Coolife Le Quatrieme ~ fragrance review

root chakra

I’m a tobacco fiend; I love growing tobacco plants (including Nicotiana tabacum) and sniffing their aromatic dried leaves. Thankfully, my love of tobacco didn’t lead me to a smoking habit. When I was 18, I’d buy expensive French and English cigarettes just for the packaging. Whenever I tried to smoke them in a nonchalant/worldly manner (in ANY manner, actually), I’d burst into coughing fits (as my companions would burst into laughter). Tobacco plants and perfumes have satisfied by tobacco cravings. My bottle of Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque (my “winter” tobacco) is empty, and come autumn, a bottle of Coolife Le Quatrième Parfum1 may take its place.

Le Quatrième Parfum is the fourth fragrance curated by Coolife partners Pauline Rochas and Carole Beaupré; eventually, there will be seven perfumes, each scent “illustrating” a chakra. Le Quatrième Parfum is a ‘tribute’ to the root chakra (Muladhara in Sanskrit). The root chakra is at the base of the spinal column; it provides a sense of assurance and refuge — physically, mentally and spiritually. Coolife describes the root chakra a bit more dramatically…

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J. Crew + Arquiste No. 31 & No. 57 ~ fragrance reviews

J. Crew + Arquiste No. 31 & No. 57

I am not a J. Crew customer. Well, I used to be, back in the early 90s when the J. Crew catalogue still catered to college students and I was still wearing baggy sweaters and oversized men’s t-shirts, but nowadays I find most of the brand’s offerings too high-priced for my wallet and too trend-driven for my taste. It took perfume to get me through the door of a J. Crew boutique last week — specifically, J. Crew’s collaboration with the niche brand Arquiste.

For this project, Arquiste recruited perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier to “conjure up the Jan. 5, 1943, opening of ‘Exhibition by 31 Women,’ the first all-female modern art show in the U.S., curated by Peggy Guggenheim and displayed at her Art of This Century Gallery on East 57th Street in New York.” The two fragrances are No. 31, named for the number of artists in the show, and No. 57, named for the street where Art of This Century was located. Naturally, I couldn’t resist a back-story like that. To my relief, the fragrances turned out to be well-crafted, affordable, and very pleasing on my skin…

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Arquiste The Architects Club ~ fragrance review

Arquiste The Architects Club

Cocktail time, March 1930, London: A group of architects gather for cocktails at Mayfair’s smartest Art Deco smoking room. As they settle in the warm interior of dark woods, leather and velvet, London’s bright young things burst in, frosted martinis in hand, surrounded by a cloud of laughter, white smoke and fine vanilla.

That’s Arquiste…talking about the inspiration for its latest perfume — The Architects Club. The fragrance was developed by one of my favorite perfumers, Yann Vasnier, who was guided in its creation by the imagined aromas of “the smoking room at Claridge’s in Mayfair” circa 1930. After smelling The Architects Club, I had to tweak the PR…

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Tom Ford Velvet Orchid ~ fragrance review

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid banner

The old saying has it that “everything old is new again.” Tom Ford Velvet Orchid, a salute to the grand oriental perfumes of the 1980s, seems to have taken that saying to heart. Lovers of Yves Saint Laurent Opium, Estée Lauder Cinnabar, Boucheron de Boucheron, and other room-permeating, spicy-woody-ambery fragrances will want to give it a try. Fans of Velvet Orchid’s older sibling, Black Orchid, will probably see no reason to switch.

Velvet Orchid’s notes include bergamot, mandarin, honey, vanilla, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, narcissus, magnolia, Cattleya leopoldii orchid, heliotrope, rum, suede, labdanum, sandalwood, and myrrh — not that any of these notes stand out distinctly. Even without the gorgeous deco bottle and “orchid” in its name, a single whiff ties Velvet Orchid to Black Orchid.

Although Velvet Orchid has the guts to take the ring with any of the big orientals, it’s billed as a floriental fragrance…

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