Monday, March 31, 2008

Tania Sanchez and Luca Turin

A fantastic excerpt from the book Perfumes: The Guide, by two fragrance experts Tania Sanchez and Luca Turin, appears in the April 2008 edition of Allure magazine (the one with Mariah Carey on the front). If this excerpt is any indication of the quality of the book, I am headed out to use my 40% off coupon at Border's today! A spot-on description of Guerlain Champs-Elysées, a description of classics, a listing of five-star scents and an insightful guide to selecting a fragrance are all included in this crafty little article, starting on page 136. Check it out! The first person to read and respond to this post with the name of the first featured "classic" fragrance in the article will get a nice-sized decant of it from me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Neil Morris Spectral Violet

There are very few people in this world who make a lasting impression on me after a brief meeting. Those that fall into this category are so wonderfully in the moment, incredibly thoughtful or hilariously funny, so full of life that when the image of their face comes to mind I instantly smile. It is as if they mysteriously hold the secret to life and each day is simply an opportunity to express it. Therefore, their encounters with others are always kind, always patient, alway thoughtful and usually fun. One of those people is the unforgettable Neil Morris.

I will never forget how Neil, upon discovering that I am a floral girl after meeting me, retrieved a fragrance he has been developing with the sole aim of testing it on my skin for my delight. After dabbing a little on my ivory skin, he exclaimed"That is exactly how that scent is supposed to smell!" Then a few moments later, "Yes! That fragrance blooms on you!" This brief exchange encapsulates my impression of Neil. It also demonstrates Neil's genuine passion for scent.

I have been longing to review one of his scents ever since. I regret that it took me so long! I chose Spectral Violet because of several of Neil's fragrances I tested, it is the most me. Do not get me wrong. They are all incredible, unique and superlative! Divina of Fragrance Bouquet has recently written wonderful reviews on all of them. Spectral Violet stands out firstly to me because of its name. I picture violets as a silk-screen Andy Warhol piece. That idea epitomizes the fragrance: the beautiful shape and general structure of violets with dynamic, multi-dimensional and colorful embellishments that originate and define the piece. From the purple-red top, to the soft, deep blue and green heart, to the yellow-powder finish, Spectral Violet illustrates beauty and grace. Secondly of the five scents I tested, this scent by far lasted the longest on my skin. Maybe Neil's sentiments are right about this one as well, it "blooms" on me.

I would not call myself a lover of violet fragrances but I do own Norma Kamali Violette, Serge Lutens Bois de Violette and Laura Mercier Violette. Spectral Violet possesses that candied aspect of the flower that the others do. Yet rather than a one-dimensional study of the flower or with a few notes added, what makes Spectral Violet stand way apart from the others is its smooth as silk qualities. No sharp edges exist here. Rather the colorful notes blend into one another like a rainbow - soft, dreamy and stunning - making it truly a masterpiece.

Spectral Violet along with others in the Vault Fragrances collection will be available online at in April (just a few short weeks away!) The Parfums will retail for $150 for 2 oz. and $4 for shipping.

Image courtesy of

Monday, March 24, 2008

Thierry Mugler Mirror Mirror Series, Part II

Continuing our look at the Mirror Mirror series from Thierry Mugler available at Saks Fifth Avenue, today features the last three of the collection.

Dis-Moi, Miroir or Mirror Image by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin:

Described as a "a lavish, nurturing floral fragrance melding Lily, Orange Blossom, and nurturing milky notes for extreme sophistication," Mirror Image stays close to the skin but offers a soft, sweet gourmand bouquet. Orange blossom and lily certainly stand out during the beginning stages, with those milky and "nurturing" notes underscoring the beautiful, sweet Spring blooms. It is this honeyed and happy stage of the fragrance that compels me to recommend it for Easter and/or springtime. The heart becomes a bouquet akin to fruity marshmallows, much like the sweet gourmand scents catered to the younger crowd. The marshmallow accord prompted my husband to say, "It reminds me of high school." An expert on fragrance, he is not. However he poses an accurate idea in that this fragrance can be considered quite young - not really sophisticated as the marketing description suggests. For fans of By Kilian Love or the difficult to obtain L'Artisan Framboise Tralala you will find something likeable here. Thankfully, the milky notes never turn sour as they provide a creamy anchor to the cheerful, candied flowers, much like a dash of cream adds richness to a cup of floral tea. It struck me as I began to write this review that the name might hold some significance in its description. For the other scents in this collection, I simply saw it as an unrelated embellishment. However in this case, the name does match the close to the skin quality of the youthful, candied yet slightly creamy Mirror Image. And for those of us who feel younger than the image in the mirror holds, this scent provides a refreshing reminder of our youth.

Miroir des Secrets or Mirror of Secrets by perfumer Domitille Bertier:

From the maker of Diptyque Tam Dao comes a scent unlike anything I have ever experienced. If you could see me right now, my nose would be wrinkled like a pug's. This is not my cup of tea at all, however forever munificent when it comes to perfume, I am able to find some redeeming qualities about it. The top consists of fizzy aldehyde, clarifying and uplifting in its happy nature. From what I understand, this is a naturally occuring aldehyde. Boy would I love to know more about the creation of this scent! Bittersweetness is the aspect of Secrets that has my nose bent out of shape. Once the patchouli and musk make themselves known after a few minutes of drying time, the fragrance takes on a peculiarly sour and bittersweet nature on my skin. I reserve bittersweet qualities for dark chocolate and certain spices I use in food. I rarely long to smell bittersweet. However, fans of patchouli and musk with a twist may find this fragrance worth a try.

A Travers Le Miroir or Through the Looking Glass by perfumer Alexis Dadier:

By far my favorite in the collection, this one took me by complete surprise. When I read the description as follows, "The opulent and utterly feminine tuberose, lavish and decadent, flirts with a warm, very masculine, woody accord and aromatic accents of absinthe. Subtle notes of wintergreen make the tuberose flower smells almost metallic," I expected something similar to Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle. What I experienced was a metamorphosis of scent, from the earthy, slightly woodsy and seductive introduction, to the metallic and cold heart of tuberose, to the warm, ambery and soft finish. A spicy element also exists in the composition, reminding me of cumin softened by flowers, probably attributable to medicinal absinthe. On the whole it is quite lovely and beautiful, wonderfully unique and truly sophisticated. This scent longs to be worn by a femme fatale who is confident enough in herself to wear a fragrance so remarkably different from most.

After fully experiencing the entire collection, I applaud the house of Thierry Mugler for creating unique scents worth studying. Because of the price point I will not be purchasing a full bottle. However, I would love a decant of A Travers Le Miroir for special occasions!

(See previous post for purchasing information.)
Image of Truth's Mirror painting courtesy of

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Myspace Layouts

From our house to yours, wishing you a Happy Easter and the freedom to live your life to the fullest believing in the impossible ...

... and smelling good!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thierry Mugler Mirror Mirror Series, Part I

Over my next two entries, I will be exploring the Mirror Mirror collection from Thierry Mugler which was released just a few short months ago and should be more widely available by now. In no particular order, today I will focus on two scents in the collection. Stay tuned for another entry where I will discuss the last three. The idea behind this collection is to highlight the art of perfumery, since the President of Thierry Mugler fragrances, Mr. Joel Palix, encouraged his noses to "create something original and unusual".

Miroir des Envies or Mirror of Desires by perfumer Christine Nagel:

From the creator of the blockbuster Narciso Rodriguez For Her and my own love Thierry Mugler Angel Lily comes a very unconventional floral. A strikingly apt description is written by Saks Fifth Avenue - "Provocative notes of warm, morning toast and sun-drenched skin become tasty partners with a sumptuous jasmine center. A unique overdose of usually minor accords." My first impression of the fragrance was unfortunately a deadringer for nailpolish. Perhaps the delicate nature of the notes combined with the fixative alcohol caused them to get lost in the shuffle. That unpleasant top accord faded quickly (thank goodness) leading to the simultaneously sweet and cozy heart. Who thought that morning toast could create a pleasant fragrance experience when blended with jasmine? Kudos to Christine for taking a risk and developing a scent that reminds me of all things innocent, soft and light - an infant's fingers, delicate flower petals warmed by the sun, the backs of my cat's ears, a gentle butterfly. Miroir des Envies offers a soft and ethereal skin scent that is undoubtedly unique and original. For those who like fragrances that boldly make a statement or offer significant sillage, this scent is not ideal. Rather it is feather-light and I predict some perfumistas may not even detect it on their skin. Therefore, this delicate, breezy fragrance could be a great choice for a woman who is pregnant and averse to strong odors, a congested office environment or a casual and relaxing (think walks in the park, soft music or curling up with a good book) weekend.

Miroir des Vanités or Mirror of Vanities by perfumer Alexis Dadier:

This fragrance is again soft but in an entirely different fashion than the previous. No florals exist in this composition. Rather, this one is described as an "effervescent woody" scent where "bubbly citrus accords enliven and mingle with the warm, subtle bitterness of cinchona bark and vetiver, heightened by the black intensity of licorice". Despite the description, nothing about this scent is intense to my nose. Instead, I smell a progression from bergamot to vetiver, with a gentle undercurrent of something darker, perhaps the bark. "Effervescent" is an accurate description for the top, since the combination of citrus and vetiver create a bubbly, happy accord. As the scent develops further it remains lighthearted and docile and ends on a powdery note. It never deepens enough to be considered sexy or profound. Nonetheless, Miroir des Vanités is truly unique and reminds me of literally no other fragrance I have tried. Like Miroir des Envies, I find it somewhat casual due to its lack of sincere depth but nice enough for a relaxed and aloof vibe.

I am not crazy about the packaging of the two scents. It looks much harsher than the soft and delicate juice within. The price point is a bit steep in my opinion, but if you fall in love, it may be worth it. So far, I will not be purchasing a full bottle. We shall see what the last three hold in store!

The Thierry Mugler Mirror Mirror collection is available at Saks Fifth Avenue. They are listed under "Women's Fragrances" on the website and retail for $150 for a 1.7 EDP.

Image of Miroir des Envies courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Parfums D'Orsay Femme de Dandy

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this fragrance is the history of the Parisian house from which it hails. It begins with Count Alfred D'orsay who created a name for himself due to his "witty remarks" and "outlandish clothing". Such a man was considered a "Dandy" and he brought a breath of fresh air to an otherwise boring 19th Century society. The Chevalier's writing, painting, sculpting and ultimate perfume composing talents became famous among his contemporaries and date back to the years 1801-1852.

His beloved mistress Lady Blessington had a difficult time wearing the musky fragrances that were popular back then. To please her, he dedicated his time to creating a scent she could wear. Quite romantic, eh? That project began his love of scent creation, and each of his homes thereafter contained a perfume-making room. Parfums D'Orsay was thus created after his death in dedication to his unforgettable character and creativity. Although the history books vary with the date of the house's creation, according to Robin at Now Smell This, 1908 seems to be correct.

Moving to present day, the house was "revived" in 1995 and Femme de Dandy was subsequently produced in 2001. The fragrance is a sleeper at worst (have you heard of it until now?) and a glorious fruity-floriental at best. In the very little literature that is available regarding this fragrance I have surmised that its creator is Francis Kurkdjian. The notes include spicy cardamom, anise blossom, carrot, cinnamon and cloves combined with tobacco, rum, benzoin, labdanum and tonka bean. The notes as listed would appear to slap you in the face a bit, and the fragrance does come across, at least initially, as a bit strong. However, as it dries it reminds me of all the reasons I love Montale's Musk to Musk and Frapin's 1270. The scent is spicy yet sweet, bold yet soft and altogether comforting and sexy. Like a decadent dessert meant to be enjoyed on the most special of occasions, Femme de Dandy proves to be a scent I could certainly own but sparingly apply a few times per month. Considering the history of the house, it should be worn on days that I feel especially creative and witty.

Parfums D'Orsay Femme de Dandy is available here. A 100mL atomizer retails for $60.

Image courtesy of History of house also paraphrased from same website.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Forget Me Not: Lanvin Arpège

Unbeknownst to me, a fragrance friend of mine had been assembling for me over the last few weeks a package chock full of samples and goodies. It arrived at the end of last week - a week where I nearly forgot about my love of perfume due to too much work and not enough play. (Incidentally, the first moment of down time I had, I started testing and sniffing. My perfume hobby and my indulgence in it is a good indication that I have "come back home" to my center or slowed down enough to enjoy life. My husband said, as he saw me wistfully pressing my nose to my wrist, "You're back!") With "Forget Me Not" fast approaching and no time to hunt for a new subject, I felt as if the angels smiled upon me when I saw in the package an atomizer sample of Lanvin Arpège.

Lanvin Arpège was originally created in 1927 by André Fraysse, a French nose dedicated to creating scents for the house of Lanvin including My Sin, Prétexte and the original Rumeur. Arpège was reformulated in 1993 and unlike other reformulations in perfumery, this one bears striking resemblance to the original. Therefore, for reviewing purposes I will be discussing the excellent reformulation which is much easier to locate than the original and very similar to it in composition. The notes include a sparkling top of bergamot, aldehydes, peach, orange blossom, honeysuckle and iris; rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, coriander, mimosa, tuberose, Parma violet and geranium at the heart; sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, vanilla and musk providing an ample base.

Upon first sniff, it so closely resembles Chanel No. 5 that I am left to wait in suspense as the heart unfolds. I wonder what so significantly differentiates this from the Chanel aldehydic creation. The top is nearly 100% sparkling aldehydes with an ample dose of flowers like neroli and lily of the valley, rendering it all but identical to No. 5. I do not have to sit in suspense very long, however. As warm and enveloping vanilla rolls through the fragrance, this note drops the resonation of the scent at least two octaves and it is the first base note I detect. The abundant, blooming and colorful flowers remain, but as the fragrance progresses they become much warmer and earthier. Through this stage Arpège resembles No. 5's naughty older sister, much like the contrast between Anne and Mary Boleyn during their adolescence, before Anne became crazed with obsessive love for King Henry VIII.[1] Anne’s naïve yet manipulative, sweet yet cunning persona contrasted with Mary’s pure of heart, genuine and loving nature exemplify the differences between sparkling, bright and powdery floral to earthy, languid sandalwood, vanilla and patchouli. As one of my contemporaries mentioned, vetiver gives the base a cool aspect, preventing it from enveloping the scent with warmness. It is precisely the cool-warm base that lends this fragrance its identity, separate from Chanel No. 5 and lovely in its own right. I picture the woman who wears this fragrance as beautiful, powerful and benefiting from exquisite taste.

I am quite captivated by Arpège and very pleased to have made its acquaintance. It seems deserving to find such a lovely beauty awaiting me at the end of a perfume-scanty week. To seal the deal, the packaging of the scent could not be lovelier. Originally the scent was created for Jeanne Lanvin to represent a mother’s love for her child. Therefore the image on the bottle is that of a mother and child, inspired by a 1907 picture of Jeanne and her daughter Marguerite before a ball. This image later became the hallmark image for all Lanvin fragrances. And it has me coveting a bottle of Arpège Eau de Parfum.

[1] Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl explores the differences between the two sisters in great depth. I highly recommend this fabulous book that has recently been made into a motion picture.

Lanvin Arpège is widely available on many perfume websites. For example, a 3.4 oz. EDP spray retails for $76 on

Image of ad courtesy of, bottle courtesy of

Top O' the Mornin'!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St Patricks Day

In honor of this great occasion, I will be wearing Chanel Bel Respiro. What are you wearing today?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Scent of the Day

I'm almost there! Almost to the weekend! I look forward to catching up on my sleep, relaxing, exercising and getting out in the sunshine! My scent of choice today is the effervescent, sweet and uplifting Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier. Our orange tree is chock full of blossoms making our yard very fragrant this spring-like day. Spring comes early where I live so I plan on taking full advantage of it with some much needed time outside in the near future. Again, thank you for your patience during this arduous, busy period. Happy Friday to all! What are you wearing today?

Image of lemon blossom courtesy of

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Scent of the Day

It looks like my whirlwind professional life is not going to let up anytime soon. The next month is extremely busy personally and professionally. Therefore, instead of simply taking some time off from blogging, which I have been tempted to do, I will post what I'm wearing for the day when time is not on my side. Today's choice is Ginestet Sauvignonne, which I reviewed early last year. Due to my busy work day and my fairly formal evening event, this sparkling, citrus fragrance is not too overpowering to upset the flow of my day or anyone else's, yet when I catch a whiff of it I feel energized and clean - important for an especially long work day. What are you wearing today?

Image: Fresh Grapefruits by Martha Negley, courtesy of

Monday, March 10, 2008

Laura Mercier New Releases

A quick trip to the Laura Mercier counter during the Neiman Marcus beauty event proved interesting last week. I already own two fragrances from the line: Tarte Au Citron and Eau de Lune, both of which I find interesting and somewhat unique. Eau de Lune has quickly become a go-to daytime fragrance and Tarte Au Citron will always remind me of my favorite dessert.

The first new offering is an addition to her Eau De Parfum line, which currently includes Eau de Lune and L'Heure Magique. The new scent is Neroli, a refreshing, seaside take on orange blossom and one that certainly will find its way into many collections with a nifty $65 price point. I am anxiously awaiting the day the body lotion and cream in this scent will appear, for the spritzed fragrance lasts only a few hours on my skin. However, while it is there, it is delightfully fresh and sweet, faintly reminding me of the orange blossoms I smell in my neighborhood during my springtime nightly walk.

The second is Violette, an addition to the Body & Bath Eau Gourmande line. Laura Mercier suggests layering the various scents available in this line such as Vanille Gourmande, Almond Coconut and Creme Brulee. As you would guess by the name and the others in the line, Violette is a very sweet, candied violet that despite being an eau de toilette has great staying power. I purchased this one on the spot for an inexpensive addition to my spring fragrance wardrobe. I foresee layering it with the Vanille Gourmande lotion for a lighthearted, weekend fragrance.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Too Much to Handle?

Hello Ladies and Gents,

I unfortunately have had more on my plate than is humanly possibly to eat this week (metaphorically speaking of course!) I apologize for my absence but I must pay the bills and in order to do that work is my priority! I promise to be back next week with my usual Monday, Wednesday, Friday posts. I plan to review new offerings from Bond No. 9 and Laura Mercier and throw in a surprise post as well. Have a fantastic and fragrant weekend!


An Exhausted Perfumista

That image is NOT my desk but it represents how I have felt this week. Source:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008



The winner of the mood-enhancing scent packet, based upon a drawing on, is ...

Our Beloved Chayaruchama!!!

I., please excuse my lack of organization as I am certain one of your many gifts to me had your address on it, but would you mind sending your address to me once again? Much love to you!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Perfume for the Occasion: St. Patrick's Day

When Divina suggested St. Patrick's Day as our topic for the month, my immedate thought was "How will I come up with enough suggestions?" She thought it might be a little ridiculous. St. Patrick's Day, ridiculous? Absolutely not!! I am as Irish as they come and I have the red hair, blue eyes and fair skin to prove it! I celebrate St. Patrick's Day as enthusiastically as any other holiday, especially after spending one on the Emerald Isle. My internal resistance, undetectable to Divina, simply had to do with a lack of ideas. However, she said the magic words, "Green extravaganza!" Green notes have often appealed to me despite the fact that I do not own many green fragrances. However after investigating them, I am convinced I must own more.

So what constitutes a "green" fragrance? Friends who are fragrance novices have often asked me what it means, so for them I offer a simple explanation. Any fragrance that contains more than one note related to the great outdoors can be considered green. They appear as terms like "dewy greens", "green notes", or "leafy greens". I have also, for today's selection, added fragrances with green tea, guava, water lily, basil or oakmoss. What do all of these items have in common? Being GREEN. I drew the line at granny smith apple and lime, simply because that would be taking things a bit too far. Citrus and fruity, although nice, are not really what we are after here. The idea is to identify fragrances that remind the wearer of a leisurely stroll through the park on a breezy spring day, a childhood romp in a vegetable garden or, most appropriately, a hike through the verdant, rolling hills of Ireland.

In order of my preference, I offer a few choices that will accessorize your March 17th green apparel beautifully:

· Bond No. 9 Eau de Noho - With notes of watery greens, mandarin, mimosa, violet leaves, cashmere woods, green moss and amber, this fragrance fits my criteria beautifully. A very fresh, clean and green take on violet but one that is extremely light. This choice is perfect for daywear before the evening festivities begin.

· Chanel Bel Respiro - Once you have experienced the exquisite beauty of the Emerald Isle it creates a long-standing and unforgettable impression. This is the scent I choose when I mind- travel back to the Cliffs of Maher and Dromoland Castle. Bel Respiro is what I will be wearing come March 17th.

· Christian Dior Diorella - With basil, green notes and oakmoss, this choice contains the most greenery of all. Although this is ultimately a fruity floral, the abundance of leaves suggests a green, growing flower or fruit.

· Estee Lauder Private Collection - A green floral in a class all its own. See my review, linked to the left.

· Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamaté - The company's description goes like this, "A boundless greenland touching the sky. The scent of grass, of new-mown hay, of countles herbs and flowers scattered in the fields, stirred by the wind and warmed by the sun. A lonely fire in the meadows, the quiet ritual of tea and mate a gentle veil of smoke, rising and embracing." I cannot think of a more perfect scent to evoke the color green. However, it is a bit tricky, this one. Make certain to sample it on your skin before dousing.

· Van Cleef & Arpels La Saisons: Printemps - The only fragrance I could find that contains both clover flower and clover leaves. If you have ever experienced St. Patrick's Day in Ireland you know that the holiday is a religious one for the Irish. Rather than wearing green clothing and partying until all hours of the night like those who celebrate in the United States, the Irish quietly pin clover onto their clothing and go to Mass. And the clover is abundant. Therefore, in their honor, I include a fragrance with nearly as much clover as that that grows on the Irish countryside.

A few others that did not make my list but deserve mentioning:

Coach the Fragrance - with notes of green mandarin, guava and water lily, this extremely girly fragrance delivers.

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea - my favorite green tea fragrance that puts all the others to shame! Contains notes of green tea, peppermint, oakmoss and celery seed along with lemon, orange and rhubarb. It is nothing less than simultaneously refreshing and calming.

Clinique Wrappings - although this fragrance is typically worn around the holidays due to its limited winter distribution, it reminds me of deep, emerald green and for colder climates could be worn proudly on St. Patrick's Day. Fortunately, where I live it is already 80 degrees so I could not choose this powerhouse fragrance.

Enjoy the day in whatever way and whatever fragrance you choose. If you live in Chicago or in Ireland, I am green with envy!* Glenna honey, if you're reading, make me proud! Be sure to visit Fragrance Bouquet to read Divina's picks for our green extravaganza.

*After living in Chicago for nine years, I truly miss the festivities there. In my opinion, only Chicagoans know how to truly give the holiday its due in the United States! The river is dyed green, a parade takes over the streets, and every Irish pub (and then some) serves green beer.