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SmellyBlog

Snowy Night


snowy night, originally uploaded by Sasakei.

It's snowing for the first time this year, and I'm snuggling up in bed snuggled up in my cozy pyjamas and perfumed with my latest version of The Purple Dress (with champaca, henna flower, broom and oud) and wrapped in Kyara incense smoke.

What would you wear when it first snows? Share your thoughts below and enter to win a sample of The Purple Dress.

Sira des Indes


Pear, originally uploaded by Abbey Wuthrich.

The latest from Patou, Sira des Indes, signifies the hope of the return of classic perfumery in at least some of its glory. Despite the rundown of notes for Sira des Indes, which seems quite conformist and girly in an “I’ve Smelled This Fruity Floral Before” way, it is not.

Well, let me back off a little by saying that there is something familiar about it; familiar in a good way. First of all there is the familiarity of cooked fruit – primarily banana and pear. I can’t say I am noticing any berries and the bergamot is very muted as well. The cardamom, on the other hand, is there to complement the banana in a warm, seductive way, much as it does so in the dessert that inspired this perfume.

Than, there is also something classic about it. Perhaps I am reminded of the indolic jasmine of Joy, of seductively cloying narcissus as in Narcisse Noir and Vol de Nuit. There is also some champaca, and in this context it is a continuation of the banana-semolina pudding: fruity, warm, sensual and soft, with rare glimpse of magnolia peachiness. As I mentioned earlier, champaca is a very rare note to find in Western perfumery, and especially a French perfume. There is not a lot of it here (not as much as in Aftelier’s Tango or Ormonde Jayne’s Champaca), but there is enough to notice and make this stand apart.

Perhaps the familiarity and the feeling of return of classic perfumery is due to the well cushioned structure – no-nonesense base notes, creamy, rich and full-bodied of powdery yet sweet amber and musk, with sandalwood and vanilla in quantities that won’t embarrass Guerlain’s Samsara. The final drydown, by the way, is very similar on my skin to a cross between Samsara and Shalimar.


Meped, originally uploaded by Farl.

Like most “Orientals” made by Westerners, Sira des Indes brings a hint of the flavours to us in the West rather than abduct us on the Orient Express to the source (only very few “Western” perfumes do it in my opinion, such as some of Serge Lutens and Montale’s). Nevertheless, it’s a fresh, reviving scent that gestures to the past, winks at the Orient, and looks forward with a promise of dignity.

Top notes: Bergamot, Banana, Pear, Pink Berries, Cardamom
Heart notes: Red Champaca, Jasmine, Narcissus, Ylang-ylang
Base notes: Musk, Amber, Vanilla, Sandalwood.

If you are interested in reading other reviews of the same fragrance, visit:
Legerdenez
Bois de Jasmine
Now Smell This
Victoria's Own

The Psychadellic Earthiness of Fairchild


Chihuly Pond of Glass, originally uploaded by tomalu.

Inspired by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida, Anya’s Garden perfume by the same name from presents the most unusual array of notes in the line. Full of exotic tropical aromas from both land and sea, it is a boisterous earthy explosion of hot and moist notes. I have never been to Florida, but after experiencing Fairchild I can imagine how intoxicating the humid tropical air must be, hosting such intense polarities.

Fairchild perfume is exotic and disturbing – you will smell here scents that you probably never smelled before: opening with the heady, unusual peppery-floral-horseradish notes of pandanus (kewda) and the bright, more familiar hesperidious notes of pink grapefruit and sweet clementine, Fairchild’s pungent opening will wake you up immediately and grab your attention with intrigue and puzzlement. Than notes champaca, magnolia and various jasmines rein the heart; though I personally feel the pandanus notes lingers longer than all and overshadows the presence of these glorious flowers. From the tree tops bearing tropical flowers and fruit, Fairchild goes deeper, and explores the moist soil and the luscious vegetation, with air-exposed roots intertwining amongst moss and seashells and ponds. The notes of beach-harvested ambergris and the toasted seashells are very muted and barely noticeable (the latter were also used in Tango by Aftelier in a larger amount), adding complexity to the base that is at times overbearingly earthy. Fairchild smells wet, hot and tropical and the contrast between the pungent and unusual kewda jutaxposed with moss and roots creates a peculiarly psychedelic earthy feel.

According to Anya’s Garden website, Fairchild includes notes of pandanus, champaca (gold and white), a few different types of jasmine, citrus notes (grapefruit, clementine), ylang ylang, and base notes of ambergris, oakmoss, seaweed, toasted seashells, hedychium roots and spicy galangal.

Anya McCoy is one of the pioneers of Natural Perfumery, and being a Landscape Architect, she has appropriately chosen to dedicate each perfume in her line to famous botanical gardens around the world such as Fairchild and Riverside (a citrus-ambery perfume which was recently discontinued) as well as imaginary/mythical ones, like her goat-haired fougere fragrance, Pan. Anya is also the queen of tincturing rare tropical flowers that she grows in her garden, and which do not submit their essences to any form of distillation. The tinctures give a certain depth and complexity as well as a vivid aura – as if the perfume is breathing with life.

Fairchild can be had via Anya's Garden webstore, in parfum Extrait (3.5ml for $40), Eau de Parfum (15ml for $80) or in sample spray size (2ml for $20). A smaller size sample, for one or two application is also available for $5.

To read other opinions of Fairchild, visit:
The Perfume Bee
Perfume Shrine
Noteworthy Fragrances

Tango


Tango Shadow, originally uploaded by sk8rsherman.

Tango is one of my favourites from the Aftelier line. And one of the newest addition to it (it was launched this winter along with Orchid – which is my absolute favourite perfume by Mandy Aftel). Tango is a subtle and sexy perfume that leaves you with a taste for more, and is an example for the complexity and versatility of the champaca flower.

Tango starts smoky and rubbery with notes of myrrh and Choya Nakh (an essence of toasted seashells from India). Like asphalt heating in the scorching sun, it may feel overbearing but at the same time casts its magic upon the pedestrians as long as they don’t get burnt...

Than it softens into a soft, almost buttery floral perfume dominated by the rich, full-bodied and slightly fruity spiciness of red champaca and the creamy powderiness of tuberose. The dry down is complex and interesting, mostly a continuation of the tropical floral accord, but much softer, and well blended into the skin. A note of tonka bean helps balance the headiness of the florals and bring sweetness to the initial burnt impression. This olfactory dance lasts for a very long time, in a soft, muted manner –calculated like the controlled passion of the Tango steps, and never overpowering. The Tango dancer here really knows how to restrain her feelings and maintain her dignity through a brutally painful romance.

Tango is available via Aftelier's website, and retailers that carry the line. 1/4oz Parfum Extrait is $140, a miniature of 2ml is $40, and samples of about 1/2ml can be had for $5 each (sold in threes for a total of $15).

Dim Sum with Champaca


zong zi (粽子)., originally uploaded by theshanghaieye.

The exotic, tea-like champaca notes of champaca flowers are at the heart of this unconventional soliflore by Linda Pilkington. Accompanied by basmati rice and tea notes, this accord is prominent throughout the fragrance evolution.

Champaca opens with a hint of fruity citrus freshness that offers a temporary distraction from the champaca concept is backed up strongly by the champaca and basmati notes. These are warm, enveloping and comforting, like steaming dim-sum of tea flavoured rice dumplings.

Champaca is quite gourmand due to the prominent basmati and green tea notes; yet in a sophisticated way which makes it smell actually woody. It sheds a different light on the otherwise rather mundane, simple and subtle. Served in a stylized dish, even the most basic nourishing meals can seem sophisticated…

As for the drydown - as in most Ormonde Jayne's fragrances, it boils down to her signature musk base, which is clean and warm and vanilla-sweet.

Top notes: Neroli, Pink Pepper, Bamboo
Heart notes: Champaca, Freesia absolute, Basmati Rice
Base notes: Myrrh, Green Tea, Musk

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