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)
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Fourth Image 'White Rose in a Glass' by Piet Mondrian
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Sixth image from Miho Hirano
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Eighth image Hellen Van Meene