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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fire in the Sky: Strange Invisible Perfumes Fire and Cream

By Tom

When Marina wrote about this houses Aquarian Roses she compared the scent to a magician's trick, Alexandra Balahoutis being the magician. Her newest, Fire and Cream in my mind puts her more int the role of a painter of the California Plein Air school. It was inspired by a late-summer evening sky and although I'm sure that she didn't in my minds eye I see her mixing the scent in front of that fiery sunset.

It opens on me with a burst of ripe orange, somewhat like Mandarine Mandarin, but branching off with the addition of an innocent orange blossom and smoky frankincense. Whiffs of lavender and tuberose join in, but never overpowering. The drydown finally gets to the cream: sandalwood and a touch of patchouli. It's not a literal cream; it's not the funhouse Creamsicle of Argenteé (as much as I enjoyed that one). It's the polish on the woods and the barely-there patch that is a wonderful take on a warm summer evening.

Like some of the scents at SIP (Lyric Rain, for instance, ain't), this one is fairly unisex. It's available at their store in Venice, CA and on their website (link above), $145 for 1.7oz of EDP and $195 for 1/40z of perfume

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire – And a Prize Draw

By Donna

When I first heard about the pending release of six perfumes at once from the prestigious jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels I thought oh boy, another bunch of half-hearted and badly done fragrances rushed to market for the holiday season. Then I thought more about it, and they did do a great job with First and Murmure, but it’s been awhile since they did anything splashy or memorable. They don’t get a lot of publicity for their perfumes either so who knows if any of those “First” flankers and derivatives were any good? So it got my attention when Octavian Coifan gave the Collection Extraordinaire his seal of approval over on 1000 Fragrances. He is a perfumer, writer and industry insider who understands the technical aspects of perfumery better than I ever will; I just know what I like. I recommend that anyone who has not read about why he thinks they are good should do so, I certainly learned a lot and I can’t improve on his impressions. A different perfumer composed each of these fragrances, and they are all very different from each other, yet they share such a unified aesthetic that it would be easy to think that they are all the work of one person.

When I received my samples I tried them all briefly and I got a good feeling about every one, which was unusual; there is generally at least one dud in the bunch in these multiple releases. I decided to wear each one by itself for a whole day and see how they held up. I began with Orchidée Vanille (by Randa Hammami), the sweetest one by far. It is indeed sweet but in the manner of the original Hanae Mori fragrance, it’s light, happy and delightfully hazy and never cloying. I happen to love vanilla anyway, and this is a clear vanilla orchid interpretation, leaving no doubt as to where vanilla really comes from. Remarkably, I did not find it to be gourmand at all, because the treatment resembles vanilla-scented flowers more than anything. I absolutely love it and I want a Jeroboam of it.

Next up was Muguet Blanc (Antoine Maisondieu), and since I am a lover of lily-of-the-valley from way back, my standards are high for any interpretation of this accord. (As Octavian points out, it is impossible to extract the scent from this flower so all “muguet” perfumes are accords made up of elements that simulate its fragrance.) All I can say is that they really hit it with this version. It manages to be both traditionally chilly and uniquely abstract. Clear as a bell and so immediate that you can almost feel the cold ground against your cheek as you bend down to smell the diminutive blossoms, and at the same time cerebrally disciplined; it will not turn watery or sour on skin over time. This one joins Diorissimo and Muguet de Bonheur in my personal pantheon of muguet all-stars.

More forest delights were to be found in Bois d’Iris (Emilie Coppermann), which started out with a dry woodiness that began to turn sweet rather quickly, and I wondered where it was headed, fearing the worst, until I realized that it was not going all gourmand on me but that the vegetal aspect of orris root was giving way to a delicious violet shored up with creamy woods. It never turned the corner into the powdery iris, found in so many perfumes, which I don’t really like as much as I do the more natural style. As with the Muguet Blanc, I could imagine myself sniffing violets in the cool spring air with the smell of the earth and last year’s leaves mingling with their sweetness. Another winner!
Gardenia Pétale (Nathalie Feisthauer) is so sheer for a gardenia scent that I was sure it would fade in no time. Wrong again – it persisted very well, and remarkably for such a transparent rendition it really does smell like gardenias, buttery and rich, while never being heavy or going over into the dreaded bleu-cheese-over-stale-popcorn territory. There are just enough green notes and other florals, including white lily, to keep it restrained while still smelling very much like a real gardenia blossom, although one surrounded by other flowers in a paradisiacal garden. I have no idea how this was accomplished but I don’t care, I just want a bottle. At last a real-smelling gardenia perfume to wear in polite company, as it stays close to the skin while remaining true all day long.

Along with Bois d’Iris, Cologne Noire (Mark Buxton) is one of the two nominally unisex fragrances in the group. It’s entirely without sweetness but I would not really call it dry either. It is done in the classic “masculine” aromatic style with a hint of florals and just enough incense to make you wonder if that’s really what you smell. This is another one that I was certain would be fleeting but it lasted about six hours, which for cologne of this type is impressive indeed. It is also blessedly without that aggressively pushy and sharp woody/amber thing that far too many masculine scents have, even though it does have benzoin and cedar in it, which makes it perfect for women to wear too.

I saved Lys Carmin (Nathalie Cetto) for last because I felt that I would judge it the most rigorously. I have grown and smelled a lot of lilies, they are my favorite flower, and the scent of Oriental lilies is to me the most sensual and delicious floral aroma of all. To some people lilies are just too much, as their dizzying headiness can actually affect the mind adversely if one is exposed to them for long periods. (I guess that would explain a lot about me.) Fragrant lilies are fleshy, spicy, sweet and indolic all at the same time, and their perfume is too heavy for many. For my part I would be happy to be locked in a room with great towering bunches of them and I am always looking for a lily perfume that does them justice. Lys Carmin has somehow managed to capture the odd fleshy quality that Tania Sanchez says smells like “Easter ham” in the book Perfumes: The Guide. I laughed out loud when I read that, because it’s the best description I have come across; the spiciness, the sticky sweetness, and yet the enticing aroma of succulent flesh is there too, underneath it all. Furthermore, this perfume gets that part right with an ingenious combination of accords and still manages to be civilized about it. It’s not the cold perfection of Serge Lutens Un Lys, it’s warmer and softer and highly wearable. If I got my true wish, it would be bigger, more like those room-filling lilies I love, but then I couldn’t leave the house wearing it. For life in the real world this is the next best thing.

This collection is a very pleasant surprise. It avoids the worst of today’s trends while embracing the best that modern perfume science has to offer and it uses the chosen materials exceptionally well. I commend Van Cleef & Arpels for not taking the easy road and producing fragrances that are just okay, which they could have done and still come out on top considering what passes for a decent perfume these days. The price is $185 each for 75 ml, which is not cheap but is pretty reasonable if you factor in the quality, since there are many perfumes out there costing a lot more which are not nearly as good as this group. They are quiet and refined, no overpowering sillage here, but I found lasting power to be very good for what they are, and furthermore they held their character and did not turn disappointing after fifteen minutes (or less) like virtually all the department store scents I have tried recently. As always, try before you buy, but these all get my vote of confidence.

As much as it pains me to do so, I am giving away a brand new full sample set of all six perfumes, so if you are interested please say so on the comments, and I will draw a winner by random name generator the week after this post appears. Commenters posting as “Anonymous” who do not include a name in the body of their message will not be entered. (U.S.A. addresses only please, I am unable to deal with items requiring Customs paperwork because of my work schedule.)

Image credit: Oriental lilies, photo © by the author.
Thanks to for the names of the perfumers.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Winners of the Proposed Tauer Gabriel Project

By Kelley

The following are winners...congratulations! If your name is on the list below it's because you didn't include contact information. There are a few winners that aren't on the list below but that is because they included their info in their responses and their names will be a secret until the review comes out. (I am so sneaky!!!)

and Jarvis.

Please contact me at (my first name. Hint, it starts with a "K" and is followed by "elley") with your mailing address and your preferred email address so we can get this started as soon as possible. Thanks!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Proposed Tauer Gabriel Project

By Kelley

OK, so I received this sample of an upcoming Andy Tauer scent called Gabriel (I am assuming that it is named after the Archangel Gabriel but I think he should call this one Raphael, but more on that later). My proposal is that four or five other people volunteer to write short reviews of this scent, along with me to be posted here on Perfume Smellin' Things. I will test it and write my review and then mail the sample to the next person on my list. This person will test it for a couple of days and then write their review and email the review to me. They will then snail-mail the sample to the next person on the list and so on until the last person gets it. This project was sort of inspired by one of Andy's projects that has traveled around the world (I was lucky enough to participate in that project). So, who would like to review this new scent with me? The reviews can be short, just a paragraph or two. The reviews will be combined into one glorious group review.

You will have to pay the postage to the next reviewer but the cost should be minimal. The purpose of this project is to FORCE Andy to get off his butt and release this scent! I have asked Andy for months and it still isn't on the schedule. If I can just get some public demand going....

If you would like to volunteer, please leave a response along with your email address. Winners will be chosen out of a hat by me (Kelley).

Image credit, Who is She Who Comes Shining Like the Rising Dawn... Copyright 2005 Kelley Vandiver


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MAC Naked Honey

By Beth

I’ll never forget the first time that I read Amanda Hesser’s amazing first book, “The Cook and the Gardener, a year of recipes and writing from the French countryside”. Aside from the incredible recipes there were several stories that captivated me, one in particular about a day that she’d spent with the gardeners wife picking linden blossoms off of boughs that he had trimmed and brought into the barn for harvest. I was enchanted by her descriptions of the blossoms and the fragrant cups of linden tea that she was drinking. I dreamt of sitting in that very barn sharing tea and eating fresh madeleines in the dappled sunlight while an old barn cat circled my ankles sniffing the fragrant yellow flowers.

It’s incredible how one story changed my fragrance life forever. I hadn’t known of linden trees, french lime perfume or the wonderfully relaxing tea that they produced until that very moment. She then went on to speak of waking up the next morning and making her way down the long driveway that was lined with the linden trees. Her description of the lovely long lane of lindens that had woken up almost overnight in full blossom was incredible. I was left with an image that I’ll never forget, of walking under a lane a abundantly blossoming trees that were swarming with bees and dripping with a honeyed fragrance that was almost beyond imaginable. To be there was my dream.

I became a woman obsessed. I sent my sister off to Paris with a shopping list and she brought me back several wonderful linden teas, books by French herbalists and essential oils in an effort to quench my thirst. That summer I learned of the relaxation that a cup of tilleul could bring. I still will drink it gently sweetened with a touch of honey on nights when I cannot sleep. I am sure that it brings me the sweetest dreams. I love to infuse the blossoms in a bit a wine with some agave as well. It is one of the best love potions that I know.

I spent several months trying as many different linden perfumes as I could find. L’Occitane made one that was wonderful and sadly not available anymore. Provence Sante’ makes a single note linden fragrance that’s beautiful but almost a bit to simple for my tastes. Jo Malones effervescent French Lime Blossom is a beautiful interpretation but smells a bit flat on my skin, the same with her Nectarine Blossom and Honey. Annick Goutals lovely Dans les Feins is gorgeous and tragically no longer available. I have never smelled the D’orsay Tilleul but am told that it’s exquisite.

Life goes on and new scents are constantly beckoning, but I’ve never forgotten that enticing story of the linden trees or the overwhelming hunger that it produced. Enter MAC’s limited edition fragrance Naked Honey! I’ve never paid any attention to MAC, mostly because I’m a NARS kind of girl but I was intrigued when I read several interesting reviews. I am very happy to say that Naked Honey is exquisite and quite surprising given its really reasonable price of 25.00 per bottle.

Naked Honey is a bewitching sort of fragrance that just relaxes me from the instant that I put it on. To me it smells a bit like the autumn days in the northeast, still very warm and but extremely ripe. I have no idea what’s in it, but I don’t care. This is the first fragrance ever to have immediately conjured up that first honey filled image of the linden trees that I read about so many years ago and I adore it and its oozy, dripping sweetness. Wearing Naked Honey also reminds me of pleasant afternoons spent at the Farmer’s Market in La Jolla where there is a delightful British woman who sells the most precious honey I’ve ever tasted. She first makes you smell and then taste and she cherishes her bees. Her bee pollen , ginger and cinnamon infused honey is incredible and I eat it by the spoonful , it is an elixir of the finest sort. Her honeycomb almost defies description and crackles in your fingers leaving them moist and tasting of sunlight. To me, her fresh honeycomb is the essence of what all honey comb should be. It is fragrant of flowers and beeswax with delicious little nibbly bits of pollen and a flavor that is a bards tale of magical days. Just like that incredible honeycomb, MAC’s Naked Honey is honey in a perfume just the way that I love it, undisguised , sexy and warm on the skin. It is simple in a way that is absolutely beguiling or as my husband put it when I asked him “not to be too technical darling but it was really very sensually inspiring”. When I wear it, I envision lying with him beneath those dripping linden trees, enjoying a picnic and a very languorous afternoon. There would be wine and fresh bread , with honey , cheese and figs, juicy fresh pears and yummy roasted chicken that we could eat with our fingers, but mostly there would be time, a lot of precious, sweet time............

If you love pure sweet honey in a fragrance this is definitely the one for you. Naked Honey is also one part of a two part release, the other being a fragrance called Africanimal. I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t love me in the same way but maybe you’ll feel differently about it. MAC’s Naked Honey is a limited edition so run to the nearest MAC counter and buy some. GO now, because I was lucky to find two bottles!

Medieval love poem : 1170- 1230 by Walther von der Vogelweide.

Photographs courtesy of MAC and Beth Schreibman Gehring.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Peace Pipe: Roxana Illuminated Perfume (peace symbol)

By Tom

From Roxana Villa's email to me:
On September 21st, the United Nations International Day of Peace, I will be launching a new perfume I have been working on for some time. It is inspired by Project Peace on Earth.

This Peace inspired fragrance will give a portion of the proceeds from each of the 1/4 oz liquid perfume flacons and solid compacts to the POE (Project Peace on Earth) organization to facilitate their vision of a global prayer concert for Peace.
She sent me a sample of the scent and it's luscious: the opening is sparkly citrus (I think orange and lemon, but Roxana has not listed notes as of today the 18th, so I may fall flat on my face on this one..) cut with vanilla, and the drydown features some of the smoky woods she does so well.

Is it shallow of me to love the fact that I can both do good and smell great at the same time?

In the interest of taking the high road, here are the links she sent me:

Project Peace on Earth
Roxana's Blog
International Day of Peace

Other blogs participating in the project: Bitter Grace Notes; Examiner, Cleveland; Examiner, Portland; Illuminated Perfume; Indie Perfume; Memory and Desire; Perfume Shrine; Scent Hive; The Non-Blonde.

Image source,


Friday, September 18, 2009

Wilde in the Streets: Opus Oils Dirty Sexy Wilde

By Tom

The last time I visited Opus Oils shop on Hollywood Blvd was a year ago, when I was welcomed by the owner, Kedra Hart and shown her lovely line of oils. When I got notice that there was going to be a new one, the start of her new "Animalic Instincts" class, I was there when the door opened. Once again greeted by the handsome face of the fragrance Tiger Powers (I love a man who makes me feel short..), Kedra showed me the new scent and the coffin-shaped special-edition bottles available. The coffins cute in a "nudge, nudge, Goth, Goth" way. I think I'd fill them with booze.. The notes for "Wilde" are listed as "Galbanum, Red Mandarin, Violet, Rose, Night Jasmine, Blond Tobacco, Oakmoss, Coumarin, Musk, Civet and Ambergris".

On me the opening is a super-suave combo of the galbanum and the mandarin with tobacco, with the flowers peeping up later before settling into the animal notes and the hay-like coumarin. On me it's not so dirty, but decidedly sexy in a your-skin-but-better kind of way: as elegant as a Savile Row Suit with a bit of retro-smokiness.

Best part? It's $50 for 1 OZ of oil. I was at Neiman's this weekend and entirely unimpressed with the new Tom Ford musks, mainly because I had just smelled (and bought) this for about a quarter of what the studiedly louche Mr. Ford charges for his EDT. I love finding people like this, who are great at what they do and are passionate about it; the antithesis of the manufactured, airbrushed, corporate anodyne coolth exemplified by Mr. Ford.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

An Unexpected Pleasure: Vintage Wind Song by Prince Matchabelli (1952)

By Donna

I had a rather humbling experience recently. Someone I know in the perfume community decided to put some of his extensive collection up for auction on eBay. I was a complete neophyte, never having used eBay, since I was wary of scammers and buying from “stores” that may or not be on the level. However, knowing what his collection was like I signed up and eagerly went to his page to place a bid. Surely there was something in that stash I could afford, right? Why, look at that, something I love under 20 bucks, and bidding is slow, I might score it for under 30, let me just – hey! Who outbid me by twice as much with only three seconds to go? Rinse and repeat a few more times with several more bottles, and pretty soon I knew I could not run with the big dogs. The blood was in the water and the sharks were circling. The scents were all of quite recent origin and from prestige niche houses, what was I thinking? Now I realize it was a blessing in disguise, because once I was done licking my wounds I thought I might as well look around and see what else was on there from other sellers. I had a list of things I had been meaning to look for anyway, and they were not all that much in demand as far as I knew. I vowed to do business only with sellers that had a long history and high approval ratings, and off I went.

A few months ago I had read a delicious description of vintage Wind Song, the classic drugstore standard from Prince Matchabelli, and how it compared to the current version. It stuck in my mind, because Wind Song came out only a few years before I was born –which meant that the “vintage” was my contemporary, and that’s what I would have smelled as a child in the cosmetics aisle of my beloved Woolworth’s store. I had only smelled the modern version a few times and found it wanting in the same way so many reformulated fragrances are; a bit sharp and also simple, though far better than many so-called designer fragrances that cost far more. I had never worn it when I was younger but I did find it pleasing and I liked it on other people, and I have to think that my early positive experience with it was in fact because it as the original. So I did a quick search and up it popped, the original juice in an adorable little glass crown-shaped bottle – for five bucks and a “Buy Now” option! Wow, could that be for real? It looked legitimate, as I had researched the bottles, and the new one is taller and more columnar. The first Matchabelli scents were color-coded by scent and bottled in the puffy glass crown containers (yes, the Prince really was a prince) and later versions were plastic but in the same style, until the switch to the current design. So I took the plunge and bought it. When it arrived it was a glass bottle, which was a good sign. I opened it up and noted that it had the original seal. It smelled very good and so familiar, and the funky little lunch counter and notions department of Woolworth’s floated into my mind. I loved that place, now long gone, so it was a pleasing association. (Prince Matchabelli is also associated in my mind with one of the funniest lines ever from The Sopranos, but that’s just me.)

I splashed a generous amount on my arm and went about my day. It was a fresh, aldehydic and slightly soapy floral, so familiar yet not so, since so many years had passed. A hint of spicy carnation added interest at the opening, but over time it had softened, and the fragrance was very round and gentle. I had already put another, stronger perfume on earlier, so I did not expect it to assert itself very much, but it did indeed, catching my attention every so often, and it was lovely as it settled in. Hours later, when I went to bed, I laid my head on my arm and –wow, what was that? A radiant accord of neroli and mandarin had fused with my skin and was glowing with the burnished depth of amber and sandalwood. I could hardly believe that the innocent little ingénue I had applied earlier in the day had turned into a temptress by night. The more I smelled it the more enamored I was. Another application with no competition confirmed its qualities.

Many years ago a very dear friend who wore nothing but Wind Song told me that she had thought of trying another perfume, but her husband would not hear of it – he was crazy about Wind Song and bought her a new bottle every year. At the time I thought maybe she should branch out anyway, just to try something else, but after my revelation I know exactly why he loved her in Wind Song. It’s just like the slogan goes: “I can’t seem to forget you” – a truly romantic fragrance.

From Fragrantica, the composition is as follows: Top notes are coriander, orange leaf, mandarin orange, tarragon, neroli, bergamot and lemon; heart notes are cloves, carnation, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose and Brazilian rosewood; base notes are sandalwood, amber, musk, benzoin, vetiver and cedar. The newer formula is much sharper on top than mine, but I don’t know how much of that is the natural breakdown of the top notes and what can be attributed to a reformulation. However, most of these notes are easily discernible in the vintage, so it has probably not been bowdlerized as much as some older scents have when they are reworked. It’s the wonderful drydown that really sets it apart; I had no idea what a beautiful symphony of orange essence this perfume was. I will wear it with pride, right alongside the pricier perfumes in my collection. It has earned its place.

Image credit: 1959 Wind Song ad via This bottle looks very much like mine, isn’t it adorable?

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dirty Sexy Candy: Serge Lutens El Attarine

By Tom

There was a point in my life where the promise of a new Serge filled me anticipation. I would try to jump though hoops. That was the heady years when Muscs Kublai Khan, Tubereuse Criminelle up to the release of Borneo 1834 and Chene. The last ones, even ones that I enjoyed (even ones that I bought) didn't exactly make me want to jump so high or so far. Dear Uncle Serge, I thought had been to that well just a few times too many, and frankly another trip to the nut/fruit/wood file I didn't think I needed.

Then Patty sent me a decant of this.

She wrote that it was like "like hot, sweaty sex in the forest", while our own Marina states that it's "superbly comforting".

On me there's definitely a punch in the opening: the immortelle, cumin and fenugreek are undeniably drrrty: it's that scene in "The Postman Always Rings Twice" in a bottle. You certainly don't want to dab this on just before a job interview or an audience with your clergyman. After the "get down, get down" opening calms it becomes that creamy skin scent on me that Marina writes of. Not fluffy like Louve or foodie-literal like 5 O'Clock Au Gingembre, it's a plush-smelling skin scent with a sly wink.

This is what happens when I stop paying attention..

El Attarine is available at the Palais Royal, tiresomely whipped only in the EU (although if rumors on Basenotes are to be believed, that police will be changing. I can't wait)

Image source,

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Get Me Some Collectibles!

By Marla

The sweltering dog days of summer can be good times for staying indoors and polishing up our perfume collections. It’s also a good time to go shopping for those delightful special editions of our favorite fumes. I’ve been particularly lucky this summer to find some gems that I wanted to share.

What’s particularly exciting to me this summer? Travel-friendly collectibles. Airplane travel is tough for us perfumistas (how many bottles can I fit in that one-quart bag?), and train travel necessitates small luggage footprints. In addition, spraying yourself liberally with Samsara or Jolie Madame when packed tightly with your fellow humanity is not very acceptable. In fact I think it’s a felony in several countries. So what to do when you need a fragrant lift on a long journey?

Lolita Lempicka, Estee Lauder, and Kenzo have all heard these pleas, and have answered them with some fantastic special editions. My favorite is Lolita Lempicka’s solid compact. It’s heavy, it’s beautiful purple-enameled silver, and the solid crème perfume of LL’s signature scent is true to the original, but with much less sillage. It’s a more private version of one of my favorite scents. Kenzo has been making Ryoko Stones, or Nomad Sprays, for several years now, 3 for women, 2 for men. They are wonderfully shiny and bean-shaped, as much fun to hold as a Pet Rock, and contain 20ml of perfume, just enough for a few vacations. I am waiting for a Ryoko Stone of KenzoPower (because with a name like that, I think it may turn me into a superhero), but I found an older stone of KenzoAir and snatched it up. Tokyo was a bit bland for me, but it comes in a shiny black stone, the most irresistible of the bunch, so I may have to buy one anyway.

For a more posh solid, Estee Lauder makes a beautiful collection of compacts around the winter holidays each year. They are solid perfumes encased in enameled jeweled compacts, and I can’t imagine anything prettier to give as a holiday gift. I don’t personally wear any ELs, they don’t suit me somehow, but for those who have a favorite in her line, these solid compacts are beyond gorgeous.

So what are some of your favorite limited editions and travel-friendly perfumes?

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Mona di Orio Jabu: Perfume Review

The latest fragrance from Mona di Orio, Jabu, is attached to a great cause. It has been created for The Orange Babies Foundation, a Dutch charity that helps HIV-infected women and babies in Africa and supports children infected with the virus or otherwise directly affected. Jabu means "joy" and cites among its inspirations such heartening motives as children's laughter, exalting beats and African winds.

Mona di Orio's trademark intensity seems to be toned down in this new creation. Jabu, with its bright notes of orange blossom, petit grain and rose, is as vibrant as one came to expect from the perfumer, but it is also soft. Rather appropriately, there is something childlike in the sweetness of its creamy manoi and ylang-ylang, its velvety sandalwood and its delicately powdery benzoin...a certain, abstractly edible quality makes the fragrance incredibly lovable. Although not as forceful as many of di Orio's scents, Jabu is still deep and luxurious. Under that charming fluffiness one senses complexity. The base of raw, mushroomy-smelling myrrh and ripe plum is quirky and rich. The perfume has a satisfyingly solid feel and is very long-lasting. When you try it, see if you will also get the "lacquered box" accord somewhat along the lines of the one in Bond No 9's Chinatown. I find it fascinating and Jabu as a whole, with its vivid softenss with a twist - captivating and delightful.

Jabu premieres in September at Pitti. It is my hope that the scent will then be available to order in or from the States. Mona di Orio brand is in active search of a new US distributor, so fingers crossed.

For more information about The Orange Babies Foundation, please, visit


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Nouveau Paris Blue Diamond: Perfume Review

Nouveau Paris is a four year old fragrance line which already offers over a dozen scents, divided into the Les Fleurs collection for women and Dumann for men. Wearers are encouraged to layer most of the perfumes "to adjust their scent according to their changing moods and lifestyle." I am not big on layering, being a) too lazy and b) in a possession of too many bottles anyway enough fragrances to be able to capture my moodswings. That is not to say that once in a while it does not happen that no single perfume quite hits the spot; I am very fond of the Messe de Minuit + Yatagan combo upon which I stumbled on a day when nothing in my scent wardrobe fitted the melancholy bloodthirstiness of the moment.

To make the long story short, among their fourteen scents, I was most interested to try Nouveau's Blue Diamond, the fragrance advised to be worn on its own. It also includes a plum note, and I adore plum in perfume. If you like it too, then you would be pleased to smell quite a lot of it in Blue Diamond. The honeyed juiciness of ripe plums stays present on my skin from start to finish, its sweetness complimented by a nectarous rose and balanced by a fresher, drier floral accord that might include jasmine. I like the uncomplicated smoothness of the scent; the sweetness of the fruit is not excessive, the floral accord is not overwhelming... "Mellifluous" is the word that comes to mind when I think of Blue Diamond. A good scent match for a mood "to be Grace Kelly", charming, feminine and poised. Which, you might be surprised to hear, visits me almost as often as the murderous mood of MdeM+Yatagan.

Do you like to layer fragrances? Any favorite combinations? Do share!

Blue Diamond is available at, $55.00-$85.00.

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