Dark Violets and Kusmi Tea Violette


I spent the first year of my perfume adventure longing for dark violets. I dreamed of walking through the woods, surrounded by the scent of tiny flowers hidden in the shadows. But every time I opened a sample vial hoping to set out on that journey, I ended up backstage at the follies choking on old-fashioned face powder or sucking on a chalky Choward’s tablet at a bus stop in the rain.


Eventually I found what I was looking for in perfumes like Serge Lutens’ Bois de Violette, where the dark violets are paired with a hefty dose of cedar, and another Lutens creation, Feminite du Bois where spiced plums accompany the cedar/violet mix. Creed’s Love in Black gave me a perfect dark violet for the half hour stretch between the opening flourish and the musky/woody drydown. The plush violet smoke weaving in and out of the heart of Guerlain’s discontinued (and much lamented) Attrape Couer taught me that shadow and powder are not always opposites. More recently, perfumer Maria McElroy’s Geisha Violet, showed me that a violet perfume could be candied and dark at the same time. McElroy makes her sweet, dark violets shimmer with a touch of genuine lilac essence–not a watery spring lilac but a warm, slightly spicy summer flower–and then darkens the mix with bitter, unfoody chocolate. The result is odd, compelling, changeable and beautiful.


By the time I heard about Kusmi’s Tea Violette from my friend Jessica, of the charming Tinsel Creation, my love of violet scents had expanded to include delicate green violets and even the occasional Chowards-ish spritz, but what captured my imagination was the thought of black tea and a velvet touch of dark violet. And that, wonder of wonders, is exactly what it is.

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Winners of the Botrytis Giveaway and a Quick Scent of the Day


Congratulations to the winners of the Botrytis samples, Cinne, Kandice and Wendy C Turgeon!  Pleases send me an email with your mailing address (just hit contact above for my email) and I’ll try to get these to the post office this week.


Thanks to all who told me about the sweetness in their lives. It was a treat to read your answers as they rolled in over the long weekend. Hope everyone is feeling rested and ready for school, work or whatever is coming up next for you. It’s still summer here in Austin and will be for another couple of months, but I’m pretending it’s fall with hot black tea and a tiny dab of the mulled wine, ripe fig and dark roses of Parfums DelRae’s Bois de Paradis.


What does your day smell like today?*


*A slightly dangerous question, I know. We live on the edge around here.

Image: Figs by Justin Clayton  Available for purchase, I believe.


Jasmine Bellinis: A Recipe


It’s Friday. There’s a Blue Moon tonight. Let’s all have a drink, shall we?


I made these jasmine bellinis for my Austin book event at the amazing Bookpeople.  I brought the jasmine-infused peach purée. They provided the bubbly. We mixed them on the spot, glass by glass, 1/3 purée to 2/3 wine. Part of what that meant was that as people walked in and greeted each other you could hear the staff popping corks in the background. A most celebratory sound. The reading went well and no one seemed to mind waiting in the line for signing books.  I give these all the credit.

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Giveaway–Botrytis Perfume


Now that I’ve written so much about Ginestet’s Botrytis, I’d like to share some with you. I have three good-sized samples waiting to be mailed. If you’d like to be entered in the draw just leave a comment telling me about something that provides a little sweetness in your life–edible or otherwise.  I’ll leave the post open over the long weekend and announce the winners (chosen by random.org) on Tuesday.

[Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments! The draw is now closed.]

Image: Honeycomb by Su-Lin. Some rights reserved. From Tamarind and Thyme.

That Honey Perfume: A Confession


I had such good intentions. There were—there are!—so many things I wanted to tell you. There were the book events in Austin and New York, and a magical trip to Orcas Island. I still owe you a recipe for jasmine bellinis, not to mention recipes and a report on the scent dinner I did way back in, um, I’m sorry, were you saying something?



So. How to make it up to you? Why don’t we get straight to the answer of the number one question people have been asking me about the book (and thank you, thank you for all your notes, comments, tweets and emails, every one feels like a little miracle to me). Namely: What is the name of that honey perfume? You know, the one in Chapter Two that V. says smells like you?

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