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Sheep ruh

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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run.

I can never see the first changing colours in the hedgerows without Keats’ poem coming to mind. As I drove to work today through the English countryside, I saw a blush on a beech and a flame on a poplar, as the mists rose off the river Wye. The time has come to put away the coconut, tiare, white flowers and aquatic accords and get sheepish. OK, I mean chyprish, but allow me the pun. KEEP ON READING

Heart of Glass

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I set off to college in 1979 without a single bottle of perfume, if my memory doesn't deceive me. I wish I had known about Jean-Louis Scherrer's first perfume then. I am convinced that my years of youthful exploration and occasional indiscretion would have been even more fun if I had been wearing this perfume. I make up for it by wearing it as often as I can now.

Immortelle Beloved: My Top Four Immortelle Fragrances

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Immortelle Tree Quinten Questel / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Etat Libre d’Orange Afternoon of a Faun: Afternoon of a Faun muscles its way into the green chypre category with an overall vibe halfway between a drenched forest and a bowl full of crushed iris roots. It’s described as an aromatic, spicy scent on Fragrantica, but actually, it comes off as a scorched-earth chypre. It shouldn’t work. But the contrast of wet, bitter green iris and the dry woods is all kinds of addictive.

I love the way it takes me on a ride every time I put it on. It reminds me somewhat of a vintage No. 19 pure parfum I had from the 1950’s which had turned badly – it shares something of that singed woods and burned coffee smell the parfum had. But in contrast, Afternoon of a Faun smells really good to me. KEEP ON READING

A tale of two roses: Histoires de Parfums 1876 Mata Hari and Noir Patchouli

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Lazy Saturday evening, warm bed, Internet connection leading inevitably to perusing Facebook perfume groups. I’m certain that are many more useful or pleasurable ways of spending an evening, especially a Saturday one, but that evening was joyful because I became reacquainted to a couple of really lovely perfume samples I hadn’t used in a very, very long time. It was thanks to a thread started in one of the said groups in which somebody was looking for advice regarding the blind purchase of an Histoires de Parfums fragrance. For people that might get confused by the term, in the perfume junkies’ world,  blind buying means buying a scent without having tested it beforehand, just based on the list of notes, reviews, and advice from other perfume junkies that know what your taste is. It’s a risky endeavor in which I’ve indulged a few times myself, usually with good results. I still don’t recommend it when it comes to very expensive perfumes. In the case of “too good to pass” deals it might be worth it. I confess I do take pleasure in the surge of adrenaline and the sense of surprise that comes with blind buying, but even so in the last couple of years I’ve drastically reduced this habit because it leads to having too many perfumes that you simply like not love. KEEP ON READING

Amouage Memoir for Woman: Neochypre

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As soon as the warmth of summer begins to fade I tend to return to my good old chypre fragrances and also feel tempted to explore new ones that might encapsulate the vibrancy of autumn. It is the time I bring in the front row of my wardrobe precious scents like Aromatics Elixir from Clinique (almost gone and I`m in desperately need of another one), Dioressence (new version, but stil great), Gem by Van Cleef & Arpels (I have to write about this ahhhmazing one-of-a-kind fruity chypre), Mitsouko (ah yes, la belle Mitsouko) and Yvresse Yves Saint Laurent (is there a better peachy scent out there which feels as sparkling as Champagne bubbles on your tongue?). I belive a chypre (simple, floral or fruity – never mind) has the same capricious temper as the weather in autumn and on a chilly day or evening such a complex fragrance works best by adding a spark of glamour. Like a wine red lipstick on a bare face. KEEP ON READING

In Praise of Mainstream Pleasures

in Thoughts by

Right now, I’m a little bit tired of perfume. Well, not perfume per se, but the interminable rounds of testing of niche fragrances that I seem to have gotten myself into. With niche, you feel like you need to put extra effort into ‘reading’ the intentions of the perfumer behind it. Your brain is constantly in analysis mode rather than simply enjoying it for what it is. Then there’s the worry that you’re the only one Not Getting It. I think I’m a little burned out.

A very kind Basenotes friend sent me some O’ Driu samples and the little bag of them has proven to be my own personal Waterloo – they sit there on my dresser, each morning saying, hopefully, “Today?” KEEP ON READING

MAAI by Bogue: Bridge between the Past and the Future

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There is a road that stretches exactly 674 kilometers from Rimini on the North-East coast of Italy up through the Alps to Zurich, in Switzerland. This journey, were you to make it by car, would take you seven hours to complete, and by the end of it, you would have taken in most of the independent and artistic perfume making that still exists in Europe today. We are talking here about small, mostly self-taught perfumers who, instead of designing according to briefs set by the big fragrance conglomerates, create perfumes that take big, bold leaps into the dark and are limited only by the outer boundaries of their imaginations. KEEP ON READING

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