Sunday, May 20, 2007

We'll be back soon!

Hey Everyone,

I've postponed updating Hortus odorifera for a short while because of the many hectic events of my personal life recently. I've been doing final exams and graduation things so I've been too busy to update, but I should be back on track in a few days and will put everything back up with lots of new posts. I promise!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Treasures from Barneys: Comme des Garçons Series 3 - Incense: Kyoto & Avignon

Last weekend I also got a chance to try out the five fragrances in Comme des Garçons Incense Series. The series was released in 2001 after the 2 previous series (Leaves and Red), which in my opinion were far less interesting that the incense series. Although they have been out a while and I've always wanted to smell them I never had the chance as I don't know of any places in Washington, DC that carry them. Well, that all changed when I (finally) got to go to Barneys in New York.

The five fragrances in the incense series (Kyoto, Avignon, Jaisalmer, Ouarzazate, and Zagorsk) were all inspired by five different holy sites representing different religions and regions of the world and the fact that nearly all religions have a history of the use of incense in holy buildings for both meditative purposes and to ward of the evil spirits. Of all five, Kyoto and Avignon were easily my favorites.

Kyoto: Inspired by the use of incense in both Buddhist and Shinto religious practices and the humility and meditative culture of the monks of Kyoto, Kyoto, the fragrance, is certainly light than some of the other incense fragrances in the series. I think that this may be due in part to its somewhat more "green" qualities and that I find it to be possibly the most exotic. The notes in Kyoto are vetiver, patchouli, coffee, amber, incense, cypress oil, teak wood, cedar, and immortelle. The initial burst of the fragrance is a inspiring rush of coffee and patchouli, however these soon give way to the dark, "incensy" woods at its heart. The combination of patchouli, coffee, and cedar probably explain why it's my favorite of the line.

I highly recommend Kyoto to anyone interested at all in incense fragrances. It truly will make you feel as if you are sitting in a zen garden in a Buddhist monastery. So spray a little on, close your eyes and feel the calm take over. (While you're at it check out some of Kyoto's famous gardens)

Avignon: Avignon, in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur in the South of France, was once the religious center of Europe as it belonged to the Roman Catholic Popes for 400 years (1349-1791). In the heart of Provence, its beautiful location on the banks of the Rhone River and its stunning papal palaces make it quite an inspiration for all who visit. It's no wonder that a city with such a wealth of Roman Catholic city should inspire a fragrance based on incense. Comme des Garçon's Avignon is a beautifully respectful and smoky fragrance that is not all dull as one may expect. Instead, like Giorgio Armani's Bois d'Encens, Kyoto is a remarkably accurate yet wearable (for men at least) recreation of the incense used in the Catholic churches of Europe to this day. The notes of Avignon include Roman camomile, ambrette, myrrh, cistus oil, elemi, incense, patchouli and vanilla. Unlike Kyoto, there is no initial burst when one applies Avignon. Instead, the smoky incense scent is present and one imagines that a priest has just walked by on his procession. The top notes progress into even deeper and darker notes and one can't help but think reverently about the grand cathedrals of France and Italy. Where Kyoto inspires a sort of connection to the peace of nature, Avignon inspires a a feeling of connection to the heavens above.

Note: If you're not finding yourself anywhere near a store that carries Comme des Garçons, look for them online at LuckyScent ($62 for 50ml or try a 1/32oz sample for $3)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fragrance News: Lacoste Elegance

In July (for US and Europe, September for rest of the world), Lacoste will launch a new fragrance for men. The new fragrance, called "Elegance" is part of a movement on the part of Procter & Gamble to move Lacoste fragrances out of their current sporty niche and appeal to an older, more upscale audience. The target consumer group for the fragrance is 30+ year old men.

The new fragrance was described as an oriental fougère with "aromatic top notes around a spicy heart, and a dry chocolate accord at the base." The bottle is simple with clean lines and a metal cap (not much different from other Lacoste bottles to me--except perhaps more conservative). The new line will be priced at about 5% higher than the previous Lacoste lines and will be available in 30ml and 90ml bottles. (From

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Treasures from Barneys: L'Artisan Parfumeur: L'Été en Douce

Last weekend, during my most recent trip to New York, I made my first visit to Barneys. Despite my having been to New York many many times, I had never actually made the trip to the flagship store on Madison Avenue. I have to say I have never had such a pleasant shopping experience. Barneys makes Saks and Neiman Marcus look like JCPenny. It's a beautiful store with the best customer service I've ever had. The fragrance counters are especially great. The SA's are awesome and very helpful (My favorites were Lawrence Applebaum at the L'Artisan counter and Tyler Mayo. I'm sure many of you know of the great lines that Barneys carries, but for those of you who don't I'll list just a few: all of L'Artisan, Parfums de Rosine, i Profumi di Firenze, Frédéric Malle, Serge Lutens, Comme des Garcons, Carthusia; not to mention a full Le Labo boutique. All in all, it makes other department stores look dull and uninteresting and I'm finding myself wanting to move to NYC just to be near it.

While at Barneys I did manage to snag two fragrances for my collection and add two others that I plan to get (when I can afford them):

L'Été en Douce: First, I bought L'Été en Douce by L'Artisan Parfumeur. It used to be called Extrait de Songes, but was pulled from the market after a trademark dispute with Annick Goutal (who first released Songes). It has been relaunched in the classic L'Artisan bottle and is currently only available at Barneys in New York under the new name "L'Été en Douce". It is available in a 3.4 oz bottle only for $125.

I have to admit that this fragrance is quite out of my normal preferences for fragrances, but I am wholly in love with it. Literally translated from French it means "the summer in soft", but the idea of it is that it is meant to portray that soft fragrant smell of early summer. This it certainly does. Upon applying to the skin, first one notices the vibrant top notes of rose essence and mint leaves much like the crisp fresh, but fragrant scent of the morning mist in early summer. The top notes fade into the heart notes of orange blossom water, linden, and fresh hay and eventually the memorable base of white woods and musks emerges. The combination is magical and although I often think orange blossom and rose are used far too often, it is not overtly floral. The floral notes are well-balanced with the hay, linden, and base notes. When wearing the fragrance I can't help but picture fields of Provence in June. The image is so strong you can smell the lavender, even though I'm not sure it's even a true note in the fragrance (it's not listed as one). Perhaps, it's the combination of mint (both in the Lamiaceae family) and some of the other notes. Nonetheless, next time you want to imagine you are basking in the sunlight in the south of France, just spritz yourself a few times with L'Été en Douce. (More info and reviews: Now Smell This, osMoz)

Reviews of others are soon to follow!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Issey Miyake's New Fragrance for Men

Monday, BPI (Shiseido) announced the release of a new intense version of their original L'Eau d'Issey Miyake pour Homme. The company hopes to breathe some new life into the original fragrance that has somewhat fallen from its former popularity and is even now available at your local Wal-Mart. Recently, they have pumped much more into its advertising budget and this new release of the intense version is hoped to also bolster its slouching sales. No news of the notes yet, but the fragrance is a more "intense" version of the original with a similar, but darker bottle. Updates to come. (

UPDATE 7.16.07: L'Eau d'Issey Miyake pour Homme is now available at Nordstrom stores or at at $54 for 2.5 oz and $74 for 4.2oz.

Friday, May 4, 2007

New Fragrance Launches: Hermès Kelly Calèche, Kenzo Tokyo, Marc Jacobs Daisy, & Christina Aguilera

I've got some exciting new fragrance news today!

New from Hermès: First (and probably foremost in my mind), Hermès has announced the launch of a new fragrance for women, "Kelly Calèche". It seems that Hermès has returned to its roots in seeking an inspiration for this new fragrance. As many of you know, one of the two most famous Hermès handbags, the "Kelly Bag" was named after Princess Grace Kelly after she appeared on the cover of Life Magazine carrying one in 1956 (the other most famous bag being the "Birkin" named after British actress Jane Birkin). Kelly bags often have waiting lists of about 2 years and can range in price from $5,000 for the small version in plain leather to $50,000 for bags made of crocodile and other unsual materials. The new fragrance, designed by in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, was inspired by the iconic bag and princess and is described as a "leathery floral" and was inspired by the scent of Hermès' fine leather products. The bottle and name Calèche are shared with the original 2 Calèche fragrances, but that is about all they share as Kelly Calèche is not a spin-off fragrance of Calèche.

UPDATE: From, 5.11.07: The new Kelly Calèche will debut on June 21, 2007 when Hermès opens their new boutique on Wall Street (no word on when we will see it in department stores yet). It will include notes of Mimosa, Iris, Climbing Rose, and Tuberose specifically as part of the floral component of the scent. It will be available in 2 sizes: 1.6 oz (50 mL) for $75 and 3.3oz (100 mL) for $110.

New from Kenzo: Tokyo by Kenzo is a new men's fragrance that has been recently been announced by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). Created by perfumer Marie Salamange, it's described as a modern, urban scent for young men aged 18-25 years old and will be available in September of this year. It's notes are:

  • Top Notes: Ginger, Grapefruit

  • Heart Notes: Maté, Green Tea, Pink Pepper, Orange

  • Base Notes: Cedar, Nutmeg, Cloves

New from Marc Jacobs: An announcement yesterday was made about a new women's fragrance from Marc Jacobs called "Daisy". Unlike his previous two women's fragrances (Marc Jacobs Woman and Blush Marc Jacobs), which are based mainly on two major floral components: gardenia and jasmine, respectively, the new Daisy fragrance is built on a combination of notes that are meant to convey the personality of the daisy flower, which itself does not have a scent. Notes reportedly include:

  • Top Notes: Wild Strawberry, Violet Leaves, Ruby Red Grapefruit

  • Heart Notes: Gardenia, Violet Petals, Jasmine

  • Base Notes: Musk, Vanilla, White Woods.

The fragrance should be out in August and available at most stores that carry Marc Jacobs Products.

New by Christina Aguilera: A new announcement from Proctor & Gamble was made today bringing news of their newest celebrity fragrance made for none other than the fabulous Christina Aguilera. I have to admit I am a bit nervous about it as I am a huge Christina fan and not generally a fan of celebrity fragrances. From

"Targeting the 16-35-year-old consumer, the fragrance is an oriental floral with top notes of blackcurrant, a heart of peony and prune and a base of vanilla. It comes in a curvy glass bottle, intended to recall the star’s silhouette, and is embossed with a black lacy design and decorated with a black bow at the neck. "

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Fragrance News - Versace Signature, YSL L'Homme Eau d'Été, Boucheron pour Homme Edition Bleue

New Fragrances Available in Washington DC and online:

Versace Signature is now available at Saks Fifth Avenue Stores and online. The new fragrance that debuted by Donatella Versace earlier this spring at Harrods in Knightsbridge is now available in the US. I have yet to have had the chance to smell it, but it is described by the Harrod's Website as "a unique fragrance; floral, fresh and sparkling." It includes top notes of guava, dew drops, blackcurrant, wisteria and lilac followed by heart notes of exotic florals (lotus, orchid, and jasmine) and ending in base notes of musks, woods, cedar, and vetiver. Personally, I am dying to test this fragrance. It is an EDP and is available at Saks in a beautiful 3.4oz bottle for $89.

Edition Bleue is the new summer version of the original pour Homme fragrance from Boucheron. It is a limited edition and is only going to be available at select Nordstrom stores for a short period of time. It is not available on their website, but you can give them a call for more information about where to buy it. Although I am certainly a fan of the original Boucheron pour Homme, I love the newer version. The Edition Bleue was actually released in 2006, but is still available for the summer of 2007, but the bottle has been (thankfully) updated. Although the topnotes of verbena and bergamot remain, the floral heartnotes and vetiver and oakmoss basenotes of the original have been replaced with heartnotes of waterjasmine and an aromatic note and basenotes of cedar and patchouli. The new fragrance is certainly much lighter and summery. Personally, I feel that this edition of the fragrance should become permanent as the removal of notes like carnation and lily of the valley make the fragrance much more wearable and sexy for men. I actually detect some similarities in the aesthetics of Edition Bleue and those of Chanel No. 19, which is one of my favorites and one of my signature fragrances. Both are green and summery without being too fleeting and temporary. I am certainly a big fan and plan to add this one to my collection.

The new Eau d'Été is a lighter version of year's L'Homme, although the primary notes listed are the same. I've heard rumors that this new summer version is simply the original with its formula and concentration tweaked a bit to make it a bit less weighty on sultry summer days. It is currently available in Nordstrom stores (at least in the Washington, DC area), but is not yet online. Call your local store for more information.