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Suzanne’s Perfume Journal
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A Conversation on 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

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

THE PATH THAT LED TO GUERLAIN PARURE

 

Over the course of my life I have received four or five bottles of perfume as gifts, most of them from men who knew me well and who presented me these perfumes with such love and kindness in their hearts, I really did feel an appreciative thrill when I received them. It always surprised me, though, how their selections seemed to run opposite my tastes; not that they could have known what my tastes in fragrance were: I never articulated them, and in the case of these earliest gifts, I’m not sure I had even defined them for myself.
 
My father was the first man to buy me fragrance; I was around fourteen at the time, and for Christmas he gave me a gift set of Estee Lauder Cinnabar (my two sisters received White Linen and Aliage). He watched me open it and dab its clove-heavy scent on my wrists, and when I smiled my appreciation back to him, he said, “I thought you’d like it—it suits your personality.”  I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant, but felt flattered that he considered me grown up enough to wear a scent that smelled so sophisticated beyond my years—even if, secretly, I did not care for it. To my teenage nose, it smelled suffocatingly spicy, and though I tried to love it, it did not take long before the “sophisticated” of my original assessment was replaced with “old.”  Of course, I never told my lovely father that I didn’t actually care for Cinnabar, but instead left him to believe that I was hoarding the fragrance for special occasions—even though I’ve never been able to hoard anything (I was never good at parceling out sweets or chewing gum, like my sisters, who could make them last for weeks). My Cinnabar gift set lasted through my college years, and eventually I used the remainder of it up by putting a few drops in the washing machine every time I did laundry.

 

After college, when I was making my own way in the world and could hardly afford perfume, I received my second Christmas-gift bottle of fragrance, this one from a boyfriend I’d been seeing for several months. I remember how excited I was, fingering the wrapping paper and knowing it was perfume—an easy guess from the size and shape of the box—and then I tore it open to find…Opium. YSL Opium, the only fragrance on the planet to bear such a striking resemblance to the Estee Lauder Cinnabar that had previously taken me a full seven years to use up. A fragrance possibly even more spicy than Cinnabar!  “I loooove this stuff,” my boyfriend told me, adding, “It really seems like you.”  “Like my personality?” I said, knowing he probably wasn’t referring to my WASPy, blue-eyed looks. “Yeah,” he said as he took the bottle from my hand and gently sprayed some on my neck.

 

I’m not sure why a good many of the men in my life have pegged me as the Oriental-spicy type, because I always imagined someone with that personality to be at least a little bit vampish, which I’m not. I do have a voyeuristic fascination with vamps and vixens, not to mention the Orient itself, so maybe I was putting out some energy that signaled those gifts to me. At any rate, the point I’m really trying to get to (and which, in typical fashion, I’ve buried under this long preamble) is this: after spending most of my teens and early twenties trying to use up these bottles of the most killer spices this side of a Szechuan wok, it was a good long time before I would consider an Oriental fragrance again. Sometime in my late twenties, I bought a bottle of Lancôme Magie Noire for my mother that I thought was beyond wonderful—on her, not me. For myself, it would take a decade of living through the wretched, mass-market aquatic fragrances of the 1990s before I realized that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to smell something on the likes of Cinnabar again. Something dark and sizzling, but with a lot less clove.

 

Ask and you shall receive, said the genie in the bottle that is Perfume, in all her many guises and incarnations. In 2005, I discovered the perfume blogs and the vast treasure of shared perfume knowledge, as rich as all the treasures of the Orient itself. In a short time, I acquired bottles of Donna Karan Black Cashmere, Montale Black Aoud, and Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles. Still, I mostly tiptoed around the orientals, and today, after three years of collecting, they comprise only a small part of my perfume cupboard. It’s usually the floral-orientals that get the purchasing nod from me, or the gourmand-orientals. I favor those with Indian spices—the cardamom, cumin, saffron numbers that smell like warm bodies—over those with the red-hot smell of cinnamon, ginger and cloves. (There are exceptions, of course, one of them being Geisha Rouge, which I’m likely to buy soon). I find that nutmeg is yummy, but pepper is iffy: it can go either way in the love-it, hate-it camp.

 

But the formulation that takes an Oriental from good to really great, in my opinion, is a bit of leather and a bent towards the Chypre direction. Case in point: Guerlain Parure, which is the oriental I think I could wear into my dotage, if only it weren’t discontinued and almost impossible to find these days. Parure was created by Jean-Paul Guerlain in 1975, and it takes its name from a jeweler’s term referring to a matched set of jewelry: a matching necklace, bracelet and earrings, for example. The fragrance is as elegant and old-worldly charming as its name: this is an oriental that smells, like all orientals, dark and complex, only you won’t find any vampishness here. This is the smell of ravishing, raven-haired beauty on display, but at the same time, contained. What it reminds me of most—and I am working from distant memory here, so I hope that memory hasn’t failed me—is of how Clinique Aromatics Elixir could have smelled if the perfumer had exercised a great deal of restraint. Guerlain Parure is an intricate aroma of spiced plums lying on a deep bed of soft, suede leather and oakmoss, with a tickle of lilac and rose. If I had received this gorgeously-restrained oriental as a gift way back when, I might be on my third or fourth bottle by now, with none of it ending up in the wash water. But as it is, I am happy to have a small decant of this incredible scent, which I will wear with regularity until every last drop is gone.

 

Besides which, I have a feeling that a person cannot really appreciate a great perfume until they have lived a bit; perhaps until, like me, they have arrived at middle age. I’m still thankful for those gifts of spicy orientals that I received as a girl. I may not have been ready for them, but I think they prepared me for this new perfume love that I’ve found.

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 12/1/2008.

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Ars Aromatica

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Beauty on the Outside
 

Bloody Frida

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Bonkers About Perfume

Ca Fleure Bon

ChickenFreak's Obsessions

EauMG

Eyeliner on a Cat

Fragrance Bouquet

From Top to Bottom - Perfume Patter

Giovanni Sammarco (artisanal perfumer) blog

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I Smell Therefore I Am

Kafkaesque

Katie Puckrik Smells

Memory of Scent

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Notes From Josephine

Notes From the Ledge

Now Smell This

Oh, True Apothecary! 

Olfactarama 

Olfactoria's Travels 

Parfumistans blogg

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Perfume-Smellin' Things

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Redolent of Spices

Riktig Parfym: Ramblings of a Fragrant Fanatic

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This Blog Really Stinks 

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