Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Future of Niche

They say the '40s trend is now, but I say it's the '30s, if the retelling of the Joy perfume story in this LA Times article today is an indication. In essence, the current perfume market is favorable to niche because perfumes are products that seem couture without having to spend too much. As the article quotes, "Niche fragrances have experienced double-digit growth this year, according to Grant of the NPD group". It's all thanks to the small, fanatical crowd who follows the scent trend, the perfumistas of the world. It looks to me this small fanatical crowd is about to become the new mainstream in no time at all. The fact that niche perfumes are more accessible to everyone is a great thing; thanks to the niche market, we now have diversity of perfume choices. But alongside perfume appreciation is a growing sense of perfume wearers feeling judged by their choices, conscious or not. So, what do we do about the growing trend towards refinement and aesthetics? Are we ready to confront the side effects of the fanatical obsession with purity of form?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Liza Wade Interviews Sali Oguri (Plus 20% Off Sale Code for Pink Manhattan Purrfume)

What kind of personality wears Pink Manhattan Purrfume? Find out in today's featured article by the talented and lovely fragrance writer, Signature Scent Stylist Liza Wade: Interview with Pink Manhattan: Sali Oguri. Visit the article now and get a special year end bonus: Receive a limited time 20% sale code for your next purchase of Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan Purrfume! Liza has dedicated two decades to all areas of the beauty industry. Liza believes that your fragrance choice reveals insights into your personality. Contact Liza Wade at

Special Thanks: It was an extraordinary pleasure being interviewed by Liza. I'm forever grateful and deeply moved, not to mention blown away by her unique, visionary capabilities!


Ama (heaven) - terasu (light)

Japan's ancient mythological sun goddess Amaterasu, in many ways, resembles images of the Christ and of the Virgin Mary, also of Gaia (Mother Earth) and of Aphrodite (Venus / Isis / Columbina / Demeter / Astarte / Persephone). Such images are accompanied by classical literature on the elusive, poetic "origins" of the Japanese in stories depicting heaven, hell, concepts of good vs evil, morality and ethics, plus a pantheon of infinite gods and goddesses to rival Pokemon. Why is God female in Japan's version of the beginning of life? It doesn't matter, since the female is just incidental, a void; it's the deity in the shape of an earthly man who is the true sun god, who "dips his spear into the ocean" to symbolize manhood being the giver of life, in conjunction with the universe (there is a female with him, but only to be his helper, and she also learns a valuable lesson not to pursue him first). All of this seems to be indicative of the new (at the time, in the 6th century) Buddhist wave that swept the country, that led to Shintō deities being presented in a whole new (patriarchal, as the spear of man being a phallus) context, whereby the kami are born from the man + universe as the world materializes from divine inspiration (Idealism), in a narratively intriguing (dramatic, sensationalistic) style. Maybe the myth regarding the Japanese being a combination of Jomon and Yayoi ancestors is symbolic of the combination of cultures: Shamanistic nature worship combined with an image (human form and gender)-conscious "Bollywood" formula.

Both Amaterasu and Persephone (Roman = Proserpina) are associated with the snake, another phallic symbol of the giver of life. Also see Chaos at Wikipedia.

Japanese Creation Myth (712 CE) From Genji Shibukawa: Tales from the Kojiki

Related links:
Read about Persephone in Greek mythology at

Greco-Buddhist art - Wikipedia

Koshintō - Wikipedia
Ko-Shinto (古神道, Ko-Shintō?) is the name given to the original Shinto tradition of the Jomon people still practiced today in some Ainu families and communities as well as in some Ryukyuan areas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours a warm Thanksgiving holiday weekend - We'd like to extend a great big THANK YOU from Pink Manhattan and WUJ Pruductions to all of our faithful readers in the USA and around the world!

Mudvayne - Forget to Remember

Monday, November 23, 2009

Japanese, Russian and the Uralic-Altaic Connection

There is debate over whether the Japanese language is in fact an Altaic language, and I don't know enough about etymology to comment on that, but since the grammatical structures of Uralic and Altaic are similar enough that they used to be categorized under one branch, I'd like to propose a theory, that Japanese may have at least a minimal connection to the Uralic language. For example, I recently read on an Ural-Altaic language forum that the Uralic word for mouth (or opening) is "suu". In Japanese, "suu" means to suck in by the mouth, as in "iki wo suu" (to breathe in) and suimono (a clear soup literally meaning "thing to suck in").

Also, I'd always pondered why the Japanese word for "no" was "iie". It didn't sound like the word "no" in any other language I'd known...except the Russian "nyet". Both have the "ie" sound.

Related links:

Finnish-Japanese language similarities (discussion): Visit

Vowel Harmony - Explanation: Global Oneness

An Overview of the History of the Japanese Language by Daniel J. Vogler - 20 March 1998

Russian and Japanese Involvement with Pre-Communist Tibet: The Role of the Shambhala Legend by Alexander Berzin April 2003

Dreams of a Pan-Mongolian state: Sandan Tsydenov, Baron Ungern, Agvan Dorjiev, Nicholas Roerich - by Alexandre Andreyev
Section: Buddhism and Nordland 2008. (Saturday, 02 May 2009)

History of Buryatia (Ar Mongol) - The Mongolian Ancestral Homeland

The Origins of the Japanese people - Japan Reference,

Shinto – Japan: What is shintoism? -

Koshintō - Wikipedia


“Truth -- An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance.”

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Arrogance Mix Lime Sugar

A lime doesn't have to be British to be great; a favorite affordable yet utterly pretty (albeit hypersweet and heavy) Citrus Gourmand is an Italian brand called Arrogance Mix Lime Zucchero (Lime Sugar)...In Lime Sugar, I find an olfactory journey spanning the Mediterranean and the Silk Road region with notes of lime, star anise, rose, hazelnut, sugar and musk. As far as being a Sparkling Cocktail goes, Lime Sugar seems to resemble a Caipirinha, the Brazilian national cocktail, except it isn't sour and has lots more zucchero where that sugar came from. Surprisingly, the dry down is an animalic (like civet), dirty musk as you might find in "L", Tendre Madeleine, Le Labo Labdanum, Jasmin 17 and Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur...

Please visit today's Examiner article: Featured Review: Arrogance Mix Sparkling Scent Cocktail Lime Zucchero (Lime Sugar)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pink Manhattan in the Top 100 Beauty Blogs

According to Top 100 Beauty Blogs
by team
posted on November 07, 2009:

"Pink Manhattan: Sali Oguri is a singer and songwriter. With her blog, you get a "sensorium of song and scent," as she puts it. Well-versed in perfume knowledge, she's able to draw comparisons between a handful of fragrances to give you a taste of what a particular fragrance evokes."

Thank you for the honor, Skincare News!

Check the Top 100 for all of the winners under Fragrance and other categories.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin

As foliage slowly sweeps our city with shades of sienna and gold, I long to hold onto the last vestige of warmer days by immersing myself in green. My note of choice this season is the zesty lime...

Please visit The Examiner for the latest review: Featured Review: Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

La Prairie Life Threads: Platinum, Gold and Silver

Swiss skin care line La Prairie has launched a new trio of fragrances called La Prairie Life Threads: Platinum, Gold and Silver (2009). Earlier launches by the line had proven to be pleasant but thoroughly mainstream offerings - Silver Rain, a spicy white floral blend, and Midnight Rain, a patchouli-based gourmand vanillic woody Oriental (in my mind similar to Estée Lauder Pleasures Delight or Britney Spears Fantasy). These new scents seem to have taken more risks, proving to be an exciting new direction for the mainstream / department store market, one that comes across as being more niche in aesthetic. I can't comment on the bottle since I haven't seen it in person, but I have a very nice copy of the bonus CD, a song also called "Life Threads" by New York based folk musician Lucy Kaplansky ( Here, I must tangent off a little...Dear La Prairie, how about a musical collaboration of Ms. Kaplansky with New York based singer Sali Oguri one day? Folk blended with my junk: Alternative-Electro-Rock-Pop whatever...why not? Please check out Pink Manhattan CD and Perfume dual launch called Pink Manhattan Song and Scent Sensorium (2005) at We New Yorkers gotta stick together! Now, I will briefly summarize each La Prairie Life Threads scent, saving the best (my favorite) for last.

Please see my reviews of Platinum, Gold and Silver at today's Examiner article: New Launch and Review: La Prairie Life Threads: Platinum, Gold and Silver (2009)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Burberry Brit

I love the crispness of Brit when it's cool out - it feels energizing...this kind of bold, bracing sharpness is perfect for New York City during this time of year (or so I feel this year...each year is different).

Please follow the link to today's featured review: Burberry Brit: modern English lime for cool weather

(Image above: from Burberry website. Below: Bloomingdale's ad (I'd like to try the men's Brit one day, too.))

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Love is a Joke on Us

So, I think I've finally figured it out. The Muse where passion resides is the same part of our brain Jung calls the anima (animus), the perfected image of the opposite sex, with the opposite personality to ours. The Muse, our dark side, is Mary Magdalene to Jesus, the passion of Christ. The anima / animus conflicting relationship (MBTI and Personality theories) is the most attractive to us physically ("chemistry" is the modern day terminology for this phenomenon) but the conflicting personality type is also the least compatible with us (for example: INFJ - ESTP). They say God has a sense of humor, and that's why opposites attract!

The Syzygy (the divine couple)
In combination, the anima and animus are known as syzygy (a word also used to denote alignment of planets), representing wholeness and completion.

(Image: Anima - Animus -

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Tool - Stinkfist

Epic recording by Tool.

Todd Rundgren - Hideaway

This is classic great songwriting, one of my fave songs with twists in Lydian mode, and still a great recording.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Anna Sui Rock Me!

Please visit today's featured review: Anna Sui Rock Me! (2009): New Launch and Fragrance Review

The modern interpretation of the ambience, if not the spirit, of Woodstock and the golden age of rock 'n' roll, can be felt in Anna Sui Rock Me! (2009), a new Fruity Floral housed in a bottle shaped as a guitar in brightly colored shades, bringing a "Carlos Santana" mystical vibe to the nostalgic presentation. But you won't smell any meditational, Eastern - New Age - headshop patchouli or sandalwood - smoky, resinous, mystical incense - here. Anna Sui Rock Me!, like many newer brands of rock, is clean, polished and produced to perfection. The scent, although mainstream, appeals to me, and I'm convinced lovers of Prescriptives Calyx (1986) would find something familiar in Rock Me!, a crisp scent with a Green bend that's equal parts fruity and floral. The fruitiness isn't what I imagine to be the strawberry incense-filled air of the legendary Haight-Ashbury scene, but a sharp, fresh citric scent, with what smells to me like a touch of apple. Energized as an electric guitar and fuzz box, the zingy, juicy peach-berry-citric floral is also reminiscent of many favorites of mine over the years: Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue (2001), Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto Charms, Creed Spring Flower (1996) and Jean Patou Un Amour de Patou (1998), my go-to scent for almost every occasion back in the early 2000s or so. It's actually a rather dainty and elegant Fruity Floral, a bit on the sweet side but for me, not overwhelmingly so. It's much less sweet compared to Anna Sui's first fragrance. Perfect for daytime, this high-pitched composition has a hint of something aqueous making it smell modern and just a bit sporty.

I detect spice in here as well, something low-pitched and intense, perhaps a Marachino cherry note somewhere. It makes a good and logical follow-up to previous Anna Sui fragrances, particularly Dolly Girl on the Beach (2006) which to me smells almost identical to Light Blue, one of the world's leading bestsellers which, when it was launched, I swore smelled like a muskier (more baby powdery) version of my favorite Creed in the hot pink bottle. Anna Sui Rock Me! comes closer to the Spring Flower scent than even Versace Bright Crystal (2006), but there's kinship between those two newer fragrances as well. I'm not sure I'd buy this for myself, simply because it reminds me of so many I've worn, many which have inspired my own perfume creation called Pink Manhattan, a zingy-juicy peach white floral on a soft French Vanilla-skin musk base, but if I could dress up a Christmas tree or Chanukah bush with perfume, I'd turn it into a funky Anna Sui psychedelic guitar flacon shrine - tattoo art butterflies, peace signs and all.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Introverted Intuition and Music

"...Music would thus be the ultimate Ni playground: a medium in which one refers only to ways of seeing, completely on their own, massively incommensurable terms, and avoids all matters of external, real-world content.

"It's no big deal for anyone of any Lenore-type to attend to something in an Ni manner, focusing on the way of seeing rather than the content. The hypothesis of this page is that when you "get" a piece of music, you are indeed consciously attending to a way of seeing; and of course non-INJs are perfectly capable of understanding music..."

Read on at this link: Introverted Intuition and the Meaning of Music - The Lenore Thomson Exegesis Wiki

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tom Ford Private Blend Moss Breches

It's been rumored Tom Ford Private Blend Moss Breches (2007) is being discontinued, a terrible shame if it's true considering Moss Breches, along with Tobacco Vanille, is among my very favorites in the designer's ultraniche line. Among these, Moss Breches is far, far away from the mainstream scents of today. It takes perfuminess to its highest level, played up by both Chypre and Oriental notes in a single composition, decadently retro in richly subdued earth tones. It's not a fragrance I immediately liked, but it's grown on me in the same way Penhaligon's Bluebell has. Both are what I'd refer to as "animalic", with the musky notes of labdanum and oakmoss being fairly pronounced in this dark, green Chypre blend, making it challenging to wear. However, it also has a warm and sweet, spicy gourmand charm to it. Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental comes to mind, except Moss Breches is a Chypre, along the lines of Sisley Eau du Soir and Paloma Picasso, just greener, with more damp earth-and-wet leaves - the deep foresty scent attributed to oakmoss. Shiseido Koto (1985), for those of you familiar with this hard-to-find fragrance, is probably closest to it in overall scent. Another comparison might be the discontinued Deneuve (1986), with Moss Breches being drier, dirtier, heavier and sharper. This is a strange, complex scent for those unfamiliar with the scent of Chypre, a classical perfume accord brimming with tradition and an antiquated past.

Moss Breches, of course, would not be without mossiness. Oakmoss and tree moss are controlled ingredients in the perfume industry since it was declared by IFRA that these age-old ingredients turn into formaldehyde upon skin contact. Today, most of what we call moss is synthesized, but many vintage perfumes and even certain upscale perfumes do in fact contain moss. The scent, to my nose, is like that of damp autumn leaves, a bit dirty in an outdoorsy way. Many perfumes from the 1960s and '1970s featured oakmoss, such as Chanel N°19, Estée Lauder Aliage and Ô de Lancome. Actually, the use of oakmoss has been around since the birth of the Chypre fragrance family, long before the legendary Coty Chypre and Guerlain Mitsouko were born Chypre is named as such because the accord was born in Cyprus during Greco-Roman rule (Read more about Cyprus here: Cyprus the Divided Country).

Another featured note in Moss Breches is labdanum. Labdanum is a resin traditionally used in Chypre compositions. It's a black resin taken from goat hair after the goats had grazed on the rock rose shrub and resins collected on their fleece. Although I'm skeptical that most Chypre fragrances today contain real labdanum taken from goat hair, the scent has remained a staple in perfumery. It has a heavy, resinous and almost woody, as well as animalic, scent, and acts as a fixative for perfume compositions (base note), making perfumes last longer.

Although Moss Breches smells like a traditional Chypre, I'm guessing the reason I like it so much is because it has a soft, almost vanillic aspect to it as well. The sillage is absolutely gorgeous, a dazzling mossy green. When I wear Moss Breches, I'm reminded of Japanese tea ceremony and its dark, refined green tea (which is a bitter taste/scent (and yet I love it)). According to Chypre Perfumes blog: "The Japanese use labdanum in their Neriko mixtures, which are used during tea ceremony". I guess I'm not far off at all in my perception of the scent! On the same blog, the author writes that "Egyptians used it in their Kyphi mixtures and the Hebrews burned it in their temples". Perhaps Moss Breches is the kind of scent that can bring all kinds of deeply spiritual associations to people the world over.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Ego Facto Poopoo Pidoo

Image: Art film icon, actress Catherine Deneuve, with a lovely flamingo striking a pose together

This is Ego Facto Poopoo Pidoo: metamorphosis into some fluffy yet graceful creature symbolic of all things "sugar and spice, everything nice" - sure, it's subjective, stereotypical girliness, but I like this very much. I find it beautiful but not haughty, rather bright, happy, graceful yet fun, sensible for daily wear but funky in a fresh and youthful way (and yes, a guy can wear it). Ego Facto Poopoo Pidoo (the French version of Betty Boop's famous "boop-boop-be-doop") was launched in 2009 and is one of the 4 feminine scents (3 are for men) in the niche line. I'm not sure how "niche" it smells since it resembles some good quality mainstream offerings out there, but it sure smells sensational. Poopoo Pidoo is a blend of orange blossom with sugary, hypersweet marshmallow-like notes of rice powder, amber, woods and musk. The composition is rounded out with additional citrus top notes to balance the whole and create a pleasant citric gourmand Floral. I also detect a touch of spice, like orange spice, but with these sugary base notes, it's far from bitter. The scent has the mellow, rich sweetness of fleur d'oranger candy. Packaged in a sleekly mod, hard-to-resist pale pink presentation, this is holiday wish list material.

To compare to other fragrances, I'd say it resembles the light, citric white floralcy of Le Labo Jasmin 17 or smellalike Love by Kilian, and the musky-powdery Kenzo L'Eau par Kenzo Eau Indigo although Poopoo Pidoo is much sweeter and comparatively more floral. Marc Jacobs Blush also comes to mind, minus honeysuckle and with additional sugary notes as found in Aquolina Pink Sugar or Arrogance Mix Lime Sugar, all without the interference of woody base notes so the overall stays light and airy. Nina Ricci Nina lovers might like this one as well.

Poopoo Pidoo was created by Dominique Ropion, master perfumer behind many well-known masterpieces such as Givenchy Amarige, Givenchy Very Irrésistible (with Sophie Labbe & Carlos Benaim), Giorgio Armani Armani Code, Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie and Carnal Flower, all of which I've loved at some point in my life. If you love sweet white florals as I do, you might find your perfect white floral within this perfumer's extensive repertoire.