Saturday, April 29, 2023

It's National Parks Week! A Look at Caswell Massey's Yellowstone Collection

 

This past week was National Park Week in the USA, a chance to celebrate what I think is one of our country's crowing achievements and greatest attribute. A diamond in the crown of our park system is Yellowstone. A few years ago Caswell-Massey partnered with the fund raising arm of the park, Yellowstone Forever, to create a set of scents based on some of the park'sc main attractions. The tonics and oils are made using living floral technique, which recreated some of the distinctive flora scents of the park using sustainable materials, and not harming any of the rare botanical species.

Yellowstone became America's first national park on March 1 in 1872, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Park Protection Act into law, thus protecting over 2 million acres of wilderness. Intereresting fact, over half of the world's hydrothermal features are found at Yellowstone. By protecting these areas and making them available to all Americans, rather than allowing them to be plundered by the greedy few, I believe this to be one of the most far sighted laws for good ever enacted in our country. A family rafting trip I took over ten years ago down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon remains one of the most epic adventures of my life, being swallowed by nature for several days until we were spit out at the end at Pearce Ferry.

Caswell Massey picked five of the top sights around Yellowstone, and sought to make scents, or tonics as they call them (I personally think this is to make them sound more old fashioned), to represent the area. They used head space technology to capture the flora, much of which is unique to Yellowstone. 

Lake

Lake Yellowstone is a high elevation lake and is surrounded by flora that can only grow at elevated, cooler temperatures. Instead of trying to capture the scent of water, Lake is a citrus floral. Shrubby Goldenweed, pictured below, is found all around this area. The scent opens with golden citrus verbena and goldenweed, then has wildflowers such as blue lupine in its heart. I found this the softest of the scents, with a refreshing floral heart, but mild, as if you're in a meadow just getting a hint of the scent. 

Mammoth 

Mammoth Hot Springs is a series of hot thermal water pools on a hill composed of travertine, within the confines of Yellowstone Park. It is one of the most unique places to visit in a park that has a lot of spectacular views. Mammoth is a woody aromatic.  Opening notes are citrus zest, with a strong undercurrent of hay grass. This hay smell is dominant to me throughout the scent, and later it is joined by cedarwood and sagebrush. 


Canyon

The canyon has the highest elevation in the park and is surrounded by clouds and mountain fresh air, and a pine forest so fragrant it is legendary. I personally wish they had chosen to make this scent a forest woody scent, but they went instead in the direction of fragrant, fresh air, and the scent is classified as a citrus aromatic. 


Photo by T.Kahler.com, photographer
The heart of the scent is full of wildflowers: blue lupine, wild crazyweed, and forget me not petals. Pine needles and juniper come in the heart of the fragrance, although they are not strong on my skin. Finally, cedarwood and tree moss round out the scent. This one stays very fresh on me, and keeps on giving that feel of fresh mountain air.

Tower Fall

Tower Fall is a stunning sight in Yellowstone. A river meanders through  pine forest, then suddenly cascades over the edge of the rocks to fall hundreds of feet! A nearby area is known for its wildlife. Grizzly bear, elk, bison, and wolves roam this landscape.


This scent is classified as a woody floral scent. I will tell you the opening notes, but I'm not sure they are necessarily what I smell. They are phlox flower, red currant, sagebrush, and mountain forget me not. Then comes juniper, pine, and mineral accord, followed by cedarwood and amber. 

What I smell in the opening is almost mildly oud-like, and it feels energetic and a bit chaotic. One can almost imagine the water's great volocity as it goes over the falls. Later I smell a calm woody scent overlayed by a mild floral that feels quiet and settled, just like the water pooling beneath the falls. As you might imagine, these are not traditional perfume scents but try to replicate some of the scents found in nature, so they are unlike anything I've worn before.

Old Faithful

Last, but certainly not least is the geyser which is synonymous with the park, Old Faithful. It is so named because it goes off more frequently and predictably than any other geysers in the park, which is around every ninety minutes. It sprays thousands of gallons of boiling water to heights as high as 180 feet. 


This is another one where the notes don't correspond with what I'm smelling. At first blast I get a sulphureous aroma, as if the geyser has just gone off, and it made me giggle. Fortunately this smell dissipates pretty quickly, and it becomes a woody aromatic, with smells that are leathery, smokey, coniferous, and mossy. 

My favorite scent of these was Lake, but they were all interesting. They come in small 15 ml bottles and are very reasonably priced. I think they may be closing these out (they were introduced in 2019) because they are currently on sale on their "last chance" site, so if you're interested, do hurry! Find a link here.






Saturday, March 25, 2023

Parfums Dusita's La Rhapsodie Noire, A Love Letter to Paris

 


As anyone who has ever visited Paris knows, wandering through the streets at night only to unexpectedly come across a lit-up cafe, buzzing with energy and the music of laughter, conversation, and tinkling glasses; it's one of the great joys of discovering the city. The visitor can feel they have discovered the cafe, the hidden place that the mob doesn't know and be drawn into its welcoming warmth and light. It was once such moonlit night when Parfums Dusita founder Pissara Umivijani was inspired to create her newest perfume, La Rhapsodie Noire, a love letter to Paris.

Let me set the scene, in Pissara's own words. 

One night I was crossing the Pont-Neuf., listening to "Rhapsody In Blue". Suddenly my imagination was fueled by images and sensations of The City of Light in the 1920s. I decided to create a nocturnal, vibrant fragrance dedicated to Paris of Les Annees Folles.

I was present in November when Pissara debuted La Rhapsodie Noire in a Zoom meeting. She reiterated how the Gershwin song, Rhapsody In Blue, served as an inspirational launching point as she strolled past the cafes and heard the song. She smelled the dark expresso coffees as well as drinks of cognac, rum, or whiskey. Mingled in was the smoke of a Havana cigar. The elegant crowds were wearing scent, and she smelled the classic fougère colognes of the men, as well as more floral and feminine scents on the women. All of this went into the inspiration for creating the new perfume. 

Pissara Umivijani, as many of you know, is a perfumer who grew up in Thailand, but now makes her home in Paris. Years ago she retraced the footsteps of her father, a poet laureate in Thailand, who left his native home and moved to Paris. I've lived half of my adult life in Asia, and I can smell the influence of Pissara's Thailand roots in her fragrances, admittedly some (La Douceur De Siam) more than others (Issara, Amancara). Some of that influence is subtle. For example in Splendiris, not in any way an Asian scent, there are still hints of the gentleness and quiet beauty of her country's cultural heritage. But with La Rhapsodie Noire, Ms. Umivijani has created a fragrance that is one hundred percent French and is a tribute to her adopted home of Paris. 


La Rhapsodie Noire is such a delicious scent, it's impossible to keep your wrist away from your nose for a quick inhale. It is a gourmand scent, but this is a Dusita, so it's well done and subtle.  A lot of gourmand fragrances go for the easy win, with a big rush of sugar and ultra sweet gourmand notes. La Rhapsodie Noire is infinitely more refined than this. Picture a delicate macaroon with its crisp and air-like sugar crust next to an America chocolate chip cookie. They are both delicious, but the French dessert appears delicate, light, and refined next to its American counterpart, and so it is with the gourmand aspects of La Rhapsodie Noire.

Pissara wants to set a scene of 1920s Paris, when the city was the center of art and cultural creativity. Picture the movie Midnight In Paris, with scenes of Ernest Hemingway smoking a cigar in the bar while chatting with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. and jazz music playing in the background. The perfume creates this world from its opening notes of coffee and rum, and the faint wisp of cigar smoke in the background. It smells  like coffee but also boozy. 

Pissara's idea was to create the scent in the fougère style. Traditionally this meant a citrus top note and then a sharp and aromatic heart, usually with lavender or geranium notes. Pissara upended this tradition by making a gourmand fougère perfume, with a sweet coffee opening, which then transitions smoothly to aromatic mid notes of clary sage and lavender. These notes come across a fresh and I get tinges of hay or wheat, so that it feels like there is a croissant or baked dessert accompanying the evening coffee. Notes of mimosa, broom, and jasmin sambac hover in the background, blended into a soft floral melange. Base notes of patchouli, vetiver, and oakmoss support the fougère structure. Then base notes of sandalwood, tonka bean, and vanilla support the more gourmand legs of the fragrance. 

Although I love the coffee and rum opening, I actually have a couple of other favorite times in the development of the perfume. I sometimes drink an Earl Grey tea with lavender, and there are moments as we move from the top to the heart of the fragrance that I get a beautiful blending of the coffee and lavender notes, and it reminds me slightly of my tea, although this is much more yummy and luxurious combination. I also love the dry down which smells like polished, burnished wood, but still infused with the gourmand scent of the coffee. This is a warm and beautiful perfume and could fulfill anyone's coffee perfume fantasy.

I took part in the launch of La Rhapsodie Noire way back in November, but diversions such as my daughter's wedding, Christmas, then a trip to Australia intervened. This was a perfume I wanted to live in for a while before I wrote a review, so here we are four months later. Although this makes a warm and cozy scent for winter, I think it will also bloom beautifully in warmer weather, which will emphasize the fresher middle notes and the warm woods in the base. 

Pissara is always inspired by her father's poetry. Here is a line from the poem she chose for La Rhapsodie Noire.

I am dancing to love in the subconscious of

every human being.  Montri Umivijani

Pissara Umivijani and Parfums Dusita have once again given perfume lovers a beautiful fragrance to contemplate!

If you are curious about the music that inspired Pissara, here it a link.





Top photo from Google image. Coffee image my own. Other images from Dusita website. Perfume was provided by Parfums Dusita. Opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Cochine Fragrance, A Touch of Vietnam

 

I first became aware of Cochine scented home products when I lived in Singapore. I walked in the Botanic Gardens almost every day, and their gift shop carried the line. I was intrigued by the scents and did a bit of research. I found that Kate Crofton-Atkins, who was living at that time in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh) had been inspired by her Vietnamese surroundings, with its remnants of French design flair, and fragrant blooms perfuming the streets. Cochine was the result.

Ms. Crofton-Atkins was a trailing spouse at the time, as was I. She was beguiled by the beautiful scents that perfumed the air in her new home in Vietnam, as I was in Singapore. I was only inspired to create a blog to record my wonder. She, on the other hand, created a business that has now spread internationally in a little over ten years and is going from strength to strength. She also produced three children during this time (with her husband's help, of course) which makes this even more of a feat!

Cochine's original line consisted of candles, then diffusers were added. I was attracted to the beautiful scents which replicated some of the fragrances I came across in my daily walk through the Botanic Gardens. The story goes that Kate was inspired by the jasmine blooming on her street. If they were anything like the ones I experienced in Singapore, the blooms would intensify at night as the sun set, and at certain times their hypnotic scent could make one swoon! This is the brand's stated purpose:

"Inspired by the romance of travel and long summer evenings in the tropics, our unique fragrances capture the very essence of romantic escapism."

After I moved away from Singapore, I loved that I could recreate some of my scent memories with Cochine's products. They specialize in using scented plants grown in Vietnam, and Ms. Crofton-Atkins likes to combine scent notes. Some of the home product line fragrances are Vietnamese Rose & Delentii, White Jasmine & Gardenia, and my two favorites, Water Hyacinth & Lime, and Agarwood & Amber. 

A couple of years ago, Cochine came out with Eau de Parfums of some of their favorite fragrances. I was keen to try these and immediately ordered the discovery set of five scents. I was pleased at how the perfumes take me back to those happy years I lived in Asia, and are beautiful scents in their own right.

Cochine's discovery set, looking down on the lobby of the Park Hyatt Ho Chi Minh.

White Jasmine & Gardenia was the original scent that started Cochine, and jasmine was the flower that inspired Kate to create the brand. I honestly can't tell you how many bottles of jasmine and/or gardenia perfume I have, as they are two of my favorite scents. This is a feminine and light interpretation of the two flowers, which is representive of how scents are worn in Asia. You will not come across someone wearing a loud, heavy perfume in the Asian heat. Light and effervescent perfumes are the desired go to, and this perfume is in that style. For those who love these jasmine and gardenia but find some perfumes too heavy or indolic, this would be a good one to try.

Frangipani & Neroli is another light and uplifting version in perfume form of the frangipani flowers you will see while walking around Saigon. This scent is light, balmy, and a little lemony from the neroli. It is an easy to wear, light-hearted summer scent for when the temperature rises. 

A sample from the discovery kit, and frangipani at a spa.

Vanille & Tabac Noir is perhaps the most obviously romantic of the scents. It is tobacco flower that gives the distinctive tobacco note to the fragrance. Along with vanilla, patchouli, cardomom, nutmeg, and basil, this scent is unabashedly lush and romantic. There is something about this scent that gives me retro vibes of a perfume I wore long ago, but I haven't been able to identify it. To me the tobacco flower gives it an evening wear vibe, and it is a little old fashioned in the best way.

Tuberose & Wild Fig is the most unusual of the scents to my nose, and perhaps the most exciting. It is a green, green fig, tempered with a slight bit of sweetness from the tuberose. This is an unusual combinationand one I'm not sure I've ever encountered before. The initial spray is green freshness. The fig is green and still on the vine. There is no sweetness in the fig itself and it is definitely not a ripe smell. Notes are fig, vetiver, and cedarwood, with just a little tuberose, it is made to represent a sun drenched evening. I found that some days the tuberose note came out more on my skin, and then some days I could hardly detect it. This scent is definitely about the fig note. I also have a few fig perfumes in my collection, and this one seems different from any others I have.

A display of Cochine products at L'Usine, a home goods store in Ho Chi Minh, District 2. 

Tuberose Absolute & Sandalwood is the newest perfume in the collection. Perhaps Cochine wanted a more representative tuberose scent, and in any case, this is quite different from Tuberose & Wild Fig. Initially after spraying I smell a creamy, soft tuberose, very lush and beautiful. After some time the sandalwood comes into play and the tuberose starts to recede into the background. It is as if you've entered a temple in Southern India made of ancient stone with sandalwood carvings to the deities. It is steamy and warm inside the temple walls, but soft breezes carry the gentle scent of the tuberose flowers blooming outside into the confines of the temple. This is a soft, meditative scent. I think this might be my favorite from the collection. 

I'm in Australia at the moment and summer is waning. For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are awaiting summer, these could be scents to get that summer vacation feeling going!

Top photo from Cochine.com website. All other photos are my own. Samples are my own.


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Puredistance M V2Q, A New Bond For A New Era

 


Puredistance M, the original, was the third perfume introduced by the Dutch luxury line Puredistance, way back in 2010, and their first fragrance specifically marketed to men. Founder Jan Ewoud Vos is big on supplying his perfumers with story boards that capture his vision for the new scents, then letting them run with it, and granting access to the finest of ingredients with no limitations. Vos's vision for M was the James Bond image and the Aston Martin automobile Bond was famed for driving, especially its plush leather seats. The first M created by Roja Dove was a big success, but in late 2021 Roja Perfumes notified Puredistance they would no longer be able to supply the formula for M due to IFRA regulations. It would have to be reformulated.

Vos took the somewhat gutsy route of deciding not to imitate the original formula, but to come up with a new scent, similar in nature but modernized and more emotive yet still powerful for today's man. To do this he turned to a perfumer he trusts and has used several times to bring his creations to life, French perfumer Antoine Lie. I must admit that when I first smelled the new scent, I was a bit startled at how very different it was!

To explain, the first M, at least to me, seemed to be modeled after Sean Connery, all debonair style and sartorial elegance. The scent was definitely refined, and to me, the leather note spoke of a comfy wingback in a library of a stately home, where Bond would relax with a cigar after returning from an adventure. It had leather, but also a warm cozy spiciness.

The new M V2Q really captures the Daniel Craig version of Bond. When I first spray it on, it immediately conjures feelings of intrigue and a little danger. These are notes that I don't commonly smell, and there is an edginess to the scent. Yes, it is a modernized version of a leather scent, but it also captures a bit of Craig's Bond character's ability to outmaneuver and surprise his enemies. Because I don't know where this scent is going!


From the Puredistnace.com website.

If I list the notes for you, here goes: orange blossom, pink pepper, lavender, jasmine sambac, cypriol, pine tar, cinnamon, tonka, cedar, patchouli, vanilla, and labdanum; I promise you, there is no way you will guess what this smells like from these notes. The florals are not very visible to me. I definitely smell the cypriol and pine tar. I think these may be the notes that give me that "off balanced" feeling, but I like it! The leather note is green, and I would guess that the jasmine sambac, which can smell quite green, may have been craftily used by the perfumer here to enhance that effect. Also, the molecule used to give that leather note has a green element. This note reminds me of another favorite and high-end perfume, Dusita Le Sillage Blanc. In both, the green is bitter, a little pungent, and a bit dangerous!

The longer the scent is on my skin, the softer and more plush the leather note beomes. However, this is not a strong leather scent, but to me is more of an interpretation of leather. The green woodiness with subtle spice is equally important in this scent. Like all Puredistance perfumes, it has a high concentration of oils and it wears on the skin literally for hours and hours! I would say the longer you wear it the more beautiful it becomes.

Just like Daniel Craig was a very different James Bond than we'd seen before, M V2Q is a very different fragrance from M. I think Antoine Lie did an excellent job of capturing the excitement, danger, and more worldly aspects of this Bond interpretation in the new scent. 

M V2Q was introduced in September 2022. Thank you to Puredistance for providing me with a sample, and my opinions are my own. Apologies for the long absence here. I had two daughters marry in 2022, so family life took precedence, but I'm happy to be back!

Thursday, September 29, 2022

It's National Coffee Day! Here's 4 Coffee Scented Perfumes

 


There seems to be a designated day for just about everything, but National Coffee Day on September 29th is one I can get behind! In recent years there have been numerous fragrances introduced involving coffee scents, and here are four to consider.

Mancera Aoud Cafe

In the opening moments I get a woody oud note mixed with the scent of coffee. It is very dry and not at all sweet. After about thirty minutes amber mixed with light florals and musk take over. I wish the promise of the coffee at the beginning held up, because an hour into the wear the coffee note is very faint. It is still a nice scent, though. This fragrance is from 2013 and perfumer is Pierre Montale.

Photo from foolproofliving.com

Montale Intense Cafe

This perfume was created by the same perfumer, Pierre Montale, in the same year, 2013, as the one above, but it is a very different creature. Although this is one of those perfumes everyone mentions when they speak of coffee perfumes, for me it is an instant memory of the four years I lived in India. 

The opening notes I smell are rose, vanilla, and amber, a trifecta of smells that smells so much like my life in India when I would walk through the market streets. The flowers for offerings, the fragrant oils on the women's hair, the sweetness of the amber which seemed to permeate the air; it's all achingly familiar.

But coffee? Not so much. I love this scent, but if you're wanting a strong coffee influence, here it is just a small thread in the formula. Move onwards to the next on my list.

littlecoffeeplace.com

Montale Ristretto Intense Cafe

It is as if in 2019 someone at Montale said, "Hey, that Montale Intense Cafe is a great perfume, but it doesn't really have that much coffee scent." The note pyramid for the two perfumes are strikingly similar with rose playing a lead role, but in Ristretto Intense Cafe it is definitely a union of the two notes, rose and coffee; not a solo by Lady Rose. 

Top notes are Italian black coffee and Turkish rosewater. Heart notes are rose buds, roasted coffee beans, and wood notes. The base notes are caramel, white musk, vanilla, and amber. Everything is slightly more restrained in this perfume and the rose mingles beautifully with the coffee but never overpowers it. Again, however, if you're expecting a strong solo coffee note you will not find it here, as it is more of a blend. 

These two Montale perfumes are both gorgeous, but if it's coffee you're seeking, go for the Ristretto, in my opinion.

freepik.com



Xeroff Golden Dallah

This coffee perfume steps up the drama, and is one of my favorites. This is a trip to a souk, wandering through the narrow alleyways past bags of spices, and stopping at a small cafe for a small beaker of coffee. The first spray envelops you in a cloud of exotic spices, followed by faint incense, oud wood, amber, and a rich coffee note. There is also a trace of rose. These blend together to make a lush, rich pageantry of a scent.

Base notes of cocoa, hazelnuts, and tonka beans give a nuttiness to the coffee note. There is a tobacco like sweetness, but it all melds together so well. I love how the spice, the smoke, the coffee, the nuttiness, and the sweetness blend together to make me feel like I've dropped into Morocco for the day. This goes on big, but mellows out after a couple of hours wear. This is part of a series called Coffee Break by Xeroff, and I'm eager to try the other two in the set.

These are just a few of my favorite coffee-scented perfumes. What are yours?

Perfume samples are my own. Top photo by fanpop.com.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Sampling Seven Citrus-Based Scents From Jo Loves

 


On a recent trip to the Alsace region of France I took the opportunity to explore a few of the Jo Loves line of fragrances. Most perfume lovers know the story of Jo Malone who worked in England as a florist and part time beautician, then started her own line of perfumes which were met with great acclaim. The Jo Malone line of perfumes was one of the first successful brands of niche perfumes, and it was also one of the first niche brands acquired by a beauty company giant, in this case Estee Lauder.

Jo Malone stayed with her company under the Lauder banner for about five years before leaving. After waiting out a non-compete clause, she eventually started a new company called Jo Loves. It shares similarities with her original enterprise, unique combinations of notes, simple but elegant bottles, and a tendency toward fresh scents. Trying the Jo Loves scents, I remembered the original excitement of discovering new fragrances in the early days of the launch of Jo Malone.

I took a sample set with me on a trip through the Alsace region of France, a charming area on the border of France and Germany. Century old villages with half-timber houses make one think they've stepped back in time 500 years. 

The town of Kayserberg.

Jo By Jo Love
The scent that Jo Malone gifted her name to is my favorite of the bunch. It opens with a bright grapefruit note, and is classified as an aromatic, but to me it feels like a low-key chypre, a little assertive and elegant, considering its simple notes. In addition to grapefruit, it also has black pepper, bitter orange, lime, and spearmint to enforce the zingy notes. Cedarwood, guaiac wood, and vetiver provide the dry base notes.

White Rose & Lemon Leaves
The first hour of this fragrance's life is all about the lemon leaf. Jo Malone seems to love citrus notes, and here the lemon is both bright and a little green. Eventually the rose transitions in, and it is a white rose, which has a lemon tinge and is quite different from the scent of rich red roses. The Jo Loves website says that beautiful white Norma Jean Roses are used in the perfume, and their scent blends perfectly with the lightness of the lemon leaf. 

The town of Colmar.

Orange Butterflies
This scent opens with a burst of mandarin orange and the lushness of neroli. Pettigrain adds a bitter green thread through the scent, and orange blossom adds a sweet orange flavor, like drinking an orange laced lemonade. This is a simple scent but wear it for an instant mood boosting effect!

Jo Loves Pink Vetiver
The pink in Pink Vetiver comes from a heaping of pink peppercorn in the scent. This is just the beginning of the spices. there is also cardomom, cumin, angelica, juniper berries, ginger, and nutmeg. The spice adds an interesting aspect to the dryness of the vetiver and is a combination I have not tried before. Anyone looking for a dry and spicy aromatic scent should give this a try. 

The town of Ribeauville.

Green Orange & Coriander
This is another version of a citrus aromatic scent from the Jo Loves line. The tartness of green orange and the bitterness of the coriander are a unique combination and combine to give an invigorating scent. I love to eat coriander in my food and I also enjoy the smell, but I know it is a divisive note for some. Black pepper and coriander add to the spice, and oakmoss in the base brings out greener notes in the scent and adds deepness to the fragrance.

Pomelo
In some ways this citrus-based scents seems the least complex of those listed here, but there is a beguiling sense of mystery to it, like there is more than meets the eye. The notes are vetiver, pomelo zest, and patchouli, simple, but one of those scents that you can't stop sniffing yourself.

The town of Riquewihr.
Mango Thai Lime
Oh my! This scent does make me miss my years of living in Asia. My palette became used to bright and tangy combinations of food, and in Thailand, a green mango salad was one of my favorite dishes. Thinking of the combos of salty and sweet makes my mouth salivate.

On first spray I get juicy mango, a squeeze of lime, and a sprinkle of black pepper. This is food love! I wish this stage could last forever, but citrus notes are notoriously elusive. This scent explosion fades fairly quickly to a softer version of itself. Notes of mint, freesia, vetiver, and thyme are in the base.

If you love Asian food this fragrance will trigger some good memories for you, hopefully. If not, then it comes across as a nice tropical scent, somewhat akin to Creed Virgin Water. I really like this one. I just wish it lasted longer.


Jo Loves sells a sample set of these citrus-based scents. Although Jo Loves Jo is my favorite, there wasn't one in the set that I didn't like. If I'm rating, I'd say Pink Vetiver would be my last pick, as I'm very picky with the vetiver note. They are all perfect for these 100-degree-plus days we are still experiencing in North Texas every day!

Colmar

I highly recommend the Alsace as a vacation destination! I would have loved to have gone in the December, when just like their nearby German counterparts, the little towns dress themselves up as Christmas markets. They would be so festive! But any time of year one can appreciate the feeling of walking back into the past. Colmar is known as the town that inspired Beauty and the Beast!

If you enjoy citrus scents, you must give Jo Loves a try! It seems to me that citrus notes must be Ms. Malone's favorite!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Parfums Dusita Montri: A Loving Tribute To A Father

                                

Pissara Umivijani of Parfums Dusita introduced her thirteenth perfume in June, Montri, created to honor the memory of her father Montri Umivijani, who is considered one of Thailand's leading modern poets. Father's Day here in America seemed the perfect opportunity to talk about this perfume which is literally an olfactory encapsulation of Pissara's memories of her father, bottled into a scent. Montri is a stunningly gorgeous tribute to the man himself.

I was lucky enough to connect with Pissara Umivijani at the very beginning of her journey as a perfumer when she launched her company with three scents: Issara, Melodie de L'Amour, and Oudh Infini. One of the first things I learned when speaking to Pissara was that while creating beautiful fragrances was her passion, introducing the world to her father's poetry and keeping his words alive was just as important of a goal. Finding the perfect phrases from her father's work to illustrate a scent or being inspired by his poetry to create a perfume: it was the ultimate creative process and homage. Through her perfumes, with lines of poetry printed on each box, she keeps his legacy alive and introduces the work to a new audience. 


So central was the poetry to Parfums Dusita's raison d'être, I somehow always thought it was inevitable that Pissara would create a perfume in memory of her father. I didn't expect that it would bear his name, but I love the elegant simplicity and directness of it: Montri.

Montri Umivijani was a poet, a lover of literature, an explorer, a world wanderer. He was a lover of nature and his surroundings. Pissara says he appreciated nostalgia more than the modern world. She lovingly drew from these aspects of his life to create a perfume. He always carried a notebook to record his impressions or write poetic phrases that might strike at an moment: leather, paper, ink. Bangkok has extensive spice markets that Montri enjoyed visiting: nutmeg, saffron, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, and a dried fruit accord. Montri's family home in Bangkok was built of wood in the original style, before modern expansion destroyed so much of the city's traditional dwellings: sandalwood, cedarwood, vetiver, and oakwood. Notes of rose de mai, jasmine, and his favortie, orris butter, lend a gentle beauty to accompany the more masculine notes.

Pissara says that Montri was the first time she utilized spices to such an extent in a perfume. For Pissara, the spice notes also represent her father's love of travel to other countries and joy at making new friends in new places. 

Pissara used oud palao in Montri. In a Zoom call where Montri was introduced, Pissara said, "When people think of oud with Parfums Dusita, they always think of Oudh Infini, one of my first three creations. Oud has so many beutiful facets. Oudh Infini is just one of the dynamics. It doesn't have to be like that. Oud can be elegant, tame, and proper as well."

When describing why oud was an important component in Montri, Pissara explained, "For me this is the core of my father, gentle, elegant, kind, very rooted to nature, and sensitive to his environment. I used real oud because it comes from Southeast Asia. It is our heritage." 

Some perfumes are monotone. They always smell like they smell. And if you like it, then that's fine. What I find so interesting about Parfums Dusita's fragrances is that many of them perform as a living, morphing being on my skin. For example, the first time I tried Montri it was all about the oud. I am not a fan of the more feral ouds, but this is a finely polished thing of elegance and perfection. The next time I got leather, wrapped in florals. A leather pouch holding rose, jasmine, and a suede-like iris butter. Today it is all saffron, roses, and oud, reminding me of trips to India and women in colorful saris with kohl lined eyes and braided hair laced with roses. I chose this as the perfume my husband would wear to our daughter's wedding last week. He was handsome in a tuxedo, crisp white shirt, and black bow tie. Montri was the final polished accessory to complete his attire.

The finest perfumes are about emotions. They can bring on memories, or they can cement and solidify a memory that is in the making. The fragrance can dance on your skin and smell this way or that, according to some inner magic the body transmits. Montri is a gorgeous scent that to me seemingly transmits traits of elegance, quiet certainty, intelligence, curiosity, kindness, and immpecable manners. And there is one other emotion that stirs in me when I wear Montri, and it is longing.

The pen is me

And I am the pen:

in writing

The pen gets lost

To become part of the thing

I cannot recall --  Montri Umivijani

Montri Umivijani's lifelong passion was to write poetry. His daughter's passion is to create perfumes that portray in an olfactory manner a moment of his poetry.  Pissara puts the same energy and passion into creating a fragrance that her father put into creating words that would survive him beyond death. With Montri, Pissara adds another totally new and wholly distinctive scent to the Parfums Dusita lineup.

Photos from Parfums Dusita website. Perfume was a press sample from Parfums Dusita. Opinions are my own.