Christian Dior shows Paris style in Moscow (1959). Click to enlarge.
I’m working on a new look for the website so bear with me. Either I need new glasses or the font size of my current site has shrunk and has gotten more faint! My blog look will change over the coming days but hopefully by Monday I’ll have settled on a theme. Oh… the joys of being on vacation and having the luxury of time!
Addendum November 24th : My new “poppy” look is now up! Time to get back to writing about perfume! Back soon.
Posted by Normand Cardella on November 21, 2013
November. People say it’s a sad month. It starts with All Saints’ Day and is followed by All Souls’ Day. And, of course, there is the Día de Muertos, Day of the Dead, which is celebrated by Mexicans over a three-day period. I’ve always loved the way Mexicans think of death. They are afraid of death… but they laugh at it too.
Two seemingly disconnected events this month make me wonder… the launch of the new Chanel No. 5 advertisement featuring Marilyn Monroe and the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I wonder about Chanel’s choice. Everyone knows that I really disliked the Brad Pitt advertisement and I’m very happy that they replaced it this year… basically as soon as they could. And it’s really fun to see Marilyn Monroe in all her blonde glory! But why this year! I’m hoping it was an oversight on their part but I don’t think so. I think some marketing person figured that with all the JFK assassination coverage this November, there will also be a lot of talk about Marilyn. And so… for them to come out with a Marilyn Monroe campaign… well, it’s like they’re getting a lot of free publicity.
Now… everyone knows that I love Chanel perfumes. They do really beautiful fragrances. Class all the way! But I don’t know about their marketing. I didn’t like last year’s choice of Brad Pitt and although I love the Marilyn ad, I don’t like the timing.
When I think of John F. Kennedy’s death, I think of two things. As a 7 year old, I was really surprised to see my mother watching tv in the middle of the day when I returned home from school for lunch. And, the tv was on an American channel! My mother was French-Canadian. She never watched American tv. But what really shocked me was that she was crying. I had never seen my mother cry before. And of course, I didn’t understand and she wasn’t about to explain to me why she was crying. It was too horrible for a 7 year old.
So let’s forget this marketing misstep and end this post with Dido’s Lament from Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas. Dido, so distraught that her love Aeneas is leaving her, has ordered a large pyre on which she plans to impale herself and be set ablaze so that Aeneas will see from his ship.
When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Posted by Normand Cardella on November 18, 2013
I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again… in perfume, oud is the new black.
I was at Etiket recently for the perfume launch of Vaara by Penhaligon’s and I was surprised to see that it didn’t have oud in it, which just seems to be everywhere these days! I’ve smelled A LOT of new oud scents recently, the most recent being Ferrari’s Essence Oud, and I suspect we’ll be seeing many more before it inevitably drops off. Personally, I tend to avoid oud fragrances because they are so expensive. When I see oud in the ingredient list I know I’m going to spend a lot of money.
John Oehler even wrote a thriller, Aphrodesia, based on the theft of an oud sample. It’s definitely in the air, if not on the skin!
The only three ouds that I really know and have worn are Creed’s Royal Oud, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s everything-BUT-royal, animalic Al Oudh and Ex Idolo’s Thirty Three. I’m a big fan of Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose and Oud but I’m getting more of an amber basenote from that than an oud one, although there is definitely some oud in there.
In a Bloomberg article, Susan Hack reported that oud oil can cost up to $300,000 for one kilogram… JUST ONE! Sales of oud fragrances rose 34% in 2012… particularly impressive since 10 years prior oud was relatively unknown to the western market. Of course Yves Saint-Laurent’s M7 (2002) changed all that but I feel that what we know and smell as oud is always a mixture… or synthetic. At any rate, for me oud is like jasmine… it’s best when it is blended in with other materials.
And to be frank, I can’t always distinguish between oud and a very dark woody scent. From what I’ve read, Oud seems to have a “dirty” facet, so when I smell something slightly off, I figure it might be the oud. I guess a trip to the Middle East would settle the issue but that’s quite a commitment.
And so… I’m asking anyone out there that wants to respond to my post… which is the truest oud? And which perfume uses oud in its blend and works perfectly!
ADDENDUM (Nov 10, 2013) : Check out the comments for very useful oud info and where to buy.
Aquilaria tree showing darker agarwood. Poachers had scraped off the bark to allow the tree to become infected by the ascomycetous mould.
Posted by Normand Cardella on November 9, 2013