Grain de Soleil

A mini bottle of red amber eau with Fragonard’s iconic sunburst cap in silver, sitting on fresh snow.

I needed a bit of sun today, and this little beauty gives big powdery vanilla amber warmth with just one drop. (Really, just one–this stuff gives off melting honey rose trails a mile long.)

Sandalwood and cinnamon on the bottom keeps the marzipan-ish heliotrope from getting sticky, and adds some maturity to the vanilla.
Lasts all afternoon and through the night on clothes, leaving sweet spice dust behind like footprints in the snow.


Stay warm, yeah?


Large oval bottle with gold Fragonard sunburst cap, on verdigris brass sundial.

Jasmine and wisteria that span several decades.

Starts with big creamy-yet-spicy florals, a hit of 80’s soapy peaches and a squirt of 70’s disco rose pee, then gets powdery with late 90’s iris. Finishes up with a light sunny musk that’s brilliant on scarves.

For the woman who celebrates her laugh lines.


A melancholy sun. She sang this tribute five days after Chris Cornell’s death.

Xmas E

Blue capped vintage splash bottle with gold label, among green tree ornaments.

Merry merry to me!
This came in a cardboard box with very 50s Golden Age ivory scroll packaging–Fragonard first released Xmas E in 1929, possibly to compete with Caron’s Nuit de Noel–though this label font and plastic lid seem more recent.
(The eau is in good shape, though quite dark, and stains the skin like iodine.)
I wish I could find more info on it. A brief note at, says this was rebranded as “Orchidée,” but I haven’t seen any other reference to that.

Opens with boozy spiced plums and some aldehyde fizz, which I’m guessing might actually be ylang-ylang, roses and sandalwood with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
The florals are balanced out with oaky woods on the bottom. I bet it was marketed to men, too, when it was first made.
Very festive in a mulled wine way–I think it’s cool that our ideas of what smells like Christmas hasn’t changed in almost a hundred years.


Listening to this one tonight.
Merry merry, all.


The state of Georgia in July.

Arielle smells like peaches in the hot sun, when the fruit stands are full and ripe and steamy and the day lilies are blooming in full force.
Amber and sandalwood dry up the sweetness after an hour, making it almost civet-sour-soapy, that Atlanta highway air freshener and funky sweat that sticks to skin and clothes, until it slowly eases back to evening breeze and sweet peach tea.

I kinda like it.


Ile d’Amour

Ile d'AmourSweet water with vague apricot and flowers.

Lily-of-the-valley blooms a half hour in, about a handspan off the skin, while the wet fruit stays close. Lasts the morning on skin and forever on clothes–even after laundry day, cotton still holds the watery musk.

It’s too refined for me. I want to dirty it up with salt or civet or something–my Love Island is messier than this.

The band Isle of Love is out of Warsaw, Poland.  I have no idea what they’re singing about, but it’s a pretty tune.

Belle de Nuit

belle de nuitMidnight Fantasy and Tea Rose meet for a tryst in a hedge maze, saying, “J’adore!” while Lou Lou watches with Envy.

Plums are tasted, roses are plucked.
Night flowers bloom, then fade after a few hours, leaving a long trail of powdery musk behind.
No one speaks of it in the daytime.

It’s gorgeous and delicate, yet a bit naughty.

2001 also saw the release of one of my very favorite French movies.


capucineCapucine means nasturtium in French–I grew them in my little garden when I was a girl–and there’s a hit of that weird woody spice note at the opening.
Mostly though, I get fancy tea-shop–jasmine oolong and marzipan cakes–and dusty bakery musk in the air, with fresh roses on the cafe tables.

The dry-down lasts close to the skin all afternoon, a gorgeous elusive vanilla, with an Alice-in-Wonderland vibe–ruffles and cookies and riddles.

This sweet little song was a huge chart topper in France the same year.


eclat edgesThis opens with a premier class take on Victoria’s Secret Love Spell, then it melts into amber-y burnt sugar, all business with extra legroom.

Sweet and enjoyable, (and extremely long-lasting) but too young for me.

Moby remixed Slipping Away with Mylène Farmer, a French pop singer from Quebec in 2006. It’s equally sweet.



fragonard edges
Mini Fragonard bottle with gold flower cap on scandalous-for-the-18th-century Fragonard painting of “Girl on a Swing.”

Opens 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.