Myrrh: 15 posts

Hermes Myrrhe Eglantine : Perfume Review

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When I first heard of the new Hermessence collection, with its ouds and myrrhs, I was apprehensive. The previous additions to the line were all sheer, opaline and ethereal, and I couldn’t see how Middle Eastern inspiration could continue the same aesthetic. As it turns out, I underestimated Christine Nagel, the current in-house perfumer for Hermès, because Agar Ebène, Cèdre Sambac, Myrrhe Églantine, Cardamusc and Musc Pallida have the radiance that gives the house’s perfumes its distinctive quality. They also have curves and sensuality.

Myrrhe Églantine is the most classical of the five new Hermessence fragrances and the one that pays the most homage to an existing perfume, Rose Ikebana. Created by Jean-Claude Ellena, Rose Ikebana was one of the most underrated gems from the collection. Yes, it’s a pretty, fizzy rose, but it also had a level of precision and refinement that few other fresh roses possess. Myrrhe Églantine plays with the same shimmering effects, but it sets the rose against a velvety background.

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Yves Saint Laurent Opium (New) : Perfume Review

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Opium. Even if you haven’t worn Opium yourself, just the name of this perfume by Yves Saint Laurent is enough to conjure its controversial and dramatic personality. Opium came out in 1977 and it marked a whole era with its spicy, fiery carnation scent. In the 1980s, when neither perfume nor hair could be too big, it held its own alongside Christian Dior Poison, Giorgio Beverly Hills and other heavy hitters.

opium

My relationship with Opium and other big 1980s perfumes is ambivalent. I recognize their genius; I admire their boldness and verve. But whenever I wear Opium in all of its “pre-reformulation” spicy glory, it feels like I’m playing dress up. I can’t make it my own. But Yves Saint Laurent left us with no choice. In 2009, the house discontinued Opium and reintroduced a new version. The original formula of Opium contained so many ingredients considered allergenic that trying to save it was a losing battle.

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Estee Lauder Youth Dew : Perfume Review (New and Vintage)

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This year Estée Lauder’s first fragrance, Youth Dew, will celebrate its 60th anniversary.  Originally conceived as perfumed bath oil, it is the dowager empress of the Lauder fragrance counter, still selling briskly despite its late middle age. So formidable is it that if you only try it once every ten years, you will recognize it.

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Youth Dew has always been a thick and nearly viscous brew. Lauder perfumes contain sumptuous amounts of perfume oil and nowhere is this illustrated as plainly as in Youth Dew, whose 30% dosage leaves a sheen on the skin.  In today’s terms, Youth Dew is retro in the same way Opium is retro; they are both heavily spiced and heavy-lidded Orientals of a type no longer in trend. As with Opium, Youth Dew is crazily ripe with orange top notes and aldehydes bursting over its clove and cinnamon heart.

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Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire : Perfume Review

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Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire by perfumer Dominique Ropion is said to contain 25% vetiver—the most on the market where this herbal, grassy note is a frequently the principal note in men’s fragrances. Depending on which facets the perfumer has illuminated, vetiver can be sweet, dry, smoky, bitter, fruity, peppery, and woody. In Vétiver Extraordinaire, the note is freed like a balloon by ozone, which gives it a fresh airiness in opposition to more earthbound vetivers (like Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier’s earthy Route du Vétiver or Serge Lutens’ root-y Vétiver Oriental).

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Vetiver is a grass that is native to India but is also grown in Haiti, Indonesia, China, Java, and Reunion.  For perfumery purposes, oil is extracted from the roots. The damp, woody scent of vetiver is so complex that it can be a perfume on its own. The note is used as a drydown accent or it can be treated as a main theme.  It’s traditionally associated with masculine fragrances like Guerlain Vetiver, but it also appears with regularity in the bases of feminine perfumes like Chanel No 19 or Guerlain Chamade.

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Etat Libre d’Orange The Afternoon of a Faun : Perfume Review

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By a coincidence, the first time I wore The Afternoon of a Faun, the latest perfume from Etat Libre d’Orange, was to a ballet performance. I applied it earlier in the day and by the time I sat in the darkened theater it already melted into my skin. My companion leaned in and whispered, “I love the smell of theater, the mix of wood and floor polish… Oh, wait! It’s you!” And she was right, Faun smells like worn wood, or something antique and patina covered.

Created by , the same perfumer who authored the brilliant Fils de Dieu, The Afternoon of a Faun is inspired by the ballet choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky for the Ballets Russes. It was first performed in 1912, with Nijinsky dancing the main role. Set to the score by Claude Debussy, L’après-midi d’un faune told the story of a faun who meets and teases a group of nymphs. The erotic subtext of the plot and the archaically styled dance ran so counter to classical dance that it caused a scandal, and Nijinsky could barely escape the angry fans.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • limegreen in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: Hi Aurora, They are relatively new, except for the body sprays for Neroli Portofino and Oud Wood which have been out for a while. Apparently they are going to come… July 18, 2018 at 10:13am

  • limegreen in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: Hello again, Floras: If you do like the Diptyques, both Eau Duelle and Volutes come in EdP and they not only last longer but have much more depth. Good luck! July 18, 2018 at 10:00am

  • Hayley in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: Ahh didn’t realise it was discontinued. That makes sense as it’s silly money in my local outlet am in uk and your USA I think? Had a quick google and… July 18, 2018 at 9:20am

  • Andy S in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: Hi Martha, I loved the ‘old’ Ivoire too, and miss it. While not the same, another perfume I love that makes me feel good in the same way Ivoire did,… July 18, 2018 at 9:16am

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