Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wedding Perfumes

When people tell me that they chose Pink Manhattan PURRFUME as their bridal perfume, I think it's the ultimate compliment. Do I see my own little sweet, peachy white floral vanilla blend as a wedding-worthy scent? Well, yes, because I made it with the happiest moods and occasions in mind. It was launched on Valentine's Day of 2005 with the release of my Pink Manhattan Petit-CD, a recording of 6 original songs. The set was first introduced to the Japanese market (Tokyo) through a Top 40 radio show and Internet TV, and then for the USA and worldwide through online boutiques such as b-glowing, La Creme Beauty and Lucky Scent. Most people who have bought the CD and perfume have told me that the perfume is an exhuberant scent that's also very feminine.

I think I've always liked perfumes I would consider to be bridal fragrances. These perfumes are usually those that smell like a profusion of white flowers, perhaps with added bright, upbeat notes such as citrus, fruits, greens and blackcurrant bud. While many people might choose subdued floral notes such as violets, lilac or iris, others might choose some Gourmand notes such as vanilla or almond. Winter brides might desire warm and luxurious notes such as rose, woods, resins and spice whereas a summer bride might dream of an ethereal blend of wildflowers, delicate white blossoms, herbs and waterfruits. I tend to envision the ultimate wedding perfume as one with at least one type of white floral note (examples: jasmine, gardenia, tuberose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, frangipani, peony, honeysuckle, stephanotis, magnolia). White flowers are the most fragrant flowers and are the basis for many beautiful perfume creations which have been chosen by women as their wedding perfumes. Some of those choices include Evyan White Shoulders, Bill Blass, Perry Ellis, Jean Patou Joy, Estee Lauder Beautiful and Jessica McClintock. These are all white floral blends and have a romantic feeling to them; even the light and citrusy fresh ones do.

Of course some people don't like white florals and can't tolerate them at all. Some of the stronger white floral notes like tuberose can be hard to wear if you don't like voluptuous florals. Since we're in the age of "anything goes", people might choose to wear the most non-traditional scents for their wedding day and that's a unique and fabulous way to go, too. The most important thing is to remember that it's your day and you should choose the scent that makes you feel the most "you"--the "you" at your best.

If you have any special perfumes you'd like to suggest for a wedding, please share them here! Some of my suggestions are: Geir Ness Laila, Creed Spring Flower, Antonia's Flowers Floret, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Camelia Chinois and Chanel Gardenia.

Must See TV


Watch Star Trek Cribs

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Saturday Evening

Today's Music: Daniel Bedingfield

I especially love "If You're Not the One" but I've been a fan of his music since his debut on NY radio in 2001 with his Dance hit, "Gotta Get Thru This". He's gone from his own humble home studio to getting signed to a major label and tasting worldwide acclaim and stardom, but he's no fluffy idol; he's a serious cat--one of the best, most gifted singer-songwriters out there in my opinion. I appreciate the album photo in which he looks like he's about to get up, saying, "OK--but I'm about to reorganize your mind with the only two natural instruments owned by Sons of Man that all the other instruments can only try to mimic --I've got the Voice and I've got Rhythm". Delivery guaranteed.

Since I hadn't been up on my celeb news, I didn't know until I searched his name earlier today that he'd been in a severe car accident in 2004. I'm so sorry to hear this and I hope he has fully recovered.

Fragrance of the Moment: Nothing and it's getting dark! I don't know what's up with me but I feel like this is going to be an unscented kind of day...though the night is still young and anything can happen in Pink Manhattan. What a beautiful sunset the sky's about to unfold.

Do you have any suggestions to get me out of this? ;-) Have a great weekend, everybody.

Mixing and Sampling (Music, Perfume and Environment)

Today's Fragrance was Le Labo Jasmin 17 which I always enjoy. I noticed that I smell lots more of the vanillic base in the heat. The animalic notes that I usually smell in its dry down weren't very apparent to me today but the vanilla was. I'm wondering about a theory I thought up which undoubtedly isn't any new discovery. Firstly, I'm a musician but not a music engineer so I don't physically do music mixing. Mixing is balancing the levels (volumes) of each instrument on a recording--similar to what blending is in perfumery except you need very steady hands to move the faders on the board up and down smoothly or you have to do the mix over--it's not as easy as just hearing what you want and 1, 2, 3--you have to be able to physically perform the parts and that means hours, months, years of practice are involved. Many people don't understand that learning to play a musical instrument (in this case the mixing board which becomes the instrument when you're mixing the entire arrangement) takes physical dexterity as well as the ears to hear what you want and don't want.

As a co-producer on my own recordings, I put in my two cents when I want to hear more or less of any particular part that I put down, but I have no experience doing an actual mix on a mixing console which has about a hundred different faders and buttons to control. I did take basic recording and learned to bounce down some tracks but I can't work a board enough to even fake it. However, I did learn something recently from a real mixer and that is that whenever you add more bass, the kick drum seems to get lower in volume, and when you lower the bass, the kick seems louder, even if the level (volume) of the kick is left the same. I know that the same thing happens when I mix perfumes--if I add patchouli, the vanilla seems to disappear but if I add just a touch, the vanilla's there, only a little less prominent than before. I thought today that maybe different smells in the air affect how we smell perfumes in the air, like if there's a scent in the air that competes in the same pitch or range as the note in the perfume, it might seem like there's less of it than there actually is. In a cleaner-smelling environment, what seemed less might seem like more. It's just a thought that crossed my mind today because I was in a different part of New York today, a more suburban area where there's lots more greenery.

Right now, I'm testing all of the samples that arrived today and here are my thoughts:

Polo Sport Woman--Just as I thought it might be, it's a '90s cool and high-pitched melony Marine Floral. It's not my favorite smell and I don't think it's anything like my beloved Creed Silver Mountain Water like someone on a board had said, but I'm not doubting that they are similar to her and her assessment is valid to me. To me, Polo Sport is like a cross between Bath & Body Works Cucumber Melon and Liz Claiborne Realities (the original formula in the cubic bottle). I doubt I'll ever want to wear this, even if it's a well-crafted sporty fragrance, but I'm glad to have had this chance to get to know another Ralph Lauren fragrance.

Tommy Girl--The first tea fragrance they say, and I smell the tea in it, all right; it reminds me of a dozen others: Osmanthe Yunnan, Un Zest de Rose and even the new Guerlain Tutti Kiwi even though I'm not sure it actually has any tea in it. Tommy Girl starts out smelling more berrylike to me but ends up a rose and tea scent on my skin. It's a nice scent but a bit tart and way too tealike (I'm one who doesn't care to smell like anything too specific in nature). I don't want to smell like afternoon tea time--it makes me think of lace doilies, parasols and white gloves.

Aphrodisiac by Lumar Beverly Hills--Mega tuberose (a heavy tropical floral)--strong, feminine, a little goes a long way, especially in the heat. It smells very much like Coty Sand & Sable without spice.

And here's one which arrived a couple of days ago:

L by Lolita Lempicka--Soft, powdery cloud of sweetness with a citrus top, similar in feel to Guerlain Shalimar Light. It also reminds me of Lea St. Barth (soft, powdery, hypersweet almond musk) and Fifi Chachnil (heavy ambery-smoky-powdery Floral Oriental with strong citrus notes). The best part is its animalic musky dry down which smells almost identical to the dry down of Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur but I'd rather wait for the dry down wearing Musc Ravageur because I'm not a fan of powdery soft scents (I get images of baby products).

That's all for now.

1940s Wartime Music--Played At 300bpm


BPM = beats per minute, that is. What exactly is 1940s Bebop? It ain't commercial Big Band music, that's for sure. Revolutionary stuff is what it is, was, and always will be, and may we never let it fade into obscurity.





Click Here: http://www.themeister.co.uk/the_jazz_tradition/bebop.htm

Support Great Music! (Image: Charlie (Bird) Parker and Miles Davis from www.clubedejazz.com.br)

Michael Brecker / M. C. Escher

Music Playlist: Michael Brecker "Quiet City", "Escher Sketch" and "Sea Glass". Michael Brecker is a jazz saxophonist extraordinaire, one of the true virtuosos of our time. I love his recordings from his solo albums to collaborations with his brother Randy Brecker and Mike Mainieri of Steps Ahead. Michael Brecker is currently battling for his life. He has a blood disorder called MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) which some doctors say is an early form of leukemia although it doesn't always progress into leukemia. For details on how you might be able to help, please visit his site at www.michaelbrecker.com.

Here is an excerpt of a letter by his wife, Susan Brecker:

<<<...Michael Brecker, has been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) and it's critical that he has a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant (which has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells). The initial search for a donor, including Michael's siblings and children, has not resulted in a suitable match. A match for Michael would be most likely come from those of Eastern European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category please make a special effort to immediately get tested.>>>

A little about the image I posted: The picture on the "Now You See It, Now You Don't" album cover is a famous work by one of my favorite artists, M. C. Escher, called Sky and Water (woodcut, 1938). Please check out the M. C. Escher official site or another great M. C. Escher link here to see Sky and Water in detail and more of his mindbending works which were often inspired by mathematics. Famous works include Relativity (1953), Drawing Hands (1943) and House of Stairs (1951).

Monday, May 29, 2006

Earthquake in Indonesia

My deepest condolences go out to the victims of the Indonesian earthquake. Donations are being accepted online at www.redcross.org. Please also consider giving to Northwest Medical Teams International, voted one of 10 best charities on Forbes.com. According to Forbes: "This medical relief group doesn't rely on clinics. It also makes house calls in disaster areas using mobile medical teams." Special thanks to Scentzilla for the scoop regarding the efficiency of this organization.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Exotica, Night Fever and The Godfather

Frgrance of the Moment: Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio--a light and fresh Soft Marine Floral, a skin scent that smells like a day at the beach. It's light rain in NY, cool and grey.

Today, an Electronic-Downbeat song called "Exotica" which I collaborated on with artist Fred Kimmel is on the Earth Top 10 chart on Broadjam. I'm going to let you guess which parts I played on the keyboards.

Broadjam Earth Top 10

The chart might be different by the time you log on as the standings move in real time. "Exotica" is currently at #7, #1 on the Electronic chart.

There are more instrumental Fred Kimmel-Sali Oguri collaborations floating around in cyberspace for your listening pleasure. Check out previews of "Does It Ever Rain In Heaven?" and "Twilight" recorded by guitar legend Carmine D'Amico, two cuts off of his solo Jazz CD, You Speak To Me In My Dreams. Fred and I are co-composers on both tunes (tracks #2 and #3).

On "Does It Ever Rain In Heaven?", I played bass (on the keyboard). On "Twilight", I'm on piano and actually atttempted to solo which is a little embarrassing but it is what it is. I'm no Carmine D'Amico--now, he's a bonafide monster, a world renowned guitar god, a fixture in the recording business who's had hit records since he was 9 years old. He doesn't even need a band because he can play every part by himself. You might know his guitar works on famous Grammy-winning soundtracks such as Saturday Night Fever and The Godfather (that's him on the mandolin). He's also been a ghost player on countless albums. I'm always very honored to work with extraordinary musicians. He gives guitar lessons over the web as well--you might want to ask him a few questions while you have the opportunity to hear from The Man. www.carminedamico.com

Ralph Lauren Polo Black: Rock, Jazz, R & B

I don't usually wear fragrances for Men or those marketed as Unisex but sometimes I am curious about them (and some of them are favorites of mine such as Creed Silver Mountain Water). I love buying fragrance for people and I also like to know what kinds of scents my favorite designers are coming out with. I've always loved Ralph Lauren even though I don't dress preppy at all. I like the simple, classic American styles of dresses, jeans and other sportswear (the ones that aren't too preppy for me). I especially love the formal gowns as they're never overdone--never too colorful or too frilly and frumpy-looking. Hard to believe all that American chic came out of The Bronx, NY, baby! But heck, why not? My own American ideology is that it's not where you come from but what you make of yourself that counts, and Mr. Ralph Lifschitz, with his talent and imagination, has given me lots of pleasure with his creations throughout my wonderful life here in the US.

Before I get to the Men's, let me take you on an American scent journey. Ralph Lauren has launched some excellent world class perfumes over the years beginning with the understated beauty, Lauren (1978). Lauren is considered a classic by many perfume lovers. It's often classified as Fruity Floral but this is not your average watery fruit punch--Lauren has greens and earth and wildflowers in the sun, all of the splendor of the great American landscape, and for a lively twist, pineapple. Is pineapple American or even New York? Again--why not, if all the world is welcome here with open arms? Surely there's room for tropical elements in an all-American blend. The vibe of Lauren is both relaxed and poised, casual but well-mannered, effortlessly beautiful. I smell a chypre element in Lauren which gives it a very slightly sophisticated overtone but it's not at all a haughty Old Money scent (at least it doesn't seem to flaunt it). Lauren feels right to wear in jeans, a cotton summerdress, a suit or even one of those fabulous Ralph Lauren gowns. The bottle is clean and simple, made in the image of an ink bottle, a favorite bottle design. Please forgive me my long and convoluted Lauren tangent but it is also my Fragrance of the Moment and a perfume I deeply love. This one gets "Who smells nice?" from strangers every time I wear it.

Ralph Lauren's first fragrance for Men launched in the same year and if you're in the USA, you probably know someone who wears or has worn Polo. It's the one in the green bottle with the Polo logo on it and it smells very strong, mostly like pine. It's classified as a Chypre by Jan Moran. I would say the scent is more woody-herbaceous than flowery, traditionally more suitable for a man (but if you're a woman and this is your perfume, I think that's OK, too). I thought it was a Fougere (Aromatic) because of the herbaceous notes but I guess I was wrong. Polo is a very easy scent to overdo. If you like this scent, my best advice is to keep it subtle.

Since Lauren and Polo, Ralph Lauren has launched many more popular fragrances such as Chaps (1979), Safari (1990), Polo Sport Woman (1996), Romance (1998), Ralph (2000), Blue (2003) up to the newest launch, Ralph Hot (2006), their first chocolate-based Gourmand scent. Now, without further ado, here is what's supposed to be the pièce de résistance of this post: Polo Black for Men, a launch I somehow missed last year being too wrapped up in the Women's perfumes.

Has anyone heard about this? I found the blurb on Canadian Elle magazine's site:

...Music being a passion for the Polo Black man, the three "notes" of the cologne are described as effervescent rock, liquid jazz and soulful R&B...

Well, you know I have to smell that! So if any of my readers has actually sniffed Polo Black, please let me know if you caught any music in it. I haven't smelled it but the notes sound good, although they are a bit mysterious. (Edited to add) I finally smelled it and I can't say it's music to my nose. It smells a lot like a modernized version of the original Polo to me, even though it starts on a somewhat pleasant fruity accord. I thought it dried down kind of sour and tinny, too, but I also think that of John Varvatos which people seem to rave about online. YMMV.

Ralph Lauren Polo Black (2005)
Top: Iced mango, Spanish sage, green effervescent accord.
Heart: Silver armoise, hedione, lush liquid accord.
Base: Patchouli noir, sandalwood, tonka bean, timberol.

Jan Moran's notes:

Lauren by Ralph Lauren for Women (Floral-Fruity) 1978
Top: Wild marigold, greens, rosewood, pineapple
Heart: Bulgarian rose, lilac, violet, jasmine, lily of the valley, cyclamen
Base: Cedarwood, oakmoss, sandalwood, vetiver, carnation

Polo by Ralph Lauren for Men (Chypre) 1978
Top: Basil, chamomile
Heart: Leather, tobacco
Base: Oakmoss, patchouli

Perfume-4sale.com lists additional notes of juniper, cumin, thyme, pine, carnation and amber.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment: Chanel Chance

Fragrance of the Moment: Chanel Chance. I have the mini parfum and I'm enjoying it so much, I'm thinking of upgrading to a larger size parfum or an eau de toilette spray which is lighter and therefore I could apply more liberally. Whenever I stop by Sephora, with all the bottles of perfume they have lined up, I usually end up spritzing Chance before I walk out, so maybe it's a sign (that I need it. LOL). I know it's a popular fragrance the world over, not exactly a rarity to make a signature, but I like it. It's one of my default "career" fragrances but with a subtle fruity spiciness, it works for summer evenings beautifully.

I've grown to like it so much more than I did when it first launched when I thought it reminded me of pencil shavings. It still occasionally does and I'm not always in the mood for its chalky-powdery character but the cool floralcy with a touch of something fruity yet abstract is appealing to me in warm weather. I've seen Chance classified as everything from a Fruity Floral to a Fruity Chypre to an Ambery Chypre Woody. Chance is also one of very few fragrances that I like with white musk in its base. Maybe that's what registers to me as being so chalky-powdery.


According to Basenotes:
Chanel Chance (2002)
Patchouli, Musk, Vetiver, Orris, Vanilla, Jasmine

On FragranceX:
Chanel Chance (2002)
White Musk, Hyacinth And Citron, Pink Pepper, Jasmine, Fresh Vetiver, Orris Absolute And Amber Patchouli.

Check out the sample size roll-on eau de toilette (0.07 oz Roll On EDT Mini)--It's a great way to test this fragrance out and you could find them at places like ebay relatively inexpensively. The mini roll-on is very cute and fits right into a small evening purse. :-)

(Image: www.superstoreintl.com)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Night

It started raining here in New York and thankfully, I was indoors right where I want to be, finishing up a new song and enjoying my perfuming experience when--Boom! *Scream* Lightning and thunder struck so hard, it knocked the lights out for a few seconds. Well, thank goodness the power isn't out. Again--Boom! *Throws laptop (onto the bed)* I've got a flashlight on hand and I'm still online. So, here I am trying to calm my nerves and to write about my Fragrance of the Moment.

I'm sampling an interesting new discovery called L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidée Blanche. It's not my usual type of scent being soft and powdery and yet I find it oddly intruguing. The opening is beyond unappealing; it's actually terribly harsh and medicinal but the dry down is a beautiful balance of true-to-life elegant flowers in purple and white hues on a honeyed, powdery vanillic base that's just sweet enough and not heavy or cloying, just a subdued skin scent of a soft floral. The overall feeling of Orchidée Blanche to me is more Classical than it is Modern and yet it walks a fine line between the two. The soft and powdery part makes it seem more old-fashioned but the minimalism of its composition plus the Gourmand notes of honey and vanilla push the envelope just enough. I have to wear it a little longer to see if it's something I want to invest in a bottle of. So far, I think it's divine but I feel it's far too elegant and refined for me. The level of sweetness is so perfectly right. I like it but this is another discontinued perfume. It makes me a little sad but I don't blame anyone for discontinuing it; if someone didn't tell me to sit through the opening and wait for the beauty to unfold, I might have dismissed it, too.

If I'm to compare it to anything, Serge Lutens Un Lys and L'Instant de Guerlain come to mind as far as elegant white florals on light vanillic bases go. Orchidée Blanche is softer and more powdery than both. I find L'Instant very easy to wear but it's the sweetest (most Gourmand) of the three and also the most modern of the bunch. I was surprised to find out that Orchidee Blanche was created almost 20 years before L'Instant. Here are the notes for comparison:



L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidée Blanche (1985)
Notes: Bergamot, magnolia, nectarine, iris, honey, vanilla.



L'Instant de Guerlain (2004)
Citrus Honey, Magnolia, and Crystalline Amber

Some sources include:
Top: Mandarin, bergamot
Heart: Magnolia, sambac jasmine, ylang-ylang, iris
Base notes: Vanilla, benzoin

Synths

Music Playlist: Fred Kimmel "Goldfish" which is currently at #3 on the Broadjam Northeast Top 10 and #1 in Electronic. I'm trailing him on the Northeast chart today with "Private Dreams" at #7 and on the Electronic chart somewhere around #7 or so. The charts move in real time but check them out:

Broadjam Northeast Top 10
Broadjam Electronic Top 10

Fragrance of the Moment: Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio

Some of my perfume-loving readers might think I've lost my mind wearing the ever-despised Marine (Ozone) scents this week. I still love the "good" perfumes, too, like I can appreciate anything that's made with the finest ingredients on the planet, ya know, but sometimes, I just want something different. Do you ever feel like that? Maybe not and that's OK, too. But I like techno--can you dig it? Just like in music, there's no sound patch or perfume molecule "too synthetic" for me. It's all in how it's used--it's about the composition for me and the artistic vision behind the creation that makes it real.

There's no replacement for the real thing but synths are here to stay.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend to all my USA readers.

My Passion For Water and Wood

I'm waiting to sample lots of goodies in the upcoming week: "L" by Lolita Lempicka and L'Artisan Orchidee Blanche are on their way and tonight, I also ordered samples of Tommy Girl. I don't like the other Tommy Hilfiger fragrances I've smelled but I feel that I must know what the first perfume that used a green tea (Marine) note smells like. Surely my beloved Creed Silver Mountain Water must have borrowed its blackcurrant-tea idea from Tommy Girl. Just as in music I like to listen to "roots" music: Blues, early Jazz such as Dixieland (New Orleans and Chicago), Swing and BeBop, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis to see where the music we hear today had stemmed from, I like to know the roots in perfumery. I'm sorry I skipped Big Band music but unless Ella was singing on it, I'd rather hear Bop. Ok; it depends on the piece of music. I try not to discriminate against any perfume genre, either. Tonight, I'll be dreaming about what Polo Sport Woman would smell like. Maybe it'll be exactly like Silver Mountain Water and maybe it'll be '90s cucumber melon-y.

The Fragrance of the Moment is Declaration Essence (For Men). I already liked Declaration but I like Declaration Essence, too. I don't like the Essence bottle, however; the simple clear bottle without the cobalt blue is much more appealing to me. This sample was sent to me by the same perfpal who sent along my first vial of Cartier Delices and I'm so grateful to get to try it because it's really a great scent. It reminds me of Eau de Cartier with the sharp, herbaceous notes but instead of the fuzzy warm peach in Eau de Cartier, Declaration Essence has a definitive woodsy character. It's very bold and streamlined, a modern scent that could be gorgeous on a man but it's a stylish, simple yet sophisticated scent for a woman. There is no obvious aftershave-like note that I can detect. It dries down with a faint but sharp, citrusy-herbaceous freshness against the dry woodsiness of cedar and birchwood. I think it's stunning and it's not anything like my usual sweet, ultrafeminine scents.

I guess I'm still in the mood for woods as long as it's an interesting blend like this one. There are so few woodsy scents that don't remind me of meditating at a Buddhist temple with burning incense. That's not a bad thing to smell like, by the way, but smoky isn't always easy for me to wear. There are exceptions here, too, like Gris Clair which is smoky (breathy) but cool and sweet.

Some people don't like cool scents at all. I like warm, too, but I can't imagine always wanting to smell warm, especially in the heat. Many perfumes that I like have been described by others as smelling "cold", "metallic" and "shrieking". I think these are similar to some music reviews I've received such as "the guitars are too heavy" and "the drums are too loud". As usual, I like my own taste the best and I think everybody else should like what they like, too. But I think I should say that Declaration Essence would be an avant garde type of scent for most people. It's as soft and comforting as a block of wood. It rocks.

Notes from Imagination Perfumery, UK:

Cartier Declaration Essence for Men (2001)
Notes: Birch wood, Bergamot, Bitter orange, Juniperwood, Artemisia, Cardamom, Cold spices, Cistus, Everlasting flower, Pepper, Teak, Oak, Cedar wood, Vetiver.

The original Declaration is also a fabulous scent and very similar to Essence but not as spicy and more bracing to me:
Cartier Declaration for Men (1998)
Notes: Birch wood, Bergamot, Bitter orange, Juniperwood, Artemisia, Cardamom, Cold spices, Oak, Cedar wood, Vetiver.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

SoaD Is Good For Your Health

What kind of music do you like to exercise to (and I don't mean exorcise)? Me: System of a Down (SoaD), Linkin Park and Evanescence are my current Top 3 choices. Tool works for me, too.

The beaches in NYC open this Saturday!

Today

It's hot! I'm wearing La Chasse aux Papillons (Chasing Butterflies) and the light citrusy white floral composition is faring well in this heat. It's no wonder it's been my spring-summer staple for a few years. Today, I'm reminded of how much I adore it. I still want something light and comfortable to wear but less floral for this summer. Enjoy your day, everyone!

Spa Scents

That's what I've decided to call fresh, sporty scents that are easy to work out and sweat in. How many of these do you think there are out there? Probably tons but I can't seem to find any to call my own. I love Creed Silver Mountain Water: it's a bit musky and heavy for a Marine fragrance but I love the blackcurrant in it and to me it has an appealing freshness. I also liked Eau de Cartier for a short while until I realized that on me, the dry down was too powdery-peachy, like fuzzy peach skin. I prefer juicier, fresher (non-powdery) peach if I'm to wear it. I heard recently that Ralph Lauren Polo Sport Woman (1994) is similar to Silver Mountain Water so I decided to give it a try (somehow I missed the launch and how everybody supposedly wore it--I also never wore Tommy Girl). My mini should arrive in a few days so I'll let you know how it goes. I hope it's a new Marine love.

I'm still interested in Green except so many of them turn powdery or soapy on me. O de Lancome and Bulgari Green Tea are not for me. I remember liking Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Jasmine and the classic Chanel No.19 but they seem too flowery and/or powdery. Balmain Ivoire and the discontinued Deneuve are gorgeous Green Florals but they are a little too sophisticated and chypratic for me to consider Spa scents. I have tried Alfred Sung Spa and I don't think I liked it at all. I'm iffy about Greens as some dry down with a terribly plant sap-like smell which I don't enjoy on my skin. Acqua di Gio--this is a fabulous Marine Floral but still a bit heavy on dry down. I don't want straight citruses because they bore me unless they're blended with more exciting notes, plus some like Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien turn powdery on me. I don't want white musk such as Philosophy Amazing Grace, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue or Dior Addict 2 because I don't find white musk clean-smelling but also rather powdery in a cloying way.

I love the new airy Gourmands like Gris Clair or L'Instant de Guerlain but I don't think I want to work out wearing very sweet scents, no matter how light they are made. I'm currently undecided about the new Guerlain Tutti Kiwi (it dries down a bit woody and tea-like, which is nice but it seems like a more sedentary kind of fragrance than I want) and Marc Jacobs Grass which I think smells like vibrant fresh cut grass but if I wear it longterm, I think it's too sweet and a lot like Be Delicious, a sweet green apple blend which I bought at first sniff (loved it) and then never wore again. I may try Guerlain Herba Fresca which I've read is a bracing, easy-to-wear scent with mint--sure sounds refreshing but I prefer peppermint over spearmint which is the type of mint in it. I might as well finally try Tommy Girl. I must have seen it and walked by it many times but now's the time to try it on my skin while I'm on this weird and sudden fresh fragrance kick. I'm open to suggestions!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Murphy's Law

Whatever will go wrong will go wrong.

Do you know the Serenity Prayer? This is the petit version:

"God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference"

There never were truer, wiser, more powerful words. We can't change whatever will go wrong that will go wrong but we can change how we deal with that fact.

So I think I just gotta grow up and find a way to change the situation best I can.

What's my problem? I can't find my little grey pouch in which I keep my current favorite perfume samples. I also had a couple of decants in there. I will keep on looking, but here's what was in that pouch:

Serge Lutens Gris Clair
Serge Lutens Un Lys
Van Cleef & Arpels Gem (I suspect now this was EDP or parfum because I recently had a chance to compare with a vintage EDT version)
Cartier Delices
Hermes Un Jardin en Mediteranee
Chanel Cuir de Russie
There were some rare vintage samples in there, too.

Thankfully, I'm not in immediate need for those fragrances. In any case, my Fragrance of the Moment is Chantecaille Frangipane which is very faint after almost 10 hours or so. I'm enjoying this phase.

Music: I'm listening to a mixing session. It's good and loud.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Eric Dolphy: Out To Lunch!

Tonight's Music: What sounds most cerebral and yet messes your mind up with the sickest grooves? Eric Dolphy. I recommend "Out to Lunch!", 1964, for a mindbending experience. He was a classically trained virtuoso on saxophone, clarinet (bass clarinet, occasionally B-flat soprano) and flute whose unique style of Jazz sparked controversy over what defined Jazz. He died at 36 from complications stemming from diabetes (for more info, please check out this mini review which I enjoyed reading).

Perfume: I'm contemplating the classics tonight. I don't usually wear classic perfumes but if I were to ask myself which ones I think everyone should smell once, I'd say Jean Patou Joy, Chanel No.5 and Guerlain Shalimar, in full parfum strength if possible. My favorite of the 3 is Joy, which is often referred to as an old-fashioned sweet floral, but I love it for those reasons plus the fact that quality-wise, it doesn't come better than that. Joy parfum to me is the standard of what "fine French perfume" is to me, and no matter how you feel about heady, noxious jasmine and Bulgarian rose essences, you can't deny the quality once you've experienced it. Joy is to perfume what analog sounds are to music--full-bodied and warmer than digital (or what headspace is to perfume).

I love Joy and do occasionally wear it but it's a big perfume that takes guts to wear. I think it's one of the most beautiful smells in the world. I also think it smells a little dangerous, like the essence of pure luxury with all its haughtiness and greed. But I admit it's a mood fragrance for me; on most days, I prefer something a little less obviously floral. When it comes to classic Floral, there is none other for me.

Shalimar which I also love (and might put on in a little while) is the classic spicy, sexy Oriental that fools you with lemony freshness and steals your heart with a sweetly seductive and bodacious vanillic base. Chanel No.5 is the star, the most modern perfume in its time: a powdery abstract (non-flowery) floral that's so downy it makes you feel like you've transformed into a swan. So, why don't I wear these perfect perfumes, these celebrated and timeless classics if they're still made with the best ingredients and are the status symbols of luxury around the world? The simple answer would be that there are perfumes I like better. Blasphemy? Perhaps, but generally, I like perfumes which incorporate both real essences and technologically advanced ingredients. Maybe the perfumes I love are a little bit like Eric Dolphy: slightly off kilter and always looking to the future--the essence of mod.

My Hands Are On Vacation

Fragrance of the Moment: My own, baby. Pink Manhattan, that is. LOL.

My hands hurt from making too many bottles this week so I'm taking a vacation. I need my hands for playing music so once my side biz gets in the way of that, I have to take a break. People around me think I'm nuts for doing all this labor myself anyway but I'm a perfectionist and I like making stuff.

I'm serious...my hands really are not in good shape right now. But I don't say this just to kvetch as I'm very happy to have gone all out. I made 30 of these babies (all by hand--labels, sleeves, the perfume itself) for a promotional event that one of the boutiques that carries my line has asked me to be involved in come fall. I've donated these plus 30 copies of the Pink Manhattan CD for the charity which I'll post about again when the time gets closer. The sets I sent out this month are going to magazine editors through this boutique in hopes that one of them will bite and give us a writeup in their magazine before the event. Please wish us the best! Pink Manhattan has gone from a teeny tiny indie gamble of a launch, a limited edition launch of only 100 handmade pieces just as part of the CD debut but a year later, it's turned into a small underground hit of its own in places like LA (I mean it's still selling slowly and it's an unknown brand with no celebrity following but among the cult perfume lovers it's gaining some popularity by word-of-mouth). I'm actually quite blown away as I didn't expect it to take off like this. I thank all of my customers, carriers and friends for your continued support.

Will I do this kind of promo again? I'll answer that after I land a writeup! I'm not making anything from this charity and neither is the boutique. But like I said before, you either promote yourself or you have to pay someone to do it for you, right? It is charity and going to a good cause; it will be worth it.

So my hands and I are on vacation!! I'm attending a beautiful little girl's 5th birthday party today so I'm feeling absolutely fabulous like I'm going to a princess' ball. I'm going in royal style and someone's going to have to literally feed me the cake! What do you mean it's not my birthday? I'm on vacation, I say!

The Perfect Couple: Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio

I haven't written about Men's fragrances until now but that's because there are truly so few that move me enough to write about. Acqua di Gio Pour Homme (for Men) is one of them. You have to try it on your skin to see if it smells good on you, of course, but Acqua di Gio is the fragrance that I tend to recommend when asked which Men's I think someone should buy. It's very light and sporty, nothing complicated. I also like L'eau d'Issey or Creed Silver Mountain Water on some guys but Acqua di Gio (Gio sounds like Joe) is my long-standing Marine fave. It's fresh and aqueous but it doesn't seem to dry down terribly ozonic and obnoxiously perfumy like many other Men's colognes.

There are so few perfume duos that I think are well done but here is a perfect couple of soul mates: Acqua di Gio donna (for Women) is also really nice, although I smell lots more warm base notes in the Women's which register as being heavy when the fresh top notes fade (at that stage, it reminds me of the original Gio). Still, I would call it a fresh and clean type of scent, pretty in a humble way without being a total silent wallflower. It's still got enough sex appeal to go from day-into-night and fits into any urban landscape. I think it has romantic flair as well; it has some florals in it and doesn't seem too-too sporty to me.

Acqua di Gio has family on both sides. The body products (I've only tried the Women's) are also fun to experience, although I'm not big on using scented body products on the whole, only because I like to get squeaky clean when I bathe and these products tend to leave residue on skin. But once in awhile, scented soaps, gels, lotions and scrubs can spice up an otherwise routine and boring bathing ritual. I have the Acqua di Gio body shampoo and exfoliating gel. The exfoliating gel is my fave because the sandy texture of the gel brings the "I'm at the beach getting friendly with nature" fantasy right to the ceramic tub (it's better to use in the shower, though, not a bath).

Now, I know these scents are beyond popular--they are so popular that they're considered new classics by many people. I admit I've bought Acqua di Gio at drugstores in the suburban boroughs of NY. However, it's clear to me why these are the Marine classics that they are: they smell rather good from first sniff and don't disappoint as they evolve warmly on skin like the beach air and summer sun.

On Sephora's site:
Acqua di Gio Pour Homme (M) 1996
Marine Notes, Mandarin, Bergamot, Neroli, Persimmon, Rosemary, Nasturtium, Jasmine, Amber, Patchouli, Cistus.

Jan Moran's notes:
Acqua di Gio (W) Fresh Floral 1995
Top: Sweet pea, sea spray
Heart: Jasmine, freesia, Muscat grapes, white hyacinth
Base: Musk, woods

Monday, May 22, 2006

Body and Soul

Fragrance of the Moment: none.

Tonight's Music Playlist: The Killers. People ask me if I'm into The Bravery and My Chemical Romance because I'm into The Killers and all I can say is, although those bands have pretty good songs, none have captured me like the songs by The Killers, probably largely due to the fact that I think Brandon Flowers is an excellent singer whose tone I enjoy as much as the precision of his pitch and the control of his phrasings. You don't have to sing vocal acrobatics to impress me at all, but I enjoy listening to singers who can wow me. I also just happen to like the 5 songs on Hot Fuss that I like. I could love a band and still not like many of their songs, as it turns out.

I also like System of a Down and will probably listen to them later. This is a band that wows me and amuses me at the same time. I appreciate the quality of the musicianship of each player in this band (at least on the recording--I have not heard them live). The singer's voice is not what I'd call beautiful but he delivers and entertains with power.

I was told recently by a Dreampop/Psychedic singer-songwriter that she felt that my music had a theatrical element. I thought that was a good assessment of my sound (and to be expected from someone whose music is very light and ethereal, nothing hard-hitting or dark). It's funny because I'm probably drawn to music that has a dramatic element as well. We also prefer very different keys.

I find there's always an exception to every rule. I can appreciate more cerebral forms of music in the same way I can appreciate perfume compositions that don't have shock value or anything bold about it. Of course, it would take a very special song and perfume to rock my world when it's that intentionally cerebral without any physically stirring quality to it. But on the whole, I like things that move me both body and soul. Does that make me a sensationalist? Probably, but only to a degree. I don't care for mindless sensationalism in the least. Or do I?

Jasmin

Musicians from 10 countries can now sell their music on CD Baby (www.cdbaby.net) in their native languages. I think that's cool. The translations were supposedly done by real native speakers, not auto translators.

The languages added were: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portugese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (simplified and traditional). Hopefully soon, more languages will be added and translations will hopefully become available on CD Baby, the store (www.cdbaby.com) so people can browse the shop and read musicians' bios in their native languages as well.

Please look for me at CD Baby and Tower.com. See you there!

Tonight's Fragrance: Le Labo Jasmin 17

It was perfect on this cool spring night. I had the best steamed veggies (not overcooked and mushy), rugalach and coffee tonight at a late night diner. Gotta love NY for that.

Music Playlist: assorted classical: the music of Beethoven and Mozart, primarily.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Turn Up the Night

Today, I wore that discontinued sweet vanilla floral sample all day, absolutely loving it! I figured out that it's like a cross between the original Comptoir Sud Pacifique Tiare (beachy white floral-vanilla that's very sweet but also juicy, with a faint touch of coconut), their newer Vanille Peche (which I don't really love but it's a toffee caramel-type of peach-vanilla; remember Mentos candies?) and a cult perfume known as Monyette which is only sold at niche perfume boutiques (also beachy in a suntan lotion way; white floral-nag champa incense with green top notes of lilies--hypersweet and rich/heavy). But now that the evening is about to approach, I want a sharper, clearer, somehow sexier, more sophisticated perfume. What to reach for when I want chic vanilla? Well, my latest obsession is Serge Lutens Gris Clair which I've talked about before but for those of you just tuning in for the first time, Gris Clair is far.........from a pretty perfume. It's more of a manly-ish unisex aromatic scent on an airy but dry- wooded vanillic-sweet (tonka) base, if you can imagine that. The coolness of lavender meets something like cotton candy in a carpenter's workshop. Yes, it's wild, it rocks, and it's been my favorite nighttime scent for this spring. I'm still working on finishing my decant but it's going quickly.

Gris Clair means "clear grey" in French (and if you're wondering how to pronounce words in foreign languages, check this useful site out). The scent is evocative of rocks and mountains in the summer. Personally, I don't know how wearable it would be in the heat of summer but I fully plan to test it out. I'm thinking that I must be highly suggestive because I love this imagery so much, it might be half the reason I'm as into it as I am. I like grey as a color (technically a shade, not a color, I know) and I like the slender, tall, simple lines of the bottle which I have yet to own. Could I also just be attracted to the concept of rocks? Well, sure, because I love Rock (music--hehe) and I even like rocks--ask people close to me and they'll tell you that I like rocks more than flowers.

There's another rock-inspired perfume which I enjoy wearing from time to time when I'm in the mood for vintage: Caron Fleurs de Rocaille (1933), a perfume name which evokes the imagery of flowers in a rock garden. The scent itself is very evocative: a little moist like the earth, its heart a humble bouquet of flowers and complete with a little aldehydic sparkle, we have the rock garden. Was I drawn to this perfume because of its name, too? Actually, I'm not sure. I know that when I went to Caron Boutique (NYC), the first things I wanted to try were their lightest floral perfumes and this was one of them. On the whole, it's a quiet but somewhat heady and romantic floral bouquet with a mossy (musty to some) earthiness, a very retro scent, nothing at all contemporary-smelling about it and it's also what I love about it. They don't make scents like that anymore so I appreciate it as part of history. Fleurs de Rocaille had a starring moment in an Al Pacino film called "Scent of a Woman". It's just a tangent but I thought you might want to know.

Shower, perfume, I'm off.

According to Jan Moran:
Caron Fleurs de Rocaille (Floral) 1933

(Not the newly reformulated Fleur (no "s") de Rocaille (1993))

Top: Lily of the valley, clover
Heart: Rose, violet, lilac, jasmine, iris
Base: Sandalwood, musk, civet

Friday, May 19, 2006

Lush

Skip the woods, just give me hypersweet vanilla with fleshy, tropical white florals in the mix. This is fabulous! Why, oh, why do I have to fall in love with a discontinued perfume? Someone just sent me a sample of something delicious and I can't find a full bottle of it anywhere. I can't tell you what it is because you might bid against me on eBay if it ever comes up (page me if you really need to know). I've searched everywhere and it's as if it never existed; I can't even find the notes in the composition or the launch year and yet, here it is on my wrist: the perfect Floral Gourmand potion of dreams: sweet, feminine, warm, scrumptious, almost caramelly. Sigh. Well, at least I have similar fragrances to enjoy while I try to hunt this one down.

I have something very similar to it that's also sweet and lush: Comptoir Sud Pacifique Tiare. You may have heard of Aloha Tiare but the one I have is called Tiare, the original Comptoir Sud Pacifique creation, the first of the delectable series in a tropical motif. Most scents in the line are vanillic-sweet, fruity-sweet or aqueous-fresh (ozonic). Funny thing is, this line is supposedly looked down upon in France from where it hails for being juvenile and unsophisticated scents, only suitable for the young, but they seem to sell well among adults around the world regardless.

I do think Tiare is an ice cream-like scent, as far from being proper and refined as the East Village is from the Upper East Side, but I'm not against fun and casual scents nor rock-n-roll for that matter, plus it's another one that consistently gets raves. Sad news: This one's discontinued, too! What's the deal with all these good ones disappearing? At least there's a new, reformulated version called Aloha Tiare in production. I haven't worn Aloha Tiare long enough to know how different it is or if the ingredients have been downgraded, but if that new tin bottle instead of the beautiful aqua glass that it used to be in is any indication, I don't doubt that it just ain't the same.

Here are the notes on the company site:

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aloha Tiare/Tiare (1984)
Top: Frangipani leaf
Heart: Tiare flower, ylang
Base: Monoi, coconut, benzoin, vanilla, musk

Mingus and Coffee

Today's Playlist: Charles Mingus: Blues & Roots

Last night, after hearing someone refer to herself as a Type B personality, I did a little cybersearchin' and came across some personality tests.

Are you a Type A, Type B or Type C personality? Take this test. It's a bit long.

You might be a Type D. Take that quiz here. Supposedly, Type D should watch out for their cardiovascular health more than some other types. I don't mean to scare ya--It's just what this test is about.

For a description of each type (A-D), check this out. The only thing is, I'm not sure if the descriptions of the types match the tests or not.

Speaking of our hearts and our temperaments, Charles Mingus is notorious for having been a mad tyrant who made life very difficult for his band members. He was 56 when he died of a heart attack.

Fragrance of the Moment: Guerlain Attrape-Coeur. After last night's Spring Flower revisit, I realized that I'm not in a floral phase anymore but in a tonka-amber-woods phase. I'm craving fragrances with vanillic sweetness. Floral is still OK as long as it's not predominantly flowery but an abstract blend of floral, fruity and/or Oriental/Gourmand. Attrape-Coeur is boldly wooded and supremely base-heavy like Mingus' music.

Rainy days and coffee are a perfect marriage. Keep on boppin'. Blues & Roots is a phenomenal album.

Pretty, Womanly, Pink: Creed Spring Flower

Creed Spring Flower is my longest standing favorite. Since discovering it about 5-6 years ago, I'd say it's the most beautiful perfume that I hardly ever wear anymore. I still believe it to be one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous perfumes I've ever known. Be warned: traditional Floral lovers might find it too modern: cool and sporty with sharp, high-pitched green fruit notes such as apple and melon. I smell sparkly, citrusy bergamot as well. I've heard this lovely scent being called cheap, pedestrian and all kinds of names on the perfume forums. I secretly suspect it's mostly because it's a happy, pink scent marketed to women, not girls. Some people seem uncomfortable with anything that's marketed to women that still have some youthful girlishness about it. Well, I can understand the discomfort because very powdery scents remind me of babies and I can't believe women want to smell like them, so we're all entitled to our individual perceptions. I'm fine with fragrances that have coolness weaving through to fit active lifestyles. It's classified as a Floral but I would call it a fresh Fruity Floral with a somewhat sophisticated yet pink and dare I say, pretty, character.

Conversely, very young people might perceive Spring Flower as being more of a retro type of scent because many young women dislike Floral, which is fine by me because that translates to me as the perfume having a romantic vibe, which it does. Many men I've come across have loved this perfume enough to ask for its name to buy for a loved one. Spring Flower appeals to me because it's cool and crisp, not warm and rich. Analyze my taste as you may but Spring Flower will turn heads whenever I wear it. Truth be told, women have stopped me to ask about it, too, saying it smells beautiful.

So why don't I wear it as a signature? I think I stopped wearing it regularly for 3 reasons: 1. I notice a slightly powdery white musk-type of note in it which I just don't care for. It's the same type of musk I find in countless mainstream perfumes that smell good to me until the final dry down. 2. Apple notes have unfortunately been showing up in everything from dishwashing liquids to pesticides and thus may have ruined apple for me, and 3. sometimes I find it too sweet and flowery on the whole. My taste changes, too, and I'm OK with that. No matter how my taste changes, Spring Flower will always be connected to some of the happiest memories of my life and so I'll always want this scent around. I hope it never gets discontinued and I hope you'll discover it while it's still in production. (Image: Creed Spring Flower 2.5 fl oz. and 1.7 fl. oz. leather atomizer, from my own collection)


According to Basenotes, Spring Flower was created in the mid-eighties for Audrey Hepburn and launched to the public in 1996, three years after her death.

Creed Spring Flower (1996)
Notes: melon, apple, peach, jasmine, rose

Some sources have included musk, ambergris and/or cedar.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Subtle, Not Lukewarm

Today: Chantecaille Frangipane (again, since last night). It's so subtle and yet so perfect with a semi-powdery, semi-musky, semi-sweet fruity-cocoalike aspect. But thankfully, lukewarm it's not; subtle, yes, but it fulfills my desire for a sweet and delicious skin scent. It's also to me just modern enough that it doesn't seem like a round, smooth, powdery, retro type of fragrance but more of an angular counterpoint between fresh (water notes) and sweet (white florals and Oriental/Gourmand notes) with a hint of powder to blur the sharpest edges. It's musky but not a sweaty musk; it's to me dry and slightly sharp (like ginger musk) and maybe just a tad BO-like, in a good way.


I don't understand the appeal in fragrances that don't lean on one side or the other or seem afraid to risk juxtaposing extremes on both sides at once. I like "hot" or "cold" or "hot and cold" but not lukewarm. Subtle is different--subtle to me means a smaller dosage of something interesting.

A total tangent: The Hermes I tested yesterday turned way too flowery on dry down so unfortunately it's a no-go for me, but I'm so happy to have had the chance to test it. It always makes a difference to test run a perfume for an entire day because you can't always smell the dry down stage inside a store where a cacophony of scents get in the way of perception. I've tested perfumes that I thought I loved, only to buy them, bring them home and realize that I didn't like them at all. "Take it slow" is good advice from a sage I came across on my perfume journey.

It's gotta be all or nothing for me; I won't settle for lukewarm anything.

Linkin Park

I love Linkin Park. I like many songs by this band but my favorite recording is Numb. I like the collaboration with Jay-Z version, too. I think it's just the most awesome song and everything about it is top notch--the production, the song itself, the performance. The lyrics move me, the keyboard parts are hooks unto themselves and played by beautiful sounds. The guitar sound on the recording is powerful and drives the lyrics home. Excellent singer. To me, it's all that a song should be in under three-and-a-half minutes.

(Image: Linkin Park Meteora sheet music, www.sheetmusicplus.com)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Green!

We have sun! It doesn't look like it's going to rain at all. Do we have manic-depressive weather or something?

Fragrance of the Moment: Hermes Un Jardin en Méditerranée--It's very leafy-green but light and citrusy, my kind of green (not powdery soft green but fresh, sharp green). It reminds me of L'Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier but without the coconut note. I think Un Jardin en Méditerranée would be a great office scent because it's a clean scent with no muskiness or any heaviness that I can detect.

According to Basenotes:
Un Jardin en Méditerranée (2003)
Notes: Fig Woods and Leaves, Orange Blossom, Bergamot, White Oleander

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Waiting For the Sun

The sun came out in the late afternoon today. The forecast says we should expect rain until next Monday, though thankfully it seems that the worst is over in New England. We're expecting thunderstorms in the next couple of days.



My fragrance tonight is the new and fabulous Délices de Cartier again. If I like it enough to finish the sample vials (one from a perfpal and one from Cartier), I might buy it instead of Serge Lutens Gris Clair. I like them both and find them similar. To me, they're sweet but somewhat airy and minimalist (modern) Gourmands with cool notes and florals on an ambery-woody-vanillic (tonka--similar to vanilla but some say it smells "breathy") base. Gris Clair is much cooler on top with herbaceous notes while Délices is more citrusy to me. However, I'm just not sure if I like the type of musk in Délices. It registers as a clean yet sweaty type of musk which I usually can't tolerate, like the kind in J Lo Glow or its predecessor, China Rain.

We'll see. In the meantime, my current perfume obsessions are: Le Labo Jasmin 17, Chantecaille Frangipane, Guerlain Attrape-Coeur, Van Cleef Gem (I guess I'm still not completely over it--It's just so fascinating being unabashedly ultraperfumy) and I'm wearing Chanel Chance and V&R Flowerbomb, enjoying them very much for the past couple of days and nights (or has it been hours? It's easy to lose track in a dark recording studio).

Also, my decant of Attrape-Coeur from my beautiful perfbuddy arrived today and I'm forever grateful that she sent enough to tide me over for a good, long while (Gee, don't I sound like the hopeless perfume addict that I am?). Actually, I have so many people to thank for the perfume packages I've received. I plan to have loads of fun with some exquisite scents this week! I already have waiting in the wings: Hermes Un Jardin en Méditerranée, 10 Corso Como and some hard-to-find vintage beauties.

Five Jews (A Forward That Made Me Laugh)


Five Jews That Changed the Way We See the World:


Moses: “The law is everything”
Jesus: “Love is everything”
Marx: “Money is everything”
Freud: “Sex is everything”
Einstein: “Everything is relative”



(Image: Marc Chagall, Exodus (Moses with the Ten Commandments), 1952-1966)

Grey

"What is the deal with the flooding in New England?" "It's not even a hurricane but just constant rain, right?"

Conversations are wrapped around rain today and I too wonder about the amount of water that our Earth can handle. I feel terrible for New Englanders who have had to evacuate and who have lost so much. It's rainy again in NYC and the color of our skies are a dreary grey. I like grey and monochrome in general but I don't like this grey and I don't even want to wear Gris Clair, my favorite grey perfume. I'm not sure I feel like perfume just yet this AM.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rainy Town

Coffee. Not that I drink it all the time, but on a grey, rainy Monday morning in NY, it's like a necessity to get myself going.

Today, I'm going to one of my odd freelance jobs in entertainment: Voice overs. The most entertaining part is that I get to pretend I have a semi-authentic Japanese accent for this project. I say semi because they want me to keep my "L"s and "R"s distinctively separate (in Japanese there is neither but there is a sound that resembles both, thus the difficulty in pronouncing them for many Japanese) but they want that FOB sound that's still easy to understand. LOL.

Fragrance of the Moment: Chanel Chance. Actually, I haven't decided yet, but I think it's one of the few "career" fragrances that I own. Wasn't I looking for an office holy grail perfume recently? I need more of them for days like these.

One of the songs from the Yuming project (Rainy Town) is #7 on the Broadjam Electronic Trance Top 10 chart today. Well, whadayaknow?

Tonite

Music Playlist: REM "The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)", Foo Fighters, Staind, The Killers, indie artist Sheldon Tarsha "You Are Everything".

Fragrance of the Moment: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. Peace, everyone.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mr. Brightside

Today's Music: The Killers

Somebody Told Me
Mr. Brightside
Smile Like You Mean It
Under the Gun
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine

In that order.

Mr. Brightside reminds me of "Born Slippy" on the Trainspotting soundtrack. Does anyone else think so?

What an incredible voice this man has. His vibrato hits in all the right places and it's a rich, silky, gorgeous tone that still "cuts", especially when he hits the highs and his tone gets grittier. Brandon Flowers is a great singer--That. Is. All. Nice keyboard parts, too.

Fragrance of the Moment: None

I Make It For Mamma

In 1975, perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain created Parure in homage to his mother. The blend is a sophisticated and regal counterpoint of purple notes (plum, lilac, orris (like violets)) against an elegant leathery mossy chypre accord for a woman of discerning taste.

In 1987, Nina was born, a perfume created by Robert Ricci with perfumer Christian Vacchiano. He dedicated this namesake perfume to Nina Ricci, his mother. The perfume is an understated and lovely fresh powdery floral with notes of cassis, marigold, rose, violet, iris, white flowers, sandalwood and vetiver. Let's also not forget...

Mamma made perfume, too. Back in 1927, Lanvin launched Arpege, a perfume which Lanvin owner-couturier Jeanne Lanvin had created with perfumers Paul Vacher and Andre Fraysse for her daughter's 30th birthday. The theme of the perfume is musical (arpeggio, a succession of musical notes) because her daughter was an opera singer.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Cartier Rocks

No, I'm not talking about their jewellery--I'm talking about how they actually sent me a sample of their new Délices fragrance after I filled out their online request form awhile back. Not only is it a real sample filled with actual fragrance (unlike how some places only give out sprayed ribbons--exactly how do we try that on our skin?), the sample is in a GLASS vial, not plastic. There aren't too many companies that still shell out for the lovely and classy, beautiful glass vials; maybe Chanel still does--I don't know--but I am so throughly a Cartier fan as of this moment.

Délices de Cartier (2006)

Top: Sicilian bergamot, iced cherry, pink pepper
Heart: Jasmine, violet, freesia
Base: White sandalwood, amber, tonka bean

The perfume inside the glass vial is as delicious-smelling as its name and concept. It's warm, sweet, floral-ambery-woody and musky. It reminds me of Guerlain Attrape-Coeur in fact. Wow! This may be all I need.

From Diorissimo To Coquette Tropique: A Post To Say I Love You, Mom

I love my mother dearly and each year, I'm learning to appreciate her more and more. It hasn't always been smooth sailing between us as we have many differences in the ways that we think and see the world. She and I both feel generational and cultural gaps as well as the occasional language barrier that challenge us but we have learned to be more open-minded (isn't openmindedness one of the best traits in a person? :-)) and patient (a hard one!) to see eachother's points.

She's Classical, I'm everything else. She's Renoir, I'm Dali. She's deep burgundy, I'm icy pink. She loved Guerlain Mitsouko perfume, I still don't get it. But we go out of our ways to see the other side, like when she kept her TV tuned to BET On Jazz to learn a little about the music that I love. I've learned not to run away when she talks about her love of all of the finer things in life such as gemstones and cameos, little white gloves and parasols to keep the sun away all summer long. I know, Mom is wise.

She taught me about perfume and she herself had always loved fine French parfums until recently when she gave a nod to my indie perfume creation and even found a place in her heart for Aquolina Pink Sugar. This is a woman who only wore classic perfumes in parfum only, no other concentration. She is a serial signature perfume lover who wears one perfume at a time, using a precious drop every day until her bottle is empty. She sticks with one perfume for years. My perfuming style must seem terribly wasteful to her but she has never judged me for my love of perfume.

Her perfumes over the years were Diorissimo, Bal a Versailles, the aforementioned Mitsouko, Jean Patou Joy and Chanel Coco. She can't tolerate certain new perfumes that I like; Coquette Tropique or Agent Provocateur she finds akin to air freshener or worse. Likewise, I can't always get into her vintage favorites although we can agree on Joy parfum which she no longer wears so I can enjoy it when I occasionally want to. However, I think we both realize that our tastes in perfume have little to do with our generation gap and more to do with our individual perceptions of scent.

For instance, she has always found aldehydic florals such as Chanel No.5 and Van Cleef First old-fashioned. Just because I'm younger than she, it doesn't mean I like every new perfume out there or find them particularly youthful, either. I happen to like many perfumes that are too green for her taste--Green being an olfactive family that she associates with a bygone era. She is not moved by the glorious Eau du Soir, a relatively new perfume creation that could easily have been launched in the '60s alongside Yves Saint-Laurent Y.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and to all my dear readers: may this be a day of fun and gratitude for those who have Mom around, and a warm and meaningful day of rememberance for those who have not.

Challenge of the Day: Iris

My mother grows irises in her garden and they're beautiful! I'm determined to love an iris perfume and so today I've gathered all of my samples for a little experiment. Here are my briefest impressions of them all. I have analyzed them from the beginning stages to the drydowns but again, this is a quick first run. They weren't all as austere as I once thought.

Hermes Hiris--Very nice, although it's not my type of scent being a well-mannered soapy-flowery green floral but it's beautifully orchestrated. I like the smell of the dirt and stemmy greens along with the floral notes in the opening. It's not too powdery and not too sweet but the drydown reminds me of Estee Lauder Pleasures, a transparent aqueous green floral which I just don't find appealing. But you might, so give it a try. Fresh, dainty, humble.

The Different Company Bois d'Iris--This is lovely if you like spicy floral skin scents in the Frederic Malle L'eau d'Hiver vein. Compared to L'eau d'Hiver which smells terrible on me, this is much more wearable and pleasant. My impression of the iris in this is spicy but soft. Iris, like violet, is actually a sharp green note with a woody type of earthiness. It hits the nose in a somewhat round way which makes the sharpness muted to the nose, similar to how a trumpet can be muted. Bois d'Iris also has a bit of the dirt note in it but it has a pleasant kind of clean quality that's not overly soapy or Pleasures-like. It's also a bit delicious--almost an almond scent but isn't. I like it a lot but it still seems too spicy and simultaneously quiet for me. I'll return to this to retest for sure. A sophisticated iris with some warmth.

Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist--This isn't even available here in the US so it's a good thing it's not love. It starts out a lot like The Different Company Bois d'Iris to my nose, only less spicy (but still spicy) and a little bit sweeter. It turns a bit...peachy? It reminds me of Boucheron Jaipur Saphir and Eau de Cartier. I like the base in this very much; it's not too warm but just warm enough that it's not smoky. It's woody but not in a musky-warm sandalwoody way, more earthy-fresh, a flowers-in-the-dirt scent. I'll test this again, too. Sophisticated, softly powdery and old-fashioned, reminds me of sweet violets, similar to Guerlain Apres L'Ondee.

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre--Not my type of scent being an aldehydic (powdery) floral in the Chanel No.5 vein, only with an ambery-sandalwoody, very warm and musky, spicy (carnation-clovey) thing going on. It reminds me of Chanel Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie, Jean Patou L'Heure Attendue and Lady Stetson. If you like warm, musky and woody scents, this is your iris. Is it sexy iris? Why not? It's rather smoky. However, the aldehydic note makes it simultaneously classic-like.

Givenchy Ysatis Iris--Here's a totally different iris, one that's blended beautifully with fresh fruits. It's the prettiest iris of the bunch, or the one that I think would have the widest appeal, anyway. It's aqueous but not too sporty, a semi-clean (though not soapy) type of scent, cool and mysteriously powdery (only slightly) like the porcelain skin scent of dreams. I enjoy this cool type of flowery which isn't at all Pleasures-like (green soapy flowery) but more Creed Spring Flower-like (fresh fruity floral), a perfume I adore. It also reminds me of Un Amour de Patou, another fresh floral with a subtle fruit note to balance elegance with playfulness. Ysatis Iris doesn't smell like earth, root or dirt like the other irises and some may argue that Ysatis Iris doesn't smell like irises at all. Maybe too sweet and cutsey for some.

Animalic

It's so nice to be out of my no-perfume phase at last. Today's Fragrance: Le Labo Jasmin 17. It's official, even though no one else smells it but me: the dry down of Jasmin 17 is almost identical to the dry downs of Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur and Lolita Lempicka "L". All three were created by the same nose (and team), Maurice Roucel. The word in perfumeville is that he works backward, meaning he builds his compositions from the dry down or bottom up. I always thought that this animalic (or indolic) note I smelled in Jasmine 17 was Sambac jasmine, but then I'd read somewhere that animalic notes are added to (synthetic) jasmine (to simulate natural jasmine oil which is indolic). Here's a definition of animalic on perfumersworld.com:

..."Animalic. Animalic notes may be best described as Faecal and unpleasant. However, experienced perfumers recognise that in extreme dilution or clever combination they often display a very pleasant note. Civet Absolute is very faecal at 100% but at 0.1% gives a Lily Of The Valley note. Good use of animalic notes gives a perfume a natural character"....

Hmm...interesting. So, if I like Jasmin 17 for its dry down, does that mean I like the fecal element in it? I have to face the truth and say yes, that must be what it is that Maurice Roucel keeps using in his bases that I'm apparently hooked on. What kind of a freak am I that I like the smell of civet? Civet according to Wikipedia:

..."Civet musk is gathered by scraping it out of the civet's anal sacs, a very painful process"....

It's horrible. That's why civet absolute is synthetic today. By the way, I think it's fascinating how lily of the valley is created with civet absolute. That would mean those clean and proper greens are really down and dirty scents in camouflage.

Heaven ain't close in a place like this




Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight


(woo hoo...hoo!)

More Love Songs

Frankie J:
Don't Wanna Try

Brian McKnight:
Anytime
(which sounds like the next song)

Me'Shell Ndegeocello:
Outside Your Door

Me'Shell Ndegeocello:
Mary Magdalene


(Image: Me'Shell Ndegeocello on www.mashmagazine.com)

Repercussions:
Gentle Kind of Love

Prince:
Soul Santuary

Ne-Yo:
So Sick

Daniel Bedingfield:
If You're Not the One

To be continued...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Pinks

I know this sounds like way too much self-promotion (c'mon, I could either pay someone else to do it for me so I can look good or I do it myself and maybe not look so good) but in all truth, I'm wearing Pink Manhattan all the time these days and not because I'm making out my orders and I just happen to be around it, either. I find myself craving it like I crave other fragrances that I can only dream of having created myself. I launched this fragrance last spring, and it feels right for me to wear it in the spring again. Funny how that works. I guess spring to me means flirty notes: fruits and flowers and a touch of sweetness.

I also brought out Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb from the neglected side of my perfume shelf today. This is a sweeter, more Oriental-Gourmand type of fragrance to me, and it feels right to wear for evening but not so much for daytime because it's quite powerful, reminiscent of an '80s powerperfume only made cotton candy sweet for our post '90s vanilla-loving era. But the fact that it's in-your-face is also what I like and respect about it. In a world full of quiet feminine fragrances, it's nice to know that there's one that refuses to be quieted down.

Flowerbomb is controversial these days because some airline refused to let the bottle onboard with the passenger. The bottle which is made of faceted glass is shaped like a kitchy hand grenade--not that the hand grenade theme hasn't been done before (Agent Provocateur did it)--and so now, people are afraid of traveling with the Flowerbomb that they just bought for Mom for Mother's Day. Perfume drama never ceases.

That story reminds me of some post 911 musicians' joke I heard about an Arab musician who gets onboard and tells a passenger that he's a guitarist, and that person hears it as "terrorist" and has him and his guitar removed from the plane.

Anyway, both Pink Manhattan and Flowerbomb are "pink" fragrances to me and they really feel just right for this time of year. I'm also planning to enjoy La Chasse aux Papillons again as warmer weather approaches because it's a lighter play on the flirty white floral theme which I love so much. That one's pink, too.

Do you find yourself resonating to certain colors at different times of the year? Does the color of the perfume packaging affect how you perceive the fragrance? And deep down, are you scared of a pretty pink bauble shaped like a weapon of mass destruction?

The Pleasure In Small Things

I'm decanting my Pink Manhattan PURRFUME tonight for orders that are going out over the weekend and because I'm around the perfume, I'm of course wearing it. :-) By the way, I'm happy to announce that LaCreme Beauty is restocking on PM, so people who live in the Seattle area can go check it out in person again.

It's a rainy night here in NY. There's nothing on tonight's playlist because I like the sound of rain.

I think I'm over Gem, at least for now. It suited my intense feelings for a few days but right now, my mood, my being, is tuned into a happier, brighter color scheme on the olfactive canvas. I'm taking a short break from Attrape-Coeur; at least I'm in no rush for a bottle. Besides, I have a lovely perffriend who's sending me a generous decant to tide me over till one day my need becomes unbearable and I have to own the whole shebang. Most of the time, I can live on decants, especially if the scent is very strong so I can use it slowly, in minute amounts at a time. I so enjoy these perfume friendships I have with many wonderful people whom I've interacted with over the years I've been floating in cyberspace. My growing perfume collection of samples, decants and even partially full bottles is proof of such friendships and I'm grateful!

Pleasure in small things: I'm all for perfumes being sold in the smallest, most affordable ways possible, since not everyone can afford a full bottle of something very costly. I know when I was growing up, I loved the miniature sizes that I could buy for about $10 at most perfume shops all over town. Those minis kept me alive almost as much as music did. I would take a mini with me to school and sniff the bottle or dab a tiny bit onto my hand during class, not so much to divert my mind from my studies as much as to keep my mind off of things in my life that were getting in the way of my focus at school. At least that's how I'm analyzing my perfume addiction now that I'm older.

Miniatures are godsend but so are the smallest 1ml sample vials. Nowadays, we can buy carded perfume samples on eBay and at many small boutiques. This, to me, is a great luxury. Many people don't know that people actually buy and sell perfume samples. There was a time when samples were intended to be given out for free and many places still can and do, but the salespeople at the perfume counters aren't quick to give them out. I guess where there's a demand, there's a way to get that supply out there.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Love Songs

I love this poll whenever it comes up on the forums I visit. Which are your favorite love songs?

Some of mine are classic '80s schmaltz I couldn't live without:

Chicago:
I Remember the Feeling
Hard Habit To Break
Hard to Say I'm Sorry

Phil Collins:
Separate Lives (duet with one of my favorite singers, Marilyn Martin)
Against All Odds

Not the '80s--

Goo Goo Dolls:
Iris

'80s but not schmaltz--

Peter Gabriel:
In Your Eyes

Jazz:

They Say It's Wonderful
(In fact the whole John Coltrane Johnny Hartman album)

Kenny Kirkland:
Ana Maria

This list is endless, of course.

(Image: Kenny Kirkland, 1984 from Allaboutjazz.com)

Muse

What's your muse? I think I would give everything up for passion. Except maybe common sense. The jury's still out on this.

Question of the moment (up in the air, not directed at you, but feel free to answer): You could do everything you can to better yourself but can you really ever be something that you're not?

Fragrance of the Moment: Serge Lutens A la Nuit, a carnal flower so sublimely beautiful, it must be experienced at least once.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

SaliOguri.com Breaks 100,000



As of today, my official website at www.salioguri.com has received 100,179 hits!

It's been almost one year since the site was launched. Thank you so much for your support!!

Today Again

Today's music playlist: System of a Down






Fragrance of the Moment: None yet. It's another cloudy day here in NY. Should I just wear my own Pink Manhattan? Hehe. Well, I do wear my own--just thought you should know. I also have a sample of the new Cartier Delices that a kind perfumista pal sent me today which I've been wanting to try.

Enjoying my peace...Hard music is cathartic and healing...sweet perfumes are my mind getaway.

Vanilla

Remember what I said about how my taste leans towards things that have a certain level of complexity? I was completely wrong. I think it's more accurate to say that I like some things that are very complex, some things which are somewhat complex and finally, I like very simple things.

I had heard once that a favorite ice cream flavor among the Japanese (which I am, even though I grew up in New York) is Vanilla. I don't know where this study came from and it's one heck of a generalization but I like vanilla, too, and always choose it over chocolate. I prefer very simple cakes: Pound cake gets my vote over cakes with chocolate, fruits, nuts, frosting, syrup, caramel and all that intricate jazz (the exception is custard; custard is the work of the devil). Now, I do love a good Baklava and I'd probably occasionally pick that over pound cake, but still, I think the cake I'd miss the most if I were to never have cake again would be a Beard Papa cream puff or a slice of kasutera (Castilla or you guessed it: pound cake). Granted the Japanese add subtle but very clever variations to the pound cake with ingredients like marron and green tea, and the cakes all have these textures--aha, textures which I enjoy greatly, but pound cake is really just pound cake.

So what does this mean? Am I just a little kid in a grown-up's body (barely, since I wear Juniors' size), happy with the most basic taste of milk and sugar, and does this juvenile taste of mine cross over to the perfume realm? Maybe, maybe not. I can get into the sweet simplicity of Molinard Vanille (a simple yet bold woody vanilla scent) or for a change of pace, Serendipitous (a soft and airy, wearable chocolate cloud) but then I can lose my entire being in an intense, complex blend of purple fruits, amber and civet like Van Cleef & Arpels Gem (yes, I'm still obsessed with this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink '80s power perfume), a rare taste of the hedonism of yesteryear never to be found again.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment: Rimmel London Glam

You're all gonna lose respect for me, right? Because I'm wearing London Glam again, a megafruity (mango) musky floral made by Coty for the drugstore market. I bought my little spray for something like $7. Well, I'll tell you what: it's the kind of perfume that doesn't scare small children away, which I think is a good thing in a scent. Some days I need to smell like Perfume and some days I prefer to smell like I might have spritzed myself with some nondescript fresh body spray after a shower, and that's OK, too. It's made by Coty which is a leading perfume company that makes all those celeb fragrances like J Lo. Call me pedestrian but this is one of my favorite casual fragrances and I hope they keep making it for a long time to come. I find it rather pretty and feminine with a little saucy edge.

To compare with something, I'd say it's a cross between Britney Spears Curious (because of the magnolia note and the transparent musky quality) and G by Giorgio Beverly Hills, a fragrance that featured pineapple and orchid. Here are the notes for comparison:

Rimmel London Glam 2003
Notes: Mango, pineapple, orchid, freesia, jasmine


Jan Moran's notes:
Giorgio Beverly Hills G (Floral-Fruity) 2000

Top: Peach, pineapple, cantaloupe, pink tea
Heart: Golden Sundust orchid, water lily, jasmine, peony, magnolia, ginger lily
Base: Amber, vetiver, frangipani, assam wood


Notes on Sephora's site:
Curious Britney Spears (Floral: White Floral) 2004

Notes: Louisiana magnolia, golden Anjou pear, lotus flower, tuberose, star jasmine, pink cyclamen, vanilla infused musk, sandalwood, blonde woods.

(Image: www.quizilla.com)

Thoughts on H2O and Mason Jars

I love to drink water and I drink lots of it. I drink it because it's good for me (cleanses toxins out of my system) and I like how it makes me feel (rejuvenates, balances my energy). I literally feel better each time I chug down a Mason jar full of water instead of any other liquid. I also love cold green tea which is a great antioxidant and also makes me feel good but with frequent servings I worry about my teeth getting stained, which brings me back to water, the perfect drink. It surprises me to hear that some people think drinking water is boring, like some big sacrifice because there's "no taste". I generally don't drink liquids for pleasure (unless it's lassi or Thai iced tea or something equally amazing) but to avoid thirst and dehydration (and by the time you're thirsty, you are dehydrated). When I'm out, I buy water to walk around with. I drink water during meals. At home, after I've danced around for an hour, I chill out with a long, tall order of New York spring, and I drink a glass before showering/bathing and another when I come out. I feel fortunate that my water's clean and doesn't taste all wrong. I fear that clean water could run out. And yes, I love Mason jars; I buy them at flea markets and use them for whatever I think they're practical for. I wonder if half my enjoyment is drinking out of glasses that I like looking at and holding. Glass is visually beautiful alone but water in glass is also mesmerizing.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Rock Perfume

I love the weekend because Free FM, which took over where K Rock left off, unfortunately only plays music on the weekends but they play really good music when they do. Tonight when I turned it on, they played Nirvana, Ozzy and System of a Down so I'm pretty happy. My fragrance of the moment is Serge Lutens Gris Clair which I think I'm getting a bottle of this year. I'm finding it a very wearable modern evening perfume, one that's not too stuffy yet very sophisticated at the same time. I like many Serge Lutens perfumes but I think this one smells like something younger people can appreciate because it's not overly flowery and a little gourmand-sweet. Call it mall-scent-ish, I'll say it's got sex appeal. I also like how cool and warm come together in a BIG, voluptuous scent. OK, maybe it's not warm per se but it has some oomph, some dimension, stuff going on inside. Gris Clair is not afraid to embrace the spirit of the '80s: unapologetically larger than life, dramatic, urbane and sharp but it's also very much in the minimalist mod way. It's a scent that feels fast-paced. It does more than keep up with my energy on the New York Ride--it keeps me on my toes being so passionately icy and mysteriously androgynous.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Le Labo Fragrances, Nolita NYC

Le Labo is located in an area called Nolita (north of Little Italy) in downtown Manhattan. The area is right by Little Italy, SoHo and Chinatown and has an interesting mix of cultures and a flavor all its own.







Here is the fabulous Le Labo boutique where I had the most pleasant perfume shopping experience, ever. They are so incredibly nice over there. You must go!









I learned something new: the number next to the perfume name indicates the number of notes that were used in the composition, hence Jasmin 17.