WHAT I SMELL: Sotto la Luna GARDENIA’s opening is green and slightly sharp along with being big and bold with a semi-vintage vibe. The initial opening is met quickly with a gourmand sweetness like almond extrait that’s layered under a spiced rose. And soon enough a creaminess develops that helps to radiate this incredible floral warmth as the notes begin to bounce around like a symphony of full-bodied petals. How can you not love a big, bold floral like this? Sotto la Luna GARDENIA is sweet with its gourmand almond and vanilla, but there’s a depth that keeps it from becoming saccharine as the sandalwood and tonka keep it leveled. As Sotto la Luna GARDENIA continues to develop, it deepens and the florals project off the skin like they’re about to burst. The sweetness then begins to dissipate to be taken over by a more earthy component, like the heavy flowers are being plucked from the ground. At this point, the fragrance is heady, intoxicating and dreamy. After some more time, the florals retreat and the vanilla comes to the forefront and it’s creamy, lush and it swirls off the skin. After about an hour, Sotto la Luna GARDENIA begins to settle and calm. At this point the drydown is DIVINE, as it’s smooth, warm, lightly almond sugared and lightly powdered. In the end Sotto la Luna GARDENIA is incredibly comforting; so much so that it makes me want to purr like a kitten!
Sotto la Luna®, inspired by white flowers blooming under the moon.
Head Notes: The spicy freshness of gardenia budding under a bright moon.
Heart Notes: The green floral delicacy of gardenia in full bloom with a gentle rose.
Body Notes: The powdery mossiness of ripe gardenia with a hint of jasmine, in a bed of sandalwood, tonka and vanilla.
WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Riding a Crescent Moon
THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE SOTTO LA LUNA GARDENIA: creamy, luscious, narcotic
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SOTTO LA LUNA GARDENIA: Is it possible that there aren’t any reviews of this yet?
BOTTOM LINE: If you are looking for a straight up Gardenia fragrance, Sotto la Luna GARDENIA is not for you. However, if you are looking for a deeply delicious rounded floral that makes your head dizzy with intoxication, this IS for you (and of course, for me!)
WHAT I SMELL: Une Rose Chypree opens with bergamot and lemon with a quick move to orange, then back to a “Lemon Pledge” smell. It’s rather cool, like a spring breeze going through an orange grove. After a couple of minutes, it warms and the fragrance begins to harmonize. What I mean by that is that the notes, rather than acting in a singular fashion, start blending together. After around 5 minutes, I begin to get hints of rose, but it’s so muted that it feels like it could be a combination of any floral. After around 10 minutes or so, the rose begins to bloom, and it’s mixed with a deep and almost caramel base. It actually feels a bit gourmand at this point, almost like it would be perfect to add as a mix to sweeten a cup of coffee. But as soon as I have those thoughts, it then turns slightly lighter and the fragrance becomes a bit dryer with a layer of oak moss and powder. It’s at this point that the fragrance reminds me a bit of Amouage’s Fate Woman, which is a good thing since I love Fate Woman so much. After a short while, Une Rose Chypree moves out of the Fate Woman stage and the fragrance moves from the light to a deeper and richer stage. I find the fragrance glorious at this point. It feels vintage and extremely well blended. This is a rose that doesn’t say rose as much as it says warm floral. Wait….here, I thought the progression of the fragrance was complete, instead it gets a little spicier but in the end, the spice is tamed by the vanilla for a nice creamy (but yet dusty with the oakmoss) finish.
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!