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Scent of a Baker: Perfumes and Reviews (scroll down for reviews)

Perfumes - as ancient as baking (is not the best perfume fresh baked bread?) and as captivating as anything on this planet. Here is where you will find some treasured scents of mine and reviews of over classic and contemporary perfumes and fragrances I think are noteworthy. Broad selections in scent are in department stores and drugstores. But for more special things, you might have to shop online at Sephora, or www.Aedes.com for their excellent service, sampling program, range of perfumes and sheer knowledge of all they sell or www.Fragrancenet.com  

There are tons of new scents out there, each year and especially as aromatherapy, smelling good and feeling great, is going mainstream. Despite the plethora of new perfumes, there is an emphasis on ‘sweet florals’ or “Oriental florals’ and many brands smell the same. Sweet florals in the winter are always welcome but the trick is finding the gems.   Celebrity scents also rule and again, some are surprisingly exceptional and some are unsurprisingly, uninspiring, created by the whim of a name and brand. Celebs scents are more or less about the personality and persona of a celebrity versus scents created by someone or a company, known for their unique ‘nose’ and desire for a scent (this is especially true of houses like Guerlain, Chanel, Creed, and some other remaining, old guard perfume companies). A celeb scent is more about celebrity, marketing teams, and fragrance corporation collaborations that all want to capitalize on scent and the holiday season. This is fine but can lead to the best of and worst of. It also depends if you like the celebrity and want to sport their name in scent. I would be proud to wear something called Audrey (a la Hepburn) but wince at Paris Hilton perfume –even though, the peach laced perfume is rather nice. 

Remember that all perfume starts with an idea and a whim to create a special scent – some more so for a big splashy holiday marketing blitz and some more to set the world of scent on its heels. The philosophy behind something like an institution like Chanel, versus celebs scents like Britney Spears’ enterprises or Jennifer Lopez (who actually has some nice scents), versus designers (Ralph Loren, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Baby Phat) versus make-up mavens (Laura Mercier, Origins), versus true perfumers (Guerlain, Patou, Serge Lutens, Jo Malone) versus concept lines (Avon, Victoria’s Secret, L’Occitane and The Body Shop) are vastly different headspaces in fragrance approaches. They each, except for true perfumers with a heritage, can range from extraordinary to terrible and in-between. But think a little bit about what is feeding into the creation of each perfume. That heritage and incentive behind it says something about the final product and what you can expect. Some designers are wonderful at designer and that gift and talent parlays into their forays in scent. Others know clothes or whatever else is their initial endeavor and might not have a gift for scent. That said, most companies are smart enough to hire the best noses in the business and chances are, you might have the expertise of one fine nose or another at the helm of a new perfume that you might otherwise dismiss.   If you want sophistication and feminine allure – think French perfume; if you want a bit of warmth, cautious romance, some regality and slightly more conservative perfume, and largely floral – think American (Ester Lauder has some incredible scents – Ester Lauder Beyond Paradise or check out Elizabeth Arden’s Provocative Woman). If you want sheer sexy femininity and romance, and a dash of fun, the Italians (Dolce Gabbana, Armani, Carthusia, et al) rule. For freshness, country garden florals, lavenders and such AND class, it’s (and all this politically incorrect perfume lore is to be taken with a grain of salt) it's the Brits, French, and Americans. 

Remember a few things about scent. Yes, perfume smells different after it settles on you, so wait. Always put perfume on at least 30 minutes before going out. You want to captivate, not overwhelm. Two, although perfume does smell different on everyone, Joy is Joy, Chanel 5 is Chanel 5 and no matter who you are, people can discern those classic scents. My point is – choose scents like choosing a fine wine that will bear your own label. Go further afield, try new scents (for goodness sakes!!!!) and find your signature scent. Nothing is nicer than someone saying, ‘you smell terrific. What IS that?”.   If you love something that is popular, chances are it will indeed smell great on you and pick up your spirits but don’t go for the obvious just because everyone says it is a must. Angel is one of the top sellers but I would not recommend it across the board. Yet other scents, like Chanel’s Allure, probably makes everyone smell incredible (It just does; it is if you were stranded on a desert island which perfume would you take with you, perfumes…) and there is a reason behind its popularity.   Do seek out some nostalgic scents you wore when you were younger simply because it is the most fun you can imagine and brings back memories – mostly good. Google makes it easy to find them. Dorothy Gray’s Lilac is one I am having trouble finding but Heaven Scent is back and Blue Grass never left. Now if only they would bring back Oh!De London and Love’s Baby Cologne. Still, there is always Jean Nate…..and Chantilly, is it?  



www.fragrancenet.com
The Best Perfume Store on the Net
Info@fragrancenet.com

 This is about the best perfume store on the net I have dealt with. They also stock a splendid assortment of the best skincare products, hair care, men’s colognes and aftershaves, candles and other aromatherapy products. They are consistent, offer superb pricing, huge variety of sizes and formats of any one scent as well as deriviatives you would not know about (e.g. Eden by Cacherel and Eau de Eden – this from a company most people only know for their Anais Anais)  


www.JeanPaulGaultier.com
Perfume Profile: Jean Paul Gaultier




Jean Paul Gaultier
Classique

Eau de Parfum, Eau De Toilette


If packaging either very much repels or attracts you, you will not be unmoved by the fabulous female torso-bottle that is the iconic Jean Paul Gaultier bottle, that in turn houses the similarly iconic JPG Classique. I confess, for years, I was a little stand-offish for years – my slight feminist bent a bit put out by the overt sexuality of the bottle. But then, feminist judgment left, and femininity took over. One day, after having dismissed the bottle (and scent inside) for being frivilous, I made a bee-line for Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique. How could I have held off on this perfume for so long! What a treasure!  (The nose behind this treasure, it must be said, is Jacques Cavallier)

The famous glass torso housing this wondrous fragrance is available in two decants: Classique Eau Parfum and Classique Eau de Toilette although over the years (since the 1990’s), there’s been some 18 or so, variations on the theme but Classique is your best bet.  Unless you know JPG you might not, having seen the perfume in its metallic packaging which looks very much like a can of salmon have a clue of what lies therein. But open it up and beyond the glass, buxom bottle is a world of dreamy femininity.

Purportedly created in memory of Jean Paul Gaulthier's chere Grand’Mere, Classique was mean to capture both raunch (inspired by said-grand mere’s pink corselet, discovered after she had departed to wherever mature femme fatales ultimately reside) and sweet vanilla comforts (inspired by the homier, nostalgic, and decidedly more maternal memories of grandmother).

Sweet, fruity, vanilla and musk are the main wafts and yet done, as only the French can do such combinations, with total sophistication. Classique is, if you pardon my audacity, as if you were indeed clutched to the bosom of a madonna/matron/showgirl –all at once. I would go as far as to say: motherly stripper but that’s too far in either direction. Suffice to say it’s sweet but not cloying, sexy but not tender – it’s a gentle sigh of a womanly woman who knows her strength lies in knowing who she is and what men like in that way French women seem born with. With Classique, you too, can aspire to this Eve-old wisdom.
 
The Fragrance Notes

What greets you Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique are roses, tethered to orange blossom, musk, a tiny hint of ginger and star anise, the delicacy of orchid and a base note of amber and vanilla. This scent could be over the top or too sweet but it somehow offers a coquettish strut – rather than a heavy footed thud. It is a floral oriental in the best of ways. It comes on strong and settles in a powdery je-ne-sais quoi that is flirtatious, maturing to captivating. If you wanted a signature scent in the sea of signature scents, this is a good place to start.

 

 

 Perfume Profile: Caron
Fleurs de Rocailles


Fleurs de Rocailles – this is the perfume worn in Scent of a Woman. A heady concoction of jasmine, lily of the valley, lilac and other florals, laced with crisp greens and decanted originally in 1933, I don’t think there is a nicer scent that is also so classic. No one makes perfume like an older company as Caron.  First, by Van Cleefe and Arpels is another classic that no one seems to know about and it is divine – there is no other word. It is so incredibly romantic and feminine, men will swoon as you walk by. They will follow you to the parking lot in Wal-mart. Don’t believe me? Just try it. Notes of floral black currant, jasmine, narcissus, sandalwood and vanilla are the reason. If nostalgia is your thing (and if you are a baby boomer you know you are), then head towards Dana’s Heaven Vanilla Scent green flower scent with high notes of natural vanilla.There is also the other , original Heaven Scent by Dana. Around since 1936, this is a heady mix of Oriental flowers and spice. It is memories of first dates and timid romances and youth but suits anyone.

  Every woman needs at least one Lily of the Valley perfume that is purely that and the original Coty formula, found in Coty’s Muguet des Bois is sublime. It’s been on the scene since 1941 and for $12.00, it is one of the nicest Muguet fragrances around. There is also Yardley’s or Dior’s Diorissimo but for the price, and sheer freshness, Coty’s version is a steal.   


 Idylle (2009) from Guerlain. If you like Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely, you will adore Idylle. If you don't you probably still will. This ideal perfume catches some of the fresh musk of Lovely but laces it with feminine florals. It is an incredible triumph of a perfume and while new and young, it is destined to be a signature scent for anyone who wears it. Guerlain hasn't had (to me) a real hit in years but this one is out of the ball park.

Feerie by Van Cleef and Arpel is another stunner but choose the Eau de Parfum (perfume) not the Eau de Toilette which is nice but not the same scent at all. Feerie comes in a gorgeous blue bottle with a silver fairy on top. It is a most unusual scent of both berries and citrus (or so it seems) and it is fresh, feminine but unlike anything I've tried in ...well, maybe ever. Like all Van Cleef and Arpel scents, it is upscale and multi-dimensitional - it makes a statement even in its understatement. 

Avon gets kudos from me with Bloom, Reese Witherspoon's foray into celebrity scent. A fine actress, decent seeming sort of person, it's not a surprise this is a beautiful, mindful scent of toned down peaches and tuberose and lilies. It is glamourous but not overpowering. A keeper.
www.Avon.com and www.Avon.ca.




www.LovePotionPerfume.com
A very interesting perfume oil company that produces 12 new scents a month.
Try scents (before they retire them) such as Betrothal, still one of my favorites. Of Betrothal, Love Potions describes: Nearly 20 love attracting, commitment encouraging ingredients in all, such as Daffodil for assuring that your love is returned; Orange Blossom for eternal love and marriage - and a magnet for men; Neroli for sensuality and encouraging a shy lover; Peach for marriage, fertility, happiness and abundance; Sweet Dill for love and protectiveness; Basil for love, fidelity and empathy between lovers, Hyacinth for love, joy and the easing of childbirth, Sweet Pea for lasting pleasure and blissfulness; Pansy to ensure that your lover will yearn to be by your side when separated from you; Lotus, because no man can refuse a woman who wears it, and more... Now in its 21st year, micro-brewed Love Potion Perfumes are all created with a certain purpose (seduction, healing, confidence) and have the most imaginative names  (Cleopatra's Blend, Artemis, Sugared Roses, Merlin's Blend, Scandalous Intensions, Dream Lover to name a few) that will overwhelm you in sheer diversity, let alone sheer quantity of perfumes.  The 'layered' scents are captivating, featured a line of 'sugared' florals or layered 'musks' (layered vanilla, or with jasmine, etc.). This is the most unusual company in its creativity, quality, and magical mix of aromatherapy, myth, (good) witchery, and seduction - different philosophies all swirled into the total package, combining magical and mystical properties, on a foundation of different folklore, cultures and spiritualities, layered with scent and its abilities to invoke memories. If you don’t want to smell like everyone else, have a lasting perfume (oils last longer) and float in a scented cloud of magic,  do browse www.LovePotionPerfume.com


 Not only is Angel one of the top selling perfumes in the world, it`s an inspiration for baking too. Find out more about this gourmand perfume in my feature on Angel, at :




 

From Van Cleef & Arpels, Orchide Vanille, part of the Collection Extraordinaire, full review coming soon.


From Guerlain 





Idylle by Guerlain

Tons of new perfumes come out each year and the ones that stay and become classic, nay legend, are rare. Idylle is one such. This is almost perfection. If you like Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely, you will adore Idylle. If you don't you probably still will. This 'idea'l perfume catches some of the fresh musk and patchouli of Lovely but laces it with feminine florals. It is an incredible triumph of a perfume and while new and young, it is destined to be a signature scent for anyone who wears it. Guerlain as a bastion of classic perfumes (Shalimar, Mitsouko) but this new addition is a hit out of the ball park. It manages to be romantic but fresh, memorable and incredibly unique. 




Feerie by Van Cleef and Arpel


Feerie Eau de Toilette
is a new version of last year's edition of the house of Cleef & Arpels. The new fairy from a mysterious world introduces luxurious magic of aromas and wraps your aura with glamorous accords.

This fruity-floral combination of notes incorporated in fragrance Feerie EDT opens its olfactive gardens with violet leaves and Italian lemon zest. A heart encompasses airy notes of violet aromas along with rose absolute. Jasmine adds a characteristic and gracious accord which makes the aura sophisticated and elegant. Sweet and seductive, fresh and gentle, just like morning dew. A base features musk, sandalwood and benzoin. Nose behind the fragrance is Olivier Pescheux of Givaudan.

Feerie by Van Cleef and Arpel is a stunner but I prefer the Eau de Parfum (perfume) not the Eau de Toilette which is nice but not the same scent at all. Feerie comes in a gorgeous blue bottle with a silver fairy on top. It is a most unusual scent of both berries and citrus (or so it seems) and it is fresh, feminine but unlike anything I've tried in ...well, maybe ever. Like all Van Cleef and Arpel scents, it is upscale and multi-dimensitional - it makes a statement even in its understatement. 

Avon - Bloom
Avon gets kudos from me with Bloom, Reese Witherspoon's foray into celebrity scent. A fine actress, decent seeming sort of person, it's not a surprise this is a beautiful, mindful scent of toned down peaches and tuberose and lilies. It is glamourous but not overpowering. A keeper.
www.Avon.com and www.Avon.ca



AVON, Outspoken by Fergie


Outspoken Eau de Perfume by Fergie
Only Avon could interpret the Fergie spirit in this wonderfully bold but feminine cocktail of black leather, iced berries, and the warm notes of tuberose absolut. For all ages, this perfume would take you nicely through summer into Fall and even the winter holidays. Check out the companion Outspoken Body Lotion. www.Avon.Ca

L'Occitane en Provence- Eau de Toilette- Fleurs de Pecher/ Peach Blossom
www.Loccitane.ca

lovely peach of an eau de toilette has exactly the fragrance that one thinks about when one imagines the scent of a flower as it opens.  This light, aroma is sure to remind you that spring is in the air and summer is on its way.  Visit www.loccitane.com for more information. Orange blossom is nice but so last year - peach is the new orange - but don't let the hue fool you. this is sweet and floral in a memorable way.


www.Ineke.com

Evening Edged in Gold

This is the newest Ineke perfume, and it is a warm, luxurious, feminine scent tahat opens with bright top notes of plum. then Angels' Trumpet, Midnight Candy and finishes with a cosy base of saffron, deep woods and leather. This is a feminine perfume that is rich but floral at the same time and reminds me of cashmere, white flowers and pearls -but in a perfume. It smells delicious but also very unique. 

After My Own Heart Perfume is one of the most stunning, unique perfumes, launched by a fellow Canadian, based in San Francisco who makes a lilac (among other scents) based perfume that is simply stunning. It is one of those rare stops-people-in-their-tracks perfumes. Lilac based perfumes (for some reason) are rare and a perfumer who does one well, rarer still and Ineke is one such. The line is creative, unique (the website and packaging are both works of art) and scents range from fanciful, named scents as Balmy Days and Sundays and Chemical Bonding. After My Own Heart is an instant and Ineke also has a superb guy’s perfume/aftershave called Derring-Do which is a masculine, fresh study in green tea and lime notes. Ineke is one of the most romantic of new perfumers, and uses sublime cocktails of essential oils and quality fragrance oils and extracts. Simply a gorgeous line of exceptional perfumes.   


Flower Bomb by Viktor and Rolf
Flower Bomb Extreme, Flower Bomb Body Lotion , Viktor and Rolf’s First Guy Perfume – Viktor and Rolf “Antidote’ The design team who created one of my favorite perfumes, Flower Bomb has introduced a new and more intense version, called Flower Bomb Extreme. No samples (nor perfume) are available but check Ebay and Holt’s in Canada and Sak’s or Bergdof’s in the States or contact Victor and Rolf website. They also newly launched a body cream version of their original Flower Bomb. Viktor and Rolf for him scores kudos in their newest perfume, Antidote. This is the much-anticipated aftershave/man’s scent and it is available at Bloomingdale’s. Antidote is a magic potion, much like ‘a rare flower pinned to the lapel of a tuxedo jacket; it is an expression of classic masculine elegance with a flair of sophistication. A rich, woody-oriental, Antidote opens with a refreshing burst of mint leaves and Italian bergamot, sparkles with spicy facets of black pepper and cinnamon and yields to the warmth of sandalwood, ebony and patchouli.” . If you are looking for the newest, most sophisticated yet bold scent for a man, this is one not to be missed. Besides, what other men’s cologne has its own song created by Rufus Wainwright?   


Some other general recommendations:
Tea Rose (The Perfumer’s Workshop – if you cannot find it anywhere, then try Ebay)
Annick Goutal (you can’t go wrong with this line – exquisite)
Intrusion by Oscar de la Renta
Romance by Ralph Laurent 
Kielh’s Cucumber Oil Spray

Stella (as in Paul McCartney’s designer daughter Stella) –which is nice but lack dimensions  - i.e. pleasant enough if you like a light scent of fresh cut flowers. 

Jo Malone’s bright, sparkly perfumes are for modern, sporty types but her Fruits de Forest is a touch more romantic. 

Marc Jacob by Marc Jacob is a luscious romantic gardenia scent few can resist (it is selling off the shelves online and in stores),
 
Dolce and Gabbana get my nod in two of their scents: Light Blue, which is appealingly apple-ish, and Sicily which is a sensuous, sunny scent of honey, roses and Bergamot. 

Michael Kors is doing well, providing you have the presence to wear an intensely Tuberose bouquet. It is sensual as all get out but you have to be able to carry it off. All these scents are nationally available in major department stores, or online, at the websites of their creators. For the more standard scents, you can try www.Sephora.com for online shopping. For more unusual or cutting edge scents as well as personal service, bar none and the place to find the more exotic, upscale, imports, and spectacular fragrance, I rely onwww.Aedes.com and manager Karl Bradl (more on Aedes below) to find them. Last, if a limited edition Lalique flacon of perfume, along with an exquisite perfume intrigues, then go to www.lalique where you will find stunning perfume bottles and scents to match. Their Le Baiser (the kiss) is one of my favorites but this company has created signature fragrances that if not for their limited editions, would become classics.   

Green Tea perfume  by Elizabeth Arden is a great version of green tea, as is L’Occitane’s Green Tea and for those who want feminine in a green tea scent Bvlvari’s offers two choices: Cologne au The Vert as well as a more intense version of same: Extreme. Bvlvari, who is also a fashion and watch company par excellence, does green tea with more subtly but it is a simply lovely bouquet of a most uplifting trendy fragrance of the year. 

Body Shop’s Vanilla Cologne Spray or their Vanilla Oil is a good option – especially if you combine it with something else

 Thierry Mugler Alien  looks….alien –which means it is modern and youth-oriented (although in scent there is no such thing – never believe any perfume writer that tells you can and cannot wear this or that over a certain age. Just don’t wear bad scents at any age). But a beautiful, luxurious package speaks of feminine mystique and a classic scent. A very modern bottle or funky one suggests a modern scent or a fresh and dynamic one. The decanter is an indication of what lies within. Chanel, as you know, is always classically Chanel aka French minimalist, which is what I love about Chanel. But I also love the creativity behind the dramatic look of new entries in fragrance.    


Premier Jour by Nina Ricci
Gorgeous. Lily of the Valley, other white flowers for the most feminine scent around. A bouquet that is a breath of springtime, whatever the season.   

Serge Lutens (whole line)
Orange Blossom by Serge Lutens is getting the press but almost anything in the SL line will serve you well. There is an amazing complexity to each Serge Lutens perfume and they range from woody, to floral and sweet but the expertise is definitely with their woody or sweet scents, versus the florals. For true sophistication, this line cannot be beat. Our friends at www.Aedes.com  in New York has the full line. These are best described as sultry perfumes and their amber, orange flowers, and various vanilla based perfumes are the top sellers.   

Love in White, Creed The newest from Creed is light but memorable, ultra feminine (Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly come to mind) and one of those multi-dimensional approaches to a bouquet of white flowers. This is for a bride to be or a true femme fatale/goddess. Sure to be a classic unless expense out prices it – but then, it’s Creed so……  

Iris by Aqua de Parma Mostly known for their men’s scents, Iris by Aqua de Parma is on my new year’s wish list. It is distinct, fresh but sweet and wonderfully pure. Great alone or mixed with a bit of Diorissmo (lily of the valley).   


Original Musk Oil Vanilla Oil www.Kiehls.com A classic from Kiehls, I really prefer this for men but mixed with your own floral oils or as is, this is a riveting scent for those that like musk. It is not cloying; it is rather je ne sais quoi – more of a scent magnet that gives the impression to those around you that is your own ‘scent’. A phenomes sort of scent – the cologne of the same name from Kiehl is a great gift for men who might not use the oil version of Musk. Kiehls Vanilla Oil on the other hand, is great mixed with Musk, on its own, or mixed with almost anything else. Kiehls’ Vanilla Oil is a wonderful sweet basenote to other perfumes you might wear. I wear a touch of vanilla oil, touch of rose fragrance oils (check my sources for fragrance oil suppliers) with Bylvari’s green tea fragrance or Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea. Awesome.   

Armani Mania by Giorgio Armani Billed as an aromatic floral, this is close to a best-of-2005 in my book. Romantic, luxurious, boldly female but sophisticated.   

Aqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani
The cologne for men - simply one of the nicest and most popular male scents on the market. My sense is that Italian men are comfortable being guys and an Italian designer is totally at home, creating a super male scent in a very bold way. If anything else, if you are a guy, just make a commitment NOT to wear Old Spice or use Irish Spring. Ever again. Better not to shower and not to use Aqua di Gio but just avoid the menthol/pine/oakmoss overdoes from now on in. Please.  


Weekend by Burberry
Warm, up market, feminine, elegant but classy in an old world, old school monied way. A good one for anyone’s repertoire and when you want sweet but not cloying. Discontinued but some places still sell it.
  
Escada Fruity, exotic – full of panache – a great daily wear perfume that picks you up but doesn’t distract or seduce …which means it is a great work perfume – feminine but not double entendres perfume.   Love by Moschino I am not a citrus perfume lover but this orangey, happy fragrance makes me feel good each time I try it out. It is simply up and orange and unexpectedly special.   

Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, Lancaster Group I really wanted to love this perfume because I admire the actress who created it. This is a multi dimensional, truly complex scent but it is hardly the feminine cloud its packaging and spokesperson makes it seem. It smells a bit like the earth of a garden in springtime OR that odd scent of old fur coats and mothballs, when you wander into your grandmother’s hall closet. It IS well crafted and it IS oddly, really perfect for men. I could fall for a guy who wore something like Lovely. SJP wanted a fresh, patchouli based perfume that is almost like ‘nice sweat’ …This is admirable because it is intelligent, upscale, simply ‘well-done’ perfume. It is just not anything like the packaging or the usual. Actually, you won’t smell like anyone else if you opt for Lovely. You SHOULD try this one for yourself. Nothing else on the market is out there.  But here's the kicker. I wanted to love Lovely. I didn't and then one day I did. And still do. Check out the newest SJP scent Covet. It is more frisky but also exceptional. But just a dab will do you.

Baby Phat Surprisingly nice – fruit, florals, and a real cachet – a sleeper for 2005.   

Bulvari Rose Extreme
The design company that is known for every degree of green tea perfume for women, men and even babies, has a rose perfume. It is different, delightful (while not for everyone) and a rose bower, in a subtle way. If you are new to rose scents, this might be one pick.   

Les Perfums de Rosine
A full line of rose perfumes, available at www.aedes.com - this offers many combinations of rose perfume possibilities.   

Happy Heart by Clinique
Light, fun, sweet, floral – bit of a chai tea thing going on – slightly creamy scent –this is stirring and welcome at the same time. Safe but sexy.  Or rather, sexy but safe.
 

Cathusia’s Il Profumi di Capri.

Aedes is one of the first in America to carry one scent in particular that I have fallen in love with. It is Cathusia’s Il Profumi di Capri. Italian made of all pure ingredients, based on formulae that dates back to methods first utilized by the monks of the Carthusian Monastery of St. Giamoco. The hallmark fragrance Fiori di Capri was inspired by the flowers that celebrated the arrival of Queen Giovanna d’Angio in 1380. In 1948, the old perfume recipes the monastery were revealed (by permission of the Pope, no less) to a chemist of Torino who created the Carthusia perfumery/laboratory. More information is at www.carthusia.com. There are a few perfumes available but Fiori di Capri is a perfume for angels and goddesses. It is light and floral and almost a whisper more than a perfume. The main notes are Lily of the Valley, Wild Carnation blended with sandalwood, oak moss and ylang ylang. It comes in a modern version of the old-style, glamorous perfume bottles of old, in a crystal clear square bottle with a fabric atomizer bulb attached. There is also Caprissimo, Gelsomini and Cathusia Lady, each floral symphonies that are famous among perfume aficionados, and each more feminine and unique than the other. Aria di Capri is coming in the new year.


Demeter 
Freedom Marketing Group
Information 516-487-5187
To Order: www.fashion-planet.com/shopping/demeter/demeterhome.html

What do you say about a line of colognes, candles, and room sprays that has everything from delicate florals like Wet Garden, Lilac and Freesia to spirited fragrances such as Gin and Tonic, Cosmopolitan, manly notions like This Is Not A Pipe, trendy scents like Sticky Pudding  or Tira Misu, fun scents like Dirt, Paperback, and Laundromat, and a host of food scents (for room or personal use) such as Sugar Cookie, Cinnamon Toast, Condensed Milk, Birthday Cake, and seasonal sensations such as Cranberry, Croquembuche, Fruit Cake, and Scottish Shortbread? You just buy a slew! I use Demeter for personal fragrance (and combine a few scents at once), or, use their foodier scents for room spray, stationary, linens, greeting cards, cookbooks, and to scent up gifts from the kitchen (the note cards!). This company has been newly resurrected in the last year or so and plan on seeing more novel, quality fragrances and concepts, like no where else.  

 In love with Lilacs….

As it takes a lot of lilacs to make pure lilac perfume, you usually find synthetic lilac or a touch of lilac essence blended into other perfumes. The Body Shop used to make a rather nice lilac oil and Caswell Massey has a signature Lilac scent but none comes closer, and is more pure than Highland Lilac from a unique apothecary and gift store, Parkleigh of Rochester, New York. Among a range of specialty products in cosmetics (they carry the full range of The Thyme products and Diptyque candles among other items), Parkleigh is renown for its Lilac perfume. Bushels and bushels of fresh lilacs, grown in the area, are pressed into this perfume, which does smell as though you have bathed in a lilac bower.  Five varieties of lilacs are used to make this scent and it is gorgeous. (and so is the gift box). This is for lilac lovers or a special gift for someone who enjoys single floral scents. 

Parkleigh is the a supplier or try 
www.highlandlilac.com.
This is a beautiful, all natural, lilac perfume.
800-333-0627

Parkleigh of Rochester, New York
www.parkleigh.com www.highlandlilac.com

Stacked Style scented perfume oils made the A list whenever their products appear in Style magazine. A packet box of Scentarettes, houses their signature oils – fresh and floral scents you can wear as perfumes. body oil, or moisturizing oil. Try Prelude Magnolia, jasmine, rose, apricot and wild strawberry), Sorbet (pear, green apple, honeydew, melon, peaches and white musk), Duet (fresh florals and citrus), or Memoir (a romantic mix of gardenia, tuberose, Casablanca, and lily).  These are just different from the pack of perfumes,  and wicked cool because they are affordable, subtle but feminine fragrances and are wonderfully portable. They are perfect for those who want something different, young, or fresh or for women wanting an option from 'perfume house' fragrances. New scents include Harmony, Dew, Luau, and Blossom. The whole line has been adopted by the Hollywood set. Look out for their soy based candle lien too. From founder Linda Sirvican, order from www.stackedstyle.com

 www.aftelier.com

Mandy Aftel is a perfumer that is a rarity – she only works with all natural, essential oils to create her original, masterpiece perfumes. She teaches perfumer making, has written a phenomenal book on the subject but is renown for her custom perfumes – for those wanting a perfume brand that no one else has. She offers a few exotic ready-to-wear perfumes: Parfum De Maroc, that is a sultry concoction of Bulgarian rose, myrrh, and bitter orange, a Citrus Perfume that is a freshly fruity/floral combination, and Blond Tabac for men or women, among other scents and products but her forte is custom perfume making, using only essential oils and other natural ingredients (no lab synthetics for her!)  and she works closely with clients to create something special. Madonna is a noted client.  Aftel, like Aedes in New York is the sort of perfume source you can pass on your preferences to in order to get a fix on what would work for you. Aftel is also noted for her beautiful perfume bottles which are almost as beautiful as her signature perfumes. Her book on perfume is one of the best every written - it is only as informative as it is wonderfully well written.

 www.DSHperfumes.com 
www.artscent.com
 800 551-0701

I am always on the look-out for new, exciting and home grown perfumes. Parfums des Beaux Arts, www.DHSperfumes.com, a creation  of perfumier and aromatherapist, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is of the these incredible finds. The once co-owner of the Boston perfumery, Essence, Spencer Hurwitz has really bloomed in her own online perfumery where she showcases her entire perfume collection, as well as essential oil fragrance combinations (versus the perfumes which use fragrance as well as essential oils).  There are several lines of perfumes at DSH, all fragrance-thematic, including DHS New Creations Artisan Perfumes, Perfection Connoisseur Fragrances, Passion Flour Poem Perfumes, Your Perfect Day Wedding Fragrances and Parfums des Beaux Arts, which are also referred to as Limited Editions. Conveniently, all perfumes clearly described at the DSH website so there is no doubt as to which is which or which might appeal to you. I tried some incredible selections: April Be Spring, Italian Journey No. 3, La Rose Fleurette and Les Rouges, as well as Cassis Essence. DHS perfumes are all clearly profiled at the website. What they all have in common is extraordinarily, glamorous packaging of a by-gone era and perfumes that each are incredibly unique – ranging from girlish (in the eternal girlish way), to feminine, or simply sultry and sophisticated. Each one is quite different from each and more so, from the usual perfume lines you find in any department store. These are ‘crafted’ scents for the discerning perfume hound – they are notably lush and luxurious and each, is a bouquet it’s own right. We especially liked La Rose Fleurette (sensuous and lush), Giardini Segreti (light, clean, sophisticated but romantic floral), Poire (subtle fruit, floral and touch of spice), and Fleur d’Oranger (heavenly). For foodies, there is also a Piment and Chocolate. We also recommend any one of their Tea Perfumes (we are partial to The Vert, or Green Tea) or any one of their trio of heady Rose scents. Giardini Segreti is only one of their triumpherate of “Italian Journey’ Perfumes. Prices range but DSH offers terrific value in their sampler kits so you can order a few in special vials (and generous vials at that) to figure out what you might like to re-order. 

www.loccitane.com
This company, noted for is soaps, incense, lotions, and balms, has a few colognes that are bright and appealing –including a Vanilla Cologne and a crisp Green Tea cologne. Their newest line (and check out their incense mentioned above) is a heady salute to Feuilles d’Oranger and it is a scent that is sunnily orange and sweet but floral. It comes in body lotion, perfume, and soaps. L’Occitane also has a remarkable men’s line of after shave products, colognes, face and lip balms, and all manner of manly care products that are crisp, clean but retain a nice Gallic sophistication. This is a wonderful line that you will return to for their new items and to stock up on ones you become devoted to. A tin of their honey incense, Green Tea Cologne, and Feuilles d’Orange Shower Gel, and some Creamy Honey Lip balm makes a divine selection of gifts to introduce you to L’Occitane.




 

It’s been a very busy year in fragrance. It’s not that there are so many new perfumes out there (but of course, there always are) ; it's rather, it’s that there are simply so many outstanding perfumes already on the market but either undiscovered or unappreciated. As the world discovers how gorgeous scent can be (it can be subtle you know – for you scent haters or allergy kids and aromatherapy back-lash sorts), the offerings just increase like a fertility bouquet. I’ve been strolling through new scents, magical scents, and some heavy duty classics. I’ve also rounded up my best for the guys. There are also some beloved scents of yesteryear that I happily rediscovered. Boomer babes, are you listenin’? When was the last time you heard about Memoire Cherie, Oh De London, Love’s Baby Soft. Ma Griffe, Blue Grass, and sunny, fresh Jean Nate? Come on in, it’s cold outside! The fragrance of the holidays starts with inhaling the joy of scent. Welcome to Scent of a Baker 2008.

 I also take this occasion to suggest that whereas many of you wear one perfume forever(!) – it’s time to venture out, scent-wise.  As the economy flounders, make-up and perfume sales go up – because nothing is so uplifting. Scent alters your mood and your own persona. It beckons and beguiles but lifts your spirits in such a way that you actually move to a higher plane of thinking – from how you look and feel to what new life moves are possible. That is how powerful perfume is. And just as you have many moods and personas, no one perfume is ‘it’ for any of us. So please, please, please – don’t let go of your favorites (Youth Dew, Angel, Joy, or Tresoire) but do explore the incredible world of scent out there. The world of scent has never, ever been as rich and varied with possibilities. 

Yes, you can mix and match scents. No, it doesn’t cost the earth to find some great new scents and yes, you are more than your old perfume. We all change – so should our perfumes reflect our evolution. At the least, it attracts new attention (or old attention in a new way) and makes even you, the wearer, see yourself and the world around you in a new way. Don’t get stuck. Perfume is not like lip gloss or deodorant (i.e. something you put on without thinking); it is primordial; it’s a signature. If you dislike heavy perfume, try oil based ones that waft less. If you are not a girlie girl, then look for fresh scents (especially Jo Malone). But perfume is something that is so special that to choose the same old over and over again is like baking the same recipe Tollhouse Cookies each day. And we all know how we keep tweaking that recipe!  

For the men in your life who have not a clue (and apologies to those that do) about scent, I’ve included some stellar scents – colognes that make them smell manly, unique, understated but offer a sense of innate, male pride. 

To order some of these scents,
Fragrance Net is one of the most reputable fragrance suppliers online for both the U.S. and Canada, with broad offerings and weekly promotions, discounts and sometimes, free shipping. www.FragranceNet.com. When it comes to perfumes, I would recommend a bonafide perfume specialist like FragranceNet.com. You don't know when you purchase from Ebay for example, if the perfume is fresh or well taken care of. Returns and service are also an issue whereas with a company that prides itself on customer service, you don't have to worry. Prices are also excellent, as is the broad range of perfumes.


Memory Lane Perfumes
Vintage is In – 60-70’s Perfumes are Hot!
Oh De London, Memoire Cherie, Jean Nate, Heaven Scent and more....


What makes you feel more happy or nostalgic than smelling a scent that made your world spin when you were 16 or 20? Innocent scents (or even bad scents, innocently chosen) that were not just part of your toilette as a girlie girl, but also a way of stepping out – differentiating yourself from your mom’s perfumes (Femme, White Shoulders, Diorissimo, and Chanel) but they also represent an era of you. Nothing, save banana bread baking, takes you back so fast, so poignantly and happily as experiencing some of those scents again. Hard to track (most of them) but bless Ebay and out-of-stock perfume specialists, these perfumes are a trip to yesterday. But remarkably, some of them are absolutely amazing – decades later. Strap on a pair of cyber Mary Janes or your Fry cowboy boots and a Laura Ashley dress (or Belle France frock if you still have one) and revisit some favorite scents.

 

It’s back! Oh De London, now available by Tuvache
www.irmashorell.net
and it’s a deal. You can also find vintage bottles on Ebay. But do take care! Those bottles go for a king’s ransom and being 30-40 years old, it’s impossible to know if they are at all fresh or usable.
 
 
I’m dating myself but I recall a time when Oh De London was what you doused yourself with before a date. Yardley of London, famed for lavender soap and spray, launched Oh De London in a turquoise, white, striped bottle.Oh! de London® perfume is now produced by Tuvache who describes it as a bright, sparkling and lively fragrance that was originally introduced circa 1962. Perfumers categorize this as a Floral Oriental. Today’s, (as the original had )Oh! de London Perfume has top notes of bergamot, Russian sage and Roman chamomile. Middle notes of Chinese geranium, clove bud, rose petal, violet, lily of the valley, ylang-ylang and heliotrope. It features dry down notes of East Indian sandalwood, cedarwood, vanilla, oakmoss and vetiver. "Oh! de London perfume is bright, sparkling and lively over a mellow and creamy base with floralcy woven throughout. A wonderful, feminine scent character with a terrific signature, complex in accord." Says Jeffrey Dame, of Irma Shorell, Inc. who now owns the Oh! de London trademark for perfume and other fragrance products. Tuvache specializes in out of stock perfumes or Lost Perfumes. Some seem to be original mini samples and some are recreations based on formulas of old. I found their U.S. site unresponsive for general information but ordering the perfume was fine. But their Canadian order service and general information number was amazingly efficient. (I got my order a day later). Visit the site www.irmashore.net or call 1-800-226-6652.  I have to tell you when I sprayed on the Oh de London, I could not quite remember the scent but a deeper memory base must have because it brought an instant sweet and sentimental tear. On its own, memories aside, this is one of the most unique perfumes I ever experienced. Worth every penny just to see the bottle on your dresser top but it is also pretty special.


Remember Memoire Cherie?

I also bought a tiny bottle of Memoire Cherie, an angelic perfume from Elizabeth Arden. Memoire Cherie, according to IrmaShore fragrance spokesman and owner Jeffrey Dame begins with a classically constructed 50's woody-floral accord, tightly wrapped together; dense and waiting for air. After a moment of hesitation, Memoire Cherie escapes and descends into a rich and wonderful oriental accord; creamy, nutty and sensual beyond belief. It is as if the perfume walked out of the room and came back in a new outfit. This wonderful warm amber musk tone has a gentle floralcy which dances around the base and carries on for hours and hours. At the end, the oriental base settles down below the floralcy and Memoire Cherie walks quietly into the night. I had a friend who bathed in Memoire Cherie when she was 15. I associated that scent with her but when I recently smelled it again, I realized – wow – this is one amazing perfume no matter who wears it.

 There’s also Sortilege, with top notes of bergamot, peach lactone, and orange blossom, followed by middle notes of lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, violet, orris, lilac. It resolves with a dry down of musk, oakmoss, vetivert, sandalwood, vanilla, tonka, opoponax, styrax, balsamic ambers. Gorgeous- fresh but not acidic, feminine, floral and sophisticated and pretty well ageless. Remember My Sin? My Sin perfume has top notes of bergamot, heliotrope, neroli, clary sage, lemon, aldehydic accord and carnation with middle notes of ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, violet, iris, orris, clove, rose and jasmine and a sweet, mellow base of musk, vanilla, cedarwood, tolu, styrax, vetiver and sandalwood. IrmaShore writes of My Sin, this is ‘a soft and very feminine perfume, with sophisticated and classical powdery-woody notes. A bright nutty-warm floral entry blooms into a gorgeous floral accord, settling down to a wonderful creamy-powdery base with a woody sensual allure. Broad, rich, expensive and expansive. Very much an uptown perfume for special occasions. Classic, sensuous and complex beauty." Who can forget Crepe de Chine, with top notes of nerolie, Italian bergamot, Egyptian basil, oil of Peru
and fresh aldehydes, middle notes of gardenia, ylang ylang, carnation, lilac, otto of rose, Romanian chamimille and Egyptian jasmine and a dry down notes of sandalwood, East Indian musk, oakmoss, vanilla, vetiver, benzoin and Indonesian patchouli.

I tried to get hold of Ma Griffe (on Ebay and some perfume sites) for those of you who remember this powerful green and wood based scent. It is still around and there is also Fleurs de Rocaille, made famous in Scent of a Woman. Caron is the esteemed perfume company that makes Fleurs de Rocaille but do make sure you get the original formula and not the new one. The new Fleurs de Rocaille is nothing like the original whereas the original is gorgeous, French and perfect for day or night. It is lilac, rose, violet, iris, jasmine and lily of the valley. The whole effect is like wearing wildflowers after a spring rain. 
Those are but a few of the Lost Perfumes on the Irma
Shore site. There are tons more you have forgotten bu ta brief browse on their site bring back amazing memories.

Tried and True Elizabeth Arden's Blue Grass

 
 
Memoire Cherie was originally created by Elizabeth Arden who still makes my beloved Blue Grass. In my perfume evolution, I had shelved Blue Grass as an old lady perfume but it is now so retro, it’s hot again. It is a stunning bouquet of jasmine, lily, rose, lavender, geranium, orange blossom, followed by heart notes of vetiver, clove, laurel, and fresh but woody base notes of Virginia cedar, sandalwood and classic mush. Blue Grass is still widely available. It is feminine and airy but soft as a breeze. When you wear it, you float into a room and imply your presence (versus insinuate). I also wear

 


For more on scent, enjoy my other features:

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