YOUR SUAVE AROMAS…………ODIN NEW YORK, SEMMA (2013)

 

 

 

 

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t really do tobacco, except for the occasional Kretek Indonesian clove cigarette. Having said that, I do rather enjoy the experience of tobacco-leaf fragrances on others, and Semma, a pimento-laced, fresh, but very suave scent by New York based Odin, is one of the better ones I have smelled.

 

 

While it may lack the scathing, wet-haired, wolverine pangs of Miller Harris’ Feuilles De Tabac ( a scent bolstered with tanged, wet spices and dark ripe earth, like being chased through the forests by a beast who you ache for but who you know might kill you), and  it does not have the true-to-life, real, tobacco-tin aura that is L’Artisan Parfumeur’s beautiful Tea For Two (which smells exactly like the moment that my grandad would open his roll-leaf Virginia in that tightly sealed, aluminium tin when we went to their house on Sundays), it also does not – for me, thankfully, at least- possess the stomach churning sweetness that is inherent in Tom Ford’s popular Tobacco Vanille: that apple-pied tobacco, cinnamonic, nause-fest that even for this spectacular sweet tooth is just one step of creamed sugar-mama too far.

 

 

Semma does have the nose-tingling depth of tobacco however ; its brusque, masculine integrity that I like in more simple scents like Tea Tobacco by Retroverso – fresh, undemanding, yet pleasing –  as well as in another recent addition to the pantheon of nicotania (and a scent beloved of The Perfume Dandy,) the more ironically reserved Wild Tobacco by Illuminum.  Semma, though rather old school ( a touch too much I would say to make it truly essential ), nevertheless has a beautifully constructed classic framework around which myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon and fresh aromatics surround a prominent, and beautifully rendered, tobacco leaf.

 

 

The notes in this perfume ply round each other like stars in a constellation: each held; knowing its place. It is a stern, gentlemanly accord (and thus in all honesty, more intriguing on a woman), but there is enough sillage  - it is quite strong – to announce the perfume’s presence in a room without booming it obnoxiously. And, with its tweedish, Jermyn Street tailoring, and its initial, colognish citrus top notes, the perfume, over its duration on the skin, maintains a classy, and at times, even rakish, vibe.

 

 

 

While ultimately perhaps a touch too staid, the held-in, well made classicism is also what I like about Semma. The lithe piquancy of the pimiento peppers, the cool affability of the frankincense and myrrh; and the men’s-club, drifting, furnitured ambience of roiled, soft-leaf tobacco, make Semma an attractive, and appealingly well-crafted, tobacco fragrance that feels something like a safe, and solid, bet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under Flowers

PIU BELLODGIA + MY YLANG by CARON (2013)

Originally posted on The Black Narcissus:

Image

You cannot envy Richard Fraysse, head perfumer at Caron. Much maligned by perfume lovers for his reformulations of the Caron classics (whether in an attempt to bring them into line with modern sensibilities, to match IFRA regulations, or to bring the price of the formulas down for the pleasure of his accountants I couldn’t say), but in any case his strikes me as being  something of a lose-lose situation. Caron is in a funny position: revered, adored, yet with little consistency. The new perfumes are rightfully scorned (Yuzu Man? Miss Caron? I think not…), and when the perfumes you think you are buying are not what you hoped they would be, you know that with Caron, every perfume is something of a precarious risk.

Though I often think the rumours of total and disastrous reformulation are exaggerated, I have myself owned and been highly disappointed by certain contemporary versions of

View original 860 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Flowers

OCCIDENTALISM: : FRANGIPANE by SANTA MARIA NOVELLA (1828)

Image

 

 

Image

 

 

 

 

Image

 

 

 

One of the weirdest, but most intriguing, florals I have ever smelled, Santa Maria Novella’s enviable status as apothecary as much as perfumery certainly comes into focus in their most unusual offering.

 

With a dense, medicinal, almost creepy take on a tropical flower – herbal, smoky, heady and unlike anything else – it is hard to imagine what the monks were quite thinking of as they checked the macerations in their cellars; nodded ‘si’, and sagely began to pour the tarry liquid into bottles.

 

 

With its almost perverse combination of sanctity and putridity, I think that Frangipane is probably one of my favourites from SMN (along with the thyme-laden Sandalo, Tuberosa, Pot Pourri, Garofano, and their emotive, inimitably rarified patchouli), although I have yet to actually take the plunge and buy some. Surprisingly, I have also heard that Frangipane is popular with certain, in-the-know swathes of Tokyo dandies, who make the pilgrimage to the city’s fashion Mecca, Isetan, to keep themselves in stock. It is an oddball’s scent, certainly, with its faint, bourgeois-repelling echoes of the centuries; compelling in its strange austerity. The palpable, fruited loneliness of the basilica.

 

 

 

Frangipane is a warm, lilting oddity, as if the tropical flowers in question had been marauded; sequestered; and were now feverishly practicing cello in a grotto (cavernous notes of nutmeg, thyme, and Peru balsam overladled onto frangipani, tuberose and coal-touched orris). A genuinely original scent, it is definitely worth investigating if you yearn to escape from the every day; love flowers, herbs, spice, and dreams, but crave singularity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Comments

Filed under Flowers

clamber in

Image

6 Comments

Filed under Flowers

THREE SHOUTS OF: JOY by JEAN PATOU, 1930 : ODE by GUERLAIN,1955 : SNOB by LE GALION (1952)

Originally posted on The Black Narcissus:

Image

Image

Image

Joy, despite its legendary iconic status as one of the world’s classical grands parfums, is very much an acquired taste.

You can lust over this perfume, with its luscious, almost lascivious, natural rose and jasmine essences, its hints of tuberose, aldehydes and pear, then suddenly find it too much -  its tremulous, civeted in your faceness.

 

And this happened to my mother. A true jasmine lover, in her garden, or on her person, she has worn Joy or Eau De Joy (vintage, sent in the post by me), off and on for years, but then recently found that one day it suddenly repelled her and that she could no longer wear it, and so, instead, she has been sticking to her other trusted jasmine consort, First by Van Cleef & Arpels, surely an orchestral, vivacious grand parfum if ever there was one.

I myself think that Joy is a…

View original 589 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Flowers

THE BASE NOTES OF BLEU DE CHANEL

ginzaintherain:

Was there something in that lunar, red eclipse last night?

Had a great Tuesday, energized and happy, but today…. Wednesday ( I was born on a Wednesday, actually ( were you ?)

Is it true that we Wednesday-ites are excessively full of woe?

Originally posted on The Black Narcissus:

Image

Image

I often hate Wednesdays, and yesterday was no exception. The day started off well; I slept like a log and woke up invigorated;  the sky was blue, if sultry and humid, and I felt kind of in the mood to face my twelve hour day (Wednesdays and Fridays are my killers….)

Walking along in my own world, still half daydreaming, out of the blue…BAM! a woman in her fifties on a motorbike crashed head on into another on a bicycle, ramming into her and throwing her from her bicycle and onto the road, as a car came down the hill. Startled into action by the sudden shock of violence I rushed over to see if they were ok – fortunately the only injury was a cut leg, but both were shaken up and she seemed to be in some pain. Looking at the time I worried I might be late…

View original 1,429 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Flowers

BOSOMS IN MY WALLET………. TRESOR L’ABSOLU by LANCOME (2013)

 

 

I have a tendency to not pay my phone bill until it’s been cut off for enough time for it to become a real problem. That moment had definitely come today, so I dutifully went to the Softbank shop to do my business, opening my wallet to pay the unpaid bill for March/ April, forgetting, of course, that I had put, in amongst the Japanese bank notes I had got out the other day, a sprayed blotter paper full of Tresor L’Absolu ( that I had absently mindedly picked up while coming home from Shinagawa station on Sunday afternoon post flea-market (nothing to report I’m afraid apart from a two dollar bottle of vintage Dune parfum that I half poured all over myself on the train).

 

 

Handing over the money in the mobile place today I think I must have blushed, at least inwardly, for there bloomed before me, suddenly and out of the blue, an enormous, rose-peached, cleavage. The guy receiving the money seemed to acknowledge something – though he kept it to himself –  but there was no mistaking that incredible smell: it was TRESOR REDUX, back in all her full-bodied, curvaceous, Italianate glory; powdered, almost Nahema-like in its intensity and in ya face absolution, it gave me the sweetest, most nostalgic pangs; made me totally miss my friend Denise –  not short of a bob or two herself I might add in that department – she who now lives happily in Australia but who we used to spend so much time with here in Japan; Denise who wore the original Tresor like no other, who it suited, in her white t-shirts and freshly washed jeans, strutting along singing hysterical operatic arias and Julie Andrews madnesses, to utter perfection. 

 

 

After the nuclear levels of boredom that were engendered by Chanel Coco Noir, on espying the black bottled Tresor I imagined that some equally abhorrent dullness must have been committed on Lancome’s sweetest. But smelling it today, dazzling in its Bulgarian rosy, peach-killing, Marilyn Monroe-ish (surely she would have worn this?) no-ransom beauty, I realize that instead they absolved themselves of the perfume’s recent edition – wan, poor, and lacking something,  according to the armies of loyal Tresor-philes on Fragrantica – with a fuller, Godzilla edition of a scent that, while asphyxiating me in its big-cupped, dreamy fullness, makes me smile even now as I smell it wafting on the blotter, and truly, and deeply, miss my friend. 

2 Comments

Filed under Flowers