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; lavender courtesy of

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, 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, 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? 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 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 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; violet leaf courtesy of

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 A 50mL spray retails for $150.

Image of rose courtesy of; woman courtesy of

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 ( 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 Green figs courtesy of

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!

Image source courtesy of

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spring 2008 Top 5

It is that time again - time to come up with our list of Top Five fragrances for the season. Spring holds the honor of being my favorite season to wear fragrance because of my love of soft and romantic florals that are so fitting. Each year I look forward to investigating the offerings perfumers launch beginning in February to appeal to the season of rebirth and growth.

Unfortunately this season I have been somewhat disappointed with new offerings. As excited as I was to try Gucci by Gucci, what I discovered was a near exact imitation of Narciso Rodriguez for Her. John Varvados for Her promised an elegant fragrance in a sensual bottle but left me longing for something more … or something just … more notable (pardon the pun). The new Chloé, the first fragrance launch from the designer since 1975, beckoned me to the counter with its beautiful bottle. Although pleasant, the juice did not move me. Yves Saint Laurent Elle, although appealing with its bright pink bottle, proved no different than other fruity scents with a patchouli base. Unfortunate for certain that most widely available commercial scents are so disappointing to my nose. I am forever on the quest to wear truly remarkable fragrances and hope to always provide you with equally remarkable suggestions. Alas, I am left to reference fragrances from previous years mostly, with one exception. Of all the Spring launches, I find Laura Mercier’s offerings to be stellar. Without further ado, here is my Top 5 list of fragrances I am wearing quite often this season.

5. Laura Mercier Neroli

I have yet to find an orange blossom fragrance I can call my own, that lasts more than a few hours or that does not vaguely resemble the smell of urine once it dries on my skin. Ladies and gents, I have found it! Although it is based on Mediterranean orange blossom, Neroli smells extremely similar to the orange blossoms blooming in my backyard and around my neighborhood. The amber, musk and sandalwood at the base give it resonance and lasting power lacking in other fragrances dedicated to the flower. When I wear this fragrance, I feel an incredible symmetry with the world around me. Orange blossom is one of my favorite natural scents and I am thrilled that at this price point I can enjoy it often. I love to layer Neroli with MMU Cosmetics “Orange Blossom” shower gel and body lotion.

4. Chanel No. 18

That’s right. 18. Not 19. The decant I purchased of this sparkling jewel of a fragrance shortly after it was launched is coming in quite handy these days. No. 18 is from Les Exclusifs collection and it never ceases to uplift and energize with its unique ambrette bouquet. It reminds me of luminous jewels, the color yellow, giggles and babydoll sleeves. Perfect for Spring.

3. Serge Lutens Un Lys

Buttery, creamy, gorgeous lily goodness. Soliflores do not get much better than this. With less than 2mL left in my decant vial, I am savoring every last drop.

2. L’Artisan Parfumeur Iris Pallida

Appropriate for weddings, springtime and days that I want to make my surroundings more interesting by walking on a woodsy, purple cloud, this gorgeous 2007 release from L’Artisan delivers without the metallic quality of other iris fragrances.

Finally, my number one fragrance this spring is ...

1. Thierry Mugler Angel Le Lys

The signature fragrance of my courtship with my husband never gets old. Lilies drizzled with honey and chocolate add decadence to any social affair. I have officially "rediscovered" its beauty this season.

Be sure to visit Divina's picks at Fragrance Bouquet!

Image sources: and

Monday, April 07, 2008

Perfume for the Occasion: Weddings Part I, For the Guests

Spring is upon us and love is in the air. This time of year seems to usually bring with it a plethora of weddings to attend, so what better topic for Perfume for the Occasion than this? I have certainly been found, with five minutes to spare, franticly searching through my perfume collection to find an appropriate scent. The dilemma: respectfully presenting your best self by smelling and looking good without leaving a horrid waft of scent that not only upstages the bride and groom but makes for a very uncomfortable ceremony for those around you. Therefore, who better to turn to for advice on the matter than your personal Perfume for the Occasion advisors, Divina of Fragrance Bouquet and myself of course! We will break this down into two parts – one for April and the other for May.

In searching for fragrances appropriate for guests, I found that many perfumes I desired to put on this list are also fabulous spring scents. Since most weddings are held in spring or summer, the below fragrances are perfect for those. For a winter wedding, the choices would be drastically different but the idea would be the same: smell good without overwhelming others. Anything you choose should be light, close to the skin, entirely romantic and uplifting and not too sexy.

Outdoor Wedding

My favorite type of wedding is usually chosen by couples longing for something fun and different. Typically, although not always, these affairs tend to be somewhat casual. Therefore, your scent should match the breezy feel of the event and its scenic surroundings. I reserve rose fragrances for the bride, but these lovely florals will suit any guest very well.

  • Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille – Green, simple, light and sweet, citrus-y honeysuckle blended with the most delicate jasmine. What lends this fragrance its outstanding quality is a freshness that never overwhelms others.

  • L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse Aux Paupillons – To match the flowers that surround guests at a wedding, a pretty and cheerful bouquet of a fragrance that spells romance. Be careful to spray sparingly with this one. Everything about its beautiful aroma makes it perfect for an outdoor garden wedding!

  • Jo Malone Lotus Blossom & Water Lily – A gorgeous, soft yet stunning fragrance, available at counters in May, that I would happily wear to any wedding this spring or summer due to its soft, slightly sweet and altogether classy bouquet. The complimentary Dark Amber & Ginger Lily layered over it easily transitions the scent to an evening reception.

  • Versace Man Eau Fraiche - Despite its simple packaging, the juice gives a man a clean, fresh scent without too much sillage to overwhelm others.

  • Indoor, Formal Wedding

    For a more traditional affair, your fragrance choice is paramount. In these cases, the ceremony is usually in a church and if that church is very devout it certainly is not a good strategy to wear a bombshell fragrance. If you are on the prowl, please carry your come-hither scent to apply after the ceremony!

    Instead of worrying about application in between events, my choices will take you from ceremony to reception with class and finesse.

  • Chanel No. 5 – Considering most young brides will not choose this scent, you should be safe with the queen of perfumes. Staying close to the skin glorifies her loveliness and makes her perfect for formal, romantic affairs.

  • L’Artisan Parfumeur Iris Pallida – This soft, woodsy ode to “the keeper of the rainbow” gives me instant class anytime I wear it (that is if I act accordingly), making it perfect for a formal wedding. I would suggest refraining from dancing the “Chicken” or the “Hokey Pokey” when wearing this beautiful fragrance. It calls for grace and style.

  • Frederic Malle En Passant – What more perfect flower to wear to a wedding than one that connotes first love: the lilac. En Passant epitomizes a quiet and fragile lilac in its soft aroma that surrounds the wearer like soft veil.

  • Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil – A perfect uplifting, green and fresh scent for those averse to flowers. (I realize most of my choices are florals because I equate them with romance!)

  • Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory – Again for those averse to flowers, a quiet, intriguing woodsy-incense fragrance that I would be delighted to smell on my husband at a wedding.

  • Whatever you choose, enjoy yourself and remember not to over spray! In fact, you could wear just about anything if you apply lightly. But if you give as much thought to your fragrance as to your wardrobe like us, the above choices will not lead you astray. What have you successfully worn to a wedding?

    Images courtesy of, and

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    Fragrance Notes: Mimosa

    Inspired by my previous post and Ms. Sanchez's description of Guerlain Champs-Elysées, I decided to further investigate the fragrance and others like it. Turns out, the note responsible for the "lucite-heeled shoes and a ditzy high-pitched laugh" description is the delicate mimosa flower. Other fragrances containing it as a note include L'Artisan Parfumeur Mimosa pour Moi, Givenchy's Amarige 2005 Harvest collection and even the venerable classic that I love, Chanel No. 5. The flower imparts a green sweetness, a lightness of being, a sunshine-y, bubbly quality that Ms. Sanchez so perfectly described in relation to the type of woman who wears it. Its yellow goodness reminds me of the first delicate buds of spring. Because I do not live in Provence (how I wish!) and I am not exposed to mimosas on a daily basis, I began some research on this interesting flower.

    I found a fabulous article in Cosmetics Business online that contains the history of the flower's use in perfumery as well as other interesting facts about mimosa:

    "The first plantations of Mimosa trees for the perfumery industry were established in 1865. Perfumers were quick to recognise and appreciate mimosa's suave and delicate fragrance. Its abundance in the hills of Provence also made it a good choice for the development of perfumes. The hills of the Tanneron region above Cannes are delicately scented with the sweet, heady, almondy fragrance preceding the winter mimosa harvest. In February, the Massif de Tanneron takes on the appearance of a range of golden mountains as the largest mimosa forest in Europe comes into bloom."

    Due to its sweet, powdery scent, mimosa is often combined well with orange blossom. The trees bloom only once per year and the flower is extremely fragile and difficult to maintain after cutting. Therefore, it is associated with sensitivity. (Of interest, mimosas are also used in cooking to add sweetness to springtime desserts.) Certainly this delicate flower has an important place in the art of perfumery and many fragrances have chosen its delicate bouquet to either support or showcase the composition. While I would not welcome an association with the word "ditzy", I certainly enjoy fragrances containing mimosa during this exhilarating and awakening time of year.

    See previous post for source of quote by Tania Sanchez. Read more about mimosas at Cosmetics Business.

    Image source