Top 10 Spring Fragrances 2016

tulip in snow

I am vocal about disliking spring. Where I live, there are always a few days in late February that feel like an elaborate set-up from Punk’d. Like newborn babes, they come: the office mates, friendly neighbors, the recently retired. They peer up into the warming blue and wonder aloud, trying to remember which way a hapless groundhog waddled weeks ago. Please don’t take spring’s bait. This year it snowed in April in the colder areas of Europe and North America and fans and news writers seemed to blame poor departed Prince. Let’s face it, in Minneapolis anyway, it usually snows in April. And snow can be the least of our worries. I am a fan of heterogeneity — I like mixed drinks and mixed company, for example — but few phrases freeze the heart faster than that euphemism “mixed precipitation”. Spring also brings wind, rain, seasonal allergies and skies the color of dead fish. Yes, the vernal months provoke a rare ire in me.

And yet, looking over my April 2011 Top 10 and Robin’s post from last year on pretty spring florals, I’ve realized I have little cause to be so sour while wearing some of my favorite fragrances. Clutching roots and branches may grow from stony rubbish, as Eliot wrote, but I have hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley, magnolia, violets and iris to console me until mid-May…

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Parfums Raffy

Hermes Rocabar ~ fragrance review

Hermès wool horse rugs

A fragrance for wanderers drawn to wide-open spaces. — Jean-Claude Ellena1

During my Now Smell This years, many men have written me asking for a review of Hermès Rocabar.2 I’m wary! I assume the guys writing me love Rocabar; what if I don’t? In that case would Rocabar fans prefer I keep quiet? Hermès is one of my favorite perfume houses so why was Rocabar unknown to me? Maybe I tried it ages ago and didn’t like it? Was it just a case of Fate — Rocabar and I always just out of each other’s reach? But last week, at the Hermès boutique inside my local Nordstrom, there was an easy-to-sniff tester bottle of Rocabar and I finally wore it. (This review is based on the current Rocabar formula; I assume late-1990s Rocabar was different).

Hermès says the name ‘Rocabar’ is a “contraction of ‘rug’ and the French words ‘à barres’ meaning striped.” Rocabar…

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Perfume on Skin: How Long Should It Last?

Florida Water

The other day in a department store, I heard it again, a sales associate praising a fragrance because it lasts all day. (Other “praise” I occasionally hear, “And it smells like this the whole time.”) As for me, mostly I don’t want a fragrance to stick around that long. Four hours or so is plenty.1

Okay, I see the merits of a long-lasting perfume, especially if the perfume is expensive and you’re looking for that one signature scent. In that case, you probably want your fragrance to last from its morning spritz through a day at the office. Why not? You’re not planning to switch fragrances later. You want the scent to linger.

For someone like me with a, um, “hearty” perfume collection, a long-lasting perfume hamstrings my choices…

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The reverse swapmeet, episode 1


Our first-ever reverse swapmeet is open for business. PLEASE read the instructions! (If you don’t, and your comment disappears, assume I deleted it because you didn’t follow the instructions.) For people who would like to chat in addition to, or instead of, swapping, there will be a poll along shortly.

What’s the point? Well, in a swapmeet, you tell others about the items you own but wish you didn’t, and you hopefully manage to trade those items for things you might like better. In a reverse swapmeet, you tell others about the items you are desperately trying to get your hands on, and what you’re willing to give up to get them. It’s a subtle difference, but might work better if you have a few items you just haven’t been able to obtain otherwise.

You can participate if you already have a reader account here and have commented at least once (no new accounts for this purpose, sorry).

Questions, or suggestions for how this might work more smoothly? Please don’t comment, just send me an email (robin at nstperfume dot com)…

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Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Rosa Excelsa ~ fragrance review

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Rosa Excelsa

Dolce & Gabbana has just launched Dolce Rosa Excelsa, a new floral fragrance for women. Dolce Rosa Excelsa is the second flanker to 2014’s Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana, following 2015’s Dolce Floral Drops. This time around, the bottle is blush pink with a deep red cap. The rose-inspired fragrance includes top notes of neroli leaves, papaya flower, white water lily and white daffodil; heart notes of Turkish rose and African Dog rose; and base notes of musk, cashmeran and sandalwood.

This happens again and again, and I never learn. Some upscale fashion brand releases a new rose fragrance, and I get my hopes up, despite the accumulated experience of the past decade, and then I try it and I’m disappointed…

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