Carven Vetiver ~ fragrance review & a quick poll

Carven Vetiver

If there were ever to be a Perfumista Parade in Paris and Now Smell This were invited to attend, I visualize our long float thus:

Front — Angie, dressed in Ziegfield showgirl style, wearing a feather headdress in the shape of a classic Shalimar parfum bottle, wafting aldehydes and oak moss for blocks, her area adorned with sparkling, large-scale vintage perfume bottles…

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Cartier Eau de Cartier Vetiver Bleu ~ fragrance review

Eau de Cartier series

Eau de Cartier Vétiver Bleu is the latest of Cartier’s flankers to 2001’s Eau de Cartier. The original Eau de Cartier is a perfectly serviceable, well-made cologne (from perfumer Christine Nagel, by the way), the sort that everyone needs at least one of. I was tempted to buy it more than once, years ago, but eventually filled the category with other basic colognes I liked better (Eau de Guerlain, for instance). Cartier has done any number of likewise well-made flankers for Eau de Cartier, and I’ve been tempted by some of those as well, especially the recent Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil. If they did a coffret of 15 ml bottles of all of them, I would not be able to resist, but so far, no coffret.

The series is marketed as unisex, but the individual scents tend to skew one direction or the other…

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Ermenegildo Zegna Essenze Collection Haitian Vetiver ~ fragrance review

Nitobe Memorial Garden

Some days my nose seeks “scent quiet.” I’m not speaking of a “quiet scent” but a simple one — nothing complex. It always helps to have single-note colognes (or ones with just a few ingredients) handy, fragrances made with high-quality materials that take simplicity into luxury-land. Last week, I visited the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia, and I started my day there at Nitobe Memorial Garden. The Zen garden was fresh, washed by a recent rain shower; the beds of moss, evergreens, azaleas, maples, and new blades of iris provided many shades of green. The damp, dim space was made even more romantic by the sounds of birds, streams, and a small waterfall. Only a few “specks” of non-green caught the eye, courtesy of rough stones, bark, weathered wood, cherry blossoms and orange koi. Whenever I visit this garden, I don’t want to leave…I want to linger and experience it at night, imagining the stone lanterns glowing from within, the areas around them golden with the light from oil lamps or candles.

After this contemplative beginning to my day, it was off to noisy downtown Vancouver for lunch and some retail exercise. I visited with Nazrin at The Perfume Shoppe, bought a bottle of Chanel Pour Monsieur Eau de Toilette (not available in the U.S.) and while browsing at Holt Renfrew’s men’s cologne boutique I smelled something wonderful in the air…

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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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