Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Black Tea Fougere: Eau de Gaga 001 by Lady Gaga

I wouldn't have picked up this perfume except for Victoria over at eaumg.net giving it an incredibly positive review and she was correct in her enthusiasm for the scent.

I could start this review with the usual discussion of how most celebrity fragrances leave much to be desired but honestly it is well covered territory and I'm not adding anything new to the discussion.

So lets get to the scent, for an absurdly low price, you can get what I am going to call a black tea fougere, well that is how Eau de Gaga reads on my skin, and lots of people get the tea note. Frankly, as so many reviewers point this scent smells far more classy and expensive than it should. The word that comes to my mind every time I smell Eau de Gaga is "dapper", this scent is dapper, it's tasteful, fun, and wonderfully androgynous. At times leaning more towards the masculine but then reigning it in enough that the feminine comes out. It is actually rather mercurial on me sometimes the black tea note is the most strong other times the violet steps forward but it always ends up smelling like ambergris leather musk on me. That may sound heavy but in no way is it.

What I find myself respecting the most about this scent is the musk. It's not a laundry detergent white musk, which feels practically unheard of these days at the mass market fragrance counter. It is a warm clean animalic musk that does not suggest I have recently been to the dry cleaner, it's not screechy, rather it is caressing, like skin still damp with water after a bath.

So who thought a bizarrely tasteful and thoughtful scent would come from Lady Gaga? I didn't, but I am wonderfully surprised.

Try if you like Jicky by Guerlain, Gris Clair by Serge Lutens, or Dorian by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

First image from fragrantica.com
Second Image Jiwoon Pak www.kaifineart.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Autumn Has Arrived!

Can I say just how happy I am that summer is done, well at least it is on the calendar. I have been excitedly looking at my collection and considering the perfumes I can't wait to wear in the cooler weather. I'll be the first to admit this collection is leaning on the sweet side but I have to say when I have to spend 80% of the year in citruses, florals, and other variations on clean it may mean I go crazy on the olfactory overload of rich Autumn scents.

1. Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens
I have become firmly enthralled by this rosy sandalwood syrup. Sweet and musky with a delicious dollop of sandalwood this scent will be scenting many of my days, I find it melds beautifully, and I love getting wafts of from my clothes. Obvious scarf scent.

2. Wood Violet by Sonoma Scent Studio
This lovely plummy rich violet scent has been calling me recently. I love the combination of roasted plums with violet.

3. Vanille Botanique by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Oh the moment I get to wear this sumptuous vanilla outside on a cool day with brisk Autumn wind it is going to be the best.

4. Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka
Yes, I still have the original bottle from when I was 15 and it still smells amazing. It continues to be the perfect mix of vanilla and anise of me with violets and touches of delicious toasty nutty tonka bean. I especially adore wearing this in October around Halloween.

5. Ambre Nue by Atelier Cologne
I really like this juicy chewy amber. The opening of tart delicious mandarins always catches me followed earthier peppier middle with marigold and orchid. I consider this the grown-up version of BBW's Sensual Amber. It is of that school of fruity smooth ambers that are so popular but thankfully it uses more interesting notes and pepper keeps it from being saccharine.

6. Tudor Rose and Amber by Jo Malone
I love this wine-y rose and amber combo. The opening of spices and rose evokes mulled wine the edition of amber and patchouli make it a bit thorn edged.

7. Elie Saab Le Parfum Eau de Parfum Intense
The original Elie Saab is a favorite spring scent for me with its bright almost neon orange blossom notes. The Intense version is deliciously honeyed and with hints of dried apricots and a base of amber.

8. Nirvana Black by Elizabeth and James
A simple and easy mix of violet, sandalwood, and vanilla a perfect work day scent for me. Its soothing and makes me feel warm without being stiffled.

9. Narciso Rodriguez For Her L'Absolu
I don't usually care for the variations on the original Narciso Rodriguez scent and stick to the original edt. The scents that came after have never really worked on me, but L'Absolu is a different story. It is a powdered richer scent, the woods have been amped up creating incense-like quality in the scent. An ample plum has been added and the osmanthus and orange blossom have been replaced with a rich tuberose, this is without a doubt for me the Autumn/Winter variation on NR edt. At times I am a little bit reminded of Nicolai Parfumeur Createur's Sacrebleu, another Autumn fruit tuberose scent on a bed of woods which has at times reminded others of the ultimate name in intense fruity tuberoses, Poison by Dior. Yet, L'Absolu is not baroque like the previous mentioned scents, it is clearly modern but does have familial to those scents. On the other hand most definitely do not wear this in hot weather.

10. Fifi Chachnil edt and edp
I am lucky to have in my hands two decently large decants of this perfect femme tobacco scent. This for me is one of the great losses of the perfume world in its discontinuation. From the awesome use of coriander in the opening to the entwining of pink rose, tonka, and delicious tobacco it was a pretty genius blend that got the tobacco note trend before anyone else did.

"Amelia" by Erica Rose Levine

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Infusion de The: Eau Parfumee au The Bleu by Bvlgari

I love oolong tea. It is one of my favorite varieties of tea and it can smell like so many things from roasted chestnuts to a lilac, it has a lot of variation. So when Bvlgari announced they were adding Eau Parfumee au The Bleu to their tea lineup of scents and that it was inspired by the scent of oolong I was excited and apprehensive because oolong is a tea that can be so varied. In my imagination I hoped they might approach the beautiful variety of oolong known as Ti Kwan Yin. I then looked at the list of notes and my apprehension of what this perfume would smell like went up considerably: shiso, lavender, iris. These are not notes you find in oolongs, oolongs are not particularily herbal, but rather more often play with florals, stone fruits, and nutty malty notes.

So I finally got to try Eau Parfumee au The Bleu and I had two thoughts 1) this is not an oolong scent and 2) this is quite nice. I think I need to address the first thought which is that  Eau Parfumee au The Bleu is not the scent of oolong, in fact I would say it is more akin to a really good quality earl grey tea with lavender. Yet, here is my number one beef with tea scents they invariably say that they are the scent of "green tea" when in fact most are the scent of black tea and more akin to the lovely and aromatic Darjeeling tea. Go smell a qood quality green tea with no flavors added and what you have is most often a very green vegetal scent maybe some roastiness but not a scent akin to what we call the scent of "tea" in perfume. Bizarrely what happens when a black tea is referenced in a perfume what they actually mean is the scent of smoky lapsang souchong, a Chinese black tea, that is literally smoked.

Now on to my second thought, this scent is quite nice. Eau Parfumee au The Bleu is really quite lovely, this is a scent that no one is going to complain but it also smells interesting. The Bleu starts with an earthy fresh opening of shiso, a scent akin to mint if it were also combined with the mildest hint of patchouli, it's fresh but thankfully does not scream musk. Entering quickly is the powdery herbaceous scent of lavender which is then joined by the earthy fresh citrus note of "tea." At this point you have the combined harmony of shiso, lavender, and tea which creates an aura like a cool misty morning on the wearer. Entering next is the violet, which ups the earthiness and cooling effect that the shiso and lavender have been providing, and adds a hint of sweetness. It should be noted at this point the tea leaves the scent. What then enters next is the iris, an iris that will quite recognizably to a few, the iris you find in Prada's Infusion d'Iris. This iris note makes even more sense when you realize that both The Bleu and Infusion d'Iris share the same creator Daniela Andrier.

The thing about The Bleu's iris is it is a more intense and ample iris, the earthiness of the shiso and violet making it far stronger than Infusion d'Iris. In fact it may be an excellent perfume for lovers of Infusion d'Iris who do not like the current reformulation or have often wanted a more intense iris note. Eau Parfumee au The Bleu  is an easy fresh powdery scent that uses shiso and lavender to elevate the a cooling effect of iris that then lets the wearer move around in serenity, it is no oolong, but it is without a doubt a well made scent.

Try  Eau Parfumee au The Bleu if you like Serge Luten's Gris Clair, Prada's Infusion d'Iris, or Atelier Cologne's Oolong Infini. 

First image from www.nstperfume.com
Second Image Flotsam by Lisa Sorgini

Monday, September 14, 2015

Buy Yourself Sex Appeal: Tobacco Rose by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

This scent makes me feel a bit narcissistic in the most ridiculous way possible. Simply put if I met a guy who smelled like me when I am wearing Tobacco Rose by Papillon Artisan Perfumes I would probably fall hard. Or maybe Tobacco Rose is my sexy dude alter-self.

Simply put: Tobacco Rose is seductive. It's sensuous because it is the perfect mix of ambergris, rose, and tobacco and on my skin it is delicious mix amplified by musk that has been spiced with an incredibly light dry cinnamon. The tobacco and rose play so well together each smoothing the other out and amplifying the sensual appeal those notes have. Top it off with the hazy warm skin goodness that only ambergris can bring to a scent and you have in my opinion bottled sex appeal.

You just want to bury your nose in this scent. It would be the perfect scent to catch waft of from the scarf of your long gone paramour that then sends you into an afternoon of romantic reminiscence about the impossibility of your relationship. But lets be frank these reminiscence would be mainly on the carnal side because that old flame was an excellent seducer.

Tobacco Rose is also a bit of a perfumer engineering feat for me because Perfumer Liz Moores has taken a rather dreaded note for me, oakmoss, and made it sexy and velvety on me. The woman has skill. 

Finally this scent must be tested on the skin to truly smell the notes and layers, it just does not show all its elements on a testing strip. And finally to the men wearing this, you have chosen well, you could probably seduce a lamppost while wearing this. 

Try Tobacco Rose if you like Andy Tauer's PHI Une Rose de Kandahar, Gucci"s L'Arte di Gucci, or Sonoma Scent Studio's Rose Musc.

first image is from www.luckyscent.com
second image from viewfromthemiddle.tumblr.com

Thank You Berry Much: Valentina Pink by Valentino

It was bound to happen someone finally realized the money to be made in bottling the scent of LUSH's Rose Jam and I mean the actual scent of the bath fizzy or body wash*. Valentina Pink takes the scent of LUSH's Rose Jam smooths it out in places and refines it a bit. I should start now by saying I am a rather unabashed lover of Rose Jam that uber girly mix of roses, berries, and jammy goodness. Oh it is sweet and probably most of all appeals to the 14 year old girl in me and you know what that is okay, the 14 year old girl needs an outlet.

Valentina Pink starts of uber-berries, think currents and strawberries crushed in sugar, actually lets say they are macerating. Added to this mix is splash of bright pink rose syrup, think of the syrup used to make falooda. For awhile you have this over the top girlish concoction.

As the perfume changes the berries tone down a bit. The sugar recedes and the berries take on a musky undertone and the rose becomes much more prominent. There is the slightest hint of lemony tart that keeps the scent from strangling the wearer.

Eventually you have a nice easy jammy rose of scent on a very easy going musk. Yes, this a very expensive dupe of LUSH's Rose Jam but on the other hand if you found yourself disappointed by LUSH's perfume version of the scent this will definitely fill that gap.

Try Valentina Pink if you Montale's Fruits of the Musk, Julietta Has A Gun Miss Charming, and of course LUSH's Rose Jam.

*The perfume version that LUSH put of Rose Jam was a bit of a let down, the beginning very much like the scent of Rose Jam but the dry down was very similar to Pink Sugar, the rose and berries having disappeared.

first image from www.nordstrom.com

second image from www.sbs.com.au

Saturday, September 12, 2015

What I Actually Wore This Summer

The funny thing about those pesky summer lists is I am never quite sure that is really will be reaching for, so I thought I would take a look back at what I have actually been wearing this summer.

1. Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens
I acquired this in July and found myself wearing it repeatedly. A reminder that in the heat, a good sandalwood can bring you delight. Love this confection of rose and sandalwood with hints of immortelle syrup and musk. Mainly though it is a creamy delight of rose and sandalwood.

2. Elle L'Aime by Lolita Lempicka
This choice actually proved true in my summer wearing. Such an easy scent and worked great in brutal heat.

3. Ao by MikMoi
Yet, another scent I actually wore from my original summer choices for the season. It really did prove to be "serenity now" on hectic days and had a wonderfully cooling effect in the heat.

4. Lolita Lempicka L'eau en Blanc by Lolita Lempicka
Proving a gourmand can be worn in the heat and not be suffocating. This scent worked beautifully the musk and iris keeping the gourmand elements in check and providing a cool powdery effect.

5. Blush by Marc Jacobs
A cool and fresh floral in the summer heat. Gave off the quality of flowers at the florist in the fridge.

6. Eau de Minimes Cologne by Le Couvent de Minimes
Another one from the list. This was frequently applied after work and before classes. Spritzed with abandon.

7. Rose Flash by Tauerville
I thought it would be too sweet but this beauty bloomed in heat and was grounded by earthy notes of musk and tobacco.

8. Osmanthus Interdite by Parfum D'Empire
Another repeat from the list but then again with all the humid days we had it really proved itself as usual.

9. Un Jardin Apres la Mousson by Hermes
This strange spicy juicy watermelon scent is wonderfully invigorating in the heat.

image from booooooom.com

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Fig Season: A History of Fig in My Wardrobe

The two major perfumes of my high school years that would have a major impact on my fragrance choice's are the original Lolita Lempicka and Demeter's Fig Leaf. Oh there are few others that I remember fondly but those are the two scents that really have influenced my taste and frankly seemed to hint at my adult tastes.

 I still have my original bottle of Lolita Lempicka and come Autumn spritz it happily although these days it becomes an almost a nostalgic practice as I watch the bottle get lower and lower.

As for Demeter's Fig Leaf well I have then had a very long affair with the fig note. As a teenager it made me feel different and unique because no other girl or adult woman wore perfumes that smelled like fig, I would still say that scent of fig has kept its bohemian roots even though it can be found more easily in perfume and home scents these days it is still a note that remains unique.

As a teenager I used up my bottle quickly of Demeter's Fig Leaf, which is easy considering it has no longevity.

I then followed that perfume with Fresh's aqueous Apricot Fig scent, a rather green and 90s hinting fig scent with the use of Calone. I wasn't completely in love with it but still it filled my fig needs.

This was followed by my first indie/niche fig scent and one that I will admit I thought utterly sexy but now admit it is kind of garish, Dream by Fresh Scents by Terri, which really is more like the scent of a fig newton. Which is not a bad scent if you smell them but could easily become overbearing.

At this point I was in my early twenties and having my first major relationship and being the perfume lover of course I was going to get him a perfume to wear. The scent was Marc Jacobs for men, one hell of a delicious creamy spicy fig scent for men, don't know how it is now, but in the early 2000s it was divine. I still think of that purchase fondly considering all the men's scents I sniffed at the time and then smelling that one.

At this point I had a decant of  L'Artisan's Premier Figuier and found it far too green on myself and running into my first of many times where galbanum took over. Call it an arch-nemesis sort of relationship, I eventually swapped the decant. I was then gifted by my boyfriend of then with Victoria Secret's Mood: Ripe, a rather fun vanilla citrus fig scent, nothing innovative but it was fig that I could wear and enjoy, unfortunately the damn thing came with a bulb atomizer and quickly evaporated from the bottle.

This was then followed by Body Time's uber green Green Fig oil which frankly suffered the galbanum problem, I eventually used it up as a bedding spray.

In all of this I had quite a few fig scented candles.

For awhile after this I was using a decant of Miller Harris's Figue Amere, a delightfully bitter woody amaro fig scent. That evokes the Mediterranean coast.

After this came the long slump of not a whole lot of fig. I think I had been rather burned by all the galbanum forward fig perfumes. I eventually though ended up with a bizarrely large batch of samples of Diptyque's Philosykos. That creamy delicious black fig scent. As far as the two classic pillar scents of figs go you know which one is for me. Grand irony these scents were both created by Olivia Giacobetti.

And recently I have been on the fig hunt again. Which began with the acquirement of Olivina's Hand and Body Wash in Fig and their Body Cream in Fig, which is a rather loverly fig scent that clearly takes its heritage from Philosykos. That was followed by South of France's Mediterranean Fig bar soap, a yummy tart take on fig.  I tried Pacifica's Mediterranean Fig which was far too green and harsh on me (although, I have found many of their older perfumes have become this way due to reformulation). I then had high hopes for Atelier Cologne's Figuier Ardent and found it not to work, it was too similar to Marc Jacobs for Men and uses cumin-y cedar base that while works great on others ends up smelling sweaty on me. I then purchased a regret, I Profumi di Firenze Vaniglia e Fichi, an excellent fig opening but then a pure lemon butter cake dry down on me that is far too sweet.  I finally took my cues from another another fig lover Victoria from Eaumg.net and because it was on uber-sale bought a roll-on of Lucy B's Royal Green Fig and Vanilla Wood perfume oil. Oh, this is a green one but thankfully enough smooth vanilla and coconut to keep it in check. Not in the least bit layered but that is okay because this is probably the best fig you can get on the market that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

If you really want to celibrate fig I recommend you make yourself a fig shake.

Fig Shake Recipe:
4-5 figs
milk, at least 1/2 a cup depends on thick you like your shakes.
a splash of vanilla if you like
maybe a date if you have any around.
-Put it all in a blender and blend and get ready for a divine summer drink.

First image is from Eccentricteatime
Second image is from Fragrantica.com
Third image is from Beauty.com

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Green Citrus Goodness: Lo Mejor di Mi by Mario Tomas

The beginning of Lo Mejor di Mi immediately makes me think of perfect bittersweet green limes which have been heightened with bittersweet green herbs. It is one of the best and most interesting takes I have smelled on citrus in awhile other than Bruno Fazzolari's Monserrat. It is just so zippy and refreshing. Entering the citrus party is cucumber which amps up the refreshing qualities and reminds me of those lovely cucumber waters you drink in the summer. I could  swear there is an earthy note of really good tequila thrown into the cocktail too along with hints of galbanum. It is a happy green opening worthy of sniffing for awhile, in fact I kept on finding my nose buried in my wrist constantly while wearing this perfume.

Within this perfect summer mix is pomelo* or a mix of blood orange, grapefruit, and bergamot which is all creating the scent of pomelo. The scent of Lo Mejor di Mi is so refreshing, I am a bit dumbfounded, you want to keep smelling it and feeling like you are in a sunnier and happier place.
  I know not very descriptive but Lo Mejor de Mi doesn't necessarily evoke a location for me so much as it really does pull off the great promise of aromatherapy and makes me feel happier. The closest quality I can describe it as is a cafe with a garden and there is a fountain in the courtyard. Birds flutter in the trees and there is lively conversation but it isn't loud. The scent is a combination of chill and happy, an utter rarity to find in a perfume.

As the citrus leaves the stage in walks a dry down of clean creamy musk with hints of earthiness from the violet, iris, patchouli and fig. The musk is deliciously creamy and yet not too sweet and thankfully utterly devoid of detergent qualities.

* If you haven't smelled pomelo I highly suggest in late winter/early spring you get your hands on a pomelo. It will be a pain to eat but the scent of pomelo is one of the most layered citrus scents you will ever come across it frequently reminds me of the scent of jasmine, lime, and grapefruit all rolled up into one. There is a heady floral note in it that I have not smelled in other citrus.

Try Mario Toma's Lo Mejor di Mi if you like Diptyque's Philosykos, Atelier Sud Magnolia, or L'eau de Kenzo Amour by Kenzo.

First image from theguardian.com
Second image from fragrantica.com