Bel Respiro

Easily one of my top three favorites from the Les Exclusifs de Chanel line, Bel Respiro (Chanel 2007) is a bright, glorious beauty. The note of grass perfectly flanks what seem to be a mix of watery flowers and a lily tinged, buttery soft rose. It’s as if Bois Des Îles is playing in sunshine with vintage Ivoire de Balmain. Absolutely, astonishingly pretty. And then, into the drydown, you smell a violet-like leather. Or is it hyacinth and leather? I don’t know… But it’s light, airy and yet has Chanel charm and lots of depth. I love Bel Respiro!

Notes: grass, green notes, flowers and leather.

Nose: Jacques Polge

Infusion D’Iris

Of course the iris in Infusion d’Iris (Prada 2007) is almost profound, but an honorable mention must go to the various notes of orange. The citrus in this scent is so welcome and pretty. And then you can’t describe Infusion d’Iris without appreciating the warm-incense, balsamic, and vanillic-smoky base notes. But, it’s necessary to say that despite the frothy richness of the base the sparking iris is buoyed by the citrus and floats sublime. Perfection and very spring-like.

Top notes: African orange flower, orange, mandarin orange, and neroli. Middle notes: galbanum, mastic and iris. Base notes: benzoin, Virginia cedar, incense, and vetiver.

Nose: Daniela (Roche) Andrier


Tea meets rose. (Teo Cabanel 2005) Spicy, woody tea in a cup and delicately honeyed rose petals on a saucer are Oha. Good grief this is an eerie and utterly beautiful fragrance though… I half expect a ghost to pop out of the closet of a Victorian country house. It’s shockingly antique in its vibe… And the musk?! Well, iris and musk are up to something but I’m not sure it’s polite or appropriate to discuss… Good golly. At any rate, it’s sunny, and pretty and in someone’s room next to cedar balls this ghost may linger… And I’ll have to consider buying a bottle.

Top notes: bergamot and tea. Middle notes: cardamom, jasmine and rose. Base notes: woodsy notes, iris, musks, tonka bean and vanilla.

Nose: Jean-François Latty

Pure Poison

This flacon is perfectly matched to this fragrance. Pure Poison (Dior 2004), to my nose, truly is like a clear, effervescent version of the original Dior Poison. It’s as if all the mysterious, fruity warmth and subtle spice of the first has been washed out and what’s left is a shimmery substance with a remarkable resemblance.

Unfortunately, it’s not a fragrance that couples well with my skin chemistry due to something that reads as aquatic on my skin. However, it’s easy to see its beauty from the citrusy top notes to the cool floral heart with a unique gardenia to the equally chilled, woody base.

Top notes: bergamot, Sicilian mandarin, orange and jasmine. Middle notes: orange blossom and gardenia. Base notes: sandalwood, white amber and cedar.

Noses: Carlos Benaim, Dominique Ropion, and Olivier Polge.

Extraordinaire Camelia 209

At the start, bourbon vanilla adds saucy sugar to a very supple camelia (Krigler 2009). Matter of fact this pair is so vibrant, engaging and certain in their intentions that you can’t help but be carried away momentarily to a sunlit solarium or a perfect spring day outdoors. The noble flower is flanked by delicate musk, a particularly luxurious and well done note of pink pepper, and chilled, quiet cedar. Truly, you can almost smell each petal and it’s glorious. I love this fragrance, hope to acquire a bottle someday and heartily recommend it. It’s very well blended and it has a fresh, contemporary sensibility but the brilliant detail, quality and depth are from a different time. 

Notes: camelia blossom, bourbon vanilla, musk, pink pepper, cardamom, cedar and Chinese tea.  

Un Jardin Mediterranee 

Juniper mixes with citrus and jumps about (Hermès 2003). It’s a brew of thorny cypress and woody fig leaf.  Even worn in the true chill of a November day in Minnesota there’s a supple, young and lush beauty – almost as if a honeyed floral sweetness (orange blossom) plays with the scattered fall leaves  and brings buoyant delight with a promise of warm light.  Into the drydown there’s subtle spice, and an cerulean charm…   I like this one.  
Top notes: bergamot, lemon and mandarin orange.   Middle notes: orange blossom and white nerium oleander.  Base notes: juniper, red cedar, musk, pistachio, fig leaf and cypress.  

Jardin Sur Le Nil 

This scent makes me happy. While the notes certainly don’t seem … autumnal (i.e. mango, tomato, carrot and bulrush)… it perfectly suits my mood. And frankly the iris, lotus, peony and citrus (lemon, orange) along with the Hermès signature are what I smell most when I wear it (Hermès 2005).  Actually it feels like a kind, friendly and relaxed citrus scent to my nose – the sort of citrus you wear on cold, gray days to be reminded of the sun. Politely reminded. I need to acquire this…
Top notes: grapefruit, green mango, carrot and tomato.  Middle notes: orange, lotus, bulrush, hyacinth, and peony.  Base notes: incense, musk, cinnamon, iris and labdanum.  
Nose: Jean-Claude Ellena


Chanel Beige (Chanel 2008) is perfectly named. The image of beige colored Chanel shoes or handbags certainly come to mind with this beauty. Smooth, sweet, luminous and delightfully tangy frangipani and freesia create a fruity cocktail with honey and hawthorne. And, the effect is, as many have commented, reminiscent of honeydew melon. But it also reminds me of banana, pineapple and perhaps even pear. There’s a cerulean tinged green quality to it too. Very green. Matter of fact, it even reminds me a bit of vintage Estée Lauder Private Collection. I also am reminded of the tremendously popular cucumber melon combinations of the late 90’s. Still, it’s frothy, rich and so Chanel – irreplaceable and very pretty. 

Notes: hawthorne, frangipani, honey and freesia.  

Nose: Olivier Polge 

Gypsy Water

When you first spray Gypsy Water (Byredo 2008) you have an olfactory experience similar to the unequaled refreshment of taking a long and cool drink of perfect water.  And probably water with lemon.  The best lemon.  Of course.  

Piny juniper and subtle pepper emerge afterwards.  And then the warmth of the amber, vanilla and sandalwood meets the green chill of the citrus.  The contrast feels modern and chic.  Meanwhile a sugary incense adds allure and mystery.  

Recently I’ve been paring down my collection because I need to add fragrances I love without overdoing it.  This is not a scent I’ll be adding but it’s one I can’t help but appreciate.  

Top notes: bergamot, lemon, pepper and juniper.  Middle notes: incense, pine needles and orris root.  Base notes: amber, vanilla and sandalwood.


Frangipani (Ormonde Jayne 2003) opens with a sugary, opulent note of lime. But it’s a lime of many layers. And it’s flanked by a flourish of sweet lily, orchid and lush plum. Rose and frangipani emerges carrying along amber with them.  Yet still, the lime remains with its crisp, structured and light beauty, even into the sweet, spicy, vanillic cedar laden drydown. Really though, this scent is unique in that a 3D effect is created because it seems that it changes, giving emphasis to different notes, with each movement you make. It projects in a very fascinating way. 

Top notes: lime blossom, lime and magnolia.  Middle notes: plum, water lily, tuberose, rose, frangipani and water lily. Base notes: amber, vanilla, cedar, and musk.  

Nose: Geza Schoen