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Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentree
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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 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

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

MORE SCENT MEMORY THAN PERFUME:
Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Bigarade Concentrée, from Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums, is the first niche fragrance I ever purchased. I bought it unsniffed, based on an intense curiosity stirred by New York Times perfume critic Chandler Burr, whose review of the scent was utterly intriguing—he made it sound so dirty and complex. In fact, he used the word ‘complex.’ “
Bigarade smells like a person trapped in a complex weather system, the wonderful scent of a guy’s armpit and a woman’s humid skin washed in fresh rainwater and ozone,” Burr wrote in his column, published August 27, 2006, under the heading “Dark Victory,” where he also reviewed two other fragrances that exuded a certain quality of darkness (“darkness, when it is crystalline and somewhat luminous” was his description).

Art being a subjective thing, I have no quibbles with Burr’s review: I’m sure it hit home with a good number of people who’ve tried Bigarade Concentrée, judging by some of the reviews I’ve read on Basenotes (“a cab driver eats an orange” being the spare but evocative appraisal of one Basenoter). But for me, whether a matter of skin chemistry or my uneducated nose, the fragrance turns out to be simple and linear and devoid of much in the way of dirty bits. If I wear it in hot, humid weather, I do get a very light dose of the sweaty cumin and cedar that others delight in, but not nearly enough to serve my interests.

So does this failure (either on my part or the fragrance’s)—this perceived lack of complexity—imply that the fragrance disappoints or is without charms? Do I regret having purchased it unsniffed? Not at all. One of the most enchanting things about sniffing perfumes and reading reviews is in observing how a scent can inspire such diverse feelings and perceptions among its wearers. The associations Bigarade Concentrée holds for me are perhaps the polar opposite of the associations it holds for others, and if I was disappointed the first time I opened the bottle and didn’t get what Chandler Burr got, I nevertheless got something that has proved invaluable to me. Bigarade Concentrée is the sweet, uncomplicated smell of my childhood—so piquant and precise and, yes, uncomplicated, it has an immediacy and a directness that teleports me—blink!—to a particular memory from childhood. For me, Bigarade Concentrée is the smell of bright, juicy tangerines eaten in a hayloft—one of my favorite places to burrow in with a book, to build forts with my two sisters, or to cuddle a litter of kittens or puppies when I was growing up on the farm.

For this reason, I tend to view Bigarade Concentrée as a fall and winter scent. In November, boxes of tangerines, oranges and grapefruits began showing up at our house; my mom would order them in bulk and keep them in the cold storage of our enclosed, but unheated, back porch. (A month later, an orange, accompanied by a walnut, would show up in the toes of our Christmas stockings. You’d think it wouldn’t leave much of an impression, considering all the toys we received, but this tradition instilled me with the belief that oranges were special: a brightness in winter, a treat.)

Fall-winter was also the best season for playing in the hayloft. In spring, the hay was largely depleted, making it not only difficult for my sisters and I to scrounge up enough bales to stack into forts, but allowing dangerous holes in the floorboards to gape open. A covering of loose hay would sometimes disguise these holes, which opened into the bottom part of our barn—to cattle lowing in their stalls and an unforgiving concrete floor. In summer, our enthusiasm for playing in the loft was tempered by the grinding reality that it had become our workplace: our job was to help my father, grandfather and the hired hands to unload hay wagons and painstakingly stack the freshly-mowed bales from the loft floor to its high rafters. This work nearly always coincided with eighty- and ninety-degree weather, and until we three girls realized that we’d be better served to wear jeans and long-sleeved shirts, rather than shorts and tees, the rough bales scratched at our arms and legs until they were raw, while loose alfalfa clung to our damp skin like chaff.

But in winter, oh!! Snug in warm coats and mittens, our pockets stuffed with apples and tangerines, we climbed and jumped around the loft as if it was a jungle gym. We startled pigeons at roost in the barn’s high beams, leaned our heads out of the paneless square “window” that provided ventilation and a dizzying view to the landscape below, and felt a sense of daring and, at the same time, of being securely ensconced. Our female beagle dog must have shared our sense of the latter, for she always seemed to find a way to enter the loft at the low end, where the bales were thrown through a trap door to the cows down below, to secure a hiding place to birth her puppies. The milky-warm scent of those velvet-furred pups from long ago remains lodged in my mind; it’s amazing to me that I can still recall it at will. And now, wearing Bigarade Concentrée, it occurs to me that if I “got” the warm cedar and animalic cumin that other perfumistas smell in this scent, the olfactory memory it evokes for me would be complete. But I don’t get it, and I’m not complaining. The scent of tangerine peel and hay is enough to go on, is sufficient gift. Like that ventilation window high up on the barn that my sisters and I leaned out of to sniff the cold air and survey the scenery, Bigarade Concentrée provides a splendid view into a childhood I never intend to fully relinquish.


Frederic Malle lists the notes for Bigarade Concentrée as bitter orange essence with a touch of rose, on a woody bed of hay and cedar. One striking characteristic I neglected to mention above: this scent lasts and lasts on me, unlike the vast majority of citrus perfumes.

It can be purchased online or in-store from the Frederic Malle boutiques and Barneys New York.


Image of hayloft is by photographer Larry Kanfer and can be purchased from his website, LarryKanfer.com.


Posted by Suzanne Keller,10/23/2008.


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