Mandarin Oranges & Sandalwood Incense

Tangerines & Sandalwood, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.
These two cute tangerines were given to me by Monique at my holiday soiree (they were fresher and brighter a week ago, I can assure you, but I procrastinated on this photoshoot) and they got me thinking again about the sandalwood-mandarin duo. As a result, I’m inspired to build something around this accord, or more likely - re-visit my ginger & amber perfume and add a sandalwood element to it.

I haven’t started working on this mod yet (scheduled to be mod #6). This week I was too busy baking cookies and entertaining as a way to cope with the snow and the extremely low temperatures (-8 during the day at times, which is very unusual for Vancouver at any given time). I still have to work on mod #5 with magnolia lily and jasmine to flesh out the heart and give the perfume more body. It sure is interesting to see how this perfume develops in teeny-tiny steps every time.

In the meantime, I’m using a shortcut and wearing some Obsession eau de toilette and resisting the temptation of taking advantage of the Boxing day specials and finally get myself the parfum extrait.
The large tangerines, by the way, were the best ones I’ve ever found in Vancouver in my 10+ years of living here. They turned out so great that I used them in a new ginger wafers recipe and it made it quite amazing really. I will post my recipe here soon, promise.


(verb) preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent.
(Apple Dictionary)

After spending most of the weekend editing my reviews for Jacques Guerlain’s “Grand Quartet”, my main contribution to my blog in the last couple of days was the change in the subtitle of this blog.

I often wonder about the relationship I have with the elusive phenomenon of perfume. I learned to realize that smelling and wearing perfumes is my greatest passion, studying and collecting data about perfume (including the collection of essences and perfumes, of course) has become an incurable obsession. The fruitful result of this all (though the sheer pleasure of perfume leaves hardly any room for justification!) is my choice to make perfumery my profession.

Yesterday afternoon, I was visiting an activist friend of mine, and saw her album of AdbustersSpoof Ads. The ones that caught my eyes the most were, of course, their Calvin Klein driven criticism on modern fashion culture. Social and cultural messages put aside, these are profoundly made that they also show the bordering-on-madness connection between art and obsession. I must admit I never made the connection between the full bodied, luscious sweetness of obsession which is bordering on a syrupy oiliness, and the anorexic model. Unless, of course, the perfume is designed as a virtual substitute to a butterscotch cheesecake. I find it quite disturbing to be honest. So I have decided to include my impressions of Obsession as my thoughts for the day, just to make my point of how there is so little connection at times between the perfume’s marketing image and the perfume’s real nature.
That, of course, should be explored by the wearer (aka consumer, hopefully not brain washed by than) and evaluated based on their own olfactory repertoire and experience. This is when one needs to escape Calvin Klein and realize their potential as thinking and feeling individuals.

Ck Obsession for Women

In the midst of an artificial perfume collection, dominated by computer generated fragrances, Calvin Klein’s Obsession stands out, being a modern Oriental that is surprisingly charming.
Obsession appeals to the young generation of impulsive, simplicity-seeking youth as well as “grown ups” with style that haven’t yet completely repressed their sensuality for the sake of synthetic class. It’s intense appeal is derived from an interesting approach combining heavy and rich natural essences such as oakmoss and frankincense, with an added touch of modern sparkle that is almost deceivingly perceived as fresh and “light” by distracted passing-by noses…

It starts with quite a blast of summery sparkle of tangerines and mandarins, beautifully melted into an ice-cream like note of intensely sweet vanillin. This accord is sweet and fresh at once, almost like a creamsickle…

The heart, though floral, still possesses the charming contrast of sweet floral notes with some tanginess: heady jasmine mellowed and balanced by the citrus-invoking floral note of Orange Blossom absolute. It is backed up by a warm accord of fluffy smoke of sandalwood incense.

The base contains an interesting dosage of oakmoss that is dry and synthetically modified, to create an almost spicy impression reminiscent of allspice berry and of cyclamen. It is accompanied by frankincense and is heavily backed up with notes of vanilla and fresh-smelling, radiant amber, which will end up dominating the dry down without compromise.

Obsession is fun to wear, and is quite versatile. Though classified as an oriental, it has certain quality to it that makes it suitable to wear also in more casual social settings, and in mild and even warm weather.

Top notes: Mandarin, Tangerines

Heart notes: Orange blossom, Jasmine, Sandalwood

Base notes: Vanillin, Amber, Frankincense, Oakmoss

Image from Un Monde En Senteurs - the first musical, olfactive, and aquatic concert ever held in Switzerland
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