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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Possessed by White Flowers. Perfume Review: Antica Farmacista Casablanca

Something strange and rather disturbing is happening to me. It appears that my floral-hating self has been possessed by a demon with deep affection for (white) flowers. I tried to exercise it by spraying myself with the least floral, the darkest and the woodiest of my scents; I burnt the incense and the most resinous candles I could find. I prayed to the Dark Gods- Lutens, Montale and Balahoutis. To no avail. Soon the day will come when I will put on Lys Méditerranée and will not be overwhelmed by the cold headiness of its hellish fumes. And strange signs will appear in the sky and the Four Horsemen will start roaming the earth.

But that day has yet to come. I became a big lover of jasmine, tuberose and lily of valley, but I am still not friendly with gardenia and especially with lily. There are only two lily scents that I can wear without being, at best, uncomfortable or, at worst, physically unwell. The first one is the incomparable Un Lys, and the second one, which I discovered very recently, thanks to a lovely fellow perfumista, is Antica Farmacista Casablanca. The scent of lilies can never be “warm”, their beauty, uniqueness, and, for me, unwearability, lies precisely in that cold, metallic aspect of theirs. Having said that, as far as lily perfumes go, Antica Farmacista’s rendition is probably the warmest and, dare I say it, the cuddliest of them all. The reason for that is the wonderful ylang-ylang note, which adds a warmer dimension to the scent of lilies and brings to the blend creamy, enveloping sweetness (I swear there is also quite a bit of vanilla). The addition of cloves was another brilliant idea on the part of the Antica Farmacista perfumers. It is not a prominent note; it is elusive, now you smell it, now you don’t. It appears in specks of shimmering, jewel-like red on the white velvet of lilies and ylang-ylang. Gorgeous and almost comforting in its sweet softness, Casablanca is one my most favorite new discoveries. I am starting to enjoy being a white-flower-lover. I think I am going to make myself comfortable and wait for the end of the earth right here, in this jardin des fleurs du mal.

Casablanca is available at Beautyhabit, $58.00 for 50ml.

The first photo is from


Blogger tmp00 said...

Well first, you're scaring me. Second, at that price point, Who wouldn't fall for it?

As for falling for white flowers, I am thisclose to deciding that the next bell jar hoop jump might be Tuberuese Criminelle. Shifts, if you're reading, it's your fault!

12:36 AM EST  
Blogger Martin said...

tmp00: lol, I'm reading alright! My journey into the land of white florals came to a sudden stop, don't really know why. Must have been the first winter blizzard or something... I'm right behind you, but Carnal Flower is coming my way before the Lutens'!

5:16 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, I've always been a white- flower lover, and this sounds interesting. But right now, I am a very BROKE white-flower lover.

BTW, though (since we were talking about it), I find I love SB1. This may be my favorite of the MDCIs (it's up against FK 3), but I need to see when I get my sample coffret and can spray them (can't wait)!

6:24 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Sounds SO beautiful...sigh.
I think I gave up trying to classify myself, perfume- wise...
If it works, and it smells real, and it's glorious- I'm in!

So- LOTV, huh?
I have a vintage Guerlain of this [Muguet, in the beeyootyful bottle !]- can I send you some?
A little Mahora, to pollut your pretty nose with?

Have a great day, my little blini-girl...

7:20 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been craving tuberose lately, so maybe this is white flowers season. I've always been a bit of a floral gal, but I still don't love lilies. Lotv, yes, lilies, no. We shall see if that could change. Seeing how much you're changing, I say anything is possible. :-)

7:38 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

I know just how you feel. When I went through my white flower conversion I seriously considered searching the internet for priests specializing in exorcisms, Santoria priestesses, alien abduction help name it. It was just all too foreign for me. But white flowers actually often have a fair amount of cojones w/ those least, that's how I explain it to myself these days. This one sounds quite good. I'm not a huge lily lover either, but I am an ylang-ylang fan and in the future, when my budget recovers a tad (2011?), I might have to have this.

7:45 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

If I was jumping through the bell jar hoop, my choice would be TC too. Or perhaps still MKK? The white-flower demon is battling the skank-devil. It's hard to be me.

8:18 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

That's funny ... after Angela's post yesterday! As long as you don't start posting about how much you love KLS Goddess I won't call the priest.

8:19 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I.Knew.It. I knew it. I just knew that you would love SB1 one above all others. What's your second favorite?

8:20 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Ooh, Chaya,
I would love to try those BUT only if I could send you something in return!!

8:20 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

'Tis something in the air, I guess. Casablanca has this...what I can only call "cuddliness", which I think you too will appreciate, so this might well be a lily scent you'd like.

8:22 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree about cojones! :-)
As for Casablanca, ylang-ylang is basically as prominent here as lily. It is one of the "kindest" lily scents out there. You might like it!

8:23 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

There has been no winter to speak of here, so maybe that explains why I am craving flowers so much. Still can't appreciate Carnal Flower though :-(

8:25 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yeah...I was just like Amgela re: white flowers, and look at me know. I am telling you, it's the end of the world.

8:25 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am sure you right, our noses "grow" and the realm of what we consider beautiful becomes wider. Or else it's the end of the world :-)
So what's your favorite leather scent?

9:13 AM EST  
Blogger donanicola said...

I had an almost road to Damascus moment with Ormonde Jayne's Frangipane last year. I can't wait to wear it again! Probably February when it will cheer me up. AG Songes is calling me too and I swear I used to be a no nonsense chypre girl! (with occasional forays into woody orientals and leather)

9:44 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Chypres, woody-orientals, leather- that's me, too. White flowers?? So not. :-) I do love Songes too, and I should re-try Frangipane.

11:01 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so funny after my post on NST! Well, I'm still waiting for my "conversion", but it could be on its way. After all, Songes has made its inroad, and I just discovered Amoureuse (thanks to Tigs). And I still do believe everyone needs one killer white floral just in case.

11:07 AM EST  
Blogger StyleSpy said...

My first white flower was Chantecaille Tiare. I'd been laboring under the delusion that I only liked ambers & orientals, but when I got my first snootful of that stuff I saw the light and never looked back. I still wear all those, but nothing in the world makes me feel more femme than a good dousing in something tropical & heady. (Incidentally, I remember reading years ago that the reason so many white flowers are so powerful is that their scent is what they use to attract pollinators, to make up for their lack of color.)

I AM jumping through the Tubey Crim bell jar hoop this spring and my palms are sweating in anticipation. Woo-hoo!

M, if you're looking for a really warm white flower, I highly recommend Amoureuse. Give yourself a good spritz and let it unfold, it's a glorious thing.

11:12 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, the (white) floral lover part of me is thinking: "it was about time" :-D. every lady has got to have at least a bit of love and adoration for jasmine, tuberose,... nothing wrong with dousing yourself with Bandit when putting on your leather jacket from time to time, but there are moments when only the biggest white bouquets understand a woman's soul...

signed by: eternally white, forever floral ;)

11:19 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

White flowers are in the air :-)
The funny thing is, even when I was a floral-hater there was one super-heady white floral that I adored. Fracas. Now, how that was possible, I don't know, but I have always loved it.

11:25 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I have to try Tiare! But I already adore Amoureuse. It is on my To Buy a Bottle list. What an exquisite bombshell of a scent that is.

11:26 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I just know that somehow it is your fault...this white floral obsession of mine :-) It is all your lovely, feminine influence!! ♥

11:28 AM EST  
Blogger donanicola said...

Maybe that's it. A well rounded fragrance wardrobe requires at least one floral contrary to what I had previously believed. I'm pretty sure i am beginning to like white florals now because they can sometimes be a bit filthy. Thanks for the pointers!

11:56 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

God, I feel like the sister from another mother, BUT-

I LOVE Amoureuse too !
[Hides head in shame, under her chypre/leather/incense/oriental wing, lol]

12:07 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I blame you too :-) It's because of your affection for white florals and your lovely reviews that am not on the "Dark Side" :-)

12:30 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I love "filthy" florals. Have you tried Mona di Orio Nuit Noire? I love the indolic quality of that one.

12:33 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Long-lost twin! :-)

12:33 PM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Marina, thank God you've just been spammed in Italian: at least, smut sounds less unbearably awful in that language... Just when I was going to confess my own way to get around the white flowers divide. Chypre/oriental girl that I am, I've jumped a long time ago with Lutens' Un Lys, Fleurs d'Oranger and the ineffable Tubéreuse Criminelle, but I still have problems with what I would label the "pure" whites. Diorissimo, for instance, is heartbreakingly lovely but too virginal for me; so is Divine's L'Ame Soeur. I like my whites a bit dirty, crushed, overripe, like a blast from a tropical greenhouse or the flesh of a haunting movie star just past her prime, with an aura of all powerful femininity -- think Jeanne Moreau in her 40s. It's where I put Mahora, that wonderful underrated Guerlain, Divine's Divine, all the great tuberoses. And yes, in the parfum, Bandit does have that too, peeking under the galbanum and quinoline. Count me as another woman possessed!

12:37 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

My fellow possessed :-) I have got to try Mahora! What an image you painted! Loved that.

12:46 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm lost when it comes to florals. I need a scent map in large print for the hard of vision.

And now I have nothing relevant to say, so I'll go for irrelevant instead. I've no idea where in the US you live, M. None whatsoever. So there.

2:11 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Same here. I navigate this perilous white floral waters blindly, clutching a bottle of Messe de Minuit for safety. :-)

I am in Pennsylvania. Where in the UK are you? We lived in Oxford for 5 years :-) Well, I did; Mr. C lived in London for quiet a while too.

2:15 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pennsylvania - I thought it would be somewhere thataways.

I'm a London boy originally and nearly went to Oxford for my degree. Oh yes I'm clever. Yes I am. Oh yes. (protests too much?) But now I live in rural Suffolk in a too big house with a too big mortgage and a too big perfume collection.

2:19 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Who could doubt that you are, after having read your reviews?
God, I miss England. I miss everything about it. Even TV tax. Even the "glamour-girl" Jordan :-)

2:22 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

If you're falling for white florals, who will be my EFT???

2:29 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, M, I give many people the opportunity to doubt it, often!

You need some Marmite, Bisto gravy granules, Nik Naks, or fish and chips to sort out that sense of loss. I mean, Jordan. Yikes! Did you get to know Jade Goodey and her brand of celebrity? My lord, she's on another Big Brother right now, apparently encouraging the odd spot of racist bullying... you really are not missing too much.

2:29 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love jasmine. I grow Jasminum polyanthum, which has white flowers with pink backs and a gloriously broadcasting fragrance. In this freakishly frigid West Coast winter (many of my tender plants are spending a few days in the garage), I've been comforting myself with thoughts of the jasmines I'll get in spring: J. sambac 'Maid of Orleans,' and maybe J. grandiflorum.

My favorite jasmine fragrance currenly is Serge Lutens A la Nuit. It's a smooth, warm scent that expresses jasmine completely. I like the white bouquet of L'Artisan La Haie Fleurie du Hameau, though I have to be more in a special mood for that one. It feels out of place in winter, and if the weather is hot--forget it.

2:31 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I nominate Ina to replace my new floral-loving self as your EFT :-) Although, she does love Carnal Flowers...

2:31 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It's impossible not to get to now Jade :-) I am pretty sure what an answer would be, but have you by any chance tried her perfume? :-)
What I miss is a good kebab. You can't get a good kebab here as easily as in England. I know one place in Shepherd's Bush, called King Solomon's...*cries*

2:33 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

White flowers with pink backs - how pretty is that!!
I recently fell in love with La Haie too, it is gorgeous, and A La Nuit is, of course, just stunning.

2:34 PM EST  
Blogger risa said...

i am a picky whiteflowerer - tuberose is a hard sell for me, although a drugstore scent is my favorite tuberose (Sand and Sable), and since i have friends who work in the florist business lily is also a hard sell. lilies themselves smell so... disturbing! particularly those insane stargazers. pollen-heavy trollops. that said, jasmine and gardenia are two of my faves, and i'm still seeking a datura that actually smells like a datura flower. :)

that said, you've piqued my interest! i appreciate AFs a great deal, having 3 of them in my personal closet, and maybe this will prompt a 4th.... i don't think of lily as cold and metallic, but as overtly syrupy in an unpleasant fashion, and i think your description indicates that this lily walks a nice line.

10:30 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

"...those insane stargazers. pollen-heavy trollops..." Ooh..*fans self* :-) Loved that.

10:33 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, Risa, that description of Star Gazer lilies is just perfect! I love them, of course, and lilies in general are my favorite flowers.

I am ALL about the white flowers and lilies in particular, so this fragrance is definitely on my FBW list. I have only ever smelled the home fragrance version, so I need to test out the skin version. It really does smell like Casa Blanca lilies with their spicy perfume. I am sure that any lilies that are actually in it are the usual White Lilies (Madonna lilies) that are in all Lily perfumes, but the clove warms up the chill and the ylang ylang softens the edges.

Even so, I await the day when SL Un Lys comes back to our shores; I am hoarding my bottle as though it were the National Archives.

2:27 AM EST  
Blogger donanicola said...

Thanks for mentioning Mona di Orio NN. I don't know it - yet! I intend to remedy that with a visit to Les Senteurs soon. Filthy whites - yesss! What an image...
btw am trying very hard not to notice Jade and her VILE boyfriend in CBB. Crayzee ness is one thing to watch - ignorant nastiness another. most unedifying.

6:24 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Of course you knew it. You know everything! I'm not sure about second favorite--maybe fK 3, but I am reserving final judgment until I can spray. But so far, SB1 is the one I WANT!!

6:48 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I too wish they brought Un Lys back, but I doubt they will though :-( I am keeping my fingers crossed that one year Tubereuse Criminelle will join the export line for a while.

8:23 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

When you do, ask Les Senteurs if they already have Oiro, which is less floral but still on the filthy side.

8:25 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Are the bottle going to be sprays? Mine weren't :-(

8:26 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Colombina,

It is a slippery slope down to the white flower dominion once you start.
For me first came Fracas (which spends the summer season in the fridge), then soon after came Un Lys and later Songes (EdP) both of which are in my top 10 favourite perfumes.
But to the point, how does Casablanca compare with Un Lys?

Many thanks :)

8:44 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You listed the exact three white flora scents, with which I started my whiteflowerfication :-)
Un Lys and Casablanca. To me, Un Lys is cold white silk and Casablanca is soft, warmER white velvet.

9:00 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh, I don't know! Patty said she thought they were better sprayed, so I kinda assumed. . . but if they're not, I could transfer some to try.

11:54 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, maybe they are then! Let's hope so. :-)

12:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you liked the Casablanca. I, too, for many years eschewed all things white floral--thought they were too "sweet", too "heady", too ...well you get the idea, just de trop. As of 6 years ago, I adore them. Casablanca was the surprising find for me. I'm tickled that you liked it a well.

10:25 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Both scent that you introduced me to, I loved them :-) thank you so much!!

10:48 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Colombina. I cannot wait until my next trip to US in the end of February. Beeline to nearest Nordstrom is already mapped.
Wearing Un Lys today and feeling very elegant and feminine indeed. :) 3rd bottle down to 1/6 and Un Lys back in the exclusive collection. Booking my train ticket to Paris...

7:31 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I hope you enjoy both of your trips!

8:43 AM EST  
Anonymous Term papers said...

You became a big lover of jasmine, tuberose and lily of valley, but You are still not friendly with gardenia and especially with lily. There are only two lily scents that You can wear without being, at best, uncomfortable or, at worst, physically unwell. Have a nice trip

5:27 AM EST  

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