Fragrance X
First in Fragrance
My Photo
Location: New York, NY
© Copyright 2005-2011 Perfume-Smellin' Things
All rights reserved
Custom Search

Friday, October 31, 2008

Top 10 of Fall, a Bonus Top 10 and a Prize Draw

"Autumn is marching on: even the scarecrows are wearing dead leaves" - tis' time to list the Top 10 of Fall.


I dislike cold weather. I wish I was a bear and could go into deep sleep until spring. In autumn, perfumes are my source of comfort: warmth, softness, coziness, cuddliness...strength and confidence...

1. Bell'Antonio by Hilde Soliani: husky-sweet cuddliness of tobacco, comfort of a loving embrace

2. Felanilla by Parfumerie Generale: woody vanilla, dry, a little spicy, very warm, comfort of a cashmere shawl

3. Gucci Pour Homme: incense and woods, austere and soft, a quintessentially masculine scent that is so easy to wear, a perfume that protects me from the cold and takes my troubles and my breath away

4. Lyric by Amouage: a velvety, sweet, creamy rose for cold weather, slightly spicy, very sensual and extremely comforting

5. Theo Fennell: elegance and dirt, a thick, indolent, cumin-y goodness that is as erotic as it is comforting

6. Habanita by Molinard: powdery, vanillic softness that surrounds an unyielding core of leather, an empowering comfort scent, my I Can Do It and I Can Get Through It perfume

7. Sotto Voce by Laura Biagiotti: slightly bitter sweetness, soft powderiness, delicate warmth, wearing this twelve year old favorite comforts me reminding that some things really do last forever

8. Quand Vient La Pluie by Guerlain: a gently sweet, breathtakingly exquisite blend that is perfect in every season, comfort that comes upon one when contemplating (or wearing) a thing of absolute beauty, comfort of summer amidst fall.

9. Peut-Etre by Lancome: the scent that is "me" in some strange, inexplicable way, comfort of being in one's own skin

10. Beige by Chanel: my noli me tangere fragrance, the comfort of aloofness, of confidence, of feeling impeccably put together.

I recently outed my nail polish addiction, so here is a bonus Top 10 that I want to share with my fellow polish maniacs (and please share yours in your comments!). If you aren't one, skip to Tom's Top 10 perfumes of Fall.

1. Tickle My France-y by OPI
2. Bon Bon by Orli
3. Body Language by Essie
4. Pasha by Zoya
5. Make Love by OPI
6. Dominique by Zoya
7. Juliette by Nyx
8. Noir Ceramic by Chanel
9. My Private Jet by OPI
10. Metro Chic by Sephora by OPI


I'm going to evenly split my ten between ones that were actually introduced in 2008 and ones that I find myself reaching for in the fall:

1. Jitterbug by Opus Oils. Sweet and flowery without being overpowering, this sings on a cold day

2. Kiki by Vero Perfumes. I know it was on my Summer list as well. Sue me.

3. Musc Botanique by Strange Invisible Perfumes. Absolutely delicious and like nothing else out there.

4. Cradle of Light by CB I Hate Perfume. Basenotes insists it's a 2008 release. I know I smelled it in 2007. I also know I can't forget it.

5. Serge Noire by Serge Lutens. Yes, it's a close cousin of his other ones. Yes, I finally bought a bottle. It's the essence of Autumn.

Now for the ones that aren't 2008 releases

6. Arabie by Serge Lutens. When the weather turns cold the boozy stewed fruits of this become a woody warm embrace

7. Kolnisch Juchten by (difficult German name) Fatty, meaty goodness is just the ticket for fall.

8. Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain. Doughy vanilla goodness that manages to be both comforting and yes heartlessly chic

9. Ensense Flamboyant by Annick Goutal. Dreamy insencey goodness, it and all of Les Orientalistes are finally available in America

10. Greyland by Montale. A new favorite that's both perfect for fall and perfect on me. I blame Donna, her review made me try it. I am picking up a bottle of this this week as my Christmas present to myself. Even though it's October.

Please share your summer favorites. By tradition, our Top 10s come with a giveaway: if you would like to receive a set of 10 samples of some of mine and some of Tom's favorites, please say so in your comment. And don't forget to read other Top 10s of Fall on:

Bois de Jasmin
Now Smell This
Perfume Posse

PS. Please tune in to PST tomorrow, Saturday, for our Halloween special by Beth. Great holidays like this should last more than a day.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Roxana Illuminated Perfumes...and a give-away

By Tom

I suppose that I could chalk it up to being jaded. Nothing has come out lately that has just gob-smacked me. I tried Dans tes Bras and was wanting more: of course this could be the fact that they only had a beensy tester at Barneys and the nice lady spritzed an amount so minuscule that it could perhaps only be detected on the subatomic level.

I know it's not me because because Donna's review of Greyland made me seek it out, and buy. The large size please.

I also know it's not me because of the package I got from Illuminated Perfumes.

Roxana Villa has been doing this apparently out of her Los Angeles area home for quite a while. How did I miss this?

She sent me samples of six of them:

Lyra is orange and bergamot over amber. According to the website there are tropical flowers in there, but I don't get much, certainly not anything that I would normally think of as tropical: no hothouse gardenia, no over-the-top tuberose. I could be crazy but I think there's a touch of heliotrope in there. It's tropical in that bright, sparkling way that Patou did with Colony, but there's no pineapple.

Q has the wonderful full woodiness of Chene added to the succulent amber of Ambre Sultan with contrapuntal bergamot and I think I smell a fair bit of musk in there. Not to say that it's in any way derivative, more to say, "try to keep me away from this one...."

Sierra is written of as a "Conifer forest on an earthy bed of decomposing leaves" I get that (if none of the written of citrus) and I also get a recent forest fire. Like last week. Personally I love that smell so that's fine, but if you're expecting Julie Andrews spinning on an Alp, be warned...

Aurora is spicy carnations, a "fresh floriental" Personally I prefer the forest fires..

Vespertine is the most elusive of the bunch: it's written of as "orange woven with florals grounded by earth" but I don't get anything that definite: I get something that makes me think of churches. Vestments, incense, old stones and older rituals. It stays close to the skin and is quite lovely.

Vera is lavender so bright it dances. The brightness of orange peel and a startlingly true fresh green hay accord really makes this one sing. It's also the one that's easily the strongest, but none of these are exactly Fracas; I'd wear any of them to the office.

All are available at her website; I can't wait to see what she did with Chaparral, the scent she debut at Sniffapalooza. See? I knew there'd be about three reasons I'd be po'd I missed that! Roxana Illuminated Perfume will be ay at Visionary Boutique in West Hollywood on November 16th at 11AM. I think I'm going!

Since she was nice enough to send me the samples out of the blue I am going to pass them on to a randomly chosen commenter. The length of your comment or gushitude over how clever I am will have nothing to do at all as to whether I choose you. Honest. Winner will be announced in next week's post.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winner, Coming Attractions and Short Poll

Winner of the Magnifique draw is Anita. Please send me your address using the contact me link on the right.

Coming this week: on Thursday, everything will be Illuminated with Tom's review of something über-niche and, on Friday, tune in for our Top 10 of Fall.

And because I sadly don't have for anything more creative...

I am wearing Chanel Beige and OPI Parlez-Vous OPI? What are you wearing?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Royal Decadence: Jean Desprez Bal á Versailles

By Donna

A few weeks ago I took a friend to my local “palace” of fragrance, The Perfume House. She was in search of a new perfume suitable for colder weather. Knowing some of her preferences from sharing samples with her, I made a master list of classics for her to try as a baseline and I threw in a few others in the styles I thought she would like. We went through Mitsouko, Femme, Indiscret and many other time-tested scents as well as the newer Serge Lutens and Montale perfumes. My friend prefers woody, mossy and green notes, so my selections included plenty of those, and in fact she ended up liking on of my own favorites best: Jean Louis Scherrer’s original scent, a gorgeously deep woody chypre which I had actually worn a lot many years ago and which I still love. However, one of her other “finalists” was Bal á Versailles, the legendary 1962 scent from Jean Desprez. I fell in love with it all over again myself in the course of nearly four hours of trying on scents. Well, the perfume gods were smiling on me, because I just had a birthday, and my friend surprised me with a bottle of it – have I mentioned that she is a very good friend?

In our family we have a jokingly vulgar tradition of teasing whoever has just put on perfume to go out by saying “You smell like a French wh**e!” Well, in the case of Bal á Versailles, I really do smell somewhat like an, ahem, courtesan, hetaera, gentleman’s companion, or whatever you want to call it. (In a good way, of course.) When I first tried it out of the bottle, it had been many years since I sniffed it, and in the interim I had discovered Balmain’s Jolie Madame. The first thing I thought of was: Wow, this is Jolie Madame’s naughty sister! BIG hit of “grown-up perfume” right off the bat; an impressively indolic jasmine and orange blossom opening paired with a rather sticky rose, a deliciously dirty animalic base note combination of civet, musk and ambergris and lots of sweet spicy amber. I was too young to handle this when I first sampled it years ago – and now is the time for me to embrace the authority of this big, powerful iconic perfume. Oddly, considering the notes involved, once it develops on me it never gets really huge sillage like say, Fracas, but rather it stays closer to the skin. It is very strong, yes, but it does not operate in attack mode, it just smolders and simmers and keeps it up for hours. (Mine is only the EDT and I can’t imagine what need I would have for a stronger formulation, though EDP and Parfum are available.)

This is one of those bold Floral-Oriental style scents that walks the fine edge between classy and a bit too much, and I think it does that perfectly. Naturally, one must choose a scent carefully as the occasion warrants, and I would not personally wear it to a job interview. However, though it is clearly intended to be an evening perfume, I have worn it for day and I did not feel that it was too much. I would refrain from wearing it if I were going to be in a very small room with other people, unless that room happened to contain candlelight and wine and a dark-eyed handsome man.

Bal à Versailles is also one of those perfumes that brings back a lost world for those old enough to recall it, a world of where going out at night for a special event meant putting on red lipstick and jewelry and your best dress, and your man wore black tie or at least a really nice suit, and perhaps opera gloves were even involved. (Am I the only one who wishes that the latter were not relegated mostly to the realm of stage costumes or dominatrix porn these days?) Putting on a strong “statement scent” like this that makes you feel more than a little bit dramatic can almost make you think those days never went away. Of course, there is really no such thing as “the good old days”, but parts of them were worth keeping. I have been to gala concerts in very nice halls where people in the audience wore flannel shirts and jeans and even brought in boxed pizza. Is it really that hard to make an effort to look nice, or behave as though something special is worth one’s complete attention? For me, wearing a perfume of this deeply womanly style makes me want to live up to it somehow. Yes, I wear fragrance for myself, and I frequently wear it even when I am home alone, but when I am getting dressed for battle, so to speak, it helps to have the right armor. Bal à Versailles fills this role to perfection – slinky yet elegant, highly civilized yet with a feral undertone, it’s for women who know who they are and what they want, and if that includes vamping it up in a sexy dress and your very best come-get-me shoes, so much the better. Okay, so I don’t actually own a pair of shoes like that, but wearing this perfume makes me feel as though I do.

Bal à Versailles is widely available in better perfume shops and on the Internet, and comes in Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum, Parfum, shower gel, soap and more. It can easily be had for a discounted price. Its exact list notes seems to be a closely guarded secret, though many of them are quite obvious.

Image credits: Bottle from Undated photo of supermodel Yasmeen Ghauri from For The Love of Opera Gloves.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Men Like... Review of Kenzo Winter Flowers

"It is better for you to have reduced a single free man to slavery by gentleness than to have freed one thousand slaves." Omar Khayyam

A male friend who smelled Winter Flowers with me had just one thing to say about it, "it smells seductive"...Now, a heavy-lidded oriental like Opium or Shalimar is seductive, a sultry floral like Mahora or Fracas is seductive. An animalic musc like Koublai Khan or cumin-heavy fragrance like Theo Fennell is seductive. I have heard, although it is hard for me to relate to such a point of view, that a clean, right-out-of-shower scent like, well, anything by Clean, is seductive. Winter Flowers, a limited edition of Kenzo's blockbuster Flower, is none of those things. It is a whisper of a scent, a feather-light cloud made of powder and petals. My friend, when told my theory about orientals and big florals being seductive, opined that I am thinking simplistically and that their seductiveness is too obvious. Give men some credit, urged my friend, we are not that predictable.

Flower, Kenzo's blockbuster, is the perfume I cannot smell. I tried many times and all I get is a faint whiff of powder diluted with water. Winter Flowers, although still quiet, is intensified just enough for me to be able to smell it. It seems to me to be a woodier and a little more floral take on the original. It is a very hard fragrance to describe, because at no point of its development (in itself more or less non-existent) does it smell of any one ingredient in particular more than of others. It is a delicate amalgamation of notes that is impossible to take apart. I asked my friend what it smelled like, and he said that it smells like warm skin. And that is spot on. Winter Flowers is a skin scent slightly amplified. And, I suppose, therein lies it seductiveness. It smells ...familiar, gentle, comforting and a little vulnerable. It smells innocent, and, as Baudrillard said, there is no aphrodisiac like innocence.

So to the question, which always has and always will be asked on perfume forums and blogs, the question of What Men Like...They are complex creatures and their minds work in mysterious ways that can't always (if ever) be explained rationally. They are all- and it will come as a surprise- very different. What's an aphrodisiac to one will be a huge turn-off to another: one thinks Shalimar is sex in a bottle, another's mother used to wear it and therefore sex and Shalimar exist in two galaxies far, far away from each other; one is salivating when you wear a gourmand scent, another one stands to attention when you smell like freshly laundered linen... I do think, however, that we all, men included, have TYPES of scents to which we are attracted (on others, anyway). My friend, for example, is drawn to perfumes that are powdery and a little sweet, to soft, warm scents that speak in sotto voce. But, really, all this serious and half-serious analysis of men's preferences is needless. A perfume, even if it is something he doesn't like, will not prevent him from liking you. And if he likes you, he will like whatever perfume you wear.

Kenzo Winter Flowers is available at Sephora, $65.00 for 1.7oz.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feerie by Van Cleef & Arpels

An attack of the doldrums, and the doldrums attack back

By Tom

First off, I do want to write that no, I didn't go to the Sniffa this past weekend in Los Angeles. Perhaps I've been too much of a gadabout what with me snuffling my way from Venice to The Village, or perhaps the purchase a plane ticket and an iPhone in the space of a month made me want to reign in my spending. Or perhaps (with apologies to the Karens, who I think put on a great show and deserve all accolades) I just didn't feel like sitting through a Givaudan presentation. Or perhaps I'm just grumpy having watched my 401k plummet to a 1k and am facing the fond notion that I will have to work until I'm 107 to pay off Visa. I did get some happy good perfume news in the form of some samples from Roxanne Villa, but her big new release "Chapparal" was forthcoming and I want to wait to try this new fragrance, inspired by Los Angeles and preceding the ones from Le Labo and LuckyScent by months.

Besides, this isn't one of those happy posts, this is grump city.

And this was a grumpy week.

Sometimes when one is grumpy, there is something or someone who will jump up and metaphorically wave their arms in your face yelling "Nanny Nanny Boo Boo". Usually it's some politi-whacko or Celebutart that merely makes we want to throw my remote or someone who decides that the "12 items or less/ Cash only" doesn't apply to them. Or it could be "Feerie", the new Van Cleef & Arpels scent, a sample of which apparently came with the latest Neimans Freebie. Thinking that I'd better get used to surviving on samples and cat food what with the state of the economy, I gave myself a decent spritz.

Holy synthetic berries Batman!

The card insert natters on about "captivating woody floral" and if you are willing to endure about an hour or two of the effect of being serve Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries, dry in a cheap diner on a cold morning by a waitress who thinks that her cheap rose cologne is covering up the fact she needs a shower and is sadly mistaken you sort of get there. There's a general coldness to the scent that makes the skank seem pretty far back, but still disagreeable. The end loses some of the berries and adds in some vague woods but there's nothing I find captivating. If I want the cereal thing I'll head for Lostmarc'h Laan-Ael, whose comforting milky cereal embrace makes Feerie seems like empty calories..

Labels: ,

Friday Miscellanea: Polls, Tags, Prizes, Winners, etc

First things first (and very much overdue!): the winners of Vetiver Dance sample draw are pavlova, Goose, zeram1, Janet in California and W.B. Vermette. Please send me your addresses using the contact me link on the right sidebar.

Secondly, I have bottle of Lancome Magnifique to give away, so if you would like to be in a draw for it, please say so in your comment.

Thirdly, I've been tagged by various fellow bloggers to write six random things about myself. I don't have six things to say so I will do one, and I am tagging all of you, dear readers, to do the same in your comments: write at least one thing that people might not know about you. I also would love for you to share with us the following: the book that you recently read and loved, your favorite song, album or artist at the moment, and, of course, the perfume that you wear and enjoy the most these days.

The thing that you might know about me is that...I am a nail polish addict. I have more polish than any sane individual should and I want more! I wear blacks and blues and greens and even occasional yellows. My favorite polish at the moment is the politically-correct-with-a-twist Tickle my France-y by OPI...I've been tempted to devote Saturdays to posts about nail polish but have so far been able to resist the temptation.

The book that I read recently in English, after having read it numerous times in Russian is No Longer than a Sigh by Anne Philipe (Le Temps d'un Soupir, in French, Одно Мгновение, in Russian). It might be one of the most heartbreaking books about love and a very painful reading for me, in any language, a sort of catharsis that I feel compelled to undergo on a regular basis.

My favorite song of the moment is probably The One by Shakira. What you might also not know about that I have a fairly trashy taste in music, and that The Pussycat Dolls might be the most-played artists on my iPod right now. Don't Cha wish you didn't know that about me?

The contenders for the most-worn perfume in my collection at the moment are Bell'Antonio, Sotto Voce, Lyric Woman, Felanilla and Theo Fennell.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In Search of Comfort: Profumum Olibanum

I have always found it fascinating that a person who is essentially a non-believer would find the scent of incense comforting. But I do. It gives me a feeling of peacefulness that comes from detachment. The melancholy sort of comfort that I once already described using one of my favorite passages from The Master and Margarita:

“Gods, my gods! How sad the earth is at eventide! How mysterious are the mists over the swamps. Anyone who has wandered in these mists, who has suffered a great deal before death, or flown above the earth, bearing a burden beyond his strength knows this. Someone who is exhausted knows this. And without regret he forsakes the mists of the earth, its swamps and rivers, and sinks into the arms of death with a light heart, knowing that death alone…”

I used Bulgakov's words to describe Passage d'Enfer, which, for me, is the scent of the welcome end, of "peace" that The Master was granted in the book. Olibanum starts with the same sort of pensive, sad and somber feel: the incense is very strong in the top notes...this is an Italian scent, but to me it smells of a Russian Orthodox church, a church that is almost dark, with only a few candles flickering beneath sorrowful icons...and then, as other notes become more apparent, the soft, nutty myrrh and the velvety, sweet sandalwood, it is as if the church becomes gradually illuminated...The sunny orange blossom is unexpected and joyful, poignantly bright and hopeful ray of light amidst the world-weary darkness...bride's fleurs d'orange, perhaps...

Rich, deep, incredibly comforting, at once melancholy and hopeful, Olibanum is a must have for troublesome times. Available at Luckyscent, $240.00 for 100ml.

The image, of a ceiling in The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Khram Spasa na Krovi), St. Petersburg, is from

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Out on the Misty Moors: Montale Greyland

By Donna

Okay, I will admit it, though it comes as no surprise whatsoever to anyone who knows me well; I am a truly incurable romantic. I have been this way as long as I can remember, and not even the most bitter disappointments in matters of the heart (and they are legion) can turn me from my steadfast belief in true love. I expect that when I am very old I will be swooning over the equally old men in the retirement home just as I did over boys as far back as kindergarten. I hope for romance for myself and eagerly live vicariously when others are so blessed (or afflicted, depending on your point of view).

Of course, this being my natural tendency, I read many a romance novel as a young girl, along with more serious and thoughtful books. As I grew older I gradually left these fantasy stories behind, formulaic and predictable as they are, though I cannot promise that I never indulge anymore; they are like sinking into a satin-and-chocolate cocoon of comfort where nothing ever really goes wrong that a grand passion cannot make right in the end. Regardless of how much my heart gets knocked around in life, I can always dream of finding someone who just can’t stand to live without me. A handsome and sensual man to be sure, but more to the point, the kind of man who is capable of the kind of unflagging devotion and loyalty most people can only dream about, who rides through the mist-shrouded night on his majestic steed to make everything all right in the life of the woman he loves, a man of principle and integrity and intelligence and yes, all these things, while looking simply fabulous in a poet’s shirt, a pair of English riding boots, and very little else. (I did say fantasy, after all, didn’t I?) In short, the kind of man who wears Montale Greyland.

I discovered this scent when my local perfume shop introduced the Montale line. The different scents arrived, on Montale’s quirky and immutable schedule, every two weeks, two at a time, and the shop was never told which ones they would be until they arrived. The process of stocking the whole line took several months. One day, I stopped in to check on the progress of this acquisition and there was Greyland.

I had read a lot about the Aoud series but had never seen them in a store, and I had tried only one of the non-Aoud scents, Powder Flowers, so I really had no idea what sort of quality I was going to experience. It only took one pass through the first few to convince me that they were the real deal. I adored the Aoud perfumes, every one, and the others in the line were also excellent. I knew vaguely that many if not most of the Montales are intended to be unisex, but when I tried Greyland it said Manly to me, with a capital M.

What struck me first about this fragrance is how deeply somber it is; it’s all seriousness and no play. This is not to say that it is dull or astringent or whatever, it’s not; it is just serious -and seriously, intensely sexy. Cool woods, subtle spices and musky notes paint a portrait of a man who means what he says and says what he means. Dashing and impressive, yet quietly contemplative, this is a scent for a man with hidden depths who knows exactly who he is. At first, it is more or less a classic “masculine” scent as the bracing opening of leather, spice and woods proclaims its intent, but as it simmers down there is a slightly watery (but not “marine”) feel to it from the vetiver, and the spices are never overpowering or too dominant. Cardamom lends a gently sweet note, the black pepper is just a tickle and the cumin is never intrusive; this is one of the most wearable cumin-infused scents I have ever tried. The leather does not get loud and hairy as in some masculine (and feminine!) scents; it is as smooth and refined as the finest chamois. As the drydown proceeds, sandalwood and musk transform Greyland into a true skin scent, and it lingers for hours. At least it does on me; some people find it too fleeting. I like the way it gradually becomes low-key on the skin and stays that way for a long time after the impressive opening. When I wear it, I keep getting fresh whiffs of vetiver and subtly sweet musk all day long as little reminders of what I am have on; when I first wore it all day I kept wondering what it was that smelled so divine –it was me!

Greyland reminds me of one of my very favorite romantic movies, 1995’s Sense And Sensibility, which I have watched more times than I can count. It enters the picture like the handsome rogue Mr. Willoughby, who proceeds to win and then break Marianne’s heart, and that of every woman who has ever seen the film, but as it plays out over time, it turns out to be a lot more like the steadfast and loyal Colonel Brandon, who stays by Marianne’s side with quiet devotion until she sees him for the true hero he really is. Now that’s my kind of romance.

Notes from Luckyscent: cedar, teak, sandalwood from Mysore, Sri Lankan pepper, elemi and cardamom, musk, rock rose and benzoin. Over at Fragrantica, the listed notes are cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, guaiac wood, ginger, pepper, leather, musk and rose. (I am not really getting any ginger from this, but the leather, oh yeah.)

Image credits: Photo of actor Greg Wise (swoon!) as John Willoughby in the film Sense and Sensibility from Photo of actor Alan Rickman (sigh!) as Colonel Christopher Brandon in the same film, from

Labels: ,

Monday, October 20, 2008

In Search of Comfort: Hilde Soliani Bell'Antonio and Carnival Wax 1965

'Tis was a winter of discontent, an up and down spring, and a cruel summer. Fall 2008 finishes the cataclysmic year on a fittingly destructive note. What does a perfume lover do in a situation like that? Well, she goes in search for new comfort scents. Hilde Soliani Bell'Antonio and Carnival Wax 1965, which I tried thanks to my wonderful friend Elle, provide comfort in two very different ways, both tremendously satisfying.

Bell'Antonio, is "focused on multi-nuanced aromatic tobacco and dark roasted coffee" (and that's exactly what it smells like, of not excessively tarry tobacco and hints of coffee). I can't think of two smells more attractive on their own, but bring them together and ...well, I can only describe the result as an olfactory, um, climax. Having said that, sensuality is not what Bell'Antonio all about for me, or not primarily anyway. Imagine that you are dating somebody who has to travel a lot, and he smokes (and you like the scent of cigarettes, of course). And when he is away and you go to sleep, you lie down on his side of the bed and on his pillow still lingers delicately the scent of his skin, his perfume and his cigarettes...that unique fragrance that is unlike anybody else's. You curl up under the blanket, you inhale that aroma and you are instantly comforted...or you put on one of his sweaters bearing the traces the same warm, elegant smoky perfume, and it is as if he is right next to you... That is Bell'Antonio. A masculine fragrance created to be worn by women.

Whereas Bell'Antonio was comfort given by a man you love, Carnival Wax 1965 is, to me, the kind of comfort one would find in the arms and the house of one's mother or grandma. Now, if you go to Apothia and read the description of 1965 (all about hustlers, red skirts and booze), you'd get a very different impression of the scent. I don't know what kind of booze the copywriters were drinking, because there is nothing slutty, dirty or even a tiny bit sexy about this scent. This is the smell of the kitchen where blinis were being made, a buttery, sweet aroma of dough, vanilla and spices...and the smell of the skin of the baker, soft, infinitely familiar and absolutely comforting.

Hilde Soliani Bell'Antonio is exclusive to and retails for $175.00 for 3.3oz; Carnival Wax 1965 is sold at, $95.00 for .35oz of oil.

Image by Diego Uchitel.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Which I Am Concious of Being Jaded ...Or a Review of Ralph Lauren Notorious

"A New Russian goes to Louvre and comes out unimpressed. So how does it look inside?- asks a friend. Rather poor but clean, answers a New Russian"
(A New Russian joke)

In the review of Lancôme's new and decent Magnifique I already reflected on how too much knowledge can be a bad thing. The more I smell the harder it is for me to enjoy what I am smelling, because my jaded senses require no less than Surprising to be aroused. And the more I smell the less there are surprises. The solution might be to take a break from perfumes for a couple of years and come back with a clean slate...I doubt that I would ever take such an extreme measure, but I do wonder whether the perfumes that I now consider to be run-of-the mill, ordinary, unexciting, same-y, "rather poor but clean" are not in fact wonderful or at least really good, and I am just unable to appreciate their beauty, because I am JADED.

This brings me to Notorious, Ralph Lauren's newest release, "the provocative accessory of modern glamour...the fragrance that silently commands the attention of the room". The jaded me says that the creators must have liked Coco Mademoiselle and Black Orchid a lot, because the berry-chocolate-patchouli combo with the slightly fresh overtones seems to pay a homage to Chanel's and Tom Ford's creations. What would the me who came back from a break and is discovering the world of fragrances anew think? I believe she would find Notorious surprisingly deep and dark, and she would appreciate the interplay of dry freshness and resinous gourmandness. She would consider Notorious to be elegant and a little playful, a nice evening fragrance, a scent for glammed up but not too officious occasions. And because, having been perfume-starved for years, she is now again in the stage of accumulation of bottles, she would actually buy Notorious even if she just likes and not loves-loves it. That is what I think she would do, we will, of course, never know, because taking a break from perfume is impossible.

And might it not be that jadedness is an incurable desease, which, once cought, stays with you forever, poisoning your mind with ennui? On that cheerful note...have a good weekend, everybody!

Notorious is available at or Sephora, $45.00-$85.00.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sometimes they come back...

By Tom

Sometimes I think about reviews I had written and wonder whether if I would feel the same way if I tried the scent again. I have previously made a public mea culpa about Rousse when it went from "Meh" to "gimme". So I decided to revisit some earlier scents to see what I thought.

Secretions Magnifique was one that I didn't like. Actually I loathed it. It was bilge water with the added essence of bullet riddled and defiled corpse. Upon reflection it was even worse, and even harder to scrub off. The producers of the various CSI series could use this to scent the fake bodies to get the actors to gag convincingly...

Le Labo is still bugging me by having those exclusives, but the regular scents are growing on me. I might need the Iris one and the Labdanum seems to be leaning towards being not-so-powdery. I am also told that the LA one will be musk. Picture your Pansy going "Squeeeee!"

On the other hand, Sky by Gendarme was one that I initially liked, but which sort of wore out it's welcome. Not that it is bad or anything, it became the perfume equivalent of "He's just not that into you"

Somewhat the same can be written about Serge Noire. I still like it a lot, but not enough to make me buy a bottle, especially since I popped for the last few Serges and think there must be some magic combo of those last ones (maybe with a spritz of Grey Flannel?) that will magically save me the $140 for this one. I blame the economy.

At the risk of reinflaming Franco-American relations, there's is one house is still not doing it for me...


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Perfume Review: Theo Fennell

Beauty and the beast, elegance and skank- that is Theo Fennell's scent. Created by Christophe Laudamiel, the master of oddness...the kind of oddness that is hard to pinpoint and describe, Theo Fennell's perfume wraps shamelessly animalic notes in an exquisite organza veil of rose, orchid and lily petals delicately spiced with saffron.

The beginning is fairly shocking: it is the smell of clean sweat, sex-right-after-a-shower kind of smell, fresh and dirty and compelling. The musky, cumin-y accord begins to subside as flowers emerge, lush, slightly powdery, piquant and softened by a nice dose of vanilla and sandalwood. From then on, skank plays hide and seek, a faun cavorting in rose bushes, now you see him now you don't. This animalic warmth adds to Theo Fennel an additional layer of richness, lending this modern composition a certain old-fashioned quality...and when I say, old-fashioned, I have in mind the classic grand perfumes of the golden era of perfumery: their extravagantly rich and obscenely dirty bases, their luxurious sillages...Refined, sensual, quirky, the perfume is stunning. I also admire the way in which the perfumer tied the scent to the brand. The fragrance will go perfectly with skulls made out of 18k gold and diamonds.

Available at, £68.00-£1,775.00

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bermuda Shorts: Quick Takes From An Island Perfumery

By Donna

As I have mentioned before, the Lily is just about my favorite flower, in great part due to the amazing, intoxicating fragrance inherent in many of these gorgeous blooms. I have tried many perfumes with lily accords, trying to find one that approximates the delicious scent of the fresh blooms. (So far the clear winner is Serge Lutens Un Lys.)

In the course of my quest to find the perfect Lily perfume, and long before I even heard of Serge Lutens, I sent away for some Easter Lily perfume from a company called The Bermuda Perfumery. This was even before I had Internet access; I think I cut a little ad out of a magazine and mailed in an order without knowing very much at all about the fragrances or the company; I just wanted a lily perfume and this was the first one I had ever heard of.

As it turned out, the Easter Lily fragrance was quite nice, considering it was very inexpensive ( the actual price I paid is lost in the mists of time) and I also got some very generous samples of their other offerings for both men and women. Recently I unearthed an unopened packet of eleven different scents, some of which are now discontinued, or perhaps just renamed in some cases.

The island of Bermuda, like the North Coast of California, was once a center for the commercial cultivation of Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) due to its mild climate. These lilies are native to Taiwan and Japan and appreciate balmy weather. The Easter Lily scent and the other perfumes seem to have been aimed at the tourist trade rather than at high-end perfume connoisseurs. Their web site reflects that they have gone a bit more upscale since I got these, but the selling point of “island charm” is still very evident. There is a nice little write up of the perfumery’s history on the site too. I found all of these to be pleasing in their own way, and mostly very wearable during the dog days of high summer when uncomplicated scents are so appealing. Some of the top notes may have been blunted by time, but I found them to be in very good condition. (Of course, now that I have opened them all, I should use them up quite soon.)

Easter Lily: This is a pleasantly refreshing scent, though I find that the “lily” note is more like muguet than anything, and I suspect that little or no actual Lily essence was used. Rather it is an analog scent and pretty successful in that regard. It does bring to mind the cool, sweet breath of the Easter Lily bloom, which I truly love, but it does not smell like White Lily (Lilium candidum) which is the accord used in virtually all commercial lily perfumes. Interestingly, this scent is no longer listed on the Web site, and they now sell a perfume simply called Lily, the listed ingredients of which bear little resemblance to the one I have; it has loads of citrus and lists “Calla Lily” as a note, which I find quite fascinating, as Calla (Zantedeschia) is not a true Lily and is also entirely scentless!

Oleander: They still sell this one and it’s one of my favorites of the bunch. Listed notes are muguet, Bermuda oleander, white orris, pink water lily, silkmusk(?) and vanilla flower. All I can say is: Yowza! It starts out as a very pretty floriental bouquet but that does not last long, since as soon as it starts to warm up on the skin, the sweet, heavy indolic undercurrent of the oleander begins a slow burn. (If I was unsure of exactly what oleander smelled like before, there is no longer any doubt). Very shortly it enters femme fatale territory, and I am fantasizing about putting my tiny pearl-handled pistol in my evening bag and going out to the nightclub, which is owned by my gangland-boss/sugar daddy boyfriend but is also where I meet up with my secret lover, an Argentine tango master who wants me to run away to Monaco and help him swindle the casino. I will, of course, double-cross them both. Yeah, it’s that kind of sultry.

Jasmine: This jasmine is paired with freesia and magnolia and thus does not have much of a “dirty” jasmine aroma, and that’s okay. It’s a jasmine for those who can’t handle the truth, so to speak, and it remains romantic and ladylike throughout. A little bit of skank peeks out when it’s hot but it’s fairly tame. It reminds me of any number of drugstore scents with some jasmine in them that are perfectly suitable for teenagers and soccer moms, such as Jontue or other Eighties romantic florals. They still make this one as well.

Passion Flower: I quite like this scent, it is a heady white floral with gardenia, mimosa, tuberose and orange flower in addition to the eponymous passionflower. It carries quite a kick but it is not as overpowering as the Oleander. It begins with a fresh burst from passionflower and nectarine notes, and quickly settles into the well-balanced white floral heart. There is also a violet accord and some wood in the base that keep it from getting too sweet. All in all this one is a pleasant surprise. It is currently available.

Frangipanni: This one is still sold on the Web site too, and it’s also a white floral, though perhaps more complex and sophisticated than Passion Flower. I will allow their own ad copy to speak here:

“Frangipanni glows with the captivating accord born of white flowers, orange blossom, ylang ylang, jonquil, jasmine sambac with a dash of cassis bloom in a symphony of colorful nuances. The elegant combination of patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver gives the fragrance its depth and smoothness, while the timeless dry down of amber and vanilla add mystery to the sensuality.”

I can really appreciate the difference the use of patchouli and sandalwood makes in this composition. This one may be the closest to a really “fine fragrance” in the group. I would not be afraid to wear this anywhere, and I adore tropical florals anyway. Thumbs up!

Bermudiana: This perfume is apparently discontinued though it takes its name from the unofficial “National Flower” of Bermuda, which is a wildflower found nowhere else. It is named Sisyrinchium bermudiana and is in the Iris family. A close relative more familiar to most people is commonly called “Blue-Eyed Grass.” As this is most likely a scentless flower, I am assuming they used Orris in this one for the iris note, and it has a definite rosiness to it as well as a very pleasing grassy/hay character. I have been unable to find a list of the notes used in this scent, but I would describe it as a tender floral. I think I detect something like marigold or immortelle in it that gives it warmth, and there is a somewhat dry character that brings to mind late summer wildflower fields baking in the sun.

Paradise: This perfume seems to be marketed as be their most “seductive” scent, and it’s a lush fruity-floral opening with a burst of bergamot, tangerine and pomegranate. ( I think this was the first scent I ever knew of that used pomegranate, though it’s ubiquitous now.) It’s very sweet, with honeysuckle, orchid, orange blossom, spices, musk and vanilla. It has a rather candied quality that’s not for everyone. It would not be out of place in a Victoria’s Secret, but it lacks the garish synthetic “out gassing” of their perfumes that keeps me out of the VS stores. I would really have to be in the mood for a sugar hit to wear this, but for what it is, it works well.

Bermuda Cedar: One of their men’s scents (now named simply Cedar) that’s still going strong, it’s cool and balsamic and smells like a fresh Christmas tree. I plan to wear it soon, next time I need something calm and soothing for the hot weather. It is really very nice and does not scream “masculine” like so many cedar-heavy mainstream fragrances do. There is some juniper in it, which can be a little too much in some scents but it is very restrained here. Hints of herbs and just a trace of nutmeg give it a cozy, reassuring air.

Bambu: This fragrance is no longer listed on their site and I am unable to locate any descriptions of it. It is a fresh, transparent yet astringent scent with a bit of sea tang to it, very much an island-themed essence, though thankfully without the dreaded “metallic marine” quality that currently infests the perfume industry. I am getting vetiver and grapefruit and some sort of dry wood. It’s another one that could easily be worn by a woman and it’s great for the hot weather too.

Navy Lime: Now just called Navy, it’s just what it says: Lime, lime and more lime, kicked up with mandarin, bergamot and verbena; this is a poster child for hesperidic scents. Did I mention that it’s very fresh? I am real lime-lover and I wish there were more perfumes made for women with lime in them. Lacking that option, I am happy to go to a masculine scent for my lime fix. There’s a nice little black pepper punch in the drydown along with a good sharp coriander. The herbal note is my favorite basil, which I can never get enough of. There is a little juniper, but as with the Cedar scent, it does not overpower everything else, just adds a little extra dimension. Surprisingly for such a zinger of a scent, it also has a nice long amber drydown.

Bravo!: No longer listed, this is a marine-style scent very much in line with mainstream men’s selections. There is an herbal sharpness that I am pretty sure is artemisia; there is also a sage accord but I can’t really tell if it’s clary or “true” sage. For a marine fragrance it’s not bad at all, and it is obviously intended as a sport scent; there is no sweetness to it at all, which is fine with me. This could be worn to the gym without fear. I liked this one more than I thought I would considering the style.

You can still have a taste of island breezes from the Bermuda Perfumery. They have some new perfumes now too, and sample packets are still available. Bon Voyage!

Image credits: Bermuda sea view from Vintage photos of Bermuda Easter lily fields and perfume ad from

Labels: ,

Monday, October 06, 2008

Perfume Review: Parfumerie Generale PG 21 Felanilla and PG 23 Drama Nuui

It has been a while since I really loved a Parfumerie Generale release. The last one was the darkly beautiful L'Ombre Fauve. Everything after seemed somewhat repetitive, predictably "Generale". I feel that with the two latest scents, Pierre Guillaume is back in splendid shape. Felanilla showcases his skill in making woody scents soft, sensual and vaguely gourmand...but is not nearly as sweet as many of its predecessors. Drama Nuuï is one of the very few (in fact I can only think of two others, Psychotrope and Ether de Lilas Blanc Sur Feuillage) Guillaume scents that are what I would call transparent and fresh.

Felanilla, described by the creators as a "feline vanilla", is indeed animalic but not obviously vanilla. Saffron is apparent from start to finish, and its spiciness keeps in check the sweetness of the central note. Orris, combined with woods and hay, creates a powdery-fluffy-downy effect that was also present in Bois Blonde and Aomassai. Felanilla is, however, spicier and therefore, for me, more interesting than Bois Blonde and much less heavy and sweet than Aomassai. This woody-vanillic powderiness is, to me, the best part of the scent. I think that it makes the composition simultaneously chic in a retro, indescribably "French" manner, sensual and very comforting. Which are basically all the qualities I am looking for in a perfume. The scent is a chat noire, languidly relaxing before pouncing...Delicious, sexy and elegant, it is a must have for me.

Drama Nuuï, a "bitter jasminade", was not love at first sniff. As I said, it is much more translucent than most of PG's creations, it speaks quietly and reveals its charm slowly. After a couple of wearings, however, I was smitten. The jasmine note here is gorgeously transparent, a delicate white veil with all the innocence that the image implies...A green, indeed a little bitter (a quality I adore in perfumes) note, which might be asbinthe, adds dryness to the composition, enhancing the effect of lightness, or rather weightlessness...Drama Nuuï is an unsual rendition of jasmine in that it interprets the flower as pure, almost angelic and not as heavy-lidded and sensual. This would be a beautiful reminder of summer in the midst of winter...and of paradise lost.

Felanilla and Drama Nuuï are available at, €110.00-€170.00 and €88.00-€120.00 respectively, and soon at

Update: PG now can be found in Paris at TASK INSTITUT, 17-21 Bd de la Madeleine,

Labels: , ,

Friday, October 03, 2008

Perfume Review: Amouage Lyric Man

"nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing"
somewhere i have never travelled, ee cummings

For women, wearing a rose scent is ordinary, a bit of a cliché even. For men, in the Western parts of the world, daring. Amouage d-double-dares its European and American masculine audience with Lyric Man, a perfume that differs from most men's rose fragrances in that the rose here is not hiding self-consciously behind the virile backs of woods, ouds, leathers and spices. It is boldly at the forefront, in the center, the most prominent note from start to finish.

Lyric Man is not a rose soliflore by any stretch of imagination, it is a complex blend; however, the numerous players in the composition never over-crowd or over-power the rose. Citruses in the top notes lend the rose a certain breezy, almost sharp freshness. Ginger, nutmeg and saffron add spice. Angelica, galbanum and pine bring a green-aromatic, dry if not austere element to the composition, counter-balancing the indolent exoticism of spices and vanilla with sharply-tailored, rather urbane classicism. Sandalwood and frankincense in the base enhance both the fresh-green-dry and the creamy-ripe-languid sides of the rose, its fragile crystallinity and its heady intensity.

Women who like their roses woody, dark and aromatic will find Lyric Man very easy to wear. As for men...according to Amouage, the scent was meant for a "confident gentleman who dares to desire". Let me add something to that profile: he is a Libra, 6'4" a dark-and-brooding type, appears self-assured and even arrogant, has quite a temper, is intense and complex and vulnerable but will rather die than show his vulnerability ...If it sounds like you, Lyric Man is available at, €165-€205.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pansy Hits Manhattan

Manhattan declines to hit back

By Tom

This past week or so I have been visiting the coast of my birth. Mostly for a friend in Connecticut's birthday but with a day or two to visit my former home, NYC. I will cover the parts of the visit that were not perfume related in no doubt nauseatingly exhaustive detail here, the perfume part I'll talk about today. Most of you know that Gaia, the Non-Blonde and I have a freakish thing in common: we are scent twins. Yes, somehow this teensy sloe-eyed Israeli seductress with her mass of caramel curls has skin that reacts the same way as this starchy pasty WASP. Who knew? Well, we found a few minor differences, but still. I'm claiming kinship. I want that coloring.

Gaia drove in and I subwayed it to Saks. We wandered around amongst the most aggressive SA's this side of a pre-war house of ill repute: Someone was pushing something called He Wood/ She Wood. Really, nobody wood if they had sense. There was Mugler's Alien, which had Angel's choco-facehugger jumping out of the chest of something inoffensive to grab at you. Luckily we offered no limbs to these SA's, but had held cards up for spritzing, which we quickly discovered was the garlic to the Saks SA vampire. They can't get you if they can't get skin. Highlights? Gaia loved Miller Harris' Fleurs de Sel, and it loved her back deeply. Derby was there and delicious, and I want, but talked myself out of, since it's available now and I was being a bear about only using a carry-0n this trip. Sous le Vent which is necessary in that abstract "no-one needs to smell this on me but me" way. Again, talked myself out of it for the moment, since I have more than one onanistic scent in my wardrobe...

And on we went. We went to Bendels, which has the entire Etat Libre collection. I noted that the actual sizes sold were much smaller than the testers. I noted that they were still nice, but as wholly as unconvincing as I'd originally thought. I also noted that the rest of the line was $69 (tee hee, are you giggling? Such naughty pricing!) but the Tom Of Finland (sadly not emblazoned with hotties in a$$less chaps) was $90. Discrimination!

We stopped into the special Colette store at the Gap, which must have been some fiendish French revenge for "Freedom Fries". Really, it's the only excuse...

Then to Bergdorfs. I love Bergdorfs in an almost irrational way, perhaps because it's where I got into Annick Goutal back in the 80's when I was in utero. The beauty level there is like some bad Stephen King short story: 12 ways in, no way out. Unless you are able to wander through with a killingly pleasant look on your face at the ceiling and hardness in your eyes that reads "dab me and it's the last thing you'll ever do, bitch" you will have spent your kids college fund on some new gooke du femme. Gaia and I terrorized the nice man at Lutens with our questions and "Village of the Damned" bit until he showed us layering, if not samples. Dude, you might still crash your car. Because you didn't decant me Bois de Violette and wouldn't spill about the new stuff coming.

Then we went to JAR.

JAR is for Joel Allen Rosenthal, who does Important Jewelry. He does big, important pieces, some of which were shown to us. They were large. One of them actually had the important stones on the inside of the piece, near the clasp. Is this a trend? Jewels for the paranoid? My jewels are far too good for you to see, you piker, you? The equivalent of buying a mansion and putting high hedges so the Hoi Polloi can't see you? Mr. JAR wasn't there to be grilled, so we might never know...

In any case, we were shown the perfumes by a very nice man who might have been a little too nice for his job. Not to be catty (or homophobic) but I though that the presentation really needed to be done by some rail-thin queen with attitude to spare, three hour hair and perhaps Lutens eye makeup. Think "Runway" winner Christian, less butch. As it was, the man who helped us seemed almost apologetic about making us first smell the fragrances in the Lucite lidded boxes with the scarves in them. As well he should, since it is at the same time one of the dippiest way to experience a scent and one that will give you absolutely no idea how they are actually going to smell in reality, especially since you have no idea when they were spritzed. The boxes quite frankly smelled of varying degrees of pie and the sort of auto freshener that you get at the better car washes, but that was just me.

We were then allowed to sniff from the actual bottles, which were sitting pristinely by his right elbow: small, river stone shaped things arranged perfectly on black velvet in a manner that said "You can't afford me". As a matter of fact the whole area is done in a dark wood and velvet cubby that manages to be both intimate and yet extravagantly wasteful of expensive Bergdorfs sales floor real estate. I'm surprised they didn't include privacy curtains. Or a vault door.

In any case, the bottles were waved under our nose. ChristianClone would have raised a haughtily plucked eyebrow upon doing so, which would read as "this is the most fabulous thing you've ever smelled and if it ain't, you'd better keep it to yourself buster". The nice man simply waved and then moved on to the next after suitable murmurs on our part.

Then we were allowed to apply some. Actually that's not true, we had it applied by him. In my perfect world, handsome strapping men would apply perfume to my wrist and dab it in. In that world he would also stare dreamily into my eyes, inform me that he has not only purchased me the scent but the SLK350 it was delivered in for me because I am all that. Sadly, I just got the wrist-rub.

The scents? Nice. I tried Bolt of Lightning (tart berries and god love me, gardenia) and Fermez Tes Yeux (musky, somewhat like a tuxedo-clad MKK). I didn't think that in lieu of my rent I needed them necessarily, but I have to admit they are rich enough to make most everything else smelled that day seem rather thin in comparison...

So we ate. Something at someplace around the corner from the GM building (is it even called that anymore?) that was more about recharging than anything, then it was Barneys. Of course we have a Barneys in Beverly Hills, which was bespoke built and features a grand first floor with a large fragrance section to the right of it's flamboyant five-story flying marble staircase. Barneys on Madison Ave has its fragrance area downstairs and is smallish and kind of (IMHO) dowdy. What it does feature are really sweet and helpful SAs. Gaia succumbed to Musc Ravageur, a scent that I do love but haven't come to own yet, mainly because its vanilla/spice drydown with the musk I find to be just a little too much on me: I feel under-dressed wearing it, like I should upgrade from a polo shirt and jeans. If there was the perfect fragrance for white tie, this is it. But I have to hand it to Mssr. Malle; those 10ml "refills" are brilliant and you're not
paying a penalty for going small. I may yet fall.

You are wondering if I got a chance to see Colombina, aren't you? Of course you are... We did see each other all too briefly on my last day in the city. I was struck again how pretty she is: so thin and chic in her buttery leather coat, so perfect for Madison Avenue. We had coffee and a nice catch-up and then stopped at the l'Artisan boutique where I reacquainted with some of that line. I also noted that the bottle of Dzing! I bought there last year in the smaller size was almost gone- which almost never happens. She was kind enough to make up a sample pack of scents for my hostess, who says she only likes light scents like L'Eau d'Issey and Eau de Sud, but whom when I sent her into the Palais to buy me a birthday gift waltzed out with e bell jar of Fumerie Turque and physically took from me my decant of AG Musc Botanique. I think she'll be in for Dzing! soon...

All in all it was a great trip; I do love New York, and it was conspiring to be as seductive as possible. Gorgeous weather and fun shopping helps. Gaia mentioned stopping in Los Angeles sometime soon, so we can do an assault on shopping here, and I am hoping that I can come back to New York soon and terrorize some of Manhattan's SAs with Colombina as she mentioned.

Boy won't that be a post...


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Perfume Review: Tom Ford White Patchouli

If you don't believe in skin chemistry, I invite you for an olfactory experiment. Come and smell Ford's new White Patchouli on my colleague (white flowers, mostly jasmine, coriander and a discrete hint of dry patchouli) and then on me (a whopping dose of sweet, ripe rose blended with chocolate-smelling patch...a Voleur de Roses smell-alike)... It smells best of all on a blotter, the flowers are quieter and the patchouli leads the composition from the start, where it is spiced by coriander, to the finish, where incense adds an extra layer of resinous richness to the blend.

White Patchouli is pretty, elegant and lush, and indeed "melds Bohemian influences [that would be the patchouli] with today's structured sophistication [that would be flowers]". Like most Ford's scents, it has a luxurious feel to it, in that it is fairly heady, long lasting and with a conspicuous sillage. I find it less striking and more obviously attaractive than the love-hate Black Orchid...for most people obvious attractiveness would be a plus, but hey, I am nothing if not jaded. But mainly I will not need White Patchouli, because, as I mentioned, it is Voleur's twin on my skin. I am not happy about that, since, as indifferent as I usually am to packaging, I adore the White Patchouli bottle.

White Patchouli is available at Bergdorf Goodman, $92.00-$138.00.

Labels: ,