Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2015

Japanese Garden, Portland

Instead of returning to my weary perfume cabinet for a rundown of summer favorites (I already hear longtime readers thinking, Is she going to bring up that blasted bottle of Jean Naté in her refrigerator again? Yawn), this year I got smart. I asked André Gooren from Portland’s fabled The Perfume House to share ten of his summer favorites.

André was up to the challenge. During a Saturday morning, between helping a bearded Australian opera singer (Caron Nocturnes, two bottles), a charming older woman (4711), a Romanian couple (Robert Piguet Jeunesse), and a booming-voiced regular (Pino Sylvestre and Comme des Garçons Avignon), he laid out ten sophisticated and sometimes quirky choices…

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Etat Libre d’Orange True Lust ~ fragrance review

Etat Libre d'Orange True Lust, brand image

One of the hazards of reviewing fragrances for so long is that I can’t always remember what I’ve sampled. When I read that Etat Libre d’Orange True Lust combined Putain des Palaces and Dangerous Complicity, I drew a blank on what that might smell like. I even had to go back to confirm that I’d reviewed Putain des Palaces at all.

On rereading the reviews, it started to come back. Both fragrances are feminine, silk-stocking-ed sort of perfumes. Putain has a feral kick while Complicity might be the prettier of the two, although it lost my interest as it dried down. Now that I’ve smelled True Lust, I’m not sure why Etat Libre bothered to combine them. All three fragrances are lovely, and none is ferociously different from the other, at least not in mood…

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Top 10 Winter Fragrances 2015

winter is going away

While I am almost impervious to cold, I hate the inconvenience of winter. Imagine the shock-and-awe factor of a blizzard before the urban industrial era. People must have looked out into the eerie silence of a storm, a thick, blank curtain of white dampening even the wind’s whistle, and prayed to their higher being for safety and survival.1 Now, I get a snow alert on my phone and think: “Blast! If this causes me fifteen minutes of delay on the commute, I’m going to lose it!” I know, #ModernWorldProblems. In fact, after an ice storm that darkened Toronto into the new year for 2014, we’ve been lucky enough to avoid most of the chaos this winter. My condolences to Buffalo, Chicago, Boston and those on the East coast in Canada and the US.

The upside to darkness and inclement weather is the time I have inside to prepare an assault on two high peaks: the book pile and Mount Sample. Generally, I wear whatever fragrance I feel like at any time of year, but almost all perfumes conjure a particular season for me and the ones that evoke winter probably get less of my air time than most, merely for practical reasons. (Who will wear Guerlain Attrape-Coeur on a warm day in May? Not I.) My personal strategy for combating winter, then, is to dig out those under-loved warming, rich and sweet scents. But I do empathize with those who use the opposite approach, the denial method…

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