Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Notes from Penhaligon's site:
Penhaligon's Artemisia (2002 Semi-Oriental)
Head Notes: Nectarine and Green Foliage
Heart Notes: Green Apple, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine Tea, Violet and Vanilla
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Musk, Amber and Vanilla
Description from lamurefavorite.com:
An intense marriage of jasmine tea and vanilla for this feminine fragrance of the great English perfume maker.
Friday, November 23, 2007
I hope everyone's having an awesome weekend. I'm chillin', doodlin', being grateful for the real men in my life who cook, still lovin' my bottle of Nina which is down to a few spritzes left, and most of all, looking forward to catching up with more family, new and old friends and all you loyal fans out there. Many thanks!!
(Image: Sali Oguri's trackball art, www.facebook.com)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Boucheron is a perfume that dazzles when you're in motion. Like its not-so-distant relative Caron Narcisse Noir, people will notice it, and wonder where the scent is wafting from. You might consider it loud for that reason, and there's no denying it's on the sweet and heavy side. Being well-constructed, it also happens to be effusive and carries well in a room. Do you think it takes a certain extroverted personality to carry such a scent off, or perhaps it's just one of those fragrances that can too easily be overdone? I think one spritz goes a very long way, and the eau de toilette (EDT) is strong enough for me, although the parfum is absolutely exquisite and the real way to go. As the weather (finally) turns colder here in NY, I find myself wanting to reach back to old favorites that have some voluptuous oomph as well as refined softness to wrap around me like a cashmere cardigan, but ultimately give me bombshell appeal like a pair of satin gloves or a decadent floor-length stole. Boucheron is a beautiful, multifaceted olfactive jewel for those who aren't afraid of its power but can use it judiciously for the right effect. Happy Holidays and Party On!
Notes on Perfumania.com:
Boucheron For Women (1988)
Top Notes: Sicilain tangerine, Calabrian bitter orange, apricot, Persian galbanum, African tagetes, Spanish basilica
Heart Notes: Moroccan orange blossom, Grasse tuberose, Madagascar ylang-ylang, Moroccan jasmine, Auvergne narcissus, British broom
Base Notes: Mysore sandalwood, amber, Indian Ocean vanilla, South American tonka bean.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I'd heard so much about Shiseido's White Rose Natural (1954), so I'm elated to finally know what it smells like. I'd been curious about this perfume ever since I read the glowing review by Chandler Burr in the Times, and I have to agree this is one luminous, delicate rose. It's also very well-rounded, soft, and "layered" as Chandler Burr put it, opening with a crisp white alba rose, then shyly revealing jasmine and other florals subtly woven into the balanced composition. Qualitywise, this is right up there with Caron for me. What's more, it's even better on--never astringent or losing the fresh, dewy character till it finishes as legato and with controlled diminuendo as a well-rehearsed and perfectly executed classical orchestral performance. Actually, it's not as stuffy-smelling as I make it sound. It's just a very beautiful, elegant, simple rose soliflore with a little more complexity, depth and charm than your average rose soliflore. Best of all--it's not perfumey or animalic in any way, and lives up to its name.
At first sniff, it reminded me of Floris White Rose which I have in lotion form. Although I doubt the Floris has the same natural white alba rose oil I smell in the Shiseido, I think both are clean and lovely roses that hold back on sweetness in the way Chanel No.22 does: No.22, a Floral Aldehyde with white rose mingling with tuberose and other fragrant, heady flowers, that somehow maintains a cool and collected vibe. While Floris White Rose is sopaier and much more focused on rose, Shiseido's parfum is delicately sweet and has the whisper of jasmine that makes it something like a superlight Jean Patou Joy. Stylistically, it might be closer to Estee Lauder White Linen without aldehydes. What I'd compare it to most of all is Caron Rose parfum, but without peppery notes, lighter and more translucent without any sweet vanillic tones, yet it's still sumptuous, and never, ever watery, but dewy. Something about the base reminds me of the scent of refined (tea ceremony grade) green tea. The sillage is so pretty and if I could, I'd bathe in the stuff. This is the first time in weeks I've wanted to wear something other than Nina for an extended period of time. I also hadn't been in the mood to wear any rose perfume till now. This is the stuff I imagine the Princess of Japan wearing.
I only have a small vial sample, so I'm nursing it little by little. This perfume is exclusive to Japan and very hard-to-find. I don't have a bottle here I could comment on in detail, but based on the photos, the visual presentation, handmade bottle with the box and all, is also beautiful. I'm really so grateful for the opportunity to smell it, and if you're interested in experiencing it, www.theperfumedcourt.com currently has samples and decants for sale.
Friday, November 16, 2007
All right, so I'm a big, overgrown kid sometimes, and I like this Momoberry, created for Hello Kitty by the indie perfumer who brought us Monyette and Coquette Tropique. Like the first two, this is a roll-on oil perfume, but it's very different. I'd say Momoberry is much more tropical fruity on a musk base (I get intensely sweet red fruits--think Escada Summer LE or Rimmel London Glam) while the other two were more tropical floral (gardenia) and vanilla-based. I can also find similarities between Momoberry and the strawberry scent by Lily Lambert (No.44, I think), except Momoberry is less musky. Guess what's on my personal holiday wish list? Haha!! Then again, I'd probably be just as happy being reacquainted with London Glam, my tried-and-true hypersweet drugstore fave.
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I don't want to be a stereotype but I'll admit I have a thing for apple scents, like the fragrance industry says the Japanese do. From my longest standing favorite, Creed Spring Flower (created for Audrey Hepburn) to my current favorite, Nina by Nina Ricci, I'd traveled through the apple orchard and stumbled upon a little-known indie perfume named Caitlin.
Caitlin was created by actor Caitlin O'Heaney whose movies I'm not familiar with, but whose work of olfactive art is in my opinion one to be reckoned with. The story behind the scent is that Caitlin mixed this for herself in her kitchen and her friends started going ga-ga over it, so she decided to release it as an indie launch. I remember when I'd discovered it a few years ago, I was one of the few perfumistas who loved it enough to buy. Then, slowly it gained some momentum and Caitlin went from a small online niche brand to having a spot in a posh department store in New York, only to disappear from the public eye rather quickly. The sweet and fresh blend of apple, gardenia and patchouli (among other notes) was housed in a clear, cut-glass flacon (parfum) or a softly ovoid clear bottle (EDP) and protected in a beautiful, sturdy yet delicately laced Irish linen bag. The scent has a vintage floral feel to it, bringing to mind Golden Autumn or Apple Blossom, but with a contemporary Gourmand twist.
I feel this perfume has gone underrated and underappreciated for its compositional (artistic) and material (artisan) quality. I can't imagine we'd have this new Nina without there being Caitlin, since they are similar to me in more ways than one. If I'm to compare, Caitlin is heavier on all levels, with a stronger, lower-pitched "mulled apple" character, while Nina is fresh and airy (ozonic) with a bright and citrusy, upbeat character. Now, if I'm to compare Caitlin to Spring Flower, Caitlin is a country apple with an endearingly down-to-earth, spectacular honeyed dry down, and Spring Flower a cosmopolitan one: sprightly to fit the gamine beauty it was created for, with a sophisticated green quality and a bold, cedary base. In my collection, I need all three, and Caitlin always feels comforting to come home to. Unfortunately, this gorgeous scent has already been discontinued, so if you can find a bottle of it left anywhere, get it while you can.
Caitlin by Caitlin O'Heaney (1997)
Notes from ¡Ombligo! blog:
Top: Apple and gardenia
Middle: Rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, vanilla and lily of the valley
Base: Sandalwood and patchouli
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
L (L.A.M.B.) by Gwen Stefani--I was surprised it smelled so much like Antonia's Flowers Floret, a sweet and innocent, girly peachy-peary white floral fit for weddings and summer picnics, but then again, Gwen is "just a girl". Also, Floret was associated with Eve as being the perfume she never leaves home without, and the two recording artists often work together. Maybe the scent of Floret unites them in the public eye all the more. Compared to Floret, L is slightly powdery and incensey, like the peach you'll find in Dolce & Gabbana The One. It smells OK, but there are other peachy florals I'd rather wear.
J Lo Still--The celebrity fragrance pop queen needs no introduction; Jennifer Lopez's first perfume by Coty, Glow, had broken numerous records in sales, and her subsequent fragrances (many which are, and smell like, variations of Glow, a musky floral based on China Rain, her favorite) have also sold well across the globe. Although I think Glow and the variations are made well (J Lo is Coty's Prestige line), this type of soapy, lily-like musk is not my cuppa, so my favorite perfume that bears her name is Still ("I'm still Jenny from the block"), a romantic rose floral for the Latin beauty.
Cumming by Alan Cumming--The Broadway actor's commercial video for the scent was funny and endearing, but the scent which I tested at Sephora awhile ago smelled awful to me, like a garage: exhaust fumes, rubber and other synthetic, unpleasant notes. It was extremely bold and strong to boot. I think this is the perfume industry's version of Mozart's A Musical Joke. Then again, there are fans of this scent out there, so to each his/her own. One thing's for sure: it's very unique! However, I could not spritz this on my skin.
Covet by Sarah Jessica Parker--The ad is cute but tell me this doesn't smell like the "Money" scent you can get at fragrance oil shops. It has that neon green color and smells like lemon lime cleanser. Let's see...covet: "I just had to have it", as in, greed? Is this how we want to present the Jewish beauty or her association with New York? Her first scent was a lovely, albeit slightly boring, well-mannered Egyptian musk floral-lavender, like a less obviously come-hither Narciso Rodriguez or an upscale Skin Musk (an SJP fave). Covet by contrast is a sharp, aggressive green synthetic smell. I didn't get the chocolate note, but the sharpness briefly reminded me of Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cacao.
That's So Raven--Disney Channel's talented actor-singer, teen star Raven Symoné from her own TV series, "That's So Raven", has a fragrance marketed to young people that's a great bargain for what you get: a hypersweet vanillic-musky scent comparable to the popular niche French Gourmand line, Comptoir Sud Pacifique's Vanille Tiare--no kidding! Granted it's not my holy grail vanilla but it's very wearable and has a nice touch of berry note, giving it an extra girlish edge. If you're a Gourmand lover of any age, you need to check it out. I hate age-casting because it weeds out possibilities of things that work in the long run.
Stunning by Jordan--You're not going to hear me say this too often but G-d Bless America only because we do not have to put up with the page 3 naked girl photo in our daily newspapers. Screw that; I'll have to live without the paper! Anyway, Jordan isn't known here, so most of us won't smell this mass appeal, or drugstore, UK best-seller, but I recently tested this and what a shocker: I kid you not, it smells identical to Miss Dior Cherie! You've got to smell these strawberry florals side by side! They both resemble Victoria's Secret Strawberries & Champagne and have patchouli bases.
Naomi Campbell--Naomi's first fragrance (1999) is a sweet, powdery, creamy and somewhat spicy concoction with fig, woods and to my nose, vanilla. I just remember reading the word "exotic" in the description and thinking, you know, that there just aren't enough stereotypes in the perfume business. This is a nice scent, by the way, and if you're not into very flowery scents, this one is more of a skin scent Woody Oriental, and if I recall, it's slightly green due to the fig (leaves). Her favorites are notoriously green and classic: Christian Dior Diorissimo and Creed Green Irish Tweed.
Christina Aguilera--I don't have much more to say about the new Christina Aguilera scent aside from my tangent in the Kate Moss review (link below) because it smelled a bit tinny to me, like Victoria's Secret Supermodel. I still think it's compositionally very similar to Red Door Revealed, a creamy Fruity Floral Woody Oriental which you can now get at discount stores for a song.
Sean John Unforgivable--I despise the ad because in it, he looks too forceful upon the woman, so I'm not moved to buy, but I tried this at Sephora (and I completely blame my perfume addiction), and it smelled like Usher She. It shares the headshoppy muskiness with a cool, aqueous fruity top note lingering through. Were these made by the same company, I wonder? Are they supposed to be the African Musks of the celeb scent genre?
So, that's all for now, but I'll write again when I try some more of these celeb perfumes which are sure to come my way again soon. How about one for Madonna already, or Oprah, or Michael Moore? Do you think they'll challenge themselves by designing one for Devon Aoki sometime?
Read my posts on more celeb scents:
M by Mariah Carey, Hilary Duff With Love
Fantasy Britney Spears
Kate by Kate Moss
Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve
(Images: www.punmiris.com, www.alevosia.com)
Monday, November 12, 2007
If you found Aquolina Pink Sugar or Thierry Mugler Angel too strong, Fantasy might be a gentler alternative within the same sweet, dessert-scented genre. It's actually a well-balanced, complex composition as well as full-bodied and rich. Like a good dessert, it's fluffy but satisfying. The effect on skin isn't overly perfumey, or synthetic and fussy with unnecessary notes--it's pleasant and not too avant garde or shocking. It does what a modern perfume should do: to smell good on, and add an aura of subtle mystery. It's not a light and fresh scent, and if you prefer Florals, I'd pass on it. If you like a bit of sweetness, oomph and lighthearted fun in an evening scent, I think this is perfect. If ever a pop icon had a scent designed for her, this one is it--the only gripe I have is that aside from plastic being unsightly compared to glass, I'm not sure if the perfume will keep well in the heat of plastic...unless this bottle is plastic-coated glass. Is that possible?
Notes on Basenotes:
Top Notes: Fantasy by Britney Spears (2005)
Heart Notes: Red Lychee, Golden Quince, Exotic Kiwi
Base Notes: Cupcakes, White Chocolate Orchid, Jasmine Petals
Creamy Musk, Orris Root, Sensual Woods
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Hilary Duff With Love is a milder take on the coconutty theme, starting with a lively and tart but still soft and smooth, citrusy fruitiness (mangosteen); then, a semi-floral creamy middle stage builds on a Gourmand theme and ends on a stronger, bolder, slightly dusty woodiness compared to M, reminiscent perhaps of vintage perfumes circa 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, to appeal to both mothers and daughters according to the promotional blurb. Woody, base-heavy scents were the style back then (Some say Woodhue is an example of this woody style of perfume--I think Lady Stetson smells bottom-heavy in a similar woody-Aldehydic style), and even from looking at the ad and bottle design, it's obvious they're appealing to the vintage lovers with this one. However, with all its vintage feel, it's a Fruity-Floral Oriental-Gourmand in keeping with current trends, and once again, the final dry down is all about coconut to me. On dry down, these two are almost uncanny. I like this scent, too, and although I like M, I find With Love easier to wear. Total honesty would be to admit I doubt I would ever buy either scent for myself, but I would recommend them to people who prefer their scents both sweet and woody, substantial and voluptuous but still modern, with a tropical flavor that isn't too upfront. I like this Hilary Duff ad but could she really play that piano in the background? Now, that would impress me above all else.
I add the following commentary as food for thought, since I've posted about classicism and racial hierarchy being pushed in perfumery: do you feel there is too much stereotyping going here, that both smell tropical but only M is marketed as being such, and that the one for Mariah is as spicy as it is? I was hoping Mariah's would smell more like marshmallows--mild and sweet, not so hot-cha-cha. We can say the scent was created to match the so-called persona, but it could also be seen as the perfume industry using the celebs to make a statement, too. I hope the industry will create some scents for celebs that break, not perpetuate, stereotypes.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Now, without further ado, my take on Kate Moss's fragrance is that it's not Prestige like I'd hoped. It's a soapy floral with underlying coconutty elements reminiscent of Hilary Duff With Love (Elizabeth Arden) and one of Coty's creations, Desperate Housewives (but thankfully, it's not as strong as that). At first, Kate resembles Stella by Stella McCartney (which smells like Narciso Rodriguez once again) because of the prominent rose note combined with ambery-woody musk, but it quickly turns into that soapy, sharp mish mash of floral notes I try to avoid in my perfumes. It doesn't at all resemble its muse's inspirations, Guerlain L'Heure Bleue and Penhaligon's Bluebell, because for one thing, the quality isn't as delicate as those. If I'm to compare it to another floral, Ralph Lauren Glamorous comes to mind--it's that sort of floral soapiness to me. I thought perhaps it would morph into an interesting rose musk along the lines of Kiehl's Musk, another notorious Kate Moss favorite, but alas, Kate remained a coconutty soapy floral till the rosy end. The body lotion is actually nicer to me, because the texture of the lotion cuts down on the sharpness of the scent and the dry down smells more rosy and sweet, even a touch fruity, like Stella.
If the perfume industry is trying to market soapy rose florals as elegant, cutting edge, and perhaps even blue-blooded and aristocratic, I think they still could have made it a bit less harsh, like clobbering us over the head with class. My last word on Kate is that I'm glad her scent is selling well, and as much as I complain about it not being Prestige, that it's in the price range that's most accessible to fans around the world. Do try it--there are many low end scents I love and wear.
Notes on Now Smell This blog:
Kate by Kate Moss (2007): orange blossom absolute, forget-me-not, pink pepper, lily of the valley, heliotrope, magnolia, peony, rose, patchouli, sandalwood, musk, vetiver and ambrette.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I've tested myself online many times, and although I'd come up as several different types in the past (INTJ, INTP, INFJ), today I believe I've found my true type, INFJ or "the Mystic" (I took the short test here). One of my friends explained in length what all of the functions mean, and the more the system made sense to me, the more I felt I knew where on the spectrum I might fit in. Of course, this is in no way an exact science nor should it be a way to pigeonhole anyone, since everyone has all of the functions (thinking, feeling, sensing, intuiting, etc) within. I think the types just help us understand where we might be at in life so-to-speak, in terms of the tasks at a given time and also what our preferences might be in how we deal with people. No two people of the same type are exactly or sometimes remotely alike. We're all still individuals. I wrote to my friend today that I take it like psychology-meets-I Ching, or a reading of personality based on archetypes by using simplified dichotomies. If anything, I place more value on the system than many other types of "readings" of our personality (not our character--I think character has to do with something deeper than personality or preferences), but my faith is still in actual people.
So here I am, after identifying with being INTJ, feeling pretty content in identifying with being INFJ, a type inclined towards the arts such as poetry and music, having a genuine interest in people (though perhaps from a global point of view) and being able to grasp the big picture. It's not too different from being an INTJ as far as the grasp of the big picture is concerned, but I think the F (extroverted feeling) function says I'm currently more attuned to creating harmony--in relationships and in my private life in general--more than being focused purely on competence and excellence. Maybe I'm becoming less disciplined, or I'm relaxing a bit more now that the show is done and I'm loving the idea of cocooning myself in the studio to write and record and staying close to loved ones. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling good about the new assessment, wondering where to steer my life next.
One of my friends feels I'm an INTP, so there's still room for more analyses of where I might be on the spectrum. Please feel free to share your opinion, and if you think I come across as another type, I'm open to your thoughts.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
There are different types of bottles and packaging designs for this beautiful eau de toilette scent described as "le nouveau parfum magique", or "the new magical perfume". I did some research online to see if I could find out why some 1 fl oz. (30 ml) bottles come with a silver chain with leaves while others did not. I still don't know why, but I found some 1 fl. oz. Nina being sold on a Japanese site and read that the additional leaves on those special 30 ml bottles are "magical leaves". That could either be the shop's own interpretation or Nina Ricci's way of getting people to buy more than one bottle to try to get the "special" one--who knows? The lucky charms aspect could go over well in Japan, based on the way YSL Baby Doll gift sets with miniature bottles were popularized as symbolic gifts for brides who are planning to start a family.
Anyway, I'd love to get one of those special 1 ounce bottles, but I think I'm going to get a big 2.7 fl. oz. with the pretty silver cap next, since I'm already half way finished with the plastic-capped 1 ounce I just bought a little while ago. Part of it is that I've been wearing it every day, and the other is that the concentration is so light, I'm spritzing myself with it constantly. I'm surprised this isn't called a cologne spray. I wish Nina Ricci would produce Nina as parfum, or at least EDP (eau de parfum) strength. I also got some advice online to try layering the EDT with the matching body lotion, although the idea of putting more stuff on my body doesn't appeal to me. I'd rather have a potent juice that packs some sillage, so I could use less product on my skin for better results. Still, I love Nina enough to invest in every formula there is out there to get. I'm a true fan.
All in all, this is the nicest, freshest, most upbeat and refined, urbane, polite, pleasantly sweet and *clean* Fruity Floral-Gourmand I've ever smelled (Firmenich perfumers Oliver Cresp and Jacques Cavallier made this modern masterpiece). It's easy to wear for all occasions and settings from the office to you-name-it--Nina has real versatility and a gentle lightness of being without sacrificing sweet Oriental elements in the basenotes (but subtly done), which make it my dream of a daily signature scent. The clean linen musk is still slightly annoying but I'm living with it. Now, I can smell more patchouli in it, but it's so well-balanced in this composition that it doesn't take over.
Notes on Imagination Perfumery:
Nina by Nina Ricci (2006)
Nina is a Fresh, Floral, Fruity Fragrance.
Notes: Lime Caipirinha, Calabrese Lemon, Red Toffee Apple, Moonflower, Peony petals, White Cedar, Apple tree wood, Cotton musk
(Image Sources: www.images.gittigidiyor.com, www.macys.com, www.911.bg))
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
$10 Cover, 18+ with ID, (212) 334-0484
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Click on the banner (for Windows Media Player and iTunes only--For Winamp and RealPlayer, click HERE) and tune into DJ Blue's Blue Radio. New York based Modern Pop Rock singer-songwriter Sali Oguri is on regular rotation on the hot new show that's shaking up the internet, Urban Sounds Show, every Friday from 10pm-1am EST--don't miss it!