ALONE AT LAST ~ Gs03 from Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

Biehl

Movie stars are strange creatures who flourish and grow bright in the cold glare of fame. It is a brittle brightness that often shatters in natural surroundings. When there is no one looking, no stalking paparazzi on the pavement outside Le Cirque. It happens when one sunny day they turn a head to find no fans trailing behind on Rodeo Drive to flame the ego. No stardust left to add glitter to the id. That is when they begin to die, up, way up above mere mortals in the sky they loosen and begin to fall.

There are only a rare few who truly don’t care. The ones who don’t put on a disguise and try to hide just for a sliver of me time. They can turn off that inner starlight and walk among the hoi polloi without eliciting a sudden gasp of “Oh …oh! It’s you!”  They don’t want to be alone like other stars who really mean “look at me!” when they protest the eye of the telephoto lens. They just want from time to time to be left alone.

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Strolling on this overcast spring day in Cimetière du Père-Lachaise the biggest movie star in the world, David Black went quite un-noticed by the few people he passed in this city of the dead in the center of Paris. He was just a man with an annoying cold walking under the new leaves unfolding over the departed. The irony of his stroll did not escape him, the fact that he sought a hour of anonymity in a place packed with fallen stars.  Balzac, and Bernhardt, Simone Signoret and Yves Montand. Piaf is there and Callas no more. Just an empty urn for her is all that remains. Only one grave draws a crowd, the ravaged remains of Jim Morison’s tomb can be found with mourners in grievous attendance that were born long after he was interred.

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David paused before the thousand lipstick kisses the cover the monument that keeps Oscar Wilde’s wit in check. Each lip that touched that stone belonged to a man pursed and placed on rough granite in memory of the love that dare not speak its name. That old concept of love is buried  there too. Even though David was not one of the “boys” something made him want feel his lips touch the stone.

“Do you know what his last words were?”  A woman nearby said to her husband.

“No.”

“Well, he looked around the shabby hotel room he was dying in and said; ‘‘My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has to go.’.”

No chance of sun on this day and the cold he was fighting was growing worse. David took out his handkerchief and blew his nose quietly as he walked past the woman who had no idea the object of her fantasies was so near. It felt good and clean and wonderful to be alone with his thoughts. To be just a human looking at what was in store for everyone, the final escape into the anonymous.  He was tired of his life, of fame, of the unwanted beauty that brought so much pain. How he longed to be free of this body that held him prisoner, a body owned by every kind of camera on earth.

A few drops of dew fell of the Sycamore trees above him…or maybe it was the beginning of a spring shower. In any case it was getting late. He had better get back to the Plaza Athénée and the interviewers who waited there. On his way out, near the west gate David came across the grave of Colette. He stopped to pay homage to the writer he admired. He heard someone softly weeping. David turned to see a man crying a few plots away at a small tomb marked with a little soulless angel in white marble. He gently bent to replace rotted bouquet with fresh white flowers. David read the name on the tomb, it simply said VIBERT. A sneezing fit gripped David and he turned away to face Colette’s gave and jammed his handkerchief to his nose to stop the attack. Completely alone he thought about her and where she was now.

A police siren screamed at the west gate drowning out the click of a shutter from behind a mulberry bush.   That night the photo of him blowing his nose was splashed all over the papers, the internet and television.

 

“DAVID BLACK BREAKS DOWN IN TEARS AT FAMED WRITERS GRAVESIDE!”

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***

 From Berlin comes the perfume house of Biehl Parfumkunstwerke. This house created by Thorsten Biehl in 2006 presents to perfumers from around the world a chance to create unusual and beautiful perfumes free of marketing constraints or commercial expectations. Like Fredric Malle this is a house that celebrates the artist who create perfume.

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GEZA SCHOEN

GS03 is the creation of prolific perfumer Geza Schoen who has created perfumes for Clive Christian, Eccentric Molecule and Ormonde Jayne. GS03 is a swirling, exciting, lush and intoxicating magic spell that is disguised as a woody floral musk. Don’t let the modernity of the bottle or the house fool you. This is old style perfume glamour retrofitted for both men and women of the early 21st century. There is a citrus freshness that whispers of being more than that when it gets busy being dirty, sexy and a little kinky. It is like a great character in a film noir thriller, it starts off looking innocent but it ends up being dangerous.

Let’s look at the call sheet for the notes in GS03.

The Big Break: It burst on the scene camera ready with a crisp Neroli, photo realistic orange blossoms that radiate ingénue glamour as they share the spotlight with a tartly sweet mandarin orange that possess a bit more experience than the blossoms do at an opening. There is juniper and pink pepper that give this premiere a brisk cocktail shaker of oomph.

A Star is Born: Earthy and comfortable in its skin, the iris enters wrapped in a very mature rose. This star shines in the middle of the red carpet of this perfume and what is it wearing that makes it stand out from the merely beautiful? A sophisticated, chic white jasmine skin tight and just right finishes the picture perfect entrance. The heat is on baby as this perfume begins to mesmerize.

Legend: The third act, the dry down is where the mature, self confident sexy beast comes to play. This guy is no flash in the pan but a star with staying power. Tart and dry as a martini  the vetiver lies here warmed by a boozy benzoin. Castoreum and musk do a dark and dirty seduction of the senses leaving me hungry for more. A hint of tonka bean at the base of the woody rough cedar ignites in the night with a classy masculine oakmoss.  Fade to black.

AVAG ARDNER BURT LANCASTER

GS03 ~ Packs all the heat of Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster in “The Killers”

GS03 is one of those perfumes that falls squarely in the middle of the uni-sex camp. Anyone can wear it. On a woman it is darkly glamorous; on a man it is Noir, and dangerously sexy. In both cases it is mysterious and splendidly right. Long lasting at about 8 hours, for me and not bombastic in its sillage it never screams look at me. It’s too smart for that kind of immaturity.

I was so taken by this perfume that I had to wear it for a week trying to understand its complex beauty. It is as magnetic and charismatic as it gets yet deeply personal and mysterious. It is enigmatically beautiful and compelling. I truly have become a fan of this star from Biehl Parfumkunstwerke.

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GS03 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke ~ Five Gold Stars *****

MOVIE MEMORY ~ The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) 1963

The Leopard is perhaps the most beautiful films in Italian Cinema and one of the best from this country of great filmmakers. Directed by the master of period films Luchino Visconti it is sweeping, grand and magnificent in the telling of the story of the unification of Italy from the point of view of Sicilian Prince Don Fabrizio Salina. It encompasses the fall of the old ways of the aristocracy of a divided Italy and the rise of a new country with a healthy vibrant middleclass that would change Italy forever.

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The film is dominated by the best work captured on film of the great American actor, Burt Lancaster. He inhabits the role of the Italian Prince Salina with the dignity, power and grace of a true prince of cinema. It is reported in the extras on this Criterion DVD that he based his character on that of the equally aristocratic Visconti. Shrewd man that Lancaster was, for he presents us with two portraits, that of Visconti vision of the prince and that of his own interpretation embodiment of the director. Throughout the film there is in Lancaster a touch of the wounded or fallen hero. As the film progresses he fades in power and seems the verge of some terrible loss. His world is dying and he is on the edge of death itself. He seems, and is in fact in the end very near death though we are not shown anything more than a mere indication of his doom. In his final moments on screen he is heartbreaking.

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There are so many other wonderful performances in the film. Rina Morelli is proud, haughty, silly and touching as the wife of the Prince. Terrance Hill is wonderful in his small role of Count Cavriaghi, friend and wartime companion to the prince’s nephew Tancredi Falconeri. Alain Delon creates in Tancredi a magnificent spoiled and ultimately self-destructive young man who at first embraces the changes in the new Italy even to the point of wooing a woman from the middle class who a few years earlier would never have even been considered suitable. He gives in this film one of his best performances.

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And among the most luscious women of the Italian cinema of the 1960’s is Claudia Cardinale. A star of so many memorable films in both Italy and the U.S. she is here so stunningly beautiful and perfect as the fiancée  of Tancredi that she seems almost unreal. Her Angelica Sedara is both ethereal and earthy. The scene where she reacts at a formal dinner to a ribald story told by Delon is perfection. Her presence at the ball at the end of the film is truly memorable.

The sets, costumes and locals of the film are resplendent in scope and detail from the magnificent villa of the prince with it’s real silk walls to the ballroom at the end of the film set in the center of a palatial villa of unequaled splendor. The film is so magnificent that it is almost impossible to take it all in at one time. It bears repeated viewings and on the largest screen possible.

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This Criterion presentation is magnificent and loaded with wonderful extras that shed light on the making of and restoration of this masterpiece. The DVD is full of insights, included are interview with the screenwriters, set and costume designers, and the producer as well as the charming Miss Cardinale. You are also given the chance of viewing the Italian version or the re-cut (by a young Sydney Pollack) American version.

Visconti was an incredibly gifted and fascinating filmmaker who should not be overlooked by any true lover of cinema. The Leopard is his masterwork.

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What perfume would  Prince Don Fabrizio Salina have worn? Well for my money in the saving scene it would have to be ,  Garofano by Santa Maria Novella. One of the oldest perfume houses of Italy. This carnation perfume created in 1828 would have been perfect for the prince with its  top notes of  lemon, bergamot, mandarin and neroli. Middle notes of rosemary, petit grain, lavender and clove. a nice drydown of carnation and benzoin. An eau de cologne fit for a Prince.

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