Thursday, February 21, 2013

Japan's Abe seeks to show off alliance, get Obama to back Abenomics

(Reuters) - "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be seeking to put a strong U.S.-Japan alliance on full display in the face of potential threats from a nuclear North Korea and an assertive China when he meets U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday.

(...) "Abe, who leaves for Washington on Thursday, also hopes to secure at least a wink and a nod from Obama that would allow him to argue that Japan can negotiate special treatment for politically sensitive sectors such as rice if it joins talks on a U.S.-led free trade pact."

(...) "Abe is expected to come bearing one welcome gift - a promise that Japan will finally join an international treaty on settling cross-border child custody disputes, known as The Hague Convention. Japan has been the only member of the Group of Eight advanced nations not to join the pact, despite pressure from the United States and other countries." Read the article: Japan's Abe seeks to show off alliance, gets Obama nod on Abenomics - By Linda Sieg and Kiyoshi Takenaka, Feb 21, 2013 Reuters

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chanel Les Exclusifs 1932

Here's the talk of the town, a great new launch since Beige and Jersey. I definitely smell Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 Rue Cambon in this; it's that same piercing top note that smells like orange spice that grabs me from the start. The rest is a whole other type of scent, save for a bit of leatheriness in the overall feeling--nouveau Chypre, I'd say again--but this time, there's a jasmine note reminiscent of Parfums del Rae Amoureuse, Guerlain Les Secrets de Sophie and Serge Lutens A la Nuit, a sort of heavy and linear-feeling, yet not very sweet jasmine, at the heart of Chanel 1932. That doesn't make this a necessarily Floral composition, however; I smell something dry and woody as well as aforementioned leather, bringing to mind Jean Patou 1000 without the fruit, Miss Dior, or Miss Balmain and other gardenia-leathers in that genre of authentically perfumy perfumes of yesteryear (edited to add: I'm also reminded of Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe,which shares with 1932 the citric spice and the modern leather type aroma). Although this is a squeaky clean rendition of parfum fourrure devoid of dirty animalics or anything carnal in the jasmine itself, lovers of the Rue Cambon scents Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie (both of which resemble No.5 but are smokier) will find 1932 more in line with their taste than, say, the Gardenia aficionada (although the Cristalle EDP lover might find it appealing).

Although it's billed as a powdery jasmine, I'd say it smells more dry and dusty with a hint of spicy amber in it somewhere, not so far away from Caron En Avion or the Jean Patou Cocktail collection in its perfuminess combined with sharp, spicy edges as if to give the fragrance more sparkle like gemstones or the top notes of bubbly champagne, rendered without the overload of aldehydes a la No.5. Chanel 1932 is more loamy than scintillating, but I enjoy it for what it is: a nostalgic scent with a boozy vintage atmosphere, which takes me closer to the world of Old World Perfume--Weil Secret de Venus or the little French parfum miniatures I own in little-known scents like Air de France and Cinq a Sept. Chanel 1932 if anything is worthy of its name, for the scent captures the era so eloquently. (image:

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Farmer's Fight With Monsanto Reaches The Supreme Court

Farmer's Fight With Monsanto Reaches The Supreme Court by Dan Charles, February 18, 2013 NPR

Related link: Supreme Court to Hear Monsanto Seed Patent Case - NYTimes

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Yoko Ono

Happy Birthday, Yoko Ono! Oh Yoko! Ms. Ono at 80 by Jon Wiener on February 14, 2013 The Nation

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre

I hope you are having a blissfully lovey-dovey Valentine's Day weekend! This limited edition Chanel fragrance would be most appropriate for such romantic occasions. The House of Chanel is usually known for abstract perfume blends such as their iconic No.5 which doesn't smell particularly rosy even with its famous heart of May rose and Grasse jasmine. Coco Chanel is quoted as having said that a woman should not smell of roses - and yet, here we are with Chanel Chance Eau Tendre, the rosiest-smelling perfume Chanel has ever launched. The top notes are a bit sharp and spicy, almost like pink ginger, an accord similar in style to what I have smelled in a handful of more-or-less recently launched luxury fragrances in the Fruity Floral vein such as Cartier L'Heure Folle X, a composition containing shiso leaf notes.

In fact, many 'pink' perfumes lately have pulled back on sweetness, as you can smell in the fruity floral Hermès Jardin series or the popular pink floral Chloé Eau de Parfum. Chanel Chance Eau Tendre fits right in with this set of well-mannered pinks, but it stands out as especially lovely with a robust rose note which is a bit reminiscent of L'Eau de Chloe, in perfect harmony with a subtle creme brulee-like gourmand background, not quite vanillic but like the caramel note in Laurence Dumont Tarte aux Myrtilles. This is the most beautiful Chanel offering I've come across in some time, and I want to get some for my daughter who likes this as much as I do.

CLEAN Summer Escape

Are you one of the lucky ones on vacay during the long holiday weekend? Are you on the other side of the hemisphere where it's actually summertime? Wherever you are, whatever you're up to, this variation of CLEAN by Dlish is for the aqueous scent lover with a penchant for the tropical. CLEAN Summer Escape smells to me of tart, fresh water fruits (melon, maybe, but more like a hazy mixture of fruits; the youthful tartness reminds me of CLEAN Rain and Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua) and a bit of that coconutty 'Coppertone' suntan lotion scent as you might find in Benefit So Hooked On Carmella, Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted, Versace Crystal Noir or Ralph Lauren Ralph Hot. The overall structure of cool, Jolly Rancher candy notes combined with sweeter (but not too sweet, more musky than gourmand) base notes is like the blueprint for Beyonce's first fragrance, Heat, but more casual.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stan Kenton: City of Glass

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City of Glass (Stan Kenton album) (link to Wikipedia) 1951 featuring June Christy and more. Come listen to the 1995 digital re-issue CD at my other place: PINK MANHATTAN Music blog. Image:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 Valentine's Day Top 10 Fragrance List

I've never smelled the original Vivara perfume by Emilio Pucci, but this vintage, somewhat space-age-looking ad makes me wish I could. The newer (but I believe already discontinued) Vivara is a fresh and pretty, albeit quirky aquatic Chypre (a bit like Lanvin Rumeur for comparison), so I'm guessing the original was a Chypre of a similar motif but of a classically mossy type (unless it was more leathery / patchouli-based than mossy). Recently, I fell in love hard with a flanker called Vivara Variazioni Acqua 330. To even my own surprise, it's an aquatic Floral, probably the most practical, boring, casual-sporty scent I've ever loved. Maybe this marks a new age in perfuming for me.

My top favorite perfumes of early 2013 are mostly centered around Water, with the central motif being aqueous notes on the greener part of the olfactory spectrum such as green tea, apple, melon and sea notes (taking the liberty to say these ozonics smell green to me--like seaweed, maybe?). Also, cliché but my taste is leaning towards roses this month. With the exception of one or two scents on my list, I believe the rose blends I currently prefer are less about smelling rosy per se, more abstract than not (though it doesn't have to be 'Chanel' abstract). There are certain notes I want to be able to discern in a blend, but with roses, I like them felt, not smelled, like I want my musical chords not entirely spelled out because I don't need them to be.

I've realized that although visually I find roses the most beautiful of all flowers, the essence leaves me lukewarm. I prefer rose with at least one other note. The scent itself for me doesn't ignite the kind of addictive passion that other sweeter flowers do. Still, the rose is integral to many of my favorite perfume compositions. You can't have a romantic (and fresh) fragrance like Creed Spring Flower without the classical heart of rose and jasmine forever married to each other like in the heart of every traditional perfume since the beginning of time. Even a sharp and soapy aquatic Green Floral like MPG Eau de Camelia Chinois couldn't communicate Old World elegance without the ever-popular and timelessly beautiful rose. Without it (and its faithful white floral partner), it would be a bitter sourpuss of an herbal tea essence. A good perfume needs to deliver the sweetness of life, even in the subtlest form. When all is said and done, the rose is only mildly sweet.

Yet I've come to appreciate the rosy soprano greens, and learned few scents are as resonantly high-pitched as my Chinese camellia. Of course, I'm not limiting myself to these spring/summery green, minty or powdery light, elegant or sporty scents; I'm quite taken with the new popular Angel on the scene, the Fruity Floral gourmand-chouli a la Lancome La Vie est Belle, and a pleasant peach-hued composition based on a lighter interpretation of the decadent style, Ivanka Trump's debut fragrance. I've found my chocolaty patchouli addictions, and they will be mine forever like my passion for the French pâtisserie.

Scent or packaging-wise, I don't think of any of these as being stereotypically feminine, save for Spring Flower with its over-the-top frou frou yet somehow sporty (nice angular bottle combined with pink) rose and gold flacon, with a crisp, green-white-and-pink floral-print ribbon adorning the neck like a scarf, as Audrey Hepburn or Vent Vert-loving Brigitte Bardot might have worn. The posh perfume is complete with a garden-(English roses?) theme girly girl packaging, good enough for a real life Barbie with a pink Bentley. That said, I also love the more androgynous offerings in plain packaging, fresh and clean, not the least bit threatening nor demanding, for just going about the day-to-day or to vacay in casual- or, heck, loungewear. What I'd like to see more of are fragrances for women that won't make us choose between being 'attractive', 'active', 'passionate', 'capable' and all that. That way, we won't be limited by our scent preferences as to who we're supposed to be, and we can enjoy being who we are, comfortable in our own skin. Now that's sexy.

2013 Valentine's Day Top 10 Fragrance List

1. Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Camélia Chinois
2. Emilio Pucci Vivara Variazioni Acqua 330
3. Lancôme La Vie est Belle
4. Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose
5. Ivanka Trump by Ivanka Trump
6. Creed Spring Flower
7. Montale Aoud Rose Petals
8. Chanel N°22
9. Chanel Chance Eau Tendre
10. Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua

Happy Valentine's Day! <3

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Aftelier Perfumes Cacao

I don't remember the exact year that natural perfumer and author Mandy Aftel (Aftelier Perfumes, made a huge splash in the top beauty magazines with her artisanal perfume, 'Pink Lotus', which was famously worn by Madonna, but her awe-inspiring line of all-natural perfumes has continued to shake up the scene among the perfumistas-in-the-know. Pictured above is a gorgeous little French heart-shaped perfume pendant filled with someone's favorite Aftelier fragrance creation, a unique and lovely Valentine's Day gift idea. You might choose 'Cepes and Tuberose' featuring wild porcini mushrooms and Italian tuberose, but my scent choice would be 'Cacao', an intoxicating and decadent blend of tinctured cocoa beans, Tahitian vanilla, blood orange, pink grapefruit and a luxurious combination of jasmines Sambac and Grandiflorum.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Cartier L'Heure Défendue VII

I like this Cartier, a simple chocolate scent without any zany flavors thrown in, save for the white musk I detect at the end. This isn't the dark chocolate note I adore so much in Lagniappe Oaks Jazelle, either. L'Heure Defendue (forbidden hour - reminds me vaguely of my Persephone, a "forbidden" dark chocolate blend--anyone remember?) is listed as a Chypre Floral, but what I smell is a powdery cocoa-truffle scent, not the usual "dirty" chocolaty patchouli one might expect (because everyone's done it after Angel, even Chanel (Coromandel)). I can sort of compare it to the milk chocolate creamy goodness of Serendipitous by Serendipity 3 but perhaps more streamlined and elegant, without the orange and marshmallows I pick up in the indie eau de toilette. Still, what's zanier than the scent itself is that this chocolate perfume is an actual creation by Cartier. But why not? Have I become such a perfume snob that I can't respect a serious perfume line with a sense of humor? Mathilde Laurent knows how to have fun, having composed without biases, something in the exclusive line for everyone to enjoy, and that's cool, because like it or not, gourmand is a new classic, here to stay.

Lancôme La Vie est Belle

They say spring came early this year, but in New York City, it's still 25 degrees Fahrenheit tonight, making me yearn for a bit of warmth in my fragrance, at least intermittently between the clean, even aquatic scents I've come to adore, especially whilst at the pool where I've vowed to spend time burning off the calories I inherited from this past holiday season. But tonight is one of those nights I want to curl up in a fluffy comforter with a good book, maybe do my own nails, dreaming about the fabulous body I'm going to achieve in this lifetime, which I'll show off in a body-conscious gown at a gala, dancing underneath a sparkling chandelier to the band playing "Misty".

And there I'll be, wearing this perfume fit for Valentine's Day with its chocolaty, not an actual chocolate note, but that "chocolaty patchouli" that perfume lovers have long spoken about, to give the Angel-esque (polite euphemism for "ubiquitous copycat") gourmand Woody Oriental accord more value than to say it's some kind of soft and sweet vanillic scent. The patchouli gourmand is sexy, not sweet, more of an experienced lover as opposed to a virgin, a smoky-earthy kind of nouveau-hippie hip if you will. Still, however strong and sexy it conveys itself to be, it's never matronly but young, young, young, dancing till dawn in heels, not quite a lady like Coco Mademoiselle which it resembles, but more of a kin of wild child Pink Sugar and fashionista Flowerbomb.

You'd never know that the quality of the buttery smooth iris is what makes this patchouli sublime in this genre, because you get lost in the plush, downy chocolaty patch made extra attention-getting and zany combined with bright citrus. Chocolate alone can't be as exciting as the ones with cherries and orange peels, right? Are we strong enough yet?! Do we have flavor, color, attitude, charisma?! I recall a fleshy apricot tone, bringing to mind Lancome Tresor for a moment, the brazen bombshell '80s mega-Floral, rosy-cheeked and oh-so-peachy-keen, lurking somewhere in its past like a stage mom whispering suggestions off-stage. (Now smile!!!)

Like a fluffy chocolate souffle or mousse embellished with decorative fruits, La Vie est Belle is the prettiest pageant queen of a fruitchouli, with all its powerful strength leaving a sillage like an ostentatious dress train for several city blocks, milky, comforting, sugary warm and powdery soft like a heaven sent gourmet cloud, something Angel was not, due to its angular boldness. You'd never know La Vie est Belle was such a gorgeous patchouli from the bottle which in all its blushing hues has nothing to say. And that's how it's going to be when I step down onto that dance floor, say, from the top of the winding staircase: just being silently breathtaking, loving the spotlight and all the attention for as long as the remnants of my youth can milk it. You know it's never too late.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Forward Thinking: A Note on Fragrance, A Feminine Point of View

PDF File / Google Quick View Forward Thinking: A Note on Fragrance, A Feminine Point of View

A focus on rose, love, life and gold carry feminine fine fragrance trends - by Amy Marks-McGee, Trendincite

Friday, February 01, 2013

EDWARD I. KOCH, 1924-2013 Edward Koch, Former Mayor of New York, Dies

"Edward I. Koch, the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams, died Friday morning at age 88." Continue reading: EDWARD I. KOCH, 1924-2013 Edward Koch, Former Mayor of New York, Dies - By Robert D. McFadden, February 02, 2013