Saturday, June 10, 2006

REVIEW: Tauer Perfumes, Lonestar Memories (2006)

Pros: An unusual leather composition, highlighted by an exquisite jasmine note and ambery-sweet basenotes.

Cons: None.

Notes: Geranium, carrot seed, clary sage, bichtar, cistus, jasmine, cedar wood, myrrh, tonka, vetiver, sandalwood.

Reminds me of: I know I've smelled something to this effect before, but I can't place it. Could it be that Mr. Tauer is developing a signature accord? Could what I detect as familiar actually be a reference to L'Air du Desert Marocain?

Development: Lonestar seems slightly more linear than I would have expected with very little about the composition changing over time.

Longevity: Excellent, 6-8 hours.

Sillage: Perfect.

Where can I buy it? Coming soon to

Bottleworthy? If you're a lover of leather or richer wood fragrances, this is gonna be a holy grail scent and in that case, better get two bottles.

The Bottom Line: A scent with a wow factor, Lonestar Memories travels an unusual path for a leather-inspired scent. Opening with a fresh vegetal note (I imagine it's the carrot seed and sage) and then moving to a surprising middle bouquet of heady jasmine (one of the standout notes here), sweet birchtar, golden cedar and cistus (rockrose/labdanum) before revealing warm woods, sweet tonka, and earthy myrrh, Lonestar Memories reminds me of a late summer sunset - bands of orange and amber illuminating the sky with glistening stretches of golden clouds.

It's true, I'm a leather-lover and have my favorites - Knize Ten, Creed Royal English Leather, and Chanel Cuir de Russie being among my top three. What sets these fragrances apart from the rest is the range of notes in the composition that compliment the leather. In Knize, it's a buttery-rich blend of woods and musk; in REL, the leather is sweetened by the standard Creed base; and in Cuir de Russie, aldehydes and amber create the mood. With Lonestar Memories, the jasmine, tonka and myrrh create an unexpected depth and fullness that many other leather fragrances lack.

Lonestar Memories is a perfect addition to the current collection of fragrances that Mr. Tauer has created - as good as you'd hope, better than you could imagine, and an utter success. Now, if only we could do something about getting one of those cowboys pictured in the advertising to be included with the fragrance...

Rating (out of 10): 9

What makes a great leather scent for you?

ASK MARLEN: Takin it to the Maxx or the Marcus?

Hey Marlen,

I am considering applying for a job at TJ Maxx, and I'd like to know how your experience is working out. I can apply for several openings at my local store, including processor, merchandise retail, and cashier. I was hoping you could give me some advice as to what your position has been like, and what positions (if any) are better or worse to apply for.

Thank you!


Hi J,

I worked for the fragrance companies themselves at Nieman Marcus and Nordstrom, and then later actually for Nordstrom, a very different setting from TJ Maxx. There are definitely advantages to both - think of all the great discounts on fragrance as a Maxx employee vs all the free stuff you could get working in a larger dept store.

I'll elaborate a bit: Usually in a department store there are two types of salespeople - the ones who work for the dpeartment stores, "Sales Associates" (or SA's as we commonly refer to them); and then there are those folks who work for the fragrance companies and promote the fragrances in the stores, "Models". SA's usually work a schedule determined by the department store, make a lower hourly wage than models, but also have reliable work and, usually, benefits (medical, etc). Models' hours are generally more flexible (they create their own schedule), work can sometimes be sporadic (off-season or non-holiday times can be difficult if the fragrance companies decide they don't want to pay for models), and you might encounter some territorial SA's. I could go on...But I hope this gives you a basic idea of the types of fragrance positions you could look for in department stores. While SA's are employed directly through the department store, models are generally employed through the fragrance distributor - finding these jobs is no simple to ask around the fragrance counters at your local dept stores!

Hope this helps!


Friday, June 09, 2006


And the winner is...

It was a close competition,
but only one could win:

Congratulations to Flora & her
Une Rêve des Pivoines
(A Dream of Peonies)

I see The Different Company as using very classic materials in new ways, and only using the best, as well as exploring new and unusual materials to expand the horizons of perfumery. This is my concept for a new fragrance:

“Une Rêve des Pivoines” (A Dream of Peonies)

This fragrance recreates the misty nostalgia of a romantic garden, and the scent evokes a happy childhood spent in the countryside. The rich yet sharp Peony intertwines with Rose, Freesia, spicy Nasturtium and a variety of fresh, green aromatic and balsamic accords that give a feeling of being out in an old-fashioned cottage garden on a fine early summer day, with a breeze coming in from the wild fields and woods beyond. Close your eyes and inhale deeply; it will transport you to a beautiful, tranquil place.

Notes: Paeonia lactiflora absolute from select heirloom cultivars, Rose de Mai absolute (Rosa centifolia) from Grasse, yellow Freesia absolute, Mock-orange (Philadelphus) extract, Nasturtium petals, Sweetclover (Melilotus) extract, Robinia flower extract, Comptonia peregrina leaves (sweet fern), Balm Poplar leaves, Oakmoss, Tolu balsam, Marsh tea resin (Ledum palustre), Paeonia leaf and root extract, Manaús rosewood.

Flora, please contact me at theperfumecritic at yahoo dot com
with your mailing address to claim your prize.

Just one question: Can you actually make this scent for me? Please? : )

ASK MARLEN: Kosui Bijutsukan

Dear Marlen,

Do you have any information on the Shizouka Perfume Museum in Japan? Are they online?

Thank you,

Dear K,

I'm surprised to hear about this - 4 years living in Japan and you think I would have known...and I've even been to Shizuoka:

There's not a website dedicated to the musem or at least not in English language searches, but I did find this:

Not very helpful unless you are planning a visit, but it's a start.


Thursday, June 08, 2006


click the pic to find out how

ASK MARLEN: Eau de lung transplant

Hi there!

Love your pages. Could you please recommend a good heavy fragrance for a gay male smoker (40 cigs a day!)?

At present, I use:
Arabian Amber
Mysore Sandalwood
Over the years, I have always found myself addicted to oriental notes. In particular, I love Arabian oil based 'attars' especially oud, amber, and black musk.

Thanks for your comments and good luck with the PhD.


AshDear Ash,

40 cigs a day, huh? First let me recommend some Oxygene by Lanvin....

Ok, seriously...I'm so glad you asked this question during Montale Madness month because their Aouds and Attars are incomparable! First, go browse the Montale page at, my favorite e-tailer for Montale who is offering specials to Scenteur7 readers for the month of June. In particular, I can recommend the following:
  • Attar - Mysore sandalwood and Bulgarian roses.
  • Oud Cuir d'Arabie - Leather, tobacco and smoked woods.
  • Black Aoud - Red roses, Black Aoud and sandalwood.
Be sure to ask for samples if you're not totally sure. Suravi will allow you to put the cost of the samples (if any) towards your first purchase. I'm especially fond of the oudh fragrances because of the buttery saffron-like notes that usually accompany agarwood essences.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you'd like a few more suggestions!


REVIEW: Art of Perfumery #5 (2006)

Name: Art of Perfumery #5

Pros: An incomparable floriental with rich overtones of white petals, bright citrus edges and a cushion of warm vanillic basenotes.

Cons: As far as the aroma goes - none; Extremely exclusive and hard to find, but take heart, samples are available!

Notes: Madagascan ylang, Chinese geranium, Italian mandarin, Argentinian lemon, Italian bergamot, clove, cardamom, vanilla, tonka, benzoin, myrrh, patchouli, and sandalwood.

Reminds me of: I can't really think of anything! I get echoes of creamy white petals, Hawaiian Punch and L'Artisan Vanilia!

Development: At first sniff, I think I can detect wait, make that, it's changed again, it's jasmine. Ylang makes an appearance and then fades as the citrus brightens the composition and adds a vibrant and youthful freshness to the composition before the top and middle give way to an extremely subtle and flawlessly blended base of sandalwood and tonka. Could that vanilla reference actually be Comores blossoms rather than vanilla pod?

The composeur writes:
When I was asked to participate in this project I decided that I wanted to work with the spirit of the original orientals. The idea was always to go deep into the odour area and not be afraid of it. Too many orientals today seem almost shy of themselves and, in my opinion lack any authenticity. But I didn’t just want to go down the retro route. I wanted all of that original power but I wanted to layer some modernity into the structure. The central theme is based around vanilla extracts, tonka beans, benzoin, myrrh, sandalwood and patchouli - these are the key elements of my oriental structure and give the fragrance its soul. I wanted to emphasise that exotic nature with a spice character and I used one of my favourite combinations of clove and cardamom to which I added just a trace of nutmeg. This gives a dry freshness to the theme which I “moistened” a little with Chinese geranium and ylang ylang from Madagascar. There is a lovely perfumery “trompe d’oeil” in the body of the perfume – a light touch of a beautiful aniseed, almost liquorice note which has been created purely through the interaction of the ingredients - there is absolutely no aniseed at all in the creation. For the top of the fragrance I’ve used a trio of essential oils - mandarin, lemon and bergamot - which give an incredible lift to the opening effect. Both the bergamot and the mandarin are Italian sourced but the lemon is an Argentinian oil which gave me the sharpness I was looking for. It’s a stunning start.

Longevity: Excellent, though the topnotes began to fade after an hour, the warmth of the basenotes really began to bloom.

Sillage: Better than average.

Where can I buy it? 75 Euros for a 50ml edp spray; 3 Euros for a 2ml sample spray at

Bottleworthy? Definitely try before you buy, as this isn't your typical oriental.

The Bottom Line: Juicy, soft, complex, rich, deep, velveteen, heady, textured....these are all adjectives that came to mind within the first few minutes of trying this exquisite new fragrance. Having never smelled this before and having not even read the list of notes, I sprayed this one on with absolutely zero preconceived notions, and boy, was I in luck. I love this stuff!

The notes are a little misleading, giving an impression of a scent that is richer, darker and sweeter than it actually is. Having never been a fan of the classic #5 (think double c's), this is a #5 to bathe in, take solace in, and relax in. Conjuring images of tropical orchards and gardens, their only boundaries a white sandy beach with rocky outcroppings on one side, and on the other, lush green hills, the sky is an electric blue and the only sound is the tumbling of the waves. Paradise.

Rating (out of 10): 8

Have you tried any of the fragrances from this line yet?

WEBSITES & E-TAILERS: Sniffing around in Sweden

Do you know this man?

click his pic to see his blog


A fragrance blog from Örebro, Sweden

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

READER FEEDBACK: Boning in Singapore

Dear Marlen,

I have to thank you for a good time. I was just reading your joyous "Overdosing with Singapore's darling" article and empathizing with your jubilant exploration and incredible discoveries. As you intended, this reader got swept up in the fray while monitoring your ever-quickening pulse--I saw the aisles, the boxes, I heard you inhaling, I felt your excitement. Your animated account seemed to come at me faster and faster as I read your enthused self-quote:
I go into my best “I’ve been a fragrance addict since I was a fetus” routine and stroke him with “your shop is unbelievable and I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. I’ve already met your wife. We boned..."
What? Whoa, wait a minute. I know he was darned happy, but ... Ohhhhh--"bonded."

Well, I had been feeling fairly jolly reading your story to this point, but this phrasing put me into hysteria. Three tissues later, I'm clear-eyed enough to see the monitor and tell you how much I enjoyed your overseas report. In fact, I don't think I'll ever forget it.


      Thanks, J!

      You got me scared for a moment, thinking "Oh Lord, did I really write that? How could no one else....oh," and then I saw that it was merely a trick of the eye. Thanks for the encouragement and praise, greatly appreciated by a novice writer such as myself...

      p.s. - should fetus be spelled with an "o"?

      WEBSITES & E-TAILERS: 2 new fragrance blogs!

      Congratulations to the following new blogs:

      Made By Blog

      Be sure to check out the review of Montale's Intense Tiare at Aromascope!

      Wishing you all the best of luck,

      GAME: The War of the Roses

      The War of the Roses4 fragrances have been sent to 6 people,
      3 men and 3 women.
      They will have until the end of June
      to choose their favorites.
      Each week they will vote one scent
      off their list and tell us
      their reasons for doing so.

      In July, you, the reader can vote for
      your favorite of their comments,
      and the winning fragrance
      will be revealed.

      The writer of your favorite comment will win
      a 10ml decant of their chosen rose fragrance.

      The 4 fragrances will remain anonymous until then,
      in this,
      The War of the Roses.

      ASK MARLEN: Wood and Spices and...?

      Hi Marlen,

      I have a question about one of the Montales, and I guess this could be a good time. I really love their Wood & Spices, but it drives both me and my partner crazy when we can't figure out what it reminds us of. Have you noticed a close resemblance to something else (not sure it is even a fragrance)?


      SHi S,

      I love Wood & Spices and don't worry, you're not alone, I believe a Basenotes concensus revealed a reference to Chanel Allure for Men. Likewise, Wood & Spices also reminds me of Sculpture Homme by Nikos. Let's look at some compositions, shall we?

      Montale Wood & Spices (2004)
      Notes: Ebony, sandalwood, vetiver, incense notes from Caradamone and spices.

      Chanel Allure pour Homme (1998)

      Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Citron Zest, Jamaican Pepper, Vetiver, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Tonka Bean, Labdanum.

      Nikos Sculpture Homme (1995)

      Notes: Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Coriander, Cedar, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Ambrette seed.

      Main differences that I experience among these three are that Allure tends to have more citrus in the top and a smoother drydown; Sculpture is slightly more floral; and Woods & Spices has a much richer base that is slightly more complex.

      Hope this helps!


      Montale Wood & Spices may be purchased at at a special price just for Scenteur7 readers!

      Tuesday, June 06, 2006

      MULTIMEDIA: Instructions, please.


        BARGAIN OF THE WEEK: Guerlain, Les Meteorites (2000)

        Notes: Violet, Iris, Heliotrope, Rose.

        1 oz EDT spray: Retail $38; $14.95.

        The Bottom Line: One of Guerlain's lesser-known creations, Meteorites pays homage to soft florals with this violet-themed aroma that seems to have been discontinued. Often compared to Guerlain's Apres L'Ondee, this is the perfect scent for the approaching summer if looking for an unusual and little-known light floral. A simple composition, an adorable bottle, a low price tag, and one of the rarer Guerlains, how could you go wrong?

        REVIEW: Sonoma Scent Studio, Fireside (Special Edition)

        Notes: Sandalwood, guaiacwood, woodsmoke, Atlas cedar, and a touch of frankincense and myrrh.

        Pros: Striking and simple composition that makes a great vehicle for the star of this show - sandalwood (and a beautiful sandalwood it is!)

        Cons: Neither as smokey nor as dark as I would like. But then again, this is a good alternative for those who are put off by Diptyque's even darker Galliano.

        Reminds me of: LaCroix Tumulte pour Homme; Diptyque Tam Dao; Indian Sandalwood oil.

        Development: A very linear composition that showcases the nuances of the sandalwood essence used.

        Longevity: Considering that the composition is an EDP, I had hoped for greater longevity.

        Sillage: This one stays close to the skin after an hour, but I find this is true of many sandalwood-based scents.

        Where can I buy it? $32 for a 30ml edp spray at Try a sample for just $2.50!

        Bottleworthy? Sonoma fragrances also comes in a variety of other formats, so be sure to look around to find the product that best suits your tastes.

        The Bottom Line: The scent is named 'fireside' but it would need a lot more fire and smoke to suit my personal tastes...And this is what makes Sonoma so great. If you tell the owner and creator that you need a little more of something, it's likely she'll be oblige:
        Please send an email to before ordering a custom blend to inquire if it is something we can do. If it’s just a simple change to an existing formula, such as increasing/decreasing one ingredient, we can usually do it right away at no extra cost to you.
        Though not my favorite sandalwood fragrance, this is one that seems to be missing from the current market, and when accented by cedar and woodsmoke, the composition becomes even more intriguing. As the scent relaxed on my skin, I was offered hints of myrrh and I could have sworn I detected the slightest bit of coffee...of course it may just have been the pot brewing in my kitchen...or possibly even wishful thinking?

        Ok, to wrap this up....When I was a teenager, there used to be this great New Age bookstore on King St in Boone, NC that sold everything from oils to incense. I once purchased a tiny bottle of Indian Sandalwood oil that lasted me for years; I loved the richness and complexity of the wood notes and have never been able to find anything that quite compares. Well, without even realizing it, along comes that aroma in Sonoma's Fireside and considering their prices, I think I may just have to get a bottle for old timesake. My favorite part of Fireside is when the creamy, honeyed, velvet textures of the sandalwood unfold - pure Heaven! Now the question is this: Do I enjoy the composition as it is or ask for revved up smoke and myrrh?

        Rating (out of 10): As the scent of a "fireside" - 6; As my new favorite sandalwood - 9.

        What's your favorite "roaring fire" scent?

        Sunday, June 04, 2006

        REVIEW: Montale, Vetiver des Sables (2004)

        Notes: Wild Vetiver, Mahogany Wood, Iodized Indian Spices.

        Pros: An almost creamy vetiver wrapped in an aromatic blanket of spices and woods.

        Cons: Slightly sharp during the initial opening of the scent, but this quickly relaxes.

        Reminds me of: It's very hard to compare this one, as its not as sweet as Lutens, not as woody as Le Labo, not as dark as MPG, and not as green as Guerlain. To top that off, there's a marine note (saltwater) that lurks throughout adding an intriguing and unique freshness.

        Development: Very interesting; the fragrance shifts through a number of different characters while managing to retain the same bouquet; at first it's sharp, then it becomes creamy, then it shows an almost marine/saltwater accord before coming back to the warm, earthiness of the opening.

        Longevity: Excellent a good 5-6 hours on my skin.

        Sillage: Just right.

        Where can I buy it? $122 for a 100ml edp spray at Price includes continental shipping within the US and is discounted exclusively for Scenteur7 and Basenotes readers. Please make sure to visit and enter your info for your chance to win special Montale products from Suravi and Scenteur7. Read more here.

        Bottleworthy: Most definitely, and I'm not really a vetiver fan.

        The Bottom Line: I know I was impressed with the straightforward and oriental nature of Le Labo's Vetiver 43, but I'm even more intrigued with this unusual vetiver composition. Vetiver des Sables is truly all about vetiver, but the sables notes are the key to the magic of this composition with echoes of Goutal's syrupy Sables and CSP's acquatic Motu, a most unusual combination. There's something about this vetiver scent that makes me want to wrap it in chocolate and eat it as a truffle, or perhaps just pour it all over a waffle with vanilla ice cream...sounds gourmand, doesn't it? Yet it isn't really. It's just a bewitching blend of notes that works perfectly. Now, if I can only remove my wrist from my nose for more than 30 seconds, I might actually be able to go out in public and share this scent with fellow citizens.

        Rating (out of 10): 8

        I know there are a lot of vetiver fans out there - who's tried this one?

        NEW RELEASE: Missoni (2006)

        click the pic for more info

        The prestigious Italian fashion house Missoni comes back to perfume, in cooperation with Estée Lauder. The color is the main theme of this luxurious creation whose bottles have a different hue according to their size. Red, pink or orange, a festival of colors for this Italian fragrance adorned with joy, passion, and "amore". A weave of luscious fruits, exhilarating florals and gianduia chocolate.

        REVIEW: Benetton Colors for Her (1986)

        Notes: Moroccan orange blossom, French hyacinth, Egyptian marigold, Isreali basil, Comoros Island tuberose, French jasmine, Hawaiian pineapple, Caribbean passion fruit, Georgia peach, Bulgarian rose, Madagascar vanilla.

        Pros: A large, brash, 80's fruity-floral with warm vanilla undertones; this fragrance has an overall effect and drydown that is both unusual and addictive; the price.

        Cons: Might be nostalgia-overload for some; the quality of the actual fragrance varies from bottle to bottle as this scent is literally everywhere - the Starbucks of fragrances - and its hard to know the age and quality of the product.

        Reminds me of: Dali Laguna; Cacharel Amor Amor.

        Development: The first 5 minutes are definitely not good - an odd misch-masch of notes and alcohol; the next 5 minutes are acceptable as the scent struggles to pull itself together. After about 10 minutes, the magic begins to appear as the entire fragrance relaxes, blends and becomes an incomparable aromatic floral.

        Longevity: Lasted about 4-5 hours; lingered from then on close to the skin and throughout the day.

        Sillage: Slightly louder than most, but only for about an hour or so.

        Where can I buy it? Everywhere! $8.89 for a 100ml edt spray at

        Bottleworthy? Oh come's not even $9!

        The Bottom Line: I was 12 when I first smelled this on April Balser. We were in 7th grade and she had loved it so much she took to pouring the fragrance into her hairpsray so that she could get even more of a good thing. A few months later when on vacation in St Thomas, an eager saleswoman explained that Colors was a unisex scent and I of course talked mom into buying me a bottle. The following Xmas, Colors for Men (read the review here) started its advertising campaign and I knew I had to get that as well - less floral, more vanilla. Perfect.

        There's a certain quality that I've always found Colors to posess that has intrigued me. If I wait long enough, I can still manage to find the creamy edge of white petals and vanilla, but let's face it - there are too many other scents that don't need the warm-up time out of the gate. Still, this is a great, inexpensive starter scent for those looking for gifts or, as I might just use it, an unusual room spray!

        Rating (out of 10): 5

        What's your Benetton Colors experience?