Lists: 135 posts

Mimosa Fragrance For Her and For Him

“I will bring you cassie, if you still enjoy its perfume,” wrote French novelist Prosper Mérimée in Lettres à une inconnue (Letters to an Unknown). The Unknown, was Mademoiselle Jenny Dacquin, the daughter of a notary of Boulogne, with whom Mérimée corresponded for over forty years. And what flower should his Carmen throw to Don José? Une fleur de cassie.

Cassie and mimosa are two closely related plants from the acacia family. The branches covered with masses of lemon yellow pompoms not only look beautiful, they also have a rich scent valued in perfumery. Native to Australia, mimosas were brought to France in the 18th century by the British explorer, Captain James Cook, and they have flourished in the mild winters of the Mediterranean coast. Every February the Massif de Tanneron in Provence turns golden yellow as the mimosas come into bloom, a Fauvist painting come alive.

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Light as a Soufflé : Delicate Floral Scents

I was recently having dinner with a friend at Le Soufflé, a restaurant in Paris specializing in the iconic French dish comprising little more than eggs and air, when she asked me if there were any fragrances that suggested the same lightness and sensuality as a well-made soufflé. The question took me by surprise, but I liked the idea of a floral that felt weightless without being fleeting.

My quest wasn’t simple, because the floral family in perfumery is vast, ranging from fresh blends based on orange blossom and lily of the valley to smoldering potions of tuberose and jasmine. Since it’s one of the most popular choices for women the world over, perfumers constantly develop this family, adding new accords that suggest novel types of florals as well evoke different effects.

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White Winter Opulence : Floral Perfumes

With the holidays behind us and still too many winter days ahead, it’s important to find ways to add a splash of color to the grey, cold mornings. I reach for my brightest dresses and scarves and add swirls of saffron and paprika to my food, evoking sunshine and warmth. Or I rely on white floral perfumes to create a vivid ambiance.

White flowers may call to mind bridal veils, but there is nothing prim and pastel about the scent of tropical blossoms like tiaré, frangipani, ylang ylang, tuberose or jasmine. They have a voluptuous aroma reminiscent of warm skin, coconut milk and petals sticky with nectar. The synesthetes among perfumers swear that white flowers smell purple and pink, rich and saturated, and it’s true that wearing a white floral perfume makes me feel as if the day is brighter.

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Best of 2023 in Scents, Books and Experiences

I’m always reluctant to sum up the year, especially one as complicated as 2023. We all read the news and we know that the world is in a terrible place right now. For our part, we can only do so much to change the course of events, and as we strive to contribute something positive, we also need to take care of ourselves and our families. My goal this year has been to find ways to cope and to maintain my hope and my faith in humanity. And yet whenever I would become despondent, something wonderful would happen–a warm letter from a reader would arrive, a friend would send a small gift, my cousin from Ukraine would call with some good news (for a change), or family would come for a visit.

As busy as I was with my book presentations and my projects related to Ukraine, I tried to find moments to read, explore new scents and learn something new. Joining the ISIPCA faculty this semester also gave me a chance to smell more perfumes and to update my knowledge of the fragrance market. It’s a pleasure to share these discoveries with you. As always, I look forward to hearing about your 2023 favorites, be they scents, books or other beautiful things.

Scents

Thomas de Monaco Eau Coeur

An exquisite combination of osmanthus and magnolia. Elegant, refined, but not to the extent that it smells too cold and stylized. The floral vignette is underscored by musk and woods, and the finish is just as luminous as the start.

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Favorite Winter Perfumes That Evoke Sunshine

Any style rule stated too categorically is circumspect—don’t pair black and navy, avoid mixing prints, or hide colognes away till the summer. The last one particularly makes no sense to me, because the beauty of fragrance is that it allows you freedom to enhance your mood or your image. Wearing a gossamer summer dress on a freezing winter day may not be sensible, but why not don a perfume that evokes a sunny garden or a seaside vacation? Although warm spicy fragrances are delightful on a cold morning, citrusy colognes, delicate florals or bright fruity blends can be just as appropriate. It all depends on your mood.

If my mood is for sun, sand and a languid sea breeze, I consider a green floral like Frédéric Malle Lys Méditerranée. It blends the richness of Casablanca lily with bright citrus notes and salty accents. The combination is much more effervescent than one might expect from a traditional white floral, with a silky texture evoking cool petals. Parfum d’Empire Immortelle Corse opens on a citrusy note, but the twist of immortelle with its maple syrup sweetness and warmth gives it a sun-burnt glow.

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Latest Comments

  • AndreaR in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: Serge Luten ia an amazing feast for the senses. Etat Libre d’Orange at 69 Rue des Archives. Quirky shop. I wonder if the stuffed porcupine still resides there. Patricia de… May 27, 2024 at 6:12pm

  • Maggiecat in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: Seconding the Fragonard perfume museum and stores. Very nice scents at reasonable prices. May 27, 2024 at 4:18pm

  • Karina_NL in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: …and I suggest not to miss Goutal’s (prev. Annick Goutal) stores. Enjoy Paris! May 27, 2024 at 3:03pm

  • John Luna in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: according to the all-knowing consensus of Fragrantica readers, possible substitutes for the Kors include Gucci Bloom, Kim Kardashian(!), and Nasomatto Narcotic Venus (also deserving an exclamation mark for the title… May 27, 2024 at 2:49pm

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