5 perfumes: Indie Greens


Once, when I was shopping at a perfume discounter, the owner brought me a fragrance and said: “You’ll like this. You’re a throwback.” I was taken aback. Was I? And was it so obvious? The suggested scent was a crisp green one, with the bite of galbanum, and I did like it, very much. I moved down the counter and snuffed the dusty tester, a bit embarrassed, while the owner helped a new customer pick out a bottle of Armani Code for women.

Pickings for the bitter green fiend are rather slim at department stores at present. Counter sales assistants will tell you that such scents are now old-fashioned and do not sell well. I imagine those last crisp green floral buyers, stately and melancholy as they have always been, at home with their Lauren Hutton cheekbones and maybe the accouterments of WASP style mentioned in Angela’s Estée Lauder Private Collection review: boat sneakers, gin martinis in iced silver carafes and small, strangely dignified dogs. (Of course, I still buy these perfumes and I am short, roundish and never to be found in tennis whites, alas. I would like a schnauzer, though.) Shopping at the mall these days, one worries that such green fragrances will go extinct, like the serious hats men used to wear in Cheever short stories. As with many holes in the market bemoaned by the fragrance obsessed, however, indie perfumers have leaped in to fill the galbanum gap…

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Parfums Raffy

Vero Profumo Rozy Eau de Parfum ~ fragrance review

Vero Profumo Rozy + Rose Tattoo movie poster

It’s not often that a fragrance lives up to its marketing. Vero Profumo Rozy does. Vero Profumo puts forward the gutsy, earthy Roman film goddess, Anna Magnani, as the fragrance’s inspiration. Despite the namby-pamby impression the name “Rozy” gives, the perfume is all glamour, attitude, and sweaty lip — and tenderness. Like Anna Magnani herself. You’d never call her attractive, but you can’t get her out of your mind.

Rozy Eau de Parfum, created by the house’s founder, Vero Kern, includes notes of rose d’orient, lilac, peach, passion fruit, honey, tarragon, powdery notes and sandalwood. (Rozy also comes in a Voile d’Extrait, which has notes of rose d’orient, tuberose, cassis, honey, spices, sandalwood and labdanum. It also reportedly comes in an extrait, but I can’t find it for sale anywhere. If you’ve tried the Voile d’Extrait or Extrait, please comment!)

My first thought on smelling Rozy was that at last I’d found a worthy substitute for the discontinued Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille

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Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2013

Having appropriated most American technologies, cultural tics and lifestyle choices, Canadians feel we know a lot about our neighbors (neighbours!1) to the south and we tend to be quite sensitive about a perceived lack of knowledge on the other end. Canadian comedian Rick Mercer, a national hero of sorts, came to prominence with a series of television clips called Talking to Americans, where he poked gentle fun at this relationship by interviewing ordinary Americans on the street — in addition to people like George W. Bush2, David Hasselhoff and a Harvard Professor of International Relations — and getting them to do silly things on camera: to congratulate Canucks on converting to a 24-hour clock (from a 20-hour one)3, to sign a petition trying to stop the planned polar bear slaughters in Toronto, or to sing along with a completely fabricated Canadian national anthem. Once, I had an encounter in Buffalo, NY that felt like a Mercer moment: I struck up a conversation with the gentleman beside me at the mall, who turned out to believe that Canadians did not experience summer. “But I live an hour or so away from here,” I kept explaining to him. “We have summer! We have the same climate as you do!” I could not convince him…

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Vero Profumo Mito ~ fragrance review

Tivoli, Villa d'Este

Until now, the Vero Profumo line had three fragrances: Onda, a mysterious herbal leather; Kiki, a fresh, bright lavender; and Rubj, a romantic, seductive orange blossom. Each perfume has a distinct personality, and each is different from the other. What would Vero Profumo’s logical next fragrance be? A green chypre, of course. In true Vero Profumo fashion, Mito Eau de Parfum is styled as a recognizable, but not entirely predictable, member of the family.

The fountains and statues in the garden of Italy’s Villa d’Este inspired Swiss perfumer Vero Kern to create Mito. Mito’s notes feature citrus, magnolia, jasmine, galbanum, hyacinth, cypress and moss. I’ve never been to Villa d’Este, and maybe I’ve fallen victim to the power of suggestion, but to me Mito does evoke a grassy garden smelled over a twist of fresh lemon peel and peppery bergamot. Shade dapples the velvet-fine lawn, and shrubs and trees dominate the garden’s alleys. Mito’s jasmine and magnolia don’t take center stage, but they soften the crisp galbanum without sweetening it…

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