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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Search of Comfort: Kenzo Amour Le Parfum, Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang, Sinfonia di Note Coeur de Noisette

It is COLD, people! Yesterday morning there were snow flurries! A cup of hot tea (Takashimaya Rose!), a warm blankie, fluffy socks, a good book (it's time to revisit Agatha Christie, methinks) and a comfort scent are right now the items of absolute necessity. Here are some comfort perfumes I discovered among new releases.

Kenzo Amour Le Parfum. Kenzo can do no wrong this season, from the beautifully androgynous Power to the innocent/sexy Winter Flowers to this spicy-incensey cashmere shawl of a perfume. The regular Amour was a little too bland for my taste, Amour Indian Holi a little more distinct but still too subtle. With the addition of more incense and amber, Le Parfum aquired just enough oomph and depth to get my attention. Frankly, I would have wanted MORE incense, because the big blast of it which I witnessed in the first stage of Amour Le Parfum's development was the best part of the fragrance. As it is, the scent is fluffy more so than it is resinous. I would love-love to find a fragrance that combines incense and fluffyness in equal proportions. Now THAT would be extraordinarily comforting. (Note to self, layer Le Parfum with Messe de Minuit or Avignon). Having said that, I find Amour Le Parfum extremely enjoyable and wearable. It is soft, cuddly, surprisingly long-lasting and sillage-full. Truly an olfactory equivalent of a cashmere shawl, perfect for this weather. This is the perfume for the fans of the late and lamented Barbara Bui fragarnce, only richer, spicier and with more incense.

Estee Lauder Amber Ylang Ylang. More Amber than Ylang Ylang on me in the beginning, which is fine, this time of the year. The ripe, creamy floral note is certainly there, it softens the sweet amber and lends it a wonderully boozy quality. Holidays are coming , so bring on the booze! I find the scent to be very simple, quite literally just the two title notes with maybe a hint of spice in the background, but that is OK with me: the best comfort scents are usually simple. As the scent progresses, ylang ylang becomes more apparent and, as it turns slightly more floral, the perfume transforms from sensual-comforting into ladylike-elegant (still retaining all the ambery warmth). If Amour Le Parfum was a cashmere shawl, Amber Ylang Ylang is a chocolate-colored velvet dress, the kind that catches your eye not because of the abundance of details but, on the contrary, because of its simple form and the richness of the fabric. The second success in the Private Collection series.

Speaking of simple and comforting, Coeur de Noisette by Sinfornia di Note is just that. This creamy little concoction of coconut, hazelnut and amber reminded me of Parfumerie Generale's Une Crime Exotique (an extraordinary comfort scent, by the way), only, well, simpler and with coconut instead of gingerbread. The two have the same kind of buttery feel, you can cut these scents with a knife, and I love that quality in winter. Coconut fragrances usually have a tropical feel, but Coeur de Noisette for some reason carries me in what is the opposite direction from the tropics, namely, to my Russian home; it smells of my mom's baking, altough goodness knows my mum has never used coconut in her cakes and pies. The sweet simplicity of Coeur de Noisette might become a little grating if one over-wears or over-doses it, but once in a while, a couple of drops are superbly comforting.

Amour Le Parfum is aiavalable on, $65.00-$85.00, Amber Ylang Ylang can be found on, $65.00-$300.00 (the latter price is for perfume, shown here), and Coeur de Noisette is sold at, $150.00.

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Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Ok....maybe you are my twin sister. I always have a bag of Takashimaya Rose in my cupboard, I can never be without! Thoroughly wonderful stuff!
I am glad to hear that Amber Ylang Ylang did not disappoint, I haven't tried it yet. I was so smitten by Tuberose Gardenia that I was almost afraid that somehow the spell would be broken. You have given me hope! As soon as I am home I will run to SFA to try it!

9:40 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Of course I am :-)
Well, AYY is as different from TG as the names suggest, but I think the quality and the attractiveness are on the same level.
I don't want to wear TG in winter, and AYY would probably not be summery enough for me.

9:42 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tobacco and woods have so far been my go-to comfort scents this season, with a little vanilla as runner up. For the past few years my cold weather scents had been almost all incense or amber scents. It will be interesting to see if I gravitate back to the old stand-bys.

9:43 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Have you tried Soliani Bell'Antonio? Now that is tobacco comfort! Like NO OTHER.

9:49 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Oh, Takashimaya Rose! Am having a sudden extreme craving! And I was at Amazon just last night ordering a bunch of British mysteries (Reginald Hill and Catherine Aird). I'm waiting for a sample of Amour Le Parfum right now and must go dig around and see if I can find my sample of that SdN scent. Comfort is definitely essential w/ these frigid temps. I am in *such* mourning for summer heat. :-(

10:13 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I know! I will take any sort of heat over the mildest cold. :-(

10:23 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, Bell'Antonio is at the top of my go-to list. It's lovely.

10:30 AM EST  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Thanks for your review of the Kenzo. I went to Sephora to try this last weekend but the gold bottle was nowhere to be found. I have Barbara Bui stockpiled and am still sad about that discontinuation, and, like you, the other Amour formulations were nice but not enough for me to purchase. Looking forward to trying this one!

11:10 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Same here!

11:16 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Unless I dreamed it up, I think I read somewhere that there were plans to bring BB back. Let's keep fingers crossed..

11:17 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Ah, comfort.

Of course, what I reach for in order to pick up "comfort" varies--weather, as you mention; spirits up or down; working with kids or grown ups--but the direction this post heads is one of my favorite comfort alleys.

So happy to hear about the Kenzo Amour Le Parfum...nice to have comfort that isn't tantalizingly just out of reach (ACK! Chergui!!). The original was a good choice for comfort on a day when I knew I would be working with sensitive noses (my wonderful students, for example), or if I was concerned that I might be prone to a headache.

Wishing for you blanket, good book, and comfort scent before the day is out.

12:27 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Wishing you and all of us the same! :-)

12:50 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Oh, I think I want some Coeur de Noisette now. I love coconut and hazelnut, never smelled them together but that sounds great!

Must get to Saks soon to try the Amber Ylang Ylang too. I have recently decided that I like amber a lot more than I used to think I did.

4:28 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Amber becomes a lot more attractive to me when the weather turns colder

4:36 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Kenzo Amour arrives tomorrow! Your review makes me even more confident that buying it unsniffed was not a mistake. Thanks!

12:49 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I hope you do like it. Let us know what you think when it arrives!

7:30 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I own a comfort scent but your review has inspired me to seek one out! I sure could have used one the last couple of days!

8:27 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am sure you do have one. One of the sweeter smelling ouds maybe?

8:34 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just received my bottle of Amour LP today and it's perfect, just what I wanted in the original Amour. I wish the topnotes lingered longer- that boozy incense is lovely. The vanilla/benzoin drydown is very comforting, though, and it has good longevity. Now I've got LP and Holi, though I'll never buy the original. Sometimes the flankers really are better. Great review.

10:50 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Right? The beginning is the best. Enjoy!

10:52 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Marina. Petting the little chickies in the barnyard is sure to be comforting ;-) In fact, I just pet one!!!

7:59 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh gosh have you moved? :-) To the country-side?

8:08 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marina, I got my bottle, too...I am afraid it's not my thing, but I will give it another try before giving up on it. I wish it had more incense and's plain, sweet powderiness on me. :-(

12:55 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Aw, sorry t hear that! :-(

7:20 AM EST  

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