Perfume

Discovering The Essence of Wine

lychee horizontalWhen you put your nose in a glass, you may love what you smell, but how often are you at a loss to describe that essence, that bouquet?

Ah, the mystery of our sense of smell. It is powerful and we can’t really control it. When we smell something, our response is direct and primal. Sniff something and the response is immediate because the sensation goes directly to our limbic system, the part of the brain connected to memory and emotions. If you’ve ever had the experience of smelling something that immediately takes you back to your grandmother’s kitchen, an old lover or a long forgotten destination, this is why. But our language function operates in a different part of our brain and that’s why we are sometimes at a loss for words to express what we are smelling.

WineFashionista’s Beautiful Holiday Gift Guide

When I’m not drinking wine, I’m obsessed with makeup, lotions and potions and of course, perfume.  I’ve been a product junkie ever since I can remember, and my bathroom cabinets are overflowing with skin and hair care and all sorts of beauty products. This year I’ve tried and tested many a cream,  and dabbed and spritzed all sorts of fragrances.  I’ve come up with a list of my top 12 beauty products that really work — and make great holiday gifts to boot. 1. Beauty DNA.  I’ve tried just about every beauty subscription out there.  I usually end up with a pile of unwanted stuff.  So I was skeptical about Beauty DNA’s claim to make a perfect match for you every month.  I signed up for the $25 per month subscription.  My first delivery was the SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF — a full size which sells for about $150.  Then I…

Art and Olfaction Awards Celebrates Artisan Perfumers

Calling all independent, niche and artisan perfumers.  Submissions for the 2015 Art and Olfaction Awards are now open.  This new awards programs was launched last year by Saskia Wilson-Brown of the Institute for Art and Olfaction, to showcase the tremendous fragrant works of art crafted by small producers around the world.  These noses work independently, are not funded by big perfume house conglomerates and are mostly self-funded, small businesses where everything is done by hand by the person creating the scents. If you’re at all familiar with the the fragrance industry, you might say that the Art and Olfaction Awards are akin to the movie industry’s Spirit Awards for indie films, as compared to the established Fifi awards (now called the Fragrance Foundation Awards), considered the Oscars of the perfume world. Winners receive a Golden Pear.  It’s a unique symbol for an awards statue.  Saskia says they came up with the…

On the Wine Oh TV Wine Club: A New Label for Mat Kearney

Ok I’ll admit it.  I’m not as up on current music as I used to be.  Play most any song from the late 70’s and the 80’s and I can name that tune (a skill which recently earned me a Lava Flow at Pool Bar Jim’s in Hilton Head Island).  I pay more attention now to wine labels than record labels.  So when I first tried a red wine called “Verse & Chorus” I had to ask “who is Mat Kearney?” Maybe not knowing him or his music made me be totally skeptical about another musician fronting a wine label.  But I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this soft, rich and fruity wine, with notes of cherry, violets and chocolate.  I liked it so much I immediately went to Whole Foods, where Verse & Chorus is sold exclusively, to buy more. I got to learn even more about Mat…

Fragrance Republic:  Frangrance for One, Fragrance for All

There are no fancy bottles, no elegant or funky labels.  There’s not a celebrity face to be seen or multimillion dollar marketing campaign.  There’s just the juice. “Juice” is perfume industry speak for perfume, the juice inside the bottle. What happens when you strip away the packaging of a perfume, and invite people to judge the fragrance on its own merits?  You get the Fragrance Republ!c, a place where all perfumers, from scent superstars who make blockbuster commercial fragrances, to newbie perfumers just starting out, all on an equal footing to present juice of their own creation. This is an artisan perfumery with no limits, no budgets and no focus panels. You are free to like the scent or not.  It’s a fragrance republic after all. Frangrance Republ!c (FR!) is the brainchild of co-founder François Duquesne, who, from 2002 to 2008 ran the niche scent company L’Artisan Parfumeur.  He says…

Dress to the Vines is Back!

For the second year, Jessup Cellars in Napa Valley is bringing style to Wine Country.  That’s right, the fabulous event, Dress to the Vines, is back!  And I’ll be joining in once again, pairing the wonderful wines from Jessup Cellars with artisan perfumer Sarah Horowitz Parfums amazing fragrances.  This is an olfactory experience you don’t want to miss. “Our belief is that the Napa Valley has more than just influenced the culinary landscape of America, it’s also setting trends for style and fashion from coast-to-coast,” says Joel Quigley of Jessup Cellars.  “This is what we’re celebrating!”   Yountville, in the heart of Napa Valley and home to Jessup is fashion central for three days and nights June 26th to June 28th. On June 26 the Dress to the Vines weekend kicks-off poolside at the Bardessono Hotel & Spa with the hotel’s Dive Bar Fashion Party2, from 6-8 pm.  This is where…

Have a Say in the Oscars of the Perfume World

The Fragrance Foundation Awards, formerly known as the “FiFis” are considered the “Oscars” of the perfume world. Usually awards are chosen by members of the Fragrance Foundation and industry experts.  But this year, any scent lover can cast his or her vote for the Consumer Choice Award.  A new category since the 2013 awards, the Consumer Choice Award “is the only fragrance award that consumers can vote on,” says Julie Leong of the Musmanno Group. What’s new this year is the subcategory Celebrity scents has been added to the Women’s and Men’s categories. That’s because last year Justin Bieber’s team tweeted so much the last leg of voting that it rocked the vote in his favor for Girlfriend Justin Bieber in the Women’s category.  “It’s hard to compete with the power of the celebrity tweet,’ says Julie, so they wanted to give the other brands a fair chance. Also…

New Indie Scents Shine At Artisan Fragrance Salon

He’s the perfect Olfactory Ambassador.  Meet Mario Tomas and you’ll quickly learn he loves martinis.  “Jerry my partner and I are known for our martini glass collection and our martinis,” says the budding perfumer during his debut at the Artisan Fragrance Salon. This is the third year of the Salon in San Francisco, put on by TasteTV, the same people who bring you the International Chocolate Salon, held at the same time.  Many of the perfumers were inspired to create wickedly delicious chocolate inspired scents. Olfactory Ambassador Passionate, with an infectious smile and charming manner, Mario’s new perfume line, Olfactory Ambassador, was an immediate hit with judges and fragrance lovers alike.  I was one of the judges and I loved his packaging — using mini martini shakers painted black as snifters for each of his three aromas.  “Ever since a kid I’ve always loved fragrances,” he says.  I love Mario’s…

An Aromatic Afternoon in Carmel

I always love walking around downtown Carmel. It’s fun to go down the little alleyways off the main roads or pop into courtyards hidden from street view. That’s where you’ll find Ajne, an organic perfume apothecary that’s tucked into a peaceful courtyard with a gurgling fountain. This is a gem of a boutique, filled with natural scents and skincare, all beautifully displayed. I could spend hours in here, and I always discover something to add to my perfume collection. Last time I was in Ajne, perfumer Jane Hendler had just released Big Sur, a warm, sultry scent with champaca, patchouli, rosewood, sandalwood and vanilla. It has become one of my all time favorite perfumes. On this visit I was really liking Desir, one of Jane’s first fragrances. The notes are Moroccan jasmine, sandalwood, oud and cacao. Calypso was intriguing to me — it has frangipani, jasmine, cardamom and vanilla -…

A Nose for Wine at Morlet Family Vineyards

“These are my diplomas from Galimard.”  Luc Morlet and his wife Jodie proudly hold up not one, but two certificates he earned at the Galimard Perfume Factory in Grasse, France in 2008.  “I liked it so much I went back a second time,” he says.  For two days this Napa Valley winemaker learned the art of perfumery and blending fragrances at Galimard’s Studio des Fragrances.  Aromatics, you see, are a driving force in Morlet’s winemaking at Morlet Family Vineyards.  It shows in a wine he calls La Proportion Dorée. “The Golden Ratio,” as this wine is named, “is the concept of three, a pyramid with the Semillion being the strong base, then Sauvignon Blanc in the heart and the point is Muscadelle,” Luc says.  By the time Luc went to Galimard he had already developed this blend, but the reason for it made sense after he learned about how perfume…

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