September Blues- Miu Miu fragrance 2015 and Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au thé bleu 2015

I was looking around the local mall when I saw the cute new release from Miu Miu, the first fragrance for the Prada off-spring brand, and with a bottle like that I just had to get a sample. They also had the new Bvlgari au thé bleu, and then on top it turns out they are both by perfumer Daniela Andrier, honestly, it was crying out to be blogged about.

I’ll start with what is surely going to be a new crowd pleaser; Miu Miu. They just nailed it with that bottle and the cutissimo perfume advert me thinks.60081 Somebody called the bottle the ‘LouLou of 2015’, and I agree it has a brilliant blue and red colour scheme, the geometric shape and the retro spirit. I can imagine many buying it purely because of the bottle, but on top I would say that its contents match bottle-style. Miu Miu the perfume is basically two things on top of each other, it’s the hip rose/patch/oud combo, which lends the perfume a shine of the cool and well-known, but on top of it is a juicy green accord opener, that at first I couldn’t pin down, until I remembered that it smells a lot like original Gucci Envy, the Roucel lily of the valley. This opening makes it delightfully retro compared to most of the fruity-floral-candy on the perfume shelves. The ‘oud’, which isn’t oud but a Giveaudan ingredient called akigalawood, smells soft and inoffensive, and gives the greenness something to bounce off, as well as forming the natural bond with rose making it accessible to the contemporary nose.

Miu Miu would possibly be a great perfume to gift a young woman, it’s well done and a little quirky in a hip way, and did I mention the flacon? I sprayed it in the morning and when it was still with me by the evening I was getting a little bit tired of it. But obviously I’m not the target audience, and the fact that I didn’t tire of it before is a feat these days – for most new perfumes.

Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au thé bleu is another new perfume* by Daniela Andrier. This is the place where I confess, that the icon that is Thé Vert (by JC Ellena), isn’t really ‘me’. I do like green tea, but the astringent (‘fresh’)/ seaweedy smell is not something I want in my perfume.

However oolong tea, being a semi-oxidised tea, has more of the black tea’s full bodied aroma. Au thé bleu’s main notes are lavender, (blue) oolong tea and iris. When I first read that, I had to let it sink in for a moment, yes three bluish notes, I got the colour palette, but the perfume palette wouldn’t quite come together as a hallucinatory smell in my nostrils. Good thing it did for M Andrier. The opening is a herbal sweet balanced lavender, a cooling fragrance to which she adds the pleasant faint smoked aroma of the oolong tea. Some discreetly candied violets ease it on your nose, and take the lavender away from any room-spray or cheap cologne associations one could have.

My first impression of the iris, was that it reminded me a lot of a stronger version of Bottega Veneta. The iris goes in waves from nude, pale suede to floral, and all the time balancing the herbal of the perfume aspect to stay refreshingly leafy. The iris stays in the dry down, adding a little almondy sweetness and some fluffy white musk. Au thé bleu is a calming perfume which keeps its cool, like a breeze on a hot day, but it isn’t a chiffon-like perfume or a skin scent, it’s got great presence and sillage.

I loved this and could have seen myself with a bottle all the way down to the white musk. There really isn’t much of it and it’s in no way overpowering, it’s just a bit disappointing in an otherwise brave and beautiful creation. I do hope I might still get over it.

 

If you like perfumes like Hiris, Bottega Veneta, Gris Clair, Clair de Musc, Prada any iris infusion or perhaps even Dior Homme, I would say you should give it a try.

*She’s busy these days; next (among other things) Prada brings out a new Infusion called Oeillet (carnation) also by DA, and I can’t wait to see what she makes of another of my favourite notes.

Feat pic by me and advert is Miu Miu.

No Smoke Without a Fire – Habanita* (vintage, 1988 EdT and 2012 EdP)

When I started reading blogs and investigate fragrances beyond the mainstream selection, the first thing I was drawn to explore was the beginnings of the oriental genre.

I ordered a decant of Habanita from The Perfumed Court of the 1988 EdT version. The 1988 version truly is a 1980s perfume, it has atomic power sillage and a cloud of patchouli and clovey cigarette smoke seems to grow by the minute. At least that was my first impression, and the few millilitres used of this rather aged decant, can verify that this beast only comes out of its hiding once a year to check whether my first impression was all down to ‘beginner’s nose’. I can tolerate it much better now, but I can’t say that it’s something I wear. So you will understand: my beginning with Habanita was not a love-affair, but a case of due respect and polite distance keeping, lots of smoke, but little fire.**

image1I am not sure quite how, perhaps as a double lot, but at some point I got quite a vintage bottle of Habanita pure parfum, which because of my previous history with the Lady in question, was approached with great tentativeness. Vintage Habanita is a different thing completely to the 1988 version. Probably due to age, ingredients and/ or the parfum strength, vintage Habanita wears rather close to the skin. You’re not enveloped in a mushroom cloud, and rolled in a mountain of stale ash-tray; this is quite a ‘personal-space’-perfume.

Vintage Habanita smells like sweet honeyed tobacco, warm and rich. There is smoke too, but it is more campfire than French bar before the smoking ban. Perhaps it’s a bit of incense, and galbanum which gives that feel of nice smoke full of memories, rather than ash-tray. There’s an ambery dusty feel, surely helped by a measured dose of heliotrope, and it’s followed by a dry down of incredible warmth and embrace. Aged patchouli, perhaps a little leather and some musky animals make me fantasize that it would be the scent of leaning in on this handsome fellow.gregory peck smoking In deed it would be gorgeous on men as well as women. My feel for vintage Habanita is that this is a perfume which hasn’t yet become an icon. She’s not glamming it up, like an aging celebrity, trying to remind everybody how amazingly sexy she was is, she just ‘is’, without even trying.

I sniffed the new 2012 Habanita shortly after its release, but I sort of forgot about it again. I still had my 1988 picture of Habanita, and a quick sniff of the new thing was not enough to banish it. However, I recently received a sample of the EdP and decided to give it a go.

It has the honeyed tobacco, which is just great as a sweetener as it never feels gourmand in any way but grounded and a bit tough. The smoke comes in the shape of leather and tar, which later mingles with a bit of powdery amber, so here too we are spared the smoke cabin feel; no one will mistake you for a smoker wearing this. There’s a bit of rubber to Habanita too. She’s a tough cookie, a Marlene Dietrich, compared to the Gregory Peck of the vintage version, but not a caricature. Even if scent wise it differs from the vintage version, I feel the soul of this 2012 version is much truer to its earliest predecessor than to its immediate one (1988) in that it doesn’t try too hard but is comfortable and at ease with what it is. Habanita 2012 still wears her name and notoriety with pride, her fire still burns but she’s in no need for a smokescreen.

 

Have you tried Habanita in any versions?

 

*I didn’t start out thinking I would compare the versions I have but just write about the vintage, well, I guess I couldn’t help it.

**please note that I probably feel about cigarettes and tobacco the way tea drinkers do about coffee; they tend to love the smell of the freshly grounded beans but hate the drink, and while I love the tobacco scent, I’ll rather cross the road than have to walk behind a smoker.