Ys Uzac Satin Doll ~ fragrance review

Ys Uzac Satin Doll

A “spicy iris modern chypre” that “exquisitely mirrors Duke Ellington’s unforgettable masterpiece”? I adore iris, chypres, and Duke Ellington. Sign me up! At least, this is what I thought when I read the launch announcement about Ys Uzac Satin Doll in July. Satin Doll’s PR copy included another teaser, saying that the iris was “embraced by a bitter and dry tuberose.” I adore tuberose, too, but often it doesn’t sit right on me. Maybe a bitter and dry tuberose would be just the ticket. The rest of Satin Doll’s notes are entrancing, too. Besides iris and tuberose, they include pink pepper, elemi, pepper, rose, jasmine, myrrh, incense, patchouli, opoponax, and benzoin. Really, doesn’t this perfume sound perfect?

Sadly for me, although Satin Doll is nice, it doesn’t communicate the beauty, swing, and freakiness of Ellington’s song

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Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2012

gourds and a mushroom

I have been known to change my mind. Still, as far as my love of autumnal perfumes goes, it seems I am as constant as the northern star. I kept thinking of fragrances to include in this post and then realizing, blast, I’d already listed them the last time I covered fall favorites for Now Smell This in 2009. A few of the previous ten are my all-time, all-year darlings, but the fall always casts them in a particularly poignant and profound light for me. As October starts, I often think of lines from John Cheever: “and who, after all these centuries, can describe the fineness of an autumn day?” (via The Stories of John Cheever). He gives it a shot anyway:

The clear and searching sweep of sun on the lawns was like a climax of the year’s lights. Leaves were burning somewhere, and the smoke smelled, with all its ammoniac acidity, of beginnings. The boundless blue air was stretched over the zenith like the skin of a drum.

That ammoniac acidity has always given me pause — ammonia is alkaline, isn’t it? — but the sky and the sun and the lawns are all perfectly right. And then, using his characteristic contrast of the ecstatic and the everyday, he deflates that golden description with: “It was the day to canvass for infectious hepatitis.” Well, of course it was! For autumn is not only the season of reflection and melancholy, a time to moon about in cable-knit sweaters through the mists of the dying year. It is also a practical season, a time to make school lunches and Halloween costumes, to bustle along the sidewalks through gusty breezes on charitable errands. As Cheever wrote, beginnings are in the air.

So okay, you say… begin already, please! As I rounded up the usual suspects three years ago, the following list includes some of my favorite newer scents. (Surely my “Best of 2012″ picks will be predictable enough to excuse a spoiler.) There are a few of my old standbys that got missed last time, too…

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Ys Uzac Pohadka ~ fragrance review

Ys Uzac Pohadka

Did you groan when you saw this was a review of yet another new, obscure niche perfume? I admit I let whole perfume lines go untested simply because it’s so hard to get samples. Besides, how fun could it be for readers to wade through yet another review of something they may never be able to sniff? But some lines — small and hard to find as they are — merit the extra effort. For instance, I’d always want to smell something new by Vero Profumo, Parfums DelRae, or Ormonde Jayne. From testing Ys Uzac Pohadka, I wonder if Switzerland-based Ys Uzac might join that list.

Pohadka Eau de Parfum, which comes with the subtitle “Ainsi la nuit,” is a light, complex tobacco fragrance. Notes for Pohadka mentioned on Ys Uzac’s website include fresh cut grass, blond tobacco, immortelle, jasmine, smoked vanilla and fresh herbs. The website adds that each of the company’s four fragrances incorporates about 90 percent natural ingredients.

When I think of a tobacco-centered fragrance, my thoughts go to perfumes evoking pouches of scented pipe tobacco…

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