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A Package from Ines

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A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

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Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

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April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

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)

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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

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Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

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Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

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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

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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

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Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

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Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

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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

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Gucci Pour Homme

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Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

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Guerlain Jicky

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Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

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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 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 Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

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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

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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

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O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman

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Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

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Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

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

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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

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

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Slumberhouse Rume

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

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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

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Viktoria Minya Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

Parfumerie Générale Indochine: Gypsy Treasure

So I’m back to the velvet underground,
Back to the floor that I love
To a room with some lace and paper flowers,
Back to the gypsy that I was
To the gypsy … that I was
.

When I was in college in the early 80s, I practically wore a groove in my roommate’s Fleetwood Mac Mirage album, setting the needle over and over again on Stevie Nick’s song, Gypsy. I was the poetic type and, like many women of my generation, a Stevie Nicks fan, and this song which spoke of solitary resolve in the face of wistful regret appealed to both my melancholic nature and my ideas of what a strong woman should be. Or maybe I should just say what is most true, which is simply that I found it quietly moving. Perhaps that’s why it has come floating back to me in recent days when I’ve been wearing Parfumerie Générale Indochine—a contemplative fragrance that, for all its quietude, somehow manages to be arresting on an emotional level. The strong pull of nostalgia is what lends the light-wearing Indochine weight. Initially it smells like a sandalwood box in which photographs, letters and other precious mementos have been tucked away: poems copied in a lover’s hand, shells from a distant shore, partially burned incense sticks and dusty candles. As the scent develops, though, it goes through a subtle shift, and in its dry-down stage there is a sanded-smooth sweetness to Indochine that is so easy-wearing and comfortable, it makes one feel good about being in one’s own skin. If ever a scent could say, “These are my memories—the little scraps of paper and trinkets that make me long for the past, but I’ve decided to stow them away in a pretty box and move on now,” then Indochine is that scent.

Though I strongly want to call Indochine a sandalwood fragrance, my understanding is that it is not; according to what I’ve read, the fragrance is built around two key notes, Siam benzoin resin and tanakha wood, the latter of which is said to smell like sandalwood. Tanakha (also spelled thanaka) is native to the country of Myanmar (formerly Burma), where for over 2000 years it has been used cosmetically—the bark and wood of the tree ground and mixed with water to create a yellowish-white paste worn as a traditional form of adornment. Kampot pepper, Ceylon cardamom and Laos honey are among Indochine’s other notes.

In the first half-hour of wear, there is a parched and incense-like quality to Indochine. It most resembles a smoky sandalwood scent at this early stage, and if I were to describe its character, I would call it exotic yet reserved. The tingly spiciness of cardamom and pepper intersecting with the light acridness of honey mimics the smell of tobacco, and the combination not only lends an air of aridity to the scent, but is one of the reasons I picture the fragrance in my mind as a sandalwood box, as every good box must have some hand-rolled cigarettes stashed inside. Indochine’s benzoin is more resinous than vanillic at this point, again contributing to that wooden trinket-box smell. I should mention here that despite the associations I set out at the beginning of this review, of how it reminds me of Stevie Nicks’ Gypsy, I do not in any way mean to imply that this is a chick-fragrance. Indochine does not lean in any gender direction, in my opinion—it’s simply a great woody-oriental scent that manages to smell textured and austere at the same time (something I’ll make clearer as I describe the drydown in the next paragraph).

Eventually the benzoin does begin to smell more vanillic, and the smoky, incense-like character of Indochine fades considerably after about an hour into its wear. Though the fragrance loses its exoticism in the process, the your-skin-only-better scent that is left behind is not a bad souvenir—no, not bad at all. There is still enough woodiness in the drydown to keep Indochine interesting and to prevent it from edging over into the kind of sentimental sweetness that would take away Indochine’s backbone. And too, the minimalistic base strikes me as being a natural extension of the fragrance’s overall aesthetic; Indochine is not an Arabian Nights-style oriental, which would occasion a suitably sumptuous and pillowy base to complete the fantasy, but rather a more photorealistic olfactory-homage to a particular area of the Orient. It has what I think of as an Asian-inspired simplicity and stays close to the body in terms of its sillage. There are days when I wear Indochine and find myself reapplying it to get more of a hit of that arid, incense-y sandalwood scent that I love so much in the beginning, but there are also days when I just wear it and go, and later find myself surprised to be turning a corner and catching a whiff of something that smells so gently sweet and hard-to-describe. It’s like smelling your own aura and realizing that, while all things must pass, within your skin is the lingering memory of their sweetness.

And with this reminder, you resolve to pick up your tambourine and play on.


Parfumerie Générale Indochine 25 eau de toilette is the creation of brand owner and perfumer Pierre Guillaume.  It can be purchased from the company website or from LuckyScent.com, where a 50-ml bottle is currently priced at $95.  My review is based on a generous decant of the fragrance sent to me by lovely friend and perfume blogger, Birgit, of Olfactoria Travels.  Here is the link to her review of Indochine.

Photo (top of page) of Stevie Nicks can be found at a number of sites on the Internet.
Bottle photo is from LuckyScent.com, where the fragrance can be purcased..
 
Lyrics from the opening verse of the Stevie Nick's song Gypsy (written by Nicks and released on Fleeetwood Mac's 1982 album, Mirage). Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Posted by
Suzanne Keller, 3/17/2012.

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