Fath de Fath parfum and EDP – notes via Osmoz are: Blackcurrant, Tangerine, Lemon, Pear, Lily of the valley, Heliotrope, Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Patchouli, Vanilla, Benzoin, Tonka. The EDP you can still buy online; I think the parfum is vintage (Patty?) I’ve read various definitions of what makes a fragrance a “classic” — in this case, it’s absolute smoothness. Nothing sticks out, nothing jars or snags. It’s a golden orb of sweetness, from the berried, faintly indolic orange blossom of the opening, hitting a high note of muguet, before descending in pitch to the rich, vanilla base. The parfum is creamier, but the EDP has monster sillage and is lovely in its own right. If you like the bombshell, naughty Patous — Sublime and/or Sira des Indes, and aren’t afraid of vanilla, this is right up your alley.
Anne Pliska – one of those fragrances I had somehow never managed to run across, until Victoria O sent me a decant (I believe it´s the EDP). Notes via Luscious are: vanilla, mandarin, geranium, jasmine, bergamot, patchouli, amber, and musk. I was a little reluctant to try this fragrance, as I have a mixed relationship with full-on amber. But this! No wonder Robin at Now Smell This nominated AP on her list of cult perfumes. There´s enough going on, from the fruity-green bergamot/mandarin opening, to keep it from developing that unhappy boozy note amber can develop on my skin. It also goes through an interesting cinnamon stage, and a hint (just a hint) of Play-Doh, but I´m not complaining. Ultimately it´s a surprisingly cozy comfort scent, with sillage that stays close to the skin but lasts a long time. Sign me up for the cult. I haven´t tried the parfum, but the bottle for that one is particularly fetching.
Annick Goutal Eau de Monsieur – I was wishing for a less intense Sables, because I love the smell of immortelle, but Sables can´t be applied lightly enough to work for me. Eau de Monsieur is the oldest AG on Basenotes, and the published notes from the AG website are citron tree, oakmoss, musk, sandalwood, amber. No immortelle, right? But I swear … I swear it´s in there. Once you get past the opening salvo — a guy-cologne smell so powerful and conventional it almost seems like a jokey parody – and move into the drydown a half-hour or so, something immortelle-like sticks its head up. Maybe it´s a combination of notes on my skin, but it´s got that sort-of-maple-syrup smell that thrills me to the marrow. I´d love to know if anyone else (besides Tom, who pointed it out) gets that smell in there.
Donna Karan Gold isn’t growing on me, now that I’m smelling it in the elevators and wafting through the mall on people who’ve sprayed it on enthusiastically. Can people not smell how strong that juice is? There I am, walking along minding my own business, and I get poleaxed by a big bunch of lilies. Maybe I’m being punished for my own fragrance sins?
Hermes Parfum des Merveilles: I understand the love people feel for this, particularly folks who couldn´t quite get enough traction with the original Eau, with its notes (via Imagination Perfumery) of Elemi, Bitter Orange, Italian lemon, Indonesian Pepper and Pink Pepper, Ambergris, Oak, Cedar, Vetiver, Balsam of Peru and Tears of Siam. While I love Parfum de Merveilles, I consider it an alternative to rather than a replacement for Eau (the Elixir smells like chocolate orange to me, and I´m not going to say anything further.) The Parfum is not a jacked-up Eau; it´s a much stronger, richer fragrance, with a strong note of patchouli and much more emphasis on the woods. While it retains that spectacular ambergris note of the original, it loses some of its former sparkle, what feels like an absence of the original citrus and pepper notes. PdM is a statement, and sometimes I feel a little like it´s wearing me. The Eau cleaves to me like a second skin, one of the few fragrances I actually wear like a normal person on a regular basis.
Parfum d´Empire Ambre Russe – so, does anyone remember waaay back, when I hated this with the burning passion of a thousand suns? And thought it was too boozy and ripe and just too … much? Well, I was wrong. Notes via Luckyscent are: tea, incense, vodka, champagne, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ambergris, vanilla, leather. Given those notes, it isn´t as overwhelming as it sounds. It´s got that vague feeling at the start of an ugly night of hard drinking, culminating in the Walk of Shame, but it´s pretending. I guess that´s what took me awhile to figure out. Really, I could wear this to church; it would be wrong, probably one of those minor sins (what are those called? amiable? menial?) and Patty would have to dig out that indulgence book she mentioned to me, but I could do it – the opening salvo of liquor and cumin and other spices settle down pretty quickly, leaving me with a smoky, leathery tea and amber. I wouldn´t smell any more vice-ridden than any of the other nice Episcopalians around me on Sunday morning.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Cimabue – I´ve been on a saffron jag lately, and one thing led to another, and eventually I was smelling Cimabue. Notes from the DSH Website are: bergamot, bitter orange, cardamom, clementine, neroli, lemon, nutmeg, carnation, cinnamon bark, clove bud, rose geranium, jasmine, honey beeswax, Moroccan rose, Mysore sandalwood, saffron, tuberose, ciste, sandalwood, labdanum, opoponax, benzoin, vanilla. It starts off with a fairly strong burst of saffron, which makes me happy. But the really great news was a surprise. After 20 minutes or so it´s a dead ringer for a smell I have been aching for, to the point of blogging about it several months ago: the inside of the old Pier One Imports, before they repositioned themselves as a downmarket Pottery Barn. I mean that as high praise. Cimabue captures Eau du Pier One: cinnamon sticks, powdery herbal sachets, mysterious baskets of chai tea with faded labels, scented wax, wooden baskets, and dyed Indian cotton. Come on – think back. Remember that amazing smell? It was impossibly exotic to me, a white-bread girl from the suburbs; it hinted at travel to far-flung places, if only I could manage to pass trigonometry, get my braces off and graduate. Happiness comes in odd little packages, and Cimabue gave me an absurd thrill on a recent miserable, sleeting, gloomy February afternoon.