Monday, October 22, 2007

New From Annick Goutal - Les Orientalistes + DC Shopping for Annick Goutal

In December, Annick Goutal will launch a new set of three oriental fragrances that will be sure to add spice, warmth, and magic to the holiday season. The trio, called "Les Orientalistes" will be marketed to both sexes and were inspired by 19th century paintings depicting harem the grooming rituals of harems, which inspired perfumer Isabelle Doyen (with Camille Goutal) to create scents based on the traditional ingredients: amber, myrrh, and frankincense. The names of each of the fragrances are "Amber Fétiche," "Myrrh Ardente," and "Encens Flamboyant." All three will be available separately in 100 ml eau de parfum for €120 (~$175) or all three will be available in a set for €500 (~$725), which comes in a white leather box. No news yet of when or where to expect to find them in the US, but keep a lookout and I'll update as possible.

(image: NowSmellThis)

P.S. For those of you living in D.C.:

I recently ran across a large variety of Annick Goutal fragrances at a discounted price (~$50) at various Loehmann's stores in the DC area. Fragrances in the line available were La Violette, Neroli, Quel Amour, Petite Cherie, Eau du Charlotte, Eau d'Hadrien, Nuits d'Hadrien, Songes, Passion, Mandragore, and Gardenia Passion.

If you are wondering where to find the lines normally, Neiman Marcus has the largest selection of Annick Goutal fragrances I think. Also, Bloomingdales, some Nordstroms, and Saks have them as well. They are worth a try. For those of you obsessed with citrus try Mandragore and Eau d'Hadrien.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blend Your Own Custom Perfume at Parfums Raffy

Parfums Raffy, an online sales outlet for discount designer fragrances and a few (non-discounted) niche fragrance lines (read Montale) also offers their services in blending customized perfumes. Unlike some other companies that make "custom perfumes" for low prices (such as Garden Botanika), which only allow you choose a one note in each category (top, heart, base) and that's all of your input, Parfums Raffy just offers a list of notes from which you select your favorites and then you even get to decide which notes to have in higher concentrations. You can choose from a list of about 90 singular notes to choose from and you can also order samples of any of the notes for $1 each if you wish to experiment with your blend before ordering. Once you have decided to order, just follow the instructions on the website and your 1.7 oz bottle costing $39 will be mailed to your home. I haven't tried it yet but I definitely will be.

Click here to read more about Parfum Raffy's Custom Blending

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Barney's Exclusives - Serge Lutens & Frédéric Malle

If you live in America and you love perfume you really need to go to the temple of fragrance that is Barneys New York. At the flagship store on Madison Ave, you need to visit the large collection of fragrances at the bottoms of the main staircase right inside the main entrance. On the right you'll see the Frédéric Malle boutiqe and L'Artisan counter and the left the Le Labo boutique. Anyway, the point is that there are two more recent exclusive fragrance launches at Barneys.

The first is Serge Lutens Chêne. Although it was originally launched in 2004, it has only been a part of the exclusives line (meaning only available in the Paris store and by mail order to European addresses). It is now available at Barneys' Madison Ave. store as well as through their website. Chêne (French for "oak") is composed of:
Top Notes: Sap Notes, Cedar Crystals, Black Thyme
Heart Notes: Silver Birch, Beeswax, Rum, Oak
Base Notes: "Undergrowth" Note, Tonka
Chêne is available in a 50 ml bottle of EDP from Barney's for $130.

The second is Outrageous from Frédéric Malle. Created by Mr. Malle himself and Sophia Grojsman (YSL Paris, Bvlgari pour Femme), the new fragrance is exclusive to Barneys stores and is not available anywhere else at all. It contains caipirinha, clean laundry, green apple, orange blossom, amber and cedar and is available in a 100 ml bottle from Barney's for $110.

My Own Sugar Scrub Recipe

I've decided to post my sugar scrub recipe. It's extremely simple, but very effective. You should note that it is only really appropriate for body exfoliation. It's too rough for the face. The recipe is not a science and it is really up to you to determine the relative amounts of ingredients. The ingredients are:

Turbinado Sugar (coarse organic sugar)
Light Brown Sugar
Carrier Oils (I prefer Vitamin E-enriched Sweet Almond Oil)
Essential oils

Now a few tricks to it. I usually make it fairly concentrated. It lasts longer this way and dilutes when you use it in the shower. There's no exact amount of essential oils to use. You usually only need about 4 or 5 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of the carrier oil, but I find that adding more increases the fragrance and aromatherapy effect of the scrub. Use whatever oils you like, but my personal favorite is a combination of lemon (Citrus limon) and lavender (Lavendula angustifolia). You can formulate your scrub to treat a variety of skin ailments, for example acne can be treated with the essential oils of lavender, neroli, tea tree, clove bud, cedarwood, rosemary, and many others. This information is readily available online and many essential oils as well as the rest of the ingredients are available at organic markets, health stores, and any other purveyor of botanical health products. In Washington, DC area Whole Foods and Mom's Organic Markets carry a broad range of the ingredients. Of course, use organic ingredients when possible.

I usually use about 5 ounces of the carrier oil, to which I add about 30-40 drops of essential oils (of the desired blends). I then add both grades of sugar in equal proportions and keep stirring the mixture until I reach the desired consistency. I prefer a thick, but moist mixture that doesn't appear runny, but this is just a personal preference.

The scrub usually works best after you've used your soap and while you are standing in a hot shower. Using it after showering helps to return your skin to its preferred pH range and leaves more of the fragrance of the EO's on the skin. Be sure to store the scrub in an air/water-tight container and use some sort of scoop or spoon when using (the bacteria on your hands can speed the decomposition of the scrub mixture).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hermessence Brin de Réglisse - New Fragrance

Jean-Claude Ellena's newest creation for Hermés, Brin de Réglisse is the newest (and 7th) addition to the Hermessence line. On the heels of such beautiful creations as Paprika Brasil and Osmanthe Yunnan, Brin de Réglisse is said to be an atypical lavender perfume that is not overpowered by being combined with heady florals, but instead Ellena tried to create a drier, cleaner lavender fragrance. He was inspired by the strong scent of lavender one would smell in Provence in midsummer. Ellena said he wanted a more clean, stream-lined lavender fragrance. Other notes include orange blossom, hay, and licorice (hence the name Brin de Réglisse, or "a bit of liquorice"). Like the other Hermessence fragrances, they will only be available at Hermés boutiques and will cost 149 euros (about $211.00) for a 100 mL bottle. I'm not sure exactly on the US price, but that I will update this post as soon as I know the exact cost. Hermessence fragrances can also be purchased in sets of four 15 mL vials for 95 euros (about $135.00), for which you may select four of the same fragrance or any combination of the seven Hermessence fragrances. None the less I suggest you visit your nearest boutique and check it out. If you are in the D.C. area, the local Hermès boutique is located in the Fairfax Square Shopping Center in Vienna, Virginia. (They are usually quite generous with samples as well)

HO is back (Part Deux)

Well, It's been just about forever since I've updated this thing so I wanted to get things underway again. Summer was a busy season for me with college graduation, moving to Arlington, and starting a new job, but things are going well and settling down now and falls arriving, so I'm going to work on this blog a lot more frequently now. I am contemplating a name-change and a few other stylistic changes to the blog. Let me know if you have any suggestions.