Victoria: 1924 posts

Makeup Bag Staple Kate Eyeliner

Metro rides in cities around the world are a fascinating anthropological experience. In New York, you quicky learn how not to invade people’s personal space, even when the subway car is stuffed like a can of sardines. In Paris you observe the artful way men cross their legs and tie their. In Kyiv, you can learn your neighbor’s whole life story before you reach your stop. In Tokyo, on the other hand, you pick up makeup tips. If you ride during the famous Tokyo rush hour, when you’re pressed against your neighbor in a manner more intimate than one might countenance otherwise, it becomes especially easy. Of course, do your observations without staring at people, which would be seen as inexcusably rude. (Also, don’t wear too much perfume either, another cultural taboo.)


One aspect of Japanese makeup I’ve always loved is the perfect cat’s eye look. The eyeliner might be sharply drawn against the naturally colored lid or smudged with different colors for an elegant smoky effect. I’ve admired this look on so many women in the streets of Tokyo that I became determined to master the art of elegant calligraphy on my eyelids.

The quest turned out to be easier than I realized, and it involved a drugstore eyeliner from a brand called Kate. It’s sold widely in Asian makeup emporiums and 24 hour shops (the rest of us will need Ebay). One pen costs $5 to $15, depending on where you buy it, but even at the higher end of the price, Kate is worth every penny.

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Bulgari Omnia Amethyste Perfume Giveaway

Today we chat about hobbies other than perfume and enter into another generous giveaway. Our reader Rainboweyes would like to find a home for a bottle of Bvlgari Omnia Amethyste. It just didn’t work on her, but the bottle is barely used and could make someone else happy. She will also include 30 different perfume samples.


The contest is open to our readers in Europe, but it goes without saying that we are not responsible for leaks or damage during transit, customs fees or lost packages. 

To participate, please let me know if I can share your email address with Rainboweyes. Also, please reply to her query. “I would like to know what’s everybody’s passion beside perfume. Mine is definitely reading – mostly ‘old fashioned’ printed books. I love going to bookstores and picking books for myself and for my two boys who share my passion too. My husband often frowns upon my suitcase full of books when we go on holiday but to me an e-book just doesn’t feel like ‘the real thing;. I also love long books (like The Goldfinch, for example), finishing a good book really makes me sad. What do you enjoy?”

You can chat without participating in the giveaway, but just mention so.

The contest is open till Thursday now closed (I  will keep the comment thread open for those who are chatting). I will announce the winner in this spot.  The winner is Michaela. 

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has generously contributed to these giveaways. If anyone else wants to participate, if you have unwanted perfumes that need a new home, please contact me.

Savory Gourmands

Does the gourmand perfume family have to include only dessert-like confections? In my new article for the Financial Times Magazine’s fragrance column, The Most Delicious Savoury Perfumes, I explain how salty and other savory notes can be used for a surprising effect and discuss a few of my favorite examples.


Most savoury gourmands aim for a subtle illusion – the tangy darkness of olives, the green sharpness of coriander leaves or the musky warmth of basmati rice. Fittingly, the biggest savoury gourmand launch came in 2010 with Womanity (from £38.50 for 30ml, second picture), another Thierry Mugler creation. The composition is built around caviar and fig, the briny nuance pushing against a backdrop of roasted hazelnuts, musk and woods. Like Angel, it provoked polarising reactions, though not the same level of infatuation. Please read the rest by clicking here.

The savory scent I would most love to smell in perfume is that of a baguette. A properly baked baguette, that is–wheaty, with caramelized, hazelnut like notes and creamy aftertaste. I love the hints of wheat in Olivia Giacobetti‘s fragrances like Frédéric Malle En Passant, L’Artisan Parfumeur Jour de Fête, and Le Petit de Guerlain, but the effect is still too subtle for what I have in mind.

Another idea I’d love explored in perfumes is bitter chocolate with crunchy salt crystals, one of my favorite treats.

Do you have favorite savory gourmands or favorite salty notes you would like to smell in perfume?

Photo via FT

The Smell Test

Until recently it would have been unthinkable for a negative perfume comment to appear in traditional press. Which is why Women’s Wear Daily’s perfume ranking feature is as important as it is daring. WWD is one of the major beauty and fashion publication, and I hope that this decision signifies bigger changes to come. 10 judges, along with panel chairman Michael Edwards, smell perfumes blindly, rank them and offer their commentary. The jury includes perfumers, industry analysts, scientists, journalists, and above all, passionate fragrance lovers: Jean-Claude Delville (Drom), Karen Dubin (Sniffapalooza), Christophe Laudamiel (DreamAir), Luca Turin, Kevin Verspoor (PerfumeKev LLC), Paul Austin (Austin Advisory group), Chantal Roos (Roos & Roos co), Nathalie Pichard (toPNotes), and myself.


How the perfumes are assessed: “Panelists are given unmarked vials of fragrance to smell in a blind, impartial test. The fragrance will be scored on a scale of 10 (the ultimate) to 1 (forgettable), with an average score computed. The judges will make short critiques of each fragrance, which will be kept anonymous to ensure independent thinking. Scents being judged are new to the market and among the most promising. WWD will buy them at retail, like any consumer.”

The first edition of The Smell Test reviews Misia from Les Exclusifs de Chanel. You can read the comments at the WWD site. It remains to be seen how the initiative will develop, but I look forward to the subsequent editions, and of course, to your thoughts and commentary.

Issey Miyake Nuit d’Issey : Fragrance Review


Many like to knock contemporary masculine perfumery. It’s boring. It’s bland. It’s all fake citrus and sharp lavender, fly the accusations. I have often been the accuser, but today I’m going to defend the valiant attempts to make a sensible masculine fragrance. Folks, making a good masculine is just so darn hard. As far as the audience goes, many men, especially in North America and Germany, are a conservative bunch. The consumer data tell the story: they are more hesitant to try something different. They prefer to wear fragrances similar to what their fathers wore. Many don’t want to admit they even wear scent. “I don’t wear perfume,” says my cousin as he walks around in a huge cloud of Axe body spray.


If perfume companies assume that men will wear anything under a familiar label, they make a mistake. Even if your average guy doesn’t want to push his boundaries with new scents, he still wants quality and classical good taste. When my cousin’s beloved Axe Apollo got reformulated and lost in diffusion and finesse, he instantly noticed it. What resulted was a soliloquy worthy of a Greek tragic hero.

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