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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Russian Saturday: Rose Etoile de Hollande Maison Mona di Orio: The birth of a supernova

Вы знаете, что такое запой? Как давно это с вами случалось? С тех пор, как в моих руках появился флакон Rose Etoile de Hollande, я с трудом себя от него отрываю. Боюсь пресытиться и не могу насытиться. Этот аромат хочется вдыхать целиком, одним вдохом, и в тоже время разбивать его потоками воздуха на ноты.

Rose Etoile de Hollande – это портрет розы в ее естественном окружении; розы с ее прозрачными бутонами, пышными цветами, пыльцой на лапах жужжащих над цветами шмелей; розы с темно-зелеными листьями, ползающими по ее стеблям букашками, землей, на которую падают увядшие лепестки; портрет розы в каплях дождя, высыхающих на солнце; розы среди дикорастущих трав, сочных персиков и сумрачных мхов в тени деревьев; розы с морским ветром, путающимся в ее стеблях, и решетом звездной ночи, падающей на землю после знойного дня.

Rose Etoile de Hollande отрывается взрывом нежно щекочущего бергамота. Мне чудятся шершавые листья герани и такой же мохнатый бок спелого персика. Постепенно алая роза заполняет все пространство. В ее канву вплетены влажное соленое дерево и сладковатый бензоин, бархатный гелиотроп и смолистая ваниль. Где-то в тени на страже стоят пачули и гвоздика. Альдегиды выдают свое присутствие через действие: аромат не опускается ниже сердечной чакры, несмотря на свою темную сторону.

Аромат находится в непрерывном движении. Он то рассыпается мириадом частиц, то снова собирается в единое и неделимое целое. Одновременно можно наблюдать все стадии этого процесса, как будто вся твоя жизнь проносится перед тобой в одно мгновенье. Rose Etoile de Hollande едина во всех своих лицах. Она универсальна от слова "Universe". Роза в аромате не доминирует, но здесь все ей подчинено. Она – тот пятый элемент, которого не хватает для вселенской гармонии. Мир добровольно капитулирует перед ее красотой. Капитулирую и я.

Жизнь так странно тасует колоду! Etoile de Hollande – название сорта роз, аромат которого Мона изучала в течение многих лет. Это были любимые розы ее учителя, Эдмона Рудницки. В Голландии взошла парфюмерная звезда Моны. Эта страна стала для нее новым домом. Жизнь еще более эфемерна, чем запах. Мне видится в Rose Etoile de Hollande ее улыбка. Аромат, в котором столько жизни, сильнее смерти: на наших глазах родилась сверхновая Etoile de Hollande.

Do you know what "perfume bout" is? When did it happen to you last time? Since I got hold of a flacon of Rose Etoile de Hollande, I have hard time detaching myself from it. I'm afraid to be surfeited with it, and I can't get satiated. One wants to inhale this scent in its entiriety, in one go, and at the same time split it by the airflow into notes.

Rose Etoile de Hollande is a portrait of a rose in her natural environment: rose with her transparent buds, magnificent flowers, pollen on the hairy legs of buzzing among the flowers bumblebees; rose with dark green leaves, crawling on her stems bugs, soil with the fallen withered petals; rose with the drops of rain, drying under the sun; rose between the wild-growing wild grass, juicy peaches and murky moss in a shadow of trees; rose with a sea breeze tangled in her stems and a sieve of a starry night, fooling down on earth after a sultry day.

Rose Etoile de Hollande opens with an explosion of softly tickling bergamot. I seem to feel rough leaves of geranium and hairy skin of a ripe peach. Gradually, scarlet rose fills all the space. In her canvas interwoven wet, salty wood and slightly sweet bensoin, velvet heliotrope and resinous vanilla. Somewhere in the shadow stay pachouli and carnation are standing guard. Aldehydes give away their presence through the action: the scent stays above the heart chakra, despite it's dark side.

The scent remains in constant movement. It disperses into billion of pieces, and then gathers itself into the whole again. You could observe all stages of that process at the same time, as if all your life passes in front of you within a moment. Rose Etoile de Hollande is cosubstantial. She's universal, as in "Universe". Rose is not dominating in this scent, but everything is subordinate to her. She is that fifth element that is so needed for the harmony in the Cosmos. The world capitulates to her beauty. And I capitulate too.

Life shuffles the cards in such a strange way! "Etoile de Hollande" is the name of a breed of roses that Mona was studying for many years. This was a favorite rose of her teacher – Edmond Roudnitska. In Holland raised the perfume star of Mona. This country became a new home for her. The life is even more ephemeral than a smell! I seem to see her smile in Rose Etoile de Hollande. The scent full of life that is stronger than death: in front of our eyes the supernova is born – Etoile de Hollande.

Rose Etoile de Hollande Les Nombres d’Or Collection Mona di Orio(Mona di Orio, 2012): Bergamot from Calabria, White Peach, Heliotropine, Bulgarian & Turkish Rose, Geranium from Egypt, Clove, Patchouli, Cedar from Virginia & Atlas, Vanilla from Madagascar, Bezoin from Siam, Ambre, Baume de Perou.

Picture from

P.S. My gratitude to Jeroen Oude Sogtoen for the Stars of Holland, both Mona and Rose.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

On The Cheap: Knize Ten

By Tom

The other day I was in Neiman Marcus and gave myself a dose of Clive Christian C (review will be up on Perfume Posse) I concluded that while I like it, I don't think anything's really going to make me get a bottle, primarily since I own a bottle of Knize Ten, which is eerily similar and C is about 5 times it's price.

Knize Ten was created in 1925 and is a classic leather fragrance created for a classic men's fashion house. It starts with a bright citrus/rosemary burst, but almost immediately moves into leather: a balsamic, slightly boozy one, as if some of the content of Mssr's flask spilled out onto his saddle while making that last jump. At it's heart it adds in patchouli and musk, as well as a truly lovely ambergris. It's a fragrance that makes me feel dressed up, even though I hardly ever am. It's something that a woman could easily wear as well: I can imagine that it would be gorgeous in that Katherine Hepburn in pants sort of way- there are just enough softness in the spices in the flowers and spices to keep it gender-neutral.

Oh, I'll admit that Clive Christian C for Men is definitely a richer scent and smells much more expensive. But I find the vintage character of Knize Ten far more to my taste. In the same way if I was going to drive a Rolls Royce I'd rather have one from the 60's than a new one. The new one says "I have money". The vintage one says "I have taste".

Notes (from Luckyscent): Lemon, bergamot, orange, petitgrain, rosemary, geranium, rose, cedar, orris, carnation, cinnamon, orange blossom, sandalwood, leather, musk, moss, patchouli, ambergris, castoreum and vanilla.

Available at Luckyscent, $70 for 50ML. My sample is from my personal bottle.

Image: Wikipedia Commons

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Scented Palette: The Aroma M Geisha Series (Part 2)

By Donna
Last time, I explored some of the wonderful oil perfumes from the Aroma M Perfumes Company. This is the second and final chapter and I have to say that I am very impressed with this line; I would gladly wear any of the fragrances and several of them are going on my must-have list.

Do not fear the name of Geisha Blue; unlike far too many mainstream perfumes, the “blue” does not signal the presence of any aquatic/ozonic notes and there is nothing remotely sporty about it.  The central note is blue chamomile, a soothing aromatic herb that is well known for its use in aromatherapy and various natural skin preparations. Here it is matched with green tea, leafy notes and very soft, pillowy jasmine. I could wish that it lasted longer, but since it does not seem to have any base notes, it is not surprising that it only stays around for a couple of hours on my skin with an occasional waft for several hours after that. Something about this one reminds me of a favorite bubble bath I had as a child, so smelling it is a trip down memory lane. I don’t remember the name of that long-ago bath delight, but now I know what to do if I feel a bout of nostalgia coming on. Geisha Blue is a true comfort scent even if your own childhood is not evoked by smelling it, and it would be nice to keep around when you want something with which to snuggle as needed.

Geisha Blanche manages to have a distinct presence right from the start, opening with a sparkling duet of lemon and lychee fruit. This white floral scent is crisp and bright yet not very sweet, one of those fragrances that just begs for wearing on a humid summer day to lighten the burden of the heat. I am one of those people who can take all the cool white florals anyone can dish out and ask for more, so I have a bias toward this genre; that said, this is a particularly good example of it. If it were a synthetic fragrance it might well cross the line toward what Luca Turin calls the “overexposed floral,” since all its notes are in the upper register, but since it is done with good quality natural materials that is certainly not the case here, because something wonderful happened to it after several hours on my skin – it softened and got sweeter, though still not overly so, and with the citrus gone the florals and lychee made beautiful music together. The really good news is that Geisha Blanche is one of the few in the line that is now available in Eau de Parfum as well as the oil version, and it’s a perfect fit for this type of scent. I know I want a bottle of that, especially if our Northwest weather bucks tradition and we actually have summer this year.

Finally, I come to Geisha Rouge, one of the company’s most popular scents, and it’s easy to see why that is so. Oriental style spice and wood is the name of the game here, in the general style of classic scents like Opium or Cinnabar. This is a type of fragrance that I admired back in the day, but I never wore any of them. I found Opium to be far too strong and it always seemed, along with others of the genre, to be more suited for use as a room spray than something I would want to wear. (Chanel’s Coromandel is another in this category for me.) The difference with Geisha Rouge is that has a vanillic softness that makes it come alive on skin, along with Tonka bean and tobacco. When I first applied it I thought “oh, Cinnabar” but instead of just sitting there, dense and chunky and as tightly packed as a spice rack, it developed into a honeyed skin scent that was a pleasure to wear. It is more of a winter fragrance to my nose but I think I could wear it in warmer weather too; it lacks that claustrophobic I’m-drowning-in spices feel of Opium and its kin that usually occurs when the temperature rises. Finally, an all spice, all the time perfume that works for me.

There are still a few of the Aroma M perfumes I have yet to try, including Geisha Marron, Geisha Pink and the few scents in the line that are not named by color. I did recently try Geisha Nobara-cha, a rich, heady rose with incense, but I need to test it again since I only dabbed it on once and I did not have time to give it a full test drive. After sampling all the ones I have, I feel confident that the remaining scents will be just as good, and I can recommend this line very highly.

Image credit: Brilliantly colored Japanese Yuzen paper from
Disclosure:  Aroma M sent the samples to me for testing at my request.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Foodie Sunday: Fruit

By Tom

Yesterday was the day we made the raised beds at Greystone in the Friends Community Garden. I think I mentioned a group of us were doing this: with the blessing of the City of Beverly Hills we're creating this garden, growing produce and giving it to local food banks. We got assistance from local boys and girls scout troops who will help out for their badges and school kids will help for Community Service credit. With their considerable help we got the first two 20' beds done, ready for transplanting seedlings on Wednesday and Sunday. Whole Foods Beverly Hills was nice enough to donate seeds already and bunches of us have been growing them since April. As a matter of fact, the lady who came up with the idea has replaces her front yard with a vegetable garden, saving money watering her lawn and saving even more never having to buy anything in the way of fruits or veg.

Whole Foods also donated some food and water for the volunteers, including what I'm going to focus on, fruit. They had a bunch, but the ones I indulges in were peaches, blackberries and raspberries. The peaches were great, actually ripe and juicy. The last time I bought a peach at the supermarket I think it was made of balsa. The berries were so delicious I wished for some crème fraîche. They were almost as tasty as the ones I used to get as a kid- the ones that we picked ourselves in the woods behind our house.

I was told to bring some of the extras home with me. I of course said no thanks. Yeah Right..

What are your favorite fruits?


Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's My Party, and I'll Whine If I Want To..

By Tom

No post for this week. It's my birthday today, (Wednesday) and I've just seemed to spent the time wearing stuff I've already written about tons of times. I will state that I didn't buy anything for myself but the pictured "lunch".

And it was worth every single ever-loving chocolate and cream-cheese filled calorie..

Photo: my iPhone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Perfume in Living Color: The Aroma M Geisha Series (Part One)

By Donna

The Aroma M Perfumes Company has been around since 1995, but I had never tried any of its fragrances until this year. That was my loss, because once I did have the chance to sample this line I found a very well executed and exciting range of scents that has an unusual foundation; they are inspired by Kodo, the ancient Japanese are of perfumery, which the company’s founder Maria McElroy studied extensively in Japan. They are also formulated with aromatherapy principles in mind, for those who like their perfume to either create a mood or alter their state of mind. As an added bonus, each fragrance is wrapped in gorgeously patterned handmade Japanese paper.

The first Geisha perfume I smelled was the newest, Geisha Amber Rouge, which is a variation on an earlier fragrance, Geisha Rouge. I still approach amber scents with caution, even though I have come to love many of them; too many ambers are sweet and cloying, some reminiscent of “Play-Doh” and others just flat and dull. What impressed me about Geisha Amber Rouge is how open and spacious it is, even in the oil concentration. It is very bright and spiced with star anise, clove and cinnamon, and everything has a chance to shine on its own without being overwhelmed by excessive sweetness. After testing it, I knew I had to try more from this line.

Geisha Noire is another ambery Oriental, but as its name implies, it is deep and dark and even though it has Tonka bean, spices and vanilla, it does not come off as too sweet. Like all the line it is unisex, and this one seems particularly well suited for men; it has an incense-like woodiness that balances out the other notes. My skin tends to bring out the sweetness in any perfume, but even when wearing this all day long I did not find it so. With its tremendous presence and intensity, it is not for the timid, but I think it’s quite easy to wear, though perhaps best in cooler weather.

The very unusual Geisha Violet really got my attention when I first read the notes, and I was curious about whether or not it actually worked. It does, in a big way, even though it is a balancing act between the ethereal florals violet, lilac and Japanese lotus, paired with dark, bitter chocolate. I could almost see your eyebrows rise when you read that, so I will repeat – violet, lilacs and chocolate! I love lilac, but it’s so hard to get right in perfume. This one succeeds because the lotus keeps the lilac note from going flat and stale and the warmth of chocolate is a perfect counterbalance for the cool violet – it’s a delicious, dense aroma, not a dusty cocoa, and it would appear that these have been searching for each other all their lives, together at last and finally finding true love. Truly original and delightful, Geisha Violet should appeal to both floral and gourmand fans, and those who appreciate something different.

When I applied Geisha Green, it seemed very familiar to me, although I knew I had never smelled it before. Then it hit me – it was very close in character to the great old fresh-powdery-green fragrances of decades ago, a style I love that has regrettably gone out of fashion now. If you remember perfumes like Turbulences by Revillon, Estée Lauder Celadon or Capucci’s wonderful Yendi with fondness, then bid a warm welcome to their modern descendant. The green comes from absinthe, which is usually a sharp and intensely herbal presence in perfumes, but here it is brought into soft focus by fruits, violet, amber and Tonka bean. The green still shines, but though a halo of sweetness augmented by its own licorice-like aspect that gives it a fuzzy comfort. Geisha Green is friendly and easy to live with while still being fresh and unusual. I sampled the oil version but this is one that begs to be experienced in an Eau de Parfum, which is not available (yet) for this fragrance. I hope it does eventually end up as one of the scents in the EDP formulation. Next time I will explore more of the Geisha perfumes in other “colors.”

Image credit: Some examples of Japanese Yuzen paper art via

Disclosure: Aroma M sent the samples to me for testing at my request.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Poem Than Perfume: Green Wood Body Incense Oil, Mermade Magickal Arts

Review by Marla

Lately, as I’ve been sampling more lines by indie American perfumers, I’ve been discovering what might be an actual genre- for now I’ll call them Perfumes of Place. They are not perfumes per se, they are not “pretty”, but they evoke, very clearly, a particular place. In this sense they are truly soulful scents, and have a strong effect on my emotions and the imagery that runs through my brain while I’m wearing them. Olympic Orchids’ Olympic Rainforest is in this category. And now I’ve discovered Green Wood by Katlyn Breene at Mermade Magickal Arts.

I’ve been connected to Katlyn for several years through the incense-making group on Yahoo! . She’s been making marvelous incense in the American style for many years and is quite famous in those circles. (I’m talking REAL incense here, not the dangerous street drugs that are being labeled “bath salts” or “incense”.)  A few years ago, she had the idea to translate her incense into wearable oils. So she wasn’t thinking “perfumes” in the fashion sense. She was going back to the old meaning of perfume, which was of course, intertwined with sacred incense in many parts of the world. She now has a line of this wearable incense.

Green Wood is inspired by Celtic traditions. Fir balsam dominates, underscored by warm labdanum and vetiver, with Omani frankincense to provide piquant counterpoint. Green Wood is really about the ancient forests of the Celtic lands, before the Clearances. It’s amazingly evocative, and even though I’m wearing it in the tropics, I feel like I’m back in Scotland before any English had set foot there. More poem than perfume, and beautiful work!

Greenwood is available for $20 through the Mermade Magickal Arts website:

Painting by Katlyn Breene, photo by Marla Robb


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Foodie Sunday: Memories of my Father

By Beth 

 Happy Foodie Sunday my friends and Happy Fathers Day ……Two weeks ago on Memorial Day , my own father finally succumbed to a ripe old age of 93 and a horrific bout of pneumonia. I miss him terribly, but I do not miss the last 10 years of his life, a period of time where the complications of nursing home living began to shape his life and ours. They do not call this period of time “The long goodbye “ for nothing, for it truly is the longest goodbye that you’ll ever experience. That being said, the strangest thing has happened in my life. Ihave the feeling of being shot from a cannon , of relaxation that I didn’t know could exist anymore. My time is once again mine and so are my memories and as I look back over my life, I realized that it was my father as much as my mother who I need to thank for this ever passionate, totally consuming interest that I have always had in food! 

 My father taught me many things that I have found useful throughout my life. One of my earliest memories of my dad was a trip that we took to Seattle where every morning my mother would eat oysters but daddy and I would gorge ourselves on huge, warm , just baked oozy runny pieces of the local fresh blackberry pie. Now I don’t think anyone would find this unusual, but my mother (always the definition of appropriate!) was perturbed. It actually wasn’t the pie that she objected to, it was our choice of the dark chocolate ice cream that topped that pie. It was absolutely delicious, a combination of fruit and flower and earthy chocolate yumminess. I missed that taste for what seemed like centuries until 7 years ago when one of our wonderful local icecream companies created a flavor called Black Raspberry Chip. Daddy and I were completely entranced. If you’ve never tried this combination, it is the essence of alchemy. 

My father taught me many other good things, such as how to make May Wine when the Sweet Woodruff has flowered, what healthy soil smelled like (his gardens were always gorgeous!) , that cheese wasn’t ready to eat until it smelled like the bottom of my horses hooves and that Laphroaig was the only single malt that I’d ever find worth drinking. He loved fancy restaurants and continental service. I think that wasone of the things that drew him to my mother because she’d been raised in family where white gloves and polished silver were the standards, unlike his family where his father ate the same thing every day of his life (broiled lamb chops and melba toast with mint jelly) because my grandmother was an absolutely abysmal cook. My mother was an exceptional cook as were her mother and grandmother before her. My father was crazy about that grandmother to the point of really irritating his own wife. Who could blame him? I’m to understand that her floating island pudding was the stuff of gossamer dreams and her leg of lamb stuffed with garlic and rubbedwith curry and mustard is a recipe that I use to this day as well as the stuffed peppers that I make in her enormous stock pot…a pot that’s been well seasoned for over a hundred years. 

 Daddy ate sweetbreads and tripe and truffles and all kinds of things that would make the normal man run panicked towards the nearest barbecue, coincidentally a type of cooking that he gave up over 40 years ago when he read that charcoal grilling produced fumes which were carcinogenic. He did live to a ripe old age, ate red meat meat like a hound, fromage like a Frenchman, enjoyed steak and kidney pie with plenty of ale and never had one day in his life except when he was hospitalized without some form of sugar, most always something chocolate. The day that he died I found myself with one more memory from long ago, quite a precious one. On a trip over 40 years ago through the English countryside, we left my mother reading her Gourmet in the hotel while we went off in search of my father’s afternoon sugar fix . The streets were cobblestone and my father held my hand the entire time as I skipped down the twisting lanes. We found a bakery full of warmth , sugar and chocolate. We bought two lacey burnt sugar covered cookie cones that were filled with chocolate ganache (way before it was even popular to know what that was let alone how to spell it!) and covered with sweetened dark chocolate. Hand in hand we walked slowly back, quietly munching and just enjoying the soft sounds and luscious smells of the British countryside. Just me and my dad and chocolate….. this little girls Holy Trinity.

 Godspeed daddy…if there’s great food in heaven I’m sure that you’ve found it. Kiss mom for me and by the way thanks…my gardens are gorgeous this year and my vegetables are abundant even with the lack of rain. I could swear that I see you in them everyday pruning and watering with an ice cream cone in your other hand and your dog by your side. Happy fathers day…I love you.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nuit Etoilée by Annick Goutal

By Tom

My Scent Twin reviewed this one the other day and since she said it was at Saks I ran over (well, strolled since it was about 75 degrees) to try it. Nuit Etoilée is apparently a nod to the Van Gogh's Starry Night. But other than the beautiful sapphire blue of the bottle, I don't quite get the reference.

Because on me there isn't much that's dark about this scent. It's opens on my skin, as it does for Gaia as a minty citrus, shot though with a dark and rather bitter green pine note (that I immediately loved). As it develops it brings on a basamic sweetness and a touch of immortelle that makes for a suprisingly edible finish.

That is, for the few hours it sticks around. For something that starts off so definite, I have to mention I got three hours tops out of it. I would happily re-apply, but that could expensive proposition. Since I already have a bottle of Ninfeo Mio which for me treads much the same path, this one I'll pass on for now.

1.7 oz for $72 and 3.4 oz for $120, exclusively at Saks for the moment, where I asked for a sample.

Image: Wikipedia Commons

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Foodie Sunday: Cheese

By Tom

I know it's been a while and I'd love to tell you I've been living on a diet of mung beans and air and couldn't post.  But I haven't, I've just been lazy.

So, let's talk cheese. I like sweets well enough but given the choice of chocolate and cheese I'll go for the latter. A piece of something blue is something that I like more than the richest chocolate. Back in the day I used to make a sandwich of a sourdough roll, oil-cured Ligurian sun-dried tomato and the stinkiest cheese I could find at my Prince street place of employment. Hey, I was 24 and those bazillion calories could be burned off at Area. These days I still love that combo, but try to keep it down to once a month, but cheese is still my food sin of choice. Cheddar, brie, blue you name it. I'm even happy with Kraft American Singles grilled between two pieces of Pepperidge Farms white. If there's a cup of steaming tomato soup.

So tell me, what's your favorite fromage? Your favorite recipe that includes it? Who's a cheesehead out there?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Back To the Closet: Le Labo Musc 25

By Tom

I was in Barney's the other day to pay my bill (their website was annoyingly down) and wandered over to the Le Labo section. Of course, they had the LA exclusive that came out (could it be?) 6 years ago. At the time I loved it but of course it's priced like crack. I do have a beensy bottle a friend gave me who bought in on impulse but really didn't like it. I grabbed their bottle and gave myself a hefty spritz.

Yep, still love it. I definitely get more musk out of it, but I still have that white, sparkly opening with citrus and minty rose, the salty ambergris in the middle and the woody drydown that makes me think of the canyons on a summer afternoon with the top down.

After you've been a very bad girl indeed.

Musc 25 is only available at the Le Labo store on 3rd street in Los Angeles, or at Barney's on Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Occasionally they'll release the city exclusives to the rest of the stores, so if you have a Le Labo near to you keep an eye out. I'm lucky that it's the city exclusive I like best. I'm not lucky in that it's $440 (I believe) for the larger bottle. If I were in a higher tax bracket I'd bite..

Photo is from the Le Labo website.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Smelly Libraries, Part II: Playtime!

By Marla, the Nerd Girl

OK, so you heeded my Yoda-like advice and set up a scent library, right?? Of course you did! Because I promised you could have fun with it, as well as show it off to mystified relatives and friends. (As one of my sisters muttered after seeing my collection for the first time, “This isn’t a normal hobby….”) Here are some ways you can link your ever-expanding library to your perfumistahood.

1. When a new perfume gets a review that intrigues you, dab a drop of each main note on a small piece of blotter paper, or good quality, uncoated and unbleached plain paper or cotton rag. Sniff. Sniff each note separately. For example, you’re intrigued by the newest rose/patch combo. Put a drop of real rose and real patch on a rag square and sniff. Then try the synth versions on another patch, and sniff that. Then try them together. Of course, the actual perfume lemming won’t smell like your combo, but you’ll have an idea of the inspiration for the perfume, and know what real rose and patch smell like together.

2. Try making some famous bases, like an amber (vanilla, ambergris/Ambroxan, labdanum, benzoin), or a modern “cupcake accord” (ethyl maltol and vanilla), or a classic chypre’ with real oakmoss, bergamot, and labdanum. Try a fougere base (warning: they can linger for days)! 

3. Just try combining any 2 random substances in your collection. This can be fun, and you’ll discover a few things that are amazing, and some that are…not.

4. Try combining random threesomes- one basenote, one heart note, one top note. Take notes on what you’ve done (“What have you DONE?” Someone nearby shouts….) and what you think about it.

5. When you read about an exciting new note in a perfume, try to find a small amount, and add it to your library. I discovered Paradisamide and Timberol this way. 

Some of my favorite basic twosomes are petigrain/vanilla, frankincense/benzoin, and patchouli/orange essence. Just a simple twosome or threesome can smell so wonderful you might just want to add some perfumer’s alcohol, bottle it up, and use it!

So for those of you who’ve already been doing this, what have some of your favorite discoveries been? 

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Foodie Suday: Garden Fantasies & Grilled Dinners

By Beth

Happy Foodie Sunday everyone! What are you planning for this lovely long weekend? I’m spending today out in my garden, which has been an utter symphony of scent for several weeks now due to the crazy warm breezes that have been blowing for months now. Indeed spring came early and I’ve enjoyed it and this year I’ve even planted artichokes to go along with my fairly ebullient state of mind.  This year I decided to try and keep everything manageable  (right!) and I’ve planted my vegetables in containers. This keeps everything nice , weed free and very controllable.   Pretty too…because the containers can double in an instant as fabulous centerpieces for an impromptu evening on the patio with a few friends !

It’s fun to garden this way…I can control the soil and the light and even the finicky eggplants seem happy! I’ve got shallots, lettuces and swiss chard, several types of tomatoes and so many herbs that when the southern breezes are blowing I can lay in the hammock with a Campari and soda and pretend that I’m  relaxing somewhere in Italy with the olive scented breezes blowing through my hair and a luscious dinner of oozing burrata cheese  nestled on a bed of fresh tomatoes and basil and perhaps a luscious Bistecca that’s been marinating for hours in olive oil, rosemary , garlic and lemon waiting for me on the veranda.  My husband’s usually there in my fantasies cooking it for me, a real plus because the man has really learned how to use his grill and wield his tools! His recipe for roasted mussels in white wine can bring me to my knees. He uses just a touch of olive oil, a bit of garlic and rosemary and a tablespoon of white wine and then roasts them slowly and tenderly in a cast iron pan over the open flames. Served over a bed of juicy braised fennel, with lots of crusty grilled bread I can promise that you have never tasted anything better.  If you want the recipe write me and I'll send it to you. I can't promise you though that they'll turn out as well…Himself has a wee bit of magic about him! 

One needs a perfume for such an occasion and today I’m wearing one of my favorites, Eau d’ Italie’s utterly gorgeous Jardin du Poete. To say that I adore this  would be an understatement. Jardin du Poete is really a perfect perfume for me. It’s a Medieval herbalists materia medica and a wiccan grimoire all wrapped up in a bottle, juicy, peppery , green and full of all of the things that I love in a fragrance like bitter grapefruits and oranges, angelica ,basil and pink peppercorns.  A bit of vetiver and a touch of musk is the final bit of magic that brings Pan himself dancing into the garden to play devilishly with all of your senses  that mixed with my husbands mussels and a perfectly chilled Viognier are destined to create an absolutely delightful and delicious evening…..

Learn more about the luscious Eau d' Italie from Photo of the burrata salad courtesy of

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

The winner of the Lorelei sample

... is Gwenyth! Please email us your detail using the contact link on the right.

Chinese watercolor: Esprit de Chine Auguste

By Alena

Китайская акварель: Esprit de Chine Auguste

"И вот мне приснилось, что сердце моё не болит.
Оно - колокольчик фарфоровый в жёлтом Китае
На пагоде пёстрой... висит и приветно звенит,
В эмалевом небе дразня журавлиные стаи.

А тихая девушка в платье из красных шелков,
Где золотом вышиты осы, цветы и драконы,
С поджатыми ножками смотрит без мыслей и снов,
Внимательно слушая легкие, легкие звоны."
Н. Гумилев

Об ароматах Auguste известно немного. Кем они были придуманы? Для кого? Почему так долго ждали своего часа? Мы знаем, что ароматы были созданы в 1905-1920 годах безымянными парфюмерами из Грасса и сегодня производятся по оригинальным формулам с соблюдением старых технологий.  Безусловно, все три аромата можно отнести к разряду "сейчас так не делают" как в прямом,  так и в переносном смысле. У них "живое", не испорченное плохой записью, звучание. Парфюмерия Аuguste как хороший собеседник, с которым вы на одной волне, а не кричащий рупор, бегущий впереди вас.

Esprit de Chine – элегантный цветочный шипр. Он идеален для лета,  когда хочется освободиться из кожаных корсетов и серебряных альдегидных каркасов, но нужно быть в форме. В верхних нотах аромата прохладные леденцовые геспериды, цельные и влажные, как шарик ртути. В них аккуратно и точно вписаны тугие розы, скрипящие белоснежные ландыши, бархатные листья герани и терпкая гвоздика в качестве главной героини. Гвоздика держит форму, как плотно скрученная креповая нить. В базе аромата много слегка осветленного сандалом и мускусом мха.  Уже только за это стоит полюбить Esprit de Chine. Я люблю его за ощущение прохладной, приятно поскрипывающей ткани, за лаконичную цветочную графику и ладный крой.  В нем я чувствую себя нарядной, даже если я целый день провожу за будничными делами.

Esprit de Chine не диктует своих правил и не доминирует в пространстве, как многие шипры. Он не выворачивают меня наизнанку, как Герлены. В нем нет биографического нерва Шанелей, как и нет ностальгического флера, тянущегося из прошлого. Это аромат-ископаемое, вылупившийся из яйца не в свое время, юный и в тоже время состарившийся, едва успев родиться. Я все еще надеюсь, что в парфюмерной какофонии 21 века их голос будет расслышан.

Chinese watercolors: Esprit de Chine Auguste

"I had a dream that my heart wasn’t aching,
It was a porcelain bell in the yellow of China…"
 Nicolay Gumilev

Very little is known about Auguste perfumes. Who created them? For whom? Why were they waiting so long for their time to come? We know these perfumes were composed by anonymous perfumers in Grass, and now they are produces according to the original formulas using old technologies. Obviously, all three Auguste perfumes could be categorised as "they don't do them like that anymore", literally and figuratively. They have an "unplugged" sound, not damaged by amplifiers, recorders, or special effects. They are like a good listener, with whom you are on the same wavelength, and not like a screaming horn, running ahead of you.

Esprit de Chine is an elegant flowery chypre. It's ideal for summer, when you want to get out of leather corsets and silver aldehyde carcasses, but have to stay in shape. In the top notes of the scent are cool candy hesperides, solid and wet, like mercury balls. They are accurately and precisely filled with taught roses, squeaky-clean snow-white lilys of the valley, velvet geranium leaves, and dark-brewed carnations as main characters. Carnations hold shape of the perfume like a tightly twisted crepe thread. In the base of a scent is a lot of moss, lightened a bit by sandal and musk. Only for this Esprit de Chine is worth being loved. I love it for the feeling of cool, nicely creaking fabric, for the laconic flower graphics and a handsome cut. I wear Esprit de Chine when I want to feel dressed elegantly, even though I spend the whole day running errands.

Esprit de Chine doesn't dictate its rules, nor does it dominate the space, like many chypres do. The scent doesn't turn me inside out like Guerlains. It doesn't have biographical nerve of Chanels.  And it doesn't have that nostalgic flair coming from the past. It is a perfume-fossil, that hatched from an egg at a wrong time, young and mature at the same time, getting old right after having been born. I still hope that in the 21st century's perfume cacophony its voice will be heard.

Esprit de Chine (?, 1905-1920): bergamot, ambrette, orange blossom, lilac, carnation, lily of the valley, white musk, tree moss, sandalwood.

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