Almond: 9 posts

The perfumery almond can take on many forms: the creamy, soft almond which is derived from a material called heliotropine (this is what you smell in Serge Lutens Rahat Loukoum or Guerlain Après l’Ondée, for instance); the toasted almond obtained from either coumarin or tonka bean (see the discussion of these two notes), or classical bitter almond thanks to a dose of benzaldehyde (Serge Lutens La Myrrhe). Most perfumes reviewed below are the creamy, soft almond type.

Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender : Perfume Review

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Gourmand is a fragrance family I love for its instant mood booster potential. At the same, many contemporary high-calorie blends can test the limits of one’s tolerance for sweetness, and if you’re looking for a luscious, but not cloying, treat, the options can seem limited. One of the good lines to explore for abstract gourmands is Parfums de Nicolaï. Its founder, Patricia Nicolaï, is an heir to Guerlain’s tradition (a house famous for its trademark accord of vanilla, tonka bean and other delicious notes), both as a granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain, Jacques Guerlain‘s brother, and an innovative perfumer in her own right.

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Kiss Me Tender, her take on the candy-smelling plant, heliotrope, could have been inspired by Guerlain’s Héliotrope Blanc (1870). It’s a dessert of vanilla and almonds, but the pastry illusion is kept in check by the realistic jasmine, orange blossom and ylang-ylang.

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Pasta di Mandorle : Cream For Lily Soft Hands

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is sitting down in front of the TV in the evening with a cup of cafe blanc and a jar of Santa Maria Novella Pasta di Mandorle. I sip my orange blossom scented drink and slowly rub the speckled brown cream into my hands, knowing that in the morning I will wake up to lily soft hands and shiny nails.

almond-paste-cream

It’s a guilty pleasure, because at $50 for 1.6 oz, Pasta di Mandorle is the most expensive cream I own. When I look at the ingredient list–sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, egg yolk, virgin beeswax, and glycerin, I think that my grandmother’s home made version might just be  as good. For the price of a couple of jars of Pasta di Mandorle, I can pay for a trip to Ukraine from Belgium so I finally decided to make my own cream.

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See by Chloe : Perfume Review

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The brand See by Chloé is a less expensive, trendy sibling to the sophisticated Chloé fashion line. Of course, less expensive is relative–a See by Chloé mini skirt goes for about €300, but if you compare See by Chloé perfume with the Chloé’s richer florals, it will definitely seem more playful. I also give props to See by Chloé for being such a clever fruity floral. Whereas most fragrances of its type take a sweet, cloying direction, See by Chloé has a bitter twist.

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See by Chloé was created by perfumer Michel Almairac, who has authored most of Chloé’s collection. Almairac is undoubtedly one of the best perfumers working today, and although I don’t always love his commercial work (his talent can do only so much against the demands of the marketplace and the fragrance managers), I admire the interesting touches he adds to the most mundane compositions.

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Serge Lutens Rahat Loukoum : Perfume Review

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

In my 10 Perfumes I Should Love … But Do Not, Serge Lutens Rahat Loukoum occupies the top spot. It contains everything I should enjoy, but the end result smells like a cross between a cheap almond candle and a cleaning product. It is also one of the most popular Lutens fragrance. One of the reasons I finally decided to write this review is to hear the views of those who love this fragrance and gladly wear it. Since all of us perceive fragrances slightly differently, perhaps I am missing something. As things stand however, Rahat Loukoum, inspired by the Turkish confection, is not much of a delight for me.

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Christian Dior Escale a Portofino : Perfume Review

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Escale_a_portofino

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

In sartorial terms, an effervescent citrus cologne is as versatile and timeless as a tailored suit or a little black dress. It is immediately appealing and effortlessly chic, while still having a striking presence. Yet, eventually all little black dresses start to look similar, and all colognes exhibit that familiar fresh burst followed by floral sweetness or woody dryness. As one knows all too well, familiarity breeds contempt. In this light, I have put the newest cologne offering, Christian Dior Escale à Portofino, to the test.

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