Scent{ing} · TABU by Dana

June 4th, 2016 · 0 comments · permalink

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Legend has it that in 1932 Dana, originally a Spanish perfume company, gave the brilliant and highly respected French perfumer Jean Carles instructions to create a perfume that would suit a prostitute. I am unashamedly delighted by this, but then I’ve always had a penchant for smelling like (the idea of) a 1930s Spanish prostitute. More likely, however, they were simply looking for an enticing, sultry fragrance that would draw women in from all the usual polite florals flooding the market at the time.

Tabu was Dana’s first fragrance and, until recently, I hadn’t scented it in half a lifetime, but I did wear it as my signature scent for years throughout my teens. I remember it being very sensual, exotic, and warm, and applying it was an exercise in restraint else everyone within 20 feet of you would feel haunted. Tabu has undergone multiple reformulations over the years, but most reviewers seem to agree that the unmistakable scent is still entirely recognizable. The perfume I recently sampled was vintage Tabu.

Notes: “Just about every strong raw material in the universe.” Bergamot, orange flower, basil, neroli and coriander, heart notes of carnation, jasmine, rose, clover and ylang-ylang, base notes of patchouli, civet, oak moss, amber, musk, vetiver, sandalwood, cedar, benzoin and vanilla.

Tabu has been described as everything from “ambery-warm-spicy sex potion” and “hedonistic trainwreck of booze, spice, and ripe oranges all sprayed down with raunchy musk” to “the leftovers of a dessert buffet in a medieval hall.” It is carnal, powerful, mysterious, and unapologetic; deeply sensual, rich, and heady. The Queen Oriental of oriental fragrances.

From The Non-Blonde: “We tend to be scared of perfume that is so aggressive and doesn’t try to hide its raw sexuality under a layer of pastry or fruit. Tabu is a little extreme. It wraps you in an intoxicating mix of exotica, lures you in and then puts on the moves. It dries down to a very faint […] sweetness and a lot of flushed skin.”

A definite love it or hate it kind of scent and not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t work on every woman (or gentleman, for that matter), and a lot of ladies look down their noses at this one as being too provocative, too sultry, and – due to its mass market availability – too cheap. All I can say to those women are, you go ahead and wear your overly sweet, safe ponytail fragrances. I’ll be over here dabbing Tabu on my inner thighs and kicking my heels up with the rest of the passionate boozy good time girls.

Scent{ing} · Tallulah Jane & Grasse Roots

June 2nd, 2016 · 2 comments · permalink

I was an ardent fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab for years and reviewed nearly every scent that I tried over on the forums, but – overwhelmed by their enormous catalogue and put off by all of the limited editions that I could never get my hands on – I eventually got away from it. These last several weeks, however, have found me falling into the larger intoxicating world of perfume in a very big, very serious way. Grief therapy, diversion, simple lovely new passion; I’ve found myself here for myriad reasons, and it has not been unlike stumbling into an unexpected love affair, all dewy eyed flushed skin and softest sighs. I feel like I have been living on another planet. I am drunk on perfume.

Brother and sister perfumistas – (and by the way, I would place myself solidly at stage two of that little list, with perhaps a healthy dose of stage four) – will empathize at the tidal comings and goings of sundry perfume samples my home has newly been experiencing. Naturally, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on each of them going forward in the hopes of enticing some of you into this perfumed little world with me(?) or, at the very least, helping someone to find a new scent that sings to them.

And with that; on to the perfume . . . !

» Read the rest of this entry «

Arabesque Aromas {review};

February 24th, 2015 · 0 comments · permalink

Image ©Kirsten Schilling

{ For the perfume connoisseurs(!) &/or ladyfriends and fellas who might appreciate the literary, medieval, faerytale essence of these perfumes. }

My latest order from Arabesque Aromas included some profoundly generous freebies, namely several sample vials beyond what I had ordered (Miss Kirsten Schilling, creatress and artisan perfumer extraordinaire, usually thoughtfully tucks in perfume samples that she knows her patrons are interested in) and a wholly unexpected, wildly beloved and bejeweled bottle of The Virgin & The Gipsy.

Allow me to sing the praises . . .

Inspired by the D.H. Lawrence novel, “The Virgin and the Gipsy” is a luscious, warm, passionate perfume with Buddha Wood, Labdanum, Black Pepper, Frankincense, a hint of Clove, and other resins and spices. It is sweet and woodsy, soft and womanly, easily one of my favourite perfumes; one of those scents that seem almost sacred, so beautiful it feels like weeping.

Kirsten’s perfumes are created purely in the natural world. They are magical, sensual, haunting. An artisan, scholar, and enthusiast of myth, faerytale and literature, Kirsten draws on inspiration and perfume-making methods from history, using only pure plant-based ingredients and natural botanical essential oils in her creations. She clearly regards the natural world, and her work with plants, with the highest sense of reverence, and her handmade aromatics are witched into being with that same reverence, from the heart. I would have no other perfumer grace my little wooden perfume box . . .

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