Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eau Fraiche de Rosine

A lovely image of Karen Finley by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. A celebration of America.

My Sneak Sniff of Eau Fraiche de Rosine just arrived, in time for a weekend in Newport. Although the press release states that Eau Fraiche is based around a yellow rose accord, it strikes me less as a sassy Texan than a prim New Englander. Although the dry rose scent reminds me very much of Tommy Girl (which I like), the most distinctive thing about the pleasant off-dry fruity floral is a lovely honeysuckle note. Later I get some pears, just a hint of Petite Cherie. Then the ambrette, and a slightly carroty musk. The top notes are listed as citrus but I smell more of a banana aldehyde, perhaps a contribution to the yellowness of the composition.

But I do love honeysuckle. As a kid, I had a scratch and sniff book about Winnie the Poo, and it was the pages about honeysuckle, pine forests, and the fireplace that were my absolute favorites. The honeysuckle page, reduced to a moist mess was how I first figured out that odorants don't necessarily taste good.

All American off to the beach scents 7/31/08
1. Tartine et Chocolat Ptisenbon
2. Eau Fraiche de Rosine
3. Un Jardin sur le Nil
3. Demeter Bubblegum
4. Tommy Girl

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Givenchy Tartine et Chocolat Ptisenbon + Giveaway

Oh sweet bird of youth! When the mercury hits 85 and just keeps going, it is very tempting to curl up in a little air conditioned cocoon. In fact, one of my ONE MILLION DOLLAR ideas was a parlor where affluent patrons could nap in a crisp white bed, attended to by a lovely nurse-maid, who would mop their brow and bring madelines and tea. For an extra $50 she would whisper "Oh, mon cher Marcel! Tu est tres petit, mais tres malade!"

Since this is not yet available, I am content spraying myself with Tartine et Chocolat Ptisenbon. (Or as one website translated it, "'Lil SmellGood".

Rumor has it that Ptisenbon is enormously popular in Japan with multiple flankers in scents of lemon and peach that occasionally turn up on ebay. Soft, soothing, and utterly inoffensive, Ptisenbon is a sweet balm of oranges, light florals and mint. The official notes include lemon, lily of the valley, honeysuckle, oakmoss and amber. I couldn't find the nose behind it, but many of the Parfums Givenchy scents are currently composed by Marc Buxton at Symrise. Ptisenbon, released in 1987 probably came before his tenure, but it has the lovely Buxton spectrum quality; a luminous glow up top that radiates with incense. Comme des Garcons #3 and Lovely Prism both have this quality where no single note is easily discernible but the result flows beautifully, like a shimmering aura close to the body.

Speaking of close to the body, have you seen kid's halloween costumes these days? Both of the above are available at Costumes Super Center, though Shabbos Queen may be my all time favorite. Personally I could do without the gothic lolitas or the 'tween sized "Major Flirt", but I'm something of a prude. Just in terms of merchandizing though, I'm impressed that what was once the exclusive domain of LA's Trashy Lingerie is now available to not only the hard working ladies of the San Fernando Valley but scores of 12 year old across the country. I was going to post pics, but after a friend's photography site posted the work of Lewis Carroll, I know what kind of traffic that will draw. So instead, I'm posting a giveaway.

For Marc Buxton completists and the young at heart, I present to you a 7ml mini of Absolutely Givenchy. Notes include apple, passion fruit, sweet pea, and musky woods. I hear this is a European exclusive, or possibly the rare Duty-Free exclusive. It's certainly targeted towards young people - the bottle is the same as Lovely Prism's, but with a bright chartreuse colored juice. To enter the giveaway, just let me know in the comments what scent puts you in a young mood. I'll announce a winner next week, so keep your eyes pealed. And peal your eyes on this:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Mother Land: a trip to Symrise

A hearty "Thank You!" to Karen & Karen of Sniffapalooza for putting together this most excellent adventure at Symrise. Themes around Russia, this year's focus among the rapidly growing BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations. Sorry, this is just a quick blast before I compose my thoughts as I have a major deadline looming, but Sniffapalooza and Symrise put together a most excellent treat. I will elaborate at a later date.

Did you know that Chanel #5 isn't even in the top 30 fragrances? Or that Moscow Rouge is the scent of pre-glasnost babushkas? One can only imagine this scent had some creative uses - in Venedikt Erofeev’s Moscow Ring, the narrator describes a spectrum of cocktails based on various combinations of ingredients such as red wine, vodka and "deodorant for the feet". (I couldn't find a quote online, but apparently Tania Sanchez has read the book, and uses it as evidence of the low toxicity of aroma chemicals.

"In Russia, we do not have condoms. We use onions."

The lovely ladies of symrise presented some compositions on a Russian theme including the breathtaking but unfortunatly named Baby Swan. (aka Ugly Duckling?) Two variations on the theme of nature in the guise of Red Summer were outstanding; a larger than life feminine: large red berries splattered across the windshield of a limousine, Matt Damon asking "How do you like them berries?" before straddling your face for a demonstration. That kind of berries.

The masculine was much tamer in comparison with the Red Summer masculine taking on the guise of a radiant herbacious composition with just a hint of cassis to keep it modern.

Of course, marketing to a Russian audiences poses it's own challenges as exemplified in Victor Pelevin's book Generation P (alternately translated as Babylon).
To keep things simple, I now present to you, an Israeli ad for Pelevin's book about translating American ads for a Russian audience.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Love for sale...

And you may ask yourself, where is my beautiful white space? Well, to the right we have ads. It's an experiment to see how google parses the text of the blog into advertising form... and of course, a plan to make ONE MILLION DOLLARS. According to Dave's calculations I should net about $3.00 at this rate in one year's time. Whatevs. In 333,333 years we are having one AWESOME pizza party!

So let me know what you think. Awful? Awesome? When I view, AdSense is usually selling me essential oils and occasionally Authentic African Soaps. Have the ads told you anything interesting?

Monday, July 21, 2008

We have a winner

Dan Flavin. “monument” to V. Tatlin XI, 1964; “monument” to V. Tatlin, 1966; “monument” to V. Tatlin, 1966—69; and untitled, 1970. © Estate of Dan Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson. (Which I saw today at the incomparable Dia:Beacon)

Congratulations Paper Girl Productions, you are the winner. Email me at oblitterati at yahoo dot com with your address.

In other news, the Dia:Beacon is a fabulous place to spend a well-airconditioned day with some well situated earthworks. Most of the space is cool and odorless. Just watch out for the Bruce Nauman galleries, Mapping the Studio I smells like a wet dog in a rain bonnet. And the Richard Serra pieces have their own inner climate, 10 degrees hotter than the gallery space with a faint rusty dessert scent.

Bruce Nauman. Perfect Door/Perfect Odor/Perfect Rodo. 1972. Neon tubing and wire with glass tubing suspension frames, three parts, Each 21 3/8 x 28 7/8 x 2 1/4" (54.3 x 73.3 x 5.7 cm). © 2008 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ineke Chemical Bonding

John McCracken. (American, born 1934).
The Absolutely Naked Fragrance. 1967.
As seen at MoMA today. More info here.

I just went to MoMA this afternoon. Mutzu pointed out the similarity between Mr. McCracken's oeuvre and my favorite scent in 8th grade, "Butt Naked".

Ineke's Chemical Bonding has elements of both. It's sharp, crackling minimalism that would excite even Domenique de Menil. The Dia Foundation bottled if you will.

It starts with bright citrus, much like my beloved Butt Naked. It has the chemical, metallic dust of Odeur 72 or Joseph Beuys eating an orange. Awesome. I found it at Takashimaya across from the MoMA but it's available on the web at Beauty Habit.

SakeCat has alerted me to the importance of temperature in olfactory appreciation. It was one million degrees today in Manhattan. Three degrees cooler in Queens.

Today is an arty day. Enjoy Dara Birnbaum's
Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978)
(Kiss the Girls: Make them Cry (1979) is awesome but I couldn't find the video online.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lancome Magnifique

Memorial to the Idea of Man If He Was an Idea
(closed), 1958
by HC Westerman
(Check out a lovely guide to his work at the Westerman Curriculum page.)

While stopping by Bloomingdales yesterday for a frozen yogurt, I saw myriad red bottles out in preparation for the official launch on August 1st. Sadly, there were no samples to be had but a liberal dose on my left arm left a very favorable impression. The official word is that the scent by Oliver Cresp seeks to reconstruct "red" from roses and woods, much like the Comme des Garcons series which include Sequoia and Palisander.

My first impression is that the scent is much brighter than I'd expected. Tangy. Delicious. It starts with a very bright top note with citrus qualities that I couldn't quite place. It's very boozy fruity, like August harvest moonshine, and in retrospect it may have been a tangy over-ripe cassis accord.

It has the little girl in mama shoes sensibility of In Love - Hillary Duff. It's clearly a modern reworking, much tangier than earlier styles of perfumery, but it departs in a new direction - tangy woods. Who knew?

I had trouble detecting the rose, but that jammy boozy note reminded me of Cresp's very weird La Rose Angel. While La Rose Angel is the La Brea Tar Pits of Rose Jam, Magnifique throws a handfull of treats your way, with rose as only one element.

(Costes is available at LuckyScent

At the heart, and visualy it reminded me of Costes. The tartness of Magnifique reads to me as a commercially branded feminine with a taffeta quality rather than the androgenous plush velvety softness of the spices of Costes, but they share a similar spirit, and like all fragrances it could be worn by either sex. Sharp up front, moving to plush, Magnifique Christian Louboutin stiletos sinking into a red carpet.

For me, it's the bright tartness that sets this one apart and makes it so curious. The dry down gets spicier and finally it fades into a soft cashmere woods scent not unlike Estee Lauder's Sensuous.

The bottle is striking from a distance but like many mass-market scents has a plastic top. It's designed to look like a classic boudoir item, but lacks the heft of niche-market packaging, and I do love a heavy glass apothecary stopper.

Jammy, tart, spicy woods? What's not to love? I'm looking forward to the official launch.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hermes Ambre Narguile giveaway

Edie took us out to a few leather bars on SoMA, and I was very proud of Dave when he took off his shirt to reveal his own natural sweater. Although I'm one chromasome off from most of the patrons, I would guess we all appreciate some of the finer things in life including bears, beers and pinball.

It's harder trying to share someone else's fantasy that is not your own. That's the case with Ambre Narguile. Acknowledged as a masterpiece by monsieurs Burr et Turin, it is a prime example of a beautiful scent that simply does not work on me. I know that Turin claims that "personal chemistry" is a load of nonsense, but from experience I find that my skin magnifies ambers and musks to Japanese Disaster Film proportions. Sweet, decadent, and exotic, Ambre Narguile looms very large olive skin. With this baby cranked up to eleven I smell like fresh baklava in an opium den.

So please give it a good home! A 4ml glass vial just for you. Tom? Gaia? My numerous teen groupies? If you'd like it, post a comment, and I'll pick a lucky recipient at random.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy to be back home scents of the week: 7/16/08

1. the Muir Woods
2. YOSH - U4EAHH!: light, happy, fresh, surprising, and representative of SF Boutiques
3. Landscape Lavender Hydrosol: the hay end of the lavender spectrum
4. Hermes Poivre Samarcande: it just arrived in the mail
5. Terre d'Hermes: a summer cousin to Poivre Samarcande

On the plane back to JFK I read about our favorite boys from Forest Hills, Queens (besides Kevin and Dave) in Nicholas Rombes' Ramones 33 1/3. Looking on YouTube for old footage of the boys in Arturo Vega's loft I stumbled upon the Speedies, perhaps the best teen band to come out of Brooklyn Heights. (Check out the Montague Street Burger King that I once ate in as a kid which is now a Banana Repubic).

Today's equivalent might be Fiasco. God loves Fiasco? Well Spin, and the New Yorker seem to. Those junior varsity noise-punk kids from Park Slope may be hot right now, but I heard they aren't nearly as young as they claim to be. A friend of a friend told me that their drummer Julian is actually 24 and has an MBA from MIT. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yosh Ginger Ciao & U4EAHH!, Landscape Lavender Hydrosol

Hello Smell-o!

I'm back from my honeymoon on the Barbary Coast. I've been very naughty, playing hooky from blogging, but my friend Ambrose has been blogging like a fiend in Matt Drudge drag over at (while physically stationed around 16th and Guerrero) so I'll consider her blogging for the both of us. But here at last is a little about the local flora and fauna.

Dave and I were in SF to check our our friends Julia and Caitlin's art show at Rare Device. You can see more pictures of the show at Apartment Therapy (where these lovely pics are from) and at Grace's blog design*sponge. San Francisco is full of these cute boutiques selling lovely stuff for the home, crafts, essential oils and art.

Another one of these cute shoppes is CandyStore on 16th street, where they carry the Yosh line. Like the crafts on display the scents are sweet but clever, with notes that seem to pop up unexpectedly. U4EAHH! has this very charming quality with cucumbers, pears and leaves poking their heads out throughout the day. Ginger Ciao is a delicious gourmande Thai Curry scent that I hadn't fully appreciated before. It uses black coconut instead of musk as the base, and combined with ginger and basil it has the same edible quality I adore in Frederic Malle's Carnal Flower. It's the distillation of a vacationer's vision of tropical sexy.

Musically I would say that the scents and crafts has the spirit of The Hidden Cameras - hand crafted refinement, glowing like a precious opal.

Landscape makes a line of hydrosols as well as essential oils and they are truly fantastic. I'd never encountered hydrosols before, but they are the aqueous/hydrophilic portion of the fractional distillation - the skim milk to the heavy cream essential oils if you will. To me it was like finally hearing the left channel of a favorite album I'd been listening to on my old stereo that only had a right speaker. The lavender hydrosol is soft and sweet with predominantly honey, hay and vanilla notes, and plays beautifully with the astringent qualities of the essential oil.

But what was the ultimate scent of the trip? Well, the Muir Woods win hands down. Walking through the forest, surrounded by redwoods and mosses is heart-stopping. One of the great side effects of using eucalyptus leaves to stop erosion is the pervasive mint breeze that floats through the whole bay area. I think I may finally have a better understanding of the California aesthetic of perfumery, where life always has this beautiful crystalline top note.

It's too hard to write about the sublime, so all I can say is that vacation was awesome. And 'Brose taught me a new song!

Yo, my dick attacks without warnin'.
Your dick's been blogging all mornin'.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I like cars. Back in college, I briefly hung out with a hot young artist who had a collection of muscle cars, and I'd drive him to the gas station for smokes when he was too f'dup to drive. So Chargers are nice. Dodge Darts give you a chance to yell "Slant-6! Can't kill that engine!". My own taste tends towards the Japanese micro-hoopties.

Lacoste ELEGANCE (or to use their typography E L E G A N C E) is actually more like an MG with wood burl all over the place. Actually, actually, it reminds me the most of the hot little red sportscar my friend's dad keeps garaged in Vermont a la Cameron's parents in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Which seems appropriate since according to Now Smell This the scent is Procter & Gamble's attempt to reach the over 30 market.

They actually do it quite well. The scent smells like it should be worn under nice custom shirt. It opens a little fruity (perhaps bergamot), very ozonic and with a touch of spice. It reminds me very much of YSL l'Homme and Stetson Untamed which also use the fresh ozonic notes that are so keyed up in the Axe scents to good effect. The drydown is delightfully weird, with what they describe as a "unique chocolate drydown". It actually smells like cocoa pods to me, with that woody vegetal quality of something straight off the tree. The wood is nicely done, which is perhaps why it conjures up more of the wood-burn English Racing Green flavor of midlife rather than the Z-series. Classy. It's something Mr. Stallone could wear with glasses.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Top 5 week of 7/1/08

fierce beast by Edie Fake who tatoos at Black & Blue in San Francisco. Kitty's body will eventually be yellow.

I'm feeling a little giddy and a little queasy. A little excited to go to San Francisco and a little nervous about applying to schools. And I've consumed almost an entire gift basket of nuts and dried fruit. This is the smell-track to this week.

1. La Rose Angel - it gave me a nauseated headache, but I won't scrub it off
2. Givenchy l'Interdit 2 - classy! and sweet....
3. Absolutely Givenchy - Green Apple Jolly Ranchers meet Watermelon Jolly Ranchers. My mother asked me never to wear this again in her presence. I find it amusing except for the synth-musk basenote that turns my stomach.
4. Moschino Funny
5. Tartine et Chocolat Ptisenbon - sprayed over La Rose makes it fresh... until the beast returns.

La Rose Angel by Thierry Mugler

Call me a sucker for variations on a theme. I'm not crazy about the original Angel and it's Attack of the 50 Foot Honey, especially when it strikes on the subway. But I do love a good remix.

La Rose Angel takes the beast and smothers it in Rose Petal Jam. The sweet rose and dank patchouli collide and spawn something new: a fizzy, dissonant, creepy, sexy thing.

The notes clash together, and then morph into something an iota subtler. Rose petal jam shouts at the forefront but then simmers down to a stage whisper of filthy jokes. Vanilla and Patchouli move to the front but there is still something very tangy and weird about the whole thing. The divine Marina compared it to mud on a white evening dress.

Big, sweet, earthy and utterly fucked! I love it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Angel Innocent Fizzing Gel

I just received my order from Big Discount including the Angel Innocent Fizzing Gel. The scent is less innocent than the name and it's corresponding eau de parfum, but the chilled aerosol fizz more than makes up for it. A handful of sweet fizzy goop is finally mine!

Which is really just a lead-in for my new favorite music video: Mika's Lollipop