eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Aftelier Perfumes Cacao: voodoo for your inner child

The power of an original and successful gourmand fragrance cannot be underestimated. It has the ability to entice, boost moods, trigger childhood memories of foods your family used to make for you, comfort the soul and induce amorous feelings in a way that no other style of fragrance can. Gourmand perfumes with tremendous lasting power and a chemical-tinged vanillic background exist in abundance in the open market, with any number of variables used to distinguish one from the next. There are a few synthetic or blended gourmand scents that I think are excellent, namely from Guerlain, but when dealt with in the world of naturals, it is more difficult than you would think to create something that rises above all-- synthetic, blended or otherwise. Aftelier Perfumes Cacao manages to do this.

notes: blood orange, pink grapefruit, jasmine sambac and grandiflorum, chocolate, vanilla

After applying this perfume, the first thing I am struck with is the perfect blending of fruit acids and chocolate cream. I am not actually a person who likes to eat chocolate all that much, but when I do, I love it with orange or raspberry. Not once have I thought to seek out something similar for a personal fragrance for myself, but when it fell into my lap in the form of Cacao, I recognized it immediately: this is my soul dessert. To be honest, I'm much happier wearing it than eating it. I don't even think about it as a perfume; when I smell it on my skin, it betrays any desire I might have to retain ladylike composure and it just makes me want to giggle. Cacao offers up a direct line to the inner child in an impossibly sophisticated manner. I am able to converse with her while my feet are still firmly planted in adulthood. A really good perfume can do that, it is an emotional and psychological bridge to another time in your life.

One of the things that helps Cacao become such an outstanding gourmand is how the jasmine is used here. It brings a certain authenticity to the blend as well as provides a weighted center for the citrus and the chocolate, preventing it from becoming too sweet. I think of it as an olfactory see-saw that is suspended from movement. The natural jasmine stabilizes and grounds the perfume by adding a pinch of rich earthiness. It's much like attending a magic show as a child; you may sense that there is a logical explanation for the mind-numbingly cool things you are bearing witness to, but there's no need to think about it too much. All that's required of the wearer is to enjoy it, which is increasingly easy to do each time I dab it on. Cacao does not come across as complicated in the least, in fact, it would fall under the umbrella of "simple pleasures". Yet, I am certain that creating this seemingly facile, cheerful and satisfying composition was no mean feat. Naturals can be deceptive that way. Mandy seems to work her own personal brand of voodoo, and while I would never dare ask her secrets, I will always be there to enthusiastically devour the spoils. For Mandy Aftel, the Marie Laveau of natural perfumery, mystery abounds and sometimes, things are not quite what you think they are. They're better.

[image: bonappetit.com]

[Aftelier Cacao is available at Aftelier.com in perfume and EDP concentrations, and samples are also available. My sample was provided by the perfumer]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Barbara Bui Le Parfum- a discontinued gem [and a draw to celebrate a milestone]

I have JUST hit 500 followers on Twitter, and that has me pleased as punch, so I'd like to thank all of my loyal Twitter followers and blog readers by having a giveaway for a full bottle of an extraordinarily delicious (but discontinued) fragrance, Barbara Bui Le Parfum.

Barbara Bui is a fashion designer and her eponymous perfume was created by perfumer Ann Flipo. It is a soft, ultra dry vanilla-based incense fragrance similar to Atelier Cologne's Vanille Incensee. The major difference between the two scents is that Atelier Cologne's has a citrus top note that is pretty distinct when you compare them side-by-side.

notes: spices, incense, jasmine, white musk, sandalwood, heliotrope, cedar and amber

Barbara Bui is an EDP but wears more like an EDT-- I usually spray quite liberally to get the desired strength. At first I was a little annoyed that it wore so lightly, then I realized it was nice to have a thinner, airier sleep scent, or just something easy, cozy and light to spritz on before I run out the door. Not everything benefits from beastly sillage. This is an uncomplicated woody Oriental with dryness that is optimal for hot weather. For Oriental lovers that can't bear to give up that type of perfume in the summer months, Barbara Bui is ideal. It is the quintessential "refreshing Oriental". It is wildly enveloping in its powderiness, something I really appreciate about it.

I am having a random drawing for a 30ml bottle of Barbara Bui Le Parfum, so leave me a comment and tell me which discontinued perfume you would bring back if you had the power.

I'll go ahead and tell you mine: Penhaligon's Lily & Spice. It was very recently discontinued, which is unfortunate because there is no finer representation of lilies in a perfume. I'll be very sad to see it go.

The drawing will close this Friday, July 1st at 1pm Central US time, so make sure to leave your comment by then. Drawing is open to anyone, anywhere. Winner will be announced here on the blog on Friday afternoon and should claim their prize by emailing me their mailing address to:  eyelineronacat at gmail dot com

[Barbara Bui Le Parfum can still be found for good prices via Amazon.com third-party sellers, snap them up before they're gone! My bottle was purchased by me for my personal collection]
**UPDATE: they are super-scarce on Amazon as of right now [thanks for the heads-up, Jennifer], though it looks like a couple of 3oz bottles are still for sale. There are also some decent deals on eBay**

7/1/11: The draw is now closed. Please head over to THIS POST to find out who the winner is!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Post for Penhaligon's Blog today; Adventures in Scent

Please head over to storied English perfume house Penhaligon's blog today, Adventures in Scent, as I pay homage to their Lilies & Spice perfume, and recount a lifelong love of lilies. I'd love it if you'd stop by and leave a comment about your favorite or strongest scent memories.

Click HERE for Adventures in Scent

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Head over to Get Lippie for my guest post!

One of my favorite beauty bloggers, Louise from Get Lippie, was kind enough to ask me to do a guest spot on her blog while she's on vacation in Portugal this week. I've reviewed a perfume that's new to me, Parfumerie Generale's Cedre Sandaraque. Please do stop by, take a look, and leave a comment if you're moved to do so:

Guest Post for Get Lippie HERE

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Allure.com Daily Beauty Reporter gives a shout-out to #fumechat and friends

I was so surprised today when it was brought to my attention by beauty director for Allure Magazine, Amy Keller Laird, that our fair #fumechat (hosted occasionally on Twitter, Fridays at 9pm Eastern) got a mention. Also mentioned was myself, Annie of Blogdorf Goodman and my pal Victoria from EauMG as good choices to follow on Twitter for fragrance tweets.

You can read the article HERE.

Big thanks to Amy Keller Laird and Heather Muir, this means a lot to us!

[image from www.the-perfumes.com]

Opus Oils Les Bohemes Collection: Dapper and Heavy Sugar

Kedra Hart is the creator of Opus Oils and the Jitterbug Perfume Parlour located in Hollywood, California, and she also teaches perfume classes in her Artisan Perfume School. She accepts appointments at the perfume parlour, and besides the dozens of fragrances she offers, also makes amazing perfumed teas (available on the Opus Oils website). Before very recently, I had not tried Opus Oils, but now I can confidently say I am a big fan of the fragrances and teas.

There is a certain opulence and charm with a thread of danger running through each of Kedra's perfumes, and there is something wildly unique about each one. When I sat down to test the batch of samples I was sent, there were several that had me swooning immediately, others took time for me to understand, and still others that resisted my beckoning to them. At the end, I had a big handful of vials that I knew I had to write about, so I'm going to be reviewing them all in stages. This edition will cover as-yet-unreleased scents from the upcoming Les Bohemes collection, meant to evoke the 1920s. I hope for everyone's sake that these are released soon. You can, however, pick up a sample pack- there are 10 vials in all for just $20. A steal.

First up is Dapper. Notes include: violet absolute, orris root, blond tobacco, sandalwood, aged dark patchouli. This is a thoroughly gender-neutral perfume, sweetly purple and velvety with a slightly verdant top- it reminds me of how I'd like a beet to taste when I'm looking at it. There is a tartness to the blend not really explained in the notes list, but I sense it as a dark berry of some sort, perhaps blackberry. The earthiness of the patchouli and orris root anchor the scent to the skin, and only after about 20 minutes or so can I really start to smell the sandalwood. I would personally sell my soul for some good sandalwood, but luckily I don't have to, because that which is contained in Dapper is so delicious and so smooth as it plays off of the candied violet, that I think I'll go ahead and keep my soul and just buy a bottle of Dapper instead. As the drydown emerges, a silky, suede-like musk steps forward, an animalic embrace that stays with you for hours. This perfume is a no-brainer for every season, men or women-- it is a true delight.

Next up is Heavy Sugar, an amber Oriental. I cannot resist Orientals, even in sweltering heat, so I was happy to have a new one to try. Notes on Heavy Sugar include: dark amber, aged labdanum, fossilized amber, vintage patchouli, sandalwood, beach-found ambergris. Right away, this has a very classic feel to it. It's rich, sweet (but not too much), it has a really lovely hint of black tea and maybe even jasmine, but if you're looking for a progression in stages of wear where distinct top, heart and base notes exist, look elsewhere. Heavy Sugar is linear, full of syrupy, powdered kisses, and will leave a scent trail behind you that will make people weak in the knees. Yes, even in the heat. In fact, I tend to feel that rich amber Orientals really bloom on my skin in the summer; the scent particles boiling up and doing a frenzied, fiery flesh dance. Heavy Sugar is memorable for its straightforwardness, its very vintage feel and its cozy, sensual nature. As you might expect, the longevity is excellent. This is a must-have for me as well.

The next review I do for Opus Oils, I will tackle a couple of my favorites from the 100% natural Fetish Collection. 

[Samples were provided by the perfumer for review. My opinions are solely my own, and I was not compensated for my review]

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lilliputian Love: Esscentual Alchemy For the Love of Bees

Amanda Feeley (Absinthe Dragonfly) recently sent me some samples of her Esscentual Alchemy botanical perfumes, and I was immediately interested in the variety and inventiveness of the scents. I also noticed a lot of complexity in many of them, which is rather rare with all-natural fragrances. Some perfumers prefer to let the simple beauty of nature speak for itself, and often, it works out well for them. Amanda decided to use nature's bounty as only one building block in her scent structure, the rest is clearly artistic originality.

For the Love of Bees was one of my favorites of the bunch of fragrances I tried. It made me smile the instant I first inhaled its slightly sweet and skunky, earthy and floral aroma. The notes include five types of vanilla bean tincture, hay, broom flower, black currant, beeswax, ylang ylang, blue chamomile, honeysuckle and carrot seed.

The hay is a strong player in this composition, and I'm delighted with this particular representation of the note. It's one of my favorite notes in perfumery, and I love how it forms the heart along with the beeswax and honey aspects. I was surprised to learn that so many different tinctures of vanilla were used, because I can't really pick out vanilla on its own, it serves to help along the lovely honey accord. The drydown ushers in a very delicate tea-like effect that I attribute to the blue chamomile.

I have a huge association with bees; it was the nickname I called my cat Maggie (who passed away last year)- she was The Bee, and everybody knew it. So, to have such a beautiful fragrance called 'For the Love of Bees' seems like a fortuitous thing to me.

Being surrounded by this perfume wafting gently from every pulse point gives me a sort of giddy thrill, I feel Lilliputian, a tiny interloper in the land of giant bees, prostrating myself before them for a drop of honey before I retire to my bed of soft hay for a nap. It is truly a gift when a perfume can create such vivid imagery in the mind, it is like reading a really engrossing novel. The story of the perfume is contained within those precious drops, waiting for an audience. I feel grateful that I was able to carry on its mythology.

For the Love of Bees is available in a 10ml bottle for $75, and other sizes and samples are also available on the Esscentual Alchemy website.

[sample was sent to me for review by the perfumer]

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Aroma M Geisha Noire and Geisha Violet

I recently had the opportunity to try several different perfumes from the delightful Maria McElroy of Aroma M Perfumes. She's got a nicely edited, adorable range of roll-on perfume oils and EDPs. I have a sample of Geisha Rouge that I acquired last year, and I think it's wonderful, so I was eager to explore the others.

There were a couple that really stood out for me, the first being Geisha Noire. It is an interesting mix of sensual, comforting and musky and sharp aromatic notes-- it seems to represent opposites, but in a harmonious way. It reminds me of an olfactory version of the Yin-Yang symbol. Geisha Noire is a rich and potent Oriental with notes of amber, tonka bean and spices, but I also smell dry herbal notes and a blend of musks. It's almost startling in its depth, it's very unusual and I can see myself reaching for this when I need a hit of sexiness. The drydown is where this perfume oil really sings on my skin, giving the impression of a labdanum-based skin scent after awhile. The powderiness and richness of the amber is completely intoxicating. Geisha Noire is meant to aid in meditation and prayer, and I can easily see that being true. It does induce feelings of peace and well-being.

The other one I really like is Geisha Violet. It smells like the greenest of green fig, so bright and happy, with a lilac and violet heart. It also has a subtle note of bitter chocolate that can be detected once the green figginess calms itself a bit after the opening. Once again, I'm drawn in by powder, it's in Geisha Violet as well but in a much more restrained manner than Noire. Geisha Violet is reminiscent of Diptyque's Philosykos, but heads in a more floral direction. It's a sweet and tender fragrance and I think would easily appeal to a wide variety of people.

I was surprised by the potency of Aroma M oils. I'm used to perfume oils smelling very diluted on me and lacking lasting power, but that's not the case with Maria's oils. But if you prefer a perfume in an alcohol-base, she's got EDP versions of several of her fragrances available as well (including Geisha Noire- which I will be picking up for sure). I'm not afraid of giving off strong sillage in the summertime, and something about Noire makes me want to bathe in it. Hmm... Maria, how about some bath and body products?

Geisha edp sprays are available for $80 for a 50ml size HERE
Geisha perfume oils are 7.5ml for $50, and you can see them HERE
There are also samples of everything Aroma M makes available.

[samples were sent to me by the perfumer for review]

Skin Nirvana-- Colbert MD Stimulate: The Serum

It's been awhile since I've reviewed anything other than fragrances, as it's become clear to me that perfume is my true love and I really enjoy the challenge of writing about it. However, I will occasionally make an exception when I am moved to do so, and I have indeed been moved. I've always been very open about my passion for the Colbert MD skin care line, and have had such positive experiences with it as a whole, that I can honestly say that it's transformed my skin.

My latest obsession is Stimulate: The Serum. It contains their patented QuSome technology which is a unique delivery system to help the product penetrate further into the skin than most products are able to do. Stimulate: The Serum has glycolic acid (at a low enough level to be used daily without irritation), coffea arabica seed, gotu kola, silk peptides, creatine and carnitine. The effect when these ingredients are combined is increased cell turnover, evening of skin tone, reversal of sun damage, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and helps to build collagen and elastin.

It almost sounds like ALL of this can't be possible with just one product, but it is, and there's scientific data to back it up. Just like with any regimen, it needs to be used with consistency, but the really beautiful thing is that you start seeing positive changes in your skin immediately. The first couple of days I started using it, I noticed that my skin was devoid of the redness and inflammation I normally have every day. My skin tone looked luminous and my skin felt soft and was flake-free. A few weeks in, spots of hyperpigmentation have started to fade, and my skin hasn't even had a chance to think about becoming red or inflamed- the serum keeps it at bay with its anti-inflammatory properties. I have SCARY soft, smooth, blemish-free skin, my pores appear minimized, and I'm experiencing this at a level I've never had before with my skin.

I now use The Serum with a few other Colbert MD products:
Nutrify & Protect: Day Cream
Heal & Soothe: Night Cream
Intensify: Facial Discs

This system is technologically advanced, user-friendly, utilizes comfortable, light textures that are great for every skin type, and even sensitive skins will flourish. This is a perfect system for people around my age (mid 30s) who need to start taking anti-aging action, on up to fully mature skin when the main concern is wrinkle control, tautness and cell turnover. It will benefit a wide variety of people. I cannot wait for new product launches, I see this well-edited line expanding judiciously and am excited to see it grow.

I'm fully addicted to this range of products, but if I had to advise someone who could only pick up ONE of these products due to budget constraints or whatever it may be, I would recommend The Serum. It is a multi-tasking work horse, and I can't imagine life without it now. Colbert MD is high-end, science-based skin care that provides results that make it well worth the price of admission. Take the plunge, I promise that you won't regret it.

[Colbert MD Stimulate: The Serum is available from ColbertMD.com for $135, and is also available at Barneys New York stores]

See more of my reviews of this line here:
Heal & Soothe Night
Intensify Facial Discs

[Product was sent to me by the company for review. My opinions are solely my own and I have not been financially compensated for them. I never have been, never will be]

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The choices have been made! Summer of Patchouli Love 2011

Well, it's official: I've made my three choices for my favorite perfumes from the Summer of Patchouli Love 2011 project on Perfume Pharmer. I'm off to the post office to mail my card back to Monica. The choice was not an easy one, as there were five perfumes I loved and it hurt me to the bone to have to eliminate two of them. Honestly, I feel that I could have randomly picked three and I would have been happy with the results no matter what.

With that said, here are my choices, replete with numerological hoodoo:

First choice: #2 THE AMOEBA. There is a terribly sophisticated cocoa note coupled with what seems like well-aged patchouli. It is darkly verdant, and it feels like a living thing when it's on my skin.
Second choice: #3 THE HONEY BUG. This has a wonderful honey linden aspect that lasts throughout the entire wearing, and a slightly boozy top note. A dry grassiness rounds out the delicate patchouli in the base.
Third choice: #13 THE BARNYARD CIRCUS. Sweet, floral incense with a tender aromatic herbal quality. Lots of hay and dry sweetgrasses, sugared jasmine and lavender, this is well-rounded and utterly charming.

I'm very impressed with the variety and inventiveness in the fragrances that were sent to me. Some of these perfumers took the challenge in a bit more literal way, putting a spin on tradition, and others really pushed the envelope. I want to congratulate each perfumer for their amazing work, and thank Monica Skye-Miller for asking me to participate in this project. But it's not over yet! All the results must come in, votes need to be tallied, and mysteries will be unveiled. I am on the edge of my seat because I can't wait to find out who is responsible for each perfume. Talk about torture! My personality dictates that I must know all things at all times, and if I somehow can't manage that, I ask others for help. There's no one to help me right now, I'm all alone, floating on a fragrant patchouli cloud and dreaming the aimless dreams of summer.

**Stay tuned for an exciting draw being held soon right here on this very blog, two of my lovely readers will have some of their very own AMOEBA juice!**

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My brief encounter with Tom Ford Private Blend Moss Breches

I was recently gifted with a spray sample of Tom Ford's Moss Breches by the generous Carol (of WAFT by Carol). It's something I've been wanting to try for quite some time. Looks like I waited too long, as I hear it's been discontinued. It figures, since I loved it instantly.

It opens with a softly resinous pine aspect backed by the most delicious aromatic herbs. There is a slight sweetness present right away that is a little difficult to nail down to a likely source, but my guess is that it's the labdanum. I'm fairly certain there is vetiver in there as well.

notes: fresh wood, spice notes, beeswax absolute, Moroccan clary sage, Hungarian tarragon, Corsican rosemary, labdanum, patchouli, benzoin

Whoosh! Every good and beautiful smell that I love in life swirls together and my instincts kick in and I want to make a crude gesture of freedom, like roll around on the forest floor, not caring about the twigs and dirt matting my hair. Le sigh.

Moss Breches is refreshing and light, but has enough body to it that it could easily be worn during any weather. There is a beautiful green incense-like base that develops in just a few minutes after applying that complements the woods and herbs incredibly well. This is a skillfully blended, imaginative yet comforting scent that leans toward masculine, and an excellent example of a woody-chypre done just the way I like it; the woods are not too dry, the cheerful verdancy bolsters the spirit, plus, there's spice to burn. I will be sad to see it go. Let the hunt for my bottle commence!

[Tom Ford Private Blend Moss Breches is currently available at The Perfumed Court for decants and samples]

Guest Blog Spot on Persolaise.com

Just a quick post to let you know that my guest blog for Persolaise.com is up now! I revisit a classic Guerlain fragrance that holds a lot of meaning for me. Please feel free to head over to take a gander, and leave a comment if you're so inclined.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekly Scent Round-up [June 2-12]

Okay, so I haven't been quite diligent enough to do these scent round-ups every single week, but I will do them a couple of times a month.

Persolaise leads an interesting version of Twenty Questions with Etat Libre d'Orange's founder Etienne de Swardt. Not to be missed. Also be sure to check out his Father's Day-inspired guest blogging spot today for Penhaligon's blog, Adventures in Scent.

EauMG reviews one of her favorite new tobacco scents, Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Havane. I so wish it had worked for me, but I gave it a respectable try.

Olfactoria explores one of the Parfum d'Empire fragrances I'd really like to try, Eau de Gloire, which was created with a nod to Napoleon Bonaparte.

Dee over at Beauty on the Outside ponders scary scents after having a horror movie marathon at home with Mr. Howe.

Last Wednesday, fragrantfanatic discussed Part 3 of her Spring Scent Experiment with her readers. I feel like a little kid reading about her adventures, and it makes me wish I could be there to take part in them!

On Scent-Less Sensibilities, Tarleisio reviews Cepes and Tuberose, a creation from one of my favorite perfumers. She does Mandy Aftel's artistic vision justice, and then some.

Right here on eyeliner on a cat, I review the newest member of the Etat Libre d'Orange fragrance collection, Archives 69. It easily found its way to my heart.

Also, the Summer of Patchouli Love project on Perfume Pharmer has officially begun for me; I received my samples in the mail yesterday and stayed up late sniffing and taking notes. This is FUN in the purest, most innocent sense of the word for me! 13 perfumes, decanted and labeled only by numbers by Monica Skye-Miller have already been narrowed down to 5, now comes the hard part. Eliminating two of them so that the top 3 remain.

[image from blog.ritvausa.com]

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Magnetic Art: Etat Libre d'Orange Archives 69

The latest fragrance from free-thinkers Etat Libre d'Orange is Archives 69, created by Christine Nagel. I will admit that the ad copy for this perfume had me a little puzzled; not because of its semi-explicit erotic prose and artwork (par for the course for this house), but because I don't exactly make those associations myself when wearing the scent.

from the Etat Libre d'Orange website:
"She can dance on your grave, awaken you with a blood kiss, and you will join her in this feverish whirl, to the tempo of a tango, until you are one with her, in mind and body."

While I do agree that there is a sensual component to this perfume, any fragrance built around incense is sensual to me. A beautiful incense perfume makes me feel most at home, at my strongest and most centered best. Archives 69 does not disappoint, in fact, I believe it's one of Etat Libre d'Orange's best fragrances to date that I have tried. 

notes: tangerine, pink berries CO2, pepper leaf, orchid & prune JE, incense, camphor, benzoin, patchouli, musk

I've had a love affair with Antoine Lie's Tom of Finland for some time now; it is an all-time favorite perfume of mine. I will get into the specifics of that torrid affair in a future post, but I bring it up now because for me, Archives 69 has that same addictive thread running through it. There is a nascent magnetism in Archives 69 that permeates every molecule; the potential for connection is always hovering close enough that one can reach up and snatch it at any time. 

It has a cheerfulness about it that is apparent from the outset; the bright tangerine and berry CO2 sets the stage for the spices that quickly emerge from behind. This isn't the sort of perfume that wears in distinct stages, everything meshes together at once, perhaps mirroring the racy premise of the art concept. The patchouli and camphor are particularly wonderful together, but this isn't the intense, unrelenting camphorous quality that Le Labo's Santal 33 has, this is much more subtle. 

The drydown reveals one of the most delicious renditions of musk I've come across. It reminds me of civet, a full-bodied but not overwhelming one, and it works beautifully with the dry, thin incense notes, providing the exact contrast needed. This is exactly the kind of sunshine-jolted, spicy incense perfume that is appropriate for warm weather, and I'll be looking forward to procuring a full bottle of it. 

A 100ml bottle is available at Escentual.com in the UK for 105 GBP, and a 50ml bottle is available for pre-order at Luckyscent.com in the US for $99. 

[sample was provided by Escentual.com for review]

Friday, June 10, 2011

NEST Fragrances Candles: Peony Blanche and Blue Garden

Luxury candles are my best friends. They often act as my lifeline, equal to oxygen in providing me with sustenance and fortitude to handle all of life's ups and downs. The little droplet of fire in the center tends to center me, no matter what thoughts or emotions are swirling around inside me. Over the past couple of days, I've blissfully been burning away at my new NEST candles. Presented with a lovely array of fragrances, I've chosen Peony Blanche and Blue Garden as my two favorites.

Peony Blanche is not normally a candle I would choose for myself based on the scent elements alone, but I'm so happy I have it in my candle arsenal right now, especially with hot weather dashing in and out between thunderstorms. The notes include peony blossoms, watery nuances, jasmine, magnolia and lily. Most of you know I am somewhat of a floral-phobe, especially of the Big White variety, but somehow, this candle has captured my heart. First of all, the etched, striped glass vessel is really pretty, but the slightly translucent pale pink wax reminds me of my favorite lip gloss. Besides the beautiful scent, that is ultimately the clincher. I love a candle that offers tempting visual as well as olfactory aesthetics. Peony Blanche is a luxurious, ultra-femme, fresh and delicate floral scent that is not overpowering, but instead, is totally happiness-inducing. It's the equivalent of being handed a perfect cupcake with pink buttercream frosting. A giggle waiting to happen,  forged in soft wax.

Blue Garden is a different kind of floral animal. Its notes include blue hydrangea, honeysuckle, hyacinth, forget-me-nots, fresh green notes, dew drop accord, oak moss, sandalwood and cotton flower. What I smell is predominantly lilac, and I'm not sure if that's just the overall effect of the notes, or if there's actually lilac in there. Either way, I adore lilac and am charmed by the scent. It's considerably more intense than Peony Blanche, so I find that I don't need to keep it lit for more than an hour at a time to scent my entire apartment. It reminds me of the flower garden I used to enjoy as a child and the surrounding lilac bushes, and that's a scent memory worth holding onto. Once again, I love the chic visual appeal- in this case it's a black vessel with semi-translucent white wax. Blue Garden is really a perfect candle for Spring and Summer, and I look forward to having the scent wafting through my space all Summer long. NEST donates the  proceeds from Blue Garden to Autism Speaks, which is an excellent cause. 

The bottom line: NEST uses an unbelievably high concentration of fragrance in their candles. The company says that it's more than any other scented candle on the market, and I would tend to believe that. In terms of visual beauty, quality, even burning and gorgeous fragrances, it's tough to do better than NEST. 

For more reviews of NEST Peony Blanche and Blue Garden, visit EauMG.net HERE & HERE

My very favorite candle shop is Candles Off Main, and they carry a wide array of NEST candles and diffusers. The 8.1 oz size goes for $32 and has a 50-60 hour burn time. NEST candles are also available at Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and other retailers. 

[candles were provided by the company for consideration. My opinion is solely my own and I have received no financial compensation for it]

Friday, June 3, 2011

Not Afraid of the Pink: Guerlain Iris Ganache

When the release of Guerlain's Shalimar Parfum Initial was announced and early reviews of it were circulating on a few perfume blogs, there was a general hue and cry against the color of the juice. OMG it's pink! Shock and horror! Well, it's not the first Guerlain with pink juice, and certainly not the first Thierry Wasser creation utilizing it (example: our fair Iris Ganache). I don't understand what the big deal is, personally. The color of perfume is inconsequential to me. Sometimes it can be an enhancement, just look at the photograph of Iris Ganache above. How pretty is that? Gold and pink, made for someone like me who gets a little thrill looking at it. Bulb atomizers are the pits, but really, how pretty is it, I ask you? Very. I understand that Shalimar devotees are disgusted with the emergence of yet another flanker, but I'm looking forward  to Parfum Initial, as I am not a fan of the original Shalimar, and this sounds different enough from it that I will probably like it. A lot. Okay, more on Parfum Inital after I get a bottle, which I hope will be sooner rather than later. On to the star of our show- Iris Ganache!

notes: bergamot, cinnamon, white chocolate, iris butter, patchouli, musk, cedar, amber, vanilla

Iris Ganache was created by Thierry Wasser in 2007 as part of the L'Art et la Matiere line. Among the extremely attractive list of notes above are two words that make my pupils dilate when I set my eyes upon them: IRIS BUTTER.

There is a rich berry-jammy opening which feels right (despite the fact that there is none credited in the official notes list) given the ultra-gourmand nature of this perfume. It is so pleasant and delicious, almost cherry-almond to my nose, and thankfully this facet of the fragrance lasts a long time. Fairly soon, a squishy lactonic doughiness seeps through with a healthy dose of cedarwood. This is a purely seductive sweet scent, the iris butter is not really enough to create a sense of there being much iris at all (in a floral or rooty sense), but ultimately, this is an Oriental. It lacks the distant, cool nature of iris in many other blends. Instead, Iris Ganache is giddy and friendly- it is the girl who you know will put out at the end of the night as long as you make her laugh a lot.

Iris Ganache operates on a fairly high frequency for a gourmand Oriental, at first it feels a bit tinny due to the contrast between the cedar and berry/cherry until it settles on the skin for about 30 minutes. That's when the base notes start to form an irresistible, classic veil of incense that lasts for several hours. The vanillic, white chocolate accord lends itself well to sweetening up this blend even more; as time passes, it seems to get sweeter, and more delicious. It's more cream cheese frosting to me than creme brulee.

Iris Ganache is not groundbreaking, but the blending is impressive. It's got Thierry Wasser written all over it, and for me, that's a good thing. I could settle down with this one. This is not a juvenile gourmand perfume- it's grown up, extremely sensual, and for someone with my particular tastes, it's straight-up perfume porn.

Iris Ganache MAY be available at the Guerlain counter at Bergdorf Goodman, I haven't called to check yet, but plan to. Otherwise, it's available in decants and samples at The Perfumed Court in The United States, and full bottles are available in several places in Europe.

[my decant was purchased by me at The Perfumed Court for my own personal use]

photo credit: bakewithus.wordpress.com