Maison Francis Kurkdjian A la Rose ~ fragrance review

Maison Francis Kurkdjian À la Rose, brand banner

Roses, roses all the way! It’s the annual spring rush of my favorite flower in fragrance. I’ve recently reviewed L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée and Aerin Rose de Grasse, and today I’m taking a close sniff of Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s À la Rose. Yes, it’s another “ode to femininity,” another homage to the rose fields of Grasse, another pink juice…but I’m still not tired of roses, so onwards we go.

In À la Rose, “an eau de parfum that evokes the crisp tenderness of rose petals and a radiant aura” as well as “a free-spirited elegance,” Francis Kurkdjian has brought together notes of Damascena rose, Centifolia rose, bergamot, orange, violet, magnolia blossom, cedar wood and musk. (As Robin earlier noted, the fragrance was inspired by Marie Antoinette’s love of roses and the painting Marie-Antoinette à la Rose by Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun…)

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Aerin Rose de Grasse ~ fragrance review

Aerin Lauder for Aerin Rose de Grasse

I saw Aerin Lauder in person once, just for a few fleeting seconds. She was sitting in a lunch meeting at an uptown eatery in Manhattan. She looked just as she often looks in photographs: very pretty, very polished, reserved and just a touch skeptical. I kept thinking of that sighting when I was trying out Rose de Grasse, a new floral fragrance for women recently launched by Lauder’s namesake Aerin brand.

Rose de Grasse is described as a “captivating scent — pristine, sophisticated, unexpected and iconic,” and an homage to several varieties of roses. It combines notes of centifolia rose, Bulgarian rose and “rose absolute” (no specific rose named here) with ambrette seed, a “watery accord,” violet wood, ambrox and musk. My main impression is that Rose de Grasse is made with good-quality ingredients, even if leans more towards the “pristine and sophisticated” rather than the “unexpected and iconic…”

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privee ~ fragrance review

layers of pink petals

L’Artisan Parfumeur is one of the first “niche” perfumeries that won my heart — in a sense, it was the brand that got me seriously interested in perfume, back in the 1990s when my mother was wearing Mûre et Musc and I realized there were fragrance options beyond the perfume counters at the mall. I’m a longtime fan of L’Artisan’s two earlier rose fragrances, Drôle de Rose and Voleur de Roses, so I looked forward to trying Rose Privée as soon as it was announced.

Rose Privée celebrates the “rare and iconic” Rose de Mai of Grasse, and it’s a floral fragrance (obviously!) with notes of citrus, black currant, basil and Rose de Mai; carnation, magnolia, violet, and lilac; patchouli and hay. It was developed in collaboration by perfumers Bertrand Duchaufour and Stéphanie Bakouche. It will be released in May, just the right season for a new rose fragrance…

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Lush Prince Charming Shower Gel ~ body product review

Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty

Every winter Lush releases a small collection of limited edition products for Valentine’s Day. These items tend towards the pink and sparkly and sweet, but sometimes one of them catches my interest and makes me wish it were a year-round item. Two years ago, I felt that way about The Kiss lip gloss (really a whipped balm, and now back as a re-release!); last year, I was enthusiastic about the Tender is the Night massage bar. This year, my pick is Prince Charming Shower Gel.

Prince Charming’s ingredients include pomegranate juice, grapefruit oil, sandalwood oil and geranium oil, as well as natural “decoctions” of marshmallow (the plant, not the dessert item) and vanilla pod. Sniffed directly from the bottle, it’s a tart, juicy blend of pomegranate and citrus. Used in a steamy shower, Prince Charming smells deeper and more complex…

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Anna Sui La Nuit de Boheme ~ fragrance review

Anna Sui La Nuit de Boheme advert

When Anna Sui launched La Vie De Bohème in 2013, I tried it as soon as I could, and then I promptly forgot all about it. I think it smelled a lot like 2010’s Forbidden Affair, but you could also have also shelved it with all the Secret Wish flankers. The thing is: yes, Anna Sui does design girlish frocks in sheer fabrics and pastel florals, the sartorial equivalent of airy, grapefruit-y scents in pink bottles. But the designer also offers a more sophisticated aesthetic in her clothing: beaded flapper dresses, cut-velvet tunics, tall boots, fringed scarves in vintage-inspired textiles, lots of black and purple and red.

I’m a longtime Anna Sui customer when it comes to items in the latter category (at least, when they’re on the sale rack!), so I was curious about La Nuit De Bohème Eau de Toilette. It’s meant to be a “more dramatic and elegant version” of La Vie, with notes of champagne citrus and blackberry; lotus flower, rose and oud; cedar, vanilla orchid, patchouli and amber. It was developed by perfumers Jérome Epinette and Michel Almairac, and it’s packaged in a very shiny golden iteration of the La Vie rose-and-butterfly bottle…

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