Friday, March 30, 2012

Fragrance Launch: Aura by Swarovski

Announcing Aura by Swarovski, described as an "incandescent, fruity, floral creation" and created by Jean-Pierre Bethouart and Olivier Cresp.  The fragrance begins sweet, sharp and a bit overwhelming. Rose, lychee and pink pepper conspire to demand all olfactory attention, to the point of making me sneeze.  It reminds me of many I have tested in department stores with pink pepper at the helm; it dominates the other notes.  At this stage, sillage is adequate and it does get noticed, although I have yet to receive a compliment perhaps due to all that pink pepper.  Notoriously, it does not like my skin. 

As the fragrance, to my relief, dries down, a tiny bit of tuberose emerges along with the base notes of amber and white musk.  I would love this stage if I could smell it without the need to press my nose to my wrist.  If these voluptous notes were to headline the fragrance I would be sold!

The bottle is elegant and stunning, refillable and unique.  Set at the top with a Swarovski crystal, I would enjoy displaying it if I fell in love with the juice.  Despite my best effort, I did not. 

Aura by Swarovski, an inaugural fragrance by the company famous for stunning crystal, will be launched April 2012 at Swarovski Boutiques.

I will raffle the 1.7 oz. bottle I have on Monday!

Aura by Swarovski will be available at Swarovski Boutiques in April.  The collection includes Eau de Parfum in 1, 1.7 and 2.6 fl. oz bottles for $65, $80 and $100 respectively.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Cold Dip and an Iced Tea, with Mint Please

Refreshing, light, delicate, pretty, soothing ... all appropriate words to describe my daytime signature scent during spring and one that I reached for nearly every morning during my pregnancy with my son.  It originates from the house of Jo Malone - a house based in London, England that epitomizes understated elegance in fragrance.  Because all Jo Malone scents have a delicate quality, this allows for easy layering and generous application.  In hot climates, these scents are perfection!  The one I focus on here would be divine chilled for a bit before applying to amp its refreshing quality, likening it with a cold dip after baking in a sauna for five minutes.  (I liken my hometown to a sauna during June, July and August; so you can see where I am going with this.) 

The scent is White Jasmine & Mint. It headlines with a country garden chock full of spring time blooms, including orange blossom and rose to name a few, and settles on a beautiful study of jasmine that is neither too rich nor too cloying. Jasmine can come off as a bit overpowering in some fragrances but not so here.  Not even a little bit. Instead, it is soft, a bit sweet and a tiny bit sensual.  As the fragrance evolves on the skin, it becomes herbaceous, all while retaining a refreshing quality.  The key word here is fresh. Garden mint, gentle chamomile and grounding tea freshly blend so well together, leaving a soothing fragrance on my skin that falls somewhere between floral and spice. 

I must say for those who fear mint in fragrance, the mint is not an Altoid that overwhelms the palette in an effort to annihilate any other odor.  It is more like a sprig of mint leaf in an iced tea - noticeable but subtle.  At the end of the day, the fragrance remains very close to the skin.  Over the course of wear, the sillage is slight, so I literally spray this one with abandon without fear of overwhelming anyone.  Most importantly, I wear it for me.  Its refreshing qualities and herbaceous tea-like conclusion have become my personal aromatherapy for a sweltering day, no matter if I am headed to work or to the market. 

I recommend layering it for daywear during spring and summer. For those aspiring to greater longevity with White Jasmine & Mint, I layer with the body cream and I find it lasts a full eight hours on my skin.  I also enjoy layering it with Verbenas of Provence, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Blue Agave & Cacao and Orange Blossom, all from Jo Malone.   

Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint can be found at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.  A 30ml bottle retails for $55 and a 100ml bottle retails for $110.  The scent can also be found in body cream, body lotion, bath oil and a candle.  I strongly recommend the candle for your home!

Spring Draw Winner!

I appreciate your votes on the fragrance and although I edited to add some tips yesterday, I realize my hints were very cryptic to begin.   I am most humbled and appreciate your effort!  The fragrance I was speaking of is Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint.  See review to be posted later today.  And the winner, selected by randomizer, of a generous sample of this fragrance is ...


Thank you for reading and playing Lean!  I will contact you for more detail. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Honor of Spring, A Draw

Noticing the unseasonal weather across the United States, with five inches of snow in the Pacific Northwest to eighty degree weather in the Midwest, I am certain most of us may have missed the first day of Spring - officially Tuesday, March 20th.  It also happened to be my baby boy's 19 month birthday.  My, how time flies!

In honor of this flourishing and prospering season and all of the beautiful fragrances matching it, I am offering another draw from my collection.  This time, it involves a mystery.  The featured fragrance comes from an understated yet stylish and timeless house.  The juice is most suited for Spring, inspired by a country garden, but can be worn year round and layered.  The notes range from floral to stimulating and I find it delectable.  To demonstrate its softness, I will also share that it was one of the few fragrances from my collection I could tolerate during pregnancy. 

Please enter by commenting below.  I will send a generous decant to those who can identify the house and the fragrance.  In the absence of a winner meeting that criteria, I will conduct a random draw.  Winner announced Monday along with a review of the chosen fragrance!

Edited to add: I will offer the following hints since I realize I am being very cryptic here!  First, the house hails from England.  Second, the fragrance features a white flower native to tropical and subtropical climates.  I hope this helps! 

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Promise of Spring in a Bottle, Guerlain Cruel Gardenia

I grew up in the Midwest and enjoyed all four seasons.  Although the richness and coziness of autumn was my favorite, spring held a close second in my heart.  How could a fragrance lover dislike the hundreds of fragrant, colorful flowers blooming in spring?  I recall tulips, lilacs, daffodils, lavender, hyacinth and magnolia, gifting my yard and my nose, reminding me that summer (and a break from school!) was on the way.  My grandmother adored roses and her rose garden the envy of her neighbors, featuring every species of rose you can imagine.  I moved west to the desert over a decade ago.  The ability to count on the sun shining daily has grounded me here but I do, at times, miss the nuances of the seasons back home, especially the spring flowers.

Spring in the desert entails two simple things around my home: first the scent of  lush, fragrant orange blossoms wafting through the air, and second longer days of balmy, sunny weather.  Once our triple digit heat sets in to torture us for a full five months, we long to return to these beautiful days so I make every effort to enjoy each last minute right now.  Rain, the hallmark of spring's entrance in most climes, eludes us. The blooms of my childhood favorite flowers cannot endure the rampant sun. In the absence of those lush lilacs, lilies, magnolia and roses I cling to my orange blossoms and a great floral fragrance to remind me of my youth. (Granted, I could plant some gardenia or roses in my yard, but a brown thumb prevents me from helping them survive!)

When I first tried Guerlain Cruel Gardenia from the L'Art et la Matiere collection, I at once returned to my childhood.  I recall sitting in my back yard with my dog, anticipating the scent of the surrounding gardens my mother had planted to grace my nose. No one scent overpowered the other as I studied blades of grass and soaked up long awaited sunrays.  Cruel Gardenia resembles just that quiet experience, the scent of flowers being carried on a breeze.  In its early development, neroli and peach escort the sun; bright, light and cheerful.  The stage is clearly set and remains on this light note, never darkening into a more sultry tone.  Instead, various blossoms tenderly embrace the nose over the course of wear including rose, gardenia, ylang ylang and violet. At moments I am reminded of other greenly floral fragrances like Chanel No. 19 or Gucci Envy, but I find disappointment in the fact that the gardenia never truly holds front and center.  Musk and sandalwood offer a nice base for the fragrance, but they certainly do not deepen it.  I was hoping for a take no prisoners gardenia, one that grabs hold of my attention and begs me to surrender.  But alas, this gardenia is never cruel, and only subtle.

I dabbed the sample on my skin and I realize a dab certainly has less impact than a spray.  Nonetheless, it lingered only for a few hours or so, again reminding me of those spring days of my youth.  The effect it leaves is that of a refined floral, very well constructed and not at all offensive.  If I could spray it with abandon maybe it would bring more pizazz?  I picture wearing this on a spring day when I want to feel pretty and remember those spring days of my youth, accessorized with pink lipstick and a crisp white shirt.  I do not hesitate to reference it "spring in a bottle" and a very expensive bottle at that.  Cruel Gardenia beats many department store, massly produced, often copied fruity florals that dominate the market lately.  (If only women would stop buying mediocre fragrances and substitute those with one Guerlain!) I find it utterly wearable and delicate. If gifted to me, I would gladly wear it; I just do not feel compelled to buy it. 

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia is available at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.  A 2.5 ounce atomizer spray retails for $250. 

Draw Winner Announced!

Thank you to those who participated in the drawing for a generous sample of Byredo Accord Oud.  I am pleased with all the feedback and will gladly review each fragrance mentioned over the course of the next few weeks.  Without further ado, the winner is ....


Your name was selected through randomizer and you are the lucky winner.  Please send your full name and address to  Thank you for playing!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


I have gobs of perfume.  I mean gobs.  I adore sharing from my stash (what is the pleasure in hoarding?) so I will randomly post drawings for generous decants.  This will be the first in what I plan to be a weekly endeavor.  Enter here in the comments section for the first offering - a generous glass vial atomizer of my beloved Byredo Accord Oud!  Simply suggest a scent for review from the following list and your name will be randomized:

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine and White Moss
Givenchy π
Guerlain Cruel Gardenia
Montale Boisè Vanillè
Parfumerie Generale Bois Blond

Winner announced Friday!

A History of Perfume from The Fragrance House

I am pleased to present a most kind gift from The Fragrance House, featuring an informative history on perfume as an artform.  Enjoy!  Please stay tuned for a review to be posted Friday.
The History Of Perfume