Ambery Family: 53 posts

Hanae Mori Butterfly : Perfume Review

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Elisa on stress and the gourmand ways to fight it.

I suspect there are those among you who, on an especially rough day, derive comfort from an elegant classic like Chanel No. 19 – perhaps because your mother wore it, or perhaps because the orris, vetiver, and galbanum are cool like a hand on a fevered head. I can claim no such level of sophistication. My comfort scents are the equivalent of crème brûlée, which is to say, sugar and fat: perfume as mouthfeel.

hanae mori

I was recently in one of those moods, what Holly Golightly would call “the mean reds,” when such a palliative is called for, and my mind immediately went to Hanae Mori. The original Hanae Mori for women, sometimes known as “Butterfly” due to the bottle design, is a first-generation gourmand. Created by Bernard Ellena in 1995, just three years after Angel, Hanae Mori borrowed the apparently new idea of layering fruit over caramel, but skipped the massively pungent patchouli note that made Angel so shocking. Butterfly, instead, was content to be pretty.

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Jean Patou 1000 (Mille) : Fragrance Review

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So, you’ve worn fragrances in the days when the dangers of oakmoss didn’t occupy the bright minds in the EU’s governing bodies. Perfume to you means character and statement, not something that smelled blindly could be mistaken for shampoo or a flavor compound mistakenly rerouted from a candy factory. Or you simply love scents that have curves and glamour, just like the stars in your favorite black-and-white films. Well, I have three words for you–Jean Patou Mille. Or let’s just make it a number–1000.

1000

Although Jean Patou’s fame owes much to its 1930s bombshell Joy, 1000 is my favorite from the collection. It packs as much old-school glamour as a reasonable person could take, but that’s what makes it interesting. You can certainly find plenty of dramatic perfumes with a touch of vintage glamour, from Chanel to Frédéric Malle, from Guerlain to Parfums de Nicolaï, but 1000 holds its own next to No 5, Hermès Calèche and Madame Rochas.

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Jo Malone Rain and Angelica : Perfume Review

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The smell of sun-dried linens is one of those scents that invariably make me feel like all is well in the world. At the root of it is a childhood recollection of my grandmother’s linens (the memory conveniently blots out the less romantic realities of doing laundry by hand in a house with no running water). The aroma of starched fabric heated in the sun is so comforting that I look to the perfume bottle to satisfy this craving. An unexpected addition to my “sun and summer” fragrances has become Jo Malone Rain and Angelica, a recent debut from the brand specializing in simple, easy-to-wear scents.

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There is no reason to expect that something called Rain and Angelica (an unsubtle nod to Frédéric Malle ‘s rain drenched angelicas, Angéliques Sous la Pluie) would smell of sun warmed sheets or even anything summery. When I checked the list of notes well after trying and wearing the perfume for several days, I was surprised to find little resemblance between the cold, aquatic elements on paper and the warm, soft perfume on my skin.

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Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights : Fragrance Review

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Andy discovers a fun “cheap & chic” oriental. And just because it’s made by a celebrity, it doesn’t mean that it’s boring.

“Proceed with Caution” is my go-to rule when it comes to celebrity fragrances. In the fearsome land of celebuscents, bushels of candy-coated fruit fall from trees, rivers flow with vanilla syrup, and billowing clouds of white musk fill the sky, so as far as my tastes are concerned, a visit to that part of the fragrance counter is to be met with extreme trepidation. Imagine my surprise upon testing a celebrity flanker, Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights, which eschews all the flirty fun in favor of a bolder, more sophisticated composition of patchouli and smooth woods.

fancy nights

First off, it’s best to forget the name, because the nicest thing about wearing Fancy Nights is that it never feels like I’m dressed up for a special night out. Rather, I find it a more appropriate accompaniment to a casual, cozy night in. In essence, Fancy Nights is a shoestring budget oriental, though the overall effect smells remarkably well crafted and ultimately quite unique next to almost any mainstream celebrity release I can think of in the past few years.

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Pacifica Mexican Cocoa : Perfume Review

Today Andy takes a break from tea and talks  about the aromas of hot chocolate.

With whimsical packaging and fragrances inspired by exotic locales, Pacifica is a brand that makes it easy to fall in love with their perfumes. After all, with such a low price point ($22 for 30ml), the fragrances are hard to resist. The line offers a selection of simple, clean fragrances that are all easy to wear and layer, with generously scented soaps and body butters. There are also solid and rollerball versions of their perfumes, plus scented candles and diffusers for the home. The brand’s aesthetic shies away from being too serious, keeping their scents fresh and fun, lively and bright.

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Even though the fragrances aren’t profound or challenging, I’ve found that Pacifica’s scents are worth trying, because several are of outstanding quality, given the price. My first foray into Pacifica was with Mediterranean Fig, which continues to be one of my favorites from the line. It is a well-made, transparent fig scent that follows a nicely developed progression through all the fragrant elements of the fig tree: leaves, fruit, and branches. Another scent worth trying is Pacifica’s French Lilac, which captures an extremely realistic lilac note with a gentle, milky touch. Nerola Orange Blossom offers a simple, refreshing neroli and orange blossom cologne that smells surprisingly heady and sophisticated. Their Mexican Cocoa is addictive and comforting.

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