Fath’s Essentials by Jacques Fath ~ four fragrance reviews

Jacques Fath Green Water and Vers Le Sud

Jacques Fath just launched Fath’s Essentials, a collection of four fragrances developed by perfumer Cécile Zarokian, and representing “a sensory voyage through new olfactory territories and rare emotions.” New anything is a hard assignment, especially in perfume, and what’s a rare emotion? One that’s bloody on the inside (fury? sorrow?), or an emotion experienced once in a blue moon, if we’re lucky —something like elation? And how does “new” and “rare” relate to essentials — things like socks, eggs, toothpaste? Let’s see!

Green Water (reissue): neroli, bergamot, lemon, mandarin, orange, basil, tarragon, vetiver, clove, mint, cumin, oak moss, musks, ambergris. (Wears like an Eau de Cologne.)

Green Water goes on with delicious-smelling (and vibrant) neroli front and center; it’s quickly joined by the scent of fresh/oily citrus peels. Then, Green Water focuses on orange blossom (tinged with almost-not-there cumin for a hint of dirtiness). Today’s Green Water smells good, if not as complex as versions past

Read the rest of this article »

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy

Maria Candida Gentile Rrose Selavy ~ fragrance review

Belle Haleine Eau de Voilette

“Rrose Sélavy, the feminine alter ego created by Marcel Duchamp, is one of the most complex and pervasive pieces in the enigmatic puzzle of the artist’s oeuvre. She first emerged in portraits made by the photographer Man Ray in New York in the early 1920s, when Duchamp and Man Ray were collaborating on a number of conceptual photographic works. Rrose Sélavy lived on as the person to whom Duchamp attributed specific works of art, Readymades, puns, and writings throughout his career. By creating for himself this female persona whose attributes are beauty and eroticism, he deliberately and characteristically complicated the understanding of his ideas and motives.” 1

The name “Rrose Sélavy,” interpreted/translated in at least two ways: “Eros, c’est la vie” (eros, that’s life) and “Arroser la vie” (to drink to life or, more sensually, to moisten life, as in arousal), is niche perfumer Maria Candida Gentile’s toast to Marcel Duchamp and his female (drag) creation, Rrose Sélavy. As perfume inspirations go, it’s intriguing and FUN — just like Gentile’s Elephant & Roses idea…

Read the rest of this article »

Long Hot Summer ~ Soaps for the Sultry Days Ahead

Man at His Bath by Gustave Caillebotte

Here at Now Smell This we know it doesn’t take long to spend LOTS of money on scented toiletries (I’m not talking perfume, either). I’m a big fan of fragranced bath products, and current pricing for “fine” soaps and bath gels is high. Who’d have ever thought Diptyque and Frédéric Malle would be on the bargain end of ‘exclusive’ bath lines? Diptyque shower gels are $44 and a bar of scented soap is $15 (reasonable!); Frédéric Malle body wash is $55.

Bath gels sell for what perfume used to cost — Hermès cleansing gel: $59; Tom Ford shower gel: $65; Bond no. 9 body wash: $75; Sisley shower gel: $85; Creed body wash: $95. Fancy soaps are less expensive to buy and go from the “low end” (Jo Malone and Atelier Cologne, $20 a bar; Hermès soap, $22; Chanel No. 5 soap, $26 per cake) to high and higher end — Bvlgari soap, $30 a bar; one Guerlain Shalimar soap, $31; Tom Ford soaps: $35 each, and, as with bath gels, Creed is most expensive at $45 per tablet (I’ll pass).

Hey, Roja Dove and Clive Christian! Have you lost your nerve(s)? I was expecting over-priced bars of soap from each of you for at least $100 apiece and bath gels (with pulverized Swarovski crystals and gold leaf) for $400 in 8 oz. over-dreck-o-rated bottles!

Though I’ve enjoyed many of the soaps listed above (Diptyque, Hermès, Atelier Cologne and Guerlain), today I’m writing about less expensive options that deliver great lather and quality aromas.

Kappus Violet Lilac

Kappus Violet Lilac | Germany, $4: This is an old-fashioned-smelling violet and lilac glycerin soap…

Read the rest of this article »

Coolife Le Quatrieme ~ fragrance review

root chakra

I’m a tobacco fiend; I love growing tobacco plants (including Nicotiana tabacum) and sniffing their aromatic dried leaves. Thankfully, my love of tobacco didn’t lead me to a smoking habit. When I was 18, I’d buy expensive French and English cigarettes just for the packaging. Whenever I tried to smoke them in a nonchalant/worldly manner (in ANY manner, actually), I’d burst into coughing fits (as my companions would burst into laughter). Tobacco plants and perfumes have satisfied by tobacco cravings. My bottle of Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque (my “winter” tobacco) is empty, and come autumn, a bottle of Coolife Le Quatrième Parfum1 may take its place.

Le Quatrième Parfum is the fourth fragrance curated by Coolife partners Pauline Rochas and Carole Beaupré; eventually, there will be seven perfumes, each scent “illustrating” a chakra. Le Quatrième Parfum is a ‘tribute’ to the root chakra (Muladhara in Sanskrit). The root chakra is at the base of the spinal column; it provides a sense of assurance and refuge — physically, mentally and spiritually. Coolife describes the root chakra a bit more dramatically…

Read the rest of this article »

Hermes Rocabar ~ fragrance review

Hermès wool horse rugs

A fragrance for wanderers drawn to wide-open spaces. — Jean-Claude Ellena1

During my Now Smell This years, many men have written me asking for a review of Hermès Rocabar.2 I’m wary! I assume the guys writing me love Rocabar; what if I don’t? In that case would Rocabar fans prefer I keep quiet? Hermès is one of my favorite perfume houses so why was Rocabar unknown to me? Maybe I tried it ages ago and didn’t like it? Was it just a case of Fate — Rocabar and I always just out of each other’s reach? But last week, at the Hermès boutique inside my local Nordstrom, there was an easy-to-sniff tester bottle of Rocabar and I finally wore it. (This review is based on the current Rocabar formula; I assume late-1990s Rocabar was different).

Hermès says the name ‘Rocabar’ is a “contraction of ‘rug’ and the French words ‘à barres’ meaning striped.” Rocabar…

Read the rest of this article »