October 19, 2017

Autumn with DSH Une Robe de Zibeline and Tsukimi

Drawing by Kris Kuksi
There is a strong and deep flavor of classic European vintage perfume inspiration in Une Robe de Zibeline (Sable Coat) as it carries this style of romantic beauty into today.  Mysterious shades dappled against lightness and comforting warmth.

This perfume reveals a refined animalic bone structure enveloped by contemporary subtlety, softness, intimacy. 

We (especially Americans) don't like big intrusive scent trail perfumes for the most part, anymore, or the idea of animal sacrifice for the sake of adornment. Fur effects attained by other means can be experienced in this perfume. This scent aura is a close halo that is more for the wearer and their closest intimates than a self-presentation that plays to an audience.

The amber is a golden transparency, the slight tang of peppery spice lifts, and the ylang-ylang, rose, carnation and beeswax breathe out as the dominant notes, for me. They lean next to the fantasy accords and beside the warmth-inducing edge of patchouli ambergris and benzoin. 

The Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (DSH) style can be either meditative or a force field of beauty that extends a few inches around the skin, both or either, depending on what the mood and attitude require. It is flexible, while retaining a strong character. As with all the DSH perfumes, there is a lyrical delicacy within the references and sophistication. 

Listed as a spicy Oriental, the note list from the DSH site shows coumarin, brown oakmoss, ambergris, castoreum and civet (as non-animal synthetic accords) East Indian patchouli, labdanum, leather (cade oils) Siam benzoin, blond tobacco absolute, Tolu balsam, Bulgarian rose absolute, carnation, French beeswax, Grandiflorum Jasmine, orris, spice notes (allspice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or cardamom) ylang-ylang, aldehydes, bergamot, black pepper, lemon, rosewood, Essense Studio (accords created over time as signatures by DSH) and vanilla.

Dreamy, relaxing, warm, the notes so tightly bound together are an impression of alive-ness that lies calmly as a sleeping beast. The applied perfume is like wearing your own invisible fluffy fur collar and cuffs. Pinned on is a fantasy corsage of vanilla orchids with buds of various other deeply scented florals, held just far enough away to blend together seamlessly.    
Blue birds from the bluest fable,
Bear and hare in coats of sable,
Peacock moth on picnic table.
(Fragment of a poem by Nabokov, "Lines Written in Oregon" )

These sprightly/serious lines from Nabokov's legendary travels across Fifties America occupy a sensory realm exactly referenced by these two perfumes.

These two show two sides of the DSH coin. They make allusions, throw references and prism-y shards of olfactory sense memories in both directions. Heavy/dark beside light/delicate.

These were my two immediate favorites of the last set of samples from DSH, though the rest offer plenty to delve into deeply at another time. DSH's prolific creativity is almost overwhelming.

Tsukimi (Moon Gazing) pronounced 'ski-me' is inspired by the Japanese festival of Autumn moon gazing.  I find it subtle, delicate, uplifting, exquisitely beautiful and transporting. It is meant to be softly warming and meditatively glowing, sheltering itself within a cool night air atmosphere. The scent recalls autumn leaves, a cedar tea infused with aromatic wood tones, lightly balsamic powder and peach skin. There's what I call the "Sandalwood Effect". I consider this a quality of aromatic softness that reaches right into the mind to effect calm. Quiet beauty is lifted by a clear light bright airborne effect. It plays with the warm and cool aspects of the notes.

Listed as an Autumn Gourmand, the notes are amyris, peach skin accord, Australian sandalwood, Brazilian vetiver, frankincense Co2 absolute, Hiba cedarwood, hinoki, oppopanax, ambergris musk,
vanilla absolute, ambrette seed, rosewater, Siam benzoin, spice notes, cardamom seed Co2, fig, fig leaf, nutmeg, Essense Studio accords.

Both come in a wide range of strengths. I sampled and fell for these in Voile de Parfum which the DSH site describes as 10-20% oil concentrate, with a slow evaporation rate. These are handmade perfumes by an American artist who has studied and practiced the classical traditions for a long time and translated them into a modern beauty that can be worn by any gender at any occasion. Autumn is the theme but cool air at any time of year would carry their lyrical warmth to best effect.

Please follow the links above to the DSH website for more information.

Disclosure: samples were given to me by the perfumer but I also purchased larger amounts to have more wear time before writing about these two perfumes.

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

September 2, 2017

Late and Last of Summer Perfumes 2017

Theodoor van Hoytema calendar 1905
the days of the week and numbers line up this year

The year is moving on, the season of greatest heat passed here. We move into the full-time magic hour kind of days. Slanting rays of light, rustling leaves, sudden rainstorms (praying it stays at just that). Feeling time pass as it works its ways.

Following my personal tastes and intuition lead me in several different directions, perfume-wise, lately. I've feasted on several samples accumulated in the past few months. Now certain ones come to the fore to vie for my fond attention. The beauties of this world remain to be found and appreciated, no matter what else.

These following are precipitating into a strong list for possible full-size possession consideration.

Tubereuse Couture 17 by Perfumerie Generale

Immediately bowled over by Perfumerie Generale's Tubereuse Couture. It satisfies a white flower fanatic's cravings. A full rush of creamy rich tuberose is mixed into a green so green it almost veers into cool mint. The slow dry down turns itself into an air of sophisticated elegant refinement. That more ethereal late form of the perfume's evolution displays as ethereal freshness. This is an air of great luxury and does indeed affiliate with the fashioned world of Couture. The skillful workmanship is divine. A standout, that requires confidence, and ultra feminine. Others in the room with you will know it is there, in its glory.

Notes listed as: kalamanzi oil, green jasmine shoots, ylang-ylang, sugar cane, Indian tuberose, Sumatra benzoin, papyrus.
Eau de Parfum, $125 50ml.

Apolo e Dafne. Piero Pollaiolo
Dryad by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Dryad by Papillon Artisan Perfumes turns itself into a tree, nymph like. You may then identify with that fragrant life. The effect envelops the skin. It brings you within the bark and sap infused fibers and the waving dark green leaves taking in sun. Dry and full bodied, the essence of a life force that is quiet and powerful, smooth and wise with time. Seasoned. A warm cloak of a perfume, like sun on skin. To be worn by anyone, anytime, anywhere. This could be a signature scent, for repeat wear. A sophisticated basic for the fragrant wardrobe, it holds a big personality at the same time. Chic and personal, indie/niche, yet easy to wear and a true enhancement. For me it grew more distinctive with wear, rather than fading out of my own perception as perfumes can often do. Not shy but not overtly intrusive, either.

Notes listed as: cedrat, bigaradier orange, bergamot, narcissus, oakmoss, jonquil, clary sage, orange blossom, lavender, orris, vetiver, thyme, galbanum, costus, tarragon, apricot, benzoin, peru balsam, styrax.
Eau de Parfum, $160 50ml.

Tobacco Rose by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Another by Papillon is Tobacco Rose, embodying the end of summer moment for me, this year. I think of it as a heartbreaker rose. The warmth of the strong rose character is so like the moment before hot tears flow. The tobacco is its earthy warmth, in dry blond harvested leaves. A subtle narcotic tone. A release of tension as this perfumes is absorbed. Evolves into a soft air that lingers like a long sunset in a walled garden. A medieval embroidery, a ceremonial beauty in fragrance form. In time, it burns down to the heart of the rose, an infusion that colors personal space like a musk. Livable, a meditation of a perfume, as a reminder of the solid core of beauty in the outside world.

Notes listed as: Bulgarian rose, rose de mai, oakmoss, ambergris, beeswax and Peru balsam
Eau de Parfum, $160 50 ml. 

Sortilège by Le Galion

A strong, emotionally affecting recreation of a vintage perfume. Direct, full of body, the warmth of a candle flame. Luminous, complex, a presence. For me, verging on serious, and sonorous, and a bit of a mind altering experience. That's because it brings me back to a facet of the aesthetic character of my earliest days. Reminds me of grown women wearing tailored clothing and even hats and long gloves on occasion. The aldehyde forefront is wearing a warm and warming fur coat. An ultra sensitive interpretation of a classical form of perfume. An idealized slice of the past, but right for today. Cleansed of cruel or brutal strength (no animal harmed, no overwhelming scent trail). Silky and voluminous, inspiring in its evocative harking to satin glamor. While wearable today, no matter what you've got on. This vintage style is not intimidating or over luxurious, but inviting and intimate; friendly.

Notes listed as:  lily of the valley, lilac, ylang-ylang, aldehydes, jasmine, mimosa, narcissus, rose, iris, sandalwood, vetiver, labdanum, musk, amber.
Eau de Parfum, $180 100ml.

Disclosures: Tubereuse Couture and Dryad samples purchased by me, Tobacco Rose and Sortilège samples provided by Twisted Lily in Brooklyn, NY.
Images above as caption credited, photo of Tobacco Rose from the LuckyScent site, photo of Sortilège from the Le Galion website.

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas,  All Rights Reserved.

August 1, 2017

Zoologist Dragonfly, Civet, Nightingale

"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”
― Henry BestonThe Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

Victor Wong's Zoologist series produces perfumes based on the personas of specific wildlife personalities. He is building a library of fragrance tributes to our fellow beings. Each one includes beauty, lightness, and humor as well as an emphasis on a unique niche of the natural world.

Each of the indie-perfumers involved shows a personal affinity for the creatures they portray. Using the means of fragrance, they match their human admiration with expressive notes. These fragrance interpretations connect with nature in a way that invites us in too. All our sensitive noses bring us closer together.

René Lalique - Bodice Ornament. Dragonfly Woman 1897-98.

Dragonfly Eau de Parfum by perfumer Juan Perez displays transparency and strength akin to its namesake. Iridescent reflection and lift reference an existence led between the aquatic and ozonic spheres. Water and air are tinted with summer greens, florals and dissolving and evaporating elements.

A calm soft core, limpid and milky, links top and base. The notes are listed as follows: Top -- aldehydes, heliotrope, lemon, peony, rainwater. Soft water calls to the perfume's center softness. Heart Notes -- cherry blossom, clover, iris, lotus, rice. The lotus and rice tone the limpid, romantic core. Base Notes -- amber, moss, musk, papyrus, sandalwood. These join all the rest together, and papyrus and sandalwood hold hands with lotus and rice at the heart.
The aldehydes impart the multi-directional energy of a darting, flashing dragonfly.

Softness held within this strong aromatic energy is our direct opposite. Our own bone structure is held within a soft skin. The dragonfly's body works the other way around.
Dragonfly's cool green aldehydes, detailed with iridescent blue green highlights, support a warm center. The dry down exposes more aromatic details; multi-faceted floral notes.
This perfume contains you within its aromatic, humid aura.
Easy to wear, it's a soothing release into air and water. Takes off on the lift of subtle iridescent facets, and flies on an air current created by the forces of warm and cool.
Civet and Nightingale, in Extrait de Parfum, answer to other scent and style affinities. 
The Zoologist array of wild spirit inspirations provides for a wide range of moods. Covers seasons and weather, different aspects of personalities, and differing skin responses. 
The line is growing, there are now nine (with Elephant, the tenth, will release in October).
Night Civet from the Zoologist website
Civet is an instantaneous scent bomb, a big charismatic personality, sensual and intoxicating. Sometimes you want big, sometimes you want subtle. This is for when you want to be borne away on rolling aromatic waves of scent intoxication. A powerful perfume, with a warm heart. The note list is long, and lengthy wear displays several, depending on where your mind rests on the perfume at any given time. I have dwelt on the coffee, carnation, tuberose, balsams, musks, and woods. These are pierced through with hyacinth, linden, and heliotrope, among other florals, glittering in the depths.
Shelley Waddington, one of my favorite indie-perfumers, has pulled off this magic before. She uses materials other than the ones you'd think, for an effect that brings you to the heart of the target. *
The line never uses animal products. Civet itself is one of the old school legendary ingredients in vintage perfumes. Precious and useful, enhancing and gorgeous, but cruel. Outlawed, but unfortunately, there is still some modern trade in the animal sourced substance. Even more heartbreaking now, when we know better.
There is no worry or cruelty mixed in with this perfume. It's a tribute rather than a stolen substance. Made with facets of plant essences, and clever and sensitive modern synthetic portraits of scent elements.
This is no photo-realist portrait, as civet itself smells awfully unpleasant. In tiny amounts, it has the power to enhance the primal beauty of florals and other perfume notes. What this perfume does is create the effect of that magnification. The civilized veneer rests on top of feral energy, the wildness in a jungle of abundant life and beauty. A modern floral chypre, it calls back to a traditional perfume form. Scent seduction modified by current humane sensibility, on several levels. Genderless, it would be dynamic on a masculine persona and powerful as a feminine one. Melts slowly over the skin, a creamy floral infused, long story you never tire of.
Zoologist Nightingale label/illustration

Nightingale is itself a glowing pink liquid. Reminds me of the School of the Flower's Procession of Cherry Blossom Spirits; music of rhythmic lyrical refinement. Repetition and similarities gather like blossoms into a bouquet of variations on a theme. Blossoms crowded along a branch, supporting the night song of a bird looking for a mate. As an Extrait de Parfum, its strength is a silky enveloping scent garment. Serious base notes support the powdered prettiness of Japanese plum blossom, rose, and violets. The mood is hopeful and balanced, open and charming.
It's a perfume gift of flowers packed into moss, and several woods themed notes. The opening releases a quick brightness. This settles over floral tinged ambergris, sandalwood, and deeper notes. These influences set off the pure petals against a shadowed sky.
The indie-perfumer Toomo Inaba has a background as a prolific perfume blogger in Japanese. More than 5000 posts create a reference for Japanese collectors over a wide range of types. He has traveled world wide for many years as a perfume materials sourcer. His background led to this combination of Western and Eastern aesthetics in perfume form. Calm Japanese elegant simplicity crosses with European chypre complexity. Synthesizes into a romantic appreciation of traditional, sacred nature experiences, observing Spring blossoms. Nightingale is a reminder of traditional human love for nature's recurring rituals.

Please visit the lovely Zoologist site for more detailed note information, interviews, pricing, samples, travel and full sizes, and stockists.
You can search for more of my posts on other perfumes by Shelley Waddington and Juan M. Perez in the search bar.
This is a non-commercial post, samples purchased by me.

Images above as credited, the Papyrus image was found on Pinterest. 
If you have a credit for this image, let me know

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved

July 1, 2017

Imaginary Authors: Violet Disguise, Every Storm a Serenade, Saint Julep

Evocative biographical notes, labels of collaged imagery, Imaginary Authors builds stories fulfilled in perfume. They are casual yet glamorous, and each one a detailed slice of life.

These three remind me of early Sixties American film. A few focused sentences, colors, fragrance notes, make this vivid impression. I get the distinct feeling these people have actually lived. These perfumes are like a record of their adventures, time capsules, souvenirs. I can picture their hands on the steering wheel, as they travel from one phase of life into the next. I can imagine them alone at their writing, lost in memory and imagination. It's rare for me that the perfume stories amplify the effect of the fragrances themselves as these do.

These three are mood perfumes, aura-like airs, spatial and open. There is a spacious atmosphere in these IA perfumes. The style is one of openness, establishing a calming distance. Like entering a room with a high ceiling and graceful proportions. Never heavy, close, or immediate. More to establish a sense of possibility, making room to move. Soothing, open, gentle, these perfumes create an easy atmosphere. I find they soften the extremes in intense summer months.

Violet Disguise

Includes the Evening Air, the Month of May, Plum, Violet, Dried Fruits, Balsam and Amber. This blend uses the soft power of a mild amber to tie together greens that edge a violet hiding under grassy shade. Set beside the quiet sap flowing through a cool evergreen. It opens up the air, as Magic Hour begins to pick out the details, an enhancement.

Captures the beautiful evening air in a mild climate and surrounds you with it.

As expressed by Imaginary Author Leonora Blumberg: “Invigorated by the reckless blooms of spring she took to the street like a blossom on the breeze.” She keeps her lipstick on. There is a cosmetic enhancement aspect to one's persona in wearing this perfume.

Reaching out to arm's length, this is no sillage monster, but rather a refreshment that holds on. Plum and other dried fruits round out the effect to a full curve that keeps going.

Notes in this line often reveal certain distilled aspects of themselves.  In this case it's an aspect of plum, rather than its full complicated tangy sweetness, not the full-length photo-realistic portrait. It's the plum's smooth balmy lushness only, kept in a zone of balance, neither warm nor cool. Staying in this medium zone of steady balance is exactly what I am looking for right now. Especially now when surrounded by extremes of weather or news or some other urgency. A relaxing perfume, in the best possible way.

Every Storm a Serenade

Notes listed as Danish Spruce, Eucalyptus, Vetiver, Calone, Ambergris & Baltic Sea Mist. The impending storm with a metallic salty tang to the air. Blue-grey skies, fresh wind, oxygen freshness released by ice melting in sea water. This atmosphere is bigger than you are. Surrounds you with the refreshment of condensation, rainfall, air moved by tides. An antidote to any form of seething. 

Opposite to a heavy atmosphere of humidity, this captures moisture at the moment it turns into rain.

Marine air, again not a close portrait, but a mood. It's a step outside, to refresh yourself. Opens with strength, that sense your blood is cleansed by this freshness. Spruce needles buoyant on waves of cool sea water. It quiets down quickly, then becomes an aura perfume, one to experience as a cool smooth cloak, your personal cloud of refreshment.  An affair with a Danish seafarer, as the copy says. You carry your own free air with you wherever you go with this.

To set summer heat at a distance, take this minted iced refreshment, calm the harsh sun. Notes: Sweet Mint, Tangerine, Southern Magnolia, Bourbon, Grisalva, Sugarcube, Crushed Ice.

This is a cloud that blends all these notes so well that it's a trip to a slow dance hall at night after work all day. The top is down, the soft night air rushing past is this fragrance. Contains a little intoxication with everything, dials the burn down from your hot skin.

I admire the spaciousness of this fragrance as it holds the most subtle edges of the notes together. It increases the volume of liquid soft air. A cool drink that relaxes your shoulders. It may change your perspective. It may ease uncomfortable tension, increase courtesy with charm. It's clean and open and full and round. It's about taking your time to enjoy just being here. Like a comfortable simple cotton shirt on the skin, as refreshment in itself. Mint in water, that coolness magnifies the cool water it rests on. Contains a Southern story of transference, one that moves from one kind of blessing into another. Finding relief as a sacred space, an atmosphere that restores you. 

Please see the linked perfume titles to to go directly to the Imaginary Author's site, with more details and information on samples and perfumes. Violet Disguise and Every Storm a Serenade are in my own perfume collection.  Saint Julep sample provided by the perfumer. Thanks to the perfumer Josh Meyer for his samples over time, this unique American indie perfume line is one of the most creative evocative and endearing.

Images above from the perfumer's website.

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

June 19, 2017

Summer 2017 Parfums Quartana - Poppy Soma, Digitalis, Venetian Belladonna

After a long cool Spring here, we are plunged into the upper limits of humidity and languor. Early mornings of gentleness, long afternoons of searing sun, blue evenings of balmy air blowing in long sessions of driving rains.

Perfumes are helpful in reaching needful moments of serenity at any time. Fortifying an inner balance to face the long mid-afternoon heat, and the compelling news cycle that renews and magnifies itself every day.  Like taking a vitamin for the soul. They could be aids to help gather strength to meet the basic requirement for focus on efforts to move forward in the midst of whatever may come.

Certain perfume styles and kinds lend themselves to a balance against weather and news concerns and anxieties. We know that above a certain temperature and humidity, humans tend to get irritable, frustrated, and some go over the edge. Outside the personal, there are the public events that are our shared lives taking twists and turns, intensifying over time, especially now.

A relaxing dreamy personal perfume aura can make small yet clear calls to attention. Silent invitations to moments of peace and relaxation and memory triggers of free wild beauty. Connections to seasonal cycles, day dreams of time-expanding childhood summers.

Times like this I hold the strong dramatic big perfume clouds in reserve, and reach for the soft, building, atmospheric, persistent ones.

Parfums Quartana

Have made a series of perfumes inspired by plants that have a dangerous as well as a beneficial healing side. These three are my favorites from the series. They are all steeped in the feeling of the plant and flower, rather than presenting an exact olfactory likeness. They are an emotional portrait of the plant's meanings and associations, built over ages. We've known and used these elements of nature since earliest recorded time. They all still grow wild along the edges of woods, water, or wherever the soil is left alone, in a wide range of continents, as climate permits. Not gender specific, I would wear them as staples of a daily wardrobe, alone or among a crowd.

I must emphasize, that for me at this moment, looking for soothing aspects in perfume, these three were especially atmospheric, and these descriptions are primarily about the perfume aura they create. That is, I was more attracted to the essence of silken mildness in the perfume aura around me rather than the detailed high intensity drama they reveal closer on the skin. All three share that dimensionality, so it's another facet to enjoy in these perfumes. They were inspired by the legends of danger bound to potentially lethal botanicals. These dangerous plants also have well known healing aspects on the central nervous system. In careful doses, they have been relied on for centuries to ease a wide spectrum of mental and bodily problems. Turns out these perfumes' arm's length auras also impart that sense of ease and relaxation.

Field poppies, by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, c. 1912 via Wikipedia

Poppy Soma

Sichuan Pepper, Curry Leaf, Red Pepper, Black Gardenia, Jasmine Sambac, Red Rose, Old Church Incense, Labdanum, Tuberose, Styrax, Musk Tonquin
20% Parfum concentration

This is a dreamy fog of a perfume, a gentle enveloping softness. Applied to the neck and arms, it reaches out from the skin to move with you for a perfume aura of pure relaxation. Up close, you get the more intense and specific peppers and curry, the gently indolic florals, surrounded by the white smoke of incense as softened by a cloudy musk. As it rises out from the skin, it mixes into a soothing atmosphere that ornaments your presence and unfolds with a satisfying peaceful slowness. It seems to say 'take your time'. Similar to the feeling you get after coming out of a warm ocean, that sense of calm, replete. At this 20% high concentration, it holds and remains true and satisfying. It opens the door to a serene center within, exerting its invisible influence over a more extended time than usual for me. A creamy lightness, a presence of subtle soft sweetness, a light silken cloak. Season-less, but especially right for this high humidity.

The poppy is well known as the source of opium, which has its legendary and dangerous effects, as well as its uses and even overuse in treatment of pain of all kinds. 

Digitalis from the site First Nature, with much info on this wild growing botanical

Galbanum, Silver Iris, Cucumber, Basil, Pepper, Ozone, Coriander, Florozone, Drenched Violet, Neroli, Rose, Jasmine, Gentiane, Incense, Fern, Wet Moss, Violet Leaf
16% EdP

Has a wild, feral heart, close to the earth, with the energy of a weed,  confident and calm in its strength. This one is a combination of soft-edged contrasts. Fresh coolness, greenery, crossed with the scent of deep well water. Green set like a gem within water filtered by air, streaming through sun in a brimming Roman fountain. The calm central pool is the structure that supports the green freshness. An inhalation of the green air surrounding carpets of ferns, violets, mosses, in the aura space. Sliced cucumber green coolness blends with the cool liquid tone. An beautifully atmospheric perfume, again the details show up most intensely right up against the skin. The perfume's more distant aura blends all together seamlessly. The shades of green elements' tang reach out over a brimming pool of fresh water. This is the scent equivalent of shade on a hot humid day. The uplifting clear energy goes liquid. 

Have read that within narrow limits, digitalis calms and strengthens an arrhythmic heart, bearing in mind a fine dangerous line that must be carefully observed, because it may slow the beat down much too much. A quick pulse can mean high blood pressure and heat, stress and possibly difficult emotion. This scent emanation of chilled green fresh living water calls up an automatic relaxation response in mind and body. Fresh water and green are primal connections to the healthy vigor of life that goes on with us or without us. This perfume reminds me of the refreshment of those primal forces.

from Slate's article on the Deadly Night Shade, Wild Things series, Photo by Flickr user Peganum

Cassis, Violet Water, Plum, Sultanene, Cognac, Styrax Pyrogene, Ambrette Seed, Sampaquia, Honey, Purple Iris, Tuberose, Patchouli, Labdanum, Suede, Saffron, Beeswax, Sandalwood, Vetiver
@15% Eau de Parfum

Hypnotic, seductively restful, this perfume starts out waving its wand over you with vigor and then as it winds you and itself down, retreats into your core, where it maintains warmth. Like an invisible cashmere sweater, it makes a magical insulation barrier on a hot day as well as a light layer of relaxing charm if unexpectedly caught in a chill. The second phase of steady warm aromatic gentleness  is like a smile that lightens your state of mind. A smooth silk pillow that cools and rests the skin and eyes. It hovers with a steady gentle furry warmth just strong enough to relax the facial muscles. I can see how its honied sueded waxed florals are piqued around the edges with the sweet coolness of violet and iris, and the dryness of vetiver. It has an ornate, indeed Venetian quality around those edges. It makes a frame around you, highlights dusted with soft gold. Up close to the skin there is an intoxicating quality, like a glass or two of wine. 

Infamously poisonous, the plant is also known as Deadly Nightshade, but it has useful relaxant and pain numbing, anesthetic qualities when used skillfully. Venetians of old had a penchant for its use as a sweet poison, hence the double side of its names, both beautiful woman and deadly nightshade. 

Love them all, but I will put the 20% parfum strength Poppy Soma at the top of my list of Most Wanteds. The unusually steady hold on my particular perfume eating skin with its deeply relaxant properties would be the one I'd reach for most often.

Thank you to Twisted Lily in Brooklyn, who provided samples. They have more details and gorgeous descriptions of the full line here.  They have a sample set available, so you can find out which one gets to you the most. The perfumes are on their shelves so you can visit there to try right away in person, too.

You can hit the links at each perfume title above to get the Sixth Sense Quartana website, with more on the legends of each botanical and links to each perfumer with much more about this project, and links to other reviews. You can also see the gorgeously colorful and wild packaging/presentation of these perfumes.

For more on dangerous botanicals and their uses and abuses, try this article from Slate about Belladonna as the Deadly Nightshade, which also gives links to an interesting new book about dangerous botanicals. The captions to the photos above credit and link to fascinating articles with much more on these plants.

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved


May 24, 2017

Rahele Eau de Parfum by Neela Vermeire Creations

Rahele is a perfume that works as both a comfort and a veil. The restraint is that of sophistication and an elegant erect posture, a backbone.  It is quiet yet full of detail, tradition, refinement and radiance.
Portrait of a Woman, Mughal, c1640
about the time Tavernier visited India.
She is wearing the legendary amounts of
jewelry the court was known for.
On first encounter, it is an experience of ultra radiant osmanthus. Several floral elements harmonize their wildness into an opulent Indian ornamentation. At the same time, there is a fine point of bright lively green (green mandarin) through the the initial floral phase.
Gardens of Versailles
Gardening as a reflection of an orderly mind
The radiance is bound within a cultivated French aesthetic.  The brightness of nature adjusted with disciplined rigor. The notes build a memory palace or map to a distant, unfamiliar mythic place, India.  Mughal Indian opulence translated into the French language. 
As it dries down, the space within opens up, reaching out from an intimate space to high vaulted spaciousness. Hints of spices emerge, cardamon, cinnamon, the coolness of iris, violet and cedar, a soft fine glove leather.  Smooth intermediaries of magnolia, rose and sandalwood, and touches of patchouli and oakmoss. The mood shifts to a calmer, more mindful awareness.
This is the kind of perfume you enter into, you must open its door with attention. It is meditative. To focus on it brings you back from distraction, into a richness of detail with an edge of precision. The glow is contained by disciplined formality.
The delicacy is based on a solid foundation that makes it last. It holds close to the skin, and melds into your own persona. You can wear it anywhere at any time. 
It is similar to one of those perfumes that people used to choose for their one signature scent. It can carry every mood. You could go to the opera or you could stay at home and read a book beside one lit lamp. Perfect for both a ballgown and a nightgown. It would follow you all day long and reach into the classic sense of fragrance beauty to keep you company along the way.
Shah Jahan 1616
holding a turban ornament gem
Builder of the Taj Mahal
Powerful Aesthete
Louis XIV 1653 as Apollo.
Builder of Versailles, performer
of French majesty
Powerful Aesthete
The perfume story references a legendary gem. Early French travel to India brought an immense glowing blue diamond back to France. Acquired by Louis XIV, later stolen, recovered, cut and re-cut, a part of it remains to us as the Hope Diamond. 
The brilliance of such extraordinary gems represent pure beauty, concentrated wealth and focus. It is possible to get lost within the radiance, faceted to bring out the pure cold fire. 
Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian with red glow
When Louis XIV wore it, it was much larger and cut so
there was sun like glow from the center.
The perfume's pure spirit, while it holds so many classical references, keeps it modern. There is no heaviness. The quality of the materials makes for a jewel-like aura. One of those perfumes that invites you to live up to it.  
Rather exalted, and a good counter-balance and contrast to whatever the current chaotic state of affairs may bring. Breathing in such high standards are a way to enhance the beauty of personal life. 
Notes are listed as green mandarin, cardamom, cinnamon, violet leaf, osmanthus, rose, magnolia, jasmin, iris, violet, cedar, sandalwood, oakmoss, patchouli, leather.
This is the latest work by Neela Vermeire and Bertrand Duchaufour, together creating a series of perfumes that express facets of each other's aesthetic refinement. They incorporate through these fragrances a nuanced understanding and expression of each other's cultural history. They have connected us to this interplay of the cultures of India and France, through scent.
Disclosure: I received my initial sample of this perfume from Neela Vermeire, and have discussed the perfume with her.
Images above as credited in the captions. The links in the captions under Shah Jahan and Louis XIV go to information about their aesthetics and their strong influence on the arts of their culture and time. 
Please visit the NVC website for more information as to samples, prices and stockists.

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

April 11, 2017

Amora by Hendley Perfumes

The sound and sense of the name, Amora, gives you an idea of its soothing and transporting nature. A perfume that reminds me of the everyday things that make life sweet. 

That first bite into a ripe plum. Velvety rose petals. Fragrant sap within trees. The vital warmth of skin to skin, and hints of our
deep relationship with the sea.

Note list: stone fruit, mixed berries, rose absolute, blonde tobacco, sweet resins, musk complex, ambergris.

Grateful that it appeared like a stroke of luck when I needed exactly that. The unexpected sample arrived at the lingering tail end of a hard winter. Bad/sad news coming from all directions. It unfolded as a counterweight, with calm poetic beauty and smooth gentleness.

The central characteristic is warmth and openness. immediately breathing out a pervasive velvet deliciousness. The intimate warm aura emanates from the base notes that remain mixed with florals and fruit. These lie with intensity on the skin's surface. Staining the air, relaxation emanates outwards.

The opening is so engaging I find myself reapplying several times just to go through it again.

The name, and then note list drew me in. This could be the atmosphere of romantic infatuation recreated with elements of nature. This could also be a flame in the dark, warming and scenting a space that includes everyone in its throw.

The style is a refined contemporary one that focuses on harmonies rather than drama.

Genderless, flattering, for anyone, age included. I do get that it comes from a masculine point of view on what luxury is. Put together from the rich, yet more direct and streamlined natural sensations. Their affinities creating warmth. A floral that holds the fruit within it, layered with woods and musks. Wrapped up in fresh, moist, light tobacco leaves. That facet of fresh blonde tobacco might well be the source of the pervasive warmth, as well as the musk and ambergris. Stops well back from becoming a portrait of tobacco, but uses its character for that warmth.

I suggest a few extra sprays into the hair. There's an affinity to all shades of dark hair, all the reds and the darker blondes.

This perfume comes in varied sizes, making it accessible. I for one love to bring perfume along with me. So glad that the travel size is an appealing tall, slender, yet heavy cylinder.

Hans Hendley is one of the most thoughtful and pleasing indieperfumers out there. Hand made, small batch, lovely materials, simple and elegant presentation.

I suggest you check him out on Instagram, too. I saw his beautiful images and short poetic descriptions as evidence of how he operates.

He's a fellow Brooklyn resident, and though we've not met, I know him on Facebook, and recall that one day he had started a great thread asking his friends to name their favorite love songs. That kept growing, and brought up a lot of the most pleasant memories. He seems dedicated to bringing out that aspect in varied ways.

Samples and all sizes are available on his website.

Images above from the Hendley Perfumes website.

March 27, 2017

Smolderose Eiderantler Selperniku by John Biebel January Scent

John Biebel, with January Scent,  has refined his scent obsessions down into concentrated elegant  form.  
Garden of Earthly Delights detail, Bosch
He has said he finds the paintings of Bosch to be an inspiring trigger for scent experiments.  Details full of vivid color, gestures and actions that are the essence of contrast. Combining opposites together, as mysterious messages that speak to us immediately.
These three perfumes are gentle, beautiful messages. They harmonize opposites. I find contrasts within perfume highlight the effect of each accord.  Smolderose remembers its thorns, with sweetness misted in white smoke. Whispers of airy feathers and hooves stand under dark green shade with Eiderantler. Delicate apricot tinted milk, rice, yeast, bread and earthiness in Selperniku.
Detail of Garden of Earthly Delights, Bosch
It’s been awhile since I’ve been so excited and surprised by a set of three new perfumes.  I spoke to John about them, as we know each other and share mutual friends. I was lucky to get samples which threw me into one of those perfume lemming states of yore. Dreamy shades of fragrance that work together like songs on a good playlist that covers a good mood.
He made up the titles himself with references to the fragrance inspirations and elements. Making sure that out loud, the sounds work.
I got full agreement to sometimes wear them in a combination of two or three.  I like to use Smolderose as the dominant base on the neck and a bit of Selperniku and or Eiderantler on the arms. The unifying nature of rose welcomes the other scent stories into its own. They each have an intimate chamber music quality, that concentrates the moods within each. I think of Eric Satie's piano pieces with their silences and simplicities, speaking volumes. 
Icelandic Silver buckle 10-11th Century
I know he kept the thought of the North as imparted by Icelandic sagas in mind too. Fairy tales, Bosch, the magic effects of chemistry, incessant reading and experimentation, careful notes. Part of it all is his exposure to a wide range of perfumes over time, both modern and classic. As part of Fragrantica, he is immersed in modern scent culture.
Smolderose notes are listed as damask rose, bergamot, saffron, roasted seashells, frankincense, elder flower, patchouli, cade, agarwood, and labdanum.
Within tenacious sillage, it's the roasted seashells, elderflower and saffron that singe the delicate edges of roses into smoldering.  Up close, a true and even surprising freshness lies right on the skin's surface. Yet give it a little distance and you find the full if gentle volume of the rose theme, deepened by the base notes. 
Warming rose, as it wears down there are the grace notes that rise up from behind the sheer curtain to reach out at you. 
Eiderantler is listed as an Ivy Fougère: Contains notes of lavender, green leaves, moss, pink pepper, lavandin, champa leaf, ivy, elemi, fir cone, hay, oak wood, cashmere, vetiver, and musk.
A fougère that forswears traditional brightness, this is a soft focused, earth musk. The warm air caught in swan's down, and the hard animal horn, alive in deep green shade. Cashmere softness infused with dry clean grass scents, maybe a nap on the ground wrapped in a soft cloak. Relaxing, intimate, evokes a sense of connection. Insulation for weather of any kind. Could wear this every day, anywhere. Layers well with the other two, with a dimensional weight like fog,  warm meets cool.  Gentle yet tenacious, it does not shout but ornaments the skin, to smell like an enhanced, pure you.
Selperniku themes of salt, milk, and fruit: notes of apricot, immortelle, butter, cardamom, petitgrain, chamomile, milk, cypress, juniper, tobacco, and sandalwood.
Sheer, creamy whipped butter tinted with milk, apricot, woods and leaves, makes strong first impression. This calms in moments to a gentle gourmand. Warm rice infused with tinctures of wood essences. Subtle, intimate, round, full, a cloud/aura, an atmosphere, a faint shade of apricot. Sandalwood style meditativeness. Another perfect companion to the others, also as a stand alone infusion of comfort in scent form. Sophisticated simplicity without overly minimalist austerity, a generous air surrounds the skin. 
The packaging is beautiful, incorporating magnified brush stroke gestures by John. The labels are fine wine bottle worthy, size is 100 ml generous, and the smaller 30 ml size will be available soon.  Samples sets available, too. He knows how to make it easy to dive in.
Glad of his driving inspiration and energy to show us his own heart and mind through the medium of fragrance.
Beginning to think there is a school/style of fragrance arising here. Original scent ballads, gentle auras with layers of meaning within, floating elegant simplicity. Thinking of Hans Hendley, Bruno Fazzolari, Josh Meyer and now John Biebel.
Photos of flacons above from the January site
Art photos linked in captions
To order samples and for more information: January Scent  
For more on John Biebel's other artful endeavors: John Biebel.com 
More insights from Ida Meister on Fragrantica:  Smolderose 

July 21, 2016

Perfumes of Summer 2016 Part 2

The heat waves and humidity started early this year and are set to continue around here and most of the country.  This state of affairs lends itself perfectly to floral perfumes.  Flowers have genetically engineered themselves to be the crowning glories of  the warm weather months.  They know how to handle it and are specialists in turning the sun's burning energy into beauty like no other.

They are the showcase for Nature's vigor, of how growth and energy poured into the lures of attraction will inevitably result in an abundance of continuing life.

I've never met a person who doesn't love the fragrance of real flowers, though perhaps with strong likes and dislikes among them. This can't be said of other materials that have been translated into perfume.

Flowers are the essence of universal appeal, and while their symbolism might be different among cultures, they all lay tracks in our scent memories and trigger emotions and vivid recollections of moments beautified by their presence.

Continuing the fragrance highlights of my summer:

Dreaming Eternal by Alexis Karl, is part of her Body Made Luminous series. A potent and almost narcotic floral perfume, made with an enormous dose of violet and muguet, anchored by black agar and fossilized amber, mediated by jasmine sambac, and lightly touched with white smoke.

In my estimation, it's best to be worn at night. As a night floral perfume, it is meant to represent the contented dreams of lovers finally sleeping and entering the shared dream of a physical and emotional Aurora Borealis.  It's about physical release, their excitement resolving into contentment. The ethereal aspects of violet and the air around the soprano aromatic waves of lily of the valley are folded within the warmth of amber and black agar.

This is a perfume to apply with one or two sprays, as more could even be overpowering. It's a strong perfume. I've never experienced violet and muguet to this exponential power.  I understand the perfume is at a strength of a full 33%. It's a rich brandy color.

This floral intensity is eventually much softened by the base notes. Those are rich enough to have a touch of the gourmand about them, with a subtly edible quality.  Personally I find all this comes out with the most clarity the more lightly applied, but I think there are times you can go for more.  It clings to the skin tenaciously and survives washing, truly staining the skin. It perfectly expresses the personality of the perfumer, which is expansive and enthusiastic, while obsessively drawn to the depths and ends of life's experience.

If you can imagine Vero Kern's Onda, crossed with an amped version of Guerlain's Insolence (Parfum) suspended over a deep Arabian amber, mediated by the use a sparing hand in application, you get the idea (ironically I found out about Insolence through an online recommendation as a perfume soothing enough to fall asleep to).

This perfume's florals are heady indeed, but soften over time with air and skin and enter a night time experience that includes a flash of lightening against a dark sky full of racing clouds. It's about another world, the night world, and I think using it as a night perfume will expand its other worldly quality of a dark night with the moon shining intermittently through massing clouds.


On the other hand, Romanza, Victorian Narcissus by Masque Milano's Cristiano Canali, is the essence of brightness and the rising sun.  Its immediate effect is as enlivening and strong as leaving a dim interior to enter sunny brightness outdoors. There's a lot of pure air mixed into the headiness of this narcissus-as-life-force.  The florals seem to quickly rise up far above the ground and pull you up along with them.

The note list of absinth, orange blossom, angelica, violet leaf, narcissus, jasmine, vetiver, cedar, patchouli, amber and civet skew, for me, to heavy on the orange blossom and narcissus, and the vetiver and cedar and absinth and angelica are a contrasting piquant support to the lush opulence.

This is a perfume that could dress up anything, including a worn house coat or a slapdash ensemble of jeans and a t-shirt. The Italian elegance is so strong as to permeate and transform all around, like a magical godmother could make Cinderella's rags into a couture ballgown.  Actually couture is the right word. Ultra refined and skillful, this initial big entrance lasts for some time until you might forget yourself, and then cools off into the shade of the drier, more subtle supporting players.  There is indeed Romance within this perfume, and a Victorian abundantly lush, singleminded focus on the sensation of a pure pleasure taken in beauty as a force sufficient onto itself.

This floral is round, bright, graceful and utterly itself, not to be influenced by anything, hence the ability to hold its own under whatever circumstances. Anyone could wear this perfume, from a girl child to an old man, a society lady to a casual student and it would shine an aromatic power over all that includes all who sense it within its generosity. That said, this is another perfume for those with a taste for the intense.


Rose Flash by Andy Tauer's Tauerville is a wake up call in terms of coming to one's senses, as a rose that gathers your wits about you in the best of ways. 

Roses are so versatile they can do almost anything as perfume. Rose may soothe, excite, overpower, mediate the notes that surround it,  calm, or lead toward hedonist or spiritual ecstasies. Rose as a classic icon is part of a long perfume tradition, that with all the attendant associations and status, may throw a highlight up against spare modernity. Rose has some baggage that comes from being strongly associated with the past, but its undeniable beauty will get through to anyone who allows themselves even the slightest susceptibility.

This time it is a tonic for the mind and heart.  Exquisitely beautiful, delicate, the core of a very precious grade of rose essential oil reveals all its facets simultaneously, like a clear cut gem, showing itself off on skin to your and its own best advantage. 

This is the kind of modern rose of refined simplicity and elegance that hints at the light in the eyes, a sparkle of engaged intelligence.  Easy to wear, the nature of the rose is the main event, without cliche or sentimental associations, fully itself on its own terms. This one is bright, even jammy, to start, energetic and a comfort at once.

This is a perfume that could be worn every day, anywhere, wholly relatable yet refreshingly and sensitively pared down enough in the right way.  It could be a signal to yourself and others that brings your to your senses, an intimate engagement with the beauties of nature. It shows you are willing to dive into the infinite references of historical culture, as roses are so full of symbolic significance, and then capably links you as wearer with this rose's sophistication, to carry it all off with ease and expansive good nature.  

Some ultra subtle mysterious deeper notes, possibly woods and resins, support the rose, an underpinning to the structure that strengthens and preserves the velvety rose petal sensations.  It's an extended wear experience. A modern rose for all sexes.

All three above are cross gender perfumes, all can be worn by everyone who has a wish to enter into their floral spirit.


Disclosure: sample of Dreaming Eternal provided by the perfumer Alexis Karl, who I have written about several times before, and been following her work with great interest.
Samples of Romanza and Rose Flash provided by Twisted Lily.
The above post is my independent opinion, not sponsored in any way.

Dreaming Eternal may be sampled through Morbid Anatomy in Brooklyn by appointment, where Alexis Karl has taken up the title of resident perfumer. She continues to lecture there on topics related to beauty and fragrance.  There is also a Scent by Alexis site for the Utopian Body series.
Romanza and Rose Flash are available from Twisted Lily in Brooklyn.  Please check the above links for more information as to prices, samples, and additional stores.


I'm taking a break from posting here until the end of this year from perfume writing, though not perfume wearing, and probably some remarks about perfumes on other social media like Facebook and Twitter. There are projects and skills for my site Luccia that I must focus on with a single mind, until they gain more strength and momentum.  See you here later, around the New Year.  In the meantime, please enjoy the prior posts if you haven't seen them already, and if you are so inclined, try the Clarimonde posts which I will add to from time to time over the next months.