Notes from the Editors of The Lipstick Page Forums: A Dedication to the Art of Beauty and Fashion.

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· Beauty & Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
· Parfums Raffy perfume coupon code, 10% off
· Robert Piguet Fracas part 2
· Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie review
· Montale Crystal Flowers review
· Robert Piguet Fracas part 1
· Montale Jasmin Full review part 2
· Montale Jasmin Full review part 1
· Creed Fleurissimo review
· Montale Aoud Roses Petals review
· Beauty Notebook: Variations on the Floral Perfume

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· October 20, 2007 12:25 PM by Blogger Dain
· October 20, 2007 10:57 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi

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Beauty & Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, October 19, 2007 9:37 PM (Eastern)

I have been busy lately...I have to finish up a project involving jewelry. I placed an order with a company I'd been planning to buy from, for...months, possibly even a year or more. It's one of the few jewelry supply companies that is Fair Trade certified, they're based in Thailand, and the majority of their items are fine silver (.999). Only a few items are sterling. They also vermeil and according to them, their vermeil exceeds legal standards.

Aside from this, they have this totally droolworthy site with a glut of stunning items, everything from beads (some solid, which I'm kicking myself I didn't buy), pendants, earring components, chain, charms, all sorts of things. They carry rose gold vermeil as well as yellow, but I find rose gold difficult to work with since most vermeil components, not to mention goldfilled, are yellow. If you'd like to check it out:

shiana.com

When I got the package, I literally had to sit down when I was opening it. The images on the site really do not do the items justice. Part of it is the weight of each item, the soft yet bright silver, the sheer quality of the workmanship. Take this pendant:

silver rose pendant

Here it looks nice enough, you're thinking eh... In person, when you run your fingers over it, there is not a single rough edge. All of the many edges are as smooth as silk. The balance of the pendant is perfect; it's handmade yet the symmetry is also perfect. It's just an amazing piece.

That's what I did today, made a necklace out of that pendant, some lapis, some of these:

silver butterfly beads


...and some odd Bali sterling components. It's a bit tricky to design with fine silver because of the weight actually...my first design had two strands of lapis and silver along with the pendant. I loved how it looked, but it was too heavy to wear more than a few hours, so I went back to the drawing board and made it a single strand.

I hope you take advantage of our Parfums Raffy coupon code for 10% off. Parfums Raffy has a diverse selection of perfumes, and the prices are competitive. They have modern mainstream perfumes, classics such as Joy and Fracas, niche brands such as Creed and Montale, Raffy's own original perfumes, and even this:

bill blass nude perfume

This is Nude by Bill Blass. I've never owned it, never even tested it, but let me tell you this. This perfume drove me crazy one day at Trader Joe's.

If you don't have a Trader Joe's, they tend to have relatively small aisles (at least ours do) and to be perpetually crowded. So I was there one day shopping, and I smelled the most wonderful perfume. I mean it was magical. Normally I don't notice perfumes, but this was extraordinary...I kept smelling it, as I made my way through the aisles, but it was so crowded I couldn't pinpoint who was wearing it for the longest time.

Finally I figured out who it was and I asked her what was that perfume, and she said it was Nude by Bill Blass.

Hopefully I'll have some jewelry pics and other features soon.

images courtesy shiana.com, parfumsraffy.com

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October 20, 2007 12:25 PM, Blogger Dain said...

How pretty. You have my interest piqued in the Bill Blass now. Which Montale did you get?

 
October 20, 2007 10:57 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I've never tested Nude, I only smelled it on someone else. I read some reviews on Basenotes, where it was described as "artificial" and "synthetic," yet it did get four thumbs up (out of four reviews).

:D I'll post about what I got when I get it...

 
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Parfums Raffy perfume coupon code, 10% off
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 18, 2007 2:18 PM (Eastern)

parfums raffy


The Lipstick Page Forums is pleased to announce our own special coupon code, good for 10% off at Parfums Raffy:

RAFFYLPF07

The code is good until 10/24/07 and is re-usable and transferable (enter into the box at checkout).

P.S. I've tried it out. It works! Parfums Raffy carries Montale, including some harder to find releases such as White Aoud, Aoud Blossom, Blue Amber, Chocolate Greedy, Intense Tiare, Boise Vanille, et cetera.

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Robert Piguet Fracas part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, September 17, 2007 9:40 PM (Eastern)

(see part 1)

Told ya there would be a part 2. :)

I tried this out again today, after having felt a bit ill over the past couple of days, due to changing weather. Something about Fracas seemed soothing; a scent you could wear even when others would make you feel off.

Today I got more of an orange-blossom vibe from this...tuberose and orange blossom. Orange blossom is not listed as a note (although "orange" is), but somehow there is a sweet and waxy white orange blossom here.

Overall, I've begun to question how long it's going to take me to find "my" perfumes. I feel this is individual; others may figure this out a whole lot sooner. For me, it's a bit more than the classical "love at first sniff"; I'm starting to feel now that time itself is a factor, that my scents have to evolve over time.

I mean it sounds kinda crazy but even though I've been wearing my Montale's and Fracas lately, to the exclusion of all else, I do not feel my first actual bottle of perfume in ages need be any of these. (Although I am dying to try more Montale.)

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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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Montale Crystal Flowers review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:45 AM (Eastern)

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I like this one too. From the Parfums Raffy website:

...Roses from the Dades Valley and refreshing italian mandarins combined with lilly of the valley, white musk and ambergris in a very sweet and sensual oriental flowers.

Normally the "very sweet" would make me cautious, and indeed I had requested this based largely on other people's recommendations. Now that I have it on though, it's quite beautiful.

dades valley


Where is Dades Valley? This description has been widely syndicated on the Net:

"An oasis in the Dades Valley is responsible for the area's alternative name: the Valley of the Roses. El Kelaa des M'Gouna - the only town of any note in the area - acts as Morocco's rose capital, a vast distilling plant there producing the litres of scented rose-water so popular in the nation's cooking and perfumery.

Although El Kelaa smells divine all year round, the best time to visit is in late May, when the rose farmers from the surrounding hills gather to celebrate the year's harvest. With ten tons of petals required to produce a few litres of precious oil, the harvest is understandably a labour of love, and the culminating festivities are all the livelier for it."

So this is the essence of Morocco's rose capital? It's fantastic. All along, I've thought of myself as "not a rose person." But these roses are different. They're not tinny and modern; rather, they smell old, exquisite, crimson to deep red.

collage of notes for montale crystal flowers


When I first applied Crystal Flowers, the rose sprang out and I thought, eh, another rose scent. Pleasant, but possibly doomed to remain in sample form.

After about an hour, the lily-of-the-valley emerged. At first it smelled remarkably similar to the ivy in Diptyque's Eau de Lierre, a sort of bland, almost creamy, mellow greenness.

Once it smoothed out though, it began to recall the rose-and-lily-of-the-valley heart of another perfume I own, GF Ferré Lei. It's better than Lei in that the rose is stronger, clearly defined instead of diffuse, but if you like the one, you're sure to like the other.

I'm not getting much in the way of mandarins as a discrete note, what I'm getting is a skillful blend of roses that smell like oranges. (Even as a child I observed that good oranges smell like roses and vice versa.) In short it's not exactly "fruity," in the now-generic sense of the word, but there is a twist of orange, whether of the fruit or of roses that smell like it.

The scent is softened by musk...my nose is still not sure what ambergris smells like. I have read it has a marine quality (being a substance found in a sperm whale's intestine, you'd kind of expect that). I'm not getting anything remotely oceanic here though. (I grew up near an ocean, so I suspect it's simply subtle here.)

Sillage: good, even with my cowardly application of only a small quantity from the vial. Lasting power: great. I put this on almost nine hours ago and the rose keeps on going. So far the lasting power seems comparable to their Aoud Roses Petals.

images courtesy Wikimedia Commons, www.flickr.com/photos/peterkaminski, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosino

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Robert Piguet Fracas part 1
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 07, 2007 10:51 PM (Eastern)

robert piguet fracas(Somehow I suspect there will be a part 2.)

I'm trying this on today, from my Parfums Raffy sample. Mmmm...it isn't exactly what I'd thought it would be, although it is pretty much the way it's described on the Robert Piguet website:

"Tuberose, seductive and lush, combines with Jasmine, Jonquil, Gardenia, Lily of the Valley and White Iris in a lavish profusion of fragile white flowers. A whisper of orange with a base of Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Musk."

It's lush all right. I'm getting mostly tuberose, as you would expect, since this is purported to be the prototypical tuberose scent. The base notes ground it some, and there is something of a blend of white flowers, but the tuberose reigns.

I've had this on for some hours, and I tried putting on only a few drops. I realize it's a chicken approach, since you won't know the nature of a perfume unless you really try it on (not unlike clothing or jewelry). I suppose on some level I'm terrified of being somewhere, wearing lots of a lousy perfume, hence the cautious approach. But so far, I'm liking it.

image courtesy parfumsraffy.com

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Montale Jasmin Full review part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 3:12 PM (Eastern)

(see part 1)

I knew it! It was a matter of putting more of it on, about the same as any other eau de parfum (unlike Aoud Roses Petals, which fares well on a couple of drops).

I've been wearing Jasmin Full over the past several days; don't even feel like moving on to my other samples. I've decided, albeit a bit grudgingly, I prefer this over the two Diptyque florals I'd been turning over in my mind: Do Son and Jardin Clos. Partly, admittedly, because the Diptyques don't last that well on, and don't come in a more concentrated form.

Jasmin Full is more on the level of Annick Goutal's Passion to me. (Sure, the Passion EDT doesn't last well either, but it least it comes in eau de parfum...the Annick Goutal EDP's I've tried have been decent.)

These are all essentially floral perfumes. I would like my next perfume to be more floral than anything else. I suppose if you analyze it, I'm not seeking an abstract smell--which also makes my perfume quest simpler and easier--fewer factors. I'm seeking something close to the smell of flowers in the South...in hot, humid, almost tropical weather. It is not the same, smelling flowers in dry--and, around here, temperate--California. Many of California's more spectacular blooms, such as bougainvillea, don't smell at all. The flowers that are fragrant certainly smell nice, but never seem to drench you in their perfumes.

So I am looking for that drenching, intoxicating floral experience. Second to that, would be a citrus experience...which is where Etro Shaal Nur and Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien might enter into it. Thirdly, would come what I think of as a more traditional perfume experience: the well-balanced, well-composed scent where the notes are blended so perfectly, no one note stands out, and you're left with this incredible wall of yum (I always think of Phil Spector right about here, at least in his old days when he created the Wall of Sound).

Of these three broad types of perfumes I like, the Wall of Sou--er, of Yum--would be the hardest to find.

It's relatively easy to find a perfume that smells almost purely of flowers, and from there, of the right flowers, and from there, a perfume that won't require a second mortgage, lasts well on, doesn't cause skin allergies, and just smells all-around divine. The art lies mainly in creating a natural smell of flowers, with enough depth to create interest (and that is where many a lesser floral scent fails).

Citrus likewise isn't all that obscure; it would need a few notes to balance it out, but it's probably better as a relatively stripped-down scent anyway.

On a side note, I've had The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" video in Blogger draft mode for days now, wondering what to do with it. It turns out that very song "...is often cited as the most perfect expression of the Wall of Sound." (Wall of Sound - Wikipedia)

As much as I generally dislike non-scent-related references to perfumes--they don't make sense to me--I might as well play The Ronettes! (It's a lovely song, and yes, they were still playing it on the radio in the 70's.)


The Ronettes - Be My Baby (1965)

Along with this, I stumbled across Eddie Money's duet with Ronnie Spector, "Take Me Home Tonight." I always liked that song, felt it didn't get the recognition it deserved...then again, Eddie Money was never really considered a Great, either, as there were tons of Springsteen-alikes floating around in those days.


Eddie Money - Take Me Home Tonight (1986)

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Montale Jasmin Full review part 1
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, September 04, 2007 12:51 PM (Eastern)

I put "part 1" because, although I've worn this perfume over the past couple of days, I'm still not sure about it.

This is a gorgeous scent; no problem there. I have some first-hand jasmine experience, in fact I've had something like this in my yard:

jasmine vine

But this is not the jasmine I smell in Jasmin Full. It's much closer to this:

star jasmine

The vine jasmine in the top pic, even I'll have to say doesn't smell all that great. It tends to be too sharp and thin.

But the star jasmine (bottom pic) smells warmer, fuller, rounder, softer, and stronger. There's a fair amount of it here in public parks, street medians, and so forth. When it's in bloom, you can smell it from yards away...you can roll down your car window and breathe it in. I particularly liked that pic because of the sunlight...Jasmin Full has a sunny, rather than nocturnal, feel to it.

That said, Jasmin Full is not a literal copy of star jasmine. I get the same warm, sweet, round note, but there is more, a sort of drenching feeling...as if Montale had blended in some green jasmine leaves, and dashes of other white flowers.

My sole issue with this scent is its sillage. It has the staying power; I can smell it on myself for hours and hours (not unlike their Aoud Roses Petals), but the sillage doesn't last very long, not even a good hour.

Again, I put "part 1" because I don't know if I've just been chicken. Aoud Roses Petals was so potent, a couple of drops were good to go all day, so the first time I wore Jasmin Full, I didn't put much on. The second time, I put more, but of course I'm planning to put on even more today.

Available at Parfums Raffy.

images 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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Montale Aoud Roses Petals review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, August 30, 2007 1:49 PM (Eastern)

Just got a sample of this, from Parfums Raffy. In fact I have several samples, but went straight for the Aoud one, and placed a tiny drop or two of it on my wrist.

Why oud? What is oud? As there is, apparently, a musical instrument by the same name, let us first borrow some text from the Parfums Raffy site:

...The luxurious Aouds are fragranced ointments extracted from the oils of the Arabian Oud Tree. Oud is a precious oil from the bark resin of Aquilara - known as Ud (also Ouf or Aoud) - oil. Only trees of a certain age (50 years) deliver this essence. A thousand-year-old secret process, preserved in a cave for several years. Its subtlety and richness come from its vintage nature. Aouds are the sole perfume of Arabian kings and sultans since the dawn of time and are believed to possess aphrodisiac properties.

And some from the Wiki:

Agarwood or just Agar (from the Malay gaharu) is the resinous heartwood from Aquilaria trees, large evergreens native to southeast Asia. The trees occasionally become infected with a parasite mould and begin to produce an aromatic resin in response to this attack. As the fungus grows, the tree produces a very rich, dark resin within the heartwood. It is this precious resinous wood that is treasured around the world. The resin is commonly called Gaharu, Jinko, Aloeswood, Agarwood or Oud and is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, thus it is used for incense and perfumes...

I was warned about oud...that it was either love or hate. But I have a fair amount of exposure to Middle Eastern cultures, where the people can be all about perfumes. This smells...wonderful. Okay here are my impressions:

montale roses petals collageFirst sniff: saffron, with somehow an imaginary hint of somagh and dried lime. I mean I don't think this contains somagh or dried lime, but the saffron note is so authentic, my nose automatically anticipated the other ingredients, in the initial few seconds.

At first this perfume smells sharp, almost acidic, and not sweet. The kind of scent that might send a perfume novice into a minor state of panic. Since I'd been forewarned, I applied only the small amount and was prepared to wait for it to mellow some.

About half an hour later: it's mellowed some. No longer as sharp nor as acidic. Now you can really smell roses. But not roses in the soliflore style, which would tend to disinterest me. Actually this is reminding me a bit of Yves Saint Laurent Paris...but a touch sweeter and older, imo a bit nicer and more complex. Paris would be the lighter-hearted younger sister of Aoud Roses Petals, but imo, Roses Petals would be a bit more beautiful.

Now it's smelling sweet, almost a blend of dried and fresh rose petals, with a slightly...sappy...undertone, and the saffron still hanging in there.

The Montale perfumes are reputed to wear extremely well. That's refreshing, considering the ephemeral nature of other scents I've tried recently. Strength and staying power imo should be factored into the cost of a perfume.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this as a "young" scent. To me, it has a mature feel to it. Nor is it necessarily a rose perfume lover's scent. As much as I like smelling rose fragrances, this is the first I've ever considered buying; there's much more going on here than plain roses.

Drydown: this develops into a soft and candied, almost honeyed, rose, after a while, with the cedar note coming to the fore and the saffron and oud receding slightly.

More than twelve hours later: those one or two tiny drops of Aoud Roses Petals--barely faded. I'm not exaggerating. The perfume has become a tad muted, that's it. Homina-homina-homina! This is the first Montale I've tried, but I already love it!

images courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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Beauty Notebook: Variations on the Floral Perfume
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 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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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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