Ave Parfum Newsletter
Here is the link to the newsletter I just released, in case you would like to read it ;)
Review: Kulfi by L'Aromatica
If you love cardamom, saffron, kulfi, rasmalai, kheer, and just about any other Indian dessert, and you long to smother it all over your body and walk out the door wearing it, you need to try this. It's creamy, sweetened just right, and loaded with cardamom.
There are no fruits, florals, woods, or anything else to distract you from the very literal smell of kulfi. There is no citrus, no abstract interpretations of kulfi, nor must you wait patiently for the perfume to develop before you detect kulfi. It is kulfi the moment it hits your skin.
It contains a note of coconut, which seems odd because personally I have never heard of kulfi with coconut (does it exist?), but in any case, it actually works really nicely to provide creaminess and nuttiness.
The scent of kulfi is so realistic that coconut does not stand out...until the drydown, 60 minutes later, when the kulfi evaporates and only coconut + vanilla remain. The drydown is Pepperidge Farm coconut cake. I wanted kulfi from start to finish. But the quality of the kulfi scent is so incredibly perfect and real that I highly recommend this perfume anyway. And if a coconut cake drydown still sounds delicious to you, then you will absolutely fall for this. It is only at the end of the perfume, at the point where it is almost gone, that I smell sandalwood.
Hands-down the most delicious, most literal gourmand I have ever smelled in my entire life. Keep the bottle away from your kids, as they may drink it.
Kulfi is not cloying, yet sillage is fairly strong for the first hour or two until it becomes quieter, so I would not recommend spraying liberally. Longevity is a solid 8+ hours on my skin.
I love Indian deserts possibly more than any other sweet. With this perfume, you can truly indulge. It's like being in Delhi, but you don't have to worry you will get the "Delhi Belly".
(review is for the spray, not the oil)
I love Theirry Mugler perfumes in general, but this one falls into the "Dislike" category. It smelled like a smoother, creamier version of Angel at first; a clear relation. In the beginning I smelled a strong nutty quality, which was soon overtaken by thick, creamy vanilla. It was great at first. I still love the original Angel, my signature 20 years ago wow, but I would have equally enjoyed this flanker if it had stayed as nice as it was in the first 20 minutes. The problem for me is that it becomes a simple, synthetic vanilla. The nutty, Angel-like, and even creamy qualities fade too soon and leave the mere skeleton of the fragrance--a chemical type of vanilla that is not pleasant to me. I don't like La Vie est Belle nor anything that resembles it, and this falls into LVEB territory. It lasts and sillage is moderate, but I don't need to own this one. The other thing is that I wish he would do something new altogether.
Guide to Musk Perfumes
Might as well face it, I'm addicted to musk.
It all began in the 1980's with a lil' drugstore perfume called Jovan White Musk. It continued in the late 80's with Avon's Night Magic Evening Musk. There you have it--I have been a musk lover practically since birth.
Today's musks are largely synthetic. White musk is always synthetic. However, there are still some perfume houses that use real musk, which I am against. Now that I hear of particular houses that actually use the real deal, I do not buy perfumes from those houses. I care about animals, and I do what I can to support animal welfare. I can not prove that they use real animal musk, but my nose tells me it's real musk in the bottle. I trust my nose, and I trust my inside sources who have quietly revealed this information to me.
Musks these days range the gamut from crystal clear to downright dirty. I have selected a handful of my favorite musks to discuss. You will find brief descriptions below, and you can also hover over the Reviews by House tab to find expanded/protracted reviews.
Musk perfumes can be broken down into two categories with the following characteristics:
Andrea Maack, Smart - An exceptionally fluffy, creamy white musk with a suede-like note in it that comes off smelling a bit like plastic, actually, but a lot of people love a plasticky doll's head note in their perfume, and so do I.
Annick Goutal, Musc Nomade - A soft and delicate, earthy musk anchored with ambery woods and dried herbs.
Bond No.9, New York Musk - A sweet, white musk with a fruity top note that smells like berries; a combination that works surprisingly well.
Bruno Acampora, Iranzol (EdP) - Dirty, dingy, dank, funky, and musty are a few words that come to mind when I think of this musk. It dries down into something that smells like skin in need of a shower. A note of very green, sharp galbanum runs through as well, but it is incredibly faint and blends beautifully with the other notes.
Bruno Acampora, Musc (oil) - Peppery/spicy, slightly masculine laundry musk with a fungal effect like Iranzol but not nearly as strong or potentially offensive. A touch of dry patchouli in the mix. So I would categorize this musk as dirty, but it has the fabric softener effect as well. I have smelled the EdP, and I would recommend the oil over the EdP because the EdP was frankly imperceptible to my nose. The oil has a little more heft to it and smells more complex.
Chanel, Jersey - The focus is on lavender, but this is a super musky perfume and smells very clean yet cozy and creamy, like a lavender vanilla fabric softener I used to buy. The lavender used here smells freshly cut, not dried. The musk is fluffy and soft. On the sweeter side.
Donna Karan, Cashmere Mist - I have to mention this designer brand perfume because it is one of the muskiest out there. It smells like the name implies. It's ultra-cozy, soft and fluffy. There is a bright jasmine note that is quite sharp. A white musk with woody and floral undertones. Refined and distinctive scent.
Donna Karan, Cashmere Mist Pure Cashmere - Very similar to the original Cashmere Mist, but the emphasis is on the musk and creamy aspects of the perfume. Not floral to my nose, just fluffy soft white musk.
Frederick Malle, Musc Ravageur - Naughty vanilla, spiced musk. Oriental in character. Often compared to Obsession (before it was reformulated). The musk is raunchy animalic, not the fluffy white, innocent kind of musk.
Il Profumo, Nuda - Another clean, white musk with fruity-sweet top notes. The distinguishing factor with Nuda is that it has a nuttiness to it, almost like nougat, a quality that I have not found in another musk perfume. This nutty note is fleeting on my skin, and I am left with a Jovan-style white musk blended with a drop of Johnson's & Johnson's original baby shampoo. Nuda has a yellow, mimosa-like sweet and an innocent floral tone to it. Discontinued, but there may be a couple of bottles floating around eBay.
Il Profumo, Musc Bleu - A simple, clean and classic white musk. If Jovan's White Musk is your kind of musk, Musc Bleu likely will be too. I prefer Nuda from the same house, which isn't quite as "white". Oddly this one is called "blue musk", but I can't find anything blue about it.
Kiehl's Original Musk - I have only tried the oil. It's a simple animalic musk that also has a cleanliness about it. Floral undertones, yet not conspicuously floral. A no frills, raunchy musk. Think The Body Shop White Musk,from the 90's, but animalic rather than clean. (Updated 8/11/16)
L'Artisan, Mure et Musc - A clean, almost crystal, sugary-sweet musk, and a classic from this house. Top notes have a berry-like essence. Very pretty.
Lorenzo Villoresi, Musk - Powdery, clean, white musk with Victorian-esque rose potpourri and an undercurrent of vanilla and sandalwood. It smells decadently creamy. If you don't like talcum powder or Nivea lotion, you might want to keep looking.
Miller Harris, L'Air de Rien - Dirty barnyard, unwashed skin, and musty crotch type of musk. Surprisingly sweet due to some vanilla in there, so it's palatable and hopefully will not offend. I will be honest though and say that it made my friend's wrist smell like a sweaty crotch, but on the right person it truly gives the sense of having a second skin as it mellows out with your chemistry.
M. Micallef, Royal Muska - The King of Clean Musks. Pun intended. It starts out a bit fruity and maybe even a little fizzy on top, like a sparkling wine cooler, but it settles into a lusciously creamy white musk with a rich, woody undercurrent flowing through it. Take Jovan's White Musk and make it a bit darker, much more rich (another pun!), much more complex, and infinitely more interesting.
Monda di Orio, Musc - It is called musk, but it is equally a heliotrope and floral fragrance. The musk has a crisp, crystal-like quality that is very enjoyable. Smells like there is berry or cassis in the top notes. Has a powdery, vintage-like profile reminiscent of classic perfumes such as Ombre Rose.
Montale, White Musk - You've died and gone to soap heaven! Like a bar of Ivory soap mixed with some sugar, and it seems to have faint woody undertones.
Parfum d'Empire, Musc Tonkin - I have heard that this perfume smells like real tonkin musk, which has an aquatic/melon type of scent to it, and Musk Tonkin does have that aquatic/melon tone. It is not musky in the sense of being one of those fluffy white musks but smells cleaner and fresher. Incredible sillage and longevity. Just a drop or two is all you need. Kudos for re-creations of natural musks that do not harm animals!
Santa Maria Novella, Muschio - Soft, vanilla, milky white musk, and it smells very natural. Not cloying nor sharp at all. This Italian house is hundreds of years old and is cruelty-free.
Serge Lutens, Claire de Musc - If you love Jovan's White Musk, you will probably love this. Claire de Musc is a clean, crystal-white musk. It is almost sugary in its sweetness and has subtle floral tones.
Serge Lutens, Muscs Kublai Khan - The infamous Muscs Kublai Khan. When my niece asked the salesperson in Paris for a bottle of this, the salesperson's response was, "Ah, oui, ouiiii! Bien Sûr!" ("Oh, yes, yesssss! Of course!") I'm sure that anyone who knows perfume well enough to shop at Serge Lutens' Palais Royal shop in Paris will be wanting that one. Well let me start by saying that I have heard that real musk is used in the formula, That is a big no-no for an animal lover like me. I will use the bottle I have, but I would not buy it again unless I was certain that no natural musk was used. That being said, the perfume is a highly sensual, slightly effervescent, rosy, animalic musk.
Tom Ford, Urban Musk - Discontinued but fascinating. It smells a goat's excrement for the first 30 minutes, and apparently it didn't sell well. Not surprising. However, the drydown is a fantastic honeyed jasmine musk that is actually stunning and completely void of anything unpleasant.
Tom Ford, White Suede - The perfect combination of velvety, cream-colored suede, white musk, woods, and balsams. An elegant, refined and luxurious scent.
NR perfumes need their own little shrine here. His perfumes always focus on musk, so here is a list of the ones I have sampled or own.
For Her Edt - Supposedly based on Egyptian musk, the orginal Edt is very rosy and musky with notes of animalic honey, patchouli and woods, which give the perfume a very dark and thick feeling. A pop of orange blossom here and there. Fantastically sensual and erotic. I have owned 3 bottles of the concentrated oil rollerball, which is fabulous and lasts forever. If you find a bottle, you are lucky! It is discontinued.
For Her EdP - Very similar to the Edt, but this has a bit more fruit and is more flirty and feminine.
For Her Amber Musc (oil concentration) - Very similar to the Edt, however this is mixed with a hefty dose of warm vanillic amber, giving the perfume a creamier, smoother, sultrier feel in comparison with the original For Her Edt. A more oriental version of the original perfume.
For Her In Color - Very similar to the EdP with a played up peach note, so the overall effect is even more fruity.
For Her Iridescent - Very similar to the EdP as they have the fruity aspect in common. Sweet osmanthus flowers lend a golden honey note to the perfume. The liquid has tiny sparkles in it that are nearly undetectable once applied to the skin. Sillage is sheer and the scent lasts around 4-6 hours on the skin.
For Her Musc Eau de Parfum Intense - I find this flanker to be similar to Musc Tonkin, the one I mentioned earlier that reportedly smells like real tonkin deer musk. This intense perfume has a fruity, melon/aquatic accord. It smells musky yet fresh and clean at the same time.
L'Eau For Her - Although it shares the name "For Her," there is very little resemblance to the original perfume at first. It starts out quite sharp as a floral green. In time, the perfume softens into a lighter version of For Her EdT. But in the drydown, I do smell a resemblance to the original.
Essence - Musky, powdered rose with an incensey base. At first it's like Nivea lotion, but the Nivea effect wears off. Reminds me a bit of a rose-scented candle. Has a waxy and also faint metallic notes, but very subtle.
Narciso EdP - Musky, woody, creamy, green gardenia. This is like the white flower equivalent of For Her, which is rose-based. Also, Narciso has a greenness that is not present in For Her. I am not aware of a time when I smelled gardenia and musk together so prominently. Narciso does a great job pairing these two notes.
I hope you enjoyed my little guide to musks. It is a work in progress, as I will add onto it as I come across more musk perfumes to talk about. I would love to hear your personal favorites, if you care to share.
I made it to aroma M's Launch Party over the weekend for the new Geisha Vanilla Hinoke perfume at Tigerlily Perfumery in San Francisco's Mission District. The nose behind this house is Maria McElroy, a lovely, bubbly lady whom I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with. I also got to enjoy sampling many of her incredible perfume oils.
In our conversation, I learned a lot about aroma M, a line of perfumes that are deeply inspired by the seven years during which Maria lived in Japan--in her "impressionable 20's" =). She wanted to find a way to keep the memories of those years alive. I mentioned that Memoires of a Geisha is one of my favorite movies. Maria has actually been to the geisha houses, and her observations and memories inspired her line of Geisha perfumes.
We spoke briefly about the Japanese values of simplicity and nature. Her perfumes tend to evoke those values as they smell so natural with notes of woods, resins, and flowers. Aroma M perfumes are sold in many spas, which seems to make perfect sense as they seem more aromatic than perfumy. All of the perfume oils I sampled invoke a sense of gentleness, calm and tranquility.
Geisha Vanilla Hinoke (oil) - Right from the start, I realized it was not the usual foody vanilla. There are some vanillas out there that *attempt* to veer away from gourmand territory and actually succeed. I happen to adore non-gourmand vanillas. Vanilla Hinoke hits the skin with bright citrus, the distinct scent of cypress, and the lightest touch of worn leather. With time, the citrus backs down to reveal more of the fragrant Japanese hinoki, which is a fascinating wood as it smells rich and intense, yet there is an aromatic green quality to it. Certainly the kind of wood I would imagine finding in a Japanese spa.
I can't help but compare Vanilla Hinoke to other non-foodie vanillas. This type of vanilla has been attempted by Mona di Orio, but hers was all wood, so while it's beautiful, there is no vanilla to be found, so I still have a hard time with the fact that it's called "Vanille". It's easy to make a non-foody vanilla by removing the vanilla! Then there is Atelier's Vanilla Insensee, a sweet vanilla mixed with beautiful woods and sharp, tangy citrus. While it is not my favorite non-foody vanilla due to its citric tang, it is successful, as the end result is a vanilla you would not want to eat. My two favorite non-foodie vanillas are the woody, smoky, incensy Vetyver 46 by Le Labo and the green and musty Vanille Absolument by L'Artisan, albeit the latter perfume smells like vanilla ice cream on some people; not on me.
I can now addVanilla Hinoke to the exclusive non-foody vanilla list. It is not easy to turn vanilla into a scent that you wold not want to eat, but Maria McElroy has demonstrated exceptional skill in this task. There is a delicate complexity to this vanilla without going overboard with notes. Very admirable.
Geisha Noire (oil) - My initial impression was that of a light amber with not a lot of depth. But hour after hour, I kept smelling something gorgeous and addictive drifting up to my nose. I had written off Noire as a light fragrance, so I assumed that the marvelous scent was some other perfume on my jacket from the last time I wore it. But after a few hours, I smelled the spot on my skin with Noire on it, and I had to eat my words - big time [sheepish look on my face]! It was a breathtakingly dense, balsamic incense; an intensely deep, precious amber; just barely sweet. I wasn't certain, but I thought there could be a little frankincense in it. Noire is NOT an Avignon-style Catholic church perfume. It is, however, one word: Crack. It will cause those embarrassing situations where you get caught sniffing yourself in public, at a red light, in a meeting with an important client, and so on.
While it contains vanilla, make no mistake about it, this is a balsamic perfume, and resins are the most intense notes. Noire is a dark amber and walks a tight line between feeling cold and medieval and warm and soothing. So it's a little of both at the same time. It is not churchy whatsoever, yet still feels very sacred. Out of the several perfumes I have sampled from aroma M, I would say that this is Ms. McElroy's masterpiece. A sublime, distinctive amber, the likes of which I have never encountered.
Geisha Rouge (oil) - What a surprise, in a good way! My nose caught the delectable scent of tobacco straight away, but it was oddly juicy and tangy. I can not explain why, except that it made me think of fresh ginger notes that I sometimes smell in perfumery, a scent that reminds me of flat ginger ale. It's odd but also enjoyable. I like to imagine that this could be the scent of fresh, damp tobacco leaves.
Rouge developed into a smooth, mellow blend of spices. While notes include cinnamon and cloves, Rouge is nothing like Opium or Cinnabar, which, in contrast, smell jarring, peppery, and ostentatious. It's more along the lines of cinnamon chewing gum, yet that seems like an insult because the scent of Rouge is so much nicer. The drydown brings nuances of woods and vanilla, so subtle that sometimes I am not sure if I actually smell them. I also begin to smell just a bit of realistic smoke, like the thin line of smoke rising from a Japanese incense stick.
While Rouge isn't a loud perfume by any means, I still find it to be dark and bold and somehow very artsy. I would wear it at night, maybe when going out to a nice dinner with close friends at an exotic restaurant.
Geisha Hana-Cha (oil) - WHAT is in this that smells so incredibly amazing? Top notes seemed like a harmless blend of simple and clean citrus. What developed blew my mind because it smelled super weird--an interesting indolic white floral (ylang ylang). And I mean indolic. I wondered if there was ambergris or something like that in the formula, because I will be honest it smelled downright funky. But if you know me, you know I gotta have some strong funk in my perfume armoire! I love my perfumes that smell like mildew, dusty books, and musty human skin. So I waited to see what developed.
Hours later, what I smelled on my wrist absolutely shocked me. It was the scent that I go nuts for and that I rarely find in perfume--the scent of water buffalo milk candy. That's right: WATER BUFFALO MILK CANDY. This does exist in Asia, and it tastes terrific. So suddenly I had this scent on my arm that was lusciously creamy, slightly floral, and very animalic. My eyes rolled back into my head. I nearly fell to my knees in absolute worship of this perfume. Disclaimer: I have no idea if it's my chemistry or if it's supposed to smell like that. I make no guarantee that you will also get water buffalo milk candy on your skin. I do know that I have to get my hands on my very own roller ball, pronto!
Camellia (perfume oil) - This particular perfume is 100% natural and contains camellia essential oil. It started out with the heady scent of lush, blood-red roses and a room filled with burning candles. The scent of melted wax is one of my favorite scents in perfumery, and Camellia must be the strongest I have ever smelled. Camellia has a vampy, vintage, full-bodied "boudoir" feel. The drydown revealed a sweeter, more tenderhearted floral (camellia), and just a touch of exotic jasmine. Absolutely stunning.
As you can see, I got a very nice array of samples in. which is really easy to do with perfume oils because they don't spray all over the place and end up mixing with each other. While I have my fair share of perfume oils, I usually wear sprays. In this case, I loved the oils so much that I would be afraid to try the sprays because the oils smelled so perfect, and why mess with perfection? These are NOT your typical natural food store variety roll-ons--not by a long shot!
So to clarify, aroma M offers Eaux des Parfums in spray bottles as well as oils that come in a cute little roller ball (except for the Camellia perfume oil, which comes in a bottle with stopper), so you can really control the application on your skin, and it fits perfectly into your purse.
I think it's obvious that I am utterly impressed with every single thing that aroma M has to offer. I love the inspiration, the packaging, the scents, and the delightful nose who created them. Looking at aroma M on the whole, I felt that the perfumes stand apart from one another so that you don't feel like you are getting flankers or variations on the same theme. I foresee roller balls of Noire and Hana-Cha in my near future.
Thank you for visiting, Maria, and thank you for hosting, Tigerlily!
Terracotta Le Parfum; what a magical summer creation. This is Hot Stuff. If you are anything like me and can't go far away this summer, just spritz on some Terracotta, close your eyes, and do a little meditation to transport yourself to another world.
The white flowers in Terracotta are blissfully intoxicating. They seem like they are from such a faraway place that I will probably never go there. Like ancient Greece. If sunshine could become a syrup and drip down onto earth and into a bottle, that would be Terracotta. It's an intense white floral, but it isn't sharp or cloying. The scent is on another level of velvety, buttery and luxurious.
With soft coconut and milky vanilla blended in, your scent trail will leave an impression of tanning oil, mythical flowers, and golden sunlight pouring down on scalding hot rocks. Bring sandals and a hat!
While I will certainly revel in wearing this in the warmer months, I have always enjoyed wearing tropical/beachy perfumes in winter too, and Terracotta will be the first on my list when I need to mentally escape from dreary days.
Sillage and longevity are great. Projects better than a skin scent and lasts for several hours before a touch-up is needed.
Is that bottle not absolutely breathtaking?? And $79+tax at Nordstrom.com--that's it?! I can hardly believe the price for what might be one of the absolute best coconut-tanning-oil scents out there. I'd hurry and get a bottle if I were you. I hear whispers that this is a permanent fixture in Guerlain's line now, but I find that so hard to believe. It's one of those things you will procrastinate on, and then later you will kick yourself for not getting it while you could. And for that price!
This is it--my perfect hyacinth. I love hyacinths so much. They are fairly rare where I live, so when I encounter them in bloom, I absolutely have to stop and sniff. The actual flower smells green and spicy at the same time. Hyacinth perfumes can be really sharp. Piercing. Painful. Headache-inducing. But Bas de Soie is smooth and clean. Perfectly crisp, spicy, fresh and dewy but also contains a base that seems slightly soapy/musky.
As a reference point, Bas de Soie smells like a modern, simplified version of Chanel No.19 (specifically the EdT, one of my favorite Chanels ever), with it's powder/hyacinth/iris/galbanum combo--the exact combo that makes No.19 so special.
When I smell Bas de Soie, I am transported to a garden in London in the winter. The scent is like cold rain puddles building up in a flower bed.
From where I stand, this is one of those rare perfumes that has an ange-ou-demon complex. While it is clean, oddly sweet, and seems innocent enough, as it wears I start to feel it gives an aura of feminine sensuality that kind of makes one turn their head and say, "Wait a minute--I thought you were innocent?" It's subtle, but I am pretty sure this perfume has a poker face.
Perfumes such as Bas de Soie, ones that make me contemplate them deeply, are the ones I consider to be masterpieces. It was immediately full bottle worthy for me.
Reviews of Tauer Perfume's (New) Lonesome Rider, Lonestar Memories, and PHI Une Rose de Kandahar
With freshly showered, un-perfumed skin, I excitedly ran off to Tigerlily Perfumery in San Francisco the other day to meet Andy Tauer, who was here all the way from Switzerland, and to sample a few of his perfumes that I hadn't gotten around to sampling yet. When I arrived at Tigerlily, it was quite crowded. There was good music playing and plenty of beer and cocktails.
I own 5 bottles of perfume by Mr. Tauer, and *of course* I own the cult classic L'Air du Desert Marocain, an absolute must if you are starting out in niche perfumery and are wondering what to sample. I was actually dumb enough to sell my first bottle. I have hundreds of bottles of perfume and thought I'd forget about it. I quickly regretted that decision, so I bought it again. There's a mistake I will never repeat.
PHI UNE ROSE DE KANDAHAR - I'm a little late to the Rose de Kandahar party. This is a perfume I heard about and have read many positive reviews about, and as badly as I wanted to try it, I avoided it in a weird way because I got so tired of rose as a main note. I loved rose for many years, and after going through my phase of Middle-Eastern style oud/rose/vanilla (you know that combination! You are probably sick of it, too), starting with Noir de Noir, I just couldn't stand rose anymore. That combo sort of ruined rose for me. Olfactory burnout. I am still tired of rose, but I figured it would not hurt to finally sample this one.
What developed on my skin was blissful. I kept picturing a big copper pot with chopped nuts simmering in sugar syrup and rosewater. It reminded me of a combo of Turkish Delight and almond nougat with tiny pieces of candied orchard fruit (if such a thing exists). I know there was rose in the mix--there had to be--but it did not stand out and instead blended with the other notes to create perfection. PHI is sweet, definitely gourmand, but not a toothache, nor is it cloying. The creamy nuttiness is what stood out most on my skin; the angle that I came back to over and over again as the scent wafted to my nose throughout dinner (I left to grab a bite and let the perfumes do their thing with my chemistry).
I recall telling myself all sorts of things: It wasn't that good, I've smelled others like it, I will never wear it because it contains rose, I am not into gourmands these days.... It's crazy how many things I tried to tell myself to make me not love this perfume as much as I did.
LONESTAR MEMORIES - Just when I thought I had decided on a bottle of PHI, I checked on my inner-elbow, which held the mysterious, earthy scent of Lonestar Memories. I would describe it as just barely smoky, leathery, resinous, woody, creamy, and minty-herbal. When I first sprayed, it was far more leathery and smoky like a BBQ, but it settles down considerably. I sampled it despite knowing I don't care for leather nor smoke, but I was still curious. I didn't have high hopes that it would become something I needed to own.
The thing is--Lonestar Memories' drydown reminded me of something I had been searching high and low to find in a perfume. Several weeks ago, I was out walking when I noticed a rosemary bush in bloom. While I very much dislike the scent and taste of rosemary, I love flowers of all sorts, and the gorgeous little blue flowers were calling to me. I decided to pick a few, mostly to show to my little daughter, knowing that she could eat the flowers, and they would not harm her. Before giving them to her, I inhaled, with full expectations that I would re-confirm my disdain for rosemary. Instead, I was amazed to find that the rosemary flower smells totally different from the leaves. It was like the essence of the leaves mixed with cream and sugar. They smelled so amazing, I could not stop inhaling their scent. That was my Jean Baptiste moment (if you've seen the movie "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer").
I soon realized that the scent was oddly familiar. Yes, I know it was rosemary, but it smelled like something else too. I started thinking about Mentholatum. But creamier. And then my a-ha! moment. The scent was like a sweetened version of Noxzema. I had always enjoyed the scent of Noxzema, before I stopped using the nasty chemical goup, but now I wanted a perfume that smelled just like it. Well to make a long story short, Lonestar Memories contains a note of clary sage, another scent I don't like; however on my skin and in combination with the other notes, it just plays out like a vague menthol scent. I wouldn't have guessed clary sage in particular. Combined with an elusive creaminess, I had a little bit of the rosemary flower scent that I had been longing for, a scent that I assumed would just be my personal unicorn for many years to come, if not forever.
Despite my total adoration for PHI Une Rose de Kandahar, I decided on a bottle of Lonestar Memories. I barely got to my car before ripping my box open and spraying with abandon. The next morning, I woke up and hit the trigger, I'm obsessed with it. I prepared a cup of Earl Grey tea, added sugar and milk, and proceeded to take a sip. As I sipped my tea and simultaneously smelled my perfume wafting up from my wrist, I noticed that the scents were eerily similar. Vetiver can present as black tea (hence Odin's Seylon), and with a bright note mimicking bergamot as well as a creamy note that smells, well, creamy, it kind of was like a cup of Earl Grey with milk. So that is another reason I am falling for Lonestar Memories--I LOVE black tea perfumes.
I continued to examine the perfume on my skin. It is so beautifully blended that the notes just kind of tumble into one another, and it's tough to pinpoint specific notes. I did however pinpoint the scent of jasmine. I almost wasn't sure if it was really florals I was smelling, so I checked the Tauer website to confirm it is "a hint of jasmine," one of my favorite floral scents.
Now keep in mind that all the things I have mentioned (Noxzema, Earl Grey tea, jasmine, BBQ) are all present, but none of them dominate the scent. In fact, at first the perfume dries down and then it may seem streamlined, natural, earthy. But upon examination, it is quite dynamic. There is much more to it than it seems at first if you take the time to get to know it.
Every bit as masterfully crafted as L'Air du Desert. And Lonestar also contains Mr. Tauer's fingerprints, his silky, ambery, cedar-like "Tauer-aide", if you care for it. This perfume is an absolute winner.
lONESOME RIDER - Another beautiful and very Taueresque creation, Lonesome rider is all about smoky leather. I was expecting a dark creation, but while the leather was plentiful, the perfume was brightened by a nearly equal amount of tangy citrus. The leather accord plus iris combine to create a smooth base. The contrast between sharp, bright notes and smoky animalic notes reminded me just a little bit of No. 16 by Cognoscenti, a perfume that pairs leather with zesty tomato leaf.
The scent of leather in Lonesome Rider smells a tad rubbery at first, then mellows out, yet remains strong. It reminded me that Tauer uses synthetic animalic ingredients, which I not only appreciate, but they happen to smell better to my nose anyway. Not that I am any expert in what constitutes a leather accord, but one of my very favorite leather accords was a botanical one found in Strange Invisible's Black Rosette. I got a similar type of leather in Lonesome Rider. It smells like brand-new black leather.
Lonesome Rider reminded me of Tauerville's Incense Flash with regard to the type of leather and the intensity of it in the composition. A bit like Lonestar Memories too, but that one is not as strong and is also creamy. Since I am neither a fan of leather nor smoke in perfumes, Lonesome Rider was my least favorite of the three I sampled. But if you are a fan of Mr. Tauer's work, and you love Incense Flash, Lonesome Rider should be on your test list.
Here I am with Andy Tauer. I feel like such a groupie. What a great experience. I look forward to each and every one of his releases. A fellow fumehead (Instagram @mrcologne76) told me that L'Air du Desert Marocain is his favorite perfume of all time. There's a nice testament to Andy's talent. If you want to check out his perfumes (and art work), here are the links to his websites. He has a bunch of perfumes at different price points, as well as sample sets:
A big THANK YOU to Antonia, owner of Tigerlily Perfumes, for giving us perfume worshipers the chance to meet Andy!
I just had to share this photo of my cat, Annie, snuggling up with my bottle of Heeley's Esprit du Tigre. Look at those pretty eyes! She is a very special kitty because apparently it is uncommon for ginger tabbies to be female. Are you also a cat lover?
Esprit du Tigre is a nice spicy cologne-type of fragrance. Great for those who still like to wear spice when the weather's hot, like me. You can check out my full review by clicking here.
Vintage perfume lovers take notice!
Prima T smells like a classic powdery, floral, musky, chypre. I am not a huge fan of vintage perfumes, but I am a huge fan of this house, and this perfume seems thoughtfully crafted from high quality ingredients.
I detect some bright florals as well as a dose of red rose. The musk doesn't seem animalic. I seriously believe there is oakmoss in here. If there isn't, I am even more impressed with how they created the illusion of it.
While I rarely categorize perfumes as being worn for day or night, I would feel a tad awkward wearing this in the daytime because it smells old Hollywood glam. I picture black and white film stars walking down the red carpet, flashing lights. In comparison, I am just an ordinary person.
Sillage is pretty big, and this is the Eau de Bruno, not the oil; and the fragrance lasts many hours.
The closest thing I have smelled to this in recent memory is Amouage Gold, which also is a modern perfume that smells like it could be vintage.
Two solid thumbs up for this siren.