September 2005: 45 posts

Christian Dior Dolce Vita : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Christian Dior Dolce Vita is what I would call an abstract dessert, a fragrance that has a mouthwatering effect without smelling like a candy bar. It is a cedarwood compostion delicately layered with stewed peaches and dusted with cinnamon and vanilla. Created in 1996 by Pierre Bourdon (with Maurice Roger), the creator of Iris PoudréYves Saint Laurent Kouros (1981), and Shiseido Féminité Du Bois (1992, with Christopher Sheldrake), Dolce Vita opens up with magnolia and watery lily, the transparency of which allows a glimpse of a hot cinnamon note. The presence of cedarwood hints at the connection with Shiseido Féminité Du Bois (1992), but  the heart of Dolce Vita is miles away from the plummy darkness of its predecessor.  Dolce Vita strays into the spiced peach territory. Where Féminité Du Bois is brooding, Dolce Vita is sweet and bubbly.

The composition dries down to an elegant blend of cedarwood and sandalwood layered over balsamic vanilla and oakmoss. Its almond notes give the drydown a delicious sweetness that vacillates between a flaky pie crust and an almond candy. The dark resinous notes temper the sweetness, preventing the composition from becoming overly sugary and gourmand. Although designated as a feminine fragrance, Dolce Vita would be ravishing on a man.

Christian Dior discontinued Dolce Vita in the States, but it can found at various discount stores online. There is also a lighter version, called Eau de Dolce Vita (1998), with the emphasis on jasmine and orange blossom.

Fragrance News: Bulgari Te Rouge (Red Tea)

Bvlgari tea lineup, which already includes Eau Perfumée au Thé Vert and Eau Perfumée au Thé Blanc will soon feature Red Tea. It will premier in December of 2005, and will be exclusive to Saks 5th Avenue.

Christopher Laudamiel : Perfumer on Science and Perfumery


“In music, a “ti” note will always sound like a “ti,” independently of the note played before and the one played after. This is close to impossible in perfumery. Even after 30 years of successful creations, experienced perfumers are down to trial and error when combining notes. This is explained by basic chemistry principles such as the second principle of thermodynamics. To predict the influence of a material in a mixture containing 60 other ingredients is difficult because of the real versus ideal chemical potentials in thermodynamics. The possibilities are endless, 1000 to 2000 scents are available to use in a fragrance, and they may be dosed at different magnitudes within the fragrance depending on the desired effect. Also, a molecule from one supplier smells different than the same molecule from another supplier due to the smallest amount of impurities derived from different synthesis routes or starting materials. In terms of natural molecules, a bergamot from South Eastern Italy smells different than a bergamot from South Western Italy. The nose, even a layperson’s, is very sensitive.” Excerpt from interview (thanks to Anya for sending the link).

Christopher Laudamiel is the creator of fragrances like Slatkin Fig & Absinthe, Clinique Happy Heart, and Michael Kors Island.

Balenciaga Rumba : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Golden caramelized plum on an animalic base is the best way to describe Rumba, a fragrance created for Balenciaga by Ron Winnegrad and Jean-Claude Ellena in 1988. Unlike some of Jean-Claude Ellena’s recent creations, such as his fragrances for The Different Company and Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums, Rumba is miles away from minimalist. It is vibrant and exuberant, expanding into waves of warmth interspersed by beguiling darkness.

A golden plum note appears once the fragrance unfolds on the skin. The honeyed juiciness embraces a sweet note of orange blossom, which gives radiance and softness. Rumba’s fruit notes are much more impressionistic than photorealistic, revealing just a teasing luscious hint. However, neither like the dance from which it derives its name, can Rumba be called subtle.

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Jean-Paul Guerlain on Classical Fragrances


Talking about his favorite classical fragrance, Jean-Paul Guerlain, the perfumer for the house until his retirement in 2002, mentions “Lanvin Arpège under its original formula, Fahrenheit and Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior, Chanel No. 5, Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps and Pleasures by Estée Lauder.” “A classic perfume is determined by the quality of the raw materials you put in it and by its elegance, distinction and originality,” Guerlain says. “Above all it has to be memorable.”  An excerpt from a Reuters article (03/27/01).

My favorite Guerlain fragrance has always been Après l’Ondée, a beautiful melancholy composition of iris and bitter almond note of heliotropin, ornamented by a dusky Guerlainade accord of tonka bean and vanilla. I would love to hear what is your favorite Guerlain fragrance.

Photo from Grasse Perfume Museum.

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