Friday, October 28, 2011

Top Autumn Sensory Discoveries: Fragrances, Tastes and Feasts for the Eyes

It's no secret that fumeheads (an affectionate term for perfume enthusiasts) are sensuous people. They embrace anything that involves the senses, from Epicurian tastes to visual stimuli. There's simply always an open arena to sniff, to savour, to lay one's eyes on...Life's too short anyway not to be inquisitive.
In this regard, a team of excellent perfume bloggers (please check them out on the bottom of post) joined me into relaying our recent disoveries in sensual pleasures for this fall. Enjoy!

It's our national holiday today (the Ohi Day) and the military nuance isn't out of place. But beyond that, this navy blue wool jacket by La Redoute is both very warm and stylish enough to be worn any given day. I'm pairing it with dark-rinse bootcut jeans (instead of khakis), a matelot top (just like in the photo) and my trusty Hermès enamel bangles to finish off its nautical theme.

Art has a way of brightening the day. Especially original art I can hang on my walls.

Ballet Dancer Sitting, original drawing available for purchase on
Ancient Priestess, original drawing available for purchase on
To my utter surprise (jaded perfume critic that I've become!) several fragrance releases lately have not only been quite impressive, but they have infiltrated their presence into my everyday existence beyond reviewer's testing alotment. I have adopted them in a more durable way and thinking about investing more substantially on them.
Bottega Venetta Eau de Parfum THE winner for me this fall; subtly leathery goodness with warmth and coziness, underneath a fruity chypre mantle with a beating jasmine heart. What's not to like? It's also a more easily procured and less expensive stand-in for Boxeuses. Win-win.

Balenciaga Paris L'Essence Possibly the best office scent since Prada Infusion d'Iris. Unobtrusive, yet there, its violet leaf with warm, skin tones and nutty accents is quietly appealing.An alternative to the other woody violet of the season, Tom Ford's Violet Blonde.

Parfumerie General Praliné de Santal The juxtaposition of savoury and sweet, intensely nutty, before the scent falls into an unctuous billowy note of powdery, rich woods and the soothing, smooth silkiness of Cashmeran is addictive. I'm thinking of it when not wearing it. Not to mention, sandalwood is proving something of the theme of the season, once again.

Cartier Baiser Volé This stolen kiss of green lily and powder is ethereally lyrical. I might have expected more avant-garde by Mathilde Laurent, but let's be realistic here: it's so very pretty!

Tauer Pentachord White A silvery, expansive imagescape: A fragrance of either the crack of dawn or the crepuscular drawing of a prolonged cool afternoon, the contrast between light and shadow. Orris, violet, vanilla, ambergris notes...

Guerlain Mitsouko (vintage) Revisiting my old bottles of Mitsouko, like I ritualistically do as soon as autumnal weather raps at my window pane, I'm reminded of the words of Pascal Bruckner that "[anyone] who desires cannot be guilty... sin proceeds only from prohibitions" and I'm mentally throwing my fist at IFRA.
Relax, my pretties. It looks venomously dark and puple in the tube, but it's gorgeous for us brunette gals with light skin when applied on the lips. (I always consult dependable Christine from Temptalia for application photos) Dolce &Gabanna Lipstick in Lust goes beyond Halloween into serious, drama-full evening attire. Plus it smells rosey!
Dolce & Gabbana Make Up Classic Cream Lipstick Lust
Dolce &Gabbana Make Up Classic Cream Lipstick Lust (clipped to
Edith Head's little 1967 tome on how to elegantly dress was reprinted: How to Dress for Success is not merely someone's fashion advice. It is written by the woman who imprinted on our collective memory the golden goddesses of Hollywood and their impecable style. Retro, granted, but you'll blink out of the sheer chic.
I had forgotten all about "neon-noirs", in which the LA night lights -in the immortal words of Sunny/Alexandra Paul- "made her cunt's hairs shine"; till this little Nicolas Winding Refn directed gem that is. The anti-hero's fantasy of being a silent type ordinary man "but [also] a real hero" is mingled with the director's essay on man's true nature and its boundaries; immortalised in successive shots of the white satin jacket with a huge scorpion sewn on the back and splattered with blood. I'm still thinking about it weeks after watching.  

George Harrison: Living in the Material World
I have always been a fan of The Quiet Beatle since day one. It's great to see many more were of an equal disposition towards his immense contribution; not only to music but to cinema too (A lesson for us all on how to support what you believe in).
Ambergris Eggs As discussed in a seperate post on cooking with ambergris, this is a heavenly and decadent recipe that will change your Sunday mornings for ever. Just don't pair them with bacon; the crude, oily meatiness doesn't go well with the marine, smoky-earthy character of the ambergris.

pic via the Greek fork
Fava (split pea purée) with caramelised onions Not exactly a new discovery, but I'm trying to reintroduce all the good, rural, organic dishes that Greek food really stands for into our everyday table: This is the stuff that made sturdy people who lived to a hundred with their wits sharp to the end, withstanding wars and ravages all the while. It's got to have something going for it! For this recipe (by Chef Karitas, find it here, on The Greek Fork) I use organic Santorini yellow lentil fava and extra virgin olive oil. Makes for a fine spread or dip for pita bread and accompanies a good Santorini Vinsanto on a cool evening.
From the mind-blowingly nuanced and dark Revolutionary Road film, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio. Music by Thomas Newman, this is the end titles piece. Let it fill the empty house as evening approaches...

Please visit the other participating blogs for more discoveries:


  1. Anonymous18:51

    Lovely post, thanks for all the recs, should check them out. My own favorite indulgence is caramel coffee and a good book by the fire and bringing forth the old Coco by Chanel! In eau de parfum.


  2. Morticia22:23

    Another great post.. I am Greek and Italian and Fall seems like the best season to get out the heavy artillery and start cooking and baking (especially Greek). Bring out the Ouzo and Metzaka too :-) Ummmmm

  3. I simply cannot wait to try the Bottega Veneta perfume. It will be at my Nords any day now, which is the only thing keeping me from buying a bottle unsniffed!

    Thanks so much for including me in your autumnal blogging event. What a treat!!


  4. Elena, thanks for sparking me to check out Revolutionary Road and the George Harrison's hard to keep on top of everything. Loving the clip of Thomas Newman's music. And How to Dress for Success duly bookmarked.

  5. Elena,
    Thank you for initiating this sense-fest and inviting me to participate!
    Sandalwood seems to really be the scent-of-vogue, probably because it's becoming extinct, and some big company found a synthetic replacement that everybody is happy to use? Was surprised to see Santal-Massoia coming out of Hermes right after IFRA put a ban on this note...

    I'd have to try your fava recipe, looks delish and reminds me of mujadara (all-time favourite from my village that looks dull but is delish!).
    Loved Revolutionary Road but never thought about the music again till you posted this!
    And speaking of Neon-Noir - I've spent all of last weekend reading The Jasmine Trade by Denise Hamilton (who is also a fellow perfumista) and am having hard time staying away from the library to get the rest of the Eve Diamond series... You should read them if you haven't already.

  6. And BTW - the D&G deep plum lipstick colour is amazing... For Halloween or beyond. I found myself craving a plum colour this season as well, but went with Aveda's Wineberry lipgloss.

  7. Thanks for the suggestions! I love fava beans too. But the fava beans in our pic look nothing like the Italian ones. Are they already shredded? or are greek fava beans different? (in fact you talk about fava *lentils*).


  8. Love the lipstick color! Thank you for all the tempting autumn treats, this is the first day of my woodstove ON and the darker days are upon us no matter my protestations! Thank you again for your comforting directions XO M

  9. Fiordiligi21:23

    Oooh what a delicious post! Matelot tops (I am wearing one today, too), Bottega Veneta, vintage Mitsy, D&G lippy (I'm addicted to it), Edith Head, George Harrison and fava/lentils - all fantastic and great favourites of mine. I'm not sure there is anything to add after all that scrumptiousness - we share so many favourites. Thank you my dearest E!

  10. Anonymous14:06

    Hello Elena,
    Congrats on your deliciously fragrant blog.
    Thanks for mentioning The Greek Fork's fava recipe, by our very own Chef Karitas!
    We would truly appreciate you attributing the source..
    Helen Iatrou
    The Greek Fork co-founder

  11. Thanks Aline! Sounds good to me :-)

  12. Morticia,

    ahhhh...yeah, cooking and baking is so a propos this season. Preferably "wet-ted" with something like your suggestions!

  13. Trish,

    you're most welcome, thanks for playing!

    You should definitely give a sniff to the Bottega, it's very cozy, old-school elegant, classy and very wearable on top of that!

  14. Katie,

    thanks for dropping by and by all means, I know what you mean! (so many things vying for our attention these days)
    RR is a great watch, rather heart-clentching in parts, but rings absolutely true; a rare feat for a film produced by a big studio nowadays.
    And hope you enjoy the rest as well.

  15. Ayala,

    thanks for participating, it was a treat having you on board.

    It's rather puzzling how companies are bypassing the sandalwood problem. I believe the Hermes is going more for reconstitution and abstraction, from the little I have weaned as of yet of course.

    Isn't it funny how the Eastern Med has some of the most mouth-watering dishes in the world? I ADORE Lebanese, Jewish, Syrian, Egyptian cuisine; often of humble roots, but so very delicious! Mujaddara and Babaganoush are firm favourites, I could eat them every day and not tire of them.

    Currently I'm finishing Denise's latest neo-noir (and possibly a neon-noir if they turn it into a film! Hollywood producers, take note!) and preparing a review, but will definitely check out the Eve Diamond series next, since you rec it.

  16. Oh, Wineberry sounds like just my colour (these shades suit me a lot). Off to check swatches!

  17. Cacio,

    "fava" is actually the name of the dish. The legume used is either split peas (ρεβύθια) or shredded yellow lentils (σπασμένη κίτρινη φακή), customarily sold as "fava" in the local market.
    "Fava beans" is another thing, as you point out. They're sold as a bean variety, AFAIK.

  18. M,

    thanks for commenting to say so!
    I hope that you have not much gloom ahead of you and that the sun comes out to play despite the low temperatures ahead.
    Do try some of the suggestions!

  19. D,

    we do share a vast array of common tastes, don't we. I'm so pleased to hear that again!
    Hope you're very well and the weather is continuing to be mild.

  20. Helen,

    thank you for dropping by and καλώς όρισες!

    I believe there is a clear attribution with a link under the pic and a direct link to the recipe on your site. Doesn't it show up for you?
    But if you simply mean if I could add the name of the chef/site in the actual link to the recipe, I'd be most happy to integrate it. Going to fix it right now!

  21. I enjoyed this post very much, and I seriously want those trousers in particular. The lipstick looks amazing, but would be every kind of ghastly on my sallow complexion. Scentwise, we share a number of the same favourites from this season, namely Bottega Veneta, L'Essence (it is the new perfect office scent, I agree!), Baiser Vole and Violet Blonde.

    With it being Hallowe'en, I have also been enjoying Prada Candy, and on the food front porridge drizzled with maple syrup and roast chicken with mashed root veg.


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