Thursday, July 24, 2014

Laura Mercier Peacock & Gilded Gold Caviar Stick Eye Colour






Laura Mercier just released six more colors in the phenomenal Caviar Stick range. Regular readers know that I'm a huge fan of these cream-in-a-stick eye shadows because the smooth formulas are incredibly easy to work with and offer an all-day longevity once the color sets. Laura Mercier has made it easy to achieve a very sophisticated look with absolutely no effort with these Caviar Sticks-you paint the lid, smudge as much or as little as you want (just do it quickly, before the color is dry), and that's it. Just add mascara.

Out of the six new colors I got Peacock, a rich turquoise, and Gilded Gold, a light antique gold. Peacock is a very bold choice, but I can pull it off and even do a smoky eye when applied judiciously (my mother would rather I don't, though). Gilded Gold is a classic fall (or transition to fall color), that goes well with an espresso brown eyeliner (which incidentally, Laura Mercier offers in the Creme Eyeliner formula).

Bottom Line: I also want the one in Moonlight, a pewter shade.

Laura Mercier Peacock & Gilded Gold Caviar Stick Eye Colour ($28 each) are arriving at the counters (most department stores already have them online) and from lauramercier.com. The products in this review were sent by PR for my consideration.

NARS Dione & Himalia Dual-Intensity Eye Shadows




As I told you, the first taste I got of NARS Dual-Intensity Eye Shadow (see here: Giove and Callisto) sent me right to the NARS counter to get more of them. I've already shown you the stunning Subra and Desdemona, and here are the last two I bought: Dione, a beige champagne and Himalia, a warmer metallic camel . The wonderful texture is the same molten metal which you can apply dry or wet. I've come to really enjoy working with a damp brush to get the most out of them. My favorite way to wear these are using one of the dark colors (Giove, Subra, or Desdemona) to create the shape on the lid, and then patting a dot of a light color in the middle. For me this is an evening look, but not all of us are middle-aged, so go wild.



 I added a comparison swatch next to Callisto to show the differences between the shades of these Dual-Intensity Eye Shadows. As you can see, Callisto has a lilac/pink cast next to Dione and Himalia.

Bottom Line: I showed a great restraint by only buying four colors.

NARS Dione & Himalia Dual-Intensity Eye Shadows ($29 each) are available at most department stores, Sephora, and from narscosmetics.com.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta


Bertrand Duchaufour and Jean-Claude Ellena walk into a lab...

Sounds like the start of a good fragonerd joke (and you're more than welcome to fill in the blank), but it actually happened back in 2003 when the two superstar perfumers composed Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta, which is not to be confused with Acqua di Parma's Colonia or Colonia Intensa, each a completely different perfume.

I think that Colonia Assoluta was labeled a masculine fragrance. The press release for the 10th anniversary edition (same juice, but a gorgeous refillable bottle with an engraved bicycle motif ) certainly talks about
"... the man who lives deep in the surrounding world, ready to capture all stimulation....... He has a unique sense of style, matching garments and accessories with carefree elegance to combine tradition with modernity, Urban contemporary icons. The elegance of a man riding a bicycle in the city streets."
Whatever. Bicycle riders you see around here are more about  neon-colored spandex than elegance (if you've ever been to Nyack, NY on a weekend you know exactly what I mean), and I never learned to ride a bike, anyway. But none of this changes the fact that Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta is a modern take on the classic eau de cologne theme, with some interesting contradictions within the typical citrus and herbs composition.

There's something very stark, blanched, and almost overexposed in the first few minutes of Colonia Assoluta. Think of the blinding light of a summer midday in a small town as the heat drives everyone away from the emptying streets. This is where I also smell a bit too much white musk on its synthetic facet, but I have to admit that it enhances that 'blanched" effect. The citrus, flowers, herbs, and wood elements are blended seamlessly. None of them is too obvious, but there is an undercurrent of spice that keeps Colonia Assoluta from smelling too light and fresh/clean.  Back in her 2005 review on NST, Robin identified a shade of cumin in this Acqua di Parma perfume, and I get it. It might be a phantom note that trails the cardamom and various peppers used by Duchaufour and Ellena, but it's there and I actually like it. It keeps things fun.

Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta requires a heavy hand if you want things to last a while. It dries down into a warmer resins and roots than you'd expect from a summer cologne, and I'd personally layer it with some dry and bitter vetiver to enhance the effect.

Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta ($96, 1.7oz) is available at Sephora and select department stores. This review is based on a bottle of last year's anniversary  edition that was sent to me by the company's PR. To my nose it's identical to the regular juice (hence the refillable option).

Photo: an outtake from a famous John Rawlings beach shot for Vogue, June 1947.

Coming Soon From Hourglass: 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eye Liner



Fall 2014 is shaping up to be a great season for eyeliners ( I already bought some from Lancome, NARS, and Laura Mercier. Reviews soon). Now Hourglass is joining the fun with a gel formula in a mechanical pencil. A very very thin mechanical pencil (hence the 1.5mm). From the press release the new Hourglass liner seems to be a true hybrid: not a gel-like pencil, but a real gel inside a pencil-like applicator that holds enough product for a 17 to 20 uses. This is not a lot, which I guess is why the mechanical eyeliner will also be offered in packages of three units ($45) as well as a single ($16. The latter only at Sephora and hourglasscosmetics.com.). Right now the only shade will be Obsidian (black). I'll sacrifice a virgin for a navy version.

Release date: Today on HourglassCosmetics.com. It will launch on Sephora.com on July 29 and in all stores on August 15.




Jumpsuits: It's Time To Say Goodbye

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Maison Martin Margiela
Jumpsuits made a big comeback about five years ago and have become a celeb favorite that's often seen on the red carpet. At their best, like on Kate Hudson below, jumpsuits can be incredibly stylish:

Kate Hudson in Roland Mouret

Unfortunately, not all of us are Kate Hudson, and I'll never be able to unsee some of the stuff going around the Jersey malls (and NYC streets). Jumpsuits look best on the tallest and most statuesque among us. But height is not enough- there's also the proportions issue (a long torso with a defined waste, and a reasonable balance between chest and hips), as demonstrated by Cameron Diaz vs. Jennifer Love Hewitt:

Cameron Diaz in Stella McCartney

Jennifer Love Hewitt in Sass&Bide
Diane Kruger in  Marios Schwab

Then there's the cut and tailoring. Kate Hudson's look is so perfect because it's crisp. Diane Kruger's could have worked if it weren't so busy and overdone. Maggie Gyllenhaall above just looks frumpy (as did Scarlett Johansson back in 2009).

Do you wear jumpsuits? Are you ready to see this trend go away?

All photos: Getty North America via Zimbio.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jury Duty


It doesn't get more Mondayish than this, if you ask me.
Scent of the day: After considering Fracas, Miel de Bois and Absolue Pour Le Soir, I decided to play nice(r) and settled on Tauer Le Maroc pour Elle. Quite a bit of sillage, which is much needed around here.

Photo via Time Magazine

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Currently- July 2014



Book
I finished two this week: The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith which I started and abandoned when it first came out, only to come back to it now before reading the sequel. It's a well-written mystery with some noir overtones. The other one was The Book Of Life by Deborah Harkness, the conclusion to the All Souls Trilogy. I won't get into it other than to say I was disappointed. Maybe that's what I deserve for reading a vampire story.

Music
We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea by Declan O'Rourke



Something To Believe by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

TV
There's absolutely nothing to watch on TV.

Perfume
Rozy by Vero Profumo. It's beautiful, magical, and puts to shame most other new releases.

Makeup
NARS Subra Dual Intensity eye shadow.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
Little cotton cardigans over just about everything.

Food
Bobby Flay's roasted cauliflower dish that's served at his restaurant Gato. It comes in a peppery sweet and sour marinade, and is probably the best cauliflower I've ever had. We keep ordering it hoping to figure out the secret, but no luck this far.

Shame Inducing Guilty Pleasure
Skipping lunch in favor of consuming scary amounts of watermelon.

Bane
The side effects of Benadryl.

Joy
Happy, healthy kittens. Kate and Philip are doing wonderfully.






Anticipation
Nick Cave concert next weekend. Mark Lanegan is the opening act.

Wishlist
I could use more maxi dresses.

Random Thought
(For those who read or intending to read the Book of Life) Still better than Renesmee.


How are you doing? Please share your loves, banes, recommendations or random thoughts.

Art: July Night by Frederick Childe Hassam (1898)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Thousand Julys- A Look Through The Archive


Ok, this is only the ninth July since I started blogging, but I like that line. I was digging for something in the blog's archives and as usual got distracted. It was fun to look and see what I was up to around this time in previous years. Up to my eyeballs in fall collections, obviously, but there were also perfumes, funny stories, and a premonition about Henri Bendel.

July 2006
I finally embraced my gourmand fetish and bought bottles of Lea St. Barth and Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum. I still adore them. In fact, I think I know what I'm wearing to bed tonight.
I was part of the Great Eyeliner Hunt, a joint blogging project that involved several bloggers who've since quit the scene. I think that in the end I remained loyal to Lancome's Artliner, a staple then and now.

July 2007
Spent many a hot summer night in Goutal's Les Nuits d'Hadrien (where is my bottle, actually?), gave a few suggestions about beating the heat, and felt utterly unimpressed with a Benefit mascara (what else is new?).

July 2008
Considering the recent going ons at Henri Bendel, I can't keep from saying: I told you so.
I was back from Paris with many stories to tell, like my first visit to Serge Luten's mothership. My mother shared a stinky DIY beauty story, and I had an eBay fiasco.

July 2009
Chanel fall collection got the better of my credit card, I wore a yellow nail polish, and got seriously cranky with Chanel's perfume creative minds.

July 2010
Guerlain released their most beautiful palettes ever, I got a gorgeous new purse, felt nostalgic for Safari perfume, and  Rihanna looked like a clown (some things never change).

July 2011
Laura Mercier released the now-classic Caviar Sticks, I started buying them like it's my job (well, it kind of is), Fan di Fendi failed to impress, and Carine Roitfeld amused me more than usual.

July 2012
I lamented all the perfumes I've never smelled, discovered what I still consider my best skincare asset, and bought yet another red lipstick. YSL kept releasing these gorgeous eyeliners, and the Duchess of Cambridge put her hair up. Both are still on my favorite list.

July 2013
Kate Walsh annoyed the snot out of me, I fell head over hills for Sideris (finally got a bottle during the Bendel clearance), the husband and I were interviewed, and used lots of body powders. Oh, and added the second most beautiful palette in the universe to my collection.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

YSL Fétiches Palette Yeux Collector Fall 2014





YSL Bleus Lumiere Palette Collector Summer 2014 was a roaring success as far as I'm concerned. I found myself wearing the colors in interesting combinations and creating various looks. The upgraded texture and formula of YSL eye shadows has made them a great pleasure to use, as also reported by those who bought the palettes from the permanent line. I could not wait to get my hands on the fall palette, Fétiches .

The inspiration for YSL Fétiches Palette Yeux Collector Fall 2014 are leather and suede clothes, biker jackets, and a bit of tough girl chic. It starts with the compact itself, with its black leather cover embossed with the YSL logo. Definitely a nice touch. The eye shadows can be used with a damp brush, but I'd say that other than the matte black liner, all of the colors have enough pigment intensity even when used dry. I swatched using the sponge applicators that came with the palette, and only dampened the brush for the black color-- it is an eyeliner, after all.

Other than the matte black there's a gorgeous blue with the slightest hint of green (satin finish), a rich very dark brown with copper micro-sparkle, and two bright shimmers: one in camel that reminds me of the most luxurious suede and gold lamé. These are classic color, all the their very best- the prettiest blue, the richest brown. They work beautifully together in any number of combinations. It's not the most original palette, obviously, but the quality and style make up for it. 

Bottom Line: a good fall look is the next best thing to Paris in the fall. Kind of.

YSL Fétiches Palette Yeux Collector Fall 2014 ($60) is available at the counters.

Inglot Lion King Collection


I'm not quite sure how to take this new partnership between Disney's Lion King musical and Inglot Cosmetics. I'm getting a flashback to the mid 1990s, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. And I feel like wisecracking other possible collaborations: MAC Oaklahoma collection, NARS and South Pacific, Estee Lauder for Cats...


I do like the colors in Inglot's Lion King/Savanna Sunset. They're classic summer-to-fall transition. I just wonder why Lion King or why now, as well as who exactly is the target consumer. Maybe the clue is in the press release :
"Audience members who bring their ticket to INGLOT Times Square and like INGLOT fanpage on Facebook will receive a 20% discount on their purchase or receive a free makeover from INGLOT."
Tourists who haven't seen the show yet? Or maybe Auntie Gaia who can't wait to take her niece and nephew to see Simba and friends. Which reminds me: How gorgeous was Heather Headley as the original Nala (top photo)? I actually saw her on stage in Aida twice during the summer of 2000 and she was mesmerizing. I wonder what she's up to these days.

Publicity photo of Heather Headley by Joan Marcus for Disney. Other images courtesy of Inglot.

Salvatore Ferragamo- Signorina (EDP 2012)


My sister called me the other day to ask me what I know about Salvatore Ferragamo perfume Signorina. It took me a a minute to verify that she meant the 2012 original and not the newest flanker Signorina Eleganza that was released this year. Apparently she got a bottle after falling for it at first or second sniff. I unearthed a sample and went to see what it was all about.

I could see why my sister wanted it. While over the last few years she's been mostly loyal to Kenzo Flower, she's also gone through a couple of Eclat d'Arpege bottles as well as Lancome Tresor In Love (the 2010 flanker, as her husband cannot abide the original). In the world of musky gourmands with a sizable helping of fresh fruity notes and hearty pink floral core, Ferragamo's Signorina is kind of an extreme example of a perfume that was created to make you smile no matter what. It's just so... perky. Like a morning person who insists on making you rise and shine, but you cannot get too mad because he or she already made you pancakes and tea which they've arranged beautifully on a small table decorated with fresh flowers and your best linens. What's not to like?


Well, the generic simplicity, for one. I wonder how I would have felt had Ferragamo's Signorina been the first of its kind. Would I have reveled in its realistic and incredibly mouth watering pannacotta accord? Would I have marveled at the way the light and fresh green leaves, sparkling pink pepper, and juicy red currants keep the creamy dessert fresh and vibrant? I keep thinking about it, and the answer is "probably". I do love me a good gourmand, from Olivia Giacobetti's Sexy Angelic to the wonderfully weird Kelly & Jones #5 Notes Of Chardonnay that lets you have your creme brulee with a side of cheap wine and a slice of the oak barrel. A milky dessert in perfume is an excellent idea if you ask me, but I wish it was done a bit more dramatically and with less of the usual pink suspects.

Signorina is cute and I kind of liked it for a while (see above: what's not to like?). I admit that after a couple of hoursof wearing it I get bored out of my skull. Soft and sweet smelling, but ready to snap. I'd rather smell Signorina on my sister, and that's how it should be.

I've heard that there was some kind of raucous over the name "Signorina" and the strong push towards very young audience. I sometimes find certain perfumes juvenile, but usually it's because I feel that the Powers That Be were cutting corners on quality and aiming extra low in their marketing campaigns. This isn't the case here. A sunny disposition is not exclusive to the young, and while my little sister is weeks away from turning 40, in my mind she's perpetually nineteen. She's happy to wear Signorina, I'm happy not to test it again, and our mother will keep on spraying Chloe and Fracas all around her. It's all in the family.

Notes: red currant, pink pepper, green notes, jasmine, peony, rose, patchouli, musk, pannacotta accord.

Salvatore Ferragamo- Signorina ($79, 50 ml EDP) is available at select department stores.

Top image by Zalita on Flickr.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cats Of The Day: Introducing Kate & Philip



Our intention was to only adopt one kitten, preferably a female. Last month we lost our oldest cat, Kosh, the Orange Menace, the Dread of NJ Vets. He was 17 and had a long and happy life. It was hard to let go of someone who was the heart and (somewhat disturbed) soul of our family.

The answer is always kittens. After four weeks we felt ready to face the adoption event at our local Petco and bring home a bundle of joy and whiskers. Then we met these two. Philip chose me on the spot, while the Husband was cooing at his adorable and tiny sister. Both purred at us still in the display cage. We couldn't choose, and more important: it was obvious we couldn't separate them. They appeared devoted to each other as much as to the idea of finding a forever home.

We took them both.

As for the names, the Husband had pre-chosen the name Kate. After Katharine Hepburn, not the Duchess of Cambridge. Philip is a name I've loved forever; once upon a time I hoped to adopt a doberman pinscher and name him Philip, but obviously that's not happening. So instead, I have a teeny tiny all black kitten who will eventually answer to this name. Kate is obviously a classic tabby. Yes, she's kind of similar to the triple threat (Marigold, Gemma, and Pippa), except for an all white chest and adorable white paws. They have already started to take over the house. Bob's response is to take a nap.

NARS Subra & Desdemona Dual-Intensity Eye Shadows






I told you that Giove and Callisto were only the beginning. The texture, finish and performance of the new Dual Intensity eye shadows by NARS completely won me over, so I had to add several more to my collection. Today we're looking at Subra and Desdemona, and some time next week I'll feature two others (there will also be several new items from NARS fall collection, which is even more stunning in person than the campaign photos hinted, not to mention easy to wear and incorporated into day-to-day looks).

Subra and Desdemona are probably the most stunning of the Dual-Intensity line. The colors are unique and the finish, especially in Desdemona, is a beautiful duo-chrome. They can be applied dry or damp for extra impact, but the level of pigment and color intensity is impressive enough even as a wash of color. Of course, you can really go to town with a fine damp brush and create a graphic liner. In any case, these colors are the focal point of any makeup look.

Desdemona is a burgundy with an orchid duo-chrome cast visible under certain light. It requires some planning and a careful execution to avoid a bruised look (which is actually quite in for this coming fall). I can't stop looking at the effect it creates; the superb finish in this new NARS formula  is breathtaking. It's incredibly smooth and easy to work with. I never felt more like apro than when playing with these eye shadows.

Subra is more muted, but don't let first impression of "brown" fool you. NARS describes Subra as a "black orchid"; I see a very dark earthy brown that flashes lilac. The duo-chrome effect is not quite as bold as in Desdemona, but it;s there, it's beautiful, and it's wonderfully wearable.

Bottom Line: jaw-dropping gorgeous.

NARS Subra & Desdemona Dual-Intensity Eye Shadows ($29 each) are available at the counters and from narscosmetics.com.

Monday, July 14, 2014

L'Artisan Parfumeur- Bois Farine


When I first blogged about my relationship with Bois Farine, Jean-Claude Ellena's 2003 creation for L'Artisan, it was after a couple of years of continuous sampling and testing. I was mesmerized by this perfume, just couldn't decide if my fascination was a good or a bad thing. Did I actually want to smell as though I've been rolling in pastry dough and stuffing myself silly with peanut butter cookies? Apparently I did, because a couple of years later I finally bought a bottle and haven't looked back ever since.

Back when I first smelled Bois Farine I was bothered by a supposed floral note. I still remember the way I perceived the development of the fragrance on my skin: I felt that the funky dough boy has turned into something pink and more conventional. Years later, I have no idea what I thought I was smelling back then. Bois Farine has a massive iris core, but that's not exactly flowery and most definitely not pink. This is a dry iris, with a powdery facet that feels utterly natural after the flour sack explosion of the opening. If you think about the very chilly yet powdery orris in Olivia Giacobetti's Hiris (Hermes, but almost has L'Artisan DNA) as one end of the spectrum, the inside of an old-fashioned bakery in Bois Farine is the opposite.

Bois Farine walks the perimeter of sweet and gourmand without actually crossing the threshold. Yes, there is a peanut butter sandwich somewhere (especially if you're familiar with the fresh stuff you grind on the spot at Whole Foods. Pure heaven), but the sandalwood and cedar that hold the perfume together keep it from going there. Instead, if you spray enough to last you the entire day, you will find yourself relishing the delicate skin scent with its milky wood and inviting warmth. Yes, it's still kind of weird, and you can't miss the fact that there is a flour note in there, but so what? It smells utterly fabulous.

Notes: white cedar, gaiacwood and sandalwood, white iris, farine flower, fennel seed.

L'Artisan Parfumeur- Bois Farine ($145, 100ml EDT) is available from Twisted Lily, Luckyscent, Aedes, and Barneys. If you do some dedicated googling you may be able to find the now discontinued 50ml bottles at a much more appealing prices.

Photo: The Art of Dance Series by Ron Brewer, 2012

Pixi Beauty Mocha Mauve & Graphite Glint Lid Last Shadow Pen





I picked these two Pixi Beauty Lid Last Shadow Pens in Mocha Mauve and Graphite Glint almost as an afterthought when I bought the latest Endless Silky Eye Pen and restocked on Black Noir and Black Blue (I use them all the time). Eye shadow in a stick or a chubby pencil form is one of the quickest, easiest and most portable way to get a great eye look with minimal fuss. I've already reviewed Pixi's version, the Lid Last Shadow Pen (in Gilded Mink and Brun Beam) and explained how to work with this quick-setting texture, so I won't repeat it here other than to say that it's become one of my foolproof/I'm not really awake staples.

Graphite Glint is a medium gray, not quite as charcoaly as it appears in the pencil, which makes it a very easy daytime color. Mocha Mauve is a beige taupe, several degrees lighter and slightly warmer (hence "mauve") than Gilded Mink (which is back in stock and everyone needs it). Both have an understated sheen with no glitter particles, with Mocha Mauve looking slightly more metallic. They set quickly and do not budge. Ever. Removal requires a dual phase product or a good soak in micellar water. If your lids are very dry do use a creamy primer, as these pencils add no hydration whatsoever.

Pixi Lid Last pencils require sharpening (unlike the creamier sticks from Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown). I'm using my NARS sharpener and an ancient Sue Devitt one. I've found that the legendary Urban Decay sharpener doesn't play well with Pixi pencils.

Pixi Beauty Lid Last Shadow Pens ($18 each) are available from pixibeauty.com. I highly suggest googling for discount coupons as there's always a 20-25% off somewhere ( don't think I've ever paid full retail price). Pixi Beauty products are also available at Target, but touching that grimy display and rummaging for testers is at your own risk.

Want: Liv Tyler's Shirtdress



Liv Tyler's street style is one of the best around. Confident, effortless, and always very feminine. Shirtdresses have always been a staple in Liv's wardrobe. Some new, some vintage, often with a retro vibe. She accessorizes them simply with shoes and sandals that allow her to walk across town, a cardigan or a well-worn denim jacket, designer bags, and often some understated jewelry.

This particular shirtdress in navy with a red print seems to be a recent favorite, worn on a couple of different outings. I have a feeling I've seen this cute print somewhere but can't place it or the dress. In any case, I'm coveting this easy breezy dress, perfect for a NYC summer.

All photos via Zimbio

Ramon Monegal- Dubai Next To Me (Bloomingdale's Dubai Exclusive)


I've had the hardest time wrapping my mind around Ramon Monegal's Dubai Next To Me and figuring it out. It didn't help any that two out of three times I've worn it the husband found something to complain about: the rose, the dirty oud, something about the spice (he's not a fan of saffron-rose blends), the fruitiness, the rose, and the rose again. He really doesn't like rose notes in perfume (and I suspect he also gives the stinkeye to our three and a half rose bushes). To be honest, I'm not necessarily a rose person myself, except for a rather long list of exceptions (here and here). Roman Monegal's other rose offerings fell apart on my skin almost upon contact so all the samples went to waste. But Dubai Next To Me has been giving me so much to think about has it's been doing things, shifting and changing, exploding in colors and aromas that vary from one day to another.

If I were pressed to label Monegal's Dubai I'd call it a Middle-eastern-style spicy rose. This covers most of the bases, yet doesn't explain why some days this rose is bursting with the listed fruity notes, juicy and pulpy to the max, while the next day it's all gone and I get a very luxurious saffron-rose-leather, gender-neutral and elegant. where did the peach-melon thing go? Can we make it leave forever, so we can focus on the leather? Please?

There's a very dirty leather and spice accord that engulfs the red roses of Dubai Next To Me. Ramon Monegal calls it "Spanish leather", and seeing that he is Spanish I'm willing to accept it at face value. I think it has something to do with the way saffron is infused into the composition. It smells expensive and a touch gentlemanly, like many good leathers, before taking a more oriental turn. But it's not a classic oriental by any means. Yes, it forms arabesques of floral oils and sweet resins, but there's also smoke and and cold stone floors underneath the heaps of piles of rose garlands, adding a nighttime, far less shiny outlook to the perfume.

Some of the wood, burnt chips, and sappy resins may or may not be related to oud. I detect an oud note in Dubai Next To Me, but it's more of an impression than a serving of the real thing. Professional oud fiends might scoff at this particular interpretation. I've smelled enough of the real thing to not consider Dubai  a true oud fragrance. It's too gilded and ornamental , has too many special effect that dazzle and sparkle to give you an oud experience, which is fine. Dubai Next To Me was created to evoke the lavishness and excess of the breathtaking Dubai, to give you something special to bring home with you from a visit, a memento of the riches and the skyline that have left you breathless, and make you smell like a million dollars for a whole day (and then some)  in the process. As long as you really like spicy rose, that is.

Notes: coconut, peach, melon, Spanish saffron, nutmeg, black pepper,jasmine, rose oil, rose absolute, frankinsence, labdanum-cistus, oud, sandalwood, cashmeran wood, Spanish leather, tonka and ambraceme absolute.

Ramon Monegal- Dubai Next To Me ( 835 AED 1.7 FL OZ Eau de Parfum, which is around $227 in the current exchange rate) is exclusive to Bloomingdale's Dubai, and as far as I know can only be purchased in person.

Photo:  Dubai NYE's fireworks on Burj Khalifa, 2014 by Daniel Shih

Like