Monday, June 29, 2015

Solidarity Sale

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably heard of the latest developments in the Sovereign Greek Debt Crisis and the Eurozone proceedings. We're living in historic and interesting times, no doubt.

In an effort to come to terms with uncertain liquidity in the following critical days, I decided to personally liquidate part of my perfume collection, offering readers both a chance at worthwhile things (everything was personally purchased and kept in dark closet), and the satisfaction of showing solidarity. Please take a look at the things below and if any or more interest you, please email me using Contact for further details. Thank you!


Vintage & Discontinued fragrances

Annick Goutal Grand Amour, eau de toilette 50ml 50% full, no box.

Boucheron Femme extrait de parfum, 15ml in "ring" presentation, full, new in box.

Christian Dior Eau Fraiche, 1950s vintage chypre by Roudnitska, 30ml atomiser, full. {in talks}

Christian Dior Poison, 1980s oval shaped bottle spray EDT 30ml, 90% full {in talks}

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, 10ml travel spray (original edition), 70% full.

Guerlain Metalys, 30ml glass bottle vial with screw cap. Full. {in talks}

Guerlain Mitsouko extrait de parfum 8ml, 2000 vintage, "lighter" style atomiser, 90% full in box. {in talks}

Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial, EDP, 40ml EDP sealed in box.

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube limited edition, discontinued, 100ml, 85% full

L'Artisan Parfumeur Extrait de Songe, vintage bottle style, collectible, 30% full, no box.

Oscar de la Renta Oscar 30ml EDT 85%full, no box.

Niche fragrances

DelRae Amoureuse 50ml 50% full, not sure on box (might have it, need to check).

La Maison de la Vanille Vanille Noire de Mexique, 100ml 70% full in box.

Pell Wall Fragrances Pretty in Pink, English-rose artisanal fragrance EDT100ml in box, 95% full

Ramon Monegal Mon Cuirelle, 50ml sealed in box. {in talks}

Quirky fragrances

Black Widow,  spicy oriental in style of old Opium, 60ml 70% full in box.

Lidl Suddenly Madame Glamour, EDP 50ml, sealed in box.

Zara Rose, modern floral woody musk (Narciso style), 30ml sealed in box.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Perceptions of Sweetness: Is it Only in Your Sugar-Bowl?

It seems like sweetness is indeed de riguer in modern perfumery, the sine qua non of commercial success as endless sales of La vie Est Belle, Flowerbomb and Prada Candy, say. I dare you to find something as bitter as—say—Piguet's Bandit eau de parfum or Chanel No.19 eau de toilette in the production of the last 15 years.


Even forms of perfume which do not lend themselves to the culinary, such as the powdery softness of contemporary "lipstick smelling perfumes" built on "makeup-like" accords (enter Lipstick Rose, Chloe Love, Flower by Kenzo with their abundance of ionones) or the soapy aldehydic glow of the lathered soapy fragrances, such as Narciso Rodriguez Essence, exhibit a sweet tooth. Which serves as the springboard of another thought.

What if sweet notes were always popular, merely set in a different context?

This is the core of my article on Fragrantica, Perceptions of Sweetness: Facets & Surprises, where I investigate the many nuances of "sweet" in fragrances, both vintages such as Chanel No.5 or No.22 and modern ones such as the ones named above. I also pose a question as to what you perceive as sweet and whether it has anything to do with flavor preferences or hard-wiring in the brain. 
You're welcome to comment either there or here. 

Related reading on Perfume Shrine:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Americans Complaining of Perfume Overload: Cultural Divide or Other?

It seems like I get almost every single one of the mails complaining of perfume overload from people living on US soil. The matter had been discussed in a previous post, Americans vs French, the Culture Wars, but here are some more thoughts stemming from past discourse with interested parties.


1. The frivolity of perfume seems ingrained in a sort of WASP mentality, the glorification of soap & water of religious significance through the "cleanliness next to godliness" axiom. Interestingly, although the phrase is similarly coined in other languages to extol the value of cleaning up, the connection is not made with the divine but rather with other values, such as social status (In Greek it's "cleanliness is half nobility" ). To further the syllogism one might say that eschewing the god-preferred clean smell of soap & water, covering it up with perfume "reeks" of suspicious motives, of emulating women of low reputation who used perfume in order to either hide the smell of other men on them or to seduce men through perfume. In a certain milieu, the use of perfume might be considered thus immoral.

2. The cubicle farm culture is most prevalent in the US rather than in other countries (although I'm not going by any solid statistic, just what I see on first "reading") which might explain why there are so many people who have complaints. It's not entirely their fault (or their co-workers'), you know, the environment induces discomfort, conflict and ennui! Someone has to be blamed and perfume is so easy. Especially so since smells invade our space and trigger emotional responses.

3. The following might not be relevant nowadays in all cases, but I distinctly recall a perfumer mentioning that American perfumes are made with a higher concentration within the established eau de toilette, eau de parfum concentrations so as to satisfy the taste to have your perfume announcing you, a form of "olfactory shoulder pads". It's also a historical fact that some of the most potent, powerful fragrances first met with success in the US, such as Narcisse Noir by Caron, due to this preference for stronger fragrances. (And we all recall Calvin Klein's Obsession and Giorgio Beverly Hills, don't we). So it' wasn't always like that. Additionally several of the modern "clean" scents of American name are so harsh that they do pierce sinuses.

 So in view of the above is it any wonder that lots of Americans are complaining? I don't think it's entirely their fault.
What's YOUR take?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Latest Developments on IFRA and EU Perfume Regulations: Inside Job or Not?

"The idea that IFRA is an inside job to kill the natural raw material side of the fragrance industry may seem like an attractive conspiracy theory at first, but upon even cursory examination, this idea falls apart.
Natural fragrance materials represent a sizeable chunk of the fragrance and flavour industry’s profits (and this includes the main IFRA members). Creating new aroma chemicals is extremely costly, a big risk, and burdened with its own regulatory pressures. Never mind the all too real possibility that an aroma chemical you have brought to market gets restricted or even banned by IFRA in the future if it is found to be problematic by their standards.
If IFRA were an inside job, this sort of thing would never happen."


The low down on the European Union and IFRA regulations on fragrance and potential allergens as of this very minute is on Basenotes, as written by the knowledgable Pia Long. Please take a look if you haven't by now.

I have personally preached (forgive the emphatic word, I do consider myself an educator and an eternal student first and foremost) the complexities of the matter and the simplistic context of "just follow the money". It's more than that. You can find some of my old articles when the furore online first started under the Restrictions tab.

But perfume is considered such a frivolity by so many people that the greater issues that the industry itself experiences seldom get the limelight. It's high time that we sat down, ignored getting our panties in a wad for once and gave it some balanced attention.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Death is Yellow and Smells of Vanilla (La Mort Est Jaune Citron et Sent la Vanille)

-Death is yellow and smells of vanilla.
-Are you sure of it?
-I'd bet money on it.

The above quote is from Patrice Leconte's film Le mari de la coiffeuse (The Hairdresser's Husband*, 1990). Jean Rochefort in fine comedic (and dramatic) form.

I found the quote interesting both in the sense of an unexpected joke and in the sense of expressing a certain zen acceptance on the matter of death. The film is infused in the pleasure of the senses (and of erotic love) anyway and there are several glimpses of the beautifying hair products and perfumes, in retro style bottles, on the shelves of a traditional French hairdressing salon.

*please disregard the faulty description as an "Italian movie"

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