Sunday, February 26, 2012

By Kilian Cruel Intentions

Tempt Me

Cruel Intentions is my new obsession, I've had it on all week and I can't get enough. The perfumer is Sidonie Lancesseur, the same nose who created another favourite By Kilan perfume, Incense Oud. "Tempt Me" is an apt name, as I am seriously tempted to get a full bottle.

My new love came as a surprise to me. The sample card and web site told me that Cruel Intentions is about lemony bergamot and the "warm, enfolding, balsamic notes of oud." I've never been passionate about bergamot or oud. But wearing Cruel Intentions is like a twisting story that reveals hidden layers as you go along.

It starts with a fleeting citrus splash, but blink and I miss it. Some light orange blossom is there but almost immediately I smell a dark medicinal wood that leads to the heart of the perfume: smoky wood, bitter green papyrus, and dark earth.

As I wear Cruel Intentions, another side to it grows stronger: something sweet and warm. The base is made of warm animal notes (civet and castoreum), smooth sandalwood, and sweet vanilla. This side of Cruel Intentions is cuddly and sexy and just... hot DAMN! The genius is the way these two sides, the smoky-bitter heart and the sexy-sweet base, are held in balanced tension. A pale, twisting ribbon of floral notes laces the whole thing together like a corset.

Now, if there are two things that I love, it's bitter papyrus and sexy "critter-y" notes like civet. In Cruel Intentions I get to have both. Like a fairy tale where the dangerous, cruel, (yet devilishly-handsome) villain turns into a sweet and passionate lover who hangs around the next morning and cuddles. As if I am Little Red Riding Hood and I can have both the wolf and the woodsman.

House: By Kilian
Nose: Sidonie Lancesseur
Notes: Bergamot calabria oil, orange blossom oil, violet accord, centifolia rose absolute, agarwood, Indian papyrus oil, gaiacwood oil, Haiti vetiver oil, sandalwood, styrax absolute, castoreum absolute, vanilla absolute, musk

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tommi Sooni Tarantella

New Vintage from Down Under

Tommi Sooni is a fairly new Australian perfume house working in the style of  traditional French perfumery. All its perfume bottles are hand finished and packaged. It currently has four perfumes; Tarantella was the first.

Tarantella is an floral leather chypre with a vintage feel. It immediately made me think of the classic perfume by Germaine Cellier, Jolie Madame. It has that same elegant feel.

Tarantella starts with aldehydes and green galbanum. The heart is a classic bouquet of rose, orris, jasmine, where you can't really smell any of the flowers distinctly, but it smells divine and like money. The florals are kept from being sweet by the dry-spicy smell of marigold and bay.

The chypre base is my favourite part of Tarantella. It's detectable right from the beginning, a smooth leather with wood and heaps of moss. When I wear it I can't stop sniffing my wrists, I love that dry moss and soft leather so much. Another perfume by Germaine Cellier it brings to mind is Bandit, but the leather in Tarantella is smoother, more the "inside of a handbag" kind.

Tarantella is a must-try for all chypre lovers, or vintage lovers. It would suit a strong woman or an elegant man.

House: Tommi Sooni
Nose: ?
Notes: Aldehydes, galbanum, orange blossom, French marigold, Sicilian mandarin, Frangipani, muguet, jasmine, orris, Anatolian rose, bay laurel, clove, Patchouli, amber, leather, moss, sandalwood, intense musk

Monday, February 13, 2012

Roses for Valentine's Day

Who Doesn't Like Roses?

The rose is the queen of flowers. Rose can be combined with fruity, spicy, woody, or green notes. Rose perfumes can be sheer and light, rich and hypnotic or dark and dirty. There's something for everyone in a rose. This Valentine's Day, give your sweetie (or yourself) a new rose perfume. Here are some unusual and excellent roses to try.

For the Traditionalist: Czech and Speake, Rose Cologne

Czech and Speake is a luxury English line of bath products and perfumes, They do a gorgeous rose soliflore. Nothing fancy, just a real English rose, with some green leaves up top and a hint of earthy patchouli in the base. Lovely.
Nose: ?
Notes: bourbon rose, geranium, ylang ylang, mimosa mingle, patchouli

For the Sexpot: Frederic Malle, Une Rose

Une Rose is a "master's rose." This is the whole rose bush, from green leaves, to full blooms. Even the dirt still clinging to the roots is represented by the soft and earthy "truffle accord." The heart is is rich red rose drizzled with animalic honey. The honey note is pure sex for some, but can smell a bit "pissy" to others. Not for the faint of heart.
Nose: Edouard Fléchier
Notes: Turkish rose absolute, fruit, honey, geranium, wine dregs, truffle accord, dark woods, animal notes

For the Dangerous Sweetie Pie: By Kilian, Liaisons Dangereuses

The full name for this lolita is Liaisons Dangereuses typical me. Like Britney Spears in "Oops, I Did It Again" he or she will fool you with the face of an angel but underneath, something smells not that innocent. Dangerous Liaisons starts very green with a huge hit of green leaves and grape-y fruit. As the rose note opens up, the fruit deepens into a plum pie. Underneath is all is a soft, recently slept-in bed of musk, vanilla, woods and moss.
Nose: Calice Becker
Notes: blackcurrent buds, plum, peach, cinnamon, ambrette, rose damascus, geranium, sandalwood, oakmoss, vetiver, woods, vanilla, white musks

For the Exotic Pussy Cat: By Kilian, Rose Oud

Another gorgeous rose by Calice Becker. Rose Oud is rose petals scattered on the rich woody oud. The oud feels light and airy, not heavy. It's like smoke. As the perfumes sits on your skin it gets warmer and sweeter. The spices, mostly cardamom, become noticeable.  It has an almost gourmand quality, like some kind of middle eastern toasted pastry. The rose beomes fruity like a fine red wine. Rose Oud wears close to the skin but has remarkable staying power. The next day my skin smells like candied roses and incense.
Nose: Calice Becker
Notes: rose, oud, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon

For the Sourpuss: Hermes, Eau de Pamplemousse Rose

There's always the one who says "I Hate Valentine's." Give him or her a great citrus perfume with subtle  rose note. I fell in love with Pamplemousse Rose on first sniff. It smells like a sparkling, mineral grapefruit, like Pink Grapefruit Perrier. It's only after the first 15 minutes that you start to smell sheer pink roses under the dry and tart citrus. Pamplemousse Rose would be a perfect summer scent, but it also brightens up a dreary winter day.
Nose: Jean-Claude Ellena
Notes: pink grapefruit, rose

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Parfum d'Empire Azemour les Orangers

The New Vintage

As 2011 drew to a close, I was in a perfume funk. I had started to believe that there was nothing new in perfume that would interest me. Stunt perfumes, such as those supposed to smell like blood or semen or industrial factories, bore me. It takes more skill to make a perfume that is novel and smells great. Also on my pet peeve list are high concept perfumes like those that limit themselves to a small number of accords. Nothing is more annoying to me than art that comes with a manifesto.

I've also become disenchanted with vintage perfumes. While I love the boldness of some older perfumes, the oakmoss heavy chypres and dry green chypres, the leather and tobacco, most of the old beauties are gone forever. There were a couple of gems I found last year, like my bottles of Bandit and Vacances, but most vintage I tried isn't the same. I've come to know well the smell of perfume "gone off."

But when I smelled Azemour les Orangers, I realized there is a new category of perfume for me to love: the New Vintage. Azemour is a perfume that is perfectly modern; it has distinct, recognizable notes and sheer layers that feel as if light is shining through them. But it combines the modern style with the vintage feel of a really mossy base. It's the best of both worlds.

Azemour was created to recall the Morroco of the perfumer's childhood: the spices, the orange groves, the dry desert winds and grasses. It smells of bright young oranges and ancient places.

There is a lot going on in Azemour. Every time I sniff my wrist I smell a new facet of the perfume. Azemour has a juicy citrus burst, with spices in the opening. The bright orange and hay notes are like my favourite Bigarade Concentree. After that, the smell of green leaves is created with galbanum and blackcurrant, reminding me fleetingly of L'Ombre dand l'Eau. The heart notes are mostly neroli and orange blossom. But it's the base notes that make Azamour special. A huge amount of moss is present right from the beginning. It's almost musty, and I think that might put some people off, but if you love mossy chypres, you'll probably like Azemour.  The moss is grounded with cypress and a very detectable caraway note that I think makes this a more unisex perfume.

If you have ever grieved the loss of oakmoss-heavy vintage perfumes, give Azemour a try. There are still some perfumers out there making really mossy perfumes.

House: Parfum d'Empire
Nose: Marc-Antoine Corticchiato
Notes: orange, clementine, tangerine, grapefruit, coriander, cumin, black pepper, pink pepper, blackcurrant, galbanum, neroli, geranium, orange blossom, rose, hay, moss, henna and cypress