I was wondering how to write the second part of wrapping up article when the girls (please click on the names for their own lists: Ida & Michelyn lovely ladies of Ça Fleure Bon; Inteligent and Chic Elena from PerfumeShrine -who had the idea in the first place; and Olfactorama) invited me for a joint post of the "The best and worst of Scent in 2010". So here it goes dears, + Q perfume Blog unleashed her tongue for the first time and brought to you in 2 articles, the best and the worst of 2010:
So here it is darlings, the Dr. Jekills and Mr. Hides of Perfumery:
Best Limited Edition: Guerlain's L'Abeille Impériale - The dream of every Guerlain aficionado!
Perfumer of the year: Gérald Ghislain - and his amazing niche brand Histoires de Parfums.
In Memorium: can't think of one right now. But I would love to see L'Artisan get a grip with their discontinuation and new launches replacing them!
The Fragrance I loved: 1889 Moulin Rouge EDP by Histoires de Parfums. The Fragrance I hated: SJP NYC by Sarah Jessica Parker - UGH! Just like her outfits and her movies...
Trend we can do without: OUD - sorry folks, not my favorite. L'eaux de nothing ...we want consistency! Trend we cannot do without it: Class and elegance with creativity.
The Best Vetiver: I haven't see one this year that capture my heart - sorry...
Most ridiculous celebrity for a scent: RIP Steve McQueen - not that I don't love him (which I do) but because he is no longer here. A deceased celebrity scent is completely absurd!! Or should I choose The Sex Pistols?? Hard to pick huh?
Best Celebrity Scent: Perry Ellis Night by Perry Ellis, endorsed by gorgeous, delicious, tempting, out of this world Ron Kedmi.
Best Buzz: Mona di Orio's comeback in high style with 03 amazing fragrances! Worst Buzz: The list is too long my dears, sorry.
I would like to have seen more of: Patchouli. Yes, more and more patchouli and irises! And more fragrances by Ida Delam!
Best new fragrance concept: The first candle produced by Parfum D'Empire - Ambre Absolu by Marco Antonio Coticchiato. and Ida Delam's Parfum Le6.
Best ad: Perry Ellis Night - Ron Kedmi for Perry Ellis is my living fantasy!
Worst ad: One Million + Lady Million by Paco Rabanne - because it gives the impression that money can buy happiness and we all have a price.
Favorite Flacon: Canturi EDP by Stefano Canturi, the Australian Jewelry designer. Worst flacon ever: All from Jennifer Lopez since the first one till the last launch of this year - OMG, makes me angry!
Best Natural Scent: Poete de Carmel by Shelly Waddington, from her collection Carmel by the Sea collection.
Best name of a fragrance company: Histoires de Parfums that could be the history of perfumes or stories told by perfumes. In any case, I find it brilliant!
Best flanker: Idylle EDT from the original EDP version. Fresher, more luxurious, more illuminated. Fantastic! Worst Flanker: Shalimar Ode à la Vanille by Guerlain.
Rising star of 2010: Cleber Bozzi - Takasago Brazil.
Best masculine dept store: Acqua di Parma's Colonia Essenza Best shared niche: Mona di Orio's Ambre
Best feminine dept store: Guerlain's Idylle EDT version
Best fragrance under 50 USD: We don't have this in Brazil due to taxes, shipping etc etc... sniff sniff... But in local stores you can find Brazilian brands such as Trousseau with nice fragrances.
A week from now I will back to the Middle East. I will be sitting outside with a cup of fresh coffee with hel (cardamom) and probably crying to see the black landscape in front of me.
The wadi (the forest) is gone. Burned till the last root. Till the last memory of my hands passing through the leaves of terebinths and the aromatic woody smell of Aleppo tree trunks. I am scared. Scared to face devastation, scared to face sadness. Am I going to listen to the howling of the wolves at night ever again?
Biblically, Mount Carmel is most often sited as a symbol of beauty and fertility. According to the Book of Kings, there was an altar to God on this mountain. As Pythagoras once said, the Carmel was the most holly of all mountains. We will pray so Nature will turn burned wood into organic fertilizer and bring our pine trees and shrubs back.
Mount Carmel is our home, burned down or beautifully green, it is our home.
A week from now I will be enjoying the company of my beloved family. We will gather around the table, and stuff ourselves with amazing fresh green salads and juicy cucumbers and watermelons, chunks of salty bulgarian cheese, roasted lambs with thyme and Sicilian lemons, tons of rosemary and zaatar, liters of the finest olive oils and preserved cucumbers in brine. The aromatic, salty, oily, combination of aromas will be followed by endless conversations about politics, Bibi Netanyahu, Likud, Iran...
A week from now I will get lost in the alleys of Akko Shouk. I will be thinking of Michael Mattison and his spicy fancy blog Spice of Life. I keep wondering how would this trip be much more fun if I would have the pleasure of his company. We would dive into tons of cumin, zaatars, cinnamon, saffrons...appreciating the spices of life. After all, friendships are the spice of our lives, aren't they??
The Akko Shouk (Acre Bazar) is a typical Turkish market, with vaulted ceilings, narrow passageways and small shops. The street market is full of fresh vegetables, freshly crushed pomegranate juice, dried fruits, fish, meat and poltry. Of course shouks are inspiration for oriental perfumes, but this by far a fantasy. The real shouk does not smell that good.
A week from now I will be delighted with the aroma of freshly baked pitas and Arab pastries. I will sit and enjoy the beautiful landscape and the Mosque calling for prayers while savoring the fantastic Arab delight: warm knafeh bil jbine - white threads baked to be transformed into crunchy golden pastry with goat cheese, pistachio and rose water. They are usually prepared in huge pans and placed in front of a glass window, so not only you are caught by its aroma of roses & sour sweet cheese, but you can't miss the sight of it if your nose fails you (mine never does!). All we have to do is follow the huge line of people standing outside mouthwatering. The same goes for Humus. Where the line is, good humus is offered.
A week from now I will silently track the trails of Givat Harakafot (Cyclamen Hill), being closer to God. This heavenly eucalyptus forest has a carpet of pink and white cyclamens that grow wildly in Nature. This is such a fragrant serene spot on earth that I am sure this is where God lives. Embracing a tree, closing the eyes and smelling the mossy wet earthy soil, touched by tons of petals of cyclamen is THE spiritual experience.
I will think of my dearest German friend, Ines Fessler and her joyful way of life. Her energy and her will to make things right. If the world would have more good hearted souls like her, we would be safe!
A week from now I will be freezing to death by the cold winds of Jerusalem. I will get pushed and pressed by religious people, by soldiers, by Japanese tourists, by Arab salesmen and their spectacular way of selling schmates (crappy souvenirs), I will be pressed and pushed literally by everyone! The Old City is Babel, and it has its charms.
I will be disturbed by the amount of tourists, and the huge crowds looking for a miracle inside a hole in the Western Wall. Will God listen to my prayers and bring C.D. his health back? Will he be around us next year? Am I going to be here next week? Perhaps rich and famous (LOL)? Will SjörnPlitko finally have the peace of mind, and happiness that he deserves and fought for it so much? Notes to God will be placed by me for the ones that really touched my heart this year.
A week from now I will be smelling the gelid scent of the snow in Ramat Hagolan (Golan Hights). I will be sliding, skiing and remembering good old times. The sound of children playing, Israelis fighting for a place in the sun. Sleeping vines all the way. Villagers. Hot coco. The smell of wars, the smell of freedom, the smell of uncertainty. White is the color of Peace. Golan, my beautiful white Golan.
A week from now I will be crossing the biblical lands of HaGalil (Galilee). Its rocky mountains, peonies, junipers, cedars, irises and hush puppies flowers... a lesson of natural perfumery. I will be climbing the Gilboa, I will enjoy the landscape of Tiveria (Tiberias) and smell the amazing waxy scent of Tzfat (Safed) candles. I will breath the Holy air of Kabbalah, and try to find out what the city has in commom with Lilly and Toledo, the sisters cities.
A week from now I will be smelling the dry dusty scent coming from the desert. The arid, hot air of Eilat. I will think of Ambre Narguilé by Hermés and Ormonde Jayne's Ta'If and smile, because I have the real thing in front of me! Nargilas, dried fruits, Bedouin tents, camels, sand dunes and honey.
A week from now I will be diving to watch what nature has to share with us. Beautiful amazing fish and marine creatures. A week from now I will be smelling the crispy crunch and salt crystals of the Dead Sea, I will be touching its oily waters and laugh hard! Laugh just by thinking of the salty marine perfume reviews I wrote this year. I have the real thing my friends! I have the real thing!!!
A week from now I will have the ultimate milk & honey experience! I will be on Holi-days in Israel. I will be gone for a month or so, and I hope I will have no time at all to write articles for my blog. But if I will, stick around and get familiar with more scents & aromas of the Mediterranean region of the Middle East.
David Broza singing Bedouin Love Song by clicking HERE.
As the end of 2010 approaches I started to wonder if 2010 was a good year or not.
Chanel launched a new fragrance for men, Bleu de Chanel, 11 years after Allure pour Homme. We would have expected to be THE launch, but unfortunately what we got was an americanized French brand that disappointed its fans, with 2 strikes right into the heart. Chanel Eau Tendre, also launched this year, is a weak interpretation of the original chypre-floral Chance from 2003. Mystic Chanel was buried, and what we got was a teen version of a fragrance that once had personality. One more fruity pinky dumb perfume to join the vast group of pink-fruity-florals. Too bad for Chanel. 2010 was not your year.
The house of Guerlain launched many fragrances this year, but what caught my attention was L'Abeille Impériale and Idylle EDT. The first I had the pleasure to smell for a very brief moment, from a sample flacon of a friend, and the second one I bought one bottle for myself. What can I say? I would love to have the one bottle of L'Abeille because it is a dreamy nectar, but it is out of my financial reach. The honeyed flowers are so delicate, so luxurious and so special that it brings tears to my eyes to think I will never have it. So I was fortunate to have the second amazing launch of Guerlain.
Idylle EDT is a marvelous chypre. It has a luminous sultry chic flowery mossy green aura that makes me smile for hours. Thank God I can give now Miss Mademoiselle Chanel some rest! So, in terms of creations, 2010 was a good year for the house. In terms of PR, needless to say, Mr. Jean Paul Guerlain must reconsider his public appearances.
Dior expanded the Couturier Parfumeur Collection, and added one more Scale to its list of ports with Scale aux Marquise (not to mention that Ego Facto should be suing someone, but this is not my business). Nothing special, nothing worth writing about. J'Adore L'Or supposedly done by hand with extremely expensive fragrant components did not reach the luxury of J'Adore Absolu, so I will stick with it. 2010 was a blank year to the Maison.
YSL brought a modern version of Opium - Belle D'Opium. The flacon is very appealing, very sexy. But what to say about the fragrance. Let's make it short and kill it in one fast strike: I will stick with the original, thank you very much! They did the same mistake, AGAIN. Did they not learn anything with Parisienne??
The house of luxurious jewelry, Van Cleef & Arpels launched two fragrances: Oriens and Midnight in Paris. The second is indeed what French perfumery is all about! Hip hip hurray for IFF.
Thierry Mugler worked some of his constant flankers, which are totally a waste of his time and than, he comes with Womanity. The ugliest flacon of 2010 but somehow he came up with a sweet salty fragrance that is the hit of the moment. Let's take it that he is creative and Womanity is not an exception. Caviar is a fishy note and he wants to celebrate women...wow! Who would ever think that someone would have the guts huh?
Cartier expanded their Les Heures de Cartier with 3 new fragrances, and launched two successful perfumes: Roadster Sport and Eau de Cartier Essence D'Orange. They worked hard in 2010, the public is thankful!
Annick Goutal went down the hill with their roses and the green grass pudding Ninfeo Mio, so I can tell that some people will have to hit the road in 2011 if the brand wishes to keep their solid name.
Hermés presented us with a new version of Eau de Merveilles, The Eau Claire de Merveilles, younger and less oriental - not bad at all. Voyage d'Hermés was the most successful fragrance surrounding water. Serge Lutens was null. Many others launched their "less is more" fragrances, but the only one striking a success was the brilliant Jean Claude Ellena. We have one more coming out of the lab, Iris Ukiyoe, but I haven't seen it yet, so I cannot comment on this one. The group LVMH bought more shares of the house, so we don't know how this will effect the quality and the creativity of the fragrances. Hermés is still running the game, and I hope they will hold their cards, at least in the fragrance department.
Some fragrances received new modern versions of bottles. Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps transformed itself, from romantic to hard core punk - the new bottle is edgy, different. For a fragrance that lost its originality long time ago, who cares??? Andy Tauer became hexagonal. Acqua di Parma became black (like everyone else these days...). Carolina Herreira's 212 became golden, in the 212VIP flanker. A beautiful flacon, but a hard pill to swallow! Jade Jagger brought a fresh modern look to Shalimar and we are all happy with it. Fendi, Gucci and Paco Rabanne brought beautiful flacons to the shelves and boring fragrances with numb names such as Fan di Fendi, Guilty by Gucci, Lady Million ...but we love design, don't we? So I guess they are all excused! Victorinox brought an amazing perfume bottle this year for the fragrance Swiss Unlimited. Yes, unlimited creativity! And the price is nice.
In terms of events, Chandler Burr left the New York Times and his fragrance reviews to be a curator of The Center of Olfactory Art. Acclaimed to be the first by ABC news, but come closer and I will tell you a secret (he is not the first in anything! He is a hard working man committed to fragrances, that is for sure, but not the first in anything concerning fragrances).
Speaking of new and not so new: OsMoz launched an Iphone application - scent sational, so you can get information about your favorite fragrances via cell phone. But Givaudan has done that already, didn't they??
Powdery Amber: Mona di Orio collection Les Nombres D'Or Ambre - a magnificent fragrance for this season. Sultry, cozy, slightly flowery and golden syrupy. Of all fragrances presented in my list, this one is definitely my number one choice for amber! Once you will smell this perfume on your skin it will feel like wearing a furry coat. Since mink is no longer acceptable, I found a faux mink look to go with Mona's chic style. You will find a link for a longer review HERE
To connoisseurs, needless to say that all fragrances of Histoires de Parfums where amber notes can be found will be an endless joy. They do have excellent raw materials, specially amber.
Fresh Amber: Cult Book's collection Amber 114 by Histoires de Parfums - unisex spicy oriental perfume with notes of thyme, nutmeg, rose, geranium, patchouli, cedar, sandal, vetiver, amber, tonka, benjoim, vanilla and musk. A whiff of Christmas followed by sparkling sensuality. It is oriental but not old heavy school. It has an airy fresh cheerful identity not provided citrusy notes! Like orange ballerina shoes flipping in the air!
Photo credit: Elle.com
Cinnamon amber: Main Characters - Eugénie de Montijo 1826 by Histoires de Parfums - bergamot, tangerine, white flowers, violet, ginger, cinnamon, patchouli, amber, incense, vanilla. WOW! This one is very delicate, very silky. It starts very Christmas y with cinnamon and happy pills of bergamot and tangerine and once the heat tune down... pure naivité sheer blooms in the form of white snow flakes and little violets. Illuminated, elegant, breathtaking! A touch of an angel! Very Valentino Spring Collection 2011.
photo credit: fotobank.ru
Anise amber: Armani Privée Collection Ambre de Soie - ginger, pepper, cloves, amber, patchouli, cedar. Winner of 3 fragrance awards, this perfume has a strange rare combination of anise and amber. Creamy but not tart y, spicy but not heavy. Curious. Reminds me of anise balls and Christmas decorations.
Fruity amber: Hermés Ambre Narguilé - this fragrance is the ultimate Middle Eastern Bedouin experience. Nargilas, dried fruits, milk and honey... it is the Holy Land fragrance. And if baby Jesus was born in Beit-lechem, I cannot think of a perfume embracing more the spirit of Christmas than this one. The first whiff is a feast of dried fruits. Very sweet to my taste, but once it is tuned down, you have the milk and honey accord that is simply divine!It is mouth watering and 100% ISRAEL. Once Heston Blumenthal said that the smell of Christmas was the scent of his uncle's pipe and the library of his home...well Heston....Hermès got your Christmas memories bottled up just for you!
Photo credit: elle.com
Sexy amber: Ambra Aurea by Profumum Roma - amber absolute composes this amazing amber fragrance. Pure, sensual, syrupy with an Italian accent. A choice for elegance, quality and simplicity. When less is more, pure amber does the trick! Very Donna Karan's fall 2011 collection and her palette of ambery browns...and simplicity...very chic!
to be continued... meanwhile listen to AMBER by 311 by clicking HERE
As Christmas approaches I am compelled to think about the scents of the season. Every year I read/write about spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. The smokey smell of wood burning in the fireplace...etc etc etc. It is always very pleasant to read, but this year I wanted to explore fragrances in a different way. I wanted to find what kind of fragrances would embrace the Christmas spirit and warm the soul during this magical season. So, this month of December I plunged in, I adventured myself in some nose diving in bottles of perfumes, and came out with one word: AMBER!
There are many sources of amber in perfumery. From sweet powdery amber notes to salty animalic, amber fascinates me for its tenderness.
Ambergris - it comes from the Sperm whale (the largest of all toothed whales). They live in deep seas and they feed from squid and jellyfish. Squid and jellyfish beaks irritate the linings of the whale's stomach producing cholesterol in its intestines. This cholesterol is called Ambergris and it is discharged by them into the ocean. They are floating pieces differing from black, brown, grayish to white color; from hard to sticky waxy texture.
Ambergris is a very expensive raw material in perfumery and the pricing is fixed due to its color. The lighter it is, more fragrant and more pleasant it is. The lighter tinge is a result of the action of the sun and the salty water of sea. But what really gives Ambergris the sweet pleasant characteristic is a bacteria called spirillum recti physeteris.
Ambergris can smell animalic with a faecal note, and they can also present a stong marine note with the smell of seaweed. For some it is very sensual and attractive, from other may be repulsing and provoke nausea.
In history, Chinese believe that Ambergris came from dragons' drooling while they were sleeping on sea rocks. It was already traded in the Middle East as an aphrodisiac and for perfume and incense making, and it was called by the Arabs - Anbar.
You have probably heard of Sperm whales in the famous book Moby Dick (1851) by Herman Melville. The book tells the a story of the adventures of a sailor called Ishmael and the captain Ahab, and their voyage in the search of a sperm whale called Moby Dick.
But back to perfumes...Ambergris olfactive description is amber, musk, warm, animal sea, tobacco note. The main odor of Ambergris comes from crystals called ambrein. When exposed to light and air it oxidizes to form, among other fragrant components, very valuable amber and floral lactones, aldehydes and ketones.
Ambergris was used to compose Chanel Nº5, Guerlain's Mitsouko, Dioressence by Dior and Eau de Merveilles by Hermès.Today, Ambergris is substituted by synthetics by the industry.
Synthetic ambergris can be also found in Narciso for Her by N. Rodriguez, Angel by Thierry Mugler, Tom Ford's black Orchid, Poison by Dior, The One for men by D&G, Cinema by YSL, Black Bulgari by Bulgari, L'Instant by Guerlain, Tresor by Lancôme, Prada by Prada and many more.
Iconic oriental fragrance from the 70's
Amber - composing perfumes called orientals. In this case, amber is an accord. Oriental perfumes are warm, spicy, slightly powdery with an animalic touch, long lasting perfumes. It is a large fragrance class that comes from traditional perfumery and it is inspired by the Orient (Middle and Far East).
Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog
Amber notes - there are many ways to recreate amber notes. Natural perfumery uses combination of resins and oils such myrrh, ambrette seeds, labdanum, benzoin, peru balm, vanilla, angelica and clarysage. In the lab, (I noticed during my visit last friday) there are also many ambers. Ambers with names such as Ambroxide, Ambroxan, Ambrein, Ambretone...you read these labels and they sound like ingredients to compose some chemical bomb of mass destruction!
In this case, we are simple speaking of an olfactory note that can be a part of any perfume creation.
The fact is, they all smell luxuriously tender!
Let's explore in the second part of this article, the amazing amber fragrances I could put my hands on!!
Meanwhile enjoy Judy Garland's velvety amber y voice singing, by clicking HERE