Apple Harvest

Voila: an apple orchard that kisses the horizon of the Okanagan lake. Apples are such a basic fruit because of its long shelf life and its power to keep doctors away, we sometimes take them for granted. But I tell you: there's nothing like a fresh ripe apple that was just picked that morning, which is precisely what I had for breakfast today. Fragrant. Crisp. Delicious.

And being not so perfect for wine they are so much more nutritious and also in some danger of becoming extinct. Does that mean that Canadians will l have to import stale fruit from California in 10-20 years? I hope not...

But agriculture, health and political issues aside, don't you think this fruit is simply glorious? It is not surprising to me anymore that it was for so long considered the fruit with which the snake seduced Eve. Coming from a warm county, orchard fruit such as apples, pears, peaches and cherries seem unusually exotic to me.

Celebrating with Apples: Lovely Liquid Satin

bourre, originally uploaded by moonchild.

I promised you a scent with an apple note, and you are going to get one now. But first I have to make a little confession. I just got my first ever celebrity perfume. Obviously not because of the celebrity (I love her performance in Ed Wood though!), but because of the perfume that came under her hands. Lovely is everything a celebrity scent wants to be, but more than that: it’s not only popular and fits beautifully with the character of the woman who created it, but also – it is original and oh so chic. It might just be the first interesting celebrity perfume since, say, Denevue (by Catherine Deneuve). If I missed something along the way, please let me know.

The first thing that strikes me about Lovely is the unusual use of lavender and patchouli in such a light hearted context. This was no tutti-frutti fragrance as you may expect judging by the hundreds of perfumes (even more so with celebrity and drugstore fragrances) released recently. It had an original, elegantly rough edge to it. Lovely is modern chic, sharp like clean-cut like a tailored suit, yet flowing like a satin gown. It’s prettied-up only by an ornamental fabric rose - and more importantly, the bright smile of the person who wears it. Despite the fact that it does have florals, it is not floral in the traditional sense of the word. You don’t think of flowers when you wear lovely. If anything at all, you think of textures and fabrics such as crepe and linen and dull, brushed silk.

Now, about a year after its release, my patience to hold off a purchase has paid off: a new version has been just released. It’s the same fragrance, only based in an alcohol-free, silicone-based medium, and titled “Lovely Liquid Satin”. And liquid satin it is indeed. This formulation allows for a softer presence without the alcohol that usually interferes with the top notes, and also the bottle is truly lovely – a frosted, light pink hued bottle, or a golden “perfume wand” – a roll on of 30ml that fits into any purse or pocket. I am a big believer in small packaging for perfumes, so I was sold quickly on this one.

The opening of both formulations is a heady and clean, crisp mélange of rosewood, lavender and apple martini. The apple martini note is brilliant. It really adds an unusually vivid, effervescent quality to the opening and thankfully lacks the mustiness that some other apple scents uphold.* It’s boozy only in an elegant way – like sipping on the cocktail to appreciate the flavour, without getting drunk.

Dietrich satin, originally uploaded by klsanderson.

The Liquid Satin has a slightly different opening, in which I can detect top notes of lemongrass (which I do not smell in the alcohol based fragrance), which is sharp and grassy, but thankfully fades out rather quickly. The patchouli note is also more pronounced at the opening. I have a feeling that this silicone based version is more true to the original concoction made by Sarah Jessica Parker herself. It just has that authentic impression of a perfume enthusiast blending scents together that will bear her own character.

The heart notes are abstract florals – orchids and paper whites. Paper whites are not fancy silken paper sheets as I was almost lead to believe, but rather refer to a flower from the narcissi family - Narcissus Tazetta whose odour is described by noses as "Rich, thick and creamy, this warm fragrance envelopes you in a soft, floral jasmine like glow". I can’t say that I smell narcissus in there, but there is a light floral impression that is hard to describe. As I said – abstract.

These soft, ethereal florals bridge into an even more abstract base of highly processed patchouli (dry and clean rather than earthy and musty), amber and musk – together resulting in an effect that is very close to the skin. An original, clean musk skin scent, subtly surrounding the wearer with a mystifying aura that is clean and pleasant. I prefer the Liquid Satin over the alcohol based formulation. Although the scent is essentially the same, this version is softer and even more subtle.

Lovely has been compared often to Narciso Rodriguez, and while I agree that they are very similar, I still think of Lovely as an original fragrance. These are both light musk scents, very modern and abstract, with a suggestive floral heart, and an effervescent, boozy opening. But Lovely has a certain dry, almost rough edge to it that makes it stand apart and prevents it from looking like an imitation of Narciso Rodriguez (which I intend on reviewing very soon).

Celebrities and their scents come and go, but there is something about Lovely that makes me want it to stay. And if it wouldn’t stick around forever, I am certain it would be talked about and missed and longed for much like other old favourites that have disappeared into the abyss of discontinuation.

Top notes: Rosewood, Apple Martini, Lavender, Madarin, Lemongrass

Heart notes: Paperwhites, Orchid

Base notes: Patchouli, Cedar, White Amber, Musk

Bottle & pearls image from Nordstrom.com

*My nose finds that Be Delicious is the queen of musty apples, and I just can’t even sample it without thinking all the time of biting into a perfectly round from outside apple, with a completely rotten core; a disappointing experience I am not particularly enthused to experience the perfume version of.

Apples in Honey

Apples & Honey, originally uploaded by Ivo Jacome.

While pomegranates are evocative and sensual to eat, their scent is not the most fascinating part about them. The scent that I have tried that included pomegranate neither authentic nor interesting – and for the most part brought a berry-like interpretation of the fruit (Quel Amour!, Samsara Shine, Euphoria, Pomegranate Noir). Therefore, in salute to the Jewish holiday season, I have decided to dedicate a few entries to Apple in Honey – a symbolic food that signifies wishes for a sweet and whole year (as round as the apples dipped in the honey). You should try that too – it’s delicious!

First let’s talk a bit about the roles of honey and apples notes in perfumes. Apple and honey notes are usually used separately in perfumes, and add completely different qualities to a scent. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but when it comes to perfume, there are no real apples used – it’s always synthetic molecules that resembles the idea of an apple, rather than a true fresh apple.
Some natural perfumers may use tinctured apples or apple essence, but these smell like dry apples and from my experience are very unnoticeable in the presence of the far more concentrated essential oils and absolutes. The closest you can get to apple with naturals, so far, is Roman Chamomile essential oil, which has an intense, sweet, golden-delicious like apple notes. Apple simulations in most perfumes add a crisp, tart, slightly sweet top note that gives an olfactory impression of just biting into an apple (and perhaps getting some of the juice going up your nose by mistake!). You will mostly find apples in floral composition from the fruity category (i.e.: Spring Flower, Baby Doll), and occasionally from the marine category (Light Blue). Since I have already reviewed my favourite apple scented perfume, Spring Flower, I will dedicate a full review this week to another (surprise) apple scent of my choice, so stay tuned!

Honey, on the other hand, is very similar to the actual tangible real-life product we know as either honey, honey comb or beeswax. Just imagine these notes condensed into the richest, most sticky and syrupy concoction, so concentrated that some animalic civet-like notes are swirling at the bottom and threatening to take over with their indolic affection. Honey is used for both its qualities: gourmand and animalic. Therefore it is most often found in oriental perfumes. As in my grandmother's honeycake, honey absolute goes particularly well with cloves. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find honey in heavily spicy compositions (Black Cashmere, Asja, Epice Sauvage) , as well as rich, thick, sweet gourmands (Finjan, Angel, Black Licorice, Miel de Bois) and ambery orientals (Fumerie Turque). Occasionally, honey will even find its way into more subdued florals (White Linen, Zohar).

Another beautiful thing about honey is that it smells and tastes differently depending on which flowers the bees were collecting their pollen and nectar. Therefore there are also variations in honey absolute: there is rich honey absolute (as from the honey collected from wild flowers and thorny bushes), and there is light citrus honey (as the one used in l’Instant de Guerlain and many scents in the Serge Lutens line).

So dip your crisp, freshly harvested in honey, and tell me of your favourite honey and/or apple scented perfumes!

Spring Flower

Tulips Pool, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

If a spring of glacier water could be bottled in a perfume flacon – I think it will smell like Spring Flower. It makes me wonder if “spring” refers to the season or to the body of water. I would say it’s a little bit of both.

With its fresh and simple beauty, Spring Flower is sheer happiness in a bottle.
Fresh, optimistic and tranquil with no unnecessary ambition – Spring Flower is nothing short than beautiful. It’s just that – beautiful. The fresh fruity accents are crisp and complement the floral tones that are at the heart of the composition – rose and jasmine. They give off a feeling of water lilies floating above glacial freshwater. The base holds only a tad of sweetness like a soil that promises a longer blooming time.

It’s nothing too deep or serious, just pretty, charming, effervescent and bubbling with vivacity. Spring Flower has surprisingly become one of my wardrobe staples, which is quite surprising – considering the fact that I have hared time with pure and sheer florals, particularly fruity florals. One main reason is that unlike most other fruity florals, it does not quickly transform into a powdery, nose-stinging chemical mess on my skin. Rather, the fruity notes stay fresh forever (a very unnatural characteristic, but in this case most welcome!). As if this is not enough, Spring Flower is the only Creed that truly captured my heart so far!

Spring Flower starts off with a blast of fresh, citrus-fruity notes of lemon, bergamot and peach. There is also a hint of herbal note, almost minty. It is charmingly refreshing and positive. The thing is, that this fresh beauty lasts for a long time!
The heart and base notes still maintain this luscious fruitiness, along with delicate flowers that are neither heavy nor heady, but simply reminiscent of fresh, dew-laden blossom in an early spring morning. Though officially the notes are of jasmine and rose, to my nose it smells like waterlilies. Perhaps it is the combination of the rose and jasmine notes with the crisp apple and watery melon notes that create this light, bright and fluid impression.
The feeling is of inviting cool spring water, so inviting you absolutely have to drink them!

Later on notes of lilly of the valley and a citrus floral note emerges – it is not orange blossom, but actually smells a lot like lemon… Perhaps it is lemon blossom…
The drydown is a tad powdery, with the lilly and melon notes lingering on a base of cedarwood and perhaps a hint of orris as well as musk. It is only slightly powdery, but still has the fruity floral notes persist while maintaining an extraordinary freshness.

Top notes: Peach, Lemon, Bergamot, and I suspect a hint of peppermint!
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Water lilies, Melon, Apple, Lilly of the Valley, Lemon Blossom
Base: Cedarwood, orris, perhaps benzoin which adds a tad of sweetness without overpowering the top and heart notes, and very subtle musk, amber and vanilla notes.

me, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

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