Perfume Chat Room, October 8

Perfume Chat Room, October 8

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, October 8, and we are enjoying a stretch of perfect fall weather. Cool, clear mornings; sunny, breezy days with no humidity; clear evenings when we can see planets and stars emerging from dark skies. Heavenly! I have been enjoying the fragrance of the last flush of roses. One in particular has a strong spicy smell, with notes of cinnamon.

The big news in our almost-done house restoration is that half of our hardwood floors, that were damaged by last fall’s plumbing disaster, have been refurbished and they look great! The floors are original to the house, so they are more than 100 years old, which means we did not have them sanded; they’re too worn to withstand that, and it wasn’t necessary to do it to renew them. Our William Morris carpets come back from cleaning next week, and then the furniture moving begins as we finally put our house back to rights. It’s also an opportunity to re-think what goes back where, and what we do or don’t keep.

Speaking of cinnamon, have you been inundated yet with what retailers think are seasonal scents? I will confess to disliking the artificial apple-cinnamon candles that seem to appear overnight, though I enjoy real apples and real cinnamon.

Perfume Chat Room, October 1

Perfume Chat Room, October 1

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, October 1, and I can’t believe September is over already! Retailers are in a frenzy of Halloween and harvest, and I’ve started to see displays of Christmas wares. My husband and I are excited about an upcoming trip to New England for a family wedding later this month, though we’ll have to try to remember what layers of clothes we’ll need, as we’ve lived in the South for almost 30 years now. I’m really looking forward to a few days off work, it has been a busy and hectic semester so far.

I mentioned a while back that I had been asked to work with a playwright and composer on a “scent score” for the musical they’re writing; there will be a staged reading of the play this month (without scent for now), which will be exciting. I’m having coffee with the playwright this weekend for an update on the project.

What are you looking forward to this month?

Scent Sample Sunday: Monbloom

Scent Sample Sunday: Monbloom

I recently had a birthday (yes, I’m a Virgo) and treated myself to some fragrances — surprise, surprise. One of them was a tester of Ramon Monegal’s Monbloom. I had been curious about it because I like several of his other fragrances very much; I discovered them several years in Barcelona, home of the brand and perfumer, where my husband was kind enough to buy me a bottle of Lovely Day. When I saw a tester for a good price, I pounced.

It’s odd that I was intrigued by Monbloom, because normally I’m not a huge fan of big white florals, and Monbloom is definitely tuberose-forward. The brand’s own romantic description:

Olfactory inspiration, resplendent and magic. Bewitching floral filter. Exuberant and voluptuous tuberose and jasmine with exotic Osmanthus. Magic and power dressed in incense and labdanum are linked to the incandescent strength that emanates from cedarwood.

This is my festive tale of a magical celebration of a starry night in Dubai.

The notes are listed as: Comoros Ylang-Ylang, Sevillan neroli, orange blossom, wild strawberry, Karnataka tuberose, Moroccan jasmine, Chinese osmanthus, Indonesian patchouli, Spanish cistus, Indian oud, American cedarwood. Quite a few white flowers in there! Elena Prokofeva wrote a wonderful piece for Fragrantica about the many haunting legends associated with white flowers: “Dark Legends of White Flowers” and referred to tuberose and jasmine as “flowers of seduction and death.” I don’t experience them that way, but most white flowers do become most fragrant at night, to attract insects which are active after sundown, so they have a strong association with darkness. A “starry night” in Dubai — what might that resemble? A stroll through fragrant palace gardens like those in the Alhambra of Granada, or in the Royal Alcazar of Seville?

Tuberose

Tuberose, native to South America and noted by Spanish missionaries as early as the 16th century, is among the most fragrant of all white flowers; it has been written that the Victorians warned young girls against inhaling its fragrance lest it inspire wild passions and carnal desires. To my nose, tuberose often smells a bit soapy — more clean than seductive. Monbloom is neither sweet nor very soapy. It was initially launched in 2015 as an exclusive for Bloomingdale’s and the city of Dubai, and it is clearly intended to appeal to a Middle Eastern customer, with its hints of oud, resin, and incense. Those notes create an interesting counterpoint to the sweetness of tuberose, jasmine, orange blossoms and neroli. I tend to like green, almost bitter, chypres, and sweetness is not something I seek out in fragrance, so I appreciate the difficult balance achieved in Monbloom. Although it starts out with a gust of classic white flower notes, it becomes more complex over its development as the cistus, oud, and cedarwood emerge, creating a subtle breath of incense, resins, and wood. I will have to study it further, though, as I was very cautious in my initial applications — no more than a small spritz on each wrist.

It does not surprise me that such a well-crafted perfume comes from Ramon Monegal, who is the fourth generation of perfumers in the Monegal family, founders of Myrurgia, which has been creating fragrances for over a century; he began training in perfumery in the 1970s and worked for several firms before returning to the family company, which was acquired by Puig in 2000. After working for the combined company for several years, M. Monegal left to launch his own artisan brand. He takes inspiration from his birthplace and city of residence, Barcelona, the Mediterranean, and his homeland of Spain.

When we took a family trip to Spain some years ago, mostly through Andalusia, it was brought home to us just how close Spain is to the Middle East, especially where it faces Morocco across the water. It was, of course, partially occupied for much of its history by the Moors, who left Spain with a remarkable legacy of architecture and gardens. So it isn’t much of a stretch for a Spanish perfumer to feel affinity with Dubai, home of remarkable Middle Eastern attars and perfumes.

If you are a lover of white flower fragrances, Monbloom is absolutely worth trying. Unless you do truly love the narcotic white flowers, though, I wouldn’t make it a blind buy. I did buy it blind, because I have enjoyed several other Monegal fragrances and felt comfortable taking that chance.

Have you tried Monbloom? Do you have other “Big White Flower” fragrances you enjoy?

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?

Sometimes it’s just the feeling we recall — Now Smell This

Sometimes it’s just the feeling we recall — Now Smell This

Interestingly, smell has the ability to elicit a strong emotional response without the recollection of an explicit memory. Sometimes it’s just the feeling we recall. When you encounter a smell tied to something meaningful in your past, you first feel the emotion followed by a cognitive recognition, information that was stored in your brain. Often…

Sometimes it’s just the feeling we recall — Now Smell This

Fascinating! This is why I’m collaborating with a playwright and composer on a “scent score” for a new play with music.

Illustration of human sense of smell and brain connections
Illustration of scent and its effect on brain
Perfume Chat Room, August 20

Perfume Chat Room, August 20

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 20, and I have been swarmed by mosquitoes in a 15-minute trip to my backyard. So my theme for today is bug repellent. I spray Deet formulas on outer clothes, and a lemon/eucalytpus blend on skin. I actually sort of like the way it smells. Do you have any secret scent formulas to keep bugs away? Or do any of your favorite fragrances seem to attract bugs more than the norm?

Perfume Chat Room, August 13

Perfume Chat Room, August 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, August 13 — how has your luck held up? I thought about wearing Frederic Malle’s Superstitious as my SOTD, but work was so busy today that I haven’t worn any fragrance yet! (And that’s also why I’m late posting — apologies!). What’s your SOTD? Do you harbor any superstitions? Do you remember vinyl records from the 20th century?