Lists: 51 posts

10 Fall Perfumes With a Retro Accent

Retro, vintage, old-fashioned. These terms, with various nuances, suggest fragrances that smell of another time. Elisa explores some of her favorite perfume examples.  What’s dated to one person is a retro classic to another.

What smells old-fashioned or,  more positively, “classic” or “retro” to any given nose is bound to change over time. In the near future, I suspect, the berry-and-peony fruity-florals and fruitchoulis that were ubiquitous in the late ‘90s and aughts will smell nostalgically old-fashioned to some, dated to others. Hillary Clinton reportedly wears Angel, and I recently heard a young YouTube star describe Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle as her most “mature” smelling perfume!

gingko

The perfumes I’ve been reaching for most this fall aren’t the all-time classics – the Shalimars, the Mitsoukos, the Chanel No. 5’s. But these scents, mostly born in the ‘70s and ‘80s, remind me of the grande dames of my youth, who weren’t in the least intimidated by unforgivingly sharp green chypres, loud and complicated florals, or deeply powdery orientals, all with massive sillage. To me, these are the new retro classics.

Chanel Coco 

When I first encountered Coco on a perfume counter many years ago, I found it confusing. What exactly was this mess, which couldn’t decide whether to be sweet or not? But now it smells complex and incredibly luxurious, especially in the parfum – all spicy, rosy florals and amber with a dry, animalic leather note cutting through. I’ve come to think of Coco as the quintessential, night-at-the-opera floriental.

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Portable Perfumes for Summer Adventures

Whatever your destination this summer, Patricia shares her selection of travel sprays and rollerballs.

Summer is a time I like to take things down a notch, kick my shoes off, and wiggle my toes in the sand. Food becomes simple salads, boiled shucked corn, and barbecued meat and veggies; clothes are less restrictive and in lighter fabrics and colors; and summer hours are the norm at many workplaces.

sea

Serious perfume also takes a backseat in the warmer months, as my nose and my brain crave a respite from anything too complicated or fussy. What suits in February becomes too much in July. Because of recent problems of evaporation and separation in many of my homemade decants, I’ve increasingly turned to travel sizes and rollerballs offered by the manufacturers. Small and generally well priced, the following are what I’ll be popping into my beach bag this summer.

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The Glamour of Hotels

Do you like staying at hotels? Elisa shares her thoughts.

I have an ex-boyfriend who claimed to enjoy the occasional adversity – a cancelled flight, a blown-out tire. It seemed perverse to me initially, but later I came to understand his way of thinking. He didn’t look at these mishaps as lost time, but rather an opportunity to slip out of time. If you’re stuck somewhere and can’t get to work, no one is to blame; so why not enjoy the escape from obligation, the change of scenery?

I travel semi-frequently for work, and because travel is tiring and stressful, I’ve adopted a version of my ex’s philosophy to make the most of it. I try to embrace the changes in routine for their novelty value, rather than feeling inconvenienced. And the part I look forward to most – even though I’m not on vacation and have minimal time to spend there – is the hotel.

hotel_view

My room on a recent stay at the Ames Hotel in Boston

In the tradition of The Pillow Book, let’s make a list:

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10 Pastel Perfumes for Spring

Elisa feels the lure of spring.

Part of the pleasure of browsing a makeup counter – and why I’ll always buy more makeup than I need – is the impression that I’m handling color in its pure form. Not just lipsticks but pigment: art and possibility. It’s the same flavor of childlike glee I feel when looking at a wall of paint swatches or the bulk bins in a candy store. As a kid I even organized my books in “rainbow order” on the shelves.

kateryna bilokur

Around March the mannequins in window displays all seem to be wearing pastels. I never buy these clothes; like bows and Peter Pan collars, pastels just don’t suit me. But I can participate in the traditional color scheme of the season with perfumes that smell like springtime shades instead.

Here are ten soft, pastel-hued perfumes (in spectral order, no less) I recommend.

Diptyque Eau Rose

I love weird roses, dark roses, spicy roses, mossy roses…I’ll take them all. But sometimes, especially in spring, a perfectly pretty, pastel-pink rose with little adornment fits the bill. Enter Eau Rose, which is dewy and fresh with a citrus lift.

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Ten Fragrances in Ten Minutes

What are the ultimate desert island perfumes? Patricia tests herself.

I’ve lived in my present dwelling for over thirty years, time enough to accumulate an unnecessary quantity of items. With the current trend towards minimalism, my various collections have started to weigh heavy on my conscience and I’ve enjoyed fantasizing about moving into much smaller quarters and having to downsize significantly. I thought about Victoria and her move to Brussels some years back when she was able to bring only a small portion of her perfume collection with her and how difficult that must have been. Doing a similar exercise is of course only that, an exercise, but I decided to set my kitchen timer for ten minutes and grab ten fragrances that would come with me—my desert island perfumes. A no-vintages rule made for easier decisions (although one of my choices has been discontinued).

perfume selection

It took me four minutes to go through my collection and make initial choices, then six additional minutes to pare down the edited collection to ten (actually eleven if you count the bottles in the picture). The buzzer went off with eleven bottles on my bureau, so I left it at that.

First I snatched No. 19 EDT from my Chanel tray because it is an iris, my favorite fragrance of all time, and my bottle of No. 19 EDP is vintage and therefore out of the running. No. 19 is also one I can wear for all occasions, in all seasons, and in other words a no-brainer. Chanel 31 Rue Cambon is also coming along to fill the chypre category and serve as an elegant ladies-who-lunch fragrance for those times that I need to appear more put together than I actually am. The Hermès tray provided L’Ambre des Merveilles for a spicy gourmand amber vanilla that is delightful to wear in fall and winter. Cuir de Lancôme, rich leather with floral undertones, also joins the group for its beauty and versatility in all seasons save the dog days of summer.

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  • Nora Szekely in Woods : Scents and Words: Hi Victoria and perfume lovers, Sandalwood is hands down my favourite ever since my grandmother brought me back a sandalwood fan from Asia when I was a little girl. I’m… March 30, 2017 at 4:29am

  • Alicia in Cedarwood : Perfume Note: I just realize that we are talking only of cedar, thus I will change Coromandel by my equally beloved Cuir de Russie. There are too many Lutens fragrances with cedar… March 29, 2017 at 8:08pm

  • Alicia in Cedarwood : Perfume Note: How I love woods in fragrances! Let me count the ways. Coromandel is my companion when I write and research in winter evenings; Bois de Violette is my autumn and… March 29, 2017 at 7:53pm

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