Saturday, December 29, 2007

Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box

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Click here for the song and video.

For the Love of Perfume Blog Features Sali

A favorite perfume blogger of mine, TMH256, whose lovely and understated taste in fragrances I admire and respect, has been kind enough to write a stunning set of reviews of my perfumes. I'm thrilled to be featured today on For the Love of Perfume , a blog dedicated to all scents pretty, inspiring, fashionable, smart and loveable. I've had the pleasure of corresponding with her privately for this interview. To my delight, she's every bit as warm and down-to-earth as she comes across in her writings. Please visit the site for her article, An Interview With Sali Oguri, and receive a code to include with your next order of Persephone (visit WUJ Productions or email your order to

Classic Salsa

A year of classics means we can't forget the very best in music. Step into the New Year con buen ritmo para bailar. Check out this excellent performance by Grupo Niche circa early 1990s-- "Sin Sentimientos". I'm not sure if this video was taken live because the music is exactly the same as the famous recording--nevertheless, it's worth a listen time and time again.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Friday, December 28, 2007


I love that The Village Voice voted America's oldest chemists and perfumers, Caswell-Massey, one of the Best of NYC 2007 (Check out the review: Best Place To Savor The Sweet Smell Of American Capitalism - Caswell-Massey) but I'm sad I can't find White Rose anywhere. Are you looking for this discontinued fragrance, too? We may go neck-and-neck for it on eBay one day.

If Caswell-Massey Damask Rose is an indication, White Rose is probably a very pretty, simple and powdery rose soliflore. I was surprised to like Damask Rose so much because many rose scents have seemed too strong for me. This Damask Rose is delicate and not too sweet. My mother is an avid rose grower, and when she'd asked if there was a Damask scent, I searched the world over and found this one most wearable. For comparison, this is a light, powdery rose in the vein of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Rosa Magnifica.

I was able to locate a sample of Purple Sage which was brought back from the past for a limited time to celebrate their 250th anniversary. This is a very nice, classic fragrance, and I like it although it reminds me too much of Guerlain Mitsouko to want to wear more than once. I think of it as Mitsouko made very light, mixing in aromatic herbaceous notes to give it a clean, cologne-type wearability. The purple sage motif is a tribute to the American Southwest.

I'm very intrigued by this line right now, so more reviews are coming soon. I hope you will stay tuned in 2008!


Caron Royal Bain de Caron

Royal Bain de Caron was formerly known as Royal Bain de Champagne until a problem arose concerning the use of the name of the famous alcoholic beverage. It has a mysterious background from being known as a fragrance used in voodoo rituals in some parts of the world (although I haven't been able to find out exactly in what context nor any other detail) to sources having different years for when it was created. Some say it was created in 1923, not 1941, which has me wondering if Michel Morsetti could have modeled it after an earlier Ernest Daltroff creation.

Royal Bain de Caron is probably the most affordable Caron fragrance, often seen in a huge 8 fl. oz. bottle sold either as a Men's or Women's eau de toilette. I don't know why it's sold so inexpensively because I think it smells almost identical to N'Aimez que Moi, one of Caron's exclusive urn scents. I'm testing it now, side by side with my N'Aimez que Moi parfum, and what I get is the same type of sweet, soft, densely powdery scent with a woody-vanillic base with lots of lilac and candied violets. I get a very light hint of Chypre from both, but what I don't get in Royal Bain de Caron is the same amount of rose; instead, the violets are more prominent, combined with aldehydes to create sparkling top notes. N'Aimez que Moi is also much stronger due to its parfum concentration, but all in all, if someone wore Royal Bain de Caron around me, I'd think she was wearing N'Aimez que Moi. In a way, like N'Aimez que Moi, it reminds me of Chanel No.22 (1922): an odd coincidence that they were supposedly created so close together in years?

What surprises me most of all is that in all the years perfumistas have been discussing Caron perfumes in cyberspace, no one has ever mentioned how similar these two are. Perhaps not everyone has actually tried both, or we're all tuning into different aspects of these, but for me, it's hard to ignore how uncanny they are. Powdery sweet floral perfume lovers need to try this one--it's no doubt an old-fashioned scent but oh, what a sweet, well-mannered scent it really is. I have no idea in what context such an innocent-smelling perfume would be used in aforementioned rituals, but it's said to bring good luck. I can't imagine it would bring anything but loveliness into one's life smelling so perfectly nice. Of course, it's very powdery, so if you're not into that type of scent, it could seem smothering and clingy, not as refreshing as it's written in the scent descriptions as being.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Talc - Good or Bad?

A word about body powders: I know many of us love perfumed powders, but please make sure yours doesn't contain talc. Cornstarch-based powder products are safer for you, and any household where small children could accidentally spill powder and inhale it should be careful with talc products (Read more about the dangers in this article: Is Talcum Powder Safe for Babies? by Robert Steele, MD). Talcum powder has also been linked to ovarian cancer, so as a woman, I would stop using it in my underwear.

Read more about the connection between talc and asbestos: Risks of Talcum Powder

CT Scan Risks

If you are as concerned about CT scans and the dangers of ionized radiation as I am, this is a short excerpt of an article I recently purchased online. I'm not advocating that people should deny themselves or loved ones from receiving CT scans (CAT scan) in the case of dire emergencies; however, I believe radiologists and the health practitioners need to take more care when administering CT scans to infants in particular, and also in general due to their high radiation level compared to conventional X-rays. Furthermore, patients have the right to be informed before giving consent as to what those risks really are, and what the injected contrast material is (ionized radiation), without being belittled and bullied into giving consent. I speak from personal experience and hope to spare you from the same. The full text and all links to references are available at the original source of this article which can be found here.


Current Opinion in Pediatrics:Volume 18(3)June 2006pp 231-233
Issues of computerized tomography scans in children and implications for emergency care

[Emergency and critical care pediatrics]
Klig, Jean E.
Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA
Correspondence to Jean E. Klig MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA; E-mail:
Abbreviations: ALARA, as low as reasonably achievable; CT, computed tomography; ED, emergency department

...It is estimated that, of the roughly 600 000 abdominal and head CT scans performed annually in children under 15 years old in the USA, approximately 500 children might die from cancer that was caused by the radiation of the CT scan [4]. For a 1-year-old child who undergoes an abdominal CT scan, the lifetime risk of fatal cancer from radiation exposure during the study may be as high as 1 in 550; for a head CT scan it is 1 in 1500 [4]. Current estimates include only fatal cancers, and thus the overall risks of cancer (fatal and nonfatal) due to CT-related radiation exposure are not known. As the effects of radiation are cumulative, those children who undergo more than one CT scan in their lifetime are likely to have an even higher risk of cancer. The overall risks of CT scan-related radiation exposure are largely theoretical at this time, but reflect a `Pandora's box' of issues that are crucial to the care of children. New data continue to emerge [11] that support current notions that 'no amount of radiation exposure is considered absolutely safe' [2], including the low-level radiation exposure of pediatric CT scans...(edited)...CT scans are a powerful clinical tool for the care of children in the ED, but the proposed risks of this technology cannot be overemphasized. What can be done? An immediate goal is to avoid a CT scan when it is feasible to rely on clinical decisions and/or other imaging modalities such as sonography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in lieu of a CT scan [3,10,14]...(edited) Although there is no need to panic over the proposed risks of current CT scan technology [10], we must proceed with caution and strive to limit its use. The issues of CT scans in children introduce a critical opportunity for greater education and collaboration with the radiology community; the future of our patients depends on it.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Iris Poudré

One of the highlights of my year was meeting pianist André Watts who had spoken about how we don't know we love a piece of music until we make ourselves learn to play it. How right he is.
Iris Poudré by Pierre Bourdon for Les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle is my current obsession. It's a fragrance that's grown on me over time as I did not find it appealing at first due to my sensitivity to aldehydes. I don't necessarily believe in love at first sniff, and this perfume proves that some things are worth testing until it unfolds its magic in subtle ways that can be easily overlooked.

Iris Poudré for me is a cold weather scent, one that reminds me of another one in the Malle line I love called Une Fleur de Cassie, only spicier and darker. I hadn't noticed the jasmine in Iris Poudré until recently, and it really sings out on dry down. I can never resist a good white floral, and jasmine is among my very favorite notes. Combined with a classic combination of rose, violet, ylang-ylang and iris, this is an Aldehydic Floral with Oriental tones hinting at Chanel No.5 and Caron Nuit de Noel for a modern audience of powdery perfume lovers. It starts out sharp and slightly jagged with spices, with sumptuous but dry, ambery-woody base notes holding everything down. It floats in space at an extreme juxtapositioning of hot and cool, then melts together soft and warm, simmering with thoughts of sweet surrender.

This is passion in a bottle but of a cerebral kind, restrained until precisely where and when it counts. If a grand piano had a scent, it would drip of precious notes like polished, resinous ebony and smooth, silky ivory--just the way this scent does.

I'm revising my year end Top 10 for 2007 and adding Iris Poudré.


Fred Kimmel "Rainy Town" Featuring Sali Oguri Back On Broadjam's Top 10 Electronic-Trance Chart

Fred Kimmel "Rainy Town" featuring Sali Oguri on vocals is back on the Electronic - Trance Top 10 Chart on Broadjam!

Rock Electronica & Soundtrack Producer-Artist Fred Kimmel's Drum 'N Bass scat vocal classic "Jazz Bad" featuring Sali Oguri is holding at #6 on the Electronic - Drum 'N Bass Top 10.

Fred Kimmel "Somethin' Smokey" is #2 in Electronic - Downbeat Top 10.

Fred Kimmel "Oh Lord" is #6 in Rock - Religious Top 10.

Congratulations to Fred Kimmel who's slamming the charts with songs all over the genres from Rock to Electronic, Pop Alternative and the Northeast.

Click on the
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"Jazz Bad" and more WUJ songs are available for purchase on Broadjam. Click here, then go to SONGS on left side panel.

Thank you for your continued support. Season's Greetings with Love from all of us at WUJ.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Sweets

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter matter which holiday you celebrate (or holidays--I celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, for instance), what brings us all together but our love of food, and provided we have enough of that to go around, dessert? Here are some of my favorite Gourmand picks, and even if you are living a sugar-free life these days, these fragrances are all the eye-and-olfactory candy you can dream of feasting on. Happy Holidays!

Thierry Mugler Angel: I've read somewhere that Angel was inspired by childhood memories of Christmas in Alsace. Angel is the new classic, a bestseller around the world and the one that put Gourmand, a sub-category of the Oriental fragrance family, on the map. There are many different presentations of this fragrance--I've even seen miniatures that come in the shape of a cross.

Aquolina Pink Sugar: This is the star of the new generation of Gourmand fragrances following Angel. Like Angel, Pink Sugar is based on patchouli and features hypersweet sugary notes such as caramel, vanilla, cotton candy and licorice.

Chopard Wish: I know it's a little late but next year, Wish would make the perfect gift. The beautiful faceted heavy glass bottle even looks like a dreidel. Have we had enough Hanukkah gelt chocolates? You can never have enough chocolate, one of the key notes in Wish.

Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili. To celebrate in hues of red, black and green, I would recommend these beauties: my favorite, Nina by Nina Ricci which smells like sugared apple and comes in a lovely apple-motif red bottle, Lolita Lempicka which also comes in an apple bottle but features amarena (black cherry) accompanied by a deep licorice note, and L'Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier, a Fruity classic based on fig leaves and a touch of coconut milk.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Peace, Joy and Goodwill To All.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

4711 Kölnisch Wasser

(Edited on 7/6/12: Read 4711 Eau de Cologne 1792 (???) Mülhens at Perfume Projects to learn about the history of 4711 eau de cologne.)

The original Eau de Cologne which became the famous 4711 was created by Italian expatriate Johann Maria Farina at the beginning of the 18th century. It is the golden standard of the classic Eau de Cologne, named for Farina's new residence in Cologne (Germany). Basically, Mülhens later capitalized on Farina's cologne formula and idea. It's actually inexpensive and easy to find, yet the refreshing citrus scent of bergamot and orange blossom over a light chypre base (which I can't really detect) can compete with Guerlain, Acqua di Parma or Chanel (Les Exclusifs) Eau de Cologne--it's that good. Here's a piece of perfume history worth reading about: check out Wikipedia to learn all about Mülhens 4711, the original eau de cologne here.

(Images:, wikipedia,

Laura Biagiotti Venezia

Venezia is a discontinued perfume that's hard-to-find now, but devotees know how timelessly seductive and romantic this scent is. I would say it's somewhere between the spicy, ambery-woody Frederic Malle Iris Poudre and the ambery-fruity Princess Marcella Borghese Il Bacio. The notes in Venezia feature elements of the Far East such as wong-shi blossom and osmanthus, bringing to my mind the historical connection between Italy and China through culinary arts as well.

The sandalwood is rich in this blend and also reminds me of Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie but with headier rose-white floral heart notes and a soft and smooth touch of red fruit (mango, osmanthus flower which smells like apricot). The overall effect is vibrant, dramatic, passionate and warm, a complex orchestration of voluptuous notes that create a classic Floral Oriental harmony: a creamy and woody, sweet and rich aura to go with that red velvet dress.

Notes by Jan Moran:
Laura Biagiotti Venezia (1992 Floral Oriental)
Top Notes: Wong-shi blossom, Indian mango, black currant bud, rose, geranium, prune, osmanthus
Heart Notes: Jasmine, iris, ylang-ylang, cedarwood, ambergris
Base Notes: Vanilla, civet, sandalwood, musk, tonka bean


Friday, December 21, 2007

Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert

Bulgari (spelled Bvlgari with a stylized "u") has a green tea scent called Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert that I've been enjoying occasionally. I have an adorable set of mini cologne and lotion nestled inside a handsome tin can. At first, I found the scent simultaneously punchy and bold and also a bit skin cream-like and mossy, but every now and then, I crave such an accord. This is a Chypre, meaning it's actually a woody, mossy blend, even if it starts off refreshingly citrusy. I find it invigorating and casual but with an elegant, sophisticated tone. I would call it a perfect workday scent, although I also find it comforting to wear after a shower or bath to putz around the house in. After a particularly taxing week, it feels simple and down-to-earth, like the kind of break my spirit needs.

There is an Extreme version but I prefer the Eau Parfumée cologne which is strong enough for me. If you want more woods and lasting power, Extreme is the way to go.

Notes from Now Smell This:
Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (1992)--bergamot, orange blossom, cardamom, coriander, pepper, rose, jasmine, green tea, oakmoss, tonka bean, and beeswax.

Lily Prune Fizzy Tea

Just to show you that I'm not entirely fixated on high end fragrances, Lily Prune Fizzy Tea is one of my favorite new finds this year. It can be had for just under $10 for a 1 fl. oz. eau de parfum spray (although I find it light and fleeting like an eau de toilette), and the scent is so pretty and fresh: citrusy and invigorating, a well-blended composition with underlying succulent sweetness. If Bulgari Green Tea wasn't sweet enough for you but you liked the freshness, this could be a holy grail green tea scent. I would lather up with Fa soap in a hot bath, then spritz some of this on for those times when I want a clean and refreshing, casual and non-perfumey fragrance experience.

Lily Prune Fizzy Tea (Ulric de Varens)(2001)
Notes from
Eau de parfum fresh, citrus note (bergamot, grapefruit, orange), lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, woody, slightly amber background, white musks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bbob Films Presents: The Bob Log

(If the video doesn't load, see it here.)

The Bob Log: My Favorite Things

Director's Notes:

"My homage to the bizarre TV Yule Log tradition...The original Yule Log ran every Christmas when I was a kid. It was many hours of this hypnotic shot of log burning in a fireplace, with cheesy holiday background music. If you watched closely you could see where they looped the fire footage because the same log bump would ploop! reappear!

"I spent waaaay too many hours watching this surreally fake TV fireplace. And I always wanted to make my own Yule Log with more surreal stuff going on. So I made the Bob Log when they replaced Yule Log with the Ab Master infomercial.

"My original Bob Log was about 20 minutes. And it makes no linear sense, but it's fun to zone out to. This excerpt is called My Favorite Things."
-Bianca Bob

Monday, December 17, 2007

L'Artisan Parfumeur D'Humeur a Rire

L'Artisan Parfumeur has a jewel of a fragrance set called Sautes d'Humeur (aka Mood Swings), a collection of 5 different scents based on 5 moods. The idea of humours (moods corresponding with elements) goes back to Greek and Indian (ayurvedic) Humorism which, if you're into MBTI or Indo-European classical history, might interest you to read about. D'Humeur a Rire is the scent we call Joyful Mood, and it's every bit a sanguine scent like finding yourself in The Nutcracker's candied world. Even though the sweetness I find in Joyful Mood is mostly that of bubblegum which, if you're familiar with the ballet, wouldn't register as being very Tchaikovsky-like, but take it as a modern adaptation and enjoy the dream of dreams in the mind of a child. Soft, fruity and sugary sweet for the Clara or Sugarplum Fairy in us all, it's a girly pink Gourmand in the subtle, refined and natural style of a L'Artisan fragrance.

(Image Sources: The Guardian (,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Perfumista's Top 10 Countdown 2007

I'm doing it a bit differently this year because I wanted to feature the images of my current favorite perfumes--all of which I've reviewed on Pink Manhattan at least once--as a collage more than as a typical up-and-down review of each scent. Please enjoy my year end Top 10 even though it's coming in a bit early and there's still time to serendipitously stumble upon a new olfactory love. As you already know, the list is constantly changing and the order isn't set in stone; however, this year I seem to have "settled" more or less on my #s 1 (Nina) and 2 (Artemisia) for everyday wear...well, in the past month or so, anyway, and not including sampling which is imperative to keeping my perfume-addicted sanity.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the fantastic image of Guerlain L'Heure Bleue by d. Chedwick Bryant which I'm fortunate enough to have permission to post here. I hope you'll visit Tangled Up In L'Heure Bleue blog where you can see more beautiful images of perfume art.

I also wanted to mention that I've been enjoying Kate by Kate Moss more so in lotion form than fragrance, but despite my initial harsh critique of the scent, I have grown to like it a whole lot, and feel it's a worthy celeb scent to crown as being one of this year's best new launches.

Here are my picks:

1. Penhaligon's Artemisia

2. Nina Ricci Nina (2006)

3. Kate by Kate Moss

4. Guerlain L'Heure Bleue (Art Photo by d. Chedwick Bryant)

5. Bond No.9 Saks Fifth Avenue For Her

6. Shiseido White Rose Natural

7. Laurence Dumont Tarte aux Myrtilles

8. Guerlain Chamade

9. Les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Iris Poudré

10. Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Glamorous Bee Reviews Sali Oguri Persephone Perfume

My friend Bernadette Pasley is a glamourbee who catches the latest buzz and spreads a little love wherever she stops; then, like the New Yorker she is, she "buzzes off" to explore neverending new discoveries. She once came to my gig at a sports bar in Midtown Manhattan and was kind enough to write a rave review of the show. Since then, I've been a fan of her eclectic blogging on topics ranging from fashion to baseball. She also happens to be a perfumista who's written spot-on fragrance reviews for her stylish blog focused on all things glam, The Glamorous Bee. She can always find those simple and extravagant luxuries that add essential glam factor to our lives. Please visit her blog by clicking here and read the latest review of Sali Oguri Persephone by Bernadette.

Check out The Glamorous Bee to get lots of great holiday gift ideas!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sali Speaks About Persephone Perfume

Unreleased Mix a.k.a. Persephone - 2007 Oriental-Fruity Floral Ambery Woody Fresh

Persephone is a departure from joyous Pink Manhattan's peach-vanilla candied sweetness, but for me, this is a new stage of life and Persephone is a welcome change towards something wildly passionate at heart yet restrained and disciplined, an homage to tradition while still maintaining that its rebellious, modern character is reflected in its outcome. If Pink Manhattan was a bright, energetic smile like summer in the city, Persephone is the brooding soul of a dreamer caught between two worlds (winter and spring), calling out for a different way of being, of existing, of experiencing life--this feeling of unrest and incongruence channelled as a source of energy and excitement is the start point where new things can be made possible--the best of both worlds as one, and the whole story told within a warm and comforting, sensual, sweet "skin scent" was my goal.

Persephone is my second labor of olfactive love and it's the scent of my deep passion. I don't want to give it all away but I'll tell you that it starts with a deceivingly cool floralcy fit for an ice queen which gives way to its polar opposite: earthy, rich ambery sandalwood sustaining the dark and devilish dark chocolate and berry notes for the goddess of the underworld. Her perfume had to be both earthy and ethereal, so the notes are as far apart as can be, yet they work together in harmonious contrary motion against a surprisingly beautiful backdrop of understated spring flowers and greenery. All in all, I believe I've got an alluring, easy-to-wear scent that has oomph but doesn't cloy or feel too heavy, and it has vintage charm yet it's totally modern. In truth, I just wanted an elegant chocolate-berry scent and I had to make one that didn't exist for me before.

I believe I've achieved the perfect level of sweetness with my Persephone. If I'm to compare it to the sweetness of Pink Manhattan, Persephone is also sweet but at the darker and lower-pitched spectrum, a greener type of Gourmand (although it still has enough dark chocolatey sugariness as well as blackberry for me) with plush, soft, velvety sandalwood as its glorious piece de resistance base. Mysore sandalwood has a rich, balsamic smoothness which makes any blend more velvety. It's potent, pure parfum oil, and it gets heavier upon wear so a little goes a long way (one-two drop(s) is usually all I wear). I like that this blend has a powdery and musky base without using powdery musk and only using Mysore sandalwood, amber, chocolate and pomegranate to give it its close-to-the-skin "skin scent" character.

I'm always fascinated by the notion of Floral Orientals being associated with emotional security for the wearer. I've read time and time again on leading perfume websites that women who crave emotional security choose this family of scents and stay loyal to it. I've also read this to be true for the Oriental fragrance family in general, but often, Floral Orientals are isolated as being the choice of the unstable female! I wonder about that, really. Is it because the Floral Oriental is perceived as being the most hedonistic of all, being lush from all angles and levels? Is it because as a genre it's looked at as being undisciplined in not being one or the other (Floral or Oriental), or like it's stuck in perfume pergatory--it can't let go of the frilly Floral nature and just be an unadulterated, heavy Oriental, so it "plays both sides" from the middle, being neither here nor there? Is it the epitome of "too much" because it just wouldn't grow up and choose its role and wants forever to have it all? If so, I hope I've captured this hedonism well, and I hope people will in fact feel a little more secure in being wrapped in this warm cloud of soft yet intense, unabashed yet controlled piece of hellishly heavenly bliss.

I tried to temper the berries best I could in this blend but they are allowed to sing out--after all, I think people (like me) want to smell the berries when they look for a berry perfume. I'd say my composition is simultaneously not too "perfumey" and yet not too sugary, a composition built on high quality sandalwood and amber oils as well as refreshing, aromatic flavor high up in the spiritual skies to carry the sillage. Blend it into your skin and let it bloom and go through its many movements, like a piano, depending on the touch of the pianist for its changing inflections, disclosing subtle melodic nuances to a pure-hearted, sensitive listener who's there for the experience. It croons and beckons for you to take it all in and enjoy the ride as it delicately unfolds its dark, wistful, powerfully passionate siren song. It even skips a beat when fresh hyacinths and the sultry berry note waft to and fro like a flirtatious hint of spring, signs of hope.

I hope you will enjoy my newest perfume creation which I have put my all into and am quite happy with. May your emotions find catharsis and release in creative, civilized ways; may you also find every sinful desire in the realm of chocolate satiated and tamed, till all is well with the world and peace is of the essence until the next craving comes. Thank you for your interest and support. The music is coming soon so please stay tuned.

Sali Oguri

Sali Oguri Persephone Perfume Oil - Limited Edition

Sali Oguri Persephone Perfume Oil is now a limited edition only available for online purchase until Februrary 14, 2008. If you haven't experienced this brooding blend of dark chocolate, amber, pomegranate, blackberry and pure, top grade Mysore sandalwood, please make your order between now and the final date. I will be offering free shipping for all orders including samples until Dec. 31, 2007. Orders will not ship between December 23th through the 26th. Visit WUJ Productions and link to the Persephone page for details on how to order. Don't miss your last chance. Season's Greetings from all of us at WUJ!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Classic Smell-Alikes, Part II: Victory

Michael Edwards had written in his book, Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances, that Chypre traditionally became popular after wartime. I wonder if the same tradition might apply to bold, woodsy scents in general. Woods are the strongest elements in perfume after all, and chypre is basically Mossy Woods. Classic Woody Aldehydic Florals have been with us for many years, but they hadn't been back en vogue until Frederic Malle Iris Poudre. The name seems to evoke a skin scent like milky marble, but in reality, I find this scent bold and spicy, even hot and musky with an ambrette-like vibration.

I've heard that this type of bold, heavy, woodsy scent was popular in the '40s, 50s and 60s, and someone on a perfume board had mentioned Faberge Woodhue as being one of those popular perfumes. I've never smelled it so I can't compare, but I think Iris Poudre is very much like Jean Patou L'Heure Attendue. L'Heure Attendue was created in 1946 by Jean Patou to celebrate the end of WWII and the liberation of Paris from German occupation. Such a victorious scent would have to smell pretty bold, devoid of frills and naivete. "A scent for a grown woman" as perfumistas would call it would seem apt for such imagery.

Also, what is it about the iris that attracts people? As a scent, it can be rendered by orris (iris root) or aldehydes, and although it's powdery, it seems prickly sharp and cold to my nose. Within blends, iris can be beautiful (Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, Chanel No.19 and Paco Rabanne Metal are my notable favorites), but alone, I find iris similar to the smell of root vegetables complete with the smell of wet dirt. It's all right if people like that smell--it's just that I think the iris flower as a symbol is also a strong one, and it draws attention in a name. For instance, Louis VII used it as a victory symbol in the 12th century and that's how the fleur-de-lys came to be. Combined with heavy woods as you may find in classic Aldehydic Floral blends, with or without the inclusion of oakmoss, iris becomes a pungent, earthy smell. Perhaps in Iris Poudre, we're smelling amplified roots, so-to-speak.

This type of earthy woodsiness isn't far off from the woodsiness I get in Hilary Duff's "retro" perfume marketed to mothers and daughters alike, as if to pass on the tradition to a new era. It can't be a complete coincidence that the ad is also very 1940s in style, with Hilary Duff seated at the piano with a more down-to-earth, brunette shade of hair than usual.

If Frederic Malle Iris Poudre is out of your budget, and if Jean Patou L'Heure Attendue is simply too hard-to-find, look no further than your local drugstore where you'll find Lady Stetson. I haven't seen iris listed as a note but it shares many notes with Iris Poudre. It's also a victorious fragrance with the advertising blurb declaring "How the West was won". Once again, the theme is a bold, woodsy, powdery, spicy, musky Aldehydic Floral with emphasis on a dusty base overshadowing any jovial or fey--insipid to some--fruits and flowers.

Notes from Now Smell This blog:
Frederic Malle Iris Poudre (2000 Aldehydic Floral): bergamot, rosewood, ylang ylang, carnation, magnolia, jasmine, lily of the valley, violet, rose, aldehydes, iris, musk, amber, vanilla, sandalwood, and ebony

Notes from Anya McCoy's Perfume Descriptions Page:
Coty Lady Stetson (1986 Aldehydic Floral): Floral(Jasmin, Rose, Carnation, Ylang Ylang) Oriental Woody Ambery Oakmoss Sandalwood Balsamic

Jan Moran's notes:
Jean Patou L'Heure Attendue (1946 Oriental-Spicy): lily of the valley, geranium, lilac, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, opopanax, mysore sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli

Classic Smell-Alikes, Part I: Romance

If you're a lover of ambery, balsamic Oriental perfumes such as Must de Cartier or Calvin Klein Obsession, you may also love Fifi Chachnil. Bodaciously rich, rosy, powdery and smoky, it's actually a tobacco blend, but the theme is a classical ambery Oriental with modern touches that bring to mind Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Royale, especially in the high-pitched orangey fruit notes (mandarin). Somewhere between romantic and sexy, Fifi is sure to add some drama and seduction to your fragrance wardrobe as well as to your nightstand. Be careful with the pump atomizer, however, because this style (not pictured) is known to occasionally spill through the woven pump.

The description of the scent from the Fifi Chachnil website is as follows: a tender oriental harmony made of powdered rose and mandarin, amber and tobacco.

If Fifi is out of your budget, there's a lovely drugstore perfume called Chantilly you must try. It's now made by Dana but it was originally made by Houbigant. Chantilly is remarkably similar to Fifi Chachnil and Must de Cartier in style: ambery warm and densely powdery with a dark, intensely sweet base-heaviness: a classic, romantic and substantially rich blend, meant to enhance a woman's softness--in thoroughly retro terms.

(Images: from Fifi Chachnil's website,, Houbigant Chantilly 1941 ad)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Caron Tabac Blond

Tabac Blond (1919) is one of Caron's driest creations and one with a cult following. I briefly reviewed it in last year's Leather Fantasies post, but here it is again. At first, I get the smell of firecrackers in the street, followed by incense smoke and carnation spice. The leather note reminds me of Molinard Habanita but Tabac Blond is much drier and spicier with an abstract tobacco effect. It's similar to French Can Can or En Avion with the slightly chypre nuance but this is a rosy leather Oriental: heavy and aloof with a touch of vanilla. I'm reminded a bit of Farnesiana and Guerlain Metallica. Tabac Blond is among the most chic of the Caron collection, although I have other personal favorites. Tabac Blond is beautiful but for me, it's a bit rose-focused and dusky, reminding me of Diptyque Eau Lente, only mellower, more down-to-earth. All in all, it's a potent but elegant leather blend.

As the adage goes, they don't make them like this anymore.

Read more of my Caron reviews at these links:
Caron Fleurs de Rocaille
Caron N'Aimez que Moi
Caron Nocturnes
Caron Rose (from "Perfumista's Top 10 Countdown 2006!")


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Caron Alpona

Alpona (1939) is one of Ernest Daltroff's last creations. Parfums Caron's website connects Alpona with Greek tradition but the name is Bengali (Alpona = Indian ritual geometric design or "a pattern of good fortune"). I wonder where that connection is. I think of Alpona as a Chypre, and fruity in this case is an extroverted bright green, yellow and orange citrus accord. I'd heard so much about it in the perfume community and I was wild about trying it. I'll be honest and say I'm not vibing with this one, but it's a Caron--of course I'm happy to have tried it. Right now on dry down, it's bringing to mind L'Air du Temps because of the carefully rationed, evenly spaced molecules of carnation spice, but stylistically it's also very similar to Coty's Sarah Jessica Parker Covet: a lemony, sharp and salty (?) scent enriched with a murky, heavy undertone. It's flowery but smoothed over so the notes are unclear (aldehydes?), and I wouldn't call it subtle though it has some seriously high-pitched elements.

Through the middle stages, I thought of Chanel Cristalle EDT and Hermes Un Jardin Sur le Nil with its vegetal tone. The opening, my favorite stage, had a crisper, more sparkling quality, like Estee Lauder Private Collection. Chypre often seems perfumey and harsh to me, and vegetal smells often leave me cold (I've never swooned over the smell of carrots, for instance). I prefer my citrus scents sparkling light, sweeter, with less embellishment. If the imposing and leathery Parfums de Nicolaï New York could be turned into a soprano, and if Guerlain Derby were to reincarnate as a summer edition, I think they'd smell like Alpona. Come to think of it, Alpona smells to me very much like Eau de Guerlain (1974).

Alpona is pure parfum from the Baccarat fountains at Caron, and creates an impressive sillage for what seems like a citrusy, well-mannered eau de cologne type.

Notes on Perfume Shrine blog: Lemon, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Rose, Orange, Jasmine, Orchid, Thyme, Patchouli, Myrrh, Cedar, Sandalwood, Musk, Oakmoss

Visit The Caron Page at Perfume Shrine to discover more Caron creations.