Perfume Math: One You Tube Reviewer + Cold Michigan Weather = Beautiful Olfactory Music

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Copper Skies.

No? Haven't heard of it yet? It would be rude to ask if you've been living under a rock, so I won't. (but seriously?! have you been on a long vacation somewhere with no contact with the rest of the world?!)

Copper Skies is the sophomore effort from You Tube Perfume Pundit-Turned-Perfumer John Pegg, AKA Kerosene Trewthe. It was released this year with another scent, Creature, in Pegg's line of hand-blended scents. The line's name is, naturally, Kerosene.

I have in my possession samples of the first
Kerosene scent, R'Oud Elements, and I love it. It will be reviewed here sooner than later. But I had to jump directly to Copper Skies because - well, because it's perfection. 

"I'm a simple person, but my scents won't be."
-Kerosene Trewthe

Background for those of you who don't already know:
Kerosene Trewthe has been reviewing perfumes on YouTube for awhile now. He's got a loyal following of people addicted to his soft-spoken, intelligent reviews. They may also tune in to see which hat he's wearing that day. I enjoy his sense of humor which is, again, intelligent. John is not in-your-face with anything, but is entertaining and informative nonetheless. I enjoy his deadpan delivery when he tosses out the occasional sarcastic comment or witty thought. He's not hard on the eyes, either, amiright?

Since he hails from just North of the Motor City, John is surrounded by the automotive industry. He describes his experiences working on motorcycles as the origin of his online moniker - and now brand name:

"As I worked, I loved the scent of dirt, grease, oil and sometimes blood from a busted knuckle. I've always been captivated by scents; gasoline, stamped steel, warm oil, and eventually a name was forged, Kerosene."

Even the most passionate perfume lover can sometimes grow restless, and John (and his nose) did. What's a guy to do but create his own scents? An indie perfumer was born. Sure, it sounds easy when I say it like that, but it's quite clear that there's a lot of hard work, creativity, natural talent, and passion involved in the whole thing. John has currently released three scents and is about to release a fourth! I happen to know he's got several more in the works, and at least one or two of them are "feminines".

Kerosene fragrances are quickly making their mark in the fragrance world. With no training, John has single-handedly wowed fragrance lovers not just once but all three times he's released a scent. That's an amazing track record! At about the time Creature and Copper Skies were released, the Kerosene line was picked up by upscale fragrance boutique MiN New York, which also carries heavy-hitters like Andy Tauer*, L'Artisan Parfumeur,  Etat Libre d'Orange, Montale, Kilian, Keiko Mecheri, and Xerjoff. Speaking of Andy Tauer, he and John made an appearance recently at MiN at a "meet the perfumers" type gathering. They seemed to get along famously. Keep your eyes peeled in the Fall - I heard from a little birdie that John will be back in NY!

*Beware, Andy Tauer! By all accounts, John is a challenger
 to your "World's Nicest and Most Modest Perfumer" reputation,
though I'm sure you'll both gladly share the title. 

Image courtesy of John Pegg**
Copper Skies

Where R'oud Elements was built around oud, Copper Skies was built around amber. And amber is one of my favorite things!

I have smooth ambers, warm ambers, dirty ambers, herbal ambers, and silky ambers in my collection. What I had no idea I needed was a spicy amber. But now I have the perfect scent to enter into that empty slot I never knew I had.

Copper Skies is exactly how amber should be.
Sweet, but not overly.
Rich, but not headache inducing.
This fragrance is smooth, slightly smokey,
 earthy and delectable.

The description above, borrowed from MiN NY, is close to perfect. I would add "spicy" to it, but otherwise it's right on the money. Cooper Skies is a beautifully-blended swirl of sugar, spice, and everything nice. However, it's probably most aptly described as a masculine-leaning unisex scent. 

Image courtesy of John Pegg**

Amber, Cedar, Sweet tobacco leaves, Honeycomb, Basil and Cloves

About the bottle
In John's own words:
"Each bottle will be unique, always painted with high quality automotive paint and clearcoat.'

The bottle, glass coated with copper paint, is capped with burlap wrapped in copper wire. There's a hand-stamped copper metal label on the front. All of this is currently produced by hand, by John.

But back to my impressions of Copper Skies...
This scent opens strong and sweet. And spicy. I think I mentioned that already? But it's worth mentioning again. There's a nearly peppery feeling in the top and, actually, through much of the heart of this perfume. I almost want to name it "cinnamon" but that may give the impression that it's sweeter than it really is. 

This is a beautiful amber, from head to toe. When the scent is first sprayed, you know it's an amber, and that remains clear until the last little bits fade from your skin. That fading, by the way, takes eons. This scent has impressive projection and lasting power. This is no wimpy 'fume, folks. 

Toward the beginning of Copper Skies' development, there's an herbal nuance folded into the spices. Cloves and basil aren't easy to pick out, as well-blended as they are here, but they add beautifully to the mix. This stage also carries a beautiful tobacco note that I just can't get enough of. I was at first intimidated by those notes, since tobacco and I have a sketchy history. Me no likey ashtray! But I have recently learned that a well-done tobacco note is a thing to admire and appreciate. This one is better than well-done. It's slightly sweet and a little bit grassy, and I can't imagine Copper Skies working well without it.

I'm sure there's some labdanum in Copper Skies - it's one of the go-to notes for amber perfumes. That said, this perfume is not soft, warm and fuzzy. That doesn't mean it's not beautiful and it doesn't mean I wouldn't snuggle right up next to someone wearing it (it has fast become one of my favorite comfort scents, in fact) but there's a strength and spine in Copper Skies that is not found in some labdanum-heavy ambers. I love the image above right - the bridge in the setting sun. I think it perfectly demonstrates the warmth and glow of Copper Skies while also depicting the industrial edge this scent has. 

Amber fiend that I am, I will probably wear Copper Skies in all but the most humid weather, but it really sings in cool air. I imagine you're going to need to rip it out of my hands, come Fall.

Final thoughts...
I have to say, I'm really impressed with the whole Kerosene brand. In the spirit of full disclosure, John and his beautiful girlfriend are part of a group of fragrance fiends I consider family - my PLP family***. But even if that weren't the case, I'd still be impressed. From the way John has developed such well-crafted scents, to the clever bottle concept, all the way to the professional but hands-on way he's promoting the brand, well - what's not to like? 

Kerosene fragrances are available exclusively at MiN New York.

Be sure to take advantage of their Concierge Service to try out Kerosene's scents.

MiN staff are incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, and helpful people I've encountered in recent customer service history. If you're in the area, make sure you stop in and say hi. I heard the couch is really, really comfortable. ;)    (Yes, they're part of my PLP family, too!)

Join Kerosene's group on Facebook to stay in-the-loop!

Here is a little bit about both Copper Skies and Creature in John's own words, in his own format:

**The bottle images above are appearing here for the first time. John shared them with me just today. They're "the new, new bottles".  That sounds redundant, but it's not: he's tweaked the new design a bit and this is the latest version. 

***Carlos, I told you I'd get PLP into one of these reviews!  ;)

Nectars des Îles: a fabulous trip to the islands!


I've gotta tell you: I'm ready for some downtime.

Doesn't that beach look amazing?! And the hammocks. I could sure as hell use some time in those!

The weather has turned here - in fact, we never got much "Winter" here anyway. But more than warm air and sand and surf, I'm craving quiet. Peaceful, blissful silence. If the loudest thing I could hear was the crashing of waves, I'd be quite pleased.

My fibromyalgia has been interfering with my sleep majorly, and I'm painful all of the time. And with two kids, I don't get a lot of quiet.

What's a girl to do? Well, apparently selling your kids for plane tickets is illegal, so I just spray a lovely tropical perfume. Copiously.

My drug of choice is Nectars des Îles from Envoyage Perfumes.

The eagle has nothing to do with the scent - I just photographed the bottle on a book. 

Nectars des Îles was created by Juan Perez, who is a friend of mine, in collaboration with Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes. Juan makes decadent soaps and candles in Puerto Rico; you can check them out at Exotic Island Products. Shelley makes gorgeous perfumes in Carmel-by-the-Sea (California) which is not only her home but her inspiration as well. You can check her scents out at En Voyage Perfumes.

Juan's creation, Nectars des Îles, was released through En Voyage Perfumes along with Shelley's creation, Vents Ardents. They are both stand-alone scents but were designed to also work well layered (worn at the same time)! Both were well-received in Perfume Land last year. 

Today, I'm talking about Nectars des Îles only, though. Not because Vents Ardents isn't good (it is!) but because the one that really "takes me there" is Nectars des Îles. I'll happily discuss Vent Ardents in another post.

Nectars des Îles originates from the Caribbean and is homage to the delicious nectars and sultry flowers of the islands. It recreates a bouquet of lush island flowers with bold creamy gardenia and tiare petals at the center of the bouquet, accented with multi colored frangipani flowers.

I don't really have to say anything after you read that little blurb above, do I? This perfume is gorgeous. Gardenia. Tiare. Frangipani. Gorgeous tropical flowers, perfectly blended into a sensual perfume that's a delight to apply - and reapply.

But that's not the whole story, that blurb up there. The scent opens bright and tinged with green. It speaks of beauty and pulses with life. No, really. As soon as you catch the first whiff, you know this perfume is vital, beautiful, and very, very well-made.

Soon, the tropical flowers swirl around you. In addition to the florals named above (tiare, gardenia, frangipani), jasmine and ylang ylang are present. I'm delighted to report that all of these divas are so beautifully placed that they do not overwhelm the wearer. Wearing Nectars des Îles I feel like a lei of gorgeous white flowers has been draped around my neck - but this is the most lovely (and most likely expensive) lei ever made. There is not a moment that can be considered cloying or indolic. Nothing smells "too-too". These are tropical flowers presented in their most perfect state.

Eventually, Nectars des Îles softens thanks to some delicious sandalwood, soft and warm, and vanilla, soft and sweet.

Honestly, the scent is fairly linear. There are brighter, juicier parts at the top and a warming and softening at the base, but throughout the development are those luscious flowers. There is also something just the slightest bit spicy from top through to the bottom. I suppose it must be one of the flowers, but whatever it is it adds the most perfect nuance that just elevates this scent from "great" to "really, really special".

Top: Wild Oranges, Mandarin, Green Citron, Osmanthus Nectar.

Heart: Fresh Gardenia and Tiare petal accord, Absolutes of two frangipani species, Ylang Ylang and Jasmine auriculatum.

Base: Sandalwood Absolute from Vanuatu, Tahitian Vanilla, Amber and Fine White Musks.

I am delighted to whisper this little secret in your ear: Juan Perez is working on some more perfumes! I can't wait to smell them. And at some point I'll be reviewing some of his soaps for a group blogging project. Stay tuned!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go spray some more vacation on myself and pretend that there's not a sink full of dirty dishes calling my name...

You can keep your Billionaire Boyfriend - I like the poor one.

Private jets, superyachts, diamonds and roulette. It's a dream of wealth and glamour where every whim is indulged. Imagine a vintage convertible whisking you down the Amalfi Coast to an elegant dinner, taking you to a time and place where a gentleman would never let a lady pay. Live the fantasy with Billionaire Boyfriend. Indulgent and sensual, this floral-oriental fragrance opens with succulent fruit notes, including bergamot and tangerine wrapped in lush green leaves. The scent intoxicates as it blooms into a provocative blend of black jasmine, velvet orchid, gardenia, and a touch of patchouli flower. As the fragrance dries down, it exudes an addictive, sensual, warmth and a sense of wealth with hints of vetiver, cistus, sandalwood, and golden amber. Even the Billionaire bottle is one of a kind: opulent, rare, crafted, and disruptively beautiful. Inspired by a special reserve champagne bottle, the antiqued platinum-mirrored finish exemplifies the wealth and glamour of an old world atelier.

I never lead with the PR script, but here we are. It's not lazy writing, I swear! It's called "setting the scene".

We are talking extreme wealth. We are traveling in Italy! We are in classy gambling joints! We are wearing amazing jewelry worth more than our own homes! We are being driven around in a vintage vehicle with the top down, wind whipping through our pricey extensions and impeccable highlights! I'm sure the scarves around our necks are Hermes! We are hopping on private jets to go see George Clooney! We are drinking fine wines and toasting with expensive champagnes from the best grapes from the finest vineyards stomped by the pampered feet of pure and beautiful virgins! We are partying on yachts with royalty!  We are rich (or at least with a rich man!)! We are having our whims indulged! We are the "after" in Pretty Woman! We are living a life we have always wanted to live. We are so damn lucky!

Kate Walsh, who created the "boyfriend" perfume concept, has followed-up the success of her original scent, Boyfriend, with this "upscale" version, Billionaire Boyfriend.

The concept: her scents are meant to smell like the lingering blend of your lover's scent as it intermingles with your own. It smells like the pillow you sniff when he's gone. Like the shirt you hang on to and wear when he's on a business trip.


Notes: Bergamot, Tangerine, Green Lush Leaf, Black Jasmine, Black Velvet Orchid, Gardenia, Patchouli Flower, Amber, Cistus, Vetiver, Sandalwood. 
Style: Decadent. Opulent. Intoxicating. 

The feminist side of me wants to bitch about the concept here. I don't need to smell like a man, especially one who left. If I want to wear men's perfumes/colognes, I will. What if my lover is a woman? Why do I need a boyfriend? Why do I need a rich boyfriend?

But today I am just going to focus on the scent. It's pretty good.

Billionaire Boyfriend is basically a citrus-woods with an amber drydown. As suits the concept, it's a bit "masculine" (the topnotes and woody basenotes) and it's a bit "feminine"  (the gardenia and jasmine). In my world we tend to call that "unisex". And indeed: a man could wear this just as well as a woman could.

Is it "decadent, opulent, and intoxicating"?

Er... not really, in my opinion. Sometimes when I spray a scent, it just smells "wealthy" to me. Does anyone else experience that? I'm thinking in particular of some of the Hermes scents and some of the Chanels. Billionaire Boyfriend doesn't take me there. And it's certainly not intoxicating. It's not eyes-rolled-back good. But it is good.

A note about the packaging: 
This bottle is catching a lot of flack for looking "cheap". C'mon - it's not that bad. At least it's different from the rest of the bottles in Sephora! The brushed metal is nice. The cap has a cute little "BF" on it. The "diamonds" are, at least, well-done and not going to fall off of the bottle. And the flacon is not a fingerprints-magnet. I do kind of have a pet-peeve about being able to see the sprayer inside a bottle, but that's just me being picky.

For a full disclaimer: I do happen to enjoy perfumes in the "Woods" family. I think many of them do evoke a nice "expensive" frame of mind, and the others are just cozy or clean or sleek. This perfume, Billionaire Boyfriend, is a decent woody scent. I prefer deeper tones and more nuance, and I definitely prefer a more indulgent amber base, but when all is said and done, this perfume is pretty nice.

*Want a great woody perfume "for women"? Try Sonoma Scent Studio's Winter Woods. Delicious.

If you are a tentative woods-wearer, Billionaire Boyfriend is probably a great choice. It's a starter-woods. A gateway woody perfume. The patchouli is clean and light. The sandalwood is not too sharp. The florals give a good balance without taking over the whole scent. The citrus in the top is pretty nice. Billionaire Boyfriend is gifted with great longevity [insert joke here]. It's an all-day scent on me, but after the first few hours it wears fairly close to the skin.

The thing is, I think I prefer a bit more. Hard to imagine, right? A rich guy like this doesn't have all I need?! He's got no soul. I do not have a sample of the original Boyfriend, who in my head I now think of as "poor Boyfriend", but I feel like my brief test drive of that scent went better than this one.

I think Kate Walsh is onto something here, though, if you can skip past the niggling doubts being pushed upwards from your feminist hind-brain. The scent concept is clever and is a lovely antidote to the super-sweet and synthetic all-caps-bold-letters-multiple-exclamation-points FEMININES!!! being sold in the mall. If this line helps some women start branching out and trying new types of perfumes, I'm all for it. And there are certainly times I will be glad to wear Billionaire Boyfriend, his (better) poor brother, and any of the next boyfriends Kate introduces me too. I just wish this "billionaire" smelled a bit more classy.

Disclosure: This bottle was provided to me for consideration only. Read  about my policies here.

A peek inside Jo Malone's garden on the first day of Spring! [PLEASE SEE FOOTNOTE FOR CLARIFICATION]

My own pictures from my yard.

Happy Spring!
It's finally here, groundhogs be damned. In fact, it's been Spring for a week already in Virginia, if you go by the weather and not the calendar. In my yard, the crocus blooms have already faded and fallen, the daffodils are wilting, and the tulips are pushing their way up to the front of the garden. The delicate blossoms of our plum tree have already dotted the lawn like snow, and the horrid Bradford Pears* are in bloom. Phlox creeps across the neighbor's yard, crawling with pink and purple petals, and forsythia waves cheerfully from its long, skinny stalks.

Like many perfumistas, I insist that I do not wear perfumes seasonally - I love them all and wear them when the mood strikes.

Of course I wear perfumes seasonally. Just because I don't pack up the Winter ones and tuck the lot of them in a box in the back of the closet doesn't mean I wear my heavy oriental scents all year long. Let's get real: not every scent is meant for every season.

When the temperature starts to rise and the clothes start to lighten up, so do my perfumes. There's a brief window at this time of year where I start to become A Floral Girl. Straight-up, hardcore, all-flowers all of the time. That's right - Bad. Ass.

Or pretty. Actually, I like pretty flowers in the Spring.

Enter stage left: Ms. Jo Malone1.

Jo Malone1, she of the transparent, layerable scents has shown us pictures of her own garden. Olfactory pictures. And they're quite lovely!

I usually find Jo Malone's1 a bit too light and a little too temporary for my tastes. Hey, what can I say? I like power ambers and intense leathers and dirty, earthy skank. 

But the trio of gorgeous florals in London Blooms really got to me. I have been lucky enough to sample all three thanks to the wonderful generosity of my friend Adrienne of Best Things in Beauty.

The three - Iris & Lady Moore, White Lilac & Rhubarb, and Peony & Moss - are limited edition and they have the prettiest silk-screened bottles that just make me giggle.

Let's start with the one I was least interested in: Iris & Lady Moore.  I am not totally about the iris. It's a lovely flower - I would love a bed full of them! But the scent, at least in perfumes, doesn't rock my world. There are a few pretty iris perfumes, but I don't really feel a need to try them all and certainly don't need to own them all*.

But this one is pretty. Iris & Lady Moore was designed to be a play on ethereal iris and earthy geranium. The florals sit on a bed of cool, dry vetiver.

Iris & Lady Moore is an olfactory pressed white blouse. If I needed an office scent, I'd grab this one. It's also great for a bit of backbone -a spritz of liquid courage. I find a lot of iris scents to be bracing in that way. This perfume is an excellent choice for women who a) love iris, b) want a pretty but non-offensive scent, or c) want to smell clean but dislike the scent of clean musks.

Notes: tangerine, geranium, marigold, iris, orange blossom, sandalwood and vetiver. 

*Famous last words. Every time I say something like that, I end up eating my own words. Watch for an "I Love Iris" post soon. 

I think I have said before, my favorite Spring smell is lilac. I have a lovely lilac perfume made by Elizabeth W. I have sampled a few others (see some reviews here) and prefer En Passant above all others - there's just something about the yeasty note and the watery nuances that makes me smile. So, do I need another?

Well, maybe I do. Maybe White Lilac & Rhubarb is the prettiest, freshest lilac I have sampled in quite awhile. It's incredibly soft, ladylike, Spring-y, and pretty. It's even got a little hint of spice that makes it stand out just a bit from other lilac soliflores. That said, I don't really pick up rhubarb. More's the pity.

Notes: violet leaves, rhubarb, white lilac, rose, amber, musk, heliotrope.


So now it's time for my favorite. I think. Peony & White Moss.

It opens with a kick, which I love. It's a blast of berry, flowers, and greenness. Does it smell just like a peony? Well, not any peony I've smelled personally, but there's a peony-ness about it, if you get my meaning.

This scent keeps me coming back. I'm not 100% certain that's a good thing. I really can't pin down whether I'm drawn to it because it's beautiful or if I'm drawn to it because something is "off". Or maybe something is beautifully off?

Peony &  White Moss is Spring-y. It's pretty. It's maybe just the slightest bit tart. The moss is familiar - not oakmoss, please understand. It's very similar to the moss in Estee Lauder's Jasmine and White Moss, which I do enjoy.

So, I really, really can't tell if I like this one or not. But the result is I'm draining this juice at an alarming rate - and from Jo Malone's1 perspective, isn't that the point?

Notes: green sap, blackcurrant, jasmine, peony, rose, ivy, moss.

End the verdict, people, is this: these are pretty. Are they groundbreaking? No. Are they lovely additions to a perfume cabinet? Yes, especially if you're in need of pretty florals. And keep an eye on that iris one! ;)

1 Wow. I was finally noticed by Estee Lauder PR!! Sadly, it was to ask me to please clarify that "Jo Malone" is a person and she is no longer related to her former brand, which is "Jo Malone London". Basically, we all know that, but I must clarify anyway, lest you become confused.

And I guess this is where I point out that when I cheekily refer to "Jo Malone's Garden" it's not really Jo Malone's garden (duh!), it's some PR desk in a corporate office building and Jo Malone wasn't there. When I say "enter stage left: Jo Malone" she's not really there, just a figment of my imagination. When I say "she of the transparent, layerable..." it's just me babbling and I'm just trying to confuse you. Also, I will point out that when I say "I usually find Jo Malone's too light and temporary" I mean I find Jo Malone London's scents too light and temporary and I have no opinion at all on the weight or longevity of Jo Malone, the woman.

So, please re-read this whole article and mentally remind yourself that the real-life woman Jo Malone had nothing to do with these scents or my review and then, going forward, make sure you refer to the line as "Jo Malone London" - and everyone you know will give you a raised eyebrow because no one calls the line that. Except Estee Lauder. 

Central Park West by Bond No. 9 - Green. Grass green.

Central Park West. 
Home of the first car-inflicted killing in the US in 1899*.
Home of "Spook Central" and headquarters for The Ghost Busters.
Home of The Dakota, Yoko and John's home and the scene of his tragic murder - and where she still lives.
Home of The Majestic, which in turn was home of the heads of Genevese crime family (that's "mafia" to you).
Home of Julliard.
Home of the Hayden Planetarium
Home of the New York Historical Society.
Home of the American Museum of Natural History.
Home of the High School of the Performing Arts (FAME! I'm gonna live forever!)
Home of Tavern on the Green (which is literally in the park).
Home of Regis and Kelly.
Home of the home of Jerry Seinfeld. Of Bono. Of Steve Martin. Of Diane Keaton. Of Diana Ross. Of Bruce Willis. Of Demi or Ashton - not sure who got that one. Of Madonna. Of DeNiro. Of The Donald. Of Blue Ivy and her parents. Of anyone who is anyone.
Inspiration for one of Bond's newest scents.**

*It was a taxi that got him. NY taxis drivers aren't markedly improved since...

**It's coming out on March 15th.

For the longest time, my favorite color was kelly green. Probably because I'm Irish. Kind of Irish. I mean, in my heart I'm 100% Irish (you can tell by my brogue) but genetics points out some other picky little branches on my family tree that may take that percentage down a bit. A lot of a bit. But whatever. I'm Irish. I like kelly green.

As you can see, bright green takes a big part in the (super cute!***) packaging of Bond No. 9's Central Park West. So does houndstooth, which is meant to represent the upscale and classic vibe of the Central Park West area. FYI, the purple is there because it's "modern".

OK. I admit it...
I like this ginormous purple houndstooth + acid green + eye-searing pink combo.
But this bottle comes with a huge pink flower (cute) that can be removed
 and used as a pink-beaded bracelet or brooch or some such thing (not cute).
 Kind of like the bracelet/flower that was on Madison Square Park.
I thought the idea of wearing that was ugly, too.
I know these perfumes are pricey, but
they don't need to double as jewelry.
Leave the bloom on the bottle,
I beg of you.

Anyway, back to the green. If you don't care for "green" perfumes, you may want to take a little walk and come back for the next review. This perfume is Green. Like the park. Like the grass in the park. 

Grass. As in the grass you walk across on your way to the Sheep Meadow (also on the west side of the park). Also perhaps as in the "grass" that might be getting smoked by folks chillin' in the park? Ahem. Let's hold on to that one for a minute, mkay?

Here's what Bond No. 9 has to say about the scent:
Narcissus. AKA "daffodil". [via]
Top Notes: Narcissus - the flower that signals spring; Ylang Ylang with a hint of sultry tang; Black Pepper that pops.
Heart Notes: Velvety white Gardenia—an Old School beauty, as classic as the park across the street; Jasmine—Gardenia’s slightly insolent yet trusted sidekick; Citrus-like Linden—a Central Park native so plucky it jumped the fence to be part of Gardenia’s crew; Orris—the third member of Gardenia’s entourage, adding a honeyed note, like vibrant violet.  
Base Notes: Calming Vetiver, to sooth your senses after that heady gardenia bouquet; Musk—because every great scent needs a hint of street-wise funk; White Oak—Musk’s zesty-clean alter ego—and another crossover from Central Park; Treemoss—as seductive as the thicket of trees surrounding Belvedere Castle at night.
PS: Fans of Laurent Le Guernec please note, his was the nose who created this scent. 

When I spritz on Central Park West, I smell the narcissus and pepper. It's an immediate statement. It's Spring! Time to wake up! After a bit, I get a little ylang ylang, but to be honest I don't know that I'd be able to pick that out without a) the notes list and b) the fact that elsewhere on my person I am wearing an ylang-prominent blend created by a friend of mine. Certainly there is a distinct floralcy. You know this one is going to be about Green and about Flowers.

John and Yoko
in front of The Dakota.
After a bit, the initial burn of Central Park West settles a bit. Did I mention the burn? I think it's the pepper and the intense narcissus. Anyway, after that dies down, I can perceive a bouquet of fresh Spring flowers. If this were any other New York neighborhood, I'd assume said bouquet was from a little corner grocery. But they don't have those in this neighborhood - at least, not right on The Park. Instead, I imagine this bouquet is not a bouquet at all. I imagine it is really a huge, fresh flower arrangement sitting on a gigantic mahogany sideboard in the grand foyer of one of the neighborhood's co-ops. (This is one of my favorite places to walk in NY, and I'm certain I am not alone. You must take a stroll along at least part of it if you visit the city!).

I smell gardenia (soft, not sharp, but definitely there). I smell jasmine (slightly indolic, but not so much as to scare the indole-phobes). Linden gives a sharp and bright edge, orris cools things down. The heart of this scent persists for hours. It's fairly steady in that stage. Unwavering. Like those big huge buildings? Like the huge, old trees in The Park? I dunno. That's totally reaching. I should write PR copy.

The scent, on me at least, basically just fades away. It gets softer and more diffuse and then it's gone. I can't pick out too much from the list of base notes, to be honest, besides the vetiver. 


Anyway, back to the grass. I swear I smell a little marijuana accord going on. An olfactory illusion - on purpose? In my own nose and mind? It's perhaps the result of this scent + my own particular skin chemistry. I wore some at work and asked a few people - no one else picked it up. But whenever I smell the opening 15 minutes of this scent, it's there. Fresh, sweet, green grass - both kinds. 

Is it just me? If anyone else picks this up when they get their hands on Central Park West, let me know! I'm not usually prone to imagining pot in my perfumes, so I'm really curious here. 

Confession time: I do enjoy quite a few of Bond's scents - but not all of them. And I have a rocky history with some of their "greens". And this from someone who really likes green perfumes a lot! This Bond green scent, however, I really do enjoy. 

I may have to hunt down some. And the Body Silk. If you haven't tried Bond's scents in luscious cream form, you're missing out. They're seriously as intense as the perfumes! And I think I would absolutely love this in candle form, Springing up the house!

So... who wants a little grass this Spring?

Curiosity Killed the Cat: Do you watch YouTube perfume reviews?


Hi, everyone!

I'm doing a quick little poll today. Well, three, actually.

I do a lot of searches online for perfume reviews - I'm betting you do, too. It occurred to me that I always skip over YouTube reviews. I just don't "do" YouTube. Sometimes I scurry over for a particularly promising kitty cat video, and there are three perfume reviewers I am subscribed to because they're friends of mine, but otherwise I just don't do it.

Do you? I'm wondering if that's an age thing? Or a lazy thing? Or a computer speed thing? Or a I-hate-focusing-on-one-thing-so-I-prefer-written-reviews thing? My computer is fast, but I think the others have to do with my own personal preferences!

If you have a moment and are curious, like me, will you fill in these little polls for me? And I'd love to discuss more in the Comments, if you've thoughts to share!


Do you watch perfume reviews on YouTube?
 free polls 

If you do NOT watch YouTube perfume reviews, why is that? free polls 

My age group is:
 free polls 

Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic (Guerlain) - a morning picker-upper.

I am, perhaps, strange in that I do not enjoy orange juice in the morning. I am a straight-to-coffee kind of gal. Even at more formal breakfasts than I usually have , I take a pass. (the average day finds me in pj's on the couch, sucking back coffee and checking Facebook) When I was growing up, orange juice did not come in a "pulp-free" option and, to be frank, the pulp skeeves me out. Or, as my toddler has taken to saying, "that really freaks me up!"

What I do love, though, is spritzing on a glass of juice refreshing citrus perfume to wake me up.

Citrus oils are usually used as top notes in perfumery. Their scent is short-lived. Some sort of citrus - bergamot, mandarin/clementine, orange, lime, neroli, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine,  bitter orange, pettigrain - is used in almost every scent. These oils add sparkle, brightness, and what perfumers describe as "lift". The use of citrus goes back nearly as far as perfumery itself and is, these days, perhaps most commonly identified with colognes and men's scents.

I love a perfume with a big old dose of almost any citrus. They are usually refreshing, invigorating, and happy. Spritzing on a citrus-heavy scent in the early hours is like drinking in the sun and getting a cheerful kick in the pants to get ya going. It's also a delicious way to cool off and feel clean and fresh in hot weather!

One of my favorite morning jump-starts is grabbing one of my Guerlain Aqua Allegorias. These lightweight, fairly straightforward compositions are a great choice in the morning. They're short-lived, at least the ones I've tried and on my skin. As always, your mileage may vary. I like that brevity sometimes - I can wear something that creates or captures a certain mood but not have to commit to it for 12+ hours. And if I put it on before I shower, I don't feel too guilty washing it off after only having it on my skin for awhile. Yes, I have Perfume Guilt. Don't judge me.

I really enjoy Mandarine-Basilic, which gives a bright, intense, happy hose-down of mandarin balanced perfectly with the herbal bite of basil, one of my favorite herbs to sniff.

On me, Mandarine-Basilic shares its orange effervescence for about 45 minutes or so. During that time, the mandarin fades slightly and the basil starts to slip in the back door. Eventually,  florals join in, but softly, with the orange/mandarin scent still sticking around. The entire development takes about 3 hours on my skin - if I've used a citrus-y bath product or body lotion it goes a bit longer.

Mandarin-Basilic's drydown is a soft, slightly ambered woods -not the typical vanillic Guerlain base. It's a perfect set-up for a latter application of a sandalwood or amber-based scent. Note that both of those base notes, amber and sandalwood, are widely considered to be soothing and calming. This perfume is gorgeous aromatherapy!

By the time Mandarine-Basilic has faded, my mood has usually solidified somewhere in the happy range. If I need a bit more tweaking or am starting to feel hot or sticky, it's a complete delight to re-spritz and start the happy mandarin waterfall all over again!

Aqua Allegoria Mandarine-Basilic by Guerlain is a Citrus Aromatic fragrance for women. Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic was launched in 2007. The nose behind this fragrance is Marie Salamagne.
Top notes are clementine, orange blossom, ivy, green tea and bitter orange
Middle notes are peony, chamomile, mandarin orange and basil
Base notes are sandalwood and amber.

Do you enjoy the Aqua Allegoria line, or are those scents too wimpy, simple, or just "wrong" for you? If you like them, which is your favorite? And can you suggest any other citrus-predominant scents I might like try? I'm a huge mandarin, lime, and blood orange fan. 

On barns, horses, hay, and rabbits: IV L’Heure Fougueuse (Cartier)

Today, my strangest perfume. One that I have attempted to "review" for ages, with little success. Much of that is due to the incredible reviews already shared in the fumosphere. The rest lies in my indecision about this scent.

In 2010, Cartier released IV L’Heure Fougueuse, part of their Les Heures de Parfum series. This scent, whose nose is the very talented Mathilde Laurent, is meant to represent "The Ardent Hour" or "The Impetuous Hour".

Notes: Magnolia, Bergamot, Horse Mane note, Vetiver, Yerba Mate, Musk notes, Lavender, Coumarin. Oakmoss.

There are many stories about a girl and her horse. This is an olfactory tale about the same. It opens with the strong impression of dried tea which eventually folds onto itself and turns to fresh, green hay. And then the most incredible thing happens, but blink and you might miss it! From afar, L’Heure Fougueuse still smells of hay and barns and fields, but if you nuzzle your skin the way a horse nuzzles for a carrot treat, you'll get the distinct impression of horse. It's a musky equine scent that rides close to your skin - almost leathery, certainly animalic, but soft as the hair on a horse's nose. This facet, called "horse mane accord" by the perfumer, is subtle and fleeting (at least on me), but so incredibly integral to the scent that it seems to take over most descriptions of this perfume.

Moments later, the scent unfolds again and becomes a story of Summer days. It's Magnolia, light wafts of jasmine, breaths of hay... It's green and it's golden and it's light and it's expansive. It's clouds blowing gently over a field.


L’Heure Fougueuse is a scent that's designed to connect with your subconscious. I'm convinced of it. I haven't met anyone who has tried it and has not come away with memories of some kind...

For me, those memories are of trail rides with friends, sneaking grass and carrots to horses through the bars of fences, and of stuffing rabbit cages with fresh hay and alfalfa. I smell farms and barns. I smell my beloved bunnies, now long gone over the Rainbow Bridge.

Unfortunately, I also smell a lot of mate (that tea-like note), which gives me a headache and makes me a bit woozy. Hence my love-hate relationship with the scent. I've worked off of a sample vial for ages, as on me a little goes a long way. I may spring for a small decant at some point, but have no need to budget the $250 for a bottle, since I can only wear this on rare occasions. But I wish I could wear it daily. It's quite beautiful, aside from the mate. And who can't appreciate an arrow shot straight to their childhood?

Other beautiful reviews of L’Heure Fougueuse: