Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It's the 90s Yo But In The Future! (Basically Imagine Andy Samberg as Connor4Real saying this): Versus by Versace (2010)

I know it's been too long. Long story short: Wedding planning is an insane hobby that will take over your life and after you are done you have to recuperate. That's right I am married person now and thus I must go to Lowe's all the time and talk about scheduling maintenance (at least that is what t.v. has taught me). Yet, I finally have the time and energy to take care of this little blog.

Between the resurgence of brown lipstick and pants that don't cut off your circulation I think we can all officially say that 90s fashion is back. The funny thing is the iconic perfume styles of the 90s stayed around a lot longer than the fashion, remember this is the era that gave us aquatic, fruity florals, and the gourmand patchouli bombs aka Angel. The grand irony is and never did I think I would think this with a nostalgic gaze but lets face it once you have your nose assaulted by the upteenth "praline" sugar bomb of the current era you sort of end up missing the fresher fruity florals that used to populate the landscape known as the perfume counter. Yeah, I still can't believe I just typed that. So on to the perfume.

Supposedly Versus by Versace (2010) is based on the beloved Versus from 1992, from what I can tell the notes have nothing in common. The joke on this perfume though is if they released it now with the mention of the 90s connection I sort of wonder if the sales would be better. You're getting two different perfumes from the 90s with Versus, the first is the creamy fruity bubblgum musk thing you find in Herve Leger and the opus to that genre Light Blue by Dolce Gabbana what follows is a switcheroo into the Calvin Klein's CK One territory with a dry down of clean peppery unisex slightly mineral cologne.  It is bizarre yet intriguing, you want to keep smelling it just to try and decipher what the hell is going on in this scent.

In the end all I can think is this is what I always imagined the Spice Girls to smelt like. A lot of rambunctious pink and neon lime with cologne thrown in. A bizarrely nostalgic scent that decided to cover all the bases of what the "cool" kids were wearing.

First Image from NST

Second Image Chronicle Live

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Five Indie Roses Worth Your Attention

It's Spring and I haven't posted anything about Spring perfumes and I have decided to not do that particular list. Instead I decided to do something in the vein of my Five Indie Vanillas post. I know I started the year saying I was maybe done with so much roses, but who am I kidding, I love rose scents. On the other hand rose scents are easily the scents that frequently end up in the breaking the bank category of perfume. So like my Five Indie Vanillas post I decided I wanted to make some suggestions for roses that won't break the bank, are indie, and most of all smell really good. What I love about this particular list is the diversity of the rose scents. None of these smell like the other and they all work with a different concept of the rose.

1. Musk Warda N.3 by Abdul Karim Al Faransi
I don't think I gave Musk Warda N.3 a fair chance when I reviewed it the first time or maybe the weather wasn't quite right for it. This last week I wore it twice and found myself happily in the presence in what made me think this is a Middle Eastern take on the tea rose category of rose scents. For me wearing Musk Warda N.3 is like wearing tea rose scent with splashes of saffron and rose water.  Tea rose scents have the reputation of getting screechy at times Musk Warda N.3 turns into a creamy rosy musk on me with hints of saffron. I am reminded of rose water scented desserts at times, but please understand this is in no way a gourmand scent. Try if you like Sonoma Scent Studio's Velvet Rose or Perfumer's Workshop Tea Rose. 

2. Cassis, Rose, & Sandalwood by Dame Perfumery
In some ways this scent makes me think of Cacherel's classic Noa, that creamy musk scent, I suppose it is the peony note. On the other hand Cassis, Rose, & Sandalwood is a far more fun scent. As much as there is a peony note in this perfume there is also a rather delightfully fruity rose going on. The addition of cassis gives a green zing to the scent. To my nose this is a perfectly pink perfume. It is fun, easygoing, and romantic. I wore this last year for a friends wedding weekend and it brings me happy memories every time I wear it. Try if you like Cacherel's Noa or Hermes's Jour d'Hermes. 

3. Brune Melancolia by Sabe Masson
A good dramatic spicy rose is always worth having in your collection, well at least it is for me. Brune Melancolia is just that, it has the freshness of roses with the hinting of greenery of from cassis but after that the story is mainly rose accented by pepper and plum. It is dusky and fresh. Try if you like Diptyque's L'Ombre Dans L'Eau or Serge Luten's La Fille de Berlin.

4. Summer Afternoon by A Wing & A Prayer Perfumes
This really should be far better known in the rose perfume loving community. Summer Afternoon is one of the most vintage-y rose perfumes I have smelled in a long time. It is akin to Guerlain's Mitsouko with the use of peach and clove, but where as Mitsouko never goes beyond the top notes on me Summer Afternoon turns into a joyous lush combination of rose, peach, and spices on me. The rose used in this is sweet and fruity yet not cloying or jammy, the combination of it with the peach and apricot notes makes it ambrosial but it is kept grounded with the addition of patchouli and clove. Try if you Like Guerlain's Mitsouko, DSH Perfume's La Reine des Fleurs, or Ann Gerard's Rose Cut. 

5. Rose Musc by Sonoma Scent Studio
For dusky sensuality I am going to recommend you get your hands on Rose Musc. Rose Musc is the perfect combination for me of deep rose with labdanum animalic musk. It blends into the wearer and creates that alluring indigo halo effect that I associate with really good musks. The rose here is soft and plush there is no green or spice notes, the combination of the scent is all about the rose and the musk. Try if you like Ava Luxe's Rasa or Lancome's Mille & Une Roses. 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Musk Quest, the Best White Musk You Haven't Tried: Royal White Musk by Abdul Karim Al Faransi Maison de Parfum

Except for Narciso Rodriguez I can't think of any other mainstream perfume house obsessed with musk. Go to niche and indie there is a definite love of musk there with quite a few specializing or putting out their magnum opus scents based on a beloved type of musk. If you were to take a survey of these magnum opus musks I would say probably 80% would be their idea of the perfect white musk. White musk may be the most known and liked of the musks, with good reason, it is easy, likable, and usually melds perfectly with wearers. There is a reason why people will devote time and effort to finding the best variation of it. It is the reason that when you look at mainstream releases of the last ten years a good chunk of them list white musk as a note. White musk has also been degraded to a screechy hot mess in many mainstream perfume releases. In niche and indie white musk is usually not all that innovative and especially in some large niche houses it is put out as a money making offering that really you are paying for the name of the house, not the perfume because if you really had smelled it you would have realized you could have probably gotten this perfume at your local health food store for about $15. My point is white musk is a ubiquitous, much maligned note. Finding a perfumer who elevates it to something more is rare.

Royal White Musk by Al Faransi is for me one of those rare elevated white musks. This is the musk for those that have been looking for an erudite, intellectual, refined, and tasteful white musk. There will be no accusation of cheap white musk with this scent.

Instead wearing this is finding yourself surrounded by the perfect melange of clean florals, creamy but pristine musk, and refined sandalwood. There is no laundrette quality to this musk rather the suggestion is the immaculately recently bathed. Yet, before you go on thinking that this scent is cold and unapproachable it isn't, no this is quiet tasteful serenity. This is clearly a scent meant to be worn anywhere, the point is the wearer will simply be known for smelling very good.  Royal White Musk is the other Al Faransi offering that I think deserves a following. It wouldn't surprise me if some sort of fashion maker found this offering and made it the "it" cult musk. Royal White Musk is a scent that is waiting to be discovered by a larger audience.

Try if you like white musk, Clair de Musc by Serge Lutens, Musk to Musk by Montale, or Essence by Narciso Rodriguez.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Musk Quest, Smooth Operator: Dark Horse by Dame Perfumery

Sometimes you want to kick yourself for not trying something sooner. Dark Horse by Dame Perfumery is definitely one of those scents that I should have tried awhile ago because it is definitely worth your perfume loving time. Dark Horse is a scent on par with Frederic Malle's Musc Ravegeur for across the board sex appeal, man or woman you will smell very alluring wearing this scent. Yet, Dark Horse is a bit more on the the tasteful side, easier to wear. You can wear this in the office and no one is going to accuse you of being showy.

Sometimes a good non-suffocating warm musky scent is hard to come by. Frequently they can veer into a heavy stifling zone with no complexity. They smell good the first hour and then hours later you realize there is no letup. It's a bit like if the Hans Zimmer's trombone section from the Inception music kept going on and on. Sure it sounds cool and then after awhile you are exhausted from the never ending drone. Thankfully, Dark Horse is not that. Nope instead what you get is a lovely woody cider of a musk.

Dark Horse has one of the loveliest clove notes I have smelled in awhile. In fact I would say Dark Horse has one of the loveliest use of spices I have smelled in awhile there is no veering into the medicinal esoteric territory nor into the cupcake land of fake spice. No this is spices with clarity and warmth. Clove is coupled with sweet tangy citrus with hints of cinnamon. All of it is wrapped in cozy wood and musk with hints of sweet vanilla.

You will get wafts of Dark Horse through out the day. At times you will catch hints of roses and carnation, others will hint at the entwining of musky golden amber and lemon. Frequently you will get a spiced woods note that will leave you feeling embraced.

I will say this now if you are a fan of Fendi's now legendary and long discontinued Theorema then I must implore you to try Dark Horse. Is it a dupe no, but they are clearly of the same family of delicious easy going wooded musk scents.

Try Dark Horse if you like Frederic Malle's Musc Ravegeur, Lolita Lempicka's L de Lolita Lempicka, Fendi's Theorema, and Nicolai's Ambre Cashmere Intense. 

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Second image: Viggo Mortensen by Norman Jean Roy

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Big Baroque Caramelized Rose Amber: Calligraphy Rose by Aramis

Once again I have Facebook Fragrance Friends to thank for drawing my attention to a scent that I would have never tried if not for them. If you like dewy fresh garden roses this scent is not for you. On the other hand if you love a good calorie rich rose and amber combination then this rose amber creation is for you and then some. There is no way of getting around it this scent is loud and meant for cold weather wear one too many spritzs and this scent is wearing you.

Calligraphy Rose is all about decadence. It has been a long time since I came across such a rich scent and I mean buttercream rich. It makes me think cold nights, everyone is wearing amber and rubies, gold leafed creme brulee, the plushest cashmere, furs, and velvet. This is essentially Russian fairy tale if it met Angela Carter's reworking.

Calligraphy Rose starts with a lush velvety rose, there is no greenery to this rose. No, this is the sweet velvety rose that has just a hint of lemon, but otherwise it is is pure velvet. It is a rose that blends very well with others, it is a velvety sort of rose that begs to be combined with musk and amber. It is the sort of rose that announces it presence for a bit and then plays the role of key supporter. It remains through out the scent but this scent is no rose soliflore.

What then enters the scent is the sonorous combination of amber and ambergris. The amber used in the scent is the intensely caloric amber found in Ambre Sultan and Ambre Russe. There is the slightest use of the herbal with a note of oregano in the scent which reminds me of Ambre Sultan but the animalic dense vanillic nature of the amber then reminds me of Ambre Russe and plushly sitting with them is the rose. The rose brings the vanillic lacing of the scent to the forefront. The ambergris of course brings its legendary warm musky diffusive quality to the whole scent. As the scent proceeds the amber becomes darker with labdanum becoming as I like to say a little bit more growl-y around the edges.

Aramis's Calligraphy Rose is the the sort of scent that is meant for making statements. If you want to go unnoticed or be unobtrusive this is not the scent for achieving that effect. On the other hand if you want to be the statement maker at the ball this will do it and then some.
Try if you like PHI Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer Perfumes, Rose Flash by Tauerville, Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens, or Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire

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Second image from Kate Baylay
Third image from Elie Saab

Monday, February 29, 2016

Pop Culture Fun Series: Dev, Master of None

So I recently finished the new Netflix comedy Master of None created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. I've been a fan of Ansari's for awhile beginning with Human Giant, loved him on Parks and Recreation as the absurd Tom Haverford, and last year read his book Modern Love a surprisingly smart and funny book. I say surprisingly smart because I am a fan of comedy writer books but frequently have found many actually can't write a book and Ansari actually wrote a decent book about modern dating that was funny and shockingly backed up by real research. So to say I was excited for Master of None is an understatement. I like an Ansari he is funny, his humor can be dirty, and yet he seems to be genuinely not an asshole. After reading Modern Love I knew he could tackle issues with an excellent humor perspective that could be smart and sharp and what I think makes Ansari so great is the guy has a clear sense of empathy. I mean the guy can tell dirty jokes with the rest of them but he is not a derogatory asshole.

So as I expected Master of None definitely is about modern romantic relationships, it tackles lots of other issues as well such as race representation, but the main underlying theme of this show is modern romance. That is okay, especially when it is done well. Dev is a romantic, Aziz Ansari is a romantic, and Tom Haverford is a romantic, hell Ansari wrote a book about modern dating this is clearly a zone he likes to be in.

So as I watched Master of None it also became apparent to me that this show has a clear sense of style. Dev is a stylish guy, he is a guy who is into sensory experiences, especially food, his apartment (however unrealistic for New York) is clearly been decorated with care and a sense of intellectual romanticism. His first date with Rachel involves taking her all the way to Nashville. Dev of course wears perfume, in fact as I watched more I clearly knew that this character would have spent time making sure these perfumes represented his character well. They would be stylish but definitely romantic, in fact they would probably classic and yet not run of the mill. In fact I have a scene in my head of him and Arnold roaming around Sephora while Dev tries to find the perfect perfume and he is making Arnold smell all this stuff.

Dev's everyday scent is Atelier Cologne's Vetiver Fatal it has that plum note that appeals to the gourmand in him and yet the fresh earthy citrus aspects of vetiver wears excellent in New York. The scent is neither too fresh nor too off-kilter, it just smells really good and makes for an excellent everyday wear without smelling like everyone else. The scent is unobtrusive but has character, excellent if you are constantly interacting with people like an actor does.

The scent though that represents Dev to me the most is Guerlain's L'Instant pour homme. This is Dev's going out scent. It is combination of romance, gourmand, and intelligence all of the things Dev wants to represent. it is a extremely likable never aggressive scent. The cocoa note of course speaks to Dev's love of food and the sandalwood is an excellent all around smell but not intense and overbearing. It's romantic but never tries to be a lothario.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Snippet Review: Part 2 Abdul Karim Al Faransi Maison de Parfum

Bakhoor Hindi
If you are fan of blackberry musks then Bakhoor Hindi is definitely worth your attention. For me Bakhoor Hindi is a bit like if Narciso Rodriguez had used a blackberry musk instead of an Egyptian musk for his original scent. Bakhoor Hindi is smooth and luminous, it takes away the vanilla note used so often in blackberry musks ex. Falling In Love by Philosophy or Bath and Body Work's
Black Raspberry Vanilla and instead creates a sleek stylish take on the blackberry musk genre. It's not citrus forward like L'Artisan's Mure et Musc, but rather keeps the berries smooth but supports them with a rather chic supple jasmine note, below all of that is a sweet luminous musk with a hint of woods. Try if you like berry musks or Narciso Rodriguez.

Dulcedinis Moschus
If you are a fan of Egyptian musks this probably the closest in the Al Faransi collection to that type of musk. This has a sweet tangy clean floral quality I associate with Egyptian musks going through it. I did find it had a bit of animalic note going through it that caught me off guard but eventually Dulcedinis Moschus softened into a very clean sweet soft scent on me. Try if you like Auric Blend's Egyptian Goddess.

Musk Massilia N.2
I would say that Musk Massilia N.2 is Al Faransi's other take on the blackberry musk genre. Instead of going sweet and smooth though, Al Faransi takes blackberry musk into a whole new direction, the fougere direction. The fougere quality is created with a high quality high altitude lavender, the smooth fluffy quality of the lavender tells me it is high altitude lavender. Complimenting the berries is a spicy woody note that makes me feel that Musk Massilia N.2 does best in cooler weather. Below this is a rather luminous salt tinged musk that amplifies the spiced berry quality of the scent. Try if you like Guerlain's Jicky, Montale's Fruits of the Musk, or Bois de Paradise by Parfums DelRae.

I'm calling this the night cousin of Lancome's Mille and Une Roses. Now here is the thing Lancome's Mille and Une Roses has always struck me as a warm ambery rose musk. Sundus takes that same damask rose found in Mille and Une Roses and layers in animalic honey, jasmine, musk, and amber. Overall the effect is heady and intense, the rose is sweet and velvety. Sundus is probably the most animalic of Al Faransi's offerings I have tried. Try if you like Calligraphy Rose by Aramis, Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone, or Magie by Lancome.

Image by Olaf Hajek