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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

May it be happy, exciting, peaceful, successful and fragrant for all!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Best of 2007 aka Golden Colombinas II...and a Prize Draw

It is that time of the year again, time for the mind to boggle at how fast the year has passed, time to draw conclusions and to make Best Of lists. Several perfume bloggers has teamed up again to talk about the best things of 2007. And thus for the second year in a row I invite you to the

Golden Colombina Awards

Best New Perfume. Nominees aplenty!

Amouage Jubilation 25
Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia
Bond No 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory
Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba
Chanel No 18 and 31 Rue Cambon
Lalique Encre Noire

And the award goes to...till about a month or so ago I was sure that Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia will be the winner, and truly it is amazing...but then I smelled Jubilation 25, and it was better than anything new I smelled in 2007, and maybe in the last couple of years. Bravo Amouage!

Best New Perfume Line. Unlike last year, when I had tough time choosing among half a dozen amazing new lines, the crop of 2007 was not that spectacular. In fact, whereas I would have no trouble choosing The Worst New Line, nobody will receive the Best award this year.

Best Perfumer. I am torn between Aurelien Guichard (Piguet Visa and Bond No 9 Silver Factory) and Lucas Sieuzac for Jubilation 25, both so young and so talented. The complexity, the depth and the beauty of their creations is astounding, and they both get the title.

Best Sequel - Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. A follow up that is a perfume in its own right and yet done very much in spirit of the original.

Best Ad/Commercial - Dior Midnight Poison. Gothic delight!

Biggest Surprise of 2007 was Estee Lauder's Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia. A new scent from Lauder that is not a flanker to Pleasures? And a radiantly beautiful one at that? You could have knocked me with a feather.

Biggest Comeback of 2007 - Amouage! After several unremarkable and downright awful releases, the line was back with a bang, with Jubilation 25.

Biggest Discovery of 2007- Tango by Aftelier, the fragrance that reminded me that perfume is -still!- not just a business and not just a craft, but Art.

In view of that, Honorary Award- Perfumer/Lifetime Achievement goes to Mandy Aftel, the last of the Alchemists.

Honorary Award - Perfume Line or House. For me, it was the year of Chanel. They have done some crazy things in 2007. They released six new scents in one go. They re-released four classics. They created a flanker for No 5. They started to sell scents by what seems to be a gallon. And somehow, miraculously, they pulled it off. Les Exclusifs were good and, in a couple of instances, even great, and done very much in keeping with the spirit of the House. The classics smelled no worse than before. Eau Premiere was elegant and youthful and wearable. As for the big bottles...given the fact that my grandchildren would still be using that same 200ml vat of Chanel 22...those bottles are a bargain. So here is to Chanel!

This year I also decided to give out some Worst awards, just to keep things in balance. Let's call them Angry Colombinas.

Worst New Perfume. A list of things I did not like would be so long, you would get tired of scrolling down. But really, there is no contest. The worst new perfume is Secretions Magnifique by Etat Libre d'Orange. The latter also scoops the Worst New Perfume Line title.

Worst Sequel of 2007 - what else but Dior Midnight Poison

Worst Ad/Commercial
- what else but Tom Ford for Men

Biggest Disappointment - I will be generous and give three awards: to Dior for Midnight Poison, to Lutens for Louve and Sarrasins, and to Parfum d'Empire for Osmanthus Interdite, Equistrius & Fougere Bengale.

Worst Idea of 2007. Le Labo continuing with the locale-specific concept. Kilian comparing his mediocre line to Balsac's La Comédie Humaine. Comme des Garcons going Luxe. Frederic Malle creating a laundry-smelling fragrance for Barneys. Bottles stuck between breasts and bum-cheeks from Tom Ford. Cartoon penises from Etat Libre d'Orange. Secretions Magnifique.

Please share your Bests and Worsts! And if you would like to be entered in the draw for a set of 8 samples of the scents mentioned in the Best Of section, please say so in your comment. The winner, randomly chosen, will receive small vials of Jubilation 25, Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, Tango, Chanel No 18, 31 Rue Cambon, Silver Factory, Bois de Copaiba and Black Orchid Voile de Fleur.

And please remember to read the Best of lists at:

Bois de Jasmin
Now Smell This
Perfume Posse

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Perfume Review: Feminite de Bois by Shiseido

By Tom

Holiday shopping usually fills me with fear. I hate crowds. I hate malls when they're filled with people. I am a typical male in my shopping. I don't dawdle over purchases; I want to get in and get out. This is of course the exact opposite of what's going to be happening in my neighborhood: the price of a tony zip code with perfect, balmy winter weather that rarely dips down below the 60's means that there are hordes of shoppers, tourists and locals. Now for tax reasons I am thrilled that y'all are here, and I can certainly understand why you are on Rodeo Drive. But Beverly Drive? I'm sure there's a Gap where you live...

Usually I take care of this "bah, humbug!" streak by shopping early, shopping online and pinning my friends to the wall about what they would like by say, November 30th. This year a couple of them weren't forthcoming with their desires, so I was left to wander to find something. I wandered one day last week through LA's Little Tokyo area, thinking there must be some cool little Manga-ish gadget that could be a stocking stuffer. I passed a small shop and wandered in and saw in a corner one small bottle of Feminite du Bois. I pounced, especially since it was a bargain at $35.oo, and was the last bottle that the store had (the lady said it was discontinued in the US). As you can read in Colombina's review, FdeB is the mother scent to the Bois series from Lutens, which explore various (Boise et Musc, Boise et Fruits, Bois de Violette and Un Bois Sepia) facets of FdeB in depth. FdeB is arguably better than it's rather more raucous children, silky smooth fruits bubble with warm cedar, musky roses and violets, spiced clove and cinnamon and the thoroughgoing warmth of the sandalwoody cedar. It's a stunning scent- it would be wonderful on a woman but in no way (like the best of Lutens) could not be worn by a man. While my description reads like something that Nigella Lawson would have simmering away for a holiday party, it's in no way excessively gourmand. It manages to be both lush and yet spare, warm spiced fruits, hints of flowers and dry woods. You can see the direction that Lutens was going in his later scents, this is perhaps the most spare of his and perhaps (in a very good way mind you) more deserving of the Shiseido brand than that of Serge Lutens. There's something very Japanese about it; it takes up little space and has a gentle hand to it, but it has a rich story to tell.

I went to about four other stores hoping that I could find another bottle, since I had opened this one, purely for scientific purposes and to be able to review it for you good people (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I seriously considered giving this as a Christmas gift to my perfumista friend, even though I had spritzed from the bottle- it's loveliness would remove any trace of tackiness from the gesture (any of the Bois series would in my opinion- how could you not want to take a cut?). But she asked for something else and shall receive her desired gift. If she's reading, I'm willing to split some off to her in addition to the requested blender...

In the mean time, Merry Christmas to me! insists the Feminite du Bois is available through them at $90 per bottle

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Winter Wonderland

By Richard B. Smith and Mr. Colombina

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
At Guerlain, snow is glistening
A beautiful smell,
We're happy as hell.
Sniffing in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the Blue Grass
Here to stay is a new class
We sprayed a love scent,
Where ever we went,
Sniffing in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that she is Bobbi Brown
She'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No ma'am
But you can do the job
While we dry down.

Later on, we'll conspire,
As we spritz Dunhill's Desire
We try to avoid
too much resinoid
Sniffing in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he is Calvin Klein
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until we get some Bond Number Nine.

When it squirts, it ain't spilling,
And your nose gets a thrilling.
We'll frolic and spray, the Mitsouko way,
Sniffing in a winter wonderland.

Photo by Ellen Von Unwerth

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We at Perfume-Smellin' Things hope your Christmas is merry and fragrant, and that Santa has satisfied your every single lemming this year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Silent Night- Nuit de Noel by Caron

By Beth

I love Christmas eve. No matter where I am in the world, that one evening remains ever magical to me. I have spent it wandering in the city, drinking hot chocolate and eating roasted chestnuts, snow falling softly all around the glittering lights, my son learning to glide on ice skates. I have spent it in the country, standing alone in the barn with my horses, listening to them eat their fragrant hay and steaming , apple laced Christmas mashes. I have spent many Christmas evenings by the fire in the company of my dearest friends, drinking champagne and eating sugary cookies, just being together, exchanging silly gifts. When Alex was very young, I would spend it climbing on the roof and ringing sleigh bells “just like Santa does”, putting out cookies and milk laced with Sherry so that Santa would have a happy tummy! Yule eve is always special for my family, because on Christmas day, my parents will celebrate their anniversary. This year, it will be the 67th. This year, for the very first time, my son will be waking up on Christmas morning in his own apartment and coming to spend the morning with us. As I was thinking about this and beginning to cry, my husband reminded me that this is how we will eventually get grandchildren and then what a Christmas eve that will be! The one constant for every Christmas eve, besides my ever present velvet and the annual reading of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night before Christmas” is my perfume. It is always Nuit de Noel, a fragrance that for me quietly gifts me with the soul of the season.

As for me, this Yule eve will find Jim and I returning home after spending the evening in the country with our oldest friends. It will be well after midnight when we toast our health and happiness with Taittinger, wrap our presents and listen to carols, hopefully well into dawn! I WILL roast chestnuts at three in the morning and eat every one of them myself in a steaming, bubbly bath!

Between the country and the city though will come a very special treat, because on the drive home from Burton, we will stop to see our favorite Christmas tree! At the bottom of the hill in a small town called Hunting Valley, there is a beautiful fir tree, almost a hundred years old. It sits at the bottom of the River Road, nestled in the curve of the Chagrin River, always the sentinel but never more so than on Christmas Eve. I visit her every Christmas, just at the moment when the world is silent, except for the glorious hymns and carols playing softly on the radio. She is a wise old soul and she has allowed herself to be graciously covered every holiday season from Thanksgiving until New Years in the most magnificent lights! She is at least 75 feet tall and as glorious as any tree that has stood proudly with the angels of Rockefeller Center. She is usually surrounded by many deer families, owls and rabbits too! For me and many others in my family, she IS the essence of Christmas Eve. There is a smell that she has all her own, the scent of fresh snow and sweet pine, but also redolent of musk and moss, ripe cranberries and moonlight. When we are lucky enough to have a Christmas where the snow is softly falling you have never seen such a sight. To be in her presence is to be transported to that place deep in your Christmas dreams where child’s play and wildness are always present. It is hearing the music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, with the parlor scene , snowstorm and the colorful dancing dervishes rolled into one. This tree has been lit brightly ever since I was a little girl, providing a festive glow in the dark December night. I have always wanted to wear her scent and then one day I realized that Caron’s Nuit de Noel, was that very essence, that magic that I was searching for in a bottle.

Nuit de Noel is a beautiful fragrance , primeval and warm like the embers of a Yule log. Its predominant qualities are floral, but I am constantly intrigued by the Saxon Moss and the smokiness of the sandalwood mixed with the jasmine and ylang ylang accords. Legend has it that Nuit de Noel was created by Ernest Daltroff for his lover who was simply entranced with the sounds and scents of Christmas eve. I love to imagine that I am her, the recipient of such a precious gift when I am wearing it. To me, Nuit de Noel smells like a fragrant medieval pomander, studded with cinnamon and cloves, sweet rushes and sugared rose petals. I love to imagine it exquisitely presented in a gilded ball, swinging gracefully between my breasts on a heavy chain of silver. That isn’t the end of my Christmas Eve dreams, only the beginning. But remember, Christmas Eve is a time for all fantasies…..and I hope beyond hope that this is the year that all of yours will come true whether they be simple or bold. I wish you all of the chocolate that you can eat, all of the perfume you can revel in, fashion beyond your wildest dream and all of the love that you can possibly stand! I wish you to all know the difference that all of you make by simply being alive in this world.

For all of us this year may there finally be peace on earth and true goodwill to all men.

Happy Christmas to you all, (and to all, a good night!)



(Nuit de Noel can be found easily online (but I love to buy it at Christmas at Bergdorfs!)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eau de Barrel Scraping

"Eau de barrel scraping was the big fragrance of the year, with notes of Z list and undertones of desperation combined to create a new low in celebrity-endorsed perfumes." Laura Potter on Common Scents, in The Observer.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh: The Gifts of the Magi in Perfumery

By Marla

The gifts of the three wise men have a long and hallowed history in perfumery. Few ingredients are more romantic and mysterious. Myrrh is a notoriously difficult resin to work with- it is bitter and medicinal, a wonderful antiseptic, in fact. Yet used correctly it adds a grounding balance. Peppery, sweet, and pungent, frankincense absolute is easier to work with, but can easily overwhelm. And gold has recently appeared in the Ormonde Jayne line in the form of gold-dust-spiked body creams. I’ve got a little red velvet bag full of samples of various incense-dominated perfumes that have debuted in the past couple of years. Incense is my favorite scent category, and I’m thrilled to see more of these entering the market. Some are very cold scents, others warm and cuddly. I’ll start with a few of the cold ones.

Olivier Durbano is a French jeweler who is working on a series of scents to go with particular stones. So far he has three: Amethyst, Rock Crystal, and Black Tourmaline. The notes for Amethyst are listed as follows: bergamot, pepper, grape, raspberry, incense, palisander, jasmine, orris, amber, sandalwood, musk, and vanilla. I pick up the pepper and bergamot, the palisander and sandalwood dominate the incense, not a lot of jasmine or orris here, and a synthetic fruit note which jars just a little. Though the notes sound fairly soft, it’s actually a strong, quite masculine scent, and reminds me a bit of 10 Corso Como.

I prefer Durbano’s Rock Crystal, however. This one is almost medicinal, but in a good way. Incense/wood resin scents can go the way of turpentine, bug spray, and things your mommy made you take when you were sick. This one stays just on the correct side, with strong, in-your-face, yet intriguing resins. Notes are listed as frankincense, benzoin, orange, pepper, coriander, cardamom, cumin, cistus, sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, everlasting flower, oakmoss and musk. I mostly get the pepper, woods and incense, with vetiver wafting softly in the background, and just a hint of coriander, which adds a nice herbal touch. I don’t detect any warm benzoin, everlasting or cardamom here at all, and thankfully no cumin, either. This is an elegant, masculine scent and could easily take its place in the CdG Incense line. Durbano’s latest, Black Tourmaline, is very similar, but a bit sharper and smokier. I can’t wait to see what he does with rubies and emeralds.

Now on to soft, warm, cuddly incense. Heeley’s Cardinal is delightful, just pure, warm, high-quality frankincense absolute, warmed with a little this and that, without any other notes dominating. There’s a little soapiness in the finish, but not much. I love Avignon but I actually like Cardinal better because it is so pure and simple. The notes list incense, cistus, patchouli, amber, and vetiver, but I don’t pick up any patch at all. Messe de Minuit (Etro) has a strong mildew note to my nose, but not Cardinal. Crazy Libellule and the Poppies make the lovely solid perfume Encens Mystic, very similar to both Avignon and Cardinal. It retails for around $16US, a great deal. If you’d rather your home smelled like frankincense, Lorenzo Villoresi makes a wonderful home scent called Incenso. Pure church. Another home-scent option is actual incense. Shoyeido, the centuries-old Japanese incense house, makes a western-style, frankincense-based incense called Diamond. It’s sold in most Whole Foods and new age stores in the States. The adventurous can order pure frankincense resin (I recommend the Aden variety) online from a variety of retailers and burn it at home.

Now on to the most obscure, the most economical, and loveliest myrrh in existence, L’Erbolario’s Myrrhae EdT. It’s sold mostly in Italy and retails for around 17 euros for 50ml, so it’s a good deal. Frankincense and myrrh (several types of myrrh, so far as I can make out) dominate, with a little sage and ginger to add interest, and a drydown of musky vanilla. The body oil has a very lovely toasted cumin note; I usually can’t bear cumin but it’s gorgeous in this case. There’s an odd juxtaposition in these with the warm incense and vanilla edging up against the bitter sage and piquant myrrh; the effect is unusual and very refreshing. This is a great one for the holidays, and also works very well in hot, humid weather, unlike many incense scents which can be unbearable in the heat. Therefore it might be a good choice for those who celebrate the holidays during their summertime or in tropical latitudes. I haven’t found any other myrrh-based perfumes I really like; they either come out musty or horribly oversweetened and soapy. A good clean myrrh is hard to find.

Enjoy the gifts of the Magi this holiday season!

Image source, Wikipedia.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Perfume Review: Bond No 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

By Marina

I am not going to talk about the inspiration behind Silver Factory and will not analyze the ways in which particular notes make the scent fit the name. Because if you are in a mood to do so and if you look at things at a certain angle, you can convince yourself of anything at all. If you were previously unfamiliar with Pink Sugar and were told that it was called Silver Factory, would it not make just as much sense as a Warhol-inspired scent as Bond No 9's incensey-balsamic creation? Now take, say, Fracas, and look at it at the same Warhol-esque angle and tell me if that wouldn't fit just as well.

It is my humble opinion that Silver Factory is Bond No 9's most exciting creation yet, more interesting even than Chinatown (and created by the same talented young perfumer, Aurelian Guichard). It is complex and quirky but does not cross the line into the land of strange for strangeness's sake. It is rich (all that amber!), but not overwhelming. Incense-heavy, but not churchy. Sweet but not syrupy. I could go on. What is so captivating about it is that the qualities that make it outre - the very prominent incense note, which, paired with the sinful lushness of amber and the candied, almost edible floral accord, smells irreverent if not blasphemous rather that typically soulful and holy - is also what makes it so incredibly comforting. That's right, Silver Factory is a comfort scent for me. The resinous sweetness and the dark lushness of incense are enveloping, warm and wonderfully soothing. It is a scent-kaleidoscope, scent-chameleon, its numerous facets ensuring that those who want it to be masculine, will perceive it as such, and those who are looking for a feminine woody oriental fragrance, will also be delighted. Those who want to smell Warhol references, will intuit them in its decadent luxuriousness and pleasant oddness. And those who, like me, are (always!) on a hunt for a new great comfort scent will find it there too.

Silver Factory is available at Beautycafe, $230.0 for 100ml.

Image sourse,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Perfume Review: Bond No 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

By Tom

One of the things I used to do as a teen was subscribe to "Interview" magazine. "Interview" back in the day was started by Andy Warhol as "The Crystal Ball Of Pop", and when I was getting it in the early 80's was a large-format magazine printed on non-glossy paper with gorgeous covers that looked like a cross between air-brushing and graffiti; impossibly handsome pictures of the impossibly handsome stars of the day. Diana Ross, Richard Gere, Goldie Hawn; glossy ads and fluffy interviews that practically screamed to my teenage eyes "MOVE TO NEW YORK!!".

So I did. I've covered that time in what some would speak of as exhausting detail in my blog, so I won't go into it here. Suffice it to say that the Studio 54 years were dead, even if Andy was not. The Factory was still in the space it moved to in 1968, but certainly was not the nexus of cool it was in the day. Union Square was ripe for renewal, indeed the old Factory space is now a Barnes & Noble, which they will tell you about, entirely unaware of the irony. I used to see Andy on occasion, wandering around SoHo or out at clubs, looking frail and rather old to my young eyes, but still Andy Warhol, platinum wig and all; still fabulous.

I was almost not looking forward to trying this one- I am not mad about Bond No. 9 in general; so far there hasn't been one that I've wanted to pop for a full bottle. This one may have changed my mind. Silver Factory starts off very cold: almost as chilly as Gris Clair's camphored lavender. There's a knife edge of metal to it, a tinfoil bite that I wonder if it's supposed to literally remind one of the walls of the Factory. It is, however in no way austere in the way that Gris Clair is, the Lutens' lavender makes you think of a high-mountain meadow with it's dark stone church incense note. Silver Factory is foil covered walls and incense bought on 14th street, a party to load up on whatever one was going to load up on before hitting the clubs. There are discernible flowers in there: there's jasmine and iris and violets running in and out, like flower children fighting for the make-up mirror and quite (yes, for me, the skank-killer) a bit of dirt. There's a buzzy happiness about all that incense and flowery piquancy that I find quite delightful; it also at least in the first hour seems to be quite the sillage-monster, so boys go steadily in the application. I also recommend dabbing this one on as I did, at least for guys. I can't imagine the cloud you'd be trailing spraying this on. Having written that, once that first hour elapses some of the party-animal note dry down and it becomes very wearable, as March writes, you won't feel like go-go boots or Joe Dallesandro will be a necessary accessory to pull this one off.

Oh, and this is easily the coolest bottle that's come out lately. The Campbell Soup looking logo on Bond's signature star-shaped bottle is a winner. It's $230 for 100ML, and it may be necessary in my life soon.

Note to Bond No. 9: you have at Saks Beverly Hills two of the most charming SA's I've ever met at that store. Have them cloned. Now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Great Outdoors: Sables and Burning Leaves

By Linda

People who know me well know that I love the smell of the dry summer hills on the central coast of California, where I live. I know that sounds like a weird thing for everyone to know about me, but I cannot be restrained from standing around sniffing the air and exclaiming about how good it smells around here in summer. More than good: the dry, golden, rolling hills, forever evocative of the tawny flanks of a reclining lioness, are the landscape of my childhood and of my dreams. The mingled smells of hay and sweet herbs, of broken wild anise stalks and eucalyptus pods, of dust and the smoke of burning red oak – this is the scent of home.

I moved away from home when I was newly married. Almost 20 years later, I have come back to the land of my childhood, to be closer to family and the things that matter most to me.

I am gratified to find that even the landscape comforts me, here: my beloved, the Pacific Ocean, with her blue sky laced with the apricot and lemon yellow clouds of my heavenscape, broken by the graceful , slender dark forms of palms; the dry foothill pastures dotted with horses and girt with white picket fences; the familiar plants of my childhood—red oak, eucalyptus trees, bay laurel trees, sage, sweet Cecily, anise, mustard flowers, deer’s tongue, ferns, strawberries, broccoli, citrus trees, California poppies. Endless vineyard grape fields, a new feature since I left, but a fitting and lovely carpet for the hills. Barking sea lions on the pier, and pelicans, dipping and wheeling like modern-day pterodactyls, in the sky. Wild quail, red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures, perky scrub jays and lots of bats at twilight. It is a place of vivid colors and endearing, embarrassing rusticity.

All the local millionaires, who are probably wealthier than their peers in the big cities, seem to think that this is the beating pulse of urban life, but they wear cowboy hats, earth on their boots, and engine grease on their fingers. The area has no anonymity: its charming and vicious small-town climate of gossip, judgment, and networks of friendship and power are pure country life.

Annick Goutal Sables smells like home. To me, it smells like deer’s tongue plants, a ghost of maple syrup, overheating car electrical system, dusty roads, dry hay in the fields, the sprig of anise my mother has plucked and allowed to release its fragrance on the hot dashboard of the car, oak sawdust, a whisper of woodsmoke, and a hint of lemons. Short of a barbecued Tri-Tip and a bowl of strawberries, it has almost everything to recall the central coast to my mind. No one aroma stands out for more than a moment, and after the initially volatile and dazzlingly pretty lemony licorice dies down, the scent does not so much develop as shift.

It is a pleasantly dusty and dry scent despite the licorice and maple sweetness of anise and immortelle and the barest hint of vanilla. Black pepper, a whisper of cinnamon, and sandalwood give it an aura that makes me think of old saddle leather without a trace of animality – leather so old and worn that it smells more of dust than anything. I have seen people refer to it as too masculine for women to wear, but don’t believe them. Don’t get me wrong; I am sure it’s great on a guy. But on me, it is pure outdoorsy Earth Goddess – a freckled, slightly sunburned thirty-something with windblown hair still damp from a swim in the reservoir, with her feet up on the picnic table and her eyes shaded against the hot sun. Like the hills and seascape, it is part of me.

Inspired by its smoky dry plant aroma, I have been layering Sables with CB I Hate Perfume’s Burning Leaves. The effect is shocking and beautiful. The smoldering maple and oak leaf of Burning Leaves dampens the sweetness and licorice/lemon top notes of Sables and simultaneously enriches its woody quality. Whereas I expected the combination to be rustic and yet more outdoorsy, it is startlingly elegant. Yes, it smells like I’ve been at a campfire… and am on my way to a charity dinner. If I close my eyes, it is like being at a low, banked fire after the dinner and marshmallows are gone, chatting lazily with my family. At the same time, it is a seamlessly sinful blend of woods and herbs, and the vanilla in Sables loses its shyness and throws some va-va-voom into the campground.

Sables lasts forever on my skin, which is very welcome, considering the comfort with which I wear it; it makes a terrific work fragrance, as it seems to offend nobody and it pleases my soul. When layered with Burning Leaves, it seems to elevate and prolong the life of the latter on my skin, but it becomes something else again—probably not a work scent.

I find both scents totally captivating separately, but together they work well to mitigate both the altogether too wholesome (if romantic) Sables, and the altogether too literal (if lovely) Burning Leaves. If Sables recalls a banked campfire after a busy day of outdoor activities with your family, Burning Leaves infuses some of the other, more dangerous sense of the outdoors into the picture: nude beaches and hippie hitchhikers, mountain lions and coyotes, dangerous caves and lonely box canyons, wildfires and riptides, diffident nymphs with darkly beckoning glances.

I recommend this combination so highly that I cannot resist writing about it, even though I am behind the fragrance-blogger pack (which is what I get for procrastinating on writing about this duo). Layering scents, particularly with Burning Leaves, is getting a lot of worthy buzz right now. I would be rude if I did not remind you to see March’s wonderful post on Vanilla and Smoke on Perfume Posse (November 28) and Robin’s great post on scent layering on Now Smell This (December 6). Give it a shot and tell me what you think.

Tell me, folks -- what else do you like to layer? Do you layer what you love together, as I do, or do you layer to correct inadequacies in fragrances you don’t quite love?

Image source,

Monday, December 17, 2007

Perfume Review: Lostmarch Lann-Ael

Another Nor'easter have been raging over us, and it looks like we will have a very rainy Christmas and a sleety New Year. This is the kind of weather that makes my organism scream for a day off work, a comfy sofa, a warm blankie, a good book and a glass of red wine ...but as none of these is an option this gloomy Monday, a comfort scent will have to suffice. My latest discovery in this category is Lann-Ael by Lostmarch, with notes of "buckwheat, other cereals, whiffs of milk, apple and vanilla."

Lann-Ael, which sounds like an Elvish name, means "angel heath" in Breton. Angelic is quite a fitting word to describe this delicately sweet, velvety soft, "creamy-white" fragrance. So are maternal and child-like, because the gentle milky sweetness of Lann-Ael reminds me of the smell of my mother's skin, of being very small, cuddled in her arms, feeling content and safe...and of the smell of my daughter, of cuddling her, of feeling in possession of absolutely everything I might ever need. (It also smells absolutely adorable on my little one, like her natural smell, enhanced.)

Like many great comfort scents, Lann-Ael is quite simple, without much development, with no twists and turns, with no pretention. It starts with a creamy-vanillic accord in which from time to time the dry bready-ness of buckwheat (the very every-day ordinariness of which is, to this Russian, comforting in itself) might be sensed and it ends in the same candied and cozy and enjoyably down-to-earth manner. Those who, like me, find Matin Calin's condensed-milky-ness to be very attractive but rather tiresome in its relentless sweetness, will be delighted with a much more delicate, skin-scent-like Lann-Ael.

Lann-Ael is available at, €45,00 for 100ml.

The painting is Refuge by Laurie Blank,

Friday, December 14, 2007

Just Call Her Scary Spice: Black Widow Perfume

By Donna

If I had to choose just one family/type of perfume to wear, it would probably be florals. Until relatively recently I did not own anything that was entirely free of floral essences. I have always associated spice-based perfumes with Oriental blends that are far too sweet, or Old Spice for men, which is enough to put anyone off spicy scents for life. However, after reading a couple of favorable reviews of this 2004 release, I decided I wanted to try it. I was debating as to whether to purchase it or not (it is very affordable) when I happened to run across a contest on a perfume blog to win a full bottle of Black Widow Perfume! I got lucky and my name was drawn, and shortly thereafter it arrived. Now I had two ounces of the stuff whether I liked it or not.

I was intrigued even before I opened the bottle itself, for as I folded back the wrappings in the box a lovely aroma greeted me, one of my very favorite smells in the world: nutmeg. This accord is most often found in men’s fragrances, where strong woods and hefty musks usually overwhelm it, but here it was coming out of a feminine fragrance bottle. At last, a nutmeg scent for girls!

Encouraged by this development, I opened the bottle and applied a little spray. A burst of clove and a little spurt of citrus punched into the air emphatically, followed by a somewhat dry cinnamon note. Underlying these and waiting to be warmed up by contact with skin was the gentler heart of delicious nutmeg. Before it begins to soften a bit there is a somewhat bracing feel to the scent due to the generous clove content, but it’s never overwhelming. The marketing copy for this fragrance claims that it resembles YSL Opium. It does, up to a point, but there is no discernible wood in this one, and certainly no floral notes or the insistent animalic musks found in Opium, though there is a warm musky heart note as it develops. This baby is all about the spice and there is not a blossom to be found. It lacks the refinement of the iconic classic as well, as it is quite a simple composition. This is not necessarily a criticism. For one thing, it is not too sweet, which is what I most feared. It is really nothing but spices and musk, but the notes smell very natural to me. According to the Web site, the ingredients are all natural, though the full details of what it is actually made of are not given. The site is scanty on information but it’s worth it if only to check out the Slogans page, where people have sent in their ideas for catchphrases with a spider theme. My personal favorite: “What you do with your prey is your business.”

When Opium was first released I liked it a lot but I did not feel that I could wear it as it was very grown-up and sultry. I was very young then, I had had an older sister who latched onto it and wore it for a few years, so I did not want to be a copycat, and the bold scent was much better suited to her personality anyway. Well, now we are both old enough to wear whatever we want, and I decided that she could not, after all, keep Habanita by Molinard and Jean Patou’s Colony to herself either if I could help it. I find that Black Widow does have the somewhat dizzying spices of Opium but in a more approachable way. It is not at all heavy-handed once the opening notes have subsided.

This “perfume” is actually cologne strength, but that’s plenty. It lasts me all day and stays true the entire time. After the initial high notes the scent is very consistent. There is a moment near the beginning when those who do not like clove might have a flashback of eating a holiday dinner featuring a clove-studded ham with a sweet glaze and accidentally biting into one of the whole cloves, resulting in a full-on head rush, but it passes quickly. It did not remind me of Old Spice, as it is not nearly as sweet and does not possess that oddly rummy character that clings to wearers of this mystifyingly popular men’s standby. I always suspected that Old Spice was something men splashed on when they wanted to cover up the fact that they had been drinking, but later I found out that the weird booziness is built right into it. (Of course, if you put on enough of that stuff you could disguise having drunk absinthe with an anisette chaser, but I digress.)

Bottom line: I really like this fragrance, as simple and humble as it is. It only costs $25 for a 2-ounce bottle and it is available at Henri Bendel as well as from its own site. I never thought I would fall for something that has not a single petal or blossom in it, but I have found a few others like that recently and I am learning of more all the time. Maybe it’s that the nutmeg reminds me of the fabulous fried doughnuts my great-aunt used to make for us – to this day I maintain that no better doughnut has ever been made by anyone. That said, it’s not really a “foody” scent and does not smell like a bottle of baking extract. It’s sexy and comforting at the same time and very easy to wear. Now that winter is at hand I can look forward to wearing it a lot, and certainly for any holiday parties and other special occasions of the season. It would be hard to think of another scent that retails for such a reasonable price yet does not smell cheap or artificial. That alone endears it to my thrifty Yankee heart.

Image credits: Black Widow Barbie from’s Demonic Dolls Series. (No, really.)

Black Widow Perfume bottle from

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Perfume Review: Andy Tauer Hyacinth and Mechanic

By Tom

Andy has sent his latest scent on a "bottle journey", where it has gone from perfume lover to perfume lover, who have commented upon it, The latest was Gaia, the Non Blonde, who was nice enough to send it to me.

Like Gaia, I find the opening intensely green. Really intensely green. The succulently green hyacinth is paired with lily of the valley and a bare whiff of cold camphor to make a lush but identifiably Tauer scent. Like his Reverie au Jardin, which challenges how you think lavender smells, the tart, green whiteness of the opening is light-years away from what you think that a hyacinth should smell like, but somehow seems perfectly right, like a lightbulb over your head. "Oh yeah! That's hyacinth!"

Then the mechanic pops up. He starts off smelling oily, a bit like the note in SMN Nostalgia, that leather and oily old-car smell that I loved in that scent but wished lasted longer. It then gets stronger, almost Kolnisch Juchten- like in its fatted roundness. This mechanic might be bringing a bouquet, but he also is bringing a sandwich. There isn't a lot of development in this, it dances around from cool whiteness and fatted leather darkness. Do I have to tell you that I am in thrall?

I hope that Andy decides to release this one, it's completely identifiable as one of his scents and it's completely gorgeous.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Perfume Review: Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade

I am not going to preface the review with an aside on Marquis de Sade. We all know who he is and what he stands for. Is the Histores de Parfums scent fit to bear the legendary name? It is, as much as any other fairly smoky, pleasurably harsh leather scent would be. It could perhaps have been a little more forceful, a little more tarry and much more animalic...a little more...cruel.

The pressures of the name aside, this is a wonderful scent, lush, deep, darkly sensual. The three notes that I smell the most are leather, patchouli and... prunes. Patchouli here has that chocolate-like quality that I love in the note, and it adds an unexpectedly gourmand undertone to the black leathery brew. The image that the scent evokes in my mind is not of any sort of orgy, but of prunes covered in bitter, dark chocolate (my absolute favorite candy in the whole world), kept in an old leather trunk. Marquis de Sade is not a complex scent, but it compensates for the lack of intricate detail and sophisticated development by the glorious richness of the notes. On me, it is astonishingly comforting, truly the most unlikely comfort scent I have ever found. On The Other it is jaw-droppingly sexy fact, the smell makes me want to bite the wrist that wears it. Which, after all, might be a reaction the Marquis would approve.

1740 Marquis de Sade is available at MioMia, $115.00 for 4oz.

Jubilation Prize Draw Winners ...



Please send me your addresses and I will put the samples in the mail.

Thank you, everyone, for playing!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oriental Dreams

By Alyssa

Scent, so famously linked to memory, brings us back to the scenes of our past, but it can do something stranger: it can take us just beyond the edge of our experience to places and people we have never known, yet claim beyond reason as our own. It doesn’t really matter whether our affinities are nostalgic, aspirational, or ancestral. The powerful experience of smelling something for the first time and knowing that we’ve come home cannot be denied.

Though my perfume loves continue to grow and expand, for me most of these coming-home scents fall into the category of orientals. I’ve grown to appreciate and even to adore many florals, and I aspire to the elegance of chypres, but it’s abundantly clear from my collection that resins, woods and spices, often touched by dark roses and the occasional judicious (and, OK, sometimes not so judicious) measure of dark fruit or honey, are what I reach for most often. They are the scents that feel like the most expansive, luxurious, confident, sensual version of myself.

Outside of perfumanity, the word “oriental”—unless applied to carpets—stinks of out-of-date ignorance and self-entitled sloppiness. But the “oriental” of perfume is a term so fantastically antique that it by-passes contemporary racism and proceeds straight to the bloody, knotty histories and dreams of Empire. Setting aside for a moment, the messiness of the category itself (What exactly is an oriental perfume these days? And what is not?), we could say that The Orient of perfume is not the Far East—China and Japan—but the Near or Middle East, a region located more or less in North Africa and the Southern Mediterranean.

But even this vague outline begins to dissolve as soon as it is drawn, for perfume’s Orient is truly a collection of journeys. It is comprised of the ancient spice and incense routes, over land and sea, where the raw materials for spiritual and sensual life were (and in many cases continue to be) gathered and traded, and of the journeying borders, peoples, and armies that accompanied the quest for precious aromatics and the wealth they represented. This Orient sends its tendrils through space and time across Egypt and Arabia to India, the “spice islands” of Northern Indonesia and the Southern Phillipines, and then up into China, throughout the old Roman Empire and even into the New World where Columbus was, after all, looking for a new spice route.

Of course, the peoples of the Orient didn’t view themselves as such – it’s a Western state of mind, from belly dancers and dreams of Genies, to Lawrence of Arabia. It is the Dutch girl who became Mata Hari, and the inscrutable, perfect face of the Swede who played her in the movies (and that nightmar African/Arab idol/monster she dances with on the movie poster). It is the Orient of 19th-century Romantic poet Coleridge and his opium-fuelled dreams of Kubla Kahn:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

It is, in short, Orientalism, the late, great scholar Edward Said’s stinging rejoinder to the myopic Western stereotyping and exoticization of (primarily) Muslim Arab worlds, extended by others into a similar critique of the West’s exoticization of Asia.

The blend of empire and dream is clear in the scent portrait of oriental perfumes. There are the ancient, amazing resins—frankincense and myrrh, sandalwood, and the complex resin produced by the heartwood of the mold-infected aquilaria tree known in its various homes and forms as agarwood, gaharu, jinko, aloeswood, or oud—and the spices—cinnamon, cassia, cardamom, ginger, black pepper, clove, coriander, nutmeg and saffron. And there are the citruses, roses and jasmine beloved so throughout the Middle East and South Asia. But what would Shalimar, that ur-oriental, be without vanilla, of which the Old World knew nothing until Columbus’ fateful journey? The trade of other crucial ingredients, in particular ambergris and its plant material substitutes, have their own, intersecting stories.

And, in the way of dreams, other travesties of empire get smoothed over and mixed in/up with the oriental story—witness Lubin’s Idole, with it’s African mask bottle, and its hefty dose of rum mixed with all those spices. Tribute to the enslaved Africans traded for rum and spices? Co-optation of exoticism for profit? Cluelessness? Certainly, it’s dream logic.

I don’t think oriental dreams are going anywhere. I found it impossible to do so much as list the spices and resins above without falling into a kind of reverie. Perfume lives, in part, through fantasy, and fantasy (as we feminists have had to learn) is never politically correct. Indeed, there’s too much rich history and mythology keeping time alongside the Western silliness to want to leave it entirely behind. But Orientalism is so rampant in the perfume world that as I swoon over my oriental perfumes I can’t help but wonder about the things they both point towards and cover over.

The fog of fantasy obscures a truly fascinating history of Western perfumery’s debt to the East, and of it’s greedy absorption and re-interpretation and of these scents. It is simply impossible to imagine perfumery—far beyond “orientals”—without the raw materials of the Middle East and Mediterranean. Literally and figurally, the region provides perfumes basenotes and heartnotes (and a few topnotes, too). But how was the basis of classical perfumery shaped by the ancient ways of blending those woods and spices? And how many of our contemporary perfumers find their sensual or actual homes there?

Perhaps some of what feels like innovation is actually a more conscious connection to ancient ways. The work of the much-praised Serge Lutens, for example, can be seen as an extended meditation on the Middle East. From Anya, on Smelly Blog, I learn that another innovator, Linda Pilkington of Ormonde Jayne, spent several years at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Like Lutens, Pilkington’s perfumes are clearly connected to the scents and flavors of the Middle East (consider, especially, Ta’if). What are her emotional connections to that world? These are only the crudest and most direct of connections—there are many others, more subtle, to be traced. If you know more, please do comment.

In this time of war, when fantasy so quickly turns to nightmare and monster-making, I think it’s worth searching out human stories to stand alongside our dreams. My own Orientalism takes the form of nostalgia for the great vibrant, cosmopolitan cities of old, where West and East, Jew, Christian, and Muslim truly lived and worked (if not always happily) together. And I wonder what we—what I—could learn about my yearning for the scents of the Orient if I knew what they meant to people for whom they smell, quite simply, of home.

(As if home were ever simple. But that is a story for another day.)

Photo credits:,,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Perfume Review: Amouage Jubilation 25...and a Prize Draw

The recent Amouage releases for women, from Eau and Esprit d’Amouage to Reflection, were underwhelming for me, not living up to the high standards of what I consider to be Amouage “classics”, Gold, Dia and Ciel. Actually, the quotation marks are not necessary here, because, as far as I am concerned, the latter three are indeed classic scents, since they possess the timeless quality of true classics which lifts them above trends and fashions. In contrast, the later offerings from the company were nothing but nods to trends, attempts at appealing to the young, fresh- and fruity- loving audience. To me, they robbed the line off its regal, luxurious, elegantly exotic splendor. When a company decides to become young, hip and/or approachable for wider audience (and I am not talking prices here, heaven knows, there is a lot of overpriced fruity-floral drivel on the market), it is all downhill from there, with scents going from bad to worse (I wanted to cite Dior here as an example, but I still haven’t smelled the three new scents, and so I will hold my peace.). Long story short, I did not have high expectation for the Jubilation collection, created to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the House of Amouage. I don’t think I have ever been proved more wrong …except for that one time when I was told that the White House did not in fact have an electromagnetic force field protecting it…but I digress.

With Jubilation 25, Amouage is back to its former magnificent self. As much as I admire Gold and love Dia, I am almost tempted to say that the new women’s perfume is even better. Jubilation 25, while retaining the sublimely elegant spirit of earlier creations, has a much more pronounced exotic feel, and in that, it seems to me better representative of the House. Gold and Dia seemed to me utterly European, or just French, if you will. In Jubilation 25, West finally meets East and the Omani origin of the line becomes much more obvious. It is as if Femme Rochas and Lutens’s Arabie had a passionate love affair, which resulted in a child who inherited Femme’s chic voluptuousness and the very French élan and Arabie’s dark good looks and tantalizing mysteriousness.

Jubilation 25 smells like a Perfume supposed to. “A woman should smell like a woman, and not like a rose”, said Coco Chanel (quoted in Michael Edwards Perfume Legends, page.45), in other words, a Perfume should not be obvious. A Perfume should smell complex, it should make you wonder what IS it that makes it what it is, and almost not wanting to find out. With notes of tarragon, rose, lemon, ylang-ylang, davana, labdanum, frankincense, amber, musk, vetiver, myrrh and patchouli, Jubilation is a complex blend, intricate and harmonious. In contrast to the relatively fresh top notes, the heart seems shockingly full-bodied. The creaminess of ylang and the booziness of davana, combined with an ambery accord and the sweet, sweet myrrh, create an effect of astonishing richness. Add to that patchouli and what I would swear is cumin, and it all is almost Too Much! But here is where the perfumer’s (Lucas Sieuzac, whose future in perfume, judging by this scent alone, is dazzlingly bright) magic comes into play. I don’t know what it is that keeps the extravagant opulence within the limits of endurable; I don’t know what – miraculously! - makes the scent as sublimely elegant as it is robustly luxurious, but something does. Perhaps the spirit of the great Edmond Roudnitska has been watching over the creation. Refined and lavish, exquisitely classic and alluringly exotic, luxe, calme et volupté, Jubilation 25 is THE best scent to come out this year …no, make it the last couple of years. If the praise seems excessive, it is because it is deserved. Please try it, when you can. In fact, let’s have a prize draw. If you would like to receive a sample of Jubilation 25, please say so in your comment. Three winners, randomly chosen, will receive a small vial of the scent each.

I haven’t done this in a while, but the perfume demands for it to be done…and so I am leaving you with Baudelaire’s Invitation to the Voyage, the poem that transports me to the same –golden, idyllic, seductive- place as Jubilation:

My child, my sister,
Think of the rapture
Of living together there!
Of loving at will,
Of loving till death,
In the land that is like you!
The misty sunlight
Of those cloudy skies
Has for my spirit the charms,
So mysterious,
Of your treacherous eyes,
Shining brightly through their tears.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

Gleaming furniture,
Polished by the years,
Will ornament our bedroom;
The rarest flowers
Mingling their fragrance
With the faint scent of amber,
The ornate ceilings,
The limpid mirrors,
The oriental splendor,
All would whisper there
Secretly to the soul
In its soft, native language.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

See on the canals
Those vessels sleeping.
Their mood is adventurous;
It's to satisfy
Your slightest desire
That they come from the ends of the earth.
— The setting suns
Adorn the fields,
The canals, the whole city,
With hyacinth and gold;
The world falls asleep
In a warm glow of light.

There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.

(Translated by William Aggeler)

Jubilation 25 is available at, €190.00- €225.00. According to Christopher Chong, the creative director of Amouage, the Jubilation collection will launch in the US in 2008.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

From the Mouths of Husbands - Marina's Impossible

"Good morning Mr. Colombina. Your mission ... should you choose to accept it ... is to sneak into Colombina's private scented world ... to uncover and deliver top secret information that her readers don't know about her and her perfumes... and might even be surprised to find out. The free (smelling) world depends on you and your team to expose the essence that is ... PST.

Colombina ... AKA Marina ... heads an international network of fragrance worshipers who will stop at nothing to partake in the pleasures of scents. So be careful!

This blog will self destruct in five seconds."

So there I was ... just hanging around ... minding my own business ... when duty called. I had been enjoying a well deserved rest, when I was reminded that it had been ages since I did a guest post. When I say "reminded" I mean nagged as only Colombina can. She becomes 'Marina Impossible.'

The first thing I had to do was assemble the IMF team. I needed a team with the skills and daring to infiltrate Colombina's world ... I needed a team that already had the inside connections and insights to blow the lid off this case. But who? Who could I trust? And perhaps most crucially, I needed to get Colombina out of the house for a few hours so we could snoop around through her things. And hey, if we stumbled upon a Christmas present or two ...well that would be considered acceptable collateral damage.

After much brainstorming (a few beers) ... I realized I needed just one team member .... Little Miss Colombina ...AKA 'Agent Swiper.' Her dossier reads like a Tom Clancy novel. Former KGB operative ... former MI6 infiltrator, able to get into small spaces ... daring, sly, crafty and manipulative with a 'nose' for trouble... and if need be she could cry that her shoes are too tight ...forcing Colombina to vacate the house to the nearest shoe emporium for a few needed hours.

We would be searching for anything incriminating ... a bottle of White Diamonds perhaps ... better yet ... a secret stash of Giorgio! We carefully entered the realm of PST ... Marina's world. And here's what we can report.

The desk where she types this wonderful blog is itself, a tiny perfume counter ...covered with bottles, boxes and these tiny little sample vials that could easily be mistaken for some sort of contraband. I know how everyone (every woman anyway) was annoyed when airlines started preventing you from bringing any liquids in your carry-on ... even perfume. But if you saw these vials, you'd think she was definitely up to something sinister!

Equally fighting for desktop space are her cosmetics, on what once was my desk ...then our desk and now ...I give up ...there's not even room for a single sports magazine! Now I am not just saying this (to get my desk back) but I complained to Colombina once about perhaps putting her cosmetics elsewhere since she doesn't even use them. She informed me that she DOES use them which only further backs my position that if she uses them and I don't notice the difference ...then (being such a 'natural' beauty) she does not need them. I lost that argument (as usual).

Mr. Colombina attempts to type this guest post

And also on HER desk ... no trashy mags ... no Cosmo People National Enquirer ... just these outrageously large magazines ...thicker than a Sears catalogue. Each of these has about 8 pages of articles and 3,000 pages of ads.

Moving into her bedroom. Yes hers! I am more like a lodger there. I can tell all you faithful PST readers that Colombina is ... well not the most 'organized' person in the world. But then again she would have a hard time living up to the standards of her husband ... a self-confessed anal retentive German Virgo with obsessive-compulsive tendencies. She often compares my fastidiousness to "sleeping with the enemy."

I see the strewn clothes and haphazard hazards and realize there is a method to her madness. Well actually just a madness to her madness but she SWEARS she knows where everything is. That being said, you don't want to be around when she CAN'T find something ...accusing all within throwing range of stealing, moving or otherwise relocating the items in question ... all with the wrath of a Naomi Campbell-Russell Crowe love child!

I think PST readers would most be surprised to see how little perfume there is here at the moment. Or in sight anyway. Oh sure she has enough for ten life times but her collection seems to grow and ebb in waves. She can be extremely fickle in all things ... food ... reading genres, and even perfume. Presently her collection is rich in 'classics' with a lot of the fad ones removed once the thrill was gone.

Colombina is by no means a hoarder. But that is not to say she is not sentimental. If shelf space normally reserved for french bottles becomes available is usually filled with pictures of her family. Her taste for wall-mounted prints, paintings and pictures is usually far more tasteful than mine ... though if you saw what hangs on the wall immediately to the left of this (her) computer monitor ... you might not believe it. I'd tell you more. But I'd have to kill you.

Well I hope that's a little peak into Colombina's world. Now let's see how much she censors. Happy Holidays to all. See you in 2008.

What more can I say about Colombina AKA Marina?


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Perfume Review: Lubin Vetiver and L'eau Nueve

By Tom
Two new scents from the house whose previous release was the reissue of the delicious Idole.

Vetiver starts off sweet and rather cold, its vetiver tinged with grapefruit and pepper. As it moves forward, cloves and a slight bitter rootiness come into play. Further on, incense joins in with a whiff of Tabac Blond. While this reads as surprisingly light, it has a sly sillage; I was getting whiffs of myself all day. Very pleasurable ones at that. Although It does read as a fairly manly scent, I have a feeling that quite a few ladies will be filching it; it has that allure of a cute girl in her boyfriends button-down shirt. She'll be filching it of she can wrest it from his clutches that is. I surprised myself with this one, since initially I wasn't in total love with it's chilly opening. I ended up quite liking it. Vetiver fans should be thrilled, especially at $95 for 75ML.

L'eau Nueve starts of rather disconcertingly with a minted sweetness that's almost
literally like candy. The candy accord doesn't last, almost immediately being joined by citrus peel (listed as Lemon Orange {Meyer Lemon?} and Bergamot). There about 67.000 other fragrances that do this, but this one does it well; it's a little Pucci dress of a scent. Light lavender pops in and dances around with sage, the scent entertainingly goes from warm to cold like one of those crisp partly cloudy fall days. The drydown unites the seemingly impossibly disparate notes with a light woody musk. There will be some serious filching of this from him; I suggest calendaring alternate wearing days. But this one's also $95 for 75ML, so let him have a few spritzes, okay?

At LuckyScent.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Perfume Review: Domenico Caraceni Loren

Men's designers' offerings for the better halves of their clients often strike me as unremarkable. They are polite if unimaginative acknowledgments, usually very predictable in their inoffensive floralcy (one example- Knize). Not so with Caraceni. Inspired by and named after Sophia Loren, apparently a long-time client, Loren harkens back to the Big Pefumes of the 1980s. In fact, its creamy floral accord wrapped around a berry note reminds me of none other than my love forever, Poison.

Associated with Loren, the scent simply couldn't have been a timid, understated arrangement. It had to have curves, it had to have Presence. It had to come into the room with a bang and make everyone gasp. But it had to be tasteful, it had to carry its gorgeous self with grace and dignity. Cary Grant said of Loren: "She is so sensual that most men must have a mad desire to tear off her clothes. However, they do not even dare to take her hand because she looks so distinguished, natural and discreet." Loren translates that paradoxical quality into perfume rather well. The first notes are almost overwhelming in their sweet, thick white floral voluptuousness. They are All Woman and very much aware of the head-spinning effect they produce. But there is a note underneath the floral opulence, a delicate, juicy berry note which, surprisingly, doesn't make the scent any sweeter but in fact cuts through the sweetness with it's gentle tangy-ness. It smells touchingly young and strangely vulnerable and so very endearing. The base notes feature the return of the creamy florals, now enriched even further by the presence of amber and opoponax. This is not the scent for the faint of nose nor perhaps for casual or office wear. It should be worn with a dress made according to Sophia Loren's own specifications: "serving its purpose without obstructing the view".

Loren is available at First in Fragrance, €90.00 for 100ml, and is soon expected to be sold at Luckyscent too.

Image and quotes are from