Casual: 215 posts

Perfume equivalents of T-shirt and jeans, comfortable and easy to wear

Guerlain Mon Guerlain : Perfume Review

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It’s easy to be dismissive of a perfume like Mon Guerlain. It checks off all of the contemporary cliches–fruity-floral, sweet, and pretty. One can almost guess what it would smell like by looking at its adorable pink bottle. And it first, Mon Guerlain indeed smells predictable, a fruit compote accented with citrus and spiced with patchouli. Yet, in perfume, as in life, it pays to be open-minded.

Those who are willing to give Mon Guerlain a chance will find an upbeat, easy to wear fragrance with a solid Guerlinade imprint. How it gets there is the most interesting part.

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Bulgarian Rose Perfume : Under $5

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The Rose Valley in central Bulgaria holds some of the largest rose plantations in the world. The essence produced in Bulgaria has a zesty accent, which contrasts with the lush honeyed sweetness typical of rose oils. It’s the rose of Jean Patou Joy, Chanel Coco, Coty Chypre, Hermès Amazone, and Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau. It’s complex, lush and sparkling.

The carved wooden vials of Bulgarian rose oil have been a familiar sight to me ever since I was a child. I found them tucked in my grandmother’s purse, and I loved how a tiny drop was enough to leave a rose-perfumed trail. When I started working in the fragrance industry, I’d occasionally receive rose oil samples in these vials, and they would invariably make me nostalgic. I promised myself that one day I’d go to Bulgaria and tour the Rose Valley.

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The Different Company Kashan Rose : Perfume Review

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Our recent talk about Mughal empresses, attars and roses reminded me of a perfume I’ve been meaning to review, but it somehow slipped my mind. I mentioned The Different Company’s Kâshân Rose for my FT article about the rose capital of Iran, The Roses of Kashan, but the perfume deserves more attention.

To be fair, it’s not the be-all and end-all of rose perfumes. Kâshân Rose is a bright, transparent composition that seems uncomplicated and linear. Leave the complex stories and intricate turns to the grand roses like Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady, Guerlain Nahema or Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin. Kâshân Rose is about sunlight and pink petals.

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Hermes Cedre Sambac : Perfume Review

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The moment I set my foot in lands where jasmine blooms, I find a flower to smell–a single blossom, a sprig, a garland. I think that I know exactly what jasmine smells like, but every soil makes for a different scent. Jasmine in Provence has an apricot nuance. Indian jasmine smells leathery. Spanish jasmine has a cinnamon inflection in the afternoon and a simmering musky warmth in the evening. Indonesian jasmine is green and sweet, the most unexpected combination. Smelling Hermès’s Cèdre Sambac, I wonder where the perfumer Christine Nagel found an inspiration for such a creamy yet transparent impression.

Nagel says that the inspiration for the five new Hermessences came from the Middle East. Jasmine attars from that part of the world have a certain richness that can be either opulent or smothering, depending on the attar-blender’s skill and the perfume lover’s capacity for jasmine. Cèdre Sambac, however, is all glow.

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Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa : Perfume Review

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I sometimes notice that coffee smells better than it tastes–or that it doesn’t taste the way it smells.  Even the aroma of coffee, for instance, is difficult to sum up–sweet, bitter, spicy, acidic, toasted, burned, with hints of blackcurrants, chocolate and hazelnuts. Even more difficult is to render coffee notes believable in a perfume without making one smell like a badly washed coffee mug, or worse, a piece of grilled meat. Coffee notes are stubborn. I’ve been on a search for successful coffee perfumes for a while, and this fall I’m adding a new contender to my collection, Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa.

The idea behind Café Tuberosa is clever–take a creamy tuberose accord, brighten it with bergamot and give it a bittersweet rush with coffee. All three are bold, strong notes, but the whole fits together so harmoniously that it makes me wonder why this motif is not more explored.

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