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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La Parfumerie Moderne Desarmant ~ fragrance review

Syringa microphylla

Lavender cologne reminds me of wash day or scented tissues. Tuberose makes me feel I’m wearing silk panties and fishnet stockings. Lilac reminds me of the silver-haired lady who arranged flowers at church.

We all have flowers we love to smell in nature but avoid in fragrances. Lavender, tuberose and lilac always are given revered spots in my garden…but not in my perfume cabinet.

La Parfumerie Moderne (founded by Philippe Neirinck in concert with Parfum d’Empire perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato) recently launched Désarmant,1 a lilac scent…

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Ormonde Jayne Vanille d’Iris ~ perfume review

orchid petals

I had to bide my time creating this, because it contains pure orris butter, which is so expensive…Then the rest of the perfume had to match the grandeur of this beautiful orris butter, so we worked with absolutes, using Madagascan vanilla, anything creamy, anything soft that would make it deep, rich and opulent. To make it really special, we created our own molecule. We created a part of the vanilla pod that you can’t buy, the smell of the soft brown sugary bit when you scrape down the seed pod. — Linda Pilkington of Ormonde Jayne1

Ormonde Jayne and I used to be great friends, but we parted ways around the time they started doing what I call upscale luxury — it was already a luxury brand, now it’s just more so. A little comparison shopping, which of course you can skip if niche fragrance prices don’t interest you: Champaca, one of my favorites from the early days of the brand (it came out in 2002), is now $240 for the large bottle (120 ml), rather steep but given niche prices these days, not necessarily out of the question.2 But the prices for the Four Corners of the World quartet (2012) range from $415 to $536, and Black Gold (2014) is an eye-popping $720. Perhaps they are all beyond category, I couldn’t say since I haven’t smelled them and I probably never will.

So I was happy to see a new fragrance in the “regular line” — something for us plebians! — last year, Vanille d’Iris…

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Bruno Fazzolari Seyrig ~ fragrance review

Bruno Fazzolari Seyrig

Although green chypres are a dying breed, we’re lucky enough to have some good ones on the market, including L de Lubin, Givenchy III, Chanel Cristalle and Vero Profumo Mito. What, if anything, does Bruno Fazzolari Seyrig add to the line-up?

Fazzolari’s website says, “Inspired by the aldehydic motifs of late sixties and early seventies perfume, Seyrig centers on an artistic interpretation of the Syringa flower — a relative of lilac that resists olfactory extraction. Crisp aldehydes are draped over rich rose de mai and ylang ylang absolutes with a foundation of oakmoss, resins, and musks for a spicy finish. This is a bold, statement scent that bridges perfume’s past with the present.”

The website doesn’t classify Seyrig as a green chypre, but to me it’s kissing cousins with the perfumes I mentioned above…

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La Parfumerie Moderne Annees Folles ~ fragrance review

Hôtel Belles-Rives

This week I tried Années Folles, the fourth fragrance from niche line La Parfumerie Moderne. Années Folles includes notes of lavender, thyme, nutmeg, geranium, tonka bean, benzoin and patchouli, and according to La Parfumerie Moderne, it “swings like a mysterious aromatic melody on a warm pulsating amber rythm [sic]. The powdry [sic] and woody insouciance wake of a festive atmosphere calls the tune until dawn from the open windows of this proud hotel overlooking the Mediterranean.”

Awkward phrasing and misspellings aside (why, oh why, can’t perfume brands ever hire decent translators or proofreaders?), this description lured me in. There’s the name, for one thing: “années folles,” or “crazy years,” is a common French appellation for the 1920s. I love lavender and ambery-powdery scents. And as for hotels on the Mediterranean, I looked at the photo on the La Parfumerie Moderne website for a minute and then did a quick and lucky search to identify it: it’s the Hôtel Belles-Rives, in Juan-le-Pins on the French Riviera. The author F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed at the Hôtel Belles-Rives, another tie-in to the Roaring Twenties. So how could I resist…

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