Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Jazz New Year's Eve with Steele Hillier Quartet feat. Sali Oguri

beginning at 10PM
with Live Jazz & Vocalist,
a Midnight Champagne Toast,
a Cash Bar after Midnight,
and Dancing into the Early Morning Hours

Reserved Dinner Seating Only

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Light Horse Tavern

199 Washington Street • Jersey City, NJ 07302 • (201) 946-2028

Friday, December 31, 2010 10:00pm - January 1, 2011

Live Music: The Steele Hillier Quartet
Steele Hillier (b), Stefan Teti (p), Noel Sagerman (d), Sali Oguri (v)


Pink Manhattan Blog Top 100 Fragrances of the Decade 2001 - 2010


So, here we are, the moment of truth I hope you've been waiting for: I am unveiling my list of Top 100 perfumes of the DECADE. How quickly time has gone! My list is by no means complete, since I have yet to try many of the newer launches, but hopefully, my list can serve as a guideline to build your own favorites list or fragrance wardrobe. Your taste may be similar to mine or not, but we won't know till we've smelled and analyzed them all.

First up is my pick for the Fragrance of the Decade, for these reasons: 1. It was my holy grail for some time; I loved it so much and used it up quickly. 2. It was a trendsetter, one that spawned a great many smell-alikes such as Stella McCartney, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and Guerlain Idylle, just to touch the tip of the iceberg...and 3. I also think the sleek, beautiful bottle design, plus the tasteful shades of pink in combination with black, deserve an award for Packaging of the Decade. I appreciate the shape of the bottle and the fact that it is glass, not plastic (except the cap). The silver edition was also beautiful. We've seen lots of gold packaging on the market as of late; in 2011, shall we see more silvery platinum tones (and more glass, please)?

Pink Manhattan Blog Fragrance of the Decade: Narciso Rodriguez for Her (2003) (perfumers: Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian)

Undoubtedly, 2001-2010 was the decade of the return of Chypre; in particular, the patchouli-based kind, while traditional oakmoss seems to have bid farewell, save for a handful of obscure launches. The definitive nouveau Chypre, Narciso Rodriguez for Her, certainly shook up the mainstream fragrance world, but, perhaps Narciso came onto the scene with thanks to two other very popular Chypre perfumes, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Chance. I should probably mention Grès Cabaret, which had preceded Narciso by one year, and Agent Provocateur, the naughty and austere rose leather Chypre that set a certain kind of stage in 2000.

Patchouli was easily the star note of the decade; there hadn't been so much patch in the air since Halston of the '70s and Grès Cabochard of 1959. Patchouli was used with abandon in a majority of new launches, in the style of Thierry Mugler Angel (Woody Oriental), the (still reigning) star of last decade. We can't forget the immense influence of Thierry Mugler Angel in the millenium with superstars Aquolina Pink Sugar and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb carrying on the Fruity patchouli / Gourmand patchouli torch. While many patchouli fragrances stayed in the gourmand range, many others split off into the unsweet nouveau Chypre range. Some walked the line between two worlds as Chypre-Oriental, often with fruit notes weaving together the transition seamlessly. As patchouli has become a mainstay in Women's fragrances, we'll see more patchouli-based Chypre in 2011 with the much-anticipated launch of Rihanna Reb l'Fleur.

Since 2001, we stared seeing a neoconservative bend in the marketing of fragrances, with the Green trend (Chypre and Woods for women is part of that movement, I believe), and also the return of fragrances for Women with names like Miss Boucheron, Miss Dior Cherie, etc. At the same time, the pop music scene also turned retro in a 1950s - early 1960s way, with easy, nostalgic chords and beats.

Also, we saw the popularization of iris (root) and the explosion of Woody Floral / Woody Oriental scents for Women. There was plenty of gender bending going on, which is good, not that ladies couldn't simply pick up a Men's fragrance for themselves and vice versa. That's coming from someone who loves both the color pink and music that is performed by and marketed to the gender demographic across the aisle. We also saw lots more fragrances marketed under shared gender, a trend I hope to see more of in the coming decade.

In the latter part of the decade, there were new, lovely orange blossom / Citrus florals such as my current favorite, Jean Paul Gaultier Ma Dame. A white floral was never so assertive and energetic - light and airy, but demure no more. It's classified as a Floral but to me, it has shades of 4711, a classic citric Fougère. I would like to see more Fougère /Fougère-leaning types for Women (Fougère is currently dominated by Men's, as Floral dominates Women's). Ma Dame was composed by the same perfumer who co-composed Narciso Rodriguez for Her; with the launch of his own line, it seems to have been a fruitful decade for Francis Kurkdjian.

This list is not in any specific order of rank, but I will start with my most favorite launch of the decade. And now, without further ado...

Pink Manhattan Blog Top 100 Fragrances 2001 - 2010

1. Jean Paul Gaultier Ma Dame
2. Narciso Rodriguez for Her
3. Guerlain Les Secrets de Sophie
4. Chanel Chance
5. L'Artisan Parfumeur Ambre Extrême
6. Givenchy Very Irrésistible
7. L'Instant de Guerlain
8. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb
9. Vera Wang Princess
10. Frédéric Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
11. Parfums Delrae Amoureuse
12. Marc Jacobs Blush
13. Le Labo Jasmin 17
14. Chanel Les Exclusifs Eau de Cologne
15. Nina Ricci Nina
16. Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque
17. Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental
18. Hermès Un Jardin Après La Mousson
19. Marc Jacobs
20. Christian Dior Addict
21. Miller Harris Noix de Tuberéuse
22. Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 rue Cambon
23. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
24. Aquolina Pink Sugar
25. Donna Karan Be Delicious
26. Guerlain Homme
27. Ralph Lauren Blue
28. Monyette Paris
29. Kilian Straight to Heaven
30. Christian Dior Dior Homme
31. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
32. Guerlain Insolence
33. Guerlain Idylle
34. Cartier Eau de Cartier
35. Guerlain Cuir Beluga
36. Annick Goutal Songes
37. Cacharel Gloria
38. Burberry Brit Red
39. Vera Wang Rock Princess
40. Calvin Klein IN2U
41. Kilian Love
42. Penhaligon's Amaranthine
43. Stella McCartney Stella
44. Francis Kurkdjian APOM pour Femme
45. Tom Ford Moss Breches
46. Serge Lutens Gris Clair
47. Guerlain Shalimar Light
48. Penhaligon's Artemisia
49. Kenzo Amour
50. Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower
51. Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien
52. Benefit Maybe Baby
53. Annick Goutal Neroli
54. Fifi Chachnil
55. Bond 9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her
56. Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
57. Kate Spade Beauty
58. Dolce & Gabbana Sicily
59. Zirh IKON
60. Dolce & Gabbana The One
61. Délices de Cartier Eau Fruitée
62. Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Banane
63. Giorgio Armani Armani Code
64. Cacharel Amor Amor
65. Britney Spears Curious
66. Britney Spears Fantasy
67. Serge Lutens Daim Blond
68. Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cacao
69. Tom Ford Grey Vetiver
70. Loree Rodkin Gothic II
71. Lacoste Inspiration
72. Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto Charms
73. Pilar & Lucy To Twirl All Girly
74. Le Labo Fleur d'Oranger 27
75. Coquette Tropique
76. Grès Cabaret
77. Christian Dior Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau
78. Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe
79. Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle
80. Clarins Par Amour Toujours
81. Kilian Cruel Intentions
82. Burberry Brit
83. Agent Provocateur
84. Comptoir Sud Pacifique Caramel Sunset
85. Creed Himalaya
86. Chanel Les Exclusifs No.18
87. Valentino Rock 'n Rose
88. Lanvin Rumeur
89. Solange Azagury-Partridge Stoned
90. Christian Dior Miss Dior Chérie
91. La Prairie Life Threads Gold
92. Guerlain Samsara Shine
93. Guerlain Iris Ganache
95. Kenzo KenzoAmour Florale
96. Gabriel Strehle Strenesse
97. Floris White Rose
98. Creed Virgin Island Water
100. Heeley Iris de Nuit

(Edited on 1/17/11 - Burberry Brit Red was listed twice. I meant to list Burberry Brit and Brit Red.)

Most interesting launches: Chanel Les Exclusifs, Hot Topic Twilight, Les Nez L'Antimatiere, Solange Azagury-Partridge Stoned (Lyn Harris), Le Labo, Rich Hippie (organic), cult oil perfumes: Monyette, Coquette Tropique, Child and the rest of the niche set that defined an era.

Special mentions: Where to start? Lancome Magnifique, MJ Daisy (if you like EA Sunflowers...) & Splash Grass, the return of GAP Grass and Francis Kurkdjian's grass-scented bubbles, plus many more that aren't prestige fragrances but are delightful, memorable creations.

A very special thanks to Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times Magazine for mentioning my blog in her wonderful piece, "The Medium: Good Vibrations". Thank you, authors Jan Moran, Michael Edwards, John Oakes, countless website owners, bloggers and my friend Marian Bendeth of Sixth Scents for their exhaustive work in the field, without which I could not fuel this passion for perfume.

Finally, I apologize for my grandiosity, but this was an amazing decade for me, having pursued one of my little dreams, of launching my own fragrance creation alongside my original music CD. I'd like to say THANK YOU to all of my Pink Manhattan Purrfume and Persephone New York (Unreleased Mix) customers over the years - I hope I'll have a chance to present something new and exciting in the near future. Until then, please stay tuned to my blog for updates. And thank you, dear readers, for your on-going friendship in cyberspace. Best Wishes in 2011!

Now, onto my personal current Top 10...

Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie, my most beloved perfume of the year. Dear House of Creed: Would you please bring back these older style bottles for Women, in the same style as the Men's? I'm not as fond of the "feminine" style of the new look (the slimmed down, curvier one), although I'm sure it has its fans. However...

I am smitten with your gorgeous Italian leather atomizers, shown here in white. True, I'm a platinum Girl, but gold with gold trim seems appropriate for Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie (Available at

I love Creed for their products as well as superior customer service, for which I vote for Creed as the best fragrance shop of the decade.

My Top 10 of December 2010

1. Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie
2. Caron Narcisse Noir
3. Jean Paul Gaultier Ma Dame
4. Vera Wang Princess
5. Creed Spring Flower
6. L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons
7. Jil Sander No.4
8. Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
9. Creed Fleurissimo
10. Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse

Hall of Fame
Christian Dior Poison (1985)

I generally don't care for celeb scents, but one I'd like to see because she's immensely talented and cute: Demi Lovato ---- I'm also looking forward to Rihanna's perfume, a Barbados-inspired tropical Chypre (will it remind us of pineapple-y Jean Patou Colony or the gardenia-laden Carven Ma Griffe?).

"It's better to dance than to march through life." --Yoko Ono

Don't Stop the Music
- Writers: Michael Jackson, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Tawanna Dabney, Produced by Stargate, Performed by Rihanna

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nina Simone - Love Me or Leave Me

"To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that's not what I play. I play black classical music."

"Once I understood Bach's music, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Bach made me dedicate my life to music, and it was that teacher who introduced me to his world." Read more quotes by Nina Simone @

Wikipedia: "Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), also know by her stage name Nina Simone (/ˈniːnə sɨˈmoʊn/), was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Despite having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder,[1] multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia,[2] Simone recorded over 40 albums, mostly between 1958 — when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue — and 1974. Read more about Nina Simone.

Happy Kwanzaa! December 26, 2010 - January 1, 2011

Image: Kwaanza Photo By Nelo Esteves ~ As Seen Through Hazel Eyes

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ella Fitzgerald - Let It Snow

Merry Christmas!

Metallica-Enter Sandman (Smooth Jazz Version)

All instruments played and recorded by AndyRehfeldt, uploaded to You Tube on February 10, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peace on Earth and goodwill to all

"Fair Weather" (Kenny Dorham) from the 'Round Midnight soundtrack

Chet Baker: vocal & trumpet
Herbie Hancock: piano
Pierre Michelot: bass
Billy Higgins: drums

Season's Greetings from Pink Manhattan!

R.C.A. Building, Rockefeller Center at Night poster, image source:

Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, *~HAPPY HOLIDAYS~* ! I have a one track mind lately, and by that, I mean gorging myself on French vanilla macarons...that, and a fragrant delight worthy of spiritual offering: Sandalwood, sandalwood, sandalwood - preferably natural, and Indian! Now that winter is officially here, with temperatures in New York City dipping into the low 20s F, I'm out of my predominantly fruity phase and onto Floral Woody (Floral Oriental) fragrances, preferably with true, rich sandalwood in the base, and a luxurious, sophisticated heart of jasmine and/or other white florals classically married to rose. Of course I'm describing Creed Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie, my absolute favorite at the moment, possibly of all time. I just might turn into a signature scentist after all. The Queen of classic white florals, Caron Narcisse Noir parfum, is currently the only close second (and occasionally number one - I don't think Empress JIE minds, for the two 'friendly rival Woody White Florals' share warm and enveloping sandalwood base notes with exquisitely full hearts of pure olfactive liquid gold).

I don't know if you were with me during the Creed fragrance layering trend of this decade, but Creed was one of the forerunners of this trend. I had written a post about their "Spring Fling" which I learned at the Creed boutique was a blend of Spring Flower with Fleurissimo. Another blend that was recommended to me was Spring Flower with Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie, although I did not catch its name. Although I enjoy Creed fragrances on their own, it's great to have these fragrances on hand, so I could have fun experimenting with the blends that work best for me on any given day. If full size bottles are out of your current budget, generously sized samples are available for purchase at the online Creed boutique as well as through various other sources the heavyweight perfumistas already know about.

I come to this post bearing a gift - I am about to share with you something wonderful that was brought to me about 3 years ago via an anonymous Pink Manhattan blog reader whom I refer to as "my Creed angel". If you're as much a Creed fan as I am, I think you'll flip over this list of Olivier Creed's fragrance layering blends. It's more fun to share, so, once again, Happy Holidays with Love from Pink Manhattan. See you soon, when I finally unveil the 2010 Countdown of my December Top 10 plus Top Favorite Perfumes of the Decade.

Anonymous: "These blends come from Oliver himself and were decanted at the Creed store in Paris. Enjoy."

Royal Blend = RW+MI (or SMW)
Enigmatic Blend = New Tab+MI (or RW)
The Smart Blend = Fluerissimo+GIT
Crystal Blend = RW+ Bois de Cedrat (or MI)
Oceanic Breeze = Erolfa + Neroli Sauvage
Elixer of Youth = Orange Spice+RW+MI
Sensual Water = Chevrefeuille+MI
Blend of Seduction = Acier Aluminum+Neroli Sauvage+ZMP
Majestical Water = MI+BdP
Sunshine Blend = Spring Flower + SMW
Divine Blend= Fantasia de Fleurs + Fleurissimo
Blend of Love = SF +MI
Innocent Blend= SF+MI+SMW
Noble Blend = Vintage Tab + Citrus Bigarade
Scent of Style = RW+SF (or MI)
Magical Scent = GIT+SMW+ZMP
Cocktail of Passion = Erolfa+BdP
Capture by Desire = New Tab+MI+Green Valley
The Love Affair Blend =FdF+Tuberose Indiana+MI
Secret of Immortality = BdP+Selection Verte
The Blend of Success = GV+GIT+Vintage Tab
Blend of Magnetic Forces = ZMP+NS+RW
The Royal Iberian = BdP+REL+GIT
and an unnamed blend that is just amazingly deep and rich = Fleur de the Rose Bulgarie +Vintage Tabarome.

(Image: Rockefeller Center Angel,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paramore - Playing God

Official video uploaded by Fueledbyramen on You Tube

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fragrance of the Moment

Well, this is an interesting scent, unique and hard to describe; at first sniff, Tom Ford Grey Vetiver reminded me of Creed Love in White, because of the combination of a cool, milky consistency with a glue-like modern synthetic aroma (this is not a sweet fragrance, in case you were worried). It is a soft fragrance (that doesn't mean you need to spritz this on 5 times before you walk out of a Sephora, gentlemen - once will do), definitely not one of those Men's fragrances that flex its muscles in the mirror and scream manly Fougère (the other Tom Ford for Men is a stronger fragrance, closer to that classic "Polo" smell - although it, too, is a well-composed fragrance). Well-mannered and tailored to luxurious senses, vetiver has never smelled so soft-spoken and genteel. I'd wear this one, and plan to test it again soon.

John Coltrane Quartet - Greensleeves (1961)

Greensleeves Africa/Brass The John Coltrane Quartet
analogueLP 30cm33rpm IMPULSE May 23,1961

Uploaded by efacsen81 on You Tube

Related link: Greensleeves - Wikipedia

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pantone 2011 Color of the Year

Image: Momotaro (peach boy) and Daruma, Naito Museum of Pharmaceutical Science and History

Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. See the color swatch here: Pantone 2011 Color of the Year -

I know many people have an aversion to the color pink for girls, which is understandable because of our Barbie culture, but if we're to combat gender codification in society, how about we also address gendered languages such as Latin languages which anthropomorphize objects, and even Japanese for that matter, a language which separates genders in hierarchical form? Would we be better off returning to a time (1940s) when the more "delicate" blue was the designated feminine color (and pink, a gentler shade of red, was for boys)? It's something to ponder as we ring in the new year. I sincerely hope this vibrant shade of pink will be incorporated into men's fashion more.

I happen to love the color pink, although I have my personal favorite hues, and tend to be picky about it. Come 2011, I may add a little more pink to my wardrobe which currently consists of black, white, brown and grey. I'm looking forward to a Pink Manhattan kind of year!

Related link:

Top 10 PANTONE Colors for women’s fashion chosen by New York designers for spring 2011

"The tones of gray, pale turquoise and pink will prevail."
- Christian Dior

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Coulda Sworn...

When I saw this new Gwen Stefani Harajuku Lovers Wicked Style set at Sephora, I swore the fragrances smelled different from what I'd smelled before; it turns out these are in fact reformulated (or newly composed) scents, a complete flanker set, if you will. I can't remember off the cuff which one I smelled, but I liked it. It reminded me of the Guess? fragrance from 2005. I think the fragrances in this new set are of better quality than the first, but YMMV. Pictured here is Wicked Style Music, which I believe is an apple-based Woody Floral. I'd like to resniff this one and Love, an orange flower-woody Floral according to the website. I might buy these for someone I love, but I haven't gotten a patchouli-based scent for myself since Vera Wang Rock Princess, and I'm in no hurry for yet another woody fruitchouli.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Galaxy Express 999

Watch the original TV series with English subtitles from the first episode: King of Mobius - MammothMogul's Channel

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Fred Kimmel ROCK BAND 101 @ Starving Artist Cafe & Gallery, Thu Dec. 2, 2010

No cover, all ages show featuring Fred Kimmel and his ROCK BAND 101 entourage (special guest: Fabio Recine on drums):

The Starving Artist Cafe and Gallery
249 City Island Ave
City Island, Bronx, NY 10464
8:30 PM
For more info:

Related link: Fred Kimmel "Spiral" No.1 on Broadjam's Indie Progressive Rock Chart

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

(Modern Bauhaus Menorah,

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, began tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010 at sundown. We wish you and yours peace and joy this holiday season!

Top 10 Fragrances of the Moment

Let me present to you my current Top 10 list, kicking it off with a most unsalubrious mankill potion, Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison (1998) which made a decisive comeback onto mainstream perfume shelves in the recent past. (Image: Dior Hypnotic Poison ad, 2009) Like Panthère de Cartier with which it shares a luxurious, ambery warmth, Hypnotic Poison is tough on the outside (caraway seed) and soft on the inside (frangipani (plumeria), vanilla).

I'm still on a Dior Poison roll, happy to have discovered I won't need the EDT after all. The Esprit de Parfum is a bonafide parfum fourrure chockful of honey, labdanum and indoles, keeping my nose well-entertained. Intoxicating for the mind, the innocent sugar plum notes will contradict and disturb.

1. Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison
2. Jean Paul Gaultier Ma Dame
3. Creed Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie
4. Creed Spring Flower
5. Christian Dior Poison Esprit de Parfum
6. DR Harris Arlington
7. Vera Wang Princess
8. Frédéric Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
9. Comptoir Sud Pacifique Tiare
10. Caitlin O'Heaney Caitlin

What's on your wish list this year?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pink Manhattan Perfume Review by Beauty and the Breakdown

Read the review here: Sali Oguri's PINK MANHATTAN Perfume Posted By Josi ~ Feb 3, 2009 Beauty and the Breakdown

I really try to keep on top of fellow bloggers who are kind and generous enough to spend time reviewing my creations, but this is one spectacular review that got away...until now. Thank you, Josi, and Happy Holidays to you in advance! ♥

(Josi's right that my very first perfume, Pink Manhattan Purrfume (2005), can be worn by a guy or girl, as peachy vanilla gardenia goodness has no gender - you're open to perceive it in any way you prefer. ;-))

Saturday, November 27, 2010


This is timeless rock 'n' roll - a great band with great tunes, production, and a sense of good ol' lighthearted '80s humor. Enjoy :-)

"Round and Round" from Out of the Cellar, 1984.

"Lay It Down" from Invasion of Your Privacy, 1985.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fragrance of the Moment

L'impératrice Eugénie à la Marie-Antoinette, 1854, Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Wikimedia Commons

"It's too heavy", a sales guy at a downtown (not Creed) boutique had said, when I asked about this perfume, but when he continued on to say it had been sold out at the shop due to its popularity in the neighborhood, my curiosity was ever more piqued. Years later, this warm and musky, luxurious woody-ambery (vanillic) jasmine-rose blend is among my favorite Creed fragrances, and perfumes of all time. Creed Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie is not a delicate scent at all, being rather pungently smoky, sweet, rich and heavy as they say; it smells as old-fashioned as a perfume commissioned by the Empress Eugenie in 1870 (relaunched in 1989) could smell. Yet, I find such comfort in this scent, and wish to replace my now-dwindling 2.5 oz. bottle. Jasmine is more apparent in the early stage of its development on skin; as it dries down, the most noticeable note is sandalwood. The rich sandalwood note is beautifully married to vanilla, its true soul mate, and reminds me of a temple with burning incense, or a fireplace, deep earthy brown and autumnal hues all aglow.

Although it is classified as either a Floral Oriental or Floral Woody, I would recommend it to lovers of Aldehydic Florals (since I tend to love those, and also love this). It has been compared to Chanel Bois des Iles, but to me, the Creed creation is sweeter, more floral, languid and sumptuous in effect, while the Chanel has a sharper wood note in its smokiness (similar to Cuir de Russie which is also similar to No.5).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from Pink Manhattan!

Image source: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade | A Photo Archive November 26, 2009 by JP - Black Watch

PINK MANHATTAN blog (in association with WUJ Productions) extends our deepest gratitude to all of our regular subscribers and visitors from around the world. A warm and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

MUSIC fans: Please check back for the details of Fred Kimmel's ROCK BAND 101 gig, coming up on Thursday, December 2, to be posted soon. We look forward to seeing you there, and for you to hear all of the brilliant young hopefuls who will be performing at the hippest venue in NYC! In case you missed it, Fred Kimmel "Spiral" is No.1 on Broadjam's Indie Progressive Rock Chart tonight. Fred will perform "Spiral", an awesome, heavy-groovy-odd metered track off of his Space album at the next show.

Also, we apologize that my CD, Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan (EP) has been sold out at CDBaby! I'll post again when it's back in stock ASAP. Thank you for your inquiries and for your patience. In the meantime, please note that Mp3s are available for purchase at Broadjam, home of independent music.

Fragrance lovers: Check back soon for my current Top 10 list, and be sure to catch Pink Manhattan blog in December for my year end list of Top Perfumes of the Decade! Have some fun on your holiday and take an online perfume quiz (don't worry that it's listed as a quiz for "Moms" - I think anyone can take this quiz, including those of us who had to look up Patty Griffin - she's pretty good, right there with Norah Jones and Etta James): Quiz: What Is Your Perfume Personality? -

My Result: Sophisticated Sweetie
You enjoy the sweeter things in life and are truly a romantic at heart. Sweet, mild, and seductive scents make you swoon and you tend to favor perfumes with notes of floral bouquets and single flowers. You should try Romance by Ralph Lauren, Chanel No. 5, or Vera Wang Princess.

Fred Kimmel "Spiral" No.1 on Broadjam's Indie Progressive Rock Chart

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Rock Electronica & Soundtrack Producer-Artist Fred Kimmel "Spiral" is currently No.1 on Broadjam's Progressive Rock Chart and No.2 on the New York Regional Chart. Check out the current standings (rank changes in real time) and listen to "Spiral", a guitar-heavy downtown rock piece with an odd metered math-rock feel.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Click on the banner to check the current standings in Progressive Rock.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Click on the banner to check the current standings in New York.

Come down to the Starving Artist Cafe & Gallery in City Island, NY to hear Fred Kimmel perform "Spiral" live with Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 8:30 PM! Visit and

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wynton Marsalis - The Truth Is Spoken Here

Music by Wynton Marsalis. Written by Marcus Roberts. From the album, Uptown Ruler - Soul Gestures in Southern Blue Vol. 2.

Wynton Marsalis Trumpet
Marcus Roberts Piano
Todd Williams Saxophone
Reginald Veal Bass
Herlin Riley Drums

Uploaded by timmer9 on You Tube

Jazz and Jasmine: The Scent of a Brothel vs the High Class Rose

Gibson girl, 1910 (

This article is an addendum to Chanel N°5 Revisited: Russian Leather Connection? Part II, Pink Manhattan blog, November 20, 2010. According to a new book by Tilar J. Mazzeo called The Secret of Chanel No.5 which is being promoted by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, rose is a "high" perfume for respectable women, while jasmine is a "low" one suitable for a "showgirl". Never before had I come across any perfume history of soliflore perfumes telling of one's character or social standing, in such a way to include the smell of a "showgirl", clearly a pejorative. I became curious as to how this prejudice came about, and landed on the etymology of the word, Jazz. As a jazz music lover, I have mixed feelings about my research: one, I was delighted to learn about the etymology of jazz, something I guess I should have already known, but I was also surprised and disheartened to find that the demonization and delegitimization of jazz (by the classical world) didn't stop at the music itself, but that it had crossed over into the realm of feminine beauty as well.

According to Wikipedia and other sources, the most widely accepted origin of the word Jazz has sexual connotation, having come from "jism" or slang for semen. However, there are a number of sources that validated the word "jazz" and "jasmine" being historically intertwined. One is Storyville: The District, New Orleans "Myth has it that jazz was born in the brothels of New Orleans' famous Red Light District, Storyville. In fact, much of the music in 'the District's' high class bordellos sounded more like parlor music than jazz. On the streets, in dance halls and in Storyville cabarets like The Big 25's and Pete Lala's, Freddy Keppard and King Oliver experimented with music so new, it didn't even have a name. (...) The new music was called 'jass', reportedly from the perfumes worn by prostitutes, and was shortly thereafter corrupted to its present form of jazz."

Another is the website for Gwynedd-Mercy College, The Institute for New Orleans History and Culture: "Storyville is often given credit with giving the name to jazz. It seems the women of the brothels, in an effort to counter the smells of the swampy city, would wear Jasmine perfume. When one left the company of the lady smelling of jasmine, one was said to be “jassed.” When musicians at the brothels would make their music sexy to inspire customers, they were said to have “jassed,” or sexed, up the music. Brothel owners would advertise their musicians with signs that would announce “Live Jass.” When mischievous children would come along and wipe off the “j,” owners decided to change the “s”’s to “z”’s in an effort not to offend people.

Cotton Club showgirl(

Here is another reference cited at a Catholic College (Assumption College): Twentieth Century U.S., 1914-present Spring 2009 Prof. McClymer: "Some theorize that it comes from "Jasmine," an inexpensive perfume supposedly favored by whores in New Orleans' famed red-light district Storyville." So, perhaps that's what Tilar J. Matteo was referring to when she wrote about "low" jasmine vs. "high" rose. I still don't understand how jasmine = "prostitute" became jasmine = "showgirl". Is a showgirl a prostitute? It seems Jasmine was the name of a particular "cheap perfume" worn in the District; if this Jasmine was en vogue at the time in New Orleans, prostitutes could have worn it just as well as anyone else. Jazz musicians couldn't play other more respectable venues in those times than the District, but that doesn't make jazz a lesser form of music, neither jasmine a lesser flower than rose just because hookers didn't have access to high end jasmine perfumes (PS: According to Perfume Intelligence, there was a Chanel Jasmin perfume (1920) born just one year before the birth of No.5. There also existed a Jasmine perfume (1920) by Bourbon French Parfums).

It should be noted that there are sources that speak for the high standing of jasmine, not at all associated with prostitutes but with priests: "Romans first used perfumes in religious ceremonies. Although they were known for their extraordinary gardens, a common man started using perfumes in the time of Alexander the Great. Massaging their bodies with fragrant oils & lotions was a part of the famous Roman bath. Frankincense, myrrh and jasmine were initially used very sparingly by the priests only." History of Perfumes by Justin DiMateo In many cultures the world over, jasmine is symbolic of beauty, elegance and grace, even of the Virgin Mary, contrapuntal to how jasmine is being portrayed by this perfume author. One could argue that rose being associated with upper class European women of the 15th century trumps priestly jasmine, but such value judgments are subjective at best.

Aside from entertainment value, perpetuating the "cheap" image of jasmine alienates those who like white floral scents, and it makes it more difficult to market and sell these types of perfumes for an indie perfumer like myself. Knowing what I know now, if I were to launch a jasmine perfume today, I wonder if I should feel embarrassed for doing so. No doubt as a consumer, I'd wonder if I should buy and wear jasmine perfumes at all. It's funny to even be speaking in such classist terms in the United States, but our culture has been swaying towards a more hierarchical system for some time now, at least as long as I've been involved in the online fragrance community since 2001. The more women's magazines boast material value and social status, the less originality we see. Our culture seems increasingly collectivist, pressuring women to play by archaic rules - so much for individual taste. How does it help the economy to make people second guess their desire to buy what they love?

Ziegfeld Follies (

On the contrary, I don't know if consistently positioning jasmine as a low class scent helps the sale of rose perfumes. Consumers today don't care for floral scents in general, opting for modern gourmands and synthetic musks, so pitting rose against jasmine doesn't seem to serve any purpose except as some subversive jab of political nature. "Choose to smell like royalty or a hooker" may be just a way for conservatives in the industry to speak against modernity as a cultural norm, seeing jasmine perfume as symbolic of feminism, as much a threat to their belief system as jazz music itself.

If you are someone who loves jasmine perfume, you should be aware your taste is being scrutinized. Try posting on a public fragrance board proclaiming your love for this type of scent, and you'll find yourself being chastized and corrected by strangers. The same goes for Chypre perfumes which are touted as finer than Oriental style perfume, and Floral being above the lowly Floral Oriental. It isn't any more fair than perfumers of certain origins gaining notoriety for gauche taste, no matter what types of perfumes they create. I've written here before, that classism and racism are very much a part of the fragrance world, no big secret to anyone who's been around it long enough.

Beauty marketing is so often a war of perception. I wonder when these types of sexism and racism will be addressed at the core level of human psychology, marketing and semiotics of scent advertising.


Related link: "Modernity, as we will discover over the course of the semester, is a collective noun that refers to a wide variety of changes in the economy, in politics, in religion, in lifestyles, and in expectations. In seeking to make sense of "modern America" we will emphasize cultural changes ranging from the sexual "revolutions" of the 1920s and 1960s and the opposition each engendered to the rise of a consumer ethos and its corrosive impact upon traditional American (and Judeo-Christian) values." Twentieth Century U.S., 1914-present Assumption College

Sunday, November 21, 2010

t.A.T.u. - 30 Minutes

Coty L'Origan

I first became interested in smelling Coty L'Origan (1905) when someone online suggested its similarity to Chanel pour Monsieur, and again when someone else mentioned L'Origan was the precursor to Guerlain L'Heure Bleue (1912), a favorite of mine for many years. I was lucky enough to have been given a generous vintage sample by a lovely online perfumista friend, so here are my impressions of this famous historical creation by the legendary House of Coty.

There's no mistaking L'Origan is a vintage perfume. It smells to me like perfume from a time when fragrance families overlapped within very rich, complex compositions - a perfume like L'Origan to me smells at once like Fougère and Chypre - mossy, mildly leathery - but with Oriental (spicy and sweet, ambery, woody) elements playing a strong role. There is more floralcy in L'Origan than I find in Guerlain Mitsouko (1919) which it mostly reminds me of (I find both of these are a bit "nutty"), but it's not as floral as L'Heure Bleue, save for the spicy carnation note - nevertheless, I can easily smell the similarity between all three creations. Left solely up to first whiff, I would call L'Origan a Chypre like Mitsouko and call it a day. Then again, Oriental Fougère fits nicely.

L'Origan is a very early modern Floral Oriental, a type of scent categorically known for predominantly having both floral and sweet, ambery notes. L'Origan is to me quite spicy, reminiscent of Chanel pour Monsieur, but the intricate accord between mossiness and sweet amberiness, all delivered with lots of soft powderiness, gives L'Origan a traditionally feminine characteristic. However, it could easily be described as an androgynous type of scent, in a mossy, dark green gourmand sort of way - somewhere between L'Heure Bleue, Mitsouko and Chanel pour Monsieur. The violet aspect of it reminds me of Balenciaga Le Dix, and now and then, I'm also reminded of Chanel No.5 and Givenchy L'Interdit, Aldehydic Florals with woody-mossy elements, respectively.

Although L'Origan isn't the kind of scent I prefer to wear, I'm always delighted to learn what fragrances were like a century ago, and to see how the most beautiful or influential ones have survived the years so we may learn about them today.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chanel N°5 Revisited: Russian Leather Connection? Part II

It appears what I had written in Pink Manhattan blog about Chanel No.5 smelling like Russian leather had the right idea. According to The Secret of Chanel No. 5 by Tilar J. Mazzeo, a book featured in The Wall Street Journal (Sweet Smell of Success by Pia Catton, November 20, 2010 WSJ), Chanel N°5 was indeed based on a Russian formula created in honor of the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov.

An excerpt from the book according to the article says: "The perfume's formula (...) was based on a fragrance made in 1914 to honor Russian royalty. More surprising is the fact that, for part of World War II, this paragon of French fragrance was produced in Hoboken, N.J."

Hoboken - wow. Home of Frank Sinatra. The perfume Chanel N°5 is based on Rallet No.1 (formerly known as Bouquet de Catherine) by Ernest Beaux. Beaux, the in-house Chanel perfumer who created No.5, came from a Russian perfume family. According to Wikipedia, "he celebrated his first commercial success with the Bouquet de Napoleon, a floral Eau de Cologne created to mark the centennial of the Battle of Borodino. A female pendant was to follow, the Bouquet de Catherine, an hommage to Catherine the Great marking the tercentenary of the House of Romanov. Since Catherine the Great was however of German descendent, the scent, which was inspired by Quelques Fleur (Houbigant, 1912) with a pronounced aldehydic top note, was renamed Rallet N°1 with the outbreak of Word War I in 1914."

The excerpt continues: "Most off-putting, though, is the news that the perfume's creator—who would see Chanel No. 5 turned into a cultural totem in the U.S. by G.I.'s who brought it home from Paris as a fancy gift for their wives and girlfriends—spent the Occupation holed up at the Paris Ritz with a German officer as her lover."

German, of course meaning Nazi officer. This is Coco Chanel we're talking about. The article goes on:

"Working with Chanel, Beaux used his Catherine the Great formula to capture the qualities that Chanel was looking for in her product: It would have to be seductive and expensive, she said, and "a modern work of art and an abstraction." A perfume based on the scent of a particular flower—which at the time had the power to define its wearer as a respectable woman (rose) or a showgirl (jasmine)—would not do. "I want to give women an artificial perfume," Chanel once said. "Yes, I do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don't want a rose or a lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition."

"The composition she and Beaux arrived at had strong notes of rose and jasmine, balanced by what was, in the 1920s, a new fragrance technology: aldehydes."

How fascinating to read about rose being marketed as a proper scent and jasmine an improper one. Whoever had decided on this distinction, I wonder what the reasoning was based on: geographical location where these flowers came from, or some political reason, would be one guess, but I would have to research this. It could also simply be that a heavy (Oriental) scent was considered taboo, as Guerlain Jicky with its vanillic notes had caused quite a stir among ladies back in the day.

It wouldn't be far off to theorize that Chanel N°5 is a perfume that could allow royalty to get away with smelling sexy like a showgirl, without anyone suspecting her of wearing that carnal jasmine. Is it fair to say (albeit crudely) that vilifying jasmine in the story makes No.5 a secretly Pimped Out Rose? I still prefer to think of No.5 as Russian Leather inspired by Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich Romanov, but a more feminized, Quelques Fleurs-inspired version. Chanel N°5 has always smelled powdery to me, but I had recently discovered that it is more base note-heavy (woody and dry with a patchouli base) than most perfumes marketed as Floral (such as Jean Patou Joy or its predecessor smell-alike Caron Acaciosa, and Houbigant Quelques Fleurs), giving it a more traditionally masculine, or androgynous, feel.

Even if the formula contains copious amounts of rose and Grasse jasmine, those aldehydes would make the whole composition hazy enough that most people wouldn't know what they were smelling at all. Such is the abstract perfume Coco Chanel had desired, a unified composition capturing the desired effect of allowing one to possess the sex appeal of a showgirl, that is - you know, like Marilyn Monroe - while still managing to smell freshly scrubbed and proper. Isn't technology grand?

The author is correct in pointing out that there were other Aldehydic perfumes besides No.5. As for Aldehydic Floral perfumes born in 1912, Caron L'Infini was born in the same year as Quelques Fleurs, but it is not given credit for being the breakthrough perfume for the Aldehydic Floral family. That crown always goes to Chanel No.5 born in 1921. I can't tell you what L'Infini used to smell like, but the current 1970 version is just as aldehydic-smelling as No.5, only greener, mossier, a whiter floral. If you've ever smelled an aldehydic accord on its own, you might say it smells sour and fizzy-powdery (weirdly reminds me of both Alka Seltzer and Ramune but not as sweet) - not quite lemony but high-pitched (also synthetic and long lasting, of course, or it wouldn't make No.5 the scientific technological breakthrough perfume it's known to be).

Related articles: Chanel N°5 Revisited: Russian Leather Connection? Pink Manhattan May 19, 2008

"In 1912 Beaux achieved his first great success with his Bouquet of Napoleon, created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the battle of Borodino, Napoleon's last but very bloody victory in Russia. Beaux was known to be a great admirer of Napoleon and, for the occasion, Rallet produced an entire booklet on Napoleon to go with the promotion of the perfume (...) In 1913, for the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty, Beaux created Bouquet of Catherine, a feminine counterpart for the Bouquet de Napoleon." A. Rallet & Co. -

"Today, Bouquet de Catherine, in it's Rallet Le No.1 rebirth, can be seen as the predecessor of Chanel No.5. The overall concept of Rallet Le No.1 is followed in Chanel No.5 — the use of a "cocktail" of aldehydes — to overcome the fatty note of the jasmine absolute and rose oil. It was this fatty note that had plagued perfumery in the 19th century when all perfumes had the unwanted fatty note but this had simply been accepted as it could not be overcome. While Rallet Le No.1 stands on its own merit as a fragrance, its role in the development of Chanel No.5 gives it a special place in the history of 20th century perfumery." Le No.1 1913/1923 Rallet -

"In 1912, the perfumer Robert Bienaimé first used 2-methylundecanal in the successful perfume Quelques Fleurs for Houbigant. Ernest Beaux imitated this breakthrough in his new perfume Rallet No. 1 (1914)." CHANEL No 5 and 2-Methylundecanal - University of Bristol School of Chemistry

"The aldehyde that Beaux chose was 2-methylundecanal, which in those days was known as methyl nonyl acetaldehyde? This was first used by the perfumer Robert Bienaime for his Quelques Fleurs, which appeared in 1912. And we now know that Beaux had previously used the aldehydes undecanal and dodecanal in his perfume Rallet No. 1 launched in 1914 because an original, sealed bottle came to light and its contents were analysed. What aldehydes offered was a 'cleaner' less cloying fragrance blend. Beaux described the effect like 'lemon juice on strawberries'. " Whiff of Success: Chanel No.5 has been one of the classic Christimas gifts since it was launched - by John Emsley, Chemistry and Industry, Dec 22, 2008 Bnet CBS Business Network

Added on Nov. 23, 2010: Jazz and Jasmine: The Scent of a Brothel vs the High Class Rose - PINK MANHATTAN

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Goo Goo Dolls - Iris

"Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls
"Dizzy Up the Girl" (1998)
Writer: John Rzeznik

Fragrance of the Moment

If you're the "hana yori dango" (food trumps flowers) type as many younger perfumistas tend to be, you might want to check out this delicious scent at the nearest Duane Reade that carries this funky line based in NY. Best known for Kate Moss' favorite "Dirt" and other thoroughly weird fragrance selections such as "Turpentine", "Earthworm", "Rubber", "Mildew", "Play-doh", "Crayon", "Glue" and "Funeral Home", they also do more conventional scents like grass notes, floral notes, fruits, veggies, artificial soft drinks and sweets. Their Jelly Belly line inspired by the jellybean company includes this Pink Manhattan blog fragrance of the moment, Demeter Blueberry Muffin (2007). With a fresh, plump blueberry note combined with some buttery, cakey vanilla, it's a simple, addictive dessert scent for the bath-and-body fragrance lover (and serious perfumistas as well, who revel in the sumptuous goodness of gourmand perfumes). With Demeter Blueberry Muffin, there are no complications, challenges or surprises, just pure enjoyment; you will smell exactly what you expect to smell, elucidating for our sense memory just how Demeter Fragrance Library offers single "experience" fragrances. This is one of their bestsellers, popular with good reason and easy to love. If you like this one, check out my other favorite in the line, Junior Mints (for the mint chocolate chip lover).

What a day on Wall Street this is about to be. Have a great day, all!

Notes according to Fragantica:
Demeter Jelly Belly Blueberry Muffin (2007): blueberry, vanilla, sugar, sweet notes, buttered popcorn

(Image: Blueberry Muffin Star from

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fragrance of the Moment

I came across this 2002 Dior ad with a hidden skull in the imagery. Of course there's only one perfume that such an ad could be designed for. Now, I know this fragrance is controversial for being strong, having been presented in spray form even when the strength of the Esprit de Parfum formulation was pure parfum (and potent at that), but it's not as terrible as its reputation if it's worn discreetly and judiciously. I'm adoring it again after so many years, although this time, I'm discovering it in eau de toilette, a lighter, less labdanum-heavy version. Even this EDT needs to be dabbed with a fingertip in minute amounts, lest it take over the airspace, making everything in its sillage permeate with the unmistakable, instantly recognizable scent of the 1985 bestseller. But what a distinctive, memorable, beautiful fragrance it is: a mysterious, Fauvist dark fruit steeped in aged liqueur is what it smells like to me. Gazing at the gorgeous purple shade of the perfume, I'm also reminded of mulberry wine. Is it cold enough where you are to start pulling out your winter favorites? (Image: Poison by Dior, photographed by Vincent Peters (2002),

Related link: Happy Halloween! My October Top 10 Fragrances - Pink Manhattan October 26, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Genki Sudo - World Order in New York

Genki Sudo - World Order in New York

Monday, November 08, 2010

MoMA Abstract Expressionist New York

MoMA Abstract Expressionist New York
October 3, 2010–April 25, 2011

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Fred Kimmel's ROCK BAND 101: Nov. 4 Starving Artist Café and Gallery, Nov. 5 Queens Palace

Dear friends,

The first Thursday of each month is when you can catch the hippest music scene in town: Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101 ("It's NOT the video game!") at Starving Artist Café and Gallery, City Island in The Bronx. This week, Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101 will do 2 shows: Thursday, November 4 at The Starving Artist Cafe and Gallery 249 City Island Ave on City Island, and Friday, November 5 at Queens Palace at 31-11 57th Street in Long Island City. Hope to see you there!

From Fred Kimmel:

"I started Rock Band 101 at the beginning of this year. As an experiment, I started by taking 10-20 of my music students of all ages for a month, dividing them into groups, giving them four rehearsals, then having them play their first gig of two 40 minute sets. The project has been an overwhelming success. At the beginning, students were a bit nervous and anxious as to what was going to happen on their first show. The first show was fantastic, and each show has been better than the one before. Each month, these students continually outdo themselves with new material every month. The butterflies in their stomachs have quickly been replaced with how to make the best show possible. You have to check this out!

"Rock Band 101 has been doing a monthly series at The Starving Artist Cafe and Gallery for the past nine months. The food is great. The vibe is awesome. The owner, Elliot Glick and his entire family are the nicest people you'll ever meet. I have to say that "The Artist" has and always will be my favorite venue to play. This is always an intimate and dynamic Rock show. Come on down and hang. It's more fun than you can imagine. Don't miss it.

"Queens Palace is Rock Band 101's first large venue, big stage, lights and sound. It's going to be awesome! WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!"

Both shows are no cover and all ages.

Thursday, November 4
The Starving Artist Cafe and Gallery
249 City Island Ave
City Island, Bronx, NY 10464
For more info:

Friday, November 5
Queens Palace
31-11 57th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
More info:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Halloween! My October Top 10 Fragrances

So, would you like to know which fragrances have made their way into my go-to sample pouch? Here's what I've been wearing most frequently:

My October Top 10 List

1. Jean Paul Gaultier Ma Dame: This is a zesty fresh, transparent but slightly powdery orange citrus (Floral) scent. I love it, but it is strong, far-reaching (sillage-wise) and brash (think "juniper"); I wear the EDT like pure parfum: tiny dots of scent on pulse points. When it gets very cold here in NY, which it will soon, I can get away with a whole spritz.

2. Creed Spring Flower: My favorite Fruity Floral for many years, it's simply perfect...many have tried to copy the notes but they can only mimic the style without matching its supreme quality (Versace Bright Crystal came close, I thought).

3. Valentino Rock 'n Rose: Finally, I've found a predominantly rose-violet scent that isn't hypersweet and sharp. I love it enough to wear just about every day. It's sweet but clean without being obnoxiously aqueous, and just slightly powdery, but this is not your grandmother's face powder and lipstick. I think there's a bit of fruit in the mix.

4. Dolce & Gabbana The One: I loved it from first sniff; this is a sensual modern peach floral with warm vanilla and just a hint of spice, very peaches-and-cream. It's sexy enough for evening, too.

5. L'Artisan Parfumeur Mûre et Musc Extrême: Here's one of the few musks I can enjoy. It's clean with a slight BO muskiness (this is not typical soapy White Musk)freshened up by dark blackberries that aren't cloyingly sweet and jammy. It's understated, simple and easy to wear.

6. L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons: A lovely tuberose blend, linden blossoms make it slightly green and powdery, while citrus freshens it up. This is my idea of a perfect Floral - crisp, good-natured and sweetly feminine.

7. Frederic Fekkai Bouquet de Provence: I hadn't been in the mood for prominent rose in a blend, but this citrus rose is an elite aqueous blend. Sometimes, I just like to smell like clean hair.

8. Monyette perfume oil: I think I'll always love this white floral & nag champa cult favorite. It's tropical (with a twist of India and Southeast Asia...sort of), sweet, distinctive, warm and heady, sensual and divine.

9. Nina Ricci Nina: One of the only patchouli-based scents I can still wear (I'm just oversaturated with the note as of late), this ozonic apple blend somehow garners lots of compliments when I wear it. To me, the ozonic muskiness is evocative of rain over asphalt...or so I imagine. It's very sweet, with caramel notes to embellish the fresh apple note.

10. Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs: I adore this nostalgic, ubiquitous '80s scent (actually, it was launched in 1978 but Gen X knows this scent). Its motif centered around the lily, it smells like cool marble columns and rich, clotted cream (the edible kind, not Pond's). The base notes include Russian leather, but it's not a typical smoky and dry leather scent. The duality is portrayed by how simultaneously innocent and gorgeous it is. It's one of those scents that are so beloved by many, they're timeless.

I've been wearing my own creation, Persephone again, too. To summarize, it's been a fruity season for me (dark berries, peach, apple, citrus) as well as a season to rediscover musks, white florals and woods I enjoy. What will I wear on Oct. 31? That'll depend on my mood du jour, as always.

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Niki de Saint Phalle

(AIDS awareness campaign art by Niki de Saint Phalle - image from Paris and the Spirit of Modernism

Niki de Saint Phalle was a French sculptor, painter, and film maker. Although she was not a perfumer, she had a hand in the development of the unforgettable '80s perfume bearing her name. To me, this smells very typical of a perfume born in 1982, its razor sharp minty top notes instantly attention-getting and even a bit hair-raisingly cold and unfeeling in combination with orris (violet root); the dry, Floral Chypre-Animalic scent is comparable to Nicky Verfaillie Grain de Passion (1984-85), Paloma Picasso (1984) and Emanuel Ungaro Diva (1983). After the success of Halston (1975), it seems many '80s perfumes took after the popular Chypre, following in its snake-skin, dry and leathery Studio 54 dance steps. Still, Niki de Saint Phalle is a unique, distinctive fragrance, Green on the blue-purple spectrum, showcasing orris within an Animalic Floral-Chypre composition like none other.

Top notes alongside mint include bergamot, artemisia and a hint of peach. The heart notes are richly floral with jasmine, rose, carnation, ylang-ylang and marigold, but combined with herbaceous and deep, forest green notes, the florals don't overpower. The base notes are pervasive, warm, and very civet-and-castoreum raunchy, animalic-musky, woody, leathery and mossy, but neither do these overwhelm. Overall, this is a scent that's beautifully balanced; with a cool floral center, it's reminiscent of Givenchy III and Giorgio Armani Armani Femme (1982).

This is a hard scent for me to wear because it is heavy, strong and retro, but I admit it is a rare beauty, all that I think of when I hear the word "Perfume". I didn't care for it when I first smelled it because my perception of it was that it smelled musty, but I grew to love it, and love it, I do. It's nice to encounter it again after I've worn my fresher, fruitier or vanillic scents for weeks on end. The wide span of pitch (the contradiction between the high and low notes) and the juxtaposition of cool and warm, are exaggerated, theatrical and almost surreal, but the orchestration is lush, complex and full, a unified composition that defines a memorable creation. It's a scent I might describe as naughty and refined at once; it's not at all the Agent Provocateur dominatrix Chypre with a whip, but rather a cultured seductress that whispers suggestions and waits.

More Chypre perfumes born in the '80s include Drakkar Noir (1982, US launch 1984 according to Michael Edwards), Givenchy Ysatis (1984), Enrico Coveri (1987), Estée Lauder Knowing (1988), Parfums de Nicolaï New York (1989), Van Cleef & Arpels Gem (1987), Armani (sometimes classified as Green Floral like Deneuve), Trussardi and Gianni Versace (1982).