Olympic Orchids Mardi Gras ~ fragrance review

The Carnival King

Every year in late winter New Orleans puts on a grand party like no other. It’s a rainbow-hued, glittering, skanky, riotous celebration of everything there is to celebrate, flowing in and out like a shiny snake amidst the flower-strewn, humidity-drenched, decaying streets of the French Quarter. Mardi Gras may present a polite, rich veneer of real orange blossom and vanilla, like a southern belle delicately munching on a beignet dusted with powdered sugar, but behind the pretty, festive costume are dark undercurrents of voodoo and hoodoo, midnight rituals and outrageous secrets that can only be unleashed under the protective camouflage of the innocent-looking mask.

Olympic Orchids’ description of Mardi Gras1 is pretty apt; this perfume throws open the curtain on a sullied orange blossom — half dressed, distressed and a bit sweaty…

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Dame Perfumery Chocolate Man ~ fragrance review

Theobroma cacao

“Kevin, would you like to smell chocolaty?”

“Are you kidding? Besides onions, garlic and seafood, that’s the last thing I want to smell like! I hate candy perfumes.” (Insert head-toss)

It’s a short walk from baked goods (I like scents with bread and cake notes), spices, and sweet “fancy” dessert aromas of violet and rose to — chocolate bars, fudge and icing. I took the necessary steps by buying a sample of Chocolate Man from Arizona-based Dame Perfumery last summer. I finally tried Chocolate Man this week, three months later, and am eating my anti-chocolate-perfume words…

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Penhaligon’s The Tragedy of Lord George & Much Ado About the Duke ~ fragrance reviews

Penhaligon's Tragedy of Lord George bottle cap

The Penhaligon’s Portraits Chapter 1 collection includes two perfumes for women and two for men. Today I’m reviewing the men’s offerings: The Tragedy of Lord George and Much Ado About the Duke. I dutifully sniff any Penhaligon’s perfumes that come my way (I never go to any trouble to seek them out); I don’t feel excitement when the company announces a new perfume because, with a few exceptions (and no matter the perfumer) Penhaligon’s perfumes lack pizazz and many recent Penhaligon’s releases are downright wishy-washy in character. And now we have an “aristocracy” collection, or chapter…

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Arquiste El ~ fragrance review

Arquiste Él brand image

Arquiste Él’s1 backstory is based in 1970’s Acapulco, at Armando’s Le Club:

Nighttime at Acapulco’s sultriest disco. Revelry on the dance floor. In the heat of the moment, he smiles coyly and motions to the beach outside, hinting at a midnight swim. He unbuttons his shirt, flashing bronzed skin and the scent of his cologne, a virile muskiness loaded with patchouli, oak moss and elegant woody notes. A masculine impression of a day under the sun, intensified by the thrill of the night.

If a guy started undressing in a club after motioning to the beach…it would give me pause…

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Fig Leaf Syrup (or Jelly) ~ recipe

fig leaves 1

I enjoy making fig jam in late summer (especially rich Mission Fig jam), but fruit isn’t the only culinary ingredient a fig tree yields — fig leaves make an unusual syrup that’s perfect for glazing savory and sweet foods (it’s a nice alternative to maple syrup for pancakes, too). My recipe below presents you with two options: liquid fig leaf syrup or fig leaf jelly. If you want jelly, all you need to do is set the syrup with pectin in step no. 6 below and use jars instead of bottles…

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