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The Two Latest Mods

I must apologize for not reviewing the two new mods sooner. Life has been hectic in more ways than hundred. Perhaps, I have also been reluctant to write about the latest mods, because I can feel the end of the project is near. The Holy Grail can be almost visible (or smellable, heh) on the horizon. And this has been so much fun and so much excitement that…well, can you blame me for not wanting to let it go?

Anyway, the last two mods. I liked them a lot, but not as much as R6/T, one of the two previous mods, the one that I call Gardenia and Leather. When I reviewed R6/T, I asked Clement to make it a little softer, to get rid of some of the leather and to give me more, more, more gardenia. The two new mods show that the scent has indeed become softer. It is still, however, much too heavy on leather for my taste, and I don’t get enough gardenia.

So this time I would like to ask Clement to do just two things: less leather, MORE GARDENIA. heaps and heaps of gardenia, gallons and bushels of it. Basically, as much gardenia as can be possible.

After that, I think, we will be done. *sigh*

Don’t Think It’s Over Yet.

I’m happy to know that one of Made by Blog’s first projects is still moving forward. I just received two mods from Clement for Marina’s Holy Grail (thanks, Clement). Marina, I will hopefully send them to you on Monday. A limited number of Marina’s new mods are available upon request (sorry, samples will be send only to U.S. addresses).

Summer Favorites

Clement

I am doing a small but very fun project on my blog, called Perfume Stars: Summer Favorites, in which I ask some of the most interesting people in the perfume industry about the fragrances they prefer to wear in warm weather and about their preferred holiday destinations. I decided to cross-post Nobi’s, Clement’s and Laurent’s answers here, with some additional pictures kindly provided by Clement.

Clement 2

Clement Gavarry

What are you favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“For Women: Happy, Light Blue
For Men: Polo Blue, Unforgivable”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“Kenya”

Laurent Le Guernec

What are you favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“My summer fragrance is the same as my regular fragrance, because I wear a lot of fresh fragrances. For me it is more a mood thing rather than a season thing.”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“I love to go places where you can relax and visit at the same time, and Mexico is great for that. But my best vacations still is 3 weeks in the south of France. I’m sure there are many places like that but I haven’t been there yet.”

Nobi Shioya

What are you favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“Why would I want to spoil my BO with men’s fragrances? Here’s how to make the ultimate men’s scent for summer. Go to a boxing gym on a sizzling hot day. Inside the above-90-degree gym with closed windows, do the two-hour routine including sparing with black, Puerto Rican, and red-haired white fighters. Get the sparring partners’ sweat, saliva, and blood over your body. You will feel and look like you swam in olive oil after that. Don’t take a shower after, in stead, pour 2 to 3 oz. of the 2005 version of 100% Love all over yourself. You will feel sexier than Brad Pitt in Fight Club.”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“I cannot decide on one destination… my favorite destinations will vary depending on the season, my mood, and the length of the vacation. If I have two to three weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, I will stay in Big Island and hop to the other islands. If it’s one week around Thanks Giving, I will go somewhere on the Atlantic coast in Mexico or Belize. For summer, two weeks in the South of France will be perfect.”

Clement 4

Clement 3

Gardenias and Leather

This concludes Marina’s Round 6 with mod R6/S and R5/T.

One of the previous two mods had me saying that it was the beginning of the end, one of the last two, specifically mod R6/T, convinced me even further that Holy Grail is almost within our sight. Like last time, the other mod, in this case R6/S, was great, but not exactly what I wanted. It was leather and not much else…not that it’s a bad thing, but, again, not what I wanted.

With R6/T, however, Clement hit the spot with amazing precision. I asked for gardenia and leather, he gave me gardenia and leather. Both notes were apparent from the start, intertwining like silky ribbons of creamy-white and black, weaving a luscious, nocturnal ornament. The base was earthy and deep and featured a little bit of patchouli, which I liked. The overall effect was that of a gorgeous contrast of lightness and dark, of the yin of the flowers and the yang of leather, of velvety softness and elegant harshness. I find the pairing of gardenia and leather to be incredibly appealing, even more so than the gardenia and labdanum combo (Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia, which I adore). Whereas the latter is prone to creating a “blue cheese effect” (which I admittedly like), leather does nothing of the kind.

While some of the previous mods felt – understandably- like drafts, sketches of a great perfume to come, R6/T strikes me as a perfectly finished product. If I were say, an owner of a famous niche fragrance line, I would have been proud to include this scent in my collection. Given its sumptuous feel, its forcefulness and an overall attitude of unapologetic luxury, I would say that R6/T might be a good fit for the aforementioned Tom Ford’s Private Blend line.

And that brings me to the question of what I would like to be changed in R6/T. I would like it to be somewhat less robust. I am not asking for an understated scent, but I feel that, on the scale where L’Eau d’Hiver would exemplify the subtle and Obsession would illustrate the too-powerful, R6/T edges a little too close to the Obsession territory. If on that same scale L’Eau d’Hiver is a 1 and Obsession is a 10, I want my perfume to be no more than 7. Strange as it may sound, the mod feels…too rich. Using Luca Turin’s comparison of chic and luxury, I will say that R6/T smells luxurious, whereas I would love it to smell chic.

Another change I would like to see in R6/T is for the yin of leather to be brought down a couple of notches and for the yang of gardenia to be strengthened further. In other words, I want the leather note to become less strong (quite a lot less strong, in fact) and I want gardenia a little stronger than it is now. And then… you never know, one of the mods from the next batch might really be last one…

Images: Yin and Yang by Peter Sanderson, avalongallery.com; Gardenia Garden by Rebecca Swanson, allposters.com.

The Beginning of the End

This concludes Marina’s Round 5 with mod R5/Q and R5/R.

Maiden with Holy GrailDo not be troubled by the ominous title of this post. It is all good. I liked one of the last two mods so much, I believe we are now not simply on the right track but actually well on the way along the track towards the happy ending. The mod I am talking about is R5/Q. I suppose I should mention R5/R as well, just so it doesn’t feel completely left out. It is a great leather scent, a little smoky, a little salty. If all I wanted was leather and nothing but leather, it would have been wonderful. But I envision something more for my Holy Grail, with leather certainly being a prominent element, but still just one of many elements.

R5/Q, on the other hand, has the complexity and depth I am looking for. It starts on my skin with a sweet-n-spicy accord, which features a pronounced fruity undertone. Not sparkly-pink fruits, which I hate, but over-ripe, dark, exotic fruits oozing honeyed nectar. This spicy-fruity accord reminds me very much of that in Fendi Asja. In fact, R5/Q’s beginning seems to me to be a little too similar to Asja, and maybe just a tad too fruity for my taste. The middle stage is creamy and vaguely floral; about two thirds into the scent’s development a leather note appears. At first it is a rough, smoky, take-no-prisoners leather, but slowly it begins to soften and turns into the most delicate of calf skins or maybe even suede. Because of the “fruits”, the smell of which is still lingering even at the later stage, the mod at this point reminds me quite a lot of Serge Lutens Daim Blond, which is one of my most favorite scents of all time, but again, I would like a little less similarity. I am sure that if we toned down “the fruits”, the similarity would disappear.

GardeniaTo sum it up, what I want to be done to Holy Grail now is for the “fruits” or whatever it is that I perceive as “fruits” in its top notes to be taken down a notch or two. I also would love for the scent to have a stronger floral accord in its heart. Something languid, exotic and creamy, to compliment the general warm feeling of the composition. Perhaps we could try gardenia? Gardenia and leather…does it not sound wonderful to you? It does to me! As for the leather note, I think it is just perfect as it is now, not too smoky and forceful but not too wimpy either. So – less fruits, much more flowers, no change to the leather, and…we will be done!

Image source, mythinglinks.org, echonews.com

As we wait 6 (Tsunami)

(Warning: The following has nothing to do with perfume.)

When we were young, my brothers back in Tokyo used to make fun of my obsession with “Fifty-year storm” which I actually experienced (in the ocean) one year during the typhoon season and still remember as the most life threatening experience. I’ve always lived in big cities and never imagined living elsewhere, but Life in New York City could be quite boring sometimes. There are no earthquakes or typhoons here. This is not to say that I miss some life-threatening natural phenomena, but I don’t want to lose proximity to our vulnerability to nature’s forces.

Here is the video of a tsunami in Tokyo.

New mods are now available

A limited number of Katie and Marina’s new mods are available upon request. If you are interested in trying them out and commenting on them when the reviews are up, please write to: madebyblog [at] gmail [dot] com with your mailing address. Numbers are limited and available on a first come first serve basis. (Sorry, but we can only send the samples to U.S. addresses this time.)

Thanks all, mods will be sent out shortly.

We Have a Winner!

Just when I started to think that perhaps I need to supply more clues, Benvenuta guessed the answer! Clement Gavarry’s favorite movie is indeed The Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu). The movie was one of the most financially successful French films in the 1980s, and played in French theaters for a whole year. It’s release was initially blocked in Italy, because Enzo Maiorca (the real-life diver and inspiration behind the character Enzo Molinari, played by Jean Reno) felt that his portrayal in the movie was unfair. Jean Reno connects The Big Blue to The Da Vinci Code, in which he plays Bezu Fache. And it is yet again the very active Jean Reno who released a scent called Jean Reno Loves You, created by Nathalie Lorson, the IFF perfumer based in France.

Congratulations, Benvenuta. Please send us your address to madebyblog at gmail dot com, and the bottle of Insolence will be on its way to you. Thank you, everyone, for playing, stay tuned for another quiz coming soon.

Quiz time! Clement’s Favorite Movie

Katie’s mods are on the way, mine are not quite complete. While we are waiting, let’s have a prize draw. Guess Clement Gavarry’s favorite movie and receive a bottle of Guerlain Insolence. Should there be several correct answers, the name of the winner will be chosen at random.

Clue 1:
blue.jpg
Clue 2: It was so popular in one country, it played in its theaters for a whole year.
Clue 3: Its release was blocked in another country.
Clue 4: The film is one degree of separation from The Da Vinci Code (the movie).
Clue 5: A couple of years ago, a person who plays one of the main characters has released a fragrance, created by an IFF perfumer.

Quiz now closed. We have a winner!