Fragrance

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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…

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…

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 -…

Downtown Debuts – Sniffapalooza Extravaganza Day Two

In four weeks, fragrance lovers from around the world will gather in New York City for a perfume extravaganza known as the Sniffapalooza Fall Ball.  I’m often asked what happens during these scent filled weekends and why I continue to go.  Here’s my account from one of the days from the most recent Spring Fling to tell you why and encourage you to sign up for Fall Ball! The annual Sniffapalooza Spring Fling is a two day weekend extravaganza of the most fabulous fragrances.  Day one is the “uptown day,” spent mostly at Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel and The Plaza, at the Krigler perfumery. Day two is the “downtown day,” with visits to independent perfume boutiques in Soho and the West Village. The day starts at Molton Brown in Soho.  Two years ago Molton Brown kicked off its line of fine fragrances at Sniffapalooza, and each year we’ve been invited…

The Master Perfumer – Roja Dove

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Any perfumista worth his or her Chanel No. 5 certainly knows the name Roja Dove. I knew it from the books I have written by him, as he is known as the world’s foremost authority on perfumery. I had the good fortune of being able to attend the Sniffapalooza Spring Fling in May of this year, where Roja flew in from London to make a personal appearance and launch his new fragrance line at Bergdorf Goodman. I had the even greater fortune of getting to interview him one on one. Now mind you Roja is not what you’d call a celebrity or rock star perfumer. I think he’d shudder at the suggestion of that. No other living perfumer has the prestigious title of “Professeur des Parfums,” which Roja earned six years into his fragrance career at the House of Guerlain, where…

Original Scent Opening Draws Stars and Fragrance Fanatics

Blue and green glass bottles fill shelves against a stark white backdrop.  Mixologists hold bottle stoppers out for people seated at the bar to smell.  They wear white lab coats that say “Be Original Be Fabulous.”  They seem to be conspiring with the guest brewing a concoction.  Clear glass bottles are filled with amber colored liquids. You’d think that a special Cognac or Bourbon is being blended for a cocktail at a hipster bar. Instead, the people behind the bar are perfume gods and goddesses, waiting to help you find your own Original Scent. Then you notice Kelly Bensimon (Real Housewives of New York) sniffing and smelling at the bar.  She’s consulting with artisan perfumer Sarah Horowitz to create a custom blended perfume. There’s Jeff Goldblum trying out different scents. These sessions are taking place at Original Scent, a new upscale custom fragrance boutique in Pasadena, CA. Original Scent is…

Learning To Blend Perfume – A Class With An Artisan Pefumer

When you’re really passionate about wine, there’s nothing better than getting an opportunity to visit one of your favorite wineries, meet the winemaker, and then have a blending session led by that winemaker.  By learning the basics of blending, you can taste how just a few drops here or a few milliliters there of Cabernet Franc added to a Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend can make all the difference, one creating a blend that you don’t like at all to one that is sublime, one that you can’t wait to drink. The same principle applies in perfume blending, as I learned one recent Saturday in Los Angeles.  I had met perfumer Sarah Horowitz through the Artisan Frangrance Salons held in San Francisco and LA, and I liked her perfumes very much.  I’m obsessed with Perfect Coconut Milk and Beauty Comes from Within.  When I heard that she also teaches a beginner’s…

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