Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Parfum de Luxe to me is a rich, oriental gourmand fragrance (even though it is described as a woody chypre). It’s a natural fragrance so it is long-wearing and rich. It is “de luxe”. One of the many reasons that I love Parfums des Beaux Arts fragrances (other than many are so artfully crafted and long-lasting) is their inspirations. The inspirations range from art movements to colors to historical periods. DSH describes the fragrance as so “On the Riviera, I was overwhelmed by the charm and grace of my surroundings. The Perfume in the air was magnificent. Inspired by the Art Deco movement of the 1920´s and ´30´s, Parfum de Luxe is rich, pure and confident.” I agree. I also love Art Deco after restoring our 1936 home. I wore this fragrance out this fall and winter when I craved all things deco and 30’s. This fragrance went so nicely with my page boy haircut, cloches, bakelite brooches, and menswear tweed trousers. It went with my fashion cravings so nicely. This fragrance was dead-on what I wanted. There couldn’t of been a better match for me at the time.

This fragrance contains many, many notes. They all play off of each other nicely. However, when worn on my skin, I pick up sweetness. I get rich, raw honey. It’s sexiness verges on vulgarity. I love it. Yeah, at the initial wear I get a bit of the balsamy, purifying sage. But, that is blended with rich old-fashioned roses. (DSH uses the finest rose absolutes that I’ve ever sniffed). These roses are hard for me to identify because they are soaked in sticky, raw honey. They smell gourmand, candied, sticky, and sweet. Throughout the wear the honey really sticks on me (no pun intended). I do get buttery, creamy orris mixed with the honey. Sometimes when I wear this, I get the rich white florals but they have been baked into a buttery, honey cake. I must add that the orris and honey combo is lovely. It inspires me to add orris root to my next honey cake. (Perhaps toasted orris root?) I think it would be quite amazing. Anyways, back to this fragrance. The base still has sweetness. The honey doesn’t vanish but it does get quieted down by rich, resins and unisex mosses. This is the stage where I would definitely call Parfum de Luxe a chypre. It’s woodsy and mossy but still sweet with amber, tobacco, and vanilla. I want to call it a gourmand chypre if there is such a thing. Regardless if there is or isn’t such a thing, I know I like it. It’s delicious, rich, sensual.

Like I said, this fragrance wears very sweet on me. It’s all honey, candied/edible flowers, and rich, gummy resins. I find it very sexy and it is one that I love to wear in the fall/winter. Its richness warms me up on cool, damp, classic Western Washington days.

Notes listed include: bergamot, clary sage, neroli, petitgrain, violet, Bulgarian rose absoulute, Centifolia rose absolute, Chinese geranium, honey, orris, tuberosa, ylang-ylang, amber, benzoin, brown oakmoss, labdanum, patchouli, sandalwood, tobacco absolute, and vanilla.

Like I said before, this is a natural oil blend. It is long-lasting and it smells expensive. I think this would be a nice replacement for Tom Ford Private Blend’s retired Moss Breches EDP. Also give this one a try if you like honey fragrances, natural fragrances, or scents like TokyoMilk Honey & The Moon EDP or Honeycomb Solid, Guerlain Tonka Imperiale EDP, Kilian Back to Black EDP, Serge Lutens Chêne EDP, Tom Ford Private Blends Arabian Wood EDP, and/or Sisley Soir de Lune EDP.

Many sizes are available. The 1 oz. EDP spray retails for $135. A pure parfum is also available. (I bet it is amazing). All sizes are available on the house’s website.

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Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Cafe Noir is a moody, rich fragrance. I love it. I call it “beatnik in a bottle”. It’s smart and sophisticated and a bit counter-culture (if a perfume can be described as such). It reminds me of a classic French perfume created for the kind of gal that spends late nights/early mornings reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti by the fireplace, sipping on midnight black coffee.

DSH describes this spicy oriental luxury perfume as “a Paris night…Dark and sophisticated, it evokes late concerts in smoke filled rooms…sipping coffee and listening to jazz.” I love when I create an “impression” in my head when I wear a fragrance before I read about it and it actually “fits” what the creator was going for. I haven’t spent late nights in Josephine Baker-ish Parisian jazz clubs, but I have spent many insomniac moments at 4 o’clock in the morning reading “A Coney Island of the Mind” turning each page with fingers decorated with deep merlot nails. This scent reminds me of “beat” poetry.

My first impression of this fragrance creates a bit of confusion in my mind. I know that I like it but I find it very odd. It hits as if it is a spicy, mossy, dirty, chypre. It smells a bit wild and untamed and actually hot. It reminds me of all of those classic Guerlains like Mitsouko but Cafe Noir is much dirtier and grittier and with a kick of spice. It reminds me of moss and Atomic Fire Balls. You just know like beat poetry, that this is a fragrance with so much to say. Once my mind finally gets that this is a dirty, spicy chypre, I get an unexpected “shot” of bitter coffee beans. To add to even more complexity, I get lovely “classic” perfumey. I get rich, thick Parisian florals of rose and jasmine. But, it isn’t classic because of the bitter coffee. The dry down is moody and fairly simple. It has smoky incense like copal rich sweetness with grounding notes of vanilla, labdanum, and balsam. It is like being in a room where incense was once burning. It is slightly smoky but mostly you get the sweetness of the smoke floating through the air. I can not imagine my perfume collection without Cafe Noir in it. This one is very special.

This blend contains 99% botanical ingredients. Notes listed include: bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon bark, pimento berry, benzoin, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, labdanum, coffee absolute, tolu balsam, and vanilla. I would say to give this fragrance a try if you are looking for an interesting and moody fragrance or if you like Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe Cologne, Penhaligon’s Endymion Cologne, Mark Buxton Nameless EDP, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Iles, L’Artisan Parfumeur Eau du Navigateur EDT, and/or Hilde Soliani Bell’Antonio EDP. I must say that the biggest difference between those listed and Parfums des Beaux Arts Cafe Noir is that Cafe Noir is rich and long-lasting and natural. This is no cologne. An 1 ounce parfum spray goes for $135. It is available on the fragrance house’s website. More sizes are available.

Korres Juniper & Rum Shower Gel smells amazing. It is one of my favorite Korres scents ever. I know that it is marketed for their male audience but I adore it. It is such a sexy woodsy scent. It smells like a mix of dry woods and a sophisticated bay rum. It is “classic cool” in shower gel form. It is like putting a 50’s swooner in a bottle. It’s a blend of dried out woods. It isn’t evergreeny or fresh juniper. It’s just dry woods with a hint of tropical rum. It almost gives an illusion of a piece of wood that has a lacquer finish.

My husband loves this stuff and always says that he wishes he could get a cologne in this fragrance. I wish he could. I love the smell of this stuff. It lingers on his skin after the shower. This is unlike most Korres shower gels. Since I love this scent so, I like to use it to. It mixes so well with “modern” woods women’s fragrances such as Estee Lauder Sensuous, Tom Ford White Patchouli, or TokyoMilk Parfum Dead Sexy.

The shower gel lathers OK without a loofah and doesn’t dry out the skin. I’m mainly in love with it because of the dry woodsy scent that goes with some of my favorite fragrances.

It retails for $13 and is available on beauty.com.

tuberosecollage

Tuberose is one of my favorite notes. It’s intoxicating, enchanting, and so feminine. It’s for a confident woman who isn’t scared to be a little over the top. It is many fragrances so I narrowed this “collage” down for the tuberose enthusiast, for the person wanting a tuberose heavy scent. As you may notice, it’s a luxe note so you will see more in the “expensive” category.

Bargain Tuberose Scents: Tokyomilk Pafum French Kiss is a lovely white floral blend heavy on tuberose and gardenia. It is a steal at $28 for 1 oz. A slightly sweet and exotic tuberose scent is Voluspa Victoria Collection Tuberosa Agave Roll-On. It smells of tuberose and coconut milk. It retails for $25 for half an ounce. Parfums des beaux Arts Tubereuse EDP is a pure tuberose soliflore. It’s one of my favorite “tuberose” scents. It retails for $27 for 1/4 oz. Filles des Iles Floral Exotique is a sultry blend of tuberose, orange flower, and jasmin. The .33 oz. roller-ball retails for $18. I know it isn’t a “budget” scent but the roll-on available at Sephora is a nice deal. Piguet Fracas is a lovely scent with tuberose and the adorable roller-ball retails for $25. It has always defined the tuberose scent for me.  DL & Co. Angel’s Trumpet is a nice blend of night blooming florals like tuberose and angel’s trumpet. The roller-ball retails for $45.

More Expensive Tuberose Scents: Jo Malone Tuberose cologne is a pure, intoxicating tuberose fragrance. The 3.4 oz. bottle goes for $100. Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is a must have for the white floral lover. It is a lovely marriage of tuberose and gardenia. The pure parfum comes in a beautiful bottle that resembles jewelry and retails for $325. It is also available in a less expensive EDP spray. Jean Patou Joy is a classic floral heavy on tuberose. The 2.5 EDt goes for $110. If you like Piguet Fracas then give Joy a try. This fragrance brought tuberose pack into the scene: Michael Kors EDP. It’s a moden tuberose fragrance, still very sexy and classy. The largest bottle goes for $90. L’Artisan Parfumeur Tubereuse is a sweet and exotic tuberose scent with coconut and ylang-ylang too. The 3.4 oz. bottle retails for $135 and it smells like a tropical vacation. Creed Tubereuse Indiana is a sexy tuberose soliflore with ambergris hints that keep it grounded. The 2.5 oz. bottle goes for $210. Editions de Parfums Carnal Flower (gross sounding name, I know) is a nice tuberose interpretation. It retails for about $195. Profumi Capri Capri Night is a romantic blend of tuberose and gardenia. It retails for $62. This is a beautiful scent, a simple blend of tuberose and jasmine: Profumum Tuberosa. It seems simple but it sexy. It retails for $240.

As I went to the local MAC store with the intent to purchase everything in the Style Black collection for my goth self, I was more smitten by the Fall/Winter 09 Trends collection. I’ll be sure to share all of that soon. I came across this limited edition Asphalt Flower fragrance roll-on. I loved both of the limited edition honey fragrances this past summer and to my surprise, I am now in love with another MAC fragrance. They have really been stepping up their game with these limited edition, low price point fragrances.

If you are a violet lover, then give this one a try. I absolutely adore violet fragrances. I live off of Choward’s Violet Mints. I love “green” morning dew violet scents but I really, really love those “candied” ones because I am such a fan of candied violets. Asphalt Flower reminds me of a glammed up interpretation of the bottom of my huge Hobo International messenger bag. The top notes remind me of the runaway Choward’s Violet Mints that hang around in their gang in the bottom of my purse abyss. They get crushed up weekly into a fine, sugary dust and get all over my wallet. It’s leather and candied violets. Asphalt Flower’s top notes are a sugary sweet violet with rainy, tsunami drenched tropical flowers like soft and humid ylang-ylang and powdery heliotrope. This is grounded by old-fashioned iris. I love this phase it wears this way for about an hour. It reminds me of being in an Industrial Revolution era green house, in the midst of lovely white and purple flowers drenched in mist, outside the coal clouds swarm in winter rain. It’s so pretty, powdery, feminine, and old-fashioned. It’s sweet with a bit of gloomy, rainy humidity mixed with oil. It’s very gothic with an Edwardian flair. The complete dry-down is very moody and extremely sexy with Tom Ford White Patchouli type of patchouli, that synthetic “clean” patchouli that works so well with these modern blends, smoky olbanum, and lots and lots of that MAC vanilla that is used in their other blends. I’m usually not a fan of vanilla but it really works in this mix. It adds a certain sexiness. It’s not a candy or vanilla bean vanilla but more of a dirty, musky, leathery vanilla. MAC describes this fragrance as “a deep, dark erotic fragrance that takes place in our Trend F/W ’09 Collection as the aromatic complement to this alt-fashion look.” It is a very “alt-fashion” fragrance. The entire collection strikes me as my personal fashion color collection dream come true. It is dark, rich and sooo Edwardian, turn of the century goth, that look that unfortunately Tim Burton brought mainstream. This fragrance is so dark, gloomy, intoxicating with a hint of the old-fashioned. It seriously reminds me of the Industrial Revolution. It’s romantic with violet and iris but a bit animalic and sooty. It’s that time because it is urban, industrial with artistic Romanticism, upper class stuffiness, lower class rawness mixed with a  desire for the occult. I find it very “me” and exactly what I wanted for the fall/winter rainy season in Seattle. This is great because the roll-on retails for $20. The bummer is that it is a limited edition. And if I want to replace it I am going to have to get something like Tom Ford Private Blends Black Violet. I will be picking up another one of these roll-ons. Also, this fragrance is very long-wearing. It lasts at the same intensity on my skin for 8+ hours. There may only be .2 fl.oz. in this roll-on but this container will last much longer than MAC’s spray on fragrances.

I’d say to give this one a try if you are fan of candied violets, the closest I can compare it to include: Tom Ford Private Blends Black Violet, Tokyo Milk Parfum Le Petit or Dead Sexy, Nanette Lepore Nanette, Guerlain Insolence, Penghalion’s Ellenisia, Serge Lutens Bois de Violette, Borsari Violetta di Parma, and/or Armani Pierre de Lune.

The Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

If you are a fan of vanilla, then you should love Hypnôse (please do not confuse with Lancôme’s original Hypnôse 1950, confusing, huh?). Hypnôse is an oriental fragrance heavy on 3 notes: passion flower, vetiver, and vanilla. That’s really all there is to it, maybe a dash of other “flowers”.  I am not a huge fan of vanilla but I don’t dislike vanilla either. I like vanilla when there is just a hint to round and balance things out. This is a “sexy” fragrance I suppose. I’ve had ladies tell me their man loves this one, my hubby could care less (he’s no vanilla lover either). It is a bit heavy. It’s a vanilla blend, slightly sweet, with romantic a touch of florals with crisp almost masculine edge of vetiver. ( I would say the vetiver is what makes this one bearable). It’s not very me (needs more “wood” or more vetiver), but I could see others really liking this one. Also, I think it could wear nicely on a man, especially if you are a guy that likes Fresh Cannabis Santal or Boucheron Jaïpur, just a thought. It is a long wearing fragrance and mainly wears of that “spiral” of vanilla, passion flower, and vetiver. If you get this on a scarf of something, it will smell like Hypnôse until you wash it. So you are getting your money’s worth 🙂  For a Lancôme scent it isn’t too bad (shame for a company that started as a fragrance house), but for a scent in this price range it isn’t the greatest. This is my opinion, like I’ve said, I am not a vanilla lover.

I would say that you would like this if you are a fan of vanilla based oriental fragrances, Guerlain L’Instant or Insolence, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Burberry Brit EDP, Dior Pure Poison, Juliette Has A Gun Lady Vengeance, Strange Invisible Perfumes Magazine Street and/or Fresh Cannabis Santal. Since this is a heavier scent, I would say that it would wear the best during cooler months/seasons. The bottle is based on the original. It is sturdy glass, spiral, “evocative of a woman’s silhouette, with facets that shimmer in the light”. It has violet colored juice. It’s a pretty bottle, it feels expensive because it is hefty.

It is available in 3 sizes from 1 ounce to 2.5 ounces with prices ranging from $45 to $72.50. Do pick it up with a GWP, I love those things. * Currently it is available at fragrancenet.com.

This fragrance is what the name implies. It is a rich, warm, and seductive scent. The packaging is perfect and contains a skull and crossbones, suggesting the poisonous side of the product. (Who doesn’t love the antiquarian styled packaging?) Initially I wasn’t attracted to the product despite its cool packaging. To be honest, I found the name dull and boring. “Sexy” is an overused and bastardized word. I mean if it is being used by some slimy designer on HGTV to describe a ceiling fan, then it is dead. Yep, dead is “sexy”.

However, I am so pleased that I was talked into and had a chance to try this fragrance. Dead Sexy is warm and comforting without being overly sweet. It is perfect for these chilly and drizzly and moody western Washington days. This fragrance is the epitome of the “modern woods” fragrance genre. In the beginning this fragrance is a high quality vanilla liquor and a dry, rare woods blend. It is almost oud-ish but less abrasive. It has a bit of a smokiness which is what I think makes this so sexy. It reminds me of being in an Old World “bordello” filled with the abstract incense smoke and fine wooden furniture and the softest linens, surrounded by ebony panels. It’s luxe and goth in An Interview With A Vampire way. Once it starts to dry down, it is more of a “woods” scent. The vanilla is there but it isn’t as “liquory”.  The vanilla is smoky and incensey. It just smells of a melange of  rich and slightly sweet “modern” woods. These woods aren’t dirty. They are round and robust and very feminine. There is the faintest aroma of delicate white petals. It smells more like your in this “bordello” and you pick up a whiff of little white flowers in a vase next to a candelabra filled with burning candles. The florals are there but almost ghostly, you catch their cold “feeling” every now and then amongst the warm woods. In fact, this blend is a great balance of “warm” and “cool” like a rich mahogany bed with crisp, smooth sheets. It has a mix of exotic and precious woods, smoky vanilla, rich amber-like resins, and a dash of flirty petals. It’s a beautiful thing, really. This scent reminds me of vampy Theda Bara. This is a must have fragrance for all the real-life vamps and working goths out there.

This fragrance is a sexy (not my favorite adjective but fitting for this scent) scent that isn’t overwhelming like most “modern woods”. I wear it during the day. It is soft but very rich and bewitching. It wears closely to the skin for a few hours. I say about 4-5 hours of wear. It contains notes of deep vanilla, exotic wood, white orchid, and ebony. I would say to give this one a try if you like dry woodsy scents, Tom Ford Oud Wood,  Tom Ford White Patchouli, Estee Lauder Sensuous, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, Nanette Lepore Nanette, Prada EDP, Calvin Klein Euphoria, and/or Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté.

The 1 ounce spray retails for $28 (a steal) and can be purchased at b-glowing.com.