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!

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 19

Scented Advent, December 19

Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent, and my SOTD is Zoologist’s Bat, in eau de parfum format. So I think it is the original Bat, launched in 2015 as an eau de parfum and an Art & Olfaction Award winner in 2016, whose formula was changed in 2020 and now appears to be an extrait de parfum (the original formula, by Ellen Covey, is still available under the name Night Flyer, from her own brand Olympic Orchids, where you can currently get 20% off during December with the code 2021WINTER, including on her two discovery sets). I approached this scent with trepidation, as I don’t much care for bats, and so many comments over the years have mentioned rotting fruit. But when one is doing Advent calendar surprises, one must go with the scent Advent sent!

Bottle of Bat eau de parfum, from Zoologist Perfumes
Bat, by Zoologist Perfumes; image from bloomperfumery.com

To my relief, my experience of Bat is neither animalic nor rotting. It smells to me, as it does to other commenters, like well-aerated compost. Compost is, of course, decomposed soil, made up of vegetation that has in fact “rotted” or decomposed, but it doesn’t smell rotten, if you get my drift. We gardeners use as much of it as we can as a supplement to our garden soil, because it is so good for our plants. Many gardeners who have the space will create their own compost from grass clippings, fallen leaves and fruit, even fruit and vegetable trimmings and other such bits from the kitchen. When compost is well made, it definitely smells like dirt, but it has a sweetness to it that is quite appealing. And that is what Bat smells like to my nose.

In fact, I’ll go an olfactory step further and say that I also smell a bit of truffle as the scent develops. Not the chocolate kind, but an actual truffle, which is a tuber that grows beneath ground. Bat in its original form was famous for a banana top note, but I never really smell banana. It’s possible there may be some banana skins in the compost pile, but that’s as close as my nose gets to it. As it develops, I do smell myrrh and fig, which are listed as heart notes. The full notes list is: Soil tincture, Banana and Fruity Notes (top); Tropical Fruits, Fig, resins, Green Notes and Myrrh (middle); Musk, Vetiver, Leather, Sandalwood and Tonka Bean (base). Fig is really the only identifiable fruit I smell, though. I have a feeling Bat is one of those fragrances that will smell different at different times of year in different weather, as things like temperature and humidity vary. Right now, in cool dry weather, I’m finding it very pleasant; I’ll be interested to try it again on one of our hot, humid, summer days, and see if I smell more fruit. Luca Turin has written that he believes Bat includes geosmin, the molecule responsible for the distinctive scent of petrichor, or the earth after rain, and I have no reason to doubt that.

The Plum Girl blog has a wonderful post about Zoologist Perfumes, with an interview of its founder Victor Wong. All in all, I’m quite pleased to have the chance to try the original Bat. I don’t dislike bats, after all, and I value their role in our ecosystem, but they have startled me on occasions when I have seen them flapping around trees at twilight, so this fragrance is as close as I care to get.

Flock of fruit bats flying over trees
Fruit bats in flight; image from science.org.

Have you tried either version of Bat, or compared them? Do you have any particular favorites from Zoologist? Given that I tend to favor florals and greens, are there any like those you would recommend from the brand?

Perfume Chat Room, December 17

Perfume Chat Room, December 17

Welcome 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 17, and I am steeling myself for a visit to an endodontist in a few hours. Had to go to the dentist on Monday morning due to a rare and awful toothache, and she referred me for a consult and possible root canal. Ugh! Wish me luck! At least I will smell lovely; today’s SOTD, at least for the morning, is Carner Barcelona‘s El Born. And the endodontist prescribed meds that have taken away the pain, at least for now.

Young child with toothache
Toothache; image from consumerhealthnews.com

I plan to choose a different SOTD for the afternoon to align with today’s community project over at the blog “Now Smell This“, which is to wear your best fragrance buy of 2021. That can be interpreted however one chooses: best bargain, favorite purchase, whatever you like! Yesterday, after my Advent SOTD had faded away, I chose Rose Petals by Zara as my “best bargain” of 2021. I haven’t reviewed it yet because I hope to do that in another “Roses de Mai Marathon” this spring!

My work month is officially over, as I’ll be on vacation next week and my workplace is closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I’m so happy that I can now focus on home, hearth, holidays, hobbies, and family! I love Advent, but it’s hard to get and stay in the mood while work concerns and tasks still demand attention. I’m still planting things outside, as our local climate allows for cool-season flowers and vegetables which will grow all winter and into the spring. Many are very colorful, even the vegetables, which makes it more fun.

What will you be doing this week? Are you able to wind up work soon? Any fragrance items on your holiday wishlist now?

Scented Advent, December 16

Scented Advent, December 16

Today’s Advent SOTD is Dior’s Gris Dior, created by François Demachy and originally launched in 2013 as Gris Montaigne. It is a very beautiful, modern, rose chypre, with the classic bergamot opening, floral heart of rose and jasmine, and base notes that include oakmoss and patchouli. The latter are used with a light hand, though, and are joined in the base by cedar, amber, and sandalwood.

The name Gris Dior refers to Maison Dior’s signature shade of pearl grey, which is one of my favorite colors. It is so much more than a combination of white and black; it has a soupçon of lavender and even pink. It is one of the softest, most elegant colors I can imagine; and this fragrance evokes it to perfection. The photo below, borrowed from a favorite blog, Bois de Jasmin, is of the earlier version, Gris Montaigne, but it captures the idea of the colors so perfectly (as well as the pink rose and the grey oakmoss) I wanted to share it:

Bottle of Christian Dior fragrance Gris Montaigne with pink rose, grey background
Dior’s Gris Montaigne; image from boisdejasmin.com.

Interestingly, the paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore (whose colors are exceptional, imho) sells a paint color called “Dior Grey”, but it is darker than what I think of as Dior grey, although it does align more closely with the darker accent colors on Dior’s flagship store on the Avenue Montaigne:

Facade of Dior flagship store in Paris
Dior’s flagship store, Avenue Montaigne, Paris; image from kafkaesqueblog.com.

Another favorite blog, Kafkaesque, had this review of the original Gris Montaigne, with some charming reminiscences of the actual store, which is painted in the house’s signature pearl grey. (I had a more positive view of the fragrance than Kafkaesque did; she loved the opening stages but was disappointed in the drydown). In couture, the combination of that pearl grey and pale pink was a favorite of M. Dior, dating back apparently to his childhood home, a rose-colored villa set above grey rocks. I have that combination in a favorite set of scarf and matching gloves in soft pink and grey cashmere (not Dior!); it’s such a pretty, feminine color scheme, and I’m now reminded to pull those out now that the weather is cooler. I can spray them with Gris Dior!

My experience with Gris Dior has been very satisfactory so far; I’m enjoying the drydown, as it gets warmer and cozier after the bright bergamot opening and soft floral heart. The use of oakmoss here is very clever; it evokes one of the most legendary chypre fragrances of all time, the original Miss Dior, named for M. Dior’s sister Catherine, a heroine of the French Resistance. It also lends the grey tones to the pale pink of the rose and jasmine floral accords in Gris Dior, because it is so lightly blended in that one doesn’t get the full force of what many perceive as the dark, inky influence of oakmoss in fragrance. Nevertheless, it is definitely there. Kafkaesque was troubled by the purple patchouli she smelled as dominating the base, but my nose doesn’t really pick that up. The amber and sandalwood accords in the base, undergirded by cedar, add to its warmth and soften the oakmoss.

Really, Gris Dior is a disarming and elegant fragrance that I could see wearing more often. Perfect for wearing to an office, and also lovely for a quiet, candlelit dinner out with a loved one. It is part of Dior’s “Collection Privèe”, and priced accordingly. Have you tried it, or any others from that collection?

Perfume Chat Room, December 10

Perfume Chat Room, December 10

Welcome 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 10, and it’s the last official day of final exams at my workplace! Hurray — it has been a long, long fall semester with several unexpected challenges. Although I’ll still be working next week, it will be very quiet with most of the faculty and students having departed for their winter break. I’ve been diligently posting daily about the little surprises in my DIY Advent calendar, which has been great fun.

We’re looking forward to our son’s return from college next week; although he is so close by that we can see him any time, we try to give him his space and only show up at his side of the campus when he requests it (he attends the same university where I work). I’ve been having a hard time getting into the true holiday spirit, and I think it’s because this is really the first Christmas when we haven’t had at least one kid living at home the whole month. Last year, both of our daughters had moved home during the pandemic, so they were here even though our son was living on campus for his freshman year. Now, they live elsewhere with roommates, though still very close by, and they’ll probably come here around December 23 and stay through Boxing Day.

I’m very excited because I found a gift for my husband that he hadn’t already chosen and bought for himself! He is famous for just getting the few things he wants, which makes it hard for his family to surprise him. I did show it to him online before buying it, to make sure he would like it, but he was delighted and surprised by what I had found (it’s a framed print of one of his favorite places). Yay! I’ve caved to his way of doing gifts, though, in that I buy fragrances I want for him to “give” me. He has actually done very well when choosing fragrances for me on his own, but he’d rather I choose as he knows I usually have something particular in mind that I’d like.

I still resist the cash transfers that many young adults request as gifts. To me, that’s not a gift — it’s a transaction. Even if I give cash or gift cards, I still add an actual physical gift. How do you and your family manage holiday gifts, if you exchange gifts?

Hands exchanging holiday gift; image from triplepundit.com
Holiday gift-giving; image from triplepundit.com

Scented Advent, December 5

Scented Advent, December 5

Mona di Orio’s Bohea Bohème is today’s Advent calendar scent. As soon as I dabbed it on my wrist, I thought, “Mmm, incense?”. It’s not really an incense scent, but it has many of the facets that make up a good incense, such as resins, fragrant woods, spices. It is built around a tea accord that evokes Bohea oolong tea from China, which is smoked with pinewood; a few floral notes are added (iris, osmanthus, geranium). The complete notes list on Fragrantica is: bergamot, cardamom, Florentine iris, chamomile, balsam fir, boxwood, geranium, black tea, juniper, smoke, oak, sandalwood, beeswax, bay leaf, benzoin, vanilla absolute, poplar buds.

That last one is unfamiliar to me; it is said to bring “a peculiar balsamic green and bitter-sweet scent” to a fragrance. It turns out, though, that I’ve encountered it before, in Tom Ford’s Vert des Bois, which was one of his quartet of green fragrances launched in 2016. Bohea Bohème was also launched in 2016, but was created by a different perfumer, Fredrik Dalman, while the perfumer who created Vert des Bois is Olivier Gillotin. Cafleurebon’s interview with Fredrik, linked above, is well worth reading; he is Swedish, though traditionally trained in France, and he prizes the scent of cardamom, a common ingredient in spiced Swedish recipes (I myself make an excellent Glögg, a Swedish mulled wine, with cardamom, using a recipe that was handed down through the family of a Scandinavian friend). The interview also includes his hilarious story of dressing up as Santa for the flagship store of L’Artisan Parfumeur, the company where he was apprenticed to master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. He went back upstairs to the lab on his break to continue working on a formula before returning to Santa duties, and was found there by his startled mentor.

Perfumer Fredrik Dalman dressed as Santa, at his perfume organ
Fredrik Dalman as Santa; image from cafleurebon.com.

I am loving Bohea Bohème! It is masterfully blended, so that the floral notes emerge slowly as the spicier opening fades. The notes list on the brand website is shorter than the one on Fragrantica: Black tea oil, Florentine Iris, Blue Chamomile, Poplar Bud Absolute, Fir Balsam Fraction, Smoked Juniper, Oakwood absolute, Beeswax Absolute. I love spices in fragrance, but there are some I can only take in very limited quantities (cinnamon and cloves, I’m looking at you!). Bohea Bohème is perfectly spiced, and it feels to me like a perfect holiday fragrance, with its combination of cardamom, balsam, scented wood, and a smoke as gentle as candlelight. Truly, as the website says, it is a “luxurious woody fragrance with a balsamic vibrato, unconventional and seductive.”

Do you have any favorites from Mona di Orio? Also, don’t forget to join me and my collaborators tomorrow for “Scent Semantics“! We have a particularly nice holiday word and reflections for you.

Bottle of Bohea Boheme perfume from Mona di Orio
Bohea Bohème, by Mona di Orio; image from monadiorio.com.

Scented Advent, December 4

Scented Advent, December 4

Day 4’s Advent SOTD is an odd one: it is Monoscent G, from A Lab On Fire. It is literally a wearable version of a synthetic scent molecule, Galaxolide S, in a denatured alcohol solution. A Lab On Fire first launched it as a stand-alone fragrance in 2015 or 2016, then re-launched it in 2019 with different packaging and in a larger size. Galaxolide S is an IFF “captive molecule”, i.e. IFF created it and owns the rights to it (as well as the original Galaxolide). I really can’t explain it any better than A Lab On Fire‘s website:

BACKGROUND
The original Galaxolide® was discovered by IFF’s Dr. Beets in 1957. Trying to simulate the odor of Nitro-musks it took many years of research to get from an idea to a commercial ingredient. The resulting Galaxolide® proved to be an outstanding musk with a very good price performance ratio.

FUN FACT
The 1990s launch of Trésor, which marked a turning point for the personalization of perfume, kickstarted galaxolide’s worldwide success.

AN EVOLUTION OF THE EPONYMOUSLY NAMED SYNTHETIC MUSK
Introduced internally at IFF in 2007, the Galaxolide S molecule is an evolution the long-lasting and clean properties that made the original the most popular fragrance in the world. It boosts product quality by offering tremendous performance in all categories. Particularly in fragrance, it is able to fill out fragrances.

Interestingly, Fragrantica quotes a study as saying that about 3 in 10 people are anosmic to this molecule, i.e. they can’t smell it. I’m not one of those people, I can smell it on my wrist. Apparently it is used to add “bloom, lift, and longevity” to a wide range of fragrance accords.

I’m actually quite happy to try a sample of this, because I’ve been somewhat curious about these so-called molecular scents, but I’m afraid I don’t really get it. I’ll have to wave my wrist around my husband’s nose to see if 1) he can smell it, and 2) he perceives it as an appealing scent. I may also try layering it with something else, maybe one of the light Zara Emotions line, to see if it has any effect.

Have you tried any of the scents that are basically a captive molecule in solution? What do you think of them?

Molecular structure of IFF molecule Galaxolide
Galaxolide molecule, by IFF; image from scentspiracy.com.