April 2008: 7 posts

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Laurier Reglisse and Figue Iris : Perfume Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

As much as I love the complex perfumes that are the olfactory equivalents of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, I am always looking forward to Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria collection, which tends to feature much more lighthearted fare. The selection runs the gamut from ingenious Pamplemousse to lovely Herba Fresca to decidedly dull and un-kiwi like Tutti Kiwi. This year’s Laurier Réglisse and Figue Iris caught my eye with their unusual and potentially brilliant pairings—bay leaf and licorice, fig and iris. I felt as curious about experimenting with these ideas in the kitchen as about smelling them on my skin. …

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Thierry Mugler A Travers le Miroir : Perfume Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Smelling and dismissing one new launch after the next, I start to worry that I am becoming jaded. It is even more depressing when it comes to reviewing, because unless a strong emotion stirs me, it is difficult to find inspiration for writing during my morning train ride. I would rather catch up on my sleep. Thankfully, there do exist new fragrances that manage to awake me from my literal and figurative slumber. Since I smelled À Travers le Miroir from the new Thierry Mugler Miroir Miroir collection a couple of months ago, it has been on my mind. Therefore, I decided to return to it for a closer look. …

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Do You Have Skin? On Skin Chemistry and Perfume

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“Do you have skin? I only need one arm.” I am in my office at International Flavors & Fragrances speaking on the phone with an evaluator (an individual who works with the perfumer to guide him/her on the project). Spending most of my waking hours in the fragrance world sometimes makes me feel as if I am jettisoned into another universe. It is small, closed, and very passionate.  The language it uses is laden with industry specific jargon and turns of phrase. Take the aforementioned and very common scenario. The first time I heard this question I was utterly baffled, being completely unprepared for such a query. Of course, the answer is simple—skin is needed to test the fragrance. Although paper blotters are used heavily to study the development of a fragrance composition, the skin is the ultimate test. As a result, I wear no fragrance to work to make sure I “have skin,” and I return home wearing up to 8 different perfumes on my arms. I always get a seat on the train. …

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Serge Lutens Interview : Stakes & Professions in Perfumery

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Below are a couple of excerpts from an interview with Serge Lutens published in Stakes & Professions in Perfumery, a compilations of essays from perfume industry professionals published by Éditions d’Assalit in 2007. For those interested in the professions available in the perfume industry, this book would prove to be useful. More than a few dozen of essays in the volume were written by various industry journalists, researchers, creative directors and perfumers like Jean-Luc Ansel, Jean-Pierre Subrenat, Frédéric Malle, Christophe Laudamiel, Patricia de Nicolai and Thierry Wasser. The introduction is written by Michael Edwards. More information about the book is available from The Fragrance Foundation. …

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Chanel Sycomore Les Exclusifs 1930 and 2008 : Perfume Review

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def: vetiver — frequently used in perfumery, vetiver oil is steam distilled from the rootlets of grass Vetiveria Zizanoides. It has a dark earthy-woody aroma, with a grapefruit bitterness and a touch of anise-like sweet spiciness.

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The newest addition to Chanel’s Les Exclusifs range, Sycomore is advertised as inspired by the fragrance originally created in 1930. I have a bottle of the original, therefore I was curious to compare the two. I would describe the original Sycomore as closer in spirit to Bois des Iles (vetiver, sandalwood and soft aldehydes.) It played up its gamine features with a twist of tobacco and violet.  The new Sycomore eschews the obvious floral allusions. It is an elegant and pared down vetiver, which emphasizes the green hazelnut facet of the root. The embellishments are subtle, yet they serve to highlight the beauty of the raw material well. With hardly any retro references, Sycomore (2008) is a thoroughly modern fragrance. As far as I can tell, there are few, if any, allusions to the vintage. …

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