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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

End of July Blog Sale

It's that time again. The time when I open my stash and make big decants for my readers. If you're interested in a split of any of the following, please email me using Contact, preferably with Blog Sale in the title of your mail. 



Tom Ford Neroli Portofino: The Italian seaside and jet-set lifestyle in a bottle. A simple elegance of citrus, sunny beaches and joy. Part of the Private Line.

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille: The natural counterbalance of the upbeat and uplifting Neroli Portofino is this dense and rich, boozy tobacco and vanilla-whiskey fragrance for men and women. Part of the Private Line.

Dior Dune: Vintage wonder of the most ground-breaking idea on "summer" or "seascape" scents. This is biscuit warmth and monastic herbs by the French seaside.


Dolce & Gabbana Sicily: The discontinued soapy aldehydic floral which rippled our mind's memories with its indelible Monica Belluci starring commercials (direction: Giuseppe Tornatore, music: Ennio Moricone).

Dolce & Gabbana By for men: Another discontinued fragrance, it used to be encased in a zebra print bottle, remember? Good fun.

Guerlain Samsara: The thumping beat of sandalwood plus flowers swathed in plush. The big oriental in its 90s incarnation is getting ready for its split.



Lancome Magie Noire: For those who are fed up with the summer heat and are preparing for the bewitching hours of autumn or would love to put a spell on heat altogether. Old-ish stash, pre-glass&metal bottle.

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834: A phantasmagoria of patchouli and roasted coffee notes in a cult version from the Palais Royal line. Limited quantities and smaller decants only.


Monday, July 21, 2014

L'Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier: fragrance review & history

Composed by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti exactly 20 years ago in 1994, Premier Figuier still remains one of the very best out there, conjuring a vivid image of late August days spent in the Greek countryside when cicadas are loudly singing at the scorching hour of noon and people hot and weary from a sea dip are sitting beneath the shade of the fig tree to enjoy their Spartan meal of fresh fruit and cool, still water. The coconut curls note is rounding the foliage with just the right sweetness and provides an euphoric touch.

via behance.net

Giacobetti in an unstoppable strain of fig-producing mode, went on to create an Eau de Parfum version to the best-selling Premier Figuier, baptized Premier Figuier Extreme (2004), highlighting the rounder elements and extending its stay. She also created Philosykos for Diptyque, two years after her seminal "first fig tree" for L'Artisan. Philosykos, the friend of figs.

The re-creation of the smell of fig trees in perfumery is possible thanks to two crucial ingredients: stemone and octalactone gamma. Stemone (Givaudan tradename) imparts a green, fresh tonality like mint that combined with octalactone gamma (prune-like) evokes the earthy, sticky green of fig leaves (a smell of dry earth, scorched by the sun of a hot place with a hint of bitterness) and the milky sap of the young fruit plus the acid green of galbanum. The always handy Hedione (a fresh jasmine note, Firmenich tradename) and Iso-E Super (a dynamic and shape-shifting woody synthetic, IFF tradename) are often utilized to bring “lift” to the genre. The coconut note is an important part, not because it imparts a tropical feel (figs grow in the temperate zone) but because the young fruit sap contains a sensitizing "milk," a lactonic note. Coconut is also lactonic, i.e. milky in nature, hence the inclusion more realistically brings to mind the fig tree burdened with its succulent-to-be load. The milky note isn't a random thing, nor has it escaped attention through the ages. The classical Greek writer Athenaeus of Naucratis writes in Deipnosophistae how rural populations were making cheese out of milk by curdling it using the twigs and leaves of the fig tree. It is even described in Homer's Iliad!

via pinterest

It's not decided whether Giacobetti was intimate with this bit of classical knowledge when she added a milky, butyric note into the green woody skeleton. All I know is that in Premier Figuier it was crucial that the tempering of bitterness (naturally occurring in the fig leaf itself, smelled best when crushed between the fingers) with the sweetish milky note is done just right! The effect is not too dissimilar to an apricot (another lactonic note in fragrance) run under fresh water and opened in two halves in a cool yard. While wearing Premier Figuier I am often reminded of this little fact as I receive compliments on the "apricot scent" on me… :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The winner of the draw…

…for the Lutens L'orpheline sample is Akimon Azuki. Congratulations!
Please send me your shipping data in an email using Contact (with title of mail mentioning "Lutens draw") so I can have this in the mail for you soon.

Thanks everyone for the enthusiastic participation and till the next one!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Extrait: fragrance review & draw

Mohur Eau de Parfum by Neela Vermeire Creations preceded the Extrait de Parfum version of this India-inspired rose fragrance for men and women; in fact the extract only launched last spring. But the perfume extract (extract de parfum) brings into highlight the richest in noble essences arranged in a manner that highlights their pedigree; comparing the two is like juxtaposing the silky hair of a Persian domestic cat compared to the majestic plush of the strapping Shere Khan. Mohur extrait is something of a diva! As if Mohur eau de parfum wasn't already queenly enough….but you can imagine the added magisterial effect, right?  {And now that your appetite is whetted there is a lucky draw for great Neela Vermeire Creations prizes at the end of the post, so be sure to read to the bottom!}


Rose is a fascinating, as much as a polarizing, perfume raw material due to two main reasons. For one, the natural extract can vary wildly according to the variety of rose variant used (the tea rose for instance possesses a completely different scent than that of the fruity, berry-plummy Munstead Wood), the cultivar and region (Rosa Damascena, traditionally coming from Bulgaria, is heavier and deeper than May Rose, traditionally coming from Grasse, though there are also Turkish, Moroccan and roses hailing from other regions) and the details of the method of extraction (different metals contribute their own little nuances in the end product etc). For another, rose by itself is an interesting, multi-layered oil, exhibiting facets of liqueur, wine, even pear or artichoke! Composing a fragrance based on the "Queen of flowers", as rose is affectionately named (jasmine is the King), isn't easy. This is also why most of the time there is very little, if any, natural rose essence, in perfumes. Constructing a rose bouquet with synthetics is far more elegant, in the mathematical sense of the world, allowing a precise calibration of the effect minus any distraction of off notes.


Rose is also a fragrance note that needs getting some conditioning to. At least for me it did and I know I'm not alone. Rose scents can appear too old-fashioned for their own good sometimes (not old fashioned in the glamorous vintage sense of out-of-the-mold perfumes which dare to walk on stilts, towering over everyone else, but "grannyish" sorry to say). Nevertheless everything old is new again and rose is making a comeback in perfumery as a focal note (it never went away from the secret core of most feminine fragrances anyway). Luckily for me, Neela Vermeire Creations scored Bingo with their Mohur Eau de Parfum, which manages to smell at once contemporary and nostalgic, rich in second-hand reminiscences scaterred atop its jammy, lightly powdery rose dessert from Rajastan.

It's a perfume which accompanies my softest thoughts. Now the Mohur Extrait de Parfum, rich in rose absolute, comes as the culmination of the succulence, tempting and caressing with the intensity of its purple color of the flacon; at once cool and warm, like the color purple unites the fieriness of red with the calm of blue, regal, ceremonial and mystical with its association to the Crown Chakra. Honeyed facets of the rose are folded into a batter of powdery materials (the vegetal, subdued muskiness of ambrette seeds and the iris effect of carrot seed essence) while the sandalwood note takes on creamy qualities, deftly incorporated into this rosewater-flavored barfi by Neela Vermeire Creations perfumer in charge Bertrand Duchaufour (who also gave us another rose-dusted Ottoman-palatial-leaning phantasmagoria in Traversee du Bosphore for L'Artisan Parfumeur). Although the formula for the two is the same, the Mohur extrait is overall sweeter and rather more gourmand-smelling, with less of the aldehydic top notes of the Eau de Parfum, and while I think that the eau de parfum is personally speaking a very wearable incarnation thanks to its very drape-y softness which floats around me like a golden sari, I can't deny the exquisiteness of Mohur in pure perfume. If you can afford bringing so much beauty into your everyday life without keeling over, by all means, there's no point in searching beyond this masterpiece.

Mohur (in eau de parfum and extract de parfum versions) is part of the niche fragrances issued by Neela Vermeire Créations which also includes Trayee, Bombay Bling and Ashoka. These Indian inspired perfumes, like Chants of India, draw upon the tradition, history and cultural milieu of that vast Eastern sub-continent in which Neela herself has roots. These are truly "transparent orientals", modern and wearable, and therefore it comes as no surprise that Neela commissioned Bertrand Duchaufour to compose them for her niche line. Her e-boutique can be accessed on this link.

I have 2 great prizes for 2 winners (shipping to US, EU and Canada):
Prize 1 is a 8ml spray bottle of Mohur extrait with ceramic logo disk (depicted)
Prize 2 is a Sampler coffret (2ml x 4 scents) of the 4 eaux de parfum Trayee, Mohur, Bombay Bling and Ashoka (depicted) plus Mohur extrait sample with ceramic logo disk

What you need to do:
1. Leave a comment below in this review (about the NVC scents, the review itself, roses & scents etc...)
2. Please like Neela Vermeire Creations FB page or follow her NVC Twitter handle (whichever you have is fine). 

Draw is open till Friday midnight and winners will be announced sometime during the weekend.

NB disclosure: The review/draw requirements/links are non affiliated. I was sent a sample vial by the company for reviewing purposes.


Related reading on Perfume Shrine: 
A Dozen Roses: Top Selection of Rose Fragrances & Rose-Smelling Products
Fragrance Reviews of Perfumes with Rose notes 
Neela Vermeire Creations Perfume Reviews 

Guerlain's Mademoiselle Guerlain: fragrance commentary with photos

It may have come as no surprise that the latest addition to the Les Parisiennes boutique perfume collection by the historic house of Guerlain is called Mademoiselle Guerlain. Shades of Chanel (who was called Mademoiselle by everyone who knew her and whose Coco Mademoiselle fragrance is a huge best-seller) not withstanding, Guerlain injects a certain playfulness to the more "savvy" requiring boutique collection, clearly aimed at a consumer not burdened with the heritage of the vintage Guerlain perfume classics.

One has to wonder about who exactly is the regular customer of Les Parisiennes limited distribution line. Just look at the bright colors of the bottle juice in the latest additions. If I'm to pronounce a quick assessment on that score, I'd guess the Meteorites makeup customer would be especially attuned to the following color scheme...It's girly and upbeat and very "feminine" in the most traditional sense possible.


Mademoiselle Guerlain, a green floral fragrance composed by perfumer Thierry Wasser plays with the sweetness of marshmallow, the freshness of orange blossom and the softness of white musk. It also includes notes of orris, galbanum and a leather "accord", none of which are especially pronounced though they give a certain depth beyond the average teeny-bopper fruity scent out there.


Actually as reported earlier on these pages, Mademoiselle Guerlain is a re-edition of La Petite Robe Noire model 2, packaged in a more haute de gamme presentation, fetching the requisite higher price in its wake (a practice not unheard of at Guerlain in late years).  As you can see in the pics Mademoiselle Guerlain is encased in the familiar bee bottles of la maison Guerlain, containing 75ml, side by side with Nuit d'Amour, Mon Precieux Nectar or L'Heure de Nuit. Now available at escapes Guerlain.

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