Perfume Chat Room, September 24

Perfume Chat Room, September 24

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, September 24, and it is officially fall in my part of the world! I do love the fall season, but not for the reasons some autumn-lovers give. I don’t particularly care for cinnamon, pumpkin, harvest themes, etc., though I don’t dislike them. What I do love about fall is the often sudden improvement in the weather, from hot, muggy and buggy, to cool, clear and dry. My garden often goes out of control in August, when the attacks of mosquitoes drive me indoors after doing the bare minimum of weeding and watering. In the fall, I can venture out again; and in the Southeastern United States where I live, fall is a whole new gardening season unto itself, with cool weather vegetables and flowers that will produce all winter. The autumn air just smells good to me: crisper, but with undertones of earth and leaves. And I adore Japanese maples, so I always look forward to their color changes in my garden.

I’ve been enjoying comments here and on other blogs about the different fragrances people are wearing in the fall. I treated myself for my birthday to a bottle of Jean Louis Scherrer, a chypre with plenty of floral and green notes which some of you have mentioned before. I really like chypre fragrances, and I think they work very well in this transitional fall weather, so I’m enjoying it very much!

Fall also feels to me like a time of renewal, probably due to its long association in my mind with the start of each school year, and I find myself more motivated to reorganize things. We are in the last stage of restoring our house to order after last winter’s plumbing disaster and the moves in and out of our young adult children. We’re waiting for a couple of new rugs, and the return of three rugs from the cleaner, so we can rearrange furniture and bedrooms; then the hardwood floors on the main level will be refurbished so we can put back the rugs and furniture in the living room and dining room. I will also reorganize my perfume collection (gulp!). Do you have any reorganization plans afoot? What fall fragrances did you wear this week?

Featured image from www.amycampion.com.

Perfume Chat Room, September 17

Perfume Chat Room, September 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, September 17, and we have had several days of birthdays in this household! Mine was at the start of the month and my husband’s was last week, so we’ve had serial and shared celebrations with our kids. And yes, a few new fragrances snuck into the house. The highlight of the shared celebrations was our family trip to see the musical Hamilton, a long-delayed Christmas gift from December 2019. We had seen it once before, all but my son, and it was just as enthralling the second time. My son was blown away by it. This was the first live performance any of us had attended since March 2020, which added to its impact. We also went out for a fancy family dinner on a different night, given that Hamilton was an entire evening unto itself. We tried a new Italian restaurant nearby, and it was terrific! Again, our perceptions may have been enhanced by how long it has been since we really went out to dinner, but we loved this place and will go back.

The birthday fragrances I received (bought for myself on behalf of my family, lol!) were: Jean Louis Scherrer, Mont de Narcisse, Choeur des Anges, and Crepuscule des Ames. A dear friend surprised me with a lovely gift of body lotion and soap from Lili Bermuda, which she recently visited, in my favorite Lily. It’s very difficult to find gifts for my husband because 1) he actually doesn’t want much; and 2) if he does want something for himself, which is rare, he’ll often just get it. But this year, I was able to surprise him with a bottle of a new botanical gin, which we’ll enjoy (slowly) together. We started down this road a few years ago when we discovered Hendricks. Given how rarely we drink cocktails or hard liquor, I expect this bottle will be with us for a long time!

Do you have your eye on any upcoming birthday fragrances? Or have you recently received any?

Perfume Chat Room, September 10

Perfume Chat Room, September 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, September 10, and we are seeing many programs about 9/11, with its 20th anniversary tomorrow. A somber date, to be sure. However, I am choosing to dwell on this week’s scientific revelation that hummingbirds do, indeed, have a sense of smell: Hummingbirds Use Sense of Smell to Avoid Danger. We had many visits from hummingbirds this summer, more than we’ve ever had before. I credit my new, cheap feeder that I put on a short stake in the rail planter of herbs on our deck, right outside the kitchen door. My husband claims that he has a magic touch when it comes to making sugar water. Whatever the reason, we’ve enjoyed their visits very much! Those have tapered off recently, I think due to migration patterns.

Who knew that they have a sense of smell? Nature is miraculous.

As previously reported, I have been drawn into a zoning battle with our city on behalf of our neighborhood, so I’m wearing a lot more Chanel No. 19 than usual. I feel it stiffens my backbone. Do you have a scent that makes you feel brave?

Perfume Chat Room, September 3

Perfume Chat Room, September 3

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, September 3, and it is the start of the Labor Day weekend here in the US! I was remiss last week in not posting the usual Chat Room — my apologies! Our neighborhood is in the middle of a zoning battle and I’ve been dragged into it against my better judgment, which has taken up time. When I realized last weekend that I had missed my Friday post, I decided to just wait until this week and the start of a new month.

It’s amazing how the weather has changed! On September 1 and 2, we suddenly had blue skies and much lower humidity, which has continued today. That has revived my fragrance mojo a bit — the very hot, sticky weather had left me stuck in a rut with just a few fragrances I was enjoying in the heat.

I’ll be looking out for any good Labor Day sales — how about you?

Perfume Chat Room, August 6

Perfume Chat Room, August 6

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, August 6, and I am SO READY for the weekend! Even though I had a short work week, I was in my office for three straight full workdays, and I had forgotten how tiring that is. I have to conserve some energy, as our oldest daughter is moving back out this weekend, after having lived at home for the past year because of COVID. She started a great new job earlier this week, and she will be sharing a small rented house with two friends. It’s very exciting! Our second daughter moved out last month, to share an apartment with her bestie from high school. So our chickadees are re-launching! We’re very proud of their perseverance during the past year of challenges.

And now that their belongings will be out of our house, we will finally repaint the several rooms that were damaged and had to be replastered after last fall’s plumbing disaster, including their bedrooms. That is supposed to start next week, and I’m really pleased with the paint colors I’ve chosen. About half will be the same, and half will be variations on the original colors. We’re splurging on doing the living room in a gorgeous dark red from Farrow & Ball, and I’m finally changing our dining room walls from a light taupe to a more greenish neutral, to go better with the William Morris rug in that room. I will rearrange the art we had on the walls in those rooms, and hang more art in the bedrooms, since I have several pieces from my late mother’s house that I hadn’t yet hung. Our youngest (the only boy) will finally get to move into the largest kids’ bedroom, which makes him very happy.

Speaking of happiness, today’s Community Project over at “Now Smell This” is to wear a fragrance that evokes happiness, however you choose to interpret that. I’m wearing Blyss, from Perfumology, the independent perfumery in Philadelphia, PA. It comes in parfum strength, and Perfumology has a discovery set that includes Blyss and three other fragrances commissioned by owner Nir Guy. The set is currently sold out; I hope it gets re-stocked soon!

Have you tried any of the Perfumology scents? What is currently making you happy?

Perfume Chat Room, July 30

Perfume Chat Room, July 30

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 30, and tomorrow is Harry Potter’s birthday! I still remember getting the first book in 1997 and reading it with delight, as a young mother. The books continued to arrive during the same era when my own children arrived. When they were older, we read the earlier books aloud to them and played the audiobooks on long car trips (the American audiobooks, narrated by British actor Jim Dale, are wonderful!). A couple of years ago, I posted about my thoughts on what fragrances various characters from the books might wear. I stand by my choices!

Did you know that Ulta released a “Harry Potter” collection of fragrances last year?? I’m not sure who thought “soothing raindrops” was appropriate for Slytherin. The fragrances chosen by Scentsy for their Hogwarts wax melts seems more apropos:

Gryffindor™: Bravery and Determination
Race through daring smoky woods, while amber and a touch of dapper cinnamon leaf bring warmth to your journey.

Slytherin™: Cunning and Ambition
Forest woods
 hide dark secrets in fresh oak moss and a sweetly sinister layer of deep blackberry.

Hufflepuff™: Just and Loyal
The Great Hall beckons with sweet and steadfast notes of golden applewhipped vanilla almond and cinnamon sugar.

Ravenclaw™: Wit and Wisdom
A clever concoction of suede and sandalwood is mellowed handsomely by a ribbon of smooth vanilla.

Do you have any favorite book characters? What fragrance(s) might they wear?

Featured image from Warner Bros.

Perfume Chat Room, July 23

Perfume Chat Room, July 23

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 23, and it is my late parents’ wedding anniversary. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have read this post before, My Mother’s Last Perfume, in which I wrote a bit about their long, but not always happy, marriage. Nevertheless, I honor this day because without it, my sisters and I wouldn’t exist! And because my parents made the effort to stay married until the ends of their lives and, in their own ways, they cared for each other. Their happiest times were when they traveled together, which they loved to do; and I too love to travel with my husband, though my marriage is a much more content one than my parents’, I think.

I also have some excitement to share — I’ve been asked by an accomplished playwright in my city to collaborate with her and a composer to create a “fragrance score” for a new experimental musical they are writing! I had taken part in a playwriting group she led over several weeks, pre-pandemic, and we had talked about how fragrance could and should be used more in theater. This is such an interesting creative project, I’m very excited about the possibilities. I will be the creative director for the fragrances, of course, not the actual perfumer. We are applying for a grant to develop the production, so I hope to include in the budget some modest funds to commission some scents from a perfumer eventually. For now, I think we’ll be able to use existing scents.

What are your thoughts on combining fragrance with other arts? I love reading about Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ collaborations with the Denver Art Museum. And the ways actors can use fragrance for their own performances are also fascinating: How Performers Use Perfume.

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.

Scent Sample Sunday: Paris-Venise

Scent Sample Sunday: Paris-Venise

Paris-Venise was one of the first three “Les Eaux” fragrances launched by Chanel in 2018, all created by in-house perfumer Olivier Polge. They are eaux de toilette inspired by Coco Chanel’s travels to various cities — what a creative idea! The others were Paris-Deauville and Paris-Biarritz. Since then, the original three have been joined by Paris-Riviera and Paris-Edimbourg, which I haven’t tried yet.

Fragrantica lists the notes of Paris-Venise as: top notes, orange, lemon, petitgrain, bergamot and pink pepper; middle notes, iris, neroli, ylang-ylang, rose and geranium; base notes, tonka bean, vanilla, white musk, orris, violet and benzoin. Sure enough, when I spritz it, I get a lovely burst of fresh citrus notes, beautifully blended. The bright, sunny opening softens within minutes to a gentle floral, also beautifully blended. One aspect of Chanel fragrances (among so many!) that I appreciate is the elegance of how they are blended. Notes merge and segue into each other, dancing with each other to different tempos, stepping forward and backward in the rhythm their combined music suggests.

The Chanel website describes M. Polge’s inspiration as follows: “1920. Gabrielle Chanel falls under the spell of Venice. The glimmer of the Byzantine mosaics and precious gems of St. Mark’s Basilica inspire the designs of her first jewelry collections. Between freshness and sensuality, PARIS-VENISE evokes this legendary city that marks the boundary between East and West.” Having visited Venice for the first time in the summer of 2019, before the world shut down, I would say that M. Polge has done an outstanding job of evoking the city.

My recollections of Venice are of brilliant sunlight glinting off the water of the ubiquitous canals, the welcome breezes off the ocean, the hidden gardens including that of the vacation apartment in a small, restored palazzo where we stayed. Paris-Venise’s citrus-forward opening vividly recalls the sunniness of Venice’s summer climate, while the emerging floral notes remind us that Venice is a city not only of canals and ancient buildings, but also of gardens. (Christine Nagel dwelt on that feature in her fragrance for Hermes, Un Jardin Sur La Lagune). M. Polge did not, in his creation, make reference to the sea or salt water as Mme. Nagel did in hers.

In the middle stage, no one floral note dominates, though I can clearly identify the ylang-ylang, a signature floral note in many Chanel fragrances, including the iconic No. 5. The petitgrain and bergamot linger at the start of this heart phase, adding their bright verdancy to it like sunlight dappling a garden. The rose and iris are also classic Chanel fragrance notes; here, they are fresh and light. I find all “Les Eaux” to be very fresh and youthful, which I’m sure is part of Chanel’s strategy to attract a younger clientele while still appealing to their longtime clients, as they have done with No. 5 L’Eau.

Drying down, Paris-Venise becomes warmer and softer, with a slight spiciness that recalls Venice’s heyday as a entry port to Europe for the spices of the East. A highlight of our visit to Venice was a stop at the Palazzo Mocenigo, which houses a perfume museum as well as artworks and other exhibits (the embroidered fabrics are gorgeous!). Among the perfume-related displays is a massive table covered with spices and resins.

Display at the Palazzo Mocenigo

The base notes include a light vanilla, just a touch of it as this fragrance is by no means “gourmand.” This vanilla smells like the vanilla orchid that produces the actual vanilla beans, so it is more flowery than foody. It combines beautifully with the base’s more floral notes such as violet and orris. All are given a sort of warm airiness by the white musk, like a balmy evening breeze.

I’m very impressed with Paris-Venise. It is ambery without being too heavy or warm — perfect for summer wear even in a climate as hot as Venice. If a fragrance can be slender and elegant, Paris-Venise is that and more. Have you tried any of “Les Eaux de Chanel”? What did you think?

Perfume Chat Room, July 2

Perfume Chat Room, July 2

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 2, and here in the USA, it is the start of the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. We are back home after a long road trip that included two weeks in New Hampshire so we could visit my elderly father-in-law in the assisted living residence where he lives. It was a joy to see him every day! We stayed in a little rustic lake cottage, the kind with plain wood paneling and no insulation, which was very nostalgic for both of us, having spent many happy times in childhood in such cottages. This one had one bedroom, one bathroom, living room, tiny kitchen, and a small screened porch. It was very cozy and comfortable, but wow! that bathroom was TINY.

I brought home some balsam pillows and have enjoyed sniffing them to my heart’s content. I don’t know of any manmade fragrance that quite captures the real scent of balsam fir. We also brought home a large jug of real maple syrup (I won’t use any other kind) and various other maple sugar treats. Since we drove to New Hampshire, we made several stops along the way — Antietam, site of a famous Civil War battle, on the way north; and on the way south, Gettysburg, site of the three-day battle (July 1-3, 1863) that turned the tide of the Civil War in favor of the Union and later President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Biltmore, in Asheville, North Carolina, the famous Vanderbilt estate that looks like a French chateau.

It’s good to be home, though! We’ll spend a quiet Fourth of July here with our kids; I do hope to see some fireworks this year, as most were cancelled last summer. Do you have any special plans, if you’re in the US? And for everyone — what are your favorite “outdoorsy” fragrances? Do you know of any that smell like real balsam?