Cristalle Continues Wearing O’ the Green


Cristalle.  The name suggests something youthful, sparkling and bright. Something you get a bit of color out of filtered sun, something that is not heavy and certainly not cloying or sweet.  This Chanel perfume fits the imagery very very well. 

Lauren Stover author of  The Bombshell Manual of Style says of Cristalle “exciting, electric green and alert, a Bombshell splashes on Cristalle when she doesn’t have time for coffee and simply smells her wrist when she needs a pick me up.  It elevates her spirits without making her jittery.”  Much like a cool breeze on a sunny spring day, this is a bit energizing, as the citrus is refreshing and the florals are quite lovely the drydown relaxing. 

With Cristalle EDT, you must use a heavy spray to get a longer lasting dose of the ‘fume. I feel my forehead relax as the juicy citrus and dry green herbs cut through the Houston heat and humidity, lasting a good 20 minutes or so until the top notes finally fly off my wrist and chest to release the heart of oak moss and florals. 

Let’s have a moment about oak moss, shall we?  First of all, many perfumes either do not include oak moss or reformulate the accord to simulate the oak moss smell in our beloved chypres.  This is a crying shame as it has rendered many modern perfumes paler shadows of their former glory.  Supposedly the stuff is an allergen that causes violent reactions in about maybe 5 people and a bunch of overdosed lab rats.  So, like many other materials; ambergris, civet, etc, oak moss is no longer PC to use.  How do I get down from the soap box?

     Anyhow, next we get some glorious greenness with oak moss, some lily and possibly honeysuckle/jonquil/rosewood.  I can detect jasmine and even the honeysuckle.  (I’ve seen a lot of variation on the note.  I took the listing at the bottom form  Whatever it is they use, my nose swings from rapture in the floral elegance to horror when it melds into a melon/hairspray note to mild annoyance when I get what I like to call “the Mrs. Meyers accord.”  Pleasant florals occur when sniffed closest to my skin, the other two occurrences seem to be in my wafting aura, so I ponder what people around me smell.  While the thought of smelling like hair-sprayed melon scares me, the Mrs. Meyers accord is a less worse fate.  I bought the lemon-verbena cleaning products at the store a few weeks ago because they smelled so spring-like and energetic.  I thought it would encourage me to clean and remind me a bit of my vacation in Greece where I soaked in the smell of verbena all over the place.  So, it’s not exactly a bad thing, unless you are familiar with Mrs Meyers and could confuse my perfume with the scent of cleaning.  yikes. 

Cristalle  is very wet and green smelling in places and would be very lovely in the rain.  Drydown is very, very nice and comforting in a green way.  Like the piles of mowed grass cooling from a hot day in the cool of the evening. This must be the tail ends of the oak moss and vetiver which makes it ALMOST masculine-ish, which is just the way I like to smell after a girl perfume.  Reminds me of nature’s duality and makes an otherwise ingénue scent more interesting and slightly sexy.  Very clean linen sheets on a summer day in Greece. 

I can see it as “elegant” for a young woman, in a garden party sort of way.  However I wouldn’t wear this for a night out.  The blue hour of twilight would be the very latest and only if I was kissing a first date on the porch-swing, hoping my parents don’t flicker the lights at us to come in.  There is an air of innocence, if fleeting.  I don’t see men really commenting on this one.  It’s the one your girlfriends tell you is sexy, just like they tell you “you look really hot with short, dark hair and glasses.  If I were a lesbian I’d be all about you.”  Cristalle is semi cerebral, the kind of perfume a woman would wear to please only herself, never mind what her lover thinks of it. 

Overall, this perfume is kind of clean and fresh, in a perfumista friendly way.  I’d like to think of it as a palate cleanser, the ginger on the side of your sushi.  Great for days I’d like to smell less dirty and less interesting. It makes an excellent segway drug into the world of perfume for a young woman.  If only I could escape the hairsprayed melon aspect, I would definitely reach for this more often than I do, which is still more often than before.  After wearing off and on for a few weeks, my thoughts have gone from GACK swamp mess! To bleh, hairspray to oooh, refreshing citrus and floral greens, which is a long way.

One last mention. At some point, Cristalle was flanked with an EDP verion.  The EDP is completely different from the EDT.


Notes: lemon, fresh herbs, oakmoss, bergamot, jonquil, jasmine, honeysuckle, rosewood, hyacinth and vetiver

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 3:47 am  Comments (3)  

Chanel no. 5 or the big mama review


As I mentioned in the Coco Mademoiselle review, many years ago I was searching for MY perfume.  Of course, I started with the iconic Chanel no. 5 and quickly rejected it.  It was just too old, and too much for a young girl to tangle with.  Maybe, as a fledgling, I was put off by the “sparkling” aldehydes.  A young girl unaccustomed to perfume complexity would easily dismiss these as soapy, powdery fluff fit only for grandmas as opposed to champagne bubbles annoucing a celebration of florals and womanhood.  But that was then and this is now. 

After reading much about the iconic-ness and genius of the Beaux creation, I had to try it again, if only to see if I could at least appreciate it knowing what I know about the perfume world now.  However, in addition to trying the latest bottle of number five, I also HAD to try a vintage bottle, both parfum strength.  My discoveries surprised me. 

First, I was surprised that on application the perfumes immediately brought to mind the cheap, er um, classic aftershave my father wears, Old English Leather.  This must be attributed to the neroli- ylang-ylang-citrus notes after the aldehydes.  Chanel’s ylang-ylang tends to haunt me and, as in Cuir de Russie, and it gives a leathery feel to the perfume.  That combined with the Neroli, a note I find in many men’s formulas, gives an unexpected masculine feel to the fragrance.  Completely unexpected.   One would not suspect to find this edge to a classic, top selling woman’s perfume. 

Further into the perfume, it becomes “spicy” and “smoky” as the King says, and I have to agree. The spice element in the perfume deepens the nature of the fragrance, turning sparkling champagne into a deep red wine, much in the way we girls go from the insecure experimentalism of girlhood to the experienced, confidence of womanhood.  Drydown continues in the animalic (nusky, no poopy) and trace of subtle spice then light woods.  The composition is quite fantastic as the various notes emerge in small clusters of citrus to florals to animal to woods and then back through the cycle. 

  The woman who wears this is sure of herself, dressing in tailored, structured pieces made of soft, tactile fabrics.  Her hair is smoothly pulled up, but easily taken down.  She is not overtly sexy, but more sensuous with lots of curves.

    Iconic as it maybe, it has been tinkered with as Polge (reigning nose at Chanel) has admitted.  Where the vintage is a deep, throaty laugh, the modern is more of a girlish titter, with more powder and sweeter floral-fruit notes.  It is still essentailly the same formula.  De-Luxe how Luxury Lost it’s Luster mentions Chanel uses the same growers in Grasse for the florals as before in effort to maintain quality.  However the animalic have been toned down and summerized to suit the modern nose, unaccustomed to the deeper complexities of perfume. 

We could also argue the reformulation of the perfume matches the reformulation of the modern woman.  Once, we were more Marilyn like.  We expected to be curvy and reveled in our sensual power.  Everyday we donned a dress or suit to go about our business and every day we did hair and dabbed perfume.  Perfume was a luxury as well as a personal signature.  Today, in contrast, most of us throw on some jeans and a pony tail to go out to dinner.  We are kept little girls longer by our culture and most men seem to prefer a more girlish companion.  We are expected to wax everything but the top of our heads as well as diet ourselves into a prepubescent state. 

In the movie Loverboy with pre Grey’s Anatomy Patrick Dempsey, Dempsey’s character describes his first romantic encounter being with “a WOMAN a real Chanel, number 5!”  What more needs to be said about the perfume that signifies womanliness, lady-like classical and timeless sensuality?  How many more adjectives can I throw in there?

Ten years after dipping a toe into the toilet waters, I’ve emerged as a full fledged perfumista, as well as a grown up woman.  The kind that aspires to fix her hair and put on some lipstick, and hopefully found something other than jeans to wear…and never passes up chocolate.   For occasions when I want to be a lady, this is a bottle I pull out to annoint myself in celebration.  Truly a rite of passage, a benchmark I have finally acheived. 

notes: aldehydes, bergamot, rosewood, neroli, ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, amber, civet, sandalwood, vetrvier

Published in: on December 28, 2007 at 7:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Chanel’s Exclusif Collection

This one will be short and sweet.  After reading lots of reviews about the collection, I was itching to try them. 


This was an instore spray favorite.  Warm, spicy, inviting, one could absolutely picture a cool, black laquered frame contrasted with thin red paper in the panes.  The papers glow with the light of a warm fire behind them and there is the smell of spices and a little incense.  Upon spray, it’s immediately warm with an undertone of vanilla, then dries out to a medicinal, dark mustiness. Next, Coromandel cycles back to the warm vanilla-amber base.  Somedays it felt exotique, sensual and winter perfect.  Otherdays it reminded me of Calvin Klein’s Obsession.  Particularily the year they offered Obsession with four roll-ons that isolated and aspect of the perfume.  I just can’t shell out 175 dollars for a smell-a-like, esp. one that doesn’t always last very long on me.  Pity.

notes:amber vanilla patchouli, frankencense and I swear there’s some cinnamon-y clove-y stuff in there too.

Bel Respiro

This one is green and sunny.  Like laying in a filed of soft warm grass while watching the clouds roll by.  It’s quite nice, in a tailored ladylike sort of way and great for spring or summer.  I personally wouldn’t reach for it often, but it could be a change of pace once in awhile.  Must retry in the warm weather.  I think it might be 80 degrees here next week.  I am hoping the warmer weather and lack of mild nasal condition will bring the promised florals and leather out. 

notes: leaves, rosemary, thyme, rose lilac, hyacinth,green tea, grasses, myhrr, leather.

No. 18

Spicy, then smells like Avon’s skin so soft.  My father would proclaim “smells like bug spray.”  Then after awhile it disappeared on me.  dammit.  Where are all the lucsious notes mentioned by Bois de Jasmin???

notes: ambrette seed, rose, iris.

28 La Pausa

Let me first say, I’m not big into iris.  I know so many of you love love love it, but I’ve never gotten it.  I hope for some personal growth, but it didn’t come here.  So I shall assume that unless you already heed the siren iris call, this is not the place to start.  All I can really say about La Pausa is that it was a woody man-floral and very not for me. 

notes: iris, rose… not sure

31 Rue Cambon

after reading that this was an experimental chypre I could hardly wait to try it.  I love me a good chypre!  This one was reminiscent of Femme‘s plummy goodness, though a great deal watered down.  If I didn’t worship Femme, I’d probably love this, but alas, it has been done before!  I do give Polge, the perfumer, credit for finding away to make a chypre with out that “evil” oakmoss that is suffocating the masses with it’s evilness.  (yes, that would be sarcasm, long live oakmoss!) It takes some creativity to find a way around the problem of not being able to use a particular ingredient.  So, shall I compare this to say….2% milk, and Femme being cream?  A parfum would be a great idea here.

notes: bergamot, black pepper, patchouli, cistus labdanum and iris.

Finally, I did find a little love in…

Eau de Cologne

I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself loving this one, as it seemed I would like it least.  This is a very refreshing, lemony citrus open with pleasant light florals throughout.  It’s perfect for Houston summer and I could see this in heavy rotation with my beloved summer scent, Jicky.  175 for the 6.8 oz…well… maybe I can convince the king it’s sharable…

notes: citrus, bergamot, neroli

Verdict:  A nice try.  Maybe I’ll feel differently about some of them in warmer weather, but truly do not forsee a purchase of any of these in the near future.

Published in: on December 5, 2007 at 3:56 am  Comments (2)  

Bois des Iles


 Thanksgiving could not have been more idyllic for those of us in Houston than it was today.  Weather was gorgeous.  Upper 50’s, clear blue skies and even a few colored leaves here and there.  My family managed to all congregate together around a delicious menu developed from various gourmet style recipes (even featured chestnuts) and I made one kick ass pumpkin pie.  Oh my god, it was delightful.  I use a nut filling on the bottom spiked with some brandy and ginger, topped with fresh pumpkin (not from the can) mixed with heavy cream, dash of brandy and spices.  Wine was flowing with conversation and followed with great coffee.  The Princess knocked out after a good walk in the cold air and we all spread to various parts of the house to read or vegtate or went onto the next Thanksgiving venue.  I even looked decent in family pictures this year.  The King and I found a nice quiet nook outside to grab a blanket and a book to read together.  (Actually, I made that part up as DH was away on business.  However, had he been here, that’s what we would have done) There is something sweetly sexy about being read to by the one you love.  Tommorrow, I will be hit by a bus.

I thought long and hard about my outfit today, and even harder about my perfume choice.  To go with my wine colored wool pants and fitted cream wool sweater (cinched with a tortise-y belt.  I cinch damn near everything these days after losing all 60 lbs of the baby weight) and a wine paisley pashimna scarfy thing. Brown leather gloves and big Mary-Kate Olsen sunglasses for the outdoors with low heeled pointed brown shoes.  lots of toe and chest cleavage.  for Perfume, I wanted something as rich and volutptuously automnal as I felt today.  Chanel Bois des Iles seemed like the perfect choice. 

  The first spray always makes me question my choice as I always get a cirtusy,dry woodsy smell.  Much too fresh or so I think until a few minutes later I smell light sweetness of florals glowing with a hint of spice.  Glowing being the operative word, as it’s a subtle warm emanation, smelling like my skin but better.  Almost as though I brushed my wrist against a kitchen counter top dusted with gingerbread spices.  However, the effect is most often not a gourmand foody smell, but more of a homey sexy smell.  These light spices melt pefectly into the vanilla sandalwood base finishing a stunning composition.  If this perfume could give an auric color it would be deep golds, warm wines and a hint of chestnut brown.  It’s a walk in cool, crisp air and then a warm seat by the fire.  Ernest Beaux, creator of this magic elxir, was a true genius.  He managed to create a season’s colors, cooking and pastime with this fragrance. 

Edt can be a bit sharper, particularily in the cool blast at the begining, but it gives (me) more silliage and lasting power than the Parfum.  However the parfum’s advantage is a smoother, warmer perfection one must get close to smell, taking Coco Chanel’s advice to put perfume where one want’s to be kissed to heart.  However, wearing this subtle sexy scent, one is likely to be in for more than kisses. 

The sexualty of this perfume is not in knock you over the head heady florals or animalic musky dirty girlness.  Bois des Iles instead amplifies your skin’s smell and makes it over with an autumn palatte.  It is perfection for Thanksgiving, for walks in crisp air, tweed pencil skirts, wool pants and cashmere.  It’s an invite to snuggle closer under a blanket or to nuzzle a neck in passing.  While some perfumes are merely sexy in a fake-boobs-taut-tummy-stilletto sort of way, this one is erotic in a soulmate with soft curves, little bit of well loved round belly and barefeet with perfectly pedicured toes.  Plus a bit of a trustfund.  Somehow, most Chanel’s smell well monied to me.  This is certainly one masterpiece I could never get through fall without. 

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  What did you all wear today?

notes: aldehydes, coriander, bergamot, neroli, peach, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, iris, ylang-ylang, vetiver, sandalwood, benzoin, vanilla and musk

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 9:02 am  Comments (4)  

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)  

Coco Mademoiselle, a story of lust, betrayal, redemption and reconciliation

cocomadem.jpgBack in 2001, I was sort of out on my own for the first time and getting to know myself as the grown up girl I was to become.  Naturally, I need a new perfume for this transformation.  For months I sniffed at everything.  Chanel no 5 was tooo grown up, the offerings at the mall shops too young.  Spurred by thier uber sexy ad campaign, I felt the need to try Coco Mademoiselle.  It seemed to encapsulate everything, or everyone, rather, I wanted to be.  Sexy, desireable, yet independant.  The ads had my name all over them and we flirted via magazine until I made the first move at the Ulta.  In a testing frenzy, I sprayed myself with several candidates. saving Mademoiselle for last.  Unfortunately, the nose was overloaded, and I couldn’t detect a thing.  So I went home alone.

What I didn’t know was what that little spritz of Mademoiselle would do to me. Being a smart girl I had diagrammed where I had spritzed things.  most of the stuff I sprayed wasn’t lasting or fulfilling  Mademoiselle, however satisfied me completely.  Over the next few waking hours and all night, she rocked my olfactory world.  While I missed the opening citrus in the melange of other scents, I was hit hard with the floral, feminine heart.  Rose, Jasmine.  How can you get more womanly than that in a perfume?  The way these were presented in particular, were the perfume equivilant to Mae West’s walking wiggle.  Fun, flirty, feminine and forward.  However, the part that really slayed me was the morning after. 

The next morning, I donned my favorite sweater (from the day before) and smelled something irresistable.  Like a cat to catnip I was madly sniffing the sleeve of my sweater wondering what the hell could that possibly be???  The smell was so deliciously dirty and almost masculine. My nose was so busy sniffing my wrist and sweater, you would think I had dusted it with coke. a cola 😉  As soon as I could tear myself away from myself I made haste to Ulta to make an honest woman of myself with my very own bottle.

For years the affair was hot.  We’d do it anytime, anywhere with no regard to propriety.  30 spritzes in the 100 degree heat, oh spank me because I’m bad!  People, particulairly men, could tell I was a woman in love, and would flock to me, telling me how divine/sexy/utterly f-able I smelled.  Actually I only tolerated the last comment from those who I was,  well, you know.  Otherwise they were purse-bitch slapped for thier forward impertinence. I digress.  Truly, as perfume can elevate your state of being, I felt like I was a sex goddess with all the benefits. 

But all good things come to an end.  Our affair must have begun to cool when I noticed our relationship was only exclusive on my side.  Mademoiselle was out with others.  While I never expected an fidelity with such a hot number, I didn’t think Mademoiselle would be quite so…loose.  Soon I noticed everyone from my hairdresser to my brother’s girlfriend we all seeing my Mademoiselle and I began to become jaded with her.  The smell once so tantalizing and elevating became like the too loud laugh of a too painted hooker.  It was a painful thing to break off, but I did and began to see others. 

In the interim, as I have been exploring all the other fish in the sea, I have learned about perfume; what goes into a perfect compostion, what notes truly sing for me and which ones to avoid like the plague.  I have also discovered that I am not the marrying kind, at least not right now and have several perfumes I use regularily, and many flirtations and one nighters on the side.  Thus, I have forgiven Madamoiselle, and now understand she was a stunning work.  In a land of insipid fruity florals, celeb stank and stuff marketed for the olfactory retarded, she stood out as a remarkable chypre, harkening to the old days when perfume was meant to shock and arouse, not to mask and make excuses for innocence long past.  (looking at you bath and bodyworks.) It is not any wonder that she was spread about the town, she was daring in our modern times. 

Now, once in awhile I pull my bottle out of my drawer, take a sniff with a bit of reverence.  Coco Mademoiselle made me a woman.

 Notes Orange, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Litchi, Rose, Jasmine, Patchouli, Vetiver, Vanilla, Musk 

Keira looks tres mignon ici!

What was your first perfume love?  Do you still wear it?  Why or Why not?

Published in: on November 18, 2007 at 3:28 am  Comments (2)