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.

Floris Rose Geranium, Marilyn Monroe’s Other Perfume

Floris Rose Geranium, Marilyn Monroe’s Other Perfume

Marilyn Monroe is famously known for wearing Chanel No5, ‘What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.’ Maybe she had a deal with Chanel, who knows? Because it would seem that she also loved another perfume, and she loved it so much that she had her personal assistant purchase six bottles. That would be Floris Geranium Rose, an unusual yet classic perfume composition of rose, geranium, citronella and cedarwood.

Marilyn Monroe reading (1)

I say unusual because it is not a devastatingly feminine scent, nor is it a scent one might associate with a sex symbol of Marilyn’s stature. Instead, I like to think Floris Rose Geranium would have been the scent of the Marilyn  who was well read, intelligent and savvy. Not the breathy, flirty Marilyn she showed the world, but a deep thinker and an incredibly charismatic woman who, to this day, still holds the fascination of the world.

Floris Rose Geranium Marilyn Monroe

I was fortunate enough to receive a beautiful bottle of Floris Rose Geranium Bath Essence. The perfume itself is sadly, not made anymore, but Floris London still makes Rose Geranium in a Bath Essence and Luxury Soap. The scent is bracing, fresh and I would even say unisex. The citronella and geranium combine to create an illusion of a green lime scent – as green as the magical essence itself. The rose is there, but it’s no soft powdery girly rose. In fact, there is nothing really soft about this at all. It is fresh and clean in a big way, and makes me think of a dew covered giant tea rose. There is a soapy aspect to the scent, as well as a classic and traditional scent, without being old fashioned. The perfume lasts on a the skin for a few hours, and by then has softened considerably. It also gently softens the water and your skin – lovely.

I can only guess at what the perfume smells like, but the bath essence is one of the freshest and most invigorating products I own. My whole house smells like a garden with roses and fresh green citrus after I take a bath. I still wish I could have sampled the perfume, but am thrilled with my little bit of perfume history in a bottle, with my Floris Rose Geranium Bath Essence.

Floris London Rose Geranium Bath Essence is available in their shops and from their website, and is around $85 USD for a 50ml bottle.

Smell Like The Future: Robert Piguet Futur Perfume

Smell Like The Future: Robert Piguet Futur Perfume

Robert Piguet Futur is one of their original fragrances, originally released in the 60s.  At some point it was discontinued, likely due in part to the 60+ ingredients in the original version. Yesterday’s Perfumes has an enchanting review of the vintage formula. It’s been re-released and reworked with published notes of  bergamot, neroli, violet, jasmine, ylang, vetiver, cedar, patchouli. This perfume makes me think of the sounds of brilliantly discordant jazz. It seems haphazard but somehow it works and is strangely beautiful.

Futur is a “green” scent, and true to a good green perfume, I smell a ton of forest and resinous galbanum. It’s not listed as an ingredient but that may just be because by today’s perfume note listing standards, it’s more about advertising than actually listing the “notes”. My first impression of Futur is neon Irish Spring soap in a field of wildflowers. The floral notes just sing, in a gorgeous classical perfume way. I get an impression of floral/green classics like Joy, Ma Griffe, a hint of Miss Dior (original) and even a bit of Guerlain Chamade. The fresh florals give way to sexy jasmine and ylang and then become smoky vetiver. It’s like a ghost of classic perfumes with a crisp clean modern perfume built around it. It is clean and sexy at the same time – the sexy has something to with the woodsy patchouli base. It’s almost like an incense with that intoxicating smoky resinous goodness. I feel engergized when I wear Futur, and like I can do anything. Futur can go from jeans to the boardroom to a night out on the town. I love it, and wish I could try the parfum/extrait version – it must be so dense and gorgeous. The chewy mouth watering green-ness of Futur is addictive. I huff my wrists when I wear it.

Verdict is love, but I would caution buying this without sniffing. It’s not for the faint of heart, even though in the end it dries down to a sexy skin scent that smells like heaven to me. It’s not easy to love, and it doesn’t have the mass appeal of, say, Pink Sugar. If you are willing to step outside of the average perfume box and smell special, you should sniff it out. Also – if you like Irish Spring. Manly, yes, but I like it too….

 

Robert Piguet perfumes are available at specialty department stores, listed here on their website. And at The Perfume Shoppe in Canada. I don’t see Futur on their site but perhaps they can order it in. Ogilvy in Montreal carries the line as well.

Earthy, Sexy, Floral And So Soft…Santa Maria Novella Gardenia

Earthy, Sexy, Floral And So Soft…Santa Maria Novella Gardenia

 It is flowers, green vegetation and so warm, earthy, and well, sexy. Like you’re relaxing in the shade on your porch in the deep southern heat, after having a luke warm cooling bath using only the simplest and cleanest soap (Dove?). You’ve put on your gauzy linen slip and the humidity makes your skin glow while you sip iced tea with frosty condensation dripping down the sides of your glass. You have to lift your hair off your neck because you are so warm. There is a huge lush gardenia bush next to the porch and the heat makes the lush scent of flowers, the greenery and even the damp earth just radiate all around you.

A real gardenia I plucked….stunning
That pretty much describes my Santa Maria Novella Gardenia experience. At first sniff I thought- oh my, perfect. A soapy clean gardenia scent, with lovely fresh green notes. I was in one of the divine Santa Maria Novella boutiques and basically wanted ONE OF EVERYTHING. Sigh. But Gardenia really spoke to me so it was mine. SMN scents often have a signature musk note in their base. It can be overwhelming to my nose, like in their musk scents but in Gardenia it hides under the flowers. I never even really thought about it but did wonder how a soliflfore floral scent could be so, well, sexy. There was something slightly “warm almost sweaty skin” about it without being dirty or, musk can often be, oily. Yuck. An oily animalic musk sends me running to the hills and makes my family ask to please not wear that perfume again *stares at Helmut Lang edp*. Not Gardenia. It smells like I just took a bath with Gardenia soap, with none of the weird indolic or cheese-y notes often found in Gardenia scents that use tuberose to approximate the scent of gardenia. I was once asked what cheese I had eaten when I was wearing Fracas. Sigh.  I was at Noor in Toronto recently (my favourite perfume boutique in the world) chatting with the knowlededgable & friendly owners, Nahla and Fred. Its always so fun there because they encourage you to sniff and chat as long you as like. When I mentioned I loved SMN Gardenia, the impossibly handsome & charming Fred commented “Oh, that’s an earthy one”. Earthy….it hadn’t really occurred to me until he said that how true that is. Now I’m obsessed with the earthy-ness of Gardenia and love it.
Santa Maria Novella Gardenia is my perfect Gardenia and will fill the empty void left by Kiehl’s Gardenia. I was able to do a side by side sniff with SMN Gardenia and an actual gardenia. There is none of the borderline rot smell that exists in the actual flower, and much more of the green. More like standing back and inhaling the whole gardenia bush environment. SMN Gardenia is like a hologram of the gardenia plant. And, I would still call this a soft scent. It does not have tons of sillage, and it is not BIG, nor does it last and last and last on the skin until you wish you could scrub it off. It just smells lovely, feminine and clean, with a touch of something sexy.
A hot sunny day melting into evening, a cooling swim & then Gardenia
Santa Maria Novella products are sold at retailers throughout Canada and the US. They can be hard to find so Google is your best friend depending on where you are. Lafco in NYC seems to be a very reliable retailer of the line and they ship. Noor in Toronto has the line for Canadian buyers and will also ship- watch their site for their online shop, coming soon. Btw, SMN perfumes are notorious for the fact that every bottle looks the same, which is why you need a professional to help you find the right one! Kidding- sort of….
Beautiful Green Perfumes By Creed, Balmain, Chanel, Estee Lauder, YSL & Sisley

Beautiful Green Perfumes By Creed, Balmain, Chanel, Estee Lauder, YSL & Sisley

One of my favourite perfume groups are the Green scents. Green perfumes tend to focus more on the foliage of the flowers and tend to be fresh with a slightly sharp edge as opposed to the sweetness you get with flowers.  This is often due to the addition of aromatic green leaves, grasses and herbs. As you can imagine, they are often shared or unisex scents, as they are simply fresh and invigorating vs traditionally “pretty” or “sexy” feminine scents that have sweeter more floral notes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good floral, but I also adore the crisp fresh breeze of a scent that comes with green scents. They evoke the feeling of being outside, maybe in a meadow or a garden, either in warm sunshine or even a cool fresh rain shower. Coming into our hot summer months, these are perfect and I crave them. Here are just a few of my most loved Green Perfumes:

Original Vent Vert ad
And the modern one I adore…
Balmain Vent Vert The Mother of All Green perfumes, in my humble opinion. Now, this has been reformulated since it was originally created in the late 40s, and there is much consternation over different versions. I will keep it to the present version that looks like the bottle in the photo ad above. It is simply green perfection.  There is a touch of  floral sweetness in this one, but only a breath of it. It is like sweet grass on a hot summer day with a gentle breeze blowing through it, carrying the scent through the air. A key ingredient in many green scents is galbanum, which is a plant resin. It has an intense green scent  with a peculiar musky/skin accord.  This was heavy in the original Vent Vert and is more gentle in this version but still there. Gorgeous. This is my biggest compliment getter without question and one that just becomes “me”.  The edt has fantastic lasting power and it’s perfect for day or night.

 

Sisley Eau de Campagne I was telling a friend about this the other day. It was a really hot day & I’d spent the day outside in the sunshine. After showering & changing I spritzed some of this one on. I described it to my friend as “showering with fine, expensive French soap, then settling down to enjoy good food & wine in a garden in provence”. It really has the sense of “garden” in it, which is likely due to the tomato leaf note, which is bracing and GREEN. It was launched in the 70s and has a cool laid back feel to it, with that cool French “je ne said quoi” feel. Very unisex with a soft dry down that stays close to the skin, Eau de Campagne has a cooling calming effect. Perfect for hot summer days and nights, and perfect for sharing.
Polo anyone? Meet you at the club…

 

Estee Lauder Aliage Another oldie but a goodie, with a super duper dose of galbanum, Aliage is also from the 70s. It was created as the first ever “Sport Scent”  as it had a real outdoorsy feel to it, and was not a fancy schmancy ladies floral to wear when you are sitting around having tea. Aliage plays tennis, golf and probably hikes too. There is a slight butch feel to this scent I find, but I love it. This may be the uber does of galbanum which is so earthy, but is helped along by pine, vetiver and oakmoss. It IS earthy and a wonderful scent to wear in the heat. Its sold “under the counter” at Estee Lauder counters in the US (sadly not in Canada) as you have to ask for it, like a dirty little secret. At less that $40 for a bottle, this is a brilliant and unique scent that every green perfume lover needs to own. In true Estee fashion, it goes on strong and stays all day. Perfect!
Coco & a cute dog just hangin’ at her country home…
Chanel Bel Respiro From the Chanel Exclusif collection, Bel Respiro is named for the week-end house that Mademoiselle Chanel bought in Garches in 1920, which means “nice breathing”. Great name when you consider it does smell like standing outside in a lush green garden inhaling the scents around you.  It evokes leaves and wet summer air after a shower, and does have a clean soapy accord. There is a touch of the sweetness and galbanum of Vent Vert in this. I am reminded of VV whenever I wear Bel Respiro. This one is soft and gentle and easy to wear, perfect for summer.

Lean in a little closer, Big, I’m wearing Cristalle…

Chanel Cristalle Another iconic Chanel scent, this one from the 70s, Cristalle spells green, fun yet elegant and stylish. To me this is a light airy green, like a soft summer breeze. It smells just like summer, with a dash of citrus to keep it cool. Caveat- only the Eau de Toilette is worth wearing in my humble opinion. They made an Eau de Parfum in the 90s in order to deepen the original scent to make it “wearable” during cooler months and to perhaps make it last longer on the skin. Light airy scents tend to lack longevity but in my opinion Cristalle fails as an Eau de Parfum. It looses it’s spirit and soul and becomes heavy and weighted which to my humble nose, does. Not. Work. Keep it light, wear a Halston flowy wide leg pantsuit or wrap dress and you are ready for a hot summer day. Remember, this is the perfume that Chris Noth once said- aka Big on Sex & The City- brings him “to his knees”. Duly noted… (ps- another obscure 70s scent by Molyneux “Quartz” smells sooo close to Cristalle, even the names are similar. Worth sniffing out if you can find it. It’s usually quite a deal…)

Betcha she’s wearing YSL “Y”…cool
YSL “Y” This beauty is a green chypre from the 60s and I adore it. It is cool green and sexy, and for someone feeling confident and standing tall. It has a slight sweetness to it from flowers but there is a cool dry accord that comes from the aldehydes and perhaps the woody notes. It tends to have a slightly soapy accord on me but not everyone pulls soap from this. I happen to love soapy notes so I’m good with that. It is soft and quiet, never loud, and would be perfect for any occasion.  It does have some patchouli in the base which I find lends it a slightly sexy feel in the dry down. I can’t explain why it feels elegant but it just does. It lasts hours on my skin too. Worth trying as it is available for a song online. My friend Dane generously gave me his big bottle. Get it while you can.

Pass my glass of champagne, sil vous plait..

 

Creed Aubepine Acacia I *think* this one is discontinued so I apologize in advance if, after reading this, you decide you want it. It is quite sad that they took this one out of rotation as it is so lovely. Simple, clean and green with gentle floral notes, it was created in 1965 and worn by Brigitte Bardot ( I prefer to think of her in her 1960s incarnation as opposed to the clazy rady she is now…) and it has an endless summer on the beaches of France feel for sure. There is a slight fruit note that comes from the bergamot on the top but otherwise it is galbanum, hawthorn and mimosa. Vetiver isn’t listed but it seems to smell vetiver-ish and there is a bitter green note that is somewhat addictive in this. Love it, it is just gorgeous and made more so perhaps by the fact that it feels so rare when I wear it. This is another compliment getter and I feel like sultry Bardot on the beach in capris with messy hair drinking wine when I wear it. Fun fact- she also wore Vent Vert so she was a lover of green scents…  I have heard rumours that it is only available in the Creed Mothership shop in London (or is it Paris?) in the massive jugs for around $800 in case you REALLY want some.