Thursday, August 18, 2016

Immediate Smile: Tokyo Spring Blossom by 4160 Tuesdays

A genuinely happy scent is rare thing for me, what is usually marketed as happy is usually an amalgam of overly sweet and canned fruit. The moment I smelled 4160 Tuesday's Tokyo Spring Blossom, my immediate thought was "This is a really happy little scent." The last scent that made me think "happy" is Bruno Fazzolari's Jimmy

The fruity herbal opening of Tokyo Spring Blossom is instantly joyous, it immediately evokes a happy spring greenery, sunshine, flowers, and a light delicate breeze.  I think meadows and parks. The use of rose geranium, violet, and raspberry leaf extract creates something happily green but also jubilantly pink. It feels rather like the joy a dog has when they get to roll around in perfectly soft bushes and their tail is wagging like crazy, luckily Tokyo Spring Blossom is the idea of that joy but nothing like the smell of when your furry companion is having the best time ever.

If Tokyo Spring Blossom starts out instant joy, it then becomes convivial happiness. The herbal beginning takes a backseat and the heart is mix of rose, raspberry, and violet all with airy green tea like note supporting it. I immediately see old friends meeting at outdoor cafe with trees blooming, they are drinking tea and gossiping. What is interesting is I smell a sesame like note at this point which I'm not sure where I am getting it but it ends up contributing to the scent having this weird wonderful nuttiness to it that reminds me just a tiny bit of Armani's Onde Extase. 

The dry down of Tokyo Spring Blossom is a melange of raspberry, violet, musk, and very airy strangely fresh balsamic notes. I continue to get the airy green tea quality of the scent, overall it ends up being a happily original dry down. This is my first 4160 Tuesdays scent and I am impressed, this is rather sunshine filled repudiation that fruity scents cannot be interesting or have depth.

Try if you like Bruno Fazzolari's Jimmy, Armani's Onde Extase, or Blocki's For Walks.

First image from
Second image 'Taiwan Cherry Tree' by Su-Li Hung
Third image Danilo Dungo

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pop Culture Fun: Elizabeth Jennings and Nina Sergeevna Krilova of The Americans

I love a good spy show/film, strangely enough I'm not actually a big fan of spy novels but do enjoy non-fiction spy tales from time to time. I've come to realize part of it is the visuals that spies on on the small and big screen bring that I love so much. The constant change of costume and character for one person to constantly fluctuate between fascinates me to no end. Like so many I am completely enamored with The Americans, yes, the first episode is a bit clunky, and features a terrible music choice but trust me the show quickly finds its feet and offers some amazing material and themes to discuss.

I want to say this now before I got hooked on The Americans, Keri Russell the actress left me pretty cold, but as Elizabeth Jennings I love her. I think part of it was she was doing roles that really did not play on her strength and I remembered her too much from the Felicity days. It turns out that Russell is exquisite at doing nuanced, cold, calculating, and brutal. One of the things I love the most about The Americans is they have a gender flip in the relationship of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, the two Russian spies at the center of The Americans, Philip is the more sensitive and empathetic character who constantly questions their actions, where as Elizabeth is the one who remains constant to the cause and is consistently shown as being less doubtful to the cause they serve.

Like Mad Men and Halt and Catch Fire, The Americans is a show that expertly remains true to the details of the era, you can tell that set design and costuming are used to the full extent of enhancing and defining characters and creating the reality of the moment. When this sort of attention to detail is applied to characters it is pretty easy for me to connect a fragrance to a character.

At times I think Elizabeth Jennings probably does not wear any perfume, which would be in step with her ideals, and yet while this may be her ideal she has trained herself to fit in with the culture around her and the 1980s was a time of booming fragrance. Does she do it to assimilate the culture around her? Yes. Does she do it thinking it goes against her communist ideals? Very likely. Does she obtain pleasure from it? Yes, but she will never ever admit that. The scent chosen by her I think would be Yves Saint Laurent's Opium, a tiny f-u to restrictive cookie cutter American society for it is a scent that by name alone suggests dark subjects which Elizabeth knows all about.

The spicy balsamic smoky scent of Opium works perfectly with the earth tones Elizabeth wears when she is working at the travel agency and interacting with her family, it is probably the closest we get to know the real Elizabeth outside of her as a spy. Also, fitting is that Elizabeth keeps her gorgeous mane of hair down and natural during these periods, in era when women frequently wore their highly coiffed or teased intensely Elizabeth wears her's long and natural a rejection of cultural American norms and a way to show when she is not a spy, for when she is spying her hair is always up and covered. Opium is a magnetic and intense scent, yet all those spices can be very comforting. I imagine her children probably associate their mother intensely with the scent.

If Elizabeth Jennings represents the stalwart, loyal, expert, and true believer spy then poor Nina Sergeevna Krilova is the opposite. Nina is the young, inexperienced, and ideals seduced spy, who is also the generation of spy after Elizabeth and Philip. She is smart enough to try and play the field but inherently finds she cannot constantly be going against her own nature. Her choices time and time again show a character who cannot compartmentalize herself in her work. Her desire for a more luxurious life when sending luxury goods back to Russia lands her in the role of being an FBI informant. Yet, she cannot do that, she cannot live with loyalty divided, eventually the strain of doing so gets to be too much for her and she must tell her Russian director. She is then asked again to be mole for Russia and now inform on the FBI, this also she cannot do, and eventually she confides in her lover Oleg her circumstances. She cannot not follow her desire.

I suppose I should choose a tragic scent for Nina, for she does understand the tragedy of her circumstances, but I think she deserves better. She is one of the few characters who cannot fully compartmentalize her desires on the show, she is probably the most true to herself. One thing I noticed that the costuming department and makeup department consistently cloth her in shades of pink, pink can be both passionate and innocent. She frequently wears pink lipstick, never red. Her outfits always have shades of pink somewhere, her femininity is always suggested, used against her or used by her to try and attain some form of power. The scent I chose for her is Guerlain's Nahema, a scent so pink, vibrant, passionate, and alluring all facets that Nina was or had to use in her survival. I think she would have chosen this for herself, a true luxury she would bought for herself when she arrived in America. It would have probably been a congratulations to herself for obtaining the position but in the end it would have been small tiny part of beauty in her days of walking so many fine and tragic lines.

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Monday, August 01, 2016

Lust and Lush, the Accord of Rose and Peach: A Review of Four Scents and A Tackling of Two Classics

There are four words that peaches and roses share in the vocabulary description regularly: full, lush, lust, and ripe. It makes utter sense, if you wanted to take two symbols from the fruit and flower kingdom that had equal status in arena of sensuality these two would be it. Maybe it is fate that together they are one of those perfect pairings, like rose and oud, or gardenia and coconut. Today's review will be long and consider it a long view* of the combination of peach and rose.

There are two legendary perfumes that reign in the court of peach and rose perfumes: the 1979 classic that first became legendary for being a disaster but has now become considered a masterpiece in the history of rose perfumes, Guerlain's Nahema. The other legend is modern baroque at it its finest and was released in 1990, Lancome's Tresor.

I am not a perfect expert on the formulations and vintages of Nahema. The concentration I have is the eau de parfum of the modern formulation. After looking at various posts from lovers of Nahema most have commended it still has its original skeleton especially in its current reformulation.

Nahema is most definitely a full grown adult perfume. The opening is the game of chairs, you are getting all of the notes, and as it settles notes they are getting eliminated for the winners. Your beginning is strange confusion pink powder puff roses contending with cold green spices and aldehydes. Held from afar you will smell lovely delicate rose held close and suddenly you will smell rooty hyacinth and clove, it's rather trippy. As it settles the peach note begins to ascend and the peach is smothered in enough spice that I am reminded of Mitsouko thankfully the rose starts entering the winner's circle at this point and I don't need to worry about Mitsouko. What then follows is the melding of peach and rose. I can't help but think of a baked peach crisp that has lashing of tart roses and a splash of cream, there are spices accenting it, but this isn't gourmand. The rose here is lushly pink and powdered with hints of tart and yet at moments you suddenly will get get green. What makes Nahema so interesting for me is the game play of pink and green, at moments I think I am getting a fruity pink rose with powder hinting at a lipstick rose combination but then suddenly there will be a strike of green, it is an amazing balancing act. Eventually the green recedes along with the spices, what then happens is the love song of peach and rose on a bed of vanilla. This is an exquisite balance in my time with rose scents I can tell you one thing: frequently the rose will be overwhelmed by the other notes, yet in Nahema the rose note remains til the end. The ending of Nahema is shockingly delicate and rather pure, the triad of rose, peach, and vanilla keep up their sonorous song till the end.

The next scent to enter the arena of the peach and rose combination is Lancome's Tresor. Tresor is Tresor, it is a scent that dominated the romantic arena once it entered the field. To my nose it is like a combination of Nahema and Yves Saint Laurent's Paris, the peach of Nahema meets the powdered uber-feminine violet rose of Paris. Further connecting its heritage to Paris is the sandalwood drydown of both Tresor and Paris. The current formulation of Tresor sadly does away with its peach scent very quickly and what I get is mainly a combination of violet accented rose with hints of lilac and sandalwood. The woody dry down for this is rather intense and it feels like Lancome has stripped the legend of its once voluptuous peach beginning.

As I researched Nahema I found a question that constantly reappeared in conversations "Is there anything like Nahema?" Well, there is no dupe but I can say there definitely two rose perfumes currently being made that are most definitely of the same lineage as Nahema and part of me suspects were inspired just a bit by Nahema.

If you love the fruity peach moment in Nahema then I am going to implore you too seek out A Wing & A Prayer's Summer Afternoon. Summer Afternoon starts with gorgeous minted geranium rose, it's cool and vibrant. As the scent settles a light clove note enters but before the clove** can become too much the sweetest lovely combination of peaches and roses enter. The peach in Summer Afternoon is just a bit candied but intertwined with the roses it creates something akin to a peach rose preserve. What I particularily like about Summer Afternoon is that Jane Cate anchors the sweet rose and peach with an effervescent fir and rosewood with just the tiniest hint of vanilla, the light evergreen bottom truly allows the peach and rose to be both fresh and sweet.

If you love the Mitsouko spiced peach moment in Nahema then I am going to suggest you seek out DSH Perfume's La Reine des Fleurs. The vanilla too much for you in Nahema? Ever wanted a Mitsouko that was accented by rose? Then La Reine des Fleurs is definitely worth your while. La Reine des Fleurs is darker take on the combination of peach and rose. Far more subdued, it is a scent firmly grounded to the earth with a more prominent notes oak moss and patchouli these two notes push forward the spiced peach note. It definitely leans into chypre territory.

*Yes, this is most definitely the history major in me coming out.
**I should be honest I love the scent of cloves but find that frequently on my skin in does weird things, if it seems repetitive that I mention the strength of the clove it's only because I have clove weird skin.

First image from
Second image 'Salom̩' by Paul Antoine de La Boulaye. (1849 Р1926)
Third image from
Fourth Image 'White Rose in a Glass' by Piet Mondrian
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Sixth image from Miho Hirano
Seventh image from
Eighth image Hellen Van Meene

Friday, July 29, 2016

Peachy Powdered Femininity: Bellissima Parfum Intense by Blumarine

I'm not sure why I suddenly really wanted to try Bellissima Parfum Intense by Blumarine, I think it was the peachy uber-feminine packaging. I go through phases of aesthetics through the year at some point I will suddenly want to wear uber-feminine and then suddenly I want minimalist natural. Those are the two variations that happen the most often but this year I have suddenly wanted weird fruit. I think though I am suddenly veering again into the feminine category.

From what I can tell the design house of Blumarine is all about the uber-feminine aesthetic and they seem to be willing to hire very good perfumers for their scents, Sophie Labbe created this one and few others for them but taking a look at their other scents they have also hired Maurice Roucel, Christine Nagel, and more.

Bellissima Parfum Intense starts with tangy grapefruit, it's a watercolor grapefruit, this scent isn't about grapefruit so no need to begin hyper-realistic. Below that is a softly tinted well mannered passion fruit, it adds a sweet tang that then supports a really nice combo of peony and heliotrope. The combination of peony and heliotrope is my favorite part. It is a powdery duet of two rather lilting notes that smell very much like the idea of a gentle ballet in my head.

To me Bellissima Parfum Intense is very much a bedroom/Sunday lounging scent its all about pillows and comfort especially when that powdery cashmere wood note steps in. The thing is cashmere wood notes and I just don't really get along all that well, they just go rather flat on me, the cashmere wood takes over and it becomes rather chalky. If Bellissima Parfum Intense stayed in the middle area with the combo of peony and heliotrope supported by passion fruit I would be happy, in fact I might even consider purchasing a bottle, but in the end the cashmere wood note stops that. I think though if you have no issues with the cashmere wood note this is definitely a scent worth considering if you like powdery scents.

Try Bellissima Parfum Intense if you like Allure by Chanel, What We Do In Paris Is Secret by A Lab on Fire, or Love Chloe.

First image from
Second image from photo by Nina Leen, 1954

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Summer Doldrums Assuaged With a Few

Yeah, I've hit that point where Summer has gotten to be too much. I held out for a bit but its finally at that point where I just feel listless in the heat and well so much other psychic trauma from the news. It's a combination where reviewing is well not nearly as interesting as I want it to be. On the other hand I thought I would share my Summer soothers at the moment. These are basically my Calgon Take Me Aways.

Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee eau de parfum. A delightful dark blue bottle that holds a hot cold combination of Oregon Coast summer coastline with the scent of minty Penny Royal and dark cool coniferous forests beneath it all a creamy combination of iris, amber, and immortelle. Sounds heavy? Not in the least. Full review needed.

Thierry Mugler Womanity, I get it finally. The sweet tart saline fruity wood scent is so bizarro yet in the heat it emerges as the perfect seascape refresher.

Sonoma Scent Studio Fig Tree, a tannic creamy luminous fig that makes me feel like a grown up yet totally refreshing. The dark oaky components sort of reminds me of cool barrel rooms in the summer.

Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours, somehow a rose of depth that can be worn in the summer heat. I have to write more about this calm spoken scent.

Lolita Lempicka Elle L'Aime, frothy girl next door tropical scent. Easy going tropical coconut floral with a whole lot of citrus.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Soothing Body Lotion, a cooling lovely rosewater with hints of apricot and violet, really lovely after a hot shower, has an instant cooling calm effect.

The Body Shop Passion Fruit Shower Gel, I actually love the scent of passion fruit, I mean the really juicy tart scent that has a sweet spicy edge of bell pepper (I don't think bell pepper is spicy it just has a rather robust spicy scent). For happiness it a bottle just take a shower with this.

First image 'Toxic Synthesia' by Alexandra Levasseur
Second image from
Third image from
Fourth image from The Body Shop

Monday, July 18, 2016

Books and Scents: A Mid Year Review

If you were ask me about my other passions, I would tell you one of them is reading. I also really like the idea of scenting the books I have read. Sometimes it will be a perfume or a scent idea. I also wanted to share the best books I have read so far this year. This isn't all that I have read but these are books I recommend wholeheartedly.

1. The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel
-The scent: a green scent that encompasses regret and reflection with a bitter edge. 

2. The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
-The scent: Dilmun by Lorenzo Villoresi, as much as Dilmun is about creamy gorgeous orange blossom there is also incense and hints of full jasmine green tea. Jasmine and green tea are mentioned through out the book and orange blossom and incense reflect the sense of flight and danger throughout it.

3. A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step guide to Creating the Wedding You Want With the Budget You've Got (Without Losing Your Mind in the Process) by Meg Keene
-The scent: Le Temps d'une Fete by Nicolai, just as A Practical Wedding  is about the earthier aspects of wedding planning with great direct frankness about the subject and so is Le Temps d'une Fete about the earthier fecund qualities of spring but it is also joyous as a wedding should be. 

Nada, I was in the midst of overtime wedding planning, my reading was put aside. 

4. Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein
-The scent: the most popular youthful scent of now combined with an entitled fury over the shit education girls receive about their sexuality. 

5. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
-The scent: L'Ete en Douce by L'Artisan, only a perfectly magical summer scent could go with gorgeous graphic novel about the moment right before your tween years. Loved this so hard.

6.  Sex Object by Jessica Valenti 
-The scent: Gris Clair by Serge Lutens, something needed for the resigned world weary anger and exhaustion of carrying about psychic pain all the damn time. 

7. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James
-The scent: Trussardi Jeans by Trussardi, Cordelia Gray deserves Trussardi Jeans because it fits her character in that she seems youthful but is world weary in many ways. The violet seemingly youthful but the blue rain like quality of the scent keeping it different from most scents. 

all images from

Friday, July 15, 2016

So You Want to Smell Like the Goddess of Spring (extreme bargain edition): Orangers en Fleurs Pure Parfum by Houbigant

Let me first start with the bargain part and just get it out of the way. At you can get .33 oz of Houbigant's Orangers en Fleurs pure parfum for $20.00. That is a steal!

I originally tried Houbigant's Orangers en Fleurs years ago when somehow it randomly ended up on my local Nordstrom's counter, I admired it, and recognized immediately that it had a whole lot in common with Serge Luten's Fleurs d'Oranger, a scent that had never quite moved me, but had most definitely required testing as an orange blossom lover. I did note that Orangers en Fleurs worked a tad bit better on my skin when compared to Fleurs d'Oranger, but at its price point acquisition was not going to happen. And now to the present, I was doing that thing of trawling for perfume bargains as so many perfume lovers do when randomly I decided to do a search for Orangers en Fleurs, part of the search was I am simply wanting an orange blossom, when I suddenly spied pure parfum attached to the listing of it. Needless to say I went for it, pure parfum is sort of the unicorn of perfumes, because it is usually supposed to be the concentration of the scent at its best form because you are getting the clearest vision of what the perfumeur is trying to communicate.

Orangers en Fleurs pure parfum opens with a blast of cold root-y crystalline tuberose that is made all the more cooler by a dash of nutmeg, I will admit the opening is a bit scary because it really does not register to my nose as orange blossom, it is a bit like the orchestra is getting situated before everyone is ready to play. The tuberose plays the icy handmaiden of Spring who has come to announce the lady of the house has arrived. What enters is the queen goddess herself of Spring one of the most intense no holds barred heady orange blossoms I have ever encountered. There is nothing wan or pastel about this orange blossom, regal and powerful, this orange blossom sits on the throne. This is basically the Targaryen of orange blossoms and the dragons ridden on are tuberose, jasmine, and ylang ylang. Jasmine adds the radiance note that it can sometimes add and thankfully the indoles are kept in check. Ylang ylang keeps the scent from getting too hot. There is also to my nose a linden blossom like greenery running all through the background it keeps the heady melange of flowers from going into dour territory.

Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs pure parfum smells rich, you can tell that someone was allowed to play with good stuff and basically decided that they wanted an orange blossom queen. Every time I sniff it the commandment running through my head is "Bow to the Queen." I would love to know who the perfumer is behind this.

Try Orangers en Fleurs if you like Fleurs d'Oranger by Serge Lutens, Azahar by Madini, or Dilmun by Lorenzo Villoresi.

First Image
Second Image 'Lady Flora, Goddess of Blossoms and Flowers' Evelyn de Morgan 1880
Third Image Yakovlev and Aleeva