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quarta-feira, 30 de setembro de 2015

The Fresh Scents of the 1970s Part 5: Chanel Cristalle

by: Elena Vosnaki

To consider Cristalle by Chanel a predominantly "fresh" scent begs the question: which version of it? Contrary to some of the previous fresh scents that dominated the 1970s and which we have reviewed in previous installments (links are at the bottom of this article), Cristalle has circulated in two distinct variations that differ considerably.
 
Although only one of them is set in the 1970s, namely the eau de toilette original version, the 1990s eau de parfum edition is also popular and perhaps blurs the lines most between simple freshness and ripe enigma; if the citrus burst of the eau detoilette is a sunny but still crisp morning, then the more floral chypre leaning of the eau de parfum is late afternoon when the warmth of the sun has made everything ripen and smell moist and earthy.
 
 
But the two faces of Janus have more angles to exhibit still. The structure of the eau de toilette is citrusy green, almost cologne-y, with only a hint of chypre; more jovial, more unisex and altogether happier.  Indeed early ads claimed:
 
 
 
Now. A fragrance with the freedom of cologne, the force of perfume.
Never before have you been able to change yourself with such fragrant energy. 
 
Cristalle. A brilliant burst of new fragrance by Chanel.
 
 
The structure of the eau de parfum is more feminine, with the floral offset of jasmine and ylang ylang bringing to the fore the more romantic elements. If the former is a brainy librarian, the latter is a brainy librarian with one button undone on her blouse. As you would surmise from my description, I like and respect both but would personally find more cause for celebration in the latter.
 
This is perhaps a unique point of view in the perfume loving community where original editions are without fail considered superior and more sophisticated; no writer's doubt, the review practically writes itself. Still, and it is a point worth considering, Cristalle is a case in point where the genius of Henri Robert is fittingly corralled to that of Jacques Polge, the two perfumers responsible for the creation of the former and the latter editions respectively. But why is that to begin with?
 
The 1990s have gained an odd reputation in perfume lovers' minds because they mostly contributed the mega (try Godzilla) trend of the "ozonic" and "marine" fragrances, scents cutting loose with the denser and richer French and American tradition and ushering a sense of Japanese zen into personal fragrance. At the time they produced a huge chasm with everything that preceded them (and fittingly one of the first to do so was Kenzo pour Homme in 1991).
 
Suddenly one wearing such a quiet scent seemed like someone walking in velvet slippers contrasted with a Louboutin stiletto wearer, emitting Dior Poison, marking some poor 18th century parquet floor; you instantly knew who was going to get more sympathetic smiles and friendly nods of the head and who was to be greeted with wrinkled noses. Such were the mores then; we have become loud with our scent choices again of course. But the overindulgence in quiet can become deafening in the end and this is what happened by the end of that grunge-dominated decade. StillChanel Cristalle eau de parfum managed to straddle the ground between quiet and loud, producing a composition between soft flannel wool and luxurious yet rough soie sauvage which was advertised with the immortal line: "Exuberance comes of age!" Let there be no more claims that this version is unsophisticated.
 
Another interesting nugget is that Cristalle, especially in the eau de parfum edition, has that infamous overripe melon and stale meat note, common in Diorella and Eau de Rochas, two other great fresh scents of the 1970s, which had prompted Tania Sanchez to write that Diorella is like Vietnamese beef salad and Luca Turin to reference the garbage-leaning note in both Le Parfum de Therese and Eau de Rochas(both featuring the same on-the-verge-of-unpleasant effect). Considering that from all the 1970s scents Cristalle is the one closest to Diorella, yet lacks that overripe note (so beloved by perfumer Edmond Roudnitska) in its eau de toilette concentration, it makes for a puzzling consideration indeed.
 
 
Despite lacking that characteristic rotten fruit & garbage tang which can act like a faulty brushstroke put on purpose in an otherwise exquisite painting, Cristalle eau de toilette has endured and has gained new fans over the decades exactly because it is a triumph of mind over matter. It feels tinglingly fresh, yes; it feels brainy and perfect for sharing whether you are a man or a woman. It also fits its architectural packaging to a T, perhaps more than any other perfume in the Chanel stable. It feels sleek and sparse and 100% proud of it. It also means that when you opt for it you know you're picking the freshest thing in the shop; there is nary a fresher scent on the Chanel counter now or ever. Only the galbanum throat-slicing-blade of the original No.19 could be compared for sheer chill! 
 
In my perfume consulting, I sometimes hear  people reject the citrus scents as either cologne-y (which is not entirely false, they do share DNA with that) or as not in step with contemporary sensibilities. To the latter segment I will end my essay with anecdotal evidence.
 
When I had interviewed Linda Pilkington of Ormonde Jayne fame she had confided to me that she loved Cristalle (she also mentioned she used to layer Eau Sauvage withDiorella, which probably makes a throw together impression of Cristalle at least according to my tentative experiments back home). Such is her love apparently for it that one of her very own brainchildren, the wonderful Tiare, shows its kinship with Cristalle in no uncertain terms; in fact almost an improvement on it, if that sort of thing were possible. Nothing but the name would throw you off; tiare is a tropical gardenia essence coming from the Tahitian gardenia, but Tiare by Ormonde Jayne feels like the niche version of Cristalle you had been hoping would never get messed up with. It's one testament to the eternal appeal of this classic Chanel fragrance.
 
 
If you missed them, the previous parts can be found on these links:
 
The Fresh Scents of the 1970s

The Fresh Scents of the 1970s Part 4: Eau de Guerlain

by: Elena Vosnaki


Could a piece of classical music be transcribed into a classic fragrance? I have noidea whether Jean Paul Guerlain was thinking of Vivaldi when he came upon the brilliant formula of Eau de Guerlain. But contrary to Stravinsky's put down on Vivaldi, fondly known as le maestro rosso (namely that he didn't write 500 concerti but the same concerto 500 times), Jean Paul is well known for the diversity of his opus.
 
Therefore continuing the exploration of fresh scents that marked the 1970s, after Part 1: YSL Eau Libre  Part 2: Eau de Rochas and Part 3: Sisley's Eau de Campagne  we come to a classic gem from that most classic of perfumery houses, Guerlain.
 
If anyone should do a proper cologne, apart from Farina and Roger & Gallet, that would be Guerlain. The house already boasted an impressive history of historical colognes made for royal patrons in the 19th century (Eau de Cologne Imperiale was made for Eugenie, wife of Napoleon II) and the more bourgeois customers of the early 20th century theater scene. The introduction of yet another brilliant Eau de Cologne in their collection as late as 1974 would be the culmination of an arc that lighted the skies for decades. Indeed of all the Guerlain colognes, Eau de Guerlain is perhaps the most satisfying, the most tenacious, and certainly the most chic. Because if chic is asserting one's independence and subtly illustrating one's smarts without showing off, then Eau de Guerlain does the job admirably for both men and women, young and old.
 
photo by shakko
 
What is the rare feat of appearing neither too "modernised", nor too "retro leaning"? Guerlain's talented maverick, Jean Paul, who was then robust and in full capacity of his creative abilities, siphoned another golden fizzy liquid into the glorious bottles that makes the stable of Guerlain such a feast for eyes and nose alike. The bottle, crowned with a golden stopper, was shaped like a rock pebble or had a yonic concaveness in the middle, whichever way you look at it. Wasn't it Jean Paul who had insisted that he put something of his mistress's nether regions in every fragrance that he made? The famed Robert Granai, original bottle designer, had received direction to create a bottle shaped like a river pebble; they must have been huge in the 1970s, judging by the design for Eau de Rochas (originally named "Eau de Roche")....
 
 
Eau de Guerlain later succumbed to the unification of older Guerlains, at least visually. The imperial bees now seal its buzzing summery song. 
 
The scent in Eau de Guerlain can be described as nothing short of melodious. If the eau de Cologne genre is by its very nature playing on the tonal differences between hesperidic and aromatic, one tangy and the other herbaceous and on occasion lightly medicinal (natural lavender does that), Eau de Guerlain takes these elements and transposes them with the heart-ache of a nightingale singing alongside a mockingbird. Or the sweet duet of mandolin and strings from Vivaldi's mandolin concerto in C major (RV425).
As with many colognes previouslyy explored in this series of articles, the touch of herbal accents is making the commonplace interesting. It is even more so in this one, an impression of cut leaves for the kitchen (possibly for some summery cordial) never leaving you as you go through the Eau de Toilette spray.
 
Basil, via the inclusion of spicy eugenol which steers the composition someplace between green leaves and carnations, is the necessary touch as is in other 70s scents that recall a quotidian naturalness.
 
The tinge of patchouli and moss give of course the necessary allusion to someplace where bushes are landscaped to mimic labyrinths, where magical minotaurs come in the shape of gigantic cultivars of European flowers.
 
But in Eau de Guerlain it's the richness of the tart top notes which makes the scent like no other. 
 
 
The cedrat (one of the 4 original hesperides from which all other varieties spawned through hybrid cultivation), the tree and the fruit that anglos call citron, is married to bergamot, a harmonious match made in heaven. But it is the lemon and the lemon-smelling verbena (common in Italian perfumery) which echoes their melody across the other tree from the orchard in the early morning. It gives an unmistakeable sweet sense of elation and despite the melancholic sigh, produces too much happiness. Eau de Guerlain is mellifluous in a "lungs filling up to bursting" way. If only I could bathe in it!
 
If you missed them, the previous parts can be found on these links:
 
The Fresh Scents of the 1970s

Rochas Secret de Rochas Rose Intense

by: Sanja Pekic

"The Parisian rose garden secret, this authentic jewel we own."
MARCEL ROCHAS
The new chapter of the modern fragrance history of the house ofRochas started with Secret de Rochas fragrance in 2013, almost 70 years after the introduction of the first perfumeof this house. Secret was created by in-house perfumerJean-Michel DuriezSecret de Rochas Oud Mystère was launched in 2014, and in 2015 we have a new edition calledSecret de Rochas Rose Intense.
According to Jean-Michel DuriezSecret de Rochas Rose Intense highlights sensuality of a woman and offers new insight into her indefinable allure, inspired by Parisian joie de vivre and audacity. "I wanted to create a boudoir atmosphere for this fragrance.  A woman’s boudoir is the one private room that is all her own, a place where she keeps all her secrets – fragrance, beauty and otherwise. It offers the perfect inspiration for Secret de Rochas Rose Intense as this special place is the quintessence of female sensuality and mystique.”
Jean-Michel continued, “I thought it could be quite interesting to touch upon a new and unexplored side of a woman’s beauty secrets– those things she might hesitate to reveal.  In keeping with the storied tradition of Rochas fragrance, Secret de Rochas Rose Intense is also inspired by the audacious and illusive Parisienne, but in a different, more sensual way.”


The main note of the composition is May rose. “This special rose is indeed different than other roses; it has a fresher, more natural scent. The flower is a little bit fragile, but the elegant and delicate scent is unique in the world of perfumery”, said the perfumer. It is mixed with fruity accords of passion fruit and peach on the top. Red rose, rose leaf, osmanthus and a secret ingredient form the heart of the perfume. Amber, moss, patchouli and musk notes complete the base.
Top: Rose de Mai, Passion Fruit, Peach
Heart: Red Rose notes, Rose Leaf notes, Osmanthus, Secret Ingredient
Base: Amber, Moss Accord, Patchouli, Musky Notes
Secret de Rochas Rose Intense shares the distinctive packaging of the original.  While the keyhole-shaped bottle remains the same, the round, hand-made coffret, is given a rose hue evoking the vibrant shade of the rose de Mai.  The juice is an intense rose color as well. The fragrance is available as 100 ml Eau de Parfum.

Via: press release

A Virtual Visit to FRAGments 2015: Part One

by: Jodi Battershell

The West Coast is becoming a creative hotbed for artisan and indie perfumers, so it's no surprise that some of the most interesting perfume events in the U.S. are taking place in California.
One of several notable West Coast events that have taken place this year was the FRAGments 2015 event, held on May 30 at the Neutra Institute and Gallery (below)—the latest in a series of unconventional locales that always add another layer of interest to an already eclectic and inspiring event.  (See Fragrantica's coverage of the inaugual FRAGments eventfor a better idea of the look and feel of a FRAGments event).
Being based on the opposite side of the country in Philadephia, I wasn't able to attend the event in person, but thanks to organizer Maggie Mahboubian of Parfums LaLun, I was able to get a press packet which included samples and info about the participants and events that took place that day.
The event itself must surely have been a happy overload for the senses, judging by the abundance of good smells in the FRAGments package I received. To help us all avoid olfactory fatigue, I'll be highlighting a single scent from each of the participants, plus a "bonus" scent to which each particpant contributed a single note, as part of an olfactory "exquisite corpse"! 
Join me on this two-part virtual tour of the FRAGments event, where we'll have a chance to encounter some brand new houses and smell some amazing new scents! 
This year's FRAGments event was notable for the participation of  three 2015 Institute for Art and Olfaction Award winners: Ellen Covey of Olympic Orchids, whose Woodcutfragrance was an Artisan category winner; Jessica Hannah of J. Hannah Co., whose collaboration with Canoe, Skive, was an Independent category winner; and Isabelle Michaud of Monsillage, whose Eau de Celerie was an Artisan category winner.
I had been hearing amazing things about Woodcut before I got a chance to sniff it in the FRAGments package. Oh, my goodness!  Believe the hype, folks. Woodcut is one remarkable scent!  Woody, warm, slightly sweet. You can practically SEE the sawdust flying through the air when you sniff this one. I have been a longtime fan ofOlympic Orchids and this was such an exciting new direction for perfumer Dr. Ellen Covey. Bravo and congratulations!
Skive is a gorgeous perfume and certainly award-worthy, and it's just one of several fantastic scents I found in the package from perfumer Jessica Hannah of J. Hannah Co.  Jessica recently moved and is getting things set up in her new home, but this is definitely a new natural perfume house to keep an eye on. In the meantime, Canoe Skive is an amazing unisex leather scent. Beefy and spicy and sweet at the same time, it's perfect for the upcoming Fall weather.
And as for Eau de Céleri by Monsillage? It is the mother of all green perfumes. Slightly chyprish, slightly aromatic, slightly bitter, but above all, just plain good.  "Celery? Really?" my husband asked. Yes, please! In abundance! With extra celery on top!  If you miss the true bitter greens and chypres of the 1970s, this is one to try.
Can you believe the FRAGments package was my first opportunity to try the lovely fragrances from Jazmin Saraï? I can't either, and I was instantly sorry I waited so long. All of the scents are gorgeous, but How You Love really struck a chord with me, offering an interesting take on jasmine and rose. (Coincidence that Jazmin Saraï's perfumer Dana El Masri won a 2015 Jasmine Literary Award? I think not.)
My friends Beckie Sheloske and Katy Knuth of Rebel Intuitive Perfumerie flew across the country to participate in FRAGments. What can I say about this amazing new natural perfume house that I haven't already said in my interview with the pair just a few weeks before they headed off to FRAGments? These ladies have such a great story to tell, both in words and in fragrance notes. To know their scents is to love them, and their Ninon is animalic floral oriental heaven.
Image: On the Nose
Do you love peaches? Kenneth Cory's On the Nose Fragrances has one of the best peach scents I have ever smelled, natural or synthetic. (On the Nose just happens to be a natural perfumery, which makes it even more amazing, as true fruity scents are hard to capture using natural fragrance materials only). Momotaro is such a sweet, fruity, creamy, dessert-like perfume that if you blindfolded me, I'd swear someone was waving a bowl of peach ice cream under my nose.  The Etsy shop for On the Nose indicates the house is taking a short hiatus but I hope we'll see On the Nose become available again soon.
By sheer luck, I had just become acquainted with Meshaz Natural Perfumes a few weeks before the FRAGments package arrived. Mesha is widely known in the artisan fragrance industry for growing, harvesting and distilling lavender essential oil from her own crops. I have a small quantity of Mesha's lavender essential oil and it's head, shoulders, knees and toes above any other lavender essential oil I have ever smelled. I hoard it. Mesha has recently begun creating her own natural perfumes as well and they're an absolute delight. Her Mimoza is as flowery and realistic as a slow waltz among the blossoms.
         Image created by Paul Kiler, featuring Tama Blough, one of her art quilts and her beloved cat Buster
Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes created a lovely fragrant tribute to artist and writer Tama Blough, a longtime member of the online perfume community who passed away earlier this year. PK's TNT (Tama N Tuberose) is simple and simply beautiful: pure tuberose anchored with a little musk and ambergris. It's breathtaking to smell the flower in such an unadorned state. A true artist knows when a piece is finished and it's time to step away. TNT needs no other notes. What a moving tribute to the life of this artist and writer who touched so many!
Image: Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery
Thus far I've highlighted many feminine/unisex scents, but FRAGments was not without its offerings for the menfolk, too. Case in point: the Mr. Whisker's Beard Balms from Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery. Made from natural oils, cocoa butter and beeswax from perfumer Laurie Stern's own bees, the balms offer skincare and a gorgeous scent in one amazing product. These are perfect for those manly-men who eschew fragrance in traditional forms. (Pro tip: they also work well as general moisturizing balm if you don't happen to have a beard.)  My favorite was the Piñon Desert scent.
We're off to a great start, aren't we? Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we'll meet some more new houses, sample new scents from some old friends and check the vitals on that good ol' exquisite corpse!
Thank you to Maggie Mahboubian and to all the participants of FRAGments who shared their amazing scents and stories with me!  Follow the FRAGments Facebook page to keep abreast of news and upcoming events.

Pitti Fragranze: Four New Fragrances by Farmacia SS Annunziata

by: Juliett Ptoyan

Farmacia SS Annunziata is one of those artisanal brands which, having no international distribution system and breathtaking advertising budget, are usually discovered by  those who stay away from the main drag of Florence and intentionally get lost in the sleeves scattered around the Cathedral Square or get stuck at the tiny market next to the Santissima Annunziata. It's here where one can find either the snow white handcrafted ceramics and curved rings from the 60s or the cans with handmade confitures, hurriedly signed in leaky blue pen. 
Farmacia SS Annunziata's old interior
This brand is not very well known by any particular product, but their styling is familiar to many (“oh, those with the round logo, sure”). When we take a closer look, it turns out that in addition to their face and body care line (mainly for men), this Florentine company releases also a notable perfume collection – and today we will talk about a part of it.
At this last Pitti Fragranze Expo, Farmacia SS Annunziata presented in their booth concentrated versions of four fragrances, which were released in the past as eaux de parfum (with 15% aroma compounds): Nero IncensoHyleChia and 450. Now, the concentration is raised to 25%, and the word “Concentrato” appeared on the bottles to distinguish them from the original editions. 
EdP: Pure marine art, with that deep turquoise color of the waves, heavy skies, dry pine trees falling into pieces on the cliff, and the shore inhomogeneously covered with ginger colored needles – not a multicolored landscape but quite a complex one, created with some familiar ingredients. 
Concentrato: The same pine wood scent, but much deeper – you can see no sea or sky or even land anymore; the bush is in keeping with the best traditions of David Lynch: go a little farther – and you will fall into the Black Lodge. The Little Red Riding Hood story without a happy ending – it is right in front of you so you don’t have to go far: smell the pine, some vetiver… come here, don’t be afraid, it won’t hurt.
Top notes: orange, bergamot
Middle notes: basil, coriander, incense
Base notes: rosewood, incense 
EdP: The hyperbolized and widespread scent of clothes just brought back from the beach – hot wind in the towels, old sunglasses scratched by the sand, salty air with sun tan lotion. It hasn't the slightest hint of Italian heritage, somehow it speaks American English, and it's playing it cool, not going to extremes on the subject of “sea breeze” which is being so looked down upon by many other brands. 
Concentrato:  A shaky construction which is based on the same marine set as we found in the EdP version, but somehow it's covered with a smooth and solid liquorice layer. It melts away in a moment and disappears entirely in 5-7 minutes.
Top notes: lemon, bergamot
Middle notes: marine accord, lavender
Base notes: patchouli, musk 
Farmacia SS Annunziata's modern interior
EdP: An interesting thing, from an academic point of view, which represents all desserts with alcohol in one creation, and particularly crème brulee comes to mind, with a crispy cognac crust. The liquorice at the bottom doesn’t seem to appear out of nowhere, it feels totally normal – its “medicinity” comes from wood and the nut shades of the dessert part. 
Concentrato: This version has entirely nothing to do with the original fragrance: here we have extremely heavy crème, flavored with gentle, roundish black pepper, which eventually collapses, reporting to the skin an expressionless, almost papery scent with subtle grass notes. The question arises – why would an Italian brand with a semi-centennial history start speaking French (even properly and almost with no accent)?
Top notes: lemon, raspberry
Middle notes: rose, violet, jasmine
Base notes: vanilla, talcum, musk 
EdP: A certain dark side of the new Italian perfumery was already represented by Gritti (the vetiver spinning in Delirium), Unum (black LAVS with pepper and incense) and now by Farmacia SS Annunziata, which decided to celebrate its 450th anniversary with cold, monotonous sage and sharp black pepper. They say you stop considering birthdays as a joyful holiday from a certain point on; here’s what that is about. 
Concentrato: Unconventionally, the concentrated version in this case looks more airy (and bitter) than the EdP: sage acquires absinthe shades and the wind starts to howl in the imaginary ragged field. At some point the pepper just gets lost and recedes into the background.
Top notes: sage, incense, pepper, nutmeg
Middle notes: iris, musk accord
Base notes: vetiver, sandal 
As I’ve mentioned above, all these fragrances were presented at Fragranze 13; two of them (Chia Concentrato and 450 Concentrato) were already available in the boutiques of the brand and the other two (Hyle Concentrato and Nero Incenso Concentrato) will hit the stores in the beginning of October.

The First Fragrance by KAJAL - Kajal Eau de Parfum

by: Sandra Raicevic Petrovic

During all these years that I have been writing about fragrances, I have tried to be objective and to convey the most accurate information that will mean something to the reader and customer. However, there are several fragrances for which I could not hide my infatuation and I wrote about them in superlatives, just for my soul. Among them are Xerjoff Casamorati 1888 Bouquet IdealePineider Orchidea Reale,Isabey GardeniaDior Dune,Dior Dolce Vita for which I believe that they became a part of me during the years, that they convey my style perfectly and trigger my deepest emotions. With all of them it was ‘love at first smell’, infatuation from the first drop. I have known about the house of Kajal for about a year and I heard excellent critiques, but on my recent travel to Paris expo I had the opportunity to test the perfume for the first time. Kajal is a truly fantastic creation!
The first fragrance was named Kajal, after the brand, inspired by Arabic wordKHAJAL - "the shy modesty that a woman may feel when she is recognized for her beauty". Her "kajal" seduces–as explained from the house, "She gets what she wants. She is in control". In India culture kajal also means KOHL – eye make-up that women have traditionally worn ever since the age of the pharaohs in Egypt. 
In my opinion, Kajal Eau de Parfum fits into several categories: niche - because it belongs to small private collections that want to provide customers with excellent quality and a part of their sensibility; and lux perfumery - because the ingredients used for the composition are the highest quality while the composition can be described as a kind of mainstream version of the classics from the 80s and 90s (which can rarely be surpassed by any new edition, in my opinion). This fragrance is not a replica of the fragrances from those periods but contains all the best that characterized them: specific style, excellent ingredients, a union of notes, extreme radiance and strength of the fragrance. Kajal Eau de Parfum is the embodiment of femininity and her beauty; its aura crowns a woman’s beauty while giving her additional strength and subtle seduction, neither aggressive nor improper. The composition is compact and rich: The ingredients are perfectly balanced and radiate with positive energy. The experience is like enjoying some of the finest classic fragrance compositions, not trying to detect each note but appreciating wholeness and harmony. 
The same way Kajal creates a gorgeous, fruity-floral-musky-woody blend in which no particular note stands out, there is also nothing here that bothers, repulses or complicates. Kajal's philosophy is simplicity; to create a high quality fragrance for women is the essence of its beauty and magnificence. 

KAJAL EAU DE PARFUM
 



perfumer: Christian Carbonnel

top notes:
mandarina, Amalfi lemon, Calabrian bergamot

heart notes:
Turkey rose, orris

base notes:
musk, amber, Mysore sandalwood, Madagascar vanilla, tonka bean

Official ingredients published by the house of Kajal are: Amalfi lemon, Calabian bergamot, mandarin, Turkish rose, orris, musk, amber, tonka, Madagascar vanilla, and Mysore sandalwood. In a few words, fruity and juicy mandarin is predominant at the opening, offering a sunny character. Flowers are gently powdery, intoxicating and very elegant. Creamy notes and softness originate from woods, sexy musk, and the discrete warmth of tonka and vanilla. As the fragrance develops, citruses glitter and provide irresistible freshness to the composition. An appropriate description would be that Kajal seems "sun-bathed". Everything is in full harmony and all notes appear together. Even though it was developed for the Middle Eastern perfume market, do not expect a traditional, oriental fragrance! This is the Orient in the finest and most feminine way, subtle beauty with a French signature. 

PHOTOS FROM PARIS PARFUMES RARES EXPO IN PARIS
 

The flacon of the fragrance is transparent and framed in thick glass. The body of the bottle is decorated with a silver name plate while the crown is an eight-angle stopper inspired by geometric motifs which have been used by Islamic artists and designers for ages and can be seen on almost any surface, from floors, walls, ceiling beams, lamps to book covers and other materials. This geometric shape repeats on the outer carton of Kajal in silver and bluish-purple color, creating an oriental motif. The fragrance can be purchased as a 100ml Eau de Parfum priced at 185 eur; according to the house it is currently available for purchase throughout the Middle East. We can expect more info by Kajal regarding availability of the fragrance and stores where it can be purchased in the coming months. 
Kajal is launching two new fragrances, Kajal Dahab for women and Kajal Homme for men, which I will cover in a separate article soon.


Kajal press release
Official photos and poster by Kajal
Photos from Paris expo by Sandra RaicevicPetrovic

Bargain Fragrances: Close by GAP (2009)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. 
Summary: One of Gap’s best fragrance launches echoes aroma trends of its time offering a dusky fresh floral over a light musky amber base with accents of almond and vanilla; now at an unbeatable price and widely available at online and brick and mortar discounters.
Perfumer: Marypierre Julien
Try this if you like: Almonds, vanilla; peony, freesia or jasmine; aquatics or clean skin scents.
Reminds me of: Clinique Simply, Yves Rocher Neonatura Breathe, SJP Lovely, Emporio Armani WhiteNina Ricci Premier JourGattinoni Couture.
Pros & Cons: Coming from someone who owns or has owned each of the scents listed above, Close is like the perfect amalgamation of all of them – an easy to wear, unobtrusive, fresh floral with one of those “your skin but better” vibes. The bottle is simple though rather mundane and the longevity and sillage are average at best; indeed, the name perfectly describes the sillage here. The price is pretty fantastic, however, and I find myself re-spraying with abandon just to get another fix of Close.
Notes: “It encompasses aromas of aquatic accords, salty citruses and fresh almond scents. A heart brings us white flowers, freesia, jasmine and heliotrope while a base features sandalwood, leather musk, vanilla and amber.” Fragrantica
Designer’s Description: N/A
Number of times tested: 10 times over the last 2 months.
Number of sprays applied for this review: 2 sprays to the back of my hand from a 100ml bottle I purchased online (ca. 2015).
Fragrance strength: Eau de Toilette
Development: (Linear / Average / Complex): Close is interesting in that the first few minutes are quite sharp and sweet, absolutely not what the rest of the wearing is about. I imagine this might be the result of the “salty citruses” listed in the composition; have patience with this one upon application. After the opening, the soft jasmine and the greenness of the freesia blossom on my skin, like fresh crushed leaves, while the vanilla, almond and heliotrope expand to cushion this floral accord. The drydown is a white musk and soft amber.
Longevity: (Short/ Average / Long-lasting) Close lasts about 3-4 hours on my skin and lingers longer on clothing.
Sillage: (A Little / Average / A Lot) As the name implies, Close is a soft scent for snuggling.
Note about the packaging: Much like the SJP Lovely bottle, looks like a raindrop but in translucent white with simple silver cap. The bottle is housed in a rectangular, transparent plastic box.
Where can I buy it? A 100ml EDT spray is as low as $20 USD, and a 50ml EDT spray is as low as $12 USD on online auction and discount sites.
The Bottom Line: GAP hasn’t exactly been known for its bath and beauty lines, but when they finally launched fragrances back in the 1990’s the aromas were met with an enthusiastic reception; the company was smart to avoid the typical named, gendered offerings and instead brought us scents like Dream, Om, Grass and Day, ostensibly genderless scents of simplicity and affordability. I think I owned all of them at one time or another, having always loved the white floral sweetness of Dream and the greenness of Grass.
Since the original launches I haven’t found a single scent worth mentioning. They’ve largely all been forgettable, uninspired copies of other mainstream aromas, or barely-there body sprays and mists akin to B&BW offerings. Even today I can’t say that there is anything worth noting, and don’t even get me started on the longevity issues with most of them. But Close is something different. I remember sniffing Close upon launch in an airport Gap store and finding it, simply, lovely. Understated, clean, slightly floral yet with gourmand undertones, I felt tempted to buy it. Knowing Gap, I figured I’d wait for a sale. Not having returned to a Gap store since that time, it’s been a long wait! I tend to sample my Gap scents during sniffathons at TJ Maxx and Marshalls, American discount stores.
Recently, I noticed a bottle of Close and decided to revisit it. So many other scents came to mind that the aroma was immediately familiar…so familiar that I decided a purchase would be redundant. However, while browsing Ebay I found a tester at deep discount and $12 later I’m addicted. Yes, it has the soft floral musk of SJP Lovely and vanilla accents of Nina Ricci Premier Jour along with the nutty, almond notes of Gattinoni and Clinique Simply. I love the verdant vibe wafting through the opening and the musky gourmand drydown. And since I don’t have access to any of these scents while staying with family this autumn in south Florida, Close fills a gap (pardon the pun) in my current scent wardrobe.
Have you tried Close? How do you feel about GAP fragrances in general? Can you recommend any of their other offerings as bargain buys? Tell us in a comment below!

Xerjoff Casamorati 1888 La Tosca

by: Sandra Raicevic Petrovic

At Florence's Pitti Fragranze, Casamorati 1888by Xerjoff introduced  their new fragrance LA TOSCA, previously announced in the report from the expo. The fragrance was inspired by Puccini's famous opera composed in 1900. La Tosca was created to depict the beauty of the famous Italian opera and to celebrate a woman's which is passionate and romantic character. 
According to the official notes, La Tosca is composed of citruses in the top notes (Italian lemon, green mandarin), while the heart accentuates Bulgarian rose, eucalyptus and violet leaves. The base offers patchouli, musk, amber and Madagascar vanilla. 
On my skin, La Tosca offers a somewhat different fruity impression in the beginning. One can feel bitterness and luminosity of citruses (more like lemon skin instead of zest, and freshness of green mandarin), but also sophisticated and tart aromas of blueberry providing a scent in subtle purple shades. Just like a fine veil covering the skin, the fruity opening becomes drier, greener and very dewy. 
 
The essence of the heart is reflected in its balance of eucalyptus and elegant violet leaves while floral shades of rose are subtly highlighted, not standing out too strongly, resulting in an  herbal, fresh and green essence. Patchouli supports the elegant composition in a beautiful and non-aggressive way, without leaving any rough or earthy sillage but providing a tart, powdery and dry aroma combined in a sensual way with musk. Vanilla and amber, like the Bulgarian rose, are skilfully hidden on my skin and do not leave an oriental-resinous impression nor any gourmand accords. I would characterize the fragrance as extremely feminine, wearable and elegant, light, modern and chypre-fruity. 

XERJOFF CASAMORATI 1888 LA TOSCA

Italian lemon, green mandarin
Bulgarian rose, eucalyptus, violet leaves
patchouli, musk, amber, Madagascar vanilla