ANOTHER New Look (sorry)

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Dior's New Look. (Not mine.)

Dior’s New Look. (Not mine.)

The CEO recently reported to me that he couldn’t read the blog because the type was blending into the background. DANGIT. (I liked that background. And it looked just fine in Firefox.)

So. ‘Nother new WordPress theme, which I hope to be playing with and tweaking around more to my liking. Meanwhile, I hope everybody can read it now.  Thanks for bearing with me.



Scent Diary, June 27-July 8, 2014, and a mini-review of Dior Cuir Cannage


Categories: Scent Diary, The scented life, Tags: , ,

Friday, June 27 – Spent much of the day rushing around, trying to clean up/pack/get stuff done before the trip. Picked up Gaze from his last day of Camp Cougar (the month-long summer enrichment class which serves as a substitute for PE class), rushed him home to get the last bits of packing done, and headed out for a relative’s house that’s close to Reagan National Airport in DC. SOTD: Kelly Caleche EdP, the citrus helping to wake me up during the 4-hour drive.

Saturday, June 28 – Up at five, ate cereal, went to the airport. It was the first commercial flight ever for my two boys, and Taz in particular was thrilled with takeoff. Gaze had nothing good to say about the airport in Newark (our connecting flight to Bozeman left from there): it was dirty, it smelled, it was ugly, why in the world would anybody LIVE in Newark?? He is a confirmed country boy, I confess. SOTD: DelRae Wit, for its pretty, good-humored, mood-lifting qualities. Got into Bozeman around noon Mountain Time, had lunch at The CEO’s conference, and then spent the afternoon touring the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.

I love museums. This one, though probably meant for kids, was a good one! Most of the dinosaur specimens that have been discovered for study actually came from Montana, and the museum had a wealth of fascinating skeletons and artifacts. Loved it!

Yellowstone Lake, photo courtesy of The CEO.

Yellowstone Lake, photo courtesy of The CEO.

Sunday, June 29 – Yellowstone National Park! SOTD was two good spritzes of Dior Cuir Cannage, but it was very quiet and gone early. We drove east from Bozeman into Wyoming and entered the park at the north gate. First stop was Mammoth Hot Springs, which are pretty cool with built-up layers of minerals like stalactites and ledges. Then we ate a quick lunch and went south toward the center of the park. Took numerous short walks to see cool stuff that’s just off the road – waterfalls, geysers, more hot springs, and lots of wildlife. My favorite spot of the day was Gibbon Falls, but Yellowstone Lake is pretty too.

Saw a small herd of buffalo and one of elk, but they were far away. Then drove up through Dunnraven Pass, where there was plenty of snow on the mountains. Saw a black bear and her two cubs, and The CEO saw a grizzly bear.

Monday, June 30 – Weather has been cool and pleasant, but The CEO and I got sunburned a bit today. Or maybe windburned, because it was quite windy as well as being sunny. SOTD was Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano, which is a pleasant, creamy floral with a bit of fruit. Cheerful thing. We saw lots of cool stuff, from more geysers and mud geysers and more hot springs, to more waterfalls… and more wildlife! There was a solitary male bison, a big one, and then a small herd of elk with young males fighting – and then an enormous herd of buffalo, bulls and cows and yearlings and calves all together, maybe close to a thousand animals (as The CEO says, he knows how to count grazing animals). They were stretched across the road and along it, no fear of cars or people whatsoever.

Wow. Made my trip.

Tuesday, July 1 – Another gorgeous day, temperatures in the mid-70s and sunny. The CEO and Gaze have been taking pictures at every pull-off area; they’re fascinated with the Grand Teton Mountains. Remember when The CEO went to the Canadian Rockies a couple of years ago? Came home with like a bazillion pictures of mountains and lakes? That’s what he especially likes.  The mountains up close are really gorgeous. At the same time, people who live around here must long and long for summer. At home? I dread it. It’s like trying to breathe through wet wool (and it doesn’t even get REALLY humid in the mountains the way it does in Richmond, or worse, DC). The air is very, very dry here.

Grand Tetons with wildflowers. Photo courtesy The CEO.

Grand Tetons with wildflowers. Photo courtesy The CEO.

Here’s the Cuir Cannage (preliminary) mini-review, set off in another color in case that’s all you really wanted to read! The Cuir Cannage is pretty much gone after an hour, except for a very attractive drydown. I’m guessing it will wear better in humid Virginia – we’ll have to see. It does open up with a refreshing citrus note that smells a lot like a Chanel to me. (By “a Chanel,” I mean the classic Chanel cologne, or No. 5 Eau Premiere, or the opening of 31 Rue Cambon. Could refer to the delightful opening of 1932, too.) From there it becomes more floral, with jasmine and ylang apparent and also a small touch of rose. Quite powdery in a face-powder iris and makeup rose-violet sort of way. And then it goes very… hmm… pursey. Not exactly like Cuir de Lancome, which I adore, but the leather is quite apparent. It’s also very ladylike. I kept having to check – now this DOES say “Dior,” right? Yep. Regular readers will know that I absolutely hate and despise Chanel’s leather scent, the iconic Cuir de Russie. (To me, it’s a dead ringer for our cattle working pens, very dusty, with a medicinal and iodic sort of angle that does not cancel out the raw animal hide. Basically, it smells like fear. Bleah.) But this Dior smells all Chanely to me, more Chanely than the actual Chanel, isn’t that weird? The leather sticks around for about an hour, or at least it does here in Wyoming, all the time shrinking down closer and closer to the skin. After that, it slides into a very comfortable and attractive leather/benzoin skin scent, and that sticks around for a good twelve hours, even if I can only smell it if I huff hard. I love this drydown. In fact, I like the whole thing very much, and the only thing I’d wish for would be more sillage. It could use a bit of oomph.

What I do like about this area is the fascinating wildlife. We’ve seen elk and antelope here, and the remains of an early-1900s Amish farm settlement. I’ve noticed that the park service seems uninterested (unwilling?) to keep up old structures in these national parks, and so these historic buildings – labeled as points of interest BY the park service – are falling down. Which seems silly to me, but then I’m accustomed to the park service keeping up far older buildings as at Jamestown.

Wednesday, July 2 – Another pretty day. Still sunny, but less hot than yesterday. The CEO and I are rather burned (I sunscreened, he didn’t). I suppose the increased elevation is the difference. A driving day; we are headed north to Glacier. SOTD is Il Tuo Tulipano again. When we arrived in Kalispell, rather late for dinner, we saw on the Glacier park website that the Going-to-the-Sun Road is now open, as of 8:30 pm, for travel. Which is wonderful, because we were going to have to negotiate the park without it if they weren’t able to get it open.

Thursday, July 3 – Glacier National Park is without question the single most stunning scenic location I have ever seen. It beats out Hawaii and New Zealand and Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, and the also-stunning New River Gorge valley in West Virginia. Majestic! We hiked to see waterfalls; we saw glaciers and mountains and lakes and streams. We were a little surprised not to see any wildlife. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. The major road through the park is called Going-to-the-Sun Road, and portions of it are actually closed due to snowfall a good portion of the year – but they officially opened it at 8:30 pm on July 2, so the first day it was completely open for through traffic was today.

Taz meets Deer, trail near Baring Falls, Glacier. Photo courtesy of The CEO.

Taz meets Deer, trail near Baring Falls, Glacier. Photo courtesy of The CEO.

Friday, July 4 – Independence Day in a National Park… with snowballs! Logan Pass at Glacier had plenty of snow, enough for Taz and Gaze to indulge in a little sibling rivalry. Went on a lovely walk to see Red Rock Falls, one of the many beautiful waterfalls caused by snowmelt here at Glacier. Then The CEO and the boys went on another walk around one of the lakes, and another hike up to see another waterfall, while I had a nap in the car. SOTD: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano. We saw a grizzly bear in a meadow near the road, and then when we were eating lunch at a picnic area, a young male elk wandered through the campground, munching away on grass and vegetation.

On the way back to the hotel we went to the Fourth of July celebration in the next town over, where they were having fireworks on Whitefish Lake. It turned out to be one of the best fireworks displays I’ve ever seen, second only to fireworks in Washington, DC. For one thing, there’s no ban on fireworks here in Montana like there is in Virginia, so there were numerous individuals around the lake setting off their own large fireworks and the general effect was very full and fun. (I’m guessing it was actually sort of dangerous, but hey. You only live once, right?) The official Whitefish town fireworks were shot off from a barge out in the lake, which was really cool. About halfway through, a kid sitting behind us noted out loud, ‘Hey, the barge is on fire.” We dismissed that, because all the way through the fireworks the kid had been saying things like, “We’re under attack!” and “It’s like cannon fire!” But at some point we noticed that he was right: the barge was on fire. And by the time the fireworks were over, the barge was not just on fire, it was burning fiercely, putting out a ton of black smoke. It was sort of horribly beautiful, fire on the lake. They did get the fire put out, but that was an exciting evening.

Saturday, July 5 – We drove through Glacier again and took in another hike, this one to a lovely waterfall. Also surprised a young doe deer on the trail; Taz was able to walk within four feet of her. All the advice is to leave wild animals alone, but she seemed very calm, and eventually walked on to another grazing area. We came out the other side of Glacier and drove to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. It was an experience for the kids to enter another country. Thank goodness, US-born children under 16, traveling with both parents, are allowed to use certified birth certificates instead of applying for passports. The Canada portion of the trip was added on rather late in the trip planning, so there would not have been time for us to get Gaze and Taz passports and we would have to have skipped Waterton.

This was more Walking Around Lakes. I am getting sick of lakes, honestly. We did stop at one point where a small swift creek ran near a picnic area, and Taz and I stepped into the creek. Just so you know, creeks fed by glaciers are, you guessed it, frigid. Even with flip-flops on, our feet were freezing. However, when The CEO made noises about taking another hike to go see some more waterfalls, I convinced him to let me and Taz stay near a different creek and play in the water. Which we did, and which we both enjoyed very much. When we came out of the water, there was a small (not full-grown) black bear near the parking lot, flipping rocks over and munching grubs. There was a rather large extended-family group of Indian people there at the same time we were, and one of the older men kept getting closer and closer to the bear with his smart phone, taking video. He made me nervous, frankly. And about that time, The CEO and Gaze showed up with their telephoto lenses and took some good shots.

Later that evening we saw a male deer with a nice rack grazing. Drove through a small bison preserve and saw a small herd, 8-10 animals, and also two predator animals that might have been either gray wolves or coyotes. Exciting! The wildlife has been the best part of the trip, for me. SOTD: Kelly Caleche edp.

Sunday, July 6 – I am sick of Walking Around Lakes. I let the boys go off to Walk Around Lakes at Waterton while I stayed in the hotel to do laundry. That turned out well. I walked around a bit, and went to the grocery store to pick up a few more snacks, and wrote some. SOTD: DelRae Wit again. The CEO enjoyed the hotel hot tub. As it turned out, the highlight of the trip back to Waterton was seeing a small herd of mountain goats. As it turned out, we saw nearly all of the varieties of wildlife that live in these national parks: moose, bison, grizzly bear, black bear, elk, antelope, mountain goat, deer, and wolves. Didn’t see a beaver, or any bighorn sheep, but I’m not disappointed.

Bison bull in Yellowstone, photo courtesy of The CEO.

Bison bull in Yellowstone, photo courtesy of The CEO.

Monday, July 7 – Drove south into Montana again, back into the US of A. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. Stopped in Helena to have a look at the capital building, which is attractive and neoclassical. The CEO really enjoyed seeing the farm scenery and driving the more open, uncrowded roads in this area. Saw an electric pole with an enormous bird’s nest atop it, complete with enormous bird; The CEO thought it was a bald eagle at first, but after seeing it through his telephoto lens he decided it was an osprey instead.  Mexican food for dinner and a swimming pool at the hotel near Bozeman.

Tuesday, July 8 – up at 4 am to make a 5:50 flight to Denver. Denver to Chicago O’Hare, Chicago to Reagan National, Reagan to the DC Metro, Metro train to Vienna, VA, where we met the cousin who was looking after our vehicle for us. THEN (soaking wet because we came out of the Metro into literal buckets of rain): we drove four and a half from Northern Virginia to Roanoke, to pick up The CEO (who had a different travel itinerary since he initially traveled for his NACTA conference in Bozeman) at the airport there. Then an hour drive home. Air travel is a wonderful thing, truly it is, but all the same we got home at 1:15 am Eastern time (two hours ahead of Mountain time), which means I had been up and moving for nearly 23 hours by then. AAARRGGGGHHH.

SOTD: started off with nothing because I didn’t have time, but at Chicago, I hit the Duty Free and sniffed things. I love doing that, but the only thing I really wanted to spritz there was Marc Jacobs Daisy. Say what you like, but you’re not going to talk me out of liking Daisy! O’Hare smells like nothing, basically, unless you are standing near a food establishment. Even the Duty Free smells antiseptic; probably they don’t get many people spraying perfume in there the way people spritz it in, say, Philly (the last American Duty Free I entered). However, the entire corridor outside the Wolfgang Puck restaurant smelled so deliciously of fresh basil that I took deep breaths of it every time I went past.

And then the rain-wet pavement outside the Metro was a pure delight: wet, green-silver, ultimate freshness. I hope it rains at home soon.

Be on the lookout for more photos from the Montana trip! Gaze and The CEO, between them, took close to 2500 shots. They’ve cut it down quite a bit since editing, but so many of them were wonderful and I’ll be sharing some of their work soon.



Vacation 2014


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Montana.  We’ll be there for several days. Never been. Should be interesting.

glacierI’m quite sure that it will be seven days of The CEO and Gaze wandering around looking at everything through their camera lenses.

We’ve got a friend house-sitting for us. Bookworm, off at her internship in Louisiana, can’t go (bummer, bummer).montana-lake

I’m taking decants of DelRae Wit, Smell Bent One, Hermes Kelly Caleche edp, and the new Dior Cuir Cannage with me. Will report back, of course.



New look… again


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I’ve been playing around with the blog again, since the last time I changed anything I simply went to a default theme and photo.


It may change yet again.  And I may actually begin posting some stuff here again soon, too. :)

I have become more and more frustrated with my web host platform, due to repeated hacking attempts and confusing fixes.  Am tempted to chuck it all and head back to WordPress.

I hate blogging, lately, and the logistics are getting to me.  I don’t want to stop writing, but it has been such a pain recently.



Scent Diary Summary, most of May 2014


Categories: Family, farm, Scent Diary, Seasonal picks, Tags: , , ,

Scent Diary, Summarized, May 7 through June 3, 2014

I have not been keeping a good diary recently. It has been pretty busy here, with attending end-of-school activities and planning for some summer ones, so I’ve only got some “here’s what’s going on around the place these days” notes.
As for the house and yard, they look pretty good. We’ve been getting some good rain interspersed with sunny days, so the grass is thick and green and the trees are beautifully full of leaves. The fruit trees are leafed out well, and there are even baby apples on one of the trees – I think it’s the Gala. I got the annuals (pink zinnias and those tall Mexican orange marigolds) planted in the front bed, and the hanging baskets (pink and red geraniums and hot pink vinca) up on the porch, too.

The peony bush we planted near sweet Hayley-dog’s grave seems to be thriving. We all miss our doggie. It’s the little things, you know? Like I’ll be getting home in the evening and thinking, “Look at the time, it’s Food the Dog O’Clock – oh, wait. No, it’s not. Sigh.” Or we miss the thumping tail on the landing in the morning, or we don’t hear barking when someone pulls up in the driveway… We miss the canine affection, too.

We do want another dog, but not yet. Probably by the end of the summer we’ll start looking; I’ve already been looking online at the animal shelters to see what’s available right now. There are a few dogs close by but nothing that automatically jumps out to me to say, “I’m your new dog!” We have set some criteria: House-trained (that one’s non-negotiable). Not a puppy, and not a senior dog (I don’t think we could stand to lose another one within a couple of years). Medium size, between 25 and 45 pounds – Hayley was on the upper end of that range. Not a yapper. MAN, I hate a yappy dog. Barking is one thing, but a high-pitched constant yap? NO. Absolutely not. We’re flexible on breed; we’d probably rather not have a purebred dog, but we wouldn’t turn a shelter or rescue dog down if we had a connection to one that happened to be a purebred.

We decided last year when Silvia died that we would not get another cat; Taz is allergic to them. While we wouldn’t get rid of a cat (particularly an elderly one) for that reason, it’s enough of one that we felt we wouldn’t add a cat back to the household.

We do need to pull out that dogwood tree in the front yard that struggled for a few years and then finally gave up the ghost last summer. It’s the middle one in a row of five, so I think it would look odd to put in something else there, but that means getting as much of the old root system out as we can since the dogwoods are at least eight years old. I also lost one of my Knockout roses over the winter. One of them was pretty stressed by Japanese beetle attack, and didn’t survive the cold. The other one? Looks great. Go figure. I did buy another Knockout – the standard color one, instead of the pink it will replace, but I think they’ll look nice together.

It ended yesterday. Graduation for the high school was actually last Friday, because that date was set early. However, due to some late bad weather, the superintendent was forced to add a couple of days of school for everyone not graduating. I notice that the high school parking lot was pretty empty Monday and Tuesday, though, so I bet a lot of kids just skipped those last few days.

Gaze had a good year both academically and with regard to extracurriculars. He was selected as trombone section leader for next season’s marching band, and was also voted “Outstanding Trombone Player” and “Outstanding Rookie” by his peers. I was very proud. He’s only a rising sophomore, but the band had a run of several years with no trombone section marching – I think because Mr. Butler, our previous director, didn’t want to have only a few trombone players. He opted to have those few switch to baritone horn, which has a similar range, instead. There was no trombone section all the years Bookworm was in band. But now there is – and that means that Gaze is one of the oldest players in that section. I think he’ll do fine as he’s very responsible. In any case, his FFA team was successful, his academic challenge team (social studies) was the champion, and he was a member of successful cross-country and track teams as well. Also, this year he’s grown several inches.

I must say, it’s awfully nice to look at the mantel shelf and see Gaze’s Outstanding Rookie trophy right next to Bookworm’s.  We never expected that, and there for awhile Gaze was pretty insistent that he wasn’t going to march, that was Bookworm’s thing, he didn’t want to put that much work into it… Well. He thinks he made the right choice now.

Taz struggled to some degree academically this year. Partly that was due to his lack of interest in organization, and partly that might have been due to his having to face some challenges that neither his brother or sister faced. It’s a good thing that his school now offers Algebra I for those 7th graders who might benefit (that was not available for Bookworm in middle school) and an online language course (not available for either Bookworm or Gaze), but it’s the first time he’s ever had to really put some effort into school, and, well, in a lot of cases he just didn’t. He pulled several B’s this year. However, he ran track, and came in second to a very accomplished player in the school’s chess club tournament. He’s grown too – Bookworm might have half an inch, or maybe even less, on him now.  The CEO and I were (pleasantly) surprised to find, at Taz’ 7th grade award ceremony, that he’d been voted “Most Attentive Boy” by his peers.  All I can say is, they sure don’t live here.  Good to know that he pays attention in class, though!

Bookworm herself had a good year as well. She would tell you that she wasn’t happy with her grades, but The CEO and I were fine with them. I think her current GPA is approximately 3.65, somewhere around there. She seems to have decided that she will be majoring in chemistry, and I think she’s on the right track. When your college freshman kid complains about Spanish and Calculus, but says that Chemistry is “easy” and “fun” – and comes home talking excitedly about all the “cool things” they did in class and lab? Well, that’s a good indicator that she may have found her niche. She got plugged in with Yale Students for Christ, which is the campus branch of Cru (which used to be known as Campus Crusade) and a church she likes in New Haven. She loved playing with Yale Precision Marching Band for football, basketball and hockey, and she had a total blast with her buddies on the ultimate Frisbee team.

Bookworm, we just heard yesterday, will be doing a summer internship in Louisiana, for a paper mill there. She’ll be assisting one (maybe more) of the chemical engineers at the plant in conducting efficiency testing on some of the equipment used, and hopefully will be able to either assist in a research paper or present her own. I’m a little bit nervous about her being 14 hours away for eight weeks, but I think it’s a terrific opportunity. She’s really excited about the possibilities. She leaves on Sunday.

It’s hay season. Ergo, it’s busy. Not just with racing the weather, either – The CEO has spent a lot of time fixing tractors that got through the winter fine. Haymaking seems to put more demand on them, and since almost all of our tractors are approximately my age, they need a lot of maintenance. Bookworm and Gaze have been helping Jeff work some cattle (treating them with dewormer, giving them their shots and ear tags and the like).

The cows look good. There’s lots of grass.

Gaze will be attending Camp Cougar this summer, which is an intensive four-week physical education course that can take the place of PE during the school year. Drivers’ Education class time is included, as well as a ropes course at the nearby Boy Scout camp, white-water rafting, caving, and some other fun activities. However, if you miss any part of any day – you can’t receive academic credit for the course, so he’ll be BUSY.

Then, of course, there will be summer band practices which he will need to attend. And pre-camp (for section leaders and rookie marchers). And band camp itself. ACK.

The CEO has to go to Denver for another National Cattlemen’s Association meeting, so this summer we will be joining him there in Montana to do a little exploring at Yellowstone and Glacier. That ought to be fun. We made plans before we knew about Bookworm’s internship, but we might be able to change her flight ticket and allow her to join us for at least part of the trip, assuming that she could get a few days off around July 4th.

I’ll be keeping Taz as busy as possible.

I have been wearing my spring scents and testing some new things, but just yesterday I got out some of my summer-only fragrances. Things that went INTO the bedside cabinet: DelRae Amoureuse, Chanel No. 19 EdP, Jacomo Silences PdT, Deneuve, Guerlain Chamade, Penhaligon’s Violetta, Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet, DSH White Lilac, L’Arte di Gucci EdP, vintage Jolie Madame parfum, Amouage Memoir Woman, Ralph Lauren Safari, and my vintage Emeraude PdT. I’ve been rather addicted to Safari recently, by the way – it is a warm green as opposed to a cool green like No. 19 or Silences.

Things that came OUT of the cabinet and into the hatbox on the dresser: Ines de la Fressange (the first one), Hermes Kelly Caleche EdP, YSL Paris Pont des Amours, Donna Karan Gold EdP, Hanae Mori Haute Couture, Cristina Bertrand #3, Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl, Moschino Funny!, Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, and DSH La Fete Nouvelle. The current rotation also includes Le Temps d’une Fete, Ferre 20, and Mary Greenwell Plum, as well as my vintage Chanel No. 19 EdT, because those only go into the cabinet in the winter. I’ve also got decants of DelRae Wit, Chanel 1932, and Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipo for summer use.

I have a whole set of 7 Oriza L. LeGrand fragrances still to review as well.

And, oh yeah, I still hate purple.

What’s in your seasonal rotation, if you have one? I know you blokes and sheilas Down Under are heading into winter…



Scent on Canvas Perfume Reviews

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Categories: Mini reviews, Scent on Canvas, Tags: , , , , ,

Scent on Canvas is a relatively new perfume house, based in Barcelona, Spain. It is the creation of Béatrice Aguilar-Cassarà, a formally trained perfumer who also loves art. She collaborated with perfumers Alexandra Kosinski, Shyamala Maisondieu and Jórdi Fernandez to create fragrances, which were then presented for visual interpretation by artists. The boxes containing the fragrances are printed on the inside with these original works of art (signed and numbered); you must unfold the box to see the entire work.

I haven’t seen the artwork except online. But I thought this was an interesting concept, and I was delighted that the Scent on Canvas website offers a sample pack, sturdy 2ml spray samples of each fragrance, for 12 Euro including shipping. Each fragrance is offered at €130 for 100ml. Blanc de Paris is an eau de parfum; the others are all extrait de parfum.
scent on canvasThere are five fragrances in the Scent on Canvas lineup, and I’ll review each one briefly. From the website:

The collection spans five fragrance genres with nuanced olfactory work within them: the starchy, woody musk, a predetermined crowd-pleaser (Blanc de Paris); the dark musty-mossy with guts (Noir de Mars); the mysterious, coppery woody (Ocre Doré); the rosy floral with mysterious, spicy-suede tonalities (Rose Opéra) and the complex hesperidic-leathery (Brun Sicilien).

Each of the scents has a color in its name: Golden Ochre, Sicilian Brown, Parisian White, Mars Black, and Opera Pink. More specifically, each fragrance shares a name with a specific color of paint.

Blanc de Paris, for women, was created to evoke “dancing on an early spring morning among flowers,” by Béatrice Aguilar-Cassarà. The notes list includes green mandarin, Calabrian bergamot, citron, iris, Bulgarian rose, white flowers, white musk, sandalwood, and benzoin. The artwork for this one was done by Maria Torróntegui.

I’ve tested this one three times. The first time, I applied a hefty spritz to the inside of my wrist, and the second application was a half-spritz, more like a large one-drop application, to the web of skin between thumb and first finger. That’s my optimal site for “I’m not sure I’m not going to hate this, so I’ll put it somewhere that’s easily washable.” As you might imagine from that strategy, the first test was a resounding failure. But the second and third were not, and since those took place seven weeks after the first, I’m not sure what the difference could be. The fragrance was freshly made and needed some time to meld fully? I had something on my skin (my bath gel? A stray drop of soap from washing the dishes?) that reacted badly with the fragrance? The third application was another hefty spritz on my forearm.

The first time I wore it, the citrus was very noticeable, a sharp freshness that I enjoyed, but it was followed by an overwhelming note of toilet cleaner, very harsh – like Comet or Ajax. I often get this toilet-cleaner effect from fragrances containing a linden flower note (for example, L’Artisan’s La Chasse aux Papillon and Tauer Zeta, though there are others as well), and I suspect that it just goes harsh on my skin. I never perceived any rose in this fragrance, and that disappointed me. What with the toilet cleaner and the white musk, I felt like a hotel maid pushing my cart down the hall for a full eight-hour day. You probably know that white musk is a very persistent base note, and it sticks around for a long time, even on my scent-eating skin. I did notice a wisp of iris root, and the benzoin was definitely there under the musk, but that first test was not pleasant.

The second and third tests were certainly more enjoyable. There was less citrus, and the fragrance seemed to move much more quickly to its floral heart. I can pick up on some clean jasmine, and there might be some muguet in there as well as the linden blossom. The benzoin was more prominent on the subsequent wearings, and since I love the stuff, this was all to the good. The white musk still tends to dominate the fragrance, and I’m not particularly fond of that, but it was much nicer in the later tests. It still lasted approximately eight hours on me, and smelled pleasantly clean.

This is really not my kind of fragrance; I didn’t get much of a spring-flowers effect. It is more of a clean musk fragrance with floral notes for freshness and benzoin for a powdery softness. But if you want to smell clean without smelling overtly like laundry, this might suit you quite well.

Brun Sicilien I wasn’t sure I was going to like. It’s a unisex leather fragrance, created by Alexandra Kosinski, and according to the website, it was meant to evoke “instinct, courage and freedom; the redolence of wild horsemen.” I sometimes have difficulties with leather fragrances being too woody, or too harsh, but this one is actually rather nice. In fact, it might be my favorite of the five. The accompanying artwork was provided by Tano Pisano.

The notes for this fragrance include Sicilian mandarin, white flowers, jasmine, leather, suede, black pepper, cardamom, heliotrope, musk, amber, birch, Indonesian patchouli leaf, and Madagascar vanilla. I don’t get much citrus in this, and in fact it reminds me quite a bit of a slightly-louder Cuir de Lancome (which I love). The spices are smooth, staying in the background, but I get quite a bit of jasmine and what might be narcissus.

There is leather in this, but if you were hoping for rawhide or saddles, with that birch tar accent, you might be disappointed. I’m not. I like my leather purse-like, thank you very much, and this scent pleases me. As the fragrance draws to a close, approximately six hours after application, it becomes more and more vanillic and creamy, and reminds me more of Parfums d’Empire’s ultra-comfortable Cuir Ottoman. It does keep its leather focus throughout, however. It’s not as heavy on the amber as Cuir Ottoman, or as sweet, and I think I like Brun Sicilien better.

I’ve worn this scent several times and will probably use up my sample with enjoyment. If it’s still available when my stash of Cuir de Lancome gives out, I might buy some.

Noir de Mars is not my usual sort of thing, and after testing it I’m positive that aficionados of the Truly Dark would laugh at its pretension to evoking black. If you liked CdG Black, or PureDistance Black, or LM Parfums Black Oud, or even Le Labo Patchouli 24 – or if those weren’t dark enough for you, forget this one. It’s nowhere near as cuddly or as much fun as I find Bvlgari Black (new bike tires! Ice cream!), but it won’t bite you. The perfumer, Jordi Fernandez, says this of the scent: “Every path is open to he who vibrates to the authentic aroma of oud.” The website explains that the perfumers traveled around looking for a source of oud of a certain quality, and finally settled on a source in Laos.

I don’t have much experience with oud, other than the admittedly synthetic oud used by Montale (which, oud connoisseurs would sneer to hear, I like). It’s just not my thing, and the fragrances I like that claim to contain it are typically focused elsewhere – on rose, usually. I like the Montale rose-oud things (Aoud Roses Petals is really nice), and I really enjoyed By Kilian’s Rose Oud and Amber Oud, neither of which have a noticeable quantity of oud, synthetic or otherwise. So if you demand the Real Deal – well, I have no idea. This one I’m reviewing from the perspective of an avowed floral lover.

This one comes with artwork by Jordi Trullás. Its notes include agarwood (oud), guaiac wood, sandalwood, cyperus esculentus, myrrh, leather, gurjan balsam, amyris, and amber. Cyperus esculentus, or yellow nutsedge, is considered an invasive weed in the US, but in Spain its tubers are used to produce an almond-milk-like drink called horchata. I’m not familiar with it, and I’m not particularly familiar with gurjan balsam or amyris (elemi), either. Oh well. What I was expecting was a dry woody fragrance, and that’s what I got. It’s dry and woody, and reminds me of Clint Eastwood somehow.

It opens up with, yeah, wood. Wood wood wood wood. Dry, almost charred wood, and a slight hint of leather work gloves (The CEO wears them on the farm), as well as a very tiny thread of sweetness among the resins, which become more significant as the fragrance progresses. There is some bitter mustiness to it, which is never an effect I enjoy. Noir de Mars does become more comfortable as the burnt note dissipates, and the sweetness deepens somewhat. Wood and resin is pretty much the deal here, and unfortunately I don’t know enough about these particular woods and resins to say to myself, “Oh, hey, there’s the elemi!” Ehh. It might be laziness on my part, but I am not inclined to do a lot of research in this area, since I don’t foresee myself wearing a lot of fragrances in this genre.

The fragrance lasts a long time on me, about eight hours even with a very light application.
It is meant to be unisex, and undoubtedly a woman could wear it. Just not me.

Ocre Doré, meant to highlight the luxurious aroma of white truffle, was composed by Shyamala Maisondieu. The brand’s creator says of it, “true luxury is found in nature’s perfection: on virgin land, in cascades of crystal water, in the reflection of light on a diamond and in the white truffle, an aroma that penetrates everything around it with an intense fragrance of flowers, woods, silence and mystery.” Its notes are interesting – it’s not often that an oriental type fragrance opens up with galbanum! The notes list includes Iranian galbanum, tea, maté, white truffle, oakmoss, “undergrowth,” guaiac wood, Paraguay wood, Virginia Cedar, Indonesian patchouli, and labdanum. The accompanying artwork, an abstract featuring varied tones of gold, yellow, brown, and orange, with a surprising streak of chartreuse, was provided by artist Mariona Esteba, and it makes me think of the Grand Canyon. The artwork is really lovely.

Ocre Doré opens with a sharply herbal/medicinal cast. Despite the presence of galbanum in the list, I don’t smell much of it. It’s there, yeah, but I really get more maté than anything else, with a raspy dryness underneath it. I dislike raspiness in my fragrances, and surprisingly I found this fragrance even more dry and raspy, more difficult for me even than Noir de Mars. Eventually the labdanum shows up, and it has that peculiar wet-canvas-tent profile that I also dislike in certain grades of labdanum. All in all, the two tests I made with this scent were a true trial of endurance for me.

It’s rare that I love a fragrance in the oriental genre. I have trouble in particular with balsamic notes, particularly when they are the focus of the fragrance, and I sincerely do not appreciate that raspy effect of very dry, earthy patchouli. For that reason, Ocre Doré is pretty much a failure for me personally. I did not scrub it; I gritted my teeth and rode out the six hours of wear. (Eight hours with a three-spritz application. Why did I do that? Urgh. Quease city. But that’s me, y’all. If you don’t have any trouble with Shalimar, or Obsession, or Parfumerie Generale L’Oiseau de Nuit, or… well, pretty much any oriental on a classic framework… you won’t have any problem.) If this is luxury, y’all can keep it, thanks. I repeat: my preferences are coming to bear in great degree on my verdict, but there it is. You never wear a fragrance in a vacuum. If you don’t like green florals, then no matter how often someone tells you that Chanel No. 19 is a beautifully balanced, elegant, dry green floral/chypre, then you’re not going to like it. So it is with me and Ocre Doré. I don’t like it personally, and it has a lot of well-regarded company (in terms of oriental scents considered to be well-made and wonderful) that I also don’t love. It’s Just Not My Thing.

It was intended as a feminine scent, but I think a man could wear it just as well. It is not sweet; rather it’s woody and (as I whined), dry, so dudes, go ahead.

Rose Opéra (now that’s a pretty paint color, I say!) is also intended as a feminine fragrance, but unlike Ocre Doré really does seem feminine to me. Perfumer Jordi Fernandez was inspired by a field of saffron, and the scent is meant to call to mind the luxury and romanticism of Marc Antony and Cleopatra perfuming themselves with saffron. This is my second favorite of the collection, and it really is truly lovely. The notes pyramid lists Calabrian bergamot, wild strawberry, jasmine, artemisia, Turkish rose, marigold, Spanish saffron, nutmeg, pink pepper, cardamom, macis [nutmeg flower], Javanese vetiver, cyprerus scariosus [cypriol or Nagarmotha], Peruvian lentisque, patchouli, Virginia cedar, and incense.

I get just a tiny whiff of intense strawberry, and then it’s gone. Actually, in the first hour or so, Rose Opera reminds me a great deal of By Kilian’s (not-oudy) Rose Oud, which also has woody notes and saffron. I really like Rose Oud; the rose in it is so silky and beautiful, and the vanilla light and creamy, and that Band-aid note just makes me happy. (I think I fell down a lot as a child. Band-aids meant help, and love.) The rose in Rose Opera – by the way, if you check Fragrantica, somehow the Turkish rose has been left out of the notes list, at the time of writing – is similarly beautiful, silky and rich and smooth. The saffron balances it and keeps it from being either sour or too sweet. The spices are very light here, and the drydown is woody and cool, less gourmandy than BK Rose Oud or L’Artisan’s Safran Troublant, but along the same lines. It also reminds me to some degree of Montale White Aoud, without the raspy balsamic base that makes White Aoud difficult for me.
It does not last as long as some of the others, but Rose Opera does stick around for 4-5 hours, approximately the same length as Rose Oud and considerably longer than Safran Troublant.

It’s a lovely fragrance, very femme, and like I say doesn’t reinvent the wheel – it’s just pretty. Whether you’ll like it will depend on whether you like woody/gourmand rose scents and what your position is on the “just pretty” fragrances. Like I say, it’s not groundbreaking, but it is well-done and very nice.

The Scent on Canvas fragrances are all nicely formulated, with a fair percentage of naturals (no more or less, overall, than most niche fragrances). I haven’t found one that I am going to run out and purchase on the spur of the moment, but if Brun Sicilien or Rose Opera were given to me, I’d certainly wear them with happiness.



Memorial Day, 2014

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Whatever you’re doing today – spending it with family, eating wonderful food together, enjoying fun activities – take at least a minute or two to remember and appreciate those who have served their country.  Pray for them, if you’re so inclined, both the ones who have served in the past and the ones who are serving now.

Today I’ll make deviled eggs and fresh corn salad and lemonade. We’ll hang out the flag and have a picnic lunch with family. We’ll water the peony on Hayley-dog’s grave.

The CEO is gone on a missions trip to Montenegro; he’ll be back on Wednesday evening. Bookworm is going to spend the week with my parents. This is the last week of school.

I’ll be wearing the first, lovely, Ines de la Fressange fragrance, which I’m sad to say that you cannot get now unless you’re willing to plop down about $15 for a 4ml mini.  I think I paid about $17 for my 30ml bottle from an online retailer, back in 2009, and when I found out how good it was I went right back and bought a 50ml for about $20.  Love the stuff.

Ines de la Fressange Ines de la Fressange for womenThis is the 1999 Calice Becker version in the octagonal bottle with silver top. Notes include aldehydes, peach, bergamot, rosewood, carnation, iris, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, sandalwood, tonka bean, benzoin.  Yes, it’s a fruity floral. No, you don’t have to curl your lip and sneer, unless you’d curl your lip at a floral print dress. It’s not a ditz, and its fruit is unsweetened. What it is is lovely.

Enjoy the day.




Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Hoover Dog WoodenShoes


Categories: Family, Tags: ,

Rest in peace, dear Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Hoover Dog WoodenShoes, July 2003 – May 2014. Introduced to us as “the perfect dog,” by Elizabeth, the woman who ran the rescue dog organization, she turned out to be exactly that. Part beagle, part lab, 100% wonderful.

Hayley, summer 2009

Hayley, summer 2009

For the first six months we had her, she wouldn’t go any farther than four feet from her Favorite Person, The CEO. She loved Gator rides, chasing Frisbees, wandering and sniffing the 20-Acre field, bacon, getting ear scritches and belly rubs, 6-mile runs with Bookworm and Gaze, and playing in the snow with her people. She was famous for greeting her family with enthusiasm, shamelessly begging for pats, getting into the kitchen trash, vacuuming up crumbs from the table and unattended cat food, jumping into cattle waterers, never bothering the cows, showing doggy sympathy to anyone sick or sad, ripping out the window screens (twice!) and opening the basement door with her teeth to get into the house. Identified 24 of the past 3 potential intruders by barking at any vehicle or person approaching the house – including Jeff the farm guy and The CEO’s mother, both of whom she liked very much once they were close enough to be identified as friends.  She barked like a bigger dog than she actually was, but if she got really excited you could hear the beagle in her voice. She liked to sleep on “her” couch in the family room, on top of the woven afghan that we designated as the Hayley blanket.

Going for a run with Gaze, March 30, 2014. (This was a day or two after she killed a groundhog on one of their runs.) Check out those ears flopping!

Going for a run with Gaze, March 30, 2014. (This was a day or two after she killed a groundhog on one of their runs.)

A slight limp that developed last weekend after a run with Gaze turned into a bigger one.  We took her to the vet’s office on Wednesday, where they did a physical exam and some blood work, and gave her some pain meds.  On Thursday she was mopey and in pain, and she slept a lot; the vet had warned us that the medication might make her dozy. By Friday she was in a much better mood, and thoroughly enjoyed her treat of deli ham (rolled around a pill) and her bacon-flavored treat. She wanted to go onto the porch and smell things and bark at squirrels, and she was as always delighted to get to go for a ride in the van, where she sat on Bookworm’s lap wagging her tail and sticking her nose out the partly-opened window.

They did x-rays at the vet’s office, and the initial diagnosis was bone cancer. Three to six months, the vet said, unless chemo helped. But they also tested some fluid from the lump on her elbow as well as from her lymph nodes, and those tests indicated lymphoma, which has a one-to-two-month course unless we decided to treat that with chemo. I called The CEO and we decided not to treat the cancer. Instead, we planned to manage her pain and make her last weeks or months as happy and comfortable as possible.

Snuggling with Bookworm on the porch, Feb. 2013.

Snuggling with Bookworm on the porch, Feb. 2013.

Then Hayley’s lymph nodes began to swell dramatically, right there in the vet’s office, and she began to have trouble breathing.  Mast cell tumor, the vet guessed, although that usually does not cause such drastic swelling, and she didn’t respond appropriately to antihistamine or steroids. They sedated her and gave her oxygen, and she was relatively stable when Bookworm and I took her to the vet school at Virginia Tech, which offers a critical care unit and round-the-clock care.

By the time we got to the vet school hospital, she was struggling to breathe, and the vet in charge there told us that if – if – they could stabilize her condition, we would need to decide how to treat her. I called The CEO, who brought Gaze and Taz with him, and when they arrived, we made the decision to not continue to try to save her. We did get to go back to the ICU and pet her, stroke her soft ears and tell her what a good dog she was and how much she loved her.

Our thanks to the folks at Radford Animal Hospital and the VA-MD School of Veterinary Medicine for doing their best for her.  Special thanks to Dr. Hansen and Dr. Bisoski, and all the techs.

On Saturday, Bookworm and Taz dug her grave, near dear Silvia kitty’s resting place and near where Hayley would wriggle under the fence to go play and sniff in the 20-Acre Field.  When The CEO came home from Virginia Tech’s graduation, we gathered around and lowered our sweet puppy into the grave on her favorite blanket, folding it around her.  Yesterday, I planted a peony bush as a marker.

Hayley, August 2013

Hayley, August 2013

We will miss our Thump-tail, the Flop-ear, the Underfoot, Canine Security, the Frog-dog, Official Greeter, the Insatia-Dog, the Pupful, sweet Hayley.



Scent Diary, April 28-May 6, 2014


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redbudMonday, Apr. 28 – End of the month approaching. And my clematis is putting up leaves, this is good. SOTD: Crown Bouquet.

Tuesday, Apr. 29 – New minivan. Well, new to me… it belonged to my parents, but they bought a brand new one and offered their old one to us. It’s four years newer and has the automatic doors and liftgate, but it’s the same color.

Really need to get the weeds out of the front flower garden. It’s bad… but it’s raining. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.

Wednesday, Apr. 30 – More rain. Chilly. Gaze was supposed to have a track meet today, but they canceled it due to the rain. SOTD: Safari. I am wearing the heck out of Safari lately, because it is both green and warm. Chamade and Le Temps d’une Fete are green and warm, too, as opposed to, say, Chanel No. 19 and Silences, which are green and cool. The redbuds are beautiful, and we have six baby calves gallivanting about the 20 Acre Field behind the house.

Thursday, May 1– SOTD is Diorissimo. (I always feel like I have to explain about my Diorissimo… it’s not VINTAGE vintage. It’s a 2006 tester bottle, and there was a significant change to the formula in, I think, 2008, though of course there had been several changes all along. The current version I don’t like at all – it is screechy and borderline unpleasant.) Can’t believe it’s May already. Seems like spring has rushed toward us this year, unlike last year when the weather lingered in a limbo-like cold-and-wet holding pattern.

Friday, May 2 – Got insurance on the new van, which I would like to continue calling Eddie Van since it’s the same color, and which The CEO wants to call Val Van because the license plate starts with VAL. He says, “No, it’s perfect, because Eddie Van Halen was actually married to Valerie Bertinelli!” I blow raspberries all over that. It doesn’t feel like a girl van to me. Nope. I think it’s Eddie II. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete, because I can.

Took Old Eddie down to the Wal-Mart parking lot and put a For Sale sign in his window before parking it at the lower end of the lot. Got two phone calls about it within four hours.

Have been sleeping in a veil of YSL Paris Pont des Amours all week. Just so nice and powdery and rosy, very comfortable for sleep.

Saturday, May 3 – Wal-Mart called and said that they don’t allow people to sell cars in its parking lot, and would we please move the van. I apologized and said we would. It will be easy, because the second person that called last night came to look at it and drive it this morning, and they want it. YAY.

Went to the Cosmopolitan Track Meet in Roanoke to see Gaze run, and then I took Taz with me to see my parents this afternoon. My grandmother died in 2006, and my mom is STILL trying to get rid of furniture and just stuff that belonged to her… Mom is trying to figure out how best to divest herself of the 100 or so ceramic bird figurines that Bambaw left behind, as well as old jewelry, china, and glass dishes, and where I would either take it to an eBay reseller or simply haul it all off to Goodwill, she doesn’t want to do that. She feels that the 40% fee that the reseller would charge is too much, whereas I’m thinking that’s worth it to a) get rid of the stuff that Mom wouldn’t keep anyway and b) not have to deal with all the details of taking pictures and listing and selling and packing and shipping. GAH.

Gaze didn’t run very well today. He doesn’t seem to do well when we come watch him. It wasn’t bad, but he’d been hoping to PR today and he was about 2 seconds slower than his best time. SOTD: Kelly Caleche EdP. Nice and light for warm weather, though it was rather breezy today.

Sunday, May 4 – Nice spring weather here. I took the boys to church with me, while The CEO preached at one of the small Presbyterian churches nearby. (Nice that they like to go to our church.) After that, I packed up the van with all the spare boxes/plastic totes/duffel bags and drove north seven hours on I-81, the first part of the trip to pick up Bookworm from school. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete.

Spring has progressed much less farther in the mountains of PA than it has here. Hardly anything is blooming.

Monday, May 5 – Gorgeous weather here in Connecticut! Drove from just north of Scranton to New Haven, and was sort of cursing my GPS for sending me via I-95. We started calling it Miss Direction (it has a woman’s voice) as a joke. I swear, just a joke!! But lately it’s been an appropriate name. GAH. However. It’s cool and sunny and breezy: perfect weather for packing up college kid stuff and hauling it down two flights of stairs and then down the street and across two city streets (waiting for the light to change both ways, going and coming). Gah. Also, I lost my Fitbit. Don’t know where it slipped off and fell, but it is gone baby gone. Bummer.

SOTD: Chanel No. 19 EdP. Bookworm insisted on taking me into the courtyard of Pierson College to show me a blooming shrub that smelled lovely. I think it’s daphne… little white-and-pink flowers, small leathery leaves. If it isn’t daphne, I don’t know what it is. I pulled out my DelRae Wit to let her smell, and we both agreed that Wit doesn’t smell like this particular bush…. Hmmm.

Miss Direction sent us BACK via I-95, which made us go a good 30 miles too far south for my (unchangeable) hotel reservations to be helpful. We wound up having to backtrack going north, and probably drove an extra 60-70 miles this trip. GAH.

Dinner was nice, though, before The CEO got on the phone and went, YOU ARE WHERE????? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST GO TO HAZLETON????

Tuesday, May 6 – Cloudier in the morning, not quite as sparkling and lovely a day. Tired after the drive, but fine. Glad to be home. SOTD: DelRae Wit, which although it doesn’t smell like that particular blooming bush, is really wonderful.




May Bells


Categories: White floral, Tags: ,

muguet postcardFirst, a public service announcement: I’ve been having technical issues with the blog again. WordPress blogs are apparently susceptible to hacker attacks, according to my web host platform, and any time someone tries to hack the blog, the web host shuts down the blog for a minimum of 15 minutes.

To prevent attacks, I first added an extra administrative password. It didn’t help. I was still facing a “locked out of the blog” situation every 4-5 days, on average. Then I added another layer of protection, by restricting the log in to my specific IP address. That helped for several weeks… until my IP changed. This is, apparently, normal; “dynamic” IP addresses are only active a certain period of time, and the router will change them periodically. Normally the user doesn’t even notice. But having my blog linked to my IP meant I had to log in to my web host account and change the htaccess code (no, don’t ask, I don’t really even know what it is) to reflect my new IP address. Then it happened again this week, and I couldn’t post or reply to comments until I made adjustments.

GAH. Frustrating.

In any case, it’s back up and running, and I can talk about lily of the valley, which I meant to do yesterday on May Day, but didn’t get to.

lotv ground coverOne of my aunts has a house near the lake, and her back yard is completely shaded by trees. She has a gorgeous patch of lilies of the valley, and I’ve loved them ever since I smelled them growing at Aunt Becky’s house. I wanted them in my bridal bouquet, but when I found that they’d have to be imported from the Netherlands, that put them out of my financial reach. Wish I’d just asked my aunt to provide them.

There’s a lily of the valley plant growing in my front flowerbed – just one, a gift from my sister-in-law to my daughter, whose birth month flower it is. It bloomed beautifully the past two years, but there aren’t any buds on it yet. I’m hoping they’re just delayed, and they’ll bloom when Bookworm gets home next week.

There are a number of lily of the valley (abbreviated LOTV, called muguet in French) fragrances, but if you’re at all conversant with IFRA restrictions, you know that the crucial aromamolecule associated with them, hydroxycitronellal, has been restricted in usage. It does, apparently, cause allergic reactions in large quantities. You can’t make a realistic LOTV fragrance without it, so classic muguet fragrances have all been reformulated.

I don’t even want to talk about that. It’s too depressing. So I’ll just mention a few lovely LOTV fragrances and ask whether you wore one yesterday.

lov3Muguet soliflores:

Dior Diorissimo – THE quintessential LOTV. I have a bottle from ca. 2006, and it’s lovely but already heading toward the screech of the current version.  Sigh. I wore it yesterday.

Coty Muguet de Bois – I almost bought this at Big Lots (an “overstock” store) in the mid-1980s. I think I was maybe 14 years old and didn’t have any cash on me, and my mom wouldn’t pony up. She said I already had plenty of perfume and didn’t need any more, so I should forget it. (I had three bottles: Avon Sweet Honesty, which I didn’t like much, Prince Matchabelli Cachet, a floral chypre so prim that it practically tugged your neckline up all by itself, and Karl Lagerfeld Chloe, which I wore most of the time.) Wish I’d begged hard enough, or gone back later. I remember it as being a green, fresh floral, and very pretty.

Other soliflores include Guerlain Muguet, Caron Muguet de Bonheur, Annick Goutal Le Muguet, Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley. No doubt there are others; I haven’t tried these.

rsz_bouquetLily of the valley is also presented frequently in composition with other notes, and I find that often the screechy edge is blunted by the presence of other florals. Here are a few to try:

Kenzo Parfum d’Ete (the 1992 version) – green notes, muguet, hyacinth, peony, rose, narcissus and a cool woody drydown.  Discontinued. (The new version is nice, too, but not LOTV.)

Gucci Envy – the notes list is quite similar to that of the Kenzo, but it is strikingly metallic to my nose and difficult for me to wear. I don’t like it, but a lot of people do.

Parfums DelRae Debut – still haven’t smelled this one, either, but it is based on a cool, citrus-tinted muguet with green notes and linden blossom.

Jessica McClintock – so old-fashioned a floral bouquet centering on LOTV that it could be its own lacy handkerchief.

Parfums de Nicolai Odalisque – jasmine, muguet, iris and moss. Simple and elegant in the extreme.

Both Serge Lutens Clair de Musc and Jovan Musk for Women are soft, quiet clean-musk fragrances that make good use of a gentle muguet note in the heart.

Tauer Perfumes Carillon pour un Ange might be a favorite. It’s green notes, muguet, and an earthy/mossy/leathery drydown.  Beautiful stuff, very potent, extremely radiant. A drop or two will do you.



Scent Diary, April 21-27, 2014


Categories: Scent Diary, Tags:

Monday, Apr. 21 – The boys had today off for Easter break, so we drove up to the Roanoke area to hike out to McAfee’s Knob. I’d done this hike years (well, decades) ago, when my church youth group went there, and I didn’t remember it being so strenuous. But then, there wasn’t so much of me at the time, and I was in much better shape. Most of the hike was nice, but by the end I was sort of miserable. We didn’t take enough water, and we forgot to take bug spray. The midges were awful.

I had some pics I wanted to add to this post, but I keep getting “HTTP ERROR” from WordPress. I’ll go ahead and post this, but try to add the images again later.

The hike is about 7.6 miles round trip from the parking lot (old data used to say it was 7.2 miles, but distances have been relabeled after checking with GPS), which is a long hike when you’re only used to walking a couple of miles at a time – especially since a good third of the trail is UPHILL.  View was lovely, though.

No fragrance until after we got home and I had a shower, and by then I wanted something soothing. SOTE: Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete.

Tuesday, Apr. 22 – I am stiff. Mostly in the hip area; I am clearly not doing enough walking on an incline! Other than that, though, I don’t have any lingering ill-effects from that long hike. I enjoyed it. The CEO and I used to do a lot of hiking on trips early in our marriage, and I confess that I hadn’t realized how much he missed having me along. I don’t really care much about the hiking, myself, and to be honest he is nearly always more interested in getting to a destination than in the journey there. He likes to take grand pictures of sweeping landscapes (have I mentioned how many times we stopped for him to get snapshots of snow-covered mountains in New Zealand?) and I like to wander around in town, looking at houses and markets, people and museums, and wondering what it would be like to live there.

SOTD: Parfums d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite, which is my idea of a Fruity Floral Done Right.

Wednesday, Apr. 23 – We have plenty of calves out in the field behind the house, but so far nothing that we need to bottle-feed. Which is good; they do far better when they stay with their mamas. The redbuds are in bloom, and I just discovered some double daffodils that I’d planted last year and promptly forgotten all about. They’re gorgeous.

SOTD: Crown Bouquet. Sigh. Love it. It’s one of those I can only wear in spring.

Thursday, Apr. 24 – SOTD: Ralph Lauren Safari. Rather haylike – in that it’s all green up top, and has the sweetness of drying grass later. So pretty. Started to mow the lawn, but the belt pulling the blades is stretched out and close to breaking, and I had to finally give up.

Friday, Apr. 25 – Bookworm had two final exams today – an oral exam in her Spanish class, and a practical exam in her Chemistry lab. She says they went fine. I’m a little surprised that there haven’t been any reports of dinners, parties, receptions, whatever… I remember the close of college days being marked by those for me, particularly at UVa. SOTD: DSH White Lilac (oil format). Lovely stuff.

The construction guys finished the mantelpiece, too! It looks wonderful – it was cut from a walnut tree that grew on the farm, and made to resemble the old-fashioned mantels placed in houses built when you needed a fireplace for winter heat. (Side note: it bugs the heck out of me that people misspell mantel. A mantle is a cloak or covering; a mantel is a construct located around a fireplace. Completely different items. Grrr.)

I’ve been wearing my YSL Paris Pont des Amours (one of the many Printemps Limited Editions) to sleep in several times this week, because it’s quiet and powdery and soft.

Saturday, Apr. 25 – NEW CARPET! Not fancy stuff; it’s indoor/outdoor for the laundry room, but I like it. The laundry room is finished, and I’m so happy. Also: two new bulls.

two new bulls

“Hellooooooo, ladies!” (Photo and caption by The CEO.)

The CEO fixed the belt on the lawnmower, and Gaze mowed what I didn’t get done the other day. Yard looks nice; very green. All six of our fruit trees (two pears, four apples) that we planted last spring are leafing out, and two of the apple trees have blossoms on them.

My SIL E and her daughter, Primrose, were visiting this weekend; they came over with The CEO’s mother and we all had dinner together. Pretty cool to see them. SOTE: Penhaligon’s Violetta.

Sunday, Apr. 26 – Gorgeous weather – a little cool in the morning, but sunny and comfortable the rest of the day. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.

Wild elderberry bloom.

Wild elderberry bloom.

Went for a good walk after dinner, and noticed all kinds of blooming smells: the neighbors’ lilacs coming into bud, black locust blossoms, apple blossoms, and many shrubs with clumps of tiny white blossoms on them. I am not sure what they are – they grow wild on the side of the road and they smell wonderful, but if you cut them and put them in water the stems droop (even if you crush the woody stems first). They might be wild elderberries, but I confess I’ve never noticed berries on these bushes in the fall, so I’m not sure.

Hooked up the new CD player… it works fine. SOTE: Tommy Girl. It’s a sharper, “cleaner” version of Rose d’Ete; clearly the Rosine has more naturals in it, and lacks both the tea note and the citrusy laser-focus aspect. I like both.


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