Sing me O Muse… Tempted Muse April Aromatics (New Release)

Sweeter than roses, or cool evening breeze*

On a warm flowery shore, was the dear kiss,

First trembling made me freeze,

Then shot like fire all o’er.

What magic has victorious love!

For all I touch or see since that dear kiss,

I hourly prove, all is love to me.

  • Anon

So what is sweeter than roses, sweeter than the evening breeze on a warm flowery shore? Apart from love’s first kiss, I’d say it’s Tempted Muse. But, but, I am moving ahead of myself and need to start at the beginning.

About a year ago Tanja Bochnig of April Aromatics was working on mods of two different fragrances**that she was interested in hearing my opinion on. Amongst the several samples she send,  she for some reason included one that had nothing to do with anything else simply named XX#1.

I LOVED what I smelled. Warm, sunny, embracing, golden, nectar of the Gods, a tempted muse in a grove steals a kiss from Apollon’s lips.

So I wrote back along the lines of; I like version blah and version blah for this and that reason BUT WHAT IS XX#1 – WHEN WILL YOU RELEASE IT? Tanja likes to hear people’s opinions, but as far as I’m aware, in the end she always sticks to her own (as so she should). But I was not going to give up. Basically every single correspondence we’ve had over the last year has more or less included a hint or a plea to consider releasing it into her collection.tm 002k

And finally the Goddess heard me, and the fragrance ended up as Tempted Muse. Although in this case I was not the muse even if I’m sure I was somewhat more than a tempter.

If you take a good sniff right upon the very first spray, you smell the unmistakable spark of a pink grapefruit, a sprightly not tart smell, and it melds with a feeling of a basket full of fresh, ripe fruits. There is no particular fruit note sticking out, but the colour that I perceive is the warm yellow/orange of ripe peaches and apricots.

White flowers of frangipani, jasmine, ylang-ylang and tuberose enter light-footed as a dance of the muses, each of them bringing a special gift to the fragrance. You would think it could be truly narcotic, but it isn’t, as in a circular dance you simply can’t tell where one starts and another one begins, always intertwined. I smell waxiness from the petals, evoking bees and honey, and the whole composition makes me think of nectar, like dew drops in the early morning. In the dry down, there’s vanilla and tonka bean and sandalwood, but again they are not individualists, but united; there to add to that golden colour spectrum of the overall feel.

Although the perfume is sweet, it’s not sugary; but juicy and nectarish. And every note is tied to another in an intricate pattern, to give off a unique luxuriant simplicity.

A fruity floriental, or perhaps a flirt with twisting and stretching the genres. To me it doesn’t matter; Tempted Muse is sensual yet innocent like the muses of Rafaello’s Parnassus; soft and graceful, the skin of peaches and smiles of angels, and yet, daring enough to be tempted into to stealing that first ambrosial kiss.

Rafaello - The Parnassus

Raphael – The Parnassus

 

* Can you imagine having written something as beautiful, and then be anonymous? Fortunately Purcell has set it to music that it might not be lost but love to all. Here it is in a stunning version sung by Kathleen Battle live from 1990. (Just think! If that was Samsara, it would be called vintage :-/)

**A citrus and a spring fragrance if I remember correctly. One became Ray of Light

Tempted Muse can be bought from April Aromatics, and will also be released soon as part of the PLP-project with three differentfragrances 7.5 ml each.

For another review of Tempted Muse by April Aromatics; cafleurebon

Main and bottle picture by me. Rafaello Sanzio will need no further introduction.

Hug in a Mug – Intoxicated By Kilian, 04°N 74°W Richard Lüscher Britos, Asmar SoOud

I do love my coffee, and actually can’t properly function without it in the morning. I take my coffee black, strong but not bitter and steaming hot, and one of my favourite smells is that of freshly roasted coffee beans, freshly ground.

With intervals I keep looking for something which has this particular note, and after another decaf of a perfume that I had high hopes for, I thought I would sum up three of my most recent coffee-note efforts.DSC03046kopi

Intoxicated by Kilian (perfumer Calice Becker) had me hoping big time; the notes looked promising; cardamom, mocha coffee, cinnamon, tobacco, vanilla, patchouli. Everywhere I looked the reviews talked of warmth and comfort, Patty of the Posse even of ‘comfort-heaven’. All descriptions had me hoping for a warm, dark brew minus the caramel praline latte but plus an enveloping, fireplace- perfumy feel. What I smell is a very fresh green cardamom, almost herbal, making me instantly think of male colognes. I get that it’s the Turkish Coffee that the perfumer tries to similate, and does it well, and yet, for me, the coffee-note here is more like the not yet roasted beans; I never get that dark brown glowy smell. Intoxicated dries down a little smoother and a smidgen sweeter, but all the lovely spices and particularly the cardamom, leaves me rather cold. I suppose I just don’t ‘get’ when typically warm spices should give off an astringent aroma. This one is not for me, but I can see how it might wear well on a man, if he likes his spices cool and non-committal.

04°N 74°W– is a natural perfume by Richard Lüscher Britos (perfumer Jean-Claude Richard). My sample of this has been lying around for a while, as the first ones I tried from the line were natural in that ‘whole food eco store henna, patchouli and batik dye a la 1975’-style, so not exactly my cup of (herbal-) tea, and with those names it really wasn’t easy to remember which I had tried and which not.

Nicolas Lancret: A Lady and Gentleman Taking Coffee with Children in a Garden

Nicolas Lancret: A Lady and Gentleman Taking Coffee with Children in a Garden

However, 04°N 74°W is a very pleasant surprise; it’s a soft white floral with a good, true black coffee note, a really unexpected mix which works surprisingly well. A velvety gardenia* opens 04°N 74°W and its –in this case soft-mushroom note ties in nicely with a note of elusive arabia coffee. At first application, I noticed the beautiful coffee aroma instantly, at other times it has been playing hide and seek, perhaps just adding at bit of flavour to the overall composition. Little by little the creaminess of the ylang ylang and the sweetness of what feels like hyacinth sets in. This floral sweetness merges into a mellow and discreet vanilla and what smell like a little sandalwood, though this is not mentioned in the notes. I imagine taking a coffee on the balcony a sunny spring morning, with the flowers blooming all around from pots and nearby gardens. It manages to be both a ‘real’ perfumy perfume AND have a coffee note, even if it’s not a coffee fragrance as such. The more I wear this perfume, the more I enjoy it.

Asmar from SoOud (perfumer Stéphane Humbert Lucas); I wanted to smell Asmar for a while, as I do love Ouris from the same brand and I find a few others really interesting, Fam being a Rose-Oud that I actually enjoy wearing. Taking their inspiration from the Middle Eastern perfumery, the French brand bears the subtitle ‘le pont entre l’orient et l’occident’ (the bridge between East and West), and Asmar really is a tasty trip to the bazaar.

In essence Asmar is more of a honey than a coffee fragrance, and it sets camp somewhere between Oriental and Gourmand territory. The opening is a dusty cacao followed by a very intense honey note. It’s made in a refined way, light and heavy at the same time, like the crispy light phillo pastry to the hefty sweet nutty filling of a honey Baklava. And as if you had just picked this delicacy up in a souk, a fan of smells open up as hints of coffee are sensed from a weave of amber and tobacco. It dries down to a gorgeous warm musk, and here it might be in order to re-use the phrase ‘comfort heaven’, something for long, cold winter nights.

As the saying goes; Everybody should believe in something. I believe I’ll have another coffee.

image3

*Yes, I’m aware that neither gardenia nor hyacinth can be distilled naturally, but those are the notes mentioned, the ones that the perfumes has tried to recreate.

**My explorations so far have taken me through; Jo Malone Black Vetyver Coffee, Nez a Nez Atelier Artiste (of which I own a bottle), Bond no9 New Haarlem, Histoires de Parfums Veni, Paul Kiler Café Diem, and I feel probably others too that I might have forgotten just now. I would be happy for any suggestions you might have.

Samples of Asmar eau fine and Intoxicated bought from Luckyscent and 04N 74W send to me from a kind perfumista.

Pics mine, apart from Lancret of course 🙂

Snow and Spices – Winter Kitty and Bollywood by For Strange Women

I’ll admit it, it’s entirely the name which is to blame, so perfectly evocatively cute, and the perfumer has come up with this description; ‘This blend is an artisan rendition of the sweet slightly musky smell of a kitty who went out for a winter walk and came back with chimney smoke and brisk air lingering in his fur’ Aaaaaaaww, you see, I had to try ‘Winter Kitty’ by ‘For Strange Women’!

winter snow cats animals wildlife leopards 1920x1200 wallpaper_wallpaperswa.com_39

 

Evergreen, fresh and zesty, while also silver cool, with a small bit of frostbite, and a little smoke starts the perfume oil off. My impatience got the better of me; where was the kitty in this winterscape? As it turned out, he just hadn’t quite arrived yet, rather the brisk winter outdoors entered before him. It’s snow and fir trees and so cosy it reminds me of postcard winters, rather than the cold that stretches without end, making anything but staying at home all curled up unpleasant. And the opening is a gorgeous blend, the fir, mint, vetiver and incense making up the perfect quartet. I love the way the vetiver makes the fir greener and the mint tones down the vetivery aspect while playing the cool metallic sides of both the incense and the fir for that‘ Jack Frost nipping at your nose’ kind of feel.

 

???????????????????????????????I’m not sure that, without the gorgeous little description, I would have come up with the story of the winter kitty myself from testing the fragrance. However, I can imagine that at this stage the cat would have had enough and would want to slip back indoors to a comfy sofa and a fireplace. As the fragrance warms up through the layers, it does gradually go a little sweeter, cosier, the way kittens paws still smell sweet like spicy cookie dough, not like a grown up musky feline. However, it really isn’t sugary in any way, just a little sweetness, from the rose and vanilla with a little of the incense and fir still lingering around in the little creatures coat.

Bollywood was quite the opposite of Winter Kitty. I did not order it because the name was sweet music to my ears and I do not have a soft spot for Bollywood movies. But the notes; Saffron, Cardamom, Black Tea, Sandalwood, Lotus and Rose… I love saffron and cardamom, and paired with black tea and sandalwood I simply had to try this.

bollywood‘Bollywood’ opens exactly as I had hoped for; sweet chai, cardamom buns straight from the oven with a glorious saffron note floating above it all- think a deeper and more golden Safran Troublant. As the sandalwood enters, so does quite a strong incense note. Gorgeous as this part is too, I’m so in love with the beginning of this fragrance that I should be happy if it had lasted forever longer, but that’s really being fussy. Bollywood is a great fragrance, which I can truly recommend to lovers of both DSH’s Cimabue and Safran Troublant, all three although of a similar nature, are different enough for me to excuse owning them all.

The perfumes are available as solids and oil. The oils last about 5-6 (WK) and 6-7 (B) hours at least on my very dry ‘Winter Woman’ skin. My skin also tends to ‘eat’ sweet notes, and these being natural perfumes others might get different wearing time as well as more sweetness/ other notes acting a little differently, which I find so utterly charming with natural perfumery. Although I generally much prefer alcohol based sprayable perfumes (edp/ edt), it doesn’t bother me here, and it would be the cat’s meow adding winter kitty as an oil in the morning to top up during the day from your solid pendant.

 

*As with a lot of indie and all natural brands, owner and creator of ‘FSW’ is located in the US. Her other perfumes have a.o. such graphic names as; London Fog anyone? Or perhaps Violin in the attic or Satin Corset, or perhaps Evergreen Mountain?

**Disclaimer; I bought the samples from FSW’s Etsy shop

Feature cat picture is mine, leopard in winter from gde-fon.com, kitty sample pic mine and chai pic from boxofspices

Sunny Disposish’- Pomélo Paradis (new release) and Silver Iris by Atelier Cologne

With Pomélo Paradis, Atelier Cologne has added another fragrance to their original line, which stays true to exploring new territory in the cologne style. Here it’s new star is pomelo (or a mix of grapefruit and orange) as the citrus top, making it somewhat sweeter than the usual cologne by staying away from sharp citric flavours. It’s sparkly, as if little bursts of grapefruit sticks out from the juicy core here and there, and as orange flowers add sweetness I’m reminded just a little of lollypops and lemonade, without it ever being explicitly candy-like. On the strip I can smell a very faint, very light ambery dry-down, which is lost on my dry skin, but might be there for others.sunny disposish pomelo

While testing the new release Pomélo Paradis one phrase which kept coming up was ‘sunny disposish’- I think certain Jeeves and Wooster fans will immediately know what I’m talking about, whereas others might need a bit of help. P.G. Wodehouse’s novels about Jeeves, the brilliant and know-it-all valet to Bertie Wooster’s dim-witted young English aristocrat navigate through the dangers of bachelorhood, in London, NY and the English countryside in the 1930´s. Spraying Pomelo Paradis instantly makes me think of Hugh Laurie’s Wooster singing this silly Gershwin song called ‘A Sunny Disposish’’.

Jeeves & Wooster/ Fry & Laurie

Jeeves & Wooster/ Fry & Laurie

I could imagine this one being great if you were looking for a citrus/ cologne fragrance that felt more orange and less acidic, especially for spring and summer. It’s simply a fragrance of a very sunny disposish and good humour, matching persons and/or weather of the same inclination.

 

It should come as no great surprise that Silver Iris is my favourite of all the Atelier Colognes, it’s iris duh! And this one is lovely. Some have questioned the sense in choosing a name so similar to Serge Lutens’ iconic Iris Silver Mist. But for me there was never an overlap in thought. In ISM the silver belongs to the mist, the silvery moonlight shimmer and earth’s damp breath, whereas in Silver Iris, the silver belongs to the iris dressed in silver sequined dress at New Years. It’s festive*, and dare I say it; lively almost upbeat… This I find comes from the (typical AC) opening citrus burst, here of mandarins which makes it sweet and ties nicely with the following blooming of a gorgeous iris note, verging on beige suede.sunny disposish iris Beautifully this is all kept from going all blue by adding the sweetness of violet-notes and green feel of the leaves. Drying down to me is still all iris, but with a hint of musk and amber added. Thankfully patchouli is kept in the background to just give a little structure to the dryer side of the rooty iris feel. This is a great choice of iris fragrance, if you like your iris fragrances a little sweet while still dry rather than powdery, and let’s not forget; zippy rather than moody.

Ok, so Silver Iris is not exactly as frivolously sunny as Pomélo Paradis, but it could probably spend a day or two in Pomelo’s company, and I could even see them really going to town together, before Silver Iris would go bonkers and need a bit of restorative sane loneliness. Perhaps the Jeeves to Pomelo’s Wooster…

“The rain may pitter patter, it really doesn’t matter, for life can be delish with a sunny disposish!”

 

 

*Yes, Gaia already wrote that, I know, but I agree 100%. Here’s her great review of Silver Iris. And there isn’t a lack of brilliant reviews of Silver Iris; here’s Tara’s at OT, Lucas’s at Chemist, CFB by Mark Behnke, The scented hound. And for Pomélo Paradis CFB

** Samples offered to me by Atelier Cologne

***pics mine, apart from the jeeves and wooster one