michel almairac: 5 posts

Terry de Gunzburg Rose Infernale : Perfume Review

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Terry de Gunzburg is the kind of person I admire. She quit a career in medicine to train as a makeup artist, and thanks to her vision and dedication to quality, she has become so successful that she’s regularly called the Steve Jobs of makeup. Sounds odd, except that many of the cosmetics she launched have remained best sellers for decades, such as the famous Touche Éclat, a highlighter-concealer pen she created for Yves Saint Laurent. When she announced a perfume line two years ago, I prepared for fireworks.

terry

But the first launch was disappointing, proving that a lot of money doesn’t instantly translate into great perfume. The names of the fragrances, Rêve Opulent, Parti Pris, Lumière d’Epices, Ombre Mercure and Flagrant Délice, were more memorable than the scents themselves. (After I wrote this article, I realized that de Gunzburg now has 12 perfumes in its collection, including the ubiquitous Oud.) The problem is typical of niche brands—the lack of editing.

Two subsequent launches, Rose Infernale and Rouge Nocturne, also lack editing—why have two similar oriental roses?—but here, the rose lover in me tells the pedant to be quiet and just enjoy the ride. And I do. Rose Infernale, in particular, is a striking fragrance, and I’m addicted to its dark roses smoked over incense and sandalwood.

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Chopard Casmir : Perfume Review

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If you feel that minimalism is overrated or you’ve  had enough of well-mannered, chic to the point of annoyance perfumes, I have one answer for you: Chopard Casmir. You have it all in this amber tinted liquid–the richness of vanilla, the earthy heft of patchouli, and the creamy sweetness of sandalwood. Also, let me not forget the piña colada like fruit and jammy jasmine. It may sound scary, but Casmir works surprisingly well as a blend of woods with a bold gourmand note. It’s a Bollywood film in a perfume bottle.

casmir

Chopard is famous for its jewel encrusted finery and watches, but its fragrance collection is comprised of such over the top scents that even diamonds pale in comparison. Most of the perfumes were flops–Mira Bai, Madness, Infiniment, and Casmir didn’t exactly rake in the profits with its drama queen personality. Created in 1991 by perfumer Michel Almairac, Casmir looks to the 1980s with its glitzy composition.

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Balmain Ivoire : Perfume Review (Vintage and Modern)

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Ivoire de Balmain, like many classical fragrances, entered my wardrobe via a thrift shop find. I love browsing antique stores for treasures like old perfume bottles, fake pearl necklaces and copper cake molds, and while more often than not, I leave with nothing but dust on my fingers and clothes, occasionally I find a gem. Several years ago it was a small bottle of Ivoire parfum. It was still sealed, and the fragrance was exquisitely beautiful. Even when later I bought a bottle of new Eau de Toilette, I still was smitten with Ivoire’s fragrance of crushed green leaves and skin washed with jasmine soap.

ivoire

Ivoire was  created in 1979 by a great team of perfumers, Francis Camail and Michel Hy. For reference, Camail created Estée Lauder Aliage and was one of the perfumers responsible for Giorgio Beverly Hills, while Michel Hy gave us legends like Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and Paco Rabanne Calandre. Balmain was one of the top French fashion houses, and Pierre Balmain was still at the helm. “A garment made by Pierre Balmain was the very quintessence of haute couture,” famously said the Vogue editor Diana Vreeland.

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See by Chloe : Perfume Review

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The brand See by Chloé is a less expensive, trendy sibling to the sophisticated Chloé fashion line. Of course, less expensive is relative–a See by Chloé mini skirt goes for about €300, but if you compare See by Chloé perfume with the Chloé’s richer florals, it will definitely seem more playful. I also give props to See by Chloé for being such a clever fruity floral. Whereas most fragrances of its type take a sweet, cloying direction, See by Chloé has a bitter twist.

see-by-chloe

See by Chloé was created by perfumer Michel Almairac, who has authored most of Chloé’s collection. Almairac is undoubtedly one of the best perfumers working today, and although I don’t always love his commercial work (his talent can do only so much against the demands of the marketplace and the fragrance managers), I admire the interesting touches he adds to the most mundane compositions.

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Bottega Veneta Eau Legere : Perfume Review

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I keep misreading Bottega Veneta Eau Légère as Eau de Lingerie. Perhaps not such a strange mistake considering that it’s a silk slip of a perfume.  Sheer and delicate, it wears close to the skin, and just like a beautifully crafted lingerie, it makes me feel sexy and alluring. Designed as a variation (read, flanker) on the brand’s debut perfume, Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum, Bottega Veneta Eau Légère has a similarly elegant character.

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Elegance is something I fully expected from Bottega Veneta, but I didn’t anticipate anything interesting from its flankers. Brands rarely spend enough effort to develop original ideas, and since the rewards for flanker launches are small, perfumers often have few incentives to try very hard. Bottega Veneta Eau Légère is neither avant-garde nor trendsetting, but it’s made well enough that it stands on equal ground as the beautiful original. It only depends whether you prefer rich and glamorous or gauzy and sophisticated.

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