Victoria: 1908 posts

Chocolate, Violets, Bread : A Call for New Gourmands

My grandmother’s Easter bread is a lacy confection of butter and sugar. Glazed with chocolate and decorated with flowers, it looks like a Byzantine mosaic. Redolent of bitter cacao and violets, it doesn’t just smell good. I realize with a thrill that it smells like a complete perfume–the top note of violet, the heart of hazelnuts and wheat, and the lingering backdrop of musky chocolate. Take this idea, refine it into an accord–a combination of several perfume notes that becomes more than the sum of its parts–and voila, you can use it to create a new gourmand genre. Sounds fanciful, but this is how perfume is made.

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On the face of it, it seems as if the gourmand genre has captured every dessert, from crème brûlée (Aquolina Pink Sugar) to cupcakes (Vera Wang Princess), from rice pudding (Tommy Hilfiger True Star) to raspberry macarons (Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire). You can have your chocolate with cinnamon (Pacifica Mexican Cocoa), with caramel (Thierry Mugler Angel), or with honey (Tom Ford Noir de Noir).

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Martin Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning

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Some fragrances have great top notes, others tempt with you a gorgeous drydown, but without a beautiful sillage, the pleasure of wearing them is nil. The French word sillage refers to the perfume trail you leave behind, a spell cast on others as well as you. Martin Margiela’s Lazy Sunday Morning is nice enough on paper, but to fully experience the sheer chypre, you need to try it on skin. If you’re lucky to have a friend who wears it, you can experience how well Lazy Sunday Morning diffuses and the soft, gauzy wake it leaves behind them.

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Of course, this is true for many perfumes, which are composed of volatile essences, with unique rates of evaporation. This unromantically sounding idea, of molecules floating off your skin at different speeds, is what creates each scent’s aura, its melody and form. The intriguing aspect of Lazy Sunday Morning is that it’s part fresh cologne and part rosy chypre, oscillating between vivid aldehydes and dark moss, velvety rose and bitter patchouli. This interplay, well-modulated by musks, orange blossom, and green notes, is what gives this perfume its layered effect.

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Why This Small French Town Has the World’s Best Roses

Condé Nast Traveller’s April issue has an article about Grasse, a town in the south of France famous for its roses.  Why This Small French Town Has the World’s Best Roses follows Fabrice Penot, co-founder of perfume line Le Labo, around Grasse and explains what makes this place so unique. The article also uses my photography (the second image) from my own visit to Provence last year.

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“When is a rose not just a rose? When it’s Rosa centifolia, an old varietal so highly scented that it makes the florally obsessed downright covetous. “It’s a little fruitier, deeper, and more voluptuous than any other rose,” says Fabrice Penot, co-founder of the New York–based cult perfume line Le Labo, known for its complex yet clean, single note–inspired scents. Centifolia’s allure is heightened by the fact that it’s still grown commercially in relatively few places: The most famous is the small town of Grasse on the French Riviera, where decades of rising real estate prices have shrunk thousands of acres of rose fields to just a few plots. And although the Frenchborn Penot has traveled around the world to find inspiration for his perfumes—including recent trips to Quebec and China—his favorite pilgrimage remains the one he makes to Grasse’s annual Rosa centifolia harvest in May. To continue reading, please click here.”

Extra: From Petal to Essence : Grasse Rose Harvest

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, rose de mai

Traveling Perfume Box : Europe

Our European perfume box is ready to make its next round. If you are in Europe and would like to participate, here is how you can do it. And whether you’re participating or not, please read Aurora’s perfume descriptions below.

An organizational note: when you’re ready to ship your box onto someone else, please send me the full list of samples in the box and your perfume notes.

paris-opera

How does it work: To enter, please post a comment answer these questions: 1) are you in Europe, and if you’re a winner, can I share your email address with Aurora? ; 2) do you agree to pass the box onto someone else within two weeks or so (add a couple of your own samples and share your sampling notes with the rest of us)? and 3) what perfume are you wearing today? I will pick the next person to receive the box via a random number generator. I will announce that person in this spot and contact them via email. Next destination: ChristineB.

When a winner is ready to pass the box onto someone else, they should get in touch with me. Please include the full list of samples and your sampling notes (what you’ve discovered, what you’ve liked/disliked, any observations you care to include).

To check the progress of our boxes, please click on the Traveling Sample Box tag.

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Traveling Perfume Box : USA

Our US perfume box is ready to make its next round. If you are in the States and would like to participate, here is how you can do it. And whether you’re participating or not, please read Claire’s perfume descriptions below.

An organizational note: when you’re ready to ship your box onto someone else, please send me the full list of samples in the box and your perfume notes.

nyc-opera-met

How does it work: To enter, please post a comment answer these questions: 1) are you in the USA, and if you’re a winner, can I share your email address with Claire? ; 2) do you agree to pass the box onto someone else within two weeks or so (add a couple of your own samples and share your sampling notes with the rest of us)? and 3) what perfume are you wearing today? I will pick the next person to receive the box via a random number generator. I will announce that person in this spot and contact them via email. Next destination: Noele.

When a winner is ready to pass the box onto someone else, they should get in touch with me. Please include the full list of samples and your sampling notes (what you’ve discovered, what you’ve liked/disliked, any observations you care to include).

To check the progress of our boxes, please click on the Traveling Sample Box tag.

Continue reading →

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