I Love Vintage and I’m Not Even a Hipster

I got the bottle of Chypre de Coty that I finally dropped the money on. The justification? I waited a long time and gave myself many months of “thinking about it”. I whittled down the little sample I had of this exact same bottle and after that long, I still wanted it. This wasn’t a passing fancy with little glittering lights, the fragrance didn’t cost an absurd amount like any Agonist or that Clive Christian gimmick. Besides, it was a piece of history.

Chandler and Price Press

Chandler and Price Press

So naturally the first thing to do when it arrived was whip it out and spray it on. The friend who held onto this for me, owned two bottles. One she sampled out a small vial of Chypre de Coty for me which I got and another she keeps for herself. She told me when she sampled it out that I might not like it. But I liked it entirely too much, I think. Instantly I’m reminded of the tiny sample vial I kept going back to. For a brief moment, I wondered if I had become addicted. Whatever, I was happy all day to be wafting in a cloud of Coty’s Chypre.

Then I noticed the new Shalimar I had. It’s the amusing “Batman bottle” version prior to Shalimar’s recent facelift that made it look like an older version and it made me wish I had classic Shalimar. I always liked the bottle, I particularly find the baccarat appealing. I wondered what versions were available out there and if the juice in those would be well preserved. One of my guilty past times involves spending absurd amounts of time on eBay, trawling through the vintage scents I want. This list looks a little something like:

  • Chypre de Coty
  • Shalimar
  • Mitsouko
  • Miss Dior
  • Joy

Something about the idea of smelling and owning a piece of history appeals to me. I tend to like antiques items anyway, the personal history of them, their manufacturer’s history, and the history of the people who may have owned them in the past. One of my favorite antique items is a Chicago No.9 letterpress. It’s too small to do practical work, but it came with a business card set into the chase (the chase of an old letterpress machine is, put simply, what you compose your item in). Before I removed the business card, I took a look at whose card was set and while it wasn’t a tiny, saucy love letter or a particularly small and delicate Christmas card, I did get an idea of the dentist (now retired) who had owned the unit before me and the antiques hunter who sold it to me.

So while I’m enjoying Chypre de Coty, I couldn’t help but wonder who owned it before me and my friend who trawls eBay looking for vintage perfumes about as often as I do.

Image Credit: Fritz Swanson

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux

Steve from The Scented Houndsent quite a surprise as I discovered a sample of Ambre Precieux in the package of decants. I have something of a weak spot for well done Oriental fragrances and I had to get into sampling this one for myself.

Ambre Precieux

Ambre Precieux

In Bottle: Myrrh and lavender with a bit of balsam. No amber yet.

Applied: A beautiful waft of very well blended myrrh and lavender. The opening gives the fragrance an almost incense feel to it. The balsam rolls in for a bit to deepen the fragrance and as the wearing goes on, the lavender gives way to a wonderfully spicy and warm amber fragrance lightly sweetened with vanilla. Don’t let the word ‘sweet’ throw you off, the sweetness is only a touch and merely adds a layer of complexity. Ambre Precieux reminds me of cold days in the winter where I’d spend some time with the window cracked open slightly and a heavy blanket covering my shoulders while I read. I don’t know why I liked doing this, there was just something comforting about the crisp air and comfy blanket like there’s something similarly comforting about Ambre Precieux. It’s like a familiar blanket, old but loaded with sentimental value. Anyway, the fragrance dries down to a beautifully complex warm and spicy amber.

Extra: Ambre Precieux was launched in 1988 and was composed by Jean-Francois Laporte and if I’m to understand correctly, was slightly modified sometime in the last few years as all older fragrances tend to be. I haven’t smelled original Ambre Precieux, but I love this version.

Design: Ambre Precieux sits in a brilliant red flacon with golden cap. Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier have always done a good job on their packaging and anything red will catch my eye. I love the richness of the color and how nicely it ties in with the fragrance itself.

Fragrance Family: Oriental

Notes: Myrrh, lavender, nutmeg, vanilla, amber, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam.

Hours later and I’m still sniffing my wrist. I do have to say, this is one amber that I’m going to have to consider getting a big bottle of.

Reviewed in This Post: Ambre Precieux, 2012, Eau de Toilette.

Tauer Pentachord Auburn

Tauer Perfumes caught my eye while I was shopping for samples and thought of my husband’s birthday. Now his birthday is a few months off at least, but when it comes to me and fragrance shopping I can’t get started soon enough. What attracted me to Auburn was the promise of a cinnamon and tobacco scent.

Pentachord Auburn

Pentachord Auburn

In Bottle: A hint of sweetness mixed with a bit of cinnamon and smokiness. Reminds me a bit of autumn.

Applied: A hit of sweet cinnamon up front. I get no orange flower from this and the sweetness of the fragrance instantly disqualifies it for my husband. But I let it sit and see where it goes. Auburn rather happily introduces a sandalwood and tobacco mix, more heavy on the tobacco than sandalwood though. There’s a pleasant smokiness to this that dominates the fragrance giving it a very rich incense-like quality. What I don’t care too much for is the sweetness that I’m not sure I quite like mixed with tobacco. Auburn is definitely warm and sweet and gives me an idea of what a cinnamon smoke would smell like. But I can’t say I’m a big fan of the mixture. It’s definitely interesting, but I don’t know about wearable when it comes to my taste.

Extra: The Pentachord series is about the molecules in the fragrances where every fragrance features just five notes.

Design: I’ve always liked Tauer’s bottles. Pleasantly geometric, functional with just enough style and none of the fluff. Good spraying, good feel in the hands, looks great on display and if you have more than one, they look fabulous together.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Oriental

Notes: Orange flower, cinnamon, sandalwood, amber, tobacco.

I do find the concept of the Pentachords interesting and while I don’t think Auburn really suits me, I’d definitely like to keep exploring the rest of the series.

Reviewed in This Post: Auburn, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

I Need to Stop Talking About Lady Gaga

I don’t even really like her music all that much, but her perfume is garnering a ton of buzz and it feels like no matter where I look someone’s talking about it even when it’s for all the wrong, gimmicky reasons. Apparently the juice is going to be all black. I’m wondering how they managed to do that without staining people’s clothes, but time will tell. This thing is still about a month out and they’re going to release the “short film” for it soon.

The trailer:

It’s got that Gaga feel to it. But I can’t help but think that this video’s inspiration and style (same could be said for some other videos of hers) comes from Matthew Barney’s ridiculous brain child, The Cremaster Cycle (NSFW for artistic nudity and violence):

What any of that has to do with perfume is anybody’s guess. I just enjoy weird art films.

Jalaine Silk

Jalaine Silk was an impulse buy that I threw into my cart of samplers at the last minute when it caught my eye and tickled my nose. A white amber with vanilla? I had to know what that would smell like!

In Bottle: Sweet but soft aquatic vanilla. Reminds me of a marshmallow sitting in a dish of water.

Applied: Silk opens with a sweet, gentle vanilla scent that candies itself up a little with a bit of sweetness. The marine notes that are supposed to be in this give it an almost floral edge with a fresh kick. There’s a hint of warmth as the fragrance develops which is where I assume the amber comes in. If I had to give Silk one word to describe it, I think that word would be “pillowy”. Soft, yielding, comforting, not in your face, not demanding or extreme. It’s unobtrusive and pleasant and one of the easiest going vanillas I’ve smelled and it wears very close to your skin. There’s not a whole lot of complexity to Silk because it comes on smelling like soft sweet vanilla and it’ll generally stay that way for its wear life. But then I guess it doesn’t really need to be an attention grabber.

Extra: Jalaine Sommers is an independent perfumer that runs her own website at JalaineFragrances.com offering up some very interesting fragrances in perfume oil form. Of particular interest to me is the green tea fragrance.

Design: The bottles are pretty, a simple and effective shape that does well for the juice that it’s holding. Nothing garish or unnecessary in the design here. The bottles do remind me of some of the ultra sharp corners featured inΒ Zaha Hadid‘s architectural work.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: White amber, vanilla, marine.

I think Silk is a very pretty fragrance and a great candidate if you need to wear something light and vanilla based to work. It’s not the kind of fragrance that will announce your presence. And when I said it was soft and sticks close to the skin, I really mean it.

Reviewed in This Post: Silk, 2012, Perfume Oil.

A Comprehensive List of Guerlains

I’ve trawled the internet in search of the most comprehensive list of House Guerlain’s fragrances and I’ve found the most comprehensive to be:

Wikipedia’s article on Guerlain

Basenotes database on Guerlain


Fragrantica’s list of Guerlain fragrances

What I plan to do with this list is a surprise! If anyone has any other databases or sources for Guerlain’s fragrances please let me know. πŸ˜€

A Mild Rant About Coco Mademoiselle

Nah, I don’t hate how it smells or anything. My relationship with Coco Mademoiselle has cooled off even more since I last smelled and reviewed it. I have a bottle of it, mostly full, kicking around but I don’t wear it very often or at all. I’m bored of it, to be honest. Up until recently, I thought of it as the generic women’s version of Acqua di Gio.

Keira Knightley is Eating This Perfume Bottle

Keira Knightley is Eating This Perfume Bottle

See, I don’t actually hate Coco Mademoiselle. It still smells just fine to me. I just hate smelling it from a hundred feet away.

A few days ago I was at a job interview, clutching my print and digital portfolio to keep them from spilling out of my lap. Another candidate had just entered the room. She was nice, smiled at me as she passed by, except I didn’t notice anything else about her because my nostrils filled up with Coco Mademoiselle and burned the back of my sinuses.

I love a good, strong fragrance as much as the next smellies fan, but there’s something to be said for exercising a bit of restraint. Especially when you’re going to be sitting with other people in a small office space (or waiting area). We sat there for about 30 minutes, both of us trying to fill out our respective employment forms and both of us rapidly coming to the conclusion that her perfume was too strong.

I was trying hard not to make it obvious that it was bothering me, but my sinuses have gone crazy since moving to a place covered in flora, fauna and other things that enjoy pollination.

“Excuse me,” she says. There’s a bit of embarrassment in her tone. Her voice also drops into a whisper. “Is my perfume too strong?”

I make that weird pained/wince face that some people make when they’re about to deliver bad news and they’re afraid some giant disembodied hand is going to fly out of the sky and slap them. “A little bit.”

“Shoot.” She’s smelling her wrist now. “I only did four sprays. Can you believe it? I was actually worried it wouldn’t be enough.”

She was up first, I wished her luck. She looked really concerned but put on a brave face and emerged 45 minutes later to wish me luck as she headed out the door with a strong trail of Coco Mademoiselle following her. In the end, I got the call telling me the company went with someone more experienced with print advertising as opposed to what I do and I went on my merry way. But not without remembering how the tiny interview room reeked of Coco Mademoiselle or the three creative directors who were fanning their noses when I walked in on them.

Another instance of Coco Mademoiselle abuse occurred during a commute to work. I used to hop on public transit every day and while the usual odor of mild annoyance is an appropriate enough backdrop, a woman who had a particularly affectionate view of Coco Mademoiselle sat beside me. I was hit with the initial scent before she sat down and proceeded to spend the next hour (glad I no longer have to do that commute) growing more and more nauseous while the people around me “discretely” covered their noses.

See, here are three things I’ve noticed with Coco Mademoiselle. I often smell it on young women, I often smell it on professional women, and I often smell it way too well. For some reason, Coco Mademoiselle is a particularly potent fragrance. Despite its potency, there are still people who think Coco Mademoiselle needs to be sprayed more than twice. I’ve even witnessed a sales associate spray Coco Mademoiselle all over herself eleven times, windmilling her arm like an out of control electric fan. That spot in the store didn’t stop smelling like Coco Mademoiselle until 48 hours had passed.

Here’s the moral of this shaggy dog tale, Coco Mademoiselle is strong stuff. I like it just fine, but easy on the trigger.

Miller Harris Citron Citron

The first time I tried Citron Citron was during a rainy trip to Vancouver in autumn 2011 with my friend–then a travel agent. We had managed to book a very nice room in a very nice hotel close to the two places I had to visit. It was one of the best “not really” vacations I ever had. In the hotel bathroom were one shampoo, one conditioner, two bars of soap, and one sample tube of Miller Harris’ Citron Citron.

Citron Citron

Citron Citron

In Bottle: Green, fresh very much a citrus scent with a hint of mossiness and woods layered in the background.

Applied: Lemon and lime instantly make themselves known rather loudly upon application. This is followed by a strong orange presence that helps blend with the green herbs and crisp scent. Citron Citron has a bit of sweetness to it, making the citrus notes a bit candy-like. I’m no fan of Dolce and Gabanna’s Light Blue–one of the more popular citrus-based scents due to its reliance on the strong cedar note. But Citron Citron is an easier beast to get along with. Its cedar is tamed, behaving and blending in well with the others. The fragrance dries down rather quickly and I get more of the mint note as it ages with a spicy kick near the end that adds a bit of depth to the green freshness of this fragrance. Citron Citron does not last long. Its very composition with its emphasis on citrus is a dead giveaway to its short wear life. I neither think it’s a particularly good or unique fragrance, but it is great at a citrus-based perfume and (I think) definitely much better than Light Blue.

Extra: Citron Citron was developed by Lyn Harris and released in 2000.

Design: I really like Miller Harris’ bottle design. Nice clean lines, nice clean shape. Very simple but elegantly done. The bottle escapes “painfully simple” by having that pretty line art that I’m a huge fan of.

Fragrance Family: Citrus Aromatic

Notes: Lemon, orange, lime, mint, basil, moss, cedarwood, cardamom.

Citron Citron isn’t a remarkable fragrance in any way. I vastly prefer it over Light Blue, but Light Blue has it beat in terms of wear length. Citron Citron is a good memory jogger and it was for the good memories that I got my hands on it again where I’d otherwise pass it over. It reminds me of Vancouver, highrises, the Pacific ocean and a couple of metropolitan rainy days in one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. Thanks for the good memories, Vancouver.

Reviewed in This Post: Citron Citron, 2011, Eau de Toilette.

Comments Are Working Again

Thanks to Steve from The Scented Hound and a reader who told me that my comments weren’t working. This happened after the theme change where the functions written into the theme did not allow for one of my comment plugins. This resulted in comments being sent, but never actually getting into the queue even though they appeared to be sent successfully.

So if you tried to send a comment since Monday and it didn’t show up, that’s what happened :-(. I was really suspicious that something wasn’t working right when for a week straight, there hadn’t been any spam (sad). Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you Steve and Amanda for bringing this to my attention. The comments should be working now!

On the positive side, the new contact form works like a charm! πŸ˜€

My Favorite Demeters

I don’t think I can argue for any Demeter fragrances being works of art, unless we felt like having a long drawn out conversation about Marcel Duchamp (I never want to have a long drawn out conversation about Marcel Duchamp). But they are very fun to try and some of them are just spot on in terms of what they’re supposed to smell like. With the buzz surrounding the upcoming release of Demeter’s Dragon Fruit scent, I decided to go through my list of tried Demeters and pick out some favorites.

While some argue that it doesn’t smell much like a thunderstorm, this one takes me back and entices some memories of a rumbling sky and rain falling from a thatched roof. I also have to give it credit for teaching me an awesome word; petrichor.

My Childhood!

Babar! Demeter! My childhood!

Earl Grey Tea
For those times when I want a cup of tea, but am too lazy to actually go make one. Demeter’s Earl Grey Tea comes the closest of all fragrances I’ve tried to smelling like actual earl grey tea. It falls apart a bit at the end, taking on a bit of dirt and grit, but it’s a great approximation nonetheless.

A fan favorite. Dirt smells just like what you expect it to smell like. Results may vary as my yard dirt smells a bit more bitter than this. But it’s a good approximation for those times when you want to smell like the earth but don’t want to rub actual dirt all over yourself.

I’m actually not a big fan of tomato smell. Or at least I keep saying that, but when you stick a tomato in my hand, my first impulse is to always smell it. Demeter’s Tomato reminds me more of the leaves than the tomato itself. It’s crisp and vivid and delightful–even for someone who doesn’t even like the way tomatoes smell!

I’m consistently surprised by how many people ask me about fragrances that smell like clean laundry. Laundromat reminds me of childhood, of pulling clothes out of the dryer with my mother and folding them. While I no longer have such affectionate feelings for laundry folding, I still love the smell of clean clothes.

Jolly Rancher Green Apple
Ever wanted to relive those youthful days during recess on the playground? Where the most you ever had to worry about was the math quiz on Friday, what to write about for your book report, and waking up on Saturday to catch those sweet, sweet cartoons? Jolly Rancher Green Apple takes me back to those days and, for some reason, reminds me of Babar.

Barbados Cherry
Barbados Cherry (Acerola) is one of my favorite things ever. The tiny little berries, the tart taste, the beautiful flowery aroma. Demeter does their best with this and I think it’s somewhat off. But Barbados Cherry still smells fantastic, and I gotta give Demeter credit for their homage to a very understated fruit.

What about you? What Demeters have you tried and which ones do you like best?