Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 ~ fragrance review

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Hey big spender, how about a bottle of Baccarat Rouge 540 for 3,000 euros? I didn’t think so. It’s a gorgeous bottle, quilted with light-shifting facets, something that would be right at home on Rita Hayworth’s dressing table. But, good grief. For that kind of money, I’d expect it to get up and shake martinis.

Okay, how about this? Swap out the bottle and put the perfumer, Francis Kurkdjian, on the label, and it’s a mere $300 for 70 ml. Now we’re talking.

Baccarat Rouge 540 was first released last year as a Baccarat exclusive, then offered this year as part of Maison Francis Kurkdjian

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The Shalimar Face-Off

Guerlain Shalimar, bottle detail

Has everyone recovered from Friday’s group project of wearing Guerlain Shalimar? Today I’ll test your endurance with a Shalimar Face-off. For the past few days, I’ve been wearing different formulations and vintages of Shalimar to suss out their differences.

Before we start, let’s have a quick Shalimar refresher. Jacques Guerlain created Shalimar, and it launched in 1925. Its notes include bergamot, lemon, iris, jasmine, rose, vanilla, incense, opopanox, patchouli, musk and tonka bean. What you smell are chiefly Shalimar’s tent poles of lemon, vanilla and rotting squirrel. Wafting over these tent poles is a complex fabric smelling of incense, amber, tonka, opopanox, vetiver, musk and powder.

For the face-off, I dug out every concentration of Shalimar I had on hand: a 1970s Eau de Cologne, the sought-after 1980s Parfum de Toilette, a 1990s Eau de Parfum and a pre-1985 Extrait…

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Inside the Perfume Cabinet ~ Tara

Tara perfume collection 1

Like many Now Smell This readers, Tara grew up fascinated with perfume. It started with a bottle of Jean Naté splash in the bathroom, grew to appreciate her mother’s Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps and Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles, and proceeded in her early twenties to embrace classic whoppers including Giorgio, Christian Dior Poison, and Givenchy Ysatis before mellowing out. Unlike most of us, however, her collection now soars somewhere north of 700 bottles.1

Tara says that her perfume collection was a standard rotation of five or six bottles until 2005 when she discovered the Perfume of Life forum. That was the same year her husband started traveling to Europe for work. Tara began handing him shopping lists…

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Amouage Journey Woman ~ fragrance review

Amouage Journey Woman

So often with Amouage, I feel like Opposite Woman. Most perfume critics laud Fate Woman as a masterpiece, but I found it a cloying powder bomb. Tons of perfumistas cherish Memoir Woman, but it’s a train wreck on my skin. Now, Journey Woman. I’ve read reviews hinting it’s simple, thin, and cheaply made. Naturally, I adore it.

Let’s start with Journey Woman’s basics, then get to Opposite Woman’s experience with the fragrance. Journey Woman came out in 2014. Its notes include apricot, jasmine tea, osmanthus, nutmeg, cardamom, jasmine sambac, mimosa, honey, cedarwood, pipe tobacco, saffron, vanilla, cypriol and musk. Amouage describes it as “floral, fruity and leather.”

Some reviews have called Journey a simple fruity floral…

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Perfume Advice from the Past

book covers

I have a few feet of old charm school and beauty manuals on my bookshelf. This week, rather than yammer on in my usual way, I’ll treat you to some of the advice on fragrance these books have to offer:

Teen-Age Glamor by Adah Broadbent (1955)1: “Another accessory is an intriguing whiff of perfume. It’s the certain sparkle which send your spirits winging. Light and delicate flower aromas are sparkling, demure, or flirtatious. The heavy, spicy, musky, and exotic scents are ridiculous with your fresh, smooth, look, which requires a light flower fragrance. You occasionally prefer to be identified with one certain scent, but with so many alluring fragrances there is no need to be an echo of yourself. Once upon a time, all the girls in a club decided to use the same perfume. A sad mistake…”

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