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

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· Beauty Notes: Auric Blends
· Beauty Notes: Sharon Bolton Scents
· Beauty Notes: Jean Patou's Joy (vintage parfum)
· Montale Intense Tiare review part 2
· Montale Blue Amber review
· Montale Aoud Blossom review
· Montale Boise Vanille review
· Montale Intense Tiare review
· Montale Aoud Blossom and Boise Vanille (preliminary sniff)
· Montale Blue Amber (preliminary sniff)
· Montale White Aoud, part 2
· Montale Sweet Oriental Dream review
· Montale Sweet Oriental Dream (preliminary sniff)
· Montale Chypre - Fruite, part 2 (review)
· Montale Chypre - Fruite, part 1
· Montale White Aoud, part 1
· Montale Powder Flowers review
· Annick Goutal Eau du Ciel review
· 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
· Annick Goutal Passion
· Diptyque Tam Dao
· Diptyque Jardin Clos
· Diptyque Eau de Lierre
· Diptyque Do Son
· Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion
· Annick Goutal Neroli
· Annick Goutal Heure Exquise
· Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien
· Premature reviews for Annick Goutal Songes and Neroli
· Etro Heliotrope
· Etro Vicolo Fiori and Shaal Nur
· Etro Heliotrope and Vicolo Fiori
· Etro Heliotrope
· Etro Pavillon, Sandalo and the story so far
· Etro Royal Pavillon
· Etro Gomma and Royal Pavillon
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #3
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #2
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #1, Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien
· Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet
· Etro Gomma eau de cologne

· May 26, 2008 2:46 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· February 18, 2008 1:13 PM by Blogger Dain
· February 19, 2008 11:17 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· February 21, 2008 10:57 AM by Blogger Dain
· October 31, 2007 1:08 PM by Blogger Dain
· November 1, 2007 6:53 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· October 13, 2007 6:59 AM by Blogger Dain
· October 13, 2007 7:09 AM by Blogger Dain
· October 13, 2007 10:21 AM by Blogger Chez Moi
· October 13, 2007 10:29 AM by Blogger Dain
· October 13, 2007 1:52 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· October 13, 2007 1:55 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· October 13, 2007 2:11 PM by Blogger Dain
· October 13, 2007 10:17 AM by Blogger Chez Moi
· October 13, 2007 1:08 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· July 22, 2007 1:32 AM by Blogger Dain
· July 22, 2007 2:47 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· July 8, 2007 11:02 PM by Blogger Dain
· June 29, 2007 3:12 PM by Blogger Dain
· June 29, 2007 9:44 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· June 30, 2007 2:38 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· October 11, 2006 7:45 PM by Blogger Dain
· October 27, 2006 3:56 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi

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Beauty Notes: Auric Blends
Posted by Joy Rothke, Tuesday, June 10, 2008 1:09 AM (Eastern)

I was reading a thread on Basenotes earlier today on "what I've learned." There were lots of diverse answers, and it got me thinking about what I've learned about fragrances in the last few years. A number of things, but the most important is that expensive doesn't equal good, nor does good have to be expensive. I mean, I already knew this about a lot of things, but I guess I still thought that inexpensive perfumes were, and couldn't be very good.

Auric Blends disabused me of that idea. I first encountered the brand at Longs Drugs and Whole Foods, and bought two of their perfume oils--Jasmine and Black Coconut--for the princely sum of $5.95. (They're usually $7, but Longs was having a sale.) I've worn both of them a lot (sometimes layering) and have got more compliments on these scents than other fragrances ten or twenty times the cost. The Auric oils are deep and very long-lasting on my skin, and if you want to reapply, the 1/3 oz. roller ball bottles are small enough to carry in the smallest purse.

If you're a musk lover, Auric has a number of musk fragrances, and you can't go wrong with their best seller, Egyptian Goddess, a soft floral/powder musk, and a bit of a cult favorite.

They've been making these perfume oils since 1993, headquartered in the tiny Northern California town of Grafton, near Bodega Bay. The oil list is now up to 30 scents, and earlier this year, Auric released a new, four fragrance line called Auric Blends Naturals ($16.95).

The new line is made of one hundred percent natural and essential oils, in a jojoba and Vitamin E oil base. I've sampled all four in the past month. My definite favorite was Tara, with top notes of my favorite rose and jasmine. It's a soft and fruity floral, with a base note of sandalwood that lingers.

All four Auric Naturals have an "inspiration" and a region they're linked to. Tara is the female embodiment of the Buddha, introduced in 7th century Tibet. I'm not a huge fan of spicy scents, but sometimes I'm in the mood for Pele, inspired by the Polynesian goddess of fire. It's got a strong opening cinnamon note, and the drydown on me was patchouli--a note I used to avoid (bad 60s experiences) but I'm learning to love.

Layla, with jasmine, orange flower and Bulgarian rose notes, is a rich and romantic scent. This is a scent for cool evenings, and is inspired by the 12th century Persian love story of Layla and Majnun.

Despite its name, Siren is a fresh and herby fragrance, and good choice for steamy summer days, with notes of lemongrass, sage and thyme.

Samples of all Auric Blends scents are available at their web site.

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Beauty Notes: Sharon Bolton Scents
Posted by Joy Rothke, Monday, May 19, 2008 11:49 PM (Eastern)

I encountered Sharon Bolton's scents a year or so ago, while perusing the Perfume of Life boards. I lurk there frequently but never say much. To be honest, I frequently don't know what the hell perfumistas are talking about. Maybe I'm a fragrance Philistine, but I tend towards the experiential with scent, rather than the abstract or intellectual. I approach perfume the same way I approach music or flowers or most any art form. It's how it makes me feel; whether it touches me.

My LP colleagues Dain and Colleen write eloquently about perfume history, chypres and aldehydes, Lutens and Malle. Confession: I have never sniffed a Malle or a Lutens, a CB I Hate Perfume or Andy Tauer. None of the niche darlings. Unless I spring for a decant or get a gift, I probably never will. Hanging around the perfume department of Barney's or Bergdorf's or--even worse--one of those tiny posh shops, fills me with dread.

I'm not stuck in a fragrance rut. Except for a few old favorites, especially my lovely Fracas, I've left mainstream perfumes. In the last few years, I've worn all sorts of musks, and even patchouli and a spicy, cinnamony scent called "Voodoo Love." But I always return to my true fragrance loves: big white florals like gardenia, jasmine and tuberose. I love their deep scent, their softness, their richness. I like the way they stay close to the body, and smell so rich and womanly. Soft and round--that's how the white florals smell to me. Many scents seem to disappear quickly on my skin, but Bolton's lingers.

Bolton lives and works in Santa Barbara, California, and her fragrances are influenced by that beautiful beach town. I've been using my sample of Luv for several months, and Sharon was kind enough to send me bottles of Truth and Soul to try. Luv remains my number one favorite, but I like Truth and Soul as well, and all three scents layer beautifully.

Coconut and papaya and musk and vanilla and citrus and white flowers make up the Bolton scents. There are only three:

Luv: Pink gardenia, lush Hawaiian white flowers, and a bit of creamy vanilla and white musk.
Soul: Papaya, pineapple, and creamy coconut with undertones of clean musk.
Truth: A clean citrus. Lemon-lime softened by florals and sheer musk.

They're sold in one form: perfume oils. ($42 for 1/8 oz.) Bolton's scents are also available in body lotions ($27), shower cream ($24) and natural soy and palm wax candles ($28).

You can order Sharon Bolton's products at her site.

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1 comment(s)  
May 26, 2008 2:46 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

lololol! I'm afraid I don't fit in with the perfumistas, either. There was a brief period when Montale was the "it" brand, on another board, and I was interested in it at the same time--so for five minutes, I had something to talk about. But on that same board, hardly anyone mentions Montale anymore. I don't know if they all swapped their Montales...I bought some, it's a nice brand. It has a strong Middle Eastern vibe, which is nice in perfumery.

Thanks so much for posting about the Bolton line. I'm jealous of much of the American artisan movement is based in Southern Cal. We have TerraNova of Berkeley here...they make a Pikake scent I swatch every time I see it. It's pretty much pure pikake, maybe a little musk. It's been on my wish list for years. I'm slow to buy new scents.

Don't be afraid to bump up a new post to the date/time it's being published. :)

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Beauty Notes: Jean Patou's Joy (vintage parfum)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, February 17, 2008 8:22 PM (Eastern)


Ah, it's wonderful.

I've smelled Joy before, many many times. But not recently, and not in California. Meaning it's been well over twenty years since last I smelled it.

This is the quintessential East Coast/Southern, possibly English rose perfume...not the Middle Eastern rose of Montale, nor Annick Goutal's continental rose. This just reminds me of home, but not in the same style as Creed's Fleurissimo, which I didn't like, so much as simply recognized.

What I'm smelling is nostalgia. A meld of East Coast rose gardens, women in fur coats (they still wore them when I was a kid, though the fashion was already waning), lipstick and powder...women who always kept the family going, and together, and fed, and in clean clothes; unsung female heroes. This is not a weak nor watery rose, not a toy rose. It has a sort of gorgeous maturity to it, a quiet splendor, without being hopelessly old school, or, to coin a term, "old lady."

There's jasmine in it too, classical jasmine (not, say, Montale's mellow star jasmine), but the rose is in front.

All in's on my wish list. I'm not planning on buying it right away; I'd like to make a dent in my Montale perfumes first.

Okay, so what's the picture? It's from Jericho, a television show that's been aired here before, but I missed it, and caught it only now. It was made in 2005 in a total of five episodes, set in London in 1958. The thing is Joy, it's a gorgeous, yet spare, show. There is this odd intense nostalgia about it, about the lead character's workplace (male-dominated, dog-eat-dog), personal life (easily the hottest thing I've seen on tv in years), and environment, wreathed in cigarette smoke and alcohol. It's the perfect encapsulation of a time and place.

image courtesy

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3 comment(s)  
February 18, 2008 1:13 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm... the jasmine seems slightly the stronger, to me, but then I'm more comfortable with rose. Imo, I think they're well-balanced by each other. I find it ageless (in that it defies the trends), but nevertheless of a certain age (in that, I feel gauche in it).

I'm not sure if vintage and reorchestration will make much of a difference (I have not smelled it before I tried it), but I suspect concentration might.

February 19, 2008 11:17 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I think you're right...Patou is unlikely to have changed much. I was a bit stunned when I smelled the Sublime sample--it's exactly the way I remembered it smelling, back in the mid-90's when I went to Nordies and sampled it.

On me there is only a bit of jasmine.

I'm not much of a parfum person, I can dig the idea but eau de parfum tends to suit me better.

February 21, 2008 10:57 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Me too, except when there is a decided difference (Chanel No. 19 EDT is pitiful, but the parfum is a marvel). I like an EDP because I really like to spray with abandon.

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Montale Intense Tiare review part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, December 09, 2007 6:54 PM (Eastern)


(see Montale Intense Tiare review)

Did I really pass on this perfume? What was I thinking! At the time I sampled it first, it didn't strike me that much one way or the other. (Again with the virtues of trying perfumes in sample form, since they can be handily revisited even months later.)

Now that the weather has changed to its annual blend of fog, rain, dark and cold (okay I'm exaggerating, but I hate cold weather of any stripe), I need this perfume. I went back and got out my sample vial and fairly slapped it on. Yes! Yes! Yes! Coconut and Tahitian gardenia! Sunshine in a bottle! It's really true. You do feel warmer with this stuff on.

Never mind I've never owned a coconut perfume in my life, nor, for that matter, a Tahitian gardenia one. I suppose the closest I've possessed to a white floral would be Givenchy's Organza (which contains as much vanilla, wood and subtle spice as it does white florals) or Annick Goutal's Passion (white florals tempered by oakmoss); big white florals are not my thing. It's truly the coconut melding with the tropical bloom that makes this perfume special.

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Montale Blue Amber review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, November 11, 2007 2:33 PM (Eastern)

montale blue amberThere was a lot of fuss about this scent on various boards, which is why I wanted to try it. Fortunately, in this day and age, we are privileged to be able to buy expensive scents in sample form...because, for me, "fuss" does not translate into "buy unsniffed"; it translates into "sample-worthy."

I tried this out on my wrist a few times and was a bit impressed. Like all the other Montale perfumes, you don't get the full effect unless you really apply it. So much of the scent hinges on its development on your skin. My initial impression-- Montale Blue Amber (preliminary sniff)--was of a Montale binary scent, two notes, rendered perfectly. But nothing to write home about.

I revisited Blue Amber yesterday, on one of those cold, damp days, and was more duly impressed. If you fairly slather it on, the superiority of those same two notes--amber and vanilla--emerges. Because usually, this type of scent is too sweet, too fake, too...obvious? This rendition is as dry as can be, with the signature vanilla of Montale, the kind that makes you drool without annoying you (I was never that big on gourmand scents until Montale). The amber reminds me of an actual piece of amber, if you've smelled one. Sweetish, a tad pine-y, like a hike through the woods in winter, when you're tramping on a bunch of fallen leaves, there's a ring of ice circling the pond, and a stillness.

So I had this of the virtues of this brand is its sheer strength and lasting power. You get to smell yourself all day, so, it had better be good! The positive qualities can seem more positive because of that simple fact. But all of that said, Blue Amber deserves at least some of the hype, for its purity and odd...I really want to say binary quality, the simplicity of two notes, rather than a stew.

You could always layer this with a floral perfume if you wanted more complexity. I know that sounds horrible, since it costs a lot. I'm reluctant myself to buy it, at least until I suss out how well the Montale's keep, but the concept itself doesn't disturb me. If you wanted a day of amber and vanilla, you could always do that, or you could play around with it.

Like their Boisé Vanillé, this is dry enough to be worn by a man.

armistice day

image courtesy

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Montale Aoud Blossom review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, November 05, 2007 3:53 PM (Eastern)

You want to know what turned me on to Montale in the first place?

{Perfume Q & A} with Raffy Dolbakian of Parfums Raffy: Tastes of Summer - 2007 Bestseller Summery Fragrances

When I read this, I decided to try Aoud Roses Petals, Jasmin Full and Crystal Flowers. Which led me to try a lot of other Montale's.

I ended up buying Aoud Blossom and Boisé Vanillé (if you want a bit of pleasant irony, I bought them from Parfums Raffy).

It's been harder for me to review Aoud Blossom than the other Montale scents, which contain more familiar notes like saffron, the Montale signature rose, dry vanilla, et cetera. Aoud Blossom is more like a perfect blend of flowers...almost too perfect, since picking out any individual flower is harder than in, say, Crystal Flowers (an obvious heart of deep rose and lily-of-the-valley), or Jasmin Full (layers of warm mellow star jasmine).

Aoud Blossom is more akin to my nose to Creed's Fleurissimo, in being greater than the sum of its parts. I get violets...I'm sure of that, strong violets. Jasmine...something powdery (although I wouldn't describe Aoud Blossom as "a powdery scent," a bit of powder emerges after you've had it on for a few hours). Rose? It's not in the forefront, the way it is in Fleurissimo.

I don't want to overly compare Aoud Blossom to Fleurissimo, to me they smell nothing alike, the reason I brought it up was to suggest a virtually all-floral blend that produces its own "color."

Aoud Blossom isn't oud-y, much. I'm not sure I'd have pegged it as an oud scent at all. It's closer to all flowers, floating into your nose, but at the same time it's strong (yay!) in the Montale style.

My kids were nuts about this one, and I have used them as my chief perfume critics all along. Comments such as, "You smell weird, Mom" are very important to me. It's a reason I chose Aoud Blossom over White Aoud (which is a fabulous perfume, but my skin picked up too much lemony-sourness in it). Aoud Roses Petals fared better, with a positive vote from my daughter (it's still on the wish list), while Jasmin Full got enthusiastic yes votes from daughter and son (apparently they picked up its "grape soda note" lol)...but I will emphasize, they're not perfume newbs. Scents they like include Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien, Passion and Rose Absolue, Etro Heliotrope, Dior Addict, Armani Code...while they disliked Annick Goutal Mandragore, Diptyque Philosykos, and felt eh about scents I would have been more positive about.

So...trying this is a must for floral perfume fanatics. If you're not into florals, I'm not sure this would "convert" you; it doesn't exactly go beyond the realm of a conventional floral scent, it's just better than most of them...stronger, more complex, longer lasting, more "real" smelling (florals without a chemical edge). If you're more of a rose person, I'd point you toward Aoud Roses Petals (or Annick Goutal Rose Absolue for that matter). I've been into mixed floral scents for a long time; my signature scents of yore were invariably mixed florals (Sung by Alfred Sung, Giò by Giorgio Armani, Givenchy's Organza) as well as various scents I've liked (Armani Code, GF Ferré Lei).

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Montale Boise Vanille review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, October 29, 2007 2:24 PM (Eastern)

montale boise vanille

This was one of the two perfumes I bought a bottle of, after over a year of trying out various fragrances.

Boisé Vanillé is a bit unsung, relative to other Montale scents, and I myself find it a bit dry when worn alone. It's binary, like their Chypré - Fruité, Blue Amber, Intense Tiaré, where they take two notes--really only two--and render them perfectly. Whether you have use for this scent, therefore, depends entirely on how you feel about the two notes.

As it turns out, I can use a dry, non-sweet blend of woods and vanilla. The woods here...I get cedar, a bit, but not the usual sandalwood. Just a sort of generic wood, as if you had gone into a forest and cut into a random deciduous tree. It's a feeling of freshness but a lack of the sweetness associated with women's wood-based perfumes.

Along with this, a purity of vanilla, again without the typical sugary aspect.

On its own, I find this almost too masculine (and I can see this on a man, unlike many so-called unisex perfumes). It makes the perfect foil however for other perfumes, when you want to add a bit of customization. I feel anything sweeter wouldn't work for that purpose, but this blends seamlessly.

Aside from changing from an almost stupefyingly simple wood + vanilla beginning, into a more complex woods + vanilla accord, this is linear. Once it hits its stride, it stays exactly the same for hours and hours.

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2 comment(s)  
October 31, 2007 1:08 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I like that, sweet without saccharine. A good amber is like that.

November 1, 2007 6:53 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Montale Blue Amber is kind of neat...although it is simplistic. It's just amber and vanilla, at least to my nose. It doesn't have enough depth imo to be worn alone. But for what it's a super strong, super dry amber and's not bad.

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Montale Intense Tiare review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, October 22, 2007 3:22 PM (Eastern)

montale intense tiare notes

Montale Intense Tiare reminded me some of Robert Piguet's Fracas, only with an underlayer of coconut, to the point I put one on one wrist and the other on the other. I'm smelling them both now, in turn, and I'm not getting a substantial difference, aside from the coconut.

The coconut in Intense Tiare is not the sort of fake coconut you get in many "tropical" perfumes nor is it Hawaiian Tropic coconut. It reminds me almost of young coconut; it's silky and subtle, almost creamy. They've kept this note firmly in the background, beneath the tiare (Tahitian gardenia), which smells fresh.

The white flower accord in Fracas is more complex, where Intense Tiare really just strikes me as tropical gardenia and coconut, albeit good tropical gardenia and coconut. If you like the one, you're apt to like the other.

I've tried Annick Goutal's Gardenia Passion as well, and find both Intense Tiare and Fracas superior...Gardenia Passion is a bit too simple--not nearly as layered and mellow as the other two scents.

I never really "got" the concept of the Big White Floral, it sounds like something people who don't like white florals might say, but Intense Tiare probably falls under that category, coconut and all. It's definitely sweet, tropical, "vacation in a bottle"-y.

The usual excellent Montale staying power and sillage.

On a personal note, it's not a perfume I can wear. I passed on Fracas too. On me these are too "loud," too sweet, not something that blends with my chemistry.

images courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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Montale Aoud Blossom and Boise Vanille (preliminary sniff)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, October 13, 2007 1:54 AM (Eastern)

I couldn't resist trying these both (even as I had a concoction of Powder Flowers and White Aoud on, with a bit of Blue Amber to boot). It sounds like a right mess, but that is how I used to sample perfumes, after all--go to Nordies or Macy's or Needless Markup, try three or four scents on different areas of each hand, sniff hands obsessively...

I'm rather glad I did. I've decided against Powder Flowers, even though it smells yummy and Chanel-No.-5-y, only without an allergic reaction on my part (one of the perfume tragedies of my life is I can't wear No. 5). Powder Flowers doesn't have enough sillage for me, even though I know it would carry much better sprayed on rather than dabbed on from a vial. I need to narrow, at least for now, so whatever Montale's I choose have to be the end-all and be-all of all perfumery. grumbles...

Boise Vanille is, at first, just as literal as Chypre - Fruite (part 1, part 2). Wood + vanilla, without any refinement, as if you took a piece of wood (okay, a nice piece of wood) and soaked it in a bit of vanilla extract. Voilà! Boise Vanille.


Of course it doesn't stay that way; it softens up nicely, although--so far anyway, I've had it on a few hours--it does remain essentially just that, woods (this part becomes more complex) and vanilla. This smells almost unisex. More woods than vanilla, and not particularly sweet. What's drawing me here, admittedly, is the sillage. It is good...the strong woods meet the nose, and the vanilla is subtle and dry.

Aoud almost the polar opposite, all soft flowers, and with only the tiniest bit of oud. I'm getting tuberose here...and violets...these flowers are well blended though, you get an intense floral sensation without any one flower standing out.

I can't really compare Aoud Blossom to anything else I've smelled, exactly. The blended quality of flowers is similar to that of Creed's Fleurissimo, but Aoud Blossom is by far softer, sweeter, less assertive, and with a combination of flowers more attractive to me (more white tropical flowers, softer violets, not much rose).

I could also compare to Diptyque's Do Son but I don't want to. Do Son is far less of a traditional blended floral scent and more of an attempt to capture a real live garden.

The crazy thing is how good Boise Vanille and Aoud Blossom smell together. I put one on one side of my wrist and one on the other, but I keep trying to smell them both at the same time. In fact that's what I'm going to do tomorrow--layer one over the other.

Speaking of contrasting elements that somehow click, I fell a bit in love with the Marilyn Monroe-Marlon Brando montage (the original version is not embeddable), with photos by Milton Greene, over Monroe singing with Frankie Vaughan. Somehow this combination totally works, better than any other ever could (say, with Yves Montand singing, or Frankie Vaughan in the photos).

I liked it so much, I looked up more scenes from the movie (which I've never seen in its entirety). What I had seen of it before had seemed stilted, not very tempting to add to one's Netflix queue. Yet the musical number is quite wondrous, likely due to the combination (Monroe with her pauses in all the right places, Vaughan sounding very New York for an English guy, Montand dancing):

Marilyn Monroe - Let's make love - Let's make love

You'll just have to excuse the Spanish dubbing in the beginning. :D

images courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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7 comment(s)  
October 13, 2007 6:59 AM, Blogger Dain said...

We shall not see their likes again. I've heard that Lindsay Lohan is the "Marilyn Munroe of our day", and in a sense I can see a slight similitude, in that Lohan is also a tragicomic beauty, a girl who wants desperately to be loved, who seems inevitably destined for a bad end, but it's like comparing water to wine.

On a superficial note, I've been thinking of silver glitter polish, and those shoes of hers have confirmed it.

October 13, 2007 7:09 AM, Blogger Dain said...

What's with the timing?

October 13, 2007 10:21 AM, Blogger Chez Moi said...

Boise Vanille layered with just the slightest hint of rose sounds like something I've been dreaming of. Again, where'd ya get yer samples?:)

October 13, 2007 10:29 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Carol (forgive me if I'm wrong)? How've ya been?!

October 13, 2007 1:52 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Dain: Marilyn Monroe was a fans' actress, I think, more than a commercial success. For example, Elizabeth Taylor got paid one million dollars for Cleopatra...I read Monroe was making a fraction of that, even though her films were as well-attended.

I'll go so far as to say she's still a fans' actress, that's why her image has survived. If you look at it, she was very strong, she came from nothing and nowhere, she hung in there longer than the next person would have. They say a weaker person would not have been able to live as long as she did, with that level of pills and booze. I don't think she intended to die, she just miscalculated how much of this and that. Maybe she was over-confident.

The Net has probably only created more fans, because Monroe posed for thousands of still pictures. People get hold of them and digitize them... Again it could be said, she was simply harder-working than other actresses or models of the time who were more commercially successful. She was an interesting broad, people are still trying to figure her out.

Carol: Hey! :) These samples came from They're more expensive than, but they carry some scents aedes doesn't. I got Boise Vanille, Aoud Blossom, Intense Tiare, and Blue Amber...and these are the last perfume samples I'm planning to buy.

Montale is expensive...they had a big blowout sale at the Swiss Montale a while back (apparently they were closing the Swiss branch), and it would have been worth the hassle of ordering from an overseas site, but I'd only just gotten into Montale and didn't want to buy unsniffed. As it is, I'm really trying to narrow down which Montale's to buy.

Imo, Blue Amber is genuinely better than Tabu. But it is also quite similar. It's drier, more vanilla, a bit softer, but basically it is strong amber, and vanilla.

Boise Vanille is already on my short list. I'm going to try it out today with the Aoud Blossom layered over it.

BV is drier and less sweet than other woods-and-vanilla scents I've tried, it's next to unisex and I think a man could actually wear it. But it's not sharp enough so I'd dismiss it as man's scent. I don't do men's scents well.

I'm warming to the idea of getting this and a floral scent to combine it with. Expensive, yeah, but ultimately it might be better, in the sense of being able to "tune" the scent to exactly what you want, and being able to wear each on its own (and the cost is the same as buying two higher-end perfumes, which is what I was thinking of doing anyway).

October 13, 2007 1:55 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Ugh I screwed up the time on this. I have to add three hours, half the time I get it wrong.

October 13, 2007 2:11 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Lol. It's funny to have comments that come before the post.

Marilyn Munroe is fascinating without even trying. I'm partial to the poise of Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, because they are much stronger, self-possessed, graceful women, compared Munroe's sort of helplessness to make your heart break. I find her, oddly enough, a rather bad actress, but I don't begrudge her for it. I think if I could really name anyone contemporary who has that level of charisma, it would probably be Justin Timberlake. He's not the most attractive or the most talented, but he has some genius for selling himself.

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Montale Blue Amber (preliminary sniff)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, October 12, 2007 4:32 PM (Eastern)

I've got some of this on my wrist today, and it's reminding me of, of all things, Dana's Tabu:

1954 dana tabu ad

Blue Amber is's drier, softer, with more vanilla. What I'm getting is almost pure amber and vanilla, despite's more elaborate notes list:

Italian bergamot, bourbon geranium, coriander, patchouli, vetiver, amber, vanilla

So far, I'm not nuts about this as a perfume to wear on its own. But I am already intrigued by the idea of it as a layering scent.

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October 13, 2007 10:17 AM, Blogger Chez Moi said...

I happen to like Tabu. I'm guessing I'd like this one too! Where did you get the sample from?

October 13, 2007 1:08 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

See ya in the previous comment box. ^

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Montale White Aoud, part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:10 PM (Eastern)

(see part 1)

I've knocked this off my Montale wishlist, but narrowly, very narrowly. On my skin, it is just the tiniest bit too sour--"lemon sour" (not, say, "sour milk sour"). It's not that I can't do sour, or lemony for that matter, but for me, there has to be a bit more sweetness to balance it off.

It's too bad; otherwise it would be next to perfection. It's strong, long-lasting, is way complex...I get waves of notes, like the oud, cardamom, other spices (subtle), something definitely lemony-citrus, then the sweetness of sandalwood and something else (vanilla?), amber, just a whole lot going on, blended perfectly, almost the perfect balance. Almost, on me anyway.

Hence, I feel this scent depends a bit more than others on chemistry--how much of the sweetness and sourness your skin picks up; and personal preference--how sweet you like your perfumes. I've always liked mine a bit sweet and flowery, over the abstract or woodsy.

However, I do think this is worth a try, for anyone shopping for anything remotely in this category. I might change my mind later on, if they still make it.

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Montale Sweet Oriental Dream review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:08 AM (Eastern)

montale sweet oriental dreamSee Montale Sweet Oriental Dream (preliminary sniff).

I've tried this out only on my wrist, but I already know it's not for me. It's not only its strong pipe-tobacco note--I was wondering if it would fade somewhat in the drydown, which it did, somewhat, but remained prominent throughout--even without the tobacco note altogether, Sweet Oriental Dream would still not be "me."

It's an elegant and interesting scent, but I feel it's too young for me (I'm 42). It would be striking on someone ten to twenty years younger than myself. Even then, it would highly depend on how you feel about the tobacco note. I actually don't mind the smell of tobacco smoke of any kind, but in perfumery it just doesn't do it for me.

Then, there is the candy aspect. The honey here is very sweet, the almonds dry (pleasant in fact, not marzipan-y at all). Without tobacco, this would still be too sweet and candyish for me; again, better on a younger woman (and this is unmistakably a feminine scent).

The rose here does not dominate, whatever. It stays firmly behind the pipe tobacco, honey and almonds, and general candy-ness. Later on, in the drydown, a cherry note emerges, sort faint, sweet cherries. It's actually not as god-awful sweet as I'm making it sound. On the right woman this could be incredible. But definitely don't buy it unsniffed, unless, possibly, you are a lifelong tobacco-note nut.

The usual excellent sillage and staying power of Montale perfumes (of the ones I've tried, only Chypre - Fruite was faint on me).

All in all, a nice experience for me as a sample, but, for me, not a full-bottle candidate.

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Montale Sweet Oriental Dream (preliminary sniff)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 11, 2007 7:56 PM (Eastern)

From the site:

The loveliest rose of France gives its elegance to Turkish delight, a subtle marriage of the noble centifolia rose and the fun accord of almonds and honey.

Sheesh, how did they miss the pipe tobacco? Sweet Oriental Dream's strongest note, at least on my wrist, summons this image:

hubble bubble

Okay, technically it smells like pipe tobacco, but somehow the phrase "hubble bubble" keeps flitting through my mind.

There is rose, and honey and almonds, but they peep out from under a thick smudge of pipe tobacco. If you're imagining a scent based solely on the aedes description, you'll be surprised, one way or the other.

So far not bad, but not for me. It's an assertive scent; it reminds me, not only of hubble bubbles, but also of the time I still lived in San Francisco, long before no-scent policies. You would always smell perfumes in the City, it was part of the experience. These were expensive perfumes, you seldom smelled anything cheap. It was just a wonderful experience--men and women, gay and straight, just a lot of people with good taste in perfumes. sigh Miss those days.

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Montale Chypre - Fruite, part 2 (review)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:19 AM (Eastern)

montale chypre fruite(see part 1)

I've decided this can be struck from my Montale perfume wishlist. It's not a bad scent, particularly, but on me it's relatively faint, even when applied quite liberally. I've had the same result with other perfumes, even ones described by others as potent. Chanel Allure, for example...I can hardly smell it on myself. I suspect my skin chemistry has something to do with it (I didn't observe people around me passing out when I tried putting Allure on), or, whatever...I couldn't smell anything much of anything.

It's a bit better with Chypre - Fruite. Let's grab the description from the site:

Sensual and fruity. A fragrance which includes the seduction of musk and chypre (a harmony of bergamot, rose, jasmine on a base of patchouli and oakmoss) combined with the vibrant coolness of tropical fruits.

That's pretty accurate although what I'm smelling somehow seems...simpler. I'm getting a rather stock chypre base--muted, dusky, deep, a bit sweet, quite pleasant. It's what I like in Annick Goutal's Passion and Ava Luxe's Ingenue; if you've smelled either and like them, you might want to give Chypre - Fruite a whirl.

Atop this oakmossy base floats a layer of sweetish fruits. I'm not getting a lot of the floral notes...maybe a bit, but the fruit layer dominates anything floral. It's subtle fruit, like an actual plate of fruit, rather than synthesized fruit, if that makes any sense.

It's really quite wearable; my gripes are it's too faint on me, and I prefer Passion to this particular chypre. Passion possesses the same yummy oakmoss base, blended with edges of bright sparkling tuberose and soothing vanilla. Chypre - Fruite smelled quite similar to Passion in its drydown, when I first tried the former, but applying more, I get less of the white floral edge, more of a plain simple layer of bright fruit. (If I were looking for a longer-lasting substitute for Passion, this isn't exactly it.)

Bottom line: if you're into chypres, this is what the name says it is, and you might want to try it (although I wouldn't buy it unsniffed). If you're looking for something pleasant, wearable and subtly sweet, you might want to try this.

If you're looking for a very fruity scent, this is not it; the fruit here is subtle and does not stand out from the oakmoss base.

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Montale Chypre - Fruite, part 1
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, October 08, 2007 11:14 PM (Eastern)

This is...interesting. I put a small amount of this on my wrist this morning. (Call me chicken, but I don't like applying a lot of a new perfume until I've tried a preliminary wrist application.)

At first it smelled quite literal: chypre and fruit. I mean literally--a dusky mellow mossy chypre base, same as the other chypres I've tried (Annick Goutal Passion and Ava Luxe Ingenue, itself a replica of the discontinued Deneuve perfume), with a layer of...fruit.

Mind you, this isn't your generic-celebrity-floral-fruit, fruit. It doesn't smell generic nor is it particularly sweet. It just seems so, as I say, literal, as if a guy in the lab had read a label imprinted "Chypre - Fruite" and had dumped the contents of the chypre beaker in with that of the fruit beaker.

Chypre - Fruite remains that way initially, not unpleasant...the duskiness of the mosses offsetting the mild sweetness of the fruit, so the overall effect is elegant.

The interesting part happens later on, during the drydown. That is when Chypre - Fruite becomes amazingly close to Annick Goutal's Passion--really very close. No longer is Chypre - Fruite particularly fruity. Nor does it sport Passion's luscious tuberose, exactly...yet somehow it evokes almost exactly the same deep-moss-with-edges-of-white-floral-sweetness as Passion.

I hope that doesn't sound critical. I'm all for scents with similarities, especially if the "copycat" lasts a whole lot longer on than the original. Passion EDT imo is not worth buying, unless you're a conscientious toucher-upper; I was contemplating getting the (far more obscure) EDP form of it.

This is all preliminary; I'll try Chypre - Fruite out properly tomorrow.

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Montale White Aoud, part 1
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, October 06, 2007 2:05 AM (Eastern)

montale white aoudI wore a small amount of this the other day, and wore it completely today.

It's a beautiful perfume, but it's also kind of...odd. When I tried it out in a small amount, it reminded me of...I want to say a Chanel scent, but I can't name the specific one (definitely not No. 5 nor Coco Mademoiselle, nor any of the newer Chanel perfumes).

Applied fully, you get the panoramic Montale experience, where the scent changes lavishly, each phase lasting several hours. But unlike the others I've tried--Aoud Roses Petals, Jasmin Full, Crystal Flowers and Powder Flowers--this is a bit of an odd composition, although, of course, the drydown is to die for.

Here's the description from the site:

White Aoud weaves the tobacco and honey infused richness of precious oud into a luminous tapestry. The dusky, incense smoke imbued woods are contrasted with soft jasmine and creamy rose. The lemony brightness of cardamom lights up the composition, while warm amber and sandalwood offer a seductive backdrop for this beautiful oriental etude.

They're leaving out the saffron...I'm sure there's saffron in White Aoud. When I first put it on, I got the same oud-and-saffron blend that begins Aoud Roses Petals. But here, the oud doesn't seem to last as long, nor is it ever as strong. It's a bit of oud, but I wouldn't really describe White Aoud as "an oud scent."

The rose is also much subtler than in Roses's there, it's that sort of "smells like good oranges" rose, but White Aoud doesn't strike as "a rose scent" either, it's much more blended than that.

Phase 2 sees White Aoud leaving the oud-and-saffron phase, and entering the unnamed Chanel scent phase. (It could be an old Guerlain scent I'm thinking of, but I don't think so, I really think it's Chanel.)

Phase 3, the drydown...White Aoud began to remind me fairly strongly of Etro Shaal Nur. It's not the same...Shaal Nur is distinctly lemon-and-incense to my nose, and White Aoud is the better of the two scents...more complex, with an ambery vanilla-and-woods thing going on to make things more interesting. But if you like Shaal Nur, you're almost sure to like White Aoud (and you'll probably like it better, unless you're a real lemon nut).

In White Aoud, the "lemony" note is attributed to cardamom (at least by but I think the oud has something to do with it as well. White Aoud is spicy, a bit...subtly spicy, not obvious spices. It's warm and spicy (again, a bit similar to Shaal Nur).

I keep wanting to strike Montale scents off my wishlist. :D It's not a cheap line, and I tend to want two, or at most three, bottles of perfume at a time, because that's the rate at which I use them up. I hate having a perfume go bad; it did happen to me once, when I was hoarding a Givenchy Organza edp. (The horror...I think I had a third of the bottle left. At least it was a relatively small bottle.)

I have eliminated Crystal Flowers from the list, at least. Not that it's a bad scent, by any means; it's a yummy rose-and-lily-of-the-valley scent, in the same vein as Gianfranco Ferré Lei, but softer and warmer. It's just that I can live without a rose-dominated scent. At least I keep telling myself that.

If you like older Chanel perfumes, or if you like Etro Shaal Nur, you will definitely want to try White Aoud. (Conversely, if you don't like these, you may not like White Aoud.)

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Montale Powder Flowers review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, October 03, 2007 11:05 PM (Eastern) two of this stuff. I tried a bit out on my wrist yesterday, then, deciding I liked it, applied it properly, and did the same today.

This begins as the kissing cousin of Chanel No. 5, indeed. I even get a bit of the aldehydes, as if Montale had initially decided to replicate No. 5...soft abstract rose, sweetish powder and white flowers, perhaps a hint of violets in the background (you'll have to forgive me if I'm off about violets, I haven't smelled nor seen them in at least 22 years)... When first applied, I'm getting No. 5, but sweeter, and light on the aldehydes.

Sometime in Hour 2, approximately, Powder Flowers veers off into pure baby powder, à la Johnson & Johnson. Strong, sweet, baby powder. (At this point the fragrance imo could be a touch more complex.)

Powder Flowers sort of toggles between the two...J & J baby powder and Chanel No. 5...for Hours 2, 3, maybe 4. After that it changes again, into something heavenly, "I can't stop smelling myself," a cloud of ambery goodness that lasts at least an hour or two. (Here you will want to have applied some closer to your nose, so it can waft right into your face.)

After that it fades some...becomes a soft baby powder/ambery thing, which, as in the other Montales I've tried, lingers softly for more hours, and remains on clothing until the following day.

Only in the beginning does it resemble No. 5, (sort of) down to the aldehydes. What's constant is the baby powder note. If you don't like baby powder, or powder in general, you're not going to like this.

But Powder Flowers stays pure baby powder only temporarily, and generally moves in and out in a dance with Chanel No. 5 (the original one I should say, there is a new one out), and a sort of dense ambery vanilla and woods thing.

This is a fine perfume. As much as I've been trying to narrow down which Montale I want, I almost feel as if each new one I try is a bit more delightful than the last. Right now I'm dithering between this and Jasmin Full (part 1, part 2).

chloe from 24

Bet you weren't expecting that! I've decided Chloe from 24 is my favorite tv character of all time, narrowly edging out Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Fred from Angel.

What brings this image to mind is the hour-by-hour quality of Montale perfumes. They're far from linear; they are the opposite of linear. If you're not head-over-heels over how it smells now, wait an hour. Or two. Or eight.

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Annick Goutal Eau du Ciel review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, September 27, 2007 2:38 PM (Eastern)

annick goutal eau du cielFrom the Annick Goutal site:

Aerial, Fresh, Soft, Tender, Natural

A melody of tender scents: Brazilian rosewood, violet, Florentin iris and lime blossom. A subtle interpretation of innocence, a gentle fragrance as delicate as the shiver of an angel's wing...

Unlike the usual hyperbolic perfume description, this describes Eau du Ciel to a T. It is a superbly delicate, youthful scent, perhaps the opposite of sophistication.

That would appear a rarity these days, given mainstream perfumes seem to be pressed from the same fruity-floral mold (I suspect they're produced in the same factory), and niche scents targeted towards an older audience.

I'm not sure I can pick apart these notes; they're blended perfectly, like other Annick Goutal scents (Heure Exquise, Passion, Nuits d'Hadrien, Ce Soir Ou Jamais, Eau d'Hadrien, of the ones I've tried). I want to say Eau du Ciel smells like hay. Having spent the majority of my childhood summers at an organic farm, I have fond memories of the scent of hay (even though it is poky in reality). Soft, sweetish hay, with a little freshly mown grass, and just something pleasant, summery, lazy, like that part of my grandparents' garden where they had planted tall flowers (when you're young and short, tall flowers tower majestically) and my sister, cousins and I played hide and seek.

It smells more sunshiny than dusky, more warm than cool. I'm not exactly sure what rosewood smells like, but there is something predominantly woody here. I'm getting only a soft edge of violets...this is not a strongly violetty scent...with more iris, like a bearded iris in the sun. A faint edge of something citrusy, which could be the lime blossom blended with iris (irises smell a tiny bit citrusy to me).

All in all, a terrific scent for a young woman. I'm thinking later teens or early twenties. Actually I kind of like it myself. There's something calming about it.

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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" 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 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,,

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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. 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.

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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 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 " 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 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 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 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'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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Annick Goutal Passion
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, August 20, 2007 10:12 PM (Eastern)

annick goutal passion(Not to be confused with Gardénia Passion.)

When I first tried this on, I hated it. It went to the "why bother trying it again?" pile o' vials, at least momentarily. Of course I tried it again (the beauty of the perfume sample vial!). Now it's one of three--along with Heure Exquise and Eau d'Hadrien--Annick Goutal perfumes I'm considering buying a bottle of.

As to why I hated it at first sniff, the only thing I can think of is that I was trying it on at the same time as something else, and the combination confused me.

From the Annick Goutal site:

Main page:
Passion - sensual, fascinating, alluring, sweet floral, cyprused;
tuberose - jasmine - vanille-oakmoss

Product page:
Alluring, Sensual, Fascinating

Passion is the fragrance of passionate love. Tuberose and jasmine from Grasse blend with vanilla to create the warm and heady scent of a sensual and captivating woman.

Even if it's only briefly mentioned, it's the oakmoss that makes Passion. The product page description makes it sound almost horribly sweet and candy-like, and indeed Passion was not one of my first choices ( happened to be out of Le Jasmin).

My previous experience with oakmoss was in Ava Luxe's Ingenue perfume, which itself was a replica of the long-discontinued Deneuve perfume (which I've never smelled and don't even remember).

Deneuve was classified as a chypre. As funky as the word "chypre" appears to be, it's a terrific perfume category. Not fruity, not really sweet, not floral, not spicy, not gourmand...just muted, dusky, soft, mellow, almost a "skin" scent. It is not a category for young girls, I don't think, nor for the slew of new "celebrity" perfumes. To me it has an "old," elegant feel to it, and the oakmoss in Passion is well balanced by the tuberose/jasmine/vanilla sweetness (a tad more floral than vanilla).

I tried Passion out again yesterday and today; it's still in the "bottle worthy" running. Even as an eau de toilette, the staying power is decent (6-7 hours). Sillage: you can smell it if you're close to the person (about the same as my good old Givenchy Organza edp).

image courtesy

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Diptyque Tam Dao
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, August 18, 2007 1:10 PM (Eastern)

diptyque tam daoThis is nice. From the Diptyque site: Rosewood, cypress and ambergris, in the heart note the sandalwood from Goa

I'm getting mostly sandalwood from this, although it does start out with a small burst of cypress. When I first put it on, the cypress note was a bit distracting. What I was expecting was next to pure sandalwood; soft, dry sandalwood...but Tam Dao actually does become that, once the small cypress note softens.

I gave it the "Does it last on a really hot day?" test yesterday. The weather has been super hot lately (dry heat), so I've been trying out various perfumes in it. Tam Dao did fairly well...not as good as Eau de Lierre (which clung on valiantly through miles and hours of next to scorching heat), but I could still smell it faintly and pleasantly on myself after I-880 in Friday rush hour traffic, in the previously mentioned, un-air-conditioned car. (Here you are talking about several hours of heat.) And the following day, a ghost of sandalwood remained on my clothes.

Out of the houses I've tried lately...Etro, Annick Goutal and Diptyque...I can admit I like Diptyque the best. Not all of the Diptyque samples...Philosykos ended up smelling Youth Dew-y on me (a pity, as its opening smell of fresh figs, fig leaves and fig tree itself is quite authentic); Olène, as much as I liked it initially, now falls behind Do Son and Jardin Clos; Ofrésia, which smelled bitter on me, although of course I will try it again. But Tam Dao, Eau de Lierre, Do Son and Jardin Clos are still on my possible bottle-worthy list.

My sole gripe with the Diptyques is the lasting power. Overall they seem a bit better than the Annick Goutal eau de toilettes, perhaps not quite as good as the Annick Goutal eau de parfums; overall not as good as Etro. Of the group, as mentioned, Eau de Lierre wins the staying power prize.

And, they could have a bit more sillage too. Jardin Clos has the best sillage of the group.

That's why I layer perfumes though; I always have at least one long-lasting perfume on. Lasting power is more important to me than sillage. I like to be able to smell the perfume myself, and be smell-able if the other person is fairly close, but I don't every day have to wear a strong perfume.

Overall...if you like sandalwood, you'll like Tam Dao. Imo it's better than Etro Sandalo. Sandalo struck me as too sharp-smelling. Tam Dao is smoother, softer, mellower. It is truly unisex; doesn't smell "perfume sweet." Rather it has a beautiful naturally sweetish smell of sandalwood.

image courtesy

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Diptyque Jardin Clos
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, August 12, 2007 3:07 PM (Eastern)

lilacJARDIN CLOS Anno 2003
Hyacinth, white lilac, mimosa, water melon

I wore this on Saturday. When I first put it on, it was almost a dead ringer for a floral scent that was exceedingly popular, I'd like to say in the 90's, but it could have been the 80's (looks guilty, I'm gettin' old!). Back then I knew nothing about perfume, hence never knew the name of that scent, but it was strong, a bit old-fashioned, and pure flowers and femininity.

I had to get up early Saturday and go to the supermarket; wearing Jardin Clos was great. It was a wonderful thing to smell on yourself, having to get up early and go to the supermarket. Normally I loathe the word "classy" but this smelled classy. It's nicer than its unnamed predecessor, more delicate and complex, but essentially a purely floral-feminine perfume. To my nose, the lilac trumped the hyacinth but I got a good blend of both, with that slight bitter edge of an actual hyacinth.

This stayed put well the first few hours, with decent, if not outstanding, sillage. After those first few hours it shifted from classy, into something sublime...something honeyed, with less of the strong lilac edge it started out with.

I'd say it was almost completely gone after eight hours. Drat. Still, it goes on my potential bottle-worthy list. I liked both parts of the dual experience--classy perfume with a vintage flair, paired with the (more predictable) Diptyque-esque almost otherworldly floral experience, similar to their Do Son and Olène.

To me this is a mature woman's scent; it is not one of those sweet, light fragrances. I didn't get any watermelon out of this; it's not fruity in any sense of the word to me. If there is mimosa, it's subtle...there could be mimosa, especially the kind that smells so good on a hot day...but this is primarily a thick smudge of lilac and hyacinth.

And I don't see how this could ever be unisex, it has nothing in it I would care to smell on a man.

images courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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Diptyque Eau de Lierre
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, August 11, 2007 1:07 AM (Eastern)

diptyque eau de lierre

I tried this again today, instead of retrying Etro Vicolo Fiori as I'd planned. I was going somewhere hot (known as "inland" around here); I knew it would be at least ten degrees hotter, tank-top weather, so the notion of Eau de Lierre, described on the Diptyque site as follows:

Ivy leaves, cyclamen, geranium, green pepper, ambergris, palisander wood, musks

...would be more refreshing in the heat.

I like Eau de Lierre. It's kind of a weird perfume. I have ivy in the back yard (it's a pest in fact, you have to cut it back and keep it off the trees); there were tons of English ivy in Virginia, enveloping the buildings, blanketing the ground...I've never really smelled ivy though. Eau de Lierre just smells green and fresh to me. It reminds me most of L'eau d'Issey, but without the breath of flowers...a green meadow, with ivy and no flowers. In that way it's more abstract than L'eau d'Issey, but if you like one, you might like the other.

So, getting back to the story, I dabbed this on pretty thick, expecting the "smells wonderful, fades too quickly" quality of other Diptyque perfumes I've tried, except Philosykos (it's been well pointed out that perfumes that don't agree with you last longest on you), and was pleasantly surprised that it lasted the entire trip, through driving on the freeway in Friday traffic, in a car without air conditioning, inland to the fantastic dry California heat. Many other scents would have burned off, plain and simple. Eau de Lierre continued smelling good for hours, and the sillage was not bad for at least the first several hours.

In fact I can still smell it a bit. I am getting the ivy (I'm sure ivy smells that way if you ever bother smelling it), a little green pepper. Cyclamen? does that even have a smell? I can buy that there might be a little geranium in it, but it's not strong. Musks...could be a little musky sweetness there. But it's the green ivy that dominates.

I'd like to say Eau de Lierre could be worn just as easily by a man, because it's not flowery, but I would rather smell this on a woman than on a me it's not masculine enough, even if it's not a traditionally feminine scent.

image courtesy

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Diptyque Do Son
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, July 21, 2007 2:24 PM (Eastern)

tuberoseSince I wouldn't know a tuberose if it fell into my soup, I did some brief google image searching to get a firmer concept of this lovely bloom.

I retried my Diptyque Do Son eau de toilette yesterday, and it was intoxicating. That's the scent I want. I kept smelling it on myself throughout the day (it seems to be stronger than some of their other EDT's), and it recalled the first time I wore it, when I revisited Muir Woods (which I highly recommend btw), and wasn't sure the entire time how much of that fresh, sweet smell was something growing in the woods, and how much of it was me.

Why had I thought Do Son had a bitter edge? It really doesn't. There is a slight feel of hyacinth in there somewhere, but the overall sensation is of heavy, enchanting sweetness; yet it's fresh, not cloying.

Do Son mirrors Diptyque's Philosykos in a way, in being a singular scent, with a heavy emotional factor. Fig groves don't do it for me...sure, we had fig trees in the Virginia of my childhood, but not groves.

We did however exist in an almost tropical heat and humidity at times, and the flowers corresponded to that. Blooms in dry climates don't smell nearly as much. You could place a single gardenia in a bowl of water, and it would scent the entire room. There were numerous flowers--I never knew their names--that would waft a heavenly cloud of scent your way, should the wind blow. Sure, everyone griped about the heat and moisture, but people who grow in these climes, form an attachment to the intense perfumes of these flowers.

images courtesy,

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2 comment(s)  
July 22, 2007 1:32 AM, Blogger Dain said...

I've never tried Do Son, so I don't know how it compares to other tuberoses, but here are some others:

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle
Parfumerie Generale Tubereuse Couture
Caron Tubereuse
L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons
Frederic Malle Carnal Flower
Creed Tubereuse Indiana
Robert Piguet Fracas
Michael Kors

That's all I can remember off the top of my head. I love tuberose, so I kept a list of them memorized.

July 22, 2007 2:47 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

You might like Do Son. Actually I'm not quite sure why I like it. It's...different.

I was looking around on the Net some, for more about Diptyque. They have a shop in San Francisco, it turns out...I took some screenshots of the Google Street Views of it for the reviews section (I dunno, better than the same old pics of bottles). :)

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Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, July 08, 2007 10:27 PM (Eastern)

billie holidayThis is quite the soliflore, or single flower, scent. It's pure gardenia.

Hence, how you feel about this perfume will hinge directly on how you feel about gardenias. Are you crazy about gardenias? Do you dream about them? Do you envision yourself "...up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles..."? (Sorry, couldn't resist...yes, I read Lady Sings the Blues, and found it inspiring).

As lovely as this smells...unlike other gardenia scents I've tried, it smells natural rather than harsh, bitter or chemical...and its sweetness is also natural, rather than cloyingly the end of the day, I'm no Lady Day. To me, a pure gardenia scent is akin to a pure rose scent. I like them both, but don't generally buy them, because I'm not as emotionally attached to gardenias or roses as I am to other flowers (see Annick Goutal Neroli).

Gardenia Passion lasts respectably well, somewhere between the all-day-ness of their Heure Exquise and the aforementioned Neroli. It stays strong around six hours or so, then gently fades out to a teeny drop of gardenia. Gardenia Passion also layers well with Heure Exquise.

image courtesy

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July 8, 2007 11:02 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I used to listen to a lot of Billie Holiday in high school--she still beats them all

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Annick Goutal Neroli
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 10:17 PM (Eastern)

This is my second favorite of my Annick Goutal samples, perhaps as much from a sentimental attachment to orange blossoms, as from the composition itself.

Neroli is fresh, flowery, sweet (not sugary) orange blossoms, with a little acidic scent of orange fruit. If you don't like citrus scents, this may not be your cup of tea, unless you're also head over heels for orange blossoms. It is a natural, gentle, honeyed scent, with no synthetic or chemical undertones (undernotes?).

Not as strong nor quite as long-lasting as my Heure Exquise. If you're looking to spritz on in the morning and keep going until midnight, ah, you will need to reapply this, but probably just the once.

Neroli in fact layers well with Heure Exquise. My two favorite scents smell even better together.

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Annick Goutal Heure Exquise
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 9:59 PM (Eastern)

I've recently acquired some vials of Diptyque eau de toilettes, so I think it's time to sum up my Annick Goutal perfumes before journeying onward to Diptyque.

My favorite of my samples is Heure Exquise. Here is the description from the Annick Goutal site:

Powdery, delicate, sophisticated

A sophisticated trail of Turkish rose, a gentle powdery base of iris from Florence and Mysore sandalwood. This fragrance recreates the atmosphere of a rose garden that blossoms with the passing of each exquisite hour.

Pretty accurate, at the end of the day, although this fragrance is so well balanced and well blended, that my nose does not detect discrete notes. It's all just a wall of yum; a sweet, yet not overly so, complex, powdery scent, like taking a shower with the world's best-smelling soap and dabbing on a little perfume afterward.

Heure Exquise lasts relatively well (I'm thinking of investing in the eau de parfum form rather than this eau de toilette).

It also blends well with other perfumes, for women who like to layer their scents.

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Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, June 29, 2007 2:25 AM (Eastern)

I tried this out again today. On me, it's a bit gorgeous, but surprisingly faint, compared to the original Eau d'Hadrien.

Perhaps it's unfair to compare the two, but it was the spareness and lucidity of Eau d'Hadrien, the simple two notes of lemon and cypress, citrus and herb, that was pure unadulterated genius.

Les Nuits... has the citrus, but the other notes in it seem to mute rather than add. Oh I doubt I'm being fair. Some perfumes need a heavier application to stand out, for example, Etro Heliotrope. At first I deemed it a weak perfume, until I got a bottle of it and started spraying.

I'll try it out again tomorrow.

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3 comment(s)  
June 29, 2007 3:12 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I haven't tried the original Eau d'Hadrien, but I know it's more popular. IMO, Les Nuits is a for nights (obviously), city dwellers, or people who aren't really into citrus. I'm surprised you find it weak, though--do you have the EDT, perhaps? The EDP is very strong for a citrus (which is why I liked it), though I gave it as a gift as I never wear citrus perfumes.

I've never really liked a rose, either, at least, not enough to buy one. Just enough to spritz at the store and wear it around.

June 29, 2007 9:44 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

It's definitely the EDT. But then I tried the EDT of Eau d'Hadrien and on me, or to me, (or both), it smelled much much stronger.

I can't smell certain perfumes on myself. I tried Chanel Allure, and even though other people describe it as heady, potent, et cetera, I could hardly smell a thing (whereas Coco Mademoiselle smelled wonderfully potent on me).

So it could just be one of those things. I fairly drenched myself in it this morning. But I can't really smell it.

June 30, 2007 2:38 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

You know something, I'll bet that's it. I tried Les Nuits... before, in a shop, and it wasn't weak.


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Premature reviews for Annick Goutal Songes and Neroli
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, June 18, 2007 8:52 PM (Eastern)

I tried these out today, from my samples.

Songes was surprisingly strong, heady, good sillage...I suppose it was a bit less complex than I'd expected. (Mind you this is a first impression.) A single tiny dab smelled strong for hours.

The notes from the Annick Goutal site are as follows: Frangipani, Absolute of Ylang-Ylang, Absolute of Jasmine and Absolute of Vanilla. The description from the site came closer to what I was smelling (or perhaps a blend of both):

The top note is a glorious natural jasmine accord. It then moves through a series of scene changes, comes close to a woody-powdery core, and eventually settles into a rich, long-lasting wood-vanilla-white flowers drydown of great refinement.

I'd say the wood part faded after a while, the vanilla was in the background...what I was getting was very floral, tropical, tempered and grounded a bit by the other notes.

Conclusion: what I liked best were the strength and sillage. I like perfumes that require only a bit, and last for hours. I hate having perfumes fade quickly.

It could have been more complex, but then I already layer perfumes; doesn't bother me a bit. Thinking of this as a potential layering scent, or, ideal scent for extremely hot, humid weather, when lesser scents fade instantly. this reminds me quite a bit of their Eau d'Hadrien perfume, to the point I half-wondered if the folks had gotten my order confused. But it does smell different. Initially, you get a healthy dose of orange blossoms, indeed the scent of "young ladies fond of flowers."

After that it seemed to fade, and I wondered if this were one of those scents you had to slather on to get much scent payoff. changed again and started smelling almost exactly like the aforementioned Eau d'Hadrien.

Now...several hours's smelling good, closer to pure orange blossoms. For being a "soliflore" (single flower) scent, it seems to have taken quite a journey getting to this point.

It's way too early to draw a conclusion about either scent, but so far, I like them both.

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Etro Heliotrope
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 19, 2006 2:03 PM (Eastern)

Finally, a scent equally beloved by men and women.

Yes, men are...strange. Out of the blue, they will adore a certain scent on you. Typically, this is a scent that you yourself barely noticed, or liked well enough but hardly considered extraordinary. And, so often, it is not your most expensive, nor your most esoteric, perfume. It's just something you spritzed on for the day and basically forgot about.

Etro Heliotrope is one such perfume. I tried it out; it smelled beautifully of soft, not-too-sweet vanilla with a touch of almond and some ethereal floral notes. Nice!

But then I noticed the men in my life seemed to like it too. And that's when it went on my "must own" list.

Moreover, Heliotrope is a scent that grew on me. From its "nice, but not bottle-worthy" beginnings, I came to crave it slightly more each time I wore it.

Here are the notes of Heliotrope, from the Etro site:

Head notes: fresh floral (bergamot, petit grain, almond)
Heart notes: floral (ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, iris)
Base notes: floriental (tonka bean, vanilla, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam, musk)

The vanilla stands out most on me, but it's blended so nicely with the other notes. Unlike some tonka bean scents, also, the smell of vanilla here is quite pure. It's not "1990's bug spray vanilla" (and I have been disappointed in some such scents), but rather a soft, natural, different sort of vanilla: gourmand, foody, yet not sticky.

Reviewed in Online Beauty Reviews

Available at

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Etro Vicolo Fiori and Shaal Nur
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 08, 2006 2:26 PM (Eastern)

Shaal Nur today...I can admit I was expecting this:

...based on the spritz I tried of this at a department store. That is, a late 60's type of scent, very "come up to my pad and burn some incense some time." I got a fairly heavy dose of patchouli and sandalwood (keep in mind I was trying Etro Patchouly at the same time though), with what smelled like real late 60's incense (yes, I am old enough to remember some of this stuff). Visions of East Indian bedspreads, sandals, Peter Sellers, bouffant hairdos, wacky tobaccy, et cetera.

Trying it on now from a sample though, is entirely different. Here I'm getting more of this:

Just something soft and ladylike, feminine without being overly sugarly or simplistic. It's strong, but not overpowering. It smells somehow natural and different.

Yesterday's Vicolo Fiori wore pretty well actually. I can see I probably did not put on enough of some previous Etro's, and will retry all those I thought had faded too quickly.

Here are the notes for Vicolo Fiori, from the Etro site:

Head notes: citrus floral (tangerine, campanula)
Heart notes: fruity floral (water lily, lotus, cyclamen, wild rose, ylang-ylang, white peach, cantaloupe)
Base notes: woody, amber (musk, iris, sandalwood, vanilla, amber)

Vicolo Fiori is densely floral, again--and this is something I revere about the Etro scents thus far--without being overly sweet. Just a clean, lovely soapy fragrance, suitable for young and old alike.

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Etro Heliotrope and Vicolo Fiori
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, September 07, 2006 4:08 PM (Eastern)

Ah...I think I'm finally getting the hang of these samples. The ones have that little plastic doohickey in have to use it about three times in the same spot to replicate the experience of using the perfume, or at least come close to it. Good! I'll get to retry my samples all over again (except Gomma, which in memory I've come to avoid, but the rest are downright addictive).

Here are the notes of Heliotrope, from the Etro site:

Head notes: fresh floral (bergamot, petit grain, almond)
Heart notes: floral (ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, iris)
Base notes: floriental (tonka bean, vanilla, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam, musk)

What I got yesterday was mainly the tonka bean/vanilla vibe, with a sweet top layer of the florals. Soft and innocent, like a fragile white dress.

Today I'm wearing Vicolo Fiori. So far it smells like a very elegant bar of soap. This could be what you're looking for, if you're looking for a "clean, soapy scent." It's not exactly eau de Dial Soap, it smells more along the lines of a good floral soap, something you'd find in a small shop, but there's a definite cleanliness to the composition (can't help thinking off the bat, that this would be good in an office setting).

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Etro Heliotrope
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, September 06, 2006 1:58 PM (Eastern)

I put some of this on this morning. It's quite interesting...I'm getting a lot of vanilla. A little bit of floral over a lot of vanilla.

I was madly tempted to layer this with either Royal Pavillon or Lemon Sorbet, but refrained, if only to give Heliotrope a chance on its own.

I'll post later on how this wears...

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Etro Pavillon, Sandalo and the story so far
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:31 AM (Eastern) I'm on my fourth Etro scent.

So far...Gomma turned a bit sour on me. Hard to put a finger on had this gorgeousness to it, and when it faded out, it returned to gorgeousness. But my skin brought out this sour edge.

Gomma + Lemon Sorbet smelled better...more gorgeousness, less sour edge. Still, it took some hours to mellow out into something quite good.

Lemon Sorbet...I like this. But on me it's not very strong. I'm thinking of it now as a scent that might be ideal to combine with other scents. According to Audrey_H of our Perfumery, the theory is that any one Etro scent can be layered with any other. Lemon Sorbet on its own is this bright, sparkling, almost visually lemon yellow, scent to me.

Royal Pavillon is probably the best of all four. It's enchanting, like a magical forest. You can see the Etro perfume guy dabbling in this, and that, to get it to smell just's green, it's watery, it has little exotic blooms here and there.... My gripe is that it's not strong on me and it fades too quickly. But I don't know how much stronger it would be, sprayed on properly from a bottle (my Armani Code is soft too, and it's one of the best perfumes also).

Pavillon, from the Etro site:

Head notes: green floral (rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, mimosa, violet)
Heart notes: woody (sandalwood, vetiver, oak moss)
Base notes: aromatic vanilla (castoreum, civet)

Now Sandalo. This was love at first dab. I don't know why. I like stronger scents...and this is the strongest of the four, stronger than Gomma. It's almost too simple. It's plain sandalwood, a little bit sweet...that's all.

What makes it stand out is the quality of the sandalwood. I have to believe the blurb on the Etro site:

"Etro has chosen Mysore sandalwood from southern India, a valuable wood considered sacred because it has been used for millennia in the temples and during religious ceremonies."

It actually does smell like that description: very pure. I dabbed on just a bit this morning and I can still smell it distinctly (it's almost 10:00 pm over here). This scent, unlike others, did not seem to change at all from when I put it on to now.

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Etro Royal Pavillon
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, September 04, 2006 12:45 PM (Eastern)

I've worn this for a couple of days now. I'll have to say it's a bit faint on me. Today I'm going to try dabbing it from the sample rather than dabbling, if that makes any sense.

As promised, "This smells like a damp greenhouse filled with exotic plants." (JennyB, The Lipstick Page Forums Perfumery). Like the other Etro's I've tried so far, it has this persistent addictive quality. It's not apparent when you first try them on, if only because none of the compositions so far falls under any conventional perfume category, but there's something about them that makes you want to smell them again.

Oh yeah, and I finally noticed how to spell "Pavillon." :D

Royal Pavillon...has a very "green" smell, combined with a little water, and a little bit of sweet flowers. My sole criticism so far is that it could be stronger, but again, spraying it on from a bottle would no doubt make it stronger.

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Etro Gomma and Royal Pavillon
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, September 02, 2006 1:26 PM (Eastern)

After considerable thought...I'll say no on the Gomma. Imo it's worth trying. If your body chemistry doesn't bring out that sourish note, it would be a fantastic scent. I can smell the fabulousness underneath it...what's not to like about jasmine, leather and some odd citrus fruits? For me though, it is not quite "it."

Lemon Sorbet goes on the "maybe" list.

Next up: JennyB's Royal Pavillon. This is something I've smelled only sprayed on a card. Even on a card though, it smelled rather heavenly. (Not unlike the new Givenchy scent, Ange Ou Demon, which I also have samples of and have also smelled only sprayed on a card).

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #3
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 01, 2006 5:18 PM (Eastern)

This is so weird. I was just about to write an official nay for Etro Gomma. Too sour, too strong, too...goth. Sort of an eau de basement.

But now it smells good. The sour note wears off after a while. This is the combination I was smelling yesterday.

Gomma is a hard scent to rec based on all this. I think it depends heavily on your body chemistry. If you don't bring out the sour note, by all means...I can see it would become a nice, clean, dry scent.

Lemon Sorbet, on the other hand, is more universal.

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October 11, 2006 7:45 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It may be that it's supposed to be sprayed very lightly at a distance? I've found one of my favorites this way, Caron Parfum Sacre.

October 27, 2006 3:56 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

It could be that. I've gotten good results using only a tiny bit of Alien by Thierry's a weird perfume but it works in moderation.

Gomma though...I dunno. That "eau de wet basement" note is hard to deal with.

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 3:06 PM (Eastern)

Today I am wearing both of these just to see if yesterday's blend works. don't smell the Lemon Sorbet itself much, but it does seem to knock off that sour, almost dank edge of Gomma. Makes me think the Etro lab guy simply forget to mix the two vials together. Okay that is not fair; Lemon Sorbet stands on its own as a pleasant, dry lemon-herbal scent. Gomma stands on its own as a goth fragrance I would suppose. Together the Gomma is bearable, yet somehow the pairing isn't as good as I'd thought it would be. Bearable and even pleasant, but not "bottle-worthy" just yet.

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet #1, Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, August 31, 2006 7:36 PM (Eastern)

The Lemon Sorbet faded out after a I had been told it would...still it did not disappear, I can still smell it close to my skin. What's funny now is that my sweater still smells a bit of last night's Gomma--and the combination, dual ghosts of Lemon Sorbet and Gomma--is intoxicating. No other word for it.

I should also mention I've been trying some Annick Goutal fragrances, because Eau d'Hadrien is another "lemon and herb" scent. Right off the bat I'd have to say the Goutal is better than Lemon Sorbet, if only because it's...better.

What's going through my mind is that Eau d'Hadrien is the female version where Lemon Sorbet is the male (although both fragrances are marketed as unisex). I tried what I'm sure is the EDT version of Eau d'Hadrien, based on descriptions from (scroll down, this is the review I found most helpful), hence what I got was the more cypress, less floral version of Eau d'Hadrien.

You would think this would be the more masculine of the two, given that Lemon Sorbet is bright, sweet and sparkly, and Eau d'Hadrien is not sweet at all, but rather spare and herby, but Eau d' entirely soothing, like comfort food. Lemon Sorbet demands attention. I rest my case.

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Etro Gomma & Lemon Sorbet
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 11:53 AM (Eastern)

I slept on Gomma last night (literally). I've concluded that it smells a bit sour on my skin. A tiny bit bitter, but more sour than bitter, if that makes any sense.

I can see what the big deal about Etro is though. Whether you like the individual scents or not, they are, in a word, evocative. The guy is using notes that no one else seems to use, or else is combining them in such a way that they smell unique. Gomma...for some reason I kept picturing wet concrete, a sidewalk after the rain. A building that's getting old. A girl in a leather jacket waiting outside such a building. I know it sounds, well, next to insane, but there's much more here than the traditional "steak and three veg" of vanilla, woods, and pretty floral notes. These fragrances are more like miniature slices of real life.

Today, before my shower, I dabbled a bit of Lemon Sorbet on. My daughter turned me on to lemon scents by the way...I used to, lemon? Joy dish detergent, what you squeeze on fish, and so on? But interwoven with your everyday life. Who can forget this fragment of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's?

"She was still on the stairs, now she reached the landing, and the ragbag colors of her boy's hair, tawny streaks, strands of albino blond and yellow caught the hall light. It was a warm evening, nearly summer, and she wore a slim, cool black dress, black sandals, a pearl choker. For all her chic thinness, she had an almost breakfast-cereal air of health, a soap and lemon cleanness, a rough pink darkening in the cheeks."

As quoted by moviediva.

I've long lost my copy of this, I had to find it on the Net...I read it easily more than twenty-five years ago, but the lemon reference never left my mind.

Lemon Sorbet, so far, is almost pretty. It's very lemony, rind and all, and has a bright, sparkling feel to it. From the Etro site:

Head notes: citrus (bergamot, lemon, orange, petit grain)
Heart notes: spicy (lavender, rosemary)
Base notes: woody (sandalwood, vetiver)

I'll write more on this later on.

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Etro Gomma eau de cologne
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:52 AM (Eastern)

Okay, I had to try at least one of them tonight. :) This is from the Etro site:

"Gomma - rubber - is bitter, spicy, and unquestionably virile."


Head notes: Sicilian citrus fruits, artemisia
Heart notes: jasmine, spices
Base notes: amber, leather

I was fully prepared to not like this at first sniff. Why? Well I've read that a lot about Etro fragrances. And either it grows on you or it doesn't.

I can say it's not a bad fragrance even at first sniff. A bad fragrance, I run to wash off my skin. This is just a really odd scent. It's a little bit sweet...I definitely get the jasmine or something floral about it. And it's definitely leather but not sweet-leather. It smells sort of like a leather coat but sweeter. I will go so far tonight to say it's like a leather coat with some perfume in it. Kind of neat actually.

Too soon to write a review of any sort; these are just initial thoughts.

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