Perfume Chat Room, May 13

Perfume Chat Room, May 13

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 13, and my nose is full of the fragrance of rose gardens. Plus many other choice blossoms and plants such as wisteria, osmanthus, even eucalyptus. What a wonderful month May is, for garden flowers and fragrance! I have many new photos of flowers, mostly roses, which I’ll share soon on my Instagram account once I’ve tidied them up a bit.

We’ve had a sad loss since my post last Friday — a close friend of my son’s from high school died last weekend after two months of surgery and intensive care following an abdominal injury. My son and his friends have handled this pretty well, though they are very sad. They have really rallied around the bereaved family and supported them as well as each other. I’m very proud of the maturity my son has shown, but I still have concerns about how he and his friends will feel the impact of this grief. However, they all have great families and overlapping communities to help them. Most of them will be home for the summer, having returned from college, and they will be a comfort to each other as well as to the family of their friend.

I’m glad the semester is over at the university where I work, and the summer will be much quieter, so I can focus on my son, and his sisters who have been remarkable in how they have come forward to support him. I spend much of the academic year tending to the needs of other people’s young adult children, aka my students; I’ll be glad to put that aside for a while and tend to my own.

Will your summer be busy or quiet?

Bouquet of garden roses by David Austin, including Teasing Georgia, Lady of Shalott, Carding Mill, Olivia Rose Austin, Munstead Wood.
An assortment of David Austin’s English Roses, including the dark crimson “Munstead Wood.”
Perfume Chat Room, May 6

Perfume Chat Room, May 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, May 6, and my roses continue to flourish and bloom! I’ve added more photos to my Instagram account, if you’d like to see some of them up close. Most are “English Roses” by the late David Austin, an amazing hybridizer of roses who brought back the old-fashioned shapes and strong fragrance of older roses, but combined those with the range of colors and repeat-blooming habit of modern ones. One of the fascinating aspects of his roses is that many of them smell slightly different. All their scents are clearly “rose”, but some are more spicy, or fruity, or lemony. As you can tell, I love them.

Some of my English Roses

If you haven’t yet read this month’s “Scent Semantics” posts by the six participating bloggers, the word for May (chosen by Portia) is “brilliance.” You’ll find all the links here: Scent Semantics.

May is full of various celebrations: May Day, Star Wars Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day. I’ve just learned that in the Netherlands, May 5 is celebrated as Liberation Day, marking the end of Nazi occupation. May is the month of the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which I’ve been able to visit twice and hope to visit again, maybe next year.

Chelsea Pensioner, at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

This year, Eid al Fitr (the end of Ramadan) was celebrated in the US in May; the dates change every year. Do you celebrate anything in particular in May?

Perfume Chat Room, April 29

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, April 29, and Monday is another “Scent Semantics” posting day! The word of the month, chosen by Portia, is a secret until then, so check back next week!

My roses are in full bloom this week and wow, do they smell gorgeous. I’ve posted some photos on my Instagram account.

Thanks to a timely post on Eau My Soul, I bought a very discounted bottle of Shalimar Philtre de Parfum from Costco, which sometimes has great deals on high-end fragrances. I’m very happy with my blind buy, which wasn’t completely blind because I had read that it was reminiscent of Shalimar Eau de Cologne, which I enjoy very much. Indeed it is, though not identical. For one thing, Philtre is an eau de parfum, and it definitely lasts longer. Below is the review of Shalimar Eau de Cologne I posted on Fragrantica some years ago, and I stand by it:

Happy happy happy! I have tried Shalimar EDP several times in department stores, and just didn’t like it. I recognized its quality and its legendary status but it was too heavy, too sweet, too strong, too old-fashioned. Every single time. Then I found Shalimar Eau de Cologne on sale for 24.99 at CVS, read the reviews here on my smartphone and thought, what the hell — let’s do this. So I did. I love it! This version is just yummy without being sweet. I get the vanilla, I get the smoke, I get the cedar, I get the leather. Shalimar EDC is luscious but light. Classic but not stuffy. I am just so pleased with this.

I would say that Philtre has more citrus, and less smoke and leather. It lasts all day (12+ hours) on my skin. I think the tolu balsam base note is a great touch; it adds depth and warmth.

At risk of setting off a torrent of verbiage, do you have a favorite version of Shalimar?

Perfume Chat Room, January 14

Perfume Chat Room, January 14

Welcome back 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 14, and it is the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend here in the US. I’m always heartened to see how many groups organize for a “day on, not a day off” on Monday, helping people take part in various service or educational projects. Since my city is expecting very cold weather and possibly snow on Sunday, and we’re still battling the omicron surge, I suspect that many of the activities will be virtual (as they were last January).

One of my colleagues remarked in a Zoom meeting today that the start of this semester feels rockier than usual. I tend to agree; and I wonder whether it is due to the ongoing disruptions caused by the pandemic. I’ve noticed that in addition to more crises, people also seem to have lost some of their ability to get along. Just in the two weeks of work since our winter break, I’ve experienced some truly rude behavior by professional colleagues, let alone students. In fact, the colleagues have been worse, with less justification!

My January has been brightened, though, by the ongoing opening of my January Joy Box from 4160 Tuesdays. Every other day, there’s a new fragrance to try. And then the discussion that ensues on the brand’s Facebook community page is often hilarious! This week, the scents were: Rose Goes to Town, British Summer, and All Made of Flowers. I love Rose Goes to Town, and I like the others a lot.

Have you been able to try or revisit any fragrances that helped dispel any January blahs? Do tell!

Royal Ascot hat of giant roses
Ascot hat of roses; radiogorgeous.com
Perfume Chat Room, February 5

Perfume Chat Room, February 5

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, February 5, and here in the US we are looking forward to the Superbowl football championship and we are also celebrating Black History Month. American politics continue to be turbulent, but I won’t dwell on that although I do pay close attention. Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, and a favorite independent retailer of high-end fragrances, Twisted Lily, has a sale this weekend, 14% off on a select collection of fragrances with the code VDAY14. Do any of you know of any other tempting sales?

Do you have a fragrance you particularly like to wear on Valentine’s Day or other romantic occasions? Like many people, I associate roses with Valentine’s Day and romance, so I think I will wear Jo Loves’ Rose Petal 25. As regular readers here know, I have many rose fragrances from which to choose! Do you have any special plans for Valentine’s Day, in this constrained environment?

Roses de Mai Marathon: And The Winners Are …

Roses de Mai Marathon: And The Winners Are …

Today is the last day of May, and the end of my blogging “Roses de Mai Marathon”! Thanks, all of you who came with me on this journey — I have loved reading your suggestions and comments. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses

Roses de Mai Marathon: L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is not only one of the most gifted American perfumers, but one of the most beloved. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting her, but I follow her doings and have bought some of her lovely offerings. It feels even more important to do so when able, to support our independent artisan perfumers. Today’s penultimate entry in the “Roses de Mai Marathon” is her creation L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Roses Musk

Roses de Mai Marathon: Roses Musk

Roses Musk is one of many rose-centric fragrances in the Montale line and it is said to be the line’s bestseller. Wow, is it polarizing! Some online commenters love it, others really hate it.  Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Tea Rose

Roses de Mai Marathon: Tea Rose

The Perfumers Workshop Tea Rose is something of a legend in the fragrance world: people seem either to love it or hate it, mostly depending on how they feel about strong rose scents, but most agree on a few things: it is cheap-cheap-cheap; it is STRONG; it is a linear rose, without much else going on. If you have a half-hour to spare and want to be amused, go to Basenotes.net and read the reviews there! And if you like rose fragrances but are looking for a bargain beauty, try Tea Rose. You can still buy 4 fl. oz., or 120 ml, for less than $15. Continue reading

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.