Victoria: 1822 posts

Vanilla and Nutmeg Scented Plum Jam

Judging by the variety of gourmand fragrances, the kitchen is a terrific source of inspiration for perfumers, and the exchange happens the other way too. A perfumer turns to vanilla to round out a composition, and if you’re in doubt how to jazz up your dessert, try this familiar sweet note. Vanilla is versatile enough to play along side many different ingredients, but it pairs especially well with stone fruit. This was my thinking as I simmered plums with sugar and a generous dose of vanilla in an impromptu jam I had to devise with a surfeit of damsons. I splashed it over the bubbling jam so liberally that the kitchen was filled with vanilla scented steam within seconds.

plum jam2

The jam was very good, and my husband pronounced it the best plum jam he has tried, but I felt that something was missing. The sweetness of vanilla and plums was rich and deep, but I wished there was more bite and sparkle. When I returned to the kitchen for one more experiment, I added lemon zest and nutmeg towards the end, and the spicy-citrusy twist completed the picture. Now, this jam was not only perfumed as well as something from Serge Lutens, but it was also richly flavored.

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Serge Lutens L’Orpheline : Perfume Review


The other day I was trying hard to figure out why exactly I disliked Serge Lutens’s L’Orpheline as much as I did. Because I didn’t simply not care for it; it made me recoil and I had difficulty wearing it multiple times in order to review it. With some fragrances, you need a longer courtship to learn their moods and see how they can match yours, but in the case of L’Orpheline, I liked it less and less with each wear.


On the face of it, L’Orpheline should be the right one for me. It’s an incense blend, and I love incense. It intriguingly promises to layer incense with cream, and I’m game for such surprises. It’s also the product of a collaboration between Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake, and I have so many perfumes created by them in my wardrobe that I can be easily called a fan. So, why does L’Orpheline fail so dramatically to entice me?

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Scent Diary : Apples and Wet Leaves

I love the first of the season apples that are still not quite perfect. They may be too small, too bumpy or too soft, but the fragrance of green leaves, honey and butter compensates for any aesthetic flaws. This was the reason why I couldn’t resist getting more apples at the market, even though my fruit basket at home was overflowing.  When it comes to scented things, I’m too easily tempted, especially by the assurances of a sweet-looking lady that she grew these apples herself.

The apples at the market stalls are now competing with the nutty scent of fallen leaves. Golden autumnal light fills the parks and every gust of wind makes the carpet on the ground thicker and thicker. Sometimes I take detours to experience more of that aroma, because few things create that serene, yet bittersweet feeling of time flying by, one chapter closing and another one yet to open.

Scent Diary is a place where we can share fragrances we encounter, good and bad, perfumes we wear and the scents around us. It’s a way to sharpen our sense of smell, but also just to enjoy the fragrance hobby in a richer way. Whether you write down 1 recollection–“I smelled coffee this morning”–or 10 matters less than simply reminding yourself to smell. You can add as many comments as you wish. You can comment today or over the course of the week; this thread will always be open. Of course, do share what perfume you’re wearing or what particularly good scented products you’ve discovered.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Why You Can’t Smell Your Own Home

If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t smell your own home or why you stop smelling your own perfume, the explanation given by Pamela Dalton, a cognitive psychologist at Monell Chemical Senses Center, will shed some light. “At home, say you have a new cinnamon-scented air freshener. When you first start to use it, the odorant molecules waft through your nose and hit your odor receptors, which then send signals to your olfactory bulb in the brain’s limbic system, which is associated with emotion and behavior. There, your brain identifies the odor and decides what to do about it.”


“But very quickly — after just about two breaths — ‘the receptors in your nose sort of switch off,’ Dalton says, and the intensity of the smell starts to fade. That’s because your brain has perceived the scent to be nonthreatening, which means there’s little need to pay close attention to it.” Read the rest of the article in NY Mag.

How do you counter this sensory adaptation? Switch scents from time to time, take breaks from using the same fragrance and also simply pay attention to smells. The more you focus on smelling, the more sensitive your nose becomes.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Roger & Gallet Oeillet Mignardise Soap

If I had a vintage vanity table with a large mirror, I would decorate it with perfume bottles, makeup brushes and neat rows of lipstick and nail polish. I would fill the candy dishes with face powder pearls and top them with colorful Caron powder puffs. And I would be sure to keep at least one package of Roger & Gallet Oeillet Mignardise soap in the drawer for that distinctive whiff of carnation scented retro glamour. Then nothing would stop me from feeling like a Hollywood starlet, the lack of other qualifications notwithstanding.

rg soap1

A girl can dream, right? While I have no space or practical use for a vanity table–my makeup application is usually a distinctly unglamorous, rushed affair conducted in the bathroom, the carnation part of my fantasy is something I insist on keeping. Oeillet Mignardise is a simple way of having it, and I usually stuff these soap bars in my linen closet and lingerie drawer, in addition to using them in the shower. If I had to use a single type of soap for the foreseeable future, Oeillet Mignardise would be it.

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