Thursday, June 26, 2008


Perhaps I am late to the table. but I just noticed that LuckyScent is posting that Nanadebarry, 10 Corso Como and Serge Lutens are available in their brick and mortar store even though they are not available in their online shop. I've noticed a number of online shops only allow ordering of Serge Lutens by phone. It seems that Barney's has the web exclusive on the line, which is ironic because Bergdorf Goodman has brick and mortar exclusives on a number of their non-export scents including the incredible Bois de Violette.

So who has the lock on 10 Corso Como and Nanadebarry? A quick search seems to indicate Nieman Marcus/ Bergdorf Goodman/the Neiman Marcus Group snatched up 10 Corso Como. Their ad copy for the classic scent reads "Corso como introduces 10 corso como, a new fragrance which is the essence of all the senses." It sounds like they are doing an exclusive relaunch of a longtime favorite scent.

I know Bloomingdales has a summer exclusive on Estee Lauder's Sensuous. What is the legality of a single online store having an exclusive on an entire line of fragrances? In major retailers, fragrance prices are fairly tightly controlled, but it seems like a small step towards an online trust for a vendor to have exclusive rights to products as popular as 10 Corso Como or the entire Serge Lutens line.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Top 35 list

Meg just posted on the transformative power of KTRU 91.7 in creating an understanding of the world and how parts come together. One of my favorite parts of working at KTRU was making the top 35 with Viki.

Part of the joy, is taking the scrambled collage of sound, noise, rock and stutter that went out over the airwaves and then quantifying and ranking that shit. We actually tallied the plays for every song and then juggled the mix a bit to capture the mood of that week.

CMJ gave us a lot of weight in their weekly charts because we were a 50,000 watt station. To this day, Dusted counts KTRU as one of only a few stations that inform their top 40 because clearly some opinions are more important than others.

I may not have that kind of clout at the moment, but I thought it would be fun to chart the top five scents of the week. After all, what is more personal, sensual and ultimately decadent than music? Scent.

Smell-o-vision Top Five: week of 6/25/2008
1. L'Artisan L'Ete en Douce
2. Thierry Mugler Cologne
3. Moschino Funny
4. Estee Lauder Sensuous
5. Demeter Bubblegum

Wedding scents

The ladies at Seaport Flowers did an incredible job on the bouquet. I was afraid it would knock me out with a green floral scent, but maybe it was he combination of rosemary and allium, but if I leaned in very close it had a faint odor of ripe stilton. I find that surprisingly appropriate. I may be small, but I am not particularly dainty, and some of my fondest memories have been the cheese parties I had in the park with my best friends growing up. So cheese it is!

The wedding proved to be a homecoming of sorts - in the very literal sense - it was in Forest Hills, about 8 blocks from my parent's house. But it also proved that any fussy attempts at classyness will be twarted, and replaced with the real, the genuine, the fun and the awesome. I couldn't have asked for more.

The morning of the wedding, Dave and I went to the Union Square Farmer's Market to pick up some supplemental flowers. I got four bundles of lavender which we added to the existing arrangements and our friends Jenny and Renee made some crazy herbal arrangements for the bathrooms and halls.

So, while I was wearing L'Ete en Douce, the real scent of my wedding is fresh lavender, oregano, rosemary, roses, cheese, box cake and orchids.

And then Chris brought a box of cigars, so add that to the mix. It was an incredible time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Quince by Demeter, Cute as Hell Violet Quince Body Mist by BlueQ

Behold the noble quince. At holiday time my mother and her sister always quince compote which was served in their best china or sterling terrine.

Perhaps this is why my favorite layering combination at the moment is Demeter's Quince with Tarnish - to me it speaks of pure opulence. Despite the divine smell of the fruit, as a child I soon learned not to attempt to take a bite of it's rock hard flesh. Quince: it's as lushly fruity as a scent can get while maintaining a hand slapping aloofness.

I also find that it layers brilliantly to make great summer scents.

Quince + Tommy Girl = Tripp and Butsy's picnic in the Hamptons.

Quince + Gingerale = Dave's tipsy landlord painting the sidewalk blue. "Hey! We've got a pool!"

Cute as Hell makes an inexpensive quince/violet body spray that smells much better than it needs to. I assumed that the juice was merely a vector for the goth-lolita art, but th scent is fun and just odd enough for my taste, even if the look isn't my thing. They also make the Bear Naked line, who's look is precisely my thing. Awwww. Look at the little bear!
I should have known to expect good things from the makers of Vinnie's Tampon Case.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bubble Gum by Demeter

Hebrew Bazooka available at

Ahh, back to smells.

A few weeks ago at Henri Bendel, I fell in love with Encens et Bubblegum by Etat Libre d'Orange. The scent is by Antoine Maisondieu (an excellent review is available at review at the Scented Salamander.) and I adored the bubblegum note but I find the packaging of the American edition of these scents just a little too-too. As if we wouldn't understand the double (single?) entendre titles without a graphic illustration in Adobe Illustrator.

I love Christopher Brosius's work and while ordering a gift for a friend included a little bottle of Demeter's Bubble Gum mini Pick Me Up spray as a treat for myself. Admittedly, I don't know if this is one of the pre-2002 Brosius collaborations or a newer edition.

The scent cold-cocked me with a blast of wintergreen.

It's gum allright, but not the Hubba Bubba / Bubble Yum platonic form of my youth, but the Bazooka / Double Bubble notion of a slightly earlier generation. It even recalled the old-school Beemans available at Economy Candy

It's not what I was expecting at all, but it's so brisk and cool I find it to be awesome for layering. Combined with Tommy Girl the result is so cool, fresh and weird it was like listening to some cerebral French dude channeling Yakov Smirnov to tell you about America. "What a country!"

Available at the Book Depository

Thursday, June 12, 2008

solvent chemistry: makeup edition

A brief deviation from the molecules of scent to look at the far simpler vectors that carry pigments.

I normally don't care much about the ingredients in beauty products. Usually, the stuff that is flaunted in ad copy (peptides, liposomes, vitamins, virgin caviar) are present in such minute quantities that if they do anything at all they do it homeopathically. (See Meg if you would like to buy some homeopathic heroin for one million dollars.) So mostly I look at the main ingredient, which is some flavor of oil (including waxes), water (including alcohols) or some modern silicone construct.

In preparation for my nuptual face spackling, I have picked up a few industrial strength products, and I've been impressed with the chemical compositions of these newfangled things.

1. Napoleon Perdis China Doll Foundation: Isododecane
The name reminds me of my dearly departed goth roommate in college, who loved Bowie and was on a perpetual quest for the whitest foundation around. Despite the name, this foundation provides coverage and looks extremely natural - it was even undetectable to Dave. I had assumed it was silicone based but now looking at the ingredients I see the main shmutz is isododecane. Should I be worried that an aliphatic 12 carbon chain will clog my pores? It looks fantastic, and it is half off at Sephora right now so I'm not going to worry about it.

2. Revlon Moondrops: Lanolin
It's been around forever, but the color saturation for colors like Persian Melon and Peach Silk is out of this world. The base is lanolin, or sheep sebum which is both conceptually gross and a known allergen. Although lanolin is extracted from the sheered wool of sheep, I imagine that much like human sebum it is an apocrine secretion made from fatty cells lining the oil gland that committ suicide and rupture and spill out their waxy black-head forming goodies. Lanolin happens to be the only thing I know I am allergic to, and wool sweaters and lanolin skin products will both give me hives within a few days. Bummer. For some reason though, all the lipsticks with fantastic pigment suspension and color saturation (MAC, YSL etc) are lanolin based, and I don't know what makes this particular solvent better than any other saturated fat like cocoa butter or even crisco. If you know why it's so beloved by the cosmetics industry please let me know.

3. Perfekt: isododecane, polysilicone-11, dimethicone
All primers are made from different compositions of silicone polymers. As far as I am concerned they are magic. I really know very little about silicone based compounds but I assume they are amphiphilic, and thus double their chances of a date on a Friday night. It seems they work well with water as well as non-polar (generally speaking, oily) gunk, and actually seem to suck the oil from my skin. Awesome.

The state of the world

Now that the heatwave has ended I can finally open the windows for some ventilation of the phenol smell that has overtaken our apartment. Dave got me a wonderful perfumery course for my birthday and of all the bottles, phenol is the one that is leaking. Hey, it could have been civet! I've developed a fondness for the scent, and though my nose isn't sensitive enough to pick it out in different scents yet, I find I have a new appreciation of the big orientals of the 80's, specifically Opium, Obsession and the many variations on Poison. Midnight Poison seems to have phenol and menthol up which gives me a little shiver of delight like a particularly perverse joke.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

L'Ete en Douce by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I was initially tempted to mock this scent and it's too sweet name (Summer of douche. Huh huh.), and then I smelled it. It was a Proustian moment, and instead of madelines I was hit with the rolling hills of hay, herbs and climbing roses of my dear auntie's summer house up Lexington, NY. She lived next to this building which was adjacent to a barn labeled the Blue Moon Saloon in the catskill mountains.

I think this used to be the Art Awareness Gallery in Lexington where I once saw a show of sculpture made entirely of human hair. I have no idea who this woman is, but her friend was kind enough to post my childhood memories on his Flickr account.

L'Ete en Douce is beautiful. It starts with a brisk mint jostling you to wake up before the heavy lidded hay comes in telling you its okay to go take a nap in the grass. The drydown is subtle, sweet hay that stays close to the skin, more for personal enjoyment than broadcast. An appropriate song might be wind chimes.

Blue Moon Saloon circa 2006

Such is the nature of trying to relive your own lost memories through the recordings of others. Sometimes they include a fresh coat of paint and a writer's workshop that wasn't there 25 years ago. Olivia Giacobetti, the creater of L'Ete en Douce has brought these memories back so eloquently. She and Christopher Brosius are memory interpreters.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Peau de Peche by Keiko Mecheri

Yesterday I swung by Takashimaya and sniffed around. I had tried Peau de Peche once before and hadn't been particularly impressed, but Luca Turin rather had nice things to say about it, so I gave it another shot. Maybe I had Debby Harry on the brain, but this time the scent was wonderfully vicious and pulpy, like ripe peaches and plums that get stuck between your teeth. It had some of the woods that I like in Ume that keep it purring like a jungle cat rather than the peach fuzz kitten I was expecting.

The next day I found myself in the same neighborhood and thought I'd try it again, and maybe even get a sample to review. his time, it was smelling different and when I asked for a sample, he sales clerk said "We don't get samples. You have it on your skin, why don't you just smell that?" Well then.

Now maybe it was the brush off, or possibly the fact that I am premenstrual and my sense of smell is affected, but it smells radically different to me. As my boyfriend will attest, just before my period I complain that the scents of the world are keyed up. During this time otherwise innocuous things can smell distinctly like "raw chicken", "pools of blood" or "dead rats".

Peau de Peche's fate was less dire, but rather than the fierce fruityness of the day before I was hit with a loud waxy synthetic musk. As I sniffed it got a little funky and ultimately butyric.

And that was the final dry down, Molly McButter. Perhaps this is what people mean when they describe scents as "lickable". Perhaps we Molly McB lickers are Keiko Mecheri's target demographic.

My original perception was along the lines of Blondie's "Rip her to Shreds" but the final drydown on the second day was much more Backstreet Boys, simultaneously synthetic and a little greasy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gucci by Gucci

Gucci by Gucci is a beautiful example of the collaboration behind an new fragrance launch. Most of the actual collaboration is on the corporate side, and I'll post some notes from my new favorite magazine, Perfumer & Flavorist later on. But the commercial acts as a beautiful microcosm of the industry. I adore the David Lynch commercial, the artifice, the play on the narcotic qualities of scent. Debby Harry like Lynch perfectly embodies this electric wisdom, they can both play with art on the border of drugged out madness because they clearly have their shit together. Lips together, teeth apart if you will.

The "making of" video:

The original video opens with NYC instead of LA.
I love Debby Harry's teeth.

A blast from the past: a David Lynch ad for Opium.
The score is Badalamentastic.

Oh, the scent itself? Nice, woodsy with honey and fruit. A powdery drydown. It realy does come across as Opium remade for today's youth's, a remake of 1980, almost as loud and much sweeter, with all the rough corners smoothed away by nostalgia and VH1.

Did you hear MTV's Real World Brooklyn is filming in the BellTell condo lofts at Jay Street Borough Hall? A rock aesthetic constructed from luxury condos and smiling celebrity Lolitas gets old fast. Bring on the Blondie.