Great Perfumes, from the NY Times

Great Perfumes, from the NY Times

The New York Times has a “style” periodical supplement called, simply, “T”.  Earlier this month, T editors were polled about their favorite fragrances: Great Perfumes, Recommended by T Editors. I must say, though, I chuckled when I read this: “Perfumes are my obsession: I have a wardrobe of about 30 I cycle through.” That editor needs to meet some of the fragrance bloggers I read, or even some members of the group Facebook Fragrance Friends, who own HUNDREDS of perfumes! Even I, a relative newbie, have more than 30. On the other hand, that editor may be at the more sophisticated stage of having owned dozens upon dozens of fragrances once upon a time, and now, like Undina of Undina’s Looking Glass, one of my top favorite blogs, being more educated and selective with the result that she has winnowed her collection of the chaff. I’d still put Undina’s collection up against most, from the little I’ve read about it, including this T editor’s! I mean, she has a DATABASE of her collection. Some day I hope to emulate that level of organization and commitment. Right now, to borrow one of Undina’s many memorable phrases, I am often still “kissing an army of frogs instead of spending days with already realized kings.” (And enjoying myself thoroughly, I might add).

But back to the T editors and their choices. Another phrase I loved in the article was when one editor described herself as “polyamorous when it comes to perfume.” Another writes of her discovery of fine fragrance after she read Chandler Burr’s article in The New Yorker that became his book The Perfect Scent, which describes the development of Jean-Claude Ellena’s first fragrance as the new in-house perfumer for Hermes:

The story had captured my imagination. I think, deep down, I so badly wanted to be the elegant woman Ellena considers wearing his scent as he roams through Egypt recording smells (lotus root, nasturtium) in his notebook. In recent years, I’ve diversified what scents I wear, but I always return to Jardin Sur Le Nil. Perhaps because if it once made me think I was luxurious, now it reminds me of a younger, more impressionable version of myself.

That book was my downfall too — I read it as part of my research when I was writing a script about two rival perfumers, and down the rabbit-hole I went.

The article is an entertaining summary of fragrance choices by beauty editors who have access to everything; it’s interesting to read what they love and why. I hope T Magazine publishes more articles about fragrance! Have you read any recent articles about scent that captured your attention or imagination? Any of the finalists for the Perfumed Plume award?

Featured image from http://www.nytimes.com, by Mari Maeda and Yuji Oboshi for T Magazine.

They’re Baaaaack!

Announced this week: Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez are updating their guide to perfume with a twice-yearly review roundup! See this post and thread on Basenotes. Welcome back, I can’t wait to read what you write!

Fragrance Friday: May Muguet Marathon

Fragrance Friday: May Muguet Marathon

As you may know, possibly my all-time favorite fragrance note is lily-of-the valley, or “muguet.”  I associate it with one of my favorite books, Elizabeth Goudge’s “The Scent of Water”: Fragrance Friday: The Scent of Water. I carried lilies of the valley in my bridal bouquet in April (flowers I grew myself), but May is traditionally the month for muguets, when the flowers often bloom and when the French give bouquets and sprays of the blossoms on May 1. So, since this is the first May since I developed my passion for perfume, I’m going to celebrate May by posting as many reviews as I can of muguet-focused fragrances, including the latest in the Hermessence line, “Muguet Porcelaine” by Jean-Claude Ellena as well as some classics and other new discoveries. Wish me luck! And please join me in the comments during this May marathon!

lily-of-the-valley basenotes

Anubis (Papillon Perfumery)****

Luca Turin is back! He has just started a new blog about perfumes he loves. I couldn’t be more delighted, as his legendary guide book to perfumes was one of the books that started my interest in perfume and fragrance. Like many others, I discovered Mr. Turin’s book by reading Chandler Burr’s “The Emperor of Scent.” I am especially happy to read here that he loves a fragrance by Papillon Perfumery, whose scents I discovered last summer in London. The more I learn, the more I appreciate Liz Moores’ approach and philosophy. It is inspiring to see her work so well received.

perfumesilove

p61_3_0.jpgAs an audiophile of long standing and limited means, I am struck by similarities between loudspeakers and perfumes, especially in the manner of their choosing. Most people who don’t much care about sound (including many professional musicians who tend to listen to the playing, not the recording) buy little desktop or bookshelf speakers that adequately carry the spectrum but turn muddled and shouty when pushed hard. If they ever actually pick them by sound, they tend to go for the most impressive, i.e. the one with lots of treble and unmusical boomy bass, neglecting the midrange where most music and voice actually lies. That’s most of mainstream perfumery, all topnotes and bare but powerful drydown.

Then you have horn speakers, for those who love a huge midrange sound, colored by the resonant cabinetry, but capable of playing very loud, and with a wonderful old-fashioned chesty voicing. That would be the Roja Dove tendency of larger-than-life retro fragrances…

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Trish Burr and Needle Painting

Hello everyone How are you all? I have finally finished the book and as we speak it makes its way across the sea to the publishers in Australia. This is the 8th book I have published and although it is a lot of hard work, there is always something very satisfying about seeing one’s work […]

via Embroidery Kits — Trish Burr Embroidery

What Went Well

What Went Well

This was a gold-star week for What Went Well!

  1. We took our three teenagers to Orlando for a long weekend, with the sole goal of visiting the Harry Potter theme parks at Universal. Because our kids literally grew up with the Harry Potter series, which we read aloud to them for years and listened to on audiobooks on long family trips in the minivan.
  2. The attention to detail in the Harry Potter areas was breathtaking, right down to the food (lots of fish and chips, no hamburgers or hot dogs; lots of Butterbeer and pumpkin juice, no high-fructose corn syrup or soda). Because, apparently, J.K. Rowling kept more creative control over the design and presentations than any creative person has had over a theme park since Walt Disney himself. Thank you, yet again, J.K. Rowling!
  3. We laughed and laughed for three straight days, which was so refreshing. Because we have stressful work lives, but we also have a wonderful family that still knows how to enjoy each other’s company.

P.S. As you might imagine, theme parks are not a favored destination for this introvert (I also get motion sickness) and I have hardly gone to any, as I don’t usually enjoy them very much. This was SO MUCH FUN! I do wish I could have gone on a couple of the immersive rides, as my family says they were fantastic, but it was probably wiser for me to skip those. There were plenty of other diversions to enjoy.

Fragrance Friday: Moss

Fragrance Friday: Moss

Moss is a fragrance by a new(ish) company called Commodity Goods, which got started with a Kickstarter campaign and has an active social media presence: Commodity Goods on Facebook. The Moss I’ve tried, thanks to a sample, is listed as a men’s fragrance but there is also a women’s Moss with the identical notes, so I think they are the same fragrance packaged differently for men and women. According to Fragrantica.com, Moss was launched in 2013. Top notes are petitgrain, bergamot and elemi; middle notes are eucalyptus, orange blossom and oakmoss; base notes are cashmere wood, amber, cedar and white musk.

Petitgrain is a note based on the leaves of orange trees. The orange theme continues in the heart notes, with orange blossom. This is a green, fresh fragrance with just a touch of floral sweetness; it is mostly green and herbal, but very light and warmed by the base notes. I’m really loving it a lot. As you know if you’ve read my blog about gardening, Old Herbaceous, I like moss. I like moss in gardens. I like moss gardening. Moss is quiet. Moss is peaceful. Moss is persistent. Moss is resilient. Moss is green and fresh. Moss is.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about persistence and resilience. I am by nature quiet and peaceful. I need to cultivate my own persistence and resilience. I need to regenerate after a drought the way moss does. A very interesting blogger named Laura Bancroft had some interesting comments on Commodity Goods: Piper Winston. It sounds to me as if the company is as interesting as its fragrances.

Even more interesting is that Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love has written another book that came out last year, The Signature of All Things. Set in the nineteenth century, its heroine is a self-taught botanist with a passion for moss. In fact, she devotes herself to the study of moss for a few decades. Now that is persistence. I learned about this book from a lovely moss gardening website, MossAndStoneGardens.com. I may have to get a copy, spray myself with Moss, and lose myself.

The Signature of All Things