Saturday, December 11, 2010

'We Like Lists Because We Don't Want to Die'

Says Umberto Eco in an interview by Susanne Beyer and Lothar Gorris for Spiegel, 11/11/2009.
Just to meditate a bit about the passion of lists. Including the perfume lists.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ormonde Jayne perfumes.Object of desire

'It's all about anticipation', a friend has told me. I was too young to fully understand what he meant. Or to taste the pleasure of desire.

I just read more about dopamine and I was surprised to find out that 'It has been argued that dopamine is more associated with anticipatory desire and motivation (commonly referred to as "wanting") as opposed to actual consummatory pleasure (commonly referred to as "liking"). The thrill. Might happen that the pleasure of the act is bigger or smaller. But the wanting, the waiting, the emotions involved are the source of big pleasure.
Like all people with passions that is a big part of the life of a perfumista (I'm still confused with the word). It is about smelling but it is a lot about anticipation. The usual visit to perfume counters even puts me in such a thrilling mood. I always feel like that will be the day, I shall discover something special. And how many times, anticipating a big meeting with a new ravishing perfume it happened to be disappointed. Even by big niche names or rare exclusive fragrances. Waiting with excitement for the new pack with samples, dying to smell that or that. And the end might not be such a big deal. But what a wonderful time I had anticipating the moment. So many times the pleasure was much bigger than the actual smelling.
Of course, harder to get the object of desire bigger the pleasure of anticipating it. Take Ormonde Jayne perfumes. I waited for the opportunity to visit London and smell Ormonde Jayne perfumes in that wonderful shop. Didn't work. Finally Santa brought me the sample pack.
I would have put all my money on Ormonde Woman. It turned out to be fantastic. Still, for me the absolutely winner is Tolu of Ormonde Jayne line. When did I smell last time such an intoxicating perfume? I can't remember. There must be a room in hell for people who love intoxication perfumes and smelling Tolu will get you a place there. It's the smell of secret pleasures and sins.
There is the very attractive but dark orange blossom at the beginning. Very soon what I get mostly is a fresh fish smell. Do you know how the fresh fish smells when you clean the skin of the fish, a metallic bit dirty odour? Or how the fish fat smells? Is that the civet? (Linda Pilkington , the author of Ormonde Jayne perfumes, says she used real civet tincture in Tolu) I have no idea, but this strange 'aroma' stays in between the orange blossoms and amber like an undiscovered dangerous territory, It gives an unbelievable attractive quality. When I say metallic I don't say cold, because Tolu has huge warmth. I was shocked a bit, I didn't read anywhere about it and it was totally surprising. You smell it clear when you put your nose in to it while the silage which comes out is breathtaking beauty. I am still under the fascination of this distorting note which gives such an original twist. It is strange, because Tolu has a classic feeling in it's beauty but nevertheless surprising.

Perfume reviews at

P.S. On my skin, very sad, Tolu does not stays for longer than 1 hour and half. I tried Eau de Parfum, may be I should try the Parfum concentration. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Shalimar Guerlain. No perfume review

Disturbing things about Shalimar:
  • I shall start with: there was already so much said about Shalimar that is little left. I won't. Because it was not said so much about Shalimar. Google it and you will see. Of course, many comments on, (where you find over 340 reviews and it is given 3.8 points. Vera Wang Princess has also 3.8 points but over 530 reviews). What you find is thousands of referrals like 'it reminds me of Shalimar'. It is not so much we know about Shalimar: the story of Garden of Shalimar (Temple of Love) in Lahore. The story of Vanillin that Jacques Guerlain dropped in Jicky. Most interesting the fact that it was launched at the Decorative Arts Exhibition as an antidote against The Great Depression. Here we could start a talk about the history and what Shalimar meant in its times and how it continued. But you don't find anything about it.
  • I learnt little about how people received Shalimar, what was the impact on the moment and in the following years. Shalimar is a shock now. There must have been an outrage then. Or not? Roja Dove says something about not lady like Shalimar. But as much as I know about ladies at those times there were many who wanted exactly to break with the limits.
  • It was always a little bell in my head saying 'You don't review Shalimar, darling'. As you don't give your phone number to the charming guy after the first meeting. You just don't, it's not chic and not proper. So almost nobody does it. Even Luca Turin does it in so general terms that you won't get any picture from it.
  • I keep thinking for long that I should wear some fantastic new scent, some sophisticated intriguing one, that my children will say one day that their mother was wearing that x perfume that almost nobody did at that time because was so daring. I want so much to find that perfume. How will it sound my kids say their mother wore Shalimar? That is what the grandmother and the grand-grandmother used. Of course, it's ok to admire Shalimar but wear it. Luca Turin says should be worn between comas and with humour. Lost are days when Shalimar was for femme fatale. Hey, may be 20 years ago. Today, Shalimar is such a weirdo, much weird then all experimental niche perfumes. It smells so out of place, smells like nothings else. You go and try it. Try first some of new perfumes and then go to Shalimar. What the hell is that? comments: (1 point)
´It smells ridiculous, old, obnoxious, offensive, foul... 
(4 points go to Jessica Simpson Fancy)
'for the first couple hours I smelt like I had rubbed petrol on myself. Its a pungent smelling scent, like men's cologne but even worse, like leather and petrol mixed. '
(5 points go to Hugo Boss Baldesarini Ambre)
'I too have tried to like it but it really is unsophisticated and cigar like. I was stupid to give into the sexy commercials and hype. Oh well you'd think I'd have learned by now. There's so many other scents to try that are new and beautiful.'
(5 points for both Curious and Midnight Fantasies of Britney Spears)
' the most OVERPOWERING, ATROCIOUS, and OBNOXIOUS scent that you can ever imagine.'
(5 points go to J.Lo. Miami Glow)
  • Shalimar = Vanilla (they say Jacques Guerlain thought vanilla is a powerful aphrodisiac) What vanilla? I don't know any vanilla like that. And because it's vanilla that means sweet. May be their vanilla, the vanilla that you find in thousands perfumes, that juicy syrupy stuff. (actually somebody on a forum asks: where is vanilla?) Vanilla in Shalimar is not sweet, it's dark and smoky. They say Jacques Guerlain used an impure vanillin. In the end, very late you have some powdery feeling, but it is not necessary the vanilla, may be some musk and some tonka with vanilla. I don't buy the story with vanilla and sweet. You go and smell it.
  • Nobody smells Shalimar anymore. Nobody smells it for the first time and wonder what it is about. Like nobody really watches Eiffel Tower. You look at Eiffel Tower and you see the image that you saw in so many pictures and there is no chance you really see it. You smell Shalimar and you smell the info in your head, vanilla, oriental, brunettes etc. And taking that, did they really hope that Natalia Vodianova face will appeal to young people and they will start buying it instead of last Paris Hilton? What is the relationship between her face and Shalimar?
  • Everybody talks rather about Shalimar Light\Eau de Shalimar. Officialy it is called a modernized and weaker version of Shalimar. Shalimar Light should be called Shalimar Heavy. Lovely, great, but it is full of all prejudices of contemporary about Shalimar, lots of juicy lemon, lots of sweet vanilla. Put them side by side, Shalimar will be salty and heavy compared to Shalimar Light (let's say for now Eau de Shalimar is undecided but still something else). They are just different stories. Shalimar is not heavy, never was, it is dark and thick but odd enough has astringent sides which keep the darkness fresh.
  • Who buys Shalimar? It is a big seller, for sure. I can see men going to buy them for their wives or secret lovers (yes, for some reasons most of the men love it), young men buying it for their big love because their mother smelled like that, old ladies buying their 50th bottle of Shalimar (though daily they secretly use Angel), or young strange girls (who wear also Bvlgary Black) and go back to the library. Who else?
There is mountain of snow outside and it's very very cold. Not a drop left of Shalimar (I keep my vintages for trying sake). Busy days, fighting with slow traffic, advent days, and all I can take as a perfume is Shalimar. Panic, I need Shalimar. In the shop the cute girl tries to get me in everything else, including Idylle, she loves it. She wants to spritz my wrist, I step back in the last second. Buy Shalimar. She offers me some samples, I want Bas de Soie, she moves her nose with disgust. Pour Shalimar over my wrists and scarf. Outside big Christmas Fair. At –10 Celsius degree Shalimar smells of smoky leather. I know Shalimar in and out but still strikes me as the strangest perfume ever. And I know it, nobody smells like me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Very subjective consideration on the modern perfumes & geography

When trying perfumes, I can't stop but putting them on a map. I started thinking more of perfumes and geography mainly as effect of too circumstances:
  • The lady who runs an exclusive perfumery shop in the town where I live told me that she is not going to sell Caron fragrances anymore because they are too French for the German ladies. So I was the one to buy their last Caron and my first Parfum Sacre. 
  • Tania Sanchez obsession with Estee Lauder and for her general excitement for clean and roses perfumes. She says somewhere (is it talking about MKK of Serge Lutens?) that it has probably to do with her east asian origins. I suspect the American heritage.
My small project here wouldn't have been possible without the help of wonderful databases of and NowSmellThis. I am grateful that they exist and took such a big effort to offer information on fragrances. And, of course, the enormous cultural references offered by The Guide of Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.

So what's going on with perfumes in geographical terms? I don't talk about fragrances, smells, oils, they developed all over the world and there is already a lot of anthropological and historical work on it. I talk about the simple geography of today's perfume brands and how I see their existence.
Most of the brands and what we think of perfume in our modern world is about French perfumery. And you will read and hear a lot of ohlalala about what a French perfume means and how wonderful is. Some people say 'this is a French perfume' and that's all to be said. It could mean chic, glamorous, naughty, daring, elegant whatever all we put in relation with Paris via Grasse production and creativity. On the other hand some people would reject a smell only based exactly on the fact that is too French, see the adepts of pure bio oils or the old lady feeling.

The things became more complicated since the French perfumery had to address a biggest market than his own Paris and France. In fact for long the big money came from USA (have a look at what vintages from forties to seventies are sold on ebay from USA). Since few years ago big money come also from Asia and Middle East and it is hoped to come enormous from China.
So, French is not so much for French people since long and than what French means? That a lady from USA or China wants to smell like a French woman but at the same time appeal to the nose of the American or Chinese men?

But the geography shows that not only French perfumes are playing the big cards. What do we have?
Estee Lauder means the Queen of American perfumery. As much as I could find out, the first Estee Lauder perfumes where actually really produced by American noses. Josephine Catapano for Youth Dew, first EL perfume. Then was Sophia Grojsman (Belarus but living in USA). EL is not very open about the noses behind their first big perfumes and I think in a way it is ok. EL perfumes took the genius of Estee Lauder herself not a perfumer but a visionary. Estee Lauder could think as an American and offer to Americans the perfumes which suit them best, sexy but clean. They are so wonderful perfumes but so American. If Jacques Guerlain was an American he would have been Estee Lauder. Estee Lauder made America to smell proper American and that was the big hit in the industry of perfumes. Recently, though, the American spirit it's subdued. We have Calice Becker (France) for Beyond Paradise for example. Is this still a proper American?
I love the firsts Donna Karan: Donna Karan New York which I find most of sophisticated, Black Cashmere and Chaos. But that's history. Now we have perfumes to be sold any minute: Be Delicious series and Love from NY and Summer and Pure DKNY. Pity. To me it is similar to Viviene Westood, both great fashion creators but in the end they don't care about nose. On the other hand I understand DK lost a lot of money with the first perfumes.

Then we have Avon. And we have Elisabeth Taylor. Big in USA. These are also American smells, clean and invigorating. And not sophisticated.
On the other hand we have a handful of local creator, who go for bio smells and come directly from Woodstock spirit. Yoga and Buddhism and free love and pure essences. More successful Aftelier of Mandy Aftel. In Canada Ayala Moriel Perfumes.

Asia – far Asia
I think we all like the idea of Japanese smells. It is about small tidy colourful gardens, tea ceremony, elegant kimonos, ikebana and haikus and many others. Minimalist but profound, spicy but clean and flowers and tea and woods. So no wonder that newly comers like Kenzo and Issey Miyake made their way very easy. But how Japanese are these smells? First Kenzo for her in 1988 is of Francoise Caron. First Issey Miyake in 1992, is of the very French Jacques Cavallier (L'eau d'Issey).
Anyway, both are based in France. But we relate the smells both of Kenzo and Issey Miyake with a certain Japanese spirit.
Comme de Garcons, on the other hand, with all its French name, is based in Tokyo but the owner is Japanese, Rei Kawakubo. For his first smell he chose an English perfumer, Mark Buxton, who later took over few of their perfumes to create some of the most intriguing smells in modern perfumery. And some say that's reallyJapanese smell, a combination between tradition (ink? flowers?) and the high-tech of today's Japan.

Middle East
Amouage 'His Highness Sayyid Hamad bin Hamoud al bu Said had a dream to restore the great Arabian art of perfumery to the region. Amouage is a luxury perfume house established in Oman in 1983 by the Sultan of Oman. Amouage uses traditional for the Middle East perfume ingredients such as agarwood, incense, musk, rose and spices, but the developers of the scents are perfumeurs from the major fragrances&flavor companies.
The first Amouage fragrance (Amouage was its previous name, now it is known as Amouage Gold) was created by French perfumeur Guy Robert in 1983. Guy Robert has created his masterpieces for Hermes, Dior, Rochas...'
In my university times there were many students coming from Middle East. All of them smelled strong of perfume and smelled gorgeous. I remember that the way they smelled didn't feel exotic to me. There were only great smells and I suppose there were oriental French perfumes. In same way, Amouage has too little for my nose to do with middle east culture. Serge Lutens is stronger on that to me. All Amouage smell classy French, expensive and luxurious, yes. If I close my eyes I can see rich Arabian women and men living in their luxurious Paris apartments and living a Parisian life. And wearing Amouage.
More middle east are the pure Attars that you can find quite easy, hard to say what is the quality. Those pure smells coming from Arabian nights which seduced Serge Lutens. There was and still is an attraction to these smells and they are mixed with the ones coming from more east Asia, like India mostly. They smell too much to me of psychedelic experiences from seventies, of these Indian shops where perfumed sticks are permanently burned, something at the border of authentic. Plus, the big challenge is to sort out the really good quality oils from cheap ones. It makes a big difference how these oils are distillate, produced, from what kind of products and harvests are made.

I would be curious to know how much space would cover the bottles of French perfumes produced in one year. May be few times France? How much the ones which exist at this moment all over the world?

I just feel that Italy makes a special case. You have on one hand the big names, clothing Gucci, Prada, Dolce Gabana, or jewellery Bvlgari with perfumes which go for classic scents in a French manner.
On the other hand there is a handful of brands which keep an Italian aura and they have a Italian public, kind of exclusivist and local style. Aqua di Parma is probably best known but they are on the edge. The old ones, Santa Maria Novella, or Acqua di Biella, Acqua di Genova, Corsari 1870 which smell like as exotic as Mediterranean, severe as monasteries and apothecary, a strange combination. I close my eyes and I can see these several hundreds old Pharmacies in Italy, they look for me like places of great alchemy. Anyway, all of them are obssesed with past, history. As much the new ones which sound old Carthusia, or Profumi del Forte, Bois 1920, Il profumo or Odori .
While new Corso Como, Eau d'Italie or Lorenzo Villoresi smell like modern niche perfumery but still giving an Italian chic taste.

England it's an interesting story in today's perfume brands. What I love most is that is a very English story. We have on one hand old ones, Penhaligon's, Floris, Crown Perfumery which stay traditional and keep their names with that. On the other hand we have some new ones which go into a totally different direction, like Ormonde Jayne or Miller Harris. So either you have a noble blood and you can afford fine old china and funny old flowery wall papers and ridiculous hats or you don't and go for stylish post-modern furniture. And the noble guy and his simple fellow at the dinner table will find each other darling charming though none of them has an idea what the other wants to say.
Despite Luca Turin permanent disappointment with the old English perfume houses, I would say they indeed make sense. They address to a certain public. OK, what first comes into my mind is old ladies and old gents. But I also know young people which find very attractive the soapy quality of brands like Penhaligon's or Floris. I have also the feeling that all these people who are in love with Eau D'Hadrien of Annick Goutal they also favour these old English perfumes.
On another planet live new brands like Ormonde Jayne and Miller Harris. In a good English tradition they don't have to show anything so they dare everything. And I wouldn't be surprise if one day, by tradition, they will be receive their knighthood and will make it into the noble class.
My only question is how English are these new and really great brands. They feel to my nose rather as perfumes from a post-colonial globalise world. They don't speak only a British English.
One notable exception is Czech&Speake. Quite new, 1979, they managed to go along with an English spirit while being quite modern.
Crabtree & Evelyn. Known as very English, are in fact based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. I found them very well represented in a shopping magazine called The British Shop. Except the place were they are based, they are crazy about English tradition. And very successful with that.

A very good friend of mine is Lithuanian and I am happy to mention that on the Europe map exists also a brand who made it internationally coming from the east of the continent. Juozas Statkevicius released this special but wearable perfume, which in a way reminds of far east Europe, incense and woods.

4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser 'On October 1792 a Carthusian monk gave the young entrepreneur Wilhelm Muelhens a unique wedding present: the secret formula for an 'acqua mirabilis', a miracle water for internal and external use.'
That's the most known German fragrance ever and still stays as top seller in Germany. It is in a way evocative for Germany. The smell of clean and fresh, not unnecessary chic and restrained. This if you really want to put Germans in a frame. We don't want but the truth is that there are not many other impact market names despite the fact there are a numbers of German perfumers who work internationally and create 'French' perfumes.
New are some kind of revolutionary german perfume houses, with experimental smells and strange names like Biehl – Parfumkunstwerke (who would want to smell like a perfume named like a heavy duty machine factory? That said I admire Biehl smells), Humiecki&Graf (their Geste is one of my favorite perfumes), Uli Schneider and Her von Eden and the more accessible name Linari. What is interesting, except the traditional Kolnischewasser, all the other are almost impossible to find in Germany.

In the end only few thoughts:
§ Why is France so big in perfumery? It requires probably tons of paper and research. May be it has to do with women making themselves beautiful. French women came better in terms in making themselves beautiful (see medieval remark as about Anne – second wife of Henry IV who brought with her French style at the English royal court). It is the same with other parts of world where fragrances as personal use may be related with the freedom of women to make themselves beautiful (India, middle east – between closed doors). While in areas with a severe approach about the vanity of making yourself beautiful the fragrances didn't develop so much or stayed dedicated to cleaning and freshness. From this point of view USA of our days is an interesting case, deeply fragmented between the repulse for fragrances (see the numerous sues against people who use perfume in public spaces like offices), obsession with cleaning and the need for glamorous and beauty a la Hollywood.
§ Globalization of perfume through the big players on the market. It's Gucci, Prada from Iatly, Donna Karan from US, Burberry from UK or Givenchy or even my beloved Guerlain from France they not only address to the international market, they are international players and they lost their roots and style or the roots and style don't make any difference anymore. It will be interesting to watch over the next decade what will happen with China. Who will win there. Will the actual big players take China, or China will take them and we will see China using the big perfumers for the needs of Chinese noses through Chinese brands?
§ At the beginning of my perfumista life, few years ago, it happened to sit in the airplane next to a lady who was working for a perfume company. I was excited. She was not. She was actually just packing perfumes and she hated perfumes. I can understand that. If you pack for years all these cheap, all the same perfumes, you don't want anymore.
§ I like mapping. And I like globalization, too. And as a citizen of the world I hope we shall be more and more able to access perfumes from another side of the world and feel at home with them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Smell me, Kiss me

'Their (Egyptians) words for 'kiss' and 'smell' are the same' . Encyclopaedia of relationships across the lifespan, Jeffrey S. Turner

In The Book of General Ignorance, John Lloyd and John Mitchinson say that some Eskimos**** have same word for 'smell' and 'kiss'.

And 'In some tribal cultures the "equivalent for our 'kiss me' is 'smell me.'' Wikipedia, Kiss

I just love that!

And further. But there have been already many online talks about pheromones, smell and love so I won't bring this again. (a short report on some scientific research here)

****I use the word Eskimos to name the 'indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia (Russia), across Alaska (United States), Canada, and Greenland.' There is no pejorative conotations. I know that in North America is preffered instead Inuit. Specifically, Inuits are only a group of the Eskimos population, so I chose to use Eskimos since I do not have clear knowledge of what group of Eskimo use same word for smell and kiss.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Philosykos by Diptyque - finding the right woman for a great perfume

Once you get into perfumes, you realize that there are perfumes bigger than life that you love but they don't fit you. And anyway, there are quite some and you can't be all these women and men they talk about. Because every perfume talks about a certain kind of woman or man, tells a stroy. Take Fracas. Can I be that Fracas woman and her story? I wish so but I can not.

So for long I'm hunting people for perfumes. I try to figure out who would be good for certain perfume, who could wear that and be ok with it. But you tell me who can be efortessly Dzing, Musk Koublai Khan but also Joy or Fabourg 24. Not easy.

I had Philosykos of Diptyque for a while, this perfect perfume fig. I would try it time to time and love it but everytime I know it doesn't tell my story. It is a fig perfume, and I say that because though it might seem only a fig scent, in the end it is a perfume, it is made of fig and woods and wears easy but unmistakable. You smell of Philosykos and nothing else. So for me it was a tricky one.

But she came. A quiet intelligent beautiful blonde, expressing herself rather through what she does than what she says, she doesn't like loud and obvious, she rather goes for subtle, she likes to notice rather than to be noticed. She likes nature and art and she is good at technical stuff and numbers. She talks with care and you want to hear what she has to say because she doesn't talk too much. We went together through my collection while asking her what she enjoys generally and after a while she got stuck with Philosykos. And you know what? it goes with her, it is like it was made for her.

Philosykos found its woman.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tango - quotation of the day

'Tango is for men the dream in which they release their inner macho. I met few who dance with humitlity. Most of them dance like they drive their cars.
On the other hand, women look like finally they found a pool to bathe their lost feminity.'

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lifestyle Dufte! (Lifestyle Perfumes)

Today I had a shock to see that the biggest perfume store chain arranged all the countless celebrity perfumes in a big department under the name 'Lifestyle Dufte'. Not talking about the language mess, isn't fantastic? You a lifestyle person? go to the Lifestyle corner. Just forget about the other 80 percent of the perfume in the store, they don't count for lifestyle.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Marry Me! Lanvin

The big window shop shows a young woman (It's a window dummy, ok?), sitting on a chair in a dress which rather shows a lot of her body, sexy shoes aside, some jewellery on a small table next to her, she is rather laying in the chair than sitting and she looks something between a prostitute and a bride to be.

And in front of all this a huge bottle of Marry Me! of Lanvin.

Well, just a matter of taste. It goes with these albums of also brides to be, they go to a professional photographer before their wedding and let themselves taken shots in sexy underwear. sexy positions. It seems to be very successful, the future brides explain they want to keep something about themselves before they marry. Like once they marry the sexiness will disappear and they will miss it. Might be. Or the ingénue beauty of a unmarried woman has to be immortalized.

I involuntary  kept the image of Marry Me! Lanvin for few weeks now. It popped in front of me in all perfume shops on a big place and somehow I always refused to think at all about it, just avoid it as you avoid an embarrassing relative.

But the grotesque and hilarity was to overwhelm me. No, it's too much. How the hell a perfume of Lanvin could be called Marry Me! and who the hell would want to buy a perfume named Marry Me!? That was the first thought.
Then, thinking it over, I realized that's nothing wrong with it, it just stands for our times. Octavian Coifan at 1000fragrances makes a short remark about how marriage is not important anymore nowadays. Is it not? It was not 20 years ago but we are in a big recession, the conservationist and purist feelings are stronger and stranger. The gothic girls, the alternative and the hippie ones all want to marry. All the famous public figures are married or to be married and have children and be good people. Sexual freedom is an old story, 20 years of fear of AIDS taught us to rather maintain same partner and infidelity makes big titles in newspaper. Yes, the girls want to marry and have a white gown (for so long I keep being fascinated by so many wedding shops, all these terrible white dresses but it seems to exist a big market). And feminism is old fashioned and a bit embarrassing. Yes, with all the information freedom, between twitter and last Ipods, we grew more and more in some comeback of traditionalist moral, there is too little to fight for anymore and we are in a plain era of putting limits to our own freedom. Sadly, end and beginning of centuries are often like that.

What else can I say, I'm sure Lanvin had a good market report when it launched this new smell and they knew what they do. They knew there will be a big public for it. It's just normal in a perfume world where Donna Karan went from Black Cashmere and Chaos to Be Delicious, Love from NY and Pure DKNY, a world where Pink Princess of Vera Wang is so well sold.

Pilled up to all this absurdity is the history of Lanvin house. Somehow Octavian Coifan chooses to forget about it. A perfume Marry Me! stays in a Lanvin tradition of perfumes named
- My Sin (1925)
- L'âme perdue (The lost soul) (1928),
- Le sillon (forrow, groove, line),
- J'en raffole (I'm crazy about it),
- Rumeur (1934),
- Pretexte (1938)
- and Scandal (1934)!!!

I didn't and I shall not smell this fragrance. From the light pink (yes, pink) juice a take it is a flowery fruity fragrance able to offer the air of purity which transcends the time and space in order to give to somebody the feeling of wanting a woman so much for the rest of the life. Horrible! And it is even more awful since this is the story.

I would have worn with pleasure a perfume Marry Me! if it was a harsh leather, or a strong cumin or lily of the valley soacked in incense. Bit of contrast to save such a pathetic name would have been the story of the century. But as it is, I imagine it will make good cash for Lanvin and no history. It is the niche's perfumery burden to make fragrances with names like Vamp a NY, which I would buy anytime with closed eyes, only for the comforting feeling of owning something named properly.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guerlain will lose a shop. And I love Guet Apens\Attrape Coeur

Guerlain loves me, more exactly Jacques Guerlain. So it was a enormous luck to be able to try quite easy the Guerlain exclusives. In Dusseldorf there is a Guerlain shop (now I know the story of this exclusive Guerlain perfumerie in Dusseldorf, the owner is the sister of former Guerlain manager in Germany)

The big event was last winter, right before Christmas. I was in heaven. They have there all old Jaques Guerlain and there I smelled first time Attrape Coeur. The lady in the shop tried to get me into the new series of Elixirs and Art et Matiere like Angelique Noire, she insisted with it. All I wanted, except the extrait of Jacques Guerlains (Mitsoko, L'Heuere Bleue and Shalimar) was Attrape Coeur (and I am so sad I didn't try Vega, too, so sad). For some reasons I never got into Jean Paul Guerlain fragrances (now that he is in disgrace I can say this little dirty secret of mine). Mathilde Laurent feels for me much closer to Jacques, I love Pampelune and Shalimar Eau Legere. So I had Attrape Coeur on my hand for half a day in a frozen Dusseldorf, it smelled of honey and spices and I felt like a lady. Which it is not easy in Dusseldorf, two thirds of the women there wear fur coats and come out of luxury cars. the day was over soon and didn't purchase my bottle of Attrape Coeur but I knew I shall go back one day soon.

Two days ago I was on my way to buy fruits, didn't have any in the house. On the way I stopped at my friend around the corner, he has this little perfumery shop, carrying niche and special perfumes. I need to renew my L'Heure Bleue stocks, I finished my Eau de Toilette which I use for my daily wear, the Eau de Parfum is for winter and evenings out and the extrait de parfum when I want to go high. I looked a bit around in the shop, you never know what you can discover in this shop (last time I bought all the last bottles of Yohji Yamamoto men). So I always have to look attentively. I tried some Etro, some Caron, some Annick Goutal, the Lalique Pour Femme. I didn't see any L'Heure Bleue anymore (tried Nahema again, which I don't own) so I asked when it will come. He said it won't come anymore, he is done with Guerlain, they ask for a minimum purchase which means a lot of money and includes other stuff then perfumery which are not so well sold. So he doesn't want anymore. Which is so sad, he always offered the special Guerlains, not one of the new ones (Idylle or Insolence etc) and some of Aqua Allegoria line.

We mourned together the new LVHM policy, they don't care about perfumes anymore, it's only market and money etc. That is really sad, Guerlain will lose a really good point of selling. But my very nice old friend looked a bit around may be he finds for me a lost bottle of L'Heure Bleue, he checked behind the counter and he took one of this golden Guerlain bottle and put it back, it was not L'HB. Then in some drawers and it was so nice to find a vintage Vol de Nuit. He just gave it to me. Then again at the counter he took the golden bottle which was hidden behind some add poster. I took it in my hands, too, to check what it is. And there, in my hands I was having a 93 ml full bottle of………………..Guet Apens. I yelled, couldn’t help it. If an asteroid has fallen in my garden I wouldn't have been more astonished. For the last three weeks I was looking for Attrape Coeur around, thinking if I shouldn't call in Dusseldorf and order a bottle. A day before I found a Vol de Nuit Evasion on ebay Austria and thought of buying it (it is supposedly the Eau de Toilette from Attrape Coeur). I knew I could have Attrape Coeur at some point but Guet Apens was something as untouchable as moon for the rest of my life. And now it was there in my hands.

Needless to say, I have it. My friend would have given it to me for nothing. I told him that's gold and has fantastic prices on ebay. He asked me to tell him how much I offer for it and that's it. It was so hard, I blushed first time after long. I knew I had a miracle in my hands and I wanted him to be as happy as I was. I told him I would pay as much as he asks for, he insisted I give him a price. I thought he, as a nice guy, won't sell it for much more he sells Shalimar or Chamade. After an hour of conversation I offered him 150 euro. He said is too much and he made it 100 euro. And it's mine.

I still can't believe my luck. I'm not a lucky person, never won any draw prize, even if it was me and another person. If it was me and me I would lose for some technical reasons. So I don't understand how that comes. At few hundreds away from my house existed for ten years a Guet Apens bottle. And even more, it waited for me. My old friend told me he put it aside for an old rich lady who used to love Guerlain. But the old lady didn't appear for an year. He didn't know what happened to her. I am so grateful to my old friend and that old special lady. I hope she is well, too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh, vintage! Madame Rochas, old and new

I am so very much in a hurry today but I can't stop sharing my delicious discovery.
So it goes: last weekend I got a vintage Madame Rochas, I was looking for one though I was not so taken by the Madame Rochas that you can find in perfume shops. I wanted after experiencing a vintage Femme. So I had my vintage Madame Rochas which is absolutely wonderful. Aldehides, flowers, bit soapy but warm and chic. Wonderful. I just came back from a perfume counter where I tried the new Madame Rochas.
As it said on many blogs, the idea of Madame Rochas was something close to Chanel no 5 or Arpege. If you ask me, I love Madame Rochas much better than both. The vintage is something close to them but doesn't have that heavy spirit that I find in Chanel no 5 and not that oreintal take of Arpege (ylan-ylang?). Anyway, right now I have both of them on my wrists. The new Madame Rochas is great but it's quite far from the adelhidic way and it is close to Chanel but another one: it's no 19. Yes, isn't that strange. It's all that green and rather chypre from the begining and keeps being green until the amber and musk in the base come out.
What was on their mind when they reformulated it? I mean it's really great stuff but it's another world.

Monday, July 19, 2010

'Summer perfumes'

Everything is relative. Don't you hate that? Everything has been relative for so many decades that we can't remember when we last have had some ultimate truths. Still, I can't stop having doubts about everything. So goes with perfumes, too.
I used to love the list of Top x frangrances of seasons. I would check, compare, try. Today it bothers me. Essentially, there is no difference between the offer of these lists of respected bloggers and the offers that you get in any chain perfumery shops or beauty magasines. Since when you have summer perfumes, winter perfumes? It was recently made up by marketing machinery which had this brilliant idea that people might buy more if it is a seasonable stuff. So we have now even 'summer', 'sun',' light' perfumes. You add a bit of citrus or bergamot or verbena or thinker the formula and have a summer fragrances and they will line up to buy it.
Of course, we have the intelligent bloggers who really love perfumes and they know about perfumes and they come up now with 'strange' things for summer, as to make up for mainstream and obvious (by obvious for summer I mean Eau d'Hardrien or Eau Parfumee au the Vert or eaux de colognes).
Last year, the first stop at a gas station once we entered France was on  a really hot day and, while waiting to pay at the counter desk, the old lady in front of me smelled strong of Mitsouko. Oh, that was heaven. I told myself 'that's France!'. It was also In FRance that I sniffed some heavy oriental Serge Lutens in a port city, on a street where otherwise was smelling strong of cooked sea food. Heaven! My stepmother wears always Opium or Magie Noir and she smells wonderful (I always loved the way the perfumes smell on her) Hmmm, are these summer fragrances or not? I don't know and the lady at the gas station apaparently didn't read any Top 10 summer franges list and she couldn't care less. Oh, yes, I'm being moody today and I'm sure all of all these bloggers (because I trust them , they are smart and they know about it) will agree that in fact you can wear whatever you like in any weather and you can reach for same fragrance in any season.
So, why then these lists? May be, as the intelligent marketing people who invented the summer perfumes made the job, the bloggers know that there is a fact that will be hundreds thousands of people google-ing 'summer fragrances' before they start purchasing. This is how they will get on these blogs. Though I doubt that many will imediatelly buy Manoualia or Attar or wear Muscs Koublai Khan. They might though the new Womanity of Mugler.
I am a summer person. I could leave at over 40 C degrees forever and all I require is a bit of shadow. Winter is a period when all I want is that time passes as fast as possible. From what I understand we are fortunate to live in a quite warm period of the earth and a suprisingly long one. Normally it is much colder if not ice age around here. So that's a time for me to live and I take advantage and most of all I enjoy everything at maximum during the summer. And all perfumes smell much better in the summer. All.
One day, based on these lists, I realized that I could live all my life only with the four Jacques Guerlain, Shalimar for winter, Apres L'Ondee for spring, L'Heure Bleue for summer and Mitsouko for fall. But in fact I use them almost all the time, I will spray at lest 2 of them on me (if I wear Shalimar overall, I will have Apres L'Ondee on my wrists etc). What is left from the seasonal preferences then? Not saying: what do we mean by summer? Is it a matter of how hot it is? Only in the small Europe, we have such differences in summer from a place to other. Also I've had some summers when I've hardly noticed the real season. I worked all day long and in the office the temperature is the same all year long.
So, please, define 'summer'.

What other lists we could have: Top 5 fragrances for a cabrio sport; Top 15 fragrances for wearing while participating in Big Brother or other real TV shows; Top 10 fragrances for wearing in Africa, Asia, South America and other exotic places; oposite, what would you wear in frozen north (what Sarah Palin actually wears when in Alaska?). What is nicely avoided is the Top of fragrances to wear at office (that I would love - Muscs Koublai Khan or Fracas?).

Yes, I'm being moody and nasty today. Of course, the title of my post is 'Summer Perfumes' since I hope also to get some readers or my blog. And I'm also going to make some friends.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Parfums DelRae

I have no idea what the work of a perfumer means. From the blog of self-taught perfumer Andy Tauer or from the blog of the perfume historian and perfumer Octavian Coifan at 1000fragrances I could have a glimpse in the life and work of a perfumer. And I try hard to imagine what it really means, how are the work days of these people. I can see the image of my beloved Jacques Guerlain at a desk with a folder in front of him and some bottles around, or Andre Fraysse looking like a pharmacist. And again the one of Jacques Guerlain at his desk and what looks like a huge room full of bottles. Oh, that would be my dream, to be in that room, around him, it's heaven.

Anyway, going back to the labour of a perfume and the work of perfumers. I just suppose it is hard work, takes a lot of reasearch in the infinite world of scents and their combinations, it takes a lot of trying which means delicate work with quantities and concentrations of different oils. It must be ups and downs and happiness and frustrations. A lot of dreaming and rational decisions, too. And, of course, I think it's creation, pure art work. But that's futile to say.
So you have this huge labourious work for a perfume. I just read that Michel Roudnitska worked 2 years and 300 trials for his Bois de Paradis. Which I just have on my right wrist. That's a long time, thousands of perfumes came on the market between the moment he started and the moment he finished. He produced in average a trial every 2 days and half. That is enormous. And still, I stay here, with my sample of Bois de Paradies and I shall give my opinion on his creation though I have no idea what he wanted and how much he put there. Must be awful for the perfumers, all these bloggers who give for free their opinion, no education or whatsoever in the field. In the end, the best way to aproach it, it would be to say if I like it or not. Luca Turin just admits that he  is totally subjetive. It's all about being subjective and no smart ass, because I'm not. Ok, it is just my way to apologize for whatever I'm going to say stupid here (hey, I just read that Marques was warning the cristics of his books that by interpeting them 'they take on the responsibility of decoding the book and risk making terrible fools of themselves'. That's the risk of any critic, isn't it?).

So this week was my DelRae week. Some might have DelRae month, DelRae year or DelRae decades. That's to say that DelRae is good stuff. It would be to easy to say that there is a general reflex in giving unconditional respect to the son of the great Roudnitska. And even if it so, still we love perfumes so we talk about them, taken all the relativity given by our noses and set of mind. So I can't say I can forget Michel Roudnitska, the creator of DelRae perfumes, is the son of the creator of legendary Diorissimo and Femme, plus other Dior.... s. I can't. My only cheap excuse is that Diorissimo or Femme don't love me. I love them but they don't love me back. So I was curious to see if his son creation might suit me better.

Visiting DelRae perfums reminded me of impression of Ian McEwan books. I started with Atonement, soon after it's release (time before it became a bestseller due to Oscar fame of the film). It was a pleasure to read the way Ian McEwan writes, I did it thoroughly, word by word, which is rare for me. On the other hand, R was totaly anoyed with reading it. The long descriptions, of gardens, of moods, of days, of everything made him nervous despite the brilliance of plot. I couldn't agree less but I did undertood what he meant. Some people can't take the prose in this way. It's the same with Michel Roudnitska perfumes. They are prose, long detailed description. See Amoureuse, it's breathtaking, I saw so many Ah and Oh in reviews, people who found their big love. Yes, it is a gorgeous perfume. In the descriptive way. It's a compostion which looks like a composition, you get all the facets and nuances lenghty described. Feminine and sexy and luxurious and it will tell you everything. What I don't undersatand: it tells me roses, too, but I don't see them mentioned. My nose...
Debut is for me the best, I think I already wrote about it. That could be a classic one day and for the right woman, could be an excellent signature scent. And I see the story, it tells me cold light, the sofisticated and daring woman with the white shirt, an elegant office room with a lot of light over restrained fancy design furniture. Bit of a dream, bit of a cold mind.
Emotionelle is hard to take for me, I couldn't wear it dead but I see could be the piece of cake for some. It's a freezing perfume.
And Bois de Paradis. That's for me the most commercial of the line. At the begining it's a story for girls and modern women, who want to move out from mainstream. But the juicy opening is misleading, because later it's not sweety fruity floral anymore. It becomes a real perfume, another lenghty story of Michel Roudnitska. I'm not being ironical when I suggest that may be should have a more appealing name for the ones who finally want a quality perfume.

So what about the prose of DelRae? Just that, though I put them in a pack, each of them is a perfume in itself which should be really discovered with a lot of patience. They are very different, though the style is similar. They have an author with passion for beautiful descriptions.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tango and wine

The quality is not great but it's worth watching it. Truly beauty.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Tuberoses: Nuit de Tubereuse, L'Artisan Parfumeur and Vamp a NY, Honore de Pres

A day after Surgery

Yesterday I had the first surgery in my life and it supposed general narcosis. Not a complicated one but I was a bit afraid. Plus I find anything going bad with my health quite disgusting, I don't like myself in this situations. Anyway, I tried not think too much of it but instead I had intersting dilemas as: what do you wear when you go for a surgery? I bet there is code of good ladies about it. But that I decided easy, it will be something very very casual, close to looking like nothing. Ok, what about make up? I usualy wear little make up but a bit of lipstick and mascara is part of showing myself in social ocassions. Being a surgery in the area of my head (no, not a plastic surgery!) I thought would be not ok that Frau Professor watches blue eyelashes and red lips on a corpse under narcosis. I know, it was all ridiculous thoughts but I couldn't stop it. Then I decided that there is something that, even when I look like a phantom, I can't without. A perfume. I can't without a perfume. It was my absolute love, L'Heure Bleue. I went into deep sleep and woke up with it. I put enough to be sure it gets through everything and everybody will feel my L'Heure Bleue. For this, at least, it was a good day.

Now, a day after surgery, still dizzy after narcosis, I received new samples. I should have waited but I couldn't. So I have Nuit de Tubereuse of L'Artisan Parfumeur on my left hand and Vamp a NY of Honore de Pres on the other hand. I tried them first on paper and I had soapy on Nuit de Tubereuse and sweet on Vamp a NY. But I'm not good at trying perfumes other then my skin.
I love tuberoses and I can hardly wear them (I hate that, I would so much love to talk in other terms then what I can wear and what I can't, but I can see all around that's the same for everybody). Anyway, for me tuberoses yell. They yell so bad I can't forget about them when wearing them. Still, I am adicted to smelling them and I was waiting for so long for these new ones.
Now, on the skin it was another story. It's too soon to say something rational here. But:
Nuit de Tubereuse: the air around and whenever I move my hand, stays soapy. Reminds me somehow of My Sin. It is a perfume of grand dame, a real perfume, there is also a full perfume, with many facets behind the tubereuse. Nothing commercial in it, I can see it worn by a rich woman on a cocktail on a summer night. The base is a bit woody and close to masculine but not less lady like. Since I heard about this perfume I thought that might be my tuberose perfume. And, yes, I could wear it much better than Fracas or Beyond Love. I certainly could. (and imagine myslef the rich lady, too)

Vamp a NY: that was strange. May be I don't know too much about perfumes. It was something powdery and dry, beyond the obvious sweet and gourmandy notes, it was that something which reminded me of Dzing!. It just came like that to my nose. So I went very very fast to to check if Olivia Giacobetti is also the perfumer of Dzing, as I realized it might be. And she is indeed! I can't tell you how full of myslef I am.
Vamp a NY is that rooty thing that everybody talks about. It's a tuberose from down down and it comes from hot islands. It's a happy perfume, the room where I left the paper was full of sunny exotic fruits and blossoms. It also has something heavy in it when you smell it on the skin.

Today I love both of them. Great works. Graindemusc asked recently something about launch fatigue. Oh, in general, yes, I could pass so many of new launches. But there are these days when you meet new beautiful ones and it pays for all of them. Two tuberoses and so different and so good.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Perfume hunting – north Italy

It is so that once you get into perfumes every trip becomes a perfume hell and haven. I would get in a new town and start hunting for perfume stores, with my family following me confused because at this point I wouldn't care for anything else, architecture, atmosphere, nothing. I need to check all possible perfume stores. When I find one I know at a glance if I want to check it or not, mainstream or I go on with my hunting.
What I have learnt over last 2 years is that you have to give any perfume shop a chance. You don't know what you can find, thrown in a corner.

Take this one in Riva de Garda, Italy. Looked pretty mainstream from outside. I went in and first of all I see Cabaret of Parfume Gres (which I didn't have the chance to try yet). Looking better, they have Black Cashmere of DK (which is almost impossible to find in Germany), there is Theorema Fendi and there is Calandre Paco Rabanne. The shop had also leather goods in a next room and I just gave it a short look and there, in the corner, there is the heaven. I started shaking, I could see Lanvin, My Sin from far away. Old packs of My Sin nobody wants and for almost nothing. And there is also Asja Fendi, Eau de Cologne and Bel Ami Hermes, Ma Liberte Patou, some Gres parfums from eighties, Parfum Sacre Caron. All old packs. Do you know how that feels like? I go to Schnitzler in Düsseldorf or Galerie Laffayette in Berlin and I know what I can expect. I check the websites in advance and I'm looking forward to certain perfumes, what I want to check. But to find such a goldmine without any warning, huh, that's overwhelming.
That was my beloved perfume shop for a week, the ladies in there where really nice, let me try whatever I wanted as many times a day I needed it.

And I talk about the nice ladies because around Garda Lake the ladies in shops are not always nice. In Riva, too, small shop, I see Serge Lutens in the window so that's a sign it might be something more in there. Sonja Rickiel and then I can see old bottles of Diorissimo and some Patou's. And other, I can't remember. Because the lady would stay in front of them and not even move while I try to have a closer look. She was waiting for me to live. The shop was empty and didn't look like big business anyway.

Or Verona, there is this wonderful shop: Amouage, Lostmarch', Montale, Clive Christian, Killian, Penhaligon's and Floris, most of L'Artisan etc. Wonderful! Three tourists were trying different perfumes, the ladies in the shop being very helpful. As soon as they left the ladies in the shop rolled their eyes and made remarks. And that in front of me, a customer! It was the same with me, they were nice and got me whatever I wanted. Which was overall Geste of Humiecki&Graff (I live in Germany and here is almost no chance to see Humiecki&Graff, you have to go to Italy for it!). I don't even care what they did after I left. I was happy with Geste on my wrist (not great sillage, though).

It was on my last day of holidays that I checked in Riva some other shops, looking randomly at some clothes. And, wow, in the back of small boutiques, I found Ineke and Crishian Clive in one and Lorenzo Villoressi in another. Just little miracles.
Which made my trip to Italy. Plus the best olive oil money can buy. And three pairs of italian shoes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Histoires de Parfums

What it struck me first at Histoires de Parfums was how effortlessly modern they are. No, I don't want to make a cheap pun here. Now it doesn't matter the name of the company. I just found myself thinking, yes, this is how all these modern mainstream perfumes thrown on the market everyday should smell. These are modern perfumes. And I say that, my most beloved perfumes are between 85 and over 100 years old. But if it was to be new, modern, that would be.

First of all, they smell like perfume. You put them on, any of them (didn't try though the last ones, Moulin Rouge and Tubereuses) and you smell of good perfume. You don't go for experiments, innovation. You don't go for classic either. It's nothing too less or too much. You smell like a lady with a good perfume on.
Secondly, they don't smell artificial. I understand that most of perfumes use synthetic ingredients. I also understand that there are huge differences between the quality of these synthetic ingredients, as goes for natural ones, too. While in most of the new perfumes I can detect immediately the artificial, the plastic notes, or be bothered by bad quality of naturals (like jasmine sometimes) Histoires de Parfums avoids that in all their perfumes. Either I found them be my taste or not, it was not one of them to feel like washing it up because I can't stand it.

And most important, Histoires de Parfums smell like modern which can become classic. They don't smell like big innovation, it's rather that they take what is new and make it real perfume, more complex, wearable, easy, elegant, warm on skin. And they don't yell. For me this is what Jacques Guerlain would have liked today. For tomorrow, too.

And now coming to the outer appearance, all the image concept is great. I like the name and I like the packaging. I would love to have a boutique and sell these sophisticated bottles. I prefer them around ten thousand more then By Kilian, for example, which I wouldn't dare to offer as a gift to anyone.

PS I try Histores de Parfums now and then. Today, still being in my spring hunting for a proper perfume, I tried Collete, 1873. I was hooked by the smell on the skin, on the paper keeps the grapefruit for too long and dominant. And few minutes ago I went to Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez' 'Guide' and what I read: '1873 runs a close second' after 'Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune which is the most successful fragrance ever built around (…) grapefruit peel'. AND!!! `the basic structure is a beautiful orange-blossom oriental that shares something with L'Heure Bleue'. I knew it! My beloved L'Heure Bleue.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Perfume and Tango Manners

That's one of the questions I often ask myself and other people ask me, too: What perfume is appropriate to wear at Milongas? But I still have no answer. Tango is special because supposes: 1. closeness 2. sweat. Yes, you sweat mighty lot, it's two embraced bodies, which brings extra heat and it's a lot of movement. So if you really dance you really sweat. And even more complicated it's when you love wearing perfumes and you don't want to offend anybody with your smell. One evening I found myself locked with a huge fear, I was terrified wearing only few drops of Beyond Love by Killian, which smelled so strong even for myself. I felt miserable, all I wanted was a good shower.

Yale Tango Club offers some useful hints when going to Milongas. Tango Manners:
'Personal hygiene: Please use anti-perspirant (better than deodorant, see here )! Wear a clean shirt and bring a spare if you worry about getting sweaty. If you come after a long day at work, please consider swinging by your house or the gym to take a shower and change. If you use some fragrance, please use it sparingly. Some people have a problem getting up close and personal to heavy fragrance. At least invest in something that smells good. Breath mints or gum are a good thing to use.'
I completely love 'At least invest in something that smells good.' It lets me dizzy. I own so many good smells - from my very personal point of view - but I'm afraid many of them will make my tango partners fall instantly on the floor and then run away from me forever.

Here one of my all time favourite pair of dancers. Believe me, they are sweating.

If you like more tango, here are two of the best ever. Sadly embeding is disabled, so you have to click on links:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trying - Havana Vanille, L'artisan Parfumeur & Felanilla, Parfumerie Generale

It is that feeling of collectors or people with certain passions who are waiting for their goods to come. You know it should come and can't wait, you are like devouring the good once it comes, you are just an animal waiting for the prey, all the necessary senses turned on at maximum, it's a tension you try to control but it's consuming energy even when you don't think of it. And it arrives. That's the moment. Pam pam! Then you slow down. And like all the predators you enjoy the moment. You don't attack it immediately, you wait for the right time.

This is how I wait for new samples or perfumes I ordered. And once they are there, like in a ritual, I do all the other things I have to do but trying. I need to know all around me is ok and all the urgent things are done, I can't mess up my trying of new scents. And I do all these in peace.
And then it's the sampling. Probably it's for all of us that we have good days and bad days with these so long waited goods. They enchant us or they disappoint us. But does that matter? How a friend of mine puts it, IT'S ALL ABOUT ANTICIPATION! The most intense and charming and beautiful side of life is anticipation. Like in love, you are badly in love and you dream of all kind of things around it, they may happen or not, you may be still in love next day or not. But nothing compares with the tension and fullness and beauty of what you lived while anticipating. That tension is also the reason for violent disappointments or bursting happiness, depending how things go along with our anticipation.

That's a long introduction for my latest purchases: Havana Vanilla, L'Artisan Parfumeur and Felanilla, Parfumerie Generale. I love Vanilla. Shalimar was from the first moment the most natural thing for me to wear and I never got tired of it. It seems that vanilla goes with me, people recognize the real me when I wear it. But two years ago it started the fever for perfumes and there were so many others perfumes, notes, scents to try that vanilla, so familiar to me, went in the background. Not saying that one day I read on the blog FirstNerve of wonderful Avery Gilbert that Vanilla is for nymphomaniacs. Oooo, that I didn't want to be, so I restrained myself from Vanilla, except bedroom and nightgown. These days, (except that I started wearing Shalimar by day again) I came across excited reviews of Havana Vanille and Felanilla, and couldn't stop. They came (together with Promesse d'Aubesse and Al Oudh), I tried them next day and it was my day.

Havana Vanille, L'Artisan Parfumeur: I didn't know until recently that the flowers that we call The Queen of the Night - they are in most of the gardens in my country - are in fact Tobacco Flowers. That's something, they open only by night, and in the hot darkness they smell like paradise and intoxicating. I have never encountered this scent in perfumes and I missed it for years, since you can't find them where I live now. This is how HV opens, a strong intoxicating smell of this white flowers which alternates to me to the strong smell of cigars. And Vanilla always. Then it plays between cigars and vanilla, all the way it stays on the skin. Which it's not long. I love all the scents in it, and what it adds is the quality of most L'Artisan Parfumeur creations: it smells like a perfume. It's not only a project of bringing together some notes, it's that force which is given by a real perfume. You don't wear cigars and vanilla, you wear a perfume, which means other notes are brought in to support them in a round manner. It's gorgeous. And not forget: it's a perfect perfume for a good coffee. Probably more then cigars notes is the rum in it which goes so well with the aroma of a hot coffee.
Here some advised reviews: Nowsmellthis , Perfumesmellinthings , GraindeMusc , Perfumeshrine, PerfumePosse . And others on internet if you care.

Felanilla, Parfumerie Generale: long gone since I used to be scared by perfumes opening bad (I mean a bad smell, faecal or sweat or cardboard or paint or…). Felanilla opens bad to me, kind of mouldy pee whatever. Oh, it's so hard to put it in words, it's not bad like it's disgusting, it's more kind of smell of austerity in it. It's like in a severe kept cold room. And, as I've already seen pointed out by many reviewers, something of Shalimar in it. After 10 minutes starts settling and it comes out all the beauty. There is still lot of animalic, which is reach and velvety, but there are also flowers, creamy flowers and a bit of the oily feeling of old Guerlain. But also from these first 10 minutes it starts going in totally other direction then Shalimar. I won't say more about vanilla, there is just the right perfect vanilla in it, which stays as quite as a queen. Felanilla is a dream, one of the less artificial perfumes I met for long. Absolutely lovely to my nose. My only sadness is that it's not strong enough, I have to apply a lot to feel it as loud as I want.
Here some advised reviews: GraindeMusc, Perfumesmellinthings, 1000fragrances, TheNonBlonde . And, of course, even more.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lilly of the Valley & Madame Bovary

Not far away from my house, may be 500 meters, there is one of the four special perfume shops in my town. It could be a luck but it's also a spell, often I have to put myself together not to visit it everyday. The shop is owned by an old couple, both adorable. It took me long to check the shop, from outside it doesn't look very inviting, in fact it still looks cold and unfriendly. When you enter it you don't find the usual professional smiles. I had to get over the indifference, most of all of the old gentleman. But now we are such good friends, we have long talks about perfumes, about his business, sadly in my very poor local language. They used to have a drugstore and 15 years ago they opened this perfume shop. And they are happy with it, happy with the clients against all odds (50 meters away there is one of a massmarket perfume counters).

So I'm happy, too, go and check Annick Goutal or some Caron or Etro or Creed or Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, and mostly my old Guerlains. Or simply to try once again Joy in Perfume concentration, I'm still not sure if I like it or not (I own a vintage Eau de Joy which is less strong in flowers, more cologne). And quite often I end up buying something, even if it's the perfume extrait of a perfume that I already have in eau de toilette or eau de parfum. The old gentlemen never quits in trying to convince me about perfumes of Floris and Penhaligon's. He seems convinced that English perfumerie is the best. And if it was English perfumerie then should be a Lilly of Valley smell. Last time it was Penhaligon's Lilly of Valley and I smiled with pleasure. Yes, I like the smell, but I will never tell me him that I find all Lilly of Valley perfumes a bit flat (except probably Diorissimo, which takes the Lilly of The Valley out of the garden). And there is also something disturbing for me in the smell, something which keeps me away. It could be nice sometimes, and for example I thought seriously for a while to purchase Fleurissimo by Creed).
Anyway, I left the shop with the Penhaligon's Lilly of the Valley on a strip, smelling it time to time. And suddenly, in the middle of the street, I was stuck, I saw the floating image of Madame Bovary. The smell reminded me of her tragic face. I didn't read Madame Bovary since I was a teenager and for good reasons, it's a stunning ravishing sad book. And, most of all, we all have to recognize at some point the Madame Bovary in ourselves. Mine comes out sometimes. But I don't want to be Madame Bovary, I try to keep it low and hidden.
Lilly of the Valley is the Madame Bovary smell. Lilly of the Valley is delicate flowers and fields through the windows, feminine and apparently quiet and it never laughs with all mouth. Even the smiles are sad and tragic. And up to it is the keen, the impatience, the smoky background of a lily of the valley still painting. The unassumed desire. Lilly of The Valley is not for the sincere Anna Karenina, or for the reflective Lady Chatterley or for the ingénue and intelligent Lady of the Camellias.
Nevertheless, I will still play sometimes with the Lilly of the Valley smells, as much as I will always suffer of a slight bovarism syndrome. Sometimes I, too, don't want let the moment pass.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gucci, Eau de Parfum & Eau de Parfum II

Winter holidays have been such a fever time for perfumes. New discoveries and rediscoveries of old loves of mine, sometimes overwhelming. And I wanted to talk about so many things (not last about this wonderful place which is Schnitzler Parfumerie in Dusseldorf, a perfume heaven, almost all I wanted to try for long and didn't find, including all Guerlain exclusives, oh, yes!).

But time to time I go back to the mainstream and check there, trying most of all to figure out what's wrong with me that I can hardly bear most of them. Taking that the past month I followed the new Guide of Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, yesterday I tried Gucci, more exactly Gucci Eau de Parfum and Gucci Eau de Parfum II. Taking that TS gives high rates to both of them, 3 starts for the first and even 4 for the last.
I didn't try them for long so I was open for the surprise of the day.
So with Gucci Eau de Parfum on the left wrist and Gucci Eau de Parfum II on the right I went for it.
Gucci Eau de Parfum II opened somehow floral tea, warm and girlish, creamy but fresh. It was nice, though not my cup, and I was happy for the opening. Didn't smell hard or surprising, reminding me of many other contemporary floral perfumes, but I believed in it's charm.
Gucci Eau de Parfum was even a nicer experience, an oriental with some nutty touch which, poor me, I always find wonderful. Nothing special or new but felt good. I felt at home with it.
Afterwards I did some hard core shopping and, finally, driving through the car crowd downtown, it was the awaited moment of checking again, while waiting in a long line at the red light. First, my right wrist, Gucci Eau de Parfum II. What the hell is this? One of the specialists in all these different molecules used so much in new perfumery please tell me what is that? This cheap fruit floral, something dry and sweet and feeling like an old Asprin, that smell which you get after the opening and may be the middle is over. It smells like they buy that for 10 Euro 100 litres to give the final touch to thousands of perfumes around, the last and definitive discovery in perfumery. If they buy it for more money is bad bad luck. It is bad.
I moved to the other wrist. There was still pleasant. The oriental, creamy, vanilic was there, not sophisticated, not very complex but pleasant. Gucci Eau de Parfum is a perfume which could be worn as a perfume and feel well with it if it's your kind. Close to a Boucheron but even more quiet and calm. It could be a day smell for a person who wants to smell buttery and spicy and not disturb anyone with it.
By the end of the day I was once again touched by how common place is the information that all these big houses, with their big names, big marketing and publicity machines make cheap, and just rarely proper perfumes. For same money you could buy a real perfume from a niche house. And yes, I am annoyed that's the case, all what the bloggers around preach. I would have liked to be different and have something to argue. But not today.
As about the stars of Tania Sanchez, well, that's another story.

From Basenotes
Gucci Eau de Parfum
Top notes: orange blossom and heliotrope. Middle notes: caraway, iris, caraway and thyme. Base notes: incense, leather, sandalwood, musk, vanilla and cedar essence.
Gucci Eau de Parfum II
Top Notes: Mandarin, Bitter Orange, Black Currant. Middle Notes: Violet, Blackberry. Base Notes: Jasmine, Heliotrope, Cedarwood, Musks.