Fragrance

By Michelyn Camen

May ‘flowers’ with new fragrances from a few of our favorite niche and fine fragrance perfumeries.

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I am fascinated by an unassuming Swiss perfumer who ‘paints’ fragrances at his lab in Zurich. His name is Andy Tauer and if you are not familiar with his scents, they are among the most beautiful fragrances I have encountered this year. (Réverie Au Jardin is swoon-worthy).

Bienvenue Incense Rose, Tauer’s latest fragrance; a hypnotic contrast of fiery frankincense and sweet rose. Citrus notes and a hint of cardamom lend the rose a ripe, spicy quality; orris brightens the woody and balsamic notes of cedar, vetiver, patchouli, myrrh and labdanum— rich and dark. However, the star note of the composition is the smoldering, sensual frankincense; envison Egyptians priests sending ‘fragrant smoke’ prayers to their gods. Incense Rose is for all lovers of incense fragrances and for men and women who gravitate to sumptuous, resinous blends.

Available at www.luckyscent.com and www.aedes.com.

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The House of Hermès has declared 2008, ‘The Year of India’ as Hermès’ master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena debuts his latest fragrance Un Jardin après le Mousson, the third scent of the ‘Un Jardin’ trilogy.

Un Jardin après le Mousson captures and bottles a cyclical event of nature—a monsoon — in Kerula, India. Mr. Ellena seeks to evoke the smells of the earth, water and spices, après le deluge. Un Jardin après le Mousson has his signature translucence and a memorable sillage.

Will this be a commercial success? Some will not find the smell of water, spices and earth break-through. But there will be those, like myself, who understand that in this fragrance is equipoise; an Ayurvedic Doshic balance; the elements of moist earth as represented by notes of green vetiver (representing Kapha), fiery spices such as cardamom, coriander, and pepper (representing Pitta) and Kahili ginger (representing Vata) brings to my mind the sacred Hindi chant ‘om’; the one eternal sound of which all that exists is but the development. Perhaps, Un Jardin après le Mousson is the olfactory equivalent to the duality of om; what is abstract yet tangible, fleeting but enduring.

The fragrance, bath and body collection will be available May 5, 2008 at www.hermes.com.

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I have worn one Chanel fragrance for years– Cristalle. As much as my nose appreciates the artistry and superb structure of the iconic No.5, No.19 and Coco Mademoiselle my skin as a canvas does not take to synthetic floral aldehydes. All has changed with the introduction of Sycomore, the newest addition to “Les Exclusifs” by Chanel”, eleven fragrances that re-create and preserve Mademoiselle Coco Chanel’s legacy, using historic numbers, addresses and symbols. Sycomore is a linear fragrance with an idea so simple that is particularly complex; create the perfect Vetiver fragrance. And it is… the result of a magical distillation by Chanel’s nose Jaques Polge, who created the entire Les Exclusifs collection. On my skin it isn’t pungent or too green, rather the fragrance is soft woods– warm sensuous and only slightly earthy. There are no florals, no synthetic aldehydes. It is perhaps the most exceptional Vetiver fragrance I have tried. Merci…beaucoup.


Sycomore and Les Exclusifs by Chanel are available at Bergdorf Goodman. Editor’s Note: Joseph Covington, a Chanel Les Exclusifs specialist at BG, is particularly knowledgable and can be contacted at 212-872-2667 for Chanel Les Exclusifs fragrance consultations

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Although we did not ‘plant’ Diabolo, by Parfums de Rosine, a light rose chypre, in our fragrance rose garden, it’s both new and noteworthy. At the heart of the perfume is a true absolute of rose, ushered in by mint; there is a boozy quality to this rose that is enhanced by the base note of ambergris.

Available at Barneys NY in May.

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The two latest fragrances by Jo Malone pay tribute to the complex rituals of morning and nocturnal Japanese incense ceremonies. Individually each is as well constructed and as appealing as our favorites Lime Basil Mandarin and Pomegranate Noir.

Lotus Blossom & Water Lily and Dark Amber & Ginger Lily are very different from any other fragrances by Jo Malone; Lotus Blossom & Water Lily opens with muskiness and fruity creaminess. The water lily note is transformed by its seamless blending into Lotus blossom, so you do not have an overtly floral fragrance. Incense and woody note emerges in a near perfect dry-down and suggests the scent of skin. Dark Amber & Ginger Lily opens with an effervescence of ginger, reminiscent of ginger ale, which is quickly replaced by deeply beautiful resin and incense notes, with a amber-woody drydown.

Although the Company suggests you layer them, I prefer not to. Each fragrance is lovely and stands on its own, which is how I recommend you wear them— as individual scents.

Available at Bergdorf Goodman and www.jomalone.com

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From the creative mind of Isabelle Masson Mandonnaud, one of the founders behind the original Sephora who started her own fragrance company crazylilebellule and the poppies in 1995, launches three distinct fragrances that comprise a collection named L’Olfactives. Each fragrance celebrates their ‘birthdates’, i.e. the 122nd day of 2006, the 125th day of 2006 and the 129th day of 2006-all Geminis born in May. L’Olfactive 122 is bright and fruity with pink grapefruit and peony, L’Olfactive 125 is redolent with rose, jasmine and ylang ylang with a glowing apricot top note, and our favorite, L’Olfactive 129 is chic and sophisticated, a blend of elemi pepper and honey; velvet vanilla, amber and patchouli.

Available at www.luckyscent.com

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From niche perfumeur Mona di Orio debuts Amyitis, a fragrance inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which were created for Queen Amyitis. This is a green scent, with fragrance notes capsicum, green leaves, iris, violet, gaiac wood, cedar, and moss.. Even though it’s not listed as an ingredient, it smells of cucumber. It is a departure from her other scents as it is an exploration of ‘freshness’, with only a nod to the exotic.

Amyitis is available at Bergdorf Goodman and online at www.aedes.com

Originally published May 2008
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