Scent Diary : Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I hope that this year will bring you much happiness and that all of your wishes will come true. Most importantly, I hope that it will bring you new adventures, new discoveries and fresh motivation to learn something new. For my part, in 2018 I’m planning to share more sensory pursuits with you, and I’m looking forward to exchanging thoughts on art, books, cooking, music, and of course, scents. I know that some of you have signed up for my Perfume & Wine Course in Burgundy, and I look forward to meeting you there.

Our scent diary is back for 2018, and the premise is the same as before. You can write about anything you wish in this thread, but those who would like to use the Scent Diary to sharpen their sense of smell, I will give a short explanation. As I wrote in How to Improve Your Sense of Smell, the best way to sharpen your nose is to smell and to pay attention to what you’re smelling. It doesn’t matter what you smell. The most important thing is to notice whatever you smell around you. It’s even better if you write it down. So please share your scents and perfumes with us.

Bois de Jasmin is on a break this week, and we will return with a new article on Monday, January 8th.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Best of 2017 in Scents and Discoveries

For my Best of 2017 list I wanted to highlight the perfumes that moved me and that accompanied me throughout the year. Some are from big brands, others are from tiny artisanal outfits. The main leitmotif to my list is the pleasure and excitement of discovery. Patricia and Elisa will share their treasures and loves as well.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year and lots of joy and beauty. Thank you for your support and for sharing your thoughts and discoveries with me.

Victoria’s List

Three Jasmines

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Best Perfumes with Coffee Notes

Merry Christmas! I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying the seasonal festivities as well as moments of rest with a good book and a cup of tea or coffee. Speaking of which, coffee is the topic of my recent FT column, Perfumes with Coffee Notes. I talk about the reasons why perfumers find this note difficult, how it can be used in fragrances and what perfumes showcase it to its advantage. From Arquiste Nanban to Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa, I cover my favorite compositions.

“Coffee notes, for all of their complexity and addictive richness, are complicated to use. The solution is to approach coffee notes creatively. Instead of mimicking nature, a perfumer instead might fashion a blend that hints at coffee’s pleasing bitterness and heady richness. Such is Arquiste’s Nanban. The composition uses a plush backdrop of woods to frame the smoky, spicy notes of myrrh and incense, with an accent of coffee to lend the composition a dark, delicious twist. It teases with its smoky, nutty warmth, but keeps its presence mellow behind layers of sandalwood and leather. To continue, please click here.”

As always, I’d love to hear about the coffee perfumes you like.

Image: Atelier Cologne

Scent Diary : Winter Jasmine

Four years ago I bought a jasmine plant. It was a puny little thing, but it was completely covered with flowers. After it finished blooming, it started growing profusely, but it hasn’t produced a single blossom. My husband took care of it, consulting numerous websites and books, but the jasmine refused to bloom. I suspected that there was not enough sun for it in our northern land, and soon enough my husband left it to its own devices. The jasmine spent all summer outside, watered by the generous Belgian rain. Apparently, neglect was the right approach, because this winter it started blooming once I brought it back inside. As I’m writing, the snow is falling, but here I sit surrounded by the aroma of jasmine.

Unlike other types of jasmine, Jasminum auriculatum–and that’s what my plant is–has an animalic, indolic fragrance with a spicy, cinnamon-like edge. Even dry flowers have a strong scent. This heady fragrance can only be matched either by Serge Lutens A La Nuit or an Indian jasmine attar.

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5 Perfumes from Masque Milano : Reviews

Elisa reviews 5 fragrances from Masque Milano.

The word masque, with its auto-glamorous French ending, has two associations for me. On the one hand I think of masquerade balls, those opulent Carnival season events dating back to the 15th century, and that beautiful scene in the 1997 film Wings of the Dove, where Helena Bonham Carter runs through the dark streets of Venice dressed as a toreador. On the other, I think of plague masks—not as celebratory, to be sure, but they do have some connection to perfume. At the time, people believed that disease was spread through miasma, or the literal stink of death in the air. It made sense to them that if they blocked the smell, they would be protected from the disease. So they stuffed the long beak of the plague mask with aromatic materials—herbs, spices, incense and resins, ambergris, rose petals.

Masque, a small niche line based in Milan, currently has nine fragrances created by eight different noses (given, supposedly, no budget limits) and organized around the idea of an opera (Act I, Act II, and Act III). That may sound a bit pretentious, and I don’t understand it myself—what does Times Square have to do with Montecristo or a mandala? This would be a bizarre opera. But I think you’ll see that this house is not without a sense of humor, and most importantly, the perfumes smell fantastic.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Brooke in The Scent of Osmanthus: I’ve tried Miyako, but I wasn’t too impressed with it tbh. I found the texture of the fragrance a bit odd as well. It was more like an oil. January 20, 2018 at 7:59am

  • Brooke in The Scent of Osmanthus: My favorite osmanthus perfume (so far) is Nobile 1942’s Malia. Ironically, the first time I sprayed it, I didn’t like it at all, but the memory of the smell was… January 20, 2018 at 7:49am

  • Aurora in Musky Warmth of Angelica: Sorry for late answer, victoria, and Thank you Tara for your description. Yes, the EDP is like a walk in a deeper forest compared to the EDT which I find… January 20, 2018 at 5:52am

  • Aurora in The Scent of Osmanthus: How I would love to discover Japan and your article was the next best thing. The apricot like osmanthus is a note I often look for in perfumes and excited… January 20, 2018 at 5:22am

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