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.