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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Glowing in the Dark: Tableau de Parfums Loretta

By Donna

Perfume lovers tend to fall into one of two camps with tuberose. It's either love or hate most of the time, with few in the middle ground, as it is a polarizing note. I am in the love camp with a few notable exceptions such as Givenchy Amarige, which is so heavy and synthetic that it literally makes me ill. I revel in the powerhouse tuberoses like Fracas, Carnal Flower and Beyond Love, and even Serge Lutens' ferocious Tubéreuse Criminelle was love at first sniff for me. So I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of a fragrance by Andy Tauer named Loretta, which was inspired by a character in filmmaker Brian Pera's Woman's Picture series. (The first fragrance in the Tableau de Parfums series, the retro-inspired floral aldehyde Miriam, is truly stunning and deserves it own review.) I thought I had experienced all the facets the tuberose blossom had to offer, but I was wrong. From the moment my decant arrived I know it was something very special. (After all, it was created by the man who can even make the demure lily-of-the-valley appear larger than life.)

To begin with, I could smell the fragrance before I even opened the package; how it got through the mail without attracting the wrong kind of attention I can only guess. I was afraid that it had been damaged, but when I opened the box it was perfectly intact. Yet the most intriguing aroma was emanating from the sealed vial, which was further encased in a plastic bag. It arrived with its sister scent Miriam, but Loretta was the one that was giving off the smell, like a radioactive isotope in a leaking containment vessel. With some trepidation I unwrapped the small but deadly container and sprayed it on my wrist. My first reaction was...instant love. It was huge, it was intimidating, it was radiating, and it was Just Too Much, but I adored it.

Loretta is by no means a straight-up tuberose perfume in the Fracas manner, far from it. It is dark, oddly candied, and fruity/leathery in a very decadent way. It reminded me of something that I could not quite pin down, other than an interesting parallel to Serge Lutens' recent Une Voix Noire, if only for the slightly smoky sweetness of each, much amplified in Loretta, and then I read what someone else thought of it – that it was a lot like Dior's Poison. Yes, that was it, but I never liked Poison! How could I like Loretta, or even stand to be in the same room with it? Let's just say that Loretta embodies the things I do like about Poison without those notes I can't abide; the smothering heaviness and that weird oily/nutty feeling that always stuck in my throat. Loretta is akin to Poison in the way the tuberose is treated, to bring out its darkest personality, taking it to the extreme without holding back. However, it is also unabashedly gorgeous, and its character is a tribute to classic feminine fragrances of the past, not a deliberate attempt to shock, potent as it is; the intoxicating tuberose and just-short-of-rotting fruit accord may be the centerpiece, but it is decorated with orange blossom, rose, woods, sweet spices, vanilla, an especially penetrating aged patchouli, and leather. After many hours it dries down to a delicious amber with lingering hints of that tenacious patchouli. If we could travel back in time about sixty or seventy years, perfumes intended for women - adult women - would smell very different than they do now, and that Loretta would fit in just perfectly with the fragrances of the time. When I wear it I feel as though I should be all dressed up, sporting silk stockings, gloves and a fabulous hat with a veil.

Loretta is available at Luckyscent as an eau de parfum; I am plotting to get a full bottle of this, but I don't think I am the only one who is wishing for a parfum strength. It is entirely unnecessary, since it is already more than strong enough, but I would love to revel in something so extreme that it would be almost painfully beautiful. For the time being I will console myself with the knowledge that the final Tableau de Parfums release, Ingrid, will arrive later in 2013. (I never smelled Dark Passage, the limited edition fragrance that was only available to backers of the films, but I understand that it was really wonderful.) If it's anywhere near as good as the others, it will be well worth the wait.

Image credit: 1938 photo of actress Whitney Bourne taken by George Hurrell via, original source unknown..
Disclosure: This review was for a perfume from my own collection.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Foodie Sunday ~ Neighborhood Cocktail Parties & Estee Lauder’s Very Modern Muse!

By Beth Schreibman Gehring

 I live in a wonderful neighborhood. It’s filled with little kids , lots of laughter and although my husband and I are a couple of the oldest kids on the block we seem to fit in well.  My wonderful “Over the fence” neighbor Michelle decided at the beginning of the summer that every Friday night we would have a neighborhood happy hour and we’ve all taken turns hosting it. 

The food is always fabulous because everyone brings something yummy to share, the cocktails are always perfectly chilled and the camaraderie always goes late into the evening, probably because we all just like each other so much. There are gates between every home so we let all of the dogs and the kids run from yard to yard without worry. Late in the evening the firepits get lit and the Sinatra comes onto the stereo.  It’s always a warm and friendly evening that's fairly close to perfect!

Last night was no different and by 7:00 we were relaxed and sipping wonderful wine and enjoying Michelle’s delightful zucchini fritters, homemade eggplant tapenade and spicy green tomato pickles. 

 In walked my adorable neighbor Nicole who  waved and said  “Come here Beth and smell my neck”, which of course I did.  She was wearing Bronze Goddess, that wonderfully coconut, gardenia, and vanilla  skin oil that completely screams Hurricanes (the rum drenched kind!), sunshine and white sand!  I’d forgotten all about it and found myself at the Estee Lauder counter this afternoon thinking that I might like to try it again. I got into a casual conversation with one of the nicest sales associates that I’ve met in a long while, a lovely young woman named Anna (she's at the Beachwood, Dillards for all of you Clevelanders!) who was thrilled to show me a wonderful new EL launch called “Modern Muse”.

I have to note here that it’s been quite  a long while  since I’ve worn any Lauder  perfume with the exception being Private Collection's stellar Tuberose~ Gardenia.  I loved Cinnabar, Aliage and Spellbound in my late teens, but I truly haven’t paid much attention to the line since.

That is definitely about to change.

Modern Muse is the first serious launch by Lauder in over a decade and it’s pretty fabulous. Modern Muse is an absolutely beautiful perfume dripping with jasmine, lily, mandarin and drenched with tuberose and a thoroughly Southern honeysuckle.  It’s not supposed to have a dry- down  which is one of it’s chief selling points but on me it definitely did. When my husband sniffed my neck a few hours after I’d applied it he practically bit me!  I smelled my wrist and realized why. There’s a delightful layer of sweetness in this scent and my skin really pulled it out. It’s sexy and almost edible…a bit like a wonderful vanilla latte’  but softened with sweet woods and a lovely sheer musk.

Modern Muse is going to become an overnight classic for Estee Lauder and it’s a perfume that I would even feel comfortable giving to a young girl.  It’s also quite reasonably priced, which made me pretty happy.  My readers are always asking me for wonderful perfumes that are less expensive than our industry average but that don’t smell cheap.  I feel very comfortable recommending this one. It’s current without being trendy and it’s very very pretty. A little black dress, grandma's pearls and a lovely nude pump is all that it truly needs, but while you’re at it some lovely patterned stockings might wear beautifully with it too! Modern muse is sweet , smart and a trifle naughty in the nicest way,  much  like the sort of woman who inspired it.  It’s glamorous without being pretentious and I really like that in a perfume!  Give  Modern Muse a twirl around the dance floor and let me know what you think. 

I think that you’ll love it!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Cleaning closets..

By Tom

Sorry for the crass commercialism, but I am getting rid of some scents in the fond hope that they will find a good home and I will be able to pay my gas bill. I didn't realise that eBay has a cap of how much I can sell in a month when I listed my copy of Visionaire #18. so I'll put the word out here. I can only ship to the lower 48 US states unfortunately and can take paypal.

So far I have up:

1 FB SIP Musc Botanique pure perfume (only opened to sniff) $200

1 FB SIP Lyric Rain pure perfume (only open to sniff) $200

1 98% FB AG Sables $80

And the two biggies:
I have 2 bottles of Annick Goutal Eau de Fier that I got from the Lianne Tio boutique. Likely the last ones made. I'd like $300 for each one.

All of my fumes were kept in a cool hall closet in my rather dark apartment and except for me photographing them today have never seen the light of day, or excessive heat or cold. I will ship the goods the way that will be the least expensive for the buyers.

Let me know.

There will be more coming.

Images: My iPhone

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Prize Draw Winners! has spoken, and the two winners of the La Via del Profumo sample sets of Giardini Segreti and Milano Caffe are Elizabeth Noreña and Kate Curry. Please hit the "Contact us" button on the right and send us your mailing address so we can send you your prizes! Thanks for participating, everyone!


Alyssa Harad Reads at Scent Bar

By Tom

When I got the invite to (finally) meet Alyssa at ScentBar where she was going to read from her book "Coming to My Senses" I immediately marked my calendar. Not only because it's a brilliant book (it is) but also because Alyssa had been a contributor to PST for a long time. I'm assuming that Marina had the pleasure last year in NYC of meeting her, and I wasn't going to miss my chance.

There was a lively Q&A with Los Angeles writer Denise Hamilton, followed by Alyssa reading a couple of chapters and showing us some of the scents she had written about, as well as letting us smell (and even TRY) such vintage finds as Rochas Femme (why don't they sell stuff like that anymore) and Emeraude (the fact that it's gone is simply criminal.)

Alyssa in person is just as you'd expect from her writing- warm, funny and full of life. She was kind enough to inflate my ego by telling me how thrilled she was when I put up a positive review of Ginestet's Botrytis, which was included in one of her beautifully written chapters. She told me that she felt validated that someone else loved it enough to write about it.

I felt validated that she said so.

I've included the link to Amazon for her book; it really is a must read (I purchased mine there on Kindle.) If she makes an appearance anywhere near you, you really should go.

I say it a lot. but I'll say it again: perfume people are the best..

images: my iPhone

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Creature of the Night: Une Voix Noire by Serge Lutens

By Tom

I guess I've gotten older and a little more jaded in that I no longer feel the need to jump through hoops to get the latest thing from the house of Lutens. It's not that my respect for them has waned- even the ones that I was rather indifferent to or actually hated I could see where others would love. It's more like my love for the house has matured. I don't need to pry and press, I'll discover whatever it has to show me when I can.

Une Voix Noire has been out almost a year now and I just got around sampling it from Surrender to Chance. It opens with a distinct sweetness, like flavored tobacco joined quickly by green tinged white flowers and I am not the only one to get a hint of strawberry jam. This is a quieter version of one of those Lutens opening. The opening is pretty rather than assaultive, unlike some of his others, even ones that I really like.

Une Voix Noire was inspired by Billie Holiday, the jazz singer who was famous as Lady Day, and whose turbulent life made me think this was going to be a more turbulent scent. But other than the gardenia being just a little overripe, as if in a bouquet sent from a great love that you just can't quite yet discard. There are the Lutens signatures of stewed fruit and woods along with a memory of smoke, like a black velvet dress worn in a smoky club. Lasting power is excellent- I can smell it on my skin the next morning.

Like that black velvet dress, this is something I wouldn't wear. My days at smoky jazz clubs ended in the last century (as I believe did most smoky jazz clubs..)I love that it exists and love my decant. I can also think of three people who would happily rock a bell jar of this.You might be one. 

If you've tried it, let us know what you think about it. Or if you have a favorite Gardenia scent, let us know what it is.

$300 for the famous 75ML bell jar at the Lutens website. My decant came from Surrender to Chance.

Image: Wikipedia Commons