Gabriella Chieffo Lye, Hystera & Ragu ~ short perfume reviews

Gabriella Chieffo Ragù and Lye

I recently reviewed two fragrances (Acquasala and Camaheu) from Gabriella Chieffo, a niche perfume line based in Italy. This week I tested the remaining three, all released in 2014: Lye, Hystera and Ragù. Yes, let’s get those names out of the way: they don’t necessarily transfer well into an English-language context. I tried to concentrate on the actual fragrances, instead.

Lye is inspired by memories of laundry day: “The smell of the sun drying the clothes just hung out…Ash, like alpha and omega, become real protagonists in this fragrance. Lye, used once to whiten, to clean, dramatically returns to our fragrance memory, evoked by a unique and absolute scent.” This fragrance includes notes of bergamot, lemon, incense, iris, leather, patchouli, opooponax and vanilla. It’s described as “woody” and “spicy,” but that doesn’t sound quite right to me…

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A Celebrity’s Scent: Frida Kahlo & Dana Emir

Frida

When I visited Mexico City for the first time, the place I wanted to see more than any other was Frida Kahlo’s house in Coyoacán — the Casa Azul. Since that trip, Casa Azul (Museo Frida Kahlo) has been spruced up, and hidden wonders within its walls discovered: many of Kahlo’s fantastic clothes and other personal belongings — hairbrushes, decorated (and bloodied) orthopedic corsets she used after her many spinal surgeries, Kahlo’s prosthetic leg, sunglasses, lipstick, nail polish (Revlon’s vibrant red “Orchids to You”)…and perfume.

Over the years, I’ve noticed friends sometimes keep empty perfume bottles for years. Often, the perfume was an overseas purchase and couldn’t be easily replaced. Sometimes, the fragrance was extinct or a particular bottle rekindled memories of a certain someone or some place that gave happiness. I was intrigued when I found out Kahlo kept an empty bottle of Dana Emir…

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Living Lalique ~ perfume review

Living Lalique, brand image for London

Living Lalique is the latest pillar fragrance for women from the Lalique brand. I adore Lalique Encre Noire (the one for men), but by and large the recent feminine fragrances (Amethyst, Encre Noire Pour Elle, Fleur de Cristal, Satine, L’Amour and Azalée) have not interested me, other than the bottles, which are generally every bit as covetable as you’d expect from a company that’s in the business, after all, of making pretty glass.

If I had to pick a modern Lalique perfume for women, Living Lalique would be my choice, easily…

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Aftelier Bergamoss ~ fragrance review

Aftelier Bergamoss

With all the restrictions on fragrance materials and perfume house budgets, a lot of us fear for classic chypres. Aftelier Bergamoss is proof that the chypre as François Coty conceived of it lives on.

Mandy Aftel created Bergamoss with top notes including bergamot and wild sweet orange; heart notes of peach, citronellol and nutmeg absolute; and a base of oakmoss, flouve absolute, coumarin and antique civet. For me, Bergamoss tags all the bases of a beautifully made chypre and slides in for a home run with its seamless construction.

Because there’s little I like more than abusing a metaphor, let’s examine Bergamoss’s progress as it scores. Prepare your Cracker Jacks…

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Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2015

Japanese Garden, Portland

Instead of returning to my weary perfume cabinet for a rundown of summer favorites (I already hear longtime readers thinking, Is she going to bring up that blasted bottle of Jean Naté in her refrigerator again? Yawn), this year I got smart. I asked André Gooren from Portland’s fabled The Perfume House to share ten of his summer favorites.

André was up to the challenge. During a Saturday morning, between helping a bearded Australian opera singer (Caron Nocturnes, two bottles), a charming older woman (4711), a Romanian couple (Robert Piguet Jeunesse), and a booming-voiced regular (Pino Sylvestre and Comme des Garçons Avignon), he laid out ten sophisticated and sometimes quirky choices…

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