Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fragrance Season is About to Begin!

Let us all just say now the perfume industry is ubiquitous now and come fall like the film industry and publishing industry, the perfume industry saves its more interesting scents and big launches for that season*. Fall will soon be here (Well in name only really in California until late November) but there are some launches I am really excited to sniff. So here are the ones I am excited to sniff.

Elie Saab Essence No.1 Rose. Reason: I love the first fragrance from Elie Saab also Turkish and Damask Rose.
 Reason: The use of coffee notes.
 Reason: rum, leather, and tuberose.
 Knot by Bottega Veneta. Reason: Lavender and citrus blossoms.
 Reason: almond!
 Reason: I love the name and it is always exciting when Serge puts something out.
 Reason: Orange Blossom!
 Reason: Narciso! Plus the bottle.
Reason: Salt, iris, ambergris, and sandalwood.

Any scents you are excited about that are coming out?

*There are always interesting exceptions too.

All images from

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Holy Orange Blossom Syrup Batman!: Loverdose L'eau de Toilette by Diesel

I remember the first time my brother and me visited France, well who wouldn't that sort of trip leaves an impression for a life time. From that trip I have always associated the flavor of fennel/anise/liquorice with France. We were taking long car trips from Normandy to the Languedoc-Roussillon region, where my grandparents had bought their retirement home in a sleepy beach community right by the Mediterranean. Being that we were children we would complain of boredom and every once in awhile one of my grandparents would hand us a small yellow container that held little black pellets and told us to try one, my brother and me were adventurous eaters so we did, and the shock of Cachou Lajaunie on our for the most part American palates must have been evident on our faces. The concentrated flavor of licorice taking over your palate and remaining there for what seemed eternity, I did not accept another one after that first try. Years later as an adult I have come to quite enjoy the flavor of anise/fennel/licorice/star anise but as a kid it was a bane to me, I often wonder how I would feel if I had Cachou Lajaunie now.

The first spriz of Diesel's Loverdose L'eau de Toilette caught be off guard just like Cachou Lajaunie and because of the very same note, it starts with an intense sweet licorice note maybe a hint of fruit notes, but mainly just a whole lot of licorice. I am not against licorice/anise notes in perfume but Loverdose is all about hitting you over the head and announcing this is a licorice factory. That opening lasts a very long time and then it morphs into something unexpected.

As I waited for the intensely strong licorice to calm down a candied note and musk started to appear, the musk thankfully not the laundry detergent kind, but one more akin to sweet musk. What eventually revealed itself was a very pure heart of orange blossom syrup, the sweetness just cane sugar so that all that shown was the orange blossom, maybe a little musk to keep it rounded but otherwise orange blossom. That scent remained to the end.

Loverdose L'eau de Toilette is not a scent I would personally wear but I cannot help but admire the fact that it has character. It takes two notes that I associate with the southern France, anise and orange blossom, and basically introduces them to Las Vegas. It is bright and forward, it makes me think of alternative pop like Grimes and Charlie XCX. Actually the whole time I wore this I thought of Charlie XCX and her giant shoes, her throwback 80s and 90s fashion, and well here is her music video that exemplify's this scent to me:
Yes, this scent is youthful, but it is not the usual caramel notes rather it goes for the jugular with licorice.

Try if you like: Lolita Lempicka, Armani Code, La Petit Robe Noir, Les Couvents des Minimes Orange Blossom, Classique Jean Paul Gaultier.

Cachou Lajaunie image courtesy of Design Mom

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Day at the Beach: Vanille Divine des Tropiques

I don't go to the beach often. Getting from where I live to the beach involves two very congested pieces of road in the summer and those are basically the only two ways to get there. On the other hand after yesterday I am determined to do it more often. The burnt out dry brittle summer of Northern California is getting to me, more so this year because of the intense blistering drought. I was born and raised here and yet I am not a summer person, give me cool wet autumnal weather and I am happy. The beaches of Northern California are not the warm tropical wonders or bright summer paradises that people consider ideal beaches. The beaches here are dark crashing wonders for the most part, the water always cold, and the sand never perfectly white, it is also frequently overcast and foggy. Yesterday, was one of those rare days when the sun peeped out but the cool breeze remained. I celebrated my beach day by wearing La Maison de la Vanille's  Vanille Divine des Tropiques a tropical scent that is a little different.

Vanille Divine des Tropiques first surprise is that it begins with aldehydes, not extreme aldehydes but none the less they are there. The aldehydes dissipate quickly and then it enters the creamy white floral stage part, what I find interesting is I get the distinct mentholated cooling impression of ylang ylang in this section yet ylang ylang is not mentioned on the notes but as they say you can't always believe the listing of notes. As the scent progresses a distinct animalic musk note enters, nothing frightening like the Musc Kublai Khan arena but it definitely plays a supporting role keeping the scent in check never letting it become too cupcake like. Overall I enjoy this tropical scent because it uses frequently unused notes in its tropicalness the aldehydes replace the role of citrus/pineapple and coconut base is replace by an animalic musk. It really allows for the blend of white florals and vanilla to be seen and play out on the skin.

Try if  you like: Songes by Annick Goutal, Sicily by Dolce & Gabbana, Dilmun by Lorenzo Villoresi, Sira des Indes by Jean Patou, Do Son by Diptyque, Grand Neroli by Atelier Cologne, Vanillary by LUSH, and Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder.

Image of Aria Giovanni.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tackling the Classics: Angel by Thierry Mugler

Welcome to the first entry in the Tackling the Classics series where I take a look at iconic scents and see if they live up to the hype on myself. Today we take a look at the legendary and groundbreaking Angel.

What has not been said about Angel? It is considered the booming loud opera voice that brought the gourmand genre to the forefront*, it is without a doubt the scent that you will have an opinion on, in fact I would say it is impossible not to have an opinion on Angel.

What is Angel for me? I think first thing I should mention is Angel has always caught me off guard by its name, Angel you think angelic, soft downy cherubs, but Mugler instead decided to go with the idea of the avenging angel Gabriel. In this case Gabriel's sword is patchouli and chocolate and unfortunately if not used right you could easily bludgeon onlookers with this scent. We have all heard the stories of the person who wore too much Angel.

After sampling Angel multiple times I have found it to be patchouli overload and sadly it remains just that on me. Every once in awhile I will get a glimmer of the other notes, but Angel overall for me is a particular patchouli that I have come to realize never melds well on me. It is what I call damp hay patchouli. Damp hay patchouli smells of dry sweet patchouli with the unnerving and not delightful note of hay that has been soaked with water and allowed to sit awhile. The other note that causes issue for me is the candyfloss note, now for many this note is a delightful gourmand note, but for me takes on an acrid limp quality that that just stagnates on my skin. It took me awhile to figure out what was causing this effect but I fully realized it when I tried the discontinued L'Artisan Vanilia which uses the same candyfloss note in a much larger percentage.

Yet, I do know the beauty and proclamation of Angel, just not on me. Years ago I had a colleague who wore it and on her it was swoon worthy sillage, Kuljeet's skin brought out the bittersweet chocolate, and fruit notes. What it ended up smelling like on her was the dark chocolate the kind with wine and berry notes.

As for the type of angel that Angel is, I think it is far more akin to Tilda Swinton's Gabriel in Constantine (the only good thing about that movie).

*Although, it should be noted that there are many fragrances before it that skirted the gourmand territory but never fully bellowed it like Angel.

image provided by

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Humidity and What Scents I am Using to Survive It

Bay Area summers are dry and arid, except suddenly it has not been, it has remained warm but suddenly we have humidity. Real humidity, the sort that people from back east say reminds them of home. We have yet to get to the extremes of humidity, thankfully, but this different heat has definitely required approaching different fragrances. Currently surviving the humidity has required these fragrances.

-Hermes Osmanthe Yunnan, osmanthus has always bloomed in the heat, but give it a little humidity and you hit the jackpot of this scent blooming. The balminess of the petals come out. I actually used up my decant of Osmanthe Yunnan this week. Also excellent is Parfum d'Empire's Osmanthus Interdite.
-Atelier Cologne's Grand Neroli, a great cologne in the mugginess, the neroli scent fresh and dry, and beautifully accentuated by cedar and oakmoss with just a drop of vanilla to smooth it out. I suspect I will also be finishing up my bottle due to this humidity.
-Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien, I admit I enjoy spritzing this most at night, the cooling notes of basil and cypress making sleep a little bit easier. A great spritzer on my sheets right before bed.
-Diptyque Eau Moheli, a supremely pretty ylang ylang cologne accented by a refreshing ginger. Great after a shower.
-Marc Jacobs Blush, a clean effusive peachy spiced jasmine. Every time I spritz it I think of a peach oolong gin and tonic.
-The original Ivoire de Balmain, a dry citrus chypre floral that will not take guff from the humidity. Makes me like I am wearing light crisp linen.
-Miller Harris's Figue Amere, the perfect bitter fig amaro. Salty and herbal and just right for surviving summer but especially great on balmy summer days.

Image by Alexandra Valenti

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pop Culture Fun: Olivia Pope of Scandal

I have a love hate relationship with Scandal, it is fun because it is fast, and never fails not to go to crazy town on the other hand because it is a Shonda Rhimes vehicle (trust me I know what I am talking about I watched Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice in the early years) it will naturally get caught up in the worst romances ever. In this case Olivia and Fitz aka "I AM THE PRESIDENT OF THE FREE WORLD AND I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT OLIVIA, NOW DROP YOUR PANTS!"

So I will leave my hatred of Fitz for now and focus on the legendary Olivia Pope who I really hope at some point finds a better man and stops living Pearl Jam's "Better Man" as her anthem for dating.

So where to begin in choosing Olivia Pope a perfume, what do we know about Olivia Pope, the incredibly tragic life in general, she always wears neutral tones, this woman rocks champagne and creams a lot, she has many a connection, and she is very good at her job. She is always about appearing cool and calm but we know under that surface she has many issues. As I thought about Olivia I realized pretty fast this was not someone wearing a traditionally romantic scent or anything loud. That quickly took away a lot of notes, I eventually settled on one note though that I felt would need to play a prominent role in perfume of choice: iris. Irises are cool, dry, and consistently calming in their effect in perfumes. But, as I thought about it more Olivia is a romantic I mean the
fantasy of her and Fitz on a farm in Vermont is most definitely romantic and utterly delusional. As I thought about modern fragrances I realized many just do not play with the tragic in their scents, so I felt that Olivia was going to be wearing a classic. I eventually came up with the ultimate tragic scent for me: Guerlain L'Heure Bleue. Oh it is romantic and sweet to an extent but the play of iris, incense, and amber in this scent has always hit a chord of sadness that has made it hard for me to wear. It is romantic but not what we now consider romantic. To me it fits perfectly Olivia's constantly act of strong and cool combined with over the top passions and desires and how in this case they are not balanced at all.

image provided by and

Monday, July 21, 2014

Velvet Thorned Rose: L'Arte di Gucci

Somehow in my years of perfume swapping I got a decant of L'Arte di Gucci and since then I have hoarded it, so much so, that I forgot how beautiful it is. L'Arte di Gucci belongs in a special category for me, the category of a chypre that works for me.

L'Arte di Gucci begins with a sweet warm inky rose that is accented with notes of plum. Once again I am entranced by another night rose scent. This is very much a lady of the night scent, what it ends up reminding the most of though is dark plum raw satin, the silky rose is roughened with a hint of moss and leather.  It's funny that this scent is considered a big scent of the 80s because at this point after going through a decade of nuclear fruitchoulis this scent is rather mysterious and playing on a lower octave than the bombastic scents of now. As the dry down comes along notes of vetiver, coriander, musk, and a very light patchouli come through. Yet, this scent for me is never overbearing the rose smooths out the rough edges of chypres for me and the dark elegance remains.

In my head this scent is an Anjelica Huston woman, someone with these gorgeous prominent features, yet patrician qualities.

Try if you like: Agent Provocateur, Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud, Rochas Femme, Coriandre.

image from:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Floating in a Dark Rose Heaven: Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud

I fluctuate between favorite notes, they guide me to perfumes, sometimes I will find something completely different to adore, but there are those notes that always grab our attention when mentioned in perfume. Mine are: ylang ylang almond, vanilla, tobacco, rose, orange blossom, osmanthus, loukhoum, raspberry/blackberry, fig, and cinnamon. Of late I have been on a rose quest, the type of rose quest that has been down the path of gourmand roses. I have always tended to like the juicy jammy rose scents, the ones that make you want to bite down onto rose petals. I had never fully gone down the road until last year when I purchased a LUSH Rose Jam Bubbleroon and suddenly all I wanted was gourmand roses.

One of the great finds of this never ending gourmand rose quest is Jo Malone's Velvet Rose & Oud, it happened rather accidentally I was trying to smell Jo Malone's Rose Water & Vanilla but could not so randomly decided to try this and I was blown away when I suddenly smelled one of the most delicious jammy rose liquors on the scent strip. I was rather dumbstruck as I stood in the mall smelling the sort of rose scent I was looking for and in of all places at the Jo Malone booth. Jo Malone and I style wise had never met in the perfume catagory, always something was off when I tried one of her scents, although I had admired them on friends.

Velvet Rose & Oud is mainly about perfect dark jammy rose liquor the scent is then supported by a very mellow oud that thankfully is not medicinal. The praline acts to add sweetness but I can really not distinguish it in the scent, I think it more of as a gentle melder, depending on the day every once in awhile I will get a peak of the spiced clove. The quality it makes me think of like being surrounded in a forest with lush red roses and perfectly velvety night, it reminds me of those strange warm autumn nights when the leaves are changing, there is the smell of change in the air, and yet the chill has not arrived. It is seductive but there is no heavy animalic notes, it is easy to wear because it makes the wearer comfortable in its plush smoothness but elegant in the obvious quality of the rose.

Try if you like: Keiko Mecheri Attar de Roses, LUSH Rose Jam, Caron Parfum Sacre, Parfums Generale Brulure de Roses, and Yves Rocher Rose Absolue.

images from: and

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dalal by Al-Rehab: Caramel on a Budget

Today we explore another cheapie that gets a lot of love: Dalal by Al-Rehab. Dalal like Nebras has quite a following with many calling it a dupe for quite very niche fragrances: Jeux de Peau by Serge Lutens, Botrytis by Ginistet, Escada Collection by Escada, and Venezia by Laura Biagotti. The scent though for me was another story and suspect this is a scent that is very susceptible to body chemistry.

Dalal for me is pure caramel, the opening is a bit rough with a strange almost plastic cherry note, but once it warms upon the skin is pure caramel. It actually ended up reminding me the most of Victor&Rolf's Flowerbomb and BBW's Sensual Amber yet unlike those two no patchouli or amber shows up instead it remains mainly caramel with the edition of candied bergamot and vanilla and maybe a hint of sandalwood. While it was pleasant to be around Dalal, I just found it to be too much caramel for me. My preferred caramel is Prada Candy because it is lightly done. On the other hand for a caramel lover I think Dalal is an amazing find that you should definitely try. This is a review of the oil.

Try if you like: Prada Candy, Victor&Rolf Flowerbomb, BBW Sensual Amber, Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot, La Maison de la Vanille Vanille Fleurie de Tahiti.

image from:

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Fragrance History Via Compliments

It's funny rarely does my fragrance identity really match up with the perfumes that get me compliments. I like to associate myself with woodier more exotic scents but my history of compliment collecting perfumes show that what is perceived to smell good on me is not that. So for the heck of it I decided to do a very unscientific mainly from memory survey of what perfumes in my fragrance past garnered compliments. For the heck of it I broke it down into three catagories perfume women like, perfume men like, and the universal crowd pleasers. I wanted to see if I could up with some deductions. Many of these no longer a part of my wardrobe as in used up but still remembered.

First up the universally loved:

-Prada Infusion d'Iris and Infusion d'Iris Absolue, who knew that this iris scent and flanker would be such a compliment inducer for me. Usually it is after I have been hugged and a friend or boyfriend in this case will say I smell good. Funny, I think this may be one of the few flankers I have ever bought, but Prada and me have a good fragrance history. I don't consider myself much of an iris person but this one has always blended quite well with me.
-Lolita Lempicka, this was a gift in high school, and I still have the original bottle. It was my first grown up perfume and to this day remains an old and wonderful friend. The universal vanillic scent that people seem to like on me. I bring this one out in the fall and always end up shocked in realizing just how delightful it is. So to 15 year old me, you had good taste kid.
-Serge Luten Un Bois Vanille, really this is to easy. It is one of those scents that is impossible to dislike, okay there are people who don't like it but really very few can say it is awful to be around. This probably the vanilla I get the most compliments on and women really find it intriguing. 
-Auric Blend's Egyptian Goddess, I put this on, and the compliments just flow. This is the cheapie that everyone likes and honestly it really does smell good on me. 
-Narciso Rodriguez for Her, frank truth as the survey went I basically realized people just really like me in musk scents. This one has always been a date night scent for me and SOs have always reacted positive to it. 
-Serge Luten Clair de Musc, oh look another musk, not shocking one bit. People just really like  musks on me.
-Philosophy Grace, once again another clean musk. Used a bottle up years ago.
-Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, honestly once again a musk. Still I loved the clean patchouli note in here that definitely had some ambrette to help it.
-Bath and Body Works White Tea and Ginger, yup this is from ages ago, a very well thought scent pick for me from a friend, and I could just walk into a room, and someone would say "What is that lovely smell?"
-L de Lolita Lempicka: orange, cinnamon, and vanilla really who does not like that?
-Kenzo Eau de Fleur de Magnolia, easy lemony tea floral. 
-Guerlain Vetiver, I love this anomaly in the survey I always feel so chic when I wear it. 

What the Ladies Like*:
-Chanel Bois des Iles, what can I say women just seem to know how to appreciate this classic far more than men, which I have always considered a shame. 
-Trussardi Jeans, women love this one on me. I don't know why but this is probably the most divided scent between the genders. 
-Hermes Jour d'Hermes, once again women love this on me, and men well I feel like they must be anosmic to it. 
-Marc Jacobs Blush, okay the theme is florals, and apparently dudes not so much into them on me from all appearances.
-L'Artisan Traversee du Bhosphore, honestly I thought of this being more in the dude range with the sweeter notes, but nope. 
-My Calvin Klein Contradiction knock-off in high school, it really did smell good.

The man bait (apparently):
-Chanel N.22, go figure, I don't even know how to explain this one, you would think Bois des Iles, but nope, this aldehydic incense vanilla accented white floral.
-Annick Goutal Un Matin d'Orage, okay maybe a white floral theme shows up, but it is not the gardenia lust bombs that people talk about. 
-Prada Candy, so unsurprising, this sweet little benjoin number is perfect for snuggling.
-Serge Luten Feminite du Bois, finally something I find sexy that appeals to the opposite sex. Side note my skin really accentuates the musk in this so not to shocking with history of musk scents.
-By Kilian Back to Black, lets face it this scent does what it was meant to do.
-Philosophy Falling In Love, went through a bottle of this in my early twenties, and the berry vanilla combination was always a compliment getter.
-Diptyque Philosykos, this one is just so easy to like. The boyfriend especially liked it.
-Bvlgari Omnia, a snuggly creamy gourmand musk. Honestly another no brainer musk for me.
-Dolce and Gabbana Sicily, a little bit of a weirdo scent that definitely got compliment.
-Kuumba Made Vanilla Musk, the first time I put this on I was in a Whole Foods, I did not look the greatest, and some guy started following me around like a second later after putting this on. Once again musk wins with the universal vanilla.
-Elie Saab Le Parfum, look another white floral but with lots of musk and woods. Not shocking.

In conclusion what is Jen's compliment inducing scents: musks. I am frankly a little bit happy it is not all vanilla. What I really wanted: roses and sweet tobacco scents but it is musk if I want compliments. Absurd amounts of musk.

*And yes that title is supposed to be totally ridiculous.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Figue Fruitee, pure fig jam.

The first perfume I ever bought myself was Demeter's Fig at Sephora, I was I think 15 at the time. It was quite transformative fragrance moment for me because up to that moment I had never encountered a fig based perfume but from then on I was hooked on the scent of fig. Over the years my fragrance wardrobe has usually at least contained one fig fragrance, currently though I am without.

Au Pay de la Fleur d'Orangers Figue Fruitee is the first time I have encountered what I would call a fig jam fragrance. I am used to the cool dry coconut ones with lots of cedar but Figue Fruitee goes in another direction it is all about lush ripe figs, sure there are supporting notes but through and through this is about fig. Figue Fruitee is mainly supported by a fruity green rhubarb accord, the snappy bright quality of rhubarb blending perfectly with the fig notes to create a quality of sweet tart. Those notes are then mildly supported by walnut that gives a rather spicy accent that makes me think of cinnamon and then finally the grounding of cedar and musk, they are very background because really this is all about fig. Figue Fruitee is a simple scent which is devoted to lovingly showing of fig for a fig lover sometimes that is all you need. The use of a green rhubarb note makes it very jammy and tart and interesting enough for a fig lover to definitely keep on sniffing it.

Try if you like: Diptyque Philosykos, Pacifica Tuscan Fig, Burberry Brit Red, Commes des Garcons Rhubarb.

image above provided by
Disclosure: samples provided to me by the company but all opinions are mine.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

What Made June Good

You get to that point where you want to review how you are spending your time and what you really enjoyed. Repeating the dismal is not a way to spend life, the mundane will always happen and that is okay, but enjoyment should be acknowledged and remembered. So here is my list of what made June good.

1. Getting accepted into my paralegal program! Starting in September I am in school again, it was a hard decision to make, but once I did I have felt lighter and freer than I have in a very long time.

2. Orange blossoms, June was a month of orange blossom perfumes. The greatest delight though being Neroli Blanc intense eau de parfum by Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger. Such a dreamy romantic fragrance. The follow-up of course being Al-Rehab's Nebras, a classic floral that is unique and absurdly budget friendly. The old standby orange blossom that I wore frequently Elie Saab Le Parfum eau de parfum.

3. As for books, I read a lot, but what were the best ones in June.
-The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, long on my to-read list, this proved to be a trippy bittersweet slim historical novel that transported me to Venice when I needed a vacation away from my own reality.
-The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman, you get science, philosophy, and art combined in a beautiful and attainable little volume that makes you think and feel a little bit wizened by the end of it.
-A Reader's Manifesto by B.R. Myers, if you are a genre reader like I am this provides a nice support in confirming your reading habits are actually quite good. Do I agree with everything he argues, no, but a lot of it I do.
-Sandman Vol. 4: Seasons of Mists by Neil Gaiman, what else can be said about this classic series other than it is amazing and gets better as it progresses. Gaiman is a favorite writer for a reason.

4. Best things I watched.
 -Orange is the New Black (okay this is expected and like every crazy person I watched this in absurd short amount of time because basically Netflix demands it).
-The Flat, amazing little documentary that I still deeply desire to talk to somebody about.

5. Recipe that I could not stop eating: Yotam Ottolenghi's Mejadra. I kept on eating spoonfuls of this out of the pan, biting into the coriander seeds so perfect, along with all the other aromatics. Followed by Mark Bittman's pilaf with black-eyed peas (also could stop myself from spoonfuls out of the pan). Obvious theme here is rice. What can I say white rice these days is basically a luxury to me and when cooked properly is worthy of adoration.

6. Small joy: getting my table, chairs, and cabinet out of storage for the new apartment. Completeness for me is having the kitchen set up.

7. Grand Experiment: Trying out the no-poo method of hair washing. So far my hair is exceptionally shiny and really healthy, still waiting for my oily head to get used to it. Also making a strawberry shrub for the first time.

8. Music worm stuck in my head that I did not mind:

June mainly was a month of moving. No real outdoor adventures but July is shaping up differently.

image: 'Morning in Venice' by Duran Djukaric

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Pop Culture Fun: Virginia Johnson of Masters of Sex

Can we talk about how good Masters of Sex is? I just spent the last week splurging in the first season of the show and now currently have the wonderful theme song stuck in my head. Of course as I watched I immediately began to think what perfume would Virginia Johnson? The first thing that popped into my mind was Tabu, but that seemed to on the nose, and here is the thing while consistently shows Virginia to be sexually forward, I thought Tabu was too brash. I then thought about Shalimar, but to me it is overused, and has a sweetness to it that doesn't quite fit Virginia, there is definite iron in her. So what other iconic sensual scent would fit Virginia and her time period? Finally, it hit me and seemed utterly obvious Femme by Rochas, that superb sexy chypre. I know what you are thinking? Jen, what about Mitsouko? Well, frankly Mitsouko like so many Guerlains has never quite worked for me.

Femme fits perfectly because it is obviously sensual but for all of that sensuality there is a complicated intelligence to it that requires appreciation. I think it fits Virginia because she straddles this line of knowing her sensuality and knowing others will judge her for it but she refuses to apologize for it and then she has the amazing combination of intelligence at the emotional level and the intellectual level. The use of plum, peach, and spices in Femme is the obvious warm mature sensualness but the oakmoss and leather speak of a sharp mind.  Femme is not a bombshell rather it is the co-existence adult desires with the mind always intellectually expanding.

And here is the great intro (I had to share the music).

image provided by

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Nebras, old-fashioned in the best possible way.

So you hang around enough perfume boards and eventually you begin to hear about that cheapy perfume that is profoundly good. In this case that cheap wonder is Al-Rehab's Nebras. I first ran across it when randomly seeing comparisons of it as a dupe to the rather infamous Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood but then I started to read about the differences,  it was not nearly as "skanky" or overt as Boudoir, a bit cleaner. I was hooked by the possibility, I like Boudoir once it gets to the drydown unfortunately that is hours later after a long time of a rather disreputable middle that I can never quite get comfortable in. So I ordered it for a song, seriously your mouth will drop once you look up the price of it on Amazon.

So how does it compare to Boudoir, well they are definitely siblings, but Nebras is not a dupe of Boudoir. I can say that if you like Boudoir give this a try or if you wanted to like Boudoir but found it a bit jarring try this. So how is it?

Nebras starts off with a lovely bloom of sweet spiced aldehydes. The effect is pink and vibrant, very fuchsia like in my mind. Quickly the aldehydes give way to a floral bouquet of rose, lilac, honey, and narcissus all spiced with clove and nutmeg with a lovely base of powder. This is probably the sexiest stage because beneath that powder is a definite animalic musk that gives the scent the quality of warm powdered skin against skin. As the scent unfurls hints of incense come forth but the powdered honey spice remains eventually the drydown comes it is a bit cleaner, the musk more accentuated, and the powder stepping just slightly more to the background. The projection is excellent for an oil and so is the strength. I frankly cannot wait to try this scent in cooler weather, I found it to be a bit much in the dry heat of a California summer, but I have enjoyed wearing to bed at night, waking up to the remnants of it a lovely morning luxury.

Try if you like: Vivienne Westwood Boudoir, Robert Piguet Baghari, Yves Saint Laurent Paris.

The lovely image above is from Retronaut. Also how gorgeous and perfect is Sophia Loren in that image?