Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is It Spring Yet? (Barbara Bui Le Parfum and Miller Harris Fleur Oriental)

 To get through this wretched winter, I’ve taken to wearing some strange clothing around the house. Wool socks, day and night, and a ratty, pilled and snagged black acrylic sweater, which happens to be the warmest garment I have that isn’t a coat. Last week we had a couple of thaw days, and I hung it up. When put it again on I nearly swooned with pleasure at the scent it gave off. It was powdery, but with a subtle growl. I couldn’t identify it at first, but a bit of primary research revealed that it was Fleur Oriental by Miller Harris.
I guess there is powder and then there is powder, like some vintage Habanita EDT I have. That one has enough powder to bring on an asthma attack in sensitive individuals, as they say on TV in all those drug ads. I started thinking about some other sweet and powdery scents, and one that came to mind was Barbara Bui's Le Parfum.
There are certain fragrances that most of us here in perfumeblogland adore and no one else has ever heard of. This is one. It came out in 2004, a designer scent from the Paris-based Vietnamese Bui. It was discontinued, apparently in a fog of legalese, but is still available here and there at online discounters and on fleabay for very reasonable prices. 
Barbara Bui is a gorgeous confection, on my skin the olfactory equivalent of  my grandmother’s divinity fudge, white, light, rich melting decadence. It is  my go-to sleep scent. The notes tell of incense and spices, but what I get is heliotrope, soft white musk and -- although it isn’t “official” -- vanilla. (Maybe more the concept of vanilla than actual vanilla.) And the powder-soft drydown, which lasts all though the night.
I’ve only worn Barbara Bui out into the world once, though. It just seemed wrong, somehow, like it didn’t belong anywhere but between sheets, or on a silk peignoir (not that I actually own one) or, in my case anyway, a flannel shirt. It’s for cold nights spent inside a cozy house.
The Miller Harris Fleur Oriental is another story. This, I’ll definitely wear out. There’s an edge to it’s sweetness, there right away. The notes mention carnation, but it’s citrus I smell, and I’m sticking to it. After it fades a little, there’s an darkish back note, reminiscent of tobacco, something like the vintage Shalimar EDT I have, but without that one’s “tar” quality. A little rose -- anything I swoon over is bound to have a little rose --  and there’s the heliotrope again. Sweet musk, amber (could be anything) jasmine and -- aha! -- “orange.” (This comes in EDT and EDP; it is the EDT I’m reviewing here.)
It’s one of the ones I’m in love with right now. 
This has been the coldest winter -- go ahead and laugh, you folks in Chicago and Boston -- I’ve experienced in years.  The week spent icebound was a record-breaker. Isn’t lack of such weather one of the reasons why my home town, Atlanta, is filled with Northern transplants? But what the hey. It’s nothing we can’t handle, as long as we have central heat, fireplaces, old sweaters and luscious powdery perfumes to spray them with.

“Notes” for Barbara Bui Le Parfum include spices, incense, jasmine, musk, sandalwood, heliotrope, amber and cedar. Perfumer: Anne Flipo.
“Notes” for Miller Harris Fleur Oriental include carnation, Turkish rose, incense, jasmine, sweet musk, heliotrope and orange. Perfumer: Lyn Harris. 
Want to sample these? What is your favorite scent for sleeping?  Leave a comment by midnight U.S. Eastern Standard Time, Monday, Feb 14. I’ll do a random drawing and announce the winner Tuesday, Feb. 15. (I’ll throw in samples of two more sleep-scent favorites of mine, too.)

Full Disclosure: The Barbara Bui is from my personal collection,  and I was recently given some Miller Harris Fleur Oriental by a friend.
Used under license


Carrie Meredith said...

My favorite sleep scents are Anne Pliska and L'Artisan Traversee du Bosphore. Recently I've been enjoying L'Artisan's Jour de Fete, also. i really have been wanting to try Barbara Bui. Thank you for the draw!

Ines said...

I was going through your post thinking how I never wear perfume to bed and wondering why is that, and then you end your post with that question. :)
I'll have to start experimenting with those.

queen_cupcake said...

Lately, I've worn Sonoma Scent Studio's Cameo Rose to bed. It's got a lot of incense along with the rose and I just love it. Would love to try the Miller Harris and Barbara Bui scents...thanks for the drawing!

Isa said...

My favourite sleep scent is Agua de Lavanda by Agua de Sevilla.
Lavender helps to sleep and the scent is quite relaxing.

Some drops of Donna Karan Black Cashmere on the pillow are wonderful too.

Thanks for the draw!

KathyT said...

I don't really wear fragrance too often to bed because I find it distracting, but I like to use soft musks like Cote Bastide Lin or BBW Cotton Blossom sometimes. Barbara Bui and Fleur Oriental (I'm not sure now if I have the EDT or the EDP) are two of my favorites, and they are both definite snuggly scents. I'd have to add Lea to the list too - yum!

I live in Charlotte although I lived most of my life in South Carolina, and it is amazing to me the number of Northern transplants we have here who are escaping the cold weather (among other reasons of course)I'm ready for some Spring weather!

Don't include me in the drawing since I already have Barbara Bui and Fleur Oriental. Thanks.

Nina Z said...

Heck yes I want to sample these! I always wear perfume to bed and I swear it helps me sleep better. Right now my favorite sleep scent is Un Bois Vanille.

Tiffanie Hawkins said...

My favorite sleep scent is LostMarch Lann-ael. It's so warm, comforting and familiar.

Anonymous said...

In cold weather, I love to sleep in Parfum Sacre, Shalimar Light, and Mariella Burani - though last night I drifted off in Le Temps d'une Fete. My summer sleep scents tend toward the light side of rose (YSL Paris Pont des Amours, PdR Rose d'Ete).

Have not smelled Fleur Oriental, but BB Le Parfum did absolutely nothin' for me... it was, how shall I say this? (whispers) dull.

tarleisio said...

I've developed a bad case of incensophilia (is that a word? It is now!), and wear Encens et Lavande to bed, and sometimes Fleurs d'Oranger. In fact, even orange blossom water will do in a pinch.

Perfumeshrine said...

I love the Bui myself...I also love its sister scent Rykiel Woman (in edp). I also wear it to bed, with company prefered. (Narciso Musc for Her is another)
It's a pity that all the best things get discontinued.

Cheryl G. said...

Oh man, I would love to try the B. Bui especially. Last week I ordered a bottle from an Amazon seller and I really believe the bottle, the juice, the whole darn thing is a fake! The bottle is off center, there is some "gold" debris floating in it, and the stuff initially smells like alcohol, and more alcohol.
Anybody want to sell me a sample?

Cheryl G. said...

Oh, and I have been wearing Amoureuse, and Mariella Burani as sleep scents.

dervishspin said...

MY favorite sleep scent is No. 23 by Ava Luxe. Sandalwood, mostly, and oud and a touch of amber. When I wear it to bed it feels, to me, as if I am sleeping safe in the arms of the divine. (Oh good, I am not the only one who does this...)

Elisa Gabbert said...

I'll wear almost anything to bed -- night is often when I try out new scents. But I especially like musk and sweet scents for bedtime. One I've turned to lately is the masculine version of Lolita Lempicka (smooth licorice, vanilla and patchouli).

ScentScelf said...

Hmmm. I generally avoid wearing scent to bed, as it can interfere with my sleep. (Occasionally positively, but generally as a distraction, which is not good for someone who can get "busy brain.") That said, there is one that I can and do occasionally wear to bed, quite happily: L'Heure Bleu.

I enjoy the MH Fleur Oriental, for much the same reasons you describe. In fact, it is on me right now. It's a friendly oriental, I think; enough to provide cozy, not so much as to cause you to fear claustrophobia.

I'm not laughing at your weather reaction. Everything is relative. Though, to give you a full dose of relative, I'm staring at the same 10ºF readout I saw three hours ago. That's as much as we're going to get, and it doesn't account for windchill. That's right; I'm enjoying my friendly cozy scent up here right now.

Nita said...

I haven't been wearing perfume to bed, and would love to find something soft & relaxing to try! Thank you for the drawing!

brian said...

no need to enter me. I'm just wondering if anyone has smelled Rykiel's Woman (Not for a Man), also by Ann Flippo. I've heard that Bui and Woman are very similar and I'm just wondering what the similarities are. I've smelled Woman, but not Bui.

maitreyi1978 said...

I don't really like to wear perfume to sleep. It distracts me. I have Rykiel's For Women and I really want to compare it to the Bui.

Bloody Frida said...

No need to enter me in the draw - just wanted to say that I do love Fleur Oriental - wore it yesterday in fact!

Anonymous said...

Another non-scent sleeper here: the time I tried, recently, I stayed awake thinking about the scent!

Cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh