Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cocktail : 1 oz vintage, 1 oz modern, 2 oz new, splash of musings

After our healthy serving of ensalada mista a couple of weeks ago, it is now time for another round of perfumed tidbits and thoughts. It might be rather early in the day, but how about a little cocktail?

· Let’s start with some news first: Emerald Dream, Estee Lauder’s 2007 travel retail exclusive, is currently making its way to select beauty counters. Here in the Netherlands, Emerald Dream is being sold exclusively by Douglas boutiques. Is it worth looking for? Umm, no. Don’t make a mad dash for your nearest Douglas just yet: Emerald Dream’s opening is no different than the typical fruity-floral fare, smelling like a soup of notes carelessly thrown together, while the musky-woody base, while not altogether unpleasant, is rather mundane and easily associated with standard, cheap-smelling drugstore scents. The most interesting thing about it is the unusually bright vetiver base note, quite reminiscent of Body Shop’s Oceanus body mist. Forget the word exclusive and give this one a miss.

· Speaking of travel retail exclusives, one that I have been extremely curious about is Cyclades, by Lancome. I had not smelled Tropiques, and last year’s exclusive, Benghal, left me completely cold, but partly due to my Greek heritage and partly due to the fact that the notes sounded quite intriguing, I was really excited about Lancome’s 2008 travel retail exclusive. There are not many fragrances that feature oleander, and I thought it was not only clever, but also really accurate to include this note in Cyclades: oleander is readily found on every single greek island I’ve visited, and on much of the mainland as well. Its bittersweet, almost musky and not-quite-flowery fragrance is one I love, so I really had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, Cyclades turned out to be another disappointment: Not only is this uber-light fragrance bland and boring, not only does it have absolutely zero staying power, but also, it smells nothing like oleander at all. Pity.

· We perfume bloggers are often guilty of waxing lyrically about the beauty of long lost, discontinued or reformulated scents, lamenting their loss and invariably comparing them to the currently available fare, often finding it lacking. This is a highly frustrating practice, and oftentimes even more so for the readers, who long to smell these so poetically described scents but have no means to do so. It was this realization that drove me to start a practice of offering a sample of any hard-to-find fragrances reviewed here on Fragrance Bouquet whenever I am capable of doing so, but still, I am aware that even this does not eliminate the frustration and disappointment. What doesn’t often get mentioned is that older doesn’t necessarily mean better. Even though the loss of old favorites pains me greatly, and even though their memories linger in my mind like ghosts that often decide to stir trouble and longing so powerful it becomes almost illogical, there’s still so much to love that is available right here, right now. The last year has brought many new fragrant discoveries in my life – new perfumes that have become staples in fragrance wardrobe. But what’s even more surprising and worthy of note is that sometimes, a reformulation is not a bad thing. ...I can’t quite believe I am writing this, actually. But it is true. I’ve had a little revelation of sorts in the last couple of weeks: I bought a vintage bottle of Jicky edt from a collector in Belgium I visit when I am looking for old fragrances. The surprising result? I like the newer version better. The opening of both is lavender, with the vintage being purer, more natural-smelling and slightly camphoric, as you’d expect. It is somehow lighter, fresher and less cloying than the reformulated version. However, as time passes, vintage Jicky becomes powdery and soft, casual and unpretentious, remaining fresh and clean. The modern beast? It roars. Time only makes it deeper, darker. A strange sensuality unfolds, mind-bogglingly, out of the innocence of lavender. There is the most gorgeous balsamic sweetness there, that can’t be found in the vintage. There is the marvelous beauty of opoponax, tinged by leather. When I am lucky, civet comes out to play. It is sad when a fragrance we love changes. It’s heartache. But in this instance... I’m not complaining. I really love this sense of optimism this revelation has given me. Please do let me know if there are more scents that in your opinion are better now than they were before. It’s a hard task, but it is rewarding.

Images: Bottle of Estee Lauder's Emerald Dream,
Oleander shrub,
Vintage bottle of Jicky, circa 1935 from (Rago Arts and Auction Center). Sold in auction for 2268 $.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Winner Nina (Original/Classic) by Nina Ricci

Goodmorning everyone!
The winner of last week's draw for a sample of Nina by Nina Ricci is Tamara! Results were obtained by

I regularly post on Mondays but yesterday proved quite impossible since I was dog tired after my exam and promptly fell asleep when I came home. I wish I could make up for it today, but I have classes starting in half an hour, so we'll have the regular post tomorrow as usual.
Wishing you all a wonderful day.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Attn: Winner Body Serum

Due to midterms, I am not sure whether I will have time to finish the post I have been preparing for today, however I wanted to post this little announcement: When I posted the winner for the Zen White Lotus Body Serum, I forgot to ask the winner (Anita!) to send me her address. Please email me with your details! Your packet will be going out on Tuesday :)

Have a great day, everyone. I will try to finish the post today, otherwise, see you Monday.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Enchanted Orchid & Blushing Cherry Blossom by Bath & Body Works : Scented Reviews

The weather has been absolutely lovely the last few days: the sky a gorgeous blue without a cloud in sight, the chestnut trees blossoming, the central heating turned off (hopefully) for good and the French doors leading to my balcony left open all day long in order to let the light breeze caress my skin as I work. The days are lasting longer, and all I can think about as evening approaches, is how nice it would be to go out with my friends to sit on a terrace and lazily enjoy tapas, good wine and their smiles under the setting sun. Alas, the fact that my last midterms are only five days away means that I am once again confined in the house, conscientiously studying instead of indulging. But one has to keep thinking positively, right? I might not be able to go out, but I can still bring plenty of the atmosphere I am so craving in my own home. My ritual starts with a long, warm shower around 7 in the evening to relax, before I have to go back to the books. I spritz Enchanted Orchid Body Splash all over my still slightly dump legs and arms and slip into a summery shift. I then pour myself a tiny glass of wine and take my books to the balcony to enjoy the sunset, using an extra chair to rest my legs on. It might not be quite the experience of a buzzing terrace filled with people, and Multivariate Data Analysis is not quite as pleasant company as my friends, but hey, it is a slice of summer. And it makes me smile. The combination of the last couple of hours of warming sunlight with the light breeze and the scent of the Enchanted Orchid splash make me feel like I am transported to a summer resort, worries left behind. This deep, sultry fragrance is truly exotic and perfectly suited to the summer months. The opening smells strongly of apple and vanilla, but soon the scent blooms to reveal a lighter floral bouquet of gardenias surrounded by juicy greens. It is a long lasting, lingering fragrance that makes me feel feminine and refreshed. Its sultriness further makes me feel ready for a real summer evening filled with fun, evoking images of beach parties under the starlight. There’s also something in there that brings a positively tropical atmosphere to mind, even though I am not immediately able to detect any of the typical fruity notes that usually fit the description. The plastic spritzer bottle is going to be the perfect addition to my gym bag this summer. A light misting after the shower and I’ll be ready to enjoy the summer evenings after my workout!

Another Bath & Body Works product I’ve been enjoying lately is the Blushing Cherry Blossom Eau de Toilet. This utterly fresh, ethereal scent is perfect for sunny spring days, adding a touch of femininity to a casual daytime look. Despite the name, this is actually a scent built around a beautiful rose accord, which starts out very light and sparkling and gets progressively warmer and more complex as it warms on the skin. Supporting the rose but not distracting from its role as the star of the fragrance, a note of succulent pear adds playfulness, greens add freshness, while a touch of something dry, like a sprinkiling of dust, adds a realistic dimension to the flower. The drydown is warmer: a woody musk, which comfortably hugs the lingering rose scent. This happy, girly fragrance is great for those who want to add a springtime rose scent to their fragrance rotation without breaking the bank.

Images: Calypso Orchid & Rose Damascena,

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Winner Zen White Lotus Body Serum

Hello hello!

The winner of last week's draw for Zen Lotus Body Lotion is Anita! I am preparing a few more goodies to go in the packet and I hope it will be a real pleasure to receive :) I have my last midterms of this last trimester on Monday, so the packet will most likely be posted on Tuesday, unless I nip out earlier, in desperate need of distraction!

Congratulations! For the ones that didn't win this time, don't forget there is still the Nina Ricci draw running.

Have a great day everyone!



Monday, April 21, 2008

Forget me Not: Nina (Original) by Nina Ricci

Maria ‘Nina’ Nielli was born to an Italian family from Turin. The family relocated to France in 1895 when Nina was just 12 and by the age of 13, the young girl was already an apprentice to a dressmaker. Her considerable talent did not go unnoticed: by 18 she was already the head of the salon and at 22 she became its chief designer. Her marriage to jeweler Luigi Ricci bore an only son, Robert Ricci (pictured left, with mother Nina), with whom she shared an exceptional bond. Despite her great talent and capabilities, it wasn’t until 1932 that Madame Ricci started her own couture house at the age of 50, with Robert’s encouragement. With Robert, a keen businessman, as director and Nina as designer, the newly found House of Ricci saw immediate success, growing rapidly year after year throughout the ‘30s. This success however, was never due to groundbreaking designs that shook the foundations of the fashion world; the appeal of Ricci’s designs was never due to notoriety. Rather, the house became as successful as it did because it expertly catered to the needs of elegant women, often of a certain age and - one likes to muse - possibly possessing cracking figures at the same time, considering Ricci’s creations during the height of her carrier were rather body conscious. Nina’s primary goal was never to impress the fashion world, but rather, to make each individual client fall in love with the dress they were buying. The attention to detail, the supreme elegance, the excellent cut and structure of the garments as well as the fact that they brought magic and romance back into the lives of the women that wore them, meant profound success for the House of Ricci. Even after Nina Ricci’s retirement in the 50’s, and even after her death in 1970, the style she established was kept alive by Robert’s wise choices of designers that matched the house’s vision. Sadly, after Robert’s own death in 1988, and especially after the house’s acquisition by Puig, things have not been as stable, but thankfully, the future is looking much brighter after the very successful collections of the last few years - especially now, with Theyskens at the helm. One thing’s for sure, the direction of the house has certainly changed towards a younger audience and unfortunately, this is also reflected on the perfumes. There is however a redeeming trait - both in the collections and the perfumes themselves we can trace a constant throughout the years: romance. And keeping at least one constant alive is essential to brand recognition and customer loyalty. When reaching for a Ricci fragrance, a taste of romance is inevitable.

But let’s go back to Robert, the loving, visionary son, the cunning businessman, the creative idealist. He not only was responsible for convincing Nina to finally starting her own couture house, but being passionate about fragrances himself, he was also responsible for starting Nina Ricci’s first subdivision by venturing into the world of perfumery. Coeur Joie, the first fragrance by the house, comes in what has to be the most beautiful bottle in the world. L’Air du Temps, the third fragrance is one of the most well known perfumes in the world. But today’s post has nothing to do with either of these exceptional perfumes. Today we take a look at one of the most beautiful fragrances the House of Ricci has ever produced, yet somehow let go. The fragrance in question is the astounding Nina, created by Robert Ricci in 1987 as homage to his beloved mother. Different sources attribute a different nose behind Nina: others cite Christian Vacchiano as the nose and others Francis Fabron. I personally tend to lean towards Francis Fabron (L’Air du Temps, Capricci, Baghari, L’Interdit, Le Dix) as the correct answer to this dilemma, because his other perfumes –especially L’Air du Temps- match Nina’s sensibilities so well. The aldehydes, the almost fragile femininity, the softness... to my senses, almost all of them bear his signature, which I also perceive in Nina. Smelling L’Air du Temps and Nina together, it feels like they are part of the same story, with Nina picking up where L’Air du Temps had left off. Nina’s aldehydic opening is so astoundingly beautiful that it begs you to come closer and breathe in deeply even as it is applied. Beautifully aromatic peach, surprisingly without a single trace of sweetness gives the opening a fruity flavor, while the effervescent fizz of the aldehydes is studded with citrusy gems that sparkle as bright as diamonds. The combination of tagetes and bay leaf, give the composition an herbal twist and a spicy bite. The floral heart of the fragrance is blended into seamless perfection, bringing to mind images of vibrant femininity instead of lush gardens. The longer Nina stays on the skin, the more it bursts with greenness, as though the goddess of spring herself is rejoicing in her beauty. Nina’s drydown is an apotheosis of oakmoss and civet, glorious and unforgettable.

This is an utterly romantic and feminine fragrance of unsurpassed elegance. Its bottle that has always grabbed my attention, is a truly beautiful work of art, which still has me wondering about its meaning. Perhaps I am biased, for I have loved this fragrance since childhood, but to me, the scent of Nina is extraordinarily addictive. It is a scent that speaks of gladsomeness, but also of fragility. It is romantic and feminine, but at the same time betrays a strong will. The generous doses of oakmoss mean that Nina too, like many gloriously green fragrances, has a certain aloofness. Commitment, loyalty, femininity, romance, sophistication are all words that describe Nina, but the one I always invariably return to for its true definition, is elegance. This classic has now been discontinued, and is getting increasingly hard to find. Its place is taken by the tooth-achingly sweet and as far removed from the original as possible, new Nina. Not many people remember the original, a fact that truly pains me. Today’s Forget me Not has a very special place in my heart. I’ll never forget Nina.

Lastly, this fragrance is both hard to find and I own it, so you know what this means, right? Yep, this combo always qualifies for a draw here on Fragrance Bouquet. When you post a comment you’ll be automatically entered in a draw for a sample of this. The winner will be announced in a week’s time.

To see most of the fragrances ever released by the house of Ricci, visit the official website, choose english, and click on perfume and lastly fragrances throughout the years. And of course, don’t forget to visit For the Love of Perfume to find out which classic Tamara chose to review for this month’s feature!

Images:,, author's own

Friday, April 18, 2008

Perfumes : The Guide VS Psychology, or In Defense of What I Love

The newest book by Luca Turin and co-author Tania Sanchez has had several online perfume communities abuzz ever since it hit the bookstores. I have not participated in any of those (often) heated discussions because one, I regretfully don’t have the time to post on any fora at the moment, two I don’t actually own the Guide, and three, I am put off by some of the ugliness that is being generated literally daily on the subject. I do not mind honest criticism, but I do mind obvious trolling and mud slinging, so I made the conscious decision to stay out of this discussion altogether. “I am not touching this with a ten-foot pole”, I thought to myself. Yet life does often find a way to mock me: a couple of days ago, I came across an actual excerpt from the book on Good Morning America’s website. After reading through the piece, I decided I had to at least try and correct some of the misconceptions perpetuated by Tania Sanchez in regards to psychology, possibly the most misunderstood and maligned science in the world.

“Smell psychologists and the uncritical journalists who love them get a lot of mileage out of calling smell the most primitive sense.”

First of all, the only “smell psychologist” I know of is Rachel Herz and I am rather certain this is not a title awarded by any university. I am more inclined to believe Herz was dubbed as a “smell psychologist” by those ‘uncritical journalists’ you mention. I am not familiar with Herz’s work, meaning that she is not an author cited in any of my books nor have I come across any of her articles in the peer-reviewed journals I read. I am in no position to defend her – nor do I wish to. According to Wikipedia however, the university of Toronto does seem to have awarded her a PhD, “she won a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Post-Doctoral Award and took her research to the University of British Columbia.”, “she received the Ajinomoto USA Inaugural Award for Promising Young Scientists and joined the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia as an Assistant Member.” and “In 2000, Rachel Herz joined the faculty at Brown University, where she first was a member of the Psychology Department and is now a visiting professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, of Brown University Medical School.”. I am not unquestioning of anyone, much less of someone whose work I’ve not had personal experience with, but based on the information above, I’d hazard a guess that she is not a total quack.

As for psychologists “calling smell the most primitive sense”, can you actually provide a citation for this offensive claim? Yes, a google search will bring up many positive results, but I am not talking about newspaper or magazine articles that dub the sense of smell as such. I am talking about scientific journals confirming to APA guidelines or psychology handbooks used by major universities. Psychologists are certainly not to blame for this unflattering characterization. I suspect the reason why journalists have dubbed it so is that olfactory information is the only type of sensory information that does not first go to the thalamus for processing before being sent as output to the cerebral cortex. Olfactory information goes from the olfactory receptors to the olfactory bulbs and then directly to the cortex, without passing through the thalamus for processing.

“But as with all of the work of evolutionary psychologists, the conclusions that support our desires and reinforce our prejudices are those of which we should be most wary.”

I simply fail to grasp the meaning of this, especially in the context of the paragraph. Are you actually saying that we should be wary of ALL of the work of evolutionary psychologists? Certainly there are fallacies to be avoided, such as the naturalistic fallacy and the deterministic fallacy, but that does not mean that a whole field of psychology should be condemned in one fell sweep. Many of the theories of evolutionary psychology can provide theories for explanations of human behavior which can be really helpful, especially when seen in the context of other theories which support them. In any case, that is the turn that psychology is taking at the moment. Human behavior is too complex to explain by just a single theory. Many psychologists are taking a multi-systems approach, integrating theories into grander theories that help shed light and improve our understanding.

“Psychologists seem particularly fixated on sex as the engine that secretly drives our every choice and action.”

Errm. No. Are you thinking of Freudian psychology? Not even Freudian psychology is so simplistic, but first, Freudian psychology is not accepted as scientific and is looked down upon by psychologists today and second, psychologist are not by any stretch of the imagination “fixated on sex as the engine that secretly drives our every choice and action.” There are many theories on behavior, from many different schools of psychology. The closest theory to what you are describing is central-state theory of drives, according to which, different drives correspond to neural activity in different sets of neurons in the brain (Stellar & Stellar, 1985.) To identify the functions of specific nuclei and tracts, psychologists either damage them or stimulate them and assess the effect this has on behavior. The most studied drive is possibly hunger, but certainly not sex.

“This point of view never cost a psychologist his or her job or interfered with book sales, and offers the irresistible premise that biology releases us from the responsibility to make choices. Pop psychologists love smell. Smell is supposedly about sex and deeply buried memory, a sense that bypasses the rational mind, thwarts all efforts of language to describe it, and reaches sneaky neural wiring directly into regions beyond thought—for example, forcing you to be sexually attracted to or threatened by the perspiration of basketball players or generating forceful hallucinations of childhood triggered by smells of floor wax. It's the fondest hope of every perfume firm that the psychologists should be right, and that human beings should be sniffing each other to say hello and see who's been where and with whom.”

Can you at least TRY to differentiate between what you refer to as pop-psychologists and psychologists? Since there seems to be little difference in your mind between the two, I’ll assume you are referring to actual psychologists with the above statement. According to psychologists, like other animals, we do have specialized glands that secrete odorous substances, and some of these substances are steroid molecules that resemble substances known to serve as pheromones in other mammals. Most species of mammals have a structure called the vomeronasal organ in their nasal cavity, which contains receptor cells specialized for responding to pheromones (Gray, 2002.) But also according to psychologists, even though we humans do have a vomeronasal organ, the evidence to date is inconclusive as to whether it actually functions in our species or is vestigial (McClintock, 2000.) In many experiments, men and women have been exposed to various secretions taken from the other sex and have rated the attractiveness of the odor or changes in their mood. Again, to date, such experiments have failed to yield convincing evidence that we produce such hormones (Hughes, 1999; McClintock, 2000.) This certainly does not fit at all with your comment that “It's the fondest hope of every perfume firm that the psychologists should be right, and that human beings should be sniffing each other to say hello and see who's been where and with whom.”, does it? In fact, according to psychologists, all this makes absolute sense: “Sex-attractant pheromones are valuable for animals that mate only at certain times of the year or only when the female is ovulating, as a means of synchronizing the sex drives of males and females to maximize the chance of conception. (...) Humans have taken a different evolutionary route, such that sexual drive and behavior are not tied to a season, cycle or variable physiological state. For that reason, perhaps, there is little or no need for us to advertise by scent our readiness to mate (Gray, 2002.)” There is some solid evidence for pheromones in our species, but since this does not concern sex and attraction, I will not digress from the subject.

“Psychology is supposed to be a science, and science makes profits predictable.”

You seem to be doubting the fact that psychology is a science. Currently science is defined in terms of the approaches used to study the topic. Specifically, three criteria must be met for an investigation to be considered scientific: systematic empiricism, public verification and solvability (Stanovich, 1996.)

Psychology conforms to those conditions; in fact much of the study is devoted to methodology, experimentation, international guidelines, verification and statistics. It is possible that Philosophy will come up with a new way to define science sometime in the future. Until then, I guess you’re stuck with accepting the fact that Psychology is, indeed, a science.

I am truly disappointed. I simply can’t understand how Luca Turin would allow his name to be on a publication that is potentially slanderous to a whole field of science. I really enjoy Turin’s articles on NZZ Folio and will continue reading them. I admire the fact that he does not hesitate to show his presence on perfume blogs and perfume communities to answer questions and even to defend his views, something noone, least of all he is obliged to do. I want to believe this somehow flew under his radar. However, I am angry at Sanchez’s disdain towards my field of choice. Tania, if you value science so much, the least you can do is at least provide some citations next time. You certainly did a good job of writing exactly like all those ‘uncritical’ journalists you do not care for. Sweeping generalizations, a refusal to go any deeper than a cursory perusal of the surface, sensationalist claims that no doubt boost sales and appease the public that wants to hear exactly what you just gave them. You did it all.

Images: The Abduction of Psyche by William Bougueraeu,
Letter Psi,

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chypre Fruite by Montale : Perfume Review

Those of you that read Fragrance Bouquet regularly probably already know of my love for Pierre Montale’s line of perfumes. My feelings for the house can be compared to the feeling of helplessly falling in love with someone whom you realize deeply understands you and what you are about the moment you start talking with them. Suddenly a connection is built, much faster than you’d normally expect. Your needs are anticipated, your sentences completed by the other. There’s that proverbial, yet so often elusive ‘click’. There’s that feeling of elated unease that always accompanies this kind of magic. Eyes lock in a privately shared inferno and feelings come pouring down with the power of torrential rain, flooding the heart and soul who are cheering for more. It’s like a drug, that kind of love. It’s dangerous too, for any disappointment weighs much more heavily than it would in a more conventional love story. I must be lucky, for at least this far, Montale has never disappointed me. Even fragrances that are decidedly not me –such as Chypre Vanille or Dew Musk- are still, in my eyes at least, superior creations I would love to smell on someone else. Today, another scent of this almost overwhelmingly prolific line is presented here, on Fragrance Bouquet: Chypre Fruite. This is a fragrance that goes from being light and innocent, to dark and mysterious. Extremely versatile, it can be carried from morning to evening and can easily be worn during every season – although I would reserve it for more formal evening occasions during the summer months.

The opening is surprisingly light, for a Montale, that is. Ethereal and feminine, it brings thoughts of a gorgeous spring day to mind; the type of spring day that drives everyone out of the house to enjoy the sun and light breeze on their skin. The type of day that transcends time, seemingly lasting forever, until the last ray of sun disappears, breaking the spell. Then suddenly, the scent goes from being light and delicate, to rich and effusive. The warmth of the skin makes the scent positively bloom; the effect is akin to a wonderful fruit and flower puree that was sieved clear and left to simmer until we’re left with a powerful, concentrated, glossy culis of pure, unadulterated, refined wonder. What started off as an unsweetened, fragrant combination of wild- and tea rose whose aroma imparted a sense of intricate vintage lace, has become as ornamentally decorated as gem-studded brocade on acres of luxurious, colorful silk. The fruity notes are candied and rich; velvety, creamy peach on a bed of pungent pineapple that’s drenched in its own sticky juices. Behind it all, an overripe note, a dagger of miasma and taint whose twist instantly fills the heart with sin. Forbidden fruit indeed. The chypre base in turn, is as perfectly groomed as you’d expect, but somehow refrains from being haughty. It is a woman that has been around the block a few times, yet shows no signs of being tired, despite having done so on high heels every single time. She now reclines on a velvet-upholstered fainting couch, her lips twitching with faint mirth. It will take some effort to entertain her.

Images: Both Flickr, originally uploaded by Theodora

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fragrance Bouquet Loves... Zen White Lotus Body Serum by Therme

I have really, really dry skin. This is not an exaggeration... I never (ever!) neglect my face, but I’ll sadly admit that sometimes I am too lazy or tired to do the whole body thing. If I do have such a lapse in my body routine, I end up with itchy skin that is so dry you can actually draw white squiggly lines on with your nail if you so please. Nice, huh? Attractive. Now, the product I am presenting today on the first Fragrance Bouquet Loves feature is not a solution to this problem. The most hydrating products I’ve found, my holy grails of body care are actually Bliss’ Naked Body Butter – which is not only extremely hydrating, but also scentless, which is perfect when you want to make sure your body cream does not clash with your perfume – and glycerin, either pure or diluted with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Yes, Glycerin is thick and sticky and not the most pleasant sensation on skin, but believe you me, it works wonders. But I digress; let’s get back to today’s topic, Therme’s Zen White Lotus Body Serum. Why did I buy it, since I already have satisfactory emollient options waiting for me at home? What can I say, I am compulsive like that. Buy it, I did. The “definitely noticeable improvement of your skin” blurb on the packet did what it was supposed to do: it got a sale out of me. According to the packet, the formula contains something called the “exclusive Perfection Peptide Complex” as well as seaweed extract, silk and jojoba oil for “ultra-soft skin”. How could I, what with my profound scaly skin potential, resist?

What is it like? Wonderfully refreshing, the formula is as lightweight as you’d expect a serum to be. It gets absorbed quickly by the skin, leaving it feeling hydrated, but not sticky. In fact, it leaves absolutely no residue behind: the surface of the skin looks matte and completely clean to the touch. I have been layering this with unscented baby oil on top, in order to combine the therapeutic, restorative effects of the Body Serum with the silky, unbelievably softening effect baby oil lends to the skin. The result? I have already had two people compliment me on the softness of my skin lately when they touched my arm. Not to mention I find myself unable to stop touching my own skin in a state of mild disbelief. Yup, this combination of products is a definite keeper! But that’s not all... the best part about this product is actually its smell, the main reason I was motivated enough to present this in the first Fragrance Bouquet Loves feature. Forget the name and what the packet says... This doesn’t smell like White Lotus! Its scent is the most beautiful, light, lemon blossom fragrance. It lasts and lasts all day, surrounding the body with this utterly gorgeous scent I simply can’t get enough of. In fact, it’s such a great scent I’ve actually forgone wearing perfume many times ever since I started using it. By the way, this is not the only Therme product with a wonderful scent: their Thalasso Body Oil Spray smells simply addictive, but sadly, the smell does not linger for more than ten minutes.

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, today is Fragrance Bouquet’s first birthday, so I would like to take the chance and gift a random reader with a bottle of Zen White Lotus Body Serum along with some random samples and goodies. Everyone that comments on this post will be automatically entered for the draw. The winner will be announced in a week’s time, on Tuesday the 22nd. Thank you for being with me this year! Your comments keep me going.

Here’s to making many more fragrant discoveries together; From new, to old and from popular to overlooked. Here’s to another year of passion for olfaction!

Images: and

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ensalada Mista

I tried to be a trooper most of last week and managed to post on both Monday and Wednesday... As some of you perhaps read in the comment section I have been suffering from the flu, yet again. Friday morning I was taken to the doctor because I was suffering such pain that I thought the neighbors were bound to come knocking at my door to see what all the screaming was about. I seem to be getting better, but I am still super disappointed I had to cancel my birthday party. Yes, I just had my birthday! That was yesterday. Even though I can smell and wear perfume just fine, today I am posting a list of little thoughts and ideas, little loose ends that don’t fit anywhere else instead of a review. Now, sit back and enjoy today’s light, healthy and easily digestible entree: Ensalada Mista.

· I didn’t write anything about Commes des Garcon’s Luxe series the first time I sniffed them, but lately I had the chance to retest them. I was expecting Champaca to make me go weak at the knees since I had heard so many good things about it, but it actually left me rather underwhelmed. Unexpectedly, it was the Patchouli that really blew me away. I don’t know how they did it, but it is actually salty. It is one of the most savory scents I have ever experienced, and that says a lot since many of the perfumes that are actually touted as salty don’t really come across as such to me. Really innovative and unique, this has to be experienced at least once.

· Another one I was expecting more from was Gold 8.88, one of the newer CDG releases. Supposedly approximating the ‘imaginary smell of gold’, Gold 8.88 left me cold. I have not tested this one on skin yet, so I reserve the final verdict until then. The fact that the scent failed to inspire me to spray it on my skin (especially considering the fact it cannot be found around here), is however, rather telling.

· Yet another of CDG’s recent releases did manage to do the trick though: Monocle Hinoki might suffer from a rather whimsical if unattractive name, but the jus is utterly fabulous. There is a beautiful, earthy smell of pine that instantly reminded me of Jenavira’s comment on my review of Miyako. Indeed, I was also reminded of Miyako the instant I sniffed Monocle Hinoki. The smell does make one daydream of a Japanese landscape. Deep, woody and mossy at the same time, I suspect this is going to be well liked by lovers of woody scents. And it deserves to be: it is beautiful.

· Time for a little confession: I hate EL’s Tuberose Gardenia. Every time I come across it, I have a little sniff in a desperate effort to understand what all the raves are about. It is time to give up. This one’s certainly not for me.

· Have you smelled EL’s Bronze Goddess yet? Did you detect any difference between Bronze Goddess and Azuree Soleil? No? Neither did I. I guess we’ll see how I feel when I do an actual side-by-side comparison, but honestly, if there is a difference it is miniscule.

· Even though I enjoy flipping through glossies, I never buy any magazines except from Allure, which gives me way too much pleasure to forgo purchasing it. I reason that I can find the same things on the internet and the money that would have been spent on mags is better spent elsewhere. But as I already mentioned, I have been holed up in the house due to the flu lately, so kindly loved ones have decided to spoil me with care packets filled with biscuits and glossies. In this month’s Dutch Cosmo I was intrigued to find three different layering (!) combos! Admittedly, they sound pretty freaky, but nevertheless, I was stunned to find a perfume feature that was not just repeating a pr blurb. Cosmo suggests combining Trusardi Inside and First for a sensual result, Jil Sander’s Style Summer with Ange ou Demon if you’re going for a romantic effect and Lacoste’s Dream of Pink with Allure Sensuelle for an energetic cocktail. How is that going to turn out energetic is anyone’s guess... Still, I am curious. I am going to give it a try when I finally feel good enough to escape the confines of the house. Will you?

· I am planning to add a new feature to Fragrance Bouquet, called “Fragrance Bouquet Loves...”. The plan is to write posts about things I love, things that receive Fragrance Bouquet’s seal of approval, so to speak. These will range from shops I love to beauty products and the reason for writing up on them is mostly for me to have an outlet for my enthusiasm. I deliberated long and hard about this, but in the end I decided to go for it, cause I think it will be such fun. These posts are not going to be a regular feature, which means they will only crop up if there is something that has made me sufficiently enthusiastic. Additionally, they are not meant to take the place of the regular perfume posts, but are rather an addition, so there will be just as many posts on perfume as before per week. “Fragrance Bouquet Loves...” posts will only ever come as extra reading, not as a replacement to a scheduled perfume post.

· It’s not just me who’s celebrating a birthday: Fragrance Bouquet’s Birthday is coming up too! Tomorrow, Fragrance Bouquet will be one year old. So, tomorrow there will be the first “Fragrance Bouquet Loves...” feature to celebrate this new Bouquet year with a little giveaway of the product I am going to feature. Admittedly, it is not something ultra-special, but it is something I love and have bought with my own money for a random reader. :)

Do you have a mixed dish of your own to serve up? Any thumbs up or down for things you’ve happened upon lately? Any thoughts you’d like to share? I’d love to read them :)

Images: and

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Top 5 this Spring

Shapeless see-through shifts, 80’s inspired man-jackets that make me think of Don Johnson circa Miami Vice, garish combinations of colors, high-waisted trousers of tent-like proportions we’d need stilts to make work, hand painted silks noone but a fashion victim would want to wear (why, Dries?), matronly full-skirts and florals, florals, florals - the only one of the aforementioned spring trends the high-street has decided to put its money on, resulting in racks upon racks of yellow-black-white floral print dresses. (I blame YOU Gucci!) .... Clearly, our wallets are safe this season.

...Not so fast.
There’s still the spring scent wardrobe to consider!
The weather is getting warmer and warmer, but have you brought out your spring scents yet? Looking for a couple of things to sniff? Fragrance Bouquet and For the Love of Perfume offer suggestions! Here’s what I’m wearing this spring.

5. Antonia’s Flowers by Antonia’s Flowers:

This is my chase-away-the-blues go-to scent. One of the few perfumes I only wear inside the house, it is the perfect antidote to grey weather, which unfortunately, we get a lot of here in Holland even in Spring. When the weather is gray while it should have been blue, Antonia’s Flowers is sure to bring back all the joyous feelings I associate with spring in my mind. Green lush grass and light, watery freesias make for an uplifting combo that never fails to make me smile. It gets extra points for its dissonant, musty, mildewy note that reminds me of the smell of the actual bulb. (full review here)

4. Laura by Laura Biagiotti

Last year I wrote a little tribute to Laura, a fragrance that has been part of my collection for many, many years. At the time, it felt like a farewell, since I thought I had grown out of it. This spring, however, finds me with a brand new bottle. What happened, you ask? Well, it often happens that I get even more enamored with a fragrance after I write about it. In the case of Laura, my love was rekindled after my original review. If you haven’t smelled this one yet, do so, at least for reference: It is a great example of a wonderful aquatic perfume. It is a genre that gets a lot of bashing in the perfume-blogging circle, but it should not be forgotten that it too, has its gems. Ethereal, romantic, beautiful, feminine, it is a perfect springtime scent. What gets me every time though, is its unique musky finish. I’ll keep returning for that. (full review here)

3. Hanami by Annayake

Truly, the scent of spring. Early morning dewdrops and showers of swirling petals. The process of countless buds blooming, right there on your skin. Whenever I think about this scent, I have to go and wear it immediately, because the promise of its absolutely marvelous trail following me around all day is just impossible to resist. This ultra feminine scent carries well from morning to evening, but somehow feels better in less formal dresses and natural fabric clothes, like linen suits. It is an absolute delight. One word of warning: Unlike the autumn and winter Annayake scents, this needs extra care when applying. A very little goes a long way. (full review here)

2. A la Nuit by Serge Lutens

Serge Luten’s A la Nuit is my favorite nighttime spring scent. Not only is its narcotic scent absolutely lethally sexy, but also the associations I have with the bloom in question mean that whenever I wear it I get a mood-boost, in anticipation of the summer holidays that are not too far away. It is simply perfect for those nights when it is still chilly enough to throw something light on my shoulders, yet warm enough to enjoy drinking wine outside on a terrace with my friends. (full review here)

1. Tigresse by Nicole Lenzen & Yosh

The most stunning, mouthwatering fruity-floral scent I’ve smelled all year as well as one of the best and most memorable scents I’ve smelled all year, period. I have upgraded from a tiny sample to a tiny, precious bottle and I am loving every single drop. I wore this one lately with a fabulous spring silk dress with bold colors of turquoise and fuchsia and it seemed like the colors of the outfit were becoming saturated and brighter themselves. That’s how bright and impressive this is. My whole world becomes brighter when I wear it. Lillies, figs and gorgeously fresh peppermint make for a glorious combo that goes beyond the call of duty and creates a fantastic impression of pristine waterfalls, lush trees, flower nectar, singing birds, fruit sap and everything else that says ‘paradise on earth’ to me. (full review here)

PS: I just might buy one of those Don Johnson mannish jackets.

Images:,, and

Monday, April 7, 2008

Perfume for the Occasion : Spring and Summer Weddings (part 1, Guests)

Without a doubt, as the weather gets better and better, we are entering wedding season again. Couples do tend to choose to hold their wedding either in spring or summer, perhaps due to the fact that the weather matches their high sprits, allows for wonderful outdoor parties, eliminates worries about blue-soled Loubutins getting ruined in rain or snow and ensures the strapless wedding gowns that have been the height of wedding fashion for the last five years or so can actually be worn without fear of catching a cold. (Lovely as the aforementioned strapless gowns might be, I’ll have to add that the most magnificent wedding dress I have personally seen was a winter gown, with matching white fur stole and hat) In my native Greece, summer weddings mean a collective private moan from the entire guest list as they realize holidays will have to be cut short in order to return to the city for the occasion, just so they can boil in the sweltering environ of a fully candlelit orthodox church while it is 45 degrees Celsius outside. Silk dresses get ruined with sweat stains. Men curse the inventor of the tie. Hats wilt. Everyone pretends to be delighted. But enough about Greece; thankfully, in most other parts of the world temperatures do not tend to reach inferno-like scales once May comes around. Thankfully, in most other parts of the world, spring and summer weddings are actually very pleasant affairs and what’s more, they are also a chance to wear that beautiful frock that’s simply too formal for any other occasion. Perhaps that hat too. Or maybe a parasol? But the burning question for this month’s PFTO is, of course, what perfume to wear with said frock! Fragrance Bouquet and For the Love of Perfume do their best to provide potential wedding guests with some guidelines and suggestions this month, while in next month’s feature we tackle the much more difficult question of what the bride and groom should wear. Don’t forget, these are suggestions for spring and summer. Hopefully come winter we’ll tackle cool weather weddings as well.

Your goal as the guest is to smell as delightful as you no doubt look. In my opinion, you will do well choosing a perfume for yourself if you keep the following guidelines in mind: Think happy and exuberant – you want your perfume to match the feel and atmosphere of the occasion and this is a happy event. If overly happy scents are not really you, go for something classy, chic and understated – the occasion definitely calls for that type of scent too. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, do not upstage the bride and groom; Don’t call attention to yourself and distract other guests from the main event with a loud, overly seductive or otherwise controversial scent. I personally have consciously refrained from choosing niche or hard to find perfumes and have instead gone for rather ubiquitous, main-stream scents, for the simple reason that this is a post that can serve as a reference not only for regulars, but also for the passing reader that has landed on this page through a search engine looking for this particular topic. I wanted the suggestions to be accessible to all, die-hard perfumistas or otherwise. Now, on to the suggestions, broken down in sections for the ladies, gents and unisex!

· For the Ladies:

Eternity by Calvin Klein:
According to Osmoz, Klein designed this perfume, meant to symbolize fidelity, as a tribute to his marriage. And truly, what an excellent choice of a main note for such a scent: Carnation, a symbol of passionate love and of course, Fragrance Bouquet’s favorite. Don’t let the mention of carnation scare you though, this is indeed a very light, summery rendition of the magnificent floral note (perhaps the only light, summery rendition I know of as a matter of fact) and it will definitely be more than suitable for warm weather. Lightly spicy yet at the same time utterly clean, as well as happy and romantic in feel, this is as perfectly proper and feminine as you can come as a guest.

Infusion d’Iris by Prada:
I’ll admit, I’ve grown extremely bored with all the iris releases this past year. Yet, even though I’ve become exceedingly tired with this trend and I am subsequently starting to dismiss every new perfume that features the note as a main theme, Prada’s Infusion d’Iris remains a shining gem to me. This might not be a happy and exuberant scent, but it is easily part of the second category mentioned earlier: classy and understated. Soft, buttery Iris, with just enough bite to keep things interesting, Infusion d’Iris is ethereal and spring-like. It lasts forever (just like the mariage should) but is discreet (just as the guest should be). As an added bonus, everyone whom you kiss or dance with will want to linger just a little bit longer in your arms. This is the biggest crowd pleaser I’ve come across this year. Absolutely lovely.

Burberry Brit by Burberry:
Now we’re talking really happy. You know I love Burberry fragrances (although as a side note, I have to say that I found the new Beat quite disappointing) and this is no exception. For a fruity-floral that’s nowhere near generic, one has to look no further than Brit. The notes tend to do a lovely, curious dance on the skin, with pear and lime playing peek-a-boo with peony and almond, in a “now you smell me – now you don’t” fashion. It is a fascinating perfume, ultra cheerful and sensuous to boot, with its gourmand undertones. Pick this one if you are looking forward to the after-party already.

No. 19 by Chanel:
Smelling No. 19 right after Infusion d’Iris feels almost like a lesson... Both fragrances put the focus on the iris, yet they couldn’t be more different. While Prada’s iris is gentle and giving, like an embrace, No. 19 is austere, reserved and magnificently dry. As the floral notes bloom on the skin, the effect becomes slightly sweeter and becomes a signature to chic and fabulous. This green floral will provide much needed freshness and solace when worn in very warm weather, and is thus highly recommended for weddings that take place in July and August.

· For the Gents:
Eau Sauvage by Dior:
No man can go wrong with Eau Sauvage, which is ironic, because the man who wears Eau Sauvage smells like the man who is always appropriate, always a gentleman, never out of place, always, always, enviously perfect. (Unless the situation calls for him to be naughty rather than perfect, but again, that would be appropriate of him considering the situation, wouldn’t it?) And you’ve got to admit, that man is very rare, if he indeed exists at all. No matter, perfume is not only about enhancement, it is also about illusion, and Eau Sauvage will provide that illusion of unsurpassable elegance every time, without fail. This is a masterpiece.

Allure Homme by Chanel:
This fabulous male fragrance is one of a rare breed of scents that manage to make a big impact without being overbearing. Despite its strong character and longevity, this is not, as you might think, a sillage monster. Quite the contrary: Allure Homme is only felt when one comes close enough to talk to you at a crowded party, or leans in for an embrace. And that makes its impact all the more meaningful, because Allure Homme is very sensual indeed. Having said that, it is also a scent that goes great with a suit and polished appearance, making it appropriate in more ways than one. In my eyes, this is a scent that makes a well-groomed man sparkle.

Versace Man Eau Fraiche by Versace:
First of all, how gorgeous is this bottle? I can only describe the opening of this fragrance as an ode to rosemary, for it is a note rendered fabulously in this scent indeed. Along with citrus and starfruit, this makes for a powerfully refreshing recipe. As the top notes fade, we are left with the most delightful blend of woods, the star of which is cedar. Beautiful, fresh but not loud and vulgar, this is another contender for warmer weather weddings.

Aqua di Gio by Armani:
I’ve loved this from the first time I smelled it! A marine fragrance for men, very unlike all other marine scents you know. It is at once mouthwatering and fresh as well as zingy, musky and subtly sexy. When the going gets tough in the summer heat, this is the fragrance that can keep a semblance of freshness about your body. Highly recommended for the summer months.

· Unisex:

Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermes:
This scent is absolute perfection... Even if I was writing a full review of it, I am not sure I would want to break it down to individual notes... It just sings, nay, murmurs, much like the wind passing through the grasses and scented leaves of calamus along the riverbank. It is a peculiar scent, but once you love it, you love it intensely. I have actually started physically craving for this one when I need comfort. But why is it good for a spring or summer wedding you ask? Because it is ever so refreshing, because its soft flowery undertones are like a happy smile full of contentment similar to that of a cat sitting in a sunbeam and because its musky finish is heavenly and will carry well to the celebration after the ceremony.

Images: Greek-Orthodox wedding crowns,
Wedding “thank you” card, flickr
Wedding rings,
Versace Man Eau Fraiche,
Sweet Flag,

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fragrance Bouquet is Back!

After a week's silence, Fragrance Bouquet is back. Thank you so much for your patience and my apologies for being absent this past week. I finished my exams with great success: I passed two and still waiting for the results of the last one. The reason I am returning with more delay than I originally anticipated is that I booked a last minute weekend trip to Greece and only returned late last night. I went to see my dear grandmother who is not doing very well at all. But I don't want you to be sad for me... I spent more quality time with her in this extended weekend than I have in the last two years combined. I have returned with this happiness in my heart that has chased a lot of the sadness about her condition away. Or at least, that's the way I try (and choose) to see it. I was very sad before I left... It really feels better now.

One last thing before I let you enjoy today's review (found below):
I have seen that there are many unread emails in my inbox after my return. Unfortunately, I cannot access my email. Yeah, yahoo is being a pain. Just letting you know I am not ignoring your emails. I will send replies as soon as the problem is resolved.

Big hugs,


Nuit Noire by Mona di Orio : Perfume Review

Mona di Orio is the type of house one wants to love: It is a house with integrity, solid background, commitment to high quality and last but certainly not least, wonderfully thoughtful packaging. Having said that, I’ll have to admit that even though it’s been more than a year since I first discovered the line, I never actually felt motivated enough to actually devote skin space for one of the scents on any of my regular Saturday-morning sniffing excursions. On blotting strips the scents seemed nice enough, but not quite exciting enough to be sprayed on skin; there was always something else I found more deserving of the limited skin space on offer. I find it is time to rectify this however, so I recently procured some Mona di Orio samples to try at home, effectively eliminating the distractions of other hard to find fragrances begging to be tested instead. Today, Fragrance Bouquet explores Nuit Noire.

Nuit Noire seems to positively shun conformity: It is a scent without the merest trace of trend, something quite bold in and out of itself. It smells old, but not aged, like a fresh batch created from an old recipe. Those of you that have smelled DSH’s “The Perfumed Court” collection of 17th and 18th century inspired fragrances will know what I mean. An interesting bitter note reveals itself in the opening, but it is quickly drowned under gentle, subdued sweetness that smells like a shower of flower petals. Suddenly the dull opening begins to sparkle with the aroma of citrus oils. Yet, unexpectedly, the scent is not fresh; the overall impression is that of stale aromatic water and orange that has gone bad. Suddenly, the spell of darkness lifts and the fragrance brightens, smelling intensely like citronella, while underneath there is the faint smell of orange blossom, mingled with the sweet scent of orange candy. The unmistakable, citrusy, soapy scent of ginger becomes stronger and stronger, a perfect counterpart to the rising scent of pungent, green cardamom. The heart notes sound complex and seductive, listing clove, cedarwood, olibanum, tuberose, cinnamon and sandalwood. Unfortunately, in all honesty I can’t detect even a hint of some of these notes, like clove, cinnamon and sandalwood. I still smell the familiar scent of the now mellower orange blossom, mingling with a dark, velvety tuberose, very unlike any other rendition of the flower I’ve smelled before. The olibanum is there, but seems quite discordant, while there is also a certain oily smell I can’t quite place. The drydown is quite beautiful: ambery and balsamic notes hugged by smooth vegetal musk. The sweetness is just right and the result is semi-transparent, a quite admirable result considering many of the fragrances with similar base notes tend to have a heavy, smothering effect, especially when applied liberally. What does go wrong for me is the leather note, which in this composition my mind illogically seems to interpret as having a human component – specifically, I tend to perceive it as smelling of warm, stale human breath. The ‘staleness’ seems to be a recurring theme in my description of Nuit Noire and indeed, I find this sense of something being off in the perfume quite perturbing. Admittedly, the more I wear it, the more I warm up to it and the more I can appreciate its undoubtedly unique character. I know however that I shan’t be able to get past its disconcerting kind of dirtiness any time soon.

Images:, and