Monday, November 24, 2014

The winners of the draw...

...for the Aedes incense samples are:


Congratulations and please send me an email using Contact with your shipping data so I can have these in the mail for you soon.

Thanks everyone for the enthusiastic participation and till the next one!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Start Up Sets to Make Your Vagina Smell Like Peaches: A Feminism Issue & Then Some

There's too much brandishing around about how feminism is obsolete (apparently by women -and men- reaping the benefits of a good 3 decades of women's rights advocates fighting the cause) but some piece of news crops up and makes you rethink things. Yes, if you haven't guessed by this introduction, I'm irate. A start up is asking for funding on Tilt (their Kickstarter campaign was denied because the fund raising platform doesn't accept biotechnology projects) to market their product "Sweet Peach" which is a probiotic meant to change your vagina's natural smell into that of a ripe...peach.

A probiotic making your lady parts smelling of peach like a Bath & Body Works shower gel. OK, get me the barf bag now!

Gustave Courbet, L'Origine du Monde (1866) at Musee d'Orsay 

The project is undertaken by scientists Austen Heinz and Gilad Gome, of the biotech startups Cambrian Genomics and Personalised Probiotics respectively. Sweet Peach will use Genomic's DNA printing technology into manipulating the odor made by micro-organisms that live in the vagina of a woman. They state the practical benefit of avoiding yeast infections but they also state this controversial claim: "The idea is personal empowerment" as "all your smells are not human. They're produced by the creatures that live on you. We think it's a fundamental human right to not only know your code of the things that live on you but also to write your own code and personalize it." And they continue by stating that "The pleasant scent is there to connect you to yourself in a better way" (but it also serves as a sort of function indicator). 
Which makes me so very surprised to see that they're also partnering on Petomics, a probiotic for dogs and cats that would make their feces smell like....bananas! 

Right, because pet's feces's odor and the odor of a healthy woman's vagina are on the same plane of values. 

The fact that the two scientists are male did raise a feminist antenna or two. Why not focus on something more universal, dudes? Like feces? Everyone poops, after all. The explanation was that the gut micro-biome is more complex, whereas the vaginal one is stabler, being upset via the period's "interference" only once a month (Hmm, hey guys, I have news for you!). 

But apparently the story is even more fucked up!  

The founder of the company, a 20 year old woman (and a "ultrafeminist" as per own her claim), Audrey Hutchinson, says that the vision of the product was totally different: aiding women to manage their reproductive health without the need of doctors or clinics (or even help the microflora fight HIV, as one company envisions this whole new frontier!). The male dudes, Heinz and Gome, collaborate on Petomics, while Heinz is only a 10% share holder in the Sweet peach project, which he unveiled in a public forum at the San Jose DEMO conference without quoting Hutchinson and even without notifying her beforehand!

But the thing isn't whether the dudes made a publicity blunder and a PR screwup which had the Internet up in arms about  it. They unquestionably have. 

But Gome has been put into record talking about hacking the micro-biome to "make her vagina smell like roses and taste like Diet cola". And Heinz had also explained his general logic by saying "We think on an airplane you're breathing 90 percent farts, right? So it'd be good if they were good-smelling." Talk about "la negation de la mort par le fast food". 

The thing is that there still are straight men out there who believe a healthy, average woman's vagina smells bad. Makes one nostalgic about the 1970s when American Cosmopolitan advised its sexually uninhibited readers to put a drop of vaginal juice behind their ears to attract a mate...

And there's this small little detail too: Nazi-odor-selection. Peach...bananas...coke. Who decided only fruity or edible scents are good smelling?

Long time readers remember our articles on Perfume Shrine which focused on how the industry shaped the market by hitting them on the head with fruity scents for at least a decade, mainly through the abomination of Bath & Body Works synth flavors incorporated into body products such as deodorants, shower gels, body lotions etc. 

If perfumery has long tried to emulated the odor di femina, with all its loaded innuendo perpetuated in literature, the arts and philosophy, such as in Shocking perfume by Elsa Schiaparelli or Ambre Sultan (Lutens) technology is reversing the tables by subtracting it and adding something totally inhuman. I'd say, get these start-ups some odor specialist and call it a day. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The winner of the draw....

....for the Fragrant book is Phyllis Iervello. Congratulations! Please email me using Contact with your shipping data so I can have this out to you soon.

Thanks everyone for the enthusiastic participation and till the next one! I'm going to go put on a pair of jeans and some lipstick and get out of the door, so please continue entering comments on the other draw, I will check them out later on.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur: fragrance review & samples giveaway

How can a strictly indoors smell, that of burning incense, so tied to wooden pegs and tight clusters of people, gain an outdoorsy veneer? The French perfume school has long thrived on the exploration of indoor scents; from the culinary scents of hot butter, peachy and plummy compotes and pain d'épices fused into classic chypres and orientals, to the introspective scents of the church and the literary salon, full of incense, beeswax and the scent of the paper-knife between paper leaves, the ink that dots the pages... These reflect the traditions that have built France's reputation as the seat of good food and decent banter. But the great outdoors, a less Parisian perhaps, yet not entirely distant destination, was left uncharted right till the bucolic greeneries introduced with Vent Vert and the athletic agility of the 1990s marines. And then the outdoors came sweeping one day, sailing on.

Copal Azur by Aedes de Venustas & Bertrand Duchaufour isn't strictly a ....but.click to read my full review on Fragrantica grabbing a nice fluffy mohair blanket and a chocolate bar.
And enter a comment to be eligible for one of the 5 samples I'm giving away. Draw is open internationally till Sunday 23rd noon.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fragrant by Mandy Aftel: perfume book giveaway

More of a biographical mapping out of the discovery of a new career path and the richness with which it has gifted its author than a mainstream guide, Fragrant: The secret life of scent by Mandy Aftel is a fascinating journey into four key materials (cinnamon, incense, mint, jasmine and ambergris), their mystical significance, their aura, their historical pathway and with it the trajectory of natural perfumery. The book takes the form of a meditation on the sensuality and pleasure that natural materials offer, divided into 5 parts corresponding to each material) and a plea for the embracing of their sensuous capabilities in our increasingly sterilized world.

Aftel's Essence and Alchemy is already a perfume book classic, aimed at the fragrance enthusiast with the desire to learn (it includes a hands down approach to learning to build fragrant chords with natural essences and a classic fragrance pyramid structure tutorial a la Jean Carles), while Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent is less of a traditional guide. Instead Aftel muses on several points on scent while adding tidbits that are always interesting and a handful of recipes for edible stuff that would make you see things in a new light. For that reason it would appeal to the novice, as it does not require special knowledge in order to follow its beautiful prose, but also to the more accomplished fragrance collector as a tome to stand proudly in their library.

You can order the book on Amazon at a special price.

I have a new hardback copy to share with a lucky reader. Please enter a comment below to be eligible. Draw is open internationally till Friday midnight.

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