LVMH Silences Monsieur Guerlain

Instead of my usual “Fragrance Friday” post, I am sharing this, from Kafkaesque. Sadly, the title of that blog is eerily appropriate for this news:

I was stunned to wake up this morning to news that LVMH, the parent company of Guerlain, has shut down the Monsieur Guerlain website,

Source: LVMH Silences Monsieur Guerlain

Fragrantica and Pantone’s Colors of the Year

Fragrantica and Pantone’s Colors of the Year

Well, this is fun! Fragrantica has a new article today highlighting Pantone’s new “colors of the year”, which happen to be Rose Quartz and Serenity: A Melody of Rose Quartz and Serenity. Perfect for a blog named “Serenity Now”! The Fragrantica challenge to readers is to suggest their own fragrance building blocks for scents based on those colors.

Hydrangea Blooms Fragrantica

Photo: Fragrantica.com

Fragrance Friday: Amouage’s Memoir Woman

Fragrance Friday: Amouage’s Memoir Woman

Wow!! This is not my usual type of fragrance, as I normally gravitate toward green florals, but I was excited to try it from a lovely gift coffret of six mini Amouage perfumes. Memoir is amazing. Many reviewers have said it reminds them of the original Poison. I used to wear Poison in the 1980s and this is much, much better. I do understand that impression, though, but to me Poison was very plummy and I smell no fruit in Memoir other than the spicy orange in the opening.

As soon as I dabbed Memoir on my wrist, Continue reading

Fragrance Friday: Carner Barcelona

Fragrance Friday: Carner Barcelona

My lovely husband has returned from another business trip to Barcelona; and I am now the happy recipient of several samples of fragrance from the niche perfumery Carner Barcelona, as well as the “travel set” of its fragrances Tardes and Rima XI. I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, so this week’s “Fragrance Friday” will be about the perfume house instead.

Carner Barcelona was founded by Sara Carner in 2009. According to the company website, Continue reading

What Went Well

What were my “three blessings” this week?

  1. My sisters and I teamed up to handle a caregiving crisis with our elderly mother, and all’s well that ends well; she is fine, and a reliable caregiver is back in place. Because we shared information and divided up tasks, and supported each other.
  2. My nice husband has finalized some lovely travel plans for the whole family. Because he loves us and shows that by the many things he does for us.
  3. I had lunch today with a really nice new colleague and that makes me optimistic about improvements to come in my workplace. Because it is better to work with happy, thoughtful people than their opposites.

What went well for you this week? Please share in the comments! Have a great week and weekend!

Fragrance Friday: Monsoons

Fragrance Friday: Monsoons

I just read the most interesting article about a village in India that creates an attar to capture the scent of rain and the seasonal monsoons: Making Perfume From the Rain.

Every storm blows in on a scent, or leaves one behind. The metallic zing that can fill the air before a summer thunderstorm is from ozone, a molecule formed from the interaction of electrical discharges—in this case from lightning—with oxygen molecules. Likewise, the familiar, musty odor that rises from streets and storm ponds during a deluge comes from a compound called geosmin. A byproduct of bacteria, geosmin is what gives beets their earthy flavor. Rain also picks up odors from the molecules it meets. So its essence can come off as differently as all the flowers on all the continents—rose-obvious, barely there like a carnation, fleeting as a whiff of orange blossom as your car speeds past the grove. It depends on the type of storm, the part of the world where it falls, and the subjective memory of the nose behind the sniff.

Fascinating! The author, Cynthia Barnett, goes on to describe how she flew to India on the eve of monsoon season for the express purpose of visiting the village in Uttar Pradesh where, for centuries, villagers have captured the scent of the rain in their part of the world. They call it mitti attar. She describes in great detail what materials they gather and how they process them according to traditional routines. And then, she samples the end product, “Earth’s perfume”: Continue reading

“The Smell of Loss”

“The Smell of Loss”

Normally I post about fragrance on or around Fridays, in my weekly “Fragrance Friday” blog post. But this weekend’s New York Times had such a stunning, beautiful op-ed piece, The Smell of Loss, that I just had to share it.

The first time it happens is a dark winter’s afternoon, not quite a year after her death. I’m at my desk working, and there it suddenly is: sharp, glassy-green, with that faint, musky undertone that catches at the back of your throat.

I recognize it instantly: the scent that hung in our hall every time she came to supper. The perfume that clung to her coat, her scarves, detectable sometimes for hours on my babies’ hair after she’d been carrying and kissing them.

That first time, it’s a shock. Her perfume is something I’ve long forgotten (in her final months, mostly bedridden, she was beyond all that). But here it is — absolute and definite and quite overpowering.

The author, Julie Myerson, is describing the signature fragrance of her beloved, deceased mother-in-law, which she starts smelling at unexpected moments, for minutes at a time, with no apparent source such as clothing. She consults experts:

I email Jay A. Gottfried, a neuroscientist who runs the Gottfried Laboratory at Northwestern University, which investigates the links between brain activity and sensory perception.

Professor Gottfried tells me that what I describe is known in his business as “phantosmia” or “phantom smells.” The sense of smell, he says, is our most ancient, primal sense and has “intimate and direct control over emotional and behavioral states.”

You really have to read the rest of this article, it is wonderful. Enjoy! Have you ever experienced this phenomenon?

Illustration: Aidan Koch, for The New York Times