Saturday, December 30, 2006
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!
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Monday, December 25, 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 @ SaliOguri.com and Pink Manhattan blog!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Stay tuned to www.wujproductions.com for updates!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Lise Watier Neiges
Lise Watier Neiges Bleues (I've never smelled it but what a bottle)
Elizabeth Arden Splendor
Friday, December 15, 2006
Can I get an Amen? :-)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
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
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 Amazon.com 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
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 www.tarsharock.com
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