Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 Top 10 Perfume Countdown!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is enjoying the Holiday Season! Here we go again with our year end perfumista tradition, one of the only traditions I actually keep: The Top 10 Perfume Countdown!! Although most of these aren't new launches, I thought they were worthy of honor and praise, in 2008 and in any year. I hope you'll agree with me on my choices and if not, you'll have to go post your own Top 10 favorites, so what are you waiting for? I wish you peace, happiness and health in 2009 - HAPPY NEW YEAR, Season's Greetings and many thanks to you from Pink Manhattan!

The list is in no particular order:

1. Caron Nuit de Noël (1922) - Aldehydic Floral with Chypre (mossy)-Oriental undertones. Mystery, complexity, a heavyweight perfume classic. Someone on a forum so brilliantly compared its scent to that of marron. I think that's absolutely right; it is like chestnuts, warm and pungent, a bit nutty.

2. Hermès Un Jardin Après la Mousson (2008) - Elegant aqueous (marine) fruity salicylic (salty) skin scent, evocative and fits the perfume name perfectly. Dewy fresh, upscale sporty.

3. Annick Goutal Gardénia Passion (1989) - Bombshell gardenia soliflore. Addictive, narcotic, buttery with green overtones, passionate elegance. Pure Floral.

4. Guerlain Nahéma (1979) - Classic rose Aldehydic Floral with Oriental elements. Warm, clean, honey-sweet and deep, a queenly "young girls' skin" scent, sophisticated bombshell.

5. Guerlain Cuir Beluga (2005) - New modern ambery animalic leather Chypre, stirs the imagination with its name and retro style done right. Rich, regal, powdery dense, low-pitched, quite sweet, a touch spicy, too.

6. Paco Rabanne Calandre (1969) - Aldehydic Floral classic with Chypre (mossy) character, chic and sparse, known as the minimalist fragrance that set off the new modern American-style fragrances. Crisp, sophisticated and outdoorsy at once. For the active working woman wearing pants (daring back in the day). Stylish, simplicity perfected.

7. Cacharel Noa (1998) - Spicy skin scent, a sparse, understated, clean and warm musky floral with slightly sweet milky undertones. Introverted but pretty. This is my choice for a snowy day or night.

8. Creed Spring Flower (1996) - Always a compliment-getter, this is what I'd call a reference Fruity Floral: crisp and green in the vein of Precriptives Calyx but not tropical, more of an English garden vibe but urbane, not too frou frou. Exuberant, happy and bright, a gorgeous floral with just enough fruits to keep it upbeat.

9. Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison (1998) - Oriental Gourmand classic. Hypersweet, a rich, smooth, milky vanilla-almond type scent with a unique caraway seed twist. If it were an actual edible treat, its equivalent could be an Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi dessert I love called ras malai.

10. Le Cherche Midi Fragrance Mist 14 (2008) - New, simple and very sheer. Innovative marketing: the wearable room fragrance. A wonderful line but this one, No.14, is my favorite: a zingy yet tender, clean and mild orange-rose floral with green (blackcurrant) top notes.

Special mentions go to:
Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Hot - I wore this a lot in the earlier part of the year.

Demeter Strawberry Ice Cream - This is my yummy go-to scent this month. I know; it's barely perfume and more of a simple bath-and-body scent, but c'est la vie!

Best new celeb scent: Jessica Simpson Fancy

(Image: Paco Rabanne Calandre ad, Parfum de Pub, Times Square 1907, The New York Times)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Warm wishes from Pink Manhattan to you and yours!

Listen to the finest in Christmas music:

John Coltrane "Greensleeves"

Miles Davis & Bob Dorough "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)"

(Image: Caron Nuit de Noel, Miles Davis

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sali Oguri Persephone Perfume Review on Legerdenez

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A beautiful perfume is of course a beautiful material thing, but for a perfume lover, the art of perfume is more about being saved by its more intangible aspect in daily living, and less about sending out an air of haughtiness or appearing worldly, beautiful, somehow different and special. Perfume, if we love a particular scent, can give us courage when we are about to give birth; it could resonate confidence when we climb on stage to speak to a crowd for the first time. Perfume can make us young again in an instant, taking us back to the very day when we smelled a particular scent on someone, in a specific time and place. Such experiences are so in tune with the very core of our nature, they can bring us strength, move us to tears, help us feel better, stay positive. Perfume is more than frivolous beautifying things but microcosmic abstractions of the world we live in, time in a bottle connected to our limbic systems, our blessed brains, our very being, the human being. If we are rational animals, perfume speaks to both body and soul, giving us room to explore our emotions thorugh it in the most artful, civilized way. Cait, a gifted and illuminating writer for Legerdenez perfume blog (mentioned in the New York Times Magazine in The Medium: Good Vibrations by Virginia Heffernan, March 16, 2008), understands this aspect of perfume, which is how she can find interconnectedness within the arts, and ultimately within the art of being human.

Cait has written an extraordinarily moving and poignant review of Persephone perfume, published on 12/22/08. I feel deeply humbled and grateful for this generous review in which she raises Persephone to a level of art I could only dream it could achieve. The perceiver of the art is an artist herself, a creative and inquisitive mind whose passion for social justice can also be felt in her assessment of my blogging style. Most of all, her article is an inspirational work of philosophical proportions, moving us to question just how deep the art of perfume is in the hearts of those who truly love it, who are as saved by each perfume as we are by beloved and meaningful songs that carry us through good and bad times. Please take a moment to click on the banner above and read her unique and heartfelt perspective, shaping and reshaping the way we smell - and in fact experience - perfume in a mind-and-spirit-awakening, future-forward light.

In closing, I just want to add that although Persephone perfume is now in very limited quantity, and there may not be any left to sell when the corresponding music project is finally done, I'm glad to have embarked on this journey, the second Sensorium of Song and Scent, my most daring scent creation for which I had, in my own way, gone out on a limb. Perhaps it was the scent itself that gave me courage to get it out there. I'll have to consult the perfume gods as to how this magic actually works.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

December 2008 - January 2009 Perfume Orders

Happy Holidays from Pink Manhattan! Please note that all perfume orders received between 12/23/08 and 1/3/09 will not ship until 1/5/08. Free shipping offer (within the USA) will be extended to all orders until 1/3/09. Thank you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O Crappy Day

Obama's choice of Rick Warren to pray at the invocation ceremony on Inauguration Day is causing a stir and it's understandable. I, too, am saddened by the choice of someone who's adamantly against gay rights and women's right to choose. However, let's not overlook the fact that the appointment will be balanced by Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader, a strong supporter of pro-choice and same sex marriage, who will oversee the benediction. Although Rick Warren puts a damper on my excitement to ring in the first black president of the United States, it's also going to be interesting to watch where this "new dawn" which Obama has spoken of, is about to take us.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Victoria's Secret Riviera Sun

While researching the many myths of Persephone, I stumbled upon very interesting writings regarding the story of Jesus in the New Testament Gospel being an Astrological Allegory, moving us through the year in the life of the Sun from astrological sign to sign, including resurrection ((re)birth of of the sun?) after 3 days of darkness (during the Winter Solstice starting on December 22, the shortest day of the year). Maybe not so far fetched considering the Magi were astrologers, and how we observe the Sabbath on Sunday. I must admit the part that made me LOL the most was the interpretation that Lucifer is Venus, an inferior "morning star" to the Sun, which of course makes the woman the cause of evil once again. Typical misogynistic perspective, I thought. Anyway, I can take spiritual things with a lightness of heart and a sense of fun, trying to see it all though the eyes of a child. It's just another alternative way of understanding the spiritual messages of the timeless writings, and I was delighted to find such interpretations. Creativity keeps the world going, and it continues to inspire and give me joy of living, gratitude for the love we feel between living beings...all what it's about. So, however you celebrate this time of year, I wish you Happy Holidays from the heart, in spirit and in truth. May you be blessed in the coming year with the greatest gifts - faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these according to this religion of the one the Japanese call Ies (IHS monogram is an abbreviation of Jesus' name in Greek) which sounds like the word Yes - is Love - because Love is all we need, just as The Beatles sang, and all the hipsters before them knew. Oh, yes, they did, and deep down, we do, too.

Maybe it's no coincidence that I'm drawn to bright, happy scents right about now; every year during Christmas and Chanukah the Festival of Lights, I wear Victoria's Secret Riviera Sun for two reasons: one, it smells terrific (and I wish it was never discontinued), and two, it was a gift from a friend I made at a wonderful, lively and spirited church. I have treasured it for years, although I'm down to the last drops of it now. The scent is similar to the scent I recently discovered and fell in love with called Le Cherche Midi Fragrance Mist 14, a blend of mandarin and rose with green notes such as blackcurrant leaves. Although I've never seen the notes for Riviera Sun (part of the Garden series), I believe it to be a citrus-rose mix, a Floral with Green characteristics. It's a clean shampoo-like smell, a bit reminiscent of green apple - sprightly and refreshing, but it's also tenderly sweet and not a biting, bracing scent (I sense white florals being there, too - perhaps narcissus or some other spring flowers). It smells like the sun warming the meadow in time for Easter, the resurrection of the living things upon the Earth. It smells like the sun itself, warming my skin like celestial kisses, and I miss it and am so grateful for when it arrives again after it's been gone for so long.

(Image: Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Creative Scentualization Perfect Nectar

I have this in oil perfume and it's wonderful. If you like bright citrus scents with a white floral heart, you'll love this. It gets complimented on, too. I've been in an orange mood which I guess is timely considering the Japanese traditionally take the famous yuzu bath on December 22, a ritual to ring in the Winter Solstice...not that I've ever practiced this ritual myself. Yuzu floating in a hot bath is said to invigorate and warm the body, thereby warding away colds for the rest of the year. I'm not very traditional and my instinct is to stick to perfuming on a whim, but bathing for additional health benefits sounds good.

My winter 2008 love is the mandarin orange & rose blend, Le Cherche Midi 14, and this Fruity Floral beauty is a good alternative for those days when I want a little more spunky tartness in a scent. It's very juicy (papaya, mango, all those intense tropical red fruits) in the vein of an Escada summer LE scent but to me, it's a little bit less hypersweet, just the right level of fruit punch for my taste. If you want straight citrus without all the sweet fruit juice and white florals, Sarah Horowitz of Creative Scentualization also offers the delicious Blood Orange note as part of the Perfumer's Pallete Single Note Fragrances collection. This is a great, funky, imaginative indie line - check out the Perfect series including the powdery-vanillic-musky Perfect Veil which has a cult following.

As a side note here, if you're looking for a good yuzu perfume, try Ayala Moriel Tamya. Season's Greetings and Happy Winter Solstice!

Notes on
Creative Scentualization Perfect Nectar: Tangerine and Blood Orange, followed by notes of Papaya and Mango, a middle note of Ylang-Ylang and Green Tea, resting gently on a base note of soft white Flowers.


Lenthéric Tweed

Tweed was one of many perfumes made by Lenthéric, a millinery-turned-hair-and-beauty salon established in 1795. Although I'm finding it hard to confirm the launch year, I believe Tweed perfume was created in the 1920s. I don't have the exact year but an antique bottle on sale at is dated from 1920 which would predate Chanel No.5. Basenotes lists the launch year as being 1924. Tweed became a popular classic throughout the 1950s. It's an oldie but a goodie, one of substance and subdued grace. Yardley which merged with Lenthéric in the 1990s took over Tweed, and today, it's changed hands to yet another company. Tweed is hard to find in its vintage form; I was only able to get a tiny Art Deco-inspired mini bottle of the vintage perfume on eBay to test. Tweed smells like a Chypre to me, or an Aldehydic Floral which is often a Chypre in disguise, although I've seen it described as an Oriental fragrance. If we're comparing with a perfume like Caron Tabac Blond, I can almost see how it could be an Oriental, so perhaps it really fits in the Dry Woods Tobacco-Animalic family.

To me, the woody, patchouli-heavy base with animalic (civet), leathery tones (thanks to the addition of bergamot, indolic jasmine and rose to patchouli), plus the greenness of it backed by oakmoss, smells like a halfway point between Gres Cabochard or Miss Balmain and Mary Quant Havoc, Hermes Caleche or another 1960s-1970s Aldehydic Floral leaning on the green side of the olfactive spectrum. I'm also reminded of Yves-Saint Laurent Y, especially the murky, mysterious heaviness of its rose-patchouli-oakmoss character. In a nutshell, it smells like a foreshadowing of 1947 and the New Look with its cinched waistline and boldly wooded, animalic, neoclassical taste in scents as well as clothes. By neoclassical, I mean the disciplined and somewhat severe, dramatic Woods fragrance family. Chypre comes from the Greco-Roman Cyprus, after all, and Dry Woods is the same as the Animalic family of scents, not in the least bit devoid of drama, especially for the animals from whence rare and costly ingredients came.

As the vintage ad depicts, Tweed is a fragrance for "the black sheep", or the woman who doesn't want anything too mainstream. By mainstream I mean pleasant scents most people would agree on. A different type of scent would be an acquired taste, therefore special, a sign of good breeding. Of course, such a scent was the popular mainstream scent of the day, ironic to say the least. From Miss Dior to Ma Griffe, I think I would have been hard-pressed to find a scent in those days that didn't smell like this: the earthy (heavy), green (sharp, with bite), often spicy, animalic (sexual?) perfume, suggested to the masses with the same ad campaign to stand out and not be like the rest (of the girls). Maybe quieted, repressed women needed heavy scents to get some attention, to be taken seriously with an oh-so-serious scent such as this. It seems designed to send out the right message to the men they would marry -"I'm brainy and chaste and I recognize quality". Tweed certainly doesn't smell silly or fun at all...but then, I wouldn't wear it to the office in 2008 for fear of smelling waaaaay too intimidatingly perfumey.

Times change, but Tweed lovers need not lose heart. A perfume like Tweed isn't to be wasted on Philistines. Now, there's a classic attitude - nothing like a little passive-aggressive condescension to feel special, a cut above the rest. Come to think of it, owning a perfume, even an affordably priced one for the working class (like Tweed), has always been a status symbol. As Jean Patou Joy showed the world in 1930, if we can't afford anything else thanks to the Depression, a lovely and extravagant perfume can make us feel rich. It's the scent of confidence you can bank on.

These are the notes on Perfume Intelligence, Encyclopaedia of Perfume:

Tweed Parfums Lenthéric (1933, Aldehydic Floral)
A classic floral aldehyde parfum with top notes of bergamot, neroli, orange and violets, heart notes of rose, jasmine, carnation, orris, lilac and magnolia with base notes of sandalwood, civet and leather.

Here are the notes according to

Lentheric Tweed (1933, Floral Woody Musk)
Top Notes: bergamot, cinnamon, geranium
Middle notes: ylang-ylang, jasmine, lavender, orange flower
Base Notes: oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, benzoin, vanilla, vetiver

(Image: Lentheric Tweed ad, possibly 1960s)

Fred Hayman Hollywood

I was wracking my brain trying to remember which perfume Jessica Simpson Fancy reminded me of, and I finally got it: Fred Hayman Hollywood. This sunny, sexy Floral Oriental with vanillic woody notes accented by white florals and soft, fruity touches was also made by Parlux, the maker of Fancy. It came out in 1998, in the same year as Escada Collection and Emporio Armani, just a year after Carolina Herrera 212 and Shiseido Relaxing Fragrance, so you can imagine the type of sillage-driven, airy and dry, woody-musky base Hollywood is built upon. Dressed up with mandarin, gardenia, mimosa, rose, moss and ambery woods, Hollywood smells to me like golden peaches-and-cream. (Edited to add) Hollywood is decidedly more flowery than Fancy, just to let you know where the similarity ends.

Fred Hayman was co-partners with Gale Hayman as the creators of Giorgio Beverly Hills. All of their perfumes have the same glamorous LA vibe (although the entrepreneurs themselves were New Yorkers) captured and made legendary by their 1982 indie megahit wonder, Giorgio perfume. Other popular Giorgio Beverly Hills/ Gale Hayman / Fred Hayman creations include: Red, 273, Touch, Delicious, Wings, "G" and Sunset Boulevard.

Britney Spears Curious

Am I the only one who's looking forward to the new launch by Elizabeth Arden for Britney Spears, Hidden Fantasy? It was supposed to come out this month but it appears the date's been pushed back to sometime in January. I've heard it's a cherry vanilla, which doesn't excite me too much considering cherry always smells strong and spicy to me, sort of like an almond or heliotrope scent, but I also heard through the grapevine it smells like a strawberry Frappucino scent - and that absolutely makes me want to buy it unsniffed. In the meantime, I thought I'd comment about Britney's first launch, Curious, also by Elizabeth Arden, a perfume I did buy unsniffed and didn't regret (I got the second one, Fantasy, unsniffed as well, and although at first it smelled to me like hypersweet armpit BO, it eventually grew on me and now I love it).

Curious is a musky floral. It's not a powdery white musk scent, the typical "clean" accord a la Gendarme, Clean, etc. but a more daringly sweaty musk, a combination of many different musks. It doesn't go into the dirty, pungent realm, either, like Alexander McQueen Kingdom or Kiehl's Musk, but it's sweaty enough that I wouldn't recommend it for the office. Have you smelled Rimmel London Glam? The musk in that one's in the same ballpark. The musk is coupled with a lovely and sweet, fresh and green (but white floral) magnolia note - voluptuous and transparent, dewy and pretty. I sense there is a fruit note somewhere in this but overall, it's mostly Floral, and yet it's abstract enough it doesn't smell like a bouquet of old-fashioned flowers. One part southern belle, another part Fosse dancing queen (after a long rehearsal), Curious is soft and ethereally seductive. It's not too light, nor too heavy (although musk is a heavy note, the simplicity and freshness of this blend (arrangement) make it seem lighter); it's mainstream-friendly and easy to like. It's the essence of an American Pop Star, just as I'd expected but better in quality.

I must mention too that the miniature version is adorable and comes with the little pink heart plastic charms just like the full size bottles.

I'll report back when I try Hidden Fantasy, coming soon.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Creed Green Irish Tweed

I've been focused on soon-to-be First Lady Michelle Obama for the past few posts but let's talk about the next president, Barack Obama now. What kind of fragrance do we fancy him wearing? He seems to me cool, erudite and handsome enough to pass for James Bond. I want to style him in a refined British fragrance like Creed Green Irish Tweed. This is a fabulous classic scent with almost a 1970s Ralph Lauren-type of vibe: easy-going, outdoorsy and down-to-earth. Many famous celebrities are associated with it from Cary Grant to Quincy Jones. Supermodel Naomi Campbell is also known to wear this cross gender fragrance. If anyone knows the scent of Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel (1976) or Christian Dior Fahrenheit (1988), I think this is similar to them but distinctly Creed. It's very high in quality, and being a strong fragrance, it packs serious sillage, but it wears in an airy fashion with just the right level of freshness without seeming overtly aqueous and sporty. I love this fragrance company and although I don't personally wear this particular scent, I find it very charming, like an herbaceous forest scent embedded in a tweed blazer. As its name suggests, it is a green composition with violet leaves giving it a somewhat sharp character. It just seems to go so well with my idealized image of a man in a suit, and what a suit the next pres needs to fill.

Notes according to Basenotes:
Creed Green Irish Tweed (1985)
Top Notes: Lemon, Verbena
Middle Notes: Iris, Violet Leaves
Base Notes: Mysore Sandalwood, Ambergris

Compare the notes to Grey Flannel:
Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel (1976)
Top Notes: Violet, Lemon, Orange
Middle Notes: Oakmoss
Base Notes: Sandalwood


Givenchy Hot Couture

Here's a Spicy Oriental I happen to adore. Givenchy Hot Couture (2000) is a saucy, sexy, hypersweet peppery raspberry Gourmand-Oriental, the perfect combination of candy and spice. The raspberry note in it is juicy and dark, concentrated, and offset by the black pepper note, sharpening it to an urbane edge. A bold, wooded musk accord lays down the base, completing the high energy composition depicting the fast-paced fashionista lifestyle of always keeping up with the newest trends. I find it brilliantly festive for this time of year, but this modern baby is seasonless.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What Should Michelle O. Wear? Pt.2

Oh, yes, I forgot about daywear for Inauguration Day. I would love to see First Lady Michelle Obama in this suit by Karl Lagerfeld which appears in the sketch to be in winter white or the palest shade of powder blue. The black evening ballgown with subtle red accents is also rather ravishing, classic, not too revealing but strapless and sexy, perfect with her hair worn up (my favorite hairstyle for Mrs. Obama). See this sketch and more inspirations submitted by various designers at this link on

Monday, December 08, 2008

What Should Michelle O. Wear?

WWD had asked which inauguration gown design Michelle Obama should choose. I'd like for her to go with Peter Som's winter white peau de soie, sketches as shown in WWD (above) and also as an exclusive to VF Daily. The Vanity Fair version seems to have a more bias cut fishtail skirt. See all the other sketches from Michelle Obama: What Should She Wear? by Bridget Foley and Bobbi Queen from Women's Wear Daily, 12/03/08 issue at

See my choice for inauguration daywear at this post: What Should Michelle O. Wear? Pt.2

Dana Tabu

Many of you already know I've been researching the myths of Persephone for some time now, which explains my 2nd perfume creation (now discontinued and selling out from my website) and upcoming music project to coincide with the Persephone concept. The story of the abduction, rape or fall of Persephone, fascinates me because of the symbolic connection I see with the biblical story of the fall of Eve. Just as Eve was tempted, or fooled, by the snake to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, Persephone was fooled by a snake from the underworld, sent up to the world of the living in the form of a narcissus flower (daffodil). When Persephone picked it, her life would be doomed forever. Should she have seen it coming? It can be compared to the story of how Eve came to carry the sins of humanity with one act of defiance against God...although I still find it hard to swallow that the victim should be blamed for the serpent's lie and trap. It's kind of like, "you shouldn't have worn that miniskirt" or some such transferrence of blame from the true perpetrator of the crime. The price of sin, it seems, goes hand in hand with the misfortune of being born female. Perhaps we're born into sin after all.

Woman is a symbol of the duality of Fate: summer or winter, whether crops yield or fail. Mother Nature is a merciless god force, the Universe / Uterus, giver of life and death. We're so often told the misogynistic lie that a woman is only one of two things, a virgin or a whore. Sometimes we're both, and sometimes, we are another aspect of the original Triple Goddess, as mothers - motherhood which is supposed to save us from some kind of judgment for whatever reason. Nothing like having additional pressure put on us to behave, and be, a certain way, because control freaks will have it no other way. Goddess figures have served from being representations of our human psyche (mythology is early psychology) to being simplistic stereotypes of an entire gender, a useful tool in controlling and oppressing us. Most people still unconsciously judge women from the same age-old stereotype that somehow, we are the conniving two-faced liars, the nature of the very snake we were fooled by.

Enter Tabu by Dana. This perfume is known as an affordable drugstore scent, but it actually has a long history dating back to 1932. As many perfumes from this era do, Tabu smells like a parfum fourrere type, meaning a rich, warm, musky, animalic scent you might consider wearing with minks and jewels. It often contains an animalic note such as civet or honey combined with heavy woods (patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood) and amber to give it depth. Tabu is also a very spicy scent, placing it firmly in the Spicy Oriental fragrance family. I usually don't wear Tabu, nor do I favor this fragrance family (other examples of Spicy Orientals include Youth Dew, Opium, Cinnabar, Bal a Versailles), but Tabu is worthy of mention for it is legendary. Equally legendary as its scent is the ad campaign based on the Rene Prinet painting, "The Kreutzer Sonata" (1901), an image of a man holding a violin in one arm and a lady pianist in the other, embracing in a passionate kiss. The ad campaign called Tabu "the forbidden fragrance" - what a scent this must be!

Michael Edwards wrote in his book, Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances, that Tabu was composed with the idea of "the puta perfume". Of course we could argue that a puta, or prostitute, can wear any perfume of choice or none at all, that any one perfume or scent type can't define her profession (except, perhaps, to say a strong scent to mask odors), but I think such a perfume can be defined, as crude as it sounds, as the scent of many odors: a strong and complex cacophany of human smells. Such a perfume would have to defy society's rules for proper ladies to smell elegant and refined. It would have to boldly go where even the Guerlain sisters Jicky (1889) and Shalimar (1925) hadn't gone before. Tabu does - it's balsamic and warm but also aggressive - to me, it could be a perfume for a man, like Old Spice. Base-heavy, strong, carnal and savory, it might as well be a sizzling hunk of pepper steak. It also smells boozy, with an intoxicating heart of narcissus and Sambac jasmine.

Perhaps a woman who's so sexually liberated that she can capitalize on it is emasculated with a man's detachment and business sense. Perhaps woman is a snake, one who resembles the male god who sent up the pretty narcissus flower in the field by the River Styx to set her up in the First Place.

(Images: Tabu ads, 1988, 1974,

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Purrfume News - Free Holiday Shipping

Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Purrfume FREE USA SHIPPING

From now until Dec. 31, 2008, all USA orders will come with lots of extras and ship for free! International orders will also receive free fabulous extras with every purchase. Visit and experience Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan PURRFUME pure perfume oil, the sensual blend of Fresh peach, gardenia, pink hibiscus, luxurious French Vanilla and an ethereal touch of sheer skin musk. Wishing you Happy Holidays from New York City!

Monday, December 01, 2008

L'Artisan Parfumeur Amber Ball

The hand-carved Terracotta Amber Ball by L'Artisan Parfumeur is a yearly tradition, suited for the holiday season to scent our living space with the warm, sweet, slightly spicy and piquant, deliciously intoxicating scent of amber. The fragrance itself smells to me like their L'Eau d'Amber (1978) and Ambre Extrême (2001) fragrances, the latter which was either composed or reorchestrated by Hermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena (if anyone knows who created the original L'eau d'Ambre, I'd love to know). The amber balls come in various sizes ranging in cost, and look stunning, perfect for display. Amber refills are available through L'Artisan Parfumeur. If you're curious about what they smell like, here's a way to roughly sample the scent: In the USA, visit to order 5 fragrance samples for a $7 shipping fee. Ambre Extreme and L'eau d'Ambre are on the selection list. Happy tidings of comfort and joy!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Le Cherche Midi

My idea of the best stocking stuffer is the little golden pouch filled with sample spray glass vials of Le Cherche Midi fragrances! I got mine as an early holiday gift for myself - $12 for 6 generous samples at These are room fragrances that are skin safe. I must say these smell terrific as room scents, and also worn on skin which is important to me since I am a perfumista. These fragrances are simple and very well-composed blends, and I think they should have wide appeal.

Here are my brief thoughts on each:

01: The signature fragrance by Le Cherche Midi is a light, lemony lavender blend, herbaceous, a bit sporty-aqueous, like a men's fragrance, or the top notes of Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche but not as sweet. I like it, but I gave this one to Fred and he likes it even more.

05: Green - If you like GAP Grass or Marc Jacobs Grass, this is a less sweet option that's plenty grassy. It's not too aggressively pine-y, and not as laundry detergenty (synthetic) as I'd expected, either.

09: Oh, wow - a warm, yummy ambery-vanillic musk. This one is the plushest, richest and sweetest scent of the line, a sensual, slightly spicy Oriental blend. It almost has a leathery, finely powdered finish. LOVE. I think I can skip buying Guerlain Cuir Beluga for now.

14: I once blended mandarin orange, rose oil and green notes for a friend, called it Aphrodite and never did anything with it after that. This smells very similar to it, and it's among my favorites in the collection. It's such a beautiful, refreshing Fruity Floral, mildly sweet, an unabashedly happy scent.

20: Base notes of cedar, sandalwood and leather make this the heaviest, darkest blend within the collection, but the concentration is light enough that it's not too strong, and not overwhelmingly "auto body shop" rubbery (like, say, Alan Cumming's fragrance which was interesting but unwearable for me). It's a bit sweet due to the cedar.

21: This is the red hot spicy one in the bunch. Cardamom, saffron and leather are the listed notes but I get cinnamon sticks when I smell it. Berries are mentioned, too, but I smell none. Fred can't smell this one at all for some reason, but says he can feel it tingling his nose.

Happy online shopping!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Ozzy put it best. Everybody needs to slow down. S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. Forget Black Friday - what do we need with animalistic people literally stampeding over other people trying to get a freaking bargain? Someone died because of crazed shoppers today. My heart mourns over how we've become such a heartless society.

Maxim's de Paris

Some people may balk at the thought of wafting such an obviously '80s-smelling perfume, but Maxim's de Paris was one of the most memorable creations of the daring, sensational decade. It seems to have been sold as a mid-range fragrance (meaning it was more affordable than many prestige perfumes), but I think Maxim's smelled complex, sexy, sophisticated and high end. Almost full-bodied and animalic enough to call a parfum fourrure, it was not merely ritzy but an artfully blended perfume that suited, in its time, the image of the legendary restaurant by the same name, famously purchased by, designed and decorated by Pierre Cardin. The perfume to me smells slightly spicy (maybe a bit reminiscent of Pierre Cardin cologne for Men from 1972 - it was created by the Cardin company) but overall warm, sweet (white floral to my nose), a tiny bit herbaceous with a 1980s signature mint top note, and balsamic-ambery-woody. I've seen it classified as Floral but to me, this is a Floral Oriental. I feel it's in many ways comparable in style to Cartier Panthere (1986), Adolfo by Adolfo Dominguez (1986), Matchabelli by Prince Matchabelli (1982) and Molinard de Molinard (1980).

Midtown Perfumes lists these notes:

Maxim's de Paris (1984)

Top Notes: bergamot, mint, melon
Heart Notes: lily of the valley, rose, ylang-ylang
Base Notes: sandalwood, honey, vanilla

Although not listed, I also smell patchouli and oakmoss. There seems to be a bit of a chypre leather (Dry Woods) accord in here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Liz Claiborne Realities

One of the biggest mistakes ever made was the reformulation of Liz Claiborne Realities (1990). That was one fine juice, even if geared towards the masses. In a frugal time, I'm not one to complain about having any pretty perfume to wear at all. Realities was the spirit of the '90s in a bottle - calming with camomile, soothing with sandalwood - with a youthful, optimistic heart of peachy rose, jasmine and white lily. The original Realities smelled like Lancôme Trésor (1991) which came right after it. Whereas Tresor carried within it the unmistakable scent of the 1988 blockbuster hit, Calvin Klein Eternity (fresh yet rich and powerful), Liz Claiborne Realities smelled like Tresor made for a time which was yet about to come: a simpler, more carefree, tranquil time than the recession we'd brave through. Tresor still reeked of the excessive '80s but Realities streamlined and took the severe waistline out of the outfit. Realities put us into simpler clothes we can breathe in, work and enjoy life in without being artifically self-conscious. We became more forgiving of each other and ourselves through feeling freer. "Reality is the best fantasy of all" sounded like a perfume advertisement with the down-to-earth desires of real women in mind.

Like Tresor, Realities was a warm but crisp Floral Oriental with a rich, flowery, peachy character substantiated by a sillage-driven woody, musky base. Realities I would say is the less frilly of the two, decidedly less flowery and traditionally romantic, instead more creamy smooth, paving the way for the suede-like Donna Karan Cashmere Mist (1994) to soon follow. I still adore this original fragrance by Liz Claiborne and wish it had never turned into a generic pink juice smelling of some vague fruity floral aqueous nothing. Realities had soul when it was housed in a cubic (parfum) bottle with a teal ribbon tying yet another small gold cube around its neck, giving it an exotic "World" flavor. We sensed in its time the reality of the interconnectedness of all people, and focused more on thankfulness for the mundane things we once took for granted. Reality in its sobriety was an adventure, and we found ways to make challenging times meaningful, to let hard times propel our spirituality, unlearning the aggressive, narcissistic habits of the '80s and instead learning to meditate, eat healthier and use therapeutic self-help tools for coping with stress. On the aromatherapy front, we fell in love with vanilla (and Realities has some in its base along with amber).

Ironically, Realities still smelled like a high tech, corporate creation and not at all like a grass roots creation, but what it contained was a classic Liz Claiborne message that we women were good enough as we were, without haughty embellishments and bitchy attitudes that only worked to stereotype us. Realities conceptually is a fragrance that truly carries feminist weight, and I hope we never forget this contribution to the fragrance world. Although this scent is discontinued, it's still fairly easy to find online. Also, if you can still find them, the miniature pure parfums are a great deal. However, Realities is a strong scent, and honestly, I think the EDT is strong enough. One thing Realities carried over from the '80s sensibility is power. It has the audacity of Christian Dior Poison in some ways, even for such a subdued composition. Strength is not a bad thing, either, considering how little you need to use at a time (like a dab, and the parfum actually comes with a dabber cap). Who knew a strong scent such as parfum was prized for being economical?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Costume National Scent & Scent Sheer

Spicy, incensey, woodsy and base-heavy, Costume National Scent is a change of pace from anything light, sweet or peppy. Marketed as a shared fragrance between men and women, Scent is a dark blend that's slightly off the beaten path of mainstream fragrances. Basically, it's a minimalist spicy woody scent, the type of scent I might recommend to someone who literally likes the smell of fireplaces and saunas. It's a warm and dry, extremely low-pitched scent, with spices for top notes, lending a mildly prickly-sharp attack. Amber "carmelizes' the woods a little, making it seem tactile and dense, even clingy and pasty, but there's a smoky, powdery feel to it as well. I could compare it to Comme des Garçons very easily, and like many fragrances in the avant-garde line, Costume National Scent sports an aloof attitude while all the time being dramatic and intense. If "breezy" doesn't suit your mood or style, try this bold blend of Christmas log cabin, religious monastery, add a dash of runway model jaded-and-unsweet pseudosmile.

The listed notes can fool us into thinking it's more floral than it is.

Costume National Scent (2002): jasmine tea, hibiscus, woods and amber

For a slightly breezier variation, Costume National Scent Sheer, the Eau Fraiche version, provides some lift with a fruity, slightly aqueous-ozonic quality cutting the intensity of unsweet woods. Scent Sheer is made to float on a white musk base like a thread of delicate incense smoke wafting through fabric. Scent Sheer is what I'd describe as a sporty woods fragrance. There's a subtle dryer sheet quality to this, keeping with the warm and dry theme but giving it a crisper character than the original Scent. By the same token, it's not a higher-pitched composition necessarily but rather the same original composition presented with the addition of some higher-pitched notes - in other words, it's not wildly different from the original, so you may not actually need both.

Notes on
Costume National Scent Sheer (2003): White Amber, Apricot nectar, Hibiscus blossom, Musks

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Elizabeth Arden Red Door

If you've read The Book of Perfumes by John Oakes, you might remember his Boucheron review and the part where he wrote that "it'll fight the gardenias" (in a party room). Elizabeth Arden Red Door is a profusion of voluptuous red roses sweetened and slightly sharpened by violets on an ambery base that will fight Giorgio, Poison, Beautiful, Jean-Paul Gaultier and just about anything else known for strength and sillage, and still garner compliments, even have people being mesmerized by its overtly extroverted charm, asking for its name (I've seen it happen). Worn in judicious amounts (not too much for a crowded space), it's a gorgeous Floral Oriental, worthy of its New York-born pedigree.

The holidays are almost here, starting with Thanksgiving around the bend. Red Door would be a festive choice.

Elizabeth Arden Red Door (1989)
Top Notes: Ylang-Ylang, Red Roses
Middle Notes: Winter Oriental Orchid, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Moroccan Orange Flowers, Lilies, Freesia, Carnation, Wild Violets
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Spicy Vetiver, Honey

Additional notes include peach, plum, heliotrope, amber and musk.

Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue

5th Avenue is a Floral Oriental that can be worn year round because it's very versatile. It's super-floral at first, with lily-of-the-valley and lilac taking center stage, but then, a profusion of tuberose and an ambery-woody-vanillic base add a veil of sensual warmth and complete the huge production that is 5th Avenue. I'd describe the scent as being green and soapy, clean but heady, elegant and a little rich but also not overly stuffy. It has a classic, retro flair in a somewhat '80s way, but it's sweet and contemporary, easy-to-wear. It's well-mannered and sophisticated but not without a bright sense of humor; imagine Penhaligon's Bluebell with a hint of ritz, urban glam and lively spirit.

Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue (1996)

Notes: lilac, linden blossom, dewy magnolia, muguet, exotic mandarin, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, violet, ylang-ylang, jasmine, Indian tuberose, peach, clove, nutmeg

Flu Shots: Ask for Thimerosal-Free

An Option: Flu Vaccines Without Mercury-Based Thimerosal September 26, 2008 01:52 PM ET | Deborah Kotz, US News

While thimerosal, the mercury-derived preservative used in many children's vaccines, has slowly been pulled off the market (although you still need to ask doctors for thimerosal-free vaccines - many doctors don't want to order them and they are in limited quantity), the influenza shot still contains thimerosal. It might not affect adults as much as babies and small children, but if you may be pregnant, it's something to consider, as Autism has been linked to thimerosal (and as many people who have been following this issue know, a case had finally been won regarding the link between Autism and vaccines, which is why many vaccines don't contain it anymore).

This link lists mercury-free flu shots, and numbers to call to find them: It still takes work to find thimerosal-free flu shots By Amy McConnell Schaarsmith, Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Protest Prop 8 on November 15th

For more information, visit

(Image: Art by Shepard Fairey)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Une Fleur de Chanel

Regardless of politics, I've always thought First Lady Laura Bush came across as a gracious and lovely lady in the public eye. I might actually miss her beautiful face and understated, classy style when the Bushes leave office. I loved the brown dress with a wine red sheen she wore to greet the Obamas at the White House yesterday. What perfume would I "assign" to her if I were her scent stylist? I haven't heard much about the perfume Laura Bush wears, except that the first bottle of Creed Love in White (2005), a Floral Oriental blend featuring rose and magnolia, was given to her.

To borrow the rose-magnolia theme, I don't know of any other predominantly rose-magnolia blends offhand besides Love In White and perhaps Chane Allure (although that one has many other notes and smells more peachy-vanllic rosy to me), so I might hypothetically assign to Laura Bush the little-known limited edition scent, Une Fleur de Chanel. Jasmine and green notes are the official notes given for this crisp Green Floral created in 1998. It's a camellia-inspired scent, and I can see how it might compare to Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Camélia Chinois, to a point. Un Amour de Patou by Jean Patou, a perfume I love, was created in the same year (1998), and stylistically, both are rose-jasmine on the Green spectrum but to me, Une Fleur de Chanel is quite different; I would say it's the simpler and sharper of the two. It's white floral enough that it could be perceived as a magnolia, or peony blend, but it's sharpened by lots of green. It has a watery-transparent, fresh floralcy coupled with the traditional heart of rose, making it smell more contemporary than classic. It registers to me as a soliflore, unobtrusive enough that one might choose it for teatime. The only other perfume I felt it reminded me of was Antonia's Flowers (1985).

An unobtrusive, restrained soliflore perfume can also register as boring and unspontaneous, without passion and sex appeal. Although Une Fleur isn't the style of perfume I usually like, I think such a clean and unintimidating scent would suit the First Lady well. As the name suggests, Une Fleur is as floral as can be. It can register as a classy scent being a disciplined one. However, truth be told, I don't care for the aqueous nature of it and would rather wear the sweeter, more lush, less sharp Chanel Gardenia myself, so maybe I should be kind and assign the one I prefer to Mrs. Bush instead. I look forward to Jan. 20, 2009, but do wish her well.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Chanel N°5 Eau Première

I dig Michelle Obama, and I think the tailored Jackie O. style fits her very well. She also wears more relaxed, casual styles with natural ease, which is refreshing. I particularly think she wears neutrals strikingly - perhaps I could see her in the little black dress with pearls, a crisp white dress or a textured cream Chanel suit. I loved the pink tweed suit she once wore, and the famous black-and-white sundress she wore for TV which was a perfect match to her statuesque figure. She rocks the houndstooth. I wonder what perfume she wears. If her style is a cross between Jackie O. and Hillary Clinton's styles as people say, do you suppose she'd wear a scent that's somewhere between the rich, sweet Florals and ambery Orientals worn by Jackie O. (along the lines of Joy, Fleurissimo, Valentino (original), Jil Sander No.4) and the breezy, uncomplicated scents reportedly worn by Sen. Clinton (Caswell-Massey Number Six, William Owen Adoration)?

I've also read that Jackie O. wore No.5. If I were to "assign" a perfume to Michelle Obama, I might pick the classic yet new Chanel No.5 Eau Premiere. I had a chance to try it on at Sephora last night, and I thought it was exquisite; it's very similar to the original No.5 for sure, an abstract floral-powdery scent, but the new version is less woodsy to my nose. I don't think it lasted as well on me as the original, but the scent being less base-heavy smelled more luminous, and equally elegant. If you like Aldehydic Florals, try this version of No.5 - I personally prefer the spray over the Sensual Elixir gel, but you have a choice here between the two modes of fragrance.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

Sometimes, we understand perfumes better in retrospect. I didn't realize until recently that when I was smelling the fruity patchouli blends in Estee Lauder Pleasures Delight, Miss Dior Cherie, Betsey Johnson or Nina by Nina Ricci, I was smelling the descendants of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Now, I see that the patchouli trend wasn't just a result of Thierry Mugler Angel, but of the success of the spicy and fresh-fruity iconic fragrance launched in 2001. I tend to fall in love with this scent a couple of times a year and tire of it quickly. I've acquired and given away bottles of it over the years, so now, I live with a decant that's lasted me awhile. I still think it's a great scent - a bit peachy and orangey, extroverted and sweet in a sophisticated way, Coco Mademoiselle is definitely a modern classic that's here to stay.

Although this transparent-modern Fruity Chypre doesn't smell like the original Coco which is a richer, more floral, ambery Oriental fragrance, Coco Mademoiselle shares with Coco the peachy-orange spice aspect juxtaposed by a rosy heart and a warm, wooded base. I also think it resembles Chanel Chance, except Chance to me smells less patchouli-heavy, and more powdery-chalky in comparison. My Mom thinks Chance smells spicy, although it doesn't register that way to me. Coco Mademoiselle, however, smells like a spiced fruit, in an autumnal, somewhat comforting way.

Linari Eau de Parfum

I bought two sets of vial samples in boxes because the German store that carries them had a minimum order to ship to the US. I've opened one box and tried 3 out of 4 samples. I love the bottles these scents come in so much, I might end up getting one for display. Then again, I might stick with the mainstream perfumes that they remind me of, as thy're easier to find.

Linari Eleganza Luminosa, probably my favorite of the bunch, immediately reminded me of Estee Lauder Pleasures Delight (citrus fruits, rich white florals and patchouli), Angelo Di Fiume of Cacharel Gloria or Guerlain My Insolence (rose, berry fruits and patchouli), and Notte Bianca vaguely of Bulgari Black (gingery-sharp, spicy top notes with an overall linear, leathery feel - I should also mention it's fairly aqueous). Samples are available at


Lindsay Lohan

I wish I could turn Lindsay Lohan onto Pink Manhattan Purrfume - I bet she'd love it! Some of her favorite perfumes are reportedly Jill Stuart Vanilla Lust and perfume oils Monyette, Coquette Tropique and Child. She's a bonafide white floral lover like I am. There's been a rumor about a perfume launching in her name, a jasmine-based scent, but I've heard nothing more about it since a couple of years ago. I would probably buy her perfume unsniffed.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Gay Marriage vs. Miscegenation: Something to Think About

Check out this interesting link made between anti-gay marriage laws and miscegenation laws that once prohibited interracial marriage in the US: Brief History of Marriage Meddling in the United States,

I feel that Proposition 8 has not only reinforced a sad stigma against gay and lesbian people but that it's torn apart unions that were legal just yesterday in a way that is as insensitive and cruel as in the biblical days of Ezra (you might appreciate how he separated marital unions, and children from their parents, in an effort to cleanse the race of impurity - that's if such merciless measures sound godly to you). As many people I know, I've morally wrestled with the topic of homosexuality, but today, I've come to the understanding that if my own children turned out to be gay, I would love them, accept them, and would not want them to be prejudiced against for having been born perfect in His eyes just as they are. I've come to the conclusion there's too much we don't understand about sexuality to judge. I do not see the right of gay couples to marry as a sin. Furthermore, I know gay couples can be as decent parents as any straight couple can. Prop 8: Let no man put asunder what G-d has brought together...especially if you're meddling in marriages of people you don't even know.

Related Reading:
After Prop. 8
The road to equal rights may be long, but Obama's victory proves that change can come.
, LA Times, November 6, 2008

Will Gay Marriage Lead to Polygamy? Animal Marriage? Questions and Answers About the Marriage Protection Amendment, Filed in Current Events , History , Law on June 12, 2006 By William N. Eskridge, Jr. and Darren R. Spedale, Oxford University Press,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

O Happy Day!


President-elect Obama is the next leader of the now hippest, coolest country on Earth, thanks to the collective individuals who truly made it happen! I'm deeply moved by what this change means to so many people, not just here but around the world. May we always remember this historic day; let the new era begin.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Nov. 4th

Giorgio Beverly Hills Red (1989): Aldehydic Floral, a complex, sexy blend of powdery notes, tuberose, spicy carnation, osmanthus, Oriental and Chypre, a once-favorite of mine and now an American classic, Red was marketed as the softer side of Giorgio with the slogan, "Red was never so soft". Blended by the perfumer who made Henry Dunay Sabi, the word "rich" comes to mind when I smell this potent elixir of more than 600 notes.

Comme des Garçons White (1997) by Rei Kawakubo is to my nose the spicier, orange-cinnamony version of the Original Comme des Garçons fragrance. The listed notes don't sound this way but it's a heavy incensey scent like the first one, though it somehow resonates as slick and modern to match the cool bottle design. It's marketed as the essence of purity, lightness and brightness. I suppose it can be compared to an interval of low notes on the piano played mezzopiano. Simplicity is key.

I've never liked Penhaligon's Bluebell (parfum in 1978, EDT in 1985) because to me, it smells animalic and almost gasoline-like noxious, but it's a notorious favorite of Kate Moss and a Green Floral classic. Hyacinth can be a challenging note being so green and yet so hypersweet. Bluebell is the timeless soliflore beauty - complete with roots and stems - you'll find true to the flower and extraordinarily intriguing for such a high-pitched, seemingly delicate scent.

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Rock the Vote by Shepard Fairey