Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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
Friday, November 26, 2010
"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
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? - Kaboose.com
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.
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.
Click on the banner to check the current standings in Progressive Rock.
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 www.starvingartistonline.com and www.fredkimmel.com
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
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
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 storyvilledistrictnola.com: "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.
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 saching.com 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?
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
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
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. - perfumeprojects.com
"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 - perfumeprojects.com
"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 chm.bris.ac.uk
"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
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 andromedaskitchen.blogspot.com)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
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), johncoulthart.com)
Related link: Happy Halloween! My October Top 10 Fragrances - Pink Manhattan October 26, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
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!"
Thursday, November 4
The Starving Artist Cafe and Gallery
249 City Island Ave
City Island, Bronx, NY 10464
For more info: starvingartistonline.com
Friday, November 5
31-11 57th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
More info: fredkimmel.com