Perfume Pen Pals: Indult Reve en Cuir and My Favorite Masculine Scent


Katie,

Today I'm wearing Indult Rêve en Cuir, the one Chandler Burr gave five stars in the New York Times, but sounded like he wanted to give twenty stars. It's definitely leather. Yep, that it is. And, like the other Indults I tried, it's surprisingly sweet. It's entirely pleasant and I want to emphasize that. But I also want to emphasize my arm smells like a recliner. And I don't know how I feel about that.



Here's the conflict: I like the smell of leather but I don't quite like it on me. And I definitely don't like the added sweetness, in Rêve en Cuir and in most masculine colognes. Sweet male scents always seem a little sleazy to me, not inherently sleazy but sleazy by association. I can't help imagining some guy in a suit trying to snuggle up to his secretary after a couple martinis.


The kind of guy about whom my father would say, "I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him." (My father was an utterly unostentatious man who wore overalls and Irish Spring, but because he owned a large wholesale nursery, he'd occasionally have to trouble himself with men in suits.) I wonder if this is why young men favor those empty aquatics, because they don't want to smell like sleazy old guys. That's the best defense I have for empty aquatics. That it's an intellectual defense surprises even me. When it comes to leather scents, I think I prefer the more modern synthetic ones, like S-ex or Etat Libre d'Orange Rien. Neither is sweet in the least and because they both smell so new, they don't relate to any of the men my father knew not to like. Of course, none of this is the fault of Rêve en Cuir. It's a fine fragrance and Chandler Burr isn't off his rocker for loving it (he's off his rocker for loving Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy), but I'm just not a Rêve en Cuir man. My father would be proud. Dan

Dan, Rêve en Cuir: I didn't understand this one. It was over my head. I need to revisit it. Katie

Katie I'm surprised Rêve en Cuir was over your head. Are you sure it wasn't under your head? Or beneath your feet? It's not all that complex. It's a slightly sweet leather and that's all. At $250, I wouldn't recommend revisiting it before you've made a billion dollars and decide you want to own everything. Dan

Dan, Got this message on YouTube: "I'll only watch your channel if you tell me what your favorite masculine scent is. Thanks.” I immediately thought, "Oh goody, a perfume challenge! I'll bet this guy's a Creed nerd. I should probably say some Creed thing. Or Lalique Encre Noire." For more intel, I Googled him, and up came this comment of his on Cubby's “Fragrance Talk" YouTube channel: "Can't you review Encre Noire by Lalique or maybe Silver Mountain Water by Creed?” So there ya go. Smelling Silver Mountain Water back when it came out practically turned me off the whole line with its sneezy charmlessness. Anyway, I don't know what to tell this fellow. I'm not sure what my favorite masculine scent is. Maybe Divine L'Homme Sage? Bulgari Black? Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Man? Christian Dior Eau Sauvage? Old Spice? Anyway, my real answer is: my favorite masculine scent is not a perfume -- it's the man. I really only want to smell the man. If it's my man, that is. All other men can wear what they like. As long as it's not Silver Mountain Water. Katie

Katie, People are predictable, aren't they? I have a theory that there are only nine or ten people in the whole world and the rest of us are just duplicates. Well, not a serious theory. Still, there does seem to be a lot of repetition. You could call his bluff and say you'll only tell him your favorite masculine if he tells you his favorite feminine first. But don't say Silver Mountain Water. That was one of the Creeds I tried and found it entirely charmless, too. There's something blankly masculine about all those Creeds. Like the only thing you can gather from them is, "Yep, this was definitely made for a man." I'm wearing Chanel Coromandel tonight and loving myself! Tell him Coromandel and fuck with his head. Dan

Dan, One of my viewers tells me she sneakily puts Coromandel on her husband's undershirts when he's not around, so he unwittingly wears it. I know what you mean about loving yourself in Coromandel. Putting on that perfume makes you complete. Like you're in the best relationship ever, and it's with yourself. Katie

Fumies -- which perfume completes you?

Tropical Triplets: JAR Bolt of Lightning, LesNez Manoumalia and Aftelier Perfumes Parfum Prive


The other day, luxury blogger Nathan Branch gave me a nudge in the comments section of my "Holiday Party Fragrance Tips" post:

“Perhaps for your NY's Eve party schedule you might wish to sport that sample of JAR Bolt of Lightning that I know you have . . . *ahem*. It's lush, gorgeous and radiates goodwill.”

Okay, Nathan, I've finally taken a stab at the generous decant of JAR Bolt of Lightning you sent me, and...is there such as thing as being too generous? Because here's what Bolt of Lightning is doing to me:

First thing on the skin, it's a stomach-roiling cross between Etat d'Orange Sécrétions Magnifiques and Gorilla Perfumes Breath of God: thick, rotting undergrowth, white florals and menthol. It calms down pretty quickly, and smells like fresh tuberose for a minute. And then after about 20 minutes, it smells like minty, metallic meat. Or perhaps “minty, metallic meat” is the fresh tuberose?

Oh, it's lush, all right, but whatever it's radiating is not "goodwill.”

Guaranteed to give you a severe dose of goodwill radiation.

I did a quick whirl around the fumisphere to see what the other kids were saying about Bolt of Lightning, and had one of those “duh” moments as I realized that Bolt of Lightning was the hip, obscure object of desire about five years ago already. I may have missed it then, but thanks to Nathan, I was catching up on my homework now.

Despite its ritzy-titsy price of almost 800 clams for a 1 ounce bottle, I was interested to find a distinct consensus on BoL's startling out-of-the-bottle yakkiness, including this comment from Nathan on Basenotes:
“Opens up with a seriously foul, rotting vegetation note, but after twenty minutes transforms into one of the most beautiful fragrances I've ever smelled -- an airy, fresh, lightly green and subtly sweet concoction”

...a theme he develops on his BoL blog post, here.

Well, my Bolt of Lightning clock might need another electrical charge, because at T minus 25, all I was getting was still that minty, metallic meat. Along with what Basenoter Marlen Harrison described with breathtaking specificity: “stale ice cube trays.”

Bolt of Lightning did put me in mind of LesNez Manoumalia, another sultry white floral that also cha-cha-chas with the gag reflex. Though with Manoumalia, I happily embrace its sexily suffocating tropical allure, represented by tiare instead of BoL's tuberose.

It was instructive to apply Manoumalia for the inevitable dance-off, however, because their imagined similarities were outweighed by their actual differences. Manoumalia stayed warm, salty skin-like, almost nutty. BoL revealed itself as cooler, thinner, sweeter.

But I couldn't shake the sense that BoL's earthy florals resembled something I'd recently worn, and still trying to pin the tail on the donkey, I dabbed on my sample of Aftelier Perfumes Parfum Privé.

Ooooh -- dig that smooove tropical leather! Parfum Privé is Mandy Aftel's essay on the night air in Hawaii, and wearing it, I'm there: the humidity, the orange blossoms, the ocean.

As Aftel only uses natural ingredients in her perfumes, it's actually meaningful to consult her list of notes: bergamot, pink pepper CO2, orange flower absolute, osmanthus, pimento leaf, ambrette, ambergris. Yes, ambergris: the legendary -- and legendarily rare -- oxidized whale hork that has imparted a lived-in physicality and sensual warmth to centuries of perfumes.

Brigitte Bardot has a lot in common with ambergris. Like the way she washes up on the beach.

Parfum Privé has a chewy, latex aspect to the florals. The nutmeggy pimento is spicy, but spice without bite, just flavor. Privé isn't as “warm, wet beach towel on the face” as Manoumalia, but both trade in the seashore's muggy allure. There's an almost-sweetness to Privé, like cooked-to-caramelized brown butter.

As a natural perfume, Privé doesn't have the tenacity and throw of fragrances 'roided up with synthetics, so the experience is softer. Even still, Privé has a beautiful, persistent presence on the skin.

The more I contemplated tropical triplets Parfum Privé, Manoumalia and Bolt of Lightning, the more it became apparent that at most, they were only fraternal siblings.

Will the real tropical triplets please stand up?

And most unexpectedly, while I wasn't paying attention, Bolt of Lightning outgrew its ugly monkey baby stage and turned into a genuinely pretty perfume. It smelled like the distant drydown of Comme des Garçons' bombastic Daphne: tuberose and candied incense.

Nathan's comment:
“It does the darnedest Ugly Duckling To A Beautiful Swan transformation -- from foul to fowl! Its development from awful intro into utter gorgeousness would be almost comical if it weren't so breathtaking.

BoL is the fragrance that made me believe in the possibilities of tuberose. From what I understand, it has a hefty overdose of natural tuberose essence, which is why it's so expensive.”

And which is why I was getting all that minty meat. In Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, Tania Sanchez describes the smell of tuberose absolute as “rubber tires, steak tartare, Chinese muscle rub.”

But as much as I enjoyed the nasal workout, Nathan, I will not be sporting Bolt of Lightning come New Year's Eve. By the time BoL got pretty, it was well into the fadeout. Why couldn't the pretty part be as loud and insistent as the ugly monkey baby part?

A baby anything is never ugly. Unless it's a perfume.

So, my New Year's tuberose choice is still on schedule as Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower. Carnal Flower not only starts pretty but it stays pretty, and it stays pretty forever.

Bolt of Lightning is $765 for 30ml from Jar-Parfums.fr, Manoumalia is $105 for 50ml from LuckyScent.com, and Parfum Privé is $125 for 2ml at Aftelier.com

Image credits:
Aloha Girl by tsevis
Tube Rose Snuff via
Bardot still from ...And God Created Woman
Rodgers triplets via
Baby monkey via

Viewer Mail: Fragrance Investment Advice








Hi Katie,

I need your help! I'm a 27 year-old-guy who works in a private bank no fewer than 10 hours a day, meeting managing directors and wealthy clients daily.

Despite the obviously serious and rather conservative context I work in, I wouldn't mind a touch of eccentricity to defy or challenge the common prejudice about gray and dull investment professionals. Actually, I think some feminine notes would be intriguing. And from a practical standpoint, it would have to be something quite persistent through the long working day.

Lately I've been wearing Eau de Cartier, which I still like, but I have grown a bit tired of it. Any suggestions?

Andrew


Andrew, I like your approach of subversion through scent. For masculine fragrances in touch with their feminine side, how about the spicy rose sandalwood of Chanel Egoïste (the original, not the Platinum version), or the smoky chai of L'Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two?

Or, employing the “context is everything” rule, you could try Christian Dior Diorella (savory citrus and melon with mossy wood), Thierry Mugler Womanity (fresh fig and green pepper on a bed of ambery wood) or Lolita Lempicka Minuit Noir (violet/patchouli sandwich with extra licorice). All three are marketed as feminines, but they work great on men.

I polled my Perfume Pen Pal Dan Rolleri for his take on the matter, and here's what he had to say:


Well, when I think unisex with a little eccentricity, I fall back to Chanel Coromandel and By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses. Both are male enough, I think, though if he's starting from Eau de Cartier, maybe one of the Dior Colognes might be a more natural step.

For longevity, why not Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur? That might be perfect: soft leather and violet.

And how about Bulgari Black?


I like all of Dan's ideas (though I think Coromandel and Liaisons Dangereuses are too large-scale for a day at the bank), and out of the Dior Colognes, I'd recommend the honeyed myrrh of Bois d'Argent and the fenugreek/lavender of Eau Noire.

Fumies, any guidance for Andrew on how to sneak some quirk into work, scent-wise?

Holiday Party Fragrance Tips


When it comes to parties, perfume is always my plus-one. It's the perfect opportunity to wear your biggest, funnest scents -- those larger-than-life characters that can really dazzle a crowd. Frédéric Malle Une Rose is one of my favorite high-heels fragrances, as is Chanel Coromandel. Agent Provocateur puts me in a minxy mood when I'm all foxed up for festivities, and Comme des Garçons Daphne is a real whoop-de-doo party gal. And after smelling Malle's glorious Carnal Flower on Juicy Couture co-founder Gela Nash-Taylor at Solange Azagury-Partridge's recent Beverly Hills jewelry shop bash, I'm now enlightened. I used to think Carnal Flower was too overwhelming for me to pull off, but I loved how it sang right off Gela's skin into a floral puff of joy that delighted everyone around her. I'm back on board the Carnal Flower love train.
Don't bother wrapping it, Solange - I'll just wear it home.
Carnal Flower's fresh vibrancy is the perfect optimistic perfume to ring in the New Year, and that's what I'll be smelling like when the clock strikes midnight. What will you be wearing? While you're pondering, here are my holiday party picks:
OFFICE PARTY / BLOCK PARTY / PARTY PARTY:
Agent Provocateur Diamond Dust -- this mossy saffron rose has already started fooling around without you. Hurry up and get in there! Starting at $40 for 1 oz from Amazon.com, FragranceNet.com and AgentProvocateur.com Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 -- cedar-ish and sandalwood-ish magic potion. Starting at $135 for 3.5 oz from LuckyScent.com
DINNER PARTY:
Guerlain Shalimar Ode à la Vanille -- a lighter-hearted version of the original, scaling back the leather and bumping up the vanilla. $150 for 1.7 oz from Amazon.com and the Guerlain Boutique at the Shoppes at the Palazzo, (702) 732-7008 Fresh Cannabis Santal -- quietly yummy patchouli, chocolate, plums, musk. Starting at $32 for 1 oz from Sephora.com and Amazon.com
NEW YEAR'S EVE:
Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower -- lavish and joyful tuberose. Starting at $200 for 1.7 oz from Barneys.com, LesSenteurs.com and EditionsdeParfums.com Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight in Paris -- sweet, leathery amber. $115 for 4.2 oz from LuckyScent.com

How To Choose a Fragrance Gift


Raoul and Katie sittin' in a tree -- h-u-f-f-i-n-g. Yep, I'm back at Fox 5 San Diego Morning News for another fragrance slot with anchordude Raoul Martinez, who's revealing himself to be quite the budding fume connoisseur. Before my “Fragrance Gift Tips” segment starts, Raoul leans in and fixes me with an earnest look. “How long does fragrance last?” he asks. He explains that he has a bunch of colognes from when his wife used to work at a perfume counter years back, and he's started to notice that they doesn't pack the punch they used to. “They don't last as long, and there's something missing from the smell,” he explains. A few quick questions determine that he's been keeping his bottles in a hot bathroom, and I set him straight on the no heat/no light rule for preserving one's collection. The upside of having your fragrances die on you is that it's the perfect excuse to wear something new, and after a quick sniff through my selection, Raoul takes an instant delight in Hermès Terre d'Hermès parfum. “I like this!” he enthuses, holding his wrist out for anchorlady Shally Zomorodi to sniff. She obliges, then wrinkles her nose and shakes her head. “No? This smells good!” he insists, as Shally marches back to her anchor desk. “Naw. I like Chanel Platinum Égoïste,” she declares over her shoulder. “That's what smells good on a man.” “What's that stuff you were wearing that made me crazy?” Raoul calls across the studio to her. Shally thinks for a second. “Oh yeah! Coco Mademoiselle!” Raoul turns back to me conspiratorially. “Someone had it and she tried some on and it made me --” he rolls his eyes back in his head by way of illustration. “I told her how amazing it smelled and she ran right out and bought a bottle. Now that smells good.” That's all for today's fragrance news from San Diego Fox 5. And now for the recap of my holiday fragrance gift picks:
FOR MOM:
Chanel No. 5 Eau Première -- brighter, fizzier, younger version of the classic Chanel No. 5. Starting at $135 for 5 oz from Amazon.com
FOR DAD:
Guerlain Vetiver -- fresh, grassy and spicy. Starting at $45 for 1.7 oz from Amazon.com, FragranceNet.com and Sephora.com
FOR YOUR GIRLFRIEND OR WIFE:
Narciso Rodriguez for Her eau de parfum -- a kiss of orange blossom and a nuzzle of musk. Feminine with a capital “F”. Starting at $78 for 1.6 oz from Amazon.com, FragranceNet.com and Sephora.com
FOR YOUR BOYFRIEND OR HUSBAND:
Hermes Terre d'Hermes parfum -- starts off fresh, ends up deep. Kind of like your man. $91 for 2.5 oz from Amazon.com
FOR A TEENAGE GIRL:
Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance -- buttery rose patchouli. Baby's first bombshell perfume. Starting from $85 for 1.7 oz from Amazon.com and FragranceNet.com Yves Saint Laurent Belle D'Opium -- peachy patchouli hookah pipe teen dream. Starting at $26 for .25 oz from Amazon.com
FOR A TEENAGE GUY:
Lalique White -- brisk citrus'n'spice start, followed by creamy incense/pine woodsiness. Smells good without seeming like you're trying too hard. Starting at $45 for 4.2 oz from Amazon.com

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

...a Nahema for the new century.




It was the purchase of a bottle of Keiko Mecheri Oliban several years ago that upgraded me from a straight incense fiend into a rose and incense fiend. And then when oud wood began regularly beefing up rose perfumes, much like added calcium in breakfast cereals, I made sure I got my RDA with regular servings of People of the Labyrinths A*Maze, Juliette Has a Gun Midnight Oud, Montale White Aoud, and the exalted Amouage Homage Attar.

So when I started hearing talk about a new Frédéric Malle scent combining incense, rose and oud, composed by Carnal Flower master Dominique Ropion no less, I went a little doolally. I pestered my local Barneys, I peppered Malle HQ with emails. When, when, oh WHEN was Portrait of a Lady going to be available?

Now, now, oh NOW is when it's available, dear whiffers, and NOW is when Portrait of a Lady is my newest favorite perfume ever. This Lady features a vibrant patchouli that smells uncannily of fresh, wet dirt whipped up into a dusty benzoin cloud. There's minty geranium, muffled cinnamon and tart berries. Even though the rose is billed as “a daring dosage of the best Turkish rose essence,” I perceive the rose as a kind of backwards echo drifting through the composition, rather than a front and center “I am rose, hear me roar” flower power player.

The slight sharpness of the incense contrasts beautifully with the musk's plushness. The suggestion of oud is barely, but beautifully, there. It's just a niff of that odd oudy floor polish before it swells into a leathery sourness, lacing all the prettiness together. For such a complex perfume, the brush strokes are blended beyond visibility.

Utilizing clumsy perfume math, Portrait of a Lady is the intersection between Cartier XII L’Heure Mystérieuse with its dense patchouli and incense, By Kilian Rose Oud's creamy/sour oud friction against its Turkish rose, Micallef Rose Aoud's fruity/flirty rose and oud, By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses' bright blackcurrant/rose combo, and Chanel Coromandel's plush patchouli and benzoin blend.

And catching an unexpected huff off my t-shirt during yoga class the other day, I also flashed on Agent Provocateur. Without being as overtly “busy knickers” as AP, Portrait of Lady does share an echo of its unshowered musky rose closeness.

For all of its dusty patchouli rosy oudy musky minty berry divinity, Portrait of a Lady isn't bombastic. This is a big perfume, but incredibly, not a loud one. Despite the supergroup ingredients, the scale isn't stadium-sized, but human. The keenly calibrated blend emphasizes the players' affinity for each other, instead of their individual tendencies to showboat. The sillage caresses, rather than oppresses.

Like expensive jeans pre-worn in all the right places, Portrait of a Lady comes out of the bottle already broken in. Even when freshly applied, it smells comfortably lived-in. There's no lag time between hitting the skin and shrinking to fit.

And the fit is universal, according to Portrait of a Lady's many dedicated male wearers. Some think Frédéric Malle has painted himself into a girly corner with the name, but for those men loving the Lady on themselves, might I suggest an alternate pronunciation: “Portrait of a Laddie”?

A couple hours after liberally spritzing myself with this at the Barneys perfume counter, I was browsing at a nearby mall when a young woman near me gasped, "What perfume are you wearing? It smells beautiful!" (She really did gasp: a genuine, pearls-clutching gasp.)

You'd think this happens to me all the time, given the amount of juice in which I regularly marinate, but it doesn't. I filled her in on the details, and she confidently told me that her mother probably owned it, since she was a fragrance nut with “800 bottles of perfumes.” I just as confidently responded that I was sure her mother didn't own it, being as Portrait of a Lady had only been available for about 2 minutes, practically.

Like something out the Marshall McLuhan scene in Woody Allen's Annie Hall, the young woman's cell phone rang, and it was her mother. After bringing her mom up to speed on our chance meeting, she handed the phone over to me. Yes, Susan was a fumie. No, she did not have 800 bottles of perfume (“only about 200”). But yes, she was indeed the proud possessor of Portrait of Lady. Psych!




Even if you consider my fume ramblings an amusing diversion at best, take it from Susan -- a lady who knows from perfume and is smart enough to train her lovely daughter to sniff out the good shizz: Portrait of a Lady is a must-smell, and a must-have.

Malle says that in overseeing this Dominique Ropion creation, he was inspired by 80s-era Guerlain perfumes. Hearing that, I instantly thought: Nahema! Not that the two fragrances smell anything alike. Nahema is a proper adult perfume that smells like Maria Callas' dressing room after a long night: wilted rose bouquets, bowls of overripe fruit, and cigarettes stubbed out in half-drunk cocktails.




Portrait of a Lady is also a proper adult perfume, but it strips the hauteur from couture and renders luxury accessibly sensual. All that posh rose may be shot in high def, but filtered through the soft focus of benzoin, musk and oud, it becomes intimate, not intimidating.

But like Nahema, Portrait of a Lady is a swirl of sensation compressed into a halo that generously gives you all the credit for its worldly complexity. I'm thinking Portrait of a Lady just might be a Nahema for the new century.

Portrait of a Lady is available from Barneys, Les Senteurs and EditionsdeParfums.com, starting at $200 for 50ml

Balenciaga Paris

...it's a bit "hands off the merchandise."

As the face of Balenciaga Paris, Charlotte Gainsbourg is the very personification of a wealthy waif. Lean of limb and mussed of hair, Charlotte combines expensive lingerie with a coolly appraising stare, making you think, "whatever she's having, I'll take two!"
Even though the lovely bottle of Balenciaga Paris perches right in front of her on a lily pad in the fountain, I don't think that's what's giving Charl her mojo. She may look reserved, but that's merely a disguised warrior stance while she decides your fate. On the other hand, Balenciaga Paris smells reserved, because it is. It's positively pursed-lipped. I kept waiting for its sheer violet and wan woods to fight off the shivers and walk in the sunshine, but it never did. But like a waif in expensive lingerie, context is everything. Just as I was about to dismiss this eau de parfum, up popped a comment on my YouTube channel from viewer konrox:
"this is my FAVORITE perfume! i use it all the time! and im a guy ahha"
Ah-ha, indeed. I do believe konrox has discovered a way to warm up Balenciaga Paris' chilly violet reserve: throw her on a man.
Balenciaga Paris is available from stores including Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, starting at $95 for 50 ml.

Aftelier Perfumes Candide

...euphoria in a bottle.


About ten years ago, I went through a phase when I only wore natural perfume oils. These were Aveda things like Love or Energizing Composition, or simple blends I picked up at Whole Foods. I wasn't trying to save the trees or hug a whale -- there was no eco-political manifesto behind my choice. I just liked the behavior of the perfume oils, the way they'd glow softly off my skin. I also enjoyed the clarity of the compositions, getting a real fix on that ylang-ylang and sandalwood, or rosemary and bergamot, or whatever the particular mojo mix was.

Before I drifted back from Planet Natural to continue my tour of the greater fumiverse, I became obsessed with a little bottle of scented oil a yoga teacher had given me. It was called Euphoria, and I couldn't get over how happy and uplifting the fragrance was. I never knew who made it, but I do remember the three ingredients listed on the bottle: neroli, jasmine and ylang-ylang.

Never was a smell so well named. Euphoria was my companion on long, stuffy plane trips, as well as a secret ally during stressful times at work. We were happy together, Euphoria and I, and then it was gone. The company who made it stopped, or went bust, or something, and I forgot about it.

Until Aftelier Perfumes Candide came along. Candide, named for Voltaire's optimistic hero, reunites me with my memory of Euphoria. And then amps it up with perfumer Mandy Aftel's luxury artisanal spin.

Candide shimmers off the skin in veils of bright, tart orange and sharp-sweet jasmine. The jasmine deepens into lushness, joined by sweet Moroccan rose. The aroma sings out in a pure, unwavering tone, which gradually transforms into a chord through the distant hum of piney frankincense and dusty myrrh. This perfume oil stays delicate and true on the skin, but with the nature of these most natural of ingredients, the tenacity isn't the most robust.

Candide is up with people and down on frowns. Sniff it and you'll smile. Wear it -- and you better get ready for some euphoria.

Candide is available from Aftelier.com, starting at $45 for 2 ml

Swing photo via

Holiday Fragrance Gift Picks 2010

Overwhelmed at the mall? Blanking on holiday gift ideas? Let your Fumey Godmother (errmmmm, that'll be me) suggest ways to make sure that everyone in your life smells as good as you do. (I know, not humanly possible, but let's aim high.)
FOR MOM:
Prada L'Eau Ambrée -- amber as elegant and pretty as a silk chiffon scarf. Starting at $58 for 1.0 oz from Amazon.com, FragranceNet.com and Sephora.com Stella McCartney Stella rollerball -- sheer, woody rose. $20 for .33 oz from Amazon.com and Sephora.com
FOR DAD:
Guerlain Vetiver -- fresh, grassy and spicy. Starting at $45 for 1.7 oz from Amazon.com, FragranceNet.com and Sephora.com Bulgari Black -- cool rubber and hot vanilla smoke. Starting at $28 for 1.3 oz from Amazon.com, FragranceNet.com and Sephora.com
FOR YOUR GIRLFRIEND OR WIFE:
Narciso Rodriguez for Her eau de parfum -- irresistible femininity conveyed by a kiss of orange blossom and a nuzzle of musk. Sexy, but refined. Starting at $78 for 1.6 oz from Amazon.com, FragranceNet.com and Sephora.com Auric Blends Egyptian Goddess -- soft, clean musk. Starting at $7 for .33 oz from Amazon.com
FOR YOUR BOYFRIEND OR HUSBAND:
Hermes Terre d'Hermes parfum -- fruit and florals grounded by rocks and woods. Rugged, with brains. $91 for 2.5 oz from Amazon.com Fresh Cannabis Santal -- rich patchouli, sweet chocolate, fruity plums and sensual musk. $32 for 1.0 oz from Amazon.com
FOR A TEENAGE GIRL:
Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming purse bullet -- tender rose, tangy berries, a wisp of musk. Happy and girly! $75 for .50 oz from Amazon.com and FragranceNet.com Kat Von D Sinner rollerball -- caramel-tinged rose patchouli. $16 for .33oz from Amazon.com and Sephora.com
FOR A TEENAGE GUY:
Hanae Mori HM -- lemon, lavender, jasmine, chocolate, cedarwood. Sounds crazy, smells good. Starting at $50 for 1.7 oz from Amazon.com, FragranceNet.com and Sephora.com Jovan White Musk for Men -- crisp, fruity musk. Starting at $12 for 3.0 oz from Amazon.com and FragranceNet.com
NICHE SHOWBOATING:
Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady -- billowing clouds of rose, spice, blackcurrant, patchouli, incense and musk. A Guerlain Nahéma for the new century. $200 for 1.7 oz at EditionsdeParfums.com By Killian Pure Oud -- slightly charred woods and slightly dirty animals. The smoothest oud out there, and the most decadent layering fragrance...ever! $395 for 1.7 oz at LuckyScent.com

Yves Saint Laurent Belle D'Opium

"Hookah", not "hooker". I think.

When trying to figure a new perfume, context is a huge help. Where does this unfamiliar scent fit in the fragrance map of the world? Or, never mind the world -- how about your brain? Filing away Gucci Rush as the last word in disco-ball poppers perfume might be hasty, for example, before you'd had a chance to experience Byredo M/Mink and follow the yellow brick road from de trop to way de trop. (M/Mink takes the locker room/chlorine smell of poppers and pushes it so far into church-in-a-zoo animalic incense terrain, that you don't know whether to throw up or sigh with pleasure.) Or, writing off the mysterious dry fruitiness of Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit as impenetrable would be premature before encountering the same accord in Lutens' Daim Blond, and flashing on their shared sueded apricot. Connecting the dots between fragrances is fun, but it can also fool with your head. Relativity can diminish the allure of previously adored scents, as well as elevating others you'd already dismissed as clunkers. If I had first smelled Yves Saint Laurent Belle D'Opium in a universe devoid of any other perfume, I'd say, “Sweet. Peachy. Syrupy. Woody. Hot. Cottony.” And then I'd say, “Gee, I wish there were some other perfumes in this stupid universe.” But it wasn't like that. I first smelled Belle D'Opium in a universe stuffed to the gills with perfume, a universe containing Bond No. 9 Chinatown, itself a universe stuffed to the gills with its own craziness. With all of Chinatown's rock 'em, sock 'em peach and patchouli and shellacked wood and gardenia -- you practically need extra nostrils to take it all in. And now having smelled Chinatown, I have a place for Belle D'Opium in my mental taxonomy. It's the cheap'n'cheerful Chinatown, which in turn I consider the grown-up version of teenage fruity-florals. So I guess that makes Belle D'Opium the teenage version of an adult fruity-floral. I don't know if that's a double negative, but that's where I am with my perfume relativity theory. So far.
Belle D'Opium is available from Amazon.com, starting at $26 for .25 oz.

Yves Saint Laurent Opium

...a brick house of a spice bomb.

I'm sitting here in a cloud of Yves Saint Lauren Opium. Said cloud has been billowing from the merest dot of eau de parfum on the back of my left hand. I'm thinking, “Bring it, you brick house of a spice bomb, you crazy clove-carnation carry-on! Dig this dusty incense!” But I'm also thinking, no way in hellfire does Opium speak “teen”. There aren't any reference points in mall perfumes to provide a context for Opium's opera house theatricality. And in this time of mainstream brands stooping to conquer with their endless kiddy-pleasing caramel-fruit smoothie scents, it's almost shocking to encounter Opium's positively monolithic spice. Curiosity about the youth-of-today's stance on Opium led me to MakeupAlley, where I waded through the depressingly predictable “old lady” slag-offs on this 1979 release. (It makes me wince that our mothers and grandmothers are linked with disgust and revulsion by the casual use of this perfume pejorative.) There was, however, a fairly respectable fan club among the younger crowd for Opium, including 19-year-old EternityintheRain, who wrote:
“I wore this perfume before my mother hid it away in her closet because I used it more than she did. To be exact, she locked it away again two days ago. I wore it when I wanted a confidence boost or to be dramatic. [To wear it], you have to have a certain type of personality that is kickass to be 'worthy' of it.”
What a great tribute to the “Opium effect”! And what a great Opium slogan:
Opium: Lock it away, or asses will be kicked.
Check out the kickass women in these three Opium commercials:
Opium is available from Sephora.com, FragranceNet.com and Amazon.com, starting at $41 for 1 oz.

Marc Jacobs Bang






I was so gobsmacked by the Marc Jacobs Bang ad that actually trying the fragrance became a distant afterthought. Here's that ad again:





You can practically smell Marc just by looking at the picture! He looks like a gryos with abs, hiding his kebab behind the Bang factice. Anybody got pita bread?


When the photo shoot turned chilly, Marc slipped into a cozy naan.

But enough of this snack talk. What ho of the juice? Well, it's “bang” on target with the trend for woody/peppery masculines -- I'm thinking of Le Labo Poivre 23 and Comme des Garçons Wonderwood, here. But like the detonated-by-a-bomb-looking bottle, Bang is sharp and shiny -- not something you'd snuggle up to.

I could complain about Bang being thin and harsh, or I could look on the bright side and recognize that it's a really fantastic sports cologne. Because it is fresh without being annoyingly sneezy (I'm blowing my nose at you, Bleu de Chanel!).

Marc Jacobs Bang. It's a fantastic sports cologne!

Bang is available from Sephora.com and Amazon.com, at $55 for 1.7 oz

Perfume Pen Pals: Perfume Pen Pals: Profumum Roma Santalum and Fumidus, and M. Micallef Vanille Aoud


Katie,

I'm curious if you've tried Profumum Roma Santalum. At first, it smells as much like myrrh and cinnamon as it does sandalwood. It goes on slightly sharp and medicinal, though not to the point of irritation, and then softens and ends up smelling a little like some of the sweeter Profumums. I don't love it but I don't dislike it either and I can imagine enjoying it especially on cool winter evenings.

What say you, KP?

Dan


Dan,

What say I is, yeah, Santalum looks of interest -- I'd like to try it. I'm surprised I haven't already, what with my sandalwood safari last year which ended in a purchase of Etro Sandalo.

Katie


Katie,

My final verdict is this: Santalum is okay. It attempts something similar to Le Labo Vanille 44, a kind of balancing act between sweet/creamy and spicy/incensey, but it's not nearly as successful.

One because its notes don't both blend and maintain clarity (Santalum is more a case of "and now this, and now this, and now this..."), and two because it has the same ending as almost all the Profumums I've tried, a sort of depressing artificial sweetness, like NutraSweet cotton candy.



Having said that, I just ran into my friend Diane and her first words to me were, "You smell great!"

So I smell great, KP, and yet I'm not entirely happy. If that isn't an indictment of this whole perfume rigmarole, I don't know what is.

Dan


Dan,

Just sprayed on the decant of Santalum you sent. It's sandalwood curled up around the edges with a menthol tinge. It's a little savory and oddly waxy. It gets a smidgeon barnyard as it ambles along. It's in the same bailiwick as Etro Sandalo, though the Etro has that great sour petrol opening which develops into “animal skin”.

Pitting them against each other in a perfume dance-off, I can see what you mean about Santalum's sweet sayonara. Sandalo stays resolutely un-sweet, while Santalum ends up smelling like an herbal teabag. The kind of teabag that was the last one in the box, so it ended up shoved in another box with three other leftover teabags, so none of them taste the way they're supposed to.

Not that that's a bad thing. Because I can still drink uncertain herbal tea, and Profumum Roma Santalum still smells very nice. But I still prefer Sandalo.

Katie


Katie,

I've been gradually trying the rest of the Profumum line and I'm beginning to understand it.

There's a good deal of giddy online chatter about how potent they are, how they have an unprecedented amount of perfume oil, how they stain your clothes and persist through showers (and probably lab-emergency safety showers, too), which reminds me of reading about The Who in the Guinness Book of World Records, how they were officially the loudest band in the world. Which was kind of exciting. When I was nine.


Plus, Profumum is no Who. Wearing Fumidus yesterday (relentlessly smoky vetiver, a gigantic field of burning grass) was like Guinness reporting that instead of The Who, some anonymous Canadian band was the loudest in the world. I like Santalum, but the rest? Uninteresting music played loudly. And they're very expensive, too. When it comes to perfume, those extra decibels aren't free. This morning I'm wearing M. Micallef Vanille Aoud, which isn't quite bad but a little shocking and sickening in its blending of sweet creamy vanilla with oud. It's like a See's candy filled with meat. Do we want this? Stained clothing and meat candies? Sometimes I think I'll never be happy. Dan

Viewer Mail: A Close Shave with Fine Fragrance









Hi Katie,

I'm trying to find an aftershave/cologne combination that doesn't clash. Would I need to buy an aftershave and a cologne with the same brand name and the same scent? Or is there a mix and match way of going about it?

My doctor suggested that I use an aftershave with alcohol for the astringent properties, but the smell seems to wear off quite fast.

I have Pinuad Clubman Original and Bay Rum, Aqua Velva Sport and Gillette Cool Wave for aftershaves. I don't own any cologne and am just a little overwhelmed to step up to a department store counter without any information.

I could use any advice you have to offer,

Cheers,
Kevin

You could use advice? I need the advice, Kevin! I'm no man, goodness knows, but I've never understood why one would rub alcohol into one's face after shaving it. When ladies shave their legs, "moisturize" is the watchword, not "cauterize". Why does a guy scrape a razor across his face, then immediately follow it up with a slap of searing alcohol on his newly-tender skin? Haven't you seen The Phantom of the Opera?


Or The Abominable Dr. Phibes?

Even with an acid-washed face, Phibes still macs the ladies.

Seizing on your query as a learning experience for all, I ran it past my Perfume Pen Pal, Dan Rolleri, who responded:


His doctor recommended aftershave? Who's his doctor? Doc Adams from Gunsmoke?




I guess the bottom line is the scent from those alcohol-heavy aftershaves disappears so quickly, does it matter if it matches? If so, he could always stay in the same family: traditional lavender, citrus or sandalwood aftershave paired with a lavender, citrus or sandalwood cologne. Or Aqua Velva/Gillette with an aquatic like Davidoff Cool Water.

But most of all, I want to know who his doctor is.


Okay, so both Dan and I are easily distracted. For real answers, I turned to an expert in the field. bythbook is a regular correspondent on Badger & Blade, the virtual barbershop that unites fine gentlemen and their pursuit of fine grooming. Here's what bythbook had to say:
"The alcohol is essentially an antiseptic -- to disinfect any nicks or cuts resulting from the shave. Personally, I like the alcohol splash after a shave.

The trouble with trying to find a complement to Clubman products is they are so darned strong! (Many in the line are labeled 'cologne', actually.) On the other hand, they do stand by themselves quite well, with good staying power, so if used an aftershave there's really no need for a cologne.

There are unscented or low-scent aftershave balms that are followed very nicely by cologne or EDT/EDP -- a lot of guys who have sensitive skin stick with balms. Also, many use witch hazel rather than stronger aftershave -- Thayers has a number of differently-scented witch hazels.

For more answers to Kevin's questions, may I recommend the Badger & Blade "Aftershave" forum, here."

Fumies, are there any closely-shaven, marvelously-scented men out there who'd like to share their aftershave/fragrance combo tips?

Six Picks: Fall Fragrances 2010


Autumn is a season that has a lot going for it: Halloween, burning leaves, a certain pleasurable melancholy. Between the cooler weather and the shifting mood, fall practically insists on a whole new fume wardrobe. (Fall's a little bossy that way.) Inspired by my fall fragrances picks, I've held forth on these compelling smells at some length in the video review, above. To make it easier for folks who just need a quick shpritz of perfume info so they can get on with their day already, I've boiled my speechifying down to key words for each of my choices, as follows: Lolita Lempicka Key words: licorice, flair, pointy Tom Ford Grey Vetiver Key words: citrus, roots, Unabomber Diptyque L'Eau Trois Key words: myrrh, fertile, sacred Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumière Noire pour Femme Key words: rose, rubber, police tape Chanel Égoïste Key words: sandalwood, milky, excite Amouage Memoir Woman Key words: leather, suffocated, hallucinate For sizes and prices, please click on the fragrance names. Fumies, what are you wearing this autumn?

Comme des Garcons Wonderwood

...more bonsai than giant redwood.

Fresh wood is one of those smells, like fresh-baked cookies or fresh-cut grass, that no one doesn't like. And Comme des Garçons, for all of their squid-ink-this and ozone-that perfumes, are plenty happy to give the people what they like. Comme des Garçons teased the sweet tooth with their Series 7: Sweet (Sticky Cake, Burnt Sugar, etc) and rolled in the hay with their Series 1: Leaves (Calamus, Shiso, etc). And between Hinoki, Palisander, Standard, Dover St Market and now Wonderwood, CdG have really done a run on the lumberyard. As much as I love bark, twigs, sap and sawdust in my perfumes, I must confess to experiencing a little wood fatigue after years of CdG's non-stop log-loading. Wonderwood is so easy to wear, and not demanding in any way, but maybe I just need a break from the Forestry Service. In other words, it's not you, WW, it's me. I scored a bottle of WW from the nice CdG PR lady in London after I'd already shot my video review, so I passed the gimme onto my friend Steven, a newbie fumie. And by “newbie”, I mean that his one bottle collection consists of Tom Ford for Men. Here's what he reported:
“Am wearing Wonderwood right now, but am not sure I like as much as Tom Ford. I have asked around the office but comments are mixed -- it's 'a bit teenage boy', 'a bit like Axe', and a bit 'subtle' or 'peppery', but people do seem to like it. The bottle is v. annoying though and can't stand up!"
Sigh. These newbies and their lack of enthusiasm for arty packaging! My Perfume Pen Pal, Dan Rolleri, carped about my comparison of Wonderwood to the smell of a cabinet:

I wish I smelled like a cabinet when I wear Wonderwood. For me, it's surprisingly timid. I smell like a room where a cabinet used to be. Or a room next to a room with a cabinet. Or the memory of a cabinet. Or a tiny little dollhouse cabinet. It's all wood, but more bonsai than giant redwood.

Well, I think that WW is the posh version of Marc Jacobs Bang. To my nose, the recipe for Bang seems to be: take a cup of black pepper, a cup of cedar chips, and stir. Then wait for your nose to explode. By contrast, Wonderwood finesses the black pepper and cedar and whips it into a soft, woody souffle. A souffle of bonsai proportions, but what's so bad about small? It's better than an exploded nose.
Wonderwood is available from LuckyScent.com at $95 for 50 ml

Viewer Mail: Help Me Smell Like Tire Shine







Dear Katie,

I've been dating a wonderful fella for almost a year now, and he keeps telling me how he LOVES this perfume, except he can't remember the name, or even what it really smells like (except for "good"). I've been trying to solve the mystery, and here's what I've learned, with a LOT of trial and error:

1) It was most popular around 1997-2000 but it is still worn today, and not by any particular "type" of woman.

2) It is not: Lucky You, Angel, Happy, D&G The One, B Spot, CK one or any of the other popular CK fragrances.

3) It's sweet, but not very floral.

I got a breakthrough clue when he realized that Meguiar's Tire Shine (in the black arousal can) smells just like the perfume, and, well...tires. I Googled "Tire Shine" and people say it smells just like blueberries and/or cotton candy.

I made a fool of myself at Walmart, huffing it in the fragrance aisle while trying to match it to a perfume. I had to buy the can when an employee caught me, but the good news is, it really shines up your tires!

I must really like this guy. Can somebody help me figure out what this perfume is? Please?

Shine on you crazy diamond,
Jenn


Jenn - number one, that Meguiar's Tire Shine must be some seriously good sh*t, because you spelled "aerosol" as "arousal". Looks like I've got a little Walmart huffing of my own to do.

"Blueberries and/or cotton candy," huh? The only thing that immediately comes to mind is Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy, which is 50% blueberries, 50% cotton candy, and 100% blechhh. (But to be fair, I haven't tried it on my tires yet.) Anyway, it wasn't around in that 1997-2000 time frame you're looking for.

I am positive that my clever correspondents will suggest a raft of possibilities for this mystery fume. (I'll kick things off with Bulgari Black, that nummy hot rubber'n'vanilla niff.)

But Jenn! Why wrangle the best minds in perfume forensics just to track down the scent that reminds your fella of some other floozie? (Uh...not that you're a floozie. Just a Tire Shine huffer.)

That circa 1997-2000 ex is no concern of yours -- or his -- and neither is the rubber shiner's perfume. Time to introduce some new smells that he'll long for, and associate only with you. Might I suggest Walmart's hardware dept? The smell of Goo Gone is hard to forget.

Forensics Team -- any potential matches with the perp's perfume?

Perfume Pen Pals: Washington Tremlett Black Tie and more Tann Rokka Signature


Dan,

I've just spritzed on a bit of the Washington Tremlett Black Tie decant you sent (I'm still marveling that you finally bought this thing I was banging on about a year and a half ago), and by contrast to Comme des Garçons Rose, it smells so geraniumy. I love it so much right now. Thank god for geraniums.

Katie


Katie,

Let's be honest about Black Tie, I only bought it because I came upon an $80 deal. If it were $160, I'd still be on the sideline.

But here's the miraculous thing, and this almost never happens: I like it a lot. A few people online called it the most wearable rose/oud and I think it is. It's almost transparent, which is such an achievement for an oud. Though I suspect oud lovers would balk because transparency is obviously not the reason you buy oud.

Still, I do enjoy it and I'm surprised it hasn't developed much of a following during these oud-crazy times.

Dan

P.S. I've decided I'm not crazy about Tann Rokka Signature and your comparison of it to some of the Histoires de Parfums is spot-on. It's brighter than I had imagined when reading about it -- much too bright, like a glitter shirt. For some reason I thought it would be rich and incense-y.

I don't know what Jude Law is thinking. Maybe Sienna Miller likes it on him. If Sienna Miller liked something on me, even if it was a glitter shirt, I'd wear it. Provided I didn't have to leave the house. I'd just sit there in my glitter shirt and patiently wait for Sienna to come home.

And I'd begin to resent her over time. And I'd sometimes not put on the shirt. And she'd say, "Hey, where's your glitter shirt?" And I'd have to make up some story about spilling malt vinegar on it (she eats nothing but fish and chips, that one). And then she'd find it hidden under the bed and know I was lying to her. And once that trust is broken, it's impossible to maintain a healthy relationship. So you can see where this is going.


Jude Law dashing out to buy more malt vinegar.


Dan,

So, two relationships (Signature and Sienna Miller) bite the dust. I was about to caution you against future impulsiveness, but then again, some of your dalliances have been successful -- like Black Tie.

I always had a strong instinct that you would cotton right onto Black Tie. I think it shares a similar stance with Tom Ford Noir de Noir, but...y'know...less clowny.


Black Tie isn't as thick/chocolatey as Noir de Noir, and it's not as gourmand as L'Artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant, but it does share their rich, almost nutty saffron. Saffron does something delectable in perfumes that I have a tough time articulating.

Not like geranium, which is easier for me to qualify: rosy with a crisp lemon overlay.

But are you certain Black Tie has oud? I don't think it does. No wonder you find the oud "almost transparent".

Katie


Katie,

I keep forgetting there's no oud in there because it smells a little like oud. And because several people compare it to People of the Labyrinths A*Maze.

Here's what Now Smell This wrote:

"Agar wood is not listed in Black Tie’s notes (saffron, walnut, galbanum, salvia, rose, geranium, tuberose, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, musk), but the two fragrances are certainly similar -- if Black Tie does not have an oudh note, it mimics one, albeit without the occasionally overbearing medicinal haze that sometimes announces the presence of agar wood."


Dan


Dan,

This calls for a Black Tie and A*Maze dance-off! I just applied both, and here's the scorecard on their moves:

While both are saffron roses, A*Maze is sharper, spicier, richer, rosier and heavier, and Black Tie is softer and almost gourmand in comparison. I'm guessing that's Black Tie's vanilla giving a twirl.

When first smelled next to A*Maze, Black Tie is minty. The sheer, green rose feel of Black Tie's geranium, along with its lack of oud, renders it a lighter option, though BT is by no means a "light" scent.

Katie


Katie,

BT is an A*Maze for warm weather.

Oh and by the way, TR Signature isn't bad, it's just not to my taste. It's the smell of an elegant woman wearing flowy satin lounge pants, having friends over for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Her husband is never home, but he makes up for it in jewelry and spa memberships. Which seemed like a satisfying trade-off until I heard her crying alone in the den that night. Now Signature makes me a little sad.



What any of this has to do with Jude Law is beyond me. I really think he needs to find a new fragrance.

Dan

Nina Ricci Nina

I'm so far down the road of perfume thrillseeking by now that the charms of Nina Ricci Nina are almost too wifty-wafty for me to take proper aim with my butterfly net. Nina is not trucker armpit this, yak ballsack that, Barbie-head-meets-Belgian-storm-drains the other. It's tart, sweet cotton, and perfect for teenage girls. It was a struggle to remember if I ever voluntarily wore a fragrance as light, girlish and pleasing as Nina. I fired up the montage machine in my head and mentally flickered through the stops on my perfume history trail in reverse. Musc Ravageur, nope. L'Eau Trois, uh-uh. Divine, naw. Eau Dynamisante, Diorella, Cristalle - no, no, no. Wait -- what was that dome-capped bottle? Rewind and...that's it -- Love's Fresh Lemon! A pucker of citrus on a floral pillow. Sheer, sweet, but never sickening. I loved my Love's Fresh Lemon when I was 15. It didn't make any big pronouncement, it never laid down a manifesto. It just gusted past the nose in a faint puff of sunniness that underscored everyone's good mood. Nina does the same trick for teenage girls today. It's innocent and pretty. It doesn't heave with lurid promises too impertinent for its young wearers. The time for impertinence will come fast enough, anyway. Fumies, what are your innocent/impertinent perfume suggestions?
Nina is available from Sephora.com at $41 for 1 oz

Perfume Pen Pals: Comme des Garcons Rose Part 2


Katie,

It seems you don't like rose soliflores, which puts you in the same camp as Luca Turin. The jury is out on what I like, and I'm afraid it's heading for an impasse.

Dan


Dan,

Well no rose perfume's truly a soliflore, cuz they always throw a little musk or geranium or amber or something in there to rosy up the rose.

And I adore plenty of full-on rose perfumes: Frédéric Malle Une Rose, Perfumer's Workshop Tea Rose, Yosh Sottile, which many would consider pretty darn soliflore-esque. It's the musky soapiness that's making me angry in Comme des Garçons Rose. The same way it makes me angry in the new version of Chloé. And the same way wearing trousers makes me angry.

Katie


Katie,

But that's true of almost every perfume, rose or not. Under your strict rose-crazy guidelines, almost nothing qualifies as a soliflore. And if that's true, why does the word "soliflore" even exist?

I will agree there's a sizable dose of musky soapiness but I prefer it here than in, say, one of those terrible tributes to fabric softener by Clean or Philosophy. In fact, I'd be quite pleased if my fabric softener smelled like Rose.

You lost me with the trousers.

Dan


Dan,

No, you're absolutely right, one needs to draw the soliflore line a bit more generously, otherwise nothing would be included. So I'll modify my position by saying -- I do too like rose soliflores. But I still prefer Woolite's soapy rose to CdG Rose.

And re the pants: nothing puts me in a foul mood quicker than wearing pants. I hate the feel of all that fabric encasing my legs. It makes me feel suffocated and ugly and fat and really, really angry. Yoga pants, fine. Pajama bottoms, fine. Sweat pants, fine. But trousers or jeans bring the rage like nothing else.


Katie's rage. Now available in plaid.

And another thing, CdG Rose is so not a eunuch rose. Or even a narrow-hipped one. A narrow-hipped rose would be Paestum Rose or Voleur de Roses or Rose Poivrée, perhaps.

And the fact that you're all easy breezy with CdG Rose means that all your anti-rose talk up until now is horse puckey, because Rose is ROSE. Majorly ROSE. Have you even smelled this thing?

Katie


Katie,

See, when the first person is all emotional and the second person isn't, it's difficult for the second person not to sound condescending. So calm down, little lady, I only meant it was narrow-hipped in the sense of being rather thin (as opposed to the complex, full-bodied Une Rose, for example).

Paestum Rose isn't narrow-hipped, it's a masculine rose. Which, yes, means it's narrow-hipped, but you wouldn't bother referring to a man as narrow-hipped because it's expected. Same with Rose Poivrée.

Listen, I agree that it's majorly rose, but I don't agree with your use of the all UPPERCASE. It's a rose soliflore with a rather small footprint, which doesn't remind me of Aunt Edna at all. Have you even smelled Aunt Edna?

And yet I'm still curious about your stomping fit over CdG Rose because, to my nose, it's one of the most inoffensive things I've experienced. And that includes kittens, Doris Day movies and the Danish pancakes in Solvang. Rose is right up there with all those things.


Doris' kittens grew bigger than she had anticipated.



Is your pants rant trying to tell me something, that ordinary things occasionally induce anger in you disproportionate to their modest standing in the world? I'm almost afraid to ask, but have you had the pancakes in Solvang?

Dan


Dan,

Oh, the CdG Rose stomping fit was mostly in jest. I mean, I still think it's horrible, but in fact, it doesn't enrage me as much as being forced to wear trousers does. (That part, quite ridiculously, is not at all in jest.) But I don't think it's inoffensive, because wearing it gave me a headache.

Katie


Katie,

Yeah, I knew the stomping fit was in jest, but not the underlying hatred. You hate CdG Rose and on top of that, you got a headache from it? Though maybe the headache came from the hatred. We can hate our way into pain, KP. Look at Rush Limbaugh and all that OxyContin.

Dan

For Part 1 of Katie and Dan's tussle with Comme des Garçons Rose, click here.