Perfume Review: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano, plus a giveaway


This is from the TI AMO series, in which each scent is focused on a flower that begins with the letters in the phrase.  T is for Tulip, and Ms Soliani has commented that this fragrance reminds her of her father’s voice and his warmth. Tulips, of course, have very little smell, but this take on them does smell very vibrant and cheerful.  Il Tuo Tulipano was released in 2009.

My favorite part of this scent, which I’ll refer to as “Tulipano,” is the opening, because it’s one of the most delightful, cheery, sparkling fruity florals I’ve ever smelled.  I know these days “fruity floral” is a despised phrase among many perfume fans, and I’ve been known to wrinkle my own nose at much if not most of the ubiquitous genre, but there are a number of fruity florals I like.  The criteria? It has to smell like real fruit, not froot flavor, and the florals have to smell pretty close to real flowers.  Should be simple to do, right?  Fact is, due to their bare-bones budgets, most fruity florals are highly synthetic and do smell like functional products: soap, shampoo, “spring fresh” bleach, that sort of thing.

Tulipano starts out smelling something like rhubarb, which by the way I don’t like much and try to avoid eating. It’s got a weird sour whang that grates on my nerves (yeah, yeah, so sue me: I don’t like mango either).  And there’s no rhubarb in the notes.  I’m guessing that lime and blackcurrant are combining to say “rhubarb” to me.  But the tangy, fruity bit plays against the soft, powdery base of woods and musk, and the juxtaposition is very pretty.   Tulipano is quite fruity; the list of topnotes includes bergamot, blackcurrant, lime, peach, kiwi and passionfruit.  (If you just shuddered, you’re probably going to hate this, so do yourself a favor and don’t even try it.)  It stays fruity for quite a long time, but the fruit becomes tempered by other notes. Continue reading Perfume Review: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano, plus a giveaway


By Kilian sample giveaway

I have a lovely velveteen pouch, courtesy of the lovely people at By Kilian, with five generous 2ml sample sprays in it, to give away to one lucky commenter.  This pouch contains five of the fragrances from the L’Oeuvre Noire series: Love, Love and Tears, A Taste of Heaven, Straight to Heaven, and Back to Black.  (I reviewed these here, if you’d like a refresher on the notes lists.)

 To enter the drawing, you must be a real live human being living somewhere on the planet Earth, and leave a comment below mentioning either your favorite By Kilian fragrance, or the one you would most like to try.  I will face the inquisitorial crocodilian Visigoths at my local US Post Office to get this package to the winner, so non-Americans are welcome to give it a shot.  The drawing will be open until midnight Eastern Standard Time, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Good luck to you!

Draw is now closed.


Upcoming blog changes, and winner of the Harvey Prince drawing


Uhh... I HOPE not. (Image from

I will probably be moving to a new hosting platform soon, with an accompanying change of domain name. I have been concerned for some time about the wisdom of having my brain-property on a site not owned by me. The free blog hosting sites like and Blogger actually own the content of all the blogs they host, so if for some reason I get on somebody’s bad side at and they decide to yank my platform, then I will not be able to own, control, and/or access my own blog. Copyright issues may be at stake here, too (though I’m not positive about that).

I am looking into monetizing my blog by adding something like AdSense. Since I’m not working at the moment, I could use a little income boost. The content on this blog will continue to be mine, not directed by any other agency whatsoever, and I’ll continue to love or like or have mixed feelings about whatever it is that I want to write about. I haven’t sold out. I do notice that several of the major blogs, like Perfume Posse and Now Smell This, have sponsors and allow ad placement, and although I am far, far smaller than those blogs, nobody’s thinking that Robin and Patty and their teams of respected reviewers are anything less than objective about what they choose to review and how they review it. I hope I’ve got that kind of credibility, even if I don’t (yet) have that kind of readership.

Look, I blog because I want to. I just feel that when I’m spending time researching and writing for my blog because I want to do that, it’s not wrong of me to want to pick up a little bit of spare change for doing what I would have done anyway. That may help to support the family while I am working on the novel. We go through a whopping four gallons of milk every week; you can think of the ads as sponsoring my family’s calcium intake, if you like.

These changes will probably occur gradually over the month of January. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be changing the theme; I like the one I picked two years ago and I’m inclined to stick with it. But who knows? I may find another theme that suits me better.

I’ll also be getting back to more regular posting and more frequent reviews. In some cases, this may be collections of mini-reviews. Look for a return to the Tuberose Series, as well. I’ll also include recipes and literature reviews from time to time.

And now, the announcement of the winner of the Harvey Prince full bottle giveaway drawing: RusticDove. Please email me with your mailing details and I’ll forward them to the Harvey Prince people to send you the bottle of Eau Flirt.

I will be asking for feedback as the changes occur, and I hope readers will stick with me. Thanks so much for reading this far!


Six Harvey Prince fragrance reviews, and a giveaway

I knew very little about Harvey Prince when I received an email from a PR representative, offering a giveaway on this blog. Right away, I went to the Harvey Prince website to scout around a bit.

The website says that HP was founded by two brothers who didn’t want perfume to be “overwhelming, overpriced, and full of toxic chemicals,” and after composing a fragrance found inspiration in the person of their mother. The website also points out that certain smells have certain effects on our mental processes, and that each of the Harvey Prince scents have been created to take advantage of these olfactory receptor-to-brain linkages in order to affect behavior and perception.

While I am not opposed, in theory, to this version of aromatherapy, some squinty-eyed part of me is rather skeptical. Does this sort of thing actually work, I wonder? And whether or not, as reported by scientific study, men actually become, um, interested in a woman smelling of lavender and pumpkin pie, will these scents actually smell good?

Because I have to say, I don’t think I want to throw this Man Bait lavender-pumpkin-pie scent out there on my skin and having guys follow me home. I’m quite certain The CEO would not approve. Sure, I’ll try it on him and see what he says. Or does. (I may actually report the results, depending.)

I’ll also point out that although the website claims that the Harvey Prince fragrances are hypoallergenic, and do not contain “parabens, phthalates, PCBs, BPAs, GMOs, sulfates or other toxic chemicals,” these do not seem to be all-natural perfumes as that category of fragrance is usually defined. They do not smell like the natural fragrances from independent perfumers that I have worn before, coming far closer to smelling like mainstream perfume house releases. And to be honest, the marketing research is so all-pervasive that the “no synthetics” spiel comes across as a ploy to appeal to customers who like the idea of their fragrance being different than all those accessible scents that just anybody can buy at Walgreen’s, or at Macy’s.

But I put aside my skepticism to test these scents and judge as dispassionately as I could how they actually smell, and whether I would buy them for myself. The results were mixed; I’ll explain.

Continue reading Six Harvey Prince fragrance reviews, and a giveaway


Winner of Tableau de Parfums Miriam drawing UPDATED!

LINDALOO!  Come on doooooowwwn!  

Update: Linda is in Canada, and to boot she won another sample elsewhere.  My bad, totally my bad… can you tell my brain is half gone?  Anyway, she’s urged me to redraw, so I will.  The new winner is RusticDove.  Congratulations!

Please email me your mailing details at my gmail address, and I’ll get this out to you.  Can’t promise it will be before the end of November… but I’ll try.  🙂


Winner of Pandora drawing!

(So sorry I forgot to post this Wednesday.)

The winner of the Pandora sample is hemlocksillage!  Please contact me via the gmail address listed on the “about me” page, and give me your mailing details.  I promise to mail it out to you as soon as possible, and I’d love to hear what you think about it.

Thanks to everyone who commented, and to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and Jen at This Blog Really Stinks for providing the sample.


Perfume Review: DSH Perfumes Pandora


Photo from DSH Notebook

Oh, dear. I feel bad about this review… but I’m determined to be truthful. This one’s getting a lot of love from vintage-perfume fans as well as natural-perfume fans all over the perfume blogosphere: Jen at This Blog Really Stinks (who hosted the draw for the large sample I tested – thanks, Jen!), Scent Less Sensibilities, Eyeliner on a CatIndieperfumes, The Non-Blonde, EauMG, Scent Hive, Oh, True Apothecary, Scentual Soundtracks, Perfume Pharmer, Escentual Alchemy.   I love many vintage perfumes too. I like chypres, particularly if they have floral components. I am an AldeHo – if it’s got aldehydes, I’m probably going to like it.   (If I’ve missed some other reviews, please let me know.)

See, the thing is… this is the fragrance that started out as an experiment in naturals, a “modern fragrance in vintage style,” if I’ve got the story right (somebody jump in to correct me if I don’t).

I’m not typically a big fan of “all-natural.” For one thing, I think it’s silly to claim that only synthetic materials can be harmful to the body or the environment. (Oooooh, don’t get me started. The smug attitude makes me grit my teeth in rage.) From a practical standpoint, I’ve been mostly disappointed with the skin longevity of all-natural perfumes, with a couple of notable exceptions (Dawn’s own Rose Vert, and Honore des Pres Vamp a NY). I’m not one of those people who complain all over Makeup Alley that “this doesn’t last, it only stayed six hours and I had to reapply in the middle of the day,” but if I’m not getting three hours’ worth of wear at least, I’m just not interested in spending the money to buy it. I know, too, that all-naturals have different qualities – they tend to sit closer to skin, they tend to “bloom” in unexpected ways rather than lifting slowly off the skin the way fragrances underscored with synthetic materials tend to do – but they’re not qualities that make me excited. I’m always happy to give an all-natural fragrance the good old college try, and I’m willing to make a few allowances, but I’m not predisposed to prefer all-naturals.

I’ll remind you at this point that aldehydes are synthetic. And that I like them.

At some point, Dawn seems to have decided to go ahead and add a few synthetic materials that she felt made Pandora “come alive” – the aldehydes, and a small amount of ozone (unnoticeable to me, by the way). Here’s what she has to say on her blog about the project:

The “Beautiful Evil” is a quote from the story of Pandora as told by the Greek, Hesiod. She is the all gifted, all giving one, a singular woman and synonymous with Eve in many respects. It is she who opens humankind to the knowledge of good and evil and ultimately breaks the utopian ideal. With Pandora, mankind has plagues but also knowledge and maturity. She opens the door to truth and hope.

What began as an all-botanical design for a project changed direction with the addition of a subtle synthetic influence. It made all of the difference. This is also a perfume that also utilizes some new and exotic botanical materials…in Pandora, the ancient meets the 21 century.

The notes feature ruby fruits, bergamot, aldehyde, spices, ozone, violet leaf, davana, cassis bud, green and pink pepper, rose de mai, juhi jasmine, linden blossom, yerba maté, cabreuva wood, orris, green tea, mousse de saxe accord, cyperus, fossilized amber absolute, ambergris, patchouli, vetiver, muhuhu, sandalwood, tonka bean, oakmoss and vanilla.

(Yes, she said oakmoss. Please start breathing again.)

On my skin, Pandora has very good longevity; one spritz will last about four to five hours. There’s no indication on my small sample what concentration I have; the fragrance is available as 15ml parfum ($220, shown above), or as 4ml/10ml eau de parfum ($25/$60).  

The first thing I smell is a cheerfully intense herbal-tea note (if you were worried about the red berries, fear not) under a bright haze of aldehydes. There’s an immediate suggestion that you might accidentally have gotten hold of some vintage Miss Dior, what with the moss and the dry iris in there, and there’s a very old-fashioned air to this stage of the scent. It’s an incredibly layered scent; it contains a lot of notes I can’t identify other than to call them “woody” and “herbal.” Earthy, foresty, and vintage – it’s very pleasant.

A little while later, Pandora segues into a warmer, woody-chypre sort of fragrance with a hint of spice here and there, and I begin to like it a lot less. It’s still layered and complex, but this is not the kind of thing that pleases me. It reminds me somewhat of vintage Magie Noire, but drier and less green, without Magie Noire’s opulent floral heart. There are florals in Pandora – I smell jasmine, definitely, and a bit of rose – but they are not the focus. Instead the focus is on the woody notes and moss.

Eventually the oriental/mousse de saxe base begins to float up through the woody notes, and this is where I have to start gritting my teeth. It’s strikingly reminiscent of several scents that I really dislike: Opium, Youth Dew, Caron Nuit de Noel. Whatever accord it is that those scents have in common, it’s popping up in Pandora, both cloyingly sweet and oily-dusty. It makes the back of my throat ache and I find it unpleasant. But that’s me, my personal taste, and if you like the perfumes I just mentioned you won’t be bothered by it at all.

Pandora is an exceedingly intelligent-smelling perfume, a swirling pastiche of woods and herbs and amber, lightened with a few glints of aldehydes and fruit, a cornucopia of fragrance materials. It is, truly, a vintage-inspired modern fragrance, and if this sort of thing seems up your alley, I suggest that you go get a sample from the DSH website, post-haste! Buy a bottle! Now! Support independent perfumery! (The parfum bottle, by the way, is Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. So elegant – and I do love the beautiful mossy green color of the liquid inside.)

Thing is, Pandora is beautiful… and I do not like it.  This fragrance is not my style, but that doesn’t stop me from recognizing its obvious excellence. A large part of it is natural, and there is something wonderful and solid and complex about natural ingredients. Too, it’s put together in such a way as to create a seamless, smooth, and yet distinctive and bold perfume. Kudos to DSH Perfumes.

My great thanks to Dawn for making the sample available and to Jen at This Blog Really Stinks for hosting the drawing. It is a joy to know that somebody is still making perfume with brains!

Pandora sample on my dresser, next to a tube of Revlon Certainly Red and my favorite garnet-and-pearl drop earrings.

I am happy to be able to pass on this sample to a commenter on this post. It’s a spray sample, approximately 3ml with about 2ml (possibly more) remaining, plenty of perfume left for testing and enjoying! Since it’s a small sample, I’m opening up the draw to commenters outside the US.

To enter the drawing, please let me know if you like any of the other fragrances I mentioned in comparison to Pandora in the review: Miss Dior, Magie Noire, Opium, Youth Dew, Nuit de Noel. Which is your favorite? Do you have any special memories associated with these, either worn by you or a loved one?

Draw will be open until Friday night, October 28, at midnight Eastern Standard Time.  DRAW IS NOW CLOSED.


Sample Drawing Winner Reviews

At long last, here are the reviews from the sample drawing we did about a month ago.  I had picked names out of my grandmother’s pink Depression glass bowl for samples of these fragrances that I (mostly) did not get on with, exceptions L’Origan and L’Heure Bleue, but that I felt were good fragrances that someone might like to get acquainted with.  Winners were to test the samples and then let us know what they thought, at least three sentences’ worth.  Thanks, everybody, for being such good sports and writing such interesting reviews!

Tulip won the sample of Philosykos.   She shared her thoughts with me in an email: 

 As far as the review goes- I’ve been writing it in my heads for days and trying to come up with something new to add. It reminds me of a grocery bag full of veggies and fruits plus cedar. And, I do get the fig scent, but I just don’t get why it has such a ‘cult’ status.  L’Artisan released their Figuier two years earlier, which was also by O.G. [Olivia Giacobetti]. I guess it was the newness of the fig note that excited the US audience (NST’s Robin raved in 2005, although Philosykos was released in 1996 (at least in France). I also think it is a functional scent – good for hotels,etc.; plus the candles are much more stylish than Yankee candles. Mals, I am so indifferent to figs! But the sycomore fig (ficus?) trees can be huge and are historically important for feeding Eyptian, etc peoples for years (the figs, that is). I can’t find any info about figs used in early perfumes or incense, so maybe OG was the first to incorporate it in a nonfood product. At about the same time as Philosykos was released the first ‘unisex’ perfumes were marketed (some at Basenotes say a Calvin Klein, cKOne). To me, Philosykos seems more like a sexless fragrance. As you can tell, I don’t especially like it for myself. I’m glad to have the chance to try it, and apologize for really not being able to review it approprately.   PS  I will turn in my perfumista card.

Well, I didn’t like Philosykos, either, Tulip.  I don’t think you have to like it.  In fact, I don’t care at all for fig fragrances, due to the fig leaf note, which seems both milky and bitter to me.  (I like marigold, galbanum, and myrrh, all of which could charitably be described as “bitter,” but fig leaf is a big N.O. for my taste.)  And I think it’s interesting that you’ve described Philosykos as “a sexless fragrance,” which could mean “unisex,” like the  Calvin Klein scent you mentioned – or it could mean that it’s not a personal smell at all, but rather a room ambience sort of smell.

Barbara won the sample of Bas de Soie.  Here’s her review, and I also encourage you to go check out her blog, Yesterday’s Perfume, which focuses on gems of the past. 

Bas de Soie (“Silk Stockings”) is a stone cold fox of a perfume. Where most Serge Lutens fragrances take you to worlds where everything seems a little sweatier, spicier, smellier, funkier and more alive, Bas de Soie will take you to a cold and lunar world that seems to exist in deep freeze: bloodless, pale, and filmed in silver nitrate stock. From the color of the perfume (a pale hyacinth), its iris note’s metallic coolness, to the bracing, peppery greenness of the opening, and even the clean smooth finish of its dry down, Bas de Soie is a bit forbidding in its loveliness.
The first time I smelled it, though, my brain immediately said, “Secretions Magnifique,” Etats Libre d’Orange’s punk perfume with its crazy accords (iodine, adrenaline) that succeeded in evoking spunk (yeah, that kind), sweat, tears, and blood.
Although Bas de Soie starts off with a wonderfully bracing peppery and green note, there is something fetid and funky going on underneath (hence the reference to Secretions Magnifique). Others have noticed it, too, and although they have different ways to describe this off-note (fishy, stale cigarette), it definitely creates a dissonance with the perfume’s predominant cleanliness/soapiness, and ties this perfume, as different as it is from Lutens’ other perfumes, to his aesthetic of funk.

 Bas de Soie then progresses to a milky-fresh floral heart, but it’s a disturbing fresh, like the smell of an aloe vera-like plant whose engorged leaf you snap open to illicitly smell its vegetal…well, magnificent secretions. Peppery green, milk-fresh floral, powder, and then something I cannot put my finger (my foot?) on.
In Bas de Soie, Lutens once again deploys iris in a perfume. But instead of the carroty-dirt rootiness of Iris Silver Mist, we get an iris that, while retaining its characteristic iciness and hauteur, Lutens has added a bit of a back-story to, a narrative, or at least a tableau. For me that tableau involves a woman from the 1930s coming home from a night on the town. In the way that Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose quoted the smell of vintage lipstick, Bas de Soie does one better and quotes the smell of fingernail polish/and or remover, hairspray, lipstick, vintage perfume, powder… and the way your feet smell after you remove stockings, no matter how well you’ve showered or perfumed yourself.
Of Bas de Soie, Lutens has said, “the beam balance never settles between iris and hyacinth in the main accord, which is what makes the composition interesting.” For me, although two cold notes are indeed battling it out in the empyrean air of Bas de Soie, there’s that unmistakable foot odor that keeps the perfume grounded in a some kind of embodied, living world. How could a perfume called “Silk Stockings” by Lutens not reference foot odor, somehow? It’s very faint, though, lest anyone get scared off now…

Rabbit Moon

When I was wearing Bas de Soie and trying to figure it out, I had a few rotating images that kept popping into my head, some having to do with the perfume’s “color,” and others actual pictures. The high register that it stays in reminds me of a gorgeous and rare silver nitrate print of Kenneth Anger’s Rabbit Moon I had the privilege of seeing at the SF Moma screening room: Icy, blue and poignant. Also, Picasso’s Blue Period. (There’s that sad blue again.) And I thought of those Edward Hopper paintings with lone women staring out the window, or getting undressed alone in hotel rooms. Even Blue Velvet, with Isabella Rossellini’s retro look as she’s singing…
If you can’t tell, I really loved Bas de Soie. Another Serge Lutens — this time delicate, lyrical, and feminine — that made my brain work overtime to figure it out.

Barbara included a few other images that I didn’t have room to add here, but if you’re interested, you could certainly Google for Picasso Blue Period or Edward Hopper to see them.  Thanks, Barbara!

Undina won the sample of Antonia.  Here’s her brief, but heartfelt, review, and you can see more of her perfumed thoughts at her blog, Undina’s Looking Glass:

When I smelled Puredistance Antonia on my wrist for the first time the adjective that flashed in my mind was “bewitching”. The scent was so unusual, so unexpected… It doesn’t remind me of any other scent I wore up till now. Now I got used to it, I anticipate our next encounter so I’m not shocked but still a little amazed. Every time.

It is very potent: several touches of the vial’s applicator give enough sillage and a staying power is just amazing. Not sure I could stand it sprayed: it might be too much. But from a dab vial it is just enough. A couple of times I felt almost tired of it but it never crossed this line. What is interesting about Antonia, on my skin for the first two hours it smells exactly the same, without changing or developing: sharp green scent with a hint of … rubber? Then it mellows down a little, becomes creamier and sweeter – and stays like that for hours. I tried Antonia four times on my wrist and once even wore it (meaning, I applied it as I would any other perfume if I was using it, not just testing). I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist on all five occasions. I enjoy wearing this perfume and I will be wearing it again. A full bottle worth? I don’t know yet. It might be.

TaffyJ won the sample of Jitterbug.  This reviewer actually jitterbugs!  (Cool how that draw worked out, isn’t it?) Enjoy this review:

Jitterbug is my introduction to the DSH Perfumes line, and I am digging this gorgeous little number. Jitterbug is a lovely homage to those smart, sexy gals of the 1940’s. It certainly has a vintage sensibility about it.  After two applications, by the end of the day I was dying for a cigarette…and I don’t even smoke!
The opening is saucy and confident, but as the perfume dries down, its liveliness is tempered by a deeper, dramatic beat.  Jitterbug begins with a Two-step and ends with a Pasodoble.
According to the DSH website, Jitterbug’s notes are:
 Top notes: Bergamot, Blackberry, Lemon, Pimento Berry
Middle notes: Benzoin, Bulgarian Rose Absolute, Clove Bud, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute
Base notes: Amber, Frankincense (Olibanum), Labdanum, Musk, Patchouli
Also, after two hours, there was the smallest whiff of a certain kind of refreshment, as if our girl had downed a Dubonnet cocktail before heading to the USO dance.
I think I would call this perfume “modern vintage” (just like myself).  All in all, this is a stylish perfume with a lot of flair.  

Helenviolette won the sample of Xerjoff Elle.  Here’s the review, and may I say that it’s a splendid one for being the first one our reviewer has written?

Younger Ladies Who Lunch- Xerjoff Elle Review

However a sample comes my way-it is always uplifting to get home after slogging around at work and find a bubble-wrap mailer addressed to me.  It never fails. Sometimes I tear in and get right to it- other times I wait a few hours and enjoy an after dinner sniff. 

There are many ways that these samples make their way into my humble mailbox.  Some are bought, swapped, or perhaps gifted by one of our generous ladies and fellas.  Or WON- as was the case of Xerjoff Elle. As a contingency to winning this sample- thanks to the generous Mals- I agreed to write my very first perfume review. 

I wish I could sniff with a clear and neutral nose- but I am guilty of bringing high and low expectations along for the ride.  I am sure it is no coincidence that so many of my perfume loves were sniffed without the baggage of expectations.  When I expect to like/love something- it often doesn’t work for me and vice/versa.  In the case of Xerjoff Elle- I have to admit my expectations were pretty high based on the fact that 100ml of this stuff costs 4 cents less than two payments on my Mazda Tribute.

That said- Elle starts off with a burst of berries and flowers.  I think of some perfumes as “bursty” in the beginning and Elle is definitely bursty.* The berries are sweet- very sweet, no tart berries here.  I can pick out Rose in the flower bunch but the rest run together.  These are sweet blooming roses and flowers- no greens, no dirt, no thorns.  Up front I also get amber-y patchouli and some soft woods.  While we are in sweet territory with this flower-berry patchouli elixir, Elle still manages to keep firmly in floral territory.  I don’t find Elle to be at all foody or gourmand.

As Elle wears the burstyness fades along with the berries.  The sweetness fades as well and I am left with a soft ambery wooded floral.  It is very pretty- and the materials are surely high quality.  Elle smells expensive.  Longevity is decent but not fantastic, wearing like an eau de parfum  with low to medium sillage when dabbed (I am guessing the sillage might be heftier when sprayed).  Luckyscent lists the following as Elle’s notes:  hesperidic and fruity accord, galbanum, orange blossom, iris, leather accord, patchouli, amber, musk, Tonkiphora balm. 

I called this post “younger ladies who lunch” because I picture Elle on a young girl who has not long been licensed to drive her BMW/Mercedes/insert luxury car here.  You have seen her with her group of equally young and lovely friends heading in to an upscale cafe to eat whatever they want after a few hours of buying whatever they want.  They all have oversized sunglasses and handbags that we would forego to buy a few more vats of Chanel Les Exclusifs.  These young ones are all wearing variations of the same outfit with long messy hair and just haven’t reached a point of self-esteem or self realization to jump out of their comfort zone and trade their lipgloss for a shock of red lips or lop those locks into a short edgy do or a blunt pageboy.  And yet, aren’t they lovely for it?  I think so.

Some of these girls will change and grow.  Maybe in college and beyond- they will open themselves up and their ideas will expand upon themselves- they will outgrow Xerjoff Elle.  Others will continue to be Elle material for a long time to come. 

As for me, I never had the luxury of being one of those girls.  Xerjoff Elle is bursty and lively and as pretty as a perfume can be.  Thankfully, it is not for me, and I don’t have to look forward to next March- when my car will have been paid off for two months and I will have saved enough for a bottle of Xerjoff.

 Please comment if you have tried this perfume or any of the others.  I am very keen to try Iriss one of these days.

 *( I also think of SIP Prima Ballerina as “bursty” if this comparison helps at all).

Sam won the samples of L’Origan and L’Heure BleueI did a Fragrance Throwdown for this combo in March and thought it would be interesting to hear someone else’s opinion on the matter – particularly someone who already loved L’Heure Bleue, which I don’t – so here it is:

The list of notes hinted I’d never love L’Heure Bleue. Reviewers dubbed it an oriental, which my memory harkened back to 1980s powersuits reeking of Obsession. Then my sample came and I lived the teary cliché of many before me who doubted the appropriateness of that ‘blue hour’ moniker.

So when our clog-clad hostess dared suggest Coty’s L’Origan bested the mysterious marzipan mélange of divinity that is L’Heure Bleue, I accepted her offer to try them side-by-side and determine for myself. Then my samples came and I lived anew the peculiar burden that is being right all the time. 😉

L’Origan is gorgeous, oh yes. For the comparative price and keen similarity to L’Heure Bleue it deserves a place in a discerning perfumista’s wardrobe. They share a milky, powdery sweetness, but where L’Origan goes wrong for me is in the overly licorice-like effect of the spices. Maybe it’s the nutmeg, but the word that comes to mind is “pungent,” and that’s not an adjective I prefer for my perfumes.

(I knew I was going out on a limb there, preferring L’Origan.  Oh well – that’s why we try stuff, isn’t it?  and that’s why there are a gazillion different fragrances on the market, because each of us interprets fragrances differently.  Glad to see the honor of the classic Guerlain upheld, even if I chose the other scent.  Oh, and by the way – that was vintage L’Origan parfum, not the muck Coty is currently selling under the name L’Origan, so please don’t go pick up a bottle at TJ Maxx and expect to get the experience I got…  The current version of L’Heure Bleue parfum, so I hear, is not quite a deep as the vintage but hasn’t had the life wrung out of it.  L’HB is probably the way to go, unless you want to hover obsessively over your eBay searches.)

Thanks to everyone who participated!  I appreciate very much that you spent some time sharing your thoughts, and I enjoyed reading them all.


Giveaway drawing winners!

Samples up for grabs:

  1. puredistance Antonia
  2. Xerjoff Elle
  3. DSH Jitterbug
  4. SL Bas de Soie
  5. Diptyque Philosykos
  6. vintage Coty L’Origan & Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

Those eligible for the draw, in order of entry:

  1. Dionne
  2. Elisa
  3. Taffynfontana
  4. Samm
  5. Monica
  6. Isa
  7. helenviolette
  8. Undina
  9. Tulip
  10. TaffyJ
  11. Elise
  12. Barbara

Taz helped me pull names out of my grandmother’s pink Depression glass bowl*.  The idea was that the first person chosen would receive their first choice of sample.

Winner #1:  Tulip, who has won the sample of Philosykos.

Winner #2: Barbara, who has won the sample of Bas de Soie.

Winner #3: Undina, who has won the sample of Antonia.

Winner #4: TaffyJ, who has won the sample of Jitterbug.

Winner #5: Helenviolette, who has won the sample of Xerjoff Elle.

Winner #6: Samm, who has won the samples of L’Origan and L’Heure Bleue.

Those of you whose names came out of the bowl, please contact me by email (malsnano86 at gmail dot com) and send me your (real) names and shipping addresses!  I will get these out in the mail by next Monday afternoon.

*Pattern: Hocking Manhattan (also produced in green and crystal), in the berry bowl size.  My grandmother — this was Bambaw, the grandmother that lived with  my parents from the time I was 6 months old until she died, at age almost-92 — collected all kinds of Depression glass, in various pink and green patterns.  My sister got the green dishes and I got the pink ones.  There are at least five different patterns that I can identify (Anchor Cameo,  Hocking Mayfair, Hocking Manhattan, Hocking Old Colony Lace, and Indiana Glass Windsor).  I’m thinking of keeping only some of them.  There’s a good collection of Mayfair luncheon plates, bowls, candy dishes, and cups, and the Manhattan pieces are so pretty; the rest I don’t love but someone else might.


Sample Giveaway, Complete with Mission

To celebrate my return to more-frequent, regular blogging, I’d like to give away a few samples.  They’re all relatively high-end (unlike the stuff in the photo there!), some direct from the perfume house, and they may or may not have been tested by me.

Still interested?  Then here are the qualifications:  You must be willing to write a short review (at least three good sentences) of whichever fragrance sample you receive.  I will certainly accept a longer review, of course, but I’d like to offer the opportunity not only to test these scents, but to share what you think about them.

THE DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED.   Thanks to everyone who commented!

Here’s a list of what is up for grabs:

puredistance Antonia (green floral)

Xerjoff Elle (floral oriental)

DSH Perfumes Jitterbug (vintage-style spicy oriental)

Serge Lutens Bas de Soie (green floral)

Diptyque Philosykos (reference fig)

A two-fer of modern Guerlain L’Heure Bleue parfum and vintage Coty L’Origan (see Fragrance Throwdown)

If you’d like to try something new and then share what you think about it, throw your name in the hat.  You can also state which fragrance you’d be most interested in trying, and I’ll attempt to match names and interests, but I can’t guarantee you’d get the one you want! 

I’ll take entries for the drawing through Friday, April 8.  Winners will be drawn randomly and announced on Monday, April 11.     Questions?  ask away. 

Image is Fragrance sample lot from **scents-of-glamour** on eBay, only because it takes me awhile to make my own darn photos…