Aroma M Geisha Vanilla Hinoki ~ fragrance review

Shiraike Jigoku of Beppu Jigokumeguri, Beppu, Oita prefecture, Japan

The independent perfume house Aroma M has just released Geisha Vanilla Hinoki, the first addition to its Geisha collection since 2011’s Geisha Amber Rouge. (Just for reference, my personal favorites from this line are Geisha Violet, Geisha Marron and Geisha Noire.) Vanilla Hinoki includes notes of vanilla, bergamot, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, cedarleaf, lavender, leather, patchouli, amyris and cedarwood, and it was created to evoke “the cloudy, floating, sybaritic sensation” of resting in a Japanese hot-spring pool.

Aroma M has never offered a gourmand fragrance before, unless you count the cocoa note in Geisha Violet (really more of a “fleurmand”). I was surprised to see that this new Geisha was vanilla-themed, and I have mixed feelings about vanilla perfumes…

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Le Couvent des Minimes Eau Sereine Hand Cream ~ scented body product review

Le Couvent des Minimes Eau Sereine Hand Cream

It’s been a hectic month or so at my “day job.” My workplace was temporarily topsy-turvy due to rush deadlines and personnel changes, major annual events, unexpected VIP visits and technical difficulties. I was getting home later and later at night, often with a headache — and I’m a just one small wheel in the organizational machinery, so I know the situation was even more stressful for many of my coworkers.

I had some chemical assistance on stressful days, at least, and I don’t mean pharmaceuticals or even a stiff drink. Instead, I relied on Enfleurage’s Sanctuary oil, and a new hand cream from Le Couvent des Minimes with a scent named (appropriately) Eau Sereine…

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Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Rosa Excelsa ~ fragrance review

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Rosa Excelsa

Dolce & Gabbana has just launched Dolce Rosa Excelsa, a new floral fragrance for women. Dolce Rosa Excelsa is the second flanker to 2014’s Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana, following 2015’s Dolce Floral Drops. This time around, the bottle is blush pink with a deep red cap. The rose-inspired fragrance includes top notes of neroli leaves, papaya flower, white water lily and white daffodil; heart notes of Turkish rose and African Dog rose; and base notes of musk, cashmeran and sandalwood.

This happens again and again, and I never learn. Some upscale fashion brand releases a new rose fragrance, and I get my hopes up, despite the accumulated experience of the past decade, and then I try it and I’m disappointed…

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La Parfumerie Moderne Annees Folles ~ fragrance review

Hôtel Belles-Rives

This week I tried Années Folles, the fourth fragrance from niche line La Parfumerie Moderne. Années Folles includes notes of lavender, thyme, nutmeg, geranium, tonka bean, benzoin and patchouli, and according to La Parfumerie Moderne, it “swings like a mysterious aromatic melody on a warm pulsating amber rythm [sic]. The powdry [sic] and woody insouciance wake of a festive atmosphere calls the tune until dawn from the open windows of this proud hotel overlooking the Mediterranean.”

Awkward phrasing and misspellings aside (why, oh why, can’t perfume brands ever hire decent translators or proofreaders?), this description lured me in. There’s the name, for one thing: “années folles,” or “crazy years,” is a common French appellation for the 1920s. I love lavender and ambery-powdery scents. And as for hotels on the Mediterranean, I looked at the photo on the La Parfumerie Moderne website for a minute and then did a quick and lucky search to identify it: it’s the Hôtel Belles-Rives, in Juan-le-Pins on the French Riviera. The author F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed at the Hôtel Belles-Rives, another tie-in to the Roaring Twenties. So how could I resist…

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Dawn Spencer Hurwitz La Belle Saison ~ fragrance review


Independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has just launched La Belle Saison (“The Beautiful Season”), an all-botanical fragrance designed to evoke “late Spring in full bloom.” More specifically, it’s an ode to lilac. Are we experiencing a lilac mini-trend? Vilhelm Parfumerie and Amouage are also offering lilac perfumes for Spring 2016. I haven’t tried those, but I’ve been spending a few April days with La Belle Saison.

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