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


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.

 Tonia and Betsy Barron

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.


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.


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.


“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.


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!)


(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.


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.


(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

Tigerlily Email: info@tigerlilysf.com

LES BALLET DES PENHALIGON’S ~ Launch of Iris Prima by Penhaligon’s


 “And there are going to be bagpipes!” I told my friend Lane when I was describing the Launch which took place yesterday by Penhaligon’s of their new fragrance Iris Prima at Saks Fifth Avenue. Sometimes I get the details a little wrong.

My two perfume guru’s Hilary Randall and Michal Gizinski had invited me to meet them downtown so that we three could go together to the opening across Union Square at Saks. I popped in a half hour early to Barney’s to pick up Hilary and to smell the newly arrived line from Atkinson’s of London.  This house has been around since 1799 and was huge in the 1800’s. It is making a comeback and reintroducing classics from its illustrious past. I will do a proper write up on this exciting launch in San Francisco another time, but be alerted that these perfumes are something very special. (they will be officially available on Wednesday the 9th of this month.)

Hilary looked incredibly beautiful in what she called “my retired ballerina look.”  And she was spectacular in along dove grey skirt with a blouse of cream colored linen and lace. She had on yards of beautiful freshwater pearls, enough to choke Coco Chanel’s chauffeur. After a few quick sniffs of Atkinson’s we headed over to Neiman’s to pick up the third member of our perfume triumvirate. Michal always gracious and elegant cut a dashing figure as he greeted us. He was and is an indispensable addition when one is in the realm of new perfumes, art, literature and general fun.


Union Square

   As we made our way around Union Square to Saks the three of us chatted about writers, perfume and the glorious Indian summer weather we are enjoying in San Francisco. The sidewalks were packed with tourists in tee shirts, flip flops and cut offs, I noticed the three of us caused a few heads to turn in our proper go to town duds.


  When we entered Saks there wasn’t a bagpiper in sight. But there was a ballerina! Oh Ballerinas not bagpipes! See what I mean about the details? A lovely young lady in tutu and toe shoes offered us red ribbons scented with Penhaligon’s new perfume Iris Prima. It is a light lovely scent that opens with a brief pas de deux of bergamot and pink pepper. Its signature iris is on pointe and center stage with a lovely jasmine to support it. And in the dry down the corps de ballet comes on in the form of leather, sandalwood, vetiver, amber, vanilla and benzoin. It is quite a lovely floral woody with very little austerity one usually finds in iris perfumes. I would recommend it to someone new to perfume as a soft introduction to Iris.


As the event unfolded we met with Penhaligon’s sales and marketing director and old acquaintance Brian Kurtz. Charming as ever Brian told us about the perfume. The inspiration he told us, came from the smells of the ballet, back stage and in the dressing rooms were the magic of the theater begins each night during the ballet season.  He also filled us in about the recent launch in New York City that was super spectacular. (See the video at the bottom)


Brian Kurtz (left) and Michal Gizinski (right) discuss the finer points of Penhaligon’s

We were then joined buy some of the gang from the Facebook group, S.F. Sniff. It was becoming a really fun party as we greeted old perfume friends from around the Bay Area. Tama Blough from Ca Fleure Bon was in attendance and sporting a cute new hairdo.  I also got to meet briefly one of my favorite YouTube reviewers Sebastian Jara from Man Loves Cologne. I also got to catch up with the beautiful and always sunny Brooke from the East Bay.  We discussed our favorite new perfumes and how much we love to shop at ZGO in the Castro.


Music filled the air and swelled to fill Saks to the rafters.  We turned to find a line of beautiful ballerinas coming up the circular stairs for the shoe department. They presented us with a charming dance sans bagpipes. It was the perfect touch of elegance to go along with this lovely new presentation from the always innovative and exciting house of Penhaligon’s.  I am so happy that there were ballerinas instead of bagpipes!



For all of my Bay Area readers a reminder that this Saturday at Neiman Marcus there will be the Parris Monte Carlo launch at 1pm on the main floor. Be there if you can for what will be one of the perfume highlights of the year. Be sure to say hello to Michal Gizinski our host and meet Gian Luca and Elisabetta Perris who are the guiding forces behind the exhilarating Perris Monte Carlo Perfumes. 

(The beautiful and spectatcular presentation of Iris Prima at Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan)

Penhaligon’s web site: http://www.penhaligons.com/

Sebastian’s Blog Man Loves Cologne: http://www.manlovescologne.com/

Man Loves Cologne on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/manlovescologne?feature=watch

Ca Fleure Bon: http://www.cafleurebon.com/

Atkinson’s Perfumes web site: http://www.atkinsons1799.com/



Something smells in the Castro, and it smells wonderful!

Yesterday I picked up my friend and perfume expert extraordinaire Hillary Randal at Barney’s in the early evening to head up Market Street to meet our friend Lane where the rainbow flag flies at the intersection of Castro and Market.

As we waited a few moments for Lane to arrive at the bustling corner in the heart of the City I shared a sniff with Hillary of the Chanel 1932 sample that I had just received from Surrender To Chance. I told her as she spritzed the juice on a perfume card that I had ordered it for my upcoming review of the newest addition to the Exclusifs line at Chanel. Lane arrived just as we came to the same conclusions about 1932. (You will have to wait a bit for my take on 1932) Hugs were exchanged all around and then we were off to the newest and most exciting fragrance venue in San Francisco, ZGO (Zen ~ Garden ~ Oasis) for their event to introduce the newest additions to their perfume line ups.



We arrived just as the party was getting underway. ZGO is on the corner of 19th and Castro. One of the best locations on the street it is in a classic Victorian storefront with 18 foot ceilings and a wall of windows that give the space a lot of light and warmth. As we entered we were greeted by one of our hosts the lovely Gabrielle Walker. She was so sweet and made us feel like welcome guests of honor. Now that is charm! Champagne was in our hands within seconds to refresh us after our trek up from the Muni station.

The shop is filled with the most amazing array of home scents I have ever seen in one location, Candles and diffusers from all around the world. Many of the candles were under large clear bell jars. When you lifted the jar and put it to your nose you could inhale what ever magic had been captured with in the jar. I just loved that!

At the central table we met Mario Gomez who was our olfactory ambassador for the newest arrivals to ZGO from Nez a Nez, Agonist and Nasomatto. Mario and Hillary are fragrance buddies so it was old home week for them. For Lane and I this was our first meeting with Mario.  We had become friends on Facebook recently and he proved to be charming and so very well informed on the lines he was representing. It was a real pleasure meeting him. I was very excited to learn that he is creating his own perfume line. I can’t wait for that to happen.



Mario first showed us the Nez a Nez line and sprayed the perfume from each of the gorgeous bottles on mauve peacock feathers for us to smell. Now that was really fun and a great idea for sampling the perfume. I was most impressed with Ambre a Sade and L’Hetre Reve.  Hillary, Lane and I all agreed that this Parisian house founded in 2010 was a hit with all of us.



Mario then showed us the Swedish perfume house of Agonist. There line is inspired by literature and film from Sweden and that as you know is something I can relate too. Mario explained to us as we delighted our noses that the line is famous for the very beautiful and expensive flacons handmade by glass artist Åsa Jungnelius at Kosta Boda.

But to make the line more accessible to everyone at a reasonable price they are now released in limited editions in simple elegant flacons. I found I really fell in love with the oriental notes of The Infidels. I was swimming in amber, rose, iris, vanilla, myrrh, cumin, patchouli…oh too many notes to go into but it was heaven.

Next up we had lots of fun with the Dutch house of Nasomatto. The flacons are all very masculine in design with the famous top heavy wooden caps. Lane recalled the old wooden caps from English Leather from years ago when he picked up the bottle of Hindu Grass.



“My husband said when he saw these flacons that the tops seemed more important than the bottoms” Hilary told us. “But in the Castro I think the tops and the bottoms are of equal importance” I just adore Hilary’s sense of humor and spontaneity.

I found the Narcotic Venus to be the most interesting. Lane fell under the spell of Hindu Grass and went the full monty and spayed his wrist. For the rest of the evening we three repeatedly smelled Lane’s wrist to enjoy the fascinating progression from musty basement to freshly worked garden soil. It is a rather avant-guarde perfume and lots of fun in the context of an event like this. It certainly kept us entertained.

There were also other perfumes to explore as well. Wall after wall of the most incredible candles met us at every turn, everything from Aquiesse to Modern Alchemy  Nest and Voluspa and Votivo.  Too many to mention here but I must tell you that the prices are amazing! You can find the candle of your dreams at ZGO at the most reasonable prices I have ever seen ranging from $8 and up. ZGO will be my go to shop for candles from now on. Brilliant presentations and a wonderful selection is what ZGO is all about.


As we made our way around the store more people joined us in the olfactory adventure and it became quite festive. Hillary pointed out that the Castro was the perfect place for ZGO to be because in that neighborhood beauty in all things is appreciated and celebrated. Lane found the Histoires de Parfums display and we really had fun with the martini glass shaped bell jars as we sampled this most interesting house. There were wonderful candles and perfumes from Comme Des Garsons Insense 3 series as well as the perfumes and candles from the #2 and Monocle lines from the house.  And they carry a very large selection of Diptyque as well. By this point I was getting a little light headed.

The big treat for me was to find the Amouage perfumes and to get the chance to see the incredibly beautiful flacons in person and to smell them for the first time. Lane found them to be exquisitely designed and I was surprised that my friend who is all about Chanel Sycomore as his signature scent enjoyed the seductive rich and complex aromas from Oman. But then he has a great nose and does appreciate a beautiful perfume whether or not it is one he would wear. He is so much fun to have along on a perfume sniff.  I sampled them all as Hilary placed each bell jar to my nose. Upon smelling Opus VI I fell into a vat of pure desire for this lush exotic oud perfume.

The evening shifted into full party mode as tray after tray of the most scrumptious sushi came out followed by delightful little cupcakes of every description and flavor. At this point we met one of the owners of ZGO, Claude Gratianne. Tall, handsome and delightful Claude told us a bit about the history of his shop that he and his partner Tani Kampakum  founded. It has only been in the Castro for a short time and began as a candle venture online followed by a shop in the Hayes Valley.   Today in their beautiful new location they are expanding into the world of perfume. Claude is very excited about the new world that perfume is opening up to he and his partner, the store and his clients. He is looking forward to adding even more perfume houses to his stock.  We talked about how important his ongoing online business is as an intrical part of the brick and mortar shop. It makes ZGO and its wonders of scent available to everyone who cannot make the trip to San Francisco. Now that is exciting isn’t it?

Claude Gratianne


(Photo from ZGO Facebook page…I forgot to take his picture!..three glasses of champagne. Oh well!)

As the evening wore down, Lane, Hillary and I bid our gracious hosts Gabriell, Tani and Claude and Mario a reluctant goodnight with much thanks and a promise to return. As we headed into the night in our respective layered clouds of perfume and stuffed with sushi and cupcakes we all agreed that ZGO is a much needed and unique addition to the olfactory scene in San Francisco. New York has Min, Los Angeles has The Scent Bar and we here in San Francisco now have the fabulous ZGO.

For more information AND online shopping  please visit ZGO’s website: http://www.zgostore.com/


600 Castro Street

San Francisco, CA. 94114

Phone: (415) 692-6511

Toll free: 1.888.789.4753

Store hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 7pm

Sunday 11am – 6pm


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