Monday, July 27, 2015

Tropics with No Vacation In Sight: Elle L'Aime by Lolita Lempicka



I'm in school this summer. I've been able to chug away easily for the most part in my program since it began last fall but taking classes in the summer is officially a drag.  One of the things making it such a drag is I currently have one of the world's most overly verbose instructors.

What taking classes in the summer has meant the most though is that I have had no real vacation in awhile. I have had a week off between quarters and that has been since last December/January. Currently serving as one of my vacation getaway scents is Lolita Lempicka's Elle L'Aime. A scent that seems to have not reached the US fragrance counters with much ado. What that has meant is that online you can get an absurdly excellent price.

Elle L'Aime is maybe a perfect beginner scent for those of us leary of tropical scents. It is tropical no doubt but thankfully it is not overly heady or overly sweet. It starts off with a sweet lime and coconut accord that is perfectly blissful, in fact it is gone to soon. Then comes a rather lovely sweet creamy white flower heart with hints of ylang ylang (as you know a favorite of mine) just clean enough that it won't feel heavy in the heat. Finally the scent lands in a mix of creamy florals and woods. It is a shock that Elle L'Aime has  a good and unique dry down, the mixture of florals and woods creates a much more sophisticated scent than expected. Christine Nagel and Serge Majoullier are able to work some serious magic with undoubtedly very synthetic ingredients smelling surprisingly natural in the drydown. Christine Nagel's taming hand of heady florals can be seen in this scent also.

Overall Elle L'Aime suffers from the fact that the marketing of scent seems a bit juvenile and well the bottle leaves something to be desired. It is a polished take on an everyday tropical scent which you would think would have a fairly large audience here in the US considering how popular Estee Lauder's Bronze Goddess is or the many other tropical scents that are well loved here. Yet, Lolita Lempicka seems to have at some point given up on the American market.

Try Elle L'Aime if you like Estee Lauder's Bronze Goddess, the original Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime Verbena, or Serge Luten's Datura Noir.

First Image From: Argent du Buerre
Second Image: Johanna Burai

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Empressa or Penhaligon's Hacks Out Their Own Coco Madamoiselle

I'm going to be honest my reaction's to Penhaligon's Empressa have been rather crass. They have been somewhere along the line of "Victorian my ass!" I know that is rather severe but I have to tell you it is because Empressa is such an utter disappointment in the creativity/new department.

Empressa is Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle with a bit more fruit, a heightened rose, and a better defined woody dry down but let it be clear Empressa is a fraternal twin to Coco Mademoiselle. There is no getting around the fact that the structure and inspiration for Empressa is Coco Mademoiselle. They amped the patchouli and reduced the vetiver and jasmine. They added an inkling of fruitchouli.
The worst part for me may be the damned ad-copy that suggests that this is Victorian era inspired scent that suggests faraway lands. There is nothing Victorian or faraway lands about this unless your idea of a faraway land is the Chanel makeup counter, then land ahoy for you.

So how did this get created? My thought's Penhaligon's looked at their roster of scents and reputation and thought must get that "Young Modern Woman" demographic and looked to the perfumer Christian Provenzo and said "Just make it Coco Mademoiselle, tweek it a bit, and we are set." Apparently they are set because if you go to the Penhaligon's website Empressa is currently being proclaimed as one of their bestsellers.

Does Empressa smell bad? No, but the joke is you can basically get this for cheaper from Chanel. For me Empressa just feels like a gross example of a scent that was utterly created by marketing. On the other hand they way Penhaligon releases perfumes these days as though they throwing out whatever they have to see what will stick maybe they found that gum everyone wants to chew.

Image from Little Movie Nerd

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sweet Roses: 1000 Roses by Andalou Naturals Body Lotion and Body Wash

What can I say with the humidity that suddenly struck the Bay Area the last week I did not want my usual after shower body oil. Instead I reached for the exquisitely scented Andalou Natural's 1000 Roses Body Lotion. I have been meaning to write about this gorgeously scented body care line for awhile because and I stand firmly by this, it is one of the best rose scented body products out there on the market in affordability and scent.

1000 Roses is on the sweeter side, which may be its one major caveat for some, on the other hand to me 1000 Roses is gorgeous take on a rose water scent. But imagine a rose water scent that hints at greenness, ripe sweet apricots, and just the tiniest bit of earthy violet to keep it a little bit grounded. I love it and in the humidity it wonderfully cooling and refreshing. At night it feels especially luxurious and feels a bit dreamy when getting ready for bed. The formula of the body lotion is wonderfully non-greasy and sinks into the skin quickly leaving you feeling moisturized and refreshed. The body wash is just as delightfully aromatic and moisturizing and makes the bathing experience far more lovely. Currently I am tempted to try and get my hands on the Body Cream of 1000 Roses but if I do I am saving that for winter. Either way if you are a rose lover I highly recommend the 1000 Roses body care line by Andalou Naturals. The line features a true rose scent that is far more luxurious than it has any right to be.

Try if you like LUSH's Rose Jam line and Diptyque's Rich Creme Riche.

First Image from andalou.com

Second Image: Irving Penn, 1971


Monday, July 20, 2015

A Flutter of Loveliness: Blush by Marc Jacobs

As I sit here in the doldrums of summer experiencing a humidity rarely felt in California I am feeling the extreme desire for nothing heavy or sweet. When it gets to this point I reach for colognes or a cooling fresh floral. My answer for the cooling fresh floral is Marc Jacob's Blush. Marc Jacob's Blush is one of those forgotten scents of the early 2000s. Once again it was a bit too early for its time. If released now I suspect it would have stayed on the fragrance counters for a bit longer than it did.

Blush is in the family of L'Artisan's La Chasse aux Papillons, in fact they smell very similar in some aspects that I have wanted to call Blush an almost dupe. Yet, I actually think Blush is the edgier scent for the inclusion of one note in particular: star anise. Blush takes the clean musky florist florals of La Chasse and adds a hint of spicy licorice star anise and in addition it then adds a green peach skin note. The scent then takes on an almost animalic cleanness that is furthered by the clean sweet jasmine note that I find so similar to La Chasse. Blush is interesting combo of the cool florals of La Chasse and cool green spiced peach note, it feels like an almost spiced peach oolong tea scent. In hot weather it is absolutely refreshing. The spiciness of the star anise lending exquisite grounding effect to the scent. It also is the rare scent that emphasizes jasmine that I can handle.

Try Marc Jacob's Blush if you like La Chasse aux Papillons by L'Artisan, Jennifer Aniston's original scent, Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, or Hermes Jour d'Hermes.

Image: Sigrid Hjerten 'Still Life' 1917

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Scents of Summer



Considering Summer is now 2/3 of California's year, I was bound to do this list. Sigh, grand irony I'm not a giant summer scent sort of person so part of this list may come off as one woman's attempt to wear anything that can remind her of another season other than summer. Alright, there are a few utter summer choices on the list, but I hope there are a few that seem little different.

Because Summer is Trying to Roast You Alive

Vetiver by Guerlain, perhaps the best cooling tonic I can think of. Wearing this makes me feel cool, calm, collected, and a bit forest-y. A prime example of why vetiver is popular in countries that are hot and humid, also perfect in hot dry places too. Once I run out of my decant of this will have to explore more vetiver scents.

Eau de Minimes Cologne by Le Couvent des Minimes, everyone needs a some sort of classic cologne in their collection for the summer. I recently used up my Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini and Bois Blonds and don't have a bottle of 4711 on me so Eau de Minimes it is for this summer. I bought heavily discounted from Ulta and it fits my cologne needs. This starts with the classic neroli with lemon, orange, and rosemary. It is fine and easy and finishes on a rather modern clean musk with hints of soap. Genius, not in the least but cologne in a middle of the day when crossing the parking is hell should not be genius it just needs to be refreshing.

Osmanthus Interdite by Parfum d'Empire, this scent blooms best in humidity. While I wear it throughout the summer, loving the tart apricot tea leather notes of the scent, only in humidity does the sweetness of the florals in Osmanthus Interdite come out and develop on the skin.

Because You are an Adult Who Works in the Summer and Vacation is Way Too Damn Short

Ao by MikMoi, what more can be said about this genius non-cliched take on a tropical mystical vacation in the bottle that is all serenity. The serenity of this scent I suspect is going to save me a few times this summer between work and school.

Songes by Annick Goutal, heavy incense, vanilla, and tropical ylang-ylang and frangipani, sounds like too much doesn't? Nope, the factor that makes it swoon worthy on hot nights is that super dry incense note that keeps everything in check. Sure you are in the tropics and the humidity has the flowers blaring but there is a dry edge that keeps it in check.

Elle L'Aime by Lolita Lempicka, perhaps the poster child for tropicals for the girl next door. Elle L'Aime is all about the pretty. There is no jarring note in this lime, coconut, and ylang-ylang fusion its fresh, sweet, and frothy. Yes, it sounds like a tropical drink and at first veers there but the use of ylang-ylang keeps the scent centered and no one will accuse you of just smelling like sunscreen.

Sicily by Dolce and Gabbana, I feel that this is the closest a Mediterranean scent will ever get to monoi notes that frequently define scents inspired by the tropics. In this case it feels like what if monoi was created in Italy. Creamy citrus flowers, jasmine, banana, spice, and sandalwood are what you would get. This scent is languid and suggests nap filled afternoons with barely a sheet on the bed.

I Need Something Different

Coriandre by Jean Courturier, cool mosses with hints of summer dust in the shade, sounds wrong but is oh so right with soapy aldehydes playing their role.

Gris Clair by Serge Lutens, cool lavender with incense and tonka like surrounding yourself in a cool grey mist. Clarity through the haze of heat.

L'Eau de Kenzo Amour by Kenzo, milky sweet oolang tea. Sounds wrong but somehow the rice pudding vanilla and tart dry tea note work it out.

Image by Jodi Cobb from National Geographic


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Summer Slump and Moving

No, I have not stopped thinking about scent. Unfortunately, I have hit the summer slump. For me the summer slump is simply it is too hot for the perfumes I find really interesting and it has been summer here in the Bay Area for awhile. Currently I am reassessing my collection and trying to find fresh scents I find compelling for my wardrobe.

Also on the table has been the fact I have recently moved and currently we are settling down so my perfumes are all over the place in boxes and of course are not necessarily the high priority as much as finding our coffee mugs.

So right now trying to figure out what would make me happy in a summer scent.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My New Favorite Diva Orange Blossom: Elie Saab Le Parfum Intense

Once you love a note, you start to see the holes in your collection for that note, and you start to search for the variation you want. You become obsessed with finding the perfect "fresh", "gourmand", "woody", etc., for a particular note. Of late as you know I have been in love with jammy/gourmand roses. Before that I was basically looking for a marshmallow/gourmand orange blossom which I found in Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger Neroli Blanc Intense Eau de Parfum. As for my everyday radiant orange blossom, it has been Elie Saab's Le Parfum. For an excellent take on a creamy incense orange blossom I pick up Lorenzo Villoresi's Dilmun. Anyways, my point is I like orange blossom and it has occurred to me that I don't have a big voluptuous orange blossom scent in my collection. Well, it actually didn't occur to me until I sampled Elie Saab's Le Parfum Intense* and boom there it was hole in my collection I was made aware of. I don't have a shoulder pad wearing diva orange blossom that is for the evening or being the center of the party.

We should back up a moment though and discuss Elie Saab's Le Parfum, which is a modern vibrant orange blossom that has Francis Kurkdjian's signature smooth musk and crystalline glow all around it. It is orange blossom on hyper-drive and is utterly modern, I love it, and always feel put together when I wear it. What I also love is the cedar basenote that Kurkdjian implements in its drydown it keeps the scent away from the ever overused modern patchouli drydown you can find everywhere these days. The cedar also makes the scent never go into the territory of over sweet. It is bright and modern but at the same time no slouch, on the other hand it is pretty ladylike.

Elie Saab Le Parfum Intense is the less ladylike variation, it is frankly the variation of Le Parfum on the prowl. Elie Saab Le Parfum Intense is about going into the sweet territory thankfully Kurkdjian recognizes is what he wants from the use of sweet, it is heady and drenched. This is a not a gourmand sweet but rather Kurkdjian has dunked his orange blossoms in honey and liquid amber and thrown a few chewy dried apricots in. What you get is a heady narcotic white blossom variation on the original Elie Saab Le Parfum, Intense is still radiant but the cedar has been toned down, and role of honey has been heightened and amber has warmed up the scent. The scent is no longer about silk but instead velvet and brocade.

Try Elie Saab Le Parfum Intense if you like Elie Saab Le Parfum, Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger Neroli Blanc Intense Eau de Parfum, or Serge Luten's Fleurs d'Oranger.

*Can we all be honest that Francis Kurkdjian is great perfume creator but good god, his creations no matter the designer or himself for that matter, have some of the most confusing names for their flankers.

first image from fragrantica.com
second image Guy Aroch