Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fragrance Bouquet’s Top 5 for Fall

What are you wearing this fall? Fragrance Bouquet and For the Love of Perfume are sharing their Autumnal loves for 2007 today. Are you going to stay and share your own loves with us? Have you brought out the big guns already? I am talking about the spices, of course! I’ll admit, I never really put them away – there’s always going to be a day when I need some spice in my life, even if it’s during high summer! Fall to me though, is all about woods and amber. Lovely warm notes that will ease me into winter and comfort me as the weather gets progressively colder. Now, without further ado, my personal top 5:

  • 5. Sequoia 7 by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
    It is worth to wait through the slightly shocking opening: the reward is finding one of the most beautiful wood-scents. A deeply satisfying soft, subtle and slightly aloof wood fragrance, that dries down to an unexpected smoky, incense-like clove. It is resilience against the winds of Fall; it is walking in a space of personal calm while the startlingly beautiful dry leaves swivel around, unable to fly any closer.

  • 4. Palisander by Ava Luxe
    The thirst of the rich, dark soil quenched by rain. The golden brown leaves that will feed the trees that once bore them. A barefoot dance on the soft earth under a silver sky that hasn’t seen the sun in days. And then night-time, dark desires, bewitching female mysteries. The smell of heat. This has become a firm favorite, possibly the sexiest autumnal scent I have reviewed. Wearing it makes me just a bit more daring, as though I’m wearing pheromones. (For a full review click here)

  • 3. Ambre Précieux by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier
    Luxurious and warm, this is one of the most exquisite amber scents I know. Myrrh and myrtle, amber, precious balsams and resins and just a little bit of nutmeg to tamper the already gentle vanillic undertones, this fragrance smells as good as the notes sound. It is at once a warm embrace and a sway of the hips to a mystic melody of the east. Close your eyes and enjoy. Need I say more?

  • 2. Miyako by Annayake
    You already know I love this! Ever since I bought it, it has been the perfume I turn to every time I need comfort. It does not cheer me up, it just hugs me, soothes me, helps me get on with things. Incense, resin, wood and amber infused with a soft milky accord and the peculiar, lovely sweetness I couldn’t possibly describe in a different way than I did in my original review: “(...) rather curious, reminding me of the subtly sweet and oh-so-comforting warm air one finds in a house, after a full day of baking spiced goods made of lovingly kneaded dough.” (For a full review click here)

  • 1. Tsukimi by Annayake
    The loveliest autumn scent for me - I can’t do without it. Wearing it, I feel I’m bathed in gold, my forehead anointed with the most precious essences. Tsukimi’s effulgent aurora is as kind and mellow as the sun of autumn. (For a full review click here)

Autumn Don’ts: Or rather “Autumn don’t–even-think-about-its!”. I should have known better – I’ve yet to find a Van Cleef & Arpels fragrance I like- but for the sake of ...autumnal research I thought I’d get a sample of their Autumne scent, from their Les Saisons series. The notes sounded vaguely attractive, although far from special and the opening was agreeable enough. And then... disaster. Autumne smells like the chemicals of an epilating cream! This is not just an Autumn don’t – it is plainly a perfume don’t!

Images courtesy of

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blushing Bouquet

Mariuca, one of the most wonderful, sweetest people frequenting the web has awarded me with this "I'm Fabulous" award! Isn't it lovely how its colors actually match the colors of my sidebar? It has found a permanent home above my search button. Thank you Mariuca, you've really made me happy :) And I know for a fact that you make so many others happy too - you spread happiness around. No, I don't mean by awards - just by being you. Thank you for this award, and most of all, thank you for being the amazing girl you are. *mwah!*

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ma Folie de Noel by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz : Perfume Review

Do you remember how easily reality could change into enchanted playgrounds when you were a child? Do you remember how the air itself in an old cellar could suddenly assume presence, cold and damp, smelling of something far away, possibly touched by wizardry? Creatures would lurk in shadows and treasures untold were waiting to be discovered in long disused drawers. With no adults around to break the spell, nothing was ordinary and everything was potentially magical. The portals to other worlds were there all the time, their smells and textures enhanced tenfold. True magic, better than any novel, better than any dream; Russet velvets and gold coins, smells of dust and dried flowers and furs in the closet, fruits and nuts in a basket that may or may not have been made of wax, spiderwebs sparkling with dew and countless colorful buttons in an intricate box saved by grandma... all magic, all toys, all props for the wondrous worlds only a child’s fantasies could create. Do you remember? I had forgotten... And then my sample packet from DSH arrived and I felt drawn into this time-warp, only to emerge on the other side almost tearful for the witchcraft lost in time. I’ve fallen in love with these scents, so unlike anything else I’ve ever smelled, so unlike every other perfume that fits my adult world perfectly. These are scents that enable the wearer to suspend belief, bend reality, bring back the magic. They are a bit in fact, like wearing a fairytale.

Her scents make me smile, they make me curious, willing to explore like a child. They make me forget about time constraints, they re-introduce me to a world full of enchantments. They evoke memories and feelings. From the moment I started sampling them I have been overwhelmed by my own excitement and I’ve regretted not discovering them sooner. The scents I have sampled so far are not ones I can imagine wearing with a sharp suit, as I would for example something by Sisley. I did mean it when I said that these scents are unlike anything that perfectly fits my adult world. They are softer around the edges; they are moments in time, the part of a cloud where the sun breaks through, a memory, a strange object out of a treasure chest. I cherish them. There are so many things that I can wear with high heels and a crisp white shirt and so few that make my heart feel this long-lost delight with everyday beauty.

The first DSH fragrance I have chosen to review is Ma Folie de Noel, a scent that perfectly describes the wistfulness so many of the samples evoked inside me. In fact, it is a scent that coincidentally also describes Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s own nostalgic childhood experiences, being an amalgam of Holiday scents from her past. I can’t say that it conjures similar Christmassy memories for me too – my own Christmases were filled with very different smells: spice, cinnamon, cloves, icing sugar, almonds, orange rinds and myriads of traditional Greek delights. This fragrance has nevertheless touched me with its beauty, even though the name does not fit my own view of the winter holidays. Ma Folie de Noel opens with a very prominent anis note of remarkable beauty. It does not feel thick or heavy, but transparent and watery, like a mist. Then slowly, it becomes candied, like boiled anis sweets. There is a certain chocolate undertone there, and indeed, every time I wear Ma Folie de Noel, this stage makes me think of eating good dark chocolate with lovely, crunchy, tiny anis-candy fragments in it. As the chocolate disappears, the anis remains for a while still, this time with a peculiar, nutty vein running through it. The scent intensifies, gaining momentum, becoming warmer and spicier as time goes by. Smelling close, I can clearly discern the base on which it is built – a lovingly built tier of resinous musk. It feels as though the base notes are flowing upwards, permeating the ceiling through the mezzanine. The anis note now entirely gone, we enter the most luxurious phase of this perfume. A gentlemen’s club, with the light smell of vanilla-scented cigarette smoke lingering in the air, desks topped with buttery leather and unfinished glasses of Rémy Martin Cognac littering the small round tables. I love how the boozy smell of cognac and vanilla smoke enfolds my skin... There is a certain masculine sense there, that makes me want to bury my nose in my own skin – I find it immensely comforting and sexy at the same time. I also find it strange that in this stage I perceive the opoponax as smelling of wonderful, sweet leather when combined with the cognac and vanilla. Is it just me? But I digress... The anis is resurrected in the drydown, this time very light, understated and tame. It flows seamlessly through as the cognac note dissipates, smelling faintly of the lightly aniseedic flavor raisin pips impart when crushed. It is now that the opoponax note truly shows its beauty. It is dark and sweet and ever so lightly smoky, blending gorgeously with the smell of the skin itself. It positively enhances the skin’s own scent, creating an ultra-seductive musky murmur. It imbues the skin with warmth, a veil of saturated darkness, lit from within with joyous flames. If I could only describe the feeling it gives me, it would be that of a happy winter heart. It is the feel of my skin, finding warmth under a cashmere-silk blend sweater, snug under a soft leather jacket, walking the silent wintry streets in the arms of my loved one. If I could describe the perfect occasion instead, it would be in front of the fireplace on a cold snowy night. This has definitely become my favorite comfort/sexiness blend. I must have it – I don’t think the sample is going to last me through the month, let alone winter.

Vintage buttons courtesy of
Picture of Anis de Flavigny candy courtesy of
Image of winter night, courtesy of, made by Shahram Razavi.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Soap Story : Esperys by Piver

A touch of the flu has left me feeling a little worse for wear since yesterday, with a stomach that can’t possibly stomach sniffing perfume at the moment. How hateful is that? Especially so when there are new discoveries on my desk waiting to be reviewed. Let’s hope it doesn’t last long – I want to share some of my new discoveries with you by Friday.

So, in the absence of a review today, how about a little follow up to my recent post on Courdray’s Esperys? It turns out I am not the only one intrigued by the questions that were brought up in that review. I received a few emails on the subject and one of them in particular was wondering, just as I was, how close the new Esperys might be to the original by Piver. I am afraid I still do not have a good answer for this question, but the email did prompt me to try and come a little closer to the truth. Despite my efforts so far, I have been unable to source some of the original jus, but ... I did know where to find the original soap! Do I hear you laughing? Yeah, I am too. It’s better than nothing though, I’m sure you’ll agree. Well, as it turns out Esperys the soap bares no resemblance to Coudray’s modern version. But then again, I now find myself wondering just how many features -if any- the soap’s scent actually shares with the original fragrance itself. I simply cannot imagine what I smell here successfully translated into a perfume, you see. There is the issue of the overwhelming soapiness of course, but behind that there is a rather unpleasant scent of sweet sweat. Aside from this, I also recognize the same base Piver used for their Heliotrope fragrance and a subtle floral bouquet slightly reminiscent of Floramye’s drydown. The mild sweat note combined with the soft florals creates a confusing ambivalence, as though the scent cannot decide whether it is masculine of feminine. All I can say is that I hope the original does not smell like the soap. On a more positive note, I delight in having this gorgeous little box on my dresser.

Image: Author’s own

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fuel for Life by Diesel : Perfume Reviews

I looove Diesel. I love the brand, the ads, I love the clothes. The jeans are amazing – nothing like a Diesel pair to create, nay, sculpt that perfect derrière that will lift my mood and give me an instant boost of confidence. Oh yes, I swear by them. And lately, I’ve also been rather taken by Diesel accessories, ever since the Boule Bag stole my heart last year. (I am still kicking myself for not buying it the one time when I saw it in lovely, aged cognac brown – the purple didn’t move me in the same way and so I’ve remained Boule-less, *sigh*) Despite my infatuation with the brand, I’d never smelled any of Diesel’s previous perfumed offerings. The new Fuel for Life fragrances are everywhere right now though and dressed as they are in their little outfits, they simply beg to be touched, picked up and inevitably sprayed on the skin. How do they fare? Mighty well in my opinion.

Fuel for Life Pour Homme:

The notes are intriguing, mixing the traditionally masculine along with the unexpectedly playful. What pleases me most about this scent, is that everything is used in what I am tempted to call moderation, but really, is just the perfect dose. To give an example: Both the top and base notes employ an anis element – aniseed in the top notes and immortelle in the base notes. On paper, this might seem as though Fuel for Life Pour Homme delivers an ouzo-like, liquorice punch, but in reality, the result is a continuous, candied and at the same time almost salty, anis veil, not strong enough to pop-out as a stand alone note distracting from the composition, but as a lovely primer on the canvas, a constant upon the rest of the notes bloom. The fragrance is woody and herbal, with accents of lavender and vetiver making it definitively masculine. At the same time the anis and fruity notes give it an unexpected twist, modernizing the fougere base, making it delightfully contemporary. Even though it is not listed as an official note, I could swear there is oudh in the blend as well, leaving a lasting impression throughout the development. It helps along the lovely interplay between coolness and warmth, sharpness and mystery. What I love most about the scent? The vivacious, playful note of raspberry, which is carefully used, once again in just the right amount. It is not tart, overly sweet or chemical, but wonderfully soft instead - as though blended with clotted cream and a sprinkling of sugar. I have no doubt that I would hate this note had I found it in a female fragrance, but in this undoubtedly masculine blend it makes me grin with pleasure - not only because the idea of it in a male fragrance excites me, but also because it fits the composition so very well, giving it that something extra naughty.

Fuel for Life Pour Femme:

Fragrances dominated by patchouli can go either very wrong or very, very right in my book. I have previously elaborated on how previous bad experiences led me to shy away from patchouli and how I learned to love it, once I found the right perfume to ease me into its charms. Well, “ease into” is certainly a euphemism, putting it lightly, when the fragrance in question, the fragrance that opened my eyes to the beauty of this note, was actually L’Inspiratrice, a veritable patchouli queen. A more fitting phrase for that experience would have been “baptême du feu”, baptism of fire! I still consider it a difficult note though, and even houses I love have been found guilty of abusing it. (Matsuri by Annayake comes to mind...) Fuel for Life is another scent built around this ostentatious note, but one that manages to get it right. This is fruity patchouli, with a pleasantly sour opening. Once the top cassis notes fly off, we enter a world of beautiful, jasmine infused patchouli. The jasmine in this case is not overpowering – its allure is transparent, its thin tendrils gently enfolding the patchouli with affection. Even more exciting is the appearance of a green leaf note, which slowly imparts the impression of crushed fresh mint leaves unto the heart of the scent. My only regret is that this fabulous mint note does not have more lasting power, more tenacity. All too soon it disappears, taking the jasmine with it, leaving me with the feeling I didn’t get to enjoy either of them nearly as much as I would have liked to. Fortunately, the drydown is beautiful, and even though it does not manage to erase the memory of the vibrant mint, I find myself enjoying its powdery, dry finish. Befitting Diesel’s image, Fuel for Life Pour Femme is a patchouli most suited for day-wear, sheer and cheerful as it is. It is rare, I think, to find a patchouli that is summery, but this is exactly how I perceive this interpretation of the note to be. Summery and alive as well as feminine and sexy, I find Fuel for Life to be the daytime answer to all the nighttime patchouli vamps.

Images: Author’s own,, and

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Last Week's Sample Winner

Good Morning,

Linda, you won last week's drawing. Please send me your details and a lil packet from me will be on its way. :)



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Black Widow by Black Widow: Perfume Review

I love trying out new things. Now, Black Widow is not a brand new fragrance – it was released in 2004 after all, but I was not aware of its existence up until recently. When I saw it was being compared to Opium, one of my all time favorites, I knew I had to try it. The comparison itself is dangerous: these are big shoes to fill. Having tested Black Widow a number of times already, I have to say that those looking for a similar fragrance will be disappointed – the two are as far removed as they can be, except perhaps where the impressive sillage of both is concerned. But those looking for a modern oriental will find something exciting in Black Widow, a peculiar and provocatively flirtatious composition. Inherently naughty, but still comfortingly warm, it can definitely be characterized as a winter scent. Smelling it, I get the feeling Black Widow delights in comfortably hovering between being controversial and highly wearable.

The opening is high-strung, sharp and potent. It takes me a while to recover from its demanding nature, which even though befitting the intriguing name, is not really me. Gladly, this impression does not last very long; the spicy heart notes quickly rise to the top and I find myself drawn to their full character. A striking clove, beautifully blended with nutmeg is the most arresting feature of this piquant heart. If you like nutmeg, you are sure to appreciate it here: it is not just an accent, it is prominent and proud, dressing up the clove like a full dress. Undoubtedly though, the clove is the star of this fragrance. It is central to the composition and to my nose, it seems like everything circles around it admiringly, as though it were the sun in a system of planets. I am intrigued by the strange rendition of the note. It lacks the blooming floralcy, the characteristic notes of carnation most often associated with clove in perfumery. It is stark, dark and earthy instead – a new take on a common theme. The bitterness of the scent is tempered by the rising musk as the fragrance warms on the skin. A really deep musk, strong and persistent, that willfully enfolds the body. It not only serves as an enhancer to the spicy notes, but also adds an element of intrigue in its own right. This is certainly not an innocent, clean musk, nor is it purely animalic. It is darker than that, bewitching, making me wish I could experience it separately. It combines beautifully with resinous opoponax and sandalwood, whose added warmth pave the way for the full, rich amber accord that slowly makes its way to my consciousness. Sweet in character, the amber is enigmatic, mysterious, evoking images of a briefly seen kohl-rimmed eye behind a brilliant orange veil. I find myself pleasantly taken by surprise by the rhythmic interchange that follows and remains throughout the drydown: bitter and sweet, bitter and sweet, coming and going like a hypnotic wave of incense, lapping at the shores of my senses. This alternate cycle through darts of poison and kisses of deep honeyed sweetness keep me alert and excited, finally understanding how well the name, Black Widow, fits the scent itself. Have I found a new love in this perfume? No, even though I have been complimented on it both times I wore it in public. The truth of the matter though is, I find it's not really me. I would have preferred it to be slightly smoother and less sharp. Despite this, I appreciate it. Not only for its lovely interplay between bitter and sweet and its delightfully mysterious character, but also for its inovative presentation of clove, which happens to be one of my favorite notes. Yes, it is true, few things that contain copious amounts of clove fail to find a place in my heart.

Image: Author's Own.
More information on Black Widow can be found on the Black Widow website.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Forget me Not : Ivoire by Balmain

It’s the third Monday of the month and it is time for the first installment of Forget me Not, a monthly feature brought to you by Fragrance Bouquet and For the Love of Perfume. I wish I could offer some deep, meaningful justification on why I chose Ivoire by Balmain to be the first fragrance featured in this joint project, but I have to admit I cannot. It is not a choice that emerged after thoughtful contemplation, juxtaposing of reasons and ideals. It was instead what seemed like the only choice, for once I thought about this feature it was the first fragrance that came to mind and there it remained, with willful persistence. Despite my best efforts to veer into a different direction, it kept popping up in my thoughts in the same manner a pink elephant would, were I to try to banish all thoughts of pink elephants for the next five minutes. I have to add though, that I am deeply pleased with the fact that Ivoire enthroned itself in my thoughts and refused to leave, lest I sound like an unwilling participant. Ivoire does not deserve to sit on the bottom shelf – it deserves eye-level status in the shops that still carry it.

Its opening is soapy, effortlessly evocative of large soft hands washed with the most luxurious, ivory bar of soap. Cool, soothing and silky, these are the hands I wish to have holding my face when I need comfort. Even though the scent is clean and asexual at this stage, my mind’s eye interprets this as a paternal, caring touch. And even though the soft, clean smell of soap is so emphatic that I have trouble seeing it change to anything else, it is surprisingly ephemeral. Suddenly, not progressively, Ivoire intensifies, shedding its innocent purity. Like a chrysalis, it goes about its metamorphosis - from quiet simplicity to the complex beauty of an adult butterfly. It becomes free-spirited, fleeting and romantic at the same time: A young adult venturing into her first real love affair, still finding true commitment unthinkable. The purity and chastity of the soap now serves as a backdrop to the spicy green, intense interest of the labdanum. And as time passes by, we enter a world of florals, almost all soapiness passed by. A coming of age. Seduction is no longer clumsy, but deliberate, using all nature has to offer. Carnation holds court on a bed of assorted blooms, a scepter of black peppercorns in hand. The naturally redolent ylang-ylang plays a quieter, supporting role to its queen of choice, lovingly caressing the carnation’s dainty toes with its aromatic, golden tendrils. Muguet enhances the beauty of both with its truthful elegance. This time the change is more gradual. The florals are muted slowly, one by one, until only the memory of the carnation survives. It is strange that this, the last stage Ivoire enters is also its most intense. Unlike its inflorescence, it has refused to become muted. Instead, it grows in spirit, becoming the most beautiful mixture of earthiness, resin and moss. The moss is magnified, announcing like a Diva that this whole production was there for her to play the starring role. And this outrageous claim is actually not that hard to believe, gorgeous and glorious as she is. This drydown stage is very reminiscent of Ava Serena Franco’s own Moss fragrance, which I also love, by the way. And what has become of the emergent chrysalis, entering adulthood? She has learned how to seduce, but has she learned how to love with fervor? Perhaps she has indeed, but we will never know. Ivoire is not giving away the ending to that story, just a glimpse of a stage in her life. It is tantalizing, yet still aloof. It lacks the musk or leather that would make it a sexually active beast. But that’s alright by me: Ivoire remains a promise, a possibility. In my mind, there is no doubt that this is a fragrance that tells the story of resplendent youth – so eloquently it describes innocence and the tune a heart sings when it really falls in love for the first time. It is so optimistic, as though maturity and the responsibilities and consequences it brings with it are light years away. As far away in fact, as they indeed seem to youthful arrogance. For the cynics amongst us, this can be heartbreaking.

To see which perfume TMH has chosen for our Forget me Not Feature, please visit For the Love of Perfume.

Images Courtesy of:, butterfly image from StarJem’s webshop on Etsy

Thursday, September 13, 2007

By Woman by Dolce & Gabbana : Perfume Review

I wore By Woman religiously in 1998; I remember its strong scent permeating everything at the time: my hair, my clothes, the hallway I’d rush through to get to the door, habitually late for any appointment. It has this way of leaving an air of longing behind it, hanging like a little cloud, long after the wearer has disappeared. I didn’t notice when it got discontinued, somehow I took it for granted, like something that would always be there for me when I needed it. Years later, the olfactory memory haunted me, at times as strong as though my perfumed wrist was stuck under my nose. Other times it would become elusive; leaving behind just this tortured feeling, the nagging certainty that I’d lost one of the sexiest scents I’d ever come across. This summer, while visiting Thessaloniki, I was lucky enough to find it again. Tucked away in what is now known as the old French quarter, three of the city’s oldest perfume shops still exist. The oldest one, the one I was craving to photograph for Fragrance Bouquet was closed, but the one next door was thankfully open. The shop sold mostly essences imported from France, but there was also a section, a few shelves really, of discontinued perfumes. I didn’t even need to scan them: By Woman caught my eye immediately with its extravagant leopard print box. Still wrapped and sealed, protected from the sun in its shady spot, it was as well as mine. My excitement was obvious and the owner of the shop engaged me in a conversation about his own lost loves of perfumery, confessing that he keeps the remnants of several in a drawer, taking them out for a sniff-induced trip back in time every now and again. I paid and left with a spring in my step, not only because I had found one of my own lost loves again, but because I had the chance to speak to someone who is obviously passionate about perfume too.

By Woman requires patience: It is one of those perfumes you have to wait for until they bloom to perfection on the skin. The opening is fresh, very citrusy and slightly green. It has a rather masculine quality to it, in an expensive cologne sort of way. Fruity tangerine and bitter bergamot dance around something unidentifiable – something almost plastic, which is not altogether unpleasant, but is very misleading indeed. It gives away nothing of the true character of the fragrance, the feverish sensuality that is to inevitably follow. It still seems tame, while it is anything but. And so it begins, testing the patience of the wearer with its indifferent masculine freshness. Persistently sniffing the skin is of no use at the moment: like playing with a cat, looking at it straight in the eye will not bring it closer. Ignore it though, avert your eyes, and soon the silky fur will undoubtedly surprise you by creeping up against you, in the same manner that By will surprise the senses by suddenly wafting towards the nose in a completely different manifestation than the one detected close to the skin. This gentle, wafting cloud is a prelude of how the scent will evolve on the skin. Soon perhaps, but not yet. For now the heady, exotic smell of the Lilly is blooming, trying to outdo the pungent, ever so slightly soapy ginger. The inebriating scent of pittosporum, the gorgeous flowering shrub that drives humans and bees alike crazy come spring, is embracing both. It caresses the skin with its white, delicate fingers, bestowing upon it the promise of nectar, the same promise that makes swarms of bees gather to gorge on its flowers. Then suddenly, yes, realization finally dawns: By Woman fully arrives, strong and thirsty, like luscious, engorged lips seeking the gloss of water. It positively surrounds the body, like an inescapable, delirious presence. Lashings of bittersweet coffee-syrup are poured all over the delicate white flowers, infused with vanilla and musk. The result is sweet, but not overly so: just perfect. The coffee combines perfectly with the smooth creaminess of sandalwood and the cedar eagerly brings the wearer's own skin-scent to the fore, enhancing it, underscoring all of its seductive qualities.

Deconstructing By seems almost like a mistake to me – the notes by themselves do not reveal the full extent of the end result. By is more than the sum of its parts: the beautiful blend is mysterious – I feel unable to decode how something can have so much sensuality just by looking at the notes. By is voluptuous, a pair of breasts drawn by an artist crazy with desire. It is sexuality worn as a weapon, which is of course, now that I think of it, the quintessential D&G woman. I don’t understand why this is no longer in production when thinking how much it fits their collections. It is the most gorgeous creature, leaving men half-conscious at the wake of her curves as she passes by, flaunting her cat o’ nine tails. By is empowering, one of the most empowering fragrances I have ever worn in fact. It acts like a confidence booster, like only a killer pair of heels possibly could. (for completely inimitable effects, try both at the same time) There are more powerhouse fragrances that can make a woman feel as strong as fortress, as powerful as a canon. Paloma Picasso would be a good example. But whereas Paloma warns intruders by penalty of castration, By raises an eyebrow and grins, hinting that she might be penetrable after all.

I want to continue the little tradition I started when reviewing Miyako, so from now on whenever I am reviewing a hard-to-find fragrance I will also be offering a sample of it. Please comment if you would like to be entered in the drawing.

PS: I hope the last image can be taken with the humor with which it is intended. I probably should not worry, but finding out that it was banned in the UK made a couple of alarm bells ring in my head!

Images: Author’s Own, and

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tried and Tested : Midnight Poison by Dior

As was announced in the beginning of this month, Tried and Tested is one of the new monthly features of Fragrance Bouquet. I knew the first perfume I was going to test-drive was Midnight Poison by Dior, not only because it’s new, but also because it made such an impression on me: It was completely opposite of what I expected it to be. I was expecting it to be seductive, mysterious and most of all feminine. To my surprise it was intensely citrusy (definitely not the note I associate with midnight) and not at all feminine. In fact, I found it very masculine. Was it just me? I had to find out what others thought. Equipped with my camera and a notepad, I took to the streets to find out.

Note: In order to avoid bias, subjects were not told which fragrance they were testing.

Sara, 23 years old, student

Would you say this is a feminine or masculine perfume?
- I’d say feminine
Would you wear this fragrance yourself?
- No, it’s too strong - I don’t like it! Personally, I go for lighter scents.
How would you describe it?
- Hmm, as I said, it is very strong. It’s a powerful, intense scent. It seems like something that would be mostly worn by older women.

Hans, 53 years old, Gallery Owner & Freelancer

Would you say this is a feminine or masculine fragrance?
- Masculine, definitely masculine. Wait... there must be a catch, right? If you are asking this question, it must mean it’s actually feminine!
- I am afraid I cannot tell!
Alright, would you wear this perfume yourself?
- No, it is too heavy. This is a fragrance you can smell from a mile away! You know, I believe fragrance is something you should only smell when you get close to someone, when you’re allowed to come close to someone. When you are attracted to someone and you approach them...and then you smell this...Let me just say, if a woman was wearing this, it would definitely be a minus point.
- Ouch!
How would you describe it?
- It is heavy, overwhelming. It is sweet, but very citrusy too. I smell musk; perhaps there is some leather in there as well. In some ways it reminds me of the way the core of a tree trunk smells like...

Jeroen, 27 years old, Carpet Installer

Would you say this is a feminine or masculine fragrance?
- It is a masculine fragrance. could go both ways actually, like a unisex fragrance. But I am leaning towards masculine.
Would you wear this perfume yourself?
- Yeah, I really like it! I would buy it.
How would you describe it?
- It is soft... Soft and seductive.

A big thank you is due to Sara, Hans and Jeroen, who agreed to be interviewed and photographed by a total stranger: Thank you for giving me some of your precious time. Doing this was definitely daunting at times: Not everyone has the time or inclination to participate is such a project. At the same time it was great fun! I love hearing people’s opinions and whether these echoed my own, or took me by complete surprise by being completely different was really exciting. We laughed a lot together with the people that participated and they all had questions to ask me in turn after I had finished asking my own. One even surprised me by producing a camera and taking my own picture afterwards! They made my day brighter – seeing them engage their senses and allowing me a glimpse of how they perceive this scent was most rewarding. I am really looking forward to doing this again next month. I hope you are too!

Images: Author's own.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Case of the Coveted Bottle

Givenchy is not the only one sponsoring a contest right now. Covet actually has its very own game, “The Case of the Coveted Bottle”, an interactive fictional story. In the game, Sarah Jessica Parker has been framed for the disappearance of a Covet bottle stolen from a Paris store and the players’ goal is to identify the true mastermind behind the theft. Melisande Champney, SJP’s Parisian publicist, will be giving clues and issuing challenges through her blog. The players, detectives in this interactive story, will need to follow up on those in order to win prizes.

Prize details:
The Grand Prize winner will receive $10.000 and a trip for two to NYC to attend Lucky Magazine’s Lucky Shops 2007, as well as a Covet gift bag, jewelry box and deluxe mini. One First Prize winner will win a flat panel TV valued at $1.200 and the Covet gift bag, jewelry box and deluxe mini. Finally, thirty second prize winners will be receiving the Covet gift bag, jewelry box and deluxe mini.

Additionally, the first person to solve one of ten weekly challenges will receive a green apple iPod Shuffle along with the Covet gift bag, jewelry box and mini. In fact, each time a player correctly solves a weekly challenge within seven days of its release, they will be eligible to win one of 35 Covet gift bags.

The Bonus Challenges also come with their own set of gifts: two lucky winners will receive an apple iPhone along with... you guessed it, a Covet gift bag, jewelry box and deluxe mini.

So, are you ready to hone your sleuthing skills and spend sometime solving the mystery? If so, go to Covet’s website and join the search. If you are a US resident you can automatically request a free sample of the fragrance from the main page as well.

Image courtesy of

Givenchy Very Irrésistible Slogan Contest

Get your creative juices flowing and come up with a catchy slogan for Givenchy’s Very Irrésistible, in order to win fabulous prizes. The first place prize is a trip for two to New York, where the lucky contestant will get the chance to meet Liv Tyler in person during her public appearance at NYC’s Sephora and receive a poster of the add with the winning slogan. The winner and their friend will also be treated to lunch at the offices of Seventeen magazine and will both receive a swag bag.

The prize for second place is a Very Irrésistible Givenchy gift basket valued at $250 and a poster of the ad with their own slogan. Furthermore, the 10 highest scoring entrants will be receiving a sample of Very Irrésistible and the 5 most viral a Seventeen goodie bag.

The only snag? Only US Residents are eligible for the top prize. A tad disappointing for non-US readers I’ll bet, but the second prize is also looking mighty attractive, which is a plus.

The contest will end on September 15, 2007 11:30 PM (PST). Submit your own entry and find out more at brickfish.

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Esperys by E. Coudray : Perfume Review

What is the connection between E. Coudray and L.T. Piver? Why do they share the same address? Are they co-owned? Does Piver own Coudray? All questions I cannot answer unfortunately, but logic guides me to the conclusion that L.T. Piver probably does own Coudray, since every Coudray product is stamped with “L.T. Piver S.A.” while Piver products themselves bear no mention of Coudray on the packaging. So if Piver indeed owns Coudray, what is the connection between Coudray’s new Esperys and L.T. Piver’s original? (launched in 1903, re-introduced in 1911, now discontinued) Another question I cannot answer, but wish I could. I admire most everything I have smelled from Piver and the same goes for Coudray’s products, from the perfumes to the luxurious, deeply hydrating body creams. There is a difference though – Piver’s fragrances suit me and I find them very wearable, while so far I have not found a Coudray I felt excited enough about to buy. They just don’t go with my personality it seems, seeming either too flowery, too heavy or too sweet most of the time. Yet Esperys won a little place in my heart before I even had the chance to sniff it, and couldn’t wait to do so. Undoubtedly the name played a huge role in this, reminding me of the greek word Esperinos, the early evening hour. The time when the sun sets, the church bells ring and the birds go to roost. The time when I always had to stop playing and rush home as a child, forming a deep, sad association with the hour and the sadness I invariably always ended up feeling when I heard the call of birds overhead signaling their return as well as mine. To this day, the cries of a flock of birds going to roost at nighttime make my heart feel a little heavier, lamenting another day lost in time. A great name does not make a great perfume though. How many times do I need to experience this simple fact before it becomes internalized as a belief? Many, apparently.

Esperys opens with not so much a note, but a setting. The fist days of fall, after a summer drought that seemed eternal. Storm clouds gather ominously – there’s static in the air. The deserted road has accumulated inches of dirt that is about to be washed away. As the first large raindrops lazily start to fall, the air fills with the scent of dust rising from the road. Soon, if the rain was allowed to becomes more and more urgent, this parched smell would give way to freshness, but Esperys remains focused on that first moment instead, the moment of the first raindrops on a hot dirt road. That first moment, with the dust rising like a cloud and threatening to choke the hapless pedestrians running to find cover in order to avoid the approaching storm is forever captured in Esperys, unchanging, with no relief of cleansing in sight. I am not complaining – merely describing, for uniqueness excites me in perfumery and I have never smelled this before. I’ve smelled rain, I’ve smelled storms, I’ve smelled wet earth. I've smelled dustiness before too. But never so much intense, wet dust: this is new. I am not exaggerating either when I speak of that choking feeling of rainy dust cloud rising to the nostrils. It feels like an implosion of dryness. I am seduced by the novelty and my excitement mounts as I smell the fizzy bitterness of beer that follows. Green, wild vegetation is growing on the sides of my imaginary road. They too are dusty of course and I can almost smell their relief at the promise of rain. They are perfect and I can’t wait for them to grow in intensity and shine through. But they never do. Instead, very suddenly, I find myself woefully wondering if the ‘red berry’ note in the press release alludes to pomegranate, because that is indeed exactly what I am smelling and I do not like it. Not one bit. It is all there, the fruity seeds, the unsugared juice and most of all, the skin. Admittedly, the bitter dryness of the skin matches the dry composition, but I hate it regardless. Esperys didn’t need fruit. It didn’t need the caramel either, which peculiarly floats to the top far sooner than I expected it to. It makes the composition just a tad sweeter, unable to outmaneuver the glorious, dry bitterness. Its presence is nevertheless distracting and slightly nauseating. I keep hoping both it and the pomegranate will at some point relent, but (as I later find out), it takes them more than two hours to dissipate. These two conspire to ruin the fragrance for me. Even the beautiful, (yes, once again ‘dusty’) dry nutmeg can’t seem to cheer me up. The rest of the composition is so intriguing – the dustiness, the dryness, the sheer unique strangeness of it make me want to wear it, take it out for a spin, raise a few eyebrows, bother a few noses. I know though I never will. I can’t possibly stomach neither the pomegranate, nor the caramel. There is a delay, during which my shocked nose does not detect any changes, then suddenly, the rose becomes apparent. It is heavy, rather masculine. It smells exactly like Greek rose resin regularly used to burn on charcoal. If I was disappointed before, I am even more so now. From the first moment I experienced that exceptional dustiness I wanted it to be intermingled with greens and white flowers. The freesias that never came through. Maybe some honeysuckle and a little jasmine, if I had a say in it. I wanted it to be ethereal as well as strange. I willed Esperys to break my heart with its beauty just like Esperinos, the hour of sunset always has. And now, now it is cloying on top of everything else. Disappointed I wait for the drydown. It is not completely unremarkable, due to the dryness which still persists. Behind it lurks the rather unexciting smell of an expensive body cream. My disappointment is acute and apparent due to the fact that this was something I really wanted to like. I hate to admit it, but I can’t wait to wash it off. Four hours has been torture enough.

Esperys bottle from
Painting of dusty road from the National Hungarian Gallery,
Greek rose resin, from Natural Flow Direct ebay webshop:

Monday, September 3, 2007

Perfume for the Occasion : Perfumes for the Gym

Perfume and the Gym go together like...well, nothing, to be honest. Like water and oil, they don’t mix. They shouldn’t mix. Yet, people keep doing it. In every class there’s bound to be at least one, wearing something infuriatingly heady, making the rest suffer, suddenly all too aware of the lack of fresh air around them. Angel. Poison. Kenzo’s Jungle. Some sort of strange head-shop oil the wearer has applied over every single inch of their body. They’ve all stood somewhere in my vicinity, diligently exercising, oblivious to the fact that I felt like I was about to dizzily fall from my step, risking at the very least some bruises and at the worse a broken ankle during BodyStep class. Dior’s Addict, Obsession for Men and L de Lempicka made me feel faint while mid-air in a jumping-jack countless times during BodyAttack. I might not have fallen or fainted yet, but I’ve gasped for air, gotten a headache, sworn and cursed silently in my mind more times than I’d like to recount in the last two years. Why do people do it? When I am in a good, positive mood, I try to be sympathetic, considering the fact that at least some of them must be coming to the gym straight from work and it would be unrealistic to expect them to not wear any fragrance at all for the whole day just because they are coming to exercise in the evening. Yet there are times when the sillage is so strong, I reason that it would be impossible to reek like that if the fragrance was last applied in the morning. I do maintain that no perfume should be worn at the gym. But since realistically that is unlikely to happen (not least because indeed there are many that come to sport straight after work), I went out and sought a number of rather more inoffensive options for the occasion.

Profumo di Benessere by Collistar
Profumo di Benessere is a fragrance by Collistar, belonging to their Benessere/Sporting line. Profumo di Benessere will not only perfume one’s skin but will also hydrate and soften it as well, while extracts of ginseng and gingko biloba will make it firmer too. If that wasn’t enough, Profumo di Benessere is also meant to be energy-boosting and stress-relieving at once. I am not sure whether to believe this or not, since I am always skeptical when it comes to aromatherapy claims, but I can certainly tell you that the scent is ultra-summery, packing a sunshine effect that made me identify it as an instant pick-me-up. It is very fresh, very herbal and while it starts out intense it becomes milder as time progresses. Strong enough to create a playfully cheerful, fragrant veil over your skin, but mild enough to not bother your fellow gym-goers. Perfect.

Cellular Energizing Body Spray by La Prairie
A product with very similar benefits to Collistar’s Profumo di Benessere, La Prairie’s Cellular Energizing Body Spray is an “aromatherapeutic body treatment”, a pampering moisturizer and fragrance rolled into one. When it comes to the aromatherapeutic claims, I would quicker put my money on Collistar’s sunny creation, which is truly a mood lifter, but when it comes to hydration and quality of scent, La Prairie wins hands down. The Cellular Energizing Body Spray feels amazing on the skin, soothing and cooling at once and the scent itself is beautiful. Citrusy and soapy at the same time, this is far fresher and subtler than Collistar’s offering. The difference in price too is of course undeniable, but if I had to choose one product for this feature as a favorite, this would be it. This is a body mist full of sophistication.

Rebalancing Fragrance by Clarins
Yes, another fragrance based on the principles of aromatherapy. This opening is fresh and “watery” and I use the term watery not alluding to aquatic fragrances, but more as a personal term I use to refer to this strange, moist and slightly mildewy scent I detect when smelling fragrances that contain bulb flower notes, especially freesias. This ‘watery’ note is quite fleeting however, and soon the skin is caressed by the gorgeous basil – iris blend. The base notes are cedar and benzoin, notes I would never consciously associate with exercising at the gym, but somehow the end result works. From all the fragrances in today’s feature I’d say this one has the most tenacity, making it perfect for those who want something a little stronger that carries throughout the day, from work to gym.

Eau d’Energie by Biotherm
For those seeking something sweeter and fruitier, Biotherm’s Eau d’Energie will be just the thing. It is a lightly sugared orange/mandarin blend with a hint of cream. I know it sounds scary, but it is so light I can’t imagine anyone complaining. The notes of sugared citrus fruits and apricot pulp might also help alleviate cravings for the wildly inappropriate for the occasion gourmand fragrances in those that favor them.

Those that did not make the cut: I sprayed countless body mists and light fragrances on my skin while I was researching this issue. A lot of times what I expected would be prime candidates due to their packaging, blurbs and marketing turned out to be surprising disappointments. Here, a glance at the worst of the crop: Shisheido Energizing Fragrance. Bad, don’t go there. This is NOT for the gym. Kanebo’s Relaxing Fragrant Mist. The fact that I hated this came as a huge surprise since I love Kanebo and use the Sensai Silk line religiously every night. (I cheat on Kanebo with La Prairie during the daytime – I know, I’m such a floozy) The Relaxing Fragrant Mist is hideous though, it smells metalic, almost rusted and I couldn’t wait to wash it off. Tsk tsk tsk, Kanebo. Lancome’s Aroma Tonic was way too sour for the gym, (I didn’t want to contemplate how it would react to sweat) while Aroma Source was simply too strong and musky. Lacoste’s Pour Femme was simply perfect, it would have been my more perfume-y choice of the lot, but I felt too strongly about it and decided to save it for a full review later on. Stay tuned.

Don't forget to visit For the Love of Perfume, to see a different take on this subject!

Pictures courtesy of:, and

Fragrance Bouquet News: New Features and Things to Come

Dear Readers,

I am very excited to announce that Fragrance Bouquet will be teaming up with For the Love of Perfume to bring you two new features! These will be hosted on both our blogs every first and every third Monday of the month. Starting today, every first Monday of the month, TMH256 and I will be writing “Perfume for the Occasion”, where we will discuss appropriate scents for a different occasion each time, beginning with today’s rather controversial subject, “Perfumes for the Gym”. The third Monday of each month will in turn be devoted to older, well-established classic fragrances. We have affectionately dubbed this feature “Forget me Not” and we were prompted to start it by your -that is, our readers’- desire to see more reviews of older fragrances amidst the reviews of niche and new releases. The first “Forget me Not” feature will be presented on Monday the 17th of September. We welcome requests and suggestions on both these features! As well as these regular features, TMH256 and I will be bringing you more impromptu joint projects, such as our Fall top 5, which will be presented on the 30th of September. Lastly, Fragrance Bouquet will be taking to the streets once per month to bring you the monthly “Tried and Tested” feature, where the opinion of random pedestrians will be solicited on a different fragrance each time. I hope you are as excited as I am about all these new features!