Category Archives: Rose perfumes

NOMBRE NOIR SLOB MARQUIS

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I haven’t had a shower in three days. Duncan has Type A influenza, and I am feeling weird myself as well. Like a man suffering from rabies, I am hating the thought of water touching my body. Instead, I am dousing myself in cloves; in all the Italian perfumes I was writing about the other day, and, to go to the shops, in my pyjamas and a hoodie (because I can’t be bothered to get dressed), I am steeped in the exquisitely rare parfum of Shiseido’s Nombre Noir.

 

 

In my initial, stunned review (because I couldn’t believe that I had found it for the equivalent of ten dollars, or whatever it was) I admitted to you that I was overwhelmed and a tad dry-eyed; I suspect at that point I had been reading all the ecstatic reviews with perfume lovers prostrating themselves purple-prosedly before the altar of Serge Lutens and Mr. Turin, and the cynical, devil’s advocate in me could only smell a variant of Knowing, Rose De Nuit, and Jean-Marc Sinan, and had to churlishly beg to differ.

 

 

I still think that Rose De Nuit is probably the closest I have smelled to this delicious, damasceneous perfume (YES, it is all about the damascones, the volatile, neon prune roses) and they leap out from my hoodlum, crumpled clothes and fill up the room, as does all my SPICE from my skin that lies beneath – and also the stench, I suppose, of my lingering, unwashed filth.

 

 

 

And yet as I walk out into the cold cold night surrounded by this dramatic, incandescent, and decadent perfume I feel like the French aristocracy; like an iconic marquis, like the sybaritic, indulgent royal scumbag that I possibly once was, in another life long ago

 

 

 

 

(and yes, the photo above is of me, taken just after that monster got into power…….I wonder…..is all of this deep perfume mania, this pungent incantation, some kind of livid, pointless revenge; some kind of talismanic attempt to frustratedly de-poison him, and it all, from my system? I don’t know; I know that I am still, as many of you are, traumatised……………..)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Antidotes to the banality of modern times, Psychodrama, Rose perfumes

A rose, by my mate Keith

 

 

 

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I am very conscious of the fact that you will be conscious of the fact that I am not writing. My well has run dry. I have nothing to say. I am exhausted and work has taken over (please forgive me), but I suppose that it was inevitable. I had four weeks off for spring, which was sheer bliss, and before that, right back until November, I had no morning classes and a much lighter schedule, and so so much more time to wake up and plough my instincts, when words rise up and I cannot stop them there are so many things that I am bursting out to say.  Right now there are NO WORDS. I am severed.  I wake up and I can’t write. All the teaching has just cut off my cortex and inspiration.

 

 

Lo siento.

 

 

Anyway, my friend put up this divine looking rose on Facebook tonight and I stole it immediately. It looks so wet, and so dewy, and so fragrant, that I just want to plunge my parched face and mind into its petals and inhale its sweet fragrance. I may not wear rose perfumes any more, but I still don’t think that there is anything quite like a natural, breathing, magnificent rose such as this.

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Filed under Flowers, Psychodrama, Rose perfumes

OUI, ELLE EST BELLE…ROSE POMPON by ANNICK GOUTAL (2016)

 

 

 

Wall Art: Spring Rain And Roses

 

 

 

 

 

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The fifth Goutal rose after Rose Absolue, Quel Amour, Ce Soir Ou Jamais and Rose Splendide, Rose Pompon, the latest release from the Parisian house of fairy tale charms, is clearly targeted at a younger, more fresh-faced clientele.

 

Fusing very natural smelling essences of Rose de Bulgarie and Rose Taif with tart, fresh upnotes of blackcurrant/cassis and summertime raspberries, Rose Pompon follows the house’s more commercial and easily comprehended (some might say faceless) releases such as the light-headed Vent De Folie (2014), and the neroli-green tastic L’Isle Au The (2015 – and please forgive me – I still haven’t worked out where the French accents are on this new computer keyboard).

 

The blackcurrant/rose idea has been done several times before, of course, most notably in perhaps the originator of this idea – Diptyque’s seminal L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, a perfume I own and enjoy on occasion for the greennees of its English smelling snobbery and the riverbank imagery it evokes; and also Yves Saint Laurent’s big nineties hit Baby Doll, which was also cassissy and grapefruit-kissed, if a bit sharp and sassy about its Lolita-ish, phoney eyelash frills.

 

The hallmark of an Annick Goutal creation though is always a sensation of effortlessness and of symmetry – a seamlessness that comes from all the notes working in carefully calibrated harmony, and Rose Pompon is no exception to this rule of beautifully balanced clarity. While the central idea feels familiar, it is nevertheless done to perfection: optimistic and happy (just what Parisians probably need at this time), the tart fruit notes blended nicely with the dew-freshed roses, a safe and unthreatening scent that would be perfect as a jolie young teenage girl’s debut.

 

I just hope that the house is not going to get too soft around the edges and ‘sell out’. While the classics in the stable (which dates back to the early eighties) such as Grand Amour, Passion, and  Heure Exquise were all very ‘proper’ but full-bodied, classical bouquets, in recent years, the house has also come up with some quite unusual curiosities: Mandragore Pourpre, Nuit Etoilee, Eau Du Fier and Un Matin d’Orage – all quite daring perfumes in their way, as were the Orientalist sequence of scents from ten years ago or so – Myrrhe Ardente, Encens Flamboyant and Musc Nomade: all distinctive enough to remain in my scent memory (and of course I could never forget their exquisite Songes – possibly the best tropical floral ever created). While I am yet to smell the new Les Absolus D’Annick Goutal, comprising 1001 Ouds (really? Did you have to?), Ambre Sauvage and Vanille Charnelle – because obviously, nobody in Japan would ever buy them even though they sound right up my street – my feeling is that in the last few releases by the company, there has most definitely been less bite and brain, more kiss.

 

But that’s OK. And the Japanese girls eagerly smelling Rose Pompon at the Takashimaya counter in Yokohama the other day certainly didn’t seem to be complaining. Annick Goutal here was dishing up exactly what these customers were wanting: something pretty, something pink –  something happy.

 

 

 

 

 

The Dancing Rose

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Filed under Flowers, Rose perfumes

MISIA by CHANEL (20I5)

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Misia is surprising. There is a new and optimistic heedlessness to this scent that sets it apart not only from the dignified and beautiful classic perfumes from this house – as well as its big commercial blockbusters – but also from the more preened and ‘luxurious’ stablemates from the house of ‘Les Exclusifs’ – 28 La Pausa, Bel Respiro  – with their glimmering – if sometimes strained and diluted – facades of Parisian and New York chic.

A new perfumer is at work.  Olivier Polge, son of Jacques, in-house perfumer since I978 and soon to become the chief Chanel scent creator himself, has authored his first creation for the house, and judging from this exuberant and outgoing perfume it seems that he may well be about to take the company’s fragrances in a different, more uninhibited direction. I had heard of course that Misia was a ‘retro’-influenced perfume, based on the smell of lipstick and powder, of violets and roses (but then I had also heard that I932 was a ‘jasmine vetiver’ and my expectations couldn’t have possibly been more deflated by a perfume than that pitiable creation), meaning that I was expecting something watered down; ‘just so’; revised; clear, finding instead upon smelling it yesterday at Takashimaya department store in Yokohama that this was a blast: a fun-loving, hedonistic, thickly made-up creation that didn’t strike me as being particularly Chanel-ish but which reminded me immediately instead of the lovely Teint De Neige by Lorenzo Villoresi and also the delectable La Rose De Rosine, a scent I sometimes wear come this time of year because it is just so carefree, full, and sense-fillingly nonchalant that it makes you almost want to get down and can-can.

On further inspection, as you get into the drydown and the heart of Misia, you realize that despite its apparent ardor and simplicity this is in fact a Chanel: the perfume is no way near as poignant or touching as the Villoresi, nor as loose at the seams and louche as the Rosine; there is still that porcelain,Chanel backbone somewhere at the centre – that Rue Cambon throw. Nevertheless, the initial violet-drenched rose (there is a lot of violet in this perfume) is a gorgeously sweet and heady blend of the typical rose de mai with a more voluptuous and throaty Turkish rose essence that took me quite aback for its full-throttle, powdered ambush: less a prim, ladylike portrait of a slim, mirrored compact, this was more pierrot to me: costumed, exuberant, and in fact the perfumer has said that he was influenced by Diaghlev’s Ballets Russes and the clamour backstage as the dancers foist themselves into their costumes before heading for the performance; the feminine scent of skin, bodies and thick pancake commingling in the high octane excitement of the dressing room throng (an idea also interestingly explored in Pierre Guillaume’s Poudre Riz). Misia Sert herself, the perfume’s direct inspiration, was Gabrielle Chanel’s best friend and confidante, muse to many artists of the period – featuring in paintings by Toulouse Lautrec and Renoir – and a decadent bohemian and sensualist who was involved in scandaous ménages a troix and drug use while simultaneously maintaining a successful career as a pianist.

But though certainly a supremely confident scent, I don’t really think that any of the subtleties or complexities of this woman, as I read of her, can be said to be present in her twenty first century perfumed incarnation. The Chanel scent inspired by her name is in some ways rather thick and simplistic (though it is certainly no mean feat to make something that eludes to the past but still smells new and contemporary in this way): Misia is a barrage, almost a cloy, of violets roses and smooth, sexual benzoin resin and tonka beans that I can imagine becoming a little overinsistent were you to be in constant daily contact. But while it might lack that certain Chanel, standoffish finesse, there is also a new brightness here, an uplifting, posey punch of confidence and vitality – unbounded and unfettered, comfortable in its own skin – that suggests that Olivier Polge might be able to give Chanel, whose perfumes in truth I have not been very excited by of late, a much needed new lease of life.

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Filed under Rose perfumes, Violet perfumes