Fragrant Pleasures: 390 posts

Essays on scented pleasures: collecting and enjoying fragrance, building perfume wardrobe, growing aromatic plants and more.

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.

ft

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

Does It Spark Joy?

Creative chaos, orderly arrangements, or everything in between, we embrace all forms of building our perfume wardrobes. Today, Lauren offers her thoughts on perfume collecting and the power of scent.

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo by now, you haven’t been reading much on the internet.  Marie is a best-selling author from Japan, an organizational expert and consultant who helps clients tidy up their homes.  She advocates de-cluttering to an extreme, advising readers and clients alike to get rid of any object that does not “spark joy.”  No over-thinking, re-sorting, or feeling guilty.  Either an object sparks joy for you or it does not; and if it does not, it doesn’t deserve a place in your home.

mitsouko-kundera

As a neat freak, I devoured the book and relished applying her process to my entire collection of earthly belongings.

Except my perfume collection.

It sits on a rickety platform stand in my bedroom, 3 small shelves completely covered bottles, boxes, and vials with which I have never considered parting.  It’s unstable and easy to knock, several bottles often falling in subsequent domino-style if I don’t replace a piece perfectly, or if a puppy lollops by a table leg with a bit too much enthusiasm.  My modest collection houses antique finds from my grandmother’s house (modern-day regulatory nightmares); Chanel print marketing from the 80s; a bottle of Anais Anais from 1993; mass and niche bottles I’ve purchased for myself in the last 20 years.  As a fragrance evaluator and self-proclaimed perfume-o-phile, how could this collection not spark joy?

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Lily of the Valley Potpourri

A couple of years ago my aunt gave me a book called L’Art de Simplicité (The Art of Simplicity) that promised to declutter my life. After the first five pages, I felt like a failure. My bedroom is nothing like a room at a Zen monastery, my kitchen resembles a spice aisle at Kalustyan’s, and my living room with its overspilling bookshelves is more reminiscent of a public library during children’s hour than a space where two adults live.

lily of the valley potpourri

After reading much sensible advice on paring down and retaining only the essentials, I put L’Art de Simplicité down in my ziggurat of other books and haven’t picked it up since. You know what? I like having a bit of chaos in my life. It doesn’t stress me out that my perfume samples aren’t sorted alphabetically or that I have far too many bottles of flavored vinegar. What are the essentials anyway? What if I want to make salad with blackcurrant and rose vinegar today and try grilled chicken marinated in the juniper variety. I also can’t decide whether I want to wear a cologne or a voluptuous rose, so all options are around.

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Cherry Blossom Inspirations

The white petals swirl around me. I look up and see star shaped blossoms dotting the blue sky. I should be enjoying our cherry orchard while strolling through it with a book of Japanese poetry or lounging under the trees with a cup of tea. Instead, my hands are covered with wet soil, and I’m dressed in something that used to be my grandmother’s housedress. It’s the potato planting season, and moments of quiet contemplation are few and far between. I promise myself that I will live out my 19th century country manor fantasies one of these days, but as the Japanese poets know only too well, the blossoming cherry is the embodiment of impermanence, a bittersweet reminder of the transience of life. The next day the rains come, and most of the dazzling glory is lying on the ground splattered in mud.

cherry blossom2

Every spring I desperately want the cherry blossoms to last longer, to have more days of walking up to the snow white froth outside my window, to bury my face into the mass of petals, and just to feel the exuberance of spring around me. As the season runs its course, the textures and colors of cherry flowers seep into my day to day life and linger long after the petals turn to dust. Last year, I experimented with Japanese seasonal recipes and tried salted cherry blossoms in sakura tea and steamed flounder (marinate fish in sake, add a pinch of salt and a few salted blossoms before setting it in the steamer). This year, my makeup kit is all cherry blossom themed, with the appropriate perfumes to complement the look.

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privee : Perfume Review

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Is it possible to have too many rose perfumes? Not really, if you ask me. On the other hand, it’s entirely within reason to limit one’s wardrobe to the best of the best, especially since we’re spoiled for choice. Unfortunately, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Rose Privée doesn’t make the cut. While made from quality materials, it has neither an interesting character nor does it offer anything you can’t find elsewhere (and for significantly less money).

rose prive

On the rose spectrum, Rose Privée is on the light and sparkling end, although it has some dark touches. From the moment you apply it, you notice fruity notes—sweet raspberry, tart pomegranate peel and other juicy, bright effects. Rose essence naturally shares many elements with the aromas of berries, so the fruity nuance is a pleasant, harmonious touch. A green, spicy note underneath the pink froth should be a great contrast, but instead, it turns bitter and musty, a flower on the edge of withering.

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