Tom Ford Shanghai Lily ~ perfume review

Tom Ford Shanghai Lily

I fell for it so hard that on any given day if I don’t have other perfume wearing plans it ends up on my skin.

I honestly cannot think of anything that smells like it and it definitely joins one or two other launches as being the most exciting perfume released this year…

Not just a bit of love for this one, but a big burning love.

That’s Bois de Jasmin, The Candy Perfume Boy and Perfume Posse, respectively, talking about Shanghai Lily, one of the four fragrances in the Atelier d’Orient collection from Tom Ford (the other three are Plum Japonais, Fleur de Chine and Rive d’Ambre). They’re all in the Private Blend range, and as I’ve written before about my general lack of affinity for Tom Ford Private Blend, I won’t belabor the point other than to say that the two quartets released just before Atelier d’Orient, Private Blend White Musk and Private Blend Jardin Noir, did nothing to shake my suspicion that the whole line is overrated and overpriced. Still, when Atelier d’Orient came out last year, I dutifully smelled them all on paper blotters at Neiman Marcus. I did like Shanghai Lily the best of the four, but I didn’t like it well enough to chase after a sample, so I went on about my merry way and forgot all about it…

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Cartier Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil, with an aside on Baiser Vole Essence de Parfum ~ fragrance review

Cartier Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil

Hey, who doesn’t need a little zeste de soleil right about now? (If it’s warm where you are, no bragging please!) Zeste de Soleil is the latest flanker to Cartier’s Eau de Cartier, a fragrance I’ve always liked but never adored quite enough to buy a bottle. It joins Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange (which was not as wonderful as I hoped), Eau de Cartier Essence de Bois (a great pencil-shavings scent darkened with a drop of oud) and Eau de Cartier Goutte de Rose (which I have not smelled — do comment if you have).

Zeste de Soleil is apparently meant to be the exotic-slash-tropical entry in the series; it adds passion fruit to the original mix of yuzu and mint. The top notes are the perfect antidote to the grey, dreary, rainy weather we’re having here lately: an energetic burst of what smells like flash-frozen grapefruit peel…

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Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer ~ fragrance review

Oriental Lily

Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer is proof that to know what something smells like, the perfume’s name, description, and marketing materials often aren’t enough. Serge Lutens’s references to Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, medieval torture devices, and the “essential nature” of lilies probably won’t help you pin down La Vierge de Fer’s nature. Years of sampling such Lutens favorites as Ambre Sultan and Chergui aren’t going to get you very far, either.

I’m going to gin up a new Vierge de Fer marketing campaign to give you a better idea of what the fragrance actually smells like. First, let’s rename it. Vierge de Fer is too harsh and enigmatic for such a gentle, romantic perfume. I know Serge would kill me, but let’s twist the title a bit and call the fragrance Maiden’s Dream. (I hear the groans already.)

For our marketing campaign, we’ll toss out the cubist painting of prostitutes and substitute a summer-dappled Berthe Morisot. I don’t want to make this too “July afternoon,” because the fragrance does carry a hint of metal and musk…

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Cartier Baiser Vole Eau de Toilette and Extrait de Parfum ~ fragrance review

Cartier Baiser Volé Eau de Toilette

I know, I know. Now Smell This already posted a thorough review of Cartier Baiser Volé. But that was for the Eau de Parfum. Baiser Volé is one of the few perfumes that really explores the fragrance’s idea through its other formulations. While a review of the Eau de Parfum gives you an idea of Baiser Volé’s theme — lilies in the style of Carole Lombard’s boudoir, complete with silver hairbrush and face powder — the Eau de Toilette and Extrait de Parfum aren’t simply different concentrations. Instead, they take the Eau de Parfum’s “main tune” and orchestrate it differently.

Cartier house perfume Mathilde Laurent created Baiser Volé in each of its forms. Cartier is vague about the fragrance’s notes, spouting pap about how the fragrance embraces each aspect of the lily: stem, petals, and root. Besides lily, I get hints of neroli, powder, jasmine, and musk.

Baiser Volé Eau de Parfum is the most sober form of the fragrance. It shows Baiser Volé’s powdery glamour of deconstructed lilies in a way that makes me long for my own dressing room, satin coverlet, and stack of 1930s movies. It’s beautiful, for sure. But it’s also humorless…

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Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee ~ fragrance review

lily

I can never answer the question, “What is your favorite perfume?” However, if someone asked me to name my favorite contemporary fragrance house, I’d probably name Frédéric Malle’s Editions de Parfums. After all, this company is responsible for two of my favorite perfumes, Lipstick Rose and Iris Poudre, as well as several others that I wear on a regular basis, including L’Eau d’Hiver, En Passant — and Lys Méditerranée.

Lys Méditerranée is a “tribute” to the lily, designed to evoke “a scorching summer evening as the Mediterranean sea spray mingles with the spicy scent of ginger lilies.” It was developed by perfumer Edouard Fléchier and was released in 2000; its notes include ginger lily, lily of the valley, angelica root, orange flower, water lily, salicylates, ambrette seeds, musk and vanilla. The Frédéric Malle website describes Lys Méditerranée as “radiant,” and reviewers have often used the same adjective, for good reason…

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