Naomi Goodsir Iris Cendre ~ fragrance review

Naomi Goodsir Iris Cendré brand background image

Iris must be the Meryl Streep of fragrance notes. In Frédéric Malle Iris Poudre, she plays a 17th century lady at her dressing table. In Le Labo Iris 39, she’s the earthy bohemian mistress with an intellectual bent. In Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, she’s the wild child with aristocratic roots and a pagan godmother.

In Naomi Goodsir Iris Cendré, iris might be a medieval monk who works in the garden during the day and faithfully attends incense-laden vespers, but who enjoys the comfort of his pipe and armchair in the wood-paneled library…

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5 Perfumes: A Skank Sampler

skank sampler

Ready to wade into skanky waters but want a little hand holding? You’ve come to the right place. “Skank”1 usually refers to a hint — and sometimes more — of body odor in a fragrance, occasionally with overtones of halitosis and rotting flesh. (I hope you aren’t eating lunch right now.) Artfully administered, skank can throw a perfume’s beauty into relief. It can feel intimate and sexy. But when you’re not in the mood for it, skank could be just plain disgusting. Skank tolerance is personal. Some perfumistas wear their skank as a badge of honor, like chile lovers brag about downing Scotch Bonnets, but others won’t tolerate a noticeable drop of civet or funky musk.

Here is a skank sampler. Please comment if other skanky perfumes come to mind. I’ve rated them on a Skank Scale of one to ten. One approximates “post-tennis glow,” and ten is “zombie apocalypse…”

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Inside the Perfume Cabinet ~ Arielle Weinberg

Arielle Weinberg step shelf, perfumes

“I have no perfume memories,” says Arielle Weinberg, blog mistress of The Scents of Self and owner of the brand new niche perfume shop, Arielle Shoshana, in suburban Washington, D.C. Ari’s father lost his sense of smell in a car accident before she was born, and her mother didn’t wear fragrance.

So, what got her interested in perfume? Mascara. When Ari was 15 years old (she’s 24 now), she was looking up mascara reviews and stumbled upon Makeup Alley, which led her to the Penny Pencil’s poetic reviews. Besides mascara, Penny Pencil reviewed perfume. Ari was at first intrigued, then hooked. In D.C., where Ari lived, she didn’t have much access to niche fragrances, so she dived into the Guerlains and Bond No. 9s. For a few solid years, she wore Bond No. 9 New Haarlem, and she still loves Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

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Norell New York ~ fragrance review

Riley Keough for Norell New York

The press release accompanying my lab sample of Norell New York says that “the heritage of the campaign” is “Fusing Then and Now.” To a lover of vintage fragrances, these are dangerous words. I wonder, what’s wrong with leaving the “then” alone — why not simply offer the classic Norell made with good materials and balanced by a skilled nose? By “now,” do they mean “market-driven” (aka “pandering”)? Deepening my skepticism, the press release says “Norell New York makes you feel like ‘Each Time is the First Time’.” I groan in dread.

I’m happy to report that Norell New York does not pander to fragrance trends, and although I wouldn’t call it a dupe, it respects the original’s bones and character. Whether it’s for you is a different question…

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5 perfumes: appreciating the Big Five

Like much art, some fragrances — especially the complex classics — take time to appreciate fully. At first, you might even find them off-putting. But as you spend time with each fragrance, you begin to appreciate its peculiar nature, its singular beauty. That describes how I’ve felt about the perfumes I’m calling the Big Five.

I’ll tell you a little about my relationship with each fragrance, then I’d love to hear how you’ve come to know each of them.

Chanel No. 5

Chanel No. 5

For the longest time, I was convinced I knew all about No. 5. No. 5 was fine, full of straw-tinted jasmine, awash with aldehydes, and charming, if fusty. But it wasn’t for me — or so I thought…

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