Skin Scent or Skinny Scent – LUI by Guerlain

I officially felt old the first time I reencountered mom- jeans. I wanted to gently tap the young woman’s shoulder and tell her, that mom- jeans didn’t do anything for her figure, and were not even  fashionable at the time, hence the name…

Apart from mom-jeans the 90s brought us some amazing and iconic perfumes, (feminite du bois, le feu d’issey etc) but mostly it brought us the beginning of ghostly anemic fragrance and the end of interesting mainstream releases.

I was truly looking forward to smelling the new LUI by Guerlain, which mistakenly I though was a new mainstream release when in fact it’s a 160€ per 50ml -thing! I loved the idea of Guerlain going explicitly gender-bender on us, calling a shared fragrance for LUI. Even the notes read like something I would love: vanilla, clove, benzoin, leather, smoke, carnation and resins. “A universal perfume” is how Guerlain terms it, add to that not one but two superstar perfumers; Thierry Wasser is joined by Delphine Jelk.

The idea of turning a heavy oriental perfume into a skin scent, might be a good one, at least in theory, but in reality, to me, it just smells skimpy. I can smell the clove/ carnation and the soothing concoction of vanilla and resins. Perhaps I can even imagine that the  leather takes the perfume away from being too cloying or vanilla-cosy, but more realistically, had I blind-sniffed LUI, I wouldn’t have given it a second chance, too many good carnation/ clove centric perfumes already exist. This one seems simplistic and unguerlain, even if I agree with the many forum voices calling the drydown akin to (a skinny) Bois d’Armenie.

I find that LUI jumps on the niche bandwagon of using as fewer ingredients creating more linear fragrances, which is disappointing coming from the venerable old perfume house.

If diet-oriental scents are your thing, give it a try. It might also be for you if in general you enjoy skin scents and the niche brands which have made it their aim to use a limited molecular palette.

If you like a fuller carnation there’s the magnificent En Avion by Caron, Washinton Tremlets overcosy and quite musky Clove Absolute (think Musc Ravageur goes clovy) and Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano if you like a strong, spicy, Italianate carnation. For another transparent carnation there’s Prada’s Infusion d’Oeillet.

I assume the target groups chez Guerlain consist of all the mom- jeans wearing hipsters who agree that this spectral 90s incarnation (pun intended) is the bees knees. It makes me feel old.

 

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.

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?

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.

Stepsisters – Guerlain Mahora (2000) and Jardins de Bagatelle (1983)

Luca Turin’s most hated Guerlain until Champs Elyssees and Mahora came along was apparently Jardins de Bagatelle (1983). Whilst calling Mayotte (renamed 2nd version of Mahora) ‘dreadful’ and a ‘nasty floral’, by the time he came around to writing The Guide, he deemed Jardins de Bagatelle ‘the best of a lousy lot’.

It might look like it’s hard being Cinderella, but if we turn our attention to the stepsisters for a moment; they clearly have a terrible mother, the ultimate anti-role model, telling them that only materialistic things are worth pursuing, playing them out against each other to get the prince (not for love but for the mother’s ambition of social-climbing), even letting them self-harm, self-mutilate in fact, to reach that goal. How misunderstood these sisters are…

Take our two stepsisters, white florals Mahora and Jardins de Bagatelle. They have heard it all, been shamed and despised but they are still here* (one went to the numerologist, but if it helps?)

Mahora, the younger of the two, is a loudish, creamy white floral. And although you won’t find the famed guerlinade here, the vanilla/ ylang combo still feels so trés Guerlain. Created in 2000 by Jean-Paul Guerlain, Mahora was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The anorexic juices of the 90s still casting their goth-like shadows, Mahora was just not trendy. It’s a big bold sunny perfume with an easy digestible tuberose at its heart, a tropical ylang-ylang with a touch of coconut. The added sugarcane sweetness from a triumvirate of orange blossom, vanilla and sandalwood, makes Mahora a sweet hedonistic dream under a tropical sun.

Given as an option to wear for a night out, a friend (who would normally wear Hermessence, and who didn’t know Mahora in advance) chose this one, and called it sunny and sexy. Just saying…

Donatella Versace, as sported by J. Lo, gets loud and glamour on us, 2000 with a hint of 80s?

Jardins de Bagatelles EdT (Jean-Paul Guerlain) opens on a mixture of bright pearly aldehydes and neroli, giving it an edgy vintage vibe. After that there’s an ‘every white flower under the sky’ with a wink at the 80’s perfume feeling, which ingeniously is actually almost subtle, certainly if compared to its ‘death by silliage’- contemporaries. It never stings your nose, or delights in indoles or rubber, but stays a glamour filter photo as it folds out its fan of flowers; gardenia, rose, orange blossom, tuberose, magnolia, ylang-ylang, orchid, lily-of-the-valley and narcissus. The flowers are kept in check by bits of metallic sheen. Surprisingly the woody base shows signs of nectar and adds extra depth at the end. Although both Mahora and JdB share the parentage and the white florals, they are two completely different characters. I would call JdB sunny too, but there’s no tropical heat, JdB is a temperate day with little bursts of sunshine. JdB has a mixture of retro and wannabe 80s pop idol about it. It shouldn’t work, but it does.

1960s phenomenon goes 80s in the Screwball Comedy in Desperately Seeking Susan

If you are into retro or white florals in general don’t miss out on these too, in my opinion they are both more innovative and have more heart than many new ones in the genre even if they might at the time of their release not have lived up to the expectations of the Guerlain classics; L’Heure Bleue, Shalimar, Mitzy etc.

In the end, I believe that little by little perfumistas who have perhaps never read Mr Turin’s damning review, or who smell them by chance, open their hearts to their beauty, perhaps after all these years of misunderstanding, finally the sisters know themselves, and are happy with themselves, they are not trying to be their amazing stepsister Cinderella in the castle, they just want to be loved for what they are, and guess what? I for one am ready to embrace them.

Do you have a secret stepsister love? How do you rate the two Guerlains, if you know them?

Winners of my little birthday draw: I chose to do two drawings as you can see from my Random lists; and the winners are Esperanza who chose decants and Tara a print. Thank you very much all for taking part 🙂

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*At least they were when I started writing, according to M Guerlain blog, Mayotte is now DCed, if you, like me, happen to like it, grab a bottle while you can.

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.

Today on Cafleurebon –

After a three year hiatus, I’m back as a contributor at CaFleureBon with a post of Patricia de Nicolaï’s new fragrance Ambre Cashmere Intense. There’s a draw for a 30ml bottle there too, so go and enter for the chance of winning the scent equivalent of an elegant autumnal chill shield. I hope soon to have a new post here too, it seems my scented ideas have difficulties manifestifing into written reality at the moment.

ambre cashmere intense