Carnal Flower

Pink orchid 011

Carnal Flower opens with a slightly fresh fruity note and hints of green (melon and eucalyptus). Than it’s mostly tuberose with a full-bodied, sweetened orange blossom, much in the same vein as that note in Lys Mediteranee. Even the base is the same to my nose – supposed to be musk, but I smell a balsamic-woody sweetness similar to peru balsam essential oil (which smells very different than the crude balsam). There isn’t much coconut in it, but it does help improve the initial impression and add creaminess to the tuberose.

I like this a lot and it’s easy to wear (I worn it on a very warm day and it was never cloying at all). However, this is not my favourite tuberose, and in the light of Lys Mediteranee being so similar, I do feel a tad disappointed from this installation in the Editions de Parfums

Top notes: Melon, Eucaliptus, Ylang Ylang, Salycilates
Heart notes: Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Jasmine
Base notes: Coconut, Musks

Neo Classics - Any Candidates?

Inspired by a recent discussion on Now Smell This, I would like to not only voice my opinions and musings, but also hear what you feel about  Frédéric Malle's notion that "Since Thierry Mugler’s Angel, created in 1992, the market has not generated one classic" and "They don’t concentrate on the fragrance at all. They concentrate on the story, they concentrate on getting a star, or an image or a launch or an event. It’s an idea they sell. It’s the easiest way to sell a fragrance which will please everybody, because everybody likes Céline Dion, for instance — or many people do. They create the sale by selling something cheap in a small bottle. None of these fragrances are designed to last."

Interesting observation. While Angel is an iconic scent, I don't think (and don't want to think) that classics have stopped there. It's hard to find spectacularly innovative mainstream perfumes. Somehow with Dune and Angel inventing the linear structure - it seems that innovation came to a halt and perfumes kinda stayed going in that direction. But there are some iconic scents that happened since then - Tocade (1994 - same linear story), Le Mâle (1995), Bvlgari Black (1998), and if judging by popularity alone - also Coco Mademoiselle (2001), Narciso Rodriguez for Her (2003) and Lovely (2005). The latter is probably the only celebrity fragrance that I would consider a candidate for an "iconic fragrance" - though it does not exactly offer something all that different from NR. though for those three, I think only time will tell: Remember how Cabotine (1990) was worn by EVERYONE and everybody back in the early 90's? (unless they were wearing AnaisAnais - which is is from 1978...) - I doubt that anyone would consider them classics by now. They sure are distinctive scents, but I don't think they come even remotely close in terms of popularity (customer approval) or their aesthetics/design significance (industry expert appreciation).

Kingdom and M7 were rather iconic too, and may have influenced greatly what happened later in the niche world - but since neither were a commercial success and already discontinued - we probably can't really consider them as classics. A classic would and should survive the test of time like Shalimar, No. 5, Mitsouko and the other masterpieces have.

To say that innovation ended with Angel is like saying that perfumery is a dead art. I think nothing could be further away from the truth! All you need to do is visit one of the smaller perfume shows of niche brands and the smaller artisan brands (such as those who participated in the Artisan Fragrance Salon that debuted this summer on the West Coast) to find a living proof that perfumery as an art form is alive and kicking: Vibrant innovation and out-of-the-box creativity is still possible. New technologies make possible more true-to-nature raw materials. Perfumers are exploring new dynamics or "structures" possible within the olfactory art form.

Last but not least: contrary to Mr. Malle's statement, story telling in perfume does not by any means contradict creativity or artistry! Rather, it is an integral part of the art of perfumery, and should remain this way. While the perfumes in his line might not have the traditional marketing schemes - but to say that they do not tell a story is an insult to the perfumers' art and the hard work they put in doing exactly this: telling a story by putting together volatile molecules that meld together sharing the same space and chase and replace one another in succession in a dance that begins in the bottle and ends on the skin. 


dreaming of you, originally uploaded by Amsterdamned!.

In Dans tes Bras, Maurice Roucel brings up the unspeakable topic of intimacy. Intimacy is something that is difficult to describe, but easily felt. It's a subtle emotion and a state of mind that occurs when we somehow connect to another person on the deepest level through closeness or proximity. It's one of those strange connections between spirit and matter: looking into someone's eyes and having a glimpse into their soul; being so close you can hear their heartbeat and sense their breath on your skin and breathing in the invisible scent of their skin.

Seemingly, there is nothing unusual about Dans tes Bras. It is very perfumey at first: violet accord that is both powdery like orris and wet and woody like cassie underlined by noticeable dosage of heliotropin - that vanillic molecule that makes heliotrope smells so sweet, almondy and plasticky all at once.

It is not until a few hours in that the intimate aspects of Dans tes Bras reveal themselves. At which point, technically speaking the woody base notes (most notably patchouli) are exposed, along with foreign molecules which I’ve never smelled separately and which create the sensation of minerals and salt on hot skin. From a more sentimental point of view, this is the point where Dans tes Bras begins to smell like perfumed skin that has been immaturely washed away in a warm salty ocean, but not completely. Whatever is left on the skin is going to dry out in the hot sand and sun and become only a vague memory of that violet perfume but an even stronger memory of that sunny afternoon on the beach. But if you wait till the morning, you will wake up to remnants of Nag Champa incense smoke that has stuck to your clothes, sheets and everything you've ever possessed.

Top notes: bergamot, clove

Heart notes: violet, jasmine, cassie, orris

Base notes: sandalwood, patchouli, incense, cashmeran, heliotrope, white musk

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