Interview with Delrae Roth

Somedays I wish I had a quick-quotes quill as did Rita Skeeter, if only for the ease of writing, not for the distortion of truth.  I digress.

Good Tuesday Morning!  Today We have a little something different– the long awaited question and answer review with DelRae Roth of Parfums DelRae.

PQ: I read you began by working on a few vials by yourself before passing them to M. Roudnitska whose work and his father’s you admire.  What inspired you to begin creating your own line of perfumes? 

DR: I worked off and on for about a year thinking about the ideas I had for my first three perfumes. I ordered oils from the big houses in France. I had always loved fragrance and bought and followed all the new perfumes. But, I found for myself, that nothing that was being released resonated. I appreciated the complexities and nuances in some of the great French perfumes of the past. And I had ideas, “olfactive concepts” that I thought could work as wonderful perfumes. Since I had worked as a designer/artist for many years I was familiar with the creative process and knew quite well how to manage projects, sourcing and so on. Most importantly, I felt it was the time in my life to do something that I really loved, to combine the things that inspired me. And, I felt like I could take a risk and put this altogether in creating Parfums DelRae. It was a big move for me personally but I felt that it was time to exercise my savior-faire as they say.

PQ: For whom should one wear perfume?  Yourself or others?  For whom do you create the perfume, the wearer or those in the wearer’s olfactory line of sniff? If your perfumes had a face to represent them, who would they be—alive or dead—to represent their spirit?  Or do you think assigning a face is too restrictive?

DR:  I think perfume is one of life’s great pleasures, in the same catagory as fine wine, great art, wonderful food. It is accessible to everyone as well. When you buy a perfume it speaks to you somehow and when you wear it, it becomes part of your personal story. I love that about perfume. I do definitely think my perfumes each have a unique personality…. and unique name that fits the personality.


PQ: What is your stance on the personal chemistry debate?  Do you think that our reactions to perfume are due to stellar or reek-y body chemistry or is it tied to personal perception of the notes?

DR: I think the most critical element is someone’s perception of the perfume and the associative memories they might have. For example, I love rose, but if someone has a negative memory, I won’t even try to persuade them to try rose. I think this is really the crucial part– and the personal chemistry debate is really more about the psychological connotations people have with the particular fragrance components.


PQ: You have kept us waiting years for a new release from your line.  What was the process like for the new babies?   Can you give us a teaser?

DR: As I do everything, we move at what I’d call a very human pace. And I never release a perfume until I am really pleased. There are two new perfumes ready to launch, in fact we launch one in Europe this Fall, and the next one in the Spring. For the US, we will launch early Spring 2009 and Early summer 2009.

For Spring, this perfume is inspired by my personal memories of a year spent in Paris that was transforming. The other perfume was inspired by a French historical figure, that I have long admired.

They are both beautiful, of course! And, going forward, I’m working on three others which I am very excited about.


PQ: Whose skin do you use for testing, solely your own, or do you have volunteers? 


DR:  I test on myself and my family and friends are very eager to help. (We never test on animals). Also, I’d like to point out that my perfumes adhere to all the very strict European health regulations (CTFA/INCI).


PQ: Do you read your perfume reviews?  DO they affect your work, and do you think they affect that of the mainstream houses?


DR: I read the reviews sometimes, but they don’t influence what I do. Perfume is such a personal choice. I think the big companies are quite influenced by what they see happening in the niche markets.


PQ: What do you think of the rising ranks of the perfume community?  How does it feel to be something of a celebrity artist?

DR: One of the greatest rewards for me in having this business is when I meet clients or hear from them how much they love my perfume and how the perfume has become such an important part of their life and given them so much pleasure. 


PQ: If you were stranded on a deserted island, but you had time to pack, what 10 perfumes would you take with you?

Dr:  I would take all my perfumes, they’re like my children!


PQ: Favorite books?  Music? Indulgences?

DR: I love music (Bach, Mozart, beethoven,French baroque, Gershwin etc..), art, ballet. When I travel I always try to schedule a day or so when I can visit the museums. As I love to draw and paint it is a source of relaxation for me as well as a recharging of my batteries!


PQ: Season?


DR: I love Fall, it is warm and cool, wind and sun, the sky is often so beautiful then. Such a sensous and exciting season. I love to be outside in the Fall, the smell of leaves and the woods at that time of year.



So, readers, I hope you enjoyed getting to know what is behind one of my favorite perfumers.  Who else is anxious for Spring of 2009??

Published in: on August 26, 2008 at 7:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Bottle Split Update

UPDATE:  as of 10 am, the cluds parted and I could get out of the house.  I mailed the packages and picked up the much needeed diapers.  SO you get your perfume and my floors will not be puddled or worse. 

Ok ladies, the boxes are packed, postaged and sitting on my desk.  We are waiting for the rain and mild street flooding to subside so I can run out and post them.  and pick up diapers.  PLEASE let the rain pause, the baby NEEDS those diapers!

I have ONE SPLIT OF ONDA up for sale.  Someone backed out of her split and has not responded to my emails.  grrr.  So, her loss is someone else’s gain.  Leave a comment if you are interested, cost is 105, which includes all the packing material, bottle, a share of shipping to me from Zurich as well as postage to you  that includes shipping insurance and confirmation so we can find it if it gets lost or you can at least get your money back if the post office plays kickball with it.  They love to do that you know.

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 7:50 pm  Comments (2)  

Poll – –

Alrighty folks, on the third of September we are loading up the gypsy vardo to take a trip to Buffalo, NY to see family. 

What perfumes would you bring to match the mood/weather/whatever?  All thoughtful commentors will be entered into a drawing for a sample grab bag! Drawing to occur on the 2nd of September and mailed on the way to the airport!

Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 11:49 pm  Comments (6)  

Rainy Days

After all the heat of the summer I love our rainy days.  Houston summer weather usually involves a good rain storm in the afternoons to soak the parched earth and peoples, paving the way for the water cycle to prepare for another shower the next day.  It’s wonderful.  And it also means I can wear more autumnal things in the summer, satisfying some of my cravings.

My choices — 

Serious Thunderstorms- the kind with lots of lightening and loud booming thunder claps deserve Onda or Djedi.  Either are particularily good if you walk around in the storm.  You can pretend to be Catharine exploring the moors, waiting for a wet-shirted Colin Firth to ride up on his magnificent steed…. you know where this is going.  The dark almost oppressive nature of these perfumes matches the romantic (as in gothic-romantic, not valentine romantic)  mood of the storm perfectly.  Unfortunately I am down to my very last drop of Djedi and not quite ready to part with 60.00 for a decant…yet.  Soon though, after I get over some buyers guilt from the last perfumed court spree.

Heavy rains without the natural theatrics — Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental is a great perfume for this kind of rain.  It opens slightly bright and then delves quickly into soilish roots, chocolate and ends with musky woods and mosses.  A cousin to my other favorite Le Labo Patchouli, it’s almost comfortable, yet exotically dark.  Both perfumes welcome snuggling, but also usher a mysterious aura and spurts of creativity too. 

Light rains — Apres L’Ondee for the almost clean, thoughtful muskiness and florals.  Refreshing, cleansing and perfect for light rains. 


What are your favorites for rainy days?


cool picture, huh?

Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 8:21 pm  Comments (4)  

Fueling the Chaotic Fires

Everyone has been posting the news that Donna Karan has re-released her loved but discontinueds –Chaos, Black Cashmere, Fuel, Signature as well as the Essences.  And the stampede begins!  Luckily, I have a few samples of Chaos, Black Cashmere, and possibly Fuel to review and fuel the fire.

Let’s look at the notes for Chaos: sandalwood, cardamom, cinnamon, padukwood, agarwood, saffron, clove, amber, musk, sage, lavender, chamomile, coriander

My sample, I believe is the parfum, my preferred formula for most any perfume. (except my Jicky.  PDT PLEASE)  A generous swab on the pulse points renders a woodsy, warm emanation from my skin.  Wafts of silliage welcome those around me to get closer to sniff in awe.  And they do.  I wore this out all day yesterday while shopping and having lunch.  People did stand that much close and many asked me what I was wearing. 

As it wears on light handed spices mingle with the wispy smoke of the woods until the herbal-florals comeout.  Somehow, they are just floral enought to compliment and add to the sweet-spice of the incense and woods, but not so floral as to take away from the slightly bitter floral edge.  Chaos is very close to her darker sister Black Cashmere in feel — the light gateway scent to the DK incense. 

The bottle, a crystal dagger was genius, and very covetable, though now impossible to find, unless you are willing ot shell out a big wad o [aypal on ebay. However, with the newly re-released EDP’s being so reasonable, it’s not a perfume we can long to smell and spend hundred on ebay.  Lucky for us, because the drydown, on my skin at least, in soo pretty.  Somehow, the woods, wispy smoke and light herbs and spice become this almost joyously bubbly bath-gel scent.  I say bathgel, because you could say it’s soapy, though that would be inaccurate.  Soapy perfumes have a sour-bitter edge.  This dry down is almost foamy, still kind of clean with a kont of musk.  Very nice!

I prefer Black Cashmere of the two, which I shall review in the next day or so.  But, I also suspect if I could spray Chaos I might be convinced to switch my allegiance, particularily if there was a sumptous body cream involved. 

Come on now.  Get cold.  Let’s get Fall and the sweater scents on people!

Published in: on August 15, 2008 at 1:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Carnation for Summer Guerlain Metallica

It’s August in Houston. People are melting on the pavement.  It’s hotter than hell and I find myself desperately wishing for fall and fall weather, and most of all fall perfumes.  I’m so very tired of greens and citruses and the lighter things you must wear to keep from smothering those around you.  I am looking longingly at Bois des Iles and my deep incenses, alas they just don’t seem right.  But I may have found a compromise.

Guerlain Metallica/Metalys contains vanilla, ylang ylang, rose, carnation, iris, tonka bean and amber.  It’s sweet, creamy, spicy and yet light as well.  Where Caron’s Poivre is a hot, steaming bath in Chai tea, Metallica (version I hold) is a delicate iced chai latte, light on the cream.  As the light vanilla spiked with carnation spice moves in ending the opening act, a slightly feral ylang ylang and rose become subtly present. 

The florals are a mere suggestion, just enough to keep Metallica from being a complete gourmand experience.  The tiny touch of musk in the ylang-ylang also keeps the perfume from being another pleasant-too nice work and rose adds a dry powdery touch, evoking a cooling feeling from the perfume.   A welcome effect in the summer heat. I envision cotton sundressed edged with a little lace, porch swings and pillows. 

Incidentally, does anyone else find Chanel’s ylang-ylang one of the best mass market ylangs out there?  Thier use haunts me with it’s exquisite presence whereas Guerlains use *in this composition* merely renders a nice compliment to the gourmand vanillas and ambers.  As the the ylang and rose quietly recede into the background and carnation becomes more muted, the amber comes forward, warming the perfume like the last rays of the setting sun, golden, glorious and full of the last few moments of the day.  Meanwhile the iris and vanilla (the tonka) are the slight cool of the summer evening setting in over my shoulders.  The traces of amber continue to hold heat, like sidewalks retain the heat of the day for a few hours in the night.  The next day, a faint whiff of amber and vanilla are all that is left of the warm summer evening.

While it is not completely satisfying –I want my FALL — it does help get through the day and is easily appreciable.  But, like i said, I still want my sweaters and sweater scents.  and a sweater girl figure too.  What do you guys where in the ennui between seasons?  Suggestions?

photocredit :

Published in: on August 12, 2008 at 7:48 pm  Comments (3)  

Bottle Split Update

I just placed the order for the vero profumo’s .  I am still awaiting payment from someone, and would appreciate if they would remit asap, these are expensive! 

Once I get the bottles, I will contact you guys to let you know I have recieved them and when I will be shipping your shares. 


Published in: on August 9, 2008 at 8:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Candy Jar day!!! Balmain Ambre Gris

First off, the bottle is tres elegant.  grey cube, with gold ball top.  Perfectly unisex looking!  I bought my bottle after lusting for Balmain Ambre Gris for months post review from the Scented Salamander.  The description sounded soo very warm and sexy, plus it contains ambergris, a recent obsession.  When I read last week it was available at, I stampeded to get mine! 

Opens with a bergamot, earl grey breeze and launches into the slightest hint of pepper, tempered with a little itty bity bit of chocolate.  15 minutes later, a little skanky-skank begins to peek out under the gourmand.  Becoming more interesting, I wish it were cooler, as once again, I am wearing a fall scent in the dead of summer. I am also thinking EDP is too light and this would be more complex and interesting if it were a parfum. 

Awhile later, delicate florals–meaning they are a ghostly presence appear with woods, mingled with cinnamon and the creamy benzoin-ambergris. It’s so soft, and accessible, yet I think a man could wear this too.  It lasts maybe about four hours, and must be applied with a heavy hand.  It’s a bit sweet-smokey for summer and will definately make a reappearence in the fall, though I wish it came in a stronger formulation. 

notes:pink pepper, cinnamon, tuberose, immortelle, myrrh, smoky gaïac wood, benzoin, white musks, ambergris


stay tuned for updates!

Published in: on August 9, 2008 at 2:48 am  Comments (1)  

Ce n’est PAS Magnifique! — Lancome

Oh how I love to troll the suburban mall where my parents live.  It’s like a trip down memory lane as that was the place to hang out, sneak out to (with boys, we used to have a movie theatre.  many an illicit P13 feel up!) and of course, spend your hard earned babysitting cash.  These days the place is taking a nice turn for the upscale with shops my big city galleria does not even offer.  Who would have thought? 

Anyhow, I digress.  During my leisurely stroll, I stopped by the Lancome counter to sniff the new Magnifique, which, if you have been living under a rock or just started obsessing over perfume, is the newest offering for Lancome and is promoted by the lovely Anne Hathaway.  Magnifique is composed by Oliver Cresp (who also composed the modern Femme) and meant to be the scent of red.  Notes include: saffron essence, cumin, Bulgarian rose, Mai de Grasse rose, jasmine, sandalwood and vetiver and nargamota (something like vetiver).  All very well and good, how does it smell?

Well, a sniff from the bottle nozzle brought to mind cherry coke. 

 It seemed to have a carbonated effect, combined with some sweetness, which is not exactly a bad thing.  Spraying gave me a shot of citrus, and loads of sweet, almost fruity flowers.  Where the cumin was, I do not know, it did not grace me with it’s presence, which greatly dissappointed me as I adore Cresp’s use of cumin in Femme.  Tra-la-la, warmish, sweet florals and woods for six hours until I get a slight bit of pepper and semi earthy woods.  Not dark, not mysterious woods, just … fashionista woods.  Like they have been sanitized, vaccumed and readied for photo ops.  The dry down is kind of nice, but really nothing to roll over or in and die for. 

Le verdict?  Je ne suis pas impressed.  It is different for a department store perfume, but really nothing to shout about.  I’d probably take it over Sensuous, the other highly campaigned and anticipated make-up counter perfume arrival.  At least I can cross it off the list of things to try and possibly buy.  Has anyone else tried it?  I believe most stores get it around the 12th of August, as the Sales Associate informed me, and yes, they are pre-ordering.  Desperately so!

Published in: on August 4, 2008 at 9:54 am  Comments (3)  

amouage 25 candy jar friday returns

In the opening I definately get the lemon which gives ylang ylang a civety-cuminy effect.  Civet can go either way on me — either luscious velvet or cat pee. Never the pleasant skanky cat pee, just the ammonia in the catbox nails on the chalkboard kind.  Fortunately, this is the velvet version.  It is almost juicy, like a ripe peach and slighty herbacous.  Actually, I am really surprised I am getting cumin-peach here.  PST lists tarragon and davana in the notes, which would explain the slight savory in the sweet.  The color I see here is the luminous gold of the sun behind the clouds.  Oddly, bits of Femme drift about, though it is more of a muscatto d’meil than Femme’s full bodied red. 

Imagery—imagine just getting out of the bath after a good soak and scrub.  You are clean, but not really perfumed.  Infact a sniff under your underarm reveals the lingering bit of natural body odor clinging to you despite the soap.  This womanly perfume is silky, pampered, refined yet still dirty in a natural way.  good stuff

notes: ylang ylang, lemon, rose, frankincense, amber, vetiver, patchouli, musk and myrrh.

noon update — I smell flowers some rose- dark oil of rose and more ylang with spice.   This is definately sexy in a refined way, more of a decollete’ clavicle sexy as oposed to cleavage sexy.  When compared to the man-fume version it is certainly the cooler Diana to the warmer XXV’s Apollo.  I’m getting a little leather and Iris now and just ordered a larger decant. 

The end of the perfume became a lightly musky woody affair with a trace of incense.  Lasting power was pretty impressive, about 12 hours or so from end to end of the perfume.  Amouge Jubilation 25 made me want to wear a dress and red lipstick all day, even though I wasn’t going out.  It was wonderful to feel so ladylike, yet not fridgidly so.  Like Miss Dior, 25 is all class and bone structure on the surface, but warm blooded and softly sexy underneath, though much less aggressively sexy than Miss Dior.  I am looking forward to my larger spray decant.  Amouge 25 may find a spot on my shelf. 

Photo credit:

Published in: on August 1, 2008 at 10:53 pm  Comments (2)