Category: Uncategorized

Why vintage?

I have two reasons for delving into vintage perfumery. First, excellence. Second, it’s ripe for excavation. In perfume, the word vintage is a little like the word niche. It means different things to different people and tends to cause confusion in a discussion. Here are few definitions, all of which I’ll accept: Perfumes no longer produced. Early versions of extant perfumes…

What interests you in perfume?

(Image, l’Osmothèque) I’m working on a thee-part piece that asks: 1) Why Vintage?  2) Why ‘niche’?  3)Why mainstream? I’ve realized looking at my perfume collection that, with the exceptions of a few particular categories that I’m drawn to, I have a fairly eclectic selection of perfumes. Do you? Or do you have 10 fruity-florals for each chypre? Or 80% fougères? How…

Flanker vs. Variation, an addendum

(Sculpture by Marta Klonowska, after Portrait of Henry the Pious, Duke of Saxony by Lucas Cranach) In my zeal to draw an indelible line between of the flanker and the variation it’s possible I’ve overstated the case.  Phrasing the former as an atrocity and the latter as righteous is easy, but, as usual, the fun occurs in the grey areas.…

arts and crafts

Image lifted from artisan.ba The line between fine art and decorative art is predictably easy to spot. The distinctions are cliché and the inequalities are conspicuous. Sculpture is fine art. Rug making is decorative. The formula reads: fine art > decorative art. Decorative art gilds daily life with an aesthetic gloss. It’s pretty. Fine art, on the other hand requires intense…

Against Opinion

Image by Elke Vogelsang. Actually, I have nothing against opinion per se. The question is how do we come by it and what do we do with it? I am all for knowing yourself and trusting your gut, but the opinion-judgment two-step doesn’t aid the discussion of perfume. “I love this! (therefore) It’s the greatest perfume ever!” and, “I hate…

perfumes for SoCal winter 2012

Sables. Butterscotch sawdust sweating under a raincoat. It’s cozy to you because you know what it is.  To everyone else it’s a pleasant, open question. Nahema. Glam rock meets disco and comes out all the sparklier for it. Mahora. Close your eyes and dream of Kauai. Tasteful decor, tree trimming, eggnog, people posing in their best behavior? Fuck ’em. Wear…

Parfums MDCI Invasion Barbare, 2005

(image Jenny Shimizu) Perfumer Stéphanie Bakouche, 2007 I’m all for dismissing gender in perfume. Or at least fucking with it. It’s been noted that men and women relate differently to their fragrances if they wear only one (“The One”). For women it’s The Signature Perfume. For men it’s merely Old Faithful. The implication is that women are notable for their desire to…

Functional Perfume Genres, part 3

7)  Slippers and a Pipe When I get home from work I love to douse myself in perfume.  I’ll be showering straight away, so it’s about topnotes and pizzazz.  I’ve been sniffing shit, blood and piss all day.  This is my chance to rewrite the story entirely. Estée Lauder Azurée Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel Bogue Maai Caron Troisième Homme l’Artisan Parfumeur…

Functional Perfume Genres, part 2

4) Look, Don’t Touch I very rarely wear perfume for effect.  I don’t wear perfume for other people or in order to communicate a state or mood to others.  When I’m in public, I’m generally anonymous.  I don’t attend parties, gatherings, ceremonies often.  I lived in New York for years and never had a problem being in public.  That’s the wonder…