December 2005: 23 posts

Top 10 Discoveries of the Year 2005

The end of the year inspires one to reflect on the events that took place over the previous twelve months, to analyze and to draw up resolutions. That is, if you are an organized and clearheaded individual, unlike me. My end of the year is usually much less reflective, being filled with holiday planning and travel arrangements. Nevertheless, this year is different, in light of the important decisions I have been contemplating and the numerous projects on my plate. Indeed, this year has been quite special in many respects, and it is a pleasure to think of the various discoveries I have made during the year. Here is my list in an alphabetical order.

1. Aroma-chemicals
Musk, violet, amber… Having always loved to explore the perfume materials and to collect natural essences and aroma-chemicals, this year I had a chance to sample a large variety of synthetics that were not available to me previously as well as to learn more about fragrance chemistry. This experience has been quite eye opening to the complexity of various aroma-chemicals and the interesting accords they can form with natural essences. What in the past I would have simply termed musky, now has much more nuance: powdery softness of Galaxolide, metallic freshness of Habanolide and so on.

2. Caron Masculines:
Pour Un Homme, L’Anarchiste and Le 3ème Homme de Caron
The first time I tried Le 3ème Homme de Caron, I became mesmerized by its unique combination of smoky floral facets with the sweet, balsamic undercurrent. It sparked an interest to explore the other Caron masculines, and what wonderful discoveries they were! None of the quintessentially masculine traits are present in Caron masculine fragrances, and even Pour Un Homme with its lavender sparkle illuminating the ambery sweetness does not strike me as particularly virile. Instead, their classical structures are ornamented with unusual touches, resulting in fascinating, multifaceted compositions.

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Nanadebary Green, Classic Pink and Bronze : Perfume Review



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

Describing scents in terms of colors is often one of the most compelling ways through which to give tangibility to the ethereal nature of fragrance. Translucent, opaque, white, dark are the adjectives one encounters often in the discussions of perfume. Indeed, some fragrances have a very distinct visual reference for me. Thus, Chanel Bois des Iles is burnished gold of antique jewellery, Frédéric Malle Iris Poudré is black with purple iridescence, Lancôme Climat is jade green of young leaves, and so on.

Therefore, it is interesting to encounter three fragrances named after specific colors, Green, Pink and Bronze by Nanadebary. Nanadebary is an Austrian based company that came out with their first fragrance, Classic Pink in 2001. Bronze and Green were subsequently added to the range. Out of the line up, only Green evokes the color after which it is named, being verdant and sparkling. …

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Montale Steam Aoud : Fragrance Review



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

One of the newest fragrances in Montale Aoud range, Steam Aoud is a scent that blends the earthy warmth of hot stones, darkness of dry roses and medicinal pungency of oud. Its base laced with sharp sandalwood and patchouli, Steam Aoud is reminiscent of other fragrances in the Aoud range. …

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Paco Rabanne Black XS : Fragrance Review



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

If Armani Privé Ambre Soie could be envisioned as richer, sharper, deeper, with the warmth of amber underscored by darkly resinous woods, Paco Rabanne Black XS might be the fragrance that such contemplation would paint. Ambre Soie veils its amber with a gourmand, chocolate-like layer that softens the final result, while Black XS sets amber in a frame that highlights its balsamic woods and fine tobacco facets.

Created by Olivier Cresp in 2005, Black XS is another fragrance from the recent masculine releases (like Dior Homme with iris and cocoa and Lanvin Arpège Pour Homme with jasmine and iris) that blends the gender line effortlessly. In the niche market, its gender specification might well be unisex. …

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Winter Fragrances and Holiday Scents


The dark slender branches are bent under the weight of the snow, forming an arch over my head. Shielding my face from the large soft snowflakes, I look up at a sky in which the pale disk of the sun drowns in a pearly white haze. My first memory of snow is difficult to trace. I just remember walking to school through snow banks that were twice my height. The snow would sparkle under the street lamps, lighting the early morning darkness, a darkness that would only lift much later in the day. Even now I can wake up in the morning and sense that it is snowing because of the serenity and slumber which seem to take over the world at that particular moment. The only thing one wishes is to make a strong cup of caravan tea, wrap oneself in a blanket and sit next to the cold window watching the snow fall, fall, fall….

The crisp, mineral and slightly ozonic smell of the snow is one of the most important smells that I associate with winter. I have yet to encounter its realistic rendition in fragrance; however, there are a few fragrances that capture the spirit of the winter garden. Frozen branches and soil attain the most unusual scent that folds earthy and woody elements into metallic clarity. Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist is the scent of frozen roots and iced flower petals and has a beautiful chilliness that does not dissipate even after the fragrance dries down. …

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