Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fireside Intense by Sonoma Scent Studio - fragrance review

This is my last day of winter holidays and I already miss it. It was short, but totally necessary if you are used to wake up at 06:20 am every morning. The joy of waking up late, and having time to sit and enjoy breakfast is one of my favorite holidays' treat. Yeah...I settle for very little...I know...
Thinking back of all my summer and winter holidays since I was little, I remember one common treat of both seasons: bonfires! Bonfires were always a part of my holidays. Either if during summer times at the beach, or in winter camps every July.

The smokey, warm, woody scent of bonfires could be combined with salty breeze and hot mineral sandy smells; or burned leafs and green mossy earthy smells of wood forests. 
The smell of bonfire triggers amazing happy memories of my life and a comforting sensation that comes with this joy. Why comforting? I don't know about you, but I always sat near the fire with people I loved (either friends, family or boyfriends). 

Many fragrances are inspired by bonfires and burning woods, but the one I found the most incredible and wearable is Fireside Intense by Sonoma Scent Studio.

Brand: Sonoma Scent Studio
Origin: USA
Type: Indie - niche
Launch: 2007
Perfumer: Laurie Erickson
Concentration: 20-24%
Notes: Guaiac wood, nagarmotha, Texan cedar, Himalayan Cedar, Indian sandalwood, agar wood, birch tar, cade, leather, oak moss, ambergris, castoreum.
gender: Unisex - more masculine in my opinion.
Description by the brand: " I wanted Fireside Intense to be a bottled reminder of the scent of an outdoorsy campfire".
Sillage: Great
Fixation: Great
Could pair with: LoneStar Memories by Andy Tauer/Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel
When to wear: Any time you wish!
Where to find: Only at Sonoma Scent Studio - 5ml, 17ml and 34ml


A cedar-y indulgency at the very first whiff!
This is an unique fragrance because it does feel like sitting in front of a bonfire, with all the smokey, burned wood scent, but it is actually wearable and extremely sensual. Cedars are slightly rubbery very woody and dry. The leather is soft, contrary to Andy Tauer's LoneStar Memories (another cedar- y woody leathery fragrance) this perfume caresses the senses for its delicacy. It does not impose anything, It invites you to sit and enjoy the warmth of the fire.
The bonfire is located at any beach of your dreams. I explain: there is a salty note, that probably comes with the ambergris, that is simply dreamy. It is a mineral salty undertone that is not bold enough to be classified as a woody-marine fragrance, but it is there adding a mineral sensuality. 
As all my fellow bloggers pointed out when reviewing this fragrance - the scent is rather linear once the cedar-leathery impact settles. That means only one think: you will have the same amazing juice from the start till the very end!
This perfume also reminds of my beloved salty fragrance Fleurs de Sel by Miller Harris, but Fireside Intense is definitely my favorite. I guess because it is quiet, smoother and more elegant.
The incense feeling is there, but very subtle for my delight (It is not a secret that I am not very fond of incense fragrances). There is also a suggestive sweet-flowery tone that is slightly perceptive, therefore more interesting than the ones found in the other 02 mentioned perfumes. 
Sandalwood and ambergris bring a sensuality that is also unimposing. On the contrary, it is tender and very privy. One needs to sit near the bonfire, hold you in the arms and smell your neck.

The fragrance is extremely recommended and worth a full bottle!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus by Guerlain - When flanker has a purpose


Continuing to write about flankering, Guerlain also launched in 2009 a Mitsouko flanker called Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus, to celebrate Mitsouko's 90th birthday.
A lot of controversy was raised, stones were thrown by Mitsouko's most fervors and purists fans, but frankly I think it had a positive goal. One single note of Lotus flower was added to please one very specific market: The Japanese. The japonization of a French perfume, tailored to have a delicate watery- flowery touch, did please this blogger and probably all the Japanese customers JPG wished to please.


The original Mitsouko was a chypre fragrance launched in 1919 in response to all the romantic feminine fragrances sold in the market at that time. Considered till today the quintessential of chypre and one of the most beautiful perfumes ever created, Mitsouko had an un-sweetness masculine aura with notes of bergamot, patchouli, vetiver, labdanum, cedarwood and oakmoss. It was a ground breaking event as Aldehyde 14 - a synthetic peach aroma, was also introduced by Guerlain for the very first time. The velvety peachy amber-y fruitiness made Mitsouko a very special fragrance. (Orris, rose, jasmine, black pepper and clove were also the notes of the perfume).
A bit mellow, a bit earthy, luminous and spicy, Mitsouko is still a Guerlain hit, even after some reformulations that had to be done to fit IFRA regulations.
Mitsouko name comes from a novel called La Bataille, written by French novelist Claude Farrère, about the love affair between a British naval officer and the wife of a Japanese admiral, during the Russian-Japanese War. 
A very common Japanese name for girls meaning "bright child". So the perfume Mitsouko had a Japanese inspiration, a Japanese name, it was the best selling fragrance in Japan, but fragrant-wise speaking, had nothing to do with Japan.
I read other reviews and comments about Mitsouko's flanker Fleur de Lotus, and I must go against the flow. It makes sense to me, and it is not only one more decision to capitalize a fragrance, but it is, in my opinion, it is a celebration of the Japanese people.
Lotus flower ou Nelumbo nucifera is an aquatic flower native to tropical Asia and it represents virtues and sexual purity, but the olfactive result is a watery-flowery note that smells fresh and clean. Pink Lotuses have a distinguish green aspect and a sultry floral. bouquet. Being very popular in Japan and recognized a a very "Asian" perfume note, it makes sense to add it if you wish to make a delicate, brighter version of the original to a Japanese market.
Since I am not a purist, I tried this fragrance with an open mind, leaving all the other negative comments aside.
At the very first whiff I must agree with Marina from Perfume and Smelling Things. It contains a Chanel 31 Rue de Cambon aura. They are indeed very similar for the first 15 minutes. What's not to love? I love Chanel 31 RDC, so I am in love with this opening. 
The delicacy of the Lotus flower is presented as a caress on the skin. It feels soft and silky, not watery. I loved it.
Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus is for Mitsouko what Eau Premiere is to Chanel Nº5 - a brilliant modernization, that not only Japanese women would applaud, but also the grandchildren of the Original Mitsouko wearers. 
Truth is, we are very far from the post World War I era and the joys of rediscovering luxuries that war has taken away from women. We are women of the millennium.
if it is a necessary perfume to have in your collection...well, it all depends on how much you love Guerlain and how much you are willing to spend on fragrances.
Since Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus is no longer an easy fragrance to find, Mitsouko lovers will stick to the original, thank you very much.
You can purchase a decant at The Posh Peasant online shop.

Sample of Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus by Guerlain was provided by my dearest Henrique Brito.
Lotus picture credit: photo

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Idylle by Guerlain - The Multi man effect

Do you remember Hanna Barbera's animated series The Impossibles? Fluid, Coil and Multi man? Well, Multi Man for those who were not children in the 60's-70's, was a character that could create infinitive replicas of himself, which were often destroyed by bizarre villains, leaving only the original behind. When he was not enforcing the law he played in a band. His favorite saying: You got them all except the original"!
Well, I am kinda wondering if Idylle by Guerlain is not becoming their multi man fragrance, multiplying itself into hundreds of flankers in such a period of time...

The original Idylle EDP by Guerlain was the first perfume developed by French perfumer Thierry Wasser for Guerlain, and launched in with 2009 as a chypre-floral fragrance, surrounded by a rose - musk theme. As perfumer described at that time "a bouquet, fresh, and sensual, symbol of love".
The flower accord was composed by roses, peonies, muguets, lilacs, freesias and jasmines. The Bulgarian roses were combine with raspberries and lichees for a fruity touch. The chypre touch was a reenterpretation of Guerlinade with white musks and patchouli.

In 2010 Guerlain launched its EDT version - Idylle EDT. The EDT version came greener, more effervescent and more delicate. Idylle received a luminous touch. An re orchestration of the original where the chypre accord was untouched and the flower bouquet was intensified. Orange flowers were added and freesia notes were intensified.

Idylle Duet EDP was a limited edition launched this year, as a duet to Idylle symphony, "getting patchouli and rose to sing different tunes". Bulgarian rose and Indonesian patchouli were the main theme of this EDP fragrance and it was inspired by Berlioz melodies. Blackberries were added to give the fragrance a darker touch to go well with the velvety trail of patchouli. The perfume also received a dose of rosewood and got a subtle woodsy touch.

Also in 2011 Idylle Eau Sublime, the 2nd flanker came with a intensified flowery-fruity accord with peach notes added. Amber was also introduced to bring an woody amber-y touch to the fragrance.

Lusting for more? Idylle Extrait is launched after 120 years of the last extract by Guerlain. An overdose of exceptional raw materials such as Rose Absolute ad ambrette.

Not to mention the 2009 Limited edition for x-mas, with Baccarat crystal flacon & 18 carat gold stopper, developed by Ora Ito.

05 versions + luxury limited edition in 3 years... hummm...there are pros and cons. Positive: You have a vast array of Idylle version to choose which one you like the most.
Negative: It feels that it is no longer a special fragrance signed by Guerlain. It feels that they are replicating so fast that it is hard to follow all these launches.  

I confess that Idylle EDT works for me beautifully. Better than any of the other versions. So unlikely Multi Man, I hope these flankers will not be reduced to the original!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Daily products - excellent fragrances!/Produtos diários - fragrâncias excelentes!


O novo shampoo Naturals com proteínas do leite da Palmolive possui uma fragrância muito interessante. Não tem aquele cheirinho de leite comum a esse tipo de produto. Aqui a proposta foi mais elaborada, elevando a perfumação e dando mais elegância ao produto.

Palmolive Naturals Intensive Moisture for Latin America has a special milk fragrance. Here you woun't find that obvious milk smell, but a rather more complex fragrance, that brings the idea of a creamy perfume. I don't know if they used the same fragrance for the USA and European countries. The version for latin America is simply a luxury for a very small budget!

O shampoo Elseve de jeléia real da L'Oreal produzido na Turquia (para venda no Oriente Médio) recebeu o nome de Elvive. Possui uma fragrância de mel, enriquecida com notas luxuosas de couro que o transforma num verdadeiro perfume. A sensação de usar um perfume com notas levemente adocicadas de mel "do tipo L'Abeille" da Guerlain são simplesmente um luxo. Aqui no Brasil a fragrância não é a mesma. Na terra brasilis o shampoo tem um perfume bem doce e bem barato...que pena!

Elvive royal jelly by L'Oreal has the most amazing honey fragrance, enriched by notes of leather. Fragrances like that you will only find in Guerlain perfumes!

Tigerl balm ou pomadinha chinesa do tigre tem uma fragrância muito forte que é do tipo "amor ou ódio". Eu amo!

Once contained tiger bones in the formula, but today is 100% herbal natural balm with a fragrance that is simply amazing. A mix of menthol, camphor, clove buds and cassia.

Toalhinhas umidecidas não são novidades no mercado, porém a maioria tem aquele cheirinho de produtos para bebês que já está pra lá de batido. Esta versão da YES To tem um cheirinho muito fresco e delicado de pepino. Approvadíssimo.

YES TO brings their amazingly fresh and delicate cucumber fragrance to facial towelettes!
I have the entire cucumber line and it is a must for everyone who loves good quality products with delicate fragrances.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Victorian Era, Violets and Sonoma Scents - Part III

Photo credit: Sonoma Scent Studio

Last month the mailman left by my door a package that came from California. The fragrant box contained Sonoma's fragrances. What a surprise! It was pure joy when I found out that the perfumer Laurie Erickson, had sent me, besides almost the entire collection, not one but 02 violet fragrances: Voile de Violette and Wood Violet.
So here it is my readers, for the first time, a combined fragrance review of too fragrances that will bring you both aspects of the Victorian Era to make this journey complete: one representing the restrained and the moral Victorian principals  - Voile de Violette - clean, fresh, powdery and romantic.; one representing the naughtiness and the gothic side of those times - Wood Violet  - darker, more pronounced, more devilish.

photo credit: Sonoma Scent Studio

Rate: ✭✭✭✭
Type: Indie 
Origin: USA - CA
Perfumer: Laurie Erickson
Launch: 2007
Concentration: extrait - 20-24%
Olfactive Notes: soft violet, iris, vetiver, cedar, violet leafs, rose, myrrh, hay and tonka beans.
Description by the brand: "Unique and unconventional violet fragrance with fresh aspects from the green leaf and woodsy additions from cedar, vetiver and tonka".
Silage: Excellent
Fixation: Excellent
Range: 5ml/17ml/34ml - custom boxes available.
It is a part of the Sonoma Exclusives Collection, sold only at the studio.
When to wear: all occasions

Victorian Tea Party

How would you feel walking in an English forest, touching a bed of violet flowers? With one single whiff of Voile de Violette and you will know it! The fresh green-y notes of violet opens the nostrils and makes you smile. It is real, it is natural, it is luxurious!
As the skin warms the fragrance, rose petals unfurls to a majestic romantic bouquet. They are very pronounced on me. t feels that you have left the woods and have just travelled back to London by train, and now you are sitting in a fancy Tea House, where Victorian ladies are sipping their rose petals tea, and savoring delicious candied violet treats. The combination of violets and rose is so delicate, so feminine, that you feel like wearing long gowns and large satin laces. It is graceful and joyfully constructed. 
Although pronounced, it lasts very shortly. The brand describes as a "hint of roses", and this is exactly what you get, a perfect hint of roses. Not to little, not too much. harmoniously added.
The iris is also a leading lady in this fragrance, as it walks hand in hand with the violet bouquet. The iris here is watery, cold, candied and violet-like. It is rich, absolutely chic and expected not to end, and for our delight - it doesn't!!! It shines till the very end. It is also the perfect bridging from the flowery scents, to the woodsy aspect of the perfume.
I wish Voile de Violette could be a little itsy bitsy more powdery (I have a weakness for powdery scents). If it would have, it would be almost childlike. I could declare than, that this would be the Alice in Wonderland Fragrance! So it is Victorian chic and prude, and totally addictive.

photo credit:

Rate: ✭✭✭✭
Type: Indie 
Origin: USA - CA
Perfumer: Laurie Erickson
Launch: 2008
Concentration: extrait - 20-24%
Olfactive Notes: violet, plum, violet leafs, cedar, cinnamon, cloves, sandalwood, musk.
Description by the brand: "This scent evolves quite a bit over time, opening with lush, plumy violet notes, and softening into violet with a woody base".
Silage: Excellent
Fixation: Excellent
Range: 5ml/17ml/34ml - custom boxes available.
It is a part of the Sonoma Exclusives Collection, sold only at the studio.
When to wear: at night, specially in cold winter days.
Could pair with: Back to Black by Kilian (for a full Sherlock Holmes experience!)

Large dose of spices and wood notes makes this version of a violet perfume totally different from the previous reviewed one. It is robust, alcoholic, boozy-plumsy, dark and fruity violet fragrance. A lady, walking in a foggy night in London. Gothic buildings sheltering strange mysterious gentlemen...Sherlock Holmes investigating a crime and falling for Miss Adler...

Wood Violette has a pronounced scent of cognac and a delicious note of cedar. A combination of cherry with a subtle note of licorice. It is Miss Adler played by Rachel McAdams in the Sherlock Holmes movie. She is beautiful. She is sexy and very astute. She is a Victorian gothic character.
You will feel impelled to dress with velvety silky dresses and wear red berry-like lipsticks.
Since I have already the curls on my head wrapped up, I am convinced that this fragrance will be the final touch too my Victorian look. It is worth buying, not one, but a 1000 bottles!

That is it darlings. We travelled to the Victorian country side, we took a train to London to sip a cu of tea, we plunged into gothic novels and beautiful Sonoma scents. I hope you enjoyed the ride! See you next time for a journey through another historical period!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Victorian Era, Violets and Sonoma Scents - Part II

Let's continue our journey into the Victorian Era. 
Let's plunge into perfume bottles and find out why this period was so important to Perfumery History!

Modern Perfumery
The pivotal scientific breakthrough that changed perfumery, and upgraded it to an entire new level, happened due the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.  From this date on Alchemy was to be considered a thing of the past, and substituted by chemistry. 
As you will see, major discoveries in behalf of the Modern Perfumery happened during this era:
In 1833 Dumas Peligot isolated cinammaldehyde from cinnamon oil.
In 1844 Cahours found the main aromatic component of the anise oil: anethole 
In 1837 Liebig & Wöler produced the scent of bitter almonds (benzaldehyde). Years later, in 1889 Fittig & Mielk produced the heliotropin (the scent of hyacinths), and in 1876 Reimer and Delair produced the vanillin. These molecules differed from the natural oils used previously, and that was the turning point for perfumers.
The first synthetic version of a natural molecule was created by an English chemist called William Perkin. Coumarine was described as a scent that could transport you to a holiday in the Alps, with the scent of recently mown hay. 
Perfumes such as Fougére Royale by  perfumer Paul Parquet for Houbigant (the first modern perfume - 1882) and Jicky (1889 by Guerlain), were  the first fragrances to blend synthetics with natural compounds.

Flower sellers - London 1887

Victorian flowers
Throughout the Victorian Era perfumes were created from flowers and spices. They were delicate and floral. Most of them were very feminine with notes of jasmine, roses, lavender and violets. Aromatic herbs such as rosemary, marjoram, thyme and cloves were still in use. Perfumes were based on natural ingredients from the garden.
Flowers had a very important hole in the Victorian society, and the most popular flowers scents were African lily, begonia, blue sage, clematis, columbine, daffodil, forget me not, hyacinth, honeysuckle, lily of the valley, morning glory, and yellow jasmine among others. 

Love for Violets
Violets grew everywhere in nature, and violet fragrance was the favorite in Victorian toiletries. Also, Victorian ladies loved to collect violets in nature albums or dried pressed violets in pictures. Tea made of violets leafs were famous for treating nervous complaints. 
The cut flower trade grew as Victorians began to pin bunches of violets to their dresses and coats. Gentlemen tucked them in hat brims or displayed them on their coats. Victorians also loved candied violets used in cakes and pastries.
It was very common to see violet sellers stood in London corners with their baskets full of violets. The popularity led to a boom of violet breeding.They were so popular that a train line from Cornwall to London was set to bring fresh violets to the big city.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Victorian Era, Violets and Sonoma Scents - Part I

+ Q Perfume Blog 
celebrating its 3rd anniversary with you!

The Victorian Era has always fascinated me. The obscure crimes solved by Sherlock Holmes, the fantastic mad tea party from Alice in Wonderland, the handsome Dorian Gray. All books from that period of time.
The industrial revolution that I have studied deeply during my Business Administration course in college. The conservative against progressive. The theories of evolution and the psychiatric treatments. The radical changes in architecture and its gothic buildings. The fact that for the Victorians, recognizing the scent of a flower was considered a must. Flowers adorned almost everything, from home decor to fashion. It was part of Victorian finesse to attach a meaning to them. Violets for example meant modesty, virtue and affection, and blue violets meant love, faithfulness and watchfulness.
The Victorian Era is remembered and described a historical period marked by many changes, contrasts and contradictions. It is the perfect subject to start my anniversary celebration during the month of July.
So let's travel through time with me. Jump into your corsets. Button up your shirt please. Prepare yourself a cup of a fine English brand...and yes! Do not forget to wear a violet perfume. 

The period under the reign of Queen Victoria (UK, from 1837 till 1901) is called the Victorian Era. A time so prosper and culturally rich for the English people that today it is compared to French Belle Époque. 

Urban expansion: development X social catastrophe
Urban areas expanded very fast due to the immigration from the country. Although this sound very promising, in reality what ended up occurring is that many families came to the city and were squeeze into tiny homes, and the city of London was crowded with homeless people. Urban areas where there is a crowd of lower incomers is a place for crime and prostitution to flourish.(The latest Sherlock Holmes movie tries to picture the city as it was at that time/we also have the scenario for Jack the ripper...). Diseases were easily spread due to this severe over population.There were two distinguish classes during the Victorian period - either you had money, or you didn't. So basically, poor children were working, wealthy boys were studying and rich girls were confined at home learning to be good wives. At one hand Victorians were known for their morality, their religious values, their abeyance to very restrict principals, in the other hand child labor exploitation was highly prevalent at the same time. Children were mostly treated as slaves, working 16 hours a day.

Victorian morality X naughtiness and promiscuity 
Victorians were great moralizers as they lived under a restricted code of manners, and ideal forms of masculine and feminine behavior. Prudery, repressed sexuality and chastity were to be considered standards of social behavior. Sex became a taboo. Words vaguely sexual or considered of indelicate connotation were removed from the English language and replaced by euphemisms. Women were to be confined within the walls of her home, and obliged to obey to the masculine authority - the husband. The idea of respectability distinguished the middle from the lower classes. Lower classes did not mind being naughty! The widespread cultivation of an outward appearance of puritanism and restraint came with prevalence of prostitution. The strict set of morals were hypocritically applied. 
Burlesque was invented during the Victorian era. It was a form of mocking the social upper classes etiquette and life style by the less fortunate. From comic sketches to dance routines, it combined imitations of various authors and artists, with absurd descriptions.
While the rich would attend to the opera, ballet or watch Shakespeare dramatic plays, others would attend to burlesque shows. By 1880 the costumes of the ladies were reduced to minimum and sexual connotations began to rule the dialogues and dances.
Not to mention that in the middle of all that chastity, Victorians created the vibrator. Ok, it was for pelvic massage and to cure female hysteria... (our contemporary PMS or simply lack of sex), but the fact is that doctors found very tedious and hard to complete the massage manually, so they created a device to make women achieve what was called the "hysterical paroxysm".

Victorians, food & social gatherings
Due to the fact that Victorians had little fun outside the home (besides the daily female visit to the physician - read above), tea parties became very popular. Queen Victoria invented the afternoon tea. At first she would drink it alone. As time passed by, she began to invite female friends to sit with her to drink tea, eat cakes and pastries. Drinking tea became a culture and at a later phase, tea parties became gatherings where both genders could mingle. The tea culture was taken very seriously and it is a English costume till today. 
As a hungry crowd looked for food in the streets, the upper class had 09 course meals. Victorians love to eat. They usually ate a large breakfast, a small lunch, an afternoon tea and a late supper. They loved sponge cakes and layered jellies.
If you wish to watch Heston Blumenthal's Victorian dinner click HERE (this is the part one video - from there you can look for the other parts to watch - It is always fun and inspiring to see how he explores his techniques and teach us a little bit about history). Cook books come from Victorian times, as Victorians loved recipes. Meals were also an opportunity for rich families to display their wealth, with expensive china, fine cutlery and several servants.

Victorian Literature
As a period of change and transformation, the Victorian books brought the portraits of their lifestyles, the aspects of their daily living and they also bridge history and the modern era. Novels came into existence at this period of time. The plots usually had someone that lost his wealth and worked to gain it back; a person that was wronged but found justice in the end; the wrong versus right; and many many texts aimed children. Lewis Carol, Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are some of the many famous writers of that time.
Gothic and supernatural themes are from the second part of this era. The obscure, the frightening, the thrill, the horror, all took place in castles, monasteries, cemeteries and the darkest corners of cities like London and Paris. Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, The picture of Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Silent in the Grave...they are all from this period.


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