Caron Carnation series, Bellodgia the Carnation Queen

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Bellodgia was created in 1927 to immortalize a small Italian town by the same name.  It is a favorite of Caron’s American customers.    Now, I SWEAR I had a sample of the extrait, however, it’s either been accidentally gifted or possibly swallowed by the baby or a pet.  So…I am reviewing the EDP which, though not the extrait, is quite glorious in itself. The opening is spicy, though not as heady and exotic as Poivre, but definitely the spicy carnation we see in other Caron compositions.  It is a warm, almost tactile experience, similar to the cashmere sweater feel of Parfum Sacre.  However where Parfum Sacre veers into incense rose sex, Bellodgia develops a creamy milk taste for the nose, becoming sweet, though not sticky. Powdery violet peeks in as lily of the valley bats her flirty lashes at us before she sneaks away in the background.  Finally, we get more sweet stuff before a light musky woodiness.  Does anyone feel musk has an olfactory flavor to it?  I pause to say gourmand, as it doesn’t really smell foodie to me, but there is some sort of a mouth feel to it I can’t quite get into words.    Not quite as dark as some of the other Caron’s possibly due to the lack of saxon moss, Bellodgia cycles through its sweet spice over and over until it dries down to the subtle woody spice.  During the transitions, we easily see how Bellodgia inspired other Caron favorite, serving as a base to build upon.  From the grandmother, it is easy to trace the lineage of Poivre, Coup de Fouet and Parfum Sacre back to her.  Each perfume’s spiciness draws upon the composition of Bellodgia with a new interpretation.  I like to think of it as a series of photographs.  First, there is the sepia toned Bellodgia print of a carnation in a dark wood frame.  You can see the beauty of the composition and the sepia tone imparts warmth to the picture. Absolutely older, but a classy print you love to have on your wall.  Then you get a bright Technicolor Print of Poivre in an opulent gilded frame.  Bold, and bright, the colors are so rich and intense it almost looks like a thickly paved oil painting of carnations in a myriad of colors.  This exotic work is immediately noticed by all that surround you.  Coup de Fouet is somewhere off to the side of the Poivre, smaller, watercolor-esque in a silver frame.  Pretty, but a faded interpretation.   Parfum Sacre is a more modern work.  It’s generally black and white with flourishes of red.  Roses, smoke and woods replace the carnation.  However, even though the carnation is not in the composition, you feel the kindred spirit in the perfume.    Typically, when a perfume house has a certain composition that they update with a different twist, the older version goes out the window.  Caron’s good sense in keeping all versions around allows Caron sluts like me to explore a perfume’s lineage and appreciate where we have been and where we are now.**  yes, I realize that the perfumes are not meant to be reinterpretations.  Notes: carnation, rose, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, sandalwood, vanilla and muskphoto:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Sargent_Carnation_Lily_Lily_Rose.jpg

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Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 10:18 am  Comments (2)  

Caron Carnation Sisters — Poivre and Coup de Fouet

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Before we delve into my Carnation mini-series part I, I must wish you a happy New Year.  January doesn’t feel like the beginning of the year for me.  My clock seems to reset itself in the fall around September, which I am sure is due to having been a student most of my life.  However, the first of the year does bring a sort of cleansing reassessment and internal detox.  I like to think about how I am doing on my goals and adjust.      Anyhow, Carnations.  It never occurred to me that the cheap grocery store standby flower would emit such an intoxicatingly spicy perfume.  When combined with other peppery and floral notes, the humble carnation achieves perfume art in the form of Caron’s Poivre and Coup de Fouet Poivre is the parfum edition, CdF the toilette were created in 1954 and 1957 respectively.     From Caron’s website:

“POIVRE

 
THE STORY
In 1953, Félicie Wanpouille – who was by no means oblivious to the emergence of new fashions such as Dior’s New Look –– asked Michel Morsetti to create a new fragrance. The olfactory concept involved a geranium rosa base, the peppery undertones of which had seduced her. To get an original, easily-remembered name, she bought the Poivre brand from Parfums Rival, with which she baptized this essence-in-progress.
In 1954, CARON created The Event with POIVRE, whose explosive scent is still without parallel on today’s market.Assured of her success, Félicie Wanpouille organized a splendid launch party at the Place Vendôme, between the CARON mansion and the Ritz. The Tout Paris and the Tout New York rushed to be part of the scene.COUP DE FOUET
Félicie Wanpouille’s last creation, in 1957, is called Coup de Fouet –– Eau De Cologne Poivrée. A refreshing fragrance on a base of rose and carnation, accentuated with a hint of pepper.
It’s the alter-ego of POIVRE, worn with equal ease by men and women alike.”      Nothing like the story from the horse’s mouth.  Poivre’s  richness prompts a mental vignette       The night air is particularly frigid in the desert.  The royal caravan had covered a great distance during the day and well into the night and the Princess looked forward to resting at the camp set up by the servants sent ahead.  As the litter approached the large white tent, the Princess stretches and raises herself to a sitting position   Her litter stops and her massive eunuch gently aides her out of the litter and onto the sand.  As he draws back the tent’s entrance flap she feels the warmth and color inside the tent greet her chilled skin.  She enters and is greeted immediately with a cup of hot chai, which she sips daintily as her bath is prepared. 

      Amidst the brightly colored cushions, flowers and candles a golden bath tub is prepared by her servants.  The smell of the chai tea grows stronger as the servants pour hot water into the tub over the same mixture of spice, tea and flowers as she had been served in her cup.  The pepper berries, cinnamon and cloves in the tub would amplify the warming sensation of the bath, quickly banishing the chill of the night air from her skin and memory.  Finished with her cup of tea, her maids help undress her.  Gracefully, she steps into the tub of tea, enjoying the tingling sensation of the spice’s effects on her skin.  No longer cold and tired, The Princess signals her maids to add the milk steeped with her favorite flowers- carnation and ylang-ylang.  As milk and honey are added to the bath to temper the heat and tingle of the spice, as well as to soften and condition her skin, she breathes in the languid, luxurious perfume of the flowers mixing with the myrhh-sandlewood incenses of the tent.    She dreamily splashes about as one maidservant brushes out her long dark silky hair and another readies her palaang so she can nap before the night’s festivities.  Out of the tub and onto soft silk, she reclines as iages of richly colored silks, swirling dacers and swirling smoke flitted across her brain and behind her eyes.  The lingering scent of her bath clings to her skin perfuming her sleep.

     Over the top a bit, however the mental image seems to nail the exotic spice and floral experience of the chai tea bath that is Poivre.   I find this parfum best worn in extremes of temperature, either very cold or very warm.  Silage and lasting power are impressive, only a drop is needed to invoke the spicy perfection of this gourmand.     Coup de Fouet on the other hand id more suitable for warm weather, as the composition is much lighter, more woody and aqueous.  The spice is still prominent in the beginning; however it quickly wears off into watery, spicy woods where the perfume deepens into a creamy sweet then dark base.  I do not actually have a bottle of CdF, so I was unable to get the effects of a spray and assume a spray application would bring out more of its Poivre roots than does a dab.  Sometimes application is everything.        In any case both compositions glorify the humdrum carnation and reaffirm Caron’s place as perfume genius.                                       Notes red pepper, black pepper, giroflore, carnation, ylang ylang, opoponax, sandalwood, vetiver, and oakmoss.     

 
 
 
Published in: on January 3, 2008 at 3:30 am  Comments (1)  

Nuit de Noel ~ A Caron Christmas

I’ve been thinking very hard about this post.  Caron’s Nuit de Noel is not just another perfume for me, it means so much more.   It truly changed my life.  Let me tell you a bit more about me.

After the birth of the Princess, I was miserable.  I had some extra weight hanging on to me, loose skin, stretchmarks like a tiger, not to mention being very tired and very frazzled with trying to fit into motherhood.  Things were bleak.  Nothing fit and I wanted to cry. Alot.  One day, sick of feeling like a trainwreck, I pulled out my copy of Lauren Stover’s Bombshell Manual of Style determined to start feeling better about me.  Afterall, I had a little girl to raise and I wasn’t going to teach her self hatred and body shame.  While weight takes time, as do other things, one thing you can easily change is your perfume.  The hunt began.

There were many suggestions for Bombshell perfumes in the book, most hard to find, some unheard of and others dismissed, like Chanel no. 5  for being too old and stuffy.  (look for a post on no.  5 in the near future) However, Nuit de Noel intrigued me.  Stover says, “Imagine seeing Paris on a snowy, wintery night from the top of the Eiffel Tower while sipping champagne.  Created in 1922, this warming, heartful scent pays homage to the roaring twenties with an effect so uplifting it’s dizzying.”  It sounded like a prescription for a new chapter in life.  A more glamourous, happy chapter, one that I could happily leave as legacy to a little girl.

 Exhaustive internet searching fueled the fire.  I encountered other’s descriptions that ranged from “powdery old lady” to “chestnuts roasting, mulled spices, brandied fruit” and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I also encountered references to it in books, such as Auntie Mame.  “Auntie Mame is a froth of whipped cream and champagne and daydreams and Nuit de Noel perfume.  She’s not mortal at all”

 Fortunately for me, I also discovered www.theperfumedcourt.com at that time and nabbed a sample.  I’ve been wearing it for months and have bought a bottle or two of my own. One important thing I noticed about this perfume is how it’s notes are smoothly blended together.  It is difficult to discern the ceaderwood from the rose, the rose from the ylang-ylang.  I’ve had to wear it for months before I could even begin to pick out the individual notes from the snow-globe swirl of smell.  Instead, each whiff reveals a different association.  Fur Coats.  Potted rouge.  a slightly indolent flower bouquet on a night stand.  A collection of perfume bottles and silky under-things.  Heels.  Nights out.  Rosy Cheeks and yes, firesides on snowy nights.  It is dark and beautiful.  Never naughty, always nice.  Definately to be worn on evenings out or special evenings in, but never with jeans.

Story-wise, I see a beautiful woman getting ready for an elegant evening party.  Her glossy hair is carefully put up.  She applies the final lipstick and checks herself in the boudouir mirror.  She finishes a glass of champagne, rises and goes to the door.  Her gentleman companion helps her into a luxurious fur coat and opens the door to a starry night with a blanket of snow on the ground.  Champagne, laughter, intrigue fill the evening.  On the walk home, it begins to snow again.  The beautiful couple laugh and catch snowflakes on thier tounges.  The kiss at the door and go inside to the fireside, which is crackling away.  They find warm cognac and a slice of fruitcake to enjoy on the fur rug by the fire.

I would dab this perfume out of the art deco black crystal bottle on my pulse points in the morning, a ritual that felt more decadent with the pretty bottle/gorgeous smell combination.   Smelling so luxe and refined encouraged me to fix my hair and put on respectable clothing for the day.  I would venture out of the house and feel human, feminine again.  Eventually, the baby weight came off and I regained more of my old self back.  I like to think it was a perfume intervention, as I needed a little Christmas.

Nuit de Noel is my obvious choice for Christmas day and any day I want a little glamorous lift.  It could be worn year round, however, like it’s sister perfume, Parfum Sacre, it stuns in cold weather.  Unlike Parfum Sacre, it is not cashmere, but fur.  Dark and warm, sparkling and glowing.  I can’t think of a better perfume choice for a holiday.

Question for discussion:  If Nuit de Noel were divorced from its name, would you still have holiday-esque associations? (Think of Shakespear’s rose meditation)  Or do you think the name is essential to set the tone for the perfume?

Cedarwood, Rose, Ylang-Ylang, Orris, Mousse de Saxe accord (Oakmoss, Licorice, Myrrh, Cedar moss), Vetiver, Sandalwood, Castoreum  and 10 minutes after posting I think I got some candycane.  funny!

Published in: on December 11, 2007 at 9:40 am  Comments (9)  

Parfum Sacre by Caron

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I had one craptacular morning.  The Princess, who wants to be just like Mama, was following me about as I got on with some house chores.  As I was cleaning the cat-box she screamed and began to cry hysterically.  So, I grabbed her with forearms and took her to the bathroom to wash hands and try to calm her.  I see some blood and realize it coming from her right EYE.  Literally bleeding out of her eyeball.  After 20 minutes of wrangling a screaming, squirming baby, I got her to calm down and stop bleeding to find a cut on the outercorner of her eye.  A call to the doctor later and we are speeding off to the office to get checked out.  They torture the poor thing with some dye in the eye to find that there is not cut to the eyeball, just one heck of a nasty scratch on the skin.  Luckily.  So a co-pay and antibacterial cream, later two tired girls go home, thankful there is not nearly the crisis there could have been (cat crap+ open wound = FREAKED OUT MAMA)

Princess found her comfort in a long nursing session and a very long, deep nap on her favorite faux fur throw blanket.  Mama found comfort in some warm tea with a tiny shot of Brandy (they wouldn’t give me valium) and some prescription perfume comfort — Caron’s Parfum Sacre Extrait

There is much difficulty in putting the genius, the master artisanship of this perfume into words, and I can only hope I do it half the justice it deserves.

I admit, when I was first gifted with the EDP in a swap. I sprayed, sniffed and dismissed as another silly lemming.  I just wouldn’t be caught up in the hype, this was much too incensy and peppery to really wear.  All those blogging know it alls were full of it! But I was horribly, horribly wrong.

Like a sleep walker, I’d go to the perfume cache and wake up, finding I had applied this mysterious number, thinking “what the hell am I doing?  it’s hype!  it’s silly!  I don’t really like it? ! ”  Or did I?  I blame my pride.   I hate to jump on bandwagons, having listened too many times to the 80’s anti-drug slogan “be an orginal, just say NO.”  I just couldn’t have fallen in love completely unawares, could I?

I could.  My puppy love began with the sharper EDP, which gives more pepper and more silliage spread.  The EDP was like falling for someone’s great hair and teeth.   But the TRUE  love came about with the heavenly extrait, for which I scoured ebay in four languages.    This love is akin to finding your crush’s  book collection matched yours…perfectly.

With the spray comes the peppery-citrus opening.  You can feel the room grow cooler and are transported outdoors, on a walk as the sky becomes overcast with a snizzle of snow.  The change in weather hurries you to your destination, inside doors of the little church sanctuary.  As you sit down on the plush, red velvet seat you relax and admire the beautiful red roses on  the altar and the smell of incense in the air and the soft glow of the votives. You admire the stained glass windows, and the statue of Mary in all her sacred feminine glory.  Deep in thought you pull your soft, thick cashmere wrap closer, rubbing it absently on your cheek.   The sound of footsteps breaks your reverie.  A dark, handsome man enters the sanctuary.  Warming as he approaches, you smile as he pauses to take a rose off the altar.  He seats next to you, so close you can smell his slightly musky skin.  Whispering commences, and whispers become low giggles. The two of you rise, don large sun glasses and trot outside into the cold.  He places his hand on the small of your back as you hurry to his flat.  He *worships your sacred feminine.*  Luxuriating in his embrace and the glow of the fire can only last a minute, you must hurry home before you are missed.

You dress, deeply kiss goodbye and venture back out into the increasing snowy cold.  However, inspite of the worsening conditions, the cold damp isn’t as biting as it was before.  You are wrapped warmly within your cashmere wrap and the lingering touch of your lover.  Each gust of wind wafts the scent of incense and musk left in your wrap as you hustle back to a more mundane place, with a mysterious smile and the glow of a clandestine affair.

Parfum Sacre does cause my imagination to run away with me.  It’s almost ridiculous how I fall under the spell of this mysterious and alluring perfume, so much that I am willing to blow two months worth of diaper funds on the extrait.  I simply had to have it.  It’s comforting like the embrace of a lover, not the embrace of sweatpants. Parfum Sacre is alluring.  The word sexy definately does not seem right….too tawdry, and too overused a word.  It beckons to you to unravel it’s mysteries and find enlightment, solace and comfort in it’s smoky, glowing aura.  Simply breathtaking, it must be experienced with reverence and reveled in.

Parfum Sacre is wearable year round, however I find it particularily delicious in cooler weather, as it is a cashmere perfume.   It’s even better the day after when you find hints in your hair or in your clothes.  It can be melancholy, it can be inspirational.  It is always intellectual and introspective.  Ageless and timeless, as long as you can be intellectual and introspective, you can wear and appreciate the gorgeousness.

notes:  lemon, pepper, mace, cardamom, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, rosewood,vanilla, myrrh, civet, cedarwood

photo credit: http://nicholastrofimuk.com/photogenesis/gallery/pictures/ronis_loverbastille.jpg

Published in: on December 9, 2007 at 10:52 am  Comments (6)  

a little organization, if you please!

As I am packing a care package to a perfume pen pal, I realize I have soooo many samples and bottles, it’s ridiculous.  No wonder I can’t sit down regularly and post, I have too much to choose from and it makes me scatterbrained.  Thus, A decision was made.  From now on, I will try to cover about two perfume houses at a time, covering until my current collection of said house has run out.  Now, here and there there maybe and off topic house if love or loathe comes to visit, but I will do my best to stay on subject matter. 

The Holiday Season is here, which to me means Chanel and Caron.  These houses are luxurious, and very quality focused.  They don’t often reformulate like some certain others (glaring at Guerlain who F%$*ed with my Mitsouko and others.  GROWL).   Thier perfumes tend to be deeper, a wee bit dark in some places and celebrational.  Very appropriate for the season, and I think most of the perfumes live for cooler weather.  (Can someone send some cold to HOUSTON PLEASE?!?!?)    Plus, how can you do Christmas without Nuit de Noel?  Sooooo….look for your Caron favorites and Chanel lusties here, my dear three readers.  Make suggestions, ask questions, share your own Caron and Chanel stories.  Hell, Contact me with a comment if you want to post your own piece and we will rig it up.  So, until a wee bit later, ta-ta, I’m off to the perfumed court to fill in my chanel/caron perfume gaps.  We must be complete!

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 6:12 pm  Comments (5)