Grandma Florine’s Perfume

Chanel No. 5 Eau de Cologne

Allison sat on the couch and opened a plastic bag full of odds and ends. As she sorted its contents, she told me, “My dad said he found some of my grandma’s perfume. It should be in here somewhere.”

Allison’s Grandma Florine had been born Myrtle Florine Heffington in Bee Cave, Texas, in 1922. She hated the name Myrtle and dropped it as soon as she could. She picked up her husband’s last name, Norman, when she married at 17.

I’d heard stories about Grandma Florine. Allison and I once both worked for the same vintage clothing store, and many of the stories had to do with Florine’s wardrobe: size five gold lamé Spring-O-Lator mules with mink trim; a black and white polka dot jumpsuit from the 1960s; a full-skirted maroon velvet dress with bows on the sleeve; filmy peignoirs. Photos show Florine more sedately dressed, but nicely turned out…

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Top 10 Spring Fragrances 2014

daffodil on yellow

Where I live, it’s as if we fell off a cliff from frosty mornings and rain-slicked trees into yellow tufts of daffodils. Chives spring up in clumps in the vegetable garden, and my plum tree is puffed with blossoms. Heck, that guy in accounting even shaved off his beard. No question about it: It’s spring.

For my top 10 of spring, I’m going to be perfectly frank about the perfume I’ll be wearing. I’m not going to force-fit recent releases to show you how on top of it I am or sprinkle in variety for the sake of a well-rounded post. No, I’m going to tell you exactly what favorites I’ll be dragging from the back of the perfume closet. Judge me as you may.

Guerlain Chamade: As soon as I smell daphne in the neighborhood, I go straight for my atomizer of Chamade Eau de Toilette or my precious decant of Parfum — or sometimes both…

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The Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose ~ perfume book review

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose, cover

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose brands itself as “a novel of suspense.” After reading it, I’d like to propose another genre for it: modern gothic. The novel features an old French chateau, complicated family relationships, dungeons, murderous intrigue, and spontaneous past life regression. Open the book and you practically hear the thunder rumbling in the distance.

The Collector of Dying Breaths follows two interwoven storylines. The first story is told through a letter from René le Florentin, Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. René learned his trade at a monastery, where he was apprenticed to a monk who was working on a formula for immortality, which required as an ingredient a person’s last living breath. His story is interspersed with Jacqueline L’Etoile’s present-day story, told in the third person. Jac comes from a long line of perfumers…

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Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique ~ fragrance review

Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique advert

Whether you’re a perfume blogger or consumer, the PR machine will be at you before you even get the chance to sniff most perfumes. Let’s start the Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique review with an examination of its press release, then see how it matches up.

From the press release:

Tomas Maier’s vision for Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique evokes the Italian sense of “la dolce vita”, capturing the quintessence of a different moment in the life of the Bottega Veneta woman.

The Bottega Veneta woman? Already I feel alienated. I found a Pucci scarf once at a thrift shop, but that’s as close as I come to consuming Italian luxury goods. Oh, I suppose we’re expected to aspire to be the BV woman, and therefore we’re perched at the edge of our chairs waiting to see what she does next. I’m easy, but not that easy…

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Elie Saab Le Parfum L’Eau Couture ~ fragrance review

Elie Saab Le Parfum L'Eau Couture

I hardly know what to expect anymore when I see “Eau” next to a perfume’s name. Sometimes an Eau is simply an Eau de Toilette version of another fragrance, and it may be almost as assertive as its parent fragrance but more citrusy (think Cartier Le Baiser Eau de Toilette). But sometimes an Eau is a different fragrance altogether from its brand’s namesake fragrance (L’Eau de Chloé). Elie Saab Le Parfum L’Eau Couture, flanker to 2011′s Elie Saab Le Parfum, is a greener, lighter version of the original — a definite relative, but a different fragrance and much sheerer. Fans of Elie Saab Le Parfum should give it a try. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people like it better than the original.

L’Eau Couture was developed by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, who created the original Elie Saab Le Parfum…

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