Perfume Chat Room, June 11

Perfume Chat Room, June 11

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, June 11, and we are still processing a very enjoyable wedding weekend just past! It was the wedding of our nephew (also our godson), in Baltimore, and we had such a wonderful time! I was able to see my two sisters for the first time in a year and a half (last visit was October 2019), as well as some cousins. My kids spent the whole weekend with all their first cousins on my side of the family, and it was a joy to see how much fun they have together. We spent part of Saturday poking around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which has grown so much in the thirty years since my husband and I were last there, and we ate wonderful crabcakes. The wedding itself was beautiful, as were the bride and groom.

I wore Sonoma Scent Studio‘s Champagne de Bois, from a travel spray that was a kind gift from Undina, and it was just right — thank you, Undina! I am so glad that Sonoma Scent Studio has been revived by a new owner with the original fragrance lines. Support the independent artisan perfumers! They’ve had a tough year. Last weekend was a tonic for the spirit. I’m an introvert and quite a homebody, so I haven’t minded most of the past year in terms of working from home, not going out, etc., but it was lovely to be able to gather, and socialize, and even dance.

Have you been on an airplane recently, or a large gathering?

Perfume Chat Room, June 4

Perfume Chat Room, June 4

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, June 4, and I had a facial yesterday for the first time in years. I rarely get facials anyway, and of course getting one seemed unthinkable for the last 15 months. But we have a wedding to attend — in person! — this weekend, and my skin was looking dreary, so off I went. What an improvement! No miracles here, just nicely exfoliated skin with lots of healthy oil massaged into it, including my neck and arms. All the products smelled wonderful, too.

I mostly use unscented skin products, so as not to interfere with whatever fragrance I’m wearing, and also because unscented products are supposed to be healthier for daily use. I’m quite partial to products from The Ordinary company, though I don’t use them as regularly as I should. I am religious about wearing sunscreen every day, though. Do you have any favorite skincare products, scented or not?

May Melange Marathon: Beautiful Magnolia

May Melange Marathon: Beautiful Magnolia

This is one of the few new 2021 fragrances I’ve tried this year. I was excited to get a sample from a kind sales associate, because I love the scent of real magnolias, especially the pink ones that bloom in my neighborhood, and I hoped this might resemble it. Sadly, it doesn’t. Beautiful Magnolia doesn’t live up to its predecessor, Beautiful, either, unfortunately. To my nose, it smells like a pleasant but nondescript flanker of Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflowers, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one. It’s pretty, and light, and it may do very well in some markets, but it’s not really for me, and I think its price is too high.

Fragrantica classes Beautiful Magnolia as a “floral aquatic” and lists its notes as follows: Top notes are Magnolia Petals, Lotus and Mate; middle notes are Magnolia, Gardenia, Solar notes and Turkish Rose; base notes are Musk, Cedar and Sandalwood. What I smell are: a bit of citrus, a bit of unnamed white flower, a hint of mate, white synthetic musk, and something slightly fruity. What I don’t smell are magnolia, lotus, gardenia, rose, or wood. I think the bit of citrus I smell is supposed to be “solar notes.” I can’t say much about dry-down, because Beautiful Magnolia doesn’t seem to have a true “drydown”, it just fades away, humming the same few wordless notes as when it entered the room. It is a very linear scent.

What a disappointment! I don’t often write reviews of scents I don’t care for, and this isn’t a “dislike” for me, it’s just that I expect better from Estee Lauder, a brand that has created so many memorable and classic scents. What I do dislike is the price for what Beautiful Magnolia is — $128 for 100 ml. I also dislike its recycling of the name “Beautiful” — the original Beautiful was a gorgeous 1980s floral, and even reformulated, it is so much more interesting and lovely than this. Comparing the two is like comparing artificial plastic flowers to the real thing. They may serve a purpose, and even be likeable, but they’re not on the same level.

Artificial magnolia flowers
Real magnolia flowers; photo by Deena on Pexels.com

Every spring, I eagerly await the blossoms of the pink magnolias. Some years, I am bitterly disappointed because a late frost comes along just as they’re about to bloom, and ruins the flowers. Nothing can be done about that; you just have to wait another year, until the next spring and the next magnolia flowers come. It’s a missed opportunity. That’s how I feel about Beautiful Magnolia. As Luca Turin once wrote about a different fragrance, “Encore un effort!” Please!

Do you have any recent fragrance disappointments? Or unexpected delights?

Featured image from: https://thewiltedmagnolia.blogspot.com/.

Perfume Chat Room, May 28

Perfume Chat Room, May 28

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, May 28, and it’s the start of the Memorial Day weekend here in the US! I don’t have any big plans but wow, it’s such a relief to have so many of us fully vaccinated so we CAN make plans. What a contrast to Memorial Day last year, when the pandemic was really accelerating and little was known about prevention or treatment. This Memorial Day, I will be remembering the many Americans and others who died from COVID-19, as well as those who have died in the military service of our country, the original purpose of our Memorial Day.

On a more cheerful note, today I am testing one of Chanel’s Eaux: Paris-Venise. I like it a lot so far! Have you tried any of the Eaux? I know Undina has, including the newest one, Paris-Edimbourg. (It feels so weird to spell Edinburgh that way). Or, what else are you sampling this weekend?

May Melange Marathon: Gin and Scenthusiasm

May Melange Marathon: Gin and Scenthusiasm

I’m not much for cocktails. My tipple is usually a glass of wine; two years ago, I was introduced to the Aperol Spritz, and that’s my “fancy summer drink”, though I also like sangria (basically wine with fruit). However, on a couple of trips to Northern Ireland and Ireland in recent years, my husband and I were introduced to small-batch artisan gin. We had previously enjoyed Hendrick’s Gin and I even made up a cocktail that combined it with Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade (here’s the recipe), because my husband does like a good gin-and-tonic in the summer, and I wanted some variety.

Imagine my delight, then, when I found out that 4160 Tuesdays had created a fragrance called Scenthusiasm, based on the botanicals found in Hendrick’s Gin, for a special event by that brand! I didn’t really expect to get my hands on a bottle, but the opportunity arose after I wrote that post in 2018, and I seized it. After all, my little mini of Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling wasn’t going to last forever!

I also have a purse spray of Commodity’s Gin, and I’ve been wanting to compare the two. So today, I sprayed Gin on one hand, and Scenthusiasm on the other. They actually go quite well together as adjacent scents (not layered one on the other). Of the two, no surprise, I prefer Scenthusiasm. It doesn’t smell like gin; it smells like the floral and herbal notes in Hendrick’s, with natural orris (iris) butter, rose absolute, lemon and orange essential oils, cucumber extract, juniper absolute (of course) and coriander essential oil with musk, fresh air and white wood note synthetics. As perfumer Sarah McCartney says: “It’s inspired by gin, and has gin notes but mostly it’s a floral at heart: rose and iris, with the herbs dancing around it.” Just my cup of tea, to mix my metaphors! To my nose, the dominant floral note is the orris root; here, the rose is uncharacteristically cast as a supporting performer. The cucumber and juniper berries led the middle phase an astringent greenness, while the orris root carries through from start to finish.

Commodity’s Gin, on the other hand smells more masculine, aromatic, and woody to me. Commodity has closed down, but its fragrances are still to be found online and sometimes at discounters like T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s. Gin‘s top notes are Juniper Berries, Grapefruit and Lime; middle notes are Ginger Leaf, Labdanum and Freesia; base notes are Oak, Musk, Smoke and Patchouli, according to Fragrantica. As soon as I spray it, there’s a strong pop of lime and juniper, both aromatic scents I quite like. They do smell like a traditional, aromatic men’s cologne to my nose, an association I can’t shake even though Gin is truly unisex. The opening is really intriguing, with its burst of lime and juniper, together with the citrus essential oils. The heart phase smells mostly gingery to me, with an early entrance from both oak and smoke., followed pretty soon by patchouli. I don’t smell freesia at all. Both the opening and heart stages dry down pretty quickly, leaving a combination of oak, musk, smoke and patchouli that smells like the wood-paneled interior of an old-fashioned room like a library or study, where gin cocktails might be served before dinner and where family members and guests might be allowed to smoke occasionally.

How do you feel about gin? Boozy scents? Aromatic florals?

P.S. 4160 Tuesdays is having a “Tidying Up Sale” to make room, and Scenthusiasm is marked down in its smaller sizes (50 ml and below), by 50%! If I didn’t already own a lot of it, I’d be jumping on that.

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: Modest Mimosa

May Melange Marathon: Modest Mimosa

See what I did there? I’m so pleased with myself for that headline. But in fact, my SOTD today is Vilhelm Parfumerie’s Modest Mimosa, from another sample kindly given to me. Aside from the marvelous alliteration, I like it a lot. It won’t be a top love for me because I’ve realized that mimosa isn’t one of my favorite notes; there are other blossoms I prefer, although I’ve enjoyed mimosa-based scents like Brocard’s Mechta. Jerome Epinette created Modest Mimosa in 2016. It has a fairly short list of notes: top: Neroli and Carrot; middle: Mimosa and Violet; base: Musk and Leather.

I smell the mimosa and violet right from the start, with some carrot, but very little neroli. The violet is quite powdery and very discernible, which is probably why some Fragrantica readers have said it reminds them of Apres L’Ondee. But mimosa is front and center, and it’s not modest at all. This isn’t an overpowering scent, not at all, but the mimosa announces herself at the very beginning and takes up residence at center stage.

To my nose, Modest Mimosa doesn’t evolve or change very much over time. Luckily, it smells very nice indeed. Powdery yellow floral describes it perfectly. Its list retail price is quite high, looking at LuckyScent’s website; I would not pay that much for it, but if you are a lover of mimosa and can find this at a better price, it might be just the ticket. Undina, at Undina’s Looking Glass, has several suggestions, in a number of posts about her search for the perfect mimosa.

Do you like mimosa fragrances? Or have you ever gone in search of a perfect floral note in a perfume?

Illustration for Brocard fragrance Mechta, from Gardens of Temptation
Brocard Mechta; image from http://www.brocard.ru.
Perfume Tourism, Anyone?

Perfume Tourism, Anyone?

www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/t-magazine/beauty-shops-fragrance-skincare.html

This article is making me yearn to start traveling again!

Entrance hall of Palazzo Mocenigo, perfume museum in Venice, Italy
Palazzo Mocenigo entrance hall; image from http://www.veneziaautentica.com
Perfume Chat Room, May 21

Perfume Chat Room, May 21

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, May 21, and I’ve just picked the first ripe tomato in my garden! If you’re thinking, that’s very early, you are right — it’s a variety called “Early Girl”, and I also bought a mostly grown plant, as opposed to the usual seedlings, just to get a headstart on the tomato season. There is just nothing like a fresh, homegrown tomato, which is why I persevere in spite of marauding birds and chipmunks. Have you ever heard of a book called “The $64 Tomato”? That’s me.

You may wonder why I’m carrying on about tomatoes here — yesterday’s May Melange Marathon scent was Eve, by St. Clair Scents, and it has a prominent note of tomato leaf. Perfumer Diane St. Clair also used tomato leaf to great effect in one of her first scents, Gardener’s Glove. No surprise — I’m a fan.

What scents are you wearing these days, as we transition from spring to summer?

Featured image by Susan Mulvihill, http://www.spokesman.com. My tomato fantasy, not my reality!

May Melange Marathon: Rose Griotte

May Melange Marathon: Rose Griotte

Thanks to a kind reader, I have a generous sample of Les Parfums de Rosine‘s latest fragrance, Rose Griotte. It is lovely! Launched in February of this year (2021), it was created by perfumer Nicholas Bonneville with Marie-Helene Rogeon. Interestingly, it is really a cherry blossom fragrance, but it has been anchored by a rose accord, as Mark Behnke explains on his blog, Colognoisseur:

The keynote floral is cherry blossom. There is little chance any rose essential oil wouldn’t trample the delicacy of that. So they make the clever choice to use a rose accord of three fresh florals as its balancing partner. It begins with a juice dripping, fruity top accord around pear. There is a bit of citrus and baie rose to provide some rounding effect, but the earliest moments are a ripe pear. Then the heart finds the beautiful powdery fragility of the cherry blossom matched with an expansive rose accord of peony, jasmine, and heliotrope. The last also has a bit of cherry in its scent profile which allows it to act as complement.

“Griotte” is apparently a wild cherry, sometimes called a Morello cherry, whose fruit is more sour than the cherries we commonly buy at the market. Like tart apples, the sour cherries make for very flavorful pies, clafoutis, and preserves. It has blossoms that are just as beautiful as the famous cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. Most of those thousands of trees are Yoshino Cherry. Other species include Kwanzan Cherry, Akebono Cherry, Takesimensis Cherry, Usuzumi Cherry, Weeping Japanese Cherry, Sargent Cherry, Autumn Flowering Cherry, Fugenzo Cherry, Afterglow Cherry, Shirofugen Cherry, and Okame Cherry.

Flowering sour cherry tree in spring with pink blossoms
Sour cherry tree; Prunus cerasus.
Continue reading