Faberge Straw Hat ~ vintage fragrance review

Fabergé Straw Hat, vintage advert 1

I seem to be in the mood for vintage fragrances this summer, whether they date to the 1980s or much earlier. This week, I spent some time with Fabergé Straw Hat, a scent that was originally released in 1938 and discontinued in 1976, after being offered every spring and summer as a limited edition. I only became acquainted with Fabergé’s other fragrances a few years ago. Aphrodisia is still my favorite, but Straw Hat feels is more seasonally appropriate this week!

Fabergé (the cosmetics brand, that is — not the jewelers to the Russian imperial family!) was founded in 1937 by the Russian-born businessman and philanthropist Samuel Rubin, who sold the company to a competitor in 1963. Fabergé continued to release new perfumes and toiletries, was subject to further mergers over the years, and had most of its products discontinued under Unilever’s ownership in the 1990s. I remember the magazine ads for Babe (1977) from my youth, and the Brut men’s collection is still available…

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Must de Cartier Pour Homme ~ fragrance review

Must de Cartier Pour Homme

Why was the Must de Cartier men’s line so unsuccessful? Must de Cartier Pour Homme1 was launched in 2000 and is already discontinued. Ditto with Must de Cartier Essence (2000), Must de Cartier Vert Anis (2001) and Must de Cartier Eau Genereuse (2003).

Must de Cartier Pour Homme is a sleek, appealing fragrance; it begins with a delicious-smelling and opaque anise-tangerine accord; the citrus is not icy, fresh or “clear,” but warm, cozy and generously spiced with anise, ginger and “olive leaf” (which may provide the momentary camphor-like aroma produced in Must de Cartier Pour Homme’s early mid-development). Coriander, which has a citrus character itself, floats in the background and is a perfect lead-in to Must de Cartier Pour Homme’s sweet tonka bean/vanilla base…

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Krizia Moods Uomo ~ fragrance review

Portrait of the Artist's Wife with a Hat by August Macke

Last week I wrote about a newly released fragrance (Acqua di Parma Colonia Club) that fits (for me) into the “old man cologne” category. Today, I’m writing about another men’s perfume that’s been around the block — 1989’s Moods Uomo1 by Krizia. But unlike Colonia Club, Moods Uomo still has legs. As Bruce Jenner transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner, so Moods Uomo can easily make the transition from a mature-dude perfume into a modern-dame fragrance; the dame can be 25, 35 or older, but she must have retro perfume tastes and wear men’s perfumes with aplomb, not doubt or fear. (I bet many young men wouldn’t like, let alone appreciate, Moods Uomo, unless they’re perfume fanatics who’ve sampled pre-IFRA offerings stretching way back in time.)

Moods Uomo opens with heavy-duty aldehydes, sour greens (there’s a wormwood-like note), and citrus peels. Moods’ opening notes keep percolating as others join in…

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A Celebrity’s Scent: Frida Kahlo & Dana Emir


When I visited Mexico City for the first time, the place I wanted to see more than any other was Frida Kahlo’s house in Coyoacán — the Casa Azul. Since that trip, Casa Azul (Museo Frida Kahlo) has been spruced up, and hidden wonders within its walls discovered: many of Kahlo’s fantastic clothes and other personal belongings — hairbrushes, decorated (and bloodied) orthopedic corsets she used after her many spinal surgeries, Kahlo’s prosthetic leg, sunglasses, lipstick, nail polish (Revlon’s vibrant red “Orchids to You”)…and perfume.

Over the years, I’ve noticed friends sometimes keep empty perfume bottles for years. Often, the perfume was an overseas purchase and couldn’t be easily replaced. Sometimes, the fragrance was extinct or a particular bottle rekindled memories of a certain someone or some place that gave happiness. I was intrigued when I found out Kahlo kept an empty bottle of Dana Emir…

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Guerlain Vague Souvenir ~ fragrance review

Guerlain Vague Souvenir + peach blossoms

My love of fragrance did not begin by smelling the contents of fancy bottles. I learned to love perfume in the garden. If you’ve read my reviews for any length of time, you may have noticed I often use botanical illustrations to “decorate” my posts; that’s because any perfume that gives me a realistic representation of a beloved natural scent has captured my attention and has a chance at capturing my heart, too.

I grew up in the countryside, and big parts of my childhood were spent outdoors: in flower beds, vegetable gardens, orchards, woods. The bounty of those places found their way into the kitchen, where another facet of my scent education took place (all those fruits, vegetables, spices, vanilla, chocolate, liquor!) To list my favorite fragrance notes would be a laughable exercise; I’ve been smelling everything that crossed my path my entire life…the list would be extensive. Still, the scent of stone fruits would be high on my list…

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