Friday, November 28, 2008

Ormonde Jayne Woman

A pleasant and surprising side effect of my third trimester of pregnancy is an embracing love of scents I normally would not like. I tried Ormonde Jayne Woman years ago, due to the generosity of a friend who owned it, and quickly dismissed it as "not me" moving on to explore other scents from the London Perfumery. How exciting that as I have fully experienced all ten scents from the lovely house in the last month (thank you Samantha and Sarah!), I have fallen completely for the one scent I thought I never would. It even qualifies as an amber scent with a resonating amber base note so I am keeping my promise to review amber fragrances this month.

Before I describe the fragrance, I must reference the philosophy of the house that created it. Ormonde Jayne's creator, Linda Pilkington, opened her doors on November 30, 2002 in London's old Bond Street after a lifelong love affair with scent. In creating the house, her goal was to "combine elements which [she considers] define true elegance: The quality of English craftsmanship, the art of French perfumery and the sensuality and natural harmony of the Orient." In addition to this brilliant philosophy Ormonde Jayne uses only the finest quality oils and essences, sought throughout the world, in their perfumes, candles, bath oils and body treatments. This truly is a luxury fragrance line and I long for the day I can shop in the store.

Ormonde Woman is a stately fragrance, exceptionally unique, unexpectedly warm and woodsy ... and seductively violet. Its development is textbook marked by a definite personality to each stage. A seductive and warm scent, I am charmed by its curious and exceptional foundation: Black Hemlock absolute. In researching this note, I am surprised to find it is simply an evergreen tree indigenous to the western United States, with "wood much harder than Canadian hemlock." Well, that puts it into perspective. Not really. I know nothing about evergreens other than how their scent mesmerizes me during the holiday season. Using this rare note speaks volumes for the originality of its creator.

With a spicy and green opening that lasts several minutes, the senses are awakened and primed for a fragrant voyage. When I first tested, I wanted the opening to define the fragrance and to last forever. The combination of cardamom, coriander and grass oil was simply heavenly to my nose - unlike most any other scent I had experienced. However, in experiencing this exhilarating stage, I was not aware of the beautiful base to come that would enthrall me even more. The heart of the fragrance dances on the skin featuring that gorgeous hemlock and the introduction of violet with jasmine. Woodsy and slightly masculine describes this phase and it is not my favorite, but pleasing enough. The hemlock outshines the flowers making the heart more resinous than one would expect. It is the dark, mysterious yet delicately sweet base that truly sets this fragrance apart as a gorgeous creation. Here, the violet note truly shines! Yet this violet differs from the many violets that have come before, lacking the candied quality of Guerlain L'Heure Bleue and others like it. This is grown-up and sophisticated violet, deep mahogany in color and Lauren Becall in character. For those with a green thumb, this scent reminds me of the color of angelface dark violet. No nonsense and stately, the amber and sandalwood that surround this violet give it depth. And I am in love.

I highly recommend Ormonde Jayne's sample program. All eleven perfumes come housed in a velvet and satin pouch, with free shipping worldwide. Available online at www.ormondejayne.com.

Ormonde Woman is available as Perfume, 50 mL for £112.00 or Eau de Parfum, 50 mL for £58.00. Be sure to investigate bath products and home scents as well, all at www.ormondejayne.com.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Brief Note


Hello Dear Readers!

My sincere apologies for a lack of entries over the last few weeks. Closing in on the end of my pregnancy brings with it a "to do" list a mile long along with a jam-packed full-time work schedule in order to prepare for maternity leave. I have some wonderful samples to review, but finding the time to write them is proving challenging. My goal is to have one up by next Friday. So please tell me what you are wearing today. I plan to wear the new Intuition by Ralph Lauren. I liken it to warm and spicy yet soft cocoa powder, a perfect fall scent for a sensitive nose.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Ball Is Fast Approaching!

I will not be able to make it this year per strict doctor's orders for no airline travel. Plus, the walking and standing would do me and my feet in by about 10am! However, I will terribly miss the festivities and be thinking of you all this weekend. If you are anything like me, just reading the following creates endorphins in your body. If anyone is willing to pick up a bottle of Bond No. 9 Bryant Park for me, please e-mail me at your convenience! Here is a copy of the e-mail I received Saturday from the amazing Team Karen:

Dear Fragrance Friends:

In just one short week, fragrance lovers from around the globe will be gathering in NYC for the most spectacular fragrance event of the season, the ultra-fabulous Sniffapalooza Fall Ball!

Demand for tickets to this Fall Ball weekend has been so overwhelming, that we regret to tell you that we have only a few precious spaces remaining... and you know how we hate to disappoint anyone. So we urge you to let us know right away if you would like to join your fellow fragrance-lovers for our biggest & best Sniffapalooza yet!

For those of you who are just joining the Sniffapalooza family, the Sniffapalooza Fall Ball is an entire weekend crammed full of olfactory and multi-sensory experiences. You'll come away from the weekend with new knowledge, new friends, lots of new goodies, and a new perspective on a fragrant life. There's nothing else like it on the planet.

This year's event will be Saturday, October 25 - Sunday, October 26. As always, Saturday will be our 'uptown' day, and Sunday will be our 'downtown' day. Here's our itinerary below, with lots of surprises in the works, and many details will be added right up to the last fragrant moment!


Perfumers, guest speakers & presenters you'll meet during the weekend:

Kilian Hennessy of By Kilian; Joe Garces of Robert Piguet; Tom Crutchfield of Asprey, Annick Goutal, Etro, & Judith Leiber; Dovanna Pagowski & Chely De Pablos of Acqua di Parma; Shelley Levendos of Donna Karan Collection; Maree Damm of Boucheron; Sandi Burrows of Serge Lutens; Brian Kurtz of L'Artisan Parfumeur; Mary Claire Pedone of Jo Malone; Theresa Dickinson of Creed; John Bain of Van Cleef & Arpel; Geri Verlaque of Chanel; Katy Jourav of Tom Ford; Sonia Ciliberti & Jason Beers of Guerlain; Montgomery Taylor of Ambre de Venezia; Ulrich Lang of Parfums Ulrich Lang; Neil Morris of Neil Morris Fragrances; Sarah Barton-King of The Pink Room; Patty Namm of Brandy Perfume; Janna Sheehan of Trance Essence; Lee Cuthbert of Intelli-Scents; Avery Gilbert, author of 'What the Nose Knows'; Adelaide Farah of Beauty Fashion Magazine; Phoebe Ellis, Natasha Cote, & Irina Burlakova of Seven Skies Perfume; perfumer Roxana Villa; Christopher Voigt of Vetivresse.com; Raphaella Brescia of Sniffapalooza Magazine; Salomeh Daley from Memoire Liquide; Cathy Gins of Aromawear; Laetitia Longuefosse of Cinquieme Sens; Rainer of Linari; perfumer Gerald Dubose; Pedro de Leana; perfume designer Linda Gerlach; Sabine Hernandez of Amouage; Olyesa Inaovitch of Bill Blass Fragrances; Alex Mehfar of Le Cherche Midi; Jessica Dunne of Ellie D; and Miriam Mirani from Aqaba.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25

8:15-10:00am The famous Breakfast with *14 speakers and presentations* at Bergdorf Goodman ****PLEASE NOTE: Breakfast limited to the first 65 guests to sign up & is SOLD OUT.The other guests will arrive at 10am & meet all the breakfast speakers & get the stuffed-to-the-brim gift bag!

10:00am-12:00pm Sniffing time on the beauty floor at BG, meet special guests & presenters from the breakfast, exclusive offers, makeup artists, that incredible raffle & those legendary gift bags.

NEW LAUNCHES & MUST SNIFFS: By Kilian Prelude to Love & Sophie Matisse bottles, Tom Ford White Patchouli, Tom Ford Private Blend, Creed Love in Black, L'Artisan Fleur de Liane, Jo Malone Sweet Lime & Cedar, Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes, Judith Leiber Parfum, Donna Karan Collection, Acqua di Parma Profumo, Guerlain Les Charnals, Chanel Eau Premiere, Chanel Les Exclusifs, Van Cleef Feerie, Serge Lutens Serge Noire & Santal de Mysore, B Boucheron, Ajne, Ineke, Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang, JAR, Le Cherche Midi, Clive Christian, Prada, Apothia, Caron, Mona di Orio, 10 Corso Como, Antica Farmacista.

12:30-2:30pm Prix Fixe lunch at Opia restaurant - *13 special speakers*, party favors, fragrance games, Sniffapalooza Magazine raffle, Beauty Fashion Magazine promotion, unbelievable gift bags! (Registration required)

2:45-4:15pm Sniffing & dessert at Takashimaya, with special guests, presentations, terrific promotions, those amazing cupcakes and mango tea, and goodies to take home.

PERK: 10% off all fragrance purchases!NEW LAUNCHES & MUST SNIFFS: Neil Morris for Takashimaya, YOSH Olfactory Sense, The Pink Room, Histoire des Parfums, Le Cherche Midi, Septimanie, Keiko Mecheri, Miller et Bertot Shanti Shanti, Summersent, E.Coudray, Pedro de Leana Sensaciones Collection, Fragonard, Detaille 1905, Acqua di Biella, Divine, The Different Company.4:15-5:45pm Sniffing at Henri Bendel, with special guests, the exclusive fantastic Sniffapalooza GWP, refreshments, and gifts.PERK: 10% off all purchases when opening HB charge

NEW LAUNCHES & MUST SNIFFS: Etat Libre d'Orange Bendelirious, Salvador Dali line, L'Artisan Eau de Liane, Aftelier, Privet Bloom, Caron, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, Apothia, Isabella Capeto, Teo Cabanel, Ellie D, Juliette Has a Gun Citizen Queen, Kai, Child, Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes, Memoire Liquide, Aqaba.

6:00-8:00pm Cocktails & refreshments for the 60th anniversary party for Fracas at Spafumerie!

For this event only, original Robert Piguet dresses will be on view, flown in for Sniffapalooza from Paris. Also, several niche fragrance lines that we saw in Italy will be brought in for this event!

PERK: 10% discount on all purchases! Manicure gift certificate with $200 purchase! Facial gift certificate with $250 purchase!

EXTRA SPECIAL: Fracas 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Coffret, special price for Sniffapalooza!

NEW LAUNCHES & MUST SNIFFS: Bois 1920, Isabey Gardenia, Tarantella, Costume National, Laura Tonnato, full Robert Piguet line, Juliette Has a Gun

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26

10:00-11:30am The famous Brunch & Sniffing at Bond No. 9! Meet Bond No. 9 fragrance specialists, sample new Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue, and fantastic gift bags.

PERK: 15% discount on all purchases.

MUST SEE: The Robert Lee Morris Andy Warhol jewelry collection.

MUST SNIFF: Andy Warhol Silver Factory, Union Square, Lexington Avenue and dazzling Bond No. 9 holiday gift sets!

11:00am-5:00pm Open House sniffing at Le Labo. Meet founders Eddie & Fabrice & specialist Bo Jade & have your purchases custom-labelled!

MUST SNIFF: Exclusive New York scent - Tubereuse 40, and scented notepads in cult-scent Santal 26!

12:00-1:00pm Sniffing at Lafco NY, with sampling, refreshments, special gifts. Meet Creative Team Jon Bresler & Segen Scott. PERK: 20% discount on all purchases.

NEW LAUNCHES & MUST SNIFFS: Linari new fragrance line created by perfumer Mark Buxton - meet Rainer, the President of Linari! Eau d'Italie Baume du Doge, most comprehensive selection of Santa Maria Novella products in the US, Lorenzo Villoresi, Claus Porto.

1:00-4:00pm Prix Fixe lunch at Country Cafe, with *6* speakers, party favors, and the incredible Sniffapalooza Magazine raffle!

Two seatings for lunch:

First seating: 1:00-2:30pm
Second seating: 2:30-4:00pm

While the first group is dining, the second seating group will visit L'Artisan Parfumeur right across the street for sampling & treats & an introduction to the new Fleur de Liane. (This L'Artisan location has the most comprehensive selection of L'Artisan products in the city!) Likewise, for the second seating group.

** Please note that those choosing the second seating will have more time at Bond No.9, Le Labo, and Lafco NY. If you need to catch a flight or make a train, you should choose the first seating. First seating diners must be seated promptly by 1:00pm.

**Sunday Lunch Seating is Extremely Limited

4:30-6:00pm Prosecco Bellinis & sniffing at Aedes de Venustas. Samples, special guests, exclusive launches & gift bags. Meet creative team Robert & Karl.

MUST SNIFF: Lalique Amethyst, By Kilian Prelude to Love, Amouage Lyric Man & Lyric Woman, Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes, Aedes de Venustas EdP by L'Artisan Parfumeur, Brandy, Andy Tauer Vetiver Dance, Serge Lutens Serge Noire, Escentric Molecules, 3 new Diptyque candles & new Diptyque bath & body line, Lubin Nuit de Longchamp, Lubin L de Lubin, Carthusia, Heeley, Penhaligons Elixir, Parfums D'Empire, Molinard, Anvers & Anvers 2, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, Miller et Bertot,Creed Love in Black.

The rates for Sniffapalooza Fall Ball 2008 are as follows:

Saturday, 10/25: $70 covers event & lunch Sunday, 10/26: $70 covers event, brunch & lunch Full weekend: $140 covers events 10/25 & 10/26, lunches both days, the brunch on Sunday, and the BG breakfast (only if you were one of the first 65 people to sign up).

A portion of each registration fee will be donated to a very special charity for Multiple Sclerosis.

You can register at http://www.sniffapalooza.com/ via PayPal. You will need to log in with your Username and Password to access the “Event Registration” page. If you have questions or need to make other payment arrangements, please contact Karen Adams at kadams@sniffapalooza.com.

If you are visiting NYC from out-of-town, there are some incredible last-minute deals to be had on airfare and hotels!!! Please visit expedia.com, hotels.com, hotwire.com, & travelzoo.com, etc. - and you'll see what we mean!

While you're counting the days to Sniffapalooza Fall Ball, please check out our award-winning on-line fragrance magazine, SNIFFAPALOOZA MAGAZINE, at http://www.sniffapaloozamagazine.com/. Subscriptions are free!!! The current two issues are a tribute to Fall Ball and you can get a preview of all the new launches and what you'll experience next weekend!

If you've attended a Sniffapalooza before, you know what an incredible experience awaits you...If you haven't, you're in for the time of your life!

**Team Karen cannot be responsible for any addictions to Sniffapalooza, or withdrawal symptoms that may result after the event is over. If such symptoms occur, please go immediately to the nearest fragrance counter.

We can't wait to see all our old friends again and meet our new ones! And remember, *accept no imitations* - this is the ONE and ONLY *SNIFFAPALOOZA*!

Viva La Sniffa, Baby!

TEAM KAREN
Karen Dubin, Founder & Director
Karen Adams, Executive Operations Manager
http://www.sniffapalooza.com/
http://www.sniffapaloozamagazine.com/

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've been Tagged!


Like Divina, "I don’t really do tagging games, or I thought I didn’t." But a bout with the flu and consequential boredom leads me to play. Thank you for the diversion from my sick bed ladies! First, the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you (The lovely and warm Divina at Fragrance Bouquet and the talented Jenavira at Scent of Abricots).

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.

5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.


Six Random Tamara things:

1) I jumped out of an airplane at 14,000 feet. And I have the video to prove it! It is the craziest and most courageous thing I have ever done yet I've never felt more alive!

2) I started playing classical piano when I was nine years old. I was very good and miss it terribly. My favorite composers include Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. Some day I will have a baby grand in my living room and I'll teach my daughter to play.

3) Walking for 20 minutes three times per week and doing prenatal yoga once per week is about all I can muster in terms of exercise these days! My growing little girl accounts for my laziness.

4) I love interior design and secretly wish I had gone to school for it. I study it as a hobby but wish I had more skill!

5) My personal spiritual pursuit for the next 40 days until Thanksgiving is to write down ten things I'm grateful for and why, every day.

6) I can curl my tongue four ways.

Now the people I will tag are: lovely Marina over at Perfume Smellin' Things, witty A. at Style Spy, crafty Gaia at the Non-Blonde, funny and talented Annieytown at Blogdorf Goodman, Victoria at Victoria's Own whom I miss terribly, and the kind-hearted Raphaella at Sniffapalooza Magazine!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Comme des Garçons Series 4 Anbar

After browsing through my list of perfume reviews written over the last two years, it shocks me that not one scent from this unique line has been included. Therefore, I am proud to introduce Comme des Garçons, a Japanese fashion label founded in 1969 committed to excellence in fragrance. According to Wikipedia, Comme des Garçons released their first fragrance, named after the company, in 1994 and has since been committed to developing fine, unisex scents based upon non-traditional notes.

For this month's Amber devotion, I picked the refreshing Series 4 Anbar. The Series 4: Cologne collection contains three scents, all in cologne form, designed to be splashed and applied liberally while remaining remarkably close to the skin. (Read: the wearer will not overwhelm others but rather draw others closer to take a whiff of light scent.) True to form, these scents play on the skin for a short while. What they are not is a day-to-night fragrance to be applied in the morning with bottom notes lasting until dusk. Therein lies their charm and uniqueness.

I was quite surprised with Anbar at first sniff due to its abundance of citrus. The notes include mandarin, amber, carnation and musk. Had I been aware of its cologne status prior to testing, I would have been more prepared for a clean scent substituting a warm and dirty aroma. This amber lazily mopes in the background, while the mandarin and carnation dance together for most of the scent's development. Slightly sweet, mostly clean and quite manly smelling, Anbar provides a fantastic deviation from the artificial body sprays of the world and is light enough to be applied liberally before heading off to work. How I wish I could carry a bottle of this with me for every man who made me gag during early pregnancy. I would hand it off politely and say, "Try this instead of showering in whatever you are wearing on your skin." Yes, Series 4 Anbar would have been welcome to grace my nose any day when I was most sensitive. Even today, I find it invigorating and eye-opening.

In conclusion, I am impressed with Comme des Garçons as a house and must try other offerings after discussing their scent philosophy. Although Series 4 Anbar is not for me, at its affordable price point I will be purchasing a bottle for my husband. I am still searching for a bombshell amber to call my own! More on that next week.


The reason we perfumistas love Luckyscent so much is their ability to make obscure fragrances available in the United States. I am happy to say Comme des Garçons Series 4 Anbar is available at www.luckyscent.com. Although it is currently backordered, it will be available to ship October 20, 2008. A 125mL splash bottle retails for $52.
Image courtesy of luckyscent.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fresh Mandarine Amber


Before I begin, I must provide a disclaimer. It has been over six months since I have written an extensive and well researched perfume review and I am quite rusty! As with mastering any skill, consistent practice is essential to creative writing and I am so long out of practice I am embarrassed. So please forgive my awkwardness and brevity in writing. I promise I will smooth out my style as I become re-accustomed to this art form.

I received Fresh Mandarine Amber as part of a sample packet from the Perfumed Court. I have become mesmerized by amber fragrances of late; therefore I ordered a smattering of sophisticated ambers to dazzle my nose as the days in the inferno become cooler (and my growing little girl prepares for her debut!)

Unfortunately, my first pick of the set is impossible to find online. I have had trouble even getting a list of notes! So I will relay as best I can the qualities of this scent. Upon first sniff, I am overwhelmed with what seems like a cardamom-gingery accord. It is nice enough but most certainly reminiscent of a spice rack and it progresses to celery seed as the scent develops. Mandarin, if it is present, is entirely overwhelmed by the spices to which I refer. Any hint of sweetness at the top is very quickly replaced by a a flat, uninspiring and watered-down bouquet. In fact, it reminds me of the herbs I was taking in preparation for pregnancy, as prescribed by my acupuncturist. They smelled okay before mixed with water but were horrid to drink. I braced myself the three times per day I had to ingest them. Mandarine-Amber is not that scowl-inducing but it does remind me of the scent of the herbs.

The last disappointment is the absolute absence of that lovely amber accord I so anxiously await. I am searching for warmth, a little sweetness and lots of sex appeal and I find none. Just. Spice racks. Perhaps this is why the scent is not available to the masses. Maybe like the progression of the fragrance on my skin, its appeal to fragrance mavens just fizzled? It always breaks my heart when I cannot uncover one redeeming quality about a fragrance. But in this case, I cannot. All is not lost, however. There are many other more enigmatic Fresh fragrances to choose from! I may review another one soon. And next week's amber pick will be a bombshell!


As mentioned in my review, I was unable to locate a bottle or price online. If any readers have more information about this fragrance, please fill me in and I will update!

Monday, October 06, 2008

For the Love of Amber


For the next few weeks, I will be reviewing upscale scents that feature an "amber" note. Before I do, however, I would like to briefly discuss the use of this "note" in fragrance. It is a fallacy. Truly. I know. You may be shocked, but extracting the actual scent of the gemstone would be akin to extracting blood from a turnip. Amber in its natural state is simply fossilized deposits of tree resins, much like stones. It is therefore next to impossible to extract any semblance of a scent from these beautiful products of nature. Conversely, amber in scent is a combination of notes that create a golden, honeyed, earthy and warm quality. Together they conspire to create a fragrance that smells like golden amber would smell. The idea is magnificent and I have always found myself drawn to amber fragrances, especially when summer turns to fall and I reach for warmer clothing - clothing that traps and magnifies the warm qualities of an amber fragrance. But alas. These gorgeous fragrances are created with an idea in mind rather than utilizing true amber. (Sorcery of Scent did a terrific job of discussing amber in fragrance this past July!)

I will discuss Fresh Mandarin Amber on Friday.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

New Chanel at Bergdorf Goodman


I received an exciting phone call today about new offerings from Chanel! First, Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere is now available! It is touted as a "light, softer, fresher" interpretation of No. 5. I adore No. 5 but I know many who cannot wear it. Try the new Eau Premiere which retails at $125 for 5 oz. Also, the Chanel counter is offering a gift set featuring parfum samples of the best selling fragrances, including No. 5, Coco, Coco Mademoiselle and Allure! This set may just be the first item on my 2008 Christmas list. We all know parfums last longer and are more concentrated, so a few applications of each would suit me just fine! For more information, contact Josie at the Chanel counter: 1.888.774.2424.
Update: Eau Premiere made its debut in 2007 so please take that into account when reading this post. Bergdorf Goodman announced it as new, but it is actually one year old. Thanks to Gail for researching the matter!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bear With Me ...

Since my days of regular blogging have long past and I am nearly six months away from my three times per week posts, I have discovered that my fragrance sample cabinets and baskets are desperately bare. Therefore, in order to provide you with up-to-date and timely information, I am awaiting a few packages in the mail! Please bear with me as I anxiously await more subjects for review and writing.


In the meantime, this is what I was doing this past weekend - celebrating our growing baby!

Friday, August 29, 2008

And The Pregnancy Scent Award Goes To ...


...


Please read my review from February 2007, linked above to the name. Chills ran up my spine as I read my words of description from well over one year ago. Now that I am carrying a baby girl, softness ranks among one of my top priorities when it comes to just about everything. This scent is perfect in every way for my delicate nose. Its aroma softens my mood and my step and prepares me for comforting a child, just as my hormones do. Thank you to Mr. Schroeder for creating this pillow of a scent.

Have a fabulous holiday weekend, those of you in the United States!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Only the Pregnant Nose Knows

"I was feeling fine just doing the dishes. I opened my husband's tupperware container that he brought home from lunch and the horrid smell sent me running to the bathroom!"

"I took one whiff of the green pepper- and onion-laced fajitas in the Mexican restaurant and I felt like I was going to faint."

"An over-applied men's cologne did it. It assaulted me! I just couldn't get within a few feet of that man without gagging."

"I absolutely cannot subject myself to the smell of cigarette smoke lately. It makes me nauseated within a few minutes."

These comments are sentiments only the female gender can truly understand. All of them have one thing in common: they come from a pregnant nose. Only during pregnancy can a woman detect scent from miles away. It makes for an adventurous nine months for certain, and possibly adds to the richness of her life as well. When else will the nose be as keen as a cat's? Or the world as rich in odor? An abundance of divine smells embrace her. Scents like fresh cut grass, lettuce, ginger, lemons, mint, rosemary, fresh cut flowers, and her beloved's skin can inspire a pleasure in her she has never known. On the contrary, scents that normally evade or seemingly disappear on her are the source of nagging discomfort and illness. The only solace is to completely remove the source of the odor, take a stroll in fresh air or bury her nose in an orange (which I have done quite often). In fact, the sense of smell is so closely linked to morning sickness during pregnancy that one study found anosmic (possessing no sense of smell) women never experience pregnancy-associated nausea.

What is the culprit for this heightened sense of smell? Hormones - those lovely chemicals responsible for sheltering the baby, keeping it cozy, warm and growing inside. Estrogen in this case is the primary offender. This essential female hormone is abundantly excreted in a pregnant woman's body. As unpleasant as the experience can be for Mama, estrogen has been shown in studies to be responsible for fetal maturation and maintaining the pregnancy. A very important role it possesses, indeed!

My personal experience has elicited the following smell aversions: every fragrance in my collection (much to my chagrin), meat, cigarettes (either freshly lit or lingering on a smoker's body), coffee, garlic, hairspray and most heavily scented cosmetics, my husband's Gris Clair by Serge Lutens (my apologies Mr. Lutens!) and many men's colognes, cleaning products, and ultimately anything with a very strong scent. Fortunately I have not had to rush to the bathroom. I simply avert my nose, leave the room ... and .... do not wear most of my perfumes. What an astonishing outcome and one that I never expected!

My personal theory says that these hormonal influences also protect our baby from noxious chemicals and other harmful substances. Why else would we cringe, vomit, or gag when faced with scents we could easily endure pre-pregnancy? These reactions require immediate response. It is as if our baby is reaching up and directing our physiological reactions, saying "Mom! Stop sniffing! Now! It's too much for me!" A beautiful thing is Mother Nature. I respect her immensely.

Fortunately, my estrogen levels must have dropped recently since I can endure more and more scents from my collection. This must be one of the benefits of being in the second half of my pregnancy. However, the amount I spray is a fraction of what I used to and I can smell most scents on my skin until I shower them off. This might be a good time to re-try scents that seemed to disappear on me before - scents like Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle (am I redeemed now?), Maitre Parfumer et Gantier Soie Rouge and Estee Lauder Azuree Oil. I will let you know how that experiment goes.

For the previously or currently pregnant, what were your smell aversions? What smells did you love?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm BAAAaaack!


Hello Friends!
I have missed you so. During my hiatus I endured an aversion to perfume/fragrance that left me stumped and feeling lonely. My only solace was my supportive husband and this beautiful baby GIRL (!!!) growing inside me along with the knowledge that some day I will be able to tolerate scent once again. That day has come and although my enthusiasm is shrouded with caution, I can enjoy the olfactory sense enough to share ideas with you at least once per week. With all of the commotion that will take place over the next few months, I feel that is a realistic goal. So here we are!

This Friday, I will post a piece on the pregnant nose. Next week, I plan to review the one scent that I adore these days. Please stay tuned to discover that gem. Finally, I would love to hear your Scent of the Day. Mine is Montale Fruits of the Musk - a delicious berry fusion with musk and grey amber which trumps most of its contemporaries (such as Trish McEvoy #9 and Philosophy Falling In Love. The latter smells like Jolly Ranchers candy to my nose). Fruits of the Musk achieves a balance and sophistication that the others lack, and I find it deliciously comforting.

Thank you for your patience and I look forward to reuniting with you all!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ramblings of a Pregnant Perfumista


Hello dear readers! I hope you are well, enjoying your fragrances and resting this holiday weekend. My life has changed drastically over the last few months, as you can imagine. I never thought I would be so disinterested in my perfume collection and I find it somewhat disturbing. There are times that I will be lounging on the couch (which is quite often these days due to fatigue and sickness) and I will suddenly think of all my beautiful bottles. I run through each of them in my mind, conjuring up their scent and asking myself, "Does that sound nice?" with each one. I have yet to find one that does. Even my beloved Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien left me unimpressed this past Saturday night after I spritzed a tiny amount on my wrist before a party. I long for the day that I can enjoy fragrance once again! The only scent that sounds remotely interesting to me right now is Jo Malone Verbenas de Provence, a lovely citrusy light-as-a-breeze and refreshing scent. I imagine inhaling it as I do fresh oranges and lemons lately, pressing them to my nose to drown out other disturbing and overwhelming scents. In fact, citrus is the only scent that always smells good to my hormone-filled senses right now and I find it the perfect antidote to nausea. Even mint is a little too much at times.

Again, I appreciate your patience and understanding during this time of respite and wonder. I definitely need the break because my body and mind become exhausted after four or more hours of activity. I cannot imagine taxing my mind for another two to three hours to write a review. But I miss you all terribly! Please, tell me what you are wearing these days.

May God bless all fallen soldiers today and every day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Announcement


My Dear Readers,

I never thought I would have to write this. This blog has been an integral part of my life for over one year and I derive so much pleasure and enjoyment from it. It has taught me so much and I have made some wonderful friends! However, I have to take a temporary break. You see, Mr. TMH and I are expecting!! As a result, this week was the first week where I really started to abhor scent and it is getting worse by the day. I get headaches and nausea from a simple sniff so the thought of writing an entire review is overwhelming to my nose and body, and of course the little miracle growing inside. It has been a long, hard road for us to have a child so this miracle deserves every ounce of energy I have! I am so sorry to disappoint temporarily but I know that you are all wonderful people and that you understand. I promise to come back as soon as possible!! In the meantime, keep smelling, sampling and investigating those harder to find fragrances.

On a brighter note, Happy Mother's Day to all mothers! Your nurturing, protection, care and hard work deserve applause, this weekend and every day.

Much love to all,


Tamara

Friday, May 09, 2008

Post Delay

Hello Dear Readers,

My schedule did not allow for an entry today so in lieu of it I will post tomorrow Saturday. Please stay tuned and enjoy your Friday evening!

Thanks!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Antonia's Flowers Floret


I had the pleasure of meeting Antonia herself in New York City last fall. Quite a humble and kind woman she is; humble in the sense that she has created amazing fragrances and simply sees herself as being of service to the perfume community, and kind in the sense that she gave items to me and my contemporaries that are quite valuable. One of these items is a gorgeous purse sized spray of a delightfully floral, fruity fragrance called Floret. Inspired by the "rambling" sweet peas in her grandmother's garden, the bouquet centers mostly around the pinky, purple flower. With marigold, apricot, lily of the valley, rose and tuberose added, the bouquet is as sweet as springtime, as fruity as punch and just downright precious. I get loads of lily of the valley which makes me very happy. I was quite a fan of the flower as a little girl and they grew abundantly in our back yard. I adored the tiny little bells that adorned the large green leaves and wondered how I could bottle their delicate scent. So Floret finds a place in my book for a full bottle purchase simply for realizing my childhood dreams. It reminds me of all things innocent, sweet and cheerful - like a smiling little girl in a frilly dress. I will wear it on days that I am feeling particularly girly and whimsical, to add bounce to my step and sweetness in my wake. No more than one or two spritzes is all you need! The staying power on my skin lasts all day. Pardon me for being particularly short-winded today. As you may agree with your own experience, I know a good thing when I smell it!



Floret is available in EDT and EDP formulations and ranges anywhere in price from $21 for a purse spray to $140 for a 2 oz. EDP custom bottle. Matching body lotion is also available, all at antoniasflowers.com. Image from said website.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Perfume for the Occasion: Weddings Part II, For the Bride and Groom

This topic is very near and dear to my heart. In planning our wedding, I discovered that I really enjoyed it. Granted, there was the usual nervousness, perfectionist approach, and borderline obsession with creating a beautiful day, but overall I loved the project management aspect of wedding planning – so much that I considered, for a short time, becoming a professional wedding planner. The cost and risk involved in starting my own business and the current stability of my career ultimately scared me away. I have talked about my ideas since with close friends. I would like to specifically help brides on a budget create a wedding just as gorgeous and meaningful as those with over $30K to spend. (The average wedding cost in my city is $27,000 which, as a nervous and frugal bride, I thought was a little ridiculous.) Maybe some day …

In lieu of planning other people’s weddings, what better topic for us to choose for Perfume for the Occasion than the fragrances brides and grooms should wear on their big day? The vast majority agree that picking something already loved by your fiancé is a key consideration. One week before your big day is not the time to rush out and buy the latest trendy fragrance. (Of course, if you receive a fragrance as a gift from a family member or your fiancé the day of the event, by all means wear it for sentimental reasons.) You may already be incredibly certain as to what you will wear, based upon reactions from your beloved. However, for those who do not have anything in mind, Divina of Fragrance Bouquet and I offer some choices that will steer you in the right direction.

This is perhaps the most personal fragrance choice you will ever make since most brides will always remember what they wore on their wedding day. (I wore Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier because my husband adores it!) Make sure to find something you both love by testing the following picks:


For the Romantic

Did your fiancé plan an amazing proposal? Are you choosing songs like “At Last” by Ella Fitzgerald for your play list? These scents will whisk you away to starry nights, candlelit dinners and hushed voices.

Bride:
Laura Mercier Eau de Lune – a soft, ethereal whisp of a floral scent that reminds me of Julia Andrews in love in the Sound of Music. I believe this is one of the most romantic florals available on the market!

Guerlain Jardins de Bagatelle EDP - full of innocence and promise, white flowers beckon you to a beautiful, romantic garden where your beloved awaits.

Hanae Mori Eau Fraiche - this recent limited edition would be a perfect compliment to any bride who wishes to smell simultaneously sweet and fresh. Most importantly, it contains a peony note which is the symbol for long-lasting love and feminine beauty among the Chinese.

Groom: I Profumi di Firenze Terra di Sienna – what better scent for a groom who is a lover of all things romantic than one from a city of romance: Florence? When my husband wears this soft, romantic and warm scent, I know what lies ahead will be at the very least fun, at the very most incredibly memorable.


For the Traditionalist

For the bride and groom who enjoy tradition and would rather not set any new trends on their wedding day, these scents offer a classic option that will not offend you or any of your guests. And they just might deem your wedding unforgettable.

Bride:
Jean Patou Joy – this legendary fragrance was created in 1935 by Henri Alméras for Patou at the height of the Great Depression. The scent was designed for Patou’s former clients who could no longer afford his fashions, according to Wikipedia. A quintessential classic foral heavily focused on roses, it would compliment a traditional bride superbly.

Chanel No. 22 EDT – another classic from Chanel that has stood the test of time. No. 22 is powdery green, effervescent, clean, innocent and nostalgic, perfect for a bride who is sweet and fresh but who desires to be classic.

Christian Dior Diorissimo – a timeless classic of clear, soft composition centering upon muguet and tuberose that is reminiscent of a spring garden.

DSH Perfumes The Perfect Bride – a superb, feminine blend of flowers that will beautifully match any flower arrangements you choose, as well as any dress!

Groom:
Goeffrey Beene Grey Flannel – unanimously one of the best selling fragrances for men and the women who love them, this treasured classic is sure to please your bride.

DSH For the Groom – an understated and complimentary blend for the groom who has time to order online and test. Dshperfumes.com will not disappoint you!


For the Nervous

I have yet to observe a wedding where both the bride and groom were pillars of calm and serenity. For those who believe in the powers of aromatherapy and would like their fragrance choice to benefit them, I offer a few fantastic choices with lavender as headline, known for its anti-stress properties.

Bride: Andy Tauer Reverie au Jardin – this choice could work for both the bride and groom but I offer it for the bride because of its sweet, powdery qualities. This soft, incredibly interesting blend offers enough lavender to calm nerves without overwhelming.

Groom: Caron Pour un Homme - a soothing blend of lavender atop a warm, ambery vanilla that smells, quite simply, like a gentleman. One spritz is all you need.


For the Earthy

Do you buck most tradition and instead opt for a simple, low-budget wedding in a beautiful setting? Do you prefer picking wild flowers to hiring a florist? How about flip flops instead of shoes? These choices will offer a stunning addition to your meaningful day.

Bride: Guerlain Cruel Gardenia – an incredible offering from Guerlain’s L'Art et la Matiere line that blends gorgeous florals with a grounding, earthy, and warm base. This choice is a fantastic one for any bride, but I offer it for the earthy because I detect so much of the gorgeous base notes.

Groom: Hermes Terre d’Hermes – an earthen yet uplifting scent that offers contrasting notes to create something truly stellar. Grapefruit juxtaposed to woods, cedar and patchouli with a velvety dry down renders the fragrance fabulous without extra “frills.”


For the Fashion Plate

Finally for those who insist on wearing the latest designer gowns and/or tuxes, choosing the trendiest accessories, and creating a day that will go down in history as one of the coolest ever, these choices are for you!

Bride: Stella Absolute Rose – this gorgeous rose based in amber is not only unforgettable but created by arguably one of the most trend-setting designers today: Stella McCartney. Please read my review for a description of this refined scent, perfect for a wedding day.

Groom: Chanel Egoїste or Platinum Egoїste – Alluring, sexy and fashion forward, these fragrances will compliment a man devoted to looking and smelling good.

Should you have any questions about where to find my suggestions, please leave them in the comments section and I will do my best to help you find them. Most are widely commercially available. Enjoy your day and turn your mind into a video camera to capture every moment. If there is one thing that all of us who are married know, it is that the day goes by way too quickly. Try to savor every delicious moment. Most importantly, best wishes for a lifetime of happiness together!


Images are from my own wedding, courtesy of elysehall.com

Friday, May 02, 2008

Perfume History: Colette Advises Women


From the pages of Perfume: Joy, Obsession, Scandal, Sin by Richard Stamelman comes an interesting vignette about Colette, a legendary woman who opened her own boutique, Société Colette, in 1932 - quite a feat if you ask me! Following the opening of the boutique in June of that year, which drew the most elite of Paris society, she continued her ongoing interest in fragrance, makeup, skincare, fashion and writing. When a critic labeled her as an "olfactory novelist" she graciously accepted the idea, claiming "I have followed my nose, and it has always led me to what is best and worst."

She was quite passionate about fragrance and it came through in her glorious writing. Most interesting, however is her suggestion of one signature fragrance. The following is from page 257 of the book mentioned above:

Colette favored floral fragrances for herself and for the women readers to whom she offered advice. "Any perfume that does not have a vegetal origin," she counsels, "can be nothing more than a passing fancy of fashion." There are scents around "that could kill a bull. In a restaurant, at the theater, women leave fragrances in their wake that cut one's appetite or detract from what is happening on the screen or the stage"("Parfums," Paysages, 150).* Women with "nez fins," like Colette, are too sensitive to embrace perfumes that are not conservative, classic or what she calls "eternal like the flower that is their inspiration." It is vital that women not flutter like "drunken bees" ("Parfums," Paysages, 151, 153) from one perfume to another: "Madame, you who read my words, I hope you never have ... a 'new' perfume." A woman must practice a certain self-denial by remaining faithful "to a well-chosen perfume, linked to your moral person, to your physical charms, a perfume your friends love and recognize, one that surprises people you meet for the first time and that makes them dream" ("Parfums," Paysages, 152).

In addition, Colette was a particular fan of "white" fragrances including notes such as jasmine, gardenia, tuberose and white tobacco. Oh, would she be aghast at the state of the perfume industry today! The quest to launch new and ultimately mediocre fragrances, the plethora of different genres of scent and the deviation from truly beautiful white florals. I think she would be quite pleased, however, with Estee Lauder's Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia and even Guerlain's Cruel Gardenia. I have a difficult time with her idea of loyalty to one scent although I see the value in finding one stunningly stellar scent that defines me, or that I define. There is a certain fun and whimsy in the "drunken bee" analogy that aptly fits my attitude toward fragrance. Yet, it certainly would simplify my life to settle down with just one. My question is, "Why?" when there are so many beautiful scents to be tried and discovered - scents that tomes are written about. Sniffapalooza is devoted to people of the "drunken bee" type and we certainly have no qualms about it! So today dear reader, please comment on your thoughts of claiming one fragrance as your own. According to Colette's criteria, if you had to pick just one, which would it be and why?

My possibilities:

Chanel No. 5, Chanel Cristalle or Molinard Nirmali

Chanel No. 5 is a fragrance I could wear for the rest of my life. It is close to the skin, classic and sparkling. Yet sometimes it feels too mature for me. Chanel Cristalle is again a classic, much younger in feel and greener than No. 5 and it would suit my positive outlook on life. Molinard Nirmali is perhaps the best fit with fruity and floral notes that would probably never bore me. It has curves and sex appeal and in my best moments I have the former and would love to possess the latter!

*Precisely the reason Divina and I have developed "Fragrance for the Occasion!"

Image of bee courtesy of pdphoto.org

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ajne deLavande

Do you consider yourself sensitive to perfume? Harsh chemicals? Histamines? Or do you long for a stellar fragrance derived only from plants? Are you a mother awaiting the birth of your child and searching for a soft fragrance made just for you? I am elated to introduce a perfume house with those like you in mind. Founder of Ajne, Jane Hendler, along with her husband longed to create plant-derived fragrances, skin and body care. To that end, they planted an organic farm and eventually opened the doors to their shop in Carmel, California. Today, Ajne has received acclaim from the likes of Good Morning America, Cosmopolitan magazine, and Bergdorf Goodman. In fact, I was delighted to hear from Ms. Hendler at the Fall Ball in October 2007. Bergdorf Goodman supports the individualized approach that Ajne employs and made the stellar decision to carry the line in late March 2007. One glance through Ajne's website and little doubt remains as to the dedication of the founders to quality fragrances with organic derivatives. Incidentally, never have I seen more gorgeous, unique, Bohemain packaging!

The first and only fragrance I have experienced from the line bucks every word I have uttered about lavender scents. Until now, the only one I could wear and tolerate was Andy Tauer's fantastic creation, Reverie Au Jardin. However, deLavande is so strikingly interesting with a deep backdrop of woods and spices, it begs me to wear it on days that I am moving a little too quickly and need to slow down. From the description on the website, I found this beautiful prose:

"The scent of the lavender harvest is captured in deLavande. Designed around a heart note of three distinct lavenders and set in a luscious base of smoky vanilla almond woods. deLavande contains the world’s purest lavender oils from Provence, Bulgaria and of course from our own spring fed organic farm in Carmel Valley. deLavande is as perfect for her as it is for him. If you feel drawn to Lavande, life is encouraging you to breathe deeply, speak your truth, slow down a bit and relax. "

Such a gorgeous idea amidst a beautiful scent! The high quality lavender headlines the fragrance with its rich, nurturing bouquet. Those smoky vanilla almond woods characterize the remainder of the scent and give it an earthy groundedness. As my friends Linda and Rob discovered at the Fall Ball, a heart note exists that resembles cinnamon, although I am certain it is simply the luscious lavender mixing with the precious smoky woods.

As I continuously sniff my wrist to write this review, I am cloaked in a warm, gold blanket of calm and centeredness. Indeed, essential oils offer spiritual qualities yet plant-derived ingredients do not sacrifice intrigue at all in this case. I do not smell like a headshop. I smell like the breeze that blows the fields of lavender as it blooms during the summertime in response to the warmth of the sun. I smell like the rich, sweet and fertile earth from which it grows. And I smell like tranquility.

Be sure to visit the website to gain an appreciation for the packaging, fragrances and philosophies of this outstanding company. (Special thanks to Linda for gifting me with a generous sample of this fragrance!)


Ajne deLavande is available on the website in .5 to 1 fl. oz. sizes ranging from $80-$130. It is also available at Bergdorf Goodman.

Image of ajne products courtesy of ajne.com; lavender courtesy of stressdynamics.com.

Winner of Poll Draw


Thank you all for entering and for your thoughtful and inspiring poll answers. The winner of the random drawing is ....
Cirka!
Cirka, please e-mail me with your address to claim your prize!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Discovery


Delightfully I was able to peruse some new shops that have sprung up in a quaint, boutique-y shopping area in Scottsdale over the weekend. The area is called the Waterfront. Inside a tiny little shop full of colorful furnishings and eclectic finds from places like Capri and Sicily, I found the entire Molinard 1849 collection. I was stunned and delighted because I have only seen these fragrances available (so far) at Aedes.com, which is a fantastic website. The ability to test the fragrances in person far exceeds any online shopping experience and I did each one. I have reviewed Un Air de Molinard and find that softly, greenly beautiful. But I discovered true love yesterday with Nirmala in the purple Lalique bottle! What a fruity, fresh, intriguing blend that reminds me of Thierry Mugler's Angel without the patchouli note, making it entirely wearable for me. Tragically, it appeared that the store stocked the fragrances simply because they matched the color scheme throughout the place. There were six customers at once expressing interest in the line, and unfortunately the sales clerk had very little to say about them and promptly left to look for her "fact sheet," losing the interest of all six people. It truly was a sad scene, and I wished I was able to help her become more well-versed but at the moment I recalled so little about the house, other than the fact that it originated in Grasse. This is one expensive bottle, however. At $185 a crack, it requires some saving - a worthwhile sacrifice for a beautiful fragrance. I plan to review once I get my hands on more, so please stay tuned!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Poll for the Weekend!


I never like to leave things on a bad note and considering my review of the previous fragrance, I thought I would lighten things up a bit with a bubbly poll! I will randomly draw a response to receive a large sample of my By Kilian fragrance, Liaisons Dangereuse, which has now made it to the West coast! (Lucky Scent and Apothia both stock them now.)

1. Of the fragrances you have tested in the last month, how many full bottles have you purchased?
2. If you received a sample from BodyNew, do you like it? If so, what do you like about it? (If you do not know what this is referring to, just reply n/a.)
3. What is your favorite aspect of this time of year?
4. What is your favorite flower that blooms this time of year?
5. If you were to characterize yourself by a fragrance category (spicy/woodsy/floral/chypre/green/fresh/gourmand), which one would it be and why?


My answers:
1. 0
2. I loved sharing!
3. Birdsongs most of the morning and baby quail
4. Honeysuckle
5. Floral simply because I adore floral fragrances and I enjoy being a woman

Friday, April 25, 2008

John Varvatos Eau de Parfum

Meant to be tropical and remind wearers of the exotic flowers of a tropical isle, this new and first release for women from John Varvatos disappoints in every way. Firstly, the tropical appeal is lost on me. Instead, what I find is a very cloying, irritating, persistent bouquet that takes prisoners and never lets up. I would expect to find gardenia, tuberose and/or frangipani in a scent dedicated to the tropics. Sadly, none of those flowers bless the composition of this fragrance, for they would be a welcome, softening addition. This scent reminds me of so many that have gone before it, claiming a fantastic addition to floral fragrances available but offering nothing. Save your pennies and instead look for Annick Goutal Songes, Kai or even Fracas. The only redeeming quality about this fragrance is, of course, the bottle. (Remember, it is all about packaging these days. Consumers may be fooled by a great bottle.) Supposedly a grappa bottle served as inspiration for the shape and it is nice enough. However, I encourage you to focus on the juice and in this case, it is unremarkable.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Perfume Tip #5: Testing and Buying

In discussing how to buy perfume with some of my close girlfriends, I have discovered that this idea is about as clear as mud with most American consumers, from a young woman looking for her first scent to an adoring husband searching for a gift for his wife. My first piece of advice is to never, ever buy within minutes of approaching the counter. Sales representatives would like you to think that you can make a decision quickly if you like something. But it is a shame to the art of perfume to do this - mostly because the true character of the scent does not shine until it has dried down and that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. The best thing to do is ask for a spritz on your skin or on a card and walk away to let the scent develop. If you still like it within the course of three to four hours, a purchase is more justifiable.

That leads me to another point, test on your skin as often as possible. Actually, test as many as possible! Testing and sampling is extremely important. It is a rare occasion that I have been shopping for perfume and liked the first one I tried. Sometimes it takes days or multiple shopping trips for me to find a scent I truly love. Again, you will receive some resistance from sales representatives in doing this but it truly is the right thing to do. Stores I have found friendly to testing include Barney's New York, Bergdorf Goodman, CosBar Scottsdale, Essentials and More Scottsdale, Fred Segal Apothia, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue and Takashimaya New York. (If I have missed any, forgive me. These are the stores that stand out to my knowlege!) I am certain there are a smattering of knowledgeable sales staff at other stores, but for the most part my perfume testing and shopping experiences at stores like Macy's or Dillard's has been marginal at best. Additionally, the latter rarely have truly remarkable fragrances available in their offerings. What they do have are an abundance of fragrances driven by marketing that lack depth and beauty. (There are exceptions, but for the most part I never shop there.) Perhaps the best places to shop are tiny boutiques like Scent Bar in Los Angeles (for online purchase information please read my perfume tip on online fragrance shopping here.) Oh how I wish there were a place like Scent Bar where I live. I have often thought of opening a store in my town like it to satisfy my cravings for truly fantastic fragrances. But I digress ...


Overall, the more you test, the more you discover what you truly like. Research the fragrances you like online before or after testing and find commonalities between the scents. Are there certain notes you are drawn to? Certain houses? Basenotes.net offers a wonderful search option allowing you to type in notes to find fragrances containing them, giving you many options to test. Read reviews on the fragrance blogs I recommend. Additionally, never, ever succumb to the idea from a fragrance model that a certain fragrance "fits you" and buy the fragrance on the spot. Figure it out for yourself, test it for a few hours, keep sampling others and you cannot go wrong.

In purchasing a scent, remember that a full bottle of fragrance is a lot of fragrance. It is much easier to swallow that fact when you have found love. I am a huge fan of buying decants online, because I rarely use up a whole bottle of fragrance. (I rarely wear the same fragrance every day.) The beauty in this is getting a smaller amount of a scent you have recently discovered you like. If you empty the decant and still like it, a full bottle purchase is certainly justified. There are several places to buy decants and my favorite is Theperfumedcourt.com. I know most of the ladies involved in this site. They are second to none in customer service and maintaining a collection of the most gorgeous fragrances on the planet.

I will leave you with a final thought. The fragrance industry is largely driven by marketing these days. The bulk of the cost of perfume is in the packaging, so sales associates make it a point to carry around the bottles and tempt you to purchase quickly. I encourage you to pay more attention to what is inside the bottle. A heavily marketed fragrance is more likely to be crap. A more quiet, obscure and difficult to find fragrance is more likely to be worth investigating, in my experience. Do some research, test and test again and pay attention to how you feel when you wear the scent. If you are able to check all of these boxes with positive thought, only then is pulling out your wallet in order.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Forget Me Not: Seringa by Floris of London

I love perfume houses with a great story. And the story behind Floris is precisely why I chose one of its fragrances for “Forget Me Not” this month. It has not been an exceptionally long time since Seringa was released (1992), however since it is the only sample I have other than the more recently released China Rose, it will suffice for April. Add to that fact the scent could make an addition to a springtime work fragrance wardrobe, and we are in business.

I have been hoping to review a Floris of London fragrance for quite some time but I have been limited by the two previously mentioned samples I received in New York City last fall. How I wish there was a Floris counter in my hometown! I would thoroughly enjoy the quest to find “my scent” and fill my bathroom with its accompanying toiletries that are so plentifully available.

So let us move on with the story, shall we? Floris of London was founded during the year 1730. It was a year of abundant arts, culture and tragedy. The Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great by Henry Fielding was playing at Drury Lane Theater, the oldest English theater still in use; an actor and playwright named Colley Cibber was named poet laureate of Britian due to his works centering on political intrigue; and the Russian czar died of smallpox on his wedding day at the tender age of 14. Additionally an opportunistic man arrived in England to seek his fortune from his native Menorca (the second largest of the Balearic islands of Spain). His name was Juan Famenias Floris. He began a business by setting up shop in the elegant St. James quarter of London, where he worked as a comb-maker and barber. However, eventually he missed the aromas of his native land and began experimenting with oils, essences and fixatives. Thus, Floris of London was born! Floris is run to this day by eighth generation descendants of Mr. Floris and the house focuses on “superior products where craftsmanship and quality is paramount,” according to their website.


Seringa, a fruity floral, theoretically centers around the “mock orange blossom” or seringa flower. In fact, I have not been able to find anything on the actual scent of the seringa flower but rather the seringa tree that yields rubber. Not to worry, however, since the remainder of identifiable notes give this scent its character: notes such as violet leaf, lily and oakmoss. This initially crisp, leafy green, not in the least bit sweet floral begins quite sharp – so much that I encourage you to avoid sniffing for at least a full three minutes. It is in my inability to identify one particular note (in the words of Luca Turin) that makes this scent’s composition exceptionally good. Seringa is shower-fresh that lasts all day. It is a quiet scent when applied lightly and it leaves a woman smelling nice but not perfume-y, subtle and humble, crisp and clean. Interestingly, several of the representatives at Floris claim that it was a favorite of Princess Diana. That fact perhaps inspires many purchases of the fragrance, but is it really full-bottle worthy? If you enjoy smelling faintly like floral soap, faintly like a spa, and faintly like greenery added to floral bouquets, this scent is for you. I would gladly purchase the body cream to wear on days that I need a quiet fragrance. But I will not be adding a full bottle to my collection anytime soon due to my boredom* with the fragrance. There is positively nothing about it that causes me to swoon, much like the uniform I wore in parochial school. It is just there. It serves its purpose and sometimes looks nice, but I would not choose to wear it to impress. The history of the house has me intrigued, though. I would like to find one from the collection that works for me. Any suggestions? Please be sure to visit Divina's review of Nina by Nina Ricci at Fragrance Bouquet.

*When Divina and I came up with the concept “Forget Me Not”, we agreed that there may be scents that fall into this category that we do not like. It is not that I do not like this one, however. I am simply unmoved.


Floris Seringa is available at florislondon.com and various online perfume discounters. You might also find a good deal on it at Marshall's or TJ Maxx.

Image of bottle courtesy of florisoflondon.com; violet leaf courtesy of hiltonpond.com

Boston's NPR hosts "Perfume Appreciation"

Today at 11 a.m. EST, WBUR will be hosting Luca Turin (biophysicist and perfume critic), Patty Geissler (editor and writer for the informative and entertaining Perfume Posse) and Tania Sanchez (a writer and perfume critic) for a feature entitled "Perfume Appreciation" by guest host Jane Clayson. I know I am looking forward to hearing the discussion with Patty's views added to the mix. Read more here. No matter where you are in the world, you can listen live from your computer. Those who do listen, let us discuss! Leave your comments here on what you thought of the piece.

Update: Thanks to the lovely Iris from L.A., I now have a video clip that encapsulates several of the points made during the WBUR interview and offers a peek at Tania Sanchez and Luca Turin. Although a little grainy as Iris admits, it's still great! Watch it here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Montale Aoud Roses Petals

Delightfully, my first experience with Montale Aoud fragrances just happens to be one that is softened by quintessential rose. I am not certain why I am so late on this bandwagon. It seems to be a condition of my life. I tend not to follow the herd but rather stay in the field chasing butterflies until what the herd is drawn to strikes my fancy at a much later date. By then, the others have reached a crescendo, consequently lost interest and see me as terribly behind. I am willing to risk that "behind" label in favor of authentic interest. So here I am ... authentically interested in the Aouds.

I am quite pleasantly surprised by this first fragrance. What I expected to be medicinal, harsh and slightly in need of scrubbing is in fact pleasant, intriguing, and unique. Thank goodness for my aoud virgin nose, the aoud is shrouded in this scent, shrouded in gauze curtains scented with roses. Yet this is no blushing, dewy, pink rose. It is a confident, slightly dirty red rose absolute strengthened by geranium, giving it a liquor-y, opaque feel. It has a rich, earthy quality, as if the petals are surrounded by damp pebbles over fertile soil and the soil gives the flower strength to endure. The fragrance does not change much from start to finish, as if the confident rose possesses stamina.


The wearer of this fragrance should possess total confidence and charisma and if she is a woman red lipstick is required. There is a certain subtle sex appeal about the scent due to its redolent, raw, boozy and earthy nature. It is not quite me, although I can imagine wearing it to an elaborate affair requiring a cocktail dress and fishnet stockings. Considering events such as these are rare in my life today, I probably will not apply Montale Aoud Roses Petals often. But if I were a fancy socialite living in New York City? You bet!


Montale Aoud Roses Petals is available at luckyscent.com. A 50mL spray retails for $150.

Image of rose courtesy of mir.com; woman courtesy of panterka.kiev.ua

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jo Malone Kohdo Wood Collection

Thank you to the lovely and kind Iris at Saks Fifth Avenue at Biltmore Shopping Center, I was able to test and sample the fragrances of this collection long before their release. The two fragrances will be released as limited editions in May and they are based upon the centuries-old, very refined art of Kōdō, the Japanese incense ceremony. The first of the two is Lotus Blossom & Water Lily, meant for day wear and "designed to energize the body." The second is Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, to set a sensual, mellow mood for night.

Lotus Blossom & Water Lily contains a well-rounded combination of notes, including grapefruit, mandarin, freesia, honeysuckle, incense, amber and guaiac wood, among others including the title notes. I have discovered that any fragrance containing either mandarin or guaiac wood is likely to inspire a double take on my part ... or make that double sniff. But this luscious, uplifting, and most certainly "energizing" fragrance has struck my fancy so much that I have nearly used up my samples. (I typically sample a fragrance a few times for a review and then either give the vial away or stash it for future use. Not with this one.) The Kōdō ceremonies are hallmarked as being extremely refined, precise and requiring 30 years of study to perfect. Lotus Blossom & Water Lily possesses a similar refined quality, as if the perfumer desired to perfect each aspect of the scent. It melds adjectives such as "fresh," "sweet" and "spicy" into one and when I wear it people ask, "What is that? It smells so good!" A fresh, energizing beginning leads to the sumptuous yet light floral heart, all the while faintly underscored by a spicy, resinous, and reverberating base - squeaky clean with a dirty twist. I adore the fact that most of its bouquet is a soft floral, not in the least bit cloying and fresh as a cool breeze. In fact, I have found that Jo Malone is able to create fragrances in the "fresh" category unlike no other house and I love them for it. Here in the desert the quality is elusive.

As an interesting side note, I was drawn to investigate the significance of lotus blossom. In researching Tantra, an ancient tradition in which the lotus blossom is revered, I found this on a Tantra website:

In tantric art the lotus is a symbol of the expanding consciousness, which ultimately raises the aspirant from the dark depths of ignorance to the radiant heights of inner awakening. Because of its smooth and oily surface the lotus is not affected by the water in which it grows. Hence just as the lotus plant grows in the 'darkness of mud' and gradually blossoms out to the surface of water, unsullied by the mud and water which nourishes it, so the inner-self transcends beyond its own material limits, uncorrupted and untarnished by illusion and ignorance.

If you have ever attended a yoga class, you have undoubtedly experienced references to tantra, the chakras, mandalas and the like. With this idea in mind, I move to the next fragrance.


Dark Amber & Ginger Lily amps up the sex appeal considerably, with an ambery although mostly woodsy composition delicately sweetened with ginger and lily. Dark Amber & Ginger Lily contains water lily (as in the previous) with the provocative addition of night blooming jasmine, leather, pink pepper, amber, incense and sandalwood. In the Kōdō tradition, participants "listen" to the incense by properly holding and sniffing it through a Kōdō cup. In "listening" to this fragrance I hear deep, resonating Tantric chants, not the watered down Western idea of Tantra (typically referring to sex), but the ancient conscious-expanding form of the tradition. The chant focuses on the Sacral Chakra, the source of life and creativity. It is deep and resinous, at times honey sweet and always calming and profound. Enlightenment feels within reach with this audible, delectable scent.

Best of all, these profound and meaningful fragrances can easily be layered, as all of the scents of Jo Malone, to create a scent all your own. I may just have to temporarily relieve myself of my savings plan to invest in these two impeccable scents while they are available.


The Jo Malone Kohdo Wood Collection will be availabe in 30mL and 100mL cologne and matching bath oils and candles at your local Jo Malone counter in May.

Images: Genji-Plum courtesy of japanese-incense; lotus blossom courtesy of hongkongdailyphoto; "Enlightenment" courtesy of eso-garden

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Slight Delay

Dear Readers,

I have undergone some medical treatment this week that required me to relax and rest. Therefore, my Wednesday post will be up tomorrow, Thursday. On Friday I will be back on my regular schedule. Thank you for your patience!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Antica Farmacista Fico Verde Home



I present another wonderful entry by the lovely Camille:

There are certain scents that conjure up images of home when I was growing up: the traditional Easter yeast bread rising and then baking in the oven, fresh sheets pulled from the line still smelling of sunshine, the smoky warmth of logs burning in a fireplace on a cold fall night in Buffalo. I love those scent memories. The problem is that I don’t bake much (outside of that Easter bread I faithfully make once every year!), I don’t dry clothes on a line, and fireplaces get minimal use in Arizona. But I still want those scents greeting me when I enter the kitchen or lingering in the halls as I’m walking to another room. So I admit that I take the shortcuts of our facsimile age. Enter candles, oil warmers, and other “home fragrance” scents and gadgets that I obsess about nearly as much as I do personal fragrances.

My latest obsession is not extremely new, but it’s new and fabulous to me, so I thought I’d share for any of you out there who might have missed it. I am currently in love with Antica Farmacista’s Fico Verde Home Ambiance fragrance, enough so that I’ve purchased a large “refill” size of the stuff so that I can have it wafting around the house all through this Spring and Summer. I’m smitten with it for several reasons:
  • The scent is Philosykos for the home, and as I noted in my first post on this blog, Philosykos is one of my all time desert-island faves. Fico Verde (Green Fig) is a grassy, figgy, sweet-bitter green scent; the Antica Farmacista website (http://www.anticafarmacista.com/) describes the notes thus: “This scent begins with fresh green notes of cut grass, luscious notes of fruit and soft violet, then softly envelopes you in the sweetness of wild fig. A finishing drydown of powdery sandalwood round [sic] out this harmonious scent.” Green Fig conjures up for me the scent memory of relaxing with a glass of homemade lemonade near a fresh cut lawn on a summer day. It’s perfect for this time of year when the temps are rising, the windows are open, and I want the house to smell (if not actually be?!) fresh and clean.

  • The fragrance is offered in one of those “sticks in a glass bottle” forms that are ubiquitous at the moment, and I have to admit I like the concept—it’s scent distribution that requires no flame or electricity and has the added bonus of looking pretty. Antica Farmacista’s bottles and labels are classic apothecary styles that would fit in most décor schemes, and Fico Verde is a pleasing light green liquid that blends with seasonal decorations and arrangements. Since I purchased the large version of the scent, I’m buying a few extra small pretty glass bottles and splitting up the included looooong birch sticks so that I can spread my scented joy around more of the house.

  • And the clincher for me: the “throw.” Fico Verde is not overpowering, but it’s not a shy scent, either. I’ve tried a variety of the diffusers, from cheap to expensive, with mixed results. Fico Verde nicely scents up a room and the adjoining hallway in my home, and I don’t find I have to turn the sticks more than once per week to keep the scent strength consistent.
I’m a little afraid that this ended up more like an ad than a review—sorry about that!! Perhaps readers can help me out by sharing: What scents conjure up “home” for you? Any favorite ways of fragracing your home that you would like to share?



Image of Antica Farmacista Home Fragrances courtesy of beautybentobox.com. Green figs courtesy of jupiterimages.com.

Friday, April 11, 2008

2008 Fifi Awards


It is that time of the year again - time for the annual Fifi Awards and Celebration hosted by the Fragrance Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1949 by six industry leaders to develop educational programs on the importance of fragrance to the American public. Today, America is the largest fragrance market in the world and the Fifi Awards are designed to highlight some of the best created. The first major announcement occured today: Vera Wang has been given the prestigious Hall of Fame Award.

Because all of you, dear readers, are well versed on fragrance, what better audience to provide feedback to the organizers? The following links will allow you to browse the finalists, debate the top ten, view celebrity pics and clips. You can even vote for your favorite fragrance of the year. Do not miss this opportunity to express your opinions. I myself am delighted to see the category "Nouveau Niche" as the bulk of my blog focuses on this genre of fragrance. Enjoy!


http://www.facebook.com/pages/FiFi-Awards/13957130842
http://www.iqons.com/FiFi+Awards
http://www.myspace.com/fifiawards
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ud-1f-Rc5dE



Image source courtesy of facebook.com