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Gwen's blog

Basilica – herbal and incense-y and woody

I’ve been writing about fragrances for over a decade now, and I’ve seen fragrance trends come and go and come back again and one category that has remained popular over time is church scents - those evocative fragrances that conjure up the bells, the garments, the cold stone, the chanting and the smells associated with worship. It’s not surprising since church scents are incense-based, because incense has been used for centuries in religious worship, ceremony, and meditation in religions around the world.

De Profundis – green and floral and smoky

I'm generally skeptical of marketing materials, especially those promoting fragrances, and often wonder, 'Who writes this stuff?'

It's no surprise then that it was the colour of De Profundis that got my attention when I saw it for the first time at Les Salons du Palais Royal in Paris. It looks like no other perfume, a beautiful, otherworldly shade of violet. It drew me to the fragrance, and when I smelled the juice, I was so taken by it that I wanted to know more about it. Later that day, I began my research.

Orris Noir – spicy and elegant and seductive

I have a very good friend who is a journalist and one of her many skills is research, so when she finds anything of interest regarding perfume – an article, an interview, etc. – she sends it along to me. I can’t tell you how often I have benefited from her efforts, like the time she discovered that Ormonde Jayne, the niche fragrance brand founded by Linda Pilkington in the 2000’s, was offering free shipping worldwide. I wasted no time ordering Orris Noir.

1986 Éclectique – exciting and sexy and so much more

Sometimes the perfume gods smile upon us. It happened to me last autumn when I was in Paris. I happened to be at perfume mecca Jovoy on the day 1986 Ecletique EdP, from the French niche line Les Bains Guerbois, was launched. One sniff and I was smitten, learning that Bertrand Duchaufour signed it; I was in love.

The "Guerlain Classic Elegance Pack"

When the Duchesse has an idea, it’s usually a very good one – especially if it involves fragrances. So, when she came up with the idea for a "Guerlain Classic Elegance Pack" I was all in.

Mitsouko Eau de Parfum – fresh and luscious and sensuous

Growing up, I had a cousin whom I adored. She's a few years older than me, and I thought she was perfect. As a late teen, she did a bit of modelling; she travelled to Europe in her early twenties, spoke French and had excellent taste in clothes. Oh, the clothes! She often passed along the clothes she didn't want anymore. I loved them, but I had to alter them to fit me. Leaning over the sewing machine, taking in the seams of some gorgeous dress, I'd get the most beautiful scent coming off the cloth. The more I sewed, the more intrigued I became by the smell.

Black Heart v. 2 – woody and spicy and smoky

My introduction to Black Heart v. 2 from Map Of The Heart was via Mark Behnke’s blog Colognoisseur.

Jicky EdP – sumptuous and sensuous and classic

Photo courtesy of Guerlain

Noir – spicy and floral and masculine

Most Saturdays throughout the summer and into late fall, my brother and I meet up and walk to the local farmer's market together. We love good food made from great produce and each other, so this is an easy way for us to catch up and just be together.

Tubéreuse 3 Animale – floral and animalic and seductive


Cabin in the Woods -

We own some land just a couple of hours north of Toronto, and my husband built a cabin for us there before our son was born. We’ve had some wonderful family times there over the years, and we always look forward to going there.

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