Posts tagged ‘Perfume’

Perfume Review: Crazylibellule Shanghaijava Ananas Imperial

I was really pleased when Sephora opened in Singapore last December, at Takashimaya, but it took me a few more months to discover some specimens of Crazylibellule & The Poppies perfume. I’d only read about this brand, as I had never before found it in Singapore. I was so happy to stumble across it, I just stood there sampling and sampling, until the assistants started to give me the funny eye.

Just a smidgeon of history – CatP is a new kid on the perfume block, being established in 2005 by Isabelle Masson-Mandonnaud, who also founded the original version of Sephora. It’s a tiny little French outfit that came up with this brilliant idea of making perfume in the form of 5g solid sticks, just a bit shorter and squatter than your average lipstick. Here’s what mine looks like:


Hmm, there must be some funky lighting effects in my living room. Anyway, it’s a simple cardboard tube, so I keep it in its box to protect it from getting bished inside my bag. I have a very Doraemon approach to bag-packing (i.e. everything plus the kitchen sink, in no particular order), so protection is essential. 

There are several lines, besides the (supposedly Asianic) Shanghaijava one, such as Les Divines Alcoves (flowery), Poule de Luxe (vanilla combos) and Le Baton (for morning, afternoon and night).

I chose to buy Ananas Imperial based strictly on first impressions. I could afford to be so superficial because these things cost S$32 per stick, which is not bad for French perfume. The notes are pineapple, jasmine, peach, musk, blackcurrant, lime, orange, grapefruit, lemon and cedar. I get a lot of pineapple first and foremost, then peach after a few minutes, with undertones of sweet citrus fruit, which makes it a sparkling, fresh and carefree scent on my skin. It’s an unusual choice for me, because I don’t usually go for the girly fruit candy kind of perfume. But this was so likable and affordable that I could not resist. Just the thing to make me feel a bit better when I’m post-call.

Being a solid perfume, this stuff will leave waxy residue on the skin unless well massaged in. It does not have magnificent sillage, but that’s OK by me because I wear perfume to make ME happy. Reapplication is necessary to make it last through the day, but hey, that’s why it comes in portable sticks, right?

The only problem with that, well, is that the damn thing has rolled under the sofa. Growl.


July 26, 2009 at 10:49 Leave a comment

Perfume Review: Floris White Rose

I stumbled upon a range of Floris perfumes, moseying about in Greenbelt in the Phillipines, while I probably should have been attending a conference lecture. I had cherished exactly zero hope of finding any purchase-worthy, cannot-find-back-home perfume during this trip, but I was so delightfully wrong.

Thank you, Adora. You are possibly the most magnificent department store I have had the good fortune to step into. You have taught me the meaning of serendipity.

For some reason, I was in the mood for a very feminine, demure scent that day. Something along the lines of a white linen dress, cashmere sweater and real pearls on a morning walk in the garden. I don’t know why. I would never wear or do such things in real life. I put it down to the effects of having my own room in a foreign country. I imagine my natural habitat to be an overstuffed sofa, with a good mystery novel and a glass of port, at two in the morning in front of a blazing wood fire.

Completely disregarding the shelves of Serge Lutens and The Different Company (available in Tangs Orchard back home), I proceeded to hold a long conversation over decanters and samples with the male promoter, who was fairly knowledgable, appropriately swishy and impressively patient.

I was highly fascinated by the Histoires de Parfum shelf. The bottles and their boxes, being oblongs decorated down the skinny side, were created to resemble books. That is something guaranteed to grab my attention. The sniffing samples came in the form of inverted large glass funnels, holding  a circle of white filter paper doused in scent. My two guy friends made me laugh by pretending to stick the skinny ends of the funnels into their nostrils. I was going to fix on a bottle of HdP’s 1873, a blend of citrus fruit and prim flowers on a base of vanilla, caramel and musk, but realized in the nick of time that the bottles only came in 120ml sizes, which would not have passed Customs. Damn the liquid restrictions!

So on to the Floris shelf I went. I tried the Edwardian Bouquet, but although it did begin very floral, with a nice touch of wood, it rapidly morphed into… soap. Gah.

Panicking a little, because we had to be somewhere else in an hour, I squirted on some Seringa, some White Rose and some Stephanotis, pointed at the one that smelt least soapy, and told the promoter to gimme that one. Quick. At 3450 pesos for 50ml – which translates to maybe S$115 or thereabouts – it was not a cheap souvenir. But it was an excellent souvenir. I wanted a ladylike perfume, and now I had a ladylike perfume.

White Rose was first created in the 1800s, and is reputed to have been a favourite of Florence Nightingale’s and the Russian Queen Alexandra (I like  the thought of wearing a scent that is a descendant of another loved by a queen). It was reformulated in 2004, and is now sold in these oblong glass bottles that make me think of Diorissimo, another very ladylike perfume. The opening notes are sparkling bright with aldehydes, before calming and  sweetening to carnation, rose and a touch of iris. The official site also lists jasmine and violet, but I don’t get much of those. The drydown is powdery rose and clean musk.

I’m wearing it today with a Stepford Wife-ish navy-blue dress peppered with white polka dots, and it goes just perfect. It’s sweet, restrained and comforting, yet with a wicked little undertone of bright emerald green. Quite good for the sanity.

July 10, 2009 at 16:09 Leave a comment

Perfume Review: Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille


Image from AG website

Easter morning seems like a good time to talk about Le Chevrefeuille, one of my favourite perfumes ever. I fell in love with it at a time when I was into ‘complex’ perfumes – thick, unexpected, sexually ambiguous scents. Pure whimsy led me to the AG counter and pure serendipity made me pick out this bottle from among a dozen others.

Love happened.

It was love for the innocence of past times that led to the crafting of Le Chev. When Camille, Annick Goutal’s daughter, was a child, she played at being princesses with her thirteen cousins, and the children wove crowns of honeysuckle flowers for their heads.

Years later, in 2002, this perfume was released as a limited edition, after its sisters Le Muguet and La Violette. Thanks to its acolytes, and fortunately for folks like me, AG decided to continue its production, and it has since become a staple at Tangs counters.

Chevrefeuille is French for honeysuckle, a flower that I have no hopes of actually encountering in Singapore, but I will know it by its smell if I ever meet it. Le Chev is green honeysuckle, front and centre, clear and sweet and fresh. All the other notes are its handmaidens. No complexity, just frank, living beauty.

Beyond the scent of the flowers, there is the idea of a golden spring morning, of sunlight on warm stones, of the clean back of a child’s neck. This is the essence of simple happiness. This is my sunshine in a bottle.

So far, this is the only scent of which I’ve ever bought a second bottle. At S$192 for 100ml, it is not cheap – bloody expensive may be a better term – but I have no problems being committed to this one. It’s an EDT, and won’t last very long unless you drench. I shoot eight to ten good jets when I apply this. Even so, it doesn’t make anyone pass out. On the contrary, people around me seem to really like it, particularly guys.

Le Chevrefeuille contains the following notes: honeysuckle (lots), green vines, wild narcissus, jasmine and petitgrain.

Happy Easter!

April 12, 2009 at 06:49 Leave a comment

Perfume Review: Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil


Image from Hermes

Un Jardin sur le  Nil was love at first sniff. Unfortunately, it was so expensive that for many months, all I did about it was grab a spritz each time I walked past any Hermes counter. Finally, upon returning from a Bangkok conference, I caved and bought a set at Suvarnabhumi airport, making myself very happy.

This perfume was created by Jean-Claude Ellena, who became Hermes’ first in-house perfumer in 2004. At that time, Hermes had just set up its perfume laboratory in an effort to establish its own iconic fragrances. Its brief for this perfume consisted of no more than its name – a garden on the Nile. Ellena’s next step was to travel to Aswan, a gardened area in Egypt, for inspiration. He sniffed many things, from the air to vegetables to the Nile itself, but came up blank until he reached a Nubian village street lined with green mango trees. Then the magic happened. Chandler Burr in The New Yorker described the smell as exotic, rich and fresh. Most magically of all, it was also fleeting:

“The fruit exudes an odor only when it is on the tree. Once you pick it, the smell deteriorates; within sixty seconds, it is essentially gone.”

How lovely to know that I have a whole bottle of this beautiful, ephemeral scent. To me, it is a study in contradictions. While most definitely green and fruity, it is also most definitely not candy fluff meant for prepubescent girls with stratospheric sugar thresholds. Although it ripples with  sweetness and joyfulness, there is also a sort of sober – almost spiritual – austerity behind it. It is an old soul with a child’s heart. It’s someone I’d like to be.

The other thing is that it’s meant to be a unisex fragrance. However, I simply cannot imagine any male of my acquaintance spritzing this scent. It takes me a minute to conjure up the image of a clean-jawed, white-T-shirted, insouciant boy-man who might wear this… maybe Jason Mraz… hmmm…

Un Jardin sur le Nil is perfect for my hot weather, particularly the singing citrus notes at the very start. It lasts a decent time on me, and I can still smell it on my clothes after a day’s work.

The set I bought comes with a tube of body lotion. It’s very runny and light for something called a lotion, but its main purpose is to smell like its name, which it does very well. It smells beautiful, and is wonderful for bringing to work for a pick-me-up on a bad day.

Un Jardin sur le Nil contains these notes: green grapefruit, green mango, lotus flower, calamus, sycamore and frankincense. Other notes that might also be there are: carrot (who’d have thought, huh?), rosin, acetone and neroli oil.

April 2, 2009 at 08:44 5 comments

Perfume Review: Christian Dior Diorissimo


Diorissimo EDT

Today I woke up with such a achy right hand that I wonder if I can use my pen at all. As if the Mondayness of the morning weren’t painful enough. If this were a diary instead of a blog, my entries over the next few days would be exceedingly curt.

To make myself feel better, I chose a white dress and red shoes to wear. White dresses always make me think of Diorissimo, so that became the next pick of the day.

It’s hard to believe that Diorissimo was first released in 1956, and then reformulated for the present. Far from smelling dated and old-auntish, it is wonderfully light and elegant. Its creator, Edmond Roudnitska, wanted a scent that bucked the trend of the cloying, foody perfumes that marked the day. He could not have chosen better than the tiny white bells of the lily of the valley. They were Christian Dior’s lucky flower.

The lily of the valley is often called muguet, but I have a liking for the Christian variant Our Lady’s Tears, which refer to the tears that Eve shed upon being evicted from the Garden of Eden. Ironically, the flower’s meaning is “You will find happiness”. Perhaps fittingly, the essence of the flower is notoriously difficult to extract. Best of all, the entire plant is actually highly poisonous.

Based on how the perfume smells, I would never have suspected the lethal nature of the plant. What I have is the eau de toilette, which was relatively difficult to find. A good friend found a 50ml bottle at, of all places, a Malaysian airport, for about S$80. Since then, I have only seen it in a tiny shop called Grand Parfums at Central Mall.

I believe that it’s supposed to smell like a good deep breath in a thick thatch of fresh muguet early on a spring morning. With one part of my mind I can imagine that very well. I can see thick drops of dew on vibrant green leaves, and delicate, snow-white bells nodding with the breeze. The scent is very much alive, floating on the air, absent on one whiff and strong on another, just the way it is with real flowers. With another part of my mind, I get the suggestion of ripe golden fruit, something that would juice and pulp upon biting down. Diorissimo doesn’t change much on my skin and is rather fleeting. It stays ladylike and looks up through downcast lashes – not entirely like me… but one can always have fun in pretending.

I wonder if I will ever get my hands on the parfum, which is supposed to be darker and more gorgeous than the EDT. I don’t suppose I will ever have the good fortune of experiencing the original formulations, containing the animalic ingredients banned from today’s potions.

Diorissimo has the following notes: greens, bergamot, lily of the valley, ylang ylang, rosewood, amaryllis, boronia, jasmine, sandalwood and civet.

March 23, 2009 at 12:30 2 comments

Welcome to my blog!

My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

Visit my photoblog!

I started my first photoblog on 3 May, 2009. Each post features one picture, with a little story of how it came about. Do take a look by clicking on: Manx Pictures
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Delicious Bookmarks


Don’t say I didn’t say this…

Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.


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