Escentric Molecules – Molecule 01- Proof That Science Makes Perfume Sexy

Escentric Molecules – Molecule 01- Proof That Science Makes Perfume Sexy

Normally when I review a perfume, I have to edit myself, as I could literally go on and on, and on, and on, etc. I am going to reign myself in right now, and keep it simple. Molecule 01 demands it.

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Escentric Molecules is a simple perfume line, but not simple in a boring way. You can read more about the concept of the creator and artist behind Escentric Molecules, Geza Schoen, here. But, in the spirit of this simple line, I will share Mr Schoen’s perfect analogy: Molecule is to perfume as Bauhaus is to Baroque. In the perfume I am reviewing today, Molecule 01, Geza Schoen used one single ingredient – Iso E Super, which is a trademarked aromachemical owned by IFF (International Fragrance & Flavours) known as  7-acetyl, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-octahydro-1,1,6,7-tetramethyl naphthalene. IFF describes it as:

Smooth, woody, amber with unique aspects giving a ”velvet” like sensation. Used to impart fullness and subtle strength to fragrances. Superb floralizer found in the majority of newer fine fragrances and also useful in soaps. Richer in the desirable gamma isomer than isocyclemone e.

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It is very hard to describe a scent molecule in words. It’s deceptive, because you think – oh it is an ingredient, aka a note. It’s not really a note, per se, but more of an evolving scent-sensual sensation, if that makes sense. Molecule 01 has taken Iso E Super and made it magical. It is often used to boost other notes in a perfume, or to ground them. It diffuses and adds longevity to woodsy, warm and floral perfumes. Many perfumistas, in fact, claim that if given some actual Iso E Super (available from perfume suppliers online) they could create their own Molecule 01. This is where my respect for the artist comes in. I have tried two homemade versions and sorry – no thanks. Geza Schoen isn’t recreating The Emperor’s New Clothes with his Escentric Molecules, or just tossing together some crap in bottles hoping suckers will come along and throw money at him. He is an exacting artist, and that is why Molecule 01 is still one of the best selling fragrances at LA’s Lucky Scent, perfume ground zero for the USA’s west coast.

What’s funny is that I don’t like the perfumes that use Iso E Super in copious amounts. Even though it adds a velvety smooth accord, when it’s used with too many other notes, it makes me feel nauseated and suffocated. Ormonde Jayne is one of them, and after 15 minutes in one of her perfumes, I have to hose myself off. Or, use my special method of unsavoury scent neutralization. Don’t get me wrong – Ormonde Jayne perfumes are lovely, beautifully composed and elegant. Jean Claude Ellena loves Iso E Super and uses it in some of his gorgeous and elegant compositions for Hermes, which to my nose are like nails on a blackboard. I said gorgeous and elegant, and I recognize gorgeous perfumes when they happen, even if I can’t stand them on my own skin. Seriously people, with perfume, as well as any art, there is no accounting for taste.

Skin Musk Ad dalybeauty

So. Molecule 01 – what does it smell like? Sexy, warm skin that is clean, but not in a sterile way. Clean in a way that perhaps there were two of you (or more) in that shower. Woodsy is a word that comes to mind, but also musk – musk in the 1970s model of musks. Sexy yet clean. It wafts in and out all day long, and some have said that Molecule 01 has pheromonic-like effect. Do pheromones in perfume really work, or actually make one sexually or sensually more attractive? All I know is that I find it addictive in that “I can’t stop smelling this” kind of way, and if I smell it on someone else, I want to get closer to them.

Skin Musk series 70s dalybeauty

I’d say it is probably the most masculine of my perfumes, which is odd for me, as pretty pretty florals are my signature. Yet I love it. And,  I think it is perfect for the man who simply wants to smell wonderful, but not perfumed. One of Molecule 01’s biggest tricks is how it disappears for hours and seamlessly blends with one’s own chemistry, only to reappear hours later, like a phantom. Hands down, Molecule 01 is the single biggest compliment getter in my collection. You have to wear it to get it. I have friends who wouldn’t believe the hype, then I’ve sprayed them. The next day, they are trying to find out where they can buy it. Molecule 01 is a perfume I wear when I can’t decide what perfume to wear.

I don't know what this smells like, but I kinda want to.

I don’t know what this smells like, but I kinda want to.

I got my Molecule 01 at Etiket Boutique in Montreal. I’m sure it’s sold somewhere in Toronto, but I don’t know where. It’s sold at Barneys, as well as Lucky Scent – of course! The value of the CAN dollar has probably caused an increase in CAN pricing. I don’t recall paying $170 for my bottle, but perhaps I blocked that part out.

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!

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.

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.

I Pour Champagne In My Bath

I Pour Champagne In My Bath

The story goes that the perfume house of Caron created Royal Bain de Caron exclusively to satisfy the whims of a Californian millionaire who wanted to replace his extravagant champagne baths. It was originally called Royal Bain de Champagne, but, like Yves St Laurent’s Champagne perfume that became Yvresse, the Champagne people of France had something to say about the use of that word, so it became Royal Bain de Caron. Whoever it was created for, it was originally launched as a perfume to scent the bath (an “eau parfumée pour le bain” if you will) in the 20s, and became an eau de toilette in the early 40s. It is also allegedly one of the first scents marketed as a unisex or shared scent. The ad below encourage one to use it “Before the bath. During the bath. After the bath”. Rather clever marketing, I’d say, as one would need a pretty steady supply of this perfume to keep that up.

 

 

Ad from the 60s

I have the current eau de toilette formula of Royal Bain de Caron. There isn’t any discussion out there regarding reformulation, so I imagine the scent is fairly true to what it once was. I absolutely love it. I can smell the “Champagne” scent in there for sure. There is a slightly sweet and effervescent fruity note, sort of peachy or apricot, that eludes to the sweet fruity nature of the drink. But there are no fruits listed in the notes, so perhaps it is a lovely perfume mirage. The top notes are listed as floral, and the Caron website mentions lilac. I can smell it for sure, but it is more like a soft powdery lilac soap than a strong floral note. The heart notes are delicious creamy and resinous- opoponax, benzoin and incense- but they are never strong or overwhelming. I adore these notes, especially the incense. They are so smooth that they are almost meditative, which seems reasonable for incense in perfume. The base is a soft woodsy vanilla, with a gentle powdery aspect maintained throughout the development of the scent. And I definitely pick up some soft sexy musk notes. The bottle itself is cute and cheeky, and to this day, it still is meant to look like a bottle of Champagne.

 

An orignal ad from the 20s

 

The fruity “mirage” I mentioned gives a a sweet, almost candy-like impression, that adds an almost edible aspect to Royal Bain de Caron. This is what makes this perfume so remarkable to me- it is a clean, soapy perfume meant to approximate an utterly decadent bath, all the while smelling like sweet skin that invites you in to snuggle up and get closer. It is never strong, never overwhelming, and just basically purrs on the skin. Personally, I can’t wait to pour some in the bath, because the idea of perfuming my bath with, well, perfume, is my kind of decadent. And of course, with a glass of Veuve Cliquot to go with. Pink Veuve, even…..

 

Yes, I wear my jewels in the bath…

 

Happily, Royal Bain de Caron is available for a very reasonable price online. Google it.