Coumarin & Tonka Bean: 15 posts

Tonka beans, the seeds from the fruits of the Dipteryx Odorata tree native to South America, look like black, wrinkled beans, but they smell heavenly–a mix of toasted almond, cherry, and mellow tobacco. Coumarin is the main fragrant component of tonka beans. If you ever get to play with real tonka beans, try them in desserts instead of vanilla or cinnamon. In perfumes they lend a rich, opulent note. The velvety warmth of Guerlain’s classics (ie, L’Heure Bleue, Nahema) wouldn’t exist without tonka. To see a detailed discussion, please take a look at Coumarin, Tonka Beans : Perfume Notes.

Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au The Bleu : Perfume Review

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Who could have predicted that one of the greatest perfumes of the 20th century would be a rejected green tea accord? Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert was originally created by Jean-Claude Ellena for Christian Dior, but at the last moment, the house decided on what is now Fahrenheit. A number of fragrance houses also shook their heads, until the Italian jeweler Bvlgari took a gamble on Ellena’s mod. The rest is history.

the bleu

Today, despite its young age, a mere 23 years, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert is in the pantheon of perfumery classics for its laconic composition and distinctive character. The theme invites plenty of variations and none have been more interesting than Bvlgari’s own. The green tea note can be embellished with orange blossom and bitter herbs (Eau Parfumée au Thé Blanc), pepper and fig (Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge), or, as is the case with the latest sequel, Eau Parfumée au Thé Bleu, iris and lavender.

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Guerlain L’Homme Ideal : Fragrance Review

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The first time I smelled Guerlain’s L’Homme Idéal, I chuckled, because clearly, their ideal man is wearing a little black dress. Yes, L’Homme Idéal is a masculine twist on La Petite Robe Noire. But this kind of borrowing, right down to the toasted almond and praline details, is clever rather than boring. This is not just another bland and safe sports cologne, that’s for sure.

Guerlain-L-Homme-Ideal

The quest for an ideal man is nothing new, in life or in perfume, and Guerlain’s approach to L’Homme Idéal is rather humorous. Instead of using notes that for reasons of accident and culture came to be seen as the only ones appropriate to men, like lavender, herbs, cedarwood or mild spices, perfumer Thierry Wasser loads the composition with gourmand accents.  It tries to tempt men with the same delicious notes that made La Petite Robe Noire such a success. Continue reading →

Smell Bent Commando : Fragrance Review

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Andy discovers another cheap and chic perfume.

Smell Bent is a small, independent perfume company with an interest in keeping fragrance enjoyable, affordable, and, above all, fun. The cheeky names and concepts behind their fragrances, including Monaco-Dependent and Violet Tendencies might sound wacky, but in a market where we’re up to our noses in increasingly expensive niche perfumes, I find a playful and inexpensive line refreshing. After recently testing some perfumes from the brand, one stood out to me above the rest, a fragrance called Commando.

commando

At first I thought Commando would be bold and dynamic, as it sounded like a perfume one sprays on for combat. This was before I realized that the creator had another idea in mind—let it suffice to say that Commando is described “as close as it gets to wearing nothing at all.” Likewise, Commando is best described as a skin scent, though wearing it hardly feels like wearing nothing. Commando is both simple and strangely intriguing despite only two distinguishable notes, of musk and tonka. On the whole, this fragrance has little in the way of development, but the overall light and luminous effect is more than the sum of its parts.

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Viennese Vanilla Crescents with Tonka Bean (Vanillekipferln)

Tonka beans look like dusty, wrinkled pods, but they smell like smoky cherries, sugared almonds and sun warmed hay. Many fragrance raw materials have heady aromas that are as complex as those of a finished perfume, but few rival tonka bean for its luscious seduction. Gourmand doesn’t even begin to describe it. It’s decadent, sultry, and addictive.

The best way to experience the complexity of tonka bean is not just to smell it, but to eat it. Tonka bean is the flavor of the moment in Europe, where I’ve encountered it in cakes, ice cream, chocolates, and even savory dishes. The sweetness of tonka lends itself perfectly to desserts, especially anything that contains almonds, vanilla, or cherries. These ingredients explore natural affinities, and you can’t go wrong by adding a pinch of tonka to cherry compotes, almond cakes or vanilla custard. The best way to imbue as much tonka flavor as possible into a dessert is to grate it finely and either infuse it in warm liquid, or as I do in the recipe for Viennese Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferln), cream it with butter.

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Christian Dior Escale a Parati : Perfume Review

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In my bid to fantasize that I’m living in a hot tropical climate, I’ve been starting my day by wearing citrus colognes. When I splash on something redolent of juicy oranges, lemon blossoms or bitter grapefruit, for a moment I forget the overcast skies and the nagging rain. As I sniff my bergamot scented wrists, I might as well be at the seashore, walking on warm sand, kicking up opalescent seashells with my toe.  Better still for my daydreaming if the citrus is wrapped around dark woods, smoky vanilla or luscious amber. Then, it feels particularly sultry and exciting! When I heard about Christian Dior Escale à Parati, which promised to take me to a town on the Costa Verde of Brazil and comfort me with tonka bean dusted oranges, I didn’t hesitate to order a sample.

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  • katherine x in Balmain Ivoire Perfume Giveaway: Tammy, A few lovely sweet florals are: Paris (Balenciaga) – sweet violets; Gardenia Extraordinaire (Van Cleef & Arpels); Beige (Chanel); second Baiser Vole (Cartier) -lily; Carnal Flower (Malle) -Tuberose; Fracas… April 30, 2017 at 11:04am

  • Madelyn E in Balmain Ivoire Perfume Giveaway: Oh thank you so very much for your generous giveaway ! Sweet florals : Estée Lauder – Modern Muse , White Linen , Beautiful , Sisley : Soir de Lune… April 29, 2017 at 7:29pm

  • Christine Corretti in Balmain Ivoire Perfume Giveaway: I would suggest the semi-sweet floral ‘L’Interdit’ by Guerlain and Hanae Mori’s ‘Butterfly’ (the original). Even sweeter florals: Nest’s ‘Midnight Fleur’ Jo Malone ‘Nectarine Blossom and Honey’ email contact is… April 29, 2017 at 7:22pm

  • Karen A in Balmain Ivoire Perfume Giveaway: What a generous giveaway! Please do not enter me, but I, too, wanted to add some suggestions. These Guerlains are beautiful sweet florals, French Kiss, Nuit D’amour, and Le 68.… April 29, 2017 at 6:43pm

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