Sunday, April 29, 2007

Jhumpa Lahiri

The first time I fell in love with Jhumpa Lahiri's words was when I'd read "Remembrance of Things Psssst: Confessions of a Fragrance Fanatic" in the December 2000 issue of Allure magazine. This essay was much more than the typical advertisement passed off as a fragrance article; it was a very poignant, personal essay telling the story of how intertwined perfume and life as an immigrant balancing herself between two countries can be. It moved me because her writing was so beautiful, sincere and her characters so graceful and full of life, but I also related to her perspectives being bicultural and having immigrant parents. If you're a perfume lover, I highly recommend tracking down this essay; it's absolutely worth reading, and you'll never smell Nina and Enjoli again without thinking about her heartwarming story.

The search for cultural identity is a central theme in Jhumpa Lahiri's writings. Jhumpa Lahiri won the 2000 Pulitzer for her collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, then went on to write The Namesake (2003), her first novel; the movie, also called The Namesake (PG-13), is in theatres now and is based on this novel. I saw it last night and it was marvelous! I'm not going to spoil it for you but suffice it to say that the cinematography set between New York City and Calcutta (and other parts of India) is just as breathtaking as the depictions of each character presented with such loving care and integrity. It's nice to know good movies are still being made.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jo Malone Blue Agava and Cacao

If you want an occasional switch from the deep, emotional intensity of my Persephone perfume (which to me is more like a dark chocolate berry truffle with a dainty edible flower attached, best eaten inside an imaginary incense-burning monastery...or a bar), this could be your swing scent. I'm pleased to know they're in the same family of fruity-chocolatey-floral Gourmands that I've been loving so much for the past year. That's right; I'm a Foodyfloral scent lover and no amount of evangelizing and ostracizing will force me to love green, sharp, soapy, powdery, musky, unsweet woods and/or animalic scents, and let vanilla be maligned. This is like saying composers shouldn't write with retro sounds or mix other musical styles in recordings, and people shouldn't listen to old albums. Besides, I don't care if vanilla becomes passe--I will continue to eat it and wear it. Anyway, there's a mass campaign to try to dissuade us from all scents vanillic now but remember: Guerlain simply wouldn't be Guerlain without their luscious vanilla. If for the time being we must continue loving our Gourmands through chocolate instead, I say let the new vanilla take over the shelves in relentless droves.

But what about skin scents? Don't we all want the elusive skin scent, and wouldn't foody be the antithesis of that? People ask what a skin scent is all the time. Well, a skin scent to me is an abstract, subjective term meaning a scent that my own skin smells good in, like my own preferred second skin, but it seems what it really means now is "the closest approximation to the animalic smell of one's own human flesh amplified" or, shall we say, deified. I don't know about you but I'm content smelling like something delicious and fresh, not like glorified BO but like things in life that bring me pleasure, whatever they may be. I perfume to please myself and dislike fashion that will dictate what's correct to wear now. "Perfumistadom" has gone too far if fashion dictates odor-flavor preference. Chocolate makes me happy, damn it, and so does vanilla. Let people smell like unwashed root vegetables and raw animal hide. Let *me* smell sweet in peace--yeah, I'm such a heathen that way.

I have another favorite new find, and what do you know: it's a chocolate scent! Jo Malone Blue Agava and Cacao is a fresh, fruity chocolate-woods scent that's sheer (Cologne-although it's like EDT strength) and relatively light for a low-pitched, sweet dessert-type scent. The chocolate note is thankfully obvious to me from the start. It's more like milk chocolate than dark but it's no ordinary chocolate as it's packed with unexpected flavor combinations that work. At first, it reminds me of Smarties candy or Ramune drink with a cool, fresh, slightly chalky-fruity aftertaste, but it's also a bit flowery in that soapy-powdery, linden or lime blossom-like way (if you've tried Jo Malone French Lime Blossom, you might imagine a similar kind of soft, powdery, floral dry down). OK, so instead of a vanillic sweet dry down, what we now have is a retro flowery powdery accord mixed with some nostalgic Ovaltine.

I'm not sure if I actually love this scent enough to buy yet but I feel like it grew on me really fast, and I can't stop spritzing my sample often (in part because it fades kind of fast--but again, it is Cologne, not EDT). If Guerlain Metallica is my evening Gourmand signature with spicy florals over sensual, creamy a heavenly dollop of fresh Devonshire cream...this one would be my simplified, more transparent Gourmand for daytime and perhaps, it's perfect for summer. In a way, it reminds me of Vera Wang Princess and Green Lady Soaps Vanilla Ice Cream, but it's definitely chocolatey, not vanillic, and it's such a unique, intriguing though well-mannered scent. It has one strange ozonic or industrial note in it and I can only imagine this is what gives it the non-vanillic "modern edge" because the rest is all about simple pleasures: the salty ocean air mingling with cool aloe, juicy guava or starfruit and a gourmet semi-sweet Swiss (or Dutch) chocolate muffin...all together as an experiential scent in my mind. I might call it a Spa Gourmand--it's really that serene. Must be endorphins or something in the experience, but don't let that persuade you to let me actually enjoy it.

Music: "Over My Head" -The Fray
"Writing Sins Not Tragedies" -Panic! At the Disco

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Guerlain Metallica

Since you are a holy grail, I don't mind that you're a Men's fragrance. I find you to be lovely and sweetly vanillic with a gentle brush of cinnamon and clove (FYI: the new version is called Metalys).

According to Basenotes:

Metallica by Guerlain (2000)

Top Notes

Middle Notes
Ylang-Ylang, Orange Blossom, Carnation

Base Notes
Iris, Tonka Bean


Christian Dior Dolce Vita

Since I'm on a sweet/woods kick lately, here's one I used to wear a lot more often--or, I should say, I had a torrid love affair with (finished a 1 fl oz. EDT so fast, I practically drank the stuff), upgraded to parfum and then the passion gradually faded and we left it at that; nevertheless, I think it's a worthy perfume to talk about. It's actually a chypre but a modernized one, and so many traditional chypre lovers will say this is not chypre enough but I think any more chypre and it would go into Rochas Femme territory. For me, it's perfumey enough but still yummy with vanilla peeking through the massive amounts of strong woods (cedar and sandalwood) that anchor this potent blend. Peach is listed but for me, it's a tart-sour type of peach, maybe more like peach skin than an actual ripe peach, but it's bearable--combined with cinnamon and bitter citrus over all the sweet, dry, heavy woods, I think it creates the right balance.

Overall, I'd say Dolce Vita (1998) is a modernized neoclassical-traditional composition: voluptuous, powdery, abstract-flowery, heady and fussy, old-fashioned in a way but simultaneously a clean (for such a pungent woody) woods scent. I smell a similarity to Shiseido Feminite du Bois and Miller Harris Terre de Bois. I wouldn't have minded there being less rose and peach skin notes, and more cinnamon and vanilla (and less woods to offset the vanilla), but it serves its purpose for when I'm in the mood for those grown-up dessert notes. The chypre element is most detectable in parfum form but I think the EDT is wonderful just as well. Overall, this is a rich, big, powdery floral (getting shades of Tresor here) with pronounced low-pitched notes and it can be overbearing, but it's definitely bombshell and it has an easy-going, good-natured, sunny optimism about it as well.

I'm currently on a search for the perfect cinnamon-vanilla scent, and I don't want one that's too musky, too hypersweet or too perfumey. Any recs would be appreciated!


Monday, April 23, 2007

Creed Spring Fling

Spring Fling, as far as I know, was a limited edition fragrance--or more accurately, blend--from the venerable London-born fragrance house of Creed. When I visited the Creed counter the last time, my wonderful SA taught me how to put Spring Flower and Fleurissimo together to make this divine mixture. I have to say, this blend always gets raves. I don't know if Spring Fling is still available to buy as a single fragrance but I'm pretty sure you can get it if you look around, because Creed has on file all of their special custom blends. My mix is simple: 50/50 of each. I don't know if their limited edition Spring Fling which came in one of their colorful yet elegant leather atomizer bottles was exactly a 50/50 mixture but I also have to say, if Spring Flower is involved in a mix, it's bound to be pretty good.

I love that Creed fragrances, like Jo Malone colognes, are meant to be mixed and layered to suit individual taste. I'd also read that Annick Goutal made Eau d'Hadrien to put on in the morning, then she would overlap her other fragrances over it later in the day. I think this kind of convertible fragrance idea is brilliant and brings out the creative perfumers in all of us. Maybe this is no longer the huge trend it was, but I still enjoy being my own Creed mad scientist. Some of my other favorite recipes include:

Spring Flower + Creed Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie (about a 70%-30% ratio)
Jasmal + Creed Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie (also about 70%-30%)
Jasmal + Neroli Sauvage + Fleurs de Bulgarie (49.5% + 49.5% + 1%)
Spring Flower + Angelique Encens (60%-40%)
Spring Flower + Silver Mountain Water (50%-50%)

Or, I just layer different ones on my skin as I feel like it. I love to improvise.

If you have Creed blends/layering ideas to share, please post them here!

(Image: Spring Flower, 2.5 fl. oz. bottles and leather atomizer, from my own collection)

Creed Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie

Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie was a bestseller in downtown NYC a few years ago. I remember because it was sold out where I was going to buy it. This is my favorite serious, woodsy 'perfume' in every sense of the word. Old-fashioned? It was created in 1862 according to Creed's website. Rich-smelling? You bet--so gloriously rich, even as I love this scent, it's overwhelmingly strong for every day, but I love it because it has simple, refined notes, quality ingredients and down-to-earth appeal. It's delicious on dry down and a perfectly balanced scent: deep but streamlined, passionate, finely powdered (but not too old-fashioned aldehydic or like generic white musk) and offbeat but not too weird. It's a bit of a "hot" smell, maybe like a fireplace--heavy but on me, it wears softly. In a way, it reminds me of many other perfumes in this somewhat heavy olfactive family, and yet I have a special place in my heart for the beautiful and regal Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie.

To me, it's a kind of musk scent, like the permeating scent of a scorned woman, only not as spicy as one might expect. It simmers with deep emotion, yet it keeps its cool, knowing elegance and London-born stiff upper lip that is Creed. I find it akin to Chanel Bois des Iles; I find it's also similar to Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque and Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur. It apologizes to no one for being voluptuous so a little goes a long way--one spritz will do. It's a warm, haunting, sophisticated scent I can find comforting when everything else seems flighty and fake in comparison. It's a classic.

Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie Perfume by Creed (1862) says:
Oriental notes with mixture of Italian jasmin, sandalwood and vanilla


Sunday, April 22, 2007

"The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Recycled Art For Earth Day

Saul Steinberg, I Do, I Have, I Am, cover for The New Yorker 1971 Saul Steinberg Foundation

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Caron Fleurs de Rocaille

Fleurs de Rocaille is among my favorite Caron perfumes and it is a divine floral bouquet. Sometimes it seems to turn overwhelmingly musty; at other times, the softness of this blend is so ineffably delicate and sublimely beautiful, there really are no words. The concept behind this scent also intrigues me: I picture a rock garden laden with wildflowers and spring bloom. There is no other floral like it in the world, and I hope it's never ever discontinued or forgotten. I smell something fruity about the composition on the whole (an imaginary fruit but of a muted, soft kind--it reminds me of pikake, with a soft, banana-like texture), and there's a sophisticated mystery that I find in all of the classic Caron perfumes. Fleurs de Rocaille had a starring moment in the Al Pacino movie, Scent of a Woman. There's a newer version called Fleur (no "s") de Rocaille but that is a totally different scent.

Caron classifies Fleurs de Rocaille as an Aldehydic Floral.

Jan Moran's notes:
Scent type: Floral
Top notes: Lily of the valley, clover
Heart notes: Rose, violet, lilac, jasmine, iris
Base notes: Sandalwood, musk, civet


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Today's Music: My Chemical Romance

The Ghost of You

Fragrance of the Moment: Persephone (mine)
My bottle of IN2U will hopefully arrive today

Monday, April 16, 2007

Calvin Klein IN2U

is now available at in a 5 fl. oz. size for just $10 more than what the 3.4 fl .oz. sells for. Just an FYI.

More Sound and Scent Musings

Luca Turin has sent me this very helpful link:"Rational Odorants Design"

and in it he wrote:
..."vibrational theory is a theory of odor character only."

Well, that answers that. Thank you, Luca!

This is all very interesting stuff. Scent design could be compared to sound design. I'm not a sound designer, by the way, but I can see the parallels. Musicians are always looking for that next new sound, the one that sounds more natural, the one that sounds like nothing before, the one that will make the hit recording. The right sound, the right scent, can inspire creativity.

I wonder if what Luca Turin says about all scents being within a certain frequency range is like how all sounds are within the same velocity (speed in the air). By the way, this article here called Sound Waves by Ron Kurtus defines pitch in this way: "The pitch or note of a sound that we experience is determined by its wavelength or its frequency. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency becomes, and the higher the pitch that we hear."

Volatility is inversely related to molecular weight in scent.
Frequency is inversely related to the concept of wavelength in sound.

So wait a minute...doesn't this all sound like I was on the right path about the concept of more vibrations (modes, frequencies, whatever we call the number of oscillations or beats per second) determining their pitches? Aren't high notes faster and low notes slower in both realms, then?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sali Corresponds With Luca Turin

Remember how I'd written two posts below about the person on the forum who'd nixed the idea of vibrational frequencies and pitch in sound and scent and how they might correlate, who didn't tell me why what I wrote didn't jive? Well, I contacted her this morning asking why and whether she had another theory, and lo and behold, this person is author Tania Sanchez who's working on a book with biophysicist Luca Turin. The book is called "Perfumes: The Guide" and it's to be published in 2008. The lovely Tania gave me his contacts and Mr. Luca Turin was kind enough to write me back with all the info I was hoping to find on the subject and more. This is what he had to say about the matter:

"There is no systematic difference in the shapes of vibrational spectra of topnotes and drydown notes. All molecules composed of C, H O, N and S, as 99% of odorants and flavorants are, vibrate in the range of 500 to 1800 wavenumbers to roughly the same extent. The higher the molecular weight, the more vibrational modes a molecule will have, but the frequencies of the modes will still fall in the same region as those of lighter molecules. Volatility determines whether a molecule is a topnote or drydown note, and it is inversely related to molecular weight."

Obviously, since I'm not a biophysicist, all this is way over my head, but I think I'm starting to get a couple of things--first of all, it sounds to me like wavenumbers in scent and wavelengths in music determine their forms and amplitude more than their pitches--or rather, that we can't see their pitches by looking at a graph. In scent, the more vibrational modes (that's a new term for me), the higher the molecular weight (since it's inversely related to volatility), so, would the note smell higher-pitched if it weighed more? More to me usually indicates volume, so this is why I think maybe this "more vibrational modes" has to do roughly with the intensity or character of the scent if not their pitches. In music and sound, you can see a sound on a graph indicating what the sound looks like in sound wave form--a piano, for instance, provided it's allowed to sustain, looks like a sharp attack followed by a smooth slope downwards. The sound wave of a crash cymbal when it's hit looks very jagged (there are also different types of wave forms that determine the characters of sounds).

Pitch is determined by the frequency or the number of cycles per second, therefore A440. But since there are vibrational frequencies within scent, even though they are very slow, couldn't they be measured so we can determine their pitches that way, and is that related to volatility?

Sound and scent both have overtones and harmonics so why not the cycle of fifths? OK, colors don't work in exactly the same way, either, but there must be order of some kind at work...Between MIDI and headspace technology, there's really a lot music and perfume have in common. To be continued...

My Sephora Visit

I love this store because 1. the SAs are usually pleasant and leave me alone when I want to be left alone to sniff to my heart's desire, 2. the stores accept returns and 3. because they're open late. I must have smelled about 30 perfumes tonight but tried on just three: Calvin Klein IN2U, Calvin Klein Euphoria Blossom and Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto Charms which was highly recommended to me by a cute, young SA (sales assistant) who described the scent as "very soft". He also recommended Roberto Cavalli Serpentine and Betsey Johnson but I didn't try them on--maybe next time. To my delight, he made samples of a couple of scents I picked out, so I came home with these adorable little sample sprays. Yippee! Here are my thoughts on my favorite new discoveries:

Calvin Klein IN2U: Oh, wow, a CK I could call signature-worthy! I love this scent even though I didn't expect much when I tested it. This is a fragrance that's more nighttime than daytime although I'd be tempted to wear it all the time: a bit angular and sophisticated but still very easy to wear and I love the cool, smooth, milky white bottle. It's a bit sharp in the opening with a nondescript fruitiness (I'm getting sparkling pink grapefruit with other notes) and a strong cedar note, but then it mellows into a mysterious, dry vanilla dry down which I think is the best part. It reminds me of Kenzo KenzoAmour (especially at the end) and CK Euphoria Blossom just a tiny bit, but it's a unique scent--a little hard for me to describe but it's distinctive and has really made an impression on me. I haven't come across a CK ad campaign that I like but this is my favorite CK to date, it's currenty one of my favorite fragrances of all time. It's fresh, warm and sexy, indeed.

Calvin Klein IN2U (Floral Oriental)--Notes on Redcurrant Leaves, Sicilian Bergamot, Pink Grapefruit Fizz, Sugar Orchid, White Cactus, Red Cedar, Neon Amber, Vanilla Souffle

Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto Charms: This is one I loved at first sniff when it launched but passed up because I thought it was too musky for me. Tonight, I smell much more fresh fruitiness than any linen-like musk. It's a light, pleasant white floral blend, slightly reminiscent of Antonia's Flowers Floret or Annick Goutal Petite Cherie but more modern, sheerer, with maybe an apple or strawberry note somewhere (it vaguely reminds me of Miss Dior Cherie). It's not a perfumey scent but somewhat simple like body spray, which doesn't make it an exciting scent but that's the friendly, modest appeal it has. I think it's a great daytime choice, light enough to spray a couple of times and not offend in an elevator. I can see it boring me after awhile, too, because it's so soft and unassuming, but it's really fresh and pretty and came with major raves so who can resist that?

Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto Charms (Floral)--Notes on Honeysuckle, Passion Fruit, Jasmine, Ottoman Rose, Amyris Wood, Musk

If you're making a trip to Sephora, I also recommend sniffing out: Matsushima Masaki Mat Cherry, Arrogance Mix Lime Sugar, Vera Wang Princess and Kenzo KenzoAmour.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pitch Perception In Music and Scent

I always think of pitch in music correlating to pitch in scent; for instance, a high note in sound vibrates at a faster frequency than a low note and likewise a high-pitched lemon note vibrates (maybe not physically save for how it evaporates faster--but certainly in feeling) faster than a base note, and therefore smells "uplifting" in comparison to how a base note (woods, for example) feels "heavy" to smell and to wear. Someone on a forum has already nixed this idea flat out but hasn't told me why. Perhaps high and low frequencies in scent don't correlate with highs and lows in olfactive pitch to start with, but take for example this question posed by biologists (Citation: Chittka L, Brockmann A (2005) Perception Space—The Final Frontier):

...are odor mixtures simply perceived as a compound entity with distinct components (like a triad in vertebrate pitch perception), or are mixtures unique entities that are perceived as fundamentally different from their elements (like “white” in color perception)?

I think when our noses are trained, we can smell olfactive pitch better than most people who have never learned to smell; likewise people who've had training in music (or people who are naturally inclined to perceive on a higher plane) can hear pitch (recognize highs and lows) better than those who have never connected what they hear with notes on a scale or their own voice being able to go higher and lower. When I teach people to sing for the first time, it starts with recognizing that basic difference between high and low and how it correlates with the physical dynamic of how we produce sound with our voice. When they are able to make the mental connection, it's truly eye-opening and freeing for them. It's about learning to hear, even though they've always heard. It's about going beyond the physical and into the realm of perception.

When I say pitch, I mean just the highs and lows we perceive, not the "texture" or type of smell which I correlate in my mind with timbres of sound--a flute and a harp can play the same high note but they don't sound the same. Also, two notes played one after the other on the same instrument don't sound the same unless they were deliberately performed the same way twice, so music isn't as simple as biology makes it out to be, either. "How" it's played is a huge factor in differenciating the sounds we hear. Still, a high C is a high C. A440 is A440. Pitch and timbre are two different things. Volume (loudness)is another.

I think certain accords (scent chords if you will) smell more like one new accord (a different smell altogether) than a mixture where the notes are more distinguishable. It would be harder to distinguish individual notes (and pitches of each) in an abstract scent mixture. I generally don't like perfumes that smell like one smell because they bore me, whereas perfumes that I perceive as being multidimensional and having distinctive placement of notes I can recognize as highs and mids and lows are more interesting. But the trained nose is like the trained ear. I listen to and sing a lot of complex music so an intricate jazz chord sounds interesting to me, and I can distinguish the notes within it and the motion of chords before and after that chord that makes sense and sounds beautiful in context, whereas the person who doesn't listen to complex music might hear a jazz chord and it sounds like noise to that person (because the chord didn't sound like a simple major or minor chord for instance). The physical ear alone doesn't perceive music, nor even individual notes for that matter, even though notes exist...or do they?

Anyway, I don't think it's far off when this article, Structure-odor Relations--a Modern Perspective by Luca Turin and Fumiko Yoshii says: We hope that biologists will realize that, once a vocabulary is agreed upon, odor is as reliable a sensation as pitch or color.

They've already nixed the vibration theories but I don't think they're as focused on pitch perception alone the way I am--however, they do use the term "wavenumbers" which I'm assuming doesn't correlate with scent pitches at all. How then did they come up with the idea of scent pitches? I think the olfactive scale is a workable concept--it makes perfect sense to me and helps me visualize olfactive structures in space just like I can visualize chords inside my head, but apparently the olfactive scale has little to do with the physical proof of how one smells. It's more to do with how one thinks about what one smells. Well, that's all I'm concerned with. I wish we could just expand on the olfactive scale idea and have it make sense like the H & R chart makes sense to me. Is that too much to ask for? I love the piano keyboard and how it simplifies how we see and hear musical notes the way no other instrument has laid it all out so clearly for us from top to bottom.

Maybe olfactive pitch has to do with tenacity or longevity (or evaporation rate) than vibrational frequencies. But if low = slow, that means I was still right about something. It boils down to listening to how something makes us feel. That's not to say that individuals can't find heavy smells uplifting, but I don't think we could say that a lemon note is lower pitched than a wood note. Even if the particular wood note has high pitched elements in it, wouldn't they be considered something like overtones?

Friday, April 13, 2007


Perfumistas perfume to please ourselves. I'm having a delightful cup of coffee and laughing inside because I'm back to buying samples and miniature (mini) perfumes just like I used to before decants and hand-decanted samples became widely available. Even under this new pressure, my buying habits haven't changed and I'm still biding my time before I purchase a full bottle. Maybe I'll have less cash to spend on full bottles now that I'm spending more on sampling my desires of the moment. It's OK--I don't mind biding my time.

If you're one of the sellers who's been displaced, I hope you get back on your feet again soon. As for selling illegal goods, yes, I suppose we perfumistas lived like bandits for awhile--sellers and buyers alike--and I should feel some shame but for some reason, I think if it was that bad, it would have been punished the moment it started, so considering how long decanting has been part of our strange and misunderstood lifestyle, I'd say they really did bide their time with good reason. Anyway, if you don't know yet, is one terrific resource for miniatures, and carded (original packaging) samples are still available on the bay.

I think what gets to me is also the fact that being bandits allowed many more people to sample and enjoy fragrances they otherwise would not have had any access to, and that's a nice thing, to spread some wealth around, if only for the joy of sharing our love of perfume, and that to me is what perfumista is--not what we can afford or cannot afford. The same could be said of music although being a musician, of course I'm against piracy; however, if someone buys a CD and decided to throw a party for $5 a person and let everyone enjoy the music, I think it's OK. Well, perfuming is my party and I hate to have it rained on. But a rule is a rule, yes? Turn off the music--everybody go home.

It's also the elitism of it all, not that I didn't know what it was about before I got so deeply involved. But seriously--being able to buy $200 fragrances has never been the criteria for perfumistadom. Perfumes are only great if there are people out there who love them and truly appreciate them. I hope the fragrance industry will see that aspect of who we are someday, once they finish weeding out the haves and the have nots to keep their exclusivity and the bottom line in check. For whatever it's worth, it's been fun, and yes, we will continue to find our joy wherever and however often we can without being made to hurry up and settle down to some signature scent (or scent archetype if you will) and stay loyal (keep buying) like the industry said is how it should be.

Music: Billie Holiday "God Bless the Child"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Perfume Decant Sellers Kicked Off Ebay

So basically, fragrance decants are considered fake designer goods and therefore many small (predominantly female-owned) businesses are being threatened to close as of tomorrow. Will the moms selling homemade deconstructed brand name overalls and the doll artists using dolls they bought to create and sell their own versions be kicked off next?

Read more about the ban on Now Smell This blog.

I don't blame Ebay but I'm feeling disillusioned about the fragrance industry right now. It's like the time a friend of mine was forced to change his company's name by lawyers representing a leading brand name company because his company (in an unrelated field) had similar lettering. He fought back but when the funds ran out, it was his loss. Maybe perfume companies, even some small niche ones, have lots of power since they apparently control ebay.

There is a similar concern regarding the fragrance decant sale ban on Basenotes

All I can say is, when a perfume you bought with your hard-earned cash isn't really yours, perfumes are unwise investments.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Too Old To Rock?

Watch this video by The Zimmers: "My Generation".

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche

(Even though I returned this purchase to Sephora where I'd bought it from, I've decided to bring back the review since a couple of people came to my blog looking for it. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

Chance Eau Fraiche is the newest offering from Chanel, and it's one of few fragrances I've bought a full bottle of untested. The others I've bought blindfolded are the first two Britney Spears (Curious and Fantasy) and maybe Coquette Tropique--I can't remember now but it's likely I'd buy the follow-up after Monyette. The new Chanel which I'm testing for the first time is nice but challenging for me to wear. The original Chance is a cool floral--an aqueous white musk powdery chalky woody scent reminiscent of Hello Kitty pencils with a candyish bite and a slight pinch of pink pepper. It was never a favorite but in small amounts, it's been very wearable as a daytime/professional scent in my experience. The new limited edition summer version has a similar, wooded, powdery Hello Kitty pencil smell but with less sweetness, more pronounced aqueous herbaceous notes, bringing to mind Bond 9 Bleecker St. which, by the way, doesn't smell at all to me like the booze-and-coffee-house-lined street or the neighborhood because it's so sporty-smelling, like some men's after shave I might smell in a locker room at Chelsea Piers (in a good way, of course).

To be fair, Calvin Klein Euphoria is a bestseller and I think it could be a shared scent, and I am currently in love with Serge Lutens Gris Clair which has enough lavender going on to compare with Polo and any of the great masculine fragrances. Besides, olfactive gender bending in its concept is appealing (besides the fact that gender specification of scent is subjective) and I can use some edge in my Spring 07 fragrance wardrobe. I think Chance Eau Fraiche might grow on me if I can accept it as being Chance Sport in a pretty bottle. An interesting aspect of this scent is that the little bit of floralcy I detect in it, which is a cool, green, almost grassy hyacinth note, is pronounced, more so than the vaguely bothersome white musk which seemed to dominate the original Chance. All in all, it was a must buy, one I couldn't pass up because (and I realize this is sad) it's another take on Chance, the "pink" Chanel, the star fragrance, which translates roughly to "ooh la la" no matter what it is.

The best part of Chance Eau Fraiche is the dry down stage when I smell a vanillic citrus floral that almost comes close to the scent of the Exclusifs Eau de Cologne (but sweeter and aftershave-y so no cigar). I have to wait more than 30 minutes for these scrumptious notes to take center stage, and I still have to brave the sporty notes. I'm not sure if the sweet base I smell is vanilla or amber which is a listed note.

Notes on Now Smell This blog:
citron, water hyacinth, jasmine absolute, white musk, vetiver, amber patchouli and teak wood

(Image: from

Monday, April 09, 2007


and so true: Pachelbel Rant on You Tube

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter From Pink Manhattan

(Image: The Yellow Christ (Le Christ jaune) by Paul Gauguin, 1889, oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA)

Solange Stoned

Stoned is the name of a perfume by Solange Azagury-Partridge, a jewelry designer based in London. The scent is said to "create an addictive, animal attraction" with its notes of bergamot, labdanum, vanilla and musk. When I hear the word Stoned, I think of two things: one, intoxication by a type of herb and two, something Jesus of Nazareth is quoted for saying in the Gospels of the New Testament: "Let those without sin cast the first stone". The bottle happens to look prettier in person than in the picture, being small in size (about the size of a baseball, or for those of you who know perfume, Annick Goutal Songes EDP) and made of impressively heavy glass with a carved stopper in the shape of a meditating female (or male--hard to tell) figure, but it's still this garnet-colored objet d'art that has red blotchy sores...I mean, stones, all over its body.

Yes, sometimes the name Stoned scares me, as if wearing this scent is supposed to attract all kinds of things, both wanted and unwanted, real and imagined. It brings to mind the current Law of Attraction trend. It makes me wonder why they lured us in with "diamond dust" in the notes, as if it was some magical made-up fantasy note, then shocked us with literal specks of shaved rock inside the juice which could be mistaken for dirt. Is wearing shaved diamonds supposed to bring us some kind of luck? Is this an invitation to get drunk on materialism and deal with the consequence of our sin by getting Stoned? I'll say this: the perfume itself is not unlike the scent of some baby products, being very White Musk-y and powdery--a type of scent I usually find generic and cloying, not to mention annoyingly juvenile because of said association--but this scent has some more traditional Oriental elements that can remind me of Guerlain Shalimar, and that's saying a lot considering what a classic that is. Is it worth all the hype? I'll let you know as I wear it this season and get to know it--and its secrets--better.

(Image: from

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Chanel Les Exclusifs Eau de Cologne

Cologne can mean one of two things in perfumespeak: 1. a concentration of perfume that's lighter than eau de toilette known as eau de cologne, or 2. one of those light, often lemon-scented splashes almost anyone can wear (if you like lemon scents; some people find them too sharp) because it's fleetingly sheer and relatively unobtrusive, making them great daytime/office scents and perfect for active lifestyles. I'm referring to the latter definition in this post. Some famous citrusy, zingy eaux include Mülhens 4711 (created in the year 1772), Guerlain Eau du Coq (1892), Eau de Rochas (1970), Acqua di Parma Colonia (1916), Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien (1981) and Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (1992). Many eau de colognes are similar in style, composed using citrus notes such as bergamot, lemon, lime, orange or modern notes such as yuzu and green tea, but as similar as they may be, I still have favorites in this genre. Unless you're a diehard citrus aficionado, many of these would smell similar enough that you may not feel the need for variations. Have you ever met a lemon you loved? Here's one bitter fruit that stole my heart recently, although I don't have a bottle of it yet and am in no rush to buy (but really want one day):

Chanel Eau de Cologne (2007):
This is a good basic eau de cologne for people who like a slight bit of floralcy and depth to their fresh lemony-bergamot scent. At first sniff, it reminded me very much of Le Labo Jasmin 17, a floral blend of citrus and jasmine with a very light vanillic base, only Chanel EDC is much simpler, with more citrus and less floral. For another comparison, it's fresher than Chanel Cristalle to me because Cristalle is a chypre and this is not a round and heavy-ish, mossy-woody type of citrus to me but a more modern and straightforward one (although, I could be wrong and this could be a light chypre like Cristalle or Eau de Rochas). I thought I got a very sheer vanillic base from Eau de Cologne but after just an hour, it's hard to detect on my skin (this scent fades quickly on me). The only reason I might resist buying it is because I think it smells enough like 4711 that I don't have to shell out so heftily for something so similar and simple; however, I can also find it uniquely appealing and this could easily become a new shared favorite if I bought it and gifted it to my loved one.

It's only sold in a huge 200ml size, plus it's part of the Exclusifs line which makes it harder to find and obtain than their more mainstream offerings. As much as I adore the complex beauty that is 31 Rue Cambon, I find Eau de Cologne the easiest to wear among the new collection.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Scented Salamander Reviews Unreleased/Persephone Perfume

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Marie-Hélène Wagner's perfume reviews are among my very favorites because she has a talent for creating visuals that are as vivid as the images that grace her most up-to-date, cutting edge perfume blog, The Scented Salamander. She's able to describe a scent not only as poetry in motion but also from the objective perspective of the wearer of scent--the scent that wafts from the nape of her neck as her hair is lifted by the wind. Delivered with finesse and precision, her review always feels like an experience not to be missed. Please click on the image above to link to the latest review of Unreleased Mix a.k.a. Persephone Perfume.

The Scented Salamander is a featured blog on and the Glam Network.

Monday, April 02, 2007