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

Friday, May 28, 2010

Maison Martin Margiela (Untitled) Perfume Review

By Marina

The "green movement" in fragrance continues, much to my delight. Maison Martin Margiela's offering to the genre boldly puts the meaty, earthy, vegetal green of galbanum in the forefront and the centre of its first perfume, named (Untitled) as an obvious nod to the brand's no-label policy. The copy and the video about the creation of the scent (see below), go somewhat overboard, labeling... pun intended...the scent as "radical" and even "iconoclastic", and I suppose that, in a way, in the world of cheerful-sexy fruity florals, a scent this green and reserved, is nothing short of avant-garde.

I imagine, however, that to those who rarely partake of the ...I will use a loose term "mass market" oevre, and lean towards the classics and the "niche", (Untitled) might actually smell traditional/vintage, like something that would be found in the H&R Guide next to Private Collection and Murasaki...with a twist of edgy. In the composition of (Untitled), galbanum, aided by lentisque, and, later in the development, a touch of jasmine, stand for the Classic. Incense, which appears towards the base, is there to make the fragrance contemporary and quirky and "non-stereotypical". (Note how evident this principle of classic-hip is in the packaging: traditonal for a bottle of perfume shape and no-label label.)

I find the combination of the sharp yet fleshy green of galbanum and the sweetly-tarry, almost leathery incense very appealing. The fusion lends (Untitled) a feeling of being both sparse and satisfyingly robust. I haven't been able to find out if and where the Margiela fragrance is sold in the States, it doesn't appear to be so. It is avialable at Colette, EUR80. I have one sample to share, let me know in your comment if you would like to be in the draw. The draw is closed.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Flowers, Madam: Vera by Roxana Illuminated Perfumes

By Tom

Perfumer Roxana Villa finds new ways to both personalize and make more organic and local her scents; they are distillations of Southern California. She wrote me:

"Many of the essences are from plants grown AND distilled in Ojai. The beeswax is from bees that gathered pollen from the farm where the lavender and other essences were grown and distilled. There is also a tiny bit of beeswax from my bees."

Vera is about lavender; akin to the bright, sunny lavender found in Tauer's Reverie Au Jardin. While Reverie is cool however, Vera is warm. Fields of lavender in the sun, orange blossom and a slight saltiness like sun-kissed skin. It's as much Ojai as "The Pink Moment. Need I tell you that Vera is part of the California series? I'm going to petition her to do one for my part of LA...

Available at her website.

If you would like to be entered into a drawing for a sample of Vera solid, please leave a comment. Drawing will close Sunday at 11:59 EDT The draw is closed.

Please visit the other participating blogs (note: written in advance so I don't have exact URLs):

Scent Hive
Windsphere Witch
Portland Examiner
Indie Perfumes

Labels: ,

Zen Powder Drawing Winners

...are Marsha and Katie Puckrick. Please email us your info using the Contact Me link on the right.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Scented Adventure: Frolicking in Anya's Garden

By Donna

Natural perfumer Anya McCoy is a woman who truly walks the talk; not only is she a leader in her field, a mentor to many others with an interest in naturals and president of the Natural Perfumers Guild, she really does have a garden of delights in which she cultivates many fragrant plants. In fact, when I first discovered perfume blogs a few years ago, I was delighted to discover that she was the very same Anya McCoy whose prose I enjoyed when she wrote articles for Organic Gardening magazine, which I had been reading since childhood. What a wonderful transition to make, from growing a garden to making all-natural botanical perfumes from pesticide-free ingredients. I have now had the opportunity to test all seven of Anya's current fragrances, and I am pleased to report that this perfumer's experience with formulating scents that she tests using many materials she grows herself has resulted in some excellent compositions.

Overall, something that stands out for me about the perfumes of Anya's Garden is how unobtrusive the presence of alcohol is; she uses only organic grain or grape alcohols, and there is no “alcohol burn” that needs to be waited out before being able to smell the fragrance as it was meant to be. The other pleasing feature about them is that even though they are all natural, there is nothing amateurish about them, which is understandable considering the source, and even the incense one, Temple, does not smell like a joss stick or head shop, but is instead quietly refined and beautifully balanced. Let's start with that one. Temple is an orange and oud scent, as odd as that may seem, but it really works. The opening is what I would call friendly, and the pulpy orange is quite refreshing. As it progresses into the incense stage, it gets a bit less sweet and more spicy and the character of the oud emerges. If you like oud but don't want to be clobbered over the head with it, this is an excellent choice. It was actually made to be used in aromatherapy, but it is not in the least bit medicinal-smelling. It is perfectly unisex and very wearable. It's one of the few incense perfumes that seems as though it would really work in summer humidity, which seems natural since Anya is based in sunny Florida.

Another one that smelled like a unisex fragrance to me is RiverCali, though it is said to be a feminine scent. For some reason it smelled smoky to me, almost like one of those “fireplace” scented home candles, though of course not that strong, which may be the result of lots of pink pepper. I have never thought of pink pepper as having that quality, but then it is usually not so dominant a note in fragrances. Maybe it's just me? Anyway, it segues into a pleasantly warm herbal feeling like a hay meadow after the initial impression, but the smokiness persists all the way through the drydown. I never got the roses and vanilla even with repeated wearing, although the citrus comes through, so something in my own skin chemistry is amplifying the other notes. Even the sandalwood escapes me for some reason. It does not really work on me, but I can see why it would be a hit with people who enjoy this style. I adore rose perfumes and they normally agree with me, so I don't know why I am not getting it. I am going to save some of my sample to try later to see if anything changes.

Fairchild is a tropical floral that has truly delicious top notes of pandanus and flowers, opening with a distinct lemony aroma, and a heart comprised of several different jasmines, champaca and citrus. It has that wonderful “banana jasmine” quality that is so addictive in perfumes. As it bloomed on my skin, I started to smell sea notes in sharp contrast to the lush blossoms; what was that about? I checked back to the list of notes and found that the base has seaweed, ambergris, smoked seashells and oakmoss – what a great combination! It's a true marine aroma, not that awful synthetic stuff. Anya calls it a “floral-animalic-marine.” That must be a whole new class of fragrance, and I am all for it. If you want a tropical perfume that does not have coconut or a cliched beachy smell, or a marine perfume that really smells like the ocean and not a chemistry laboratory, this one's for you.

Moving on to the gourmand scent of the bunch, StarFlower is really different and one of my favorites in this group. It's a white floral built around an outstanding tuberose based heart note, but the entirely unexpected opening is intense black cherry and bitter almond. If you thought that all the ways to do a tuberose perfume had already been tried, think again! The gorgeous floral heart is something I wish would go on forever, and the base notes of chocolate, vanilla, maple and nutmeg, combined with botanical “animal” notes, add another luscious layer. I just loved this sweet treat. It's like a flower-infused dessert in an upscale restaurant, and I want another helping; in fact, I want to skip dinner altogether and just have this.

On the other end of the sweetness spectrum is Kaffir, a well-composed lime scent that really makes a statement. I have to say that it's refreshing to find a lime-based fragrance that is not paired with an ozonic or marine note and/or a synthetic woody-amber. Kaffir is a woody lime where the wood is real, sustainable agar wood in fact, paired with a leather accord in the base, and the lime (Kaffir lime is not a citrus fruit but a type of tropical leaf) is ingeniously mated with galbanum and tarragon on top, which makes it extremely green and therefore totally addictive to yours truly. In the heart are no less than nine kinds of jasmine along with oak extract. Kaffir lacks the juiciness of a true citrus but you won't miss that at all if you love lime. My only lament is that it did not last as long on me as I had hoped it would, considering the base notes, but it still had a presence on my skin at the end of a long day even though the lime character was gone, and the drydown is smooth and subtly leathery.

Since I am a White Floral Queen, of course I gravitated to the most recent introduction, MoonDance, a symphony of tuberose and jasmine with some really unusual companion notes. It is neither overly heady nor completely pure and innocent, but more of a fresh, nectar-like essence, like a newly opened tropical blossom. It opens with a cool green violet note that does not hint at all of what is to follow; this is a real stealth perfume. Once it starts to warm up on the skin, a transformation occurs as the tuberose slinks onto the scene, and it's the kind that has the almost camphoric aroma, though nothing of the magnitude of the weird yet wonderful Tubéreuse Criminelle. Then a rich Rose de Mai chimes in, along with jasmine Sambac and one of my favorite herbal notes, the fruity-green of apple-scented chamomile, which is just perfect with the florals, adding its rounded character while keeping the flowers fresh and dewy and only slightly “dirty” in a good way. MoonDance has excellent lasting power for a natural perfume, which can be attributed to the base of opoponax absolute, ambergris, two different types of sandalwood and African hyrax. (What's that, you may ask? Well the rock hyrax is a little herbivorous animal about the size of a gopher, and its petrified droppings are known in the perfume trade as Africa Stone. It's a cruelty-free way to add real animalic character to perfumes and it's a very effective fixative.) MoonDance reminds me of sultry summer nights in the country, walking barefoot in a garden on chamomile flowers after a sudden rain shower and smelling that delicious aroma from the crushed herbs under my toes. This perfume just keeps getting sexier on my white flower amplifying skin, and I just can't think of a better summer scent for a special evening. It deserves all the accolades it has received since its release.

Last of all is one of the more unusual fragrances I have ever smelled, and even though it is very much a masculine scent, I quite enjoyed wearing it. Pan is named after the mythical Greek satyr-god whose favorite activities were romping in the pastoral fields, playing the musical pipes and chasing nymphs, and not necessarily in that order. It has almost no sweetness although it has lotus and lavender in the top notes, and the remaining notes are cedar, ambriene, hay, patchouli and - billy goat hair! I kid you not. (See what I did there?) Yes, there is actual essence of male goat in this fragrance, and it's surprisingly good. I may be a bit biased here, since I love the odor of goats, as well as their milk and cheese; my family raised them and we drank the fresh raw milk right out of the bucket, finding it to be far superior to cow's milk. Pan does indeed smell of the strong musk of the he-goat, which in itself has a somewhat milky aspect along with the gamy barnyard smell. Believe it or not, I think it's a really sexy scent and I regret not having a male test subject for it. I can't imagine convincing anyone who is not a perfume lover to wear it unless I failed to mention the goat hair part until after they tried it out, and that seems a bit risky. It's for serious fans of this style, and you also have to like patchouli a lot to appreciate it. I think it's great fun, and very well done. For the adventurous perfume explorer, Pan is a must-try.

Anya's Garden perfumes are available by mail order from Disclosure: My sample set was sent to me by Anya for testing purposes and it is the same set that is available for purchase on the web site. Image credit: “Hymn To The Great God Pan” painting by Hervé S. Flament, from fantasy art and sci-fi site

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It’s a Zen Thing

by Marla

This is for all you incense-rocking perfumistas who have run through the entire CdG Incense Series at least twice, tried Norma Kamali’s Incense (I love it but YMMV), become jaded with the plethora of oudish perfumes hitting the stores, and are now looking for a new incense fix. Japanese incense body powders are a real departure from Western perfume. They are finely ground medicinal-grade herbs, spices, and woods that are rubbed into the skin. The use of these powders probably began in India for health purposes and to aid meditation; as Buddhism spread, so did the powders.

Shoyeido's three grades of incense powders are created from 200-year-old recipes from a temple on Mt. Koya, Japan. They are composed of entirely natural ingredients, which are very finely ground, blended, and aged. The dominant ingredients are cloves, cinnamon, patchouli, sandalwood and borneo camphor.

Wearable incense powder is said to increase concentration and improve awareness; this makes them very useful for meditation or study, or perhaps taking exams. I can verify that the clove-laden Johin is effective for mornings when coffee just isn’t doing the job. To use, one applies a small portion of powder on the ear lobes, the wrists, or into one’s hair (this last method is not traditional, it’s mine, and it smells good). The bags of powder are sold by the half-ounce, but can be packed into lovely little round, polished hardwood carriers sold by the incense companies. This makes them very air travel friendly, though I suppose a customs officer, upon discovering your stash, might ask you what the mysterious powder was, and you’d have trouble getting them to believe the truth.

Here are Shoyeido’s three grades of powder. I find all of them eminently wearable, and somewhat similar.

Johin- at only $6, it’s a huge bargain, it has more clove than the others, is the most masculine and spiciest of the trio. This one will really wake you up, though it’s also the most fleeting;
Gokuhin- at $10, still a bargain, with more wood, more patch, less spice, and a little mellower than Johin;
Tokusen- the most quiet, the scent practically seamless, elegant and smooth with more sandalwood, more longevity, and the most expensive at $20.

Baieido makes Zukoh, with the same basic ingredients as the Shoyeidos. However, there seems to be more cinnamon, with less borneol camphor, and the star anise adds a lovely note. It runs a half-ounce for around $15.

The powders are available at the Shoyeido website, and through incense sellers like Sensia and Essence of the Ages (I can vouch for all three companies, though I have no financial connection to any of them).

And now for the fun part. I will choose two people at random from the comments, and send them one or two samples of the various powders in my collection. If you have a skin allergy to clove, camphor, cassia, or cinnamon, don’t use these on skin, try putting them on a comfy old T-shirt instead. The draw is now closed.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Le Jardin Retrouve Jasmin

By Marina

A fragile beauty in a white diaphanous dress...and leather soldier boots - this is Le Jardin Retrouve Jasmin. The central note is innocently fresh and green; the sensuality, usually associated with jasmine, is lended to the blend instead by creamy ylang and fiery carnation, and this sensuality is quite subdued...not a heavy-lidded come-hither allure but a demure suggestiveness.

If you still remember (it's been a while!), I am a sucker for a well done contrast in perfume. I found the juxtaposition of the pseudo-angelic transluscency of jasmine and the brutal tarriness of leather in Le Jardin's rendition of the flower very appealing. There are so many jasmines out there that, to stand out, a scent has to have a twist. Innocent jasmine in itself is somewhat unsual, but the addition of brutish, smoky leather (and, by the way, I have no idea what exactly gives that leathery feel to the composition) "puts shama lama in a ding dong".

Available at Le Jardin Retrouve for modest 29€. I received my sample from people at Le Jardin.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not so Intense...Masculinity by Intense

By Tom

Out of the blue this company contacted Marina about trying their new men's cologne, written of on the box as "The Male Pheromone Cologne". She threw it my way to test.

The box is someone's idea of Manly with it's large white M on a black base. Open the front and one is confronted with a loooong paragraph listing notes and telling is how bold, sexy, intense, erotic and more manly than the front line of the Raiders fresh from the buffet at Chuck's House of Beef and Steroids. French basil, West Indian clove, Asian mandarin and Sicilian bergamot are the listed opening notes, amber, black pepper, cedar and leather (oddly not given provenance- are they from someplace hopelessly uncool?) middle notes and the base is Italian white musk, Australian sandalwood and Madagascar vanilla. Then added into the globe-trotting ingredients is something called N10Z (pronounced "Intense"), which is apparently a pheremone meant to meant to attract other men.

Reading this you would think that it must smell like an earthquake hit ScentBar. I'm afraid that they hype in this case is actually doing no favor to the juice: the scent itself is a very mild, pleasant little thing, much in the vein of L'Eau Serge Lutens. A nice skin scent that I would actually consider buying if I didn't have to tell people what it was. Because people might look at the packaging and think I was serious.

I haven't worn this out of the house, much less through West Hollywood so I can't write anything as to whether men flocked to me. I do kind of wonder exactly to whom this is supposed to be marketed: I would think that the sort of gay man who wants to smell of a "bold and sexy fragrance" that's "erotic, sensual and distinctively masculine" would already have, like this one, long ago discovered Uncle Serge. Or Malle, or Guerlain or even Goutal. I daresay that even the most enlightened straight man might not want to find out whether the pheromones actually work..

$55 for 60ML at their website. My bottle is from their PR Dept, who will no doubt wish they hadn't.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Caron Parfum Sacré and Amouage Lyric Woman: Battle of the Diva Roses

By Donna

I have been doing a lot of testing recently, with so many sample vials in the pipeline that I am wearing something different almost every day, and sometimes it's several samples at a time. This is good in one way, since my curiosity about perfume is virtually insatiable; on the other hand, sometimes I get so caught up in trying new scents that my old favorites don't get the attention they deserve. Naturally I am constantly adding new favorites to the list all the time, even though most of these never get to the stage of a full bottle purchase. I just don't have that kind of budget, or the space in which to store them. A fragrance that is new to me, whether it's vintage, something that has been on the market for awhile or a brand new introduction, has to be a real knockout to get on my short list of things I would actually consider buying, especially when it's a newer one that cannot be had for a discounted price. When I make one of my rare full price bottle purchases, it's because the perfume is truly outstanding and something I have fallen seriously in love with.

One perfume I never want to be without has been in my collection for twenty years now, the 1990 masterpiece by the house of Caron, Parfum Sacré. For me it is ageless, timeless, unique, sensuous and majestic. Even though it is finally warming up to real spring weather where I live, I have had an urge to wear it a lot as an antidote to random sampling, to remind me of what a truly great perfume can be; it's one of those perfumes that I get a true craving for and when that feeling hits, nothing else will do. It is also very powerful, and must be applied with restraint if I am planning to go out in public, but if I have a day (or night) at home, I spray it on liberally. For me it is one of those mind-altering, transporting scents that are rarely encountered, and yet the quest to find such a one is what drives me, and other fragrance lovers, to seek out yet more new things to try in search of that elusive experience.

Parfum Sacré's rosy beauty is wrapped in a Byzantine cloak of classic Oriental elements such as vanilla, musk, civet, myrrh and frankincense, embellished with a generous twist of black pepper. I think of it as being primarily a rose perfume, although it's not really a rose soliflore at all but an Oriental rose blend in which the rose takes center stage instead of being a seamless part of the whole. Yet its composition is seamless indeed, and it's not a realistic rose by any means. In spirit and somewhat in character it resembles the original version of Lancôme's Magie Noire, Paloma Picasso's Mon Parfum or Guerlain's peerless holographic rose Nahema, rich and opulent fragrances that are anything but dewy floral re-creations of rose blossoms. They are more like rose Rembrandts; chiaroscuro works of art whose dark complexity makes them objects of desire. I have been wearing my Parfum Sacré with more than my usual frequency since I just acquired another bottle of the original formula; yes, sadly it has been redone, and not in a good way. (If you want to buy this, look for the EDT in the solid gold box or the EDP in the gold-spangled black box, and the old broad-based bottle style with the large ivory-toned cap. You will probably have to go online and search these out.)

Now another contender in this exclusive “diva rose” category (I also call them “bombshell rose” perfumes) has caught my attention. I opened my sample of Amouage Lyric Woman (2008) that I received in a swap and it took my breath away. For some reason I had the idea in my head that Lyric was one of the “lesser” Amouage feminine scents (although they are all good, some are great) and not up to the standard of Gold, Ubar or Epic. I had no idea it was this good! Its basic structure is much like that of the Caron, but its spicy side is comprised of saffron, ginger and cardamom instead of black pepper, and the signature Amouage frankincense note is somewhat softer and less obvious. The rose is truly exquisite and it is that same type of lustrous Oriental rose essence that lies at the heart of Parfum Sacré. Its character is that of a red Damask rose, almost smoky in its intensity, as dense as though it were made of rose petal preserves meant to be consumed. Joining it are luscious jasmine and ylang-ylang, along with iris root and fresh, sweet angelica, a note that I really love and which gives real distinction to this perfume. Among the many base notes in this composition are sandalwood, Tonka bean, musk, vetiver and yes, real oakmoss! (The house of Amouage does not bow to IFRA pressure, which another reason to admire and support this house.) The longer I wear Lyric Woman the better it gets, and the more the incense note wraps itself around my nose, captivating me utterly. The rose keeps weaving in and out, never really going away but retreating behind the incense and woody notes only to come dancing out again in a swirl of pillowy sweetness. Every time I put my nose to my wrist I get something different; I know that the listed notes are only a few of the many high quality ingredients that must be in it to create this effect. It is fascinating, captivating, sexy as hell and definitely in the same class as Gold or my favorite Amouage, Ubar, of which I prefer the original to the reintroduction but both are fabulous.

The second time I tested Lyric Woman, I left it on overnight, and in the morning I was greeted by a truly delightful sensation. The rose was still there, not just the base notes, and it had turned into a sheer, misty abstract rose reminiscent of Rochas Tocade, but it was floating on a puffy cloud of incense instead of vanilla, perfectly combined with the rose. This “second perfume” was just as wonderful as it was on the first day.

Lyric Woman has impressive sillage and excellent longevity on me, which is to be expected of this Oriental floral style, and a little goes a long way. That's good, because this is expensive perfume, and the 50 ml size sells for over $200 USD; it can be found for a little bit less if you do some comparison shopping, but you will not find a real bargain, and understandably, since it is relatively new and composed of the finest materials available. For those who can afford it, it's really worth the money, more so than many other perfumes that cost as much or more. You could think of it as a bargain of sorts, because you will definitely wear it. It will not sit on the shelf and gather dust after a few wearings because it was disappointing. If I had a bottle of this I would do exactly the same thing with it as I do with Parfum Sacré. I would behave myself in public, wearing only a discreet dab, but in private I would use it lavishly, even excessively. After all, that's what real divas do.

Full disclosure: Parfum Sacré is from my personal collection. Lyric Woman was a private sample received as a gift.

Amouage perfumes can be purchased from the Amouage Web site or at finer perfume shops such as Luckyscent. Caron perfumes are sold at better perfume shops and department stores.

Image credit: “Flamenco Dancer” by British artist Gerry Langton, via

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, May 08, 2010


The winner of the Spring Favorites draw is Daniele.

Winner of the Nuit de Tubereuse draw are Katherine and Aime L'Ondee.

Please email us your info using the contact me link on the right. Thank you, everybody for playing.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Not in Jest: Lord's Jester Perfumes

By Tom

One of the nice things happening these days is that there are talented artisanal perfumers out there; most of whom make products that are far more lively, interesting and higher quality than anything you're going to find at Sephora, and sometimes even Saks. In that group is New York-based Adam Gottschalk, who studied under no less than Mandy Aftel He was kind enough to send me samples of five of his fragrances: Selene (EdP), Heracles and Demeter (EdT), Ares (EdC) and Anthea, a solid. He was also nice enough to answer my questions which were perhaps not original, but I'm not Baba Wawa..

How did you come to be a perfumer? What was your inspiration?

I was obsessed with perfume for a short time. Then I came across two books which changed my life: first Perfume by Patrick Suskind which told me the way perfume used to be, and Essence & Alchemy by Mandy Aftel which spoke of a radical departure from the days of old. I've never looked back, sure as I am that it's simply a matter of rediscovering the old ways of the perfumer's art. I categorically deny that to make stupendous perfume one needs synthetics. I wouldn't be involved at all if I thought that were true.

The world of even small perfumers is becoming pretty crowded, how do you set yours apart?

By emphasizing that I _guarantee_ my perfume will enhance your allure,
as only natural components can do.

Can you describe your process for custom-blending perfumes?

I send 18 notes to a person, in three groups, labeled anonymously. Then I listen to their feedback to a certain extent, knowing what I know about how to construct world-class perfumes. There are more notes, depending on what I think a person likes; I pick and choose carefully for the remainder.

Considering the ever-more restrictive guidelines as to what ingredients big houses can use, where do you see the perfume world in 5 years? Are small houses like yours the answer to people who seek out traditional (real) perfumes?

I see us natural perfumers renamed Renegade Perfumers. Yes, small houses like mine will definitely be the source for real perfume. Just as in days long gone.

What's next for Lord's Jester? New scents or products you'd like to talk about? Any stores carrying you?

I will release next Phoebe (my osmanthus perfume), Daphne (my chypre), Chronos (my immortelle perfume), something I'm calling Persephone (an ode to rose), and my mille fleur (10,000 Flowers). Possibly I will make the solid perfume I passed Mandy's course with ( I have two solids for sale right now), a perfume called Selene, which I think might be my best liquid. Then I'm always chock full of ideas. No stores carrying me yet, but that will change soon.

Now to the samples: They don't list noted per se so I am guessing a lot here...

Selene is iris and violet with the lovely simple sweetness to it. It get lusher and more dense as it wears, but not so much that I wouldn't wear it myself. The iris and violet are beautifully balanced and are very French in that there's no post-modern trickery in here. This is a bouquet, not a bulb. That's a good thing here.

Heracles starts off with bright citrus peel, then becomes smokier and herbaceous (which must be the boronia) the longer you wear it. I suppose this is the one that would be considered the most "masculine" of the five, but if you're the sort of lady who will buy her fellah Derby and filch it at every chance, I think you've found his Father's Day gift.

Demeter is tobacco and hay and I think a touch of cool mint; making perfect sense for a scent devoted to the goddess of the harvest. It actually reminds me a little of Chergui, although I think that Demeter might be (I know, strike me with lightning) be more all-around wearable. Chergui sometimes makes me feel like I'm being buffeted by it; Demeter feels like an embrace.

Ares starts all citronella-spicy, befitting the god of manly strength. A deliciously dry yet warm amber drops in later, melding to the spices and adding quite a bit of smoky zing. It also has great lasting power, especially considering that it's an Eau de Cologne

Anthea, the solid, is an ode to jasmine, I think with orange and lemon flower. It surprised me by being my favorite of the group: the jasmine is silky-smooth and whispers, somewhat like the jasmine we have here in Southern California. It plays an olfactory hide-and-seek: stick your nose in it and you smell the orange and lemon blossoms but draw back and the jasmine peeps out and winks.

All of these are lovely; you all know that I love some of the more outre scents out there and the sometime carnival-ride-in-a-bottle they might produce. But sometimes you might want to get off the merry-go-round. These are beautifully balanced, elegant creations that I think are going to make a lot of people very happy. They certainly did me.

Lord's Jester is available at their website. Ares is $45 for 5ML and $80 for 10ML, Heracles and Demeter are $70 for 5ML and $130 for 10ML, Selene is $95 for 5ML and $180 for 10ML. Anthea is $45 for 7.5ML, $95 for 20ML and $125 for 30ML. They have a sample set of three (your choice) available for $25. My samples were provided by Lord's Jester.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Nuit de Tubereuse by L’Artisan Parfumeur : Cyborg Love (and a prize draw)

By Marla

I move a little slowly when it comes to modern culture. I only just viewed Bjork’s haunting short film, “All is Full of Love” a week ago, and I was testing some of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s new “Nuit de Tubereuse” at the same time. I loved the icy tenderness of the film, and it seems to me that Bjork’s commentaries on modern communication and communion continue and expand Laurie Anderson’s multi-faceted musings on the same subjects. The images of twin cyborgs passionately embracing is both frightening and compelling. So how does this new perfume by Bertrand Duchaufour ally with cyborg love?

I hate tuberose absolute. I hate tuberose perfumes. I find them revolting. I love sniffing the actual flower, however, as it has a sort of attraction/repulsion gumbo of scent molecules that is quite intoxicating in a garden, out in the fresh air and sunshine. But in a perfume? Eek. I never want to smell like that.

“Nuit de Tubereuse” is a departure from the usual in that it basically abandons lactones and indoles. Its sharp, nose-searing opening is neon and electric rather than tropical, rotting, and indolent. It smells cold, alien, and strange. Yes, it’s floral, tuberose and orange blossom are there, but perversely so, as if a computer geek had composed binary flowers for a decoration in his holo-lab. There’s no distinctive drydown per se, though there are shifts in orientation over the hours. But, like holograms, these various facets remain unnatural, and thoroughly otherworldly. Longevity and sillage are both impressive. There is no doubt in my mind what the two cyborgs in Bjork’s film smell like, and it’s both attractive and frightening to me. If you would like to try it for yourself, please leave a comment, I’ll pick a winner at random and send a sample. The draw is closed.

(Full disclosure: I received my “Nuit de Tubereuse” from L’Artisan Parfumeur as a gift.)

Labels: , , ,