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

SMELLY FRIENDS! ~ 3rd Annual San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon

FragranceSalonSquare-web(photo borrowed from Taste T.V.)

Saturday March 15th I spent most of the day, a glorious spring in winter day here in San Francisco with many friends in the local fragrance community at the 3rd Annual San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon. Enjoy the video.

 

I am going up to Seattle for a week and when I return I will have more reviews!

 

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.

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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.

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Hilary Rayvis Randall and Antonia Kohl

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

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

THE PAST IS TOMORROW ~ Vesper by MIKMOI

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“Diamonds are forever, but we both know I am not.” He whispered to her just as the evening prayers began in St. Marks. Tiffany let go of his hand and turned to look at the dark waters of Regent’s canal which ran past the old church under a bridge on Prince Albert Road and into Regent’s Park. .

 Regent's Canal, Londres, Royaume-Uni

“I know James, I’ve always known.”  She sighed and squared her shoulders. “I guess I’ll go back to America.”

“I think it would be best darling. I’ll make all the arrangements. Thursday I have to go to Istanbul on a job and maybe St. Petersburg. Can you be ready to leave on Wednesday?”

“Yes… Maybe you can send me some remembrance of you from Russia with love?”  She turned and smiled against the dying light of the early autumn sky. A diamond bright tear quivered in the corner of her eye.  She quickly wiped it away. “I don’t believe in God, but somehow I feel like praying. Will you walk me to the door of the church?”

“You don’t need to pray for yourself.”

Rather than answer him, she took his hand again and walked with him to the entrance to St. Mark’s.  She turned to him on the steps. “My prayers won’t be for myself, they’ll be for you my darling Mr. Bond.” She smiled, brushed a lock of his hair way from his brow then turned and disappeared into the sanctuary.

He stood on the steps of the church for a few heartbeats. He didn’t want to send Tiffany away but he knew it was just no good. It hadn’t been good since Royale-les-Eaux and the woman who had killed  the last shred of humanity in him. He turned from the church and started to walk along Prince Albert Road toward his flat. Beneath the twilight twinkle of the heartless stars that watched over London he pushed the memories that French town on the English Channel as deep into his soul as he could.

He had no remorse, guilt or moral compass when it came to killing a man, or a woman. That’s what made him a perfect agent for Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  He was afraid of no one. Except that single stiletto sharp memory, that haunted his dreams. Not every night and not always remembered but it was always near. There was no quantum of solace to be found in his dreams when her specter arose to slash at his armor with half remembered kisses and bloody sweet lies.

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In a weak romantic moment that night in the Casino he invented a martini and named it after her. These days, these nights, he never drank that bitter cocktail, Now it was just vodka, vermouth, shaken well. Not stirred to distraction which he would be if he didn’t stop thinking of her.  It nagged at the edges of his mind, the unshakeable fact that he was sending Tiffany away as he would any woman who came too close. It would be just so with women until the day of his death.  Because of the woman he met at the Casino Royale he had to kill love as surely as he would any enemy who threatened to expose him. But tonight she wouldn’t die twice.

Bond turned toward the oncoming headlights on Prince Albert Road and flagged a cab.

“Where to sir?”  The cabbie said bright as a penny.

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“Dukes Hotel.”

A quarter of an hour later Bond was seated at the bar in Dukes. The barman at attendance smiled warmly.

“Good evening Mr. Bond. Will it be the usual?

“Not tonight Alessandro, I need to kill a ghost, put an end so to speak to being the property of a lady.”

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(Photo of THE Allesandro at Duke’s Hotel stolen from dukeshotel.com)

Ah…I see, you haven’t had one of those in quite a while, let’s see, three measures of Gordon’s, if I am not mistaken, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, and then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Have I got it?

“Got it.”

The lemon peel like a sparkling golden eye at the center of the cocktail winked in the low light of the bar as Alessandro placed the drink on a crisp napkin in front of Bond.

He looked at it and then as Alessandro stepped away he realized it was no use.  She would never let him go. Before he lifted the glass to taste one last time her poison he said her name very softly.

“Vesper….”

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From the first moment I first saw the bottle of Vesper the unisex perfume by MIKMOI last March at the San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon I was captivated by the polished beauty of the Italian made flacon and enchanted the perfume that it held within its impressive form. (When you look down through the bottom of the bottle there is a charming surprise.)

I asked its creator Mik of MIKMOI if he had named it after the evening prayer practice in many Christian churches or if he had christened it after Vesper Lynd the heroine in Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale”. I was delighted when he said.

“It is named after both the prayers and the woman.”

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Vesper has a sensuality that bleeds into a reverent introspective and contemplative feeling of soft dreamy layers like sea fog on a summer evening.  It is both a prayer and a remembrance of something precious that is past away and lost forever. “Vesper” is simply a beautiful perfume. And running below its beauty like a subterranean river is a touch of Japanese style and elegance.

The opening is as sharp as the fist sip of a martini and indeed there is a delicious note of Lillet in the opening. Lillet is a French aperitif that is used to make a Vesper Martini and quite nice on its own as well. There is nothing boozy or blowsy about this note, but rather urbane and stylish. It brings in a French perfume feeling to the rather surprising center notes to come.  The liqueur sharpness is quickly gone and replaced with a rich green fig note which deepens into the Lillet and enhances the elegance of this perfume. The fig is our fist hint of the East as we slowly move away from European tradition toward something new.

In the center a sophisticated and very cool Baccara rose unfolds like beautiful origami flower with ribbons of soft supple suede trailing from her long graceful stem. Here it moves toward a more Japanese feeling in it subtle play of notes. There is really a lovely soft green accord that plays over the rose and suede making it very distinctive and unusual.  In the base come the prayers on tendrils of twisting smoky myrrh, and frankincense coiling over the delicate amber. These incense notes with the amber can be both European cathedral and Shinto temple. It is all in your perspective on how they will play out for you.

The sillage is not overwhelming nor should it be. This is something as subtle as geisha’s glance across a fan and as beautiful and layered as a fine Kimono. On my skin the perfume lasts about eight hours moving very close to the skin at about three hours in.

Vesper begins in sensuality and ends in beautiful reverent place of meditation. A most unusual journey for a perfume and in so I find that Vesper is a really gorgeous fragrance.

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(Vesper photo MIKMOI)

Vesper by MIKMOI Five Gold Stars *****

Where to purchase Vesper and other perfumes by MIKMOI: http://www.mikmoi.com/

(Vesper and Bond ~ Bojrk “You Only Live Twice:)

MEETING MIK ~ MIKMOI perfume

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

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

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

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

“Where are you?”

“I am at Ritual Coffee.”

 rc

My favorite Coffee Popup, Ritual Coffee

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

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

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

 MM_Studio_large

Mik of Mikmoi (photo from Mikmoi website)

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

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

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

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

MEETING THE MAGICIANS ~ SF ARTISAN PERFUME SALON 2013

OVERTURE

Market Street was misty and nearly deserted at 8:30 last Sunday morning. I stood on the corner at 3rd street with “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” plugged into my ears waiting for Hillary. We were meeting this early spring morning to head off to the 2nd annual SF Artisan Perfume Salon.  I turned to look up the street towards Twin Peaks and saw Hilary walking toward me with a big smile looking like every inch Truman Capote’s New York City heroine and Henry Mancini’s music only added to the moment.

We caught the 30 Stockton at Kearney Street and gabbed and laughed as we passed through the red and gold of Chinatown and the green red and white of North Beach. On what bus other in the world can you pass from San Francisco into Hong Kong followed by Rome and end up with a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge?

There was a wonderful farmer’s market going on at Fort Mason where our event was to take place and being a little early we took a peak at the flower, and vegetables bright and fragrant in the early warm sunshine. When we arrived at the Festival Pavilion Hillary went in to meet Paul Kiler whom she would be assisting for the event. As I waited for the doors to open I took a few shots of my surroundings.

  

ACT ONE:

The ground floor of the event was devoted to chocolate. Chocolate of every description and a delight, it was hard to pass up as I headed for the elevated terrace at the back of the hall where the perfume show was just getting underway.

 PK PERFUME

PK PERFUMES

First off I met perfume composer Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes. Paul who was very gracious told me a bit of his story. He is self taught and has after many years of work and dedication to the art of perfume released his line. He showed me an amazing photo of his in home studio and being a one man show he does it all, from perfume making to designing every aspect of the bottling and marketing of his product.

 4

PAUL KILER AND HILARY RANDAL

   Of the ten perfumes I tried the real stand out to me were Red Leather, Ere (two years in the making), Gold Leather. He told me that for Ere he goes out into the Serra Nevada forests and to harvest a fern commonly knows as Mountain Misery or as the Native American’s called it Kit-Kit-Dizzie. He then extracts the oil from the fern himself.  Paul really impressed me as an artist with a passion for his perfumes.

5

AT THE ENVOYAGE TABLE WITH SHELLY AND MARIO

ENVOYAGE PERFUMES

I ran into Mario Gomez at Shelly Waddington’s wonderful display of her perfumes. I took lots of photos and they had one of the best spots in the event with huge windows behind them looking out over the San Francisco Bay pocked with sailboats. There were some wonderful perfumes presented by Envoyage of which I found most enchanting Go Ask Alice. I was enchanted by the line and each perfume was unique and lead to lots of conversation about notes and the creative process.

8

INEKE

INEKE

I was very excited to meet the beautiful and elegant Ineke in person and she and her wonderful husband could not have been kinder or more welcoming. I told her how popular her fragrances are with the women where I work both in office and with clients around the country that I have introduced her perfume to. We shared a giggle when I told her my sample selection has disappeared over the course of my showing it to the women in my life. Her new fragrance is Hot House Flower and it is a stunner. So between you and me, there will be more reviews in store for this wonderful perfume house.

And we can’t leave Ineke without mentioning here brilliantly beautiful and yes iconic flacons. There is symmetry and beauty in the shape, elegant and unique labeling for each make then all a work of art for your vanity. This kind of work demands a glass case with great lighting. And the wonderful sampler is packaged and presented like a fabulous jewelry box from Bulgari or Cartier. Everything about Ineke is just brilliant from concept to completion.

INTERMISSION:

9ON THE LEFT ROXANNA OF ROXANNA ILLUMINATED PERFUME

At this point I took a break to attend two lectures, the first by Roxanna of Roxanna Illuminated Perfume. (She makes a wonderful natural perfume called Bee)  She gave a very interesting and engaging talk on the his-story of perfume. From China along the Silk Road to Petra and the ancient Middle East we traveled with Roxanna through the history of perfume. The story of the spread of civilization and ideas is built upon the trade of fine fragrance. Through her story we walked the halls of the Lochais Palace in Alexandria with Cleopatra and learned of her mastery of the use of fragrance. Then on to Greece and Rome which took us into the middle ages and on up to pre Colombian Americas and into the present. Roxanna ended our tour with some wonderful samples to smell of the most unusual oils. My favorite came from a mushroom and smelled of wet earth and new life.

9A

THE WONDERFUL TAMA FROM CA FLEURE BON

Then there was an equally marvelous talk by Tama a perfume writer for the blog Ca Fleure Bon. Her talk was “How To Write About And Review Perfume” Tama is a great speaker and really held me in the palm of her hand as she explained that the title of the talk was given to her by the producers of the event and that she had a bit of a different bent on the idea. She took us though her journey of becoming a perfume reviewer by letting us first smell samples of some of the perfumes that changed here point of view and writing style, which gave her maturity as a perfume writer, perfumes that in fact lead her to her passion to write and write so very well about fragrance.  Then after we smelled the blotters we would give a one word impression. She then told us what perfume it was and read a little excerpt from the review. It was so interesting and really illuminating to me to learn of her process.

ENT’RACT:

After a quick lunch with Hilary lead me down to the chocolate extravaganza and together we raided a few chocolate exhibits, and a marvelous Absinthe maker by the name of Raff Distillerie. But that is another story…and probably with not a very pretty ending.

ACT TWO:

 6

MIK OF MIKMOI

MIKMOI

Hilary introduced me to Mik the nose behind Mikmoi San Francisco. This utterly engagingly delightful man led me through his gorgeous line of bespoke perfumes. First up was VESPER inspired by the cocktail invented by Ian Fleming in his book “Casino Royale” Well, since I am a huge Bond fan and I mix a mean Vesper he had me at shaken not stirred.  It was beautiful, one of the top scents I experienced at the event. And the bottles are breathtaking. Mik told me that they were imported Italian glass. The attention to detail and artistry by the glass blowers for these elegant bottles is evident. They carry in them the DNA of the simple beauty of the No. 5 bottle.

7

The color of the juice is also very elegant and specific to a not often seen pastel in green and pink. The blue is Mediterranean aqua and the gold juice is pure Venetian. The line up is Aldwych, Vesper, Itoh and Ao. Before I moved on Mik hand wrapped in soft blue triangle cloth in the Japanese style a set of samples for me, as he did for each visitor. What a perfect gentleman he is.

9BSANAE

SANAE INTOXICANTS

The beautiful and very sweet Sanae of Sanae Intoxicants introduced me to her line of perfume. Meadow Slumber (lovely), Burning Ocean (arresting), Smoking Rose (gorgeous) and Bonnie Billy (My Pick for best of her line). We had a lovely chat about perfume and dreams they evoke along with the magic that comes along with perfume. Sanae was a delightful discovery.

 

DR. ELLEN COVEY

OLYMPIC ORCHIDS

I found a bit of home at the booth for the Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes by Dr. Ellen Covey. Her line comes from the heart and reflects her passion for fragrance over the idea of mass appeal. It was refreshing and fun to explore her perfumes. But when I picked up the bell jar over Olympic Rainforest I was instantly transported to my Mother and Father’s garden in Puyallup Washington. It was so powerful and evocative. Hilary also had the same experience with California Chocolate. One little sniff and she was transported back to her childhood and memories of her mothers favorite chocolate candy that was made from orange peels dipped in chocolate.  There you have it, right there in a bottle, a memory.

9CJOSH AND BRANDY OF IMAGINARY AUTHORS

IMAGINARY AUTHORS

Upon entering the world of imaginary Authors you infiltrate a world where literature and fragrance meet. I was welcomed by perfumer Josh Meyer and the charming Brandy Hibben like an old friend who shared their passion for beauty. The company is based in Portland Oregon and Josh has only been making perfume for eight years, but boy does he have a wonderful vision. The highlights for me in his line are Soft Lawn, Falling Into The Sea and the very wonderful Bulls Blood.

FINALE:

 BRUNO FAZZOLARI

BRUNO FAZZOLARI

BRUNO FAZZOLARI

Fine artist Bruno Fazzolari is a painter and has exhibited in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He initiated his way to perfume because he finds an undeniable link between art and fragrance and in so doing has taken a rather challenging step for himself into the unknown world of perfume. This was his launch event at SF Artisan Perfume Salon.

What a debut it was. This young man entered the arena with a polish and style unexpected by a newcomer. The entire presentation was clean, crisp and elegant. An artist eye was certainly at work in every aspect of the visual as you approached his booth. Perfect placement of each object from the white Hydrangeas to in a small square vase to the right to the elegant placement of the perfume blotters turned it into a visual art installation that drew you into the olfactory experience.

The perfumes are Lampblack, Jimmy, Monserrat, Five, and Au Dela. Each of them brilliant works of a master nose. I was staggered by the complexity and beauty I encountered with Bruno’s perfumes. What struck me is that they are so rooted in the classic scents of the past, very French and very haut couture in feel. I just happened to bring along a bottle of vintage Miss Dior to share with Hilary and when she put it on she exclaimed its Divaesque brilliance and how it compared so favorably to Bruno’s work.

This is a perfumer to watch. I certainly hope he keeps on working. And I for one can’t wait to see what happens next with his art and perfume.

EXIT MUSIC:

As the event wound down it was fun to watch the perfumers mingle and explore there fellow perfumers wares. And as Hilary and I were leaving I regretted that I had not visited all the booths before my nose had given up the olfactory ghost. And I keep feeling that there was something I had missed. On the way out we bumped into the very person who I had wanted to meet but somehow did not. Yosh! I have smelled her perfumes at Barney’s and love her work. But I kept missing her table as I made my rounds. Hilary introduced us and she was a delight, so sweet and kind after the long fun filled but exhausting day. I told her how much I enjoyed her interview with the Fragrance Bros. on YouTube and how sorry I was that I missed meeting her. I was gobsmacked when she said she would love to have me visit her studio. So as Hilary says, it is a perfect universe.

 9D

PK PERFUMES:

http://pkperfumes.com/

ENVOYAGE PERFUMES:

http://www.envoyageperfumes.com/store/

INEKE:

http://www.ineke.com/

ILLUMINATED PERFUMES:

http://www.illuminatedperfume.com/

CA FLEURE BON:

http://www.cafleurebon.com/

MIKMOI:

http://www.mikmoi.com/

SANAE INTOXICANTS:

http://www.sanaeintoxicants.com/

OLYMPIC ORCHIDS:

http://www.orchidscents.com/Default_v3.aspx

IMAGINARY AUTHORS:

http://imaginaryauthors.com/

BRUNO FAZZOLARI PERFUME:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BrunoFazzolari

ART SITE:

http://www.brunofazzolari.com/index.php?/work/lampblack/

YOSH:

http://www.eaudeyosh.com/

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