Showing posts sorted by relevance for query vero profumo. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query vero profumo. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vero Profumo Onda, Kiki, Rubj in Eau de Parfum: fragrance reviews

The ultra-niche line Vero Profumo, masterminded by Swiss perfumer Vero Kern, had been introduced through these pages and Andy Tauer's blog 3 years ago (how time flies!). Slowly but surely a cult was born, especially around the apocryphal Onda; the very definition of the term in fact, as accolytes were whispering among themselves in fervour about the high quality of the line, publishing their thoughts online with frenzied passion and exorcising the gods of perfumery to always have these beautiful extraits in production. This fanatical devotion was somewhat hindered by only one hindrance: the (inevitable) high price of beauty! Them being extraits, Vero Profumo fragrances had a steep entrance point for the initiated: 105 euros for 7.5ml and 165 euros for 15ml.
But the God of Small Things intervened and Vero is now introducing Eau de Parfum interpretations of her fabulous extraits with the same attention to detail and luxury as she had done with the parfums in (Onda, Kiki and Rubj) which I got off the lab for a preview. But wait, you ask, how do the new versions smell?

Vero in our correspondence had prepared me for the difference in ambience which the new Eaux de Parfum present:

"Don’t expect just a watered down Onda, Rubj or Kiki. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The Eaux need a different structure by pointing out more the topnotes and less on the base always by still respecting the original style of the Extraits. I've simplified the whole composition. I also replaced the heavy animal notes by the unique scent of passionfruit, which I love very much and which gives the creations a certain erotic readiness. The Passion fruit is also the common thread that connect the three scents".
If the mention of passion fruit makes you go all "huh" ~conditioned through years of exposure to juvenile fruity florals inundating the market and heaps of Bath & Body Works store-concepts croping up like mushrooms all over the Western world, threatening domination by the sheer power of fruity tentacles~ rest easy. I leave you with the best recommendation I could possibly give through the wise words of dr. Luca Turin:

"A thorough analysis of the molecules emitted by passionfruit done by the great firm of Haarmann and Reimer in 1998 revealed 180 different molecules never before seen, 47 of which are sulfur compounds, with smells ranging from rotten cabbage to blocked drains. The proximity of beauty to ugliness is never clearer than in tropical fruit. Perhaps because they have to compete with powerful smells of decay for the attention of birds, tropical fruit have decided to play dirty. Adding tiny amounts of rot on an otherwise conventional fruity smell is as invigorating as finding out that a theoretical physicist colleague was once a stripper".
A general truth we perfume lovers have seemed to grasp through our own experience. Yet you see, even though passion fruit was thus named because of its (far fetched) resemblance to the wounds of the Holy Passion of Jesus in the eyes of hierapostoles, its passions run in another direction...a direction very simpatico to perfumery.

I had written about Djedi-inspired Onda that it "manages to convert vetiver into a leathery animal that will make you forget all the citrusy, green interpretations you have already experienced by other perfumers (Guerlain Vetiver, Carven Vetiver) and stop you in your tracks as you come back to the original meaning of it: deep earthy roots, animalic undertones, rich pungency". Now anyone who has had the rare luck to sniff Djedi knows just what a twisted musty-leathery (castoreum) dried up old ruffian it is and how difficult it would be to transport this into modern life. Vero had managed to transform its soul via a beeswax-honey feral base and spices (ginger, coriander, basil, maybe mace) and present us with something uniquely its own: Onda, an old soul in modern clothing, all ashes, salt and honeyed thighs. But whereas the extrait had some rough edges which added to its complexity and status of an object for the initiated (who cussed in delight all the same), the Eau de Parfum mollifies them and warms it up in an almost magical way: no mustiness or animalistic growls ensue, nor are the spices as pronounced, rather the intimacy and muskiness are sustained in a halo of lucid warmth. Some fans of the extrait will find the EDP rather different and it is, but I hope it thus gets another audience who had stumbled finding it "difficult".

Kiki named after Kiki de Montparnasse, the night-butterfly who inspired artists, remains the cuddliest and yummiest lavender in existence. "Although lavender is herbaceous and somewhat medicinal by nature (albeit the user of most commercial mass-market products would be hard pressed to realise that, as it is usually swamped by synthetic vanillin to make it cuddly), in Kiki it is clear and distinct for a long while but never becomes bitter nor unpleasant. The undercurrent of a bodily warmth hides in there and some muskiness that retains the sweet smell of sheets in which you have rolled over with your lover and later eaten on while on a Paris tantalizing naughty trip. It is redolent of sexy but classy lacy underwear in ivory that has been kept in those powdered-scented big cardboard boxes with tissue paper, to be used with the sole intent of getting out of it real soon. And if there is some caramel suryp in the room, it will see good use as well". My senses tell me the Eau de Parfum version of Kiki is the least different from the extrait original and those who already love one should opt for the other with eyes closed. Or maybe if you have one you don't need the other and so here's a little budget for trying out another product of the sleight of hand of ms.Kern's? I don't know, you will be deciding on that. If you want my opinion, leap for a bottle of Rubj Eau de Parfum no matter what you do. Your life (almost) depends on it!

I had rhapsodised on Rubj in the following fashion, even if at the time the indelible and jolting impression of Onda had somewhat sidetracked me from savouring it as fully as I should have had: "The tart and yet sweet peel of mandarin marries the floral essences of carnal jasmine and dusky precious tuberose into a bond that intextricably makes the orange blossom melt with pleasure: Bright halos over the head of a beautiful nymph, warm and cool breeze of a garden at dusk, like Shiekh Nefzaoui's "Perfumed Garden", the forbidden classic of arabic sexuality". In the eau de parfum version of Rubj the woody and musky ambience recedes somewhat while the floral essences take on an intensely fruity, very plummy, really mouthwatering quality that makes it devastantingly irresistible. Of all the scents in the line Rubj impressed me as being the brightest, the shiniest, the most shockingly beautiful in the Eau de Parfum version! Seriously, if you feel like there is a hole in your collection where the heart of a masterpiece fruity floral should beat, don't even think about it twice: Get thee to Vero Profumo in a month or two and grab a bottle of Rubj and thank me later. It's THAT good!

All the fragrances are exquisitely wearable without betraying their identity and as Vero says: "I must say it was very difficult to compose these fragrances but finally I like them. They’re definitely lighter and easier to wear hopefully for a wider public".
The new Vero Profumo Eaux de Parfum at 12% concentration will come as a natural spray and their longevity is very adequate (more than 6 hours on my skin). The launch is estimated for spring 2010 at a much more advantageous price point (thanks to the lesser concentration and the bottling at a small hand-picked artisan factory) and they will be definitely carried at Luckyscent. And rest easy: The Extraits will still be made and be reserved for initiated “Perfume Lovers”
on her site.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine:
Vero Kern interview, Onda review, Kiki review, Rubj review, Guerlain's Djedi review

In the interests of full disclosure I was sent 3 sample vials of the scents off the lab by Vero herself.
Pic of Dominique Sanda and Stephania Sandrelli via informadanza.com. Photo of Girls on a Vespa via doarcodavelha.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vero profumo line ~Kiki: fragrance review


The new niche line I have promised you is none other than Vero Profumo, the spiritual child of Vero Kern, a Switzerland based aromatologist and Paris trained perfumer under the mentoring of none other than famous legend Guy Robert.
I was immensely flattered to find that Vero had been browsing my blog from time to time and as conversation about perfume has a way of broadening horizons and make leaps into the territory of the unknown, I came to virtually meet this kind, eloquent, thoughtful person and try out the precious perfumes.

The introduction that is offered on the impressive and quite artistic site (click here to take a look) is very telling of the motivation that exists behind any intelligent, artful creation. Because perfumery is commerce, but in this day and age we so often forget that it is also an art form: something that does not take account so much the name, the image, the advertising budget and subsequent campaign as the topmost qualities to determine the impact of a scent in the market, but also a product that can bring elation and beauty in one's life at the spritz of an atomiser. As Vero so rightfully says:
"Fragrances and aromas are with us all the time, wherever we go. They can touch us emotionally, even seduce us, and they influence our wellbeing.
Perfume is more than a temporary accessory. It is an unseen "calling card" representing your personality. An imaginary embrace, a "folie a deux" or maybe even a liaison dangereuse. A "je ne sais quoi" that follows like the tail follows a comet"
.


Indeed unravelling the ties that make up a beautiful composition is like opening up an oyster to find a luminous pearl hidden inside; hidden from the world for the delectation it seems of an inward need. Vero uses precious essences and natural compounds as much as possible realising that the quinta essentia that those materials harbour in their core is accounting for a richer, more multi-nuanced experience than the one rendered by only aromachemicals as is the case with most mainstream perfumery. Of course the synthetic molecules out of a lab can also be used to great aplomb and in this line they are not excluded, but they do not take center stage; rather aid the main act like a chorus in ancient drama ~echoing the main theme, commenting subtly on the protagonists, offering some coaxing when needed.
Her line of perfumes includes three loveable creations in extrait de parfum concentration that captured me in varying degrees: Kiki, Onda and Rubj. Each individual and unique, yet all bonded by an artistic signature that accounts for a certain style through the line. And that is usually the mark of someone who knows what they're doing.
There is a desire to revert to the classicism of yore that provided masterpieces that endure, yet seen through a modern look that makes them awaken the emotions of a contemporary sensibility.

It is in this context that I came upon Kiki, a precious gem of a perfume that has me hooked and hankering for a note that I am usually averse to: namely, lavender. As readers of PerfumeShrine may recall, Andy Tauer's Rêverie au Jardin is one of the few lavender scents that have managed to capture my heart exactly because he managed to render a soft embrace out of it, caressed in a warm scarf worn around the neck on a cool evening strolling along a peaceful garden with a loved one.

If Andy's lavender is a casual, feel good scent that is to be shared with your long-time lover while holding hands and breathing the evening provencial air, making dreams about the eminent future, envisioning a cozy existence of loving sharing, Kiki is more extroverted and naughty signifying the attitude of an illicit couple out for a good time in the city of Light, Paris.
Although lavender is herbaceous and somewhat medicinal by nature (albeit the user of most commercial mass-market products would be hard pressed to realise that, as it is usually swamped by synthetic vanillin to make it cuddly), in Kiki it is clear and distinct for a long while but never becomes bitter nor unpleasant. The undercurrent of a bodily warmth hides in there and some muskiness that retains the sweet smell of sheets in which you have rolled over with your lover and later eaten on while on a Paris tantalizing naughty trip. It is redolent of sexy but classy lacy underwear in ivory that has been kept in those powdered-scented big cardboard boxes with tissue paper, to be used with the sole intent of getting out of it real soon. And if there is some caramel suryp in the room, it will see good use as well.


As the scent progresses interweaving elements of slightly sweet fruity notes that do not overwhelm it becomes intoxicating, like a promenade along the Rive Gauche and the Monmarte, trying to visualise the infamous Kiki de Montparnasse (real name Alice Prin) and her crazy 1920s days: a model, a lover, a nightime queen.
The lasting power and sillage are amazing, as this wafts caramely whiffs with powdery opoponax-patchouli accords throughout the day and into the night, whispering sweet nothings into the ear of the object of a dangerous and irresistible affair. As it can be shared by both sexes, it becomes a memento of a time spent in pure sensualism and pleasure in the big city. Who would have thought that when saying "lavender"? I knew you wouldn't be able to come up with an answer to that one...



Vero Profumo fragrances can be sampled/bought in Switzerland and neighbouring countries through the site. You can also contact Vero at profumo@veroprofumo.com.
Plans to bring the line to the US are scheduled for mid 2008.
Prices for Kiki extrait de parfum are 105 euros for 7.5ml and 165 euros for 15ml.


Next post will tackle another Vero Kern perfume.



Top pic from film Hors de Prix, courtesy of athinorama.gr
Pic of Kiki courtesy of kaismart.com/journal

Monday, July 2, 2007

Vero profumo line ~Rubj: fragrance review


It is rather a sad feeling when one has completed a certain "portfolio" of work only to stumble upon something that could have been included with much aplomb but wasn't. Short of time travelling and going à rebours, this is unmanageable. Yet there is a sort of enfin revelation, a smack on the forehead kind of light bulbs going on over your head as you realise that the recent discovery is the sum of all parts that were existing in the project.
If this is sounding much too cryptic I am talking of course about my Orange Blossom homage on the blog and the recent sampling of Rubj by Vero Kern for the Vero Profumo line of niche fragrances, based in Switzerland.

Rubj is based on orange blossom, then. Not just any orange blossom, though, but the precious absolute, the thing that drips of honeyed thighs and heavy sighs and is redolent of the happiest holiday memories under groves of trees in the south. Its richness and opulence is the epitome of what an expensive, natural, clear and sonorous voice of an Hesperide can be.
If Fleurs d'oranger by Serge Lutens is a lady sitting in an orchard contemplating serious romance, then Rubj is her adversary of equal spiritual and physical magnitude.
The tart and yet sweet peel of mandarin marries the floral essences of carnal jasmine and dusky precious tuberose into a bond that intextricably makes the orange blossom melt with pleasure. Bright halos over the head of a beautiful nymph, warm and cool breeze of a garden at dusk, like Shiekh Nefzaoui's "Perfumed Garden", the forbidden classic of arabic sexuality.


"If one looks at a woman with those qualities in front, one is fascinated; if from behind, one dies with pleasure. Looked at sitting, she is a rounded dome; lying, a soft-bed; standing, the staff of a standard. When she is walking, her natural parts appear as set off under her clothing. She speaks and laughs rarely, and never without a reason.
She is not treacherous, and has no faults to hide, nor bad reasons to proffer. She does not try to entice people.
she is always elegantly attired, of the utmost personal propriety, and takes care not to let her husband see what might be repugnant to him. She perfumes herself with scents, uses antimony for her toilets, and cleans her teeth with souak.

Such a woman is cherished by all men".


As the citrusy tang of the day is slowly retreating into the approaching evening, the warmth of light musk and wood enters the equation to whisper of comfort, humanity and the plush of petals trailed on the skin of a soft arm, absent mindedly amidst a conversation that is going on all the while with an intent that smoulders, lasting for a long long time like a prolonged foreplay that is sure to end in fireworks.

The orange blossom absolute in Rubj comes from Morocco while the jasmine essence is of egyptian origin. The spirit of the South at your beck and call, at a precious drop of extrait de parfum from the curvaceous bottle.


Vero Profumo fragrances can be sampled/bought in Switzerland and neighbouring countries through the site. You can also contact Vero at profumo@veroprofumo.com.
Plans to bring the line to the US are scheduled for mid 2008.
Prices for Rubj extrait de parfum are 105 euros for 7.5ml and 165 euros for 15ml.


Pic of actress Indira Varma from imdb.
Art piece Au point du jour by David Graux courtesy of allposters.com

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vero profumo line ~Onda: fragrance review


As we discussed the other day, Vero Kern is a very talented perfumer in the horizon of niche perfumery. She interweaves elements of surprise in her creations that astonish and make you immediately see that here lies a complex naturalistic composition that is meant for your intricate exploration.
And her talent shows through in her rich scent Onda.
Onda means wave in Spanish and Italian, while in the phrase “Que onda?” it means “what’s up”? In summary, don’t get swayed by the name, because it’s meant to signify that you should close your eyes and inhale deeply the kaleidoscopic journey that Onda is bringing on.

Deep within the Java jungle a great big tiger awaits: the rumour is that she is a man-eater, the fear and tremor of the country folk. It’s been some years that she roams the countryside assaulting her innocent victims; she’s a seasoned one, that one.
It’s very rare that you see her, hidden as she is through dark foliage, stepping on wet ground that doesn’t leave footprints behind. Yet, there she is…
It is with awe and amazement that you come to set eyes upon her when walking; her thick warm fur, her contrasting colours , her magnetic eyes that lure you and make you stare like an hypnotised novice in front of a cobra. The air is filled with the aromas of grass and roots: pungent vetiver that is uprooted, bundled and tied with ribbons, emitting a scent of earthiness and primeval dirt, like the soil on which no man has set foot on before. Mace pods have been crushed into your pocket as you stand there in your hardy leather chaps and as you put your hands out of it you suddenly realise that you are sniffable from the distance. Is your fate sealed? Will the man-eater attack? It all depends on your attitude. The bitter and carnal smell of what seems to be ambrette seeds interwoven with honeyed notes makes the approaching achingly desirable, even though you know of the grave danger you risk. The tiger approaches, sees you and appraises you. Stares you deep in the eyes with her own the colour of gems. You’d doomed. She’s one beautiful creature. And as she sits there you realise that today is your lucky day. You will be saved after all. Your amulet of Onda is safe-keeping you with its deep, erotic animalic smell. The musk that lies in its heart and makes you revert to a time of pre-lapsarian carnality with no shame.
You’re one of them! And out in the urban jungle to hunt for prey alongside her.


Onda manages to convert vetiver into a leathery animal that will make you forget all the citrusy, green interpretations you have already experienced by other perfumers (Guerlain Vetiver, Carven Vetiver) and stop you in your tracks as you come back to the original meaning of it: deep earthy roots, animalic undertones, rich pungency.
It will be difficult to pull for many as it requires a very self-assured woman to wear it and one with an attitude that is as far away from prudent as possible. However it is so unique that it merits to be tested even by those who say they cannot do these formulas. Less sweet that the admirable middle-eastern version of Vetiver Oriental by Serge Lutens or the very interesting, smoothed out Vetiver Tonka by Hermes; and very potent~ it can transport you to other places and images and make a statement for which you need never be apologetic about. And it lasts and lasts. If you have “it”, set out and charge.


Vero Profumo fragrances can be sampled/bought in Switzerland and neighbouring countries through the site. You can also contact Vero at profumo@veroprofumo.com.
Plans to bring the line to the US are scheduled for mid 2008.
Prices for Onda extrait de parfum are 105 euros for 7.5ml and 165 euros for 15ml.


Next post will tackle another Vero Kern perfume.


Top pic photography by Art Wolfe courtesy of allposters.com
Bottom pic by Helmut Newton collection Sex and Landscapes courtesy of temple.edu

Friday, April 16, 2010

Scents that Sing Spring: Top 10 fragrances

There are scented beauties that make you feel ecstatically giddy, projecting happiness from the top of the lungs and filling our hearts with joy. Do they have to be silly too? Not necessarily, even though a little naïveté can be a good thing sometimes; especially when the gripe of the real world becomes too much. Ayala of Smelly Blog organised this latest blog-o-rama in which a fine team of bloggers (listed at the bottom) focuses on scents that put a spring in our step!

In my mind, autumn can be the season for melancholia and serious contemplation, winter needs some comfort injection and richer velours textures while in the summer a cool shot of something lifting the suffocating canopy of the heat is welcome respite, no matter what that is. But a true spring scent should have some unconscious ingenuousness, merely appearing simple and pretty at first sniff, but hiding beneath it a layer of texture that is not immediately attainable.
So my personal Top Spring Scents for this spring (fragrances I am wearing with much gusto and utter glee) are:

Amaranthine Penhaligon's (perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour)
Its name denotes the eternally beautiful and unfading. The perfume, just like the name, evokes a deep purple red, a "corrupted" floral oriental with plenty of "dirty" aspects (see below for another one) combining spiced (clovey) ylang-ylang and jasmine on a milky sandalwood and musky base. Fetish-phobics should better shy away, but those worth their salt in immersing themselves head-long into intimate scents (ooops!) will rejoice that the meadows and the flowers do not only smell of the sterile florist's or Alpine tops. As shocking ~coming from such an upper-stiff-lip British brand~ as discovering that our favourite nanny, Julie Andrews, has a va jay jay ~and a wee hole~ after all!

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Flora Nerolia (perfumer Mathilde Laurent)
There is nothing more April-like than the smell of bitter orange trees in blossom, their waxy white petals infiltrating the glossy green of the leaves and some fruit still hanging from the branches, like a reminder of what has been already accomplished. Guerlain captured the ethereal vapors of steam of these delicate, ravishing blossoms and married them to a pre-emptying summery jasmine and the faint whiff of cool frankincense burning inside a Greek Orthodox church preparing for the country's most devout celebration: Easter. Flora Nerolia is like a snapshot of late Lent in Greece and for that reason is absolutely precious to me.

Paco Rabanne Calandre (perfumer Michel Hy)
I recently rediscovered this perfume of the 1970s to much delight. Calandre has a wonderful olfactory profile, as I had written in my full review: "citrusy, slightly sour top note which segues into both oily green hyacinth and a fresh (laundered, thanks to lily-of-the-valley) white rose, elements which peter out slowly into an undefinable vaguely herbal base with honey and light musk touches that is its own thing more than anything that morphs into the wearer" A quiet triumph and a most friendly, easy-going fragrance. (full review here)

L'artisan Parfumeur Jacinthe des Bois (perfumer Anne Flipo)
Jacinthe des Bois was introduced in 2000 as part of L'Artisan's Je T'ai Cueilli Une Fleur trio, which also included Verte Violette and Oeillet Sauvage, all soliflores composed by Anne Flipo (and I love them all). Sadly discontinued, Jacinthe des Bois takes the intoxicating aroma of forest hyacinths, raw and green, like a painting rendered via outrenoir. Like no northern spring has completely lost its thaw, it hides a small facet of lugubriousness that is the necessary part into more fully grasping the real joy of living.

YSL Paris (perfumer Sophia Grojsman for Yves Saint Laurent)
There's something utterly charming about the retro makeup feel of the combination of rose and violets and in Paris this feel is brought to an apotheosis. Paris has the gift ~and curse, if you overdo it~ to be perceptible at a distance, creating a halo that will make waiters swerve on their heels, small children drop their toys to hug you and men exclaiming you smell "clean and feminine". Simply put, a spring fragrance to lose your heart to. (full review here)

Annick Goutal Passion (perfumer Isabelle Doyen)
A typical old Goutal perfume oscillating between modern minimalism and multifaceted classicism, Passion starts with a heady caphoraceous blast of what can only be sensed as vibrant tropical florals snowballing a cadenza of sweet and green notes that unify; to the point where you don't know where the garden ends and the woman starts. The most startling use of ylang-ylang and a joyous romantic fragrance to boot! (full review here)

the little red train in the cobblestone streets of Plaka in Athens,Greece
Lily Bermuda Petals (unknown perfumer for Lily Bermuda)
Petals is feminine, no question about it, and although quite sweet, its tour de force isn't the sugar-tooth of bonbons, but the nectarous quality hiding in the heart of its white blossoms (orange blossom, jasmine, honeysuckle). Its appeal is like that of Natalie Wood at the time she was dating Warren Beatty: Makes you want to break out a prom-like 60s dress and sing in front of the mirror "I feel pretty, oh so pretty; I feel pretty and witty and gay!" , which is rather priceless in its way, won't you agree? (full review here)

Vero Profumo Rubj (perfumer Vero Kern for Vero Profumo)
Sounds odd, smells terrifically happy. The magic of orange blossom absolute in all its glory. Of all the scents in the Vero Profumo line, Rubj impressed me as being the brightest, the shiniest, the most shockingly beautiful in the Eau de Parfum version! Seriously, if you feel like there is a hole in your collection where the heart of a masterpiece fruity floral should beat, don't even think about it twice (full review here for the EDP and here for the parfum)

Ormonde Jayne Tiaré (perfumer Linda Pilkington for Ormonde Jayne)
Tiaré -contrary to expectations due to the name- is reminiscent of a friendlier, more glowing Cristalle by Chanel, which is always an excellent thing. In lieu of a bookish-secretary-in-a-sterile-office which limites its romance-wearing after-hours potential, somehow, someway Ormonde Jayne managed to bypass that and combine both worlds: the intellectual and the sensual, the upbeat and the romantic. A wonderful fragrance that makes you want to run about madly and do recklessly spontaneous things! (full review here)

Une Fleur de Cassie (perfumer Dominique Ropion for Éditions des Parfums Frédéric Malle)
It didn't take me a trip to fragrance capital, Grasse, to appreciate the exquisite technique displayed in highlighting every nook and crany of the mimosa/cassie essences, but it didn't do any harm either. Une Fleur de Cassie has the right amount of "dirty" gusset to hint at coarse carnality (mimosa and cassie absolutes are notoriously musky, jasmine absolute is indolic) while at the same time remaining a gorgeous floral (hints of carnation and rose absolute), smudging its odds and ends into almost an oriental (sandalwood, vanillic fond).

Please check the other participating blogs too:
Smelly Blog
Katie Puckrik Smells
The Non Blonde
I Smell Therefore I Am
Notes from the Ledge
Scent Hive
Savvy Thinker
Roxana's Illuminated Journal
Perfume in Progress
All I Am A Redhead
Ambre Gris
Olfactarama
A Rose Beyond the Thames

Picture of Julie Andrews at the mountaintops from The Sound of Music. Picture of Athens, Plaka region street with wisteria vines, via La Vie Bohemie.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Interview with a perfumer: Vero Kern from Vero Profumo


It was with the greatest pleasure that I introduced you to the new exclusive perfumes by niche swiss line Vero Profumo a while back here on Perfume Shrine. Today it is my even greater excitment to introduce you to their creator: the masterful Vero Kern, a lady of high olfactory pedigree who agreeded to an interview for the reading pleasure of Perfume Shrine's many readers. Vero with her long salt and pepper hair and her deep gaze that denotes a wise soul is a sight to behold. Her attention to detail and her hesitation regarding correct use of english were endearing to me. I assured her that we would be thrilled to know what's on her mind. And so, here we are!


PS: Hello Vero! You are a relative newcomer to this world, yet your perfumes denote complexity and experience. Could you care to explain how this happened?

VK: Hello! I started my perfumery career almost ten years ago. And I’m working with aroma material for twenty years now. The desire to create perfumes was strongly rising during my aromatological training and the final decision for this to be shortly ten-years-passionate-love-affair was above all a distinct curiosity, even a straight on Faszinosum on scent phenomena, but also a great zeal to know and learn all. For almost two years I was making the itinerary Zurich-Paris and back once a month. There, in the same school where Lyn Harris {of Miller&Harris} also went, I was initiated in the secrets of classical perfumery. I‘m blending with natural and synthetic essences. So absolutely novel and most important for me was to learn all about synthetics.
Creating perfumes in a classical way as I do needs a lot of time, patience, endurance and many, many tries until the definitive product is born. Complexity in perfumery requires besides technical know-how also imagination, intuition and some shameless artistic liberty to bring up important influences in material choice, accent setting and originality.

PS:Your aromachologist background means that there is some sort of spiritual appreciation of the energy of living things. You work with naturals. Myself I find that fascinating and quite hard. Do you think that more traditional perfumes as opposed to simple aromachological blends are also beneficial in providing health and mood benefits?

VK: The sense of smell is linked with our limbic system that controls our feelings and emotions. So I believe that all smelling things provide an emotional reaction: To like it or not to like it - here is the question. I think that enjoyable and enchanting smell experiences, no matter the original resource, always create great mood benefits.
Blending my perfumes in a more traditional way was 100% an artistic and aesthetic decision.

PS: You know, I got the mood elevating vibe especially from your Rubj{click here for review}. Was this intentional when creating the scent or just a pleasant side-effect?


VK: It wasn’t intentional at all, but I’ m very pleased if you tell me so. Creating rubj, I had something like a very erotic skin scent in mind. Finally it ended up with the combo of almost narcotic Orange blossom absolute, sensual musk and Jasmine. Could also be a scent for Lovers - urban Lovers - like this couple, that are stranded in this small downtown hotel-bed and watching there lovely beach sunsets on a pink portable TV. {she laughs} I had this kind of frantasy while creating. {laughs some more}. This scent blooms wonderfully on sun-kissed summer skins.

PS: I can very well visualise that. {I am also bursting with mirth now}
Now, a question I always ask when dealing with perfumers ~ do you find that the quality of the ingredients is of lesser, equal or greater importance than the innovation or beauty of the formula? In short: could one create great art with paints or great music with garbage like Stomp do, if we translate the concept in perfumery? Or is this impossible?


VK: The combination of movement, percussion and comedy in a new, innovative and never seen before performance is really unique. Unique artwork needs innovative ideas, the right material going with, techniques and the ability to transfer that into creation.
To translate the Stomp concept into today’s perfumery is very difficult. Most of today’s perfumes, including some niche products, are drawn up for global markets. Global marketing goes with global advertising. The advertising costs must be tremendous and innovation is required and focused on all kind of concepts. I think they can’t be too artistic thus. I never went too deep in this, but it would be very interesting to hear from an industrial perfumer how this works in reality.
Basically, I believe, that a beautifully touching-you-and-me perfume formula, can only be achieved by using high quality material AND innovative new ideas - in both, concept and creation. Consequently this demands a more complicated, longer development and production and that also has its price.
It’s my fervent intention to create beautiful scents - scents with soul. I think soulful scents bear a unique secret.

{At this point I am almost swooning, this is such a beautiful thought...}

PS: Onda {click here for review}is a very unusual and daring composition with a deeply animalic tonality. Do you think people nowadays are ready to move on from the cult of the clean and venture again in the Napoleonic decadence of musk and richness? I see the pendulum swinging myself, but I want your expert opinion.


VK: Apparently the sense of smell is the sense of paradoxes. Paradoxical and ambiguous, it’s the sense of the refinement and the animal, the brutish. This sense also evokes strong emotions, moods and impressions. Working with scented materials creates the most bizarre pictures in my head. Onda is a good example. The original idea was to create a leathery Vetiver surrounded by flowery and chypre notes and I had a fantasy like this going with:
Isabella Rossellini as mystery Dorothy Vallens, wearing this beautiful blue velvet gown, and Johhny Depp as Ed Wood wearing Glenda’s {from the character "Glen or Glenda" film by Ed Wood}sexy glamorous white-haired wig, dancing together a very slow Tango Argentino at Manhattan Roseland Ballroom.{she laughs at the image}
A divine picture, but unfortunately the material didn’t match with. LOL… I had to find some other lines… and so on.

{I am laughing playfully at this fabulous image myself! What a concept!}

To come back to your question, I think the little naughty animalist or erotic touch in my creations is more a kind of signature or personal preference than a marketing decision. Actually the clean watery concept never did interest me much. “Clean smell” means to me a beautiful big Olive-oil Soap coming direct from Aleppo, Syria - not perfumed at all.
I don’t know if time is ready for more daring styled scents. But with the latest perfume launches ~I refer to the very dark Tom Ford Private Selection or the soon up coming dark Sarrasins by Serge Lutens~ there might be “something” going on in this direction. We have to wait and see.


PS: Since we are on that note, as you brought up two very different concepts, do you perceive a difference of aesthetics between American and European fragrance audiences? How would you define it?

VK: I am still trying to find out possible differences. Comparing to the very active US perfumery forums, I couldn’t find much similar European ones so far. So it’s difficult to give a clear statement about this. Maybe Americans dream sometimes of naughty animalic scents, but in reality they prefer to buy more fresh, glamorous fragrances. What I can see in all these audiences is the phenomena that everybody is constantly hungry for new staff showing up. Heated up by fancy media advertising they create a big hype ~almost hysteria~ around a new product and suddenly it’s all gone again - Nada Mas. Amazing!

PS: I can't help but agree with you. It's terrifying how quickly they churn out new products! But enough of that.....I read that you trained under the great Guy Robert. How was this experience for you and do you find it has influenced your style? How would you describe your own style?

VK: Guy Robert was of great help for me. I first met him years ago in Paris at his latest book promotion: Les Sens du Parfum. His book was something like a professional highlight for me and has certainly influenced my composing and styling. Later we corresponded. I sent him my mods to judge and he gave me useful feedback and tips on them. He also encouraged me during the long development process, but he was never "teaching" me. He is a kind of spiritus rector and a mentor for me, I’m very thankful for his help.
To describe my own style is very difficult. Using rare high quality raw material, for instance the natural Ambre Gris and other precious stuff, as well as handmade techniques, I might consider them as New Traditional for Connoisseurs.

PS: And so they are! Are there any perfumes from other noses that you admire and revere and which ones are those?

VK: Once a year I travel to the Osmothèque at Versailles to study the great compositions of the perfume Giants. I love and wear the following Extraits de parfum: Jicky Guerlain, Tabac Blond Caron, Shocking Shiaparelli, and Fracas Piguet.
The styles of Aimé, Jacques and Jean-Paul Guerlain, Ernest Daltroff, Jean Carles and Germaine Cellier have effectively influenced my own creations.

PS: Vero, what are your plans for the line in the future? Regarding additions, possible limited editions, distribution and positioning?

VK: My perfumes have only just a few weeks that have come out and of course I still have to work on promoting. Also, for better customer service I’ll provide in the coming weeks some shop facilities - on the website as well as here, at the home base. Continuation on the line is planned for sure and I have some ideas but can’t go in details yet. Limited editions are definitely not my thing! The scents will be positioned as Premium perfumes with a few selective selling points worldwide.

PS: Thank you Vero for a most elucidating interview.

VK: And thank you as well.


As we part our ways, I can see that Vero will soon be the talk of the town and not just that either. Her line will debut in the US in 2008. You have ample time to take notes and make your sniffing lists.



Pic of Vero Kern and bottle of Rubj provided by Vero Kern
Pic of Johhny Depp courtesy of johhnydeppfan.com

Friday, September 9, 2011

Becoming a Perfumer: When Changing Careers Midstream

She pops open a fresh bottle of something that takes a visitor's breath away -  jasmine sambac concentrate.
"Careful!" warns Kern [Vero, of Vero Profumo]. "You wouldn't believe it, it's like petrol. But when you dilute it the nuances of the flower really come out. You really have to know these things."

An extended article by Susan Stone on Deutche Welle highlights the professional course into perfumery of two Swiss perfumers we know and love: Vero Kern of Vero Profumo and Andy Tauer of Tauer Perfumes. 
Their impressive history showcases how you can follow your heart (and your nose!) even at 60 or how you can become an iternational success in what you love if you believe enough in it. In the article, the two perfumers explain how they took that decision, what it means to produce in Switzerland, and how costs are affected by the economic crisis. Read the whole article here.

article brought to my attention by sillage/pol. Photo via duftarchiv.de

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Interview with Vero Kern on her new fragrance Mito

Vero Kern of Vero Profumo, a true author's line, talks in English about the newest fragrance to launch soon, Mito; for info on the new scent please consult our announcement on these pages.


Thanks to Extrait.it for the video.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Scent Links

Links in alphabetical order. None of the following is sponsored/paid for.

Email me if you find broken links or want to add one (at my discretion).

General Info

Agora Global aromatherapy archive
Art et Parfum-homage to Edmond Roudnitska (maintained by his son Michel Roudnitska)
Au Parfum-magazine containing news, articles and a forum (in French)
Basenotes-articles on perfumes, fragrance news, a big fragrance directory and lively fora
Biblioparfum -reference material (in French)
Chandler Burr-the site of the NY Times fragrance critic and author
Fragrance Directory-Michael Edwards info for The Fragrance Foundation
Fragrantica -directory of fragrances, news and articles
Fabulous Fragrances-the site of Jan Moran (author of Fabulous Fragrances books)
Fragrance Families -basic categories
Javaslublu-perfume houses and fragrances directory
Leffingwell-info siteon perfume, flavour and chemistry
Leffingwell Perfume Genealogy (classification chart for feminine fragrances)
Leffingwell Perfume Genealogy (classification chart for masculine fragrances)
Les Editions Assalit -books, affiches and published collectibles on perfume
Lucky magazine the beauty blogroll
LVMH perfumes and cosmetics (in French)
Osmoz-info site on fragrance families, materials, industry news, with discussion forum and multimedia presentations (mainted by Firmenich)
Perfume Intelligence -encyclopedia of perfume
Perfume Projects the Lightyears Collection -online perfumery museum
Perfumespedia-a perfume encyclopedia
Parfumessence-le magazine qui parfume le web (in French)
Parfums le Guide -Luca Turin's 1994 guide (in French)
Perfumes the Guide -site of authors Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez
Perfumer & Flavorist Magazine-online magazine
Perfume Review Guide
Perfumeworld-information and classification of perfumes
Sarah Jessica Parker perfume -the site of Sarah Jessica Parker perfumes
Scented Pages-bibliography on all aspects of perfume maintained by Marcello Aspria
Scented Pages bookmarks
Serge Lutens Nearly All Facts-a French fan's site, contains notes and info on points of sale
Serge Lutens Fan Site-unofficial site of Lutens fans (in French)
Sniffapalooza Magazine-online magazine for the Sniffapalooza event and lots of other info, updated twice a month, mainted by Raphaella Brescia
Toutenparfum-information about perfume houses and advertising
World Perfumery Congress 2007-site devoted to the World Perfumery Congress in Cannes, France (held in 2007) Lots of history and links.

For Collectors

Becker Street Antiques for bottles and for perfume ads & labels
Okadi -advertising(in French)
Parfum de Pub (in French)

Fragrance Companies

Drom Fragrances
Firmenich & CIE
Firmenich Fragrance Ingredients
Fragrance Resources
Givaudan
Givaudan Fragrance Ingredients
International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.
IFF Fragrance Ingredients
Mane
Quest International
Quest Fragrance Ingredients
Robertet
Symrise
Takasago


Miscellaneous Beauty Links
Makeup Provisions: Professional cosmetics Makeup Artists Provisions have been supplying professional makeup artists in the TV, film, and special effects industries for over 10 years.

Online decanters

Eiderdown Press: Unique Books, Perfume Decants & Perfume Journal-kept by Suzanne
The Posh Peasant-Abigail Levin's site of sales
The Perfumed Court-three women combine their collections to bring lots of choice
Les Ateliers du Parfum-based in Switzerland, in French

Organizations and Institutions

American Society of Perfumers-organization of perfumers working in the US
Couleur Parfum -perfume releases and press material
Fragrance Foundation-fragrance information and classification by Michael Edwards
Fragrance Foundation classification of fragrances -Index
Fragrance Materials Association
Fragrances of the World -professional database
Fragrances of the World online -index
International Fragrance Association
Grasse Perfume Museum -the renovated museum in capital of French perfumery, Grasse (in French)
ISIPCA-International Superior Institute of Perfume, Cosmetics and food Aromas (the only perfume school based in Versailles, France)
Museum del Parfum (in Spanish & in English)
Osmotheque -perfume museum in Versailles, France, perfume directory (in French)
Prodarom -perfumery school
Quelques Gouttes de Luxe -Comité Française du Parfum (in French)
Sense of Smell Institute -smell research
Sniffapalooza-an event organised in NYC gathering people interested in fragrances to sniff together
Société Française des Parfumeurs-perfume classification, perfumers and other related issues (in French)
Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce

Perfumery Natural Manufacturers and Essences

A Little Ol Factory
Anatolian Treasures
Anya's Garden
Ayala Moriel Perfumes
A Woman of Uncommon Scents
Bo Jensen's Guide to Essences and Essential oils
Eden Botanicals
Enfleurage
Essential Aura
Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages (in English & in German)
Illuminated Perfume by Roxana Villa
Jeanne Rose -all things herbal
Liberty Natural
Natural Perfumery-natural perfumery and perfumers site with a yahoo discussion group
Norfolk Essential Oils
Profumo.it -Abdes Salaam
Scent Garden

White Lotus Aromatics

Perfumers Artisanal

Armando Martinez
Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer)
Soivohle (Liz Zorn)
Sonoma Scent Studio (Laurie Erickson)
Vero Profumo (Vero Kern)

Perfume Fora

Basenotes
Fabulous Fragrances
Makeupalley
Perfume Addicts
Perfume Isle
Perfume of Life

Raw Materials (scent & flavour)

Albert Vieille
Azur Fragrances
Biolands Parfumerie
Charabot
Drom Fragrances
Firmenich
Fragrance Resources
Givaudan
Haarmann & Reiner SA
IFF
Mane
Robertet S A
Symrise
Ungerer & Company

Training in Perfumery

Bottle up emotions (Fragrance Creator)
Perfume Lab (Fragrance creator)
Natural perfumery Course at Anya´s Garden
Natural perfumery Course at Ayala Moriel
Biblioparfum
Perfumes World
The Fragrance Foundation (ONG)
The American Society of Perfumeurs (ONG)
H&C (Brasil)
Plymouth (UK)

Tours in perfume capitals
Perfume Paths-individualized tours of the perfume stops of interest in Paris
Perfume Pilgrim- individualized tours of the perfume stops of interest in London

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vero Profumo Mito: new fragrance

“The warm air is pervaded by a pleasant sensation of white flowers, jasmine and newly blooming magnolias, garlands of moist moss, aromatic leaves and proud cypresses. Slowly the fragrance rises. Up, up, higher and higher still, to join, all of a sudden, the crystalline jets gushing in the fountains and resting on the mirrors of water in the garden. Millions of miniscule water particles intertwine to create a shining, perfumed veil that rests on the cold marble shoulders of countless statues: gods, nymphs, fauns, dragons and mermaids. Time has stood still in the garden: yesterday is today is tomorrow."


 This is how perfumer Vero Kern presents her newest fragrance (after the masterful Kiki, Onda and Rubj in extrait and in eau de parfum), Mito, a white floral with green, mossy and freshly spicy nuances. Mito is out for launch later in the year.

Illustration:   Sofo Berdzenishvili.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Top 25 of current fragrances we can still enjoy!

So often we perfumephiles come together online and discuss how things were different back then and how older perfumes were somehow deeper, richer, better. I always thought this makes us an anachronism! Most of us have not even lived that far back! Of course there is solid argument that the way ingredients' restrictions, mercenary cheapening of the formula, old names pastered onto completely different things and all around derivative creations are cropping up, the future of perfumery isn't too bright. So many fragrances have been discontinued as well, not to mention the crazy fashion of limited editions which leave the loyal fan seriously crestfallen when they finish the bottle with no hope of easy replenishing.
But in this joint project ~inspired by Perfume Posse's call to readers and my friend Denyse~ which we undertook with the Non Blonde, the Smelly Blog and Savvy Thinker, we tried to focus on what is out there still available, still in good form, still gist for our mills. We tried to celebrate the little gems that are awaiting our litte paws to gingerly open and apply!

Compiling lists can be both exciting and frustrating, though. There are just so many things one wants to include, but obviously some form of elimination should take place. I had to eliminate beautiful creations which were limited editions, such as the sublime Fleur de Narcisse by L'artisan. Some older classics which are still around and I loved dearly have changed dramatically with questionable results: Cabochard and Ma Griffe, for starters. Then there are those which are on precarious soil: Alpona is perhaps destined to discontinuation due to the heavy restrictions on oakmoss? The jury is still out. And some like Pontevecchio W by Nobile 1942, although I loved them, just couldn't fit into the alloted limit no matter how hard I tried to cram them.

So without further ado, here is an aplhabetical list of 25 fragrances I really love! By no means comprehensive and not highlighting their historical importance in perfumery (you can take a peak at my take on what marked scented history here). Just what has me always sighing with pleasure, my psyche elated and my mind appreciating, every time I open the bottles. Some are mainstream, some are niche, some are feminine, some are masculine, some are shared.
{Those which are highlighted have been reviewed on Perfume Shrine, the rest will get their share soon!}


1. Angélique Encens, Creed (nose: Henry Creed)
2. Avignon, Comme des Garcons Incense Series (nose: Bernand Duchaufour)
3. Bandit, Robert Piguet, in edp (nose: Germaine Cellier)
4. Carnal Flower, Frédéric Malle (nose: Dominique Ropion)
5. Chant d’arômes, Guerlain (nose: Jean Paul Guerlain)
6. Cruel Gardénia, Guerlain (nose: Randa Hammami)
7. Cuir de Russie, Chanel in extrait (nose: Ernest Beaux)
8. Déclaration, Cartier (nose: Jean Claude Ellena)
9. Diorella, Christian Dior (nose: Edmond Roudnitska)
10.Diorling, Christian Dior (nose: Paul Vacher)
11.Fifi, Fifi Chachnil (nose: Jean Guichard)
12.Film Noir, Ayla Moriel (nose: Ayala Moriel)
13.Fleurs d’oranger, Serge Lutens (nose: Chris Sheldrake)
14.Grand Amour, Annick Goutal (nose: Isabelle Doyen)
15.Iris Poudre, Frédéric Malle (nose: Pierre Bourdon)
16.Jasmin de Nuit, The Different Company (nose: Céline Ellena)
17.L’air de Rien, Miller Harris (nose: Lynn Harris)
18.L’air du desert Marocain, Tauer Perfumes (nose: Andy Tauer)
19.La Myrrhe, Serge Lutens (nose: Chris Sheldrake)
20.Mitsouko, Guerlain in extrait and edt (nose: Jacques Guerlain)
21.Narciso Rodriguez For her, edt and extrait (nose: Francis Kurkdjian)
22.Onda, Vero Profumo (nose: Vero Kern)
23.Opium, Yves Saint Laurent, in edt (nose: Jean Louis Sieuzac)
24.Vetiver Tonka, Hermessences (nose: Jean Claude Ellena)
25.Vol de Nuit, Guerlain, in extrait (nose: Jacques Guerlain)

Which fragrances comprise your top 25 list?

Please don't forget to check out the lists on The Non Blonde, Smelly Blog and Savvy Thinker as well.


Pic courtesy of jilly1964/photobucket and manipulated by me

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fragrances for Celebration: New Year's Eve & Readers Favorites

The New Year Eve's celebration is always taking the biggest piece in the pie of festivities, ushering a new period of hope, dreams and expectations. To seal it off our fragrance choice tends to be festive, optimistic, hopeful and gorgeous (to us at least). With these criteria in mind I have personally chosen to wear Amouage Jubilation 25 which checks all boxes (and goes well with the subtle flesh-colored paillettes on my festive top). Mr.Perfume Shrine will be in his (and mine) favorite Cartier Declaration eau de toilette. What will you be wearing tonight?

In the meantime, here is a statistic of sorts (i.e.most mentions) of Reader's Favorites from 2014 (in our dedicated poll) which I promised as an addendum to our Best Fragrances of 2014 post posted yesterday.

Guerlain Shalimar and Mitsouko
Chanel Coromandel, No.5, Bois des Iles and Cristalle
Hermes Jour d'Hermes
Diptyque Philosykos and Geranium Odorata
Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio
Tauer Perfumes Phi
Prada Infusion d'Iris
Ungaro Diva


Popular niche brands (apart from specific scents from the above brands) with lots of mentions include, in no particular order:

Tauer Perfumes
Mona di Orio
Annick Goutal
Frederic Malle
Vero Profumo
Serge Lutens
Patricia de Nicolai
L'Artisan Parfumeur
Tom Ford

Of course the readers of this blog are highly eclectic and have mentioned also lots of vintages, some cult vintages (some of which I had highlighted on this blog this past year, such as Laura Biagotti Romagood on you!) and several indie/artisanal brands. They all bring something worthwhile to the table!

Have a very Happy New Year filled with love, hope, creativity and good health!



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Penhaligon's Amaranthine: fragrance review

I had included Amaranthine by Penhaligon's in my Top 10 Scents that Sing Spring for 2010 a while ago with the following words: "Its name denotes the eternally beautiful and unfading. The perfume, just like the name (from the Greek αμάραντος), evokes a deep purple red, a "corrupted" floral oriental with plenty of "dirty" aspects combining spiced (clovey) ylang-ylang and jasmine on a milky sandalwood and musky base. Fetish-phobics should better shy away, but those worth their salt in immersing themselves head-long into intimate scents (ooops!) will rejoice that the meadows and the flowers do not only smell of the sterile florist's or Alpine tops. As shocking ~coming from such an upper-stiff-lip British brand~ as discovering that our favourite nanny, Julie Andrews, has a va jay jay ~and a wee hole~ after all!"

So why am I back reviewing this? Probably because I have been pondering these past few weeks on how it came as an utter shock into the Miss Charm school of the Penhaligon's line-up, smiling like characters out of a Jane Austen novel with no success in hiding this Edna Pontellier amongst them! Like other outspoken feminine florals, like Passion or Grand Amour by Annick Goutal, DelRae's Amoureuse and Vero Profumo Rubj, this is a case of not being afraid to shout off the rooftops its deliciously carnal intent. An intent that is rendered like it's the most natural thing in the world!
Penhaligon’s website says “Amaranthine [part of the new Anthology series] is a corrupted floral oriental for those private moments when everything is anticipation” and by that line alone one would surmiss they're up to no good: Which they're not, in the best possible sense. Yet it was March at Perfume Posse who put the apocalyptical size of the shock value in proper terms: "Immediately and humorously nicknamed Amaranthigh by perfumistas, Amaranthine was a shot across the bow in terms of our expectations from staid Penhaligon’s. Bertrand Duchaufour’s bizarre, refulgent twist on a boudoir scent would have been about the last thing I expected from the house, and I wasn’t alone there".

Like a modern time Léonce, a callous patriach who is unshakable in his views, I was eternally stuck on how Penhaligon's as a fragrance house amounted to instant Victoriana with doilles put under the TV-set and little floral mats on the arm-rests of the couches, in a house that smelled of crushed lavender and butter-foiled scones for tea, always a little stale. Pretty as a picture and nostalgic possibly, but would I live there? No if I had any hopes of saving my jaw muscles from overexertion from the smile that would plague my face translating its ecumenical acceptance and patience.
I had only managed to be interested in Malabah, Hammam Bouquet and Castile from the house's classics previously and in Lily & Spice from the newer range; my itinerary (stopping at the outskirts of Coventry and never intending to go all the way up to Leeds) was cut short: The train was abtruptly stopped at junction "Eyes Glazing Over Victorian Posy" with a disastrous detour via "Bluebell" which had nothing to do with blue and plenty to do with Bells of Hell going ting-a-ling-a-ling.

Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has managed to shake this ~in hindsight~ passé notion and thrust it out of the window of that very same train. (Actually he also did a complete redecoration of that English cottage above, ushering a little French deco amidst all that plaid and floral. One can have too much of a picturtesque thing, after all). Amaranthine is travelling from station to station between fruity-ladden vines that sprout banana-bubblegum tones of quality jasmine (and lush ylang ylang) and a gently green but spicy blend of cardamom and coriander recalling not yet fully fermented tea aromatized the Middle Eastern way. And when it stops, it takes you to someplace where proper good buttery English toffee is still made (creamy sandalwood, warm musk, milky caramel tones), so not everything British is lost. Two beauties, one English, one French, are having a tryst. Simply spectacular!

Notes for Penhaligon's Amaranthine: green tea, freesia, banana leaf, coriander, cardamom, rose, carnation, clove, orange blossom, ylang ylang, Egyptian jasmine, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, condensed milk, tonka bean.

Availability and Limited editions
on this link.

A special thanks to Joe for introducing me to this gem.

Photo of a nude Brigitte Bardot and an equally nude Jane Birkin via The Moly Doily blog. Claudya photo by Bettina Rheims from the Female Troubles Series

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Les Parfums: Paris perfumes exhibition

From 2nd to 5th of October, Paris will be hosting the fragrance exhibition Les Parfums. A trade show aiming to highlight the new directions in perfumery and re-ignite the love for perfume, all hosted in the city that put scent on a pedestral. For professionals, the initiated and the neophytes, the trade show Les Parfums is free for all and will feature special prices on milestone perfumes from the houses hosted, a consultation and selling point of the best publications dedicated to fragrance, and meeting-up with some of the creators of the most prominent niche makers in today's market:


Amouage, Claudie Pierlot, Etat Libre d'Orange, Frank Los Angeles, Ginaluca Bulega Parfums, Isabey, Kalaris Milano, Linari, Mona di Orio, Neotantric Oasis, P.Frapin et cie, Parfum d'Empire, Parfums d'Orsay, Poiray, Robert Piguet, Susanne Lang, the Hype Noses, Vero Profumo.
The official site of Salon Les Parfums can be reached on this link (in French right now, but will feature an English speaking section shortly).

The exhibition Les Parfums will take place on 2-5 October from 9am to 6:30am (on Saturday till 8:30pm) at L'Atelier Richelieu, 60 rue de Richelieu, 75002, Paris
(Metro: Bourse, Pyramides, Palais Royal)

Have fun!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Frequent Questions: How to Seduce with your Perfume According to your Type

There are probably as many ways of seduction as there are women; and there are possibly as many ways of being seduced as there are men. But the human mind being formulaically responsive and often accepting "rules" when in fact there aren't any, one of the perennial questions buzzing around is how to attract and entice through the use of the oldest of accroutements: perfume! Tania Sanchez no doubt has a point that the surest way to gain a man's olfactory attention is bacon, but should you ever find that men are more sophisticated beings than dogs, there are subtler ways to accomplish your goals and pique someone's interest in exploring further and hopefully finding all the lovely things you have to offer. Because, honestly, perfume is wonderful, subliminal, even magical at times, and I should be wise to its charms obviously, but the most appealing scent is the one attached to a wonderful human being. But for our purposes, here is some guidance into choosing an attractive fragrance according to your style or the role you want to playfully incarnate, just in time for St.Valentine's Day. In no way conclusive, it only aims to offer a little fun.

For the friendly girl-next-door type:

Although we take it for granted, there's something to be said about the best things hiding under our noses. And nowhere is this more evident than in choosing a partner for a little casual relationship that can blossom to so much more. Men have been known to have a sweet spot for girls they can be friends with and the male mind seems to be wired so that they enjoy having a little erotic tension with them. The kind of woman for this is often funny, self-depreciating, smarter than you know and she can cuddle up in the couch watching a good round of basketball and those are qualities not to be ridiculed! The fragrances that exude that good-sport vibe are contemporary, well-crafted and with a light-hearted character that does not diminish their loveliness. In that arena the soapy clean ambience of the original Pleasures by Lauder with its spicy pepperiness later on has the touch of familiar, yet cozy. Men appreciate light, clean scents with a subtle hint of woody musk and in such a vein Cruel Gardénia by Guerlain accomplishes the coup with one swept feat if you disregard the completely misleading name. Another one in that abstract style with an indeterminate haze which has an almost universal appeal is Prada's Infusion d'Iris. A little almost edible quality can also be put to good use in the game of effortless seduction, especially when not too foody. The almondy trippy touch of Hypnotic Poison by Dior is popular for a reason and although the advertisements want to present it as a man-eater it is supremely friendly in its eau de toilette incarnation in which it asks to be taken to the back of a car and be nibbled on for hours on end. If you want to combine a little masculine touch along with the nutty edible edge, you can look no further than Vetiver Tonka available at Hermès boutiques. A spicy formula that acts as a kick for further communication could be Sienna Musk by Sonoma Scent Studio. And the familiar touch of usual masculine-fix lavender laced with an unexpected caramelic interlay that will have his taste buds wondering can be found in the very wearable and sexy Kiki by Vero Profumo.

For the mysterious vamp type:

If this type is mostly retained for the silver screen, there is nothing wrong with a little make-believe and a dusting of mysterious fairy-dust on everyday life. Every woman deserves to be able to get out of a pair of gloves Gilda-style once in her life or to dance the flamenco the way Ava Garner did and if this is your fantasy, fragrance offers a special touch to get in the mood ~you yourself, above all, which is the ultimate secret of seduction. For calculating schemes of grandes horizontales you will need a rich, slightly retro fragrance which won't remind him of his grandmother; not because she is old, mind you, but because the intentions behind those numbers are well beyond her capabilities right now I'd guess. Unless she is a vamp herself! (In which case, lucky you, to have a real life parable to watch and learn from!). There is something to be said about the insidious allure of Jean Desprez's Bal a Versailles and the regal air of Narcisse Noir by Caron. A mysterious film noir heroine might wear a couple of strategically placed drops of vintage Cabochard, a leathery chypre with headstrong tendencies. Or Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum , fit for fiery and less sang froid seductresses, who could be swept off their feet themselves by their passions, yet wreck havoc wherever they go. The warm, inviting Tolu by Ormonde Jayne is less outwardly bombastic, but none the less impressive for its animalic tonality which hints at an unbridled sexuality that will surely end up hurting someone.

For the girl-can't-help-it type:

Some women are bursting at the seams and it seems like they exude a naturally endowed charm that encompasses the childlike playfulness with the sensuous appreciation of life that attracts not only men but practically everyone: women, children and animals follow as well. The type is rarer than it seems at first, of course. Prime examples included Marilyn Monroe and it's a delicate balance between appearing exuberant and risking ridicule, so proceed carefully. Lush, carnal fragrances with potent white flowers are by nature generous and in that realm the wonderfully modern, natural smelling tuberose of Carnal Flower by F.Malle is heavy artillery for serious affairs of the heart. The generosity of edible violets flambées on an amber bed hiding inside Guerlain's Attrape Coeur is unsurpassable. If your scheming is envisioned in a tropical surrounding amidst the lush foliage of jasmine vines, then the Venus-flytrap of jasmine fragrances is your best bet: Jasmin Full by Montale is full to the brim! If you're more taken with the jaminess of rich roses, then Liaisons Dangereuses from the By Kilian brand is your surest bet.
Although more restrained and with no discernable big flowers, Rykiel Woman, not for men! sets out to consign its goals from the get-go. A composition that is playful, as warm as a mohair sweater, smart as a whip and giving like a tender mother all at the same time can't but win you over easily. Only to be sought for in the excellent Eau de Parfum concentration; the completely different in smell Eau de Toilette version is nothing to write home about.

For the professional woman eager to let her hair down type:

If it's not bad enough that fragrance is kept to a minimum at the workplace for reasons of courtesy to others, there is also a certain image attached to professional women ~especially very successful ones or ones who hold a position of power. They are deemed detached, a little "cold" and aloof possibly, a little unapproachable. But ever so often, this is just a façade when inside there is a sensuous human being who wants to loosen up and be seen in another way, even if she doesn't have the time to resort to a whole transformation at home before hitting the posh bar for drinks with an eligible bachelor. Her fragrance should have a veneer of polish, while underneath there is a naughtiness that hints at antique rose lace underwear under the strict pantsuit. The pristine good taste of Calèche by Hermès is ladylike on the outset only to hint at an articulate sensuality underneath. The original Armani pour Femme is a chypre so densely rich and opulent it makes you swoon. Iris Poudre by F.Malle has the right touch of airy transparency to make it unobtrusive and the correct dosage of discreet earthiness in the form of luxuriant iris at the background suggesting more intimate ideas. The equivalent of the softest pashmina over bare shoulders, it is a fragrance to transport you above all and make you feel utterly feminine and vulnerable. The bittersweet, discreet vibrato of Douce Amère by Serge Lutens is the perfect accompaniment to an appearence that hides more than it reveals.

For the incurable romantic type:

Perfume is a traditional romantic gift and as such it is laden with lots of associations, memories and reminiscences about relationships past and present and sometimes even subtle innuendo (Remember how Scarlett O'Hara was advised not to accept scented gifts from her many beaux?). There are women who always smile watching Jimmy Steward in "A Wonderful Life" and shed a tear at the final scenes of "An Affair to Remember". Women who like their night gowns trimmed with a little broderie anglaise, their literature peppered with Jane Austen and their fragrances with a touch of floral. Although they're certainly not spoilt for choice, as there are plenty of romantic fragrances around, there are some which are achingly beautiful to match. Chamade by Guerlain is one such composition ~from the name evoking the French phrase "battre la chamade" (inspired by the homonymous drumroll signifying retreat during the Napoleonic Wars) to the lush hyacinth heart with a touch of blackcurrant buds, it is a romantic to end all romantics. The exquisite loveliness of a simple, yet ethereal lily and vanilla mélange is found in Un Lys by Serge Lutens: the last dying breath of an angel in paradise... The embullient rose that is Paris by Yves Saint Laurent has a nostalgic tinge of violets and is so tremendously feminine that it sets the mood by itself.

For the brainy or bohemian type:

If you belong to this subcategory, you're probably reading this article with a healthy dose of scepticism and nodding your head "yeah, yeah, wonder how I would ever fit!". The simple answer is you would not. And most people detest being typecast, so you would never admit to even if you would. But that's perfectly all right, because this is the type of woman that would have to first seduce herself through her choice of perfume and then everyone else. And this is part of the wonderful path of self-discovery, of identity mapping, of evolving of one's sensibilities, tastes and preferences that we call "life". There is no specific fingerprint and the following suggestions are as diverse as the tastes of women belonging in this category. The decadently luxurious iris cloud atop a nappa couch that is Cuir de Russie by Chanel, especially in parfum form, is a natural fit for when you want to exude your most intelligent without foregoing your most beautiful side. The carnal nature of tropical white florals paired with the raw savagery of vetiver as incarnated in Manoumalia by Les Nez is beautifully intriguing. The narcissus and leather mixed with dirt of L'artisan's Fleur de Narcisse as well as the more intimate, naughtier come-hither of L'air de Rien by Miller Harris can be weapons of quirky seduction. And of course if the edgily different and exotic story behind Aziyade by Parfum d'Empire casts a spell on your soul, then the fragrance with its sexy spice interlay atop immortelle might have you feeling like the sexiest harem girl who's reciting Rilke while dancing this side of the Golden Horn.

Pics from top: When Harry met Sally, Body Heat, The Seven Year Itch, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Pride and Prejudice, Mullholland Drive courtesy of community.livejournal/ohnotheydidn't, news.bbc.co.uk, en-easyart.com

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