Monday, September 14, 2009

Etat Libre d'Orange Putain des Palaces

Putain des Palaces takes its name from a song by French singer songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, a man know for his lascivious womanizing, prodigious drinking and enjoyment in shocking people as much as for his musical genius.

Putain des trotoirs putain des palaces
Pour les mecs dans l'fond c'est le même tabac

Street whore, fine hotel whore
For the guys in the back it's the same thing

Ronsard, Serge Gainsbourg

Palaces means a luxury 5 star hotel rather than an actual palace as I understand it.

Putain de Palaces edp smells like day old underwear and the dusty violet of makeup that is no longer fresh. I can smell no leather. It does a good job of conveying the tired personal tragedy of a life selling your body whether it be in luxury or a back alley. It's simple. It is not skanky in a way that is at all sensual. Its realism is very plain and very gritty. A depressing scent.

Notes of:
Rose absolute, violet, leather, lily of the valley, mandarin, ginger, rice powder, amber and animalic notes

Placebo did a cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "The Ballad of Melody Nelson", here for your enjoyment.

Painting by Egon Schiele

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chanel #5, A History Exotic

Chanel #5 is a fragrance of iconic status. Marketed as luxury, class and a beauty that stands apart #5's perfume story may surprise you as it includes black earth and melting ice. The creator of Chanel #5 Ernest Beaux {genuflects} has this to say about what inspired the fragrance:

"I’ve been asked some questions about the subject of the creation of No. 5. When did I create it? In 1920 exactly [launched in 1921], upon my return from the war. I had been part of the campaign in a northern region of Europe, above the arctic circle, during the midnight sun, where the lakes and rivers exuded a perfume of extreme freshness. I retained this note and recreated it, not without difficulty, for the first aldehydes I was able to find were unstable and unreliable."

Souvenirs et Parfums, by Constantin Weriguine

Weriguine tells us Beaux included the scent of tchernozium, a fertile black earth of the region and that #5 sought to create a "winter melting note".

Perhaps next time you wear or sniff Chanel #5 you can experience what the creator intended, something deeper than pearls and an expensive black dress. I've always loved #5 above all other Chanels and a perfume story such as this one only endears it to me more.

Thanks to FiveoaksBouquet and Michael Edwards "Perfume Legend's" for this story.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Arcana Filthy Viking

I've often seen inquiries on perfume forums asking for fragrances with mint in them. The answers given are sparse and the fragrances suggested have mint only as a minor supporting note in what is otherwise a green or a chypre or a citrus. Why mint hasn't translated well into perfume is difficult to understand once you experience the variety and creativity with which it's been used in the world of perfume oils. Filthy Viking is a great showcase of this.

"Bracing Norwegian juniper, frigid Icelandic mint and the hardy wood of a longship."

An icy mint beginning will probably be too much for some but this soon softens and the wood comes to the fore. It's pine and planks and tar and mint, masculine but beautifully soft in the drydown. This is no novelty scent, it's development is very enjoyable. The wood note and the hint of tar create a warming balance with the mint and it takes little imagination to feel the worn deck of a ship and the sharp cold air. I have tried three of Arcana's mint perfumes and they each paint their own fascinating and very different story.

At first whiff Filthy Viking really cleans the sinuses!

Competition! Identify this photo and receive some free Arcana samples!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Arcana Soaps

Over the next few blog-o-cycles I will be writing about the wonderful perfume oil company, Arcana. If any e-tailer could convert a Lutens sipping, Tauer tooting self-confessed fragrance snob to the joyful worship of a 5ml bottle Arcana would be it.

Fragrance collectors are often holy grail seekers. Long after they have given up the search for a One True Scent in favour of a grand gallery of scents they still long for bankable perfection in, if not a bottle, a house. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a dearly loved line always produced magnificence? If you adored Goutal and you knew that none would ever fall flat, if you rejoiced with each L'Artisan release and reached for your credit card unsniffed? There is always an edge to the disappointment of a poorly done scent when it comes from a house one dearly desires to exalt above all others.

I thought I was over all that but Arcana brought it back in a rush. I have tried ten Arcana scents and each has been a portrait of perfection, a beautifully rendered piece of art. Could this be IT, the Holy Grail house? Probably not and I would hate to put such a burden on poor Arcana's shoulders but I have certainly enjoyed this scent journey and I hope to share it you.

Birthed in Portland, Oregon in 2003 Arcana is the creation of Julia, surname unknown to me. Arcana began as a soap company and carries matching soaps and scrubs to many of their oils. Arcana has several dozen scents available at any given time including 5-10 seasonal scents with limited availability. Each one has struck me as a marvelously complete scent, a work of art that stands alone. Never too light, always evocative, beautiful labels. Arcana sells through a variety of etailers, most notably Magical Omaha and The Soapbox Company. International customers should head over to Magical Omaha as The Soapbox Company charges 37.00 to ship internationally.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

We Interrupt the Perfume..

Let me just say.. OMG. The emotion of Melissa's rendition of this old Petty thrasher both in her singing and face blows me away. Melissa Etheridge's raw voice and lyrics have always been cathartic therapy for me. What a cover, if I was Petty I would just bow down and grovel in the face of this divine interpretation of my anthem.

Currently wearing BPAL's War from the Good Omens series.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

BPAL Project: Dia de Los Muertos 07

Wow. This scent is an intense hit of burning garbage and food. Yes it's not much of a stretch to smell the churros. Fried stuff.. sugar.. dough.. overly ripe fruit. And like a pall over these confections a smoky burnt smell, "should they be burning that?"

Dia de Los Muertos is the olfactory equivalent of Found Art. The burning garbage smell pervades parts of Mexico and for the long time returnee it's part of the rush that says you are back. It's awful, it's refuse, it's true to a time and place and to experience it in a perfume oil celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead is a wonderful thing.

Traditional foods used for Dia de los Muertos.

"..dry, crackling leaves, the incense smoke of altars honoring Death and the Dead, funeral bouquets, the candies, chocolates, foods and tobacco of the ofrenda, amaranth, sweet cactus blossom and desert cereus."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

BPAL Project: Taurus 2007

As the Zodiac oil of Taurus drew close I suspect Taurean BPAL fans were in a lather of anticipation over what earthy, hoof pawing, testosterone soaked leather their oil would be. How could it not be along the lines of BPAL's other macho Bull scent, Minotaur? Well it's not. And I would imagine this was something of a surprise to a few fans.

Taurus is a bull; Ferdinand the bull. This lovely children's book by Munro Leaf was published during the time of the Spanish Civil War. Banned in some countries for promoting pacifism "The Story of Ferdinand" is a simple tale of a bull who refuses to fight but instead sits down and smells the flowers. Taurus is a wonderful oil to wear in the cool spring air with the joy of all the sun's promises. The herbal notes peek through making this more of a meadow scent than a bouquet and as the florals fade you are left with warmed earth and grasses. Beautifully blended this is one of the loveliest BPAL's I've worn.

Ferdinand the Bull tattoos have been popularized by famous folk and they do look quite lovely. Here's a non-famous person's tribute to a boy cow and his love of flowers.

Fixed Earth: the essence of possession.
Rose, daisy, apple blossom, violet, poppy, columbine, thyme, and mint.