Author Archives: Jessica

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Chataignes du Bois & Tsukimi ~ fragrance reviews

chestnuts

Are you a fan of chestnuts? If so, was this an acquired taste for you? I’ve been a chestnut-lover for most of my life, only because roasted chestnuts figured prominently in two family traditions that took place during the holiday season. One: my grandmother and my mother and I would go together to see the Christmas windows of Manhattan’s department stores, and my grandmother would buy me a small paper bag of roasted chestnuts from a street vendor, to eat as we walked along. Two: my grandparents prepared roasted chestnuts as part of the dessert course on Thanksgiving and Christmas, roasting them in the oven after my grandfather had made a small X or cross on each one with the point of a knife (to prevent them from bursting).

These happy memories surrounding the chestnuts, not to mention the chewy, buttery enjoyment of the nuts themselves, would make me want to try any fragrance with a chestnut note. But why do so few perfumes try to capture this sensation…

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Lush Wash Cards in What Would Love Do?, I’m Home, Amelie Mae & Cardamom Coffee ~ body product review

I have to confess that I’m not really sure how to categorize this review. Once again, Lush — creator of powdered toothpaste and solid bath gel — has gotten very creative with its product formulations. Right now I’m mystified and charmed by its new “wash cards.” I happened across these clever little inventions when I was browsing the Lush website and noting the addition of several new perfumes. I was pondering my next opportunity to get to a Lush store to try them, and wondering whether my local Lush would even carry the full line, and then I noticed the wash cards and ordered a few.

So what are they? Each wash card is a flat rectangle, measuring about one inch by three inches, made from a mix of apple pulp and cellulose fibers…

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Molinard Les Amoureux de Peynet ~ fragrance review

Molinard Les Amoureux de Peynet

French perfume house Molinard recently launched Les Amoureux de Peynet, a fragrance inspired by French illustrator Raymond Peynet. That name didn’t mean anything to me at first, but once I did a quick search, I realized I’d seen those “lovers” before. Peynet first sketched the duo of the wispy-haired, bowler-hatted violinist-poet and his perky lady-love in 1942, but they appeared in his artwork and on countless trinkets throughout the 1950s and 1960s. (Just check eBay, and you’ll see what I mean.) The lovers often appeared together on a park bench — that is, when they weren’t canoodling in a gazebo, a rowboat, or some similarly whimsical venue…

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January Scent Project Vaporocindro ~ fragrance review

Sometimes the way to my nose is actually through my eyes: I was initially tempted to try Vaporocindro when I saw January Scent Project’s retro-styled illustrations by the line’s perfumer, John Biebel (who’s also a visual artist). They remind me a bit of Guerlain’s classic 1935 “Is She Your Type?” advertisements by Elise Darcy, with a surreal twist. I like the overall dreamy mood of the Vaporocindro image (shown above right), plus the sinuous lines of scent encircling the androgynous central face and the mysterious profile to the left.

January Scent Project’s visual materials also allude to the fragrances’ notes, and with this image we’re given a preview of this scent’s “wood, spice and flower” profile…

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Sana Jardin Revolution de la Fleur, Berber Blonde & Tiger By Her Side ~ fragrance reviews

Sana Jardin Berber Blonde

Just in case you haven’t noticed, the phrases “conscious consumerism” and “sustainable luxury” have been appearing with increasing frequency over the past year or two. And now we have Sana Jardin, “the world’s first socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house. . . . created primarily as a vehicle for social change to power social impact through the economic empowerment of women through The Beyond Sustainability™ Movement.”

If you’d like to do some reading about Sana Jardin’s back story and business model, you can find plenty of information on the company website. I’ll limit myself to brief reviews of three Sana Jardin fragrances (from a collection of seven, all developed by perfumer Carlos Benaïm) that I’ve been trying over the past week or so, and you can decide for yourself what socially conscious fragrance might be and how far you’re willing to go for it…

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Five citrusy comforts ~ body product reviews

Speaking from my present circumstances: if you ever have the bad fortune to break an ankle and end up basically housebound for more than a month, once you get past the initial pain, you’ll find yourself valuing simple comforts more than ever. Clean sheets, pre-prepared food, a really nice-smelling bar of soap: they all make a big difference when you’re feeling uncomfortable and temporarily trapped. So, not to bemoan my short-term fate ad nauseam, but: here are five citrus-scented products that have cheered me recently.

I think a broken bone merits some indulgence in fancy toiletries you’d normally tuck aside and save “for later,” and Antica Farmacista Grapefruit Hand Cream is one of those…

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Gallivant Amsterdam ~ fragrance review

black tulips

London-based niche line Gallivant is back with two new fragrances, Amsterdam and Berlin, bringing its total of olfactory “urban explorations” to six. When I tried Gallivant’s initial four scents, Brooklyn was the one that really won me over. (I wore it frequently last summer.) Now I’m intrigued by Amsterdam, “a genre-defying floral, spicy, woody, ambery fragrance” developed by perfumer Giorgia Navarra. Amsterdam’s composition includes top notes of elemi, schinus molle CO2 extract, pepper and saffron; a heart of tulip and rose; and a base of cedar, musk, sandalwood and amber.

Although I’ve never been to Amsterdam, I enjoyed reading this description as I was wearing the fragrance: “Autumn going into winter. The freedom of cycling, past the former spice warehouses of the Warmoesstraat to a canalside apartment on Prinsengracht on the elegant south side of the city. . . .Flowers in the window. Cake and feeling indulged. Beautifully made wooden furniture. Dark hues on the walls.” Gallivant promises that Amsterdam offers an element of gezellig

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Kelly & Jones Mezcal Blanca and Mezcal Negra ~ fragrance reviews

Kelly & Jones Mezcal Blanca and Mezcal Negra

I had an opportunity to sample Kelly & Jones’ Notes of Wine Collection (now known as the Reserve Collection) when it was launched in 2012, and I’m not quite sure why I never got around to reviewing it. I liked the concept, which felt very fresh at that moment, and I particularly enjoyed the Riesling and Pinot Grigio blends. In any case, I’ve been following this indie brand’s gradual, well-paced evolution, which now includes a collection inspired by the agave-derived spirit called mezcal.

The Reserve Collection was originally sparked by visits to vineyards and wine-tasting sessions, and the Mezcal Collection explores “a new type of terroir” inspired by work and travel in Mexico. It’s comprised of two fragrances designed to “take you into the agave fields and palenques—local distilleries—of Oaxaca. Each essence captures the aromas of various types of mezcal, and its wide range of tasting notes.” Mezcal Blanca is “a blend of sheer citrus and solar resins,” with notes of peppercorn, palm, sea salt, juniper and star anise. Mezcal Negra is “a blend of smoked woods and mystical spice,” with notes of pine, black lime, guaiac wood, cajeta and clary sage. Both scents can be shared by women and men, and both are a little more abstract than the wine-inflected blends of the Reserve Collection…

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Le Jardin Retrouve Citron Boboli & Sandalwood Sacre ~ fragrance reviews

Le Jardin Retrouve Citron Boboli, brand image

Why are so many fragrances, not to mention entire fragrance lines, inspired by travel or destinations? Fashionista recently posed this question, without quite getting around to answering it. While I may not have the answer, either, I do know that it’s not a new idea, no matter what Fashionista may say: I’m thinking waaay back to best-selling classics like Evening in Paris, but also to more recent destination-inspired scents from Hermès (remember Un Jardin sur le Nil?) and L’Artisan Parfumeur (Bois Farine! Timbuktu!), not to mention entire brands like Bond no. 9.

If you’d asked me a month ago, I might have had some deep theory about this, but my current reality is that I’m laid up with a broken ankle and I just want to close my eyes and imagine places other than my living room. So I’m back with two more fragrances from Le Jardin Retrouvé, following my thoughts on Cuir de Russie

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Les Parfums de Rosine Rose Nue ~ fragrance review

Les Parfums de Rosine is a perfume line that generally “works” for me. It’s like an olfactory version of a favorite musical artist: I may not love everything they release, but I find most of their creations likable and wearable, so I give every new one a try. Rosine recently launched Rose Nue, described as a “skin perfume” combining rose with “a green and powdery accord.” Rose Nue was developed by perfumer Delphine Lebeau and its notes include tangerine, aldehydes, rose leaves, rose, heliotrope, vanilla, sandalwood, ambroxan, suede and musk.

Rose Nue was reportedly inspired by the Cuisse de Nymphe Emue rose; Cuisse de Nymphe Emue (“thigh of an aroused nymph”) is also, apparently, the name for a certain shade of blush pink…

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