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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On the Lighter Side

By Tom

Nasomatto China White, Isotta Fraschini Profumo Uomo and L'Artisan L'Ete en Douce

First off, I want to thank all of you for wishing me a happy birthday in this blog last week, I was truly touched, and it made turning 137 years old a lot easier. I thank you all!

What did not make it easier was the fact that it was about 137 degrees in the city of the lost Angels this weekend. I know, climate change is supposed to be bu*l**it, but I don't remember it being so hot so early or so often. Or perhaps my advancing age makes me kvetchier.

Naaaahhhh.

So, this means that I decided to drop into ScentBar (blissfully air-conditioned and always congenially staffed) to test out a few new things.

China White is new from Nasomatto, who is very tiresome about listing ingredients. My first sniff reminds me of an ashtray, of recently extinguished cigarettes. I mean that in the best way, mind you- there's a delicious decadence to its opening that's quite wonderful. I wasn't overwhelmed with what came later, a delicate, powdery floral with only an undertone of the ashtray opening, It's interesting, like all of the Nasomatto line, but like those scents didn't quite entice me to purchase.

Isotta Fraschini was there also. Isotta Fraschini was an automobile company in Italy from the 20's to the 40's which specialised in deluxe automobiles. In real life Valentino and Clara Bow owned them, in the movie "Sunset Blvd", batty Norma Desmond is chauffeured around Los Angeles in one. Naming a cologne after a company whose most famous (arguably) cultural reference is as a leopard upholstered punch line seems silly, but at least it's not Hummer, right?

Actually the cologne itself is quite pleasant. It's a very smooth mix of tonka, woods, spices and anise-tinged musk, none of which would have the bad taste to actually stand out. It has that "I've smelled this before" quality to it that, were I in a more charitable mood (or in heavy AC) I might refer to as "timeless" instead of "derivative". It seems like part of a spec sheet on gracious living and in it's zest to be completely unassuming, grated.

L'Ete en Douce was a 180 degree turn however. Minted orange blossoms and airy hay notes are light as a feather and refreshing as spring rain, while the gently woody and musky drydown manage a feat that I find L'Artisan scents usually do either/or but not both: be ethereal and long-lasting. Completely full-bottle worthy for me and perhaps immediately necessary in my life, this was of the three the one that seemed to me most worthy of it's price.

L'Ete en Douce is $135 for 100ml, at Luckyscent, Barney's and L'Artisan Boutiques. Isotta Frachini is $145 for 100ML at Luckyscent. China White is $148 at Luckyscent and Barneys

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12 Comments:

Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

China White sounds like something I might like. Is it anything like Jasmin et Cigarette?

8:20 AM EDT  
OpenID divalano said...

China White. Am I the only 80s survivor who thinks of the subject of the Ramones' Chinese Rocks every time this perfume is mentioned? Don't think it's just me, Google seems to think the same ... just saying.

Can't wait to smell the new L'A. Hoping the hay note doesn't induce massive sneezing.

8:52 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

marina-

Not sure that you'd like China White- the dissonance between the ashtray and the dressing table aspects might be a bit much. But I would love to read your take on it.

11:10 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I've yet to feel the need to purchase any of the Nasomattos, but I do adore ashtray scents, so I'm hoping that that accord will linger on my skin and not be overcome by the powdery floral part - which I don't mind, but that's not exactly hard to come by in scents. Am going to have to resniff the L'Ete en Douce. I tried it back when it was Songes and it didn't work on me all that well, but it's sounding very tempting right now and, God

11:11 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

divalano-

L'A is starting to be one of those houses that I am growing to be a big fan of. The hay is very delicate; I think you'd like it.

11:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous ghostranchguy said...

i thought china white was as nauseating as some ol' hang-over... a sweet smoldering mess... i prefer duro

come now!!... norma desmond was never batty... it was that nancy olson chick that was the batty one - not to mention dumb as a stump

3:28 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

elle-

On me it was too powdery, but your mileage may vary...

I was surprised that L'Ete worked so well on me! Happily so!

3:42 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

ghostranchguy!

That made me laugh out loud!

I don't think Nancy was batty, but I do think that Holden was batty for preferring her squinty-eyed youth over Norma, who clearly loved him and was way more fabulous than her deserved...

3:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

I am not surprised that L'Artisan has come out with yet another winner - I will try this as soon as I have the chance. I am ALL about the hay!

1:34 AM EDT  
OpenID quinncreative said...

I could throw myself on the floor and bang my hands and fists in frustration. I LOVE hay and all the other notes listed in L'ete en douce.
So I bought a BIG bottle, unsniffed.

Ah, can you smell disaster?

Will I NEVER learn? I spritz some on, and out marches a big ol' strumpet of linden, and she's dragging a suffocating boa of musk. She whips the boa through her overworked armpit and wraps the whole cloying thing around my nose.

Someone else walks by, and she's a waif in a naughty dress, fey and delicate. Then she turns toward me again, dyed red hair and torn fishnet stockings, shows her dirty teeth and says, "Why not?"

I want to exchange my chemistry. It's not fair that I can't wear this and I have the BIG bottle.

10:17 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

Tom,

I need to try that L'Artisan..and since I might go to the scent bar today (july 5)- if they are open- I will..:)..
Any other LA must dos? (perfume and non perfume- I remember you mentioning a bakery near the scent bar- I forgot the name though)..*is excited*..I might pop into Barneys as well- a whole bunch of Malles that I need to retest..:)

1:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Climate change is bs? Oh please don't tell me you're a climate change naysayer! Are you a young Earth creationist too?? :(

12:47 AM EDT  

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