Acqua di Parma Rosa Nobile and Les Parfums de Rosine Ballerina No. 1 ~ perfume reviews

Pink rose

My last review of a rose-centered fragrance was posted way back in June, if you can believe it or not. (It was a review of Maria Candida Gentile’s Cinabre, which would actually make an excellent fall fragrance.) What’s become of me? To remedy this situation, here’s a double review of two newish rose fragrances from brands that have been around for a while.

The Italian house Acqua di Parma has just released Rosa Nobile, “a tribute to the ‘Queen of flowers'” that includes top notes of Sicilian mandarin, Calabrian bergamot and pepper; peony, violet, lily of the valley and Centifolia rose in the heart; and base notes of cedarwood, ambergris and musk. The Acqua di Parma website features an entire page focusing on Rosa Nobile’s story. It mentions Rosa Nobile’s “brand new and modern personality,” because — of course — the consumer must be assured that there’s nothing dowdy about roses…

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J. Crew + Arquiste No. 31 & No. 57 ~ fragrance reviews

J. Crew + Arquiste No. 31 & No. 57

I am not a J. Crew customer. Well, I used to be, back in the early 90s when the J. Crew catalogue still catered to college students and I was still wearing baggy sweaters and oversized men’s t-shirts, but nowadays I find most of the brand’s offerings too high-priced for my wallet and too trend-driven for my taste. It took perfume to get me through the door of a J. Crew boutique last week — specifically, J. Crew’s collaboration with the niche brand Arquiste.

For this project, Arquiste recruited perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier to “conjure up the Jan. 5, 1943, opening of ‘Exhibition by 31 Women,’ the first all-female modern art show in the U.S., curated by Peggy Guggenheim and displayed at her Art of This Century Gallery on East 57th Street in New York.” The two fragrances are No. 31, named for the number of artists in the show, and No. 57, named for the street where Art of This Century was located. Naturally, I couldn’t resist a back-story like that. To my relief, the fragrances turned out to be well-crafted, affordable, and very pleasing on my skin…

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Calvin Klein Reveal ~ perfume review

Calvin Klein Reveal fragrance advert

Calvin Klein has a released a new pillar in its fragrance collection this fall: Reveal, a “solar oriental” for women. It was developed for Calvin Klein by perfumers Jean-Marc Chaillan and Bruno Jovanovic (both of whom have created other fragrances for the brand) and its composition includes notes of “raw salt signature,” pink pepper, black pepper, white pepper, orris, ambergris, solar accord, sandalwood, cashmeran and musk.

I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy Reveal when I found it at a department store fragrance counter. I had no specific response to the ad campaign and video starring model Doutzen Kroes and actor Charlie Hunnam, other than a hunch that real-life voyeurism isn’t as much fun as these two try to make it seem. I find Reveal’s bottle — a swollen, pillow-like square that separates into a clunky metallic triangular cap and a ridiculously heavy glass bottle — even more awkward to handle than Euphoria’s curvy lotus-inspired shape. I’m bored by the suggestion that Reveal “embodies the thrilling game of seduction between a man and a woman, the erotic possibility of a game between equals.”

Once I’d smelled Reveal and tested it on my skin, however, I liked it…

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Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt ~ fragrance review

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt

Wood Sage & Sea Salt, the latest release from Jo Malone, has just begun to appear in stores. It’s a fragrance inspired by the salt air, sea grasses and rocky cliffs of the English coast, developed by perfumer Christine Nagel; its official notes include ambrette seeds, sea salt, sage, grapefruit and red algae. In a recent interview about this fragrance, Nagel also mentioned buchu leaves, plum, dried fruits, driftwood and musk as compositional elements.

Jo Malone has been hit-or-miss for me over the past year or two; I liked Peony & Blush Suede, but I wasn’t crazy about Silk Blossom, and I found the London Rain trio too dull even to think much about, much less review. Still, Wood Sage & Sea Salt sounded appealing, so I gratefully took the sample that was offered to me at a Malone counter in a department store. It turns out to be one of the recent releases that I enjoy, and it feels just right for the final weeks of summer…

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A Lab on Fire Liquidnight ~ fragrance review

A Lab on Fire Liquidnight and Carlos Benaïm

I’m slowly but surely catching up with A Lab On Fire, a New York-based “niche” line that hasn’t always been easy to find, even in New York. Liquidnight, developed by perfumer Carlos Benaïm, was released in 2012. It was inspired by “the hidden depth of the night in New York City” and it includes notes of bergamot, lime, saffron, sage, lavender, hinoki wood, incense, vanilla and musk.

I wanted to try Liquidnight because I’m very fond of some other fragrances from this line…

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