Niche x 3: Eau d’Italie Graine de Joie, Memo Kedu, Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie

Quick reviews of three recent niche releases: Eau d’Italie Graine de Joie, Memo Kedu and Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie. Do comment if you’ve tried any new or interesting niche fragrances lately!

Eau d’Italie Graine de Joie

Eau d'Italie Graine de Joie

Is anyone here a massive fan of Eau d’Italie? I admit I’ve mostly lost interest; nothing they’ve done since Baume du Doge in 2008 has really impressed me, and the shampoo-ish packaging is a turn-off. Graine de Joie, intended to celebrate love, is a sweet ‘n tart fruity floral…

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Issey Miyake Nuit d’Issey ~ fragrance review

Issey Miyake Nuit d'Issey

Of the Big 3 Japanese design houses with perfume lines — Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake — it’s Miyake’s fragrances that have interested me the least (with one big exception, Feu d’Issey, and a smaller exception, a scent by issey miyake). Miyake’s most famous perfumes, L’Eau d’Issey and L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme, spawned almost-countless imitators, and the two “origin” perfumes today smell like caricatures of “fresh” fragrances (plenty of cleaning products smell like them, cleaning products you can buy at Target). Still, I approached the new Nuit d’Issey1 with an open mind (and nostrils).

Nuit d’Issey starts with greenish citrus (I smell mostly grapefruit) with a sweet-spice accord…

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Cartier Baiser Vole Lys Rose ~ fragrance review

Cartier Baiser Volé Lys Rose

One of the pleasures of summer is enjoying a glass of rosé wine in the backyard with a friend. Rosé varies, for sure, but in general it’s a crowd pleaser and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a touch fruitier than many white wines and makes friends with whatever summer food you’re eating, from grilled salmon to tomato salads. And, hey, it’s pink. I can’t help but think perfumer Mathilde Laurent was sipping a chilled Provençal rosé when she created the Cartier Baiser Volé flanker, Baiser Volé Lys Rose. It’s that kind of fragrance: easy, versatile, fun, and perhaps, ultimately, forgettable.

Cartier’s press release describes Baiser Volé Lys Rose (I’ll just call it “Lys Rose” from here on out) as a fragrance in which “the crystallized petals of a blooming pink lily are combined with subtle touches of raspberry to enhance the powdery and delicate note of Baiser Volé.” (To be clear, the fragrance isn’t about roses. In this case, “rose” is French for “pink” and Lys Rose is “pink lily.”)…

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Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt ~ fragrance review

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt

Wood Sage & Sea Salt, the latest release from Jo Malone, has just begun to appear in stores. It’s a fragrance inspired by the salt air, sea grasses and rocky cliffs of the English coast, developed by perfumer Christine Nagel; its official notes include ambrette seeds, sea salt, sage, grapefruit and red algae. In a recent interview about this fragrance, Nagel also mentioned buchu leaves, plum, dried fruits, driftwood and musk as compositional elements.

Jo Malone has been hit-or-miss for me over the past year or two; I liked Peony & Blush Suede, but I wasn’t crazy about Silk Blossom, and I found the London Rain trio too dull even to think much about, much less review. Still, Wood Sage & Sea Salt sounded appealing, so I gratefully took the sample that was offered to me at a Malone counter in a department store. It turns out to be one of the recent releases that I enjoy, and it feels just right for the final weeks of summer…

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Atelier Cologne Blanche Immortelle ~ fragrance review

Helichrysum prostratum

The East Coast has remained relatively (and uncharacteristically) cool and fresh this summer; out west, we’ve simmered and sweated (even in Seattle). Though I’ve done plenty of complaining about the heat, it’s been fun to experience a real summer for the first time in a … decade? I’ve been dousing myself with sunscreens, Eaux de Cologne, and perfumes with lots of jasmine, coconut and tropical flowers in them (beach-y things). Into this hot-weather perfume extravaganza, came a sample of Atelier Cologne Blanche Immortelle1 — an autumn scent.

Blanche Immortelle is part of Atelier Cologne’s Collection Métal which also includes Gold Leather, Silver Iris and Santal Carmin. When I first received my sample and dabbed an arm with Blanche Immortelle, I was not impressed; and I even told Robin here at NST that it was a nonentity and I would not be reviewing it. Weeeeeeell, I realized yesterday I got my samples mixed up; the nonentity is By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks. When I put a real application of Blanche Immortelle on my skin, I was much happier…

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