White Florals: 19 posts

Why Bad Smells Are Important in Perfumery

One of the paradoxes of perfumery is that to create a good smell, you need a bit of funk. A strawberry accord won’t smell convincing without a sulphurous accent. Recreating a dewy white blossom requires the same substances that are present in horse sweat. There is even a space in every perfume lab devoted to materials with strong, reeking odors, and it’s appropriately called “the stinky room.” Next to the roses and vanillas in a perfumer’s palette, notes reminiscent of dirty hair, musty fur, burnt toast or decaying fruit have their place of honor–costus, musks, civet, pyrazines and many other pungent ingredients. They may be used in small quantities, but they’re important enhancers, giving vibrancy, texture and spice to an otherwise conventional fragrance.

Traditionally, the raunchy notes in classical perfumery were of animalic origin—musk, civet, and ambergris. Today they have been replaced by their synthetic analogs, but they play the same role, warming up a composition and giving it a lush character. Chanel No 5 wouldn’t be the marvel that it is without a cocktail of musks that lingers under the layer of champagne-like aldehydes, rose and jasmine. In Hermès’s Calèche, a whisper of sunwarmed skin keeps this refined blend from becoming icy and aloof. Even more unexpected is Cartier Déclaration, a citrus cologne with a shot of cumin, a spice with a distinctly sweaty odor. For a proper bombshell you could turn to Schiaparelli Shocking, which transforms musk, honey, and civet into a symphony of ripeness.

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Women’s Fragrance for Men : Let’s Be Daring with Tuberose

As a counterpart to my article and video Three Men’s Fragrances for Women : Modern Classics, I would like to talk about women’s fragrances for men. In a way, this is a more complicated topic, because men’s fragrance styles are more conservative and limited than those intended for women. On the other hand, I’m constantly inspired by my readers here who experiment and wear different types of perfumes, and I wanted to offer a few words of encouragement to those who’d like to follow their lead.

First of all, if you like certain types of scents, disregard their gender classification. The one unexpected benefit of social distancing these days is that it gives you space to try something that you wouldn’t otherwise. Also, reconsider fragrance notes and their associations. The reason I selected tuberose for my example is because it can be adopted by anyone, men and women.

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Tuberose Perfumes for Men and Women – The Most Voluptuous of Flowers

What flower evokes all things lush and sensual to you? To me, it would definitely be tuberose. This blossom has many elements that make it complex and voluptuous, from the sweetness of its fruity facets to the creaminess of its coconut facets. Tuberose contains lactones, hence the coconut effect, but it also includes indoles, aroma-molecules that lend it a particularly smoldering and intriguing character. So nuanced is tuberose absolute that with few adjustments it can be made into a proper perfume. On the other hand, so distinctive is tuberose that a clever blend of coconut and another white floral can give a believable tuberose effect to a floral bouquet.

In my recent video, I talk about tuberose and mention a few of my favorite fragrances with this note. I decided to expand the discussion to include a few more excellent examples as well as to highlight tuberose scents that would work for men. This note lends itself to experimentation.

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Givenchy L’Interdit 2018 : Fragrance Review

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Givenchy the couturier was catapulted into stardom by his work with Audrey Hepburn. Their partnership resulted in one of the most distinctive wardrobes in fashion history, from the embroidered gown of Sabrina to the little black dress of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Equally important was Hepburn’s role in making Givenchy the perfumer. L’Interdit was the first Givenchy perfume, and whether Hepburn wore it or not, she claimed it as her signature fragrance. 

The original 1957  L’Interdit was a floral aldehydic with enough elegance to make one feel dressed up, even if you wore only pyjamas. Think Chanel No 5, but soft, warm and with a delicious strawberry note.

I say was, because in 2005 Givenchy reformulated it. The change was done by perfumer Aurelien Guichard, and it made the fragrance less aldehydic and starchy, but also simpler. Still, as far as updates go, it was decent in that it retained the character of the original. You can read my more detailed review, in which I compare the original and the 2005 version.

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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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Latest Comments

  • Tourmaline in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Hi Frances, What a wonderful word to describe strong fragrances – “bombastic”! I wear my bombastic perfumes in cold weather. With kind regards, Tourmaline October 21, 2021 at 6:35am

  • Tourmaline in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Hi Jeanne, Well that’s interesting… I didn’t know that Les Néréides created perfume. I only knew the brand for the pretty jewellery that I’ve bought from a TV shopping network… October 21, 2021 at 6:29am

  • Monika in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Paestum Rose is extraordinary — to quote Chandler Burr — it “unfolds with a scented crepuscular darkness, a twilight that is an exact balance of disappearing sunlight and incipient evening.… October 20, 2021 at 7:27pm

  • Michele in Top Classical Patchouli Perfumes : Part 1 Patchouli: Michele: Victoria, could you review Mandy Aftel’s Bergamoss Solid. It’s a Chypres and she said she created it to be like ones first created. I’d really like to know. Thank… October 20, 2021 at 5:42pm

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