The sweet smell of perfume

Last Friday in LA with my older brother, the brilliant classical composer and House DJ Gabriel D. Vine, he took me to the wonderful sliver of a store called The Scent Bar in Beverly Hills.

They were premiering a scent collection by the perfumer Andy Tauer who was there to greet and discuss. My brother pounced.

Any one who has any inkling to the Perfume world knows that the French are long standing masters of subtle nuances of scent, Grasse being the capital of fragrance extraction for hundreds of years. French women and men will frequently have several signature scents varying in intensity from Day Wear, a casual luncheon, to an exciting date night. Their perfume being chosen carefully to impart a memory to the unknowing audience. I spent about 2 years shopping around for what I have thought of as my signature scents. The complex top notes, middle, and heart notes that I felt made ” me ” up. During a particularly decadent trip to Paris I found myself wandering over to the Serge Lutens boutique. It has a temple like atmosphere and diligent well versed shop keepers. I fell in love with two of their available only in Paris scents, Sarrasins,and Ambre Sultan. One is a very complicated sandalwood/ylang ylang that I use for the day and for evening events that require exotic worldliness, the other is a Jasmine blend that to me captivates the night. My Friend Guillaume swears by their Tubereuse Criminelle a cross between rose and Menthol.

Scent is such a strange unconscious thing and we frequently underestimate the effect of it around us. Our natural body odor mixing with the oils of the perfumes personalizes the fragrance in a few minutes. I became obsessed with scents as an adult, holiday walks through the mall as a kid left me emotionally scarred by the scores of perfume pushers standing by ready to blast you by whatever golden liquid was in their shaped glass bottle. That is until I discovered pure essential oils. Once I had my nose in a bottle of pure Indian Jasmine or French Rose I was a convert. I didn’t know until that moment the pleasure scents could give. I was transported.

I brought my sensitive but untrained nose and my collection of essential oils and amateur blends I had attempted to my brother in La during a visit. Now fast forward a couple years, he has now turned what was a mild obsession of mine into a level of almost addiction. Did you know there are websites for people that will exchange portions of their perfume bottle contents in exchange for others Vintage or new. He has bottles in his fridge, and usually one or two new scents arriving. I am fascinated by his meticulous analysis of all his perfumes it reminds me of his music the way he analyzes notes. Which brings us back to the Scent Bar in Beverly Hills. A unique and well stocked supply of unexpected and independent perfumers as well as some solid standards, probably the most comprehensive in the US. He’s a regular there, and for a shop thats only been open six years, they love what they do. I met quite a few regulars there.

Alicia, a stylist I respect, turned me on a few years ago to Frederick Malle. Frederick has just recently expanded into NYC and LA in boutiques bringing over more of their complete line. My tasteful ex turned me onto UK’s Annick Goutal’s Eau de Charlotte, a scent the perfumer created for her daughter based on Black Current. When I visited their boutique in London during a Vogue job, I found they made the Eau de Charlotte in a bar of soap. I have distinguished friends that swear by Maria Santa Novello. If you are in New York try Bond #9, Le Labo, or Aedes de Venustas

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One Response to The sweet smell of perfume

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