Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lavender and a Leather Jacket: Lavande Ombree by Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger.

Lavender has far more frequently within the world of perfume been a note used most often in men's perfumes than in women's perfumes, while many would argue, including myself that you should wear whatever catches your fancy from whatever gender related department of perfumes, the reality is still that designers and perfumers will put lavender in a men's perfume more frequently. Rarely though does a lavender scent for either gender enter the somewhat sexy smelling devil may care category of perfume yet Lavande Ombree by Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger does.

When I smell Lavande Ombree I have this immediate idea that this is what lavender would be if it was a biker, there is a prominent leather note entwined with the lavender, and it is not some sweet suede leather note, nope this that black leather jacket leather note. The leather is pungent but the lavender does not hold back either. As the scent progresses a strong raspy cinnamon and cedar enter and I am reminded of the classic and discontinued original Fendi by Fendi that powerhouse of a scent that was basically incense that decided it wanted to be a 1980's diva.  Lavande Ombree is a forward scent, it takes the idea of lavender as a dandy note, and decides to make it rugged and slightly dangerous. As the scent dries down it softens a bit the lavender less the leader but the cedar and leather remaining accented by musk and a hint of sweet amber to meld into the skin. Overall I can't help but respect that this scent is unabashedly not about sweet, nice, or smooth.

Give it a sniff if you like Knize Ten by Knize, Jolie Madam by Balmain, or Cuir Mauresque by Serge Lutens.

image: Sarah Esteje

Monday, August 18, 2014

Come Softly: 1902 Eau de Cologne Tradition Lavande by Parfums Berdoues

As a kid I didn't really get the appeal of lavender. I think it was because it was the 90s and it was the era of extreme aromatherapy and the stuff that was promoted with lavender was the cheaper harsher lavender that some might find therapeutic but I just found mostly rosemary like. Fast forward and somewhere along the lines I grew to appreciate it, I think it was when I finally got to smell high altitude and French lavender, the more delicate and soft scent altering my view of what lavender could be.

I received a decant of Lavande by Parfums Berdoues years ago and firmly forgot it in my box of decants. I was even at one point thinking about making it a freebie in my swapping, well I am glad I did not.

Lavande by Parfums Berdoues is a lovely soft lavender surprise, there is no harsh edges in this lavender. The beginning is a powdered lavender that is accented by a sweet and easy anise note, thankfully not overpowering, the anise works to bring out the sweeter quality of the lavender. From there the anise leaves the room and what enters is the final stage of simple soft musk, lavender, and tonka bean with hints of heliotrope. What I am reminded of at this stage is of the classic Jicky by Guerlain except this is easy and there is no possibility of the pungent musk of Jicky stepping in, mind you the depth and headiness of Jicky is not there but sometimes you just don't want that. Overall this scent is simple easy cuddliness that sooths the nerves. Very worthy of becoming a comfort scent on those harsh days. I am honestly reminded of a soft worn out flannel blanket when smelling this scent, there is a hint of pilling in some places but overall with time and wear it has hit that perfect point of absurdly soft.

Try if you like Jicky by Guerlain, Reverie au Jardin by Tauer Parfums, and Moonlight Path by Bath and Body Works.

image: Free People Blog

Friday, August 15, 2014

In Honor of This Stressful Week: Lavender

Next weeks theme is lavender and exploring it in scent. After a rather stressful  few weeks I have found myself craving the scent of lavender once again. I also am in debt to a wonderful swap that included a lovely lavender surprise.

image: amberlight1

Thursday, August 14, 2014

She's a Vamp: Neroli Blanc eau de pafum by Au Pays de la Fleurs d'Oranger

Sometimes you forget that orange blossom can be a sexy come hither vamp and when done right can hold up to a gardenia or tuberose in the nocturnal white floral category of perfumes that suggests vampiness. Narcisse Noir by Caron is the best known vampy orange blossom scent with its narcissus and incense notes creating an air of mystery and seduction with a hint of feralness.

Neroli Blanc eau de parfum is Au Pays de la Fleurs d'Oranger take on a vampy orange blossom. The scent begins with smoky dry orange blossom note supported by jasmine, it is unexpectedly austere but as it warms up on the skin it sweetens, the smoke backing out of the room, but what remains is an orange blossom with an animalic musk supporting it. The orange blossom is piercing and smooth, the allure of blossoms scenting the evening air. I feel like this scent is the love child of Serge Luten's take on vampy orange blossom Fleurs d'Oranger and Narcisse Noir, it takes the best of both and creates something a little bit more wearable but still retains a vampy sensuality. Highly recommend you sniff if you are looking for a nice going out and upping the sensuality scent.

Try if you like: Fleurs d'Oranger by Serge Lutens, Narcisse Noir by Caron, Elie Saab Le Parfum eau de parfum Intense, and LUSH Orange Blossom.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Thing About Freesia

Yesterday, I sprayed a perfume that opened with a wonderful tannic black tea note, it was rather unexpected considering it dried down to something akin to Cacharel's Noa Fleur. It was as I looked at the notes for the scent the freesia creating the effect. What saddens me is freesia is a rather maligned note in perfume, it has been taken by the fruity floral category but not really used to its full effect. I remember the first time I smelled fresh freesia and realized that it smelled like a freshly brewed cup of Earl Grey tea. It is the most black tea like scent I know of that is not black tea, it hints at lemon, but is supported by a rather tart floral quality. I should probably name the scent that has such an amazing black tea opening: Oscar de la Renta's Rosamor.

image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/lonoak/4454903605/

Monday, August 11, 2014

Comfort me with...

Last week was a hard week, in fact this week will be hard also. Last Tuesday I began my day with a trip to the emergency room after I awoke to look like like my face was melting, allergic reaction to something, but I have no idea. That night finding a lump on my cat, a lump that did not go away, we then visited the vet on Thursday. The conclusion too deep under the skin to tell anything so surgery is needed. I then sat through blood tests for my cat and in general worried over my sweet girl. I now get to spend the week worrying up until Thursday about her surgery. As I sat here this morning thinking about perfume and wanting to concentrate on something I enjoy for the moment. I could not help but think about comfort scents.  I also thought about Ruth Reichel's wonderful title Comfort Me With Apples. Lately I have thought about the actual bottles of perfume I use up. The simple truth is frequently is that it often not my profound favorites with an exception. They fall in two categories fresh scents and this is the most dominating category, I live in a hot climate, and as much as I love my heavy scents those are the ones I love the most, I don't get to wear them nearly as much as I like. So I use up the bottles of my fresh scents the most. The other category of scents that I use up is my comfort scents, those are the exception. With all the stresses of life and there have been many I reach for comfort most often and the thing about my comfort scents is they have to hit this perfect balance of sweet, airy, light, but interesting which I think may be the hardest thing sometimes to find in a good fragrance. So a list of past and present comfort scents:

-Omnia by Bvlgari: the perfect marriage of chai, sandalwood, and musk. A gourmand that was never overbearing.
-Infusion d'Iris by Prada: cool, clean, and calm wore this constantly at the beginning of my masters program.
-Falling in Love by Philosophy: My first year of undergrad on my own, sweet berries, musk, and vanilla you can't blame for finding this comforting.
-Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker: the more delicate light sister of Narciso Rodriguez eau de toilette. The light patchouli, ambrette, and lavender creating a lovely cloud of calm and clarity.
-Jour de Fete by L'Artisan: A large lovely decant of almonds, flour, rainwater, and soothing violets.

-Jeans for her by Trussardi: A very good dupe of Jour de Fete but in some cases even better. The heliotrope and violets upped with a green soothing note, what it reminds me of is a creek in spring time.
-Clair de Musc by Serge Lutens: A creamy clean white musk that makes you feel like you have on your fluffiest robe.
-Silk Way by Ted Lapidus: creamy musk and incense, not overpowering at all, but a wonderful waft frequently of something akin to basmati rice.

image: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mb59txPzGd1rugmfko1_500.jpg

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A young man in Europe: Field Notes From Paris by Ineke

I actually think this scent is perfectly unisex but as I wore it I had the image of the person I wanted to gift this to. But first we must talk about the scent. I remember the first time I tried Field Notes From Paris and being very disappointed, it was at the height of my tobacco scent lust, and in the adcopy there was constant mention of tobacco. What I should have recognized was that this is an Ineke creation, her scents are never blatant, they are very smooth, reserved in their sillage, and very modern smelling. The notes are pure, the bells and whistles of classic perfumery put aside for modern clean lines but Ineke's scent do not smell like mass market. They are most definitely niche and have the quality of a water color painting, full of light and ease.

Field Notes From Paris opens with with a happy buzzing bergamot supported by honey and musk, what soon moves in is a wonderfully clean African orange flower and coriander accord that never really leaves the scent. These two notes end up dancing with the tonka bean, musk, patchouli, and cedar with hints of cherry tobacco gliding in. The happy accord always keeps the scent rather sprightly while the notes become more and more oriental it finally ends with freshly lacquered wood note that is nestled beside a vase of African orange flower and coriander.

In my head this is the perfect scent for a young man who wants something different, he has just graduated college, had a year abroad somewhere in Europe, and after smelling the current major offerings is rather annoyed. Yet, he doesn't want absurd niche, he wants a scent that is cordial, at ease, warm, very easy on the nose, but smells different. Field Notes From Paris is that scent it is easy but unique, you won't offend but you smell distinct, there is a real warmth to it that makes you feel like you are meeting an old friend.

image via 50 Watts