Green & Galbanum: 40 posts

Carine Roitfeld Parfums George : Perfume Review

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In a memorable scene in Joris-Karl Huysman’s novel Against Nature, his character Des Esseintes is so inspired by reading Dickens that he decides to visit London. Yet, having traveled only as far as grey and rainy Paris, he feels that he has experienced London’s atmosphere enough in his imagination and abandons the whole idea. No doubt, Des Esseintes would have been sympathetic to the efforts of perfumers who attempt to satisfy the wanderlust of armchair travelers. One such venture is Carine Roitfeld Parfums, created by the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. The line includes seven unisex fragrances, Aurélien, George, Kar-Wai, Lawrence, Orson, Sebastian and Vladimir, inspired by travel and by fictional lovers.

My ideal lover is George. He is elegant, suave, and soft-spoken, yet whatever he says keeps my interest piqued. (He has certainly read Huysmans, although decadence is not his favorite art current; he is more into realism.) I travel to Tokyo with George, where we stroll through autumnal temple gardens, take baths with iris petals and visit painting exhibits in those typically Japanese galleries filled with silence, soft light and a whiff of wood polish. With George on my arm, everything smells of violet leaves, moss and crushed green leaves. He doesn’t smoke, but the leather jacket that he wears so well is redolent of ashes and fine tobacco.

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Favorite Summer Perfumes : Around the Fragrance Wheel

A fragrance evoking crushed green leaves, or perhaps a smoked lily. Or a blend that smells of damp wood and moss. For my summer selection this year, I decided to unfold the fragrance wheel and visit 5 of my favorite styles–green, chypre, citrus, white flowers and incense. I wore one type of perfume for several days in a row and below are my discoveries.

Green

I have always thought that my favorite part of the fragrance wheel was the one where the white flowers bloomed in profusion–the tangles of tuberose, the jungles of jasmine, the groves of gardenias. Yet, this year I realized how much I like green scents, from the delicate and fresh Parfums de Nicolaï Temps d’Une Fête to the intensely green Diptyque Eau de Lierre. I can add more to this list:  L’Artisan Parfumeur Violaceum, Tom Ford Vert de Fleur, Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio, Byredo Green, and Chanel Bel Respiro. One of the new discoveries is Parfums Dusita’s Le Sillage Blanc, a classical mossy chypre with a beautiful green accord.

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Parfum d’Empire Corsica Furiosa : Perfume Review

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Scents that capture everything green are my obsession. Don’t give me a pale whisper of crushed stems or a hint of young leaf;  that’s not enough. I want the dazzling, overwhelming, explosive experience that you feel at the height of springtime when everything smells green and heady–the buds dripping with honey, blades of grass pushing through the asphalt, leaves unfurling from their sticky casings with violent force. Green is life, and I want to feel this verdant rush.

corsica-furiosa

But I’m in the minority. As Coty, Balmain and scores of other houses quickly discovered after launching their violently green perfumes, from Coty Chypre to Balmain Vent Vert, most people don’t want that much force. Green can be exciting, but it can also be raspy, sharp, challenging. Green accents are essential for many compositions, but strong green fragrances are rare. Which is why initially Parfum d’Empire Corsica Furiosa seems like such a welcome divergence.

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Estee Lauder Knowing : Fragrance Review

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Estée Lauder Knowing blends roses and moss, one of Elisa’s favorite perfume pairings. She revisits this glamorous and plush fragrance today.

There’s just nothing like a rose chypre. Though the perfume world has given me no shortage of beautiful options in this moss inflected category, there’s something about it that feels endlessly variable to me, and if I ever had the money and good fortune to commission a bespoke fragrance from a great perfumer, the perfect rose chypre is what I would chase.

knowing

As luck would have it, this category hasn’t yet been ruined by time or perfume regulations (unlike, say, lily of the valley). The classical chypre accord, traditionally a harmony between bergamot, oakmoss, and labdanum, is harder to achieve since oakmoss was identified as an allergen in 2001. But perhaps because rose plays so nicely with earthy materials like patchouli and vetiver, only a touch of the now restricted oakmoss is needed to create a dramatic effect. So, for example, Francis Kurkdjian’s Lumiere Noire Pour Femme (2009) is almost as beautiful as L’Arte di Gucci (1991).

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Balmain Ivoire : Perfume Review (Vintage and Modern)

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Ivoire de Balmain, like many classical fragrances, entered my wardrobe via a thrift shop find. I love browsing antique stores for treasures like old perfume bottles, fake pearl necklaces and copper cake molds, and while more often than not, I leave with nothing but dust on my fingers and clothes, occasionally I find a gem. Several years ago it was a small bottle of Ivoire parfum. It was still sealed, and the fragrance was exquisitely beautiful. Even when later I bought a bottle of new Eau de Toilette, I still was smitten with Ivoire’s fragrance of crushed green leaves and skin washed with jasmine soap.

ivoire

Ivoire was  created in 1979 by a great team of perfumers, Francis Camail and Michel Hy. For reference, Camail created Estée Lauder Aliage and was one of the perfumers responsible for Giorgio Beverly Hills, while Michel Hy gave us legends like Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and Paco Rabanne Calandre. Balmain was one of the top French fashion houses, and Pierre Balmain was still at the helm. “A garment made by Pierre Balmain was the very quintessence of haute couture,” famously said the Vogue editor Diana Vreeland.

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