Saturday, November 26, 2011

Revisiting perfumes I've disliked

No, this is not me.

As I'm about to move within 3 weeks from now I've been in a major clear out mode recently. I've been going through all of my stuff, forcing myself to categorise it into "keep", "give away" or "throw away". My beloved perfume sample collection has been subjected to this as well. There are some that I'm very sure I'll never ever want to wear again (Hello Secretations Magnefiques and Serge Lutens Miel de Bois). But there are others I'm not so sure of how to handle. These scents I typically tried on once and either mildly disliked or just felt so indifferent about I never bothered to try them again. So now I've decided it's time to take on a few of them on and decided once and for all if they are keepers or not.

Frederic Malle - Une Rose. If I'd play "Guess the recipe" it would be the following:
  • 3 parts rose
  • 2 parts soap
  • 1 part fresh cow urine
  • 1 part beef broth
Does this sound like something you'd like to wear? First time I tried it I nearly shreiked in horror but the weirdo in me begged to give it a second chance. This time around I do like it better, it's resonating with the most sad, showy and melodramatic parts of myself. It's a "look how you make me feel, I'm all messed up and I'm desperatly trying to imply it's your fault"-kind if scent. Lets hope I won't find too many occasions to wear it - but I will keep it.

Tauer Perfumes - Incense Rose I remember trying this one on and thinking that the combo roses and washing powder felt old and that the sharpness hurt my nose a little bit. Shouldn't Tauer be able to do better? Now I tried it again and I can't believe I'm remembering the same perfume. The intro is absolutely wonderful, full of spices, reminding me of "glögg", the lovely Swedish mulled wine that's very popular here this time of year. I don't get a lot of roses at all but I do get LOTS of spicy incense. To me this is the perfect Christmas scent and I can't believe I even considered getting rid of my sample. 

Frederic Malle - En Passant. Bright and cheery lilacs. Washing detergent overdrive. When I was 12 real lilacs used to be my favourite smell, smelling them in En Passant makes me feel old. Another sample to be sent away.

Etat Libre d'Orange - Putain de Palaces. I'm perfectly aware of that this is one of the most loved and cherished ELdO scent. But it just doesn't work on my skin. I first tried it this summer and got "Suffocation by Play Doh". Now I also get bitter almonds, unwashed bodies and sun tan lotion. This sample is going away to someone who has better use for it.

And the winner ....

of a sample of Carmaine from House of Matriarch, drawn bu, is.... non other than....



Please mail your address to me at solafsdottir (at) gmail (dot) com. I think I might have it somewhere but I'd just like a double check that you haven't moved or anything :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Carmaine by House of Matriarch - and a draw!

Earlier this autumn I had the immense luck to win a bottle of Carmine from "House of Matriarch" from Ines blog, "All I am - A Redhead". And it wasn't just any bottle. I was stunned when I went to pick up my prize at the post office and realized that the bottle I had won one was of the same type as depicted above. A heavy ornamental crystal thing with a silver top that looked so classy I'm seriously thinking about getting a new dressing table just to have somewhere proper to display it!

But the best thing was not the bottle but what came inside. Carmine starts out fruity, peppery, smoky and do I get a hint of stables? What happens next seems to be a different thing every time I wear Carmine. Sometimes I have gotten what I can only describe as a chocolate rose. The rose part here has none of that aldehyde washing powder lift that comes in many rose perfumes. This is the soft, sensual scent you'll get of the innermost part of a real booming rose. Imagine that matched with a smooth, highly aromatic chocolate, full of those substances that makes our happy hormones dance in joy.

On other occasions I've been taken back to India, riding a train on an icy cold night. Me and my husband cuddled up under a blanket, warming ourselves holding cups of sweet spicy chai while watching people go on with their lives outside the train windows. I also get fruitiness, this one is very hard to describe. Imagine an extraterrestial hybrid of Thai custard apples, sapodilla and dark caramel sauce and you're somewhere near. During dry down the gourmand chocolate note fades and everything goes softer. There are lots of sweet resins in there. There is faint vanilla, sometimes I think of Coca Cola. 

A man enjoying his chai
Carmine is unique, it's not like any scent I own or have tried. That's not strange given it's part of the Brave New World project by the Natural Perfume Guild. The aim of the project was to put focus on new ingredients, that have only been available to perfumes for the last 10 years. I have to admit I don't have a clue about what half of the officially listed ingredients in Carmine smell like individually. But I do know that Carmine smells good.

And now to the best part - the draw! One lucky reader will receive a sample of Carmine drawn from my own bottle. Just leave a comment below before Thursday the 24 of November and you'll be included in the draw. Contestants may live anywhere in the world and I will not be responsible for loss or damage caused by the post office.

Official Notes:
TOP NOTES:  Hiba Wood, Kewra, Tagetes (Egyptian)
HEART NOTES: Black Pepper, Michelia Alba, Michelia Champaca, Davana BASE NOTES:  Patchouli, Vetiver, Tonka, Oakmoss,  White Copal, Bruizinho, Tobacco, Chai Masala, Africa Stone, Celestial Amber, Sandalwood (Africa)


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Le Nez du Vin

If I'm going to list one passion in my life, except perfume, friends and family, that would be wine. In order to pursuit this hobby, in a somewhat structured and seriously looking manner, me and some friends have a small wine circle. That means we meet up for themed wine tastings at one anothers homes every three weeks or so.

One of the members in our group has invested in the box depicted above. It's a 54 piece collection of little bottles and in every one of them there is liquid that smells like a scent note that is present in wine. For instance, there are "Lemon", "Hay", "Musk", "Dark Chocolate", "Yeast" and many others. There are also descriptions of all the notes and some info about what notes are found in what type of wine.

I found this idea sooooo nifty, I'd love to have a scent library with "clean" notes to turn to for reference. Smelling the bottles is a little bit tricky, though. I found that you have to hold them at a precise distance from your nose while smelling. If they are to close the main note gets obscured by the carrier and if they are to far away tou won't pick anything up. 20 cm (say 8 inches) from the nose seemed to be ideal.

Another thing I realised when smelling those samples is that I'm completely anosmic to the musk included in the box. This has made me thinking, the notes that I've interpreted as musk before, is that musk but another kind than in the box? Or is it something that perfumers tend to put in perfumes to go with musk? I've no idea. One thing is for sure, I'll pay more attention to second opinions whenever wearing musk heavy secnts from now on...

The box is sold by a company named "Le Nez du Vin" and in the picture is their "big box" containing notes from all different types of wines. There are also smaller sets available for red wine, white wine, coffee, notes one get from oaking wine and there is one set with smells of defects, as well.

Pics and more info at:  Le Nez du Vin

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Comparing the 3 lavenders of Serge Lutens

First time I tried Serge Lutens Forreau Noir (click link for full review) I fell in love with it and since then, every time I've wore it, it just gets better. The intro kicks me in the stomach, in a good way. It's cool, has just the right amount of masculinity I feel comfortable wearing in a perfume and it's dirty as some random guy flashing himself to you in the subway during rush hour (yes, that did happen to me recently). I've also recently started to pick out a Swedish candy named Lakrisal in there. If I'll ever allow mysef a bell jar, this one is at the very top of my list!

But Uncle Serge does have other scents with lavender as well, there are Encens et Lavande and Gris Clair. Be sure, they are all worth trying and are very far from what comes to mind when thinking of the lavender potpourries found in grannys closet.

Encens et Lavande approaches the lavender from a very different angle than FN. Where FN is full of sweet gourmand notes as vanilla and caramel EetL is not. If I'm going to summarize EetL in three adjectives, it's dry, green and savoury. Fragrantica only lists 2 notes in EetL,  incense and lavender. The incense is a massively green and herby one. To me, it's magical and ever changing, its building blocks seem to be rearranging themselves constantly. What I one second interpretes as incense smells like sage, oregano and juniper the next.
Gris Clair I strongly associate with a February morning. You wake up, the air is crisp, clean and has that wintery dryness about itself. When looking out the window you see frozen fields, touched by frost, stretching out in all directions.

My first try was while wearing a bikini on the beach on my Cretan holiday a few weeks back. In that setting, GC was wrong. But, back in Sweden, I've been wearing it a lot. It is rather similar to Forreau Noir, in fact I view it as a weekday version of FN. The smoke and gourmand notes of FN are all gone, the vanilla is less prominent while the dryness of the lavender is the same. In order to get an even more strict and formal feel, GC has had some iris added to the blend.

I've worn GC for work every day this week and I'm finding it to be an amazing work scent. It's strict with a proffessional feel to it. That initial hint of masculinity feels appropriate, maybe because the role I have at work is one that is normally very male dominated. I know, my intro says I'm a sommelier. I am, as I do have a sommerlier degree but that's not where the money comes from. I am ... now brace yourself...I'll just mention this once and then never talk about it on this blog again...ok, now...I'm a Java programmer. And GC is perfect for that.

For more reviews, see:
The Non-Blonde: Fourreau Noir, Gris Clair,
From Top To Bottom: Encense et Lavande

Notes according to Fragrantica:
Forreau Noir: lavender, tonka, almond, musk
Encense et Lavande: incense and lavender
Gris Clair: lavender, iris, tonka, amber and wood


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Le Labo - Gaiac 10 + help needed with ideas about good workplace scents

As time goes by, I'm not on maternity leave anymore but I've started my new job now. The shift to everyday working life has been easy but there are things I haven't gotten used to yet. One of them is not being able to dab on perfune whenever I like. Where I work "strong perfumes and scented candles" are not allowed. I've even signed a paper saying that I acknowledge this. I think the scented candle part is hilarious. In order for them to mention it, there must have been a "scented candle incedent" at some point in the past. Just thinking abou this makes me smile. The perfume part of the deal, though, I've choosen to interpret this as it's ok that I wear scents that are discreet and do not have a big sillage.

My choice of work scent for the first week has been Le Labos Gaiac 10. It's a very nice, uncomplicated scent. It starts out woody. I don't know what real gaiac wood smells like, but the woody note I get from Gaiac 10 is a green one, it reminds me of a lighter take on cedar and I do get a hint of cumin to go with it that I haven't seen mentioned by anyone else. The wood stays for approximately 2 hours and after that there is a straight forward and skin hugging musk. The musk scent remains for hours and hours, I've put on Gaiac 10 before leaving in the morning at 7 a.m. and still being able to smell the musk when I've gotten home around 6 p.m.  It's listed as a masculine but I only find the beginning to be a tiny bit on the masculine side. The musk part feels very unisex.

As a work scent Gaiac 10 is a very good one. It stays close to the body so it's unlikely to annoy anyone. I only get it when sniffing my wrist directly and, to be honest, if any perfume foe at work would do that they will just have to live with getting whatever perfume I've choosen to wear...  Another thing about Gaiac 10 that I like is that the musk packs just enough dirtyness to keep itself interesting but not enough to make me feel all inappropriate.

I'll have to work, day in, day out, for many many years now. Therefore I'd love to get some ideas of other good workplace scents, discreet but not boring, please. Any ideas, anyone?