Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Coco: Iconic Fragrance

Similar to both Chanel No. 5 and No. 19 in its warm blend of jasmine and rose, Coco could be called an oriental fragrance, and yet its sensuality is more decidedly baroque. Its creator, Jacques Polge, had been struck by the Venetian-style splendour of Coco Chanel's Paris apartment and decided to pay homage to her style by creating a new kind of "oriental", more Western than Eastern in spirit.

A voluptuous perfume dominated by the exuberance of spicy amberry and woody accords, to which notes of leather and orange blossom have been added, Coco represented a more modern interpretation of what a late 20th-century oriental fragrance could and should be. All told, it was an opulent scent that perfectly mirrored the financial boom and the material excesses of the decade.

Vanessa Paradis in a 1992 Coco Chanel TV ads:

Classic 80's commercial that was spoofed by Eddie Murphy in movie Boomerang:

Another Coco Chanel commercial:

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Celebrity Scent - #8 Prince

Prince has a new signature perfume coming out. The scent named 3121 (adds up to 7) will go on sale 7/7/07 and is already generating a lot of buzz. The name 3121 is also Prince's latest album and the fragrance comes in purple color, which is an allusion to another Prince's album Purple Rain. The world-class musician and showman who was also known to be bit eccentric and once changed his name into a symbol was very much involved in the formulation of the scent. It was described to be a long-lasting floral scent evolving into patchouli and sandalwood. Cedarwood and musk completes the scent.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Few great names in the world of 20th century glass cause as much excitement as that of Lalique, the leading French glassmaker. Rene Lalique (1860-1945) opened his first glass shop in Paris in 1905 and started to produce finely crafted bottles for Coty. Innovative techniques allowed his beautiful designs to be mass-produced at a low cost and to a high standard, which enabled him to attract clients such as D'Orsay, Houbigant, and Roger et Gallet. Lalique's Art Nouveau pieces typically feature floral and figural etched designs and are extremely valuable.

The Art Deco period saw the company build on earlier successes. Shapes were bold and sometimes featured over-sized decorative stoppers. An original box can greatly increase the value of these bottles. Over the years, Lalique produced thousands of bottles for more than 60 perfume manufacturers, and it is still in business today.

Lalique "Le Lys" perfume bottle for D'Orsay

Lalique "Habanito" perfume bottle for Molinard, circa 1937

Lalique "Amphitrite" perfume bottle, circa 1920

See more in Lalique Museum website.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Angel: Smells Good Enough to Eat

When you read Angel's ingredients, you might think that you are reading the ingredients of a cake or pudding, not perfume. Since 1990's, there was a host of fragrances using unconventional perfume raw materials for its ingredients. But it was Angel - with its base notes of vanilla, chocolate and caramel, heart notes of berries and honey, and an intense accord of bergamot and patchouli - that first gave the world a taste for what perfume historian Michael Edwards has called "gourmand perfumery."

Created by Olivier Cresp and Yves de Chiris for the fashion designer Thierry Mugler, Angel was a perfume that indeed smell good enough to eat. The perfume was based on the specifications of Mugler who wanted to recapture his childhood with the "scent of the fairground, of little cakes, chocolates and caramels". The result was a tapestry of olfactory emotions, childhood memories and peals of carefree laughter. It was like a fun fair, with its odors of cotton candy, chocolate, and sugared almonds.

Today, Angel is France's bestselling scent - maybe the fact that vanilla notes are said to attract men might just have something to do with its huge success. Or maybe, the smell is just stimulating to one's appetite that make it irresistible. Like a mouth-watering treat, that when it hit your senses, you just want to go for it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Celebrity Scent - #7 Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton is all over the news these past few days, and while the controversial socialite usually loves the limelight, the reason for this one may not really what she wanted. The iconic heiress, who is a part-time model, reality-tv show star, movie starlet, fledgling recording artist, fashion designer, the subject of a famous sex-video, and soon-to-be jailbird, also has her own line of fragrances.

In May 2004, Paris was involved in the creation of a fragrance line by Parlux Fragrances. The perfume was be simply named Paris Hilton and it was said that Paris herself mixed all the scents together to form the new fragrance. The perfume launch was a success, in fact it was followed by a 47% increase in sales for Parlux, which was predominantly due to sales of the Hilton-branded perfume. Banking on that success, Parlux released Paris Hilton for Men, a cologne for Hilton's male admirers, as well as another fragrance called Just Me by Paris Hilton, which is available for both women and men. Another perfume titled Heiress by Paris Hilton was released in October 2006 and a counterpart for men, Heir by Paris Hilton followed.

Print Ad for "Just Me"

Video: Paris Hilton in Dublin launching "Heiress"

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Collected Quotes #3

"Perfume is a promise in a bottle."
— Sophia Grosjman

"A perfume needs to attract the eye
as much as the nose
— Francois Coty

"A perfume is like a cat burglar in your brain;
it has the key with which to pick the lock
and unleash your memories
— Roja Dove

"To create a perfume, you have to be a servant
of the unconcious. Each idea evolves and transforms,
but they should be a surprise with each note
— Serge Lutens

"I think allure is something around you,
like a perfume or like a scent.
It's like a memory... it pervades.
— Diana Vreeland

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Shalimar: Romantic and Seductive

Shalimar is one of the flagships of French perfumery. Created by Jacques Guerlain, it is an extraordinarily rich and spicy oriental fragrance. The name comes from the Shalimar gardens in Lahore, which were created for the Emperor Shah Jahan (who also commissioned the Taj Mahal) in honour of his wife. The flacon is an ornate batwing bottle reminiscent of the fountains in the gardens of oriental palaces. The sapphire-coloured, fan-shaped stopper is inspired by the traditional customs of those mysteriously enchanting countries.

Launched in 1925, Shalimar is exotic and sensual thanks to the blend of bergamot, jasmine, iris and vanilla enveloped by balsamic notes. The scent itself came about quite by accident. Playing around one day, Jacques Guerlain added a new synthetic vanilla fragrance, ethyl vanillin, to Jicky, the perfume created by his uncle. The vanillin unexpectedly intensified Jicky's oriental character, and Guerlain realized he had created a seductive new scent. Shalimar is, indeed, indisputably sexy. Scent expert Roja Dove once described it "as close to the edge as you can go and still stay within the realms of good taste." In fact, during the roaring twenties, it was said that there were three things no respectable woman shoud do - smoke, dance the tango, and wear Shalimar.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Celebrity Scent - #6 Britney Spears

While we have yet to find out if her life would have a happy ending, Britney's life is indeed akin to a modern day fairy tale. From being a mousekeeter in Disney's Mickey Mouse club to being one of the highest selling pop artist of recent years. Although recently her career seems to be spiraling, and having to deal with all sorts of controversies, she was once one of the biggest endorser, with products ranging from books to toys to video games and to cosmetics.

In 2003, she endorsed an Elizabeth Arden fragrance named "Curious" for which she earned a reported US$12 million. Designed as a "seriously sexy scent", the fragrance gross sales was US$100 million after one year, becoming the best selling perfume of 2004. Following the success of Curious, Britney released "Fantasy" in 2005. The perfume's tagline was "love’s ability to overwhelm you when you least expect it". It was contained in a round fuchsia bottle with gleaming green Swarovski crystals and a ring pattern that represents the pursuit of everlasting love.

In April 2006, she launched Curious: In Control as a limited edition fragrance. And earlier this year saw the release of Midnight Fantasy.

Curious video ad:

Fantasy video ad:

Britney Spears Beauty products website.

Britney Spears' Fantasy website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fragrance Facts: The Fragrance Wheel

In 1983, Michael Edwards, a consultant in the fragrance industry, invented a new way to classify fragrances according to its families. Called fragrance wheel, this classification is now widely used in retail and fragrance manufacturing.

According to this scheme, there are five standard families: Floral, Oriental, Woody, Fougère (pronounced 'foo-jer'), and Fresh. The first four families are classified as "classic" while Fresh are newer fragrances that have arrived due to improvements in fragrance technology. With the exception of the Fougère family, each the families are also divided into three sub-groups.

Floral - Floral, Soft Floral, Floral Oriental

Examples: Masculine - Agua Lavanda by Puig, Insensé by Givenchy. Feminine - Chanel No 19, Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel, L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci, Charlie by Revlon

Oriental - Soft Oriental, Oriental, Woody Oriental

Examples: Masculine - Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein, Joop! Homme by Joop!, Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier, Equipage by Hermes, Egoiste by Chanel. Feminine - Jean Paul Gaultier "Classique", Angel, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

Woody (also called Chypre) - Wood, Mossy Woods, Dry Woods (also called Chypre)

Examples: Masculine- Givenchy Gentleman, Fendi Uomo, Vetiver by Guerlain, Aramis, Van Cleef and Arpels, Quorum by Puig, Antaeus by Chanel, 212 Men by Carolina Herrera. Feminine - Cuir de Russe by Chanel, Mitsouko by Guerlain, Chypre de Coty.

Fresh - Citrus, Green, Water

Examples: Masculine - Kenzo Pour Homme, L'Eau D'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake, New West for Him by Aramis, Eau Sauvage by Dior, 1881 by Cerruti, D&G Masculine by Dolce & Gabbana, Happy by Clinique. Feminine - Escape by Calvin Klein, Inis by Fragrances of Ireland, Aquawoman by Rochas, Cristalle by Chanel, Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden, Diorella by Christian Dior.


The Fougère family is placed at the center of this wheel since they are large family of scents that usually contain fragrance elements from each of the other four families. The term 'Fougere' is French for 'fern' but fern's don't actually smell like this. The name derives from a now discontinued fragrance by Houbigant called Fougere Royale (Royal Fern) which was the first fougere fragrance.

Examples: Masculine - Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren, Platinum Egoiste by Chanel, Cool Water by Davidoff, Jazz by YSL, Paco Rabanne pour homme.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Print Ads Gallery #2

Gallery 2 includes the following print ads:

  • Calvin Klein Eternity
  • Carolina Herrera 212 Men
  • DKNY
  • Davidoff Cool Water
  • Davidoff Cool Water Woman
  • Dunhill X-centric
  • Mont Blanc Presence
  • Roots Spirit
  • Stella McCartney Stella
Click here to go to the gallery.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jean Patou Joy - The Anti-Depression

Launched in 1929, Jean Patou's fragrance Joy was conceived in defiance of the Great Depression. In the year where a lot of rich people got bankrupted due to the stock market crash, and the usually fashionable women can't even afford to buy new clothes, it would seem like a joke to sell a fragrance which, for a long time, was the costliest perfume in the world. Actually, Jean Patou introduced Joy in order to chase the Depression blues away. With it, Jean tried to uplift the spirit of the people with sophisticated humour and remind people to celebrate the JOY of living.

Designed as created carefully just like a luxurious jewelry, a single ounce of Joy perfume contains 10,600 jasmine flowers and 28 dozens of May roses. This and the fact that picking jasmine blossoms in Grasse is a labor-extensive activity, are the main reason for the high cost.

The Joy perfume extract bottle, with its very pure lines, was designed by an architect, Louis Süe, in 1930. Decorated with gold leaf, it also benefits from a traditional natural seal and from a ground glass stopper tightly encircled with a gold thread.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Celebrity Scent - #5 Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker was one of those few celebrities who made a great transition of changing her image from being a cute, lovable and innocent kid playing Annie to playing a role of a chic, glamorous and super modern woman Carrie Bradshaw in the TV series "Sex And The City". In playing that role, Sarah was also established as a fashion icon and was able to make expensive fashion brands into popular, household names.

Done in collaboration with the international firm Coty, the aptly named fragrance "Lovely" drew its inspiration from Sarah's character in the said series - stylish, vibrant, elegant - addressing to powerful, yet sensitive women. Designed to be worn on any occasion and on any time of the day, it has top notes of fresh Mandarin, Bergamot, Lavender, and Apple Martini. Middles notes are Patchouli, tender Paper Whites, and luxe Orchid caresses the senses. While the bottom notes of irresistible white amber, sensuous cedar, and the very sultry musk enhanced its scent.

The bottle is, of course, simple and exquisite, curved with polished glass, ultra feminine.

Sarah is set to launch another fragrance this July named Covet, this time created with fragrance consultant Ann Gottlieb and Frank Volkl.
Sarah Jessica Parker in Lovely Perfume commercial:

If you are living in the U.S., you can get a sample of Lovely perfume by filling up this form.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Collected Quotes #2

"A fragrance is like a signature,
so that even after a woman leaves the room,
her fragrance should reveal she's been there."
— Oscar De La Renta

"A fragrance always combines
feminity and sensuality."
— Gianfranco Ferre

"A rose is a rose,
but a great perfume creates emotion."
— Michael Edwards

"A scent can trigger spiritual, emotional, or physical peace
and stimulate healing and wellness."
— Donna Karan

"Perfume is an art form, in the same genre as music and painting.
It requires talent, expertise, and most of all passion."
— Clive Christian

Monday, April 23, 2007


As the fragrance industry and the variety of perfume keeps growing through the centuries, there were also the development of stunning and beautiful flacons (perfume bottles). These irresistible little works of art are often what the collectors are after (not the fragrance), as they not only serve as a beautiful display, but they also tell a lot about the era in which they are made.

Glass manufacturer Baccarat has supplied the bottles for many of the luxury perfumes of the last century. Established in 1765 in France, the company managed to attract the attention of Parisian perfume houses, such as Guerlain and Pinaud. Their bottles were influenced by varied styles - from Art Nouveau in early 1900's to Art Deco in 1920s and to Surrealist in 1930's.

Today, Baccarat bottles are widely sought after by serious collectors and are auctioned for incredible prices.

"Le Secret de Dieux," a BACCARAT perfume bottle for Yardley, circa 1913:

"Toujours Fidele," a BACCARAT perfume bottle for D'Orsay, circa 1912:

Elizabeth Arden "Cyclamen" Baccarat perfume bottle circa 1938:

"Ming Toy," a figural BACCARAT perfume bottle for Forest, circa 1923:

Baccarat website

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fragrance Facts: The Perfume Capital of the World

Grasse, France is considered as the perfume capital of the world. Perfume industry basically have its beginnings in this place in the 16th century as an extension of the glove industry. Grasse had been a flourishing leather and tanning center since the 13th century. When perfumed gloves became fashionable, the town provided them, and when the leather business faded away, the perfume became king.

By the 18th century, aromatic plants were being grown in Grasse to provide the growing perfume industry with raw materials. The region was ideal because of the sunshine and micro-climate that facilitated the growth of the most delicate flowers.

Today, Grasse is still home to hundreds of fragrance factories, and is the site of International Perfume Museum housing an extensive historical collection of fragrances.

Other perfume museums:

Holland: Nederlands Parfumflessen Museum
Japan: Lalique Museum
Spain: Museu del Perfum

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Celebrity Scent - #4 Donald Trump

In between managing his businesses, writing books and firing wanna-be apprentices, Donald Trump also market his own fragrance. Launched in 2004 in collaboration with Aramis (Estée Lauder Companies), the eau de toilette named "Donald Trump: The Fragrance" is advertised to embody the confidence, success and character of the real estate billionaire. The masculine scent is composed of top notes of citrus, cucumber and herbs, heart notes combines pepper and exotic sap, and base of woody, earthy and herbaceous drydown. The bottle is designed like a magnificent New York City luxury skyscraper similar to one of Trump's architectural assets. During its launch, there were a lot of skeptics and criticism regarding Trump's deal to have his own fragrance. Branding fragrance has always been dominated by moviestars, athletes, models and singers, usually young and glamorous. Although rich and popular, people doubted if consumers would buy a perfume marketed with Trump's name. After all, there seems to be no correlation between one's smell and making money.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Opium - An Overdosed Essence

Launched in the late 70's, Yves St. Laurent's Opium was controversial not just because of its provocative name, but also of its overwhelming amount of absolute essence. In perfumery, essence is the purest and most distilled concentrate - similar to alcohol in liquors. As I mentioned in previous post, most perfumes contain about 18 to 20 percent concentration level. But with 30% of absolute essence, using Opium was, well overdosing the essence.

The scent has top notes of orange, coriander, pepper and lemon. Heart notes are jasmine, carnation, cinnamon, rose. The base notes of vanilla, sandalwood, benzoin and musk gave it the Oriental allusion that St. Laurent was looking for. It was also the real reason for the perfume's name (opium has origins in China).

It would seem that controversy had always been with this fragrance. The original advertisement that featured Jerry Hall was frowned upon by many as it was suggestive of drug-abuse. It epitomizes the Studio 54 lifestyle, of drug experimentation and casual sex, and was even called "liquid sex" by many. In 2003, the ad below featuring Sophie Dahl was deemed indecent and was banned in many countries including UK.

Opium commercial directed by David Lynch:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Start Your Mini Fragrance Collection

There are quite a number of people who are collecting mini fragrances. These are the products that are issued by the manufacturer as promotion or as a sampler. The great thing about these samples are that it usually comes on a container which is exactly the same design as the real product. So, collecting them are sort of like collecting model airplanes or cars.

If you are interested in starting your own collection, PerfumeEmporium is offering a "Mini of the Month Club". Every month the largest online retailer of perfume will surprise you with a different mini fragrance delivered right to your door. Sample fragrances from such well know designers as Calvin Klein, Versace, and Dolce & Gabanna. This is like joining a "Book of the Month Club". You can choose a 6-month or 12-month membership, both for only $10.00 a month. Orders are shipped every 1st week of each month.

When available, you can also get a sample fragrance from JLo store by simply visiting the site, then Sign-up. Make sure to check the "Free Samples" checkbox.

Print Ads Gallery #1

Gallery 1 includes the following print ads:

  • Armani Code
  • Bvlgari Omnia Amethyst
  • Chanel Chance
  • Dior J'adore (featuring Charlize Theron)
  • Estee Lauder Emerald Dream
  • Lancôme Benghal
  • Lancôme Hypnôse
  • Ralph Lauren Polo Double Black
  • Versace Bright Crystal
Click here to go to the gallery and download high-res images.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Celebrity Scent - #3 Maria Sharapova

Not only is she exceptionally good looking and athletic, Maria Sharapova also lends her name to a sparkling fragrance created by Parlux. Born in Russia, Maria moved to the U.S. at age seven, and began her career on the junior tennis circuit at age 14. In 2004, she won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. In August 2005 Parlux launched the fragrance bearing her name, and by startling coincidence, on the same day that she achieved number one world ranking in women's tennis.

The fragrance defines Maria's tennis game and persona - charming, fresh and sweet (mandarin and bergamot), exciting (pomegranate leaf, cassis berries and lemongrass), graceful (gardenia, jasmin and magnolia) and passionate and competetive (English rose petals and Wimbledon grass). Cashmere musk, white amber crystals and a stroke of vanilla completes an unforgettable match point.

Watch Maria in her perfume ad video:

Fragrance Fact: Perfume vs Fragrance

The words "perfume" and "fragrance" are often used interchangeably. However, these words have different meanings. Fragrance is the term for all substance regardless of its concentration - Parfum extract, Eau de parfum, Eau de toilette or Eau de cologne, while perfume should only be used for those with highest concentration. While it is acceptable for a typical person to talk about fragrances using the term perfume, one should be aware of the difference and be careful when using the term technically.

More on fragrance concentration levels here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Guerlain Jicky - The Herald of Modern Perfumery

Created in 1889 by Aimé Guerlain, the son of the great perfume house founder, Jicky heralded the modern age of perfumery. Before Jicky, perfumes had been nothing more than single-scented floral compositions, similar to nature. Jicky was the first fragrance to combine natural essences and synthetic essences, which give it not only its many facets (fresh, floral, spicy, oriental) but also its strength and staying power. For being revolutionary during that time, Jicky was often thought of as an "impressionist" perfume.

Composed of lavender, lemon, vanilla and bergamot in the top and middle notes, and civet (an ingredient from the sexual glands of a large Ethiopian cat) women weren't immediately taken with the musky smell. Men, however, loved it and started wearing it. In 1904, Guerlain created Mouchoir de Monsieur based on Jicky's notes and became the first commercially available aftershave.

For years, it was thought that Jicky is the name of Aimé's youth sweetheart. It was, however, established later that Jicky was actually the nickname of Aimé's nephew. The bottle is inspired by a 19th-century medicine jar. Its stopper, shaped like a champagne cork, evokes movement and celebration.

Classic and timeless, Jicky today continues to be one of the best selling perfume.

Fragrance Facts: Notes

For the common person, perfume scent can only be described in one or two adjectives - strong, musky, light, sharp, fresh, etc. For a well trained person, perfume scent can actually be described in notes. There are usually 3 notes for a fragrance, and in a musical analogy, the notes should deliver a harmonious chord in order for the scent to work. These notes are layered on top of each other and the person experiencing the scent should sense each note one by one. In other words, the top notes will lead to the middle notes and gradually to the base notes. These notes are possible with careful usage of the evaporation process of the perfume.

Top notes - also called head notes, these scents are immediately perceived upon application of the perfume. It consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. This scent is usually what gives an impression to a common person trying out the fragrance. Citrus and ginger scents are two very common top notes.

Middle notes - also called heart notes, this scent forms the main body (or heart) of a perfume and act to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes. It emerges after the top notes dissipate, which can be from two minutes to an hour after the perfume was applied. Lavender and rose are typical middle notes.

Base notes - also called soul notes, consists of large, heavy molecules, base notes bring solidity and depth to a perfume scent. Together with the middle notes, they are the main theme of the perfume. It is usually not perceived until 30 minutes after the application, and it is possible for some base notes to still be detectable even after 24 hours.

So next time you read a perfume advertisement, you know what it means when it describe the scent in notes - essentially, the head, heart and soul of a perfume.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Collected Quotes #1

"Smell is the primordial sense,
more powerful, more primitive,
more intimately tied to our memories
and emotions than any other."

— Donna Karan

"A perfume needs to attract the eye
as much as the nose."

— Francois Coty

"What remains of a woman when she is in the dark?
When she has undressed, when we can no longer see her
make-up, her wonderful hair, her beautiful eyes,
when she's taken off her jewelry, what is left?
Only her charming voice and her perfume."

— Jean-Paul Guerlain

"A perfume is more than an extract,
it is a presence in abstraction.
A perfume, for me, is a mystique."

— Giorgio Armani

Celebrity Scent - #2 Michael Jordan

Arguably the best basketball player ever, Michael Jordan is also one of the most marketed sports figure in history. He had singlehandedly fueled Nike from obscurity in 1985 to one of the world's most popular brand. His Jordan line has been selling very well in almost all parts of the world. Jordan is one of the most marketed sports figures in history. Aside from Nike, he has been a major spokesman for such brands as Coca-cola, Gatorade, McDonald's, Ball Park Franks, Rayovac, Wheaties, Hanes and MCI.

In 1996, Jordan worked with fashion designer Bijan and the result were a couple of fragrances:

Michael Jordan - a masculine scent possessing a blend of cedar, sandalwood, green tea and leather. It is recommended for daytime wear.

Jordan cologne - classified as an oriental, woody fragrance. This masculine scent is the combination of the following notes: On the top, mandarin, bergamot, bitter orange, sage, greens, white ivy, and cypress. In the middle, white nutmeg, black pepper, cardamom, and jasmine. On the bottom, sandalwood, cashmere musk, oak, blond woods, and amber. Jordan cologne is packaged in a sky blue bottle and is enclosed in a blue and silver box.

23 - Launched in 2004, the distinctively masculine fragrance possesses a blend of bergamont, grapefruit, black currant, watermelon. Heart notes magnolia, geranium and sparkling violets. Base notes sandalwood, amber, honeyed herbs, musk and fig leaf.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Clive Christian No. 1 - Most Expensive Perfume

Clive Christian No. 1 is currently the most expensive perfume available commercially. Made in UK, the 1 oz bottle costs around $2300, which is due to the fine, rare, and downright exotic ingredients it contains. An extravagant and complex bouquet of precious Indian jasmine, mandarin and sandalwood. The bottle is handmade of rare lead crystal with the neck being a 24-karat gold-plated sterling silver, stamped with unique hallmarks and set with a brilliant-cut diamond solitaire. The stopper is fashioned after the original design granted by Queen Victoria.

1n 2005, British designer-turned-perfumer Clive Christian, poured 16.9 ounces of No. 1 into a Baccarat crystal bottle, stuck a five-carat diamond into the 18-carat gold collar and unveiled it at Harrods in London and Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. This limited edition was named Imperial Majesty and costs $215,000 a bottle! Only five bottles were released for sale.

Clive Christian No. 1 for Women
Clive Christian No. 1 for Men (costs around $700)

Fragrance Facts: Concentration Level

Perfume oil is necessarily diluted with a solvent because undiluted oils (natural or synthetic) contain high concentrations of volatile components that will likely result in allergic reactions and possibly injury when applied directly to skin or clothing. Solvents also volatilize the essential oils, helping to diffuse them into the air.

By far the most common solvent for perfume oil dilution is ethanol or a mixture of ethanol and water. Perfume oil can also be diluted by means of neutral-smelling lipids such as jojoba, fractionated coconut oil or wax. The concentration by percent/volume of perfume oil is as follows:

  • Perfume extract: 20%-40% aromatic compounds
  • Eau de parfum: 10-30% aromatic compounds
  • Eau de toilette: 5-20% aromatic compounds
  • Eau de cologne: 2-5% aromatic compounds

As the percentage of aromatic compounds decreases, so does the intensity and longevity of the scent created. Different perfumeries or perfume houses assign different amounts of oils to each of their perfumes. Therefore, although the oil concentration of a perfume in eau de parfum (EDP) dilution will necessarily be higher than the same perfume in eau de toilette (EDT) form within the same range, the actual amounts can vary between perfume houses. An EDT from one house may be stronger than an EDP from another.

Furthermore, some fragrances with the same product name but having a different concentration name may not only differ in their dilutions, but actually use different perfume oil mixtures altogether. For instance, in order to make the EDT version of a fragrance brighter and fresher than its EDP, the EDT oil may be "tweaked" to contain slightly more top notes or less base notes. In some cases, words such as "extrême" or "concentrée" appended to fragrance names might indicate completely different fragrances that relates only because of a similar perfume accord. An instance to this would be Chanel‘s Pour Monsieur and Pour Monsieur Concentrée.

Eau de cologne (EDC) was originally a specific fragrance of a citrus nature and weak in concentration made in Cologne, Germany. However in recent decades the term has become generic for a weakly concentrated perfum of any kind.

Source: wikipedia

Celebrity Scent - #1 Jennifer Lopez

In recent years, there have been quite a number of celebrities who signed contracts with perfume manufacturers to associate their name with the product. This is similar to athletes endorsing a particular sports wear and having shoes named after them. The manufacturers are relying on the popularity of the celebrity and the influence they have on the general consumers. The bottom line is that once the celebrity lose his or her popularity (or had some bad rap), the product's sales suffers and sometimes even taken off the shelves.

One of the most succesful celebrity to market perfumes is Jennifer Lopez. Her line of fragrances includes: JLo Glow, Still, Miami Glow, Love at First Glow, Live, Live Luxe, and Glow After Dark, with JLo Glow being the first one to bear her name. Download wallpapers of Glow and Still here:

Shop JLo For The Hottest Apparel!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Chanel No. 5 - Marilyn Monroe's Sleepwear

When asked in 1954 what she wore on bed at night, Marilyn Monroe answered, "Five drops of Chanel No. 5." In doing so, she became a poster girl for what is arguably the most famous perfume of 20th century. It was created by perfumer Ernest Beaux, who in 1921, presented Coco Chanel with two sets of five test fragrances numbered 1 to 5 and 20 to 24. Obviously, you would know which among those test fragrances was picked by Coco.

Besides the simplicity in its name, Chanel No.5 was also presented in a very simple square bottle with black and white label. That simplicity was Coco's aesthetic philosophy and it was considered an ingenious and revolutionary marketing during that time. Today, Chanel no 5 is still the top-selling perfume in the world, with one bottle being sold somewhere every 30 seconds.

Classic Chanel no.5 poster featuring Marilyn Monroe:

Modern ad featuring Nicole Kidman:

Chanel no.5 commercial featuring Nicole and Rodrigo Santoro:

An Obsession

Perfumes, essentially, are marketed for a single purpose - to give a person's body a distinct and pleasant smell. It is made up of a mixture of fragrant oils, aroma compounds, solvents, natural chemicals — the actual formula is rarely revealed, and even if the manufacturer does, the chemical procedures are kept secret. Nonetheless, there are some people who can expertly identify the smell, similar to a wine taste expert. I am not such a connoisseur, and I am not one of those who collects perfume. I usually use only 2 perfumes — my current preferences are Ralph Lauren Polo Sport and Armani Code. My obsession with perfume is with the stories behind it — the bottle design, the meaning of the name, the inventor, and other amusing facts and trivia about it. As the blog headline says "There is more to perfumes than just its smell". There will be no review about a certain perfume in here (you can find that in other websites such as Amazon). Instead, I will be posting bits and pieces of interesting stories, news, and facts related to perfumery. Additionally, I will post the perfume ads that I have scanned and collected through the years.