Fieldnotes : Dear House of Guerlain - Shalimar Souffle

Dear House of Guerlain,

Warning. This is possibly the most obnoxious thing that you will ever hear me say about a perfume. If you read my perfume writing then you  know that I never criticize as I respect the enormous amount of talent and work that it takes to produce any perfume, even one that I don't like. If I don't like a scent, I just don't write about it.  

But I'm about to break that rule. Please know that I do this..compromise my very moral fiber with a heavy heart. But here goes. 

Sadly the new Shalimar, something that is being called Shalimer Souffle ( which translates I am told to "breath of Shalimar") is horrifying. I say this only out of absolute love and adoration for the House of Guerlain. There's is nothing about this that should ever hold the esteemed Shalimar name. The packaging is beautiful to be sure, but to call it a "Shalimar" of any sort is a disgraceful and utterly disrespectful nod to unnecessary commercialism. At best, it's a light little perfume that could be suited to a certain cloying type of ingenue, but its not worthy of being called Shalimar in any way. I am told that it only has two of the original Shalimar notes in it, so why call it Shalimar?

  I spent an hour at the counter in SFA yesterday listening in utter pain as one of the best SA's ever tried to convince me of its merits. She couldn't even do it with a straight face. It saddens me on so many levels to see good perfume salespeople have to try to market this in the name of meeting numbers. I would never recognize this as a Guerlain if someone just wafted it under my nose. I would rather wear Obsession. 

Guerlain... If you are listening, you're better than this. The house that produced the original Shalimar, the gorgeous Vol de Nuit, Mitsouko, L' heure bleue and so many more should not ever have gone here. I have too much respect for you to ever wear this. 

Your devoted fan,

Beth Schreibman Gehring 


Public relations gone all wrong. What has happened to the House of Guerlain?



It's been brought to my attention that one of the House of Guerlains biggest fans, Monsieur Guerlain has been silenced. His blog has disappeared, his Facebook and Twitter feed are gone. We're talking about someone, who like many of us is absolutely devoted to fine perfume. He spent hours of time researching and writing, and he was their cheerleader even through some fairly dark periods like the one that I'm about to describe below. I am appalled that even though this was obviously  a trademark infringement issue that they could not have found a way to deal with this in a matter befitting such an established and wonderful old house. A gentleman's entire catalog of work is gone. It has simply been erased as if it didn't exist and he spent his own time and money creating the best possible PR for a company that he loved. It would seem that he gave them  way more than they deserved. 

That being said, I and many others refuse to be silenced. I refuse as a perfume blogger, with my own opinions to allow a parent company  (in this case LVMH) to tell me what I can and can't say. They forget that we are the customer. What we think about what they produce matters. Bear in mind I am not blaming Guerlain or Dior for this. I'm not throwing out bottles of their beautiful perfumes like many have done. It's the fault of the multi- million dollar parent company that owns them now and is forcing them to produce new products that are a shadow of their former greatness. What I will say is this. I will not be intimidated by scare tactics. If you don't like what we're saying about your products then listen. Make better products. 

Truly what they've done makes no sense. They could have used his fandom and his knowledge and created an amazing public relations network for this wonderful old company. Instead, some silly corporate attorney has probably overstayed his or her welcome and destroyed some serious fan loyalty (mine included) in the process.  For goodness sake, have a bit of class. No...have some brains or hire someone with some for goodness sakes. You could have gotten a lot further by offering up the Guerlain spin doctors and helping him to create a new identity that wasn't in as much conflict. You could have hired him as an brand ambassador, letting him go out to speak on your behalf. 

Honor the guy as the star he is for you (provided he hasn't switched his allegiance to a more deserving  company.) Get your PR people involved and turn a potential problem into a positive for the company and for all of us. You could have used him so well. It could have so easily been a win/win with the kind of readership he had.  Instead you betrayed an entire marketplace.  My background is public relations and marketing. I truly have never seen a company shoot itself in the foot with as much naivete as you just did. I would be embarrassed for you, but you had to know what you were doing.

My dear readers. If you want to protest this heinous corporate bullying of Monsieur Guerlain , please write a letter to their public relations department at [email protected].

Like I said. What we think matters. We're the customer. I've been a Guerlain customer for decades....what has happened to you? You have cheapened yourself right out of the luxury marketplace. It's almost impossible to take you seriously anymore. At this point I feel about you like I felt when Abercrombie and Fitch was purchased by the Limited. A gorgeous old sporting goods store turned overnight into a chain store for sweatshirts and cheap jeans.  You're catering to the Sephora crowd and I mean the teeny bopper Sephora crowd. You've destroyed your history and it's horrifying.

I'm saying goodbye for now but I'm truly hoping that you'll come to your senses. 



Song of the Sea ~ Greenwitch by Roxana Villa




Roxana greenwitch

When I first smelled the GreenWitch, Roxana Villa's extraordinary sea chypre perfume, I was reminded of the  many men who have told me that the sea is the mistress  whose secrets once discovered can never be forgotten.

I have seen this passion in my own son who has been in love with her ever since the first time that he was old enough to run into her waves as a little boy, splashing happily and sobbing with the most painful sorrow when it was time to leave. Every year we brought him back to California and as he grew he learned to surf and kayak and eventually sail.  When he took a trip to the Florida Keys as an 18 year old to spend a week on a small sailboat with a crew from Outward Bound he was in the throes of a relationship with a beautiful woman that he loved but who was going to choose an incredible arts college in Chicago to pursue a dream that was absolutely right for her, but wrong for him. He was  having to make the painful choice between giving up his dream of going to school in California and the first girl that he ever fell completely in love with.  So I did the only thing that I could think of to do, I sent him off to play in the sea. He barely set foot on land for 12 days and he was blissfully happy the whole time.  By the time he returned he’d swum with sharks during the day and watched the dolphins play all around the little boat, covered in the luminous algae that shimmers and glows only in the nighttime hours. He had learned to navigate by the stars. I saw the look on his face and I knew that he knew what his choice was going to be. The relationship ended painfully and left him fairly shattered inside although he’d made the choice powerfully himself. It was a very scary time for him, but  somehow I knew that it would be okay.

One morning I woke up to find him in the kitchen looking at diving schools. We made the decision that he would go to Honduras for a three month program, so that he could become a Divemaster. Off he went to the little island of Utila, having never spoken a bit of Spanish and fortunately armed with an iphone with international texting!  He dove everyday for 3 months and explored the beautiful reefs in the area.  He called one day incredibly excited to tell me about the huge barracuda that he’d swum overtop of when he and his friends were out diving. He completed his certification and came back to the states. I will always be grateful.  I sent him to Honduras completely broken and Honduras sent him back to us, whole and complete. 

 Alex lives in his beloved California in a condominium that we all share together, less than 600 feet from his beloved sea.  He goes to school everyday and comes home, grabs his surfboard and runs happily down to the beach. When we come for visits we go for long walks together on the beach and he grabs his father and drags him into the waves again to surf, just like he used to as a little boy.  He is in love with a wonderful girl who goes down to the beach with him while he surfs and reads or practices her yoga and he is truly happy.  

I trust him in the turbulent sea and maybe it is because I truly believe in the old ways, that maybe there is indeed an ocean Goddess who protects my son who's always out there splashing about in her waves.  In the story of the GreenWitch, the incredible tale by Susan Cooper that has inspired Roxana to create this beautiful fragrance, her name is Tethys and she is the “The Ancient Ocean Goddess and the Queen of the Wild Magic”. Any woman who has born a child knows that the smell of the sea is the sweet smell of birth, of a primordial stew that we’ve all risen from coupled with a particular type of wild magic that knows absolutely no boundaries. She is a generous Goddess who gives us abundant sustenance and plentiful jewels.  If you’ve found a piece of frosted sea glass while walking along the beach, then you’ll know what I mean. Tethys is the wild untamed link between my son and me, the psychic bond that we share together that allows me to see into his heart and know everytime that I need to let him go. I trust her completely to keep him safe. 

For me, the wild GreenWitch  is Roxana’s most inspired fragrance to date.  The second that I put it on I was taken back to the moment that my own waters broke and the waves of contractions began to overwhelm me. 23 years ago I took a deep breath and plunged into my own wild sea and the result was my beautiful son.  GreenWitch  is a gorgeous “sea chypre”  that takes my breath away over and over again.  It smells of something wild and wonderful and it also reminds me of the first time that I held my child and smelled the sea in him. The seaweed absolute and the tincture of kelp  are only part of the magical formula that Roxana has created in this bewitching fragrance, but they are energetically present in this perfume in a way that cannot help but  send you dreaming into vast and ancient spaces.  Of all the chypres that I have ever loved, GreenWitch is my absolute favorite .   

As for my Alex, his next great adventure will probably be 6 months on a Sea Shepherd boat sometime next year chasing down Japanese whalers or protecting the sharks that he loves.  I will be sharing Roxana’s GreenWitch with him and I know that he will be drawn instantly to it and the sea magic that it contains.  It smells like he does, just a bit like the seawind , briny and sweet.  He will also cherish the fact that a percentage of each flacon sold will be donated to Greenpeace to help protect his beloved oceans. In her typical fashion, Roxana has created a beautiful perfume but also a powerful and magical offering.  The release of this fragrance today during the unfolding Vernal Equinox is a potent springtime spell for us all. We all come from the sea and we shall all in some way return to her.  It is time for us to see the connections both personal and global to this beautiful world that we all share together and begin to take the actions needed to protect her not just for us but for our great grandchildren and all of those who share this great space with us that we have never met.  It is urgent that we do so, it is profoundly clear that now is the time that we need to heed the call of our own wild natures. GreenWitch is the personal and deeply heartfelt natural prayer of one extraordinary woman and a powerful talisman for us all.  Wear it and become........

Pacifica Perfumes ~ French Lilac

A Beautiful Blend for a Balmy Summer's Day! ~ Annick Goutal ~ Rose Splendide and Ninfeo Mio


I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine: 
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight.
A Midsummer Night's Dream 

It's a balmy summers day in Cleveland, Ohio, the kind of day that just makes you long for the days when you were a child and could rip your clothes off and run around naked with with abandon. 
It's the kind of day that makes me want to go skinny dipping and then eat fresh peach ice cream until I'm so full that I could burst. 
Alas, I can't do either of these things because I'm an adult now and my days are full of trivial adult like pursuits. A girl can dream though and this morning when I was searching for something that would cool me down and comfort me I remembered this precious combination. These two beauties from the house of Annick Goutal when blended together are sheer poetry and they remind me of the many days spent in my father's garden when I was very young. 
Daddy knew more about dirt and flowers than anyone I've ever known. His gardens served as the muse for his true love which was painting. When I was younger his gardens were fairly basic ,but then he fell madly in love with France...more specifically Giverny.  He came home from that first trip and began anew. He researched everything, we liked to tease him and say that he was clearly a frustrated botanist and should just go back to school.
 He planted roses (never hybrid teas) and searched for the perfect peonies. He loved his lilies and his Irises. His garden was a symphony of colorful chaos, not contrived at all  and completely blowzy in the English style but with a French romanticism that was palpable. He had so many different species of so many different plants and his herbs were gorgeous and lush, mixed in with a painterly touch. His Lilies of the Valley have never been supplanted in my heart. He always kept Sweet Woodruff growing underneath his maple trees so that he could make May Wine every spring which we'd share glasses of together while watering the gardens in the evenings. 
If you read my perfume writing you already know that I don't give a fig about a fragrance pyramid or what makes it all up. What I care about is the emotional template of a perfume and this blend reads like a Shakespearean sonnet juicy , musky and green. When I put this on, it immediately cools me down. Either of these fragrances are lovely, but blended together they shimmer diaphanously , reminding me alot of the beautiful dragonflies that inhabited my fathers beautiful world. Together they smell wet and almost feral, sexy like Queen Titania yet they're a perfect combination to wear with long pearls, linen and a cup of tea. 
My father has been gone for too many years now, and it took me a while to find my new home. I work every Tuesday and Thursday in the beautiful Western Reserve Herb Society  gardens that are housed down at The Cleveland Botanical Gardens. I spend my days with wonderful women of like mind tending and harvesting the herbs, making  glistening jellies, jams and other wonderful things. 
My true love though lies in simply being down there, quietly tending and clipping and mulching and remembering my fathers words, "Build the soil, Feed it well, Water it Wisely and you'll have a beautiful Harvest. " 
Undoubtedly the best advice for life that he ever gave me. Use it and bloom!
Originally published in Perfume Smellin Things

The Gardens that I see in my dreams ~ Ninfeo Mio

How do I love the house of Annick Goutal, just let me count the ways!
I first made my acquaintance with their fragrance Hadrien when traveling through Neiman Marcus in Chicago many years ago. It was one of those devastatingly hot Michigan Ave days where the pavement was literally sizzling underfoot and I was looking for something light and refreshing to spritz. A wonderful sales associate named Kent began to inquire as to what I was looking for. He smiled when I said that I was after something little sweet and a lot citrusy and it was at that point that my love affair with Goutal began. 
I’ll never forget that moment and my husband still laughs when he tells the story. What a pushover I can be for a little bit of good attention! Kent led me over to the Annick Goutal  Counter and  grabbed the bottle of Hadrien splash (sadly, no longer available) spritzed  some on my wrist and with a flourish worthy of any  studied Southern man,  he dipped low and with a soft deep breath blew gently  where he’d  sprayed.
That was it…..My husband laughed so hard that he was almost in tears and of course I walked out with what was to be the beginning of a mighty addiction!...
From that moment on I was never without Hadrien and because at the time Annick Goutal was still selling their fabulous fragrances to small independent specialty stores like mine I didn’t have to be! I became a dealer and I fell headfirst under the spell of Gardenia Passion and Noel at Christmas time and Petite Cherie   when it was introduced the following spring. I have continued feeding my Goutal obsession throughout the years falling in love over and over again with the likes of Le Muguet and Mandragore and most recently the spicy, woody elixir that is Mandragore Pourpre.
I love everything about Annick Goutal perfumes. Their beautiful bottles that shimmer with subtlety only begin to give a hint of the fragrant secrets contained within. I love the contrast between the feminine bottle which are lightly shaded, gently ribbed and usually tied with a lovely bow and the square masculine bottles that reek of an old Bourbon Street apothecary in their dense dark hues. However, as beautiful as they all are none of them  have given me the same illicit thrill that I experienced upon that very first  encounter with Hadrien. Well, at least not until I opened the sample that I was gifted with of their latest fragrance, a delightful smelling beauty known as Ninfeo Mio. Created in their imaginations yet discovered in real time in  the beautiful  and protected medieval gardens of Ninfa, perfumers Camille  Goutal and Isabelle Doyen have created a fragrance that is authentic, ethereal and utterly luscious  .
Ninfeo Mio is a vey green scent and its very nature is cool and refreshing.  Resplendent with  citron and petit grain ,  It opens brightly  and teases with just a touch of lavender but very  quickly the fig emerges and turns Ninfeo Mio into an experience that’s  incredibly sexy. I’m not sure why, but as the sun warmed my skin I noticed that the perfume became even more luscious as if it had needed the warmth of the day to fully ripen.  I became possessed by a sudden reckless desire to grab my husband and immediately fly to Rome so that we could lay naked together in that garden and experience the ancient breezes and memories of that place.  I love a fragrance that can bewitch me and I never want be without it.  The new bottles are shaded in the loveliest jewel tone of aquatic frosty blue green. I am looking for Botticelli’s Venus to rise up from the waters holding them, they are that evocative to me and as beautiful as the fragrance contained within them is, Ninfeo Mio also carries with it an almost Bacchanalian template that provides just a delightful touch of inner madness.   I think that Ninfeo Mio is truly suited for both   sexes  so enjoy it on the next sun drenched day,  grab your  lover and a picnic and see if you don’t feel  just a little bit inspired  too…..
Originally published  in The Perfume Magazine

Baby its cold outside ~ Carons Nuit de Noel

I adore the Christmas season and for so many reasons it is so magical to me. There are always several constants like the annual reading of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night before Christmas”, white truffles, lots of chocolate, roasted chestnuts, smoked salmon, New York City and gallons of bourbon milk punch and Champagne.  Of course my perfume of choice is Caron’s lovely Nuit de Noel, a fragrance that is completely saturated with the soul and scent of the holiday season. 
Every year Jim, Alex and I return home on Christmas Eve after spending the evening deep in the country with our oldest friends. We get home well past midnight and after Alex has gone back to his own house we light the bayberry candles for love and abundance, crack a bottle of Taittinger, wrap ourselves in each others arms, exchange our presents, hang the stockings and dance a bit while listening to our favorite carols.  
If you’ve never experienced Nuit de Noel, trust me and try it right away (after all it is December!) because it is truly gorgeous, a voluptuous and elegant chypre perfume filled with rose, jasmine and ylang ylang and a delicious saxon moss that’s as primitive and warm as the embers of a smoldering Yule log on Solstice eve. Ernest Daltroff created it for his lover who was completely enchanted by the sounds and scents of Christmas.  
Nuit de Noel is the fragrance that I’ve tucked into my engraved medieval pomander, a beautiful necklace of sterling replete with a heavy chain that I’ve filled with cinnamon and cloves and sugared rose petals that I’ve scented with a bit of perfume soaked leather and love to wear hanging low between my breasts. This pomander is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry art and when I’m not wearing it, you’ll find it hanging in its place of honor on my Christmas tree. 
Because Christmas comes but once a year I keep my bottle of Nuit de Noel tucked away for the rest of the time in my embroidered Christmas stocking. 
But the most magical moment always comes on the drive home from the country. Nestled at the bottom of the River Road in a small town called Hunting Valley there sits a beautiful old fir tree that is practically a hundred years old. We love to visit her early Christmas morning after midnight when the world is silent except for the beautiful carols ever present on the radio. 
This tree is magnificent, at least 75 feet tall and covered from head to toe with beautiful colored lights. 
I only wear it from Thanksgiving until New Years Day because I love to keep it special and putting it away isn’t the end of my Christmas dreams, only the beginning.  But I hope that you’ll remember that Christmas Eve is a great time to be making wishes and I hope that this is the year that all of yours will come true whether they be truly simple or ever so bold. 
You already know that I wish you all gallons of the perfumes you love, all of the truffles (chocolate or otherwise!) that you’d care to eat and all of the passion that you can possibly stand. Last but not least   may there finally be peace on earth, abundance for all and true and lasting goodwill for everyone.
Sending you all of my love and lots of fabulous scents during this most magical of seasons. Please know that in this season of blessings that I count all of you among my biggest. 
Thank you always for your readership, love and support. 
Originally published in Perfume Magazine

Sisley Soir de Lune



Severance Hall, standing steadfast at the beginning of Wade Oval in Cleveland, Ohio, has been hailed as one of the most beautiful concert halls on the globe for over three quarters of a century and is home to the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra. Built in the early 1900’s, Severance Hall is dressed luxuriously in pink marble and travertine with rich accents of velvet, soft lighting and hand painted pearlescent ceilings that seem to change color with every nuance and swoon. It is almost an impossibility to look unattractive there because the lighting and the colors were specifically chosen to make any woman look utterly lovely at any time of day. Attending a black tie ball at Severance Hall is an unforgettable sensory feast as this building is made to be experienced through wondrous music, candlelight and dancing. It is also home to one of the most amazing Skinner pipe organs (6025 pipes!) that I’ve ever seen and to hear a Bach Fugue played on it at Christmas time is nothing short of chilling. Some places simply become a part of your very marrow and in my life, this majestic hall has been one of them. I have been coming to hear The Cleveland Orchestra since I was a very young girl and it is there that I go to when I want to feel closest to my mother who died last year. This was her place and she loved the Cleveland Orchestra more than any other organization that she volunteered her time for.

When I was in kindergarten she began to help my father build our family business and despondent that her volunteer time was cut in half she decided to create a fundraiser for The Cleveland Orchestra that still lives on to this day. We have sold Reed and Barton silver bells every year for at least the last 40 years and when she died last year I took over the project. Bell sales always begin every year at Thanksgiving and end at the very last holiday festival concert, usually on almost the night before Christmas. Last year was the first year that I found myself going down to the hall on those cold nights without her. It was a bittersweet experience to be sure, but fortunately I had an entire group of my mothers devoted friends and committee members to help me. On one of those nights I found myself with a dear old friend named Mary Anne Lucas and it was then that I first fell under the captivating spell that is Sisley’s Soir de Lune.

I am convinced that Mary Anne is one of the last great ladies left in the world, she is always beautifully dressed and undeniably feminine. She’s utterly gorgeous and I have no idea of her real age because she won’t tell me. She has a laugh that’s a little bit reminiscent of the silvery bells that we were selling,I don’t believe that she’s quite of this world. Mary Anne is the kind of woman that young men follow around without knowing why because she’s absolutely mesmerizing and timeless, she’s definitely who I want to be when I finally grow up! She’s a bit like Jane Seymour’s character in that fabulous old movie “Somewhere in Time”, a woman so very mysterious and beautiful that you just don’t ever completely know who she is or where she is from. I walked in on that cold Thursday evening to find Mary Anne dressed in a softly tailored apricot colored Chanel suit, a true vintage with a lovely matching scarf and gloves. Her hair was brushed back over the nape of her neck and around her throat were the loveliest strand of pink hued natural pearls creating an effect that was shimmering,warm and perfect.
As I kissed her hello and handed her a glass of Champagne, I realized that she was completely enveloped in one of the most decadent clouds of fragrance that I’d ever experienced and I could barely speak as I didn’t want to break the trance. When I finally asked her about it she just laughed and with eyes twinkling told me that it was her absolute favorite, Sisley’s Soir de Lune. The next day I went immediately to Saks and grabbed a sample to play with. Since then my life hasn’t been quite the same. So far in all of my years of lusting after gorgeous fragrance I’ve never experienced anything like this one.Soir de Lune is a passionate bombshell of a fragrance that’s barely contained within a very lady like and absolutely stunning bottle. I have had men and women alike move to hug me, sigh and subsequently bury their faces in my hair when I’m wearing it . By the time they’ve come up for air they have fallen heavily under the evening moon spell, the same way that I first did. My husband loves it and thinks that it’s the most romantic fragrance that I’ve ever worn for him, in our bed and out.

I’m not sure what makes Soir de Lune so magical but I’m sure that it has something to do with the natural extracts of honey, nutmeg, sandalwood and rose that have been woven through the other accords to create a very powerful love potion. Maybe it’s that Isabelle d’ Ornano created it under the magical light of the fullest moon, or maybe the honey is the elixir that sweetens the air and makes you feel like when you are wearing Soir de Lune that anything is possible. Perhaps it’s just that it’s the most confusing fragrance that I’ve ever worn. It truly does have the “lady in the parlor , wanton in the bedroom” appeal that so many fine perfumes try to aspire to but never fulfill. “Will she or won’t she”....only one man is lucky enough to truly know and something wonderful always happens when I’m wearing Soir de Lune, it’s become a talisman, my good luck charm! Wearing it makes me want to dress up, go dancing and drink even more Champagne while stealing kisses under the stars. It isn’t a fragrance for a young woman because of it’s overt chypre sensuality. It takes many a decade and many a lingering kiss to understand how to be swept away by the rapturous abandon that is Soir de Lune. It is a fragrance for neither the innocent nor the faint of heart who could wear it but seem only like they were playing “dress up” in their mother’s closet. However, when the time is right and you finally “know”, the lovely lady with her golden moon will be waiting to carry you far far away.

Soir de Lune is available at Saks Fifth Avenue and

This was originally published in Perfume Smellin Things

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Comptoir Sud Pacifique ~Nomaoud, Aouda and Aoud de Nuit

Throughout my youth my parents belonged to a wonderful organization called The Council on World Affairs .  As a result of their affiliation with CWA ,we had foreign students that went to Case Western Reserve and became a part of our family every 4 years. They came to us from far off places; India, England, Japan, Holland and Iran.
Each one brought with them traditional things from their countries so that we could share in their experience of home, just as they were sharing in ours and trust me, it was a wonderful way to grow up. They taught us to cook their favorite foods and in turn learned to eat hamburgers, baked beans and barbecued chicken. I’ll never forget the first time we took them to McDonalds. That was so much fun!
I loved them all, but I’ll never forget the last one, a young man named Farhad who was from Iran. I especially loved him because he never went back to his country without bringing me beautiful gifts! Farhads presents were as exotic as he was, beautifully hand painted jewelry made from mother of pearl and precious metals, beautiful textiles of magnificent quality and my very favorite thing in the world to eat , a delectable sweet called Turkish delight that was a soft creamy nougat filled with pistachios, date and jellies and delightfully scented with rosewater.
There was something incredibly worldly about Farhad and he’ll undoubtably laugh when he reads this, but his presence in my life opened my eyes to the possibilities of an entirely different world. One Christmas when I was about 15, his sister Floria came to the United States for a visit and he brought her to our home for dinner. It was then that I learned about the powerful mystique that Middle Eastern women possess and in my life still I have never met anyone quite as captivating as she was.
Floria walked into our house and my sense of what was gorgeous in the world of fashion changed forever. She was an absolutely gorgeous woman with deeply set brown eyes and a dark waterfall of hair that was lustrous, thick and just a bit wavy. She was wearing simple black heels, a beautiful cream colored silk blouse, a swirly black skirt made of crepe, a beautiful handbag and a gorgeous red lipstick, all Chanel. Her eyes were rimmed with kohl and the effect was elegant, edgy and completely exotic all at the very same time. I couldn’t stop staring at her, I’d never seen a woman quite like her and from that moment on she became my muse. I copied everything that I ever saw her wear and to this day still I can’t walk past a Chanel counter without thinking of her, but it was her perfume that just mesmerized me. It wasn’t Chanel like everything else she wore but it was incredible; spicy, warm and woody with a lot of muskiness and just a hint of something sticky and sweet.
Floria's perfume was terribly mysterious and the one secret that she wouldn’t share but as soon as I opened up the trio of samples that I received of the magnificentOuds from Comptoir Sud Pacifique, I knew that my search for her scent had finally come to an end. Each one, the leathery Nomaoud, woody Aouda and the sweet Aoud de Nuit is completely beautiful on its own, but layered they create an exotic tapestry of fragrance that is almost impossible to ignore and completely enigmatic.
These are a joy to wear because they are unexpected and disarming, the rose and Oud woods are soon softened by the individual accords that make up each composition. It’s just a matter of allowing for fantasy, choosing the one you fall in love with . Nomaud is a wonderful sensual and very leathery oud with many distinctive grace notes, a few of them being of ylang ylang, cashmeran and cedar.
Aouda is spiritual, woody, resinous and earthy with the sparkle coming from the top notes of Egyptian geranium and a blend of Rose that you can almost imagine being burned as an incense. Nuit is the most toothsome of them all and manages to be sweet and completely sexy all at the same time with saffron and vanilla , musk and a soft topping of warm oozy caramel. All three of them are completely over the top, gorgeous and sexy and should really come with a warning.
These Ouds are dangerous because they are fascinating and utterly compelling. They feel hot on my skin in a way that I cannot ignore. They speak to the mysteries of the Orient and the unknowns that captivate us about the desert lands that beckon filled with doe eyed women and incredibly beautiful men whose language seems to be spoken only through their lips, hands and eyes.
So cast your fates to the winds, try them if you dare but be very careful. You never know who you’ll find waiting for you in the hot desert sands….
This was originally published in The Perfume Magazine

Juliet has a gun~ Citizen Queen

Anyone that knows me at all knows also that I have an ultra rich fantasy life! My mother used to tease me and tell me that I should have become an actress and if I had an alter ego, it would have been the luscious and abundant “I speak two languages, body and English” Mae West. I’m partial to bodaciousness, outrageousness and sexiness and I love a perfume that speaks to all of those parts of my nature. The newest fragrance from “Juliette Has A Gun”, Citizen Queen definitely does that for me and so much more!
Citizen Queen is a perfume that I recognize and immediately loved because it’s a bit of a classic in that very naughty Bal a Versailles courtesan sort of way. I love a good chypre and this is one GREAT chypre with a very sophisticated composition that is fiercely glamorous, blending amber and patchouli, Bulgarian rose, leather and labdanum. There’s a bit of violet that tries to be very lady like and a little Iris too, but make no mistake. Citizen Queen is a very rowdy and intimidating “Take no Prisoners” perfume. It’s musky, powdery and sweet - a bit like having your dessert first, a concept that I’m quite partial too!
I’ve been experimenting with Citizen Queen and I’ve found that when men encounter it even in passing they stop and shake their heads in that darling sort of way that men do when they are a bit dazed and confused. You know what I mean , they begin to act like honeybees in the fall who suddenly find a wee bit of warmth and a very ripe apple. The first time that my husband smelled Citizen Queen he barely knew what hit him and that was way before he kissed me. Its luscious and simply beautiful composition just sweeps you up in the most fascinating way. With 160 of the worlds most precious ingredients involved it can’t help but be seductive.
Retro yet very contemporary at the same time, Citizen Queen does Glam with a capital G like no other perfume that I’ve worn in awhile. I’d wear it to a business meeting where I wanted to disarm everyone that dared to come within my personal space yet completely charming it can be.
I love all of the “Juliette Has a Gun” perfumes; Calamity J, Miss Charming,Lady Vengeance and Midnight Oud but of them all I think that Citizen Queenmay be my very favorite as it so closely mirrors my lusty fragrance personality. It makes me want to break out my long gloves and a very corseted evening dress, grab my darling husband and dance the night away.
How I’ll be dancing is my own business but once again in the spirit of Miss Mae “Between two evils I always pick the one I never tried before” West, you know that I’ll definitely be having fun.
Try it…you’ll love it!
Originally published in The Perfume Magazine