Monday, June 29, 2009

For the Love of Perfume, Fashion and All That is Fabulous: Paris (Part 3)

When planning my trip and while quietly contemplating how there was absolutely no way I wouldn’t find the “one vanilla” in Paris, there was one particular perfume on which my hopes were hinged and which I simply couldn’t wait to test: Tihota by Indult. Not only is the nose behind this fragrance -Francis Kurkdjian- one of my favorites, but my conviction was further strengthened by the fact that many perfume lovers that had taken on a similar vanilla quest, had found the one in Tihota. The reputation of Tihota being a colossal, fantabulous vanilla combined with my love of Kurkdjian’s astonishingly beautiful musk signature seemed to say it all. So confident did I feel, I would have bought this expensive fragrance unsniffed were I not planning to visit Paris. I exited Guerlain and burst into Sephora to try it, never expecting to be disappointed. Without even testing this on paper first, I sprayed this right on my skin and waited for the magic to unfold. … Or not, as was in fact the case.

I can’t speak for the aromachemicals (whether natural or synthetic) that actually make up Tihota, but I can tell you what it smelled like to me. It smelled extremely high-pitched, simplistic and synthetic. Having quite a bit of experience with really good vanilla absolutes (which are subtle, complex and range from smoothly, softly sweet to dry and unsweet) I was highly disappointed with this one, especially considering its extravagant price. Tihota (to me) gave off wafts of ethyl vanillin and coumarin, was extremely sweet with 20-fold intensity and remained unchanging, like a huge block of synthetic flavor on my skin. I could have cried.

Swallowing my disappointment, I composed myself and started looking around. This was after all, one of the most fun places I’d visited last time. More disappointment: My overwhelming reaction was “Boy has this place changed!” and not in a good way. Two years ago when I was last in Paris, Sephora was a wonderful, wonderful playground, where you could find all sorts of delicious little treats no longer found on regular department store perfume shelves and mess around without being bothered for hours on end if you so wished. Most of the hard-to-find goodies are gone, which gave me a jab of pain. Gone are the never-before-heard of Montanas. Now you can’t even find a tester of Parfum de Peau. Gone is the variety of Molinards. The list goes on. But it’s not only the older, now forgotten by most, perfumes that have gotten the boot: to my surprise, Bond No. 9 is no longer sold there either, making the fabulous Chinatown a vague dream. To add insult to injury, the art of allowing the customer to peacefully look around is also lost to Champs Elysées’ Sephora: you can’t go for five minutes without being accosted by a polite but rather hard-pressing SA. Consequently, it was hard on my part to fight the urge to run away. Unfortunately, it was even harder to resist returning almost daily. Oh, the lure of all that beauty loot!

Undeterred by any and all perfume related disappointments and feeling no tiredness, we decided to take on the long (yet oh-so-wonderfully encrusted by all brands fabulous) walk down Rue du Fauburg Saint-Honoré and its extension, Rue Saint-Honoré. My heart oohed-and-aaaahd at all the amazing shops and I positively skipped and hopped from one side of the street to the other, bemused boyfriend in tow. We skipped the Comme des Garçons perfume store which was close by because I am quite familiar with all (or almost all of the brands’ offerings) and continued straight down. Upon spotting the Giuseppe Zanotti shoe boutique I grabbed the boyfriend’s arm excitedly and exclaimed with a voice tinged with passion and love normally only reserved for him: “Oh, P., it is my favorite shoe designer in the whole world!”. A handsome young man was outside the door smoking just as I was exclaiming the very words. He threw his cigarette on the pavement and turned to me with a smile: “Please come in, mademoiselle. Anything you buy is 40% off for you!” How could I resist? Paris had started enfolding me in its magic embrace yet again.

We reached Rue Castiglione where I briefly entered Annick Goutal to try Musc Nomade, the only one from Les Orientalistes which I had not smelled. For some reason, even though the rest of the perfumes are available in different shops that sell Goutal in the Netherlands, only the official boutique in Rotterdam carries Musc Nomade and I’d so far hadn’t taken the trip to go and smell it. I guess it took Paris to get me to explore it! Now, I know the Orientalistes line has been highly lauded on blogs and forums alike and it has many, many fans, but I have to come out and say that I’d so far been less than impressed with it. All of the Orientalistes I’ve tried fall flat on my skin and remain impermeable by light, as though they’re somehow murky. I am a complete musk nut, so I was hoping things would be different with Musc Nomade, but they weren’t. I found it completely forgettable and ephemeral. I wish to reserve the opportunity to test them further because I somehow do not feel inclined to give up on them just yet, but up until now, no, I am not enamored to say the least.

Our next perfume-related stop was Colette. I now wish I’d taken more notes while there, because aside from the perfumes I specifically went there to explore, everything else seems like a blur. The collection of perfumes on offer at Colette is very intriguing, several of which I’d never had the chance to sample before. Unfortunately, the reason for my blurred memories is not due to the variety, but due to the terrible ‘service’. A tall, vaguely pretty yet stoned-looking lanky youth made it his mission to follow me around and hover (I kid you not) right above my head throughout the expedition. With my every move observed and with every single attempt to make a grab for a bottle intercepted (druggy-boy insisted on spraying everything on a blotter himself and blocking me from doing otherwise throughout) my stress levels rose to the point where I have no clue any more what I have sampled aside from the original two I went there to test. The most unbelievable part however, is that he was completely untrained!!! It was obvious that resistance would get me nowhere, so I decided to at least engage him in conversation about the two perfumes I went there to test. These were Le Labo’s Paris exclusive for Colette (a vanilla, yes, still on the quest) and Indult’s C-16, a re-created Tonkin musk fragrance. “Can you tell me a little bit about this one?” I asked. Silence till the crickets started chirping. He looked at me positively dumbfounded. “Err…. It is by Le Labo”. Okaaaaaay. “Anything more?” “No, I am sorry, I do not know.” Fine, then why follow me around, weirdo? I thought I’d have some more fun: “This one, (pointing to the Indult) I know it is an exclusive for Colette, featuring a specific note. Could you tell me which one?” His already half-closed eyelids looked like they were gonna close up shop for good. “Uh, eh… It’s just a special for Colette, I don’t know.” Alrighty then. With slow yet deliberate movements he lurched over to a girl behind the Labo counter. After a short conversation he returned to me. “Musk. It’s about musk.” “Ah, thank you.” He resumed following me with regained determination. It turns out I am completely anosmic to C-16 so I cannot tell you what it smells like. I offered the blotter to my boyfriend. “Do you smell something?” Some intensive sniffing ensued. “Maybe. But it’s very faint.” Maybe? Like the emperor might be clothed but he also might not? I guess we’re both anosmic to it, strange considering “re-created” would have me think there were enough musks employed for us to be able to detect at least some of them! Le Labo’s Vanille 44 in turn, should come with a byline: “Not really a vanilla!”. The overall impression is interesting, as this is a very salty scent. Salty subdued amber, soft woods, a lick of musk. It’s alright. It’s interesting. I do not need a bottle. It doesn’t smell like perfume, nor like anything you’d scent….well, anything with. It is just super strange. I’d take a sample, for further exploration! I have a feeling wearing this as a personal scent could be quite delightful when wishing to not actually smell like perfume, but as though you yourself are exuding a salty, sun-warmed skin scent.

Our long walk finally took us to Les Jardins de Tuileries from where we took the metro to go to the Marais to visit Merci, hoping to smell Dans les Foins. I’d never smelled the perfume, but I love-love-love the candle. Unfortunately as we disembarked I suddenly (and inexplicably) came to the realization that I had not packed flip-flops with me. I’d packed 2 pairs of ballerinas, 2 pairs of high heels and a pair of wedges but no flip-flops. Why is this important? Because I have this err…idiosyncrasy where I refuse to walk on hotel room carpets (or indeed to enter the bathtub) barefooted. Slight panic as I begin asking passers-by where I might find flip-flops nearby. What the hell is the word for flip-flop in French anyway? The best I could do was explain in broken French that I am looking for shoes you use at the beach. Noone has a clue what I am talking about. Drugstores and pharmacies prove fruitless. Right as the stores are closing I duck under the closing security roller shutters of a shoe store where I spotted a single pair in white. They have no other color (not that I much cared at the moment) and they are for kids. Employing my very own brand of French again, I enquire what the largest size available is. Trente-huit, 38! Hurrah, my size. I pay for a pair without trying them on and leave, but not before asking what in God’s name the particular ‘type of shoe’ is called. I get a strange answer, sounds like “tongo”. Thongs? Close enough I guess. Outside the shop I muse about what the shoe might actually be called with the boyfriend. He shoots me an amused look: “And what do you care? You got them now, you won’t need to ask for them again!” Little did he know about the Birkinstock odyssey that was to follow two days later… (…to be continued)

Part 4, with visits to the Arabian Oudh Shop, IUNX, Lutens and much more will be posted on Wednesday, see you then!

Images: Indult's Tihota, Fabulous S/S 2009 collection Zanotti sandal adorned with malachites and detail of same shoe, Femmes d'Alger by Eugène Delacroix and lastly, Vanille 44 via Colette's newsletter

Thursday, June 25, 2009

For the Love of Perfume, Fashion and All That is Fabulous: Paris (Part 2)

There’s nothing like the first couple of days when visiting a foreign country: energy levels are at their highest, spirits are buoyant (the reality of how short the visit truly is not having kicked in), everything is new and possibilities are endless. After our sunny walk at Rue Cler and its surrounding streets, we headed to the metro because I couldn’t wait to walk along the Champs Elysées once again. It is hard for me to write about Guerlain in the midst of the current Guerlain/LVMH crisis in the blogosphere, but then again denying the fact that I most definitely had Guerlain on my mind as the first programmed stop of the day would be an outright lie. I can’t in good honesty write this perfume/travelogue without mentioning my visit there.

I felt like skipping and hopping as we emerged from the Roosevelt metro stop and I saw all the familiar surroundings, etched lively to my memory since my prior visit. I almost run into Guerlain fully intending to buy Attrape-Coer, with which I had fallen in love with last time, and to explore all the new releases. I do not know whether it was my imagination or simply a change in taste since my acquaintance with Attrape-Coer had been all too brief, but it seemed different this time around. Gone was the magic; it failed to give me goose bumps. (I’ll need to get a decant of this and explore further, or simply buy the vintage) This might be disappointing but I also have good news to share: In my review of another of Les Parisiennes, Philtre d’Amour, I had mentioned that I did not know how the re-released version compares and that my review was based on the pre-2000 version. Well, I have great news. What is currently on offer at the Guerlain boutique smells exactly like my own juice smells like. Further good news: even though I wasn’t moved (at all) by Les Secrets de Sophie, I well liked the fruity-gourmand layers of La Petite Robe Noire. The little black dress sounded kind of ditzy with its superfluous sounding berries, fruit, violet and all manner of gourmand notes like vanilla, almond and licorice and my perception was probably not helped by the bottle (which I still do not like), but once I smelled it I was a believer. This complex beauty is every bit Guerlain and will satisfy customers of all ages. Surprisingly, despite all the fruit and all the pastry-like notes crammed into it, LPRN manages to actually smell sophisticated and elegant, not least of all because there is a ‘thorny spike’ somewhere in there, keeping everything in balance, forbidding the juice from ever becoming saccharine. This little black dress sniffs at flats and wears heels proudly.

Mon Precieux Nectar, a super expensive (6000 euro a pop expensive), super exclusive (reportedly only around 60 of those will be sold worldwide) new release by the venerable house available in 1 liter fountains left me completely cold, even after two skin tests (I had to give this a chance and smell it with a completely ‘clean’ nose, considering I probably won’t get another chance soon). According to tidbits I’d read here and there, this was supposed to be a gourmand, but at the house of Guerlain this was clearly marked as a ‘musky floral’ which matched my own experience with it. Now don’t get me wrong: this stuff is beautiful - but 100-euro beautiful, NOT 6000 euro beautiful. Would I have bought it were it indeed sold in smaller bottles and priced differently? No, I still wouldn’t have. It’s not me and it is not really special. Beautiful yes, unique and special? No. It is a very well blended quiet floral on a bed of deep honeyed musk and it goes on, practically unchanging for about six hours. Then it disappears in a whisper.

I was much, much more impressed by Les Voyages Olfactifs and in particular by Moscou and New York. Tokyo was fresh and rather insipid, I did not give it much of a chance (read: skin space) since it really wasn’t my thing when sniffed on paper. New York is a beautiful woody oriental with plenty of edible notes to keep me interested while I am going through my current gourmand kick, but Moscou really is where the money’s at. If you can imagine the most perfect marshmallow, precious and created by the most genius pastry chef ever, this would be it. Plush, fluffy, soft-as-clouds, sweet and yet barely there, hugging the skin in the gentlest, loveliest smelling sheath, this is very much in the spirit of Guerlain, a bridge between old and new. It is not rich and opulent –heavy if you will- like old Guerlains, but it most definitely stays true to the house’s devotion to the oriental theme. Its beauty, as a matter of fact, comes from its delicious softness. I could almost describe it as a skin scent, for it melds so well with the skin, yet it projects magically and invisibly like a halo, creating a beautiful aura.

My quest for the “one vanilla” led me to the L'Art et la Matiere line to try Spiritueuse Double Vanille, the only one of the seven which I had not yet tried. Unfortunately, albeit beautiful this was not the vanilla I was looking for, especially as it seemed that its vanilla ‘essence’ seemed to be spirited away with the passage of time. Compared side by side on skin with Cuir Beluga this impression intensified, due to the fact that Cuir Beluga is –against all odds- far more true to a lasting vanilla than Spiritueuse Double Vanille! In fact, if I’m honest, Cuir Beluga was probably the “one vanilla”. But I didn’t buy it, regretfully, fool that I am. Next time. Lastly, I moved to Les Elixirs Charnels which left a positive impression but did not make the earth move (more exploration is necessary here). The one I tested most extensively was (unsurprisingly, given the aforementioned gourmand kick) Gourmand Coquin which was nice, but not really me. The bottle is absolutely beautiful and the color of the juice delightful, awakening all that’s girly inside me (not that that’s so hard), but I was left with the feeling that it is not as deep or complex as I would like and moreover, that it would suit someone in their teenage years far better. The reason for this is that the predominant notes (along with vanilla and ethyl maltol) are chocolate and strawberry, the latter being quite irritating and ever-present, despite the fact that it does not smell synthetic or obnoxious. (…to be Continued)

Part 3 will be here on Monday!

Images: View of the city from atop the Printemps, La Petite Robe Noire, Hummingbird and Nectar (via, Gourmand Coquin

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For the Love of Perfume, Fashion and All That's Fabulous: Paris (Part 1)

I am back from Paris with a heart that’s bittersweet. On one hand, it seems surreal to be back: I can’t believe I’ve left this gorgeous, grand city behind and I would be lying if I said it doesn’t pain me that when I open the door to get out it won’t be to set foot in its beautiful streets. My brain is struggling to catch up with the change and I find myself constantly trying to talk to people in French. On the other hand, I’ve exhausted myself so very much during my visit, depleted my energy reserves to such extent, that my bed feels like the most fantastic piece of furniture in the whole world. Too, there’s something to be said about the coziness of a small place like Holland. Even its capital, Amsterdam, has a wonderfully laid back mentality. There is no pressure to look good at all times, people consciously live for the small things in life, things happen slower and there is a warm simplicity to everything which I adore. I’ve walked so much in a short week’s time that my shoes no longer fit my swollen feet. After just three days in Paris I couldn’t even withstand the pressure of my buttery soft Dior ballerinas and had to break one of my cardinal rules of fashion: I trekked all the way to the official Birkenstock boutique to buy a pair. The particular sandal which is ever ubiquitous here in Holland (EVERYONE seems to have a pair) and just about every place selling shoes seems to sell them, proved to be almost impossible to find in Paris. Blindly walking into every place big and small, from big department stores like Galleries Lafayette to small shoe boutiques proved both tiring and frustratingly fruitless. Thankfully our hotel had WiFi and after a search on the internet on our third evening I managed to find where the official boutique was through a forum where several French girls were also wondering where they could find the German shoe of comfort. Tragically, after a small respite during which I was paying hourly thanks to the Birkenstock altar, by the fifth day my feet were even more swollen even in the anatomical sandal and on the morning of the day we were leaving I was actually limping. That of course did not stop me from stoically walking all day up until seven in the evening when we had to go to Gar du Nord to catch our train.

We stayed at a hotel in the beautiful 7th Arrondissement, really close to the Eifel Tower and literally a step away from Rue Cler, a fantastic street with which we fell in love with due to its cozy, neighborhood feel and the fact that it contains just about anything one could ask for: Great, lively bistros with good food, a number of vintage shops on the little streets perpendicular to it that sell everything from Fendi to Dior to Chanel, the best (and I mean the BEST) delicatessen I’ve ever laid eyes on, fruit stalls with produce so colorful, ripe and shining to rival and best any other I saw in the rest of the city, and much, much more, including a small shop selling certified organic essential oils, perfumes and all manner of lotions and potions.

The shop in question bears the name of the brand, Florame, and serendipitously –since it is so close to where we were staying- it was not only the first perfume shop I walked into, but also my first discovery while in Paris. Florame sells beautifully smelling massage oils in various compositions (relaxing, sensual, meditation etc.), soaps and gels, pure essential oils as well as compositions of essential oils to compliment the various diffusers available (I was seriously tempted by their electric diffusers), creams and eaux de toilette. It was of course the perfumes that got me in the shop in the first place, especially since during my stay there was an ongoing sale and the already well-priced eaux were retailing for below 15 euro each with a soap gift to boot! The brand currently produces eight different eaux: Rose, Vetiver, Patchouli, Neroli, Lavender, Citrus, Vanilla and Verbena. They all smell beautiful, but I was especially interested in the Vanilla. Composed with cacao & vanilla absolutes and further nuanced with spicebush resin, and citrus essential oils, this lightly sweet beautiful blend had me entranced. Despite the great price, I resisted the urge to impulse buy (it wasn’t hard as I’d just arrived and the gracious SA was not pushy at all) and decided to take a walk before committing. This was a great decision, because an hour later I could hardly detect the edt on my skin. A disappointment to be sure, especially considering I went to Paris on a quest: To find the ONE Vanilla, the vanilla I’d been dreaming about and craving for the last few months. (…to be continued)

Please click here if you wish to visit Florame’s website and come back on Thursday to read more on my adventures in Paris, perfumed and otherwise!

Images: Yours truly with the offending shoe in question (AND de Nicolai purchases!),
the best delicatessen, found on Rue Cler and
Florame electric diffuser & EO’s via Florame’s website.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Familiar Scent Trails and A Much Needed Vacation

Well, I am sorry to have suddenly disappeared without a warning, but once I finished my exams the lure of a getaway was just too strong to resist. While I was locked up in the house studying intensively for exams for three weeks, the weather kept taunting me: Sunny, bright and hot, hot, hot, all I could do was drink frozen drinks while hunched over my books and try to ignore the happy voices of the people outside. Ironically of course, once my exams were over the weather decided to turn gray and start pouring down. Deep inside, I knew this would happen as it wasn't the first time this has occured. What's a sun-deprived student girl to do? I booked a ticket and flew to Greece to see my parents for a few days - I've been here in Greece since Tuesday. I return on the 14th, but on the 16th my boyfriend is taking me to Paris for a week - a trip he's been planning to treat me with since my birthday (YAY!). I will be back on the 22nd of June, so please come back to find all about my scented explorations in Paris then! Oh, I'm so excited!

Until then, I invite you all to smell the summer and all the goodness that's in the air. I went for a trip to Mount Olympus yesterday and had the pleasure to walk around a very picturesque village filled with the sound of rushing, running water. My early evening stroll had me pausing every few steps just to marvel at the smells surrounding me. The most beautiful trail carried by the wind was the fantastic aroma of the linden trees. It being a scent I adore, I'd recognize it from afar, even before the tree would become visible. Once under the flower ladden tree, I found myself surrounded by the most amazing honeyed scent. So sweet, so magical is the fragrance produced by the flowers of the linden, it almost brought tears to my eyes. Elsewhere the far less pretty, but equally familiar scent of fermenting fruit moved my heart as well. The heavilly ladden fruiting trees and bushes had dropped countless berries and figs on the ground and these were producing a most pungent sweet-and-sour, drunken and slightly animalic nuanced scent in the air as they were fermenting into a sticky pulp. The soles of my snakeskin wedges became sticky, but I couldn't care less; the scent took me back to childhood holidays and days carefree. Unfortunately the figs were not ripe enough to pick yet (they'll only be ready come late August), but the green, uncomparable fragrance of the leaves and the sticky scent of the fallen fruit did not fail to bring an unwavering smile of calm and content to my lips. What a treat and what a gift, to be alive to be able to smell and to experience.

I look forward to seeing you all here again soon - I'll be back with lots more stories after the 22nd.

Images: Mt. Olympus and Linden Tree, both sourced from

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chamarré by Mona di Orio : Perfume Review

It is always unfortunate when one feels affinity with and sympathy for a brand and yet somehow fails to appreciate its offerings, resulting in unresolved cognitive dissonance. This would perfectly describe my feelings for the Mona di Orio line of fragrances: I’ve wanted to fall in love with them from the moment I begun educating myself on the line and its creator. Sadly, this never happened. I reviewed Nuit Noire and then held off reviewing anything else from the line because I simply had nothing good to relate about them. When Amyitis first came out I diligently procured a sample fully intending to inform readers about the new release. In the end I couldn’t even bring myself to do that, for fear I might keel over from boredom while writing. Now Mona di Orio has released a brand new perfume, Chamarré, and this time around I feel ready to bite the bullet and dutifully report on it.

Mona di Orio seems to regularly employ a signature dirty cord, and while I most definitely count myself among the group of perfume lovers who not only love but fervently look for animalic notes in perfume, Mona di Orio’s particular signature of animalic perfume components seems to disagree with me. In the case of Chamarré, the problematic (for me) accord is effusive from the very beginning, rendering the potently herbal lavender-clary sage opening warm and heady. The lavender note is exceptionally beatific, sweet, warm and cuddly (indeed completely unnatural as far as lavender goes, yet magically matching the profile of the note so as to be recognized as such), but it regretfully loses its sweet warmth rather rapidly. The combined effect of the opoponax base and the sweet-yet-dirty, warm lavender seem to be directly inspired by modern day Jicky. After a weak citrus sparkle that completely fails to light up the composition like a lonely firefly in a dark cellar, the by now subdued herbal accord gives way to a creamy gentle aldehyde sweetness that is mindful of the same elegance found in Chanel’s Eau Premiere. Unfortunately where that same aldehydic sweetness is magically turned into frothy, exceptional lightness and luminosity in Eau Premiere, in Chamarré it sits heavily on the skin, refusing to budge, weighing everything down like a lead weight. Chamarré further makes use of the same iris component used in its predecessor Amyitis in its heart, combined with slightly salty violet. The sweetness of the rose is well blended and almost barely there; I have to concentrate to detect its signature. The base features an overdose of (excellent) ambergris - just about the only redeeming feature of this perfume. In fact the use of ambergris is so seductive, that I can’t help imagining what Chamarré would have been like without the unfortunate use of heavy (read: as Lee mentions you will get old-lady reference from this) aldehydes and the boring iris-salty violet-ionones heart cord. Mona di Orio’s murky, dirty signature too remains a problem – for me at least. If you have the patience to give this one a couple of hours till the heart notes fade enough, you can enjoy one of the most gorgeous ambergris glows I’ve come across in a modern perfume. However, at 145 euro a pop, I don’t have that kind of patience.

To add a slightly more positive note to this review, I have to say that contrary to my disenchantment with Mona di Orio’s perfumes, I find myself deeply in love with her candles which are all exceptional. Retailing at 53 euro each, they are definitely not cheap but I am sorely tempted to buy at least one of them. Now if only I could decide which one! All three (Mauve, Ebony & Taupe) are really well made and mouthwateringly delicious.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Candlenut Perfume Oil & Tiare Jasmine Perfume Oil by Juara : Perfume Reviews

The past week has been stressful, but I am glad to be making a return with two beautiful, uplifting, sunny products that are just perfect for warm weather. I’ve noticed that these two wonderful perfume oils have been flying under the radar of the perfume community, so it is my pleasure to introduce them to you. Let’s explore them together for the first time.

Juara, meaning “champion” or “winner” in Indonesian is a skincare line founded by four gorgeous young women that decided to build a company that combines the very best of their mixed cultural backgrounds. An East-meets-West philosophy forms the basis for the creation of every product: combining the rich goodness of powerful botanicals and traditional herbs from the Indonesian archipelago with western, modern science.

Aside from body and face treatments, Juara Skincare also offers two different perfume oils: Candlenut (named after one of the brand’s star ingredients, candlenut, a nut resembling the macadamia and known for its high concentration of fatty acids and its softening properties which has been traditionally used in Indonesia to treat dry, rough skin) and Tiare Jasmine, inspired by the Indonesian tea plantations.

Candlenut Perfume Oil: This is a deeply, truly exotic perfume that is perfect for the summer. The scent is completely transporting, spelling island getaway with every tropical whiff and begs to be worn with a sarong, sandals and a carefree attitude. It has top notes of effervescent, sparkling bergamot and seductive white florals over a fruity heart and a smooth vanilla/coconut base. Once the initial citrus-twist sparkle begins to fade, the white florals ease the senses into the ever warmer core of the heart, blooming as it were into a buttery scent of exotic fruit pulp (I smell Malay Roseapple, Mangosteen, Mango and hints of Pineapple). The aroma is deliciously sweet yet softly creamy and the zesty accents stop this tropical swirl from actually becoming saccharine. The base is predominantly coconut (a calm, yet effusive presence already detectable from the very beginning) bathed in soft rose scent and caressed by vanilla and clean musks. This is a must try for fans of Byredo’s Pulp and Sharon Bolton’s exotic creations as well as a perfect addition to the beauty bag of anyone travelling to a hot island this year. (Official Notes: Lush Greens, Freesia, Jasmine, Bergamot, Rose, Coconut.)

Tiare Jasmine Perfume Oil: While Candlenut smells without a doubt of summer, Tiare Jasmine sings about the joys of spring, with its beautiful, crisp lightly floral green scent. And while both of these delightful perfumes are capable to lift my mood and spirits, transporting me to faraway places with their eloquent nature, Tiare Jasmine is definitely my favorite of the two. Tiare Jasmine presents the most vibrant image of brand new, young, gorgeously verdant greenery covered in dew. Succulent vine shoots and jasmine flowers combine with nectarous honeysuckle, scenting the skin with the most delicious green, fresh yet seductive perfume. It speaks of innocence, femininity and crystalline laughter placed in the context of the most carefree period of spring the mind can conjure. Notes of tea and bamboo lend a delicate eastern feel to this lovely composition. I am in love with this perfume and wholeheartedly recommend it to all lovers of green fragrances. (Official Notes: Tea, Jasmine, Tiare, Magnolia, Vanilla, Amber, Musk, Bamboo, Palm, Violet.)

Both of these perfume oils come in 0.3 fl oz (9ml) rollerball applicators and retail for $28. Both are complimented by their own lovely ancillary products (I love the candlenut scrub, which is not heavy duty, but gentle enough to use often and the tiare jasmine body milk which leaves skin silky and oh-so-gorgeous smelling).

If you would like to know more about Indonesian beauty rituals and recipes, check out the Juara Blog, written by the four founders of the brand. For more about the Juara Skincare world and products, check the official website.