Something Old, Something New – Boy Chanel (2016) Exalting Aroma Allegoria Guerlain (2002)

This whole naming perfumes after people Coco Chanel knew, is not quite my thing, I think it probably caters to brand loyals and Coco Chanel fans, of which I am neither, particularly. In a way, when it’s named for somebody mostly known to posterity because of his affair with Coco, it feels almost like we’re into retro-pseudo- celebuscent domain. Could you imagine the Kim Kardashian perfumes being called after her friends, lovers and family? Not so much.

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Anyway, putting my initial reservations aside, Boy is a lovely perfume. And it does feel like the side kick to Misia and 1932, the last two exclusifs. I hesitate to call it the ‘masculine’ side kick, as this is more dandyesque, and reminds me that I must try to watch ‘Transparent’ soon. It’s certainly as cross-perfumed as it gets.

The almost candied lavender feels like opening an old French linen chest. Behind the lavender there’s tonka, coumarin, talcum powder and (the inevitable) white musk. Like starched white shirts and brilliantine hair (ok, I see the latter rather than sniff it), it smells old-fashioned clean, and contemporary smooth. Boy is easy to wear, easy to like and great for everyday use. Especially for someone who finds the floral elegance of Misia and 1932 a bit too much.

Oh, I should have given the Anthony Andrews picture right, a purple tinted hue, that would have been just perfect for Boy.

img_1027While I like Chanel perfumes (but only have two bottles in the cupboard), I can’t run from being a lover of most Guerlain classics (with a fair collection). A perfume that I’ve been wearing loads as the colder weather set in, is the discontinued Exalting (or Exaltant) Aromaparfum as it’s called, from the Aroma Allegoria line by Guerlain. It’s a true autumnal perfume, for the first days of grey sky and a myriad of brown coloured leaves. It’s purifying and velvety, comforting and mood enhancing. The perfume is a balance act between zesty and luscious. There is a distinct spicy bitter orange and neroli but also pepper and a crisp-bitter green scent of cypress. Perhaps there’s even a spruce bud tinge. To keep the tart juiciness in check there are warm spices of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and a touch of vanilla (it’s a Guerlain after all), there are resins and tonka and it’s all wrapped up in an exalting sandalwood coat. Indeed, Exalting is a warm and exuberant woody-oriental perfume with a Christmassy touch.

I’m left with the image of walking down an Italian path of tall cypress trees, exaltingly striving towards the sky.

 

 

A mini of Chanel Boy was sent to me by the sweetest cookie on the blog, Val da cookie queen.

Except Anthony Andrews as a dandy (couldn’t find credits), the pics are mine.

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

 

Anubis the Embalmer – Guerlain Vintage Djedi (1926)

In 1926 the perhaps most unusual Guerlain perfume ever saw the light of day. Inspired by the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb in 1922, and the Egyptomania which followed in its wake, Jacques Guerlain created this broody, dry perfume, named after an age-old Egyptian magician who was able to ‘resurrect the decapitated’.

Curious as most perfume-nerds, a sample of Djedi in the reissued 1996 version has been in my collection for a very long time. It was a disappointment to me, having more in common with ‘Vetiver pour Elle’ than Pharaohs or any exoticism or glorious descriptions I read around the net.  Nothing dark or that unusual even, just rose and vetiver and gone in an hour or so… DISAPPOINTMENT! But hey, one less perfume unicorn to worry about, thought I.

When Guerlain enthusiast, collector and connoisseur ‘Bragmayer’ offered to send me some of the ‘REAL’ Djedi (from a 1936 bottle), I was at first only mildly interested (Mea Culpa). It wasn’t until he told me the most incredible story of a main ingredient of Djedi that I was all ears. Could Djedi be all it was hyped up to be after all?

What I’m about to write I haven’t tried to verify from any other sources, but since the story is simply to good not to share, I will recount it here and leave it the rest up to you…

From the middle ages up until early 20th century Mumia, powder of embalmed bodies/ mummies, had been used for medical purposes. Many stories around the net goes into this fact, only a short while ago Elena Vosnaki wrote a piece on Mumia at Fragrantica, so I won’t write further about this.wikipedia mumia

Certainly Mumia, at the time of the making of Djedi, would have been a known, if out-dated, remedy, and familiar to chemistry trained Jacques Guerlain. As a perfumer we could assume he would not have been oblivious to the scent either, which would have been that of 1000-year-old resin formulas, rather than of decayed corpses. What Bragmayer told me is, that original Djedi has some of this ‘vintage mummy’, or so-called ‘Mumia’ powder in its formula. The thought of this is as fascinating as it is macabre, and perhaps I love the thought of it even more, for not being able to ever verify it. I’m sure no Guerlain perfumer of sound mind, would ever tell us if this were actually true.

What is true, is that upon smelling real Djedi, and even with the expectations now raised sky-high, I was blown away by the first sniff. I have never smelled anything like it. I wrote in a comment recently that Djedi might be the closest thing in my mind, that perfume has ever come to art, and I stand by that. It keeps unsettling me, keeps showing new facets which are so unusual, one should think it impossible to wear Djedi as a perfume, and yet, having worn it several times in order to write this post, I find it highly wearable, at times even addictive.

Bone-dry, as Djedi is on the one hand, I also sense a green undergrowth dampness. The colour scheme has not a single primary colour, nor does it let light through its fumed layers. It is all hues of dark greens and browns in all varieties, a mud-luscious Nile-green perhaps, or dust-withered papyrus ochre?

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The damp and dry does somewhat remind me of ancient enclosed spaces – stone, moss and smoke – of old attics and mausoleums, but it also reminiscent of fairy tale woods; Show White, Hansel & Gretel or The Little Red Riding Hood. A deep forest which is both lying-in-wait dangerous and caressingly familiar at the same time, I would almost say that Djedi works on the subconscious level similar to fairy tales.

Suitably mummy-esque and living up to the extraordinarily-aged magician’s name, Djedi last forever, and somewhere in the middle of the development I was actually reminded of vintage Habanita, with its sweet tobacco note supported by resins. The smoke could hint at ancient magic ceremonies, the resins (mummified or not) at burial rituals. But even if I sense vetiver, patchouli, clove, musk and leather, even if I could perhaps call this an animalic leather chypre, Djedi remains enigmatic and elusive. Djedi remains a mystery.

 

I wasn’t initially going to mention Verdi’s Aïda, thinking it just a bit too obvious. But the music from the closing scene has a similar eeriness to Djedi.

Radames condemned to die by being locked in a subterranean tomb sees the stone closing upon him. It turns out Aïda has locked herself in there with him, foreseeing his destiny. Singing their farewells to each other and the world, the priests above praise the God Ptah.

La fatal pietra sovra me si chiuse… (The fatal stone has closed above me)

*Anubis was the God associated with mummification

 

Quick Sniffs – Maison Incens’ Tabac Licorii, Figue Oudii, Musc Kalirii, Figue Eleii, Cuir Erindil

Today I want to talk about 5 perfumes from Maison Incens. The man behind the brand is Philippe Constantin and the perfumer Jean-Claude Gigodot.

I happened upon the brand by chance. A girl on a Fragrantica asked for liquorice perfumes with a salty feel (Scandinavian salty liquorice), and that’s where I came across Tabac Licorii. We decided to spilt a bottle, and I received samples from the rest of the line at the same time.

Tabac Licorii; Star anise, licorice, tobacco, violet, sea water and musk.

To me it smells of earthy tobacco and oak moss, sometimes there’s a bite of liquorice sometimes there isn’t. The same goes for the saltiness; like the sea breeze it comes and goes with the ebb and flow.image It’s a very rounded fragrance with a very natural feel, if somebody told me it was a 100% natural perfume, I wouldn’t have questioned it. As a liquorice fragrance, this might be a disappointment, but if you’re looking for a unique fragrance with a natural and cosy outdoorsy-feel, you ought to try it. It dries down a little warmer and perhaps muskier with a tad more liquorice, but still within a very natural feel. Perhaps the most masculine of the lot.

Interestingly the samples came without labels, so a fun sort of blind sniff at first, which luckily turned out to be easy’ish to verify due to strong compositions and the individual colours of the juice.

Figue Oudii; bergamot, orange, fig, ylang-ylang, violet, iris, leather, cedar, oud, sandalwood, amber and musk.

There are two fig perfumes in the line-up, the first one being the heaviest and perhaps more unusual of the two. It’s the unlikely combination of fig and oud, and if Tabac Licorii, was perhaps less true to its name, Figue Oudii certainly is. Fig is prominent, and it’s as if the oud is just the extension of the fig foliage. I should never have thought it but these two complement each other nicely. On the other side of the spectrum there’s creaminess from ylang-ylang, leather and sandalwood, which gives the whole composition a warm oriental feel. If you’re looking for an oriental perfume with more than a twist, give it a try.

Musc Kalirii; bergamot, orange, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, leather, vanilla and sandalwood.

Is characterised as a Woody Floral Musk, and funnily, it’s what it is, but again not your usual FWM: the flowers aren’t dainty but sort of ‘casually present’, the wood is not synthetic ‘blonde woods’ or whatever they are called now, but just a little woodiness, and the musk is neither laundry musk nor an animalic skank-fest, but just a bit of warmth underneath the composition.image

Figue Eleii; fig leaf, green notes, tuberose, iris, cedar, sandalwood and musk

At first sniff this one is much closer to the normal idea of a fig perfume; it’s fig, it’s green and those together translate into summery green freshness. However, it’s wonderfully paired with a creamy, milky tuberose and a more-buttery- than- not iris note, which gives this perfume a gorgeous opaline feel. I enjoy wearing this one a lot.

Cuir Erindil; bergamot, mandarin orange, incense, spicy notes, iris, myrrh, leather, musk, sandalwood and vanilla.

Although nowhere mentioned, I could swear the first few seconds of the opening smells of a mix of menthol and camphor. I’m reminded of tigerbalm in a leather bag, as the leather almost immediately takes hold of the scentscape. It’s proper leather, not suede, a little biting almost, but it softens fairly quickly into a warm and mellow base of resins, iris and just a touch of vanilla.

What I especially enjoy about all Maison Incens’ perfumes, is the daring to make perfumes that are a little different, and still eminently wearable. They are deceptively simple and quiet, but keep showing new facets with each wear and lasts way longer than I would have thought upon application. Another thing that hit me was, that I never feel overwhelmed with scent molecules blowing up in my face, rather there’s a naturalness about them which seems to leave a lot of space to take in other things than your perfume.

 

Pics by me.

Musketeers – Aramis (1964) and Balenciaga Portos (1980)

Ivanhoe, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Musketeers. I must admit I loved watching the old costume movies and still am partial to any re-remake.

imageThough an avid reader, I never bothered reading any of these, surely in this case part of the (guilty) pleasure is in watching handsome bearded men in leather suits playing cloak and dagger.

Leather, men and musk is what it’s about today. I’ll start with the beast that is Aramis (in its current formula), so unashamed masculine, that I have no trouble seeing the musketeer straight off his horse from battle. The opening is herbs and there’s cumin, and then there’s some more cumin, perhaps you take cumin with that? I was pretty choked that in this combination for once the cumin doesn’t at all remind me of Chicken Jalfrezi take-away, it actually smells ‘masculine’, like fresh sweat from someone you like. (As opposed to stale sweat from someone you really don’t like!)image It’s in the company of wormwood and leather that cumin becomes more of a handsome French musketeer, than a Barbarian (Musc) Koublai Khan. Also consider, which Khan would have added a little green freshness and jasmine? Yes, in Aramis it’s all there, ending on soft bed sheets of (an uncanningly deep and authentic smelling) oak moss and musk.

I struggle to call it animalic because it’s more about human skin and testosterone than any animal I can think of. Even the warmth it exudes is something which spells more Musketeer than Musk deer to me. It says: “just a kiss”, but don’t believe a word Aramis says.

While I wouldn’t put it past women to wear this, it would probably be the equivalent of men wearing Vintage Rochas Femme ( pre the cumin stuff that is ’89). On anyone who can wear Aramis, I bet it smells sensational.

Notes: artemisia, bergamot, cinnamon, gardenia, pelargonium, patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, leather, oakmoss, amber (from fragrantica)

Portos EdC, was first introduced to me by a lovely Italian perfumista. A much overlooked fragrance which is no longer in production but can still be found online. imagePortos is much prettier than his fellow musketeer and much more obviously unisex. Wormwood, bergamot and especially geranium makes for a floral and lively opening. The absinthian mixes with minty-rose softness and becomes bittersweet, a little Dandyesque perhaps. As the opening wears of, a smooth leather and castoreum (beaver) becomes more evident. The base is rooty green, warm and velvety of vetiver, musk and moss.  The earthy oak moss lasts all day.

So is Portos an old-fashioned gentleman? More likely it’s a cologne for anyone tired of fruits, aquatics or blonde woods. I think on most people it would even wear a tad sweeter than on me, making it just too cool as a women’s fragrance. A player and a dreamer is Portos, I think he wouldn’t mind sharing his cologne.

Notes: artemisia, cumin, bergamot, coriander and galbanum, jasmine, geranium, carnation, cedar, patchouli and vetiver, castoreum, leather, moss, musk, myrrh, incense and labdanum (from fragrantica)

Musketeers from 1921 Douglas Fairbanks Sr silent film, 1973 Richard Lester film and the 2014 BBC series.

Main Musketdeers are mine. Aren’t musk deers the cutest?

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Pink Elephants on Parade – Maria Candida Gentile Elephant & Roses (2015)

The release of Elephant & Roses by indie perfumer Maria Candida Gentile conjured up such a beautiful image, I knew I would have to explore it. As MCG’s perfumes are not that easy to come by it took me some time and in the meantime I read other reviews. As far as I remember most talked of an animalic rose, so I was wasn’t prepared for the make-up’y powder puff in an old-fashioned green-room that first hit me.circus girls2

I’ve seen people talk of all the things that perfume and elephants makes them associate, for me it’s my first ever visit to the cinema. I can still remember how it felt when Dumbo’s mother was locked away for protecting her little baby elephant with the big ears. Another thing that stayed with me, was the surrealistic sequence of pink elephants singing; “Look out! Look out! Pink elephants on parade. Here they come!” And it is the visual for me when I think of the name Elephant & Roses.

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Wearing it, and testing it over the last weeks, the perfume slowly opened up to show many more facets than my initial impression. So for instance the opening thyme makes for a welcome change in the top note repertoire, and is a lovely companion for the pedal point of the vegetal muskiness. The rose is very mild, the greenness hidden in the opening thyme and its softness disguised within the make-up powder. The heart of the perfume feels part rose, iris (not mentioned), hair and a swan down puff. And underlying always the musk. I believe it’s mainly the costus I smell with the hint of ambergris, the costus with its weird and wonderful herbal furry feel. The base sees a little saw-dust woodiness added, but all in all there’s nothing growlingly animalic or wild boar sweaty about it, even the elephant is not in the room, so to speak. The powdery musk feels a little sweet and intimate, politely naughty rather than dirty.

If the ‘animal’ part of Elephant & Roses has scared you off, I’d say it shouldn’t, it’s less zoo, and more the vintage dressing room of a circus princess, and perhaps even not so very far off my first association of the Dumbo circus.

Although I have a few powdery perfumes, nothing comes close to this little number, and its distinctive perfumer’s stamp has made me very curious to try and retry Maria Candida Gentile’s other fragrances.

Do you know her fragrances, and do you have favourites or some you are curious to try?

Feat picture is mine, Dumbo still from film from Walt Disney Productions, circus girls 1930s didn’t have a credit. Sample of Elephant & Roses bought by me.

 

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.

Jean Patou Colony -1980s reissue Ma Collection vs Héritage Collection (2015)

Henri Almeras’ Colony from 1938 is described as ‘a fruity chypre with a prominent note of pineapple, Colony was inspired by the warm climate of tropical islands.’ Once again, I do not own the 1938 version, but the 1980’s reissue by Jean Kerleo which went under the name Colony Ma Collection (MC).

What I get from my 1980s Colony matches the description above pretty perfectly. Colony opens on a mossy green note paired with an old-fashioned ‘pineapple’, which probably will not instantly translate as pineapple to anyone used to the very literal fruit notes in today’s perfumes, where even the difference between clementine and tangerine, nectarine and peach is discernible. I would think that this pineapple is pineapple in the way that people talk of ‘red berries’ in coffee or ‘chocolate’ in wine. For me sniffing Colony, I get an instant feel of pineapple, albeit perhaps more as in a still life painting than in a pineapple on a plate waiting to be consumed. It’s not a refreshing feel; rather humid warmth runs through its veins. There’s a touch of spice to the composition and tropical floralsy, but underneath it all, a well-worn, weather-beaten leather is the soul of Colony and keeps the perfume in tropical chypre land. Many hours later when everything fruity and leathery has left the skin, a warm blurry musk with a hint of powder makes for that sensual vintage dry-down.

I love how Colony is both tough leather and a tropical dreamscape from a time when ‘Colony’ was a name that could actually be used for a perfume.

Top notes: pineapple, ylang-ylang
Heart notes: carnation, iris, vetiver and opoponax
Base notes: leather, musk, oakmoss

And how does the new Heritage Collection Colony (HC) by perfumer Thomas Fontaine fare in comparison?

Top note: bergamot, pineapple, orange
Heart note: jasmine, rose, carnation, nutmeg
Base note: leather, patchouly, vetiver, ambergris

The PR now talks of a green fruity-floral fragrance. The top note pineapple is more ‘realistic’ fresh cut pineapple, and its sidekick bergamot makes the green notes a lot fresher, rather than the earthy moss in the MC version. Obviously the feel is very different, HC’s refreshingly fruity, as opposed to MC’s humidly tropical. What I really get after that is a rather indolic jasmine, and at times I could have sworn that I get something civet-like. Leather- not openly so, to me Colony HC stays indecently floral. In the late dry-down a faint but deeply resonant ambergris rounds off the composition.

The density of Ma Collection Colony is here substituted with a modern transparency; if we are indeed still in the territory of former colonies, surely someone turned the air-condition on.

The steamy but tough Colony Ma Collection in the zaftig shape of pineapple, moss and leather, is no more, and the substitute indoles of Colony HC make for only suggestive indecency. It is the lightness and space in the new fragrance which makes it both very contemporary and despite its many beautiful traits, makes it a little difficult to capture, perhaps less intimate. As with Vacance; if you’re looking for an identical version to the old Ma Collection, this is not it. It is however, in its own right both beautiful and a little different with a hint of vintage. So if you like your fruity-florals, grown-up, light but still a little naughty with a smooth ambergris finish you should give it a try.

 

Just because I had to =^..^=

Just because I had to =^..^=

 

Disclosure; I purchased a sample of Colony HC from a retailer. The amazing 1930’s postcard of a pineappleseller is from Etsy seller MinistryOfArtifacts, all other pics mine.

Biographerfume – En Voyage Perfumes, Frida (2015)

When I first encountered Frida Kahlo’s paintings I must have been in my early teens. The intention of showing her own carnal suffering as if through a magnifying glass combined with Mexican symbolism, I could admire her for, but only at a distance, to me it was, and to a great extent still is, just too much. Something about those surrealistic folklore self portraits which seemed to want to eat you alive repulsed me, which I am sure, was at least partly intentional and very effective for my part.

henry ford hospital 1932 frida_16204_m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the more reason for me to actually admire people who are able to embrace all that is Frida Kahlo, and even more so, actually pay tribute to her through their own work.

Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes has done just that. With Frida Kahlo as her muse and inspiration, she has created a perfume which does that amazing thing of paying tribute to ALL things Frida, not sugar-coating her into a Mexican souvenir. As with Frida’s paintings, let’s say, I wasn’t quite prepared…

For the most, whenever perfumers name their perfumes for famous people or fictional characters, it becomes a bit glossed over take Misia (and Kafkaesque view on that) or my own issue with Carmen, I’m quite sure there are many more to name and shame. But not ‘Frida’ the perfume.

My first impression of the perfume was to flinch exactly as I would have done with a Frida Kahlo painting; too much info in a slightly obscene way. But please don’t let that deter you because this perfume is a true tribute and absolutely worth the full exploration.

Something has a weird smell like decaying fruits and flowers,  sweet and sour a bit camphor like. It’s such a powerful image which I have rarely sniffed before, extremely vivid and massively brave in a perfume world trying to sell everything through pleasant unobtrusive top notes. To me it is jaw-dropping how exact the opening of ‘Frida’ mimics my feelings for her work, and I’m pretty sure whether you love or dislike Frida Kahlo’s work, you’ll feel that way too.

The top notes relax after a short while and a fruity-hibiscus blend paves the way for a rather gorgeous non-rubbery tuberose. From this stage on the perfume becomes much softer in projection and even tuberoseophobes need not worry, as this is a creamy and sensual tuberose, which warms and blooms on the skin and makes me think of tropical holidays.

The dry down stays even closer to the skin and feels incredibly intimate, musks, tobacco and amber notes blend to a feel of warm bodies and hair, animalic cosy without being dirty.

All in all, I can see how this sounds; decaying fruit, tuberose and animalic, but truly that is only a ‘word’ problem. Frida the perfume is masterfully made; it’s strong-willed and fiery and after the first blast, a gorgeous soft tuberose centered perfume. The overall feel is that of a fruity, creamy tuberose with a warm skin dry down, and yes with a start that makes you sit up and take notice, but with a muse like that I wouldn’t want it any different.

the broken coloumn 44

 

Sample was send to me from En Voyage, feat pic is mine.