Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose
Meg2005 7/31/2010 5:47:00 AM
The gold standard by which all rose perfumes may be judged, delicate, wistful, gossamer, and very lovely. I find it lighthearted in an almost childlike way, neither deep nor complex, and yet there seems to be a soaring quality about it that is emblematic of classical ballet or opera. More than anything it evokes to me the unforgettable cinematic version of that opera of all operas, Die Zauberflöte, so lovingly interpreted and immortalized on celluloid by Ingmar Bergman. Mozart is very difficult to capture on film, and should be virtually impossible to delineate in scent; precariously poised between the worldly and the unworldly, his music is a constant reminder that there is more to life than perhaps meets the eye. However, miraculously, it is also this quality which is the essence of the very aptly named Ombre Rose.
Eau de Lancôme, baptized Ô as a witty clin d'oeil to the illustrious Maison de Lancôme, clearly follows the distinguished tradition of fresh hesperides eaux de cologne, and does so with grace and panache. I loved wearing it as a great summertime fragrance for the bright, cooling, refreshing properties it was endowed with, until I could no longer find it; when I heard it was reformulated and newly available on the market I lost no time purchasing it. Getting reacquainted with this familiar old favourite was a bit of a jolt, however, as it seemed much greener, more robust, less feminine than I had remembered. I put it away and forgot all about it until a couple of weeks ago, when a friend on the Fragrance Board urged me to retry it. I took my huge 125 ml bottle out of storage and lodged it in the fridge, coming back again for a nice cool spritz a few hours later. What a glorious discovery! The top notes were indeed on the green citrus unisex side, but the heart beautifully floral and the drydown clean, soapy, vaguely powdery, redolent of honeysuckle, jasmine, vétiver and sandalwood. There is something upbeat, reassuringly positive about this scent, bracing, energizing, and comforting too; I seem to detect here the sort of gentle sunny vibe of Ma Griffe and Chant d'Arômes, either of which it bears some resemblance to. A fiercely independent fragrance with a clean no-nonsense wholesome vibe, evocative of a green meadow interlaced with pretty flowers, thoroughly suitable for a hillside open air picnic, complete with Julie Andrews teaching that all music begins with do-re-me.
This warm, rich, star-studded velvet cloak of a scent, which always seemed so majestically steeped in mystery and tradition, has rightfully established the reputation of Mitsouko as the legend it was, worn with distinction and pride by elegant ladies all over the world, ever since its introduction in 1919; their daughters and granddaughters loyally following in their footsteps. Here, alas, is where we must stop. The recent ban on the use of mousse de chêne (oakmoss), without which no chypre is complete, has knocked the guts out of this famous beauty. Rather than a gentle plummy voice, full of love, hope, promise, and hints of tragedy, inspired by a story of forbidden love in Japan, what we now get is the shrill loud voice of a would-be Katisha, emphatically informing us that she is a stunning vision of perfection to behold (vaguely suspicious that the vast majority of the audience would not be enlightened enough to see that for themselves). "I have a left shoulder blade that is a miracle of loveliness. People come miles to see it. My right elbow has a fascination that few can resist!" Fascination? Where?!!! Resist? Absolutely.
Symphony in white, deep violet, shades of pale pink; to my mind, the most English of perfumes - somehow it always evokes to me the dress Cecil Beaton created for Audrey Hepburn in the Royal Ascot scene in My Fair Lady. All powder, violets, sandalwood, airs and graces, this scent is perfect for having tea with the best of them, served in fine bone china cups, exquisitely etched in gold. You could never get more refined than that, tremendously well spoken, well behaved, well dressed, but the lady means business - oh yes, otherwise Dover will be told to move his ***blankety blank*** in no uncertain terms.
Fidji is a beautiful green floral perfume which I fondly remember as my first departure from L'Air du Temps. How guilty I felt when my *collection* suddenly doubled in size, two bottles instead of just one! I was living with my maternal Grandparents at the time, whom I dearly loved - strict disciplinarians who never cared how much money I spent on books, but fripperies such as perfume were a different matter, and gently frowned upon. I saw eye to eye with them. L'Air du Temps was happiness in a bottle anyway, why should I have looked further? I shall never forget the day I realized my bottle was running very low, and attempted to repurchase; however I could not find it locally just then, while Fidji was all the rage and easily obtainable. I bought a small 30 ml splash bottle and haven't been without it since. The currently available version is perhaps more transparent, somewhat lighter than previous incarnations, yet definitely up to standard, very true to form, and just as beautiful.
I have worn L'Air du Temps my entire life and therefore it reminds me (surprise surprise) of my entire life. It now seems that the Universe as well as the current owners of Nina Ricci have conspired to tell me it's time to move on. The incredible loveliness of this fragrance, discovered in my late teens, must be held accountable for my budding and enduring interest in perfumes as a very significant, highly expressive art form; the only fragrance I have ever worn exclusively for any length of time, in what seemed to be a state of uninterrupted bliss, never thinking I would ever need or want anything else. Alas, the exquisite, unmatched beauty of this gardenia, carnation, neroli, white roses bouquet, is barely even recognizeable in the reformulated version. I still treasure the last remaining drops of my closely-guarded old bottle, and try to accept the fact that life is a journey that takes us through many changing, sometimes very different landscapes. I have kept an open mind and a clear unprejudiced readiness for new experience, and yet it breaks my heart a little, leaving this sweet, pure, lovingly drawn tableau of days gone by, so far behind.
"Do you believe in World Sorrow?" asks the wonderful Denholm Elliot as Mr. Emerson in a highly memorable scene in one of my all-time favourite movies, "A Room With A View". "No I don't", replies the very young, very pensive Lucy Honeychurch in sombre tones. "Not at all, Mr. Emerson!" Whereupon he proceeds to express the impassioned conviction ~ "At the side of the everlasting WHY, there is a yes, and a yes, and a YES!" Every time I rerun this movie, my heart skips a beat as I watch that particular scene. I have often felt that I could not agree with either Mr. Emerson, or with Lucy. Sadly I do believe in this world sorrow. Indeed to my way of thinking one would have to be blissfully ignorant, or by contrast fairly blasé, to stay quite immune to the tragedy that is so much at the heart of the human condition; which in turn produces *some* degree of Weltschmerz we can none of us entirely escape. Yet even if an answer to the everlasting WHY eludes us, we must surely never lose sight of the omnipotent YES, without which there is no joy, no rebirth, no life. Unlike Mr. Emerson or Lucy, I study the nature of opposites, and try to recognize that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. This sunny, generous, radiant fragrance says YES to life in a grand manner, quietly indicating perfect peace of mind; the sort of supreme confidence which dismisses negativity as a matter of course, brushing off any sad memories or thoughts as if such unwelcome shadows were mere specks of dust. This is not the gentle sunshine of early dawn, nor the poignant fading out of the sun at twilight, this is a celebration of High Noon in the full strength of creative effort. The beauty and grandeur of it somehow resonate with my theory about deserving happiness ~ it has always been my belief that we must generate *some* positive energies in order to attract others. I do not wear it often, but when I do, I glory in my courage to rise and shine, then run and meet the sun halfway.
I remember wearing Trésor a few years ago, liking it but feeling rather overwhelmed by it - seemed to remind me of someone, and I could not figure out just who. But then it hit me! Oh yes! Lady Bracknell. I could well imagine her, sailing into a room, a splendid vision of silks and satins, gloves, hat, lorgnette, boa feathers and flowers ~ wafting a trail of Trésor! This lady does not believe in mincing words. She calls spade a spade, gwendolen a gwendolen, and could give the rest of us lessons in assertive negotiations. All peaches and cream, honey and roses, her statement would unmistakably be something along the lines of .....Now listen Earnest-or-whatever-your-name-is, I am not a person to be trifled with. Indeed, the Importance of Being Earnest. Heaven help us, it does not get more earnest than that. No, absolutely not, I felt I could not wear it again, and never repurchased, until it was reformulated, and suddenly became a mellower, prettier, rosier version of its former thorny self. I might now cheerfully come to terms with it and get ready to be taught a lesson or two regarding The Importance Of Being Grown Up.
Fragrances -Les Parfums de Rosine - Poussiere de Rose
Meg2005 6/26/2010 11:26:00 AM
This rose lacks the happy insouciance of Ombre Rose, yet is by no means less easy to wear, nor less charming; exquisite composition featuring a calm, wise, faintly world-weary bouquet which surprisingly remains transparent and lightweight, for all its substance. Not a sweet-sixteen sort of rose, Poussière de Rose is the very rose to remind me, in a timely manner, that a rose is a rose is a rose, whether it blooms in May or December. Considering that I am no longer the teenager I once was (even though I often feel like one), this is a sobering thought. Time to grow up! Now that I am ***looking suitably solemn*** fast approaching the Autumn of my days, and have known perhaps more than my fair share of sorrow, no other rose scent could make me feel quite so optimisitic. Indeed, the dust of things past, tons of it, weighs heavy upon me, and yet it would take more than that to cloud the beauty of a very clear vision of the future.
Joy has earned iconic status in France ever since its introduction, in the 1920s, and is probably Jean Patou's most prestigious perfume to date - famously known far and wide as the most *expensive* perfume in the world. If I have so far neglected to review it, I must have had a very good reason. I hesitate to write about any scent I do not wear myself, no matter how impressive or glorious it really is. Joy, sadly, is just such a scent. I still have a nearly full bottle of the pre-reformulation Joy which I treasure, yet hardly ever reach for. I cannot tolerate jasmine very well, and Joy does feature a huge bouquet of jasmine blossoms whereof the accompanying roses are fairly muted, not to mention any other flowers; nonetheless, I detect some precious woods and a major civet backdrop. Sounds grand? It is. This perfume epitomizes the woman I never was and in all probability, never shall become. Nothing girlish, tentative, shy or demure about it, rather it evokes a very knowing Mother Earth sort of presence, portrait of a lady who has seen it all, done it all, triumphed over it all, and remained a solid figure, complacently ever-present for the rest of us mere mortals, ready to reassure, comfort, and offer sound advice in dire straits. It may be noted that this fragrance is very powerful even in EDT form - one spritz is quite sufficient to transform my whole house into a dreamy log cabin hidden in the wilderness, somewhere in the remote depths of an undiscovered country, on a warm sunny day, where the air is redolent with moist earth, dry woods, and beautiful flowers at the very height of their bloom. Too rich for my blood or my skin, admittedly, but if, upon spraying a little in the air, I should happen to accidentally spill some on my hands, it would be the sort of lucky accident of which I may never complain.
Fragrances -Bulgari - Rose Essentielle EDP - limted edition
Meg2005 6/13/2010 2:13:00 PM
I never thought I would look beyond Ombre Rose, which exquisitely defines all I ever wanted in terms of an easy to wear, every day rose perfume. However, the times are achanging, and we must change along with them, whether we wish to or not; better make the most of it and evolve as best we can. I have been reaching for roses more than any other flower lately, and felt it was time to seek a little variety. The original Bvlgari Pour Femme, impressive though it was, never worked for me, so I had low expectations, if any, of Rose Essentielle. I am pleased to report that I was agreeably surprised. This rose scent fastidiously side-steps every stereotype we have learned to associate with the genre. It seems to be in a class of its own, and deserves to be studied on its own merits. A lady on the fragrance Board, for whose judgment I have the highest respect, has once upon a time described it as "meh". I have to agree. The opening stages are perfectly inoffensive, nor did they strike me as very remarkable. Another lady on the Fragrance Board, by contrast, has recently depicted it as a "haughty rose", and once again, I must agree. It does have that vibe ~ no soliflore by any means, this fragrance consists of a lightweight, effortlessly complex bouquet which projects the stand-offish-no-nonsense disdain of an iron lady, the apparent coldness of an ice princess who would steadfastly refuse to reveal her innermost heart for the longest time, well into the late stages of a truly magnificent drydown. I have initially spritzed a couple of times, then went comfortably about my daily routine, pretty much forgetting all about it; only to wonder, a couple of hours later, who was smelling so wonderfully of roses nearby? ***craning neck*** I see no one for miles. Could it be me? Yes, wonders will never cease. It could.
Let us discuss love. Nay, let us discuss the buts, ifs and whateverfors of it. Why are we moved to love anyone or anything with a passion, while remaining completely unmoved by others? The answer (as we all know, anyway) lies with entirely subjective rather than objective criteria, and this is very much a case in point. The lovely Chant d'Arômes has zero sillage on me, no lasting power to speak of, nor has it ever earned me the slightest compliment. I might as well save my money, right? Wrong. I would not change a thing about it, just because the whole is more than the sum of its parts. This is pure sunshine to me, and has been a joy to wear for so long that I have thoughtlessly taken it somewhat for granted. Not sure why - perhaps because the gossamer, translucent nature of the composition makes it almost invisible, surprisingly so as it sure does have plenty of character, once you get to know it! This delicate beauty is a true star for all its shyness, to my way of thinking remarkably second to none. Nowhere else have I encountered a golden honeysuckle-gardenia accord to equal the one discernible here, subtly interlaced with faintly green oakmoss, pale baby yellow unripe budding fruit, white clouds of very fine powder floating in the background. In a perfect world, EVERY day should be kicked off to a great start just like this, radiating gentle sunshine that warms your heart, infusing it with faith and courage to meet whatever lies ahead. In an imperfect world, ANY day blessed with quite so auspicious a beginning is something to be seriously grateful for. What was I thinking of, taking it for granted? Let me correct this error of omission straight away. While Après L'Ondée, L'Heure Bleue, and their modern and wonderfully inspired disciple, Heure Exquise, capture that magical moment when daytime makes way for night, Chant d'Arômes accomplishes an equally impossible mission capturing the elusive transition from de profundis, the darkest hour of the night, when the universe seems to stand still, for one agonized moment poised between doubt and despair ~ and daybreak, just before it boldly rises to the happy, bright, faithful promise which is early dawn.
It seems I have at last found the closest thing to a signature scent I could have dreamt of. This is the perfume which goes beyond beautiful to me, it defies logic in the sense that it resonates so deeply with what I have been looking for, never hoping to find, that it seemed nothing short of a miracle, then, having at last discovered that it actually existed. Consequently I may well call it serenity in a bottle, such as I would not have believed possible. However, unlike Après L'Ondée and L'Heure Bleue, the two Guerlain masterpieces to which Heure Exquise clearly owes its lineage, this is NOT the sort of serenity that accepts tragedy as part of life yet remains heroically upright and gracious despite it all. Rather, it's the sort of privileged, quietly happy serenity that runs through your veins when you just know all shall be well, even though you have no solid proof whatever, but are soundly game enough to trust your own healthy instincts and yes, perhaps even smile a little. Philosophically it's what Pascal intended by his idea of Le Pari (The Wager), basically suggesting that FAITH in a higher dimension, call it God, Providence, or Divine Wisdom, may be adopted just because it affords a chance to live better - therefore, betting a wager on it even on very slim empirical evidence, is not really risking very much (Blaise Pascal, Les Pensées, 1662). Call it suspension of disbelief if you like, hold your head high, and resolve to be happy no matter what. A stunningly simple philosophy, yet absolutely brilliant for its very simplicity. Just like this perfume, in fact - it somehow manages to be multi-dimensional, still surprisingly uncomplicated at the same time, pure, clean, gentle and comforting. It is fairly obvious that Heure Exquise could only have been composed by a perfumer with a profoundly musical sensibility, as indeed Annick Goutal famously was (an enthusiastic musician before she made a career of her love for fragrance). Of all her perfumes this is the one which, to me at least, most intrinsically epitomizes her legacy. I have no idea what she had in mind, but if I may hazard a guess, Frédéric Chopin's 4 Ballades (the 2nd in particular), would be my own most immediate association. Florentine Iris, Mysore Sandalwood, and Turkish Rose, constitute the heart of it, the overall impression being delicate, powdery, vaguely sweet, predominantly white yet faintly blue and violet too, with a hazy pink glow to it, just like the sky at dusk, before the sun sets ~ only to rise again tomorrow, shining more brightly than ever.
I love fresh lavender in real life, and have often planted it in huge ceramic pots, enjoying the season of its flowering. I equally like preparing scented sachets of dried lavender blossoms, excellent for armoires or chest drawers, and of course nothing will ever be quite like the bracing, wholesome effect of top-quality French lavender essential oil, either diluted with water in a brûle-parfum or used directly on skin, clothes, even pillow cases sometimes (pretty good remedy for migraines, I find). However, lavender is a tricky note in perfumes because of the cold, sharp, antiseptic vibe it acquires in most lavender-based fragrances I have ever tried - invariably reminding me of a dentist's reception room - as you will have guessed, not the happiest of associations. Pour Un Homme de Caron by contrast is one of the very few lavender fragrances I enjoy unreservedly. It's neither cool nor warm, just right; a marvel of beauty, perfect balance, exquisite proportions, understated elegance. Clean and bright to begin with, refreshing and decisive without ever seeming harsh, gently morphing into woodsy heart notes, finally drying down on a soft, almost powdery vanilla base... miraculously energizing as well comforting, every step of the way. I could fall in love with the man who wore it, and just to be on the safe side, did in fact buy it for my one-and-only, fully intending to send it to him overseas. Sadly however this never materialized, as I sent him my Climat instead, rather hoping that it would remind him of me. Whenever the Atlantic Ocean which seperates us proves too much to bear, I reach for *his* perfume (the one that, alas, he does not even get a chance to use), spritz a couple of times, shed a few tears, and consider myself hugged. It may not be an unmixed blessing, but remains for me nevertheless the closest thing to the scent of pure happiness.
Sunny beautiful resplendent floral bouquet with a distinctive grand antique vibe, in the manner of such iconic classics as Amour Amour and Adieu Sagesse. First introduced in 1950, I suppose historically it could indeed be regarded as their disciple; one of four boxed reissued Lancôme fragrances, the others being Sikkim, Climat, Mille & Une Roses. Magie is charming, warm, stays discreetly close to the skin, and has not much throw; however, lasting power is excellent. Jasmine, white roses, musk and amber are the notes which seem mostly to prevail, very beautifully balanced. I wish I could detect the violets that are listed among the official notes, but I cannot, other than a delicate haze of various flowers in the background, finely tuned and exquisitely interlaced. This fragrance has been described by Lancôme as fit for a diva; picture the following scenario then, as Yours Truly (no diva, I assure you) dabs on a little Magie as she proceeds out into the garden, preparing to water the plants on this hale and hearty July morning, stopping every once in a while to sniff her wrists. It is very early in the morning, and the garden, drenched in dew and the first rays of gentle sunshine, smells of honeysuckle, geranium, pink, white, red hibiscus, evergreens, citrus, bay leaves, and... dare I say it?... yes, maybe a whiff of magic in the air.