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June 2018

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“Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
Heavenly One, thy sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What convention strictly divides;*
All people become brothers,*
Where your gentle wing abides.” – Friedrich Schiller

Oh, what a joy: Friedrich Schiller for a read, Beethoven for my ears, Klimt for my eyes…and Atelier des Ors White Collection for my nose!

There I was, walking streets of Vienna early in the morning: from Graben, alongside Wiener Staatsoper (Opera House) towards parks surrounding Museumquartier, moving on to Secession Building at Friedrichstrasse 12.

Its doors were closed, at 10 AM temperature was rising above 27C: the building of Secession is currently under construction and small groups of visitors, not larger than ten are allowed to enter and see Beethoven Frieze by Klimt. I waited patiently.

Three months have passed since I first had a chance to sample Atelier Des Ors White Collection! I was selfish, I must admit: I needed to test them on my skin, to get to know them and yes! I became a fan. I smell great, I thought: here you go, my perfume, I am taking you to see the source of the idea standing behind this collection!

When art forms meet…miracles happen! Perfume as an art form? Here we go with that question again. Allow me to quote Mr. Chandler Burr:

“Works of art must elicit emotion, thought and some reaction. At their best they make their audience perceive reality differently than they did before experiencing the work. Works of scent do all these things brilliantly.”

Art, craft or design: whatever your opinion on perfumes is, what is certain is that they engage senses, elicit emotions and that olfactory art is a wearable art form! We are wearing art (in the best cases, yes)!

I first encountered the White Collection by Atelier des Ors during a closed presentation held at Esxence – The Scent of Excellence in Milano earlier this year. As much as I was impressed by a new addition to the previous, „Black Collection“ line – Bois Sikar (you can read my full review here), which left me thirsty, I was eager to discover what stands behind white packaging of the new, not yet disclosed line.

Mr. Jean Philippe Clermont and Ms. Megan Paki were all smiling while talking about the new collection: smiles reaching beyond eyes and stretched lips, genuine smiles: you could feel their joy and excitement! This was contagious! There it was, right in front of me: an idea, a story, a perfumer, fine ingredients and a niche house: all elements you might need for a great new olfactory experience!

I took the samples home, wore and tested them for months on my skin. Even that was not enough: I had to travel in order to research deeper, to get to know my perfume better. I had to see the source of the idea, I had to hear that music, I had to read poetry, preferably in original (German). So I did and when I completed my quest, this is when I can share my review with you.

Nuda Veritas, Crepuscule de Ames and Choeur des Anges, a triptych in white bottles and boxes:

White is where it all starts, which is obvious if you look at the presentation of perfumes. White is paper we write upon, blank is the screen before we start typing. A void we aim to fulfill with our own creation. A new beginning…New hope!

Gold. Klimt painted with gold, gold flakes in bottles are Atelier Des Ors signature detail.
Orange. The connecting element between perfumes in this triptych, created by perfumer Marie Salamagne, is present in citrus notes: mandarin, neroli and orange blossom form the atmosphere.

Joy. The main idea is human quest for joy, inspired by Gustav Klimt’s Beethoveen Frieze (1902.), a monumental work of art, taking its theme from Richard Wagner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Vienna. This is where I went, to see and feel this masterpiece once again, to the Secession Building in Vienna. I walked in, wearing my „Choir of Angels“. This is where it all finally made perfect sense to me, this is where I connected with these three perfumes on a much deeper level.

Joy. Daughter from Elysium (heaven). Aren’t we all in search of joy? Isn’t that the deepest desire of all human beings, happiness? Let’s take a quick look at the protagonists mentioned:

Friedrich Schiller died in 1805. At the age of 45. During his lifetime, Schiller was a close friend with the famous writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. What was his source of joy? If you look at his biography, clearly it is not when he was a young man attending a Military Academy. We can only guess that he was happy when he could do what he was best at writing.

Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” was used by Beethoven for the choral movement of his Ninth Symphony. What made Ludwig Beethoven a happy man?

We do know that he was an exceptional composer who struggled against deafness.

Interesting is that many of his most accomplished works were created during the time he was – deaf. In a note dated October 6, 1802, and referred to as “The Heiligenstadt Testament,” he writes: “O you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you and I would have ended my life — it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me.” Art. Contributing. Creating.

Gustav Klimt. A painter, raised in poverty. Scandalous at his time, a lifelong bachelor with countless affairs. It is said that he fathered 14 children along his way. What made him happy?

I think his most famous quote might hide an answer to this question: “Whoever wants to know something about me—as an artist, the only notable thing—ought to look carefully at my pictures and try to see in them what I am and what I want to do.”

Beethoven Frieze: a starting point for these three perfumes, a monumental work of art. Thirty-four meters wide and two meters high, currently under restoration. A masterpiece of art. Let’s see how each perfume relates to it, the way I see it:

NUDA VERISTAS: The naked truth. This is the beginning on the quest for happiness. She is pure, arms streched out, the floating female Genii. Her eyes are closed as she reaches out to the world, to embrace it, to be embraced.

It opens up with gentle citruses, bright and optimistic. You can almost feel the softness of flower petals touching your skin, cooling it down. I don’t know why but my first thought was: I wish I wore this perfume on my wedding day! What a perfect bridal!

This optimistic, bright opening very smoothly transitions to reveal a bouquet of flowers, dainty white jasmine flowers like tulle of my wedding dress.

Later on, musks and patchouli give a golden touch to all this whiteness, never too heavy, just adding it spice and an aura of glowing skin.

It lasts above average, I would say ten hours on my skin and it retains this optimistic, fresh and translucent glow.

Optimism in a bottle, for sure.
A bright, sunny morning, full of promises: I hear myself singing „What a difference a day made…24 little hours…“
Notes:
Top: Bergamot, Orange flower petals
Heart: Jasmine sambac, Chinese jasmine absolute, Osmanthus absolute, Tiare flower
Base: Patchouli, Tagete absolute, Ambroxan, Musk, Oakmoss

CRÉPUSCULE DES ÂMES: Twilight of the souls. Enter Sickness, Madness and Death! All the „Dark Side“ elements inside us and the Frieze shows images representing our sins and passions which we have to overcome in order to achieve happiness and joy. On the Frieze you can see figures of Lasciviousness, Wantonness and Intemperance (with a large belly).

This twilight can easily seduce you, this is where you can get lost…if suffer I must, may it be from this fine perfume!

Twilight it truly is. What a change of mood, comparing to Nuda Veritas! Yes, a citrusy note is present here as well but this time it is ripe, succulent, seductive.

I feel spices adding depth to it, developing subtly like in all the Atelier des Ors perfumes. There is no abrupt movement here, yet this perfume is strong and dark at its core.

I see the color of deep, dark blue night skies and a full moon, somehow blurred with clouds of hyraceum – giving it almost animalistic masque.

It encompasses me when I wear it, moves and glides on my skin like a heavy dress made of purple silk, giving me that dark womanly feeling although it is the most masculine one in this collection. Bare skin, desire, and hidden strength: temptation and seduction in a most alluring form, drawing you in deeper and deeper.

Notes:
Top: Mandarin, Cardamom, Clary sage
Heart: Hysope, Incense, Pimento berry
Base: Hyraceum infusion, Patchouly

CHOEUR DES ANGES: Choir of Angels. Humanity’s yearning for happiness is fulfilled by arts, thus giving a kiss to the whole world, this is a moment when we all become brothers, as Schiller wrote. A kiss that feels like angels are singing…a dramatic climax of the Frieze!

It simply made me happy, on the first sniff, back there in Milan.

Just like that, simple, childish, carefree happiness – that was my first thought, without analyzing notes or thinking about its structure. I felt like embraced by it, physically embraced, I felt beloved and somehow…safe.

The simple joy of living in a bottle, soothing ambrosia, nectar of gods…Like radiant rays of sunshine, touching my skin with a golden film of honey, making me glow from inside out.

It makes me smile every time I wear it, that kind of smile that generates from my deepest inner self, a perfect smile.

When you first inhale Choeur des Anges, it’s like inhaling a breath of some divine being: orange pulp offering your nose sweet and ripe pears on a golden platter. Honey too, the divine nectar of Gods is served: yet carrot seeds provide it a vegetal touch, making that connection between Heaven and Earth.

Hours after applying it subdued into ambery shades of warmth, still touched by the brightness of mandarines. I enjoyed drydown enormously because it did draw out ambery tones with a fine dose of dry spices.

Should I call it a citrusy gourmand? Fruity floral? Whatever. It certainly is a quite sophisticated and finely crafted perfume.

Happiness in a bottle, this is what I will call it. This perfume is the one that made me hear the melody and words of Ode to Joy when I looked upon the walls inside Secession Building, a perfect match on that day and occasion. Angels were singing: „Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium…“!

I was wearing this beautiful perfume, looking at Klimt’s masterpiece, singing Ode to Joy…I felt the sheer joy of living and gratefulness for everything that made me feel happy on that day.

Notes:
Top: Blood orange, Blackcurrant, Pear
Heart: Orange flower absolute, Carrot seeds absolute, Osmanthus
Base: Cedarwood, Amber, Provencal Honey.

These perfumes made me think: what makes us happy? What gives us the joy of living?

Researches have been made: the most famous and quoted one is the 75 years long Grant and Glueck/Harvard study with two key conclusions: happiness is a feeling of love! Good relations keep us happier and healthier. Simple as that.

You can also take a look at TED Talk „What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness“ by Robert Waldinger here.

The study also shows that everyone is motivated and therefore happier by a blend of:
1. Doing good for others: contributing, 2. Doing things they are good at: self actualisation, 3. Doing good for yourself: physically, financially and emotionally.

Contributing is a great source of joy: artists such as Klimt, Beethoven or Schiller felt the ultimate joy in creating works of art, that was also what they were best at.
Bottom line: happiness is a choice!

As for me, I know one thing: fine perfumes bring me joy and bliss of happiness.

Sharing what I feel, the experiences I have with different perfumes, thoughts, and emotions – makes me even happier…

I hope you will find your daily dose of bottled joy among perfumes from Atelier des Ors Black (read my review here) or new, White Collection.

Follow me for more reviews to come!

The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Atelier des Ors Press Material. The modern interpretation of Klimt by street artist Dcypher.
Samples provided by Atelier des Ors
Opinions are my own. Disclaimer

I write about perfumes. I am a collector of olfactory impressions. Sometimes I fall head over heels in love with a perfume. As I did with Dangerous Rose. Unexpectedly, utterly and irrevocably. With an insatiable hunger for it.

To start with, I was just as self-confident that it will not affect me so strongly when I first approached it.

An introduction was made, perhaps that is why I felt so self-confident. Two introductions, to be exact.

The first one happened at the Esxence – The Scent of Excellence exhibition in Milan, where I attended Olibere Perfumes presentation of the new collection, resulting from the cooperation between Founder Marjorie Olibere and star perfumer Luca Maffei of Atelier Fragranze Milano.

These fine perfumes are inspired by movies Marjorie watched when growing up: Dangerous Rose perfume is inspired by the movie „Dracula“. Vampire movies of our youth. My favorite is “Interview With A Vampire”!

Movies, memories, atmosphere, characters, plots…and fragrances.

There are three new Extraits de Parfum joining Savannah’s Heart: Chemical Love, Leather Attraction and Dangerous Rose.

OLIBERE is a fragrance atelier that makes for the first time the unique connection between the magic of cinema & poetry of fragrances. Each fragrance comes with its original short movie. Founder Marjorie Olibere makes sure that each fragrance and movie powerfully convey emotions.“

I had the pleasure of hearing Marjorie Olibere present the new collection together with Luca Maffei, showing us raw materials he used!

The second introduction, much closer to the skin, was made when I came home, watched some vampire movies again, tested and wore the perfume over and over again. I became selfish, keeping it for myself. So much that I refused to write about it until now, still sniffing my wrist like an addict.

I thought at first: a Chypre! To be honest, this is what some Chypre perfumes do to me. Now, those who are familiar with perfume families might as well skip this paragraph but in order not to flaunt around “big ‘fume” words for those who are not, let’s start with this brief explanation:

„Chypre“ is mostly acknowledged as the most sophisticated of fragrance families. The name comes from Cyprus (French) – the island, not the cypress tree. There are opinions that Chypre (sheep:raa) date back to Roman times: this island is considered the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. These fragrances are usually built around a woody/mossy accord – with bergamot, oakmoss, patchouli and labandum and elements of flowers, fruits or wood are also present, dividing this family into two groups: Chypre Floral and Chypre Fruity, and furthermore Woody Chyphre, Fresh Cyphre, Green Cyphre and Cyphre Leather. Francois Coty launched in 1917. his simply named „Cyphre“ perfume, Guerlain did it with Cyphre de Paris, also simply named Cyphre.

I am very fond of the Cyphre family: to me, these perfumes bring a very feminine and sophisticated feeling, complex and rare and ah! so very Parisienne! The mood. The atmosphere. Luxury. High heels, perfect makeup, shiny hair, and heavenly scented body. They are a fine dress, a glass of champagne, red lipstick, soft lights, Mona Lisa smiles, refined seduction, elegant sex appeal, and sparkling intellect…

Call it a Cyphre, a woody-floral-musk, a nouveau cyphre: this Dangerous Rose is a Dangerous Rose is a Dangerous Rose…by whatever family name you call it!

What is the connection between movies about vampires and this finely crafted Cyphre perfume? The atmosphere! Haunting. I remember watching vampire movies breathlessly, movies about love, seduction, betrayal, loneliness, and hunger for life.

These movies whisper and scream about addiction, the pain of separation, the fading of feelings, the promise of immortality. Haunting, sexy, funny and hypnotic.

The perfume? Both gourmand and carnal, it opens up inviting, seducing you in an almost innocent offering of fresh bergamot, edible spices, and fruitiness – only to transform into dark rose absolute enhanced with oud. Gothic splendor, leaving you totally bewitched with the elegant darkness of its sensuality.

There is also the fact that in the 16th/17th century Europe oakmoss was a very popular scent, used with orris and rose petals to perfume the wigs! Vampires in movies? They are not just creatures of the dark: they are emotional, contemplative, hedonistic, confident and frail in their immortality. Highly seductive.

„In the spring of 1988. I returned to New Orleans and as soon as I smelled the air I knew I was home. It was rich, almost sweet, like the scent of jasmine and roses around our old courtyard. I walked the streets, savouring that long lost perfume“

I really would like you to feel the atmosphere I keep talking about because, in my opinion, it is crucial in describing this perfume:

„Mortal beauty often makes me ache and mortal grandeur can fill me with that longing…but Paris, Paris drew me close to her heart, so I forgot myself entirely. Forgot the damned and questioning preternatural thing that doted on mortal skin and mortal clothing. Paris overwhelmed and lightened and rewarded more richly than any promise“


Dangerous Rose
starts out sweet, singing its notes softly, almost like when you listen to choral chanting. A fruity intro with a sprinkle of spices lures you to come closer, to lower your shields and forget your defenses. Very tempting and irresistible. As you become relaxed with this song-of-a-siren top notes nectar conjunction, the dark red, opulent, rose in full bloom rose enters like a queen. A tricky rose it is too, playing with your senses: it moves in majestically but it also hides in so many shadows of oud and civet, not taking over but rather making a perfect setting so that this rose can be appreciated in all its might. Imagine this rose, as I did, closing my eyes: a rose observed by night. Dark, deep red tones with black shadows in deep folds of thick petals, soft and velvety but also very full-bodied petals, almost edible in their opulence. When you fully surrender to it, it leaves a deep impression of muskiness that lingers on, like a silky bed for all those wonderful rose petals! Dangerous Rose seems to last forever in its almost eerie beauty…

„As if the night said to me: „You are the night and the night alone understands you and unfolds you in its arms.“ One with the shadows. Without a nightmare. An inexplicable peace“ (Anne Rice)

I hope you will enjoy this fine perfume as much as I did!

Top notes: Bergamot, Passion Fruit, Nutmeg, Pink Pepper, Cardamom
Middle notes: Rose Absolute, Pyrogenated Styrax, Oud
Base notes: Patchouli, Benzoin, Labdanum, Civette, Oakmoss, Musk

Update! 1.12.2018.

After the crowdfunding campaign, the first bottles were shipped. My bottle arrived: it is beautiful!

Elena Cvjetkovic/The Plum Girl


Photos:
The Plum Girl and Olibere Perfumes
Sample provided by Olibere Perfumes
Disclaimer
Special thanks to Jakub from Persefume🌹

Quotes: Anne Rice, “The Vampire Chronicles”

Every time I think about Barcelona I hear Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe (Barcelona! It was the first time that we met…Barcelona! How can I forget!), see broken pieces of colorful ceramic tiles forming a big lizard, I feel sea salt touching fingertips of Christopher Colombo high up on his monument and hear parrots nesting on a palm tree.

Freddie’s song sparkles and echoes on Placa d’Espana. The Magic Fountain is a free music and light show that is not to be missed, a fantastic display of water, light, and music.

I keep returning to this city, each and every time discovering it all over again. The most photogenic city in the World, they say? It certainly is! When you look at the sandy beech of Barcelonetta (just a walking distance from Plaza Catalunya)

or Rambla with its distinctive pavement, the almost finished Cathedral Sagrada Familia

Barri Gotic

or Parc Guell

you will find this true. These are must-see spots but there are so many hidden streets and corners, palaces and old Roman ruins, gardens brimmed with lush flowers and amazing fountains.

I’ve always had a soft spot for cities located at any sea or ocean coastline, I can’t imagine living far far away from the sea. The Mediterranean culture is a strong connection for me: I feel at home in Barcelona!

Just take a look at numbers: more than 270000 people living there are – foreigners. Roughly 1 million tourists visit Barcelona per week and this is the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean sea!

The scents and sounds of Barcelona…mornings are slow until 10 AM but nights are lively after 10 PM!

I think it’s a great city for art and history lovers but foodies and hedonists as well. Like when you sit down in a restaurant with your friends after sunset, order amb tomàquet (toasts smeared with tomato, salt, olive oil, and garlic), a pitcher of Sangria or any other fine wine from this region and nibble on so many varieties of – tapas.

Or when you enter the famous Bouqueria Market, where you can find the essence of Barcelona’s food culture – meat and poultry, local hams and sausages, an amazing assortment of fish, baked goods, condiments, cheeses, olive oils, fruits, vegetables and jamon jamon hanging everywhere!

Yet, this city is full of contrasts: you might want to visit the Picasso Museum and get lost deep in the Gothic Quarter of the city (my favorite part of Barcelona), where a maze of winding streets leads to pretty squares and beautiful buildings.

Don’t look at the map too often: the beauty of this part of the city is in wandering the backstreets and discovering the hidden museums, churches, markets, and landmarks for yourself…and it does remind me of Carner’s new perfume Megalium (read my full review Carner Barcelona – the new collection), when I take a closer look at these remains of an ancient Roman temple:

Carner Barcelona, definitely. You get the precise feeling and full meaning of their perfumes here. Just as you can easily connect with Ramon Monegal and Rosendo Mateu, together with Santi Burgas proudly exhibited in the spotlight of niche perfumeries. Don’t miss stopping and shop at La Basílica Galería, located between the ancient walls of a building in the historic Jewish quarter of Barcelona or Perfumerías Regia, related to the Museum of Perfumes. The Regia boutique goes back to 1928. when a young perfumer Josep Giralt decided to participate in the World Exhibition of 1929. In Barcelona. His small shop became a sensation and a quite exquisite perfumery.

There are many other olfactory connections to Barcelona. Let’s not forget that the mighty Puig is also based here, with owned brands such as Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur; licenses such as Prada, Valentino, Christian Louboutin and Comme des Garçons and revenues of €1,935 million in 2017!

Some new brands emerged as well: during my stay I had an opportunity to meet Romy Kowalewsky, the founder of 27_87 („I gave the World the date and year of my birth, won’t tell you the month, you don’t need to know my horoscope sign!“, she laughs…).

It took her five years to start from a written project: determination and passion combined created unconventional perfumes. She invited perfumers Max Buxton (with countless niche projects behind him), Daniela Andrier (many Prada creations) and Shyamala Maisondieu (worked for Diesel, Lanvin, Tom Ford etc.) to create something – completely different. Bold and ah! so Millennial? Her story is very inspiring.

So here we are, talking about Wanderlust, Elixir de Bombe, Hamaca and #hashtag perfumes:


My more detailed review of 27_87 will follow, and I am certainly looking forward to something that’s Romy now working on, soon to be revealed (psssst!).

When you start walking the wide sidewalk of boulevard Passeig de Gracia, very near to Gaudi’s Casa Milà and Casa Batllo there is a small niche perfumery close to those magnificent buildings:

Perfumerías Regia. On its entrance only those who are searching for it will notice this sign:

Museum of Perfumes or Museu del Perfum in Catalan!

You have to walk through the perfumery and at its end is a narrow hallway leading to an ordinary door, locked and so ordinary looking. The entrance ticket is 5EUR and just me and my friend were there at the time, although crowds of tourists swarmed this street.

At the first glimpse, I was overwhelmed! This collection holds more than five thousand perfume related artifacts and it is a must-see place for any perfume lover!

Well, for the next two hours all you could hear coming from that direction were my oooh’s and aaaah’s: I was in heaven!

Let me show you just small bits and pieces of this amazing collection: the first part of the collection features Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman containers for fragrance:

Then you can move on to the second part, with creations of Guerlain, L.T. Piver, Roger & Gallet, Jean-Marie Farina, and others:

Further on, various brands from different parts of the World are displayed, vintage beauties:

I even found this display featuring vintage Neva perfumes from Croatia (Croacia), fragrances my grandmother used on everyday basis:

And so much more!

When you visit Barcelona, take it easy. Slow down. Look around you and enjoy!

Start your day with a cup of coffee with milk (cafe con leche), get used to crowds of tourists and try to siesta.

Learn some Catalan: Bon dia or Bona tarda is not that hard to remember. I always ask: Com es diu en catala?/How do you say…in Catalan – because I genuinely do want to learn…and no n’hi ha prou amb una llengua! (One language is never enough…)

Barcelona – La musica vibró
Barcelona – Y ella nos unió
And if God willing we will meet again, someday…

The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl