Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum: fragrance review & comparison with Terracotta Voile d'Ete & Terracotta Eau Sous Le Vent

Die hard perfume fans might be excused for disregarding that the brand of Terracotta, one of the oldest products for giving what the French call "bonne mine" (i.e. the look of healthy looking, sun kissed skin) is the biggest seller for the Guerlain beauty and perfumes company they so revere. Indeed Guerlain would be literally bereft without their prized Terracotta, introduced in 1984, which is why they have been carefully augmenting the line with new and exciting and delicious-feeling products over the years, always instigating the desire to test at the makeup counter and take something home.

Part of the charm of Terracotta is the name, recalling sun-drenched tiles in the south of France, almost leaping off the green and yellow background and over the outlines of the blue Meditteranean just a stone's throw away. Another is the clever choice of design color scheme which makes the most of the mental associations consumers have with summer and leisurely vacations. A Terracotta product is like a ray of sunshine in your handbag, an inextricable part of feeling good about yourself even before touching your skin with the pom pom brush or the buttery soft creams. Over the course of 30 years Guerlain matched the powerful brand name of Terracotta with some fragrances they offered in a move of brand awareness.

The olderst was Terracotta Voile d'Ete (1999), a sunny spicy carnation and ylang composition that was fiery and spicy floral in character, projecting with the assured step of a tiger proud of her golden stripes.
Next came Terracotta Eau Sous le Vent (2009), a limited edition fragranced moisturizing mist for the body which had a subtle sheen and the delicious aroma of tiare flower, yet faint for a true perfume. (It was complemented by the Terracotta Huile de Voyageur which was a dry oil to bathe skin in tropical flowers's scent and gold mother of pearl particles). This year Guerlain re-introduces the magic of Terracotta with Joli Teint, a new makeup product that caters to all makeup lovers, and revisits the Voile d'Ete fragrance edition, this time with a much less complex name, simply Terracotta Le Parfum, as a limited edition for 2014, as we had announced regarding new Guerlain releases months ago.

The allure of suntan lotions and oils is a well document market fact with thousands of consumers wanting to extend their pleasure out of using sun products into their fine fragrance ritual. That's where suntan lotion smelling perf
umes come into. Terracotta Le Parfum is a refined example of that, much like Lauder cornered that game with their Azuree Soleil and Bronze Goddess fragrances which have munched on the market share which would have been rightfully Guerlain's had the Americans not been smart enough to pounce first. Guerlain has meshed the tropical flowers (tiare, ylang ylang) and the salicylates which naturally crown compositions of this creamy, sun drenched nature in Terracotta Le Parfum with classic French notes such as jamine and orange blossom and a fluffy, lightly powdery undercurrent of musk and vanilla, hinting at sweetness but withholding too much sugar, thus offering a grown up version that should prove very popular. Compared to Bronze Goddess it's a tad more "sparkly" to my nose and it feels like it lacks the carnation/clove note of the original Terracotta Voile d'Ete from years ago.

 Terracotta Le Parfum, 50ml of Eau de Parfum, will be in stores in May 2014.

 Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Guerlain news, fragrance reviews and discussion

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ayala Moriel Parfums Musk Malabi: fragrance review

Originally released to coincide with the spring equinox and Nowruz (the Persian New Year), the intoxicating floral confection Musk Malabi by Ayala Moriel is unabashedly feminine, subtly exotic and hopelessly romantic, evoking for the wearer a sensory experience not unlike a passionate love affair. Musk Malabi was inspired by and named after a traditional Middle Eastern dessert, malabi—a milk-based pudding or custard, thickened with rice flour, which israelikitchen.com describes as "You'll taste rose-flavored sweetness and a light, creamy texture that keeps you dipping your spoon back in till the Malabi's all gone". (Actually the artisan perfumer has a recipe for Malabi on her blog!).

via pinterest

The scent of Moriel's Musk Malabi is a rich, milky-smelling, lactonic musk with a lightly coolish top note, sweetly petering out to rosewater and orange flower water. The result is a succulent and sensual confection that can only be enjoyed in the context of one loving sheer, plush, sensuous scents meant to be shared between lovers; spoonful by spoonful, preferably as the final courting phase before other things happen or as an intimate refueling of energy… Although this description might tend to stigmatize a musk fragrance as being a tad too intimate for comfort (if you know what I mean), there is no such danger with Musk Malabi, because the succulence outweighs the usual funky scent of "musk". The fusion of vegetal sourced musk-smelling materials is an intricate but rewarding experience for the perfumer who ends up with a mix that alternates between warm and cool and complements perfectly with the milkier (like sandalwood inflected rose) and fluffier notes (imagine a downy soft note of orris and vanilla, even though I'm not sure orris is included in the official set of notes)

Having grown up in Israel, the sights, sounds, and smells of the Mediterranean have always been a source of inspiration for Canadian based indie perfumer Ayala Moriel. "What has always captured my imagination about malabi is its soft, evocative-sounding name, and its unique fragrant combination of rosewater and neroli water," explains Ayala. "Rose and orange blossom are such noble flowers yet oh so different."

Tunisian neroli and Turkish rose meet with musk in the heart of Musk Malabi, creating an unusual and mesmerizing triad. This botanical musk, designed to smell as close as possible to deer musk, brings an effortless fluidity to this magnetic fragrance, playing the role of Cupid in the fragrance and drawing the lovers (rose and neroli) together. There is also cardamom, coriander and blood orange on top.
As with all Ayala Moriel perfumes, Musk Malabi is all-natural and free of animal cruelty, created entirely of botanical essences. The top and heart notes of this sensual fragrance rest on a silky bed of atlas cedarwood, botanical musk and Tahitian vanilla.

Good deed bonus in purchasing: Ayala Moriel Parfums is donating 10% of sales to aid Syrian refugees.

Musk Malabi is available in eau de parfum 4 ml ($49) and 15 ml ($119) bottles on the official website of Ayala Moriel Parfums and the Vancouver Giving Gifts & Company.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Scented Musketeers: musk fragrances reviews

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jour de Fete 2014 re-issue: review & comparison with the original from 2004

Remember when we announced that Jour de fete by L'Artisan Parfumeur, discontinued for quite a while and lamented by perfume lovers, was re-issued this year by the niche brand in an answer to pleas by fans requesting it back?

Well, here you are. I have tested the new version and have compared with the older one, composed by Olivia Giacobetti. You can read my thoughts by following this link over to Fragrantica with beautiful illustration. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Blog Sale

Some special, hard to find scents for everyone on this spot today, bought from reputable sellers in the past. Please email me using Contact for further details and be quick!

  • Caron En Avion extrait de parfum (vintage)
  • Caron Nocturnes eau de toilette 10ml fabulous silver atomizer
  • Creed Angelique Encens: 3 Decants gone, 5 Samples left

  • Creed Spring Flower 10ml decant roll on (unused)
  • Dior Hypnotic Poison eau de parfum 30ml decant spray (1990s version)
  • Guerlain Parure eau de toilette (vintage)
  • Parfumerie Generale Praline de Santal decant spray
  • Ramon Monegal Cuirelle official travel spray 15ml
  • Ramon Monegal Kiss my Name official travel spray 15ml
  • Rochas Femme eau de toilette (1980s)
  • Serge Lutens Cedre official travel spray 15ml full
  • Serge Lutens Chene decant
  • Serge Lutens Borneo 1834 decant spray 15ml
  • Xerjoff Casamorati 1888 Regio travel spray, full

  • Monday, April 14, 2014

    Tauer Perfumes Eau d'Epices: fragrance review

    Eau d'Épices is an interesting study in how to make a non-typical "oriental" or "woody" spice which would float rather than sink. Does it succeed? You'll be the judge as this month sees the reissue of Eau d'Épices. Eau d'Épices has been in the works since at least 2007, you see, when the first samples were given to a coterie of Tauer fans. The official launch happened in 2010 and then the scent was discontinued, to be reissued now.

    via pinterest

    Those who remember the soap Mandarins Ambrés that Tauer issued during the countdown to Christmas will recall the chord of labdanum-laced tartness that remained on the skin for a long time. The cleverness lies in that this classically oriental chord is buttressed in the fragrance Eau d'Épices by an allusion to soap which brings us full circle to the creative process chez Tauer: the core of this "spice water" is made of orange blossom absolute which via its cleaner facets and the indirect use of orange blossom (as well as its greener, fresher analogue, neroli) in time-honored Eaux de Cologne brings to mind the sense of freshness and purity via association.

    Tauer loves his orange blossom (and if you're following his line you know that) and this is a natural essence he obtains alongside the Egyptian jasmine material he uses. Some tart notes emerge in the evaporation, a feeling of bitter-fresh grapefruit (not listed) or something like lemony verbena or lemongrass (also non listed), but the overall feeling of this core is buttery to me and this increases as the fragrance prolongs its visit.

    But that is not all. There are two other dominant forces in Eau d'Épices.

    One is the evident one: the "indian basket of spices" as Andy puts it —which would make phobics of impolite bodily smells scour the list for cumin, the essence which is routinely blamed for a sweat and body odor note; let me here take the opportunity to clear this fear, this perfume won't produce questions about your state of cleanliness. It is a full on spice-fest at the start (lots of IFRA-defiant cinnamon, orange blossom complementing coriander, clove and clove), but that evolves very soon and I can see how the expectation of a typical spicy oriental would let fans of the genre conditioned to expect Caron's Poivre or Coco by Chanel somewhat down. Eau d'Épices, aka "Spice Water," doesn't distance itself from the tradition of "cologne," something meant to be splashed to impart a sense of exhilaration but done in a new way, a way of spices instead of herbs.

    The other undercurrent (and it is a very prominent one) is the incense-y chord that Tauer loves so much. It's an interlay of resinous-smelling/amber notes of which ambreine and ambroxan are constants. Maybe it's the hippyish vibe, maybe it's the traveling bug, these notes bring on a sense of far away lands, away from our modernized antiseptic environments.

    Eau d'Épices: back on the Tauer website. As love it or hate it as spices themselves.

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