Sortilège

sortilegeHave you ever opened a box of old vintage sewing patterns at a rummage sale, and gotten transported back in time–before you were born, even–just from the smell?

Sortilège whispers vintage lily-of-the-valley out of the bottle, then powdery peachy aldehydes a la Chanel No. 5 trample the flowers to dust.
More try to bloom, some feeble jasmine, whimpering mimosa–the rose survives, bolstered by iris, but then they are bowled over by great gobs of amber with vetiver musk in the wake.

This makes me want a wasp-waisted dress with piping and a built-in crinoline, and wrist gloves with matching bows.


Le Galion released Sortilège in 1937, when Fred Astaire was hanging out at The Stork Club, famous for singing Gershwin. I prefer Lady Day’s cover.

 

Amber Absolutely

Amber Absolutely editMight be the nicest amber musk I’ve ever tried, but I think I’d need to be a bit less girly-girl to pull it off properly–this one falls more into the laid-back dude territory of unisex.

At first, plums–not the pale juicy kind, the dark prune ones, with that blue rime on the thick skin–drink smoky black currant tea with honey, while wild roses bloom in the distance. Then the amber kicks in with masculine wood, warming up some musky benzoin for several hours.

Quite nice, and projects louder and longer than any other Fort & Manle I’ve tested so far.


A mellow 311 cover–

Macadam Paz

macadam pazVanilla musk on the skin that turns into really enjoyable leather and peaches, hot nutmeg and herbal incense–

This Le Soft is perfectly soft butch–sweet and rough, spice and smoke–held close.
I like her quiet confidence.

Pair with a watch or wallet chain and other marvelous cliches.


Here’s my other favorite gender-bendy-Frenchie at the moment–

Fragonard

fragonard edgesOpens with a faceful of  white flowers, and I’m suddenly claustrophobic–have I been trapped in a hot elevator with this, when I was a child?
(When did this come out, anyway?)

Slowly drifts into soapy milk suds for a while, then settles down with jasmine and woodsy amber a foot off the skin–and stays there all day long.

Complicated–there’s a trace bit of musk that cuts through the sweetness and ages it up. This would be a great Boss-Lady-shows-her-soft-side perfume, in an up-do and day-to-evening shoes.


Fragonard opened in 1926. That same year Carl Nielson’s flute concerto opened in Paris to huge success.

Süleyman Le Magnifique

suleyman edgyA twist of green sappy resin, then the cinnamon hits soft and heavy, and spreads with amber over dried apples and warm mulled cider.  Fades in half an hour to sandalwood and shadows of roses on benzoin skin.

Brief, but gorgeous.


I recently discovered the Turkish group Taksim Trio–a bit new age, a bit traditional.
Hüzün means sadness, google translate tells me.

Eu Vent de Vous

eu vent de vousStarts harsh but finishes mellow.

Cardamom bombs the opening, the same throat closing assault when entering any truck stop store outside Paris, Appalachia–menthol cigarette ash and candy bars–but then it slowly melts into the skin with tobacco and vanilla a la Tom Ford.


Not many people realize Tom Waits actually wrote this one–also harsh and mellow.

Forty Thieves

forty-thieves edgyOpens with incense and intrigue, and a sweet, spicy neroli rose that blooms a yard off the wrist.
Soon melts down to rich amber resin and sandalwood and lingers on the skin for an hour.

Lovely and mysterious, but I wish the honey notes lasted longer–and that price is not a steal.


This song effectively ended the eighties, and confused a hella lot of us about fashion, gender norms, and which ends of our cutoff jeans we were supposed to wear where.
Damn, I miss Prince.