Frangipani & Tiare: 17 posts

Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie : Fragrance Review

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San Francisco is one of the most fragrant cities. The scents of salty sea breeze and jasmine are the strongest recollections from my visits. So I’m with Elisa on enjoying Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie, an effervescent perfume inspired by California and jasmine. 

I love the idea of perfumes inspired by a place – take Christopher Street, a leather scent named for a street in New York City known for its nightlife. Or any number of Bond No. 9 scents – the connections to the individual neighborhoods have been stretching believability for some time, I admit, but a few – like Broadway Nite, Chinatown, and Fire Island – nail the atmospheres of their respective inspirations. Then there’s a host of perfumes named after spots in Paris, including at least two simply named Paris.

california-reverie

It’s funny, on reflection, that there are so many perfumes named after New York – it’s one of my favorite places to be, but honestly, it kind of stinks. California, on the other hand, seems a bit under-leveraged in perfumery briefs. San Diego, for example, is one of the best-smelling cities I’ve been to; the air smells like sea salt, flowers, and eucalyptus trees.

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Monoi : Tahitian Beauty Secret

Andy’s recipe for a decadent and richly scented skin treatment

Last summer, I found myself surrounded by fragrant blossoms on a trip to the Florida Keys. By the time I came home, I simply could not take my mind off all of the gorgeously fragrant flowers I had experienced. All of a sudden, I was in search of something to preserve my memories of endless sunshine and clear, warm waters, and to my great fortune, I stumbled upon monoï.

monoi oil2

Monoï is a handcrafted creation from Tahiti, made by infusing coconut oil with fresh tiaré (Gardenia tahitensis) blossoms. When the velvety white petals are infused into coconut oil, the result is an exquisitely perfumed beauty elixir that smells like a night in paradise.

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Parfums de Nicolai Musc Monoi : Perfume Review

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Summer ends the same way for me. It seems that only yesterday I made vacation plans, unearthed a swimming suit from a pile of winter clothes and bought an extra bottle of sunscreen. And then I wake up at the end of August and see that the local stationery store is advertising “start of school” sales and tall lindens lining the avenues in the city are slowly changing from green to gold. If I could hit a pause button for a moment, I would, if only to capture this languid, golden sensation of late summer days. But everything rushes forward inexorably, and the most I can do is reach for bottled summer fantasies, such as Parfums de Nicolaï Musc Monoi.

musk monoi

Monoi (also called tiare) is a tropical blossom that smells creamy and intensely sweet. It’s macerated in coconut oil to capture its heady perfume, and the scented oil is used on skin and hair. If you’ve ever seen a fragrance or body product advertised as having a tropical fragrance, then this monoi-coconut combination is something you’ve already encountered. In France, summer scent often means sweet orange blossom, such as L’Oreal’s classical Ambre Solaire sunscreen, and in Musc Monoi, perfumer Patricia de Nicolaï weaves both Mediterranean and tropical inspirations.

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Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum : Fragrance Review

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Although I indulge in plenty of fantasies of spending summer by the sea, preferably a tiny fishing village where I would have nothing to do but read books and gaze onto the blue waves, every August I find myself in the city. With everyone rushing to the coast in search of their own summer fantasies and with airfares skyrocketing, I just create my own city vacation. I take long walks, experiment with my photography and just enjoy the strange calm of a European city during the summer break.

terracotta

I turn to perfume to make my city summers feel more tropical. In principle, cologne is the most refreshing choice on a hot day, but I hardly ever reach for citrus in the summer–gloomy winter mornings are another story. Instead, my perfume wardrobe blooms with white flowers–Marc Jacobs for Her, Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage, Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, Chanel Beige, and now, Terracotta Le Parfum.

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Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia Extrait : Perfume Review

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Elisa talks about gardenia, tiare, and leather as she reviews Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia Extrait.

Searching for a natural gardenia perfume is a little like hunting for unicorns – gardenias, notoriously, don’t release a natural oil. As Victoria once put it, “gardenia, temperamental flower that she is, does not give up her essence to any distillation methods.” Accordingly, gardenia in perfumery is necessarily a re-creation, using other materials to approximate the flower’s scent: sweetly tropical, but with an earthy element often likened to dirt or mushrooms.

gardenia

I was surprised, then, when I heard that Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes was releasing a gardenia scent, since Aftel is known for her all-natural creations. As it turns out, Cuir de Gardenia is based on the Tahitian gardenia, or tiare flower, which can be made into a (costly) enfleurage (termed monoi when using coconut oil). Aftel has bolstered this material with jasmine and benzyl acetate, an isolate that occurs naturally in jasmine and ylang-ylang and is also used as a solvent in plastic and resins.

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