Hot House Roses for Knackered Queens

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Val the Cookie Queen

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Beloved APJ Readers!

It´s 21.30 and my APJ deadline has been and gone and I am late. I just got back from work where I have been prepping the cookies for the up-and-coming Cookie Run. That is four days of work, several hours a day. As of today I have the BlondesWunder helping me. For money, not love. It cut my work load immensely. In my last post I mentioned a new My Indigo store had opened in Innsbruck and this week another opened in Vienna. Wipes brow. That makes uhm, thirteen stores.

As I pondered this post and what to write about it made me wonder, why do y’all read APJ? Why do we read perfume blogs in general? Fun, information, humour, updates? I don´t read as many as I used to. I have my favourites and there are a couple I will not even give a click to, because I dislike them SO much. But you´ll never know which ones, hahahahaha!! I totally enjoy the English perfume blogger scene as I have got to know many of them in person, not least of all A Bottled Rose and Bonkers About Perfume. The three of us regularly chat and share our joys and worries, personal challenges and probably some tears too. I could not imagine my life without them.

tired peach rose Marisa04 pixabayPDI

It has been extremely hot here, up in the centigrade thirties. I have been wearing Serge Lutens la Filled de Berlin and Malle´s Portrait of a Lady. A lot.

Hot House Roses for Knackered Queens

La Fille de Berlin by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2013

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Rose, geranium
Heart: Palmrosa
Base: Patchouli, moss, honey

I wonder if it is a little dramatic to say that this is my very favourite of all the Lutens? Jammy, rich and smooth. Rubescent. There is a slight greenness to it, but it is rather understated. It dries down to such a musky, richly honeyed amber and lingers for hours. I have only recently started to wear it. It has been BlondesWunder´s signature for the last three years and for that reason I left it alone. I bought a 50ml bottle for her a few weeks ago, before they are sold out. But now it´s mine. As Tara says LaFdBisthebombdotcom.

Portrait of a Lady by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle 2010

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Turkish rose, raspberry, blackcurrant, cinnamon, clove
Heart: Patchouli, sandalwood, incense
Base: Ambrosian, benzoin, white musk

As far as I understand it this is a fairly divisive perfume? I wonder if people are wearing it in the wrong temperatures? POAL needs heat and skin and lots of both. The materials used are superb. Don´t be put off by the long list of notes. The main players are rose, patchouli, frankincense and the sticky resinous feel of maybe labdanum? Earthy, mature, and strong, it bleeds confidence. In amongst the warmth of rose and patchouli is a damp incense. Like breathing in the chill of a cement floored cellar. Melds into the skin. Very beautiful.

david austin rose sunlight WikiMediaWikiMedia

So for whatever reason you read and mingle with the APJ crew, we´re thankful for every one of you. Do you like your roses in the heat?

Knackered Bussis
CQ

(Ed: Photo credits to Val unless specified. Lovely huh?)

Philippe Starck Fragrances 2016

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Greg Young from AusScents.

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Hi APJ,

Last year, designer Philippe Starck ventured into the fragrance world with three perfumes. In keeping with Starck’s minimalist design philosophy, these scents are very subtle and stick close to the skin. There is some playing with preconceptions about what a gender-specific fragrance should be like; the female fragrance morphs into something more masculine, and vice versa. And it simply would not be Starck without some unusual twists on “normal” design.

http://www.starckparfums.comStarck Parfums

Philippe Starck Fragrances

From Silk to Rock

Peau de Soie Starck FragranticaFragrantica

Peau de Soie by Dominique Ropion for Philippe Starck 2016

Skin of Silk. The most feminine fragrance in the range, Peau de Soie is as silky-smooth as the name implies. It’s a very soft, powdery scent. Peau de Soie opens with unobtrusive woody notes and then develops a mild floral note reminiscent of iris and a candy-like musk. On my skin this lasted about half the day, but it had almost zero projection. One needs to sniff one’s wrist closely to enjoy it.

Peau d`Ailleurs Starck FragranticaFragrantica

Peau d`Ailleurs by Annick Menardo for Philippe Starck 2016

Skin from Elsewhere. Yes, well this is very well-named in a sense, because it has notes that I’ve never encountered in a fragrance before. It opens earthy, with a green, vegetal whiff to it. A few close sniffs revealed an aroma of freshly cut beetroot which, once identified, became inescapable.

After a while, a transition away from earthiness begins and we get a faint lemony smell followed by musk and a little bit of wood. This also lasted about half a day on my skin.

Is beetroot a thing? Not according to the Fragrantica database. Nevertheless, I found myself quite liking this very different take on an earthy scent. I could easily see this one polarising sniffers; it’s a brave attempt from a designer renowned for his original thinking.

Peau de Pierre Starck fragranticaFragrantica

Peau de Pierre by Daphne Bugey for Philippe Starck 2016

Skin of Stone. This one represents the end of a journey from silky lightness through an indefinable greenness down to earth and woods. There is a trace of sharp citrus on the first spray with a green note that I thought might be galbanum. A dominant cedary smell takes over, with a smoky aura about it. It comes across a little bit soapy at times, so I don’t think it quite fulfils the promise of its name, but it is probably my favourite of the three. It lasted a bit less than the others; maybe about 6 hours.

The subtlety of these scents means that individual notes rarely dominate; they are designed to be appreciated as a melange of their various parts. They all last a good long time on skin and are ideal if you’re wearing a fragrance solely to please yourself, or in an intimate encounter. If you’re up for something a bit different, the Starck range may be for you.

These reviews were based on samples given to me by Marco at Mason’s Menswear Boutique in Flinders Lane which is, I believe, the sole Australian outlet for the Starck line. (Ed: These guys have only been open for 13 weeks and are already generating a lot of media interest. We will watch with interest! They were super friendly on the phone today)

Greg XX

Superstitious by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle 2016

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Val the Cookie Queen

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Good Day from the UK APJ Peeps!

As you read this I will probably be trundling my way towards the Frederic Malle store in Burlington Arcade with Tara from A Bottled Rose and the B.londeswunder. Originally it was planned that we would sniff Superstitious together, but that was four weeks ago. I mostly have no problem waiting to try something but every once in a while the junkie in me grabs hold and I have no control. I commented on a FB thread as to how excited I was to try Superstitious and six days later the postman turned up with a package from France with a sample in it. Nothing like a generous addict helping another one out. I believe we call it an enabler in our circle? As opposed to a pusher?

Superstitious Alber Elbaz par Frederic Malle 2017

Superstitious by Dominic Ropion

Superstitious Frederic Malle FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Jasmine, rose, peach, amber, incense, vetiver, patchouli, aldehydes

For some reason I keep calling this perfume suspicious, I think I need to tattoo Superstitious onto my forehead. Dunno why I can´t get a handle on it.

Malle´s first collaboration was with Dries von Noten, the Belgian fashion designer. This was back in 2013. He returns now with number two. Superstitious is an alliance with Alber Elbaz, the Moroccan-Israeli fashion designer, formerly of Lanvin. You might wanna Google him if you have a few moments. He is a really interesting character not to mention his exquisite designs. If I were rich and wore dresses …….

GOBSTOPPER SWEETS

Gobstoppers (jawbreakers) consist of a number of layers and colours, and as each layer dissolves another appears; these layers are often flavoured too. It takes hours and hours, and sometimes days to finish them.

Here we have jasmine, rose, a hint of peach, amber, incense, vetiver, and patchouli wrapped in a thick layer of waxy aldehydes. There is an underlying whisp of grapeness too, the dark purple artificially flavoured Kool-Aid kind. A 1950´s vintage fragrance presented to us in 2017. As the divine waxy aldehydes melt away, the jasmine just bursts forth indolic, with elegance and sophistication. It languishes and slowly melts down into the rich velvety foundation, yet remains intertwined with the full-bodied base notes. Lavish but with a rough edge, and particularly seductive.

It is perfect, Ropion knows it, and I doubt he cares less what anyone else has to say about it.

Further reading: Candy Perfume Boy and Perfume Posse
Frederic Malle has €50/10ml

After using the sample I promptly ordered the 10ml travel spray. My first jasmine. I hope Tara and I will find something else to sniff and whilst in the shop! A travel Dries van Noten might not hurt eh?

Suspicious Bussis
CQ

PS. It might be fair to say if waxy aldehydes and indolic jasmine sounds like death warmed up, you might wanna try something else – as did LJG.

(Ed: Pics supplied by Val the CQ unless otherwise noted)

Safari Woman by Dominique Ropion for Ralph Lauren 1990

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Post by Anne-Marie

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I missed Safari when it first came out and one way or another, I only discovered it about 25 years later. Well, better late than after discontinuation! So this is a review of a new friend, not an old buddy.

Safari Woman by Ralph Lauren 1990

Safari Woman by Dominique Ropion

Safari Ralph Lauren for women Fragrantica

Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: orange black currant, tagetes, mandarin orange, narcissus, galbanum, hyacinth, cassis
Heart: rosemary, orange blossom, orris root, jasmine, rose
Base: sandalwood, amber, patchouli, vetiver, cedar

Barbara Herman in her book Scents and Subversion adds honey as a middle note, and I agree. For me, honey is a key characteristic in Safari. Yes, the green bitter notes – galbanum and hyacinth especially – are very prominent. Much as I like green florals and chypres, sometimes they are too bitter for me and in Safari, this is held in check by a sweetness that feels like honey. Not saccharine, but rich, smooth and dark. This may be what gives Safari the warm languor which is referenced in the ads (about which more in a moment). There’s fruit in there but the overall effect is dry rather than juicy.

Safari has a reputation for strength and tenacity, a scent in high 1980s style. My bottle was bought in 2016 and while the texture of the fragrance is dense, I would not have said it matches those big ol’ 80s monsters. Perhaps reformulation has toned it down. After a strongish start, I find that Safari settles to a hum quickly. The fragrance lasts all days with just moderate sillage. By the end, I do get a little tired of Safari. The tussle between crisp greenery and smooth sweetness plays out on my skin all day. Nothing wins, and I’m glad when they finally blend and fade.

From bottle to packaging to marketing, the art direction for Safari is beautiful, as you’d expect from Ralph Lauren. The video ad takes us to Africa, of course. Mr Safari bashes on a typewriter (channelling Ernest Hemingway), while Ms Safari shoots the wildlife (with a camera). A bit of lazy canoodling goes on. No doubt there will be drinks on the veranda at sunset, served by native servants. Sorry, I’m not interested in all this colonialist shtick.

Safari for women is almost impossible to find in retail shops in my part of the world, and occasionally some reviewers have wondered if it is discontinued. It’s easy to find online though. The men’s version, a fougère released in 1992, is everywhere. I have not smelled it. Do comment if you know it.

Safari Ralph Lauren for women Holiday-lettings-Masai ihaiha

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Non Blonde
FragranceNet has $64/75ml Before Coupon

What about you? Was Safari part of your perfumed past? Is this what you would wear out there on the savannah, cuddling a baby lion?
Until next time, keep spritzing everyone!

 

Amarige by Dominique Ropion for Givenchy 1991

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Post by Anne-Marie

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A little while ago I did a round-up of print and online reviews of one of the most reviled perfumes on the counter: Givenchy’s Amarige. Now I’d like to share my own views. An astute reader will probably have decided that I would not be going to this much trouble if I hated Amarige, and you are right. I do love it. So THERE!

 Amarige by Givenchy 1991

 Amarige by Dominique Ropion

 

Amarige Givenchy FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Mandarin, Neroli, Peach, Plum, Rosewood, Violet Heart
Heart: Gardenia, Carnation, Jasmine, Cassia, Mimosa, Orchid, Black locust, Rose, Red berries, Black currant, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Amber, Woody notes, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla, Cedar

Firstly, the notes (deep breath):
Top: orange blossom, plum, mandarin, violet, peach, neroli, Brazilian rosewood.
Heart: red berries, mimosa, carnation, black locust, tuberose, blackcurrant, gardenia, casie, orchids, jasmine, ylang ylang, rose.
Base: sandalwood, tonka, amber, musk, vanilla, woody notes, cedar

How does it smell to me? I don’t much bother trying to separate the notes. To me Amarige smells of peaches, white flowers, and sunshine. Yellow is a dominant colour in the marketing and while I don’t dress in yellow, I get my ‘yellow’ from Amarige. It’s a colour – and a scent – of confidence, happiness and optimism.

Amarige’s bottle was designed by Pierre Dinand and inspired by a blouse Hubert de Givenchy had designed in 1952 for his model, muse and some time press agent, Bettina Graziani. High-collared and narrow at the waist, the sleeves of the ‘Bettina blouse’ were deeply ruffled with broderie anglaise, and those ruffles are referenced in the cap on the bottle.

Amarige Givenchy Bettina Blouse PinterestPhoto Stolen Pinterest

Tuberose? I compared Amarige with other ‘scoundrels’ (Luca Turin’s word) of the era: Giorgio of Beverly Hills and Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door. The tuberose in those is indeed very and harsh and synthetic, to my nose, whereas in Amarige the tuberose is balanced and blended with other notes, especially that joyful peach.

Too strong? Oh for goodness sake! Just wear less. Nobody is forcing you to spritz Amarige 16 times, are they? What? Your Auntie Sharon did actually spritz it 16 times, back in the 90s? Well good on her. She smelled better than if she had been wearing any amount of Issey Miyake. Yes she did.

Speaking of Issey Miyake, some perfume critics write of the 90s as a time of freshness and restraint in perfume. In the 80s, perfumes were too strong and we all wore too much. In the 90s we detoxed, apparently, on fragrances like Calvin Klein’s CK One and Clinique’s Happy. But no, that’s not quite true. The divas kept coming. Not just Amarige, but Lancome’s Trésor and Poème, Liz Taylor’s White Diamonds, Gucci’s L’Arte di Gucci and Rush, Thierry Mugler’s Angel, YSL’s Yvresse, Hermès’ 24 Faubourg, Dior’s Docle Vita and J’Adore, and Chanel’s Allure.

And yet the clean watery fragrances did sell like crazy, so perhaps the only explanation is that they were bought by people who would otherwise not wear fragrance at all – memories of Auntie Sharon – meaning that the fragrance market overall must have expanded in the 1990s.

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

FragranceNet has $28/30ml
My Perfume Samples starts at $2/ml

I started out with Amarige and have ended up with 90s fruity florals in general.
What do you think? A good era for perfume, the 90s? Or … not?

Alien by Thierry Mugler: A Sambac Story – Official Film

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Post by Portia

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It’s not often that the Thierry Mugler crew bring out a video about their fragrances so I got pretty excited when this landed in my box. Then to watch it and see that it’s not really about Alien the fragrance but more about harvesting sambac jasmine in India and you can colour me thrilled.

I hope you enjoy the 3.30m film
Portia xx

Alien by Thierry Mugler 2005

Alien by Dominique Ropion + Laurent Bruyere.

Alien Thierry Mugler FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Jasmine sambac, Cashmere wood, Ambergris

Alien, Thierry Mugler: A Sambac Story – Official Film. Alien was crafted from the powerful idea of the sun’s rays conveyed in the form of a raw block of intense ingredients. This was based on an accord of natural sambac jasmine, the most powerful jasmine scent, echoed by a duo of amber and wood.

Alien, Thierry Mugler: A Sambac Story – Official Film

The Modern Fougere: Kurkdjian, Malle, Penhaligon’s

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Post by Liam

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Howdy Hum Salubrious Scentophiles.

Of the entire gamut of fragrances, I am most cautious of the Fougere.

Why? Do this for me- play a game of covert ops (if you are a man, this is easy. If you are a woman, pretend you are buying a gift for a boyfriend). Head on down to your local department store and ask the question: “I am looking for a safe fragrance at around the one-hundred dollar mark”. Tell them he doesn’t often wear scent, perhaps only for special occasions.

I am willing and happy to wager that if they do not offer you an aquatic to try, they will then offer you either a fragrance in the wood category or the Aromatic Fougere.

The Modern Fougere: Kurkdjian, Malle, Penhaligon’s

What’s wrong with the mass market Fougere? The structure of a Fougere is largely complex, richly layered with a harmonious topdown structure from a vibrant citrus top note, an aromatic hum in the middle, and a weighty wooded base at the bottom. When perfumes mess with these transitions, with cloying drydowns and/or linalool and ambroxan driven facets, piercing top notes, and imperceptible accords – the Fougere has been tarnished.

Jean-Paul Guerlain made a statement that I am inclined to adhere to. He believed that apart from Guerlain’s two Fougere scents – Jicky and Mouchoir de Monsieur, any other Fougere is for truck drivers. Given my current and (of course) personal perspective of the market, I am inclined to say the same.

However! The Fougere begins to shine a pulsating, welcoming, and soft glow when we begin to look at a few more ‘uppermarket’ scents. Here are my favourite Fougeres for a contemporary market.

Sartorial Penhaligon`s FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Sartorial by Penhaligon’s

A superstar in the fragrance community (and when you have the confidence, fragcom is the appropriate blend word to use), I personally really admire Sartorial for its classicism.

I get what I want from Sartorial: a lavender, amber, and sandalwood structure that alloys down a citrus impression at the opening. But Duchaufour takes it a step further. He places the scent in context. In a Saville Row tailor’s workroom. Beeswax, metallic notes, steam-iron notes, and a linen fabric accord intermingle with the classic structure giving depth, definition, and clarity. A wonderful scent.

Masculin Pluriel Maison Francis Kurkdjian FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Masculin Pluriel by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

This is the antidote to my woes. I am saddened by a lack of clarity in Fougere scents – with these instead presenting a musty static that I cannot bare. Much like Sartorial, the name suggests a throwback to what makes a masculine fragrance – a Fougere! Lavender is a must, along with red cedar, leather, and patchouli. A fragrance representing a quest for the ‘eternal masculine’, a ‘timeless scent’, this comes pretty close. It it predicable and forward, like a good gentleman.

GeraniumPourMonsieur FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Geranium Pour Monsieur – Frederic Malle

A minty wildcard, I am currently really liking this one. It is tenacious. It opens with a smooth abrasiveness from Chinese geranium – giving a floral potency lifted with nose tingling mint, anise, and ouzo notes. Combined with the spice of clove, cinnamon and then swept with crystalline musk – Geranium Pour Monsieur omits the toothpaste impression but retains its menthol-like freshness. It is precise; a well-tuned creation that plays on cool and hot. Creating a sophisticated, refreshing and tonic-like fragrance, Geranium Pour Monsieur is probably the best mint-driven scent on the market, and a superb quasi-fougere.

Be kind, and rethink your labelling of the (otherwise almighty) Fougere.
What’s a modern Fougere to you?

-Liam

P.S I’m away for a while, Yr12 exams! See you soon!