Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dramatic Introverted Elegance: No.19 Warm Carrot by Cognoscenti (2012)

Sometimes a perfumer highlights a note so well you are kind of dumbfounded that it doesn't get used more. This is one of the feelings I have for Cognoscenti's No.19 Warm Carrot. My other feelings and thoughts are: this is the the perfect mashup of French pain d'epice and Indian gajar halwa, this has one hell of a spicy cold opening, the drydown is magnificent, this is so perfectly fall, and I feel like this the baby of Guerlain's L'Heure Bleu and Chanel's Bois des Iles. As you can see No.19 is incredibly layered and yet utterly wonderful.

No.19 starts out with a magnificent dramatic entrance that smells like cardamom, cold ylang-ylang, and earthy carrots the effect reminds me of the grinding of spices for pain d'epice. There is a slight quieting and the earthy powder of lavender enters, it softens the spice just enough that the carrot seed at this point is the most potent. Cognoscenti gives you operatic dramatic carrot, the perfumer draws out the leathery or as I think the furrier aspects of carrot. This is the moment where the carrot seed gets to be the star and in my head this is the color combo of intense rich orange against a rather soft dove grey.

After about 15 minutes we then enter the longest stage, the pain d'epice and gajar halwa stage. This stage is utterly lovely and will scent your scarf through out the day. At this point the tiniest drops of amber and vanilla enter the mix and they play utterly supporting roles mainly to gentle the spices and bring out the fruitier aspects of carrot. What you get is combination of creamy gajar halwa, that delicious Indian dessert pudding, that is lightly spiced with cardamom, and the anise laced gingerbread of France, pain d'epice. This sounds gourmand but really it isn't, it is just the perfect distillation of autumnal spices and it all sits gently with earthy carrot seed jam.

Eventually the spice takes a backseat and a mellow animalic mix of carrot jam, amber, and labdanum sit of the skin. The effect is deliciously cozy and elegant, it has the cider-ed quality of Bois des Iles on the skin.

The elegance of No.19 is rather operatic to me and yet it is not loud, there is such a gorgeous layering of notes in this scent that I reminded of classical perfumes and yet the used of carrot seed is distinctly unique and modern. Honestly I plan to get myself a small bottle of this for Autumn/Winter although I can see it playing perfectly on cold grey Spring days.

Try if you like Chanel Bois des Iles, Guerlain L'Heure Bleu, Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne des Bois, and Prada Infusion de Iris Eau de Parfum Absolue.

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Second image Ha Jundi

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Modern Elegance: Infusion d'Iris Eau de Parfum Absolue (2012)

For the last 8 years I have worn some sort of iteration of Prada's Infusion d'Iris, the first being the original version of Infusion d'Iris, after that there was Candy (yup I consider it just another spin-off of the Infusion series), and currently I am now on a bottle of Infusion d'Irs Eau de Parfum Absolue.

The original Infusion d'Iris could easily be a part of this series. Here is the thing I have not worn the current version which was definitely reformulated but what I can do is tell you about the Absolue version.

Infusion d'Iris Eau de Parfum Absolue and from here on out referred to as simply Absolue is sort of the perfect marriage of Infusion d'Iris with Candy and with a few tricks up its sleeve. Absolue takes that perfect cloudy sweetness of Candy and marries it to the wonderfully approachable and urbane iris found in Infusion d'Iris. It ends up just being this perfect puff of bittersweet in Absolue, it amplifies the powder and adds a sensual skin note that had not originally been there.

Yet, what makes Absolue so elegant and far more adult is the use of incense in the scent. There is a definite far more earthier note in Absolue than in the original Infusion d'Iris. At times on my skin it can read as patchouli or sometimes it shows itself as incense, it is a fun trick.

What I love also about Absolue is the earthy powder that pervades it. Obviously that is partly iris doing its work but there is just a hint of rice in it that suggests makeup. It gives Absolue just a hint of glamour.

The elegance of Absolue is that for me it takes the aloof iris and makes it far more approachable yet keeps iris's erudite qualities. The addition of benzoin and richer incense notes gives it a greater depth and sensuality than the original Infusion d'Iris, letting the wearer have a far richer scent which thankfully though does not ever enter the burdensome territory. As always the Infusion series remains seasonless and all occasion ready, it is probably as close to a signature scent as I have come.

Try if you like Prada's original Infusion d'Iris or Candy, Parfumerie Generale's Iris Taizo, Chanel No.19 Poudre, Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au The Bleu, or Cognoscenti No. 19 Warm Carrot.

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Second Image from Estuary Designs

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Elegance Series, first up Elegant Earthy: L'Inspiratrice by Divine (2006)

So I have had this idea floating in my head for the last month of doing an elegant perfume series. The idea happened when I tried the very interesting Monsillage Vol 870 YUL-CDG and the immediate thought that came to my head was that it was very elegant classic scent. Yet, at the same time it is really interesting and by interesting I mean that plays with notes and isn't stuffy in the least and well it has some quirk. The more I thought about it the more I realized I wanted to do a series on scents that were released fairly recently and embody what I consider classic elegance and yet they must be interesting. Nothing boring or stuffy, they have to have quirk and soul.

I like aldehydes but I inherently find most of the time the composition they come with are not really me, the classic pairing of aldehydes is florals, and as I've mentioned before pure florals and I rarely are on the same footing to get along. It also makes me saddened that aldehydes are rarely used beyond the genre of floral when Chanel's classic Bois des Iles highlights that in fact aldehydes can get along stupendously with wood notes, in this case sandalwood. I should also mention that aldehydes can frequently connote an elegance in perfumes for their brightening and deepening effect.

Have you ever thought I really wish L'Artisan would mosh their Voleur de Roses with Chanel No.5 Sensual Elixir? Yeah, me neither until I tried Divine's L'Inspiratrice and that is what I get on my skin and you know what it really really works.

L'Inspiratrice starts with playful use of aldehydes, it reminds me of the more softened aldehydes used in Chanel No.5 Sensual Elixir or Eau Premiere, yet the base of this scent is the classic combination of patchouli and roses that is akin to L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses. Now what keeps this composition melded and smooth is the use of delicate vanilla and ylang ylang.

I just want to reiterate that the use of vanilla in this composition does not make it a vanilla scent, in fact this is a prime example of vanilla being used as a smoothing agent and just adding a dollop of sweetness it tames the patchouli enough that the camphorous qualities it can have are kept at bay.

If vanilla is used to tame the patchouli then ylang ylang is used to tame the aldehydes. Ylang Ylang can have a deep camphorous narcotic scent, I love it, but recognize the hot cold effect it has can be alien to some. What is interesting is while modern perfumery is not a big fan of it, if you look at the classic aldehydic scents they used it everywhere, I theorize it is because piercing sweetness of ylang ylang balances out the sharp champagne qualities of aldehydes.

But you are probably asking what about the rose? The rose in L'Inspiratrice is a soft velvety skin rose, it melds to the wearer and plays the vital supporting role to the patchouli, it is what I call a cuddly somewhat maternal rose, there is no bite but neither is it virginal. It just exists plushly.

L'Inspiratrice melds beautifully with the wearer, the effect is elegant but warm, it is velvety without being suffocating. The lack of suffocation I give credit to the dry cocoa patchouli that is used and no heavy ambering or syrup notes. After Chanel's Bois des Iles this is the next prime example I can think of that aldehydes can meld beautifully to wood based creations.

Try if you like Chanel's Coromandel, No.5 Sensual Elixir, Bois des Iles or L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses.

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Second Image Alonzo King

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I Give Up: Pierre Guillaume

It is funny when you realize a perfumer's aesthetic just does not work for you. I mean it is rather bizarre to realize you have over the years sampled many of their fragrances and yet you have not fallen for one once, yet that is what has happened between me and the nose Pierre Guillaume aka the absurdly handsome perfumer. The funny thing, is that his perfumes have not done incredible acts of smelling awful on me, but rather none have ever caused me to have a perfume swoon. I have at least admired one but recognized the composition is just not me. I think it does tell you about a perfumer's signature in the scents they create and that it does exist. So the question is have I have tried enough of Guillaume's work to be able to say this? I think so if you take a look at the list.

In the Huitieme Art Parfums collection:
Ambre Ceruleen oh did I want this too work, but alas this was an intense root beer amber on me that just never melded.
Poudre de Riz, seems like a no brainer but sadly ended up smelling similar to What We Do In Paris Is Secret but even lighter, I suspect the problem is the musk used in it. Really wanted that rice note.

From the Parfumerie Generale collection:
Cadjmere, once again a scent that disappeared on my skin. For a moment I get a lovely piney sandalwood coconut scent akin almost to Kheer in a weird way.
Corps et Ames, not sure I can blame this on Guillaume considering I notoriously do not wear chypres well.
PGO5 L'eau de Circe, perfectly nice but it didn't really capture me.
PG13 Brulure de Roses, a delicious rose jam opening but then it sort of goes blah.
PG14 Iris Taizo, mainly a whole lot of intense spiced amber, once again doesn't really meld.
PG21 Felanilla, a modernized furrier Shalimar that once again proves that Shalimar just does not work on me.
L'Ombre Fauve, the closest to almost swoon, this animalic amber is quite good, but I can recognize that as much as I like this scent it is just not me.

So what does this all mean? Mainly that I think I will probably stop spending money on samples of Guillaume's perfumes. He is loved by others and I can see that he does interesting work but whatever his signature is in his fragrances it just does not work well on me.

On the other hand as I was writing this post this morning it occurred to me how it is so hard to apply the "true" critical eye to a perfume. Now some might suggest to be truly critical you can only smell it on paper thus the skin does not interact with the scent, but I think that defeats the purpose of perfume which is meant to be worn on the skin.

Still over time I have wondered now what causes me to praise one thing but not the other? Is there qualities that will make me more lenient towards a composition or not?  Frankly here the guidelines I follow in my head when it comes down to review:

1) I'll be the first to admit I'm easier on the little guy, for true indie perfumers if I'm not in love with a scent or fact find myself disliking it, I won't review it. The frank truth is the world is unfair and the bigger piece of the market you have the better you do, for an up and coming indie perfumer I just don't have the heart to write a really negative review. They just aren't playing on level ground.
2) I will not attack the perfumer of the composition in any personal way, in the era of troll and massive negativity when someone does anything I refuse to contribute. I will talk about the composition, discuss why it does not work for me, but beyond that nope.
3) The one caveat, the up-pricing of compositions that obviously come from a cheaper source. I'm looking at you Penhaligon's with Empressa, that is a ridiculous joke being played on consumers. I will discuss marketing and mass market perfumes and how I frequently think it is shooting itself in the foot.

So these are just a bit of my musings.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Such a Little Wonder or Rhubarb Dreams: Jimmy by Bruno Fazzolari

The thing about a Bruno Fazzolari scent is that he is able to lend his synesthesia to the wearer. When you wear Monserrat it does immediately evoke the color orange. Au Dela brings to mind earthy shades of browns and greens. And with Jimmy, Fazzolari, is able to evoke an a combination of colors I have always loved, vibrant rich pink and green.

Jimmy is a happy scent, it is probably the easiest entry point into Fazzolari's collection of scents, it is in fact incredibly easy going. The word that Jimmy brings to mind is delightful. The scent of Jimmy is spritely and bright. The beginning of Jimmy is a play of violets and tart black current, everything is dancing together, and honestly I am reminded of the dancing ballet hippos in Disney's Fantasia. I think it's because there is a rather jolly bounce to Jimmy.

The violets in Jimmy are happy, there is nothing melancholic about these violets, consider them rain drenched and suddenly in spring sunshine. The tart accent of black current gives them a fruit accent and they are sweetened with rose.

The violets eventually make room for a wonderful alchemy on Fazzolari's part, what enters is grapefruit, a grapefruit that plays equally beside the violet and rose. You smell all three of them at the same time and bizarrely it all reminds me of rhubarb, I can't explain it but that is exactly what happens.

What is interesting about all of this is right in the background is an excellent use of ambergris and moss, they add an earthiness that only enhances the rhubarb quality of the scent even more. It is sort of a briar patch effect, the way berries are enhanced by the earthy scent of the briars around them.

Jimmy is an excellent recreation of a spring day. I highly recommend to those that miss Spring in the Winter.

Try Jimmy if you like Jour d'Hermes, Sonoma Scent Studio's Yin and Ylang, or  Le Temps d'une Fete by Nicolai Parfumeur.

First image from
Second image Janet Little Jeffers

Friday, October 16, 2015

Familial Incense: Lingua Franca by MikMoi

In Lingua Franca the idea of the universal is the starting point. The idea of the universal begins by starting with one of the most basic elements one can encounter in life and in doing so flips that element into focus. The beginning of Lingua Franca is fruit, fruit is universal in cultures, it is an everyday pleasure. Culturally it can have romantic, erotic, and sensual connotations but it is most often related to pleasure. Some of the greatest comparisons of beauty in the world have used fruit as the ultimate symbol of beauty. Fruit is the symbol of knowledge and longevity, if you want a commonality in cultures look for the sweetness of fruit. Lingua Franca is a scent which starts with one of life's sweet pleasures.

The fruit used in Lingua Franca is citrus, bright heady citrus, with hints of dried stone fruits, and the heady intense sweetness of papaya and pineapple. What I love the most though is the lemongrass note used to support the citrus. Lemongrass is one of the great unloved notes in perfumery so when it is given a feature role I am excited. The spicy clean quality it has brings such a brightness to scents and accents the sweetness of the fruit featured.

Eventually though the fruit of Lingua Franca recedes and what enters is a scent that I have spent a year trying to describe because it is so utterly personal in its familiarity to me. At best I can describe it as the scent of the hearth altars kept in homes around the world. It makes me think of the incense burnt in my Aunt's home that wafted through the rooms and eventually blended with the scent of home. The scent of home being woods and fruits with incense. This evocation is what catches me the most off guard. It is an incense that suggests the familial it is not high minded strict religion but rather the suggestion of everyday rituals that one does almost unthinkingly because you have done them so long and provides you with a sense of completeness in your day. It is an incredibly intimate and home life related incense.

There is a cool and hot quality to Lingua Franca's incense that has taken me awhile to grasp. It has a cool sweetness in it that works to balance the resinous and woody scent of palo santo. It ultimately reminds my of father's wood shop when he would freshly lathe whatever project he was working on. It reminds me of the effect of wood heated at fast speed but never becoming warmed enough to burn.

In the end I suspect Lingua Franca is a scent that will speak differently to each wearer but somehow it will speak of intensely of something familiar. It is a scent incredibly evocative of home and memory. I'm not quite sure I got what Mik intended, I cannot say I have ever quite encountered a perfume that was able to evoke so many elements of life as Lingua Franca has.

On a final note in no way is this a heavy scent, there is plenty of longevity, but as always Mik is able to play with heavy elements and make them practically ethereal in how they play on the skin.

Try Lingua Franca if you like Serge Luten's L'Orpheline or Guerlain's L'Heure Bleu. In no way does it smell like these perfumes but it has the same power to evoke.

The perfume sample of Lingua Franca was provided generously by Mik of MikMoi.

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third image Emil Nolda

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Office Friendly Spiced Rose: Marni by Marni

I have a feeling Marni by Marni did not do well in the US market which is a shame because it is quite good. Flankers of it keep coming out so I can assume it probably did well in the European market and somewhere else but here in the US not so much.

Marni is a scent that plays with heavy elements but it is done with a light touch, a light enough touch that it is easily office friendly. It is a spicy little rose with hints of incense and musk. It owes its pedigree of scent to niche, it comes from the line of uber-woods such as 10 Corso Como, Costes, or Commes des Garcons before the trend to sweeten woods really took over. The spicy use of cardamom and pepper is delightful, it has that fresh spice quality that you rarely smell outside of niche, but there it is. All these elements sound like they should be heavy but they really aren't, which makes sense considering the perfumer is Daniela (Roche) Andrier, the perfumer of Prada's Infusion line.

The rose in this is lightly used, it serves as a nice introduction to rose scents that do not veer into garden fresh territory, rose jam, or vintage inspired. Marni is all about spices, rose, and woods. This is an excellent example of a spicy fresh scent, it works perfectly well in the heat, and provides that sort of cooling effect that reminds me of dark cool wooded chambers that smell of long ago incense.

My one complaint about Marni is that the longevity leaves something to be desired.

Try if you like Jo Malone's Tudor Rose & Amber, 10 Corso Como, or Fresh's Cannabis Santal.

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Second image from

Monday, October 12, 2015

Disasters & Disappointments, An Unfortunate Series, Part 1

I recently tried five fragrances that I had high hopes for. I found that they divided themselves into two unique categories of let down 1) my skin swallowed them up or 2) my chemistry turned them nasty.

First up the disappointments:

1) Frida by En Voyage Perfumes
I so very much wanted to love this perfume, I even went to the launch party at Tigerlily Perfumery, and got to meet the lovely perfumer herself, Shelley Waddington. Sadly, my skin swallowed up most of Frida and did a few weird things to the notes. This is not a delusion on my part considering at the party I was able to smell lovely variations of it on others.

2) Elephant & Roses by Maria Candide Gentile
For a moment I get the animalic quality of this scent at the very beginning and then my skin utterly swallows it up. I poured half a sample vile of it on myself and an hour later could barely smell a trace of it. No roses for me, rather it turned itself into a barely there creamy white musk.

The disasters:

3) Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez
I was so excited to try this scent because I love his first variation on musk, but this scent turned into an awful screechy gardenia pencil shaving musk on me. So much wrong happened with this on my skin.

4) Tilda Swinton Like This by Etat Libre d'Orange
First I must say I love Tilda Swinton, so the idea of trying her perfume and wearing it is a very attractive prospect. I loved the idea of a spicy pumpkin perfume what I instead got was a horrid screachy jasmine mess that eventually showed it's immortelle heart, but good god that opening was awful on me, and it never fully went away. Will continue to love Tilda's films but her perfume is sadly meant for others.

5) Modern Muse Chic by Estee Lauder
Many had mentioned the vampy plum note in this, so I thought what the heck I'll give this perfume a try. What I instead got was cumin sweat modern chypre fruit musk. This was not skanky good on me, this is the travesty of when jasmine and whatever spice note they use in Modern Muse Chic combine. I respect that someone was able to get an animalic note on the Estee Lauder fragrance counter but it was awful on me, truly gross, thankfully my skin eventually swallowed it up.

And that wraps up my first column of recent Disappointments & Disasters. Had any recently yourself?

Image by Nayoung Wooh

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pop Culture Fun: Donna Clark of Halt and Catch Fire

It's been awhile since I fell in love with a character and also thought that I could perfume them.  After watching the first season of Halt and Catch Fire, I firmly had a lot of love for Donna Clark by the end of the season and also felt that I could perfume her. Like Mad Men, Halt and Catch Fire is an excellent period piece, and that period is the 1980s. The attention to period really helped in the choosing of perfumes for Donna. So spoilers and pop culture fun ahead.

Donna Clark is intensely intelligent and thoughtful woman who finds herself frequently putting her needs and passions aside. That is how she first begins in the series, she is married to Gordon Clark, a fellow computer engineer. What you mainly get is that Donna is a harried wife which is compounded by the fact that this woman has a brilliant brain but unlike her husband, Gordon, is getting no recognition for it. They are both working jobs that are somewhat menial to their skill set, considering we find out that years before they had to tried to create and market their own home PC, but had failed. Still Gordon at least gets respect in his field, Donna on the other hand is a woman who frequently has to sublimate her creativity and passion with the role of caretaker and the glue that keeps her family going. Under all of this though is someone who is a romantic because as much as she wants to ignore it Donna still intensely wants to be driven and creative. I think at the beginning of the series Donna is probably wearing, the romantic Paris by Yves Saint Laurent, I think it is a scent gifted to her by her mother. I can see it is as a gift given with the hopes that Donna remember that she has passions and that they are worthy of consideration.

Paris by Yves Saint Laurent, is one of those great icon scents of the 1980s, romantic and powerful, it demands attention, but the attention is of a troubadour variety. If you can get older formulations you can smell a uniquely strong sandalwood and moss in all that powder, violets, and roses. It may be romantic and pretty but there is a rather steely intelligence beneath it all.  Donna's nature fits qualities of Paris up to the point when she hits on her boss, Hunt Whitmarsh, after spending months of dealing with being ignored by Gordon, his drunkenness, and erratic behavior. She is at the point of wanting very deeply to be seen for her intelligence and sensuality and Whitmarsh, a childhood friend, has been playing to those needs very expertly in his physical gestures and statements to her.

The moment her overtures are rejected by Whitmarsh, I think Donna probably would have thrown out Paris. In fact for the time after that I think she probably would have worn nothing especially as she contemplates the dissolution of her marriage. By the end of the series though I think Donna would have picked herself up something new. In fact I feel she would have gone out and done this for herself. She has been creatively revitalized by leaving Texas Instruments, she has been involved in a creative endeavor that used her intelligence and skill, and she has decided to do something daring with her career. We can even see a change in her style with the launch party of the home PC, an elegant cut black sheath dress, richer toned make-up, and the reddening of her hair. I think she is going for something completely new and that suggests she is a force to be reckoned with, her choice Paloma Picasso by Paloma Picasso.

Paloma Picasso is one of the big chypres of the eighties, yet it had elegance and refinement that does not put it on par with the other releases of that era. Oh it is big but the bigness is utter class and sophistication. The oakmoss is daring and forward but there is a tempering to it with the right animalics, when spritzed with a light hand the wearer is surrounded by sense of earthiness and splendor. This is not vulgar. Donna is a not vulgar but she is daring and Paloma Picasso fits that attitude and confidence.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Five Indie Vanillas Worth Your Attention

I like vanilla oh hell lets me honest I love a good vanilla perfume, which these days feels like a bit of a contentious statement, but I think that is because there is so many bad vanillas on the market. What are my vanilla credentials: I have a lot of vanilla perfumes, I've worn vanilla perfumes for a long time, and I'm willing to smell the high and the low end of the vanilla perfume market. The above image is what I always feel like a good vanilla can do for the wearer.

1. Vanilla Botanique by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Do you need a decadent baroque vanilla in your life? The kind of thing that says I am utterly worthy of adoration mortals. Then you need to get your hands on a sample of Vanille Botanique. Vanille Botanique is the closest I have ever come to a diva vanilla, it is just so rich and assured of itself. It is deeply balsamic and full, this is no candy vanilla. This recalls the rich oriental scents of bygone eras but with the modern love of vanilla the emphasis. Try if you like Shalimar by Guerlain or Cuir Beluga by Guarlain.

2. Black Flower Mexican Vanilla by Dame Perfumery
A genuinely sexy musk vanilla. Vanilla perfumes can sometimes be well utterly girlish and adolescent, this is not. Black Flower Mexican Vanilla is the lovely genesis of the theme of musk and vanilla found in Shalimar but applied with Dame's sensibilities. The scent just blends with the wearer beautifully, the vanilla is dark and woodsy and the musk is gently animalic and there is a splash of sweet cream and woods. It is the sort of scent that blends beautifully with the wearer but still projects. Try if you like Shalimar by Guerlain, Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain, or Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle.

3. Provanilla by Providence Perfume
A good genuine sweet vanilla that does not go into the banal and repetitive zone is very hard to find. Most scents that report to be "pure" vanilla scents usually have some sort of other sweet quality going on that is not in fact vanilla but is some sort of sweet that a user will think is vanilla unless they really analyze it. Provanilla is genuine sweet vanilla and I mean that as an utter compliment, this is a vanilla that is basically pure once the opening credits subside. Provanilla is about as close as that idea people always talk about finding in a vanilla perfume, the vanilla extract scent, but better because there is no alcohol note there is only perfect vanilla. I just have to say I love the opening of this scent, melon and then rose while it does quickly become pure vanilla on me, the opening could probably throw you for a loop. Try if you like Vanille Botanique by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Midnight Orchid by Susanne Lang, or Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens.

4. Vanilla Autumn by CJ's Scents
The thing about many gourmand leaning vanillas is they can become very stifling after awhile (I'm looking at you Comptoir Sud Pacifique and your many variations on vanilla) so if you are me, you tend to avoid them. Yet, in the right perfumer's hand they know how to make the gourmand quality not stifling. Vanilla Autumn by CJ's Scents, is the perfect dulce de leche vanilla to me. This creamy caramel vanilla is so perfectly done, you get the gourmand, but the stifling effect is reigned in by CJ. Somehow CJ is able to add an airiness to this vanilla that keeps it from the suffocation zone yet at the same time the creamy goodness is still very there. Try if you like Candy by Prada, Vanille Abricot by Comptoir Sud Pacifique, or Vanille Fleurie de Tahiti by La Maison de la Vanille

5. Vanilla Flash by Tauerville
Do you want a big hunky spicy vanilla? Then please look no further than Vanilla Flash. Vanilla Flash is flashing because it is a hot flame like vanilla, there is an intense spicy cinnamon running through it and rich tobacco throughout the composition. The finale is the Tauerade of a whole lot of ambregris and musk with hints of rose but it is still very much vanilla. Try if you like Tobacco Vanilla by Tom Ford, Tonka by Reminiscence, or Eau Duelle by Diptyque.

So the thing about all these vanillas is all of the wonderful perfumers offer them at a reasonable price and smaller quantities. They all have excellent longevity and frankly knock out their extremely high end competition and low end competition in my opinion. If you are a vanilla lover these in my opinion are currently the best vanillas on the market to try.

Image by Reuban Negron

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Black Tea Fougere: Eau de Gaga 001 by Lady Gaga

I wouldn't have picked up this perfume except for Victoria over at giving it an incredibly positive review and she was correct in her enthusiasm for the scent.

I could start this review with the usual discussion of how most celebrity fragrances leave much to be desired but honestly it is well covered territory and I'm not adding anything new to the discussion.

So lets get to the scent, for an absurdly low price, you can get what I am going to call a black tea fougere, well that is how Eau de Gaga reads on my skin, and lots of people get the tea note. Frankly, as so many reviewers point this scent smells far more classy and expensive than it should. The word that comes to my mind every time I smell Eau de Gaga is "dapper", this scent is dapper, it's tasteful, fun, and wonderfully androgynous. At times leaning more towards the masculine but then reigning it in enough that the feminine comes out. It is actually rather mercurial on me sometimes the black tea note is the most strong other times the violet steps forward but it always ends up smelling like ambergris leather musk on me. That may sound heavy but in no way is it.

What I find myself respecting the most about this scent is the musk. It's not a laundry detergent white musk, which feels practically unheard of these days at the mass market fragrance counter. It is a warm clean animalic musk that does not suggest I have recently been to the dry cleaner, it's not screechy, rather it is caressing, like skin still damp with water after a bath.

So who thought a bizarrely tasteful and thoughtful scent would come from Lady Gaga? I didn't, but I am wonderfully surprised.

Try if you like Jicky by Guerlain, Gris Clair by Serge Lutens, or Dorian by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

First image from
Second Image Jiwoon Pak