Sunday, April 12, 2015


"It takes two to tango"

Mona di Orio loved to explore light and darkness while creating her beautiful perfumes. 
This is exactly what happened to her brand. It faced dark moments with her passing away in 2011 leaving Jeroen heartbroken and with a challenge in his hands: how to perpetuate a brand that no longer has its perfumer. But just like Mona wanted, the light was still there: JEROEN OUDE SOGTOEN.
I get frustrated sometimes when I find only articles mentioning his loss and how the brand is fighting to stay alive. Yes she was the perfumer. Indeed important. But not less important is the work that Jeroen has been doing as the creative director of the brand since its launch in 2004.

A creative director is a vital person in a project of fragrance development. As the name says itself, it is the person who gives direction to where the project is going to go. In case of fragrances, creative directors (as myself  - yes, I am creating fragrances) will be the starting point of the fragrance. They will bring an idea, a story to be told. They will set the mood, the tone, the personality and the path where they want to explore that idea. Many or most of them even choose the ingredients, or at least the main ingredients to transform the idea into a scent. Creative director and perfumer will work alined to bring together their own talents, backgrounds, taste and passion and when that happens, beauty is created!
A creative director doesn't have to know what ingredients to combine to make a rose smell real, but they are the ones choosing if it will be a rock n' roll rose or a classic one.

Jeroen was leading Mona since the beginning and that is the reason why the brand can continue to amaze us with scented beauties. Proof to that is that both beautiful fragrances EAU ABSOLUE EDP and VIOLETTE FUMÉE EDP were launched after Mona had passed away. The second was entirely created for Jeroen (it was his signature scent) and it was about what he loves, his memories, his tastes and after her death he decided to share with her fans. IMO, the most beautiful of the brand.
At that time I wrote "Their affinity, their connection, their perceptions are forever in his heart, but he misses her everyday, and IMO sharing the ONLY fragrance that she made especially for him and that till this day he was wearing only in special occasions is his way of coping with this great personal loss. Sharing HIS personal fragrance means that he want all of us to have a bit of their friendship; he wants to form a different, but somehow a bond with all of us".

Photo credit: MONA DI ORIO

So we are now in 2015 and truth is, IMO, Jeroen is not fighting to keep the brand alive, he is simply continuing to lead the brand. Some people mentioned "he is somehow moving forward" - That makes no justice whatsoever to all the work he has been doing in the brand since 2004. It is not somehow. It is with the same passion, hard work, research, sense of style, sense of luxury, sense of fashion and an amazing feeling for business that he always had! You can already see magnificent changes in the design of the website and the fragrance bottles. Elegance is something that they both had and is now explored even in a more refined way.

He is bringing back perfumes that were discontinued - LUX EDP and NUIT NOIRE EDP and adding a new collection called monogram with one scent so far called MYRRH CASATI EDP bringing perfumer Melanie Leroux. All fragrances are presented in the beautiful new round perfume bottle concept for the 10th anniversary of the brand.

I am going to start with NUIT NOIRE EDP. The perfume although kept in a revamped flacon it is coming in its original formula. To those saying otherwise Jeroen already explained that freshness is the only difference from perfumes mixed 5 years ago. Aside from that it is indeed the original formula. It belongs to the signature collection which brings scents that are really expressing Mona's passion for art and chiaroscuro, therefore they come in the black bottle.

Perfumer: Mona di Orio
Relaunch: 2015
Gender: I would say it is more suitable for the feminine gender
Olfactive notes: Orange flower, cardamom, ginger, orange, frankincense, cinnamon, tuberose, sandalwood, cloves, cedarwood, amber, leather, musk, tonka.
Brand description: Nuit Noire elicits the steaming sensuality of a dark, sultry night in North Africa, exotic, spicy, and animalic. A strikingly carnal affair, the raw energy and heat at the start rises from floral notes colliding with woods, spices and leather, but as it is with lovers, this sophisticated floriental dries down richly intimate into a velvety seduction of spices.The honeyed floral sweetness of orange blossom, intense tuberose, and robust, spicy cardamom seduce each other and tease for dominance. The indolic quality of the orange blossom and tuberose pulses with a ripe lushness. Brighter notes of ginger and oranges arrive on the hot wind of this vibrant souk and bring with it an intense accord of incense, spices and woods from frankincense, cinnamon, cloves and cedar and sandalwood. Notes of animalistic musk, comforting leather, vanilla-sweet tonka and warm resinous amber develop into a creamy, velvet intoxication. This primal nocturnal journey becomes darker and spicier.

The very first time I felt it on my skin I recall thinking  "It smells naughty"! 

Truth is that naughty is never obvious. It requires skills.
Yes, NUIT NOIRE EDP is slightly indecent and far way misbehaving with carnal floriental notes, but it is not a mundane perfume. It also contains a virginal girlie powdery side wrapped with vibrant ginger orang-y bow. 
Somehow lust is not explicit, it comes also hidden in layers of gourmandise. Like a couple on a dance floor orange flower, cardamom, ginger, orange, cinnamon, cloves and the vanilla-sweet tonka are a mouth watering combination that take turns into velvety creamy naughty notes of musk, amber, leather, tuberose and sandalwood. 
It is a seductive dance of light and darkness; feminine youth and male lust.
I could not find anything more enlightening than a scene of Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar dancing Por Una Cabeza by Carlos Gardel, when grumpy and blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slader leads beautiful, young Donna to the dance floor teaching her how to dance one of the most sexiest dances of all times: the Tango. Delicate flawless enlaced by roughness in one magical, sensitive and beautiful moment.

Also, if I had to put NUIT NOIRE EDP in one word, nobody better than Slader to define the fragrance:

Sample provided by Mona di Orio brand as usual (Jeroen and Henrike).

To order a 75ml/2.5 FL OZ fragrance go to MONA DI ORIO.
Click to find a RETAILER near you.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Photo credit: Viktoria Minya

Olfactive notes: grapefruit, lemon, clove, jasmine, honey, sandalwood, immortelle, labdanum, musk, tonka, Tokaji Aszú wine.

In 2013 Viktoria Minya was presented here by Hedonist in a journey to Paris and to the 18th Century French Novel Les Liasons Dangereuses by P.C. de Laclos. It was composed by an illuminated peachy nectar that was luxurious and lustful at the same time.

One year later she is presenting again another nectar, but this time it is a honeyed fragrance with Hungarian sweetest dessert wine Tokaji Aszú notes. The syrupy berries were infused with honey and immortelle to present a golden allure.

According to Viktoria, Eau de Hongrie EDP is a revisited version of the famous Eau de La Reine de Hongrie created in the 14th century. Eau de Hongrie as it is well known was the first alcohol-based perfume with rosemary and brandy, lavender, mint, sage, marjoram, costos, orange blossom and lemon.

Eau de Hongrie EDP like all honey nectar perfumes is very cheering, very spring-y, waxy-syrupy with a refreshing naivité. A gourmand flowery scent that puts a huge smile on the face. It is rich, without being sticky. It is naive without being childish.

Truth is that wearing this perfume I feel like dancing. I feel a little bit gypsy!

Other beautiful nectars

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Photo Credit:+ Q PERFUME BLOG

I haven't been quite active in my blog not only due to lack of time, but also because I haven't been presented to fragrances that I find worth writing about.
Since my last article about niche I have been feeling really disappointed with perfumery in general. Too many dull creations, too many blogs writing about them...too much of everything.

Last week I had a huge surprise when finally my newest PUREDISTANCE creation arrived.

The brand presents a dream in white & gold; a flow of happiness. An intimate escape from harsh reality. And that is exactly what it is. The harsh reality of 1000s of niche fragrances one copying another, one using more OUD than the other and finally an ESCAPE. I am happy to see that among so much olfactive stupidity someone finally presents something that it is worth buying. (I know many perfumers are hating me right now or shouting who she thinks she is...but that is the freedom of speech that millions are fighting for these days. In my blog, I say what I feel. Simple as that!*)

How beautifully crafted WHITE is. JAN you excelled yourself with this one!!
No wonder it is another Antoine Lie creation. He has also composed BLACK for the brand, which is a very sensual perfume. White is a mood transforming perfume that makes you fall in love.

Photo credit: PUREDISTANCE website

Following the trend of looking for local exclusive ingredients and their uniqueness PUREDISTANCE is presenting the following composition of Olfactive notes: Rose de Mai (France), Orris (Italy), Patchouli (Indonesia), Bergamot (Italy), Vetyver (Haiti), Tonka beans (Venezuela), Sandalwood (Mysore) and musk.  Concentration: 38% perfume oil

WHITE PERFUME EXTRAIT is a complementary fragrance to BLACK IMO. The sensuality continues to flow in a subtle, gentle and smooth provoking way.
At the very first whiff you understand what the brand is about. Happiness is a smile that does not show gum. It has style.
PUREDISTANCE is 100% niche because it reflects JAN E. WOS' personality: PUREDISTANCE is JAN and JAN is PUREDISTANCE. Impeccable manners with a sincere humor. 

The fragrance itself has an opening that brings a whiff of greens evolving a beautiful real rose. In my last article I mentioned the smell of real roses remember...well, PUREDISTANCE would never think of using something else in its compositions.
After a few minutes the creaminess of sandalwood will be rounded with Tonka unfolding the sensuality to the perfume shaped by a luxurious orris note. Vetyver brings a smokiness and a rare bitter chocolate undertone which is not so easy to find these days. Most vetyvers are simply earthy and dirty.

It is a delicious gourmet perfume that reminds me of another one that provoked as much as this one: Le 6 by Ida Delam. While Le 6 is a pure into the panties perfume, WHITE is more of an invitation. Just as BLACK, it won't press you against a wall and penetrate you right there. It will whisper something very charming with an understated wish to penetrate you. ;-)

Photo credit: Lucien Clergue

WHITE could be easily understood as the olfactive interpretation of French photographer Lucien Clergue black and white nudes.

Truth is that WHITE is not so has shades of BLACK.

*sample was provided by the brand as many or most of the perfumes are, and yet many of them I don't review because I didn't relate to them in a positive way. I keep an objective view even being friends with some of the brand owners. I am not paid or encouraged to write articles.


Photo Credit: + Q Perfume Blog

Christopher Brosius is one of these amazing artists that moves you in such a way that you don't know if you get inspired by him to explore the world of scents everywhere you go, or lock yourself in his studio and proclaim eternal faith to him and to him only.
His fragrances are not just perfumes you buy and wear. They are experiences. They are smellscapes contained in vials that he carefully designed for his clients. His clients. I have to say that his fragrances are not for everybody. A CB client needs to be as creative as he is, as curious as he is, smart as he is, and most of all needs to love Nature.
If you don't give a special importance to your dreams, your inspirations, your way of expressing emotions and how you relate to the world around you, CB is not for you.
Expect to cry, to smile, to wonder, to be happy or even angry when smelling his vials. 

I had a project to review his fragrances since I met Patrick at Elements in 2013. Patrick worked at CB I Hate Perfume in Williamsburg - Brooklyn and he was generous enough to provide me 38 samples of his collections. I haven't been in touch with him since so I don't know if he is still working for the brand. I hope he is!

Visiting the shop that year I purchased AT THE BEACH 1966 which I have already reviewed here.

I will start with the CB Reinvention Series which is a collection of seven fragrances, which I have all the samples.

"The History of Perfume is old as Mankind itself. Over the millennia, the quest for perfume has expanded civilizations, changed cultures and brought the discovery of new worlds. But like the study of any History, exploring the history of perfume can only be done from our modern point of view. It must be reinvented in order to be understood. The world changes and we change along with it. We cannot truly comprehend how previous generations thought or felt let alone realize just how new and provocative certain perfumes must have been when first introduced to the world. They too must be reinvented in the light of today. All the perfumes in this collection explore some aspect of the History of Perfume. Some are recreated as closely as possible to what they may have been. Others are unique combinations of fragrance materials both traditional & modern – these bring “up to date” a classic concept of traditional perfumery". (extracted from CB I HATE PERFUME website)

In #201 CB93 Christopher Brosius wanted to reinvent the Eau de Cologne.
For this designed fragrance he used a combination of natural essential oils of Galbanum, Bourbon Geranium, Holy Basil, Siberian Fir, Scotch Pine, Moroccan Cedar, Candlewood, Sandalwood and Frankincense.   
Yes, it does smell natural, so if you are not into Natural Perfumery this fragrance is not for you. Slightly green, slightly flowery and slightly woody... it is a delicate smell. 

Also a natural perfume, CB's patchouli fragrance is a blend of 5 different patchouli sources and black pepper, with a woody base. Said to be warm, subtle and ever changing...Let's just say that it is not the best patchouli perfume among many others in the market which I have reviewed here in 2011, in an article called Patchouli Fragrances.
Tom Ford launched in 2014 his Patchouli Absolu fragrance as an ode to the iconic raw material, reinventing it and giving it a vanguardist approach. Sounds nice, but CB has done that already in 2005. I think that for those who study perfumery it will be interesting to compare the differences of perceptions of what means a contemporary patchouli almost 10 years later. 

I listed this fragrance back in 2012 in an article about Violets Fragrances and it is one of the most amazing violet perfumes I have ever encountered.Designed with notes of Elemi, Violet leafs absolute, Rosewood, Mahogany and Russian leather. Since Violet Absolute is no longer available for its extremely expensive price, CB had to recreate it. It is probably the smell of Heaven, when you are involved in a cloud of love and kindness. It is the smell of a bunch of little children with sparkling eyes surrounding a huge birthday cake. It is the smell of NOTHING MATTERS BUT MY VERY OWN HAPPINESS! 
How to start describing this precious elixir? 

It is one of the gentlest perfumes I have ever tried. It contains such a positive aura that you feel like taking a bath of it EVERY morning before starting the day. It is perfectly crafted and I would be this man's slave if he promised me a constant supply of this perfume. Yes, that is what is wicket about his perfume. Once you wear the smell of heaven, kindness, love and sparkling children's eyes you get to be so irresistible that lack sex would never be an issue anymore. Any person with a nose will want to smell your skin for hours, so careful with the seductive power of this perfume.
Once the kindness fades away you will be involved in a very sensual leather note that urges you to kiss and be touched.

If I was to describe this fragrance in a short way I would say it is a Victoria Secret's Angel Top Model. heavenly and sexy as hell!

Victoria Secret's Wing Model Candice Swanepoel

#204 TEA ROSE 
Simple and extremely beautiful, this fragrance combines real Moroccan Rose Absolute with Indian black tea.
The result is I was never a rose perfume fan but I must admit that there are 2 fragrances that I call redemption: CB I HATE PERFUME ROSE TEA and The Different Company ROSE POIVREÉ. I love both for the same reason: they are real roses. While in TDC rose comes with pink peppercorns and coriander, here you will find the perfect blend of black tea and rose. It is feminine, classy, extremely gentle and REAL. I loved this fragrance so much and I identified with CB in terms of loving or not loving rose perfumes. I know exactly what he meant.

To be continued... 

The Fragrances: 

#201/CB93/FALL 2005
#215/CBMUSK/SUMMER 2004 

You can order this collection in his website by clicking HERE

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Continuing to draw the smellscape of São Paulo City I am bringing you today smells and odors that are very cosmopolitan, such as the smell of construction debris found everywhere in the city. 
São Paulo is a city in development and remodeling, so you will find parked in almost every street what we call CAÇAMBA DE ENTULHO or construction dumpsters/containers. Pieces of wood, ceramics, concrete, walls, cartons and plastics are deposited everyday in these containers under the sun or rain until contractors fill them up and call collectors to remove them from site. If you pass near these container you will smell dust, paint, rotten wood and wet concrete all together. It is the smell of change, modernity.

Although Brazilians try to copy movements coming from other countries such as being eco-friendly, selective garbage disposals are not very common. They exist but it is not enforced by any legislation. Usually you will find huge plastic bags mixing all sorts of meat, poultry and fish leftovers combined with fruits is decay, papers of all sort and used aluminum foils, broken glasses and vases etc... just waiting outside to be collected. In my neighborhood you can put the garbage outside 3 days a week and only 2 hours before the garbage truck passes by.

According to the City Hall website the city generates 20.000 tons of garbage per day which 12.000 come from private homes. Also it is known that Brazilian garbage is one of the richest garbages in the world. As experts explain, the more developed and richer the country is, poorer is its garbage. Our garbage still reflect a third world country condition.

If you take a walk in my neighborhood you will find a lot of plastic bags filled with broken tree branches, leafs and recent cut grass collected from the yards. They smell fresh, green with a hint of wooden decay and straw. 

Also if you pass by my street early in the morning on sunny days you will smell the scent of fabric softeners. It is the smell of recently washed laundry. Slightly powdery, very flowery and sometimes very sweet. Brazilians also have the worst habit of washing the outside areas of the house with water, not minding the challenges of water shortage that we are facing. They pretend it does not exist. So the green fresh smell of garden waste combines with the scent of laundry softener and detergents plus some sort of powder soap that runs out of the houses to the sidewalks. I must confess I love that smell, even thou it is selfish and not very eco-friendly. 

The backfire of this misuse of water is that sometimes it brings back the smell of dried urine of dogs. It is simple unbearable, but sometimes something magical happens. The smell of urine is combined with the scent of flowers in a way that you can create an holographic white tropical flower as you pass by. I love when that happens!
São Paulo is not like New York City where the smell of human piss and dog's urine is so strong sometimes that you feel nauseated. Since we have even more dogs than New Yorkers, I take it our dogs piss less or are dog owners are more educated...

Another common smell is the one coming from kiosks located on the sidewalks. These kiosks sell newspapers, printed magazines, cigarettes, candy and sometimes beverages.
As you pass by a kiosk you can smell the scent of recently printed papers. It is a particular smell of ink, mixed with the smell of glue and varnish. The smell is dry and fatty. Oily I must say. When it comes to women's magazine you will also find hints of all sorts of perfume printed ads with encapsulated fragrances. The old scratch and sniff or open and sniff techniques. I love the smell of the kiosks in São Paulo. They give a hip and classy touch to the streets. 

And since we are mentioning ink...São Paulo embraces street art like no other city. We simply love graffiti! They are everywhere including on the walls of private home commissioned by its owners. They are colorful, creative and real pieces of modern art. We have embraced them and we have an open gallery located in the neighborhood called Vila Madalena where you will find wall after all covered by beautiful graffiti. Probably the most famous and the one you all know by name is Os Gêmeos - the two brothers whose street art has travelled the world. Everywhere I pass by I smell the scent of fresh spray paint. Frankly I am allergic to it so it is not my favorite. Visually I adore it!

Remember I said that São Paulo has a rustic side? Well we still have street markets in every neighborhood. If you pass near one the strongest smell you will find is of coconut oil cooking pastries. It is not a good smell IMO. It is the smell of fat, flour and cheese burning. 
If you stay close to the fish stands you will find a cold smell of ice mixed with the briny - salty smell of the ocean. Fresh fish actually smell good! The only problem for me is when fish vendors open the fish to clean. The smell of guts and blood are not my favorite. They wash them after opening and this water runs down to the pavement which later on starts to evaporate and stink. I can't stand that. So if you happen to be here in town, try to have a street market experience early in the morning when the sun is not burning the skull and you won't smell rotten fish vapors.

The aroma of vegetables and fruits are a one of kind experience. It is simply lovely and fresh. Very tropical, very intense. You will also find spice stands where you will smell a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano and bay leaf. Very intense by the way!

These aromas are so beautiful that a Brazilian cosmetic brand called DUCHA has all its products inspired by them. The founders wanted to bring the street market experience to the homes of its clients; specially to the bathtub.

Street markets leave a residual smell that is as disgusting as the smell of an old opened trash. Oranges in decay and rotten fish odors are washed with tons of water after they dismount the stands. Truth is that you can still smell that disgusting residual rotten smell of garbage in decomposition the day after.  A tip for people looking for apartments - check if the street has an open market. If so, don't rent; don't buy it!

So let's make a quick list what was mentioned till now:

1. smell of Pinheiros and Tiête rivers (rotten eggs)
2. basaltic and limestone rocks, dust, pollution, pavement, abrasive metallic haze, rain water evaporating
3. flowers and plants of the park
4. humidity, moss, fungus, wood in decay, 
5. spray paint, construction waste, garden waste, garbage
6. frech ink, glue, varnish, encapsulated perfume
7. laundry softeners and soaps, dog piss
8. fresh fish, rotten fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, rotten fruits and vegetables, spices, fat+flour+cheese burning

Stick around as I continue to smellwalk in São Paulo!
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