Friday, February 12, 2010

Perfect Scents

The French nose is universally esteemed for it's discerning sensibilities. "And usually, the longer the nose, the better the sniffer", says Vetrinarian Dr. Brian Janke, referring to a dogs nose.
From my old wine class notes: When you sniff a wine and savor its aromas, you are in fact sampling from the 'invisible soup' of substances that float around in the headspace of the wineglass...
The human nose can smell about 300 aromas, whereas the tastebuds only taste 4 or 5 flavors...
A dog’s olfactory bulbs are 4 times larger than ours -it’s estimated that dogs can identify smells somewhere between 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans can, so imagine how refined the French dog's nose must be! But I digress..anticipation of next week's Westminster Kennel Club show is taking over my brain.
Back to perfect scents. If imagining the smell of French bread is enough to get you on an airplane for an uncomfortable 7-8 hours, think of the effect on the French dog?
Bella at Poilâne , original watercolor, 9" x 11"

It must drive them bonkers.
French chocolate...ah the smell of it. No other chocolate comes close in my biased opinion and it drives me bonkers. The Salon du Chocolat is instant immersion in one big soup bowl of it - no need to actually eat the stuff.
The smell of French hot chocolate with all the visual embellishments (here at Carette).

A perfect bouquet of roses from au Nom de la rose...can you smell them?
Certainly the perfume's container should be in harmony with it's contents.

Did you know that wiff of scent you catch as someone walzes by is called the perfume's "sillage" -from Chandler Burr's The Perfect Scent.

When I heard the sad news of the death of Alexander McQueen yesterday, I wondered about his perfume. It was called Kingdom. There is more here. I always loved his twirling girl who gets paint thrown at her...BONJOUR VALENTINES!


  1. Wasn't that sad about McQueen?! So young and so tragic. Your photos here are lovely. that top girl has my damn nose, but it sure looks better on her! haaaa!

  2. ps
    The twirling girl video is great! Wonderful!

  3. Ahhhh, the Cup of Chocolate!! I'd squeeze my knees into tourist for twelve hours for that.

    My weekly ad from Fauchon features a longish white confection with the little heartbeat hills and valleys of an EKG---advertised as "Electrochoc."

  4. Why, yes, the bread and the chocolate ARE enough to stuff me into economy class and fly for 8 hours!! It is so sad about Alexander McQueen....ahead of his times...

  5. Foodwalker1:04 PM

    I told my French class about Sillage.
    Love that word.
    Makes me want to run out and buy Jo Malone's new scent:
    vanilla and anise.

  6. Vickie (Rose's Mom)1:05 PM

    Bella is Rose's best friend (even though she lives in Seattle and Rose lives in Dallas)! What a gorgeous watercolor in front of our favorite bakery!

  7. Justine3:22 PM

    Poignant and poetic video for McQueen...
    The fleeting and ephemeral gifts he gave us...

  8. Lawrence3:24 PM

    The French nose on both hound and femme are indeed to be admired and adored.
    Discernment is right!
    Thank you for the fine chocolates, broche, wine, perfume and everything else that makes for the joie de vie.

  9. Lawrence3:31 PM

    Brioche !

  10. I'm a big fan of Au nom de la Rose! Perfect store!

  11. If you don't mind, when you're at the Westminster Dog show, please keep an eye out for a good-looking female Airedale...but she must be a sharp dresser. Inspector Oswald seems distinctly lonely these days.

  12. gorgeous images that make me almst sense the scent.

    so sad about Lee McQueen, he was genius.

  13. Oh yes, that robot from the car assembly line, that was so ingenious, like all his work. What sadness and what loss!

  14. Carol -- I don't know if you intended this to be your Valentine's Day post, but I couldn't have asked for a more delectable one. (That pic from Canette!! The L'Artisan Parf. shot!!) Bliss.
    Oh, and last but not least: Kingdom. Well now that was a heady scent. I can understand why some people loathed it; a very space-intensive, STRONG scent. But I can also understand very well why I loved it; smelled of something that begins with "s" and ends with "x", and I'm not talking musical instruments here. :-)

  15. What a wonderful post - love your musings! :) I love the smell of chocolate too - so intoxicating... I wish I could wake up every morning to that addicting smell.

  16. I didn't know that paint thrower was from a car assembly line MERISI :O
    Such a poetic robot...

  17. My best friend mailed a box of French chocolates one year, and you are correct there is nothing like the smell, the texture or the taste. We savored 9 pieces for two months.
    Also, my "nose" friend taught me that only certain women are capable of smelling Musk. We did a test and it is true. My husband wears musky perfume that I love.
    It's always tragic when someone young and talented is taken from this world.

  18. Carol, me again: Couldn't resist passing this NPR article on macarons on to you, the French Macaron Queen:

    What you have LONG since appreciated, is apparently now becoming a fad in America. Even Starbucks (perish the thought) is jumping on the bandwagon. Oh dear, there goes the (macaron) neighborhood... I'd like to see Starbucks just try selling macarons in France to the French... Funnily, they still haven't dared open a shop in Italy; wonder why...? :-)

    À bientôt!

  19. Bonjour Carol
    I am from Gassin ( Presqu'Ile de St Tropez ) and I find your blog so wonderfull that I just can to tell you BRAVO.

  20. My name is Kayla who specialize on wedding cakes and desserts based on southern california.
    I am in love with macarons lately, and I would love to take a class.
    Do you know any of good macaron makers in orange county by any chance?
    Thank you for pleasing a lot of people with your blog!!!
    Have wonderful weekend

  21. Chandler10:09 AM

    Carol, I wanted to thank you so much for your really stunning and
    wonderful take on The Perfect Scent.
    I'm so happy you liked it and thrilled to see you give it such an innovative presentation. The photos are terrific.

  22. Happy Valentine's Day to you!

  23. O, La, what a wonderful blog you have here. I will follow it and dream of my next visit to the City of Lights. Happy Valentines Day.

  24. Anonymous5:39 PM

    ...The French nose is universally esteemed for it's discerning sensibilities...
    The it's in fact should read its... it's means it is and obviously that is not what you are going for. Think of his, hers, ours, theirs etc. Its.
    Otherwise love your blog.



Love hearing from you