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Three ways to stay warm this season.
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, December 22, 2007 5:21 PM (Eastern)

It's been a bit of a challenge keeping warm sans the endless will-sucking, mind-sapping, seven-month season we called Summer back home in the South. In the San Francisco Bay Area, unless you have the good sense to journey inland, it is perennially cold. So, here are a few tricks.

1. Evoke the tropical:

montale intense tiare

Montale's Intense Tiaré sailed to the top of my wishlist this year, when I was wearing my winter coat and jumping up and down. Though there are other tropical coconut perfumes I've yet to try, I've yet to be tempted to try them.

Creed makes Virgin Island Water. Creed. Hm. I sampled two of their fragrances, Fleurissimo and Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie, and was a bit underwhelmed. As much as people rag on Montale for their prices, Creed is the spendier of the two. Plus, I can admit I find Creed's seemingly endless celebrity endorsement annoying. Ava Gardner I can dig, and someday I'd like to try her Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare, that would really be hot. The others though, eh...

Comptoir Sud Pacifique makes Aloha Tiaré. The one consistent thing I've read about Comptoir Sud Pacifique over the years is their scents don't last. I rejected the (stunning) Diptyque Do Son over the same issue. I don't buy weak perfumes; they insult the intelligence. Moreover, per Basenotes.net, this particular scent was reformulated from its old monoï self into a more generic gardenia/tuberose scent...which was further described as being not as good as Annick Goutal's Songes, which I rejected as being too sweet and simple.

Oh, I'm sure there are other monoï scents, or other tropical interpretations, but what I love about Montale is their...odd engineering. It's not a plethora of notes, not even conventional notes, half the time what you're smelling doesn't even smell like perfume, only like insane goodness. Intense Tiaré, you can almost warm your hands against.

2. Tropical cute overload:


Bob Marley Waiting In Vain

If you can't actually jump into that warm sea, at least you can hear its rhythms inside the music.

3. Comedy on this subject:

I dithered some whether to embed this video here. I've played it several times, and have found it does make you feel warmer, yet there is a certain amount of bad language in it that some people might object to. Oh whatever, it's a video with an arrow on it; click if you want to.


Lewis Black on Broadway (cold)


image courtesy luckyscent.com


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Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, September 16, 2007 2:09 AM (Eastern)

empress eugenieI tried a bit of this out today. From the Parfums Raffy site:

Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie is based on the formula of a fragrance originally created in the 19th century for the Empress Eugenie of France. Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie is an aristocratic blend of citrus top notes over a rich heart of Italian jasmine and Bulgarian rose and a warm powdery base of sandalwood and super absolute of vanilla.

I couldn't pass up the chance to try a scent of that description.

First impressions: for being based on such a venerable formula, I got a distinct 80's (1980's that is) vibe from this juice. Giorgio, but nicer, with a dash of Samsara.

The vanilla was prominent...not today's subtle, dry, or ethereal vanilla, but rather, a strong smudge of vanilla blended seamlessly with sandalwood. I didn't get much of the citrus top notes...I could buy there might be rose in this (it was subtle on my skin), but the jasmine was much more to the fore.

About an hour later, it began to remind me of...old house. Old Southern house. I definitely lived in a house that had that odd, almost musty smell, although I can't place exactly which house, or when.

It's not an unpleasant smell by any means...and it's not the same as the "dank concrete building" I got from Etro Gomma (an otherwise gorgeous scent), nor the (wonderful) "musty wet riverbank" I got from Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. This was almost plain Southern house, the kind that had apple green walls, wood paneling, that sort of thing.

The old house phase lasted probably a good hour or two, then Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie mellowed further...less old house, more of just an old-style perfume along the lines of the aforementioned Samsara.

Now...ten hours later...I can still smell it on my skin, albeit faintly. The citrus seems to have finally peeked out, and there remains a touch of the vanilla-sandalwood duality.

All in all...perhaps it's a bit like the other Creed scent I sampled, Fleurissimo. It's not bad, but it's not "me."

Yet there is something a bit tempting about it...its sheer strength and lasting power are impressive. If you liked it, a little would go a long way.

Conclusion: sample first, do not buy "unsniffed." I read the notes before deciding on the sample, but this is little like a modern interpretation of those notes.

If you like Giorgio, Samsara, or even Obsession...this doesn't remind me of Obsession exactly, more the idea of an assertive, definitely "there" fragrance...you might want to check this out.

If this is the kind of thing you are violently against, you may decide to choose another scent to sample.

image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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Creed Fleurissimo review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, August 31, 2007 1:18 PM (Eastern)

mont royalWhen I first put this on, I immediately recognized it as something I'd smelled before, long ago. I can't recall who wore it, or when, only that it was a very long time ago, another era really. Think no telephone answering machines, no VCR's, no central air conditioning; that sort of thing.

This perfume creates a strong impression. No one close to me wore it, I'm sure of that. I could have smelled it only a few times in my life, definitely more than thirty years ago, and I don't remember perfumes easily.

This is surely the scent of genteel ladies, Southern or otherwise. It's virtually all flowers. The violet isn't quite as prominent as I'd hoped....and the tuberose doesn't stand out until the drydown, it's well blended in with the rose. In fact, to my nose, the rose is the foremost note until the drydown, when the tuberose comes forward a bit.

I'm not getting a lot of iris here, just the rose and tuberose together, with the smoothing touch of violet adding body to the composition. It's sweet, but more elegant than sweet.

Fleurissimo was famously commissioned for the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier. Smelling it now, it's not hard to believe...it is a romantic scent, ideal for a wedding.

creed fleurissimo sample vialI see this as the fragrance of a woman still young, but not a kid. Somewhere from mid-twenties to thirties...hmmm...I suppose I'm trying to think if it's too young for me. It's pleasant on me, but I feel it would be more striking on someone younger than forty-something.

I do feel your perfume should match your age, although of course there is no hard and fast rule, no magic cut-off number. It's just that some scents grow more attractive to you, the older you get, and others begin to seem too young. Or, to mangle a quote from Dazed and Confused: "That's what I love about these perfumes, man. I get older, they stay the same age."

For an eau de parfum, I expected a bit more staying power (or perhaps I'm spoiled now that I've tried Montale's Aoud Roses Petals...hmmm?). You would have to reapply this, but probably just the once. Sillage is good.

I would not recommend "buying this unsniffed"; I would recommend getting a sample first. Fleurissimo is an old-fashioned perfume, quite different from today's sweet, fruity, and, all too often, interchangeable scents. As I say, the instant I smelled it, I remembered it...it's singular.

Available at Parfums Raffy. (If you're into Creed, they have a nice complimentary set of Creed samples with Creed purchase.)

Boone Hall Plantation image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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Beauty Notebook: Variations on the Floral Perfume
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, August 30, 2007 4:31 AM (Eastern)

Recently I received some samples from the lovely Parfums Raffy. I selected scents I was most attracted to, based solely on descriptions, and only later realized they were all primarily floral perfumes.


tuberose
robert piguet fracas
Robert Piguet Fracas

I chose this after reading that Fracas was the prototypical tuberose fragrance, the one all perfumers looked to when developing their own version of tuberose. I've smelled enough tuberose perfumes to know it's a note I love, so why not try the crème de la crème? (Plus, it's been around since 1948.)




What attracted me to Aoud Roses Petals was, ironically, not the rose. It was the aoud. I was curious to try it, read so much about it, how it was a love or hate note (probably no better way to sell it to me), how Montale perfumes lasted all day with only a few drops, how Montale had developed a cult following, et cetera.

These eau de parfums are bottled in aluminum. They have to be. They're so strong, and the bottles are large...it would take you a long time to get through the bottle, hence the notion of shielding the scent from light.
rose
lily-of-the-valley


rose
tuberose


What drew me here, after days of dithering over which Creeds to try: tuberose, again, and violets, which I haven't smelled in years (used to be some growing in my yard in Virginia, two decades ago)--but also the sentimentality of trying a scent that was commissioned for Grace Kelly's wedding to Prince Rainier.

Normally I don't seek out "celebrity" perfumes or beauty items unless I have a particularly strong affinity for the celeb--Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve...it's a short list. I did ponder trying Creed's Fleurs de Thé Rose Bulgare, for the cool Ava Gardner factor, but the notes in Fleurissimo seemed closer to what I liked.
violet
florentine iris




Here's a bit of an oddball; this is based on a scent commissioned for the Empress Eugénie in 1870. Described on several sites as mainly a blend of jasmine, sandalwood and vanilla (it also has citrus notes and rose), Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie has inspired intense perfume love-it-or-loathe-it. Can't wait to try it.
jasmine


parfums raffy


All perfumes will be reviewed here and in the reviews section.

images courtesy www.parfumsraffy.com, www.nal.usda.gov

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