Parfums de Nicolai Musc Monoi ~ perfume review

Rene Gruau for Jantzen

For many years I have been in love by the famous Ambre Solaire oil. I always wanted to create a fragrance from which I can use this wonderful smell, synonym of sunny beaches. A fragrance with a powerful sensuality that smells on your skin like a hot summer day was my main obsession! — Patricia de Nicolaï1

I’ve never smelled Ambre Solaire, the suntan oil originally released by L’Oreal in 1935 and now sold under their Garnier brand name. But most anyone will recognize Musc Monoï, the latest from French niche line Parfums de Nicolaï, as the smell of a summer vacation at the beach.

Musc Monoï isn’t meant to be a replica of Ambre Solaire,2 and don’t let the ‘monoï‘ in the name fool you into expecting gardenia…

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Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum ~ fragrance review

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum brand visual

Last month, Guerlain launched Terracotta Le Parfum, a limited edition fragrance celebrating the 30th anniversary of the brand’s Terracotta bronzing cosmetic products. Terracotta Le Parfum was developed by Guerlain perfumer Thierry Wasser and has a composition of bergamot, coconut, tiaré flower, orange blossom, jasmine, ylang ylang, vanilla and musk. It’s described as a “sun-soaked invitation to explore faraway lands,” complete with a sun-embossed label on its circular bottle.

In case you were wondering (as I was), this fragrance is unrelated to Terracotta Voile d’Eté (1999), other than the fact that both were inspired by the Terracotta beauty collection and both were (are) limited editions. Voile d’Eté was a spicy-soft blend of clove-y carnation and ylang ylang; it was lovely, and I wish I could remember where I put the splash bottle that I used to own. Terracotta Le Parfum, on the other hand, is a summery “solar floral,” and although it’s not my usual style, I’ve fallen hard for it…

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Maison Martin Margiela Replica Flower Market, Beach Walk & Funfair Evening ~ fragrance reviews

Replica Flower Market, Beach Walk & Funfair Evening, bottles

The Maison Martin Margiela Replica fragrance collection has been available in Europe for a while, but it just arrived in the United States this spring. I’ve made some strategic visits to Sephora to sniff and spritz (and to request samples!), and I’m ready to share my thoughts on three of them: Flower Market, Beach Walk and Funfair Evening, originally launched in mid-2012. All three fragrances were developed for Maison Martin Margiela by perfumers Jacques Cavallier and Marie Salamagne.

Flower Market

Flower Market “carries the scent of fresh cut flowers in the buckets and vases of a Parisian flower market in 2011,” and its composition includes notes of crushed leaves, freesia, sambac jasmine from India, Egyptian jasmine, tuberose, rose from Grasse, peach, cedarwood and oakmoss. I inhaled Flower Market hoping for the leaves and the roses to stand out…

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Lolita Lempicka Elle L’Aime ~ perfume review

Lolita Lempicka Elle L'Aime advert

Elle L’Aime is a timeless, universal and utterly feminine fragrance, a hymn to conquering love. — Harrods

Yadda, yadda, yadda. If I had a dime for every new timeless, universal and utterly feminine fragrance, I’d be at Harrods right now, buying one or two or ten of them. Plus, I tried Lolita Lempicka’s new Elle L’Aime very briefly on a blotter at Neiman Marcus right after it launched, and the fresh citrus-y top notes struck me as pretty much business as usual. So when I finally got a sample, I let it languish while I tried other, more potentially interesting fragrances.

Oops. Elle L’Aime is more fun than you’d think from a quick sniff of the top notes…

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Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soleil ~ perfume review

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soleil fragrance bottle

When I reviewed the original Azuree Soleil Eau Fraiche Skinscent — part of the Tom Ford collection for Estee Lauder way back in 2007, before Tom Ford started his own line1 — I said it was “a mood as much as a fragrance”. The mood is vacation, if you will allow that vacation can be a mood, and the kind of vacation is tropical beach vacation. That explains why I wear it so much despite the fact that it’s hardly the best or the brightest or the most artistic fragrance in my collection. In the winter, who doesn’t need a little tropical vacation now and then? And in the summer, it’s one of those no-thought-required, works-anywhere-anytime fragrances that everyone needs in their arsenal. More than once, it’s been the only fragrance I’ve actually reached for while on a real vacation, at a real beach.

So, Azuree Soleil, as some of you will remember, was a one-shot limited edition and it sold out pretty quickly, but it came back the next year, only slightly altered, as Bronze Goddess. It came back again, and sold out again, in 2009 and 2010.

For 2011, Bronze Goddess has returned once again, and this time it’s brought along a buddy: Bronze Goddess Soleil…

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