Thursday, May 31, 2007

Holt Renfrew Re-Opens with "Holtscents"

Good news for all Vancouverites: Holt Renfrew re-opened today at its new location on 737 Dunsmuir St. (Pacific Mall) with several new lines of niche perfumes which were never available in either Vancouver or Canada before.

This afternoon, I went to check out the new selection at the “Holtscents” corner, devoted to these new lines. It took me a while to find the place, as I am notorious for losing directions in the mall. You’ll find Holt Renfrew where the “bridge” between the south side and the north side of Pacifi Mall was (as pictured above), or you can get to the scents via street level on the north side of Dunsmuir street (pictured below).
After getting lost for a few minutes in the mall, and inside Holt Renfrew (I went all the way down to the lower level, where only “men’s scents” can be found alongside other manly luxuries, I finally got to the right place, which happens to be simply at street level, and located on the left side just a few steps away from the entrance (if I had the smarts to approach it from the outside word rather than the maze of the mall…).

Drazana, the lovely Sales Associate, greeted me with her pleasant and friendly presence. She guided me through the new lines – some of which I was already familiar with (such as Miller Harris), and some are in Canada and/or Vancouver for the first time. These include:

Etat Libre d’Orange
Miller et Bertaux
Juliet Has A Gun
Frederic Malle Edition de Parfums

I received samples for most of the lines, for the scents that interested me, anyways, so I am going to keep my comments about the scents I’ve smelled today brief and informative:

I started with Etat Libre d’Orange, because I am least familiar with this line (I have never smelled it at all actually). While some of the scents are interesting, such as Jasmin et Cigarettes (think stale cigarette butts and deflowered jasmine blossoms) and Encens Bubblegum (it’s what you’ve just heard: incense and bubble gum) and Putain de Palaces (sweet leathery floral), the line left me with a very bad taste for the entire day as I kept getting phantom whiffs of blood gushing out of flesh cut by rusty metal. You know which scent I’m talking about. I smelled to much of it trying to overcome my initial olfactory shock, and the scent just stayed with me for the rest of the day. Clearly the perfumer tried to create shock, and succeeded. To me it smells like injury trauma.

Once I got some samples of these to fool around with if I have th guts to mess up with them again, I moved on to more aesthetically coherent lines such as Carthusia, which has a few very nice, clean yet interesting scents which I am going to love trying as the summer heat is becoming unbearable already (for me anyways, but I prefer to have room temperature anywhere I go…). Numero Uno and Io Capri captured my attention immediately and I will be wearing a lot of them soon…

Miller et Bertaux has the most lovely packaging I have seen in a while, think French meets Zen with their legged carton boxes and the branch tied to the top… Of their three fragrance, I think I like the first perfume the best, Parfum Trouve the best.

Juliet Has A Gun offers two fragrances, and they are both rose-themed. One comes in a black bottle (and is more spicy, I think I smelled saffron in there), and the one in the white bottle is lovely, with Turkish rose I believe, it’s sweet but not overly so and does not smell as artificial as many roses I’ve smelled lately.

I re-visited the Ineke line, paying a bit more attention to the two scents I am less familiar with. I think Chemical Bonding is a vibrant citrus and I like it quite a bit even though I am not known for being a huge citrus wearer. It’s sweet and with a powdery dry down, which makes it a bit different.

I also revisited Tangerine Vert and smelled Coeur d’Ete for the first time (I really liked it by the way, it has a banana note and is sweet and powdery in a very comfortable way).

And finally, I paid a visit to the Editions de Parfums boutique, where the large red “inhaling cells” are erected and being utilized about 30 times in the 10 minutes I spent in that area. You spray the perfume in the cell, wait for 10 seconds, and than you can smell how the scent will smell 20 minutes into the dry down. It’s an interesting concept, but I still think that nothing beats a skin test. As I was already familiar with the entire line (almost) I concentrated on smelling Un Rose, which I was not familiar with at all, and it almost won me over. If the day was not so hot I would have tried some on. Instead, I smelled it in the “red cell” and I took the card with me, which still smells magnificent, 8 hours in. I was hoping to get a whiff of French Lover, but apparently, it will not be launched here until September, and by than it will have a different name, as to not offend the North American men, who must feel terribly inferior to French lovers and wouldn’t buy a perfume bearing such name. Shame!

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