Hermes Bel Ami Vetiver ~ fragrance review

Hermes Bel Ami Vetiver visual

One of my most memorable introductions to a perfume happened in Mexico, when a child-shopkeeper handed me, with grace and a touch of theatricality, a bottle of original Bel Ami by Hermès. It was not love at first sniff (even though I bought a bottle immediately) but now, if some evil genie commanded I use only five perfumes for the rest of my life, Bel Ami would be one of the five…even one of three (if the genie were especially nasty and restrictive).

I was excited to try the tweaked Bel Ami — Bel Ami Vétiver — but was wondering if the light touch of perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena would make the perfume too contemporary for me. With a bottle of original Bel Ami in one hand, and a sample of new Bel Ami Vétiver in the other…here goes…

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Atelier Cologne Gold Leather ~ fragrance review

Atelier Cologne Gold Leather, brand visual

Atelier Cologne introduced Gold Leather in 2013, as part of the new Collection Métal fragrance series that also included Silver Iris. Like Angie, I thought Silver Iris was nice enough, but it couldn’t compete with the fabulous iris fragrances already in my collection. Gold Leather, which seems to be less widely distributed, was much more interesting to me after a quick sniff on paper.

Gold Leather starts off boozy and rich, with a sweet, spicy rum (although it smells like something heavier) and a twist or three of orange peel. There’s a generous dollop of plum jam…

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Coach Leatherware Nos. 1, 2, and 3 ~ fragrance review

Coach Leatherware Nos. 1, 2, and 3

Smelling the Coach Leatherware series makes me wonder why Coach didn’t start its fragrance line with leather in the first place. Leather is a natural for Coach, a company — like Hermès — that started in the tack business. Also like Hermès, Coach expanded to leather bags and belts, then to clothing and perfume. But that’s where Hermès and Coach part company. Although Coach has upped its style quotient, its quality has taken a nosedive in the past decade. (Just try to find a new Coach handbag with a leather lining.) Coach’s fragrances? Entirely forgettable.

Leatherware gives me fresh hope for the company. Each fragrance has personality and development, and they stand up to some of my favorite leather perfumes. Let’s go over them one by one.

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Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia ~ fragrance review

Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia solid perfume

A long time ago, I read a novel that I’ve mostly forgotten now, except for a minor character, a woman named Lloyd. The one detail I remember about Lloyd — a detail even more chic than her name — is that all the accessories in her purse were made of green leather. Her wallet, coin purse, cosmetics pouch, sleeve for her comb — all soft green leather. I think Lloyd would have worn Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia.

Cuir de Gardenia’s notes are simple…

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Memo Italian Leather ~ fragrance review

Memo Italian Leather

A few weeks ago I wrote about my visit to the Italian Embassy in Paris for the launch of Memo Italian Leather. Now for the rest of the story.

In the embassy’s Grand Salon, the brand owner, Clara Molloy, and perfumer, Aliénor Massenet, sat on yellow silk upholstered armchairs near the marble fireplace, forming part of an intimate clutch of armchairs encircling a coffee table. The scent of coffee drifted from a table near one wall. We also smelled, of course, a trace of delicious perfume.

Molloy was open and cheerful, with Snow White pale skin and dark hair. I immediately wanted to be her friend. As I already wrote, she led us on a tour of that wing of the embassy (I’m still trying to figure out how I can incorporate the dreamy lagoon-like colors of the library into my own house) before settling again in the Grand Salon. With French beauty editors.

Yes, French beauty editors…

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