Ephemerals – Mini-Reviews: Brecourt Paris

By Sandra

Brecourt Paris is a relatively new niche perfume company (2010) created by perfumer Emilie Bouge and is based in Paris.  I have never tried their perfumes and now I have a handful that I have tried and truly enjoyed.

Let’s have a sniff at these beautiful interesting blends.

Brecourt has created a line within their brand called Les Ephemeres whose purpose it is to explore rare and precious essences from ancient times and how they can be interpreted in modern perfumery. These rare and precious materials are limited to small quantities and so we know which batch we are smelling Brecourt adds a wonderful touch to their bottles in this collection by dating the bottle on the front with the year of production. Excellent idea!

Rose Gallica – Les Ephemeres – 2012

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Notes: Pink Pepper, Frankincense, Rose, Myrrh, Cashmerewood, Ebony, Ambergris (listed on Aus Liebe zum Duft website)

On first sniff this is similar to Kilian’s Rose Oud. I love Rose Oud and wear it in the summer when it is hot.

Rose Gallica opens with a strong sense of rose and wood. The incense takes its time coming to the forefront. It slowly unfurls and mingles with the rose beautifully.  Rose Gallica quickly shifts and brings in the woods. That is what makes this perfume so mesmerizing for me. Rose Gallica takes me on a walk through a magical dark forest and I stumble upon a small cottage with the most enticing rose garden and it just beckons me to sit down and relax using all my senses.

Rose Gallica enchants me with its cool and warm properties. The incense cools the warm petals of the roses. The woody notes are touched with the warmth as well.  There is a light touch of ambergris in the base which rounds out the perfume beautifully.

Poivre Bengale – Les Ephemeres – 2013

brecourt poivre bengale Notes: Begal Pepper, Ginger, Incense, Clove Buds Absolute, Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Leather, Cashmere Woods, Ambergris

Brecourt mentions that

“The pepper of Bengal is the first spice that was introduced in Europe during Antiquity. A subtle jewel, pleasant, sweeter that our daily pepper and never previously used in perfumery.“

On first sniff I get a whollop of pepper but strangely don’t have the need to sneeze. The pepper is immediately in the forefront with ginger hot on its tail. The incense cools the whole bit down but not too much because then comes the nutmeg with the sweet clove. This is a wonderfully spicy perfume transporting me to a spice market. The spices are all blended so well that it is a stroll through the spice marktet with a breeze moving through. What makes this perfume striking is the balance between the spices and the sandalwood, woods and ambergris in the drydown.

Oud Santal – Les Ephemeres – 2014

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Notes: Orris, Violet, Oud, Cashmere Wood, Cipriol Gurjum, Sandalwood, Ambergris, Musks

Brecourt mentions that Oud Santal is

“A profound sensibility… without saffron as compared to all the ouds in the market.“

As I apply this perfume I am surprised at the initial blast of iris  at the start. It is nice and cool and not medicinal at all like many ouds can be. The sandalwood takes a bit of warmth to show itself and when it does it is a fascinating perfume that I cannot stop smelling. It is oud and sandalwood with tendrils of iris and much later on there is a touch of ambergris.

I have become a fan of ambergris in perfume and am loving the way Brecourt uses it.

 

I truly enjoyed the three Brecourt perfumes from the Les Ephemeres collection. I look forward to trying more perfumes from the house. Have you tried Brecourt yet?

Here are more mini-reviews by Olfactoria.

Also, can you please suggest any perfumes with a bit more ambergris for me to try?

 

 

Posted in Brecourt, By Sandra, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Spicy, Woods | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Monday Question – What Is The Most Important (Or Most Interesting ) Thing Your Perfume Hobby Has Taught You?

Our perfume addiction infatuation hobby has us running after perfume itself, information about perfume or opinions about perfume a lot. It is impossible not to learn something on the way.

What have you learned that seems most important to you?

Which interesting facts about perfume or about yourself have you learned while pursuing your interest for all things fragrant?

What did your intense preoccupation with perfume teach you?

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My Answer:

I think the most important thing I learned over the years is that nothing, really nothing is ever set in stone. My tastes fluctuate daily, sometimes even within hours and there is no such thing as “I like this” or “I hate that” that holds up over time.

In the beginning I tought I was a certain type of person who likes or dislikes certain things. Now I think taste expands with your horizons and you learn to love (or hate) things through exposure.

I think it is very interesting how perfume helps to express, deepen or counteract moods and feelings. I’ve learned that what I like in a perfume is as changeable and volatile as I am.

What about you?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , , | 47 Comments

Inside The Snowglobe

In the country…

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It has been snowing for hours. Soft, glittering snowflakes. It feels like being inside a snowglobe.

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Beauty is everywhere tonight.

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Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Tender Touch – Review: L’Artisan Parfumeur Skin on Skin

By Tara

Skin on Skin is the fragrance in L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Explosions d’Emotions collection that appealed to me the most. I liked the name and quite a few of the following featured notes: Iris, suede, velvet leather, saffron, whisky, lavender, rose and musk.

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Released in 2013, it was part of the first batch of three Eaux de Parfums in the series, which now number six in total. They come in squat 125ml versions of the original L’Artisan bottles with more luxurious packaging, for a significantly higher price than the standard line.

“Skin on Skin awakens our animalistic instincts – to touch, to get closer, to smell…A carnal creation to be used without moderation.”
– L’Artisan Parfumeur website

Now please disregard what you’ve just read.

The problem with Skin on Skin is that if you approach it expecting the sexy, animalic, aphrodisiac suggested by the above advertising copy, you are likely to be disappointed.

It’s a shame because Skin on Skin is a very pleasing perfume, even if it doesn’t make the earth move.

In fairness, the name isn’t wholly inappropriate because it wears like a second skin; silky and clinging. Rather than a heated entanglement in the throes of passion, it’s a tender embrace full of affection. It’s spooning on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

It has a soft focus, fuzzy aura. Far from being carnal, it’s the kind of fragrance you might wear for comfort; something unobtrusive and calming to relax with.

Skin on Skin is recognisably the work of Bertrand Duchaufour. It lies somewhere between his Traversée du Bosphore and Safran Troublant, also for L’Artisan.

The iris is very nicely done, a little cool to start with but not too dry or too sweet, not too rooty or too metallic. It stands at the mid-point of the iris spectrum.

Saffron combines beautifully with the iris (as it usually does) to give it extra interest, brightness and some heat. I would say there is as much saffron as iris, so if you’re a fan of that particular spice you might want to check out Skin on Skin for that reason alone.

Over time it becomes warmer and more lactonic which increases its skin-like properties. It doesn’t alter much until the base when I detect a touch of vanilla.

I don’t get any lavender, whisky or “velvet leather” but it does have the feel of supple suede sprinkled with baby powder. A syrupy rose adds a steady trickle of sweetness.

It has low to reasonable projection and good longevity. I would say it leans a little more towards the feminine.

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Skin on Skin won’t set the world alight but it could work well for those who fancy an understated, creamy iris/saffron perfume. I enjoy wearing it, especially on days when I’m taking things at a slower pace.

Have you tried any of the fragrances in the Explosions d’Emotions series?

Posted in Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments

Angel Leather – Review: Hermès Cuir D’Ange

By Michael

Cuir d’Ange is the twelfth addition to the Hermessence collection.

I first tried this late 2014 during an all too common dash around the Sydney trying many many fragrances. To be honest, I was not enthused.

At first sniff it appeared to be a thin and papery leather of little complexity or interest.

Still, a number of fellow leather fragrance lovers were extremely enthusiastic about Cuir d’Ange so I earmarked it for future proper testing.

Of course that earmark was all I needed to find myself wandering into Hermès recently to buy yet another travel set. In this set was of course Cuir d’Ange.

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Cuir d’Ange is a fragrance created by Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès in 2014.

It features notes of heliotrope, hawthorn, violet, narcissus, musk and of course leather.

According to Jean-Claude Ellena:

“For a long time I’d wanted to reveal the importance I attach to literature, and where it meets perfume. More importantly, I wanted to evoke my connection with the work of Jean Giono. Two words from a passage in Jean le Bleu came back to me: ‘cuir d’ange’ – angel leather. Using the smells that are my words, I wanted to write a poem to rekindle the love duet between leather and the skin. Its softness and lightness, its tension and its caress. Heliotropes and hawthorn, leather and musk.”

Cuir d’Ange is very true to its brief and quite literal.

While this may be a little gruff for a member of the Hermessence line, it is completely of the recent Ellena style of light, easy to wear and inoffensive fragrances.

The name Cuir d’Ange suggests a scent of soft leather.
It also suggests a scent of little or no carnality.
In fact, both are true of this fragrance.

In many ways Cuir d’Ange is exactly what you might expect of an Hermessence leather and yet I found myself a little confused the first time I tried it.

My confusion mainly stemmed from the opening which is actually strong and gruff with what I can best describe as a gauzy texture.

This texture is accompanied by the smell of bandages and a touch of iodine antiseptic.
This opening should be quite enjoyable for the lovers of leather fragrances. Personally I find it extremely addictive.

Very quickly Cuir d’Ange starts to soften introducing a soft, only very slightly powdery violet. Now I smell something more expected.

A little later, some very soft florals appear and bring with them a little more powder.
Cuir d’Ange is by no means a powdery perfume but it certainly carries a powdery dimension.

On my skin, these changes all happen in less than an hour leaving behind a lovely, soft, slightly buttery, slightly powdery leather scent that hints at a floral dimension.

050021CK37This is the type fragrance that seems to fit all seasons, occasions and situations.

It is effectively my Swiss army knife leather. I can wear it all day every day and have been for the last week.

Cuir d’Ange has become a fragrance that I wear when I don’t know what to wear or when I don’t want to think about what to wear or just because I want to smell like Cuir d’Ange.

What do you think about this perfume?

Posted in By Michael, Fragrance Reviews, Hermès, Leather | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Old School Simplicity – Review: Chanel Eau de Cologne

Dearest and most delightful Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia in the OT house from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse.

I am not really the cool, crisp and classy kinda guy or gal on most occasions, there are plenty of words to describe me (some of them even printable in a family blog such as this) but those three seem elusive, to say the least. Yet there are moments in my life where that is exactly what is called for, a fragrant veneer of respectable that can help me fake it till I make it. Large fundraisers when I am a guest, business lunches, weddings and funerals all require something old school and debonair. Where else would I look for such a thing than the hallowed halls of CHANEL?

Eau de Cologne was created by Jacques Polge for CHANEL in 2007.

Chanel Eau de Cologne Chanel FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon, bergamot, citruses, green notes
Heart: Pettigrain,. neroli, spicy notes
Base: Tonka bean, musk

I have not smelled the original 1924 Ernest Beaux composition but I read that this incarnation has little to do with it.

Fresh, bright cool and retro CHANEL Eau de Cologne is like a school tie, it announces you as a cool cat from the right side of the tracks, with an air of savoir-faire.

Here is a sharp and pared down version of the classic and historic cologne done seamlessly with a lovely furry orange pith and a hint of fresh torn leaves and branch, backed up by a spicy herbaceous harmony that floats perfectly above rich tonka and softly animalic musk.

I have read that there is vetiver in the mix too but though I do get some dry green it’s too amorphous for me to really specify it. It is the most straight forward and simple cologne, uncluttered and minimalist.

Chanel Eau de Cologne Chanel  Churchill Hall GeographPhoto Stolen GeographUK

This is a genre of fragrance I don’t have a lot to do with but I’ve sampled some of the ones people talk of as benchmarks. Eau de Cologne du 68 Guerlain wears warmer and more perfume-y on me, Eau de Cologne du Coq Guerlain is a more floral version (but for the price is much better value), Tabac Original Maurer & Wirtz costs next to nothing yet is a spicier and more interesting ride and it has excellent longevity (with attendant memories of my Dad who wore it) and on the same price level as CHANEL, Cologne Royale from the DIOR Prive line is also a very modern and simple look at Cologne but the longevity is better there.

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I get around an hour and a half of fragrant before CHANEL Eau de Cologne fades to a very very soft hum of almost fragrance. Spritzing my hair and clothes adds another hour or two but I think the joy of wearing this would be respritzing regularly so it would probably make sense to have a bottle at home and one at work for post gym and lunch. If you are after a simple, clean and elegant scent that announces you have arrived or says that you are so comfortable in your position that simplicity is your trademark then I vote CHANEL Eau de Cologne.

Also, if you are buying your cologne as a piece of art to place on your dressing table I think the chic, square bottle a very nice statement piece of objet d’art in and of itself. It speaks to me of a life without clutter but where you have chosen to have only the very best.

Chanel Eau de Cologne Chanel Peder_Severin_Krøyer WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Perfume Posse
CHANEL boutiques and beauty stand alone stores carry the CHANEL Les Exclusives or at larger retailers
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/ml

What do you wear when you need to give the illusion of cool and crisp? Are you a CHANEL Les Exclusives fan? Which is your particular favourite?

Portia xx

Posted in By Portia, Chanel, Citrus, Cologne, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Monday Question – What Was/Is /Will Be Your First Perfume Of 2015?

With January almost over, I dare ask you today;

Did you already buy your first bottle of the new year?

Are you planning your first purchase?

Which perfume is first on your list for 2015?

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My Answer:

I did pull the trigger for my first new bottle of the year (and in quite a while actually) on Saturday. I ordered a bottle of Hermès Cuir d’Ange, the twelfth Hermessence by Jean-Claude Ellena. (Michael will give us his point of view on this perfume in his review coming up on Wednesday).

I fell for this one very slowly, after initially rejecting it. But in my experience my greatest lasting perfume loves almost always started this way. I need my time to really get to know a perfume to finally fall for it. The immediate crushes and quick infatuations rarely turned into lasting love, but much more often into dust-collecting albatrosses.

I’m excited about this fragrance and look very much forward to putting this new and gorgeous bottle on my mirrored tray next to its sisters Rose Ikebana, Santal Massoia and Vetiver Tonka.

Cuir d’Ange is my fourth full bottle of the Hermessence line. Chances are good it won’t be my last… ;)

What is or will be your first bottle of the year 2015?

Posted in Hermès, Monday Question | Tagged , , , , , | 91 Comments

A Quiet Hour At The Museum – The Vienna Museum Of Art History

This week I went to the museum of art history (Kunsthistorisches Museum) to spend an hour with my favorite pieces. In the morning hours, when the tourists are not yet out in full force, it is wonderful to stroll through the museums vast halls, practically alone, the only sound being my own footsteps on the parquet, surrounded by beauty and a feeling of centuries stretching out behind me, history in the very air I breathe.

Maria-Theresein-Platz, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Kusthistorisches Museum Vienna

I have always been drawn more to sculptures and objects of design that fuse art and functionality (at least theoretically) than to paintings.

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Interior, main stairway

I can spend a long time staring entranced at the objects in the Kunstkammer (a word even the museum refuses to translate, it names the heart of the museum’s collections of art objects made under the Hapsburg reign).

In the Kunstkammer you can see the most intricately made sculptures, furniture, tapestries, dishes and objects for daily use (even pefume bottles!) that made the artisans of Austria’s empire famous the world over.

Kunstkammer Wien

Kunstkammer Wien

One particular exhibit of the Kunstkammer that never fail to impress me is the work of an unknown artist active in the early 17th century, the so called Furienmeister (Master of the Furies). His ivory sculptures are breathtaking. My favorite is the Fury, an androgynous figure of an enraged fury in full movement. The sculpture is incredibly dynamic, but what really gets to me is the face and the hand. So intricately made, so bewitching in its expression, I alway end up spending most of my time in front of it and coming back for a last look at the end of each visit.

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Fury, ivory sculpture by the Master Of Furies, early 17th century

 

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The Fury is the work of art that touches me the most, equally drawing me in and repelling me, for reasons I cannot quite fathom, nor do I want to. Some things are best left unanalyzed and just to be enjoyed.

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Another amazing thing is this ship of pure gold, it is my older son’s favorite.

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Saliera by Benvenuto Cellini

The Saliera by Benvenuto Cellini is definitely the most famous salt dish in history. It came to even more fame when it was stolen from the museum by an amateur thief in 2003 who kept it under his bed for almost three years before the police got too close for comfort and he decided to give himself up and the Saliera was returned to the museum (who had a vertiable publicity debacle on their hands).

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Room in the Classics collection

This is the creepiest room in the classics collection. Heads on sticks in eerie lightning – it looks just fabulous and you can’t walk this room without a shiver down your spine.

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View of the Café from above

This is a snapshot of the café at the KHM from above, there are not many places where you can get a coffee and a pastry in greater style, I love it there.

Finally I want to share one painting I love very much, Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s Hunters in the Snow. Especially in winter it touches a nerve with me and I enjoy standing before it and looking at the neverending wealth of detail that unveils something new everytime. I love that with most of Pieter Brueghel’s work, but somehow this one is my favorite. I think it is the iceskating children that I love the most…

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I think we are extremely lucky here in Vienna to have such amazing works of art on permanent exhibition. If you come to visit the city, make the Kunsthistorisches Museum your first stop!

What is the piece of art that touches you?

 

Posted in Art, Vienna | Tagged , , , , , | 49 Comments

An Impassioned Man – Review: Frapin Passion Boisée

By Tara

Passion Boisée is a tribute to a material which may not be glamorous but is an essential part of Frapin’s cognac making process – wood.

After distillation, the brandy is aged in oak casks for several years. During this time the wood from the barrels lends its properties of tannin and vanillin to the liquor, creating its distinctive flavour.

Released in 2007, Passion Boisée is described as a citrus chypre aimed at men. The perfumer is Jeanne-Marie Faugier who has done a number of fragrances for Frapin including Caravelle Epicée.

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Top notes are tangerine, nutmeg, rum and clove; middle notes are oakmoss and oak; base notes are patchouli, leather and cedar.

The opening accord of tangerine and rum is very striking – a combination of tart citrus and astringent white spirit. Then it quickly settles down to gently boozy cedar with a little spice and fruit, on a mellow leather base.

The effect is masculine in a self-assured and urbane way. I see a sophisticated young gent in a wood panelled room. He is sitting in a leather wing-backed chair, sipping his expensive drink while reading The Times.

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Passion Boisée has a slightly powdery texture and the feeling is classy and classical.

The underlying leather accord is not strong, tarry hide but very refined and subdued. The citrus seems to linger in the background along with the soft spice, which I only really register when I get up close.

It has very little projection but longevity is good. For such a seemingly rich fragrance it’s kept surprisingly transparent and lightweight.

It’s not earth-shattering and it’s a little too reticent, but Passion Boisée is a solid piece of work. It could be particularly nice to wear around the festive season with its splash of alcohol, mulling spices and hint of tangerine.

While it isn’t a fragrance I think suits me – my style is decidedly more feminine – I do feel comfortable wearing it because it’s not at all overbearingly macho.

I can imagine Passion Boisée being attractive on a guy in a rather reserved way. A man who doesn’t have to try too hard to get your attention. Well mannered and cultured but with definite sex appeal.

He’s a thoughtful individual who likes to concern himself with weighty issues; however you know there’s a lot more to him. An aesthete and a sensualist as well as an intellectual, he enjoys the finer things in life. He is particular about the books he reads, the spirits he drinks and of course, the fragrances he wears.

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Do you tend to stick to fragrances aimed at your gender or do you swing both ways?

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Frapin, Woods | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Sunrise Over Vienna

Just a short note today – I wanted to share the amazing light we saw on our way to school this morning.

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Have a great day!

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , | 18 Comments