Frangipani & Tiare: 17 posts

Sunshine Dreams : Tropical Flowers

Every now and then I have a longing for a picture perfect holiday, the kind advertised at tourist agencies with the ubiquitous image of blue waves, white sandy beaches, and a bronzed goddess in a bikini. Deep down I know that I’ll get tired of this kind of vacation after two days–and a beach bunny I’m not at all, but on an overcast, cold day, the allure of warm sand and sunshine is hard to deny. These kinds of blues–and that’s exactly what my longing indicates–have little to do with the weather and lots with stress and fatigue, and I’ve come to recognize them quickly before they take complete hold of me.

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The easiest way to recreate the ambiance of a vacation is to find things that feel uplifting. I bring home bouquets of flowers to add a splash of color to my surroundings, float rose petals in my evening bath, and burn sweet Japanese incense in the bedroom. Then I temporarily set aside my beloved cool irises and woods for the most exuberant perfumes of all in my collection–the tropical florals.

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Cacharel Loulou : Perfume Review (Now and Then)

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As a kid I used to love puzzles and I spent many evening looking for the right jigsaw piece to complete the picture. Occasionally I feel that with perfumes I’m still playing a jigsaw puzzle game as the same fragrance reveals something new whenever I smell it again. This was the case with Cacharel Loulou. When I first smelled it as an 11 year old on my mother, I remember thinking, “the cherry compote.” It was the only part of Loulou I could recognize, because at that point I hadn’t smelled any gardenias or ylang ylang or incense. They didn’t figure in my Eastern European childhood.

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Revisiting Loulou some years later after I had already worn gardenias tucked in my hair as someone tried to kiss my neck and having smelled pungent Indian incense, other pieces of the puzzle fell in place. I discovered with surprise and pleasure that it was not a juicy cherry, but a candied white blossom dipped in vanilla liqueur. I loved it just the same, except that it no longer seemed innocent to me. Loulou was quite a vixen, and though I wasn’t one at all, I liked to dab the parfum on my neck and play the part.

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Arquiste Parfumeur Flor y Canto : Perfume Review

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I rarely encounter a tuberose fragrance I do not like, so I quickly deduced that I would like Arquiste Parfumeur Flor y Canto. Flor y Canto presents tuberose on a tableau of marigold and aims to paint an olfactory portrait of a day in August in the year 1400 when during “the most fragrant festival in the Aztec calendar, the rhythm of drums palpitates as a wealth of flowers is offered on temple altars. Billowing clouds of Copal act as a backdrop to the intoxicating breath of Tuberose, Magnolia, Plumeria and the intensely yellow aroma of the sacred Marigold, cempoalxochitl.” (I will admit to a struggle in pronouncing “cempoalxochitl.”)

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I fell for the story and I normally don’t. The mention of marigold and the promise of something mysterious was too exciting. Unfortunately for me, the most exciting part of Flor y Canto remains on paper. It’s a tuberose and plumeria fragrance–plumeria smells like jasmine, peach, and coconut, and it’s rather linear and at times approaches bubblegum sweetness before it dries down.

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Keiko Mecheri Un Jour d’Ete : Fragrance Review

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Un Jour d’Été (A Summer Day) is the newest release from Keiko Mecheri, the prolific Los Angeles-based line whose powdery Loukhoum became a huge cult hit a decade ago.  Mecheri calls Un Jour d’Été a hesperidic fragrance, “an escape in the South of France, on the beaches of St. Tropez.”  This summer day revolves around coconut, a note that Mecheri handles well enough to evade the black, oily flatness and plasticity that a coconut note can impart.  This is done primarily through macerating the coconut in citrus and by evoking European tanning lotions through the use of monoi (tiare seeped in coconut oil).

Although perhaps not intentional, a patchouli base reads as brown and leathery. Here is where a definite image is called to mind—those overly bronzed beach bodies under a relentless sun that used to be part of escapist fantasy but that now just seem imprudent.

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By Kilian Water Calligraphy : Perfume Review

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As much as I love complex fragrances that feel like an alternative universe in themselves, there are days when I feel that my own world more than suffices to keep me on my toes. At such times I simply want something beautiful: a perfume that feels like a comfortable second skin, or a soft melody that forms a perfect scented soundtrack to my day. The latest such discovery is by Kilian Water Calligraphy, a perfume from the Asian Tales Collection.

Water Calligraphy is immediately inviting—the sparkling citrus top notes are tart and bittersweet, while the lemony cardamom is deliciously piquant. Even when the luscious white floral notes begin to unfold, the perfume retains its initial airy impression. If you’ve ever floated gardenias in a bowl of water and returned to find a room full of their peach and jasmine cream perfume, you will find a similar experience with Water Calligraphy.

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