A Beautiful Bouquet

Beautiful

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Created in 1985 at the height of big eighties florals, Beautiful by Estee Lauder is the most iconic of them all.  Master perfumer Sophia Grojsman, known for her lush rose scents (Paris, anyone?), created this floral masterpiece as well.  While Paris announces its presence with a bold French kiss, Beautiful is a romantic, warm hug that seduces with its intense femininity.

Estee Lauder herself called Beautiful, “a fragrance of a thousand flowers” but unlike other intense floral compilations, you don’t smell them all at once.  Beautiful is less chaotic and more linear; romantically beguiling you step by step. Opening with notes of tobacco rose, lily, tuberose, marigold and mandarin; it’s the citrus that keeps things fresh. Warming to an intense but sweet heart; orange blossom, ylang-ylang and jasmine are coquettish without being cloying. It’s the base that reveals itself warmly after the blooms have stolen your heart; sandalwood and vetiver seduce with elegance.

 

A Scent Rebel Favorite

3.4 oz Eau de Parfum Spray $88

 

 

 

 

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Self Portrait

Quintessential New York perfumer, Bond No. 9 pays homage to Andy Warhol once again with soon to be released and aptly named- Andy Warhol by Bond No. 9.  Known for his fascination with celebrity, Warhol at once idolized and democratized the concept of fame.  Noted for saying, “In the 60′s everybody got interested in everybody else.  Drugs helped a little there.  Everybody was equal suddenly- debutantes and chauffeurs, waitresses and governors.” This was a concept that Warhol was completely aware of and deliberately capitalized on.  He saw a can of Coke, a piece of of art and household products (Brillo pads anyone?) as consumable goods; to be enjoyed by everyone equally.  In that light, the same bottle of perfume that Elizabeth Taylor purchased could be purchased by you as well- he wore Beautiful, and you know what?  I wear it too.

This same paradigm is well played by Bond; capturing the essence of (and capitalizing on) New York’s most famed locations and icons; it’s really all about bottling the experience.  Can’t make it to Astor Place?  The perfumer offers the next best thing.  And what is perfume any way if not a self portrait?  Warhol himself says, “the best way to take up more space is to wear perfume”.  Most of us will never have our faces grace a magazine cover, or better yet a wall in a prestigious museum, but we can (and do) express ourselves with scent.

So what does Andy Warhol smell like?  Top notes include bergamot, peach, red rose and cumin with a heart of white patchouli, frankincense and oud; which dries down to vanilla bean and musk.  But, what’s in the creation is not really the point, purchasing the product is.  For that, Andy would approve.

 

Available December 1st at Saks Fifth Avenue

 

 

 

 

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Classic Chaos

Created in 1948 by Parisian couturier Robert Piguet, Fracas is a fragrance of contradictions.  Sophisticated, refined and lady like; Fracas is redolent of a time when sexy was defined differently and in-your-face femininity was the ultimate in come hither seduction.  It is glamorous yet simple, linear yet complex; the very name is a nod to the chaos of matters of the heart.

An orgy of flowers interplay together to create a scent that is timeless and seductive; creating a white flower commotion that screams (in a coquette’s voice of course) consume me if you dare.  Opening with bergamot, mandarin and lilac; then lending itself to a tuberose, jasmine and white iris heart- only the lucky will be around for the sandalwood, vetiver and sensual musk dry down.

A Scent Rebel Favorite

7.5 ml $95

30 ml  $210

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Buddha’s Delight

Legend has it the Sri Lankan fig tree originated when a branch from the Bodhi tree was planted.  Used by Buddha for shelter, the Bodhi tree (or Bo tree) offered respite while the holy one gained enlightenment and perfect understanding. Known for its heart shaped leaves and transformative power, this sacred tree eventually bore the luscious fig.

Infusion Organique, inspired by ancient lore, created Buddha’s Fig; a fragrance that is beautiful, delicate and serene.  Infused with certified organic fig extract, rose-geranium essence, organic lemongrass oil and blended with essences of wood and amber, Buddha’s Fig is a heavenly scent that promotes inner peace and well-being.

$35 for 1.7 ounces

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Perfumed Personality

Imagine if you could create a fragrance that was based on your personality, preferences and mood; Aromachology founders Kristen Menkes and Ashlee Firsten created their bespoke fragrance company with that very vision in mind.  Closing the gap between art and science and having a little fun along the way; these divinely scented partners in crime are out change the way you wear, think about and now, design fragrance.  Recently, Scent Rebel had a chance to chat with the ladies behind the brand about their goal to connect you to scent in a unique and personal way.

SR:  The Aromachology brand was created around the idea that psychology and scent are interrelated; affecting human behavior and mood.  How do you think Aromachology perfumes will benefit and affect the wearer in a positive way?

AC:  Aromachology was designed to help inspire, connect and motivate its creator to achieve the best version of themselves. Whether that be to start their day off on a ‘happy’ note, give them more confidence on a date or connecting to a fond memory from the past – the creations can really help dictate and enliven any mood even if it’s the psychological connection knowing that the scent is meant to make the creator feel a certain way. The affect of Aromachology is one that promotes positive, unique and creative expression. We hope each and every scent makes the creator feel better about who they are and what they what out of their days, lives, moments, etc.

SR:  You craft personal and original fragrances for your clientele; how is this been rewarding?  Any challenges?

AC:  The most unexpected part about starting Aromachology has definitely been the interaction with our clients. I didn’t anticipate or foresee this being the most rewarding aspect, but it really has. When we’re blending for people it really becomes such a personal experience, unintentionally, almost like a therapy session. We always ask the client what they’re looking to get out of their scent, and from there all the walls break down (in a good way!). We absolutely love getting to know our customers and feel fortunate to have such personal interactions with a lot of them. We keep in touch with so many, and get testimonials from mothers, daughters, husbands, talking about how their scent has changed their lives…it’s inspiration and motivation for Ashlee and I’s progression and development on a daily basis. The most challenging part of our business is staying unique and deciding on what products are best to develop. We’re both very creative and enjoy thinking out of the box, but it’s always a risk not following typical ‘trends’…but, it’s more important for us to stay unique and offer fresh ideas and products that truly capture our audience.

SR:  Tell me about the Aromachology process of creating a personal fragrance.  I think Scent Rebel needs a signature scent- where and how do I start?

AC:  It’s SO easy, fun and unintimidating to create your signature scent with us. We made the process simple, yet personal – you can know nothing or everything about scent to enjoy the experience. The best way to begin is to start by filling out our “Scent Profile”, which is an easy 10 questions. We don’t have you revealing too much, just enough to give us a glimpse into who you are. After you decide on your base fragrance (there are 5 different options), the next step is selecting top notes. Each customer has the option of choosing up to any 3 notes out of our menu of 15. All are very different and distinct in smell and how they’re meant to affect your behavior and mood. All of the top notes are labeled as attributes, such as Empowering, Sexy, Graceful, Inspiring…customers can choose their notes based on the smell or the word. Each blend used for each top note is meant to bring that out in your personality. It becomes a very aspirational and inspirational process that essentially helps put all of our customer’s positive characteristics into perspective.

SR:  You’ve mentioned before that the perfume industry is “lackluster”.  How so?  And, more specifically, why do you think this is?

AC:  The fragrance world has become so saturated with different scents that it’s hard to identify what it is people really like. Big name brands are constantly coming out with new scents and in between that you have a different celebrity launching their own fragrance. Scent is the most personal accessory a woman or man can own, and the connection and personal relationship with our fragrance has become less of a priority and completely out of focus. Consumers are blinded by the marketing fluff that is associated with all the big campaigns, which don’t get me wrong is really difficult to avoid, but I think we’ve come back to a time where people want more meaning brought back into their spending and buying routine. Aromachology is about providing our customers with a unique experience, where they can get lost in enjoying the art of perfume and discover the incredible power of scent.

SR:  One of the things that inspired you to start Aromachology was the motivation to find synergy between the art and science of fragrance.  I agree- it is both an art and science; do you think you’ve successfully achieved this or are you constantly striving to build upon your concept?

AC:  I think we’ve definitely achieved that with our custom fragrances and educating people that there’s so much more depth to perfume than its smell. It has so many added benefits that should be taken advantage of. We are constantly working on translating that same idea and concept with our other products. We want to provide the same one of a kind experience and personal connection with our candles and our new bath & body line. Everyday we’re trying to figure out new ways to make our products ‘custom-inspired’ with providing the best ingredients and formulations.

SR:  Ashlee is a chemical engineer that worked Estee Lauder and Kirsten a pr professional with experience at People.com and InStyle to name a few; it sounds like the both of you are the “art” and “science” of Aromachology personified!  Tell me about your different backgrounds that make Aromachology such a successful and innovative company

AC:  The success of Aromachology thus far has everything to do with how different Ashlee and I are – it’s what makes the company and the brand what it is. Not only do we have such different backgrounds, but we think in such different ways, which really does provide the perfect synergism between articulating a story based around art and science. I find that we give consumers just enough information to intrigue and excite and tell a story that makes them yearning for more. It’s a perfect balance between education, fun and that personal connection.  Ashlee studied sciences and went on to become a chemical engineer. She worked at Estee Lauder in R&D and has the Operations and Development background. She went on to get her MBA in Luxury Goods, which gave her the knowledge of creating a brand and really understanding everything involved with doing that. Her education, experience and network really gave us our ability to launch Aromachology into something more than just an idea. The custom process was streamlined and developed with her brains.

My background exposed me to a completely other side of development – the creative side. I always knew I’d end up in product development because my mind is always racing with unique ideas and visual concepts. I worked in pr, sales and marketing in D.C., NY and Toronto and my understanding of that world and the intense power of the media has been an asset. Although Ashlee and I exercise the opposite sides of our brains, we speak the same language at the end of the day. We’ve been on the same page since Day 1, in terms of our ideas and where and how we want to take Aromachology.

SR:  What’s next for Aromachology?  Any cool projects that you are working that you would like to share with us?

AC:  Everyday is always so fresh for us – literally each new morning brings new experiences and adventures. We’re always thinking of new ways to stay unique and how to connect with our consumers. We’re very particular about each and every new product we develop – it has to be different, it has to feel, look and smell special. We don’t want to come out with products that re-tell a ‘same old’, stale story.  We are adamant about tweaking whatever it is we’re working on and changing it until it’s perfect…our customers deserve nothing but the best. We just launched a bath and body line – which we are SO excited about! All of the products are natural, everything from hand wash, body lotion, room spray and mini ‘soap bites’, which are meant for individual hand washing. It’s hitting shelves at the beginning of March in all of the 5 ‘personality’ scents. Stay tuned for what’s next!

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Peacock Princess

Created by a former beauty editor and Hawaii native; Saffron James Parfums are an exquisite tribute to the lush floral tradition of her homeland.  Beauty insider turned perfumer, Kate Growney captured the intoxicating essence of the island’s blooms with five incredible scents.

Inspired by the Aloha State’s last Crown Princess, Ka’iulani; Nani{na-knee} is an olfactory homage to royalty; the very name itself means beauty, glory and splendor.  The stunning fragrance combines Pink Plumeria, Mimosa, Lily and Ylang Ylang, but it is the Pikake that holds court.  The princess kept peacocks as pets and at night her beloved flock would sleep beneath the Arabian jasmine bushes that she named Pikake, which means, “peacock” in Hawaiian.

Saffron James Parfums donates a dollar from every parfum sold to the cultural and environmental preservation of Hawaii.

$110 for 30 ml

$38 for 9 ml

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Kate Walsh’s New Boyfriend

Inspired by her desire to recreate the scent of a man’s cologne on your skin as it mingles with your own fragrance; Kate Walsh created Boyfriend, an intoxicating mixture of masculine woods and feminine florals. Night blooming jasmine and juicy plum give it a sexy, edible vibe while amber and musk at the dry down make Boyfriend a sensual, rich fragrance that evokes the intimate, olfactive memory of the man you love or the one you left behind.

Scent Rebel chatted with Kate recently about the scents she’s always loved, the inspiration behind Boyfriend and what it was like to work with sometimes infamous photographer Terry Richardson.   To read more of my interview with Kate please visit Perfumesmellinthings.com

$65 for 1.6 ounces

SR:  Tell me about the inspiration behind Boyfriend and how did you arrive at such a cool concept?

KW:  Let’s see. The idea of Boyfriend was already in the zeitgeist. Women wear men’s watches. Oversized watches. They wear their boyfriend’s shirts. Their boyfriend’s jeans. It’s out there in the culture and in the consciousness. So for me it was embodying that same spirit. That feeling. What do you feel like when you’re wearing your boyfriend’s shirt? You feel safe, protected, sexy, small. I’m 5’9’’. I feel like I was born 5’9’’. I’ve never felt petite in my life. But you put on your boyfriend’s shirt or jeans and you feel tiny and sexy and awesome. It’s the same spirit with the fragrance.

SR:  I’m dying to know what it was like to work with photographer Terry Richardson.  Sometimes raw, but always sexy; Terry is known for his candid photos.  Tell me what this process was like.

KW:  That was amazing or as I like to say “amazeballs.” He’s incredible. That was a real get. Part of the process that I adored and was really thrilled about was getting green lights from people along the way. Of course, there’s always anxiety and little speed bumps, but having my vision validated by perfumers and designers and packagers and, of course, HSN and Sephora was a great feeling of validation. My manager said, “Wouldn’t it be great to get Terry Richardson.” (Like that will ever happen.) But then it was like, “Let’s try!” So they reached out and he was totally down for it and really excited about it. He loved the concept and the idea. That was super exciting and fun to shoot with him. My publicist said jokingly, “Just don’t take your clothes off!” I kept a sheet on. That white sheet image was the first setup we did.  We found it right away. When I first envisioned the brand I didn’t want it to be my head next to a bottle. I really wanted it to be about Boyfriend and the story and then we realized nobody would know what it is if it’s not from Coty or Max Factor or Mark Jacobs. We have to put my face next to it.

SR:  I love the shot; you look gorgeous.

KW:  Thank you. It was a different feel between the white sheet shot and the red shot. The red shot is a little more glam.

SR:  What was the first perfume you ever wore?

KW:  I remember wearing Paris. I loved Chanel Cristalle. And then Jessica McClintock, too.  When I was little, like 9 or 10, my grandmother gave me a little fragrance box and it was violet perfume. It was green with purple violets painted on the box. It was beautiful.

SR:  What’s next for Boyfriend?  Will you expand on the line?

KW:  There will be more Boyfriends to come for sure! The concept behind starting a company was to expand and move into other fragrances and develop Boyfriend into a lifestyle brand. That’s my goal. That would be awesome. But I am a startup. It’s all me. We are a baby company. We have to grow slowly. I want to get this to as many people globally via ecommerce as we can. I want to develop the first Boyfriend as much as possible. We have the luxury of Twitter to help get it out there. But we don’t want to rush it too quickly with a coterie of other Boyfriends, but there will be others.

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Calm Me

Fragrance storyteller Margot Ellena of Lollia, has added another compelling and scented chapter to her Modern Romantic Luxury library.  A fragrance that evokes serene meadows of blooming hyacinth; Calm Eau de Parfum is a lovely, gentle scent that is easy to wear and helps promote tranquility and inner peace.  Earthen rooted vetiver and fresh cut iris are cooled by notes of sunny citrus and delicate floral water; making this fragrance sparkle with clean but powdery notes.

Known for lovely details and flirtatious touches, the Lollia fragrance stories are made from exclusive formulations and luxurious designs.  Gorgeous real platinum feathers delicately float on the weighted glass bottle; soft rounded shoulders fit perfectly in the palm of your hand.  Sublime.

$46 for 4 ounces

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Cherry On Top

What do you get when you combine two kindred perfume spirits, both with rocker chick pasts and rebel hearts?  Cherry Bomb Killer Perfume of course- the spirited, sassy brain child of two of the fragrance industry’s most talented and arty stars: Maria McElroy from Aroma M and Alexis Karl from Scent by Alexis.  Scent Rebel recently chatted with the Cherry Bomb girls about everything from boys to Bowie.  Here’s what they had to say:

You both have serious perfume making skills; Maria the “M” in Aroma M, a Japanese inspired, hand-blended line of perfume oils created in the ancient Kodo tradition and Alexis is the classically trained painter turned artisan perfumer behind Scent by Alexis.  How did you come up with such a fun, cheeky and youthful line such as Cherry Bomb Killer?

We had been saturated in elegant scent making for years, and noticed that there were not many independent fragrance lines created with a young audience in mind. Our studio is shared with Alexis’s nieces all girl teen band, Toy Sugar. Between the bands interest in perfume and our own habit of waxing nostalgic about our teenage years of sneaking out and going to rock clubs, we realized there was a place for us here. Each element of the line, from the notes (inspired as much by cupcakes as fishnets and guitar riffs) to the metal cat tag (inspired by an old punk boyfriend’s chain and tag necklace) speak of a certain youthful rebellion and freedom. After creating gilded and delicate, origami adorned bottles, we felt we needed to tap into this other side of ourselves, and share it with the girls around us.

You both have similar backgrounds as classically trained painters and both of you have studied aboard.  Does these similar experiences help foster a successful business partnership?  Where did you two Cherry Bomb’s meet?

It definitely helps to have similar backgrounds. That is our basis for friendship- a mutual love of art, fragrance, fashion, film and travel. We met at Henri Bendel in NYC where both of our lines were carried. It took all of five minutes to realize we were kindred- rocker- spirits in the midst of the upscale whirlwind of 5th avenue retail.  When in the studio, we blast Punk and Goth, tell each other secrets and talk about boys. We wish we met in high school, because we would have gotten into so much trouble together! What fun we would have had! The fact that we can spend a twelve hour day preparing fragrance, laugh, joke, and belt out Blondie and Bowie for most of it, speaks of a great partnership.

After years creating your exclusive perfume lines it must be a breath of fresh air to create scents for girls that, “love rock n roll, can stand on their own, knows what girl power means…and loves it!”  What has the Cherry Bomb Killer experience been like for you? How is it different than creating for Aroma M and Scent?  How is it similar?

The biggest difference is having a partner in scented crime! There is a solitude when creating in general. We have both spent countless hours alone in our respective studios-mad scientists in high heels, whipping up cauldrons of steaming perfume solids and gleaming amber bottles of essence. It is so refreshing to share this unique alchemy with someone else! There is a carefree feeling with Cherry Bomb Killer Perfume. Perhaps it is the fact that often we have to scream over the pounding of drums and wailing of guitars in the same room, but the studio feels more like a hang-out than a work space. We playfully argue over which leopard print dresses and heels to wear to a meeting, and what rock song really represents our line as much as what stores we should approach and which magazines we would like to meet with. We work hard, are serious about our business, but like Cindy said back in our own high school days, “Girls just want to have fun!” And we do have fun… lots of it.

The Cherry Bomb Killer Perfume line currently has two scents:  Rebel Angel and Truth or Dare; tell me about them!  Are you planning any additions to the line?

Rebel Angel is all about the good /bad girl. She can belt out the Ramones with the best of them, likes studded leather and scuffed combat boots, breaks the hearts of the tattooed rockers and prefers rock clubs to cafes. She’ll smell of deep honey, smoke machine fog and lingering magnolia…

Truth or Dare is innocence with an edge. A Truth or Dare girl prefers love ballads to heavy metal, adores pink sweaters and pinker fishnets, false eyelashes and lollipops a’ la Lolita. The scent of vanilla, dark sugars and honeysuckle cling to her as does an air precociousness.

At the moment, we are concentrating on our heart charms and perfume solids in these two scents, but are playing with the idea of sparkling perfume powders in the future, the kind you just have to sprinkle on before going out dancing or to that first date!

Cherry Bomb Killer Perfume is available at Indie Scent

$35 for Solid Perfume

$55 for Eau de Parfum Key chain

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Feather Your Nest

Laura Slatkin, the home fragrance maven whose private label client list reads like a fashion week itinerary, has developed her most luxurious line of interior scent goods yet; NEST Fragrances.  An exquisite collection of fourteen scented candles, reed diffusers and soaps; the NEST fragrance collection is a delight for your senses; combining color, texture and fragrance that will enhance your everyday living and entertaining experiences.

The star of the show is Bamboo; a veritable white flower bouquet that is bursting with creamy notes of gardenia,flowering bamboo and tuberose.  Sparkling citrus and fresh green accords keep this heady, luscious scent fresh.

Other fab NEST Fragrances to try? Grapefruit, mixed with lily of the valley and coriander blossom (this one is almost edible) and Moroccan Amber, an exotic fragrance that combines sweet patchouli, heliotrope and bergamot; making it a sultry, sexy scent.  Burn baby, burn.

Bamboo Candle Shown: $32

Available at Neiman Marcus

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