2012 launches: 129 posts

Vero Profumo Mito : Perfume Review

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Among niche perfumers, Swiss creator Vero Kern stands out for her unique fingerprint that reminds me of classical Guerlain elegance. But there is more. Under that well-behaved, well-coiffed elegance you notice something smoldering and dark. At first, it may feel disconcerting–and for some, it remains so, making Rubj, Onda, and even the brighter and fresher Kiki love or hate perfumes. For me, it’s the former, because I enjoy exploring Vero Kern’s world through the prism of her perfumes.

The newest addition to the collection, Mito, follows her sisters in their steps, but the perfume feels different from the baroque, Guerlain-inspired themes. It’s a chypre so green, it sparkles. Is its effervescence an allusion to the glittering fountains in the garden of Italy’s Villa d’Este that inspired Swiss perfumer Vero Kern to create Mito?

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Tom Ford Jardin Noir Cafe Rose : Perfume Review

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After my mixed experience with Lys Fume, I approached the rest of Tom Ford’s Jardin Noir collection reluctantly. As I wore the fragrances  over these past few months, I grew to like them very much, especially Ombre de Hyacinth and Café Rose. While Tom Ford promised that Jardin Noir would be abloom with twisted, dark florals, the collection is neither twisted nor dark. Instead, it features elegant, polished fragrances on four different themes: lily, daffodil, hyacinth, and rose. The lack of drama is a minus, especially given the concept of this quartert, but these interpretations of classical florals are so smooth and refined that they are worth sampling.

Café Rose was created by perfumer Antoine Lie, who also worked on Azure Lime and Violet Blonde for Ford.  It is the darkest perfume from Jardin Noir, but it has a distinctive Middle Eastern flair. The woods are so pronounced that they compete with rose for top billing, while the incense gives the perfume an exotic twist. The main reason I enjoy Café Rose is for its contrast–it feels sophisticated, but at the same time, it has a flamboyant air. Too much elegance can be boring, after all.

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Hermes Jour d’Hermes : Perfume Review

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It might seem strange to wear a gauzy floral perfume during the first weeks of winter, when warm, rich scents might seem more appropriate. But Jour d’Hermès has so much radiance that it lights up the darkest of days, and this trait, along with a coquettish playfulness, is what caught my attention. It’s the latest addition to the Hermès fragrance collection, and like many recent launches, it was created by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena.

Jour d’Hermès has the weightless presence, brightness and luminosity of Ellena’s other fragrances. It’s a delicate vignette of floral notes that unravels into the drydown of musk. The description may not seem exciting, and it’s true that Jour d’Hermès doesn’t have the opulence or drama that you might find in say, a Serge Lutens composition. But despite its understated presence, it has so many facets that it’s exciting to wear. It’s also an uplifting and happy perfume, as if Ellena infused the liquid with some of the Mediterranean sunshine.

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Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles : Perfume Review

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One autumn afternoon as I was walking home through a park and wading slowly through the piles of golden leaves, I wondered if there is a perfume in my collection that could match this serene and yet exhilarating atmosphere. Of course, I have my beloved Guerlain Mitsouko and Chanel Bois des Iles, which are some of the most quintessentially autumnal scents, but Mitsouko is too damp and plush, while Bois des Iles is too austere and cool. I wanted a perfume that smelled sunlit and bright, warm and bracing, with a hint of nutty sweetness from burnished leaves.

When I smelled Hermès L’Ambre des Merveilles after one such walk, I discovered with a surprise that it captured part of my golden autumnal fantasy. It’s a fragrance of woods, amber and vanilla, but L’Ambre des Merveilles avoids heavy sweetness and instead has plenty of luminosity. You can almost see the sun glittering on the crimson maple leaves as you smell it.

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Nicole Richie Nicole : Perfume Review

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It should come as no surprise that Nicole, the debut fragrance from reality-star fashion icon Nicole Richie is—gasp!—a “fruitchouli.”  The Nicole perfume, which debuted in September in 2000 doors nationwide, features notes “ juicy blackberries and oranges from Seville, which are followed by golden amber, Moroccan rose, lily of the valley and papyrus, layered over the base of cashmere, sandalwood, sugared patchouli and vanilla absolute.” The nose behind the fragrance is Steve DeMercado, who also authored Paris Hilton’s eponymous scent as well as mall blockbusters like Marc Jacobs for Women.

According to Ms. Richie, the scent is meant to evoke her mother, who layered oil and perfume over lotion and created more than just a “one-dimensional smell.” The smell that one gets, however, leads one to contemplate how involved any particular celebrity is with the creation of their namesake fragrances.  While Sarah Jessica Parker was intimately involved with the creation of Lovely, or at least tried to steer it into darker territories, one wonders about Nicole or whether Nicole was herself steered by market trends.

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