4160Tuesdays Tart’s Knicker Drawer ~ fragrance review

Model with Flapper Pillow and Pointy Shoes

I’m still happily working my way through a handful of sample vials from the independent perfumery 4160Tuesdays, and my latest crush from this house is Tart’s Knicker Drawer, a “floriental amber” with top notes of bergamot, orange, grapefruit and pink peppercorn; heart notes of raspberry, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, cedarwood, violet, tuberose and guiacwood; and basenotes of amber, musk, vanilla, benzoin and tobacco.

“Tart’s knicker drawer” is the phrase that 4160Tuesdays founder and perfumer Sarah McCartney’s grandmother used to describe women who wore too much perfume (and whose behavior was therefore questionable); McCartney created this fragrance after she’d spent a long day in her lab and was scented with the traces of six different perfumes-in-progress. When she tweeted, “I’m about to get in the E3 bus smelling like a tart’s boudoir,” she got so many enthusiastic responses (“Can I buy some?!”) that she decided to concoct a proper perfume inspired by the experience…

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Etat Libre d’Orange Attaquer Le Soleil Marquis de Sade ~ fragrance review

Etat Libre d'Orange Attaquer Le Soleil Marquis de Sade, brand image

What a difference an ingredient makes. Last week I disparaged a fragrance that showcased one note (Iso E Super) and this week I’m doing just the opposite. Attaquer Le Soleil* Marquis de Sade by Etat Libre d’Orange promotes one ingredient, cistus labdanum (from Cistus ladanifer), but I thoroughly enjoy this perfume.

I wrote about the Marquis de Sade and perfume almost 7 years ago (Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade). I’ll quote myself:

Sade’s stories of torture, his endless diatribes against religion, his sexual fantasies involving pain, incest, degradation, humiliation and murder numbed me. Reading the Marquis de Sade’s dully written, repetitive tales made me sleepy and after awhile I began to laugh heartily at the absurdity of him and what he ‘preached.’ His philosophy didn’t appeal to (or interest) me. I was definitely not Sade’s audience.

I’m still not Sade’s audience but sometimes I feel I could have been his compatriot…

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Aftelier Amber Tapestry ~ fragrance review

rug detail, Märta Måås-Fjetterström

When Mandy Aftel announced her latest fragrance, Aftelier Amber Tapestry, she billed it as a “comfort scent.” I heard “amber” and “comfort,” and I anticipated a real snickerdoodle of a perfume — a thick, golden, spicy, chewy scent cookie. (Not that this is bad! Set me in front of a pile of snickerdoodles and watch me go.) Yes, Amber Tapestry is warm and resinous with a touch of cinnamon, but cookies don’t pack jasmine, and lots of it. This could be a floral perfume lover’s new favorite oriental fragrance.

Amber Tapestry’s notes include yellow mandarin, jasmine grandiflorum, jasmine sambac, pear, heliotropin, labdanum, ambreine, cinnamon, coumarin, maltol, benzoin, ambergris and castoreum. Just to head off concerns, the pear isn’t discernable as fruit salad, and the cinnamon, while faintly noticeable, doesn’t give Amber Tapestry a gourmand vibe…

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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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Byredo Super Cedar ~ fragrance review

Byredo Super Cedar

I spent my Sunday afternoon this week perusing the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) website. IFRA prohibits and restricts the use of many beloved perfume ingredients. Some of these ingredients cause sensitization, phototoxicity, are carcinogenic or have the “critical effect” of genotoxicity (they mess with your genetic info). These are serious issues and IFRA also advises on the use of such ingredients to flavor products that come into contact with our mouths and digestive systems: tobacco, toothpaste, pastilles, syrups and the like. What got me on an IFRA kick in the first place? I’ve been testing LOTS of perfumes recently that are full of Iso E Super and I was wondering what IFRA had to say about it.

Iso E Super is on IFRA’s restricted list (as flavoring) due to its critical effect of sensitization; it can cause an allergic response (one that may worsen with repeated use). You can smell Iso E Super in hundreds of perfumes and in toiletries, home fragrance sprays and candles, and household cleaning products, like laundry detergents and dryer sheets…

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