Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Amberflash

Total Reviews: 28

Simply by Clinique

fresh opening, followed by warm milk, dry woods, and light fresh air. Absolutely gorgeous, and I usually hate department store perfumes.
07th September, 2009

Enslaved by Roja Dove

Incredibly beautiful, incredibly complex scent that is difficult to describe, but nonetheless one of the most beautiful perfumes available on the market today. I own over 80 full bottles of perfume from over 70 labels and this one is definitely in my top 5.

The jasmine heart notes are strong and definitely act as the dominant theme of Enslaved. On my skin the basenotes intermingle and form a very powerful smoky mix which smells a bit like burnt birthday candles in a surprisingly lovely way. The labdanum, clove, and other incenses (myrrh? benzoin?) curl around the ylang ylang, jasmine, oakmoss, and other florals - but Trebor is right, this is a very tightly knit scent that is difficult for me to break down beyond the dominant jasmine and resinous/smoky base notes.

I've heard Roja Dove himself describe this one as an 'Oriental', which is probably accurate as there is definitely something dark and mysterious about 'Enslaved'. Like a courtier in a velvet room, alit with silver candles and filled with expensive antiques, it is both seductive and classy - the perfect perfume for a masked ball.

I detected no powder and am baffled by the previous reviewers' comparison of it to ELO as Enslaved is in an entirely different league of greatness. I will say, however, that my friend was in the shop with me when I tried it on and it smelled completely different on her, so I wonder if this isn't one that reacts strongly to skin chemistry. It may be wise to sample it before you buy, as £95 is rather steep, even for 100ml. However, I think it was worth every penny and may be going back for a second bottle soon! Unheard of, for me. :-)
27th November, 2008

Putain des Palaces by Etat Libre d'Orange

I'm not a big fan of the ELOs, but I adore this scent. What surprises me, though, is how no one can mention the lovely, lovely RAUNCH of this scent. Yes, it is powdery. Yes, there are florals. But on me this scent is pure sex, and I think naming it after an elegant whore is an apt description of what it is. Seductive, elegant, and dirty.

That said - weirdly, no one else I've tested this scent on seems to smell the animalic notes, even when they so incredibly powerful to me. Perhaps my nose is just overly sensitive? My partner does especially like this scent -- I wonder if the animalic notes register subconsciously as he describes the smell as "just pretty flowers" but it still does seem to have the desired effect. :-)

If you like your perfumes with a dash of raunch, you will love this magical stuff.
27th November, 2008
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Madeline by Ava Luxe

The perfect Christmas scent! Like the most delicious, expensive eggnog and spiced gingerbread cookies, consumed next to a crackling fire. A milkier, heavier Guerlain Winter Delice without all of the spruce, it gets richer and more spicy and musky as it wears on the skin. All this scent needs is a red velvet dress, a stack of Christmas cards, and some mistletoe.... and it's actually a kissably scrumptious scent through the rest of the winter months as well!
14th July, 2008

Divin'enfant by Etat Libre d'Orange

Sickenly sweet top notes with leather and tobacco on the drydown. Does what it says on the tin (cute baby becomes frustrating tyrant), but can't say I'd ever want to wear it....
15th January, 2008

Don't Get Me Wrong Baby, I Don't Swallow by Etat Libre d'Orange

this is pure sweet, bridal bouquet florals and sugar. Dull, but not unpleasant. There's nothing "dirty" about this scent except the name.
15th January, 2008

Eau Latine by Iunx

L'Eau Latine is the juiciest, tangiest, sweetest and most wonderful tangerine you've ever eaten. This is a very true to life scent; people literally follow me down the street, trying to get a better whiff of the lovely sweet orange-y sillage

A shame you can't get these anymore!
24th December, 2007

Fig & Cherry by Berkeley Square

Heavenly! I can't believe such a sophisticated, amazing scent is less than £10 a bottle! A fairly linear, but wonderful blend of cedar wood and sweet cherry with a hint of spices, fig and other juicy fruits. Diptyque or Serge Lutens should do so well. The only caveats being a) It should be called "Cedar and Cherry". Fig lovers may be disappointed and b) it's available as an EDT only... so it's just a tad too thin. It does last for quite a while anyway, but I tend to prolong it by layering the EDT with the F&C body cream and bath cream. I can't get enough of this stuff!
04th June, 2007

Quel Amour! by Annick Goutal

The notes listed are: peonies, wild roses, geranium rosa, red currants, pomegranates, cherries, and wine.

So: it's sweet and flowery, but luckily it's very unlike your average fruity floral (such as, for example, Dior's J'adore which seems to me the epitome of plain). I think the main difference is that QA doesn't seem a cold, sugary assimilation of fruit and flowers, preserved in alcohol. It's a blooming beauty! You can almost taste the ripe cherries and bury your nose in the soft blood-red rose petals and pink peonies.
21st May, 2007

Parchment by Angela Flanders

A lovely, warm vanilla-heavy scent - perfect for cozying up to in late fall or winter. Wish it smelled more like parchment, though...
20th May, 2007

Shaving Shop by Taylor of Old Bond Street

There's something special about this scent. It does smell woody and handsome and vibrantly dry... but I'll be darned if there isn't the whipped foam of a fine shaving cream soaping away in there as well. Not that this is a soapy fragrance, per se, but it is a perfect perfumed poem of its namesake. My boyfriend wears it and I go crazy... yum!
15th May, 2007

Aqua Allegoria Mentafollia by Guerlain

I know this AA has been discontinued, but as its only been recently so I was able to purchase a large bottle fairly cheaply on ebay. I'm a big fan of Herba Fresca, another minty AA, so I was eager to compare the two. Why is HF still around and Mentafollia discontinued?

So here I sit with HF sprayed on my left hand and Mentafolia on my right. They are both minty, minty, minty! But whereas HF has the crisp grass and basil notes that give it a (no surprise!) herbaceous, fragrant salad-y smell, Mentafollia's mint seems very intertwined with its tea notes. In fact, on my skin this perfume might better be called Mentafollia The' (mint leaf tea) as the mint notes seem to be on equal turf with the tea notes in this composition.

Like most AAs, there isn't much evolution from top notes to dry down. The cedar is light and barely detectable (definitely not the woody presence in a composition like, say, Philosykos). Beneath the tea and mint there is the sweetness of the florals and orange but they never leap to the forefront.

This is a cooling, refreshing perfume. Like a tall, cool glass of ice tea with mint leaves on a hot summer day. It's my post-bathing perfume of choice, perfect for cooling me down after some time in a hot steamy bath or shower. I also sometimes sneak some after a workout if I'm feeling icky. Pure minty bliss!

(And OK, I still love HF, but my boyfriend gets that "soapy" note in it that I've never smelled so he far prefers this one, likening it to his all-time fave cologne, Creed's Selection Vert. And maybe it is, a little...)
11th May, 2007

Vent Vert (new) by Pierre Balmain

Listed notes for the new version are:
greens, orange blossom, lemon, lime, basil, rose, galbanum, lily of the valley, freesia, hyacinth, tagetes, ylang-ylang, violet, oakmoss, sandalwood, sage, iris, amber, and musk.

I've been on a green kick lately, and have read several articles about this one so I finally broke down and bought a 50ml on ebay. And, wow! I think I may have to get a 100ml! The opening notes are a burst of fresh greens - crushed stems, leaves, cut grass, sage. It' enough to rival even modern green wonders like Virgilio and Herba Fresca have anything on the top notes of Vent Vert. Once the dry-down begins, however, the scent settles into something like powdery limes -- sweet in a lovely and a perfect background for the musk and florals as they develop, at last the perfume taking on the quality of its name, "green wind".

As we hit the base notes, and the musk and florals interweave with the sugared limes and greens, the perfume can indeed feel like a soft, gentle spring breeze, carrying on it the floral notes of fruit trees in flower, twigs, sap and all. It's a scent I'll never be ashamed to have trailing after me. :-)

Sillage is good and longevity is excellent. Highly recommended!
11th May, 2007
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Pruning Shears by Demeter Fragrance Library

Green grass, green leaves, metal, and a hint of roses. A friend of mind gave it a try and loved it so much she went out and bought a bottle! I don't love it as much as Demeter's Ocean, Holy Smoke, or Stable... but it's up there. The longevity, however, is the pits. It only lasts about 20 minutes on me.
10th May, 2007

Ocean by Demeter Fragrance Library

Tanning skin, salt, ozone, wet sand, marine water... and just a touch of seaweed? Driftwood? A highly wonderful, amazing marine/beach scent that is most likely highly underrated because it's a Demeter. But surprise! The longevity is GREAT. The smell, while simple and without much evolution, lasts in its entireity for hours and hours. Recommended for beachy lovers!
10th May, 2007

Bois de Seville by Angela Flanders

This is listed as "Bois de Seville" in my literature, but I've seen bottles at the shop labelled both ways.

It smells lovely - like a spiced orange at Christmas, and I'm thinking about adding it as a winter scent. A blast of sweet orange and cinammon, followed by a deep base of warm spices (clove? sandalwood?) that are perfect for accompanying a hot cocoa, fuzzy sweater, crackling fire, and a good book.

I would say the warm woods and cinnamon are a bit to rich for summer use, though there are perhaps a few rebels out there who would want to try it.

Like most Angela Flanders the sillage is excellent and the longevity of the basenotes is immense -- spray it in the morning and you're likely to be sniffing them at bedtime still. A real treat.


ps. I should mention that Angela Flanders herself recommends this as a unisex fragrance, not as a femme only. So boys, take note!
07th May, 2007

Caspian by Angela Flanders

The literature says "a classic chypre with fresh top notes and a warm and sensuous heart, has rich base notes of Oak Moss and Vetivert."

That seems about right to me. I sprayed a bit at the shop and my impressions were: bright, breezy, slightly bitter, and green.

Angela Flanders has earmarked this one as a unisex scent.
07th May, 2007

Coromandel by Angela Flanders

My literature calls this one "Coromandel" (with an "o") and says, "a gentle oriental. Ylang ylang, Jasmin, Roses, and Lemon leaves float on a Cedarwood heart, with hints of Incense, Sandalwood, and Exotic spices."

I had a sniff in the shop and that about sums it up - a warm citrus with a floral air and a woody/spiced base. A pleasant autumn-type scent. I might go back later in the year for a bottle.

Angela Flanders has earmarked this one as a unisex scent.
07th May, 2007

Mandarin & Mint by Angela Flanders

Love this! A very herbaceous, minty take on citrus - it reminds me a bit of a cross between Guerlian's Aqua Allegoria "Mentafollia" and "Herba Fresca", albeit a bit heavier on the orange.

The top notes are neroli and green mandarin (and probably some lemon), which fade a bit during the initial drydown, mixing pleasantly with middle notes of mint, clary sage, and lavender. The base is Galbanum which gives it just a slight medicinal edge, but a pleasant one.

An excellent and refreshing summer scent! It isn't as strong as some AFs, but it has several hours longevity at least and medium potent sillage.

Also called "Mandarin Vert", and recommended as a unisex scent.
07th May, 2007

White Roses by Angela Flanders

A beautiful, deep, romantic rose scent. Despite its name, this one is a deep dusky red when laid next to AF's "Rose Poudre" (frilly pink) and AF's "Rose Sauvage" (bright magenta). Like burying one's nose in a blooming, dark red rose and taking a long inward breath...

You might imagine a 1950s movie star in "White Roses", gliding across a black and white tiled ballroom floor, dressed in a deep crimson satin dress and long white gloves, smiling dreamily through perfect red lipstick.

"White Roses" also has excellent sillage and longevity.
07th May, 2007

Xanadu by Angela Flanders

The website says, "Evokes a magic forest, bois de rose and sandalwood, with a hint of rose and violet, bergamot and patchouli." and yet the pamphlet I picked up at the shop says "Deceptively fresh notes of Orange and Bergamot yield to sensual depths of precious woods and spices." I was confused. So is Xanadu a woody floral or a woody citrus? Sweet and powdery with a hint of spice, or bright and green with a dash of incense? The truth is, it's neither. It's darker, it's dirtier, and it's fantastic. Trust me.

Now, I just bought a bottle of Xanadu at the Angela Flanders shop in London. I had visited a few years earlier when Angela herself (who works her magic in a lab just above the shop) stood behind the counter and had regaled us with stories about her perfume creation. This one, I remember, she had said was born when she'd been commissioned to create a signature perfume for a very lavish party with a "Magic Forest" theme. She had been driving in her car, in Dorset I think she said, listening to Radio Four, when a voice reading from Coleridge's "Xanadu" poem ("In Xanadu did Kublai Khan, a stately pleasure dome decree...") began winding from her speakers. She was inspired, thus, to name the scent she'd been creating "Xanadu".

I think I ended up buying "Topaz" on that trip, but I couldn't stop thinking about "Xanadu"... and now that I have a bottle, I think I can give it a proper review.

Firstly, I should say that the sandalwood and patchouli in this scent are quite strong and curl themselves through every piece of the composition. The top notes are very green and maybe even a bit astringent - I smell bitter bergamot and the scent of stems and crushed leaves swirling in and out of the patchouli, sandalwood, and what seems like clove. Once the greens fade, the sweeter florals are easier to detect - a bit of powdered violet and rose. These, however, fade quickly and the base seems to have a slightly dirty, cumin-like note. The patchouli and sandalwood, however, are still there - this scent has monster sillage and staying power, so if you like the woods and spices, that's great. Because they'll be with you all day.

This is NOT a pretty, clean floral scent. It's an incense-heavy, spicy, dirty, sexy little number. Maybe a slightly fresher, softer, more patchouli-driven Diptyque L'autre (L'autre goes to Catholic Church?) or a non-musk incense-y Muscs Koublai Khan. Perhaps "Xanadu" is his smoky palace, laden with violets, roses, and fresh green plants, and yet still baking in the smell of the Khan himself. I do wonder what these two smells would be like side by side...

Anyway, I love this scent. But I may give it to my boyfriend because with that sexy cumin-note at the end (which I didn't detect in the shop!) I may love it on him more.

In Angela's mind this one may be a magic forest, but in mine it's a magic Eastern jungle! A temple ruin, full of strange gods, dark secrets, and ritualistic taboos....
07th May, 2007

Josephine by Angela Flanders

I own this one as well. Lovely, sweet, powdery violets with a hint of green and cedar.

My literature says, "A soft powdery violet scent with a heart of roses, resting on a suble Cedarwood and Oak Moss base". True enough, but you'll hardly smell anything but sweet violets here. It was my first violet scent and still my favourite. The sillage and longevity are fantastic and I feel wreathed in a halo of violets all day long.

Apparently named for Napoleon's lover, who adored violets over all other scents.
07th May, 2007

Earl Grey by Angela Flanders

My literature says "A subtle Oriental with a fresh top note of Bergamot, and a heart of Palma Rosa, is layered over an elegant base of Bois de Rose, Patchouli, and a hint of hot, powdery Clove."

A friend of mine sprayed a bit on her wrist in the shop and kept sniffing it all day. I didn't test, but I intend to next time I'm in the shop!

Also unisex.
07th May, 2007

Sélection Verte by Creed

I bought this for my boyfriend at Harrod's, because he loves the smell of limes... and indeed it is a citrus masterpiece! The top notes are lime, lime, LIME with a pepperminty undertone, and the composition doesn't change much over time, although I can smell the sweetpea on the drydown.

Contrary to what other have said in their reviews, my boyfriend puts this on in the morning and I can still smell lovely traces of it when we are bedding in for the night. Perfect for kissing, and perfect for a man who loves Trumper's Extract of Limes but complains about the longevity.

I'm not sure about Napoleon III and Sigmund Freud. The clerk at Harrod's said it was originally crafted for Cary Grant (and this was echoed on the Creed website). Does anyone know more about this?
07th May, 2007

J'Adore by Christian Dior

smells pretty.... but it's the poster child I'd say for boring, run-of-the-mill fruity florals. Doesn't smell cheap and has a pleasant composition, so it's a safe one to wear to the office or an interview, maybe, or anywhere you want to appear sophisticated without appearing altogether original.
07th May, 2007

1881 Amber by Cerruti

YUCK! I love violets. I love amber. I love cedar. But somehow this mixture smells like furniture polish on me, in a "I feel like I'm gonna retch" sort of way. Ken_Russell is right, though. It's an icy cold fragrance... the white florals clashing like jagged icicles against the cedar and amber. I can't help thinking these notes might have been brought together more harmoniously in a more thoughtful blend.
31st March, 2007

Ôponé Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

I find that the wood and spice sometimes make this a good winter scent, but golly -- how I wish there were more rose! Perhaps it's my skin chemistry, but the saffron is so heavy on me that it overwhelms the rest of the notes and not always in a good way... someone even told me I smelled like "an Indian restaurant"! The lasting power is great, and sometimes I'm in the mood to smell a bit like spicy wood, but a touch more rose and this one could have been in my regular scent stable.
19th March, 2007

April Violets by Yardley

Despite being nearly a century old, this scent is not a classic. I doubt the original formulation has changed much. That is to say, it is dated, and seemingly of another era... smelling like something that might have come out of my grandmother's boudoir, and perhaps a wee more "little old lady" than "vintage masterpiece".

That said, though the top notes are overpoweringly sweet parma violet, this is REAL parma violet (Yardley doesn't use synthetic violets which is a rarity these days). And the dry down... the dry down is weirdly addictive. Perhaps it's the iris and musk base notes that begin to swirl in and out of the violet once the first sickly sweetness begins to wear off. Maybe it's the slight old fashioned medicinal/herbal quality the entire composition takes on after a while... but I just couldn't stop smelling my wrists after the first half hour.

I doubt I'd want to go into an interview smelling like this, but I already have taken to giving myself a quick comfort spray whilst reading in bed. The composition is higgelty-piggelty and dated, the initial sweetness way too girlish, but the old dame does have personality! And the fact that I felt compelled to buy a 125ml bottle is testament to either the strangeness of my character or the likeability of this scent once it's been given half the chance to introduce itself.
17th March, 2007