February 2006: 32 posts

Article on Jean-Claude Ellena and Terre d’Hermès in Forbes


“Ideas for fragrances strike Ellena like proverbial lightning bolts–or they ferment, their recipes jotted down and left to steep in palm-sized leather notebooks. His desk is strewn with tiny bottles of past, present and future formulas in various stages of development. Some of his favorite work has been the creation of Hermessence, a group of “olfactory poems” such as Poivre Samarcande (inspired by an old oak on Ellena’s property that had to be felled) and Ambre Narguilé (the evocation of an oriental smoking den, bubbling with water pipes). These are a perfumer’s perfumes–scents so elusive, half the challenge was bottling them.” Read the rest of the article here.

PS: Be sure to click on Comments under this post to read Mike’s excellent review of Terre d’Hermès. Thank you for sharing, MC!

Sweet Cream: Article in NYT

Crme_splendide “Open a jar of Givenchy’s Skin Drink and inhale. It’s one of the most wonderful scents I’ve ever smelled, the fragrance of a newborn mixed with the scent of a flower still in half bud. It’s an all-but-invisible scent, as beautiful as it is translucently unpalpable. I call Françoise Donche, Givenchy’s olfactologist in Paris, and ask, “C’mon, tell me — who is this?” After a bit, she does. The scent of this cream was created by a perfumer named Pierre Bourdon.” Read the rest of the article about scented skin care by Chandler Burr in New York Times.  Thanks to Miriam for the link!

Speaking of scented skin care, if you have not tried Annick Goutal rose scented Crème Splendide, I would highly recommend it. It is simply wonderful on all counts (other than its old-fashioned screw top jar packaging). More information is available from Annick Goutal website.

Monday: Jean Patou Sira des Indes review.

L’Artisan Mure et Musc and Mure et Musc Extreme : Perfume Reviews



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

I often forget that L’Artisan Mûre et Musc is going to celebrate its 30th anniversary in just two years. Created in 1978 by Jean Laporte, the original L’Artisan Parfumeur founder, it became one of the first fragrances exploring the softness of musk with minimal ornamentation. The cologne version (now discontinued) was created by perfumer Akiko Kamei.

What differentiates Mûre et Musc from earlier perfumes exploring the same theme, such Jovan Musk (1971), is its ingenious fusing of a blackberry note into the musk accord. While the synthetics nitromusks favored in the first half of the century are marked by soapiness and floral warmth, many musks that became popular in the second half possess distinct fruity facets (please see my earlier article on the topic of musks.) …

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Annick Goutal Vetiver : Perfume Review



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

The first time I smelled Vétiver by Annick Goutal (1981), I was taken by the affinity between vetiver and marine notes. The earthy richness of the former, marked by the grapefruit bitterness complements the iodine smell of the seashore resulting in the aroma of driftwood covered with the wet shreds of seaweed.

The vetiver focused fragrances have a devout following among both men and women, with Guerlain Vétiver (1961) setting the gold standard with its elegant rendition of the balsamic root suspended between the transparent citrusy top accord and the spiced tobacco base. It maintains the Guerlinesque refinement with a glimpse of its seductive smile. …

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Rochas Femme New and Vintage : Perfume Review



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

“Let me tell you, I created [Rochas] Femme in 1943 in Paris during the worst days of the war in a building that had a rubbish dump on one side and paint factory on the other,” remarked Edmond Roudnitska about one of his most sensual compositions, a perfume that smells of woman’s skin and ripe summer plums.

Some perfumes become classics because they are based on appealing, commercial accords (carnation and patchouli, patchouli and maltol, to name some examples), and others gain the status of legends because of their haunting beauty, even if it presents a challenge. Femme’s beauty is arresting and spellbinding, its main accord heavy like a heart filled with longings. …

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