European Trip 2015 – Day 5 (Paris)

After a nice train ride to Paris, I was greeted at Gare Du Nord by my good friend Kim, who accompanied me for some sniffing and a nice dinner.  We hit Sens Unique and were greeted by the lovely Renata who happily showed us around.

A few highlights:

cigale-figue-oriental-2N-Cigale – a new line based on three notes (lavender, fig, pine) delivered in two ways – realistic for daytime and inspirational for evening.  For example, Fig Fresh is a minty fig that is quite bright.  Fig Orientale is a spicy wood scent with incense and fruits.   Cigale is french for Cicada, and the inspiration is to take something common and reinterpret it in two ways. The bottle is gorgeous, and at 155 Euros for 120 ML, there is enough that you can use it liberally and really enjoy it.  All scents have matching candles which make for great gifts. I picked up Figue Oriental myself (unfortunately Black Lavender was sold out) and a Figue Fresh candle for my good friend who is a fan of fig (say that three times fast).

beaufort-east-indiaBeaufort – a new line inspired by British Maritime history. This line is for the hardcore perfume lovers and history buffs, as well as anglophiles.   They all start off quite strong – so don’t let that scare you off, they do calm down… eventually.

1805 is inspired by the Battle of Trafalgar and the notes of smoke and gunpowder are reminiscent of the infamous DS & Durga scent.  There is also a sense of boozy citrus in the mix – appropriate notes when you consider the sea life inspiration.

Coeur de Noir is the smell of a dark library – paper, ink, leather, pipe tobacco.  Basically a gentleman’s lounge that has been well loved and used.  This is a very masculine scent and could be considered the blue collar version of Creed Bois du Portugal (and that’s a compliment).

East India is more than a bit of intense – whiskey and tobacco dominate with a little tea in the mix.  Basically, everything that the British people traded as luxuries are there.  I hate to assign genders, but this is clearly a male scent.

simone-andreoli-camouflageSimone Andreoli – this line was new to me, and I had sniffed Camouflage last week in Rome.  I gave it a full wearing and fell in love with the musky wood scent.  The is some incense and oud in the mix, but both play a backseat.  Unlike the Givenchy t-shirt, this camouflage won my heart.

After confusion in Amsterdam, I resniffed Pierre Guillaume Metal Hurlant.  It is a metallic rubber and leather scent, like what I smelled in Rome.  One worth testing, but I can’t imagine wearing it on a regular basis.

Renata was inspired by my jacket and suggested David Jourquin Cuir Caraibes.  The fruity floral scent is grounded by wood, leather, and amber.   Another nice scent from the leather-inspired line.

I went back the next day and bought the Cigale Figue Orientale and Simone Andreoli Camouflage.  I also got a Cigale Figue Fresh candle for my good friend (and blog mother) Victoria of eauMG.  I held off on the Beaufort so I could spend some more time with it and because I was planning to meet the perfumer in London later in the week.

Just like I love taking pictures with DJs and producers in dance world, I like taking selfies with perfume people who I enjoy.  Here’s a cute shot of me and Renata.



European Trip 2013: Day 5 (Paris)

ron-abdul-jovoyAfter a good night’s sleep, I met up with Abdul Al-Jofar (a friend from a Facebook group) to do some sniffing in Paris.  We were a little early for Hotel Costes and Jovoy, so we were walking around and bumped into the Francis Kurkdjian boutique. The lovely Anastacia from Ukraine showed us the Russian exclusive Ciel du Gum, which is similar to Absolue Pour le Soir but a bit more musky and less cutting.  We had a nice chat about how Francis listens to the different markets and tailors scents for them.  For example, Germans don’t like orange blossoms and the French don’t like Patchouli, while the US people love clean and fresh.  Yes, these are all generalities but they do hold true. The running joke was what kind of scents do Asians like: the ones you can’t smell.  She ran into the back and pulled out a tester of the Marie Antoinette scent that Francis was working on.  Based on a formula found in the family’s vault, he reconstructed it with natural ingredients to match what the original would smell like.  Sniffing it, the overwhelming green floral was narcotic. While it’s not a scent I would ever wear, the beauty was magnificent and I kept the card in an envelope so I could continue to enjoy it.  She also showed the new skincare line which is based on some of the more popular scents.  Both Abdul and I said that if they did a body wash of Absolue Pour le Soir, we would buy out the store.  Of course, why would you buy a body wash that makes you smell dirty?  Especially when you can get Flying Fox from Lush.

ron-abdul-iumxNext up was a trip to Hotel Costes where we had a nice chat with Ronald (see last year’s write-up about the perfume Nazi here). I asked about the rumor about some scents being brought back and the lineup changing for IUMX.  He confirmed that and went on to say a few more things (which I forgot), but watch for some new scents in the IUMX line to be forthcoming.  Abdul picked up a travel spray of one of the scents as a gift (he had already bought four others the night before). We both felt really special, because Ronald agreed to take a picture of us – in the store – in front of the sniff flowers.

Jovoy was right up the block, so we spent at least an hour sniffing everything in the store.  A quick sniff of the new Neela Vermiere made me thankful that I was going to meet her the next day for lunch (and to get a full sample). I asked for (and was graciously given) a sample of the forthcoming Puredistance Black which I sniffed and I found to be a well-done spicy incense, though I need to give it a full wearing. The new Von Eusersdorff Orange was a surprisingly long citrus, which lasted a long time on skin (citrus notes usually dissipate quickly on me).  New to me was the Arte Profumi line, from which I really liked Harem Soiree (a boozy patchouli) and Sucre Noir (an expensive-smelling vanilla).  From the house line (of which I own and wear Psychedelique and Private Blend),  I sample Lys Epona – a gorgeous lily/rose blend tempered with a musky tobacco.  Looking at the Roja Dove display, I tried the Diaghilev, which was entrancing.  It was like a more moneyed version of Puredistance M (which already smells expensive). Though at 990 Euros, it is also a scent that I would never even consider owning – though it’s definitely worth smelling.  Abdul was really into Vero Profumo, testing the new Vol Extrait concentrations before purchasing two of the Kiki versions (I had fun explaining to him what a Kiki really was). I really need to spend some more time playing with the Vero scents – on first sniff, they are all pretty amazing.

ron-viktoria-minyaAbdul had to run off to join his family, so I went on to meet the lovely Hungarian perfumer Viktoria Minya for a coffee and an interview.  Just like yesterday’s chat with Pierre Guillaume, I found it refreshing how Viktoria speaks her mind, backs up her points, and is so passionate about her work.  Like Pierre, Viktoria is the chemist who makes her own scents.  She studied in Grasse and has her own lab outside Paris.  Her first self-released scent, Hedonist, is exceptional (read the eaumg review here) and she said she has more scents in the making.  I asked her if she would ever consider making a version of the scent that could be mass-marketed.  She said that with the level of raw ingredients she was using, she couldn’t keep the integrity of her product while reducing the price for the retail point of department stores. That balance is always an issue for every perfumer.  Watch for my interview with Minya to pop up on the site really soon.  Oh, by the way, Viktoria is every bit as enchantingly beautiful as her scent.

Relying on Google Maps, I found my way to Planet Rasoir to pick up some Martin de Candre pre shave for me (and Fougere soap for my friend Duane).  While there, I asked for a recommendation for a barber to get a shave and they graciously made an appointment for me at L’atelier Gentleman for the next day.

cotton-douxA quick visit to Coton Doux and I found two obnoxiously-colored geometric patterned shirts that would look good on stage (which I therefore bought).

777-line-bon-marcheNext up was the big department stores Printemps and Galleries Lafayettes.  Catching my eye at Printemps was the new 777 line from Stephane Humbetr Lucas (the creator/nose behind Nez a Nez and So Oud). I sniffed each one and Rose De Petra was a really nice sweet rose and Khol de Bahrein was a sweet, syrupy leather. The jewel of the line was O Hira – sweet honey, syrup, balsams, and resins – basically the nectar of the Gods.  I fell for it and it smelled great on me.  If it wasn’t for the price at 580 Euros, I probably would have bought it. Instead, at Printemps, I found an amazing mosaic-tiled abstract shirt from Miharayasuhiro that was constructed like nothing I had ever seen before. It took me a while to figure it out and anything that enchanting has to come home with me.

in-the-royal-chair-sens-uniqueMy final stop of the night was Sens Unique in the Marais – another amazing independent niche boutique which carries the Pierre Guillaume lines as well as Laboratorio Olfativo, Jacques Zoltu, Shiloh Hors La Monde, Jul et Mad, Au Pays La Fleur Doange, Maria Lux, Oliver Durbano, and Humeicki and Graef.  After sniffing just about the whole store, I settled on a few to test- Figue Fruitee, Tuberose Rosee, and Lavande Ombre (from Au Pays La Fleur D’ranger), Jul et Mad Amour de Palazzo, and Purple Amethyst & Philsophical Stone from Oliver Durbano.  I saw something on the back shelf that I hadn’t seen before – it was two oil-based scents from Nabucco – Amytis and Nabucco.  Both were enchanting, and I had a drop of each put on the top of my hand.  The longevity of both were insane – lasting through several hand washes and a shower.  Amytis is a sumptuous, honeyed vanilla that becomes a sweet, nutty amber vanilla over its wear.  Again, it’s amazing but also insanely expensive.

metro-seats-by-paul-smithSens Unique closes at 9pm which made it the perfect final stop of the evening.  The metro on the way home had me chuckling at advertisements and the seat cushions (wondering if Paul Smith had designed them).  Back at the hotel, I passed out asleep as soon as I sat down on the bed.metro-advertising


European Trip 2012 – Day 2 (Paris)

Another fun day in Paris.

Since this is my vacation, I slept in today and started at Etro. The price difference between New York and Paris is insane. I did the Euro conversion and the shirts are between 80 and 120 EURO cheaper in Paris than New York. Picked up a sample of their new scent Greene Street which is really nice.