Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oh, Tulip, Where is Thy Scent?

I have always loved tulips -- planting tulip bulbs in the fall is an act of faith, and when they bloom in the spring I always breathe a sigh of relief that another winter has been successfully weathered. Besides that, tulips are just so beautiful to look at! But where is their scent? These brightly-colored, proud, long-stemmed flowers tempt us with promises of a gorgeous fragrance in line with their physical beauty, but, alas, they emit just the faintest scent of green (which is probably coming from the leaves anyway)!

What would a tulip fragrance smell like? I think it would be cheerful, sunny and bright, with a touch of humor and grace. And this is not just a rhetorical question. Clever perfumers have been creating fragrances from scentless flowers for many years. New York Times perfume critic Chandler Burr discusses this in a recent New York Times article, "Ghost Flowers."

He describes Flower by Kenzo as an example of a parfum based on the imaginary scent of the red poppy. The Kenzo website emphasizes this by stating, "The poppy is scentless, Kenzo invents its fragrance." Perfumer Alberto Morillas made the perfume using a natural violet leaf, essence of acacia flower, linalyl aetate, geraniol and citronellol (which are molecules found in rose and jasmine). He then made it smell "red" by adding synthetic and pure vanillas, heliotropin and benzyl acetate. The result, launched in 2000, is the beautiful Flower By Kenzo, a highly successful and popular fragrance.

Another beautiful flower having no smell is the camellia. Chanel's gifted perfumer, Jacques Polge, was assigned the task of making a perfume based on this flower, which was Coco's favorite. The result is the delightful Une Fleur de Chanel, based entirely on an imagined scent.

In light of that, shouldn't somebody be working on a lovely tulip eau de parfum?

Tulip Photo © 2007 The Perfume Bee

Chanel No. 19

Chanel No. 19

All this talk about Chanel's new releases and re-releases of previous fragrances got me to thinking about other Chanel favorites. My friend, M., recently shared her Chanel No. 19 eau de parfum with me, and I was struck anew by its green floral elegance. I have the eau de toilette version, which, while lovely, is like a sheer gossamer veil compared to the richness of the eau de parfum.

Henri Robert created N°19 especially for Coco Chanel, reflecting the qualities attributed to her by an admirer: witty, outspoken, supremely confident and intensely feminine. The fragrance was released to the world in 1971, just before her death. The number 19 celebrates Coco's birthday on the 19th of August. (She was clearly a Leo!) (

From the very first sniff, you know you're dealing with a classic. Its sharp, almost musty galbanum/neroli top notes are quickly followed by the dewy sweetness of hyacinth. The rich oakmoss/sandalwood/leathery accord lends it a tremendous depth and staying power. Its dry down has a honeyed-sweetness which is warm and woodsy without being cloying. I really like this vintage gem. It is the perfect daytime-into-evening fragrance.

Notes (from basenotes):

Galbanum, Bergamot, Neroli, Hyacinth

Rose, Orris, Jasmine, Narcissus, Muguet, Ylang-Ylang

Musk, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Leather, Cedarwood

Galbanum photo
Galbanum illustration (from

Chanel No. 19 is available at and

Price: $87 for 3.5-oz. eau de toilette

(note: the eau de parfum strength is not readily available in the U.S. It is, to the best of my knowledge, still available in Paris).

Source for Chanel No. 19 image:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Better-Know-A-Niche Perfumery: Renée

I never cease to be amazed by people who switch from a seemingly-unrelated career and go on to create a fabulous line of fragrances. It's almost like they have to get something out of their system (by something, I mean success in the corporate world) in order to form the foundation for the expression of their true passion of perfumery.

Such was the case with Australian perfumer Renée Griffith. Renée is the owner and founder of Renée, a niche perfumery offering a complete line of lovely perfumes and fragrance products. Renée was a former corporate real estate agent. While vacationing in Bali, she was captivated by the intoxicating fragrance of a tuberose bouquet in the hotel where she was staying. Inspired to recreate this scent, she studied a perfumery book and then took a correspondence course in modern perfumery. She successsfully recreated the scent of the tuberose bouquet in her first fragrance, Tuberose, which she formulated for her wedding. Since then, she has created a total of 7 fragrances, with a product line consisting of perfume, scented candles, body lotion and Lifestyle Scents for the home. The fragrances include:

  • Amber Seductive and sensual, Amber combines notes of earthy vetiver, musk and tolu with tea, ginger, cardamom and lime leaves for a rich, warm scent that is truly exotic and intensely captivating.

  • L'eau L'eau is the French word for Water. Sheer, clean and soft it’s a dreamy, soothing scent as pure as fresh spring water and ethereal as crystalline mountain air beckoning you to breathe it. Green leaves, air and water are sprinkled with nutmeg, spearmint and basil and cool mint resting on delicate rose and violet feuilles and dewy oakmoss gives a subtle “anytime” scent that is sparklingly refreshing.

  • Mediterranean Lily A sublime bounty of soft white blooms of waterlilies, lys blanc, gardenias and jasmine are interlaced with the freshness of italian bergamot and the sensuality of sandalwood transporting you to a magical Mediterranean garden on a sunny day when the warm summer breeze carries the scent of wild flowers through the air. Sophisticated and elegant, super feminine.

  • Snowpeach Dreamily delicious, Snowpeach is a luscious, mouth-watering blend of ripe peaches combined with notes of green leaves, delicate orange blossom. Zesty white grapefruit adds a hint of sparkle while seductive undertones of mulberry, hyacinth and musk emerge to further tantalize the senses.

  • Tuberose An exotic white floral of alluring and intoxicating tuberose flowers combined with freshness of bergamot, sweet orange blossom, seductive ylang ylang are laced with sensual undertones of musk, amber, moss and vanilla.

  • Musk Fresh top notes of italian bergamot, french lavender and sweet orange are blended with exotic spice and the freshness of woody rose de mai, but the real character of the fragrance lies in the base which embodies the warmth and sensuality of creamy musks, earthen woods, amber and the richness of tonka and vanilla.

  • Jasmine Jasmine begins with a sparkling blend of bergamot, mandarin, cassis and leafy vines combined with lusciously sweet french jasmine, exotic ylang ylang, tuberose and elegant bulgarian rose unveiling a smooth, mellow base of oakmoss, patchouli, vanilla, tonka, amber and a hint of musk.

My favorite fragrance in this collection is Tuberose. It is a warm, creamy blend of white flowers brightened by orange blossom and anchored with a musky/amber base. I also really like the Mediterranean Lily. It is light and bright and smells very much like a warm summer day. I personally found the Snowpeach to be a little too tutti-fruitti for my taste, but I could see it being very popular for teenage girls. The eau de parfum lasted about 2 hours on my skin, while the Jasmine perfume oil lasted slightly longer (about 3 hours).

Renée perfumes are packaged in chic white boxes tied with black grosgrain ribbon. They may be purchased online at

Parfum Vial Sampler Set - 5 x 1ml $7.95
Mini Fragrance Wardrobe - 5 x 10ml $75
Parfum - 30ml $59
Mini Parfum - 10ml $18.95
Perfume Oil (Jasmine and Musk only) 8ml - $45

image and fragrance notes source:

Friday, February 23, 2007

Chanel Delight: 31 rue Cambon

Rear Window image
Every one of these is as good as it gets, but one gave me an emotion I hadn’t felt for years. It was the thrill of feminine beauty, the pang of pain and longing you get in Rear Window when Grace Kelly breezes in, throws her coat on a chair and saunters over to give James Stewart a kiss....

These are the words used by renowned perfume expert Luca Turin to describe one of Chanel's six new Exclusif fragrances. Before I reveal which one he is talking about, I want to add that yes, that is what a good fragrance is supposed to do. Ideally, it will stir an emotion or bring up a memory in a way that is immediate and visceral. Kudos to Luca for his magical way of expressing such things.

The fragrance he is referring to is 31 Rue Cambon. As you may recall from my previous post, it is named after Chanel’s original boutique address in Paris. Luca considers it to be the best Chypre in thirty years.

I will defer to Mr. Turin about this fragrance being the best Chypre in thirty years. For my part, I will say that it is simply one of the best fragrances I have smelled in thirty years. With notes of iris, labdanum, jasmine, rose and sandalwood, this fragrance starts off with a poignantly sweet blast of dry iris. It gradually releases its floral heart notes and then seals the deal with the softness of sandalwood.

rue 31 Cambon is one of those fragrances that just keeps getting better and better with each passing hour. I find myself repeatedly smelling my wrist when I wear this scent, always delighted by its lovely character. It already has a place of honor on my list of favorites.

Available at Chanel boutiques. The telephone number for the East 57th street boutique in NYC is (212) 355-5050. They will gladly ship your order.

Price: $175 for 200 ml eau de toilette; $160 for 15 ml perfume.
Source for Rear Window image:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sparks - Perfume Video

Here is a video of the first single to be released from Sparks' 20th album, Hello Young Lovers. It's called "Perfume." It's hip and groovy, like you, dear readers, and will no doubt make you nostalgic for perfumes you haven't thought of in years! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Les Caprices de Lolita: Lolita Lempicka Launches 3 New Scents

Les Caprices de Lolita
It has been 10 years since the design house Lolita Lempicka launched its first fragrance, Lolita Lempicka, the highly successful blend of vanilla, liquorice, greens, florals and musk. To celebrate this tenth anniversary, Lolita Lempicka has created a trio of three new fragrances: "Les Caprices de Lolita" (the Whims of Lolita). The collection includes Violette, a subtle, modern violet fragrance; Réglisse, with notes of liquorice and patchouli; and Amarena, containing notes of sugary almond and white musks. The fragrances are designed to be worn alone or layered in combination.

"Les Caprices de Lolita" will be available in March 2007.

Price: 125 € for the box set, which includes a flacon of Lolita Limpicka 50-ml Eau de Parfum spray , and one 20-ml vaporizer bottle of each Caprice: Violet, Réglisse, and Amarena.

image and information source:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Better-Know-A-Niche Perfumery: elizabethW

Golden Gate Bridge
I am noticing an interesting trend in the world of niche perfumery. While once concentrated in French and British locales, there are an increasing number of top-notch niche perfumeries arising in the USA. Many of these are located on the West coast, particularly in California and Oregon.

elizabethW Magnolia Eau de Parfum
One such perfumery is elizabethW, located in San Francisco, California. Founder Albert E. Wightman was deeply influenced by his dynamic and free-spirited great-grandmother, Elizabeth, for whom the line is named. He was also influenced by the scent of fresh flowers and herbs he found on Elizabeth's western ranch during his youth. With his background in architecture, Albert applied his appreciation for careful design to the creation of his perfume line. This aesthetic is reflected in the clean lines and modern packaging of his fragrance, skin care, and home fragrance products.

The elizabethW collections are, in Albert's words,
clean, simple, sophisticated, elegant, and totally original. They reflect an emphasis on quality and beauty, valuable lessons passed down through the generations from Elizabeth Wightman, my great grandmother.

The Eau de Parfum collection consists of 10 fragrances, each built around a dominant note. While each stands on its own, the fragrances readily lend themselves to layering in order to create one's own unique blend.

Here are the fragrances, in alphabetical order:

CITRUS VERVAIN: Refreshing, embracing, awakening. Extracts of star ruby grapefruit, mandarin, and lime peel entwine with lemon scented verbena leaves.

LAVENDER: Herbal, meditative, soothing. Dominant lavender notes blend with other herbaceous and woody tones in this distinctly harmonious scent.

LEAVES: Fresh, evocative, clean. A soft, woody base of Atlas cedar and sandalwood balance amber with green, leafy top notes.

LILAC: Romantic, fresh, intensely floral. A single note from boughs of spring-time lilacs brightened with subtle hints of jasmine, neroli, and freesia.

MAGNOLIA: Soft, feminine, sensual. White magnolia petals deepened with saffron and sandalwood, mingle with mimosa and gardenia.

NEROLI CHAMOMILE: Nurturing, tranquil, softly soothing. A floral bouquet of neroli, ylang ylang and iris extracts, enlivened by the rich balsamic, freshly herbal notes and wild roses enhanced with hawthorn.

ROSE: Irresistible, passionate, sophisticated. Moist green notes and wild roses enhanced with hawthorn.

SWEET TEA: Gracious, spirited, elegant. Enticing oriental black teas, juicy fresh Amalfi lemons, and the sweetness of almond honey.

TUBEROSE: Lasting floral, compelling, a classic bouquet. A richly sweet, heady aroma, accented by gardenia, jasmine, amber, and orange flower.

VETIVER: Earthy, woody, confident. An original creation of heavy vetiver, balanced with light, citrus tones and green tints of bergamot from peels of nearly ripe fruit.

I find the entire collection to be light, beautiful and easily wearable. My top three picks are Magnolia, a luscious white floral (think: daytime garden party); Tuberose, a rich, classic floral (think: puttin' on the Ritz!); and Sweet Tea, a warm, tea-scented fragrance with a little kick of lemon (think: laid-back Saturday afternoon). I like that that this collection has a wide range of scents, from leafy green Leaves to light citrus Citrus Vervain to full-on floral Rose so that there is bound to be something for everyone.

The line is available in select boutiques and online at the elizabethW website.

Full-size 2-oz. Eau de Parfum spray: $35; Travel-size 1/2-oz. Eau de Parfum spray: $20.
Golden Gate Bridge image source: daniel steger at
perfume image source: elizabethW

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fragrance Launch: Theo Fennell Scent

Theo Fennell Scent
"It's a proper, old-fashioned heavy scent, redolent of evenings of gorgeousness, luxury, decadence and naughtiness," said Fennell. (from

These are the words used by jewelry designer Theo Fennell to describe his debut fragrance, Theo Fennell Scent, which launched in London this month.

Blended by Christophe Laudamiel of International Flavors & Fragrances, its chypre oriental juice comprises top notes of saffron, cardamom, lily, rose and orchid. At its heart are jasmine sambac, orange flower, cumin and cinnamon notes, while base notes include patchouli, tonka bean, labdanum, sandalwood and benzoin.

...For Scent's bottle, Fennell, who also designs silverware, plumbed for a heavy glass orb featuring a seal with the brand's logo. "It is designed to be very simple and very elegant on a woman's dressing table or wherever she performs her ablutions," said Fennell. "It's sophisticated, bold and sexy."

Scent initially will be available exclusively at Fennell's London flagship and Harrods department store for six months. It will then be released internationally.

Price: 75ml eau de parfum spray: £68 ($134 at current exchange rates).
image and information source:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Better-Know-A-Niche Perfumery: Téo Cabanel

My great love in writing this blog is discovering new (to me) niche perfumeries and sharing them with my readers. Today I will be discussing the French niche perfumery, Téo Cabanel.

The Cabanel company was founded in Algiers around 1893 by a doctor/chemist who created essences for Colognes. The House moved to Paris in 1908, where it became the preferred perfumery of the Duchess of Windsor. Fast-forward to this century, and the House has reasserted itself as a creator of luxurious perfumes made with the finest natural elements. Master perfumer Jean-Francois Latty is the nose behind all three of the fragrances, two of which were launched in 2006.

Julia is a daytime fragrance with top notes of Sicilian Madarin, Rhubarb Greens and Blackcurrant; heart notes of Jasmine, Hyacinth and Violet; and base notes of Sandalwood, Incense, Citrus, Raspberry and Musk.

Oha is an elegant evening fragrance with top notes of Bergamot and Tea; heart notes of Bulgarian and Moroccan Roses, Egyptian Jasmine and Guatemalan Cardamone; and base notes of Vanilla, Iris, Tonka Bean, Exotic Woods and White Musk.

The house's newest fragrance, Alahine, will be launched this spring. It is a sweet-ambery fragrance inspired by Oriental elegance and Persian palaces. It contains top notes of Bergamot and Lavender; heart note of Bulgarian rose; and base notes of Vanilla, Pepper Tree, Iris, Benzoin and Patchouli.

These fragrances are (or soon will be) available at henri bendel (telephone 800.423.6335). They are also available at Galeries Lafayette.

Price: $180 perfume (15ml); $135 EDP spray (100ml); $96 EDP spray (50 ml).

For more information, please see Téo Cabanel.

image source: osmoz
information source: Téo Cabanel and Osmoz.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day from The Perfume Bee!!!

Dance at Bougiva

I want to wish all of you a happy and well-scented Valentine's Day! In honor of this romantic day, I will be breaking from tradition and reviewing a .... pomegranate. Specifically, I am referring to Santa Maria Novella's Terra Cotta Pomegranate. As you may know, the pomegranate was used as a symbol of fertility in ancient times. To me, it symbolizes infinite possibility as represented by the scores of ruby-red seeds contained within.

SMN Terra Cotta Pomegranate
This fist-sized clay orb is carefully made by hand and then fired in a kiln until it is half-baked. Then it is immersed in a tub of pomegranate oil essence for a full week, and then fired to completion. This process seals the fragrance inside the pomegranate with the scent lasting 9-12 months.

I had no idea pomegranate oil was so sweet and powdery. The terra cotta pomegranate emits a soft, fruity smell redolent of an autumn day in the country. It is sitting on my desk now, not unlike a pet rock, quietly releasing its fragrance. I like the fact it requires no maintenance and no candles, matches or electricity. It's refreshingly low tech and quite pleasant to look at.

The SMN Terra Cotta Pomegranate costs $55 and can be purchased in the Santa Maria Novella Los Angeles store (a Sniffa LA destination where we received the royal treatment) and SMN New York City store or online.
Top image: Dance at Bougiva (1883) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir; The Museum of Fine Arts at Boston; source:

Bottom image: Photo of terra cotta pomegranate © The Perfume Bee.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Los Angeles Sniffapalooza at Apothia 2007

Karen A, Christine and Karen D at LA Sniffapalooza

Karen Adams, moi, and Karen Dubin at LA Sniffapalooza 2007

This picture shows me standing with Sniffapalooza founder Karen Dubin (to my left) and her Sniffa collaborator, Karen Adams. The photo was snapped after more than 10 hours of sniffing perfume, talking about perfume, listening to talks about perfume, shopping for perfume, and sniffing more perfume. I, for one, was feeling a bit rummy by this point. But all fatigue aside, the LA Sniffapalooza West Coast Premiere was a pure slice of heaven!

Here is what the day looked like: Imagine being surrounded by over fifty people with a common passion for perfume, bare-wrists extended and perfume testers at the ready! Now add in a lovely breakfast at Mauro's Cafe at Fred Segal Melrose while a series of guest speakers discuss everything from making niche perfumes to the genesis of a top-selling fragrance to the use of fragrance to scent venues (think: the aroma of chocolate wafting through the theater for the premier of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

Follow this with shopping and sniffing at Ron Robinson's wonderful Apothia, lunch at Chocolat with a fragrance workshop presented by Sarah Horowitz-Thran (founder of Creative Scentualizations), shopping and sniffing at the darling Santa Maria Novella boutique, and High Tea at Chado Tea Room with guest speakers (Miryana Babic of i Profume di Firenze; Adam Eastwood, co-founder of; and Marlen Harrison, founder of

Top off this perfect day with a private reception at the Palmetto Boutique where Miryana Babic and her sweet mother, Rosie, presented the i Profume de Firenze line. As an added bonus, enjoy the expert touch-up from professional make-up artist Fredericke Grillitz of i.q. beauty who was on-site to help revive our flagging complexions. (If I may digress just a moment... her Luminous eye cream is incredible! A few well-placed dabs of this gel- based cream under my eyes was like a refreshing mini-facial. Perhaps it has something to do with the crushed pearls it contains. I don't know, but I do know it made my face feel positively "glowy.")

Add all this up, and you have the recipe for one fragrantly fabulous day!

The best part (I know you're expecting me to say the goodie bags -- well, yes, they were wonderful, but they're not even the best part) of the whole Sniffapalooza was being with like-minded "perfume people." Let's face it, sometimes we perfume-lovers can feel a bit isolated when our friends and loved ones look at us with a mix of pity and perplexity as we proudly show them our most recent fragrant discovery. So for me, the highlight of the day was meeting new perfume-loving friends and being able to spend time discussing the nuances of individual fragrances without seeing eyes rolled up in boredom. And it was an absolute pleasure to meet people whom I've only known through email correspondence and as readers of The Perfume Bee. Putting names with faces really brought it all together for me.

I will talk more about the day's individual speakers and perfume discoveries in future posts. For now, I leave you with a few more pictures from the day. And, if you're so inclined, mark your calendars for the Spring Sniffapalooza in New York City happening March 31-April 1st. You can check out their website for more information.

Karen Dubin and Ron Robinson at Apothia
Karen Dubin and Ron Robinson at Apothia

Sarah Horowitz-Thran at Chocolat
Sarah Horowitz-Thran at Chocolat

Miryana Babic at Palmetto
Miryana Babic at Palmetto

Christine, Eliza and Marlen
Christine, Eliza and Marlen at Palmetto

cute little visitor at Santa Maria Novella
Cute little visitor at Santa Maria Novella

photos © The Perfume Bee

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Scent Bar: A Perfume-Lover's Delight!

I arrived in Los Angeles early today for the first-ever LA Sniffapalooza. Since the event doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, this gave me time to make a beeline to The Scent Bar, the brick-and-mortar store of When I say beeline, I mean beeline as in: drive a rental car all over LA for two hours looking for 8327 Beverly Blvd. (Beverly Blvd. is not the same as Beverly Lane. Who knew?!?)

Long story short, I made it to my destination and I am happy to say it was well worth the effort. The sales associate, Angela, was extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. She was also unstintingly gracious as I requested bottle after bottle of fragrance to test. The counter was littered with literally dozens of fragrant test strips by the time I finished.

The collection of niche fragrances in this store is beyond wonderful. Even though the in-store collection represents only a partial selection of's total collection, it offers a very representative sample of their wide-reaching yet carefully-selected range. Here are just a few of the lines I sampled: Isabey; Keiko Mecheri; La Base; 10 Corso Como; Parfum d'Empire; Sage EDTs; Nanadebary; Montale; People of the Labyrinths; LesNez;

So of all of these, which one did I consider most full-bottle worthy?

10 Corso Como
This beautiful, incensey fragrance is a departure from my usual light sparkling florals. It is a very warm, woodsy scent starting off with a big dose of delicious sandalwood and frankincense. Soon, a beautiful combination of rose and geranium peek through. Other notes include musk, vetiver and Malay oud wood oil. This is a rich, complex scent with (so far) 3+ hours of staying power.

Cost: $60/ 50 ml eau de parfum at

Tomorrow I will be Sniffapaloozing from 8:30 am until 7:00 pm. Stay tuned for a full report!
images source:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Valentine's Day Fragrance: Gift with a Conscience...

photo source: the body shop

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, our thoughts naturally turn toward the obvious: gifting our loved ones with a beautiful new fragrance. When such gifting can be combined with a good cause, so much the better. One such example is The Body Shop's new limited edition Rougeberry MTV fragrance. The Body Shop has teamed up with MTV to launch the 'Stop HIV: Spray to Change Attitudes' campaign.

Together we are working to raise awareness amongst young people about HIV and AIDS, and raise funds for MTV's Staying Alive Foundation, who support grass-roots charities around the world to help raise awareness and educating young people about HIV and AIDS. Together we've produced a Limited Edition bottle of our sparkling new Rougeberry fragrance. Proceeds from the sale of every Limited Edition bottle go to the Staying Alive Foundation. (source: the body shop international).

Rougeberry contains:

  • Top Notes: raspberry, tangerine and apple

  • Middle Notes: heliotrope, rose, violet and peach

  • Base Notes: musk, amber, cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla and sugared almond

Cost: 1 fl-oz. eau de toilette Rougeberry MTV $16

To know more about the Staying Alive Foundation, please see their website.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Coco Chanel is Inspiration for Six New Fragrances: Les Exclusifs

"A women who doesn't wear perfume has no future". -- Coco Chanel

Leave it to Coco to tell it like it is!

Coco Chanel's colorful and fascinating life provides the inspiration for the six new fragrances being launched by Chanel this month. Les Exclusifs are based on the things and places beloved by Mlle. Chanel. Created by Chanel perfumer Jacques Polge, these fragrances sound very intriguing. In an interview in The Australian, Christopher Sheldrake (deputy perfumer at Chanel) states, "Jacques Polge wanted to create something original and different." The article continues:

Each new fragrance balances innovation with historical inspiration, referencing the spirit and history of Mademoiselle Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, and places, houses and furnishings that were important to her. Polge and Sheldrake have worked with exceptional and exclusive raw ingredients, including some not often used by the perfume industry, such as ambrette seed and iris pallida, both rare and low-yield natural materials.

The six fragrances are:

  • 28 La Pausa, a powdery floral named for Coco's estate on the French Riviera;

  • 31 Rue Cambon, named for Coco's couture atelier, is a spicy, patchouli-based scent with notes of jasmine and rose;

  • No. 18, named for the address of the Chanel jewelry boutique on Place Vendôme, has a heart note of ambrette seed;

  • Coromandel, refers to the Chinese screens that adorned her Paris apartments. It is a blend of amber and wood with a hint of creamy vanilla;

  • Bel Respiro, named for Coco's first country house, has green, stemmy notes;

  • Eau de Cologne, which is a unisex, neroli oil-based fragrance with the addition of musk, vetiver and green notes.

Chanel is also re-launching four older scents which have been hard to obtain in recent years: Bois des Iles (woodsy); Cuir de Russie (leathery); No. 22 (like a lighter version of No. 5); and Gardénia (a bright floral).

The fragrances will be available at Chanel Boutiques and Bergdorf Goodman February 12th.

Cost: $175/ 100 ml eau de toilette.

photo source:
quote source:
fragrance descriptions source: W Magazine

Monday, February 05, 2007

Better-Know-A-Nose: Stéphanie de Saint Aignan and Céline Ellena

In a recent posting (here), we talked about the 2007 fragrance collection of designer Stéphanie de Saint Aignan. Osmoz features a terrific interview with de Saint Aignan in its series on "up and coming fragrance designers."

...I wanted to design fragrances that have something to say, ones whose goal isn't to go mass market, but exclusive distribution. Fragrances for aesthetes, people who stand out in a crowd, those rare people who don't wear a brand, but a fragrance they maintain a relationship with. (Read the rest of the Osmoz interview

The Osmoz series also interviews perfumer Céline Ellena, of The Different Company. When asked about her influences as a designer, she replies,
I would say there's a bit of a joyful mess that I dip into depending on my mood! I don't have one particular reference, nor school of thought. On the other hand, I profess boundless love for human beings. I'm quite curious, and probably a bit of a voyeur, too... (Read the rest of the interview here).

To read my review of The Different Company, please see this posting.

I find the "noses" behind the fragrances as interesting as the fragrances themselves. The motivation and creative inspiration for each scent is a story unto itself. Just knowing a bit about the person behind the fragrance makes wearing the scent an even richer experience.
photo source: Michael Jastremski at

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Perfume & Technology: Smell Phones!

Move over cell phones. Now there are smell phones! Two major cell phone manufacturers have announced the creation of cell phones which are capable of emitting fragrances.

Japan's top wireless operator, NTT DoCoMo, recently described the Sony Ericsson SO703i,

which comes with scented sheets designed to relax the users while making calls. The phone offers nine aroma choices for the consumer, each coupled with a different panel design. (from; photo source:

This phone will initially be available only in Japan.

Meanwhile, Hyundai (source: phoneyworld) has also released a perfume phone: the Hyundai MP 280. It, too, has changeable cover panels in a variety of colors.

This phone differs from the Sony model in that you can actually add perfume to it so that each time you open the phone to make or receive a call, the scent is released. Further, it is possible to refill the perfume receptacle once the effect starts to decrease with the handy syringe that comes with the phone.

The butterfly in the center of the phone is where you "inject" the perfume into the handset. About 2 drops of the scent are enough to last about 8 hours.

The phone will go on sale in China for about 9900 yuan (around 1,225.00 USD).

Can smell tones be far behind?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Better-Know-a-Niche Perfumery: Tom Ford's Private Blend Fragrance Collection

Though technically not a niche perfumer, the release of designer Tom Ford's new collection of 12 exquisite fragrances is about to put him into that category. Private Blend consists of a dozen unique scents designed to appeal to both women and men. Made from very fine and expensive ingredients, they include:

  • Amber Absolute

  • Noir de Noir

  • Velvet Gardenia

  • Black Violet

  • Tobacco Vanille

  • Oud Wood

  • Purple Patchouli

  • Bois Rouge

  • Japan Noir

  • Neroli Portofino

  • Tuscan Leather

  • Moss Breches

In, Ford points out that "these are fully developed fragrances, not one-note products."

Purple Patchouli is "sort of Sixties, with orchid, black leather and amber," said Ford. "Bois Rouge has red cedarwood; Noir de Noir is a chypre oriental with patchouli and tree moss; Moss Breches is this really rare moss, and Tobacco Vanille smells like pipe tobacco..."

This collection is scheduled to launch with the opening of Ford's new Manhattan store in Spring 2007 (located at Madison & 70th Street). Each scent will be available in a 1.7-oz. eau de parfum spray for $165 and an 8.3-oz. eau de parfum decanter for $450.
info and photo source:; photo by John Aquino

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New: Edith Piaf Fragrance and Film...

Photo of Edith PiafIn my mind, Edith Piaf's hauntingly beautiful voice epitomizes the mystery and magic of all that is French. I love listening to my Éternelle cd and I invariably get misty-eyed when she sings her most well-known song, La Vie en Rose. So I was thrilled to learn that 1) a new movie about her life is being released this month; and 2) Balmain has created a new perfume to celebrate the opening of this film.

Here is a clip of Edith singing this song on

La Vie en Rose is a biopic film starring Marion Cotillard and co-starring Gerard Depardieu, Sylvie Testud and Emmanuelle Seigner. The film is directed by french filmmaker Olivier Dahan and will premiere at the 57th Berlin Film Festival later this month.

In the U.S., the film will be called, La Môme, which refers to Piaf's nickname, La Môme Piaf, The Sparrow Kid. She was quite a petite woman, only 4 feet, 8 inches tall (142 cm), and she took on the name Piaf (sparrow) as her stage name (from wikipedia). The film is slated for a 2007 release in the U.S., with no opening date set yet.
Here is a clip from the new movie.

The new fragrance by Balmain is also named La Môme. It is a floral-oriental scent containing:

  • Top notes: May Rose, Freesia and Pink Bay;

  • Heart notes: Damask Rose, Violet, Raspberry and Myrrh;

  • Base notes: Iris, musk, amber and opoponax

photo of La MomeIt will be available exclusively at Marionnaud parfumeries. Cost: 41.40 euros/50 ml eau de parfum; 59.20 euros/100 ml eau de parfum.