Perfumes That Smell Like Warm Sunny Days

Perfumes That Smell Like Warm Sunny Days

Lately I have been thinking about my perfumes in groups. Like, these are my favourite roses, these are the violets, these are the skin scents, these are the rainy day perfumes, these are the divas etc etc. As I lit my Sage Lifestyle candle last night, I started thinking about perfumes that make me think of warm sunny days. Perfume is a multisensory experience for me, and associating tastes, colours, sensations of touch and sound are all part of journey. Sometimes all it takes is a quick sniff of a perfume to send me off on a fantastic journey.

Coming around to the end of a long, cold winter has me craving sunshine. I took a good sniff around my collection, looking for sunny days. This is what I found:

Cali Blue Perfume dalybeauty

Cali Blue

This is a favourite of mine! I have the oil version of Cali Blue and it’s the perfect pick me up and I feel happier the instant I put it on! It’s like an ocean breeze and warm skin. Interesting back story about the creator of Cali Blue. Kimberly Brown Lemler, was diagnosed with EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). She could not wear any kind of fragrance or be around household cleaners, detergents, etc. She spent many years in this condition, dreaming of the day when she could again wear fragrances again. Cali Blue is what she created for herself, and she wanted to share it with everyone. If you love fresh, clean and gentle scents that are simple, pretty and easy to wear, you need Cali Blue. This cool, cult perfume is a must-have in the world of boring perfumes. The west coast in a bottle! From the site: Cali Blue has a citrus medley of natural lemon, orange, mandarin and bergamot in the top-note, a floral bouquet of lily, lavender, rose and a whisper of night blooming jasmine in the middle, and an ambery, vanilla, musky sage-like base-note. The combination is a clean, beachy fragrance, reminiscent of spending vacations at the shore… Wearing Cali Blu feels like you’ve been walking on the beach, in the sunshine, with wildflowers blowing in the wind nearby, and the ocean spray kissing your face.

sage machado turquoise perfume dalybeauty

Sage Turquoise

I am obsessed with Sage Machado perfumes- have you tried them? Sage puts her heart and soul into her perfumes, and each one is like a little poem ode to something she truly loves. You can tell as soon as you put it on your skin. In 1998 Sage Machado opened her gorgeous jewellery store in Los Angeles. Soon afterwards she decided to put her creativity and talent to work with perfumes as well as jewellery, and she based the perfumes on the gemstones she uses in her creations. From their site: Named after that vivid blue-green stone favored as an ornament across continents throughout the ages, Turquoise is an effervescent scent that stirs the spirit with oceanic beauty. Its youthful, enlivening top note accord of blue chamomile, grapefruit, cassis and ozone elements glistens like fragrant, sun-kissed sea spray. Turquoise’s base note accord of watery, flower-infused musk melds with Mysore sandalwood for a dry down of freshly subtle depth. Certain Native American tribes revere Turquoise for its healing properties, which arguably are shared by the timeless, deep blue seas of the world that also inspired this fragrance fit for a mermaid. It is so refreshing and uplifting, and the grapefruit-cassis combination is so bright and sunny. It just makes you feel…happy.

the 7 virtues afghanistan orange blossom dalybeauty

7 Virtues Orange Blossom

Another gorgeous favourite, this pretty pretty orange blossom perfume is lovely and uncomplicated – when you want to smell wonderful, and feel good, too, you need this beauty. Soapy, clean and sparkling, like sunshine through the leaves of a tree. From their site: A joyous fragrance, Afghanistan Orange Blossom is layered with notes of freesia and jasmine. This precious organic oil is made from delicate orange blossoms harvested by Afghan farmers who bravely choose to tend these ancient groves instead of the poppy crop. Read my review of The 7 Virtues Orange Blossom here.

estee lauder bronze goddess eau fraiche dalybeauty

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent

Seriously, if you love beachy perfumes, you need this in your collection! It is an eau fraiche, which is a light and soft eau de toilette – perfect for daytime and office wear. From their site: The fragrance that worships every inch of you. The original, alluring Eau Fraîche you know and love—back for another Spring/Summer season. A sensuous, sun-drenched blend of Bergamot, warm Amber, Tiare Flower and Vanilla combined with delicious creamy Coconut. All heat. All desire. All woman. Tom Ford had collaborated with Estée Lauder in 2007 with the beachy Azuree Soleil Eau Fraiche, an immediate sell out everywhere! Having had both, I cannot tell the difference. The flowers are sweet and feminine, and the amber-vanilla-coconut combo is like sunkissed skin. It is a perfect beachy “skinscent”.

Guerlain Terracotta La Parfum

Guerlain TerracottaLe Parfum

Guerlain Terracotta powders are legendary, and pretty much guarantee a softly bronzed look, like you just got back from from the south of France. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Terracotta, Guerlain’s in-house perfumer, the brilliant Thierry Wasser, created Terracotta Le Parfum. So now, you can also smell like you just back from the south of France, or more suitably, la plage. From their site: The fragrance’s intricate harmony opens on captivatingly fresh notes of bergamot, before developing into a heart of tiaré flower and ylang ylang. One of Guerlain’s emblematic ingredients, ylang ylang infuses scents with its warmth. Its sweet, sensual signature finally reveals a delicious vanilla-tinged dry-down. It is a softly sweet floral scent that manages to be beachy without being like a pina colada. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d say it smells like a soft and sophisticated Monoi fragrance. The white flowers really play centre stage in Terracotta, and the vanilla is subtle and gorgeous.

L'artisan_l'ete en douce

L’ Artisan Parfumeur L’Ete en Douce

This is yet another favourite of mine – choosing just one favourite perfume would be like choosing a favourite child. I love them all!!! L’Artisan Parfumeur excels at beautiful and elegant scents that are gentle, easy to wear and elegant. Never cloying, and never loud. L’Été en Douce is like a warm summer breeze in a bottle. This is summer in a meadow, not the beach, and is based around linden and hay notes. I grew up on a street lined with linden trees, and this scent reminds me of hot summer evenings, after a bath, sitting on the front porch in my pjs with my brother, eating orange popsicles. It has a clean linen feel as well, which is always a winner for me. From the site: L’Eté en Douce is all about purity and light. It is quiet and soft, the scent of clean white sheets drying in garden rich with orange blossom and shimmering dewy grass. The gentle blend of linden and white musks has hints of freshly cut hay and willow. Wandering through a golden landscape , this is L’Eté en Douce, the softest of summers. It is fresh and green, and I get the clean laundry note as well – like cotton dried in hot sunshine and breeze. I also smell something that makes me think of almond scented soap, and I adore it.

CB I Hate Perfume At The Beach 1966

CB I Hate Perfume At The Beach 1966

Christopher Brosius is a memory maker, and is more about “smells” than perfume. He hates perfumes, and sometimes I have to say I agree with him. Yes, I said it. But stick me in an elevator with someone wearing too much perfume, and I simply hate it. Anyways, CB I Hate Perfume At The Beach 1966 appeals to me for two reasons – firstly, the year of my birth, and secondly, the construction of the scent. Here is what he says about it: The prime note in this scent is Coppertone 1967 blended with a new accord I created especially for this perfume – North Atlantic. The base of the scent contains a bit of Wet Sand, Seashell, Driftwood and just a hint of Boardwalk. The effect when you wear At The Beach 1966 is as if you’ve been swimming all day in the ocean. And you know what? It is exactly that. Which is why I love it. A sweet summer memory in a bottle, that also happens to smell yummy on the skin. The salty ocean scent mingles with the Coppertone, and gives it a softly floral feel, although it is decidedly unisex (spoiler alert – all perfumes are unisex).

Creed Virgin Island Water

Creed Virgin Island Water

This scent is for true beach lovers. It features a delicious coconut note that is never too sweet, as the lime balances it out perfectly. It is light and soft, and perfect on a man or woman. It is an elegant beachy scent, to be worn on a beach somewhere “near Ginger Island, an uninhabited Xanadu in the Virgin Islands ruled by the British crown“. And it “captures the tropical splendor of scents carried in the trade winds of Sir Francis Drake Channel in the Caribbean“. Um, where do I sign up? How about these delicious notes: coconut, lime, white bergamot and mandarin orange, ginger, ylang-ylang and Indian jasmine, sugar cane, white rum, and musk from Tonkin. The ginger, sugar can and musk become creamy and velvety, almost mouth watering. Try it!

There are others that I should mention: Bobbi Brown Beach, Jennifer Anniston’s perfume (yes really), Kai, and the odd, discontinued but still can be found ones: Jil Sander Sun, which is lovely, and Salvador Dali Laguna – which I haven’t smelled in  years, but remember loving. What are your favourite summer scents?

Once Upon A Time, MiN New York Created Scent Stories Perfumes….

Once Upon A Time, MiN New York Created Scent Stories Perfumes….

If you are what we like to call a “perfumista”, and/or live in New York you have likely heard of MiN New York. Known for it’s incredible curated selection of fragrances, apothecary, a “men’s den“, etc, MiN New York is one of the several centres in the perfume universe. They celebrate beautiful things, and share their finds with their clients, often hosting exclusive parties for creators and “noses” and serving cocktails, with live music and magic. What else would you expect from a business that has an “Art of Living” tab on their website? With everything from the classical eau de toilettes used for decades in European barber shops, to the most exclusive modern perfumes, MiN has it all.

min_new_york_scent_stories_momento_edp_75ml

So it was no surprise and happy news to all when they announced the launch of their perfume project, MiN New York Scent Stories. I say project as this so much more than just smelly liquid in bottles.

MiN NEW YORK SCENT STORIES, VOLUME ONE:

An exclusive olfactory art project by Chad Murawczyk and Mindy Yang featuring eleven fragrant chapters, this collection aims to transcend space and time. Each potion is designed to create emotions, bring back memories, and inspire people to think differently about perfumes. As luxury collectibles that celebrate the Art of Living, they are limited editions with only 1,000 bottles coming from a single batch each year. Each edition is hand signed and numbered.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of wearing a perfume that is rare speaks to me. I’m so tired of common and boring – the same old perfume, rebottled and renamed. I love a perfume that has beauty and has heart. My first impression upon diving into MiN New York Scent Stories was that someone put their heart into these creations, that someone sat down and looked deep within themselves and put poetry in bottles. Scent Stories manage to feel like a throwback to the perfumes of the fifties, sixties and seventies, when so many of my favourite perfumes were created, not copied. Chad and Mindy have somehow managed to do this, while keeping these perfumes modern and fresh.

The perfumes evolve on the skin like living things. I made the “mistake” of trying several of the Scent Stories on different parts of my arm at once, and was haunted for hours, trying to figure out which beautiful note I was experiencing at any given time. Each perfume so clearly morphs from top, to heart to it’s base that in the end, you’d swear you are wearing a different perfume from the one you think you spritzed on. I can honestly say I have never smelled anything like any of the Scent Stories I’ve worn. With names like Moon Dust (smells like space – really), Long Board (best sexy surf fragrance ever), Barrel (dark spirits and wine), Dune Road (woodsy, grassy, sandy and breezy) these are not your run of the mill department store, or even high end luxury boutique, perfumes. These are something different….

There are so many different types of scents in Scent Stories that there is something for everyone. I have my favourites:

MIN New York Scent Stories Shaman

Scent Stories Chapter Four, Shaman is indeed, otherworldly. It does smell like it’s description, but you really need to experience it on your skin to understand how every descriptor that MiN New York uses is true. The first smoky notes threw me, as smoke is not my favourite note at all. But they pass and turn into the warm, sweet smoke of tranquil incense with the cool magical forest fragrance of violet leaves. The patchouli is sophisticated and warm, and all of the notes just circle around each other like tendrils of incense smoke. Soft, gentle and calming, Shaman is a perfume that must be worn to be believed. If you are seeking a calming meditative scent, you must try this. On first sniff I’d call this a masculine, but that’s just because I favour sweet girly florals. Shaman is for everyone.

MIN New York Scent Stories Magic Circus

Scent Stories Chapter Seven, Magic Circus smells even better than the description. Don’t be fooled by the candied notes – this is no Pink Sugar (not that there is anything wrong with Pink Sugar….) or some Victoria’s Secret confection (again, if that’s your thang….). This is an enchanted circus, the kind that travels at dusk, the blue hour, and it smells as magical as it sounds. All those warm and woodsy resinous notes ground the sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, there is a yummy aspect to this one, and I did get an urge to lick my wrist. But it never overpowers, and just feels like a velvet cape of warm sweetness.

MIN New York Scent Stories The Botanist

Scent Stories Chapter Three, The Botanist will change everything you have come to believe about fruity perfumes. An apple perfume that doesn’t smell like Jolly Ranchers (if you like that kind of thing, that’s ok….).  It smells like a warm day in an orchard – close your eyes and smell apple blossoms, green leaves and soft grasses and woods warmed by the sun. The breezes are picking up the scents of the wild roses, peonies and earthy scents from the forest floor and they mingle with the sweet fruits and magic happens.

MIN New York Scent Stories Momento

Scent Stories Chapter Five, Momento is my absolute favourite of all the Scent Stories. It took me several times to figure this out because I kept wearing more than one to figure out which one was making me drool. “This is the scent of love and happiness” – that is true. It must be the aldehydes that add the sparkling and slightly powdery aspect to Momento. Absinth and lavender in perfume are a magical combination, simultaneously intoxicating and comforting. The floral, woodsy and resinous notes are beautifully blended to take you on a “scentimental” journey from first spritz until the deep drydown. Momento is addictive and beautiful.

MIN New York Scent Stories

MiN New York Scent Stories are available in limited quantities on their website. A 75ml bottle costs $240 USD, with free shipping in the USA.

When I Wear Prada L’Eau Ambrée I Could Devour Myself

When I Wear Prada L’Eau Ambrée I Could Devour Myself

Prada L’Eau Ambrée is one of those quietly elegant perfumes that manages to please everyone while being unique, and also flying under the Latest Perfume Everyone Is Wearing radar. It’s categorised as an Oriental Floral, but I’d call it a warm skin scent. Yeah yeah, there are floral notes. And the spicy notes that are generally considered oriental notes. But they are truly a “L’Eau”, or, if you will, a water. This is no YSL Opium (which I love btw) nor is it an big floral. There are gentle fruit notes on the top that serve to soften and sweeten all the notes to come – the only floral note listed is rose, and well, I suppose I can pick out a drop of that, but I also get a hint of jasmine or maybe gardenia. But only a hint. Prada L’Eau Ambrée is more like a silky velvety musk with some sexy smoky notes. Not campfire smoke, more like a soft incense. That could be the patchouli, but again, no hippy patchouli oil here. There is definitely some vanilla which rounds everything out and just makes it yummy. It seems to melt into your skin and become part of you. It is very easy to wear – soft and sexy at the same time. I find just when I think it’s faded from my skin and I can’t smell it anymore, a whisper of perfume wafts from my skin. The mysterious coming and going of Prada L’Eau Ambrée is one of the addictive qualities of this perfume. If you are intrigued by the perfume thus far, I can almost guarantee you will love it.

Prada L'Eau Ambrée ad

And of course, there is the amber. It’s not the dry or powdery amber that I usually associate with an amber perfume. Not that I don’t like that scent – I love it, and I am a big fan of L’Artisan Parfumeur Ambre, although sometimes it is a little more amber than I want. Note- in perfume when you read amber, it is not the amber resin you see in jewellery, although that has been used as an incense type of product many years ago. The amber in perfume is thought to be a loose reference to the Arabic word “ambar”, meaning ambergris. Now amber is used mostly to describe warm, musky scents that may have rich or honeyed aspects, as well as those in the oriental fragrance category. It is an earthy scent and be a synthetic or created using natural resins, most often that resin is labdanum and/or benzoin. I’m not sure what Prada cooked up in their perfume labs to make amber smell so mouth watering, but it is quite amazing.

This is what happens when you wear Prada L'Eau Ambrée

This is what happens when you wear Prada L’Eau Ambrée

This is one that is definitely a must to try on skin, as it smells like amber soap on a paper blotter. Pro Tip: sampling perfume based solely on how it smells on a paper blotter is like buying food based only on how it smells. The most important part of the sensory experience is when it touches you, either by taste or the way it “cooks” on your skin. My most favourite description of this perfume, and the one that had me obsessed with trying and wanting it, comes from the wild and wonderful perfume writer & historian, Octavian Coifan. He is a European writer (check out his blog here) and even though things can be lost in translation when he writes, some things are simply poetic. Octavian said of Prada L’Eau Ambrée “It doesn’t smell [of] perfume, it smells like a human presence”. And I will leave it at that.

Prada L’Eau Ambrée is available at department stores and select beauty boutiques. In Canada Murale and Shoppers Drug Mart carry it as well. A 50ml bottle is around $95. If you are savvy, you may be able to find it online for less.

The 7 Virtues Middle East Peace & Vetiver of Haiti Perfumes

The 7 Virtues Middle East Peace & Vetiver of Haiti Perfumes

Brigitte is telling Jane how good her perfume smells…

I’m reviewing these together because layering them smells sooooo wonderful! You can read more about the wonderful perfume house The 7 Virtues and the inspirational Barb Stegemann here. I wrote about her sweet & lovely Afghanistan Orange Blossom scent here, and it is a must have for lovers of that fragrant flower. The 7 Virtues Middle East Peace and Vetiver of Haiti perfumes are part of The 7 Virtues smell good/feel good perfume line up and they are definitely worth a sniff!

Here is what the website says about The 7 Virtues Middle East Peace;

Inspired by the citizens of Israel & Iran and their respect for one another, we felt something so intense it could only be expressed in a thought provoking perfume.

The enchantment of Middle East Peace eau de parfum is for all humankind. This ambrosial blend of sweetie grapefruit oil of Israel with the lime & basil oils of Iran captivates our hearts and ignites our senses.

With a dry down of cedar wood and bamboo, this fragrance is for men and women.

I find it a clean, refreshing perfume that is green yet sweet, with the delicious fruit notes mellowed by the crisp and calming woodsy base notes. It is a simple perfume, and would be perfect for a man or woman. It is easy to wear, and energises with it’s bubbly citrus notes. It has a soft and clean soapy note, and one indeed feels clean and fresh while wearing Middle East Peace. While it is a citrus scent, the balance of greens and woods makes it hard to pick out any one note. It is not a loud or projecting scent, but stays close to the skin. Middle East Peace is a must-try for those that like their scents quiet and sensual, and who love the clean scent of tart fruits. If you enjoy Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom, Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey or Clinique Happy, you MUST try Middle East Peace. Verdict? Love.

Here is what the site says about The 7 Virtues Vetiver of Haiti:

Created especially for both men and women, Vetiver of Haiti is layered with notes of lime tree, bergamot and amber. This warm fragrance, with its musky vetiver base note, is the perfect fall and winter scent, popular with men and women alike.

The organic vetiver of Haiti is considered the best in the world, grown by Haitian farmers whose country was devastated by the earthquakes in 2010.

We buy this exquisite oil at fair market value from our supplier who is rebuilding his community.

This is a gorgeous vetiver scent! It is invigorating and bright, and warms beautifully on the skin. The fresh yet smoky quality of the vetiver is so rich you can almost close your eyes and imagine yourself surrounded by greenery and earth. It evokes the rooty and rich scent of vetiver making it a classic, and the lime and bergamot sweeten and brighten the perfume. The gentle amber dry down makes for an almost powdery aspect. Again- perfect for a man or a woman, The 7 Virtues Vetiver of Haiti is a must-sniff for lovers of fresh woodsy scents like Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, or Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir, and for women who don’t want a flowery scent, but just want to smell wonderful. Verdict? Love.

But the big one-two punch comes when you wear both together. Wow! The citrus fruits of Middle East Peace play off the woodsy vetiver in Vetiver of Haiti. They are both so easy and effortless to wear. And, later in the day, when I catch a whiff of Middle East Peace on my scarf, I just inhale and breath. Lovely.

 

The 7 Virtues perfumes are available at perfume counters at The Bay in Canada, and at Lord & Taylor in New York, and from The 7 Virtues online store.

 

Cuddle Up In Some Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles Perfume

Cuddle Up In Some Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles Perfume

I’ve always loved Hermes Eau de Merveilles (2004) perfume. It’s a sexy woodsy perfume, with mouth watering notes of citrus and a unique salty impression that leaves one thinking of hot sun, sand and the beach, without actually being a beachy or aquatic perfume. Its warm and sexy, and seems to glow on the skin. It has a mouthwatering ambergris impression that makes you want to get closer, a soft and sweet amber. It is gorgeous on a woman, as the woodsy notes are every so slightly masculine, or at least unisex, so it makes me think “confident” and “strong” when I smell it on a woman. The fun of this perfume is the upside down perfume triangle. As in, the top notes are more of what are traditionally base notes and base notes that are usually on the top. You get the resinous woods in the first part of the development, and in the deep dry down the sweet and slightly syrupy citrus notes are what linger.

Hermes Fall/Winter 2012-13 Campaign

This year, Hermes released a flanker, Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles, which, obviously, amps up the amber notes. It is lush and sensual, but not overly sweet as can be the danger of some amber scents. It is warm and almost “dry”, like fire. The ambery aspect is maintained through the development of the perfume, and it just smells perfect for cooler weather. There is some delicious vanilla and the amber comes from the most gorgeous and ethereal labdanum. Labdanum is a resin derived from cistus shrubs, and has a rich, complex scent. It smells ambery, slightly animalic, sweet and musky. It is often used in perfume to approximate ambregris, which is mostly banned.

So, if you are looking for a warm hug of a perfume, that is sexy and cozy, like a cashmere wrap, look no further than Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles. I guarantee you will feel gorgeous and sexy.

Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles is available at most Hermes perfume counters and boutiques.

Mysterious Perfume: A Lab On Fire’s L’Anonyme

Mysterious Perfume: A Lab On Fire’s L’Anonyme

 

I like perfumes that take a chance. They try to step outside of the box, either in the actual scent (which can be risky) or in design, style, distribution or what have you. The name A Lab On Fire conjures up a dramatic mental picture for me, and makes me think about the process of perfumery. It is a very small perfume house, with 3 scents, each designed by “the brightest talents in the industry”.  They have three scents, and if you like to step outside the perfume box, I really suggest you give these a try. I love the modern aesthetic of the packaging and the pitch. Elegant, I’d call it.

L’Anonyme (the anonymous) is what I would call a soft woodsy scent, with soft & sexy musk base that I could almost describe as mouth watering. That doesn’t mean it is foody or gourmande, rather,  it plays tricks on your senses. I find some musk molecules can make me wonder if I am indeed sniffing or tasting a fragrance. The Lab on Fire website describes it as “deep, unique” and “an enigma”. I have to say, I almost prefer this to a laundry list of perfume notes. Yes, maybe there are notes of woods, suede, bergamot and geranium, but tossing those notes around doesn’t really help to describe this scent.

The talented and handsome Olivier Polge…

The perfumer, Olivier Polge, most recently known for his Balenciaga scents (Paris and Florabotanica), really knows his way around a perfume. Amazing to me that he could create the baroque confection known as Flowerbomb and then use his magic on this minimalist and elegant scent. But, he also created Dior Homme, which is one of best woodsy iris scents out there. Seriously, so elegant. And I suppose I can detect a hint or shadow of  the Dior Homme impression here, without it being identifiably masculine. L’Anonyme could be worn by a man or a woman, easily. There is something so delicious about the woodsy notes – I had my nose buried in my arm while the dry down of the scent progressed. The dry down on the skin is simply beautiful. Soft, clean yet sexy- that is the magic of those musk molecules. I love L’Anonyme- it is everything I wanted Escentric Molecule 01 to be and more. If one could describe a perfume as urban and otherwordly at the same time, L’Anonyme would be that perfume.

I got my A Lab On Fire L’Anonyme from MIN New York

Guerlain Mon Precieux Nectar Perfume – Divine

My last visit to the Guerlain Mothership Boutique in Montreal was as wonderful as I’d hoped. The sales associates are always delightful, and full of delicious Guerlain product knowledge. Imagine their happy surprise when I sit back in a comfy chair and basically beg them to lay it all on me. Every tidbit, every ounce of Guerlain goodness. I had to get a bottle of my beloved Guerlain Apres L’Ondee as mine was getting dangerously low. I was thrilled that the unicorn of the current Guerlain collection, Mon Precious Nectar, previously only available as a very limited run of 35 500ml crystal fountain bottles, the “Fontaine Imperiale”, available for $9,000 each, was now available in the Parisienne Bee Bottle collection. They offered me a very generous sample of this, indeed, very precious nectar, which was more than enough to try. It is quite concentrated to my hypernosmic nose, although I know there are some out there that find it soft. Yikes- not me. It is cushy, delicious and divine, but feels like parfum or extrait to me. It does dry down much softer than the top notes start out, but it needs about an hour to reach that gentle level of preciousness.

So. The scent. It is a floral gourmand, which basically means lots of delicious jasmine, orange blossoms, neroli, sweet and delicious orange and petitgrain essence, layered all over the cushy vanilla amber and sandalwood base that only Guerlain can do so masterfully. It is like jasmine floating in a brandied honey mixture, maybe with a pastry on the side. I would wear this for very special occasions, and I would wear it sparingly. It is gorgeous and beautiful, with a sweet pureness not often encountered in perfume. Some say there is a soapy note in the dry down. I suppose I get a bit of that, but it is mostly sweet flowers to my nose. If you enjoy the Guerlain Aqua Allegoria scent, Jasminora, then you simply try Mon Precieux Nectar. The jasmine notes are very similar, with Mon Precieux Nectar being more complex and richer. Conversely, if you prefer a lighter less gourmande jasmine, try Jasminora!

 

 

This is the perfect perfume to go with Coco Chanel’s quote “Wear perfume where you want to be kissed”. Or in this case, devoured. Wear with caution.

Verdict? Love.

 

Guerlain Mon Precieux Nectar is available exclusively from Guerlain Boutiques and select Guerlain counters. Neiman Marcus in the US carries it. A 125ml Parisienne bottle is around $270. 

Keiko Mecheri Tuberose And Iles de Lointaines- White Floral Beauty

Keiko Mecheri Tuberose And Iles de Lointaines- White Floral Beauty

Keiko Mecheri is a niche perfumer working out of California. She has a large catalogue of scents and is best known for her gourmand beauty Loukhoum, based on the sweet Turkish desert of rose, almond and dates. I am not a gourmand lover so while I appreciate the beauty of this scent, it is never one that appealed to me, but there is a massive cult following for her Loukhoum series. If you love that kind of scent, then you must try them as they probably are among the best of the genre.
She recently launched two white floral scents which are more my speed. I read about them on Ca Fleur Bon and was lucky enough to receive one of each, Tuberose (tuberose and jasmine) and Iles de Lointaines (jasmine, gardenia and amber). As a lover of feminine floral scents I was quite excited to try these. They. Are. Gorgeous. They are quite different from each other, so it is possible you might need both but that said, I can see each one appealing to different noses who want something special out of their white florals.
The tuberose is an unusual and beautiful flower in perfume. I have been scared of tuberose as a perfume after repeated attempts to wear and at least tolerate Fracas, the Grande Dame of Tuberose Perfumes. I cannot wear it, I cannot bear it, and somehow doubt I ever will. It makes my eyes water and I can almost feel an asthma attack come on yet the beauty of tuberose makes me wish I could wear it. I love and adore Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia and that is my benchmark for a ladylike, feminine and drop dead gorgeous white floral- the kind of perfume a Hitchcock Blonde would wear… but still leave men trembling in her wake like a Bardot bombshell. Humour me.
Enter Keiko Mecheri Tuberose. This is a modern stunning take on tuberose using jasmine to shape shift into a New Flower. It is clean straightforward and unusual as it opens with a mentholated camphor blast that would seem to be the last thing you’d expect or even want in a floral. Think again, because this is incredible. A revelation. It elevates the tuberose scent to something otherworldly, like a space flower from a tropical planet. I call it an Extreme Green Note and it really is the best way to make such a serious flower “bloom” in a perfume. It does veer into soap territory but such a gorgeous unexpected way that soapy seems like the wrong word. Flowing waterfall ice cold clean green bursting flowers in the rainforest is my stream of consciousness description for Tuberose. If you love this flower, you simply must try this scent. I LOVE it and think I would most enjoy wearing this in hot weather. I look forward to leaving a trail of swooning admirers behind me…
Iles de Lointaines gives us jasmine and gardenia tempered with the soft powdery sweetness of amber. Of the two, this one might be the more wearable and easy scent, especially if you are just getting into white florals. The jasmine and gardenia are lowercase here, gentle and soft, like a warm and humid tropical evening. The amber sweetens and softens the flowers and somehow I get wafts of a monoi like scent. There is not coconut per say, but the illusion of a sweet chewy tropical vibe that feels like coconut. Keiko Mecheri knows sweet and she can amp it up to tooth curling levels or keep it a gentle as she has with Iles de Lointaines. It’s almost like the amber is a soft powdered dusting on the jasmine and gardenia to make sure they don’t try to be sharp or indolic. There is still a hint of green here too, but its not nuclear green like Tuberose and is more like you are holding the flowers with the stems and leaves covered in dew still attached. Lovers of (discontinued) Guerlain Plus Que Jamais and Parfums MDCI Promess de l’Aube may enjoy this one – sweet creamy jasmine that makes you want to lean in to get the full effect. In French, Lointaines was a princess used in medieval stories, a “Distant Princess” and the term is often used to describe an unattainable love interest- one that princes would fall in love with, sight unseen, upon just hearing her description. I’m not sure if Ms Mecheri intended to use the word in this manner but I love the romance of that concept…
Sarah Bernhardt as Princesse Lointaine
Keiko Mecheri perfumes are available on her website, from Luckyscent and in Canada, from The Perfume Shoppe. I don’t see Tuberose and Iles de Lointaines on The Perfume Shoppe website yet, but I am sure they will be available there soon.
The Understated Beauty of L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia

The Understated Beauty of L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia

vanilla-flowers

L’Artisan Parfumeur is the second niche line I fell for, when I sniffed their gorgeous fruity musk scent, Mure et Musc Extreme in 1998 while shopping in New York. There was something so transparent and “different” about the line,  and the scents seemed so odd compared to the standard commercial releases. The added novelty of shopping at Barney’s and just being in New York City no doubt shaped my impression of the line, and for that, I am grateful. I have beautiful associations with a beautiful perfume line.

I was already a full fledged perfume junkie and had an overflowing dresser full of bottles from almost all the mainstream lines. At the time I worked for an agent promoting new releases of many lines of perfumes from our humble Canadian Alfred Sung to all the Italian houses (D&G, Versace, Bulgari, Ungaro, etc) as well as Byblos, La Perla and some other more obscure but still mostly mainstream lines. I had OD’d on the 90s powerhouse scents like Mugler Angel, Chanel Allure & Christian Dior Dolce Vita after working in environments where they were being launched, meaning sprayed everywhere. All. The. Time. Mercilessly. To this day I can spot either one of those a mile away as they do not change on anyone’s skin (sorry to any fans, but they don’t) and maintain a screeching linear tone that makes me want to cut my nose off.

My first niche line was Annick Goutal. I had fallen for Annick Goutal probably in 1994 when my local Holt Renfrew (the smallest in Canada) had the line there for a very brief period. Serendipity I’d say, as they carry only the most popular lines due to limited space. Their popular and fresh Eau d’Hadrien (lemon, grapefruit, ylang ylang) became my daytime scent and the sultry Passion (tuberose, ylang, patchouli, vanilla etc) was my nighttime go-to. What I loved most about Annick Goutal was no one I knew had even heard of it. DING DING this was the clincher and soon having a unique perfume that no one else might be wearing became a Very Important Thing.

Back to L’Artisan Parfumeur. Dismissed by many hardcore perfumistas as too bland and mainstream (although a few of their recent releases have been interesting…) I still love this line. They were the first house to do a fig scent and their Premier Figuier is still one of the best creamy fig scents- it was my eldest daughter Emilie’s signature perfume for years. Which is why, as much as I love its green, creamy, powdery and slightly coconut-y scent I can never wear it as it just smells like her. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Funny how we can associate a scent with that person and it becomes impossible to mold it into anything or anyone else.

 

Vanilia is an older scent from the house having been released in 1978. Perhaps it smells a bit like the 70s where high quality ingredients were tossed into perfumes pell-mell, like a soup.  The notes given (or that I have compiled online) are simple- ylang ylang, vanilla bean, amber and sandalwood. There is a fruity note that perhaps comes from the ylang ylang with the vanilla making it almost foody- but it is never too sweet or cloying. It dries down with the amber & sandalwood adding an almost smoky resinous scent, that sits and warms on the skin never becoming cloying or saccharine. The smoke is barely hinted at before it goes and for that I am grateful as I am not a fan of smoky notes. Its more of a soft barely sweet incense. Vanilia is a bit of a shape shifter, one minute being a soft vanilla scent then becoming an amber-y floral. Some have complained that Vanilia is too soft and too ethereal and have wished for an Extreme or more intense version. I think that would take away from the whole point of this scent and I love it just the way it is.

 

Truly one of the oddest vanilla scents I was never quite sure if I liked it. I am not a fan of sugary sweet scents and, if you are looking for straight up vanilla scent, you may be disappointed by Vanilia. If you want to smell like cookie dough or cake, this is not the vanilla for you. This is a grown up vanilla with the smooth relaxed vibe I associate with the 70s. Think soft flowing hair, maybe Indian cotton dresses and long skirts and even YSL Safari jackets. Maybe some George Benson playing in the background while you mix drinks and get the fondue ready. The beautiful yet carefree style of Talitha Getty comes to mind and Vanilia to me smells like effortless bohemian luxury. Luxury is key because there is nothing hippie or head shop about this perfume. Vanilia is for the beautiful people, to wear when you are going skiing in Klosters, or dinner in Biarritz after surfing all day. It isn’t loud and doesn’t try to hard. Like you are wearing just a touch of make up, with your hair down and sporting a carefree attitude, in Vanilia you are enveloped in a soft cashmere wrap that is so fine it’s almost ethereal- you can barely feel it on your skin. 

 

 

News on the internet says Vanilia is discontinued but several retailers I know of have plenty of stock.  The manager at the L’Artisan Parfumeur boutique at Ogilvy in Montreal told me it was not discontinued, and, have it on their price list catalogue they so kindly send me from time to time. Yet, I have decided to get a back up bottle…just in case…

 

L’Artisan Parfumeur is available in Canada at boutiques, and they have a freestanding boutique within Ogilvy Department Store in Montreal.