CARNIVAL OF HORRORS ~ 1 Million by Paco Rabanne

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Low late autumn clouds pushed the neon glow back down toward the earth. From across the lake the carnival lights danced on the water under the glow of those clouds and it all looked so beautiful. Not even when he reached the entrance, the earth beneath his feet strewn with straw and candy wrappers did the beauty of the traveling show diminish. To Theo’s immature brain this was supper exciting and super duper cool.

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    The carnies that could haunt the nightmares of most had their good faces pasted on to greet Theo and the others who followed him into the sweetly honeyed money trap. Theo stopped at the ring toss booth. There he dropped his pretty pennies which he had started saving months ago when he first heard the carnival was coming to Los Perros. He was never good at games like that, not like the other boys so the chance of winning a gold fish in a bowl that would die in a week went down the drain with his copper Lincoln coins.

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A not very young lady with over-painted Cleopatra eyes sold him a huge cloud of cotton candy that was just a little pinker than her bee hived hair. He washed that down with a sixteen ounce Royal Crown Cola. He rode the Ferris wheel. As his swinging seat went over the top he tried to spit on the two snotty girls from his sixth grade class in the bucket seat below. He missed.

Theo looked at the octopus ride and decided it was not a good idea since the last time he rode it when he was six he nearly pooped his pants on the scary drop. He opted instead for the Zippy Mouse Roller Coaster. No big drops that made his tummy squeamish, just high and fast with lots of fun jerky turns. He laughed as he got off when he heard some old man say to the pretty lady he was with as he patted her bottom. “Never again, that thing nearly broke my back.”   She took his hand and said “That’s okay Daddy lets go to the fun house. It’s really dark and scary in there.”  Why did she call him “Daddy”? Grown-up were just plain weird.

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He stopped by Cleopatra’s cotton candy concession to buy his third sugar poof on a stick and noticed for the first time that it was right next to the port-a-potties.  “Eww!” Theo whispered to himself as he gave ten cents to the lady.

“Carful kid” Cleo said popping her bubble gum as she handed him the saccharine delight. “Too many of these and you might get sick.”

“That’s okay lady I have an iron stomach.”

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  With a mouthful of melting sweet delight he turned around and saw it. The din of the carnival faded and the calliope coming from the marry go round sounded like music from heaven. There seemed to be a magical spotlight on the thing. Theo dropped his cotton candy in the mud and floated toward it. The Galaxy Tilt-A-Whirl! It was red and blue with shooting stars on the shell shaped back of each of the cars. Cars that road a hilly track and spun around a central axis faster than an astronaut centrifuge at Cape Canaveral. He gave the operator the ten cents admission and found a car with no one in it. Perfect!

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As the ride started and the car crested the first rise he threw himself against the right side of the car. The machine took off faster than a speeding bullet and he was blasting off in giddy spin into space in his very own Apollo rocket. He could hear the others on the ride scream and laugh in delight. All he could do was smile. When it was over too soon he threw back the flimsy safety bar and ran down to the entrance to give the operator a dime. When he got back in the car he checked his change. He had exactly one dollar left.

“If I only had one million dollars I could ride this ride forever!” He thought.

For the next half hour Theo was in heaven. Only when his money ran out and he couldn’t get back on The Galaxy Tilt-A-Whirl did he notice that he was dizzy and that he couldn’t walk straight. He stumbled toward the exit bouncing off the hips and thighs of strangers.

“Careful Kid…too many of these and you might …..”  Cotton Candy Cleo’s voice echoed in his tilt-a-whirling brain.

Just beyond the gate to the carnival behind the port-a-potties Theo got very very sick.

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 Auric Goldfinger

1 Million by Paco Rabanne is an adolescent’s dream of what it is to be rich and cool and very sexy. Starting with the bottle you know you are in for a cheap thrill ride. Designed to look like gold bullion from Fort Knox that only Auric Goldfinger would find appealing as a perfume bottle you are hit in the face with pure commercial genius. The designers know just who they are aiming at with this design, boys who aspire to be cool. I say boys because it has a toy quality to the bottle design. To be honest it is kind of tacky fun. I can just hear Dr. Evil with his pinky to the corner of his pursed lips. “One Million Dollars in gold!”

That is the glitz, the shill to get you into the carnival of horrors that is 1 Million. It opens like a forth of July cherry bomb going off in a cardboard box with grapefruit, mint and blood mandarin. Well at least that is supposed to be there but what I get right off the bat is pure cotton candy and bubble gum. POP! It chews frantically at that bubble gum as the cotton candy machine works overtime pumping out an over sugared cinnamon, meshed in with rose and spices. In these mid notes you are somewhere between a migraine and food poisoning. But hold on, this ride is not over, not by a long shot even though you may be screaming way before the dry down “Stop Stop I want to get off!”  The greasy carnie running this ride is swathed in way too much cheap leather and patchouli.  He thinks he is so cool that the girls will be dropping their panties at the mere sight of him in his dry down get up. He is not paying any attention to you as he ramps up the machine with more cinnamon with a barf inducing amber undertone.

The sillage is killer huge which the fan boys of 1 Million love. Let’s put it this way, if you are in Mid-Town Manhattan and someone wearing 1 Million just crossed the George  Washington Bridge from New Jersey, you would certainly know he was in town. As for longevity it is the Rip Van Winkle of fragrances, I really think it would stay on the skin for twenty years. You could put it on and traces of it will linger on well into the next day.

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In the end it smells like a teenager stepped in some bubble gum at a carnival and tripped while hopping around on one foot trying to get if off and fell head first into a cotton candy machine. The bottle screams “Hey look at me I have a gold bullion! Ain’t I cool?” It is the height of bad taste by the way of the lowest denominator in teenage appeal. But if you like 1 Million, then you just go to town with your bad self.

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DO YOU WANT TO BE THIS GUY?

1 MILLION ~ NO STARS

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MEETING MIK ~ MIKMOI perfume

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It was supposed to be just a casual meeting. At three thirty this morning I woke up after only three and a half hours sleep knowing I had to write about him.

I met Michael Coyle who goes by Mik for coffee in Patricia Green after work yesterday. We had been talking about a meeting to discuss perfume and his new perfume line Mikmoi since we had met a few weeks ago at the Artisan Fragrance Salon. On my way to our meeting there were a few texts from Mik that I missed since my phone was turned off. But something told me to check. “I am on my way but Muni underground is backed up.”pg

I walked on through the little needle park that is Patricia Green at the terminus of interstate 80 that we call Octavia Boulevard.  Young mothers watched their children playing on the jungle gym. Hipsters were meeting at the pop up beer garden; dogs off their leases were having a field day casing pigeons. Sunny but not warm it was a lovely beginning of a spring weekend in San Francisco.

I looked up and down the park as I walked. There was no sign of Mik. I checked my phone. “Missed Call”. I dialed the number that had to be Mik’s.

“Where are you?”

“I am at Ritual Coffee.”

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My favorite Coffee Popup, Ritual Coffee

We both turned around at the same time and were facing each other. With a simultaneous laugh we met.

Our conversation began as we ordered our coffee. Mik is a fascinating urbane charming man. He is a self described “Glass half full” kind of man and so am I. Therefore our conversation over the next hour and a half over flowed.  He told me about his life and how he came to become a perfumer. Since it was just a casual meeting I didn’t take notes and we agreed on a formal interview at a later date.

Mik is all about diversity and inclusion not only in his day job but in his life and ultimately his perfume. His roots are in upstate New York but early on he heard the call of a much wider and more exciting Technicolor world of adventure and travel.

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Mik of Mikmoi (photo from Mikmoi website)

He has lived in London, the French Alps, Hong Kong and Bangkok just to mention a few stops along the way. And he has been until now an unmet neighbor of mine for many years. His international life has been an ongoing education for him to an ever widening understanding of other cultures and customs.  Mik has opened himself to new ideas of exploration in human diversity and the rejection of stereotypes. During our visit I discovered that he has a passion for language as well as perfume and all things Japanese. I asked him if Mikmoi was a Japanese word. He explained that it is not Japanese but an amalgam of Mik and Moi the French for Me. Mikmoi, I am Mik.

He told me more about his website and how he came to become a perfumer. His studies with Mandy Aftel in natural perfumery and with Yosh Han have been invaluable in his journey into his new olfactory passion.  Before our visit came to an end Mik invited me for a visit to his studio. So perfume has again worked it’s magic in my life and brought a new friend to me. I look forward to many more meetings with Mik and a chance to have a proper sit-down interview to share with you. For any of you who are in the Seattle area Mik will be at the Seattle Artisan Fragrance Salon in Seattle next weekend.

A wonderful video of the launch of Mikmoi at Artisan Fragrance Salon.

MIKMOI website: http://www.mikmoi.com/

RITA HAS A PINK MARTINI ~ Amado Mio

Something to entertain you and hold you until my next review. Enjoy! (This one is for the lady in the San Gabriel Valley.) 

HEDDY HOOPER’S HOLLYWOOD! ~ Lanier at Scent Bar

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Darlings! This is Heddy Hooper from Hollywood bringing you all the latest steaming hot dish on the stars and tinsel town. Big news from Rome darlings, Imperium International star Audrey Taylor who is filming “Incoerente!” (“Incoherent!”) for Italian director Enrico Felluci just announced that she and hubby of seven years Richard Bourbon are heading for a split. I for one am completely shocked at the news.

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It seems only yesterday that the much, much married Taylor who snatched Bourbon from his then wife Cecily on the set of the troubled “Pompiea” proclaimed, “Richard and I are forever lovely in love.” Felluci whose film is about a mad woman, who flies to Rome to try to seduce the Pope, is keeping a lid on things at Cinecittà with a closed set. As for the battling Bourbons they have gone from incoherent to incognito. Neither one could be reached for a comment.

Now darlings for some really exciting news! Perfumeista Lanier Smith and an unidentified perfume Pal were spotted all over Hollywood last week. I was determined to get an interview with the elusive Mr. Lanier, or at least a statement. My sources kept me posted with up dates of his whereabouts.

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 “He is at the Hollywood Reservoir with Vickie Lester”  “He is in Los Feliz lunching at Little Dom’s.” “He’s at the Getty; he’s at The Cinerama Dome; the Griffith Park Observatory, Venice Beach! He is eating lunch with Mickey Mouse at the Blue Bayou at Disneyland!!”

Darlings, all those calls were always a little too late and I kept missing the man! Finally one snoop got me my scoop.

“Heddy he is heading east from Beverly Hills on Beverly Boulevard in a silver Honda. I think he is going to Scent Bar.

I had my driver Parker bring around the motorcycle with the sidecar. I put some extra pins in my hat and off we sped to intercept Lanier and get my interview.

Scent Bar is THE place to buy your perfume in Los Angeles. Forget Nieman’s, Barney’s, Macy’s, or any boutique on Rodeo Drive, as far as the stars are concerned it is all about Scent Bar. Don’t believe me? Just ask Katie Puckrik!

As luck would have it I nearly missed Mr. Smith. I just managed to catch up with him just as he was leaving the perfume palace to the stars. The usually shy guy must have been high on floral fumes from his visit to Scent Bar because he was actually happy to see a member of the third estate and agreed to an impromptu sidewalk interview as long as there were not photos. (The ever present Paparazzi was lurking and got one anyway that cost me a pretty penny!)

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“So Lanier, my I call you Lanier? What brings you to Scent Bar?”

“Perfume Heddy, what ever else could it be? I am on a very short trip to Los Angles and no trip to this city would be complete for anyone with a nose and good taste with out a visit to the premiere fragrance shop in all of Southern California.”

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“How was it? Fun I bet?”

Lanier was all grins. “Fun is not the word. Exciting isn’t even a good description. For someone like me who has been reading about the place and watching Katie Puckrik do her videos from Scent Bar, well,  it is like going to church!”

“Church, my goodness, tell me more.”

“I have purchased a perfume from Scent Bar’s online shop Lucky Scent and I found it to be a great experience. I even mentioned to Laura Johnson who helped me today what a great online shopping experience I had with them. They even include a lovely array of samples with a purchase. And by the way I have to tell you that the beautiful and very gracious Laura was so much fun to meet, she is movie star pretty and so knowledgeable about perfume. Bright, fun and helpful, Laura is a real asset to Scent Bar.

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The very lovely Laura at Scent Bar

  Look, when we first walked in I was a little overwhelmed by what I saw. The walls are lined with the most exquisite array of niche perfumes. I did see some mainstream perfumes like Midnight In Paris for example, but for the most part it is all about the very special and unique in the scent world. Laura was helping a handsome man at the counter but found the time to welcome Lane and me when we came in and invited us to explore.

All the bottles are divided and labeled under olfactory groups, Incense, Spice, Sweet, Gourmand, leather, etc. So right off the bat if you know what you like smell wise then you can narrow your search to what you gravitate towards. As for me, yes I of course have my group favorites but I just have to smell everything.

When Laura finished with her client she introduced herself and showed us around the store. I asked her if she had any of the Frank Los Angeles in stock since No.2 had been my online purchase and I wanted to explore the line further. She told me that the line is out of stock at the moment because it is being redesigned. She inquired about our particular tastes and was happy to show us some really interesting choices. Lane’s signature scent is Sycamore by Chanel so Laura showed him a great selection of perfumes that were right up his alley. I tested so many but found that my favorite on this too short of a visit was Padparadscha by Satellite. Satellite is a fabulous jewelry house in Paris, and Padparadscha which is the exact color of a Padparadscha sapphire is a spicy wonderful perfume with a great red chili pepper note that spoke to me on the spot. So I bought a bottle.”

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Lanier offered his wrist for me to smell and I have to agree that Padparadscha is a fabulous perfume darlings!

“Oh yummy! And how are the prices?” I asked.

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“Great Heddy, there is something at Scent Bar to fit every budget from the modest to mega-star.” I have to tell you and all your readers that Scent Bar is a real winner. Before we left Laura offered to make up some takeaway samples of any perfume we liked. Isn’t that fabulous? So both Lane and I have plenty to test and explore when we get home. Anyone who loves perfume must stop in when they are in L.A.. I was so impressed and will make sure to visit every time I come to Los Angles.”

Lanier kissed the air near my cheek and without a word was off in the silver Honda for points unknown in the land of the Lotus Eaters before he heads back north to Bagdad by the Bay.

Until next time, this is Heddy Hooper signing off.  And remember darlings, if the dirt is flying in Hollywood, I’ll be there with my catcher’s mitt.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           SCENT BAR

7405 Beverly Blvd .

Los Angeles CA 90036

Phone: 323 782 8300

Hours
Mon-Sat 11-7
Sun 12-5

website: Lucky Scent ~ http://www.luckyscent.com/

UNCONQUERED BEAUTY ~ Mohur by Neela Vermeire

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From the roof of the world Alexander descended through the Hindu Kush into fabled mysterious unconquerable India. This Greek who was worshiped as a god from Egypt to Bactria thought that surely this valley of the Indus was at last the edge of the Earth. When, not if, he took India, the world would be his.

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   India was unlike anyplace the Greeks had ever seen. The heat, the light, the jungles, the aromas of her splendors were seductive, not to mention the colors that streaked across the sky at dawn when her thousand gods turned as one to behold the land. India intrigued Alexander as no woman or man ever could and in the end would break his heart.

In the valley of the Indus River the true beauty of India unfurled before Alexander. There in the markets he tasted rare pepper, cardamom and coriander. In a Punjab palace garden the air was redolent with roses and jasmine iris violet and exotic patchouli more beautiful than those of the hanging gardens of Babylon or the fragrant pools of Karnack.

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After the battle of the Hydaspes River Alexander feasted in the high chambers of King Porus under a roof of sandalwood and drank the wine of the defeated King.  Porus whom he had spared sat next to him upon a great leather couch surrounded by his court and slaves and watched with steely eyes there every move of the Greeks that surrounded him.

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“How would you like to be treated?” Alexander said to the monarch.

Porus resplendent in silk and laden with precious stones nodded to the Greek, “As a king my lord.”

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“And so you shall be.”  He said with a smile that could ensnare the heart of Eros.

Late that evening as Alexander was bathed by his favorite Bagoas, he pondered the mystery that was India. The Persian rubbed aromatic elemi and benzoin into the golden battle scared flesh of his beloved conqueror scenting his body before sleep. Suddenly Alexander covered Bagoas’ hand with his own and halted the ritual. He turned and leveled his eyes on the courtier as he would a city he was about to take.

“Bagoas, I cannot understand it.”

“Understand what my lord?”

“This land, this India, it is so different. Greece is mind and beauty, Egypt is birth and death, Persia is a great bull god. But India, it eludes me. Why is it that I cannot understand this place?”

Bagoas smiled. “India my Iskander is vapor, it is a perfume. It fills the senses but can never be truly yours. It is not to be understood it is to be felt in the soul.”

And so it was that India conquered Alexander the Great.

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The wonderful Mohur by Neela Vermeire is like the India that eluded Alexander. It is soulful in its beauty.  The nose behind it is the very prolific Bertrand Dachaufour. He has blended a lovely perfume for Neela that is subtle, elegant and simply grand.

This is not a perfume that will overwhelm, not one that takes command of the wearer but one that becomes the one who wears it. It opens in a spice market of sweet cardamom, sharp pepper and coriander with a touch of carrot seed and musky ambrette.  There is a hint of elemi that adds a bit of aromatic lift to the opening.  This spicy mix shimmers like a shooting star that falls into a midnight garden of flowers

The heart notes here in this garden are dominated by the rose and jasmine. This combination is lush and romantic and finds support from just a hint of dark leather. There is moist earthiness of iris in the mix that adds to the fullness of the perfume.

The dry down is a sublime oriental creation of sandalwood, amber, benzoin, a touch of oud that is smoothed out by vanilla and Tonka bean. This is all wrapped in a nice layer of patchouli. In the ending it is a really gorgeous skin scent. This is where I fell in love with Mohur. It trails about the skin with oriental tendrils of smoky fascination.

This jewel of a perfume is multi-facetted that sparkles and ignites the imagination to dreams. Soft in its splendor it lasts about 6 hours on my skin and has a moderate projection. Mohur is not a conquering goddess but rather a wise beauty who wins her battles with a seductive allure.

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MOHUR FIVE GOLD STARS *****

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