How Perfume Boredom Led To i smell great™

How Perfume Boredom Led To i smell great™

Regular readers of my blog know that I can count the number of times I’ve written a rave review about a newly released perfume on one hand. I love perfume, and I love writing about perfume, but the only perfumes that have interested me enough to write about have either been niche, which often means expensive and/or hard to find, or vintage and vanished from the market. I hoard my vintage perfumes that will never be made again, and I resent having to pay a fortune for some niche brand that uses the same ingredients as everyone else.

By now everyone knows about i smell great™, the perfume brand created by Randi Shinder and myself. Randi created and launched three beauty brands that were so groundbreaking they formed new categories in fragrance and skin care. And, we are both perfume junkies, in the truest sense of the word. We eat, sleep and breathe perfume. We obsess about scents and flavours all. The. Time. Stimulate our sense of smell or taste, and we are already dreaming about how this or that would work in perfume. Both of us have been obsessive “noses” since we can remember. Scents haunt us, and they haunted us until we captured them and bottled them, like perfume ghosts.

Randi and I would often get so excited about a scent we would hear about. Then, we’d try it and find it was pretty much exactly the same as many many perfumes before it. Cue the sad trombones. Newsflash: the industry is full of imitation. If one perfume has commercial success, wait for every other designer to release a perfume that smells “similar”. They copy the successful one, maybe tweak it a tiny bit (and maybe not) and then call it something else. Just wander around any perfume department and smell all the top sellers. A well developed nose will be able to find the sameness in everything.

The names are often ridiculous and have nothing to do with what the perfume smells like. Reveal, Downtown, Encounter and how about 18 different editions of Eternity for women and another 14 Eternity versions for men? Oy. Sorry, Calvin, but you aren’t even trying anymore. Talk about phoning it in.

Then there is this business of “notes” in perfume. It used to mean a lot more, and still does with some niche and artisanal perfumers. But for most mainstream perfumes, that cacophony of  top, middle and base notes aren’t really telling us what the perfume smells like. It’s ad copy. It’s a romantic idea of the scent. Yes, yes, some of those synthetic molecules are meant to smell like certain things, but that doesn’t mean assembling them together as if you are Jacques Guerlain (SPOILER ALERT: YOU ARE NOT) is going to create another Shalimar. It’s like a habit that the consumer thinks they need to know. Do you? I know I don’t care. I want to know if it smells good, and those vague and random recipes and notes rarely tell me anything about the scent.

So. Why not make perfumes for the masses, why not make perfumes for those who really just want to wear an uncomplicated scent that just smells great? Why not make perfumes that don’t cause headaches, perfumes that don’t choke everyone around you with chemical scent enhancers that elevate perfume projection to nuclear levels? Yes, lady who bathes in Angel before getting on that elevator, I’m looking at YOU. Stop. Now.

I can’t wait to share how Randi and I came to create our perfumes. How the things we loved became perfumes. How the scented products that accompany the perfumes have bases that were just as important as the perfumes. I challenge you to spray your hands with i smell great™ Wellness Water Fragrance Mist. The luxurious base of purified water and skin-healthy ingredients means you can rub it in and it will feel great as well as smell great. Go ahead and try that with a mainstream body mist. Be careful though, it will probably dissolve your nail polish.

Stay tuned for more of our story!

i smell great™ Perfume By Jane Daly & CLEAN Perfume Founder

i smell great™ Perfume By Jane Daly & CLEAN Perfume Founder

our story

i smell great™ was born from the desire for a perfume line that did something different, radical, honest and simple. The hundreds of perfumes released every year offer the same thing, over and over. Trying to find a simple and pretty perfume has become almost impossible. Perfume departments have become daunting and overwhelming, turning perfume shopping into a shell game of sameness.

Randi Shinder changed the perfume landscape with her line of simple, clean and fresh perfumes, CLEAN™, out of her desire to simply smell good and to smell clean. CLEAN™ was a unique, first-of-its kind fragrance meant to mimic the universal freshly showered feeling that we all love. As it became a top selling scent, Randi knew that the consumer felt as she did, and just wanted an honest product that did what it promised.

I worked in the perfume industry and have been writing about perfume for years. As a blogger, I regularly received newly released perfumes to review, and the one thing I was noticing was….that there is nothing new or interesting, yet simple and honest, in perfume today. This led me to create my own bespoke perfume – one of the only modern scents I would wear. It’s “in the vault”….for now.

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We decided smelling good was, well, not good enough. Our combined passion for smelling good turned into something different… something “great”. Our love of perfumes led us to take the great scents of our lives, and the scents of our memories, and to bottle them. Almost three years and many scents later, Randi and I knew we were on to something. Everyone who tried our perfumes loved them and found the scents “addictive!” We loved that we could play with these perfumes and that everyone could create their own versions of Greatness.

Adding to Randi and my passion for this greatness is the skill and exuberance of Michael Nyman in Los Angeles. As Chairman and CEO of PMK*BNC™, one of the largest and most influential communications, marketing and consultancy firms in the world of popular culture and entertainment, Michael Nyman has established himself as a leading authority with keen cultural insights in bridging the worlds of entertainment and brands. He knew that i smell great™ was something the beauty and perfume world was ready for, and that consumers were waiting for the chance to smell great.

i smell great™ was born, because shouldn’t we all smell great?

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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.

Nuxe Prodigieux le Parfum – As Perfect As The Oil

Nuxe Prodigieux le Parfum – As Perfect As The Oil

I will start this by telling you I had a dear friend mule this perfume over from France for me- as far as I know it’s not available in North America. I’ve inquired with Nuxe but have heard nothing back yet- I will update this post if I do. Update: I have been informed that The New London Pharmacy in NYC carries this perfume! It is not on their website but if you aren’t in NYC and can’t pop in, just give them a call! It’s a terrific shop!

Anyways, if you are a fan of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil, then you will love Nuxe Parfum le Prodigieux. They have reproduced the scent perfectly, right down to the soft scent of the oil itself. The base of the Huile Prodigieuse has an earthy musky scent- very very soft, but sexy- and the perfume has managed to capture that delicate scent along with the beautiful florals that we love so much. It’s interesting, as usually a perfume that smells amazing spawns the scented ancillary products that come after a successful perfume launch. Nuxe has been beloved by French women (and women around the world) because the oil is amazing and effective at moisturising hair and skin, and because it smells so damn good. It smells like gentle orange blossom and gardenia with only the softest undertones of coconut and vanilla. There are other notes mentioned but those are the ones that really count. Also interesting that the perfumer who worked on the scent for the Huile Prodigieuse is the same one who created Prodigeux le Parfum. It is so soft, gentle and smells as wonderful as the oil. And, like the oil it does not overwhelm and settles onto the skin like a ray of sun on the beach in France. Really. I would never lie to you.

Verdict? Love. I wish I could tell you it’s easier to get but as you probably know, the hunt is the best part, and we often desire most what is hardest to get our hands on. Here is a tip for you- this amazing woman, Suzan, has a business called Shop France, and for a modest fee, will bring back whatever delicious French goodies your heart desires. You’re welcome.

EDIT: You can buy Nuxe Parfum Prodigieuse in the United States! Just contact New London Pharmacy in New York City at  service@newlondonpharmacy.com or call them toll free (from within the US) at 1.800.941.0490  or outside the US at: 1.212.243.4987

 

Diptyque Do Son Eau de Parfum- Perfume That Purrs

Diptyque Do Son Eau de Parfum- Perfume That Purrs

I recently became obsessed with tuberose. It can be a challenging note in perfume. Keeping in mind that everyone wears perfume differently, and just because it smells awful on me, doesn’t mean it isn’t a gorgeous perfume. Like Robert Piguet Fracas, which is arguably the grande dame of tuberose perfumes. Oh, how I wish I could wear it. I fantasize about how beautiful it is and my bubble is popped every time I try it. I am holding out for the pure parfum extrait, as perhaps that is the version that will work for me. I adore Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, which is really mostly tuberose. It’s gorgeous and elegant but a little formal for every day wear, however it is perfect for occasions when I want to diva it up a little. Rawr.

Tuberose is a flower with an earthy and somewhat carnal scent to it. It was frequently the star of Victorian “Moon Gardens” which was usually made up of white flowers that release their intense fragrance after dark- popular so the sun-shunning Victorian ladies could keep their milky white complexions. It’s floral-heady-jasmine-orange- rubbery-fruity-lactonic-honeyed-indolic aroma is said to have powers to cure frigidity . Oh those naughty Victorians. They also believed that  tuberose signified dangerous and carnal pleasures, and young girls were warned against inhaling its aphrodisiac scent after dark, lest it lead them into trouble. No wonder I love it. Meow.

Heathcliff, driven mad by smelling my tuberose perfume in the moongarden….

I adore Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, another reference tuberose, but on my skin it is one of those perfumes that does. Not. Quit. It wants to wear me, settle into a chair in my house and stay awhile. That’s not how I like my perfume. I like it closer to the skin, as my readers likely know. Diptyque Do Son was one I wanted to revisist, as it is what I’d call a gentle less intense tuberose. I had tried Diptyque Do Son in the eau de toilette version several times. For some reason it didn’t stick, so I kept having to try it again. It never really  stuck with me, or impressed me enough to want to wear it But I knew I had to revisit it, and perhaps in my new found obsession with tuberose I would magically love it. Well, wouldn’t you know, the store I went to had a) no tester for Do Son and b) no eau de toilette in stock. They only had the recently released eau de parfum version of Do Son, which Diptyque describes as “A familiar yet reinvented interpretation, with accentuated, enhanced major notes… the Eau de Parfum expresses itself with even more personality, audacity, intensity and tenacity”. I get a little crazy when it comes to perfume and in a fit, I decided to just buy Do Son in eau de parfum – without even smelling it. Risky, I know, but that’s the Bond Girl in me. I leapt. And I’m glad I did. It is a gorgeous, sweet, musky tuberose, with some yummy fruity notes that play off the intense vibrating tuberose scent, calming it perfectly. It does stay close to the skin, but lasts quite a long time. It’s so rich and creamy and is officially My Favourite Perfume Right Now.

Verdict? I love it. It feels sexy, feminine and pretty, and is the kind of floral that will work in cool or warm weather. And it does purr on the skin.

Diptyque Do Son eau de parfum in the 75ml bottle is available on their website for $140 US, at these Diptyque stores, and at select retailers. I got mine at Holt Renfrew.

Jasmine Smells Sexier At Night: Serge Lutens À la Nuit Perfume

Jasmine Smells Sexier At Night: Serge Lutens À la Nuit Perfume

Yes, another jasmine perfume has wriggled its way into my collection. Its a simple, drop-dead gorgeous soliflore, but only in the complicated soliflore way of Serge Lutens. Which means that while the jasmine stands center stage in À la Nuit, it has some supporting players, namely green notes (fresh) honey (sweet & slightly carnal) clove, benzoin & musk. There is that dirty indolic aspect of jasmine but Uncle Serge manages to hide it under layers of jasmine blossoms. I smell it if I bury my nose in my skin – a slightly cuminy sweaty skin note. Probably his mix of jasmine and musk, actually, as we know Uncle Serge loves him some dirty musk. Pere de Pierre’s review of Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan can tell you a bit more, although, like Dane, I only got occaisonal whiffs of naughty dirty undies from MKK and was sort of disapointed. Such is the shape shifter nature of musks.

The jasmine IS indolic, as I mentioned, and I will leave the description of indolic to the brilliant Luca Turin. Don’t be discouraged, dear reader. The indoles are only part of À la Nuit. That said, you would want to try this before buying to see how you feel about them….

Excerpt from  a review in the The Guide (which you NEED if you love perfume)

‘One of the many difficulties that nature has strewn in the path of perfumers is the vexed problem of indole. Indole is a small molecule made up of a hexagonal ring and a pentagonal ring fused together and nitrogen. It and its kissing cousin skatole are breakdown products of the digestion of food and are therefore found in feces. They are also found in large amounts in white flowers such as jasmine, ylang, etc possibly to attend to the eclectic tastes of pollinating insects. In the textbooks, their odor is described as, ‘fecal, floral in dilution’, which is nonsense: they smell like shit when in shit and like flowers when in flowers. By itself indole smells like ink and mothballs; skatole smells like bad teeth and that wonderful tripe sausage called andouilette. What, you ask, is the problem? If you measure the amount of indole in, say, jasmine oil and make up a synthetic mix with the same amount of the pure stuff, it will smell of mothballs whereas the natural one doesn’t. Why? Nobody knows. But that is the main reason why white-flower reconstitutions seldom have the back-of-the-throat rasp of the real thing. Perfumers put in as much indole as they dare, but usually stop short of the full dose.’

Excerpt from: Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, 2008. You can purchase it here or at a bookstore.

Pretty sure Catherine Deneuve is wearing À la Nuit here…

Serge Lutens À la Nuit is, in the end, a gorgeous jasmine perfume. It isn’t “soft” at first, but dries down beautifully on skin to a masterful blend of beauty. I find it is close to By Kilian Love and Tears, with Love and Tears being a little more fancy and embellished. I love them both, and which I choose to wear depends on my mood. If anything, the By Kilian is more formal, whereas À la Nuit purrs on the skin, likely thanks the Lutensian musk. It is jasmine blossoms with fresh green leaves when you first spray, and by jasmine blossoms I mean A LOT OF JASMINE BLOSSOMS. I love that phase, but in the interest of others, I’d advise one to go easy  when applying or  apply half an hour before leaving the house. This is a case where dabbing vs spraying could give a gentler effect. Its a languid, dreamy jasmine that is indeed, perfect for wearing at night. The sweet honey and warm resinous musky notes linger on the skin with the jasmine as the evening wears on. Why is jasmine so sexy, with all those indoles and everything? Aromatherapy says jasmine is an aphrodisiac, and is said to boost one’s libido and sexual desire. Does it? My experience has shown I “feel” sexy when wearing jasmine, so perhaps that helps? I also find that white floral perfumes almost always invite positive comments from men (and women for that matter) so that is also…something.

…and here, too.

What do you think? Do you have a favourite perfume that makes you feel sexy? Or one that gets a positive reaction from strangers your partner? Share!

Serge Lutens À la Nuit is available at specialty retailers across North America, or you can order online from Luckyscent in the US and The Perfume Shoppe in Canada

Chanel Jersey Makes Lavender Perfume Sexy

Chanel Jersey Makes Lavender Perfume Sexy

 

Chanel’s lastest offering in their Exclusive line is the lavender based Jersey. It was released to mixed reviews, but, luckily I know I have to judge things for myself so I still really wanted to check it out, given my mad love for Chanel perfumes. Chanel Jersey is named after the ubiquitous fabric Chanel took from menswear and make accessible for women, and the perfume Jersey takes the scent lavender, almost always used in men’s colognes, and adds a feminine touch. Chanel’s website says Jersey is meant to be evocative of a meadow lush with lavender. Well, doesn’t that sound beautiful! The notes are given as lavender, vanilla and musk. I think I detect a powdery iris in there somewhere, and perhaps a warm wood in the base, but that could be tonka. By “think I detect” I mean that this scent is so soft & delicate, no one note jumps out at you.

Lavender fields in Provence, France

On first sniff I thought “pretty!”. Then, as it dried down I thought “too sweet!” then “too powdery”! I thought why would I buy Chanel for a simple powdery lavender scent? But, as is often my wont, I had a turnaround. I have been know to hate a perfume on first sniff, only to later love it more than anything. So I never really say never with regards to perfume. Hours after applying the Jersey, the scent left behind was a delicate, warm, cuddly and cozy skin scent. It had a little something of the Guerlain warmth that I love so much in it, that warm skin smell that is very hard to describe without actually smelling it. So I thought, well, I will re-test and see what I think on subsequent wearings.

Lavender honey ice cream

Well, turns out I like it. It is pretty, soft and clean smelling. There is a snuggly aspect that works even in warmer weather, likely due to the cooling & calming lavender notes. The musk/tonka combination adds a sweetness to the dry down that is sweet & enticing on the skin. It has a lovely spa effect, which I suppose one might expect from lavender. If you like soft elegant perfumes and you like lavender, I recommend you add Chanel Jersey to your sniff list. Verdict? Love.

EDITED March 9, 2013: bought it. After wearing my samples down to the last drops, I knew I had to have it. The sweet vanilla musk in the base of Chanel Jersey is actually the sexiest skin scent evah. Sigh.



Chanel Jersey is an Exclusive perfume, available at Chanel Boutiques and their website.




Annick Goutal Songes Has Me Dreaming of Jasmine

Annick Goutal Songes Has Me Dreaming of Jasmine



 

Annick Goutal Songes is a deeply sexy and lush jasmine perfume. For over-the-top, stiletto heels & red lipstick sexy, Annick Goutal Passion is really the queen, but Songes is the queen of sultry summer perfumes that are bursting with white florals and hot skin. I’d say sweaty skin, but that’s not quite poetic enough for an Annick Goutal perfume. I prefer the more floral eau de toilette to the more vanillic eau de parfum. Songes is like a steamy hot summer day, the kind that makes you want to move slowly, and perhaps not at all. The word that comes to mind is “languid”. 

…the sweet life, indeed
Songes starts out by coming on to you in the most shameless way. She is not hiding her ripe & succulent jasmine, ylang and frangipani, but instead sheds everything and just lies back on a bed overflowing with intoxicating white flowers. Slowly the warm cushy scent of gentle vanilla wafts up from the lush bed of flowers, adding a sweet and edible aspect that makes you want to bury your nose in this scent. Songes was allegedly inspired by a walk through an exotic garden on the island of Mauritius at night fall. As the air cools, the heat from the gardens rise and the tantalizing scent of tropical flowers surround you like a spell. You will need to find a slowly swaying hammock in a cool shady forrest, and lie down, while you float away on a jasmine-y cloud of flowers.
Night blooming jasmine; cestrum nocturnum
What makes Annick Goutal Songes sexy is that it comes on strong then pulls back a little. The heady and seductive scent that draws you in slowly subsides and becomes part of your skin, meaning if anyone wants to smell it, they will have to get close. And because the air is sweltering, getting closer will only make things, well, hotter. Best place to wear it? As Chanel would say, wear perfume where you want to be kissed.