Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Perfume, the movie
Whoah!!! Someone made that Patrick Suskind novel which I've still never read, Perfume, into a movie! The site says it's "coming soon." I wonder when it will hit theaters, or whether I'm so behind the beans that it already has and I just didn't know about it. Cool! I can't wait to see it. From the trailer I could tell that Dustin Hoffman is in it. And I thought I saw Claire Danes, but I'm not sure. (She's probably not in it--I'm terrible with faces. This is how I could walk around Manhattan for 6 years and never notice a celebrity.) The trailer looks interesting, but don't all trailers? Man, that's good work if you can get it--making movie trailers, that is. Anyway, this is one movie that I'm definitely going to intend to endeavor to attempt to try to see while it's in the theaters.

Oh yeah--the trailer. I saw it here, on youtube, of course. Here's the long one in German(?). ...And the short one in English.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Antidepressant Perfume Smells Like BS

The other day my roommate asked me if I'd heard of the "antidepressant perfume," something he'd seen in New York magazine. Whahappah?? I said. So I performed a Web search using google (is that the correct terminology these days?), and found a blog entry about it with a link that didn't work. Herein I shall reproduce the quote that the blog quoted from the site:
Prescription free happiness, now available?! Smiley offers a unisex and universal range of products with micro-nutrients to activate happiness! Its secret: the formula is based on natural bio-chemistry combining theobromine with phenylethylamine derived from pure cocoa extract. This psycho stimulant cocktail is available in a whole range of preparations using galenical pharmacology. A 100% medical look for a unique therapy, the range is revealed out of the confined box of the luxury perfume industry! This antidepressant remedy is to be consumed without any moderation: in the shower, in the bath, for specific use anytime you wish! The formulae are preserved in exclusive perfume bottles developed by the prestigious glassmaking techniques of Saint-Gobain and desinged by Ora-Ito, the most sought after designer of his generation. Nothing like it to contain the happy therapy!
Load of crap, as if you needed me to tell you. Granted, I'm not a doctor; I'm not a biochemist; I don't play either on TV; I don't know Hugh Laurie. But I don't think you need highly specialized knowledge to determine that a perfume containing minute amounts of allegedly psychotropic chemicals isn't going to act as an antidepressant. First of all--theobromine and PEA. Theobromine? Since when was that associated with well-being?! I thought for a moment that it was similar to caffeine; then I got the bright idea to wikipedia caffeine, and, sure enough it is. Caffeine is methyltheobromine. So I guess theobromine could have an effect, but I doubt it would affect your mood. But wait! Wikipedia says that theobromine can affect mood. Who knew! And PEA--well, PEA is supposed to skyrocket in your brain when you fall in love, and some antidepressants (and maybe illicit drugs; not sure) are derivative of PEA. I guess it could alter your mood if it got into your system and crossed the blood-brain barrier. Which brings us to the bigger questions:
  • How much of these chemicals could be in a few sprays of perfume?
  • Would they be absorbed through the skin?
  • Are they stable enough to survive on a store shelf long enough to be effective?
  • Do they not react with the other components of the perfume (eg, the fixatives, the fragrant materials)
I'm sure someone with knowledge of chemistry could point out other reasons why the whole idea of antidepressant perfume is preposterous. At least this one is. I guess if you wanted to produce an antidepressant perfume, you could simply spray the outer side (the one not touching the skin) of an EMSAM patch with fragrance. [Duh note: Do not do this! I am neither a doctor or a chemist; I do not endorse spraying medical devices with perfume.]

So much for the antidepressant perfume.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Well, I was at the Body Shop last night to check out their new seasonal oils, and I gotta say--I'm very pleased with what I found. I was very, very pleased to see one called Fireside, which, true to its name, has a kind of smoky odor, although it's not exactly the perfect burning wood-type scent as, say, Demeter's Bonfire, which I find excellent. Fireside, I think, has more woody-green notes.

Interestingly, you can actually look at the notes in the oils now on the Body Shop site. You couldn't do this before, and when you'd go to the store and ask the person behind the counter, "What's in this Pine?"and they'd say, "Pine," and you'd say, "Aren't there other notes? Because I really think there's orange in here." "Pine." Now when you want to know what's in something, you can just go to the site. For example, here's their description of Fireside:

Top notes: herbal armoise, crushed leaf and pine needles, hints of aromatic juniper berries and delicate wood smoke. Heart notes: cedar lots, freshly cut incense and fir cone. Base notes: warm smoky sandalwood, hints of patchouli, spice and lichen.
Lovely! I love having it right there for me. I'm going to be experimenting with this oil at Christmastime--adding it to the Christmas Wreath tarts from Yankee Candle that I love so well. And this winter I really have to get the Firewood candle by Henri Bendel, even though it smells more like Helmut Lang's Cuiron than firewood per se. But I can't afford the really expensive Feu de Bois one. I guess the smell of woodsmoke is finally having its day, and it's about damn time.

A couple of other oils I liked at the Body Shop were Toasted Marshmallow, which was too subtle to really pick up amid the olfactory cacophony of the store, and Steamed Milk, which smells so natural it's uncanny. I really, really like this Steamed Milk one. What does it smell like? Steamed milk! That's the only way to describe it! Toasted Marshmallow is nice, kind of vanillic, I think, with a fruity tone. You can go to the Body Shop site if you really want to know what's in them...

...But don't rely strictly on the descriptions! I was really excited to smell their Plum Pudding oil, because the notes made it sound delicious, but it just didn't do it for me. It reminded me of their Spicy Berry oil, which was sharp and disastrous.

Let's see... what other seasonal oils were there? Golden Apple: underwhelming. Cinnamon: see Golden Apple. Pomegranate: Unmemorable. Gingerbread: more like "fresh sharp lemony ginger, with maybe some vanilla in the background"--didn't smell warm and cozy, like you expect a gingerbread-type scent to smell. (L'Occitane's gingerbread scent is also a dud, but that's no surprise.) Vanilla Spice: Acceptable, but a litle harsh--not very natural. Holiday Garland: I bought this last year, and the smell, which is kind of herbal, reminded me somewhat of Chinese food. I don't think it smells like Christmas at all. Pass on this one. Fresh Baked Cookies: Surprisingly natural. A confection-y, very oily/buttery vanillic smell. Not bad. Almond: Why not just call it "Benzaldehyde"? You can find fake almond oil for cheaper, and it's the same. Then again, $7 for this beats whatever the bitter almond essential oil, which is pricey, is going for these days.

And that's me quick update for now. I shall endeavor to intend to plan on aiming to attempt posting more soon, especially since I took all those notes that the first Sniffapalooza I attended, which was quite a while ago. So, as the IM'ers say: l8r.


ADDENDUM: After smelling the Toasted Marshmallow again, I have to say that it smells faintly like strawberry. Kind of like cotton candy, actually.