Scented Advent, December 11

Scented Advent, December 11

I’m happy to report that today’s Advent calendar SOTD is a bargain beauty! It is Natori, from the brand Natori, in EDP format. Right away upon application, I smell aldehydes, plum, and a plummy rose. It’s interesting that this starts out with a very evident burst of aldehydes, because this fragrance was created in 2009 and I always think of aldehydes as a more vintage perfume note. I think the plum note, also very evident from the start, saves Natori from smelling old-fashioned, because it really doesn’t. The perfumer was Caroline Sabas, who works at Givaudan and has created some other interesting fragrances, such as ELdO’s You or Someone Like You. According to the brand:

A sparkling floral oriental, the NATORI fragrance opens with an effervescent bouquet of fresh rose petals enriched by deep, dark plum notes. The heart is an exotic and alluring hybrid of ylang ylang, purple peony and night blooming jasmine. Slipping languidly over pulse points, black patchouli, amber and a hint of satin musk complete this mysterious and tantalizing fragrance.

The dominant note in the middle phase is the ylang-ylang, combined with jasmine. Together with the rose and aldehydes, it makes Natori slightly reminiscent, though not a dupe, of Chanel No. 5 and Chanel No. 22. As it dries down, the scent warms on the skin, with amber most evident in the base notes, to my nose. If you like florals, this is a very charming one! The purple bottle, shaped like a lotus blossom, is also very pretty. It is available for quite low prices online, as low as $18 for 100 ml.

Purple bottle of Natori eau de parfum
Natori eau de parfum; image from brand Natori.

I don’t know why, but this fragrance smells to me like a nice, youngish mother, like some of my friends’ mothers when I was growing up, or my late aunt. They wore classic but pretty clothes, nothing too fancy unless they were going into “the City” (meaning New York) for an Occasion, or attending a suburban black-tie event, often at a country club; they wore floor-length tartan kilts for Christmas holiday at-home soirees. They volunteered for everything in our town; they hosted lovely, intimate dinner parties in pretty but unpretentious homes; they liked children and gave hugs. These were women who mostly married young in the 1950s and early 60s, often right after graduating from a “Seven Sisters” women’s college, and started families soon thereafter, so when I was in elementary school and middle school, few of them were even 40 yet; some had just entered their 40s. Some were also friends of my mother, though she was less cuddly and more aloof, certainly with children who weren’t her own. I have fond memories of these women, and Natori is bringing them back.

I’m enjoying Natori, and if you’re in search of a modern floriental, give it a try! I think it would suit women of all ages; it has enough fruitiness to please even an older teenager, unless she is firmly committed to gourmand scents, though it doesn’t quite cross the line into “fruity floral.” I can see this being very office-friendly; it’s not a “statement” fragrance, but it’s very well-made. The Scented Salamander blog had this review when it launched in 2009: “Natori by Josie Natori; Sensual Yet Pointing To No Visible Body Parts.” That reviewer noted a similarity not only to Chanel No. 5, but also to the late, great Joy by Jean Patou.

It’s always fun to find a new “bargain beauty”! Have you tried this one, or any others lately that are new to you?

Perfume Chat Room, July 9

Perfume Chat Room, July 9

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, July 9, and one of my daughters is moving into her own apartment this weekend! We’re so excited for her. Like many young adults, she has lived at home since the pandemic shut everything down, working and saving money. She started a new job last month, and she will share the apartment with her best friend from high school, who has just moved back from New York. Selfishly, we are very happy that the apartment they chose is in a neighborhood close to our home. So she’ll probably stop in once in a while, if only to visit the dog!

Yesterday I wore Dame Perfumery’s Chocolate Man for the community project at “Now Smell This“, which was to wear a scent that reminded one of ice cream or had some tie to ice cream. I enjoyed it (it’s a great, true chocolate scent) but it also confirmed that I’m not really into gourmand fragrances, at least not in hot weather. So today, I’m wearing a bargain beauty: Philosophy’s Pure Grace Summer Moments, a limited edition issued last year. I like it! I’ve tried the original Pure Grace many times in stores and haven’t been able to connect with it — to my nose, it mostly smelled just soapy. But this flanker is very appealing, and not soapy at all. It has notes of fig, lemon, sage, “green notes”, and “dew drop” (aka aquatic). Fragrantica classifies it as a citrus aromatic. This is much more my style, and it’s very pleasant on this July day that promises to become hot and humid.

Now that we’re well into July, are you turning to any particular “summery” fragrances? Do you wear gourmand scents in the summertime?

Featured image from http://www.travelandleisure.com.

May Melange Marathon: Tocadilly

May Melange Marathon: Tocadilly

Cheerful and amusing are the two words that come to my mind upon trying Tocadilly, by Rochas. Who could fail to be amused by its ridiculous bottle, a purple and green version of the quirky Tocade bottle for the same house? And Tocadilly is undeniably cheerful. Created by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake and launched in 1997, it is a light green, summery floral that doesn’t change much over time. (I’ve seen other information saying it was created by Maurice Roucel, who definitely created Tocade, but the sources that seem more authoritative credit Sheldrake).

Its short list of notes is: top notes of cucumber and lilac; heart notes of hyacinth, jasmine, and coconut; base of sandalwood and white musk. However, I’ve seen other notes lists that add glycine, rose, vetiver to those. When I first spray Tocadilly, I get a burst of something light green, but I can’t really say that it is cucumber. I guess I would say it is “cucumberish”. After having experienced so many Ellena scents, I might more accurately say that I smell a greenish melon-like top note, since to many of us, the scents of cucumber and melon overlap somewhat (they are members of the same plant family, the Cucurbitae). It is more like honeydew than cantaloupe. I smell a vague hint of lilac, but if you are seeking a lilac-focused fragrance, this isn’t it (at least, not to my nose). The melonish opening dies down after 15-20 minutes, though there is still a hint of it during the heart phase.

Similarly, although I first sought out Tocadilly because other commenters said it smelled of hyacinth, I only get a vaguely hyacinth note in the heart phase. I do smell a pleasant blend of a lightly floral coconut and light jasmine, neither of them overwhelming. To my nose, Tocadilly smells fresh, light, youthful, summery. Really, it’s another bargain beauty which you can still find online for very affordable prices (<$30 for 100 ml on some sites). It is one of the few fragrances for which I would recommend NOT buying a tester if the small cost difference between that and a regular bottle doesn’t matter to you, because the testers will mostly come without the funny cap, which is part of Tocadilly‘s charm.

As it dries down, Tocadilly‘s floral notes fade until what is left is a warm, soft, white musk. While this fragrance won’t set hearts aflame or imaginations afire, it is a charming, cheerful fragrance that works well in warm weather and would be fine to wear in most workplaces. It lasts for a few hours on my skin, and it’s inexpensive enough that one doesn’t feel extravagant just reapplying it as desired.

May Melange Marathon: Mimosa Mixte

May Melange Marathon: Mimosa Mixte

So I just blogged about Modest Mimosa and decided that mimosa, while nice, is not really the note for me. Reader, I may have been wrong. Today, I wore JD Mimosa Mixte, which I wrote about last fall, and I’m loving it. JD is one of the lines created by Jeffrey Dame, of Jeffrey Dame Perfumery, and it contains several bargain beauties. I have really enjoyed Vanille Farfelue and I love JD Duality.

I may have to rethink my assessment of mimosa!

May Melange Marathon: Bohemian Bluebells

May Melange Marathon: Bohemian Bluebells

I promise I won’t spend the whole month of May dissecting Zara Emotions fragrances, but here’s another one: Bohemian Bluebells. I like it very much and it’s certainly affordable! Also truly unisex, I think it would smell wonderful on a man as well as a woman. Its listed notes are lavender, sandalwood, and musk (nothing to do with bluebells). If you can imagine a warm lavender, that’s what it smells like to me. I do tend to associate lavender with bedtime, given its soothing properties, but I don’t usually associate it with warmth in spite of its cultivation in hot, sunny climates like Provence (there are also famous lavender fields in England and other parts of the UK). Sometimes I crave Jicky eau de toilette at bedtime, if I’m going to sit up and read for a while, but Jicky feels cool to me somehow, like the clean sheets that have been newly put on a bed, with their crisp, unwrinkled surfaces.

Continue reading
May Melange Marathon: Purplelight

May Melange Marathon: Purplelight

I like to seek out fragrance “bargain beauties”, for my own sake and for the sake of readers who may not be able to afford (or want to pay) the often eye-watering prices of niche fragrances. While there is much to recommend the practice of buying only a few, albeit expensive, high-quality fragrances, it is fun to educate one’s nose by trying many different fragrances, especially at the outset of this hobby, and that is how I acquired a number of ‘bargain beauty” fragrances. Luckily, I also have two young adult daughters, currently living at home during the pandemic, and they’re happy to share them! Of course, none would be bargains if they weren’t pleasing at some level, and likely to be used and enjoyed.

One such bargain beauty is Parfums Salvador Dali’s Purplelight. Launched in 2007, the nose behind it is Francis Kurkdjian, usually associated with much more expensive fragrances, including those from his own brand Maison Francis Kurkdjian. While Purplelight is in no way comparable to those fragrances, it is a very pleasant, soft, lilac-centered eau de toilette that works well. Its primary notes are bamboo, lilac, and musk, with companion notes of cherry blossom, jasmine, tiare flower, almond tree, and vetiver, according to Fragrantica. Purplelight followed the house’s 2006 launch of Purplelips, another lilac-forward fragrance, created by perfumers Antoine Lie and Guillaume Flavigny. I really enjoy finding pleasant bargain fragrances that have been created by well-known perfumers; as some of you know, one of my favorite bargain beauties is Adam Levine for Women, created by Yann Vasnier, who has also created fragrances for much more expensive brands like Arquiste, Frassai, Tom Ford, Comme des Garcons, Jo Malone, and others. My most recent bargain beauty fragrance line, which I wrote about earlier this week, is the Zara Emotions line created by perfumer Jo Malone (the person, not the brand). Parfums Salvador Dali has several bargain beauties, well worth exploring.

At first spray of Purplelight, what I smell most is a light green bamboo with watery undertones. As that dies down, I smell more and more of a soft lilac. This is very light also; I like the fact that to my nose, it doesn’t smell soapy, as some lilac scents do. Over a short period of time, a soft, gentle musk appears. Projection and sillage are minimal, but I can clearly smell Purplelight on my hand and wrist for a few hours. It is still possible to find gift sets of the eau de toilette that come with body lotion, and it seems likely that the two used together would increase the scent’s longevity. I enjoy Purplelight as an easy floral for warm weather or bedtime, when one doesn’t necessarily want a powerhouse or anything very challenging.

I can’t fail to mention the charming bottle for Purplelight, which matches that of its sister fragrance Purplelips. It is a rectangular column into which is set a row of concave lips. The juice inside is a light purple, which tints the bottle. The artist Salvador Dali incorporated lips into many of his artworks, and the theme has been carried into many of the bottles of Parfums Salvador Dali.

Have you tried any of the other Salvador Dali fragrances, either the bargain-priced ones or the more expensive “haute” line?

Scent Sample Sunday: SJP Stash

Scent Sample Sunday: SJP Stash

I wrote almost two years ago about Stash Unspoken, the first flanker to 2016’s Stash SJP, by Sarah Jessica Parker, but I realized I hadn’t yet devoted a post to the original, so here it is! And I have a good reason for writing about it now, because Portia solved a problem I had been having — what to do with that bottle of “elixir oil” that came in the gift set? Undina had the same issue when she wrote about Stash back in 2017. In response to a comment somewhere, Portia suggested using a few drops of the oil in one’s bath. Eureka! I exclaimed, like Archimedes, that’s the answer!

I use bath oil more regularly now, because my skin has become so dry, especially in the winter when the house is heated. Most of the time, I use an unscented oil like Neutrogena’s sesame body oil; I just squirt some in the bath water. After Portia’s comment, I’ve added less than a dropperful of the Stash elixir oil, and it is wonderful — it scents the whole bathroom. Sillage is not a problem with this fragrance — it carries quite a way.

Continue reading
Perfume Chat Room, January 22

Perfume Chat Room, January 22

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, January 22, and I am late! I apologize — our spring semester began this week and I taught a new course for two hours this morning, so I was a bit distracted. I really do need to set up these posts in advance for automated posting, but I like adding in stuff about what actually happened this week.

A LOT happened in the US this week; we have a new President and VP, and we had inauguration events that started on Tuesday and continued much of the week. My son went back to his college dorm this week; we will miss him so much! We got spoiled, having him home for the last two months. I don’t know what our dog Lucy will do, although she still has four humans here to spoil her. She has a particular soft spot for the youngest, though.

One of the Christmas gifts we sent off with him was a restock bottle of Davidoff’s Cool Water, his fragrance of choice for the last few years. I chose it for him at his request for recommendations, because it is a quality scent but very affordable when he has to buy it himself. Created by Pierre Bourdon, it was launched in 1988 and is widely thought to be the progenitor of many (if not most) “aquatic” scents. Top notes are listed as Sea water, Lavender, Mint, Green Notes, Rosemary, Calone and Coriander; middle notes are Sandalwood, Neroli, Geranium and Jasmine; base notes are Musk, Tobacco, Oakmoss, Cedar and Amber. However, it has been reformulated over the years, so I’m not vouching for that note list! It’s enough to say that it smells fresh, clean, and summery, with a youthful vibe but not so much that only the young can wear it.

What has your week been like, in fragrance or just regular living? Are you sticking to any New Year’s resolutions? We are doing a Sober January in this house — so far, so good!

Perfume Chat Room, January 15

Perfume Chat Room, January 15

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, January 15, and I can’t believe we are halfway through January already! I live in the Southeastern United States, and we can already sense the advent of spring. The days are getting longer, the sun is rising earlier, and some brave flowers are emerging. I have hellebores in bloom, and some hardy daffodils are poking their green shoots up out of the earth, though it will be a while before any bloom. I’m not yet ready to break out the full-on spring floral and green scents I love, I’m still wearing my “warmer” fragrances like L’Ambre des Merveilles, which I finally bought in 2020. This week, I’ve been enjoying Covet by Sarah Jessica Parker, which is between “warm” and “floral”. It is a true bargain beauty, widely available for less than $25 for 100 ml. I found a bottle recently at T.J.Maxx on clearance for $18.

Speaking of T.J. Maxx, where I was delighted to discover a bargain reissue of my beloved Anne Klein II , last week I found a bottle of that same reissue there at my local store, labeled with a price of $49.99. No, no, no! I’ve bought a few backup bottles there and not one cost more than $14.99. The reissue is great, and another bargain beauty, but the vintage original goes for ridiculous prices online. If you’re tempted, make sure you don’t pay vintage-zone prices for the new version; look on the box and the small print will say Made In China and distributed by Palm Beach Beaute LLC.

I read and participate regularly in the comments on a favorite blog, “Now Smell This”, which always has a weekly Friday “community project” in which readers wear a fragrance they have which fits a shared theme. This week’s theme (so creative!) is to wear a fragrance that reminds you of this year’s Pantone “Colors of the Year”, which are currently “Ultimate Gray” and “Illuminating” (a bright yellow). So today, I will wear another bargain beauty, Elizabeth & James’ discontinued Nirvana French Grey. It and its sibling, Nirvana Amethyst, are all over the bargain brick-and-mortar stores for under $20 for 50 ml, and well worth that price. All the Nirvana fragrances have been discontinued, so if you like them and you find them for a great price, stock up!

What’s new in your world, fragrance or otherwise? How is 2021 looking for you so far?

Scent Sample Sunday: Zara Emotions by Jo Malone

Scent Sample Sunday: Zara Emotions by Jo Malone

I have been eagerly awaiting the US launch of Zara’s collection of fragrances, Emotions, in collaboration with perfumer Jo Malone. I love some of her fragrances under her own brand, Jo Loves, so I was curious to see what she came up with for Zara, well-known as a destination for budget-conscious shoppers. Zara has released many, many fragrances under its own name, some created by famous perfumers, such as Vibrant Leather, created by Jerome Epinette. The Emotions collection launched in Europe in late 2019, but it took another year to become available in the USA. Luckily, it arrived in time for the holidays, and I treated myself and one of my daughters each to the sample/discovery set. It costs $25.90.

The discovery set is a nice size: eight long, narrow vials of eau de parfum, each holding 4 ml of a different fragrance. The collection consists of: Amalfi Sunray, Bohemian Bluebells, Ebony Wood, Fleur de Patchouli, Fleur d’Oranger, Tubereuse Noir, Vetiver Pamplemousse, Waterlily Tea Dress. The vials are “dabbers”, not sprays. Each fragrance lists only three notes, and I think they would be ideal for layering, with each other or with other fragrances. In fact, the Zara website sells “layering sets” with various combinations of the collection’s fragrances, with one scent in a 15 ml “paintbrush” format and two more in 10 ml sprays. The sets offer some ideas for layering which I plan to try with my discovery set.

Continue reading