NARS Audacious EdP 2019 by Olivia Giacobetti

Contradiction.  A combination of statements, ideas, or features which are opposed to one another.  A situation in which inconsistent elements are present.           

François Nars’ cult cosmetic brand NARS founded in 1994, celebrated 25 years in the business last year.  To acknowledge this milestone, he launched the NARS debut perfume, choosing the brilliant French perfumer Olivia Giacobetti to work with.  Giacobetti  has only  been creating for her IUNX brand and this is her first work outside of that for a number of years.  The fact that she does not just churn out fragrances making her a stellar choice.

White frangipani and smoke of incense  —   Tiare flower, ylang-ylang essential oil, sandalwood  —  White cedar essential oil, white musk.

A study in light and dark, it opens with the frangipani, immediately tempered with Giacobetti´s translucent incense.  A contradictory scent, it never goes near a suntan product.   The sandalwood becomes central, but the frangipani, tiara, and ylang-ylang remain, albeit behind the weightless veil of the incense smoke and cedar. Giacobetti`s use of the white musks keeping a constant translucency.  Effortlessly exquisite.

The bottle, designed by Fabien Barron, sprays with the very finest of mist;  the skin is coated in nearly invisible droplets.  Minimal and all black, it belies the ethereal delicateness of what is inside it.

ED06A0C9-A1D2-4619-9120-4E6300FDA436       Bottle my own.  

For those who have been disappointed that Audacious is not a cloying oud or an ambroxan laden skin-glue, NARS never was going to go with the nuclear creations that come out of the “backstreet abortion clinic perfume” genre.  And that in itself is exactly why this perfume is AUDACIOUS.

CQ

 

 

 

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Reading Diary – July 2020

A typically broad selection in this reading diary, from skincare and sci-fi to anti-racism and mythology. Please let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments.

Skincare by Caroline Hirons

Avoid anything ‘mattifying’ — a promise often made on products for oily skin. Skin is not designed to be ‘matte’. Your skin has plenty of time to be matte when you’re dead.

I’ve followed Caroline’s blog for around 7 years and in that time she’s become ‘The most powerful woman in beauty’. She is a brand consultant and skincare expert and has finally put all that knowledge into book form. Aside from her expertise, it’s full of her personality which is a huge plus. Expect straight-talking and swearing along with myth busting and a breakdown of the routine you need to follow at all ages. As a skincare junkie there wasn’t much I didn’t already know in terms of my own skin but it was a lot of fun and I love the subject. There is a fair amount of repetition but that’s important for newbies in order to get the mass of information across. It’s essentially a training manual for your skin. 4/5

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Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

“Remember, white supremacy is not just about individual acts of racism, but rather it is a system of oppression that seeps into and often forms the foundation of many of the regular spaces where you spend your time—school, work, spiritual spaces, health and wellness spaces, and so on.”

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Boy, did I learn a lot from this. If you want to be an anti-racist you have to do the work and IT IS work. You have to dig deep and confront the fact that growing up in Western society today means you will have absorbed unconscious beliefs that perpetuate racism. Me and White Supremacy is a 28 day programme that tackles a different topic each day – White Silence, White Exceptionalism, Anti-Blackness etc.

You are given journal prompts to reflect on your own experiences and complicity at the end of each chapter. It is only by doing this that we will build up the resilience that counteracts White Fragility (extreme defensiveness in discussions around racism) and enables us to be true allies to Black people. I may be mixed-race but still benefit from white privilege and I appreciated the author had notes specifically aimed at non-Black people of colour. I did crave more depth, history and context but I can fill those gaps for myself elsewhere.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

“If this isn’t hell, the devil is surely taking notes.”

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This is a sci-fi take on an Agatha Christie whodunnit. Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered at 11pm at a party held at the family’s dilapidated country pile, Blackheath. Our protagonist relives the day eight times, waking up each time in the body of a different guest at the party. It is his job to work out who killed Evelyn by the end of the day in order to escape his memories being wiped and the process starting over.

This is a hugely popular book and has won a couple of awards. Unfortunately it just wasn’t for me. I have no interest in murder mysteries and I’ve come to realise I strongly dislike the sci-fi ‘Groundhog Day’ trope of the same day/life being lived over and over again. I find it convoluted and dull. By the time the big twist is revealed I was long over it. I admire Turton for writing it though; the complexity is mind-boggling. 2.5/5

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker UK

I now felt like some reliable epic fantasy and Sanderson is arguably the best in the business right now. This is one of his earlier – at that time -standalone novels. It revolves around the rival kingdoms of Idris and Hallandran. For twenty years, the eldest princess of Idris has been promised to the much-feared God King of Hallandran. At the last minute, the Idris King changes the plan and sends his youngest – and much more naive -daughter instead. As usual with Sanderson the magic is a well thought out system involving colour and the awakening of objects, to put it briefly.

The most interesting characters of the book however were The Returned who are worshipped as Gods. Only one of The Returned, by the name of Lightsong, doesn’t actually believe in the religion that idolises him and this makes for some comic moments. The intrigue picks up pace as war is on the cards but it’s hard not to compare it to the later series he is most known for. Compared to the Mistborn trilogy the ending fell a bit flat but it was an enjoyable enough time and it seems it’s been left open for a sequel eventually. 3.5/5

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

“This is what free people never understand. A slave isn’t a person who’s being treated as a thing. A slave is a thing, as much in her own estimation as in anybody else’s.”

I don’t seem to tire of Greek myth retellings and this one published in 2018 had been on my radar for a while. It centres on the Trojan War from the perspective of Briseis, a young queen who is given to Achilles as a prize of honour when her city is sacked and all the men killed. The surviving women are taken as slaves to the Greeks compound on the beach from which they have laid siege to Troy for nine years. Seeing the well known story through the eyes of Briseis gives us a much more intimate idea of what the women were subjected to in this tale which makes it more interesting but also more brutal. Where the lines are blurred for some of the women, Briseis keeps her boundaries strong, if only in her mind. I really liked her and I can never get enough about the relationship between Achilles and Petroclus, although this novel is in part a rebuttal of the romanticisation of a ruthless warrior. It’s extremely readable but for me, it’s not on the same level as The Song of Achilles or Circe, but well worth a read if you fancy a fresh female take on the Trojan War myth. 3.75/5

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Mood Scent 4: Joyful Spritzing

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at Joyful Spritzing perfumes. My thought for Joyful Spritzing is the ones I like to spritz a LOT of. Ones that not only give me happiness through their smell but the simple act of giving myself a few good blasts of them. The memories and feelings that I know will join me through the life of the scent. The whole wonderful experience of having, holding, spritzing, smelling and remembering are so much more than just what I smell.

Obviously, these choices are subject to change, daily.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite Joyful Spritzing perfumes in the comments too.

So excited to be blogging with these three superstars again: Esperanza L’Esperessence, Megan Megan In Sainte Maxime and Samantha I Scent You A Day. Check theirs out too.

Mood Scent 4: Joyful Spritzing

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Vivacious by Hiram Green

Notes: Bergamot, Violet, Carnation, Orris and Amber

 

I’ve long been drawn to violet scents. Along with roses, they evoke that vintage glamour I so admire. However, I usually have issues with the violet perfumes I try. They are either too sweet or too powdery, too green or too metallic. Their characters strike me as being quite child-like or rather staid. Maybe I am unduly fussy (well there’s no ‘maybe’ about it) but I couldn’t seem to find the right violet for me.

Therefore I was understandably excited at the thought of a forthcoming violet done the Hiram Green way. I knew this indie perfumer would bring something unique to the genre, as he has done with all of his fragrances.

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Hiram describes Vivacious as a ‘violet-themed’ fragrance and it is indeed that. He riffs off the central idea of a traditional violet perfume but expands it with gauzy layers of carnation and orris. In doing so, he transforms it into something much more interesting than a violet soliflore.

The first time I tried Vivacious I got a lot of carnation; a note we rarely see in perfumes these days. This spicy floral aroma is full-bodied with the clove-like scent of eugenol. The subsequent times I’ve tried it on my inner forearm, I’ve got something considerably more nuanced.

After a joyful opening of parma violets and sparkling bergamot, it settles down into what I imagine as a purple-hued haze.. There is powder but nowhere near an overwhelming amount. It’s just enough to add a delicate aura of prettiness. The proportions of violet, orris and carnation are beautifully balanced.

Its character is supremely graceful. I thought it might be a boudoir fragrance but no. I’d put Vivacious in the category of what I think of as ‘ballet slipper perfumes’. Those that are less about vintage cosmetics and more about satin, tulle and crushed rosin. There is a distinctly romantic, nostalgic air about it but this never veers into melancholia. 

The base is a gentle glowing amber with the texture of suede. This makes for a fittingly smooth finish.

While it wears in a sheer manner, this Eau de Parfum lacks neither presence nor longevity.

In short, Vivacious is Hiram Green’s most complex and accomplished fragrance to date – and my new favourite violet-centric scent.

It is full of buoyancy and flair. Its wistful yet hopeful attitude expressed in a poised, glorious, grand jeté.

 

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Do you already have a favourite violet perfume? Do you like the sound of Vivacious?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CATSINOMA

 

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As readers of the blog may remember Meepsy/Mitzi had a massive nosebleed back during the lockdown here. The vet was not sure whether the bleeding was coming from inside the nose or from the outside. And yes, it was impossible to tell. He gave her some sort of Jackie Kennedy shot, with a lot of puppy-uppers in it and some antibiotics. Which did the job just fine. For a few weeks.Her nose began to have slight scratches on it, which would bleed a little, and then dry up and fall off. It was causing her nose to shrink. A couple of weeks ago we made the decision to take her to the very highly rated animal clinic about a half hour drive from here, and skip the local vet.She was diagnosed with carcinoma on her nose. Unbeknownst to us it is fairly common for white cats, as they have very pink noses. Whatever it is total shit. We made an appointment to have it removed, at the cost of a vacation which we will not be taking anyway because yeah, Covid.We believe that secretly she wants to be a pug-cat and that this is part of the transitioning. Nose-jobs are never cheap.She had the operation yesterday. She is always quiet in her carrier, as she is at the vet. But I know she is scared to death by the way that she behaves. It breaks your heart, but if you have a pet you also have a responsibility to care for them.

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The operation and (slight) recovery took about three hours. We picked her up. She looked like death warmed-up with a cone collar, but she crawled out of her carrier onto my lap on the way home and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the massage and rubs that I gave her.She has spent today sleeping in my wardrobe, drooling into the cone, and generally looking rough. Nevertheless she is totally up for belly rubs and a brush, as she cannot care for her self at all. As of writing this she has not eaten or drunk a thing, and of course I want her to.

The day before her operation she received a care-package in the post (her first ever mail) from her Katzen Tante in Germany. She was so excited to sniff/smoke her catnip, and to eat all of the yummy strips of jerky for cats.  That was pre-op and I am sure it gave her the strength to go through it.  Right now she won’t touch a thing.

I blew off my training class at the gym tonight, just in case anyone needs proof as to how much I care about her.

I hope that they have got all of the cancer out, and that it does not crop up somewhere else.  So yeah.

UPDATE. Twenty four hours later.

We loosened her collar last night and she finally ate and drank little water.  She stayed hidden all day today, but I am just home from the radio studio, 21:00.  She came out and let me take her collar off and I massaged and groomed her for a long while, and she ate food which we laced with cat painkiller!  She is now out on the balcony.  

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Reading Diary – June 2020

May was the month I gave in and signed up to Audible. I have a strange reltaiotnship with audiobooks. I don’t feel like I absorb them so well because \I am such a daydreamer. However I’ve found they work well for non-ficton. I’ll try a novel this month and see how I get on.

 

Hope for the Best by Jodi Taylor

This is the 11th book in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s and for most of it I thought maybe the series was finally starting to dip. Stories about time-travelling historians are never going to be logical but sometimes characters’ actions didn’t make a lot of sense and there were threads that weren’t tied-up. There is a jump to ancient Crete during the Minoan empire and one to 15th Century London to observe the two Princes at the Tower of London just before their disappearance. What saves it is a revelation about a favourite character in the last 50 pages that left me (as a long-time reader) absolutely gob-smacked, it was so good. That upped it considerably. 4/5

Resistance by Tori Amos

“The sense of loss is such a tricky one, because we always feel like our worth is tied up into stuff that we have, not that our worth can grow with things we are willing to lose.”

I’ve been a Tori fan for, oh Lord, nearly 30 years now. ‘Piece by Piece’ was a memoir but this book looks at her songs and career through a political lens. I always knew that she had a few songs  which dealt with issues but didn’t realise there were quite so many. Tori goes through the songs and talks about the events that inspired them. She covers everything from sexual assault and FGM to 9/11 and racism. Although perhaps incongruous, the section of the book I found most affecting was that exploring her grief after her recent death of her mother. There is also a lot of valuable advice for creative people of all types. One for fans and those embarking on an artistic vocation. A highly biased 4/5

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Queenie by Candace Carty-Williams

“Is this what growing into an adult woman is—having to predict and accordingly arrange for the avoidance of sexual harassment?”

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I raced through this book in a day and a half but it was really hard to read a lot of the time. Queenie is a young Londoner whose self-esteem is in the gutter thanks to her abusive childhood. After her boyfriend says they should take a break, she simply can’t cope. She uses casual sex to try and fill the void but it’s with vile men who fetishise her Blackness. She works at a magazine where her boss constantly turns down her ideas about articles covering the Black Lives Matter movement. The gentrification of Brixton is also a theme of the book.

It was published last year but feels acutely relevant to right now. It sounds heavy but the author manages to write in an incredibly light, readable way and infuses the narrative with humour. Queenie is hugely likeable and I kept rooting for her to deal with her issues and ditch the self-destructive behaviour. I was very pleased it recently made Carty-Williams the first Black author to win Book of the Year at the British Book Awards (if not before time). I only marked it down because I found it personally painful to witness her allowing men to treat so appallingly.  4/5

 

Love Is Not Enough by Mark Manson

I was a member of Mark’s website years before ‘The Sublte Art...’ blew up and he becaome a megastar in the field of no-nonsense personal development. It couldn’t have happened to  a better person. He is free of any kind of magical thinking or easy answers. This exclusive audiobook for Audible goes back to his roots as a dating expert. He has separate dialogues with five men and women who have issues with relationships and coaches them over a period of time. We hear those interviews and the results of the homework and advice Mark gives them. Basically they are all suffering from some kind of issues around boundaries and vulnerability but in very different ways. It would be hard not to identify with at least one of them. As a nosy curious person, I found it fascinating. 4/5

 

Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

“Popular self-help teaches you to ask for help, accept help, set boundaries, say no. So you ask for help and the person you ask politely refuses. Because he or she has learned to set boundaries and say no.”

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This was a quirky read which could have gone either way. Reviewers on Amazon seemed to really like or really dislike this debut novel for adults by the sister of author Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies). It’s contemporary fiction set in Sydney which was a bonus for me having friends in the city. Abigail has been recieving chapters from ‘The Guidebook’, a mysterious self-help book, since she was fifteen; the same time her brother went missing. She is now in her thirties and running a Happiness Café (despite being far from happy herself) when she gets an invitation to attend a retreat where all will be revealed about The Guidebook. We follow her as she attends the retreat and the new course this sets her on.  There are a lot of references to self-help and it’s a slow-paced read but I liked Abi a lot and was up for the weirdness of ‘the truth’ of The Guidebook. I enjoyed seeing where the relationships formed at the retreat would go, not to mention the possible resolution of her brother’s disappearance. 3.5/6

 

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”

This is the first book that has made me cry in a very long time (I can’t remember the last one). It was everywhere last year and finally reading it during a mini heatwave was perfect. It tells the story of a Kya who was abandoned as a child in the 1960s by her family and has to fend for herself in a shack nestled deep in the North Carolina marshlands. She is ostracised by the people in the nearest village with a couple of notable exceptions. When there is a murder, all eyes turn to the ‘Marsh Girl’. Delia Owens is an award-winning nature writer and it really shows in this, her first novel. Her lush descriptions of the flora and fauna of the marsh were wonderful and made it hugely atmospheric. I could picture everything, as wall as feel Kya’s intense connection with her home – and her equally intense loneliness. 5/5

 

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How has your last reading month gone?

 

 

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Mood Scent 4: Weird and Wonderful

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at Weird and Wonderful perfumes. I think we all have a few in our collection. Things we fell in love with because they were utterly outside our realms of previous scent experience. Suddenly our minds are blown by this weird, creepy, strange, intoxicating adventure. I’ll admit my credit card is usually on the counter faster than you can say, “Maybe not everyday wear.” There’s something about the unusual that draws me like a magnet. It was quite hard to narrow today’s selection down to six. I think they are beautiful and inspired but honestly they mostly don’t get as much wear as they deserve around here. Now they’re on the desk I’m hoping they will.

Obviously, these choices are subject to change, daily.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite Weird and Wonderful in the comments too.

So excited to be blogging with these three superstars again: Esperanza L’Esperessence, Megan Megan In Sainte Maxime and Samantha I Scent You A Day. Check theirs out too.

Mood Scent 4: Weird and Wonderful

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Chasing the Chanel Lion

Li-li-lion, lion’s in a jungle, jungle’s in a cage, tra-tra-trouble, trouble in the homelands, trouble in the homelands, bosses in a rage ….. A Party. Big Audio Dynamite. 1985.

I am very responsible and completely in control of my perfume habit. Except when I really want something.

I always was going to get the new and only available in the UAE Chanel Exclusif, Le Lion de Chanel, it was only the question of how. I started by emailing one of the department stores in Dubai that carried it. Coincidentally on that same day, Portia sent me a video of himself and a friend trying a sample of Le Lion in a store in Sydney. First part of my mind lost. He told me that he could organise getting a 200ml bottle sent to me at an eye watering, yet not too bad for such a large bottle, cost. The 75ml was not possible. I needed to think.

I have a husband with a bike addiction. (He has been known to call UPS and arrange a meet-up on the autobahn, just so he can get his bike a couple of hours earlier than it would actually be delivered to him.) So he did not flinch when I told him I was considering a blind purchase of a perfume for more than 400 Euros – do what you gotta do.

After much thought, I made the decision not to buy it, too much dosh to risk, especially on a blind buy. Portia offered to include me in his split and put me down for 10mls – that I would have to spray out of an atomizer with no magnetic Chanel cap, and have to wait for. But you know, you take what you get, huh?

The following day I had a voice message. He could organise 75ml and did I want it? Open Pay-Pal – transfer. This is the definition of responsible.

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A day later it had been sent and I had a tracking number. I knew it would take about a week, so did not bother to check more than fifteen times a day. I started to get excited when I saw that it had landed in Vienna and cleared customs and was out for delivery, expected on the Friday, eight days after the order.

I had a live radio show on this Friday and time was getting so tight I had to go. No problem, I could wait until Monday anyway. Just as I was leaving I had a message on the tracking app – the package was at the post office, and at the same time unbeknownst to me, the postman had dropped into our shop with an official yellow “your package is waiting to be picked up” paper which he gave my husband.

Over the years, as in many countries, post offices have closed down here , and have been moved into corners of general stores etc, and in our case, into the local gas station. It is always a complete pain-in-the-ass having to go there. You wait in line forever as the employees are rather – well, as my father used to say, “pay peanuts and you get monkeys.”.

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I waited in line for thirty minutes, sweating like a bloody junkie, and worried I was going to be late for my show. About fifteen minutes in Chris (husband) turned up with the aforementioned yellow paper, he was going to pick it up for me as a surprise, not knowing that I knew it was there already. (Insert laugh here, we ALL know where our packages are at any given time.). He left me the paper and legged it back to work.

It was finally my turn. I gave the employee the paper, and she turned around and stared vaguely at a couple of shelves, looked blankly at her computer screen, and told me the package was not there. I told her it had to be there as I had the tracking confirmation and the bloody yellow paper. But no. She said she had no idea where it was and there must have been some sort of mistake. I told her not to be ridiculous it had to be there. At this point she walked across the aisle and looked under the counter where the gas station part of the building sell their bread and sandwiches. I kid you not. I suggested to her that packages are not usually kept under bread counters. There was no one else there to help and the alcoholic, chain-smoking gas station assistants, just leaned against the counter looking like a couple of extras in Deliverance. I left in a cloud of 28 La Pausa and red lipstick, telling her I would be back tomorrow.

I was so piping mad as I got into the car that I could barely breathe. I had about a half hour drive to get to the studio, and would have a few minutes there before the start of the show. I had to do some seriously deep breathing, and needed to decide if I wanted to start the show with The Clash’s White Riot. As luck would have it my brother called a few minutes into the drive to wish me good luck for the evening. As I told him the drama I started to calm down a little, and to laugh. He kept talking to me for the whole drive and I was so thankful. It allowed me to get a little perspective (that might be a lie) and put myself into show mode.

I have a free hand at the radio station and told my listeners I was pissed. and why. I had several messages from perfumistas and yeah, you know, shit happens. The show must go on!

Saturday morning and I was back at the Post Office at nine. AS I walked across the garage forecourt I saw the assistant take one look at me and go hide in the back room. Hahahahahahahahahaha. Quite right too. She came out after a couple of minutes, I had already decided not to freak out. She did not bother to look though, that made me so mad. I mean at least pretend to check the shelves and the sorting area. When I asked where she thought it might be she shrugged her shoulders. Dude.

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Monday morning came, I went to work, and Chris went to the Post Office. I know I would have stabbed her if I had gone, and who would make the cookies then? As he walked into the post office she reached under her counter and took out the package. And here is the unbelievable part: Told him that it has been there all the time but she had not seen it. And she felt so bad that she gave him a box of chocolates to give to me to say sorry. I say open your eyes girl, and I don’t eat chocolate.

I went down to the post office today (Thursday) and took Le Lion with me so that she could her try it. And I wanted to thank her for the chocolates. Unfortunately she was not there.

THE END

Thanks to all who supported me through this difficult time, you know who you are.

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Le Lion de Chanel – Les Exclusifs de Chanel

By Val the Cookie Queen

Notes: Bergamot, lemon, labdanum, amber, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, musk.

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Le Lion de Chanel opens with an eruption of bergamot and aldehdydic leather. It is exquisite. The love child of Shalimar Parfum, father unknown.

We do know the perfumer is Oliver Polge.

The construction seems to be built around a centre of cool church incense, although not mentioned in the official note list. To my nose the incense remains throughout the entire composition allowing it to retain a continued coolness and elegance in the heart of what is an oriental amber.

Not a dark and sticky amber, and not the choke-you-to-death flat, unpleasant amber beloved by so many niche perfumers. This is graceful and elegant.

The base is rich and shimmers with light. There is a soft leather presence, a sandalwood richness; the animalic labdanum assures the sensuality, and a dry vanilla which, like the incense, envelops the wearer from the first moments, makes this an absolutely stunning piece of work.

Worldwide launch January 2021.

A limited release in the Middle East, May 2020.

CQ

Disclaimer. I got my bottle from the friend of a friend’s friend, whose Uncle’s dog died. I paid hard cash for it.

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Jorum Studio – Mini Reviews

This post has been on hold since lockdown. We’re not out of the woods yet but it feels right for me to start talking about perfume again. 

I got to try Scottish perfumer Euan McCall’s work for the first time when up in Edinburgh last year and then Val the Cookie Queen sent me some samples. I’m pleased to finally be able to talk about them here, although they have been established for a decade now.

The Jorum Studio website has a beautiful aesthetic and – joy of joys – 15ml bottles are available.

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Here are my impressions of the six fragrances in the Progressive Botany Vol. 1 collection which is split into Progressive and Botany.

These first three Progressive fragrances below are more unconventional.

Arborist

Quince, Honey, Saffron, Osmanthus Absolute, Magnolia, Burdock, Papyrus, Mugwort, Rose Absolute, Tuberose, Myrrh Absolute, Spruce Resin, Douglas Fir, Labdanum, Jatamansi, Malt, Lichen

As the name suggests, Arborist is inspired by woods however, it is also deeply spicy and musky. Rather than green and leafy, the scent is as earthy as if we are down and dirty in the soil covered roots. There’s Indian spice (which reads as a very smooth cumin to my nose) and vegetal musks which lend it a sensuous feel.  It’s all a bit too husky to suit my winsome style but cohesive and nicely done.

Carduus

Chamomile, Bengal Pepper, Honey, Clary Sage, Sea-holly, Marjoram Tea, Myrtle, Rose Absolute, Vetch, Clove Bud, Hart’s Tongue, Tuberose, Musk-thistle, Heliotrope, Tormentil, Mahogany, Cocoa Absolute, Tobacco, Meum, Deertongue, Cherrywood

Carduus has a bracing, slightly medicinal flush with a bouquet garnet of fresh, leafy herbs. It has the feeling of being out on Scottish heathland with the wind blowing a hooley under a rapidly changing sky. It’s aromatic with a breath of aniseed; the antithesis to Swarovski-studded nouveau niche. While Carduus may not be to everyone’s taste, it rewards the wearer with the sense of windswept wellbeing you get from braving the wilds of nature. In short, it’ll put colour in your cheeks.

Phloem

Passion Fruit, Rhubarb, Mulberry, Nasturtium, Honeysuckle, Blaeberry, Camellia, Oysterplant, Meadowsweet, Gorse, Ambrette, Sesame, Amyris, Tonka Bean Absolute

Phloem is not one of those candied berry bombs we are used to encountering across the high street, but I find the combination of curry spices and boiled fruit challenging in its own way. It’s pungent and plummy, with a lot of depth. Phloem feels well-rounded but never thick and cloying. In the drydown there is nice salty skin effect which works well as a counterpoint to the spiced compote effect.

 

The next three fragrances are in the Botany category and are more traditional in style.

Trimerous

Carrot Seed, Bergamot, Nectarine, Thyme, Cicely, Pink Pepper, Juniper, Cloudberry, Angelica Root, Orris Butter, Kombucha, Centaury, Suede, Oud, Musk, Ambergris, Styrax, Vanilla, Incense

This iris perfume was the one I was most eager to get on better terms with. Trimerous is one of those lovely, innocent irises which forms a fluffy cloud. Rather than being grey and rooty, it feels white and powder-soft. It has a gentle presence with a musky, vanilla sweetness. I found it the most easy to wear of the six though I prefer my irises a little less naive. Good for those that usually find iris too austere and unapproachable.

Medullary-ray

Fig-leaf, Cardamom, Olive, Juniper, Frankincense, Orris Butter, Rose Absolute, Pomegranate, Myrrh, Vetiver, Guaicwood, Papyrus, Hay, Birch, Cedarwood, Castoreum, Valerian, Sandalwood Oil

Medullary-ray are the lines that radiate out from the centre of a tree, cutting across the rings. While this collection is linked to botany and the flora of Scotland in particular, this fragrance is inspired by the woods and fruits of Tuscany. What I get is fig teamed with  smoke. This combination really surprised me and I had to check that it’s not one of the experimental fragrances. The milky fig against the bone dry smoke (not the tarry kind) with accents of ripe pomegranate and herbal valerian, is unlike anything I’ve tried before.

Nectary

Bramble, Cranberry, Peach, Rose Absolute, Oud, Ambergris, Roseroot, Olibanum, Selfheal, Castoreum, Civet, Labdanum Absolute, Musk

The name says it all: this is a lush nectar filled with golden light. I have issues with sugary perfumes but this has a natural sweetness that makes me swoon. To my nose, it is chiefly a peachy rose with the dreamy quality of a lazy summer’s day. It’s filled out by white musk which I find a little heady but I hugely enjoy the overall melting feeling Nectary gives me. I don’t get anything as animalic as castoreum or civet.

 

I found all the above Eau de Parfums have moderate throw and very good longevity.

When sampling these handmade fragrances what really stood out to me was the clarity and quality. The materials smell top-notch and the compositions are distinctive.  I can see what all the fuss has been about. Jorum Studio have carved out a niche that is all their own.

jorum thistles

Have you tried anything from Jorum Studio? If not, do any of the above appeal?

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