Victoria: 2270 posts

Best of 2019 in Perfume

When it comes to  fragrances, 2019 has been a good year. There have been the usual commercial releases, but innovative launches were also numerous. I particularly liked the collection by L’Officine Universelle Buly 1803 created in collaboration with the Louvre that gave scent to some of the museum’s famous works. Carine Roitfeld’s line was likewise interesting, with a number of memorable perfumes.

As always, my list is personal and idiosyncratic. I didn’t aim to include everything, but rather the perfumes that caught my attention the most this year and the ones I wore. These are the fragrances that will accompany me into 2020. I look forward to hearing about your 2019 favorites.

Carine Roitfeld Parfums George

Carine Roitfeld Parfums was created by the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. The line includes seven unisex fragrances, AurélienGeorgeKar-WaiLawrenceOrsonSebastian and Vladimir, inspired by fictional love stories. I ended up with a travel set, which I found excellent given that the premise of the collection is travel. Each lover takes his paramour to a different city, from Paris to Hong Kong. My choice was George, effervescent but with a suave finish. I also liked Lawrence, who comes bearing jasmine garlands.

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Recommend Me a Perfume : December 2019

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! I wish you much joy and I hope that you will find all that you wish for under the Christmas tree. Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can use this space to find perfume recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors.

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Single Note Perfumes

Simple is rarely a compliment when applied to perfumes. Fragrances compared to symphonies or classic multi-volume novels are thought to be superior. Yet, as any perfumer knows, creating a simple composition is complicated. When the palette is reduced to a few key elements, the selection of each material becomes critical. It is even more difficult to create a fragrance that evokes a single impression, that of a flower, a root, or a leaf.

Composing a perfume that smells realistically of a flower, say, a rose, is part of the challenge, but it’s not the biggest one. The more elusive goal is how to suggest a story and give it character. The purpose of a perfume is not to replicate nature, but to weave a fantasy. All of us have our own idea about how a rose smells, and a successful rose perfume will not try to compete with a summer garden. Instead, it will evoke its own universe.

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5 Books for Language Lovers

Babel comes from the Hebrew verb meaning “to confuse,” and the story of Babel is the story of human folly in aiming to reach the heavens by building a large tower. To stop their efforts, God splintered their tongue into a dizzying multitude–and created the first language barrier humanity has experienced. Yet, one can find this diversity incredible, rather than regrettable. The 6,000 or so human languages that exist today are so rich that learning them, or learning about them, is a fascinating pursuit.

I’ve shared some of my tips on learning languages in three different articles, How I Learn Languages, How I Learn Languages: Where to Start, and How to Learn A Language by Reading and Listening, but today I would like to invite you to read about languages. I’ve selected five books that either explore the way languages developed or the way people use them. None of them are standard academic books, but rather works written by people passionate about words, sounds and letters.

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Why Is The Scent of Lipstick So Nostalgic?

Do you remember the scent of your mother’s lipstick? Do you enjoy the aroma of Nivea cream? Have you ever wished to have the fragrance of your favorite sunscreen as a perfume? The November 2019 issue of Financial Times’s HTSI Magazine includes my article about the scent of lipstick and other cosmetics. I explore the nostalgia behind these aromas and explain why these scents, though subtle and discrete, can have a powerful effect.

I don’t remember the colour of my first lipstick, but I recall its scent. I was passing through the local department store in Chicago, aged 15, when an array of shiny, black tubes at the Chanel counter drew my attention. They promised the glamour and sophistication that I desperately craved. I was making swatches of the different tones of pinks and reds on the back of my hand when, suddenly, I became aware of the fragrance of roses.

The wave that swept over me was so intense that my eyes welled with tears. The scent reminded me of my great-grandmother, Asya, who adored rose essence; its sweetness enveloped her and always left a rich sillage in her wake. Even her lipstick smelled of roses. When Asya wasn’t around, I furtively sniffed her rouge compact, its fragrance evoking her soft cheeks and melodious laughter.

Update: The article is now available online, The Nostalgic Allure of Lipstick, November 2019.

As always, I’d love to know what scents transport you? Do you have favorite scented lipsticks or other cosmetics?

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  • krista in Niche Perfume Giveaway: What a generous giveaway, thank you!! This is exciting. 1 Noble 1942 La Danza Delle Libellule – either the EDP or the extrait version; this has been on my list… January 19, 2020 at 6:36am

  • Hollis in Niche Perfume Giveaway: La Danza Delle Libellule or Beach Walk, please. The scent that started it for me was Halston! A sexy, clean chypre that swooped in and whisked me away from Love’s… January 19, 2020 at 6:35am

  • Sarah Huggett in Niche Perfume Giveaway: 1. The Hiram Green perfumes 2. 28 La Pausa. As an orris-root obsessive I adore this and swoon everytime I smell it. Earthy, powdery, austere, aloof and just the epitome… January 19, 2020 at 5:38am

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