Wildflowers and Mini Review – Shalimar Initial L’Eau

Yellow Flower

This gallery contains 18 photos.

The sky is blue, the blight coloured bee-eaters are glistering in the sky as they fly, orange is in full blossom and filling the air with its sweet scent, and the countryside is filled with wildflowers. Now it’s late spring, … Continue reading

Iris Garden

I love this time of year. We visited our friends on Sunday and came home with an armful of irises from their garden. They are just gorgeous! Brightened up our living room completely. So, today, I decided to write about irises. 🙂

Abandoned Orchard

My own photo – Abandoned Orchard

The scent of this particular iris from my friends was subtle. You need to get very close to the flower to smell its sweet, slightly powdery and somewhat honey like scent. Unfortunately these lovely flowers don’t last long. Within a day, the open flowers would decay and they turn into blobs of violet-coloured rubbery goo…

Quite a few people believe that iris flowers have almost no smell. That’s not true! Some do, some don’t but, did you know, if you care to look through the garden catalogs, you’ll find a category of ‘Fragrant Iris’. The odor characteristics of the iris flowers are wide; from musky to spicy, peachy to violety. I personally smelt only handful different kinds but definitely there were ones with make-you-feel-dizzy type strong scent and even one with chocolaty scent.

In perfumery, rhizomes (or called ‘root’) of Sweet Iris (Iris pallida), German Iris (I. germanica), Florentine Iris (I. florentina) and Cemetery Iris (I. albicans) are harvested and used as orris root and it is one of the most expensive ingredients due to the fact that the yield is very low and the preparation is time and labour-consuming. There are synthetic orris available which are replication of the materials known as orris butter, orris concrete or orris absolute. Orris was once a common ingredient in face powder, which might be one of the reasons that the smell of orris is often described as ‘make up’ smell. I have to say, orris root smells totally different to the smell of the flower and it smells a bit like earthy carrots.

Iris

My own photo – Iris

Iris flowers do not yield an essential oil, so the “Iris” fragrances in the market are usually created with its rhizomes (orris root). Sometimes they are perfumer’s creative reconstructions of the scent of the flowers or an image of the flowers using other natural or synthetic essences.

There are soooo many iris fragrances in the market and there’s no way I can cover all of them but I’d like to name a few notable ones here;
Hiris by Hermes — The first minutes are wonderful then it becomes very subtle. Powdery. Easy to wear.
Infusion d’Iris Eau de Parfum Absolue by Prada – Bittersweet and somewhat smoky. I love it!
Bois d’Iris by Van Cleef & Arpels – Dry, woody, sweet and dusky.
Iris Bleu Gris by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier – It’s supposed to be a masculine scent but I would say unisex. Lush powdery. A bit too green for my liking.
Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens – Pretty strong opening but love the drydown.

The Songs of Bilitis Cover

The Book Cover of The Songs of Bilitis

From their earliest years, irises were used as a medicine and, in some parts of the world, an ingredient for love potions. Love – iris association isn’t so common but there was a poet who loved to link irises to sensual love; Pierre Louÿs. In his well praised collection of poems of pagan sensuality and love of beauty, The Songs of Bilitis (Les Chansons de Bilitis), irises emerges among the tenderly erotic scenes. He also mentions irises in his other literary works and, like in The Songs of Bilitis, a hint of sensuality and femininity are entwined with the flower.

I personally don’t associate irises with sexuality; to me it’s more like nobleness, honourableness or spirituality.

What about you?

 

Excerpts from The Songs of Bilitis;

THE STREAM IN THE WOOD

I bathed alone in the stream in the wood.
I must have frightened the poor naïads,
for I could scarcely see them far away in the dark water.

I called to them.
To mimic them I plaited iris blossoms,
black as my hair,
about my neck,
twined with knots of yellow gilly-flowers.

With a long floating weed,
I made myself a green girdle,
and to see it I pressed my breasts and inclined my head a little.

And I called:
“Naïads! naïads! play with me, be nice.”
But the naïads are transparent,
and perhaps I even caressed their lissom arms, unknowing!

 

SCENE

Where were you?

At the florist’s. I bought some lovely irises. Behold them, I have brought them just for you.

And you took all that time to buy four flowers?

The merchant kept me waiting.

Your cheeks are pale, and your eyes are shining.

The weariness of walking such away.

Your hair is wet and tangled.

The heat is great, the wind has tossed my hair.

Your girdle was untied. I made the knot myself, and not as hard as that.

So loose it opened; a passing slave tied it up for me.

There is a spot on your dress.

The flowers dripped.

Mnasidika, my little soul, your irises are far more beautiful than can be bought in all of Mytilene.

How well I know it, oh, how well I know!

 

The Songs of Bolitis

The Songs of Bilitis – Image borrowed from Sacred Text Archive

DESIRE

At night, they left us on a high white terrace, fainting among the roses. Warm perspiration flowed like heavy tears from our armpits, running on our breasts. An over-whelming pleasure-lust flushed our thrown-back heads.

Four captive doves, bathed in four different perfumes, fluttered silently above our heads. Drops of scent fell from their wings upon the naked women. I was streaming with the odor of the iris.

Oh, weariness! I laid my cheek upon a young girl’s belly, who cooled her body with my humid hair. My open mouth was drunken with her saffron-scented skin. She slowly closed her thighs about my neck.

I dreamed, but an exhausting dream awakened me: the iynx, bird of night-desires, sang madly from afar. I coughed and shivered. An arm, as languid as a flower, rose in the air, stretching towards the moon.

 

Eau de Death… Seriously!?

I  just couldn’t believe it. I’m pretty open minded. But this…?

Eau de death

Eau de death

Apparently, a chemist at Doane College in Nebraska has been busy perfecting a cologne that could help you survive a zombie apocalypse; kind of a zombie-repellent-in-a-bottle.

According to the article on Daily Mail, Dr Raychelle Burks came up with the foul-smelling zombie repellent that mimics the smell of rotting human flesh. The concoction is a mostly a combination of two foul-smelling chemical compounds, putrescine and cadaverine, which coincidentally are emitted by decaying flesh. And there’s a dash of methanethiol, the molecule that produces the rotten egg smell. And if you smell like a rotting corpse, says Burks, chances are good that zombies will pass you by for a fresher meal.

‘One could also wear it when casually waiting out the zombie apocalypse so as not to attract the attention of a roaming horde of zombies,’ she told NBC News.

Hey, who knows, it might come useful. But, as for me, I’d rather be dead than walking around the cities among zombies with this Eau de Death!!

 

Jasmin Noir and F67

I’m not exactly a perfume snob. I’ll try almost any fragrance, from the supermarket brands to the exclusive niche houses (if I can afford it, of course. Ha…). Maybe I’m a perfume slut.

Fragances & colors

Fragances & Colors (It’s not a typo…)

The other day, I went to a mall to buy a fragrance for my friend’s birthday on her request. It was one of those shops selling so called fragrances which were “inspired by designer’s brand perfumes” (you know what that means).  I picked up the one she wanted and asked for a gift wrap. While the girl at the counter who looked very much like Miley Cyrus was busy with the shiny wrapping paper and bows, I was idly browsing around their collection of fragrances and spotted a copied version of Jasmin Noir.  It’s one of my favourites (well, at least the Bvlgari one). On impulse, I bought it.

Sometime ago, on the Perfume Posse blog, there was a post on the Perfume Commandments. To quote, the second one of the commandments was “Thou Shalt Not Blind Buy”. Well, I broke it… I’m a thrill seeker, you know. Buying a fragrance without knowing what it’s like is kind of like opening a Christmas gift with anticipation.

But sometimes you receive a gift which isn’t quite your taste or not what you expected. This was the case with this perfume. It wasn’t bad or ugly. It was actually quite wearable. Just it wasn’t Jasmin Noir. 😀 (Really now, what do you expect.)

Thoughts on Jasmin Noir by Bvlgari

Jasmin Noir by Bvlgari

Illustration by the Perfume Magpie

This, for me, is I-can’t-help-sniffing-my-wrist scent. I’m a big fan of Jasmine & Gardenia; I love plenty of Wood & Musk as well so from just reading about the notes I was already in love this one. When I was living in the Middle East, then later in Egypt, we had Sambac Jasmine  (Scientific name: Jasminum sambac | Common Name: Arabian Jasmine) vines in the garden. The scent of the blossoms always seemed to get stronger in the evening and I used to savour the night air filled with the fragrance. Jasmin Noir always reminds me of those nights.
The warm woody note dominates Jasmin Noir; its florals are somewhat subdued & soft and lingers in the background. The ambery sweet drydown goes on and on for a long time. Almost ghostly, mysterious, dark and sensual. Gorgeous fragrance.

NOTES
Top notes: Green sap, Gardenia | Middle notes: Sambac jasmine absolute, Satin almond notes | Base notes: Precious woods, Tonka bean absolute, Licorice

Thoughts on F67 by Fragances & Colors

F67 by Fragances & Colors

Illustration by the Perfume Magpie

There’s definitely some white floral notes… Jasmine, yes, but it’s not rich, deep Sambac Jasmine. Absolute? Nah. The florals disappear after an hour or so and ambery – musky notes dominate the rest. It’s not an unpleasant scent. One thing that really bothers me with F67 is that there’s this note which isn’t in the original Jasmin Noir; the burnt caramel. That’s the only way I can describe…  Here’s the image came into my mind; a cozy little shop selling perfumed soaps & scented closet sachets. A woman walks in. She is dressed in all black, wearing rather strong animalic perfume. As she walks through the door, an aroma of the sweet Belgian waffles, served warm by a street vendor outside the shop wafts in…

I still wear this one but how this can be Jasmin Noir is anybody’s guess.