Rochas – Tocade

She sits at her vanity table, powdering her nose.
The bed in her boudoir has been slept in, the scarlet satin sheets crumpled,
a suggestive hint of the previous night’s activities.
A little bit of rouge to accentuate her cheekbones
although she doesn’t really need it, flushed as she is.
Her lips are ruby red, pillowed and pouty;
she presses them together, plumps them
Face done, she starts on her nails, painting them a
deep crimson of passion and enticement
She’s ready.

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Guest Post – “Why I don’t Wear Florals” by Andrew Smells

source: doobybrain.com

The Smelly Vagabond: Today we have my first ever guest blogger and fellow fragrance friend, Andy, who recently started writing at Andrew Smells. We first met at a an Arquiste evening with founder Carlos Huber at Bloom Perfumery. After exchanging contact details, we began emailing one another, but things really took off when we met up again in Central London for a bout of sniffing. Since then, we have been regularly corresponding via Whatsapp (it’s so convenient!), comparing notes on fragrances and enabling one another to buy more perfumes.

“This isn’t another old woman floral is it?”

Was the question I asked a few times of the Vagabond on our mini “Tour de Smells” in London.
I consider myself open minded and am willing to have my tastes challenged, but there are some notes and qualities I find off-putting in a fragrance.

That means I wouldn’t wear them but also I find them painful to smell and make a face like a scared cat upon inhaling.

I remember at school there was a joke where you would be asked,

“Do you like potatoes?”
no
“Do you like chips?”
Sure.”
“Then you like potatoes ahahaha”

Clearly they aren’t the same thing, even though they share an ingredient, and so it seems my disdain of florals has a similar pattern; I don’t like potatoes, I do like chips.

It’s powdery, clear, loud and petal-y florals that I bemoan.
Petal-y is my way of describing how a fragrance smells too much like a flower and nothing else. The flower is tangible and I want to spit it out as if someone had hidden rose petals in my sandwich.

It’s soliflores and bouquets that scream:

HERE ARE THE FLOWERS YOU ORDERED

They just seem uninspired, but that’s a reflection on my personal taste and what I like a fragrance to do (complexity and development). But if you like all of these things I am cracking the whip at, then good for you. I’m glad someone likes them.

It’s probably memory and evocation too. Stuffy old women that belong in a police lineup for Madame Bucket (It’s pronounced Bouquet!) who wear too much makeup and want to smell like the roses they are pruning all day long in their retirement village.
Too bitter of me?

Floral outift to match

They are linear, dull. It’s a flower.
An hour later; it’s still a flower.
Nothing wrong with a linear scent, but of all the things to choose to smell like!

So now I’m going to demonstrate how I like floral elements so long as they make up a small percentage of the total blend and are not pronounced or distinct.

Opus 1870 by Penhaligon’s is wood and rose. Decent fragrance. The powerful wood is at the fore so this is like a single rose on a log pile ready for the fire.

Fahrenheit 32 by Dior is a simple concoction of vanilla, vetiver, and orange blossom. Here it’s the sweetness that wins out for me whilst the blossom gives a clean white quality.

My two favourite fougeres, Eau Sauvage Extreme and Rive Gauche Pour Homme, both contain lavender and are great because they have balanced composition but pass me a paper strip of Lavandula and I’ll do my goat face.

Coco Mademoiselle, which has a hefty rose backed with vanilla and fruit, or Elie Saab that’s got orange flower, jasmine, and honey.

I like feminine florals so long as they come with something sweet, a jar of honey or lashings of vanilla, anything to prevent me thinking I’m just smelling a flower.

And so it was, as I was passed two paper strips that I sniffed deeply and exclaimed delight that the Vagabond also lit up with satisfaction in having shown me that actually, maybe I do like florals – Shalimar with it’s iris, jasmine, rose and Portrait of a Lady with a distinct yet palatable rose.

What have I learnt?

To be more specific with my complaints and to relax my rules. It’s not helpful for me to have “I don’t like florals” as a belief. It can only limit my scope of experiencing new fragrances and whilst it’s good to know what you like, if you hone that spotlight too narrowly you might miss a beautiful fragrance simply because you once said –

I don’t like florals

The Smelly Vagabond: Well it seems as though our dear friend Andy has learnt a thing or two about florals! I haven’t yet given up on my quest to get him to like soliflores, bouquets and “old women florals” (which are absolutely my thing). Do pay Andy a visit on his blog and welcome him to the blogging community! 🙂

L’Artisan Parfumeur – Nuit de Tubéreuse

source: deviantart

Let’s face it: Nuit de Tubéreuse is neither ‘nuit’ nor ‘tuberose’ in any sense of those words. Despite a somewhat promising opening, in which the floral notes sing together harmoniously, the whole choir falls apart into an off-key mess in less than five minutes, with a cheap orange blossom soap attempting to soprano its voice over the rest, but cracking nevertheless – the result is a sweet, faceless dreck that seems to have been cobbled together in a focus group… except L’Artisan Parfumeur doesn’t do focus groups. This is not the beautiful ‘abstraction’ that Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez speak of in describing Beyond Paradise in Perfumes: The A-Z Guide; rather, it is a clueless Bath and Body Works wannabe. Heck, I’ve smelt better Bath and Body Works fragrances that I’d much rather wear, thank you very much. To make matters worse, Nuit de Tubéreuse degenerates into a sweet vat of musk that further underscores the fragrance’s utter lack of direction, in the same way that a tourist visiting Paris for the first time tries to navigate his way around without a map, except the latter experience is far more enjoyable. Imagine my dismay when I found out that it was created by one of my favourite perfumers, Monsieur Bertrand Duchaufour. I guess even the best have their bad hair days. Avoid it if you actually like perfume.

~ The Smelly Vagabond

Serge Lutens – Fourreau Noir

source: sergelutens.com

source: sugarbombbakeryblog

If one were to sum up Fourreau Noir in brief, it would be this: Lutens takes lavender and gives it his signature oriental treatment. It dispels lavender’s common associations with ‘grannies’ (hopefully that’s not what you lot think) and fusty scented drawers, and instead marries its herbal elements with a very edible tonka bean that is delectably creamy, and dare I say… fluffy. Throw some musk into the mix and we get a perfume that is thoroughly warming through and through. This lends it a quality that can best be described as the olfactory equivalent of a mink stole – not that I have worn one, nor ever intend to wear an animal – a furry coat for the coldest of winters.

source: citysafe.org

But then midway through, the edibility gives way to the strangest olfactory flash mob – a turpentine note emerges, which I suspect to be the result of an interaction between the medicinal aspects of tonka bean and the herbal aspects of lavender, and the composition veers towards a woody dry down, which is pleasant enough. Once the surprise of the turpentine wears off, the mild shock on one’s face is replaced by the widest of grins that can only be an indication of the adrenaline stemming from a sensational roller coaster ride. I tend to have a hate-hate relationship with lavender, so it definitely is high praise when I say that this is my favourite lavender fragrance and that I actually love it. Sadly, as with most brands, prices have been inflating year-on-year, so all I can say is try it while you can still afford to.

~ The Smelly Vagabond