Wednesday, March 29, 2006


233 Elizabeth Street Between Houston and Prince

11am-7pm, Appointment only on Mon

What is it? A new parfumerie in downtown New York created by two ex-execs from L'Oreal. Finishing touches on fragrances like mixture with alcohol is done on the spot in front of you. Products are imported from Grasse and the "idea" behind the line is "spend less on marketing and more on quality of ingredients."

Why should I buy it? them...there are 3 men's scents, 3 women's scents, 3 unisex scents, and 1 children's scent...and include fragrances built around Rose, Bergamotte, Patchouli, Orange Blossom to name a few...

Where can I buy them? 45.00 for 15ml; 115.00 50ml; 180.00 100ml only at the Nolita shop.

NOTE: I haven't tried these yet, only heard great things about them, especially the Iris and the Rose (for men, an animalic cumin-tinged floral...kingdom anyone?).

HAVE YOU TRIED THESE YET? Tell us about them!

REVIEW: Clinique Happy Heart

Tested by: This one I smelled on my friend, Carmen. Haven't tested it myself, yet.

Notes: Crisp mountain air accord, Mandarin, Cucumber, Yellow Primrose, Wild carrot flower, Water Hyacinth, Blond woods.

Pros: Beauitful fruity floral that has a light, airy, green quality to it.

Cons: Thought the composition is not entirely an original concept, wouldn't it have been nice if Clinique had launched this as an entirely new scent? ...I had totally dismissed it initially as just another Happy variation.

Reminds me of: Aire de Loewe; Body Shop Spirit of Moonflower; Ralph Cool; one of the 268 seasonal Escadas...

Development: N/A

Longevity: I could still smell this on Carmen at the end of the school day - 6 hours after I first became aware of it. I'm pretty sure she hadn't re-applied.

Sillage: Not sure how many sprays Carmen used, but it smelled awesome on her without being overwhelming.

Where can I buy it? $26.95 for a 1.7 oz unboxed tester at

Bottleworthy? This is something I'd love to receive in a Gift With Purchase, but don't think I'd actually buy for myself...though I WOULD buy it as a gift for someone else...

The Bottom Line:Everything by Clinique has so far smelled "nice", but I was really taken with Happy Heart, evoking memories of a thousand other scents long forgotten and relegated to the hallowed shelves of Ross Dress for Less, yet somehow better. With a fresh green cucumber note balanced with a soft floral bouquet and light woods, this, to me, is Spring in a bottle.

Rating (out of 10): 7

What recent scents took you by surprise after sniffing them on someone else?


Notes: rich rose, orange blossom, jasmine, vetiver, oakmoss, amber and musk.

.5 ounce perfume: Retail Price $15; Fragrancenet $7.89

Why should I buy it? Launched in 1932, this floriental smells remarkably similar to any number of brands of Indian incense or Middle Eastern attars. A sweet, deep, amber and musk fragrance, lightened in the topnotes with my three favorite florals, this un-fussy, straightforward classic might actually surprise you. I've been wearing the eau de cologne, but am going to definitely order the perfume. I figure for that price, how could I really go wrong?

SCENTED MEMORY: #6, Kerosene

I'm staying at a friend's house this week, and here in North Osaka, it's still cold enough to warrant the use of heaters. Tricia used to have kerosene heaters and the scent still lingers ever-so-faintly in her home, but because of my past associations with kerosene, I've decided that it's not entirely a bad fact it's a scented memory that I kinda like.

When I first came to Japan, I lived in a traditional Japanese home that had been built at the turn of the century. Now, to many of you this may conjure romantic images of sliding paper doors, manicured gardens, wooden-beams, old rice mats, and largely, you'd be correct. Before I continue, I should also tell you that this house was owned by a gay man. I figured "old house" plus "gay man" equals "fabulous"...and good lord was I ever wrong.

To learn more about my experiences in what a friend un-lovingly named "ghost house", you'll have to read my novel, but for now, it's enough to continue with the story of how I came to not entirely hate the aroma of kerosene.

Moving on. There was no central heating. Why have that installed when instead your home can smell as if someone's just pumped a tank of gas while you live in fear that at any minute you could explode? To be honest, I was often afraid to light incense or burn candles to mask the aroma, feeling that this open flame or spark could somehow tempt fate. But as it's an inexpensive alternative to electric heating, it's still popular. In fact there's even a kerosene truck that comes around the neighborhood a few times a day blasting an unbelievably annoying yet somehow surprisingly catchy little tune sung by 6 year-olds that sounds like something Mao might have had written expressly for a communist children's parade.

Moving on...yet again. I've found that not only does my disgraceful ex-landlord (disgraceful because I believe a vow for eternal home improvement is now part of the yearly contract we homosexuals sign when renewing our gay cards) use kerosene, but a majority of my friends, both Japanese and foreign, still use it as well. Kerosene accompanied my first Thanksgiving turkey dinner in Japan when a friend lovingly presented me with a frozen $50, 2-pound turkey 45 minutes before dinnertime; it accompanied my nightly Japanese lessons, drunken dinners of dried squid and octopus balls, and learning how to play Hana Fuda (a game I later learned that is popular with Japanese mafia...I know, still, it's nice to have skills); in short, it accompanied some of my favorite moments in Japan.

So, in short, the smell of kerosene on a chilled winter day is now a scented memory of not just the Ghost House, but dear Japan as well. Yes, the pungent fumes are a warm and fond association of my time spent in the Land of the Rising Sun.

What not entirely pleasant scent that reminds you of a special place do YOU love ?

ASK MARLEN: Porn or Perfume?

Dear Marlen,

My son's birthday is fast approaching and I want to buy him something special. I asked a friend what he thought I should buy a teenage guy and the response was "either electronics or porn." My husband just bought my son an iPod, so what am I left with? Well...I'm not buying porn, so I was thinking perfume? That's where you come in? What kind of cologne should I buy for my son, a quiet, Japanese teenager with conservative tastes but a definite sense of style?

Not gonna buy porn,
DTDear DT,

I'm still giggling...Ok, no porn. The first thing that came to mind, knowing Japanese teenagers as well as I do, having worked with them nearly every day for the past 4 years, was Bvlgari pour Homme.

Why Bvlgari? Well, first of all the name is definitely a brand status symbol in Japan and amongst teenagers in the know. Second, the scent is quite subtle - darjeeling tea, white musk, light citrus. Third, it doesn't cost as much as an iPod and you can buy a bottle rather inexpensively at Rakuten.

But my favorite reason is that this is a cool way for a mom to help her son develop his personal style! And hey, if he decides he doesn't like it, YOU can always wear it!

Hope this helps DT!