Michael Edwards’s Perfume Legends II

I’ve been waiting for Michael Edwards’s Perfume Legends II in the same way that Star Wars fans anticipate the new sequels. First published in 1996, Perfume Legends told stories behind more than 40 iconic fragrances. Edwards explained the inspiration behind the concept and the bottle and also left room for perfumers’ voices. Why did Edmond Roudnitska add an opulent plum note to Rochas Femme? How did Jacques Polge create the baroque effect of Chanel Coco? I read and re-read the book so much that my copy fell apart.

Edwards, however, wouldn’t rush the sequel. Respected in the industry for his Fragrances of the World database that assiduously tracks every new launch, he brought the same meticulousness to the Perfume Legends project. He decided to update the list, and so he spent several years researching information and interviewing perfumers, creative directors and designers. The industry can be frustratingly secretive, especially when it comes to explaining the perfume formula, but Edwards has never been daunted by such obstacles. The book reveals it all.

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What Does Rembrandt’s Chiaroscuro Smell Like?

Her golden hair, her pearly skin, and her melancholy face emerge out of the shadows. Bathsheba, an Old Testament heroine desired by King David enough to conspire the murder of her husband, has been painted by many artists, but few have rendered her beauty and her story with as much nuance as did Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.  As Rembrandt’s Bathsheba holds the fateful letter from David summoning her, she is torn between the loyalty towards her spouse and the need to obey king’s command. The duality pervades the entire work, from the subject’s moral dilemma to the drama of the light and shadows.

Born in 1606, Rembrandt remains the emblematic figure of the 17th century Dutch Baroque, and his remarkable use of light continues to beguile. As this year marks the 350th anniversary of the artist’s death, museums around the world stage exhibits devoted to his works. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam presents his paintings alongside other Dutch and Spanish masters such as Diego Velázquez, Frans Hals, and Francisco Zurbarán.  The Dulwich Picture Gallery in London focuses on his masterful use of chiaroscuro, highlighting the theatrical effects of the Baroque style.

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Incense Sample Giveaway

It’s the time of the year for my incense sample giveaway. The set this time I made includes 10 x 0.05 oz/ 1.5 ml samples such as Serge Lutens L’Eau Froide, Tom Ford Cafe Rose, Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant, L’Artisan Dzonghka, Chanel No 22, samples of pure frankincense oil, a few real frankincense tears and a couple of surprises. I can send package anywhere, provided the customs restrictions don’t interfere.

We are not responsible for custom duties, leaks or damage during transit or for lost packages.

To participate, please answer these questions. I will randomly draw one winner.

1. What do you look forward to the most in winter?
2. What scents smell enveloping to you?
3. May I contact you via email to notify you of your win?

The contest is now closed. The winner is Sam. Congratulations! I will be in touch via email shortly.

Thank you to everyone for your beautiful comments.

Image for illustration purposes only

Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2019

Are you looking for a new fragrance? Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can this space to find perfume recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors.

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link uner their comment.

Image: Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Youki and a Cat, 1923, private collection. To read about the artist, please take a look at my article Leonard Foujita : The Japanese Star of 1920s Paris.

My Name is Red : Chanel Rouge Allure Ink and Guerlain Nahema

“I’m so fortunate to be red! I’m fiery. I’m strong. I know men take notice of me and that I cannot be resisted… Wherever I’m spread, I see eyes shine, passions increase, eyebrows rise and heartbeats quicken. Behold how wonderful it is to live! Behold how wonderful to see. I am everywhere. Life begins with and returns to me.” Orhan Pamuk’s description of my favorite color in My Name is Red has stayed with me ever since I first read the book, and I often think of it whenever I see another red that draws my attention–fabric, autumnal leaves, lipstick, the lacquer of Japanese bowls or perfume. Yes, perfume can also be red.

The impression of red in fragrance is subjective the way synesthesia tends to be, but Guerlain Nahema is a perfume that makes me feel as if I’m enveloped in layers of crimson silk. The effect comes from the combination of rose essence and the damascones, aroma-materials with the aroma of rose jam and stewed apples. This accord alone has a lipstick red hue, but paradoxically it comes across as even more saturated against the background of green citrus and hyacinth. Reds often stand out best against contrasting colors, and this is the case with Nahema.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Victoria in Vetiver Mist: All essences have components that are soluble in water and those that aren’t. Which is why commercial perfumes always include alcohol and water. In my experience, vetiver essence works quite… December 12, 2019 at 10:13am

  • Hannah in Vetiver Mist: I think water and essential oils don’t mix, and therefore it is not the best idea to use water/hydrosol + eo and spritz that in your face. On textiles, maybe,… December 12, 2019 at 9:49am

  • Carolyn Middleton in Michael Edwards’s Perfume Legends II: He certainly wouldn’t have risked buying me perfume he chose, would definitely have asked me for a few options! Saying that, when we met, I was wearing the original Oscar… December 11, 2019 at 8:08pm

  • Victoria in Michael Edwards’s Perfume Legends II: I hope that you enjoy it! December 11, 2019 at 9:26am

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