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.

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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.

Lemon by Mary Greenwell Is Sweet, Delicious & Sexy

Lemon by Mary Greenwell Is Sweet, Delicious & Sexy

Fragrance of the Lemon Peel © Ilya Zomb

Fragrance of the Lemon Peel © Ilya Zomb

Let us enjoy this excerpt from Pablo Neruda’s Ode To The Lemon:

…he most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
concentrated,
born of the cool, fresh
lemon,
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.

I bet you already can smell lemon. You can feel your mouth water just a bit, thinking of the tart sour taste of fresh lemonade, and the ability of the scent and taste of lemon to clear away the day, and too clear your sense of taste and smell. It is hard to capture lemons in perfume without it smelling like a lemon home cleaner or detergent. If you try to sweeten it, you get a lemon cupcake scent which is nice, but not just “lemons”. The scent of the lemon is simple and perfect. To be able to capture it requires a delicate balance of Other Notes – like florals, greens and some woods. The type of balance one finds in lovely classic colognes. But with more lemon. If you really wanted to up the ante in the tradition of classic lemon colognes like Eau de Rochas, O de Lancome and Dior Diorella, you add oakmoss and make it earthy and sexy.

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Mary Greenwell’s Lemon is like all of these beauties combined and wrapped up in a magical cloak of modern, yellow, lemony goodness. This is not a classic lemon perfume, but it kind of fools you into thinking it is. That HAS to be the oakmoss, but it advances, acts all sexy and earthy, and it retreats and hides behind the soft floral heart and airy, clean woodsy base. The flowers are very quiet with maybe a touch of jasmine or lily of the valley peeking out, and the woodsy base is clean almost in the way of an Egyptian Musk. Its a contemplative wood – maybe cedar, sandalwood and a touch of amber? Anyways, all of the Other Notes only serve to deliver the yummiest most mouth watering and fresh – in a sexy way. Does that make sense? The bottle weighs a ton, and has a gold plated dome cap on it that sort of reminds me of Courreges or Cardin somehow. It has a retro 70s vibe, but that might just be my association with the lemon scents of my youth – Love’s Fresh Lemon, Revlon Wild Lemon and the one with the lemon cap, I can’t recall the name.

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Mary Greenwell is a legendary makeup from the UK. With a client list ranging from Vogue to Victoria Beckham, Cate Blanchett and the late Princess of Wales, her name is synonymous with Bobbi Brown in the cosmetic world. Creating perfume was a natural step for her – just finishing the process. After the make up, apply a beautiful perfume! Lemon is her second perfume, and her first one Plum, was a massive success and is loved by many. I still haven’t tried Plum! Not sure why that is, but now that I see what she has done with one fruit as the highlight of a perfume, I now realize I simply must try Plum. I am seriously in love with Lemon and plan to get a lot of wear out of it this summer. If you like the idea of a lemon perfume, you need this. It wears close to the skin and is never loud or brash, and lasts a few hours on the skin. Just when I think it’s all disappeared, a gentle waft of woodsy lemony prettiness comes out of nowhere.

Mary Greenwell’s perfumes are available on her UK website or on Parfum1. Prices start at $40 for a gorgeous travel spray, to $150 for a 100ml bottle. You can buy samples as well, which is an awesome thing for a pefume company to do, don’t you think?

Guerlain Eau de Lingerie – A Sexy Intimate Scent That Whispers

Guerlain Eau de Lingerie – A Sexy Intimate Scent That Whispers

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Guerlain has launched a new perfume called Eau de Lingerie. Being the Guerlain perfume fanatic that I am, I *had* to have this and bought it without even trying it, as I knew I would love it. And love it, I do. Here is what Guerlain says:

“Close to the skin, in the very place where fragrance settles, our lingerie lies… and this inspired Guerlain to conceive of an innovative beauty ritual. A delicate new fragrance to spray onto lingerie, creating a special moment of sensuality in which women are invited to indulge…”

kim basinger 9 half weeks

Eau de Lingerie is soft and stays close to the skin, as it was meant to blend beautifully with any other perfume or fragrance you might be wearing. I suppose I’d call it a skin scent, like a soft musk or along the lines of Prada L’Eau Ambrée. These are the kind of scents I love to layer – by doing this, I feel like I am creating a personal and unique fragrance that is only mine. Guerlain Eau de Lingerie could be described as a floral, powdery and musky scent, if one had to categorize it. It contains notes of iris, rose, vanilla, sandalwood, white musk and ambrette. Ambrette is an interesting note – it is an aromatic plant from India, known for it’s unusual scent, and it is now used to replace animal musks (not used due to the cruel methods of extracting musk oil from animals) in perfume. It has a subtle musk scent, softer than traditional “musk” perfumes, and I would even describe it as an innocent scent. Le Labo perfume house has a perfume called Ambrette, based mostly on that note and intended for babies. It does have a sweet skin scent to it, but don’t think baby powder. Frankly, Eau de Guerlain is what I wanted Le Labo Ambrette to be- the Le Labo is singular and is literally gone from my skin in less than 30 minutes. It’s ethereal and almost sparkling, like drops of rain in the sunshine. The sandalwood lingers in this perfume, and it is the stunning sandalwood of Guerlain that I recognize here. It’s almost like the it’s the spirit of the sandalwood in Guerlain Samsara but dialed way back. I know that lavender isn’t listed in Eau de Guerlain, but I would be amiss if I didn’t say Eau de Lingerie reminded me of Chanel Jersey, which I’ve been hemming and hawing about buying. Funny, as the thing I love the most about Chanel Jersey is that it reminds me of a Guerlain perfume. They share iris and musk notes so perhaps that is what I am picking up.

belle du jour bed scene lingerie

Guerlain Eau de Lingerie was love at first sniff. It is a quiet gentle perfume, and would be easy to wear anywhere without being offensive. I love it’s skin scent quality and while I might indeed spray some on my lingerie, for now I am enjoying wearing it on warm, bare skin.

Eau de Lingerie will be a 125ml limited edition, available at Harrods in London, and Printemps in Paris. I had a special shopper bring it back from Paris for me. Yes, I have a perfume mule.

Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum, The “Fatal Flower”

Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau de Parfum, The “Fatal Flower”

 

Givenchy released Dahlia Noir eau de parfum in 2011, and the eau de toilette this year. I think the edp version is the richer and headier of the two, and absolutely perfect for cooler weather. It’s classified as a ” floral chypre” but I take issue with calling a perfume that has no oakmoss a chypre. However I would agree that Dahlia Noir edp is as sexy as a chypre – it makes me think of a modern version of a beauty like Ungaro Diva, one of my favourite rose chypres, or a scent like L’Arte di Gucci, and even a softer Paloma Picasso. It has been tamed and softened, and the first things you sniff are citrus, pepper and mimosa which are quite a yummy combination. Rose, iris and patchouli in the heart and finally a sultry woodsy vanilla base. Wow. The words that come to mind when I sniff Dahlia Noir edp are creamy, a bit moutwatering, sexy and pretty. The sexy is balanced by the pretty and I can see this as being the perfect perfume to dress up or dress down, as it’s the kind of scent that works with the skin of the wearer. Lovely. And, did you know Givenchy has a Dahlia Noir candle? It’s available for sale on their site for $56. I’m not sure if this is at any perfume counters, but you could ask. What a great holiday gift idea!

And – guess what? Just in time for the holidays, Daly Beauty will be giving a 50ml bottle of Givenchy Dahlia Noir eau de parfum to a lucky reader! To enter, please leave a comment on this post, follow @daly_beauty on Twitter and tweet out this post letting us know you entered! Be sure to like Daly Beauty on Facebook too! The winner will be drawn 6pm on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012.

Comments are now closed! The winner of the Dahlia Noir edp is  Jen M! Congrats Jen, send your mailing details to dalybeauty@gmail.com. Thank you to all who entered & keep reading Daly Beauty for more goodies to win!

Givenchy Dahlia Noir eau de parfum is available at The Bay perfume counters in Canada, Sephora and Nordstrom in the US. The 50ml Dahlia Noir edp starts at around $100 CAN. 

Super Sexy Robert Piguet Douglas Hannant. Also, Perfect Party Perfume

Super Sexy Robert Piguet Douglas Hannant. Also, Perfect Party Perfume

Robert Piguet is a fashion house that launched in the early 30s, and is most famously known for it’s bomabstic, gorgeous and take-no-prisoners scents of the 40s. There is Bandit, a naughty and butch leather fragrance, not for the meek, and  also Fracas, a reference tuberose, nay, the Queen of all tuberose perfumes. They were both made by the ahead of her time Germaine Cellier – whose knowledge of fragrance and chemistry led her to create perfumes that not even the most creative types could imagine. Fragrantica has a terrific profile of Cellier here. She used traditional ingredients but at nuclear levels, creating something above and beyond a simple scent. So. Piguet’s Fracas is loved and worn by many people, and though it was discontinued at some point, there was enough of a demand for Piguet to bring it back. It was slightly reformulated by a modern perfumer, mostly due to the legality and availability of the raw materials. It is still a massive tuberose diva, and can only be tamed by some skins. Mine is not one of them. I want to love Fracas! I want to wear Fracas! But sadly, she wore me. She moves in with all her luggage,  turns the music up as loud as it can be, and frightens all the neighbourhood dogs.

Happily for me, Robert Piguet has done some playing with their much beloved/revered/feared Fracas and has come up with some lovely variations on a sexy, gorgeous floral theme. The one I am wearing right now, that is making me swoon, is Douglas Hannant.  Douglas Hannant is a chic and exclusive designer to the upper echelons of society. He’s not common or well known to those outside the circle (that would include yours truly)  and it’s fitting that Robert Piguet would choose a mysterious name to don the house’s signature black opaque glass bottle of this incredible floral beauty. Piguet calls it a “fresher, younger Fracas, with pear on the top with the traditional floral base”. Well, there must be a lot of pear, because it definitely does cut the sweetness and and indolic tendencies of Fracas. I also find the gardenia in the heart is able to shine more in Douglas Hannant, and the pear notes just melt beautifully into the florals. It lasts ages on the skin, and the creamy sandalwood and musk along with a soft and sweet jasmine linger delicately on the skin. Remember, the Victorians would not let young girls smell tuberose, as they were afraid of the carnal and aphrodisiac effect it might have on them. Dangerous perfume? Sign me up.

Don’t get me wrong. This is no shrinking violet of a perfume, nor does it whisper. It still has a strong presence but it’s not a perfume bomb. It is devastatingly feminine, and makes me feel like painting my nails red, putting my hair up, and busting out the highest heels I can find. If you love Fracas, this is worth a sniff. You may find you need both….That said, a small spray of this would be perfect with a soft cashmere sweater and jeans on a cool day, or a silky flowy maxidress on the beach in the warm sunshine. Verdict? Delicate, tasteful and feminine- I love it.  I’ve been wearing this all day and my nose has been glued to my wrist. For me, this says a lot….

Robert Piguet has revamped and re-released all of their scents, along with new and beautiful creations. I have samples of some and will be sharing reviews for those soon. If you get the chance to try them, you must! The line is elegant and gorgeous, and worthy of lots of praise.

 

Robert Piguet Douglas Hannant is available at perfume counters where Piguet is sold, and online from their site. On their homepage they list the department stores that carry their line. Go sniff if you can.

The Perfect Perfume For A Bond Girl – Amouage Gold Woman

The Perfect Perfume For A Bond Girl – Amouage Gold Woman

Amouage perfumes are among the more luxurious and special perfumes in the world. They are full of rare and beautiful ingredients that smell divine, they are encased in beautiful jewel-like bottles, and they cost a small fortune. The cost is not really a deterrent. I have found that if someone really really really loves a perfume, and how that perfume makes them feel, they will pay. The other thing is simply that the luxury market is simply that – luxury. I am overwhelmed by most of the Amouage perfumes. They are dense, rich and often heavy, and are a little more than I want in my perfume. Yet, there are a few that linger in my scent memory every time I try them, and the ghost of the divine scent haunts me. It whispers “Jane….you need an Amouage perfume….remember how that bottle felt in your hands? Remember that hypnotic scent?”

Amouage Gold Woman is a stunning and ethereal perfume. It is rich and complex, but also airy and ethereal. It has the elegance of the aldehydic florals of the 70s to my mind, even though it was created in 1983, and doesn’t actually have strong aldehydic notes at all.  The perfumer is the same man who created Hermes Caleche, and I would say there is a relation to Caleche, in the cool, elegant, effortless way it smells like “old money” and grace. It is softer than Caleche, and less stringent and dated. At least on my skin. I remember years ago telling my perfume mentor aunt that I liked Caleche. She tole me I was far too young to think about wearing it, and perhaps that has coloured my impressions of Hermes Caleche, although I do respect it’s beauty. It’s very Grace Kelley, but not very “me”. Amouage Gold also has a cool modern rosy feel to it that was making me think of Paco Rabanne Calandre. Close but…not exactly right. Amazing that something so airy, so modernist yet classic at the same time, was lurking in that baroque golden bottle. On my skin it wears close to the body, and warms up with some of the most beautiful and quiet progression of notes I’ve ever experienced. I’ve read so many reviews that call it “big” and a “sillage monster”. I don’t get that- at all. It’s understated and gorgeous elegance on me. The frankincense note that develops actually purrs on the skin.

Still, something else was nagging me as I enjoyed the gorgeous transition of notes Amouage Gold Woman was going though on my skin. Elegant….green…I could smell rose, and a slight hint of a clean lily of the valley note. The mixture of sandalwood and resinous amber in the dry down is like a gentle kiss. You can barely detect it and crave more, but even the gentle notes you can smell are full of sensual beauty. It smells timeless, and I swear I smell oakmoss in there even though it isn’t listed. But, the woodsy mossy and at the same time, soapy rose is what stands out. Like, a gorgeous, expensive and rare rose soap. The nagging comparison that was lurking deep in my scent memory finally came out last night. I think it took so long because it’s been so long since I’d smelled it. What is it, you ask? Why, it’s the original vintage formulation of Yves St Laurent Rive Gauche.

I loved it dearly and was deeply saddened when YSL changed it to the unrecognizable perfume Rive Gauche is today. It’s nothing like the original, and I mourned the loss of what was possibly my favourite rose perfume ever. So take the cool Hitchcock blonde feel of a Grace Kelly type, but then mix it up with the effortless sexiness of Brigitte Bardot or Jane Birkin. Touchable hair that looks like you may have just tumbled out of bed, vs tied up in a silk Hermes scarf. I’ve never been that proper.

So, is exactly the same? No, and it seems to have almost half the number of listed notes, but it captures everything I loved about YSL Rive Gauche, including the elegant je ne sais quoi that only the finest French perfumes convey. Verdict? Love, of course. Thank you to my dear friend who gifted me with this beauty. I will treasure it.

Amouage Gold Woman is available from their website, and from various retailers. Check here to find one near you.

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. 

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara – Perfume Infused With Air And Mystery

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara – Perfume Infused With Air And Mystery

un air de samsara guerlain

One of my favourite heady sandalwood scents is the divine Guerlain Samsara. I prefer the vintage formulations as they contain almost nuclear levels of the precious and now *restricted sandalwood and jasmine. But mostly sandalwood. I have both the eau de toilette and extrait in vintage formulation, and extrait (or parfum) wears closer to the skin and is just softer. Note to self: get more before it is all gone. I hold on to the eau de toilette, but frankly never wear it, as much as I adore it. This 1989 beauty was at the tail end of the mighty 80s perfumes, and Guerlain held nothing back. Legend has it that Jean-Paul Guerlain made Samsara for a woman he wanted to seduce (naturally!), and he knew she loved jasmine and sandalwood. It must have worked, because she allegedly wore it faithfully, and that people would cross the street to ask her about her perfume. I’m thinking she may have overapplied but that is just me. And who cares! This is a romantic perfume as only the house of Guerlain does. Even the text on the ad is typically romantic – “Ni tout à fait la même, ni tout à fait une autre”. It translates roughly to “Not quite the same, nor quite another”…a conundrum in a bottle, no?

Mint tea in glass cup

That said, it is still a bit of a powerhouse, and I usually limit my wearing of Samsara extrait to the winter, when a rich cozy perfume is required. Enter Guerlain Un Air de Samsara (thank you to my dear perfume enabler, Dane xo) which is, as the name suggests, a lighter and “airier” version of the original Samsara. Loads of mint, bergamot and narcissus have been added and the scent is reminiscent of a minty herbal tea on top of the drop dead gorgeous sandalwood jasmine cocktail. The mint is so cooling, like a breath of air, and seemingly lifts the terrestrial sandalwood up and frees it. More like the scent from a sandalwood fan than from rich creamy sandalwood absolute. It wears beautifully in the heat, and one can only imagine how the gentle and sultry notes of jasmine and sandalwood seduced Jean Paul Guerlain’s lover.

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Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun.

~  Kahlil Gibran

 

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara is a discontinued fragrance but can found online from many vendors. Get it now, while you still can.


*Due to severe over harvesting of sandalwood, the material is severely restricted.

 

Floris Snow Rose, A Beautiful Cool And Gentle Rose Musk

Floris Snow Rose, A Beautiful Cool And Gentle Rose Musk

I have been coming back around to rose scents lately. Interesting, rose is often associated in aromatherapy with “women’s issues” and helping to balance moods. That’s not to say men can’t benefit from the calming and soothing benefits of the scent of rose, but I notice when there are fluctuations of the hormonal kind I often crave rose. In my powdery scent post, I mentioned my love for Talco Delicato. Floris Snow Rose offers a similar feel- gentle, powdery with a soft babyish musk.
If you are familiar with Rochas Tocade, the iconic & beautiful rose vanilla perfume created by the wonderful Maurice Roucel, imagine Snow Rose as her sweet baby sister. If you aren’t familiar with Tocade and love rose & vanilla, get some- stat! Snow Rose is clean and easy to wear with gentle notes of rose, jasmine, vanilla, musk and sandalwood. It is a calming scent and so aptly named. It has little hints of green freshness that shine through, like a little ray of sunshine in this cool powdery scent.
It is missing the violet note that is common in a lot of rose scents- I love violet but the rose-violet combo evokes lipstick and while lovely, not always what I want. Violet -rose scents like L’Artisan Parfumeur Drole de Rose and Frederic Malle’s perfectly named Lipstick Rose come to mind. Rose and patchouli is also common- the “dark rose”- in perfumes like L’Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses and Stella McCartney Stella. These are gorgeous but again, not what my sensitive nose has been craving. Then there are bombshell roses like YSL Paris. I love that too and wore it for years but again, looking for soft roses here…Simple rose soliflores can be lovely but for some reason they can end up with a sour note I cannot abide.
Floris Snow Rose is simply pretty and lovely. I adore it, and have received compliments each time I wear it. It is a snuggly skin scent, and could easily work in warm or cool weather. This has earned a top rating in my collection. Sadly, it was a limited edition perfume for Floris. I found it at a discounter, so keep your eyes peeled. It pops up from time to time. There are also a few on eBay right now. Worth getting if you are a rose perfume lover.
The Understated Beauty of L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia

The Understated Beauty of L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia

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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.