I took me a hell of a long time to feel like writing anything. When was the last time I actually published anything? I attempted to write something for a few times, but I was unable to finish them. Since … Continue reading
I like fragrances with a bit of shady nuance. I have to admit, that’s one of the reasons I tend to get drawn to the perfumes with “Black” or “Noir” in the name. Those words have got certain connotations, doesn’t it? Dark, mysterious, evocative, hidden, forbidden, and somewhat dangerous… Am I shallow? Maybe so. If I see a perfume with a somewhat dark sounding name, I feel compelled to try it. But so often, I get disappointed by the actual scent. Usually there’s just nothing dark or black about it. A lot of “Black” or “Noir” fragrances are just as light, pretty and airy as so many thousands of others and these words are just used as a marketing ploy. I know, I KNOW! But still…
When I decided to try Love in Black by Creed, I wasn’t holding high hopes for this one. I’m not a huge fan of Creed – having said that, I do love Green Irish Tweed, Silver Mountain Water, etc. – and wasn’t particularly impressed by the predecessor “Love in White“. The only reason I picked this one up was because of the listed note; Violet.
As some of you might have noticed, I’m obsessed with fragrances but that’s not the only thing I’m crazy about. I also have an obsession with violets. I’ve trekked up the Japan Alps, driven through the desert in the Middle East, and waded down the rivers just to see some flowering violets in their natural habitat. On my bookshelf, you’d find so many encyclopaedias and botanical reference books about genus Viola. So, the combination of Black and Violet, I knew I had to try Love in Black.
The first time when I sniffed this, I didn’t like it. It smelt decidedly synthetic and chemically. The perfume vial was thrown into my “sample chest” and has been forgotten for a long time. Then, just the other day, something prompted me to try Love in Black again. It must have been a divine inspiration from the goddess of perfumes. (By the way, the Egyptian cat-headed goddess Bast or Bastet, perfumed protector, is regarded as the goddess of perfumes.)
This time, I couldn’t believe why I didn’t like this one in the first place. The opening was a little harsh for my liking but it settled nicely within minutes and turned velvety & earthy violet fragrance entwined with iris and blackcurrant. The cedarwood and musk undertones are comfortable and attractively enhancing the dark creaminess of this scent. Somewhere in the background, I could smell very faint rose but it never came out strongly. It is unique – to say the least. Feminine? Yes. But the drydown can be described as unisex. It’s filled with contrasting aspects.
Love in Black was created, inspired by the former US first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. To me, Love in Black smells like a scent of hidden love. It is a sort of love, not celebrated out in the open, and kept secret from the prying eyes but nonetheless, the love the lovers feel is so real, undeniable and pure. Akin to the afterglow of the love on the edge of the dark night, the sweet but somewhat dry afternote lingered on my skin for a long time.
I’ve worn Love in Black quite a few times since. Am I smitten by Love in Black? It is indeed a dark and sweet fragrance I should like, and I would like to say yes. But, each time when I wear this fragrance, I sway between certainty and uncertainty; I can’t help feeling a certain degree of ambivalence.
The Notes : Top note – Night-blooming wildflowers from the Greek isles where she wed; Violet from Italy, where she later visited; Virginia cedar. Middle note - Iris from Florence, a favorite city; Clove; Tonkin musk. Base note - Blackcurrant from Bourgogne in her beloved France, where her ancestors were born; Bulgarian rose (Official notes according to Creed Website.)
It is available in 75ml Eau de Parfum, £165.00 from Creed.
Disclosure: Review is based on a sample I purchased.
The weather has been really freaky here. Peaches and apricots are nearly finished and blackberries are in full bloom; all the indications of summer are everywhere. But it snowed. The last Sunday of May, we were having a paella party at my friend’s casita on the foot of the mountain, enjoying the view, fresh air, lovely food, plenty of wine & beer and the conversations with friends. Then the storm clouds gathered over the valley. The lightning started flashing criss-cross the sky and tearing it apart, the thunder ripping through the air, the rain coming down in sheets and the hailstones bouncing off the ground… It turned so cold and by the time we got back to our village, the olive groves were covered with the thin layer of snow. Who would have expected that!
As I walked into my bedroom after having a hot shower to warm up, I noticed the silver and blue packet sitting on my dresser and it looked just like the stormy sky outside. It was a sample of Blue Encens by Comme des Garçons I’d been meaning to try. I hadn’t done it so only because of my prejudice against the word “blue”.
I like blue as a colour. In fact, it’s one of my favourite colours to wear and I got all shades of blue hanging in my wardrobe. Just when the word “blue” associated with perfume, it tends to mean Aquatic perfumes or Sport fragrances and I get a bit sceptical… Somehow, “cheap”, “generic” and “boring” jump into my mind. I know it’s a prejudice against “blue” fragrances but, please tell me, have you come across anything mainstream from this category that you actually enjoy wearing?
Two sprays on my wrist, I wanted to apologies to Comme des Garçons. Blue Encens is actually a unique and delightful incense fragrance. The opening is spicy with cardamom and pepper and, yes, incense. Mind you, it’s not one of those smoky and heavy incense; it’s airy and kind of fresh. There’s a slight, somewhat pungent note lurking on the background and I guess it’s cinnamon. It’s not unpleasant and it adds to the lightness of this fragrance. After a while, the sharp spiciness subsides and it becomes herbal and “bluish” incense; it’s cool, radiant and icy, like an alpine meadow surrounded by permanent snow or glacier. The drydown is very different to the opening; it’s soft with a touch of amber. It lasted on my skin for 5 hours.
Blue Encens is smooth and sexy in androgynous way. I like the divergent qualities which this fragrance brings out. It’s quite wearable and pleasurable.
The Notes : Crisp aromatic Artemisia, frozen spices (Indian cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon), mystical incense, mineral amber crystals (Official notes according to Comme des Garçons Website)
According to Fragrantica, Blue Encens is a Unisex, Aromatic Spicy fragrance and it is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum, £80.00. It was launched in 2013 and the fragrance was created by Evelyne Boulanger.
Disclosure: Review is based on a sample I received from Comme des Garçons.
I was sitting at a beach side café, enjoying the gentle sea breeze and the sight of fishing boats gliding through the calm, turquoise blue water. Not many tourists were around. The local shop owners were all concerned about the backlash of the recent Arab Spring which took place throughout the region. “Not many tourists come here now. They are all afraid.” Drinking coffee in this kind of tranquil setting, you could almost forget the troubles sweeping through this small Indian Ocean Island.
As I stood up to pay, I caught a delicate sweet whiff of something from the garden. Being obsessed with plants and fragrances, I trotted to the source of the smell to find out what it was. There, among the lush green tropical plants, was a small tree with greenish yellow flowers. I immediately recognised it as Ylang Ylang; the Flower of Flowers.
Any of us “perfume nuts” knows Ylang Ylang. It plays an important role in Chanel No. 5, Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps, Estee Lauder Amber Ylang Ylang, Givenchy Ysatis to name a few. Its warm and sensual quality has been admired by many perfumers throughout decades.
Ylang Ylang’s sweet, earthy floral aroma is comforting and calming, yet it has got seductive and alluring sides to it. It’s not surprising that it’s been identified as an embodiment of the Goddess, or the Divine Feminine in some cultures.
“She is love combined with power, creating the potential for a more powerful love and a more loving power. She is also joy and love of life, particularly life as we experience it through the Earth and her cycles. We live in a beautiful physical world, and in order to survive in it and fulfil our birthright of enjoying ourselves here, we must reclaim the Goddesses and myths which celebrate life and its cycles.”
The author Hallie Iglehart Austen says in the Introduction of her book; The Heart of the Goddess. The Goddess is another word for Love; physical, emotional and spiritual.
In some parts of the world, Ylang Ylang oil has been used in love potions to attract the opposite sex. Some believe it to be the best aphrodisiac, as it induces feelings of warmth and sensuality. It also finds its place in tantric ritual and sex magic as a calming agent that helps lower inhibitions and gives an erotic atmosphere to enrich the whole experience. Its properties to alleviate depression and anxiety, while relax the body and induce the feelings of joy are well documented in Aromatherapy as well.
After leaving the café with some Ylang Ylang flowers from the tree, I called in one of the gift shops in Stone Town to buy an Ylang Ylang soliflower solid perfume which I’d been eyeing for some time. It was cheap, contained only locally produced Ylang Ylang oil and coconut oil. It’s been over a year since we left the place but, whenever I smell this, I can still see the bright colours of flowers, ocean and flowing women’s kanga, and brings me back to the 4 months we spent in the island of Zanzibar.
I’m still looking for a divine Ylang Ylang perfume. I’m currently yearning for Yin & Ylang by Sonoma Scent Studio to try. Do you have any suggestion or recommendation for other Ylang Ylang perfume?
Just a quick note.
The lovely people at Puredistance let me know that they are now hosting a Puredistance I giveaway!
This April, Puredistance is celebrating their first perfume, Puredistance I. This elegant and airy floral scent is perfect for Spring and they are giving us the opportunity to win a 17.5ml perfume spray.
All you have to do is to “take a photo that you feel captures Spring perfectly” and share your picture on their Facebook or Instagram. You can be as creative as you want. The closing day is 30th of April.
For more information, go to Puredistance Facebook page.
I’m wishing you a good luck!
I love fragrances evoke my creativity and imagination. It could be the scent itself, it could be the design of the bottle, or it could be the name of the perfume. Kerosene fragrances, created by John Pegg, definitely stir up something inside me. I must admit that they are not always easy to wear but certainly touch the artistic side of me.
When I received and opened the black sample box, in an instant, I fell for the name Unknown Pleasures. Who wouldn’t? It’s really thought provoking name; negative and positive, fear and anticipation, ecstasy out of chaos, something that is almost ethereal…
When I put it on my skin, I was met by an unexpected pleasure rather than unknown pleasure. I was expecting slightly darkish, dreamy kind of scent, but instead, what I smelt on my wrist was a sunny & cozy café. It was delicious and rich, positively edible.
Unknown Pleasures starts off with tangy and bitter citrus notes; it reminded me of a bitter marmalade with a dash of whisky. There is a slight smokiness, kind of burnt coffee. I assume it’s the Earl Grey tea. It is like walking into a heaving tea room where people are already enjoying their tea & coffee with honey & orange slices. Then, shortly after, a rich, mouth-watering caramel sauce starts to emerge and a hint of vanilla, whispering in the background throughout, starts announcing its full-bodied presence. It’s creamy and luxurious. I am not the world biggest fan of gourmand fragrances, but I adore the way John laces all the notes together and creates this delicious perfume.
On the Hose of Kerosene website, John notes;
“You’re walking down a cold street in Manchester, listening to Joy Division, sipping on a warm cup of London Fog. This fragrance opens with the smooth sweetness of honey with Earl Grey tea, with a zing of lemon. It dries down to a cozy vanilla, soft tonka bean, and waffle cone base sure to make any gourmand lover smile. “
I’m having a slight problem with the image he portrays… No offence to my friends from the Manchester area, but I can’t associate Manchester with somewhat posh Earl Grey tea; It’s more like lager or hard liquor. But never mind. Everyone experiences things differently. We all see things in an individual way.
I must say that Kerosene fragrances are very individualistic.
The Notes: Earl Grey tea, lemon, bergamot, honeycomb, tonka bean, caramel, vanilla and waffle cone.
Unknown Pleasures is a Unisex perfume and is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $140.
House of Kerosene Website: http://www.houseofkerosene.com/