Perfume 101: 140 posts

Here you can find how to guides to selecting, testing and enjoying scents. Also includes are the lists of our top favorite perfumes for different occasions and articles covering all range of topics related to fragrance. If you’re curious to step inside a perfume lab (or even become an industry professional), this group of essays will be of interest.

Perfume Drawer : Simple Storage Idea

I’m the last person to give advice about organization, since until recently my perfume collection was arranged in a manner defined as chaos in most dictionaries. I took searching for samples and decants as par for the course. But even dinosaurs like myself can evolve. What inspired me to change was a discussion brought about by Lauren’s article about her perfume collection. In her article, Lauren describes following a decluttering system based on the best-selling book by Marie Kondo and selecting out items that bring her joy. Her fragrance wardrobe, having been exposed to heat, is unfortunately beyond cure, but the sight of it nonetheless touches her so deeply that she is determined to keep it. It’s not just the perfumes in the bottles, but memories and feelings that matter.

perfume-storage

As I read the article, I realized that the last time I felt any thrill out of my collection was when I was a college student and had a few bottles arranged on top of my bookshelf. The little arrangement–Prescriptives Calyx in its frosted green bottle, a small black cube of Robert Piguet Fracas, a precious bell jar of Serge Lutens Bois de Violette ordered via a friend in London and delivered to New Haven by another friend, and a ragtag assortment of decants from Makeupalley swapping–next to my textbooks on economics and political philosophy spoke to me of new discoveries, wanderlust and new friendships. Since then, my collection has grown by leaps and bounds, and while I pared down a lot during my move to Belgium, I still had enough to require a storage solution. I enjoyed the individual bottles, but whenever I surveyed the haphazard arrangement, I felt overwhelmed rather than overjoyed.

Continue reading →

Top 10 of Summer: Light and Easy Edition

Elisa on some of her favorite summer perfumes.

Earlier this week, Victoria wondered if summer perfumes are necessary, or if the “summery” designation is just marketing spin. In past years, I’ve mostly ignored the supposed seasonality of my perfumes, often most enjoying smoky ambers or patchouli gourmands when amplified in the heat. (Perverse, I know.) But this year, I’ve been in more of a relaxed, hammock-lounging mood, and traditionally “summery” perfumes like citrus scents and light florals are just what I want. So here are some of the easy, almost humble perfumes I’ve been reaching for at home and packing with me when I travel.

roses in blue

Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus

Far from the most renowned perfume in the Ormonde Jayne line, for good reason; Osmanthus is not as opulent or distinctive as some. But it’s an incredibly pretty rendition of the apricot-tea scent of osmanthus, mixed half and half with pomelo juice like a spa version of an Arnold Palmer.

Continue reading →

Is Summer Perfume Necessary?

Sady Dole of The Guardian has written a very nice piece on summer fragrances, and one of the questions she poses is whether such a thing as a summer perfume even exists. My voice is a skeptical one in the story, while Angela Sanders of Now Smell This and Alyssa Harad of Coming To My Senses provide other perspectives.

strawberries1

While I think that seasonal divisions are mostly about marketing, why not have fun with it? Wearing Angel, rain or shine, is fine, but I think that it’s more interesting is to pick a fragrance to reflect my mood or the changes in nature around me. A summer perfume may be something lighter, brighter, with a cooling effect like Guerlain Vétiver. Or it may be a lush tropical floral–Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower–to remind those of us immured in the concrete office buildings that there is summer out there.

The only type of perfumes I avoid are the ubiquitous summer editions every brand brings out, the “Light” or “Summer” versions of their current top sellers. They are not always bad, but they’re rarely exciting.

So, what do you say on the subject of summer fragrances–do you always switch scents in the summer or not?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, one of the best summer perfumes.

Madame Carven and Ma Griffe

She dressed Edith Piaf and Leslie Caron. She created uniforms for more than a dozen airlines and dressed French traffic police. When she launched a fragrance, she provocatively named it Ma Griffe, which can mean either “my signature” or “my claw” in French. She was a force and a character. She was Carmen de Tommaso, or as she was better known in the world of haute couture, Madame Carven. Yesterday Madame Carven passed away at the age of 105, leaving behind an incredible legacy, both in the world of fashion and fragrance.

madame carven

De Tommaso was introduced to couture by her aunt Josy Boyriven–the last three letters of whose name, “ven”, got joined with “car” of Carmen to form “Carven”–and she started designing both out of fascination and frustration. She was dismayed by the limited choices for petite women and the lack of attention from the fashion masters.

Continue reading →

Coconut Notes: 21 Perfumes that Take You to the Beach

Elisa explains how coconut is used in perfumes and offers 21 examples with 5 different themes. Summer fun begins here. 

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the middle of a cultural coconut renaissance. First came coconut water, touted to be a low-sugar super-hydrator, like nature’s Gatorade. (I think it’s gross; with the high potassium content, it feels like I’m drinking soup.) Then, widespread reports of the virtual all-purposeness of coconut oil: Clean your house! Remove your eye makeup! Moisturize your body! (Again, I haven’t succumbed. But if you don’t mind glistening all over and smelling like a Mounds bar at all times, more power to you.)

coconut

If I’m skeptical of the head-to-tail approach to coconuts, I am a longtime lover of coconut scents and of coconut flesh and milk in food. It’s one of those magical ingredients, like lime or cilantro, that can completely make a dish. I love it in desserts – I still think about a bite of exceptionally moist coconut cake I had when I was 17, and Caramel Delites were always my favorite Girl Scout Cookie – but I think I love it even more in savory applications, for the unctuousness it adds to dishes like Thai curry.

In perfume, coconut is usually represented by one or more lactones – from the Latin root lact- meaning milk, lactones give a fruity, fatty creaminess to compositions. Coconut lactones can range from fresh and milky to peachy to waxy to toasted and nutty (with an almondy coumarin facet) to downright buttery, like coconut oil with butter flavoring.

Continue reading →

From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Aisha in Scent Diary : Old Books: The milkweed is bordering on invasive, and all of it is still there. It’s been either very stormy or way too humid and hot to do yard work. Some of… August 1, 2015 at 9:59am

  • bluebruja in Serge Lutens Chergui Giveaway: First of all, thank you 1-my scented mistake was dzing. So animal and sensual, so strange and brethtaking. I wore it in a business meeting. People some times was looking… August 1, 2015 at 9:46am

  • Elizabeth in Serge Lutens Chergui Giveaway: What a great, generous giveaway! 1) L’Heure Bleue. I was in love with the name, the heritage, and the romantic image. I even tried the vintage parfum, but when my… August 1, 2015 at 9:38am

  • FearsMice in Serge Lutens Chergui Giveaway: Chergui! What a delightful giveaway! 1.) The first and only time I tested Montale’s Aoud Lime was on a workday. I knew it was a mistake when my division director… August 1, 2015 at 9:23am

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2015 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved.