Interview with our dear Terri Bozzo of Kyse Perfumes…

ÇaFleureBon Profiles in American Perfumery: Terri Bozzo of Kyse Perfumes + Scent and Salon Draw
Terry Bozzo of Kyse Perfumes I grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern CA. I had 1/4 mile walk to the school bus stop each morning.  I remember spring mornings where the smell of rain and woods would envelope me, every morning similar yet different.  I could pick out grasses, flowers blooming, the…

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Thoughts on the Mon Guerlain FragComm drama….

Photos via

 

“Mon Guerlain” may not be “Votre Guerlain” (but it’s STILL Guerlain.)

Since the release of the new Mon Guerlain last month, the reviews have come fast and furious, and to my bewilderment many have been scathing bordering on sociopathic. Seriously. I’ve read statements along the lines of “Guerlain is finished” or “…a serious black-eye for Guerlain”, “….the end of Guerlain as we know it”, and my favorite which is just plain ignorant and insulting, “Mon Guerlain caters to the absolute lowest common denominator, people who buy perfumes from a chain drugstore” Hey! I happily buy from chain drugstores, especially when they offer perfumes like 2014’s “Love2Love” range for $7.00a bottle, created by such noses as Sophia Grojsman, Bruno Jovanovic, Calice Becker, and Maurice Roucel!

All this vitriol aimed at Guerlain seems irresponsible without stepping back to consider the whole picture, which is essentially a model for running a successful business. In my life I have created five different business companies in the past 35 years, two of those I successfully sold at the height of their popularity, two others I simply closed, and my current business which is going great guns and about to expand the brick and mortar plant for the third time. I know about business, I come from 5 generations of business owners, I was raised in my parent’s business environment.

So when it comes to Guerlain and the release of Mon Guerlain I have to ask, “Why all the hate”?

You don’t like it, I get that. Guerlain perfumes are a mere shadow of their former glory. I get that too. However Guerlain is simply doing what companies have done for generations, trying to expand their customer base by creating an entry-level product for a NEW generation. I say give them some slack, there will be other Guerlain releases in the future that will delight and excite. However without creating a whole new base set of customers, they likely WOULD close up shop. If Mon Guerlain is the scent that gets twenty-somethings interested in fine perfumes then I for one, am all for it. I and many others struggled with Shalimar when first introduced to it, but as I delved further into the perfume world, I came to understand and appreciate it’s complexity and beauty. It was an “Aha!” moment for me, that day I finally “got” what Shalimar is all about. Come to find out, it’s actually a fairly common experience. That ultimate love for Shalimar led me right to the edge of the Guerlain rabbit hole and pushed me in head first.

As for Mon Guerlain, I like it, but don’t love it enough to buy a full bottle, it just doesn’t register on my love-o-meter quite frankly, but there’s no disputing it is a simple and pretty scent, perfect for spring and summer, if that’s your wont. With 2000+ new perfume releases per annum, it’s ok to give a pass to the ones you don’t like, but to go out of your way to be spouting doom and gloom predictions for a venerated house, seems profoundly cynical and frankly quite a turn-off to potential readers. Why not discuss the perfume rationally, make it clear that the perfume is not to YOUR taste, and let people make up their own minds. Perfume reviews (mine included) are completely subjective after all. As my mother used to say “You’ll catch more flies with honey….”, and in the case of perfume I suspect that may be true. Dialing back on the venom will help readers take you more seriously and possibly ramp up the respect. Leave the smack-talking to the politicians, they’re better at it anyway and have had LOTS more practice.

Perris Monte Carlo: Ylang Ylang Nosy Be (2014)

Ylang Ylang Nosy Be by Perris Monte Carlo (2014)
In 1976 at age 21, (and with only 12% body fat- those were the days) and a well-traveled rucksack, I was bumming around the world as many kids my age were at that time. It was cheap, and I was aimless and carefree before settling down into my adult life.

Thanksgiving that year found me homesick and maudlin, stepping off the deck of a catamaran into what was then the small funky portside town of Gustavia on the island of St. Bartholomew a.k.a. St. Barts. I was lucky enough to find a small room to rent on the other end of the island.

After handing over my tattered passport, and the equivalent of $12.00 for the first night, I climbed the hill to my tiny apartment, threw my stuff on the bed, and threw open the white wide-louvered balcony doors.

And what I saw took my breath away.

Emerald green tropical forest cascading down the hillside and ending in a mile-long,
blinding-white sand beach melting into an utterly calm cerulean colored bay, and not another soul in sight.

And that’s when it hit me. The smell. The gorgeous smell of something akin to jasmine, orange blossom, pikake and a dash of vanilla.

I swooned. Honest to god, I swooned. I immediately ran down to the office and in my broken third grade french asked the kind young lady behind the desk what was that amazing smell??

She laughed, said something incomprehensible, and seeing my blank stare, wrote one word in english, on a piece of note paper….”Ylang.”

And that my friends, is what’s in this bottle of Perris Monte Carlo Ylang Ylang (grown on the island of) Nosy Be.   Exactly.

(…and I still have the note.)

 

Notes: Ylang- ylang, lemon, grapefruit, cardamom/ ylang-ylang, jasmine, orange blossom, damask rose/ ylang-ylang, labdanum, vetiver, cedar, vanilla and field scabious.

New Natural Perfume Review: Esscentual Alchemy Poir Indiscrète (Amanda Feeley, Inspired by Nava Brahe) 2017+ Spring Delight Draw

Originally published on http://www.cafleurebon.com  16 April, 2017

 

Of all the fresh fruit I love, a ripe and juicy pear would be near the top of the list. I often scoffed at the idea of the humble apple being the fruit that Eve was tempted with on the tree of knowledge. Apples are just not that sexy or mesmerizing albeit delicious. Nope, for my money it would be a fig with its notorious center resembling the feminine genitalia, or a pear bursting with honey-tinged juice and when perfectly ripe, sweet enough to have NON-diabetics reaching for the insulin. Every year my spouse and I receive a box of Royal Riviera & Verano Pears from the now-legendary Harry & David in Oregon, and geeky though it may be it remains one of the highlights of our holiday season. These, elixir-sweet pears are so juicy and fine, they need to be eaten with a spoon! They’re just that good!

So when writer and former perfume reviewer Nava Brahe approached perfumer Amanda Feeley of Esscentual Alchemy with the idea of a pear-centric perfume, it took the next two years of dabbling and modifications to create a scent that was exactly what Nava had suggested. The idea for the perfume that Nava suggested to Amanda was this… “What is it about the pear that intrigues us? It has an appearance, texture and taste unlike anything else in nature, and it is good for us. My love affair with pears started in childhood, with candy-sweet canned fruit cocktail. When I ate it, I would pick out the chunks of pear and pieces of cherries, saving them for last. As my palate became more sophisticated, I discovered that fresh pears were an enjoyable snack, as well as the perfect accompaniment to cheese. Then, of course, there is the inevitable pairing of pears with pastry, which makes for the most delectable tart”. I can’t pinpoint when exactly I decided I wanted to smell of pears, but as my perfume tastes evolved over the years, I found pear notes to be quite appealing, especially when mixed with white florals and maybe a touch of sweetness like vanilla or tonka bean. Pears are often a secondary fruity note in many commercial fragrances, but rarely are they the star of the composition. My goal is to have the pear be center stage with supporting notes that will enhance and compliment its juicy succulence without overwhelming the intrinsic characteristics of the fruit.” -Nava Brahe 2014

Two-plus years later, Poir Indescrète is ready for its official release on April 25th 2017, and it’s a stunner! As a perfumer Amanda Feeley works slowly and methodically, and the results are quite often complex and unforgettable. Her creations include scents that will always be in my collection (Come To Me), Little Black Dress created for CaFleurebon’s First Anniversary, and the two gorgeous perfumes created for the Traveling Unguetarium Project; Helena based on a two thousand year old Roman recipe for scented oil, and its contemporary version Helena II).

For Poir Indescrète Amanda has created an extraordinary pear accord that smells as if you have just bitten into the very best pear ever, the sweet, exotic scent rising up to your nose, slightly dusty and familiar yet so much more! The juice, like true nectar of the gods runs down your chin and you lean over quickly so the juice lands on the ground and not on your shirt. Absolutely delectable.

That pear accord is the very first note that hits you upon application, and at the top it’s at its most lush and gorgeous. When the blood orange and bergamot come forward and the florals are in play, this is akin to a joyous spring perfume, frothy and bubbly and not unlike a vintage Arpege, Chanel or Lanvin. It’s downright sunny. The honey and tea notes provide an astonishing sense of realness that will have you believing that, as bees in honey drown, you will be a magnet for anything or anyone who comes close, and remain intoxicated by your scent cloud.

Notes: Rose Geranium, Blood Orange, Bergamot, Pear Accord, Heliotrope accord, Honeysuckle, Honey, Jasmine Tea, Mimosa, Ylang-ylang, Green Tea, Musks, Tonka Bean, Vanilla

Disclosure: Many thanks to Esscentual Alchemy and Amanda Feeley for supplying the sample. The opinions are my own.

-Robert Herrmann, Sr. Contributor

Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
Poir Indescrète Amanda Feeley Esscentual Alchemy

Thanks to Esscentual Alchemy and Amanda Feeley, we have three 1 ml pre-release sample vials of Poir Indescrète for three registered readers Worldwide. Please be sure to register if you have not done so. To be eligible please let us know what you were drawn to in Robert’s review, if you like pear notes or enjoy pears and where you live. Draw closes 4/19/2017.

We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so like Cafleurebon and use our RSS feed…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.

Aether Arts 420: Boho Chic edp. (Amber Jobin 2017)

 

Originally published on cafleurebon.com  14 April 2017

 

New Perfume Review: Aether Arts Perfume, Perfume 420: Boho Chic Perfume Oil
(Amber Jobin 2017)
“Colored cottons hang in air
Charming cobras in the square
Striped Djellabas we can wear at home
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh…”
-Crosby, Stills, & Nash; Marrakesh Express 1969

Created just in time for 4/20 Amber Jobin gives us a cannibis-inspired scent as an homage to the hippie jet-set of the early 1970’s discovery of Marrakech with it’s aura of easy-living and long languid days and nights devoted to intoxication of some kind. It was a heady time, ripe with possibility, and the cannibis and hashish that was easily available became the stepping stone for vivid imaginative dreams and blissed-out flights of fancy…..
The term 420 (spoken as four-twenty) is a bit more mundane than that, having originated in 1971 behind the high school in San Rafael, CA, then the hub city of Marin County just north of San Francisco. A group of friends coined the term “420” as a shorthand communication for “Meet us out back at 4:20p.m. and let’s smoke some weed”. As it so happened, just a block away from San Rafael High was a small music studio being used by The Grateful Dead for rehearsals, and the friends would hang out at the studio to get stoned and listen to the music. The Term 420 was picked up by Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, and the rest as they say, is history.

At the same time, on the other side of the planet, global nomads and hipsters, clutching their copies of Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky, were flocking to Marrakech in Morocco following the unmistakable lure of the unknown, or “the other”. Food and lodging were cheap, marijuana and hashish were plentiful, and the sun shined daily. These travelers, many in their late teens and twenties, adopted and embellished local Moroccan dress; the young ladies resplendent in vivid patterned and embroidered Kaftans and bangled head scarves, and the young men in billowing harem pants and bare-chested but for a mirrored cloth vest. Sexuality was fluid, the locals were non-plussed, and the hookahs and joints full of cannibis or hashish ironed out all the harsh edges and glaring realities”.

The warm Moroccan nights were rife with the scent of jasmine flowering vines, and magnolia trees loaded down with blossoms, their combined scents adding to the Aladdin’s lamp narcotic haze blanketing the city. As chef Anthony Bourdain described it “It was a station-of-the-cross for the bad boys of culture.”

420: Boho Chic Perfume Oil is the intriguing and photorealistic scent of this seminal early 70’s time and place. The burning and bitter hashish in the water pipe, the smell of the Medina tanneries juxtaposed on top of the goatish sweaty-wool aroma of the pillows used for reclining in the courtyard of a café or riyadh.The sweet and slightly indolic florals of a semi-arid oasis, a historical traveler-friendly caravansary caught between the turquoise blue and blinding tawny coastline of the Mediterranean, and the vast dry inhospitable desert to the south. The camel, donkey, and oxen sweat, the smells all intertwined and seeming to create an almost fugue state and psychedelic boots-on-the-ground experience, where you could forget your past and recreate yourself as your perfect near-eastern fantasy. It is quite honestly an astonishing and intoxicating scent!

Notes: Green cannabis accord laced with hashish, smoke, ash, jasmine sambac, magnolia, saffron, suede and leather accord, civet, musk, castoreum, costus.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Aether Arts Perfumes for supplying the sample. The opinions are my own
.

Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777 Rose De Petra edp (2013)

 

IMG_0787

Invisible Rose Garden

“From what invisible rose garden
was flung this rose
whose perfume maddens
me and makes me lucid?

– Jalal-ud-Din Rumi

 

Rose De Petra edp, is quite frankly my all-time favorite rose perfume. This unisex spicy floral scent has it all, a gorgeous rose center, middle-eastern style spiciness, and enough dark and sexy vibe to make it worth wearing anytime of the night or day. I just love it. My back-up has its own back-up.

Notes: Litchi, pomegranate, rose, bulgarian rose, pepper, cardamom and cumin.

Amouage Opus X (2016)

Amouage Opus X from the Library Collection, by Christopher Chong and perfumers Pierre Negrin and Annick Menardo (2016)
Inspired by the movie “The Red Violin” Amouage Opus X is the latest (and rumor has it possibly the last) entry into the Library Collection by perfume master Christopher Chong.

If you haven’t seen “The Red Violin” yet, do yourself a favor and watch it. One of my favorite films, it is a multi-faceted, dark and brooding tale of obsession, love and music. Beautifully conceived and compelling, not unlike this perfume Opus X.

Notes include:

Top notes: may rose, red rose and rose.
Middle: geranium, leather and varnish accord.
Base: metallic notes, laotian oud, ylang-ylang and ambrarome.

 

 
This perfume opens with a huge blast of rose, rose, and MORE rose, all of it from the roots and stems, to the thorns and blooms. I never did pick up the varnish/metallic vibe that so many people smell, which is disappointing to me ’cause I love the smell of varnish, and really went looking for it. It’s also SO integral to the plot of the movie, but no matter because this is a rose that is all business.

 

As a confirmed charter member of the “Society of Rose Ho’s International”, a new rose scent brings me no small amount of pleasure, and on the rose-front Opus X certainly doesn’t let me down. Regardless of the missing varnish/metal notes to my nose, this is a damned fine rose! Not in the slightest “jeunesse”, or High school girly, this is a grown up rose along the lines of Lyric, another rose-centric perfume by Amouage. Deep, dark, complex, and many-layered, this is a true rose or rather the dream or fantasy of a rose.

So if you’re a rose lover…….

 

 

(😁Follow-up comment from Christopher Chong….)

“Great review Robert! I normally stay away from commenting on social media. If we ever meet one day I will make sure you get the varnish accord! LOL. By the way, OPUS X is NOT the final fragrance in The Library Collection. I’m just taking a break from this collection in order to spend time to develop the other collections. The Library Collection will resurrect in a couple of years.”

Royal Apothic Dogwood Blossom

IMG_0691Dogwood Blossom by Royal Apothic

 

Just when I think I can’t be surprised anymore, along comes this wonderful scent which prompted the spouse’s response:” Oh my god! That smells amaze-balls!!”
From someone who usually sneezes when presented with my arm to smell, this is the sin qua non of praise! Wow. For once I was speechless.
Created exclusively for Anthropologie a few years back, this floriental just keeps unfolding and changing as the day goes by.

Top Notes: Tobacco flower, warm amber.
Middle Notes: Ginger, Cocoa, honey
Base Notes: Tonka, teakwood

Warm, spicy, floral, it’s all there, ending in a drydown highlighting the amber and wood. Spectacular.

This bottle can be hard to find, got mine on ebay a while back, but there are usually one or two knocking around. I say, buy a pair (1 to wear, 1 to spare), and if it’s not to your liking, offer it to me! ( Except that you’ll love it!)

Sweet Anthem Timeless Collection (2017)

Originally published on http://www.cafleurebon.com   9 April, 2017

 

New Natural Perfumes review: Sweet Anthem Perfumes Timeless Collection, (Marisa Borrevik) 2017
In the Summer of 2016 a quiet buzz started moving around the Pacific Northwest; Sweet Anthem Perfumes was re-opening after a two year hiatus. Since 2007, Sweet Anthem then based in West Seattle, had been a “must-see” destination on every perfumista’s Northwest itinerary. In 2007 Natural Perfumes were not quite “a thing” yet, and held a certain below-the-radar mystery to most fragrance lovers, often dismissed as Head Shop leftovers rife with Patchouli oil, musk, and a vague scent of Nag Champa.

Sweet Anthem changed all that and showed the Northwest otherwise…

In opening Sweet Anthem, then owner Meredith Smith had decided the time was right for vegan, cruelty free, and mostly natural perfumes offered at very reasonable prices. Sure enough, the idea was a hit and her Seattle studio perfumes were flying off the shelves and soon started showing up at Anthropologie and other retail locations. Now re-opened in Portland Oregon under the very capable day-to-day operation of Marisa Borrevik, with Meredith popping in from time to time, new baby in tow, to offer input, Sweet Anthem is back in business creating wonderful scents!

The new three-perfume Timeless Collection is Marisa’s first endeavor for Sweet Anthem, and it’s a stunner. It’s also the first 100% all natural perfumes they’ve offered. The inspiration for the range is in Marisa’s own words…..

“Our lives, experiences, passions are wrapped up in these complex memories. But somehow to me, olfactory memory seems the purest in feeling. The Timeless concept was born out of an eagerness to understand the world in a different way – like historical fiction for the nose. The time periods felt like they choose themselves, I knew exactly the eras I wanted to evoke and what the finished product would feel like……”
The Perfumes:

1948-Beginnings edp.

The year 1948.“The war to end all wars” had ended three years prior, Service men and women had returned home, gotten married, and the first wave of the baby boomer generation were turning two years old. The population of the USA was skyrocketing as more babies were being born every day. Leavettown the first unofficial suburb was built, and after the horror years of WW2, couples were anxious to get their slice of the “American Dream.” The world was galloping towards the future and life was good and prospects bright.

1948-Beginnings edp gorgeously captures that rapture and sense of hope, shaking off the chains of the past, and striding forward. A ray of light after years of unspeakable darkness. The floral notes at the top give a nod to the classic perfumes of the past, and the green chill of the vetiver mixed with the exotic, slightly bitter frankincense and labdanum are decidedly pushing the modern. 1948 Beginnings is the perfect amalgam of past and future. If like me, you’re a fan of Guerlain L’Heure Bleue or the classic Dior’s then I suspect you’ll love this scent!

Notes: Honeysuckle, frankincense, labdanum, myrrh, orris, jasmine, & vetiver.
1969-Revolution edp

The year 1969. Many of us were there. The world watched as a president, a senator, and a civil rights leader were assassinated.. Television brought these events right into our living rooms, and once again we were mired in a war. The Summer Of Love was two years gone, and with it much of our innocence and naivety. Men continued to grow their hair long, and everyone was still encouraged to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” On Broadway, the American Tribal Love Rock Musical HAIR was the big hit, perfectly reflecting the dissonance of the era and the desire for the Age Of Aquarius to commence. On both coasts a revolution of another kind, the sexual revolution was amping up towards it’s reign and ultimate demise through the 70’s..

1969-Revolution edp is all about the exuberance and waning of the flower child, as darker times approach.
The perfume opens with a “Let The Sunshine In”-tonka bean zingy Coca-cola/fizzy drink feeling that is as bright and happy as a be-in in Golden Gate Park. Pure unadulterated youth, freedom and “good vibrations”. This very quickly settles down into a gorgeous floral heart supported by the woody, spicy notes of the amyris and sandalwood. The burgeoning darkness comes through the oakmoss, vetiver, and benzoin, and it’s very clear that “The Times They Are A’Changing.”

Notes: Tonka bean, tuberose, amyris, Moroccan rose, sandalwood, oakmoss, vetiver, and benzoin.
2020-Hope edp

In a fractured world where divisiveness and fear rule our emotions, we keep hope alive like a light in the dark, and turn to things that comfort us. Like nestling into a loving mothers arms, 2020-Hope edp will have you feeling as if there are good days still to come, and cohesiveness and love might just propel us forward to a better future yet to be revealed.
Opening with a blast of pithy yuzu and petitgrain to lift you up, the absolutely beautiful emerging sandalwood, almond, tonka, and lavender help you to maintain your elevated equilibrium. Like the first bite of a crisp and creamy vanilla Macaron, you exhale easily and realize that you can do this, you can get through this, and with letting that breath out, your spirit settles. Calming and wonderful. Just what we crave.

Notes: sandalwood, tonka bean, bitter almond, yuzu, benzoin, lavender, petitgrain, vanilla

Disclosure: Many thanks to Sweet Anthem Perfumes for supplying the samples. The opinions are my own.

 

Le Bienaime Cha-Cha Chanel (2015)

“Cha Cha Chanel” by Le Bienaime Perfumes. (2015)

 

Imagine a nightmare disaster like this…..

You’re dusting or cleaning your perfume collection, specifically the Chanel bottles, when suddenly an earthquake hits and all the Chanel bottles get thrown onto the floor and shatter into a million pieces. You manage to pick up all the shards of glass, but are left with a puddle of what is essentially a Chanel soup of all the fragrances left on the floor. You mop them up with a dish towel, and this mixture smells so compelling, so intoxicating that it brings to mind what must be THE perfect Chanel scent.

This is what Le Bienaime Perfumes is all about. The ultimate upcycling/recycling perfume company. Buy or find old bottles of perfume that have been discarded or sent to the thrift store, and repurpose the scent into something brand new, something with the exact DNA of the original perfume, but amped up about a hundred times. Sounds strange, right? And yet it works. It works VERY VERY well!
Cha-Cha Chanel is another beauty from the “house of up-cycle” this time utilizing repurposed Chanel perfume, and LOTS of it… The list of “notes” goes something like this:

1932, Allure Sensuelle/ Allure/ Biege/ Bois Des Iles/ Chance Eau Tendress/ Coco/ Coco Noir, Misia/ Sycomore.

Given my love of Chanel and the fact that this contains three of my all time favorites, this was a no-brainer for me……

The very first time I was in Paris, I must’ve been about 8 years old. The old-style “Pissoirs” were still on the streets, both fascinating and “eeewwww” to an 8 year old. Also my brothers and I discovered a 7-Up like soda called “Pssssht” the name supposedly meant to replicate the fizzy sound of opening the bottle cap. The name alone reduced us to gales of laughter, constantly forcing our Dad to tell us to “zip it!” Or whatever the equivalent in Czech was.

Also on that trip my mother and I went to the Chanel flagship store. Just the two of us..(My brothers and Dad were elsewhere, I think Mom knew something about me before I did). I remember walking in, wide-eyed with my jaw dropped at seeing a proper French boutique for the very first time….J. Magnin’s back home in San Francisco had NOTHING like this, at least as far as I knew. Maybe Gump’s but that’s a story for another time.

Stepping into the Chanel boutique, I remember a carpeted wonderland where silence was golden, but for the soft murmurs’ from the perfectly dressed Sales Associates. Mom was there for perfume, and being a die-hard Patou fan (Joy and 1000), wanted to see what all the fuss was about surrounding Chanel perfumes. From the source.

What I remember best was the smell, the melange of all those perfumes mixing together to create a scent that even as a child, almost made me swoon, and smelled like money. And class. This was years before BCBG (bien chic bon genre) became a common acronym.

So back to Cha Cha Chanel…… How do I describe this melange of various Chanel scents that takes me right back to that moment in the boutique. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful perfume with all the various scents creating something new, but VERY Chanel! The unmistakable Heart and soul of Chanel .

But enough reminiscing for now, i have to get back to huffing my wrist. I just can’t stop myself, it’s that good!