Friday, November 14, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Magical Moon

Magical Moon Eau de Parfum by Hanae Mori 2006
Headnotes: Blooming Osmanthus Flower, Sugar Cane, Star Fruit
Heartnotes: China Rose, Orange Flowers, Guava Nectar
Basenotes: Patchouli, Incense, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Musk
A very warm oriental fragrance. This is a romantic perfume that is both light and potent at the same time. It truly lives up to the name.

"Conceived by master perfumers under a full moon in a garden of night-blooming flowers, its rich buds and blooms are harvested according to an ancient lunar calendar, blended in vats lined with blue moonstone, and bottled under a full moon."

There is a scented valley in China, where Buddhist Monks planted Osmanthus long ago. Today these groves of Osmanthus perfume the air in the fall, during the Moon Festival. The gentle rains are fragrant and petals float down on a scented breeze. Moon cakes are made for the festival, using flavoring from the Osmanthus. The flowers are also used to make tea, jam, sweets, wine and liqueurs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


From Spain. Maja. Eau de Toilette, pretty mild. spicy and a little soapy. nice.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rose Essentielle

St. Theresa of Lisieux (The Little Flower) is the Patroness of florists, pilots, and of France. (possibly because she was French, flew around in the sky, and smelled like roses even though she wore no perfumes) In "The Dharma Bums" a novel by Jack Kerouac, a hobo tells a young man about St. Theresa and how she promised to shower the earth with roses from heaven, forever, for all living creatures. She did a good job showering my yard.

Rose Essentielle by Bulgari is a true rose scent, light but enduring, and it smells like the roses in my yard. (pictured here)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eddy's Perfume Review

Eddy has been with us for 90 days now, and his warranty has expired. Time for him to earn his keep helping Ched review scents.

Iris Ganache by Guerlain. This (if properly applied) is a light warm scent. Iris butter blended with patchouli and cinnamon makes it both spicy and gourmand. Lightly sweet unless you pour it on. (Why is it that excitable humans tend to overdo it?) I suppose you humans think more is better. Yikes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Maeve Brennan Again

I was thrilled when Maeve's stories were collected and reprinted. I have been a fan of hers for many years. I've mentioned her in at least 4 blog posts, like this one.

After her death, Maeve Brennan was called a genius. In life she was loved by her many friends. Angela Bourke, Maeve's biographer described her office at the New Yorker:

"Glass panels in the metal door dribbled light into the corridor of Sleepy Hollow, but Maeve worked with her door open, and instead of the dreary cells the men tolerated, her little office became a bright and fragrant space, where she would sit behind her typewriter, wearing enormous reading glasses. She smoked constantly, but so did everybody else, and Maeve wore Russian Leather perfume that wafted along the corridors and gathered in her room. She brought in potted plants, had the walls painted white, the ceiling Wedgwood blue..."

They no longer use the same formula for Russian Leather, the new scent smells very similar, but toned down. The original had more Pizzazz -- the word Pizzazz was coined by Diana Vreeland, editor of Harper's Bazaar, (where Maeve once worked.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mariella Burani

I was able to thoroughly test Mariella Burani products since I found a perfume shop that had several gift sets and bottles. They were using one of the gift sets as a tester. The perfume itself smells like something that was created long ago, something that only Mrs. Gottrocks could afford to wear. It smells expensive and tres chic. Wearing Mariella Burani might forever ruin some of the classics for you, as it feels warmer, richer, and you'd reach for it instead.

Avin ( the SA pictured) was captivated by it. for her it held some memory of a scent, a favorite place, ( so real it evoked strong emotion, yet she could not place it.) For me it is the best of all the classic Aldehydic scents, each note captured perfectly. The strong citrus and aldehydes at the top, the violets and roses blooming in the heart, with unusual notes chiming in. It is a masterpiece that is still available online and in some shops. Warning: For evening wear only unless you are a daring femme fatale.

Mariella Burani 1992
Head: Bergamot, Mandarin, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Aldehydes
Heart: Rose, Violet, Ylang, Ylang, Peach, Iris, Lily,
Geranium, Coconut, Jasmine
Base: Cedar, Balsam, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Vanilla, Musk, Oakwood, Tolu, Styrax, Labdanum, Castoreum, Benzoin.
A Powerful, deeply satisfying, classic yet sultry evening scent.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Donovan does Guerlain

Donovan: Wait, Bob! Before you fire up a ciggie, try my truly gorgeous new 'fume!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thierry Wasser at Guerlain

Thierry Wasser (seen here with Jean Paul Guerlain) was born near Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Obsessed with botany and earth science as a child, he received his degree in Botany at age twenty. Four years later Wasser was a Junior Perfumer with a degree from Givaudan. If you've tried Dior's Addict or Lancome's Hypnose, you've experienced the creativity of Thierry Wasser who is now the head perfumer at Guerlain.

Wasser is the nose behind 2007's Quand Vient La Pluie, (bergamot, heliotrope, violet, jasmine; patchouli leaves, praline note, white musk, herbs, woods.) and Iris Ganache (bergamot, vanilla, cinnamon, and iris butter in a patchouli base.) Both are excellent~ elegant yet modern.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Angelique Noire

Today I was reading a post at Merle Sneed's
blog. I thought, hmmm... Sneed's blog smells really good.
Then I realized it was the Angelique Noire I had put on this morning. I went out to get a haircut, and afterwards as I was
walking to the liquor store I thought...this haircut smells so good. Then I realized it was the Angelique Noire. This kept happening to me all day. I thought the perfume had faded, but it kept wafting back, probably due in part to my incredibly warm, soft skin.
( I am a bit tipsy as I write this )
Angelique Noire is a dark angel, a mysterious blend of notes
that always surprises me when I wear it. Always.
Perfumer: Danièle Andrier
Some of the notes are Angelica, Bergamot, Spices,
Almond Wood, and the famous Guerlain Vanilla.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gossamer and Kirsch

Gossamer was hard to love. At first he scared me the same way he scared Bugs Bunny. Then I liked him just a little, then I felt he was endearing & sweet, or he tried to be sweet. This reminded me of his perfume look-alike that smells like Cherry Liqueur. I wasn't so sure about that at first either. But I came to accept Delices De Cartier just as I had accepted Gossamer. They are both lovable.

-Photo of Gossamer with his hair in TNT curlers at Bugs Bunny's beauty salon.
This was JUST before his head exploded.

* Update

Unlike cherry liqueurs and many 'cherry brandies', Kirschwasser is not sweet. The best Kirsch has a highly refined taste with subtle flavors of morello cherry and a slight bitterness from the stone.

Cherry Brandy is much sweeter and not as nice to drink. The fact that Delices de Cartier smells like a tart cherry Kirsch rather than cherry brandy or cherry candy/ cough drops is what makes it a worthwhile perfume. It will not bring to mind candy or cough syrup, but it is a very boozy scent.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bob Dylan in Houndstooth

I don't display perfume bottles until they are empty. While removing the metal cap and plastic tubing, I finally noticed the houndstooth design on the bottom of the Miss Dior Cherie Bottle.
I used this perfume all summer and never noticed the pattern etched on bottom of the bottle.

I've wanted to do a post on the sculptors who design perfume bottles for awhile, but the pattern got me thinking about clothing designers who also decide to make perfumes. Some, like Dior and Chanel, create classics and some use the cheapest chemicals possible to make a fast buck.

And seeing the houndstooth pattern made me think about Dylan's transformation from his old Folksinger clothing to Mod suits. It wasn't a shocking, sudden transformation, but over a five year period he goes from shabby to sharp, from hobo to hipster. Still some people are offended by the changes in his musical and personal style and hate him for it.

On May 17, 1966, Bob Dylan stands on an English stage, wearing a fitted houndstooth suit and pointed boots in front of a 5 piece band with his fender stratocaster, playing rock and roll. There are boos and catcalls from the audience, as some feel he has sold out by "going electric" and finally, just before the last number, someone in the audience screams "Judas!" at him.

Sometimes I think even the 'very resistant to change' are transformed, even if it is only a slight change of thought, or for some, maybe not much more than a new haircut. But I can't imagine anyone wanting to be the same person they were a decade ago.

"A worried man with a worried mind
No one in front of me and nothing behind
There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin's eyes
I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies
I'm well dressed, waiting on the last train
Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I'm expecting all hell to break loose
People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed."
--Bob Dylan

A Post for Victor Tabbycat

Now that September is here, it's time to start sampling some scents. I chose Sensual Amber by The Bath & Body Works because it's a warm, rich amber, perfect to have on hand for that first chilly day. The head notes contain a bit of fruit, so it seems sweet at first, but that doesn't last long. The woodsy soul of the scent make this a joy to wear, and at under twenty dollars, it's a bargain. It smells as good and lasts as long as similar scents that cost three times more.

Inspired by Victor Tabbycat, this film is a look at a Starling who crashes a party. The Starling didn't follow direction very well, though, he had an attitude, came in late and dropped some of the big crumb he was supposed to walk off with, plus he flew in when he was supposed to walk in. He refused to do a re-shoot. Typical. Everyone knows how frustrating these birds can be. Why do you think they call it 'flipping the bird' ? Exactly.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Insolence by Guerlain 2006
Perfumer: Maurice Roucel
Bottle design: Serge Mansau
Notes of violets, iris, and berries.
For casual wear.

Jardin for Marguerite

The path to Marguerite's jardin?

This one is for Marguerite, who has a very inspiring garden. This was made for Marguerite on a sultry day in a weedy garden, not one as well tended as Marguerite's own jardin.

I'm always amazed at how blogger shrinks down my movies and blurs them. (sigh)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


For Tony.

Bal a Versailles (Jean Desprez 1962) To me this scent is a rosier but murkier copy of L'Heure Bleue-- but that's just how it feels on my skin. It works better in cold or rainy weather.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Man in the Red Hat

If my blogger buddy Mickey Blackcat went to the mall, he'd head straight for the man in the red hat and apron. Thanks for being a good friend, Mickey!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When Summer Sizzles

I feel sad that these men have to wear suits and ties all summer. It would be fun if suddenly it was the fashion for men to dress like the late Steve Irwin to work in NYC on hot humid days. Those little shorts and the cute hat. After all, it is a jungle.

There's something intoxicating about wearing a big floral on a sultry summer night. Applied correctly, (and worn with a skimpy sun dress) it can be really effective.

Jardins de Bagatelle by Guerlain is a prime example of something that really works on a tropical night.
Head: bergamot
Heart: jasmine, gardenia, tuberose,
Soul: woody notes
A graceful scent for those who enjoy ultra feminine florals. It is as sheer as a strong floral can be considering the tuberose gardenia combination. The famous Guerlain jasmine seems to calm this potion down just enough. Starting out sweet and emphatic, it becomes much more refreshing and delicate as it settles down about 30 minutes after application. It will last all evening. It would be almost Southern Belle except that it is thoroughly French.

The Poet's Chair

~For Possum (LKD)

Friday, August 22, 2008


This film is dedicated to Jenny Ha Ha of Flaw and Disorder, who has been blogging a lot less because she had a baby (a daughter) this summer. This film is a toast to Jenn & Ironman.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Six Unremarkable Things About Me

1. Like many other people, I'm right handed.

2. Like many other people, I know how to send an e mail.

3. Like many other people, I feel that maraschino cherries are more decorative than anything else.

4. Like many other people, I enjoy being near bodies of water.

5. Like many people I appreciate that Bob Dylan has talent.

6. Like many other people, I buy food to take home and eat.

This was a tag from Possum, and I'll pass the tag to six other people: Post six unremarkable things about yourself. Appreciate the ordinary!
1. Mercury
2. Merle
3. Mouse
4. Megan
5. Mrs. Mayhem
6. Marguerite

Of course I'd love to know all of your truly unremarkable bits, so EvErYoNe is tagged.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hardware: A Short Film

I've decided to create a short film for each of my blogger commenters, and first up is Hardware, a film dedicated to Merle Sneed.

No film will exceed 30 seconds, and most will be 15 seconds or shorter.

It will be a sort of Film Festival, with each film inspired by some blogger out there, who has touched my life and expanded my mind. Thanking you all in advance for the inspiration.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

This is Me

Here I am spending another Saturday morning watching an old movie on TV. More than 150 channels and all I watch is one old movie channel.

I'm about to cancel cable, and just get old movies from the library ~ totally free!

What are Joseph Cotton and Claudette Colbert eating in this scene? It was dessert, and it wiggled. Could it be jello???

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I love my hairbrush.

Someone gave me this ages ago--it always make me think how hard it would be to curl your hair by this method. And tedious. Lucky I never suffered from curl envy... curling irons, hot rollers, all of the modern methods are a turn off too!

~There is a perfume called Clean Hair Smell by SmellThis. It's based on the smell of shampoo and apples.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


When Lettuce visited, we sometimes spent most of the day walking and taking pictures. I took this one in Manhattan when we were on our way to meet Steve. These carefree times were the highlight of my summer.

A few days later Lettuce and I hit thrift shops where I found this old photo of an elegant man standing next to his car. This was probably everyday elegance back then. (My parents always looked pretty spiffy and I liked that.)

Our wanderings took us into an offbeat drug store where they had an odd selection of old classic perfumes and a fresh tester of Vol de Nuit. I sampled a bit, knowing I already liked it, but it's always nice to get something that smells real good, for free.

Vol de Nuit (1933 Jacques Guerlain)
Head notes of bergamot and petitgrain
Heart notes of jasmine, daffodil, and spices
Soul notes of rare woods, forest notes, amber and vanilla.

Third photo: Ched with his Guerlain Encyclopedia. (2007)

Monday, August 11, 2008


I see a lot of dragonflies in the Hudson River Valley and Catskill region, but this one was more meaningful than most. (Click on photos to enlarge) In some cultures the dragonfly represents swiftness or happiness.

A few days ago I was driving along and decided on a whim to stop in a rather deserted place to take pictures. A place that was busy a decade ago, but abandoned now. It was a silent place, and it was one of those perfect weather days, just made for rambling around, so I thought why not stop...

and take a closer look?

The dragonfly was visiting the little oasis in this picture--
I was very surprised to find this! (You really have to enlarge the photo to get the full effect.)

Mother Nature decided it was time to reclaim a bit of what man made and then abandoned, a parking lot and a strip mall in Monticello, New York. In what seems to be not much more than a deep puddle, she grew cattails and other water loving plants that attracted the dragonfly.

It's not surprising that the dragonfly also symbolizes renewal.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I am a Cat

Ched (circa 2006) "We're running low on Fritos."

For the last few weeks I've been wearing Shalimar. Summer is a tough time to sample scents for many reasons. (they don't last in hot weather, we're busier in summer, we're swimming, traveling, we need to simplify, scent-wise.) Some of those big ass florals really attract bugs, too. But Shalimar has enough citrus & smoke to ward off bugs. Bugs seem to hate bergamot.

Last month I wore Mitsouko a lot. I switched from the heavy perfume to the lighter, peachier EdT. Nice for summer nights. It seems when I get bored with perfumes, I just go back to basics. A nice vacation from sampling, just savoring an old reliable favorite.

I Shall Be Released by Bob Dylan

They say everything can be replaced
They say every distance is not near
So I remember every face
Of every man who put me here.

I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.

They say every man needs protection
They say every man must fall
So I swear I see my reflection
Someplace so high above this wall.

I see my light come shining
from the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.

Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he's not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud
Crying out that he was framed.

I see my light come shining
from the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.

Chrissy Hyndes covers this song wonderfully. go to Youtube:
( )
if you're interested in seeing / hearing her.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fly Away Home: Sky Friday

I was walking across a parking lot with Lettuce and Steve when these migratory birds flew over.

A few days later Lettuce was walking up these stairs at Newark Airport. We were both so tired, it was like a dream sequence.

She walked into this blue carpeted area. Of course I added more blue to the photo. I was very sad to see her go, but it was time for her to fly away home. Later she e mailed to say she'd had a very nice flight. (Her wings were a little tired, but otherwise...)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stairs are Everywheres

We usually don't notice stairs very much...

Unless they are difficult to climb while carrying bags of groceries, or they have snow on them, and then we only notice them in a "I must be careful" sort of way.

How many times have I run down these very steps to catch a train that had just pulled into the station? Thousands of times. I ran up and down these steps almost daily when I worked on one of the top floors of a nearby skyscraper.

~The old W.T. Grant Building, now known as One Astor Plaza. More than 50 stories tall... one day, there was a power failure in the building and of course the elevators didn't work, so we had to walk down the stairs. As we were walking down, the Big Lunkhead Bossman complained that it was so very tiring and asked those of us who were forced to walk with him,
"Is it easier to walk down or up a flight of stairs?"

Someone answered that down was easier, while the rest of us pretended we didn't know. But the boss wasn't sure... he mumbled something about something he'd learned in physics class. I remembered thinking it would be lots easier to shove him down the stairs than up, anyway.

I like stairs, and I like ladders, but I didn't have a good photo of a ladder to post. This was the best I could do, re: Ladders.

“That's my Stepladder, my real ladder left when I was seven”
~ Noel Coward

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kerhonkson to Bethel

On Sunday we stopped in Kerhonkson to check out the world's largest garden gnome. I don't usually care all that much for gnomes, but he had a good vibe.

It really was amazing to stand next to this giant. This was a great thing to sandwich in between the Mt. Tremper Kaleidoscope and Hippiefest in Bethel.

It was a perfect day from start to finish. Check out the sky. It gets very cool and slightly damp in the mountains starting at dusk, even if the day has been hot and muggy. Later that night it was clear and you could see so many stars it was incredible.