Monthly Archives: October 2017

Bat by Zoologist Perfumes

Top Notes: Banana, Soft Fruits, Damp Earth
Heart Notes: Fig, Tropical Fruits, Mineral Notes, Myrrh, Resins, Vegetal Roots
Base Notes: Furry Musks*, Leather*, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Tonka

                                         *No animal products are used in Zoologist fragrances.

 

I’ve said previously how I love the concept behind Zoologist Perfumes. The ‘animal inspos’ are quirky and using the talents of artisan perfumers to compose them is a master stroke. I’ve written mini reviews  of Rhinoceros, Beaver and Panda and Civet, Nightingale and Macaque.

I have owned a sample of 2016 release, Bat, for a while but thought it would be fun to delve into it for Halloween.

 

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Dr. Ellen Covey is the indie perfumer behind Olympic Orchids but she is also a university professor who has conducted research into bats. Therefore, it’s no wonder she captured this creature, its diet and habitat so perfectly in scent for Zoologist. Last year Bat won an Art and Olfaction Award in the Independent category.

The bat in question is specifically a fruit bat, so we begin with a mixture of fruity notes    coated in mustiness very similar to petrichor, that fantastic aroma created when rain hits dry soil. This prevents the fruitiness from veering anywhere close to syrupy cocktail territory. I can’t bear the smell of bananas but here it’s the faint odour of dried banana skin. The damp earth accord coupled with the tropical fruit is completely unique.

Consider me hooked.

As the musty fruit opening fades, I notice a chill coming off my skin along with the earthiness, as if the bat is swooping through the cool night air.

In the heart of the fragrance, Bat returns to its cave with its scent of stone walls along with vegetal roots and humus rising up from the damp dirt floor.  It’s hugely atmospheric, recreating the dark, dank environment the bat haunts during daylight hours.

The base brings us up close and personal to the mammal’s black wings and grey fur. This is achieved through a phenol, fume-y leather dusted with vetiver and set against a fuzzy musky background. Now we get a real taste of the gothic. It’s a potent brew and not for the lily-livered.

What has surprised me the most about Bat is that it’s not the wholly unapproachable art piece I expected it to be. This may be in part because it stays relatively soft on my skin (until the base) though longevity is excellent. I was prepared to be impressed by its originality but it is also clever, witty and well structured.

Bat is not a conventional, easy wear by any means, but under the cloak of a damp and overcast autumn day when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest, it fits right in.

 

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Do you pick an appropriate perfume for Halloween? Have you tried Bat?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Rotation – Autumn 2017

It’s autumn in the UK and I’m really enjoying wearing my two favourite releases of this year (practically non-stop). They are both by artisan perfumers whose work exhibits great depth and attention to detail. As different as they are, each fragrance feels perfect for this time of year.

I spent a few days at a forest lodge in Scotland earlier in the month and the autumnal countryside was stunning. The scents of green leaves, woodsmoke and damp earth filled the air.

 

 

Dryad by Papillon Perfumes

Narcissus, Oakmoss, Jonquil, Costus, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Deer Tongue, Cedrat, Benzoin, Lavender, Thyme and Orris

Liz Moores is very connected to nature in all its forms, so it’s no wonder she should see the soul in a tree and create a perfume in its honour: Dryad. Bitter greens are crushed underfoot as the woodland becomes denser and darker. The drydown has the glorious feel of a vintage oakmoss chypre. Green perfumes are rarely this complex or classy. Wear it while wistfully wishing you lived in the forest, or kicking up leaves walking through the park.

 

Naja by Vero Profumo

Osmanthus absolute, melon, linden blossom, tobacco

The green in Naja is a neon bright lime.  It starts out like juice, then blossom and finally powder. This provides an overlay to the palest blond tabacco which feels just right for these damp days with a hint of bonfire in the air. Naja is a perfume full of contradictions that exist side by side. It is body and spirit, dissonance and harmony, purity and poison. Wear it to weave protection spells and cast out evil. It’s the perfect perfume for the run-up to Halloween.

 

Coromandel by Chanel 

Bitter Orange, Neroli, Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Patchouli, White Chocolate, Vanilla, Woods, Incense

While I’m wearing Dryad and Naja on skin, I’m also wearing Coromandel on fabric. It’s my favourite scarf perfume. I sprayed it onto the front of my long black cotton scarf once I’d wound it round my neck.  The luxe patchouli works really well when you can catch wafts of it as you walk. I have the EdT version which has wisps of incense which show up in mild weather.  It really complements both Dryad and Naja. Wear it to amplify and complement the wonderfully musty aromas of autumn in a super chic way.

 

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What fragrances have you been turning to lately?

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Mx. by Eris Parfums

 

Top Notes: Ginger, Black Pepper, Saffron, Olibanum
Heart Notes: Sandalwood, Cedarwood
Base Notes: Vetiver, Patchouli, Benzoin, Birch Tar, Cacao, Castoreum

 

I was impressed with the initial collection of three fragrances launched by Eris Parfums last year. Creative Director, Barbara Herman, is a vintage perfume expert and author of Scent and Subversion. You can read my mini reviews of Ma Bête, Belle de Jour and Night Flower here.

The latest fragrance by Eris Parfums, Mx. (pronounced “Mix”) was launched this year and once again, was created with perfumer Antoine Lie.

I recently discovered the meaning of the word Mx. in the most prosaic way imaginable. I was placing an online order with a supermarket when I noticed one of the options in the contact details section was ‘Mx’. I correctly deduced that this is a new gender-neutral title, with the ultimate aim of replacing Mr, Mrs, Miss etc.

You may be thinking “Okay, but we’ve had unisex fragrances for a long time now”. However, Mx. rebels against the idea – prevalent in the mainstream at least – that gender-neutral perfumes have to be clean (read asexual) or lean masculine in style (presumably so as not to scare off the fellas).

 

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In sharp contrast to the cool and fresh unisex style that dates back to CK One, Mx. is warm and inviting.

I often find ginger notes tricky but the accord that forms the opening of Mx. is like gingerbread baked with a good deal of saffron and a sprinkling of pepper. Come in close and you may even be treated to a spike of incense.

This combination of gourmand spices over light, pliable woods brings to mind the excellent Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle. Both are comforting yet stylish, but unlike the Malle, Mx. completely bypasses florals. It also has an enticing dark twist in the base with vetiver, patchouli, a dusting of cacao powder and a shadow of smoky leather.

The animalic aspect here is very much of the soft and purring kind. The musk is at the furry end of the spectrum and adds to the luxurious feel. Mx. seeks to blur the gender boundaries and the whole feel of the fragrance is soft focus. It’s someone coming home late at night, lighting a fire and wrapping themselves in a faux fur blanket after an indulgent evening of excess.

It doesn’t have the retro stamp of the first three Eris perfumes, but it shares the same sophisticated, sensual character and may be more approachable for some. While Mx. seeks to challenge the binary nature of gender, the fragrance is easy to wear and fits like a second skin. It possesses intimate sillage and lasts incredibly well.

Gender politics aside, Mx. is cosy, comforting, chic and more than a little romantic. It works beautifully at this time of year as the temperature starts to dip and the nights are about to draw-in.

 

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Do you find gender distinctions in fragrance helpful or would you rather that we did away with them completely?

 

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Books I’ve Been Reading Lately

The last couple of months have contained two books with harrowing but ultimately feminist themes.  I read both because they are so well known and each had its own impetus, as you will see. I also checked in with a couple of my favourite authors. I feel like I’m on a roll and I hope it continues. Having a good supply of new reading material is important but not always possible. If I were scoring the books, all of these would get a solid four starts.

 

 

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I have always meant to read this dystopian classic but never got round to it. The excellent TV adaptation gave me the push I needed. It’s different in a few notable ways to the TV show and much slower paced, but it was good to get extra insights and read the original book. Like a feminist 1984, it resonates decades after it was written in 1985.  I’m intrigued to see where the next season of the TV show takes it from here.

 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

After something so dark it was good to dive into a easy-to-read fantasy. I got Caraval for 99p in a Kindle Daily Deal. It’s fast-paced and full of magic, which I love. If you liked the premise of The Night Circus but found it a bit heavy-going you might like this. Caraval is an immersive game that’s a cross between a circus performance and a treasure hunt, but with much higher stakes. The two sisters at the centre of the tale irritated me at times but didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

 

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A Perfect Storm by Jodi Taylor

Another riotous short story e-book from the time-travelling series, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s. It was like catching up with old friends and I read it in one sitting. Can’t wait for the next (10th?) full length novel.

I never re-read books but when Jodi stops writing these – *shudders* – I shall start again from Book 1, Just One Damned Thing After Another.

 

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I got this free in an Amazon offer which was great as it’s another book I’ve been meaning to read forever but never did because I’m not a fan of thrillers. At first I wondered what all the fuss was about after wading through pages of financial double-dealing. Then Lisbeth, the troubled girl with the titular tattoo, came on the scene and l was hooked.

As the mystery at the centre of the book developed, I got more and more engrossed. With one big reveal I even exclaimed out loud and that doesn’t happen often. However, I don’t feel compelled to read the rest of the series. Let me know if you think I should.

 

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The Break by Marian Keyes

I know a new book from Marian is going to be a treat and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this after the grim storyline of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. In The Break, Amy’s lovely husband reacts badly to two bereavements and decides the only solution is to put their marriage on hold while he goes travelling for six months as a single man.

It’s an enticing premise and waiting to see how Amy will cope and how she might even take advantage of the situation herself, makes it a great read. Not to mention the array of often comical supporting characters you always get in a Marian Keyes novel. Loved it.

 

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What have you been reading lately? Anything you’d recommend?

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Mood Scent 4 – Uplifting Perfumes

Welcome to the latest instalment in the Mood Scent 4. joint blogging project,

We are four perfume bloggers from France, Holland, England and Wales who post on a different joint subject every couple of months.  Each time we pick a selection of fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll find links to the other blogs at the end of the post.

Previous posts have been on the topics of Rainy Day Perfumes, Wedding Guest Perfumes and Mainstream Perfumes. Today the topic is Uplifting Perfumes.

 

 

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Really, any perfume you love can be uplifting but some types of fragrances can be  depended upon to raise most people’s spirits. Aromatherapy will tell you orange is the most mood-boosting aroma and I agree many perfumes in this citrus category can do the trick.

My personal favourite for an instant up-tick in outlook is Eau de Mandarine Ambrée by Hermès. The scent of mandarins is pure happiness to me, perhaps because I was given tinned mandarins segments in syrup as a dessert when a child.

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Eau de Mandarin Ambrée is from Les Cologne Collection but the citrus is supported by amber which prolongs its life significantly. Hermès are generally a good bet for classy orange scents with the classic Eau D’Orange Verte, the orange-tinted beach scent Eau des Merveilles and last year’s Eau de Néroli Doré.

Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne is like a morning class of fresh orange juice, while the mainstream have Clinique Happy and Boss Orange.

Related to citrus scents but fuller and obviously more floral, are the orange blossom perfumes. They feel like inhaling the scent of blossom on the breeze in early summer. It’s uplifting but in a more languid, sensual way.  For an added burst of zingy lemon in the opening and extra longevity, there’s the golden orange blossom of Cologne Indélébile by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The two I own though, are the limited edition Fleur d’Oranger and Seville a L’Aube, both by L’Artisan Perfumeur. The latter is a combination of honeyed orange blossom, caramelised lavender and a wisp of incense. If you fall for it you can read all about its development in The Perfume Lover by Denyse Beaulieu.

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Sometimes just the name of a perfume is enough to make you smile. Tart’s Knicker Drawer by 4160 Tuesdays is just as playful as its name. This is a vintage-style boudoir scent topped with raspberry. Put it on and enjoy that fun, flirty feeling. If someone asks you what you’re wearing, that’s an added bonus.

How about a perfume inspired by the glittering world of Bollywood that also has an exclamation mark at the end? Bombay Bling! by Neela Vermeire Creations is characterised by a fabulously joyous and super juicy mango note. Spray it and just see if you can resist the urge to smile

 

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Aldehydes are the party perfume ingredient with their bubbly spray of champagne foam. My favourite Vega is no longer available but there are some others out there including of course, the most recent youthful incarnation of the Chanel classic, No. 5 L’Eau.

Other easily obtainable old school aldehydic perfumes are Lanvin Arpege, Ivoire de Balmain and YSL’s Rive Gauche.

 

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Be sure to check out my fellow bloggers’ choices of Uplifting Perfumes at Megan In Sainte Maxine, L’Esperessence and I Scent You A Day.

 

What perfumes to you turn to when you need a bit of cheering up?

 

 

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