Author Archives: Angela

Paco Rabanne Calandre ~ fragrance review

It’s barely February, but my daffodils have buds, and clouds of daphne perfume lurk in pockets on the street. It’s not yet the spring of Easter egg colors and Guerlain Chamade, and it might snow again anytime. No, it’s a sort of pre-spring. It’s the perfect time for the knife-edged green beauty of Paco Rabanne Calandre.

Perfumer Michel Hy developed Calandre, and it launched in 1969. Its notes include aldehydes, bergamot, green notes, geranium, orris root, jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, amber, oakmoss, musk, sandalwood and vetiver. (Michel Hy was a genius of the green chypre — he also worked on Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Yves Saint Laurent Y and Balmain Ivoire.) In French, the word “calandre” means “grille,” as in the grille on a car or a radiator. It also means “mangle,” a machine that irons linens when you feed them through its long rollers…

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Top 10 Winter Fragrances 2018

Winter is a great time to wear vintage fragrance. Something about the gorgeous-yet-unfashionable waft of an old perfume is perfect when the wind bites at your face and you’re swaddled in wool. In my opinion, wood fires, old movies and long nights all deepen with a vintage fragrance on your wrist.

Here are my top ten fragrances for winter, each at least 50 years old. If you’re new to vintage fragrance, you might be put off by how hard they can be to “read.” Let me warn you, though, once you get a taste for them, they can be addicting. I look forward to hearing about your favorite winter fragrances — vintage or not — in the comments. If you can think of modern takes on these fragrances, please comment! And do check out the winter lists at Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc and Perfume Posse

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Caron Fleurs de Rocaille ~ fragrance review

Caron Fleurs de Rocailles vintage adverts

In the 1992 movie Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino, playing a blind, cranky aesthete, walks across a college campus in autumn. He and his companion cross paths with a woman and talk politics for a moment.

Al Pacino’s nostrils quiver. “Fleurs de Rocaille,” he says (in a terrible accent).

“Yes,” she replies.

“Flowers from a brook.”

“Yes.”

As Pacino walks away, he says to his companion, “Don’t tell me. About five feet seven, auburn, with brown eyes….”

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Bruno Fazzolari Ummagumma ~ fragrance review

Bruno Fazzolari Ummagumma

Bruno Fazzolari Ummagumma is a mess. For some people, it will be cravable mess. If you order cheeseburgers with bacon — and, come to think of it, why not mushrooms and a few slices of avocado, too? — Ummagumma might be your Holy Grail.

Ummagumma (pronounced “oo-ma-goo-ma”) is the name of a Pink Floyd album. It came from a roadie’s slang word for sex.1 Ummagumma’s notes include saffron, carnation, chocolate, tobacco, leather, labdanum, sandalwood, cedar, frankincense, tonka bean and vanilla. Can’t decide between a gourmand or an incense fragrance or a tough leather? With Ummagumma, you get them all…

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Perfume Resolutions for 2018

Happy New Year!

Is that a pile of rumpled sequins in the corner? I hope you had a good night out with great friends, something delicious to eat, and lots of dancing.

Or, maybe you’re more like me and refused to leave home on New Year’s Eve. As has become my tradition, I made a fire and had a few friends over on their way out to parties, then I watched Doris Day movies and ate clams casino. I’ve stopped pretending I like to brave the crowds only to wake up with a headache and hoarse voice and mascara caked on the pillowcase.

On New Year’s Eve, I also thought about the year to come. I won’t bore you with my resolutions about health and friends and tidiness (although we can talk about resolutions in the comments, if you’d like), but here are a few thoughts about perfume…

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La Via del Profumo Venezia Giardini Segreti & Palermo Don Corleone ~ fragrance reviews

As usual, I’m late to the party. Perfume house La Via del Profumo (also known as AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo) has already garnered fans and an article in The New York Times, even though the fragrances are difficult to find and the perfume house’s marketing budget is zilch. Kevin has been reviewing La Via del Profumo’s offerings for five years. You’ve probably known about them for ages.

But for me, they’re new. Last week, I smelled two of the house’s fragrances for the first time: Venezia Giardini Segreti and Palermo Don Corleone, both from La Via del Profumo’s Italian series…

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Inside the Perfume Cabinet ~ Aparatchick

Aparatchick — her blog handle — has been a Now Smell This reader since the beginning. “In 2005, I googled ‘perfume blog,’ and the only one I found was NST,” she says. Twelve years and more than a hundred bottles later, she’s still sampling new fragrances and making friends in the community.

Aparatchick is retired from the finance and accounting industry and lives in Florida. However, she grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and it was there she developed her love of rich, deep oriental fragrances — fragrances that don’t wear very well in humid Florida, a subject we’ll tackle in a minute…

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The Art of Flavor: Practices and Principles for Creating Delicious Food ~ book review

The Art of Flavor: Practices and Principles for Creating Delicious Food

The Art of Flavor: Practices and Principles for Creating Delicious Food might be as easily shelved with the biography of Winston Churchill in your living room as it is in the kitchen with the cookbooks. The Art of Flavor’s style is more that of a friendly textbook than a compilation of recipes. Don’t come to it for glossy photos of what you hope will be the main course of your next dinner party. Read it for an understanding of how to create the main course yourself.

Mandy Aftel and Daniel Patterson wrote The Art of Flavor. Perfume aficionados already know Aftel as a natural perfumer, author, and founder of Aftelier. A quick glance at the Aftelier website shows Aftel’s interest in food…

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Aftelier Velvet Tuberose ~ fragrance review

tuberose

I bet I’m not the only perfume lover who has trouble wearing tuberose. Now, I love tuberose. I adore its bombshell lushness and, whenever I can, I buy stems to keep on my mantel. I adore tuberose in perfume, too. Little beats the first five minutes of wearing Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, and I can’t give up my Piguet Fracas Parfum, even if I can’t quite wear it, either.

Yet, after a tuberose perfume’s glorious first moments, too often I’m ready chew my arm off. Those few minutes of a soprano’s aria that were so beautiful at first, now are grating. Tuberose perfume — on me, that is — is just too much of a diva, and I need relief.

I’m happy to report that Aftelier Velvet Tuberose stands apart…

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Frassai Verano Porteno, Tian Di & Blondine ~ fragrance reviews

Frassaï Verano Porteño and Tian Di

I can’t tell you how often I’ve read a perfume’s list of notes and thought I was sure how it would come out — then been completely surprised once I smelled it. Each of these fragrances by Frassaï set me up to expect one thing, then delivered another. (A good reason not to buy unsniffed, no matter how radiant the reviews.)

Natalia Outeda, Frassaï’s founder, was born in Buenos Aires and has a background in fragrance development, floral design, and jewelry design. Fittingly, Frassaï sells jewelry with an organic inspiration, scented candles, and, now, three Eaux de Parfum — Verano Porteño, Tian Di, and Blondine.

So, let’s get down to it…

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