Hello Handsome! Clove Absolute- Washington Tremlett

Do you know those samples that arrive at the wrong time and consequently end up abandoned in a corner? Then all of a sudden they reappear, it turns out at this exact time they hit all the right spots, and you can’t believe the foolishness of having left this gem undiscovered for so long.nelliker

Perhaps it was the beautiful spring arriving so early, and a wonderful summer, which I can blame for this mishap. However as soon as temperatures dropped, the sample of Washington Tremletts Clove Absolute called to me; ‘go on, try me!’ Still a little reluctantly I dabbed the vial onto the wrists. Mmmhm, mmmmhhhhhmmmmmmm, oh this is NICE! Where have you been all my life? Where were you when I wanted spices without smelling of ‘old spice’, gingernuts, Chai or Lebkuchen? Where were you when I was looking for the crossover between Winter Delices and Metallica?? Where were you- most importantly- when I was looking for the scent of a smug cat’s fur, soaked in spring sunshine??? Or when I wanted that domesticated in-laws approved Musc Koublaï Khan????

‘Well, you know, foxy, I was right there, all along’.

Nonononono, I’m not that easy; just for you showing up all spicy, oriental and handsomely musky.

I have worn the contents of my little dab vial day after day, each day before re-applying trying to tell my- perfume-hoarding-self that it really is just a clove perfume with a furry-musky dry-down, there you have it (and stop reading here if you don’t want the rose-tinted version) but wearing it is another matter.

Cat in a bowl

Cat in a bowl

The beginning is a vibrant but soft bergamot diving straight into that heart of cloves. The cloves get accentuated with a metallic twang of incense, which gives off an impression that carnation could have been present. Then staying there for quite some time, mulling over its fragrant ways with a little spicy rose (again snuggling up to that carnation feel) and a touch of heliotrope-only adding the tiniest bit of powdery almonds, it slowly descends into a feline state of contentment. Vanilla, labdanum and musk mysteriously add up to that intimate scent of sleepy-warm hair, fur and skin. The musk and animalic qualities- the way it stays so just on the right side of naughty, and thereby manages to be coy and cuddly, with just a glint in the eye. And if you see a tall, dark stranger hear a growl, well, tell him I said hello.

For reviews of Washington Tremlett’s Clove Absolut see; Sorcery of scent, Australian Perfume Junkies Perfume Posse


*Sample given to me by Ines- All I am- a Redhead

**Main picture as well as the one below, is from the brilliant site ‘deshommesetdeschatons’  the others mine.


Italian Ganache – Café Chantant Nobile 1942

Normally I don’t care to copy the marketing blurb here, however the text for Nobile 1942’s Café Chantant, is really rather delightful; ‘A cheerful buzz, burns of laughter, ladies in stunning evening gowns whose chypre perfumes are blended with gentlemen’s tobacco, ready to enjoy the show from their table in the front row. No matter what is their social status. The enjoyment of the pleasure, a genuine joie de vivre towards the end of the nineteenth century, following a wave of optimism, regenerating the great European capitals.’ Indeed it was delightful enough to go in search of the perfume.cafe chantant #4

If, after reading this, you’re looking for a gourmand-chypre, this one isn’t as sophisticated as that, it also isn’t reminiscent of times gone by seen from a perfumed perspective, it is also a far cry from the ‘back-stage velvet robes, powder-puffs and fur boas’ of HdP’s Moulin Rouge- this is really a gourmand the Italian way, and it’s a rather fine one.

I like the Nobile 1942 line; I think they have done some nice fragrances, which manage to stay true to their Italian origin, being more flamboyant than the typical French style, while at the same time being quite classical in their compositions.

The name is taken from the ‘singing cafés’ of the belle époque, an environment as described above, so although you’d assume they do drink coffee in these cafés, this isn’t a perfume created around a coffee note. Rather Café Chantant starts out very almondy and with a whiff of a doll-head-note, that combination of vanillin and heliotrope. When I think of the belle époque, I also think stylized drawings and posters of women with big dolls eyes, so this imagery works for me.

cafe chantant #3A hint of cherry evokes the smoke of pipe tobacco hanging in the crowded room. Although I never get a coffee note per Se, I do smell a mix of anise, working its way into a dark liquorice molasses, and combined with an entirely patchophobe-friendly patchouli and laurels, this somehow manages together with the heliotrope to smell like a rather gorgeous coffee hazelnut blend or perhaps you should care for an Italian Gianduja with your espresso, per favore?

On my skin Café Chantant stays cuddly, a darkish gourmand rounded by a bit of buttery iris, however, on the scent strip I do get a bit of that chypre mentioned, it’s like that liquorice- patch combination goes a bit more dark emerald green, rather than the dark cherry red and ganache layered cake I get on skin.

A good old-fashioned Italian song, sung by a famous Italian tenor, would be the right sound track to end this post with; so for those who care for it here’s a link to the beautiful song ‘Non ti scordar di me’ as sung in the 1935 film (by the same name) by Beniamino Gigli.


*the pics are mine.

Bottle Love- Ma Griffe Carven 2013 and Vintage Ma Griffe

Ever since seeing the new Carven bottle and packaging I’ve been rather smitten. I find it absolutely gorgeous; the proportions, the colour scheme, the font… I thought that perhaps the real thing wouldn’t live up to the expectations set from the über-stunning photos, but no such luck. The bottle is just as pretty up close and a pleasure to hold and spray too. At first I tried to talk myself out of the insanity of buying a perfume for the sake of the bottle, but finding a Ma Griffe at a price that was too good to miss, I did it- I bought a perfume for the first time ever primarily for the looks.DSC02085

My bottle arrived, and I was very excited as to how this would smell.

It’s straight up green soapy aldehydes, with a faint touch of bergamot. This is really nicely done; it feels like there’s character behind the subtle greens, on the one hand it is reminiscent of good old fashioned perfumes, on the other hand it manages to stay quite contemporary, with a pretty retro-vibe. For a rather short moment, it turns slightly more flowery, predominantly by a soft jasmine, however vetiver and the discreet leathery facets of styrax ( I presume) keeps Ma Griffe tight and grown up. All in all, up until this point, a really nicely done green perfume with quite some back bone.

In the base I smell quite a bit of white musk, and I could have sworn that the slight greasiness I get is from cedar, however this is not mentioned in the pyramid. The dry down is a little bit of a let-down for me in that it lasts too long compared to the rather great opening and heart. It just isn’t as characterful as the opening had let me hope for, and smells rather a bit too much like everything else out there at the moment.

Reintroducing such an iconic fragrance, and basically making a new fragrance which should hint at the past but still suit modern buyers- this is a fine attempt. It hasn’t been given the total photo-shop treatment, there are still certain things that point back to the old Ma Griffe, but basically it’s a new fragrance with a retro twist.DSC02100

I do own a bottle of vintage Ma Griffe parfum, which came to me by chance, and although I’ve been wearing it, and enjoying it, it’s not an all-time top 10 favourite, so I feel I can judge Ma Griffe 2013 for what it is, not what I wished it to be, based on my familiarity with the vintage version.

Especially when you don’t wear the two versions side by side, there is an overall feeling of some familiarity at certain points of the development, the opening, minus the bergamot which might never have been in my extrait or has disintegrated, at some point when the tougher notes set in, they have a similar feel too. One to one, however, I mostly smell their differences.

The biggest difference I’d say is whereas my vintage extrait feels like a walk on the wild-side, -it’s the green of fresh twigs, herbs rubbed between your fingers, and moss and grass under your feet, it’s the razor cheekbones and husky voices of 50s movie stars , whereas the 2013 version is urban green as in sporting a pair of fancy green leather heels, and certainly not getting your hands dirty.Lauren_bacall_promo_photogreen-with-envy

Do I feel superficial for my ‘beauty buy’ ? Perhaps a little, but I do so enjoy looking at the bottle and for the first hour or longer Ma Griffe 2013 is perfect on certain days, I just need to remember to have another perfume ready to apply when the generic dry down sets in.

Confession time: Did you ever buy a perfume mainly, or even solely, for the bottle?



I could only find one Carven Ma Griffe review of the new 2013 version, it’s from the Candy Perfume boy.

Main photo  from Carven Parfums site, Lauren Bacall from Wiki and clothes collage from thestatementbox. Two bottle photos are mine.