Category Archives: Floral Aldehydes

METALLIQUE by TOM FORD (2019)

 

I am a bit late to the cruise ship with this one, but it is quite nice ( yes ! to powdery crisp bergamot aldehydes, hawthorn, heliotrope, and soft balsams) even if I was expecting

 

 

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but got something more akin to something like

 

 

 

 

 

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;

 

 

 

 

 

Snug, musky – – —- safe

6 Comments

Filed under Cosy Comforting Orientals, Floral Aldehydes

MORABITO OR NOIR (1980)

 

 

 

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I love perfumes like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Packing up Z’s collection (they are driving down now as we speak from Tokyo and I am going to take them out to lunch), I am trying a few last things before all the precious fragrances are carted away forever. I vaguely remember reading about Or Noir – Black Gold – in the original Luca Turin Le Guide, and it is a lovely, delicate, lucent floral teetering on the edge of chypre : may rose fuelled by narcissus, muguet and ylang; a quiet shine of oakmoss and a hint of clove, with a dry allegation of vanilla (and possibly patchouli); so flawlessly understated and blended and put together ; so elegant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(sigh)

 

 

15 Comments

Filed under Chypre

THE JOY, THE HORROR : : WHITE DIAMONDS PURE PARFUM by ELIZABETH TAYLOR (1991) + POSSESSION by CORDAY (1937)

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As I work my way prodigiously through Z’s vintage perfume collection I discover new (but old) things.  One such essence is Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary White Diamonds, which I smelled in vintage extrait for the first time last night, pouched in its little black felt coochy bag, resplendent as a Fabergé egg. My eyes widened with desire as I carefully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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unstoppered the bottle to smell a scintillating liquid containing everything : as though Ysatis were a minted American tourist travelling  in Versailles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The thing is gorgeous.

Full, rounded (‘Egyptian tuberose’, narcissus, jasmine, all the flowers, you name them, over woods and musks and aldehydes and violets and sandalwood and amber and musks),

 

 

 

 

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‘ the fragrance dreams are made of’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At least initially.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Soon, though still beautifully constructed by Carlos Benaim (Carolina Herrera, Red Door, Flowerbomb); a familiarly smug and soignée presence emerges: that of the self-satisfied woman of a certain age without a glimmer of doubt, not a hair’s breadth, of who she will be voting for come November’s election. You hear her slam her SUV shut; lock the big white gate behind her. Lights out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AT THIS POINT WHITE DIAMONDS  MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I cannot hear the word Possession and not think of the electrifying film by Andrzej Żuławski from 1981 in which Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill brilliantly out-Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton themselves as a married couple plummeting into psychosis in Cold War Berlin, an extended allegory on the fury of love; an apotheosis. It is a film once seen, never forgotten, the pivotal scene where Adjani torments into full throttled hysteria in a train tunnel jaw-dropping to behold, the conclusion agonizing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The very idea of possession is terrifying. Not only demonic, but also romantic. Being ‘possessed’ by someone. I always find songs about lovers not wanting to breathe or sleep, or be away from their beloveds for even one second extraordinarily creepy – Aerosmith’s Don’t Want To Miss A Thing being the worst contender :  “I Don’t want to close my eyes…….”; the idea of another person staying up all night watching you; people ‘making love’ all night long, wearing each other out, it could almost make you yearn for a Gwyneth unconscious uncoupling (and let’s not begin a conversation about her erotic candle).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, Possession the perfume is not excessively possessive nor will require you to dial up the local exorcist, but is rather a very clingy floral aldehyde in the manner of all of those perfumes like Lanvin’s My Sin and any other Ernst Beaux doppelgängers that inherit the earth like zombies somnambulating across the perfumed landscape wide-eyed in search of the original Chanel No 5, which this is quite obviously emulating. Sweet, precious, this perfume is very heartfelt and lovely; musky and floral, but

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SORRY I NEED SOME FRESH AIR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 Comments

Filed under CLAUSTROPHOBIA, Floral Aldehydes, Floriental, occasionally sickening scents, operatic

ALL OVER MYSELF ::::::::: CRISTAL Pour Homme by AMOUAGE

 

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On Monday morning at Strawberry Fields in Kamakura I had a naughtyish splurge on a cache : for sixty pounds sterling, a vintage 30ml Opium parfum, a No 19, a Caron Fleurs De Rocaille extrait, but these were kind of thrown in, really, because the real purchase, and prize, was this vintage edition of Amouage Cristal for men ( or possibly Gold? Experts please weigh in ) that was roaring to me silently from the top of the glass shelf.

 

 

 

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The bottom of the bottle says Cristal, apparently a rare perfume on eBay that sells for around 1,000 dollars  – the Japanese internet has one for half that

 

 

 

 

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but the notes do seem to match those of Gold, an intense ( though this word doesn’t do it justice, not remotely ; I have never known anything like it ), aldehydically animalic, musky soapy floral that smells just like a pristine extract of Madame Rochas parfum on United Arab Emirates steroids and cristillated to spectacularly nuclear strength.

 

 

 

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The second I sprayed this oily, golden slick of perfume on the back of my hand I experienced a delirium tremens of being enveloped, head to toe, in regal downiness and flowers; rose, jasmine, but most specifically a powdery sandalwood and overall smell that reminded me very specifically of Imperial Leather soap – which I have always loved, and can use up a whole bar of in one long sitting…………….despite the swirl of richness gradually coalescing into one skin smell, the overall feeling is definitely that familiar scent; I use the talc and the deodorant spray, and having this too as the main event after all that initial background pampering will be orgiastically pleasurable for me. I was practically WRITHING on the train back home in olfactory arousal: tending and loosening like a cat in heat ……  perhaps the sublimated civet, that I experience without consciously sensing it: some secret code of sensuality immersed in the blend that makes it just so horny yet so MAJESTIQUE.

 

 

 

 

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To me, anyway.

 

 

 

 

D was having none of it.

 

 

 

 

 

“it smells……. pissy, or something” he said when we met in Ofuna : “I don’t like it”.

 

 

 

 

 

“UGH”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And on Basenotes :

 

 

 

 

“Musky, soapy floral, like taking a bath in the clawfoot tub of my gtandmother’s house in the seventies “

 

 

 

says one reviewer.

 

 

 

“I got through the initial blast of granny’s partially soiled bloomers, tiptoeing around the house trying to avoid my wife”,

 

 

 

 

says another.

 

 

 

 

Most other reviewers spin variations on this ‘old lady’ incontinence theme ( WHICH I DON’T GET AT ALL ::: I JUST SMELL SWOONWORTHY ARAB PRINCES IN WHITE ROBES )

 

 

 

– an (ageist, sexist ?), scaredy-cat reaction to a man’s scent that veers from the usual, ‘masculine’ brutality? Or maybe Duncan is right after all and I am just blind : though he does like the beginning, which is glorious: derailingly erotic for me personally, there is something in the base he can’t abide. A grimacing recoil.  It almost makes me fearful, like some dreaded halitosis I am unaware of, that my olfactory apparatus has gone awry. Why does it smell like that to him ??????

 

 

 

 

As another reviewer of the perfume says,    (as I mentioned I think this perfume must be Gold, (though please correct me if I am wrong) / could the ‘cristal’ on the glass be just referring to the material of which the bottle is made? It does feel ludicrously expensive]]

 

 

 

 

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Yes. That was what I was wanting to say.

 

 

 

 

Wow is precisely the word I would use to describe this extravagant creation.

 

 

 

Which obviously I am only going to be able to wear indulgently alone, doors locked and bolted ,at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37 Comments

Filed under amber floral musks, Antidotes to the banality of modern times, Civet, Classics, Floral Aldehydes, FUCK EVERYTHING, Hairy Masculines, LUXURIANCE, Masculines, Musk, New Beginnings, occasionally sickening scents, PERFUME AND PERFORMANCE, pigs, postcards from the edge, Powder, Psychodrama, Urine

CAPRICCI (1960)

The perils of editing a post on your phone on the bus.

It’s disappeared!

Irretrievable

 

 

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13 Comments

Filed under Floral Aldehydes

IN SHADOWS…………ALPONA EXTRAIT DE PARFUM by CARON (1939)

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Christ In the Sepulcher Guarded by Angels William Blake, c. 1805

 

 

 

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‘IN THE MIDDLE of the journey of our life, I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost. It is a hard thing to speak of: how wild, harsh and impenetrable that wood was, so that thinking of it recreates the fear. It is scarcely less bitter than death: but, in order to tell of the good that I found there, I must tell of the other things I saw there….’

 

I always think of Dante’s Divine Comedy when I think of Alpona. Like the opening canto of the Inferno, in which Dante Alighieri finds himself awakening in the midst of a dark green canopy of trees, Alpona, though ostensibly a citrus chypre, has something inchoate, resinous; boscous, as though one were being transported through a temporal portal into a new, but vaguely terrifying, world.

 

 

The effect is achieved with a highly unusual combining of accords that are most inventive. Most present to the nose is the deep essential oil of the green bitter orange, its oil glands piqued and pressed and accentuated with furtherings of grapefruit rind and thyme, unsweetened and verdurous, leading down dark, umbrous paths of forested pine trees, dry myrrh; santal, cedarwood, earthen patchouli and rich, Ernst Daltroff murmurings of oakmoss.

 

 

Alpona is a most peculiar and fascinating perfume. And I can think of nothing else that remotely resembles it. Once the base notes come into play, with their, soft, poisonous caress of what almost smells like bitter almonds (a strange note of raisin also making its unusual presence known), the scent becomes more knowing, comforting: a tree shaded, fir-needling papousse. But Alpona, perhaps Caron’s most impenetrable and ambiguously androgynous perfume, never really lets its ultimate intentions be known.

 

 

 

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(c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

29 Comments

Filed under Chypre, Citrus

FIRST by VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS (1976)

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My mother’s perfume,  and in my opinion a late modern masterpiece.

 

Released in 1976, Jean Claude Ellena’s uncharacteristically neo-classical ‘First’ took on the classic aldehydic floral, but maximised, reordered, and fresh-orchestered it with a gorgeously lush, green jasminesque bouquet centered principally on roses and jasmine – not just one, but three varietals – taking all the best cues from les grandes aldehydés  but just adding more of everything (orchid, muguet, carnation, hyacinth, and tuberose in dazzling profusion). A quite brilliant creation was the result, irrepressible and magnetic, with extra lift and vitality in the top notes given in the the top notes of blackcurrant bud cassis, (the first perfume to use this note, hence the name); peach, mandarin, and a sharp, green-leafed kick of raspberry.

 

In pristine form, this is a very beautiful scent –  vivacious and extrovert, yet with gentler strokes of introversion that lie within the soul of the perfume like the silk lining of a beautifully tailored coat: a feminine duality that makes the perfume so fully rounded. Quietly lingering, the perfume dies down later  to an understated, yet sensuous, accord of vetiver, honey and musk.

 

 

For me, always an essential part of the pantheon.

 

 

 

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Ps. Happy Birthday x

15 Comments

Filed under Floral Aldehydes, Flowers