Maria Christofilis Fleur 09 ~ fragrance review

Maria Christofilis Fleur 09

In 2012, Maria Christofilis (formerly of Anthousa) launched the feminine fragrance Fleur 09; it was limited to an edition of 80 bottles, and I somehow missed it both coming and going. Just this month, however, Christofilis has re-released the fragrance. Its formula remains unchanged: it is a white floral composition with notes of mandarin, bergamot, bitter orange, orange blossom, tuberose, vanilla and benzoin, originally developed privately for Christofilis by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux.

Fleur 09 is described as “a symphonic poem, exquisitely balanced and using only the finest and rarest oils—including best of the best elements from Givaudan’s Orpur® portfolio.” The Orpur range is reportedly a top-of-the-line collection of raw materials (all of them may be natural, or not — you know how hard it can be to determine this sort of thing!). I normally take this sort of “finest and rarest” claim with a grain of salt, but Fleur09 actually smells like a high-quality perfume…

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Tauer Perfumes Sotto La Luna Gardenia ~ perfume review

Tauer Perfumes Sotta La Luna Gardenia, label

There are a few flowers that should arguably never appear in the name of a perfume. Jasmine doesn’t matter so much — you can call a fragrance Jasmin de Nuit or Jasminora or Ikat Jasmine or whatever and it’s no big deal if it’s something other than a realistic jasmine soliflore — after all, there are plenty of realistic jasmine soliflores already. If you’re developing a new jasmine fragrance, going for interesting over realistic might be the better approach.

Magnolia is more problematic. The smell, in nature, is incredible, yet really lovely (and realistic) magnolia soliflores are as hard to find as leprechauns. Some perfumistas will automatically resent a fragrance called Magnolia-something-or-another that doesn’t, in fact, smell much like magnolias. Gardenia, ditto. The first thing a perfumista wants to know is: does it really smell like gardenia? And if the answer is yes, the next question is: for how long? Gardenia perfumes that smell like real gardenia for more than say, 10 or 15 minutes, are rare indeed…

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Jimmy Choo Man ~ fragrance review

Jimmy Choo Man

Jimmy Choo has launched its first fragrance for men: Jimmy Choo Man.1 Here are some choice tidbits from the PR campaign: “This is a fragrance for the man who goes out with the Jimmy Choo woman” (sort of limits your customer base, no?) and “He is confident, sensual, he is tough and still romantic, and he is the counterpart to the Jimmy Choo woman, who is sexy and powerful. He’s a cosmopolitan Mayfair playboy.”2 I’m visualizing a douchebag…as written up by a computer program.

Currently, it seems ALL male and female perfume inspirations are, above all else, POWERFUL. Power trumps ease, contentment, happiness…

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Robert Piguet Gardenia ~ perfume review

Robert Piguet Gardenia

I have not been a huge fan of the modern Robert Piguet line. I haven’t tried even close to all of them, and perhaps I’ve skipped over the best, but those few I’ve tested (Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet, Mademoiselle Piguet, Petit Fracas)1 have not bowled me over. For that matter, I’ll come clean and admit that much of the resurrected classic line (Baghari, Visa & Cravache, etc.) doesn’t really bowl me over either. I’m a Fracas girl, with a secondary respect and admiration for Bandit, and while I admire the care they’ve taken in keeping the Piguet brand alive and relevant, I’m pretty happy sticking with those two.

The newish Gardénia de Robert Piguet, though, is really pretty. I wasn’t quite bowled over, but I was impressed, and I’m sorry to have to give away the bottle I was sent for review (it’s already taken, sorry). Like most (all?) of the modern Piguet line, it was developed by perfumer Aurelien Guichard, and the composition walks a very fine line between what a hardcore perfumista might accept as a “gardenia” and what a modern consumer might be willing to wear to work…

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Serge Lutens L’Orpheline ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens L'Orpheline

Do you ever think of certain scents as “warm” or “cool”? I do. Amber, leather, oakmoss, and wood smell warm to me, while herbs, citrus, green notes, and ozone smell cool. Florals can go either way, especially rose. Most perfumes seem to have an overall warm or cool flavor to them, too, or they start out cool then turn warm. Serge Lutens L’Orpheline bucks the trend by straddling both cool and warm notes at the same time. In the end, the fragrance feels like a worthy complement to a rainy autumn afternoon.

In true Serge fashion, the press material surrounding L’Orpheline’s release is more mystical than practical. (I imagine members of some future cult bowing to a huge black-and-white portrait of Serge Lutens while chanting bits from leather-bound perfume box inserts.) We do know that the fragrance was developed by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake and includes notes of incense, ashes and musk…

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