Saturday, February 11, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

ASK MARLEN: No niche!

Dear Marlen,

I have a friend who wants some perfume advice: She loves patchouli, verbena and in her citrus scents, grapefruit. She loves Bel Ami on her husband. She loves 24 Faubourg and recently liked Max Mara for herself.

She wants some scent suggestions but NOT Niche lines.

I thought of:
La Perla
Io by La perla
Allesandro del Aqua
YSL In love again
Goutal Hadrien

What would you suggest?

Thank you,
CHi C!

The first thing that comes to mind is Rochas Lui, which though a men's fragrance, is a mellow, easy-to-wear blend of patchouli, orange blossom, and buffalo grass with a very affordable price tag! If she'd like an interesting grapefruit scent, I do think YSL In Love Again is a good choice, but even more interesting is Kenzo's Le Monde est Beau, a beautiful grapefruit and citrus over a wonderful oriental base. As for Verbena, has she tried Fresh Sugar yet? It dries to an almost gourmand caramel note, but the opening citrus is very well-done. Additionally, Adrienne Vittadini's Capri has a unique lemoncello accord, and can easily be found these days at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Hope these suggestions help! Feel free to write again for more ideas!


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

IMAGES: L.T. Piver, Diableries

Diableries by LT Piver, Baccarat, 1947
Image courtesy of

RANTS: The Canasta Rap, dedicated to Cait

Cait, darling, this one`s for you:

There was a fragrance named Canasta,
And it smelled a lot like Kasha,
And when all the shiksas sniffed it,
They shouted out ZOG gornit!

Ikh halt az it`s very clever,
Such a ganef must have named it,
Smelling better than that Mah Jong,
You might find it in your klozet.

Vos zukhs'tu -- takhles oder tokhes?
Vos zukhs'tu -- takhles oder tokhes?

REVIEW: Armani Prive, Pierre de Lune

Notes: Cassia, violet, green notes, iris, belambre

Pros: Soft and light with a scent reminiscent of fabric softener. Beautiful bottle.

Cons: At $185 a bottle I'd rather bathe in Downy.

Bottleworthy: As a luxury, designer item and a way to pamper a loved one who needs some spoiling, sure. As one more bottle for the collection, no way! I'll look for a decant.

Where can I buy it? $185 for a 50ml edp spray at GiorgioArmaniBeauty

The Bottom Line: A whisper of Hermes Amazone, a tinge of synthetic amber, a mere hour of lasting power, a beautiful Armani bottle, a reference to Goutal Duel's iris note,a pretty composition, and did I mention $185?

Rating (out of 10): 5 For originality, price and sillage

I admit that it smells good, and I love (and own) Eau de Jade (shared a bottle with a friend), but $185 is just too much money for an Armani scent. If it were $65 for a 100ml, I would gladly buy it and enjoy it in spring and summer. Any other scents that you think are just silly for the prices asked?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

ASK MARLEN: The Kourrent State of Kouros

Hi Marlen,

Perhaps you could help me out? Do you know if YSL Kouros has been reformulated? I remember when it first came out, it was SO animalic it almost made you sick. (LOVED it!) Yet, when I smell it today, it is weak. Has my sniffer changed, or was it the formula? Do you know where I would go to find out the changes that were made, if any and where to get an "old stock" bottle? These questions have been haunting me for years and you seem like the perfect person to ask!You can understand my obsession, I'm sure.

Thanks a million,
Dear SP,

No doubt that Kouros HAS changed over the years due to cost-cutting attempts and changes in the chemicals used. Though reviews by Basenoters reveal that the variety of Kouros editions (summer, sport, etc) has become a bit daunting if not necessarily an improvement over the original, no one has actually mentioned a change in the actual aroma. Perhaps a trip trip to your local flea market or a phone call to Scentiments might help with locating an older bottle for comparison.

My first thought was to contact YSL Beauty themselves:

Yves Saint Laurent Parfums SA,
28-34 boulevard du Parc,
F-92521 Neuilly sur Seine

...but would they really tell the truth? You might also want to try emailing Jasina in Singapore. They have tons of stock both old and new and might be able to compare two bottles for you!

Hope this helps, and let us know if you make any progress!


MEN'S GROOMING: Lancome Homme, Complete Revitalising Treatment

What is it? An absolute revitalizing & firming treatment for male skin.


  • Lancôme Homme is a new and sophisticated skincare range for men. Developed using their extensive knowledge of skincare technology and plant extracts, Lancôme Homme is an effective and highly desirable brand. The Lancôme Homme range is formulated to combat the unique elements of male skin and is specially formulated on their unique observations of male skin. Lancôme Homme aims to repair and nourish fragile skin worn by shaving, combat dehydration problems and provide nourishment and energy to male skin.

Why does it work? Smoothens and visibly improves the skin texture by strengthening it. The skin becomes more resistant. It is recharged, repaired and protected. Suits all skin types, even the most sensitive…and especially those showing the first signs of aging : tired, dull and uneven complexions. From

How do I use it? On clean, dry skin, apply daily, in the morning or in the evening, onto the face and neck with smoothing, energetic and rapid strokes. From

Pros: Feels light, not at all oily, smells great! I was surprised by the level of oil control - the next morning after (evening) use, my skin was surprisingly...well...normal...not as greasy as other products tend to make it.

Cons: Pricey! OUCH! After 5 days of use from a sample tube, I didn't exactly feel as if I looked any younger. No SPF!

Bottleworthy? Hmmm, let's see, if I used 5ml in 5 days, then I would likely use one tube every 2 months, so 6 tubes a year....might be cheaper than a facelift...but will it really work?

Where can I buy it? $41.50 for 50ml tube at

The Bottom Line: Alright, so I'm now in my 30's and would like to pay more attention to saving face, especially having grown up in South Florida's tropical sun and being an on-again/off-again smoker. This stuff smells good, feels good, and will hopefully be around for a while (as so many men's lines seem to have short life-spans!)...but I wonder how it compares to the other men's products out there? And that price! Yikes!

Rating (out of 10): Hmmm, this is tough. I'll give it a 6, weighed down by the price, lack of SPF and inability to judge if it's truly effective.

I traditionally have used women's moisturizers for the lower price, larger quantity, and availability of reviews. Men's skincare is harder to find decent reviews of and many lines disappear after a while. Should we men really be using a "men's" product?

ASK MARLEN: Where can I buy Gobin Daude, Nuit au Desert?

Dear Marlen,

I wanted to let you know I received the Nuit you sent, and the results are in......I love it! Of course its discontinued! Damn. Do you know of any obscure place I could still find it?

Thanks so much!

Dear lb,

I really wish I could help! I just can't find any place that still carries it. Perhaps the best thing to do is contact the company:

Gobin Daudé Parfums
34, rue de Penthièvre75008
75008 Paris
Phone : 33(0)142250386
Fax : 33(0)142250669
Email :
Manager : Victoire Gobin-Daudé
Sales contact : Christophe Bourgeois

I really hope this helps. Alternatively, the following site may be able to set you in the right direction regarding points of sale!

Good luck and let us know if you find it!


P.S. - I sent an email myself tonight - will let you know if I get a response!

Can anyone help lb track down the Victoire Gobin Daude line?

Monday, February 06, 2006

REVIEW: Keiko Mecheri, Gourmandises

Notes: Praline, Powdery Notes, White Bitter Almonds, Rose Petal Jam, Saffron and Musk

Pros: Neither overly-sweet nor overly-floral; a near-unisex rose. No Angelic sweets here, this one heads for lighter turf, like L'Artisan's Jour de Fete meets Rosine.

Cons: Could project a bit more.

Bottleworthy? Yes, I think this could become addictive and comforting.

Where can I buy it? $80 for 75ml edp at

The Bottom Line: Imagine Opone as a bread and Gourmandises as a flaky pastry, where the former is dusty and straightforward, the latter is served on a beautiful plate with a berry-petal glaze. The saffron here adds a warm almost musky base while the almond notes are merely an accent. I'm intrigued with the rose petal jam accord - just enough rose to be interesting without making me ill. I'm looking for a decant!

Rating (out of 10): 7

I'm becoming more and more interested in saffron. Aside from CSP and Diptyque, what other Saffron scents do you love?