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  1. #1
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    Default June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defense

    Welcome to the June round of Blind Sniffing. Three samples marked A, B and C were mailed to the three ladies who will sniff them and describe them to us so that we and they themselves could figure out the fragrances' identities. We have agreed that everybody would post as they go, there is not going to be any certain time that we all log on and discuss, so please feel free to post your questions and your comments for our sniffers.

    Twolf is hosting and jet-lagged FrouFrou (of TX as of tonight, at least for the time of the sniff Yippee!) is the co-host.

    ************************************************** **
    The aging ladies with the picturesque fragrant past and not so cheap fragrant present cause a lot of commotion in real life and perfume discussing fora alike, see Mo's thread started in July of 2009 that I bumped this morning.

    Old Ladies' "far too elegant to be vulgar" (YouCanCallMeMo) paradoxes and contradictions, that they delight in, are such that the road to understanding them may lie through understanding the allure and learning the rules of cat pee and mothballs among the scents they surround themselves in. While selecting fragrances to be included in this round of the Blind Sniffs, we had to read through many reviews here on Basenotes and other sites, just to make sure these three are wonderfully different and differently wonderful, all smelling of the old times where a new fashion magazine or a bolt of fabric, a bobbin of lace and a spool of satin ribbon were treated as treasures. Not even touching the subject of hats, scarves and gloves. Those also were the times when the border between drugstore, designer and niche was somewhat muted, every fragrance was niche and very special.

    Naphthalene, the main igredient in mothballs, is really a fused pair of benzene rings (C10H8). In recent studies it is proven to be harmful to red blood cells, but honestly, how many of us conventional traditional people are still using them? I do. Cathy Newman, the National Geographic writer, in her "Perfume: The Art and Science of Scent" wrote: "The odor similar to naphtha/naphthalene comes from storax/styrax, when refined and used sparingly it resembles a bouquet of hyacinth, tuberose, and jonquil" (p.155). Some other chemicals found in both nature and laboratories, can contribute to the mothballs smell too.

    The only thing I am asking our three sniffers (Sunnyfunny, matildaben and Nostalgie) for, is to regard these three Mothball Scents as friends and treat them as such. From surprise and bewilderment, it is often times a short leap to resentment and animosity.

    ************************************************** ****


    Nostalgie has informed me she has received her package.
    Last edited by Twolf; 14th June 2011 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Like N., can't spell

  2. #2
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Matildaben received hers.

  3. #3

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Good morning! I'm up bright and early waiting for the delivery of new refrigerator.
    Thanks so much for the lovely topic introduction above, the beautiful package (Froufrou *made* it! wow! Gorgeous.), and Twolf, your handwriting is gift in itself.
    Now this is an interesting challenge for me, because I have not tried many of the fragrances that frequently get called "Old Lady." Whether the term is used disparaging form, or reappropriated with wit and respect, I don’t find it tagging most of the fragrances I know.

    So what a surprise when the very first sample I try (A) seems to be one I know (well, like one I know). I had an instant flash which I sent to Twolf.

    I'll hold off for a while and let the others chime in.
    Here are my thoughts on A:

    First sprtiz: sour—the familiar sourness of bergamot from a vintage bottle, that has just gone off a bit. The sourness will clear in a few seconds. And…it’s..gone!

    Now I’m getting tobacco, smoke, and soft leather, wood (guaiac? a smokey wood, in any case). There is something sharp i...
    Maybe some labdanum?

    In the base, I detect bezoin, maybe vanilla or tonka, but not headed in a gourmand direction.
    This is probably not what I at first thought it was. It’s not quite as in-your-face as the one I had in mind. A gentler sister, perhaps.

    The deep drydown [EDIT--WAIT THERE WAS MORE!] is all smoke (as in tobacco, not incense) on my skin.

    An hour (and more) later, the drydown is soft, creamy, a little sweet, some wood--and maybe benzoin.
    It's getting softly ambery as the hours tick by.

    This perfume has many stages,
    Last edited by Nostalgie; 14th June 2011 at 03:07 PM. Reason: cannot type
    "You...put on cologne to write?"(From Midnight in Paris)

    Stop by for a chat: http://perfumedletters.wordpress.com/
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Very nice observations and some of them are right on the dot.

    This one is all about the basenotes, the drydown.

  5. #5

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    I have been informed that there is a package waiting at the postoffice! I hope it will be the Twolf package!
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  6. #6

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Quote Originally Posted by FrouFrou View Post
    I have been informed that there is a package waiting at the postoffice! I hope it will be the Twolf package!
    yippeee!
    "You...put on cologne to write?"(From Midnight in Paris)

    Stop by for a chat: http://perfumedletters.wordpress.com/
    My book reviews: http://www.nstperfume.com/author/Cheryl/

  7. #7

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    I am working at home today so I can sniff while I'm working. I will only sniff on paper this morning, though, since I am going to Nieman Marcus and Hermes with Warum today and I want to save skin space for perfume shopping. I'll probably be unavailable from 12 pm to 8 pm west coast time.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Thanks for your update.

    Any initial impressions?

  9. #9

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    There is a sweetness in the topnotes as well.
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  10. #10

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Here are my notes from my first half hour after spraying this fragrance on tissue:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Perfume A - Spray on tissue

    I do get something in the top notes with a mothbally feel, as promised - kind of herbal, cooling, like rosemary. At this point I can't claim to detect any notes that I recognize, but that's not surprising because I am not that good at identifying notes.

    Starts out like a classic feminine.

    A kind of "spicy" floral. Is that carnation? I know that Caron's Bellodgia is carnation and that's the vintage parfum I bought at an estate sale last week, so maybe that's influencing my memory.

    As it develops it's taking on a more "unisex" character - it's developing in a deep and rich direction.

    Something actually smells like a photographic darkroom at this point.

    A deeper, more "purple" flower note is coming out now, balanced and integrated with the darkroom smell. Immediately after that the slightest hint of "powderiness". But it doesn't smell like any of the Iris perfumes that I have so I don't think it's iris. I think there might be rose here, but a plummy kind of rose.

    The cooling notes from the top are still in the mix at this point, about 15 minutes in. The powdery notes are increasing which is making it feel more feminine, but the darkroom smell is still there.

    I just moved away from the paper and sniffed the sprayer of the vial and I thought I got jasmine. It could be that's something from the top that I missed before, and I've gotten fatigued from the middle notes on the paper so now I noticed the lighter note in contrast.

    Now that I've recognized it on the vial, I can detect the jasmine on the paper as well. The powdery note and the femme-ness are increasing - the deep unisex feel I got about 5-10 minutes in has gone.

    I still think this is classic high-end designer. In my short experience of perfume I haven't smelled a niche fragrance that smells like this.

  11. #11

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    I"m working from home today so will keep popping in.

    Yes, Froufrou, sweet floral after the bergamot (if that's what it is) blast. Maybe rose? I'm awful at distinguishing floral notes unless they are BIG and unblended.

    Are you getting a bit of patchouli?

    Matildaben. I get something peppery like carnation, too, about 15 minutes i
    Eventually things become powdery.

    I love the many stages of development.
    "You...put on cologne to write?"(From Midnight in Paris)

    Stop by for a chat: http://perfumedletters.wordpress.com/
    My book reviews: http://www.nstperfume.com/author/Cheryl/

  12. #12
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    ROCK AND ROLL!! I've been pm'ing and just saw this. Can I start out by saying how lovely the presentation is? Twolfie and FrouFrou, you are far more creative and talented than I could ever hope to be.

    I agree on the first blast of bergamot. It seems familiar, to me. Is it a Caron?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    I get carnation, too.

  14. #14

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Nostalgie, I do get a whiff of Patchouli.
    I don't have the old lady feeling. Except the powderyness, I think because I adore older perfumes, but also this one wasn't that much worn I think where I lived when I was young so it's really new to me.
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  15. #15

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    I was going to say Caron too, but I edited myself because I've only smelled a few Carons, mostly the vintages that I got at the estate sale, so I wasn't sure if that was influencing my memory.

    I don't get any patchouli, but my husband, whose nose is untrained in perfume but trained in cooking, said it felt "hippie-dippy" to him, which usually means patchouli.

  16. #16

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Sunnyfunny, put it all together in a short review. Nostalgie got some notes already!
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  17. #17

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    OK, maybe I can think about what might be patchouli... there's kind of a medicinal bitey edge that you get with patchouli, but not the earthiness that usually comes with it - if it were music it would be more like a mezzo-soprano rather than a bass, which I think patch usually is.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Incense.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Quote Originally Posted by FrouFrou View Post
    Sunnyfunny, put it all together in a short review. Nostalgie got some notes already!
    Sorry, how do you mean? It sounds like we're all in agreement on the bergamot & carnation, and this is confirmed, yes?

  20. #20

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    I think it was Twolf's idea that everybody writes a short review and then there's a round of questions.
    A few notes have been picked out, but not all. I am just co-host, I don't know if I can put all the correctly guessed notes up?
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  21. #21
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    I'm definitely getting some leather now, maybe galbanum... I like this one.

  22. #22

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    the something herbal in the topnotes has not been guessed yet...
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  23. #23

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    About an hour in, I'm getting something that could be amber, incense, benzoin - I'm not skilled enough to distinguish.

  24. #24

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Quote Originally Posted by FrouFrou View Post
    the something herbal in the topnotes has not been guessed yet...
    So it wasn't rosemary? Is it an herb that is used in cooking? Sage, lavender, laurel?

  25. #25

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    I find these ''old lady perffumes very inetresting, with spicyness, and powderiness and incencyness all together... I think they are very sexy.
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  26. #26

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    almost there, it is used for cooking
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  27. #27
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Quote Originally Posted by FrouFrou View Post
    I think it was Twolf's idea that everybody writes a short review and then there's a round of questions.
    A few notes have been picked out, but not all. I am just co-host, I don't know if I can put all the correctly guessed notes up?
    Oh, I see. Well, in that case...

    Sample A is a lemon yellow liquid that seems to have a high alcohol content so I'm guessing it is edc or edt. It is very sharp and citrussy in the opening, a little bit screechy on cotton, even, but that part, which apparently is bergamot, dies down quickly on skin. There is an immediate soft, somewhat peppery flower which is probably carnation, then morphs into something incense-y and leathery. The flowers in it have turned powdery, so maybe there is iris/orris, or heliotrope.

  28. #28

    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Benzoin is one of the basenotes
    www.aafke-art.com

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  29. #29
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    Thank you for your lovely thoughts. Matildaben, I think you write about fragrances smoothly, despite being a newbie of sorts.

    I like how Nostalgie tried to go with A development (sharp to smooth).

    Out of the notes mentioned I can confirm:
    --bergamot (swimming due to the old age of A),
    -- darkroom herb;
    -- jasmine;
    -- benzoin;
    -- patchouli.

    There were other notes mentioned -- leaning towards amber and aromatics.

    What do you think about A in general? Floral? Oriental? Chypre?



    --

  30. #30
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    Default Re: June Blind Sniff: Mothballs, Old Ladies' Best Defence

    No carnation or heliotrope.

    Yes to amber and benzoin.

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