Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Perfect Scent, A Year Inside The Perfume Industry

The Perfect Scent Book by Chandler Burr
Randomly picked up "The Perfect Scent" by Chandler Burr. The book delves into the world of perfumers giving a very artistic, yet well-rounded with science, look into the luxury world of scent. It follows two perfumes: Lovely being created in New York City by the perfumers at Coty under the creative direction of Sarah Jessica Parker (famed Sex & The City star), & Jardin Su De Nil being created by Ellena in Paris for the luxury brand Hermes.

Author Chandler Burr does a bang-up great job of blending together the art & science of perfumery while taking us through the not-often-seen parts of what it takes to create a perfume recipe. I had to put the book down several times to look up fragrances that he was describing because I wanted to see the bottles they came in and get a better visual idea of what they each were. 

My appreciation for perfumers has sky-rocketed after reading this book. If you are into cologne and perfume, are kinda geeky with science, this is a great read.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beyond Paradise - Mens Green Aquatic Scent

The 3.4 oz. bottle is one of the most mesmerizing I've seen. A curved glass design, which if it were all chrome would make me think of a sleek flask. The colored glass begins at the top in tones of turquoise fading to ultramarine blue and ends on a base that glints with a subtle ruby tone. The bottle designer did a bang up job of invoking a look of tropical depths of water & endless horizons.

Fragrance Profile
Name: Beyond Paradise for Men
Aromas: Green Aquatic, Pineapple
Cost: $$
Perfume Line: Estee Lauder
Creator: Calice Asancheyev-Becker 

Beyond Paradise for Men was launched in 2004 by Estee Lauder. The perfumer that dreamed up this tropical escape is Calice Asancheyev-Becker. This scent has some similarities to the 1997 scent What About Adam created by Calice for the perfume house Joop! But this one is so much better. It's a clean aquatic aroma with some awesome fruit and florals blended in. I'd tag it as a green aquatic. Around the aquatic base I gets hints of pineapple & fruit. Which makes me a very happy man. 

I find myself sniffing my wrists and getting a big grin when wearing this. Certainly a beachy Summer scent that's aptly named. 

While it is classified as an aquatic, it hasn't gone overboard (pun intended) with the sillage or saltiness. Not at all like the in-your-face famed aquatic cologne Aqua Di Gio.

The price point is good for Beyond Paradise too. A 3.4 oz. bottle can be found for around $50.  

I am thinking I need to check out some more of perfumer Calice's work. I see that of late she's been doing work with By Killian.

If You Like This Scent, Try These Too:
  • Set Sail South Seas by Tommy Bahama, a simple recipe of three ingredients- Mandarin, Violet, and Rum. I always get people at the beach asking me what I am wearing.
  • Eau de Rem by Reminiscence, a beach scent, with hints of vanilla, rosemary and bergamont.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Today I Smell... Lilac

lilac aroma scent
The smell on the breath of the air coming through the screened window...
Brings to mind the aroma Flowers For Men: Lilac by Neil Morris Fragrances with scent notes of lilac, musk, white hyacinth, leather, and cedar.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Snarky Perfume Reviews How I Love Thee

the perfume guide book
Love him or hate him, Luca Turin is gifted with a biting wit in his writing that makes me cringe and laugh out loud at the same time. I cringe because I'd hate to be the one on the receiving end of one of his critiques. I laugh because it's just great verbage. The intro to the book tells a lot about what type of writing can be expected in the following pages:

The question that women casually shopping for perfume ask more than any other is this:"What scent drives men wild?" After years of intense research, we know the definitive answer. It is bacon. Now, on to the far more interesting subject of perfume...

Luca Turin Review

He delves into women's and men's fragrances; critiquing them alongside one another. 

Example from his book  where he gives a one star rank &jots a review of the Olsen Twin's perfume:

Cheap trashy fun with a fruity top and coconut-rum woody drydown, a nice effect that falls apart shortly after application. It's fine for a tween audience who doesn't know what "jasmine spice," the description on the box, would smell like.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cedar Cologne Scent 06 Amanu by Odin New York

cedar mens cologne
Ordered a sample of 06 Amanu solely because it won the Fifi award for best independent scent of 2011. I can see why it merits a whiff after having wore it around for a couple days. It's refined aroma includes notes of Green galbanum, Jasmin sambac, Magnolia, Cedarleaf, live moss, and sheer musk.

My nose translates the bulk of this as a cedar chest where you would place keepsakes. It's cozy.

I do have to take issue with it winning the Fifi award for an independent scent. The perfume house Odin doesn't really seem like it qualifies. How is this fragrance "independent" when it was created by a company that out sourced the creation of the scent?  Makes me think of the movies that are labeled "independent" that star Brad Pitt & Meryl Streep.

Blogger Nathan Branch asked some great questions of the term "independent" in regards to Odin & winning:

Difference Between Independent and Artisan So how “independent” is it really when you don’t own your own studio, use your own materials, produce your own product or are in charge of your own sales?
Because that sounds seriously “dependent” to me, and not necessarily a good position to be in when larger players in the industry decide they want to start buying up supply chains, locking down production facilities and using their influence to kick the competition from the shelf space.

If you like the scent of cedar, try these: 
  • Ex Libris by perfume house Tokyo Milk. It's the cheaper cousin of 06 Amanu. It's not as refined, but then again it cost less and is similar. You decide.
  • Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio, it literally smells of smoldering cedar on your skin for hours. And is crafted by a truely independent perfumer.

Friday, March 30, 2012

9 Things Every Man's Man Ought To Have & Do

BOISE, ID--(Marketwire -03/29/12)-

The man's man -- a country man. That's how most people typically refer to Matt Moore. After all, his book "Have Her Over for Dinner; a gentleman's guide to classic, simple meals" taught men all across the country how to wow a lovely lady with a home cooked meal. However, Moore definitely knows a thing or two outside of the kitchen. A Nashville based country music singer/songwriter, and also the creator/owner of the popular gentlemen's cologne line, Moonshine, Moore is the quintessential Modern Man. The proud history and lineage of Double R. Ranch Co. embodies the independent, bold, and manly spirit of the man's man -- Moore, along with Double R. Ranch Co., is proud to offer up ten must-haves to help men everywhere become a Modern Man. 

Cast Iron skillet - Heavy, durable, and inexpensive -- cast iron skillets retain even heat while blackening, roasting, simmering, or sautéing. The best part? It lasts a lifetime. Your grandkids will fight over it when you're dead.

Go-to Steakhouse Recipe to Impress - Forget about splurging at the steakhouse. Be a man -- learn how to cook killer steaks at home. Purchase a quality cut of steak, such as Double R. Ranch Co.'s Steakhouse Filet. Hint: your meal will only be as good as your ingredients, so don't skimp on your beef. Heat your seasoned cast iron skillet over medium high heat until it's hot. Liberally season the filets on both sides with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Next, sear the filets in the skillet for 3 - 4 minutes on each side (Don't touch it! Allow the meat to cook undisturbed to create a nice sear, i.e. flavor). For thicker cuts, place the steak into a preheated oven at 350 degrees to finish cooking -- until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F for medium rare. Remove steaks from heat, place on a cutting board and tent with foil -- resting for 5 or so minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Serve.

Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon - Bold, rich flavors with lush fruit aromas and spice. A crowd pleasing bottle of wine pairs perfectly with a quality steak -- and of course, that intriguing brunette on your arm.

Firm handshake - A man is only as good as his words. A man's words are built on trust. Trust is earned with a firm handshake and a square look in the eye.

Dark sports coat - Casual with a pair of dark jeans, or dressed up with a pair of slacks -- every man should keep a well-tailored, pressed sports coat on hand to arrive fashionably at any occasion.

Pocketknife - You'll never know how bad you needed one of these things until you start carrying one every day. From opening letters, to 'trimming' the fat -- a dependable pocketknife is the real men's 'accessory.'

Cologne - Smell like a man. Find a scent that avoids celebrity endorsements or frail models to push sales. Instead, stick with woodsy notes of musk, spice, and leather to make your inherent manliness smell even better.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Perfume for Men or Only Cologne?

cologne bottles
One of the first books I read on the topic of scent was Perfume by Luca Turin. He includes lists in the back of his book like "Top 10 Colognes for Men" "Top Ten Perfumes for Women" and "Top 10 Women's Scents that Men Ought to Wear." It was nice to be given permission to try them out. It seems that here in the USA men approach scent very strictly, only wearing what is deemed "cologne" and avoiding anything remotely labeled perfume.

Something I find intriguing is the fact that in the early 1900's men's scent veered into more florals than what is on the market today. With scents including such notes as Violet, Lemon, and even Lilac. All three of which I've liked the smell of on me.

It's becoming clear to me that the idea of scents being gender categorized is a quite new idea. I wonder if this phenomenon is due in part to the influx of advertising? I think of society when advertising wasn't as deeply saturated into people's everyday living, and wonder if people were making their buying decisions based more on what they personally responded to, instead of the mild brainwashing of advertising.

What I have found while sampling independent perfumer's scents is they don't label according to gender, rather by scent notes. A couple scents that I've tried and gotten rave compliments while wearing are not necessarily mens but arguably womens. And vice-versa. Unisex is the politically correct term. Green Oakmoss by Liz Zorn and Parfum De Maroc by Mandy Aftel aren't on the "men's" page. Likewise the scent Vanillaville and Fir are on the general women's page but smell very "masculine" to my nose.

All in all when it comes to scent I am striving to let my nose be my guide for what I like to wear as a scent.

"...I kindly ask you: don’t trust what they [perfumers] tell you... trust your nose. Your nose will tell you whether you smell something interesting, whether you smell something that’s worth investing money in. And whether it’s something that you’re going to wear two years from now." -Andy Tauer, Basenotes Interview

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Face Cleanser, Moisturizer, & Lip Balm - Nardos Natural

Nardos naturals shark tank
On the ABC television program Shark Tank I see four brothers presenting a family business Nardo's Naturals; a line of organic products. Intrigued, I log onto their clean-cut website and look over their product's ingredients. Being a fan of skin care products that don't contain ingredients that I can't pronounce or read, my excitement begins to mount as I read the ingredient lists. These aren't only easy to read, they each contain nourishing oils, like Jojoba oil, that are amazing for one's skin and health.

I order their organic face cleanser, organic face moisturizer, and a tube of the organic Vanilla lip balm. 

A few days later a box arrives in the mail. Inside a pouch containing the three sleek bottles. Making my way to my bathroom, I unscrew the pump on the face cleanser bottle, pump out a couple daubs to my fingers, and swirl around the skin of my face. It smells good, a pleasant herbal blend that reminds me of walking along the aisles of a local tea shop. Rinsing it off, patting my skin a bit, I unscrew the cap of the face cream to whiff it before applying to my damp skin. It smells very handsome. A soft Rose, Lavender, & Chamomile scent. I squirt out a dime-sized globule and spread over my nose, cheeks, and forehead. It soaks in quickly. Doesn't feel greasy. Leaves my skin looking, well... good.

Sale on Men's Colognes for Spring Over at Indie Scents

mens perfume cologne sale
If you've not tried Indie Scents as a source for niche colognes, you've been missing out. They have some of the best names in indie perfume... Slumberhouse, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, and Smell Bent. Take a look. Great prices too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cologne Layering Adventure

While layering together more than one cologne can have disastrous effects. Like causing a mass stampede towards the building's exit doors by people trying to escape the fumes emanating from your skin; leaving behind only those with gas masks or anosmia. I'll admit that there are a handful of scents I like to layer together.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mens Lavender & Vanilla Cologne Pour Un Homme De Caron

mens cologne

The cool aroma of lavender transitions into a warm vanilla dry down. It takes about a half hour on me to change into the latter scent. I find it clever on the part of the perfumer, to go from what I deem a cold aroma into a warm one. A scent journey of sorts- diving into a frozen lake followed by lounging in a sauna to dry off.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sexy Vanilla Cologne Vanillaville

Sexy vanilla. Spritz it on and soon the scent of leather, tobacco, and vanilla assails.

Fragrance Profile
Name: Vanillaville
Aromas: Chewing Tobacco, Vanilla, Leather
Perfume Line: Soivohle
Creator: Liz Zorn

On a flight to Los Angeles, I bring this little bottle of Vanillaville along. I travel light & the 11ml size spray bottle is just the right size to toss into a carry-on. I suppose it's worth mentioning that I wouldn't wear a cologne on a plane. It's too hard for other people to move away if they find a scent to be annoying. So once the plane lands, I fish out the bottle and squirt some of the Vanilla goodness onto my arm.

It's as I walk along the streets of Hollywood that I enjoy the wafts of vanilla. A man in line behind me keeps leaning in so close that it feels rather awkward until he says he wants to know what the good scent is?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Swiss Perfumer Andy Tauer's Work

andy tauer samples
Am rather taken with the works by Swiss perfumer from reading his blog, scent descriptions, and reading up on his history. He holds a degree in chemistry, and melds that so well with a vivid artistic vision displayed in the pieces of scent art he creates. Love this quote from a Question and Answer style interview posted on "Passion for Perfume" on The Scented Salamander (Read full post)  

"For me... a perfume must do two things: it must first wake the wearer, in the sense that it should be something new, a little disturbance from what he/she is used to. Secondly, it should make its wearer beautiful. It should melt with the skin and let it glitter; it must lift the wearer and render her/him a feeling of beauty, attractiveness and importance." -Andy Tauer 

Thus far I've smelled nearly all of Andy's offerings in sample vial sizes. I appreciate his very exacting Swiss style of containers and packaging. The vials fitting perfectly into the tin holder bearing his name. The scents themselves are fantastic. I am leaning towards a bottle of Lonestar Memories. It helps too that the bottle comes in cobalt blue. Another thing I like.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Experience with the Fragrance Underworld

Now before you read on thinking I have a dark association with the black market underbelly of the perfume world. I don't. (What would I know about that? I am a scrawny actor). I mean my experience with the cologne adeptly named Underworld by Liz Zorn. (Creator of Rivertown Road cologne, a favorite of mine.) When I read the name of the fragrance Underworld I was intrigued. My mind conjuring up the inspiration for the scent being mythological images of Anubis, the Jackal-headed Egyptian god bringing condemned souls into the underworld.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On My Quest for a Good Cologne I Had to Stop & Ask For Directions


After reading a few books on the topic of smell (Like NY Times Scent Critic Chandler Burr's The Perfect Scent & The Emperor of Scent, also Luca Turin's wickedly funny scent manifesto Perfumes: The A-Z Guide) I've been a lookout for great cologne. Hopefully one I can call my go-to scent. Easy enough, right? Um, sure... if there were only a handful of scents to choose from. But there's hundreds on the market and a steady stream of new ones every month it seems. (Let's just toss in a few more truck loads of hay onto that stack hiding the needle.)

Navigating Without A Scent Compass

During a long phone conversation with my fire-red haired chum on the topic of perfumes and scent, I came to the realization that she has a quasi-scent-compass. Opium. By Yves Saint Laurent. (Oh the lament she wailed about Opium's reformulation! But that's a different story.) It's her go-to scent. Hearing her speak, I think it bestows her with supernatural powers. Clark Kent needed a telephone booth to transform, she just needs a spritz of Opium. It seems that she navigates through perfume with more ease than I do. I theorize this is because Opium has become a sort of bearing for her in the endless stretch of perfume land. It's something she can return to if she doesn't find something else her nose enjoys. I want a scent-compass of my own.

paul cram bare chestTrudging Through Aroma

At first, I like every single cologne I smell on my skin. Nothing is bad. This isn't because everything is good. In retrospect, I realize it's because most everything I was trying out was just mediocre. Nothing that I'd really want to sleep in.

Bottled Up Shiny Blue & Red Spandex

I am under-whelmed. I am asking for a lot, I know. Who doesn't want to crack open a bottle of cologne and find a red cape and spandex tights inside? (You know what I mean.) An aroma that turns the wearer from normal to super with just a spritz.

Making Headway With An Emerging Scent Motif

From all the time spent whiffing, I realize my nose responds favorably to Honey, Violets, warm spices, and Citrus. (Can someone say classic Bay Rum cologne recipe?) Of which I have tried a few versions. Like St. John's Bay Rum, C.O. Bigelow, and Ogallala. Of those I prefer the second. My issue with all of them is they disappear from my skin in a matter of an half hour or less. Which isn't really what I am after.

Finding Tweeters Leads Me To Artist Perfumer Liz Zorn

Upon slight coaxing from my red-haired chum, I join Twitter. (Love the idea of getting away from Big Brother Facebook.) Which leads me to follow the tweets of business luxury-brand blogger @NathanBranch and men's scent blogger @FragrantMoments. Adding much delight to my online reading time.
It's through reviews by each (read Nathan's review & Fragrant Moments) that I become introduced to independent perfumer Liz Zorn and her recent work Rivertown Road Pour Homme. Their glowing write-ups pique my curiosity. Especially the quote from Liz herself saying "Rivertown Road is a complex yet modern Bay Rum Fougere with Seville Lavender Absolute..." The clincher is the Bay Rum reference. So I buy a sample vial to try out. Then I look up the word Fougere.

Definition Of The French Word Fougere

"Fern-like", is one of the main families into which modern perfumes are classified, with the name derived from the perfume Fougère Royale... The class of fragrances have the basic accord with a top-note of lavender and base-notes of oakmoss and coumarin. Aromatic fougère, a derivative of this class contain additional notes of spice and wood. -From Wikipedia

Cracking Open The Vial Of Zorn's "Modern Bay Rum Fourgere"

It comes in the mail on Saturday. I quickly cut open the envelope and pop open the top of the vial and apply to my skin. I am not sure of this scent at first. Sweet, a little honey. I move on with my afternoon of reading and every few minutes find myself putting my wrist to my nose and inhaling. The book winds up slipping from my hands as I drift into a cat-nap. A half hour later coming out of a cozy sleep haze, I wonder what the good smell is? It's me- err, it's the Rivertown Road. It would seem that this scent doesn't vanish in 30 minutes like those earlier mentioned bay rums.

The Aroma Brings to Mind a Sprig of Fresh Lavender Dipped in Honey & Spice

I like it so much that later that same evening I order the 32ml bottle from Liz's website. It comes inside a red cardboard cylinder. The bottle itself makes me think of a chunky nail-polish jar. Rather cool.
Considering that I've already used up a third of the bottle, also that I find myself sniffing the aroma in my shirts when I take them off, and that I wear the cologne to bed- I think it's safe to say I've found my go-to scent.


It seems to me that I've got a sense of my bearings a little better now in the terrain of men's cologne. I'll certainly be trying out more Fourgere style scents, that's for sure. Much gratitude to the bloggers & authors that assisted me.

Fellow Scent Soul Mates?

I actually like Rivertown Road so much I find myself spritzing my wrist before bed so I can smell it while I drift off to sleep. (Does anyone else do that with your favorite scent? Let me know with a comment, so I know I am not a lone weirdo.)