Solar Perfume Notes : What Does It Mean?

Perfume-speak is a language of its own, with words like “chypre”, “gourmand” and “petally” having specialised meanings. Speaking Perfume: the A-to-Z glossary of perfume terms demystifies some of the commonly used terms, but I often receive requests to elaborate further and give more examples. My latest FT column, Sun and Scents, covers the term “solar.” Some perfumes are presented as having “solar notes” or “solar flowers”, with little explanation as to what that might mean. Although the image of a solar blossom is exotic, the term simply defines a warm and radiant effect, and in my article, I explain how it’s achieved and give examples of several fragrances. Although they’re usually marketed as summer fragrances, I find them even better on a grey, overcast day.

My latest find is Tom Ford Eau de Soleil Blanc, which is a sibling of Ford’s earlier launch Private Blend Soleil Blanc. Both perfumes are suitable for men and women, since they’re based around fresh notes of orange, peppery bergamot and petitgrain (a distillation of buds and leaves of bitter orange with a bright-green, zesty aroma). The glow of ylang-ylang – a popular ingredient in solar scents – enhances the radiance of the new composition, while the musk prolongs its presence. To continue reading, please click here.

One of my favorite solar perfumes that I didn’t mention in the article is Guerlain Lys Soleia from the house’s Aqua Allegoria collection. It’s been discontinued, and I had mixed success finding a reliable source for it. However, if you come across it, I recommend seeking it out.

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Recommend Me a Perfume : September 2018

Too many perfumes, too little time, but we are here to help. Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can this space to find fragrance recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors.

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link uner their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Guerlain Mon Guerlain : Perfume Review

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It’s easy to be dismissive of a perfume like Mon Guerlain. It checks off all of the contemporary cliches–fruity-floral, sweet, and pretty. One can almost guess what it would smell like by looking at its adorable pink bottle. And it first, Mon Guerlain indeed smells predictable, a fruit compote accented with citrus and spiced with patchouli. Yet, in perfume, as in life, it pays to be open-minded.

Those who are willing to give Mon Guerlain a chance will find an upbeat, easy to wear fragrance with a solid Guerlinade imprint. How it gets there is the most interesting part.

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A Classical Experiment : How to Learn to Smell Better

In my September 2018 newsletter, I shared an experiment with three perfume classics. While re-reading the Odyssey (see my fall reading list), I was inspired to turn to another favorite book, Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. I lingered over the scene when the sultry red-haired witch enticed women with the promise of “Guerlain, Chanel No. 5, Mitsouko, Narcisse Noir, evening gowns, cocktail dresses...”  Why not revisit them, I thought?

I decided to devote a few days to each perfume, wearing it every day and studying it closely. I also applied the three perfumes on blotters and kept them within reach to smell as often as I remembered, noting down the changes in scent and its intensity. In my newsletter, I proposed that you also do the experiment with these perfumes, but on reflection, you can repeat it with any fragrance you like. I recommend classics, because they are usually complex and they have elements that you’ll find in modern fragrances. It’s like reading The Odyssey to understand the famous tropes of Western literature.

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Ormonde Jayne Cuir Imperial : Perfume Review

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A certain type of leather scent is guaranteed to catch my attention. Dark, spicy, with a hint of birch tar smokiness. Think Chanel Cuir de Russie on the elegantly austere end of the spectrum or Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque on the opulent dimension.  Ormonde Jayne Cuir Impérial falls somewhere in between. It places a trimmed down and polished leather accord against a Nezami garden of pleasures–rose, sandalwood,  saffron and iris.

Cuir Impérial reveals all of its treasures readily, and its opening is exciting. The blend of spicy and lemony notes makes for a bright start, and if you wonder how a spice can be zesty, try crushing a pod of cardamom. The lemony bite in the top notes of Cuir Impérial is fueled by cardamom, along with a dose of bergamot and pink pepper.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Elise in My Selection of 10 Fragrances for Fall: What a lovely column! I was personally deeply affected by recent political events, and can only just now contemplate something lovely. And nothing is more lovely than musing over perfume… October 18, 2018 at 6:21pm

  • Nancy A. in Comme des Garcons Black : Perfume Review: I always appreciated Rei Kawakubo for her creations specifically fashion however when it comes to her fragrances she never appealed to my olfactory taste. Throwing this level of notes that… October 18, 2018 at 1:36pm

  • Richard Goller in Comme des Garcons Black : Perfume Review: Great review, Victoria. I love this experimental fragrance. But then I also love CDG Garage. October 18, 2018 at 11:33am

  • Andy in Comme des Garcons Black : Perfume Review: How lucky! Caldrea used to have a Vanilla Quince Santal candle, which was a holiday limited edition. Suprisingly enough, it had a beautiful baked quince aroma, with a generous dose… October 18, 2018 at 9:24am

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