A WALK THROUGH ROME ~ MIRTO DI PANAREA by Acqua di Parma

For the first time since she had arrived in Rome Helen Rivers felt good enough to get out of bed. Her husband and son had gone off for a day trip to Florence with their Cornell Alumni tour group. She was left on her own to recuperate from the bad cold that had hit her almost as soon as their plane from Seattle touched down on the tarmac at Fiumicino International.

It was an almost warm sunny morning that February 14th 1999, and it was her 70th birthday. She would be spending alone until that evening when Earl and Mark returned. Her first birthday alone. She dressed quickly and while applying her rose petal pink lipstick she tried to think of what to do on her own in Rome. She was at a loss. Maybe just wander?

At the elevator on the 5th floor of the Excelsior Hotel she saw the two burly young men who stood guard to the entrance to the south wing of the hotel. They had been there for two days now standing guard, handsome young men, one blond the other black. They nodded to her for the first time.

“Who is staying on this floor with us? It must be someone very important to have you boys here day and night.”

“Sorry Ma’am, we are not at liberty to say.” The blond said in a buttery British baritone.

“Oh, I see,” she said with a wink in her voice. “If you did tell me you would have to kill me. Just like in a James Bond movie.”

The black guard looked at the carpet before him and tried to suppress a smile.

The elevator door opened, Helen stepped in and turned to face the two men in the little marble and gilt lobby. She smiled. “I bet I can guess by the time I see you again just who it is. Have a nice day.”  The blond man winked at her.

“I bet you can’t.” he said as the elevator doors slid shut.

After a light breakfast of coffee, croissants and a juicy Blood Orange, Helen stepped from the porte-cochère of the hotel onto the once very glamorous Via Veneto.  She turned left to stroll down the curving avenue past the American Embassy into the heart of Rome. She took a deep breath and for the first time in a week realize that she could smell things again. Rome smelled like the most fabulous open air restaurant in the world. A delicious mix of fresh bread, roasting Osso Buco, spices, herbs and roasting coffee beans. It was intoxicating, and for the first time that week she forgot all about her cold.

Helen wandered and simply surrendered to let the city surprise her.  The Quirinale Gardens she found quite by accident and they in turn lead her to the Trevi Fountain. From there she went north along the Via dei due Macelli to the Spanish Steps where she refreshed herself with tea at Babingtons Tea Rooms. She found the windows of Bulgari on the Via dei Condotti and admired the baubles safe behind bullet proof glass. At the Via del Corso she turned south until she reached the Piazza Colonna, she sauntered west through this, the political heart of Rome then south again to the Piazza di Pietra where she was astounded to see encased in a 17th century Papal Palace the facade of the eighteen hundred year old temple of Hadrian. Now instead of a Roman God, it housed an ordinary bank.

She had been walking for quite some time and the cobblestones beneath her marshmallow white tennis shoes were beginning to make their impression on her tender soles. Somehow it didn’t matter. She had to see what was around the next corner.

She stumbled upon the baroque and very theatrical Piazza di Sant’Ignazio. It was magical in the noon light. And along the southern side of the piazza was the glorious Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola with an open door that lead into whispering darkness. Inside she found the amazing trompe l’oeil ceiling that created the illusion of a dome over the center of the church. She sat in a pew looking up in wonder at the near photo realistic illusion in paint and plaster.

After lighting a candle in memory of her mother Helen left the church, she was getting hungry and decided to head west to find a cafe. There was a slight curve to the street and as she walked along it an astonishing sight slid into view. It loomed in epic magnificence brilliant in the sun between the dark walls of the five-story tall canyon that was the Via del Seminario.  When she reached the end of the road the walls of the canyon fell away to reveal the Piazza della Rotunda and there sanding as strong and eternal as it had when the Visigoth Kings Alaric and Genseric both spared its destruction for its beauty stood The Pantheon. The temple to all the Gods built by Marcus Agrippa after the battle of Actium and rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian.

Helen was awestruck by the only completely intact temple standing in Rome. Its sixty-foot-tall columns of red Egyptian granted soared to the pediment they so gracefully and effortlessly supported. The dome, the largest until Saint Peter’s was erected a thousand years later floated above the thick walls of the round building creating the top of the perfect invisible sphere it encased within.  Church bells around the city began to peal. As a bus load of tourists filed past her all looking up just as she was, the sounds of the half full piazza fell way. Time melted around her and she could hear the heart of Rome beating in her ears. Feel it within her body pulsating in time with her own heart.  The spirits of two thousand or more years past though her in the blink of an eye. She knew in that moment the eternal connection to history that was the city of Rome, a connection to life, death, and love.  This was the best birthday present she had ever received. Rome!

After what seemed to her a very long time but was in fact less than a few seconds Helen took a step toward the temple. She walked up to the third column that stood directly under the R in AGRIPPA carved deep into the pediment above. She reached out to touch it lightly with tips of her fingers. It was not cool stone but warm to the touch having all that morning absorbed the heat of the Italian Sun. Helen raised both arms and embraced the column in a loving hug. Being that the circumference of the granite columns are 15 feet Helen was more or less plastered arms wide against the side of the column.  She stood there eyes closed listening to the building tell her its story.

“Thank you for being here.” She mouthed the words. “Thank you for….”

“Ma’am are you alright? Do you need to sit down?”

She ignored the voice and pressed her cheek hard against the stone.

“Do you feel faint?”

Helen opened her eyes to see an young Italian tour guide with her group crowded up behind her. All eyes wide upon her.  The young woman looked very concerned.

Helen’s smile was warm and confident and her eyes began to fill with tears.

“No I am fine, thank you. I just need to make it real.”

 ***

The aromatic citrus spring beauty I find in Acqua di Parma’s Mirto di Panarea is simply stunning. Created in 2008 this fragrance is one of my favorite in the Blu Mediterraneo line of the house. A line created to evoke the islands and parts of Italy that are drenched in that very special light that kisses the Mediterranean between Gibraltar and Tel Aviv. Such places at Sicily, Tuscany, and Taormina are represented in the Blu Mediterraneo line. In Mirto di Panarea we are taken to the second smallest of the eight Aeolian Island in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, and one of the most beautiful in the chain, Panarea. This woody aromatic fragrance is perfect for spring and summer, or in the winter months when you need a bit of sunny warmth it is a perfect spritz-cation that will carry you to the hills and shores of Italy.

It opens in its top notes with the signature of its name, Myrtle, and this marvelous woody note is complemented by, bergamot, bight and sunny. Lemon tangy as a sip of Limoncello from the Amalfi coast. All is topped off with the favorite cooking ingredient in Italian food. Green herbaceous basil. A feast for the nose indeed and all in the bright brilliant opening.

How could it be any better. Hold on for your olfactory vacation is just beginning. The mid notes are of Roses warmed in the late afternoon sun. You know that scent of roses in summer, natures spike of glamour to the season. The rose is gorgeous and this is in turn wrapped in light subtle wafts of jasmine all lifted by a sea breeze accord that whispers come with me to where The Nereids sing their siren song as they have for the ages.

The dry down is a sunset over the waves of what remains of the myrtle, flowers, and citrus. A piney and resin rich Mastic adds depth to a green juniper. These notes combine with a dry cedarwood and add a warm glow to the final touch of golden honey like amber.

It is a Roman tale of the sea gods and mortals meeting on this beautiful island where time is forgotten and something magical could happen on a warm sleepy afternoon. A scent that you can nap in under a bright yellow umbrella. A perfect vacation scent that works extremely well for everyone. I can’t imagine it not being a summertime favorite. Day or night it is the kind of scent that will carry you though the day, it has a depth that defies the usual warm weather fragrances and last about eight hours on my skin. This is one of the fragrances that I find I like to reactivate about half way through wearing just to get that brilliant opening a second act.

Mirto di Panarea is of my favorites from the house of Aqcua di Parma, when you wear it, everything looks brighter, more intense, more real.

My Mother Ellen Bay on her way to Rome February 13, 1999 on whom the story above is based on.

February 14, 1929 – May 25, 2017

love you Mommy dearest.

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IDENTIKIT ~ A FRAGRANCE TO DIE FOR! CHANEL No. 19 Parfum

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“It takes one day to die, another to be born…” Elizabeth Taylor reportedly said those words to her director Griffi when she came on the set the day after she left Richard Burton for their first divorce. So with that mindset she went to work on one of her most unusual, daring and controversial films. From the moment “The Diver’s Seat” begins you know you are in a strange place. In Europe the movie was called “Idendikit” so, with two names tagged to it thus making it schizophrenic from the first it easily falls into the realm of the ambiguous art film genre of the late 60’s and early 70’s. It’s star, Elizabeth Taylor, appears here in one of her most remote and dangerous roles. She plays Lise a woman who is consumed by insanity and the desire to find the ultimate lover, the be all and end all of boyfriends you might say.

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As the film opens you are presented with a shattered view of a woman on the edge of something terrible. The camera moves in a disjointed way, past naked mannequins heads covered in tin foil. Is this Lise’s view of others or is it a reflection of her inner life? Or possibly her future.  Upon being told to take a holiday from work after causing a scene in the office the film opens with her preparations to take flight to Rome. The film jump cuts from past to present as the police in Rome try to reconstruct the mystery of her holiday in terrorist gripped Rome. Even Rome comes off as off kilter. This is not the Rome of Audrey Hepburn or Marcello Mastroianni but a city one hardly recognizes from the lack of typical filming locations one associates with “Made In Rome!” movies.

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(Lise meets Andy Warhol at Fiumicino International Airport)

Director Giuseppe Patroni Griffi succeeds in presenting a inimitably Italian cinema verite film of the Muriel Spark novel. This is a unique film and very much of it’s day. Its non-linear, experimental, almost documentary style will be hard to get into for any one not used to movies of this sort. But it is well worth the effort. So strange and challenging a film it is that it left the opening night audience at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival in stunned silence.

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(with Ian Bannan)

The cast is well chosen and gives some oddly memorable performances. Ian Bannan as the macrobiotic sex-nut who tires to pick up Lise on the plane to Rome seems almost as mad as she is. It is a wickedly off kilter wild-eyed performance. The charming and always wonderful Mona Washbourne is sweetly touching as the woman who befriends the mad Lise and in doing so leads her to meet the man of her dreams.

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(with Mona Washborne)

But the glue that holds it all together is provided by Miss Taylor who tops off her short list of insane characters from Susanna Drake (Raintree County) to Catherine Holly (Suddenly Last Summer) with this daring and shocking portrait of Lise. She opens up as an actress that at the time would have been unthinkable to most of her contemporaries from the old M.G.M. days. That’s one of the wonderful things about her film career. She came from an era in old Hollywood where she was trained and groomed to be glossy and perfect. But as times changed so did she and in doing so became much more than an MGM glamour girl, she became an actress with guts. In “The Driver’s Seat” she shows her chops as an actress and her willingness to accept challenges in her roles and in Lise she found a great one. One stunning image of her is when in her loud madwoman dress and raccoon painted eyes she challenges the airport security to frisk her. In that scene she seems totally there, totally gone, and totally in control as an actress.

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***

Even the sweetest perfume has a hint of madness in it. That darkness must exist in a perfume or it has no chance of being complex or perhaps even a classic in time.

Perfume played a huge part in the theater which was Elizabeth Taylor’s life. A life lived before us all which unfolded in a flurry of purple and glittering diamonds in the center of the strobbing glare of paparazzi press for the last half of the twentieth Century. She was famous for wearing Bal a Versailles when she conquered not only Rome in 1962 but but also the denunciation of her by Pope John XXIII. Later in the 1980’s she created Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion and thus launched “Celebrity” Perfumes in to a realm yet untested.  Her perfume “White Diamonds” is still to this day one of the top sellers on the market.

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(Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Warhol
at the 1974 screening of Identikit ~ The Driver’s Seat at Cannes)

It is interesting to ponder what perfume Elizabeth Taylor’s character Lise might have worn in the film “The Driver’s Seat”? Symbolism and nonverbal signals are an important aspect of her character, from her wardrobe, the way she applies her makeup and even the book she carries with her on her travels. Every visual aspect is covered in her quest. So, there must be a fragrance she employed to attract that which she seeks and in the end finds in the darkest part of the Borghese Gardens in the heart of Rome in the dead of night.

This fragrance must be green and full of life and promise and yet carry a dark heart and of the period, the early 1970’s.  For Lise it would be Chanel No. 19 Eau de Parfum (1970).  The last perfume made during Mademoiselle Chanel’s life, named for the date of her birth and a personal favorite of hers.

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It is known and loved as a superlative Green fragrance. It is in fact onion like in its layers upon layers of facets. Like enfiladed rooms opening one upon another leading to an unknown end. In fact, it is the marriage between the fresh crisp smell of grass and the opposing heavy indolic white flowers all wrapped up in a fine supple leather which only hints at its complex schizoid nature.  It is like slipping on a fine pair of white kid gloves be they for horseback riding in a French wood in spring or driving gloves for that mad getaway drive along the Amalfi coast in winter.  Both rides are just on the edge of losing control.

Then the darkness comes. It comes from the interior of that leather where deep under its folds you find nestled a dark dirty vetiver and a deadly serious oak moss. And deeper still below that there is the deeply sensual and frankly fleshy sex of Iris or perhaps full blown oris butter. Slipper smooth and intoxicatingly drenched over a softly sweet and green narcissus. The rose that lies in there near the heart is bleeding and barely alive encased in a coffin of sandalwood. And upon this coffin, is placed a wreath of lily of the valley and ylang-ylang. There under all that green rebirth in its beginning is the solemn promise that it will die.

No. 19  is in fact like Lise very beautiful and hides a complicated inner world of Belle vie et mort inéluctable. As Lise moved ever closer to her rendezvous in the dark gardens of her soul in the center of the eternal city she must have smelled the clean green of the grass and the bereavement in the decaying flowers where she lay down.

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One of the most wonderful aspects of No.19 is that anyone, man or woman can wear it. and at any age. It is timeless, ageless, classic and yet very modern.

OVER THE TOP ORGY IN ROME! (Movie Memory)

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Che bella citta Roma! Vincent Minnelli’s “Two Weeks In Another Town” is pure glamour, trash, camp and Hollywood glitz. In other words it is great fun. Don’t go into it expecting anything more than over the top soap opera with the suds on overflow and you won’t be disappointed.

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Rome takes center stage in the film and is shown in all its “La Dolce Vita” glory of 1962. So much was happening there at this time. The birth of the paparazzi, the filming of “Cleopatra” and the international “Jet Set” had just landed in Rome to make it the fun capital of the world. The film captures all of this with high gloss and a tip of the fedora to Fellini who had first shown a light on the goings on along the Via Veneto a few years earlier.

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Kirk Douglas plays a down and out movie star just released from a mental institution / rehab center when he is invited to fly to Rome by his old director and ex friend Edward G. Robinson to take a small comeback part in his epic being filmed at the famed Cinecitta Studios. Well I don’t want to spoil the fun so all I will say is that there are plenty of gorgeous Italians running amok and lots of fabulous jewels bedecking Cyd Charisse. Tons of locations throughout the Eternal City and even an orgy! But the highlight of the film is the climactic scenic drive through the streets of Rome that Douglas takes Miss Charisse on after the orgy. That drive has to be seen to be believed! Words fail me at the sheer joy of this over wrought fun fest.

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Trust me, it isn’t anywhere near the brilliance of “The Bad and The Beautiful” of which it is a kind of follow up on, But it is beautifully bad in the very best way.
The DVD says remastered. But don’t expect Blu-ray quality, it is fine nothing spectacular in it’s re-mastering. But the color is good and the picture is clear.

***

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All those jewels and great gowns on Miss Charisse lead me to wonder what perfume her character would have worn? Well, it has to be nothing less than, Caleche Parfum by Hermes, a heady floral aldeyhyde with seductive notes of Iris, Gardenia, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Sandalwood and Amber. Those are just the notes that stand out to me. A lush, even cinematicly dramatic fragrance that is perfect of a night of abandon in Rome.

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THE EMPTY VIAL ~ Don D’Amour by FL Parfums

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“Did you hear about Tawny Sommers?” Autumn Gold said looking over the rim of her second martini glass in mid lunch at the Garden Court.

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Desperate to shed a few pounds before the San Francisco Symphony Gala she was once again on a Martini and Salad diet.

“Yes I did!” Dodi Turner nearly dropped her fork loaded with Lobster Bisque. “She’s left John, and she is moving down from the ranch in Saint Helena to live all alone in that monstrosity on Broadway.”

Autumn waved to the waiter for a third martini.  “That House!” It sat there for decades empty like a moldering Florentine palazzo. Nobody would buy it. The only thing I can remember ever happening there was the decorator showcase a few years back. It must have cost a fortune to redecorate when John bought the house from the Mitchell family for Tawny . ”

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‘Oh darling you are too young to remember,” Dodi said knowing full well that Autumn was old enough to remember The Flood. “But that’s the house Lori De Leo said her husband Marvin had the guy hold up in whom she claimed Mavin hired to have her murdered. It is right across the street from their old place. What an over the top messy circus that divorce was.  She is a Princess in some tiny Eastern European country now.” Dodi tossed a cool disapproving look at the complexly tattooed arm of the waiter as he delivered Autumn’s drink. “But back to Tawny and our divorce du jour, you can’t deny that old place has the best views of the Golden Gate.”

~   ~   ~ 

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Tawny could smell the fresh flowers in the foyer as she climbed the stairs at 2901 Broadway. Echoing laughter floated up from the kitchen. The staff must be having lunch, she thought.  Other than her butler, maids and the cook she was completely alone in the house. She loved the place, as big and ridiculous as it was there was something very warm and safe about it. It was all she needed now. Now that her fifteen year marriage was finally and blessedly finished. What a relief to be alone.  Yes she had all she needed.

Sitting at her dressing table on the following morning of her return she applied the finishing touches to her staying in look. A little mascara and lipstick. That was all she needed. She thought about what to do next. Did she want to date right away or develop a mysterious reputation as the gorgeous ex-Mrs. Sommers who never left here mansion on the far end of Broadway at the top of Pacific Heights?  Did she want to do volunteer work at the de Young Museum or maybe at a hopsital?

What perfume to wear today? Her usual favorites sat before her their bottles glinting in the warm lamp light that gave a little sunshine glow to the foggy morning.

Yes what to do next…what to do? Should she go to New York on a shopping spree? Visit her parents in Rome? They always spent the spring in Rome.

She opened the curved and carved drawer of the Louis XV dressing table …the drawer where she keep her most precious things. And began to rummage though it…where was it? The one thing she needed today.

Maybe she wouldn’t travel just yet. Maybe too soon to see other men. Maybe she would redecorate the house. Ann Getty has a design business. No, too fussy. Maybe Cheryl Du Cote, she has fabulous taste. Where is that Perfume?

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Fingers digging in the drawer she began to panic. Where is my Don D’Amour? Buried in the back under an old handkerchief of her grandmother’s she felt the tiny glass vial. Relief, safe, home. It was all she needed. That very special little sample bottle of perfume she had been sent by her friend Marjorie in New York. Tawny smiled and thought I really must get a full bottle. There is something about it that touched her same way Puccini’s music touched her. She pulled the vial from the drawer and found that it was empty.

She held the glass vial up to look at it…not a drop was left, it was bone dry. She opened it, hoping that there would be a glorious whisper of the fragrance still inside. Tawny put her nose to the lip of the vial and found the faintest memory was still there. She began to cry.

It was all she really needed

***

Don d’Amour is a fragrance created by Fabio Luisi for his line FL Parfums. Fabio is a most interesting person. By night he is a perfumer who creates with passion wonderful perfumes in his home overlooking Central Park in New York. And by day he is a Grammy Award winning conductor and musician. He is currently the principle conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This man is always busy making beauty from the invisible, music and perfume.

Fabio sent me samples of his entire line of 24 perfumes to test and review. It has been a huge adventure and taken some time to explore them all. For now I am going to review the one that is most interesting to me. Don d’Amour.

This perfume is a woody chypre from his “private collection” series.  Consisting of only four notes it is masterful, classical within a modern theme and very lovely. My favorite of the entire line.

It opens rich and with a lush rose, full and vibrant and something of a dark rose as if it is blooming at midnight. This is complemented by an expensive smooth and velvety tobacco. An almost boozy tobacco that carries a fruity edge. There is added to this the hypnotic beauty of a really gorgeous amber that brings an elevated sophistication and elegance to this perfume. All is supported by layers and layers of crinkly yummy patchouli. Here is a blending of the feminine and the masculine, the rose and the tobacco that along with the other two notes make this wearable for both men and women.

The sillage is fine, not too in your face but rather an elegant invitation to follow the source of that marvelous perfume. Longevity on my skin clocked in at between six and seven hours. Here in this area it works beautifully in expressing just what you want and need in a fine perfume.

Don D’Amour is perhaps the most elevated, elegant and evocative of the perfumes in the FL house. To me it is at the pinnacle of olfactory beauty. Something rare and precious. It sings on my skin and opens my mind to the world of both dreams and imagination. There is something indeed musical in the notes and creation of Don D’Amour that I find stunning and at times moving.  Truly a wonderful experience in the realm of perfume created by a truly talented nose.

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CBS Video about Fabio Luisi

LINK TO FL PARFUMS

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STARSHINE ~ JICKY by Guerlain

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Hot red lipstick kisses on cold white marble. Scott was suddenly moved to silent weeping  by that expression of love and farewell expressed by countless lips that had be pressed as near as possible to what was left of Marilyn Monroe.

The tears took him by surprise.

“Dude look he’s crying.”  Three angelic punked out skateboarders who on occasion glided into Westwood Village Memorial Park stood in a slouching tableau looking about as out of place as Roman Catholic priests on roller skates in a fashion show.

“Shush, be quiet man, he’s mourning her.”

The tears were not for the woman whose image graced his childhood bedroom walls, not really, it was more than that.  He had just six months ago divorced his husband and recently the one who loved him without question or judgement had passed. Miss Opal Gardner, his sweet dog. That was part of it yes, but deep down, below all of that recent pain, he could feel that he was morning something much more significant, something lost.

  ***

He heard the rumble of distaste that always accompanied his father’s entrance into the kitchen. His father would find Scotty every morning wrapped up in dreams of an escape to New York, submerged to his eyebrows in a world of movie made glamour behind is copy of Vogue magazine.

Scotty read Vogue and Andy Warhol’s Interview religiously and always at the breakfast table.  How could you not start a day in the suburbs of Philadelphia any other way? At least that was how little Scotty looked at it. Someday his middle-class truck driver dad would get it, would understand. Would not scowl and disapprove. Every morning with with his father’s rumble Scotty breathed in that hope. His father’s disapproval was once again deflected with the armor of glamour that was Vogue.

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Just about the only physical palpable magic at home was his mother’s perfume that enveloped him in layers of dreaminess. He would watch her applying her makeup for her Saturday night out.  Durring her fascinating transformation into something chic and glamorous he would wait for the final thrilling moment that Yves Saint Laurent shared with him in the forbidden exotic bottle. Opium! Yet this small amount of magic wasn’t enough for the outsider child who didn’t know how to make friends, who when he looked at Marilyn Monroe’s champagne shine knew that when he grew up, he wanted to be a hairdresser. He loved his parents and with an understanding beyond his years he knew that to them he was like a baby from Mars that was left on their front porch as a present they had no idea how to unwrap.

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The only place he truly could be himself, to step out of his star in disguise outfit he wore every day and shine was at his Godmother’s house.  The most magical place of his childhood. The walls of her bathroom were covered in autographs of old movie stars. Real autographs she had collected over the years. Judy, and Joan, Gable and Grable, Lana and Lucy. And so many more names he knew nothing about. But the glamour of that room and the magic in its walls seduced him. He made it his business to learn from is Godmother who each and every one of those stars where and just where they hung in the heavens of Hollywood. On Saturday mornings he would watch old movies on TV with her. It was his graduate school of glamour. The perfume that permeated her home, that enshrined the stars he came to love while watching with his Godmother the dreams they wove into his soul was, Shalimar.

“You know what Scotty,” She said to him one day while they watched Clark Gable and Marilyn drive off into the starry Nevada night.  “You have what Gable had. Something rare and beautiful. Starshine.”

***

The tryptic of skateboarders were gone now and he was alone with her. Maybe she wouldn’t mind if he took a selfie with her? Snap!

“Guardate qui è. Ora guarda bella con la rosa rossa. Giovane che si sa che è sepolto qui? Una grande stella, Marilyn Monroe.”

An old couple perhaps in their eighties sat down on the bench next to him and began a conversation with Scott as if he understood Italian. He smiled, he listened.

“ Siamo venuti da Italia a pagare il nostro rispetto per lei.”

It was suddenly joyous, Fellini had joined them and was directing the fadeout. Scott hugged the old couple.

“Puzzi meraviglioso. Si indossa Jicky.”

Scott laughed he somehow understood. “Yes I am wearing Jicky, It is a drug, it is a dream it is…magic.”

He said goodbye put his sad thoughts away and with Marilyn in his pocket walked out of the cemetery toward the next dream that waited for him in his blessed and lucky life.

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SCOTT PATRIC

 ***

Like Scott Patric said to the Italian couple, Jicky is a drug, a dream, it is magic. Created in 1889 by Aime Guerlain there are many stories associated with its creation. The most charming and melancholy is that he was inspired by lovely English girl Aime met while at university in England. But most likely he named it after his uncle Jacques whose nickname was Jicky. Aime is also the nose behind the beautiful Eau de Cologne du Coq, and several others from the Belle Epoch.

Yes it is of the gilded age, the belle epoch of Paris but it is anything but old and dated. Jicky is vibrant, rich and MODERN. Created in a time in perfumery when there were no genders applied to perfume…everyone wore Jicky. This fragrance in both its parfum and eau de toilet forms is spectacular on both men and women. It is of the now and always will be.

It opens with an herbal twang of rosemary blended in with mandarin orange, bergamot and lemon. Nice and safe yes? Not so fast there is something else, something coming up from eh bottom notes that just can’t wait to shine and sing. The spices and leather. List in the bottom they move forward in to the fading opening notes and take the lead of the middle notes.

The mid being a silky dark and dirty orris root that the leather notes latch on to. Brilliant. The spices from the base sift in with basil and Tonka creating a layer of swirling intoxicating vapors, a veil that blithely blankets each body it embraces creating a comforting caressing touch. A dry dusting of lavender on the petals of jasmine give it sparkle.

In the dry down the Leather and spices keep it warm and sensuous. There is sandalwood to add creamy smoothness along with a dash of vanilla, shimmering sunset amber and benzoin keep the embers of this masterpiece glowing long into the wee hours of its life.

Longevity for me is epic. Hours upon hours of bliss. The projection is at first impressive at about three feet then pulls in to about 18 inches for the long run. Perfect for a lady or gentleman who wants to give off an air of sophistication without the bullhorn. Jicky is something not everyone will love, it is different, challenging and more complex than most modern fragrances out there today. And yet for those of us who love the great classic perfumes of France it is essential.

Thanks to Scott Patric for sharing his memories of perfume and magic and for reminding me that Jicky is indeed wonder and bliss in a beautiful bottle.

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GOODMORNING STARSHINE!

Christmas Postcard to Lanier

Jordan River, The Fragrant Man sent me a postcard. I am so deeply touched. Please do check his blog for it is wonderful.

The Fragrant Man

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Dear Lanier,

There are so many stars in The Fragrant Stratosphere. I love bathing in the light of your star and becoming lost in your Perfumed Plots.

Is that a book or a vignette-style movie I see for you in 2014?

A star filled Christmas night and a season of Joy to you; Joy cometh in the morning. Your mourning has become a Good Morning for those of us that read you with at that time of the day.

Shine On,

Jordan River

Perfumed Plots
Holiday Reading on Scents Memory
A Letter from Versailles
Appointment at Tyburn
Madam Pageau at the Café
Rajdulari Goes to Bollywood

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IGUANA! – Lanier in Mexico

Just a quick note, I am in San Pancho Mexico on vacation. Just one hour north of Puerto Vallarta. It is fabulous and vey small, like P.V. was forty years ago. When I return I will be revitalized for more reviews. Hasta la vista amigos!

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CHANDLER BURR DOWN UNDER ~ Interview with The Australian Perfume Junkies!

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Portia Turbo, the glamorous force behind The Australian Perfume Junkies puts her spin on the global interview event with Chandler Burr.

 

Click on this link to get the scoop! 

http://australianperfumejunkies.com/2013/09/08/chandler-burr-interview-untitled-art-of-scent-exhibition/

First gentleman of scent… Chandler Burr Talks… to The Perfumed Dandy

As promised here is part 2 of our globe trotting multi blogger interview with Chandler Burr. Today  we go to London and our host is the inimitable Perfumed Dandy. Are you there London? come in London!

The Perfumed Dandy.

Chandler Burr

Author, campaigner, critic and curator, there is no more tireless advocate for perfumery to be regarded as the ‘olfactory art’ than Chandler Burr.

His 2003 work ‘The Emperor of Scent’charted the origins of Luca Turin’s theories on the functioning of human sense of smell. In his 2005 article for The New Yorker he followed Jean-Claude Ellena’s year-long creation, in Paris and Grasse, of ‘Un Jardin sur le Nil’ for Hermes.

Out of the piece grew his next book ‘The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris & New York’, which captures not only Ellena’s creative process but also the actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s involvement in the first perfume to bear her name ‘Lovely’.

Between 2006 and 2010 Chandler served as The New York Times’ perfume critic, a move the paper’s style editor commented placed its coverage on a par with “the way it does…

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AN ANNIVERSARY ~ Scents Memory Celebrates!

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Well can you believe it? Scents Memory has been up and running for a whole year now. My Paper Anniversary. I want to thank all my 163 readers for following along on my olfactory journey.  It has been so much fun and work and then fun again and we will be going on to more reviews and assorted memories in the future.

However, it is Summer here in San Francisco so that means time to bundle up and put some logs on the fire and take a bit of a vacation.  So for the next few weeks I will be off doing some rest and recuperation and charging my creative batteries. So in the meantime check out some of my blog links for some good reading. Everything from Victoria Gent up in Sunny Seattle on EauMG though the delightful musings of Portia and the gang down south in Sydney at The Australian Perfume Junkies and of course my darling Vickie Lester at Beguiling Hollywood. And no blog jog would be complete without a pop over to London to for tea and a chat with The Perfumed Dandy. And for you fashionistas please check out Garance Dorés delightful blog and her husband Scott at his blog The Sartorialist.  There are lots more to check out so just look to your right and scroll down for more links.

So for now a nice warm scented bath and then off I sail in my barge of gold for my little stay at home vacation.

  See you all in a few weeks!

Love Always,

Lanier

 

 

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