Sunday, December 14, 2014

Favorite Perfumes of 2014



So the question is what perfumes did I love in 2014? Was it an oldie in my collection that I rediscovered? A new launch? A classic? I like to think it was pretty varied. Well, no it wasn't because there is a lot of rose in my favorites for 2014.

Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone, the launch of my rose quest again, you would think after finding this beauty I would be done but I wasn't, instead it renewed by love of gourmand rose scents.

Rose Flash by Tauer Perfumes, it may be the best gourmand rose around. Andy truly did create something for the gourmand rose loving enclave. I was lucky to get my hands on this beauty.

Coriandre by Jean Couturier, I can only thank the lovely Perfume Shrine blog for this recommendation. The scent of summer at my family's ranch. So many memories found in this scent.

Ao by MikMoi, an introverted tropical, it's genius, and the perfumer is incredibly kind. This scent is so tranquil and unique.

Elie Saab Le Parfum, a radiant futuristic orange blossom that just smells so good.

Neroli Blanc Intense Eau de Parfum by Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger, the best orange blossom gourmand out there. Comforting and serene.

Ambre Narguile by Hermes, I rediscovered this delicious tobacco cinnamon apple pie.

Jour d'Hermes by Hermes, it let me have a spring when we had summer for most of the year.

Image by Monica Ramos

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Variations of Orange: Monserrat by Bruno Fazzolari



Do you need to smell something that smells close to the sublime moment of a seed sprouting in soil? If so you need to get your hands on Montserrat by Bruno Fazzolari.

This scent is for me that strange juxtaposition that citrus ripens in the winter. We consider the scent of citrus to the scent of summer at times but add cloves and you think winter. Montserrat does not go into clove combination but rather it plays with the idea of citruses out in the cold fields of spring and winter in California. In fact under the layers of grapefruit you smell the green buds of citrus about to bloom. Yet, what I love more is that he is able to capture the scent of citrus as you pick it from a tree the dry earthy green scent of the break between fruit and branch.

This scent is heightened with the intriguing note of plaster which appears in the dry down. With addition of this note Fazzolari creates a full image in my head. Think white walls of old farms houses in the countryside think in the style of Italy or Spain, especially the ones that may have a courtyard, and in that courtyard are citrus trees.

There is a strange beautiful quality of lushness and austere-ness in this scent. The grapefruit and citrus notes verdantly singing and yet the addition of earthy notes of carrot seed and plaster keep in grounded in a cooler contemplative mood.

Try if you like: Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne, Concentre d'Orange Verte by Hermes, and 4711.
image from Riochico

back with the beautiful bluster of a storm

I know far too long not to write about scents but life unfortunately takes detours with our time. For me it was school. Simple as that. The work, school, and personal life balance is so hard to maintain at times but with the beauty of the storm we just had I feel like talking fragrance.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I was going to wear my usual Halloween fragrance today of Lolita Lempicka but decided to change up this year with Serge Luten's Five O'Clock Au Gingembre, the smoky tea and ginger scent has been calling me and with the rain today feels like a perfect combo. Tomorrow I will wear Lolita Lempicka in honor of Dia de Muertos, the anise notes of the scent perfectly complementing the anise scented pan de muerto.

Image: "Forever Autumn" by Jen Brook

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Best Cheap Thrill I've Smelled In Awhile: Rose Oud by Laurence Dumont



I'll be honest I'm not an oud fan, most of the time I find it to be a note not used kindly, or even with much understanding. I like oud scents that are not really actually about oud for an example Jo Malone's Velvet Rose & Oud. So as things go Laurence Dumont's Rose Oud would not have been on my radar until I read a lovely review mentioning how rose forward it is and it reminded someone of Velvet Rose & Oud. So at the mention of Velvet Rose & Oud I had to try it.

Rose Oud by Laurence Dumont is not a dupe but it takes a lot of parts of other things to create something that smells far more expensive than it is. What I am first reminded of just for a moment of in the beginning is of L'Artisan's Safran Troublant's creamy saffron opening, it quickly leaves but it is a herald of the nice scent. What follows for me in the lemony jammy rose of LUSH's Rose Jam with a very light dollop of oud, this stage is long lasting and the most representative of the scent. The dry down is a fruited rose with hints of amber. Overall, Laurence Dumont is offering a really lovely entry into the world of jammy roses with touches of oud but without the ginormous price tag. Give it a try if you have ever wanted a rose oud combo that didn't take itself so seriously.

Try if you like: LUSH's Rose Jam, Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud, or Yves Rocher Rose Absolue.

image by Sofia Perina-Miller

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Perfume Review: Ao by MikMoi



How does one describe such a transportive perfume as MikMoi's Ao? I think first I need to establish what it conjures in my mind. Ao is a tropical scent that has taken all the cliches out, this is not suntan lotion, or a pikake lei. It is not bright and sunny. Ao is a scent that explores the meeting of the in between areas: dusk, ocean and land, those ephemeral zones that have mystic connotations. So how does the perfumer Mik do this?

Ao creates a fine balance of tropical mysticism by ignoring the sweet aspects of tuberose and coconut. There is no doubt they play a role but the coconut is fresh and green and the tuberose is applied as though you are smelling it in a garden afar; it is noticeable but your face is not pressed into it.  He then layers smoky cade, a very green ginger, and woods around these notes. He finalizes this wonderful layering of notes with an airy mentholated note which fades but provides a luminous quality to the scent.

An interesting thing happens as this fragrance progresses to the dry down I get hints of green peach/apricot. The perfumer was actually there when I tried this scent on and he even noted that my skin had heightened this aspect in the scent, he surmised that I accentuating this quality from the tuberose. This little fruit tart note really ends up accentuating the smokiness of the cade and makes the scent even more enchanting.

Another additional quality I enjoy in Ao is the salty note that brings images of the ocean to the mind but thankfully does not make you think aquatic.

I never thought I would meet a perfume that was an introverted tropical. Yet, that is what Ao is, quiet and contemplative but full of tropical notes. It is not jovial and bright and talking about laying out in the sun with an umbrella bedecked drink. This scent is dusk, smoke, and water lapping against boats.

Ao is utterly unique and worth sniffing just to smell how someone can redo the idea of a tropical/aquatic scent. I really can't wait to explore more of MikMoi's scents and smell the new interpretations he comes up with.

Try if you like Serge Luten's Datura Noir, Diptyque Tam Dao, or L'Artisan Timbuktu.

image Mark Cross

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Made September Memorable


September went by in a frenzy. There is no other way to describe it. I started school and now all I am in is school mode. Perfume analysis is a happy oasis of not school and will remain so. All I can think of right now is school and everything else seems to be hazy memories. So a few good things I can remember that happened in September. Sorry for such a late update.

Books
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Once again I am in adoration of Rowell's talent, skill, and genuine empathy for her characters. Her world is kind but true, bad things happen, but that isn't the whole story for her characters. At times I saw way too much of college of my college self in Cath and it was both wonderful and at times annoying. Thankfully, Regan was their to keep Cath in check.
Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead. I'm not quite sure what I expected but this was so much more interesting than I expected. 1970's ballet, ballet dancer defectors, and the question of passion and talent. Great read that was thoughtful and fast paced.

Film
Only Lovers Left Alive. I wanted to crawl into this film. Jim Jarmusch has created one of those most romantic films I have seen in a long time. Utterly enveloping atmosphere that is wonderfully lush, antique, and delightfully quirky. Hiddleston and Swinton have excellent chemistry and you definitely root for them. Also, the soundtrack!


Scent
Found the uber-real Wood Violet by Sonoma Scent Studio

image from Trendnista

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Plum Quest 2014: Plum Cider or No.31 Arquiste for J.Crew


Had you told me I would be stepping into J.Crew to sniff perfume this year, I would have probably looked at you puzzled. J.Crew and I don't exactly intermix, but this year they did something that piqued my interest. They had Arquiste make them two perfume and they centered those perfumes around a really interesting historical event: Peggy Guggenheim hosting the first modern art show to showcase women in the United States, it happened in 1943. That is the sort idea I like, a perfume centered around women doing something interesting, I am rather sick of romance, seduction, sexiness, and the usual monikers of perfume themes that are directed towards women. Give me a perfume that showcases the awesomeness of Rosie the Riveter, Ada Lovelace, Hedy Lamarr, or Maya Angelou. I guess what I want is what men get in the perfume advertising: being dynamic.

So how does No.31 smell? The first thing I think of is cider, if cider were made with plums. There is a wonderful fizzy plummy spiced cider quality happening in this scent. The good news this is not at all childish smelling, it is grown up and quite classy. There is an elegant restraint to the sweetness and the Bulgarian rose note in the middle brings a hint of wine to the composition. It all sits on a modern chypre base but thankfully this is not a fruitchouli scent. The Bulgarian rose note keeps the fruit notes from taking over and provides a nice floral middle that rests on the rather nutty chypre base. Overall this is an excellent fall scent, I wish the longevity was a bit more, but at $25 the little roll-on is a steal. If you are looking for something interesting at the mall definitely give this one a try.

Try if you like: Bois des Iles by Chanel, Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermes, or Lush's 1000 Kisses.

image "Shades of Picasso" by Gilbert Adrian