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Aroma M Geisha Rouge
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A Conversation on Arabie

A Package from Christos: Greek Sandals & Oud Cuir d'Arabie

A Package from Ines

A Package from Lavanya

A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

Amouage Dia (pour homme)

Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

Amouage Lyric Woman

Amouage Memoir Woman

Amouage Opus I

Amouage Opus III

Amouage Opus IV

Amouage Opus V

Amouage Opus VI

Amouage Tribute

Amouage Ubar

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Annick Goutal Heure Exquise

Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

Annick Goutal Sables

April Aromatics Calling All Angels

April Aromatics Bohemian Spice

April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

Arquiste Anima Dulcis

Arquiste Boutonniere no. 7

At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)

At the Moment (Contemplating Change & Habit Rouge)

At the Moment (Marron Chic & Paris)

At the Moment (More Midsummer Delights/Epic/Geisha Noire)

At the Moment (Saki & Lubin Idole edt)

At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante)

At the Moment (Spring Pretties/Un Air de Samsara)

At the Moment (Summery Things...Love Coconut)

At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)

Ava Luxe Café Noir

Beatnik Emptiness Incense

Best of 2009

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

Bond No. 9 Little Italy

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Breath of God

Byredo Green

By Kilian Amber Oud

By Kilian Forbidden Games and In the City of Sin

Calyx by Prescriptives

Canturi by Stefano Canturi

Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

Caron Aimez-Moi

Caron French Cancan

Caron Parfum Sacre

Caron Tabac Blond

Caron Tubereuse

Caron Yatagan

Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

Cartier IV L'Heure Fougueuse

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

Chanel Bel Respiro

Chanel Chance

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coromandel

Chanel Cuir de Russie

Chanel Egoiste

Chanel No. 5 (vintage)

Chanel No. 22

Chantecaille Petales

Chantilly Dusting Powder

Clive Christian C for Women

Comme des Garcons Daphne

Comme des Garcons LUXE Champaca

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet Nomad Tea

Costes by Costes

Coty Ambre Antique

Coty Chypre

Coty Paris

Creature by Kerosene

Creed Acqua Fiorentina

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

Creed Virgin Island Water

DSH Perfumes Bancha Extreme

DSH Perfumes Quinacridone Violet 

DSH Perfumes Vert pour Madame

Deneuve

Devilscent Project

Dior Diorissimo (vintage)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere

EnVoyage Vents Ardents

EnVoyage Zelda

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

Etat Libre d'Orange Rien, Rossy de Palma & Noel au Balcon

Faberge Woodhue Cologne

Favorite Fall Fragrances

Fendi Uomo

Fragrances for Sweden

Frapin 1697 Absolu Parfum

Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Frederic Malle Noir Epices

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Frederic Malle Une Rose

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel

Ghosts of Perfumes Past, Present & Future

Gone Fishin'

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Gucci L'Arte di Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

Guerlain Jicky

Guerlain Mayotte

Guerlain Parure

Guerlain Samsara Parfum

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara

Guerlain Vega

Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes Hiris

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe

Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles

Histoires de Parfums 1740

Histoires de Parfums 1828

Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette

Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine

Hometown Portrait, State College, PA

Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

House of Matriarch Carmine

How I Store Decants

Il Profumo Cannabis

In Memory (w/mention of Lanvin Arpege)

Jacomo #02

Jacomo #09 (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles

Jean Patou Joy

Jean Patou 1000

Jo Malone Saffron Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Sweet Milk Cologne 

Juliet by Juliet Stewart

Kai Eau de Parfum

Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant

Kenzo Summer

Lancome Magie Noire (vintage) 

Lanvin Via Lanvin (vintage) 

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube

L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

La Via del Profumo Balsamo Della Mecca

La Via del Profumo Hindu Kush

La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe

La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project

La Via del Profumo Sharif

La Via del Profumo Tawaf

Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

Little Lists

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate

M. Micallef Vanille Orient

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles

Message In A Bottle 

Michael Storer Winter Star

Miller Harris L'Air de Rien

Miscellany

Missoni (original) by Missoni

Molinard Habanita

Mona Di Orio Nuit Noire

Mona Di Orio Oud

Mona Di Orio Vanille

Montale Black Aoud

Montale Boise Vanille

Montale Intense Tiare

Montale Patchouli Leaves

Montale Red Aoud

More Roses (rose cookie recipe)

My Heart Has Skipped a Beat (summer smells)

My Perfumes Have Theme Songs

Nasomatto China White

Neila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling

Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps

Nez a Nez Ambre a Sade

Northern Exposure "A Dash of Chanel No. 5"

Odin 04 Petrana (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Omar Sharif Pour Femme

Oriscent Pure Oud Oils

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men

O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman

Parfum d'Empire Equistrius

Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu

Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Paris, je t'aime

Pascal Morabito Or Black 

Perfume Quotes - The English Patient

Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

Pretty Perfume Bottles 

Prince Matchabelli Aviance Cologne (vintage) 

Profumum Roma Acqua Viva

Profumum Roma D'Ambrosia

Puredistance I

Puredistance Antonia

Puredistance BLACK

Puredistance M

Puredistance Opardu

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

Ramon Monegal Pure Mariposa

Recipe for Socca

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla Perfume Oil

Regina Harris Frankincense-Myrrh-Rose Maroc Perfume Oil

Robert Piguet Fracas

Robert Piguet Visa

Rochas Mystere 

Rome Vacation Photos

San Francisco Holiday

Sarah Horowitz Parfums' Joy Comes From Within & Beauty Comes From Within

Scented Reading

Scents of the Mediterranean

Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Serge Lutens Arabie

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Serge Lutens Chêne

Serge Lutens Chergui

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque

Serge Lutens Miel de Bois

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille

Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)

SoOud Ouris Parfum Nectar

S-Perfume 100% Love {More}

Stone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain

Sweden Is For Lovers

T is for Taxes

Tauer Perfumes: Incense Extrême, Incense Rosé, Lonestar Memories, & Reverie au Jardin

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector

Tightly

Tokyo Milk Ex Libris

Unlocking an Unknown: Webber Parfum 6T

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Bed of Roses

Venimus Vidimus Vicimus, or How 3 Perfume Bloggers and a Husband Took Rome

Vero Profumo Kiki, Onda, and Rubj

Vero Profumo Mito

Viktoria Minya Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

THINKING ABOUT GEISHAS AND SAMPLING GEISHA ROUGE
 

"When she’d finished applying blush, she still had no eyebrows or lips.  But for the moment she left her face like a bizarre white mask and asked Auntie to paint the back of her neck.  I must tell you something about necks in Japan, if you don’t know it; namely, that Japanese men, as a rule, feel about a woman’s neck and throat the same way that men in the West might feel about a woman’s legs.  This is why geisha wear the collars of their kimono so low in the back that the first few bumps of the spine are visible; I suppose it’s like a woman in Paris wearing a short skirt.  Auntie painted onto the back of Hatsumomo’s neck a design called sanbon-ashi—“three legs.”  It makes a very dramatic picture, for you feel as if you’re looking at the bare skin of the neck through little tapering points of a white fence.  It was years before I understood the erotic effect it has on men; but in a way, it’s like a woman peering out from between her fingers.  In fact, a geisha leaves a tiny margin of skin bare all around the hairline, causing her makeup to look even more artificial, something like a mask worn in Noh drama.  When a man sits beside her and sees her makeup like a mask, he becomes that much more aware of the bare skin beneath.


"…All that remained were the final touches on her makeup and the ornaments in her hair.  Auntie and I followed Hatsumomo back into her room, where she knelt at her dressing table and took out a tiny lacquer box containing rouge for her lips.  She used a small brush to paint it on.  The fashion at that time was to leave the upper lip unpainted, which made the lower lip look fuller.  White makeup causes all sorts of curious illusions; if a geisha were to paint the entire surface of her lips, her mouth would end up looking like two big slices of tuna.  So most geisha prefer a poutier shape, more like the bloom of a violet."


        —From the 1997 novel, Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden

 

Today I’m sampling Geisha Rouge perfume oil by Aroma M, and it reminds me of the excerpt above, because it is a concentrated dab of "red" (scent-wise, not literally) that at first application has a waxy smell that reminds me of lips—the plump fleshiness of polished lips.  This is a clove-heavy perfume oil that is all about spice (there isn’t a hint of anything floral in it), and its other notes include cinnamon, star anise, sandalwood, tobacco, vanilla, and tonka bean.  My guess is that warm, pungent clove is what lends Geisha Rouge this waxy quality, because when I sniff the jar of ground cloves in my spice cabinet I detect a similar smell (perhaps due to the fact that cloves have a very high oil content).  For the first hour of wear, the scent of clove and anise predominate, making for one quirky fragrance that also reminds me of the old Black Jack and Clove chewing gums that my grandfather used to carry around in his coat pocket when I was growing up in the 1970s.  Black Jack was flavored with licorice, and it was one of the oddest-tasting gums I’ve ever tried.  But since I like a little slice of weird every now and then, I don’t mind this stage of the perfume; it’s like an unexpected first kiss, strange and intense.

Eventually, the waxy and licorice-like properties of the scent soften, and the tobacco note kicks in, changing the character of the fragrance slightly, so that it reminds me of spiced tea.  In fact, if you had asked me to guess the notes, I wouldn’t have named tobacco; I would have said black tea.  The fragrance doesn’t change much at this point, except to get warmer and softer.  There are a number of things I love about it: the vanilla is never very pronounced, so the scent remains a spice scent clear through to its end; the fact that this is a perfume oil means that you need only apply a small drop to each wrist, and it lasts and lasts—a real feat once cold weather kicks in and the forced-air heat in my home makes my skin dry; and, lastly, it’s one of the few clove scents that I actually find wearable (Caron’s Poivre, which I had so hoped to love, overwhelms me with its clove—enough that I’m tempted to give up on it, but will continue to test it throughout the winter).

Apropos to nothing except the name of this fragrance, Geisha rouge is a rather interesting item to investigate on the Internet. Known as Beni (which means “red” in Japanese), this very expensive lip rouge has been used since ancient times by Japanese geishas.  Beni is a natural flower pigment derived from the Benibana, or safflower, and it is painted onto the interior surface of a sake cup (see photo, left).  The pigment, when it dries onto the cup, takes on different hues—from iridescent green to gold to red—when held up to various angles of light.  Because it is susceptible to light and humidity, the rouge lasts in the cup for only a month or two, so must be used up in that time frame.  It is applied to the lips by wetting a brush with water and swirling it against the dried pigment in the sake cup, then transferring that pigment to the mouth, building up as little or as much color as is desired.  A Beni kit from the Edo Craft company currently costs around 12,000 Japanese yen, which converts to about $120 as of this writing.  Considering that the Beni rouge is only good for about 30 or 40 applications, that’s some pricey lip color.

Aroma M Geisha Rouge perfume oil, on the other hand, is quite the bargain: $40 for a quarter-ounce roll-on at LuckyScent.com.

Excerpted from Memoirs of a Geisha, copyright © 1997 by Arthur Golden (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 1997, pp. 63-66)

Image: photo of painted lips from National Geographic; photo of geisha in the snow by Koichi Kamoshida for Getty Images; and photo of saki cup lined with Beni lip rouge is from Edocraft.com, where the lip rouge can be purchased. 

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 11/4/2008.


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A Perfume Blog (Blacknall Allen)

Another Perfume Blog (Natalie)


Ars Aromatica

Australian Perfume Junkies

Beauty on the Outside
 

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Ca Fleure Bon

ChickenFreak's Obsessions

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Eyeliner on a Cat

Fragrance Bouquet

From Top to Bottom - Perfume Patter

Giovanni Sammarco (artisanal perfumer) blog

Grain de Musc

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Kafkaesque

Katie Puckrik Smells

Memory of Scent

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Notes on Shoes, Cake & Perfume

Notes From Josephine

Notes From the Ledge

Now Smell This

Oh, True Apothecary! 

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Parfumistans blogg

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Riktig Parfym: Ramblings of a Fragrant Fanatic

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