Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Created in 1946, the year that President Truman officially declared the end of World War II, the Flamingo Hotel opened in Las Vegas and Parisian chic reached an all time high, French Cancan defined for American women an intangible, stylish quality that Parisian women somehow easily possessed. Named after the (at the time) lascivious dance of French courtesans seen at Moulin Rouge and other cabarets, French Cancan remains in production to this day. Initially it was marketed exclusively to the United States, further underscoring the longing of American women to experience Parisian goods in the hopes of donning a Parisian attitude. Its creator was also the founder of the Caron perfume house and his name is Ernest Daltroff. He developed nearly forty fragrances in his lifetime, including Tabac Blond (1919), Bellodgia (1927) and En Avion (1929). He also greatly influenced the perfume industry as a whole by creating a dark accord that lies at the base of each of his fragrances. This base has oft been imitated but never mastered.
At first sniff, French Cancan Parfum reminds me of my childhood idea of perfume. It has a quality to it that is unmistakable – a little overwhelming with richness and delicate sweetness that I became accustomed to smelling on most females in my young life. Interestingly, I have found the opening of most Caron scents to be a little discordant. However, the best is yet to come. As the heart unfolds, I decipher the luminous notes of violet, lily of the valley and orange blossom while violet holds front and center. With oakmoss, sandalwood and patchouli at the base, this is no shrinking violet, in any sense of the expression. Rather, this violet smells like midnight, like bold yet physically delicate women who harness their sexuality in the most confident manner. Other notes include jasmine, iris, lilac and amber. The base vaguely reminds me of Guerlain's L’Heure Bleue, subtly alluding to the scent of makeup and yet so seamlessly blended there is no doubt of its French origin. Lastly, the powdery, almost candied base renders this scent undoubtedly female – a brooding, confident, sometimes slightly loud but otherwise cultivated, stylish woman.
The name of the fragrance has created much debate. I find it to be most fitting, considering the bold and feminine qualities of the fragrance. However, rather than the Can-Can dance of the courtesans, the fragrance evokes our modern day idea of the Can-Can - an acrobatic array of frilly skirts and embellished undergarments, requiring elaborate skill and described as slightly teasing. Unpredictable in its development and truly a study in perfume artistry, French Cancan is most certainly full bottle worthy. The initial marketing idea holds true today. For those longing to summon their inner French-Parisian girl, this beauty must be tried.
Please be sure to visit Fragrance Bouquet to read Divina's pick for this month's Forget Me Not.
Caron French Can-Can is available at escentual.com. A 15mL of Parfum, the concentration I prefer and have reviewed, is available for approximately $170.61.
Image of Caron bottle courtesy of escentual.com, The Dance at the Moulin Rouge (1890) by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec courtesy of globalgallery.com, photograph of Can-can dancers courtesy of sensesofcinema.com.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Hello beautiful and handsome perfumistas. I hope this Valentine's Day evening finds you warm and smelling good. I am writing to inform you that because of Valentine's Day festivities this evening and a four hour work trip tomorrow I will not be able to post for Friday a.m. Therefore, stay tuned for a Saturday morning post and Forget Me Not on Monday. Much love to all.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
First, Saks Fifth Avenue DNA for Her – I really wanted to like this one. I really wanted to call it my own and buy a full Swarovski crystal bottle of it and display it like a piece of artwork on my dresser. But alone, it disappoints me – very unfortunately so. The list of notes is incredibly promising and all things that I enjoy: gardenia, tuberose, jasmine, vetiver and vanilla. Nice enough right? Unfortunately one of those notes subdues the white flowers and renders them dusty to my nose, like dried petals rather than creamy, bloomed ones. For a gorgeous white floral fragrance I defer to Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia, Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia and even Annick Goutal Songes. I am very disheartened to say this because I am certain a lot of love and care went into the creation of this fragrance. But truthfully I cannot wear it on its own.
Saks Fifth Avenue DNA for Him is a different story altogether. The peppery, fresh, masculine bouquet makes me wish I had tested this a few weeks ago in order to buy it for my husband as a Valentine’s Day gift. To my delight, the “aquatic notes” never dominate, and although I find it difficult to describe men’s fragrances, I find this one very appealing. I am not certain how unique it is, for it seems I have commonly smelled fragrances like this. The notes include bergamot, aquatic notes, cardamom, amber, cedar, chili, black pepper, incense and guiac wood.
Now, for the ultimate experiment, what if we layer these two together? The beautiful and helpful sales associates at the Bond No. 9 store in New York City suggest it a fabulous idea. First dabbing For Him, followed by a generous dab of For Her creates an intriguing, earthy, peppery floral fragrance that I like so much I could care less whether the petals are dried or not. Granted I still detect the facets of For Her that I do not care for, but the gentle domination of For Him makes them somehow more tolerable. I think I just may keep these two vials to myself and wear them together. That is, if I don’t lose them.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Fergie - With her cheerful and sexy buttercup yellow dress and flowing hair, L'Artisan Perfumeur Mimosa Pour Moi compliments the fresher-than-springtime vibe she exudes without detracting from her strong personality.
Beyonce Knowles – To compliment her ethereal and suggestive yet soft look (albeit a little strange), Christian Dior Diorella - a sheer but ultimately soft chypre with cleanliness and class - fits the bill.
Carrie Underwood – The floral goddess gown, the gorgeous blonde tresses, and the beautiful, fresh face begs for Chanel Cristalle Eau de Toilette to accompany her with its light and fresh bouquet.
Prince – One of the sexiest, most unique, and exquisitely talented men on the planet demands a fragrance in a class all its own. It is Yves Saint Laurent M7, a very musky, sensual and exclusive fragrance for men.
Corinne Bailey Rae – This young and fresh new star with an angelic voice has apparently shed her homegrown image by choosing a large-sequined, short-skirted dress. Jean Patou Cocktail could assist those growing up efforts beautifully. One of the Ma Collection fragrances that offers a sophisticated and elegant bouquet of mellow fruitiness, Cocktail seems perfect.
Taylor Swift – I am not terribly familiar with her music. However, I was struck by her romantic beauty after seeing her photo. This is a slam dunk. Guerlain Apres l’Ondee provides the perfect choice and the perfect compliment to her over the top periwinkle dress.
Roselyn Sanchez – Dove grey on an exotically beautiful woman begs for Comme des Garcons Zagorsk - a cool, clean incense fragrance with violet, birch and cedar. Actually, Ms. Sanchez is not a musician but an actress. Nonetheless, I was inspired to pick a fragrance for her.
Alicia Keys – Perhaps it is the emerald green dress or the references to her devout spiritual life that prompt me to choose Comme des Garcons Kyoto. Whatever the case, one of my favorite female artists deserves an earthy and unusual fragrance like it.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw – For a woman who only becomes more beautiful with age and who looks like a midnight flower in her ensemble, Annick Goutal Songes seems an apt accessory. For a handsome man who boasts nine consecutive albums debuting at number one on Billboard, the masculine and luxurious Hermes Equipage suits him.
Lastly, although I could not find an online photo, my favorite outfit of the evening goes to the retro-glamourous Natasha Bedingfield who donned a gorgeous purple gown with Marilyn Monroe-esque hair. Her fragrance should undoubtedly be, an obvious yet classic choice, Chanel No. 5.
Who were your favorite artists at the Grammy's and what should their fragrance be?
Images courtesy of Reuters
Friday, February 08, 2008
The notes include bergamot, angelica, iris, honey, hawthorn, jasmine, heliotrope and white musk. What stands out with wear on my skin include herbaceous, fruity angelica, a touch of iris for that cold quality, a teaspoon of honey, a pinch of cheerful heliotrope and lots of comforting, healing white musk. Like all fragrances I have tested from this line, if I were a one scent kind of girl I could call this one my own. Yet, I am not and the sooner I admit that the happier I am. However, each of his fragrances are signature scent-worthy with L’Eau d’Hiver leading the pack for those on the hunt for a pillowy soft, dreamy, unassuming, unobtrusive and coldly comforting fragrance.
My only complaint is that my skin does not hold onto it for long. As snow melts with the warming of the sun, it quickly evaporates in response to my chemistry in a matter of hours. However, the few hours that it does linger are enchanting, refreshing and polite.
Image of bottle courtesy of Barneys, snowy scene courtesy of stonyfields.com.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Although the name of the fragrance suggests a steamy and enticing scent, what it offers is a sweet, slightly spicy and gourmand accord. Rather than the oriental, suggestive and mostly animalic ambers like Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux, or Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, Ambre Narguile offers comfort like hot, sweetened tea or warm caramel apple pie. It is not what I expected at all yet I am pleasantly surprised at my delight in it.
Ambre Narguile was created along with five others for the Hermessence line in 2004. It is another wonderful Jean Claude Ellena formulation. Despite its very sweet and foody top, the drydown reveals his mastery with its depth and warmth. Its notes include benzoin, labdanum, musk, vanilla, caramel, honey, sugared tonka bean, grilled sesame seeds, cinnamon, rum, coumarine and white orchids. The beginning calls to mind very sweet desserts with fruit on top - perhaps some dried fruit to amp up the sweetness. I identify plenty of honey with vanilla, caramel and even a little almond. This sweet opening remains for a while, and if I sniff too much I become overwhelmed. The heart is more suggestive of very expensive pipe tobacco, similar to Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille but lacking the latter’s dynamic spices. As it dries and evaporates more, what remains on the skin is even warmer and more multi-dimensional. Although I never distinguish rum, white orchid or grilled sesame seeds, I do experience a snug and inviting feeling as the fragrances wafts, reminiscent of a heated blanket beckoning me to wrap it around my shoulders. This end stage of the fragrance identifies it as a Jean Claude Ellena creation rather than a celebrity foody scent.
Ultimately, Ambre Narguile is a grounding and warming fragrance, not too sweet, not too spicy but just right. I imagine by now it is loved by many and I am grateful to have made its acquaintance this week. Perhaps tomorrow I will allow it to take me on a restoring mind trip to a lazy, winter day in the Midwest.
I have yet to find a bottle of this fragrance online. I believe it can only be bought at Hermes boutiques, along with the other Hermessences fragrances. I cannot find a price, either.
Update 2/7/08: Found the price - $190 for 100mL at Hermes boutiques. The entire Hermessence collection is available as well in travel sizes for $135.
Monday, February 04, 2008
When I was single, I dreaded the day. It seemed that every February 14th the world conspired for me to feel incomplete because I was either unattached or casually dating. And yet, somehow some way, I managed to make the day about LOVE – love for my family and friends, my pets, my career, my perfume collection and whatever else inspired me.
Now that I am married, I realize Valentine’s Day is every day. The more I make an effort to treat my husband as the gift that he is, the happier both of us are on a daily basis. So the day society chooses to celebrate love is simply an extension of our every day life and perhaps a reason to go out to dinner or light some candles.
Turning our focus to fragrance, I believe that since the day is about love, you should always wear a fragrance about which you feel great. There may be some special occasions, some celebrating, some acknowledgement of Valentine’s Day by either your beloved or a very good friend or you may simply want to snuggle up at home in comfortable clothes and relax the evening away as I often did in my single years. Whatever the case, you may be searching for the right fragrance and wondering what to wear, so I offer my ideas.
- Bond No. 9 West Side – This playful rose fragrance combines the classic flower with peony, amber and vanilla. I fell head over heels infatuated with it at one sniff.
- Bvlgari Rose Essentielle - In true Bvlgari fashion, Rose Essentielle begs others closer with its very classy, ladylike scent that is so subtly rose. I find this fragrance perfect for a bride or newlywed and it is in the running as my choice for this Valentine’s Day.
- Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose – The ultimate choice for a femme fatale. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.
- Frederic Malle Une Rose – For the true fragrance connoisseur and rose lover only. A deep, red already-bloomed rose the size of
, with wine and animalic essences added. Try the body butter in this if you need a toned down version. Texas
- Jean Patou Enjoy – A modern take on classic Joy and one that is quite underrated. Easy to find on discount websites and there is still time to order! (For website information, please see my entry on online fragrance shopping.)
- Ormonde Jayne Ta'if - Ormonde Jayne creates superbly unique fragrances and Ta’if is no exception. It combines rose with saffron to create an elegant and rich scent, reminiscent of retro
- Parfums de Rosine Poussiere de Rose – No rose fragrance list would be complete without Les Parfums de Rosine. Poussiere is an uncommon and warm rose fragrance with cinnamon and nutmeg added for intrigue.
- Parfums de Rosine Un Zest de Rose – Cheerful and light, effervescent and rosy, perfect for a lighthearted and fun-filled day.
- Stella Absolute Rose – My va-va voom rose fragrance when I want to kick the sultriness factor up a notch.
If you are sentimental and desire to wear a fragrance with a title relating to Valentine’s Day, you have some wonderful choices.
- Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle – A lighter version of the original Agent Provocateur that stands in a class all its own as an extremely modern chypre.
- By Kilian Love – Very sweet, marshmallow-y fragrance. You have just got to love the very appropriate name.
- Creative Scentualization Love Comes From Within – Sarah Horowitz Thran understands love very well and she makes that clear in this fragrance’s title. This blend of clove, rose, carnation, vanilla, sandalwood and musk will make any day more interesting.
- S-Perfumes 100% Love – A true work of art. 100% Love is an intoxicating combination of rose absolute, cocoa and … drumroll please … labdanum (if you do not know how good this is, read more here). How I only wish I could get my hands on more of this by Valentine’s Day. It is my first choice.
How about rather than eating chocolate, you prefer to smell like it? These scents fit the bill!
- Creative Scentualization Perfect Kiss – My choice for last year is undeniably sweet and special, snuggly, cozy and inviting. Jasmine, freesia and rosewood lie on a base of chocolate and vanilla conspiring to make the fragrance entirely appetizing.
- Il Profumo Chocolat Amere - ::thud:: Chocolate heaven.
- Persephone by Sali Oguri – Sali’s captivating blend combines decadence and sultriness featuring chocolate and blackberry, among other notes.
Essentially, all of the traditional fragrances could be grouped in this category also, since rose is one of the most romantic of all flowers. However, for those who are averse to a rose note, I offer the following:
- Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil – A fruity, green and soothing blend that transports the wearer and softens the mood, wherever you are and whatever you do.
- Laura Mercier Eau de Lune – The fact that I chose the romantic scene from The Sound of Music and Julie Andrews to personify this soft, floral fragrance is no coincidence. It is as romantic as they come.
- Serge Lutens Un Lys – A gorgeous, creamy lily fragrance on a base of vanilla.
There is no question that between the sexes "romance" means completely different things. For the male version of our species, I offer some fragrances that will ... ahem ... help to accomplish his goals for the day, or at least inspire you to accommodate.
Coco– A fragrance for a woman not a girl. Spicy, oriental and classic, wear Cocowith your finest jewelry and a secret that only you and your lover know.
- Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur – Sex in a bottle. Need I say more?
- Montale Musk to Musk – Musk has always been touted as a sexy note since it is what keeps several species of the animal kingdom alive and growing. As an added benefit, it serves as a fixative for perfume. Montale’s musk fragrance takes the cake by far as my favorite musk. Altogether sexy and comforting, I would swoon if Mr. TMH wore this on Valentine’s Day. (I am now posting a reminder in my calendar to find my sample for him!)
- Just about anything from his collection applied sparingly even if I do not find that sample. He smells great and anything that he wears subtly will only serve to augment that fact.
Whatever your choice, remember to make the day about love (not necessarily romantic love) and you cannot go wrong.
Be sure to visit Fragrance Bouquet to read Divina’s picks for this month’s Perfume for the Occasion!
Friday, February 01, 2008
Video courtesy of youtube, bottle image courtesy of www.vip-parfumeria.hu.