////// The door in my wardrobe*

// Girls who smell like old churches

Posted on | May 14, 2011 | 1 Comment

For me scents and perfumes are very, very important. I don’t wear just one scent — but I don’t have huge perfume wardrobe either. I tend to keep few, carefully picked scents — the selection is slowly evolving and different scents evoke memories from the different stages of my life. The editing decisions are based purely to love, I have to absolutely fall in love with a scent to add it in to my scent wardrobe. I need some variety for different moods and occasions, but often I just wear one certain scent for weeks or months, and then change to another. Well, maybe the time of year affects to what I want to wear, for winter I rather pick cozy, sensual and close-to-skin amber with warm spicy notes, at summertime I usually drift towards green, aromatic scents.

So I’m definitely not a fruity floral gal, but I have to say that I was slightly surprised to fall head over heels to this old church smell, Comme des Garçons Incense Avignon. The opening is a massive, panoramic olfactory view over an old catholic church (just can’t be thinking of St. Peter’s in Vatican, having just been there) — the incense, the cool, moist minerals of old stone building, ancient wood. The scent is so evocative, so real that I bet that people grown in catholic culture might find it even too… …representing — but for me… …well, my few visits in places like that don’t really emotionally wire to anything — and I can enjoy the pure beauty of it.

But the scent is not just about this trippy realness of the opening — it starts to evolve instantly to something more wearable: a beautiful arrangement of woody and aromatic notes around incredibly smoky incense note with hint of spices. I get some earthy patchouli, hint of vanilla, myrrh, cedar, maybe some other woods. The overall impression is dry — as opposite of sweet — this scent definitely has somehow moist feel in it. It’s very dimensional, beautifully aromatic, sort of clean without being a bit soapy (should I say pure?), slightly mineral, deep without being heavy. Very calming without actually being cool at all. I can imagine wearing this both in summer and winter. It’s also my best bet on the question what would Madonna wear on Like a Prayer video… (Image via all about Madonna).

Bottom note: I also happen to be one of the girls who think that a color that would gloriously finish any retro kitchen appliance will also do an awesome manicure! This heavy double cream yellow is Nubar Yellow Primrose.

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Posted on | May 14, 2011 | 1 Comment

// Winter scent

Posted on | November 16, 2010 | 3 Comments

I love non-floral amber based scents. They really melt with my skin chemistry, have often amazing lasting power, but stay close to skin. I don’t like to intimidate people with my perfume. Ambre Soie from Armani Prive line adds three of my favorite spices to the mix: pepper, ginger and cloves. I’m head over heels of this scent… …and now it is available here (Stockmann). Pricey, but I’m seriously tempted.

Plus I love the bottle…

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Posted on | November 16, 2010 | 3 Comments

// In search of the perfect perfume #2

Posted on | December 10, 2009 | 2 Comments

This autumn has been the autumn of sampling fragrances for me  — and indeed I have done some great discoveries. I can’t recommend Perfumed Court enough, their service of small decants of almost any fragrance imaginable is utterly helpful — and they ship fast!

During these testing times I have concluded that the basic fragrance types that act well on my skin and make me feel good are mostly amber based, woody and spicy, use florals sparingly only lighten up the composition, have good longevity but stay close to the skin. I don’t like to intimidate others with my enthusiasm to perfume. Many scents I like seem to be unisex scents (not that I do care too much about the labels in here), that might be partially due to that fact that many scents go towards their sweet notes on my skin — those that are sweet to begin with can be sickeningly so after wearing them for a while.

Two absolutely favorites so far are these.

as

Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens. This is such a great woody, spicy amber, I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. The opening is relatively strong, woody and almost medicinal — the scent of an old apothecary — but it rounds rapidly to shimmering, spiced and smoky-woody amber scent that stays close to skin — and is absolutely delightful, heart warming, unforgettable, maybe even sexy but not in most straightforward or obvious way. There is something quite barbaric but beautiful in this scent, it is empowering and teases the imagination.

etro

Etro Ambra, quite different but great as well. This is light, but has great longevity. It starts beautifully with burst of bitter citrus, more like the peel than the fruit itself, some spice and distinct aroma of fresh fir needles, the round sweetness of amber and vanilla lingering below. I really love the opening, it is so uplifting. The drydown is quite simple and very soft amber with amazingly beautiful, smokily caramelized vanilla in absolutely non-cloying form, and some very rounded and soft, slightly resinous wood.  There are some floral notes in this, but they never steal the attention. Sophisticated, playful and very feminine on me (although this is unisex scent, too).

I would love to add some other Serge Lutens scents to my wardrobe as well. I’m quite drawn to very animalic Muscs Koublai Chan — this is very skin chemistry dependent, but on my skin the dirty musc and civet notes are very pleasant, resembling a summer skin with odour of sun, salt and healthy outdoor life, the scent of the natural soap from morning shower lingering below the outdoorsy skin aroma. The muscs are wrapped to beautiful smoky (incense?) notes, very sophisticated powdery rose accord and amber.

Another great one is Douce Amere (the only of these directed to women), faithful to it’s name, a bittersweet blend of wormwood root (that really smells like anise to me), cinnamon, some white flowers and again the beautiful, smoky type vanilla. Contradictory and beautiful, and probably less sweet than you could think from this description.

And oh, another, very strange and meditative one is Gris Clair, the weird combination of lavendar and amber, with some strange milky and bitter notes backed up with beautiful aged wood and smoke. I definitely like the lavendar aroma, but usually the lavendar perfumes tend to be dusty and powdery at their base, ladylike but old fashioned, or very traditional cologne type scents. Serge has definitely taken the granny out of the lavendar in this one…

I’ve also discovered the delightful scent of oud wood, but have sampled so few fragrances containing it that I can’t really name any favorites yet. Although Tom Ford version is quite fantastic…

And no ugly bottle design in sight, phew… …I prefer my fragrance bottles simple and clean lined.

Images from Luckyscent and Fragrantica.

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Posted on | December 10, 2009 | 2 Comments

// Chanel Coromandel, are you mine?

Posted on | October 13, 2009 | 5 Comments

I found recently an excellent web shop. Perfumed Court sells perfume samples and small decanted amounts of scents — and what a selection! International postals are under $8 — and the shipping was lightning fast (under a week from US to Scandinavia). A perfect find for a person in search of the signature scent.

I ordered the Elegant Amber sampler — and found instantly a very promising one: Chanel Coromandel.

coromandel

I really don’t know fragrances too well, so my descriptions are very amateurish. But what is really beautiful in this scent — it seems to me that I love it from the first notes to the drydown. It reminds me of my beloved Le Feu in that sense that many people describe these both scents quite strong — but on my skin both of them tone down to very pleasant level.

It does not remind me a bit of Chanel mainstream scents — but I do get a weak resemblance to Tom Ford Black Orchid. Coromandel has the similar, naughty and dirty base note going on, for me it is present the whole lifeline of the scent —  but it is definitely not overwhelmingly strong component in this. While Black Orchid goes rather sour and almost headache inducing on my skin, Coromandel has delightful lightness and elegance, from the start to the final drydown. For me this scent is too complex to analyze and I definitely don’t recognize all the notes, but after the head notes I do get some bitter chocolate mixed to wood and spice. The woodsy aromas are actually present all the time. Despite of the chocolate aroma I would never categorize this to so called gourmand scent.

It is almost funny how the drydown scent is structured, from distance I get a clean, warm but dryish amber, but when I stick my nose to the skin I definitely can get the dirt note very pleasantly mixed to some wood aromas and light touch of not too sweet vanilla. The skin scent is almost intoxicating, very sensual and quite unusual.

I also love the classic and stylish Chanel bottle. Sorry Marc Jacobs, even if I loved your newest creation Lola I could not purchase it just because of the garish bottle…

lola

The con is that the price is $200 for a bottle — OK a huge 200 ml bottle, but that is steep. Still I will definitely give this one a chance, a good option would be to get a small decanted amount from Perfumed Court to get the final verdict for this in the actual use.

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Posted on | October 13, 2009 | 5 Comments

// In search of the perfect perfume #1

Posted on | October 7, 2009 | 9 Comments

Finding a good perfume is hard job — and it does not help that there are not any small brands available here in Finland. My scent choosing process always takes a while, I have to test the scent several times to my own skin to be certain that I really like it in daily use. So I have practically abandoned the idea of buying the scent when traveling abroad — there is not enough time to get properly known with the future daily companion of mine. Ordering some samples might work — and that I will certainly do if I don’t find what I’m looking for from here.

My skin chemistry twists the scents in unexpected ways. Many floral scents turn awfully sour on me — take strong rose accents (for example lovely Stella (McCartney)); they start to smell like beer on my skin. So the floral notes can’t be the main note of the scent. Sweetness of the scent is accentuated strongly on my skin, and that rules many sweet ones out of question, I don’t want to smell like a candy shop. I also don’t like perfumes that smell like perfume, the fragrance should blend.

My favorite perfume of all time was Le Feu d’Issey Miyake, unfortunately that wonderful and unusual scent has been discontinued and I refuse to pay the sky high prices asked from some random deadstock floating around. That scent was an amazing, peppery, grapey composition built around a warm amber core — and my skin chemistry worked miracles for that bringing out the complex warmth out of the composition by accentuating the sweet notes. Many people experienced this scent as quite sharp and heavy one, but the transformation on my skin was miraculously good. The scent has also great longevity, even when used with light hand — like I do.

A long time favorite of mine has been Light Blue by Dolce & Cabbana. That is my easy to go for summery everyday scent and invigorating pick-me-up fragrance. The white flowers in this work surprisingly well on me, I guess that the ample amount of citrus and some crisp apple flavour help a lot. The scent itself is almost unisex — and I like that. The negative side of this perfume is its huge success, there was a time when every other girl left a trail of Light Blue behind.

I have enjoyed the blue family — Blu Mediterraneo from Aqua di Parma. My favorite is Mandorlo di Sicilia, aromatic, sweet scent with some hidden bitterness that makes it very wearable on my skin. This does not smell like a perfume at all, it smells just good and makes me extremely happy. On the other hand there is nothing dramatic or particularly interesting in this scent — it blends almost too well — and although I love it probably more than any other scent right now it does not do it for me every day. And it is definitely not for special occasions.

There are couple of green scents I really adore — but for some reason I associate both of these strongly to summertime. Guerlain Herba Fresca smells like the summer smelled in my childhood, after a brief summery rain shower, playing under the berry bushes on my aunties garden. Again my skin’s tendency to turn the scents to the sweet side works really well with this. Hermes Un Jardin En Mediterranee is close relative to the Herba Fresca, but with very strong sandalwood core that probably makes it tad more interesting. Sandalwood with green accents is really good combination for my skin, but does not work for everyone.

I really love amber notes and one of my everyday scents is Amber from L’Occitane. That one is quite simple and straightforward amber fragrance with some sweet vanilla notes — and it blends quite nicely with my skin. And I love the scent it leaves to the clothes, clean but warm.

The problem is that since the Le Feu I haven’t been completely happy with any fragrance, I like many but none of them feels like the one. I crave something more complex and perhaps bit less sweet amber based perfume as my daily fragrance — and this is my quest to find it.

prada-ambree

My first test was Prada’s newest, L’Eau Ambree. The first trial is very promising, this is dry, and perhaps even slightly powdery amber with nice amount of that “cleanliness” I enjoy. I hesitate a bit with the rose scent in the core, when sticking my nose close the skin I certainly can catch the infamous beer aroma here… …it does not linger, though. I would guess that the trail scent of this is actually quite fabulous — of course I can’t get it fully by myself. But the problem is that I want that the scent is good when sticking the nose to the skin and inhaling the trail. Maybe this develops to the better on my skin…

The other Prada scents for women did not work for me, but I haven’t tested the men’s amber version. That will probably be the next to try…

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Posted on | October 7, 2009 | 9 Comments

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