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Breath of God perfume
Suzanne’s Perfume Journal
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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

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 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

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

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Serge Lutens Chergui

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

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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

Breath of God and Paul Giamatti—All in the Same Breath!

“This is Breath of God,” I told my husband last weekend, lifting my scented wrist to his nose.

I had applied it lightly, as I do every perfume, so was surprised to see how hard he physically recoiled: his head actually jerked back. “Maybe he’d better brush his teeth,” was his snappy reply.

Breath of God truly is the most freakish, bizarrely compelling fragrance I’ve ever smelled. It doesn’t smell good at all until you’re ridden it out for an hour or so, and yet that initial hour is just so riveting for someone who is, let’s say, not new to the perfume game; someone who has traversed across the far reaches of that obsession and is standing at the edge, thinking there is no real new territory to explore. While it would not be accurate to say that only a person of a certain age could appreciate Breath of God, I do feel that a certain level of experience—and by that I mean life experience—is necessary to understand its appeal. Falling in love with Breath of God is akin to falling in love with the actor Paul Giamatti and the types of characters he plays. You arrive at that kind of love after you’ve had your fill of looking at all the pretty-boy actors, who will always be pretty to you—and eternally appealing in the way that pretty is—yet after seeing them in so many films they might just as well be mannequins dressed up in a new set of clothes and plopped into a slightly different scene every time. They are about as satisfying as potato chips, and suddenly you find yourself looking past them to this strange little man in the corner, who not only appears to be removed from society but perhaps forsaken by it, and yet… By his singular voice and thoughts—by the things he says and doesn’t say, as well as all of his eccentricities—you can see that there is an inner world operating under his balding dome. It’s a world largely at odds to the real world, yet it’s rich and teeming and seems to wholly occupy that space inside him that in some people seems occupied only by the requisite body organs and the habitual firing of neurons.

I’m not sure how I would have felt about a Paul Giamatti character when I was 28 (I have a feeling he would have appealed to me on some level even then, having been born with a temperament that seeks out the fringe), but I know how I feel now that I’m 48. This is the kind of character that gets under my skin and brings out all of my maternal instincts: I want to take this strange little man home and hide him under my covers and then emerge again to roam the city sidewalks in a new way. That’s the way I feel about Breath of God, too: this fragrance that is paunchy, dark and awkward to the point of neurotic; informed by all kinds of bad habits (there’s a serious nicotine stain on the Breath of God); and impervious to grooming such that it will never complement my look when we’re walking down the street together. Part of its very appeal is its ugly-duckling nature, which leads you to foolishly believe that here is something no one else will want and, therefore, you can have entirely to yourself (but which will, of course, undermine this false sense of security when it proves, thank God and Greyhound, that you can never have anything entirely to yourself).

I’ll eventually give you the fragrance notes for Breath of God—in fact, I’ll give you two lists of notes, from different sources, which when overlapped might give you a fuller, truer picture of the scent—but they won’t give you an inkling of what it smells like. I have to concede that my husband’s reaction to Breath of God isn’t far off the beaten track from my own (even though he clearly doesn’t like it and I do). In its first hour of wear, Breath of God is the scent of a man wearing aquatic aftershave and smoking the mentholated cigarettes of the woman sitting next to him at the bar (because he has emptied his own pack and, being short on cash, has not much choice and thus every enticement to pilfer hers when her back is turned). It also smells like said-man’s quiet belches, which are grapey from the wine he is nursing and melon-like from the slice of honey dew wrapped in prosciutto he ate earlier—having copped it, too, on his way into the bar, when he saw the slices lined up on a tray in the adjacent conference room—and which is now “repeating” on him.  At times, the hiccup of mentholated cigarette is as strong as horse liniment, making him wonder, why in hell do women smoke these things? (Which is something I've always wondered too.)

Fragrance notes for Breath of God, per Basenotes.net, include cedarwood, rose, ylang-ylang, vetiver, lemon, grapefruit, neroli, black pepper, and cade. Whereas at The Perfumed Court, where you can purchase a sample, they are listed as smoky scents, sandalwood, amber, neroli, patchouli, rose, lemon oil, floral notes and jasmine. I wouldn’t be surprised if Breath of God encompasses all of the notes on both lists: it is, as I mentioned above, quite paunchy, yet with a degree of swarthy quietness about it such that you would never accuse it of being loud and flabby.

After an hour, the whole thing settles down into a lightly smoky accord, rather wistful with most of the menthol and the aquatic fruit burned off and a whisper of something floral and vegetal left in their wake. Breath of God smells autumnal and slightly melancholy at this stage, which perhaps also explains why my Paul Giamatti fantasy is spun up by it. (Further induced by my current state of anxious anticipation to see Barney’s Version. Perfume, like any other art form, is never experienced in a vacuum.)

If you’d like a more concise and rational description of Breath of God, visit the Lush website. In fact, this is a wise suggestion, seeing as I am currently sitting here convinced of things my history doesn’t seem to support: convinced that were I to walk into a bar right now I would not bat an eyelash at the lanky, good-looking men but make a B-line for the short and nerdy ones; convinced that I have what it takes to fathom the mysteries of such men; and convinced that Paul Giamatti represents the Breath of God better than anything or anyone else.

Breath of God perfume was once a product of the UK company B Never too be Beautiful, a sister company of Lush.  For awhile it was discontinued, but can now be purchased as one of the "Gorilla Perfumes" on the Lush Website: $39.95 for 1 fluid ounce/30 ml. My sample came courtesy of the swap I did with Ines (who is not alone, no, not by far, when she says she hates this scent!).

Image: Paul Giamatti in Barney's Version is from Slate.com, which has a great review of the movie, btw.

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 3/2/2011.


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