The Beauty of Scent, Scrutinized for Pleasure

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vero Profumo Kiki

I was recently the happy recipient of some sample sets (EDP and Extrait) of the three Vero Profumo scents, sent to me by the delightful Victoria of EauMG. I tried the EDP versions, one at a time on blotters. Kiki was the one I was immediately struck by, and I quickly sprayed it on my skin.

Kiki is a lavender-based scent, and I happen to adore lavender, but often have a hard time finding one that doesn't smell too soap-like and bitter on me. Kiki's vibrant lavender has been tempered with bergamot, citron, passion fruit, geranium, caramel, patchouli and musk. There is a double dose of lavender here, the perfumer using lavender essential oil AND lavender absolute. Not long after initially spraying, I started to sense the passion fruit along with a hint of something sweet. I am not usually too fond of fruit in my perfumes, but here, the passion fruit and citron have been used masterfully, the slight acidity slicing into the deep astringency of the lavender.

There is an effect that develops with the lavender (and perhaps the musk creeping in) that delivers an almost iris-like powdery quality, and it is very welcome when it arrives. I've had a serious craving for powdery scents lately, and Kiki delivers just enough to make this fresh fragrance sophisticated.

The caramel, patchouli and musk are done with a light hand here, which is a very desirable move because it lets the star of the perfume, the lavender, shine in all its glory. To my nose, this is English lavender, which I prefer over French for its traditional qualities, it lends a pleasing clean feel to perfume without coming across as soapy.

I can imagine that Kiki will become a favorite warm-weather perfume for me, and I am looking forward to trying this in the extrait version. Named after Man Ray's muse (Kiki de Montparnasse), Kiki the perfume is robust, shapely and bold much like its namesake, but it is not so feminine that a man can't wear it. In fact, I think it would be particularly lovely on the right man.

Vero Profumo's Kiki EDP can be purchased at Luckyscent, 50ml for $165. Extrait is also available there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Failing to smell The Big Picture

I had a conversation with my husband recently that got me thinking. I often ask him to sniff the perfume that I'm wearing in order to get his impression; he's not really a perfume person, but he's very creative and he usually says something interesting and/or funny. Here's how the conversation started:

Me: "What does this smell like?" [offers wrist for a sniff]
Husband: "Powder."
Me: "Hmm. Okay. What else?"
Husband: "Nothin'. Just powder."
Me: "There's no powder in this."
Husband: [shrugs]

Despite this discrepancy in initial opinion, we both actually liked the scent quite a bit (for those interested, it was one of Haus of Gloi's new scents for Spring, Milk Maid). But my rude awakening came about an hour later, when I went to sniff again. There it was, sticking its tongue out at me: POWDER. I wondered, is my husband's nose more sensitive than mine? Or am I extrapolating so heavily when I analyze a fragrance that I fail to get the overall impression, or "The Big Picture"? Admitting to either option is not very appealing to my sense of vanity, but I think I will (as humbly as possible) cop to the latter. I am analytical by nature, and when I smell a fragrance that is new to me, I pick out the dominating notes from each stage of wear and tend to focus on exploring those, and comparing them to similar (or identical) notes in other fragrances. This is sort of how I get my jollies. 

What I'd like to know from you, dear readers, is what breed of perfume-lover are you? Are you able to glean the individual characteristics of a fragrance well, or do you mainly focus on the overall impression? Or, are you lucky enough to have a broad sense of fragrance that allows you to interpret both with ease? 



[photo credit: www.personalbrandingblog.com]

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau

I have been anxiously awaiting my sample of Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau (which translates to Skin Games), and it finally arrived the other day. Created by Christopher Sheldrake, I must admit that my expectations were high; mostly because I love so many Lutens fragrances already.


Notes according to Luckyscent:
Bread note, spices, licorice, apricot, immortelle, sandalwood, woody notes, amber

On opening, I get a distinct rush of verdant forest mingled with a bright candied fruit note, which is absolutely stunning... for a moment. Then, the overwhelming sugary maple syrup effect of the Immortelle eats all in its path. At first, it is a pleasant sweetness, but quickly, I am longing for the note to be removed so that some of the others may come out to play. Here is where the scent stays on me for about twenty minutes.

As the dry down progresses, a sensual skin-musk is being born from the treacly wreckage, and it starts to take on another personality. The longer it sits on my skin, the more pleasant it becomes, and several hours later, I can tease out the woods and amber just a  bit.

In the end, Jeux de Peau is a fragrance I would not buy; it is simply not for me. Something about my body chemistry and the way I interpret fragrance does not agree with wearing maple syrup. I do however, very much enjoy eating it.


Jeux de Peau is available at Luckyscent.com among other places, for $120 for a 50ml bottle. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Haus of Gloi Bubbling Scrub

Today I got the chance to try Haus of Gloi's Bubbling Scrub scented with Troika [soft milks, almond, oat, coconut, sweet agave nectar, clean white].


This is an emollient body cleanser with organic sugar granules for exfoliation. It is supposed to be vigorously scrubbed on the skin to create lather, but it did not lather too much for me. I'm not a stickler for lathering, so I really couldn't care less about that. What I am a stickler for when it comes to my bath and body products is cleansing and scent.

The granules of sugar dissolve as you use the product, skin becomes softened and the moisturizing cleansing base does its job very well without any irritation. The scent of Troika couldn't be more perfect with this scrub. It only leaves a faint trace of the scent on the skin after you towel off, but throughout the day, I would catch faint whiffs of it on my skin. It's an intoxicatingly soft, clean, milky scent.

Once again, Haus of Gloi delivers an excellent product worthy of hoarding, and a 6 oz jar is only $8. Available in Aether (unscented) and many other scents.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NUXE Contour des Yeux Prodigieux (Anti-Aging Eye Cream)

Nuxe Contour des Yeux Prodigieux Anti-Aging Eye Cream is a soothing and firming daily-use eye cream that is suitable for all skin types and ages including sensitive eyes. This is very important to me because I have allergies and a lot of itchiness, redness and puffiness from them. This is a light-textured eye cream that feels cool when you apply it, so its refreshing properties are a nice benefit. Green tea, chamomile and cornflower water help to decongest the eye area, so I find it extra useful to use in the morning. You only need to wait a few minutes for the product to settle into the skin and you will be ready to apply makeup. This is not a super-rich cream that you would use before bedtime, but a very light daytime hydrating cream. When your undereye area needs extra moisturizing during the day like mine does, this is the perfect option because it really enhances the way your foundation and concealer perform and softens the appearance of wrinkles.

Nuxe Contour des Yeux Prodigieux eye cream is available at several online retailers including Skinstore.com for $28.





Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Embracing Original Sin: Ormonde Woman

When I think about London perfumery Ormonde Jayne's Woman, the imagery I keep coming back to is that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I imagine Eve, reclining and languorous, scented to an intoxicating degree, sans fig leaves.

                                                     "Adam and Eve" by Gustav Klimt

Here is the notes list from the Ormonde Jayne website:
Top: Cardamom, coriander, grass oil
Heart: Black hemlock, violet, jasmine absolute
Base: Vetiver, cedarwood, amber, sandalwood

This blend instantly drew me in with the sharp verdancy of the grass oil, but it is not so uplifting that it sends you careening into the sky without care; the rich notes of black hemlock and spices immediately ground you once again. If that were not enough travel, you are dragged swiftly beneath the soil to be immersed in salty vetiver, powdered violet, dry woods and slightly sweet amber. What makes you want to stay there forever, ensconced within the earth's breast is the complexity of the overall effect of these notes together. Can something be emotionally unsettling, yet comforting at the same time? I did not think so until I tried Ormonde Woman, many, many times over. I am magnetically pulled towards this perfume like a moth to a flame. It feels almost forbidden to identify myself with it so closely, it's like one's hidden nature being discovered accidentally.


Ormonde Woman is a fragrance that is sensually emboldening. It's as if the primal essence of woman has been captured in a bottle to be used either wisely or foolishly, depending on the personality of the wearer. To me, it is more of an artful potion than a perfume, and on the right person, creates pure alchemical magic. This is a scent suitable for Complicated Women (you all know who you are), and while I am not proud nor ashamed that I count myself among them, I am thrilled that I have come across a scent that I am so clearly meant to wear.

Each time I wear Ormonde Woman, I look for more clarification as to why the scent works so well, but it gives the impression of a hazy collection of emotions without explanation. It is a scent that just IS, like the idea of love or death; its truth rocks the soul.

A 50ml bottle of Ormonde Woman EDP is available for 70 GBP, also available in Pure Parfum concentration, candles, EDP travel sprays and bath & body products. The Discovery Set (highly recommended to try all Ormonde Jayne blends) is available for 44 GBP, which includes shipping to anywhere in the world. You get a 2ml spray glass vial of each of their 12 scents.

[Discovery Set was sent to me for review by Ormonde Jayne. My opinions are my own and I was not financially compensated by the company]