Monthly Archives: February 2014

Rule Britannia…. Elizabeth I by Jean Patou and Historic Royal Palaces for Dame Judi Dench The Perfumed Dandy’s Four Thespian Roses for St Valentine’s Day 

The power of a queen is not determined by her physical stature.

Nor the impact of an actress by her tenure on the screen.

Dame Judi Dench won an Oscar for her fleeting performance of Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare In Love”.

Outshining, to some minds, many of the juvenile leads.

Whether on set she wore the perfume that bears the name of ‘good Queen bess’ I must confess I do not know.

However it would have been most appropriate, for this work of olfactory archaeology must by one of the most ancient scents on the market today.

Lost for many years, the recipe for what fancies itself to be the fragrance worn by England’s Great Virgin, was rediscovered in the library of the Royal Horticultural Society in a volume enticingly named ‘The Mystery and Lure of Perfume’ by C J S Thompson.

It reads thus:

”Take 8 grains of musk and put in rose-water 8 spoonfuls, 3 spoonfuls of Damask-water, and a quarter of an ounce of sugar. Boil for five hours and strain it”

How closely these instructions have been followed by Patou, who worked with Historic Royal Palaces, to restore the perfume is unknown.

The result, however, is distinctly pleasing.

Old fashioned in an imperially-laundered way, it is an aroma by which to set sail and conquer continents.

Subtle, yet persuasive, it is not provocative or alluring, this is a pretty, clean, restrained rose to be admired, but not defiled.

One imagines it was once used in great quantities and in so doing to similar effect…

A side note on Dame Judi, though her appearance in this instance might have been short, her presence on the British stage and screen is long.

She first appeared professionally in 1957 at the Old Vic, forerunner to the National Theatre. She has gone on to play practically every major female part in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama, Chekhov, Ibsen and the modern canon.

She won her first BAFTA film award (of six) in 1966, her first for television in 1968, the same year that she opened in the West End premiere of Cabaret as Sally Bowles to huge acclaim.

And whilst she has amassed more than 25 major film awards over her 55 year plus career it is to the theatre that she belongs.

Perhaps best known to the rest of the world as ‘M’ in the Bond films, at the age of 79 she has been voted ‘Greatest Theatre Actor of All Time’ by her peers and fellow professionals in industry bible “The Stage”.

Rose Queen of the Theatre.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy



Filed under Uncategorized

Queen of Hearts…. Voleur de Roses by l’Artisan Parfumeur for Helena Bonham Carter The Perfumed Dandy’s Four Thespian Roses for St Valentine’s Day 

Eccentric, gothic, playful, sexual.

A woodland elf with a crazed costumiers dress sense.

Helena Bonham Carter is the only living actress one can imagine brining in her own clothes to star as Miss Havisham, the Red Queen or an ape.

But what perfume would be the perfect compliment to her apparel?

One that matches her character we feel…

Eccentric, gothic, playful, sexual…. that’s l’Artisan Parfumeur’s Voleur de Roses in four words.

A menacing black mantilla of patchouli to make an entrance, pulled back over the head when the audience is underway to reveal full rose lips that, when kissed, carry something of plums, the bitterness of their skins still intact.

In time, a note of heavy theatrical maquillage becomes apparent, for this is, after all a performance of a Queen.

Perhaps the closest thing Britain has to a ‘movie star’ as opposed to the more august ‘actress’, Helena is quite every bit as grand as that double barreled name might suggest.

Her paternal great grandfather was H.H. Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916, and that side of the family is littered with the great and the good from Florence Nightingale to the present day. Meanwhile on her mother’s side, her grandfather Eduardo Propper de Callejón saved thousands of Jews from the holocaust and was recognised as Righteous Among the Nations.

With that sort of pedigree, whilst Helena may not be a real queen she’s certainly screen aristocracy in every sense of the word.

Slice of antique wedding cake anyone?

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


Filed under Uncategorized

Shaken… with thorns… 900 by Aramis for Daniel Craig The Perfumed Dandy’s Four Thespian Roses for St Valentine’s Day

Not 007 but 900 this time for Mr Craig.

This roughed up rose: green, dirty, mossy, animal and uncompromising is the perfect perfume for the actor who has returned a sense of the complex, disturbed and difficult to Her Majesty’s Favorite Secret Agent.

The scent opens assertively, some even sensing outright aggression in amongst the oakmoss, coriander, green notes and pepper.

Then the rose, animal, fleshy but also strangely, astringently medicinal comes into play it seduces, but with a definite kick, an edge, a hint of danger.

It dries down into spice and sandalwood, wild grass and earth, never fully leaving behind the floral.

As ever for any Mr Bond, it all ends with a roll in the hay!

Rose petal martinis all round says I!

Shaken, not stirred, of course.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


Filed under Uncategorized

A Dozen Roses for December (or February) The Perfumed Dandy’s Twelve Days Before Christmas Part V

With snow a foot deep in North America and wind and rain sweeping in across dear old Blighty. We are all weather-beaten lovers this year in the Northern Hemisphere. So, with real flowers somewhat thin on the ground, why not consider picking up the sort of fragrant rose that comes in a flacon? These may have been suggested for St Nicholas’s feast but will do just fine as a token of adoration whatever the object. Happy St Valentine’s all! Yours ever The Perfumed Dandy

The Perfumed Dandy.


Surely nothing in the floral world is as luxurious as roses at the Yuletide.

Being able to defend myself against everything except decadence… I give you, dear readers, a dozen…

Knowing by Estee Lauder

Winter roses emerge as forces of will against nature.

They are determined, know their own minds and come replete with thorns.

Lauder’s animalic, oakmoss-heavy floral chypre may not seem in the least bit festive.

But get further acquainted and she has a generous heart.

The Dandy knows her of old… why not read the full review.

La Fille de Berlin by Serge Lutens

Perhaps because I tried it in a Paris gripped by snow and frosts in February.

Maybe because it recalls a world of black and white movies, which is most certainly so very Christmas too.

Or simply for it hints at something darker, a casual pain that must be gone through to…

View original post 512 more words


Filed under Uncategorized

Of all the gardens in all the world… Une Rose by Frederic Malle The Perfumed Dandy’s Rose Scented Letter


Today the flower bed is Flanders Fields.

The few fool hard February roses are poppies made.

Protruding on precarious stalks from sodden earth turned clay with endless winter’s rain.

One, though, remains almost the same.


Identical in raw silk swirls to last summer, when, dressed in fatigues, he tapped your left shoulder, made you turn, scurried round to steal a kiss upon a your right cheek.

Then behind his back, with hidden hands, lest you chastise him for his horticultural crime he removed a whole corolla from its stem. Bringing forward and together cupped palms, offered you a bowl of crimson petals.

Holy roses.

You lean in to smell the bloom before you now, its perfume pathetically diminished.

All season-sapped strength has been coraled into this fine display, leaving nothing behind for scent.

“Of all the rose gardens in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine.”

You’d said it as soon as you saw her name.

He, predictably, replied:

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Or the end, you thought, as his hand, calloused by army drills linked with yours, hardened with pruning and hoeing and weeding.

His khaki, your park keeper’s green, merging into camouflage you wished could hide you from the world and his call back to Helmand.

The aroma from half a year ago returns.

Inside, but not in approximation, no: hi definition news channel fidelity.

That same smell. Precisely.

Glace fruit, green at once wooden stem, the taste of red wine on his blistered lips as they search to find your mouth, the buzz of bumble bees, the musk of his armpits.


That one rose.


Your six foot frame, normally so composed, as athletic as his soldier’s, still as supple as the dancer you dreamt of being, is about to give way.

The flourish from “Gone With The Wind” bursts forth from your mobile phone.

You redden. An elderly Japanese woman in an immaculate Macintosh of the type the British themselves never wear anymore looks across bemused from a nearby bench.

His face a few inches square on your screen.

New message.

“Here’s looking at you, kid!”

The roses in the mud look all the more like opium poppies now, and Wilfred Owen’s lines run through your mind.

Une Rose by Edouard Flechier for Frederic Malle is a narcotically, deceptively simple floral.


A truth serum scent that remembers in hyper-reality an exact fragrance belonging to a certain flower at a determined time.

This is, as the name suggests, the smell unique to a strain of rose, perhaps even a specific plant, possibly just in one season, week, hour or moment.


It is the memory of how a flower seemed, smelt, just ‘then’, rendered chemical, bottled, shipped and sold.

That said, it is not straightforward, for roses aren’t.

If other flowers contain olfactory kingdoms, roses are continents.

Here we have an opening that is full with fruit, sweet, too sweet perhaps for some, leaning a little to a bath oil and attars.

Then nature intrudes, a wood that is more green stalk than tree, a hint of honey and other flowers and something that adds depth, frivolity and flirtation.

Red wine: Beaujolais rather than Bordeaux, playful, young, mischievous.

Yet, all said, just as wine, for all the allusions it contains, still invariably tastes of wine, so this perfume is pervasively, inescapably, all about rose.

A sculpted, complex, personal, sexual, recollection of a rose.

Play it again, Frederic.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


Filed under Uncategorized

The Perfumed Baker’s dozen: Thirteen roses for anyone feeling unlucky in love 

Last year, for those unlucky in love I made a suggestion of a few roses one might buy oneself should the world not have furnished one with sufficient flowers on St Valentine’s Day. This year, I reblog that same list by way of prophylaxis: why not grab yourself a bloom today just in case someone fails to do the honourable thing tomorrow?!? You deserve it after all!

The Perfumed Dandy.

If a Dandy can’t love himself who the devil’s going to love a Dandy?

Well, so say I.

And yet, as souls sleep in the East, the public houses of London call last orders and people all over the Americas prepare for home time there will be Dandies and Dandiladies who are unhappy, unsatisfied and frankly insatiable.

But why? I hear you cry.

Well, dear fiends, they have been unlucky in love.

They may be with many or entirely without lovers. Indeed they may enjoy lovers and love of the highest order. That is not the kernel of their disappointment. They are be-fretted Dearhearts for they have not had their olfactory needs met.

Their noses have been ignominiously ignored. Or, worse still insulted with silly low grade scents.

Fear not forThe Perfumed Dandyis on hand with a hastily assembled receipt for aromatically induced happiness. What follows is a…

View original post 1,577 more words

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hollywood Roses: Vickie, Betty and… L’Interdit by Givenchy The Perfumed Dandy’s Happy Birthday Festival of Flowers

Annex - Hopper, Hedda_01_1

Today, dear friends, we celebrate four roses:

Three human, one scent. all fragrant!

The first is photographed above.

This is her public image (borrowed or real we cannot say).

She is the simply too beguiling Vickie Lester purveyor of archival and antique images from the silver screen machine at her internet emporium the equally Beguiling Hollywood.

Do take a peek there we promise it’s most awfully good.


Quite apart from the magnificence of her web domain, we celebrate Ms Lester’s upcoming publication of her work of fiction…

It’s In His Kiss

…many pages of which have been previewed to our delight on said wonderful site.

Oh yes, and Vickie’s celebrating a birthday too, so The Dandy does hope she’s settling down to tea and cakes (plural) just about now!.

As those of you who are regulars here will know, it’s not often that The Dandy takes a moment to highlight an un-perfumed personality. But really Ms Lester (and her real life self) are truly something special.

A rose the midst of the thorny business that calls itself show!

Which brings us to my second pick:

Betty White.

Why? Why not!?!

After all, how many people born before Chanel No 5 was publicly available still have a flourishing career?

How many stars have been so versatile, from presenting six hour live television shows six days a week to immortalising women of an age previously almost invisible in film and tv?

For being an icon of self-effacing, self-amused, determined dignity she’s an eternal Rose, but let’s not forget for nearly twenty years previous she was, with Lorne Greene in tow, the television queen of Pasadena’s Rose Parade too:

But where’s the scent today Mr Dandy dear?

I hear you holler.

Stop right now, that kind of screaming is strictly…

For it is the perfume that Hubert Givenchy de Givenchy wanted to name after his muse and the world’s favourite gamine star but was forbidden by Audrey Hepburn from doing so, thus giving the fragrance its monicker.

A floral aldehyde starting crisply: metallic as the snap fast of a handbag clasp, a seque into fruit cocktail rose made up with iris powder, a dry down into sweet sandalwood, talcum musk and the merest hint of grass and salt and earth.

L’Interdit is the very epitome of middle last century chic.

Refined, reserved, starched: a work of crafted artifice.

Like Hepburn in Hubert by Avedon.

Roses all.

Perfumed and perfectly delectable.

Happy Birthday our very own Hedda!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


Filed under Uncategorized

Golden hued memories… Rose Velours by Van Cleef & Arpels The Perfumed Dandy’s Festival of Roses


A moment from late summer.

A morning, sunny, dew-sodden.

Petals start to fall a second time

Preserved, but not pickled in aspic,

Fossilised in honey instead.

The ripeness of the flower as full as fruit

Its odour, jam-rich, fills the air

Makes it viscous

Sets lovers swimming in

A sea of gelatinous, velvet, joy.

Fronds like fine fabrics fragrance

This farewell symphony.

Soon all that will remain:

A few scattered natural confetti

Collected by her hands and crystalised

In jars, placed on high shelves,

For February comfort.

Rose Velours from the Collection Extraordinaire by Van Cleef and Arpels belongs to a distinguished sub category of floral perfumes: the rose preserves.

If other sweet rose scents are budget label jams, this is finest Fortnum & Mason floral confiture.

Here cheap refined sugar is replaced with violet infused honey, iris introduces a sweet caramelised vegetal note, all is amplified and extended by benzoin and the much-maligned, but in this instance well-used, ambroxan.

Eventually, the rose powders and a woodiness intrudes to lend a sweet dusty antique shop quality to the late dry down.

For the most part though this linear fragrance is exquisite conserve served with silver spoons and eaten straight.

A rare sweet treat, probably best kept for infrequent indulgences.

Like bad weather, February and Tuesdays…

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


Filed under Uncategorized

The Gods’ winged messenger… Kelly Caleche by Hermes The Perfumed Dandy

A speedy rose-themed reblog from rainy Britain… a tale of young love amongst the petals and the hay!

The Perfumed Dandy.

“Those horses are so spoilt I swear they sleep on straw strewn with rose petals”.

With an equine huff of a laugh, he rears his head back and raises a riding crop from aside his muscular calf to tap a glowing forehead.

He breaks a large-toothed smile and with a click of the heals of his long brown leather riding boots turns to leave.

A self-conscious flick of the head to show off his golden mane to its best effect and he is gone.

He smells of early Summer roses, thoroughbreds and animal hides.

He smells exactly as you do.

He had come, as a messenger from “The Gods”: the judges.

Venerated men and women, with scores of Olympian accolades between them, in whose hands your equestrian fate now resides.

He came to ready you for the off and remind you of “The Immortals” marking schemes.

You reflect on how…

View original post 495 more words


Filed under Uncategorized

When Cupid’s scented bow first shot true… The Perfumed Dandy’s Weekend Forum 

Cassanovas and Cleopatras

It is the week for lovers!!!

And are we not basking in a veritable downpour of rose petals by way of celebration?


Therefore for this convention of our forum I invite you to cast your mind back to when a scent first caught your eye, your nose, drew you in, stole your heart, your purse, your life….

What was your first fragrant love and when did you fall into this initial aromatic amour?

As many details as you can possibly spare please….

The Dandy does, of course, promise to bear all in due course too!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


Filed under Uncategorized