La Parfumerie Moderne No Sport & Cuir X ~ fragrance reviews

La Parfumerie Moderne No Sport & Cuir X

The fortune in the cookie with tonight’s take-out ginger beef reads, “An interesting sports opportunity is in your future.” And yet, tonight’s post-ginger beef activity is to review two La Parfumerie Moderne fragrances, one of which is called No Sport. I’ll go with the perfume for now and hope that my near future doesn’t come with athletic gear.

Marc-Antoine Corticchiato, the nose behind Parfum d’Empire, developed both No Sport and Cuir X. No Sport was named for Winston Churchill’s supposed reply when asked the secret of a long life. “No sports,” he said, “just whisky and cigars…”

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Parfums Raffy

Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2016

Acer saccharum - Sugar Maple fall leaves

To give you a thoughtful top ten for fall, I went to the experts: Tracy and André at Fumerie. Both of them used to work at Portland’s Perfume House and amassed years of experience with the classics. Then, seven months ago, Tracy opened Fumerie to focus on niche fragrances, and André joined her.

To give you an idea of their tastes in fragrance, Tracy has a tattoo on her forearm of her favorite perfume notes: patchouli, hay, tobacco, cocoa, and leather. When she thinks of fall, she thinks of comforting scents that remind her of riding her horse as a teenager through the leaves, and the smells of Oregon’s crisp autumn air, sweet alfalfa, saddle leather, grain and the horse itself.

André loves vintage fragrances and has a nose for classically constructed perfumes…

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Masque Milano Romanza & L’Attesa ~ fragrance reviews


Usually in autumn I’m drawn toward woodsy, smoky, leathery fragrances. Not this autumn. Go figure. Despite the rain and falling leaves, it’s the floral, “girly” perfumes that have pulled me in lately. When I came across a full set of Masque Milano testers last week, I had to ask for sample vials of the line’s floral scents, Romanza and L’Attesa.

First, a quick word on the Masque Milano line. The fragrances are grouped into four “acts” that make up the “opera of life.” The acts are: experiences, places, discoveries, and journeys (no, that’s not all four acts, just one); interior monologues, emotions, deep thoughts and inner reflections, lights and shadows of human nature; sentimental relationships, romance and love, affections and betrayals; and dreams. Romanza and L’Attesa are part of Act III, the one about sentimental relationships.

Perfumer Cristiano Canali developed Romanza, a complex narcissus…

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Ciro Danger ~ fragrance review

Two vintage adverts for Ciro Danger

Perfume lovers seem to fall into one of two camps about vintage fragrances. Either they seek them out, eager to try many iterations of their favorites; or they avoid them, fearing that they’ll fall in love with a perfume they’ll never smell again. I fall into the “better to have loved and lost than never loved at all” camp. Usually, that’s fine. I mean, there’s always another good perfume coming along, right? But when my 1.25 dram bottle of Parfums Ciro Danger extrait runs out, my heart will break.

Danger, released in 1938, is a rich, dark rose with an animalic edge. I have to wonder if it was inspired by Schiaparelli Shocking, released the year before. The big difference is that Danger’s rose is balanced by helpings of cinnamon and lavender. The result is seductive and romantic, but intriguingly odd…

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Perfume: A Century of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom ~ book review

Perfume: A Century of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom

Halfway through Lizzie Ostrom’s Perfume: A Century of Scents, I set down the book and wondered who it was written for. Not the perfumista. Ostrom’s essays on the book’s 100 featured fragrances often leave out key lore or information on a perfume’s place in the pantheon, its history, or sometimes even how the perfume smells. Then it occurred to me: the book isn’t about perfume, it’s a telling of social history through perfume.

Perfume: A Century of Scents presents ten fragrances for each of the twentieth century’s decades and an essay introducing each decade. Each fragrance gets a Thurber-style illustration and a snappy nickname. The book starts with Houbigant Parfum Idéal in 1900 (“the Queen-Bee Perfume”) and ends with 1996’s Demeter Dirt (“the Un-Perfume”).

When I say that the book isn’t really about perfume, I mean that, for instance, in Ostrom’s essay on Diorissimo you won’t find the story of Roudnitska’s study of his patch of lilies of the valley, or even much of a description of how the fragrance smells. Instead, once you’ve waded through a page of how tough it is for men to buy perfume for their wives, you get a comparison of Diorissimo to Grace Kelly and Dior fashion’s “modest, appealingly feminine lines.” It’s a comment on the times…

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