Perfume Chat Room, January 14

Perfume Chat Room, January 14

Welcome back to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, January 14, and it is the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend here in the US. I’m always heartened to see how many groups organize for a “day on, not a day off” on Monday, helping people take part in various service or educational projects. Since my city is expecting very cold weather and possibly snow on Sunday, and we’re still battling the omicron surge, I suspect that many of the activities will be virtual (as they were last January).

One of my colleagues remarked in a Zoom meeting today that the start of this semester feels rockier than usual. I tend to agree; and I wonder whether it is due to the ongoing disruptions caused by the pandemic. I’ve noticed that in addition to more crises, people also seem to have lost some of their ability to get along. Just in the two weeks of work since our winter break, I’ve experienced some truly rude behavior by professional colleagues, let alone students. In fact, the colleagues have been worse, with less justification!

My January has been brightened, though, by the ongoing opening of my January Joy Box from 4160 Tuesdays. Every other day, there’s a new fragrance to try. And then the discussion that ensues on the brand’s Facebook community page is often hilarious! This week, the scents were: Rose Goes to Town, British Summer, and All Made of Flowers. I love Rose Goes to Town, and I like the others a lot.

Have you been able to try or revisit any fragrances that helped dispel any January blahs? Do tell!

Royal Ascot hat of giant roses
Ascot hat of roses; radiogorgeous.com
Perfume Chat Room, January 7

Perfume Chat Room, January 7

Welcome back to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, January 7, and it is 2022! Earlier this week, my fellow bloggers and I posted our monthly “Scent Semantics” post for January, riffing off the word “luscious.” Check out the posts on six different fragrance blogs!

The numbers 2022 in fireworks
2022 in fireworks; image from parade.com

Like many other Americans, my work week began again post-holidays, but we’re back to remote work because of the massive surge in omicron variant COVID cases. I feel much less anxious about it this time.

Instead of “dry January”, I’m going to make a conscious effort to minimize fragrance purchases this month, since I took full advantage of many sales and discounts before, during, and after Christmas! Most of those were from small or independent perfumers or perfumeries, so I don’t feel bad about supporting them. This month, I’m enjoying the “January Joy Box” from 4160 Tuesdays, which is a box of 15 fragrances, most of them limited editions or not yet in the main 4160 Tuesdays line, to be opened one at a time, every other day, in numbered order. Sarah McCartney started this annual tradition a few years ago, and it is great fun! It’s like a January Advent calendar. Lots of chatter about each fragrance on 4160 Tuesdays’ Facebook pages!

So far, I’ve opened 1) Spellbinder; 2) Cherry Who?; and 3) Dawn to Dusk. Of those, so far my favorite is Spellbinder, which Sarah actually created for an independent US business called Haunted Saginaw (the fragrances are labeled “13th Floor Fragrance Co.”). Here’s the published description:

Rich and luxurious tonka beans infused with superior Madagascar vanilla, bursting with a citrus & slightly earthy opening (Bergamot, Mandarin, Tart Cranberry & ripened Rhubarb) intertwined with a dark forest of woods (Cedar, Sandalwood, Cashmere) into a slightly smokey veil ( Sweet Tobacco, Incense & Leather) sensually merging into a dark floral heart ( Jasmine, Violet, and exotic Ylang Ylang) surrounded by an array of arromatic spices ( Cardamom, Nutmeg & more).

If this sounds like something you must have, it can still be purchased at the Haunted Saginaw website. By the way, Sarah and fragrance blogger Sam Scriven from “I Scent You A Day” published their book this fall, “The Perfume Companion“, and it is great fun. I love that two bloggers I follow, Sam and Neil Chapman of “The Black Narcissus” have both published books in recent years. I love reading their insights, and both books are great for browsing.

On the topic of books, one of my Christmas gifts this year, which I’ve just started reading, is the book “The Scent of Empires: Chanel No.5 and Red Moscow“, by Karl Schlogel. Already it promises to be fascinating to this history nerd!

Have you started off your New Year in any new fragrances, or with any new books? Do tell!

Scent Semantics, January 3, 2022

Scent Semantics, January 3, 2022

Welcome to this month’s installment of “Scent Semantics“, a group blogging project! The participating blogs are: Scents and Sensibilities (here), The Plum GirlThe Alembicated GenieEau La LaUndina’s Looking Glass, and A Bottled Rose. I hope you’ll all check out the Scent Semantics posts on each blog! The word of the month is “luscious.” I’ve struggled a bit with this, as luscious often implies something edible or juicy, and I don’t have many gourmand or fruity fragrances. I thought about riffing off my newly opened “January Joy Box” from 4160 Tuesdays, which is in fact bringing me much joy; it extends the holiday season in the nicest way but so far the offerings haven’t been gourmand or fruity. We have been eating many luscious holiday foods and treats for a few weeks now, including this amazing Pavlova my oldest daughter made, from Mary Berry’s recipe:

My daughter’s holiday Pavlova; recipe by Mary Berry

If that doesn’t say “luscious” to anyone, I don’t know what will. And it tasted as delicious as it looked! The flavor and the aroma combine the lightness and sweetness of meringue with the tartness and sweetness of the berries, to great effect. In fact, it occurs to me that a gifted perfumer could make a wonderful fragrance based on that combination, as long as the sugar took a back seat to the berries. The closest thing I have in my fragrance collection is probably Esteé Lauder’s Modern Muse Le Rouge Gloss, a flanker of Modern Muse which is a sweet, fruity, cherry-based fragrance with a modern chypre vibe. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a chypre, but it has a similar structure, with top notes of Sour Cherry, Carrot Seeds, Pink Pepper and Mandarin Orange; middle notes of Vinyl, Rose, Leather and Jasmine; and base notes of Honey, Vanilla, Patchouli, Styrax, Saffron and Labdanum, according to Fragrantica.

I had picked up a small bottle of this from a discounter’s clearance shelf, out of curiosity, but hadn’t yet tried it, so this month’s Scent Semantics assignment gave me a good reason to sample it. I think it has been discontinued, but it is still readily available online. The cherry I smell at the opening isn’t sour at all, by the way. What pops out right away is the pink pepper note, underwritten by red fruit and a bit of sweet citrus. I don’t know what the “carrot seed” note adds, since it’s not clear to me what “carrot seed” is supposed to smell like, as opposed to carrot. It has been described as soft and musky, and it seems to accompany iris or orris accords quite often in fragrances. Here, I think it adds a musky note to the opening stage of Modern Muse Le Rouge Gloss. The opening is lively and disarming, clearly designed to appeal immediately to someone trying a tester in a store like Sephora.

The heart stage is intriguing; the cherry note continues, but this phase does in fact suggest the “gloss” of the scent’s name, as if the red cherry and vinyl accords had combined in some mad re-creation of Salvador Dali’s famous “lips” sofa, originally inspired by a photograph of Mae West with her signature full, pouty lips, which he turned into a Surrealist portrait.

Red glossy vinyl sofa shaped like lips, by artist Salvador Dali
Lips sofa by Salvador Dali

Luscious and glossy, indeed! And it seems that Mae West qualifies as a “modern muse”, at least to Salvador Dali.

Surrealist portrait of Mae West by Salvador Dali
Mae West’s Face which May be Used as a Surrealist Apartment, by Salvador Dali; image from Art Institute of Chicago, artic.edu.

As it dries down further, the cherry accord morphs into a rose; the transition is very subtle, as roses can indeed smell like different fruits, including cherries. (I grow a very pretty rose called “Cherry Parfait“, but the name is because of its colors more than its fragrance). At this point, most of what I smell is a light, fruity rose with an undercurrent of vinyl. I don’t notice leather, or jasmine. If there’s any leather here, it is the shiny patent leather seen in this shoot of Kendall Jenner, who is Esteé Lauder’s model for Le Rouge Gloss, here modelling Miu Miu fashions, but the patent leather in Le Rouge Gloss is faux leather, made from vinyl.

Model Kendall Jenner wearing red patent leather jacket by Miu Miu.
Kendall Jenner for Miu Miu; image by Alasdair McLellan.

In the final stage, I clearly smell honey and a bit of vanilla. These base notes are well blended, they don’t hit you over the head with sweetness. However, the final stage of Le Rouge Gloss is a bit weak compared to its opening. It doesn’t have the “oomph” of a real chypre, and although patchouli is listed as a featured base note, I don’t smell it, or the listed styrax and labdanum. I do smell a hint of saffron, which warms the overall impression.

I will say that, consistent with Esteé Lauder’s design tradition, the bottle of Le Rouge Gloss is really pretty (also clearly meant to appeal to a potential buyer on first sight). I don’t particularly care for the shape of the Modern Muse line’s bottle, with its square top, but it has a certain Art Deco appeal. The version for Le Rouge Gloss, though, is in a deep red glass with the sheen of the lacquer the scent is supposed to evoke, and it looks gorgeous. In the small size I have, it’s like a lovely accessory. I think it might be a bit overpowering in the full 100 ml size, but I do love that red glass.

Red bottle of Estee Lauder's fragrance Modern Muse Le Rouge Gloss
Modern Muse Le Rouge Gloss; image from ireallyreallylove.com

All in all, I’m glad to have my small, discounted bottle of Le Rouge Gloss, and I can see wearing it occasionally when I just want something light, pretty, and undemanding. I won’t be seeking out another bottle, but I’ll enjoy this one!

See what the other Scent Semantics bloggers have to say about “luscious” at their own blogs! They are: The Plum GirlThe Alembicated GenieEau Là LàUndina’s Looking Glass, and A Bottled Rose. 

Scent Semantics blog list
Check out the other blogs doing Scent Semantics!
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!

I don’t think I’m usually superstitious, but I feel as if this New Year of 2022 needs all the help it can get! So I’m repeating the rabbit mantra everywhere I can online and in person.

Avon fragrance bottle shaped like rabbit
Avon perfume bottle; image from ebay.com.

Happy New Year to you all! Thanks for joining me here in 2021; WordPress says I posted my 600th post yesterday, the last day of 2021. Don’t forget to look out for Scent Semantics, coming soon to several blogs near you! May 2022 bring us all health, happiness, and good luck!

Perfume Chat Room, December 31

Perfume Chat Room, December 31

Welcome back to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, December 31, and it is the last day of 2021! Good riddance, I say. What a strange year it has been — we started off with most of us unvaccinated, then many of us were able to get vaccinated by the end of May, then we had a summer when we were able to see most of our extended family members after long absence. We were able to attend two family weddings, one in June and one in early October, the June wedding having been postponed from September 2020. We were also able to drive to New Hampshire and stay for two weeks to see my dear father-in-law at his assisted living residence; we rented a small lake cabin and worked remotely in the mornings, then went to see him every afternoon between lunch and dinner, which was lovely. On our drives up to NH and back, we were also able to visit some spots I have long wanted to see, mostly Civil War sites like Gettysburg and Antietam, but also the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville and the Biltmore Estate. Our economy rebounded far better and faster than even an optimist like myself could have hoped. The fall started off with most colleges and universities returning to onsite operations, including the one our son attends. All three of our children faced and overcame challenges in 2021, and are finishing the year in good health, good spirits, and good jobs, and housing situations with good friends.

That was the good stuff. The bad stuff? Aside from some painful challenges our kids had to overcome, here in the US we had the extraordinary experience of a sitting US President claiming that the election he had lost was a fraud and playing a part (specifics still to be detailed by investigators) in a violent attack on the US Capitol and Congress on January 6. Rewatching some of the coverage from a year ago still boggles the mind; and that’s all I’ll say about that. After a somewhat normal summer, the highly contagious delta variant of COVID started to surge, and it was followed by the even more contagious omicron variant in the fall. Many of us got boosters as soon as they were available, which seems to have protected the vaccinated from severe illness (excellent news, btw). But cases are surging again worldwide to record highs, and frontline healthcare workers face another winter of extreme stress — too much stress and not enough gratitude, in my view. Many schools will start their spring semester with remote classes again, which feels necessary but discouraging. I’m just thankful that all my family are fully vaccinated and boosted, and thankful for the brilliant scientists and others who made that possible.

This may be the year I finally retire, so stay tuned! All in all, I’m perfectly happy to bid 2021 farewell, and I feel hopeful for 2022, despite the looming and already nutty midterms elections! I plan to ring in the New Year wearing one of my all-time favorite fragrances: the eau de toilette of Chanel No.22. Our evening plans have just changed and so will our dinner menu — our college student son had planned to be here tonight, so we were going to have pizza, albeit the local gourmet option, but now he has other plans so I can upgrade our dinner menu! Decisions, decisions …

Do you have any exciting plans, or have you already celebrated? (Looking at you, Portia!). What is your chosen SOTNY?

Fireworks exploding over water, Sydney, Australia
Sydney fireworks for New Year, 2022; image from theguardian.com.
Scented Advent, December 24

Scented Advent, December 24

Happy Christmas Eve! Today is the last day of Advent, the period when Christians await the coming of the newborn Jesus on Christmas Day, so it is also the last day of my scented Advent calendar posts. I’ve had so much fun doing this! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along; thanks for joining me on this journey. Major thanks especially to the lovely reader and active perfumista who sent me the samples that I’ve used to fill my DIY fragrance Advent calendar!

My Advent SOTD is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ French Linden Blossom. Normally I would say that it is seasonally out of sync, as it is such a spring-like fragrance, but today dawned as a sunny day with temperatures expected to reach into the 60s. Quite balmy for Christmas Eve! However, not that unusual here in the Southeastern US, where people garden, and play sports like golf and tennis, through the whole winter.

Linden blossom is the blossom of “lime trees”, sometimes called “French Lime”. It’s not a scent I know in real life; in my area, when I encounter real citrus trees and their blooms, they are always orange or lemon trees, to be grown in pots that can be moved indoors (our weather is pretty balmy for wintertime, but not so balmy that the more tropical citrus trees can stay outside year-round). Update: some of my readers have clarified that the “lime trees” that are also called “linden” are not related to the limes that produce citrus. There is an excellent article about LINDEN trees here: “What Is Drifting In The Breeze?“. Thanks for the help, commenters!

Flower of linden or lime tree
Linden Blossom; image from selfsufficientish.com

All share the quality of having a light, white floral scent, and that is what I get from French Linden Blossom. When I first sprayed it, I got a hint of cucumber or melon, which surprised me until I read this on DSH Perfumes’ website: “An ethereal, almost cucumber-like floral note with sweet honey-melon nuances.” Bingo!

I’ve written before about cucumber/melon accords in fragrance: Fragrance Friday: Un Jardin Après La Mousson. Apparently they often come from the aromachemical Melonal, so I’m sure that (or something similar) is present in French Linden Blossom. The citrus notes in UJALM are said to include lime, but that refers to the citrus fruit, not the flowers and not linden. The DSH Perfumes website refers to French Linden Blossom as an accord, and that seems right to my nose — it is pretty linear. To my nose, it smells more greenish white. It’s very pleasant, but I think I would like it better in really warm weather like late spring or summer. As it dries down, it gets a bit soapy, also very pleasantly. It is a fresh, clean fragrance that one could wear anywhere. I do think it is more casual than one might choose for an evening out or special occasion, but it’s a great scent to just spritz on in the morning as a casual fragrance.

I’m very happy that my final “Scented Advent” post can focus on an independent artisan perfumer like Dawn Spencer Hurwitz! The last two years have been very hard on many small businesses and it’s important to support the perfume artists we love, who continually advance the limits of fragrance art. One way to do that is to buy directly from their websites, and right now one can use a 20% off code on Dawn’s website, light20, which I think is good through the end of December. I’m not an affiliate, just a fan!

Do you have a favorite linden blossom fragrance? And for those who celebrate them, happy Christmas Eve and Christmas! I’ll be in the kitchen, in my garden, and at church today. All our kids are home, and all’s right with the world, at least our tiny part of it. May this Christmas season usher in a time of happiness, health, peace, and goodwill for all.

Christmas tree and crèche, Metropolitan Museum, New York. Image from metmuseum.org
Scented Advent, December 23

Scented Advent, December 23

Today’s Advent SOTD is Helmut Lang, by the fashion house Helmut Lang, in eau de parfum. I assume this is the 2014 reissue of the 2000 release and cult classic, by Maurice Roucel. Not to worry, perfumistas! A Vogue editor for whom the original was a signature scent has written that to her nose, it is identical to the 2000 version. She also includes the important information that the reissue was overseen by the original perfumer, M. Roucel, which is reassuring. She calls it “sweet, powdery, strangely appealing”, and I agree. Its notes include: Lavender, Rosemary and Cotton candy (top); Heliotrope, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-Valley and Rose (middle); Vanilla, Sandalwood, Cedar and Patchouli (base). The list for the 2014 reissue does not include cotton candy or vanilla, and it adds artemisia and orange flower. Like many other commenters, I definitely still smell vanilla, listed or not, but it’s possible that accord is evoked by the combination of lavender and heliotrope with sandalwood and other notes.

Claire at the blog Take One Thing Off also liked the 2014 eau de parfum; in her review, she wrote about how it reminded her of the scent of her young children at bathtime and bedtime: softly floral, powdery, lightly musky like towels on clean skin and hair. She accurately described how irresistible to a parent is the smell of their own little ones — I’m sure that’s an evolutionary trick played on us to make sure we keep feeding the little imps, and don’t throttle them in our lowest moments of stress! Believe it or not, I actually found a photo that shows a rosemary called “Baby PJ”, for its small stature and light blue flowers, with a figurine of Cicely Mary Barker‘s Lavender Fairy:

Figurine of Lavender Flower Fairy, with plant of rosemary "Baby PJ"
Lavender Flower Fairy with rosemary “Baby PJ”; image from mulberryminiatures.com

One cannot imagine a picture or scent memory that contrasts more with the signature style of Helmut Lang‘s fashions, which has been described thus:

“Quintessential minimalism” springs to mind when thinking of Helmut Lang, the namesake label of Austrian designer Helmut Lang. He is arguably one of the most influential designers of the last three decades (although Lang himself retired from fashion in 2005 to fully focus on his art career,) and his legacy still resonates across runways today. The iconic designer pioneered minimalism in the ’90s with his sharp-cut tailoring and androgynous, utilitarian pieces adorned with bondage straps and harnesses.

The only aspect of this aesthetic that aligns with the fragrance is that the fragrance itself is meant to be completely unisex, and I think it succeeds. It opens with a dominant note, to my nose, of artemisia that is soon overtaken by lavender, supported by rosemary; the heliotrope quickly joins them and lends that powdery facet to the scent.

As it dries down, Helmut Lang becomes even softer and more floral, but the lavender is still central, which I think makes it more unisex and more traditionally wearable by men (though I firmly believe men and women should wear whatever scent they like!). In fact, at this stage it reminds me of the ultimate amber fougère, originally created for men but soon adopted by women: Guerlain’s Jicky. They share many notes, from lavender to vanilla, and they convey the same aura of both comfort and simple elegance. It’s as if your stylish husband had taken off his suit jacket and tie, and was on his knees by the bathtub helping to bathe your children in his shirtsleeves. Mothers, you KNOW how irresistible that would be!

The sandalwood emerges, a very soft and subtle sandalwood. Although musk isn’t listed as a note or accord, many commenters feel it is central to this fragrance and compare Helmut Lang to another Roucel creation of the early 2000s, Editions Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur. Most find this one softer, though, less aggressively musky.

All in all, I’m really taken with Helmut Lang. I think I may have a Scentbird decant of it in my stash, and I’ll now look it out, given how appealing the sample has proven to be. Have you tried any of the reissued fragrances from Helmut Lang?

Scented Advent, December 22

Scented Advent, December 22

Only a few more days of Advent to go! Today’s Advent surprise scent is By Kilian’s Liaisons Dangereuses, named for the decidedly unholy, notorious 18th century novel that has inspired award-winning stage plays and films.

Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Liaisons movie
Dangerous Liaisons; image from Orion Pictures

Perfumer Calice Becker is the nose behind its creation, and it was launched in 2007. Fragrantica classifies it as a fruity chypre, with top notes of Peach, Plum, Black Currant and Coconut; middle notes of Rose, Geranium, Ambrette (Musk Mallow) and Cinnamon; and base notes of Musk, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Woodsy Notes, Vetiver and Vanilla.

As one expects from Ms. Becker, this fragrance exhibits intelligence and elegance. To my nose, it is clearly unisex, reflecting the central roles of both Merteuil and Valmont, and their wicked collaborations. It opens with a sharp bite of blackcurrant, reminiscent of their malice. And that peach note! Dangerous, indeed. As that writer notes, “The peach is both seductive and deceitful.” The blackcurrant and peach dominate the opening, not unpleasantly; there is a languorous undercurrent that I will attribute to the coconut accord. Next up are the rose, geranium, and musk mallow, which convey seduction. I don’t smell cinnamon at this stage. The warm base notes are all about sex, with an undertone of bitterness from the oakmoss. Brilliant! The structure and development of Liaisons Dangereuses align closely with the actual plot of the story, without straying into explicitness. This is a scent many of us would be happy to wear, as opposed to the infamous ELdO creation, Secretions Magnifiques.

And yet, when you get right down to it, the latter might be a more accurate portrayal of the story, which involves illicit sex, seduction, betrayal, rape, miscarriage. The genius of the novel and its later iterations lies in part in how it shows the ugliness of the aristocratic characters’ actual behavior and how it is camouflaged and masked by their extravagantly ornate clothing, their elegant interiors, their wealth and breeding. Secretions Magnifiques could be a signature scent for the Vicomte de Valmont as played by John Malkovich.

Liaisons Dangereuses is more polite. The rose does not dominate the heart phase; I would say that rose, geranium, and musk mallow play equal roles here. In fact, one could analogize them to the three main characters of the movie “Dangerous Liaisons”, the rose standing in for Michelle Pfeiffer’s lovely and virtuous Mme. de Tourvel, the rose-resembling but astringent geranium for Glenn Close as the Marquise de Merteuil, and the musk mallow for John Malkovich’s Valmont.

I find this to be a very wearable fragrance, appropriate even for the workplace if applied lightly. The opening is actually wonderful, and different from more mainstream fragrances, and it segues beautifully into the heart notes. I found the base to be appealing and well-done, but less distinctive.

Confession: I’ve never actually watched the whole movie “Dangerous Liaisons”, because it gives me the creeps. That’s probably partly because of the outstanding acting by Close and Malkovich, who both have an uncanny ability to play attractive villains. Also, I find the whole storyline about Cécile, the 15 year-old virgin whom Valmont assaults for revenge (his own and Merteuil’s, for different reasons) very disturbing, especially in the aftermath of revelations about Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Though I will continue to avoid the movie, I like the fragrance, and it is a brilliant creation. I’m not surprised that Luca Turin gave it four stars, and I’m glad to have had the chance to sample it.

I haven’t tried many of By Kilian’s fragrances, though I’ve liked the few I have tried, and one of my daughters really liked Water Calligraphy when she accompanied me on a perfume-sniffing excursion. Do you have any favorites? Or particular dislikes?

Scented Advent, December 21

Scented Advent, December 21

On today’s winter solstice, Advent brought to me Hedonist Rose, by Viktoria Minya, a Hungarian perfumer based in Paris. Another perfume with a white wine accord!

Glass of white wine with flowers and fruit
White wine bouquet; image from Wine Enthusiast.

The notes list is (going by a published list as well as my own nose): lemon, peach, rose (top); rose, peach, white wine (heart); clove, amber, musk, vanilla (base). However, I perceive the top notes as facets of the dominant rose, since so many roses do smell of lemon and fruit together with the unmistakable floral note of “rose.” As soon as I applied it, my nose said “Rose!”, not “lemon” or “peach.” In fact, if you dislike clove in fragrance, fear not! I don’t smell a stand-alone clove at all. Just a slightly spicy rose. Similarly, the heart stage is all about rose and it begs the questions, which came first — the white wine or the rose? Because many white wines have intensely floral bouquets, as illustrated above. Not to mention the peach accord, which is also a scent note found in both roses and white wines.

This is a very summery rose, purely floral. Because of that peach note, it calls to mind the many pretty roses that come in shades of peachy-pink:

Display of peach-colored rose blossoms
Peach roses; image from fleurtyfleurs.com

As Hedonist Rose dries down, it becomes warmer and slightly less fruity, with a soft white musk at the base. I don’t pick up any vanilla or amber. All in all, this is a very appealing rose fragrance if you like rose scents, which I do; but there are others I would choose ahead of this one, both because of the fragrance and because of price. For some other suggestions, see my “Roses de Mai Marathon” posts! If I do that again next spring, maybe I’ll write about Hedonist Rose and Viktoria Minya in more detail.

Have you tried any of her line of perfumes? The original Hedonist seems to have been quite popular.

Array of peach-colored rose blossoms
Peachy roses; image from fleurtyfleurs.com
Scented Advent, December 20

Scented Advent, December 20

The scent Advent sent me today is Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra, part of its light, refreshing Aqua Allegoria line. It’s very pretty! I really like its citrusy opening, where the other citruses crowd out the yuzu enough that I can tolerate it (for some odd reason, I don’t react well to yuzu notes in fragrance). The lemon and grapefruit top notes dominate, to my nose, and the bergamot is there to lend some greenness but it doesn’t make this smell like Earl Grey tea. I love Earl Grey tea, but the bergamot here is much more subdued.

The tea accord here is a green tea, so that’s another departure from the classic Earl Grey. Teazzurra was launched in 2015, created by Thierry Wasser. Listed notes are: Lemon, Bergamot, Yuzu and Grapefruit (top); Green Tea, Chamomile and Jasmine (middle); Calone, Vanilla and Musk (base). Right from the start, I smell the green tea and chamomile together with the citrus notes; the opening is fresh and piquant, as if it intends to gently wake up one’s nose with a bright ray of sunlight.

Bottle of Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra eau de toilette
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra; image from brand.

As it develops, it reminds me of Gucci’s Mémoire d’une Odeur, another fragrance that centers on a chamomile accord. Mémoire d’une Odeur is more herbal and woody, more unisex, and it doesn’t have those bright, sunny citrus top notes which make Teazzurra so summery. I really experience this as a scent I’d like to wear in summertime, preferably wearing some kind of floaty white linen on a lovely terrace, set in a garden that I don’t manage. Specifically, in the South of France.

This fragrance evokes for me one of our last pre-pandemic trips abroad, to Nice. It just feels as if it would go perfectly with the Promenade des Anglais and the Belle Epoque architecture along the water. As it develops further, I do pick up a hint of fresh green jasmine, but it’s very light and does not overwhelm the green tea and chamomile. In fact, it’s more like jasmine tea than jasmine flowers, soft and refreshing. The Calone adds a watery facet to Teazzurra, appropriate for a spa town, and in fact this scent also evokes a very upscale, peaceful spa. Whatever musk accord is in the base, it is very clean, white, and soft; there is nothing animalic here at all.

I’m really enjoying Teazzurra; I remember being curious about it when it launched, mostly because of its lovely packaging and its pale blue color. It is truly more of a summer fragrance to my nose, though; so I’ll look forward to trying it again when our weather is hot and humid. Do you have any favorites in the Aqua Allegoria line?