Friday, April 24, 2015

Next Week Is All About The Pretty



Next week I will be celebrating "pretty" perfumes. You know the ones that have no hard edges and don't require a thesis on why they are brilliant but rather you sniff them and immediately thing "Mmm, that smells good."

image from kinfolk.com

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Children of PHI Une Rose de Kandahar: Rose Flash and Vanilla Flash by Tauerville Perfumes aka Andy Tauer



It should be at this point stated that Andy Tauer loves roses. He has created multiple scents dedicated to roses. And one of his great opus roses is the rather elusive PHI Une Rose de Kandahar. A gorgeous gourmand fougere rose. It is a rose that tackles apricots, tobaccos, cinnamon almond pastries, and musky herbal goodness. It is a big opulent scent worthy of praise. It is also on the elusive side of acquiring, the rose used in it is hard to obtain, Andy has always been up front about the fact the scent cannot be constant in his offerings.

I am going to make the argument that PHI Une Rose de Kandahar has been very inspiring for Andy Tauer and that technically it has inspired two flankers: Rose Flash and Vanilla Flash. I know flankers if bit of divisive term because it usually means "crap" but sometimes someone actually uses it properly and creates fragrances that have a clear pedigree to another fragrance but are definitely fragrances of their own.

The first is Rose Flash, perhaps one of the most gourmand roses out on the market. I will also say the price is beyond generous in what you are getting. In this case if you have smelled PHI you will remember that it starts with a gorgeous sweet mix of apricot, cinnamon almond pastry, and rose. This opening is so delicious and makes an excellent argument for roses and stone fruits supported by cinnamon pastry. With Rose Flash, Tauer amps the fruit and rose idea, which he has also played with in Une Rose Vermeille (that scent a combo of rose and raspberry), here we are treated to roses, peaches, berries, and spicy vanilla all with that touch of ambregris effusiveness. The connection to PHI in Rose Flash is the marriage of rose and stone fruit, here the aspect is more peachy than apricot, but still it is the lush jam of roses and peaches echoing the apricot rose jam beginning of PHI. The further proof of heritage is the eventual dry down of Rose Flash that echoes the tobacco and vanilla found in PHI.

Rose Flash ends on a bed of tobacco, vanilla, and ambergris and from that bed does Vanilla Flash jump. Vanilla Flash amps up the spicy decadent cinnamon pastry note found in PHI. If you love that moment where PHI is cinnamon almond pastry with hints of rosewater then Vanilla Flash is for you. The beginning is vanilla and cinnamon, it is big, but then quickly enters that delightful rose note, a clear echo of the rose in Rose Flash. Vanilla Flash eventually ends in blend of vanilla, spices, tobacco, and the ever present ambergris note. The connection to PHI smelled in the tobacco and ambergris blend.

At this point I am hoping for Almond Flash and Apricot Flash.  What I find interesting when doing a comparison of all three of these perfumes, is that word "Flash" is excellent in describing the Flash series of scents because they are flashier than PHI. PHI is a smoother more subdued scent, where as the Flash series of scents is about quickly announcing themselves and getting to the point. They are delightful in their pointed assertiveness, they are obviously the more boisterous children of the more melodious PHI. There is no doubt that PHI is the more sophisticated scent of the three and the more sensual with the addition of a prominent musk note, but for sheer playful delight the Flash series wins.

First Image: Andy Tauer

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Weirdest Scent In My Collection: Un Jardin Apres La Mousson by Hermes



Yes, you read that correctly the weirdest scent in my collection is from Hermes Un Jardin series, which is essentially for the most part fairly easy going and pleasant. The scents are interesting, but weird is not an attribute you give them.

What makes Un Jardin Apres La Mousson such a little oddity is that it plays with the idea of fruit and savory notes. For me it is close to the equivalent of one of my favorite combos in the summer for when the days are absurdly hot. Chilled watermelon sprinkled with chili powder and salt and a squeeze of lime or lemon. My boyfriend's mother prefers her's with a sprinkle of cumin seed and salt instead. So what does Mousson do? Mousson is the combination of cardamom, ginger, and watermelon, it sounds intense, but it isn't. Jean-Claude Ellena is able to do an incredible balancing act of juicy watermelon combined with spicy cardamom all on a bed of vetiver.  It is light, tangy, and spicy, with watery notes. Some have accused it of being re-interpretation of the 1990s aquatics but those things always gave me a headache where as Mousson does not. It is a fruity scent that never tips itself into the banal category. I find it refreshing and cooling.

Try if you like: Ao by MikMoi, Voyage d'Hermes by Hermes, or Declaration by Cartier.

First image from Olfactoria's Travels
Second Image Caribbean Gal

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Enter the King's Forest: Konig by Yosh



I grew up with wood smoke, mountains, and wilderness. In the winter our coats smelled of wood smoke and for me that is the ultimate evocation of the colder seasons.  If you can also evoke the scent of damp chilly woods even better.

The books I loved the most when I was younger were fantasies with heavy fairy tale/ folk lore elements. I adored the dark primal qualities they had with hints of the sinister and the mystical. These qualities I am describing are not easily found in perfumes. Perfumes usually go with other story lines, the uber-sensual taking up most conversation, yet if you enter the sphere of indie/niche perfumes you find that sometimes a perfumer goes down less known path.

Konig by Yosh is a perfume that goes down a different path. It is a scent that evokes the images of forests at the cusp of before turning into winter. The cold rains of Autumn have come already, there is barely a bedraggled leaf on a tree and only the oldest overly ripe moldering fruit is left on the branch. There are mists at the edge of each day. Yosh has created the dark fairy tale country in Konig.

 The scent begins with the lightest note of  Autumn, a beautiful fleeting apple note. From there the perpetual scent of smoke, woods, and leather enter.  Here I am reminded of lapsang souchong tea that has been mixed with cold woods. As the wood smoke calms down on the skin what emerges is the tangy note of vetiver, it smooths out the leather and smoke. Yosh creates perfect balancing act with the use of vetiver, it keeps the leather and smoke smooth and reigned in. Eventually the evergreen notes of the scent are allowed to emerge, they are natural and subtle. Konig is a wearable dark fairy tale.

Try Yosh's Konig if you like Ormonde Jayne Woman, Guerlain's Vetiver, or Knize Ten.

image Greg Shield

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lipstick and Loukhoum: Traversee du Bosphore by L'Artisan


Traversee du Bosphore by L'Artisan is an odd one. I like it but as many have pointed out the qualities it aspires to create, a marketplace in Istanbul, is not what the user actually gets.

So what are you actually getting with Traversee du Bosphore? Imagine an expensive suede handbag with an owner who frequently carelessly tosses expensive lipstick, tobacco, makeup powder, and fruity loukhoum into it. The purse is a mess inside but the mess smells good. The rosy chewy scent of expensive lipstick is supported by a powdery fruit note from loukhoum, and in the background with the lightest touch is suede and tobacco. It is a scent that hints at the gourmand but is not actually a gourmand scent, it is a fairly easy going scent, that uses divisive notes. Overall it is a balanced scent nothing is overpowering the other. It is a bit Chanel like in that the blending is the point; no one note is blaring above the others. It feels like a weird take on the lipstick rose genre scent. Instead of violets, loukhoum takes their place and instead of pure makeup powder to support the lipstick, it has been mixed with powdery tobacco and suede. It is basically the scent of lipstick at a bar.

Try if like Frederic Malle's Lipstick Rose, Etat Libre d'Orange's Putain des Palaces, or Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania.

image Slava Fokk

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Taken With Indigo and Dusk or How I know I Like A Musk: Rasa by Ava Luxe



There is a pretty easy test for me to tell if I like a musk, the scent reminds me of indigo and dusk. I have no idea why I associate a good sensual musk with indigo and dusk but I do. I think it may be because I associate otherworldly with dusk and dark blues with violet edges and good musk for me should smell otherworldly. I am aware of the irony considering musks are meant to enhance the scent of our skin...but for me a good musk is supposed to smell like enchantment. For me Ava Luxe's Rasa is one of those dusky indigo musks.

Ava Luxe's Rasa is dark sensual musk that also balances itself with with an absurd creamy lightness. I am always a bit shocked by how easy it is for me to wear but it is. The musks are balanced perfectly with a creamy iris and earthy labdanum, the ambregris offering its beautiful diffusiveness so that scent lingers around the wearer at a comfortable distance. Yet, I never feel like I am overbearing in this scent nor do I feel torrid. While it is no doubt sensual with its reminder of bare skin it does not make me feel as though I have spent the afternoon in bed with a lover. It is a wonderfully serene scent for me.

Try Ava Luxe's Rasa if you like Kiehl's Musk, Serge Luten's Clair de Musc, Sonoma Scent Studio, or Serge Lutens Gris Clair.

image by George Barbier

Friday, April 03, 2015

Do You Need A Rose? Consider Sonoma Scent Studio



I think it can be established by now that I love rose scents, but as we all know getting a good rose scent can require some sampling, and every rose lover wants a certain quality of rose accentuated. If you are looking for a new rose scent, then please consider Sonoma Scent Studio, and the three rose scents offered. The quality of scents are superb.

For the lovers of true rose, you know the kind, the one that is fresh, green, dewy, and reminds of rose gardens, consider Velvet Rose. Velvet Rose is a true rose and a lovely one. It is blatantly about rosiness and nothing else. The spice, zest, greenness, and dewiness of a rose at the height of its bloom are accentuated beautifully. The base is clean musk that is deepened with sandalwood, the rose is the shining star still, but wafts are akin to tea roses, and rosewater. If you want big glorious dewy rose then this is the scent for you.

Try Velvet Rose if you: Paris by Yves Saint Laurent, the 1000 Roses line by Andalou, and Bvlgari Pour Femme.

I don't think Rose Volupte could be more aptly named, for it truly is a voluptuous rose scent. Rose Volupte starts off with an enveloping scent of roses, powder, lemon, and plum the vintage inspiration of this scent is announced immediately. The rose then becomes mildly spiced and then the enveloping final stage of rose, ambregris, and oakmoss. And truly this is the enveloping, imagine rich fabrics, and concerts. Very romantic and dramatic.

Try Rose Volupte if you like L'Arte di Gucci, Chanel Bois des Iles, and the original Agent Provocateur.

The last rose offering by Sonoma Scent Studio is my favorite, Rose Musc. Rose Musc is a very thousand and one nights scent to me. Like all my favorite musk scents it evokes the color of a indigo sky at dusk. The rose is lush and perfectly balanced with smooth creamy musk that has a gorgeous depth of labdanum and the added luminous quality of ambregris. This a mystic scent to me.

Try Rose Musc if you like Ava Luxe's Rasa, Montale's Musk to Musk, or Lancome's Mille and Une Roses.

Image 'Follow the Roses' by Perla Maarek