Tag Archives: Paris

A Dozen More Fragrant Reflections On Paris… The Perfumed Dandy’s Picture Postcards

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Sweetly Smelling Friends

More moments from my recent sojourn across la Manche.

And the aromas to match.

Empty Streets, Vivid With Colour

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Gold and Bright : Caron / Montaigne

Surprisingly Modern Gothic

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Smoke From The South : Comme des Garcons / Avignon

Open Mouthed, Green Door

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Drumbeat Knocker : Guerlain / Chamade

Flowers On A Window…

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Are They Geraniums? : Creations Monsieur Dior by Dior / Dioressence

Chandeliers, Balconies, Boudoirs and Love Affairs

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Consummative Kisses : Jul et Mad / Amour de Palazzo

The Gate To The Archives

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Key To The Past : Jardins d’Ecrivains / George

Pink Parisian Roses 

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Pale, Almost Without Smelling : Fragonard / Emilie

Palace Garden

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Brought From The Chateau : Sisley / Eau de Campagne

Modern Maghreb

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Marrakech Leather Souk : LT Piver / Cuir

Left Bank Child In A Labyrinth

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Juvenile Intellectual : Byredo / Baudelaire

Art Deco Temple

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Angular Aromaticals : Guerlain / Vega

The Opera In Bronze

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Music, Sculpture, Scent : Lanvin / Arpege

Too much to divert one.

Yet all paths seemed to lead to the same place.

Where? We shall find out in a flight of three scented letters this week.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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A Dozen Fragrant Reflections on Paris The Perfumed Dandy’s Picture Postcards

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Dearest Scented Ones

Before all memories of The City of Light slip from The Dandy‘s mind to be supplanted by other travels, some images, and aromas to recall the magical Gallic capital.

A Store Fit for a Distinguished Visitor

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Perfume for a (Naughty) Boy : Histoires de Parfums / 1740

Grand Green Interior

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Chartreuse Blast : Balmain / Vent Vert

Then We Talked Only of Red Clay

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Now It’s All Grass : Nez a Nez / Foret de Becharre

Stone Roses

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Slate Grey and Pink : Lyn Harris for M&S / La Rose

The Decadent Entrance

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That No One Forgets : Guerlain / Shalimar

Garden Square, Imperial Past

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Equatorial Imports : Coqui Coqui / Tobaco

The Stairway From So Many Scenes

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Old Romance In Black and White : Cartier / Baiser Vole

Arcade Contemplation

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Honey Coloured Thoughts : Maison Francis Kurkdjian / Absolue Pour le Soir

Exercise in Colour

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Sharp Lines : Jean Louis-Scherrer / Jean-Louis Scherrer

Extraordinary Procession

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All Human Life is Here : Etro / Royal Pavilion

Where Seurat’s Swimmers Swam

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Sadness in Blue : Hermes / Eau de Narcisse Bleu

An Inky Light

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As We Write, Longhand : Comme des Garcons / 2 Silver Words Comme des Garcons

That has set me trawling through the thoughts, more images will follow.

Then a puzzle… where did my voyages take me?

And what perfume, finally, did The Dandy purchase…?

Until tomorrow.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Tea Shop Time of Year… Must de Cartier by Cartier The Perfumed Dandy’s Twelve Days before Christmas Part III 

In electric December twilight beneath thousands of Paris’s lamps the lovers’ locks on the Pont des Arts shimmer and gleam.

A hardware hoard of brass and steel is transformed by romance and the season’s illuminations into a sea of gold and silver: a jewelled arc across the river.

A block or two removed from the Seine, just far enough for peace from the avid advent bustle of tourists on the Pont Neuf, upstream of the dock for the bateaux mouches carrying their endless tide of visitors through the City of Lights, the petite maison du the on Rue du Pont de Lodi, nestles in its quiet street.

Behind the imperial purple door, bearing a fresh wreath for Christmas, new owners are fashioning what they fancy is a fragment of the Far East on the fringes of the fifth arrondisment.

They have added orange blossom oolong tea to the carte of regular tisanes.

Its sweet, floral citrus reaches up a welcome upon your entry.

You settle into newly lowered-chairs. Their dusty, musky, furniture polished faux second empire frames strewn with raw silk cushions and lit by reproduction Tiffany lamps and chintz-shaded 40 watt bulbs.

You look up at the once-low counter and peering beyond spot an unknown object: alongside the old steaming urns and a bedsit stove topped with milk pans, there is an oil burner.

A porcelain contraption that gives no heat, and exists solely for scent.

You imagine, for you cannot see, a small slurp of viscous liquid hanging in a china crater above the solitary night light that seeks to slowly diminish it and diffuse the aroma into the air.

A pool of ever-reducing resinous residue.

A slick of fragrance added after fragrance until no note is left distinguishable from the whole warm and comforting confusion.

There is vanilla certainly, and amber, some sandalwood and something, well, distinctly animal.

Though on reflection, that might be the ancient cat adopted by the ancien regime that has outstayed the old owners and sits perched atop the out of tune upright piano.

A bunch of haphazard flowers are squeezed onto the instrument too, and seem to shade our feline friend like a tiny floral palm tree – a few roses amongst carnations and the very odd orchid – on his Parisian indoor desert island.

You come to order and think to try the oolong tea, then, discovering that deserts have similarly gone East, resist and instead hold onto the past with a generous boule of hot chocolate, which serves to warm your hands and heart.

The chocolat chaud goes down easily, especially when the waitress offers to add a Cointreau as a token of their affection for returning customers and to mark the time of year.

With satisfaction you find the only tampering inflicted on the peach flan to make it oriental has been a heavy pinch of cinnamon added to the custard supporting the fruit.

Who can argue with such an addition so close to the Noel?

The cat, Albert, jumps onto the stained piano keys, his paws yielding a major chord as he pauses before making his way over to you and placing himself aloofly in your lap.

His manner says ‘I’m doing you a favour’ a moment later his rough tongue licks the excess spiced crème anglaise from your fingers as his powder puff body quivers with a purr.

The maison du the on the Rue du Pont de Lodi is not quite what it was.

Christmas even here these days comes a little bit made in China.

Even so, dimly lit and quiet, with its slightly narcotic smell it is a haven this hallowed season from which to watch the festive world go by.

The quietest and in some ways most reserved of the balmy orientals of the 1970s and 80s, Must de Cartier is unlikely ever to offend.

It is an exercise in good manners.

Where others scream and seek to shock or pass themselves off as the real Far Eastern deal, Must seems happy with itself, comfortable with the notion that it is an allusion to the orient and not the actual thing.

After a surprisingly bright opening orange and bergamot flourish, aided by aldehydes, the perfume settles down into familiar territory of amber, sandalwood and vanilla, with a distinctly resinous quality to the heart, though the galbanum here is decidedly not green.

Equally, though there is musk, those fearing powder should be calm as it is kept at bay with some fine handbag leather and civet.

Finally, floral notes are distinctly muted in a drydown that sees this become as much a next to the skin scent as something so spicy can become.

Some will undoubtedly find the fragrance too sweet and muddled, but the drydown is so subtle that any over sugaring and note mixing mellow gently into a pleasant ambient perfume.

Must de Cartier is every inch a comfortable, if eccentric, teashop sort of scent.

A subtle choice for a special occasion or spoiling yourself because you can.

As I alluded to yesterday, I find both Musts de Cartier interchangeable and their designations as homme and non-homme quite superfluous.

Who doesn’t like hanging out in slightly off the wall tea houses?

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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No holding the horses… Caleche by Hermes The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

The other women of the court no matter how grand, or close to the King, had always to call for their carriages.

She need only look up, or smile, or tilt her head and the servants come running to gather together her party and fetch her coach and four.

Hers is a dignity not available for sale.

An elegance to be bought only by self possession and unassailable poise.

She saw out the terror and has seen Europe wrenched apart.

So a little jostling at court now cannot not unsettle her.

It is 1837 after all and the world apart from her is still a grimy place.

She begins her exit of the crumbling grand salon where military officers still smell of battles fought years ago, Barons of theirs wars with excess and the hems of the dresses of all the other women from dowagers to debutantes are frayed and greyed with dust.

She is luminous in spotless ivory. Her laundry is impeccable. Her linens the envy of France.

In the air behind her she trails citrus cologne higher and fresher and cleaner than even that worn by the Empress herself.

On her left wrist a corsage of miniature mandarin roses, the most fragrant colour, is woven together with jasmine and a single purple iris, its mouth open to show a fleshy yellow interior.

At the threshold, she turns and the train of her dress swirls through the air with a stage whisper.

In a wave the other courtiers wane from her swell.

Her presence is a calm ocean be-stilling their turbulent waters.

She curtseys deeply to the empty throne and departs leaving them in silence.

On the steps, she takes leave of her family, who have elected to see what remains of the ball through to its conclusion.

She ascends her conveyance and is comforted by the knowledge she will travel home alone.

The horses hooves rattle over the cobble stones and the wheels jolt now and again.

Even for her, the dark streets of Paris at a little after midnight seem a dangerous place.

The poor, the disaffected, the cholera.

She inhales and, above a trace of the horses’ aroma: animal and honest, feels the warm fragrance of the transparent soap from London that keeps her and her clothes bright, radiating around her.

She is enrapt in concocted cleanliness.

In a rapture of pretended purity.

It is 1837 and, after all, the world apart from her is still a grimy place.

This is how she has survived.

As other perfumes are to detergent, so Caleche by Hermes is to the finest thrice milled soap.

From the very start this scent exudes an almost ethereal brilliance.

Whiter than white aldehydes support sweet and soaring citruses to form a counter-intuitively robust opening that never departs the perfume through its stately but complex development.

This structure, so light and airy and yet so strong, is a work of engineering magic.

It is a Paxton’s Crystal Palace of perfume design, enabling all the contents of this olfactory exhibition to be viewed in clear and yet flattering light.

The floral accord which is the centrepiece of this aromatic expo, comprises chiefly of iris, rose and jasmine with other blossoms.

It is so beautifully blended that it could be perceived as a single translucent form.

But alongside it comes a darker object, shaped perhaps by an indolic quality to the flowers, or the bitterness of oakmoss, which is a presence throughout or even a horses’ hay and smokiness from the vetiver.

Wherever this deeper counter melody comes from it is welcome.

It creates an internal tension within the fragrance that takes it from the realms of a good perfume to a great one.

Caleche is an expertly simple song of spring clean freshness and summer flowers set in opposition to an aromatic and animalic choral accompaniment.

It is a ride through dangerous streets at the dead of night in a beautifully appointed carriage.

Both men and women may ride in this coach, but neither for very long, it only takes short journeys.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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