moi?

Biggest challenge: To be a foreigner, an “alien”, in a foreign land

Alarm Clock: Is in my head

Perfect Day: Spent lying on a beach, sipping a cocktail, reading a cozy detective story (change a location and a drink, with a good book I'll be happy almost anywhere)

First Job: Russian language tutor

Indulgence: Perfume. Although it seems to have become more of a necessity

Last purchase: Jean Patou Colony

Favorite movie: Used to be Signs, but Gibsongate turned me off it a little. A lot actually. I don't have a favorite movie anymore.

Inspiration: Words, images, memories, scents

My life: At the end of its beginning

My perfume: Today- Chanel Cuir de Russie


Next week, back to business as usual. Here is what I am planning:

Monday- Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut Ormonde Jayne Orris
Tuesday- La Sirenuse Paestum Rose Andy Tauer Orris
Wednesday - Esteban Sensuelle Russie Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut
Thursday - Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle (review by Tom)
Friday - either Kenzo Amour or S de Scherrer Andy Tauer Orris La Sirenuse Paestum Rose
(All but Thursday are subject to change if something more exciting arrives in the mail)

Have a great weekend, everybody!
The image is by Anne Taintor.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Perfume Review: Acqua di Parma Colonia

Review by Tom

Debuting in the 30's (or as far back as 1916, depending to whom you listen), this is a classically elegant scent that can be easily worn by men or women, any time of the year. This is my go-to scent when I just want to smell nice, not showy, avant-garde or in-your-face. It splashes on with a burst of citrus, but not the demure lemons of Eau d'Hadrien: this is heady, slightly candied and full of the peel, almost immediately cut by rosemary, making the first of its many appearances. This is not the soapy rosemary that sometimes one finds in scents from that era, it's just the right amount to add what in music would be called "contrapuntive interest". Rosemary shows up again to tame the middle notes of Bulgarian rose and jasmine, without which those flowers could easily become heavy, and shows up in the woods of it's base, where the rose and the citrus barely whisper but the verbena starts to show more.

Colombina once wrote of Daim Blond that it smells "expensive". I can only say that I think Aqua di Parma smells "elegant". It reminds me in a way of a Maserati automobile- meant for a gentleman, but so elegantly finished and with such exquisite detailing that it's almost feminine, and perfectly suited to the woman who wants one.

Aqua di Parma is available at better department stores like Neiman-Marcus, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. It's available in several sizes, ranging from the 1.7 ounce travel spray for $62 to the whopping 6 oz splash for $107. I consider the splash to be a great bargain indeed.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Perfume Review: L'Artisan Dzongkha

Dzongkha, the latest scent by L’Artisan Parfumeur, is a new installment in the travel series that already includes Bois Farine and Timbuktu. Like the latter, Dzongkha was created by Bertrand Duchaufour, author of several other L’Artisan scents, a couple of Comme des Garcons (for example, Sequoia) and Paestum Rose, just to name a few. Dzongkha is said to have been inspired by the temples of Bhutan, called Dzongs.

Dzongkha is a quiet, introspective scent, a study in tasteful understatement. On my skin, it is most and foremost an iris fragrance. From the sweetly piquant beginning ornamented with cardamom, to to the earthier, spicier, almost savory heart of vetiver, incense and a subtle leather note, to the delicate, simultaneously sweet and strangely salty drydown of vetiver, some more cardamom, and a gentle, vaguely fruity accord (perhaps the lychee that was supposed to be in the top notes?), the iris is always present. Warm and spicy, cool and ethereal, earthy, bright and floral, the note here is a chameleon.

This is a soft, soulful blend that must be given time and perhaps a couple of testings before its quite charm will start working on a wearer. At least that is how it was with me. While at first I thought Dzongkha to be rather pale, indistinct and aloof, after a while its various warmer aspects and subtly spicy nuances became apparent and fascinating, and I realized that what I mistook for aloofness was in fact meditative tranquility.

The samples of Dzongkha are now available at First in Fragrance.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sulking and Procrastinating.

This is it. As of today, I am in my twenties no more. I wanted to write a review of a very gloomy scent, but I have already talked about Messe de Minuit. So no review today. I am sulking.

Luckily I’ve been tagged by my friend Anna to post some facts about myself, and hence, instead of a real post, here are my answers. Also, as you probably have noticed, I am starting the new decade with a new blog template.

4 places I’ve lived in
-NoGoodStoresTown, PA, USA
-Oxford, United Kingdom
-Warsaw, Poland
-Samara, Russia

4 places I would rather be right now
-Home with parents
-Perfume shopping in Paris
-Having a pint or two with husband in a Real Pub in Britain
-Lying in the sun on a beach somewhere warm and exotic, sipping a cocktail

4 websites that I visit daily (believe me, there are more!)
Makeupalley The Fragrance Board
The Blogs (see the left side for the links)

4 TV shows I enjoy watching
Project Runway
The Girls Next Door
Men Behaving Badly

4 favorite songs
Rolling Stones Sympathy for the Devil
George Michael Jesus to a Child
Elton John The One
Elton John The Way You Look Tonight

4 favorite foods

4 places where I feel at home
At (my parents) home
In all but very snooty stores
In libraries
In cyber-space

4 favorite perfume notes of the moment

4 favorite perfumes of the moment
Kolnisch Juchten, any version
Guerlain Attrape-Coeur
Christian Dior Diorling
Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

4 favorite perfume houses
Serge Lutens
Fredric Malle
Christian Dior

4 things that I wish for
A small kingdom
Health for my parents
One more child (maybe)
A (full) bottle of Guerlain Djedi

4 favorite books
M. Bulgakov The Master and Margarita
A. Camus The Myth of Sisyphus
M. Tsvetaeva Poem of the End
M. Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being

4 favorite quotations
All I want is a kind word and a warm bed and unlimited power. A. Brilliant
Our soul is ability for pain- nothing more. M. Tsvetaeva.
One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star. F. Nietzsche
Existence precedes and rules essence. J-P. Sartre

I tag anyone who wants to be tagged!

The 1st and 2nd images are by Anne Taintor. The 4th image is Rare Edition by Gil Elvgren.

Tomorrow, a review of L’Artisan Dzongkha.
And finally, the winner of Kolnisch Juchten sample draw is zeram1. Please send me your address (Contact Me link on the right) and I will mail you the sample.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Perfume Review: Farina Gegenuber Kolnisch Juchten and Russisch Leder (Plus a Prize Draw)

A couple of months ago I discovered, fell in love with and wrote a rave review about Kölnisch Juchten by Parfums Regence. Not much is known about that scent apart from the fact that it is based on the old perfume of the same name created by Farina Gegenüber. I have been very fortunate to obtain a bottle of vintage Kölnisch Juchten, in amazingly good condition, and wanted to share with you my impressions.

Whereas the new Kölnisch Juchten is a robust, tough barbarian, its vintage counterpart is rather more civilized. The birch tar note in the new Kölnisch Juchten is overwhelming, it rules the composition, it is meaty, it is smoky, it evokes an image of drunk highwaymen (and-women) roasting a whole pig on the campfire, singing wild songs and shooting pistols just for the fun of it. After a while the smokiness subsides, but only slightly. The modern Kölnisch Juchten never crosses the line to the sphere of elegant, urbane leathers. Farina Gegenüber’s old version, on the other hand, more or less stays within that cultured sphere. It starts with a vaguely citrusy-fruity note that is not as sharp as in many leathers (for example, Guerlain Derby) nor does it have a candied feel of the citrus note in Piver’s Cuir de Russie. This very pleasant, balanced note is quickly followed by the leather, which here is much less smoky than in the new Kölnisch Juchten. I detect much less birch tar here, but I do smell certain woodiness, quite a bit of mossiness and, in the drydown, a little bit of dirtiness probably due to the presence of civet and/or musk. On the whole, the vintage composition successfully balances on the very edge between the civilized and barbarian, leaning ever so slightly towards the civilized. If you have the new Kölnisch Juchten and were considering trying to find the vintage version, I’d say go for it, the two are different enough to warrant owning both.

Thanks to a lovely perfume-friend, I have also been able to sample another leather blend by Farina Gegenüber, called Russisch Leder. Whether it is another version of Kolnisch Juchten or an original creation in its own right, I could not tell you, but I do tend to think that it is a different beast altogether. And what a beast it is. While the drydown of my vintage Kölnisch Juchten has SOME animalic goodness about it, Russisch Leder is all animal on my skin, from the very get go to the drydown. H&R Fragrance guide gives the following notes for this dirrrty concoction: bergamot, lemon, petitgrain, lavender, rosemary, basil, fern, cedarwood, vetiver, geranium, carnation, patchouli, aldehydes, origanum, leather, moss, vanilla, castoreum, labdanum, musk and civet. Whether because of the age of my sample or for whatever other reasons, the scent foregoes its supposed bright citrusy opening and the sharp, spicy, green notes of the middles stage almost completely. Without much ado it goes straight to the good stuff, i.e. The Animal. The blend of leather, musk and civet is sexy as all get out, in the perverse, unspeakable kind of way that Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan or Lancôme Cuir are sexy. After a while the animalic quality subsides and one is left with a straightforward and actually quite subtle sort of leather, but that glorious skanky beginning is enough reason for me to love Russisch Leder and to want to get my greedy hands on a big, full bottle of it. Again, this scent is different enough from Parfums Regence Kolnisch Juchten and Farina’s Kölnisch Juchten that a leather fanatic like yours truly might want to find a way to obtain all three. To do so, I’d recommend you relentlessly stalk eBay, since once in a while these perfumes are listed there and usually are not too expensive.

If you would like to try a sample of my vintage Kolnisch Juchten, please let me know in your comment and I will enter you in the draw.

The image of Kolnisch Juchten is my own. The photo of Russisch Leder is from H&R Fragrance Guide.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Chypre Rouge - Now Available at Aedes

Chypre Rouge, the latest Lutens scent is now available at Aedes, $120.00 for 1.69oz.

From the Mouths of Husbands - Mr. Colombina Takes the Test

Hey, where are all the protestors?
You know ... testing perfumes on innocent animals, like me?

Asking me to participate in a blind perfume test is like asking me my opinion on French poetry or feminist literature. In the sense that I can recognize what it is (perfume, Froggy rhymes, chick lit etc.) but have not the insight, inclination, nor (being honest here) interest to examine it further. It’s a bit like sudoku. I understand the concept, but don’t feel the need to actually solve the puzzle.

But I am always one to give it a go … so why not? I always enjoy a little friendly competition … you know … amateur Jell-O wrestling, spring break banana eating contests, full contact backgammon … that sort of thing

I am not sure whether this is actually a contest between Mr. Aromascope and myself to see who gets more perfumes ‘correct’ in the sense of identifying the ingredients. I certainly hope we’re not expecting me to actually ‘NAME THAT PERFUME’. I am taking this more in fun as I suspect it was intended. Though if Todd DOES beat me, I’ll challenge him to an arm wrestle, burping contest or perhaps a chugging event.

OK … sample number one and … YUCK this was awful! I think I’ve been poisoned. Someone call 911! This was wretchedly nauseating. It tasted like paint thinner mixed with nail polish remover! What Colombina? It’s not a TASTE test? Oh … errr … umm … never mind.

Colombina applied a little on my right wrist. I decided to do this, I should just go with my first instincts … well a little beyond my usual, “yup, that’s perfume alright” instincts. It took a little while before anything came through but my first instincts said, “perfumed soap.” I didn’t get any chypre or floriental or ‘low notes’ or any of the phrases that I have no idea what they mean anyway. It seemed light and pleasant and feminine. I didn’t sense it was anything special … kind of an ‘around the house’ kind of perfume.

This gives me an opportunity to address one of my favorite aspects of buying perfume for Colombina. She certainly appreciates wearing perfume far more than I appreciate it on her. Which is good in the sense that she wears it for her own pleasure. The perfume is its own reward. Colombina enjoys wearing perfume around the house and enjoys wearing perfume to bed … which now that I know her well … I no longer take as a mixed message. It means nothing more than she likes to wear perfume to bed, so she smells good in her dreams I suppose.

With women I knew B.C. (before Colombina) they often received perfume as the first part of a gift … with the second part being … “OK, now take me out somewhere special where I can wear this.”

My point is that this first fragrance I can see as one Colombina might wear around the house …doing whatever it is she does (besides blogging) when I am at work but I can imagine her gleefully engaging in her domestic routines, happily wearing this first fragrance. And rather than lose the joy of this fragrance whilst doing her stay-at-home mum thing … she’d never risk it coming near the competing smells of Lysol, Mop N Glo, Mr. Clean, Pledge, etc.

It was or seemed to be, just a single smell – Colombina says I mean it was linear. It had no aftersmells and kind of faded quickly. It didn’t have that high alcohol content I smell from many of her perfumes. If it was a beer, I’d say it wasn’t strong or boastful, say like a Harp lager. But it certainly wasn’t watery like a Rolling Rock.

I give it two noses out of five!

This was my favorite of the bunch. And that’s a bit like saying I enjoyed the roasted squirrel over the sauteed weazel – No clue as to why or why I was even trying it.

I suspect that in the back of my mind, I am a prisoner of the notion that the longer the scent lasts, the better it was, in terms of more bang-for-the-buck. This was a stronger scent than number one. At least initially. When Colombina tells me that scents linger and evolve throughout the day, I get an ‘Emporer’s New Clothes’ mentality. When (evil perfume sales) women say, “oh this one will change through out the day and hours later it will blah blah blah, yadda yadda, yadda …” I simply resign myself that women buy into this belief long after the smell is gone.

I KNOW there is some truth in what I’m saying because I think that is why some women douse themselves in the stuff, strongly enough to bring an elevator full of people to their knees. If pefumes stayed with a woman all day, they wouldn’t need to apply it so thick like Sadam Hussein trying to wipe out a Kurdish village. Yeah the smells evolve …if smelling like nothing is a smell!

Hey that gives me an idea! You know how when you spray a room with air freshener, it smells strong for about ten seconds and then the room goes back to smelling like cigarettes and cat hair? So the Renuzit people and Glade and others came up with the electric room deodorizer. You know, those (expensive) things you plug into and outlet and (are supposed to) release new aroma every so often to keep the good smell going right? Well why not invent some kind of battery powdered jewelry with a little perfume container on it, that refreshes the perfume throughout the day? Women wear jewelry pretty much the same places they spritz pefumes (neck, ears, wrist etc.). I think I’m on to something. Get my banker on the phone!

But I digress.

The second scent was stronger to me I think because I sensed some parallel smells going on there. … not in a competing sense … but more harmoniously. I truly don’t know what women mean by top notes and base notes, so I think of what I know of high and low notes musically. In that sense, the second scent had high notes (or high smells) and middle scents/smells going on, with Everly-Brothers-quality harmony. I suspect that these merging smells bond longer to make them stronger (trying to recall if that principle was correct in my high school chemistry class).

Stronger and longer are the two selling points for me as you know. But it wasn’t just stronger. The combination of scents, I suspect, may be one of the reasons why there seemed to be a consistent (though slight) aftersmell … as if these combined ingredients took turns coming to the forefront whilst periodically producing their combined smell.

By the way, if anyone is making ANY sense out of the bollocks I am serving up, then I’ve got some swamp land in Florida I’d love to sell you.

But seriously (for a moment any way), The second scent had a powder-like quality…. More talc-esque than foundation powder like. It kind of put me in the mindset of how my mum used to put baby powder in our slippers as kids ... I guess to fight odor but for us kids, it just gave us a special little feeling.

Colombina quick! Get me a beer and a power tool please? I’m writing too girly!

CHUG CHUG CHUG - Ahhh, that's better. The powdery quality actually put me in the mindset of a nice manly game of pool ... chalking up the cue and getting a little powder going to eliminate the palm sweats.

And getting to the crux of why I liked the second one …This was the only one I thought would sweat well. By that I mean, it was sexy; not just in the stereotypical musky “wake up and smell the sex” way. The sexiness wasn’t right there immediately in your face. It might be just me, but I imagined/sensed it WOULD become sexier, perhaps when mixed with sweat, or in a smoky bar.

If number two was a beer, it would be something exotic, like a Peroni Red or Franzishaner Weissbier.

I give it the very rare, five noses out of five.


Scent three had that initial alcohol content I am used to in many of Colombina’s collection. It was strong enough that I half expected Kitty Dukakis to come banging on the door. It had a definite aftersmell that was kind of outdoorsy …. And woodsy ….like wet wood (no I don’t mean Natalie). The smell lingered longer than the others without losing it’s distinction. The smell was what I imagine “base notes” to mean. It put me in mind of something “cool” and by that I mean temperature … and low.

I suppose the first instinct I was getting to this, was that it smelled like Moss.

No, not her. I don’t know what she smells like … though I imagine the smell would be too thin.

It wasn’t a particularly sexy smell but certainly not unpleasant. I just imagined though that it could be potentially dangerous to wear this if one often takes hikes through the woods … since because it smells like the surroundings … it would be more difficult for the bloodhounds to find you if you go lost and we only had a sweater to give the dogs your scent. These are real concerns I bet they rarely even consider in the boardrooms of Paris.

I’m not an outsdoorsman to begin with, so I can’t say I lean towards outdoorsy smelling perfumes. On the other hand, I could pretend we’re outdoors if Colombina wore this fragrance to bed and build a little tent with the blanket. In its defense, I would say number three (although in a lesser degree) was the nearest to number two (my favorite) in having what I imagined to be the potential for resonating later in combination with a woman’s natural scent.

But what the hell do I know? After all, in going with my first instincts … the first thing I thought of when I was done, and could compare all five scents, was that number three was probably the least flammable. (Or is that Inflammable? I’m never quite sure).

Any way, I found this scent to be somewhere between more pleasurable than a yeast infection and less pleasurable than hydraulic fluid. If it was a beer, I'd say it wasn't quite as dull as Budweiser .... more like living on the edge and picking up a case of Bud Ice. I give it three noses out of five.


I found this to be the sweetest, most food-like and a kind of creamy scent. It had some bulk ... some bite to it. This is and of itself should have been enough for me to say I liked it. And it might in fact be my second choice. I have no idea if this makes sense at all but I would describe it (in my charmingly naive way) as being a 'middle' smell ... perfect for happy hour.

Normally I do not like food smell perfumes. And I'm probably way off with not a hint of food ingredients in this one. But I am against food smells because they never smell like the food they're supposed to smell like. Colombina went through a phase where she was wearing a 'chocolate' scent to bed. This stuff had as much chance of reminding me of chocolate, as I have of becoming the next Maurice Roucel - a perfumer for you guys reading this. Yeah I thought he played left wing for the Maple Leafs too!

IF a fragrance has to smell of food, I guess I prefer something fruit-based. And that's kind of weird when you consider the closest I get to eating fruit might be a strawberry pop tart.

Again, I could be way off. There might be less food stuffs in this fragrance than in all of Ethiopia but I call 'em as I smell 'em.

Smelling this on myself probably does this one more injustice than the others. I think if I smelled this on a woman ... Colombina for example ... it might have been more appealing. And as I said, I did like it enough to say it would be my second choice.

On this one, I really did try to find the nuancers and the secondary sources of scents. I thought for a moment that there might be something floral involved. But I'd still honestly have as good a shot at getting this right, if I put the names of all possible ingredients on a board and hurled darts at it.

If scent four was a beer, I think it'd be a Guiness ... rich and filling, yet with the potential to be to frothy (foamy) ... an acquired taste that may work well for some but not all. I give scent four an honorable four noses out of five.


At first, nothing ... as an odorless liquid I was sure this would be the stuff that you're now barred from taking as carry-on and has increased Homeland Security's terror alert to ... what color are we up to now? --- Chartreuse?

But I gave it a second whiff.

Whiskey? Or was that just me locking into the alcohol again? This one seemed flatter than the others. Is that what you mean by base notes? I had a sweet smell but there was something underlying ... hard to pin down ... something between the lines, almost ... sterile like moth balls ... something camphorous ... like a very pleasant embalming fluid.

Like some of the others, I definitely think this would be more appealing on anyone other than myself. It was slow to fade and consistent. but in the words of Randy Jackson ... "I wasn't feeling it dog!"

I also found that this one ... though not my favorite ... might be the one I would be most likely to recognise ... say like if a woman wore it every day and night for the next 17 years or something. I could be wrong ... ok am probably wrong but I GUESS that this one might be the one that changes most to each individual wearer. It's another fragrance that I imagine would sweat well.

It is beginning to sound like I am obsessed with sweat. But as I remember from reading the walls of a mens' room ... "don't sweat the petty things ... pet the sweaty things."

One last sniff for good measure on scent five and it kind of grows on me. It's still not enough to make it into my top two ... but definitely might help acentuate the (natural) scent of a woman.

If scent five were a beer, it might be Coors Light ... you can always show up with it and feel like you brought a present ... but when your host asks what you're drinking ... drink his stuff instead. I give it two noses out of five.

This gives me another opportunity to digress and address a series of questions that Colombina says she is asked all the time …

“What do men like about perfume?

Is there a perfume that could make a man like a woman more than he already does? … perhaps stay with a woman he might otherwise dump?

Well again, I can only speak for myself but I do think I share the opinions of most average guys out there when I say …

1) Women rank the way a man smells up there with other qualities that a man will rank much
lower when mentally making decisions about a woman. I say mentally, though a lot of men (me included) have literally taken a legal pad … where I keep MY ‘leather notes’ … drawn a line down the centre and listed pros on the left …cons on the right. Generally speaking …”she smells bad” or “has bad breath” can make it to the ‘cons’ side near the top …whilst “she smells good” usually only makes the “pros” list if you can’t think of anything else like, “wears low cut tops” or “her dad has season tickets to the Eagles games.” Women care what a man does for a living. While the average guy will (INITIALLY) go for the hot cashier girl at the 7-11 before considering the ‘nice’ looking CEO.

2) But getting PAST that initial primal attraction … by the time a man has found the ability to locate, make note of and remember what color a woman’s eyes are … and is no longer obsessed with estimating the PSI pressure on the last buttoned-up button on her blouse … he will EVENTUALLY notice her perfume. I say eventually because nine times out of ten, his decisions on how he feels about a female are pretty well determined before he’s paying attention to her perfume. Personally, I rarely identified a woman with a perfume for two reasons. 1) I couldn’t identify the perfume to begin with …and B) A lot of women I knew (B.C.) often wore different perfumes each (or at least some) of the times I was with them.

3) I can say that I knew many women who had no clue as to how to wear makeup. Men are (said to be) more ‘visual’ than women so I do recall losing interest in an otherwise pretty (perhaps even potentially beautiful) girl who went nuts on the blue eye shadow, or thought it sexy to wear glitter, or otherwise looked like a cross between Krusty the Klown and a kabuki dancer on acid. But the same logic applies to perfume as it does to make-up. Regardless of how expensive or good it is … ‘less is more’ …and over-applying it is a turn off. Essentially, I come back to the point that smelling bad (which can be smelling good but too strongly) can chase a man away …whilst smelling good is generally not going to be the only way to keep him.

4) Even among the least shallowest of males, there would be reluctance to use smell as a deciding factor. Firstly there are his friends …

“Hey Fred, your girlfriend looks like Margaret Thatcher’s ugly sister!”

“Yeah I know, but she smells like pomegranate and summer rain in a Nordic forest!”

That just ain’t gonna happen.

5) OK, I know I’ve danced around the answer. Honestly … as a man who was in his late 30’s before he got married, and was no stranger to the gentler sex (B.C.) … I can honestly say, ther was perhaps only one woman and one scent (and no, I have no idea was it was called) where the perfume did give the woman a little extra weaponry and power over me. It was a sexy scent but it wasn’t only during moments of passion that it was alluring. It just seemed to work on HER. I
recall it was kind of a brandy-like smell and not overtly musky but somehow kid of raw. If it were possible for every woman to know her own “scent of a woman” .. her own unperfumed natural smell …and then find a perfume that complimented, and even brought out this smell … then that the perfume I’d advise her to stick with. But that comes back to the fact that women often consciously make sure they’re wearing a different perfume on each date, the same way a man makes sure he’s wearing a different (or at least cleaned) shirt on each date.

What I would suggest it this. Smell IS a strong SUBCONSCIOUS sense and therefore can be used in more subtle ways. Example … let’s say a woman generally uses four or five different fragrances. Basically she will rotate their use accrording to her mood and fancy. And that’s fine. But think for a moment what a powerful and controlling tool this could be. If (without disclosing her plan) she always wore fragrance one when she felt amorous …fragrance two when she felt energetic and restless and wanted to go out … fragrance three when she wanted to be left alone …fragrance four when she just wanted a cuddle …fragrance five when she wanted to talk ….

Women can’t deny that they either find it difficult to express their mood … or rather sadistically enjoy watching men suffer whilst trying to drag it out of them. With my plan, a man would eventually … when I say eventually … I mean sometime before the next appearance of Halley’s Comet …would eventually be conditioned like a Pavlovian dog to respond to her needs in order to get his bit of cheese.


(And the samples were: 1. Chanel No 5; 2. Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur; 3. Caron Yatagan; 4.Donna Karan Be Delicious; 5. Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan.)