Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jardin en Méditerrannée by Hermes

I have to admit, I first sniffed this one after reading an essay singing it's praises in Fantastic Man. It's completely delicious, a mix of oranges, sage and cypress trees that smells like the interior of the temperate greenhouse at the Botanic Gardens crossed with the gray wooden slats that surround the cool airconditioned art galleries of the Menil Collection in Houston. Now if they could bottle the wet plaster of the Cy Twombley pavilion I'd be very impressed.

I don't quite know what it would be musically - catchy, a little dry, a little classic, but with the juice of a good dirty joke. Elvis Costello comes to mind, or maybe Esquivel.

Sunset Heat by Escada

I actually really like the Escada scents. It's been a while since I sniffed it but Sunset Heat smelled like a noisy neon mango fruit collage to me, which is nothing but a good thing. Unfortunately the box looks like this:

( from imagination perfumery)

Now lets imagine how much better a neon mango collage would smell if the box instead looked like this:

(Art by the brilliant Donna Huanca aka Rua Minx)

Much better, no? I declare Escada scents to be noise-pop and Rua Minx as their musical patron saint.

Ume by Keiko Mecheri

Takashimaya was the first pace I encountered the Keiko Mecheri scents. I remember liking Sanguine as an upbeat citrus, and this time I wanted to gobble up Ume. It's sort of a spicy pickled plum and woods scent, a little bit loud, a little bit retro like the 5-6-7-8s. It reminded me a little bit of Bulgari's BLV, but fruitier, sexier and more fun, like a fuchsia suede mini skirt.

Zephyr by Neil Morris Fragrances

Today I browsed the scents at Takashimaya and found a line I'd never seen before, Neil Morris Fragrances. I was drawn to the name Zephyr. I think there was a children's book or an episode of Wonderworks about a ship or hot air baloon named the Zephyr. So I sniffed and it is fantastic. It's the sweet green smell of a summer's day, the scent that greets you if you are very lucky and exit the subway in a thicket of trees and cherry blossoms. It's a very vivid and natural scent, and rather than a pop song I'd liken it to the soundtrack of Sunday in the Park with George.

The other scents at Takashimaya fit into genres - floral, woodsy, cologne, oriental etc. But this one stood out, slightly sweet like a linden tree, very pretty and completely unlike anything else I've smelled. Actually, I take that back. It reminded me a little bit of the spring fresh frozen time feeling of Eau de Brooklyn which I've only sniffed in passing but I recall having a very visceral sensation of a sunny day at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

The NMF website describes Zephyr as "Top Notes of Tangerine and Papaya that combine with lovely Heart Notes of Honeysuckle and Casablanca Lily, accented with Notes of White Tea. The Base Notes are a comforting blend of Sandalwood, Amber and Ocean Musk". Both scents are orange, tea, woods blends, so maybe that's the recipe for magic.

Chanel's Cologne and Moon Sparkle

Turin describes Chanel's Cologne as the quintessential cologne. I finally smelled it at Bergdorf Goodman's and it is indeed lovely. It's bright, cheerful and harmonious. I got to thinking that cologne is sort of the punk pop anthem of fragrance - stripped down and up-beat like a major 5th chord. I was originally going to say that the Chanel Cologne was the "I wanna be sedated" of scent but I think it's actually more like Vacation by the Go-Go's. It's fun and pretty and it takes some serious skill to create something so effortless. It's sophisticated stuff, but I imagine Sedated would be even more stripped down and smell more like Queens.

Moon Sparkle by Escada smells like blue Hubba Bubba on a July sidewalk and I love it! This is what I imagine Wig Wam Bam by the Sweet would smell like. The name even sounds like it should be a purple flocked My Little Pony unicorn. It dries down a little softer but lasts forever - my parka still smells of it a week after I sprayed it.

Sights sounds and smells

It's perverse but I love reading about smells. I just received a copy of Luca Turin's fabulous guide to perfume and his astute observations and droll bitchyness make the guide totally addictive. But it occurred to me that perfume is usually described in the language of fine wines and classical music. Which is great if you fart in Latin, but I want to describe the world of scent in the vernacular. And if that language involves references to Misfits songs all the better. So here we go, on with the blog.