Serge Lutens Bapteme du feu ~ fragrance review

Serge Lutens Baptême du feu

For me these days, smelling a Serge Lutens scent for the first time is a loaded experience. When I first began to explore perfume ardently, the Serge Lutens line yielded some of my favorites — Chergui, Chêne, Douce Amere, Bois de Violette, and more — and others that expanded my appreciation for perfume in general, such as Borneo 1834, Serge Noire and Muscs Koublaï Khan.

But the line kept growing. And growing. And I wasn’t finding much new to appreciate. Was it me?

Last week I visited the Palais du Shiseido with the intention of smelling Baptême du feu…

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Mirus Wicked Stepmother & Driftwood ~ fragrance reviews

Rubus sumatranus stem

I’d never heard of Mirus perfumes until I visited Tigerlily in San Francisco this July; a sales assistant insisted I sample the Northern California-based line. I was so taken with Mirus Wicked Stepmother, I included it in my Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2016 post.

Wicked Stepmother

(jasmine, lychee, orange, carnation, animalic amber and vanilla)

Wicked Stepmother reminds me of a vintage French perfume, one I could easily imagine being worn by the likes of Anouk Aimée or Simone Signoret in their heydays (both actresses could have rocked a mean stepmother — méchante belle-mère — role!) Wicked Stepmother opens with lush jasmine, spiked with a shot of something green…

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Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Kaleidoscope & Wasabi Shiso ~ fragrance reviews

Farmers Market

For the past week, we’ve been coping with a heat wave in my part of the world. Most of my perfumes suddenly felt too smotheringly heavy and sweet, the olfactory equivalent of fluffy sweaters — I couldn’t stand to have them anywhere near my skin. There are a few tried-and-trusted exceptions that I turn to every August, of course: 4711, Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau, Clarins Eau des Jardins. This week I also sampled two recent releases from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, named Kaleidoscope and Wasabi Shiso. Both belong to the house’s Eau Fraiche/Eau de Cologne series.

Kaleidoscope is described as “a juicy and swirling, deliciously succulent ‘vegetable gourmand,’ citrus to floral, eau fraiche scent” with notes of neroli, green mandarin, lemon, pink grapefruit, orange flower, lettuce, citrus leaves, white flowers, rose de mai, sambac jasmine, grandiflorum jasmine, pink pepper, orris root, guaicwood, sandalwood and vetiver. The notes blend in ways that become more than the sum of their parts: the pepper and green notes combine to suggest tomato leaves, and the citrus notes are made earthy and complex by the surrounding woods…

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Grandiflora Queen of the Night ~ fragrance review

Grandiflora Queen of the Night brand visual

Hello, favorite lusty floral of the moment! That’s me talking to Grandiflora Queen of the Night. (Hey, some people talk to plants. I talk to perfume, all right?) Another floral fragrance might come along to take its place, but for me, right now, the rich floral, black fruit, and pollen-powder notes of Queen of the Night are what I crave.

Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour developed Queen of the Night…

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Paris Smell Diary: Day Five

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, still from Charade

Many of us have a fantasy place where the world is a cut above our everyday lives. Maybe we’ve only read about this place or seen it in movies. Maybe it doesn’t even exist anymore. It’s as if we need somewhere to dream about when life turns out not to be what we’d hoped. For a lot of people, that place is Paris.

My niece, who until recently had never been east of Billings, Montana, used to be obsessed with Paris. She’d even considered getting a tattoo of a bluebird pulling a banner reading “la vie est belle” around the Eiffel Tower.1 In Paris — the dream Paris, that is — every café serves homemade cassoulet, women are chic (and thin) and buy their groceries at a farmers market, windows have pink geraniums and views of the Eiffel Tower (or of roofs and chimney pots), and romance lurks on every metro ride…

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