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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Armani Prive Pivoine Suzhou - Exploring Italian Perfumes

 When I travel I carry either samples or small bottles of perfume. Since I was trying to use only Italian perfumes on this trip to Italy, these cute 7 ml bottles I had from the Giorgio Armani Prive Collection made perfect travel companions. I was looking for a photo opportunity for Pivoine Suzhou, and a field trip to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como provided the perfect opportunity. 

We're in Italy for my daughter's wedding, and The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is where she was staying when she fell so in love with Lake Como. The Hotel was built in 1910 in the Belle Epoque style and from the first it was a getaway for the wealthy. It is colorful, flirty and a little over the top, and looks like the set for a Wes Anderson movie about a hotel in Lake Como. The color orange is accented everywhere, but you also see a lot of red and pink. This seemed like a great setting for my Armani perfume, which feels like something the rich and elegant would wear!

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como
The fragrance was created to recognize the Suzhou Gardens in China. The peony is a beloved flower in Chinese art work through the centuries. I've never lived where peonies could thrive, so my only reference to their scent is through perfume. Usually a rose with fresh notes added is used to give a peony scent, and Pivoine Suzhou is no different. Notes of pink pepper, raspberry, and mandarin create a fresh and fragrant opening, with a little fizz to give a floral chypre effect. This perfume feels happy and effervescent when I apply, like opening a fine chilled bottle of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé.

The heart is the scent of peony and rose, but the fresh and slight fruitiness remain. There is nothing groundbreaking about this perfume, yet I love it, and when I wear it makes me feel my look is elevated. Some perfumes are able to make you feel that you've got that polish of putting your look together, and this one does that for me. I don't know what has happened to me, but since this covid pandemic, I find myself appreciating simpler, non complicated but pretty perfumes more than I ever have.

The Armani Prive Pivoine Suzhou Soie de Nacre is what I'm craving to add to my collection, as much for its beautiful pearescent pink color as for the scent. Let me know if you've tried it and detect any difference in the fragrance between this and the perfume.

Perfume is my own. All photos my own except the bottle photo which is from the Armani website.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Carthusia I Profumi di Capri Mediterraneo, the Perfect Sunny Scent

 Sometimes you just need to be in the perfect place to discover the perfect scent. Whenever I'm going on vacation, deciding what perfumes I'll take is a much more painstaking process than deciding what clothes I'll need. I try to imagine my surrounds and what feelings I want the scent to invoke. On this trip to Italy, I decided to stick almost solely to Italian brands of perfumes.

I had received several samples from Carthusia I Profumi di Capri when I participated in a recent sniff-along with Beautyhabit, and I brought them along. My husband and I were hiking on the Cinq Terre trail between Corniglia and Vernazza. It was a perfect sun-kissed day, 78 degrees, the Mediterranean sparkling about 300 meters below, so the perfume, Carthusia I Profumi di Capti Mediterraneo, seemed an obvious choice. 

Carthusia is based on the island of Capri, a place I would love to visit one day. Surrounded by sea and sun, many of their fragrances reflect this lifestyle. This is certainly true for Mediterraneo. The tag line for the the fragrance says, "The freshness of lemon leaves mingles with the sparkling note of green tea to create a sun-filled and dynamic fragrance." This is a good synopsis of the scent, because it does feel sunny and cheerful. I had tried it before in my home environs, and while I thought it was nice, I wasn't Wowed. But when I put on this scent, perched high above the ocean, with Corneglia, the town where our hike started, visible in the distance, this scent just seemed the absolute perfect expression of a sunny Mediterranean day! And I was Wowed!

It opens with a very fresh lemon. I didn't quite get how important lemons were on this coast, but it is lemon season, and there are lemon slushies, lemon gelato, anchovies marinated in lemon and pepper. It is a staple of life here. The lemon in the perfume feels so fresh and fragrant. It is complimented by notes of mint, eucalyptus, red thyme, and litsea, all of which help to illustrate the plant life we experience along the trail. Then a beautiful clear note of white tea comes into the scent. It smells so cooling and refreshing. Lighter notes of jasmine, cardomom, wild flowers, tangerine, and green tea join in, but it is lemon and a light tea note that are most evident. It's simple, yes, but oh so perfect when you experience the landscape the perfumer is trying to encapsulate into a scent.

If you ever find yourself hiking the Cinq Terre trail, look for the restaurant sign pictured below as you get closer to Vernazza. It is amazing how they have carved out this charming restaurant at the top of the peak with no roads, and the views are amazing! 

I look forward to exploring some more of the Carthusia scents while I'm on this trip!

Perfume samples my own. Photos my own.