Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Maria Amalia by Morris : Perfume Review

Maria Amalia, archduchess of Austria and princess of Hungary by birth, duchess of Parma by marriage, is perhaps better known to me as the sister of Elizabeth of Bavaria, affectionately known to most as Empress Sissi. Indeed, even though I object to monarchy (I am Greek, after all), I always did end up being fascinated by the more romantic stories of monarchs and have spent many a wonderful winter night throughout the years listening to my dearest, biography obsessed, friend Peter talking to me about the lives of princesses, pharaohs, sultans and their wives. What do I remember about Maria Amalia? Not that much – her sister, Empress Sissi with her unhappy life and countless travels always proved to be a much more interesting topic of conversation. So, when I came across a perfume called Maria Amalia, I cannot say I immediately made the connection between the name and the duchess. As it turns out though, the perfume is indeed named after her, and not just as a tribute. Purportedly, this is the real deal, Maria Amalia’s own personal fragrance, recreated from the jus found in her hunting lodge, when a precious coffer was uncovered, guarding inside a flacon of splendid crystal. The pamphlet that accompanies the fragrance paints a very romantic picture of Maria Amalia, speaking extensively of her wondrous beauty, her sense of style and her azzure blue eyes that could be magnetic and icy at the same time. The article about Maria Amalia on Wikipedia paints a harsher, or much naughtier if you will, picture of the duchess, focusing instead on her ‘immoral’ way of life and her political games. One thing that emerges from both readings though, is that Maria Amalia must have been an incredibly independent spirit, strong, rebellious and full of explosive desires that led her to want to taste every kind of entertainment in life.

The fragrance itself opens with a slightly fruity accord which refuses to linger longer than a few fleeting moments. Then, a trio of magnificently complimentary notes is presented to the nose: cardamom, ginger root and angelica. Ginger acts like the balancing point, as though flanked on each side by the other two notes. On one side, the wonderfully resinous, bittersweet cardamom enhancing the scent of its familial ginger, while the ginger itself penetrates the depth of cardamom with its citrusy tendrils. On the other side, the bracing, acutely sharp scent of angelica, serves to enhance the herbaceous profile of ginger, making it stronger, fortifying the senses, penetrating the senses and jolting them into attention. I simply haven’t the words to describe better how beautifully these three notes compliment each other, and I am left simply deconstructing them, hoping that imagination can fill the gaps. I do love sharpness in a perfume, and it is most pleasing to me that in this particular scent, the sharp vein courses through its development for hours. For a while, I get the sense of something deeply earthy, imparting an impression of wet, rich soil, strewn with aromatic spices and herbs. As this image begins to disappear, the soft scent of May rose slowly rises to the top, its petals laced with nutmeg and its stems surrounded by cinnamon bark. The result is very well blended, with no spiky edges. The marriage of notes is subtle and I struggle to pick out any particular note overpowering the rest. Smelling close, there is perhaps a thin lemony vein, continuing the trail ginger had started earlier...Rosewood, perhaps? As mentioned earlier, the sharpness I so love is indeed present in the drydown and makes for a most interesting combination with the base notes of fragrant woods and resins. Beautiful, cinnamic, resinous myrrh is blended with a touch of patchouli and a generous amount of creamy sandalwood that is so wintry, so warm and lovely, it actually manages to make my heart pick up speed.

Is this the fragrance Maria Amalia preferred? Was it one of many, or was it perhaps her signature perfume? What does surprise me about this scent is how masculine it is. Is it possible instead, that the fragrance found in her hunting lodge was not hers, but one bought for one of her numerous lovers? Or even perhaps, for her younger husband? Despite the feminine flacon it is sold in, despite the feminine name, my immediate impression is one of quiet masculinity. Yet, it has none of the abused, common characteristics of mainstream masculine perfumes. By this I mean of course that one should not expect to find anything obviously masculine about it, or otherwise overtly citrusy-fresh or god forbid, marine. It is just an impression I speak of, but one strong enough to elicit the same response from a friend of mine too. This is not a fragrance that is traditionally feminine, and yes, it will be just perfect on male skin. (purrrrrrfect? oops, sorry...) I do have to add though, that its sharpness might put some people off. The first time I tried this on my skin I did get reminded of the sharpness of Vanille Exquise, which is not too surprising since they both contain angelica. A side-by-side comparison though, revealed that although they do share something common in the way they are sharp, Vanille Exquise is smoother and Maria Amalia fuller. The latter manages to disguise its sharpness better, embraced as it is with so much warmth from all the spices, woods and resins. I do hope this little comparison helps. I felt a warning was in order since sharpness is not always well received, and it is better to be forewarned. How do I feel about buying this? I love it, and I am glad to have it. However, I do feel a slight twinge of remorse. The Eau de Parfum ConcentrĂ© is hideously expensive – perhaps due to the crystal flacon, perhaps due to the higher concentration, or both... The Eau de Parfum Spray which I originally rejected, has just as much tenacity, it can, occasionally, be found dirt-cheap online, and if my memory serves it happens to smell a tad different, a bit more feminine and soft. Dabbing perfume delicately is a sensual ritual though, and the high concentration does mean I am left with a lovely sheen on my skin. I don’t regret this, but I know what I will be buying next time if I manage to finish this one!

As always, I am going to be giving out a sample of this, since it is hard to find, so do leave a comment. I’ll announce the draw winner next Wednesday.

Images: and Author’s own.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tried and Tested : Pierre de Lune by Armani Prive

The Armani Prive perfume collection evokes ambivalent feelings in me: half of the fragrances in the line excite me, while the other half leave me cold and unmoved. To illustrate this antithesis I would like to use Cuir Amethyste and Pierre de Lune as examples. I view the two as antipodes of each other in terms of the feelings they elicit in me, with Cuir Amethyst being a zenith to Pierre de Lune’s nadir. I am completely in love with Cuir Amethyste, its deep and intricately nuanced scent haunting my mind, the memory of our first meeting re-experienced over and over again, in blindingly saturated colors. I would gladly pay its rather extravagant price tag without once complaining, for in my mind, the quality, the luxury of this scent justifies its cost. And then there is Pierre de Lune, proper and demure, effortlessly sophisticated yet, at least in my eyes, doubtlessly lackluster. Now, I realize this is entirely subjective. What I find lackluster and boring, surely has a place in someone else’s heart. Yet, whenever I smell it, I cannot shake the feeling that the price tag is, in this case, rather exorbitant. I cannot shake the feeling that this scent is neither luxurious, nor special enough to warrant the cost. With these thoughts in mind, I decided to take Pierre de Lune out for a test drive and see how others perceived it. Considering that the average shopper is neither a collector nor likely to be a perfume enthusiast or devotee, it was clear to me from the beginning that it was unlikely that I would find anyone who wouldn’t in fact find the price exorbitant, yet I still thought it would be both fun and interesting to see how exclusive this fragrance is perceived as just by its smell in general.

A few things to keep in mind before reading this month’s little interviews:
- As is always the case when there is a post about a harder to find fragrance here on Fragrance Bouquet, there will be a random draw for a sample of it. Please comment if you would like to be entered in the draw!
- The people that were interviewed were not told beforehand which fragrance they were smelling nor how much it costs. They were debriefed only after the interview was concluded.
- Two interviews had to be omitted because the subjects did not wish to have their picture taken. Even though their interviews are not going to be posted, I find it worthwhile to mention that both subjects commented on how soapy the fragrance smelled to them. They both compared it with soap they have smelled in the past and one of the two even identified the soap that Pierre de Lune reminded her of – Maja soap! It is quite sad that I had to omit these interviews because it is rather telling that three out five people found it very soapy.
- Pierre de Lune costs 185$ for 50ml and the official description characterizes it as “a sensual, floral fragrance designed around the penetrating scent of cassia. Fresh woody notes and soft violet harmonize with iris from Florence—an ingredient so precious it costs more than gold. An intense fragrance that awakens the senses.”

Katerina, Highschool Student
What is your first impression of this perfume?
- Ooh, I do not like it. It smells very strongly of soap.
What sort of price range do you think this fragrance falls into?
- I think it is probably an expensive fragrance. Maybe around 60 euro?
Would you buy this fragrance for yourself or for another?
- No and no! I do not like it at all, so it wouldn’t be right for me and I wouldn’t buy something I don’t like for a friend of mine!

Anneke, Pensioner
What is your first impression of this perfume?
- Mmm, it is feminine, but it is also rather oppressing and heavy. Sultry perhaps and ...exotic! That’s a good word for it. I do not like it myself... This is for some sort of dark type, do you know what I mean?
What sort of price range do you think this fragrance falls into?
- Probably around 25 euro?
Would you buy this fragrance for yourself or for another?
- No, I wouldn’t buy it for myself and I would certainly not buy it for a friend of mine. It’s too heavy.

Martin, University Student - Biopharmacy
What is your first impression of this perfume?
- The first thing that pops into my mind is that I am not convinced by it! Oh, it is alright I guess – it smells like a rather light unisex fragrance.
What sort of price range do you think this fragrance falls into?
- I really have no idea.
- Oh, go ahead and guess, it’s fun!
- I can’t say! Must I?...Well alright, 25 euro?
- Funnily enough you are the second person that guesses this!
Would you buy this fragrance for yourself or for another?
- I don’t think so... It’s not that I find it disgusting or anything – it’s more what I said in the beginning. It just doesn’t do anything to ‘convince’ me. I have to be crazy about a perfume to buy it, and this, well, it’s just mediocre.

I hope you enjoyed this month's Tried and Tested and don't forget to let me know if you want to be entered in a draw for a sample of Pierre de Lune! The winner will be announced in a week's time.

Images: Author's own.
Official Quote on Pierre de Lune:

Monday, October 22, 2007


Dear Readers,

There will be no new posts this week, as I am studying for two exams I have to take: one in just two days, on Wednesday and the other at the end of this week, on Friday. Make sure to come back next Monday, to read what happened when Fragrance Bouquet took to the streets this time, in this month's Tried and Tested!

Thank you for your understanding,


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Prada Pour Homme by Prada : Perfume Review

It has been a while since I last reviewed a masculine fragrance here on Fragrance Bouquet, even though several creations, some old and some new have caught my attention since summer. I cannot put off reviewing Prada Pour Homme any longer though, and not just because I’ve somehow ended up smelling it almost daily –either on my own skin or on others- for the last couple of weeks. The truth is, I am currently deeply enamored with it – I find it simply divine. I didn’t really know what to expect from it in the beginning: I didn’t fall in love with the female version and subsequently never actually bothered to smell Prada Tendre. I likely would not have bothered to seek out Pour Homme either, had I not smelled it on a friend who happens to wear it very, very well. Wondering whether it was just a case of good chemistry-perfume fit, I started testing it on my own skin, only to discover I was instantly hooked.

One likely reason I find myself so excited by Prada Pour Homme is that it is a very atypical male scent: It does not resemble any other mainstream fragrance marketed towards men right now. It feels almost as though it quietly mocks every aquatic, citrusy, or overly bracing and invariably yawnfest-inducing male release out there, inviting you to laugh with it, sharing in the joke. This is indeed a fragrance for the self-assured man who does not need to reassert his masculinity, or rather, mask his insecurities through his overly stout, manly scent. Where others insist on announcing their arrival, taking up space, enunciating their presence loud and clear, Prada Pour Homme is content to whisper seductively, inviting others to come closer instead. Gentle woody murmurs, musks, the creamy lather of soap and a smidgen of leather make up this gorgeous fragrance that serves to enhance the wearer’s own chemistry. This effect is so well done, that smelling it on another for the first time, it is hard to know whether what you are smelling is indeed perfume or the man’s natural own skin-scent. To me, its sensual yet slightly aloof scent evokes images of both colors and textures with ease, presenting me with a well constructed, layered outfit of soft grey flannel and silvery silk. The sensory experience gradually extends to bodily sensations...A smoothly shaven cheek, the slightly damp, still steaming from the heat, naked body of a just-showered man. When thinking of these sensations rationally I can’t help but translate them to less romantic, but indeed logical qualities: tender melancholy, intellect, sexiness and perfect grooming. And yes, the jus indeed encompasses all four with ease. Admittedly though, what I love most about it is its soapy muskiness. Now, I am aware the term soapy is not always used in a positive manner when it comes to perfumes, but really, there is absolutely no need to fear it in this context. Yes, Prada Pour Homme is indeed soapy, but its earthy smell of saffron and its infinitely sexy musk base save it from being either safe or overly clean. It is simply yummy and warm, the smell of sweet skin wearing nothing but a thin oriental ribbon.

If you fall in love with this as much as I do, may I also suggest you consider splurging on the shower gel as well? It is simply fabulous. I use it at night and find myself wrapped in its tender, comforting embrace all evening. Furthermore, it is surprisingly long lasting: When I wake up in the morning my shirt is completely infused with the lovely smell – something I’ve never actually experienced with a shower gel before.

Images: and (color adjustments by author)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Forget me Not : Diva by Ungaro

It is the third Monday of the month, which means Fragrance Bouquet and For the Love of Perfume are writing about yet another classic. For this month’s feature, TMH and I have chosen Ungaro’s Diva, a perfume that I have for a while been craving to see reviewed by dear TMH, as it is so close to her heart. I only discovered Diva a couple of years ago myself and am glad for it, as I do not see it nearly as often any longer. It is not that Diva is hard to find – it is in fact widely available and rather cheap at perfume discounters. But when it comes to local perfumeries, Diva is slowly being replaced by better selling fragrances. I do understand why – the shelf-space is limited and the fragrance market is rather oversaturated with new releases. Choices have to be made. It is a sad day though, when a beloved classic is being replaced, its space on the shelf taken over by yet another fruity floral.

Created by Jacques Polge, Chanel’s third Master Perfumer and current nose, Diva launched in 1983 and was succeeded by two different flankers, Fleur de Diva – a fruity floral- in 1997 and Divas – a woody musk scent whose notes sound absolutely delightful- in 2000. A child of the eighties though it might be, Diva does not have the quintessential powerhouse-fragrance feel many of its contemporaries have. The name in this instance is rather misleading: this is a much more subtle and ladylike floral-chypre scent, that oozes class. The opening is almost sour, full of vintage ambience. Quickly the aldehydic top notes amplify the sharpness of coriander and bergamot, imparting a sense of fizzy greenness on the skin. Once the initial “sourness” dissipates, Diva goes through a short stage in which it is quite reminiscent of Paloma Picasso with which it is very often compared – although I feel I must add that Paloma Picasso has more depth and feels much more layered. Even though there is no leather note in this scent, it is in this stage too that I get a definite impression of leather, a soft crack of a whip that stings oh, so sweet. The middle stage of Diva’s development is in turn a beautiful floral heart, with no traces of Paloma Picasso’s strong profile left and the cracking of the aforementioned whip all but a distant thunder. At first, the most prominent and easily picked-out note seems to be the gorgeous rose, concentrated and deep, changing colors in my mind’s eye from deep red, to match the potency of its scent, to creamy champagne, matching its spirit. Soon though, my senses get not so much awakened, but actually assaulted by the powerful imagery created by the ivory bouquet of white florals. An impression so strong, so powerful, of indolic jasmine, tuberose and fleshy gardenia, slaps me in the face abruptly and I breathlessly turn the other cheek, eagerly begging for more. I speak of imagery indeed, because the occurence always manages to be eerily visual. Diva’s mossy base is apparent from the beginning, but as the heart notes slowly fly off, the oakmoss becomes truly inebriating – chypre lovers will swoon with joy. This is a lovely, musky, mossy drydown, which makes excellent use of a thyme-honey accord. The effect is utterly lovely: beautiful, honeyed oakmoss with a hint of beeswax that makes me want to rub my nose against my own skin like a kitten. Those that enjoy Ivoire’s mossy drydown but wish it was a little less single-minded and a little more elaborate, are sure to love Diva.

Images: and

Friday, October 12, 2007

Smelly Facts: A Glance at Anosmia

Anosmia, the general lack of olfaction, can be congenital – that is, a person can be born anosmic. Alternatively, anosmia can occur later in life, either due to brain damage or because of vitamin A deficiency. In contrast, Specific Anosmia is the inability to detect the smell of a single chemical. A small percentage (2%-3%) of the general population for example, is unable to detect the smell of isobutyric acid – the component that makes sweat smelly. (Next time you find yourself suffering next to someone who has forgone the use of deodorant in the bus, you can perhaps distract yourself by wondering whether the reason behind their thoughtless behavior is the fact that they are anosmic to sweat and thus unable to detect their own funk!) Among perfume enthusiasts, the most commonly cited specific anosmia is of course musk anosmia, but in reality, specific anosmias span a much wider range of odors. To give a few examples aside from the aforementioned sweat and musk, other specific anosmias include fish, urine, sperm, camphor, mint and malt.

References: Amoore, 1977, Pelosi & Viti, 1978 and Kalat, 2007.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The New Zen (Zen 2007) by Shiseido : Perfume Review

It was with a heavy heart that I reviewed the year 2000 release of Shiseido’s Zen back in July, for it was as much a tribute as it was a farewell: The perfume alternatively known as Zen Pearl had recently been discontinued. Disappointed though I was, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t anticipating the brand new Zen with excitement. I have, after all, come to expect great things from Shiseido, so this excitement was not unwaranted - even though I did wish this new release did not have to mean the loss of a favorite. Furthermore, the name itself carries great allure: Both previous releases have been admirable creations, with many fans the world over. I did believe in my heart that the new Zen would carry the tradition of its beloved siblings and envisioning it as being in the same vein I was finally prepared to embrace it.

Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could have prepared me for the way this new release smells like. The new Zen can only be described as a mockery of its lineage – an abomination that only serves to defile a name loved and respected. This is not a fragrance updated; this is not even in the same vein as its previous incarnations. Gone is the incense, gone is the calm, gone is the mystery, and worst of all, gone is the oriental spirit of Japan, previously so well embodied. The foul smell of taint rises from the heart of this identity thief. Sharp and abrasive, caustic to the sinuses, the smell of cat piss lingers around me, refusing to abide hours after the first spray. Those of you that read Fragrance Bouquet often might find yourselves surprised at my dismay, given that I tend to love a little eau de piss and a good dose of zoo in my perfumes. But this is not a case of sensually animalic juices – this is the concentrate in all its ammoniac glory, smelling completely unnatural, and dare I say, chemical. If you would mentally remove everything that is good about Miel de Bois and managed to retain the memory of its initial acerbic overtones, you would be left with everything that’s bad about the brand new Zen. Furthermore, the pervasive, persisting pungency of pineapple and citric blend of the opening notes is completely incongruous to the rising, deeper, woodsy, ambery notes of the perfume’s base. Despite its disagreeable, objectionable and doubtlessly demanding character, Zen 2007 somehow manages to refrain from being unique as well. Despite its deformities, the body remains recognizable and frankly, boring. The drydown is rather meh – a monstrous form with the meek shadow of a sheep that follows an ever-growing flock of crowd pleasers. How can this be possible? It almost seems like an illusionist’s trick. An admirable feat, I’d say, but possibly the only admirable thing about this fragrance.

Quotes taken from the Shiseido website demonstrate that the new direction Zen has taken was very much intended:
“Through Shiseido Zen you will see the new side of Zen that is ‘strong, dynamic, and glamorous’ for the first time.” “Like the other side of the moon, this luxurious side of Zen isn’t usually seen, yet it is real. Zen can laugh, can dance and can live fully.”

But if the intention was just to shed light on a different side of Zen, why not leave its previous incarnation in place and simply release a flanker? And lastly, besides the fact that someone clearly needs to look up the meaning of Zen before issuing statements about dancing and laughing, these quotes do betray a bitterness towards Zen’s traditional identity. A bitterness and regret I find quite offensive indeed.

Image and quotes:

Monday, October 8, 2007

Perfume for the Occasion : Winter Holiday Scents

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years Eve ... All sorts of Winter Holidays are fast approaching, and even though it is still early, the beauty world is already busy, with companies like Givenchy already releasing this year’s holiday limited edition products. Alright, I’ll admit, it is a tad early to start contemplating winter holidays, but when TMH of For the Love of Perfume and I started discussing this month’s Perfume for the Occasion feature, we were both taken by the idea of writing about it anyway! And after all, the long, cold winters do seem to gain pace and become bearable when we have the holidays to look forward to! Now, I chose to concentrate on Christmas Holidays and not spread this feature’s focus to the rest of the winter holidays for several reasons. For starters, I have been daydreaming about Christmas for a while now. As the weather gets cold and dreary, planning my yearly Christmas-time trip definitely keeps me going. I can’t wait to see my family and old friends again! Secondly, I felt it would be presumptuous of me to write about Hanukkah or Thanksgiving when these are holidays I’ve never experienced myself and whose atmosphere eludes me. There are few things I know about either of these holidays, and even though I am utterly crazy about apricot filled Sufganiyot, this hardly qualifies me as an expert. So, rather than offend with my lack of knowledge, I found it preferable to write about something I know instead. As for Halloween, I found it hard to get further than typical apple-centered perfumes like Be Delicious and the new Nina – which I happen to hate. I would have loved to have a pumpkin fragrance to suggest, ever since I fell head over heels in love with the scent of last year’s limited edition L’Occitane pumpkin candles, but so far I have been unable to find one. Do you have a pumpkin scented suggestion for me? Please do share if that is the case!

  • The One:
    If I were forced to limit my suggestions to only one perfume for the Christmas Holidays, Lolita by Lolita Lempicka would definitely be the one. With notes such as anis, heliotrope, vanilla, licorice and tonka, this beautiful gourmand-oriental scent has no trouble bringing to mind Christmas candy canes and lovely confectionary delights suited to the holidays. This scrumptious scent manages to be at once sweet and deeply sexy, without being sickly. And even though it definitely has a lot of presence, it stops short from being as oppressing as its Angel cousins. It is not just its gourmand qualities that make this perfect for Christmas though: Lolita’s character is exuberant, happy, full of confidence, making it a perfect choice for the season in which all the unlikely, attention grabbing, festive outfits have their day. Even the ornamental flacon seems to match the bauble-studded season, making application a primer for the parties that are sure to follow.

  • Family Lunches:
    Be it is ham, game or turkey that is on the menu, many, if not most, families follow the tradition of coming together for a Christmas Day lunch. And even those not bound by family obligations on the day are often invited to festal lunches organized by their close friends. Whether you are the guest or the host in this occasion, the choice of perfume is a delicate one in this instance. The spread on offer is likely to be elaborate and the cook will have labored long and hard in the kitchen to make sure everything goes according to plan. The focus is meant to be the warm atmosphere, the interpersonal relations and the delicious meal prepared for this special event. It is not the time to draw attention to oneself with an heavy, intricate sillage monster. The often-overlooked Fleurs de Citronnier by Serge Lutens is perfect for the occasion. Artfully moving and at the same time subtle, Fleurs de Citronnier opens with a very realistic rendition of a lemon tree with focus on the beautiful scent of the blossoms. In the drydown, this gorgeous fragrance turns into a beautiful skin-scent, softly reminiscent of creamy lemon-cookies, icing sugar and powder. It truly is a wonderful creation that will perfectly accompany a meal from starter to desert.

  • Christmas Shopping:
    No, no, no, I am not talking about hideously rushed, last-minute Christmas shopping. This is not about shopping with a list, or with a definite purpose. This is about going downtown, visiting the beautifully decorated shops during the holiday season. This is about indulgent, leisurely shopping, when every moment is savored and enjoyed. Don’t you just love seeing the city streets filled with well-dressed men and women enjoying the holiday spirits? Do you also love seeing everyone’s happiness reflected in their faces? Isn’t the hustle and bustle of the shops exciting in that time of the year? Isn’t it easy to picture, even now, how everyone quickly rushes into warmly lit cafes for an indulgent cup of chocolate viennoise as it gets dark? I dare you to forget about how tiring Christmas shopping can be this year. Do it early, then use the holiday shopping excursions for much more leisurely pursuits. Yes, go out there, see and be seen! Wear your winter city-best, wrap yourself in a luxurious cashmere pashmina stole and exchange your flats for heels. The perfume that fits the occasion best? It has to be Shalimar, true queen of luxury when it comes to ambery orientals. Its vanillic, slightly animalic amber character will keep you warm and safe, protected from the cold winds. You will be in your own bubble of comfort while at once exuding charm and sophistication. I love opoponax in wintry weather and Guerlain’s Shalimar makes wonderful use of this delightful note. I know it is a difficult perfume, but even those who can’t love it will surely agree, there’s no other like it for the occasion. Allow yourself to be a lady of leisure even for a day and I know Shalimar will hug you for it.

  • The Office Party:
    This is one occasion where you are required to be festive and controlled at the same time. Choosing an outfit is hard enough already and most women fall back to the safety provided by their favorite Little Black Dress. The equivalent of “festive yet controlled” perfume-wise for me is Burberry Classic, which is at once spicy, effervescent and joyful without compromising maturity and sobriety. It is as safe, as versatile and also as sexy as a Little Black Dress. It is a skin scent with unique appeal. It will be good enough for the office party and it will be great for an evening in front of the fireplace too. It will do for coffee or tea with friends in a little cafe whose windows are misted over and it will do great for informal seasonal visits to family and friends. It will set you apart, but it will not draw unwanted attention. In other words, it is perfect. You can read a full review of Burberry Classic here.

  • New Year’s Eve:
    Giving a definite pick for this one night would be unfair. New Year’s Eve is already riddled with enough too-high expectations and oftentimes subsequent disappointments to risk wearing a perfume you are not entirely sure about. So even though you might be tempted to bring out everything that’s new out on that night, including your scent, my advice is to stick with your one of your established, dearest, most treasured perfumes. Ideally, you have a number of those! If so, choose the one that sparkles, the one that makes you feel confident and optimistic, and of course, sexy. Lasting power is of great importance too, as you will likely be busy until very late. A last piece of advice: Don’t be afraid of big scents for this special evening. Go all out, indulge, make your heart be glad with whatever it desires!

  • Home Scent:
    If you are lucky enough to be a domestic goddess who will spend a lot of time baking wonderful goodies and regularly throwing orange and mandarin peels in the fireplace, there is no need to read this section! Your house will already smell delicious due to your efforts, you admirable creature! For those of us who are more...domestically challenged (or, aherm...lazy...) though, some solution has to be found to make the house smell Christmassy. I swear by Marks & Spencer’s yearly limited edition Frankincense & Myrrh burner oil. The smell is gorgeous – everyone who steps into the house immediately exclaims how wonderful the house smells. The scent is spicy, with orange-glazed cinnamon and cloves overtones, which give the house a beautiful, warm atmosphere. I love this so much, I stockpile during the holidays just so that I can use it throughout winter.

Images Courtesy of: and

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Smelly Facts : Neuron Renewal

Have you ever heard others say that the adult brain has a fixed number of neurons and is unable to generate new ones once these die out? Indeed it was traditionally believed among scientists that the adult vertebrate brain could only lose neurons, never gain. (Kalat, 2007) Recently though, a small number of exceptions have been found. Among them, and of special interest to us of course, are the olfactory receptors. Indeed, these only tend to survive a couple of months at best, due to the fact that they constantly come into contact with harmful chemicals, as well being subjected to natural wear and tear, exposed as they are to the natural world. Thankfully, the dying olfactory receptors are constantly replaced by new developing cells! Too, adult stem cells within the brain have the ability to propagate daughter cells. These “migrate to the olfactory bulb and transform into glia cells or neurons" (Gage, 2000).

References: Graziadei & de Han, 1973, Gogos et al., 2000 and Kalat, 2007.

Image: Coronal section of olfactory bulb,

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Daisy by Marc Jacobs : Perfume Review

I have been saving my sample of Daisy for a couple of weeks now, with the prospect of using it for this month’s Tried and Tested feature. It struck me though, that perhaps something a little more elaborate is needed in this instance: many of you are likely to be wondering what this actually smells like and whether a visit to the closest department store is in order, since the cute-as-a-button bottle has garnered so much attention.

Well, let me start off by saying that I can hardly believe the nose that created the lovely, subtle and oh-so-thoughtful Bulgari Blu is the same nose behind this scent! The first whiff is quite nice – I get a quite interesting blend of honeysuckle and green foliage from it. Rapidly though, the pleasant green scent gets replaced by an intense wave of fruit. On a paper strip the only fruit I can detect is strawberry, on my skin though, I smell a whole range of red fruit, including pomegranate. Unfortunately, this little fruit salad is rather bland – there is no spice to make it interesting, no dash of a smooth liqueur or even a dollop of cream to make it more palatable: Just some citrus juice to keep the fruit from going brown and a sprig of mint for presentation. And even that tiny sprig of mint spoils it for me: quickly the jus starts reminding me of chewing gum. The type of chewing gum that remains slightly ambivalent where flavor is concerned, uncomfortably hovering between full fruitiness and freshness. As the white florals (jasmine, gardenia) rise to the top, it all goes downhill. Daisy quickly starts smelling completely unoriginal – in fact, it is indistinguishable from other generic fruity-floral concoctions. Too, despite the high intensity of the opening, the entire funfair fizzles out relatively quickly. Daisy lovers will have to reapply frequently: an hour and a half later there is but a trace of musky fruitiness remaining and I practically have to exert effort to discern it. Well, at least the bottle is gorgeous right? Truly, the bottle is very photogenic, but it failed to wow me in real life. I mean, of course it is a beautiful bottle, just not the radiant, whimsical little jewel I was prepared to find judging from the images I had seen. But to be fair, Daisy does have some saving graces. It does not fall into the pitfall of being overly sweet, like many of her sisters do. And once again unlike many other fruity-florals, this one does not smell chemical. It is not likely to be classified as a scrubber by many, nor is it likely to offend anyone. It’s just highly unremarkable and generic. You’ve smelled it all before.

All in all, I have to say that with a name and bottle like this one, I consider this to be an opportunity lost for Marc Jacobs. For me, Daisy would have ideally been a truly innocent, transparent scent for everyday wear. Freshly cut grass and chamomile for example, would have done it for me. They would have perfectly described the feeling of laying lazily on a grassy field studded with tiny daisies on a sunny day. I find fruit to have been a bad choice for a fragrance trying to evoke such images. Not to mention the fact that jasmine and gardenia are both too heavy to be associated with anything daisy-like.

Sorry Marc – Love the shoes.

Monday, October 1, 2007

October Reschedulling

Dear Readers,

For the month of October, Fragrance Bouquet and For the Love of Perfume will be presenting the monthly feature "Perfume for the Occasion" on the second Monday of the month (that is, on the 8th of October) instead of the first. We have already prepared a very interesting subject, so look forward to it! Our "Forget me Not" feature will be appearing on schedulle, on the third Monday of the month.