Jardins d’Ecrivains Marlowe ~ fragrance review

Jardins d'Ecrivains Marlowe and skull

Jardins D’Écrivains Marlowe perfume was named for playwright and poet Christopher Marlowe. I know little about Mr. Marlowe, his life or work, but “his” perfume smells like a memorial: it’s antique, faded.

When I first read Marlowe’s listed ingredients, “opulent” osmanthus, “poisonous” tuberose, “tragic” dried flowers, myrrh, elemi, oak moss, labdanum, “tonkin” musk and leather, I expected a rich, syrupy brew, dense and enveloping. Not so! Marlowe smells like a waxy wooden armoire (stuffed with winter-weight wool, velvet and silk clothing, old leather boots and belts) that’s been opened after a hot summer…

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Aftelier Vanilla Smoke ~ fragrance review

lapsang souchong

Autumn and the scent of smoke seem made for each other. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of the season’s first wood fires, or a taste of peaty Scotch, or the steaming pots of smoky Lapsang Souchong tea that sound so good on a rainy afternoon, but for me it’s hard to separate smoke and November. For that reason, I looked forward to sampling Aftelier Vanilla Smoke.

Not that I didn’t have my concerns. After all, not all smoke is good smoke. Would the smoke be toasty or touched with cumin (like real wood smoke can be) or acrid? Worse, would the vanilla smell like cake batter? Fortunately, with Mandy Aftel we’re in good hands…

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L’Occitane + Pierre Herme Jasmin Immortelle Neroli & Pamplemousse Rhubarbe ~ perfume reviews

L’Occitane + Pierre Herme Jasmin Immortelle Neroli & Pamplemousse Rhubarbe, brand visuals

Jasmin Immortelle Neroli and Pamplemousse Rhubarbe are the latest from L’Occitane, part of a new limited edition collection developed in collaboration with pastry chef Pierre Hermé and inspired by summers in Corsica. Both scents sounded tempting (if perhaps not as tempting as they might have been if they’d been inspired by Pierre Hermé’s pastries) and I’m happy to report that I liked both of them: a set of scented hand creams was bought and paid for within minutes after smelling them…

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Serge Lutens Feminite du Bois vintage & new ~ fragrance review

Shiseido Féminité du Bois brand image, doubled

Just as Picasso had his Blue period, Serge Lutens had his “Bois” period, and Féminité du Bois was its foundation. Féminité du Bois established a new “flavor” in women’s perfume: sharp cedar counterbalanced with fruit and spice.

Like the gastronomic rediscovery that salty and sweet go well together (hello salted caramel and bacon chocolate), Féminité du Bois’s honey- and spice-dipped shaved cedar feels intuitively right. Serge certainly thought so. He followed it up with a raft of Bois fragrances…

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Byredo Rose of No Man’s Land ~ fragrance review

Byredo Rose of No Man's Land, Freja Beha Erichsen

I’ve seen some beautiful flowers
Grow in life’s garden fair,
I’ve spent some wonderful hours,
Lost in their fragrance rare;
But I have found another,
Wondrous beyond compare… 1

Rose of No Man’s Land is the newest fragrance from niche line Byredo. It’s a tribute to the nurses who cared for wounded soldiers on the front lines of World War I, saving lives in the danger zone of the “no man’s land” — the space between opposing armies. A World War I-era song praising these nurses gives Byredo’s fragrance its title and inspiration: “Mid the War’s great curse,/Stands the Red Cross Nurse/She’s the rose of ‘No Man’s Land!”2

Rose of No Man’s Land is basically a contemporary rose soliflore, and I think it’s a lovely one…

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