Scent of a Baker Reviews
See more reviews at my Fragrance Blog at www.MistressofScents.com
Aromas from the kitchen, scent from the boudoir, flowers from the garden: fragrances everywhere....As a baker girl/chef, it is no surprise that I am seduced by scent. In addition to working with fragrance and flavors in the bakery and kitchen, I also dabble in candle making, personal and custom perfumes, and hand milled soaps as well as home fashioned incense and potpourri. I am happy to share what I also sleuth out in the way of the best in special and unique scents (in toiletries, perfumes, aromatherapy oils, soaps, cosmetics, and incense) for my BetterBaking.com visitors. Sometimes, I stray to related niceties, such as books on the subject, or chimes, and other softer-side-of-lifestyle products. Here is where you will my reviews and special discoveries on scent, perfumes, soaps, candles, home fragrance, cosmetics, even men's scents, and sometimes a recipe or two for potpourri, homemade cologne, vanilla or lavender sleep pillows. Scent of a Baker is an oasis for your senses. You can also check out more of my fragrance reviews at http://www.mistressofscents.com/
Scent of a Baker Holiday 2005 Round Up
Scent of a Baker for the Holidays 2005
Best in Scents for 2005
We are always on the candle trail. Yankee Candle and Blue Mountain are still favs but Country Candles from www.maximumscented.com are excellent and keeping the BB Test Kitchen extra hospitable during the season. They last forever; the containers (jars as well as jars with lids, and shades making a whole lamp out of the candle) are made of the best quality waxes and scents. You do not even have to light them to enjoy the scents! They are that potent and deserve their billing of Triple Scented – they are. Check out their full line at
www.maximumscented.com. We especially like their holiday line and exotic florals.
Scents are easy to get in department stores and drugstores. Online, Sephora is a leading website for scent but I recommend www.Aedes.com for their excellent service, sampling program, range of perfumes and sheer knowledge of all they sell. Tons of places sell scent – few fragrance sellers really know them and will offer the personalized service Aedes does. No automated email replies – a real person who cares about customer service and fragrance does. Please tell them BetterBaking.Com/Marcy Goldman sent you.
There are tons of new scents out there this year as aromatherapy, smelling good and feeling great, is going mainstream. Despite the plethora of new perfumes, there is an emphasis on ‘sweet florals’ or “Oriental florals’ and many brands smell the same. Sweet florals in the winter are always welcome but the trick is finding the gems.
Celebrity scents also rule and again, some are surprisingly exceptional and some are unsurprisingly, uninspiring, created by the whim of a name and brand. Celebs scents are more or less,versus scents created by someone or a company, known for their unique ‘nose’ and desire for a scent. A celeb scent is more about celebrity, marketing teams, and fragrance corporation collaborations that all want to capitalize on scent and the holiday season. This is fine but can lead to the best of and worst of. It also depends if you like the celebrity and want to sport their name in scent. I would be proud to wear something called Audrey (a la Hepburn) but wince at Paris Hilton perfume –even though, the peach laced perfume is rather nice.
I also recommend sites as www.nowsmellthis.com and a site for men, mostly, called www.basenotes.net, with Grant Osbourne, who is also launching www.facenotes.net and www.perfumereview.com. These are simply super sites on scent in terms of design, information and substance.
If you love something that is popular, chances are it will indeed smell great on you and pick up your spirits but don’t go for the obvious just because everyone says it is a must. Angel is one of the top sellers but I would not recommend it across the board. Yet other scents, like Chanel’s Allure, probably makes everyone smell incredible (It just does; it is if you were stranded on a desert island which perfume would you take with you, perfumes…) and there is a reason behind its popularity.
Do seek out some nostalgic scents you wore when you were younger simply because it is the most fun you can imagine and brings back memories – mostly good. Google makes it easy to find them. Dorothy Gray’s Lilac is one I am having trouble finding but Heaven Scent is back and Blue Grass never left. Now if only they would bring back Oh!De London and Love’s Baby Cologne. Still, there is always Jean Nate…..and Chantilly, is it?
Angel continues to do Thiery Mugler proud. I find it pleasant but contains a strange note that is jarring. Nonetheless, it continues to perform well –it is the Shalimar of 2004. This year, Mugler is hyping Alien. Speaking of which – for a great deal of the time, the packaging of a perfume says a lot about its content (with the exception of FlowerBomb which is literal, versus thematic packaging).
Alien looks….alien –which means it is modern and youth-oriented (although in scent there is no such thing – never believe any perfume writer that tells you can and cannot wear this or that over a certain age. Just don’t wear bad scents at any age). But a beautiful, luxurious package speaks of feminine mystique and a classic scent. A very modern bottle or funky one suggests a modern scent or a fresh and dynamic one. The decanter is an indication of what lies within. Chanel, as you know, is always classically Chanel aka French minimalist, which is what I love about Chanel. But I also love the creativity behind the dramatic look of new entries in fragrance.
Remember that all perfume starts with an idea and a whim to create a special scent – some more so for a big splashy holiday marketing blitz and some more to set the world of scent on its heels. The philosophy behind something like an institution like Chanel, versus celebs scents like Britney Spears’ enterprises or Jennifer Lopez (who actually has some nice scents), versus designers (Ralph Loren, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Baby Phat) versus make-up mavens (Laura Mercier, Origins), versus true perfumers (Guerlain, Patou, Serge Lutens, Jo Malone) versus concept lines (Avon, Victoria’s Secret, L’Occitane and The Body Shop) are vastly different headspaces in fragrance approaches. They each, except for true perfumers with a heritage, can range from extraordinary to terrible and in-between. But think a little bit about what is feeding into the creation of each perfume. That heritage and incentive behind it says something about the final product and what you can expect. Some designers are wonderful at designer and that gift and talent parlays into their forays in scent. Others know clothes or whatever else is their initial endeavor and might not have a gift for scent. That said, most companies are smart enough to hire the best noses in the business and chances are, you might have the expertise of one fine nose or another at the helm of a new perfume that you might otherwise dismiss.
If you want sophistication and feminine allure – think French perfume; if you want a bit of warmth, cautious romance, some regality and slightly more conservative perfume, and largely floral – think American (Ester Lauder has some incredible scents – Ester Lauder Beyond Paradise or check out Elizabeth Arden’s Provocative Woman). If you want sheer sexy femininity and romance, and a dash of fun, the Italians (Dolce Gabbana, Armani, Carthusia, et al) rule. For freshness, country garden florals, lavenders and such AND class, it’s (and all this politically incorrect perfume lore is to be taken with a grain of salt) the Brits.
If you see a perfumer interviewed and they talk about how they like clean and fresh, chances are, these are not going to be real romantic perfumes. They will be fresh and sparkling but not boudoir. There is something to be said about personality of the perfumer, as much as their fragrance savvy. Like great chefs, who might have all the finest ingredients at hand, perfumers, like chefs, depending on their own taste and sensibilities, create vastly different products. Not to mention, different perfumers choose different qualities of fragrances to work with. Personality figures in the art. Or, if you see a new perfume smacked onto a line of cars or clothes, it can either be exceptional (you never know – Mont Blanc, a pen manufacturer, has some fine perfumes) or horrid (Peugeot? Hmmm). Roots, makes fine sportswear but as for ultra feminine, complex perfumes…well, we are not there yet.
Perfume of the Year
The only bad thing about this perfume is the name and flask: it looks like a grenade which I find architecturally inspiring, as far as perfume decanters go, but wholly offensive in concept. My sons say you should simply bite off the top and then spritz yourself with FlowerBomb. That said, the samples of this perfume, free in stores, are actually selling for $9.99 u.s. in some cases, off Ebay.com.
This perfume is the brainstorm of Viktor and Rolf, two Dutch designers. This is their first foray in perfume and the Flowerbomb is a limited edition, i.e. we hope it becomes a classic but it might disappear in a couple of months. Buy it now. As the name implies, you would think it smells like flowers but it actually is a light vanilla and floral cloud that gets 6-Stars (see the SETT rating below) for sheer animal magnetism. This perfume will have people on their knees nearby – it is sexy but more so, feminine. Big kudos, for FlowerBomb, being hailed as the ‘Angel’ of 2005.
Premier Jour by Nina Ricci
Serge Lutens (whole line)
Love in White, Creed
The newest from Creed is light but memorable, ultra feminine (Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly come to mind) and one of those multi-dimensional approaches to a bouquet of white flowers. This is for a bride to be or a true femme fatale/goddess. Sure to be a classic unless expense out prices it – but then, it’s Creed so……Ok - it's gorgeous.
Iris by Aqua de Parma
Mostly known for their men’s scents, Iris by Aqua de Parma is on my new year’s wish list. It is distinct, fresh but sweet and wonderfully pure. Great alone or mixed with a bit of Diorissmo (lily of the valley).
Eau De Miel by www.loccitane.com
This is heavenly – it is sweet with honey but light with a heady dash of jasmine. It makes you smell ‘clean and fresh’ and stops everyone, male and female, in their tracks. In fact, I should label many perfumes by a SETT rating (Stops Everyone in Their Tracks). This has *****SETT.
Other Heady Perfume Delights for 2005
Original Musk Oil
A classic from Kiehls, I really prefer this for men but mixed with your own floral oils or as is, this is a riveting scent for those that like musk. It is not cloying; it is rather je ne sais quoi – more of a scent magnet that gives the impression to those around you that is your own ‘scent’. A phenomes sort of scent – the cologne of the same name from Kiehl is a great gift for men who might not use the oil version of Musk. Kiehls Vanilla Oil on the other hand, is great mixed with Musk, on its own, or mixed with almost anything else. Kiehls’ Vanilla Oil is a wonderful sweet basenote to other perfumes you might wear. I wear a touch of vanilla oil, touch of rose fragrance oils (check my sources for fragrance oil suppliers) with Bylvari’s green tea fragrance or Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea.
Armani Mania by Giorgio Armani
Billed as an aromatic floral, this is close to a best-of-2005 in my book. Romantic, luxurious, boldly female but sophisticated.
Aqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani
This is one of the best male scents on the market. My sense is that Italian men are comfortable being guys and an Italian designer is totally at home, creating a super male scent in a very bold way. If anything else, if you are a guy, just make a commitment NOT to wear Old Spice or use Irish Spring. Ever again. Better not to shower and not to use Aqua di Gio but just avoid the menthol/pine/oakmoss overdoes from now on in. Please.
Weekend by Burberry
I am not a citrus perfume lover but this orangey, happy fragrance makes me feel good each time I try it out. It is simply up and orange and unexpectedly special.
Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, Lancaster Group
I really wanted to love this perfume because I admire the actress who created it. This is a multi dimensional, truly complex scent but it is hardly the feminine cloud its packaging and spokesperson makes it seem. It smells a bit like the earth of a garden in springtime OR that odd scent of old fur coats and mothballs, when you wander into your grandmother’s hall closet. It IS well crafted and it IS oddly, really perfect for men. I could fall for a guy who wore something like Lovely. SJP wanted a fresh, patchouli based perfume that is almost like ‘nice sweat’ …This is admirable because it is intelligent, upscale, simply ‘well-done’ perfume. It is just not anything like the packaging or the usual. Actually, you won’t smell like anyone else if you opt for Lovely. You SHOULD try this one for yourself. Nothing else on the market is out there.
Surprisingly nice – fruit, florals, and a real cachet – a sleeper for 2005.
Bylvari Rose Extreme
Les Perfums de Rosine
Heart by Clinique
Light, fun, sweet, floral – bit of a chai tea thing going on – slightly creamy scent –this is stirring and welcome at the same time. Safe but sexy.
Not Perfumes but Great Girlie Stuff
Best Nail Polish
This brand can be found in drugstores or ebay. It lasts forever, coats like a dream and whereas OPI and Essie are the nail polish leaders, nothings beat Mavla (and it is 1/3 the price of the leading brands). Their ICE and Miami are the nicest, most inoffensive (non bubble gum) pinks in the business. Compared to Mavla Ice, every other light or translucent pink nail polish looks like cartilage on your nails.
Best Living Up to its Claims Product:
We saw this product in Oprah and a few other places and were doubtful. Now we are die-hard fans. This lotion, applied regularly, does indeed, take away dark circles. We were amazed but in 2-3 weeks, we noticed (all of us in the BB Test Kitchen) we had no more need for our concealer stick and other cover-ups for under the eye. Worth every sous! This is a super product.
Dove Firming Lotion et al
Dove has a great campaign this year – so much so, I bought some of their products. The great news is- this affordable line is the best scented, most easily absorbed product line every. Any and everything I tried was beyond the quality for the price point. Their ads are wonderful; the line deserves its own award.
Best Blushes (they last, they create that blush and flush, the color range is spectacular)
Guerlain – nothing outlasts Guerlain
Laura Mercier –who should win an afford for M, French Lips, and Merlot – three lipsticks that suit everyone
Philosophy – their lip stain, Salvation, lasts more than any gloss and stains your lips just so. Still a winner.
Hair Stuff (all drugstore pics)
For best results, use the l’Oreal Color Care for 3 minutes, after shampooing once. For the rest of the products that follow, mix a cocktail of all three, equal portions, and apply as a hair balm – then style as usual. If you want totally shiny, glossy, thick-looking hair, a mixture of products is best.
L’Oreal’s Color Care Dry Defense – leaves your hair like silk, a 3-minute treatment
Frizz Ease by John Freida, Daily Nourishment.
For more on scent, enjoy my other features: