August 2010: 7 posts

L’Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse : Perfume Review

Nuit de tubereuse

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

The lush complexity of tuberose is bewitching: the intense sensuality of its aroma; the surprising layering of green, mineral and creamy notes; the contrast between wet petally and ripe fruit facets. Although perplexing and challenging, this flower offers a rich source of inspiration to a perfumer. Even a brief glance at the L’Artisan Parfumeur tuberose collection reveals that it can be treated in strikingly diverse ways: as a coconut bonbon (Tubéreuse, first launched 1978 and now sadly discontinued,) an innocent ingénue in white (La Chasse aux Papillons), opulent, with an emphasis on jasmine notes (La Chasse aux Papillons Extrême,) or as a heady, creamy and spicy accord (La Haie Fleurie de Hameau). Nuit de Tubereuse, a fragrance by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and launched this spring, presents yet another tuberose treatment: earthy, musky, with a delicious tropical fruit accent.

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Serge Lutens Boxeuses : Perfume Review


A few years ago, I attended a dance performance that was a mixed bill of classical and modern. After the audience was treated to two long modern pieces, in which dancing was somehow secondary to scenery, it let out a collective sign of pleasure and relief,when the curtain rose to reveal a classical ballet set. This incident illustrates my feelings about the latest launch from Serge Lutens. Having been uninspired by Nuit de Cellophane, bored by L’Eau and mildly interested in Bas de Soie, I find Boxeuses a welcome return of Lutens’ seductive, romantic and smoldering Oriental muse.

boxeusesA woody-leathery composition, Boxeuses (which means “boxer” in French) will strike a chord in an ardent Lutens lover, especially those of us who yearn for Lutensian darkness and its tendency to perplex. The dominant element of Boxeuses is leather, which is set against a dark woody accord. Before the full richness of the leather drydown unfolds, the prelude of ambery-leathery and unctuous castoreum as well as incense-smoky labdanum sets the stage. Moreover, the contrast with sweet and floral notes allows one to experience the beautiful richness of smoky leather, crafted along the lines of Russian leather, which combines the birch tar smokiness and the animalic aggressiveness of isobutyl quinoline (classical leather aroma-material.)

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Serge Lutens Bas de Soie : Perfume Review

Before I write about Boxeuses, I would like to discuss Bas de Soie, a fragrance which joins the ranks of the Serge Lutens export collection. “Silk stocking,” as its name translates from French, Bas de Soie certainly conveys a rustling, shimmering sensation of silk, although at times, it disconcertingly veers towards sharp and metallic.
Even if it is tempting to talk about a new direction for Lutens, I only have to recall the pallor of Clair de Musc (2003), the watery limpidness of Fleurs de Citronnier (2004), the transparency of Gris Clair(2006), and the sweet delicacy of Louve (2007.) Likewise, in Bas de Soie, the familiar dark, magnetic Serge Lutens character is not to be found. If your idea of a fragrance merges the coldness of hyacinth with metallic rose and the luxurious softness of Santa Maria Novella iris soap, then Bas de Soie is a perfume for you.

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Opal Basil and Lemon Sherbet Recipe


This post first appeared in October 2009, but I would like to remind you of this refreshing, fuschia tinted drink, which is perfect on these hot summer days. I have also been making it lately with Thai basil, which produces a lovely peach colored liquid.

Few things remind me more of summer than basil. Its interplay of bitter peppery notes and sweet licorice-anise is made vivid by the dark, tangy verdancy, a perfect counterpoint. In perfumery, it is a classical herbal note, used in both masculine and feminine fragrances for its cooling aromatic effect. Paired with citrus, it makes for a scintillating sensation. Thus, Hermes in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena relies on the green note of basil to wrap its grapefruit accords in fragrances like Hermessence Rose Ikebana and Eau de Pamplemousse Rose. In fact, the combination of basil and lemon is a perfect one to appropriate for gastronomical explorations, whether one wishes to compose a simple salsa or a fish marinade. Furthermore, I would like to suggest another idea–a chilled drink that traces its roots to the Middle Eastern sherbet tradition. It is an essence of summer in a glass.

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Jo Malone Vanilla Anise : Fragrance Review


Fragrances that can truly go from morning to night are quite rare, especially if one would like a sheer, understated sillage. Either one is wrapped in a thick scent veil all day long, or else there is hardly anything left by the end of the workday. Jo Malone Vanilla Anise is a rare exception, a transparent fragrance with a decent tenacity. Moreover, in contrast to many other Jo Malone fragrances, it has a beautiful body and a memorable drydown, despite being gauzy and light.

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