sophia grojsman: 8 posts

A Lab on Fire Rose Rebelle Respawn : Perfume Review

Patricia on rebellious (or not so rebellious) roses.

I approached Rose Rebelle Respawn by A Lab on Fire with some trepidation, since its older sister, perfumer Sophia Grojsman’s 100% Love by S-Perfume, was the only perfume to date that made me gasp for air. I wondered how the masterful Grojsman, creator of many of my favorites including Yves Saint Laurent Paris, a beautiful violet rose that I wore throughout the 80s, Boucheron Jaipur, Bvlgari Pour Femme, Estée Lauder White Linen, and Prescriptives Calyx could have created this monster? 100% Love is deeply polarizing, with many fans and many detractors. Its supporters praised its originality, while its naysayers found it unwearable.  If I tell you that I referred to it as 100% Nasty in my perfume notes, you’ll guess in which camp I belonged.

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But I needn’t have worried about Rose Rebelle Respawn. Although it contains many of the same notes as 100% Love, such as rose, cacao, and musks, it handles these elements in a completely different way. Where 100% Love has a sour, fermented note, Rose Rebelle eschews it in favor of softness and warmth. It’s blended with a lighter touch and from top to bottom it’s a cozy, powdery confection.

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How Many Hands Touch Your Bottle of Perfume : Perfumers

The first article in this series described the process through which the perfume brief goes before it ends up on the perfumer’s desk (Brief). Then, my perfumery school classmate and former colleague Lauren gave you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a perfume evaluator (Evaluator). Today, I will describe the role of the perfumer.

If you’re new to this series, I recommend starting with Part 1: Brief.

Ever since Frédéric Malle highlighted perfumers by adding their names on the fragrances created for Editions de Parfums, these actors, traditionally consigned to ghost writing scents, have become more prominent. We can find out which nose created our favorite perfume, read about perfumers’ work, and even hear them explain their metier. Names of houses that employ perfumers–International Flavors & Fragrances, Givaudan, Firmenich, Symrise, Mane, Robertet–even show up in the traditional media. Magazines call noses rock stars. Fans queue to meet them at store events. Isn’t then the perfumer the most important person in the process of creating a perfume?

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Yes and no. With the exception of those who direct their own brands, most perfumers are only one of many groups that influence how a fragrance will smell. Today, it’s hard to speak of a perfumer’s fingerprint on a big brand launch because many fragrances are created as a collaboration among several creators, marketing reps, sales people, and evaluators. In most cases, an individual perfumer may not have a say in the matter and simply has to follow the given direction.

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Birthday Ladies : Estee Lauder Youth Dew and Robert Piguet Fracas

This year two formidable classics celebrate their sixtieth anniversaries. Robert Piguet Fracas (1948) will turn 65, while Estée Lauder Youth Dew (1953) will mark its 60th year. These remarkable fragrances elicit strong emotions and inspire us even today. Youth Dew set the trend for rich orientals, while no tuberose perfume can be spared a comparison with Fracas.

fracasYouth Dew

These perfumes are also notable because they were created by two of the first female perfumers: Germaine Cellier and Josephine Catapano, respectively.  The perfume industry of the 1940s and 50s was a boy’s club. In 1947, Donald William Dresden wrote in his article, The Twenty “Noses” of France“Only a few people have the supersense of smell necessary to become a Nose—for reasons known only to Noses themselves, no woman has ever had it…” Dresden, reporting for the New York Times, simply reiterated what he heard around Grasse, France, the main perfumery hub of those days.

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Estee Lauder White Linen : Fragrance Review

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In 1978, Estée Lauder launched White Linen as a part of a trio called “New Romantics.”  The New Romantics also included Celadon (a green floral) and Pavilion (a white floral).  The three New Romantics scents were pioneers in the concept of fragrance layering.  The ad copy promised “three incredibly pretty fragrances designed to interact with each other.  Wear one.  Wear two.  Wear all three together.”

Celadon and Pavilion have been mostly lost to time, but Sophia Grojsman’s White Linen was an immediate blockbuster that is still in the Lauder line-up three decades later.  To me White Linen smelled like nothing else out there while bearing a stylistic resemblance to Chanel No 22 (immense use of aldehydes over abstract white floral heart).  It smelled nothing like the big Orientals that had just taken hold, and if it were meant to be worn concurrently with Celadon and Pavilion the result would have been explosive (think about combining Pleasures and Beautiful). On its own, White Linen had a massive and imaginative signature.  To combine it with another scent of equal power would be unthinkable—in today’s terms.  In the late 1970s, perfume was still constructed and worn boldly.

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Yves Saint Laurent Paris : Perfume Review

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There’s a twenty-year-old ad for Yves Saint Laurent Paris that says everything you need to know about this iconic fragrance.  In the ad, the model Lucie de la Falaise leans against a wall while holding a huge bouquet of light-pink roses.  Everything but the model’s face and the bottle of perfume is in gauzy soft focus, including in the background the Eiffel Tower.  De la Falaise looks otherworldly in this city of muted pinks and greens, serene, elegant, and very, very French.  Surely the City of Light is scented exactly like this, is it not?  Isn’t Paris a veritable rose macaroon, tinted pink as Yves Saint Laurent’s fantasy fragrance is?

Paris is an ebullient and romantic daydream of a scent that interlocks a fruity, jammy, and abstract rose with violets that smell the way candied violets look.  One spray and (nearly) all is revealed. This is not a perfume of special effects but one that opens big, stays big, and gives you a bit of sandalwood as a basenote souvenir.

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Latest Comments

  • katherine x in Balmain Ivoire Perfume Giveaway: Tammy, A few lovely sweet florals are: Paris (Balenciaga) – sweet violets; Gardenia Extraordinaire (Van Cleef & Arpels); Beige (Chanel); second Baiser Vole (Cartier) -lily; Carnal Flower (Malle) -Tuberose; Fracas… April 30, 2017 at 11:04am

  • Madelyn E in Balmain Ivoire Perfume Giveaway: Oh thank you so very much for your generous giveaway ! Sweet florals : Estée Lauder – Modern Muse , White Linen , Beautiful , Sisley : Soir de Lune… April 29, 2017 at 7:29pm

  • Christine Corretti in Balmain Ivoire Perfume Giveaway: I would suggest the semi-sweet floral ‘L’Interdit’ by Guerlain and Hanae Mori’s ‘Butterfly’ (the original). Even sweeter florals: Nest’s ‘Midnight Fleur’ Jo Malone ‘Nectarine Blossom and Honey’ email contact is… April 29, 2017 at 7:22pm

  • Karen A in Balmain Ivoire Perfume Giveaway: What a generous giveaway! Please do not enter me, but I, too, wanted to add some suggestions. These Guerlains are beautiful sweet florals, French Kiss, Nuit D’amour, and Le 68.… April 29, 2017 at 6:43pm

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