Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Souvenir de Malmaison ~ fragrance review

Souvenir de la Malmaison rose

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recently launched several new fall fragrances, and my personal favorite of the bunch is Souvenir de Malmaison, “a new twist on a romantic classic: spicy carnation and rose meet in an ambery, wood fragrance.” Souvenir de la Malmaison is a floriental with notes of lemon, bergamot, black pepper, ylang ylang, rose, carnation, jasmine, cinnamon, clove, labdanum, ambergris, sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, tolu balsam and vanilla.

I have a weakness for good historical references in perfumery, and this scent has a few. First: Malmaison was the elegant residence of Napoleon Bonaparte and his consort Joséphine de Beauharnais, a château with a legendary rose garden overseen by Joséphine herself. Second: Souvenir de Malmaison is a rose cultivar created in 1843 and named in honor of the rose-loving Empress and her gardens. And in a related bit of recent perfume history, as perfume aficionados may wistfully recall, there used to be a carnation fragrance named Floris Malmaison

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Les Parfums de Rosine Rose des Neiges ~ fragrance review

Les Parfums de Rosine Rose des Neiges

Les Parfums de Rosine has been one of my favorite niche perfume houses for the past decade, so I always look forward to trying its newest releases. This fall, Rosine has launched Rose des Neiges, “a modern interpretation of a powdery rose” inspired by the image of an unexpected late-autumn snowfall that frosts all the flowers in a rose garden. Rose des Neiges was developed by perfumer Nicholas Bonneville and includes top notes of mandarin, pink pepper, lychee and watermelon; heart notes of rose and white violet; and base notes of sandalwood, ambroxan, heliotrope and musks.

“Powdery” is an understatement here…

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Tom Ford Orchid Soleil ~ fragrance review

Tom Ford Orchid Soleil

The latest fragrance release from designer Tom Ford is Orchid Soleil, a new addition to the designer’s Signature Collection of feminine fragrances and a flanker to 2006’s Black Orchid. I have to admit that I didn’t really care for Black Orchid, nor for Violet Blonde. Something about Tom Ford fragrances just doesn’t “fit” me. But I received a sample vial of Orchid Soleil with a recent makeup purchase, so why not give it a try, right?

Orchid Soleil’s composition of bitter orange, pink pepper, cypress, tuberose, black orchid, spider lily, vanilla, chestnut cream accord and patchouli supposedly “captures the seductive warmth and reflective bare skin of the Tom Ford woman.” Since I’m apparently not “the Tom Ford woman,” I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it more than its sister scents…

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Penhaligon’s Portraits The Revenge of Lady Blanche & The Coveted Duchess Rose ~ fragrance reviews

Penhaligon's Portraits brand visual

Penhaligon’s big fall launch is a quartet of fragrances called Portraits: Chapter 1. Two of them are feminine scents, two are masculine, and they’ve been given names and characters that evoke British mystery novels and period soap operas like “Upstairs, Downstairs.” Penhaligon’s tells us that the Portraits collection captures the brand’s “ultimately British, slightly eccentric, traditional, adventurous and aristocratic character.”

Yesterday Kevin reviewed the two “men” of the group, The Tragedy of Lord George and Much Ado About the Duke, and in another “his-and-hers” follow-up, I’m here to cover the women…

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Arquiste Ella ~ fragrance review

Arquiste Ella brand image

Following Kevin’s review of Arquiste Él, I’m here to report on its feminine counterpart, Ella. Like Él, Ella was inspired by Acapulco in the 1970s and was developed by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. It was designed to evoke “a sultry night of disco, plunging necklines and champagne-soaked skin” followed by a rendezvous on a “golden beach, under a silvery moon,” with notes of cannonball tree flower (curupita), angelica root, carrot seed, rose, jasmine, cardamom, buckwheat honey, amber, patchouli, civet, vetiver, cigarette smoke accord and “chypre accord.”

I’ve never been anywhere near Acapulco, and I don’t think I’ve ever worn a “plunging neckline,” but I do have some very early memories of the 1970s (in New Jersey and New York, anyway). And Ella brought me right back to those days: it reminds me of the fragrances that women — glamorous grown-ups! — were wearing before the mid-80s arrived and everyone began dousing themselves in Poison and Giorgio…

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