Kerosene Unknown Pleasures ~ fragrance review

Side street, Manchester

The Michigan-based indie fragrance line Kerosene released Unknown Pleasures in 2013. I first read about this fragrance with mixed emotions. The notes sounded appealing — Earl Grey tea, lemon, bergamot, honeycomb, tonka bean, caramel, vanilla and waffle cone. On the other hand — could it really be an homage to an iconic album by British post-punk group Joy Division? Yes, apparently: Kerosene’s product description continues, “You’re walking down a cold street in Manchester, listening to Joy Division, sipping on a warm cup of London Fog…”

For two years I’ve postponed trying this fragrance, partly because Kerosene isn’t widely available, and partly because I’m always hesitant to try anything inspired by a favorite work of art. Unknown Pleasures was integral to my college years and twenties, playing on steady rotation in my various dorm rooms and apartments (all decorated with a large poster of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis). I love everything the band recorded…

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Acqua di Parma Colonia Club ~ fragrance review

Three men at the races

How many times have I mounted my high horse and lectured a friend (my ‘fury’ barely concealed) when such friend would utter these words after smelling a fragrance: “Old. Lady. Perfume.” Nostrils flaring, eyebrows on top of my head, lips pursed…I would commence my lecture: “I hate that phrase! There’s nothing OLD about this perfume…it just has ingredients you don’t know or like or…UNDERSTAND…ingredients that remind you of the past. Aldehydes! Oak moss! Real musk!” (I could go on…and I won’t even broach the subject of ageism!)

Imagine how awful I felt after smelling Acqua di Parma Colonia Club;1 the first words out of my mouth were: “This is an old man perfume!” …

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Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez Eau de Toilette ~ quick perfume review

Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum

There was plenty to like about Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez, which launched as an Eau de Parfum in 2014. The white cube bottle was perfect, and perfumer Aurélien Guichard’s composition, which I likened to “a very thin schmear of gardenia marshmallow fluff on a wood plank”, struck a nice balance between wearable and fun. I’m no longer in buying mode, but I would not at all mind having a small bottle.

The new Eau de Toilette is clearly related to the Eau de Parfum, but as you’d expect, it inches farther along the line towards wearable…

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Miu Miu ~ fragrance review

Stacy Martin for Miu Miu

In Paris I’ve been lucky to see some of the PR material perfume houses send out. Wow. Marc Jacobs Decadence’s press materials came in a gold-edged black folder designed to look like a purse, complete with tassel and gold chain handle. Chanel Jersey’s press packet was a hand-bound paper booklet with mounted vintage photos, envelopes inserted to open and explore, and close-ups of materials — all on thick, luxurious paper.

Miu Miu’s press materials are especially impressive. Prada sent out a finely made flat box slickly papered in Miu Miu’s signature red and quilted baby blue. The box opens to a sheaf of hard cardboard placards with gold edges and artful images of actress Stacy Martin working Miu Miu’s youthful jolie laide charm. The perfume bottle is darling, and it feels heavy and solid in the hand. On seeing the package, my first thought was: Wow, this is gorgeous. Second thought: This must have cost a fortune, possibly more than the perfume did…

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Jimmy Choo Illicit ~ perfume review

Sky Ferreira for Jimmy Choo Illicit

The latest fragrance release from luxury footwear brand Jimmy Choo is Illicit, a “modern floriental” developed by perfumer Anne Flipo. Illicit’s notes include ginger, bitter orange, rose, jasmine, honey-amber accord and sandalwood; its ad campaign is fronted by singer, model and actress Sky Ferreira.

I’m probably not the target customer for this perfume: I covet shoes from John Fluevog more than anything from Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin et. al., and I don’t know anything about Sky Ferreira. According to Sandra Choi, Jimmy Choo’s creative director, “Illicit embodies the daring spirit of the Jimmy Choo woman. She is alluring, hypnotic and lives her life to the full.”1 I don’t think any of this applies to me, either (alas)…

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