Ipso Olfacto

fragrant musings


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My Top Boudoir Scents

“Boudoir” is one of my favorite scent genres. Even before my more involved fragrance exploration, I was always drawn towards anything evocative of vintage glamour: waxy lipstick, warm face powder, boozy vanilla… These qualities are perfume at its most “perfumey” and womanly, embodying that grown-up, elegant mystique that gets many young girls intrigued by the mysterious elixirs on their mother’s dressing tables. Although, my mom never wore perfume, so I think the perfume bottle-shaped hole in my heart was extra large in my case. So, I’ve acquired a number of boudoir scents over the years that have filled that olfactory void:

First up, we have Classique by Jean Paul Gaultier:

Classique WEB

Classique is a classic boudoir scent – the EDP, that is. The EDP is harder to find than the EDT, but it’s worth it. Its a rich, complex vanilla that’s evocative of a burlesque dancer dolling herself up for the night. There’s heady orange blossom and orchid, boozy vanilla, and a heavy dose of spicy rum. It’s rich, spicy, a bit powdery, but surprisingly not too heavy or overwhelming. It has a bit of a vintage nail varnish thing going on that tickles your nostrils a bit- back when nail polish was scented. I can’t help but think of Jennifer Lawrence’s character in American Hustle:

Next up, we have Lipstick On by Maison Martin Margiela:

lipstick on WEB

If Classique is a burlesque dancer getting ready for a wild night, then Lipstick On is her more introverted sister. Lipstick On is a very evocative scent – it opens with waxy iris and vanillic powder that vividly replicates the scent of vintage lipstick. Heliotrope provides a lovely touch of almond and cherry tartness, while rice powder adds a “starchiness” rather than talcum-powderiness. The composition is kept from being too sweet and soft with the addition of bitter galbanum. The overall feel is very warm- it feels like the olfactory equivalent of blushing. Absolutely gorgeous, and a must-smell for anyone into makeup scents.

Next up is another cosmetic scent: Misia by Chanel:

misia web

which I sadly only have this adorable miniature of. Misia has that same warm, makeup quality of Lipstick On, but is much more powdery thanks to a heavy emphasis on violets. There’s also a pronounced tart rasberry sweetness that makes the composition even more delightfully girly. Misia truly evokes the smell of vintage face powder, with just a hint of lipstick.

A kind of runner-up is Angel Liqueur de Parfum by Mugler:

Angel Liqueuer WEB

It’s not as obviously “boudoir” as the others, but it still embodies that spirit. As you can imagine, this flanker is boozier than the original. It’s much drier, and has a subtle woodyness that recalls an aged liqueur.  Most prominent, though, is the honey. Non-sweet, slightly animalic honey. It’s drop dead gorgeous, and, in true Mugler fashion, incredibly potent. Perfect for a femme fatale putting on her “war paint” for the night.

I love how some fragrances have the ability to evoke a specific feeling or place. No matter how casual your lifestyle, being able to access a little vintage glamour via a scent is such an enjoyable form of “time travel!”

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Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere- The Perfect Modern Update

eau premiere_1_web

Updating a classic fragrance for the younger crowd is an intimidating venture on its own – let alone when it involves updating Chanel No.5, probably THE most iconic fragrance on earth. Now, I know Chanel released No.5 L’eau recently, but I think they already hit the nail on the head as far as updating No.5 with 2015’s Eau Premiere . L’eau is nice, but a bit too far removed from No.5- it ends up feeling like more of a neutered version than a cool, modern take. Eau Premiere is certainly lighter and easier to wear than the original No.5 EDT and EDP, but it still has that distinct No.5 DNA, as well as, most importantly, it’s attitude. 

Upon spraying Eau Premiere,  your nose is tickled by lemony, fizzy, aldehydes that are a genius modernization of the OG No.5’s often nostril-burning ones. Here, they feel buoyant and fresh, like a crisp glass of champagne. Buttery ylang-ylang eventually emerges, along with some light rose and Jasmine.  In the drydown, Eau Premiere skips out on the more dated notes of the original: the animalic civet, the musty oakmoss- and instead presents a slightly creamy base of sandalwood, vetiver, and vanilla. Think of Eau Premiere as the Konmari’d version of No.5- it gives you that classic smell, only streamlined (and probably more likely to “spark joy” with most of today’s noses.)

The magic of Eau Premiere is that it smells classic but not dated.  Let’s face it, No.5, although an icon, can smell kind if jarring to “the youths” of today – it just smells so blatantly from another era of perfumery. I mean, when was the last time we had a major mainstream release that was aldehyde-based, or that even contained civet? Eau Premiere is also incredibly versatile – it feels just as at home with a tee shirt and jeans as with a ballgown. So, even as a millennial-friendly update, Eau Premiere is still as chic and classic as ever.