WHAT I SMELL: Sud Magnolia initially reveals a bitter orange and soured citrus accord that’s ripe, juicy and fresh as well as a berried note that is green from the stem. Quickly, the perfume becomes warmer, like the citrus opening has been warmed in the sun. Still juicy, the perfume moves towards the more floral with a soft magnolia making its presence known. There’s a cottony freshness about the perfume which reminds me of sun laden sheets on a clothesline. The freshness of the sun, combined with the warm breezes fill the sheets with a warmed comfort. As the perfume develops, the magnolia blooms, but very subtly. This magnolia is a real lady, strolling through the hot sun under a parasol shielding herself from the blinding heat and light. Slow to continue her journey, Sud Magnolia begins to become a tad sweeter and once again feels touched with a dewy freshness. Eventually, a very subdued woody musk eases in to complete this stroll under the Magnolia tree.
Top notes : bitter orange from Seville, pomelo from Florida, blackcurrant from Burgundy
Heart notes : magnolia from Louisiana, Bulgarian rose absolue, saffron flower from India
Base notes : atlas cedarwood from Morocco, sandalwood from New Caledonia, musk
WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: A stroll through the streets of New Orleans with the springtime Japanese Magnolias in full bloom.
THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE SUD MAGNOLIA: comforting, fresh, genteel
Once again ’tis the season for holiday magic. But finding that magical gift can sometimes be rather difficult as there are so many wonderful items to choose from. So here a few holiday offerings that are recommended by the Scented Hound…maybe just one of these will help you or Santa complete your holiday shopping wish list!
ROJA PARFUMS ESSENCE OF CHRISTMAS CANDLE
The best way to ease you into the holiday season is to enhance your surroundings with the festive scents of the season. And add Roja Parfums to your holiday decorating and you’ll end up with a luxurious feast for the senses. Fit for a king, the Roja Parfums Essence of Christmas candle incorporates fir balsam, fir needles, pine, guaiac and cedar woods which mingle with the gourmand delights of gingerbread, cinnamon, fenugreek, cocoa and toffee shot through with delicate heliotrope. In addition, birch tar, leather and vetiver are added to create a smoky effect redolent of a roaring fire with tonka bean, making a perfect bed for a rich offering of precious frankincense – the original Christmas gift.
“For me, Christmas is the magical scent of majestic pine filling your home. It’s the excitement of festive treats – of ginger bread and cinnamon in abundance. It’s the crisp, fresh smell of winter air that, for a fleeting moment, clings to guests as you welcome them in from the cold. It’s the comforting warmth of a cosy log fire that makes us feel safe as it brings out the eternal child in us all.” – Roja Dove.
One of the biggest issues in presenting perfume as a gift is that just because you might like a particular perfume, doesn’t mean the receiver of the gift will also. And what might work with your body chemistry, may not work for someone else. This year, Atelier Cologne has come up with a fantastic gift idea. With a minimum amount of a $70, the Atelier Cologne Gift Card is enclosed in a signature keepsake metal box and is accompanied by 12 Colognes Absolues 1,2 ml (Mandarine Glaciale, Sud Magnolia, Figuier Ardent, Cèdre Atlas, Orange Sanguine, Cédrat Enivrant, Pomélo Paradis, Vanille Insensée, Rose Anonyme, Vétiver Fatal, Silver Iris, Santal Carmin). This way the person receiving the gift card can sample and then pick out the perfect scent just for them. Now you won’t have to worry about if your perfumed gift is going to sit on the shelf unused anymore. What a fantastic gift idea!
ALEXANDRA VON FURSTENBERG ACRYLIC VANITY MIRROR TRAY
I know that some people will argue that you’re not supposed to leave your perfumes out on display because of light and air degradation. But if you’re like me, you don’t want to go digging through boxes and drawers to find the perfect perfume each and every day. Yes, I do rotate my collection based on the season, but for the most part, I want my perfumes to be easily accessible and displayed in all their glory. Perfume bottles can be art unto themselves. Alexandra Von Furstenberg offers this beautiful acrylic vanity tray that is simple in its beauty and as such, doesn’t take away from the beauty of the bottles. And what I love about the tray is that it comes in 3 colors; clear, bronze and black. With these options, even the gents can display their perfumes in a setting with a touch of masculinity. Trays come in varying sizes with prices starting at $180 at the Alexandra Von Furstenberg website.
BEARD AND MOUSTACHE COMB BY KENT
I think the hipster beard and moustache trend is beginning to fade, but that means it will continue to live on outside the realm of the big cities for some time to come. What I have noted however, is that many of the men folk are not grooming and caring for their facial hair as they should be. To me, there’s nothing more slovenly than an unkempt beard and moustache. It’s an easy fix. For $5.50 you can provide some help to tame the jungle with a beard and moustache comb. It’s cheap, practical and much easier than renting a lawn mower to fix the tangled mess. The Kent Beard and Moustache Comb is available via Parfum1.com along with other Kent products as well as beauty products from perfumes to soaps for any person on your Christmas list.
THE PEARL HOME COLLECTION BY KILIAN
By Kilian keeps upping their game with new and extravagant scented products that fall outside the realm of traditional perfume. The new Pearl Home Collection is infused with the fragrance, French Boudoir.
FRENCH BOUDOIR is an olfactory phantasm … the boudoirs of Ninon de l’Enclos, the Marquise de Montespan and La Castiglione.
A majestic bouquet of tuberose, erotic and elegant, just like these big scandalous 18th and 19th century.
And unlike other companies, By Kilian scented products go beyond the traditional candles and/or home diffusers. This new home collection does offer candles as part of the line, but they also offer a a scented paperweight, scented soaps and a perfumed tassel. Strangely enough, they also offer a mother of pearl box of matches, but at $125 euros, I think I’ll stick to a standard box of matches to light my candles. Check out the entire collection at the By Kilian website.
PERFUME DISCOVERY GIFT SETS
Discovery gift sets are the perfect way to introduce someone to a brand that they are not familiar with; or they are familiar with but would like to get to know better. A good discovery set provides a perfumed amount that is large enough to give a wearer the ability to try to test the perfume more than just once or twice, but yet small enough so that if a perfume is not exactly to their liking, they’re not stuck with an unused 100 ml bottle. The following discovery sets are a couple of favorites of mine:
L’Artisan Perfumeur Holiday Discovery Gift Set: The set contains collectible 5ml bottles of the following classic scents: Caligna, La Chasse aux Papillons, L’eau d’Ambre Extrême, Mûre et Musc Extrême, Rose Privée, and Timbuktu. And to boot, it comes in this wonderful presentation box. The best part is that it’s only $55; which equals less than $10 for each of the perfumes. You can’t beat this deal. The L’Artisan Perfumeur Holiday Discovery Gift Set is available at Arielle Shoshanna and other fragrance retailers.
Neela Vermeire Creations Discovery Coffret Set: If you haven’t discovered the magic of Neela Vermeire Creations, this is the perfect way to find out why this perfume house has some of the most intriguingly unique and beautiful creations in the niche marketplace. From the soft and subtle rose beauty of Mohur to the fantastically bright and full of energy Bombay Bling this coffret set allows you to travel to the mysterious east with just a quick spritz of perfume. Each of the 4 perfumes, Mohur, Trayee, Bombay Bling and Ashoka are packaged in a box each filled with 8 ml per perfume. You better act quickly though as each of these sets is sent from Paris and shipping ends on December 15, 2016. The Neela Vermeire Creations Discovery Coffret set is 125 Euros and can be purchased via the e-boutique at the Neela Vermeire Creations website.
AFTELIER PERFUMES SOLID PERFUMES IN AN ANTIQUE CONTAINER
A couple of years ago I included this item on my holiday gift list. I am doing so again because it truly is a perfect one of a kind unique and special perfumed gift. Perfumer Mandy Aftel has resurrected these beautiful antique works of art and has infused her own perfumed art to make this one of a kind gift filled with a solid perfume of your choice. Prices for each vary based on the particular container, but most vary from $240 on up. Depending on the perfume chosen, additional charges may be incurred.
Of course, if a special compact is not your idea of the perfect gift, Aftelier Perfumes has an extensive selection of unique gifts from perfumes, to candles to fragranced organic teas as well as collection of Chef’s Essences and sprays which would be perfect for the foodie lovers in your life. For more information on all the wonderful gift ideas at Aftelier Perfumes, check out Mandy’s website!
VINTAGE PERFUMED ADS
Sometimes getting a hold of an old classic vintage perfume isn’t enough for a perfumista. If you have a favorite classic you may want to get your hands on anything from a large factice to vintage ads that you can frame. I can’t attest to the integrity of each of the perfumed ads listed at this website, but what the site does offer is a centralized location to shop around for perfumed ads from yesteryear, most of which appear to be ads from magazines and other publications. But if the price and quality are right, one could be just the perfect gift to frame for your special lover of all things perfume! For more information click here.
NORDSTROM PERFUME ATOMIZER
Great as stocking stuffers, this is the perfect gift for all perfumistas on the go. If you have ever had to leave a perfume bottle behind with the airport Transportation Security Agency because they confiscated it because it contained too much liquid, then you know how important it is to carry these handy travel atomizers. Nordstrom offers these at an easy $6 per .5 oz. unit and they come in three very fun colors too (emerald, blue and gold)! Available via the Nordstrom website.
My yearly gift list would not be complete without the inclusion of the fantastic Archie McPhee. Archie McPhee carries the most irreverent gifts that are perfect for tickling even the most hard to buy for Scrooge on your gift giving list. This year’s favorite from the extensive list for me would be the Crazy Cat Lady Action Figurine!
This 5-1/4″ tall hard vinyl figure comes with a dash of eccentricity and six cats you can pose around her. She has a seventh cat perched on her shoulder and an eighth cozily tucked inside the pocket of her bathrobe. The house-shaped package gives you a glimpse into her home and even features a quiz to help determine if you or someone you know might be a crazy cat lady.
This “crazy” gift can be yours for the low-cost of $14.95 from the Archie McPhee website. If cats aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of other wacky gifts that might be just what you’re looking for!
I hope you found some inspiration for some fun and fabulous gifts for this holiday season. Happy shopping and Happy Holidays from The Scented Hound!
I am having a hard time believing that I have been blogging for two years now (actually, my anniversary date was January 4th). But I have to admit that at present my muse is hiding in some closet somewhere and ever since coming back from a wonderful holiday vacation I have not been able to get back into the groove, thus my late anniversary post. And since I failed to do a “best of” list at the end of the year, this post is going to be a combination of anniversary ramblings, observations, best ofs and of course a fabulous draw…thus the uber supercalifragilisticexpialidocious title of this post! So here we go…
Anniversary Ramblings and Observations:
How lovely…the perfume urns at the Caron boutique!
When I started this blog, I was new to the niche marketplace. My first discoveries and loves were the amber fragrances, which included Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens and Ambra Nera by Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561. They are strong and powerful fragrances which drew me in with their boldness. I don’t know if I am fickle, or I have learned that more subtle scents are now what I find I prefer, but I have moved into a stage where less is more and where traditionally feminine fragrances are now my siren songs. At present, kicked off by my love for Nuit de Noel by Caron, I have now stepped into a “I need to learn more about Caron fragrances” phase and recently purchased French Cancan (it will probably be my next post) and am now itching to get to Lexington Avenue in NYC to visit their store so I can stock up on pretty little bottles of traditional feminine fragrances. So I have the feeling that 2014 will be my “Year of the Woman” in terms of my favorite fragrances as it seems that 2013 ended up that way. As I tell my friends, I’m butch enough to carry off such fragrances. And when I declare that, they just look at me and reply “uh huh, whatever you say.” In any case, at my age, I’ll wear what I want, where I want and when I want!
Also, when I started blogging, there were a handful of wonderful established perfume bloggers out there, but in that two-year time span, there are so many new bloggers that it’s hard to keep up with all of them and they tend to come and go so quickly which just validates the fact that blogging isn’t all that easy. Add that to the numerous Facebook groups and the video reviewers, the number of resources can be a bit overwhelming. Since I don’t seem to have the time to write for myself, I have to be choosy about what I read and what sites I visit. But I want to give some shout outs to some terrific new bloggers who have joined the scene this past year: Epiphany, The Smelly Vagabond and Odiferess. Please check out their sites!
One lesson that I learned these past couple of years is that I just can’t keep up with it all. There are just too many releases and not enough time for discovery and review. So instead of chasing every new launch, if something strikes my fancy I’ll search it out. But to keep on top of all the newest is just impossible. I have been sucked up in the past (it still happens, but not quite so often) with the latest that everyone seems to be raving about, only to find that the fragrance being touted isn’t all that special. So I try to keep an open mind combined with some sense of control. As you’ll see below, my “best of” list is “my” best of, meaning that the fragrances are not necessarily ones that were released in 2013, but ones that I discovered in 2013 and fell in love with. So I guess this is probably a good segue into my…
Best Fragrances of 2013:
Remember, the fragrances aren’t necessarily released in 2013, but to me they were new:
Nuit de Noel Parfum Extrait by Caron: My new Christmas tradition to be worn during the holidays. I can’t speak for the EdT version, but the parfum extrait is classic and heavenly. If you love chypres, you’ll love this.
Enslaved Parfum by Roja Parfums: Roja perfumes are priced out of my league. Every year my concept with what is reasonably price is obliterated by something that I want that is ridiculously priced. I stayed away from samples because I knew if I like them, I’d have a hard time saying no. However, I did have the chance to check out a few in the line by a generous gift of samples and then again at Sniffapalooza. Enslaved was love at first sniff. Big, bold, beautiful and over the top, this is a killer fragrance. Thankfully, my wonderful husband bought me a bottle this past Christmas and even managed to get Roja Dove himself to sign the bottle for me. Is it wrong to come home from work and put on sweatpants and then spritz yourself with your most expensive perfume?
Fate Woman by Amouage: Finally, a real 2013 release. I can’t believe I haven’t completed a review of this yet. Forget Fate Man; Fate Woman is a femme fatale. This beautifully constructed muted floral is just the opposite of the over the top Enslaved, but just as beautiful.
Onda EdP and Kiki Parfum Extrait Vero Profumo: I was late to the Vero Profumo line of fragrances, but now I own four of Vero Kern’s lovely creations. I like lavender, but Kiki’s caramel coated lavender is sweet without being sweet if that makes any sense. I love to wear this out on special nights as I always get compliments. Onda was the big surprise. I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it upon my first application, but something happened that made me surrender to its charms. Onda has changed my mind regarding my disinterest in vetiver.
Noontide Petals by Tauer Perfumes: Tauer perfumes can be hit or miss for me. This is a major hit that harkens to nostalgic femininity. Andy takes me back to the early 1960s with this masterpiece that was launched in 2013.
Silver Iris by Atelier Cologne: Released in 2013, I originally purchased Gold Leather and received a smaller bottle of Silver Iris as an added gift. Out of the two fragrances, I have to say that Silver Iris has turned into the bigger winner for me. I find that this is the perfect fragrance for the office as it’s slightly sweet and muted tones are as comfortable as a wonderful suit. Funny though, my husband keeps stealing my Gold Leather which to him is the better of the two.
Vintage Fragrances: I went through a slight vintage stage this past year and added to my collection some really lovely fragrances that I wear on a regular basis…Ysatis by Givenchy (parfum), a 1980s big floral that makes me happy; Samsara by Guerlain (parfum), like silk, the smooth and warm fragrance is like a blanket of calm; Miss Dior (parfum), the perfect chypre that’s made for a woman, but seems to be kind of butch for a “Miss.” You can find some great deals on eBay and on small bottles that don’t cost too much if you are looking to give something a try.
The Best of…
Discovery of the Year: Maria Candida Gentile. I was haunted by Cinabre which was one of those perfumes that I wasn’t quite sure if I liked, but kept getting drawn back into. I tried Exultat and then bought a bottle of Sideris and I was hooked. Her fragrances have a consistent feel across the board, like a unique fingerprint that’s recognizable as hers and they don’t smell like anything else out there. OK, I have to admit that I was a bit underwhelmed by her two latest releases Finisterre and Noir Tropical, but I look forward to what she has coming next. Oh, and I love the fact that you can order 15ml sized bottle online at her website.
Event:Sniffapalooza. We all fantasize about being able to go to Sniffapalooza, the biggest of events for perfume fans. Thankfully, I was able to go this past fall to see what the fuss was about. OK, for the most part the event is designed to introduce and sell product. But you get to hang out with folks that are just like you and I made some wonderful new friends. I think that all of us feel like we’re a little outside the norm from our friends and families in regards to our love of fragrance. Sniffapalooza creates a family atmosphere where we all share that common DNA. It was so much fun and I look forward to doing it again.
Packaging: Besides having created one of the most haunting fragrances of the year, Cuir Gardenia; Mandy Aftel knows that packaging is the icing on the cake to a great perfume. The packaging from Aftelier Perfumes is instantly recognizable, pretty, interesting and most importantly fun to open. I wish all perfumers would give their outside packaging as much thought as this. If you haven’t experienced receiving a package from Aftelier, purchasing the lovely Cuir Gardenia might just be your excuse. Of course, one of my other favorites Haute Claire is just as good of an excuse! Check out Mandy’s products on her website.
Blind Buy: Yes, I am still horrible about completing a blind buy. After two years of trying I still can’t help myself. It’s like the old game “Mystery Date”, you never know what you’re going to get, the dreamboat or the dud. Fortunately for me, I usually get a dream. This year, I have to say the biggest dreams for me were my Caron’s, Nuit de Noel (parfum) and French Cancan (parfum). As for the dud; thankfully I didn’t spend much money on this, but I got a small bottle of Boucheron Trouble, which I never even heard of. I can see why it was not on my radar…talk about a discordant mess.
Blogging: Actually there a couple of categories, first is the “How Do They Do It?” group and that includes Kafkaesque and I Scent You a Day. Both are wonderful blogs, Kafkaesque with her prolific in-depth posts and reviews that are incredibly researched and thoughtful. And then I Scent a Day whose goal was to write a review every day of the year and she almost did it this past year…but even running short a few days from her goal, the volume and tenacity that it takes to complete such numbers is incredible. I commend both bloggers for the artful prose and commitment to their passion!
The second category is for the blogger that brings other bloggers together, Jordan River from The Fragrant Man. Out of all of the blogging community, Jordan really keeps his eyes out for us all and creates community posts (posts with links and info from multiple bloggers) based on themes and subjects. I always love how he ties it all together to create these wonderful and unique collective posts.
Marketer/Distributor: Jeffrey Dame has been in the business for many years, but in 2010 he began his own company Hypoluxe, a distribution company of fine niche perfume brands. At present, he currently represents the following brands: Parfums M. Micallef, biehl.parfumkunstwerke, Teo-Cabanel Paris, Tauer Perfumes and Parfums Retro. And note that I say “at present”, because Jeff will no doubt be representing many other exciting brands in 2014 as he is one of the hardest working in the industry and knows the importance of the blogger community and their influence in helping to market perfumes. And if distributing isn’t enough, he also has a website designed for all of us who love to read about and discuss perfumes…Perfume of Life. If you haven’t already, please check it out.
Because every anniversary needs to be celebrated with presents (and I said presents), I have a few items that are up for my readers to win. Unfortunately, I have to limit the draw to US persons only. So what are the prizes?
3. To 30 lucky winners, a 3ml sample of the 2013 released nostalgic leather fragrance, Grand Cuir by Parfums Retro. This is a leather fragrance that lovers of leather, and non-lovers of leather can love.
The draw will close on 6pm Eastern Time on Friday, January 24, 2014. To enter, please leave a comment telling me what your favorite perfume of 2013 was (it doesn’t have to be a new release, just your favorite of the year). Remember, the draw is open to US readers only.
Thanks to all of my readers for a wonderful 2013. I look forward to this next year and my 3rd anniversary with you!