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Jean Patou

Honey Waters

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If you start to explore vintage perfumes, sooner or later you will encounter one that recalibrates your nose, your perceptions, and the entire set of categories with which you understand perfumery. For me, this happened when I sniffed some vintage nips of Lucien Lelong’s Indiscret (1935).

Beauty and the Beasts

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It’s clear that we will soon find ourselves in the midst of another wave of popularity for the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, thanks to an impending Disney film whose trailer was viewed a record-breaking 127.6 million times in the first 24 hours after its release several days ago. But as we all know, the greatest perfumers have been playing beauty against beastliness for a long time.

Spring has Sprung: Linden and Lilacs

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For many people who like heady, strong florals – rose, tuberose, violets – linden and lilacs can seem like the “other white meat”, in other words, second-string players to more forceful or more characterful stars. Ask any one to describe what a Bulgarian rose otto smells like, or tuberose absolute, and words such as beefy, rich, and buttery come spilling out; strong words for strong scents. Flowers like lilac, linden, and to a certain extent, freesia, and peony cannot be so clearly described – people tend to use vague terms such as fresh, green, watery, honeyed, or soapy. KEEP ON READING

Perfume shopping in the twilight zone-and a giveaway

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I’m an online perfume shopping type of person. I mean where else do you get to lounge around in tatty but comfortable pajamas, sip on your favorite Pinot Noir and at the same time buy some of the most wonderful fragrances the world has to offer? Efficiency and convenience at its best. Sure, it’s low on the glamour factor and the human interaction, but in some cases, like the one described below, those are better avoided anyways.

My latest attempt at perfume shopping in a bricks and mortar store happened during a little weekend getaway to Milan, a city known for luxurious designer shops, famous opera shows at the wonderful La Scala Theater, the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world, the San Siro Stadium, some of the biggest international fairs in Europe and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting.
I wanted for this trip to be simple, as it was only a three nights stay and one of the days was going to be spent at the International Furniture Fair, a stunning display of craftsmanship, clever designs, opulent materials and incredible colors. We even spotted Roberto Cavalli there, who very graciously accepted to have his photo taken.The blue and white silk lined wardrobe created by his brand was one of the most striking things I’ve seen at the fair and totally lust worthy.
So yes simplicity was the key word. We didn’t queue for seeing Leonardo’s painting, didn’t even try to visit the designer shops, and we had only one perfume shop on the list, in stark contrast to the Paris perfume pilgrimage I submitted my better half to nearly three years ago. He lived to tell the tale but just barely. KEEP ON READING

Complex as a mosaic: 1000 by Jean Patou

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1000 is a pure example of classic perfumery. Created more then 40 years ago by Jean Kerleo who also did Eau de Patou among other compositions for this house (an amazing timeless fruity scent that brings back memories of my young mother, being one of her favorites) experiencing 1000 feels like I`m smelling a charmingly floral scented wind that blows from the past. It`s because of the jam-packed composition typical for that epoch, that doesn`t allow your nose to pick one particular ingredient out, instead it invites you to discover it as a whole, being the kind of perfume that smells like…perfume and nothing more. Traditonal. The purest form of elegance. It seems like Jean Kerleo has created 1000 as a perfect mosaic by adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that, until a rich and coherent contrast of vibrant nuances has been achieved. I felt a little dizzy when I tried it, especially in the first hour because the opening is pretty challenging and long, but as the scent evolved it became more rounded and received a special gentleness. Regarding the notes, as I said I am not sure if I can depict clearly the ingredients here, but I can say it is definitely a glorious floral scent sustained by civet in a reasonable amount, possibly just to add a naughty animalic contrast to the overall innocence of the composition. Still, by comparing it with Joy (I have the eau de toilette, never smelled other versions) in which both jasmine and civet are very temperamental and huge in volume the scent being therefore quite brave and possessive, 1000 seems much softer and a bit reserved. I am not sure if I get the osmanthus that many people claim to be very pronounced, at least not as I remember it from Osmanthus from The Different Company (fruity and succulent), or from Ormonde Jayne`s Osmanthus (with glowy, citrusy undertones). Indeed there is a subdued kind of exotic flowery accent among the flowers, but it could also be just my imagination. On contrary, the sandalwood is really evident and does wonders in the drydown, perfecting the scent in the most smooth and creamy way. To be honest 1000 was not a big revelation for me, the evolution is foreseeable for someone who wears from time to time classic scents, but as a whole I find it a great elegant perfume. A jewel from the past…For those who enjoy this kind of feminine, mature scents this is a beautiful, safe option, I think.

Ubar by Amouage: Some Other Woman’s Skin

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ubar_womanUbar by Amouage is a shimmering floral mélange so massively radiant that its heat signature can probably be picked up from outer space. Like its progenitors in the grand old French perfumery tradition, Chanel No. 5, Joy, and Arpege, the floral accords are so complex and blended to the point of abstraction that it becomes a guessing game as to what flowers exactly you are smelling. It just smells like a thousand different flowers (all of them hellishly expensive) gave up their life for a greater cause. KEEP ON READING

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