Bernard Chant: 5 posts

We Smell With Our Mind

“We smell with our mind. Your mood affects the way you smell. The French verb sentir, ‘to smell’, also means ‘to feel’. Smells change our moods. It’s no good if you’re tired. You must be intellectually fresh,” said the late International Flavors & Fragrances perfumer Bernard Chant.

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Chant was the creator of Clinique Aromatics ElixirEstee Lauder AzureeParfums Gres CabochardRalph Lauren Lauren, Aramis, and many other perfume classics. I love this quote, because it applies equally well to the professional perfumers’ work and enjoyment of scents in general. Creating fragrances is about the imagination, the ability of the creator to capture an abstract idea–dew covered orchids, a walk along the beach, a childhood memory–in a drop of liquid. For this reason, some perfumers resent the term “nose,” which reduces their work to a mere technique.

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Ralph Lauren Lauren : Vintage Perfume Review

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Lauren was one of the greatest American perfumes that made a big splash in the 1980s, but where is it today? Ralph Lauren counters rarely feature the familiar red bottle shaped like an ink well. Moreover, like most classics, Lauren got so many face lifts that it’s barely recognizable. I’m still learning to like it in its pale green and soft version, but my memory of the juicy cantaloupe and jasmine folded around mossy cedarwood is still too poignant. My readers Michelle, MaryAnn and Renée felt the same way, and I’ve decided to review Lauren and turn to you for possible alternatives to this lovely fruity floral fragrance.

Now, ‘fruity floral’ and ‘lovely’ rarely appear in the same phrase on perfume blogs, mostly because the onslaught of identical and boring fruity florals has devalued this charming perfume family. Lauren is a great example of how appealing and delightful the marriage of flowers and fruit can be. Right from the moment you put it on your skin, it feels sparkling and refreshing, like a sip of iced cocktail. It’s green and tangy like Granny Smith apple skin, but also velvety like a ripe melon.  In today’s Lauren, the top notes are mostly green—a tangle of leaves and a squeeze of tart grape juice.

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Estee Lauder Azuree (Vintage) : Perfume Review

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When you approach the Estée Lauder counter you will see the slender bottles of Pleasures, the heavy flacons of Knowing, the ribbed orbs of Sensuous. Occasionally, you spot an hourglass bottle filled with dark as molasses Youth Dew. But to smell Azurée you often have to ask the sales associate for the tester. At many Lauder counters I’ve visited it is kept under the counter, reminding me of Soviet-era shopping. “From under the counter” was the magical phrase that produced things rarely seen on the store shelves. Something as commonplace as a packet of sugar obtained in this way seemed even sweeter.

Its special “under the counter” status isn’t the reason I crave Azurée. It’s big and bold, with a distinctive presence. Since it has been around since 1969, it bears a whiff of the era—you will not mistake this moss festooned beauty for another pink fruity floral, but it’s stunning. Anyone who loves woods, earthy notes and leather would enjoy Azurée’s generous presence. Among great chypres (the mossy and earthy perfumes that are the scent equivalents of film noir), Azurée holds a special place.

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Clinique Aromatics Elixir : Perfume Review

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Aedark

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

It is my firm belief that all great fragrances are polarizing, eliciting a strong response. Whether you love Clinique Aromatics Elixir or find it detestable, it cannot leave you indifferent. Among the legends of American perfumery, it is a fragrance that deserves a chapter of its own. It is bold and confident, with an unusual combination of sultry darkness and austere elegance that marks the best of American chypres such as Estée Lauder Azurée, Private Collection and Knowing. Some fragrances should be smelled simply to know that they exist, and Aromatics Elixir is one of them.

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Parfums Gres Cabochard New and Vintage : Perfume Review

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Cabochard_1

Original:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Reformulation:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

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

Parfum Grès Cabochard, meaning “headstrong,” is an example of how a chypre fragrance can embody confidence and independence, playing upon the austere and dry qualities of the genre. At the same time, its aloof air is seductive, as some mysteries can be. It does not bestow its favours lightly, hiding its delicate floral heart under the dark layers of smoky leather and green notes. One feels compelled to unlock its secrets, revisiting again and again, and falling deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.

Not only was Cabochard very successful at the time of its release in 1959, its leather chypre composition inspired many subsequent fragrances. Therefore, its inclusion among the legends of French perfumery by Michael Edwards is only to be expected.  …

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