Onda Extrait de Parfum (Vero Profumo)

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The Sceptre, Learning, Physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

--William Shakespeare

According to Tania Sanchez, a perfumista's biography can be broken into six stages-- or rather, ages. In childhood, we identify strongly with what Mother and Father wear. Adolescence marks our first sortie into scent independence, usually by way of some cheerfully generic drugstore spritz we choose and pay for ourselves. However, we won't wear it for long. Burgeoning peer pressure triggers what Sanchez calls the "flowers and candy" phase-- a spate of teenaged conformity in which we wear only what others of our gender, class, or social stratum wear. From this stereotyped prison, we are rescued by the "first love", a fragrance so personal that we adopt it without giving a damn what others think. Greater confidence leads to greater experimentation; we indulge in wild goose chases after the rare, the exquisite, the arcane, and the just-plain-weird-smelling. There's nothing we won't try... and then suddenly, we stop trying. We've smelled it all. There is no more urgency to explore and conquer unsniffed territories. Here at last we find the fragrant version of nirvana-- a cessation of desire, "satisfaction in things in themselves".

Then what?

I have long wondered (and possibly feared) what might occur when I reach this state, only to find today that I'm already there-- and happy. Having heard and read so many tales of the earthshaking power of Vero Kern's Onda, I put off wearing the sample JoanElaine sent me until I felt sufficiently girded for the experience. Now I find I've been wearing Onda all along, under so many different names: Cabochard, Madame Jolie, Réplique, Imprévu, Crêpe De Chine, Riverwalk, Audace, Shocking, Intimate. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose-- and yet, I'm not disappointed. Here is the smell I like, reincarnated yet again.

And me, I'll keep returning to it, just as it keeps returning to me.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, lemon, tangerine, ginger, coriander, basil, mace, iris, ylang-ylang, honey, vetiver, sandalwood, ambergris, musk, patchouli

Philtre d'Amour (Guerlain)

Goodness, I'm going to have to eat my words. No sooner do I snipe at the lamentable Mediterraneo than I fish another of Blacknall's samples out of the pile, and it's exquisite. Exquisite.

Dry, biting, witchy and glimmering, Philtre d'Amour is the sort of fragrance that Dorothy Parker or Vincent Millay could wear to hell and back without breaking stride. Although it hails from that great party year 1999, it reads like a much, much older chypre-- really almost Jazz Age. It fits right in alongside Chypre de Coty, Millot Crêpe De Chine, and Mitsouko-- most interesting, given that its release occurred a mere four years before IFRA declared war on perfumery elements such as oakmoss. Did Guerlain know something no one else was privy to-- that the chypre's days were numbered, and that it had better pay tribute while it still could? If so, bravo: this one's a beaut.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, lemon, verbena, jasmine, iris, petitgrain, neroli, myrtle, oakmoss, patchouli

Mediterraneo (Carthusia)

Thank god it dies out in about a minute flat, or I might be using real Lysol to clean it off..

Scent Elements: Mint, mandarin, lemon, bergamot, litsea cubeba, eucalyptus, red thyme, jasmine, cardamom, wildflowers, white musk

Haute Provence Eau de Cologne (Parfums De Nicolaï)

This 1992 lavender-heavy eau de cologne was one of Patricia de Nicolaï's first releases. Blacknall likes it so much, she gifted it to me twice. (Thanks, sister.) I only realized this a short while ago, while sorting through my samples; obviously I never got around to wearing Haute Provence until now, and more's the pity. I may not be as besotted as Blacknall, but I like this fragrance enough to combine my two samples into a single sprayer and carry it around.

As it turns out, there couldn't have been a better day than today to have Haute Provence in my purse. The temperature crept up to an oppressive ninety degrees, and with the air conditioning conveniently on the fritz, the library felt like the interior of a steam radiator. All I wanted was to project the scent of something other than sweat and armpits. To that end, Haute Provence acquitted itself admirably. It's dry, airy, and attractively herbal, and while it doesn't exactly possess that quality which plainfolks call "sticktuitiveness", I had enough in my spray vial to err on the side of generosity.

In fact, right now -- at nearly ten o'clock at night -- I'm still spritzing. (Or is that shvitzing?)

Scent Elements: Citrus, lavender, myrtle

Aqua Allegoria Anisia Bella (Guerlain)

Anise, fennel, and licorice all share an almost interchangeable olfactory profile. It's common to find fennel described as "anise-like", or anise as "licorice-like", etc., etc. But each is in fact very distinct from the others, right down to their constituent parts. The sweet, green, delicate scent of the fresh roots and foliage cannot be compared to the intense volatility of the seed-derived essential oils. Fennelseed is slightly more salty-savory and warm than aniseed, which has a cold but also bright quality. In turn, licorice root extract is dark, sticky, honeylike in concentration. A taste for one leads to a taste for all the rest.

Anisia Bella, therefore, cannot help but be a disappointment, for it satisfies none of these hungers. It's a wan, green-leaf cologne with a fast-fading violet note; if this is what you like, you're in luck. Otherwise, better to hunt down bottles of Etro Anice, Tokyo Milk Arsenic, Kenzo Jungle L'Éléphant, Caron Eau de Réglisse, or 1000 Flowers' thrilling Réglisse Noire for your fennel/anise/licorice fix.

Scent Elements: Anise, orange, bergamot, basil, star anise, violet, jasmine, licorice wood, cedar

Afternoon of a Faun (État Libre d'Orange)

Justin Vivian Bond is one of humankind's great and graceful originals. I cannot watch the extraordinary final sequence of Shortbus without thinking so; every time, the tears in my eyes are largely V's doing. (Or is it John Cameron Mitchell's? His lovely arrows always do locate the exact center of my heart.)

Anyway, the Once and Future Kiki desired a signature fragrance -- a "transcent... for the person who is Everything" -- and État Libre d'Orange (ever-faithful in the service of enchantment!) declared itself up to the challenge. V asked for "sex in the grass in the afternoon with flowers nearby". V wish is our command, said État Libre d'Orange. The original brief suggests the fragrance be called "Mx", the gender-neutral prefix of V's own preference, as well as a trans/formative tribute to Radical Faeries past, present, and future. One such figure was Vaslav Nijinksy, the brilliant young choreographer of the Ballet Russe's revolutionary L'Après-Midi d'un Faune, first staged in 1912. Its approaching centennial caused all the separate strands of inspiration to mesh together like magic.

Afternoon of a Faun is a savory leather chypre with a classic profile and an age-old kink in its soul. It's a perfume without gender, but it is certainly not a perfume without sex. (In the grass... in the afternoon... with flowers nearby.) There's fauns and nymphs and satyrs and dryads frolicking in this formula-- but more importantly, there's more than two pronouns.

Don't fret. You'll get used to it. Just lie back, relax... and say hello to holy ecstasy.

I don't bandy about the word 'holy' lightly. There is something in this jus which feels ancient, ceremonial, even sacramental-- scented sex magic of the purest and most joyful order. In an odd stroke of coincidence, when I first wore it, something in its intense rose-geranium accord reminded me keenly of Attar Bazaar's India Gulab, another fragrance conflated in my mind with gender-queer expression, sacred hierogamy, and the generous, world-wise humor of the hetairai. I love it enough to dread the eventuality of my tiny sample running low-- always a sign that a dedication ("from the top of my head to the soles of my feet...") will soon be made. It is, as they say, a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, pepper, cinnamon, incense, immortelle, iris, myrrh, leather, benzoin, rose, geranium, jasmine, oakmoss

Count to ten...

Here I have ten Parfums MDCI samples, each vial containing just a few drops of fabulously overpriced fragrance. I admit that I had been intrigued by MDCI initially, but I have since found reason to repent my error.

First point: these are simply not very good fragrances. A number of really high-profile perfumers such as Pierre Bourdon, Bertrand Duchaufour, Francis Kurkdjian, and Patricia de Nicolaï signed them, but these creations do not represent their best efforts. Almost without exception, they smell like drugstore products-- shampoos, aftershaves, deodorant sprays. I'd noticed this back when I reviewed La Belle Hélène, which smells like any Garnier hair goop on the shelf; now I'm convinced it's a deliberate aesthetic choice for this brand.

Chypre Palatin doesn't smell like a chypre at all; it's more of a St. Ives body wash scent. So is Péché Cardinal, but at least it's got that nice little "sinful peach" pun going for it. Le Rivages des Syrtes I've already reviewed and forgotten. Ambre Topkapi smells like half-strength Old Spice, as does Invasion Barbare. Rose de Siwa and Un Coeur en Mai opt for the ladies' section of the drugstore; both positively scream 'feminine odor control'. Vepres Siciliennes, Promesse de l'Aube-- sweet nothings from the candy aisle. The only one that even remotely interests me is Kurkdjian's Enlèvement au Sérail, a floral moss with a bit of a rasp in its voice. But only if you'd never smelled any perfume before, ever, would you mistake this for something special.

Which brings me to the second point: Parfums MDCI's pricing is utterly ridiculous. A typical 75ml. bottle retails at a whopping $250-- $375 if you prefer the "deluxe" 60ml. flacons surmounted by resin-cast Roman busts. That's right-- less perfume, more hideous top-heavy sculpture! Apparently they let you mix and match flacons and fragrances, but what's $125 worth of extra special about that? Back in the day, Avon sold its equally tacky novelty bottles filled with your choice of perfume... and for far less than what MDCI demands.

I don't get it. I just don't get it. How does Parfums MDCI pull it off? The only explanation I can muster is that they've ratcheted the idea of exclusivity to a truly insane level that only hedonists could find appealing. If Parfums MDCI is a Satyricon to which only the most dedicated scent lover can secure an admission ticket, this member of the hoi polloi is comfortable out here in the rain, thanks very much.

Scent Elements: Really, really cheap-ass fragrance, expensively packaged and priced high enough to make a regular person throw up a little in his or her mouth.

Virgin Island Water (Creed)

Creed Virgin Island Water seems to be a popular choice among young male fragrance fans who upload reviews to YouTube. This tribe of dough-faced lads in trucker hats and oversized hoodies spends many a midnight hour sitting in dimly-lit rooms and squinting into low-res laptop cameras as they commit their thoughts on fragrance to posterity.

I imagine them -- underconfident yet overaggressive, fearful of their own human odor and eager to blot it out with half a dozen megasprays aimed at the neck, chest, and crotch. To fit their needs, Virgin Island Water is suitably powerful, persistent-- and ugly. Does this army of nearly 1,500 amateur videographers even know how ugly? I wish I could warn them, but as seems to be typical of Creed fans, they'd probably just accuse my sample of being some kind of sketchy back-alley dupe. As if anyone would go to the trouble of bootlegging a cologne this awful! Ah, me.

Scent Elements: Copra (coconut meat), coconut palm sap, lime, bergamot, mandarin, hibiscus, ginger, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rum, musk

Terre d'Hermès (Hermès)

As I look back on the trip now, as I try to sort out fact from fiction... to relive those memories that have been buried so deep, and distorted so ruthlessly, there is one clear fact that emerges from the quagmire. The trip was easy. It was no more dangerous than crossing the street...

--Robyn Davidson, Tracks: One Woman's Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
In my early twenties, I had many Bibles. On the Road by Jack Kerouac... The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe... Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin... and Tracks by Robyn Davidson.

In 1977, Davidson -- a 27-year-old Australian woman with scant wildnerness training -- set off across the Great Victoria and Gibson Deserts accompanied by four camels and a dog. Rather than fight off isolation, she decided to follow it into the void. The curse of loneliness, she reasoned, might open up to reveal a blessing-- and a cure.

No magic moment of satori awaited Davidson under that vast desert sky. Her reality was filled with inescapable tangibles: ropes, packs, recalcitrant animals, sunburn, shit. As she struggled to maintain course, she often caught herself indulging in moments of self-pity-- but being the first to recognize her own follies, she never shied away from self-examination. The earthy dose of humor she brought to the endeavor certainly helped. (Did Henry David Thoreau ever regard himself in the mirror with tongue so firmly lodged in cheek?)

As Davidson's long, dusty trek wound west towards an unseen ocean, she continually grew lighter-- and her loneliness gave way to an intense appreciation of each living being that crossed her wide-open path. The lesson: invest it with dignity, and isolation no longer causes pain. Being alive is hard... but the trip is easy.

Today I'm wearing Jean-Claude Ellena's Terre d'Hermès as a reminder. Like its sibling scent Voyage d'Hermes, it describes a journey across an endless expanse-- but rather than the crystal purity of frigid air, Terre proffers floods of sunlight and drifts of hot dust. Described by Hermès as a "vegetable and mineral juice, made without animal by-products or musk", this airy cologne certainly enables the wearer to transcend earthly bonds, at least in his or her imagination. But while it may eschew animalic notes, it accentuates the mammalian aspect of the body it adorns, anchoring the wearer comfortably within the physical, warm-blooded world. You may start off looking for an escape, but Terre d'Hermès will bring you gratefully back home... body AND soul.

Scent Elements: Grapefruit, orange, shiso, flint accord, black and pink pepper, geranium, patchouli, benzoin, vetiver, Atlas cedar

Alien Eau de Parfum and Essence Absolue (Thierry Mugler)

In my mind's eye, the scent of jasmine is a deep, saturated purplish-blue. I cannot say why. I know that Jasminum blossoms lack color altogether; their natural spectrum begins and ends with ghostly white. False jasmines such as Gelsemium or Cestrum share a sweet, heady odor and stray variously toward red, gold, and (yes) purple hues. But nowhere on earth exists the exact jasmine of my imagination-- a flower of twilight for whose velvety scent the term 'purple prose' was invented.

Notice that I said nowhere on earth. But on Pandora... maybe. The lush, bioluminescent home planet of James Cameron's Avatar certainly favors the spectrum where my dream jasmine blooms. Its plants, people, and animals all come in a staggering range of colors: cyan, amethyst, magenta, flame, fuchsia, phthalo, viridian. As if to match, the sensual and emotional pleasures of this world (including the mind-to-mind marriage known to the Na'vi as tsaheylu, or "the bond") are equally intense. Wouldn't it follow that Pandoran flavors and aromas would pop?

Enter Alien, Thierry Mugler's aptly-named 2005 xenofloral. It joins Jean Patou Joy, Cacharel LouLou, Guerlain Samsara, Serge Lutens Sarrasins, and Soivohle Yin Hao on my list of favorite jasmines-- but only Alien truly encapsulates that otherworldly blue-purple glow that my mind ascribes to Jasminum sambac. So resonant and penetrating is its aura that one can easily ignore the generic woody vanilla accord that grovels at its feet. I have no idea what elements comprise the "solar amber accord", but I do recognize its overall effect-- gentle, luminous, hospitable. This Alien comes in peace, bringing a message of intergalactic goodwill. (Just don't overapply, for it's ten feet tall and hails from a different gravity than you do.)

Advertisements for Alien feature British actress/supermodel Felicity Gilbert, who appears to have wandered into the Uncanny Valley for a Botox-and-gold-lamé makeover. I much prefer to imagine the lithe, ardent, and occasionally ferocious Neytiri in the spokesmodel role. Can you blame me? If an extraterrestrial visage is needed to front this unearthly jasmine, better a vibrant Na'vi warrior woman than an inert plastic Barbie doll devoid of soul.

Scent Elements: Jasmine sambac, Cashmeran, "solar amber accord", vanilla

Havana (Aramis for Estée Lauder)

Back in the mid-'90's, unisex aquatics such as CK One and Acqua di Gio ruled the fragrance shelf. After the bloated carnevale of the Eighties, their chiseled, unearthly beauty seemed like a health-giving tonic-- and the boys who wore them as fragrant accessories to Chuck Taylors and designer flannel seemed so young, so vital, they broke your heart. Liz Phair wrote an entire concept album about such boys, so you know it's no lie.

But while the bone structure of such fragrances remains admirable, the flesh was not designed to withstand the ravages of twenty years. To a modern nose, CK1 and AdG now seem distinctly old hat-- and those beautiful boys have grown into uneasy men who cannot seem to relax into middle age. Just as their fathers wore fragrances designed to broadcast masculine "ruggedness" in response to feminism, they don calone and dihydromercenol as a vain stopgap against expanding waistlines and encroaching age. (I imagine Liz Phair could write ANOTHER great concept album about it, if only she hadn't suffered her own midlife wig-out and got lost in the Matrix a decade ago.)

Which brings me to Havana. A debonair tobacco-leather redolent of mid-century glamour, this fragrance must have appeared hopelessly anachronistic when it debuted alongside CK One in 1994. The latter won the race, but one wonders what might have transpired if fashion had backed the other horse. Fortysomething-year-old guys might still insist on dousing themselves in the fragrance of their youth. But at least they'd smell suave and spicy while looking all glum... and fortysomething-year-old chicks like me would console them so much more willingly. Wouldn't we?

To some, Havana might smell like nightclubs, racetracks, and a humidor full of Coronas Grandes. To me, it smells like greasy black Doc Marten leather, American Spirit tobacco, and long, sun-warmed hair in need of a wash (but not just yet, please; kindly wait until morning). In other words, Havana is Pearl Jam, while CK One is just the Backstreet Boys. Which one is still relevant? The question answers itself.*

*We all know what Kurt Cobain smelled like, god rest his sweet soul. Or do we?

Scent Elements: Mandarin, orange, grapefruit, basil, artemisia, carnation, jasmine, hyacinth, anise, coriander, caraway, cumin, pepper, bay rum, juniper berry, pimiento, birch tar, fir, cinnamon, tobacco, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, myrrh, frankincense, tonka bean, vanilla

Aoud Gourmet (M. Micallef)

As the roles of parfumeur and pâtissier become increasingly entangled, a gourmand fragrance has to really be a show-stopper to differentiate itself from run-of-the-mill bakery fare. Like the label says, Micallef's Aoud Gourmet is a mystifying twist of the dessert menu-- blending robust agarwood with a decadent array of sweets like honey and marzipan. It would have been appallingly easy to overembellish -- more fudge towers, more spun sugar clouds, more icing roses, a butterscotch fountain! -- but the noses managed to keep Aoud Gourmet beautifully simple. (Not so its bottle, which appears to have met its fate at the hands of a craft pirate armed with a Bedazzler.)

Scent Elements: Marzipan, sugar, honey, patchouli, cedar, nutmeg, cardamom, ambergris, sandalwood, cashmere woods, musk

Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice (Guerlain)

Winter Delice (oh, how I wish it had been either 'Winter Delight' or 'Délice d'Hiver', rather than this pushme-pullyu combination of the two!) is supposed to smell like Christmas, all pine boughs and sugar cookies. No matter how hard I strain to believe, I cannot pick up on any of these things, so let me divorce my thoughts completely from this fantasy. In truth, my nose detects something cozy, fuzzy, and entirely endearing. Whatever this beast may be, I find it most benevolent.

Scent Elements: Balsam fir, Scotch pine, Somalian incense, opopanax, vanilla sugar.

Mitsouko Vintage Pure Parfum (Guerlain)

The impulse to mock or denigrate what one doesn't understand is a very human trait. Probably every perfume lover can name one fragrance she (or he) doesn't 'get'-- yet it often seems to me that the older and more venerable the fragrance, the harsher the invective directed against it. It's as if we know we are missing something vital that other people easily grasped for decades, and we resent being left out of the loop. Rather than blame ourselves or question others, we aim our ire at the perfume-- the cause of all our woe.

Mitsouko is one such troublemaker. To declare enmity for this 1919 game-changer is practically a perfumista rite of passage. Mitsouko's detractors snidely refer to her as "Mitsy", a catty diminutive designed to neutralize her supposed ability to kill all perfume-wearing pleasure. (Me, I revere her, so I call her Mitsouko-sama.)

It sometimes pains me to recognize that others abhor the very qualities I admire about Mitsouko-- that cruel, unyielding chypre underlying her tender slice of ripe peach; that heart of spice-enlivened iris that comes across so rich and buttery-golden, like pâte sablée; that strange animalic exhale she gives off en route to her final fade-out. If you can't stand these features in the EdT or EdP, then you really won't want to go anywhere near the vintage extrait. It's everything that drives you mad, times infinity. (And it's more for me... right? Believe me, I'll take that bullet for you.)

Mitsouko's got teeth, I'll give her that. She's the sort of perfume you have to stand up straight and strong to wear. But I wonder at the force of my colleagues' fury. Is Mitsouko as bad, for instance, as ELdO's Sécrétions Magnifiques? Watch Katie Puckrick's forensic analysis of this extremely divisive 'fume here. ("Oh, NO!! That's HORRIFYING!" she screams. "I can't BELIEVE someone made that on PURPOSE!... It smells like a CRIME SCENE!... WHYYYYY?!!") Then ask yourself if you wouldn't prefer the company of Mitsy after all.

Scent Elements: Peach, bergamot, neroli, rose, iris, jasmine, clove, cinnamon, vetiver, oakmoss, labdanum

Farnesiana (Caron)

We often accuse the perfumes that offend us of smelling like "old lady". I've done this myself on occasion -- usually in reference to prim, aldehyde-heavy florals -- so I really shouldn't be pointing fingers. If I truly want to be specific, I'll describe a hated perfume as "Granny's underpants", implying a certain fishy-urinous quality hiding amid the flowers. And yet, not all "old lady perfumes" are alike; I've seen even the venerable Chanel No. 5 thus characterized, which leads me to wonder whose grandmother was Diana Vreeland. (I wish mine had been!)

But much of the time, I find that my perfume bugbears smell remarkably like-- well, babies. I'm not knocking les enfants, of course. But I guess you have to be a mother to love their smell-- milky-sweet and endearing up top, sickeningly fecal beneath, with a strange mid-range of talcum powder, seborrhoea, and pee. Jasmine, mimosa, and opopanax all contribute to this composite scent portrait, so I often look askance at perfumes in which these dirty-diaper notes intersect.

Caron Farnesiana is one such fragrance. By god, I start scoping around for the nearest changing table the minute it hits my skin. I'm enveloped in a pearlescent cloud -- not of Acacia farnesiana blooms, but of plain old Johnson's Baby Powder -- and I don't much like it. If I want to smell this particular combination of molecules, I'll visit the Happy Fun Ball Crawl down at the county fair.

Mention to me that Farnesiana is a classic, for some even a Holy Grail, and I'll nod and and take your word for it. For you, it's the Chalice From the Palace. But for me, it's the Vessel with the Pestle... or is that Flagon with the Dragon?

Scent Elements: Mimosa, bergamot, blackcurrant, hay, violet, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, sandalwood, opopanax, vanilla, musk

No. 23 (Ava Luxe)

For the last week, I haven't worn perfume at all due to a sinus-slamming head cold. Believe me, it pained me less to have to wipe my dripping faucet of a nose for the 1,000th time than to be unable to breathe AND SMELL through it. Hankering for scent as my congestion let up, I figured any perfume would do. Now I see (and smell) the error of my logic.

I never thought I'd ever say that I wished I had no sense of smell. But no sooner did I apply Ava Luxe No. 23 than I immediately wished for anosmia to descend. We perfumistas know full well that our favorite frags are made largely of chemicals, but most 'fumes have the delicacy not to flaunt it. No. 23, on the other hand is proudly, aggressively chemical-- and it wants to broadcast it to the whole world. Not since Niona EdP or Smell Bent's Challah Atcha Boy have I smelled a fragrance so repellent. NEVER-- and I've smelled quite a few. How can you take sandalwood and cherry-candy heliotrope and make it into the olfactory equal of sucking on a stainless steel wingnut?

Ask Ava Luxe, I guess. I'll be busy in the bathroom, scrubbing my wrists until they're as raw as my nostrils.

Scent Elements: Hawthorn, sandalwood, acacia, rose, geranium, lavender, musk

Cèdre (Serge Lutens)

Since I'm clearly on a tuberose kick (most unusual for me, since I've long had my quarrels with this heavy floral note), I may as well give a shout-out to a fragrance I've been enjoying spritz by spritz for quite some time now. Thanks to JoanElaine, a generous sample of Cèdre came my way several years ago; I've eked it out with all the care and prudence I can muster. It hasn't been hard. This stuff is powerful-- a tuberose fully as monolithic as the Godzilla muguet found in Amouage Ubar. A spritz (hell, half a spritz!) goes an awfully long way... but how scenic that way is! Here, one discovers a wealth of cool, waxy white petals kissed by the sun. But in the same sense that it takes more than plain buttercream frosting to make an attractive cake, Cèdre comes dusted with fresh-grated cinnamon-- a note so legible that it almost supersedes tuberose as the main attraction. Sometimes the garnish deserves top billing because it makes you want to devour your way down to an empty, gleaming plate.

Scent Elements: Tuberose, cinnamon, cloves, cedar, musk, amber