THE POET ~ An Interview With Perfumer Mario Tomas

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It is always very exciting when a new perfumer hits the scene and doubly exciting for me when that perfumer is a local Bay Area artist. I have known Mario Tomas Gomez for about two years. I was privileged to be at dinner with him, Mik of Mik Moi and Hilary Randall when he decided to take the big leap and start his perfume house.

His official brick and mortar launch is this Saturday at Tigerlily Perfumery here in San Francisco. So to honor his blossoming as an olfactory artist I asked him a few questions.

Lanier: Where were you born?

Mario:  Born in Oklahoma City, OK raised both in OKC and Mexico City, Mexico

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Lanier: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Mario: I always wanted to do something which allowed me to help others.

Lanier: who introduced you to perfume?

Mario:  I remember smelling different fragrances on different family members. These various olfactory experiences helped build my love for fragrances/perfumes.

Lanier:  What opened the door to your life in the perfume industry?

Mario: It was the experience of blending my own creation at Perfumer’s Apprentice when they had a shop open in Santa Cruz, CA. It was a small shop that provided tea service while you created your own scent. Afterwards, I searched for a local perfume making workshop. I saw one offered by Yosh Han, the rest is history.

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Lanier:  what is the inspiration behind each of your scents?

Mario: El Poeta (The Poet): This fragrance conjures up another era; a time and place when debates on beauty, style and technique were hotly discussed over drinks at a crowded and smoky cafe. It too is unconventional. Artistic expression and flair is flaunted and appreciated. For those who walk a different path, it represents the cultural, artistic mavericks of a time gone by. It is Absinthe inspired, Bohemia in a bottle.

Corazon Blanco (White Heart): Corazon Blanco is my love note to my family and heritage of beautiful Mexico. I have deep and unforgettable roots in Mexico: the exotic flowers, spices and culinary delights of this region have lent themselves to my fond memories and recreation of such moments with this scent. They include my Grandmother making cinnamon tea, my Mother’s enjoyment of Cajeta (caramels) and adoration of gardenias, or the recollection of tequila from my cousin’s distillery.

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Lo Mejor di Mi #1: This citrus fragrance is homage to the citrus, aromatic family. Its great diversity of revitalizing notes will offer a fresh embrace that is meant to lift one’s spirit. It will envelop you in notes of bitter orange, pink and white grapefruit and blood orange that will delight and recharge your essence. Its hint of floral, woods and musk adds to its complexity and will have you fall in love at first smell.

Lanier:  Who was your mentor in the world of perfume?

Mario: It was Yosh Han and Shelley Waddington who helped me explore the art of blending.  Michael Coyle of MikMoi who gave me the helpful nudge to launch at the 3rd SF Artisan Fragrance Salon.

Lanier: What is your process in making a perfume?

Mario: Normally, first I will explore the single individual notes alone without any other notes.  Sometimes this can take less than a minute or sometimes days. Once I have all the fragrance notes I will be using, I explore fragrances already out on the market.  If I can bring something new, then I move to blending and testing out Jerry my husband or friends.

Lanier:  Do you have an idea of whom you are making your perfumes for. Who is that person, what is he or she like?

Mario:  I am creating scents for anyone who enjoys them. I may be inspired by a specific person, but I try to create scents that are enjoyed by both genders.

Lanier:  Where do you want to be in five years?

Mario: Getting my bottling and packaging finalized, transitioning from my State job into making perfume into a full-time event.

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20 smelly questions. (inspired by the ten questions asked by Bernard Pivot on the French television show “Bouillion de Culture”.

1.Who inspires you?

Anyone in my inner circle of friends and family.

2.What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?

My Nespresso machine.  Just kidding, gratitude for life.

3.What is your favorite sensation?

Smell and taste, they are connected.

4. What is your favorite word to describe a perfume?

Lovely.

5.What is the most over used world to describe a perfume?

Lovely

6.What is your least favorite perfume note?

I do not have one.  All notes can be blended to create a wonderful experience.

7.What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

I think of myself as a very spiritual person and so that enters by thought process while creating.

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     8.What perfume turned you on this month?

Les Parisiennes Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum by Guerlain. If I was just to judge this perfume by only it’s notes or by the name alone,  it would be something I would have ignored.  Having experienced this scent without knowing what was being spritzed on me, I was able to enjoy the development without any prejudgment. I love wearing by itself or blending it with many of my other fragrances.

9.What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

My biggest turn offs are acts in which one is inconsiderate of another.

10.Who excites you in the world of perfume?

The growth in interest of the art of fragrance making.

11.What turns you off about the industry side of perfume?

Some of the restrictions being placed on ingredients that have been used to create some of the most amazing perfumes.

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12.What natural smell in nature do you love?

I love the smell of cement and rain after a heavy rain in any season.

13.What smell in nature do you hate.

The smell of public urination one gets when walking out of some of the BART/Muni stations.

14.What historical person do you imagine would have smelled Wonderful and why?

Either Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette.  Cleopatra was known to have the sails of her ships soaked in fragrance oils, so I can just image what “lovely” oil collection she owns. It was said that Marie Antoinette was know for her signature scent(s), when she tried to escape, it was her scent that was recognized which lead to her capture.

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(Conceptual painting by John De Cuir for Cleopatra’s Barge “Cleopatra” 1963)

15.What is your favorite language other than your native tongue?

Spanish.

16.What is your favorite curse word in that language?

Mierda

17.What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Ballet dancer.

18.What profession would you not like to do?

Anything that would not allow me to work with people.

19.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Welcome, you will enjoy this fragrant garden and all of its wonders.”

20.What perfume would you like God to be wearing when he says that to you?

She will be wearing Guerlain’s Sous le Vent.

I would like to thank Mario for a wonderful and thought provolking interview The Launch for his perfumes witll be Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 5 – 9pm. If youi are in the San Francisco area do drop in and explore with me the wonderful olfactory world of Mario Tomas.

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TIGERLILY PERFUMERY

973 VALENCIA STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA. 94110

510 230 7975

EMAIL INFO@TIGERLILYSF.COM

CHOCOLATE AND FLOWERS ~ Four Perfumes by En Voyage

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It has become my Friday night ritual to make a classic cocktail and share it with my YouTube viewers. It is also my way of introducing a perfume review. Some of the reviews are in depth explorations of a scent and others like this one are first impressions.

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   Not long ago Shelly Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes sent me a sample of her newest perfume, Fiore di Bellagio. I wanted to do a first impressions of it. Shelly’s musing on what perfumes might be found on Zelda Fitzgerald’s dressing table, (Among the bottles of perfume night be Zelda. Another stunning perfume by En Voyage) leads her to create this new scent. Fiore di Bellagio was inspired by the great classic from 1927 from the house of Caron, Bellodgia.

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Image by Klara Fowler Photography

  I also give my first impressions of her Souvenir de Chocolate Trio. Three delicious gourmand perfumes with chocolate as their theme. So here is the video review, make yourself a refreshing cocktail and enjoy!

On October 4th there will be a launch for Fiore di Bellagio at Tigerlily in San Francisco. Speakeasy is the theme so ladies roll down your hose and rouge your knees, gents dust of your straw boater and don your racoon coat and join the festivities.

Fiore di Bellagio Speakeasy

5pm – 8pm Friday October 4th

Tigerlily Perumery 975 Vallencia Street San Francisco.

Link to Tiger Lilly: http://www.tigerlilysf.com/

Link to En Voyage Perfumes: http://www.envoyageperfumes.com/store/

1000 Paris Adventures

PASSPORT TO PERFUME ~ Interview with Fragrance Specialists Hilary Rayvis Randall and Michal Gizinski

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Last Sunday morning I found myself in a sweet smelling spot. Vibrant morning light filled the beautiful little patio behind Antelope on Valencia Street where Tigerlily Parfumerie is located. The mornings in the Mission District of San Francisco always seem the brightest and warmest of all the neighborhoods in The City and never more so than in late Spring when the sleepy fog hangs over Twin Peaks not daring to descend any lower than Upper Market Street.

 

I was there to meet my friends and fragrance specialists extraordinaire Michal Gazinski and Hilary Rayvis Randall for a nosey perfume chat. Under a poppy orange umbrella we sipped on steamy cappuccinos and sampled lovely pastries and fresh nectarines.

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Looking at this truly beautiful woman I have known for a little over two years I mulled over how we met.  I bumped into Hilary at a Diptyque launch for Volutes. Amidst the swirling notes of that perfume we clicked, over the following weeks we became good friends. Hilary speaks both French and Japaneses, was a teacher of English as a second language, she has even been a chef.  Food, Florals and French!  At all seems to have lead her to fragrance.  Most recently has represented many perfume  lines including L’artisan Parfumeur, Byredo, Arquiste at Barney’s and Dior Fragrances at Neiman Marcus. She also holds top honors as a nationally recognized fragrance specialist. She presently works at Barney’s New York on Stockton Street as well as being a fragrance consultant for Tigerlily. Hilary became my fragrance history teacher, my perfume guide and beautiful ambassadress to the ever blooming garden of fragrance I was discovering.

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Through Hilary I met Michal; she referrers to him as the “Nose of Union Square”. He is the man everyone goes to who is serious about perfume, those who want to know more than what is the hottest thing on the market today. Michal is a fascinating man, an actor, a gentleman, and impeccably stylish and sophisticated. Open, warm and a mesmerizing raconteur he is simply a wonderful guy. He can tell you just about anything about any perfume past of present.

Over the following months I met up with Michal at different events or just popped in to see what was new at Neiman Marcus. Though these meetings with both Michal and Hilary the idea was born to interview both of them.

 

Now at last we were together for the long anticipated interview. This sun was shining on us, our own personal key light. The stage was set and the curtain was rising on a new act for three fragrant friends.

 

 THE ABC’s OF MICHAL AND HILARY

Lanier: “Where were you born?”

Michal: Warsaw Poland

Hilary: Philadelphia Pennsylvania

 

Lanier: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Michal. As a very little boy I wanted to be a classical pianist.

Hilary: up to 10 a Ballerina, from 10- 12- Mortician 14-20 Geisha 20> Chef

Michal: from 10 up and Actor.

 

Lanier:  What opened the door to your life in the perfume industry?

Michal: My grandmother, the smell of her perfumes. Then in the 80’s a friend took me to Dior and introduced me to their perfumes. First in Grenoble then in Paris .

Hilary: My Mother,. She would descend the stairs in a cloud of Diorissimo. She was dramatic. She talked to me about her perfumes and taught me about them. Since she was a gardener and expert flower arranger, she would take me out in the garden and teach me everything about flowers and how they were transformed into fragrance.

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Lanier:  How do you gauge a client?

Michal: I don’t judge. I never judge a book by its cover. I ask questions and over time I discover the personality, where they live, work, their lifestyle. I use my imagination to put all this together. I engage them in dialogue.

Hilary: You can’t judge a client. I ask questions and look for non verbal clues as well.  It is all about finding solutions. What do they own, what notes to they like. And what part of the world are they from. That plays a very large role in the process. Northern Europeans, Scandinavians generally prefer lighter florals; in the south they like heavier florals or Orientals. I try and see how adventurous they are.

 

 

Lanier: Are there skin palettes as there are color palettes for skin tones?

Hilary: No not by color if that is what you mean. The skin itself, the age of the skin. Older skin that has lost its oils needs a bolder scent. The skin’s natural oils are no longer there to support the fragrance’s diffusion. And self identity is important in choosing a perfume and the skin’s chemistry as it reacts to a perfume is important. Perfume is a form of communication that speaks to the right brain, the limbic system which houses emotion and memory. It is a non verbal way to present a part of yourself that may be the secret you, the part of you that can’t be expressed verbally.  Perfume is the invisible language. Its aura casts a spell !

Michal: Psychology is an important aspect. Why do we wear scent? Attraction plays a role for many clients, Perception of others, or how we want to present ourselves is a part of it.  There was a big change in perfume in the 90’s. People stopped smoking. A woman who smoked could wear Santos and it was beautiful. It might be too much on a non-smoker.

Fragrance involves people and can take them to a place they have never been. You wear a certain perfume that says “ Paris ” to you, and you are IN Paris.

 

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Lanier:  What is your favorite type of client and least as well?

Michal: I like people so there are no favorites. My least, never mix perfume with politics. I once had a client from Texas who was looking for a perfume for his wife. When I presented him with a Cartier fragrance and explained it was French he said, “I don’t want anything French!”

One must be a diplomat with clients; we are the ambassadors of fragrance.

Hilary: My favorite clients are thoughtful, open to new ideas, non-judgmental. A person with imagination and who is confident in their choices and in their opinions. I like a good dialogue with a client based on trust. My least favorite would be someone with a closed mind. Also boasters, who come in and talk about how many hundreds of perfumes they have and lists of notes.

 

 

Lanier:  Who was your mentor in the world of perfume?

Hilary: My mother and Michal. Reading every book published on fragrance, all the blogs and being a chef for 15 years have contributed to my scent knowledge.

Michal: Not a person, but books and travel were my mentors. I grew up isolated in Poland . Imagine my wonder when I was first exposed to Yves St. Laurent’s Opium or No.5.

 

 

Lanier:  Where do you want to be in five years?

Hilary: I want to be sharing my passion for aromas, fragrance and food in a global venue.

Michal: I want to have more time, personal time to pursue my interest. I will be in San Francisco and still traveling.

 

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20 smelly questions for Monsieur M and Madame H. (inspired by the ten question asked by Bernard Pivot on the French television show “Bouillion de Culture”.   

 

1. Who inspires you?

Michal: Marguerite Yourcenar

Hilary: My daughter , Sasha

 

2. What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?

Hilary: The idea of learning something new that day, perhaps meeting someone intriguing!

Michal: Early morning is my favorite time of the day. The fresh air of a new day

 

3. What is your favorite sensation?

Michal: Looking at nature and feeling a part of it. Mendocino!

Hilary: Letting go when I drift off to sleep.

 

4. What is your favorite word to describe a perfume?

Hilary: Intoxicating

Michal: Magic

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5. What is the most over used world to describe a perfume?

Hilary: Fresh

Michal: Sexy

 

6. What is your least favorite perfume note?

Michal: None

Hilary: None

 

7. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Hilary: Imagination

Michal: Fate

 

8. What perfume turned you on this month?

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Michal: Kouros Sport

Hilary: Muguet by Guerlian (2014)

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9. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Hilary: Negativity ~ no sense of humor

Michal: Vulgarity ~ no sense of humor

 

10. Who excites you  in the world of perfume?

Michal: Olivia Giacobetti

Hilary: Edmund Roudnitska then, Bertrand Duchaufour now.

 

11. What turns you off about the industry side of perfume?

Michael: Money

Hilary: Focus group generated perfumes

 

12. What natural smell in nature do you love?

Hilary: Violet

Michael: Lilac

 

13. What smell in nature do you hate.

Michael: None

Hilary: Lavender!

 

14. What historical person do you imagine would have smelled Wonderful and why?

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Hilary: Lady Murasaki ~ because of the beautiful bathing “ofuro/onsen” ritual of the Japanese with wonderful botanicals and incense.

Michael: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette ~ because they appreciated perfume, had their own perfumers. On a side note: Catherine de’ Medici who was a great influence in perfume.

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15. What is your favorite language other than your native tongue?

Michal: French

Hilary: French & Japanese

 

16. What is your favorite curse word in that language?

Hilary: Chienne

Michal: I would rather not say

 

17. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Michal: Classical musicianship. Any aspect of classical music; be it conducting or playing an instrument.

Hilary: Shakespearean Actor

 

 

18. What profession would you not like to do?

Hilary: Politician

Michal: Working in a slaughter house, or being a butcher.

 

19. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Michal: Relax honey.

Hilary: My dear, you look and smell fabulous!

 

20. What perfume would you like God to be wearing when he says that to you?

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Hilary: Joy; vintage Joy from fifty years ago because I would know my mother was near and I would be with her once more after so many years.

Michal: En Passant. A heavenly scent.

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 *** 

I hope you enjoyed this time with Hilary and Michal. They are indeed extraordinary people. As Sales Associates in their stores they go beyond what is expected giving great service to every person who comes to see them. More than that, they are wonderful friends that I am privileged to know.

 

If you come to San Francisco drop by Barney’s for Hilary and Neiman Marcus for Michal and say hello. Bring your open mind and your nose ready for a fabulous journey. Let them be your guides, just as they have been and will continue to be mine. Tell them Lanier sent you.

En Voyage Perfume Launch at Tigerlily!

Please enjoy our spring fragrant fun here in San Francisco!

 

MAGIC IN THE NIGHT, SECOND STAR ON THE RIGHT ~ Tigerlily Pefumery Salon Event

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In the heart of San Francisco there is a vibrant, exciting on trend neighborhood, the Mission District. It is young, hip and along Valencia Street you can feel the eclectic vibrancy of this revived part of the old Latino area, the oldest part of San Francisco where the Spanish founded our city in 1776 as Yerba Buena. As Hilary Rayvis Randall, Mario Gomez and I sat having an amazing Puerto Rican dinner at Parada 22 Pop Up on the corner of Valencia and 22nd Street an anticipatory thrill was in the air. The three of us were about to embark upon an olfactory fairytale of fun and magic at Tigerlily. The one and only Antonia Kohl’s fabulous perfumery located at Love & Luxe just half a block away. That little half block walk from Parada 22 takes your imagination past the second star on the right and straight on till morning.

 SECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT

    This evenings Salon was all about new works by four Bay Area perfumer houses.   Mikmoi, L’Aromatica, Bruno Fazzolari and Cognoscenti. We hit the evening event at just before eight and were immediately welcome by our mistress of magic Antonia who made sure we were supplied with cocktails invented just for the salon. I went with a bright and light Vesper Fizz which was delicious and inspired by Mikmoi’s wonderful Vesper perfume. As we circulated among the glitterati of scent in attendance there was much to see and even more to put your nose to. Mik of Mikmoi was introducing his new line Elements of Escape; Bruno had his newest perfume which nearly stole my heart over my favorite by him, Au Delà. The wonderful Dannielle Sergent also was presenting her line and her newest addition to her house. And finally a new face to me was the lovely Loreto Remsing of l’aromatica. Her presentation is a wonderful line of seventeen handcrafted botanical fragrances that come both in oil roll on and alcohol based perfume. And of course we were surrounded by the beautiful jewelry of Love and Luxe.

Over the course of the evening I was able to smell perfumes from each line and chat with all the perfumers. Danielle was very excited to tell me all about the wonderful aldehyde and oakmoss that is No.8. Bruno and I got a chance to catch up as I re-explored his amazing art and perfume (a pioneer in the blending of fine art, painting and perfume) , Mik and his spouse Jasper took me through the new line. “Fire” was a wonderful Lapsang Souchong perfume and my favorite of the elements of his creation, and Loreto told me all about how she sources her ingredients. I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with any of these four artists as the evening was carried aloft on a magical carpet woven of incense, and roses.

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(Photo borrowed from Tigerlily Perfumery)

About an hour into the event fellow blogger and YouTube reviewer Sebastian Jara and his partner showed up. We had the most wonderful time as I took them around and introduced them to all the perfumers and Antonia. We ran into perfume star Ineke and Bill O’Such. When I told Ineke that Sebastian had just returned from a month touring the perfumeries and shops of France she regaled us with her stories of her and Bill’s time in Paris when she studied perfumery and their adventure in perfume was born.

In the perfume corner we met up with Tama Blough the Deputy Editor of Ca Fleure Bon and she took us through much of the perfume stock. Zelda by En Voyage was amazing, very 1920’s glam. We got to smell the Tauer perfumes that have been added to Tigerlily and I came away with my very own bottle of a really luxe and lovely Grain du Soleil by Fragonard. An Amber perfume so soft and calming you can wear it anywhere anytime. It has a great vanilla dry down that is scrumptious.

By ten thirty the Cinderella evening drew much too soon to a close and each and every one of us who attended left with a promise to ourselves to return again to the magical and wonderful Tigerlily. This enchanted place in the Mission, where dreams are kept in bottles on a shelf waiting to be discovered and loved by you. To find Tigerlily just rembember, you turn right at the second star on the right and straight on till morning. You can’t miss it!

CLICK THE VIDEO BELOW FOR MY YOUTUBE COVERAGE OF THE EVENT.

TIGERLILY PERFUMERY: http://loveandluxesf.com/news/

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tigerlily-Perfumery/1403453396557812

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

BRUNO FAZOLLARI: http://brunofazzolari.com/scents/

COGNOSCENTI: http://www.cogno-scenti.com/

L’AROMATICA: http://www.laromaticaperfume.com/

MAN LOVES COLOGNE: http://www.manlovescologne.com/

CA FLEURE BON: http://www.cafleurebon.com/

TIGERLILY IS LOCATED AT LOVE & LUXE BOUTIQUE 1169 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110

FROM PARIS, SCENT WITH LOVE ~ The Fragrant Republic San Francisco Event

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Friday after work I hopped on the Muni underground and made my way to the Embarcadero Center for a very special evening of fragrance and fabulous fun. The event was the first San Francisco launch of the new perfume house The Fragrance Republic. The event was held at Vanity Beauty Lounge and hosted by co-founder Francois Duquesne.

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The Fragrance Republic is not only a perfume house that gives great perfumers a chance to shine under their own names but also an on line Fragrance Club along the lines of a fine wine club. Members receive each month a 15 mil bottle of perfume to sample with the option to buy a 100mil bottle if they like the perfume. Membership comes in many levels that fit almost every budget. This makes it affordable and fun. So far there are six in the line by perfumers Nathalie Feisthauer, Julie Masse, Cecile Matton, Amelie Bourgeois, Antoine Lie, and Karine Chevallier. Each perfumer has an impressive history of perfumes many of which you may own. Each perfume is number from one to six. The two that I fell in love with were FR 01/02 and FR 01/06.

Julie_NovFR 01/02 and Perfumer Julie Masse

01/02 is a succulent refined, lush rose absolute with a velvety tuberose absolute simmering in coco résinoïde. It is magnificent on my skin and  has nothing of the usual bite of white flower or the overt high drama from the tuberose that one expects. Just gorgeous, it is so wonderful on my skin and I had to take a bottle home with me after an hour of wearing it. Perfumer Julie Masse has created a rose I like and one that has class and an elegant charm that is both modern and reminiscent of the Belle Epoch. It is a perfume that embraces the history of perfume while looking to the future.

01/06 was the most popular scent of the evening. This perfume created by Karine Chevallier consists of Persian Lime, fig, vetiver and sandalwood a woody aromatic that has the chic masculine charm of Eau Sauvage. Just brilliant sunny woods filled with the smell of a summer cabin in the mountains.

KarineChevillerG Karine Chevallier

The guests who attended were the crème de la crème of the San Francisco scent society, including Bay Area perfume luminaries such as Ineke and her husband Bill O’Such, the ever evolving and glamorous Yosh, Mik of MikMoi. Also in attendance were the scent sommelier and perfume advisor Hilary Rayvis Randall, Tama Blough San Francisco Bay Area – ‎Senior Editor at CaFleureBon.com and Mario Gomez ‎Owner at Olfactory Ambassador Services who is soon to dazzle the perfume world with something wonderful. And I was thrilled to see  the very exciting and charmingly lovely Antonia Kohl owner of TigerLily Perfumery. Our guide and host Francois Duquesne charmed us all not only with perfume but with his fascinating stories and delightful wit.

cHilary Rayvis Randall, Antonia Kohl, Francois Duquesne, Yosh, and Tama Blough

The event was to run from four to seven p.m. but with the arrival of many friends from SF Sniff the party didn’t break up until eight. And it was a very reluctant end to the evening for all. But the party is scheduled to pick up where it left off tonight at TigerLily where Antonia will be throwing a soirée featuring perfumers Mik Coyle , Bruno Fazzolari, Loreto Remsing and Dannielle Sergent. Each perfumer will be presenting their award winning fragrance lines.Something tells me there will be a story to tell about TigerLily in tomorrow’s post.

eFrancois and Yosh

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Hilary Rayvis Randall and Antonia Kohl

FRAGRANCE REPUBLIC: http://www.fragrancerepublic.net/

THE BEYOND ~ Au Delà by Bruno Fazzolari Editions

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Glinting in the winter morning light, freshly varnished and perfectly manicured nails drummed on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. They were exactly the same shade of Vreeland red as the magazine with a laughing Kate Hudson on the cover. She was unaware of this little serendipity of color as she looked out over her vast living room to the snow dusted terrace that hung twenty eight floors above 5th avenue.

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New Years Eve morning. L’Ascension by Olivier Massiaen was playing on the radio.  She sighed, and flipped open Harper’s Bazaar. A beautiful girl with a perfume bottle, The page turned. “Kate Hudson gets festive in this season’s hottest styles. Welcome to Holiday Glamour……”  And indeed the actress looked very festive and hot and stylish and all the rest. Turned page. Chanel models in Chanel, Page on to Dior bags followed by Louis Vuitton.  A blond having too much fun being a blond in Michael Kors. The smile that made Julia Roberts a mega star smiled over her shoulder from the page for Lancôme. Still a pretty woman.  Austere Armani, proud Prada, Gucci Gucci Gucci. Any other day it would have been fun, like it always was.  Magazine meandering usually ended up in a trip down 5th to Bergdorf, then Barneys and always Bulgari for a bauble. She tossed the magazine aside and sank back into the silk over stuffed pillows of her now back in style Michael Taylor sofa.

Another Sigh. The sun shifted and a beam bounced off the ice on the terrace banister, glance a crystal on the chandelier and hit the facets of her pale violet diamond Deco inspired engagement ring. All twelve of the flawless carats caught fire. She lazily wiggled her ring finger and watched Tiffany & Co. dance within the stone. She pushed against the pillows, rose up from the sofa and tightened the sash on her Stefano Pilati silk robe.

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The deep pile of the Nepalese rug caressed her toes as she sauntered to the terrace doors to look out to the West over Manhattan. She had hours to get ready before dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. Hours to think. The trees in the park encrusted from the ice storm the night before looked like a Swarovski forest from Doctor Zhivago. Beautiful and cold, it looked as if there were wolves down there howling at the silver plated sky. Only last month she had been warm in San Pancho under the November sun on the Nayarit coast of Mexico. She met Jane and Earl Miller and fell in love with them when she went to stay at their little hotel. Getting to know them as she lounged by the pool at Roberto’s Bungalows was when it began, slow and steady and building over Thanksgiving and into December. The realization that she wanted what they had. She couldn’t put her finger on just what made their marriage seem authentic and real. But she knew now that she would not find that kind of love staring at her across the well appointed table at the Waldorf on New Years Eve.

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Late in the afternoon as she applied the finishing touches to her make-up she felt terrible for what she was about to do.  She knew he would not understand, she understood that he thought he loved her. She realized nether he or she had any idea what love was really about. Finished dressing by five-thirty she called for her car, put the engagement ring into its box and into her purse. There was only one thing more to do. She looked at the array of perfumes on her vanity. She picked up the small unassuming bottle of Au Delà and applied it to her wrist and neck. The old world yet modern beauty of the perfume enfolded her, comforted her, and promised of life to live beyond tonight. It whispered very softly just behind her ear “…the beyond.” She smiled for the first time, just a tiny hint of a smile really. After Auld Lang Sine she would be free to find out who she really was.

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(Bienvenidos paraíso, Roberto’s Bungalows) 

**************************************************************************

Au Delà by perfumer and artist Bruno Fazzolari is something very special. I first smelled it along with the other perfumes of his initial launch into the perfume world last March at San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon. You can read about that event in my post, “Meeting The Magicians ~ SF Artisan Perfume Salon 2013”.

Au Delà immediately struck me as a fabulous perfume that recalled the great days of the house of Dior in the early 50’s. It is so reminiscent of such beauties as the old original Miss Dior. Not the silly girl she has become today in her reformulations but the beautiful confident woman she was at the dawn of post war glamour. I have to give credit to Hilary Randal who was the one to pinpoint for me what I was smelling in that bottle of Au Delà that day back in March.

Bruno has in his collection all of which was released in 2013, Lampblack, Jimmy, Five, Monserrat,  It’s Better Not To Worry Abut It and Au Delà. Each are exquisite and should be explored by any and every perfume lover, but for me Au Delà is the masterpiece of the line. It is the goddess in a bottle, the essence of French chic created by and artist who grew up in both in France and the United States.

This perfume was inspired by one of the major French composers of the 20th Century, Olivier Massiaen. And in this inspiration there is music, glorious music. To equate this fragrance to the inspiration just listen to L’Ascension by Massiaen and you have the tones and notes of this perfume.

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(Au Delà is right for any woman with the slightest chic)

It opens with a simple clear, glowing note of coriander. This note is almost immediately obliterated by an unfolding song from a beautiful jasmine that is wreathed with Neroli and orange blossoms. This plays its melody with increasing sensuality as it is aroused by the arrival of the base notes of Amber, Oakmoss and something magical created by Bruno known as Immanence. Immanence is a fantasy note that is as ephemeral as a dream and as real as fairy dust. It is the God note that encompasses everything and exists in all creation. It is there in the base of the perfume and gives it wings, shimmering wings on which to fly.

NYC Man(Au Delà is perfect for a man with great personal style)

This Chypre is indolic, intoxicating and inspiring. It loves to live on the skin of both men and women and in so doing finds the essence of male or female sensuality in the meeting of perfume to flesh. Since its release Au Delia has won both the Gold Medal for Top Artisan Perfumer at the International Artisan Fragrance Awards and the Gold Medal at the San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon.

I found this award winning perfume to be sublime with a respectable sillage and good longevity. You can find it at Bruno’s Webpage and at Tigerlily in San Francisco. Tigerlily is the first brick and mortar store to carry Bruno Fazzolari Editions. For a debut perfumer Au Delà is exceptional and I look forward to watching Bruno Fazzolari’s journey as an up an coming perfumer.

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Au Delà by Bruno Fazzolari Editions  Five Gold Stars *****

BRUNO FAZZOLARI WEBSITE: http://brunofazzolari.com/

TIGERLILY: Love & Luxe

(Tigerlily pop-up)

1169 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA94110

Hours: 12 – 6 Wed, Thurs
11 – 7 Fri, Sat
12 – 5 Sun

415 648 7781
info@loveandluxesf.com

ROBERTO’S BUNGALOWS: http://robertosbungalows.com/

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Listen to L’Ascension by Olivier Massiaen

WHAT’S UP TIGERLILY? ~ Tigerlily Perfumes San Francisco Pop-Up Launch

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Last night in the Mission district of San Francisco a very rare and beautiful flower opened its petals for the very first time.

At 5:30 I met up with perfume buddies Hilary Randal and Mario Gomez at Barney’s NY to head out to the very trendy and à la mode Mission District for the launch of Tigerlily Perfumery. As we battled our way through the pre-Black Friday crowds to the BART station I learned that Tigerlily Perfumer’s launch was for a pop-up at the Love & Luxe Boutique prior to its opening in a permanent location on 22nd street this coming February.

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Tonia and Betsy and the chandelier I met up with (photo stolen from Tigerlily Facebook)

The owner of Tigerlily Antonia Kohl has gathered together some really interesting perfume houses for her new exhilarating venture including Yosh, Ineke, MikMoi, Bois 1920, Amouage, I Hate Perfume, Bruno Fazzolari and Il Profumi di Firenez. And the list like the beat goes on.

We arrived just after 6 to the strikingly chic boutique and were greeted at the door by Bill O’Such and Ineke Rhuland of Ineke Perfumes. It was a real treat to see them again and to connect over Ineke’s new perfume collection, Floral Curiosities. Hilary, Mario and I were presented with cocktails based on the new collection.

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The Floral Curiosities Amazing Sample Set

The drinks were delightful imaginative, and created to reflect a taste sensation to go along with each perfume. I was the first to try the Angels Trumpet Royale. This delicious cocktail of prosecco and melon liqueur was created by Bill and his friend Gretchen Van Horne and presented to me by the very charming Ms. Van Horne herself. It was a deceptively light and yummy libation. The perfumed inspired cocktails were a big hit of the evening.

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Ineke and I caught up a bit discussing her new launch and her amazing garden where she often finds inspiration for her creations. She asked me if I had a garden so I told her of my tiny fire escape overflowing with geraniums, roses and Parma violets. Ineke is a charming woman brimming over with a great love of her work. I had so much fun with her.

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“We will have rings and things and fine array” W. Shakespeare

The owner of Love & Luxe Betsy Barron introduced herself and surprised me with a lovely goodie bag filled with samples. Now that was an unexpected and delightful surprise. Thanks Betsy! I love your boutique. The jewelry at Love & Luxe is exceptional and stunning. I was fascinated as Betsy showed Hilary some incredible pieces created by an artist from Niger in Northern Africa. If you are interested in some very unique pieces by all means when in San Francisco make Love & Luxe a must on your shopping next trip.

At this point I had maneuvered myself over to the Tigerlily pop-up and met Antonia Kohl and her husband. What a charming and engaging couple. Tonia took Hilary and I through a mini sniff-a-thon of some of the perfumes on display. I must say I was very impressed with the very wide and exciting selection. I was also very happy to see that Bruno Fazzolairi’s amazing perfumes were in the lineup. His romantic and lushly gorgeous Au Delà was on hand and I had to take a sniff to remind myself of just how stunning this perfume is. I was also very happy to see MikMoi’s perfumes in attendance and available to the San Francisco audience of perfume lovers.

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Tama and Corey (photo stolen from B.B. Baird)

Being very tall I ended up at this point doing battle with a low hanging chandelier before moving on to sample Bois 1920, Ajne. As DJ Bill Zindell spun some great party music I was joined by Tama Blough (of Ca Fleure Bon), Corry Nguyen, Elly Wang and Brooke Baird from SF Sniff. Our little group took over the pop-up for a time to explore I Hate Perfume, Danielle Sargent’s fabulous Cognoscenti perfumes, and D.S. & Durga. I was astonished, it is a small pop up crammed to the rafters with incredible product. (I can’t wait until February when Tigerlily opens its store!)

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(photo stolen from Corey Nguyen)

By now the boutique was packed with a hopping crowd and the event began to take on a very Holly Golightly party atmosphere. By now Hilary was having her aura read by the amazing Yosh Han who was so busy that I never got to say hello. Sorry Yosh! Hemmed in between the pop-up and the SF Sniff crowd I spied Mik and Jasper across the room. So like Paul Varjak in Breakfast at Tiffany’s I bounced my way to the beat of the music though the crowd to say hello and congratulate Mik on having his MikMoi perfumes in a brick and mortar venue.

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Mik and his fabulous MikMoi lineup. (Photo stolen from Tigerlily)

I finally made it outside for some fresh air and to hook up with Hilary Randall and Brooke Baird for a lovely chat. What did we talk about? Perfume of course!  We enthused over the fact that some really exciting things are happening in perfume community of San Francisco. Not only do we have world class shopping opportunities in Union Square, but with the opening of ZGO in the Castro and now Tigerlily in the Mission the olfactory selection is expanding to new levels. This retail growth in The City is giving not only the established niche houses a platform but of equal if not more importantly, our very talented local perfume houses a much needed exposure to a wider public. By all means if you love great jewelry, check out Love & Luxe, if you love great perfumes get over to Tigerlily and ask Tonia “What’s Up Tigerlily?”

As our evening wound down Mario, Hilary and I bid our farewells to our hosts and headed off down Valencia Street for a late supper and a bit of chat. What did we talk about over a great Cuban feast? I’ll give you three guesses.

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(photo stolen from Tigerlily)

Love & Luxe

(Tigerlily pop-up)

1169 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA94110

Hours: 12 – 6 Wed, Thurs
11 – 7 Fri, Sat
12 – 5 Sun

415 648 7781
info@loveandluxesf.com

Tigerlily Email: info@tigerlilysf.com

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