Scent Sample Sunday: Tiffany & Co. Intense

Scent Sample Sunday: Tiffany & Co. Intense

Last Christmas, my husband surprised me with a bottle of 2017’s new Tiffany & Co. eau de parfum, and I loved it! I have been on something of an iris kick for a while, and Tiffany & Co. is mainly an iris scent, brightened by a citrusy opening and softened by a musk base. The only notes listed on the Tiffany website are: top — “vert de mandarine”, middle — noble iris, and base — patchouli and musk. Fragrantica lists its notes as follows: top notes are mandarin orange, bergamot and lemon; middle notes are iris, black currant, peach and rose; base notes are patchouli and musk.

Bottle of Tiffany & Co. eau de parfum with jewelry

Tiffany & Co. eau de parfum; http://www.tiffany.com

2018 has brought a new version, and it is one of those fragrances that save the good name of “flankers”, as I think it is an improvement on an already excellent original: Tiffany & Co. Intense. Again, the Tiffany website lists fewer notes: top note: vert de mandarine and pink peppercorn; heart: noble iris; base notes: amber and benzoin. Although Fragrantica doesn’t provide a separate list of notes, its graphic shows the following: top — pear, mandarin leaf, pink pepper; heart — iris, jasmine, rose; base — amber, benzoin, musk, carrot, cashmeran, and vanilla.

Blue bottle of Tiffany & Co. Intense eau de parfum, 2018.

Tiffany & Co. Intense eau de parfum; http://www.tiffany.com

The opening is a pleasantly citrusy burst of light green, which lasts only minutes until the iris takes center stage. The iris remains strong throughout the scent’s progression, which I enjoy. Good thing I do, because this flanker lasts a long time! Although it becomes more of a skin scent after a few hours, I can still easily smell it on my wrist several hours after application, and the base that remains is delicious: a warm, musky floral.

The nose behind both fragrances is Daniela Andrier, who knows her iris: she was the creator of Prada’s Infusion d’Iris and its many flankers. I found a fascinating article on a marketing website about Tiffany’s strategy and brief: Brandwatch: Tiffany & Co. Intense. Much of the story begins with the launch of Tiffany & Co. in 2017:

To understand Intense, it’s necessary to view it in the context of the original 2017 launch. This saw a completely new approach to the category for the famed US jewellery house, which sought not simply to put its name to a product, but to create a perfume that was as much a part of the brand (and a reflection of it) as any of its diamond rings.

Every element of the product – from the packaging to the ingredients – was to be inspired by the history and heritage of Tiffany.

From the very beginning, every element of The Fragrance was chosen for its intrinsic ‘Tiffany-ness’, from what the scent reflects to what it contains, to the flacon and the box that contains it, and of course the name itself. Tiffany knows its brand, and both the debut and follow-up fragrances are authentically Tiffany.

Apparently, the brief was to create “a fragrance that would evoke the touch of jewellery on bare skin; a scent (and sensation) that Tiffany no doubt knows well.” Weaving both fragrances around a strong presence of iris was a brilliant choice. As the article notes:

Tiffany has a long association with the iris, says the brand, noting the flower’s appearance in some of the house’s earliest sketches. In 1900, Tiffany won the grand prize at the Paris Exposition with an iris-shaped brooch, and the motif has continued to be a frequent reference in the century since.

The founder of Tiffany & Co., Louis Comfort Tiffany, was not only a brilliant jeweler but one of the greatest creators of stained glass in the world. Iris flowers blossomed in some of his most iconic images, such as this portion of the great “Magnolias and Irises” window he created as a memorial to the Frank family of New York. It was originally installed in a mausoleum of a Brooklyn cemetery but now resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Memorial stained glass window, 1908, Louis Comfort Tiffany; Magnolias and Irises, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Stained glass window, Louis Comfort Tiffany; Magnolias and Irises, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This view of the window perfectly captures Tiffany & Co. Intense. It retains the cool blues of the original fragrance’s iris notes, but deepens them and adds the warmth of amber and benzoin, evoking the soft sunset shading into twilight that the Tiffany studio captured so brilliantly in stained glass. Or is it dawn? Only the artist knows.

The bottle for both Tiffany & Co. and Tiffany & Co. Intense is gorgeous. The Brandwatch article describes it:

Diamonds proved the perfect inspiration for the flacon of a house world-famous for its work with such stones. The base of the bottle features faceting inspired by the Tiffany Diamond, one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. The shoulders recall the geometric lines of the Lucida diamond, a signature cut of the house that adorns many solitaire engagement rings.

The first fragrance’s bottle was clear, with a “Tiffany blue” collar. As beautiful as it is, the new bottle is even more gorgeous — its glass is itself “Tiffany blue” and the collar is silver, another material for which Tiffany & Co. is famous, especially in its long collaboration with designer Elsa Peretti, whose designs in sterling silver have become as iconic as the founder’s stained glass. Needless to say, both fragrances come in the legendary Tiffany blue gift box; their packaging is lined in silver. So, so pretty!

Blue bottle of Tiffany & Co. Intense eau de parfum

Tiffany & Co. Intense; http://www.tiffany.com

Every aspect of these fragrances and their launches has been carefully considered and rendered as beautifully as possible, from the creation of the iris butter — said to be “an extraction method exclusive to Tiffany”, in which French-grown blooms were chosen and harvested only in July and August, to the ad campaign using a cover of one of the Beatles’ most famous songs as its soundtrack:

One final, perfect detail: the Tiffany website includes a special link on each product page to “Drop A Hint.” Genius! You click on the link, choose one of a few designs, fill in the email for the intended recipient, and this is what s/he gets, with a link to the desired item:

Tiffany Drop A Hint ecard

TIffany’s “Drop A Hint”; http://www.tiffany.com

Subtle, right? Honey, if you’re reading this …

Readers, what’s on your holiday wish list? Have you dropped any hints?

Scent Sample Sunday: Christmas Roses

Scent Sample Sunday: Christmas Roses

Some of my favorite bloggers are posting about favorite holiday fragrances, and several have created their own fragrance Advent calendars, so clearly ’tis the season! I love Advent, but I was too slow off the mark to organize my own Advent calendar in time, and this is a very busy time of year for me at work, so I’ll just enjoy reading about theirs — although I might get my act together for a few “scents of Advent” or even a fragrance Twelve Days of Christmas, so stay tuned!

As some of you know, I’m an enthusiastic amateur gardener. One of the plants I love most is the hellebore, sometimes called the “Christmas Rose” or “Lenten Rose” because it blooms in the winter. I love it so much that the special china we bring out for the holidays from now through February has hellebores on it.

Spode Christmas Rose

So for my “scents of Advent” post today, I’m going to write about a few of the rose scents that I especially enjoy in the fall and winter, although real hellebores have little fragrance. Actual roses can emphasize so many different facets of their natural fragrance, and then perfumers focus on a few of those, and choose companion notes to heighten that emphasis; this is undoubtedly why there are hundreds, if not thousands, of rose-centric fragrances. I know some perfume-lovers dislike rose, but I’m inclined to think that may be because they haven’t found the right rose for them, or because they have unhappy associations with bad rose scents like poorly made soap.

I love fresh, citrusy, green roses in the spring and summer, but I’m just not drawn to them when the weather turns colder. Luckily, many perfume houses have created scents that emphasize the spicier, darker, warmer aspects of rose, and those are the ones I enjoy at this time of year. I’ve written before about some of them: Aramis’ Calligraphy Rose, Montale’s Intense Cafe, Gres’ Cabaret. Here are a few more:

Tauerville’s Rose Flash: this is one of the best fragrance buys on the market, imho. It is the first of Andy Tauer’s “Tauerville” line, fragrances that are deliberately more experimental (and more affordable) than his main line but still artfully crafted and multi-faceted. Rose Flash comes in a 20% concentration; in other words, parfum extrait strength. At $63 for a 30 ml bottle, and given its high quality, it’s at the top of my list. Here is the description from the website: “A shamelessly diffusive, tenacious, extrait-strength creation, overflowing with the greens, spices, citruses, woods and creamy intimacies which enter your very soul when you stick your nose into a bona fide, scented, living rose.” Be still, my heart! Yes, it really is that good.

Bottle of Andy Tauer's Tauerville Rose Flash parfum

Tauerville Rose Flash; image from www.theredolentmermaid.com.

Penhaligon’s Elisabethan Rose 2018: an update of a former Penhaligon’s classic, Elisabethan Rose, its notes are: Hazelnut Leaf, Almond Oil, Cinnamon, Red Lily, Rose Centifolia Oil, Rose Absolute, Vetyver, Musk, Wood. The unusual opening is just spicy enough to make it clear that this is a deep red rose, nothing pale. The cinnamon note makes it right for this season, but it isn’t strong. The rose notes, which appear right away, are fruity and deep, with wonderful undertones of spices and light wood. This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite rose fragrances — and what’s not to love about a bottle with a white ruff around its neck?

Bottle of Penhaligon's Elisabethan Rose eau de parfum with roses

Penhaligon’s Elisabethan Rose 2018; http://www.penhaligons.com.

Jo Malone’s Tudor Rose & Amber: one of the limited edition “Rock the Ages” set of 2015, Tudor Rose & Amber is meant to embody one of the most notable periods of English history. From Fragrantica: “Tudor Rose & Amber evokes the bloody and turbulent Tudor era. The fragrance contains Damask and Tudor rose as well as ginger in the heart, spicy beginning of pink pepper and clove and the base of golden amber, patchouli and white musk.” The ginger and clove make this a warm, dark rose for winter. Many commenters talk about a boozy or winelike impression; if so, it’s a mulled wine. Even Luca Turin likes this; in “Perfumes: The Guide 2018”, he gave it four stars and wrote:

The distinguished Grasse house of Mane must have been gutted to see Christine Nagel move to Hermes, because she was a priceless treasure. It’s not as if the rose-amber accord hadn’t occurred to anyone before, but Nagel inserts her trademark slug of biblical spices and woods smack in the center, as she did in Theorema (Fendi, 1998) and rescues it from heaviness and banality. Very fine work.

Rock the Ages collection of five fragrances from Jo Malone London

Jo Malone Rock the Ages Collection 2015; http://www.jomalone.com

Do you have any favorite cold-weather rose fragrances? Any fragrances that particularly say “holidays” to you? Please share!

Featured image from www.neillstrain.com.

 

La Collection Vanille by Sylvaine Delacourte — Bonjour Perfume

My journey with Sylvaine Delacourte creations began many years ago. Yet then I didn’t even know that this beautiful lady is the nose behind the famous Guerlain Insolence, and could not even imagine that years later I would be chatting to her in Milan…. Back in 2009 I was just making my first steps into […]

via La Collection Vanille by Sylvaine Delacourte — Bonjour Perfume

A great summary of Sylvaine Delacourte’s new collection! Right now, the Discovery Box for this collection is reduced from 12 euros to 4 euros with free shipping, I’ve just ordered mine, and if you follow this link, the website says you and I both get a small discount on a subsequent order. Ms. Delacourte’s website also has some very appealing holiday offers, so check those out!

Small (Scent) Business Saturday

Small (Scent) Business Saturday

Happy weekend, fragrance friends! Today is “Small Business Saturday”, an opportunity to shop locally, and support small independent businesses — like many of the perfumers and fragrance retailers we all love. Some have special discounts this weekend; others simply offer the same reasonable prices many have year-round. The list below is somewhat arbitrary, but most are websites I have used myself.

Discounts (some started yesterday):

DSH Perfumes: sparkle2018 (20% off sitewide); gifts with purchase also available.

Indigo Perfumery: blackfriday2018 (20% off full bottles)

Le Jardin Retrouve: free shipping worldwide this weekend

PK Perfumes: PKCYBER30 (30% sitewide and free shipping)

Shelley Kyle: THANKFUL (30% off sitewide)

Smell Bent: WONDERFUL (40% off sitewide)

Twisted Lily: THANKYOU2018 (20% off entire order)

Independent perfumers (mostly in the US) who sell directly:

Aftelier Perfumes

Dame Perfumery

En Voyage Perfumes

Eris Parfums

Lili Bermuda

Providence Perfume Company

Sixteen92: various codes for discounts depending on purchase

Solstice Scents

St. Clair Scents

Independent perfumeries (retailers):

Aedes Perfumery

American Perfumer

Arielle Shoshana

LuckyScent: special Black Friday sample set

Perfumology

Smallflower Apothecary (Merz)

The Perfumed Court (samples and decants)

Twisted Lily perfume store in Brooklyn NY

Twisted Lily store; image from http://www.timeout.com.

Fragrance Friday: Black Friday Deals

Fragrance Friday: Black Friday Deals

Happy Fragrance (Black) Friday! Below are some codes for American fragrance lovers, which are in effect at least for today, Black Friday 2018, November 23. Please remember also to seek out specials tomorrow for Small Business Saturday, as many perfumers and perfume retailers are small business owners who need and appreciate fragrance-lovers’ support!

Beauty Encounter: FRI20 (extra 20% off sitewide)

Indigo Perfumery: blackfriday2018 (20% off full bottles)

Neiman Marcus: THANKFUL ($50 off $200 purchase, including fragrance)

Perfume.com: Pc22 (extra 20% off)

Saks Off Fifth: Beauty20 (20% off already discounted fragrance)

Twisted Lily: THANKYOU2018 (20% off entire order)

Black Friday Specials:

Demeter Fragrance Library: no code needed; special prices on select sets and samplers

Yves Rocher USA: no code needed, click on link for deals up to 50% off, plus special sets

Also, Sam at I Scent You A Day has posted her own Black Friday round-up of sales for perfume lovers in the UK. I’m envious — there are some great buys for delivery in the UK, especially from 4160 Tuesdays! One link, though, is for Le Jardin Retrouve, which is offering free shipping worldwide today through the weekend.

Happy shopping!

Scent Sample Sunday: Adam Levine For Her

Scent Sample Sunday: Adam Levine For Her

If you are like me, you MAY have vaguely heard the name Adam Levine. You may even know that he is the lead singer for a pop rock band. You would probably recognize many of his songs with that band, Maroon 5. Maybe you’ve seen him as a coach on The Voice (I haven’t). What I’m trying to say is that I’m not his “target audience” , even though I’ve enjoyed his songs on the radio. I wouldn’t normally seek out his particular celebrity scent, or any particular celebrity scent. And yet I find myself recommending this one more than I would ever have expected, especially in colder weather, so I might as well explain why!

I have found that there are some perfume “noses” whose work often meshes with my own nose; some are mainstream perfumers working with big fragrance houses and companies, and some are truly indie perfumers, creating for their own niche brands. One of the more mainstream perfumers whose work I enjoy more often than not is Yann Vasnier. He has created several for Arquiste, including my initial discovery of his work, the two Arquiste fragrances for J. Crew, No. 31 and No. 57. I loved the “Bloomsbury Collection” he did in 2017 for Jo Malone, especially Blue Hyacinth.  The Arquiste for J. Crew fragrances were discontinued some time ago, so I was browsing around for a similar scent, and looking up other fragrances by M. Vasnier, and I came across Adam Levine For Her, which was launched in 2013. It is truly a bargain — 3.4 fl. oz. of eau de parfum for under $15, sometimes even under $12.

Fragrantica lists its notes as follows: “top notes are saffron, citruses, marigold and spices; middle notes are Indian jasmine, Australian sandalwood and rose petals; base notes are benzoin and vanilla.” The opening is pleasantly bright and spicy, and I definitely smell the marigold, too, which is a less common note in fragrance but one I like very much (I love the smell of real marigolds, but some people don’t like it at all). The middle phase of Adam Levine For Her is what I would call a “warm floral” — the jasmine and rose are softened and blurred by the sandalwood, while the spice notes of the opening persist for a while after the opening citruses have faded. This is the most floral stage of the fragrance, so I think it would work very well on many men, even those who don’t fully embrace floral notes.

The drydown becomes sweeter and warmer as the benzoin and vanilla take the stage, but not excessively so. A really clever aspect of this fragrance is that it evokes Adam Levine’s own voice, which ranges from a bright, pop-inflected tenor to a warmer, deeper range. M. Vasnier again shows an alert mind at work even behind this discount fragrance. On my skin, Adam Levine For Her lasts a long time; I like to wear it to bed because of its calm warmth and I can still smell it when I wake up. It also lasts forever on textile, and I’m seriously considering spraying it on one of my wool scarves this winter just to enjoy it wafting up to me when I’m outside. I don’t think I’ll want to wear it in the spring or summer, but it’s great for autumn.

Interestingly, when you read about it on Fragrantica, thirty (30) readers have noted that Adam Levine For Her reminds them of — wait for it — the much more expensive Santal Blush by Tom Ford in his Private Blend line, also created by Yann Vasnier. I haven’t tried Santal Blush, so I can’t speak to any resemblance, but I can say that the Whisky & Cedarwood he created for Jo Malone does remind me a lot of Arquiste for J. Crew No. 57, so it appears that he thinks about and reworks certain themes in the fragrances he creates, which makes sense. Santal Blush has more notes and probably more expensive ingredients, but if you like it, you might see if you like this more affordable sibling. Australian Perfume Junkies has an excellent review of it, from 2015; and I Scent You A Day also reviewed and liked it in 2016.

It may have been discontinued, as I often see it at various discount outlets, both brick and online, but it is still widely available for bargain prices. Earlier this year, Yves St. Laurent announced that Adam Levine would become the new face and ambassador for its 2017-launched men’s fragrance, Y. I think I’ll order a backup bottle of this fragrance for women!

Have you tried this, or any similar fragrances by M. Vasnier? Have you tried Santal Blush? Thoughts?

Scent Sample Sunday: Dryad

Scent Sample Sunday: Dryad

I first learned about dryads from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, books I dearly loved as a child and still love. Dryads are tree spirits, nymphs who personify trees and may inhabit them. They are benign pagan beings, female, and sometimes referred to as “wood-women” in Narnia. In the Narnia books, Lewis describes both male and female tree spirits, but he only uses “dryad” to refer to female spirits. Dryads, when they appear in human form, take on the characteristics of the particular trees they inhabit: birch-girls in silver, beech-girls in fresh, transparent green, and the larch-girls in green so bright that it was almost yellow.”

Illustration of a dryad tree nymph by Arthur Rackham.

Dryad, by Arthur Rackham, 1913.

Papillon Artisan Perfumes’ Liz Moores has conjured up a bewitching, witchy green perfume in her 2017 creation, Dryad. I have a great love for green scents, as well as the florals I love, and this nymph has won my heart. From the Papillon website:

As vibrant emerald Galbanum weaves with the delicate flesh of Bergamot, the nomadic wanderings of Dryad begin.

Beneath jade canopies, sweet-herbed Narcissus nestles with gilded Jonquil. Shadows of Apricot and Cedrat morph radiant greens to a soft golden glow.

Earthed within the ochre roots of Benzoin, heady Oakmoss entwines with deep Vetiver hues.

And at its heart, the slick skin of Costus beckons you further into the forest…

And into the forest I happily go! Papillon lists the notes as follows: Narcissus, Oakmoss, Jonquil, Cedrat, Galbanum, Benzoin, Vetiver. The narcissus and jonquil notes are very evident at the start, but the galbanum (a green resin) is right there with them, giving a sharpness in contrast to the floral notes, as if to remind us that there are no living flowers without green stems and leaves. Dryad does not evoke a bouquet or still life of cut flowers — far from it. It smells like a tree come to life — a vibrant, dynamic being with unpredictable movement. This nymph dances.

Green nymph Fantasia

Image from Disney’s Fantasia 2000

As it dries down, Dryad brings out more and more of the oakmoss, the cedar, and the benzoin, which happens to be an oil extracted from a specific kind of tree. The word “dryad” comes from the ancient Greek word for oak, so oakmoss also fits right in. Honestly, this fragrance is so clever as well as lovely! As I had hoped when Dryad‘s launch was announced, this fragrance is GREEN as well as being a chypre. If you hate Chanel No. 19, for instance, you may want to keep your distance. Even the bergamot mentioned in the website copy is a green citrus, not a sweet one. Despite several wood-related notes, though, Dryad never feels “woody” to me.

This is a potent potion; one small spritz on each of my wrists, and I happily smelled it wafting up to my nose all evening. I don’t think it carries very far away from me, i.e. sillage is moderate, but it lasts for several hours. The more it dries down, the more I detect a faint sweetness; the sharper edge of the opening stage has softened. The whole progression has a vintage vibe, but the fragrance is thoroughly modern and unisex.

Dryad is perfect for the cool, sunny fall days we are having now, with the nights that approach, but do not quite reach, frost. While doing some research for this post, I found a poem that C.S. Lewis wrote in the 1940s, before the Narnia books. It describes a magician forcing a dryad to leave her tree and take human form, which she experiences as a prison; he releases her to return to her tree, but the tree’s leaves fall and it will wither and die. Dryad is not a sad or withering scent, just as fall is not a season of death. Trees lose their leaves in the fall so they can slumber through the winter, and awake afresh in the spring, bursting into green with the daffodils. So Lewis’ poem is not quite apropos here, but I’ll share it anyway, and borrow some of his words:

She drank
With thirst of myriad mouths the bursting cataracts of the sun,
The drizzle of gentler stars, and indivisible small rain.
Wading the dark earth, made of earth and light, cradled in air …

This Dryad does indeed embrace the sun, the rain, the dark earth, and the green air of an ancient forest, like the New Forest where she was born. And even when she slumbers, the promise of her reawakening lies beneath the surface.

Mud Maid sculpture in the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

Mud Maid, the Lost Gardens of Heligan

MAGICIAN
Out of your dim felicity of leaves, oh Nymph appear,
answer me in soft-showery voice, attempt the unrooted dance
–My art shall sponsor the enormity. Now concentrate,
Around, where in your vegetative heart it drowses deep
In seminal sleep, your feminine response. Conjuro te
Per Hecates essentiam et noctis silentia,

Breaking by Trivia’s name your prison of bark. Beautiful, awake.

DRYAD
Risen from the deep lake of my liberty, into your prison
She has come, cruel commander.

MAGICIAN
I have given speech to the dumb.
Will you not thank me, silver lady?

DRYAD
Oh till now she drank
With thirst of myriad mouths the bursting cataracts of the sun,
The drizzle of gentler stars, and indivisible small rain.
Wading the dark earth, made of earth and light, cradled in air,
All that she was, she was all over. Now the mask you call
A Face has blotted out the ambient hemisphere’s embrace;
Her light is screwed into twin nodules of tormenting sight;
Searing divisions tear her into five. She cannot hear
But only see, the moon; earth has no taste; she cannot breathe
at every branch vibrations of the sky. For a dome of severance,
A helmet, a dark, rigid box of bone, has overwhelmed
Her hair…that was her lungs…that was her nerves…that kissed the air.
Crushed in a brain, her thought that circled cooly in every vein
Turns into poison, thickens like a man’s, ferments and burns.
She was at peace when she was in her unity. Oh now release
And let her out into the seamless world, make her forget.

MAGICIAN
Be free. Relapse. And so she vanishes. And now the tree
Grows barer every moment. The leaves fall. A killing air,
Sighing from the country of Man, has withered it. The tree will die.

~C.S. Lewis, “The Magician and the Dryad”, Poems (1964)