Saturday, February 28, 2009

Floris Malmaison

Come to think of it, I've always loved carnation, though I attributed the spicy scent to cinnamon. In past loves of mine such as Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, Guerlain Metallica, Gucci Rush, Versace White Jeans and Giorgio Beverly Hills Red, it was carnation that had captivated me with its opulently floral, yet sizzling hot scent. That didn't mean all carnations were alike; I could never take to Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps, Revlon Norell or Ciara, Guy Laroche Fidgi, the original Givenchy L'Interdit (made for Audrey Hepburn, the spicy carnation-based Aldehydic Floral one) or even Caron Bellodgia, as lovely as I found this perfume to be. Opium and Obsession were too over-the-top spicy for me though I still occasionally enjoy their smells. Golconda was as astounding a work of realism as I'll ever encounter in my life, but on me, the true living carnations had turned into Big Red gum (I just couldn't do it justice). I also fell out of love with my favorites, leaving me feeling like maybe carnations and I weren't meant to be. I'm finally rediscovering carnation, my craving for cinnamon and clove in floral form.

Floris Malmaison is at once hot and cool, like a contemplative walk through the spiky herb garden in a monastery, feeling a burning, consuming passion in one's core. I hear Mozart's Coronation Mass in C in my head as I write. It is an exceptional perfume, an unforgettable and distinctive soliflore carnation. It is a blend of notes including rose and a subtle vanillic base, but the overall impression is unmistakably that of the carnation flower. One word: classic. Another word: gorgeous! That's what Malmaison is; you can't even label it old-fashioned although it is, in that Oscar Wilde way, but it's timeless because it smells wonderful. Being a spicy floral, it probably would seem too traditional for those who prefer their florals cooler and more transparent, but even among aqueous floral lovers, Malmaison and its intensity of character coupled with fiery charm could ignite a deep love - it is that kind of dramatic, attention-loving, competitive star of a mezzo soprano diva.

Here are the notes according to
Floris Malmaison (1860/2002, Floral Oriental)

Top Notes: Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon
Heart Notes: Malmaison Carnation, Rose, Yland
Base Notes: Cedarwood, Musk, Patchouli, Vanilla

Le Galion Snob

Haha...Snob by Le Galion (1952), according to a perfume friend who remembers living through the era in which it was created, was a spoof on Jean Patou Joy (1930), "the costliest perfume in the world". The perfume itself was a real knockoff of Joy, an aldehydic white floral featuring rose-jasmine at its heart. It doesn't really hold a candle to the real thing, but nevertheless, there might be some people who preferred it to Joy, just as there were real fans of Primo! or a lesser-known drugstore brand (also a knockoff) called Rodeo Drive, over Giorgio (they all smelled pretty similar to me). Paul Vacher, the same perfumer for Snob and other Le Galion perfumes had also created Christian Dior Diorling (1963), Miss Dior (1947 with Jean Carles), and Lanvin Arpège (1927, with Andre Fraysse) (source: Now Smell This).

(Image: parfum de pub)

Benefit B Spot

For those of you who are still wondering if Evan Rachel Wood wore Benefit Maybe Baby or B Spot to the Oscars, sorry, I still don't have the answer. But I can tell you that I've smelled both of these fragrances, and I hope she chose Maybe Baby. Not that B Spot is bad - it's definitely fun, pleasant, upbeat and refreshing, but it's casual and a bit intensely fruity for me. You might prefer that, so I encourage you to test them both and decide for yourself. B Spot (I guess the name is a take on G spot, and judging from the trucker girl-style packaging, I'd say I'm right) smells like hypersweet red tropical fruits, like mango and passion fruit. I'm reminded of Demeter Sex on the Beach, Diamond Princess by Trina, Safi and one of the fruity summer LE scents by Escada but I'm not sure which one. If it were muskier, it could be Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Fraiche Passiflore or Rimmel London Glam. Actually, it smells a lot like London Glam, so I rather like the sunny, energetic scent; it's just very, very intensely fruity and sweet to the point of sugary, with virtually no other notes in sight. It's strong, too, with a wooded base and lots of sillage. I would not wear it to an office but since I can picture a paper umbrella in a glass, I say take it with you to a tropical island, even just a make believe one.

(Edited to add) If you like B Spot, I recommend for you to also try Momoberry, a similar type of tropical red fruit with white florals in the mix - sweet, juicy and fun.


NY Fragrance Examiner: Spicy Florals: Can they make us smell thin?

Link to my latest article: NY Fragrance Examiner: Spicy Florals: Can they make us smell thin?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jazz CD Life is Good by Yoshiaki Masuo Now on Sale

Many of you know about my dabbling in the Jazz world of music, both as a singer and occasional writer, collaborating with some of the greatest musicians I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Well, this time, I appear on an album as a background vocalist, and here's that album we've been waiting for, by jazz guitarist extraordinaire Yoshiaki Masuo which apparently came out sometime last year, only I'm just now finding out about it! It's called Life Is Good by Yoshiaki Masuo featuring Larry Goldings and Lenny White (Sunshine Ave. Label -- SUNL-1001, 2008). My background vocals are on track 5, "Yoh". I recorded this song with Masuo at the coolest recording studio in SoHo. I wonder what the inside of the CD cover looks like, whether they ever printed the crazy studio pics we all took together. Visit

NY Fragrance Examiner: Nicole Kidman, Catherine Deneuve: Celebrity Perfumistas in Our Midst

Of course Nicole Kidman looked amazing at the Oscars. She's the Chanel queen, after all, the face of N°5 after the French "Marianne" Catherine Deneuve and Carole Bouquet. I loved the cropped flapper bob and the pale lace strapless gown with not-too-bawdy Moulin Rouge flavor. In it, she was able to highlight her curves without spillage or mega cleavage. Elegance with a dash of showy flamboyance, in tune with the night, I thought. I also imagined Nicole Kidman wearing N°5 at the Oscars and going home afterwards to indulge in a long bath, then dabbing and spritzing her favorite perfume concoctions - like her famous combination of Chanel Coco and Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot...(continued)

Continue reading at this link: NY Fragrance Examiner: Nicole Kidman, Catherine Deneuve: Celebrity Perfumistas in Our Midst

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vera Wang Look

I'll keep it short and sweet; the new fragrance by Vera Wang named Look is the love child between Clinique Happy and Marc Jacobs Daisy. I liked it at first sniff, when I could pick up the orange (mandarin) notes with a clear, light white floral heart, some uplifting green notes in the mix, and a very subtle base, keeping this fragrance in the Floral family of scents. If I still loved aqueous perfumes today, as I had once loved Happy with what seemed at the time like an undying passion, I'd wear Look, but it's just a tad too sporty as well as flowery for me (in much the same way Daisy was). Still, I highly recommend it as one of the nicest new mainstream launches in recent times - up there with Daisy which I also like very much.

Pascal Morabito Or Noir

Housed in one of my favorite modern bottle designs, Pascal Morabito Or Noir (1981) is a sophisticated and classic feminine fragrance which carried into the 1980s the Aldehydic Floral with green and chypre nuances from the era preceding it. With one breath, it transports you back to the time of Yves Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche, Caron Infini (1912, relaunched in 1971), Hermes Caleche and Paco Rabanne Calandre, with their roots dating back to the 1940s and '50s with perfumes such as Christian Dior Miss Dior, and even further back to the 1920s with Chanel No.5. I could describe the scent of Or Noir as a mossy-woody powdery floral, with a skin cream effect, also similar to Estee Lauder White Linen born just 3 years prior, a successful and beloved perfume to stand out among the stronger, more distinctive power-fumes ruling the period to follow. I particularly enjoy the cassis (blackcurrant bud) in this fragrance, a popular ingredient of the 1980s in perfumes such as Christian Dior Poison and Nina (the original launched in 1985) by Nina Ricci. There are sites that say Or Noir for Women is discontinued but it is up on Pascal Morabito's website (though I don't see pure parfum there) with the following notes: lists:
Iris, tangerine, Cassis bud, Bergamot, Jasmine Rose of may, Daffodil, Patchouli, Oak Moss, Vanilla, Yland Yland tender, Oriental clove.

"OR NOIR is dedicated to a "city" lady, whose elegance is discrete and refined. This lady is not only elegant, she is demanding. She is concerned by her appearance and the image she will leave. OR NOIR is her mark."

Perhaps Or Noir borrows its statement from another sharp and green retro classic, Carven Ma Griffe, its name meaning "her claws" or mark.

(Image: Parfum de Pub)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Benefit Maybe Baby

Dear Evan Rachel Wood (who looked beautiful in the deco ivory dress at the Oscars), if you happen to stumble upon this post, I just learned that you wore a 'Benefit perfume' to The Academy Awards and were commented on for smelling divine, and since there are only two Benefit perfumes, there's a 50/50 chance you wore Maybe Baby. If so, you must try Pink Manhattan Purrfume! You will love it - it's in the same family of peachy white florals with a soft vanilla base. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the scent of Maybe Baby, it's actually a bit more floral than Pink Manhattan, bringing it closer to the scent of Antonia's Flowers Floret, a vibrant yet soft, slightly candied peach floral. Although there are several peachy white florals to choose from on the scene, from Gwen Stefani L.A.M.B. to MDCI Péché Cardinal, Floret, like Annick Goutal Petite Chérie, has been for me the standard of the well-composed Fruity Floral of this blush-toned genre. Maybe Baby which smells very similar, save for it smelling a bit more transparent (watery), is indeed a very nice composition. I generally don't think of Benefit Cosmetics as creators of serious perfumes, but I could see why Maybe Baby has stood the test of time, beloved by many and therefore deserving of recognition. The bottle is glamorous and extravagant-looking, too, perfect for an old Hollywood boudoir setting.

Benefit Maybe Baby (2003 Floral)

Notes on
Apricot, White Ginger, Fresh Water Blossoms, Himalayan Poppy, Warm Peach.

They didn't list musk but I'm sure this blend rests on a white musk base.

(Image: Parfum de Pub)

NY Fragrance Examiner: Oscar Night: 1930s trend and the quest for authenticity

The Oscars: First of all, I haven’t seen any of these films this year, so I can’t comment on them. Also, sadly, I’m only roughly familiar with the actors. However, I thought the Harlem dinner theatre throwback atmosphere was interesting, and the music was a pleasure to hear this year, what with a real jazz band getting so into the playing they occasionally improvised right over the speakers on stage after commercial break. Beyonce was a dynamite entertainer as usual. When I had my Japanese TV gig many years ago, I had a rarely mentioned side gig as a music editor, assisting the director with laying down the perfect background music for scenes. So my interest in movie music is fairly paramount. I’m glad Slumdog got awarded for best soundtrack, but I absolutely love Peter Gabriel’s “Down to Earth” (WALL-E soundtrack), reminiscent of his Ovo (2000) masterpiece. It's such an exquisite, moving song, they should have let him present it in full. I totally understand his reluctance to perform just 65 seconds of it at The Academy Awards. Really, it’s absurd – even the jazz band played more than that. Ask any wedding band how difficult it is to cut off the music when the waiter goes around to ask for entrée choices and the maitre d’ turns to the band in the middle of a sensitive turn of phrase and hisses, “Stop NOW”. Making music isn’t supposed to be so artificial, or like simply laying down background for ready-made visuals. Live music is supposed to be authentic, with room to be creative and in the moment, like making music because it’s a joy to make it, not like you’re providing music for the bride and groom to cut the cake to. Well, maybe if you’re playing a wedding, but not if you’re Peter Gabriel at The Oscars, with a nomination to boot.

Enough of my music-related rant in support of a genuine musician and one of the greatest of all time. Let’s talk fashion. (continued)

Click here for more: NY Fragrance Examiner: Oscar Night: 1930s trend and the quest for authenticity

Saturday, February 21, 2009

NY Fragrance Examiner: White Florals: The Beachy Side of New York

All beaches are not alike. There are seven seas, each scattered along the longitudes and latitudes, all with varying temperatures and unique landscapes. So, when I use the term “beachy” to describe a scent, we may conjure up different pictures and correlating smells. In general, I refer to white floral fragrances of the tropical variety as beachy, and I’m a lover of these. Whether your vision of the sea is tropical or glacial, white-sanded or pink...(continued)

Read my second article for Examiner: NY Fragrance Examiner: White Florals: The Beachy Side of New York

Friday, February 20, 2009

NY Fragrance Examiner Sali Oguri for!


I'm thrilled to report that I have a new part time writing gig for Examiner as NY Fragrance Examiner! As the first Fragrance writer for their site, I hope to generate more interest in all things fragrance (and other arts) related.

Please visit my newest article, NY Fragrance Examiner: A Perfumista's New York Story by clicking on the title or on the photo below of New York City, 1935. I look forward to developing a fan base over at Examiner - see you there!!

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Paul Smith London

If you ever wished you could find a similar fragrance to Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Hot or Kate Moss by Kate Moss but a bit deeper, you’ve found your match in Paul Smith London. Housed in an ultramod alchemical bottle in the most mysterious red-purple hue (somewhere between fuchsia and wine, redder than magenta and pinker than burgundy, perhaps mulberry), London speaks volumes about urbane sensuality mixed with semi-vintage charm, with a touch of wickedly juicy Fruity Floral vivacity to candify (make candy-sweet) and bring futuristic sleekness to the warm and sweet, powdery-ambery woody Oriental finish. The primary notes I pick up are rose, fruits and flowers (including white florals) and a rich and round, though subtle, musky base. I would classify it as a Floral or Fruity Floral rather than Floral Oriental though it smells like a crossover. It’s not a spicy blend per se but my nose picks up on a sprinkling of spices in the top notes, just to keep things exciting. If you’re looking for a fairly light Fruity Floral with some depth and a saucy, slightly surrealist edge, try this. It's not listed on Paul Smith's website, so my guess is it's discontinued.

The lists the following notes:
Paul Smith London (2004)

Top notes: Lime, lilac, neroli, anise
Heart notes: Patchouli, jasmine
Base notes: Vanilla, heliotrope

"A soft, sultry and voluptuous fragrance

"With naturally bitter note of neroli and vanilla to soften the bouquet

"Paul's key note? Patchouli, it reminds me of my youth, of gorgeous girls wafting past in clouds of patchouli at Kensington Market.

"While fresh seringa maintains a modern zappy-happiness!"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

The original Moschino perfume (1987) is similar to the ambery-spicy (peppery), seductive potion that is Calvin Klein Obsession. I've seen it classified as Floral, but I think it's in the same Oriental family as Guerlain Shalimar and Must de Cartier, but your experience may vary. John Oakes in his book likened the scent of Moschino to that of dancing Salome.


See you again in a little while, everyone! Cin cin! Don't try this at home!

(Images: Parfum de Pub)

Guerlain Shalimar 1977


Whether you're trying to dodge Friday the 13th or the whole Valentine's Day thing altogether, I would still like to wish you a pleasant weekend. One of the things I love to do on my blog is to share funky perfume ads I find here and there (this one is a vintage 1977 Guerlain Shalimar ad, currently being sold on eBay). This one's really could just hear a songstress crooning "Stormy Weather", can't you? In fact, that's not the worst way to spend any weekend for sure: link to You Tube here to hear the great Ella Fitzgerald sing her 1975 rendition of the song with real phrasing and interpretation, accompanied by jazz guitarist Joe Pass. Isn't it nice to hear a singer without Auto-Tune once in awhile? Here's another question: When they say the Oriental fragrance family (or, more specifically, the Floral Oriental family) is perceived (or marketed, perhaps?) as scents for emotionally dependent types, do they mean to say perfumes like Shalimar appeal to those who are either too emotional or emotionally imbalanced, or have low EQ (emotional intelligence quotient)? I actually seriously ponder these things, but I am an INFJ, after all (edited to add: I just retook a couple of MBTI tests and came up INTJ from having been INFJ with an expressed F of 4%), and I love Shalimar. I have a feeling I should take it about as seriously as the book on flavor choices and personalities I picked up last year, in which it says people who like vanilla are far more interesting people than those who prefer chocolate. Now, without further ado, the '77 Shalimar ad reads:

"Like every woman, every great perfume has both an outer expression and a deeper, inner mood.

"How many bold smiles reveal an inner shyness? How many accidental touches are meant as an inner embrace, warm and loving?

"Outwardly, Shalimar expresses elegance, calm...a serene femininity.

"But stay with the magnificent scent long enough and you will discover its inner mood...a clipper ship slicing through the seas, the power of a storm about to break, a deep sensuality waiting to be released.

"You don't just dab on a perfume like Shalimar. You wear it body and soul."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

MDCI Péché Cardinal

Parfums MDCI Péché Cardinal (Cardinal Sin) is the newest MDCI offering by one of my favorite perfumers, Patricia de Nicolaï. The notes listed on Lucky Scent's website are: Davana, peach, coconut, blackcurrant, tuberose, prune, lily, cedar, sandalwood, musc. I've read glowing reviews of this new fragrance by bloggers and reviewers of note, so I greeted my sample package today with great anticipation. Well, I love it - I think it's gorgeous, every bit the bombshell that Robert Piguet Fracas and Bond No.9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her are. In fact, Péché Cardinal smells a lot like these two (especially Saks For Her with that touch of coconut), only with a good deal of juicy fruit. I smell lots of fresh peach oil in it, very similar to the type I use in my own Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Purrfume, except I use less fruit and more vanilla in my blend. I smell lots more gardenia-tuberose-jasmine in Péché Cardinal than I do in my perfume, and of course Pink Manhattan is just slightly more gourmand than floral. If you want less intense floral and more mild milk notes, and want less fruit but like the peach note in Péché Cardinal, please try my Pink Manhattan, available from my website at

Now, back to Péché Cardinal: I'd read somewhere this is a fruity leather blend but I get even less leather in it than I do from Guerlain Cuir Beluga. In a nutshell, it smells like a peachy version of Saks For Her, or, if you're at all familiar with Japanese candies, Peche Cardinal smells almost exactly like Hana no Kuchizuke (花のくちづけ = mouth kiss of the flowers), a delicious peach hard candy in the shape of a chrysanthemum (one flavor description I found on a Japanese website reads: "sweet, tart and mild, a milky peach, as luscious as a kiss (on the lips)"). They come wrapped in different color wrappers with flowery prose on each one. I grew up eating these, and so Peche Cardinal is super-nostalgic for me! However, Peche Cardinal gets more intense with wear as deeper fruit notes emerge. Alongside peach, I also smell other juicy fruits, most notably plum, almost comparable to the plummy, simultaneously juicy and creamy fruitiness of Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) By Kilian. This sexy, sassy, fabulously hip new addition to the very niche MDCI line is sure to gain in fans for the fragrance alone, with or without the fancy lady bust bottle.


L'Occitane Almond Blossom Dew

L'Occitane Blossom Dew (Rosée de Fleurs) in Almond (Amande) is the almond scent I've been looking for. There are many almond blends out there but few I've found to smell of actual almond notes and not of cherry (although it's understandable since almond notes in perfume are related to cherry and heliotrope notes). From Luctor et Emergo People of the Labyrinths to Serge Lutens Rahät Loukoum, I've found so many of them to smell of cherry, a popular flavoring in the USA for everything from candies to cough medicine. Now, I don't mind a hint of cherry in a fragrance when it's done right: Cartier Délices comes to mind, and even though I eventually gave away my bottle of Chantal Thomass, I enjoyed the Marachino cherried sweet Floral Oriental while I had it. But what I really wanted was something close to the delectable marzipan of Mozartkugeln fame.

First, a little background: I discovered the Almond Milk Concentrate body cream first, and thought it was a wonderful scent, very much like another body lotion I stumbled upon during a tropical island vacation many years ago by ProTerra. I didn't realize until I smelled the L'Occitane Almond cream that the scent of this lotion I loved so much was that of almond. As perfume, almond could be described as a spicy yet sweet, heavyish (low-pitched), almost bubblegum-like scent. The spiciness could be compared to that of cinnamon in a way. What makes these body products I adore particularly un-cherrylike and more like true almond is that they steer clear of being too candied sweet, and veer towards the greener side of the olfactive spectrum, as well as the concentration of scent being relatively light. Also, I was surprised to like the L'Occitane cream so much because it also vaguely smelled of L'Occitane's honey scent which I found feral and couldn't tolerate. I perceive underlying honey in the Almond but I'm OK with it as it lends a subtle naughty dimension.

Then, this L'Occitane Almond Blossom Dew came into my life, and I'm absolutely in love with it. The Blossom Dew is a milky-colored but thin, watery gel, light in both scent and texture, meant to be sprayed liberally and massaged into skin to make it feel smooth. The fragrance is almost identical to that of the Milk Concentrate, a sweet (but not hypersweet) almond with very subtle floral and wood notes. They smell the same except the Blossom Dew is sweeter and denser to me with richer middle notes. It reminds of other perfumes I've smelled before - maybe Cacharel Gloria or Guerlain My Insolence: sweet, powdery rich Floral Oriental almond cakes with fruits and flowers in the mix. Actually, there seem to be some fruits and flowers in the Almond Blossom Dew, but not as upfront; it stays true to the almond, only made more scrumptious and marzipan-like with a delicious woody-vanilla base of an almost flour-y and tactile density made sheer and wearable.

I never knew spicy could be so soft and inviting, with a heart that sings a nostalgic orange blossom springtime Lieder, reverberating quietly creating a well-tempered sillage, an indolent and luxurious tone in the Oriental-Gourmand alto pitch range.

Here's what it says on the box: "Over a top note of blossom buds, the fresh almond heart joins the elegance of a woody, vanilla dry down." It's gorgeous and unfortunately discontinued and hard to find.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey A Drop Of Cloud

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey Une Goutte de Nuage (A Drop Of Cloud) is a limited edition variation of the original L'Eau d'Issey. As I'd written earlier in my review of Fresh Mukki, this scent takes me back to my childhood when my parents used to buy me these Japanese children's magazines, and in them, I'd occasionally find scratch-n-sniff perfumes that had this sharply floral-perfumey, soapy smell. Neither the scratch-n-sniffs nor this LE scent are favorite smells of mine, but I must say the concept of this creation is brilliant. It's so Yoko Ono, I almost expect to be a moving, living, participating influence within the conceptual art (it reminds me of her Sky Piece, Box of Smile and, of course, Cloud Piece). Hazy and powder periwinkle blue, the bottle combined with the name is also the most beautiful of the L'Eau d'Issey series in my opinion.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Fresh Mukki

I had heard this fragrance was discontinued but I just saw it up on Bergdorf Goodman's site, so perhaps they've brought it back. Well, thank goodness. This is a fantastic scent for those of you who like a soapy but soft, creamy scent. It's a bit hard to describe, but for me, there was some instant nostalgic feeling when I first smelled it, and funnily enough, I started thinking about the soapy-sharp perfumey scent of scratch-n-sniff Japanese "perfumes" in children's magazines (I get a similar memory trigger from smelling the newest Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey LE variation, A Drop of Cloud), and probably more accurately, hotel soaps. It's not as milky as you might expect because it's not sweet (like Fresh Milk Milk Soap, which is YUMMY), and the lactonic effect is not so much due to vanilla notes but a musk accord, no doubt with some woody notes in it like Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, but it is creamy smooth in a delicate, milled soap-floral perfumey way, reminiscent of Penhaligon's Castile. Sometimes the level of soapiness gets to be a bit much for me, but this kind of clean, I like - not detergentesque, not commercial Ivory soap-like, but like a fine bar of soap for the luxury market. lists Fresh Mukki as an Aldehydic Floral.

Basenotes lists the following notes:
Fresh Mukki (1996)
Top Notes: Gentle Peach, Honeydew, Cucumber
Middle Notes: Violet, Caramel, Linden Flower
Base Notes: Vanilla, Musk, Tuberose

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey

There was a guitarist I went on tour with in the mid-'90s whom I sat next to on a plane from Japan back to New York. Somehow, we were on the topic of fragrance because duty free shopping was on our minds, and I remember this handsome man with long dredlocks down his back, just about melting with the most dreamy face when he talked about his girlfriend who just flew back to her home in Amsterdam. He told me by the time he sees her again, he planned to buy a perfume called Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey for her because she had mentioned she wanted it (and showed me how she said it, too, with the voice and all...LOL...cute). I could tell by the look on his face, the way he spoke of her tenderly and, hello, the fact that he remembered this perfume name by heart, that he loved her. I thought such an ultraminimalist, clean and modest scent would suit his fair maiden with a warm, beautiful smile as her only bejeweled piece of physical adornment, the treasure it was. I had met her with him at the concert and she was a sweet, down-to-earth person, someone to bring calm and rest to the in-demand musician's well-traveled yet frantic lifestyle.

Although I didn't ask, I wondered if he wore fragrance himself, and if he did, whether his choice would be the L'Eau d'Issey for Men to complement her. From what I recall, the Men's is a very nice fragrance as well. L'Eau d'Issey for Women, an aqueous Marine classic born in 1992, can be described as an abstract water fragrance, meaning the scent of something scentless in nature, therefore an abstraction of an abstraction. This is modernism at its best, from the sleek bottle design to the fragrance itself, a fresh and cool Marine accord with some body (it's not too simple and transparent), and a very soft fruity touch (osmanthus, a floral note, often adds a peach-like, creamy softness, although in this scent, I find the overall effect is close to that of melon or pikake). It's slightly musky and warm but quiet, office-friendly, and with a floral heart including tuberose, versatile enough to be romantic with a subtly sweet, misty and dewy (almost beachy) quality. The floralcy is only implied conceptually here, not at all realistic or literal, and therefore purely artistic. You come away smelling not of flowers but clean.

Sephora lists these notes:
Lotus, Freesia, Cyclamen, Rose Water, Fresh Peonies, Carnation, White Lilies, Precious Woods, Osmanthus, Tuberose, Amberseed, Musk.

(Images: 1995 and 1998 ads, Image de Parfums)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Today's Top Searches

I like to list the stats for my blog periodically, but especially today because my own perfume got on the list of Top 10 Searches - YaY!

The top searches on Pink Manhattan in order of frequency of hits for February 8, 2009 are as follows:

1. Twilight perfume
2. Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche
3. Laura Biagiotti Venezia
4. Nina Ricci Nina
5. Rimmel London Glam
6. Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums Musc Ravageur
7. Kiehl's Original Musk Oil
8. Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Purrfume
9. Christian Dior Poison
10. Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, Cacharel Amor Amor (tied)

Top search for non-perfume related topic: Nirvana Heart Shaped Box

Countries / Regions in order of most visits:
Top 3: New York, California, England

Full list: United States (53.62%), United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, Poland, Spain, Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Singapore, Belgium, Sweden, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Israel, Slovakia, Norway, Turkey, Romania, Republic Of Korea, China, Portugal, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Honduras, Grenada, New Zealand, Philippines, Luxembourg, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, Netherlands Antilles, Qatar, Peru. BIG LOVE TO ALL!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur

As a diehard vanilla lover, I appreciate perfumers and lines of perfumes whom and which celebrate this elixir of the gods and goddesses in unadulterated fashion. I can't imagine life without vanilla, this superbly, deliriously intoxicating aroma, and thank goodness I'm no masochist and allow myself the pleasure of a variety of masterful, artful perfumes which incorporate it. Guerlain is notorious for utilizing vanilla in their seductive love potions from Jicky to Shalimar, Chamade to Samsara, all with equally seductive legends behind each fragrance. Even Chypre perfumes such as Mitsouko, Femme or Miss Dior, woodsy and seemingly vanillaless, contain some vanilla (usually as part of an amber accord) without which they would smell unfinished and harsh. Master perfumer Maurice Roucel can turn up the heat in bombshell classics such as Rochas Tocade and Hermès 24, Faubourg with his signature sweet, luxurious vanillic base, so often innocently camouflaging untold depths of other less polite, at times downright raunchy, fixatives which otherwise would take over the entire orchestration, changing their refined character. Soft, sweet and warm, vanilla so perfectly captures the essence of the angel with two faces, the age old myth defining a woman's mysterious duality - Venus the binary goddess of love herself, ruling two opposing seasons, bringing men to life in Spring and leading men to their fateful deaths come Fall. How can something so delicious-smelling be so dangerous an olfactive weapon? Vanilla can express the fine line between heaven and hell as no other note can, for vanilla is a most sinful pleasure deserving of purgatory, where it may be questioned forever how a note so low, so base, can seem so lilting and uplifting, so penetratingly deep yet so ageless, youthful and light, a paradox, oxymoron, an impossibility. Ah, but then, what is love but all those things?

As far as vanillas go, Musc Ravageur is a dark vanilla, bordering on chocolate but ever faithful to vanilla, the modern classic. It's a ravishing vanilla made for expressions of love, not a sinister and twisted, unsweet, passive-aggressive one. Ravishing = Musc Ravageur as its name implies so accurately, and it's all come hither with no holds barred, fearlessly, wholeheartedly ready to give it all away. Musc Ravageur isn't about games, coy, sadistic, masochistic or otherwise - it's the real deal, knowing of herself, mindful of the other, down-to-earth and sensual. However, it isn't a pushover and won't yield - rather, it sets the standard and wishes the admirer to be strong and of equal substance. Tonight, I want to talk about this fragrance which, to me, is like vanilla coming full circle through Guerlain's impressive history and Maurice Roucel's creative paths, overlapping and climaxing with its coming into the world in the year 2000. A very fabulous (and humorous and witty) friend known only to me as a pirate on a perfume forum I once frequented, had written, so unforgettably, that Musc Ravageur was like Charlotte Rampling on the pages of December 1974 Vogue. The same friend sent me a generous amount of Musc Ravageur to try, and I've been hooked ever since, but I've worn it with respect and reverence, for Musc Ravageur is not a scent that can be worn casually to just any place, without some sense of responsibility. It is a powerful elixir, paying homage to Guerlain's most memorable bestseller, the queen of Oriental fragrances, Shalimar (1925), from its first whiff of bergamot, amber, vanilla, precious woods and spices, regal and evocative of the Taj Mahal. As its predecessor, Musc Ravageur carries the weight of the legend it dares to reincarnate in a timeless olfactive tale.

However, it's also a musky, disturbing fragrance reminiscent of other more animalic Orientals such as Must de Cartier, and even more similar in its raunchy, indolic-urinous edge to another Maurice Roucel creation, Le Labo Ciste 18 (later renamed Labdanum, the name alluding to the rock rose or cistis labdanum, an ingredient in Chypre compositions), pungently warm with a dirty, raw animalic undertone, a bewitching cocktail of collective base notes including castoreum and civet. I'm convinced that the Maurice Roucel base often talked about (the one he creates first and builds from backwards) is, underneath the charming veil of sumptuous vanilla, the same dirty-musky "labdanum" accord I find in other creations of his, including L by Lolita Lempicka and Le Labo Jasmin 17. In Musc Ravageur, the accord is most exquisite combined with hints of lavender, plenty of red hot cinnamon and amber/tonka/coumarin. If there's a clean and dignified trace of Yardley English Lavender in its lineage as well, there's also no denying the animalic element which would make people wonder what exactly it is you do on those long office lunch breaks, not that it's anyone's business. Still, I wouldn't say it's as animalic as fragrances in the Animalic category (many Chypres are considered animalic: Givenchy Ysatis, Estée Lauder Knowing, Cassini by Oleg Cassini, Ungaro Diva, Elizabeth Taylor Passion and Miss Dior - for lovers of these perfumes, Musc Ravageur might seem too tame). Musc Ravageur is also close in composition and style to Yves Saint-Laurent Opium and Calvin Klein Obsession in terms of its spicy-ambery-sweet, unfloral and balsamic overall character (with synthetic civet as one of its notes, Obsession is slightly animalic). I've compared Musc Ravageur to a number of fragrances in the Oriental family, but in truth, Musc Ravageur is a unique creation in a class by itself, a true contemporary classic of highest quality. It's an epic, memorable composition, an extraordinary musk (not comparable to Jovan or any typical musk) and I'd imagine one that wears well on anyone who dares to be original and so forthcoming in being him/herself, unafraid of naked truth or baring all.

Musc Ravageur comes in eau de parfum and oil perfume (Huile à Tout Faire). The oil is to my nose sharper and more herbaceous, but also not as rich and full, with a subdued sillage which may work for people who feel the EDP is too aggressive.

(Images:, Charlotte Rampling "Georgy Girl", 1966, "The Night Porter" 1974

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"Mental" by Kazuhiro Soda Official Selection at Berlin Film Festival

Pusan International Film Festival
- Best Documentary Award (PIFF Mecenat Award)

Dubai International Film Festival
- Best Documentary Award (Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary Award)

Official Selection:

Berlin International Film Festival (Forum)
Documentary Fortnight (MoMA)
Hong Kong International Film Festival
Cinema du Reel
Visions du Reel
Nippon Connection
Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival
Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival
Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival
Jogjakarta Indonesia Documentary Film Festival

According to the WHO, 154 million people suffer from depression and
25 million from schizophrenia. More than 800,000 people die by
suicide every year.

MENTAL is a feature-length documentary that observes the complex
world of an outpatient mental health clinic in Japan, interwoven with
patients, doctors, staff, volunteers, and home-helpers, in cinema-
verite style. The film breaks a major taboo against discussing mental
illness prevalent in Japanese society, and captures the candid lives
of people coping with suicidal tendencies, poverty, a sense of shame,
apprehension, and fear of society.

Observational Film Series #2 by Kazuhiro Soda
Documentary, 135 min, HD, Color, 2008
In Japanese with English subtitles


Berlin Int. Film Festival (Forum)
Feb 5, 11:15 CinemaxX5 (press screening)
Feb 6, 18:00 Arsenal
Feb 7, 22:15 Cubix 9
Feb 9, 16:00 Delphi-Filmpalast

Documentary Fortnight, MoMA, New York
February 22 at 14:30

For a complete list of screenings, visit the MENTAL website.

Jil Sander Style


Jil Sander Style is a great fragrance although it's not too widely known here in the US. Imagine a less aqueous, less patchouli-heavy, more sophisticated version of Vera Wang Princess and you're just about there. Add to that description a refined, smooth opaque-creamy powdery woodsy-milky-silky vanillic floralcy and you've got the essence of Style. Another way I'd describe it is to say it smells like Jil Sander Sun but modernized, and powdery in an airy, fluffy way. It's quite sweet, leaning towards Gourmand, but as modern and easy to wear as a Jil Sander creation ought to be. There's nothing in this composition to distract from the simple goodness of it - the simplicity, purity of form, which gives it the beauty and sophistication. The oakmoss-iris combination gives it a subtle nuance of Aldehydic Floral, very retro chic and cool. To me, this is a work of olfactive art, mainstream offering notwithstanding. The fragrance comes in the most gorgeous Bauhaus-inspired flacon, worthy of display.

(Edited to add): I retried this on a warmer day, and thought the opening smelled a bit limey-woody, sort of like Dior Addict. It mellows and gets creamier with wear but I thought I'd mention the new discovery.

Jil Sander Style (2006)
Basenotes lists these notes:
Top Notes: Freesia, Mango, Cardamom, Pink pepper
Middle Notes: Violets, Magnolia, Iris, Jasmine
Base Notes: Vanilla, Amber, Oakmoss

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Purrfume Reviewed on The Daily Beauty Break

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting "...Pink Manhattan PERFUME rocks just as much as her music does" - Josi, The Daily Beauty Break

I'm elated and honored to announce today that Pink Manhattan has been reviewed by Professional Makeup Artist and a self-confessed Beauty Addict from Dallas,TX, our beloved beauty blogger and favorite way to start the morning, Josi on The Daily Beauty Break! Click on the picture of the lady with a cuppa or here to read Josi's spot-on, stylish and in-the-know reviews of all the latest and greatest beauty products, makeup tips/techniques, and red carpet beauty trends.

Remember to get the special Valentine's Day sale code before making your order through by linking here!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Pink Manhattan Sale - Valentine's Day Special

Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Sensorium of Song & Scent (Music & Perfume dual launch) took place on Valentine's Day, 2005. We're celebrating another anniversary. Take advantage of Sali's special Valentine's Day Sale - Take 10% off any fragrance purchase @ (excluding shipping). Email your order with the code VDAYSALE from Feb.1 - Feb. 14, 2009. Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Petit-CD is available for purchase @ CD Baby, or go to Sali's website to buy downloads.