Category: animalic

Parfumerie Générale Arabian Horse 3.1, 2016

Perfumer Pierre Guillaume. The name fits. From the very opening Arabian Horse creates a setting that evokes equestrian affairs. It smells like farms, barns and steeplechases. The topnotes are strong and urgent, but the stables-and-tack mis-en-scène is just exposition and dramatic build-up. The heartnotes are the reveal. The pacing of the perfume reminds me of the actual experience of approaching…

Hendley Perfumes Gia, 2015

Perfumer Hans Hendley The roaring 1920s and the disco 1970s were both known for hedonism. Fashion and style were considered reflections of character and self-expression kicked caution to the curb. Whether in speakeasies or Studio 54, theatricality and acting out were considered paramount to self-realization. Bathtub gin or blow. Flappers or disco queens. If it feels good, do it. Economic…

Papillon Artisan Perfumes Salome, 2015

(Image source unknown.) Perfumer Liz Moores. Twenty years ago, with a few exceptions, perfume producers didn’t publicly identify the perfumer. Ten years ago some perfumers were becoming rock stars.  The relationship between the perfumer and the audience is changing and the role of the perfumer is being redefined. Social media has been seen as the marketing tool of the independent perfumer. It’s…

Summer Fun(k) or Persephone’s props.

  (image by Arlene Gottfried) Fresh, effervescent perfumes offer relief from the heat, a respite from the sultriness of the summer season.  Eaux de Cologne, aquatics, light fruity fragrances, leafy/grassy green perfumes, airy mixed-florals.  These usual suspects accessorize the fleshy displays of the season.  They contribute to the cleanliness/godliness illusion of skin. My skin puts the lie to this fiction. …

Vero Profumo Onda Extrait, 2007

Image: Pounce by Thomas Allen. Perfumer Vero Kern, 2007. Aesthetics might be shared but beauty is experienced personally.  Discussions of aesthetics often lead to unanswerable questions on the nature of attraction, absolutes and subjectivity. Onda’s contribution to the debate is to show where the discussion takes place. Wearing Onda shows you that beauty is experienced at the limits.  Simple ease…

Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur, 1904

Perfumer Jaques Guerlain Maybe it’s some weird human drive for finding distinction, maybe it’s simply the result of having more perfumes than I could ever imagine wearing in a lifetime, but I find myself focussing on the qualitative differences of some very similar perfumes. Guerlain Habit Rouge eau de toilette and eau de parfum. The same for Guerlain Insolence. Serge…

digging (into) vintage: Jean Desprèz Bal à Versailles, 1962

Perfumer unknown. Bal a Versailles went right over my head when I first tried it.  It seemed like an old-school, animalic/powdery floriental.  Whether you like that sort of perfume or not, the balance of the elements is crucial.  I thought Bal a Versailles just missed that balance—not enough powder to hide the skank.  But as I eased into it, I got…

Bogue Profumo Maai, 2014

Bogue Maai, memento mori and the traps of artisanal perfumery. Bogue is a small perfume company featuring the work of perfumer Antonio Gardoni.  The approach is artisanal in nature in that fine, rare, exotic materials are the basic components, extraction and refinement methods are done in-house and limited volumes are produced.  Implied in the artisanal approach is a reproach to…

Vero Profumo .rozy Voile d’Extrait, 2014

Perfumery gets away with a lot. It can tell you quite a bit if you’re listening, but because it can’t be pinned down to any literal meaning, it appears entirely subjective. It’s the ongoing problem of scent and language. Because we can’t express clearly to others what we smell, we confuse the personal for the subjective.  Scent doesn’t convey a…