Saturday, March 31, 2007

¡Ombligo! Features Unreleased Mix a.k.a. Persephone Perfume

Please visit Sand's rockin' blog, ¡Ombligo! for a review of Unreleased/Persephone perfume here!

¡Ombligo! has been nominated for Best Weight Loss Blog in 2005 and deals with challenging topics such as self-injury but also features fun and trendy beauty, perfume, celeb and fashion news. Sand ( a.k.a "Wonder Woman") is a friend of mine in this wonderful world of cyberspace and she is among my favorite fragrance writers.

(Image: Wonder Woman in DC Comics, 1941

Friday, March 30, 2007

Guerlain Champs Elysées

Champs Elysées (1996) is a beautiful, though slightly melancholic, smooth and ethereal type of soft floral on the greener side of the spectrum to me. I smell mostly the mimosa but I should mention that I thought my older EDT smelled more pungent and woodsy than does the mini I just tested which smells very "clean musk"-y in comparison. I will test them side by side again but for now, the overall impression: it's not the exhuberant scent of falling in love but the scent of hope with a teardrop hanging from the corner of the eye for a love that's so idealistic it can't possibly exist. Maybe--and I say this with tongue firmly implanted in cheek because I don't know--that is the essence of the city of love, and we may now send in the clowns. It has a sparkly element, too, like champagne bubbles on top, or a sprinkling of stars in the sky.

"After the Love Has Lost Its Shine"--Regina Belle
"Iris"--Goo Goo Dolls

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Shalimar Is...

Fragrance: Guerlain Shalimar (1925). I'm in a Shalimar phase since discovering Stoned by Solange Agazury-Partridge (2006) which to me is almost like a baby powdery, muskier, more herbaceous and "skin scent" version of Shalimar. If you've smelled Shalimar Eau Legere (Shalimar Light), you can (almost) imagine a cross between the two Shalimars (but still different--they don't share all the same notes): a little bit more candy sweet like the Eau Legere version but still having the sharp bergamot weaving through the very Eastern wooded scent of Shalimar. Anyway, I'm still waiting to get my bottle of Stoned so for now, it's Shalimar for me.

Are they different from Guerlain L'Heure Bleue (1912) which could be considered my favorite perfume right now? Absolutely--they share similarities being from the same perfume house and also being from eras not too far apart, but Shalimar is (very generally speaking) a lemony (bergamot) scent with a woody-ambery-vanilla base. It smells very Oriental and is considered a classic representation of the genre.

By the way, bergamot, a key ingredient in classic colognes, and citrus in general seem to be popular on the perfume forums recently. Are you anticipating warm weather where you are? Happy Spring!

Basenotes says
Meaning 'Temple of Love' in Sanskrit, Shalimar is an oriental fragrance with notes of bergamot and vanilla.

"Say OK"--Vanessa Hudgens
"Chasing Cars"--Snow Patrol

Friday, March 16, 2007

Unreleased / Persephone Interview With Tiffy

Tiffany Kimmel for Sali Oguri Unreleased Mix a.k.a. Persephone Perfume, 2007 - An interview with designer Tiffany a.k.a. Tiffy.

1. What's your name and how do you like to be called?

Tiffany . . . people who know me better end up calling me Tiff/Tiffy

2. What is your title / current profession?

Architectural drafter/designer

3. How would you summarize your artistic vision or style?

That's really hard to do. I try to use integrity, intuition and restraint in my designs. I like to create work that portrays a complete concept and is direct in its message. I believe that less is more. I am also a proponent of green design and materials.

4. Could you explain your creative vision for the Unreleased Mix aka Persephone project?

I tried to capture a dark and timeless feminine essence and use colors that hint at the flavors of Persephone.

5. Is there any other project you're working on now you'd like to talk about?

At work, I'm on a team designing a new building of studio apartments for out-of-foster-care residents. As for personal projects, I've been doing a lot of home improvements. I just finished building wooden bookshelves that easily dismantle (no nails) and can be transported. I'm also knitting legwarmers.

6. How do you like living in NY (What made you decide to come to NY)?

I love it here. NY life is always challenging and adventurous. I came mainly to get work experience and sort of prove myself, but also to be closer to my extended family.

7. I just can't resist asking this: Which are your favorite fragrances to wear and why?

Currently, I wear stella and a white tea body lotion. But there are a lot of others that I love (Spring Flower, J'adore, Nica, Pink Manhattan!)

8. What is your longterm goal?

I just want to put my energy to good use and help the people who need/deserve it. I'm kind of seeing where the world takes me.

9. Favorite word or quote?



Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Police

Tonight's dinner:

First course: "Omegaman"
Second course: "Rehumanize Yourself" from Ghost In the Machine
Dessert: "Bring On the Night" from Reggatta de Blanc

Monday, March 12, 2007

"Come On Up" Rises To Broadjam Rock - New Wave Top 10

Sali Oguri "Come On Up" is back on the Rock New Wave Top 10 Chart on Broadjam!

Sali Oguri is slamming the charts this week:

"Private Dreams": #2 Electronic - Dance Top 10

"Before We Say Goodnight": #4 Pop - Dreampop Top 10

Fred Kimmel "Jazz Bad": #5 Electronic - Drum 'N Bass Top 10

Congratulations to Fred Kimmel:
"Hibye": #1 Electronic - Experimental Top 10

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

Rochas Lumiere

Rochas is a line of French perfumes with curious names such as Tocade (meaning "infatuation" in French), Byzance and Byzantine (both named after the ancient Greek city and Greco-Roman empire) and Lumiere ("light" or perhaps "enlightenment"). Lumiere is one of those perfumes that took me instantly to a past memory: I remembered my ballet teacher with this scent. Did she actually wear it? I have no idea. It's a soft, sweet scent that garners compliments sporadically when worn. I'd describe it as a tender, creamy tuberose blend with soft fruity notes (like peach or pear) and oakmoss, sort of skin cream-like, heady but not without an ethereal quality. It's a very full, green (somewhat soapy) white floral bouquet, old-fashioned and fussy but lovely worn. It reminds me of Pavlova, Chloe or Quelques Fleurs but greener and smoother with woody undertones. Although I don't feel like wearing this on a regular basis, it's a comforting scent to me. It is my favorite of the Rochas line and to me it smells pleasantly optimistic. I'm sorry the original Lumiere in the purple-blue packaging seems to be out of production.

Notes on
Created by Rochas in 1984, Lumiere is a refreshing, floral fragrance. It's fragrant nature explores essences of bergamot, lavender and tuberose. Blended with notes of freesia, musk and sandalwood.

(Could the image be more '80s? From Images de Parfums)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Unreleased Mix a.k.a. Persephone Perfume

Art & Design by Tiffany Kimmel

Please visit Wuj Productions!

Eros, the Serpent Boy

A timeless image: Eros & Psykhe, 3rd century AD, Mosaic, From Samandağı, House of the Drinking Contest. (

When people say the old religions worshipped Mother Nature as an all-powerful female deity through whom life came about, no one told me what they meant was that she, woman, is a void. Because life starts with the birth of man who is a god named Eros whose creativity was boundless, he represents life. They also say he was born out of chaos: chaos being like a void, is senseless like a woman. If she is zero (0), nothing, Eros's assigned number is one (1), life. The next number logically would then be two (2), representing woman (Strife), not a part but an aspect of life/himself. She is not real but like a dream. In a simplistic, dualist world, it's only logical then that woman must be the opposite of man and therefore she must represent stagnant energy. Stagnant isn't good, for when a person is lifeless, it means just that to me. It's not a pretty image when you think about a woman in complete stillness--unless, of course, you're a misogynist.

Take this theory now and think about it: What if we applied a scientific theory and apply it to human life so "life" (everyone's) will have more meaning? Take the notion that life is always flashing like an atom: here one moment, gone the next, coming and going, alive and dead, ebb and flow, all in the blink of an other words, matter (which they thought they created by thinking hard) isn't really here all the time as we think we see (so now reality isn't reality--neat little paradigm shift there!). Imagine then, that man is the living state of human life and woman is the void, the absence of human life. That would also connect to how female deity is usually the cruel bringer of death, the grim reaper herself who allows crops to wither and die, starving her children. Such cruelty could only be that of woman--thinks the misogynist.

The Abduction of Psyche by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1895

Enter, Eros. Eros is our guy who stabs our hearts with love at first sight: he is the serpent who's also known to us as a lion, a ram, a bull, Kama of Kama Sutra fame (Sanskrit Discipline of Sex. Do you love disciplined classical perfumes? You ought to get at least as much pleasure out of this) and a fertility deity aka Cupid. Why him? Well, we've perfected everything so far, so why not perfect sex? Surely we could all use more excitement. What can we use to heighten passion by restricting it, to perfect it so that it has more "meaning"? We have observed that everybody likes the jocks. Here's a formula that should work: Desire = love + FEAR. Desire desires his own equal, a rival he can feel threatened by and compete against. The problem here is that Eros is ONLY a MAN, a bottomless pit when it comes to wanting what he wants. With this one myth, men can justify away their so-called promiscuous "nature" among a myriad of sins they "try" to avoid. Love is blind, as they say, so it takes no responsibility which makes desire causeless for the desirer (and the cause rests with the desired--Passion is born and it cries, "it made me--I had no control. I am innocent!").

Eros's dual nature has given him a wife of sorts (but it's more like he made her by willing her into his life in his image) named Psyche, aka Strife. This strife can be interpreted as being part of one person's psyche, to have desire and strife side by side in the game of life and love. But Strife can also represent a woman's life, if her role in this life (if you could call it that) is to serve man, keep house, take on all the blame, then die. Better yet, she may even love him enough to DIE for HIM. The perfect love story can't exist in such a cruel world, but this is just the way things ARE--this is Nature according to men--timeless, permanent ideals man can leave behind when he dies. I guess Nature is proof that true love can't exist, so we should all live for lust now. Lust IS Love, the "action speaks" kind, the only thing that's real, and the classical discipline on how to love like gods has made lust all the MORE REAL (how numb were these men?) for our "pleasure", Pleasure being another name for the "offspring" between lust and pain--yikes! Clearly, one can play the dualist game till we're clinically insane.

Read more about Eros on Wikipedia.
Link here to read more about Eros and Strife.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Class, Discipline, Confidence

So, am I correct about this, that classical discipline can be summarized as the practice of restraint all across the board? Tricky, this thing called Classical. The objective seems to be to "tame the beast", but by teaching us to be indifferent to the things we (think we) love and hate--in other words, the objective seems to me it's to become opinionless (numb) and learn to accept everything, to be an empty vessel for any and all experiences as if you're better off not connecting at all to your physical sensations except to focus on the task at hand, the discipline itself. I don't know if I like this as a philosophy to be applied to human relationships and existence. Something in me, perhaps my nature, cries out. I had to run because they were trying to make me eat peas, and think I like peas. I understand it's a ritual that's meant to teach moral behavior about self-restraint (among other things), but it's not how I feel everyone should have to live, and if they don't, they shouldn't have to be seen as "common"--and yet this is how I think caste system is born. All it takes is a feeling of superiority to reign without anyone protesting against the notion that some are better than others because they somehow have more class. What is class?

In ballet, we learn to contort our legs to the point where our knees are unnaturally turned outward. In classical music, students are encouraged to learn pieces of music they don't like (music that goes against their nature or will?), in case they end up liking them as they learn them (which often happens). The mind might say no but the hands say yes (because the piece fits the hands and feel good to play): something like that. Such a discipline certainly helps expand our experience and taste which is a noble thing--however, it can also go overboard and limit people who'd rather play other pieces of music during their lifetime, and I also see people who often don't get the chance to do what they want because of strict adherence to rigid methodology. As you might have guessed, I like to steer my life as I see it, and like to tailor my lessons to what I'm there to (and what I pay to) learn. In the end, my body was made for certain instruments over others, and I'm glad I chose to split from the rigidity I was no longer enjoying in exchange for freedom to listen to, perform and eventually write music I loved for no reason except I just really did.

For me, perfume should be pleasurable to wear and smell, and that "pleasure zone" might be a lot sweeter than what's considered appropriate, that being the opposite of gauche: classy. After all, classicism tells us no one should want to be common, and who wants to smell like someone of a lower class? But what if a high class smell wasn't really that good-smelling to you? Would you still wear it because it sends out a message about having class? How would you feel about applying for one job position and when asked what your goal was, you answered and they gave you the closest proximity to the opposite of what you wanted, just to teach you a valuable moral lesson? How would you feel if your music teacher turned a cold shoulder the day she realized you two had disimmilar tastes and she wanted to "encourage" you to want to strive (strife is of utmost importance) to be "better" or better yet, the "best"? It's easy to ostracize people without trying when you feel confident about having class and can use that confidence as a standard to measure others' worth or place in society by (winner VS loser--dualist). To feel confident shouldn't mean you CAN do something if you don't want to in the first place (can = good, can't = bad--again, this is dualist or comparative thinking, or black and white).

Incidentally, classical means it doesn't like change, so you get another kind of discipline besides the literal going against nature in physical practice thing: you may also inadvertantly learn to dislike (or feel foreign to) anyone who has opinions and feelings of their own (and different from yours which is correct), as these are seen as selfish, hateful ways of being, to rebel against "nature" which was never nature. Worse yet: having a mind of your own is seen as "common"! There's the crux of why many people don't dare rock the boat. We might have a long way to go before we can accept each other's ways but at least we're talking now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Speaking of snakes...

Do you know what's really haunting? There are tantric sex sites that teach women that being jealous of your male partner's sexual promiscuity is a bad thing and that we have to accept it (and be "good" meaning BE loving by acts of "love") or WE COULD GET SICK (or grow old too quickly--how do you like that?). Yes--apparently, jealousy is very bad for us (and they have a million reasons why on an esoteric level). I wish someone would please explain how we fell for this one. Of all preconceived notions in our great big shared world, I think this is by far the WORST idea to have germinated. I understand old cultures had to create myths to explain the unexplainable, perhaps to give their families a feeling of security (by creating evil images to ward off evil, etc). Those uses for myths, I can understand. But when a myth says a woman is a slave to her serpent master, I have a problem with that. Can we start discussing the relevance of these ideas today? How important is it to threaten a group of people with this idea that they have to suppress their true feelings for any reason except her feelings don't count? Can we say "creeps"?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Guerlain L'Heure Bleue

(Image: Guerlain L'Heure Bleue eau de toilette (EDT), This is the strangest perfume I've ever loved, and right now, it's my number one favorite classic beauty. How would I describe it? It's a slightly medicinal carnation blend, spicy but paired with sweet vanillic ambery notes, not quite warm but aromatic, gingerbread-like, or "the sweet scent of a girl's skin" as they say. This bizarre 1912 masterpiece has strangely oily, weird musty notes in it. One of them is what I might call a "Mitsouko note" (Guerlain Mitsouko being its potent, Oriental-Fruity Chypre half sister who's also very musty and a little crazy, too): a "nutty" accord, although in L'Heure Bleue, the weird nuttiness is a backdrop to the spicy-cool ambery-violet-anise floral composition. I can only imagine L'Heure Bleue is in the same family of scents such as Rochas Byzance and Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu! because somehow I visualize an Egyptian cinnamony musk structure of early perfume composition in all of these (Was I there?? No, I think I'm just letting my imagination run wild). Why are these perfumes packaged in blue? There are variations of the theme that are packaged in blue or purple hues such as Ultraviolet, Ghost and Boucheron, and maybe even Poison.

I've been trying to figure out the term "blonde perfume"; L'Heure Bleue is known as one (or used to be known as, anyway). Maybe the color blue has some mystical meaning. The Greeks and Romans of the Classical era seem to have bonded over occult studies. Their traditions stem back to India and apparently Egypt (a shared culture seems to have existed in Cyprus where the Chypre perfume was born), not to mention their myths were pretty much the same with different archetypal names. Many of these archetypes, such as Aphrodite/Venus, were depicted as being blonde. Could this be the perfume for the goddess of love and beauty?

Why blonde? I can't say for sure but prior to the fall of the Roman Empire, the Romans had warred with and conquered many powerful Germanic tribes and their women (blonde), leading to a blonde fascination which made their women also want to dye their hair blonde--fast forward a couple of centuries--somehow, over time, blue, perceived as a soft color, became associated with those foreign blondes and women in general, while red, perceived as the stronger color, was associated with men (or brunette women). I can imagine ambery powdery soft perfumes being designated as "blue" for wispy, angelic-featured (seen as young?) women and strong, woody-mossy Chypre being designated as "red" for stronger-colored (matronly?) women (dualist mind: one or the other, 0-1). Boys wore pink and girls wore blue until the 1940s, so I think I can sort of see how L'Heure Bleue and others like it came to be known as "blonde perfume". Fast forward just a few batting of the lashes shy of a century--Catherine Deneuve the former French Marianne is known to wear it, and not to put a damper on things but I do, too. It took a long time for me to like this and I'm still getting used to the darker parfum form, but I'm glad I have it and to have had the chance to smell it before it's discontinued (if it hasn't been already). I think it's beautiful and don't want to see it go.

One last thought I will add is that I will bet those caps are made in the image of serpent heads! >;-o

(Image: L'Heure Bleue 1927 ad in which the paleness of the woman is purposely juxtaposed against the darkness of the supporting role in the image to bring home the message of the "blonde perfume")

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Guerlain Metalys, Formerly Known As Metallica

Today, I'm testing Guerlain Metalys, formerly known as Metallica before Guerlain got sued by the band over the name. I like this a lot, although I don't see hunting down a bottle of the stuff that's so hard-to-find. My favorite stage is the dry down when I get a delicious cookie note--I'm thinking Stella D'Oro Marguerite but better. This carnation blend is not too spicy but rather scrumptious with the perfect vanilla counterpoint. The vanilla note is sweet enough for me (mmm!) and just right in how tempered it is (I like sweet but dry vanillas like this the most). If this perfume started more or less smelling like this, I'd be in seventh heaven. However, most of the ride reminds me of a cross between Lea St. Barth, Cashmere Mist and Creative Scentualization Perfect Veil (all creamy-powdery baby oil-musky skin scents) with a punchy, slightly sour aldehydic beginning which I know is the violet but it reminds me of Nanadebary Pink or Bill Blass Nude (complete with the muted pear note). The guerlinade is delightfully honeyed and sensual in the beginning. So this is my assessment from finish to start: It's classy and sophisticated in a Gourmand way that translates well in our time.

(Image: Metallica "Masters of Puppets" poster,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu!

Sacrebleu! is the name of a perfume by Patricia de Nicolai from her own fabulous line of fragrances called Parfums de Nicolai. Incidentally, this scent is supposedly one of Catherine Deneuve's favorites. What's it like? It's heavy, strong, musky, balsamic and spicy, more so than I can usually bear. However, the lively and sexy berry note always gets me to crave it at least a few times out of the year (or so my experience has been, ever since I received a beautiful indigo-colored glass miniature of this fragrance from a lovely perfumista I "met" on a perfume forum I haven't visited for a couple of years). I would say it's in the same family of scents as Rochas Byzance (a very ancient-type of perfumey scent which I have a hard time wearing for some reason), an Aldehydic Floral Spicy Oriental (or a spicy floriental synthesized by aldehydes). For those perfume lovers who want a touch of sweet berry without it going the candyish route, I highly recommend this gloriously perfumey, rich and opulent grown-up's perfume. Sacrebleu! is the scent of Cleopatra or Queen of Sheba in my mind: an earthy seductress's carnal potion (except a little toned down and elegant as French perfumes ought to be, of course). Not for the faint of heart and a little goes a long way but it is fabulous.

Does anyone know if there's an extrait version available in the US? I saw one on a German website but I don't know if it was ever released here.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Blues VS Classical: Reasons Why One Is Better

Do you know what's amazing about Blues as a musical form? It's a neverending question. Let me attempt to explain; in traditional Western classical music, "good" musical form has rules such as notes needing to resolve (because they just do, they say): ti needs to resolve up to do, fa needs to resolve down to mi, and these rules are taught as being "natural". Dominant V7th needs to resolve back to the root I (one) chord, certain sounds (or syllables) move in certain directions melodically, etc etc etc. Anyone who's taken years of classical music knows about the rigidity of this genre of music which we now consider to be "the best", no question about that, thanks to our greatest institutions of higher learning. In classical music, no matter how the rules are broken (within perfect reason), in musical analysis, every part of the music is broken down to its simplest form: in the end, whatever is most "reasonable" or "sensical" is perceived as the "best" and most "natural" (all synonymous buzzwords). Questions find resolution in classical music because they supposedly "should", and those answers are written in the 16th century counterpoint books we study in theory class.

Anyway, the blues is a succession of dominant 7th chords from beginning to end. The ear hears resolution because of the bass notes moving from I to V and back to I to end its 12 bar pattern, but in reality, the 7th chords never resolve, making this form of music a playground of infinite chordal and modal opportunities. This is in part (and I'm not a musicologist so I can't define anything well enough) why blues and jazz feel so free to perform and to listen to--it's because the dominant 7th can be altered to the point where there really is no rule. True modernity in music starts with the blues, thanks to African music, yet we still don't understand how great it is. From what I can gather, blues is the beginning of a complex system of music which can't be reduced to its parts in quite the same way as we can with classical. We can't compare European and African types of music from only one hierarchical perspective. In a world where Western is synonymous with greatness (thanks to the power of mass promotion), I hope this new millenium offers opportunity to value African music on the same level as European. Naturally, they're both great for different reasons.

"If Elvis is the King of Rock 'n' Roll, then Chuck Berry must be Master of the Universe."

(Image: Chuck Berry,