vendredi 11 avril 2014

My Top 10 Fragrances for Spring: Scents fit for goddesses




Here are my favorite new fragrances to celebrate the rites of spring, matched with a slew of goddesses – mythological or hollywoodian – just for the fun of it. Let a thousand blossoms bloom on your skin!

Mito Voile d’Extrait by Vero Profumo
Vero Kern must have worked some serious voodoo on the members of the Olfactorama Awards, founded by French bloggers. Last year, Mito eau de parfum got the “Prix de la Virtuosité”; last Saturday, the Voile d’Extrait beat Comme des Garçons Black and Tom Ford Shanghai Lily for the “Prix de l’Enthousiasme”. In Ancient Greek, “enthusiasm” meant “possession by a god”. Lusty, chewy and disheveled, the Voile d’Extrait sticks a delightfully turgid tuberose in heart of its citronella-lit Italian garden. Dedicated to Persephone, the queen of the underworld who emerges each spring as the maiden Kore.


Rozy Eau de Parfum by Vero Profumo
Again, there are two versions of this, the Voile d’Extrait and the Eau de Parfum. Both are rose honeys, the former topped with green-camphoraceous fumes, the second more powdery and spring-like with its spicy touches of hyacinth and lilac. The ghost of Onda haunts that honey note, but the so-good-I’d-nibble-my-arm Rozy isn’t quite as glowerinly animalic. It’s still a sexy beast of a rose. Dedicated by Vero to the she-wolf goddess presiding over Rome, Anna Magnani, for her role in The Rose Tattoo, written for her by Tennessee Williams.

Shanghai Lily by Tom Ford Private Blend
This is what Belle d’Opium might have been: a blast of pepper spray on a bunch of lilies with clove buds as stamens. Composed by Shyamala Maisondieu with input from Rodrigo Flores-Roux, it’s got all the drama of the original Opium, and the queen-bitch arrogance other lily-themed scents rein in. Dedicated, obviously, to Marlene Dietrich in Von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express: her character’s name, Magdalen, which is also the actress’s, an obvious symbol of redemption since it is that of the Christian sinner-saint…

Oeillet Bengale by Aedes de Venustas
The third Aedes, by Rodrigo Flores-Roux, has just been presented to the press as “a flower on fire”. If you mourn as I do for Caron’s Poivre and L’Artisan’s much-regretted Oeillet Sauvage, poke your nose into this carnation. But gingerly: it’s explosive.  Because of her Mexico-born author, dedicated to Lupe Velez (1908-1944), aka the “Mexican Spitfire”, whose first talkie was Tiger Rose (the Aztec goddess Chantico presided over fire and volcanoes).

Wisteria Hysteria by Comme des Garçons
For their second partnership with mad-hatter Stephen Jones, CdG take a stab at another purple flower, and one much-neglected by perfumers. Nathalie Feisthauer’s take on wisteria not quite the mutant the lilac in the blob-bottle was – it’s heftily floral --, but it still gives off the trademark CdG urban-weird vibe, as though the wisteria were growing along a brushed-steel wall. Despite its deceptively wistful purple blossoms, wisteria is a plant whose clinging vines can throttle what they embrace. An obvious femme fatale, then, dedicated to Louise Brooks as Lulu in Pabst’s Pandora’s Box.

Imperial Tea By Kilian
Tannic is the new fresh. I’m still swooning over Jean-Claude Ellena’s impeccable demonstration of this in Eau de Narcisse Bleu. Calice Becker’s hyper-realistic rendition of jasmine tea is another. Don’t expect the scent to be long-lasting: getting the fragrance just right meant foregoing the usual tricks to extend its life on skin. But it would have been a crime to tweak it: Imperial Tea combines the pleasure of a “wow, that’s exactly it” moment with the refreshing sensation of a cologne, the tannic bitterness of the tea cutting through the lovely jasmine steam. A pleasure-giving brew that could be dedicated to Guanyin, the Chinese goddess of mercy.

Terre Eau très fraîche by Hermès
I’ve onlyjust reviewed this, so I’ll just add that the glorious, brine-kissed citrus splashing Terre’s flint and wood is exhilarating. Dedicated to the Hesperides, nymphs who tended the orchard that gave its name to the citrus family: the goddesses of the golden light of sunset.


La Panthère by Cartier
This is what the mainstream can be when big-brand decision-makers remember that there is a public out there for grownup fragrances that don’t leave us smelling of jam or dryer sheets. That reference classics (Mitsouko and 80s-style rose chypres) while feeling utterly contemporary. Dedicated to Dionysus, the god who rode a panther – an animal with a smell so sweet it could seduce its preys without budging. Click here for full review.

Un Matin d’Orage by Annick Goutal
Inthe original 2009 eau de toilette, Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal set their gardenia in a Japanese garden before a storm, moist petals aflutter with crackling ozone and the first, prickling raindrops. The new eau de parfum picks up the story after the storm has cleared, steam rising from earth and leaves, carrying a headier floral scent, with boosted tuberose and vanilla. Dedicated to Lena Horne, one of the few African-American screen goddesses, for her trademark song Stormy Weather.

Eau de Magnolia by Frédéric Malle
While working on Carnal Flower, Dominique Ropion had come up with a tuberose so realistic it couldn’t be worn as a personal fragrance: it ended up as a candle a few years later. This time, Frédéric Malle started by putting out Carlos Benaïm’s rendition of magnolia based on the flower’s headspace as the home fragrance Jurassic Flower. It has now grown into a perfume.  Eau de Magnolia was presented to the press just yesterday, but since a new Malle is always an event, I thought I’d wrap up the list with it, pending a full review… Meanwhile, this Southern Belle may be dedicated to Bette Davis’s free-spirited vixen in Jezebel: “Listen... Can you hear them? The night noises? The Mocking bird in the magnolia. See the moss hanging from the moonlight. You can fairly taste the night can't you?”
ADDED: Please note that Eau de Magnolia will hit the shops mid-June.

For more Top Tens, click on the usual suspects:


22 commentaires:

  1. Leave it to you to sprinkle the spring perfumes list with a few lemmings and scoops, and amazing images. Spring should be an exciting time of renewal, so you fit the theme perfectly!
    As for me, I have very few really seasonal perfumes; with just a couple of exceptions, the fragrances I love, I wear all year round... the ones I just like, get neglected all year round.
    I do reach more frequently for florals in springtime, but it's not like I'm pushing my Guerlains in the back of the cabinet. These are the pros of having a smallish (I rather say well edited) perfume collection: everything can stay very visible and tempt you whan you least expect it! ;)

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    1. Well edited is certainly the better choice of term. Sometimes I wish my own collection was a bit more streamlined!

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  2. What an exciting list, Denyse. I can't wait to try them all.

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    1. I'm sure you'll find a few things to love in there, Jarvis!

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  3. Ha! "Tannic is the new fresh" is too good! My springtime choice would be Annick Goutal's Duel, also a bit raspy and "drying" like Narcisse Bleue

    Meanwhile in Brazil we are still waiting for autumn to kick in so we can take the cozy ambers from behind the shelf and wear Cuir de Russie days in a row.

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    1. Duel is wonderful, and I'm sure it's a good fit for autumn (though I remember winter in Sao Paulo as really quite mild, but perhaps you're further south?).

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  4. Wow, what a list! I'm dying to try all the unfamiliars, and delighted to see my new favourite, Shanghai Lily, finally getting its due as a impeccably arrogant composition - I hadn't put my finger on it til you said it, but yes, that's exactly effect of those aldehydes & that clove.

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    1. Isn't Shanghai Lily a blast? It was a strong contender for the French Bloggers' award.

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  5. What an exciting spring-lemming-list. Although I fear most of them will probably suit their goddesses rather than me, except perhaps for the Carnation frag, that sounds like it could also be for the mere mortal me.

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    1. Asali, Oeillet Bengale would certainly suit a "rôle en pantalon": it's quite gender-flexible!

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  6. I've been wearing Seville a l'Aube often this spring, but I wear it all year, actually, and our spring flowers and rituals are so different (e.g., Cherry Blossom Festival) that it took me a while to realize this is the time of year that inspired it.

    I have samples of La Panthère and the new Kilians on the way. Now really impatient for Rozy and the new Malle to be available here! nozknoz

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    1. You know, it's been a while since I wore Séville, with so many new things to test... it *is* truly a different springtime (even in Paris). Only people from around the Mediterranean really recognize it as such.

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  7. Oh my what a wonderful list! I am eagerly waiting for my Rozy, which I know I will adore, and now I must try the Oeillet Bengale and the Eau de Magnolia. I have been looking for a carnation scent worthy of the name; my gold standard is the original formula of JAR Golconda, which was also inspired by India.

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    1. Both the Oeillet and the Magnolia will be available a bit later on, I just couldn't resist doing a preview!

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  8. Great list Denyse,
    I love Un Matin d’Orage too and so many of your ten I have yet to try. How exciting, looks like I have some MORE testing to do.
    Portia xx

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    1. Portia, you'll see that the new edp version of Un Matin d'Orage is quite lovely as well. As for the testing... I'm sure you can handle it!

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  9. What a mouth-watering compilation! And I just love your dedications to goddesses, literal and screen. Oh, I so want some Panthere ....
    Jillie

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    1. Thank you Jillie. I got the goddess idea from Mito, then since Rozy was dedicated to a screen goddess, I just picked up the idea and ran with it!

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  10. Magnolia! Be still my heart! This Southern girl (who often interrupts her runs and bike rides to bury my nose in magnolia blooms that demand my attention) just got very excited. Magnolia bewitches me. Can't wait to smell it!

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    1. Amy, I'll be curious to know whether you recognize the flower -- it's much less common here in Paris so I'm not a huge expert. Benaïm worked from the headspace: apparently it's very close to cologne.

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  11. Beautiful list and perfect pictures, as always!
    The news about Malle's Magnolia filled me with expectations- this morning I gave a serious sniff to Jurassic Flower candle and, yes, it is it, a true magnolia grandiflora! Can't wait June to smell it n the air- and test the fragrance!
    iodine

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    1. The Malle is definitely raising high expectations! I've been wearing it for two days now and enjoying it very much.

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