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Archive for September, 2010

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you might be aware that I love Diorissimo, although I never smelled it in its heyday.  I bought a tester bottle, unsniffed, on ebay, about the time that the newest reformulation appeared in its white box with pink lettering and trims.  I have now smelled that new version, and my immediate thought was “bathroom cleaner.”  Ugh.  I was lucky to have avoided that, because I really did not know what I was getting into.  My Diorissimo is lovely, and yet I can imagine what the scent was like in its girlhood, all innocent happy white flowers and, underneath, the smell of skin. 

If you love the smell of lilies of the valley but haven’t yet found a scent that smells just like them, fear not.  Now there is Carillon Pour un Ange.

Here are notes from the Tauer Perfumes website:

HEAD NOTES: A soft rose in harmony with ylang, and lilac prepares for a green accord of lily of the valley.

HEART NOTES: Graceful lily of the valley and smooth jasmine melt into soft suave leather.

BODY NOTES: A sheer blanket of ambergris, ornamented with the illusion of moss and woods.

A green floral delight.   “Building a fragrance with lily of the valley singing in spring was a wish since I started making perfumes. Carillon pour un ange is my tribute to this wonderful forest treasure. It is a green choir of flowers. Enjoy!”  — Andy Tauer

And may I say that I always enjoy the descriptions of Tauer scents?  They’re poetic, yet not to the point that you don’t actually know what the fragrances are supposed to smell like.  There’s a good dash of reason in there along with the poetry. 

As I write, the temperature outside is 62 F, and it is raining.  Dry leaves have blown from the neighbor’s trees all over my yard.  It is definitely not spring, and I’m probably crazy for trying to write a review of a scent that shouts, “Springtime!”  At the same time, CPuA was just released a few short weeks ago, and it’s fall in Switzerland too.  Why did this scent debut in the fall?  It’s odd.  It is possible that Tauer Perfumes wanted to release it in a timeframe that would allow buzz to get out into the perfume world, so that everyone would be craving it at the tail end of winter.  I  have a feeling I’ll be wanting it myself.

As per usual when writing  a perfume review, I’ve worn CPuA four times, to make sure I don’t miss anything.  (I absolutely never write a review without at least three wearings.  That would be, I dunno, intellectually lazy.  Furthermore, I’d be forever backtracking to old reviews: “… and another thing, I found out that the weather matters…” or “… what I just said the other day about this fragrance is wrong, wrong, wrong… I just didn’t ‘get it’ before…” or “… I just realized that I really don’t love this thing as much as I thought…”

If you’re not familiar with carillons, I’d urge you to go check out Wikipedia’s article on them here.  They’re not very common in the US, and I’ve only heard three of them live myself: the one at the National Cathedral in DC, the one at Hollins University in my home town (my piano teacher used to arrange for our recitals to be held in the college recital hall, which has lovely acoustics), and the one near Luray Caverns, VA.  Carillons, due to the strong harmonic overtones inherent in foundry bells, can sound out of tune even when they’re not.  You don’t just hear, for example, an A when one bell is struck; you hear A, A an octave up, A an octave down, E (fifth interval), C natural (minor third), and some other, more unusual, intervals as well.  Also, because the bells are still reverberant for some seconds after being struck, you’re hearing many many many notes at once.  The effect can be really startling, as a carillon at full tilt and close range can be something like an avalanche of sound.   (It’s why they generally reside in towers.) You can hear a recording at the Wikipedia article, about halfway down the page.  Go listen… see?

I am well aware that you non-music geeks just rolled your eyes at me.  Bear with me for a minute, because I’m going to make a point: “Carillon” was an appropriate name for this thing, because there are all sort of harmonic overtones of smell going on here.

CPuA starts out a bit harsh and loud, even a tad air-freshener-like, when sniffed up close in the first five minutes, and I have yet to figure out why.  The air two inches above my wrist is beautiful: cool, green, floral.  I do not smell rose or ylang, but I am getting lilac (is that the note that’s bothering me up close?) and a chilly, almost metallic hyacinth along with an amorphous green note that I can’t really place.  It’s not galbanum or citrusy green, but it’s a crushed-stems green that smells very natural.   This part is fairly high-pitched, tinkling along like the “angel bells” of the fragrance title.

And then for a gorgeous hour, I smell lily of the valley along with that green note and some juicy, innocent jasmine, ginggongging away like happy, mellow bells on my skin.  Gradually I begin to smell the leather under the florals, and I really enjoy that combination – soft leather that is smooth and never brash or tannic, undergirding the light-hearted florals.  I’m not even much of a leather fan, except when it is well in the background as it is here.  I like the way the leather begins to ground the florals.

Eventually, the basenotes of light moss and woods join in, but they are very quiet, and as the jasmine note eventually drops out, I continue to smell the muguet over the slightly salty, woody base.  I do not smell ambergris, although it’s possible I’m not recognizing it.  The entire drydown is radically different from any other Tauer fragrance I’ve worn: it’s not warm and rich, with the plushy depth of the Tauerade I’m used to.  It’s cool and transparent, and aligns beautifully with the white flowers here, keeping the scent in the verdant, meadowed character it’s been in all along.  Late in the drydown, there is an earthy quality that reminds me of the fresh, living smell of damp potting soil.  There’s a sonorous hum to this part of the scent, like the faint vibrations in the air that linger after the bells have stopped ringing.

A couple of reviews I’ve read of CPuA, particularly on luckyscent or fragrantica or other forums, mention an oiliness or a dark quality under the flowers, and I don’t get that.  There’s leather, and moss, and that earthiness, but they don’t strike me as being either oily or dark.  One review made a reference to “asphalt.”  Asphalt?  There are enough of these references that I can’t dismiss them, but I do wonder if there’s a terminology issue, and these reviewers just don’t have references for moss or ambergris or leather.  Alternately, it’s possible that I’m accustomed to a darker base than some of these reviewers, and the dark element just doesn’t bother me – or, possibly, I just didn’t perceive it at all.   Perceptions do differ.  I’m convinced that skins do, too.

CPuA is labeled “Eau de Parfum Riche.”  While it’s not nearly as radiant or as long-lasting as, say, Une Rose Chypree (look, I love URC, but the thing has the half-life of plutonium!), it is no floofy, light creature of feathers and smoke.  It sticks around.  I have been wearing it three drops at a time: one on each wrist, one at the base of the neck, the way I would dab parfum.  It’s very present for about four hours, and I can still smell it at seven hours, although it’s quiet by that time.  It is available in a 15ml bottle, for $67 USD, plus approximately $19 priority shipping, at Tauer Perfumes, or for $75, plus $8 shipping, at Lucky Scent.   

Carillon Pour un Ange is not Diorissimo.  But it is a lovely picture of lily of the valley all the same, and rather than subject myself to the current harsh version of Dior’s classic muguet scent, I’ll be replacing my bottle of Diorissimo, when it runs out, with Carillon Pour un Ange.

Other reviews of CPuA:  Marina at PST; March at Perfume Posse; Fragrantica; Bloody FridaHortus Conclusus; Perfume Shrine; Scent of the Day.  I keep waiting for Robin at Now Smell This – she’s a huge fan of vintage Diorissimo – to review this, but she hasn’t yet.  Mixups involving her sample, she said.  When she posts it, I’ll link to it.

Photos of Lily of the Valley (convallaria majalis) and of Carillon from Wikimedia Commons.  Photo of Tauer Carillon Pour un Ange from Tauer Perfumes.

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Updated comment policy

I have just edited the comment policy to deal with comments relating to commercial activity, having recently received a comment that simply notifies readers that the commenter has a particular bottle of perfume up for sale on eBay.

I am not interested in blogging in order to serve as a clearinghouse for people’s perfume sales.  If somebody wants an old bottle of Eau de Whatever, that person is free to use the search function at eBay or Etsy or Goodwill.

My blog is not a free billboard.

Here’s the updated comment policy, if you’d like more details.  If you have questions, please email me and I’ll try to clarify.

And, hey- I just noticed that I blew my 200th post on a housecleaning issue.  Arrgh.  (Still, it had to be done.)

Review of Tauer Carillon Pour un Ange coming up in a few days…

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Monday, Sept. 20: Big stressful catching-up day, since we were gone all weekend and didn’t do any of the normal house-maintenance things.  There must be a gazillion loads of laundry…

Okay, maybe just eight or nine, but that’s still a lot of laundry.  SOTD: Mariella Burani, which is like a virtual hug from my mom.   

Tuesday, Sept. 21:  With all this laundry,  it was a spectacularly bad moment for the well to start running dirty… but that’s what it did.  The CEO’s uncle, who lives on a portion of the farm, had to replace a section of 80-year-old pipe from the older well to his house, and (unwittingly or not) shut off water access to a group of cows in a particular field.  He didn’t bother to call us, and it was sheer good luck that The CEO happened to go check on a certain cow in that field, or we wouldn’t have known they were out of water.

Know what happens to cows denied access to water for hours in 90-degree heat?  Go ahead, take a guess.  Yeah – they die!  Luckily, these were only without water for about four hours – and when we got their waterer switched over to the other well, they drank so steadily and quickly that it overburdened the second well, and our water got dirty. 

 So we’re on bottled water here for a few days, and the Laundry Monster grows by the minute.  SOTD: DK Gold.

Wednesday, Sept. 22:   Busybusybusy morning, and didn’t want any of the samples I had in my purse (Donna Karan Chaos, TDC Rose Poivree, Kenzo Winter Flowers, DSH Bat Sheba “designer duplicate,” ELd’O Vraie Blonde).  When I got home, I went straight for SL La Myrrhe, which is about as close to perfect as there is, IMHO.  Swoon.

Thursday, Sept. 23:  Again too busy for picking a scent before leaving the house.  But it’s hot again today – supposed to be in the 90s – so most of the things in my purse are too heavy.  Went for the ELd’O Vraie Blonde even though I didn’t expect to like it, since I think aldehydes and heat are made for each other.  What was worrying me about this one, sent to me by a Fumie Friend who loves the thing, was the “milky bruised peach” aspect that P:TG mentions – that combo of lactones and peach just tends to make me ill.  Notes for VB, from Fragrantica: aldehydes, white pepper, patchouli, peach, rose, suede and myrrh.  Having put it on, I must say it’s rather nice in the top and heart.  I don’t get lactones out of it until the drydown, and the patchouli’s pretty clean, so it smells mostly like peachy suede for most of the experience.  After that it gets a bit like… buttermilk.  Which makes great biscuits, but that’s the only time I really want to spend with buttermilk.  I don’t want it on my skin.

Friday, Sept. 24:  I rushed out the door in order to get Bookworm to school early to take a Spanish test she missed by being sick last week.  Ergo, no perfume except the stash-o-samples in my bag, which I was looking forward to rooting through when I got to work…

… except that when I got to work, I found an email from my sister commiserating with me over the domestic tragedy involving some high school friends of mine.  I hadn’t known – had missed the morning radio news – and was utterly shocked and saddened. 

I did not feel like wearing perfume at all, until The CEO called me and said he was done with classes for the day, and could he take me to lunch?  I said yes.  And found that I did want perfume after all, something sweet and melancholy, and in my purse was a vial of Soivohle Violets & Rainwater, which is all sweet showery violets, with an earthy drydown.   

By evening, V&R had worn off, and I spritzed some Caron Aimez-Moi (which I’ll be reviewing the first week of November, as part of a multi-blog project on violet fragrances). 

Saturday, Sept. 25:  Fed Bookworm and The CEO a good breakfast, and saw them off for Bookworm’s cross-country meet, followed by a band competition.  Cleaned house.  Wrote a little on my second novel.  Tried a sniff of L’Artisan Fleur de Narcisse, the pricey LE one, from a care package sent to me by the Queen Enabler.  Decided it would go great, as promised, with Champagne de Bois.  I don’t layer often, but I did this afternoon, and wore the combo to our county Farm Bureau annual dinner/membership meeting.

 Excellent news: Bookworm won the junior varsity race!  And the band received a Superior rating for their performance.  They won their division too, but they seem to have been the only band in it, so we’ll just concentrate on the Superior rating and be happy about that. 

Sunday, Sept. 26:  Worked with preschoolers during the 9 am church service, and then attended the 11 am service.  I like this age, but I’ll be absolutely honest and tell you that these guys wear me out.  Whew.  SOTD: Ormonde Jayne Ta’if.  After weeks of Hot and Dry, temps have cooled off, and we’re supposed to get at least two inches of rain over the next few days.  We really need it. 

Image is Perfume Bottles from carpe noctem at Flickr.

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Stunned

Just found out that a guy I went to high school with has apparently killed his estranged wife and himself, in a murder-suicide case in our small home town.

A divorce – an ugly one – was underway, and both parties allegedly had other love interests.  The couple had two children.

I am shaken and grieving, although neither of these people were great friends of mine, and I probably last saw them about 15 years ago.  It’s shocking when violence touches a small, close-knit place such as the town where I grew up.  This was not just some couple in some town on some street, and the phrase “this hits close to home” is really true.  It hit me.  It hurts.

It’s not so much that domestic violence is less likely to crop up in small communities; it’s not less likely at all.  And domestic violence touches all our lives in some small way or other, no matter where we live or who we know.  It’s that if you’d told me at graduation, “One of your classmates will kill his or her spouse more than 20 years from now,” I’d have believed you – I’d just have guessed a different person entirely.  In fact, I’d have probably guessed at least a hundred other people before getting to this guy – and my graduating class was only 244 people. 

The couple lived on a street I’m very familiar with: a close friend lived there, my piano teacher lived there, some close friends of my parents’ from church still live there.  My sister lives a few blocks away, and heard the sirens.  The image of fire, rescue, and police vehicles clogging the street, lights flashing, is haunting me.

I can’t stop thinking about those kids.

If you are so inclined, prayers for the family, and for the people who love them, would be much appreciated.

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Bois des Iles, originally released in 1926, has for decades been The Reference Sandalwood fragrance, and is still a favorite of many perfume fans.  Robin at Now Smell This calls it “the epitome of understated elegance.”  Victoria at Bois de Jasmin calls it “beautiful from any perspective.”  Marina at Perfume-Smellin’ Things calls it “miraculous, smooth, soft, infinitely wearable.”  Tania Sanchez, in Perfumes: The Guide, calls it “timeless” and “basically perfect.”  She describes the Chanel scents as “a series of Little Black Dresses,” and Bois des Iles as “the one in cashmere.”    

But I didn’t know any of that when I first smelled Bois des Iles, which was one of the first fragrances to captivate me when I began my sojourn into PerfumeLand.  I had started, you see, with a “Pick Four Chanel EdTs” sampler pack from The Perfumed Court.  I wanted to smell the classics first, and I knew No. 5 already, so I chose No. 19, No. 22, Cristalle, and Bois des Iles. 

I tried Cristalle first, and was not moved – except that I recognized the drydown as the smell of my mother’s best friend when I was a kid.  No. 19 came next, and I liked the topnotes, which I described to myself as “old-fashioned,” not really knowing what galbanum was.  Then I found that I had my wrist glued to my nose, and from then on we were best buds, No. 19 and me.  No. 22, which I’d identified from the notes as the one most likely to please me, was instead a sugar-bowl nightmare, with a powdery-crunchy texture that I disliked from the get-go.

Bois des Iles, from the first minute I put it on, was beautiful.  It reminded me a great deal of Mom’s No. 5, and then developed a texture so unusual and so lovely that in describing it to myself, I pulled up an old memory.

When I was fourteen, my family went to Florida on vacation.  We went to Disney World, and Daytona Beach, and Weeki Wachee Springs, and Fort Augustine, and we also went to Sea World.  My brother, then four, was fascinated with the shark tank, but the experience that stayed with me was petting the stingrays.  In a long but shallow pool, Sea World had several rays which had had their stings removed, and visitors were encouraged to pet the rays as they swam past.  The rays didn’t seem to mind all the hands, at times appearing to seek out a patting hand the way my cat will arch her back under a piece of furniture, so I stuck my hand into the water as a ray swam past.  It felt amazing – like wet velvet.  Like wet, living velvet, really, because I could feel the ray’s body flexing and arcing as it moved its propelling tail, and it was warmer than the water surrounding it.  My parents had to practically drag me away from the low pool so we could see the killer whale show, and I still wish I could go back and pet the rays again.

Bois des Iles feels like the texture of the ray: soft, velvety, warm, but with a solid, flexible frame underneath. 

So what does it smell like?  Well, as I mentioned, there are those aldehydes to begin with, much lighter than in No. 5, but with that sparkly-powdery-soapy brightness that says Proper Perfume to me.  As the aldehydic veil lifts, you notice the floral blend floating past, and it too is reminiscent of No. 5, with that rose-jasmine-ylang heart.  The florals always go by more quickly than I expect, and then we’re down into the deep heart-and-base that lasts a long time.  This, like Chanel says, actually does smell like gingerbread: a spicy warmth that’s just a bit sweet, with that wonderful bitter edge of molasses.  If you’re worried about the vanilla, fear not – it’s neither the sweet gourmand cupcakey kind nor Guerlain’s patented TarNilla, but rather, like really expensive vanilla extract behaves in a yellow cake, it gives the scent a roundness and depth without being identifiable as vanilla. BdI is definitely a Chanel, too – the identifying Chanel iris is present, noticeable mostly as that satiny texture that iris seems to give a fragrance, while itself disappearing, like the vanilla, into its surroundings.   And then there’s that sandalwood.

It’s beautiful, and nearly indescribable.  As it is, I can only come up with adjectives without really telling you what real sandalwood smells like: creamy, tangy-sweet, complex but in a completely natural way, floral yet astringent with a clean “bite.”  Once I’d smelled it here, I was then able to start picking it out of other fragrances – it seems particularly noticeable, and lovely, in vintage scents.  My 1960s Arpege extrait has an enormous quantity of sandalwood in it, and although it is accented differently in Arpege, with oakmoss, patchouli, amber and musk, it’s unmistakable.  I also have a small vintage bottle of Prince Matchabelli Stradivari, where the  top and heart notes have been irretrievably damaged by age, but the drydown is a stunning harmony of sandalwood and cedar. 

Real sandalwood from the Mysore region in India has been overharvested, and although some quantities of oil from santalum album from a government-sponsored plantation in nearby Tamil Nadu are available, most perfumers have gone one of two routes in replacing it in their compositions.  Option 1 is synthetics.  Several aromachemicals which mimic sandalwood are available: Polysantol, Javanol, Sandalore, Ebanol, Sandela, probably some others.  However, the word is that none of these are excellent substitutes, just available ones.  (Guerlain Samsara is famous, or perhaps infamous, for its proportion of Polysantol.)  Option 2 is essential oil from real wood, produced somewhere else.  This option includes the aforementioned Tamil Nadu sandalwood, or essential oil produced from santalum austrocaledonii, a similar species, in Australia, Vanuatu, or New Caledonia.  Supposedly the New Caledonian and Vanuatuan sandalwood oil is very good, albeit lighter and a bit more astringent than traditional sandalwood.  The kind grown in Australia is more plentiful, and priced lower, than the island versions, [1] but it is brighter still, with more bite and less creaminess.  Option 3, of course, is a mixture of naturals and synthetics.

I have no way of knowing, of course, but if I had to guess, I might postulate that Chanel is still getting its hands on at least some of that Tamil Nadu sandalwood.  If anybody can afford it, it’s Chanel!  However, it’s possible that they’re supplementing with the Australian.  I notice that my decant of Bois des Iles, from the Les Exclusifs line, is clearly thinner than my original vial of BdI from TPC.  Even “sprayed wet,” it is hardly smellable from a yard away, and by the time the gingerbread accord shows up, I can only smell it by hoovering my arm. 

Other people have said that their LE version of BdI smells just fine to them.  Maybe it’s me.  Maybe my decant was the first sprayed out of the bottle, and the alcohol had floated to the top.  Maybe that particular bottle, so kindly ordered from the Chanel boutique in Washington, DC, and so kindly split by hand by the Queen Enabler, Dear Daisy, was insufficiently macerated (see FlitterSniffer’s post here at Bonkers about Perfume, on how a coveted decant of Guerlain Plus Que Jamais was so different from the way that it ought to smell that even the SA acknowledged it).   My Les Exclusifs decant does have the right smell  – it’s just faint, as if it had been diluted by half.

For this review, I wore both my own decant of Les Exclusifs Bois des Iles, and an older sample of edt from The Perfumed Court.  The LE decant lasts about four hours, with the final two – my favorite part, of course – clinging very close to the skin.  The TPC sample lasts about five hours, and even dabbed from a vial, projects better and lingers longer.  A parfum version is available in Chanel boutiques and certain high-end outlets, but I have never smelled it.  (I should.)

Notes for BdI:  Aldehydes, jasmine, damask rose, ylang, bitter almond, gingerbread, iris, vanilla, sandalwood, tonka bean, vetiver.

Dear Daisy also sent me a sample of Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne de Bois, saying, “You like Bois des Iles, right? Try this.”  And she’s quite correct – CdB, while not a dead ringer for BdI, is undeniably in the same vein, and could conceivably be labeled an homage to Bois des Iles.  Certainly perfumer Laurie Erickson has smelled Bois des Iles, and I’d betcha money she loves it.

Since my small vial of CdB was nearly exhausted, I ordered a larger sample from SSS recently in order to test for this review.  My padded envelope came in the mail, and the samples I’d ordered were further encased in a small plastic envelope – yet I could smell the Champagne de Bois the instant I opened the larger mailing envelope.  A tiny bit had leaked out of the spray vial, and it immediately perfumed the air. 

SSS fragrances are fairly concentrated, I’ve noticed before.  My favorites, Tabac Aurea and Velvet Rose, are so strong that one spray lasts for hours.  This is true for Champagne de Bois as well.  The SSS website notes that the fragrance concentration ranges from 20 to 24%, which makes all these scents essentially parfum strength.  (I nearly overdosed on Tabac Aurea once.  If you’re considering three sprays – well, take it from me, it’s a bad idea.  Seriously, don’t.)  A drop of CdB lasts about six hours on me, and when sprayed, eight to twelve hours. 

The fragrance starts with sparkly aldehydes, and something that reminds me of Andy Tauer’s distinctive mandarin note, up front, and a jasmine-spice bit shining through the aldehydes.  Although it’s not listed, I’d swear there was a tiny bit of rose in there, but just a tad.  I love clove and spicy notes, and I think I’d also say there was a bit of some other spice in there with the clove – cardamom, maybe? I don’t know.  It does feel more symphonic than clove alone, which can be a rather single-minded, Genghis Khan take-no-prisoners sort of accent.

Champagne de Bois has a lovely sandalwood focus as well.  I asked Laurie if she’d be willing to identify her source for sandalwood, and she was kind enough to tell me that she uses a blend of real sandalwood and synthetic.  It’s a very beautiful interpretation of sandalwood.  The amber, though, tends to take over toward the end, so that the last couple of hours are a little sweeter than I’d like.  

Notes for CdB: Aldehydes, jasmine, clove, sandalwood, labdanum, vetiver, amber.  (I keep wondering if this is a truncated list, simplified for the Sonoma Scent Studio website because it gives a good description of what’s prominent in the scent.  I’m smelling at least three things in there that aren’t listed (orange, rose and spices other than clove).  Which may of course be olfactory illusion, and if it is, that’s genius.)

For this review, I performed two serious, all-day, wrist-to-wrist comparisons.  The first time, I tried it with a drop of CdB from a sample vial on my left wrist and two drops of BdI from my TPC sample on my right.  The second test was two generous spritzes from my BdI decant on my left wrist and one small spritz, what I call a “squidge,” of CdB on my right.  There are strong similarities between the two, but a few distinct differences. 

Right from the start, CdB has lighter aldehydes, and that orange-citrus note I mentioned before, flowing very quickly into the jasmine and spice phase, while BdI spends a good 15 minutes in the aldehydic stage before changing.  The CEO actually prefers the topnotes of Bois des Iles, although I don’t myself, finding them a little soapy.  Once the jasmine-spice of Champagne de Bois has settled in, CdB is unusual and lovely, and my family seems to prefer it over BdI’s aldehyde-classic floral blend.  In fact, CdB stays in this lovely spicy-floral stage for quite some time, during which the rich wood-and-amber base begins to float up, creating a lovely spice market effect.  It’s beautiful and luxurious, and while I know some people like to wear CdB in the summer, it’s too rich for me in the heat. 

But during the drydown, as I mentioned before, the amber of CdB tends to take over and skew just a bit too sweet, while the “gingerbread” accord and sandalwood-iris of Bois des Iles becomes more and more wonderful.  Restrained – like having afternoon tea with only a single bite of gingerbread left on your dessert plate – but wonderful, subtle, elegant, with those sculpted Chanel cheekbones.  My daughter put it this way: “It smells deep.  And smooth.  I don’t know what it is, but it smells like a fall day.” 

So who wins?  I still don’t know.  (And I still think there’s something wrong with my Les Exclusifs Bois des Iles decant, which is considerably thinner and soapier than my pre-LE edt sample from The Perfumed Court.)  I really love the drydown of BdI – it is simply gorgeous, and so perfect that I can’t imagine any way to improve it, except maybe to have it last longer.  And CdB really gets too amber-sweet near the end of the ride.

But on balance, I get hours of spicy-woody goodness out of Champagne de Bois.  Hours! For cheap, too!  At the time of writing, you can buy a 200ml bottle of Les Exclusifs Bois de Iles for about $220, and a 15ml parfum for $160 – but a 30ml bottle of parfum-strength Champagne de Bois will set you back about $60.  I know it’s vulgar of me to throw cost per wear into the mix, but hey, I got limited Perfume Bucks.  If you’re giving me perfume for free, I’ll take a bottle of Bois des Iles parfum, thanks.  But that’s only because I can manage to snag some Champagne de Bois on my own. 

(Gee, another Fragrance Throwdown where I have to declare a winner on points, and it gets all nitpicky, because I like both scents… one of these days I’m going to do an Fragrance Throwdown review where one scent just flat-out kicks the other one’s butt.  Someday.  I promise.)


[1]From Perfume Shrine, Wikipedia, and Eden Botanicals.

Images of wrestlers, sting ray, and sandalwood sapling are from Wikimedia Commons.  Images of perfume bottles are from Fragrantica.

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Monday, Sept. 13:   I think I’m getting sick.  SOTD: another wrist-to-wrist comparison between Champagne de Bois and Bois des Iles.  Hope to have that throwdown written soon…

Tuesday, Sept. 14:  I don’t feel at all well: runny nose, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, possibly some fever.  SOTD: Champagne de Bois

Wednesday, Sept. 15:   I can’t smell anything.  No scent today.  Bookworm is home sick from school, and The CEO stayed home in bed all day too.  (Alert the media and Guinness Book – he never takes a day off, except if he thinks he’s dying.)

Thursday, Sept. 16:  Sniffer still busted, Bookworm still sick.  CEO somewhat better.  No scent today.  Fed our new orphaned calf, who’s named Jonathan.  Andy and Jean, the ones we were bottle-feeding over the summer, have left the small lot and moved into the adjacent lot near the equipment shed, where they seem happy eating grass.  They are intensely curious about the new calf and keep coming to that part of the lot to investigate, especially when the new one’s getting his bottle of milk.

Friday, Sept. 17:  Sniffer marginally better, but no SOTD yet.  Maybe tomorrow.  Since we had had to cut our vacation short a day, we had promised the kids we’d take them to an amusement park “in the fall.”  Well, turns out that this is the only weekend that Bookworm does not have a football game that she has to attend as a band member (it’s a bye week), a band competition, or a cross-country meet.  There’s another Saturday without either a meet or a competition in October, but that day she happens to have PSAT testing, so that’s not going to work.  

Then we found out that Kings Dominion had tickets for $25 per person, 9/18 only. Snapped up those tickets right away, and headed out this evening, so we could get halfway there.

Saturday, Sept. 18:  I can smell!  SOTD: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur.  (Why does this smell so different from the original Black Orchid?  It’s supposed to be the edt version of the original – which smells like cucumber and dirt to me, which is fine if you’re actually in the garden, but not so good as an intentional perfume IMHO.  Whereas VdF is just a shimmering veil of loveliness.

Kings Dominion isn’t nearly as good a park as, say, Carowinds or Busch Gardens Williamsburg, two other parks we’ve visited within the last five years, but they do have at least a couple of really great rides.  The way our usual amusement park day works is that we’ll ride a few rides all together as a family – Scrambler, Spider, possibly a carousel or around-the-park train, a small suitable-for-kids roller coaster, and then Bookworm and I will head off for the roller coasters you have to be strapped into, while The CEO takes Gaze and Taz on gentler stuff like the big swings or bumper cars.   I can’t do a straight round-and-round ride, either, it makes me sick.

I have a moderate fear of heights, and cannot stand close to the edge of anything that I might fall off of without getting the willies.  The CEO likes to pick on me a bit – we went up to the observation deck of the “Eiffel Towel” scale model that Kings Dominion has, and I had to stay close to the inner platform, while he pretended to lean over the railing.  I suppose, though, that it’s not so much a fear of heights, but a fear of falling: I love roller coasters.  If I’ve got a shoulder harness, I feel secure.   Wooden coasters don’t need shoulder harnesses, but I think anything else does. 

Those Da Vinci’s Cradle-type rides? The CEO loves them.  I hate them.  Big steel coasters with those thigh-bracer harnesses, like Busch Gardens’ Apollo’s Chariot?  I  hate them.  I don’t feel safe in them. 

But turn me upside down, take me on loops and barrel rolls and inversions and long drops – as long as I’ve got a shoulder harness, I’m happy.  I’m not much of a coaster aficionado; bigger/badder/faster/thrillier doesn’t do all that much for me.  Especially since I also hate the chain lift on traditional coasters.  Besides the aforementioned Apollo’s Chariot, I hate and despise and fear Carowinds’ Carolina Cobra, with its double lift chains.  Argh.  Rode that  one with Bookworm last year, and hated every second of it.  TWO lifts? Kill me now.

Favorites of mine: The Shooting Star, my first coaster ever, and a terrific wooden coaster it was.  This was at the now-defunct Lakeside Amusement Park, and while the Shooting Star is no more, it’s still my gold standard.  The Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens, which was my first steel coaster, and still a terrific ride.  Afterburn (formerly Top Gun) at Carowinds is pure exhilaration.  And the new one, Volcano Blast Coaster at Kings Dominion, my first LIM (launch) coaster, really is a blast.  Seats are suspended from the train as in Afterburn but instead of the teeth-grinding stress  of the  lift chain, you get shot straight up into the air, then go through multiple barrel rolls, corkscrews, and complete inversions in which your upside-down weight is all on the harness.  I love it. 

Philosophical question:  Why do people wear Angel to amusement parks?  For that matter, why do people wear heavy hoop earrings and tight jeans and thin strappy sandals, all uncomfortable sexy-date attire to my mind, to amusement parks?  I don’t geddit.  Is the amusement park hot date material? I’ve only visited amusement parks with my family, or in a group of high schoolers…

Sunday, Sept. 19:  After the park yesterday, we drove to my parents’ house and spent the night.  I’d been invited to sing at their church, the one I grew up in, in a service honoring a former minister – he’s now 81 but doesn’t look or sound it.  SOTD: Voile de Fleur again, since it was the only thing I took with me.  I’m still very fond of that church, but I don’t think I’d be happy there now; I like the contemporary service at the church we belong to.  I don’t mind dressing up on Sunday (attire at our current church ranges from jeans, tee shirts and thong sandals to dresses and heels), and I sometimes miss the old hymns, but I love it that church services are not just something to be checked off on your “good deeds” list – more a celebration of the God we try to follow all week.  Our pastor has a motto: “Don’t just go to church; be the church.”

After church services, we had lunch with Mom and Dad, and my sister and her son, whom I  call Doodlebug. (A’s husband is in Afghanistan right now, and if you’d like to send up a prayer for his safety, it wouldn’t go amiss.) 

It was nice to come home and be greeted enthusiastically by the pets, but the house is a wreck.

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Since Saturday was the ONLY day this fall that Bookworm does not have filled in on her calendar with cross country meets, football games, band competitions, and/or PSATs, we took the opportunity to take the kids to an amusement park…

… before spending the night with my parents, so that I could sing at my parents’ church on Sunday as part of a special service honoring a former minister, who baptized me when I was eight.

It was terrific.  I’m tired, not least because of the hurry-up, last-minute nature of the plans.  And, of course, I’m behind, not only with the blog but with house cleaning and bottle shipments.

Since it’s newly released, and reviews are starting to hit the major ‘fume blogs, here’s a link to my review of Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille.  Look for Scent Diary and the Fragrance Throwdown of Bois des Iles Vs. Champagne de Bois to be posted later today!

Image of URV from Tauer Perfumes.

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