Souvenir Scent – Paglieri 1876, Agrigentum, Florentia, Venetiae (2016)

Perfume can carry us away in an instant; to faraway places, to memories of time long past, to new horizons and places we didn’t know exist, and even to the abstract of unlimited imagination. Of course, it works the other way around too; when we travel, what better way to keep a memory than to buy a special perfume connected with that place, and to revisit through scent, when you long for a break or a memory.

As a perfume lover, we like nothing more than getting hold of liquid holiday memories in pretty bottles, (hello city exclusives!) preferably closely related to the destination, and even if scented memoirs are not a new thing, the Italian brand Paglieri 1876, which makes a speciality of scenting the most famous cities in the boot country, was new to me.

Through a dear friend I got to try the three of their perfumes; Venetiae, Agrigentum and Florentia

Florentia has notes of bergamot, rose, clove, cedar, iris, leather, styrax, amber, tonka bean and sandalwood.

And obviously, Florentia is an iris fragrance, based on the Iris Florentina, (how could it not be?) and what a pretty one it is. Up top it’s crispy with a little peppery clove, while a fresh-ish rose, aided by the dryness of woods, alludes to starched white shirts cool against sun warmed skin. The iris that follows, throws on a hand-tailored Italian leather jacket, and becomes warm, noble-spicy and the tiniest bit dirty. While I might not truly need more iris perfumes, this lovely Florentine postcard would surely come home with me as a souvenir if I came across it in its name town.

Venetiae; Geranium, cinnamon, rose, sea-notes, freesia, saffron, oud, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber.

Most astounding Venetiae doesn’t start by hitting you with the rose-oud hammer, rather it opens on a combo of spice, rose-oud and… nothing! …Nothing? Air perhaps?

I couldn’t understand why something could smell of air until I realised that it was the scent of Copenhagen air, salt-water air, which was a part of this rather unusual oud opening. Like a little riddle hidden inside the perfume, I was delighted that my reaction was actually sea-air, rather than ‘someone trying to recreate salty air, but it just smells hideously synthetic’. The secret being in the dosage I believe, which is minimal. The rest of the perfume is nicely done; woudy (wood and oud in just the right amounts), enough flowers to waft a bouquet breeze and warm spices round of Ventiae. Yes, in a weak moment, I could see myself buying into the salty gondolier air and the merchant bazar of Venetiae.

Agrigentum; mandarin, lemon, orange, almond, ylang-ylang, jasmine, violet, patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, praline.

Agrigentum starts as an alcohol-free cocktail hour and turns into a creamy gourmand. The citrus fruits are juicy, refreshing yet sunny and sweet, with a hint of berries adding tartness. The almond, paired with ylang-ylang, vanilla and praline is sweet, yet not completely tooth-decay-category. It’s Dolce Vita, Baby. The sun is shining and even The Godfather is having dessert in the shade, while Etna looks too cute and postcard pretty from a distance to be worried about.

Agrigentum is too gourmand for me, but then, I have yet to travel to Sicily, who knows which perfume I’ll choose to bring home as a souvenir?

Perhaps in future perfumeries with regional perfumes will replace all kitschy souvenir shops, perfumista heaven?

Did you bring perfume home from your holiday?

 

Mojo Lost – Sweet Morphine Ex Nihilo (2015) and Bohea Bohème Mona di Orio (2016)

The weather outside is gorgeous, the perfumes… Well, let’s just blame it on me, I was a tad uninspired. Bloggers and forums raved about stuff I found disappeared after a few hours of uninventiveness. I’m not quite here but I can absolutely relate to all Victoria’s sentiments.

I got the mojo back after sniffing some excellent stuff at our local ‘drug’-store, the wonderfully curated and hip Crime Passionnel; the boozy range from Les Liquide Imaginaires consisting of Dom Rosa (Champagne and strawberry), Blood Wine (cherry, red wine and oak barrels), Bello Rabello (port and immortelle). Also, finding fougeres not the easiest of genres, I found I had skipped ever testing Fougere Bengale, a staple in the Parfum d’Empire line up. Apart from the lavender note up top, this one (as the enthusiastic Aivaras of CP pointed out) actually has a smokey, honeyed vetiver in common with the spellbinding Djedi.

Anyway, since I don’t have any of them, today is not going to be about these perfumes, that will have to wait for another time, it is going to be about a few of those I tried which stood out to me.

Always a lover of iris perfumes, and interested in lilac perfumes. I was attracted to the sound of Ex Nihilo’s Sweet Morphine by perfumer Nathalie Gracia-Cetto. Top notes are lilac and bergamot; middle notes are iris, mimosa absolute and rose; base notes are vetiver, patchouli, bourbon vanilla, heliotrope and orris. image

You see double whammy of iris/orris, mimosa, rose and lilac, you need not know a lot about perfume to know that this will probably be powdery.

Sweet Morphine starts on a fluffy sweet lilac note, real pretty. Nothing heady or even soapy, just a downy puff of lilac powder dispersing itself into a purple cloud. I was reminded slightly of a more present version of Opardu, which to me is more nostalgic and softly soapy. Sweet Morphine is velvety and iris-sweet until the latter stage where the vanilla takes over and it becomes adult-gourmand. It’s quite delightful, even if personally I could have done with less of a sugar fairy ending and instead something just a little bit more edgy. Anyone who loved Opardu but found it too quiet should most definitely give Sweet Morphine a try.

Composed by Fredrik Dalman ‘Mona di Orio’ the house, has released Bohea Bohème, the second fragrance after the last of the late di Orio’s compositions had been released. The fragrance features bergamot, cardamom, iris, chamomile, balsam fir, boxwood, geranium, black tea, juniper, smoke, oak, sandalwood, beeswax, bay leaf, benzoin,vanilla absolute and poplar buds.

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Smokey black tea is the sense of that first intake of air, there’s even a shortly a fresh sharpness, juniper I suppose, although my first thought was of a mix of spruce and eucalyptus. There’s the underlying spicy scent of fir trees, and the discreet mix of resins, benzoin and vanilla/ sandalwood softens the smoke and fir into an obedient and sheer unisex perfume, rather than a becoming a German sauna oil.

I like its easy wearable, even friendly, smoke and black tea, and I should dearly like to test this one sprayed lavishly, rather than from a sample, to feel if that would change the effect into something feistier. Even if deep, it’s more nice than naughty, and probably how most people prefer to take their tea perfume. I’m not most people, I like double espressos, and I should have like double up of BB too. However, if like me you were disappointed by the Jo Malone exclusive tea perfumes, and you were looking for black tea, not Chai latte, definitely give Bohea Bohème a try.

How do you feel about recent releases? Did you find beauty or boredom, or have you perhaps tried the two I mention above?

From L’Attesa to Zaffran- mini reviews PK perfumes, FM parfums, Opus Oils, Masque and Slumberhouse

 

I have a bit of a thing for saffron, in food, in perfume, to look at… It’s quite magical, so I’m always exited to see if perfumers can give this a twist, or make it stand out in a particularly beautiful way.

Zaffran was sent to me by the kind Paul Kiler of PK perfumes. It’s a strong saffron opening which is both leathery and astringent thanks to vivid orange-citrus notes, before slowly mellowing into a mélange of discreet warm spices and taking on the skin like quality of costus. Definitely does what it says on the box, and does it with aplomb.

Pouvoir Mystique by Fabio Luisi (FM Parfums) has almost the exact opposite development of the Paul Kiler’s Zaffran. It’s a skin and fur-like opening, which at first gives a gauzy impression which surprisingly develops into a smooth leather. The saffron here is wafting softly above the composition throughout, lending a little bite to the caressible opening and an edge to the leather of the dry down. It’s a fragrance which would lend itself to lavish spraying as a snug undercoat, the way I sometimes use EdC, with perhaps another perfume dabbed at the wrists.

Ode de Vampyre by Opus Oils, isn’t a soli-saffron. Although quite a perfumey-perfume it’s a bit of an enigma as it seems to shift a lot on me. While reminding me of other perfumes, especially certain 1980s creations, it isn’t easy to pin down. (Mostly) It opens slightly mossy on a beautiful fruity-rose note accompanied by saffron giving off a ray of sunshine. The milky sweet sandalwood blends beautifully with buttery iris. I like this perfume oil a lot, and would be very curious to try the EdP version. There’s no vampirism about this one, that’s unless you bathe in it, and you imagine vampires the equivalent to being locked in a confined space with ladies having massively over applied their 1980s perfumes. And BTW the notes of cedar wood, saffron, dark Rose, orris root, sandalwood, black agar, vetiver, honey and temple incense, make it sound a lot darker than it is, with neither oud, incense or honey being very dominant just adding to the overall oriental plushness.

Still talking of perfume notes I love, but moving from indie to niche, how excited was I to read of the new perfume L’Attesa from Italian House Masque Milano iris and champagne!

The opening is all iris, a rooty orris, leathery in feel. It’s modern sensual, creamy perhaps but not powdery. I do understand the talk of the yeasty part of champagne being what is tried to achieve here, and perhaps I get a whiff of it, though sniffing at an open bottle of Cremant (opened solely for purpose of writing this naturellement), I must say that L’Attesa never really smells like this, nor has it got the bubbly feel of my two go-to champagne fragrances; Arpège and Vega. (I realise talking of iconic fragrances is setting the bar high.). I was quite surprised when in the middle of the development of L’Attesa I was suddenly reminded of the sorrowful chrysanthemum in the outstanding Lutens’ De Profundis. If you’re looking for a leathery iris which still has a floral quality, this one is worth a try.image

Another Champagne perfume I was keen to try was Sådanne by Slumberhouse (how cool to finally have a perfume name for which my Danish keyboard has the letter, without needing to symbol-insert). The name doesn’t mean much by the way. Sådan means ‘such as’, ‘which are of a kind’ or ‘(t)here you are’, sådanne would be dialect of sorts and doesn’t exist as a correct word. It opens on a great big authentic strawberry syrup note. I’ve seen it compared to Victoria’s Secret Strawberry and Champagne, which I happened to come across in the Super Market the other day, and I don’t see the similarity. Sådanne has a beautiful sweet and dense strawberry note whereas S&C is like tinnitus for the nose. comparing them is like comparing silk and polyester. Anyway, in Sådanne I do get a tiny bit of a yeasty undertone from sparkling wine. After the strawberry has faded away, although animalic ambergris is mentioned, the sensation I get is that of soft moss, cedar and musk, no beasts to be scared of here (says the vintage-lover 😉 ). It’s a bit of fun, but not quite enough Champagne for my taste.

 

Pics my collages, in the main one, you might be able to see an amazing necklace by my friend of Trine’s Treasures

 

What is Your Cup of Tea? and an aside on experimental infusions – Jo Malone Oolong Tea, Midnight Black Tea and Golden Needle Tea

The sheerness and longevity issues of the typical Jo Malone output has not exactly made them high on my favourites list, yet the combination of finding a new favourite in (the limited edition) Tudor Rose and Amber as well as wearing (another LE ) White Lilac and Rhubarb at lot this spring, when I first heard of the new ‘Rare Tea Collection’ I was intrigued.

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The collection has a new and interesting price point, they are 300€ each for 175 ml, so I bought three small decants from a split of the ones that I thought might be what I was looking for in a tea fragrance. The three I left out were; Silver Needle, delicate floral, enveloping musk and a rose (- did anything ever NOT spell out my name quite so loudly?), Darjeeling Tea with freesia, jasmine (- ‘It’s not you it’s me, Honey’), Jade Leaf Tea, sencha, pomelo and maté (– chase me with maté tea).

What I have been looking for in a tea fragrance for some time, is a note of that dark smokiness, a real ‘brew’, a tarry, leather substitute note almost. A black tea that isn’t sweet. No more Chai Tea Lattes or Fresh Green Tea kind of thing. With 6 perfumes to choose from, each focussing on a different tea, surely it wasn’t too much to hope for, that one of them had that note?

The Rare Tea Collection contains 6 fragrances all ‘tea infused’. I’m not sure that the ‘infusion’ is not exactly my problem, but more of this later, first up the three fragrances that I ventured to try.

Midnight Black Tea; funnily I am not entirely convinced I would have smelled black tea at all had I not known of it. Midnight Black Tea has notes of vanilla, amber, guaiacwood and puh erh tea. On the strip I got more sweetness, and I detected something berry like and what seemed like almonds, none of which appeared on (my) skin. Its honeyed amber, a little inoffensive wooden smokiness and a touch of delicate spices is lovely and cosy, even if not exactly groundbreaking. It has good longevity, and for me it has just the right kind of airiness to not become cloying or sticky. It’s strikes a similar chord as Ambre Narguile, Nu_Be Helium, Oajan etc.

Golden Needle Tea; is another one where I’m not sure exactly how important the tea is. Supposedly it’s yunnan. The notes say; leather, sandalwood, benzoin and spice. It actually smells golden upon application. It took me some time to figure out why.

Last year, and here we actually get to the infusion part, I spend some time in the spring and summer collecting various plants, roots and resins infusing them (with perfumers alcohol) as an experiment and as a way of getting to know some plants and notes better. Among the stuff I retrieved were the fresh tears from the spruce tea, Picea abies. imageThe stuff is as sticky as it is fragrant, which is VERY. However, the scent is truly magnificent, with its golden bitterness. It’s almost as if you can smell the colour of the amber ‘stone’ it might turn into in some thousands of years given the right circumstances. It is this exact smell that I’m reminded of in Golden Needle, not ‘just’ myrrh or other resins.

A short note on the infusions is, that an infusion of a material is only very rarely a lasting or strong scent in itself, and wonderful as a 100 hour tea infusion sounds, it doesn’t really say much about whether it will actually add any significant flavour to the fragrance or not.

Back to Golden Needle and the slightly bitter resiny feel; it also reminds me of orange oil and ginger powder (remember always, we are talking Jo Malone, these associations are homoeopathic doses). It goes into a lovely suede like leather before resting on a sandalwood base. And a few hours in, best as you think it ends there, that little golden sticky resin pops up again, now as a faint driblet.

Oolong Tea has notes of cacao, tonka, hay and tobacco, and to me is the tea’iest of the lot.

It is powdery cacao dust, dry hay and smoked tobacco combined with a moist tea feel. I’m briefly reminded of the tea note in Bulgari eau parfumée au thé bleu, not least because of the buttery orris vibe I get, not that it’s mentioned anywhere in the minimalist note list. The tobacco sways and sometimes adds to a smoky tea feel and sometimes to a teaspoon of honey in a slightly bitter brew. It’s somewhere between haughty and enveloping and as such the perfume keeps itself poised and interesting, by always changing its nature slightly each time I wear it.

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As it is I like all three, especially the last two, yet not enough to splurge on a humongously large bottle. I prefer my tea to be more than infused; I want the builders brew version of infusion, also when it is wrapped in a sheer and airy composition. And perhaps just a little bit more Mad Hatter than Tea in China.

So, like with my coffee search, my tea search goes on too. In the meantime I shall enjoy the scent of the Oolong Tea à la Guerlain called L’Heure Bleue, but that’s another story and it will have to wait for another time…

Have you found your perfect tea perfume yet?

Coffee Time – Sebastiane Espresso Royale and Reliquary Perfumes Café la Nuit

Only thing worse than your computer crashing once, is your computer crashing twice. And how about that second time being just after you’ve put the final dot in a post, and for reasons unknown the file has disappeared. Hours I spent in vain because I refused to believe that it had not been saved somewhere in the depth of the hard disc, but alas! Rant over, and many, many espressos later I’m trying to recreate my coffee post.

I was encouraged by a fellow perfumista and several online reviews that Sebastiane’s Espresso Royal would be worth a try in my ‘search for the perfect’ coffee perfume (to quote Undina).

Espresso Royale does what it says: it smells of coffee. It is an espresso with hazelnut praline. Its hazelnut sweetness reminds me of Italian Gianduja and goes down perfectly with a good espresso. I would say that the sweetness to coffee ratio is 50/50, but thankfully it never feels like a Tall Hazelnut Latte. The espresso stands its ground with a dark roasted bean even when the hazelnut gets a little help from caramel and tonka bean. The perfume feels quite linear to me, but as it evaporates I start getting a mere hint of cinnamon and butter, as if the praline had been exchanged for a Belgian speculaas. The dry down is coffee grounds, but the sugar has been consumed and the overall feel is less foody, more just comfort-coffee. In case you were in doubt this is definitely a Gourmand perfume, and even if I absolutely love both hazelnut praline and espresso, for me personally perhaps Espresso Royale is a little too much so. However, if you are a gourmand perfume lover looking for a true coffee note, this one must be tested.

Notes; Whiskey, coffee, hazelnut, caramel, tonka bean.

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The indie perfumer from Reliquary Perfumes wrote and asked me if I would like to sample a few of her fragrances, and one in particular was instantly of interest to me; Café la Nuit, inspired by the famous Van Gogh painting La Café la Nuit.

The coffee note in Café la Nuit is one of the most natural and authentic I’ve come across. There’s not even a hint of coffee aroma chemical which I’ve found in so many coffee perfumes (A*men coffee, New Harlem a.o). The opening is like dark chocolate and espresso with crisp sugar, and it reminds me of another favourite chocolate of mine ‘Pocket coffee’.pocket coffee 1

There is the merest hint of lavender to lift this perfume oil out of ‘straight-up-gourmie’ territory and into something which although dense still somehow feels like it has a little more ‘space’ than your typical chocolate-gourmand perfume. Later enters a lovely smoky note changing the feeling of the coffee from a tasty dark brewed liquid to the roasting of beans, of cafés and perhaps even a cigarette… This is dark chocolate and black coffee in various shapes and forms. The coffee not only stays as the heartbeat throughout the composition, but manages to change character, going from buoyant to pensive as the night falls at the Terrace Café.

Notes; orange, cinnamon, lavender, espresso, café au lait, cacao, spilt sugar, tonka bean, vanilla, smoke.

Now I better get this published before more posts are lost, perhaps I should reward myself with a coffee afterwards.

Both perfumes can easily be enjoyed together with this little number;

Natalie Cole ‘Coffee Time’

Coffee time
My dreamy friend, it’s coffee time
Let’s listen to some jazz and rhyme
And have a cup of coffee

Let me show
A little coffee house I know
Where all the new bohemians go
To have a cup of coffee

Greetin’ time
The music box is beatin’ time
It’s good old fashioned meetin’ time
So grab a chair and take me there
‘Cause that’s just the place I’m at

Coffee time
My dreamy friend, it’s coffee time
Let’s sing this silly little rhyme
And have a cup of coffee

Hey, greetin’ time
That music box is beatin’ time
It’s good old fashioned meetin’ time
So save me a chair, I’ll see you there
‘Cause that’s just the place that I’m at

Coffee time
My dreamy friend, it’s coffee time
Let’s sing this silly little rhyme
And have a cup of coffee

We’ll have a cup of coffee
Just a little bit of Java
Yeah, we’ll have a couple of joke
Don’t you know?
‘Cause it’s coffee time

 

I bought the Sebastiane sample, the Reliquary sample was given to me by the perfumer. Pocket coffees photo didn’t have credits. Feat pic is mine as are my opinions.

Celebrate Good Times – Chanel Sycomore (2008) and Nez à Nez Marron Chic (2010)

I was going to publish a post on some Guerlains today, but given the ’Monsieur-Guerlain Bloggate*’ I decided to wait with that one for next time.

Today is my birthday, the day where it’s even better than usual to have a lot of lovely friends older than yourself, being able to tell you that 40 is indeed the best time of your life, the new 30, the new black, the cat’s pyjamas etc. and who am I to argue with wise words of people who have lived longer than I.

I decided that it’s also a time in your life, where you happen to have accumulated a lot of the things already, so my wish list was for 2nd hand and homemade items, which worked out a treat, people coming up with all sorts of lovely things. Recently, I have even realised that I’ll probably not need back up perfumes of anything, save perhaps one or two favourites, and this together with my special occasion made me decide to do a little draw today, see the bottom of the post for this.

I had hoped to wear a special second-hand item on the eve of the party, but alas, it arrived late. I have had a complete crush on Sycomore of late, and this was the item I purchased from a ’wunderbar’ German perfume enthusiast.

Chanel’s Sycomore (perfumers Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake) is that rare thing for me; a tough rather than masculine vetiver. I do love vetiver, but all too often it ends up smelling too much like after shave on me. This is a general issue with very dry and woody fragrances, they won’t really warm up and bloom on my skin, so finding one that does, a fragrance to embrace (what the h… – channel even) your inner Dietrich/ K. Hepburn/ S. Weaver et al. is rare for me. Perhaps it’s not least due to Sycomore’s floating quality, that it never becomes harsh. Its mixture of green woodiness, autumnal forests and camp fires just swirls around and becomes your fragrant aura, more than an actual perfume. What a turn-heads perfume for both males and females. The published notes are; vetiver, sandalwood, aldehydes, tobacco and violet. And let’s ad a signature song, for fun and straight out of my b-day playlist; Talking heads- Take me to the river, ultra cool and timeless.

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What I actually wore is a trusted go-to special occasion perfume of mine, and it never fails to deliver a certain ‘ooh-la-la’ –effect, or a feeling of a constant inner purr if you will. It’s the now DC’ed Nez à Nez perfume Marron Chic (Karine Chevallier). The regular reader of The Sounds of Scent will have one guess as to its main note. However, it isn’t as easy as that. Kumquat crosses wires with iris and chocolate and it’s not entirely pleasant, in fact had it not been for the look on the SA’s eyes when he sniffed it on me, it would probably not have gone home with me at that point. Like most of my best-loved perfumes, Marron Chic needed to ‘click’. The gourmand flair is something I am not always easy with, but here it’s not something you gluttonously eat, it’s something you crave and desire. The resins and labdanum ease the transition from the iris heart, and a subtle vetiver in the base creates a bit of an antipole to the ‘thickness’ of the other notes. Notes; kumquat, orange blossom, hesperidic notes, iris, cacao, karo-karounde, violet, benzoe, labdanum, vetiver. The purring soundtrack: Postmodern jukebox; All about that Bass.

And the little B-day draw: Draw closed there will be one winner, but since in so many countries you can no longer send or receive perfume you can choose between either a decant of my two birthday fragrances OR a personal drawing of your favourite perfume (or favourite 2 perfumes, depending on which you choose) – yes, done by me in the style seen here:boadicca, micallef sergeserge bas de soie

All you need to do is answer the following question in the comments and tell me which price you’d prefer to win. Make sure you comment from an e-mail address that I can contact.

What are your favourite special occasion fragrances?

*Read more here

Read Suzanne’s beautiful review of Marron Chic here

Pictures are mine.

Spicy Ground – Les Indes Galante Parfums MDCI (2015)

Whereas I do own and love perfumes from all spectres of the perfume wheel, it’s no secret that I feel most at home in the oriental category. What I feel that this ‘belonging’ to a genre means, is that in the oriental category not all perfumes I own need to be masterfully different or outstanding, in fact this is a genre where I am happy to have perfumes in all shapes and sometimes with just the slightest of varieties because they please me, and I am certain that all of them will be worn with the greatest pleasure.

Little twists and turns – which in a chypre or a big white floral would make me pronounce that it’s nearly identical to another perfume in the same category – can mean the world of difference to me in an oriental.

With that in mind and the fact that I am coming to think that MDCI with its artistic director M Claude Marchal can do no wrong with his superb line of perfumes, I will talk about his newest release today; Les Indes Galante by perfumer Cécile Zarokian.

Les Indes Galante is inspired by the Opera Ballet by Jean-Phillip Rameau from 1735 telling four love stories in four different corners of the world. Les Indes, meaning Indies, was a common term for exotic faraway places, and so the ballet travels to; Turkey, Peru, Persia and North America. The perfume though is not inspired by the stories but by the spices which stem from these places.

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Like the music, the perfume is elegant and vibrant and it’s unmistakably French.

Les Indes Galante opens on a warm and dark vanilla with bursts of pepper and just enough bergamot to be more oriental than an actual gourmand. The vanilla in its various incarnations is the heartbeat of Les Indes Galante, taking us from the sneezy pepper through cinnamon bark to cloves. The spices here make me keep smelling even more spices; cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, whether there or not. There’s a deceptive feeling of linearity, but truly it’s the way the spices interact which makes transitions go almost unnoticeable. The background with its different aspects of vanilla as well as the dry down of labdanum and bezoin scintillate between spices and the discrete ascending incense in which Les Indes Galante becomes an elegantly shimmering spice-fest.

Not for the first time does MDCI find the inspiration to his perfumes from the landscapes in the world of music/ opera. There is the discontinued Enlevement au Serail (refined like the rococo backdrop of Mozart’s ‘Western white floral meets Eastern spice and sandalwood’ of ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’), the smooth ‘Italiana’ floral; Vepres Siciliennes (Verdi) and the recent release Cio-Cio San inspired by Madama Butterfly by Puccini ( and which I haven’t tried) with its yuzu and sakura. To me Les Indes Galante with its charm of exotic spices-French style is an oriental perfume with the vision of threading the fine line and linking to an elegant and adult gourmand. It is one of the true winter perfumes in the MDCI line-up, and while it may not be ‘ground’ breaking (pun unintended), for any spice lover, whether looking for another oriental fragrance to add to the collection or not, this surely is a must-sniff.

Last but not least, I had many posts in my head but not enough time to get them out in Cyber space so even if this was not supposed to be a Christmas post, well here it is, wishing you all a wonderful, peaceful, joyful Christmas time. May Santa bring you many fragrant gifts.

Semi-Nostalgia or “The Deluded World” – Inedité Lubin (2009) and La Dandy Parfums D’Orsay (2010)

It’s not that I’m lacking in the perfume sample department, but it seems that at the moment I’m in an odd kind of semi-nostalgic perfumista state. I have started craving samples that I got some time ago, and which have now either been passed on or were hidden in some far away corner.

Out of the blue I got a craving for D’Orsay’s La Dandy and Lubin’s Inedité. I think I tried them at roughly the same time in about 2010, and I’m pretty sure that although well used at the time, I didn’t touch them again until now.

Inedité was created by Thomas Fontaine in 2009. It starts out nectarish fruity and with a warm spicy feeling created I believe by cloves and a faint cinnamon. In the beginning there’s also a slightly metallic note, perhaps lilac, which sits well with the emergence of a somewhat raspy patchouli. Through the spices the patchouli corset seems to reveal a retro chypre bone structure, however, Inedité quickly gets dressed up in fluffy lace of powdery iris and heliotrope, and adds a bit of lipstick rose. Although very feminine, this part isn’t girly, as the spices and patch keeps the powder puff oh-la-la so elegant. A boudoir of the finest sort.

La Dandy by Parfums D’Orsay is from 2010 starts off as one would expect from such a name; treading ground between masculine and feminine. Bergamot as well as a spice blend of green cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves mix with a creamy ylang ylang and soft, silky jasmine. It’s like wearing a man’s shirt, his perfume still lingering, on top of your white floral perfume. A wonderful peach, first skin like, then sweeter and sweeter, takes over and a peach vanilla desert is the result. We are very far away from La Dandy of the beginnings, as this really is gourmand territory. Sandalwood takes over from vanilla, honey and co, as the perfume dries down. Foody sweetness in combination with perfume will probably never be my thing, even if I do love a good peach note.

I enjoyed my little nostalgic trip back in the time before oudmania, flimsy skin scents, insane price increase etc. And whereas I will probably not be adding these to my collection, they are absolutely worth looking at if either genre is your thing.

I was a little perplexed at this sudden onset of craving for samples I didn’t even know I remembered! But an e-mail from a friend made me aware of what might lie beneath it; the number of new releases which now no longer hide the fact that what they use has nothing to do with the real deal; petalia, timberwood, silkwood I could go on. Are people now so familiar with ambroxan and friends, that it sells putting it on the box? I should like to think that I like the perfumes I do, regardless of what it says on the packet. But perhaps, even if just for a moment, I longed for the more dreamy, less realistic approach.

This all made me think of this wonderful little Mozart song called ‘Die Betrogene Welt’/ The Deluded World, yes, sometimes we all want to be deceived.

The rich fool bedecked with gold,
Catches Selina’s eye:
The worthy man is send packing,
She chooses the Dandy for husband.
Repentance soon limps along
In the wake of the splendid wedding feast
For the world wants to be deceived:
Therefore let it be deceived.

Beate, who not many days before,
Was the queen of all wantons,
Begins to wear penitential purple,
And decorates pulpit and altar.
Swayed by outward appearances,
Many think her pure as an angel.
For the world wants to be deceived:
Therefore let it be deceived.

When I kiss my little Caroline,
I tenderly vow to be true forever;
She pretends not to know
Any other young man but me.
Once, when Chloe had lured me away,
Damis took my place.
If all the world can be deceived:
I too can be deceived!

Chr. F. Weiße

The brilliant translation is by Richard Stokes from his ‘The Book of Lieder’ (faber and faber)

The song is sung by Anne Sofie von Otter accompanied by Melvyn Tan

Pic by me.

 

An Oudriental Trio – Néa, Garuda and Nin-Shar by Jul et Mad

A little while ago I got a very nice parcel from Tara (formerly of Olfactoria’s Travels) including amongst other things three Jul et Mad fragrances, called ‘the white collection’ and comprising: Néa, Geruda and Nin-Shar.

The PR mentions the golden age of Byzance, Babylon and Angkor, so it’s clear at least that the intention was to do an oriental themed range with the Middle Eastern (oud, anyone?) customer in mind. For me it’s a welcome new direction away from the ‘bottling our love story’-theme.

Néa is a full-on gourmand with a nod to the oriental. The notes might say pomegranate and plum, but I instantly thought of peaches and berries. There is a huge candy rose blooming right after the fruity start, and the heart really is rather floral though still with enough sugar to scare your dentist. The sweetness increases and metamorphoses into a buff-coloured cream toffee (fictitiously) melting on the tongue. The caramel subsides slightly towards the dry down to leave room for a lower insulin producing mix of vanilla, wood- and musk-like notes (read cashmeran and ambroxan). It’s a happy and lavish gourmand.

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Next up is Garuda: this is ‘the oud’-one. Fair enough, I do understand that when doing oriental themed perfumes, one needs to do an oud. Garuda starts quite full-on oudy, and with a dry woodiness which makes it feel like more of a masculine perfume. There are also hints of pepper and hesperidic notes in the opening, but it’s really all about the oud here. A rum note enters, once again putting the emphasis on a masculine character. In my first wearing of Garuda, I was very surprised to find that the last phase of the perfume loses the dry, bitter oud/wood character, and becomes an amber woody skin scent with more of a cosy feel to it.

I was surprised when I sprayed the third perfume of the range ‘Nin-Shar’, and smelled oud. I had just had the ‘oud-perfume’; surely they wouldn’t do two oud perfumes in a three perfume collection? Well, they did, but this one starts off more feminine, and treacherous. If Garuda was a masculine with a soft well-hidden cosy side, then Nin-Shar is the feminine fragrance with a backbone. A well matched pair the two. It’s the by now well-trodden road of rose-oud. This one however starts with a big red rose together with a bitter, almost sour aspect of artemisia, in conjunction with a tiny bit of incense, adding to a strangely sour feel. The oud here simply is a part of a grander tapestry. The deep red rose is what gives Nin-Shar it’s mostly feminine character, and perhaps the added jasmine flowers enforces that feel. It comes once again as a real surprise, when the base therefore is where the oud really shines through and together with the embers of the incense creates a much tougher feel than what I would have expected.

To me Nin-Shar is the star of the collection. Although I do appreciate Néa and admire Garuda, in both perfumes I was a little disappointed with the perfumes relying on things like cashmeran, ambroxan and timbersilk aka iso gama super to carry the dry down of otherwise fine compositions. To me Nin-Shar is the one that has quality all the way through the composition right till the very end.

 

If you wonder about the feat picture; yes, it has nothing whatsoever to do with today’s fragrances, apart from the fact that it’s just a little view into what the non-messy part of my writing desk looks like.

Both pics by me.

Chocolate Days – EnVoyage Perfumes Café Cacao and Duftmanufaktur Chocolat Irisé

At the end of summer you notice the days becoming shorter, one morning there’s a chill in the air that wasn’t there before, the sky is clearer and is a deeper shade of blue which seems further away. But somehow the changing of seasons doesn’t announce the autumn itself. One day you just notice that you’ve put on the central heating, you wonder where you put your favourite jumper, or the yellow hat that you wore all of last year and you start craving chocolate again.

We perfume lovers have perhaps already retired the summer scents to the back of the cupboard and taken the autumnal orientals into rotation. But there are also the ones you didn’t have before and can now test for the first time in their perfect environment. It just so happens that I have two indie chocolate perfumes in this category, and today I’ll write about these two calorie-free delicacies.

EnVoyage perfumes’ Café Cacao starts of powdery dry and dark like being in an old spices shop full of spice jars and with cacao and coffee being weighed on old-fashioned scales. apotecary spice shopSome would say it’s salty, but what I get is just anti-saccharine, as in cacao powder drizzled with sugar rose petals on top. Now and again I get a faint whiff of something mocha-like, but as a coffee addict, I must say I don’t get an actual coffee note, more like a faint flavour to add gravitas to the chocolate. I can almost visualise the process of drying pods and beans, grounding them, turning them to powder. There is sweetness; like the sugared rose in the beginning, a tiny bit of cream in a hot chocolate or a sweet musky amber towards the end, but what I like is how all the gourmand facets, somehow manage to stay sober, there’s no Starbucks or Snickers association, this is all very tasteful (excuse the pun) perhaps with no little thanks to the real ambergris used.

Chocolat irisé by Annette Neuffer Duftmanufaktur on the other hand, starts possibly juicy by comparison. It opens on a dark chocolate orange flavour note, and if Café Cacao felt more powdery dry, the opening of Chocolat Irisé is like a baroque still life of melting orange chocolate dripping from a cacao jar. The citrus notes are quite decadent, neither tart nor candy-coated, but like rubbing tangerine peel between your fingers. However, it isn’t an actual ‘gourmand’; iris butter and a floral heart of orange flower and a tiny hint of rose keep Chocolat Irisé a very grown up guilty pleasure. still_life_with_a_bowl_of_chocolate-400Orange flower and vanilla add a touch of sweetness in the heart while the chocolate and iris keep going back and forth vying for attention. The dry-down sees a gorgeous sandalwood take over the role of the orange flower, adding that delicate touch of liquid sweetness to the dark cacao and iris.

Here are two wildly different chocolate centred perfumes created without regard for any research groups or fashionable notes. However, they have some common ground too; each has excellent longevity, I get 12+hours from them, and with that they also have a rather wonderful slow development. At several points I wondered if they were in fact linear, only to find that hours later a new facet had arrived. I admire how both manage to be adult chocolate sins rather than gourmie-teenage-sugar-bomb with glitter on top, and last but not least they both ‘bloom’ in the autumn.

 

Feature pic is mine,  ‘Rosalie’s spice shop’ from Grimms, Zurbaran still life. EnVoyage sample send to me by the perfumer and Duftmanufaktur sample purchased by me.