bollywood or bust; or a rose in any other county

Mymother has worn the same perfume for as long as I can remember.Actually, she’s worn the same perfume since 1984 – Yves Saint Laurent's Paris in the EDP. It might not sound like it makes a difference, but the EDP definitely has an edge up on the EDT. With one whiff, I’m taken back to being a kid in her bright off-white closet as she got ready to go out.Smell is so transporting like that.

For those of you not familiar, Paris is a big 80’s rose and violet powerhouse created by perfume genius Sophia Grojsman.It’s bright and bold and makes movie stars out of its wearers.It’s certainly not a scent for the faint of heart.Scents like Paris are the reason the 90’s perfume market spent so much time repenting – but that’s another story for another day.

Why I’m talking about Paris is because it made me fall in love with roses. Few flowers hold the throne the way roses do.They’re symbolic, they’re sensual and they’re expensive.A good batch of rose oil can cost you a king’s ransom, but the payoff is worth it.In the US, roses are the height of femininity – they are Valentine’s, your Anniversary and opening night all rolled into one.They are classic and clichéd.However, travel east and you’ll find that the rose is another flower all together.In the Middle East, rose oil is traditionally worn by men.

Part of what I love about having my own line is that I don’t have to label scents masculine or feminine.Anyone who wears a lot of perfume will tell you, after a while, distinctions are unreliable and downright restrictive.So while some of the other florals in the Leisure Cruise may lean towards the feminine, I wanted Bollywood to be a scent that would wear beautifully on both men and women.Besides wanting to do a rose scent, I had been searching for a formula I could sneak some cumin into.Cumin by itself is a beast of a note and most of the time smells, well, hideous.I found that in conjunction with a blend of other spices, sandalwood and of course, our star, the rose, cumin added a bite that imparted a kind of animalic sexuality to whole composition.

Bollywood or Bust has been the best seller from the Leisure Cruise and I’m not really surprised.The scent is seductive and mysterious, bright, but also darkly brooding.If you haven’t tried him yet, take the plunge.He’s certainly worth it.

ps - the picture is of an amazing sculpture called "Fist and Rose" by Grzegorz Wysocki located in Oslo.