Film Noir: 51 posts

Dark and brooding perfume fantasies

Aftelier Perfumes Sepia : Fragrance Review


Natural perfumer Mandy Aftel created Sepia out of an exchange with fellow California perfumer Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio.  This, the third installment of Nathan Branch’s Letters to a Fellow Perfumer project, involved each of the perfumers working with a material they had not used before.  Erickson chose black and blue hemlock spruce absolutes for a perfume that became Forest Walk.

Aftel originally selected natural alpha ionone (a violet-like smell) and a fire tree absolute for an idea she had to depict her feelings about California’s Gold Country and its ghost towns, of “the beauty of what remains after something is ravaged by time.”  Shortly into the project, Aftel abandoned both of these original materials, replacing them with flowering tobacco absolute and blond cedarwood and from this built her fragrant tone poem of both an imaginary past and a present reality.

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Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient : Fragrance Review


During my last trip to the Middle East almost three years ago, my camera broke down, and I couldn’t take a single photo. At first, the missed opportunity to capture the blazing whiteness of marble buildings, the majestic and scary beauty of the desert, and the dazzle of gold displays made me wince with regret each time I came upon another beautiful scene. But after a while, I realized that maybe my camera wouldn’t be necessary after all; the scents surrounding me were so strong and vivid that today I have no trouble recalling either the aroma of ripe dates–caramel and honey!–or the heady fragrance of cardamom and rosewater flavored coffee. And of course, the perfumes! Both the men and women I encountered were exquisitely perfumed. Smoky roses, honeyed oud mixed with patchouli, sandalwood roughed up by smoky leather… I had to fight the urge to ask every other person in the street what they were wearing.

But out of their hot desert context, some of these perfumes felt heavy and one-dimensional when I tried wearing them back home. They were still beautiful, but they required a certain mood or an occasion, and for this reason I wore them much less often than I anticipated. Similarly, Middle Eastern inspired fragrances like Montale and SoOud were compelling in theory, but in practice I rarely craved them. When Guerlain announced its Les Déserts d’Orient collection, comprised of Rose Nacrée du Désert, Songe d’Un Bois d’Été, and Encens Mythique d’Orient, I was worried that it might be overly glitzy and flamboyant for me.

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Guerlain Rose Nacree du Desert : Perfume Review


When I first heard about Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Désert, which is part of the Les Déserts d’Orient collection, along with Encens Mythique d’Orient and Songe d’Un Bois d’Été, I was only mildly curious. Had it been a part of the regular collection, I would have been more proactive in seeking out a sample, but Les Déserts d’Orient is sold at only a few boutiques, and I dislike falling in love with something this exclusive. (Can you tell where this is going?)


To make a long story short, a sample found its way to me thanks to a kind reader, and whenever I have been wearing Rose Nacrée du Désert, I’ve been experiencing minor scented epiphanies. I may be doing something as unglamorous as picking up dry cleaning, when I suddenly catch a whiff of dark roses clinging to my skin. It’s an instant dose of chic, and on most days, I desperately need it.

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Chanel Coco : Perfume Review


I might as well admit it, I originally disliked Chanel Coco.  I will be up front about that because now I won’t be separated from it. Coco is a good case for retesting a fragrance:  more compliments have come my way with Coco than with any other fragrance. Although created almost 30 years ago in 1984, Coco is far from being dated. It is an outgoing, definite statement scent, not a wallflower. It is a fragrance from the time when women adopted a signature perfume as bold style accessories. Consider Coco an adornment, a piece of jewelry, the finishing touch.

Classic Chanel scents reveal themselves through mists of aldehydes that always to my nose make a Chanel perfume smell high concept.  They are tailored even when they are meant to be sexy, as is the case with Coco.  The top notes are bright and brassy with ripe, fruity aldehydes, mandarin peel, and macerated raisins.  These notes ignite as if flambéed.

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Knize Ten : Perfume Review


Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Smoky leather and green jasmine… The first time I smelled Coty Chypre I was startled by its wistful aura. For months before Chypre and I finally met I had fantasized about how dramatic and roughhewn it must have been to simultaneously set a new trend and to shock its contemporaries. But as I discovered, Chypre is alluring and harmonious, if not exactly well-behaved. I fell hard for its dark leather accord, which I subsequently spotted in Chanel Cuir de Russie, enjoyed in Robert Piguet Bandit and mourned in the reformulated Parfums Gres Cabochard. Finding Knize Ten is a flashback to the first time I dabbed a few dark drops of Chypre on my wrist and discovered that leather can be devastatingly seductive.

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  • Tiffanie in Infuriating Things: I am several weeks behind in reading but could not resist taking a look at the comments regarding infuriating things. I have to comment regarding the Hermes scented origami horses.… August 30, 2015 at 11:38pm

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