dior: 6 posts

Three Men’s Fragrances for Women : Modern Classics

The modern concept that scents can be gendered–roses are for women and cedarwood is for men–dates to the post-WWII consumer boom when marketing tried to find new ways to encourage people to buy more products. That’s when the different concentrations of perfume also became popular, resulting in the current trend to release Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette versions in the same way that publishing houses tempt the public with hard and soft cover versions of books. The idea, however, is nothing new. The Greek philosopher Theophrastus wrote in his book, Concerning Odors, that men should wear lilies and roses and women myrrh and spikenard. So, there you go.

The main difference in how gender is assigned to scents is cultural. The quintessential feminine note of American and European perfumery, the rose, becomes unisex in the Middle East. Vanilla is much more common among masculine fragrances in Italy than it is in the US. Orange blossom is association with crisp freshness in Spain and with baby products in France. So, for those who are adventurous, the easiest way to have fun is to forget the gender labels and try perfumes based on their notes or stories.

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The Olfactory Equivalent of a Souffle

Over dinner recently at Le Soufflé, a Paris restaurant specializing in the famed French dish, my friend asked me if there are any fragrances that suggest the same lightness and sensuality as this airy confection. The question took me by surprise, but I liked the idea of finding a floral scent that felt weightless without being fleeting. This was no simple task because the floral family is vast, ranging from fresh blends based on orange blossom and lily of the valley to smoldering potions of tuberose and jasmine.


In my recent FT column, The Olfactory Equivalent of a Soufflé, I take up the challenge and select three perfumes that capture the airy and decadent qualities of a soufflé.

The first fragrance I selected was Cartier’s Baiser Volé, a composition of white blossoms glazed with vanilla. Its green, sparkling opening includes rose, gardenia and white Casablanca lilies, while the sweetness is tempered by the cool touch of woods, subsiding in the drydown to musk and cedar. Despite its caressing, velvety impression, Baiser Volé retains its effervescent personality from the first to the last accord. To continue reading, please click here.

Image via FT

7 Rare Vintage Perfumes : The Perfume and Wine Class

As preparation for the Art of Perfume and Wine class that I’m teaching in April in France (more details here), I thought I would write about 7 vintage perfumes that have been influential for the evolution of perfumery and that we will smell in their original versions. There will be over 50 different perfumes in this course, but these 7 are among the most essential to learn.

Guerlain L’Heure Bleue 1912

Many perfumers will name Guerlain as the most influential perfume house, especially in its period when Jacques Guerlain was the head creator. L’Heure Bleue is a textbook example of a classic as well as of a symphonic perfume.

We will, of course, smell other Guerlain classics, from Après L’Ondée and Mitsouko to Chamade and Chant d’Arômes.

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Sunscreens : An Update

This is the second installment to my original overview of (mostly unscented) sunscreens. I have so much to say about Asian sunscreens that I shall keep them for a separate post, but today I will cover a number of selections from American and European brands. Unlike the first selection, this group includes products I disliked or found lacking in one aspect or another. Many of them have received glowing reviews from leading skincare bloggers and dermatologists, but since skincare is never made to suit everyone, I thought that another perspective would help those looking for the best sun protection.

sunscreens

First, I should mention what I look for in a sunscreen. My skin is combination and a sunscreen shouldn’t irritate it. It should also leave a satiny, non-oily finish. It should be lightly moisturizing. It should allow for layering–I reapply sunscreen at least twice a day. I also prefer my sunscreen unscented. Finally, and this is the most important part, it should have full spectrum protection, UVB and UVA. I don’t have preference over the sunscreen being chemical or physical, but a mix tends to have the best results in terms of finish and protection. This is my ideal type, if you will, and yes, such a sunscreen exists (many of them were described in the first article.)

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Christian Dior Sauvage : Perfume Review

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Replace Alain Delon with Johnny Depp, add a generous dose of Bleu de Chanel in the mix, shorten the name–and voilà, a new bestseller in the making. Although this kind of launch often strikes me as lazy, its make a lot of marketing sense. Sauvage banks on the impressive heritage accrued by its predecessor Eau Sauvage, and what it lacks in originality it makes up with presence. If you complain that perfumes don’t last on you, then look no further. Sauvage will not leave you alone.

dior sauvage

On the other hand, those who would like complexity and interesting stories should take to other pastures. Sauvage offers neither. It’s fresh, bright and radiant, with a pearly toothed Colgate commercial in a perfume bottle. I predict that we will smell many similar fresh-enough-to-disinfect accords in other fragrances in the coming months.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Sebastian in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Salome would interest you in the context of your question. It is a perfume that is reminiscent of the 70s, and in that time would have been considered definitely feminine. October 30, 2020 at 3:42am

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Hello Peter! Anubis is on my to-try list, I think perhaps because of your recommendation (unfortunately the samples are currently out of stock at LS). I do not usually get… October 30, 2020 at 1:23am

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Totally agree–I’m another non rose person who loves Mohur, especially the extrait. The other “rose” I like is Une Rose de Kandahar, but it’s really more about almond, apricot, tobacco,… October 30, 2020 at 1:19am

  • Peter in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Hello Ninon. Have you tried any of Liz Moores’ Papillon perfumes? Salome is a slightly skanky retro potion. Fragrantica classifies it as a Chypre Floral with woody, leather, musky, white… October 29, 2020 at 11:04pm

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