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 spaightwoodgalleries.com)

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).

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The writers at Wrong Planet have not minced words (nor images) about their feelings about Autism Speaks...AUTISM SPEAKS ANNOUNCE $11 MILLION NEW LOGO - Sat Oct 23, 2010

Related link:
Wrong Planet Acquires Autism Speaks - April 1

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DC Bebop

Image: leonjamesphotography.com

If you're a Jazz lover, check out DC Bebop, an online magazine dedicated to people, places and happenings on the DC Scene, as well as jazz-related info on the US East, US West and International scenes.

Although my music at my website isn't Jazz, Leon has been gracious enough to put my song, "Come On Up", on his playlist this month. Merci beaucoup! In fact, there's everything from Ghettotech to Alternative on the DC bebop playlist as well.

Today in Jazz: Happy Birthday, Dizzy Gillespie, one of the innovators of bebop and founder of Afro-Cuban jazz! Listen to "Manteca", "Salt Peanuts" and "Bebop" on You Tube.

Uploaded by peruanas0

Monday, October 18, 2010

Charles Mingus - Moanin'

Uploaded by Strawberryfairyshoes on You Tube

"Moanin'" performed by Charles Mingus and band. Taken from the 1959 "Blues & Roots" Jazz album. Composed by Charles Mingus.

Charles Mingus: Bass
John Handy: Alto sax
Jackie McLean: Alto sax
Booker Ervin: Tenor sax
Pepper Adams: Baritone sax
Jimmy Knepper: Trombone
Willie Dennis: Trombone
Dannie Richmond: Drums
Horace Parlan: Piano

Charles Mingus - Song with Orange

Uploaded by rogerjazzfan on You Tube

3rd track from Mingus "Mingus Dynasty" album. Recorded in New York on November 1 and 13, 1959. Charles Mingus (bass); Booker Ervin, John Handy, Benny Golson (saxophones); Jerome Richardson (saxophone, flute); Donald Ellis, Dick Williams (trumpets); James Knepper (trombone); Maurice Brown, Seymour Barab (cello); Theodore Cohen (vibraphone); Roland Hanna (piano); Dannie Richmond (drums).

Jean-Paul Guerlain Racist Gaffe

Everybody in perfume blogosphere's talking about it, so let me add my two cents: yes, it was deplorable, and as I felt in the Helen Thomas case, people should stop putting microphones in front of racists, especially senile ones that can't control being impolite. His career had a good run; maybe it's time he went his merry way and let people remember him for Nahema, Chamade, Vetiver and Sophie. Hey, I love Charles Mingus' music, but he was apparently no picnic of a person, either. I'm not saying it shouldn't have been publicized - people have the right to know if the company they buy goods from is putting racism out there. Beauty products shape how young people perceive beauty and themselves. But the guy is almost 100 years old (actually, I don't know how old he really is - old enough to stop driving the Guerlain bus), and besides, idiots don't deserve the spotlight. Put JPG in the Paris Hilton files (remember her n-word gaffe directed at young filmmakers?), let's close the door on this issue (edited to add: it should be noted he has apologized) and continue appreciating the art aside from the personality behind the work.

He toiled so hard for Samsara - what a stupid thing for him to say. A labor of love isn't the same thing as actual physical labor. Perfumers don't labor as hard as a pianist who sits at a piano laboriously learning to play an instrument with his hands, let alone toil in the sun all day pulling out and collecting the materials needed to produce perfume.

Hopefully, this gaffe will become a reminder to all of us who love perfume, that the people who labor are the ones we never hear from, or see, whose names aren't splashed before the names of fancy bottles of smell. Having a brilliant mind or idea shouldn't mean bosses, innovators and upper management should take all the credit. Good ideas don't come to fruition without the help and support of so many others who do the actual back-breaking work of making things happen in real life. What about the Guerlain customer base which happens to be global and multiethnic? Didn't some of them work hard and save up to buy from you? Learn your manners, perfume industry. A little time off and gratitude for success will do JPG and others who appease racists in the industry some good.


One more additional comment: For those racists who appease racists by rationalizing racist remarks saying opposition to racist remarks is fascistic, I say anyone who is hurt by racist comments have the right not only to speak against them but to boycott whatever product they wish to boycott. It seems more fascistic to try to quiet down any opposition to such freedom of speech, as people have the freedom to voice opposition and to boycott all the same. For those racists saying the offended are hypersensitive, understand that your insensitivity and willful ignorance are precisely what make you racist.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Frye Engineer 15R

These will be my next motorcycle boots. The classic engineer style has a rounded toe, subtly angled shaft, shock-absorbing memory insole and contoured stacked-leather 2" heels. Made in the USA. Visit The Frye Company

I also like these Frye boots in similar styles but with 1" heels: Veronica Slouch (although I'd prefer these with silver instead of gold hardware) and Jenna Chain Tall.

Fluevog Hvala

I love my Fluevog Mary Janes which I've been wearing for quite a few years now, and these boots would be such a nice addition to my wardrobe. They're sleek and sexy with managable 2" heels (John Fluevog Fluevog.com).

Frye Harlow

These boots are made for Catwoman...I love 'em. Check out the new Harlow Campus, too (The Frye Company www.thefryecompany.com)

Founded in 1863 by John A. Frye, The Frye Company is the oldest continuously operated shoe company in the United States.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fragrance of the Moment

I haven't seen this limited edition presentation before, and I'm usually not one to go for the flowery, frilly things, but this is awfully pretty. Actually, the floral design isn't really over-the-top, but subtle and demure, the tiny blackberries and purple flowers as dainty as forget-me-nots, delicate embellishments upon elegant serpentine curves in a bluish purple hue. As for the scent, I am a huge fan of the eau de parfum version of this scent, L'Artisan Parfumeur Mûre et Musc Extrême (2003), but the original L'Artisan Mûre et Musc (1978), an eau de toilette, isn't all that different, just ever so slightly more herbaceous (high-pitched and cool, almost minty) and citric to my nose, and with a less concentrated, woodsy base. The overall scents are remarkably similar: clean, semi-sweet fruity musks. My regular readers know I have an aversion to most musks, particularly if they're detergentesque and strong, but this is a musk I can easily wear, one that seems very light for an animal-inspired, Oriental musk fragrance. It's a wonderful shared fragrance between men and women, and a unique alternative to the traditional citric eau de cologne, with notes of basil, lemon, mandarin orange, blackberry, red berries, musk and oakmoss. It is still musk, so a little goes a long way and will linger for quite some time.

There is another, even lighter Cologne version of the same scent, but I haven't tried it yet. Mûre et Musc Cologne (2003) features additional top notes of grapefruit and bergamot, plus jasmine is listed in the heart notes.

The strongest version of this fragrance is L’Extrait de Parfum Mûre et Musc (2008). I haven't tried this version, either, but I hope to one day. The glamorous extrait (pure parfum) comes in a cylindrical (actually heptagonal but slender and tall) gold-capped bottle which comes nestled in a box featuring the limited edition floral design in gold against black.

Mûre et Musc was also available in a special Holiday 2005 limited edition signed Pierre Dinand bottle in the shape of a blackberry fruit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'Round Midnight from the Original Motion Picture by Bertrand Tavernier

Uploaded by kazzcriss

I'm so glad this recording was posted on You Tube. This is "'Round Midnight" composed by Thelonius Monk, performed by jazz heavyweights, Herbie Hancock and company (scroll down for band personnel), on the 1986 Bertrand Tavernier film Round Midnight Original Motion Picture. Round Midnight, one of the definitive bebop films which enjoyed a very short run here in NY, is the film for which Dexter Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, shortly before his passing in 1990. Dexter Gordon's role, Dale Turner, was based on a composite of real-life jazz legends Lester Young (tenor sax) and Bud Powell (piano). This recording, the opening piece for the film, is track number one on the Round Midnight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

Herbie Hancock (pf) Ron Carter (b) Tony Williams (ds) Bobby McFerrin (vo)

Recorded Live at Studio Eclair, Epinay Sur Seine, France 1986

Additional Recording at Studio Davout and Studio Phillipe Sarde, Paris

Columbia CK 40464

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pearson Constantino - Musician, bicycle advocate, laptop guru

New York based composer, bicycle advocate, drummer, guitar player, laptop musician Pearson Constantino has a new album to be released in December on earSnake Records. You can check out his music at his website: PearsonConstantino.com

You can hear and buy more tracks at www.earSnake.com.

Pearson's life as a bicycle advocate has been chronicled by filmmaker Julia Wrona (Ailujon Films). See the trailer here: The Long Bike Back - an inspiring story of pain and perseverance - a film by Julia Wrona

"A crippling hit-and-run accident can't crush the spirit of a remarkable bicyclist, nor end his dream of cycling across America. The Long Bike Back is a work-in-progress documentary film chronicling Pearson Constantino's recovery from catastrophic injuries and his quest to ride across America with his brother Pete to inpire others and spread the message of road sharing. Expected release in 2011."

Image: Pearson & Pete cycling in eastern Wyoming

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Yoko Ono - John Lennon 70th Birthday Message

Visit You Tube: Yoko Ono - John Lennon 70th Birthday Message

Twitter birthday event - Visit IMAGINEPEACETOWER.com

Happy Birthday, John!

Wedding Wellies

Ahhhh, I love boots, and these are so perfect! I've never worn them so I can't tell you about their comfort level, but they sure seem comfortable. The boots pictured above, in cream with ivory laces, are called "Wedding Wellies". Is anyone planning a winter wedding, or on walking down a marshy aisle?

From their website: "Many of you in Britain and in the United States got married in a pair of wellies last year, and we have a feeling that many more of you will in the years ahead. We have been sent some beautiful wedding photos of the bride and bridegroom in their wellies over the years which you can find in our blog."

Check out the guys' wellies, too - they have a range of styles to choose from. Find them @ Funky Wellington Boots.co.uk

Friday, October 08, 2010

Tova Nights ate through my sample cap

I was told a long time ago by a fragrance oil supplier that once I buy oils, I should transfer them to glass containers because over time, the plastic can leach into the oil as they are volatile to fragrance oils. I'm glad I did. I have accumulated what must be hundreds of store-acquired and hand-decanted perfume samples from various sources (department stores, niche boutiques, online decant shops such as The Perfumed Court and Fishbone, perfume buddies, etc.) but this has never happened to any of them before. My Tova Nights sample ate through the plastic cap on the sample vial and got all over the little box it was in. It's not that old, either. I don't remember where I got the Tova Nights sample - I don't think it was directly from QVC. Has this ever happened in your experience, perfumistas?

Gigliola Cinquetti - Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Uploaded by swing52a on You Tube
Gigliola Cinquetti

A senza rete accompagnata alla chitarra da Mario Ganci in Where Have All The Flowers Gone (P.Seeger) e L'acquabelle

"Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" is a famous folk song my parents of the Silent Generation hipped me to, and it's probably one of the most internationally known war protest songs ever written. According to Wikipedia, "the first three verses were written by Pete Seeger in 1955, (...) and additional verses were added by Joe Hickerson in May 1960. (...) These lines were taken from the traditional Ukrainian folk song "Tovchu, tovchu mak", referenced in the Mikhail Sholokhov novel And Quiet Flows the Don (1934), which Seeger had read "at least a year or two before".[3]

It was recorded by many singers such as Harry Belafonte, Dolly Parton and Olivia Newton-John. Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery recorded an instrumental version in his trademark style on the 1968 LP Road Song. The versions I was first familiarized with were by Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary.

This is the first time I'm hearing Italian singer-songwriter Gigliola Cinquetti sing it, and I think it's a lovely rendition.

I'm dedicating this post to my parents who grew up in Nagoya at the time of the war, to honor them because if they taught me one important principle, it is that war is a crime of all humanity.

Listen to Peter, Paul and Mary's live version here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ray Gomez - West Side Boogie

Guitarists need to hear this...Enjoy the music on this lovely Sunday; I'm in a charitable mood. :-)

Uploaded on You Tube by HarpOONY
Scenes of New York and beyond set to Ray Gomez's West Side Boogie (1980)

Luther Vandross - Make Me a Believer

Posted on You Tube by NewBlackKlassiczjr
From " Busy Body " Released 1983

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Thank you, Pink Manhattan Followers on Networked Blogs and Facebook

Pink Manhattan blog has reached 400 followers on Networked Blogs. We are fast approaching 200 followers on my Facebook page as well. Thank you - I'd like to personally express my gratitude for all of the kind support pouring in from around the world; please stay tuned for more posts and updates.

Related link: Join me on Twitter.