Spices: 21 posts

Serge Lutens Bois Oriental : Perfume Review

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Arabian_nights_1

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

Though it is Serge Lutens at his classical best, Bois Oriental from the sumptuous Les Eaux Boisées range* did not immediately appeal to me. The elegant Bois de Violette and the luscious Bois et Fruits were the more likely choices, leaving Bois Oriental to languish ignored. Yet, Bois Oriental deserves its moment in the sun as well, and it turned out to be just as complex, opulent and seductive as the rest of Les Eaux Boisées. …

Serge Lutens excels at weaving images from the Moroccan souks, Arabian Night tales and Moghul palaces. While Bois Oriental is certainly born in that tradition, it seems to possess a certain softness that I do not find to such an extent in the other Les Eaux Boisées. It flows like a tale that Scheherezade might have been told after knowing that the Sultan Schahriar had fallen in love with her, enchanted by her stories and kindness. Where the woods in Bois de Violette, Bois et Musc, and Bois et Fruits cradle a dominant note, be it a soft musk or caramelized fruit, Bois Oriental is a lavish tapestry of spices.

Wrapped into the creamy foil of vanilla, the hot spices of Bois Oriental feel warm rather than fiercely searing. Nevertheless, their opulence and harmony assure a dramatic statement. Moreover, adding to the excitement of Bois Oriental are the abstract gourmand touches, evoking the ruby hued candied quince, rose sherbet, and cardamom almond halwa. Yet, the smooth warmth of the base notes tones down the sweetness in a rather elegant manner, leaving one with only a faint impression of something delectable.

The lovers of Les Eaux Boisées and Shiseido Féminité du Bois will find Bois Oriental enchanting. Moreover, if you enjoyed Arabie for its Middle Eastern gourmand character, but found it overwhelming, you might like to explore Bois Oriental. The fragrance is very tenacious and long-lasting like all of Les Eaux Boisées, a range with a strikingly beautiful sillage. Bois Oriental includes notes of violet, peach, plum, rose, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, musk, Atlas cedarwood, and vanilla. It is available from Les Salons du Palais Royal.

Les Eaux Boisées range includes Bois Oriental, Bois de Violette, Bois et Musc, and Bois et Fruits, Un Bois Sépia, Chêne, and Santal de Mysore.

Scheherazade Telling the Tales by Kay Nielsen (1922).

Serge Lutens Rousse : 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.

Lipstick and candied lady apples were the first associations that Rousse, the newest Serge Lutens’s fragrance, brought to my mind. One was conjured by the powdery violet note, the other by the intensely sweet and caramelized wood. Although I loved Chypre Rouge and Mandarine-Mandarin, Rousse was somewhat of a let down. It possesses neither the distinctive presence of Lutens’s fragrances like Iris Silver Mist and Ambre Sultan nor the classical elegance that marks Rose de Nuit and Chêne. It is simply a pleasant scent, but then again, the world is full of them. From Serge Lutens, I expected nothing but breathtaking, even if not conventionally pretty. …

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Parfumerie Generale Aomassai : Perfume Review

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Aomassa

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

Parfumerie Générale Aomassaï is a scent of an antique spice box—an oily film on the wood, a scattering of pepper and pimento berries, a mélange of sweetness and muskiness. This unexpected twist arrives after the initial toffee effect, which further accents the opulence of Aomassaï. The ambery resinous richness of the composition makes for a potent woody oriental, which does not speak in half tones. …

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Aesop Marrakech : Fragrance Review

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Spices

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

A dark spicy oriental paired with a name evoking exotic and distant locales is an alluring combination. Marrakech speaks of the camel trails in the dessert, the noise of spice markets and the opulent scent of nightblooming jasmine hanging in the warm evening air. The romanticism of these images is distilled into the fragrances that comprise Serge Lutens range, however Aesop Marrakech is a raw take, a blast of hot dessert wind, rather than a delicate breeze carrying the scented secrets of the Middle Eastern palaces.

Marrakech, created by Australian company Aesop, is a fragrance composed solely of the non-synthetic ingredients. Spice and wood oils are combined into a linear fragrance that rather than developing from one stage into the next merely fades, its initial burning sensation becoming muted over time. It is a scent that might actually fill a place someplace in Morocco, rather than a dream-like vision of it. Thus, Marrakech is the heavy and pungent smell of the lane where medicinal wares are traded along with attars.

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Lubin Idole de Lubin : Perfume Review

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Idole_de_lubin

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

Idole de Lubin… “He embraced her nervously, not daring to ask the question that hovered upon his lips. She had placed a large package on the stand in the center of the room. Opening it she took out a tablet of soap, a bottle of Lubin’s extract, a sponge, a box of hairpins, a button- hook, and curling-tongs…” Guy de Maupassant, Bel Ami (1885).

The names like Lubin, L.T. Piver, Sauzé, Gelle Frères, Millot, Rigaud, Houbigant, and Roger & Gallet may not readily evoke the images of the grand perfume houses, yet until the 20th century, these firms were on par with houses like Guerlain and Coty in contributing to the “Golden Age of Perfumery.” Pierre-François Lubin established his firm under Napoleon in 1798 and eventually became Pauline Bonaparte Princess Borghèse’s appointed perfumer. Over the course of its history, the house created about 466 fragrances. However, its glory seemed to have vanished with the hats and gloves. In this light, it is fascinating to experience Idole de Lubin, created by Olivia Giacobetti. Inspired by the maritime spice routes and voyages to the far away lands, Idole takes the name of Lubin’s fragrance from the early 1960s. However, I should clarify that it is a completely different fragrance, rather than a remake of the vintage one. Could it be the sign of Lubin’s revival? …

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