Cumin: 8 posts

Hermes Epice Marine : Perfume Review

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When it comes to telling compelling stories, Hermès takes the prize. The house’s perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena, is the author of Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent and The Diary of a Nose, and he is a natural storyteller. Perfumes in the Hermessence collection are like pages from his personal journal, some inspired  by his travels, others by his native Provence. Epice Marine, introduced earlier this fall, was likewise inspired by Ellena’s adventures, but this time it’s also marked by a collaboration with another artisan.

epice marine

The fragrance came together as Ellena met and corresponded with chef Olivier Roellinger. Ellena travels the world in search of interesting scents, while Roellinger’s quest is for spices. Back in Brittany, a fog shrouded region along France’s northern shore, he composes spices into complex bouquets. If your idea of a spice blend is a Madras curry mix, then Roellinger’s delicate, harmonious blends will come as a surprise. When I sprinkle his Poudre Sérinissima over a tomato salad, I also want to dust my skin with this ginger and saffron accented powder. Who else could be a better collaborator and muse for a perfumer?

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Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant : Perfume Review

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I love those moments when I catch a whiff of something beautiful and it turns out to be my own perfume. Kenzo Jungle L’Éléphant doesn’t unroll like a neat scroll; it undulates like ripples on water. Suddenly you find yourself catching a wave of scent–cardamom stewed plums,  smoky woods and dried orange peel, and it feels so unexpected and delightful.

Those who know Kenzo from their latest tame releases–Amour, Madly, and the like, will be surprised by Jungle L’Éléphant. It smells like something that should be called “Noir,” “niche”, and “exclusive”. Instead, Jungle L’Éléphant is available at Sephora* and online discounters. In 1996 when Jungle L’Éléphant was launched, Kenzo wasn’t the dull mainstream house that it is today, and this perfume is a great example of their previously bold and exotic aesthetic.

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Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger : Fragrance Review

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Fdo

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

Fleurs d’Oranger is an orange blossom that pretends to be a tuberose. Or perhaps vice versa. Either way, this Serge Lutens composition dispels any illusions about flowers being sheer, pretty and delicate. Fleurs d’Oranger is sultry and opulent and is one of the most dramatic floral compositions, oscillating between the honeyed sweetness of white blossoms and the salty muskiness of sunwarmed skin.

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Annick Goutal Le Mimosa : Fragrance Review

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Le mimosa

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

To me few scents evoke spring more than the honey and cucumber fragrance of mimosa. Even before the snow melted on the streets of Kiev, sidewalk vendors would suddenly appear with large baskets of fluffy mimosa branches wrapped in wet newspaper. I could never resist the sunny yellow color nor the warm, sweet fragrance, and I happily traded my school lunch allowance for a smell of spring. Today I would gladly exchange the most precious perfume in my collection for the utter joy of burying my face in a soft cloud of fragrant mimosa orbs, staining my fingers with indelible newspaper ink and feeling my pulse quicken at the thought of spring being near. Therefore, I simply could not wait for Annick Goutal Le Mimosa to arrive on our shores, even if the real mimosa rarely does. Launched this month as a part of the soliflores collection, Néroli, Des Lys, La Violette, Le Muguet and Le Chèvrefeuille, Le Mimosa is Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen’s ode to spring.

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Alexander McQueen Kingdom : Perfume Review

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Alexander_mcqueen_kingdom

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

Whenever I hear that there are no creative fragrances in the mainstream market, I want to point to Kingdom (2003), a fascinating fragrance created by perfumer Jacques Cavallier for the enfant terrible of fashion, Alexander McQueen. The blatant sensuality of Kingdom mirrored the controversial and innovative approach to fashion developed by McQueen. Developed as a classical woody oriental composition—its luxurious dark woods cradled in the velvety foil of smoky resins a la Chanel Bois des Îles, Caron Nuit de Noël and Guerlain Samsara, Kingdom hides a raw and aggressive streak. The effect of this juxtaposition is exactly what makes grand French classics compelling—that reminder of human traces, of decay, of things that we try to hide. It is subtle enough to tease the senses without becoming repulsive, and yet, its presence is obvious. …

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