Thursday, May 31, 2007
With my delayed honeymoon to Italy quickly approaching, I am combing through my collection to select those scents I think will best fit the mood and tempo of our romantic Italian getaway. For the Taormina portion of our trip, Jala may be the uplifting, invigorating, Mediterranean scent I seek. With fairly linear tropical floral notes of pink magnolia, frangipani and Italian jasmine, this scent echos the Sicilian love of the sea and value of simplicity. Heady yet light, simple yet lush, Jala seems the perfect summer day at the beach scent. The tropical flowers bloom abundantly with this, and their scent wafts rather than overpowers, escorting the wearer, with a few flowers in her hair, to a long stretch of sand and an ocean breeze. The prominent note without a doubt is sweet jasmine. For those who require spicy notes with floral bouquets, this scent will be étouffant. For floral lovers, Jala is a special occasion, once in a blue moon fragrance that may not require a full bottle but rather a small decant. For my purposes of lolling at the beach, browsing the market, and speaking with the locals, Jala will provide a great accompaniment.
Calypso St. Barth Jala EDT is available at beautyhabit, 100mL retails for $85.
Image source: luckyscent.com, the beaches of Taormina, Sicily www.hotelpensionesvizzera.com
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I cannot wear Eternity. It belongs to her. And I find it too ... too ... 1991. However, what I can wear and will continue to wear as long as possible is the 2005 version of Eternity Summer. What a luscious green and casual specimen, along the same lines as Chanel Bel Respiro. Now before you gasp at my emboldened comparison, I realize putting Calvin Klein and Chanel in the same fragrance category is quite a stretch. However, Eternity Summer 2005 does possess a similar reminder of waking up in a grassy field, with the added touch of lily of the valley and a garden of verbena close by. Like a bed of soft, cool grass under a shady oak tree, it comforts and soothes, refreshes and awakens. Juxtaposed to the original Eternity, Summer 2005 has none of its sharpness and heady florals. In fact, I cannot find a single resemblance between the two. Instead, Summer 2005 sparkles and shines independant of its namesake. Its dewy, refreshing, green scent could easily be unisex. With notes of hydroponic (grown in nutrients rather than soil) lily of the valley, verbena, violet leaf, white jasmin, gardenia, lotus, green island fig, and mimosa, this soft, office-friendly fragrance is perfect for summer. Right around now, late May, I will pull it from the back of my collection for regular rotation. And thank goodness, I am able to stay grounded in present times and not be thrown back to the scholastic and intellectual challenges of 1991.
Eternity Summer 2005 can be found on Perfume Bay. A 3.4 oz. spray retails for $45.90.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Since I will not be harvesting a grove of trees anytime soon, I have settled upon an orange blossom scent that literally "takes me away" from stress, aggravation and worry. It transports me to a lounge chair on the patio, a grove of orange trees in Sicily, or a sunny day without a care in the world. And it does so with aplomb and the honorable distinction of a creation from Serges Lutens. It is Fleurs d'Oranger.
Of the orange blossom fragrances I have tried, including L'Artisan, Jo Malone and others, I have found most to vanish from my skin quite rapidly. Not so with Lutens'. The combination of notes unexpectedly adheres and lingers. They include white jasmine and Indian tuberose, which serve to enhance the orange blossom note, making it multi-dimensional, not heady. White rose adds interest while cumin, nutmeg, musk and hibiscus seed add depth and mystery. I would not call this scent deep, however. It is all about subdued sweetness and light. For those who find most orange blossom fragrances too linear or too sweet, this multi-faceted take on the flower could intrigue. I find it perfect for a lighthearted afternoon or to ease the mind during a difficult day of work.
Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger can be purchased at Neiman Marcus in the U.S., 1.7 fl. oz. retails for $100.
Image sources: netstate.com, neimanmarcus.com
Monday, May 21, 2007
What renders Bois des Iles so masterful is the gorgeous interplay of floral and wood notes, with a tiny bit of spice. The jasmine, damask rose and ylang-ylang opening pronounce the fragrance a Chanel. Bitter almond, gingerbread and vanilla compose the heart while tonka bean, sandalwood and vetiver round out the base.
I must repeat that this fragrance is irrevocably Chanel, with its aldehydic opening and Ernest Beaux designer stamp. When sniffing from afar, it vaguely reminds me of others - No. 5, No. 22 and the like. However, upon closer inspection, this masterpiece of blending stands beautifully on its own two feet. The notes wrap around one another in energetic fashion, like a whirlwind at first, opaque and indiscernible. As they settle and slow, what they reveal can be described as warm brilliance. They evoke the image of an impeccably dressed, perfectly coiffed, svelte French woman, who purchases only the best designer clothes, loves to read and discuss world affairs while she sips spiced tea. She is feminine and strong, an accomplished career woman. She dislikes frills, unnecessary details and verbose comrades. She is timelessy beautiful, unashamedly smart yet emotionally distant. When you are around her you cannot help but be mesmerized by her beauty, vitality and energy. She makes an indelible impression wherever she goes and she knows it.
I am so pleased to have resurrected this scent and yet somewhat frustrated that yet again, I have grown to admire a scent so undeniably exclusive and expensive. I can only assume that missing the comforts of home prompts me to enjoy a scent so warm and inviting. I will covet my tiny decant until the last drop.
Image source: basenotes.net
Saturday, May 19, 2007
- Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia - Beautiful, feminine gardenia with a cardamom twist. Girly and elegant, it elicits compliments nearly every time I wear it.
- Alfred Dunhill Desire for Women - A standby in my collection for years. With a beautiful blend of tiare, rose, freesia, vanilla and caramel, it satisfies my sweet tooth.
- Gendarme Sky - A gorgeous soft, fresh simultaneously exhilarating and comforting scent. I have been wearing this one upon my return from work to wind down the day.
- Chanel Bois des Iles - An extremely popular, yet exclusive Chanel scent, reserved for the fancy dinner I will attend next week with my colleagues and trainer. A dry, woodsy floral -exuberant and posh.
- Bond No. 9 So New York - An espresso mocha in a bottle, for those nights when I need to cram and I cannot summon the energy. With notes of mirabelle, "espresso accord," and cocoa powder, it energizes and intrigues.
- Marc Jacobs Blush - A sleeper with outstanding longevity and beautiful blending. By sleeper, I mean one that has been picked over and ignored too many times to count. However, it has received lots of attention in my little corner of the world this week. I absolutely adore this one and could purchase a full bottle. "A gorgeous blend of jasmine nectar, sweet orange flower, enticing cashmere wood and luxurious pink musk," it reminds me of sunny days lounging on the patio while the orange tree blooms. A cheerful, frilly scent.
- Ginestet Bortrytis - The best dupe I have found of Escada Collection, although it was not created as a duplicate. It satisfies my need for decadence without potentially damaging my gorgeous bottle of Collection.
- Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey - Sweet happiness.
- Amouage Reflection - A new one I have yet to try to satisfy my need for novelty.
- Ormonde Jayne Frangipani - Heady, floral concoction that dries down to an understated, still floral scent. The only one of the lot I feel uncomfortable wearing to work.
- Annick Goutal Heure Exquise - Sadly, one of the few Annick Goutal scents I cannot wear. I brought a tester with me, dabbed it at 7:30am and found it was not likeable at all by 10am. It simply is too sharp and perfume-smelling to me. I abhor pronouncing to the world I am wearing perfume for the sake of wearing it and not particularly to smell nice. Heure Exquise falls in that category on my skin.
I have the chemistry that tones down sweetness; therefore, the scents I have selected are certainly uplifting and sweet. Uplifting is a quality I often look for when I am working ten hours a day, surrounded by walls and artificial lighting. Otherwise, I simply feel as if I am dying on the vine.
With that, I am headed to explore the city today and get some much needed exercise and sunlight! I hope your weekend is fragrant and fun. Please feel free to share what you're wearing today.
Image source: bergoiata.org
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Take this commercial for example, and imagine replacing the featured product
with Bvlgari Blv Notte:
So now that you have the image of THAT man, we can begin to tackle a scent that needs only a few words to speak of its masculinity.
What demands your attention immediately are the top notes of tobacco and dark chocolate (for the man wearing this, you didn't really think it was going to be white or milk chocolate, did you?). These two notes combined approach you without hesitation, like a man making the first move on a woman he desires. He doesn't ask, he simply embraces you with enough force to assure you that you're his and that he wants you but with the tenderness that allows you to trust him. He then puts down the smoldering cigarette and grabbing a piece of dark chocolate he asks in a soft, bass-filled whisper if you would care for a taste. You probably can smell the tobacco in his beard and the chocolate as he exhales.
And if this onslaught of sensuality does not breach your senses the galanga will certainly raise your body temperature and peak your interest. This hot, gingery spice is commonly found in Thai cuisine (probably introduced by the man from the commercial during a hunting expedition in Thailand). The spicy galanga should never be underestimated in this scent, as it propels itself into the seductive element found in Bvlgari Blv Notte.
The trinity of tobacco, dark chocolate and galanga, creates an incredibly poetic, seductive and masculine creature. Perhaps you know a man such as the one I'm describing. He could be single or married, older or younger. Regardless, Bvlgari Blv Notte suddenly adorns the wearer with the ability to say and do the right thing at just the right moment. He is noticed in the room but he is not the center of attention. It carries all of the characteristics that I would wish to embody: intellectual, adventurous, experienced, confident, strong, protective but yet, tender and emotionally available. I know my wife appreciates these character traits. I don't have them all but Bvlgari Blv Notte Pour Homme will always afford me those I'm lacking.
Monday, May 14, 2007
I am Mr. TMH 256. I have always been a lover of men's cologne. But sadly, until the arrival of Mrs. TMH 256, my attraction to men's fragrance could be categorized as elementary. Superficial. Sort of like those who attend Nascar races to watch the horrific crashes. I simply could not appreciate the nuances of fragrance that exist on so many levels. So...without delay...let's talk about Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme. A fragrance that has become my favorite and one that makes me jealous when others wear it.
Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme is one that is immediately identified by whispers of citrus. The sweetness is what initially draws you in. Example: you are shopping and a man passes by who is wearing it. You catch it on the inhale, unexpectedly, and your mood immediately changes. You follow. He's now in the lawn mower section and you now realize you have never been within 20 yards of a lawn mower. But you don't care.
Secondly, the lavender and sage engage you on an intellectual level. It's as if you woke up with the citrus and are now in a lecture at the Universita' di Bologna with the lavender and sage around 1PM. You take notes and you realize that you are actually really interested in the subject matter. The lecture is on the difference between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It's the same boring material but it's being presented in such a way that you can't take your focus off of it, even if you tried. It's mesmerizing.
When the bell rings it's time to play. So cedar and tobacco show up in a rustic Alfa-Romeo convertible and promise to have you home by 2AM...Italian time (5:30AM if you're lucky). The cedar and tobacco are a devastating tandem. They remind me of going to the clubs in Rimini and staying out until they delivered fresh pastries to the corner cafe' around 6AM.
This is a scent that requires a certain maturity, a titanium-fortified confidence in ones sexuality and masculinity. It does not disappoint. It's like a Ferrari F340 as you merge on to the A-1 Autostrada from Bologna to Milano. You have absolutely no fear that your engine has perfect timing, what Italians call "sprezzatura"(nonchalance, effortless).
This scent can change my whole attitude in an instant. It takes me back to the summer of 1997 in Florence. The summer in which I never wanted to come back to the states, when the English language seemed so unrefined and when my Italian soul was officially born.
Thank you for reading my first fragrance review.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
The next two weeks present quite a challenge. I am without a laptop and will be attending a very intense, out-of-town training course. Therefore, Mr. TMH has agreed to post in my absence. Hopefully, he will keep you entertained with reviews and musings about his favorite fragrances. He has picked up quite a bit of fragrance lingo just by listening to me and reading my reviews. If nothing else, he will hopefully make you laugh as he does me every single day.
Please enjoy and feel free to comment to him as well. He will certainly relay any messages to me you would like. And when I do have computer time, you can rest assured, I will be reviewing the umpteen decants I'll be bringing with me!
Image source: scalaeditions.com
Bulgari Blu's top notes are bergamot and ginger, with middle notes of fresh wisteria, musk, sandalwood, and flax flower. The scent concludes with a mix of vanilla and acacia. When the invigorating, exhilarating aspects of bergamot and ginger fade, a fresh, waxy, clean and somewhat soapy heart emerges. This is not your grandmother's soap, however. It is a dry, simultaneously cold and warm, sensually clean bouquet. What keeps the flax flower and wisteria from squeaking with cleanliness is the ever so light musk and sandalwood, which deliver a truly woodsy undertone. Finally, vanilla and acacia, while not pronounced, maintain the soft, sensual effect all day on my skin. I characterize this scent as captivating and soft. My husband buries his nose in my neck and my pet cat moves a little closer when I wear Blu. (Yes indeed, pets respond to fragrance!)
Bulgari Blu, described as "fire and ice, passion and poise," found its way into my collection about six years ago. I reach for it when I am seeking comfort or desiring a scent that is at once soft, sexy and clean. Despite its cobalt blue rather masculine bottle, the fragrance inside reminds me of an ivory silk pashmina, seemingly plain but nonetheless swank. Like Blu, an ivory pashmina has the ability to transform any outfit from drab to chic with a simple toss around the shoulder. In addition, Blu is delightfully flexible in its appropriateness. A day at the office? Sure. A night on the town? Most definitely. Throw it on when you want to add style to your ensemble or captivate others enough to say, "What smells so good?" Those words are music to a perfume maven's ears and I find them spoken abundantly when Blu is my fragrance.
Bulgari Blu can be found at numerous online fragrance discounters. See my post about online shopping for suggestions.
Image source: shopcardsandgifts.com
Friday, May 11, 2007
Second, I purchase samples, swap for them and occasionaly receive them from generous SA's at departments stores and through the web. A free sample in no way indebts me to write a good review and I have written several that are obviously unaffected by marketing. If you find most of my reviews to be positive, it is simply because 90% of the time I choose fragrances that I like to discuss. I find my page grimly blank when I do not like a scent.
Those who do accept money from perfumers, I wish them well. My value system prevents me from making a dime doing this. All of the links you see to other blogs follow this same value system. After all, it is only for the love of perfume that we write. Thank you for reading!
Image source: bloggingblog.net
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Today's pick, Coup de Fouet, translates to "crack the whip." This is no wallflower scent and yet it does not smack you in the bum as the name suggests. Similar to Poivre which is the extrait de parfum of this wonderful scent, Coup de Fouet's blend is based upon a spicy accord, within which carnation and other florals weave beautifully. At first dab, the scent is spicy and sharp, featuring quite vividly red pepper and black pepper. However as the fragrance dries, carnation blooms with ylang ylang to create a soft, sweet, and floral bouquet. The fiery floral heart is what I favor, as the aromatic spices and innocent flowers play together agreeably. This aspect of the fragrance vaguely reminds me of a Chai tea latte, with its savory, creamy merging of sweetness and spiciness. As in the making of Chai, sweetener must be added to highlight the robust spices. So it is with Coup de Fouet where contrasting elements create an exquisite harmony. Opoponax, sandalwood, vetiver and oakmoss compose the balsamic base of this fragrance, giving it a smoky, woodsy quality. The entire effect creates a sophisticated, classic, surprising and refined blend.
I find it entirely wearable for evening and dressier occasions. It will most certainly inspire curiosity as to its origins, for not one currently marketed fragrance remotely resembles it - one of the many loveable aspects of a creation from Caron.
Coup de Fouet, like so many masterpieces, has proved quite difficult to find. I am open to suggestions for places to purchase!
Image source: pubsparfums.free.fr.com
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
Not unlike our heroine, I was gifted with this exquisite rose fragrance from my east coast mother. Perhaps she thought I had forgotten about this scent or ... worse yet ... disliked it. Oh, no. No, no, no. This scent could inspire novels. Delicate, elegant, sophisticated and understated, Poussière de Rose combines magical, romantic rose with plum, incense, tea and cinnamon. The plum is sweet, the tea green and the faint incense and cinnamon sensual, creating a fragrance altogether romantic, soft and dreamy. Literally meaning "dust of a rose," it requires bright colors, feminine frills, fresh lipstick, a sunny day and perhaps a romantic rendezvous. It also requires a wearer who can appreciate its absolute refinement.
Creator Marie-Helene Rogeon is not new to the art of perfumery. She was born into a family of perfumers and enjoyed from a very young age her grandparents' Rosine collection by Paul Poiret. She gained experience in perfume with Givenchy, Jean Deprez and Pierre Balmain before launching her own firm in 1991. Her rose scents are arguably the most cultivated in the perfume industry. With such offerings as Un Zest de Rose and Rose d'Amour, among many others, she has brought Rosine and her childhood to the world. Of the three I have tried, Poussière de Rose is by far my favorite.
Les Parfums de Rosine Poussière de Rose is available at beautyhabit.com and lusciouscargo.com. A 5omL bottle retails for $85.00.
Image sources: Virgin from the movie Perfume, cinabel.be, Rosine bottle meccacosmetica.com.au
Thursday, May 03, 2007
If Satellite Ipanema captures the beach, this scent has captures it times ten. While Ipanema evokes the pleasures of vacation and compliments a beach-going day nicely, Virgin Island Water renders its wearer a cool-smelling sun queen. With wet hair, tanned skin, freckles along the bridge of her nose, beautiful blue eyes, and smelling faintly of coconut oil, she enjoys an occasional game of beach volleyball and loves to swim. Lest I suggest Virgin Island Water is for the younger crowd, rest assured this scent is fluid and sophisticated enough for anyone.
Colombina of Perfume-Smellin' Things listed the notes beautifully: "essence of copra (the white inner portion of the coconut), coconut toddy (a liquid derived from the sweet sap of the palm tree), lime, bergamot, mandarin orange, hibiscus, ginger, ylang-ylang, jasmine, sugar cane, white rum and musk." The obvious top notes are lime, ginger and a sprinkling of coconut. The tart, cool citrus provides just enough bouyancy for the remainder of the notes to blend cheerfully. Although I cannot detect hibiscus or jasmine, when the citrus notes evaporate what remains is a lustrous merging of faint coconut, sweet sugar cane and tantalizing white rum. Overall, this light-hearted, pleasing scent merits a large decant for the dog days of summer ahead.
Creed Virgin Island Water is available in EDP, 1 oz. retails for $98, 2.5 oz. for $185 and 4 oz. for $208 at Neiman Marcus and other select stores.
Image source: 71percentwater.com, neimanmarcus.com
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Today's pick is Thierry Mugler Angel Lily. I recall testing this at Nordstrom and firstly being quite impressed with the manufacturer's gadget to refill the bottle. (Mind you, I rarely empty bottles but the thought of refilling was ingenius enough to inspire a purchase!) I also recall turning my nose at the thought of giving Angel* another spin after smelling this scent on every woman and her sister at the mall. My second and lasting impression after trying the scent on my skin, despite my initial reluctance, is one of amazement. The brilliance of adding a few notes to the original overwhelming blend to create a much more wearable fragrance enchants me to this day.
Angel Lily launched in 2005 to appeal to fans of the original Angel as well as those, like me, who could not wear it. The year 2005 holds a dear place in my heart for it was the year my husband entered my life. Angel Lily held a prominent place at the beginning of our courtship. Following its green beginning, Angel Lily becomes a heady concoction, akin to sweet, honey-drenched lilies. True to the nature of the flower, the scent endures incredibly well and lasts the entire evening. The word "evening" is intentional. Parallel to the original Angel, this scent inspires a "love it or hate it" relationship due to its bold, intrepid bouquet. However, the night becomes darker, the moon brighter and the love sweeter for the woman who enjoys donning this ultra feminine scent. I still find it full bottle worthy.
Notes - Top notes: "Dew" Note, Green Stem. Middle notes: Nutmeg, Lily, Honey. Base notes: Patchouli, Vanilla Notes.
A free sample goes to the first reader to guess whether or not I have refilled the original bottle I purchased in 2005.
Thierry Mugler Angel Lily is available at multiple discount websites, .8 oz. EDP as low as $55.99 on amazon.com.
Image source: www.lilies.org
*After its launch in 1992, the original Angel became an instant success due to its unique blending of chocolate, vanilla and patchouli notes among others. Unfortunately for those who do not like it, the sillage of this persistent fragrance can fill a room.