Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sali Oguri "Sometimes" Hits New Wave Top 10 Chart On Broadjam

This just in: Sali Oguri "Sometimes" has entered the Rock New Wave Top 10 Chart on Broadjam. What a way to cap off the year and bridge over to 2007!

Click on the
Photobucket - Video and Image Hostinglogo to check the current standings. Thanks for your support!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Perfumista's Top 10 Countdown 2006!

Happy Holidays! Thank you for being here to share my many passions with through the year! Well, you know I'm not the traditional type by any stretch of the imagination, but there's one tradition I'm more than happy to keep and that's the perfumista's year end Top 10 countdown! So, here goes...

Sali's Top 10 Perfume Picks of 2006 (in no particular order, and they're not necessarily ones I've been wearing):

1. Revlon Charlie (1973)--This legendary New York-born creation should be Perfume of the Year. The drugstore classic saw popularity again with the '70s punk trend. Charlie is one low-end perfume that'll always have a place in my heart. Firstly, it smells pretty good: a Green Floral with Chypre nuances (it's actually fresh and not too mossy-damp, which you know I don't like in a scent). Also, after Estee Lauder Youth Dew, it's only the 2nd perfume to feature ads that sent messages to women that it's all right if we want to buy perfume for ourselves (as opposed to how it was in the past when women were supposed to wait for their men to buy them perfume). Empowerment is good, and besides, the groundbreaking vintage ad with "Charlie" wearing pants to work ROCKS!

2. Caron Rose (1949)--Caron Rose is one of the exclusive urn fragrances at Caron (EDP is more widely available online than parfum). I thought I'd found my rose match in Clarins Par Amour Toujours but Caron Rose came into my life and showed me what a real woman's pretty pink rose perfume is, and I'm so smitten I think I'll elope with her instead. Caron Rose is peppery sharp at first but get past the thorns and it's all delicate softness tempered by down-to-earth richness. Romantic, soft, dewy and mild yet substantial, warm, comforting and always appropriate--like fresh pink tea roses on a subtly sweet vanillic bed. It's a clean skin scent to me, of highest quality.

3. Caron N'Aimez Que Moi (1917)--What a perfume. Imagine Caron Rose in a Chypre mood, with a pronounced soapy-sharp violet note, almost one part Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps and one part Vivienne Westwood Boudoir. Multifaceted and slightly disturbing for such a traditional, all-out flowery, romantic scent, I think the woods mixed with rose and vanilla make it more sophisticated and suggestive than Rose, and yet there's nothing sexy about it. It's densely powdery and smells more like antique soap than a man magnet perfume. I used to think it was awful but it's become a comfort scent of sorts.

4. Guerlain Insolence (2006)--A violet perfume never smelled so good, so lush, sensual and new! It's hypersweet with berries in the mix, like a Gourmand Floral with a woody-creamy base, and reminds me of the sensuality of L'Heure Bleue or Samsara, only much more floral and contemporary. Among the mainstream launches, Insolence is one of my favorite launches of the year. It's intensely sweet and seems to be a love/hate scent. Now and then, it smells too much like detergent which is the one turnoff. However, that's one of the aspects that differentiates it from, say, Meteorites, which is lovely but probably would not fly if the same actress fronted the ad with the same frosted pink lipstick. I'm not sure how well this is actually selling but I'm glad I bought mine this year. OK--maybe I'm still a Guerlain lover.

5. Frederic Malle Carnal Flower (2005)--So many people have suggested this to me and I finally see why: it's like a gardenia perfume to me, more so than a tuberose one. I think it's more gardenia because there's an openness, or brilliance/brashness (depending on your preference), to this tuberose which blooms on a "clean" White Musk base, with sharp (spicy-herbaceous) wintergreen weaving through. It's not the same type of gardenia I smell in my Pink Manhattan, which is light and watery--Carnal Flower is way punchier and actually beachier than PM, like nostalgic suntan lotion scent, especially with the additional coconut note. I like it but only in small doses or it overwhelms me. It's a very strong scent, and yes, I think it's a sexy perfume like most white florals, if they're as low-pitched, sweet and sensual as this. For me, it's also worth watching to see how the industry continues to market this tropical Floral.

6. Burberry Brit Red (2004)--It's a very well-blended patchouli-based fruity vanillic Gourmand, a popular genre oversaturated with aggressive base-heaviness (for my light Floral taste). It's youthful and sweet (borderline too sweet--a little goes a long way) and structurally resembles my PM (red fruit-white floral-vanilla). I like that it smells like toffee but this is a composition that's got fresh lift and unexpected nuances, not just like candy (you don't need perfume for that--you can wear a single note body spray). I'm a big fan of Werther's candies, and Brit Red reminds me of them. However, the dry down is a bit too patchouli-based for every day (for me--I usually prefer less obviously woody scents, although it depends on the perfume). I only have a mini in this scent but I may upgrade to a full size since it seems to really be limited edition.

7. Estee Lauder White Linen (1978)--I can't believe it! I used to despise this scent until recently. I still think it's a super-old-fashioned mossy Aldehydic Floral, meaning a perfumey, powdery, abstract-flowery scent that has a certain "makeup" smell, or like makeup remover, lotion or skin cream. I don't know why I've suddenly taken to it but it makes me feel mature in a good way. The dry down turns slightly more carnal than I want: at that stage, I get lots of dried rose. A disturbing classic, one I'll be wrapping my mind around to try to figure out for a long time--and yet, there's a stark simplicity about it that I think is chic. It's understated unlike Chanel No.5 which it resembles; No.5 in comparison is much more densely powdery whereas White Linen is crisper and more streamlined. Decidedly unsweet and unsexy, it's perfect for work.

8. Revlon Intimate (1955)--I'm so happy to have had the chance to discover this tuberose-hearted Floral Chypre. The vintage cologne was actually easier for me to test; the newer juice made by Jean Phillipe is a bit spicy and heavy for me. It's still a great buy, especially because it's so affordable and it reminds me of Caron Montaigne which is hard to find now. Intimate is another drugstore perfume like Charlie, and although I probably wouldn't make a habit of wearing it, I'm happy to know what New York women might have worn in the '50s-'60s besides unsweet, powdery-mossy Green Aldehydic Floral Chypres and heavy, powdery-sweet, spicy, ambery-woody Orientals which seem to have dominated the market. Intimate is old-fashioned and on the sweet, warm and heady side, but it's also rather stylish with a leather note in the base.

9. Vera Wang Princess (2006)--OK, I know it's rather synthetic-smelling but I think it's more pleasant than the wildly popular Juicy Couture and all those generic celeb scents and Victoria's Secret frags combined. To me, it's like Burberry Brit Red light, and Brit Red is unfortunately discontinued. The bottle is not really my style but I have to admit I wasn't letting this purple princess get away without testing it this year. Was it worth it? I haven't bought it yet but I'm enjoying my decant when it's cold enough so the generic aqueous quality isn't as obvious. What's it smell like overall? Cake with fruit and frosting, laced with dark chocolate; cake, only daintier and airier than the heavy, rich Gourmands which are most popular today. In the end, it's still a patchouli-based scent, like Juicy Couture and a thousand others. Aforementioned aqueous (sporty) note is annoying, but it's one of the most memorable mainstream launches of 2006.

10. Annick Goutal Songes (2006)--The exquisite new launch from Annick Goutal is the Queen of White Florals. I would put it in the same family of narcotic florals as Jean Patou Joy and Caron Narcisse Noir. There is none other that manages to be so intoxicating and yet so soft, so intense and yet so dreamy and ethereal. It's beautifully blended. It's the sexiest tropical Floral that comes across in a gentle and graceful manner. The moon bottle has also won my heart, complete with its crescent-shaped stopper. It's quite potent and animalic so I can't see everyone liking it; however, for me, this is very close to what I think heaven would smell like--a tropical paradise with blue skies and sunwarmed plumeria breezes--my hedonistic mind getaway. For those of you who feel this is too intense, Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia or L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons (my long-time fave) might be easier to wear.

Waft subtly and beautifully into 2007! Please feel free to share your beloved Top 10...or 50...1000...or just your favorite one!

Looking forward to lots more talks with you next year. -Season's Greetings from Sali and staff @ and Pink Manhattan blog!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kirk Oguri Joins 12/28 Kenny's Castaways Wuj Space Show Lineup

My guitarist-turned-golfer-turned-guitarist brother, Kirk Oguri, will be joining Fred Kimmel's Wuj Space Show!

Stay tuned to for updates!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Chanukah!

It's a celebration in ethereal hues of blue and white! These airy-powdery clean scents are perfect for crisp, wintery days and nights. May your life be full of miracles each day. Peace on Earth--bring in the light!

Lise Watier Neiges

Lise Watier Neiges Bleues (I've never smelled it but what a bottle)

Elizabeth Arden Splendor

Friday, December 15, 2006

Modern Chypre and Substitution Chords In Music

The Case For Mossless Chypre: In music, when you get to the point where you can play and enjoy playing substitution chords, bass notes can be merely implied and not actually there at all. You can even play a tritone sub and the chord is different but fits in all the same. I believe the same goes for the new breed of oakmossless Chypre. If the structure implies one, moss doesn't have to be there for it to be one.

Can I get an Amen? :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Smell of the Rich and Color-Coding Pt. II

Fragrance of the Moment: Estee Lauder White Linen. It's grown on me like the familiar and comforting scent of mother's makeup removal creams and lotions. It's not my favorite scent but still quite good in parfum and I'm not surprised it's being brought back to the limelight again.

I'm getting a thoroughly '20s era vibe from the recent perfume reports and I don't know if I'm onto something or not, and I don't know if I want to be or not. All the Chandler Burr color-coding stuff, the racially divided scents, and then all these plugs for perfumes from the '20s such as Toujours Moi and Chanel No.5 which might be regaining popularity at the height of the classics trend...are we being brought back to the time in history when society was racially divided through people's assumption that the rich were rich because they were somehow different, or better, than those who have not? Are we being preached by F. Scott Fitzgerald's ghost? What's with the Times' article, The Story of Eau by Daphne Merkin, in which the writer mentions people wanting to wear perfumes that smell like we're "better" than we are? That is SO Great Gatsby, it's not even funny. I am really not sure what to make of all this. I haven't even gotten to the perverted fascination with violence and S&M in mainstream media and now, in fragrance with this article which plays on Story of O. Now what--we're supposed to feel unworthy of and intimidated by our 'fumes?? If you have thoughts to share, please do--I'm open to a healthy dose of perspective and sanity.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Classics Trend Part II

So the year's almost out and we've smelled all the new popular frags out there: Calvin Klein Euphoria, Juicy Couture, Vera Wang Princess, Kenzo Amour, Arrogance Mix Lime Sugar, Christian Dior Miss Dior Cherie. We're still buying longstanding favorites: Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Aquolina Pink Sugar. Celeb scents are still at the peak of popularity and we've yet to smell more coming out next year (Marilyn Manson's new one will Smell Like Children). Even those who aren't serious perfumistas have their BBW sprays and Victoria's Secret scents. What's left to smell? White Linen. Have you seen the big plug as of late? I think with the resurgence of "classics", we might see Aldehydic Florals make a comeback in some shape or form. After all, the buzzword for this olfactive family is "sophistication". Aldehydic Florals as an olfactive family basically smell powdery, following after Chanel No.5, the powderiest classic perfume of all.

If you like green and powdery fragrances (the type of scent that was popular in the '60s-'70s), you would probably embrace a throwback to this genre. As for me, I have yet to find one to love, and I've tried them all, from Caron Infini to Trigere Liquid Chic, but when Estee Lauder White Linen is getting written up about in the pages of a magazine, I know we're in for something different. After all, White Linen is a quitessential American classic, supposedly worn by Mrs. Bush (Incidentally, the former Mrs. Bush is known to wear White Shoulders). It's supposed to smell like expensive linen, unsweet and crisp (sharp-powdery, not unlike No.5 but sharper and soapier, with violets), and while I understand the concept, I neither find it, nor its scent, appealing. I think you have to despise sweetness and, perhaps, any references to sex, to like this one.

Is fashion getting more conservative now? Even Disney (on TV) is running a spot for girls' fashion tips: they're told "fashion's getting girlier". They're telling girls to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize...they've even got Raven wearing The New Look big hat and cinched waist with a long A-line skirt. What's next: lace gloves and parasols? Will we see a Miss Disney beauty pageant sometime soon?

Here's another throwback to a bygone era: Has anyone heard of Toujours Moi (Always Me)? It was launched in the 1920s by Corday and is now made by Dana at drugstore quality. I've only briefly smelled it once and thought it was a powdery-sweet, somewhat generic old-fashioned floral, but I've seen it listed as Oriental so I'll retest it and let you know what I think. Anyway, here's another one that recently got mentioned in a fragrance-related article in the Times, and I thought--wow! That's not one you hear about every day. Let's see what this perfume's about--and voila--could you get more "classic" than the 1959 ad I found? It screams riches and exclusivity, an Old World style of living. Even the bottle looks like it's got layers upon layers of fabric on it, just to remind us of the excesses that can be afforded by the affluent. Toujours Moi perfume was a muse for a composer who created an album called "Perfume Set to Music" in 1948. I haven't heard the Toujours Moi piece, but the album it's on is described on as classic, post World War II orchestral music. So, I think, along with the sophistication of Aldehydic Florals, we're going to see more forgotten classics make comebacks, too.

Maybe the world isn't really listening and we'll continue to wear Juicy and low-waisted jeans, but I'm wondering where all this will lead us. If anything, maybe a classics trend will keep No.5 on top. After all, it must be shocking for the industry to find Thierry Mugler Angel, a Gourmand, can sell more than No.5. Do I see Gourmand taking a step down? No way, but they can surely try to make us like something less sweet and more "ladylike" in the coming year, or, as long as this classics trend stays properly in its place.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tarsha: Prophecies--Debut CD Launches Dec. 2006

The Prince of Rock, Sheldon Tarsha, has undergone superhuman metamorphosis with his new album, Prophecies. He is now simply TARSHA, and at the risk of stroking his humble ego way out of proportion, I'd like to now refer to him as the Apocalyptic Messiah of Rock. I just bought and heard the new CD, Prophecies, through and through, and I have to say, I'm amazed Album Art isn't dead but actually back--it's not only a funky good rock album worthy of praise for its primary function to rock hard and well, but I think it's Album Art at its finest--an album, like in the days of LP, that's more than surface deep but one with conceptual unity and still plenty of room for interpretation. Prophecies is rapturous, virtuous, completely original and sounds like Tarsha, the artist.

The album is cathartic, going from "Dirty" to "Generation-H", from original sin to exodus to a place of unity and harmony. This is what 's been missing all year--something epic, something about the human race from birth to death and all that's in-between, a story of biblical proportion from a unique and sincere perspective, speaking to individual hearts as well as addressing humanity at large. This album is so huge, so cult, it's classic. I already had total respect for Tarsha as a top notch songwriter and musician who's written truly captivating melodies and hooks with his demo debut, but he's grown to be so much more; he has a real vision and things to say with his first complete CD. I can't even begin to rave about him as a singer! He's got it all--pitch, control, power, tone, phrasing. The guitar playing (in fact all instruments) on the album's all his work, too, and he's a precise and lyrical player! I can say that his metamorphosis is complete and he's well on his way with a killer package to tour with next year.

I was particularly blown away with "My First Hit" and "Buried On the Inside" (his voice sounds great! Interesting chord changes in this song, too), though I also love "Ten Stars Away", "Skeletons", "Cynical Christ", "Let You Go" and I'm quite moved by "Generation-H" with that sweet guitar opening through which unfolds a third eye-opening, trancendental coming home anthem. "Why Fight" and "Modern Day Exodus" are important pieces on the CD and give greater meaning to the whole. I think the album has some interesting facets: overall, it's back-to-basics, patchouli-laden rock n' roll driven by contradicting desires for sex and purity, fantasy and truth, and a courageous call for peace, all delivered with a modern edge and unparalleled command by the most outstanding male rock voice of our time! Job well done! If you want something refreshing, skip the superficial, carbon copy, pseudo-Queenified, glam rock-vapidified, thoroughly uninspired and played out scene and buy Tarsha's new CD, Prophecies, and count your lucky stars this holiday season for the long-awaited Second Coming. Visit

Reviewed by Sali Oguri, Singer and Creator of Sensorium of Song and Scent, December 2, 2006
Images: Sheldon Tarsha, Prophecies CD cover, courtesy of Sheldon Tarsha

Monday, November 27, 2006

Next Gig: Dec. 28--Wuj Space Show @ Kenny's Castaways

Fred Kimmel's Very First Wuj Space Show - Also Featuring - Sali Oguri,
J. Dibbs and friends
8:45pm Thurs. December, 28 2006 at Kenny's Castaways
157 Bleecker Street
New York, New York 10012
Cost: $10.00 For More Info: 212-979-9762

Friday, November 24, 2006

Chypre: The New Classics Trend

In a time when women's magazines tell us to "suck it up and wear heels", or department stores for us to "shut up and shop", we're being scolded from all directions to be soft and submissive in attitude, yet the strongest perfumes of all, the woods, have returned. Among them, Chypre is a traditional, classical fragrance family often regarded as olfactive representations of refinement and luxury--thus, they are power perfumes of a certain type: the ladylike and reserved type that prides in being aesthetically noble and not being "too loud" (about broadcasting how rich they smell? Hmm). They are often earthy, mature and womanly, perhaps symbolic of the qualities attributed to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, who is said to have been born on the island of Cyprus (chypre). Many of these are also bold, gender-bending perfumes, giving women a whole new appeal by accentuating angular features. (Images: Illustrations by René Gruau, and

Truth is, even if they're refined, I wouldn't call them subtle scents. Some Chypres are so intensely odorous to me, I'm scared to put them on my skin. The first time I encountered a Chypre, I didn't know it was Chypre nor did I know what Chypre was but I knew I didn't like Guerlain Mitsouko.

It was a favorite of my mother's at one point of my childhood and it always smelled like a Japanese country house, or like kimonos that had been stored in cedar drawers for years. That doesn't sound so bad, except it also smelled a bit damp and musty to me which translates as being unwearable to me. It was also "perfumy", that term which differentiates the child-friendly scents from the ones that weren't designed to be. Chypre to me are often either too earthy, reasonable and proper-smelling (read: boring) or too bold and/or bizarre, and Mitsouko is effectively a little of both. It's not that I don't think the legendary Mitsouko is great because it is, being a complex and distinctive arrangement of mossy woods with a neat twist: a hardly perceptible touch of peach which, within the context of the composition, doesn't smell peachy but melds with the oakmoss and woods to create a soft, "oily" or fatty smell, bringing to mind olives or foie gras (the latter which, I'm afraid, I have yet to fall in love with).

Perhaps Mitsouko is a benchmark of refined taste, and perhaps some people will acquire a taste for it over time, but I believe it when people say Chypre can be a love-or-hate kind of scent. I've found that about 90% of chypre perfumes are unappealing to me from first sniff. That said, no two Chypre are exactly alike, and upon smelling more and more, I've discovered those I like, those I can't tolerate, and finally, even one to call a holy grail, surpassing my love for every other perfume in my current repertoire (and I assure you, Caron N'Aimez Que Moi might be classic but it smells nothing like Mitsouko). So, once again, I feel it's in my best interest to keep an open mind to every genre out there. You just never know.

There are many types of Chypre and of course, the "types" or labels change with the times as industry pros find new ways to break them down into neatly organized families. Michael Edwards doesn't use the term Chypre but instead calls them Mossy Woods. Traditionally, a chypre consists of bergamot, oakmoss and labdanum, but later incarnations have used additional fruit notes (to soften them as with Mitsouko), animalic notes such as leather (Gres Cabochard), and patchouli (Jean Patou 1000) with or in place of more traditional note(s). As oakmoss was determined to be toxic in recent years (supposedly turning into formaldehyde on skin), synthetic oakmoss replaced real oakmoss, challenging the definition of what "truly" makes a Chypre today. Chypre may be hard to understand but one thing about them is that they are generally (to me) unnatural or "perfumy", and strong, often with a smooth (or muted) surface (quieting down the strength of the woods), at times smelling dressy and decadent, other times sober and serene/professional, sometimes boozy, meaty and robust or intense and forboding. Some smell damp, some smell dry. Even the lightest Chypres (the ones that smell citrusy and light such as Eau de Rochas, Cristalle, 4711) are actually woody scents that show their true character as the fresh top notes fade.

According to Michael Edwards in his book, "Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances", Chypre traditionally becomes popular post-war. Are we seeing a resurgence of Chypre in the market right now? If Miss Dior Cherie (the "New" New Look perfume) and Narciso Rodriguez For Her are any indication, I would say so. I also feel that the reintroduction of Green perfumes (iris/violet/orris, hyacinth) and "sophisticated (abstract, soft and powdery)" Aldehydic Florals (marked by the return of Estee Lauder White Linen) push our taste closer to the types of perfumes that were more popular in the past--specifically pre-1980s. Chypre perfumes were especially popular from the late '40s throughout the '50s (Carven Ma Griffe, Christian Dior Miss Dior), '60s (Hermes Caleche) and '70s (Revlon Charlie). Of course, Chypre never completely went away and had a starring moment in 1984 with the launch of Givenchy Ysatis, and many '80s Chypres such as Paloma Picasso are still very popular today.

I often refer to Jan Moran's classification of Chypre based on her books, "Fabulous Fragrances" and "Fabulous Fragrances II" in which she colorfuly breaks Chypre down into the following groups: Chypre, Chypre-Green, Chypre-Fresh, Chypre-Fruity, Chypre-Fruity Floral, Chypre-Floral and Chypre-Floral Animalic. What I find interesting is, since I've come to know the perfumes listed under each group, I've discovered that my nose (perception of scents) agrees with hers (more often than not) and her classifications make sense to me. I highly recommend her books to understand the basics regarding perfume families and subcategories. They have been as instrumental to me in my perfume journey as my beloved Michael Edwards' book cited above (which, being beyond a wealth of information, is a beautiful book brimming over with "fragrant eye candy" (a great collection of perfume and perfume-related photos, advertisements and illustrations).

Some favorite and/or famous Chypre perfumes are: Coty Chypre, Rochas Femme, Robert Piguet Bandit, Chanel Pour Monsieur, Antaeus, Cristalle, Cuir de Russie (Russian Leather), Givenchy Ysatis, Gres Cabochard, Paloma Picasso, Halston, Cassini, Fendi, Van Cleef & Arpels Gem, Guerlain Mitsouko, Parure, Sous le Vent and Chant d'Aromes, Jean Couturier Coriandre, Carven Ma Griffe, Yves Saint-Laurent Y, Jean Patou 1000, Sisley Eau du Soir, Estee Lauder Knowing, Private Collection and Aliage, Versace White Jeans, Emanuel Ungaro Diva, Niki de St. Phalle, Gucci No.3, Givenchy III, Bulgari Black, Agent Provocateur, Ralph Lauren Pure Turquoise, Christian Dior Miss Dior Cherie and the original Miss Dior, the New Look perfume launched in 1947. I have also seen Chanel Chance, Coco Mademoiselle and Gucci Rush classified as Chypre but opinions may vary.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Caron N'Aimez Que Moi

My first perfume love was called Nocturnes de Caron. I was a little girl when I'd "borrowed" my mother's shower gelee sample which she'd gotten at the department store when she replenished her Mitsouko parfum supply. I remember using that Nocturnes shower gelee feeling like I'd seen the light. I knew I had smelled something different, captivating, inexplicably good. I've been a perfume addict ever since.

Perhaps you've heard of the top-of-the-line French perfume house, perhaps not. You generally wouldn't bump into Caron perfumes at the mall, and even if you did, you'd probably find their more recent releases such as their sporty Eaux or their 1990s "modern" releases but you wouldn't find their best, most obscure "urn" scents anyplace but at one of their boutiques (and perhaps online but you're not guaranteed the fresh perfumes decanted out of the urns unless you bought directly from Caron). Caron has a boutique here in NYC, so if you're in town, you must go and experience what truly high quality, beautiful perfumes are all about. They may seem different from what you're used to but if you gave them time (as I have...5 years to learn to fully appreciate my new love, N'Aimez Que Moi), you'd see that perfume is supposed to be epic, not mere 3-and-a-half-minute radio-friendly edits. Caron NY recently moved from its original Madison Avenue location to the less ritzy Lexington Avenue, and from what I've heard, they now have a prestigious counter of their own in the back of a hair salon. Yes, they are still holding on, without selling out to a larger company and that says something to me: that Caron perfumes are greatly underappreciated and not as visible as they deserve to be.

Well, I want to change that, and so I've decided to resample just about every Caron perfume I could get my hands on and tell the world how exquisite they are. This week, I tested everything from Farnesiana (like sweet almond, so delicious) to Montaigne (sexy, spicy floral amber with a touch of fruit), and as much as I love so many of them, I decided that my new favorite is none other than the perfume I once thought was "the worst!": soapy, dreadfully dowdy, fussy, flowery and old-fashioned. I often dislike rich, powdery scents no matter how great their quality, and the combination of rose, violet and lilac just seemed as impossible to pull off as a prissy Laura Ashley dress swishing around my calves like a ball and chain. Have I mentioned there is mustiness to this scent? Oh, yes, and it's a strange scent, too, being one part soapy (like very, very good floral soap) and two parts chocolaty on dry down. What is it about N'Aimez Que Moi that feels right for me now, even as it makes me slightly uncomfortable?

I think being connoisseurs of anything means our passion helps us venture out and challenge our own tastes. After all, nothing will push our boundary for us unless we approach the things that feel unfamiliar to us with courage and an open mind. I'm glad I revisited N'Aimez Que Moi. It smells like everything I've loved in my life in one breath: an all-important lush, romantic floral heart, sophisticated chypre woods that wear gently on skin but convey strength, sweet vanilla that doesn't leave me cold in the end but stays sweet and wraps me in its comforting layers, and the "Caron smell", instant nostalgia under which lies the Caron signature base, the Mousse de Saxe, inky and mysterious like the depths of the sea. I have many perfume loves for my different moods and uses but N'Aimez Que Moi is a perfume lover's perfume, one I know I can spend my life with from season to season, although it seems a lifetime might not be enough to understand the simple love story it's told since 1916. N'Aimez Que Moi means "love me only"--here it is, my emo holy grail. For more information, please visit

(Image: Caron ad from 1925,

Friday, November 03, 2006

Guerlain Insolence

I'm so sorry for the long hiatus; I've had hellish computer problems and today is the first day in over a week that things are running smoothly. Thank you again to all who came to support me at Siberia. The show was a success and it was wonderful to meet many online friends, both first timers and repeaters, and some of you came from pretty far away to see me, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm going to be performing in one more show before the year's out, so please stay tuned for more info.

I have a new perfume love and its name is Insolence. I guess Guerlain/LVMH has finally caught up with the "punk" trend--pretty funny, huh? This perfume is being marketed to the young (personally, I feel this is a love-or-hate scent and will be exactly that across the demographics), specifically aimed at the US and Britain. Many people think it smells like a classic "grandmotherly" perfume, and this time, I can't judge or blame them because until I met Insolence, I, too, considered most violet perfumes to be headache-inducingly sharp, sour-soapy-hypersweet old-fashioned violet candy Lolita scents. I think the sweet berries save this fragrance from being retro to the point of being mistaken for a classic Guerlain, but I wouldn't be surprised if some people equated its back-to-classics appeal with that of L'Air du Temps: a lukewarm yet sharp (violet-spicy carnation) grown up baby powder scent my mother loves but to me, it's spoiled milk to be worn over my dead body. As it turns out, I love Insolence even though I think it mirrors the powdery soapy "girlish innocence" of L'Air du Temps. Insolence takes prim and proper and mixes it up with edge and zest for life. I don't know if it'll ever be as popular as, say, Poison in the '80s, but it's already a controversial perfume like the new "Poison" in my mind, because let's face it: every time we have a powerful perfume, a strongly scented, bright and sensual, sexy perfume with a bold female image attached that becomes a bestseller, we get a bunch of people who aren't happy with that. Well, good, because they made me want this perfume more, which brings me to my review.

Insolence is a Pop perfume with a touch of "clean", "gourmand", "fruity floral", "sharp-fresh" and even references to the Guerlain classics, Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue in its underscoring. I could see people disliking the fact that it smells like it was mass-produced to fit all these markets successfully, as if they put key words in a computer and the computer came up with the recipe, but whatever Maurice Roucel and team did to perfect it is nothing short of spectacular because the blend smells good, the only mark of success in my book. It's hypersweet but a sensual Floral Oriental. The blend starts sharp and "clean" (a bit like detergent) with a rich floral (rose-violet) heart (which might be the thing that turns fresh perfume lovers off--it is a full, lush floral blend with some powderiness). The dry down is less sharp and more creamy smooth, reminiscent of Cashmere Mist (which I imagine brings in the Gen Y creamy powdery skin scent lovers). It wasn't love at first sniff for me but as a non-violet lover, this is one of the most wearable, non-headachey forms I've come across. Others have not been as lucky and have complained about the headache aspect of it. Well, Brit gives me a massive headache but it has loads of fans, so we shall see if Insolence becomes the new Guerlain bestseller.

With all its implied purple flower prissiness, I'm happy to be one of the few who actually love this brave new perfume. Insolence is like the olfactive equivalent of a Shirley Temple spiked with booze. Insolence won't offer innocent Lolita baby powder but it's also not the heavy, woody violets that smell like candy disguised as mature perfumes for the same violet candy lovers all grown up (and the heavy woods "carmelize" the violets and rival any berry scent in syrupy sweetness--although there are "sugar free" versions of the same syrupiness out there but I don't see the point in these--take sweetness out of violets and you're left with just the sour part). Insolence is a Floral Oriental with a delectable fruity twist which helps cross it over to the realm of mainstream appeal. In other words, this violet is different, a violet for our time. No matter how we all feel about Insolence, I think the timing for it was perfectly right--it's time for a perfume that smelled like the return to the '80s in a voluptuous, yet pretty, yet untraditional, female-fronted way. PS--That doesn't mean I like those ads at all. Nothing against the model they chose but...:-( They didn't have to make the lotion shimmery, either.

I'm awaiting the arrival of Insolence parfum so I'll let you know how I do with that. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sali Oguri Siberia Gig Pics

Thank you once again for your support!! Next gig: TBA Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2007 Trends and The Fairest Scents of All

The new Aristo-chic: Read about it: Fashion Trends 2007 ‘Culture versus Cult’

Here is the new controversy in the fragrance world plus the latest scent trends according to Chandler Burr:

"Color Coded" by Chandler Burr for The New York Times

Friday, October 20, 2006

Perfume Launch In Hell's Kitchen

I need to let everyone know that the trendy little bar called Siberia where I'm playing this Saturday is in a trendy little area called Hell's Kitchen. In fact, the club is too trendy to be easy to find. It's virtually unmarked and you'd walk right past it (like I did) if you're not paying attention. The address is 356 West 40th Street. It's between 9th and 8th but closer to 9th, and it's literally just a big black door with a tiny red light up on top (the address is there but on the side of the door). Hopefully, there will be someone at the door letting people in to make the place more obvious. I look forward to meeting everyone who's planning on coming down. Thank you for your support!

Now, without further ado, I know it's highly unusual for a music production company to be associated with fragrance but WUJ Productions & I have a special one-time-only perfume launch annoucement.

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It's not an official launch because it's not a sale, but this will be a debut. I'm offering free samples of my unreleased mixes in both Music and Perfume (The "unreleased" Sensorium?). I will give away the set consisting of one free "unreleased" CD of original songs and a preview of the scent to the first 10 people to come to my show on Saturday. Here are the notes:

The "unreleased" Mix (Persephone)--2006 WUJ Productions, New York
Notes: Hyacinth, pomegranate, Mysore sandalwood, blackberry, magnolia, amber, dark chocolate

The perfume has been a favorite of mine as well as among people close to me. I've referred to it before as my "sexy skin scent" and that's really what it is to me--a sensual comfort scent. I think of it as a somewhat mysterious semi-Gourmand-woody Oriental with just a hint of the lightest spring flowers in pale purple hues. The colors implied here are all royal purple with a hint of red (pomegranate). It's not a heavy blend per se but it's deeper and lower-pitched than my first creation, Pink Manhattan PURRFUME. If Pink Manhattan seems sunny and bright, the new blend is brooding, yet it has tenderness--a warm, earthy serenity, like sweet leather. My second blend leans more toward an elegant, classic style, although it's still not what I'd call a classical perfume. It is classical in structure but it smells like a modern perfume with hints of Gourmand--but don't let the chocolate scare you--this is not so hypersweet. It's a unique blend, soft and surprisingly delicate for a rich Gourmand blend, and I am happy with it. I believe it will suit perfume lovers of all types, from fans of rich Orientals to sweet Gourmand lovers, and even Floral lovers like me would be drawn to the fay, ethereal floralcy. The fruits are mere accents in this blend; you won't find heavy berries here but they somehow round out the composition and add a succulent dimension!

The story behind the creation: Not too long ago, a dear friend of mine had asked if I would blend some perfumes for her workshop. I composed 10 perfumes for the goddesses she chose. Each composition was inspired by goddesses from around the world, and the stories behind each representation of life and womanhood. I blended the scents and she made pretty bottles for them. Then, we both got into our own projects for awhile and the perfumes sort of took a backseat--since then, I have added some precious notes to make it even better and I'm ready to debut it among friends. It was originally dedicated to Persephone, the Greek goddess of the underworld, so I had her character and story in mind when I composed it. The low notes are to symbolize Persephone's hardship and the sins of her world while the light florals are a reminder that Demeter's spring bounty is always near. It's a sophisticated blend of mixed feelings and I think it's fitting for the perfume to be introduced in Hell's Kitchen, NYC.

I had sent a sample to Sand (of ¡Ombligo! blog and Fragrance Advisor for awhile back and she told me she loved it! When I asked whether it reminded her of Ralph Hot (which is a chocolate blend), she said, "in all honesty I feel it's so different from Ralph Hot that I would have never compared the two. Similar family maybe but still very different - take Flowerbomb vs. Coco Mademoiselle, Floret vs. Maybe Baby, Anne Pliska vs. Fifi.". So there it is; you heard it from a world class perfumista whose fragrance opinions I deeply respect. I may eventually come around and package/market the perfume but I've got songs to write and recordings to finish up first...Only the first 10 people to show up to my gig on Saturday will receive it! I hope you'll be among the ones to try it and I hope you'll come and post back with your thoughts. ~Enjoy~

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

CBGB Closed

Thanks, Hilly, for the music, the memories and the opportunities to play. New York will never be the same.

Celebrate Fragrance Week!

It's Fragrance Week. Here's the word from the Fragrance Foundation's site:
FRAGRANCE WEEK, OCTOBER 16th– 20th, 2006

New York, NY, October 2006 – The Fragrance Foundation is pleased to announce a “scentsational” schedule of events for its annual Fragrance Week to be held October 16th - 20th in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles."

What goes on during the holy week in which we celebrate the ultimate earthly indulgence, perfume? Firstly, Attention, Perfumistas: Marlen Harrison (Ma-chan!) of Basenotes and will be speaking at the fragrance event coming up this weekend in NYC on Sat. 10/21 at Lily's Restaurant at The Roger Smith Hotel (501 Lexington Ave. bet. 47 & 48 Sts) from 2-3pm.

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For those of you who don't know, he's one of the hottest perfume writers on the scene right now. He's recently interviewed Chandler Burr (perfume critic for The New York Times), and as if being cool and brilliant with a great nose aren't enough, he happens to be a total sweetheart of a person. Please don't miss your opportunity to meet Marlen and to hear him speak live--it'll be a treat, I promise! Afterwards, he and I will be meeting up at my gig at Siberia, so I hope you'll definitely join us! I'll keep you updated here and you can also visit Marlen's blog for details and updates.

***Speaking of perfume, come early to my gig this Saturday and you'll get a free perfume gift. The first 10 people will receive a sample of my newest blend, "The "unreleased" Mix". More details are coming soon.***

I am seriously celebrating this week because I've found my holy grail perfume (aside from my own creations--haha). Please let me reintroduce you to Clarins Par Amour Toujours, the object of worship and my innermost desire, the composition of my wildest dreams. This is a light and fresh everyday citrusy rose floral. The notes are Rosebud, Pink Peppercorns, Blackcurrant, Pink Grapefruit, and Raspberry. It's often passed off by others as being a juvenile, unserious perfume (which I can understand--it's the "daughter" version of the more "grown-up" Clarins Par Amour, and note the insipid pink heart-shaped spray. It's also reasonably priced for a prestige perfume), but when I wear this uncomplicated and gorgeous scent, I swear I'm complimented on how great I smell on an average of twice a day. I think it's a good sign that this formula works for me.

I've discovered a raspberry musk ending to this perfume and it's the kind of musk I like: subtly suggestive and yet it stays close to the skin in a mild, natural way. There may be a Par Amour Toujours-Sali Oguri wedding celebration in the making (and this will be a same-sex marriage, thank you very much), so please stay tuned to Pink Manhattan blog. (Image: Clarins Par Amour and Par Amour Toujours from

Now, that doesn't mean I won't be wearing other perfumes in my life. This fall, I'm also rocking Burberry Brit Red (a pre-Britney Spears Fantasy hypersweet tart-fruity-patchouli Gourmand), Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle (when I'm feeling daring enough for tuberose, a heavy white floral--I've been told recently (and heartbreakingly enough, by a young child) that tuberose doesn't smell so good on me--so sad because I love tuberose! Bless them for being honest) and Montale Aoud Rose Petals (a gorgeous but heavy woody-with-fresh rose blend which someone said "smells like Right Guard deodorant from the '70s" (!?)). Oh, but I love, love, love them all, from drugstore Charlie to the discontinued Guerlain treasures...perfume, like music, can often be like a saving grace from the mundane...thank goodness for simple pleasures to make life a little more beautiful, inspiring and fabulous everyday.

Happy Fragrance Week! (Images: 1979 Revlon Intimate ad from, Burberry Brit Red from

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sali Oguri--Sat. 10/21/06 @ 8pm Siberia

Desmond's Show Photos

New York City!!!! Kicking off the night, Sali gets the crowd riled up.

That's me accompanying myself on keys as I sing "Sometimes" from my Pink Manhattan CD. On my right: bassist extraordinaire J.Dibbs. He's written hit songs for Aaliyah, Vanessa Williams and Joe among many other famous singers.

When drummer Patrick Carmichael isn't playing with Sali Oguri, he's playing in Broadway's Lion King and in a jazz fusion band called Van Davis.

Rockin' Wuj (Fred Kimmel) is not only my kickass guitarist--he is the man behind the entire production. Without him, none of this would be. Thank you!!!