Posts Tagged ‘ice’

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Describing Scent workshop at Les Senteurs. (review)

April 15, 2012

On a bright Saturday lunchtime in April, Toby and I headed to Marble Arch to attend Les Senteurs‘ “Describing Scent” workshop, hosted by my good friend Nick (who also happens to be the Store Manager of the Les Senteurs store on Seymour Place). We arrived and as the shop starting filling up with attendees, we made our way downstairs to be greeted by a large table, laid out with place settings which each had a slice of orange on a neon plate, a loop of string, a coin, a rubber band and a glass with ice. The dozen of us seated ourselves, introduced ourselves to the group (among us was a florist, a composer, a student of fashion journalism, a mathematician, a chemist, and the rest of us who were also fans of perfume via various avenues) and then Nick proceeded to explain the purpose of the workshop. Part of it would be smelling scents (starting with the objects on the table, and then followed by a range of perfumes passed around the room on blotters) and experiencing fragrances mostly stocked by Les Senteurs. But the real point, as hinted at in the name of the workshop, would be to describe the fragrance. Not only in terms of smell, but in terms of taste, colour, light, shadow, temperature, textures, shape, sound, the kind of place it evoked and so on. It’s extremely difficult to describe a scent effectively using only the limited vocabulary of adjectives normally ascribed to smell – scents are intangible, and so they evoke a range of images, sounds (interestingly, “notes” and “accords” are used in the language of perfumery), textures and emotions in each of us.

As we proceeded through the objects on the table, and then onto the eight fragrances, we discussed how each of them made us feel, and what they evoked in us. Nick guided us through each of the perfumes, which we firstly smelled ‘blind’ (i.e. not knowing anything about the fragrance – neither its name, nor the brand behind it) and then were tasked with describing as fully and accurately as possible. It was a comfortable environment for us to be honest and unguarded about what the perfume evoked, as we were all passionate about fragrance and we all understood that perfume is personal to each of us. Nick would eventually reveal the perfume’s name and brand, composition and concept. It was intriguing to see what notes each of us picked up (which frequently included ingredients not listed in the perfume’s composition), and how different our own thoughts were from others’. For example, Toby’s scientific knowledge was able to explain various smells and associations in a way that was completely beyond me, but at the same time I made other connections for different reasons. Moving through fragrances by Creed, Parfumerie Générale, Heeley and others, we exposed the different connections and our own varying preferences between a range of scents. But whatever we preferred, be it niche or “high street”; leathery or floral; warm and introverted or cool and expansive – this workshop worked because we were all passionate about fragrance, and because Nick facilitated the workshop in such a way that we all felt comfortable to express ourselves.

At the end of the session, we all filled out a feedback form which asked some intriguing questions – among which were:

  • “Is this kind of event something you would talk to your friends about” (evidently so!);
  • “What is most important to you in a perfume?” (for me, a fragrance has to smell beautiful, but also different to everything else in my collection, so that it complements one of my moods. I am far too fickle / moody to have a ‘signature’ fragrance that would suit me every day, day in and day out! I also think that it’s important that the fragrance has a well-chosen name and attractive bottle, as these are the things that will initially attract me towards trying it out.); and
  • “Are there any events you would like to see that haven’t been suggested already?” (I feel that I would love to attend workshops that would each focus on ‘classic perfumes’ – such as Joy, Chanel No. 5, Chanel Pour Monsieur, Poison and Opium).

I can’t recommend the Les Senteurs workshops highly enough for anyone even slightly curious about perfume beyond the Superdrug counter (for their list of events, please click here). Toby and I both had an excellent time, and it was both luxurious being able to spend an afternoon smelling such wonderful scents, and intellectually stimulating being challenged to describe them and contemplate how others react to fragrance. At the end of the day, there are few rights and wrongs in one’s experience of perfume, and this workshop served to underline how intangible and thus personal fragrance can be.

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birthday list.

October 11, 2010

Okay y’all. Rather than moan about my job, which I really shouldn’t do because at least I have a permanent job where I receive a decent salary each month and I know I do my work decently, I will talk about positive things. It’s my birthday in 2 weeks! So here is my list of things that I want (with pictorial accompaniments).

A car.

Y’all don’t need a picture of a car. This isn’t going to happen anyway because it’s far too expensive. But I have my driving test in 2 and a half weeks and I need to pass. I hope that I will! And once I pass, I will be getting a car sharpish so that I can drive to work, also drive to London to see Loverman, and avoid the Megabus which may be cheap, but took me 4 hours to get from London Victoria coach station to my home yesterday. This is ridiculous. So, yes, car.

Money.

Self-explanatory. Who doesn’t want money?

French Connection coat.

My beautiful leather and fur jacket, after 4 years, is falling apart. I have loved it since the first day I owned it, but I am going to have to say goodbye. This will be my replacement. It’s a classier and much warmer version of the Gestapo coat (which has a similar cut but doesn’t hug the body so much, and is made of a nylon-scratchy material), perfect for these cold wintry days and without the military-style epaulettes on the shoulder. I tried it on in French Connection and the wool and cashmere blend felt divine. Toby and even one of the shop assistants both loved it. I will be going halves on this coat with my mum and I can’t wait; because it’s not waterproof however, I’ll need to buy a new black umbrella to keep myself dry in the absence of a hood. After all, I don’t want my lovely new coat to get wet and thus spoiled!

Desperate Housewives Season 6.

Because this is my favourite show on television, and I don’t get to watch it when it’s running, so I have to catch up on DVD. The DVDs become my crack for a few weeks. Toby and I saw this being advertised on tv, and I subtly informed him that this might be a good present. I think my tactful hint might have been noticed, and so I reckon Toby will be buying this for me.

Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men – EDT or After Shave Balm


One of my signature fragrances, I love how this fragrance is soft and elegant, yet fizzy and sparkly at the same time. Kinda like diamonds.

Usher – Raymond v. Raymond deluxe

Because Raymond v. Raymond was ok, but not quite good enough for me to purchase it. And Versus is nowhere near good enough for me to buy it on its own. However, the two combined are worth my money. Or the money of whomever buys it for me.

Drake – Thank Me Later

Okay, I was incredibly late to catch on to Drake. I had heard about him for ages, but pointedly ignored all of the hype as I decided “he can’t be that good”. I was wrong. I heard “Best I Ever Had” on Nicki Minaj’s Beam Me Up Scotty mixtape and that became one of my songs for when I think about Toby. I fell in love with that song, and then with “Find Your Love” and “Over” on Teairra Marí’s (by the way, BLAZING HOT) mixtape Point Of No Return mixtape. It turned out that all 3 songs were by Drake, and at this point I decided to reassess him and download his album. It is excellent, and he is talented (and also improved upon Kanye’s 808s and Heartbreak sound). So I would like my own copy of this album.

Rihanna – book.

This is a book about the journey and conception of Rihanna’s Rated R album and Last Girl on Earth tour. I loved everything about her most recent album (and “Only Girl” has been a disappointment to me in contrast) and it became a sonic bible to me over the last 11 months. The lyrics, the sound, the videos, the look – it was all on point. It was deep, it was painful, and it celebrated that pain and exposed it and worked it out. I would love this book to commemorate what has become a very special album for me personally.

DVDs

– Rec 2, The Backup Plan. Horror and romcom – to keep me balanced.

Emporio Armani underwear

Okay, I love these boxer shorts, regardless of Cristiano Ronaldo being in them. And I love my boyfriend so much that even Ronaldo pales into insignificance. That is a lot. Anyway, I love these boxer shorts, and I can’t find them anywhere. And only in red and black online. So if you find the black and white ones for sale, just like old whatshisname here is wearing, please give me a heads up! Or even buy them for me. Thanks!

Chaos by Donna Karan.

This is the fragrance I have fallen in love with that I do not yet possess. If I don’t receive this, I will have to buy it for myself. It smells of ice and etherealness and subtlety. I adore it, and its mystery is something I hope will rub off on me if I manage to own it.

So now you have an insight into a few of the things that I crave! Just writing that and looking at the pretty pictures make me feel better. Nothing like a bit of online window shopping!  See y’all soon xx

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easy to get.

July 14, 2009

When my friends would ask me for dating and relationship advice, one of my steadfast rules would always be to play hard to get.  Along with not going all the way on the first night, and meeting in a public place, I would always recommend playing hard to get because it makes you more tantalising to the other person.  Why shouldn’t you be chased a little bit?  And if they don’t make a little bit of effort in pursuing you, they’re probably not worth it.

That’s what I would say, anyway.  But of course it’s so much easier when you’re the person giving the advice than when it’s your turn to follow that advice.  There are two problems that I currently have with playing hard to get.  1) If you play hard to get and act like you don’t care (ice king / queen was always a good thing to me), they may also be playing hard to get and you end up drifting apart. Or they might end up thinking you genuinely aren’t interested and don’t care, which triggers unfortunate backpedalling on your part that comes across ultimately as a little desperate.  2) This time, I don’t even seem to want to play hard to get.

Call it laziness, call it hypocritical. But I’ve been talking to this guy for a few days now and it feels like we are fully into the flirting stage.  We already had some potentially awkward conversations about sex, relationships, family, jobs, money… and those have more or less been navigated without a hitch.  The fact that he is able to converse with me in a full and sensible way, without waiting around for me or texting me constantly suggests that he is both balanced and has a brain (which puts him above 80% of the people whom I have met in a potential dating capacity… usually the potential is not capitalised upon).  He’s attractive (take my word for it).  He is definitely who he says he is, and he knows that I am who I say I am.  We both seem to admit to having our flaws.  I don’t detect any hint of fakeness so far, we don’t agree on absolutely everything but we have a fair amount in common, which is realistic I guess.

And so I’ve spent the last 3 or 4 nights talking to him until 2am, which is something I only usually do with my closest friends.  I’m under no illusions that I haven’t even met him in person yet, so this can quite feasibly all come crashing down if we don’t mesh as well in person as we do online. But I’m also aware that it’s been a long time since the portents were so promising… we’ve grown to flirt a lot, and we talked about things I am not going to mention in polite company (that’s you, dear reader) and he ended the conversation with that kiss emoticon thing, and my “mwah” in response.  He was going to have a shower, he was going to watch a film and he ended up speaking to me the whole night and putting aside his other plans.

The best part of it (well, all the parts are good really) is that we were trading youtube videos of songs and apart from them pretty much all being romantic in nature (I slipped in Janet Jackson’s Warmth at the end because I am a tease and that is the part about you being polite company and that’s all I’m going to say about it at this point 😛 ), we have the same taste.  This is such a rarity, I am honestly over the moon!  We diverge on a couple of things (he played me this dance chipmunk version of Belinda Carlisle’s “Summer Rain” which was atrocious, but sorta funny; for some reason he is not into Ciara that much) but generally we agree.  Here are a couple of the things he played me:

And here are some of the things I played him:

See what I mean? All sexy and romantic songs… I recommend listening to the ones that I chose in particular (hahahahaha!). 😉

Usually with my friends I end up drawing them to my music taste (I got both of my best friends to fall in love with Danity Kane), but in this case it may not even be necessary, as long as I don’t hear any more chipmunk music. I know I’ve inspired two of his msn usernames in the past day, and I’m even prepared to go back to this atrocious club I swore I’d never set foot in again, only because that’s where he fancies going.  Hard to get has more or less gone straight out of the window, and I know that I need to be careful but at the same time we still get on with our own lives.  Like I literally just spoke to him now (as I was writing this) and we had a brief conversation (he is redecorating his room) and then he was just like “Gotta go / have a good day / xx”.  The “xx” is very important (you shouldn’t need me to tell you!) but I find it so refreshing that he makes the effort, but still has his own life.  Like I said, it’s about having a balance I think, and I find it reassuring that we haven’t fallen head over heels for each other, because that would be a bit unrealistic and dangerous at this point.  If you asked me, I would still recommend playing hard to get and not being available the whole time, because I believe that normally that is the best approach (hypocrite alert! I know, I know). But at the same time, it’s nice to have someone to flirt with, something that looks so genuinely positive, and even if my policy of hard to get is going out of the window on this occasion, at least I’m having fun.