Author Archives: Kevin

Top 10 Fall Fragranced Things 2018

While growing up in the hot and steamy South, I loved autumn and its coolness, and you’d think that after Seattle’s oven-like temperatures and dangerously smoky skies this summer, I’d be looking forward to autumn. Wrong. I’m already counting the weeks till spring and wishing I could move to Buenos Aires for the next six months and enjoy spring and summer all over again. Perhaps I’ve changed (emotionally?) but fall feels sad this year; I reckon it’ll be dark, sodden, the beginning of The End — the interminable winter months.

This year I’m going to avoid sentimentality, Japanese death poems, lethargic piano music and drama (I won’t be stoking my self-pity). I’ll tackle my negative autumn (and winter) moods with fun things…

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Heretic Parfums Dirty Ginger ~ fragrance review

For those of you whose first response to the words CUMIN + PERFUME is to clutch your pearls or bite your pinky ring…you may ignore Heretic Parfums Dirty Ginger;* this guy is dirty with the ‘raunchy’ spice.

Dirty Ginger starts with the aromas of traditional medicine (I’m thinking Ayurveda): dried fruit peels and herbs, leaves and seeds, stored next to a block of white camphor. The herbs move from the medicinal to the culinary realm quickly, and if you’re in the mood for a good curry or Indian pickle (with its mustard seeds, ginger, vinegar and coriander), you may start to salivate…

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Summer Quartet for Book, Music, Kulfi & Perfume (plus a brief quartet poll)

For me, some of the best summer days revolve around lying on the sofa and reading, listening to music, (taking a nap), and eating and drinking indulgent concoctions (LOTS of gelato, ice cream and cocktails). I surround myself with vases full of scented flowers from the garden — right now there are sweet peas, roses, tuberose, plate-sized southern magnolias, gardenias, phlox, even tiny bouquets of spicy, bright orange marigolds. And, of course, I wear perfume.

For the past three weeks, Seattle has sizzled with temperatures often hovering between 89 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit (31-34 °C); on some days, it’s been downright unhealthy to be outside, with smoke from raging fires reaching us from California, eastern Washington/Canada and…SIBERIA. I feel zero guilt for whiling away a morning and/or afternoon “in contemplation.” Today I’d like to introduce you to my most recent “Summer Quartet” (the individual parts change, but the pattern remains constant)…

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Diptyque Tempo ~ fragrance review

Tempo* is one of two new perfumes that celebrate Diptyque L’Eau’s 50th birthday. (I’ve already tackled the ‘softie’ of the pair, Fleur de Peau.) Here’s what Diptyque has to say about Tempo:

During the 60’s, a certain scent was changing the world: patchouli. It conveyed a sense of freedom and spirituality that was closer to Nature, and the hopes of a generation that was reinventing the future….

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Ortigia Sandalo ~ fragrance review

Two weeks ago there was a Meeting of the Noses in Portland, Oregon. After knowing each other via Now Smell This and emails for almost !12! years, Angela and I finally met face to face. (And I’m happy to report that Angie is as witty, kind and charming in person as she is in her writing. Okay, add a dash of lighthearted roguery, as well!) One other nose was involved in our meeting, too — raconteuse Tracy Tsefalas of the Portland perfume boutique Fumerie. I forgot how much fun it is to discuss the Perfume Industry with fellow travelers.

On the shelves of Fumerie, I was thrilled to discover some hard-to-find Ortigia products. Ortigia was founded by Sue Townsend of Crabtree & Evelyn fame…

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Fragonard Verveine ~ fragrance review

This year, French perfume company Fragonard is celebrating verbena with the release of Verveine.* Much of Fragonard’s PR has to do with Verveine’s perfumer:

Céline Ellena envisioned a magical formula…. Verveine is closely tied to the cycle of nature and the daily life of a perfumer who searches for inspiration in her plant garden. The perfumer drew inspiration from the plant’s natural environment to create three worlds of scents to describe it: sun, earth, and water…

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(Mostly) Scented Father’s Day Gifts ~ 2018 Edition

I have two “kids”; both cats. If they could give Father’s Day presents to me, I know they’d be either food-focused (Teddy Caramelo Calzini: redhead, polydactyl with attitude) or toy-focused (Uncle Vanya Mandelstam: he catches birds through windows — a feat! And he insists on wearing his luxurious coat all year round…see above).

Following are some perfume-adjacent gift suggestions for your father (that I’d like to receive or already own and can recommend); no foods or toys made the list! (Unless you count booze.)

Bastide Aix en Provence Les Chevaliers Body Wash Collection: five 50 ml body washes…

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Liushen Florida Water ~ fragrance review

I’ve been called a perfume snob. Sometimes that epithet is hurled my way as a knee-jerk reaction to a negative review of a mainstream / department store scent…or to a positive review of an expensive perfume that’s hard to find. Can’t win for losing! I am not a perfume snob; I always give inexpensive colognes a try (and occasionally buy). Though I visit supermarkets about as much as Bill Gates and Oprah (that’s what husbands are for, right?), last weekend I went to Seattle’s Eastside to the Asian Food Center to buy (strangely realistic) faux ham and bacon. See, I’m not a food snob either; these (more-expensive-than-the-real-thing!) products from Taiwan allow this Virginia boy to eat “ham” without guilt…or gagging. While in the market, I dropped into the toiletries aisle to see what was new from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, mainland China and Japan. I found something new: Liushen Florida Water from Shanghai.

Liushen Florida Water is NOT related to Murry & Lanman Florida Water

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Frederic Malle Music For A While ~ fragrance review & quick pineapple poll

Allure irrésistible. At a party on Paris’ rive gauche (where the ‘intellectuals’ with black AMEX cards study…party and shop) a woman’s fur coat (SO 80s, SO démodé) is lifted from her bare shoulders, exposing her neck to the candlelight (what about her face?…tiny candle?) Aware of many eyes upon her (“What a NECK!”), she pauses, smiling to herself, before emerging like a conqueror from the shadows. (Doesn’t take much! Sounds like Kim Kardashian, doesn’t it?)

Delete the bold type and this is how Frédéric Malle PR describes Music For A While,* the brand’s latest perfume. I grunt and roll my eyes as I read the fuddy-duddy copy, but as often happens with this brand (its backstories annoy l’enfer out of me), the fragrance makes me smile and present my (non-black) American Express card at Barneys New York…

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Cinq Mondes Eau Egyptienne ~ fragrance review

Now Smell This folks, meet Sekhmet; my favorite goddess and today’s cover girl for Cinq Mondes Eau Egyptienne. If I could find an un-copyrighted image, I’d include another ‘goddess,’ too: Olivia Giacobetti, Eau Egyptienne’s creator, and one of my favorite perfumers.

Cinq Mondes describes Eau Egyptienne (inspired by ancient kyphi recipes) as an “aromatic ritual for body, hair and pillow,” a therapeutic mist to calm the mind and moisturize the body…

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