Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays!


Fragrance Bouquet wishes you all Happy Holidays full of cheer!
I am currently in Greece, visiting family and getting some well deserved rest after the past few months of intensive studying and paper-writing. I really need this little holiday, so I will see you all in January, after the 5th, when I return back home to the Netherlands. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

May these holidays fill your spirit with gladness and your heart with love!

Image: www.sxc.hu

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Aurora by Roxana Villa : Perfume Review

Long-time Fragrance Bouquet readers already know my stance on the issue of natural perfumery since I have written about it in the past, but if there is still any doubt in your mind about whether a great natural perfume can ever stand next to a great synthetic one and survive the comparison, then I beg you to order a sample of Aurora right away.

What beautiful, twinkling magic has been weaved in this amazing, heart-moving fragrance? Because it is surely magic, or at the very least the magic of art and love, that make this fragrance evolve so stunningly on the skin, going through countless transformations that seduce the senses one after the other while its creator humbly proclaims it "simpler" than the creations that followed! Aurora was born as an experiment, an exploration in recreating the scent of carnations -and perhaps it is no wonder I love it so, carnation being the symbol of Fragrance Bouquet. Be that as it may, the improbable beauty of this scent lies in the dream sequence it slowly, artfully, reveals before it reaches its final, very much intended and happily successful destination.

The first bloom is a luxuriously waxy, lustrous, almost oily abstract floral that instantly reveals the richness of this bouquet. However rich, not once does it become decadently overwhelming: its grandeur can be compared to that of colored rays of light guiding one's way in the darkness, or gemstone sparkle against dark velvet. And as I write this, I suddenly realize that aurora (that is, the phenomenon) is indeed just that: rays of radiant light against the night sky. The realization leaves me slightly shaken, because I've been keeping notes on this perfume for about two weeks now and this is the first time I make the connection. Aptly named, then. It is in fact, this interplay of bright light -translated by my heart and soul instinctively as hope- and darkness, that is the most striking feature of Aurora, as well as its continuum, the glue that seamlessly binds it all together. I grin with the pleasure of one who knows that is being fooled, but enjoys it so, like a child watching a magician, when I start smelling erotic lilacs, an elusive note that cannot be captured as a natural. But it is there, an illusion recreated on the road to the field of carnations, as real as my memory of the thriving lilac bush that completely covered our fence when I was a child. And then Ylang Ylang, a soft sense of leather (myrrh?) and the bouquet becomes positively narcotic, seducing, magical. Suddenly, the incredible warmth of the rich floral notes is charged by a chilly breath and I find myself vividly experiencing the same sense of coolness found in an ever-shaded niche of a stone church. In the shaded, cool darkness tendrils of incense complete the picture. I want to stay there forever but soon the spice kicks in and I allow myself to be blissfully transported once again: sweet amber and rich spicy clove start weaving the picture of blood red carnations. This is the most meaningful, heartrending, stirring carnation I've ever loved, and believe me, I've searched far and wide.. From Caron, to Santa Maria Novella, to CdG, MpG and vintage Balenciaga, Roxana Villa's carnation is Fragrance Bouquet's favorite. I am thankful.

Images: The images included in this post are property of Roxana Villa.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fragrance Bouquet Says: Have A Laugh!

Well, it's another week of exams for me, so you'll have to forgive the slowness this week - I probably won't have time to post a review of Aurora before Monday. But in the meantime, I have a little (unrelated to perfume) treat to share!

Now, as you know, I LOVE fashion, and if you do too, then you're probably going to love this hilarious video clip! I only discovered it recently - it is by Dan Balan, a singer/composer from Moldavia. The unbelievably catchy/addictive song is called Crazy Loop and the video shows Crazy Loop, Dan Balan's 'entertaining, alternative personality' delivering pizza to a John Galliano fashion show, first perceived as a nuissance that hijacks the fashion show, but soon truly becomes the star of the runway event. What truly makes this video priceless is the funny, adorable John Galliano impersonator, who -I kid you not- is the spitting image of our beloved designer! Fashion savvy, sharp eyed viewers will also spot numerous other famous personas that are alluded to with various degrees of similarity by the actors playing them, including most entertainingly, an ostantatiously potrayed, black Karl Lagerfeld, as well as a perfectly cast André Leon Talley. So check the video out and have a laugh!

**NOTE: You can find the video embedded below, but my suggestion is to actually click here for a High Definition version. Unfortunately the HD version has disabled embedding so I could not include it in the post itself.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Vespertina by Roxana Villa : Perfume Review and Thoughts on Modern Perfume Structure

Perfume lovers, critics and writers still talk about perfume pyramids, and perfume houses still release the official notes of their newly launched fragrances in terms of top, heart and base notes. But to what extend do these terms still apply in the world of modern perfumery? It is no longer a secret that most of what we smell in modern perfumes is purely synthetic, no matter how natural it might come across as. The small number of aromachemical companies from which noses procure the ingredients they employ to build their perfumes, strive not only for innovation, but also for stability and longevity. Scents traditionally used in perfumery as top notes due to their fleeting nature (e.g. citrus), have been reinvented by these companies, with molecules so large they have the ability to shape and even define the fragrance for far longer than they used to. And that is an understatement: nowadays you can have a grapefruit scent that lasts all day; a woody scent that is permeated by the fresh zing of lemon for hours on end. Nowadays, almost any of those notes that would fly off in the first five minutes before the curtain would rise to allow the beauty of the heart notes to shine through, can actually last till the drydown. Consequentially, official notes and pyramids are often a joke. While this does not affect reviews where the writer can actually describe the development as it unfolds, it does lend to confusion. The development, the way any given fragrance unfolds can be unpredictable, surprising. This, I believe is one of the most radical changes in the world of modern perfumery.

Now, as those of you who have been reading Fragrance Bouquet regularly know, I consider my love for fragrance all-encompassing. There is room for just about anything, whether purely synthetic (Why, hello NR!) or purely natural. So why all this talk about perfume construction? Because exploring Roxana Villa’s sampler packet was something of a revelation… The experience grounded me, reminded me all that is good and gorgeous and magnificent about a well constructed perfume that follows an absolutely traditional, classic development. Her fragrances are ever-changing, confirming the words of an industry professional in Paris who’d told me that the more natural a perfume, the more it changes throughout the day.

Two of the scents in the sampler pack have truly captivated me, Vespertina and Aurora. Today we take a look at Vespertina, while a review of Aurora is forthcoming. Meaning “Evening”, Vespertina is a glorious, floral scent with rich veins of spice. Its construction is absolutely marvelous, with top notes that you’ll want to chase after like fleeting dreams, floral heart notes so deep they make you feel like you can get lost in their nuances forever, and spicy, woody base notes that linger comfortingly on the skin until the skin’s own beauty shines through. Roxana describes this fragrance as “Orange woven with flowers, grounded by earth”.

The fleeting top notes are slightly bitter and medicinal, intensely herbal in character. They explode in a burst of black, roughly ground peppercorns and disappear like a dream through a botanical garden that’s slipping through the fingers upon waking up… The gorgeous spiciness of the black pepper remains however, easing us into the deep, dark, magical labyrinth of the floral heart notes. Through the persisting spicy blast, emerges a fabulous dirty, highly indolic orange blossom note, supported by narcotic ylang ylang and nightly jasmine. Far into the background, I smell hints of well aged, beautiful rose essence, highly romantic and moving. As time goes by, the bitter orange blossom note becomes creamier and creamier, shedding its indolic character and turning ever more sensitive and feminine. As an orange blossom scent, this one is very close in feel to Satellite’s playfully bitter 40º à l’Ombre (one of my favorite neroli/orange blossom scents out there), rather than to more traditional, sweet and heady orange blossom scents like Prada’s or L’Artisan’s Fleur d’Oranger. Vespertina is incredibly long lasting, and even though it starts as dark and mysterious, it soon transforms in aa summery, utterly romantic white floral scent will envelop the wearer for hours. When it does arrive, the drydown is myrrh-tinged sandalwood sweetness, peppered with spice.

Images: All images used in this post are property of Roxana Villa.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Basenotes opens votes for 9th Annual Fragrance Awards

Basenotes is one of the best online resources for fragrance lovers, offering a world of scented information at our fingertips: information on notes, listings by year and by house, blogs, articles, interviews and a lively community that is always willing to share information (Tip: Fragrance Bouquet loves the Basenotes Community City Guides for perfume shopping!). Focusing exclusively on the world of scent, it is no surprise that Basenotes readers are a highly targeted audience, and as such the opinions this community expresses have caught the attention of the perfume industry as well. This neatly brings us to the importance of participating in the voting for the 9th Annual Fragrance Awards! Let your voice be heard and participate! Doing so, also makes you eligible to win a $250 gift certificate, sponsored by FragranceNet to be spent on a selection of the thousands of products available at FragranceNet.com's online store. The prize will be offered to a randomly selected voter.

This year the categories are as follows:
• Best new fragrance (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best overall fragrance (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best fragrance for day (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best fragrance for evening (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best fragrance packaging (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best designer, mainstream or fine fragrance (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best niche, independent, artisan or boutique fragrance (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best mass-market, drugstore, budget or direct-sell fragrance (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best celebrity fragrance (Masculine and Feminine)
• Best fragrance house
• Best home fragrance
• Best fragrance blog

Go straight to the voting page by clicking here.

Mystic Tan’s Perfect Tan Holiday Kit

‘Tis the season of parties and the jingling of bells is not the only sound ringing in our ears! So is the soft clinking sound of champagne flutes, the swishing of cocktail frocks and the elegant click-clacking of party heels! Even though orange will never be the right skin-tone for anyone (don’t go overboard ladies!) many of us will be looking to get that subtle glow back to our winter-pasty skin in order to look picture perfect on those holiday shots. Mystic Tan has an exclusive, limited edition holiday gift set out, which includes everything one might need to create that natural-looking glowing warmth:

PRIME: NEW Exfoliating Wash cleanses pores and refines skin through gentle exfoliating that sloughs off dead skin cells, revealing the perfect palette for sunless tanning.

BASE: Sunless Conditioning Complex is a revolutionary Conditioning Complex that puts self-tanning worries to rest with Mystic Tan’s patented NutraMist deep hydrating delivery system. This system acts as a primer by balancing the skin pH level, ensuring even color distribution.

BUILD: Sunless Tanning Spray FACE & BODY takes the Mystic Tan technology out of the booth and puts it into your hands. Unlike other self-tanners, there is NO rubbing necessary so palms don’t streak. Sprays at all angles without any shaking, providing for an even, continuous application.

BOOST: Sunless Enhancing Moisturizer BODY is a DHA, vitamin-enriched daily skin nourishing moisturizer that boosts sunless tanning results and blends any under-applied areas naturally. The luxurious lotion can also be used every day to extend your tan or to create a warm, sexy glow with color that can be controlled.

The Perfect Tan Holiday Kit retails for $84, a $112 value, at Sephora and Barneys New York.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Alessandro Dell’Acqua (woman) by Alessandro Dell’Acqua : Perfume Review

Born in the picturesque, stunning city of Naples, Alessandro Dell’Acqua hasn’t had an idle moment in the world of fashion ever since he received his degree in graphic design from the Accademia de Belli Arti. Having designed for several prestigious brands, including Iceberg and Mariella Burani, Dell’Acqua finally conquered the hearts of the Italian public with the launch of his very own prêt-a-porter line in 1996, which instantly made him a household name and an instant success. His first, eponymous fragrance (Alessandro Dell’Acqua), launched in 2001 with ad campaigns fronted by Helena Christensen and shot by photography giant Helmut Newton.

Alessandro Dell’Acqua has a rather strict distribution, and as such cannot be found as easily as most department store scents – I have never seen it sold here in the Netherlands for example. I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of this from a wonderful, lovely reader with whom I often exchange perfumed thoughts and sample packets. I was not familiar with the perfume, so it was the first thing I tested when I opened the packet, and despite its simplicity, I fell in love with it instantly. The official notes are quite deceptive: Geranium, Pelargonium, Sweet Pea and Coriander up top, peony, hibiscus, rose in the heart and incense, sandalwood and musk in the base. If one would only go by the official notes, the best guess would probably be that this is a rather heavy, sweet floral, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth! The official description of the scent however, touting this as a perfume “to be worn like a second skin” is not only faithful to the nature of the scent, but also completely accurate. Alessandro Dell’Acqua is indeed one of those wonderful fragrances that blur the lines between where one’s own skin scent ends and where the perfume begins. It is one of those fragrances that is unlikely to elicit a compliment about how good your fragrance smells, but rather one that will definitely incite others to proclaim that you smell great. It is a fragrance that is unashamedly, all about musk. From beginning to end, this rather linear scent revolves around its heart of beautiful musk, which is extremely evocative of clean, warm, sweet smelling skin. The smell is comforting and sexy at the same time and wears so comfortably it would be easy enough for me to forget I’m wearing perfume at all, if it wasn’t so addictive! I literally can’t resist smelling my arm over and over again just to get closer to the comforting, clean sensation it produces. Stunningly, each and every time I marvel at its ability to smell so human and so realistically like feminine skin, without a single hint of animalic tendencies. Aside from musk, Alessandro Dell’Acqua features the sensual floral scent of Sweet Pea and slight hints of powder, but what really adds to the experience and truly makes this juice complete, is the use of incredibly long-lasting aldehydes. Beautiful and mysteriously vague, slightly metallic and cool, the aldehydes give this perfume an essential lift, rendering the musk quintessentially effeminate and yes, chic. This utterly personal scent has quickly become a firm favorite of mine in the musk family. Beautiful!

Friday, December 5, 2008

L'Aimant by Coty Sample Winner

Goodmorning beauties! I am about to run to class, but first a post to let you know that the winner of the vintage L'Aimant sample is none other than... Linda! Linda dear, congratulations! I have your addy, so I'll be shipping the sample to you on Monday. Thank you all for participating and look forward to more contests here on Fragrance Bouquet :)

Wishing you a great weekend,

Divina

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Look by Vera Wang : Perfume Review

The super stylish (oh, I love how she dresses!) Vera Wang might be best known for her bridalwear, but this is not just a bridal designer who dabbles in perfume. Infinitely creative, she also channels her talents in eveningwear, ready-to-wear, underwear, footwear, eyewear, jewelry, china and crystal, silver and gifts, fine papers and mattresses (!). This prolific, sensitive and artistic New Yorker has a new fragrance out and it’s called Look, a name that’s not only cool but also far edgier than all of Wang’s previous perfume namesakes, which were highly romantic with names such as Bouquet and Sheer Veil.

“It’s a spirit and style that’s absolutely original and comes from within. It’s an attitude, an elusive accessory. It’s that indefinable quality of self-expression that creates a look and sets a woman apart. I’ve always said if I could bottle it, I would… and now I have.”


That is a bold and inspirational quote indeed, but before we take a look at how the juice itself measures up, can we take a minute to savor the absolutely fabulous ads? I am completely in love with the styling of the shoot and I was taken with the images from the moment I laid eyes on them. I think they perfectly capture the spirit of ready-to-wear fashion and are very now. In fact, it has been a very, very long time since I last felt so motivated to try out a perfume solely because I found the ads so captivating. I adore how the frothy texture of the dress combines with the silver nails and the fantabulous jewelry that makes me think of modern Lanvin and Balmain.

But on to the fragrance itself: First of all, I find it peculiar that Look is launched right now, since it is very much a warm weather scent to my nose, and unsurprisingly, I found I liked it far better in the warmth of my house, than when I first tried it outside at the department store (it’s snowing here!). My first impressions were not all that positive, as the opening seems very typical department store scent: Fresh and mystifyingly unidentifiable. Once the first alcohol blast dissipates however, the scent turns far more pleasant, presenting a very clear, crystalline image of juicy green apple, tingled with the sappy, sticky juice of greens. The spark of mandarin-rind oils lends warmth as well as a certain spiciness to the blend. Admirably, it is all done without a hint of sweetness; In fact, Look is very much a bitter perfume, something I find very pleasing indeed. The heart floral notes (jasmine, freesia and lily) are not particularly realistic and I have to say I cannot detect any of jasmine’s heady, deep, warm qualities. The abstract floral notes are embraced by a dry, completely unsweetened berry scent. If I had to put my finger on it, I’d definitely have to say it reminds me of pomegranate. I have written before here on Fragrance Bouquet about how much I enjoy a dusty feel that certain perfumes tend to have, and this is exactly what I like most about Look. As the heart develops, a beautifully dry, dusty accord manifests through the freshness of the florals, and definitely keeps my interest, making me return to the scented patch of skin to explore it again and again. Bizarrely, it is through this dusty scent that I start detecting the first hints of sweetness during the drydown stage. Sweet vanilla and patchouli, soft and unassuming, begin to emerge, like droplets of sweet rain bringing comfort to a particularly dry day.

Look is incredibly tenacious and will last for a good eight to ten hours. Sillage is moderate, making this a work appropriate scent too. It might not be a Guerlain or Lutens masterpiece, but I definitely think this is a good new department store scent. Refreshing and wearable for all ages, this is a good everyday modern scent. The bitter vein running through it lends sophistication, appeal and thoughtfulness to an otherwise mostly fresh composition.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ghost Scents

You wouldn’t guess it from the interior, with its pretty fountain, the enormous, suspended mosaic of two gigantic eyes following you everywhere in the main hall, the artwork in the hallways, the throngs of students happily chattering away between classes but… Many, many years ago, the Psychology building of my University used to be a Hospital. Nowadays, the building has acquired the familiar smell of Academic buildings everywhere, without a doubt, a special smell itself: The smell of students, library books, computers and a faint whiff of food and coffee from the cafeteria. It is a smell as instantly recognizable as that of high schools, as anyone who has visited their old high school for a reunion and has been hit in the face by a smell that is truly a blast from the past can attest. But there are times when one really comes to realize that this building’s current scent is actually the intruder, a smell that is trying hard to banish the previous occupant. The previous occupant sometimes strikes back, desperate, aggravated; running down the stairs to catch a class students are sometimes – in fact rarely enough so that it always remains a huge surprise- assaulted by the Ghost Scent: The smell of the Hospital. Where does it come from? How does it resurface? How does it manage to remain hidden the rest of the time? Why does it make our heart skip a beat when we smell it? I am not surprised we react to the smell with aversion and dread – we are, after all, socialized from an early age to fear hospitals, and their smell is a strong reminder of all the negative associations related to them. I am however surprised at the tenacity of the scent, seemingly becoming an entity that lives on and on, long after one would expect it to.

Ghost Scents are not always unpleasant however. Have you ever worn a loved one’s clothes and found yourself living with their smell all day long? I have a friend with whom I exchange clothes. She lives in Greece and I live in the Netherlands… We send each other packets of things that do not quite work in our wardrobes any longer. When her packets arrive, I open them to find myself surrounded by her presence. What’s most surprising is that even after several wears and subsequent washes, her clothes retain her own unique smell - the fibers completely drenched in her essence as it were. When finally the harsh detergents manage to strip away every last bit of her slightly vanilla scented skin, I always feel distinctly disappointed…

From clothes, to cars and houses, the smell of ownership is present, slightly different each time, mingling with the scent of fibers and materials. None are as distinctive and as potent as the smells created by diverse, unrelated individuals sharing a common goal. The smell of the gym, the same in every country you visit, decade after decade: Muscle and sweat, enough to make your adrenaline levels rise and your heart to start pumping the moment you walk in. Even more evocative, the smell of dance. A recent visit to the Ballet Academy to sign up for a class made me feel like I was about to faint from wistfulness the moment I walked in, recently. It smelled of learning, almost like elementary school and high school combined, and its familiar scent was mingled with that of sweat. Not the sweat of a single person, but that of many. It smelled of collective effort and art, of broken toes, blissful misery and hope. There is no way this smell could ever be eradicated, even if the Academy became something else. Like the smell of the Hospital, the ghosts of a thousand dancers’ smell would come back to haunt this place, claim it as their own.

Some ghosts are living, living through the ages. When I travel back to Thessaloniki Greece, I am always greeted by the scent of this ancient city the moment I step out of the airport. Air that’s slightly thicker than I’m used to over here, humid and salty, smelling of the sea and the people, the vague smell of herbs and woods. The smell of a particular sort of energy reverberating in the air. It makes me want to fall down on my knees, Pope-like, and kiss the ground that bore me.

Some scents are truly gone from this earth however. I am lucky to have them living in my head, and I am even luckier to have this strange ability to call them forth and smell them again whenever I wish to. The scent of my maternal grandmother, recently gone from this world, is probably the most precious such Ghost. It smells of her skin, scented like fresh dough after working her capable hands on each and everything that needed attention in the house. That slight smell of sweet and sour dough, the smell of light sweat over clean, soapy skin, calls forth an image of her working in her old kitchen, turning to smile down at me. And all I can do is wish I could run and hug her again. But at least I have her smell. Ghost of a scent.

Images: www.sxc.hu, www.morguefile.com

Friday, November 28, 2008

Forget me Not: L’Aimant by Coty

Those that remember L’Aimant do so fondly, for it is a perfume lovingly adopted and worn by generations upon generations of women. For many women, this is the scent they remember their mothers and grandmothers having worn. For just as many women, this is the scent they adopted as their own when buying a perfume for themselves for the first time. L’Aimant is a play on words, meaning both “Loving Her”, as well as “The Magnet”, cleverly insinuating of course that this is a scent that exerts such magnetic powers of attraction that others will helplessly fall in love with the wearer. Created by nose Vincent Roubert in collaboration with François Coty, L’Aimant was launched by Coty in 1927, becoming an instant success. According to Perfume Projects, the wife of Jacques Guerlain allegedly even preferred L’Aimant to her husband’s own creations. After many decades of success, the scent was at some point discontinued, only to be re-released again in 1995.

My own bottle, bought for a mere 5 euro at one of the perfume fairs here in the Netherlands is a vintage atomiseur de luxe in Parfum de Toilette concentration, whose rare and peculiar presentation had me looking for days on end to date it. Finally, with a little luck I discovered that the particular presentation dates from the early to mid-1970’s. I have not smelled the re-edition, so unfortunately, I cannot draw a comparison between this vintage and the modern juice sold today. However I am glad to say that perhaps due to the opaque casing of this vintage flacon, the juice has had no evaporation and it smells as fresh as if it was bought yesterday, not having gone off in the slightest!

L’Aimant is an extremely aldehydic floral creation with soft, woody undertones. Due to the heavy use of aldehydes, the opening can be a little jarring and perturbing – we are no longer used to such heavily aldehydic perfumes nowadays after all. Highly perfume-y and ever so slightly medicinal, the opening comes across much like light coming through frosted glass: Diffused, soft and intangible. The first impression can seem a little stuffy and old, to the point that I’d not hesitate to say that this is a fragrance that will undoubtedly seem to many as belonging to an older generation. To be honest, even I can’t help but find myself helplessly associating the opening with the word ‘grandmother-ish’. Even though I am usually against putting such labels on perfume, it is something that happens so automatically with L’Aimant, I just can’t help myself. It does, without the shadow of the doubt, smell truly vintage, and I have no trouble defining it as a perfume of another era. Soon, the slightly medicinal, stuffy note dissipates, and an amazing smooth sweetness perfumes the skin. This is where I really begin appreciating L’Aimant’s beauty. Smelling incredibly close in feel to vintage Arpege and Le Dix, the scent becomes very, very creamy and buttery soft. Plummy, apricot fruitiness sparkles ever so gently and delightfully on the skin over a bed of tame florals. As time goes by, the scent becomes ever more powdery and floral: A powdery infusion of strong violets with nectarous yet soft, shy accents of tantalizing jasmine. The drydown is soft and sexy, a skin scent of sandalwood and gentle vanilla. Even though I really love the creamy, fruity heartnotes as well, what really makes L'Aimant incredible to me is this magnificent drydown, so soft, so transparent, such that allows the beauty of one's own skin-scent to show through. Comforting and sexy...

As always when reviewing a vintage perfume I can offer, I’ll be very glad to send a large 3ml spray sample to a reader! Everyone that comments on this post will be automatically entered in a draw for a sample of Coty’s vintage L’Aimant in Parfum de Toilette concentration. The winner will be announced in a week’s time.

Images: www.okadi.com

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Inner Grace by Philosophy : Perfume Review

Philosophy, Christina Carlino’s retail range of cosmetics has managed to become successful in the cut-throat, oversaturated world of cosmetics, in part due to its appeal as a brand that does not impress the same -often unhealthy- expectations many other brands do on women. With simple, yet clever packaging that never fails to bring to mind associations with purity and simplicity, and short yet meaningful quotes printed on each and every bottle, jar and box that remind us of the power of hope, belief, perseverance and everything that’s good about life in general before every use, Philosophy has been embraced by countless women the world over, sometimes just because merely looking at these little messages brings a smile on their face.

Along with cosmetics, Philosophy also has a range of fragrances. It is hard to rate Philosophy fragrances, because they seem to belong to this genre of personal scents that are almost non-scents, if that makes any sense. Their most defining attribute would probably be inoffensive, with clean and simple following close behind. Yes, this type of fragrances are indeed very much in fashion nowadays, owing their popularity in part to the overly sanitized approach to everything our western culture has embraced. However one may feel about this, there is no denying their widespread appeal. Personally, I have to say that I do not begrudge their popularity. True, there are times I find myself wondering why a woman would actually wish to smell like a baby’s powdered bottom… However, I do see the utility and merit of many such clean, inoffensive fragrances. There is certainly a time and a place for everything, and there are indeed times when a subtle, understated, clean fragrance is called for (The gym, a visit to the doctor, or a job interview for example). Too, there are certain professions that specifically call for such fragrances. For perfume lovers, such a perfume is a much more preferable option than no perfume at all. And it is not just necessity that can make this type of scent popular among fragrance lovers. Yes, we love a complex development and fragrances that make a statement. However, most of us also have a number of comfort scents that we keep returning to in those times when we don’t need too much distraction. Scents that are not asking too much of our attention, scents that feel like a warm cuddle, scents that just feel good and simple and pleasant. I don’t like all of Philosophy’s fragrances, but they are all indeed such uncomplicated scents: A linear development that will not tax a tired mind further, a sense of comfort that will feel like an embrace and a clean, understated aroma that will feel more like your own personal scent or that of soap than an actual perfume.

Inner Grace is probably my favorite of Philosophy’s scents, because unlike the rest of the brand’s fragrances, this one actually feels rather sexy. It is basically a musk fragrance, and as such it feels very warm and personal. Specifically, Inner Grace showcases the marvelous, sexy beauty of Egyptian Musk, one of my absolutely favorite smells. Lovers of Narcisso Rodriguez for Her and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely are sure to love this one as well, since all three make Egyptian Musk the main focus of the fragrance. Unlike Narcisso Rodriguez for Her or Lovely however, Inner Grace sanitizes the musky scent somewhat, presenting it as far less animalic. This is not necessarily a good thing for me, because I do love my musks to be as animalic as possible; However what is very attractive about this particular rendition of Egyptian Musk, is that it feels absolutely personal, as if it is exuding from your own skin. Compared to Lovely, which I cannot really wear because it feels rather chemical to my nose and always ends up bothering me throughout the day, Inner Grace feels natural and soft. Inner Grace compliments the scent of Egyptian Musk with fresh, sappy greens and hints of resinous amber, adding both fresh and warm elements to the comforting appeal of its heart of musk. The end result is sexy, personal and quite addictive, perfuming the skin with a scent that has definite nuzzle potential. Yum.

Images: www.philosophy.com and Flickr, originally uploaded by Steve Jurvetson

Monday, November 24, 2008

News from Ormonde Jayne: New Boutique, New Perfume

Everyone that has visited the Ormonde Jayne boutique in London, can’t help but gush at how amazingly beautiful and luxurious the interior is. Described by fellow perfume-lovers as the loveliest perfume playground to shop for scented delights, the Ormonde Jayne boutique has been there to satisfy our senses, from the olfactory, to the visual and tactile.

Now Dubai, a destination whose name has become essentially associated with glitz, glamour and over the top opulence has its very own Ormonde Jayne boutique. The newly opened scented haven promises to treat guests to the same luxurious experience guests of the London boutique have been enjoying for years: bronze smoked mirrors, black lacquered testing tables and mandarin leather topped stools that feature in the flagship store create an atmosphere that truly makes shopping an experience. The staff has of course been specially trained in the brand’s unique range and philosophy. The new store has been designed by Caulder Moore who created the flagship store's new look in 2006 and can be found in Boutique 1 at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, also known as JBR.

Ormonde Jayne also has a new masculine entry for its fragrance lineup! Zizan, the new eau de parfum, is described as a powerhouse scent with fresh, biting, citrus fruit notes and a smooth, rich, refined concentration of vetiver.

Official Notes:

Top: Sicilian lime, lemon, bergamot, clary sage, pink pepper and juniper berry.
Heart: bay, violet and jasmine
Base: Vetiver, cedar, must and amber.

Sounds yummy, and I can’t wait to smell it. For now, completely seduced by all this Ormonde Jayne talk, I’m off to spray some Champaca, which happens to be my absolutely favorite Ormonde Jayne scent.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Announcement: Winner Philtre d'Amour Sample


Hello, hello, hello! The winner of last week's Philtre d'Amour sample contest is ... WaftbyCarol! (Fragrance Bouquet Loves Carol!) Carol please send me your addy and I'll be shipping the sample to you!

Thanks to all who participated!

Have a great weekend,

Divina

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Citizen Queen by Juliette Has a Gun : Perfume Review

Founded by Romano Ricci, Nina Ricci’s grandson, it is natural that Juliette Has a Gun has large expectations to live up to. For my part I felt a little underwhelmed by the line’s first offerings, especially in the case of Miss Charming, which seemed too fruity a rose, too close in feel to department store scents targeting the late-teen market. Lady Vengeance in turn, was a beautiful interpretation of the rose and all its thorniness, one I would in fact wear myself. However, it seemed a rather derivative effort, reminding me of many a thorny-rose chypre scent already on the market. Citizen Queen on the other hand, the line’s third perfume to date, more than lives up to expectations, offering beauty marked by striking dissonance and delight born of surprise.

Despite being touted as an aldehydic chypre, Citizen Queen comes across to me as a bold, leathery floriental, succulent, sweet and poisonous, lacking the patrician beauty and restraint of conventional chypres or the whip-cracking attitude of animalic chypres. The opening is decidedly musky, deceptively soft despite its faint, fecal undertones. Within the space of just a few minutes however, the scent intensifies, loudly broadcasting its dominant nature. An aldehydic kick renders the floral edges blurry as they emerge in an almost psychedelic sequence of color. The intense, sweet scent of violets splashes deep purple against a backdrop of black, while wispy green vines grow uncontrollably to surround them. Soft iris paints thin, fluorescent lines across the canvas, lending fluffy, powdery, feathery softness and acting as a contrast to the heavy feel of the composition. Marvelously, the musky, amber-infused base is incredibly effusive and its intense sweetness can be felt throughout the development. In fact, it is this incredible musky sweetness coupled with the divine scent of violets that truly forms the identity of this scent. However, what makes Citizen Queen really stand out, is its animalic character. The gentle bitterness of the leather in the composition can be felt even through the intense sweetness, but even more striking is the undercurrent of something dirty and intensely human, which adds a perverse streak to this beauty. Smelling at once familiar and disturbing, this animalic accord adds an element of human essence to the perfume, like nuzzling the crown of someone’s hair.

Citizen Queen proudly stomps all over any preconceived notions that our overly obsessed with cleanliness and political correctness culture might hold about what perfume should be, and what’s more, she does so with an unapologetic grin and killer heels to boot. This is not only a perversely dirty, poisonously sweet animalic scent, it is also one that is improbably potent; Those of you that remember experiencing Cacharel’s Loulou for the first time and feeling the resolute punch it delivered, will recognize the subtle nod to its unique tenacity. Having only a sample at hand and experiencing its improbable, rule-defying sillage with just a few drops, I can’t help but feel that it would be more than sufficient to dab this perfume rather than spray it. A few drops on one arm are enough for others around me to detect it and comment on it and the tiny sample phial on my nightstand exudes the most wonderful perfume every day even while securely capped. In fact, it has now happened so often over the past few weeks that I find myself wondering where the fabulous smell is coming from before realizing it is the sample next to me while in bed, that I am seriously considering buying a full bottle!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Philtre d’Amour by Guerlain : Perfume Review

Back in October I visited one of the many perfume fairs that take place here in the Netherlands. Even if you don’t end up buying something, these events are well worth visiting, just to be able to look at all the vintage bottles and forgotten or even unknown treasures of the perfume world. The perfume auctions that often take place during the day are also fun to follow and even take part in, since amazing bargains on pure perfume can often be had. I went looking for a couple of things I was eventually unable to find, but still had a lot of fun reconnecting with my favorite vintage perfume dealers, meeting new ones, talking with collectors, looking at fabulous crystal bottles including Guerlain’s limited edition Baccarat turtles and a complete collection of old Nina Ricci Lalique flacons, still sealed and filled with their wonderful juice (The vintage Lalique Coeur Joie still makes me feel like I’m about to faint from its beauty every time I see it). Slightly broke by the end of October during which the fair took place, I didn’t feel the urge to take out my wallet and actually buy something, even as all the little perfume gems felt like they were calling my name. However at my favorite vintage dealer’s table I found a bargain I absolutely couldn’t resist. A full bottle of Guerlain’s Philtre d’Amour with a pre-LVMH acquisition code, which the dear lady I always end up buying from was offering me for just 25euro.

The name is amazingly evocative and beautiful, but as Marina of Perfume Smellin’ Things notes, it is not quite fitting to the juice. Philtre d’Amour is not passionate, but indeed restrained. A light, summery Chypre, it spells sophistication, elegance and grace rather than temptation and ardor. Having said that, it is also warm, rather than chilly. It opens with a blast of spicy freshness allowing one to sniff briefly hints of patchouli before turning up the citrus volume so loud, one would be justified to think this is a perfume that’s all about the lemon. Candied, Guerlinade-infused lemon envelopes the skin in sweet freshness. Soon the scent of freshly-cut greens cuts down the sweetness and allows for a very sophisticated, slightly bitter vein to show through. Buttery iris is the first floral note that I identify and it is a note used with amazing thoughtfulness; just the right amount to add softness and the merest hint of powder to the scent, but not enough to overwhelm, as iris so easily can. Indolic, dirty jasmine has once again been used with the same amount of thoughtfulness and restrain and together with fabulous, soft and slightly bitter neroli these two florals manage to finally make the fragrance exude a wonderful heart of warmth through the elegant citrus freshness that defines this scent throughout. The base notes feature a wonderful, spicy oakmoss-patchouli combination, that together with the florals and bergamot really make Philtre d’Amour smell like a Chypre of a bygone era. Old-fashioned then, yet oh-so contemporary due to its timeless, classic character, this is a fabulous, scent. Its freshness and elegant lightness mean that it is a perfect choice for warm weather and I have the feeling that this will be exceptional in especially warm, humid climes where the slightly dirty heart notes and spicy base notes will be allowed to bloom to perfection. It will also be an excellent replacement for the summer wardrobe of Aromatics Elixir users. Philtre d’Amour is sold at Guerlain Boutiques as part of the Les Parisiennes collection, but Victoria from Bois de Jasmine notes that it has possibly been changed since its re-release in 2000. As I have only tested the original version, I cannot report on how the new formula compares.

If you wish to receive a sample of this original version, please say so in the comment area and I will enter your name in a drawing. Winner to be announced in a week’s time.

Images: www.fragrantica.com and Flickr, originally uploaded by Osbock

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fragrance Bouquet Loves Kanebo: Total Lip Treatment

I recently read that drinking straight from a bottle causes ‘smoker’s wrinkles’ around the lips (SHOCK, HORROR). Considering I have been keeping a 1,5 liter bottle constantly filled with water next to me for the last two or three years, thinking that I was doing my skin a favor, I am extra glad I have religiously been taking care of my lip area the whole time! So far I’ve been using Chanel’s Precision Ultra Correction Lip which is an excellent product in its own right, but after trying Kanebo’s Total Lip Treatment I quickly became a convert. How quickly? You could say instantly.

Right before leaving for my trip to Greece I passed by my local Douglas to replenish my stock of Kanebo Sensai products that were almost finished. Dieneke, my Kanebo Angel at Douglas threw in a Kanebo Travel Samples Kit when she heard that I was travelling the next day (Yeah, she’s awesome). The travel kit contained among other goodies, a sample pot of the Total Lip Treatment. The dry in-flight atmosphere forced me to take out the kit to treat my hands to some hand-cream and my lips to some of the yet untried lip treatment. And oh, how luxurious it was! The consistency is rich and luxurious, like an ultra-thick moisturizing balm. Dipping a finger in the pot feels like dipping it in high quality butter. On contact with the lips, the thick texture melts just right, seeping in without being runny. I applied it on the lips and around the mouth and instantly felt incredibly moisturized. I arrived in Greece with just two hours of sleep, but my mother gushed at how fresh I looked. I was just wearing a miracle blush by Dior and Kanebo’s Total Lip Treatment, but they were enough to give my face a fresh look. You see, even after the long flight, my lips were slightly shining and rosy. But what is the absolutely BEST effect of the product is that my lips were also incredibly plump, almost bee-stung! The same night, both my mother and I used the product again and woke up the next day with amazing looking lips. Needless to say, we bought full-sized bottles the same day, neatly taking advantage of a 20% off Sephora sale. (Yeah, I know, it would have been nicer of me to buy it from Douglas were I originally got the sample, but who can resist a sale? I ease my mind by considering how much money I already spend at Douglas every month…)

Kanebo’s Total Lip Treatment is part of their Sensai Cellular Performance line, Kanebo being one of the few mainstream brands (along with La Prairie) that offer products that promise to work on a cellular level to combat aging. Featuring CPX Vital Extract which contains five natural ingredients including apricot, the Sensai Cellular Performance line restores the original functions of the cells, protecting them from within as well as firming, moisturizing, and helping prevent wrinkles, while the Purple Orchid Extract promotes cell renewal. The Total Lip Treatment specifically promotes collagen production and improves collagen quality. All of this helps reduce the lines around and on the lips and results in the aforementioned lip-plumping effect. It also reduces dullness, restores vitality and combats roughness and dryness, leaving lips soft and smooth. (Seriously, I haven’t used lip balm once ever since I bought this!)

The full-sized product comes in a pump dispenser which I have to admit slightly takes away from the pleasure I experienced every time I dipped my fingers in that little pot, as it felt incredibly decadent and luxurious. However, as all beauty-junkies know, dipping a finger in a cream is never a good idea, as it contaminates the product. This has nothing to do with being squeamish, but everything to do with helping the product keep fresh and last longer. Half a pump is enough to cover the lips and round-the mouth area as well the laughing lines. How does the Total Lip Treatment compare to my previously favored product, Chanel’s Precision Ultra Correction Lip? Well, it is double the price of the Chanel lip treatment, but I do not have to endure the tagging and dryness I experienced with Chanel’s product (which admittedly is due to the lifting effect and not due to bad ingredients). Too, even though Chanel’s product also plumped the lips after a few days of continuous use, the plumping results of Kanebo’s Total Lip Treatment are not only immediate, but also much more impressive. I refuse to use plumping lip glosses since their aggravating nature is actually bad for the lips in the long-run, but I no longer feel I am missing out on anything! This absolutely amazing product makes my lips naturally full, supple and simply kissable. I love it! And as always, I love Kanebo.

Edit: Perhaps unsurprisingly, I just found out that this product also happens to be one of Angelina Jolie’s favorites as well!

Images: im.edirectory.co.uk and www.imageafter.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fragrance Bouquet on Vacation for a Week

Hello beatiful Fragrance Bouquet readers! How are you? Just a little announcement today to let you know that Fragrance Bouquet will be back next Wednesday, in a week's time. I just came back from classes and I am about to start packing my suitcases - I am leaving for Greece tomorrow. After three weeks of exams and a week of writing papers from morning till evening, I have really reached the end of my tether... I really need this week away from it all and hope that it will make some of the stress I am currently constantly feeling budge.

See you in a week's time!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Chandler Burr Lecture

On Monday, December the 8th, Chandler Burr will be giving one of the New York Times' TimesTalks in the new 400-seat presentation/performance space in the Times building. The subject will be “A Brief History of Perfume” - a critical interactive tour of perfume masterpieces and The Art History of Perfume from 1889 to 2008.

Perfumes are classic holiday gifts. But perfume is also one the world’s great art forms. Discover both aspects of scent in this fascinating interactive guided tour of some of the world’s fragrance masterpieces, led by Chandler Burr, fragrance critic for The New York Times Style Magazine and author of “The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris & New York.” You will smell jasmine from Grasse, pink peppercorn absolutes and tuberose from Peru and India, and masterpieces of scent art both classic and new for men and women. Discussion followed by book sale and signing.


The event will comence at 6.30 and is expected to last until 8.30. The Times Center Stage can be reached via the West 41st Street entry of the new Times tower (620 8th Avenue) and general admission costs $30. It is at times like this that I wish I lived in New York city, because this is one event I would love to attend! For all you lucky NY city residents and visitors who are thinking of attending, my advice is to make a decision soon, because tickets are already half sold and the event is expected to sell out. For ticket purchase and details, you may take a look here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Perfume for the Occasion: Halloween

Are you ready for some fun? This month, Perfume for the Occasion puts the focus on Halloween! Still unsure about the look you’re going to choose and the perfect perfume to go with it? No problem! Total Beauty has teamed up with the director of makeup artistry for MAC Cosmetics, the fabulous Gregory Artl, to give you step by step instructions on how to create several Halloween perfect looks, and Fragrance Bouquet is ready to dispense some cool ideas about the right perfume to go with each and every one of them! Each look is accompanied by close-up shots, but even more comprehensive are the videos. These might be slightly over the top Halloween looks, but as beauty savvy readers will know, looking at a master artist at work with his brushes and tools means we can pick up a lot of tips and tricks we can later apply in simpler, every day looks.


· Dita von Teese: A friend of mine recently had the opportunity to go to New York to interview Dita von Teese and she came back with a girl-crush, positively mesmerized. “She is just as fabulous and gorgeous in real life as she is in the pictures!” she related breathlessly. This wonderful classic pin-up look shows you how to recreate Dita’s signature make-up faultlessly! Add a bustier and high heels and you’re ready to go. But what about perfume? Voluptuous, intriguing and mouthwateringly curvaceous, the classic pin-up girl needs a grand oriental to complete her look. Guerlain’s Shalimar, Moschino de Moschino as well as the more gourmand Lolita by Lolita Lempicka are all excellent, sultry choices. You can view the video here.


· Sexy Kitten: I might disagree with the choice of lipstick (I would go with a dusty pink for light skin-tones and a brick or slightly brownish orange for black beauties), but the kitty-cat look is a classic for Halloween, considering how easy and cost-effective it is to put together: Ears, tail and a body-con bodysuit and you’re ready! (I’m guilty of using the same eyeliner technique when I go out clubbing some times, paired with gold eyeshadow to do an Egyptian-inspired makeup, by the way...) Perfume lovers who like a bit of skank in their juice will have no trouble finding appropriate scents for this look! Guerlain’s Pamplelune is famously (or should I say infamously?) controversial, with fans finding it sexy and intimate, while haters at the opposite camp find it pissy. For my part, there are only two perfumes I know of that growl and hiss and purr enough to remind me so much of cats that I had to mention them in the review: Both Parfumerie Generale’s Intrigant Patchouli and Montale’s Oud Ambre are feral felines for the brave. Watch the video here.



· Retro 60’s Girl: This Go Go Girl 60’s makeup is inspired directly by Twiggy’s inimitable look, and is my absolute favorite. I think it is so well done and successful! Not to mention that a slightly pared down version of this white & black eyeliner combo has constantly been cropping up in fashion shows and fashion magazine shoots since last year. Combine it with some retro clothes, or even some brand new Biba clothes – Twiggy’s favorite brand of that period which has recently been revived. If you are lucky enough to own some vintage Pucci Vivara, go ahead and use it with this look, since it is probably the most look appropriate. Alternatively, scents based around musk will do the trick just fine as well. Dig out your cheap thrills, like Alyssa Ashley’s Musk or Kiel’s Original Musk. For a chicer appeal, try Yves Saint Laurent’s Y or Lancome’s Climat. Watch the video here.


· Vampirella: Another look that’s incredibly easy to put together, since the make-up is the main focus. Add a beautiful cape and dress and you’re ready to go! The sexiest of the sexy vampire ladies wear Neil Morris’ Gotham, which is demanding, alluring and knock ‘em down sexy, but the truly dark, mysterious vampires wear Black Widow! Watch the video here.


· Twinkling Fairy: If you have the time and dedication to put together the elaborate, fancy outfit expected of a fairy, this is a great look to go with it. It might look garish in strong light, but when you arrive at the appropriately dimly lit party, you’ll be sure to sparkle. There is only one perfume that is ethereal and magnificent enough to be good enough for a fairy and that is Neil Morris’ Spectral Violet, which even managed to make me think of fairies when I first reviewed it, before I even had an inkling of adding it to this post. Another wonderful choice is Laura Biagiotti’s Laura, which is light, airy, abstractedly floral and wonderful in its own right. Watch the video here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

L’Instant Magic by Guerlain : Perfume Review

Our body is very clever in telling us what we need to eat to keep healthy: craving a particular food is often our body's way of nudging us to eat that particular something that has been missing from our diet. But what about cravings for a particular perfume? Do you ever get those? Why do they happen? As strange (or indeed as ridiculous a notion) as it may sound, I do often feel that my body lets me know what it 'wants' or needs to smell. My daily perfume choices are not always guided by logic, but often by little pangs of scent-specific hunger: "I need something with patchouli today" or "I need to smell vanilla". Aside from notes and accords, I also find myself craving a certain family (a gourmand, a chypre...) or even a particular perfume, sending me to rummage in my sample bags for the matching little phial.

During these past 3 weeks of intense exam preparation and endless studying I found myself once again experiencing perfume cravings of unprecedented intensity. It all started out with a generalized craving for a gourmand scent with a hefty dose of vanilla, but nothing I had handy seemed like it would do. Serendipitously, I decided to do a side by side comparison of the original L’Instant which I already knew I hated, with the newer L’Instant Magic, a sample of which I had I recently received with a purchase. Ten minutes later, the original absolutely had to be scrubbed off as usual, but the flanker was pleasant enough to stay, if not immediately interesting enough to grab my attention and hold me in its thrall. Quietly and unassumingly however, it worked its...magic, hitting all the right spots. It was exactly what I needed, what I was craving for and didn’t yet know. I got so hooked on this little beauty, I felt I had to have some on my skin every day while studying. That first sample didn’t make it through the week, and I had to nicely ask the dbf to “Please, please go get me a sample” twice, as if it was laced with crack.

So what’s L’Instant Magic like? Delicious, seductive, comforting and exactly the type of thing I normally wouldn’t give the time of day to, especially since it is most definitely not what I expect from a Guerlain. Even though it is supposed to be a completely different fragrance from the original L’Instant, its lineage is surprisingly easy to discern. It is as if there is this very obvious red thread running through it, unequivocally connecting it to its sister: That powdery floral character that is L’Instant’s signature, threads itself like a precious vein through L’Instant Magic making it instantly recognizable as a member of the family once it is discerned. But whereas it is this very same characteristic I find oppressing and deeply uncomfortable in the original, I find myself being seduced by it in Magic. This time it is rendered lightly, with an air of improbable femininity and has the softness of a caress. The fact that it is only part of the supporting cast and not the star makes a huge difference as well. Finally, I can appreciate it. But truly, the best thing about L’Instant Magic is its incredible almond-vanilla combo that has brought me to the brink of addiction. It manages to do something that very few gourmands can: through its amazing warmth and sweetness, L’Instant Magic still manages to somehow sparkle with bright effervescence. The result is that while it retains all the seductive, mysterious characteristics of an oriental and all the bubblegum-vixen traits of a gourmand, it is also cheery and carefree. Most importantly, even though it is very clearly a comforting, linear scent, its genius lies in the fact that it retains an abstracted quality that makes it veer far away from ever becoming foody. Instead, it remains both feminine and sophisticated in character.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fragrance Bouquet Has Been Tagged!


Okay, so I don’t really do tagging games, or I thought I didn’t. But how could I refuse to play when I’ve been tagged by not one but four (!) of my favorite bloggers? It’s an honor, girls, and thank you for thinking of me! And the timing is perfect too: I am studying with such zeal for my exams, I probably won’t have a time for another post this week. So I hope all of you lovely readers out there will be content with some random info about me this week, and I’ll be back next week with more goodies I’ve been exploring all these days. (Yes, olfactory goodies have kept me going through these rough past two weeks)

First, the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you (Hey, that’s you Jenavira, Anya, Carol and Abigail!)
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write six random things about yourself
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.


Six Random Divina things:
1) I collect shoes. Some years ago my db who is wonderfully crafty made a floor-to-ceiling display area for me, but the situation since then has gotten so out of hand the shoes no longer fit there and now there are shoes everywhere in the house: On top of closets in boxes, under sideboards and cabinets, under my dressing table and under the coat rack, just to give you an idea. (Yeah, he puts up with me, and I love him.)
2) My number one traveling destination is Japan, which happens to be my favorite country in the world after my own.
3) I have too much energy, which means that if I don’t exhaust myself on a daily basis I get bored and blue. The gym is what keeps me sane: doing high impact classes every day keeps me happy.
4) Photography is one of my hobbies, one I share with my dearest dad. I love taking shots of things that are considered ugly and showing their beautiful side: peeling paint, dilapidation and rust are favorite subjects. I also love playing with colors, geometry and shadows.
5) The scariest thing in this world for me is time. To me, it feels like time slips by so fast. Thoughts like this feel like a cold hand clutching my heart. I love life so much; I wish I could hang on forever...
6) Even though I know I’m really a city girl and I never really could live away from the excitement of urban life and all its conveniences, I can’t help but often daydream of having a house with the perfect huge garden that would have all my favorite fruiting trees. The trees of my heart would all be there: the generous, kind pomegranate I grew up with, the lemon and orange tree whose scents drove me wild each year when I was a child, the perfect fig tree that is no more, an enormous chestnut tree with its majestic shade in spring and delicious nuts come winter. And there’d be peacocks and ducks...


Now the people I will tag are: Tamara over at For the Love of Perfume, Sali at Pink Manhattan, Tom, who doesn’t only write about perfume on Perfume Smellin' Things but has his own blog as well, Pansy’s Rants, Chris over at Rosa Negra, Aimée at Mossyloomings and Max, a fellow perfume blogger from the Netherlands whose blog I was delighted to discover only just recently!

Image: Flickr, originally uploaded by ul Marga

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Taste of Heaven by Kilian : Perfume Review

Do you remember Hotwheels, the little toy cars with the thermochromic paint that would instantly change color when bathed in cold or hot water? Not the most poetic of comparisons I admit, but A Taste of Heaven really is like a Hotwheel: It changes in such a fast-paced, and more importantly, fascinating manner, the mind races bewildered, trying to catch up in wonderment.

It all starts out with such a huge blast of lavender, it seems not only unthinkable but also impossible that this predominant note can be escaped. A bracing, light citrus freshness accompanies the herbaceous scent at first, and there are also hints of dewy yet deep greenery. Blink and there’s a change: the lavender note seems to get ever more animated and lively. The relaxing, well-rounded, aromatic scent of Lavender Barreme blends beautifully with the strong, camphorous notes of Lavandin Abrialis, creating an almost dizzying display of the humble looking flower in the mind’s eye. In terms of smell, this lavender is so extreme it can only be described as operatic. I don’t generally like my lavender served straight up, so I only truly start loving A Taste of Heaven when finally it turns from bracing and aromatic to smooth and sweetly vanillic. For a while the scent appears to be comforting and almost gourmand, edible in nature. Then the unbelievable happens: the fragrance undergoes a change so extreme, I can only describe it as awesome in the original sense of the word. It becomes warmer and warmer and the olfactory sensation it produces is so surprisingly effusive, it almost feels as if one is witnessing a chemical reaction taking place on the skin. It seems like all this heat, all this wonderful warmth comes out of nowhere, a sinister smile full of sexual innuendos suddenly coming to knock you off your feet. Because yes, this is not the comforting warmth of a hearth, but the heat of sexual energy unhinged. Sexy, animalic, barbaric and ravaging, the heat is almost volcanic. As you might remember the first time I experienced this scent I was in public... My first reaction to the change was a simple “It’s getting warmer now”, quickly followed by “Oh my God” and then I was finally left speechless and blushing. Having jolted us to attention with this explosive, shocking, ultra-sensual stage, A Taste of Heaven calms down again and slowly eases itself into its final, comfortable incarnation, which will last for hours (and into the next day if applied in the evening). All its animalic elements now come down from a boil to a simmer and can be appreciated individually. The slightly vanillic lavender is musky and warm, there are hints of tender, subtle leather, the patchouli is soft and dry as powder and the utterly beautiful, erotic ambergris note ties it all together... The whole in this case too tends to be more than the sum of its parts: the end result smells incredibly human and warm, like the scent of your own skin, sensual and very, very personal. To clarify this, I will give an example: I have tested this with a number of friends during the drydown stage, and most of them struggle to separate the smell of the perfume from the smell of my own skin when they do not have previous experiences with A Taste of Heaven. It feels like the borders between the skin’s own scent and the scent of the fragrance are blurred, hazy. However, once they have experienced the fragrance on their own skin from start to finish, they can always clearly detect it thereafter. It will come as no surprise thus, when I say that the drydown of A Taste of Heaven is very similar to the drydown of Miller Harris’ L’air de Rien, which has also been extensively compared with the scent and familiarity of the human skin.