Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bottega Veneta

A Signature Scent

The luxury Italian leather goods house Bottega Veneta has released its first perfume, a floral leather chypre that fits perfectly with the image of "craftsmanship, understatement, and refinement" that Bottega Veneta represents.

Bettega Veneta is a beautiful, well-blended chypre. It opens with bergamot and light jasmine. The heart has a slightly fruity quality underscored with a softly spiced suede. If there is patchouli, it's the very "clean" kind that adds just a little earthiness to the suede base notes. Bottega Veneta is a very pretty, classy, scent that I could wear any day.

I'm the type of person that has a perfume wardrobe. I choose my daily perfume based on mood and weather and activity. But most of the people I know are "signature scent" people. They like to buy one bottle at a time and wear it until it is empty. I usually have trouble selecting a perfume from my collection that would work for people like this. Most of the perfumes I own I collected because of their uniqueness, but they might not be the type of scents one could wear every day. Bottega Veneta however, could easily be a signature scent if you're so inclined and I would have no problem recommending it to anyone who would like a beautiful refined fragrance. If you're in Toronto, head over to Holt Renfrew to give Bottega Veneta a sniff.

As a bonus, the bottle is gorgeous and would look great on any dresser. It's made of heavy Murano glass that feels good in the hand and it has a woven imprint on the bottom like the leather that is the company's signature. A soft suede ribbon is wrapped around the top.

House: Bottega Veneta
Nose: Michel Almairac
Notes: Italian bergamot, Brazilian pink pepper, Indian Sambac jasmine, oak moss, patchouli and Indian patchouli.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jean Patou - Joy

Affordable Luxury

Jean Patou released Joy during the Great Depression in the 1930's with an advertising campaign that billed it as "the costliest perfume in the world." Does that seem odd? It was actually a very clever marketing move. After the Wall Street stock market crash in 1929, the Parisienne fashion house lost many of its American clients who could no longer afford haute couture clothing. So, Jean Patou offered instead a luxury perfume that, while expensive for perfume, was still more affordable than the clothes. Joy offered a taste of uncompromising quality and luxury that still fit his clients' budgets.

To create Joy, perfumer Henri Almeras famously sourced that most precious ingredients in huge amounts. Ten thousand jasmine flowers and twenty-eight dozen roses are required to make each bottle of Joy parfum. Jean Patou has its own dedicated fields of jasmine and roses in Grasse, France.

I have a bottle of the EDT. Joy opens with sparkly, waxy aldehydes and green lily of the valley. After a few minutes you begin to appreciate the fragrant jasmine and rich rose bouquet. It's lush and very well blended. The dry down has a dark, slightly bitter note behind the flowers and a touch of warm muskiness.

According to the Jean Patou website, the formula for Joy is unchanged; I find that hard to believe, but the quality of Joy is undeniable. It is gorgeous and I highly recommend it to any fans of plush florals or jasmine. Joy may no longer be the quintessential luxury perfume (I found my bottle at Winners), but it's an everlasting beauty.

House: Jean Patou
Nose: Henri Almeras
Notes: (From Jean Patou website)
Top: Bulgarian rose oil, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose
Heart: Rose de May, Jasmine de May
Base: Musk

p.s The top photo is Greta Garbo in Mata Hari, 1931. Here are some more photos of her. Delicious, isn't she? I believe that's a bottle of Joy on her dressing table, on the left, in the last photo.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Parfums de Nicolai - Vie de Château Intense

Life In A Castle

The French expression "la Vie de château" translates literally as "life in a castle" and means living a life of luxury. Rough equivalents would be the Italian "la dolce vita" (the sweet life, a life of pleasures and indulgence) and the Irish "the life of Riley" (an easy and pleasant life).

Vie de Château Intense is a sweet, pretty perfume. For the first few minutes, it smells like surgared pink grapefruit and wildflowers. It's breakfast on the patio in the county. As opens up on your skin, it takes on more of the smell of hay, freshly mown and drying in the nearby fields as you peddle your bike past on a summer afternoon. It's warm and sunny. The base is smooth and soft and has a texture and smell to me like pale grey suede.

I've been wearing Vie de Château Intense a lot this fall. It's a favourite of my husband's; he likes its sweet simplicity. A co-worker commented that it reminds him of childhood memories. It doesn't smell like luxury, not the way that Chanel Cuir de Russie or Bois des Iles does, but it has the air of a sweet life, of carefree and untroubled pastoral memories.

House: Parfums de Nicolai
Nose: Patricia de Nicolai
Notes: Tobaco, hay, oakmoss

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chandler Burr TEDx: Perfume as Olfactory Art

This talk by Chandler Burr at the TEDxDanubia 2011 has completely blown my mind.

I have a degree in Art History and studied the architecture of Mies van de Rohe and the part where he compares the Seagram building in New York to Chanel No. 5... it's perfect.

I can't catch my breath. I feel like there's literally a giant light bulb over my head. I want to move to New York and throw myself at Chandler's feet and beg for a chance to work with him. For free.

Thank you to The Perfume Shrine for posting this video first and making my world brighter!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Prada Candy plus Perfume and Food Combos

Trick or Treat

This is so not my usual thing. I thought I would hate Prada Candy but it's actually pretty yummy.

Prada Candy opens with a big sweet caramel note and lots of fluffy musks. When I first sniffed it I thought "Oh, this is going to be very popular." It has decent sillage and smells like a perfume that is sure to "pull" in crowded club. Sure enough, all the girls in the store raved about it; it's their new favourite.

But Prada Candy is more than a simple sweetie. The middle notes of the perfume are all about benzoin, an ancient resin that smells of soft honey and vanilla. The benzoin saves Prada Candy from being a cloying kiddie perfume by adding complexity. It has a dry almost herbal facet that reminds me of chamomile.

After a few hours, Prada Candy is back to being delicate caramel and musks clinging to my skin. With its powdery, musky skin note and its milky-sweet candy note, Prada Candy walks the line between comforting and sensual. Think of it as both a warm, caramel-coloured cashmere sweater coat, and as silky sweet lingerie.

Perfume and Food

The cooler weather is the perfect time to wear a gourmand perfume. It's even more fun to wear perfume and eat some complimentary food. Here are some yummy perfume/food combos for fall:
If you've tried Prada Candy, let me know what you think or tell me your favourite perfume/food combos.

House: Prada
Nose: Daniela Andrier
Notes: white musks, benzoin, caramel