Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tauer Perfumes L'Air du Desert Marocain: fragrance review

So many of the fragrances inspired by lands steeped in spices and resins are redolent of the souk, of man made territories that ultimately take on a carte postale quality, so prone to the disillusionments of reality when one has been relying on armchair travelling leafing through Traveller and encyclopaedias. L'Air du Desert Marocain is different, because, rather than a man-infested territory, it evokes an expanse of land where the borders of orange-red skies and dry land mingle in the horizon making you feel as if you've glimpsed eternity for a split second.

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It's hard to describe this Andy-Tauer-made marvel in a few words; it's both woody and animalic, floral and ambery oriental, all at once. The trademark ambreine that Tauer uses is very discernible, given the intensity of what feels like natural jasmine, or maybe a euphoric mingling of white flowers that recalls the orange trees which give welcome solace to the Moroccan traveler.

There are fragrances which you spray and go on about your day. This isn't one of them. The torrid complexity of dry heat, arid spice, sweet rosiness and deep, plush resinous notes which recall ancient pharmacopoeia, is capable of clearing a room if you're overzealous with the sprayer. But use it with tempered self-discipline and you can enjoy its luminous depths for days on end, on your skin as well as your clothes.

A single bottle will last you beyond your last will and testament. Very few fragrances can claim to deliver such tremendous value for money.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hermes 24 Faubourg: fragrance review

Named after the famed "faux bourg" rue of Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8eme arrondisement in Paris, where the headquarters of the Dumas-family luxury house are situated, 24, Faubourg was immersed in luxury from the very beginning; to the manor born.



Like many perfume lovers I'm not averse to luxury per se. Luxury and luxuria pose an interesting thought; luxuria is the Latin name for...lust. One of the 7 deadly sins. Luxury lovers do lust over the objects of their desire, do they not?  Desire is sparked by lack. Lack creates eros, the urge to fill the lack, the platonic ideal of uniting two parts that once made a whole. It's a metaphorical concept. Explains why brands keep us on our toes searching for the part that's missing!

In rebelliousness against social class and perhaps due to anti-snobbism on my part (or is it just plain snobbism in reverse, I sometimes wonder?) I have refrained from conscious overt exhibition of the insignia of wealth and embracing the lowly and the humble on purpose. Look at that drugstore item, isn't it fabulous? And that Zara fragrance at a fraction of the cost of a designer one, yet made by Puig just the same? Who needs logos and frou frou, it's the quality in things that matters. The axiom of Coco Chanel has always guided me. It'd be quite inelegant to hang a 50 carat diamond from one's neck, as surely as it'd be gauche to hang a check from it. So why indulge in the luxuria of capitalism? Wanting more, exhibiting more?

I have been perfectly happy going for my esoteric woody incenses for everyday wear. People usually don't even ascribe the aromas emanating from my humble person as "perfume", even when they like them. It's not like Coco Mademoiselle, "hey, you're wearing perfume". I suppose it's like I just left Vespers or something or have been spending a lot of time at the library, which is not unusual come to think of it. I'm also big on white florals and on spicy orientals, though these have a harder time passing under the radar of "perfume awareness". Not that it really bothers me if they do make people notice. After all, many a time a potent scent has sparked an interesting conversation. People united by scent are people united at breath, it's a powerful connection.


The scent of 24, Faubourg is floral, undeniably floral, white floral drenched in honeyed tones, to be exact, not just "a floral".  It's the floral to end all florals, and yet it's not only floral. In its elaborate, Byzantine bouquet I can detect resins, balsams, fruit (fuzzy peaches and tangy citruses), a soft powderiness of orris, some wood, something intangible, something aching to overreach...Sounds like everything and the kitchen sink (same thought with the original feminine Boucheron ) and yet it is not that in effect. Instead, a perfectly judged, lush, satisfying, calorific, dare I say it, yes, I will, RICH effect comes out of that lovely bottle shaped like a carré silk scarf that the Dumas house is famous the world over for.
Although the orange blossom and the jasmine and the (rather less copious in the mix) gardenia owe as much to analytical chemistry as they owe to nature's laboratory, the experience feels like a silken thread woven by some exotic insect with beautiful wings in an engulfing tropical greenhouse.
The allusion to the sun is nowhere more evident than in the advertising images which reflect the golden, ambery aura of the scent. I wrote before that "solar notes" stand for warmth and luminosity and although this is not especially salicylates-focused, it does smell snuggly and jovial and reminiscent of the touch of the sun.

Perfect for the Indian Summer days and evenings we're going through then!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Season of Plenty Upon Us: Autumn Fragrances to Savor

Now that the temperatures are slowly cooling and the humidity is falling (but any occasional showers are still crisp and cool instead of grim and ghastly) my mood is picking up. I look forward to students' backpacks, hot coffee with long cinnamon sticks, turning leaves, lightweight cashmere knits and new books! Many and varied new books  for every  single  taste.
And there's another unforeseen but important plus in the coming season. Finally one can go out in mixed company with more than a single spray of perfume behind one's knees. Rejoice!

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Yves Saint Laurent design 1975 shot by Helmut Newton

Fall in many places on the northern hemisphere is a time when the temperatures really drop. We can savor the opportunity to favor a more concentrated version of our preferred fragrance. If you like something in eau de toilette, give a try to the eau de parfum or even extrait de parfum version. These are usually richer in base notes which evaporate much slower, meaning you will be surrounded by your perfume for longer. If that was bothersome in the summer it is now desirable when the weather is cool and your more delicate scents feel insignificant.

For those of you wanting to explore ways to expand the potential of your existing fragrance wardrobe I have analyzed a good bit of ways in my article on Fragrantica: Falling into Fall Patterns. 

For those who want to see my personal choices for this autumn season here's a brief "looking forward to" (as the temperatures haven't dropped enough yet) I have compiled.


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A VERY PERSONAL PERFUME SELECTION OF 12 SCENTS FOR EARLY FALL 

NB. All linked names open up fragrance reviews. 

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Almost a modern classic. This fruity leathery fragrance possesses the classiness of yesterdays with the contemporary edge of a modern seductress. My newish bottle is also the gift of a very dear friend. 

Bvlgari Black (original)

For years I have loved this rubbery smoky vanilla by Italian jeweller Bulgari with the passion it justly deserves but have worn it sparingly. Now that they have substituted it with a different men's scent by the same name it gains a twisted nuance; "what is it you're wearing?" Try and guess dude.

Dame Perfumery Dark Horse 

A player if I ever saw any in liquid form! Rich and addictive but also fresh and charming. A study in contrasts. 

Diorling (2000s re-issue)

The finest leather scent this side of Doblis (Hermes) and one that is ineffably sharper without cutting anyone's skin. Though this is also good in summertime alongside my beloved Bandit (Piguet) or Etro Gomma I have not worn this one in what seems like ages. Life is short and I should remedy this misstep.

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Guerlain Mitsouko (mostly vintage Eau de Toilette and Extrait)

The eroticism that shouldn't be erotic. There's just something to the way the previous sentence rings,  isn't there? Explore Guerlain's classic Mitsouko (great deal HERE btw) if you want to find out just how this theorem works. 

Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur extrait 

Succulent florals with a gourmand touch are a difficult genre but perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has created a masterpiece under the inspired guidance of Neela Vermeire. The entire line is highly worthwhile your time and investment actually.

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I just love leather gloves!

Paco Rabanne La Nuit 

Another leather fragrance and you might be discerning a pattern so far. If so you're not far off the truth. Although I like leathery smells in the summer too (because they cut through the humidity of it all) autumn weather is more fit for those with animalic notes. Slot taken by this discontinued vintage marvel. 

Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely eau de parfum 

One needs something to fall back upon (no pun intended) for days when they can't be bothered to think about stuff; when they're already overwhelmed. I was reminded of this light musk fragrance with abstract florals due to another dear friend and I think I'll finish off my bottle this year (and probably replenish).
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Serge Lutens  Boxeuses 

The niche interpretation of the above mentioned Bottega Veneta edp recipe (samples available for the latter HERE). So good and so beautiful in its stewed prunes hue that I want to bathe in it.

Serge Lutens Vitriol d'Oeillet

A rather recent acquisition of a frarance bottle and just the right dose of piquant spiciness of cloves to render this floral an intriguing companion to quiet nights. 

The Body Shop Red Musk

A whiff of pipe tobacco and dried apricots smell remnants on a beloved's dressing gown is an image I can take to bed and get very pleasant dreams. 

Tom Ford Prive Santal Blush

One of the silkiest sandalwoods in modern production and that says it all. It's not anything like you expect and should fit a multitude of lifestyles and skins. Men's as well as women's.


So I'll have these in rotation for the beginning of autumn it seems. I might enrich with orientals and more chypres as time goes on so I'll update mid-fall.
What are YOU looking forward to wearing this season? Share it in the comments below the article.


Related reading on Perfume Shrine: 
Trick or Treat: Top Fall Fragrances
Falling in Love: Scents and Treats for Autumn
Matching Perfume to Fall's Trendiest Fashions
Perfume Primers: Chypre Fragrances for Newbies 

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Chanel Les Exclusifs Boy: fragrance review

It's hard to go wrong with an aromatic fougere; men have been conditioned to opt for them and women to respond to them as "the natural scent of men" since at least the end of the 19th century when Jicky by Guerlain became the first to make an impact. Lavender and musk plus a spattering of sweeter notes is the basic recipe but each maker gives them their spin.


Chanel made Boy (after "Boy" Capel, a lover of Coco's) in their boutique range Les Exclusifs to appeal to those men who want that steadfast tradition in a sleek modern bottle and who don't mind a bit of a retro touch. This is what perfumer Olivier Polge (son of Jacques who was head perfumer for 3 decades) envisioned I'm sure.

What I smell distinctly after the top note of sharpness is the heliotrope and tonka which give a slight effect of marzipan paste; they elevate lavender from the usually medicinal territory into something softer and cuddlier. Hard to find this not fitting any occasion, casual, office or night out.

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