Refreshing: 76 posts

Effervescent, uplifting fragrances

Hermès un Jardin sur la Lagune : Perfume Review

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How could something smell salty? It’s true that salt has its own rather mild scent, and depending on its processing and provenance, it ranges from bitter and iodine to flinty and flowery. However, perfumery is about creating an illusion, and many perfumers are masters at making us think that we smell salt. My teacher Sophia Grojsman used to play tricks on me by giving me accords to smell and then laugh seeing me lick my lips. Some of her combinations were so salty that I could almost taste the salt crystals. More typically, however, perfumers approach salty accords by relying on marine effects, as does perfumer Christine Nagel in Hermès Un Jardin sur la Lagune.

Of course, should one search for salt in perfume, one can do no better than to explore the whole Hermès collection. Eau des Merveilles is one of the best salted ambers. Un Jardin sur le Nil salts green mangoes. Voyage d’Hermès starts pickling bergamot and leaves a salt trail well into its drydown. Hermès Un Jardin sur la Lagune is very much in the same tradition. It’s a cologne based on citrusy flowers and finished with a briny accord. The place is Venice, the flowers are magnolia and Madonna lilies, the effect is salt and sunlight.

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Sweet Like a Persian Lemon

A sweet lemon is not an oxymoron. Neither is it a new fancy hybrid. Persian limu shirin, citrus limetta, is one of the oldest cultivated varieties of lemons and it tastes sweet like honey, with no hint of acidity. The first time I bit into a slice was a shock, because I was prepared for tartness and instead my mouth was filled with sweetness.  Even more beautiful was the scent of the peel that lingered on my fingers. It also smelled like no lemon I had tried before.

Persian lemons have a delicate flavor, but their perfume is anything but.  It is strong, bright and sharp. “It smells like flowers,” said one Iranian friend. “Lemon peel mixed with orange blossom,” said another. “And then tossed with jasmine,” she added. Trying to pin down the fragrance of Persian sweet lemon, I kept scratching the peel and rubbing it onto my skin, paper, and fabric.  The scent made me think of citronella and palmarosa, plants that are related to a rose (at least in a perfumer’s palette). Green petals, crushed stems and tightly closed rose buds. The winter fruit smelled of spring at its most vital and rejuvenating.

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Chanel Paris-Deauville : Fragrance Review

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Deauville doesn’t evoke a particular scent for me. The name of this resort town on the coast of Normandy mostly reminds me of A Man and A Woman, the 1966 French film starring the incomparable Anouk Aimée. I have visited Deauville several times but only for work, unlike most normal people who travel to Normandy on vacation. As a result, when I sprayed Chanel’s Paris-Deauville on my wrist, its fragrance made me bypass France entirely. Instead, it took me to Sicily.

I smelled the bitterness of orange peel and green leaves unfolding on my skin and I could almost feel the breeze from the Ionian sea and the bright flavor of orange granita. The hot stones and sun bleached grasses slowly enter the picture. And then before the fragrance even reveals its jasmine inflected heart, I already recall the opulence of blossoms in Aci Trezza, the rocky strip of the Riviera where Ulysses might have fought the Cyclops. My memory erases the misdeeds of the 1960s real estate developers, which make the Cyclops seem rather innocuous, and instead as I wear Paris-Deauville, I escape to visions of endless blue sea, cliffs, orange orchards and jasmine vines.

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The Color of Life, The Scent of Spring : Green

My wedding outfit wasn’t white. It was green, because in the western part of India where my husband’s family originally comes from, and where we were married, it means the color of life, spring and rejuvenation. Since then I have been paying more attention to this shade, and the scents associated with it. In perfumery, for instance, green can be suggested by a variety of materials, from naturals like violet leaf and galbanum to synthetics such as leaf alcohols that smell of freshly cut grass.

The rich palette of green notes finds its expression in a diversity of green nuances in perfumery. This is the topic of my FT column, Seven Green Perfumes. I select these seven fragrances to paint a full spectrum of green, from the dark emerald to pale pistachio.

Green notes, however, can be difficult to wear, which is why, though this perfume family has many loyal fans, it remains small. We prefer our scents of freshly cut grass and new leaves in the air, rather than in the bottle. Nevertheless, certain green fragrances have become classics. One is L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier. It creates its signature fig accord with the clever combination of ivy, leaves and galbanum. The latter is a fennel-like plant that produces a pungent-smelling essential oil. When carefully dosed, however, galbanum conjures up the vivid colours of spring — young buds, new leaves, damp earth. To continue reading, please click here.

As always, I would love to know your favorite green scents?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Les Eaux de Chanel : New Perfumes and Voyages

The next big Chanel launch is a collection of three perfumes, Les Eaux de Chanel. Like Les Exclusifs, they are inspired by places that were meaningful to Chanel. Perfumer Olivier Polge has selected three destinations, Deauville, Venice and Biarritz, and created three stories around them. All three are meant to explore fresh and effervescent notes, but they play with different characters and effects. I will share more detailed reviews as I test the perfumes carefully, and for now just a few general notes the collection.

PARIS-DEAUVILLE

Gabrielle Chanel opened her first boutique in Deauville on the Normandy coast in 1912.

“More than the actual reality of the destination, I liked the idea urbanites make of it when they dream of a
weekend away in the country. I wasn’t striving to capture the Normandy countryside as it stands today, but rather
the promise of a stroll through the tall grasses.” Olivier Polge

The fragrance is green, with the brightness of bitter orange rind, petitgrain and basil leaves. It’s accented with rose and jasmine, but the drydown has a layer of patchouli that gives it a chypre-like impression.

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Latest Comments

  • Klaas in Recommend Me a Perfume : May 2019: Longevity and sillage are poor indeed, but it is so invigorating and uplifting that I don’t mind re-applying! I use it as a summer cologne. May 25, 2019 at 7:23am

  • Klaas in Recommend Me a Perfume : May 2019: Ok, and please let us know if you smell ‘muguet pocelaine’ or ‘canteloube abominable’ ! May 25, 2019 at 7:20am

  • Klaas in Recommend Me a Perfume : May 2019: They are out of stock as well at my local store; 4 more of their scents are sold out as well. They are maked ‘available again soon’…..I just hope you’ll… May 25, 2019 at 7:18am

  • Tamsin in Recommend Me a Perfume : May 2019: I also love and worship wisteria… sometimes stop the car to smell a particularly enormous wisteria tree, and this year have been wondering why there is no perfume dedicated to… May 25, 2019 at 5:15am

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