Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chanel Les Exclusifs Bel Respiro

Some rigorous honesty, here. The most difficult aspect of the world of perfume blogging, akin to the world of perfume, is to read outstanding reviews of fragrance and write my own without repeating what has already been said. My rigid, private school upbringing prevents me from writing anything that looks like plagiarism. Perhaps I should limit myself in the number of reviews I read. However, I enjoy them so much that it is difficult to refrain. Therefore, I will defer to other authors I think have done an outstanding job. In this case, Robin of Now Smell This has eloquently described the new Bel Respiro from Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection. Read here

I wholeheartedly agree with her. At first sniff, this scent is herbaceous, diffuse, like dew-covered fresh leaves. Thank goodness for the "vague" resemblance to Chanel No. 19 for I find that one unwearable, at least in the EDT formulation. The Bel Respiro top notes to me seem masculine and I'm sure they smell fabulous when mixed with male chemistry. As the green topnotes lead to the restrained floral heart I find myself wanting to spritz with abandon. Such a shame that I have a tiny sample vial. Unlike the hearty spices of Coromandel, Bel Respiro leaves the wearer longing for more from the heart to the drydown. That to me is the sign of a fabulous blend.

Saving the best for last, Bel Respiro's base conjures "your skin but better" images. How about "your skin but better on a hot summer day"? In truth this fragrance, due to its understatedness, could be reserved for warmer climes, more casual affairs, or occasions when the wearer wants to appear classy yet casual and relaxed. I can't help but think of a man in classic jeans, dressier loafers and an untucked open collared shirt: chic yet mellow and incredibly appealing. I find Bel Respiro full bottle worthy due to its versatility and ease of wear. And on those days when I can't have my nose glued to my wrist, I will have Mr. TMH douse himself with it.

Les Exclusifs de Chanel are available at Chanel Boutiques. Bel Respiro retails for $175 for 200mL.
Image source:

Edit: I just re-read Colombina's review from yesterday on Perfume Smellin' Things and we are amazingly in sync! I forgot she had written about Bel Respiro yesterday. She describes this one as a "green skin scent" and uses the word "casual" as well. C, I guess we think alike. The irony underscores my first paragraph!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chanel Les Exclusifs Coromandel

Thanks to e-bay and some wonderful, generous sellers on it, those who have no access to a Chanel Boutique can now try Les Exclusifs! These fragrances include six new scents designed by Jacques Polges, the new Chanel "nose", along with four re-released scents. Les Exclusifs have certainly caused an incredible amount of "buzz", and to release them all at once seems ingenius to me. As Colombina of Perfume Smellin' Things and I discussed yesterday, this will certainly give houses like Dior and Guerlain a run for their money! Nothing like a little healthy competition to get creative juices flowing is my attitude. Those passionate about fragrance demand stellar launches of masterpiece fragrances driven by noses rather than marketing. And so, I present to you the first new masterpiece from Chanel, Coromandel.

Gabrielle Chanel owned a coromandel screen which she loved, a Chinese lacquered screen displaying intricate artwork. Coromandel acknowledges Gabrielle's love of Chinese antiques and it does so beautifully. I usually do not care for spicy, oriental scents. However, Coromandel is so appealing, sultry and interesting it may sway my tastes. At first sniff, I smell amber, a very sweet, palatable amber, underscored by patchouli. Considering my aversion to patchouli, thank goodness it never becomes the headline in Coromandel. This fragrance is, quite simply, gorgeous. As some of my friends on makeupalley have said, "It is everything I wanted Prada to be." Although I didn't particularly want Prada to be anything other than horrid on me as I had no desire to wear yet another designer scent, Coromandel suits my skin and I would imagine many others will adore it. I would happily purchase a decant and save it for decadent, opulent occasions.

For those like me who are unable to try these scents in person, several top ranked e-bay sellers are offering samples and decants. E-mail me for a few recommendations. Those fortunate enough to live close to a Chanel boutique, you must sniff this one!

Image sources:,

Monday, February 26, 2007

Saks Fifth Avenue Beauty Event

Beginning Thursday March 1 through Saturday March 10, Saks is holding their annual beauty event. With a purchase of $100 or more, you will receive a gift bag containing the following samples:

  • Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien

  • Bill Blass

  • Donna Karan Gold

  • Lanvin Rumeur

Additionally Dior, La Prairie, Kiehl's and Laura Mercier provide cosmetic gifts for the bag. Some ideas for a purchase? The new Hermes Eau de Merveilles limited edition Pegasus Bottle, Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cacao (if you haven't tried this yet, you must!), Stephanie Johnson jeweled mirror compact or Hanae Mori Magical Moon. Clarins, Annick Goutal, Narciso Rodriguez, Chanel, Guerlain and others are offering their own gifts with purchase on top of Saks' beauty bag. If you have been lemming a fragrance available at Saks, now is the time to purchase.

What are your planned purchases?

Not affiliated, just a PSA

Image source:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lampe Berger

I met some wonderful new friends at the LA Sniffapalooza! We discovered that we share many things in common, including a love of scent. Yesterday we decided to visit a local shop that carries niche fragrances called Essentials & More. Larry, the shop owner was extremely helpful as was his assistant, Desiree. We had the fine pleasure of sniffing most scents from L'Artisan and The Different Co. The product that fully captured my attention however was the Lampe Berger, a beautiful and functional item to diffuse fragrance throughout the home.

Apparently these items have been around since the early 1900's! Jean Cocteau and Gabrielle Chanel collected them and today they are symbols of taste and stature. What interested me most was its functionality. Not only does the Lampe Burger diffuse scent softly but effectively, it neutralizes the air in your home! What a beautiful and artistic way to do so without dealing with candle wax, fire hazards and black smoke.

There are many scents available with which to fill the Lampe Berger including Heavenly Spruce for Christmas time, invigorating Tangerine Zests, and musky Winterwood. You can even blend multiple scents together. After trying the Lampe Berger yesterday, I am very impressed with its ability to scent entire rooms but in a very soft fashion. I foresee using this collectible for many years to come!

Read more about Lampe Bergers here:

See a list of scents and descriptions here:

Molinard Un Air de Molinard

The house of Molinard has been producing perfumes in Grasse, France since 1849. For those new to the love of perfume, Grasse is, quite simply, where the art of perfume was born. Located on the French Riviera between the mountains and the sea, Grasse is described by Phyllis Macchioni from the Plain Dealer as the following:

"... The pink, mimosa-yellow and jasmine-white fields begin to appear, colored by the thousands of flowers that grow near this medieval French city that clings like a lover's fragrance to the steep hills high above the French Riviera. You have arrived in Grasse, the city of flowers and perfume.

The narrow cobblestone streets wind past well-kept 17th and 18th century buildings, sometimes going through handcrafted stone tunnels that open onto large treed squares. The slight patina that covers the buildings is from the centuries of fragrance laden clouds that have floated in from the flower fields nearby."

Sounds like heaven to me. Considering that Molinard found its roots in the perfume haven of Grasse, I would expect anything produced by this house to be incredible. The first fragrance launched by Molinard in 1924, Habanita, was a rapid success and became loved and coveted by noses worldwide. Those that followed included Le Baiser de Faune, Les Iscles d'Or, 1811 and Molinard de Molinard. As recently as 1994, single notes fragrances were released including Jasmine, Mimosa and Sandalwood.

Progressing to present day, I present the Molinard 1849 collection. This exclusive coffret offers seven Eau de Parfums with formulas similar to those of the original fragrances distributed in the 1920's, 1930's and 1950's. I have had the pleasure of trying out Air de Molinard, thanks to a very kind and generous woman, and I find it exquisite.

The bottle itself speaks of sensuality and femininity and the juice within continues the theme. The top notes are bright, cheerful, refreshing, green, an orchard of citrus trees warmed by the sun. Slowly the orchard leads to an abundant garden of lush roses, fragrant jasmine, colorful iris and delicate osmanthus. The scent lingers with just enough sillage to be recognized by others, and yet remains somewhat distant, understated and elegant, certainly not ettoufant and in fact, quite the opposite of suffocating. The base notes of vanilla, vetiver, musk and amber allow the scent to endure without overwhelming it. Air de Molinard is a classic beauty, a less obvious yet incredibly deep, sensual and intelligent scent.

With the Oscars pending this evening, my selection to represent this beautiful fragrance had to live up to its composition. In thinking about the actresses of today, what they represent and their personalities, one comes to mind who stands on her own. Her beauty is classic, timeless and her attitude confident. She refuses to fall prey to the modern ideas of beauty and body image, and instead focuses on developing her craft and being herself. And yet, she is not on every cover of tabloid magazines and remains somewhat inconspicuous. She is gorgeous, talented, intelligent and wise. She is

Kate Winslet!

Let's hope that she wins for her recent performance in "Little Children". At the very least, she should definitely represent this gorgeous fragrance.

Un Air de Molinard is available at, $185 for 3.3 oz. or $65 for the solid perfume
Image sources:,

Friday, February 23, 2007

Antica Farmacista Vanilla, Mandarin & Bourbon

Two words: orange creamsicle. Straight up. In this case, the title is nearly longer than my review.

Image source:
Antica Farmacista Vanilla, Mandarin & Bourbon is available on, $58 for 50mL.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Annick Goutal Songes

Continuing my reviews of vanilla fragrances or those with a vanilla note, today's pick is Annick Goutal Songes. Created by Camille Goutal and perfumer Isabelle Doyen, Songes launched in 2006. It was inspired by a garden walk at nightfall, where Camille noticed the amazing exotic floral scents on the island of Mauritius. The symbolic bottle with the moon stopper definitely speaks of garden walks and voluptuous nights. Camille successfully immortalised the moment with the following notes: frangipani, tiare, jasmine notes, incense, vanilla, copahu balm, pepper, ylang-ylang absolute, vetiver, sandalwood, amber and styrax.

Most of the Goutal scents I find to be glorious in the EDP formulation. Therefore, please take that into consideration as I am describing Songes EDP. Upon initial spritz and the following ten minutes or so, I become surrounded by a cloud of white flowers - large, fully bloomed, heady white flowers. The topnotes are indeed exotic, tropical and floral. As the incense, vanilla, sandalwood and amber slowly make their appearance, the scent warms up significantly and adheres to my skin rather than surrounding me like a cloud. The combination certainly arouses the image of a garden walk at nightfall with white flowers close by, the cool, damp earth below, perhaps a cashmere pashmina on my shoulders and sandals on my feet. Songes is an extremely romantic scent, not for the faint of heart as it is a bit strong, but very pretty and feminine. I reserve it for dressier occasions where I would like to make a statement.

For lovers of frangipani and/or tiare scents, Songes should definitely be given a try. It has made my list of favorites from 2006.

Songes is available at aedes and select Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores. The 3.4 oz. moon bottle retails for $165, and the 1.7 oz. EDP retails for $95. I also enjoy the body cream and 5 oz. is available for $65.

Image sources:,

Velvet Rope Winner

Congratulations Gail, you are the winner of the Velvet Rope sample! Please e-mail me with your address and have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I received my beautiful order from Beautyhabit today and all I can say is, "Holy samples!" What a gorgeous package they sent me including little bags tied with raffia and chock full of samples. I am swooning over all of the scents I can try and review. My thanks go out to the Beautyhabit team. I highly recommend their website! This month if you type Minigift at checkout, you will receive a free Tocca mini candle. I just placed my order on Saturday and it arrived here in 3 business days. That's what I call service!

I will be back tomorrow to review Annick Goutal Songes. Have a great evening everyone!

Image source:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Il Profumo Vanille Bourbon

I think I'll dedicate this week to vanilla scents. After all the talk about it yesterday, vanilla certainly warrants some stage time. As I mentioned previously, vanilla as a base note or linear vanilla fragrances have always struck my fancy. I do not often seek out vanilla, however. Rather, it just casually weaves its way into my fragrance collection, often unbeknownst to me. There is something incredibly comforting about the images of Grandma baking cookies, tasting your very first vanilla latte, or devouring a delicious slice of warm apple pie a la mode. Oh, and how can I forget Bryer's vanilla ice cream with evidence of vanilla bean in each scoop? Vanilla is indeed quite a wonderful smell in and of itself and is the most expensive spice after Saffron. Because the orchids flower only once per year, harvesting them is quite labor-intensive. Thus, the reason you find much less expensive yet inauthentic vanilla imitations.

I discovered Il Profumo Vanille Bourbon at Scent Bar in Los Angeles. (I adore that place and its owners, Adam and Franco.) While on a mission to find something new, I casually sprayed Vanille Bourbon on my wrist. What a swoon worthy scent! Vanille Bourbon draws its vanilla loveliness from two types of orchids, bourbon and yellow. According to, most bourbon type vanilla is produced in Madagascar and is considered the world standard in quality. No wonder this scent is so magnificent. I would venture to say it is a very well balanced vanilla scent, not too sweet, not too rich and not too dry. It truly is an exquisite perfume and certainly not akin to dowsing yourself with vanilla buttercream frosting. What serves to balance it are the notes of cedar flowers, heliotrope, tiare and rose wood.

Another great aspect of straight up vanilla scents like Vanille Bourbon is how beautifully they layer with other fragrances. If you are into layering at all, try this scent with Serge Lutens Un Lys. The combination is fantastic and beautiful and I thank MilleFiore for the suggestion. I would be remiss if I did not mention Il Profumo hails from, you guessed it, Italy. I have yet to sniff an imperfect scent from that country.

Image sources: luckyscent and
Il Profumo Vanille Bourbon EDP can be purchased at luckyscent, 80mL retails for $80

Monday, February 19, 2007

Apothia Velvet Rope

Gary McNatton of Through Smoke Creative eloquently summarized the inspiration for this fragrance at the Los Angeles Sniffapalooza. Most of you will know Mr. McNatton as the nose of Grass and Heaven fragrances, popularized by the Gap in the 199o's. Remember the linear perfection of Grass? The freshness of Heaven? Or perhaps, you utilize Method home products. Yup, Mr. McNatton is again your guy. But I digress. Back to the original subject - his inspiration for Velvet Rope. While on a business trip to Europe, he sipped a vanilla martini enjoying the dry vanilla-ness of it and staring at the icy rim, he wondered, "What if I could make a dry vanilla fragrance?" He asked the question of Ron Robinson at Apothia and the two moved on to develop what has become Velvet Rope.

The smell of Velvet Rope surrounded me as I entered Fred Segal the morning of February 1oth. Oblivious to the fact that it was being blown through a machine to set the mood for the event, I just wondered how the folks at Fred Segal all managed to smell so good! When I discovered the amazing fragrance was Velvet Rope, I absolutely had to get my hands on some.

As I test it, I find it a rather unique and interesting vanilla fragrance. The grapefruit topnote strikes my nose immediately after spraying and because I love citrus in fragrance, I find it very appealing. After an hour or two, what remains is indeed a dry vanilla fragrance, completely different from any other vanilla I've tried. Now I should mention that I love vanilla notes. I can wear anything from straight up French Vanilla to iPdF Vaniglia de Madagascar and even the CSP super sweet vanillas. So while I do find this intriguing, dry and unique, Velvet Rope unfortunately has very little endurance in the EDP formulation. Fortunately, a body lotion and body oil are available and I'll reserve comment until I can try those. What I do experience for an hour, however, is quite lovely and appealing.

Please submit your name for a drawing of a sample of this interesting fragrance. I will select the winner randomly from entries submitted by Wednesday, February 21st.

Image source:
Velvet Rope EDP retails for $75 for 50mL, $30 for 15mL, $58 for .33 oz oil, $33 for 8 oz. of body lotion. A candle is also available for $35.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Different Company Un Parfum Releases

One of The Different Company's perfume creators, Jean-Claude Ellena, believes in composing a scent based upon an "exceptional base component" and from there incorporating rare, high quality elements. Similar to L'Artisan Perfumeur's concepts but different in its dedication to modern perfumery, The Different Company has recently launched three new fragrances. As a lover of Jasmin de Nuit, I am positively salivating over these new scents.

Un Parfum d'Ailleurs & Fleurs

"A secret garden where Nerolia, a delicate and elegant white flower, reaches out to sensual and sophisticated Tubereuse blooming from the bottom towards the top of her spikes ..."

Un Parfum de Charmes et Feuilles

"When a dreamy young Marjoram and a sensual Jasmine Sambac fall in love with a few fresh Peppermint leaves the concoction turns into a wonderful dream ..."

Un Parfum de Sense et Bois

"A mysterious encounter between the White Violet and the powerful Cedarwood, strengthened by a sprinkle of black pepper, marks the beginning of a sensual and captivating adventure ..."

Yowza! What a classic example of creative writing prompting desire. I cannot wait to try these. In fact, I ordered one unsniffed. The first person able to guess which one, I'll send you a sample when I receive the lovely bottle. And any of you who have tried them, please comment!

Text and descriptions from
Image source: luckyscent


TodayI bring up the topic of joy. Not Joy the perfume, but rather joy the emotion, the state of happiness, giddiness, keen pleasure. In thinking about the state of affairs in our country, our world and the emotions that bind humans together, I believe that although sadness inspires kindness, joy is what cements relationships indelibly. Think about your youth. What are those moments that brought you profound joy? What were you doing? Who were you surrounded by? More than likely, the people who surrounded you hold a dear and special place in your heart.

Today I am on a mission - a mission to experience more joy in my life. Like most things, it simply involves a decision and a commitment to practice certain behaviors. Have you ever heard people say happiness is an inside job? If you're anything like me, you find that quote irritating. How in the heck do I change what's on the inside when I'm surrounded by fear, worry, frustration and violence? The answer is simply to choose your thoughts. Much easier said than done. But focusing on what makes me happy and brings me joy, rather than what doesn't, is the first step. Second step is to do something every day that brings me joy. Third is to spread that joy simply by smiling at people throughout the day and looking for opportunities to make others happy.

Let's focus on the second point, what brings me joy? Blatantly obviously, perfume does. Nice smells do. Also, playing with and holding my cat, exchanging witty comments with my husband, browsing a book store, sipping a mocha latte, hiking in the sunshine, discovering a new topic to write about, packaging fragrance samples for friends, watching a thought provoking movie, having lunch with a friend, getting a massage, immersing myself in a great book, traveling to a new place and exploring, yoga, songs by U2, organizing and decorating my home, watching children play or playing with them!, finding something so funny that I laugh until I can't breathe, acting silly, creating something beautiful .... you get the idea.

My blog wouldn't be complete without listing the scents that bring me joy:
  • Annick Goutal Quel Amour

  • Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien

  • Creative Scentualization Perfect Nectar

  • Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey

  • L'Artisan Ananas Fizz

  • Thanks to Chaya, Air de Molinard

So dear readers, what brings you joy? What scents bring you joy?

Image source:

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Guerlain Chant d'Aromes

I received the dubious honor of a makeup application by a world reknown, New York City based Guerlain makeup artist last October. As he artistically and passionately applied products to my face, we discussed the mysterious world of perfume and makeup. As our fragrance discussion progressed he said these words to me, "You are Chant d'Aromes!" He then hurriedly looked for a sample so that I could experience the lovely scent. I waited patiently hoping to understand exactly what he meant by characterizing me with something I had never sniffed. He never found a sample but I walked away with one of the best makeup looks ever and an interest in Chant d'Aromes.

My curiosity piqued, I posted on a fragrance board asking for a description of this "language of flowers" scent. Most women agreed that I had received a compliment, and they described Chant d'Aromes as cheerful, sublime, lovely and refreshing. You can imagine my delight when I received a generous sample of this from the lovely Songscent of And then this week, Chaya sent me a generous spray decant out of the blue! Indeed, the universe is conspiring for me to wear this scent.

Chant d'Aromes was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1962, supposedly for the woman who wears fragrance for her own pleasure. Described as a "love token" on many websites, Chant d'Aromes sounds truly wonderful. The first pictured bottle is the reissue of 2005 for the Guerlain flagship store on the Champs-Elysees. To the right, the coveted perfume.

The fragrance starts off refreshing and cheerful. Hesperides, the citrus-y fragrance family, begin the symphony of notes along with honeysuckle. Refreshing, joyful and lighthearted accurately describe the introduction of Chant d'Aromes. Like walking through a garden on a sunny day, these notes uplift the spirit. The stroll is very short-lived. The middle notes of gardenia, jasmine and ylang-ylang, although I do detect them, unfortunately remain in the distant background to my nose. Rather the heart of oakmoss, cedarwood and vanilla, mostly oakmoss, remain in the drydown on my skin. Although I've read that tonka bean, frankincense and vetiver compose the drydown as well, I wish they would make themselves known. Oakmoss certainly is not offensive and it is used in a plethora of fragrances for men and women. I cannot say it is my favorite base note; therefore, I favor the lighthearted top notes of Chant d'Aromes. This is one instance where I wish citrus and honeysuckle molecules were not so small and would linger throughout the day. I would love to try the parfum, as I find the EDT too translucent to distinguish with any detail the wonderful composition of this fragrance.

I appreciate the suggestion that Chant d'Aromes is me, or rather I am Chant d'Aromes. While I enjoy this fragrance for a little while, I continue to search for my signature scent.

My heartfelt thanks to Sali and Chaya for their generous hearts and willingness to spread the joy.

Guerlain Chant d'Aromes is widely available on the web. The .5 oz perfume retails for $199 and the 3.4 oz. EDT retails for $85 although many discounted bottles may be found.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gendarme Sky

Topper Schroeder of Gendarme was a featured speaker at Sniffapalooza last weekend and he was quite delightful to listen to. Certainly not a snooty mogul, he fell into marketing perfume a little by accident. He was a consumer like most of us, searching for a fragrance that would not irritate his skin or cause an allergic reaction. Gendarme fit the bill and he began to wear it every day, speaking about it with music industry colleagues and strangers alike. His word of mouth marketing was so successful that he landed several accounts in which to sell it.

Fast forward to today, he has successfully marketed Gendarme, Grabazzi, GendarmeV and Carriere. Lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, I received a generous spray sample of his newest creation, Sky.

I am fully aware that this scent will probably be marketed to men. However, its soft qualities render it plausible for both men and women. The notes have not been published, so my somewhat naive nose is having a hard time distinguishing them. In their absence, I will focus on what images this scent invokes for me since that is what perfumery is all about, right? Stimulating the imagination? My imagination is triggered quite well by this billowy soft scent. I feel as if I am lying in a field of soft, warm grass, on a cashmere throw with a fluffy pillow beneath my head, staring up at huge, cottony cumulous clouds that transform into comforting shapes. The sun provides just enough warmth for my body as a soft breeze keeps me cool. Next to me, lies my baby wrapped in a silky blanket and I bend to kiss her cheek and sniff her warm, soft skin.

Okay, how many times did I say or describe the word soft? Hopefully, that characterizes Sky for you. What a beautiful scent, for men or women. It will fall into my collection of comforting scents, for those days when I don't want any sharp edges or hard work and love to watch movies, drink lattes and eat cookies. Or lie in fields making shapes out of clouds.

Sky will be launched and available to the public May 7, 2007. You can purchase it at or

Image source:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Creative Scentualization Perfect Kiss

I dedicate this review to Sarah Horowitz-Thran, founder of Creative Scentualization. Despite her best efforts to launch this dreamboat fragrance for Valentine's Day, regulatory red tape just would not allow it. Therefore I chose to wear my Perfect Kiss sample today, Valentine's Day, and live to tell about it.

This being my first Valentine's Day as a married woman, it was very important for me to choose a fragrance fitting the occasion. Sarah, you have created a masterpiece with this one. I absolutely love it. The notes that were outlined for us at Sarah's workshop escape me now, although I do remember chocolate being one of them. I've never been a chocolate scent lover. I'd rather devour an entire bag of M&M's dark than sniff chocolate on my wrist all day. Nonetheless, Perfect Kiss resonates chocolate covered strawberries and everything that goes with them, kisses, roses, hugs, and love. Perfect Kiss smells sweet but not overly so, interesting enough to be complimented and feminine. It quite simply is the perfect Valentine's Day scent! I smell delicious, huggable and snuggable today ... just how I'd like to be. My only regret is that I have a tiny sample vial. I could bathe in this!

A great aspect the Creative Scentualization line offers is the ability to layer with body cream, scent oil and EDP. The body creams are very true to scent so I foresee purchasing Perfect Kiss in the cream and EDP formulation when it becomes available March 21st (thank you R!). You can purchase the product directly from the Creative Scentualization website: I imagine luckyscent and others will offer it as well. Happy Valentine's Day to my wonderful fragrance friends. You are loved today and every day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Anne Pliska

At first sniff, I was confused. Confused because I could not detect one particular note in this concoction. The sign of a well blended scent, for certain. Furthermore, when I set out to do research on Anne herself and the history of her fragrance I found many blog entries dedicated to it but no facts or figures. Again, confused.

As I let the scent, both the cream and EDP, sit on my skin for a while my confusion dissipated and was replaced with like, extreme like. First of all, its staying power is fantastic! Secondly, the scent is simultaneously dynamite, sexy, sensual, contradictory and comforting. It captures for me everything I wanted to find in Fifi Chachnil but couldn't. I am not saying the two are similar. Rather the images evoked by the scents resemble one another. Anne Pliska reminds me of a natural, confident, effortless yet complicated and mysterious woman who at first comes across as wholesome, very descriptive of my idol, Julianne Moore. And by wholesome I mean the orange peel in the top note. It's sweet bitterness soon yields to vanilla, amber, geranium, patchouli and musk. But don't let the odd combination of notes scare you. I cannot detect a one. All of them combined render nothing more than a picture of sultry, red sexiness.

Anna Pliska has evaded my interest for years and yet what a gem. I am thankful to the kind soul who gifted this to me at the Sniffapalooza. Otherwise, I would never have discovered this subtle, non-commercial beauty. It is the scent of candlelit dinners, little black dresses, rose petals, and red wine. And how perfect that I discovered it just before Valentine's Day! A little goes a long way with this fragrance, so just a dab'll do ya. The lotion bears an almost identical scent to the EDP and could be an inspiring substitute or layering essential.

Victoria has a blog dedicated to this scent. Read more here:

Image sources:,

Anne Pliska can be purchased at and, $55 for 60mL EDP.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Creative Scentualization Perfect Gardenia

This past weekend I had the pleasure of not only meeting Sarah Horowitz-Thran, perfumer and founder of Creative Scentualization, but also attending a workshop she facilitated. The featured fragrance to convey her thoughts and ideas? The creamy and interesting Perfect Gardenia.

Sarah began the study of this fragrance by describing the gardenia plant - the creaminess of the petals, the lush green of the leaves, and the dirtiness of the earth from which it grows. Her goal with this fragrance was to capture the entire gardenia plant, roots to petals.

The fragrance begins with a burst of bergamot, followed by lush gardenia and clean freesia. To me, this is what you see of the gardenia plant, the green coinciding with white, the smoothness of the petals and shine of its leaves. The fragrance concludes with french vanilla and patchouli. These notes conjure up the feeling and smells of the plant itself, the silky and creamy texture of white petals above the cool dirt where they originate. Overall, Sarah has very successfully achieved the essence of an entire gardenia plant.

During the workshop, the patchouli was so offensive to my nose I couldn't even sniff it. What was most appealing? The bergamot, freesia and french vanilla. I've always guessed my favorite notes as citrus, white flowers and vanilla. Sarah's workshop definitely cemented my suspicions. In fact, I am so sensitive to patchouli that I detect it with the first sniff of Perfect Gardenia. However, the other notes are prominent enough to sway my senses and although this fragrance cannot be called my favorite gardenia, it is definitely beautifully composed and true to the perfumer's vision. And unlike so many gardenia scents available, it possesses mysterious, subtle and non-cloying qualities. Huge thanks to Sarah for her patience and most of all her passion! I look forward to reviewing her newest creations very soon. And I will most definitely purchase multiple fragrances from her unique line!

Perfect Gardenia can be purchased at, 1.7 oz. retails for $75 and right now you will receive a free roll-on oil with this purchase.
Image source:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fragrance Heaven

I'm baaaack! What an incredible day I had (I should say we all had) at the first ever Los Angeles Sniffapalooza. Meeting perfumistas that I have been chatting with and trading scents with for years, hearing from famous noses and fragrance creators, and sniffing fragrances I've drooled over on the internet can only be described as truly amazing. Spending time with individuals whose passion for scent parallels mine created an incredible sense of belonging and community. And did I mention shopping?! Oh, the shopping. If only I were a celebrity living in Los Angeles and I had an inexhaustible bank account ...
In thinking about each moment of the day, it is truly difficult for me to name a favorite. They were all so profound and enjoyable. Hearing the inspiring stories of professionals in the fragrance industry, shaking hands with Sarah, founder of Creative Scentualization, and meeting Marlen from Perfume Critic and hearing about his vision for his website are among some of the highlights.

I returned home with a deep sense of satisfaction and some amazing fragrances, all of which I will be reviewing within the next few weeks. I also have a greater understanding of the art of perfumery which can only allow me to write with more detail. Most importantly, I have some wonderful friends in Los Angeles and New York whom I know I can call on for fragrance inspiration and recommendations! Thank you to Karen and Karen for organizing and bringing this event to the West Coast. I am grateful to have been a part of it and look forward to many more!

Friday, February 09, 2007

LA Sniffapalooza

Off I go this weekend to sniff to my heart's content at the first Los Angeles Sniffapalooza! Sniffapalooza is offered by two perfumistas, Karen Dubin and Karen Adams. It occurs generally several times per year in New York City and it has attained national recognition!!

From 8am to 7pm Saturday I will be experiencing fragrances, learning from perfumers and meeting other perfumistas. I am absolutely ecstatic and this event promises to be amazing and one-of-a-kind ... definitely something I have dreamt about since I was a little tike.

The best aspect of it is I will have many scents to inspire blogging next week. So although I will be out this weekend, please stay tuned to next week's reviews. They promise to be unique!

Image source:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Banana Republic Alabaster

As I've said before, I like pretty things. On second thought, I should clarify. I like pretty and unique things. Banana Republic's fall 2006 fragrance launch promised unique and interesting scents. Of the three, Alabaster sounded most like my cup of tea. With lotus flower as the top note, wild rose as the base note, and white amber as the drydown, this fragrance would perhaps fit my tastes perfectly.

Banana Republic very generously offers samples of this fragrance. Just ask any BR sales person and you will receive multiple fragrance cards which you peel open to reveal a damp, Alabaster scented swab to dab on your skin. I appreciate their generosity! Fragrance samples have become difficult to attain lately at department stores.
Although its description is quite lovely, all I get is a very watered down, quite generic lotus flower. That to me is a contradiction in terms since lotus flowers are anything but generic. Ancient Egyptian religion revered lotus flowers as symbols of sun, creation and rebirth. The pure white lotus is the only plant to fruit and flower simultaneously. It seems any scent devoted to the lotus should be extremely complex, contradictory and interesting. Unfortunately, Alabaster does not fit the bill. The rose never makes its appearance on my skin which would be quite lovely if it did.

The irony of the marketing campaign is quite abundant. The exotic nature of the lotus flower juxtaposed to a very generic bottle and a very Caucasian (although beautiful) woman clearly states its marketing target. Those of us with a penchant for more rare and exotic scents will find this .... well .... boring. Nice try Banana Republic. Although I am sure you sell quite a bit of this scent for its mass market appeal and inoffensive qualities, I need something a little more unique. Maybe I'll sniff Jade next time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Today is a very sad day. The thing about sadness is it hits you when you least expect it. One minute you can be on top of the world, anticipating wonderful things, noticing all the beauty in this crazy world of ours, sniffing your wrists joyfully and tapping your foot to a great song. And then "it" happens. Whatever "it" is ... it could be a car accident, a painful realization, an encounter with a rude person, or ..... bad news. Today my husband and I received some very bad news.

So what do you do with the sadness? Do you just move on with your day as if nothing has happened? Do you clean obsessively? Do you blow off work and go get an ice cream cone? Do you stuff down your tears and hope they go away? Or do you get your car washed and an oil change? This perfumista did the latter. Yep. That's what I did with my sadness ... that is until I could sit with Jeffrey and talk it out hours later. And when we sat, I cried. And cried. I'm still crying. It feels like my house is crying, the sky is crying, the world is crying.

No, neither one of has a fatal illness, none of our loved ones died, and things are still relatively okay. My heart goes out to those dealing with those scenarios. The human spirit is amazing and the strength people can muster during times of sadness inspires me greatly. Thank goodness I married my husband. He sees the silver lining of it all and can be a rock of faith when I am lacking it.

So, perfumistas, I have a strange desire to wear a black fragrance today. I don't own any. Leather, incense, patchouli and woodsy notes have never struck my fancy. But right now, I wish I had one.

What is your favorite black fragrance?

Image source:

Monday, February 05, 2007

When Did It All Begin?

I have been fascinated with smells as long as I can remember. I must have an overly developed olfactory sense that originated when I was born. At least that is my only explanation for my obsession with perfume as a young girl, perhaps a toddler. Coming from a family with many aunts on each side who all wore at least one scent, I received much fuel for my fire. Aunt Suzie wore Shalimar, curled her eyelashes and listened to Led Zeppelin. Aunt Nancy wore Jean Nate, had a purple bedroom and loved to write letters to her girlfriends. No one captured my interest and curiosity greater, however, than my Aunt Mary Lynn. Not only is she beautiful, she is extremely feminine and she expresses it through fragrance and makeup. She and I have a kinship, a sacred circle if you will, of girly-girlness. My grandmother recalls that I would sit on the toilet seat and watch her apply her makeup and perfume as a wee little one.

When I became a teenager, I noticed she had a glass square container in the bathroom chock full of fragrance samples. I was amazed that she had amassed that many. How did she do it? I also remember Fracas and Cartier full bottles in her collection. And no one wore Chanel Coco better than her. In fact, I cannot wear Coco to this day because I strongly associate it with her. It belongs to her, per se.

I recall shopping with her when she discovered Cacharel's Anais Anais. She shopped the perfume counters as methodically and stealthily as a cat hunting for a mouse. And when she found it, she lingered awhile, exploring the object of her captivation. It did not take her long to decide that Anais Anais was full bottle-worthy. And in my effort to emulate her, I purchased a bottle of Anais Anais a few months later with the pennies I had saved from babysitting and wore it throughout my sophomore year of high school.

Today, I have definitely taken that childhood curiosity to a new level. With a collection of fragrances so large I'm embarrassed to admit how many I have, and a keen interest that inspired this blog, I can honestly say I have followed in Auntie's footsteps. And I am very proud of it. Here is a photo of the two of us at my wedding reception:

Thank you dear Auntie, for contributing so much to my young little life. Dear readers, my question to you is, would I be as fond of fragrance if it weren't for my Aunt Mary Lynn? Or, was it an innate fascination that Aunt Mary Lynn simply honed due to her interest? And please feel free to share your childhood stories. Reply in the comments section below.

Image source:

Laura Mercier Tarte Au Citron Eau Gourmande

The growing popularity of gourmand scents over the last few years, perhaps epitomized by the infamous and now obsolete Jessica Simpson Dessert Beauty, seems to appeal to the younger 16 to 24-year old crowd. Walking around smelling like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or marshmallow creme does not resonate sexiness or sophistication for certain. However, to some it brings joy, happiness and perhaps an increased appetite.

Laura Mercier's fragrance, bath and body Gourmande line is aimed to appeal to more sophisticated noses due to a higher price point and an association with smart makeup and skincare. Of the five sugary sweet scents offered, Tarte Au Citron has become my favorite. "Tarte au Citron captures the essence of lemon, bergamot, cassis, jasmine, anise flower, blonde wood, vanilla, praline and musks" according to Nordstrom. On me, it is a beautiful rendition of my favorite dessert, Lemon Passion from Macaroni Grill.

Lemon Passion
Citrus cake soaked in sweet cream, topped with lemon mousse and finished off with our fresh Italian whipped cream and caramel

Delish! The scent starts off with a burst of lemon, quite tart and fresh. Within one hour, the vanilla, praline and musk become prominent with just a hint of lemon remaining. It reminds me of a half eaten plate of Lemon Passion, the cake mostly devoured with plenty of caramel and whipped cream remaining. And while this is not the scent for a fancy night on the town, it certainly provides a flirty, fun diversion on a casual shopping or errand day. And it elicits enough compliments for this wearer to keep it around for a while!

It can purchased at Nordstrom and other fine department stores, 1.7 oz. for $50.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sweet Exhaustion

I must apologize to my regular readers. I am, quite simply, exhausted today and I will resume my regular activity with two posts tomorrow. I plan to review Laura Mercier Tarte Au Citron and offer an informative article on the history of perfume. Please stay tuned! And thanks in advance for your patience.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Chanel No. 5

Hail to the queen! The queen of perfume, that is. The best known perfume in the world, first introduced in 1921 by Ernest Beaux exclusively for Coco Chanel, made more popular by Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe and recently Nicole Kidman has found its home in my perfume collection. Quite frankly, I could eliminate the superfluous decants, samples and department store fragrances and leave only Chanel No. 5 along with three others. (And from my previous reviews I'm sure you could deduce what those would be!)

When this fragrance was first created, Coco Chanel stated in so many words that she would like a feminine yet artificial scent. She believed in juxtaposing ugly and/or artificial things to pretty things. Therefore, rather than an over-the-top girlie perfume she longed for one not obviously so, to highlight the natural beauty of a woman. Mr. Beaux created six formulations total and it was No. 5 that won Coco's heart and fit her description.

Chanel No. 5 was the first fragrance created with synthetic floral aldehydes as top notes. In addition, neroli, ylang-ylang and iris open the fragrance. With mid notes of rose and jasmine and sandalwood, vetiver and vanilla at the base, its composition is beautifully, abstractly feminine. It just smells good without taking away from the woman who wears it, thus rendering it a classic.

About a year ago, I visited my local Chanel counter and gave all the fragrances a spin. Chanel No. 5 remains the one that to me is utterly wearable and gloriously feminine. Therefore, I purchased the EDP, Sensual Elixir, Body Cream and Soap (for my lingerie drawer). I find the body cream the smoothest and richest formulation and lasts all day on my skin. Sensual Elixir is a lighter formulation for those who may be sensitive to strong odors and/or aldehydes. And the EDP is luxurious. Certainly, I have enough No. 5 to last me a lifetime. And that's just fine with me.

Image sources: Wikipedia and
Chanel No. 5 can be purchased at department stores, .5 oz. Perfume retails for $155, EDP spray 1.7 oz. retails for $80, Sensual Elixir 1.7 oz. retails for $59.50 and Body Cream for $75.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier

I present to you, ladies and gents, the closest thing to a signature scent that I own, Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier. As my previous reviews suggest, I have quite a fascination with this house. However, prior to trying this fragrance, my fascination would better be described as intrigue. This is the scent that triggered an "Aha!" moment for me when instantly I appreciated all the hype surrounding Serge Lutens.

Fleurs de Citronnier
starts off sharp but only for the first few moments. As it dries the beauty of lemon blossom flowers shines through, fresh, feminine, effervescent. However, honey, nutmeg and musk prevent it from wafting away like a petal in the wind. On my skin, FdC is a perfect combination of lemon blossom and orange blossom and since my skin loves those flowers, I can still smell this fragrance a full twelve hours after applying it. At first glance, I thought it would be perfect for summertime. I was wrong. Its gorgeousness showed through best in damp, cool weather. It must be musk at the base which is highlighted best in cooler temps.

Because the olfactory scent elicits emotions and experiences, Fleurs de Citronnier will always hold a special place in my heart. It has accompanied me on some of the most important days of my life, including my wedding day. And as a newlywed, I have to say that this fragrance elicits the most compliments from my husband of any I own or have tried. And not just any compliments, like "nice" or "cute". "I love the way you smell" compliments. That deserves applause in and of itself!
SL Fleurs de Citronnier can be purchased at upscale department stores, $92 for 50mL.