Chanel No. 5 L’Eau ~ fragrance review

Lily-Rose Depp for Chanel No. 5 L'Eau

We should be happy. Chanel has been very careful with its legendary No. 5 and until now has only dared an Eau de Parfum and Eau Première beyond the original Eau de Toilette and Extrait. Both were careful enhancements. No No. 5 Noir or Eau de Sport or Resort Rose.

I can almost imagine Chanel executives casting sidewise glances at Guerlain. “What the heck are they doing with Shalimar?” they might ask. All those takes on the classic — Eau Legère, Light, Souffle de Parfum, Parfum Initial, Ode à la Vanille, and more — are akin to stealing Joan Crawford’s shoulder pads and eyebrows. At some point you end up not with an icon, but with a placid starlet who will please the common denominator for a few months, then be forgotten for good…

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Giorgio Armani Si Intense ~ fragrance review

Cate Blanchett for Giorgio Armani Sì Intense

A new Sephora just opened directly on the route of my daily commute, so I stopped in last week to check it out and try a few new fall fragrances. My eye was caught by the sleek black bottle of Giorgio Armani Sì Intense, a flanker to 2013’s Armani Sì. It was released elsewhere in 2014, but it just arrived in the United States this month.

The promotional boilerplate for this perfume reads, “The new version of Sì is designed for a strong and passionate woman who is brave and not afraid to take risks. Such a woman is conceived as very charismatic, confident, independent and sophisticated.” It was developed by perfumers Christine Nagel and Julie Massé, and its composition includes notes of black currant, mandarin, bergamot and freesia; rose de mai, neroli, davana and osmanthus; patchouli, vanilla, ambroxan and woods.

When I sprayed Sì Intense on my wrists at Sephora, I swooned with pleasure and momentarily considered purchasing a bottle then and there…

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Cartier L’Envol ~ fragrance review

French postal card showing Santos Dumont flying the 14 bis

Cartier just launched L’Envol (the flight). If you read about the fragrance online, you’ll see it compared to the scents of mead and ambrosia; there’s even a connection with one of Louis Cartier’s favorite people, aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont has a Cartier watch and perfume named after him, and you may have seen “him” (wearing his Cartier watch) in the beautiful L’Odyssée de Cartier film (he’s the guy in the sky bringing the leopard back to Paris).

I got a kick out of L’Envol’s sample card’s wording, which shows even super-rich companies fall short in PR and translation: ‘”Un nectar aérien et boisé. Une potion de vie pour prendre son envol” was translated as “An airy and woody nectar. A life potion for men to take off.”1 After spraying on L’Envol, I didn’t want to take it off; I wanted to spray on more…

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Citrus with a twist: Imaginary Authors Mosaic & Providence Perfume Co Tangerine Thyme

Fête du Citron, Menton

Yes, summer is very nearly over — but nearly over is not over, right? There are still a few warm days ahead where I live. Here are quick reviews of two last-gasp-of-summer citrus fragrances, and do add any of your own favorites that you’ll miss as the days get colder.

Imaginary Authors Mosaic

I’m not going to repeat the whole fake novel by a fake author backstory since I promised a quick review — suffice it to say that Mosaic involves “a spring-fed, Roman-style bathhouse on the edge of The Black Forest in the seemingly serene German village of Baden-Baden”…

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Aftelier Memento Mori ~ fragrance review

Renaissance Gimmel Ring with Memento Mori

“I wanted to capture the musk-like smell of skin, using all naturals, which was quite a challenge,” Mandy Aftel writes of her latest fragrance, Aftelier Memento Mori. At first blush, creating a perfume that smells like skin might seem pointless. After all, aren’t we wearing skin? We should have skin smell already built in.

Think about it a moment, though, and it makes sense. Maybe you look out your window at a mountain, but it doesn’t take away from the pleasure of viewing Cezanne’s Mont Sainte Victoire. An artist’s interpretion of her subject adds value. Even an exact depiction of something can be art, because the painting is not the original object — ceci n’est pas une pipe. In the case of Memento Mori, this is not skin. It’s perfume…

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