Cartier Baiser Du Dragon Extrait (2003)

Cartier Baiser Du Dragon Extrait. Alberto Morillas (2003)

My very first perfume swap on Facebook Fragrance Friends was with Joseph Sagona (TheScentedApprentice) and it was for a bottle of Baiser edp that I had ended up liking but not loving.

Then last October at the Portland Sniffa 2016, another FB friend Jon who I had done business with before (AAA+ btw….) asked if I would be interested in the pure extrait for a swap. Well, every time I hear that magic word “Extrait” my ears perk up, and I seem to start vibrating with excitement. So essentially HELL TO THE YESSSS!!!!!”

And boy howdy am I glad I did! This parfum extrait is everything I wanted the edp to be!

Notes include:
Top: bitter almond, neroli, orange and gardenia.
Middle:Cedar and musk.
Base: vetiver, patchouli and benzoin resin.

A floral/gourmand “vetiver chypre”, Baiser Du Dragon checks all my boxes for what I think of as an Oriental style perfume. Spicy and resinous, smokey and floral, yup it’s all there.

And gorgeous. And I love it.

Only one problem…It’s confusing if you’re looking for it on ebay. All the bottles for the edt, edp, and parfum look exactly the same, so many sellers just use whatever stock Cartier photo they can find, so you have to check carefully. The edp is often listed as “parfum”, but the tell is that the pure parfum/extrait is the ONLY version sold as a 30ml. The others are standard 50’s or 100’s. Just good to know.

4160Tuesdays Raw Silk & Red Roses (2015)

Raw Silk & Red Roses by 4160Tuesdays. Sarah McCartney (2015)

Not quite sure how this one slipped past me, being the 4160 FanMan that I am! (Just fyi…at this age fanBOY is simply not believable.) But thanks to my FB pal Karen Hatch I am wallowing in this most perfect red rose/patch/musky/ fruity concoction. I’ll say it again. Most perfect! But then I have yet to meet a 4160Tuesdays scent that I don’t pretty much love.
On my skin it manifests loads of sweet smoke and leather mixed with a naughty rose, although neither show up in the note list: Plum, peach, patchouli, musk, geranium and rose. Regardless, whatever is in the damned stuff is making my eyes roll back in my head with pleasure!
That’s all.

Aether Arts Touchstone (2017)

Originally published on 26 March, 2017

New Natural Perfume Review: Touchstone, Aether Arts Perfumes for the Talisman Project. (Amber Jobin, 2017)

Since time immemorial humankind has been reaching towards the skies seeking answers. The truth in the adage from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in 1849; “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” (The more things change, the more they stay the same), are that ancient roots often bear contemporary fruit. As such, superstition still holds sway in so much of our modern lives. If you were raised in the Catholic church, do you automatically cross yourself when presented with a challenging situation either on the street or at home? Or like my mother raised in the Jewish faith, pretend-spit over two fingers to keep away the evil eye and bad luck. Even unconsciously avoiding walking under a ladder, or saying “Bless You” or “gesundheit” after hearing someone sneeze is based in the desire to keep evil spirits at bay.

In the eyes of perfumer Amber Jobin of Aether Arts Perfume the idea of a “touchstone” talisman makes leaps and bounds and lands solidly in the present. What is a touchstone? Well, perhaps you carry a small pebble or shell in your pocket, taken from a favorite beach trip, the sides and edges rubbed smooth from your fingers. It makes you feel strong or grounded, loved, or protected and is a significant object for you, imbued as it is with your memories and more importantly, your intentions. My touchstone is a small Chinese Qing Dynasty carved jade peach, about the size of a nickel. It calms and centers me, and brings to mind reflections of my personal history.

For Amber the modern-day touchstone manifests as our cellphones, the quintessential object of our connectivity and safety, and if you use a smartphone, then the swiping and tapping gestures are very similar to the touching and rubbing of a traditional touchstone in your pocket. Three thousand years ago, humankind lifted pottery or bronze amphorae filled with burning incense up to the gods to plead for favors or seek answers to life’s questions through the use of vapors or “par fumare” (through the smoke), and to this day we hold our cellphones to the sky looking for that same connectivity as in “Can you hear me NOW?” Or “Are you THERE?”

Aether Arts Touchstone perfume oil goes one step further, creating an ozonic spray that mimics the materials used in the manufacture of cellphones, the silver and grey metals, quartz and silica of our need and desire for connection. Touchstone Perfume oil, is a beautiful and oddly compelling study in flinty and steely metallics, allowing the wearer to don a fragranced mist as reflective armor whenever needed.

When wearing the scent I feel strengthened and protected, as if I could take on the world and emerge victorious. The freshness of ozone is present in a petrichor-like clean moistness, that moment of pure and holy silence right before the storm hits and all hell breaks loose. The stainless steel smell of earth preparing to be inundated, cold water on hot concrete. As such,Touchstone becomes a scent that you would happily wear in the workplace to instill confidence, moxie, and a “take-no-prisoners” attitude. A spray on barricade to deflect negativity and put you firmly in control.

Notes: As stated by Amber Jobin, the notes for this scent are as abstract as perfume itself: Aether accord, Metal & Mineral accord, and Flashes of Color accord. The scent is 90% synthetic notes 10% botanical notes.

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

-Robert Herrmann, Contributor
Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief

A Wing & A Prayer Perfumes Pan’s Flute (2017)

Originally published on    25 March, 2017

New Natural Perfume Review: A Wing & a Prayer Perfumes Pans Flute (Jane Cate 2017)

“Silent stand the forest and the wooded height,
Silent are the small streams dripping down the rock,
Hushed are the busy murmur of the noonday bright,
Hushed the mingled bleating of the wandering flock.
Pan himself makes music on the pipe he loves,
See his soft lips gliding o’er the close-ranked reeds!
Nymphs that range the mountains,
Nymphs that haunt the groves,
Weave the dance around him in the grassy meads.”

-Attributed to Plato (4th century B.C.E.)

The Greek god Pan is widely considered to be the original “Good-time Goat Guy” within the pantheon of the Mount Olympus gods. This party animal god was a half human and half goat hybrid who embodied the spirit of the wild places, forests and woodlands, and ecstatic music and dance, shepherds and their flocks. Pan is a feral god, never meant to be domesticated and a bit of a conundrum, being the most uncivilized god in a civilized world. He is not a god of love, but rather a god of sex and lust, loving wine and music and using both to create a frenzy (PAN-ic) amongst his followers. The music that floated from the reed pipes held to his lips was said to entrance women and men alike (think PAN-sexual), remove inhibitions and ultimately lead his followers to make love in nature, often under the light of the moon, and often all night long until the break of dawn.

Perfumer Jane Cate has racked up quite a few awards since opening A Wing & A Prayer Perfumes in 2008 including from Cafleurebon: Rising Star award (2011), Best Fragrance Wild Rose (2011), Best Fragrance Epione (2011), Best Fragrance Haight & Ashbury (2011), Best Fall Fragrance Autumn Breeze (2012), the 2015 Silver Award for best packaging, Taste TV Fragrance Salon, and the 2015 Gold Award for Summer Afternoon Perfume from the Coeur d’Espirt Natural Perfume competition.

The new perfume Pan’s Flute edp is based on a morning walk through the woods at California’s Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in the country and for many generations considered California’s four season playground. The woods around Tahoe are filled with summer wildflowers, tall grass meadows, and conifers of every shape and size.

Pan’s Flute captures the scent of a summer woodland walk near the lake. Opening with a breezy, airy lavender set amongst a feeling of warm greenery from the violet leaf, it moves quickly into a glorious floral heart of geranium, rose, and heliotrope, all the while encompassed by strong base of fir, amber, and other woods. It brings to mind the scent of warm freshly washed sheets hanging on a line to dry in the sun, and long, lazy, warm weekends that were all about sleeping in, getting tan, and swimming in ice cold cerulean lakes, so clear and still you could look down into the enchanted depths forever. A scent as light and delightful as a merengue, or the soft melodic notes emanating from the reeds of a pan pipe.

Notes: violet leaf, lavender absolute, lavender tincture, rose, geranium, linden blossom, mimosa, bergamot, heliotrope, amber, fir absolute

Disclosure: Many thanks to A Wing & A Prayer for the sample and my opinions are mine alone.
-Robert Herrmann, Contributor
Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief

Thanks to A Wing & A Prayer Perfumes and Jane Cate, we have a 7.5 ml. spray of Pan’s Flute Perfume for a registered reader in the USA. Please be sure to register with Cafleurebon if you have not done so. You must be registered and you must use your user name or your entry is invalid. To be eligible please let us know if you’ve ever tried any of Jane Cates perfumes, if you have a favorite, and where you live.

Draw closes……………….

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.

Ava Luxe Green Tara (2011)

Green Tara by Ava Luxe (2011)

First off, I need to thank my Facebook Fragrance friend Audrey Centola Patchett for re-introducing me to the Ava Luxe perfumes, a line that has sadly fallen off my radar in the past few years.

With all the new/must have/cannot-live-without/dear-god-where-can-I-get-a-decant gazillion perfume releases these days, my Scent ADHD clicks into overdrive, and much gets shuffled to the back burner. Which in the case of Ava Luxe, is really too bad because perfumer/owner Serena Ava Franco makes some truly wonderful scents.

So I was thrilled to see a small bottle of Ava Luxe Green Tara Perfume Oil tucked into a box of goodies lately, and damn this is a fine thing to wear and sniff!

Notes include: Sandalwood, oud, vetiver, patchouli, amber, labdanum, Siam benzoin, moroccan rose, rose, musk, lavender, olibanum, lemongrass, Italian lemon, bergamot, geranium and Sichuan pepper.

Yup, oud. You read that right, the recent darling of the scent community, the note that many (myself included) love to hate. That is until it’s done right, and Green Tara has done it right. In spades.

The perfume was created to honor the Tibetan Buddhist goddess Tara who represents kindness, compassion, and liberty and in her “green” aspect, for meditation, creativity, and enlightenment. (Ava Luxe also has a version called Red Tara, a gorgeous iris/woody scent.)

And it is indeed a beautiful, meditative and dare I say, enlightening green scent.

Opening on my skin with a huge patchouli and oud presence, this blast quickly dissipates to reveal a chocolate facet of the oud which is what saves it for me, and actually pushes it into the “instant love” category. It’s so damned interesting and at this point my nose is quite frankly glued to my wrist. Fairly quickly the floral aspects come into play creating a gorgeous and somewhat powdery feeling, all the while supported by a really great and creamy sandalwood and citrus vibe with a touch of incense.

This perfume oil lasts and lasts. I’ve taken to applying a few smears right before bed, and as an oil that hovers as a skin scent I am assured of NOT driving spouse out of bed with a sneezing fit. All night long when I shift my body to a new sleeping position, I get a waft of this gorgeous scent, and that makes for some very sweet dreams indeed!

Solstice Scents Guardian (2017)




 Originally published on 19 March, 2017

New Natural Perfume Review: Solstice Scents Guardian edp for Cafleurebon Talisman Project
(Angela St. John 2017)

The desert is a haunting and haunted locale, the feeling of both spirit and history almost palpable, not only drawing people to it but also inspiring artists, poets, authors, and cultural creatives of all genres to produce extraordinary work.

At first impression it may sound desolate, but it is anything but.

There is something undefinable, mystical, and downright magical about a desert landscape. It’s as if all that endless space and turquoise-electric blue sky makes personal growth something far beyond a self-help group or a best-selling “How To Improve Your Bad Self!” hardcover book. Standing in a Southwest desert setting, the brown earth undulating into stunning striated hills and plateaus, seem to push your psyche to grow and expand to fill the space, but the never-ending boundless vistas of sky and earth can never be filled, so it continues pushing your expansion on and on. An eternal quest for spiritual fulfillment. You feel yourself becoming a small part of that landscape that’s full of life while at the same time quiet and profound.

With her new Guardian edp, Solstice Scents perfumer Angela St. John has miraculously captured the all-encompassing and protective nature of desert culture, and magically captured it in a bottle; an olfactive genie ready to uncork, spray on, and face your battles. A true Southwestern talisman.

Essentially a gorgeously rendered Amber and Sandalwood perfume, Guardian opens with the scent of a sweet sage smudge-stick with tendrils of citrus and wildflower flitting in and out, a fitting opening for a protective desert perfume, smudging being a time-honored ritual of new beginnings and creation.Just as some might use a burning smudge stick to purify a new home, workspace, studio, or project, the aromatic sweetness of the top notes of Guardian edp help to dispel any negative energy from hindering the wearer. The smokey waft of a smoldering Pinõn pine fire adds to the sweetness, and is an odor that is intrinsic to the American Southwest desert psyche. So ingrained is this odor in the cultural DNA, that even when visiting New Mexico’s prehistoric cave dwellings Bandalier National Monument, you’ll notice smoke smudges on the walls of the ridge face dwellings containing a faint trace of the Pinõn pine aroma still present after 11,000 years.

Guardian edp softens as it wears and the Oudh, Fir Balsam, Cypress, Juniper, and Patchouli appear, giving the impression of walking through a high desert chaparral forest at dusk, the ground soft with needles, yet dusty, dry, and slightly camphorous. All of these scents surround and strengthen the Amber and Sandalwood base acting like a protective shell, and creating a scent that is at times mysteriously elusive, yet close and comforting as a well worn Navajo blanket thrown over your shoulders, redolent with the smells of nature and your surroundings.

Angela St. John and her company Solstice Scents elicit an almost fever-pitch desire among her followers whose numbers are legion. Guardian edp is a stunning creation that is sure to swell the numbers of those that love St. John’s beautiful creations! It’s a winner!

Notes: Amber, Bergamot, Rowan Flower Essence, Three kinds of Sage, Spruce, Pinõn Pine, Fir Balsam Accord, Spikenard, Oudh, Patchouli, Cypress, Juniper, Muhuhu (African Sandalwood), Mushroom Accord, Shiso

Disclosure: Many thanks to Solstice Scents for supplying the sample. The opinions are my own

-Robert Herrmann, Contributor
Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief

Thanks to Solstice Scents and Angela St. John, we have a draw for two registered readers : for our international readers, we have a 5ml. decant of Guardian edp, and for our USA readers we have a 60 ml. full bottle of Guardian edp. Please be sure to register if you have not done so.

You must be registered and you must use your user name or your entry is invalid. To be eligible please let us know what you thought of Roberts’ review, if you have a favorite Solstice Scent, and where you live.

Draw closes on……………….

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.