Elizabeth Taylor : White Diamonds

White diamonds

Created by : Carlos Benaïm

Date : 1991

Genre : Glamorous white floral

Concentration : eau de toilette

Diana Vreeland once said, “I loathe nostalgia.  I don’t believe in anything before penicillin!”.  I know exactly how she feels.  As I get older, thinking of the good ol’ days seems so pointless!  As with life’s regrets, better to leave the past where it belongs… in the past.  As Ingrid Bergman said, “Happiness is good health and a bad memory.”

But I think even the least romantic of us can be pulled back into nostalgia every now and then… usually when we least suspect it.  And so when I saw the photo of Elizabeth Taylor on the cover of the White Diamonds’ gift set… something pulled at my heartstrings. It brought me back to younger days and late-night movies and talk shows. You know with all the talk of Cate and Angelina and Beyoncé channelling old Hollywood glamour… they never really get close to the original goddesses of the time… and Elizabeth Taylor was certainly at the top of that list or darn near it.

The creator of White Diamonds is Carlos Benaïm who also created Ralph Lauren Polo, Calvin Klein Eternity for Men and Frédéric Malle Eau de Magnolia.   No doubt about it, Carlos knows his stuff!  So when in 1991 he set out to capture old Hollywood glamour with White Diamonds, he hit the bull’s-eye!  White Diamonds is a creamy-rich, elegant white floral with a woody base that could easily be marketed by a prestigious French house at twice the price.  This fragrance is beautifully constructed… no jagged edges, not a shrill note to be heard.

According to Fragrantica, White Diamond’s composition is as follows :

The top notes are aldehydes, bergamot, neroli, orange and lily. The heart unites the classical trio, violet, rose and jasmine, accompanied by ylang-ylang, Egyptian tuberose and narcissus. The base is composed of oak moss, patchouli, musk, sandalwood and amber.

As you can see all the usual suspects are there but you’d be hard-pressed to pick out any individual note… at least I was, particularly in the heart.  The overall effect is symphonic.

The only problem I see with White Diamonds is one of perception.  Because it’s a celebrity perfume, one automatically assumes that it will be badly made and leave you with a chemical stink bomb after all the lovely notes have evaporated.  Not so.  This one is gorgeous from beginning to end.  Don’t let the blingy packaging and discount price fool you.  For added sillage, I’ve been putting a drop of the parfum on my wrist preceded by Chanel’s ultra-expensivo Crème pour le Corps from their Les Exclusifs collection. Together, they’re sublime. If you had told me the combination was the latest Lauder fragrance, I would believe you.  Serge Lutens?  No, because White Diamonds is better than any Lutens floral.  Guerlain?  Probably not because the genre is off. Tom Ford?  Yes. Chanel?  I don’t know.

If you see this package at the store, buy it and enjoy.

Dame Perfumery : Lime, Gardenia and Benzoin

Created by : Jeffrey Dame

Date : 2015

Genre : Gardenia soliflore

Concentration : eau de toilette

I believe that I have a lazy streak and I think that’s probably why I love legible perfumes… I like to wear perfumes that are easy and recognizable.  And so when I tried Dame Perfumery’s Lime, Gardenia and Benzoin, I got it immediately! It’s a simple lapel gardenia or as the French would say, “une boutonnière”.

I’ve always loved gardenias. When I left home, a gardenia was the first plant I owned. The small white flowers were so fragrant and beautiful, I immediately fell in love. Unfortunately, that plant never flowered again after I took it home from the florist shop and so I think from that moment on, I’ve always been searching for that distinctive gardenia fragrance.  I thought I had found it when I read about Arquiste Boutonnière No. 7, but no.  The Arquiste version is not so much a gardenia as a woody scent and Victoria from Bois de Jasmin hit the nail on the head when she described Boutonnière No. 7 as more of a vetiver than a gardenia.

I’m not surprised that the owner behind Dame Perfumery and the creator of Lime, Gardenia and Benzoin has been in the perfume marketing business since 1980.  Jeffrey Dame knows a lot about perfume.  I liked most of his fragrances when I tested them on scent strips but the one that stood out for me was this perfectly-executed gardenia soliflore.

People who read me know that I don’t write many perfume reviews because there are so many excellent bloggers out there who write perfect reviews but when a perfume moves me, well I can’t help myself.  And this one is worth writing about.  Lime, Gardenia and Benzoin is, without a doubt, in my top 10.  I started wearing it 2 weeks ago and I haven’t stopped since.  It’s like wearing a gardenia in a lapel… close to the wearer… a private pleasure… and it seemed to disappear when I was busy but distracted me occasionally when my mind was in neutral.  Like all perfumes that I love, words are scarce but suffice it to say that this one is definitely worth a try. And at this price, I paid less than $100 Cdn., it immediately goes to the top of my go-to list.

Lime, Gardenia and Benzoin is an eau de toilette but it behaves more like an eau de parfum. It’s got great longevity, on me it lasts the complete day, but not a lot of throw. It’s perfect for the office because it definitely won’t bother the people around you.  However, anyone getting close to you is going to enjoy it.  I have no doubt.

I’ll tell you that this review was written last week and I stalled on publishing it because I just couldn’t think of an appropriate image but sadly, the image came too easily to me this week. I could easily imagine Omar Sharif (1932-2015) wearing this simple, sophisticated yet discreet fragrance… and especially with that ruffled shirt!  This image says it all.  Enjoy!

Omar Sharif as Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl

Omar Sharif as Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl

Guy Laroche : Fidji

Created by : Josephine Catapano

Date : 1966

Genre : Green floral gorgeous (was)

Concentration : eau de toilette

I went looking for something to wear for the spring today.  Can you imagine that here we are in late March in Montreal and winter dumped another 10 cms. of snow?  And… it’s chilly, humid and windy!  I needed something to remind me of the summer.  So when I saw the Fidji bottle in the discount perfumer’s showcase, I asked to try it out.  When I think of perfumes my mother wore, I think of Crêpe de Chine, L’Air du Temps and Fidji, in that order.  And I’m happy to say that I was the one who introduced her to Fidji.  A girl I liked who lived across the street from our house wore it and I thought this girl was beautiful and classy and so I bought Fidji for my mother for Christmas and it became her signature scent for a long time.  I wanted to see if Fidji had held up or not.

The sales associate sprayed some on a scent strip and then on my skin.  I got a blast of “old school” gorgeous!  All the elements were there as I remembered them… green galbanum, a symphony of white florals, banana-tinged ylang ylang for that tropical edge and civet… but done so expertly, I thought… this is it!  What luck!  At my very first outing, I found what I’ve been looking for.  But… before pulling out my credit card, a little voice in my head spoke… “step away from the counter”… and I did… long enough to check out the notes on the Internet.  All the French classic ingredients were there… jasmine, rose, violet, carnation and a base of musk, patchouli, amber, vetiver and moss!  It was incredible… but still I waited and I’m glad I did because within 15 minutes Fidji had morphed  on my skin to be a soapy, floral, powdery concoction… the fresh green note had disappeared as had the ylang ylang. It wasn’t what it started out to be… but still I thought it wasn’t half bad.  But then, an hour into the fragrance… meh!  Beautiful Fidji had become a sweet, powdery nondescript scent that, although not unpleasant, wasn’t enough to make it into my magic closet.

And so… in the middle of the mall, a little ditty from about the same time that Fidji hit the market came to mind.

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