Saturday, December 31, 2011

The REAL Personality Types Made Relevant

Wow, it's so nice to finally have clarity just before the New Year! The Jungian personality sorters at pretty much said everything there is to be said. Have a happy and safe New Years!

Happy New Year! See You in 2012!

The song starts at 0:33

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Memories of Bali

Soundtrack from Korean drama series Memories of Bali (aka Something Happened In Bali, 2004) starring Jo In Sung and Ha Ji Won. The tragic melodrama was a huge hit in Japan. Visit

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen sung by the choirs of Bath and Winchester catherals. Uploaded by pinkbutterfly555 on You Tube.

Peace on Earth and good will to all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lyle Mays - 01 - Close To Home (Mars)

Buenos Aires 1992 FM

Lyle Mays (piano), Eric Hochberg (bass) and Mark Walker (drums)

The Bible on the Poor or, Why God is a Liberal

You might not have ever been inside a church where copies of the Old Testament were available, so here in this post, I've compiled just a handful of some of the key verses from the Bible pertaining to social justice. These verses and more can be found at this link: The Bible on the Poor or, Why God is a liberal -

The New Testament also has many verses commanding believers to help the needy, and you can find them at the link, but in no way did the NT replace the Torah and haftorah to disqualify the original Jewish teachings as moot, as some churches teach. It seems to me mercy is the point of the Abrahamic faith, and that the teaching of mercy is the heart of all religion. This Christmas / Hanukkah, I hope to reflect on what it means to be good in the eyes of a greater power than ourselves - or the best part of our own conscience if we allow it to give us compassion over judgment of others which only hurts us all in the end.

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6 NIV)

"The multitude of your sacrifices--what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats." (Isaiah 1:11)

"If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. (Deut. 15:7)

"Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. (Prov. 31:8ff. [Commandment to kings.])

"Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" (Is. 58:66ff.)

The Bible contains more than 300 verses on the poor, social justice, and God's deep concern for both. This page contains a wide sample of them, and some reflections. Continue reading at this link.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Season's Greetings from Pink Manhattan - and Thanks

Doré's White Rose
Illustration to Dante's Divine Comedy,
Paradiso by Gustave Doré

Dear reader,

I hope you aren't upset with me because I haven't posted anything of relevance as of late (although it is debatable if I ever have); I'm going through some personal things - and you know what they say about God never giving us more than we can handle, but oy! - but I am taking a break from the New Years Eve gig this year, as I can hardly get through singing "Misty" with a straight face. Ha! OK, that's an exaggeration, and you don't need to worry about me because I happen to have a zest for life even when I choose to be isolated and quiet - but nonetheless, this will be the second time that I will miss a NYE gig since I started singing professionally at 16. It's weird to have veered so far away from my music life, and now, I feel my perfume writing is reaching a halt. Maybe it's a sign of good things to come, musically speaking.

This year has turned out to be a solemn year for the perfume community with the recent tragic loss of a talented indie perfumer named Mona di Orio. With all things considered, perhaps this is not the year for me to create a Year End Top 10 List, either. I will share that I bought a fragrance launched in 2011 for myself this month, but I also want to take this opportunity to take my friend Marian Bendeth of Sixth Scents' advice from many years ago, to keep my signature scent under my hat. And so I shall, with that coy, knowing wink sported by elegant ladies. Yes, I'm learning to celebrate my very own, personal cinq à sept. How refreshingly out of my element and oh-so-French it makes me feel, not to mention coming full circle since I started delving into the perfume world in 2001, just one month after 911, probably in search of emotional comfort, enjoyment and escape, all of which perfume has provided me for over a decade.

Thank you for giving me all of the experiences you invited me to take part in this year. I'd like to send special thanks to Leon of DC Bebop for creating a page and a banner just for me. To have that kind of support is precious. Thank you - you are so far above and beyond. I'm also grateful to have been able to share my innermost thoughts through my freelance writing projects, to go out on location for Basenotes, contribute to beautiful online perfume resources and have lots of good-spirited fun while it lasted.

Thank you for being a Pink Manhattan reader, and for your patronage over the years. Have a wonderful holiday season, and please keep me company on Twitter / Facebook from time to time. I love to hear from you. I'm continually amazed and inspired by the uniqueness and ingenuity I'm surrounded by. I'll continue blogging, even if it's just to post a link or a song, so please continue to stop by. And wherever you are, please know that you are a part of all of the blessings that make my life complete.

Let's face 2012 together.

Shalom / Salem / Peace

All my love,

TNT - Tonight I'm Falling

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fred Kimmel's ROCK BAND 101 Winter Holiday Show

Season's Greetings! Don't miss the jam of the year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mona di Orio (1969 - 2011)

Mona di Orio (1969 - 2011)

Pink Manhattan remembers Mona di Orio, artist and perfumer. Thank you for gracing our lives with the tenderest form of art and architectural beauty, that of the olfactory, memory-laden realm. You own the concept of the Golden Ratio of Perfumery forever and ever.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Mona Di Orio Facebook Page Reports Perfumer Has Died Today

This is terribly sad news. I'd like to send my deepest condolences to Mona's family. Mona Di Orio Facebook Page Reports Perfumer Has Died Today by Lila Das Gupta, Published on 9th December 2011

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

An Open Letter From a Dancer Who Refused to Participate in Marina Abramovic’s MOCA Performance

An Open Letter From a Dancer Who Refused to Participate in Marina Abramovic’s MOCA Performance - by Sara Wookey, Published: November 23, 2011

"I refused to participate as a performer because what I anticipated would be a few hours of creative labor, a meal, and the chance to network with like-minded colleagues turned out to be an unfairly remunerated job. I was expected to lie naked and speechless on a slowly rotating table, starting from before guests arrived and lasting until after they left (a total of nearly four hours). I was expected to ignore (by staying in what Abramovic refers to as "performance mode") any potential physical or verbal harassment while performing. I was expected to commit to fifteen hours of rehearsal time, and sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement stating that if I spoke to anyone about what happened in the audition I was liable for being sued by Bounce Events, Marketing, Inc., the event’s producer, for a sum of $1 million dollars plus attorney fees." Read more at the link above.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Saturday, December 03, 2011

By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses

By Kilian's website describes it as "A fragrance inspired by Plum from Damascus, a delicate fruit with a smooth note redolent of an alcove inhabited by languid lovers". I don't know why it's taken me so long to come to this fragrance by By Kilian, because, as a Fruity perfume lover, you'd think this would be the first one in the collection I'd fall in love with. Maybe I don't care for the Australian sandalwood in it, as I find the wood note a bit on the harsh side compared to the Mysore I fell in love with. However, this is not a woods-focused scent at all. Juicy, plummy and rosy with an unexpected buttery underscoring in this seemingly simple orchestration, it's everything I want a plum perfume to be, albeit it's on the warm side, even with the fresh, dewy rose sharing the spotlight. I suppose what keeps me on guard is that it's an intense fragrance, fresh yet somewhat relentlessly plummy-sweet, so consistent until the dry down, one might think of it as being linear. However, it strikes me as a classical pyramid composition as the lighter notes fade and make way for the incensey, meditational sandalwood which leaves an impression of subtle smokiness on skin. What a delicious skin scent it makes, like rose petal kisses.

Plum is an intense fruit note to begin with, much more so than peach, berries, pineapple or just about any other fruit. Plum is a key player in Christian Dior Poison. Even the stewed prune note can be intense, as I find in the classic Rochas Femme. A ripe, juicy plum is actually among my favorite fruits to eat, but I cannot handle the taste of plum wine. So, maybe this perfume is a bit on the boozy side for me (it is by Kilian Hennessey, after all). However, if I want to smell like a voluptuous plum rose, there is none other that can stand next to By Kilian Liaison Dangereuses. It seems to smell both youthful (by which I mean vivacious, clean and simple, a bright fragrance suitable for any age) and luxurious (by which I mean with complexity, evolution and an excellent, soft-textured, well-rounded, brilliant quality) at once.

I find the dry down gets increasingly flowery, although this floralcy comes and goes like bursts of pink in the atmosphere. Through this Fruity Floral stage, I think I'm smelling Chanel Chance, Juicy Couture or Versace Woman, but then, I smell something dark and brooding going on, and change my mind. The ripe and redolent plum reigns until the end, when the buttery base notes have turned darker and slightly more mysterious, with spicy, musky afterthoughts wafting in like a vague fantasy of the Oriental world.

According to Fragrantica, Liaisons Dangereuses by By Kilian (2007) is a Fruity Chypre. I wouldn't have guessed it to be a Fruity Chypre, since it doesn't smell like a typical one, not even a juicy and somewhat hypersweet one like Cartier So Pretty (then again, I wouldn't guess Christian Dior Dolce Vita, Chanel Chance or Miss Dior Cherie to be Chypres, either). I think it smells more like a Fruity Floral, maybe Fruity Oriental because of the buttery base note, but the dry down stage reveals a bit of that dry, patchouli-like spicy woodsiness, and even though there is no bergamot, oakmoss is present. Back to Fragrantica: the top note is plum; middle notes are pelargonium and cinnamon; base notes are musk and sandalwood. You can see the full list of official notes at

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ornette Coleman - Broadway Blues

Uploaded by Rogerjazzfan on You Tube
3rd track from Coleman's "New York Is Now" album. Recorded at A&R Studios, New York, New York on April 29 & May 7, 1968. Ornette Coleman (alto saxophone, trumpet); Dewey Redman (tenor saxophone); Jimmy Garrison (bass); Elvin Jones (drums).

Friday, November 25, 2011

Justin Bieber Someday

If you're a parent of a tween, or happen to be an enormous Justin Bieber fan, you already know what his bestselling fragrance for Women, Justin Bieber Someday, smells like, because you already got carried away with wearing too much of the scent that surely gets us closer to his luminous, otherworldly being. Although it's mainly a musky Fresh Floral reminiscent of Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio for Women, Carolina Herrera 212, Shiseido Relaxing Fragrance or Victoria Beckham Intimately, simply put like the mishmash-flowery, perfumey-fresh, nature-oriented scent of dryer sheets, it has delicious hints of the same coconut water note as found in Rihanna Reb'l Fleur. Someday is a softer fragrance, easier to wear whereas with Reb'l Fleur, one needs to be especially judicious about the amount of base-heavy intensity it projects. Comparatively, Someday is like an angelic cloud of Heaven Sent musk. I'm a fan of the roll-on size available at Sephora.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Pink Manhattan

It's the little things you do that help keep us alive. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cartier Baiser Vole

As evenly spaced as a mandala are these scent molecules that dance in unison around my nose as I sample this latest launch by Cartier - so evenly rationed, in fact, I'm at once reminded of Caron Alpona, even though they are completely different types of scents. Cartier Baiser Vole smells pretty much the same from beginning to end, artificially consistent without any evolution or change, like a piece of elevator music destined to fade out at the end with no real ending, a style of musical recording that has become fashionable, even if fading out while playing at full volume and at the height of groove is not something musicians do in reality, without the all-controlling master fader at work. Baiser Vole is like this - insensitive to all but its own existence, a sensorium concentrated only on the literal and tangible, the scent of oshibori (hot, steamed individual hand towels passed around at the table before a Japanese meal) and ginger. I imagine the scent is that of pink ginger, an upscale femininity in its subtle spiciness, resulting in a plush yet dry, cottony musk, a new type of Spicy Floral sans any sweetness at all. It's extremely well composed, of course, but it's for the lover of gourmand of a more controlled, disciplined aesthetic than myself.

Katy Perry Purr

Katy Perry Purr reminds me of this lady who once bought a sample of my Pink Manhattan PURRFUME (2005) and said it was perfect except it was too fruity and not floral enough for her. I feel about Katy Perry's purrfume just the inverse. I don't know why, but Katy Perry's perfume reminds me of nothing specific but everything generic at once. It's a relatively pleasant, rather inoffensive fragrance, but it seems to be something other than what I want in a scent: it's actually a Floral, but a semi-Oriental one, with a creamy, semi-sweet (vanillic) musky base, with fruits vaguely redolent of osmanthus. The implied apricot note is there but soapy, without adding enough apricotty goodness to call it that dreaded, much maligned olfactory family, the popular, energetic and sprightly Fruity Floral. It is crisp and fresh, but creamy enough that it seems more opaque than translucent; this type of milky-sweet texture is for me best not coupled with detergent notes, although I've been pushed to the limit in a good way with scents like Castelbajac and Le Feu d'Issey.

Bottom line, it reminds me of a sweeter, fruitier Cashmere Bouquet soap. It's not gourmand enough for me, not even as gourmand as Creed Spring Flower or Bond No.9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her, so it's naturally going to gain fans among lovers of slightly subdued (for me) florientals a la Bond No.9 Chinatown and its mini-me which actually preceded it, Victoria's Secret Secret 33 - all nice scents, btw, even those that are discontinued and which might only pop up on eBay for the most vigilant of secondary market watchers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck

I still loathe the name as much as I did Vera Wang Lovestruck, and the ads look like a Japanese wedding from the 1980s when Seiko Matsuda (Japan's Madonna) was all the rage, but here's the verdict on the scent: It smells like diet Britney Spears Fantasy, complete with magical unicorny references, Hilary Duff With Love-era fruity patchouliness and with the same ozonic, dry linen (or cotton)-type of musk as found in Avril Lavigne Black Star and Justin Bieber Someday (the review is coming soon!). There's a subtle Coco Piña note in here similar to the note in Rihanna Reb l'Fleur, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Despite the controversial ad campaign that was banned in UK, this new scent is a debut run of sylkolide. I don't know what it smells like isolated, but overall, this fragrance is a very pleasant Fruity Floral with emphasis on raspberry and sweet pea-like florals. It reminds me of Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea for its aqueous floralcy as well as Ed Hardy for its strawberry candy drop-like passion fruit note, and Clarins Par Amour Toujours, especially the combination of raspberry musk and a light transparent rose. I liked the opening the best, when you get the full strawberry drop effect, before the aqueous florals take over. The dry down is surprisingly simple, for me almost not a perfume but in fact a body spray scent, similar to Victoria's Secret Riviera Sun, a clean and crisp sunny white floral with green and fruity elements, over a musky base of Helmut Lang (2000)-reminiscent skin musk as quoted in the original 2001 Marc Jacobs Perfume by Coty.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Uploaded by ilyaballet on You Tube

Barishnikov Don Quixote ABT variation

Uploaded by smog2k on You Tube

Pas De Deux from Don Quixote by Lyudmila Semenyaka and Mikhail Baryshnikov (1968)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir

Do you remember what I said about Heeley Iris de Nuit? Me, neither, except it was something along the lines of it smelling like a white tea fragrance on a musk base. I hereby stick to that description, and need to add that it has a slightly (for lack of a better term) glue-like aspect to the musk, maybe in a soapy, China Rain way like the J.Lo Glow series do, and a little bit smoky-powdery like Eau de Cartier, too. I sort of expected this to smell similar, but no, this is something else. Whereas Heeley seems wet with watercolor paint, this one smells clean and dry.

Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir, a scent that came into my life via the most gorgeous Discovery Set filled with generous, glass-vial sample sprays that I've ever seen (available at and also at Harrods), is a different type of orris (iris / violet root / woody) compared to the irises I know such as Iris de Nuit, or any of the other irises I've sampled and analyzed here in detail. They're all different, as with any other note or ingredient, and Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir is a uniquely modern spicy iris, stark and peppery fresh, comparable to IUNX perfumes and reminiscent of L'Artisan Parfumeur Les Epices de la Passion (Spice Trio). The texture in the atmosphere when worn seems light enough not to cloy, despite being a heavy, wooded composition in terms of notes. In a way, the Ormonde Jayne perfumes by Linda Pilkington all seem to share the same quality, that of being sheer and weightless fragrances, including some of the scents that are more traditionally structured.

I love how Orris Noir has a cologne-like feel, bitter and citric like bergamot but not so literally lemony, just an added bracing tone to the rest, which I can only describe as a seriously sugarless wad of smoky, spicy incense gum. It's not quite Big Red but it's no joke, spicy, all right...and yet, it stays cool. I also understand now, that this whole black iris trend started with Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir (Black Iris) (2006 Floral Oriental), described as follows: "The Iris flower is named after the Greek Goddess of the rainbow, the messenger of the Gods and the Black Iris of Amman is the Royal symbol of the Kings of Jordan. Thriving in a landscape of ample sun, it is a rich, purple black flower of smouldering beauty". Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir precedes Odin 04 Petrana, the likewise shared-gender black iris but redolent of coarse iris and mimosas on a bed of peachy, daringly maquillage-powdered and boldly glam'd-up rose. Instead, there are no roses here to speak of - only a graceful touch of Sambac jasmine absolute.

Pictured above is the bath oil, which I'm contemplating for myself the way women might have done once with Estée Lauder Youth Dew. From "In 1953 Lauder introduced her first fragrance, Youth Dew, a bath oil with a sweet fragrance that doubled as a perfume. "We created a mini revolution. Instead of using their French perfumes by the drop behind each ear, women were using Youth Dew by the bottle in their bath water."" Visit the web site for more options, including the smart & giftworthy Ormonde Jayne Discovery Set.

The notes according to Basenotes:
Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir (2006)

Top Notes
Davana, Pink pepper, Coriander seed, Bergamot

Middle Notes
Iris, Sambac absolute, Pimento, Bay

Base Notes
Incense, Myrrh, Patchouli, Cedar, Gaiac

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vera Wang Princess

After all the times I put Vera Wang Princess on my Top 10 lists since its venerable launch in 2006, Vera Wang Princess deserves its own review! The thing is, it's one of those great-smelling perfumes I don't have much to say about, except it's pretty much the only fruitchouli I think I need. It's just modern (Gourmand) enough for me to enjoy, just sweet enough that it isn't overly sweet and cloying (although I have to be in the mood for Gourmand to wear it). It's basically a Floral perfume with some gourmand (pink icing or whatever) sugary elements and candyish fruity elements (like a light watermelon note, not so sour it's Jolly Rancher), with the all-important (to the industry, apparently, for the last 20 years) patchouli base being present but very subtle, almost overpowered completely by the yummy, dreamy vanilla base note which also helps camouflage the slightly musky but not at all animalic, in fact made dewy enough to seem vegetal, coconut oil-like note in Ralph Lauren Hot and Benefit Hooked on Carmella embedded somewhere in the seemingly innocuous blend.

As new fans discover Princess more and more for themselves, other fruitchouli staples such as Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, Aquolina Pink Sugar and Thierry Mugler Angel, as well as newbie Cinderella perfumes like Taylor Swift's Wonderstruck (the review is coming - stay tuned) have a lot to live up to if they want to stay fresh-faced, too.

This perfume to me is like Clinique Happy - one I'll never want to be without. If you want more berries and patch, Vera Wang Rock Princess might be more your speed.

Drawing of Vera Wang Princess perfume
by DRAWCITY on Flickr

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Fall 2011 Top 10 Challenge: Let the Perfume Duel Begin!

So, about that new Twilight perfume...yeah, I think I might have felt cautious about a spontaneous buy, because something about the scent description and the bottle presentation with the lilac feather reminded me of Gloria Vanderbilt...does anyone remember that? This is not some cheap shot deriding it for being a drugstore perfume. It was a good scent, but it simply wasn't my fave at the time, as I vaguely recall it smelling flowery but nondescript, soapy, powdery and "perfumey" as we say, although the swan theme was decidedly feminine, maybe to the point of being too girly for my personal taste, though that is hard to fathom with my love of most things pink. Perfume is like food: you're either going to like it or not, and anyone can like whatever they want. Your healthy eating choices reflect a dedication to invest in your life, but you're still not any loftier for liking peas. No one is pressuring you to adhere to state-approved taste, here! When it comes to fragrance, your taste is in no way a reflection of your character, personality, status or class, so feel free and have fun with it!

What else is huge perfume news? Madonna is launching a fragrance with Coty. I loved the comment I read somewhere, that the bottle looks like something that holds holy water. If anyone could verify it, that would be awesome. I have a Roman Catholic grandmother, but I don't remember that, the way I remember rosaries and those gold coin-shaped charms. You know, the Pope has a perfume at his Vatican website - why didn't he capitalize on the bottle when he trademarked his title? As for the scent, I imagine it'll be a new take on Versace Blonde, maybe borderline Anais Anais. My prayer is that it'll smell like Bond No.9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her. I think it'll smell more like a humble celeb fragrance along the lines of Kim Kardashian. I dreamed Madonna, a perfumista whose holy name is invoked in the same breath as Catherine Deneuve and Donatella Versace, would collab with Aftelier because it was written in an influential magazine once how she loved Aftelier Pink Lotus.

I'll also share my mini-review of Balenciaga L'Essence: It's a copy of Prada Infusion d'Iris which you know, darling Pink Manhattanite, is a "sheer" (by which I mean linear and thick, though watery / transparent) and insipidly musky yet powerful-smelling copy of Solange Stoned. L'Essence (by Coty Prestige, I imagine) bears no resemblance to Balenciaga Paris, save for a very subtle violet-musk-tinged reference to Chanel Beige, and seems to share more attributes with the sweet, heavy though sheer and transparent-musky Donna Karan Pure. They smell like they signed up to take part in this bizarre on-going experiment, to turn musk into gauze, and woods into sopranos.

Finally, there's all this fuss over Chanel Jersey! Of course I'd love some, along with Givenchy Dahlia Noir and oh, gosh, this new love, Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir, but I haven't bought anything new this season except for a gorgeous and relatively affordable American perfume I just discovered (no, it's not a new release, and yes, I'll reveal it soon), a replenishment supply of Clinique Happy (it's rude to whisper; why not chortle out loud?) and a handful of samples, none of which have kept my interest. But in the era of austerity, not only am I planning for myself a strict no-buy period, the time has come to put all of my current favorite perfumes (the ones in my current rotation) through the ultimate test: if I had to choose just one in each category, what would I pick? The most contentious duels came down to these pairings:

Round 1: Vera Wang Princess vs. Gucci Guilty (Fruitchouli)

Round 2: Cartier La Treizieme Heure XIII vs. Cartier L'Heure Mysterieuse XII (Oriental)

Round 3: Clinique Happy vs. Creed Spring Flower (Fruity Floral)

Round 4. Jean Patou Joy vs. Bond No.9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her (Floral)

Round 5: Givenchy Very Irresistible Intense vs. By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses (Chypre)

Round 6: Chanel Jersey vs. Givenchy Dahlia Noir (Newbies)

Round 7: Heeley Iris de Nuit vs. Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir (Spicy Oriental Woody)

Round 8: Chanel No.19 vs Ralph Lauren Lauren (Vintage)

Round 9: Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie vs. Caron Narcisse Noir (Floral Oriental)

Round 10: There is no tenth round because the mystery American perfume currently holds this most coveted spot under Favorite New Acquisition.

Winners and my Top 10 will be posted shortly!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Immortal Twilight perfume, Volturi "Bella" Reign Scented Body Mist @ Twilight Beauty

So, most of us have heard by now that Twilight Beauty has launched a new fragrance called Immortal Twilight, which is interesting news to those of us who followed the whole Twilight perfume by Hot Topic lawsuit debacle. The new launch according to is a patchouli-based Floral Oriental, a description that served to stop me in the nick of time before ordering the beautiful purple bottle for myself. If they sell out, it wasn't me! Instead, my curiosity drifted over to one of the Volturi Twilight Reign Scented Body Mist series, "Bella", a scent described as "warm, delicate vanilla" (see photo below). I hope they'll restock it soon! Which scent do you think Bella would have worn?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Chanel in Jersey / Shade Parade

Chanel Jersey perfume actually follows Tilar Mazzeo's book in which she revealed that Chanel No.5 was being produced in Hoboken, NJ during WWII, but yes, Chanel Jersey is peculiar, especially coupled with Maison Chanel's new ad campaign featuring disembodied females, pigeonhole camera perspectives and boring, static 4-chord doo wop.

However, my parents of the Silent Generation could probably relate to this ad better than I can, even being a mirror-Silent and all.

The video was uploaded by CHANEL on Sep 13, 2011 on You Tube.

"It's the Nail Cabaret! A special performance starring Le Vernis de Chanel."

Oh, it's all a joke, all right, on women, it seems. Between this ad and Allure being the new Bride magazine, how much more of a time warp do they want?

Related links:
Chanel in Jersey by Lauren Collins, The New Yorker - November 4, 2011

Chanel Les Exclusifs Jersey - PINK MANHATTAN October 16, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Fragrance Rebel, New Home of Parfums de Coeur

If you grew up in the '80s when the home grown American Giorgio perfume was the rage, you came across Primo! at some point. Parfums de Coeur is a famous line of designer imposters that are easily accessible through the mass market (drugstore chains, etc.). While they aren't the real thing, select fragrances seem to be done fairly well, as is the case for Primo!, the Giorgio knockoff, which actually might smell better than Giorgio itself. There are Men's selections as well, such as Bring It (smells like Unforgivable) and New York Nights (Drakkar Noir). Then again, you could just get a Drakkar Noir mini, and wear tiny dots of it at a time like pure parfum, to make it last, of course, and also spare the world of some of its inherent power.

The Happy knockoff, Wanna Play? is also a decent knockoff, with more lily of the valley than the original. I would like to try their Goddess, a knockoff of Vera Wang Princess. If they could do a decent fruitchouli, no one will ever need to buy prestige (Luxe) again. Visit the new web site @ (this code may or may not work anymore: FALL25 for 25% off entire order) and be sure to check out their other selections such as Skin Musk (formerly Bonne Bell) made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker who declared her love for it on late night TV (which was soon turned into the idea for SJP Lovely by Coty), and the classics, Wind Song (1953) and Cachet (1970)(gotta smell these! That packaging is so Xanadu) by the famous midrange brand, Prince Matchabelli. Parfums de Coeur also has their own fragrances, such as Malibu Musk.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Apple Launches the World's Tiniest Recording Studio on Your iPhone For $5

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

"The world of mobile content creation just got a whole lot more functional. Seven months after releasing its music recording and sequencer program Garage Band as an iPad app, Apple has shrunk the app down even further to fit it on the iPhone and iPod Touch." Read more: Apple Launches the World's Tiniest Recording Studio on Your iPhone For $5 by John Paul Titlow / November 1, 2011 /

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Chick Corea & Makoto Ozone - Mozart Double Concerto

Pianists Chick Corea and Makoto Ozone incorporated jazz cadenzas into an otherwise traditional performance in Japan of the Mozart Double Concerto.

Chick Corea & Makoto Ozone - Mozart Double Concerto - Live in Japan - Uploaded by Martyprod2 on You Tube

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Have happy and safe fun!

If I Were You

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Corday Toujours Moi

This is a vintage advertisement for Corday Toujours Moi perfume. On the bottom, it reads, "Parfums Corday, Inc. 6 East 39th St. New York". Source: - 1936 Ad Corday Paris Perfume

This month, I spent some time tuning into a now-obscure vintage perfume circa 1924 called "Toujours Moi" (Always Me), a popular perfume by Corday that, according to legend, one composer was so enthralled by, he composed an entire musical piece for it for an album dedicated to his "muses" (five other Corday perfumes were also his muses) in 1948 (and yes, it really smells that awesome).

I first sampled the reformulated drugstore version from a few years back, which smelled astringent though vaguely floral-powdery, and came in a pale, medicinal orange color. It was a different scent than this vintage version, which has an earthier hue and a scent that is warm and rich, vetiver-based though ambery-vanillic, vaguely spicy though classically Floral. I can vouch for how beautiful this vintage perfume smells, because, luckily, I was able to procure this rare find, even if it's no longer in my possession (and I'm glad it found a loving new home). The bottle is gorgeous, like a harp or the inside of a piano, or perhaps a pipe organ, but the scent is outrageous, reminiscent of Revlon Intimate and Raphael Réplique, both of which harken back to days when Floral perfumes were deeper and more holistically aromatic, with universal facets of spiciness (tobacco?), sweetness, resins/earthiness/greenery and fruits/herbs, edging towards the center of the flavor wheel where Men's perfumes reign. And yet, Toujours Moi is a soft and tender, sensitive and melancholic, traditionally feminine perfume, as powdery soft as Caron N'aimez que Moi, but more daring, with the plummy warmth and assertive Floral-Ambery sensuality of Panthère de Cartier.

Although Toujours Moi is Floral, it's also fitting to be categorized as Oriental, as many other sweet-and-spicy perfumes in its era were, like Guerlain Shalimar (1925) and parfum fourrures of its time such as Weil Zibeline Secret de Venus. The dry down is slightly musky and borderline animalic, full of sweet intensity and a somewhat detached, hazy beauty. In a world full of perfumes sharp-smelling enough to literally keep us on high alert, with books on our heads and a straight line upon which to balance our heels like a prima donna, this old-fashioned bouquet of romantic beauty and luxurious comfort can be so captivating because it's so laid back and undemanding.

Related link: Classics Trend Part II - PINK MANHATTAN December 10, 2006

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gucci Guilty pour Homme

I like this fragrance for Men very much! The dry down is similar to Women's Gucci Guilty, which is a soft and sweet Floral Fruitchouli Gourmand accord, but the Men's starts with a cool and refreshing aqueous note (like Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò for Men, one of my favorites), plus some herbaceous notes that border on that typical masculine Fougère but don't go that route.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101 Halloween Show @ Callahan's

Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101 has expanded to Long Island, NY! Check out the Sam Ash Music Stores Carle Place monsters jam with the best of Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101 original Bronx members, including Claudia Kimmel, the rockin' 10 year old singer-songwriter who appeared at WILLiFEST 2011 (Williamsburg International Film Festival). It's gonna be an awesome Halloween event for all ages!

Sunday, October 30, 2011
3:00 p.m.

1964 Hempstead Turnpike
East Meadow, NY 11554

Fred Kimmel's Rock Band 101 with special guest, 19 year old Luis Cruz on guitar (who also appeared at WILLiFEST 2011 with Claudia Kimmel).

Sign up now for a free lesson:
Music Lessons at Sam Ash Music

Friday, October 21, 2011

That Man Smells Familiar - A Revival for Classic Men's Fragrances

My friend Grant Osborne, artist and founder / editor-in-chief of Basenotes, has been interviewed by The New York Times for this article. That Man Smells Familiar by Michael Walker, The New York Times - October 19, 2011
As nostalgia for the early 1960s persists, a handful of men’s fragrances from that period are getting a second look.

Join the discussion: New York Times article about 1960's Vintage Colognes for Men -

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chanel Les Exclusifs Jersey

The newest fragrance by Jacques Polge for the House of Chanel is a paradox, at once a masterful composition deftly weaving almost impossible elements together, and what must be an inside joke among those in-the-know, the scent of lavender baby wash, the kind that smells mostly of laundry detergent-esque white musk. Just as Givenchy Dahlia Noir put Givenchy back on the map as a house capable of delivering artistry despite composing with limited materials, Chanel has launched a great scent with Jersey, a modern lavender gourmand. The combination of lavender and vanilla has been around since Guerlain Jicky (1889), and the combination has been fabulous in such fragrances as Jean Patou Moment Suprême, MAC MV2, Caron pour un Homme and Serge Lutens Gris Clair.

First of all, the balsamic base note accord every fragrance house is using is really getting ubiquitous, but here, it's used in a sheer way, which, when combined with lavender, creates an herbaceous, aromatic and sugary yet dirty (somewhat like the "toxic New Jersey" note I find in Givenchy Dahlia Noir) accord that somehow works. This is in no way as strange as Hermès Brin de Réglisse, which is the opposite of a diaphanous lavender (it's more like a "flat Earth" woody scent). Chanel Jersey smells like it would appeal to some Gourmand lovers with a penchant for candy floss, as well as some classic lavender lovers who don't mind the baby wash feel of the pure white musk dry down.

For me, the generic white musk is off-putting, and I won't buy this scent because of it - however, I prefer it a thousand times over Chanel Beige, which I found too sharp, catering to the taste of the masses, and boring to boot, and at least as many times over Chanel Bleu, if not more. Despite the seams coming loose at the end, I feel it's a wonderful aromatic / gourmand addition to the Chanel Les Exclusifs collection.

The most interesting discovery for me, is that I understand that the direction Chanel went with this new launch is very much along the lines of European niche fragrances biehl parfumkunstwerke PC02 and Ego Facto Poopoo Pidoo.


Here are some other lavenders for you to try: Yardley English Lavender (the drugstore classic!), Caswell-Massey English Lavender and, probably not worth seeking out, but for s***s and giggles, I have to mention the very quickly discontinued Twilight perfume by Hot Topic.

Guerlain Vetiver

I have a very beautiful friend who loves Jo Malone Vetiver cologne. I had never known any woman who claimed vetiver as her signature, and became interested in discovering more vetiver-based colognes and perfumes. Although I never settled on a predominantly vetiver-centric fragrance (or a vetiver soliflore / single note scent), Guerlain Vetiver, an eau de toilette for Men, is among my very favorites. Vetiver on its own can smell dark and woody, like a linear plank of wood (Chanel Sycomore) in its most concentrated form, or it can smell softer, like grassy weed (Guerlain Vetiver). I have several favorites in the vetiver-based family, such as Pierre Balmain Ivoire with its significantly weedy base, and Serge Lutens Vétiver Oriental which is much heavier with ample servings of benzoin and labdanum to give it a more resinous feel.

According to Perfume Intelligence, Guerlain Vetiver was created in 1959, although it wasn't launched in the USA till 1961. Created by Jean-Paul Guerlain, it is described as a classical woody spicy. The bulk of vetiver fragrances born in the same era were mostly marketed to Men. Today, there are many shared versions, even a vetiver for Women (Guerlain Vetiver pour Elle (2004), which I still need to try), available on the market.

I would describe Guerlain Vetiver as a citric, spicy, powdery, grassy and weedy scent, with pleasant lemon-lime top notes making it a most appealing, well-mannered vintage sport fragrance. Basenotes lists coriander, nutmeg and Capiscum among the spice notes; the spiciness is sharp and austere, but not so piercingly sharp, at least not enough to overpower the more delicate citric top notes. It's not too sweet, but it doesn't singe the nosehairs in an effort to be macho (no flowers or sweets!) or too cerebral (nothing vulgar, like vanilla!), either. Overall, this Spicy Oriental has the easy wearability of a traditional lime, with well-tempered spices and a whole lot of genteel, powdery charm.

Read more about Guerlain Vetiver at The Vintage Perfume Vault.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Fragrance of the Moment

I like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's hair here. :-)

Everybody's doing the desert sands-powdery-musky and vaguely peachy Aldehydic Floral Bill Blass Nude (1990) this Fall, and Burberry's gotten on the bandwagon with...a perfume from the late '80s - early '90s a la Liz Claiborne (1986)? I get the unsweet peach skin thing, kind of like Jaïpur, but what's with that obnoxious floral musk note? Why would I want to buy something that smells like something I didn't feel like buying back then? If someone wants a warm and silky peach skin skin scent, there's always Trésor, Allure, Dolce Vita...if you're more abstract, Tocade, Nahéma, Iris Silver Mist...And, actually, Liz Claiborne Realities (1990, the original in the cubic objet d'art bottle) with soothing, relaxing notes of camomile, osmanthus and sage, blows both Body and Nude out of the water.

(Edited to add): Does Burberry Body remind anyone else of Coty Exclamation (1988)?

Also, are we just swapping names, now? Victoria's Secret Body, Burberry Body, Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial, so the logical end result would be what, Boucheron Initial Parfum Shalimar?

Related link: Givenchy Dahlia Noir - PINK MANHATTAN Sensorium of Song and Scent, by Sali Oguri - Published: September 17, 2011

Bill Blass Nude, circa 1990

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cartier Les Heures de Parfum: L'Heure Fougueuse IV

The elegant and refined, spicy and posh, powdery uptown maquillage Chypre Floral reminiscent of paperwhites (narcissus) is quiet but adventurous, like Central Park South on a hot summer day, with mild whiffs of horses and white/yellow heady blooms in the air. It starts both sharp and soft: retro glam and sophisticated on one hand and a green and virginal debutante perfume on the other. It's a leafy yet floral-powdery Chypre perfume fashioned after Ma Griffe and Chant d'Arômes - proper gardenias, of course, and with dirt notes typical of earthy Chypres, freshened up with soapy greens so no one will be the wiser. It smells like the city and the countryside in one, a complex unity of Aldehydic French lime blossoms and the temple incense of dry, dusty leather - English or Russian (who knows?), but definitely of the royal gloves and equestrian variety.

Among the Cartier Les Heures de Parfum collection, L'Heure Fougueuse IV stands out as being very spicy from the beginning, sharply bitter and acidic like coriander seed or French carrot soup, though it's coupled with maté, which adds a mildly sweet and lemony green tea note. It reminds me of The Different Company Bois d'Iris, or Frederic Malle L'Eau d'Hiver, which is carried by the bravado of relentless spiciness as well, while the rest of the composition is just a mellow, transparent musk. L'Heure Fougueuse could smell mellower, too, without all that spice, bringing it closer to Chant d'Aromes or Caline (not that I want it that soft, either); with tear-inducing lemon rind and coriander sharpness dominating the top notes, it's rather brisk for such a classic, well-mannered scent.

Osmoz describes L'Heure Fougueuse IV as the following: "Horse's mane notes intertwine with maté, musks and hay, creating a half-animal, half-botanical sensation." L'Heure Fougueuse, even being a trendy nouveau Chypre, with thin yet pungent, smoky, woody incense for its dry and dusty leather base, is the one perfume I can recall in recent times that went totally against the grain by retaining a traditional "mossy green" Chypre form, and letting soft-spoken yet dependable oakmoss dominate over leather for a change. I love the horsey, dusty leather coupled with grassy, weedy moss, but the jasmine, though an unlisted note, makes this scent for me. I've only smelled one other perfume that compares to the jasmine note found in the heart of L'Heure Fougueuse, and that is a 100% organic perfume called Rich Hippie Spring. It smells like honey, flowers and a hint of soil.

L'Heure Fougueuse reminds me of the definitive "summer hay, grass and honeysuckle" perfume, Annick Goutal Eau de Camille most of all, but it's more complex, compositionally closer to vintage perfumes than most new perfumes, with dirty, smoky patchouli leathers a la Jean Patou 1000 and Chanel Cuir de Russie adding a wild edge. It feels more formal than Eau de Camille, though it isn't quite opulent, either. It's glamorous but dry, floral yet unsweet, Aldehydic without bubbliness, like Caron Infini which I loved most in parfum once upon a time. Alas, I need a little more sugar to make it go down. Such a lovely and gentle floral heart, yet it succumbs to this bitter cocktail of herbs and spices served up in a Depression glass.

"Elegance is refusal." --Coco Chanel

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Jean-Louis Scherrer

Many thanks to my friend Donna (writer for Perfume-Smellin' Things) who kindly sent me a plethora of vintage perfume samples awhile back, I was able to sample this classic green Chypre beauty circa 1979 by Jean-Louis Scherrer. It is a classic rose-jasmine hearted floral made spicy with herbal, cinnamony notes, gorgeously fresh and green with icy yet rich galbanum and powdery iris, all on a bed of vetiver to give it class and charm a la Guerlain Vetiver (1961). At first sniff, I was instantly reminded of the great Green / green Chypre perfumes of days past: Estée Lauder Private Collection (1973), Aliage (also Alliage, 1972), Chanel N°19 (1970), Pierre Balmain Vent Vert (1947), all textbook perfect in their execution of nature-identical greenery, the standards by which all green perfumes are, and should be, judged.

As it dries down, Jean-Louis Scherrer turns spicier, giving way to an accord reminiscent of other favorites of mine, Parfums de Nicolaï Eau d'Été (1997) with fresh citrus juices and cinnamon atop a warm, pungent (somewhat animalic) jasmine, and Diptyque L'Eau (1968), a recreation of an ancient potpourri blend featuring cloves, which I've been craving all week. The final base notes reveal a regal woody, spicy and leathery accord, truly (and astoundingly for me) in the same vein as Parfums de Nicolaï New York (1989 - could the NY association be born of the concept of "career perfumes for Women"?), Guerlain Eau de Guerlain (1974), Caron Alpona (1939) and Caswell-Massey Number Six (1789).

Besides being absolutely gorgeous, I find that Jean-Louis Scherrer is a unique green in that it doesn't smell mossy (the way Ô de Lancôme (1969) dries down, for example). I like this scent very much, enough to consider buying a miniature some day, although given the choice, I'd rather wear Guerlain Vetiver for my lemon-lime vetiver, and Chanel N°19 for my green floral fix, both of which have gone without the "expensive butter soft leather" note that makes Scherrer smell not only like nature itself but like a powerful, royal force of nature.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Chloé Love, Chloé

The love child between '90s trendsetter Donna Karan Cashmere Mist and the powdery, somewhat peachy but unsweet and sharp, candied-musky violet accord of current fashion (Odin 04 Petrana, Givenchy Dahlia Noir, Balenciaga Paris) is this mostly nice and inoffensive, still relatively dour and uninteresting, though pretty, Love, Chloe. Put another way, this is the orange creamsicle-peachy rose powder Chanel Allure all mixed up with sharp, sappy greens: cucumber-celery rooty-and-fresh iris, the root of which resembles the sweet, intense scent of violets. Personally, I think this mixture of maquillage powder and suedey, desert sand musky skin scent is about as cutting edge as Adrienne Vitadini or Cerutti 1881, or Clarins Par Amour (the "Mommy one") - as maternal in its down-to-earth, unflashy quality as the original bouquet of fastidious pink musk, the quiet and reserved, nostalgic scent of peachy sands-toned Camay soap.

Related link: My Fragrance of the Moment (Burberry BODY) - October 13, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Betsey Johnson Too Too has arrived @ Sephora

What can I say? I've been anxiously awaiting the official launch of Betsey Johnson Too Too since Basenotes sent me to cover the New York launch party. Here it is, in time for October @ Sephora!

Related links:

Betsey Johnson Too Too - New York Launch Party by Sali Oguri, NY Correspondent for Basenotes, 2nd September 2011

Basenotes: Betsey Johnson Too Too - New York Launch Party - Pink Manhattan, September 02, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gymnopédie No.1 (trad.Erik Satie) - Pearson Constantino

Gymnopédie No​.​1 (trad​.​Erik Satie) from September by Pearson Constantino, Pearson Constantino's Music Shop

Reversed reading of Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1. Single live reading, from ending to beginning, with little improvising. From September, track released 23 September 2011, electric guitar only.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cartier XIII La Treizième Heure

Just when I thought Mathilde Laurent couldn't possibly create another masterpiece to compete with XII L'Heure Mysterieuse, I've discovered I equally love XIII La Treizième Heure, winner of the Prix des Parfumeurs (Perfumers' Prize) and the Prix des Spécialistes (panel of bloggers, evaluators & journalists) at the 2010 French FiFi Awards. Artfully composed with notes of bergamot, narcissus, maté, birch, leather, patchouli and vanilla, La Treizieme Heure is at once comforting and strange, a daring juxtapositioning of bitter and sweet notes. A bittersweet ending to the Les Heures de Parfum series, La Treizième Heure, the thirteenth hour, is named for the lucky number 13 in Cartier's Parisian address at 13 Rue de la Paix. The word in perfume blogosphere is that this fragrance is the perfumer's favorite among the extraordinary and exclusive collection she has authored.

At first sniff, I smell a combination of dark tea and rubber tire notes on a scrumptious bed of warm, milky vanilla, reminding me of Bvlgari Black, Serge Lutens Chergui and Cumming by Alan Cumming all wrapped into one, then made minimalist and sublimely elegant as none of the aforementioned could compare. It is as coolly intellectual as it is passionate and raw - it does not develop in stages as traditionally structured compositions do, but instead begins and ends on the same combination of notes in linear fashion. This does not bore me, however, because the combination keeps my interest as it teases the senses with smoky burnt rubber and gourmand elements, as if to torture the physically hungry and psychologically love-starved, to keep true satisfaction at bay. Lucky me, there is enough sweetness here that I don't feel deprived; in fact, what's one person's "too sweet" or "unsweet" is another's "just right". This is a level of discipline I can tolerate - any less sweetened, and I would consider it unfashionably austere.

The overall feel of the shared gender scent is that of leather, but it's not the soft, buttery suede of Serge Lutens Daim Blond nor the aggressive leather of Cabochard or Cumming, but rather like the motor oil and lipstick leather of Molinard Habanita, only extremely downplayed in character (edited to clarify: the oily lipstick leather note and the smoky birch tar note which is similar to Cumming, together make this unique leather accord). This modern leather creation is an Oriental fragrance mostly redolent of soft spices, green notes and all of the urban smells I'm familiar with having grown up in the metropolitan areas, technically bad smells I must have grown to subliminally love, if only for the familiarity, and the comfort such a thing can provide when the nicer comfort scents, along the lines of more easygoing gourmand vanillas, won't make the grade.

Besides, no one needs to know that Cartier XIII La Treizième Heure is really just a sweet, idealistic dreamer of a white floral at heart.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ten year old emerging singer-songwriter Claudia Kimmel to perform @ WILLiFEST (Williamsburg International Film Festival) Sept 22 - 25, 2011

Join us @ WILLiFEST (Williamsburg International Film Festival): The World's Fair of festivals, the World's biggest block party, an arts festival in the arts capitol of New York - Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

10-year-old emerging singer-songwriter CLAUDIA KIMMEL will perform at WILLiFEST 2011at The Closing Night Awards Ceremony following the last screening on Sunday, September 25 at 6pm - exact time TBA (blog will be updated).

UPDATE (9/20): Claudia Kimmel's band lineup for WILLiFEST 2011 are: Brian Medina (b), Mike Tamborino (d), Luis Cruz (g) and Fred Kimmel (g), founder of Fred Kimmel's ROCK BAND 101.

UPDATE (9/20): Claudia Kimmel has received mention in WILLiFEST's newsletter!

UPDATE (9/19): You won't find Claudia on the WILLiFEST website since the invitation for her to perform came at the last minute; however, her appearance is confirmed, and you can still buy tickets. Here's where Claudia will be singing on 9/25. We hope to see you there!


Sunday, September 25, 2011
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Lower Level
161 South 3rd Street
(Corner of Driggs Avenue)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Phone 212.744.2845




Saturday, September 17, 2011

Givenchy Dahlia Noir

The description of Givenchy Dahlia Noir reads as follows on Neiman Marcus' website: "A Couture fragrance all in pure lines, a return to supreme luxury. The quintessence of the Givenchy Style." It's a lot to live up to, but since sampling this new fragrance, I know Givenchy Dahlia Noir reigns supreme in the world of couture perfumery. I'm not exaggerating when I say Dahlia Noir is the second coming of Robert Piguet Bandit. If anyone is familiar with the leather note in perfumery, it is most often rendered by the copious use of musk. Take for example Molinard Habanita with its vintage face powder and raspberry lipstick-kissed rocker jacket greased with motor oil, or L'Artisan Dzing! with a drier, more somber, decidedly bolder and more streamlined approach to the leather blindfold accord. The crowning glory of the whips-and-chains "bad woman" Chypre genre, Piguet Bandit, is a notoriously bitter, dark green, murky, smoky and difficult perfume, as enigmatic as swampwater, as breezy as toxic waste hovering over certain parts of New York and our neighboring state of New Jersey, the home of the flavor and fragrance industry in the USA (it is a warm and filthy-sweet odor, nauseating and disturbing, especially pungent driving down the I-95). Back to Bandit: it's a torture of a perfume till you get to the vanilla dry down, which is delicious if you can ignore all the filth surrounding it.

Givenchy Dahlia Noir, a powdery Floral Chypre, its name a double-edged sword between kitschy shock and true horror (I'll take the former if pressed, but I dislike both for a perfume concept), only works as a perfume name because of the quality of the composition (if not raw materials - this is debatable), the 'soul' of its essence being as tactile in sensuality as the presentation suggests. A strictly modern Floral-Powdery perfume on a base of post-Cashmere Mist creamy-woody-powdery musk, this is today's refined jus, a graceful, cleanly structured perfume. The deceivingly light, sugary-sweet baby oil musk scent seems to reference Love's Baby Soft (!), while the iris and mimosa create a delightful juxtaposition with "nature-identical" (as the industry puts it), vegetal, invigorating green notes, giving the overall a violetty (orris root-like) character. Bringing strength, fullness and drama to the scene is the heart of traditional roses with an alluring peaches-and-cream quality. The dry down is increasingly aggressive, an ending more boozy and jewel-toned, much like Guerlain Insolence, but lighter, more ethereal, ghostly, even. Oh, yes, and here, you'll also find that all-important filth.

Dear Givenchy, everything rocks about this new launch, enough to call this the new Chanel, except I'd stay away from any "flesh colored" reference in your ad copy (please scroll down). No, you're not alone in going the "nude" direction this fall, but it wasn't cool when Bill Blass did it back in 1990 with their Aldehydic Floral perfume called Nude that never got off the ground. I don't think I need to explain why in 2011, it's just ignorant of the fragrance industry as a whole.

Givenchy – Dahlia Noir By Rommellyn– July 22, 2011