Annick Goutal Rose Splendide

My father had the most beautiful gardens that he nurtured with an incredible passion. His favorite flowers were always the beautiful roses that were in his charge and in an era that was full of strangely scentless hybrid teas and floribundas he taught me to appreciate the simple rugosa roses that he lingered over as well as the beautiful blowsy ones that he swore had the truest scent of all. I spent many years with him while he tended his lovely gardens, quietly working alongside while he pruned, coaxed and cajoled his roses into huge and heavily sensual blossom. The memories of how those gardens smelled in the early morning, petals and leaves dripping with dew and laced with honeybees will never leave me and in fact I’m fairly sure that those earliest fragrance impressions were responsible for my almost obsessive fascination with perfume.
Until recently I’d never found a perfume that could truly catapult me back in time to those amazing memories of my childhood and when I’m looking for that sort of impression from a fragrance that’s exactly what I want . I don’t want subtle, although it’s just fine with me if the perfume itself is incredibly soft and nuanced. What I am looking for in a fragrance is the olfactory equivalent of a scented love letter that can convey emotions and pictures potently through the exquisite sense of smell. I want to be powerfully seduced by a perfume and I want it to instantly spark my imagination.
Such is my experience with the perfumes from the House of Annick Goutal. From the moment that I discovered them in Neiman Marcus so many years ago, I’ve been captivated. As one who enjoys perfumes and gaily earns her way through the world writing about them, I am lucky to get to try quite a few, many that are very interesting. It’s quite the rarity that I find a line of fragrance where I’m passionate about almost all of them and that brings to me to the house of Annick Goutal. Nothing else in the world of fabulous perfume is quite like Annick Goutal, perfume that manages to be creative, edgy and completely elegant all at the same time.
For years I’ve loved them all from Hadrien to Ninfeo Mio, stopping to adore Gardenia Passionand Songes in between. I love Mandragore with its magical scent associations and the lovelyMuguet is one of my favorite perfumes to wear in the early springtime when the soft green buds are just beginning to appear. Their Neroli is heaven sent from the Goddess herself andPetite Cherie just makes me smile every time I wear it because of its sparkling , fruity nature.
Although all of these scents occupy an enormous place in my fragrance wardrobe, none of them could prepare me for the raw experience of the latest release from Annick Goutal , an incredible, ethereal and utterly sensual rose perfume called simply , “Rose Splendide”. From the moment that I opened the sample, I fell instantly and powerfully in love. Rose Splendidewas created by Camille Goutal as a tribute to her mother Annick who loved beautiful roses and sadly passed away from breast cancer so many years ago. Based upon the luscious Rosa Centifolia and carefully blended with magnolia, musk and a bit of deliciously ripe pear ,Rose Splendide absolutely sparkles with joy.
I love its greenness yet the rose is all there and instantly present.
The moment I put it on I found myself transformed into a little girl standing in the garden once again, laughing and holding my fathers hand. I was also was transported to the romance of my wedding day, standing outside in that very same garden watching the florist weave masses of roses and ivy throughout the tents. In a simple instant Rose Splendide has become the fragrance that calls instantly to my mind some of the most passionate moments of my life. It is the smell of freshly cut roses, dripping with sap held and pressed against musky soft skin. It is that feminine, in my mind an absolutely perfect perfume because it fires up my imagination so completely.
Rose Splendide is available at Bergdorf Goodman so when I was in New York City last weekend, I made a trip to visit Tom, the gentleman who is in charge of the glorious Annick Goutal counter there. He understands these fragrances like no one else that I’ve ever met so I wasn’t the least bit surprised when after a few moments of fragrant conversation he got a little twinkle in his eyes and said , ”Let’s try something that I’ve been longing to play with for a bit now shall we?” With that he took a one of his pretty sample papers and sprayed a bit of theRose Splendide onto it and then layered it gently with just a flourish from his test bottle ofNinfeo Mio. The result was magnificent and then he tried it on his skin. It made the Rose just a bit more masculine but not in an overtly animalitic way, instead it would be a wonderful combination for any one that wanted a rose fragrance that was more than a little bit Jay Gatsby. The woody notes and salty green aspects of the Ninfeo Mio were warmed to the touch by the sweetness of the Rose Splendide, either of these perfumes are wonderful by themselves, but together they were breathtaking.
Please tell me that you’ll try the Rose Splendide as soon as you possibly can because I know that you’ll be delighted by it. If like me, you’ve been longing for a perfect rose perfume to ignite your wildest dreams , I promise that this is THE ONE.

Yves St. Laurents ~ Paris

By now almost everyone knows of my passion for Nuit de Noel at Christmas time but besides my beloved Caron the other fragrance that I crave in December is Yves St. Laurent's completely irrepressible Paris!  For some reason, this is the perfume that I love to travel with and do so as often as possible! Maybe it's simply a matter of the power of suggestion, could anyone possibly resist a perfume named after the one of the sexiest, most luscious cities in the world?  I don’t know about you but I’m just not that strong! 
I personally find Paris to be a very appropriate winter fragrance for many different occasions, whether it  be a December wedding, Christmas tea, or a slowly unfolding morning spent with the New York Times Style section while drinking tea and eating warm chocolate croissants with your lover in bed.  Paris is a fragrance that works equally as well with denim or cashmere and I've worn it with all that or nothing at all.  It’s a bit like your favorite gold necklace, you know....the one that nestles between your breasts just so and warms very quickly, smelling of sweet skin and metal. 
This isn’t a pretentious fragrance, it's lighthearted, fun and just sweet enough to be coy, yet when that vanilla warms up watch out because Paris not unlike the city it’s named for is just so very sexy and  as so many things Parisian tend to do becomes very edible.  Whenever I wear this one,  I’m usually struck by a sudden longing for a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and a fancy box of foiled covered marrons glaces from La Maison du Chocolat ...... not to mention my utterly darling husband.   Did I fail to mention that it also inspires a strangely obsessive craving for just about anything La Perla and last but not least  any saucy thing written by Nin or Colette? I’m completely serious....try it and see!
Every year a new limited edition version of this scent is launched with a different and gorgeous variation of the bottle, however the traditional formulation of Paris still remains my tried and true favorite.  It just makes me so happy every time that I wear it because I'm always whisked back to the pastries and macarons from Bouchon Bakery, fresh flowers and the strolls down 5th Avenue in December that I enjoy with Jim while we munch on  bags of steaming, freshly roasted chestnuts.   Paris is a brightly contemporary yet truly seductive fragrance, elegant and redolent of vanilla, rose, bergamot and sandalwood, conjured with just enough violet to make any sort of holiday magic possible!
If you are now so very tempted  (And I hope that you will be!) you’ll find Yves Saint Laurent's Paris very easily at almost any Nordstoms, Dillards or Saks Fifth Avenue.
Originally Published in The Perfume Magazine

Ramon Monegal ~ Pure Mariposa

“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.” - Anais Nin
I believe Ramón Monegal to be such a man. 
When you get to enjoy as much new perfume as I do every year, there is always the chance that you’ll eventually become a little bit jaded. In 2012, a year where there were approximately 1400 new fragrances introduced into an already swollen marketplace it would be hard to envision anything that would stand out so much that I would end up feeling as if I couldn’t sleep peacefully until I’d owned at least one bottle. 
I have written prior to this that I truly wasn’t looking forward to the onslaught of fragrance introductions in 2013; however I have found that I must now eat my words. The perfumes of Ramón Monegal have completely captivated me and allowed me to believe once again in the magic and true artistry that can be created when an exquisitely talented nose is given free rein over the tools needed to create olfactory alchemy.
He has the sorcerer’s touch; the ability to create perfumes that are instant and enduring classics. These are the perfumes that I know that I’ll be reaching for 10 and 20 years from now because they are crafted of pure emotion and the notes used are woven together like a rich and subtle tapestry. These perfumes spin fascinating tales told not through melody, paint or prose, but that are instead experienced through the most primitive of our senses which is why I believe that a RM perfume hits it’s desired mark every time. Move over Tom Ford. I think that I’ve fallen in love.
I first became acquainted with these extraordinary fragrances when last month I walked into a perfume store in La Jolla, California that had changed hands in the last year. I definitely need to admit right here and now that it’s always a lot of fun when people find out that I write for the industry because that’s when they begin to break out their very best bottles. It’s not only flattering but I always get to learn a thing or two. 
“Have you smelled anything by Ramón Monegal?” I was asked and then they slowly and effectively began to peel away my willpower with some of the loveliest and most creative perfumes that I’ve enjoyed in years. I mean, how can you possibly not adore a perfume named “Kiss My Name” or “Impossible Iris”? Resistance was futile and anyhow would have taken a far more sensible woman than I know myself to be.
I returned home from California and a few days later received a positively ebullient phone call from Raphaella Barkley, my Editor in Chief. “I have something that you must smell immediately, ” she said. I was ecstatic when I discovered that the scent in question was an exclusive for Neiman Marcus; a beauty named Pure Mariposa. Mariposa means “Butterfly” in Spanish and was created by the same brilliant nose whose acquaintance I had just made two weeks before.  
Whereupon reading the first few lines from the press release I was completely intrigued, The Inspiration: “The butterfly is an extraordinary creature that embodies many of the values that motivate me when I look for inspiration to fashion an olfactory tale in the form of a perfume”  
By the time I’d gotten through the first descriptive paragraph I just knew that I was going to love it.
“The Perfume: Memorable, feminine, resplendent, light and persistent. A harmonious, colorful and elegant floral nectar accord (tuberose, gardenia, orchid) with a festive tone (orange blossom) dressed in a dew covered green forest (oak moss, sandalwood), pure and vital, surrounded by a rejuvenating breeze of ozonic air on a majestic and rich bottom accord of a noble amber and silky musk” 
Ramón Monegal is a Spanish perfumer who is based in Barcelona, blessed with impossibly good taste and the incredible ability to create perfumes that are at the same time progressive, bold yet undeniably sophisticated and worldly. To say that these fragrances are well crafted would be an insult because they are without a doubt some of the finest examples of the modern perfumer’s art that I’ve had the opportunity to smell in my entire life. Because he is also a designer of the highest caliber there is not a single detail in the presentation of his line that has been overlooked. The encompassing experience of one of his fragrances is that of a piece of wearable art, designed to leave you feeling strong, wonderfully feminine and utterly exotic. 
I waited impatiently and the day arrived when the box appeared at my door, but not surprisingly it took me over an hour to sniff because I was so completely taken in by the packaging. Pure Mariposa is fashionably dressed in one of the most beautiful presentations that I’ve ever seen, enrobed in a kimono of hard white lacquer and imprinted with gossamer butterflies that would have been enough of a first clue to let me know that the perfume inside was very special indeed.  
I turned the box over and over in my hands and almost reluctantly twisted it open. I was immediately enchanted to discover the most stylistically strong perfume bottle that I’d ever seen, fashioned from a piece of Baccarat quality crystal with a perfectly fitting lid that flipped open easily, the effect of which sent me reeling back in time to the table lighters that I remember from my childhood and the glamorous women who I’d seen using them. I have no fancy ritualistic behavior that I adhere to when it comes to smelling a new fragrance; I generally just open up the sample and spritz it on. This was to be a very different day. Before I took my first sniff I was strangely compelled to go upstairs, enjoy a warm bath and dress for dinner; the second clue that I was about to be dancing with a master.  
Pure Mariposa is an absolutely gorgeous long cashmere wrap of a fragrance that clings to the body and shimmers subtly without even trying, like a long rope of milky pearls or diamonds by the yard. It is a true sophisticate and it’s not a perfume that I’d ever wear casually because it makes absolutely no sense to me in that context. It needs a bone deep and smoldering heat to bring its powerful elegance into focus. 
A veritable Garden of Eden dripping with green mosses, drenched with fleshy white flowers, juicy fruits and slippery with musk, Pure Mariposa somehow manages to be at the same time both tempting and restrained. My husband called it a laser beam of a fragrance and I think that’s quite a fine description. Personally I find Pure Mariposa to be teasingly restrained yet as bewitching as a tango. In fact I’m completely sure that if Anais Nin were alive today her signature fragrance would be Pure Mariposa and that’s the greatest compliment that I could ever give it. 
Ramon Monegal has created a line of perfumes that is that compelling, daring and courageous. You owe to yourself to try every single one. 
You can experience Pure Mariposa exclusively at Neiman Marcus.
This was originally published at The Perfume Magazine 

Carthusia "Forget me Not " Capri

As one who spends a good bit of time writing, sniffing and analyzing on an almost daily basis, I get to enjoy many unique and unusual perfumes and the discovery of each precious new scent is still a treat for me. Yet rarely do I find one that I want to own or rather that I could call my own, one that blends with my particular essence so well that feel a need to possess it.  I had long known of the House of Carthusia yet had never tried any of their fine fragrances so when I opened the provocative packaging sent to me from Raphaella while she was at Exsence in Milan, I was terribly excited to see that it contained their newest release due out in September of 2012.
Carthusia’s beautiful new perfume “Forget me Not” Capri verily defies my expectations of what that sort of fragrance should be. It’s gorgeous and because I have not one note nor pyramid to describe it with I’m left with simply prose.
I hope that my words will be enough to convey the poetry of this scent because it’s all I’ve got!
Somehow that seems appropriate because even if I knew the complexities of this particular blend I don’t think that it would mean anything. “Forget Me Not" Capri has an alchemy all of it’s own, woven of artistry, song and mythology.  This is a perfume that  literally dances with the sounds, flora and fauna of the island from which it was born.  It is captivatingly sweet and joyous.
Forget me Not Capri is a juicy fragrance, yet it’s also cool and very earthy; a perfectly witchy blend of all of the elements. On my skin it turns instantly to warm fresh figs, juicy citrus and smoky earth and soon afterwards a hint of mint comes dancing in, along with a lovely honeyed note and eucalyptus or something very sage like, I’m not at all sure what it is. 
But any perfume that can make me hungry in every sense of the word is a perfume that I want to be owned by for many years to come. 
This fragrance makes me dream of Italy, of bowls of fresh figs and creamy burrata cheese and huge platters of pasta with peas, ricotta and fresh lemon and baby lamb roasting on a fiery spit with long stems of fresh rosemary and stuffed with garlic and raisins.  In this dream there are fresh beeswax candles, the soft marine smell of the sea and coastal flowers. There is a dress of the softest linen and  a lovely evening view.  Of course because it's my dream there are plenty of soft sweet kisses to be enjoyed while wearing it, because Carthusia’s “Forget me Not” Capri is a fragrance that beckons you to come closer, to linger, to murmur and explore with your lips and tongue. 
Many a fragrance is an infusion of intense and passionate artistry and you wouldn’t really want to bury your nose in them for too long a time but this handsome Italian is different.
“Forget me Not “ is pure poetry in motion, succulent, sweet and a bardic delight that will relax, enchant you and bring you memory after memory long after the sun has set over the Tyrrhenian Sea.  I hope that I’ve whet your appetite, but sadly you’ll have to wait a while longer. Expect to see “Forget me Not “ Capri wash upon our shores in the early autumn but until then, you’ll just have to dream…

The Capri Forget Me Not is not only a Travel set, but a line that includes:
perfume (only size 50 ml) not yet in distribution  (new product –launch beginning of July 2012) (picture n.1)
a  room spray (100 ml) not yet in distribution (new product) –launch beginning ogf July2012 ) (picture n.2)
a fig scented candle
travel atomizer with three refills (medierraneo and fiori di capri scent)  
The whole line has the fragrance with mint, fig and vanilla notes. The candle smells more of fig while for the atomizer at the moment are available only in mediterraneo and Fiori di Capri scent, very soon they will come also in Capri Forget me not fragrance.
This was originally published in The Perfume Magazine

Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery ~ Fleur de Caramel Parfum and Eau de Parfum

Whenever I come home and see a package from Laurie Stern's delightful Velvet and Sweet Peas Purrfumery, I just know that my day will have taken a turn for the better. For those of you who don’t know her, Laurie is a natural perfumer and artist working in northern California who creates the most luxurious scents and body frostings that you could possibly imagine.  Her studio which she has lovingly named Velvet and Sweet Peas Purrfumery (after the adorable feline muses who live with her) is nestled high above the cliffs of San Francisco and it is here that she has created a home filled with flowers, gorgeous natural scents and all kinds of lacy treasures. Her gardens are a fragrant Shakespearean paradise that she tends lovingly with a master gardeners touch and they are filled with fuzzy fat honeybees and hummingbirds that dance like Titanias fairies, flitting from petal to petal, creating the fragrant effervescence that I am always aware of within two seconds of touching any Laurie Stern perfume to my wrists.  Her body frostings are unimaginably luxurious and so rich that she can only ship them at certain times of the year; a fact which makes them all the more precious to me. 
Laurie Stern is a true artist who makes everything that she touches more beautiful; actually I don’t think that she can help it.  Her very nature is to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary and her products although perfect in every way are only part of the magic. Getting a gift from Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery is like opening a Christmas stocking that feels so lovingly prepared that you know it will be filled with all of your favorite treats.  Laurie’s scents are filled to the brim with her wonderfully Californian hippy witch sensibilities, but make no mistake because these are serious perfumes, hand crafted only with the most beautiful natural ingredients that unfold on your skin like a blowsy old fashioned Bourbon rose as it warms up in the sun after a wee bit of gentle rain. Add a touch of oozy rich caramel and the best vanilla, a lovely Agent Provocateur bra, a velvet cape and a full moon….stir three times widdershins and watch out!  No one has perfected the art of the love potion better than she.
If you are interested in cruelty free fragrance yet want perfumes that are gorgeous, lush and sophisticated you will find them here. Laurie is a dedicated environmentalist and animal rescue Warrioress so you will never find her using any animal products in her perfumes except beeswax or raw honey.  It goes without saying that as a passionate protector of all kitties she is absolutely against the use of the natural civets or musk’s.  
Here is a link to her article entitled “The Dark side of Perfume”, which presents a detailed accounting of the journey that led her to the understanding that she could create beautiful perfumes made from cruelty free ingredients that were every bit as delicious and long lasting as anything made with essences taken without regard for the suffering of the animal that provides them. I do wish myself that there was less reliance on these ingredients so I applaud her for taking such a strong stand against them.  They come at a terrible cost to the creatures that we "harvest" them from.
I have loved all of her perfumes and until now, my favorite has been her yummy “Black Cat”, which of course I wear every Halloween!  
Laurie has given me something new to enjoy in the form of a delectable new perfume that she debuted at Taste TV’s Artisan Fragrance Salon held last month in San Francisco aptly named "Fleur de Caramel".  The packaging is incredibly beautiful in the way that only she can do. Pouches of the loveliest fabric, ribbons, lace, velvet, handmade flowers and bits of glorious gilded paper turn this bottle of eau de parfum into a luscious bon bon. Anything Laurie touches becomes precious, sensual and absolutely decadent.  She’s an artist after all and I do believe that she made exquisitely sexy wedding lingerie for either Barneys or Henri Bendel at one point early in her career so her packaging really reflects that in the most delightful way!
I find Fleur de Caramel to be absolutely bewitching and obviously I wasn’t the only one to fall hard under its spell. In San Francisco, Fleur de Caramel walked away with a Bronze Best of Salon award for best new product, as well as the Gold award for best natural scent and the Silver award for the most unique scent. I’m wearing it right now and it is gorgeous, spellbinding and edible. All of my favorite notes are here in a yummy caramel accord that she’s created of night blooming frangipani and cognac, jasmine, tuberose and a very rare sandalwood that she’s kept for ages just waiting for the right perfume to unleash its magic. Fleur de Caramel opens sweetly on my skin with a kiss of something tropical, but then very quickly melts into a rich, gooey pool of buttery brown sugar, falernum and spiced rum.  This is one of those “heaving cleavage”, very sensual perfumes that my husband loves. 
I took it to Castine, Maine on vacation with me and wore it every day. The warm and salty Atlantic air morphed it into a “Fleur de sel Caramel” which got better by the hour. My husband took one sniff and went all Captain Jack Sparrow on me.   Thank you Laurie….
Fleur de caramel is available as a beautiful perfume, eau de parfum and gorgeous crème solid. You can purchase it at
Originally published at The Perfume Magazine

She comes in colors everywhere ~ Perfumes to fall in love with this spring

I think that it was Robin Williams who said “Spring is Natures way of saying Let’s Party!”  These days I couldn’t agree more. It’s been unusually warm here in Cleveland, 86 degrees yesterday and it would seem that March has become the new May! Daffodil’s and forsythia are blooming everywhere, my crabapple trees are filled to bursting with creamy pink and white buds and every rose bush in my yard is filled with beautiful green leaves and the promise of many a bloom. It’s usually still snowing here this time of year so all fears about climate change aside I’ll take it!  Here in Ohio we’re definitely due for a break! It’s been sunny for well over half of the winter, a welcome change from the normal gray skies that usually settle over us Midwesterners for well over 5 long months of the year.
I’ve noticed though that this very warm weather has made me crave my favorite springtimescents earlier than usual. The smell of spring is everywhere and my senses are definitely and delightfully confused. My beloved lilies of the Valley are sending up green shoots everywhere causing me to grab my bottle of Annick Goutal’s Muguet eau de parfum and spray myself with abandon.  I’ve worn Muguet for several years now and I never tire of it, but usually it doesn’t smell right to me until May when my skin is warm and the air is heavy with springtime.  Muguet is definitely a fine lily of the valley perfume yet there’s a fruity twist lingering in it….something that has always seemed to me to be a splash of ripe pear or magnolia.  It’s playful, fairy kissed and more than a little delicious.  Speaking of which, my magnolia is in full bloom and it’s only March 20th. WOW…no wonder my senses are confused!
I’m also currently spraying lot of Pacifica’s lovely and very romanticFrench Lilac which is an absolute must if you’ve never tried it.  Don’t be fooled by the inexpensive price tag because it's really beautiful and it lasts! It’s quite a guilty pleasure for me and  generally you can find it at any Whole Foods store.  Because this delicious Lilac is so affordable I end up buying a couple of bottles and some of the candles and use it to scent everything from all of my linens to the dog. It’s really quite fabulous and is to me the scent of the wonderful old farmhouse that my husband grew up in and more recently our cotton hammock which is about to make an early appearance in our yard, strung up between the two lovely old apple trees. Did I mention that they’re about to start blooming as well? Everything is fecund; simply covered with bees and buds!
However If I were to choose a fragrance that is for me the very essence of springtime  it would have to be Diorissimo, that truly lovely fragrance by the House of Dior that hardly needs any introduction at all.  Diorissimo has been my signature scent since I was very young, one of the most famous of the lily of the valley perfumes and for me none of the others will ever compare. I’m never without a bottle of it; it is my Chanel Number 5, the classic that I turn to time after time when nothing else seems to work. Diorissimo always feels just right and I always begin to wear it as soon as the first buds are just beginning to appear. This fragrance makes me feel light hearted, sexy and optimistic; I love it because I can spray it all over with abandon but still only leave a sheer and practically effervescent sillage in my wake!
By Beth Schreibman-Gehring
I have to laugh when I tell you that not so innocently I tried this perfume for the very first time at age 18 when I learned that it was Mick Jagger's  favorite.  Once I bought my first bottle I was smitten but sadly Mick never discovered that I was alive, despite my persistence in following the Rolling Stones around on tour for an entire summer.  The best news though is that my husband Jim totally adores it and so does my son, who announced to me one day that he would know if he’d found the right girl because she’d smell like his grandmas lilies of the valley, a scent from his childhood that was truly provocative for him and a passion that I understand as lilies of the valley are my very favorites of the springtime blooms.  I’ll never forget when he shyly told me that the lovely young girl that he’d fallen madly in love with at the tender age of 15 had come dancing up to him with the gift of a fresh sprig of those shimmering white flowers in her hand; he was completely smitten. 
Diorissimo is Coty's Muguet du Bois on steroids, a true Lily of the Valley fragrance and is the only one of it's kind to really capture the essence of that beautiful little flower that appears mysteriously for a few fleeting weeks come the merry month of May. It is innocent yet very sexy and the word “mod” comes to mind, yet at the same time it’s a true classic, a total paradox of a perfume. I can imagine wearing it with a jaunty cap, go - go boots and a sexy brightly hued mini dress in the late 60’s yet at the same time it can be is such a dressy fragrance.  I’ll wear it dancing at a black tie ball yet just as often with torn denim and linen. I love to wear it when I go out riding and it smells the best when mixed with the scents of fine bridle leather , a glorious thoroughbred and the springtime forest. If I had a grand daughter, I wouldn't hesitate to buy some for her, because Diorissimo is very innocent, wonderfully lady like and like a perfect strand of pearls , always just right. I doubt that there's anyone left in the world who hasn't tried it, but if you've never smelled this beauty this would definitely be the time. After all, it's spring and just the right time to fall head over heels in love again. If you don't believe me, just ask my husband……
Originally published in The Perfume Magazine

Robert Piguet ~ Mademoiselle


My first response upon opening a generous sample of Robert Piguet’s newest fragrance Mademoiselle was to be completely intrigued because I wasn't at all sure what to expect. At first glance the presentation was exquisite and classic Piguet, but there was something just a little bit decadent about it leaving me to wonder what sort of treat I was in for. I opened the package and was mesmerized by the glossy bottle, turning it over and over in my hands. It was stunning, the traditional tall black glass flacon with the prettiest fuchsia and white label that was the color of an abundant bougainvillea tumbling over a wrought iron gate in the courtyard of an antiquated Bourbon Street garden. I knew before I sprayed it that I would love it, but I really didn’t know just how much. I have been a devoted Fracas wearer for my entire life because I love the way it makes me feel. Fracas is fleshy, sultry, gorgeous and I wear it when I want to bring the bombshell out to play.  Mademoiselle is another sort of perfume entirely. It wants to take me to Claridge's for afternoon tea in a vintage black dress, sassy garter belt and pearls. It's definitely a bombshell, but it's just a little more demure.  
​The Press from Robert Piguet states that the "Radiant Mademoiselle Piguet captures the beguiling beauty of orange blossoms, from their bright verdancy to their rich warmth. The exhilarating citrus prelude suggests a lighthearted character, while the smoky sweetness of tonka beans lends Mademoiselle Piguet a sensual touch. Clinging to the skin like warm silk, Mademoiselle Piguet enchants with its gentle and charming scent. She is delicate and irresistible, innocent and sultry, part Lolita and part Louise Brooks". 
"With Mademoiselle Piguet, Robert Piguet Parfums has chosen to pay tribute to both the romantic and sensual associations of orange blossom. Mademoiselle Piguet is a new generation floral fragrance, but its alluring character makes it a perfect addition to the Piguet family of feminine masterpieces". 
Created by star Perfumer Aurélien Guichard, the lovely Mademoiselle is simply the most feminine perfume that I’ve enjoyed in many years. I’ve noticed that it’s a real head turner, probably because it's instantly recognizable and emotionally unforgettable. It seems timeless to me and not very easy to define, which is why I love it so much. When I wear it, Mademoiselle conjures in me the same emotions that I experience every time I look at that amazing Eisenstadt photograph, which you'll remember as the iconic image of the sailor swooping up the lovely unknown woman for a passionate embrace on V-J Day. 
It’s so completely romantic that it's perfectly suited as a Bridal or Cotillion fragrance, but that's not why I love it. To my devil may care heart this new Piguet is soft and beautiful but with a very sexy and reckless edge. Knowing myself as I do it’s probably a dangerous perfume for me to wear but alas it's too late…I am completely smitten with it.  
It's just so very French and feminine and in my mind no other perfumer can create that aromatic razor's edge of sensual/sexual tension like Aurélien Guichard. He is the master of the heady erotic art of tortuous understatement in perfume. 
There's a shimmering sweetness in Mademoiselle that is reminiscent of an afternoon spent drinking Kir Royales and eating some fabulous chocolate yet at the same time.
This perfume possesses a hidden sultry twist somewhere deep in her heart that's a bit reminiscent of a Royal gin fizz drunk in the wee hours of the morning, soft and sweet on the tongue and drenched in orange blossom, smoky sweet tonka bean, refreshing bergamot and just a bit of Coltrane mixed in for the magic. It makes me crave a cigarette but just not any cigarette… I want a hand rolled cigarette.  
I want to be in Paris with my husband at The Hotel San Regis, smoking that cigarette and lounging about in a warm and creamy cashmere robe. The only other thing that I’d need would be that Gin Fizz and perfect Egyptian cotton sheets but at this point I will stop myself and say no more.
However as wonderful as Paris could/would be, at this very moment I’m sitting in a fabulous ocean front hotel patio in La Jolla California overlooking the azure waters of the Pacific with an icy cold Chopin martini in hand, perfectly mixed by my husband, sunset, sailboats and seagulls in the distance and Miles Davis playing through the Jambox. I'm wearing a flowery Lily Pulitzer, pearls, smoking that same cigarette and wearing just a bit of Mademoiselle. It still feels and smells absolutely appropriate. 
Life at this very moment couldn't be more delightful and Mademoiselle is the perfect touchstone for this time and place. Mademoiselle Piguet is a bottle full of toothsome magic and comes complete with a beautiful genie who knows how manifest your most deeply hidden desires. With the odds so cleverly stacked in your favor why would you not dare to make all of your dreams come true?  
Originally published in The Perfume Magazine

The Pink Room ~ Darkly Audacious

“Panther-like she stands, clad in a column of molten gray panne velvet, across her eyes a sliver of black lace. Through the smoky haze of the bar her dark eyes search, who is she going to meet? Dali and Schiaparelli loll at the bar sharing a ‘naughty’ cigarette and glasses of absinthe. Chic and demimonde draped across the bar… A louche figure glides lazily towards her, elegant, androgynous, dressed in a smoking jacket over velvet trousers Electricity sizzles through the air, intake of breath.. ”I want this to be…?”
Slipping an elegant bejeweled hand under her elbow, the mysterious one guides her to a banquette. On her wrist the Panther carries a minaudiere of ‘Darkly Audacious’  their faces come together sexy, feline…audacious! Intrigued. ”Imagine!” they whisper one to another!”
I want to be Sarah Barton King when I grow up. I really have the biggest girl crush on her and even though we have never met I love to think that we would be the best of friends.  I have never told many people this, but what I really wanted to be when I grew up was a designer of textiles , giftware, fashion, perfume and dreams. I spent one lifetime in luxury retail and I swore that I’d never go back, but when I see all of the beautiful pictures of Sarah’s original London Boutique, The Pink Room, I’m convinced that I should just do it all over again! 
I want to go find her and beg her to just be my muse. Perhaps it’s not too late!
When I was first sent the lovely sample of her newest fragrance, appropriately named Darkly Audacious, I wasn’t sure why it instantly reminded me of a naughty London weekend. You know what I mean, the sort of weekend where you steal away with your husband for a fabulous romp, complete with a naughty little bit of Aubade lingerie, some champagne and a hearty English breakfast to fortify you the next day.  Then I discovered The Pink Room website and it was instantly apparent where the fantasy had come from.
Sarah is one of the finest weavers of exotically beautiful dreams that I’ve ever seen. She’s naughty and you know how much I love that quality and utterly inspiring, closing her very successful Notting Hill boutique where she’s been honored by no less than Princess Ann to follow her husband to New York City to carry on in that brave new world.  Sarah Barton King weaves some of the  best stories that I’ve ever read, creating wonderfully fantastic tales that will then serve as the foundation for the perfumes to be built on. For Darkly Audacious she wrote the huskily passionate prose above to help inspire her perfumer Cyrille Carles and quite frankly her fragrances and boudoir concept are some of the finest pieces of luxury branding that I’ve ever had the pleasure to be seduced by.
Darkly Audacious is so very, very sexy.  I imagine Paris in the time of Colette and remember one very sensual work of erotica featuring several women, one man a hookah pipe and an Turkish rug from Anais Nin’s scandalous Delta of Venus. On my skin Darkly Audacious screams of naughty nights at the Moulin Rouge and I think that has to be exactly what Sarah desired. It smells, feels and tastes of Opium and passion fruit filled macarons, velvet, leather and candied violets.
I am reminded of being a young girl staying with my parents at the St. Regis in New York City in the early 70’s and seeing the great surrealist Dali and his ocelot descend the grand staircase into a throng of adoring patrons. It’s just that kind of scent; very dangerous, a little bit artsy with a whole lot of lovely.  The effect of this fragrance is unabashedly mesmerizing and if you have a vivid imagination like mine be very careful because it will begin to take you all kinds of places that you may never have thought to go….
Darkly Audacious opened with a delightful burst of Lemon, bergamot and rosewood, but on my skin that quickly softened into the heart of the fragrance which is jasmine, cashmere wood and juicy plum  the latter being an accord that I find to be so sensual.  The base of the fragrance is a passionate cocktail of vanilla, tonka bean, amber and a patchouli incense and the effect is utterly hypnotizing.  To completely the fantasy is a very naughty black bottle, bound in satin with an atomizer which completely reminded me of some of the wonderful old bottles that my mother always had on her dressing table when I was growing up, including a lovely old vial of some sort of smoky Arabian Attar which I still have.
I loved those days, because my mother who was terribly glamorous and definitely more than a little bit naughty had a chest in her linen closet just for us where we had all of our dress up clothes, heels, hats and gloves. I used to play with her Fire and Ice lipsticks and parade around the house like a princess.  I still love to play dress up and my fantasy is that the next Sarah Barton King creation will be a fragrant Darkly Audacious lipstick in a decadent siren red so that I can wear it with my crimson Ralph Lauren sleeveless evening dress which I literally pour myself into and my sexy nude patent leather pumps.
This is a scent for annointing your breasts, thighs  and throat; better yet let your lover dab it on you although be forwarned, because when my husband indulged that particular fantasy of mine we actually never left our hotel room. But please, pretty please promise me that wherever you wear Darkly Audacious, you’ll wear it with stilettos, reckless abandon and yes my dears, there absolutely must be garters…..
Originally published in The Perfume Magazine

Robert Piguet ~Douglas Hannant

Upon my first glance at the Robert Piguet black bottle with it’s fabulous crème label that bears the cipher of society fashion designer Douglas Hannant, I was thoroughly intrigued! Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet is the first original fragrance to be released by the venerable House of Robert Piguet since the 1960’s and since Fracas has been a staple in many a woman’s fragrance wardrobe since the late 40’s  (including yours truly!)  I figured that it would have to be pretty special to be allowed to bear the branding of that iconic fragrance house.
I wasn’t disappointed, greedily I opened the sample, sprayed a bit on my wrist and fell madly in love!  Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet takes my breath away every time, it simply smolders with sexiness yet exudes a buttery rich creaminess that makes it stunning and easy to enjoy.Aurelien Guichard, the incredibly talented and decadently handsome perfumer for Robert Piguet has blended Gardenia and Tuberose with so much skill that this has become a fragrance that I love to wear everywhere and for almost every occasion. 
Douglas Hannant has made his niche by dressing the well heeled society set so of course this was the perfume that I had to wear the day that I chaired the 90th anniversary fashion show for the Women’s Committee of The Cleveland Orchestra. I chose it as my fragrant talisman along with my very patrician mothers opera length grey pearls, but I’ve also taken it to play in the California surf, to a Derby Day party, sailing on Lake Erie, to the Field Hunter Trials and the Oak Room for drinks as well as several lovely cities east and west including Las Vegas where it took me dancing way to long  past midnight. Wherever and whenever we go out to play, it never fails me.
Whatever alchemy was used by the Aurelien Guichard to create this fragrance is a very powerful bit of magic, very  strong and sensual yet at the same time sweet with just a little bit of steel and fabulously rich, not unlike like the leggy thoroughbred women that it was designed to captivate. 
Aurelien and Douglas have added a bit of fruit to the original Fracas formula in the form of a buttery Bosc like pear that my skin instantly loved and blended it with the Fracas Foursome of Gardenia, Tuberose, Jasmine and Orange blossom, but to me that’s where the similarity ends. Fracas is the fragrance that I reach for when channeling my inner Marilyn, but Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet has become the perfume that I take with me on all my travels because it so graciously dances with anyone anywhere; truly the lovely young belle of the debutante ball.
But don’t be fooled because as the hands turn past midnight, this lovely perfume unleashes a tricky little twist of sandalwood and musky blond magic that is absolutely bewitching; mix a little bit Deneuve and a whole lot of Bacall and add the caress of a hammock swinging softly in the night sea breezes, a good cigar and a well mixed Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and you’ve got the picture.
I’ll happily swing out on a limb here and say that Marilyn herself would have been easily seduced from her beloved No. 5 by Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet, which is by many lengths easily the best new perfume that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this year. 
Try it…I promise you’ll adore it!
For more information or to purchase Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet

Originally published in The Perfume Magazine



Eau d Italie’s luscious Jardin du Poete

Every now and then you are blessed with the gift of a perfume that is so truly wonderful that you feel that you could never live without it. For me, Eau d Italie’s luscious Jardin du Poete or The Poets Garden is that precious scent touching a very deep nerve and igniting my passions and my way too vivid imagination! 
Jardin du Poete is a 2011 release by Eau d Italie that has been created for us by the absolutely brilliant Bertrand Duchaufour; a perfume so sumptuous, fresh and imaginative that from the moment I opened the bottle I had the feeling that I had been stolen from my life and dropped into the middle of a feisty historical romance.
I know that you know the type; a gorgeous and  gossamer tale that is spun in the 17th century with a beautiful terraced garden and a wonderful heroine who dresses clothing made of finely spun silk and softened hemp; a women blessed with a mysterious duality born of royal blood but thoroughly modern for her day, rebellious to be sure but with quite a bit of a past. Her breasts are scented by the precious sprigs of sweet lavender, rose and helichrysum that she wears tucked within the folds of her gown and her breath is perfumed provocatively with the sweet smell of candied angelica root. To me she looks to be something created by the pre Raphaelites, beautiful and heavy lidded with soft full lips, a wild mane of hair and a bent towards a full throated laughter that is refreshing and more than a little bit bawdy .
When I first experienced Jardin du Poete, I shut my eyes and tried to take a long walk around the exquisite  gardens that were instantly conjured up in my imagination and I quickly found myself standing in a walled garden overlooking a ledge somewhere near Mediterranean sea.  Rows of herbs and dancing flowers, vegetables (I saw artichokes!) and espaliered fruit trees filled my mind and the salty sea scent of fresh basil with a blast of sweet grapefruit, spicy pink pepper and bitter orange was present in a very sensual and unexpected way.  This is a perfume that I can taste as well as smell and I love that.
Many of you know of my love for cooking and my passion for perfume is always inextricably tied up with my passions for fabulous food.  I would love to be sitting with my husband in this Poets Garden that I have seen in my dreams. We would be enjoying a decadent meal of Muscata and fresh figs, peeled oranges and creamy smooth burrata  all spread onto thick slices of grilled crusty bread  and drizzled with wild sage honey. That would be followed by a slowly roasted  rosemary infused lamb shank, fresh young peas and a simple side of garlicky potatoes with a dipping sauce made of thickened fresh yogurt scented  with lemon, sea salt and mint.
Of course this would all be eaten by candlelight by just the two of us wearing nothing but a soft cloud of this perfume,  the warm ocean breezes and listening only to the soft lashing of the ocean and the symphony produced by the buzz of the honeybees.
Jardin du Poete is a truly unusual citrus fragrance in that it lasts for hours on my skin. The initial kick of the grapefruit and orange is juicy and delicious but then Jardin du Poete moves swiftly into an herbalists grimoire of angelica, basil and pink pepper.  Vetiver, precious  musks and a sweetly smoky cypress give this perfume a smoldering, wet sensuality that is hard to achieve in something so very fresh and green.
I know that you’ll love it so give it a try! It is a surprising perfume that dances from dusk til dawn easily and with more than a bit raw sexuality, pure elegance and grace.
Jardin du Poete is available in the United States through Lafco, New York and can be found online at their website and is 140. dollars for a 100ml.  3.3 ounce bottle. 
Originally published on the Perfume Magazine