Seductive: 29 posts

Everyone has their own idea of what they find sexy, but there are a few fragrances that feel sultry and seductive to me.

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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Scent Diary : Winter Jasmine

Four years ago I bought a jasmine plant. It was a puny little thing, but it was completely covered with flowers. After it finished blooming, it started growing profusely, but it hasn’t produced a single blossom. My husband took care of it, consulting numerous websites and books, but the jasmine refused to bloom. I suspected that there was not enough sun for it in our northern land, and soon enough my husband left it to its own devices. The jasmine spent all summer outside, watered by the generous Belgian rain. Apparently, neglect was the right approach, because this winter it started blooming once I brought it back inside. As I’m writing, the snow is falling, but here I sit surrounded by the aroma of jasmine.

Unlike other types of jasmine, Jasminum auriculatum–and that’s what my plant is–has an animalic, indolic fragrance with a spicy, cinnamon-like edge. Even dry flowers have a strong scent. This heady fragrance can only be matched either by Serge Lutens A La Nuit or an Indian jasmine attar.

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Thierry Mugler Oriental Express : Perfume Review

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What happens if you take iris, a note from the cool spectrum of a perfumer’s palette, and make it dark, smoky and sweet? The result is a new take on the oriental fragrance family, with lots of surprises. This is exactly what Thierry Mugler’s Oriental Express accomplishes.  A part of Thierry Mugler’s Les Exceptions collection, which also includes Chyprissime, Supra Floral, Fougère Furieuse, and Over The Musk, Oriental Express is a twist on the traditional theme. The idea behind the collection is to offer modern, novel interpretations of classical fragrance families.

Thierry Mugler

Easier said than done, especially in the case of the so-called oriental family. Loaded with balsams, sandalwood, vanilla, and incense, the oriental compositions have a very strong character, and to offer something new and different, yet still classical, requires unconventional choices. To solve this dilemma, perfumers Jean-Christophe Hérault and Olivier Polge took the direction of Shalimar.

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Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chypree : Fragrance Review

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Elisa on roses, moss, and brocade.

Some perfumes take only moments to love, but years to understand. Such was the case for me with Une Rose Chyprée, a perfume from the indie line created by Andy Tauer. From the first sniff, I knew it was special. But I struggled to grasp why or how. It was not, to my nose, a chypre (a mossy-woody blend) at all. It was not of the sharp, haughty variety like Paloma Picasso; not chilly and green like Yves Ssaint Laurent Y or Chanel No. 19; not, like the more recent Agent Provocateur, saffron-sour up top and musky-dirty at the bottom. So what was it, then?

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After spending a few years with his collection, I realized that Andy Tauer’s true muse is amber. And Une Rose Chyprée is not a straight chypre but an amber in conversation with a mossy rose, melding into its bittersweet floral-herbal personality, but not losing its own round, full, and resinous scent.

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Black Swan, White Swan

What are your Black Swan and White Swan scents? If you’re craving a bewitching perfume, what do you choose?

When I first tried Repetto perfume, this sparkling gourmand floral made me think of the Sugar Plum Fairy, all sweetness and joy. I wished for more drama and magic, something more suitable for the Black Swan enchantress Odile.

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Some choices were obvious when I glanced at my perfume shelf. Annick Goutal Néroli is my White Swan perfume, a delicate, pretty orange blossom that wears like a sheer veil. But if I’m in a Black Swan mood, then I reach for Vero Profumo Rubj. It’s one of the sultriest, darkest florals in my collection, and it is as provocative as it is alluring.

The same duality can be found in my favorite roses: Parfums de Rosine Un Zest de Rose is a smiling, ethereal blossom, but if I want something more dramatic, then Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin would be my potion of choice. Another Black Swan rose I love is Etat Libre d’Orange Rossy de Palma, a hailstorm of earthy, spicy petals.

Etat Libre d’Orange RienClinique Aromatics Elixir, and Yves Saint Laurent Nu are my other Black Swan perfumes, mostly because they are intriguing and unpredictable. Just like Odile.

Image: a still from the film, Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman

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  • aurora in Lilac Chronicles: Thank you for sharing memories of your great-grandmother. Her spirit leaves in that garden I’m sure. I see lilac trees across the street and further along, it’s always a special… May 21, 2018 at 5:14am

  • Cheryl G. in The Simple Miracle of a Soap Bar: Count me in! I’m happy to buy a bar, or two, or ten! May 21, 2018 at 12:42am

  • Marge Clark in The Simple Miracle of a Soap Bar: Hsve any of you tried Andy Tauer’s soaps? now, glycerine based are not my favorite, but the fragrances are lovely. May 20, 2018 at 9:46pm

  • S in The Simple Miracle of a Soap Bar: The Zum soaps are my favorite! Particularly the sandalwood-citrus and the patchouli-mint. I lather them up onto a loofah in the shower and my skin loves them. Which scents do… May 20, 2018 at 9:10pm

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