Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fall Top 5

In another effort to collaborate, Divina of Fragrance Bouquet and I have come up with our respective top five fragrances for Fall 2007. Personally, I have thought long and hard about this since we decided to feature our lists. It is not easy for me to narrow down any detail of perfume to just five. However, after much deliberation, I do believe I have a list of the fragrances I will wear the most this Fall. Without further ado, from last to first, here we go:

5. Unfortunately, I couldn't decide between two. Therefore at number five we have a tie between Hilary Duff With Love and Bond No. 9 West Side. Both are sexy yet fun, for my not-to-be-taken-so-seriously moods, when driving with the windows down and singing at the top of my lungs sound good. On second thought, that might remove the sexy aspect of things. Nevertheless, both are boozy, sweet and light-hearted. With Love is a flirty combination of sweetness merging with spice, featuring notes of mangosteen, spices and amber while West Side combines rose, ylang-ylang, peony, vanilla and amber.

4. Cristiano Fissore Cashmere For Women. There is something so intoxicating about this scent. It smells of spiced apricots on my skin and while I will admit it can morph into a slightly soapy-clean number, I adore it. Nothing beats its remnants on a plush, soft sweater at the end of the day. This is my work and day scent for Fall.

3. 10 Corso Como. Mysterious, resinous, yet somewhat transparent, this sandalwood oud combination that leaves many longing for more, or just something different, sings to me. It sings of dimly lit dark rooms, opulent clothing, soft voices and luminescent bare skin.

I find it extremely classy, not overwhelming at all, a "get closer to me" fragrance for evening and dressier affairs. When layered with Eskandar Sandalwood Body Milk or another sandalwood lotion, its exotic charms are exaggerated.

2. Cartier Le Baiser du Dragon Parfum. A bold, sexy and golden warm scent that must be experienced in the perfume formulation to truly appreciate its masterful and exquisite combination of notes. From amaretto to neroli, cedar to amber and many other interesting scents in between, Le Baiser boasts a powerful, luxurious fragrance reminding me of golden silk. When I want to feel all woman, this is the scent I choose.

And, my number one fragrance for Fall ... drumroll please ....

1. Chanel Coromondel. A warm, spicy fragrance that must be applied lightly - one of the few variations on patchouli I can wear. Since my first review, I have purchased a full bottle which I split with several fragrance friends. It is everything I wanted Shalimar to be and then some. A few light-handed spritzes and I am in fragance heaven for a full 12 hours. Coromondel was launched this year as part of Les Exclusifs collection, and while they are all wonderful scents, it is most certainly the most fitting for Fall due to its spicy complexity. I find it much fuller, richer and multi-faceted than mass marketed department store scents in the same category (Angel, Prada, Coco, etc.) I will be wearing Coromondel with my favorite cashmere sweaters for a long night out with my husband.

There you have it my friends. I would love to hear your lists!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chandler Burr in O Magazine

This month's O magazine features a fantastic article by Chandler Burr, fragrance critic for The New York Times. ("If Perfume Be the Food of Love..." O October 2007: 187-190.) Thanks to a friend near and dear to my heart who knows of my obsession with perfume, I received a copy of this incredible piece of writing and creativity. Mr. Burr discusses the genre of gourmand fragrances which have become so popular as of late. However, he takes it a step further than simply exploring some fabulous gourmand scents. He enlists the help of the Carlyle hotel's executive chef to create a menu to accompany each featured scent for seventeen guests.

He highlights several fragrances that I have tried and quite a few that I haven't. The way in which he describes them and their accompanying segments of a six-course meal literally brings each fragrance to life. I cannot think of a better pairing - perfume and food. In fact, using terms like "delectable" or "scrumptious" when I describe scents is a habit for me. Although I search for other adjectives, those to describe food seem so fitting for gourmand notes.

A few fragrances Mr. Burr's descriptions have me salivating over (he!):

  • Eau de Gingembre by Roger & Gallet. "I've seen people gasp on smelling this perfume-a balance of sharp and smooth, tart and crisply sweet." Bring it on.

  • Hermès Ambre Narguilé. "...Smells like caramel and subtle, nutty banana." Really? If I had known that I would have tried it a long time ago. The fancy name threw me.

  • The Different Company Sel de Vétiver. "It is an unearthly perfume, deep and cool and liquidly dark as the water in a stone well at midnight." Wow!

  • Estée Lauder Pleasures Delight. "The scent of a fruit salad ... with a sea-air freshness that lightens the fruit and makes it deliciously refreshing." Interesting and worth investigating.

I would have thoroughly enjoyed the pineapple tarte tatin paired with L'Artisan Perfumeur Ananas Fizz or Tom Ford Black Orchid with a vanilla-rum milkshake. Better yet, Missoni with a sweet, warm, dark brownie. Fabulous dah-ling! Oh, to be included in that gathering. A girl can dream, can't she?

Image of May issue of O magazine courtesy of

Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Fall!

It is official! The season that I love most is here. Time to roll out the cozier, more intense fragrances, wear warmer clothes and prepare for the holidays. Enjoy the cooler temperatures and indulge in your favorite hot drink today.

Image courtesy of

Random Collection Selection: Alfred Dunhill Desire For Women

Every once in a while I grab a bottle from my plentiful collection that has collected some dust. Today was the day that I casually grabbed Dunhill Desire. After a few spritzes and my own delighted reaction I am reminded why I initially purchased this full bottle. It is most certainly a market sleeper. But in my book, this fragrance deserves far more attention than it gets.

The following comes from, "Introduced in 2001 by Alfred Dunhill, Desire For Women is meant for refined yet unconventional women who will be seduced by its warm and lingering amber end note." Seduced indeed. With fleeting topnotes of orange flower and bergamot, the warmer, enticing notes of sandalwood, vanilla, amber and caramel headline this fragrance. How appropriate that I subconsciously chose such a sweet, indulgent fragrance now that Fall is officially here.
While this fragrance is undeniably sweet, it is light enough to appeal to most. Unlike the candied sweetness of Aquolina Pink Sugar, Desire offers scintillant sweetness wrapped in warmth. It elicits carnal reactions in the opposite sex, making its name quite appropriate. Finally, it manages to last the entire day on my skin, giving it extra va-va voom and earning its title as full-bottle worthy for my collection. I highly recommend giving this fragrance a whirl for the fall and winter days ahead. And at its price point, that should not be too difficult. Although it will not earn a title for most masterfully created, unique fragrance, the bottle design and the warm, creaminess of the juice may "seduce" many. With the fashion trend of creating fragrances and songs together (Prince's 3121), I love that one of my favorite songs by U2 matches this scent as well.
Alfred Dunhill Desire For Women has been discontinued in major department stores but can be found on, and for less than $50. Also check your local Marshall's or TJ Maxx for deeper discounts.

Video courtesy of

Friday, September 21, 2007

CB I Hate Perfume: Memory of Kindness

I abolutely adore the creative philosophy of this perfumer. Christopher Brosius eloquently states "scent is life." He attempts with each of his fragrances to capture a moment in time, as a photographer does with his camera. This artistic, earthy perfumer explains our sense of smell as one of the most complicated and misunderstood senses, as powerful as it is complex - perhaps one of the reasons I derive great pleasure from its development. I always have been up for a challenge!

But I digress. Let's get back to Mr. Brosius and this fantastic line. CB I Hate Perfume fragrances are water and oil based scents, lacking the typical alcohol and synthetic-based formulas of the plethora of commercially available perfumes.

Memory of Kindness is his ode to his warm, gentle aunt and her vegetable garden. If you are not touched by the scent (which would surprise me), you will most certainly be touched by his story of the fragrance, which you may read here. True to CB's philosophy of recreating life experiences through fragrance, Memory of Kindness captures the story quite beautifully and perfectly.

At first the scent bursts forth all greenery and earth, wet soil and rawness. It softens considerably after a few minutes, and what remains most certainly transports me to a lovely vegetable garden on a crisp, sunny day. Fresh air, fresh herbs, fresh vegetables. Who knew their combination could be so wearable and so uplifting? With an equally palatable base smelling faintly of celery to be specific and more fresh greens with fresh air to be general, I find this scent surprisingly good, one that would serve as great aromatherapy on a stressful day. It also breaks the barriers of what we typically consider perfume, and just smells darn good. There is nothing that I can compare this scent to, other than to again reference the moving, reflective story behind it. Masterfully done, Mr. Brosius.

CB I Hate Perfume Memory of Kindness can be found at A list of independent retailers can also be found at CBIHatePerfume. The water formulation is available in a 100mL bottle for $60 and the absolute is sold in a 15mL vial for $60.

Images courtesy of luckyscent and

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

b-Glowing sale

A quick, friendly public service announcement:'s annual clearance sale is on with 25%-75% savings on Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Demeter, L'Aromarine and more cosmetics and skincare brands. Check it out here.

Image courtesy of

Monday, September 17, 2007

Forget Me Not: Guerlain L'Heure Bleue

To begin our new feature, Forget Me Not, I was compelled to choose a fragrance from a house with captivating history, one that has influenced the perfume industry for years and conjures thousands of images worldwide when its name is uttered. That house is none other than Guerlain.

According to Wikipedia, the beginning of Guerlain dates to 1828 "when Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened his perfume store on 42, rue de Rivoli in Paris. As both the founder and first perfumer of the house, Pierre-François composed and manufactured custom fragrances with the help of his two sons, Aimé and Gabriel. Through continued success and the patronage of members in high society, Guerlain opened its flagship store at 15, rue de la Paix in 1840, and put its mark on the Parisian fashion scene." Since handed down four generations, Guerlain continues to influence the perfume industry across the globe. It remains one of only two long-standing houses, the other Caron, solely devoted to the production of perfume. Today, Guerlain boasts a luxurious cosmetic and skincare line as well.

The ethereal, cool and powdery L'Heure Bleue has been in production since 1912, around the time that my great-grandmother was a young woman. It was the year the great Titanic sank, the United States invaded Honduras, and New Mexico and Arizona were admitted as US states.

Current fashions highlighted the feminine hourglass by way of a corseted waist. Also popular were very large hats which were often adorned with feathers. Paris, the city of Guerlain, was the fashion mecca of the world.

Created by Jacques Guerlain to mimic candies and cakes found in old apothecary shops, L'Heure Bleue has lingered as a distinguished classic for nearly a century. It means literally "The Blue Hour", suggesting elusive, uncertain twilight. Touted as a "melancholy" scent, I find nothing sad about it other than the events of 1912. Rather its soft, powdery, masterfully blended combination speaks of vintage beauty, a delicate powdering of the nose followed by a precise application of lipstick on a stunning woman. Its subtle, semi-oriental scent even reminds me of the smell of my grandmother's makeup.

While its notes include neroli and aniseed at the top, carnation and iris in the beautiful heart and vanilla at the base, they merge together so gorgeously that they extinguish emphasis of one over another. Rather, like an Impressionistic painting that lacks outlines, their glorious harmony must be experienced up close to be appreciated. Cool as a silk scarf, soft as a light dusting of powder and a delicate breeze, yet sweet as a violet flavored confection, L'Heure Bleue is most certainly a feminine, timeless stunner. For women favoring subtle, slightly sweet and even less spicy fragrances, this classic scent long touted by many fragrance aficionados must be tried.

I have reviewed the Eau de Toilette formulation, which of the three available is the most subtle and powdery. I look forward to experiencing the sweeter and more intense Parfum.

Be sure to visit Fragrance Bouquet for her Forget Me Not selection.

Guerlain L'Heure Bleue can be found at Neiman Marcus and other department stores. It is also widely available on fragrance websites. A 1 oz. bottle of Parfum retails for $300 and the other concentrations, including Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and lotion are significantly less.

Images courtesy of, vintageblues. and

Friday, September 14, 2007

Memoire Liquide Voleur

Due to my surprise at the inability to find information about this house, I will reference the website from which I purchased my sample, Perfumed Court. According to these fine ladies, "Memoire Liquide is a new line of bespoke perfumes that launched earlier this year at Henri Bendel in New York and last year at Fred Segal. The line was developed by Robin Coe-Hutshing and her sister Jennifer Coe." Always one to seek out what is new and trendy in the perfume marketplace, I thought the line sounded interesting enough to give a few of their scents a spin. I am glad I tried this one.

Voleur is described by the above referenced website as "the scent of amber, luxuriously smoothed and mellowed with white musk and honey." Sometimes amber mixes well with my skin, especially if it is sweetened or softened with notes like musk or fruit. One of my favorite examples of a beautiful amber scent is Hilary Duff's With Love. I usually am not a fan of celebrity fragrances but this one defied all of my preconceived notions. I love the longevity, the sweetness meets spice and the cashmere wrap warmth of it. I was hoping to find something similar in this obscure yet intriguing offering from Memoire Liquide.

Upon first spritz, I am delighted at the fruity-sweet and obvious honey note. It dominates for a full five minutes, giving way to a milkier not quite creamy accord. In this case, musk is very white and light, serving only to augment the combination. The disappointment lies in the less than full-bodied development of amber. Unfortunately the scent progresses into that milky combination, only vaguely suggesting musk and amber before it disappears from my skin completely. What a shame, since it is an eau de parfum formulation. This is one scent that I imagine may best be worn by women who have lots of natural oil in their skin. For my ivory and dry skin, it is not ideal. Although I do appreciate the attempt to develop a scent based upon amber. In addition, my interest is piqued to try more from this new line.

Memoire Liquide has quite an offering, including the ability at their display to test many different oils in combination with one another. I was not able to find a full bottle of Voleur online. Its obscurity makes Memoire Liquide all the more intriguing to me.

Update: after trying this again today, Saturday, I did experience more development. First honey, followed by sweet smelling amber and finally a soft, white musk with little remnant of the previous notes. I know this description lacks artistry, but my experience of this scent today pleasantly surprised me.

Memoire Liquide Voleur may be purchased at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, CA or Henri Bendel in New York City. The Memoire Liquide website is under construction.

Amber image courtesy of

Sunday, September 09, 2007

IL Profumo Chocolat Amere

I am such a lover of all things chocolate I could easily name this blog "For the Love of Chocolate." Thus, the reason I jumped at the opportunity to get a sample of the fragrance meaning literally "bitter chocolate" in French. My first interaction with Chocolat Amere by Il Profumo was before I knew it was designed for men, and I found it an interesting, warm scent perfect for fall. I pictured myself adorned in a chestnut cashmere wrap sweater, slim, tailored pants and stiletto boots, carrying a pumpkin flavored latte with loads of shopping bags and contemplating my holiday plans. When Mr. TMH caught whiff, he conjured images of bulky sweaters, hair that smells of burning leaves and fresh air, jeans, hot cocoa, college football and bonfires. Despite the opposing details, the male and female imaginations arrive at the same destination. Little doubt lingers regarding the season appropriate for this scent.

Considering the composition of this fragrance, "bitter" encompasses its charms exactly. This is chocolate that is not quite sure it wants to be chocolate. Moody and elusive, it gets up and walks away just when you are within its grasp. The notes that predominate are the luscious woods and spices and the come-hither galbanum. At first whiff I detect a fruity aspect, although I'm not quite sure where that comes from since a fruit note is not listed. The dark chocolate soon introduces itself as well as a mysterious floral note. Upon drying, the galbanum gloriously shines through and takes me back to my Must de Cartier wearing days.

The deep, dark chocolate intermittently pops out - although not for long - through the remainder of wear accompanying piquant nutmeg, earthy sandalwood and meditative incense. A winner in my book, although it certainly falls in the unique and interesting domain. Little sillage makes it one to wear when cuddling up by the fire with a book, while its sensual charisma makes it one to wear when cuddling up by the fire with your significant other.

Il Profumo Chocolat Amere is available at Luckyscent, 100mL retails for $90. I have not found other retailers for it yet.

Images courtesy of and

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Rediscovering Tom Ford Black Orchid

As I returned to the inferno today and was pleased to discover that our temperatures decreased in the last 24 hours from 110 degrees fahrenheit to a mere 105, my thoughts turned to fall and warmer, lusher fragrances. (Yeah, right!) All kidding aside, I decided to re-test Tom Ford Black Orchid, the fragrance that originally turned up my nose and raised hair on the back of my neck. Thanks to Paul at Saks Fifth Avenue, I have an abundance of samples of this fragrance, so why not use them?

Breaking down the nuances of this fragrance is proving difficult for my travel- and work-weary mind and body. I'll leave that to the expert Robin at Now Smell This who does a beautiful job here. What I am picking out this evening is coconut, among the flowers and resins. I'm not kidding. Perhaps my senses have been altered by the sweltering chile relleno dish I had in Santa Fe, New Mexico last night. Or I am becoming more well-rounded in my fragrance appreciation, veering away from easy-to-love white florals and citrus scents. Whatever the case, I find Black Orchid rich, lush, a tad sweet and very wearable today. Interesting. Perhaps I will add it to my fall rotation.

This brings up a perhaps controversial but very valid discussion. Black Orchid is the second scent in the last six months I thought I would never wear yet upon retesting found delicious. (The first was Cartier Le Baiser du Dragon.) Considering changes in seasons and weather, environments and perspectives, I challenge you to retest a fragrance this week that you had previously deemed unwearable. You may be just as surprised as I was this evening or it may add a little excitement to a previously humdrum day. Let me know the results of your experiment!

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Travel Scents

I am headed to a beautiful city nestled among mountains with an ideal climate this time of year. It is heavily influenced by the Spanish, known for its art, restaurants and quaint atmosphere. Referring to the photo on the left, can you guess where I am going?
More importantly, can you name a fragrance I should wear? Rushing out of the house at 7a.m. this morning prevented me from giving it too much thought, however, I am wearing a beautiful body butter by Bliss called Vanilla+Bergamot.

I have wondered many times the ideal fragrance to layer with this luxurious cream. It reminds me of fall and winter, for certain, and it smells wonderfully warm and cozy. Any ideas?

Have a wonderful day!

Image courtesy of

Monday, September 03, 2007

Perfume for the Occasion: Going to the gym

This is a difficult topic for me considering I concur with this blogger. I will never forget the day I layered Bath and Body Works Moonlight Path lotion all over myself and then went to the gym to work out for 2 hours. Not a good idea. Plus, I will forever feel apologetic to the poor souls who struggled to breathe around me. Oxygen comes at a premium when you are surrounded by artificial fumes.

Therefore, the only scent I think appropriate for the gym is a good soap and an effective, make that very effective deodorant. With that in mind, I would like to list fragrances and notes that in my humble opinion (he!) should never, ever, under any circumstance be worn at the gym:

  • Annick Goutal Songes and other heady florals

  • As I learned, any lotion from Bath and Body Works

  • Chanel Allure

  • Christian Dior Poison

  • Chypres

  • Dark Woods

  • Guerlain Shalimar

  • Patchouli

  • Perfumed concentration of any fragrance

  • Musk

  • Thierry Mugler Angel

The somewhat tolerable scents include:

  • Citrus notes

  • "Clean" fragrances, such as Clean Provence

  • "Fresh" fragrances like Gendarme Sky

  • Fragrances most consider appropriate for summer

If you head to the gym at the end of the day and remnants of the fragrance you applied in the morning linger, this qualifies as another instance in which fragrance is forgiven, barring you douse yourself with a heady floral or over-the-top spicy number with Herculean staying power. As my friend Divina wrote here, body sprays and aromatherapy based scents are the other alternative since their concentration is light and they evaporate so quickly.

Remember, if you can smell yourself without holding your wrist to your nose, others can smell you too - something to consider when circulation is poor or people are breathing heavily. My verdict? Save your fragrances for post-shower in the locker room and other occasions.


To my readers:

I am very pleased to announce Divina (of Fragrance Bouquet) and I have decided to feature joint entries. The first and third Monday of every month will be devoted to a topic. The first is Perfume for the Occasion, where we will discuss a specific occasion and the perfect scent to accompany you for it. On the third Monday, we will feature Forget Me Not, inspired by our readers to highlight a long forgotten or classic fragrance that you may already own!

This month, Perfume for the Occasion's subject will be "Going to the Gym." Look for that post later on today. Forget Me Not will post on September 17th, fragrance to be announced. And finally, we will post our Fall Top 5 on September 30th.

I look forward to bringing you more features in the future and I am very excited about these two joint features to start! We hope you are excited also. Of course, if there are specific fragrances you would like us to discuss for Forget Me Not, please do not hesitate to suggest, as always.