Sunday, November 29, 2009

Leather, more leather, please

A year ago when my passion for perfumes turned obsesive and I started checking whatever it got in my hands, I tought leather is no go. I liked to check them but to wear them looked impossible. I didn't understand Marina from perfumesmellinthings who has a special directory with leather perfumes. Now I am grateful to her for it. I've got it and I am hooked. I want leather leather leather. Few weeks ago I was drawning in greens, the fall made them so attractive to me. And now, suddenly, I am in to leather, I want as much leather as possible.
Unfortunatelly my personal collection includes only Bandit, Dzing!, Histoire des Parfums 1740 and L'Air du Rien as leathers.
I love Bandit harsh way. Dzing! is so dusty. Histoire des Parfums 1740 is so elegant, can get you around any time. And L'Air du Rien is so chic.
But I wish I had Chanel Cuir de Russie, Jolie Madame, Tabac Blond, Yatagan, Black Bulgary, Or Black Pascal Morabito and soon I'll go to Manufactum shop where I can get Knize Ten. They also have English Leather, Geo F Trump but I tried that before and it was a bit boring in the dry down. Meanwhile I hunt man perfumes in shops, the ones with big concentration of leather.
With leather the world takes a steep turn. It's not you go further but you turn unexpectedly in a wrong direction which brings you nowehere and where you find your real love. Who doesn't look in any way how you imagined in your romantic dreams. And it doesn't fit you. But it's not a stranger, comes from the dreams that you can't remember but where yours.
Why I don't understand is why is there such a late stop at leather? Took me a year to get it. Tania Sanchez talks in the last Guide about the evolution of obsessed perfumista (I don't like the word perfumista but I won't invent a new one today). How you get through different stages until you get a clean mind. Where is the leather there and why so late? I love it.

PS In Romanian language we have same word for human skin and leather. That's beautiful.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


That's all about MY nose.
Today's sampling:

Femme,Rochas. I understand that the actual one is just a reformulation of the real one of Edmond Roudnitska and most of experts are not so happy with it. After a strong beautiful chypre start (whatever a chypre is) after 10 minutes I checked and couldn't belive it. It was Mitsouko !,  may be a bight lighter, citrusy, flowery. And it's most strange because just the other day I was thinking why we don't find almost at all interpetations, copies of Mitsouko. It's Mitsouko here and Mitsouko there, the best perfume ever and you don't find perfumes to follow it. Well, that's it. My theory fell.

Beyond Paradise, Estee Lauder. After Luca Turin got me crazy about it, the best floral and all that I finally found it hidden behind all other Estee Lauder (at a small price! it's reduced!). Sniff and I got something well known, oh, yes, that's the new Annick Goutal, Un Matin d'Orage. In fact is the other way around, Annick Goutal's comes after Beyond Paradies. But that's it. They smell the same to me.

Is it my low quality nose? I know about perfume families etc. but so similar?
OF COURSE, all of them are great, even reformulated Femme is a queen between hundreds of mass market fragrances and actually more I smell it on my skin right now more I love it. New purchase, I think.

April 2010, More Similiraties
Le Temps d'une Fete, Parfums de Nicolai , tried yesterday, smelled so much like something. And something. It was Heure Exquise, Annick Goutal. Lovely, both.

Nearly everything about perfumes

I have always loved and been addicted to smells. Perfumes, I was hungry for them. But growing up in a communist country where I had the chance to smell only Diorissimo and Magie Noir before the communism fell didn't help too much. I was living in darkness about perfumes until a year ago when Internet did it all for me. I can't thank enough to this great thing of our times. What would I have been at this very moment without it? Probably I would have still go through rough years of looking and trying without having any clue. Internet did it for me and my knowledge in the field were rocketing. All these wonderful blogs. I remember myself a year ago making handwritten lists of great perfumes I never heard of. I made so many lists and then go around looking for them, buying samples online, trying when I found them at perfume counters. Lists in klingonian for me but I knew one day this world will open for me. It started opening after a while and I can say I'm still in the entrance door but I did my first steps and I am another person. And all that because of Internet and these wonderful people who write blogs.
Now I have my own system of checking these blogs, I do it almost daily, wondering about other and other perfumes. It might be helpful for everybody. I do it because even discovering them took time.

Experts and professional writers blogs
1000fragrances – of Octavian Coifan. (I'm so proud he is a conational of mine. I'm not patriotic at all but it's cheering up to have him as one of the best in the field). He knows so much about all perfume means: history, composition, cultural aspects. And he never stops, you can see he is growing every day. More then a perfume expert, a humanist I would say, something very rare today.
Grain de Musc – great reviews, you can find out about how different perfumes are made. Plus a fine personal insight.
Perfume Shrine – information, history, comparative analysis and much more about perfumes.
Chandler Bur  - of NYTimes

First Nerve – the upset scientist. I love him. He writes about smell, not necessary perfume. Our smell world. A humanist.
Luca Turin - the emperor of scent. Here is a page which was available until recently, a newsletter. Normally, from the old page you could buy the new ones, probably they will be online again. On the new page you can find an Excel file with the stars he gives to thousands perfumes. He doesn't blog anymore.But there still exist archived his old blog here. It was great for me to get through it, I discovered him as a person, as much as you can through a blog. Another humanist. Also his old posts for NZZFolio here.

Comprehensive information as much as possible
NowSmellThis – that's reference for all you want to know, perfume news. Perfume reviews, perfume houses, perfume noses.
Basenotes, Fragrantica and MakeupAlley– databases with reviews of users

Essays on Perfumes
And many many more….

Andy Tauer – a perfumer, a REAL one {you'll find out how people are just crazy about his perfumes}. And he writes almost every day, sharing his fantastic life with all of us. And he is just such a wonderful person

I apologize to the authors of these blogs if I said something inaccurate about their blogs. I would be happy to rectify it. I am so grateful to all of them.

Of course, at the beginning I was so much in love with what they wrote that many times I would go and buy without sniffing or I would fell in love with perfumes influenced by their taste. But I don't regret anything, this is how I grew. The day when I smelled my first L'Heure Bleu because they said so and I was so shocked. It took time to get used and eventually I ended up half a year latter by being smitten by it.

And not least, these people really CHANGE the world of perfumes. Their voice is heard, niche perfumery came out stronger and stronger while big businesses have nightmares because of the bad reviews they could get from my beloved bloggers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My favorite witches' world and perfumes

Terry Pratchett, 'Making Money' from the DiscWorld series of a fantasy world, populated by wictches, demons, dwarfs and any other fantastic creature we know. One of the most entertaining books I have read lately. Such a fine English humour, parody of our own world and deep understanding of the human being.
And when I get in love with people or characters in books (it's all the same for me), I can't stop thinking of the perfume they would wear.
We have Moist von Lipwig, the sunny boy, a man of courage and adventure, ready to challenges and to change the world to his own fantasies but with great care for the beings around him, either they are humans or Igors or Golems. Moist could have been another Bond in a witches story but what it's mostly about him is his capacity to put himself in other people shoes. He can do it, move himself in the other personality, thoughts, life and get it. From here to leading the world is no step. Plus: Moist has a face that can be lost, nobody can really remember his face because his face looks so common. Even his own mother sometimes picked up other child from kindergarten.
And we have Miss Adora Belle Dearheart, Moist love. She smokes cigarette after cigarette, fights for the rights of Golems, is a feminist but extremely attractive and woman as appearance, wears high heels and shapeless dresses which let imagination fly.
Lord Vetinari is the perfect tyrant, dominating on the base of democracy, ruling and controlling everything with nobody noticing it, but for the sake of this nation. He is inteligent, wise and has vast sense of humour. And he has the best way in the world of raising his eyebrows. In fact he rules by simple raises of his eyebrows.
Such a great book for the grey days of a cold fall!

So, my Moist would wear everyday other perfume, challenging ones, Comme de Garcons or earthy Serge Lutens from the Bois series, smelling strange but humanly and warm.
Adora Belle? It will be too easy to go for Bandit or Tabac Blond or Cabochard. She either lets a heady smell around her, a white cloud of a perfume and her cigarettes smoke, a perfume like Tuberose Criminelle. Or she has a discreet skin smell like Omnia Bulgari, that you could get only if you put your nose between her breast or got in bed with her?
And for Lord Vetinari? He looks most fashionable in his unique scary way of dressing which everybody wants to copy and can't. What would we give to the king? I want Tauer's Incense Extreme for him, half man half God, light and darkness. Whenever the doors of his coach open the people in the street will know that's the Lord Vetinari coach, a 'bang' of incense and white flowers will hit them, fear and respect and love will linger on the streets.

By sheer coincidence, I realized today is MartinsTag in Germany, the day when kids go round with lamps in early darkness and should meet Saint Martin on his horse, a good saint, but kids are rather scared by the ceremonies in the woods, the appearance of the Saint from nowhere and they keep talking about ghosts and phantoms. For me another moment to remember the stories from the delightful DiscWorld of Terry Pratchett.

Wanna know who Terry Pratchett and his books are? Here you go.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I do love Serge Lutens

It was the day when I met Serge Lutens. That's a day to remember, such heavy stuff, like I had the best whiskey in my life. Literally. That was not perfume that I knew. Since then all of Serge Lutens perfumes feel for me like a good sip of old good aromatic pure whiskey. It's the taste (yes, I feel them in my mouth) and it's the faintly effect of the perfumes on my head, I'm a bit drunk.
So I loved them and for days I visited the counter to try again and again all the export line and I loved all of them. Got my purse full of samples which I would use day and night in a thrill how I shall never feel before.
Then was two months later when one day it was too much. I was like now I know Serge Lutens and the tricks he plays on us. I understand his philosophy, got the idea. And somehow I felt cheated, it was like I understand that he tries to seduce us but he is not serious with us and we are just the fools (it was only me, but I took all of you in my rationales there).
I was still new to perfumes at that time and still I am. But then I was a newborn.

Even with that on my mind, Serge Lutens still let me charmed with himself as a person, who is the man behind this big show. And so I discovered on his site how you can get for free the wax samples of his exclusive Paris jars. And that was another day which I will always remember: Iris Silver Mist, Rahat Loukoum, Tubereuse Criminelle and all of them on and on again. And I was hooked again. And I dream of entering Palais de Shiseido and trying the juice from the wonderful bell jars that I see in pictures. Yeah, my dream.

Now I'm back around SL counters. Try them again and again there and not use up my samples. Still a baby but with some basic understanding of complexity of his perfumes, I am back in to it.
So why do we love Serge Lutens? What's so fascinating about his perfumes that we will name SL by the way in any talk about perfumes, lists of favourites, lists for seasons etc? Though we love so many other perfumes. My perfume gifts are always Serge Lutens. I spend considerable time trying to imagine what perfume would match what friend of mine. And then I hit them with a Serge Lutens perfume. Eventually they don't know SL and they are terrified. I like it. Yes, what's that stuff? But they will always have the bottle from me and most of them ended loving them. One of my friends, not so convinced about the perfume, discovered that her 5 years old son was telling her how nice she smells only when she wore SL. That was the prove for her (sorry, dear, to use your story here, but it's a lovely one).
1. SL are perfumes. Either you like them or not they are single, by themselves perfumes forever, what means a perfume with it's timeless beauty..
2. SL are each unique. At the beginning I thought many of them smell similar but I know now that only the initial olfactory shock is similar. I don't believe in the comments that that or that SL perfume is combination of others.
3. SL are ideas. You don't get only a perfume, you get something to reflect upon. All the way they last. A case of Platon?
4. SL are stories. They are dramatic. They start and grow and change and come back and surprise you and let you quite tired in the end.
5. SL may be addictive but you don't get accommodated with them. May be they suit you but you don't lost them on you. SL says that his perfumes should be worn as jewellery. They shouldn't be! They wear like jewellery, you can't get around them.
6. If you wear a SL you smell of SL and it's nothing else to be mistaken with. (oh, if you ever experienced a person in the crowd smelling of SL! It's gorgeous).
7. Any SL can make a signature smell.
8. SL perfumes respect me as a perfume user. No matter if I like them or not. They give me the best and don't fool around with me (tell me how often you feel that in front of endless shelves of mainstream perfume shops).

I don't want to make a statue to Mister Serge Lutens. He probably doesn't even need MY statue. I just want to express the joy that such things exists. For me it's a joy to come around the SL place in any perfume shop. I'm writing this after the experience with the newcomer Fille en Aiguilles. Will I ever buy it? I would at any time. It would make a life of me and my perfume up to the end. I won't say here what is this perfume, I still need time to enjoy it and discover it. You can find good reviews here and here and here and many others.
My problem is which of SL perfumes I want to be and end my life with it? It's easy to do it for others, I chose what SL perfume they are. But me? One day I want to be Bois de Viollete, other I want Rose de Nuit and quite often Daim Blond and Iris Silver Mist always. And any of them. But who will be finally me I didn't decide yet. And that makes me also happy, I can enjoy all of them.

The only sad thing about SL is the way the export line is sold. In my town there are 3 perfume shops where you can buy them. And in none of them you find people to tell you what it is about. They try like always to sell you the latest addition, last year was Nuit de Cellophanes, now is Fille en Aiguilles. Lat year was even Feminite du Bois, I heard the lady saying proudly to a customer how that's the new SL perfume. I was upset, that's not the way SL should be sold. Sad!

And last: it made me happy writing this. Could make no sense, but I feel better now. And with one of his perfumes on each of my wrists.

Picture: SL make up. Don get it wrong, SL doesn't have faces for his perfumes, they can be for women or men, young and old, living or dead!

I love this interview with Serge Lutens. Somehow I knew he is like that before reading it, his perfumes say it all.