Spices: 24 posts

Comme des Garcons Red Series Harissa : Perfume Review

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Comme des Garçons Harissa is a quirky little citrus-spice scent from the imaginative Series 2: Red collection of fragrances themed around the color red as it is found in spices, woods, flowers, and fruits. The fragrance has its origins in harissa, the bright red condiment common to North African cuisines that contains red chili peppers, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, caraway, and cumin.  The condiment is used as a flavoring in stews and in couscous dishes.

pepper

Harissa the fragrance is not so much an olfactory recreation of the condiment as it is a nod to the idea of it.  It is a citrus scent based upon what marketing copy says is a “North African blood orange”, and additional touches include red chili pepper, angelica, saffron, nutmeg, cardamom, and tomato.  The fragrance is only mildly spicy despite the list of notes.

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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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Comme des Garcons Incense Series Jaisalmer : Perfume Review

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Jaisalmer is part of a quintet of incense-based fragrances marketed as Comme des Garcons Series 3: Incense.  Each location-themed fragrance (Avignon, Jaisalmer, Kyoto, Ouarzazate, and Zagorsk) conjures incense as liturgical, historical, ritual or mystical.

jaisalmer

In Jaisalmer, which is named for the driest desert city in India, it is the spice trade route upon which the fragrance is composed.  Jaisalmer ignites with cinnamon and then burns this sweet-hot spice slowly over gaiacwood and ebony. Much as the city of Jaisalmer is not on the usual tourist trail, so Jaisalmer the fragrance is the sleeper of the Series 3: Incense line.  It’s my favorite of the set and one that I reach for each fall when the weather turns cooler.

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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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Fan di Fendi : Fragrance Review

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

First, please let me get it off my chest. I am angry at Fendi for discontinuing Theorema, one of the perfect spicy fragrances—it smells like pomanders and smoky roses. I am disappointed that Life Essence, a brilliant perfume of mossy cedarwood, cardamom and geranium was axed. And I still don’t understand why Asja, the spicy jasmine set in amber, had to go as well. So when Fan di Fendi landed on my local Sephora shelf, I tried my best to ignore it.

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