Fragrant Pleasures: 351 posts

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

Recommend Me a Perfume : December

Bois de Jasmin will return on Monday, December 22nd. Today we have our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread. You can use this space to ask any questions about perfume, including fragrance recommendations. If you’ve asked for a recommendation before, we would love to hear how your search went and what you’ve discovered.

angel

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Linking Nose and Brain : Language of Scents

“It’s so hard to describe scents in words!” This is one of the most common phrases I’ve encountered in my profession. It’s only rivaled by “smell is the most primitive of all senses.” Perfume marketers are particularly prone to wringing their hands over this issue. Our supposed inability to describe scents is blamed for perfume not being taken seriously and not being recognized as art. And well, the reasoning goes, since the sense of smell is so primitive, no wonder we can’t describe odors. Our brains simply don’t have the capacity for it.

oranges and blotters

As someone who interacts daily with people who can describe scents perfectly–and this includes not just professional perfumers, but also many of you who visit these pages, I don’t believe in our inherent lack of scent language. If we can’t describe scents, it’s because we don’t often have an opportunity to do so.

Both the idea that scents can’t be described and the primitive nature of the sense of smell would have seemed bizarre to Indians in the first millennium CE. In their society, aromas were a part of daily life, from religious ceremonies to seduction, and even, politics. Blending scents and using fragrant oils was not simply common practice, it was an essential element of culture. The art of perfumery was something performed by anyone wishing to be seen as educated and genteel.

Continue reading →

Siena, Coral, Gold : The Art of Storytelling

The Virgin Mary has just given birth. She’s reclining under a sumptuous red cover decorated with gold embroidery, while baby Jesus is given a bath. That Cennino Cennini, a fourteenth century Sienese artist, chose such an intimate rendition of the nativity is unexpected, but equally intriguing is the setting. Instead of a fantasy land or a barn from the biblical story, the event is taking place in a palace that any contemporary viewer in Siena would have found familiar. Cennini wanted to emphasize that God was not in some distant, faraway land. He was right here, in this city.

angel-sano-di-pietro

During my days as an art student, I was repeatedly told by my teachers to listen to the colors. It was the same advice I received years later as a perfumery trainee. In order to compose an accord that would be more than just a pleasant odor, you have to listen to scents. Each note has its feel, shape and character. Like fragrances, colors are powerful, and they can convey emotion as readily as gestures and lines.

Continue reading →

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Soaps and Creams

For this holiday gift guide, I decided to put together some of my favorite scented body products and some fun accessories. I also wanted for all selections to be under $50. Despite what beauty magazines tell you, you can really score some great, quality products on a budget. The second part of my holiday guide includes interesting finds like soap made with real sandalwood, luscious looking powder puffs and orange blossom scented skincare for men.

soap incense etc

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume Discovery Sets

Rosewater or Orange Blossom Water

As a scented gift for someone who also enjoys cooking, floral waters are unbeatable. They are available at gourmet food stores, Iranian, Indian and Middle Eastern shops and Whole Foods. $5-15, depending on the brand. If your gift recipient is new to floral waters, including a note with some of your favorite ways to use them would be a nice touch. You can find extra ideas here: 10 Ways to Use Rosewater and 10 Ways to Use Orange Blossom Water.

Continue reading →

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume Discovery Sets

And so December begins. The selection of holiday sets and packages at stores and online is downright overwhelming, and I don’t pretend to offer you a comprehensive guide. It’s only a collection of my favorite things, gifts I’ve given before to friends and family (and the ones they’ve enjoyed) and whatever I have seen and liked myself. Today the spotlight is on perfume sets.

perfume set

Giving perfume as gifts is tricky, but if you decide to introduce a friend to fragrance, a set of mini bottles or samples is perfect. One gift idea is to make your own decants and package them in spray atomizers. Clear, well-attached labels and a quality atomizer are a must, but the rest is easy–a colorful box, a few notes describing perfumes, and a ribbon. If you would rather go with commercial sets, below are a few ideas for both men and women.

Another gift idea is a set of perfume and lotion, a good idea if you know a fragrance your gift recipient wears. The only problem is that many luxury brands’ body products are a disappointment. A big price tag won’t guarantee a quality lotion or a moisturizing cream or that they would even smell close to the original perfume. I include a few favorites that I found well done, but in all cases, I recommend sampling the body products at store.

Two exceptions aside, all sets are under $100. While I include a few suggestions on where to find them online, the list is far from exhaustive.

L’Artisan Parfumeur  The Perfume Box

l'artisan samples

L’Artisan always does excellent holiday sets, and this selection of 10 samples is terrific and well-priced. $20 gets you and your lucky gift recipient 10 x 2 ml vials of Batucada Eau de Toilette, Caligna Eau de Parfum, La Chasse Aux Papillonsr Eau de Toilette, L’Eau D’Ambre Extreme Eau de Parfum, Fou D’Absinthe Eau de Parfum, Mure Et Musc Extreme Eau de Parfum, Nuit De Tubereuse Eau de Parfum, Premier Figuier Eau de Toilette, Seville a L’Aube Eau de Parfum, and Timbuktu Eau de Parfum. $20. Available at Luckyscent, Aedes, Barneys and major department stores.

Continue reading →

From the Archives

Latest Comments

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2014 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved.