Sunday, November 29, 2009

make sniff not war

If a lot of dogs are on the beach, the first thing they do is smell each other's ass.

The information that's gotten somehow makes pacifists out of all of them.

I've thought, 'If only we smelled each other's asses, there wouldn't be any war.'

quote attributed to Dustin Hoffman
imdb internet movie database site
Illustration: Animal Lura Astor

Friday, November 27, 2009

what is it

Something on
the wind

photo: Lura Astor

that invisible smell

I swear I am going
to play to enjoy
every single sniff
of this crazy whirled

sniff, sniff

sniff, sniff, sniff

and, if I can't find it
I'm going to sniff deeper
nasally tunneling into the air
to find it

that invisible smell


Illustration: Spring Juice Lura Astor

Thursday, November 26, 2009

bottles, flacons collection

Highlights from Drom's bottle collection

(click left/right arrows)

Hope to get the chance to see all 3,000


Illustration: 2 Bottles Lura Astor

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages
indices on site page's left column
indices/multilingual references numerous alphabets

list of spices here

Illustration: Dots Lura Astor

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Flora, Fauna and Merry Weather

I read the other day that so many million years ago, I lose count after several million, the earth was 85% covered with flowers.
True or False
I love
the imagery imagination

photos: Descanso Gardens Lura Astor

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sweat & Leather & Resin = which scent?

toe shoes!
pointe shoes

There was a resin box, chunks of solid resin and powder in a wooden box ... an integrated part of the ritual of dance training and performing. (dance with shoes; not the barefoot modern dance).

We'd put our feet in the box, grind the resin powder into the soles of the shoes, especially the ball of the foot, or the pointe. The trick was to have enough so as not to slip on the floors of classroom, rehearsal studio or stage, and not so much as to stick when trying to accomplish five spins in one place on one foot.

The floors were often wet for we dancers sweat through and crystal beads spun off our bodies in spiral sprays. The wooden floors of old slanted theater stages, giving us literally upstage and downstage, were often watered down. In performance we, the performers, could look cool, removed, poised, what the audience didn't see was the poundage of water we lost during rehearsal. And with that, specific scents of sweat, leather from specially crafted shoes, and resin, imbue into the arts, fabric and perfume of dance.

Part of my love of dance was spending much of my life dancing, choreographing or training with music, often live accompaniment.

Anna Pavlova, dancer and world celebrity, had a line of toe shoes, a dessert and a perfume by Payot/ Five Star Fragrances named after her. Bourreeing through her signature piece, The Dying Swan. video here

Michel Fokine choreographed the dance in 1907, music by Saint-Saƫns, from Carnival of the Animals; on world tour, often played by David Sisserman.
A video here captures some of Pavlova's ethereality and extended balance.

And I tell you, years later, Maya Plisetskaya scorched The Dying Swan, with arms like liquid water about to fall to the earth, inspiring generations of youngsters in ballet training. video here about half a minute before movement starts

I saw Plisetskaya once, when I was young. She had fire, attitude, precision, strength, flirtation, wildness and beauty; a womaness, not waif, leaps that defied - laughing at us earthlings as she seared the air, she showed a flame I can still tap into. Another reminder to see, hear and smell things live.
It is said, Anna's last words were to her dresser to get her Dying Swan costume ready, now that's a swan song !
Pavlova, born in Ligovo, a suburb of Saint Petersburg, then the capital of the Russian Empire, Plisetskaya born in Moscow, got me on the search, so here, some wonderful and humorous articles on
Russian Fragrances ...
Part one
Part two
Red Poppy

Other ballet related perfume miscellany

Diaghilev is said to have worn Mitsouko/Guerlain and his ballerinas, Narcisse Noir/Caron.

I do know that in the "serious" companies, the star alone, such as the prima ballerina assoluta, was able to wear certain fragrances and the corps de ballet others. The same goes for the shows in Las Vegas, the stars were to wear certain glittery make-up, such as eye shadow and highlights and the corps were not allowed to compete. All contractual.

Other ballet related fragrances

Giselle - Carla Fracci
Odette - Carla Fracci (but no Odile!)
Cuir de Russie/Le jardin Retrouve

And, in case you were wondering, here are some answers about drinking champagne from sweaty toe shoes.

November 20, Happy Birthday Maya Plisetskaya and LT

worn toe shoe: LambtronPavlova dessert
Swan Lake: Paata Vardanashvili
tip o' the hat to: Vedat Ozan, Octavian Sever Coifan; inspiration for delving into my memory

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trump l'oeil

November 2004, Estee Lauder launches the cologne Trump. Macy's carried it and several months later they were not. I asked the Sales Associate why and she replied, people don't like the man.

At the time, I thought that Donald Trump/Estee Lauder made a mistake naming it after himself.

In the print collateral Trump stands next to his, then fiance, now wife. The tagline Men Wearing My Cologne Can Get Any Woman
struck me as funny as it presumes men could also get his fiance, once wearing his cologne.

Trump was quoted, "It's for men that wanna get beautiful women - it's guaranteed! You spray it on and you can have any woman you want. It's gonna be a very big seller."

Well, it wasn't as big a seller as hoped. Even the perfumer distanced herself, for I didn't see it on her bio lists of fragrance creations.

Amid the dissension, for buyers love to criticize celebrity perfumes, I liked it (the edc, not the edt which they shouldn't have bothered with).

The first time I smell Trump? I laugh, I "get it". The perfumer has a sense of humor. It says green. It says money! Green, greenbacks, moola! A refined green sprayed on a loose weave wool man's black suit. The suit is light enough to float, but tough enough to structure. It insulates, a thin skin moving in the higher echelons know, floor 52 and above.

As for the marketing: in my head, I talk to the Donald. Donald, you fool, did you want to sell your ego or make money on this? Shame on you, you're fired! (from The Apprentice, his show)

Perfumer Annie Buzantian
the notes I found:
top mint, cucumber, pepper, citrus, basil
heart rosemary, juniper
base patchouli, nutmeg, vetiver, mossy wood

photo: Trump Towers
Martin-D ( the bottle design reflects aspects of Tower architecture)

olfaction in schools

Most school systems have art teachers
educating the eye and music teachers
educating the ear, but none so far has attempted
to tutor the nose.

Yet the nose holds the key to distinctions
no other sense can unlock,
and to esthetic pleasures as great for some
as music and pictures are to others.

from Your Educated Nose in Our Sentinels
section of the
Reader's Digest

Our Human Body: Its Wonders and Its Care

adapted from Have You an Educated Nose?, Roy Bedichek 

and  How Your Nose Knows, Ruth and Edward Brecher

photo: Autumn Lura Astor

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ambergris coffee


Michael of Wondermongery
sent me ambergris spray

Physeter macrocephalusfrom La via del Profumo

after I'd seen ambergris
in the Whale Museum

in Rancho Palos Verdes, California
I could finally smell ambergris

and spritz some

into a cup of coffee
and drink it
and it was delicious
inspired by a perfumer
who soon you will read more of ... here

Illustration: Half Moon Cafe Lura Astor

Sunday, November 15, 2009



written, spoken, sung, 
smelled, touched, 
carved, seen, 
heard, eaten,
imbibed, danced, 
woven, swum, 
drummed, dreamt

- Lura Astor

Illustration: Wha' Lura Astor


Some strains of mistletoe
release a gas
with aphrodisiac properties

my kind of plant fart!


Night Mistletoe Lura Astor

Aerin Lauder on Martha Stewart

Watching Aerin Lauder on Martha Stewart's fragrance show, the tired old chestnut of male fragrance and female fragrance was mentioned.

It's as though one must lift the lid up to see which it is,
a boy or a girl, a topic for a series of articles in the future.


Standing in the Mistletoe: Lura Astor

Capturing Peony Scent

Folks from Givaudan and IFF capture the scent of peony from Martha Stewart's garden for lab analysis and bottled creation.
VIDEO click to right Capturing Peony Scent

The Fragrance Show segment
Martha Stewart Show 
30 October 2009

Image: Standing Under Mistletoe Lura Astor

Thursday, November 12, 2009

dispenser of sensuous delights


Nature anticipated the perfumery trade by mixing odors indiscriminately in the wind, and the sniffer abroad is in for delightful surprises. Unique blends are bound to occur; mixtures never before sensed by mortal man may come casually into his nostrils.

Though in our Western civilization the sense of smell has fallen from its great estate as dispenser of sensuous delights, it is a sense that can be developed.

from Your Educated Nose in Our Sentinels section, Reader's Digest
Our Human Body: Its Wonders and Its Care
 article adapted from Have You an Educated Nose? Roy Bedichek
How Your Nose Knows, Ruth and Edward Brecher

photo: Huntington Gardens Lura Astor

Congratulations & Shout oUts 2

to Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez
for their updated book
now available in paperbackPerfumes: The Guide A-Z

Check out the reviews here
about the authors here

  There is a growing platform for perfume criticism much the same way Siskel & Ebert & Roeper gave us their version of film criticism and a serious, long lasting, platform including guest critics.
In Living Color gave us movie critic send-ups with Men on Film - the manly or bitchy Loved It, Hated It, tell it like it is, 2 snaps and a rewind ratings with David Alan Grier, who now has his Chocolate News, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.

If you have problems with the art of dish and homoerotica do not open this link  as Men on Film cover the films Grease, Psycho, 48 Hours and more.

While I in no way agree with each of the final (that is, standing in print) pronouncements on the fragrances within Perfumes: The Guide A-Z, who cares? The Guide allows readers to stick to their opinions, gain more facts in the process, learn more of perfumers, houses, recipe changes and other lore, perhaps change an opinion or way of smelling/revisiting particular fragrances. Remember, perfume lovers are nothing if not opinionated.
This book is

So entertaining, you don’t even have to like perfume - The Denver Post

A wake-up call for the nostrils -The Independent (UK)
Bigoted, snarling, monomaniacal, subjective, triumphalist, and quite magnificent
 - Prospect (UK) 

As if a light has been switched on in a murky room - Philip Hensher, author The Northern Clemency

Illustration: The Two Snifftateers: ©Lura Astor
part of Perfume Series

Congratulations & Shout oUts 1

to Basenotes' Grant Osborne and Danielle Cooper's Fragrance Fridays
now on youtube  fragrance news, updates and upcoming releases and events  October 200
two - 6 November 2009

Illustration: The Two Snifftateers: ©Lura Astor, part of her Perfume Series


Monday, November 9, 2009

Fabric & Fragrance & Do You Dare?

This ribbon was an integral part of a celebrity fragrance launch, an example of modern culture, in-depth, branding for a successful ad campaign. Launched by fragrance design house Elizabeth Arden in 2004, Curious perfume, for pop-star performer Britney Spears' fragrance portfolio, was aimed at the 16-24 age market, and remains popular with an older demographic as well.

Customers describe it as pretty, clean, fresh, floral, light, nice.Reps convince potential buyers to allow themselves their guilty pleasures and buy the scent because they like it, regardless of how they feel about star/brand identity.

Grossing sales of $55.4 million in 2006 landed this celebrity perfume #4 on Forbes Magazine’s top selling celebrity fragrances list.

The bottle's design, with its atomizer, lends modern recognition of Hollywood film, and film star, dressing tables.

Perfume: Curious
Celebrity: Britney Spears Design
House: Elizabeth Arden
Perfumer: Claude Dir
Bottle Designer: Jean Antretter

Ad Director: Dave Meyers
Introduced: 2004

Scent Classification: Floral

Range: 1.0 oz, 1.7 oz, 3.3 oz
au de Parfum, 0.5 oz

Perfume Stick, 3.8 oz

Body Lotion, 7.0 oz

Body Polish, 0.7 oz

Body Shimmer, 6.8 oz
Body Wash, 0.16 oz/each
Fragrance Roller Ball and Lip Gloss Duo

top Louisiana Magnolia, Golden Anjou Pear, Water Lotus
heart Tuberose, Star Jasmine, Pink Cyclamen
base Vanilla, Musk, Blonde Woods, Sandalwood

Fabric & Fragrance

Instead of using paper blotters to smell and test fragrances, some companies use a cut of ribbon, spray it with the fragrance, and customers wear the ribbon on their wrist or ankle, or put it in a purse, pocket or book.


... part of a package I put together to induce local establishments to increase the value of their
collections of art, fashion, costume and textiles by adding Fragrant Information, curated by yours truly.

c. 1340 defines curate M.L. curatus one responsible for the care of souls
L. curatus, pp. curare to take care of

yours truly, Translator of Things Nasal

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Serendipity Rides Again


After posting about kerosene perfume in the Smell of Burning Books a few days ago, guess who I got to briefly meet?

Ray Bradbury, as I hold up a special edition of Fahrenheit 451. 

Mr. B wears the French Commandeur Ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal.

I love my muses.

... they bring me places, bump me into people, point out humor and beauty, and insist I create.

photo: Steve Fjeldsted

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Maple Sugars Serendipity


Sables/Annick Goutal translates from French to English as sand/s. Years back I originally read it as sable fur, getting rich browns and autumnal fireplace golden red highlights when smelling the juice. Turns out the range of sable fur colors includes blacks as well as browns.

with its immortelle has a distinct nose of Vermont maple syrup. Th
e ambrosia of unrefined, dark, grade B, maple syrup is nothing like bottled corn syrups labeled as maple syrup. Sables also reminds me of maple sugar candies shaped as maple leaf, , acorns, clover, roses, turkeys, people and more; a treat beyond buttercream dissolve-on-the-tongue.

Serendipity and Something New!
I tasted spun maple sugar for the first time.

The menu said,  "Only spun if Miss Dingle is here." She was.

A plate piled high was set down before us looking like a fairy's wig of cream brown.

Hands ripped wisps as the faintest burn of maple sifted into nostrils on the way to tongue melt.

It is like having a birthday treat and it is not your birthday, makes me laugh.

Summer fairs' dry hay and spinning threads of burning sugar - cotton candy
Maple sugar tapped from Vermont trees

Had gathered a few folks to visit the Norton Simon Museum's free evening; it was the first time I saw the sculpture garden at night.

The uplighting on sculptures and trees makes the outdoor sculpture path and pool even more transportive than daytime viewing. A Henry Moore nude on her side with legs flying creates a Chagall nightscape as it casts a shadow large enough to fill the museum facade. 

A lane of skinny trees with a few leaves left could have a title plate Autumn.

Illustration: Last Minute Luck Lura Astor
Photo: Maple Leaf Structure jurvetson and TED/joy of rockets

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the smell of burning books


The film Fahrenheit 451  1966 based on Ray Bradbury's book
Directed by Francois Truffaut, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jean-Louis Richard

Clarisse (Julie Christie):  Even with my eyes closed, I can tell what you do for a job.

Montag (Oscar Werner):  Because of the smell of kerosene? Quite a scent, isn't it. My wife doesn't like it very much. She says it lingers. I don't mind. I think of it as a perfume.


MontagYes, a perfume, like any other.

Illustration: Context Lura Astor

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

on the air

our noses

keep reading the air

 - Luca Turin,  
The Secret of Scent
...the beautiful landscape of smell 

Sunday Telegraph review of The Secret of Scent

Monday, November 2, 2009


Brag on 20 things
you've done
or fortuitously
missed doing.

Permission Slip
if you can't brag
to your friends
if you can't brag
to strangers
at least
take an autumn moment
and brag to yourself

catch a falling leaf
I hear it is lucky,
if nothing else,
it is fun

Illustration: leaf 44 Lura Astor

Sunday, November 1, 2009

faces of things

Art does not reproduce the visible,
it makes visible.

- Paul Klee


Illustration: Faces of Things Lura Astor