L’Aimant (Repost)

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Coty’s classic scent, L’Aimant (Coty 1927) is a rich, powdery masterpiece.  I think because it’s a “drugstore fragrance” it can sometimes be perceived poorly, but every time I smell L’Aimant (the vintage in particular) on my skin I am reminded of its wonders.  There’s a sweetness, depth, warmth and almost wholesomeness in L’Aimant that is like nothing else.  The drydown is particularly poignant, beautiful and powdery in its vanilla glow – almost reminiscnt of pipe tobacco I vaguely remember old men smoking in my early childhood?

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Top notes: bergamot, neroli, peach, and aldehydes. Middle notes: geranium, rose, orchid, jasmine and ylang-ylang. Base notes: vetiver, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, tonka bean and cedar.

Yet again, it was a wickedly busy week and I didn’t get a chance to finish Evelyn Waugh’s Put Out More Flags, so it will be my book of the week next week too (I’m sorry) along with one other book I’ll try to finish (I may need to adjust things a bit).  However, I can already say that it’s an amazingly authentic sort of book. I am deeply engaged by how realistic the thoughts of the characters seem to be, especially about the war and intigued by the fact that they seem so accessible in the present – there’s a certain “truth” and “rawness” in this book that seems more fitting of contemporary works. In fact, it makes me wonder if other authors often simply fall short in fully making their characters true to life, or if there is something about these people in particular that make them relatable to a person, such as myself, from the present.

More on this all later…

Nose Gay (repost)

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Nose Gay by Dorothy Gray (Dorothy Gray 1938) is a pelargonium, dirty, musky, mossy rose scent.  It’s a bit woody, Earthy and green.  And, despite its sweet name (a nose gay is a small bouquet of flowers usually carried about – ie for a formal dance), Nose Gay is actually dark and mysterious with an almost buttery, salty, slightly sweet floral kick.

The florals I believe my nose detects most are honeysuckle, heliotrope, violet and tuberose.  I would label this perfume a rich creamy floral chypre with a sweet smoky drydown.   The sandalwood and animalic notes (perhaps?) in the base actually make this fragrance a bit wild.  Indeed, Nose Gay would never be sold as mainstream perfume today.  Even though people of the past were supposedly less rambuntious than today, it’s fragrances like this that really make you wonder…

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It’s hard to believe it’s mid June already.  It feels like it should still be April or May.  Where is this year going?  As someone once said, the days go by slow but the years go fast.

In some ways it feels like the last ten years were a vapor.  Poof they’re gone!  I wish I could just pause life for a week and take time to reflect a little.

There are so many things that take time to figure out.  Even if I’ll never figure them out in this life, and I try to be ok with that, I still wonder…  🙂

I hope you’re having a pleasant Friday dear reader.

Floral Fantasies (Repost)

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Designed as a hot weather cologne, Floral Fantasies (Dorothy Gray 1940) but the rich, warm spiciness seems very suitable for fall as well.  Yes Floral Fantasies is indeed a floral fragrance but it’s also very sweet and again, spicy.  While I can’t find any list of notes online anywhere, I’m absolutely positive there are notes of cinnamon and cloves.  I would also venture to guess that there are notes of tuberose, carnation, castoreum, perhaps civet and very likely oakmoss.

This weekend I think we’re all feeling pretty tired.

It’s going to be a long week, but hopefully a good one…

I’m sorry this part of my blog is suffering right now.  I think I’m in a quiet place.  🙂

I hope you’re having a nice weekend!

April Violets (Repost)

2015-03-03 09.52.44 (2)April Violets (Yardley 1913) is a bit like Choward’s Violet Mints or Devon Violets in its clear violet note but with a certain green woody tinge it could almost be described as a chypre.  There’s an elegant complexity at first to this slightly sweet retro violet.  It’s very pretty.

But then, with notes of pelargonium, jasmine, vanilla and musk it alters itself from demure to an edgy, Art Nouveau ghost. I found that this fragrance almost became creepy.  It reminded me of exploring an attic in an old Edwardian mansion.  At first, it’s just old and dusty but enjoyable, but then something about all the uncovered boxes and shuffled things changes the feeling of the place and as the sun starts to go down and shadows fill the room everything starts to look sort of menacing.   Vintage Yardley April Violets is like if a Toulouse-Lautrec painting were to actually come to life – colorful and mesmorizing but totally phantasmagoric when brought out of context.   Some fragrances from the past seem “old ladyish” to people but this one is more like a haunted house.  Yet, it’s still quite lovely…

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And speaking of things feeling eerie, I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I totally get the idea.  I mean, things do repeat themselves in our world with an intensity…

Life loops over and over into itself.  That is sort of a theme of existence I think.  The same thing happens over and over again until… we learn?  Or until we let go?  Or what?  We just keep falling down and getting up again as a species.  And on a personal level it’s more tangible, and at times excruciating.

And then there’s those moments, especially when you’re young when it feels like you might escape the ugly rhythm and just be able, if you try hard enough, to move forward.  It seems like you can grasp the best and it will just keep leading somewhere, and then somewhere else and you’ll find yourself where you want to be…

In my life it’s been a mixture.  At times I feel like I’ve conquered obstacles and found my way out of the circle, and other times it seems that I just get stuck in the mess.

And, like I said last time, the ideal is so beautifully ideal.  And by ideal, I mean the things you dream about as kid.  I mean the stuff that strikes you as most beautiful about this world before all of the suffering and the chaos and the nonsense of life gets to you.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald ended The Great Gatsby, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Can my boat please move forward now though?  Ha…  Anyway, I promise to be less cryptic eventually.  I promise.

Until Friday.  🙂

Shocking (Repost)

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Shocking, launched in 1937 by Schiaparelli is a sweet, spicy olfactory treat with notes of rose, jasmine honey and tarragon.  Wearing it is like wrapping a warm vintage sweater around you on a chilly day…

DSC07569 (2)Last night I wore Shocking by Schiaparelli to the emergency room…  It was perfect actually because it’s such a light, gentle but warm scent (not particularly shocking ? Although maybe, “shocking”) that I doubt it bothered anyone around me in the slightest and it was nice to wear.

My son needed to be seen for a high fever and, of course, it was late and nothing else was open…  Poor little guy.  He’s doing a bit better today.

This post is being put up later in the day than usual because I’ve been a bit distracted.  And, I am now too, which is why it’s short.

Thankfully we have a few days off this week and that will be enormously helpful…   Until Wednesday, have a nice beginning of your week.  Stay warm.  🙂

No. 4711 (Repost)

As you may have noticed, my husband and I enjoy visiting antique stores.  Well, a few years ago, I visited one in Red Wing, Minnesota.  We found the bottle of Muguet des Bois that I recently sold and two bottles of No. 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser.

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At first, I was disappointed when I tried No. 4711.  I found it strong, bitter and much too manly.  It was a scent very foreign to my modern nose. However, after a while I started to develop an appreciation for it and now it’s a delight to wear.

It’s a scent with a history too…  No. 4711 was debuted in 1792 by Eau de Cologne & Parfümerie Fabrik Glockengasse No. 4711 gegenüber der Pferdepost von Ferd. Mülhens in Köln am Rhein. It’s a product of Cologne, Germany and is indeed the real “cologne” from Cologne. Presently, after going through many changes over the last 25 years it is now manufactured by Maurer and Wirtz.

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A friend of mine who grew up in France once told me that she used this cologne as a teenager in France and I’ve seen it sold in pharmacies when I’ve traveled to Europe.  To my nose, it is a very European scent, however, it certainly has been a part of American history too.  No. 4711 was supposedly a favorite of John F. Kennedy, and the fictional character Holly Golightly (as portrayed in the movie version by Audrey Hepburn) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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No. 4711 is a wildly refreshing, clean, citrus scent that is oh so vintage. It’s uncompromisingly from the past, but in the very best, long-lost sense.  The romantic in me is automatically enthralled…

The top notes of  No. 4711 are listed as orange oil, lemon, bergamot, basil, and peach. Middle notes: jasmine, Bulgarian Rose, lily, melon, and Cyclamen. Base notes are listed as, patchouli, Tahitian vetiver, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss and cedar.

If you ever try it, I would suggest giving yourself time to cultivate an opinion.  Wear it on warm days.  Use it on cold days, and certainly give it time to proceed into the drydown.  It’s also worthwhile to try to find one of the older bottles.  I believe that in this case, the older version is preferable (and it’s not that expensive on sites like e-Bay actually).

Before I splashed on No. 4711, I decided to take a moment to relax and bathe in a tub of lavender bubbles created by Agraria Lavender & Rosemary Bath Salts sourced from the Dead Sea.  With a sharp, elegant lavender that slightly lingers on the skin it was the perfect match for No. 4711.

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Agraria Bath Salts, of Agraria San Francisco, are currently in lovely decorative boxes that come with a seashell to pour the salts into your water.   The scent is sold in soaps, lotions, candles and room diffusers, and if you’re interested, until tomorrow (Dec. 1) the online store is having a 25% everything sale.

Kisses Rain ( Repost)

It starts with an alluring, sugary burst. Impeccable oud and gentle rose mixes with almond. Musk and patchouli are at the base. But it’s a bright gourmand with a dash of subtle coffee flanked by opulent, airy, and utterly sensual cedar and balsam. And while it certainly has the open, expansive beauty found in some of the best contemporary fragrances it’s not without a unique sincerity and depth that is rare in today’s scents. As the name would suggest it’s truly romantic. 

Top notes: bergamot, agarwood (oud), cardamom and rose.  Middle notes:agarwood (oud), almond, atlas cedar, coffee and heliotrope.  Base notes: amber, musk, patchouli, vanilla and tolu balsam.

Nose: Daniel Josier 

Romance (Repost)

(Update from 2020: I felt so hopeless about my marriage when this was posted. It felt like we had nothing there to be salvaged… But I was wrong. I was wonderfully wrong. And I have tons of hope now. Things can get better in life when we think they’re almost impossible. Not always, but life’s not always a tragedy waiting to happen. Sometimes things work out. Not always, but sometimes. Realizing that is necessary but hard. It means unpredictability and real pain. But it’s necessary. You know?)

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I found this bottle of Romance Incense Oil at an antique store. I haven’t been able to find much about the notes, or even really who made it, but it’s a charming scent.

It opens with strong pine and woody notes, however it’s also quite balsamic and there’s a floral delicacy and freshness that reminds me of spring in a forest. It gets better and better as it continues and, as the name suggests, it is a bit romantic actually…

This little bottle is a treasure in my estimation. I’m glad I found it…

The more open I become on this blog the easier it is…   It’s a pleasant surprise.

Last night was rough.  I went out with my husband and we had a difficult time together.   He’s such a great person but we’re so badly suited emotionally for each other that when we try to enjoy each other’s company in any way but as friends it just ends up being bloody.

He’s brilliant.  I’m not kidding.  He actually really is…   And I have my areas where I might be considered gifted by some, but those areas are different from his.  Sound complimentary?  Well, it would be complimentary perhaps if there was the one similar link somewhere that connected us on some deep level…  There isn’t.  He’s a great guy.  I wish there was…

How did we end up together?!  It’s a long story…  Maybe later.  Maybe…

Will we get divorced?  Well…  There’s lots of reasons to (like both of us finding people we can really connect with) but…  I don’t take the decision lightly.   But whatever the decision is, I just want the best for everyone…   Sigh.

Last night was pleasant though in some ways, albeit sad too.  We did get to spend some time around St. Paul in general and that was lovely…  Right now, the leaves are bright, warm colors and they light up trees and float about in the air, falling here and there.  They’re almost painfully beautiful…

… Until tomorrow.

Lalique (Repost)

When Sophia Grojsman created the fragrance that would be presented in this Marie-Claude Lalique bottle (Lalique 1992) she invented a somewhat cool and detached beauty with an enormous amount of decadent, sweet, tart and very juicy allure. The blackberry waltzes with the citrus, orange blossom and rose. And the rich oakmoss chills the vanilla-tinged, sandalwood-spicy musk. Lalique is sensual but a little reserved.

Top notes: Chinese gardenia, Sicilian mandarin orange, accords of black currant and blackberry. Middle Notes: Peony, Tunisian orange blossom, magnolia, Bulgarian rose and ylang-ylang. Base notes: Indian sandalwood, vanilla, amber, Yugoslavian oakmoss , cedar and Tibetan musk.

Nose: Sophia Grojsman

Eternity (Repost)

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The current formulation of Eternity (Calvin Klein 1988) is airy, crisp but not what I remember from the original.  Matter of fact it almost stinks, although the drydown is better.   The newer version is made by Coty Prestige and smells a bit cheap with less depth.  I need to find an old bottle. I know this fragrance was over-worn, but I liked it back in the day…

Top notes: sage, freesia, green notes, citruses, and mandarin orange.  Middle notes: violet, carnation, jasmine, lily, marigold, narcissus, rose, and lily-of-the-valley.  Base notes: heliotrope, musk, amber, patchouli, and sandalwood. 

It’s funny how much certain things can take out of you.  I think I first felt that when I was a child and I realized how sad sadness actually feels.  And, at that age, emotions are new experiences – bright and poignant.

As adults we have to navigate so much.  Don’t we?  It’s hard to know if we’re making the right decision or not.  Really, really hard.

Someone said to me this week, in regard to a specific situation my husband and I are facing, “I think you just want someone to tell you what to do.”  But this lovely soul was mistaken (as she kindly heard me say)…  It’s not that we want to be told what to do.  It’s that we want to know what to do and if someone’s just telling you what to do, you don’t necessarily truly know.  At least, I don’t think so…  But, I do wish sometimes, that we had more information to work with.  So much of life seems to be about making educated guesses doesn’t it?

Ah well…

Until Sunday.