Monday, April 30, 2007

New Must Try: GapBody Bath & Skin

I am easily tempted by great smelling lotions and potions. Although I hate to say it, I could quite honestly be called a "sucker" for new scents. The products that have me dying to sniff today are made by Gap. Gap has produced delightful scents in the past including Om, Dream and Vintage Vanilla, all of which found their way into my collection at some point. I am intrigued after visiting their website today to discover a new line of bath and body products called Bath & Skin.

I have a plethora of body lotions and body creams, yet I am still drawn to them like a bee to honey. Somehow I believe I will never run out of lotion or perfume. Even so, I would love to try this new collection.

Here are the choices, as described on the website:

  • Island Hop - A delightful and inspired cocktail of coconut water, pineapple puree, and hibiscus petals, laced with a hint of white amber.

  • Rain Check - The floral-drenched beauty of cactus flower and misted hyacinth petals enhanced by crushed green leaves.

  • Love Shack - An exhilarating rush of red raspberry and passionfruit sorbet, charmed by a bouquet of honeysuckle and jasmine water.

  • Sugar Snap - A tantalizing blend of pear flower and dew-drenched lotus, grounded by creamy white woods and a dash of musk.

  • Moon Walk - A sumptuous tapestry of soft, nuzzly notes like creamy paperwhites, vanilla orchid, nubuck suede, and a touch of clean musk.

  • Sunny Side - A luminous medley uniting refreshing white peach nectar and pink grapefruit tonic with sweet honeysuckle and muguet against the light sensuality of cool blond woods.

  • Peace Train - The soft serenity of lavender, quiet chamomile and comforting green tea, wrapped in soft sandalwood.

  • Nightfall - Sexy intrigue with white tiger lily, sensuous ambers, and Oriental incense, deepened by an undercurrent of mysterious dark woods.
Will these set fragrance or quality trends? Probably not. However, with body lotion, body scrub, shower gel, hand cream and bath salts (my favorite!) from which to choose and an inspiring price point, I will certainly give these a try. Perhaps I'll find a new hand cream to tote in my purse or a cozy new scent to layer.

Image source: Gap

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Satellite Ipanema

I am pleased to write about this fresh, summery introduction from Satellite, Ipanema. The color of the juice alone, a vibrant turquoise blue, single-handedly refreshes. One cannot help but think of crystal, clear ocean water in varying hues of blue and the accompanying scents – warm skin, suntan oil, soft sand, fruity drinks, and salt water. Better yet, the notes create a masterfully crafted balance. Ipanema combines ylang, orange, grapefruit, freesia, sandalwood, coco, white flowers, tonka bean, vanilla, sea accord, patchouli. Yes, indeed this combination of notes has captured the beach.

This fragrance brings to mind carefree, relaxing days lounging on the beach or reading in a hammock. Although beautifully harmonious, it does not appear to try too hard. The notes simply and softly render your skin just a touch sweeter and sexier. When I wear this, I find myself disappointed I did not have a large amount of it with me in Hawaii. It would have complimented the relaxing vibe quite nicely, especially those immensely pleasurable moments of plunging my feet in the warm sand and allowing the tide to roll over them; or lying in a lounge chair overlooking the gorgeous beach as I slowly drift off to sleep; or softly interlocking fingers with my beloved as we stroll along the coast line while the cool ocean breeze caresses our bodies. Rather than boarding a plane, I will wear Ipanema to be reminded of all those wonderful sensations.

Image sources: my own Hawaii honeymoon

Satellite Ipanema can be found at
Luckyscent, 100mL retails for $80.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Perfume Tip #3: Online Fragrance Shopping

In the world of fragrance purchases, online shopping is a joy to discover. I enjoy exploring new scents in the privacy of my own home, without the added stress of someone watching me sniff. I also appreciate the opportunity to dab on my skin, rather than being doused by an inexperienced fragrance model in a department store. Perhaps the worst offense is an offering of a paper card spritzed with the fragrance. How this became popular I do not know, but to expect to enjoy all the nuances of a fragrance on a card is preposterous in my humble opinion. Those of us who relish its beauty understand that skin is the most important, and most accurate, medium for scent. If one can relinquish the satisfaction and immediate gratification of purchasing in a brick and mortar store, the profound pleasure of brown boxes and the realm of niche fragrances unfold. (Those lucky enough to live in major cities can find niche fragrance boutiques easily! I am speaking to the vast majority of customers who do not live close to one.)

First, let us discuss sampling. Several websites offer a sample purchase program. For a mere $2-$3, customers can purchase a small sample vial of a niche fragrance online. Some websites that offer this include Luckyscent, Beautyhabit, Aedes and Aus Liebe zum Dufte. I highly recommend trying before you buy. Websites offer fantastic descriptions that tempt even the most discerning of buyers. However, smelling the fragrance on your skin offers the ultimate test. For mass marketed and more widely available fragrances, you can simply test at a store by asking to spray on your skin or better yet, asking for a sample. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are the most generous in my area when it comes to sampling. The key is to not fall prey to a purchase on the spot; rather test the scent for hours, making sure the heart and drydown are acceptable. Top notes are fleeting and sales associates may tempt you to buy based solely upon them. Remember that a full bottle purchase is quite a lot of perfume so you want to make sure it works for you from top to bottom!

Next is the notion of online discounters. Are they to be trusted? My experience with them has been glowing. Not once have I received a defective or old product. Incredible satisfaction can be found by saving money on a coveted fragrance. After polling other perfumistas, I offer an alphabetical list of trustworthy discounted websites: BeautifulPerfumes, FragranceNet, Imagination Perfumery, Parfum1,, PerfumeBay, Scentiments. Before you rush to a department store to purchase a fragrance, check these websites for pricing. Sometimes department stores offer gift boxes that include accompanying bath and body products as an incentive to buy. Typically those are good deals and constitute the rare circumstance that I do purchase in store. Nevertheless, most of my purchases are online.

Finally, I offer a list of my favorite fragrance websites:

  • Aedes - Outstanding selection and customer service.
  • Aus Liebe zum Dufte - Simply incredible selection and service. Every package I have received includes a hand written note.
  • B-Glowing - Every box I have received from this store has been packed beautifully. They occasionally offer discounts and gifts.
  • BeautyHabit - A very generous sampling program with purchase!
  • Fragrances&More - Generous gift wrapping and free shipping on Bond No. 9 scents.
  • Luckyscent - These guys know niche fragrance incredibly well and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to stocking new fragrances.
  • Your-Cosmetics - In addition to the fact that the owners are wonderful people, this website has difficult to find fragrances available and offers generous gifts with purchase.

These lists are in no way comprehensive but are simply based upon my own experience over the past eight years of fragrance love. The online fragrance community has become much larger and despite its counterintuitive nature (shipping perfume?), it offers great rewards: the ability to test fragrances unavailable in your city, generous gifts, cost savings and a convenient, rapid shopping experience. Please feel free to provide your favorites and/or questions!

Image source:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Whirlwind Days

Good day dashing perfumistas! I hope all is well in your world. I have a whirlwind going on here and I hope to review Satellite Ipanema over the weekend. Today I am wearing Bvlgari Pour Femme, a beautiful old standby. What are you wearing today?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bond No. 9 Coney Island

Of the four fragrances I have tried from Bond No. 9 - a very trendy and stylish, truly American fragrance line – two, namely Chinatown and West Side, created a lasting impression. The third, Bryant Park, boasts a beautifully artistic bottle design but the juice within does not differ distinctly from some others on the market. Today’s fragrance, Coney Island, does not altogether hit the mark or impress. Although the idea behind the unisex fragrance is novel, I just cannot summon enthusiasm over it.

Coney Island in its heyday offered excitement, nightlife, beach parties and incredible rides like the Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone and the Parachute Jump. From about 1880 through World War II, it was the largest amusement park of its kind, therefore attracting millions of visitors per year and gaining a “pleasure-mecca” reputation. Unfortunately when Disneyland launched, it overshadowed Coney Island’s popularity causing neglect and depression of the area. Recently however, with the opening of KeySpan Park, Coney Island’s history is resurrecting, new rides are being built and the beach is again teeming with visitors in the summertime.

Considering its history and reputation for excitement, I would expect the scent to be exciting, unique and impressive. With notes of margarita mix (with tequila), melon, guava, cinnamon, chocolate, caramel, musk, vanilla, cedar and sandalwood, one could anticipate quite a lovely gourmand. While the margarita mix is quite apparent within the first few minutes and a refreshing mix it is, it quickly fades and is replaced by a scent reminiscent of melon balls soaked in water. Honestly. On my skin, not a trace of cinnamon, chocolate, cedar or musk exists – just a large bowl of melon balls.

The bottle design was meant to evoke the sea and sky, with the gold neck depicting electric lights that lit up Coney Island. Considering the artistry of previous released bottles, I was hoping for a little more “oomph” with this one. However, at least some symmetry exists between the bland juice and the insipid bottle. My only hope is that this scent blends better with chemistry other than my own. May the gloriousness of chocolate, cedar and sandalwood shine through for you!

The generosity of Bond No. 9's marketing department is fantastic so I must give kudos to them. As always, scent is a very personal art form. I am certain this scent will delight many. I am still entirely content with West Side.

Coney Island will be released June 1st and will be available at at all four Bond No. 9 stores, at selected branches of Saks Fifth Avenue , and at Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Paris Gallery, Lane Crawford. It will be availabe in 3.4 oz. bottle for $180, 1.7 oz. travel size for $125, by the ounce for $40, or in a 2 oz. spray flacon for $25.

Image sources: bondno9 and

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Detaille Sofia

Detaille is a niche perfume company that was established in Paris in 1905. It offers lovely candles, skin care, powders and beautiful fragrances for men and women. Of the nine fragrances offered on Aus Liebe zum Duft (First-in-Fragrance), Sofia caught my eye with its description as a “powerful and spicy cocktail.”

I have nearly used all of the atomizer sample I purchased in less than one week - a very good sign. Although I do not quite perceive it as powerful, the combination of notes definitely became a winner very quickly on my skin. It has all the feminine, mysterious spiciness of Caron Bellodgia while the variety of notes render it more than a carnation scent. With a fresh, citrus burst, blackcurrant buds, tangerine and ivy leaves open the bouquet. Quite quickly the spicy floral heart makes its appearance with carnation leading the way, softened with heliotrope and enriched by jasmine. The scent remains mysterious, warm and dry through the remainder of the day due to the base of warm tonka bean, rich vanilla and just a speck of dirty patchouli.

Sofia brings forth images of glorious female icons - strong and über feminine women who define sultriness and compromise for no one. Perhaps Ursula Andress, the ultimate Bond girl, would wear Sofia quite well. With her feminine physique and no nonsense attitude, this magnetic, spicy fragrance provides a parallel to her image. I would choose this scent on days when I want to bring forth my “inner goddess” and knock ‘em dead with one bat of my eyes à la Ursula.

Detaille fragrances are difficult to find in the U.S. although Takashimaya in NYC carries the line. Otherwise, Sofia can be found at, a 100mL bottle retails for 75€.

Image sources:,

Monday, April 23, 2007


I sincerely apologize for my absence!! Without much computer access while on vacation, I was terribly MIA. As my vacation progressed and my blogging became neglected, at one point I simply had to let go of the idea of sitting at a computer and instead smell the flowers and relax. So I did! Upon my return, my beloved cat was quite ill and although better now, he is still not quite right. My ability to think, create and sniff, therefore, is somewhat tempered by concern and nervousness. The good news is I've tried some wonderful scents, including Satellite Ipanema, Creed Virgin Island Water and a new favorite Detaille Sofia!! I plan to review one of the three tomorrow. Have a great evening and thank you for your patience!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Down Time

A few back-to-back arduous days had me quelling my love of perfume! I have returned and I have some much needed rest to look forward to. I plan to review a few new scents so please stay tuned.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Agua de Loewe

Crystalline, refreshing, bright, brisk, long-lasting, just what the Dr. ordered on this sad Monday – all excellent adjectives to describe a rare scent called Agua de Loewe. With a name like “agua” you would expect a very marine smelling fragrance. Yet this scent is less marine and more refreshing, bright and airy. It reminds me of the Bvlgari unisex scent Au Thé Blanc with its uplifting, inoffensive, lighter than air quality. It also possesses the refreshing aspects of a high quality vetiver fragrance. Perfect for any occasion, even a day at the office, this scent feels more feminine than masculine. It is the type of fragrance that can be spritzed with abandon and even then it does not overwhelm.

Aqua de Loewe may be difficult to find but I managed to locate a few discounted bottles on fragrance websites. For those who like this one, a 3.3 oz. bottle may not be enough!

A Moment of Silence

My heart goes out to those affected by the shootings at Virginia Tech today. Our household will have a moment of silence and prayer for the victims and their families. No words can describe the horror, confusion and sadness that afflicted students, teachers, police officers, medical workers and others on the scene. Please keep them in your thoughts.

Montale Velvet Flowers

After a very busy weekend, I am back to quickly discuss another fragrance by Montale called Velvet Flowers. First, the notes:

Rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, peach blossoms, saffron and sandalwood

I typically favor lush florals. Not this one. Unfortunately for me, Velvet Flowers is what we call a "scrubber" - a scent that contradicts your chemistry and your nose so much that you must scrub it off immediately. Too bad. I am now zero and two with Montale. Crystal Flowers anyone?

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Montale Soleil de Capri

Unfortunately, the first fragrance I test from this illustrious house turns out to be an exact replica of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue on my skin. This combination of notes seems to be quite popular: grapefruit, kumquat, white flowers, white musk, spices. Ah well. I will give this spray sample to my husband in the hopes it smells better on him since this scent is marketed to men (gah!). I will move on to Velvet Flowers tomorrow.

What do you like from Montale?

Update, 4/16/07: This one smells absolutely divine on my husband! I highly recommend it for men.

Montale Soleil de Capri is available at,, and 50mL retails for $95.

Image source:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Menard L'eau de Kasaneka

The bottle, designed by the famous painter Shozo Shimada, beckoned me initially. I thought to myself, “How could a scent with such a gorgeous bottle be anything less than gorgeous?” So into my shopping cart a sample went as I tried to get my hands on something new to review. This scent accompanied me through my arduous day today. And when I needed a diversion, I sniffed my wrist. The juice did not disappoint.

Similar to Chanel No. 18, this fragrance contains ambrette seed. However, with the addition of many other notes, the ambrette in this one becomes somewhat faint and distant. I must say I strongly dislike this scent for the first full five minutes. On my skin, basil creates a fragrance that I simply abhor and I am sure you would also. I could not distinguish exactly what it was, so I kept thinking of it as “eau de body odor.” However, this is easy to get around with a little faith and trust that it will pass, because it does. Like a flower blooming into beauty, this fragrance unfolds slowly and delicately, and at full bloom it becomes soft, mysterious, and sexy. Rose plays a prominent role, with citrus, carnation and jasmine a close second. The spices remain in the distant background. Sandalwood, vanilla and musk provide that mysterious, furtive quality that renders this scent a bombshell. Beauty is sometimes fleeting, flowers die and youth fades. So does this scent, but it does so softly, to a musky, woodsy base for the remainder of the day. L'eau de Kasaneka is a unique floriental and quite different from most I have tried.

At its price point, I would purchase L'eau de Kasaneka in a New York minute for opulent evenings, provocative candlelit dinners and long, slow dances. And that bottle! It definitely matches the liquid within.

Notes: Hamanasu (Japanese Rose), Basil, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Bergamot, Orange, Carnation, Heliotrope, Jasmine, Ambrette Seed (Hibiscus Family), Sandalwood, Vetiver, Cedar, Vanilla, Musk

Menard L'eau de Kasaneka can be purchased at A 50mL bottle retails for $54.
Image source:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Oliver Durbano Amethyst

To stray from my usual, as Carole put it, “opulent white floral” craze, I am testing a fragrance said to be a spicy, woody perfume. Following my rant yesterday regarding imitation scents, this Oliver Durbano beauty promised a break from monotonous mass marketed fragrances. It arrived today in a precious box from Germany based (no less!) First in Fragrance.

The amethyst stone symbolizes spiritual balance. Its literal translation is “not drunken.” Wine goblets have been carved out of amethyst to protect the drinker from intoxication. Catholic priests often wear amethyst jewelry to increase their closeness to the heavens. The balancing, protective properties of amethyst have been revered since ancient Egyptian times. Therefore, like the precious stone of its namesake, the scent should be clarifying, balanced, and protective.

Blatantly obvious by the name, if purple had a scent this would be it. I am happy to say I genuinely like this one. It is wonderfully exclusive, mysteriously spicy, slightly fruity and softly powdery. The notes themselves are cause for adulation:

Top: bergamot, pepper, grape, raspberry
Heart: incense, palisander wood, jasmin, orris
Base: vegetable amber, sandalwood, musk, vanilla

As I sniff my wrist, I pick out a tiny bit of grape, powdery orris, some incense merging with sandalwood and a slight offering of musk and vanilla. The bergamot, pepper, and jasmine evade my nose but obscurely offer balance to the scent. My senses are usually highly sensitive to incense and I refuse to wear fragrances that feature it. However, Amethyst’s incense note only serves to encourage me to keep sniffing to discover its transparent, sparkling, and deep characteristics. For those who fear smelling of grape Kool-Aid, rest assured, this scent is vastly more mysterious and not nearly as sweet. In fact, I would not have identified grape without seeing it as a listed note.

I imagine wearing this beautiful fragrance on days where I need to be mentally sharp and powerfully intuitive. It most certainly is clarifying and balanced. Once I find a fragrance with protective properties, I will let you know, but I am willing to test it with this one. Finally, I am elated to say, this fragrance is like no other.

Oliver Durbano Amethyst is available at, 100mL for 96.00€ and at, $105 for 100mL.

Image sources:,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Esteban Fraîcheur Andalouse

I present a new discovery with a fabulous price point: Esteban Fraîcheur Andalouse! A light, refreshing blend based on a “hesperidic harmony” with woods and musk at the base, this scent is a refined blend perfect for office wear. It reminds me a bit of D&G Light Blue, but I grew tired of Light Blue very quickly. I do not foresee growing tired of Fraîcheur Andalouse due to the abundance of citrus and the interesting twist of star anise.

This charming fragrance opens with bitter bergamot, tart grapefruit, and intriguing star anise. This accord is at once refreshing, light, and airy. The star anise is such a welcome addition to sparkling, bright citrus. At the heart, jasmine and orange blossom provide just a tad of sweetness without overwhelming the blend. Finally, cedar and musk at the base soften and enrich the scent creating a delectable experience from start to finish. Delightful! Esteban's website is most certainly worth a visit.

Esteban Fraîcheur Andalouse is available at, a 3.3 oz. bottle retails for $38.

Image source

Bill Blass

Launched this year, the Fragrance from Bill Blass for women contains notes of neroli, galbanum, green mandarin, white hyacinth, lily of the valley, tuberose and jasmine. Interesting enough? Not.

This fragrance reminds me of so many that have gone before it, specifically Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole Black, Lancome Attraction, Dior Addict Eau Fraiche ... the list goes on and on. No offense to those who love the listed fragrances but launches such as this confirm my absolute inability to shop for fragrance in a department store these days. The clones are among us. As I delve deeper into the world of fragrance and learn about the reality of imitation, I have become more selective. I will stick with niche and boutique scents or those from houses like Annick Goutal, Chanel, Bond No. 9 and Molinard for my collection, to avoid smelling like everyone else.

Image source

Top 25 2006

Once per year, myself and other fragrance aficionados post their "Top 25" favorites on makeupalley. We then submit them to a brave woman who conjures, based upon all votes, a final Top 25 list. It is quite fun to see what the end results are after everyone votes. It undoubtedly has an impact on thousands of customers and fragrance vendors. So, for your amusement, I will post here my Top 25 Fragrances as of 4/10/07, listed in order of preference.

1. Chanel No. 5
2. Bond No. 9 West Side
3. Serge Lutens Un Lys
4. Tocca Florence
5. Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien
6. Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier
7. Frederic Malle Carnal Flower
8. Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia
9. Annick Goutal Songes
10. Annick Goutal Quel Amour
11. Chanel Bel Respiro
12. Anne Pliska
13. Molinard Un Air de Molinard
14. Escada Collection
15. Il Profumo Vanille Bourbon
16. Cristiano Fissore Cashmere
17. Jean Patou Enjoy
18. Eternity Summer 2005
19. Zenadora Paris
20. Chanel No. 18
21. Creative Scentualization Perfect Kiss
22. L'Artisan La Chasse Aux Paupillons
23. Hillary Duff With Love
24. Bvlgari Omnia
25. Kai

After re-reading this list, there are several I have not yet reviewed. However, the majority are fragrances I have chosen for review since January. Very interesting ...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Jalaine Citrus Dream

Developed by Jalaine Summers, Jalaine fragrances defy traditional perfumery formulas based in alcohol. Rather, these delectable scents utilize high quality oils found only in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Today, I review one of the best.

A citrus lover’s dream - fresh, juicy oranges smelling so succulent you could devour them; tart, zesty grapefruit balancing the succulent oranges with some bitterness; creamy white musk weaving through the blend like an off-white thread – Jalaine Citrus Dream ranks as one of the best citrus fragrances available. It strikes a wonderful balance between sweet, tart, zesty and creamy. The juicy citrus does fade, however, in a matter of minutes. What remains for a while is a creamy, fresh, musky blend perfect for refreshment any time of year.

Unlike the vast majority of citrus fragrances, Citrus Dream does not in the least remind its wearer of inexpensive bath and body products. High quality oils and a balanced blend create a refined, luxurious aroma that lasts. My only wish is that I could spray it with abandon, yet that is not possible. I must dab from the bottle that reminds me of an exquisite work of art. Perhaps forced restraint is what makes the house of Jalaine successful. It certainly arouses intrigue for this lover of scent.

Jalaine Citrus Dream is available at, the original 6mL bottle retails for $150, and a refill is $90.

Image source:,

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Donna Karan Gold

In honor of spring and Easter weekend, today's fragrance is Donna Karan Gold EDP. This fragrance pays a tribute to the adoration of lilies, and it does so in an ever so delicate and refined fashion. The accord includes lilies, light jasmine and their green stems, like being surrounded by large bouquets of freshly bloomed lilies. As the fragrance dries it becomes more creamy and transparent, yet the scent of lilies remains fairly untainted throughout the duration of wear. Amber is listed as a note and although I do not detect it, I am certain it is responsible for the warmth and creaminess of the fragrance as well as its stamina. Unlike other floral fragrances, this one does not slap you in the face. Rather it softly embraces the wearer with subtle reminders of its presence. Those who like floral scents, my hope is that it remains as light and stunning on you as it does on my skin. I spray this one at the nape of my neck so my hair holds the scent throughout the day and it remains refreshingly beautiful, perfect for Easter. What will you wear on Easter Sunday?

Donna Karan Gold can be purchased at most department stores. I highly recommend the EDP formulation for optimum concentration, 1.7 fl oz. retails for $75 and 3.4 oz. retails for $95.

Image source:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bond No. 9 West Side

Of the fifty-four fragrances I have reviewed so far, a meager few fall into the category of “true love.” I admit I am somewhat of a tramp when it comes to fragrances. Some fall into the fling category, others infatuation, others a brief encounter, while very few progress into a long-term mutually beneficial relationship. Those that maintain my attention must possess a few very important qualities. First, I must swoon each and every time I wear it. What do I mean by swoon? A long sniff of appreciation followed by a sigh of pleasure is a swoon. Second, I must desire to wear it more than once per month consistently for greater than six months. Better yet, I must desire wearing it several days in a row (gasp!) consistently. Third, I must never, at any time, find displeasure in wearing it. Is this difficult to achieve? Most certainly! With all that said, I am not the marrying type when it comes to fragrance. I will never settle down with just one and I doubt that will ever change. It is far more fun to mix things up.

Perhaps you are wondering why the diatribe about perfume infatuation, flings and relationships. Well, quite simply … I am seriously infatuated today. I mean I can’t stop thinking about, sniffing and exploring the nuances of a fragrance. I am like a young girl staring out the window, lost in daydreaming about her object of affection. When he comes around, she blushes and squeals with delight and treasures every feature of his face, every aspect of his personality, anticipating a long-term relationship. Yes, that is me today, blushing, squealing and all.

The fragrance? Bond No. 9 West Side. *Sigh* It is really, truly incredible - incredible on my skin, incredible from start to finish. Pardon my gushing but I simply cannot help myself. (I feel I must go jump on the couch. Hold on a moment.)

As I smooth my hair and clear my throat, I will break down its gloriousness for you. West Side pays homage to the music of uptown New York. The bottle design screams it with the juice inside appropriate for inspiration of song. The scent begins boozy, like a burst of loud music upon entrance into a jazz club. After adjusting to the noise level and settling in, greener notes appear, soothing the soul and encouraging more listening. The heart of the set is a lively number featuring rose, ylang-ylang and peony playing in unison with vanilla and amber improvising in the background. Finally, musk and sandalwood close the set with a soft, sexy number. Multiple encores distinguish this scent, allowing it to last well into the wee hours.

Yes, my friends, I am infatuated. I really hope our relationship progresses to true love. In that case, I will buy a 3.4 oz. bottle of this song-worthy scent.

Bond No. 9 West Side can be purchased directly from the Bond No. 9 website or at select department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue. A 1.7 fl. oz. EDP bottle retails for $125 and 3.4 fl. oz. EDP retails for $185.
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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New York City Sniffa

The New York City Sniffapalooza was held this past weekend! Ladies and gents, details please. Tell us about your experiences and new discoveries. It is the next best thing to being there for those of us who could not make it.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ormonde Jayne Champaca

Like Les Salons du Palais Royale in Paris, a London perfumery beckons me with its opulent scents and ornate, eye-catching shop: Ormonde Jayne. Judging by the online photos featuring splashes of orange on a modern black background, I could spend hours in this store. When I win my next fortune, Ormonde Jayne ranks in my top five places to go. A small piece of the picture is captured by the company’s philosophy,

Ormonde Jayne's philosophy is one of quality and true luxury, the pursuit of beauty and elegance. Our perfume library reposes on an exquisitely simple principle – extraordinarily beautiful scents using specialty oils not widely used in the perfume industry today.”

With the plethora of clones on the market, that philosophy is akin to a breath of fresh air. So is today’s scent, Champaca.

I chose this one to review simply because I, along with Robin of Now Smell This, believe it to be a wonderful spring scent. I offer first Ormonde Jayne’s description:

Related to the magnolia and deemed sacred in the Indus Valley, champaca flower absolute is a heavenly creamy floral scent – both elegant and intimate. Blended with neroli and bamboo and underscored with fragrant rice and green tea notes, this is a distinguished perfume of rare beauty.

Top: Neroli, pink pepper and bamboo
Heart: Champaca, freesia absolutes and basmati notes
Base: Myrrh, green tea and musk

What makes this scent so exquisite is the marked rush of notes upon first spritz. I literally smell all of them in one fell swoop! A few stand out, including basmati, green tea and neroli. Basmati, eh? What an intriguing, refreshing combination that immediately transports me to a different time and place – an ancient civilization with an arid climate, an abundance of artisans and a generous supply of fresh water. This burst is not my favorite Champaca accord, however, since I would really rather stay put in my own time and place. It is the musky, floral dry down which lingers throughout the day that I favor. The champaca note’s prominence and endurance fashions this fragrance and makes its name absolutely appropriate. Creamy, elegant, rare, and intriguing describe it beautifully. Yes indeed, Ormonde Jayne is on my shopping list, and Champaca headlines the “to buy” list! How wonderful that the perfumer offers candles along with bath and body products galore to scent my home as well.

Ormonde Jayne Champaca is available in EDP and Parfum formulations and can be purchased directly at Both come in 50mL bottles. The Parfum retails for £112 and the EDP for £58.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

The Different Company Un Parfum d'Ailleurs & Fleurs

The Different Company prides itself on creating scents that are rare and unique. After testing Jasmine de Nuit and Bergamote I wholeheartedly agree. When I first heard about this new fragrance upon browsing beautyhabit, I was immediately drawn to its description:

"It all begins in a secret garden where Nerolia, a delicate and elegant white flower, reaches out to the sensual and sophisticated Tuberose blooming from the bottom towards the top of her spikes. This graceful dancing parade opens to the Star-Anise, the Orange Bigarade and the Prune, making us gravitate towards the most exceptional and bewildering floral scent..."

After springing for a bottle untested, quite a risky proposition in the fragrance world, I am pleased to say that I am not disappointed. As Ina from Aromascope points out, the market is inundated with fresh, fruity florals this season. Un Parfum d’Ailleurs & Fleurs (a perfume besides and flowers) provides a departure from the masses yet introduces an elegantly feminine scent.

The notes include Neroli, Petitgrain, Hazelnut and Elderflowers, Mandarin, Star Anise, Bigarade Orange, Soft Musk and Prune. Neroli strongly appears at the onset but quickly tempers to a softer, more mysterious version of itself. Vaguely reminiscent of Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier, this scent combines flowers, fruit and musk to create an entirely appealing yet soft combination. Again, Un Parfum d’Ailleurs & Fleurs is not a typical mass marketed fruity floral but rather a much more refined and elegant combination. A softer, cleaner musk and slightly more fruit differentiates it from Serge Lutens’ creation, rendering the scent cleanly balanced and entirely wearable through spring and summer.

Un Parfum d’Ailleurs & Fleurs suggests a relaxed, loose garment that beckons you closer, like a gentle tap on the shoulder, not a shout from across the room. Simple yet elegant, floral yet soft, breezy yet defined, this scent defies exact description. I highly recommend trying this one and I predict a few select aficionados will thoroughly enjoy its charms through the balmy days ahead.

TDC Un Parfum d'Ailleurs & Fleurs is available at in 50mL or 90mL bottles, $85 and $138 respectively.

Image: Actaea in sundress from Worth1000.