Saturday, 31 August 2013

If something sounds too good to be true... probably is. Yeah, I have heard that often. Often enough? Probably not. Joy by Jean Patou, £20 for 30 ml Eau de Parfum. From an ebay seller who had about a dozen to sell in total. Whose profile shows him/her to be a caravan/motor parts dealer. 
What could possibly be wrong?


Funny what happens to you when you really wish something to be true. All reason goes out of the window. It would have been such a great deal, but of course it wasn't. 
No idea what's in the bottle, but it smells revolting. It was actually really difficult to come up with a colour combination that is as ugly as the fragrance. Serves me right, and taught me a lesson. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy perfume from ebay, but if it sounds too good to be true.....

How and where to wear:
Fox repellent at the end of a very large garden

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

L'Air du Désert Marocain, a contemplation

L'Air du Désert Marocain. Even if you've never been to the Moroccan desert, it's difficult not to have an image of sand and rocks, camels and endless blue sky when you hear the name. I'm not sure I'd like the desert, the emptiness would probably freak me out, and where are the trees?! But even if we don't want to go to places in person we can still dream about them. Perfumes are wonderful flying carpets in that regard. They can take you everywhere, even back in time. And Tauer Perfume's Moroccan air is a potent and wonderful example. Released in 2005, it already is regarded as a  modern classic and I hope my interpretation can do it justice.

My visual interpretation of L'Air du Désert  Marocain

It opens with a bang. There is no slow transition, allowing you to adept to it. No, this is here and it wants to be noticed. It's smooth and dry, devoid of vegetation but full of life. When I was at school they showed as an educational movie called:" Die Wueste lebt." (the desert is alive) May be Andy Tauer, the creator of the perfume had to sit through it as well, but I assume he went to see the real thing, and not just once. This fragrance is beautifully  balanced between the harsh and the soft, it's lifting me up to an endless open sky and covers me in a blanket at the same time. Stunning. May be the desert isn't such a bad place after all.  
I cannot stop sniffing my wrists. The postcard for it has quite a bit of blue in it, and I like to think that was not just inspired by Tauer Perfumes very bright blue bottle design (of which I'm not overly keen I have to say), but sometimes these influences happen. I absolutely love this perfume (you can tell?) and will oversee the bottle issue. Or order a sample set from their website
Cheaper than a trip to the desert for sure, especially because a little will go a long way. One spritz is perfectly enough for hours. Totally  suitable for men and women.

How and where to wear:
That will very much depend on how the balance of the fragrance works for you. I would happily wear it for meditation and a drop on the pillow at night is wonderful too.

Desert image via flickr from olivernaumann, some rights reserved

Friday, 23 August 2013

Aedes de Venustas

Bertrand Duchauf0ur is regarded by many as the best perfumeur of our time and it’s always exciting to try his creations to see whether they live up to the hype. (They usually do...) You might have heard of Aedes de Venustas, but there are actually two perfumes with identical names. The first AdV, launched in 2008, was created for the label Artisan Parfumeur, the second is now the signature fragrance of the flamboyant Aedes de Venustas perfume shop in Greenwich, New York. It doesn’t help that both are BD creations. 
According to basenotes both fragrances are still in production, the newer one (2012) is the one I tested. In store, (the exquisite independent shop Roullier White in East Dulwich) I struggled with the flacon. My hands are not particularly small, but the storm lighter type  opener striked me as overly quirky and a bit injury prone. Smashing the bottle would be quite devastating, given the price tag. But once the juice is out of the bottle, it's magic.

Aedes de Venustas, EdP

There is a tartness / sweetness combination which only comes together in a few fruits and I'm not surprised to learn that rhubarb and apple are supposed to be notes in this fragrance. A ticklish sweet and sour accord which is totally moreish. And more of it you get, but it loses the tartness on the way and the greens soften. In come the soft and red flowers, and the incense, of course. No BD perfume without it. And while I sit in my little office and fight with some software problem the greens and the purple reds are gently floating around me, coming and going, woven into each other in a most delicate and elegant way. What a wonderful perfume. I knew that I needed to capture this weaving structure of the perfume in my colour interpretation but wasn't keen on making it look tartan.  I now want to try the Artisan Parfumeur Aedes de Venustas, just to see the difference.

How and where to wear:
The ambassadors summer garden party, chiffon dress and hat

Rhubarb image via flickr garryknight, some rights reserved  

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The demonic M/Mink

It often makes for a good reading when a perfume provokes strong worded descriptions, in a devastating movie review sort of way. I tend not go and see the trashy movies, but the "horrible" perfume will have me intrigued. 
Swedish brand Byredo is a house of quite exclusive perfumes, but fortunately Liberty's stock all of them. 
It's a lovely range with beautiful, simple flacons and there is something for everyone. I already had samples of  "Seven Veils"  and "Baudelaire" , both of which I liked  a lot, but on this very hot summers afternoon I wanted to try the mighty M/Mink. (not a typo) I was prepared not to like this perfume, but the promise of an ink based scent was certainly intriguing and on paper this worked remarkably well. Well enough to be called wearable. And so I went home with a little sample and was really looking forward to trying that out on my skin. 
Oh well....

My visual interpretation of M/Mink by Byredo

No. Simply no. 
Ink turns acid. There is something unsettling about this scent, it makes me alert and if I smelled it in a room I'd probably call the gas man. So while I love the concept, I struggle with the execution. There is a hint of...iron? Like blood, and bile. Looking up the German word Ochsengalle refreshed by memory about medieval ink production. Key ingredients: soot, ox bile, sometimes iron sulfate and oak bark. 
Yeah, that's what M/Mink smells like to me and it's a bit too truthful to this idea to my liking. I was up for an unusual scent in the collection but this goes a few notches too far. But go out and test it. You won't find anything similar.
Available in the UK as 50 and 100 ml EdP from Liberty's, London. 

Where and how to wear:
Satanic ritual gathering, naked

 Medieval script image via flickr from Ransom Centre Fragments, some rights reserved

Yohji Yamamoto, a comeback

On a recent trip to Selfridges I stumbled across a huge stall, manned by 3 people offering the latest/newest/resurrected Yohji Yamamoto scents. I knew that the brand had gone into administration years ago and that the perfumes were discontinued but had not heard about  its revival. The ueber friendly shop assistant was very happy to chat about the scents and perfumes in general and, even better, very generous with samples. 
I came home with 4 of them and here my review of the one that smelled very nice on paper: 

My visual interpretation of Yohji Yamamoto Homme EdT

I actually can't remember what I liked so much about it on the blotter, because right now it doesn't please my nose at all. A fresh, but bizarrely not refreshing opening which comes across as artificial, hence my colour choice of a very plasticky green. This, already not a promising start, develops into a dull and very faint herbal bouquet. On my skin this happens remarkably fast and the whole affair is over in half an hour with a sandy beige nothingness. 

The complete dry down after an hour is not unpleasant, a bit milky, but not strong or comforting enough to change my mind about this. The old YM formulations (which I have never smelled, I think) had a lot of fans and received praise from the likes of Luca Turin, so it's possible that they have been tempered with for the relaunch. I might give it to M. to try, maybe it needs a bit more testosterone to develop its beauty but I have the feeling he won't like it much either. In the UK the whole range is exclusive to Selfridges, where apparently it has sold out in record time. (marketing is a beautiful thing).

How and where to wear:
Interview for a job you don't really want, the usual attire

Monday, 19 August 2013

Tocca Stella, or can I have another Aperol spritz, please?

The Great British Summer is a rare beast. It's quintessentially shit, but moaning about it is de rigeur, marks you out as a foreigner and anyway, one mustn't grumble.  2013 was off to an exceptionally bad start when all of a sudden the sun came out. A heat wave was promised/feared and summer began proper. For me, this summer will be associated with the fashion for spritzers. Especially Aperol, the bitter orange Italian liqueur mixed with white wine or prosecco and soda. It's summer in a glass! Pretty, bright, fresh with a hint of bitterness and warmth. Whenever we went out for dinner, this was my aperitif of choice and it made me happy. So when my SpaceNK summer sale package arrived with things that I didn't need but certainly wanted, I was most pleased to find a perfume sample that really evoked the spirit of an Aperol spritz.

My visual interpretation of Tocca Stella

I'm not a big fan of the name of the house, it reminds me too much of Tosca, the cheapo and unpleasant fragrance of childhoods past. The only other fragrance I've tried from this US based company gave me a headache. I think it was the one named after Grace Kelly. 
So I'm rather careful with this one, but after opening the stopper I get a delicious whiff of blood orange and that is enticing enough to dab it on my wrists. I love this opening, It's fresh, but bitter and sweet with it. Very delicate and feminine, summerly and easy going. It's a scent that does make me smile. 
There isn't much depth to it, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for a summer perfume. So, coming back to my Aperol comparison, this perfume is an aperitif, not a full bodied wine. It doesn't last long enough to make it all the way to the cheese course and as much as I like the smell of it, I don't really want to smell like it. I simply don't think that I am that happy go lucky pastel wearing sort of girl, and I would feel a bit out of place with it.
So this is not a full bottle candidate for me, but I will cherish the sample and take a sniff whenever I need something uplifting. 
They should do candles. 

How and where to wear:
Flirting with Italian waiters on Piazza St. Marco, summer dress, shades and flip flops

Aperol cafeteria image via flickr, Thomas Brauner, some rights reserved