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Hdp Vert Pivoine
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

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

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

EXPLORING DELICATE BEAUTY: HISTOIRES DE PARFUMS’
VERT PIVOINE and BLANC VIOLETTE

Last week, I was reading a John le Carré espionage thriller and layering scents to come up with a noir vanilla fragrance that conjured the scent of the novel’s heroine and its story of dark and dangerous liaisons.

This week I’m reading Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, thinking about the precarious lives of girls and women in nineteenth-century rural China, and sampling two soliflore scents that remind me of the exquisite delicacy of classic Chinese beauty.

Both fragrances are from a sampler set of twelve perfumes I received courtesy of the niche French fragrance house, Histoires de Parfums, a line that is best known for its series of date-named scents that capture the personalities of some of history’s most romantic and charismatic characters (Mata Hari, Colette, George Sand, and Casanova, to name a few).  Yet the series also includes three “soliloquies”—soliflore scents with the colorful names Noir Patchouli, Blanc Violette and Vert Pivoine—and because my mood has shifted in concert with my reading, my first impulse when opening the box of generous samples was to select the latter two scents.  I was hoping, but not expecting, the fragrances would evoke the kind of feeling that their names inspired; I wanted contemplative beauty, and to my delight, that’s what I got.

(As an interesting aside, last week I also met and had lunch with a woman from my town who collects Chinese silver, and I bought a copy of her gorgeous book, Four Centuries of Silver: Personal Adornment in the Qing Dynasty and After, which I’ve also been reading.  A few days later, I was browsing my local bookstore in search of a novel when my eyes alighted on the beautiful cover of Lisa See’s Snow Flower book, as well as her more recent novel Peony in Love.  I wouldn’t necessarily call that synchronicity, but a couple days after that, when the Histoires de Parfums sample set arrived and I discovered that one of the fragrances was a peony scent…well, hello!  The peony is an important symbol in Chinese art, representing wealth and distinction, as well as feminine beauty.)

Histoires de Parfums’ Vert Pivoine (“peony green”) is elegant in the best sense of the word: a singular, graceful, concise statement of beauty.  This fragrance combines the scents of peony and rose, and the combination is so fresh and dewy—the rose so natural-smelling compared to most fragrances that try to showcase that difficult note—I’m tempted to pronounce it one of the prettiest rose scents I’ve ever sniffed.  Mimosa is also among the notes included in this eau de parfum, and I’m convinced the cool, cucumber-ish scent of mimosa must also account for such dewiness; for the weightless, watercolor aspect of this scent.  There is a sheerness and transparency here that reminds me not of the peonies that pop up in my own yard each spring (big magenta blooms without much scent), but rather of the variety my mother grew in the home where I grew up; peonies of the palest pink imaginable—so pale you wouldn’t think they’d have a scent at all, yet of course they were splendidly fragrant and nectarous, so much so that the ants would climb all over them.  Imagine such a bloom floating, anemone-like, in a clear pool of water in a crystal bowl, and you have a good sense of what Vert Pivoine smells like.

This is not to say the fragrance is fragile—it stayed with me for a remarkable twelve hours of wear.  Its artfulness is in creating the illusion of fragility, while in reality it is very much like Chinese silk and the Chinese women I’m reading about: fine and delicate, but with an underlying resiliency that proves to be its strength.

The list of notes for Vert Pivoine includes: peony, green leaves, rose, mimosa, gardenia, red berries, sandalwood, cedar, musk, and vanilla.  I don’t know if it’s purely my imagination (an imagination swayed by the ideals of Chinese beauty that I’ve attributed to this scent), but I detect a bit of a tea note in this scent, too.  I’d love to know if this perception is entirely my own, or if anyone else shares it.  (Anyone, anyone?)

Blanc Violette (violet white) is, obviously, a violet scent, and though violets are not typically associated with China or the Orient, the daintiness of this scent is in keeping with the theme above.  In addition to violet, the list of fragrance notes includes bergamot, iris, ylang-ylang, star anise, sandalwood, vanilla, musk and—rather interestingly!—rice powder.  Rice powder has long played a key role in Asian beauty, its silky formula the secret to a flawless complexion.  On smelling Blanc Violette, I can’t say that I distinguish the rice powder note from the other powdery (iris) and creamy notes, but I can say that this violet soliflore is as soft and whispery light as a delicate face powder.

If Blanc Violette were a painting, it would be of a single, fluffy white cloud edged in violet, floating in a friendly sky.  If Blanc Violette were a person, it would be a ballerina in a swirl of pastel tulle.  It is, in a word, pretty—and though that concept might sound girlish or outdated in an age when women are intent on expressing our long-battled-for power and status, I find that there are days when I actually crave something that is uncomplicated, something that is purely and innocently pretty.  The blessing of being a woman in this day and age, at least in western culture, is that we are free to explore all facets of our femininity—yet we somehow see it as a weakness anymore to show our softer sides.

Right now, in the midst of political drama that is like a constant roar in my ear during these months leading up to the Presidential election, I am truly enjoying exploring my softer, quieter side.  Today I need a break from drama, even perfume drama.  Next week, you might find me reading something racy and wearing something vampish, but right at this moment I’m floating in a cloud of Blanc Violette, feeling as serene as the September sky and as tender as a wash of violet paint across a canvas of white.     

_________


Histoires de Parfums can be purchased from their French website or from the shop, Mio Mia, in Brooklyn, New York (or from Mio Mia’s website, www.shopmiomia.com, where they are quite reasonably priced at $115 for 4 oz.)

Image of pink peony is from Desktop Wallpapers.  Photographer unknown.

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 9/24/2008.


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