Big Money Rose – Review: Yves Saint Laurent Majestic Rose

Dear Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia with you today from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse.

I have been testing all of the new Yves Saint Laurent releases. I have a problem with their price point, straight up, there you have it. The crew at YSL is re-using its bottles with merely a tweak and adding a gold embossed looking box very reminiscent of 1980s packaging, bringing out quite good fragrances for a designer brand but not really good enough to place in an exclusive line, and offering 80ml at £195 or $250. That’s more expensive than the Armani Privé Line, DIOR La Collection Privee and the CHANEL Exclusives line. It’s starting to make me mad. Rant over…..

Majestic Rose Yves Saint Laurent FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
May rose, honey, saffron, raspberry, balsamic oudwood accord, guaiac wood.

Gosh. I get rose, designer oud and furry musk in the opening. It is sweet, urinous, fruity and surprisingly attractive in a Montale kinda way. Nothing smells real, an aromachemical blast that if overapplied could easily burn out your nose and eat your brain. Essentially YSL has taken the good stuff and replicated it in a plastic mold.

It’s not bad, per se. I can see it being a big compliment getter because it is very noticeable and Majestic Rose has excellent sillage and projection. Up close it is searing and a bit toxic but when I wear Majestic Rose on my hand and get wafts of it in passing I really like it. From a bit of distance the roses have a full to overblown blousiness that hints at petals about to drop and they have not been afraid to add some ass. There is something disgustingly gorgeous about Majestic Rose but I I think much the same ground has been covered better in such wardrobe staples of mine as Midnight Oud by Juliette Has A Gun, The Aoud by Mancera and in a softer, more faceted and nuanced way Mohur by Neela Vermeire.

Majestic Rose YSL pink Rose TBreyer PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Scent story? Yes there are a series of changes through the fragrances life, the honey and fruits come in and over the top after a while and add a new interest with (I think) the saffron playing its lovely fusing song quietly that creates a patina over everything, drawing the whole creation together and giving it a glossy shine. This is a stayer of a fragrance, be aware that if you get Majestic Rose on your fabrics that they will smell like that for months, on your skin be prepared to run the whole show over a 10-15 hour period before it quietens enough to give you peace, and then Majestic Rose still carries on as an undertone virtually gone to me but still discernible to those around me. A dark woodsy dry down that is innoffensive and generic to Majestic Rose’s style, a bit mainstream masculine.

If this was a fragrance in the $100 range I would buy it, and wear it. At $150 I would still consider it, at least I will use up my decant. Majestic Rose is not groundbreaking or astounding, but it is wearable and does have a story. If you have pots of money to spend then it could be the one for you….

Old Blush, gr. Chinensis, sect. ChinensisPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Further reading: Katie Puckrik Smells and Kafkaesque
Limited Department Store Availability
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $5/.5ml

Go on, what are your thoughts about the money we are being asked to spend on fragrance?

See you soon, till then make time to do something you love. One hour a week can sometimes be all you need to refuel.

Portia xx

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Posted in By Portia, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Rose | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Off To Italy!

This is just a quick post to say goodbye for two weeks, I want to be offline as much as possible during this time to really recharge and experience the real world (and real books, even the Kindle stays home!).


I will take a selection of five decants and one full bottle of perfume with me (which one? that is not entirely certain until the last minute, I’ll let you know when I get back. ;) )

In the meantime there will be posts for you to read by my trusty contributors Tara, Portia and Sandra in regularly scheduled intervals. Also you are kindly invited to browse the archives if you are in a blog-reading mood.

Have a wonderful time! See you soon!

B xx

Posted in Travels | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

An Orange Blossom Moment – Review: Diptyque L’Art Du Soin Lait Frais Body Lotion And L’Eau de Neroli Eau de Cologne

Every summer I fall again for the lovely, warm, intoxicating and tender scent of orange blossoms. Last year Parfums de Nicolai Eau de Soleil was my drug of choice, this year I found something that is such a sensory pleasure that I just had to share it with you.

diptyque body care

Duft und Kultur is a shop in Vienna that harbours many treasures and a trip there is always nice, but this time I was especially lucky. I just went by to smell the new summer scent by Patricia Nicolai, Musc Monoi (not my cup of tea btw, it just has a too big whallop of calone in the mix that makes me uneasy and smelling like the local pool, the mini-dose of monoi doesn’t stand a chance against it on my skin) and to pick up my favorite lip balm by Diptyque when the lovely SA was so generous as to pack a selection of samples of the Diptyque body care line, L’Art du Soin, into my bag.

lait frais

In the evening I tried the Lait Frais, the fresh body lotion and, people, I have never spent a more relaxing night of sleep (well, maybe not never but not in a very long time!). The lotion is heavenly scented with a soft, but persistent sweet orange blossom that is nothing short of wonderful. Aside from the fragrant pleasure, the lotion is very nice, it sinks in quickly but is very caring and rich for my skin which is on the drier side. Pure sensory delight.

After sleeping in fragrant bliss the entire night and still waking to the remnants of this delightful ointment, I hotfooted it back to the store to indulge in the full sized bottle. For good measure, I tried the L’Eau de Neroli, the matching cologne of Diptyque’s Les Hesperides line.


I walked home on an orange cloud of bliss.

L’Eau de Neroli was created in 2008 by Olivier Pescheux and includes notes of bergamot, petitgrain, verbena, tarragon, neroli, orange blossom, beeswax, white musk and cedarwood.

Now hours later, sitting here and writing about it, I am still surrounded by the warm embrace of the musky drydown, blissfully happy.

L’Eau de Neroli is not a complicated scent (you would have guessed that anyway, wouldn’t you?), but summer for me is not about complicated. I do not want to be distraced or put to work (as Undina would put it) by my perfume, I want it to be as light and carefree as I want to feel right now. L’Eau de Neroli does what is says on the package, it smells like neroli. Opening sparkly and brightly it segues into a warm and softly sweet orange blossom heart that fades into a woody musk made slightly creamy and even warmer by the delicate beeswax note.

orange blossom

Simply lovely.

Right now that is all I want.

Photo credits:,
Posted in Citrus, Diptyque, Floral, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

A Fun and Fragrant Summer’s Day Out in London, Thursday 24th July 2014 – And A Giveaway!

By Tara 

You may know Val the Cookie Queen from her occasional Sunday Foodie posts here on OT as well as her regular contributions to Australian Perfume Junkies. She lives in Austria and we met for the first time in February of this year when Portia came to town. Although we didn’t get to chat for long, I felt an instant connection with her and we have been messaging ever since. So as you can imagine, I was very excited when Val said she would be returning to London in July.


Harrod’s In Knightsbridge, London

On our second day together, we met at 11 o’clock at the Guerlain counter in the Black Hall at Harrods. We immediately honed in on the display for the new Royal Extract which is a 900 bottle limited edition. This “worldwide exclusive” is said to be extremely similar to none other than the much-missed Attrape Coeur/Guet Apens.

Royal Extract[1]We had to ask for a tester which the sales assistant brought out from behind the counter, administering us with a light spritz each. We weren’t going to waste it on paper so straight onto skin it went. Royal Extract is an eau de parfum described as a fruity amber, featuring rose, jasmine, tuberose, peach, vanilla, iris and balsamic notes.


Val, contemplating…

Admittedly it has been years since I had a sample of Attrape Coeur but I was surprised to find Royal Extract opens with very fresh florals. Just five minutes later however and that familiar, singing amber came through. It lacked the richness and throw of the original version, but there was still a strong resemblance. If you can imagine what Attrape Coeur’s summer flanker might smell like, you’d be on the right track. If it were less than £280 for 125ml I may have snapped up a bottle, but that’s a bit much for an impulse buy.

Black Gold[1]

Ormonde Jayne Black Gold

Val had already been to the Ormonde Jayne stand before I had arrived and spotted another Harrods exclusive – Black Gold. So we hopped back there and again the SA issued a single spray onto my forearm. It was extremely good at first but over time settled into a not very distinctive oud/woody scent. A concentration of 50% perfume oil (according to the SA) is certainly very high and I’m sure the ingredients are top-notch but for me it didn’t warrant anywhere near £420 for 100ml.

The notes for Black Gold are bergamot, lemon, mandarin, clary sage, juniper berry, orchid, rose, water lily, jasmine, carnation absolute, oud, tonka, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, labdanum, moss, musk, cedar, ambrette seed and amber. Strangely, despite the extremely high concentration it is labelled as an eau de parfum. Unlike Royal Extract, it’s available from the Harrods website.

Val and Benjamin at Roja[1]

Val and the lovely Benjamin

Next, I managed to drag Val kicking and screaming to Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie on the 5th floor. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but blinged-out bottles at eye-watering prices are not her thing. They’re not mine either but it’s fun to experience and there are a few quality luxury brands there including Puredistance and Parfums MDCI.

We had a nice chat with sales assistant Benjamin, who told us the Parfumerie is due to move temporarily into the Urban Retreat spa until its new home is ready in the forthcoming Salon de Parfums.  Harrod’s is currently building the Salon on the 6th floor and it sounds like no expense is being spared. A number of brands will have their own fragrance boutiques including By Kilian, Xerjoff, Chanel, Guerlain and Dior. It’s due to open at the end of September and I can’t wait to have a nose around.

Benjamin was so charming that he even managed to spray Val with one of Roja’s “semi-bespoke” Private Collection fragrances, which are limited to 50 bottles. Val liked No.9 at first but it faded to something much less interesting after just a couple of hours. A serious case of front-loading all the good stuff, it seemed.

Amouage front[1]Back on solid ground, we strolled down Sloane Street with its luxury designer boutiques and on to the Amouage stand-alone store on Lowndes Street, Belgravia. I had expected the interior to be very cool, modern and white but it was actually very in keeping with the Georgian building and much more English or Parisian in style than Middle Eastern. Vanessa, the French SA, was beyond lovely and super knowledgeable.

Amouage[1] Being pretty familiar with the fragrance line, we had intended to try the attars. Sadly they are no longer available. Vanessa explained this is because some people were buying them, diluting them with alcohol and then selling them on Ebay by the millilitre. Unhappy buyers would then to complain to Amouage. Apparently they are still available in the Middle East but I think it’s a great loss to us, having experienced the beauty of Homage.

I admired the elegant solid perfume compacts (which cost £65 each) and I tried Opus VIII from the Library Collection on paper, which is largely jasmine, ylang ylang and orange blossom. I didn’t find the jasmine as overwhelming as Val had previously done, but it didn’t wow me.  Val is very fond of Beloved and I know Birgit is fan of that one also. It’s a symphonic floral priced higher than the regular line at £285 for a 100ml EDP.


We were meeting Vanessa from Bonkers About Perfume at 1.30pm so we hot-footed it across town to Covent Garden. We joined up with Vanessa who was looking suitably summery for the temperature which was nudging towards 30 degrees centigrade.  We put perfume on hold for lunch at a café on the piazza. You pay a hefty premium for the location but Val very generously treated us to our very filling smoked salmon bagels.


Nick (no flamingo jacket in sight this time), Val and Vanessa

Refueled, we went into the Market Buildings where the Penhaligon’s store is located. Here we met up with Nick Gilbert who is Fragrance Ambassador for the brand. Great job title, right? Nick is as knowledgeable about perfume as he is great company so no one could be better for the position. If you haven’t checked out his perfume blog at you really should.

Penhaligon's display[1]

Val hadn’t yet tried Tralala which she liked a lot and Vanessa sprayed the brand new masculine, Bayolea, on skin. We thought it was great, smelling  fizzy and zesty on Vanessa and more like fresh herbs on Nick. It’s based on a classic Bay Rum fragrance from their archives. The modernised version features notes of mandarin, lemongrass, cardamom, black pepper, lavender, cedar, sandalwood, musk and moss and starts at £65 for a 50ml EDT.  Bayolea scents an extensive line of male grooming products which is very fitting considering it originated as a hair tonic.

Penhaligon's cave[1]

While there, we had to check out the basement where Nick will be hosting special events. There are display cabinets with collections of original Penhaligon’s bottles dating back to the 1950s and the fact that it was fantastically cool definitely helped. We sat and chewed the fat for a time, which included a good amount of gossip (par for the course when perfume people get together).

Van Val Ta[1]

Vanessa, Tara and Val

Our next and final perfume stop was Les Senteurs on Seymour Place, behind the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street. We had visited the previous day when Val had tried all three of the new Papillon perfumes on skin. After ricocheting between the three as to which was her favourite, she had eventually decided to take home Tobacco Rose. Unfortunately the last bottle had been bought the previous day so she was thwarted.

papillon at les senteurs

The manager, Callum told us it has sold out several times this month and so it seems to be the most popular of the three. It’s also my favourite and Vanessa’s too, although they are all top drawer.

Magnolia bottle[1]

Val’s spirits were lifted however once she had purchased a 100ml bottle of Frederic Malle’s latest release, Eau de Magnolia, which she has been longing for since first trying it. According to Callum, it’s been selling amazingly well and they were out of 50ml bottles. It’s a truly beautiful fragrance but no doubt the exceptionally hot summer we’re experiencing is helping to boost sales.  Val sprayed liberally there and then. Few perfumes have sillage as swoon-inducing.

A blissed out Val

A blissed out Val

We rehydrated at a café round the corner and chatted until it was time for our evening meal. We went to Roti Chai, the Indian restaurant we had gone to when Birgit was with us in March for the vanilla perfumes event. The meal was great and Val went home with one of their T-shirts. When it was time for Vanessa to catch her train back to Stafford we checked that we all had the right bags.


Apart from the obligatory swapping of perfume, Val had brought us Austrian confectionary and tea-towels with a traditional design, while Vanessa had gifted me with a lovely mug depicting a perfume bottle. So off we trekked to the tube and went out separate ways. Val thought this worked out well because it gave her less opportunity for tears as the trains rolled in. Personally I was on too much of a high to get upset. It had been non-stop fragrant fun with some of my favourite people on the planet.


Attention! GIVEAWAY! Now here’s your chance to win a complimentary fragrance consultation (usually £75 redeemable against purchase) with Benjamin in the new Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie, when it opens on the 6th floor of Harrods.

Just leave a comment below stating which perfumery you would want to visit in person, no matter where in the world and that you’d like to be included in the draw. The closing date for entries is August 15th. Good luck everyone and many thanks to the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie!

Posted in By Tara, Shopping | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

Monday Question – Which Perfumes Do You Bring When Travelling?

Here comes the obligatory pre-vacation question for you:

What do you take with you on vacation?

Do you bring decants? One beloved full bottle (or seven)? Samples only?

Do you rely solely on your perfume shopping at your destination?

Do you bring a wide selection fitting every mood or do you set a theme for the entire time with a select few scents?

How does your perfume hobby influence your travels?


My Answer:

Usually I bring one bottle that I declare the bottle of the year and a few samples or small decants to provide some change when needed.

I do plan to smell and possibly buy perfume when abroad, so I know I always end up with more bottles on the way home than I leave with.

This year I will probably make either Hermès Eau de Merveilles or Acqua di Parma Acqua Nobile Iris my bottle of the year. Although Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini and Cartier Baiser Volé EdP are also still in the running. (Unfortunately Malle’s Eau de Magnolia is out since the husband – inexplicably – is not a fan.)

What do you bring (for your real or imagined vacations)?

And please help me along a bit – for which of the four perfumes above would you vote?

Which one shall be my bottle of the year 2014?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , , , | 67 Comments

Summer On The Balcony – Checking In

I have to apologize to you all, dear readers, because I have been very quiet these past weeks, not because I don’t want to talk to you, but because I feel I don’t have a lot to say. About perfume at least…

The summer is passing quickly and July is as good as over already. We are going to Italy soon and I can’t wait for the infusion of joie de vivre that I expect strolling around Florence and relaxing at the seaside will bring. Not to mention the excursions into Italian perfumeries and all the delicious food in copious quantities. :)

Since returning from Paris, the Husband and I have stuck to a new-found ritual of ending the day together on our balcony, an oasis of relative quiet and a view of lawns and trees which is a treasure in the middle of the city. We sit drinking Aperol mixed with Prosecco and sparkling water and imagine ourselves back in a Paris street café.

I wanted to share a few pictures of our balcony with you today, since it fits my old Search for Beauty series that I have sorely neglected.

photo 3 (12)

The Husband bought his 6th (yes, that is no typo, his sixth!) grill a few weeks ago and he is blissfully making us bacon and steaks as often as his schedule allows. Thankfully the fulfillment of our barbecue needs is no longer restricted to the country. ;)

photo 1 (16)

I’m enjoying perfume very much too, only the impetus to write about it is sadly absent still. I wear Acqua di Parma Acqua Nobile Iris a lot these days, also my usual Hermès rota and as summer progresses I feel my yearly tropical floral mini-obsession coming on. Which means I pulled out Carnal Flower, Moon Bloom, Songes and Juste un Reve.

What are you enjoying at the moment, perfume-related and otherwise?

What are you looking forward to this summer?

How are you doing?

Hugs, B xx

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , | 60 Comments

Portia gets you Celebuscented

Hello delicious Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia with you today from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse.

It is with much delight and no small shame that I open my heart today to you all. I am a not so secret wearer of fragrances made for, and bearing the moniker of – celebrities.

Yes, those much maligned smells where often the celebrity in question comes in on the first day and gives a brief and last days, then smells a few offers and decides. Not all celebrities do this, some are heavily involved and invested in the process. Some, whether by good luck or good management we will never know, are quite good. Wearable, fun, cheap and cheerful fragrances that after a year on the market can be found for a song at discounters.

We all know that SJP works at her scents, that JLo was a perfumista before being a perfume brand and that Kate Walsh brought out a hit but there are others who have done a good job of making wearable affordable fragrance for the masses, today I’d like to look at a few of them that have made it into my fragrance wardrobe.


Fancy Nights Jessica Simpson FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Jessica Simpson: Fancy Nights

Righto, well this is an all time favourite of mine and gets a LOT of skin time. I have shower gel and lotion and find Fancy Nights a thicker, more dense version of Shalimar as if Shalimar had been tweaked for heft. The amber/vanilla and patchouli present right from the outset and Fancy Nights is a warm, vanilla-d up feeling chypre, without the austerity I feel is part of the style. I wear Fancy Nights like a blanket and always feel comfortable and secure when I wear it. Longevity and projection are excellent and I never regret my choice to spritz.

Truth or Dare by Madonna Naked Madonna FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Madonna: Truth or Dare Naked

Honeysuckle in its cleanest form braced by neroli and orchid opens what has sadly been a bit of a flop for Madonna. The month after it was released in the USA Tom (from Perfume Posse) and I had to traipse all over LA to find it. There was only one department store still carrying Madonna’s Truth or Dare Naked and, thinking it would vanish without trace, I bought a few. The flowers segue into a chocolate/amber/praline with definite nods to nougat on my skin. The faux oud is about as clean as it gets, washed of all its more confrontational aspects and dry down is lovely. Madonna’s Truth or Dare Naked could have been part of one of the Pierre Guillaume ranges and would not stand out as unworthy.

Siren Paris Hilton FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Paris Hilton: Siren

Winner of the tackiest and cheesiest advertising campaign and packaging. Paris Hilton did herself no favours when listening to her crew on Siren. It looks ghastly, the pictures, costume, bottle are all definitely budget, budget, budget. The juice though? Well it’s a fun, flamboyant, fruity, white floral, a little bit edgy with the white flowers breathy and honeysuckle just steering clear of urinous, the peach is not overpowering and it dries down nicely to a generic sweet musky woods that will offend no one. I often get compliments from women when I wear Siren, and questioned about what it is. Wear time is good, projection moderate after the first 20 minutes and so cheap that everyone can afford to smell nice.

Queen Laifah FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Queen Latifah: Queen

Vanilla, cognac, tonka and patchouli. Queen goes on sweet and sizzling citrus that never fails to make me smile. Quite an intricate fragrance it ducks and weaves between light and shadow, sweet and green. One minute teacle sweet and the next hints of a dark green-ness and herbal backbeat. Queen has the most extraordinary staying power so you need to be committed to a day of smelling it. Excellent for long days or nights where the object is to maintain your sweet aroma indefinitely. The dry down is a very sensual warm haze of musk/vanilla skin. MMMMMMMMMMM

Twilight Sarah Jessica Parker FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Sarah Jessica Parker: Twilight

A fizzy opening of pink pepper and citrus paired with galbanum. A lovely light and breezy opening that remains cool and pretty into its heart of amorphous floral bouquet. It really is like being outside in spring as the warmth of day cools and the fresh breeze or lack of direct sun changes the mood. It’s the packing up of things and going home. As Sarah Jessica Parker’s Twilight moves through to dry down it remains remarkably cool on my skin for an amber and I think incense and peony keep it that way. I love the way the musks create a lived in, end of a beautiful day smell and after a couple of hours the amber/woods warm through slightly like an amber necklace on your skin. This is as comfortable as your favourite T-Shirt.

So, there you go. I would like to add honourable mentions to With Love by Hilary Duff, Queen of Hearts by Queen Latifah, Mon Parfum by Paloma Picasso, Keith Urban’s Phoenix, Laguna and Salvador Dali EdT and I even quite enjoyed Our Moment by One Direction.

Now, unleash your shame. Which celebuscents do you spritz? Who would you LIKE to see do a scent? What would you put in your favourite celebrities fragrance? What would you put in your LEAST favourite celebrities fragrance?

Come on, it’s all in good fun and I love to read what you say.
Portia xx

Posted in By Portia | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

Alpha Male – Review: Parfums de Nicolai New York

By Tara

You may be aware that New York is the fragrance Luca Turin tells us in Perfumes: The Guide that he wore for a decade. It’s an eau de toilette aimed at men that was launched in 1989 and is described as Woody Spicy.


Patricia de Nicolai is related to the Guerlain dynasty through her mother’s side of the family and has a long-standing love and admiration for the house’s iconic fragrances. It perhaps comes as no surprise then, that New York has been described by some as “a masculine Shalimar”.


The top notes are listed as bergamot, Amalfi lemon, cloves, lavender and green notes; middle notes are thyme, cinnamon, pepper, paprika, patchouli and cedar; base notes are amber, vanilla and leather.

On the face of it the top notes seem comparable. It’s that same citrus twang of lemon with bergamot, but New York lacks the caramelised crackle of Shalimar. It is much more fresh and cologne-like, although it has a depth a lot of citrus openings lack. You get an initial squirt of the juice, but then you also get the peel and then the flesh.

Almost immediately after the citrus, I notice a mossy under-tow from the combination of lavender and green notes. It rapidly becomes herbaceous and earthy, creating that “forest floor” effect. The spices are dusty and very low-key, none of them taking a noticeable lead. They just add a bit of interest to the aromatics, a slight oriental twist.

Unfortunately, during this stage New York turns just that bit too bitter and herbal for me to find it pleasant. It rolls on in this vein for a number of hours with the sour edge lessening but never disappearing completely.

The base is the only time I’m truly reminded of Shalimar. The ambery vanilla with touches of leather mirrors the Guerlain classic like a fraternal twin. It reveals a welcome sensuality and lets us know it’s not completely strait-laced.

New York has a square-jawed sophistication with a dash of sex appeal beneath its smooth exterior (think Don Draper from Mad Men). Perfect for a well groomed businessman with a corner office and a hint of mischief in his eyes.


Those who strongly believe things are not necessarily better just because they are modern may well appreciate this approach.

I should state that women would have no problems wearing this if they are fond of dry, aromatic fragrances. In fact it could well be more interesting on a woman because she would make it seem less traditional and conservative.


It may not be unique or on-trend, but New York is an example of well executed classical perfumery and I feel there should always be a place for that.

Posted in By Tara, Fougère, Fragrance Reviews, Parfums Nicolai | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments

Monday Question – How Would You Introduce A Teenager To Perfume?

Imagine you have a daughter, son, niece, nephew, godchild or other young person you are close to. How would you introduce them to the world of fine fragrance beyond Britney Spears and Justin Bieber?

Which line do you find especially good as a “starter line” into niche perfumery?

What about the classics? Too much too soon or just the way to go?

How would you kindle appreciation of the art of perfumery in the next generation?

(Thanks to reader Empliau for the idea to this question.)


My Answer:

I think perfume, just like art, or oenology or any kind of cultural interest, even fashion, is a thing that warrants and profits from an introduction, ideally by someone who is passionate about it.

Niche lines that are great starting points on any individual journey into perfume are the ones that are close to the mainstream in the sense that they do not demand too much from the wearer. Atelier Cologne, Annick Goutal, Ormonde Jayne all come to mind as lines that are accessible, easy to wear, pretty but still a big cut above most mainstream offerings.

I don’t think it is a good idea to start with an Amouage or a Serge Lutens, nor would the classics like Guerlains or Chanels be my first point of introduction. There is time for that later.

I also think that perfume needs to be – to a degree – age-appropriate, there are always exceptions of course, but in general I think most fourteen year-olds wear Eau D’Hadrien better than Chanel N°5.

What do you think? How would you get a new perfumista started?


Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , , | 37 Comments

Serene Green – Review: Jacomo Silences

By Tara

As I write this, it is one of those gently rainy, warm mornings. Everything seems calm, quiet and slowed down somehow. It’s a perfect day for wearing Silences.

When wearing it for the first time I was surprised by just how many times I raised my wrist to my nose. I found something compelling about it…

Silences dates back to when green perfumes had their heyday in the 1970s and it was created by perfumers Gerard Goupy and Jean-Claude Niel.

According to Bois de Jasmin, it was reformulated and reissued under the name Sublime last year, but I’m reviewing the preceding EDT which is still available for a very reasonable price on auction sites.



Top notes are orange blossom, galbanum, bergamot, lemon, green notes and cassia; middle notes are iris, jasmine, narcissus, hyacinth, rose and lily-of-the-valley; base notes are vetiver, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, cedar and ambrette.

Silences is a mostly linear, floral green perfume. It starts with aldehydes and settles down with the finest dusting of baby powder, which acts like a soft focus diffusing galbanum’s harsh lines. The presence of aldehydes and powder could make it seem matronly and if it were a floral perfume that might be the case, but this is mean green.

It’s that very particular shade of green you find in some perfumes from the 70s. It’s not fresh like crushed stems but more like undergrowth very close to the soil. It also has that mild acidity you find in nature.

This retro hue may not be to everyone’s taste but I enjoy the depth and richness of it.

Also providing a counter-balance to the vegetation are the spring flowers (hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley and narcissus) which are silken and sheer, so the effect is hazy. Their pretty luminosity is set in relief against the stark green background.

Silences does indeed get very quiet after a couple of hours, so I suggest spraying liberally and reapplying often. Because it’s so low-cost you can afford to be lavish with application if you wish. It feels more like a gauzy, glistening veil than a perfume. A light covering that is always present but never intrusive.

Although it could quite fairly be regarded as austere, I find the cool solemnity of Silences more consoling than steely. It clears my head and helps me feel centred.

It brings to mind the hushed feeling I can sometimes attain on the rare occasions I take the time to meditate properly. It’s a place so serene that your thoughts may actually stop their incessant chatter for a short time. It’s a silence like no other; an inner silence.

One of the saddest things about the human condition is the mind’s tendency to sabotage our contentment by keeping us trapped in the past with regret, or worrying about events in the future.


However, there is a reassuring stillness sitting behind all of that distraction. It is an alert, watchful silence that lets us know all will be well, if we can only stay in the present moment long enough to experience it.

For most of us, spending a few seconds a day focusing intently on a fragrance like Silences, is the closest we can get.

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Green, Jacomo | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments