Sunday, February 28, 2010
I can't remember the last time I stepped into The Body Shop let alone recall when I last bought anything there. I do however remember that I have never purchased any of their perfumes because they were mostly dull or smell like they came out of an underground lab. Anyway, I went in there recently to check out the hype with the new Love Etc parfum and it was surprisingly pleasant. There was definitely effort in it (and undoubtfully since the nose behind it is Dominique Ropion) but still not something I'd buy and wear. As I turned to exit the store, three words caught my eye - Iris de Minuit (Midnight Iris). What is such a seductive and niche sounding name doing in The Body Shop? I picked it up and sprayed. It had such a familiar scent but my brain wasn't co-operating then so I bought it to investigate further. Yes, my first The Body Shop purchase in over 7 years.
White Musk Midnight Iris is an extension of the original White Musk and the listed notes are bergamot, water lily, muguet, clary sage, orris, musk, sandalwood and tonka bean. Reviewing this perfume was a challenge because of how fleeting the notes are. It opens with a cocktail of fresh bergamot laced with lilial and muguet aldehyde I suspect and with rubbery violet ionones. The heart is iris that is earthy with a hint of clary sage and drydown is a sweet veil of translucent iris and musk. The style of this composition has the watercolour quality as seen in many of Jean-Claude Ellena's creations but alas lacks the master's touch and longevity. This is when I remembered what was so familiar! This is the premature stillborn offspring of Lolita Lempicka without the gourmand notes. I quickly brought Lolita out for a comparison and found another similarity.
Coincidence or not, I don't know but this could have been a potentially good perfume if not for its ridiculous longevity (lack of). What a pity but at least it still cheap enough to use as a good room spray.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
What does your fragrance smell like? Like this.
What does your fragrance feel like? Like this.
What will I do with this fragrance? Like this.
It’s an idea that makes me very, very warm and happy…
Like This will come as a 50 ml eau de parfum.
The time has come once again to show off those hard earned muscles and reap the rewards of your expensive solarium membership or put on a frock without your neighbours judging. This is the first time in five years I'm not in Sydney for Mardi Gras but I will be waving my party flag here for you guy and gals down under.
In spirit of the festivity, here's a list of suggestions on picking your Mardi Gras fragrance in accordance to your 'type'.
You want to smell delicious and sexy but don't forget it is your masculinity riding on exaggarated feminity that we love. Go for big florals with a balsamic drydown and a slight hint of manliness.
Suggestion: Kapsule Floriental by Karl Lagerfeld
2. The Bear
Yes, you're a pheromone machine but after eight hours of dancing and sweating, we reckon you'll need some assistance from a bottle to keep your friends. I'm not going to wreck my brain on this since you already have a perfume made for you.
Suggestion: Tom of Finland by Etat Libre D'Orange
3. The Dyke
The parade will not be complete without you Dykes on Bikes. This is your party, this is your day. Go all out with something deep, smoky, leathery and strong enough to match your bike grease.
Suggestion: Ho Hang Club by Balenciaga
4. The Femme
You make up of some of the world's most beautiful women and we'd love to smell what you have on. Be gorgeous with powdery florals and musk and you won't go wrong.
Suggestion: Parisienne by Yves Saint Laurent
You have the perfect hair, perfect skin (+bronzer overdose), most up to date fashion, and have the ability to show up at after parties and more after parties without any signs of wear and tear (or at least where we can't see). Go for something fresh and fruity to match your bubbly exterior.
Suggestion: Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin Fraicheur
Who needs clothes when you look like that so it's better
to keep them off and save the money for more fragrances. You'll drive more men and women crazy with a beautiful citrus head and strong woody bottom.
Suggestion: Tom Ford for Men by Tom Ford
Image credits: Man and flag (http://montrealsimon.blogspot.com/); Dragqueen (flickr.com); Bear (flickr.com by sscup); dyke on bike (wikipedia.org by David Shankbone); Portia di Rossi (Michael Buckner/Getty Images North America); Twink (flickr.com by mercury2001); Hunk (flickr.com by zacvtorb)
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Romano Ricci created the niche perfumery Juliette Has a Gun and definitely had a tough act to follow, especially since his great-grandmother is Nina Ricci and his grandfather Robert Ricci created the timeless classic L'aire du Temps. Fortunately (and a very smart move indeed) he enlisted the help of perfumery boy wonder Francis Kurkdjian of Le Male fame to create his first two fragrances - Miss Charming and Lady Vengeance. Ricci then got himself into the 'big shoes to fill' situation again by deciding to create Citizen Queen on his own.
If Chanel No. 5 is Grace Kelly doing a photo shoot in a rose and jasmine garden, then Citizen Queen is Uma Thurman (in leather bikini) sunning her hair in a stylish balcony garden of an upmarket designer loft. Classically beautiful, yet raw and edgy at the same time, Citizen Queen opens radiantly with the unmistakable C10,C11,C12 aldehydes made popular in Chanel No. 5 and Johnson&Johnson baby shampoo. The nail polish grassiness of benzyl acetate mingled and transformed the roses and violets into an arcylic bouquet, showing off the modern twist of these classic florals. Comparatively, the base notes are heaps softer, humming in supporting notes of ambery labdanum, musk and leather. There's a slight animalic note, but nothing too ferocious. In this case perhaps a fluffy purring kitten.
Citizen Queen is a fine modern composition of the textbook chypre without much shocking modifications. A fragrance for sexy, confident women (and men) wanting to show off sophistication without compromising on edginess.
Juliette Has a Gun can be found in Singapore at Sephora, Takashimaya SC and Black Market.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I have a thing for fragrances in green and I think that's because it gives it a potion-like appeal. I once described to a friend what I do for a living and he quickly replied 'you're a witch!'. Perhaps that is why I fell in love with A Taste of Heaven. Created by the very talented Calice Becker, it was 'inspired by Absinthe, bittersweet nectar of poets.' A Taste of Heaven opens with an intoxicating dance of green bergamot and absinthe, followed with a candied lavender solo, supported by a warm bitter-sweet ensemble of amber, oakmoss and vanilla. It is as mesmerizing as the green fairy can get and this is one mysterious oriental-fougere for the modern witch with a fat wallet.
When I sampled Eau de Gloire, I knew I had to do a comparison with A Taste of Heaven. Eau de Gloire was created by Marc-Antoine Corticchiato, founder of Parfum D'Empire, and was his homage to the olfactory experiences in a day in the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. It opens citrusy and aromatic with bergamot, lemon, orange, rosemary and lavender, not unlike Guerlain's Eau de Cologne Imperiale. The heart is sweet with aniseed and tea, bearing a little resemblance to A Taste of Heaven and drydown threads lightly with tobacco, incense and oakmoss. The journey of Eau de Gloire is documented well by it's well defined exposition, climax and dénouement and is a modern take retaining characteristics of the classic colognes.
A Taste of Heaven ****1/2
Eau de Gloire ****
I based my latest project on this painting, hoping to capture the essence of paradox in fragrance but it was more challenging than I'd expected since initially I thought all I had to do was to create a hyper realistic wood pipe accord. I began to question whether the pipe is new or old, and clean or dirty as that will change the olfactory image. I decided on a clean cherry wood pipe, pressed with fresh unburnt tobacco. The questions were never-ending and I pondered on the type of tobacco, or whether the pipe is lacquered, or what material would the mouthpiece be. It all got a little confusing at that point I began to wonder if the paradox was on me.
This is still a work in progress and I will update the progress.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I have to be honest here. When I first heard that Thierry Mugler was launching another A*Men flanker called Pure Malt, I was hyper excited. Why? I adore the smell of Horlicks and am one of those who wouldn't mind smelling like milk and cereal. I can definitely bathe myself in 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline and homofuronol and be a happy man. Alas, when I found out there is not going to be any cereal, I was devastated, but only for a moment. I happen to love whisky and the smell of aged oak casks.
This is not a complicated fragrance at all so don't expect it to change dramatically over time. It will only get softer and earthier and that's when you can find the vetiver. The sillage and tenacity is nothing compared to A*Men which is not a bad thing considering you'd be able to wear this daily without choking anyone in the elevators. It is presented in a black rubber flask with the star in transparent glass and comes in a lovely black and gold box which is, well, very limited edition looking.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
'Kim Kardashian wants to release a new fragrance with her boyfriend Reggie Bush. Kim — who recently debuted her first perfume at Sephora in Century City Mall in Los Angeles — has hinted that the New Orleans footballer may be joining her in bringing out a range of “unisex” perfume. “Reggie and I have talked about doing a fragrance together — something that is kind of unisex,” she said. However, Kardashian admitted that her boyfriend prefers her natural look. “He just likes my natural sexiness,” she said. “He likes my natural scent.”' (source: Showbizspy)
Okay, what's next? Paris Hilton to launch new fragrance with Tinkerbell? While I'm not a huge fan of celebrities wanting their own juice, I can understand from the business and ego point of view. Per purchase royalty is definitely higher in perfumes than CDs and there is no better publicity than having your name and face plastered all over Sephora. The art of perfumery to me is almost sacred, but alas, I have to accept that consumerism is bigger than art and I have learnt to accept, accommodate and review the latest celeb frag. But I do not understand the idea of launching a fragrance with your celebrity partner. It's just too personal. Unless you have a sex tape.
I've been meaning to write about fragrances for years. This is probably the longest I've procrastinated with something but I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is a fear of lack of knowledge. So tonight, after running out of ethyl alcohol and glassware, I decided to birth this page.
How long I'll last? We'll see.
For now, to grace this page, I present you my maiden review.
VT was created by Jean Claude Ellena and is true to his minimalistic, translucent style in the Hermèssence collection. Indubitably the work of a master, Ellena was able to create simplicity in complexity and contrasts. VT is fresh but warm, juicy but dry, smoky but clean. It opens with fresh bergamot and green tea and the top is light and aquatic. Vetiver and dried fruits enter next and bring in depth and roundness. The hay-like tonka and tobacco accord supports the composition with broom flower peeking in and out. The fragrance is sweet but its neither heavy nor excessive, but instead, very well-balanced.
This is definitely a morning fragrance for the cool but sunny days. Summer fragrances have a tendency to smell cheap and/or one dimensional so if you are looking for a little more sophistication and don't mind the extra dollars, VT should go on the shopping list. Considering this is not a perfume with expensive florals and coumarin is cheap as, you are really paying the extras for skills and of course, the brand.