MURDER MOST FRAGRANT! ~ Guest Review of L’Aimant by Coty by The Perfumed Dandy.

L-Aimant 2

It is my distinct pleasure and joy to present to you my readers my very first guest reviewer. Brilliant, witty and an Englishman of impeccable taste, style and talent I am sure you, just as I have will fall in love with his unique voice as well as  his way with words and images.   I found his reviews on Fragantica and we quickly became fast trans Atlantic friends. Soon to have his very own fragrance blog, may I without further adieu present to you, The Perfumed Dandy.

Coty: L’Aimant



I bid you welcome to the most unsettling afternoon tea party in an English rose garden of which, I hazard, you will ever partake.

An afternoon tea, in an English rose garden, unsettling? Why in the name of heaven how?

Why? Well there’s a killer at the table of course. Helping themselves to custard creams and sweet Ceylon no doubt.

You see ever since Great Aunt Agatha fell off the end of the twig as it were and of decidedly unnatural causes – unless you regard strychnine as a ‘natural tonic’ that is – suspicion has simply swirled around the village.

She had a fortune once after all, still had it perhaps…. at the end? Who knows how much of it was left and whence it will go now. A cat’s home perchance? Something missionary? A missionary cat’s home, even,  in Bangalore?

Notwithstanding such considerations, or should I say motivations,  here we all are to hear who it was – if that old bat Madam Coty still has it in her to figure out who the murderess in our little whodunnit was… is – for surely it is a female, poison after all is the woman’s weapon.



But it’s soooo bloody hot. This Indian summer is unprecedented.

That American woman, all lipstick and nylons, has brought champagne. Pink champagne. Pop. Off with the cork. Here comes the fizz: the acid aldehyde buzz.

Who on earth drinks champagne in this heat? At tea? In a dead woman’s rose garden? But it would be rude to refuse.

“The tea roses are nearing the end of their season” I sally forth, thinking that after last week’s rain they are near fermenting in this fervour. There’s something nauseous in their scent and artificial like cheap Turkish delight left out too long in the sun.

That American woman is applying powder, and spraying herself with perfume. Is she wearing Chanel No5? For godsake this isn’t a speakeasy.

The clotted cream in the scones is turning in this temperature.  Or is it the confectioners’ cream in those slices? Something is off.

It could of course be the vanilla smell of that permanently washed Australian niece of Agatha’s who’s turned up from nowhere with her husband, no, fiancé, all sandalwood eau de cologne and sportscar.



The old be-tweeded battleaxe has finished her tea. I get a blast: sickly Earl Grey.

She pronouces…

It was the gardener all along. Agatha was tired of subsidising his hot house obsessions: she wanted to raise the greenhouse to the ground, sell off his orchid collection and lay down a chamomile lawn.

The horticulturalist not the harlot after all.

Our man of the flowers rouses his musty, musky frame and makes a run for it. The officers of the law are waiting. I catch sight of him disappearing into the back of a black mariah.

The noose no doubt awaits.



That American snaps shut her compact, impervious to the chaos and the Arizonan heat- I expect they’re all used to it out there. She raises from the table. ‘Well if that’s sorted I have an engagement, with my solicitor. The arrangements for Aunt Agatha’s estate to be transferred.’

She snaps a brisk military nod, smiles her red lipstick smile, ‘If you’ll excuse me.’ She pauses, fixes her regard on me: ‘Oh of course, I knew all along this was a very male sort of a crime, didn’t you? I could smell it’.060_042



L-Aimant 1947

L’Aimant is a classic and subtle-as-a-sledgehammer murder mystery of a scent, in which the glamorous and genteel surface can do nothing to conceal dark goings on.

It may all be roses,  vanilla and sandalwood on top but that persistent chemical opening paired with tart jasmine and something musty if not downright musky going on down below create an overall emotion of controlled tension.

If its greatest fame derives from the fact that it is so doggedly derivative of other great hits of the day, 1927 to be precise, frankly, who cares? Isn’t everything in this genre ultimately a variation on a theme and at least here, just for once, the glamorous bad girl gets away with it.

A winner for women with a certain recherché chic and the right kind of man who’s not shy of a rose with thorns. Make sure you get vintage or failing that the ‘creamy skin perfume’ and layer both with body spray, and perhaps even powder, for truly lethal effect.

THE LADY JIMENA ~ Infanta en Flor by Arquiste


(play me)

The thumb of god smudged the Moorish moon across the twilight splendor of the eastern sky, and Spain wept. The very soul of Spain wept for the lady Jimena.

Donna Jimena sat alone and imprisoned in in the cold stone garden of the nunnery waiting for Don Rodrigo’s return from exile. She worked at her needlepoint absently. A small tapestry of the battles of her husband to unite Spain and drive the invaders back to North Africa. Her hand wavered and stopped its fine work and she recalled how when she was just a girl,  she had first loved Rodrigo upon first sight of him in her fathers house all those years ago.

The scent of immortelle blooming on the hills beyond her father’s garden blended in the honey gold noon heat with the orange blossoms all abuzz with bees. She held a small goat in her arms and brushed it to extract the lovely labdanum from its wool. A deep baritone laugh drew her young eyes to the gate where a tall striking man clad in rough leather stood talking to her father. His cerulean blue eyes slid over the flowers and the fountains to find hers and in meeting awakened the girl to womanly desire. In his quick crooked smile she knew him to his core and recognized her destiny.

Now years later and separated from him by civil war and by King Alfonso’s betrayal and treachery, she waited and prayed that once more he would be victorious. He would return with his armies of Christians and Spanish Moors to free her. He would come to take her once again into the safety of his arms. Arms that felt like home to her.  But until that day, the day of the return of her lord, all of Spain wept for the lady Jimena, and her lost love for El Cid.



Infanta en Flor by Arquiste is a lovely romantic perfume created by this wonderful house know for gorgeous niche perfumes each with a great story attached. The inspiration for Infanta en Flor was the border of Spain and France in 1660 and the meeting of King Louis XIV and his bride the Infanta of Spain. But for me it seemed a medieval fragrance and all about Spain. No hint of France at all. Romantic, melancholy, a perfume full of longing and loss but with the promise of reunion breathing life into its soul. It smells to me like what I imagine a 12th century perfume might be like. Simple and elegant and something a lady of the court of Spain might wear.

The perfume opens with clean bright notes of orange water and immortelle flowers. There is a richly smooth leather, Smooth polished and old. Not suede but real, heavy duty expensively worked leather that is rounded out nicely with a sensuous slightly skanky labdanum. This takes what would ordinarily be a soapy clean ordinary floral to an interesting place. Yes it is “Fresh” but not laundry fresh but rather nature fresh of the flesh. It is a liner simple fragrance tha strays true to itself from first to last.

A fine silage that gets attention and lasts well on my skin up to about seven to eight hours. This Infanta is a lady fit for any lord as well, but one with the cojones to sport a floral in a Aqua Di Gio world.



THE COOL BLONDE ~ Prada Infusion D’Iris


For days she has eluded me, cool  remote and untouchable. I thought at first this woman was that blonde so distantly desirable who radiates a frozen heat that stings the eye and captures the libido then slips away with a hot forty thousand dollars in her purse on the road to oblivion.  I thought I had lost her only to find she turned up next as a haunted somnambulist wandering aimlessly with  deceitful purpose over the hills though the city to a graveyard, to the bay,  to a tower and again to oblivion.


   She confused me in her teasing enticing nearness that always turned into escape. I must understand her, I must possess her. This woman who the whole evening watches me across the dinning table as her mother loaded with diamonds goes on about how over finished her reserved daughter is.  All the while the blonde studies me daring to expose my secrets. Later I cautiously watch her unlock her door, with a seductive turn sheathed in chilled blue chiffon she drapes one bare arm around my neck and pulls me into the shock of her lips meeting mine.  Before I can speak she steps back and swings the door shut between us. The only sound is the beating of my heart and the click of the dead bolt. Again she is gone.


   My brain is scrambled as I try and grasp at clues to her identity. She keeps changing. Every time I met her over the next few days she stole something of me and then vanished when I was about to surrender my soul. On a train, into the arms of a spy or simply into a deadly dark apocalyptic aviary leaving only an impression of her image on the rear window of my soul, who is this woman?

When I finally gave up and turned to walk away from this ambiguity, a woman brushed past me carrying a suit case. I turned at the recognition of her insinuating scent. The woman who was walking away from me on the train platform couldn’t be her. Her long loose black hair fooled me at fist but then as she boarded the train at the very moment it pulled away, I caught a glimpse of her profile.  I stood frozen on the spot as I watched the train for Baltimore disappear.


Standing alone on that platform I finally I had the clue. She was a master of disguise and deception. The combination of the dyed black hair and that distinctive perfume held the key. She wasn’t Marion Crane on the run, or doomed Madeline Elster, she had even fooled me into believing in Monte Carlo that she was Frances Stevens. At one point the thought fluttered its wings in my mind that she was evil and the whole mystery stared when she came to town. But no, she wasn’t Melanie Daniels. She was none of the women she pretended to be. I had to follow her to Baltimore.

A blood red sky opened above me in that field where I finally found her a week later. She rode up wild and fast on a black stallion. The horse reared at the sound of thunder in the distance.  She shivered and her eyes shifted as she tried to cover the terror that approaching storm brought upon her. She looked down at me from astride that hard panting dark animal and I saw that she understood that the chase was over.


“I’ve come to take you home Marnie.”


Like the character of Marnie in the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock, Infusion D’Iris by Prada is elusive, mystifying and duplicitous. It is cool and blonde and mysterious and to understand it takes a while. For me it took two weeks of chasing to capture it and come to love it.  It is ever changing in its complex almost psychologically challenging nature. Just when you think you have pinned it down to a pure floral, it shifts into dry woods and then again into a light oriental powdery musk perfume. Created by the “Nose” Daniela Roche Andrier who also brought to us many other perfumes for Prada this one is a softly dazzling incense iris perfume that is purely wonderful.

The perfume is smooth and soft in its opening notes of Mandarin orange, soothing galbanum and African orange blossom. Those notes waft over you in a whisper like butterflies brushing your ear and are quickly gone. The central notes are dominated by a cool earthy iris that is elegant and refined. This iris blends with a pine like mastic and cedar with a layer of grassy green vetiver that come up from the base notes. The dry down is pure incense and benzoin that powder the end of the scent ever so lightly. Not heavy powder but rather more of a soft dusting of modern clean lined elegance.

The longevity of Prada Infusion D’Iris is very good but not spectacular. It lays somewhat close to the skin in its projection and when caught in passing it is subtle in its invitation to come closer to its mystery just as one would expect from a Hitchcock blonde. This perfume is for a lady or a man who embodies a modern sophistication and wears as well in company as it does outdoors.  But be warned not to fall in love with Prada Infusion D’Iris, for once you surrender to her cool seduction you may find you can never let her go.

 Infusion d'Iris Ad


(Marnie Prelude and Theme by Bernard Herrmann)

PERFUME PARTY IN ROME! ~ Campo Marzio 70

Campo Marizo 70 is an incredible and beautiful perfume shop in Rome. They carry a wide range of hard-to-find perfumes such as, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris, Creed, Annick Goutal, Frank Los Angeles (Love this house!), Lalique, Pavillon des Fleurs, Penhaligon’s. and San Franscisco’s own Yosh! My next trip to Rome will find me walking in the door with a warm and happy “Buon giorno!”

Enjoy this fun opening party for the store in March 2011.



To mark the one year anniversary of the passing of my dear Bryant I will tell you who he was.

Bryant Lanier:
Actor, author, angry, addict, ”Avow” brave, brilliant, bossy, bitter, bright, bold, beautiful, belter, baritone, Broadway, Burton, complicated, closed, charming, caring, charismatic, daring, driven, director, energetic, enlightened, enervating, frightened, friend, funny, fabulous, “Fiddler On The Roof”, generous, great, gregarious, gay, gentle, giant, “Glass Mendacity”, haunted, heart, “Hello Dolly”, intelligent, interested, introspective, interior, joyful, jaunty, “Jeffery”, kaleidoscopic, kinetic, “King And I”, lonely, loving, lost and found, “Les Miserable”, man, mysterious, master, masseur, muscular, “Man of La Mancha”, muse, naughty, nice, natural, opinionated, open, out, “Orpheus And Amerika”, passionate, perplexing, quadraphonic, questioning, queer, “Rainmaker” recovery, rough, ready, rich, right, responsible, resplendent, “Show Boat” silly, smart, sexy, strong, singer, sad, “Streetcar Named Desire”, sobriety  talented, tart, tormented, tortured, tough, tenacious, tingling, “The Fantastics”, unique, ubiquitous, victor, voluptuous voluptuary, visionary, wise, witty, wicked, wonderful, “X,Y, and Zee” yearning, yammering, youthful, “You Can’t Take It With You” Zesty.

Gone With The Wind

LA STRADA DI GIO ~ Acqua di Gio by Armani



Eons of erosion and salty breakers have formed the cliffs along the Amalfi coast. Tourists from around the globe flock to this spot on the Italian map where the mountains dive from precipitous heights like suicide bombers into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Neptune fans the ragged rocks with a glittering saline spay like diamonds from the deep. Rocky small beaches challenge one to find a comfortable spot to lie under the bronze eye of the sun.  The one narrow road from Castelammare di Stabia to Vietri Sul Mare, the Via Mauro Comite is jammed with Vespas, Italian sports cars, and tour buses the size of small yachts. Hairpin turns and blind corners dare drivers to great speed and daring maneuvers. The tour buses lumber along and lean out on turns threatening to dive into the sea with all aboard.  The wondrous natural beauty of this garden of lemons and lime trees, flowers, fruits and scrubby trees is inundated year round by the masses seeking to find some little corner of the real and personal beauty of this legendary coast.  It has been like this since the days of the Romans.



High above the Via Mauro Comite and even further up than most would dare to go is a small sanitarium. It is a place where people go to recover from a long illness. Small cell like rooms open on to a terrace with views that seem to reach out to touch the very shores of Africa. Something left over from the late 19th Century, deserted now of the sick and in a limbo of antiseptic dreams it is waiting its turn to be transformed into a small tourist hotel. The quiet elegance of the place will soon be overrun by the fast money and hubbub clamor of the tourist trade and those who want to be where everyone else is going. What was once unique and apart is now copied and emulated until the original becomes mundane. But up here from high above the clamor of the masses in this place that will soon be transformed into the ordinary it is still possible to close your eyes, take a deep breath and smell what was once so rare.


Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani was first introduced in 1996, the nose behind the fragrance was Alberto Morillas the creator of so many classics, among them the legendary M7 for Yves Saint Laurent. Acqua di Gio was ground breaking and original with the introduction of the oceanic note and from its creation sprung a whole pantheon of imitators. It is so popular that reportedly a bottle is sold on this planet every five seconds. This perfume stands in legend like Chanel No.5 does for women, as the go to scent for men; what can you say about it?

It smells nice. It smells like a vacation at the beach. It smells ordinary in its extraordinary nature due to the fact that it is so copied and that is a shame. For in retrospect we are blinded by the imitators. Having smelled its clones by other houses, a few of which I own it is next to impossible to be objective. We have to travel back in time 17 years and clear our minds and try.
It opens with an antiseptic camphor blast, like a medicinal menthol that expands the sinus. This introduction fades to lemons and limes and a cocktail of citrus with a jasmine flower nestled in cooling ice. Then in the middle the Calone molecule induced sea air rises with an Oceanic note and carries with it the summery blooms of Mediterranean Mignonette, green peppery Freesia, lush mysterious Cyclamen, Violets, a drunk on summer Hyacinth, roses, wild rosemary and even more jasmine all woven into a garland jauntily placed upon the head of a tanned youth eating a juicy warm peach. He may even have dusted that peach with a bit of nutmeg. The dry down is a solid foundation of amber, patchouli, Oakmoss, cedar and a clean fresh musk. This is all very predictable .


Once worn for the day one can see the dull appeal this has to its wide range of admirers. It is supremely safe and unchallenging to the nose. A perfect introduction to those new and nervous to the world of scent, teenage boys I am told bath in it. Acqua di Gio is “classic” in this sense and has a sophistication in the way it was created by a master nose but unsophisticated in the results. Like the Amalfi coast has a reputation of great beauty and excitement and for that reason the beach is very crowded. When you get there you discover it is not Amalfi after all, but Coney Island.




****revised 1/7/13 to clarify my position on this fragrance*****


NAKED DESIRE ~ Nude for Men by Bijan



Spanish Gardenias released their magic at midnight in a garden in Madrid, fragrant with the promise of illicit love.  The pale ginger moon of Spain hung just above the horizon in a sky of velvet indigo. Doña Sol des Muire strumed her guitar and watched Juan Gallardo asleep in a chair near the fountain.   Beyond the patio arches the flowers of garden  permeated the air with an invisible note of seduction just as Doña Sol began her song to the sleeping matador.


    Her voice filled the night with a song of a green moon and bad luck. Her song she told the sleeping Juan that even though she wants him she can not love him. She warned  him in her melodic voice  that to love her is to tumble into damnation and death. His passion for her in the evening will surely lead to his death in the afternoon. The unconscious Juan heard none of it, and if he were awake he would not have believed a word of her song, for he was already ensnared as she wound  him within her silken web of longing in the garden of the Spanish gardenias.


With one last flourish of her read lacquered nails over the guitar strings her song was finished. A cool and distant smile came to her lips as she looked down at Juan and contemplated his fate that was her destiny.


From a dark corner of the garden a voice spoke very low and soft.

“That’s it Rita, hold that look. Good…..good…… CUT. That’s a wrap.”

Tyrone Power opened one eye and smiled up at Rita Hayworth. She lent down to him and her Titian hair tumbled forward, she tweaked his nose and laughed.

In an hour the set was deserted and only the work light in the center of the stage glowed as a ghost.  Just as midnight came over the sound stage the paper flowers in the fake garden stirred to sudden life, the silk gardenias pumped the stale atmosphere full of magic and from somewhere in the darkness a phantom guitar strumed Verde Luna.

Bijan Nude for men has within its juice, an old Hollywood feel of glamour. The woody floral musk is something that Tyrone Power or Errol Flynn might have worn on a night out at Ciro’s or the Coconut Grove. Here the blending of Musk, with citrus, woods, amber and gardenia works very well to create an ambiance of male sexuality and quiet power.  The white flower scent of the gardenia is muted by the woods in the opening giving it a smooth masculinity you don’t often find from gardenia perfumes. As it progresses the citrus notes warm it up a bit bringing in a warm summer evening feeling. You could be in Spain, or in Southern California, it is a Mediterranean feeling that comes with the citrus. The dry down is even warmer and rather cozy thanks to the solid musk and amber blending into the perfume. Nude is noteworthy and memorable.


Released in 2007 Bijan Nude an insinuatingly subtle masculine perfume that works well for me, I would even say it has a romantic feeling about it. There is a good projection and lasts on my skin a good six to seven hours. Nude is very inexpensive and proves that a good perfume can come at a reasonable price.

Nude is a head turner in the best way. On several occasions I have been asked. “What is that wonderful scent you are wearing?”

“Nude” I say with a cool and distant smile. “I am wearing nothing but Nude.”



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