Jasmine: 53 posts

Jasmine smells like apricot jam and green banana peels with a hint of tanned leather, a surprising mixture of airy and sultry, sweet and tangy. Natural jasmine is one of the most expensive essences available to perfumers, so there are plenty of man-made materials that either duplicate or amplify its scent.

Jasmine Pearl Tea

Weekday mornings are frequently humdrum and rarely exciting. To take them to the level of exquisite takes an imaginative mind. Such as that of my mother. One of her solutions is to set aside time at the start of each day for tea or coffee in her favorite cup, and so devoted is she to this tradition that every member of the family, including the cats, now has a designated “favorite cup.” I don’t have a single favorite, because whenever I pass by one of the dusty antique stores in Sablon, I come away with yet another mismatched vessel bearing a green chinoiserie pattern, garlands of tiny roses or a faded landscape of windmills and meadows. But I too am a believer in adding a dose of exquisite to every morning. Since jasmine pearl tea is one of the most perfect things in the world, it’s my panacea for the monotony.

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Everything is beautiful about jasmine pearls–the shape of the fuzzy tea buds rolled by hand into neat pebbles, the gold amber of the liquid in the cup, the sunlit aroma of flowers. The latter is the reason why I prefer this jasmine tea variety to any other. Think of your most blossom festooned fantasies, and here you have them–in a cup. The richness of flavor and aroma comes from the complex process that approximates the ancient technique of enfleurage. Tea leaves and jasmine flowers are arranged in alternating layers and the blossoms are replaced every four to six hours. The scenting is repeated up to seven times for the highest quality of jasmine pearls, which are made with young tea buds.

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The Quest for Essences : Rose, Jasmine and Bergamot

Where do the perfumery ingredients come from? How are they produced? What do they smell like? Out of all aspects of fragrance, the composition–or rather, what’s exactly in a bottle of perfume–remains the most mystifying and interesting. While the following films from Dior are heavy on marketing, they nevertheless give a glimpse into some of the most classical ingredients in a perfumer’s palette–rose, jasmine and bergamot.

If you don’t see English subtitles, click on the CC button under the video, next to the volume controls.

Unsurprisingly, my favorite film is the one dedicated to jasmine. You visit fields in India with Dior’s chief perfumer François Demachy who explains the difference between jasmine sambac and jasmine grandiflorum. “Sambac has something animal and powerful about it. A slightly orange-like and more sensual quality. Grandiflorum is more delicate, more radiant.” He then takes you to a flower market, a place every visitor to India finds exhilarating.

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Daily Pleasures : Jasmine Shower Gels

It’s easy to fall into a routine underpinned by the stable schedule of work, studies and family responsibilities. One day flows into the next, alternating with all too brief weekends and lit up by the distant glow of a vacation. Around here this way of life is referred to as métro, boulot, dodo, translated literally as “commute, work, sleep.” As the daylight hours get shorter, I feel the drain of such a schedule even more. Waking up to the murky darkness and a glittering sliver of moon–the same vignette I saw before I went to bed, I start counting the number of days until the winter holidays. Which at this point feel too distant for comfort.

jasmine

On the other hand, it’s always possible to make a mini holiday for yourself, even in the middle of the dullest period. It can be an hour at a museum, a shopping excursion with friends or even just a favorite scented candle. Surrounding yourself with favorite objects and planning events that give you a dose of pleasure goes a long way to alleviating the sameness of inescapable routine.

Lately, my little joys have been jasmine scented. It may come as no surprise to my regular readers that I love jasmine, but there are times when I’m particularly obsessed with it. Jasmine is linked to all things I enjoy–Chinese tea, Persian gardens, Indian incense, Ukrainian summer nights and Sicilian desserts. Just a whiff of its complex perfume, a harmony of apricot jam, green banana and a hint of warm suede, is thrilling. Since I try to start my day on the right note, jasmine scented showers are it.

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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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Miu Miu Perfume Review

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Launching a perfume today requires an intricate–and costly–configuration of product development, marketing, and distribution. Small brands may risk taking their own idiosyncratic course, but large fashion houses usually rely on another brand to create and distribute their fragrances. If they want to make real money, that is. For Prada’s sister Miu Miu, the partnership has been with Coty. It means in practical terms that the Coty fragrance development team weighs heavily on the finished creation, subjecting it to market tests and other scrutiny; after all, the success of it will reflect as much on Coty’s profit margins as it would on Miu Miu’s. In other words, don’t expect avant-garde or cutting edge.

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And so I didn’t. But I was still taken aback at the wan aura of Miu Miu. I am certain that in its early iterations it must have been more interesting, since it was composed by Daniela Andrier, a perfumer noted for the elegance and polish of her creations (Marni, Bottega Veneta Knot, Prada Infusion d’Iris, Martin Margiela Untitled, all among my favorites). But what I smell on my skin is pale and far from the flamboyant chic of Miu Miu fashion. There is definitely quality, there is attention to detail, but it feels like the numerous cycles of market tests stripped Miu Miu of its more distinctive parts.

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