Thursday, November 30, 2006

Art Deco and Molinard Perfume Bottles

I'll admit it: I have a weakness for all things Art Deco. When I am visiting New York and turn a corner and catch a glimpse of the exquisite Chrysler Building, it invariably takes my breath away. There is just something about the art and architecture and general ambience of that era which I really resonate with.

So imagine my delight in coming upon the Molinard Collection of perfumes on a recent visit to the Perfume House. The Molinard 1849 collection of seven luxurious Eau de Parfums is based on Molinard's original recipes dating back to the 1920's, 30's and 50's. The exquisite collection features each of the seven fragrances in gorgeous art-deco styled bottles, complete with puff-ball atomiser!

image source: Perfume House

The collection includes
  • Habanita, a floral-oriental created in 1921 featuring petigrain, vetiver, ylang-ylang, heliotrope, amber, vanilla, musk, patchouli, and sandalwood

  • Gardenia, a floral with notes of freesia, orange flower, gardenia, jasmine, cyclamen, and musk
  • Iles D'Or, a fruity floral scent with freesia, jasmine, amber, sandalwood, cedarwood, vanilla and musk

  • M de Molinard, a floral green scent opening with bergamot, rose and narcissus on a base of amber, patchouli, incense and vetiver

  • Verveine, a fresh green natural scent with notes of bergamot, verveine leaves, mandarin, jasmine, osmanthus, vetiver, musk and amber

  • Un Air de Molinard, a citrusy fragrance of mandarin, grapefruit, jasmin, rose, blue iris, vanilla, vetiver, musk and amber

  • Nirmala, a fruity floral with mandarin, grapefruit, jasmine, fleurs-des-iles, vanilla, tonka, and sandalwood

image source: Aedes

The House of Molinard was established in Grasse, France, in 1849. A wonderful history of this House can be found at the Molinard website. It is here that we learn, for instance, that during the Second World War, Molinard invented "the Prisoner's parcel" to bring comfort to French prisoners. How great is that!?! I know that if I were in prison, a care package of perfumes would be so very appreciated!

The fragrances are available in the beautiful bottles 3.3 oz. bottles ($185, except for Habinata, which is $295) as well as in portable concrete solid perfume compacts (great for air travel!) for $65. They can be purchased at The Perfume House and aedes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Better-Know-A-Niche Perfumery: Sharon Bolton Scents

When my Sharon Bolton Scents arrived, I was immediately taken with the bold packaging and sophisticated presentation. Nestled in a sturdy black photo-storage box filled with crinkly white paper, the perfume oil came tied with a bright pink grosgrain ribbon and the entire package was wrapped in a satiny black bow. This loving attention to detail is evident in the whole Sharon Bolton Scents philosophy.

Sharon Bolton is a Santa Barbara, California, perfumer who has created three beautiful scents which incorporate soft white florals, sparkling citrus notes, and exotic tropical highlights. She uses no dyes or pigments, and all of her products are kept as natural as possible. She expertly blends her fragrances with great care, using the finest ingredients. All products are cruelty free and her packaging is 100% recyclable. Further, Sharon Bolton Scents gives to a number of charities. These include the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Susan G. Komen, The Teddy Bear Foundation and the Diabetes Association.

Each perfume oil comes in a 1/8 ounce roller bottle and costs $42 (with samples for $2 each). I found them all to be absolutely lovely and wearable. Furthermore, the light musky base notes common to all three scents made them easy to wear in combination.

The first scent I tried was Luv Perfume Oil. This very feminine scent proved to be my favorite of the three, with its pink gardenia, Hawaiian white flowers and creamy vanilla floating on the airy musky base. Luv is the kind of scent you can wear all day and never grow tired of. I found it a mood-lifter as well; just catching a whiff on my wrist was like a mini tropical get-a-way. It also has incredible staying power. It lasted through the night and into the morning.

Truth Perfume Oil is a clean, citrusy-floral, again with the light musk undertone. It smells green and sheer and would be perfect for a day by the pool or a game of tennis!

Soul Perfume Oil is the fruitiest of the three. It contains papaya, pineapple, and creamy coconut with a base of sheer musk. It smelled a bit like pink bubble-gum at first, but then dried down to a soft, fruity finish. It might be the most appealing to the preteen/teenager in your life.

Each fragrance also comes available as a Body Lotion (8 oz. $27) and Body Wash (8 oz. $24). The body wash is enriched with Shea Butter and White Tea. It lathers into a rich foam and also works as a bubble bath. The body lotion is not too heavy, and smells wonderful. I'd like to suggest that Sharon consider plans to develop a body cream as well, for the drying winter months ahead...

Overall, these three beautiful scents are a delight to the senses. Their portability is an added plus. They can be ordered online at sharon bolton scents as well as at several boutiques listed on their website. And readers of theperfumebee are being offered free shipping on all orders over $40.00 until December 23rd using the promo code perfumebee.

For another great review, please see Product-Girl
image source: sharon bolton scents

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fragrance Foundation Offers Fragrance Tips

The Fragrance Foundation offers a wealth of information related to the world of perfume. In their Fragrance Tips, we read:

  • Everyone has a personal "scent circle": approximately an arm's length from the body. No one should be aware of your fragrance unless he or she steps inside your "circle." Fragrance should be one of the most subtle, personal messages you send to those with whom you come in contact.

  • For a long-lasting effect, fragrance should be layered all over the body, starting with toilet water or eau de parfum...
    Click here for the rest of the tips and follow the link at the bottom of the page to Press/Consumer Info and then locate Fragrance Tips.

I really like this idea of the scent circle. It has been my experience that an arm's length of scent radiation is just about right, but it is not easy to achieve. How many of us have had the unfortunate experience of being in the presence of someone with a scent circle MUCH larger than an arm's length? As in the size of a room? Conversely, sometimes a fragrance clings so closely that we are not aware of it on others even when sitting next to them.

What do you consider to be the perfect size for a scent circle? And what fragrance have you found that achieves this goal?
image source: fragrance foundation

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Courvoisier™ Cognac L'edition Imperiale Fragrance for Men

I was reflecting just the other day on the fact that my husband has a vast collection of miniature liquor bottles collected over many years of travel, while I have a collection of beautiful perfumes collected over many years of shopping and travel.

With the recent debut of Courvoisier™ L'edition Imperiale eau de parfum at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes, our collections will finally merge: here is a fragrance made by a liquor company! Granted, this is touted as a men's fragrance, but it may very well be a unisex scent. One thing is for certain: Courvoisier™ LÂ’edition Imperiale is not a cognac-flavored fragrance!

Top notes include cardamom, mandarin, tagette and coriander. The mid-notes are atlas cedarwood, smoked tea, royal calla lily and violet, while the base notes consist of vetiver, fir balsam, leather and warm amber.

Courvoisier™ L'edition Imperiale eau de parfum will retail for more than $100 per 75ml bottle, while the eau de toilette will retail for slightly less. Both offerings will also be available in 125ml bottles. This fragrance will be sold in select upscale department stores and duty-free locations and will be available in the spring of 2007.
info source: press release

Monday, November 20, 2006

...Scents from Perfume: The Story of A Murderer, continued

Chandler Burr's recent New York Times article provides a fascinating look at the creation of the 15 scents mentioned in yesterday's post. Beginning in 2000, Christophe Laudamiel began systematically recreating the major scenes in the movie, in scents, one by one.

Without giving away too much of the movie, let's just say that it was impossible (not to mention diabolical) to try to recreate the scent of murderd virgins as the character Grenouille tried to do. Ergo, the creation of a perfume to enhance one's own smell, namely: Aura. For the rest of the article, read here

For more about the movie, due out December 27th, click here

Thierry Mugler's Aura: A Perfume Enhancer!

When is a perfume not a perfume? When it's a perfume ENHANCER! Aura is one of the 15 essences in The Thierry Mugler Limited Edition "Perfume" Coffret which has been created in conjunction with the new movie Perfume. The set contains 14 Perfume-related olfactory compositions plus Aura, a fragrance enhancer.

I really am trying to get my mind around the concept of a perfume enhancer. To help us out, I quote from the Thierry Mugler website:
How does Aura work? Worn on its own, Aura is a subliminal enhancer that acts like a second radiant skin. Worn in combination with one's favorite fragrance, Aura intensifies facets of the fragrance.

Aura's adaptability is truly unique. To ensure that the elixir harmonizes with all 12 of the current primary fragrance families, Aura contains one or several ingredients from each respective family. Consequently, Aura can adapt to any perfume it is paired with like a chameleon, regardless of the fragrance family it originates from.

As far as the ingredients of this masterpiece are concerned we will reveal only this: it is not a conventional composition of top, heart and base notes, but an ingenious interweaving of powerful and lasting notes dosed to radiate, and entwined together in such a way as to not betray themselves...

Okay, that is all well and good. But what does it smell like?!? For this, we turn to Victoria at Bois de Jasmin who writes,
Aura is the only fragrance in the coffret that is slated to appear separately. In many ways, I find it to be the most approachable of the fifteen, but it makes it no less fascinating. It is warm, without being spicy; rich, without being heavy; woody, without being dense; musky, without being animalic.... click here for the rest of her post.

This description makes it sound very intriguing. If anyone else has had the opportunity to smell this scent, or any of the other 14 essences, I'd love to hear your impressions.

Retail price for the Perfume Coffret is $700. Ordering information can be found at their website.
image source: thierrymugulerusa

Friday, November 17, 2006

Better-Know-A-Niche Perfumery: Sarbez Perfume

I like to think of Sarbez Perfume as The Little Engine That Could. Against great odds over a time period spanning many years, Florida-based creator Peggy Dean created and launched an elegant perfume that is sure to become a classic.

Sarbez is a rich floral fragrance with bergamot, lavender and tropical modern twists. The heart of the fragrance consists of rich notes of ylang-ylang and jasmine with hints of fresh floral rose. The base is a resinous accord of sweet vanilla and Tonka beans surrounded by precious woods of patchouli. I found it started off a bit strong with the lavender/bergamot blend, but it quickly changed to a beautiful, flowery bouquet.

Peggy worked for many years in the perfume manufacturing and packaging industry before the long saga of her own perfume creation began. She has written a fascinating insider's book examining the big business of perfumery as well as the creation of Sarbez.

Sarbez: The Renaissance of a Fragrance, portrays the perfume industry in all its glamorous and not-so-glamorous glory. I really enjoyed reading this book. While it may not be the most mellifluous book, what it may lack in literary style it more than makes up for in its honest and enthusiastic description of the perfume industry and what it takes to bring a perfume from initial concept to final product. The book reads like a mystery, taking the reader on the fascinating journey of making a perfume. l learned a lot, including how difficult it is to find a good, and available, name for one's perfume. I have renewed appreciation for all perfumers willing to take this arduous journey to create their treasured fragrances and bring them into the world for us to enjoy.

Peggy has created a nice promotional package which includes a copy of the book and a 12 ml .40 fluid ounce spray for $25. It is great fun to be able to read all about the creation of a perfume while actually wearing the scent. Very interactive! See for ordering information.

For a lively interview with Peggy, see Marlen's conversation at The Perfume Critic.
image source: Sarbez Perfume

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Better-Know-A-Niche Perfumery: Ineke of San Francisco

Today we are getting to know the San Francisco niche perfumery, Ineke.

Ineke Ruhland is a classically-trained perfumer who creates beautiful, original scents in her independent studio in San Francisco. She studied perfumery at ISIPCA in Versailles, France and then apprenticed for three years at a fragrance house in Paris. Ineke moved to San Franciso, where she makes her lovely fragrances.

Each fragrance in her alphabetical collection begins with a consecutive letter of the alphabet: A - After My Own Heart; B - Balmy Days and Sundays; C - Chemical Bonding; D - Derring-Do.

The Deluxe Sample Collection contains spray samples of all 4 fragrances wrapped in a soft bag for travel. The $12 price is fully redeemable with any product purchase and is a terrific way to try the scents. This company is very customer-service oriented. When I ordered my sample set, it had insufficient postage (short by 34 cents). I didn't give it another thought, until a few days later I received a personal phone call from "Bill" at Ineke asking me to please call him and let him know of any postage due which he would gladly refund. Of course, I didn't report the fee, but I was very impressed that he had taken the trouble to ask.

The scents themselves are quite pleasant and wearable. My favorite is After My Own Heart, which Ineke describes as "the scent of fresh lilacs floating on the early breeze." It's soft and sweet, in a good way, and really does smell like the lilacs that bloom in my yard in May.

Balmy Days and Sundays is a chypre green scent; Chemical Bonding has sparkling citrus notes with a powdery dry down; and Derring-Do is citrusy-woodsy and the most unisex scent of the collection.

What others are saying:

Grant Osborne at writes, "It is surprising no-one has done this before (as far as we know). San Francisco-based independent perfumer, Ineke Rühland has just launched four perfumes, each named after the first four letters of the alphabet. Ineke plans to launch 'E' in 2007, and the rest of the alphabet over the next ten years." Grant's article

Cait Shortell of Legerdenez writes, "Like all of Ineke's fragrances, Chemical Bonding is transparent and eminently wearable. In spite of its seeming simplicity, a careful analysis reveals..." Cait's article

The Scented Salamander writes, "My first impressions are that Ineke's perfumes are clean, pure, modernist, and original. They have a definite very contemporary feel to them.... " Scented Salamander article.

Scent update: even as I've been writing this while wearing two of Ineke's scents, I find that Chemical Bonding is proving to be very delicious. I highly recommend it.

For purchasing information, please see Ineke's website.
image source: ineke

Monday, November 13, 2006

Vote for Your Favorite Perfume and Perfume Blog

Now it's your turn to make your preferences known and enter the chance to win a $200 giftcard from the sponsor, Aedes de Venustas! The 7th Annual Basenotes Awards are asking you to choose your favorite perfumes in several categories, including best new fragrance (for men and women), best niche fragrance (for men and women) and BEST FRAGRANCE/BEAUTY BLOG.

It's fine to leave some categories blank. Just vote for the ones you want to, paying special attention to question #20 (best fragrance/beauty blog) and question #21 (entry for the prize drawing). It is quick and simple to vote here. Closing date for entries is December 31, 2006.

Aedes de Venustas (latin for temple of beauty) is a New York-based perfumery, specializing in niche fragrance and beauty products. Founded in 1995, Aedes is located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, NY, but products can be ordered via mail-order or from their website Their product ranges include, amongst others, Etro, Creed, Acqua di Biella, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Diptyque, Escentric Molecules, Lorenzo Villoresi, Mark Birley, Mona di Orio, Montale, Parfums de Rosine, Penhaligon's, Santa Maria Novella and Serge Lutens.
image source: basenotes

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Katie Holmes to Wear Clive Christian No. 1 Perfume on Wedding Day

Let it never be said that Katie Holmes doesn't have expensive tastes. In her upcoming nuptials with Tom Cruise, she is said to be planning on wearing Clive Christian No. 1 Perfume. Created to be the most expensive perfume in the world (according to, it costs $2,350.00 per ounce.

This lovely floral-oriental fragrance consists of top notes of pineapple, plum, mirabelle, bergamot, lemon, and cardamom; heart notes of rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, orris, and orchid; and base notes of vanilla, tonka seeds, cedarwood, sandalwood, and musk amber.

It comes in a 1-ounce, handmade crystal bottle adorned with a sparkling brilliant-cut white diamond on the collar.

The Clive Christian women's line has two other fragrances. 1872 is a floral-fruity-citrus fragrance made in honor of the year the Crown Perfumery was founded. It contains top notes of bergamot, tangerine, lemon, pineapple, blueberry and rosemary; heart notes of rose de mai, lily of the valley, jasmine, purple violet, and freesia; and base notes of cedarwood, sandalwood, patchouli, erogen musk, and moss. It retails for $700.

X is a sexy, modern fragrance infused with the dynamic, captivating scent of Egyptian jasmine. Classified as a chypre-fruity fragrance, X has top notes of peach, Sicilian mandarin, bergamot, rhubarb, and pineapple; heart notes of Egyptian jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, and orris; and base notes of patchouli, cedarwood, vetiver, vanilla, and cashmere musk. One ounce costs $850.

Clive Christian has a men's line with identical names, identical prices, and different ingredients. No. 1 Pure Perfume for Men combines rare notes of bergamot, lime, ylang ylang, and ambery woods.

1872 Pure Perfume for Men is a classic, spicy scent with notes of grapefruit, lime, cyclamen, cedarwood, and patchouli.

X Pure Perfume for Men is a sexy, woody fragrance combining notes of bergamot, sambac oil, orris, amber, and cedarwood.

Now, the good news is that both the women's and men's collections come in convient, and slightly more affordable, travel sets. Presented in a black box emblazoned with the signature crown and lined with satin, the sets contain 0.3 ounce spray bottles of No. 1, 1872, and X. Each set retails for $285.

Clive Christian perfumes can be purchased at The Perfume House, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Fortnum and Mason.
image and perfume description source: Bergdorf Goodman

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Choosing the perfect "Attraction" Perfume

Timing is not typically something associated with the wearing of perfume. But according to scent expert Luca Turin, timing is everything. For instance, if you are trying to make a favorable early impression, it is important to wear a perfume with good sillage. Sillage is a French term refering to the wake of scent left in the room after you leave. He gives the example of Givenchy’s Amarige d’Amour which is all radiance, a strident tuberose-lavender accord that sings the perfumery equivalent of trumpet calls at a tournament.

Good heart notes are required if you want your scent to be most noticeable after a couple of hours. Rather than giving specific examples, Turin suggests personal experimentation. He explains that it is best to start with perfumes that have been around for a few decades: they seldom survive by accident.

And for the big finish, choose a scent with an excellent dry-down. Examples include classics such as Chanel Nol 5, Patou’s Joy, Piguet’s Bandit, and Guerlain’s Shalimar. Modern masterpieces include Bulgari Black and Bond No. 9’s Chinatown.

For more, please see the Times article.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Extensive Perfume Gallery Recreates Historical Fragrances

The Osmotheque is a vast fragrance conservatory in Versailles, France, that collects, catalogues and recreates perfumes of the past. It contains over 1700 fragrances, many reproduced from the original formulas.

Susan Stone, a contributing reporter/producer for NPR's All Things Considered, recently went to the Osmotheque and uncovered some interesting facts. For instance, Paul Poiret, a fashion designer whose perfumes preceded Coco Chanel's No. 5, created a very sweet scent in 1914. He named it Le Fruit Defendu, or Forbidden Fruit. Unfortunately, his timing couldn't have been worse. This perfume was reviled by the population because it was launched during the Great War. It was perceived as a scented slap in the face against the bloody backdrop of the the war. Today, it smells not unlike many sweet scents on the market and would probably be a huge hit. For more, please go to NPR.

The Osmotheque is open to the public (although appointments are required). There are weekly lectures about the history of perfumery and the techniques involved. Visitors can see slide presentations and films about perfumery, learn more about the raw materials used, and even try some samples. For further information, please see this article in Osmoz.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pilar and Lucy Eaux des Parfums

Today's installment in our "Better Know a Niche Perfumery" series features Pilar and Lucy.

Luscious cargo tells us that Pilar and Lucy is a cult name among fragrance mavens and home of some of the most exquisite new scents this side of Hollywood, this enchanting line is the brainchild of Victoria and Gretchen, ballerina and poet respectively, who tapped into their past lives to create a perfectly mesmerizing line of perfumes and lotions. With a tip of the hat and an affectionate nod to the Hollywood of yesteryear, these scents are adored by twirly girls everywhere---and counts Carmen Electra and Jennifer Love Hewitt and Mena Suvari among its grateful devotees...

This line features three scents which evoke old Hollywood glam and youthful exuberance.

The first eau de parfum, I: the exact friction of stars, is a warm, vanilla-based scent with a hint of coconut.

The second, II: to twirl all girly, is a warm, floral gardenia scent.

And finally we have III: tiptoeing through chambers of the moon. This rich, complex floral is my favorite of the three. It combines heady tuberose on a deep amber base. Very pretty and elegant!

Each fragrance also comes in a long-lasting perfume oil version as well as lotion.

Robin at Now Smell This says, "I love Pilar & Lucy's glam bottles and cutesy perfume names, but I have to admit to feeling some trepidation about their latest, Tiptoeing Through Chambers of the Moon..." rest of review...

Lucy and Pilar is available at luckyscent, home 101, Luscious cargo and blush beauty bar.

image: luckyscent

Saturday, November 04, 2006

First Women's Scent for Horse Lovers

Something we have not yet talked about in this blog is the idea of "a niche within a niche." This refers to any particular subset within a special category. For instance, today we are talking about a niche fragrance dedicated to people who love horses.

"Nuzzle" is a new fragrance designed for horse lovers and equine enthusiasts. It contains fruity plum, black currant, juicy orange, and lime.

Available in a 50 ml Spray Eau de Parfum for $36.00, Nuzzle comes nested in a pink and black box adorned with a "good luck" crystal horseshoe charm. Nuzzle can be purchased at and fine tack shops and boutiques popular with horse enthusiasts.

Portions of Nuzzle proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Horses, a non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of horses.

Nuzzle Products are not tested on animals.

There are many other niche-within-a-niche fragrances which we will discuss in future blogs. Do you have any suggestions?

image source:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sometimes you just want to have a fragrance that is uniquely your own. One way to do this is by spritzing on a couple different perfumes together to make your own fragrant statement.

Another way is to have a scent custom-blended just for you. Custom-blended fragrances have typically been prohibitively expensive, with price-points starting at $40,000. Fortunately, there are now more affordable options. For example, the British company, Create-Your-Own-Fragrance, charges £30, or approximately $60, for a 50ml eau de parfum atomizer.

The fun process of designing your scent can all be done on-line at You will be led through a series of questions aimed at understanding you better. Questions include naming your favorite food, favorite time of day, interests, favorite perfume, least favorite perfume, and others designed to give a snapshot into your preferences and character. The short quiz alone is very entertaining!

Once you've answered the questions, paid you money, and received your personal blend, if you don't just love it, you may return it for a "full, no quibble refund."
image source: