December 2010: 22 posts

Serge Lutens L’Eau : Fragrance Review


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

Serge Lutens L’Eau baffled me. A friend urged me to read the marketing information, saying it somehow helped him to understand L’Eau. “..these ruptures are at a given moment absolutely necessary if I don’t want to collapse, fall — if you will — in a cliché of myself and finish dying of boredom…” (WWD, 2/19/2010) Basically, if I want Serge Lutens to continue his dark mysterious tales, I need to put up with something different from time to time. Fair enough! Many of the previous Serge Lutens lite offerings have actually been quite interesting—the wholesome sparkle of Fleurs de Citronnier, the delicate opalescence of Gris Clair, the luminosity of the modern white musks in Clair de Musc. The main issue I have with L’Eau is not that it is a clean floral, but that it is not particularly interesting or original as a fragrance in this genre.

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Yves Saint Laurent Belle d’Opium : Perfume Review

Belle dopium

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

The creativity of the marketing campaign for Yves Saint Laurent Belle d’Opium dramatically contrasts with the banality of the fragrance. If it had even a touch of the originality and mystery possessed by the visuals, in which actress Mélanie Thierry interprets the dance of Salomé, Belle d’Opium would have been much more interesting. Instead, the fresh fruity accord underpinned by the patchouli-cotton candy notes suggests nothing more than a softer amber-oriental take on Chanel Coco Mademoiselle.

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A Year In Scents and Flavors


I always carry a small notebook to write down any impressions or observations, particularly as they pertain to sensory memories—interesting scents, unusual flavors, striking combinations, or sometimes just memories that I want to retain. There is so much more to exploring scents than just a perfume bottle. It could be something as simple as finding a fragrant bush of dog roses on my way to the office or a delicious new fruit I encounter during my expeditions to the Chinese or Indian shops. As I look back at some of the notes, I find they comprise a diary, tracing my discoveries and new sources of inspiration. The 2010 highlights below come from the notes I have taken over the course of the year. While my travels over the past year have taken me as far as India, New York City provides me with just as many interesting discoveries. It is on this journey that I would like to take you as I look over my 2010 diary notes. Perhaps, it can inspire you as well.

Black Cumin and Red Rice of Bukharian Broadway

The political upheavals in Central Asia following the collapse of the Soviet Union have resulted in the immigration of its Jewish community to the United States. Almost 50 thousand Bukharian Jews, who mostly come from Uzbekistan, live in New York’s Rego Park and Forrest Hills areas. A strip along 108th Street in New York’s Rego Park is called Bukharian Broadway for a reason—it offers an interesting cluster of Bukharian businesses, from stores and butcher shops to bakeries and restaurants. The food of the Bukharian community is vibrant and piquant, inspired by intricate Persian traditions, nomadic rustic simplicity, and the boldness of Chinese flavorings. The black cumin, lamb and star anise of lagman (noodle soup,) the verdant intensity of bakhsh (rice with spinach, coriander and dill cooked in a cotton bag,) and the savory richness of mai birion (fried fish marinated in garlic sauce) are only a few of the interesting dishes one can try. I love the cumin and onion marinated lamb kebabs and flaky samsa (lamb and onion pastries) served at the Tandoori Bukharian Bakery (99-04 63rd Rd). The cumin flavored non toki, a uniquely Bukharian flatbread, should not be missed either. Nagila Market (63-69 108th St) is run by Iranians and offers many unique foods, including Uzbek sundried apricots, Iranian tart dried barberries and the famous Fergana valley devzira, the red rice used in traditional plov.

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Best of 2010 : Perfume Launches & Fragrance Reflections

I always feel a certain anxiety about the New Year’s Eve celebration. My family likes to say that how you meet the new year is how you will spend the rest of it. Last year, on New Year’s Eve, as the clock was striking midnight, I was moving hotels in India. I am not superstitious, but I have to admit that 2010 was a year of transitions. In retrospect, I would not have changed a thing about either the laidback way in which we had our most streamlined New Year’s Eve celebration to date—toasting each other over mineral water while sitting on suitcases—nor about any of the transitions I have undertaken since then. They have all taken me to something new, unexpected and exciting. As I sought balance between pleasure and work, smelling and writing, discovering old favorites and exploring new things, I also found lots of support and inspiration in my fellow fragrance lovers, colleagues, bloggers, readers, friends and family. So it is to all of you that I want to say thank you for making 2010 a very memorable and special year for me!

So, without further ado, my 2010 highlights!

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Lolita Lempicka : Perfume Review


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

Out of all the gourmand fragrances following in Thierry Mugler Angel ‘s steps, Lolita Lempicka is still the most innovative example. Even when viewed against the whole body of gourmand perfumes launched since 1993, its originality and memorable contrasted character make it stand out. If Angel and Coco Mademoiselle have the dramatic and bold presence of a blonde in a tight red dress, Lolita Lempicka is a mysterious stranger in a black gown. The cleavage is perhaps quite low, but the effect nevertheless remains elegant.

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