New Perfume Review Derek Lam 10 Crosby 2AM Kiss- Salted Caramel Buss

It is a familiar gripe when I receive a massive new debut collection. I wonder why more time wasn’t spent in designing this many perfumes along with the necessity for so many. The latest brand to irritate me in this way is Derek Lam 10 Crosby.

Designer Derek Lam designed this collection with the Millennials in mind and maybe that group wants unfinished poorly thought out fragrances. The cynic in me says nobody has quite figured out this market sector and they are throwing everything they have at finding out what will sell. The Derek Lam 10 Crosby collection is ten perfumes done by four perfumers. It is a broad exercise in box checking as nearly every fragrance style is represented except aquatic. Maybe they have some bit of research which informs them Millennials don’t like them. Nine of the ten releases feel like perfumes caught in the act of being created. They are ideas which never go anywhere. Notes which should have more to them than just a single accord. I was well along the path to dismissing the whole line when I picked up my sample of 2AM Kiss.

All of the fragrances are supposedly inspired by things Mr. Lam observed while looking out of his 10 Crosby office in SoHo. On the website there are little films to go with each fragrance but they seem to have little to do with the way any of these smell. If you like visuals with your scents you can check out the 2AM Kiss film above. I am divorcing myself from any of the imagery because it has nothing to do with what is in the bottle. That is a luscious salted caramel gourmand by perfumer Laurent LeGuernec.

laurent2

Laurent LeGuernec

M. LeGuernec creates a sticky caramel which he then adds salt to. It is gourmand-like but it also has some lift to it which keeps it from just being a viscous gooey blob. That lift comes from some woody aromachemicals which provide a foundation for the candy to spread out upon. One of them is a spicy woody synthetic I don’t recognize. The piquancy comes through almost like adding a bit of heat to the sweet. The end is a cozy amber accord.

Derek Lam 10 Crosby 2AM Kiss has 6-8 hours longevity and moderate sillage.

I am hopeful that Millennials have the same desire for quality that I do. If they are going to give the Derek Lam 10 Crosby line a try I hope 2AM Kiss is the one which sells best. It might encourage the next releases to be a bit more fleshed out and complete. If you like caramel gourmand fragrances 2AM Kiss is definitely worth trying out next time you’re at the mall.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Sephora.

Mark Behnke

My Favorite Things- Lilac

2

While reviewing the exquisite all-botanical impressionistic lilac of DSH Perfumes La Belle Saison I ended up pulling out my favorite lilac perfumes to compare to it. As I looked at my desk I realized I had the makings of a My Favorite Things right in front of me.

When I lived in Massachusetts our home was surrounded by lilacs and it was the sure sign that winter had passed when the house filled with their smell. When it comes to perfume lilac is a tricky thing to get right as an accord has to be constructed. The other hazard is that one of the earliest spray air fresheners was “French lilac” and no fragrance wants to be compared to that. Here are five of my favorite lilacs.

Highland Lilac of Rochester was created in 1967. I bet you didn’t know Rochester, NY was the Lilac Capitol of the World. The story on the website claims they harvest these lilacs every spring and create each year’s limited bottling. I think there is some natural lilac in here but the great majority is an accord centered around hyacinth, which is probably the most used floral alternative to create a lilac accord. This is a green unctuous floral that is everything that cloud of air freshener was not.

Pacifica French Lilac is another lilac accord coalescing around heliotrope. The perfumer uses ylang ylang and hyacinth to complete the effect. Magnolia leaves provide the green but French Lilac is a full-blown lilac soliflore.

SONY DSC

The next two are examples of perfumers capturing that spring milieu of the lilacs in full bloom.

Independent perfumer Ineke Ruhland’s Ineke After My Own Heart captures a garden with raspberries growing along with the lilacs. Ms. Ruhland finds a balance between the sweet juicy berry and the fulsome lilac. This is my kind of fruity floral.

Probably the greatest lilac perfume is Editions de Parfum Frederic Malle En Passant. It is definitely among the best perfumes composed by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti and that is not faint praise as her portfolio is amazing. In En Passant she captures that moment after a spring rain storm as the sun has returned and is drying things out. The dewy green of the leaves the transparent floralcy as the blooms shake off their cloak of water. The damp soil everything grows in. En Passant somehow manages to be photorealistic and impressionistic at the same time. I always wear it in the spring. It is still one of the perfumes which reminds me of the heights of what perfume can achieve.

My last choice is JAR Jarling. The entire JAR line of perfumes can best be described as quirky. Jarling fits the description better than most as it is a gourmand lilac. In the early going it is a treacly vanilla and almond mixture out of which arises a heliotrope focused lilac accord. What is fascinating about Jarling is after some time the sweet almond and lilac form a plush partnership which I can’t stop admiring when I wear it.

If you need a little bit of spring before it has fully taken hold these five lilac perfumes might help chase the last winter blues away.

Disclosure: this review is based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review House of Matriarch Albatross- Getting Littoral About It

2

One of my wishes every year is for one of the cadre of independent perfumers to have a mainstream success. One of the first steps towards this is for these perfumes to become more readily available to the perfume consumer. Which means it somehow has to make it to the mall. There have been a few who have taken the initiative to do just that. One of the most current efforts is independent perfumer Christi Meshell’s House of Matriarch launching a collection of nine fragrances, old and new, in Nordstrom’s across the country. I am rooting for Ms. Meshell because she has developed into an assured artist over the time I have followed her fragrances. I believe she offers an alternative to what else will be found on Nordstrom’s fragrance counter. If these can entice a few of those consumers over to something less commercial in aesthetic this could be the start of my wish coming true.

One of the ways to coax someone into becoming more adventurous is to give them a different riff on a style they know well. One of the perfumes, House of Matriarch Albatross, attempts this with the woody aquatic genre. Ms. Meshell was inspired by the Salish Sea area of her native Pacific Northwest. In that area of the world the pine trees grow right down to the rocky shoreline while the slate grey cold ocean laps against the craggy strand. This zone where the land meets the water is called the Littoral zone. Ms. Meshell uses Albatross as a literal interpretation of the littoral of the Salish Sea.

Christi-Meshell

Christi Meshell

What separates independent perfumery from the mainstream is the ability to use unusual ingredients. Ms. Meshell doesn’t conjure the ocean by throwing a ton of Calone into Albatross and moving on. Her marine accord accentuates the cool salinity of the ocean water and not the warm sea spray so prevalent within the aquatic genre. It is that chilly watery accord which opens Albatross. This then captures the evergreens on the shore with a mixture of cork oak and pinon oil. This has a sharp woody quality which is the perfect conjuration of this milieu as the cold breeze bites a bit when you breathe deeply. Albatross has a similar bite as the pines ride the wave of the marine accord. Over a few hours the pine mellows and dries out into what Ms. Meshell calls a driftwood accord. What this means is early on the pine accord is sappy. By the later parts of the drydown that sappiness is gone leaving a drier more austere version of the pine.

Albatross has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I’ve never visited the Salish Sea but I’ve spent a lot of time in the East Coast version of the Littoral zone of Acadia National Park in Maine. Albatross accurately captures that intersection of brine and pine, literally.

Disclosure; This review was based on a sample provided by House of Matriarch.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review DSH Perfumes La Belle Saison- Dawn’s Monet

My admiration for independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is no secret. She has only a few peers within that community. I still wish I had moved to Boston a year earlier than I did so I would have found the little blending shop on Newbury St. that Ms. Hurwitz and Sarah Horowitz-Thran ran from 1992-1994. Ms. Hurwitz’s experience has only broadened as she made the move to Boulder, Colorado and founded DSH Perfumes. Ms. Hurwitz has created perfumes of all kinds inspired by almost everything. For someone who has been doing something for almost thirty years I am always pleasantly surprised when her new releases continue to push the envelope of her creativity. Her latest release DSH Perfumes La Belle Saison is another high point.

DSH 2

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

If it was anyone else and I saw the words for a description of a new release say, “all-botanical lilac-centered floral perfume”, I would be concerned. One reason is there is no direct lilac extract to be used as a note. If you want lilac in a perfume the perfumer has to build an accord. The best lilac perfumes on the market are formed of synthetic and natural materials. To think that Ms. Hurwitz removed all of the synthetics in her attempt at an all-botanical lilac should give you an idea of the degree of difficulty being attempted here. An example of how smart she is, La Belle Saison is not a lilac soliflore. Ms. Hurwitz uses a selection of notes to provide an impressionistic version in lieu of realism. I would surmise her work for the Giverny in Bloom exhibit at the Denver Art Museum wherein she imagined the scents of Monet’s garden laid the foundation for La Belle Saison. This perfume carries much of Monet’s sensibilities within it.

lilas au soleil claude monet 1872

Lilas au Soleil by Claude Monet (1872)

La Belle Saison opens with that slightly vegetal green quality I associate with flower gardens when I first step into them. It carries me to the blooms. The same thing happens in La Belle Saison. Ms. Hurwitz uses cucumber, bergamot, and anise to form this accord. The cucumber carries a slightly watery quality like I am in this garden just after the sprinklers have been turned off. Out of this greenness Ms. Hurwitz constructs her lilac accord; mostly of other florals. Neroli, rose and jasmine are all noticeable at first, as themselves. Somewhere along the line Ms. Hurwitz uses acacia honey to transform these into a lilac accord. The sticky mimosa tinged sweet glow of the honey captures all of the pieces into a single accord.  Once the accord comes together I had to work hard to find the separate pieces because now La Belle Saison was all lilac. Next the moist earth is conjured into being with vetiver and ambrette. The spring milieu is complete.

La Belle Saison is an extrait with 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I am so impressed with La Belle Saison. The ultimate challenge of creating an all-botanical lilac. The artistic way it comes together. This is everything that natural perfumery can rise to. This is already at the top of my Best of 2016 list. I think there will be few to measure up to it over the next nine months.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

The first fierce debates I can remember having is which superhero would win in a fight against another superhero. I would stake out a position, “Superman is invulnerable, duh!” Only to be met with the counter argument, “Batman would have a batarang made of kryptonite, duh!” This would take up way too much time at numerous sleep overs as we shared our comic books amongst ourselves. That child which is never buried very deep within myself was hoping that the new movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would be those conversations brought to life. After 2.5 hours of this I felt like the DC Universe was once again poorly served by some truly awful writing coupled with a way too aggressive marketing vibe which was jarring throughout the movie.

bvs logo

I was not a fan of the movie Man of Steel which introduced us to director Zack Snyder’s version of the DC Cinematic Universe. Mr. Snyder clearly wants to see these characters through a dark lens. While that works with Batman I feel it is antithetical to what Superman is about. Particularly at the end of Man of Steel when Superman and General Zod are destroying skyscrapers left and right with little regard to those in the buildings or on the street. This is not Superman. This leads to the biggest not Superman thing when he kills. That was where it lost me. I initially wanted nothing to do with Batman v Superman because of this.

batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-ben-affleck

Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne

Then I saw the previews and the reason Batman was wanting a mano-a-mano with Superman was for the same reason I was irritated. Superman isn’t heroic when he brings the battle to the middle of the city he is supposed to protect. This is where Batman v Superman begins with Bruce Wayne’s perspective of this battle. As someone on the ground saving people from the destruction raining down. You see his anger building. We go through another re-telling of the loss of Bruce’s parents to criminals who shot them. As an aside will the next movie which uses Batman please have a moratorium on showing this scene, please. What was more powerful was seeing an empty Robin uniform with writing from The Joker on it representing a more current loss. This all makes a Batman who is older, angrier, more cemented in his opinion that he is the instrument of justice. I want to say right here Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman is the best part of the movie. Of everything I saw of future movies coming out of this universe the one thing I want to see is a Batman movie with this version of the character played by Mr. Affleck.

The rest of the movie felt like a gigantic commercial for other movies coming. Look here is Wonder Woman. There is The Flash. Is that Aquaman? This is the beginning of the Justice League. All that was missing was a flashing message with “Coming Soon and the date of the upcoming movie”. This had the effect of any commercial I kept asking myself if I wanted to buy any of this. What it also caused was it was so calculated in its marketing I didn’t care anymore. This is as joyless as a movie could be.

I lay this at the feet of Mr. Snyder who has decided that audiences want a gritty DC Universe and come what may that’s what we are going to get. I know Mr. Snyder is as much of a fan of the source material as me or anyone who reads comic books. The problem comes when he forgets that the DC characters’ big difference is they are mostly knights in shining armor. There may be a bit of tarnish here and there but in the end they are heroes because their goodness shines through. Mr. Snyder douses this in darkness and it makes them boring, and inconsistent.

Wonder-Woman-Gal-Gadot-vs-Doomsday-in-Batman-v-Superman-Dawn-of-Justice

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

One thing I want to say almost all of the actors did a great job with poor dialogue. Henry Cavill as Superman has the necessary charm to play the character. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is also great she has a moment when she gets a huge smackdown and she gets up with a smile on her face and charges back in. Jesse Eisenberg is interesting as Lex Luthor. I wish they hadn’t decided to splice Lex’s genius with The Joker’s anarchy in Mr. Snyder’s universe. Had they let Mr. Eisenberg refine the same imperiousness he used when playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network” I believe he could’ve produced the definitive version of Lex Luthor on film.

Batman v Superman fails because it’s director and writers didn’t have the faith to be true to the iconic characters they were depicting. Instead they wanted to let us know what is coming up over the next few years more than they wanted to tell a story. Just like any infomercial which runs late in the night Batman v Superman has become too easy to ignore.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Dior Poison Girl- Whither the Millennial?

As I’ve looked back over the history of perfume; one of the reasons changes in styles come about is because of societal changes. I’ve written about the change in buying habits as women moved into the workplace during the 1970’s. I am wondering if we are not on the cusp of another change currently. One harbinger of this change came in an article from the information company The NPD Group which gathers data on many different consumer sectors. In a post from earlier this month The NPD Group said that Millennials are now outspending Baby Boomers in the prestige beauty sector for the first time. Furthermore, that younger generation is spending more on fragrance than skincare. Both of these factors are driving the perfume industry to begin to cater to these young fragrance consumers. Already in 2016 I have seen a number of press releases and campaigns with that group in mind, sometimes just flat out saying that. It is interesting because of these perfumes supposedly designed for Millennials I have not detected a common theme. Each company is trying to divine what they want. Dior is no different. Their entrée into the chase for the Millennials is called Poison Girl.

francois demachy 1

Francois Demachy

Putting aside the pursuit of the twenty-to-thirtysomethings a perfume called Poison Girl is going to have my attention. The follow-ons to the 1985 Edouard Flechier classic Poison have been uneven but there have been some winners, namely Hypnotic Poison. Perfumer Francois Demachy said in an interview for DiorMag, “For Poison Girl, I wanted a slightly different kind of gourmand. There are flowers at the center of all Dior perfumes, and I thought about a sweet treat from my childhood in Grasse, where rose petals were soaked in sugar. So I tried to capture this sugared rose in perfume, but with that intense, radical Poison composition.” In M. Demachy’s estimation sugary florals is what a Millennial is looking for. He is a man of his word as Poison Girl is accurately described by him.

Dior poison girl camille rowe

Model Camille Rowe as part of the Dior Poison Girl ad campaign

Poison Girl opens on a bitter orange and almond accord. In a sense it is a callback to both Poison and Hypnotic Poison respectively. When anyone, including M. Demachy, is talking about “that intense, radical Poison composition” they are talking about the dense spiced floral heart of the original. The room filling accord that had some restaurants include “No Poison” alone with “No Smoking” in the late 1980’s. For Poison Girl M. Demachy dials down the sillage while retaining the power using both Turkish rose and Rose de Mai. The inherent spiciness of the Turkish rose captures some of the spicy character of original Poison while the Rose de Mai lightens the mood without banishing the shadows entirely. As I wore Poison Girl I definitely felt the connection between the heart accords. Then M. Demachy douses the rose in vanilla and tonka bean. This is where I would have like the rose to have more presence and the sweetness be a little more attenuated. It pushes my personal line of becoming cloying never fully crossing it but it tiptoes right up to my tolerance. A nice sandalwood base is the final piece of Poison Girl.

Poison Girl has 10-12 hour longevity and slightly below average sillage. Hard to believe there is a perfume with Poison in the name which doesn’t leave a vapor trail.

The race is on for what appeals to Millennials and the rest of us who love perfume will be dragged along in their wake as this generation becomes the trendsetters. If I had to choose a style for them to latch on to I think floral gourmands wouldn’t be a bad one to have win the hearts and noses of this group. As a designer perfume goes I think Poison Girl is a solid effort which upholds the name on its label.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Dior.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Tauer Lonesome Rider- Lonestar Orris?

It has been ten years since most of the world became aware of independent perfumer Andy Tauer. The first perfume I tried was a little less than ten years ago called L’Air du Desert Marocain. At the time it was one of my first introductions to the potential of independent perfumery. L’Air du Desert Marocain showed a perfumer with a vision could find a wider market. The next two releases were a limited edition called Orris and a regular release, Lonestar Memories. Orris I think is one of the great masterpieces of all-time. Lonestar Memories was Hr. Tauer’s take on the American West full of sagebrush, campfire, and leather.  Now in 2016 as a thank you to those who have supported Hr. Tauer he has released Lonesome Rider.

In the post announcing Lonesome Rider Hr. Tauer mentions that it is meant to build upon Orris and Lonestar Memories. Early on in my wearing of Lonesome Rider I spent too much time trying to find those two perfumes leading to a mild disappointment. I had to walk away from it for a few days to stop thinking about that. If you go into Lonesome Rider thinking this is some mash-up of the two inspiration fragrances I think you will also be disappointed. When I returned to Lonesome Rider instead of seeing Hr. Tauer as some perfumed gene splicer I instead focused on what he said, “Lonesome Rider builds on Orris…..followed (by) Lonestar Memories.” The word I focused on was builds. I realized Hr. Tauer was not trying to create a throwback what he was attempting was to delight us all over again by returning to a style of perfume he hasn’t done much recently. On that score Lonesome Rider delivers spectacularly.

andy tauer

Andy Tauer

This time I feel less like I am in the wide-open spaces. I am instead within my inner space as Lonesome Rider is a perfume of introspection. I found myself late in one of the days I wore it using it as a meditational focal point. There is a serenity throughout Lonesome Rider quite uncommon in most perfumes.

Lonesome Rider first arrives with grapefruit pierced with clove, coriander, and black pepper. What is nice about this is the way the spices surprisingly transform the citrus into something shaded by those notes. Instead of exuberance the grapefruit is more mannered because of the spices. The orris rises out of this retaining the spices as underpinning. This is an evolution of the cinnamon, frankincense, orris heart accord of Orris. The black pepper stands in for the metaliic quality of the frankincense and the clove is the counterpart to the cinnamon. Lonesome Rider finds the orris more contained, less effusive; which follows the more serene nature of this perfume. The leather comes next and this is a well-cared for leather garment, broken in with all of the rougher birch tar facets worn away over time. What I like best about Lonesome Rider is Hr. Tauer takes the smoky faux oud of Cypriol and uses it to provide a hint of that more animalic leather in an earlier day when it was a player. The base is sandalwood, vetiver, and cedar forming an old weathered wood accord.

Lonesome Rider has 14-16 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

As I mentioned above if you are reading Hr. Tauer’s words and expecting Lonestar Orris I suspect you won’t find it. If you actually take him at this word what you do get is a marker on the maturation of a precocious talent after ten years. Lonesome Rider is my favorite Tauer release since Une Rose Chypree; I think it is one of his very best.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Tauerville Fruitchouli Flash- The Answer to Why?

There are a number of common experiences I have when people find out I am a perfume blogger. They will tell me what they wear; waiting for a reaction. Most of the time these are department store releases. If there is one thing department store fragrances have done is they have coalesced around a few popular bestselling styles. I usually talk with them about the perfumes which were the originators of whatever they are wearing. If the discussion goes further, I begin to talk about niche and why I think it is usually more interesting. Then when we get down to the cost the spell is usually broken. I have always believed if there was a similarly priced niche alternative there is a real chance to show the difference. Over the last 16 months independent perfumer Andy Tauer is helping me to see if that hypothesis has any weight.

Hr. Tauer has started a spin-off line called Tauerville where he is creating simple releases with a niche sensibility at a price similar to the department store bottles. The first four each highlighted a specific note. With the fifth release Fruitchouli Flash we might have the one which answers the question of why niche is more interesting than mainstream.

If there is any segment of mainstream perfumery which feels played out it is the fruity floral segment. Nevertheless, my desk is already full of boring wannabes for 2016. Even as the fruity floral train started to lose speed someone had the idea of adding in patchouli to give it more weight revitalizing it for cooler weather. Ever quick to jump on a trend there are now dozens of banal fruitchouli releases. Which is where Fruitchouli Flash comes in. The single note Flashes were good but you really need something similar to what they know to get them to try something different. Fruitchouli Flash might just be that perfume.

andy tauer 1

Andy Tauer

Hr. Tauer keeps this approachable as he uses peach and apricot as his fruit notes. If you’ve tried peach in a mainstream fragrance in the past few years, you’re probably smelling gamma-decalactone. It has all the subtlety of a fuzzy jackhammer. In Fruitchouli Flash Hr. Tauer uses natural apricot extract to ripen the screechy aromachemical. In many ways this is the soul of independent perfumery on display. Taking the same ubiquitous aromachemical and finding a way to twist it with something new. By using the apricot extract it gives the peach a slightly pungent overripe quality. It is exactly what you can’t find at the mall. The note list names a few florals in the heart; I never noticed them because the patchouli is all that comes next. Again the aesthetic of indie perfumery is here as Hr. Tauer uses an assortment of musks to make the patchouli soft; removing the head shop vibe. This has an earthier feel to it which makes a fragrant still life of a very ripe peach which has fallen off the tree and embedded itself in the moist soil.

Fruitchouli Flash has 18-20 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I have a very good friend who I have been trying to being over to the world of niche for a long time. Her favorite perfume is a fruitchouli. I can’t wait to show her Fruitchouli Flash. Which is the final point I would like to make about these Tauerville releases. Yes they are simple. They are not as complex as what Hr. Tauer does in his Tauer Perfumes line. I believe this is by design this is not perfume for those of us already converted. It is a perfume to help some of the adventuresome masses to take a look in the back room away from the bright lights of the fragrance counter. With that in mind I think Fruitchouli Flash is what they should find when they take that step.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.

Mark Behnke

Discount Diamonds: Estee Lauder White Linen- Blinded by Sophia’s Light

1

In all of perfumery there are only a handful of perfumes which can be said to be true game-changers. One of the fun things about writing about these masterpieces decades later is it allows me to see with perfect 20/20 hindsight how influential they are. One of these few is Estee Lauder White Linen from 1978.

estee lauder white linen

As I’ve written about before the 1970’s were when women began to buy perfume for themselves. As they began to enter the workplace they still wanted to smell good but they wanted understated. The perfume companies were all looking to find what these working women wanted. One thing was for sure in 1978 few of the Estee Lauder releases like Youth Dew, Azuree, Alliage or Private Collection were going to be seen as office-ready. Estee Lauder probably saw this market segment slipping away and needed something to entice them back. Somewhere along the line Estee Lauder got the bright idea to combine the new class of synthetic musks together. To achieve this they enlisted perfumer Sophia Grojsman.

Again using that perfect hindsight this was an early opportunity for Mme Grojsman to compose in what will become her trademark of big bold blocks of synthetics. White Linen is full of this style as she strives to capture the smell of crisp clean linen freshly ironed.

SOPHIA_GROJSMAN

Sophia Grojsman

Mme Grojsman first employs Hedione and its expansive jasmine-like quality as a cloud on which an assortment of aldehydes can also become fuller. Hedione is an ingredient with all the indoles removed from jasmine essential oil and it is a perfect choice to provide a matrix for the aldehydes to insert themselves into. The heart is a whopping boatload of synthetic musks lead by Galaxolide. Galaxolide had only been used in fabric softeners and soaps up until that point. Mme Grojsman’s choice to use it adds that laundry fresh smell by co-opting the molecule responsible for it. The rest of the musks are used to construct that crisp cotton accord. Every time I get to this point of White Linen I am blinded by the bright white olfactory light Mme Grojsman has created. A base of a couple of synthetic woods and we are done.

White Linen has 20-24 hour longevity and average sillage.

White Linen has been a consistent seller for almost forty years. It’s longevity is testament to the enduring desire for many perfume wearers to want to feel like a freshly laundered cotton sheet. That time has allowed it to find its way to the discount bins where 1oz. can be found for around $25. One other interesting fact is because this is composed almost entirely of synthetics it hasn’t been significantly changed. The dreaded reformulation hasn’t changed things. To find a true masterpiece of perfume for this price it should be hard to pass up.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Acqua de Parma Cedro di Taormina- Underneath the Volcano

When I was writing my Perfume 101 on Acqua di Parma I had my little collection all sitting in front of me. As I was looking at it I realized that I had neglected the little collection of blue bottles with Blu Mediterraneo written on the label. As I reacquainted myself I was once again struck by the nice balance this set of fragrances strike hovering between an eau de cologne and eau de parfum concentration. I was also reminded of what a nice job these do with the title note. It was funny when a few weeks later I received the latest Blu Mediterraneo release Cedro di Taormina. I was excited to see what could be teased out of cedar.

The Blu Mediterraneo series is meant to not only feature a note but also capture a place in the Mediterranean. In this case we are in the Sicilian beach town of Taormina on the east coast of the island. Taormina features Mt. Etna rumbling off to its west while you look out upon the Ionian sea. Perfumer Francois Demachy wanted to capture some of the fire of the volcano along with the freshness of citrus and cedar. In the end Cedro di Taormina takes you from shore to caldera and back again.

francois-demachy

Francois Demachy

When M. Demachy is working at his best he takes specific pairs of notes to create memorable chords. The opening and heart accords of Cedro di Taormina show this ability. The opening is the lighter citrus feel of citron paired with basil. Because citron is a lighter less tart version of lemon it allows the herbal aspect of basil a little more traction. M. Demachy keeps this opening as light as a Mediterranean breeze. Not so as we move into the heart as lavender and black pepper capture the heat of Mt. Etna. The heart is mostly black pepper and the lavender is pushed into the background. Even though it only exerts a minor presence it is an important modulator keeping the black pepper from being too strident. The lavender also pulls the basil in with it to help keep the pepper well behaved. This volcano is not quite ready to erupt. The base is the promised cedar but it once again picks up a breeze of cistus and vetiver to help cool down the warmth from the heart.

Cedro di Taormina has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

After having found my Blu Mediterraneo collection I know I will be wearing these a lot for my weekend morning jaunts. Cedro di Taormina is going to go right into that rotation.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Acqua di Parma.

Mark Behnke