Archive for August, 2006
Fall is in the air. I know, you probably think I’m losing it but I swear I smell fall. I smelled it very distinctly last night. I love fall. I love everything about it. Even the rain. But what makes it even more exciting is that I can wear my ultimate fall scents. Do you have ultimate fall scents? I do. By that I mean, they only get worn during fall months, and I’m not making this up. Sure, I wear all kinds of scents all year around, and my choices are usually not based on the season. However, there’re several that I practically do not touch other than in the fall. Oddly, this rule only applies to fall – not any other season. Because nothing compares to fall. Because life would not be the same without fall. Because I look forward to fall more than I look forward to any other season. It’s retrospective, contemplative, introspective, peaceful, glorious, and submissive.
But enough with serious stuff! My ultimate fall scents are:
Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens – campfire, burning leaves, dirt, and a cup of hot black tea with honey. If you haven’t fallen under its spell yet, you really should do so soon.
Bois de Paradis by Parfums DelRae – tree bark and cinnamon. It’s mature and playful at the same time. I truly believe its beauty is revealed only in cold autumn air.
Ambre Narguile by Hermes – apple-cinnamon pastry with a glass of cognac. I must admit I haven’t actually tried this combo but that’s what I believe it smells like. Comforting and luxurious.
Oropuro by Laura Tonatto – a very cozy animalic amber-vanilla blend. My favorite vanilla for fall.
Maharadjah by Parfums de Nicolai – spicy lavender for those colder days of late fall. Reminiscent of the smell of upcoming winter holidays.
Tea For Two by L’Artisan Parfumeur – hot chai tea latte. I love chai tea but only in the fall. Tea For Two is just that in a bottle.
Poussiere de Rose by Parfums de Rosine – the ultimate rose for fall, with dried fruits and cinnamon. Velvety and dusty. A mature, elegant rose.
Do you have ultimate fall scents?
P.S. If you cannot yet smell fall in the air, the painting above should do the job for now. Golden Autumn. Village by Isaac Levitan.
August 31st, 2006
I did my own little sniffa yesterday. I swear the folks at Saks, Neiman’s and Barney’s know my face by now, and secretly freak out when they see me come in the store. Because I often wear a stern expression and never really buy anything (well, I do but it’s very rare). So I wonder what they think when they see me because I swear I go to smell things at least once a week. Helps a lot I live within walking distance from major shopping areas. Anyways, so I went to show my persona again and sniffed a few things. My first stop was the Hermes boutique that had a tester of their new Elixir des Merveilles. I believe it’ll be officially out in stores in September. Elixir des Merveilles was a much anticipated fragrance since it’s another version of my beloved Eau des Merveilles and even more beloved Parfum des Merveilles. Elixir comes in a bright orange bottle (shown in the picture), and it’s the eau de parfum concentration. So what does it smell like? It’s really not much different from its predecessor. It’s said to feature the notes of mandarine, orange pulp, chocolate, tonka beans, vanilla, oakmoss, balsamic incense, ambregris, sandalwood. So picture Eau des Merveilles with orange marmelade and powdered sugar accord. It’s syrupy and jam-like in top notes and much less bitter in the drydown. It’s a gourmand version of the original that’s softer and more rounded, with outstanding lasting power and sillage! It has my name written all over it, so a future purchase it shall be for sure.
At Barney’s, I smelled Love by Sarah Horowitz – “a seductive blend of clove, carnation and rose with warm base notes of Tunisian amber, French vanilla, clean musk and Indian sandalwood” (Barneys.com). Created by Sarah Horowitz, the nose behind Creative Scentualization perfume line. In spite of being heavy on spicy carnation, sandalwood, and amber, it’s very much a linear scent. By that I mean it pretty much just sits there without much development. I do find it very wearable, though, in a cozy kind of way. I imagine wearing it on those chilly fall days like you’d wear your favorite sweater. I doubt it’ll be a purchase (the price is hefty!) but I wouldn’t mind having some around at some point.
During my brisk walk through the Saks beauty department, I got a brief test of the new scent for men by Viktor & Rolf called Antidote (mint leaves, bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon, sandalwood, ebony, patchouli). Much ado about nothing, it seems, in similar fashion as with their Flowerbomb. I was rather underwhelmed but a further proper test is still in order.
At Neiman’s, I remembered to smell Vintage Gardenia with Cardamom and Myrrh by Jo Malone (gardenia, tuberose, cardamom, sandalwood, incense, myrrh). I’m rather indifferent to gardenia but the cardamom and myrrh had me intrigued for a while, so I gave it a proper sniff. Sadly to say, I found it rather cloying. If it wasn’t for tuberose, it’d be quite all right. Tuberose and gardenia just don’t get along. Even my beloved cardamom can’t help here. Oh, and there’s no incense to my nose – had there been more, it could have turned out better, methinks. It’s a soft pretty floral – if you’re a lover of such, you should give it a try.
Oh, and Comme des Garcons Guerrilla 1 and 2 – I mention them last for a reason. Big fat meh. That’s all I’m going to say.
Image source: www.profumonline.com
August 29th, 2006
Today’s post is not going to be a review of a single fragrance. I’ll just share with you my impressions of a few of my latest finds. I must say after an overdose of Noir Epices for my imaginary revenge last Friday, I had to take a break from wearing perfume all weekend. I did, however, get a chance to do a super brief test of the newest Rumeur by Lanvin, Banana Republic three new perfumes (Alabaster, Rosewood, and Jade), and Herve Leger Rose. None of these left a memorable impression of any kind, other than being nice and pretty florals, except the Banana Republic ones which I found extremely cloying and totally overdone. Luckily, I also received a few packages from wonderful perfume maniacs like myself who shared with me some gems, and today I’d like to share with you what they are.
Sensuelle Russie by Esteban – this one has been recently talked about on Makeupalley as well as reviewed by Scented Salamander here. Needless to say, I got instantly intrigued, not just by the notes alone (bergamot, Siberian pine, cardamom, cinnamon, cedar, patchouli, vanilla) but also by the name, naturally. When I first smelled it, I immediately thought it was a clone of Ambre Narguile, just less syrupy and less rummy-sweet. I’m trying it again as I write this, and I get more pine this time and lots of cinnamon and just a hint of patchouli, and no honey at all. If it’s not a clone of Ambre Narguile, it’s definitely the watered down version. In addition, the price is way more appealing (30 euro, I believe) but you cannot buy this anywhere in the U.S. yet, and the Esteban folks in Paris won’t ship here either.
Rose en Noir by Miller Harris – this was created by Lyn Harris especially for the Liberty store in London. Lucky you if you live in London. Get yourself to Liberty to smell this strikingly gorgeous rose. If you don’t live in London, get yourself to ebay to obtain a decant (it was still there last time I checked) or don’t try to obtain it at all for you will be a victim of unrequited love. I have no notes for Rose en Noir, so if anybody has this info, please comment. Here’s what I’m getting: an almost dirty rose with perhaps saffron, just a hint of something sparkly, perhaps apple. It then becomes sweeter and jam-like but not syrupy sweet. The drydown is where it leaves me almost unconscious – it smells like a lipstick. Yes, believe it or not, I’m a sucker for lipstick smells (even though I don’t actually wear lipstick). My other favorite lipstick smell is Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle. Rose en Noir is not the same type of lipstick. It’s sultry and voluptuous. I’m utterly infatuated by it and am this close to writing a petition to Miller Harris to make this scent available worldwide.
Opium parfum by Yves Saint Laurent – go ahead, laugh at me. I was not an Opium wearer in my youth, and the first time I actually smelled it was just a few years ago, and it was not good on me at all, in spite of its sumptuous notes (cinnamon, pepper, orange, pimento, carnation, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, vanilla, benzoin, patchouli, opoponax). I’ve also tried various Opium limited edition versions and was left underwhelmed. However, parfum. Parfum brings out a whole new scent! I have a habit of trying scents that don’t work on me in parfum concentration whenever possible. In this case, it’s not only better composed, it’s also far superior in effect. Cinnamon-pepper-carnation-opoponax with almost a smoky touch. Extremely well-rounded and much more wearable. I highly recommend trying this out, especially if you love deep floral orientals.
Nuit de Noel extrait by Caron – I have tried this before but didn’t give it enough credit. For a scent created in 1922, it’s amazingly timeless. Sure, there’s oakmoss and rose-jasmine blend that is so prevalent in fragrances of that era. However, its drydown is so soft and honeyed (which I presume is opoponax, although I didn’t see it listed as a note) that it just wins your heart in spite of your resistance. I do tend to resist loving Caron scents as most of them just seem so musty and old-fashioned. Nuit de Noel is the exception, especially in extrait form (which is what I fell in love with). In the very drydown, it slightly reminds me of the way Farnesiana dries down but with more bitterness and noirness. It’s stunning and cozy at the same time.
What are your recent finds?
August 28th, 2006
Once again, I could not just pick one winner for the Dzongkha sample drawing. How can I with this many candidates? So I have 3 again, and they are: Trina, Benvenuta, and Alica! Yay! Please send me your address to aromascope at gmail dot com. I truly wish I could just send samples to everybody but, alas, it is not possible. Good luck next time!
August 27th, 2006
I was all set on doing another Underrated Friday for today but then my boss decided to be a jerk to me yesterday and let me go before my two week notice ended which, needless to say, made me mad. So what did I do? I went passive aggressive (something I do very rarely – active aggression is my calling) and started imagining what type of revenge I could put him through. Since there’s not much I can do about the situation other than suck it up and learn my lesson, I figured I can at least think of a perfume that I’d love to stink up his office with. I will not be returning to that office, so I’m playing this game entirely in my imagination, and that’s satisfying enough. To accommodate my noir mood this week, I picked Noir Epices by Frederic Malle.
Noir Epices (Black Spices) is created by Michel Roudnitska, the perfumer behind my favorite Amoureuse. Noir Epices is all about spices, with a chypre effect. It features the notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, orange, geranium, sandalwood, patchouli. What I love about it in particular is that it’s defiant. It’s one of those scents others will be likely to get really put off by while you’ll feel honored and proud to be its wearer. Or rather it will wear you. Do not attempt to subdue it for it will not oblige. If fragrances came with warning labels as far as wearability, it would undoubtedly come with a “Wear at your own risk” label. Noir Epices opens up with a nosehair-burning blast of pepper and geranium and quickly gets intensified by yet more spices, as if saying, “Pepper alone won’t do it to be defiant enough, folks”. So you get hit by nutmeg and cloves and just a touch of cinnamon. It’s a debauchery of drunk spices. The sandalwood and patchouli come in at some point as if trying to keep the whole thing under control which they manage to do only to a degree. The drydown is very much a spicy, cinnamony geranium, just as bold and just as audacious. The debauchery lasts for hours, and you wake up the next day with an olfactory hangover. But I love it nonetheless, and that is the kind of scent I’d love to stink up the said office with for I know it will last and last and last.
What scent would you pick for a passive-aggressive revenge? I’ll also be doing a sample giveaway. Please mention in your comment you’d like to be included in the drawing for a sample of L’Artisan Dzongkha.
Noir Epices is available at Barneys New York and directly from the Frederic Malle online shop.
Image source: www.barneys.com
August 24th, 2006
Dzongkha is the new release by L’Artisan Parfumeur that’s supposed to be officially out in the U.S. some time in September. I’ve been anticipating it with much impatience, and after reading Marina’s review, became even more antsy as to whether it’ll really live up to its name and my expectations. Well, how should I say it. It didn’t necessarily leave me indifferent. Neither did it put me anywhere close to the state of ecstasy I was in over Cuir Amethyste, for instance (I’m beginning to think nothing will truly measure up to it this season). Overall, I must say I expected more character and more spirit, if you will, especially considering the fact it was inspired by the temples in Bhutan.
For a brief note analysis, it starts out slightly similar to Bois Farine, another fragrance by L’Artisan Parfumeur, with a powdery sweet lychee and cardamom accord. This is also the stage where I get some iris but not enough to call it an iris scent. Then it falls into a light incense stage, with just a hint of leather. It’s also said to feature an Indian papyrus note (which I haven’t smelled in real life), and I do get some sort of an old paper accord. For some reason, I imagined Dzongkha to be dense and heavy on spices and woods. It’s neither. In fact, it’s rather translucent and seems to also posses a wet quality, like wet flowers, wet leaves. Marina called it introspective, and I agree. However, everything you’ve read so far only lasts for about 10 minutes. After that, it takes on a soapy quality and starts smelling like vetiver and celery (and reminds me a lot of Sel de Vetiver by The Different Company), and that’s exactly where it leaves me slightly underwhelmed. Nevertheless, Dzongkha seems to fall into the category of those scents that grow on you, so I’m not ready to give up yet, and do think I’d actually wear it from time to time.
Dzongkha samples are now available at Aus Liebe Zum Duft.
Image source: www.ausliebezumduft.de
August 23rd, 2006
Today’s post is not a perfume review, and here’s why: some time yesterday afternoon I realized every single smell in the world annoyed me, from the usually tolerable tarry city smell to the usually lovable smell of baked muffins and coffee. Everything. The ordeal was intensified by the fact I had to prepare a review for today, and I absolutely could not imagine getting my nose into anything perfumey. To top it off, I overapplied my beloved Tea for Two in the morning, in hopes to prolong the smell throughout the day but instead it ended up giving me tooth cavities. It’s like if you decided to put in four packets of sugar into your chai latte. So, I consulted with a friend as to how to remedy the deplorable situation, and she gave me brilliant advice, as always. Why not write about stinky perfumes or just smells you can’t stand (excluding the obvious)? I was overjoyed. It fits my mood perfectly! I hereby invite you into my stinkdom experience.
First and foremost, I cannot tolerate the smell of cigarette smoke. I love the smell of unlit cigarettes, though, and the perfume that has that vibe is Hermessence Vetiver Tonka. Cigarette smoke, however, absolutely clogs my breathing passages. I grew up with a dad who smoked like a malfunctioning chimney, often with all the windows in the apartment closed. I guess it put him in a state of nirvana while I usually ran out screaming or ended up screaming at him for subjecting us to such inhumane suffering. So, now, when I walk behind a person who’s smoking (happens daily), I get all kinds of violent thoughts and images in my head. I do love the smell of pipe tobacco, though.
Another smell that’s absolutely vile to my nose is diesel/gasoline (I don’t differentiate here). I grew up riding trains and buses, and I have numerous memories of riding this particular bus that used to be popular in the ex-USSR (can’t recall the name now) that I swear was specifically designed to exude gasoline fumes to permanently damage the brains of the passengers. I would get sick every single time, and my mom would have to ask the driver to stop for her daughter to throw up (and I did throw up every time).
Now on to stinky perfumes. Disclaimer: the strong opinions expressed below are purely subjective. Some of the ones I cannot stand are (as in, really cannot stand):
Versace Crystal Noir – headache-inducing mock of a floral in a grotesque bottle
Dior Hypnotic Poison – gut-wrenching instant poison
L’Artisan Timbuktu – rotting pine needles
Lush Karma – stomach-turning orange-patchouli venom
Montale Amandes Orientales – Barbie doll head
Caron Narciss Blanc – Soviet laundry soap
Jovan White Musk – sinus-clogging waterpipe rust
Donna Karan Be Delicious – apple vodka
MPG Iris Blue Gris – grassy fruitcake aftershave
Michael Kors Michael – cloying, suffocating mess
I’d love to hear what smells/perfumes you can’t stand. I’m in a stinky mood!
Image source: www.ditto.com
August 22nd, 2006
I’m in the noir mood this week. Maybe it’s because fall is coming, and my nose inadvertently is seeking out scents that are redolent of harvested goods, especially those from the trees. I grew up around apple, pear, plum trees of any kind, and August was usually the prime picking time, and I would literally hang out in the garden and on said trees consuming large quantities of what they had to offer (and paying for it later, obviously). I really miss that, and, while on the subject, I’d like to mention something that I’ve wondered many times since I came to the U.S. – why is it so uncommon to grow apple/pear/plum trees in your yard? I’m not speaking for the whole country, of course. I’ve lived in the Midwest, and I’ve traveled around a bit, and never did I notice such a thing. But back to the noirness. Pomegranate Noir is my choice for today, and it’s not just for the reasons mentioned above. I first smelled it last year when it came out and acquired a bottle but ended up not wearing it enough, so it was promptly disposed of. Just last week, however, I was in a store, and was immersed in a most gorgeous incensy sillage coming from the sales lady. “Passage D’Enfer! No doubt!” thought I. “What perfume are you wearing?” was my next verbal question to which I thought I already knew the answer but thought I’d seize the opportunity to show off my perfume knowledge. Busted! Pomegranate Noir. No. Way. Within 24 hours, a bottle was on my dresser.
Pomegranate Noir is a cologne by Jo Malone, a British perfumer. While I adore the scent, everything about it (except the smell) just seems odd. First of all, I’d never call it a cologne. It has all the attributes of eau de parfum. Second, it’s listed under the Fruity category on Jo Malone web site when fruit is the last thing I smell here. Third, it does not smell like a pomegranate. It smells like potpourri, pine trees (co-worker’s comment today), incense, dried fruit, patchouli – leather, if you will! Fourth, it’s supposed to be “inspired by the allure of a scarlet-coloured silk dress”. Silk? Scarlet-coloured? How about a heavy black brocade drape? Please don’t get me wrong. My intention is not to question/mock anything. I just couldn’t help but notice these discrepancies. My mistaking it for Passage D’Enfer wasn’t accidental. Both scents are heavy on frankincense, except Pomegranate Noir delivers on the noir promise by adding patchouli and plum while The Passage Through Hell is marked by so much musk it takes me straight into the bathtub filled with soap bubbles.
Pomegranate Noir can be found at Saks and Neiman Marcus stores and online, as well as directly from the Jo Malone online shop.
Image source: www.jomalone.co.uk
August 21st, 2006
Cuir Amethyste… how I love thee. Yes, I’m going to start this review by instantly revealing how much it has won my heart. It’s not often I get this entranced by a perfume. Sure, I’ve had several olfactory love affairs recently – Orris Noir, Amoureuse, Paestum Rose, to name a few. We’re still seeing each other and are very much committed. However, my use of the word “entranced” wasn’t unintentional for it has caused me to fall into a state of ecstasy, daze, and detachment from my physical environment simultaneously. This is by far my favorite new release.
So, “cuir” and “amethyste” – an unlikely combo. I know something about leather but I must confess my knowledge of precious stones is close to zero (thank goodness for Google). The leather here is achieved by combining birch and patchouli, with a soft resinous effect. The amethyste (if you can assign a scent to a stone) – by violet and coriander. It’s not predominantly a violet scent, however. The flower here is perfectly balanced with woody balsamic notes producing a luminous, velvety effect – luminous purple suede. No, I didn’t just mistype that – it’s both velvet and suede and definitely purple. It’s what I wanted Serge Lutens Bois de Violette to be which ended up being too heavy on cedar for my taste. That’s my impression based on a thorough sniff test. For a more basic, down-to-earth description, I’d liken it to the smell of dried fruits, sort of along the lines of Habanita by Molinard minus the tobacco note and just a tad more spice. I love every single stage here, and I especially love the sillage and the lasting power. It’s just perfect all around.
Cuir Amethyste features the notes of bergamot, coriander, crystalline rose, violet, silver birch, patchouli, benzoin, labdanum, French vanilla. It can be purchased at select Saks stores and Armani boutiques.
Image source: www.osmoz.com
August 20th, 2006
This week hasn’t been ordinary for me when it comes to this blog. I haven’t really done much of reviewing and haven’t really worn much perfume, for that matter. In addition to that, I gave my notice at work yesterday that made my stomach turn inside out and do back flips, so perfume was out of the question again. But today is Friday, and since we’ve already done some tagging this week, Marina from Perfume-Smellin’ Things came up with another outstanding idea. She suggested we shamelessly steal the American Express ads content, you know, the ones where it says: “My Life. My card.” that you can see in magazines and during movie previews. There was a questionnaire in those ads that she decided we should answer and replace the “my card” with “my perfume”. The woman is brilliant, no doubt. I said yes instantly, so here we go.
My name – Ina.
Childhood ambition – first, a doctor. Then – a teacher. In my early teens, I knew my calling in life would be a fashion designer. I’d draw clothes non-stop. Daily. I drew my own paper dolls, too. They had a perfect wardrobe (everything I couldn’t have) and a perfect life (same). That passion subsided towards high school where I simply fell madly in love with English and eventually went to college to be an English teacher. So, after all, I did become a teacher on paper but not in real life.
Fondest memory – walking down a long road with my dad. I was about 7 or 8, and we were out in the country on our way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. He was holding my hand and at one point said, “You know, sweetie, one day you’ll grow up, and I’ll get old and grey-haired, and we’ll be walking down this road again just like we are now.” This memory is so bitter-sweet…
Soundtrack – “Broken Flowers”.
Retreat – my mom’s country house in Latvia.
Wildest dream – going on a road trip through Europe. This is as wild as I can get. OK, one more: going to India.
Proudest moment – seeing a dear friend make wise choices.
Biggest challenge – keeping my mouth shut.
Alarm Clock – overrated.
Perfect Day – stroll around Riga on a nice summer day.
First Job – a manual worker in a phone factory.
Indulgence – a professional pedicure (pathetic, I know).
Last purchase – Dior Poison parfum mini.
Favorite movie – Napoleon Dynamite.
Inspiration – genuinely empathetic and selfless people.
My life – a miracle and a mystery.
My perfume – sheer polygamy.
Please feel free to share your own in your comments! Happy weekend, all!
Image source: www.art.com
August 17th, 2006