Orange Blossom & Neroli: 52 posts

Guerlain Habit Rouge and Its Family : Perfume Review

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Jean-Paul Guerlain, the last perfumer for the house carrying the family name, once memorably said that one could be a Shalimar woman or a L’Heure Bleue woman, but not both. Of course, he made the statement in his usual provocative manner, but the idea was that the two perfumes had such different characters that you loved either one or the other. I had all the makings of a L’Heure Bleue woman, having fallen for its older sister Après l’Ondée, but then I met Habit Rouge. One encounter was all it took for me not only to be captivated by its velvety orange blossom doused in incense and bergamot, but also to understand the allure of Shalimar.

Habit-Rouge-Guerlain

That Habit Rouge is marketed to men should make no difference to women. In 1965, when Habit Rouge was created by Guerlain, the collection had many splendid feminine perfumes like Jicky, Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, and Mitsouko, but the offerings for men were considerably less outstanding. The exception was Vétiver, which Jean-Paul Guerlain created a few years earlier. His solution to draw gentlemen to the perfume counter was to take the basic outline of Shalimar and its famous accord of citrus and sweet oriental notes and give it a dandy appeal with leather and green orange blossom. The result was a less sweet, less curvy and less ripe version of Shalimar, but with all the elegance and panache of its great ancestor.

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Bottega Veneta Knot : Perfume Review

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The main argument you hear from brands launching one bland, derivative perfume after another is that consumers like this sort of thing and that it is impossible to come up with an easy to like and uncomplicated perfume that holds the attention and smells interesting. But Bottega Veneta Knot, the new fall launch, proves that this reasoning doesn’t have much merit. If you want a fragrance that is as versatile and stylish as a little black dress, then this radiant orange blossom has much to recommend itself.

knot

Bottega Veneta’s first perfume was a leather-moss blend attuned to today’s fashions, with emphasis on radiance, softness and bright top notes. Knot’s basic idea is sheer as tulle orange blossom edged with vanilla and musk. Orange blossom is derived from the flowers of a bitter orange tree, and depending on how it’s processed–melting the flowers in a solvent or distilling the essence with steam, the result will be different*. The former gives you orange blossom absolute with its sweet, sumptuous notes, and the latter–neroli oil redolent of green buds of spring. Knot blends both of these essences and sheers them out with citrus juice and featherweight musk. The result is as fresh as a classical cologne, but with a curvier body.

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Jean Patou Eau de Patou : Fragrance Review (Vintage and New)

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Cologne was never one of my favorite fragrance types. You see, when you start out exploring perfume, citrusy blends (eaux de cologne) are suggested on the grounds that they’re “fresh and easy to wear.” Except that I found most colognes to be neither. They smelled either too dry, too sharp or evoked an unfortunate association with furniture polish. I admired the ease with which some women could douse themselves in Hermès’s Eau d’Orange Verte and project an aura of casual elegance, but for quick refreshment, I reached for either light florals or green perfumes. What changed my mind about colognes was Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage and Jean Patou’s Eau de Patou.

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Much has been written about Eau Sauvage, one of the most revolutionary fragrances in recent history, but Eau de Patou has kept a lower profile. Perfumer Jean Kerléo created it in 1976, and when you smell the original version, it’s remarkably modern and luminous with its generous dose of sheer floral notes wrapped around classical bitter citrus and moss. A touch of sweetness takes the sharp edge off the lemon and lavender, and the drydown of damp woods and powdery amber is comfortable and graceful.

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Vero Profumo Les Voiles d’Extrait : Mito and Rubj Perfume Reviews

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Although I make accords of various materials as part of my work, they’re not what I would call “perfume.” Most of them are meant to explore combinations of specific ingredients or to showcase a raw material. Even so, I often return to some of my favorites well after the project is over to add a little touch here or there. Imagine how much more tempting it must be for a perfumer to revisit her creations down the line, but also more frustrating, since loyal clients don’t want their fragrances to change.

vero-profumo

For indie perfumer Vero Kern the solution was to present Rubj, Mito, Kiki and Onda, the quartet that makes up her Vero Profumo collection, as three different concentrations–Eau de Parfum, Extrait de Parfum, and now Voile d’Extrait. As I quickly discovered, they could easily be different perfumes, and so I’ve waited with anticipation for Les Voiles d’Extrait.

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Bobbi Brown Beach and Other Sun Fantasy Scents : Perfume Review

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Patricia talks about an endless summer in a perfume bottle, from Bobbi Brown Beach to Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess.

In his novel Remembrances of Things Past, Marcel Proust used petite madeleines, little cakes shaped like scallop shells and dipped in tea as a literary device to bring his character instantly back in time. One sniff of Bobbi Brown’s Beach does the same thing to me. It transports me to a certain carefree summer many years ago, a summer of wearing madras shorts, skate boarding, kissing my first boyfriend, listening to the Beach Boys and Rolling Stones on the radio, and slathering on Coppertone, a popular American sun lotion.

patricia-summer

Beach isn’t an exact match for Coppertone, but sweet jasmine and orange blossom combine deliciously with salty and marine notes in a way that is strongly reminiscent of it. It maintains the same balance of notes throughout, and there is no real progression from the top notes to the dry down. Although Beach wears very close to the skin, it lasts from five to six hours on me.

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