Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Moschino by Moschino : Perfume Review

Franco Moschino, the charismatic, ‘ragazzo’ wild boy of Italian fashion, launched Moschino Couture in 1983 and took the fashion world by storm with his wild, provocative designs. He very quickly became known for his iconoclastic, sometimes cocky style, which earned him notoriety among fellow designers and at the same time delighted the public and press who simply couldn’t get enough of his shows. Moschino dared, with laughter as his strongest weapon, to poke fun, spoof and satirize already established ideas in the couture world, which led to a number of lawsuits. Chanel for example sued Moschino for his famous t-shirt, which depicted a television set and read “Channel No.5”. Other famous designs which show his humorous nature and interest in pop culture include his slogan “Ready to Where?”, his Minnie-Mouse dresses, his dinner suits with fork and knife appliqués, his jackets with the words “Expensive Jacket” emblazoned on the back and his blazers which had buttons in the form of windmills. The bottle of the 1995 Moschino fragrance bearing the name of the cheaper prêt-a-porter line Cheap and Chic too pays homage to his fascination with pop culture and whimsical designs, being in the shape of Olive Oyl. Unfortunately, Franco Moschino died an untimely death in 1994, at the age of just 44. The fashion house lives on and I am pleased to report that the direction is still definitively Moschino, especially when it comes to the delightful shoes that drive shoe-holics like myself to dig deep each time, in order to have the latest crazy design. I wish I could say that I am as impressed by the house’s fragrant offerings: it seems that they have taken a turn for the worse through the years, mainly catering to a very limited, youthful demographic with floral-fruity releases such as I love love, L'Eau Cheap and Chic and Funny! (nothing funny about that).

There is a true gem in the Moschino fragrance line however, and that is the homonymous, first fragrance release of the house: Moschino, which launched in 1987, four years after the house was established. Moschino is a beautiful Oriental odalisque, very much in the same spirit as Shalimar and Must de Cartier. (in fact its scent is very much reminiscent of both, so if you do not like Shalimar and Must there is little chance you will find this as wonderful as I do...) It starts out with a rich, thick, almost oily plunge into a world of voluptuous indulgence, a dark room where gold brocade and russet silk shine under the light of a single candle. There is a slight dryness in the opening, acting like a guard that struggles to keep the true sweetness of the fragrance at bay, but soon it is overwhelmed and the sweet, full body of the scent emerges, like a naked but oh-so-ripe Venus, surrounded by whorls of pure darkness. This is a gorgeous oriental indeed, which is all about seduction, adult seduction in fact, without a hint of innocence. The enduring theme throughout the development is vanilla, which forms the powerful flirtatious core. Up top, it is spicy, deceptively dry but soon, as mentioned above, it shows its true character. The carnation prolongs the spiciness for a while longer in the middle notes, but it soon wilts under the pressure of jasmine and ylang ylang which steadily help the dark vanilla become stronger and stronger with their narcotic nature. Then suddenly, all the flowers are muted: the vanilla has finally become irresistible, having shed all pretences. It is now surrounded by strong, ambery-balsamic accents, dancing barefoot on the richest sandalwood. Even though it is not mentioned in the official notes, there is no doubt in my mind that there is a generous amount of opoponax in the blend, hugging everything with its velvety, resinous, lulling scent. Finally, the composition is completed and made absolutely perfect by the smoky, tobacco-like tendrils that keep rising to the top throughout the development. Absolutely darkly erotic!

Images:, Flickr (originally uploaded by Muli Koppel),

Monday, January 28, 2008

Perfume Fair : Photos and Experiences

In the city where I live there is a large hall where fairs and conventions are held almost every weekend. There have been paranormal conventions, jewelry fairs, reptilian fairs, culinary fairs, toy fairs, you name it. It never even crossed my mind that there could be such a thing as a perfume fair – after all I’d never seen one advertised where I live – but on a rainy evening filled with boredom a couple of months ago it suddenly struck me: Why shouldn’t there be one? There seemed to be one for just about everything else! This sudden inspiration to look for a perfume fair proved to be fruitful. There wasn’t to be just one, but several perfume fairs all through 2008. None of them were going to be held in my city, but serendipitously, the first one of the year was going to be held in a nearby village, that was really just a few minutes away by car. This was yesterday, and even though the event was rather small, I am still buzzing with excitement! I went there not knowing quite what to expect: Were there going to be any independent hobby perfumers there showcasing their work? Was the focus mainly going to be on miniatures? Did I even dare think that I might find something exceptional and exciting? No, to be honest I couldn’t even bare to contemplate the thought, for fear that my hopes would crash and burn in disappointment once I was actually there. But I needn’t have worried: Even though the fair was (even by the admission of the organizer with whom I had the chance to chat for while) relatively small this time and the turnout not as good as expected, to me it was wonderfully exciting. There were sellers from the Netherlands, from Belgium, from Germany and even from Portugal and not all of them spoke English or Dutch, but somehow we all made do, either with broken French and German or just by simply using our fingers! The focus was on vintage bottles, perfumes and powders as well as commercial modern perfumes and minis but there were also a good number of vintage soaps and large factice display flacons to be had as well as a few vintage boxes. I had the chance to meet a few likeminded, exceptional people who showed me maps of their own collections, filled me in on the ins and outs of perfume fairs and advised me on which is the absolute must-go-to fair this year. I found two sellers with whom I am most definitely going to keep in contact with as I continue my search for some long-lost favorites. Most excitingly...I got me some wonderful deals! I did decide before leaving the house what I was prepared to spend and only had this amount of money with me, a restriction which certainly kept my spending in check while I was there. (A much needed restriction might I add, since my feeling once there can be likened to the mouthwatering delight a kid would experience if let loose in a candy store!) My favorite purchase of the day was definitely a sealed crystal vintage bottle of Mitsouko extrait from the early 50s in the rare rosebud stopper flacon, but I also grabbed Lucien Lelong’s Indiscret and Jolie Bouquet as well as Coty’s Muguet de Bois for unbelievable prices. The rest of my budget was spent on miniatures both old and new for my collection. There were many sinful Sirens singing (a vintage bottle of Liu from the 1920s, a vintage bottle of Nahema extrait, vintage Givenchys and Balenciagas...) but once I had exceeded my limit all I could do was admire them from afar, resisting their Siren call. But it is alright, isn’t it? There’s another perfume fair coming up...and another, and another. I hope you enjoy the few pictures I took! I wish I had taken more now that the day is over, but while there I hardly wanted to lift the camera, all I wanted to do was look and touch and sniff!

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this box of Piver’s Trefle Incarnat, which happens to be number one on my wishlist of vintage perfumes. Unfortunately when I opened the box all that I found inside was the four-leaf clover stopper the bottle was sometimes presented with. Like a sorcerous genie that had magicked itself away leaving only its curly-toed shoes behind, the bottle had vanished. Someday.

Picture of Tabac Blond Powder (full and sweet smelling as though it was new)

Vintage bottle of Crepe de Chine

I love this picture!

Nice presentation for Lancome’s Tresor

Limited Edition Presentation for Caron’s Nuit de Noel (No. 75 of 100)

My own favorite buy of the day, Mitsouko Extrait

PS: It is really worth it to right click the pics and open them in a seperate window, especially when it comes to the first picture of the Nuit de Noel LE presentation. It is soooooo beautiful!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Trussardi Inside Woman : Perfume Review

Trussardi Inside is the second recent fragrance release by the Italian luxury goods brand Trussardi that focuses on making the scent of the wearer’s own skin flourish. The other one is of course Skin, a scent which ended up reminding me too much of Burberry Classic so I never paid it that much attention. I did not think I would be interested enough in Inside to actually end up reviewing it, but I must admit, I am pleasantly surprised by this one. The opening is strange – slightly unorthodox in fact: There is a very strong scent of woods and the overall impression is that of woody caramel. It is sweet, yes, as you might imagine caramel would be, but not tooth-achingly so. It is a medium, light sweetness that satiates a taste for it rather than cloys. Additionally, even though there is no hint of leather in the scent, Inside’s opening somehow manages to evoke the feel and texture of suede – soft, supple and dense all at once. Soon the intensity simmers down: the woods fade into the background and the caramel becomes thinner. For a while we get to enjoy the bittersweet, strange, honeyed character of oleander, the beautiful yet highly toxic shrub found in great abundance all over the Mediterranean. As the scent of oleander recedes, the woody accord returns to fore, this time gently embraced by mild coffee. Every so often, a sweet, powdery scent rises from the skin, acting almost as a guard that keeps the fullness of the fragrance in check. In a way, it gives the otherwise sweet-ish fragrance a drier feel, like a dusting of talcum powder. This talcumed aroma gets more and more prevalent as time goes by and in the end, that’s what the drydown is all about: Powdery musks with a hint of wood. With powder playing the starring role, might I add.

The presentation certainly makes an impact: a heavy, hefty, art deco inspired bottle whose metal back features a croc-print design inside, visible from the open front. It will certainly sit nicely on a dresser. Whether the jus makes an impact – well that’s a whole different story. I find myself strangely attracted to Inside even though I tried to dismiss it when it first came out. Too, I certainly expect it to be selling rather nicely. It is a kind of non-perfume, a skin scent that will appeal to the woman who favors clean cuts, well tailored suits and a restricted palette of colors in her wardrobe: cream, grey, black and white. It will also appeal to those who manage to look gorgeous in jeans, boots and large knitted pullovers, carrying the look with a cozy elegance the rest of us can only envy from afar. It is indeed, as Trussardi probably intended, a simple, sophisticated skin scent that smells delicious to the ones that are allowed to come close enough to the neck to kiss it. If you like to smell your perfume while going about your day, this is going to disappoint you – sillage is minimal. As for me... I won’t be buying it. I love skin scents, but this one misses the mark somewhere. I would possibly have loved it were the coffee and musk amped a good bit and the caramel toned down just a tad. If I’m honest, I guess I’ll have to say that what it misses is sexiness, as far as I am concerned.

Images: and

Monday, January 21, 2008

Forget me Not : Arpège by Lanvin

In the first decade of the 1900s, Jeanne Lanvin, the magnificent, iconic couturiere and founder of the house that still bears her name, begun designing outfits and dresses for one of her younger sisters and her daughter, as well as for her own, beloved and doted upon child, Marguerite. Soon, word spread, and Lanvin became famous as a mother-daughter fashion designer. Lanvin especially loved to dress Marguerite, to whom she was utterly devoted to, and the adored child grew up to be a beautiful young woman with an astounding sense of style. The emblem of the house (seen left), printed in gold on many of the house’s fragrance bottles (My Sin, Arpège, Eclat d’Arpège etc...) was created by the famous fashion illustrator Paul Iribe and is a stylized depiction of one of Jeanne Lanvin’s own drawings (seen right) of herself together with daughter Marguerite – a drawing with which Lanvin wanted to illustrate the bond between them. Seeing it now, and knowing the history of the house of course, I am unable to look at it without thinking that indeed, the emblem itself, as well as the original drawing do not only depict the bond between Jeanne and Marguerite, but any mother and daughter - as well as representing the foundation that catapulted Lanvin’s career. Built out of love. This story of love and affection comes full circle in 1927, on Marguerite’s (who had by then changed her name to Marie-Blanche, Comtesse de Polignac) 30th birthday, when Jeanne Lanvin gifted her talented, musical daughter with her very own perfume, Arpège, named after the arpeggio, presented in a flacon designed by art deco designer Armand Albert Rateau, with the golden emblem depicting the two of them together.

This wondrous scent, composed by André Fraysse and Paul Vacher, plays its theme from its heart of rose and jasmine – the heart of hearts, the heart which is the center of countless fragrances, yet one that beats in an undeniably unique manner as found in Arpège. Its spellbinding aldehydic opening serves to identify it as a classic, although at the time of its launch it was anything but. It was instead utterly au courant, one of the disturbing newcomers that made use of the (at the time) still sniffed at by most contemporary perfumers, aldehydes. While Arpège was not the first (Chanel’s No.5 has that honor), it was still one of the first few daring ones to go against the current by making use of synthetic aldehydes. And so we have the pleasure to enjoy a fragrance whose edges are all blurred out, whose fruity opening is sparkling and vibrant, whose rising florals are enhanced and whose lasting appeal is gently softened by something that feels like a single, silky dusting of the most luxurious, glistening powder. The aforementioned, rich, rose-jasmine heart is masterfully supported and at the same time gently counterbalanced by greener accents of muguet, hyacinth and honeysuckle, while the sweet, thin powdery character of the bouquet is rounded off with a sprig of lilac. Vetiver supports this beautiful scent’s slight greenness, while musk and sandalwood make its seductive side not only constantly apparent, but also long lasting. Finally, Arpège has had many, many little tweaks over the years so owners of vintage bottles are likely to encounter differences among them. However, according to some sources the currently available jus is a return to the first, original formula.

Tamara has chosen First by Van Cleef & Arpels for today's Forget me Not. You can find her review here.

Images:, and

Friday, January 18, 2008

Smelly Facts : A Bit of Old News

Since speculation about which of our favorite, classic perfumes have been reformulated has been a rather hot topic in the last couple of years among perfume lovers, I decided to include an excerpt from a 2006 issue of New Scientist I found this week for today’s Smelly Facts post. We might not yet be 100% sure about most of the fragrances we are suspecting to be reformulated, but slowly, we are weeding them out. There’s yet another suspect we no longer need to deliberate over: Chanel’s iconic No.5...

Chanel No 5 is considered to be the epitome of a timeless fragrance, but its subtleties may have changed over the years. “Regulations introduced since it was created in 1921 have forced many of the original ingredients out of the perfumer’s palette,” says John Ayres, Chairman of Fragrance Foundation UK, in London. If new European legislation is passed in December, other cosmetics may have to be reformulated or removed from the shelves entirely. Last week, members of the European parliament’s environment committee voted in favor of a draft version of Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. REACH calls for manufacturers importing more than 1 tonne of a chemical substance per year to test it for safety and then register it in a central database. Many chemical manufacturers worry that this will force them to retest chemicals they have been using safely for years. Smaller companies may have to stop producing some cosmetics ingredients completely because they are unable to afford the tests, warns Chris Flowers of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association in London. “Inevitably, there will be a range of everyday products that suddenly won’t be available on the shelves because we won’t be able to make them,” he says.”

I apologize for including something that is indeed rather old news, but since I had not -before encountering this article- seen a definitive answer on Chanel No.5’s reformulation, I figured it would be useful to lay the rumors to rest with the truth of the matter.

Excerpt in italics is a direct quote from source: New Scientist [0262-4079] yr:2006 vol:192 iss:2574 pg:14 -14

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sung by Alfred Sung : Perfume Review

Launched in 1986, Sung was the first fragrance release by Canadian designer Alfred Sung. From what I understand, Sung is not only widely available in North America, but also very popular. Not so in these parts! I’ve only seen Sung actually sold around here once, many years ago. This was at the “Glamour Shop”, a little boutique in Amsterdam’s Magna Plaza. My recollection of the boutique is quite hazy – I only visited it once or twice before it closed down – but the regret I felt when I discovered the shop no longer existed is still palpable. That place was lovely – filled with perfume collector items, bottles I’d never seen before, feathers and dusts, beautiful presentations and wonderful service. Sung captured me at first sniff – it was one of those rare occasions I did not have to think much before making my purchase. For a while, it was all I wore, then slowly, I begun circulating my other perfumes again until I begun reaching for it on progressively rarer occasions. Years later, I still own the same bottle I bought at the Glamour Shop. I have perhaps used up 40ml of its 100ml contents. It is not that I no longer like it; I do, very much so in fact. The reasons why my bottle is still more than half-full are much more benign than dislike. Firstly, Sung is a truly strong fragrance – one or two sprays are more than enough. It is not dynamite – it is not an aggressive padded shoulders and big hair ‘80s fragrance, but it is still, however, a child of its time: Big sillage, big flowers, big everything. Secondly, keeping my applications rare, means that whenever I wear it, I get to enjoy a little time-travel action... A little trip back to that month (a dreary April), years ago, when I first bought it. A trip back to a period when I was discovering what it is like to be truly independent for the first time.

Sung’s opening is very green and fruity at once. There is the citrusy bite of hesperidic fruit, like tiny, sharp explosions on a bed of green, sappy vines and green, slightly bitter, resinous and subtly musky galbanum. Quite soon, those little explosions settle down, giving a more uniform impression of tart freshness. Slowly, as the fragrance warms on the skin, most of the citrusy tartness flies off and the scent itself at once appears warmer too. The heart is an explosion of (mostly) white florals, with jasmine, muguet and orange blossom combining to create almost a paroxysm of delirious, narcotic redolence. Hyacinth brings a semblance of balance to this maddeningly seductive dance by adding a touch of sober greenness. Lastly, even though I’ve not seen it mentioned as an official note, now and again I get the impression of gardenias, large and creamy. Sung’s drydown is full of intense, mossy greenness, balsamic, with hints of pine and closes with earthy, dry vetiver.

Sung’s personality does not echo French sensibilities – this is a very obviously North American fragrance, very 80’s Lauder-like in feel. It is extremely feminine, and by that I certainly do not mean stereotypically soft or gently romantic. It is instead, strong, capable, beautiful and seductive all at once. I did mean it when I said that one or two sprays are enough though! The Sung Essential Body Lotion is a very good alternative if you are worried about over-applying. It is very true to the scent, only softer. Unfortunately though, it is not very emollient. What is your own impression of Sung? Is it available where you live? As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Alfred Sung fragrances are not (to my knowledge) available here. I have been curious about the rest of the line ever since I fell in love with Sung, so if you have impressions about the rest, please do share. I am especially interested in the newest, Jewel, whose bottle is just breathtaking!

Image of Magna Plaza from, Images of Sung and Jewel from

Monday, January 14, 2008

Charogne and Rossy de Palma by Etat Libre d’Orange : Perfume Reviews

Even though both Charogne and Rossy de Palma are no longer considered that new, these mid-2007 releases by Etat Libre d’Orange are indeed quite new to me, since they took their sweet time to become available here in the Netherlands. I have been most curious about them both for a long time now, so finally, reviews of both!


Charogne’s name and promo are both as unique and as controversial as they come. I doubt there has ever been another perfume touting a name as tasteless as one that literally means “Carrion” nor has there probably ever been a promo as disputatious, eyebrow-raising, or disdain promoting (Although Tom Ford admittedly did a mighty good job of producing the most polemical advertisements of 2007). Both Charogne’s name and promo have come under a lot of fire for being offensive, and for some, even vulgar. I feel a little sheepish, thus, admitting that I didn’t really care. Yes I did want to smell Etat Libre d’Orange’s interpretation of a cadaver. And yes, even though I was aware their official description was perverse, its gimmicky nature left me rather cold. It was all about the juice for me and I felt otherwise completely emotionally uninvolved. Charogne’s opening is very sweet, almost candy-like, teetering just a step away from being cloying. Slowly, the jus calms down to reveal less sweetness, less intensity, more nuanced softness. Even though violet is not among the official listed notes, the lasting impression is that of fragrantly aromatic violets and roses left in a vase to rot. This smell of decomposing, aromatic vegetation is at once prevalent and subtle. This is, surprisingly perhaps when taking the last two sentences into consideration, a very wearable fragrance: there’s absolutely no need to fear that you’ll be going around smelling like a rotting beast that just emerged from a swamp! The aforementioned, dark decadence seems to be a thick vein, running, or rather snaking its way down the middle of this composition, surrounded by vanillic goodness, lightly perfumed with soft leather - soft kidskin, like a shiny, buttery glove. All this is weighed down by heavy musk that is felt deep within – it goes straight to the stomach, if that makes any sense. There is incense: a certain beautiful smokiness, tenderly placed, harmonious and unobtrusive – detectable when smelling close to the skin. The marketing doesn’t do this perfume any good, other than giving it a perverse controversy value meant to stir emotion... “Blissful pestilence” is the most unfair description of this perfume I’ve come across, in fact. The fragrance itself is neither blissful nor pestilent. It is deep, sexy, thoughtful. It is at once almost gourmand with its rather candied sweetness, yet at the same time serious and sophisticated. The heaviness, the darkness of the perfume needs to be counterbalanced with ethereal fabrics and romantic jewelry. The only gothic aspect that befits it, is perhaps a dark red lipstick on dewy skin, the lips quietly mouthing poetry under candlelight at midnight. All in all, I find the much-maligned Charogne to be interesting, deep and addictive.

Rossy De Palma:

The first, fleeting impression is soft rose on a canvas of freshly turned, rich soil. Soon though, the earthiness almost completely disappears, giving way to a thornier, spicy rose. The spiciness tingles the nose, while a strange, green accord keeps it fresh. This greenness is almost a sensation, or perhaps an image – like a powerful green vine, gripping the thorny, spicy rose in its tangling embrace. Adding to the fresh spiciness, a very interesting ginger accord that veers away from the sometimes soapy “aftertaste” I’ve come to associate it with, and instead gives a surprising far-eastern feel to the fragrance. Unfortunately all this does not last long. Half an hour or so later I’ve completely lost trace of everything green and spicy, as well as –most regrettably might I add- any trace of the beautiful, surprising ginger note I fell in love with. Rossy de Palma becomes all about the rose and a light, fragrant patchouli that manages to be woody and leafy at the same time, but unfortunately lacks depth and sensuality. If you are a rose lover, go ahead, smell this one, it is not bad. But chances are you won’t find something to fall in love with in this one: the rose is rather flat and the patchouli uninteresting – there are others that do the rose-patchouli theme much, much better. For a combination that could have been toe-curlingly good, Etat Libre d’Orange missed the mark with this one. One interesting thing I do have to mention though, is that hours after application, the drydown takes you by surprise: It is a lovingly soft combination of cacao and benzoin that leaves you with a warm, gentle vanillic impression that is oh-so-comforting.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Smelly Facts : Bee as Perfumer

Bees commonly use odors in order to communicate with each other. This behavior is especially prevalent in the context of mating. These odors, are most often produced by the bees themselves – that is, they are chemicals produced by their glands. Some bees however, make use of odors found in their environment in order to communicate. The males of the neotropical orchid bee genera, which count more than 200 species, collect volatile chemicals from their environment (from flowers, fruit, tree wounds, feces etc) and deposit those in leg pouches in order to create different fragrances which they then use to perfume territorial sites where mating occurs. The role of these fragrances is yet unknown. What is quite astounding, is that these bees use a form of enfleurage (a method of extraction of floral scents by means of a lipophilic carrier, in other words, grease – a method widely used in the perfume industry)! Specifically, in order “to collect fragrances, the bees apply large amounts of straight-chain lipids to odoriferous surfaces from their cephalic labial glands, which dissolve the volatiles, and the mixture is then transferred to voluminous hind-leg pockets.” (...) “From the hind-leg pockets (...) deuterated derivatives of carrier lipids (are) consecutively sequestered, shuttled back to the labial glands and reused on consecutive bouts of fragrance collection. Such lipid cycling is instrumental in creating complex perfume bouquets.”

Reference: Adaptation of text and quotes, “Enfleurage, lipid recycling and the origin of
perfume collection in orchid bees”
, Eltz et al., 2007, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 274.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bois de Lune by Manuel Canovas : Scented Candle Review

On the day I returned from my holiday, just as I had closed the door behind me, the doorbell rang. Loaded with bags in the tiny corridor I whined loudly, believing the person behind the door to be my partner who had just dropped me off and was going to go looking for a parking spot. Tired, red faced with effort and with an expression just screaming “What?!” louder than words could, I opened the door to find my next door neighbor looking at me with a sheepish smile. Embarrassment. Seeing as I could hardly move my hands freely as it were, he gently plopped a large cardboard box on top of the teetering pile I was carrying and somehow made it balance. “This arrived for you before Christmas, but you were away.” he said. After apologizing for inconveniencing him, I closed the door with my foot and climbed up the stairs with more excitement than I had felt the whole day. Returning home after a gorgeous holiday is always a sad affair for me –even more so when the prospect of going home means Statistics Exams and inordinate amounts of studying- so finding a packet with mysterious contents upon my return was just the perfect antidote! To my great surprise, the packet was not from a friend or family but from, an online beauty community I’d recently joined. A Christmas gift! No matter that I was receiving it with a slight delay due to my trip – in my opinion the timing could not have been better! Injected with a good dose of happiness, I opened the heavy, rectangular packet contained within to find a scented candle. My eyes instinctively closed, for the scent that reached me was pure bliss....

I adore scented candles – I have mentioned some of my favorites before, like L’Occitane’s Pumpkin Chestnut delight and Floris’ Lavender sweetness. However, I rarely splurge on scented candles myself. Why? Well... Alright, I’ll admit it: I find good candles too expensive. The cheaper alternatives do not smell nearly as good (as a matter of fact they most often smell terribly cheap) and their throw is practically non-existent. There is a single exception to this rule (you’d be shocked), but that is a story for another day! Instead, I prefer to burn scented oils. With a little research for the right quality and the perfect scent, I have everything I need in order to create a wonderful home ambience in the most economical way. One area I do not hesitate spending money on though, is buying presents for my friends, and for those that have a taste for it, a luxury candle is a great gift. And one, I have to say, I love receiving myself. Proof being the wonderful candle I received. Days later, I am still as overjoyed to have it as I was the moment I opened it. I pass in front of it on my way to a different room and somehow find myself lifting the lid to steal a whiff of the wonderful aroma. Like a child with a new toy it can’t resist, I find myself looking forward to lighting it when I come home, while I’d normally save the higher end candles for occasions when I am expecting friends. Yes, that’s how good it is.

I’ve gotten carried away, haven’t I? I haven’t even mentioned the name of this wonderful candle that has me waxing lyrically. Its rather poetic name is “Bois de Lune” and it is by Manuel Canovas. I’d never heard of Manuel Canovas before, but apparently it is a French fabrics and tapestries house, also offering a line of specially designed home fragrances. So far, the line is offering nine different candles and having smelled Bois de Lune I’ll admit I am most curious about the rest as well. Each time I smell Bois de Lune, I am slightly taken aback: I can’t help but wish to call this a dark, dark scent. The first impression is that of extremely fragrant, rich black tea and this is a note that remains predominant. It is however, tea engulfed in marvelous woody goodness: deep, dark, stately, like the paneling and furniture of a dimly lit lounge at a gentlemen’s club, where brandy and single malt whiskey is quietly sipped. The mental imagery is rounded off with the ever-present light smokiness of this candle’s scent, evocative of a yet unlit, expensive cigar. To me, this is a marvelously comforting smell, one that I am quickly becoming quite addicted to. A slightly scary thought, since this could turn out to be an expensive new habit. The packaging of the line is simple, understated luxury, adorned with the pattern of shagreen, in a different color for each scent. The candles themselves come in elegant frosted glass jars, and the large ones are capped with a golden lid that will help keep the dust away as well as extinguish the flame. The candles come in three sizes, Large (6.6 oz or 200 gr.), Medium (4.2 oz or 125 gr.) and Votive (1.2 oz or 35 gr.). The price for the large candle is 60$ (approximately 60 burning hours) and refills for the large size can also be purchased (5.8 oz for 45$).

Do let me know if you, like me, hesitate before buying an expensive candle, or whether you happily indulge and treat yourself and your home to luxury scented goodies! Also, have you smelled any of the other candles in the line? I am very curious, especially about Brune et Or.

Images: Author's Own

Monday, January 7, 2008

Perfume for the Occasion : Perfume at the Office

Happy New Year, lovelies! The holidays have come to an end, and how appropriate it should be that TMH of “For the Love of Perfume” and I start this new year with a post about perfume at the workplace, and more specifically at the office, just as everyone is returning (most likely unwillingly) behind their desk?

Wearing perfume at the office is a delicate affair: the key word, I believe should be respect. Respect for the fact that space is usually limited, the hours are long, air-circulation can be poor and tempers tend to be frail when the stress mounts. What does this have to do with perfume? An overpowering scent, or heavy-handed application can and in many cases will bother those working close to us. Thus, not only sympathy for our coworkers, but good manners as well, demand that we be neighborly and limit application to a few discrete squirts, so as not to overwhelm. Solid perfumes, splash colognes and light eaux de toilettes will allow more liberal application, in my opinion however, as long as we are considerate, we do not need to take things as far as resorting to solids! Another thing that will certainly help if you do not trust yourself to not-overapply, is to rotate a variety of favorites: this will ensure your nose will not get too used to a certain scent to the point that you do not smell it yourself – something that can at times result to dousing ourselves with our favorite because we can no longer detect it. Still uncertain? Another good idea is to assess the perfume habits of your coworkers. Offices function in many ways like small communities and as such, many develop their own unspoken rules and codes of conduct. Conforming to the office’s model will not only score extra points, but will also save the trouble of being confronted with friction or discontent later on. I do not consider myself a conformist, but as a reluctant perhaps realist, I see more potential for advancement for someone who does not unduly stir the waters or draws too much unwanted attention. No, perfume is not a trivial issue to us perfume addicts, and part of me wants to rebel against my own thoughts. (Why should I be deprived of my favorite perfume? I put in my hours! etc..) But certainly, if not for the sake of advancement alone, then for the sake of a balanced mental state at going-home time, we must consider laying off the sillage monsters in favor of something less controversial. Seeing the same colleague that decided to declare perfume war upon you every day is, nine times out of ten, simply not worth it. Lastly, in my humble opinion, choosing fragrances that smell of pure seduction is extremely counterproductive. The aim, surely, is to be taken seriously.

Having said all this, however, does not mean we now have license to become predictable and bland! Fabulousness must be maintained! What you are looking for here is something that sets you apart, while still following all the rules above. Feeling beautiful, capable and fresh in the sometimes stifling, air-conditioned environment of the workplace will do wonders for your confidence, something that will undoubtedly reflect on your work and the way you are perceived by your colleagues.

Here are a few of my own recommendations for great office scents:

· Eau de Campagne by Sisley : Wonderfully fresh, butter-wouldn’t-melt cool, improbably superior, reeking of good taste and money, this green beauty that does the tomato-vine note better than any other is a choice that simply can’t go wrong.
· Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana : People either seem to love or hate this one, but the tremendous appeal it has as evidenced by its sales and the fact that it is going as strong today as it did when it first came out makes me inclined to think those that love it far outnumber those that hate it. I most certainly belong to the former group. Light Blue is strangely appealing: It is undoubtedly seductive, but in an innocent, unthreatening way. It can be your ray of sunshine and happiness under the misery of the dreadful artificial lighting.
· Cashmere Mist by Donna Karan : Soft, clean, expertly blurring the lines between warm, clean skin and fragrance, this will offend noone. As a plus, its comforting scent will hopefully balance you throughout the day.
· Perles de Lalique : Wonderfully, beautifully sophisticated, the dry, peppery edge of this modern chypre makes it a fantastic choice for cool weather. The only word to describe it is chic.
· Lumiere by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz : If you must wear a gourmand fragrance at the office, then it has to be this one! For cool weather only, this beautiful scent is warm enough to engulf you in a gourmand bubble filled with goodness, yet soft and unobtrusive enough to keep the dirty looks from your colleagues at bay. Despite its gourmand nature, Lumiere manages to be only as sweet as it needs to be – it is never saccharine or cloying. The first time I smelled it, I was not only instantly hooked but also completely taken by surprise! It smells exactly like the “Hot Masala” chocolate by Dolfin! (a brand of Belgian chocolates) Seeing the ingredients, my nose felt vindicated! They both feature cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg. The similarity is astounding – smelling Lumiere, I can almost taste Hot Masala chocolate in my mouth. I have not tried the spray, only the pulse roller and when it comes to the office, this is all the sillage you need.
· Allure by Chanel (Edp) : If you are certain you need to amp the fabulousness appeal, if you are sure you need a little more oomph and if you know you can control your application....then you need some Allure. It is not a favorite of mine, that’s one thing that is certain -Allure is slightly controversial to my nose for some reason- but it certainly fits the bill: It is sophisticated, it is warm, yet at the same time exudes an air of coolness, it is sexy, yet it does not cross any of those invisible lines. Sexy yes, but not approachable without the wearer’s consent. And despite my professions that it is not a fragrance I really like, I often long for it. It has an addictive appeal and it most certainly sets the wearer apart. I recommend the Eau de Parfum and I most definitely suggest dabbing, not spraying.

So, what do you think about wearing perfume at the office? What are your own choices and do you try to keep to lighter, more subdued fragrances or do you just follow your mood? I’d love to hear what you think!

Images:,, originally uploaded by jamiefreaky and