My Favourite  Violet Perfumes: Flowers of Magic and Kindness

My Favourite Violet Perfumes: Flowers of Magic and Kindness

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

Mark Twain

Oh the sweet little violet. I’ve always loved violets, and my favourite colour has always been purple, but I’m not sure which came first. Violet perfumes, at least the ones I love, are simple affairs, with very little embellishment from other notes. There are the old fashioned original violet eau de toilettes like Violetta di Parma and Violettes de Toulouse, which I’ve had and love. I love them as much as the ones I’m writing about today, but I haven’t owned them in ages. They are sold on discount sites here and quite reasonable in cost – worth buying if you love violets and want to add to your collection. Violetta di Parma hails from around the 1800s and Napoleon’s second wife, Marie Louise of Austria, put Parma Violets on the map. She was a botanist, and loved purple – seriously. It has a green, somewhat green/vegetal vibe that makes it super fresh. Violettes de Toulouse came from France the early 20th century, and is sweeter, like the violet you think of when you think of soap and the violet flavoured sugar crystals they loved there. I LOVE it. I also love violet candies, always have, the plain ones, and the ones with the little aniseed in the middle, which is a perfect foil for the violet.

Choward's violet candies

violet candies flavigny

Violets have a magical quality as well. As innocent as it is, it can be a flirty little flower – it appears and disappears magically on the skin. Science break- the violet flower contains ionone, a tricky little molecule which fiddles with our sense of smell, as in it renders us unable to smell it for awhile. Then we can again, so the fragrance comes and goes. Often people think their violet perfume has worn off because they can’t smell it. Well, that’s the magic. Onto my favourites:

I Profumi di Firenze Violetta di Bosco

I Profumi di Firenze Violetta di Bosco

The notes are different depending on where you look, but the I Profumi di Firenze website says: anise, peach, violet, iris, lily of the valley, vetiver, benzoin and heliotrope. I don’t know about any of the notes other than violet and iris, perhaps benzoin. This is pure sweet violet candies, with a slightly snuggly woodsy base. The iris elevates the powder levels – but like candy powder vs talcum powder. Pure heaven. And be aware – Violetta di Bosco has power. Perhaps it is a true eau de parfum, as it is one of the strongest violet perfumes I’ve tried. I use the tiniest of spritzes and it lasts all day. But if you like your violets fresh and green, this is not the one for you. Get the Violetta di Parma.

Calypso Violette

Christiane Calle Calypso Violette

Ok, this one is discontinued. You can find it online – I recently got a backup bottle on ebay – at a super reasonable price. Perhaps there are warehouses full of this. The original company became just “Calypso” and now has it’s own line of perfumes that do not include a violet one. Why I don’t know, as I think it was probably the best of all them. I read somewhere that Calypso Violette was one of Rashida Jones’s favourite perfumes, and I love her and want to be her… Anyways, I tracked some down several years ago and still love it to this day. It’s less powdery and stringent than Violetta di Bosco, and smells like pretty soapy candies. The notes: bergamot, violet, lemon, rose, heliotrope, sandalwood, white musk, tonka bean and honey. Violet, musk, and honey must be what make it so sweet and “pretty” with heliotrope and lemon adding a yummy factor. This is soft and easy to wear, and one that I love putting on after a bath or shower, when I’m getting ready for bed. It’s a cuddly violet.

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Annick Goutal La Violette

This is one of the softest and gentlest perfumes I own. It’s cross between the classic French Violettes de Toulouse – soapy candy, with a touch of powder and freshness. The notes are listed as simply violet leaf, violet and rose. The rose gives it a powdery slightly makeup feeling, and violet leaf, which is often used in men’s fragrances, adds a touch of fresh green. It is as soft and delicate as the flower, and is oh so French, and very beautiful. It is part of Annick Goutal’s Les Soliflores, their simple line of single note perfumes. I will never be without it. You can find Annick Goutal shopping info here.

Mona di Orio Violette Fumée

Mona Di Orio Violette Fumée

Kitten with a whip, this one. This is a slightly subversive violet, at least for me! When I read the notes I thought it sounded like Habanita with violets, all tobacco and smoky and so not me. I got a decant from a very generous friend, and it wowed me. Violette Fumée is very precious, smells expensive, and, at $245 US for 75ml, it is. Unlike the descriptions that scared me, it is not all ashtray on me, as fragrances with smoky or tobacco notes are wont to be. It is a dark violet, to be sure, and one that would be perfect in cool weather, and at night. Yes, yes, I know you can where whatever you want whenever you want and that there are no rules, but some perfumes say certain things to me. Mona di Orio’s Violette Fumée says “it’s dark out, it’s night-time”. I have worn a few precious drops to bed, and felt all wrapped up in coziness. I’ve worn it out for dinner, and it smells divine and sexy without interrupting the meal. The notes: lavender, bergamot, oakmoss, violets, violet leaves, rose, vetiver, clary sage, opoponax, myrrh, and cashmeran. Those last three notes ensure a dark, seductive finish on the skin that is cozy and sexy at the same time. This is one va-va-voom-violet, and perhaps one day I will spring for a bottle. The link above is to Mona di Orio’s site, but you can get in continentally at Luckyscent.

Guerlain Apres L'Ondee eau de toilette

Guerlain Après L’Ondée

Last but not least, my favourite violet perfume is also my favourite perfume. Here is what Guerlain says about this classic, created in 1906:

Après L’Ondée is a celebration of the fine weather that follows the rain. Composed in nuances and half-shades, Après l’Ondée opens on aniseed notes and continues with a powdery-spicy floral bouquet whose scent evokes a stroll through the dewy underbrush.

What the description fails to mention is how Guerlain managed to evoke FEELINGS with this scent. Now, I know not everyone is the type to be moved emotionally by fragrance, but given the whole memory and scent connection, it’s not unheard of. Après l’Ondée has been called melancholy, but in a good way. I’ve written about Après L’Ondée here.

Honourable mentions:

There are so many violets, I could go on and on. Santa Maria Novella Violetta is a gorgeous Perfume That I Haven’t Bought Yet (that’s a big category for me). Jessica at Beauty Guru NYC bought a bottle on our recent SMN shopping trip in Miami. I got Rosa but desperately want the Violetta. It is perfection! Aroma M Geisha Violet is lovely soft violet veil, and even though I tried it ages ago, I am thinking I might need some. The simple yet pretty Demeter Violet is perfect for the perfume minimalist as it smells super soft, and just like a violet, nothing more, nothing less. Sage Machado Amethyst adds a little lilac to the violet, which just makes it prettier. There is beautiful green and goregous L’Artisan Parfumer Verte Violette, but this is discontinued. My daughter was in NYC a few years ago and stumbled into a boutique that had a bottle and snagged it for me.

What are your favouite violets?

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?

No socks? Open toes? Time For Pretty Feet

No socks? Open toes? Time For Pretty Feet

I have a foot thing. I want them to be pretty and/or groomed. That’s all. It’s not hard to do, and the rest of the world will thank you. There is no need to be uber high maintenace – trust me, for a beauty obsessive, I am probably the laziest around. It’s not about the amount of work one puts into their beauty regime, it’s about quality grooming, and this applies to our feet as well.

Clockwise from top right: Diamoncel Foot File, Karin Herzog Oxygen Foot Cream, Lac Hydrin & Body Shop Foot File

Clockwise from top right: Diamoncel Foot File, Karin Herzog Oxygen Foot Cream, Lac Hydrin & Body Shop Foot File

Soft feet:

Easy to do – really. Get a foot sander and use it. You can get one for under $10 at The Body Shop, or for around $50 from Sephora. Just get one. They are best used after the bath or a shower, when the skin on the feet is softened. Put a towel under your foot and go to town! You can do this monthly, or bi-weekly if you have a lot of dead skin. Just file away until the crusty dead skin is gone. Another necessity for soft feet is an exfoliating lotion, usually with AHAs or acids of some kind. The best one I have found is at the drugstore and Walmart – Lac Hydrin. It has 12% lactic acid, which removes dead dry skin, and is also perfect for weekly or bi-weekly use. Nightly, and before I wear sandals or shoes that put my feet on display, I use Karin Herzog’s Foot Cream – it has a cooling, moisturizing and slightly antiseptic effect, and will keep your feet at their prettiest!

Pretty feet:

Of course, this is where I tell you that you need a pedicure. Because you do. Even if you don’t go full glam with shiny glossy red toenails, you must do something. I am a DIYer when it comes to my mani -pedis because I am a control freak and no one can do them as well I think I can. Also, it’s easy. Before you take a shower, apply your Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover – everyone should have this in their nail care arsenal. In the shower, use a nail brush and scrub those toes until they shine! Then, when you’ve sanded/exfoliated/moisturized, you can push back the cuticles on your toes for a pretty, groomed look.

Then, carefully shape your toenails. I prefer to file them, but if you have been bad and let them grow too long – if so, tsk tsk, no one wants to see that – then you may have to clip them. Be careful not to go too short, as that can cause ingrown toenails. After you have your desired shape, buff your toenails lightly. For those of you that eschew nail polish, you can stop here, or even apply a coat of clear polish for shine. Your feet will look clean and neat, and that is a good thing.

Clockwise from top right: Guerlain Stardust, OPI Moon Over Mumbai, Chanel Frisson, Lippmann Whatever Lola Wants

Clockwise from top right: Guerlain Stardust, OPI Moon Over Mumbai, Chanel Frisson, Lippmann Whatever Lola Wants

At this point, we choose our colour. I love drop dead reds and brights on my toes as much as anyone, but know this – if you apply a bright/deep/opaque shade to your toes, you have an obligation to maintain! The richer shades will show wear before a pale or soft shade. Chipped and rough looking pedicures are awful – I’d prefer bare toenails to an awful pedicure. Due to my laziness and desire to only see pretty things, I prefer soft shades on my toes. My personal preference is for shimmery and pearly shades. They are easy to apply, last for ages, don’t show wear and compliment almost every skin tone.

And, last but not least, you must take the Open Toe Shoe Pledge. Say it with me:

The Open Toe Shoe Pledge

The Open Toe Shoe Pledge

 

Bare feet gold sandals pedicure

Fancy gold sandals, & my little Aries ram tattoo!

 

 

 

Guerlain Stardust Nail Polish – Meteorites Blossom Limited Edition

Guerlain Stardust Nail Polish – Meteorites Blossom Limited Edition

I’m a sucker for a pretty sheer polish, especially if it has an opalescent shimmer. I happened to have bare nails when I went by the Guerlain counter recently and was able to try their limited edition nail polish, Stardust,  for their Spring 2014 Meteorites Blossom collection. I was immediately sold.

Guerlain Stardust nail polish

What can I say that isn’t obvious from the photos? Guerlain Stardust is a pearly shimmer with blueish green undertones, that is almost opaque with 3 coats. I prefer the slightly more sheer effect from two coats. It works well on top of other colours, but it is not as sheer as, say, Deborah Lippmann’s Dream A Little Dream Of Me (which is perfect for adding simple opalescence to a nail colour). Stardust is nowhere near as blue as it appears on their website, but I kind of wish it was….

Guerlain Stardust, 2 coats in daylight

Guerlain Stardust, 2 coats in daylight

I just read Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book’s post on the Guerlain Stardust Lip Gloss and am wondering why I didn’t get it as well! I know where I’m going tomorrow….

 

Guerlain Stardust and the Meteorites Blossom Collection is available at Guerlain boutiques and counters.

 

What’s You Secret To Waking Up Glowing? A “Midnight Secret”?

What’s You Secret To Waking Up Glowing? A “Midnight Secret”?

There are so many cult beauty products out there that sometimes I say “I simply must try  ________”, and then sadly forget about it. Because, you know, all of the new products. I recently decided that I must try Guerlain Midnight Secret, whose praises I feel like I’ve been reading about forever. It promises to give you a well rested glow, no matter how little sleep one’s had. Well, not quite, but it certainly claims to help. What Guerlain says:

So that you can finally get a little sleep without worrying about a cloudy complexion, Midnight Secret ensures that you wake up looking beautiful. To fight against signs of tiredness on the face, Guerlain Research has developed Hydronoctine, a complex whose active ingredients allow your skin to recover more quickly during the night. They boost the microcirculation and cell oxygenation and offer a decongesting effect, while limiting the harmful effects of free radicals.

With a few drops of this “sleep elixir” and a few hours’ rest, traces of fatigue seem to miraculously disappear and your complexion looks radiant.

I can't take this Mercury Retrograde another minute

I can’t take this Mercury Retrograde another minute

 

I’m not sure if it’s the impending full moon or Mercury being in retrograde, but a good nights sleep has recently been my nemesis. So it seemed like as good a time as any to give Guerlain Midnight Secret a try. So far I’ve used it every second night for almost ten days, and you know what? I love it. I actually can see a brightening glow upon application. And I definitely feel my ghostly winter pallor replaced with a gentle glow, and softly plumped skin when I wake up. At $140 CAN for 1 oz, time will tell whether or not I deem it worth buying once I’ve used up my sample.

Don't we all want a little magic in our potions?

Don’t we all want a little magic in our potions?

 

Have you tried Guerlain Midnight Secret? What’s your secret to waking up glowing?

 

Guerlain Samsara, Heaven In A Bottle (Vintage)

Guerlain Samsara, Heaven In A Bottle (Vintage)

Guerlain Samsara is definitely a bombastic perfume. There are two stories about the origin of this perfume which was released in 1989. The romantic story of the scent itself tells us that Jean-Paul Guerlain sought inspiration in China and Tibet to create Samsara,  The Sanskrit word, translated, means “continuous flow”.

Dhyana Mudra, the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.

Dhyana Mudra, the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.

“Samsara is a Sanskrit word that has its roots in Hinduism. It signifies the cycle of birth and rebirth, the perpetual voyage from one existence to the next, the wheel of life that keeps on turning. Samsara is an invitation to serenity and harmony, with oneself and with the world. It is an homage to the woman who is ever in search of serenity.”

samsara parfum

Guerlain Samsara vintage parfum/extrait

samsara edt

How fitting that sandalwood would figure in this scent- again images of temples, incense, prayer and meditation come to mind when one gets a whiff of sandalwood. The marketing story reminds us that it was 1985, an era of power scents and Samsara was created to get in on this action. Opium, Obsession and Chanel Coco were hot selling heavy orientals in a big 80s way, and Guerlain did a perfect job creating a contender with Samsara.

samsara-guerlain-1633

Back to bombastic. The notes from Guerlain speak of “a spellbinding predominance of jasmine. Rose, narcissus and ylang-ylang embellish the fragrance, the better to unite it with the radiant and generous warmth of sandalwood. Lastly, iris, Tonka bean and vanilla render this remarkable fragrance sublime”. I totally agree. There is the classic Guerlain base, commonly known as “Guerlinade” that most (not all) of the classic Guerlains have in common. This is a composition of several perfume notes but notably jasmine, iris, tonka and vanilla. I could drink this it is so divine- it makes you want to lean in and devour the wearer. So, take the Guerlinade, amp up the jasmine to almost obscene levels (in the best way!), then add a combination of pure and synthetic sandalwood at top volume and somehow the sandalwood grounds the jasmine and the jasmine lightens the sandalwood. A perfect and magical combination.

As with many perfumes today, there are different vintages of Samsara, the earlier ones containing more pure sandalwood. There is parfum (purest concentration of perfume), eau de parfum (more alchohol and not as concentrated than parfum) and eau de toilette (most common and less concentrated than eau de parfum and parfum) available in the Samsara line. I have the “vintage” (pre 1990) parfum and eau de toilette as I find the eau de parfum to be the 80s killer BIG PERFUME, but your mileage may vary. They are all powerful in that 80s sense but it’s all in the application. I lightly mist the eau de toilette with divine results. A few dabs of the parfum are intoxicating, the jasmine mingling with the sandalwood in a magical dance that teases forth from the skin. I often dab some on at bedtime (I never get into bed without perfume) and in the morning I can still smell it on my wrists. Samsara’s density makes it wear beautifully in cooler temperatures.

Samsara is one of those perfumes that smell wonderful wafting up from a pashmina or sweater. What are your favourite cozy scarf and sweater perfumes?

Men’s Colognes That Smell Clean, Manly & Good. Also, Men’s Colognes Women Can Steal.

Men’s Colognes That Smell Clean, Manly & Good. Also, Men’s Colognes Women Can Steal.

I get asked for cologne advice all the time, so I figured I should share some of my favourite suggestions. I always feel a little nauseated when I peruse the men’s fragrance counter. Men’s scents have gone the same direction women’s have – everyone copying each other, nothing very original, and loads of ingredients that make fragrances stronger and last longer so they can use less fine ingredients. You don’t want those.

Let’s start with basic “eau de colognes”. These are usually citrus and herbal scents. Eau de colognes are soft and non obtrusive, allowing for the skin chemistry of the wearer to come through. The original eau de cologne can be traced back to 1709. You will never offend anyone in the office with soapy clean eau de colognes, and you will probably make new friends because you smell so darn good. Let’s start with cheap to spendy, emphasizing that cheap doesn’t mean “smells bad”. I’m only recommending stuff that smells good, and you can choose the price point you like.

The Bargain Hunter Who Smells Amazing:

4711 cologne

4711 Eau de Cologne: This cologne has a storied history, but let’s say it’s been around in it’s current form since around 1800. I love it, it smells clean fresh and wonderful. It is very soft, and not particularly long lasting, but it costs a song, so reapply as you wish. Bottles around 100ml ( I think they are 90ml/3oz) are under $20 at pretty much every drugstore. You’re welcome.

roger gallet jean marie farina

Roger & Gallet Jean Marie Farina: This guy started making his eau de colognes before 4711 did, and apparently there was some drama between these two houses. At any rate, Roger & Gallet Jean Marie Farina is a bit stronger and longer lasting than 4711, and I’d say its more “zesty” and interesting. I love it, and it really does have that clean soapy feeling without smelling like detergent. More like expensive French soap. A 100ml bottle is around $40, in Canada you can get it at The Bay. US shoppers can find stockists here.

The Sophisticated And Understated Guy:

hermes eau d orange verte

Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte: This is soft, elegant, simple and easy to wear. Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte was created in 1979 and really feels like splashing fresh invigorating citrus water all over. The green notes gently take over as the citrus notes fade, and like falling leaves, your skin is left subtly scented. It’s almost a dry scent, due to the mossy notes, and is understated and elegant in the way only Hermes can do. Available at Hermes boutiques and department store fragrance counters, a 100ml bottle is around $115.

guerlain eau de guerlain

Guerlain Eau de Guerlain: It’s no secret I am a massive Guerlain fan, and their 1974 contribution to the world of eau de colognes is one of my favourites. The citrus notes are simply gorgeous – elegant and understated in a way that only the French can do. The base of this eau de cologne packs a little more punch than most with a sexy musky undertone that makes it irresistible. Try this if you want to walk softly and carry a sexy scent. Available at Guerlain boutiques and some of the larger Guerlain counters in department stores, it’s around $130 for 100ml.

The Cologne Connoisseur: 

aqua di parma colonia

Acqua di Parma Colonia: Cary Grant wore this. Ava Gardner did, too. It smells like Hollywood in the 50s, crisply ironed white linen shirts, and sailing in the sunshine off the Amalfi coast. I think the quiet woodsy notes in the base of this are what make it my number one favourite eau de cologne. I own it and love it, and think the world would be a better place if more people did the same. A 100ml bottle is around $165, and is available at finer department stores fragrance counters. Also, Sephora has it as it online exclusive.

tom ford neroli portofino

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino: Easily the most expensive of eau de colognes, Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino is also a yummy one. Slightly more floral with emphasis on the orange blossom, and the soft ambery dry down, you’ve got to really love this one the most to justify the approximately $315 that a 100ml bottle will set you back. I really love it, but have yet felt moved to shell out that kind of cash. The bottle is gorgeous, and yes it smells amazing – Tom Ford brings his almost obsessive elegant aesthetic to all his fragrances, and this is no exception. If you want the creme de la creme of eau de colognes, then Tom Ford is your man. Available at Holt Renfrew in Canada and Neiman’s in the US. Maybe some other department stores too.

Steve McQueen Jaguar XK SS

Ok, guys, any eau de colognes I missed that I need to know about? Share!

 

 

Classic Colognes Every Man Should Own

Classic Colognes Every Man Should Own

I don’t know if you have wandered over to the men’s fragrance counter lately, but there are so many new colognes, it’s impossible to know where to start sniffing. If you are shopping for something that will make you smell yummy, it can be overwhelming. With each successful fragrance, another two or more or are born. Sexy Beast, Sexy Beast Night, Sexy Beast Black, Sexy Beast Growl Gold etc etc etc. The lack of imagination and originality is staggering. Many top selling scents smell generic and common. Oh sure, there are exceptions. The world of niche perfume is full of all kind of different scents – some gorgeous, many expensive and some a little too different for my taste. We just want a man to smell good. And, as with any scent, you want it to draw you in because you’d to smell more, not repel you because you can smell it across the room. Seriously, who likes that? Over-sprayers give all of us fragrance enthusiasts a bad name. Stop doing it!

A relation? Maybe. Amazing? Definitely.

A relative? Maybe. Amazing? Definitely.

 

So guys, you want to smell good. You want to smell sexy and even manly. Or, you may want to smell interesting and different, without being weird. Easy.

Old Spice - 19590725 Post

I’m not sure when Old Spice became a punchline, but this sexy and gentle (yes, that’s right, gentle) scent needs to be worn by more men. The blend of vanilla, orange, and musk melts into the skin and really takes on the personality of the wearer. It’s been around since 1938, so it’s clearly doing something right. It does not “Drakkar Noir” (sorry Drakkar lovers) you into submission, and is a fragrance every man should have. Hint: the classic deodorant in the original Old Spice scent is irresistible.

vintage guerlain vetiver ad

I bet Don Draper wore Guerlain Vetiver. It was launched in 1959, and is as classic as a slim cut suit and scotch – neat. The smooth, slightly smoky vetiver, tobacco and pepper scent is a man’s man in a bottle. It should be lightly spritzed before dressing, not bathed in. You want subtle, guys. Guerlain Vetiver smells like success and confidence. Guerlain calls Vetiver “the scent of the earth”. I agree.

dior eau sauvage ad rene gruau

The sixties ushered in a more casual man, comfortable in and out of a suit. Christian Dior took the classic eau de cologne composition of citrus, herbs and woods and added an animalic and sensuous base to it and called it Eau Sauvage. It has one of the most amazing citrus openings in any perfume, and the sexy dry down makes the juxtaposition audacious. Pro tip: do not judge a perfume on first spritz. Those are top notes and last twenty to thirty minutes- then the magic happens. The dry down and heart of Eau Sauvage balances the citrus and herbal accords with woods (patchouli), mossy earthy notes and musks that turn into the sexiest of skin scents. Trust me on this.

aramis cologne ad vintage

The seventies got sexy with cologne – really sexy – and leather became the note of choice for many. Aramis is the seventies porn moustache of cologne, and is drop dead sexy. It is not soft, and the citrus fruits in the opening have no sweetness thanks to the artemisia (wormwood- the stuff of Absinthe), creamy sandalwood and smoky wonderful leather. It’s the reference leather scent for men, and still one of the best. It is not for the faint of heart, and should be applied sparingly. My other favourite leather scent from the seventies is Halston Z-14. Smooth sexy leather, with almost mouth watering cinnamon notes, this stuff is Magnum PI sexy. And, Halston Z-14 is available for next to nothing online and at drugstores. Meow.

fahrenheit-dior-1616

The eighties ushered in what we know today as Powerhouse Colognes – Polo Green, Drakkar Noir, Azzaro, Kouros (sex in a bottle btw) etc etc. Interestingly, a lot of them are built around the classic woody fougère type of scent, but with extra oomph. The era was about excess so I imagine they just adhered to the “more is better” school of thought when they created them. Some are best left behind, but a few are still elegant and interesting and worth checking out. Dior Fahrenheit is one of them. It almost defies description, with notes like orange and an amazing leathery sandalwood, but the note that sets it apart to my nose is violet leaf. If you miss the eighties and enjoy a little excess now and then, try Dior Fahrenheit, and apply sparingly,

roy halston

Honourable mention: Halston Z-14. Sexy & cheap as chips online.

Due to popular demand, I will be posting a little more about men’s grooming. Next up will be some skincare for guys, and some softer easy to wear colognes for guys who don’t like cologne. Guys – feel free to request what you’d like to read about!