Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Morgaine

Total Reviews: 56

Tea for Two by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Tea for Two is one that I learned to appreciate. The intensely smoky opening used to be too much to handle, now I like it a lot. I concur with other reviewers: charred lapsang suchong tea, sweetened with a touch of honey and supported by a candied ginger/gingerbread accord. I'm not complaining.
Goes a bit flat in the dry-down (as many L'Artisans do, somehow), but not so much that it bothers me. The main event *is* the opening, though.
16th December, 2009

Jabu by Mona di Orio

Chewy citrus opening followed by a rounded, mellow, softly resinous pillow of a fragrance. Heavily orientalized though it is, it still manages to stay soft and homely throughout its development. Lasts a full day on one or two sprays, but I keep spraying it again and again just for that initial rush of candied citrus. Tolerably sweet. Nothing cloying, but I wouldn't want to wear it in the heat of summer.

I'm having a hard time pinpointing notes in this one, as it seems to skip the rational part of my brain and skips straight to the "I need this" part of it.
15th December, 2009

Hermèssence Vanille Galante by Hermès

I love this stuff. Even if it's an aquatic floral, even if it's got nothing to do with its namesake, even if it's yet another transparent Ellena. In short: even if it has all the hallmarks of being boring and superfluous, it's not. It's utterly gorgeous and unique. There, declaration of affection over.

What I smell in this, is the exact aroma of powdery flower stamen. I'm not horticulturally literate enough to tell you which kind of flower, but it's that delicate, powdery aroma that you get from freshly picked narcissus or tulips, for example. Add to that the mildest salty edge and a faintly fresh vanilla, and tada - an olfactory watercolour sketch in spring-like pastels is the result.

Look elsewhere if you wish to bombard your environs with sillage, but I do not understand the complaints of longevity. I found it surprisingly tenacious for a creation so delicate and elfin, and easily get a full day's wear from it.
15th December, 2009
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No. 23 by Ava Luxe

I agree with Mo that No 23 is the more feminine sibling to Tam Dao - and that made me dither a long time on purchasing this gem, as a matter of fact. Now that I own both, I can appreciate the differences better: No 23 is both sweeter and more cooling, if that makes any sense. There seems to be the tiniest pinch of something... minty, or anise-y, that lifts the whole above the otherwise warmish woods-and-incense. Perhaps it's simply an aspect or phantom note of acacia or hawthorn.

I'm reviewing the EDP, I haven't tried the oil that Ava Luxe is currently offering.
15th December, 2009

Sensuous by Estée Lauder

You know those orange and cream swirl hard candies? That's Sensuous. Not much in the way of woods, molten or otherwise, to my nose. The main event is orange underpinned by a very lovely creamy amber-and-vanilla. A tad synthetic upon spraying, but that does go away after it dries down. Not bad at all!
15th December, 2009

Aomassaï 10 by Parfumerie Generale

The take-no-prisoners opening of vanilla and caramel takes, ahem, some getting used to. Thankfully, all of that quiets down enough to reveal a wonderfully unique heart that's sweet, dusty, woodsy and grassy all at the same time. Definitely one-of-a-kind. The far dry-down is a slightly disappointing vanilla, coming after those fireworks.
I like it enough to own and drain my decant, but I don't think I'd ever spring for a bottle. Its uses are a bit... limited, I guess.
15th December, 2009

Secrets D'Essences Voile d'Ambre by Yves Rocher

Goes on unpleasantly strong and sweet, but dries down to a more tolerable level.
Orange, spices and amber. This is undeniably one of the better Yves Rocher creations, but sadly not for me. YR uses a combination of aromachemicals that come across as cheap and synthetic to me, and I can "taste" this fragrance throughout the day. For those who are less sensitive to those particular materials, this is a great cheapo.
15th December, 2009

Fig & Vetiver by Anthousa

Charming, optimistic little thing. Sweetish, creamy green floral, I'd call it. I don't really get any fig or any recognizable vetiver, though there's a lovely crisp green note running through it. Very pleasant spring frag.
15th December, 2009

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

Very nice summery green. I say "green" on purpose rather than "fig", because it's more about the smell of crushed leaves than about figs anyway, I think. The fig appears as an undercurrent of a slightly coconutty approximation of actual figgy smell. (As an aside, last summer I actually bought some figs to compare them to several fragrances which boast the note; and Philosykos is not that far off the real -if underripe- thing.)
The greens and figs (coconuts, if you will) rest on a base of slightly raspy cedar which sometimes verges on irritatingly synthetic. Due to that temperamental base, I've become a bit more careful with spritzing liberally, which seems to fix the problem most of the time.
15th December, 2009

Féminité du Bois by Serge Lutens

I hesitate to review such a universally popular scent as this one. I don't get along with it, but given the amount of praise it gets, I've always been much inclined to fault myself rather than the scent. After having persisted with it for some time now, though - I Just Don't Like It. There. That feels better.

I suspect that my problem here lies in the construction of a plum and/or peach accord: I react similarly to other scents boasting those notes (Bois de Violette, Daim Blond, Pomegranate Noir, Secret Obsession). They feel synthetic and fake and overly sugared, never like the actual juicy fruit.
Add to that cedar, which I never care much for even in the best of circumstances, and we have Something I Do Not Like. See? Still refreshing.
15th December, 2009

Or des Indes by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

First things first: this should not have been labeled a feminine any more than Mitsouko should have been. In other words, it's thoroughly unisex.

This is a strangely appealing concoction of cracked, aged leather, something bitter and medicinal, a dusty, unsweet opoponax and the usual oriental amber-and-vanilla fare. Unapologetically weird, I would call it. Having lately sampled George Sand from this same house, I see some resemblance to that one, only minus the patch. Which is nothing but A Very Good Thing, IMO. I am certain this one will not appeal to everyone, but I shall treasure the tiny amount I have.
15th December, 2009

Hiris by Hermès

I love the cold and distant opening: metallic carrots. Whodathunk? After that, it gets way powdery/bready, floral and a lot sweeter - though never too much so, I hasten to add. One of my favourite irises and a summer staple. Too bad it has very poor lasting power.
15th December, 2009

Carnation by Mona di Orio

Skanky. Big, skanky, *dirty* top notes, very floral and very indolic. Getting some leather too. However, there's an oddly synthesized flavour to its skank; plasticine, melting rubber? Can't quite put my finger on it. Like the rubber-tired sportscar that's Bvlgari Black went and did a hand break turn in a bed of decaying jasmine petals.
The volume is turned down FAST, though: 15 minutes in it's a skin scent and the worst of the indole is gone. (Either that or I'm still stinking up the room but my nose is blocked.) The base does smell vintage-inspired: powdery but with a slight bitter edge cutting through it. Reminds me of Mitsouko in a way, though I'm sure that comparison will horrify lovers of that Grand Dame.
An acquired taste for me - maybe without the plasticky thing in the top notes it would be more palatable.
22nd October, 2009
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Messe de Minuit by Etro

Tinny, thin, screechy orange on top which is then taken over by a more tolerable incense-y thing. I can see the appeal, but something in this really disagrees with me. It feels too pointy, too sharply aggressive to be on my skin.
20th October, 2009

Douce Amère by Serge Lutens

Love the opening with its restrained artemisia & licorice on a bed of creamy vanilla, but the dry-down is the monozygotic twin of Kenzo Amour. I prefer my artemisia/licorice done with an airier touch, so in the end this is not for me. Makes a nice change from the heavy-lidded orientals in the SL line-up, though.
19th October, 2009

Steam Aoud / Oud Hoggar Mota by Montale

Smells disturbingly similar to that Thai fish sauce, Nuoc Man. Which, I hardly need add, is Not A Good Thing.
16th October, 2009

Essence by Narciso Rodriguez

Laundry soap coupled with an unpleasantly nose-tickling note. Tried it twice to make sure I wasn't having an off day, but no: this is easily the worst out of all Rodriguez creations - though I should mention I get along with none of them. If only NR's scents lived up to their gorgeous packaging.
28th September, 2009

Amande Honorable by Stéphanie de Saint-Aignan

A powdery mess with an overly synthetic feel to it. The vaguely citric top notes fade fast and make way for a suffocating, nauseating powder that recalls Donna Karan Cashmere Mist. Tried it twice, scrubbed it twice. One of the few truly awful fragrances.
18th September, 2009

Yuzu Fou by Parfum d'Empire

I could see me enjoying this one in the heat of summer: it's very sharp, very refreshing, with the bitter orange and verbena dominating. The dry-down is a soft musky scent with some citrusy freshness remaining. It feels like a more feminine sibling to Eau d'Orange Verte to me.
Still, a bit anemic, and not very memorable. Meh.
04th September, 2009

Eau de Sisley 3 by Sisley

On a paper strip, this was scrumptious. *Freshly grated* ginger, juicy-tangy-spicy. Ginger is one of my favourite notes, so go figure. A very nice twist on a refreshing summery eau de cologne, I thought, substituting the citrus with ginger. Inventive!
I got a sample and tried it at home. Where'd my ginger go? I get a quite bitter type of citrus, reminding me of Dior Escale a Portofino. That undefinable petitgrain/grapefruit kind of bitterness. Not necessarily unpleasant, but not my favourite either, especially when I had been all geared up for the ginger.

Disappointment, for me.
04th September, 2009

Soavissima by Profumum

Bottom line first: it smells like really expensive soap.

Long version: I like the opening quite a bit - gentle resinous creaminess with an unexpected zing of *something* almost citrusy, almost spicy cutting through it. Medium sweet and unabashedly feminine.

Later on, the distinct notes join to form one glowy, powdery, soapy aura. Feels almost motherly, and safe. Expertly blended, high quality ingredients, can't fault the fragrance, and YET... I feel no desire whatsoever to own it. I miss the fireworks. Confetto presented the same problem to me: it's nice, sure, but where's the zing?
04th September, 2009

Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent by Estée Lauder

Very nice indeed. Smells like coconut biscuits, in a good way. Quite transparent. I could swear there's some heliotrope in there, too.
My only gripe: the hesperidic top notes are increasingly jarring with every wearing. They seem so incongruous with the rest of the scent, which is the exact opposite of sharp and refreshing. It ends up being a bit nose-wrinkling, those first few moments.
It's a scent of sweet nothings, but very enjoyable, all in all.
04th September, 2009

Baume Du Doge by Eau d'Italie

To me, Baume du Doge is a moody, unsmiling, severe fragrance, reminiscent of chilly gothic cellars, cobwebs and wet stone. The olibanum and myrrh dominate to the point that I have trouble discerning anything beyond it.
Once on the skin for 30 minutes or so, it starts to lighten up, though. The echoes of Igor slamming doors in the Transsylvanian castle die out, and it settles in a warmer, pleasanter dry olibanum-dominated scent. Now, I love me some olibanum, but that opening is VERY gloomy. Don't spritz this on the emotionally vulnerable.

I *will* revisit in autumn/winter, though, because I do enjoy the likes of CdG Avignon and Profumum Olibanum. Maybe a sunny day just isn't the best match for this scent.
04th September, 2009

Costume National 21 by Costume National

First time I tried 21, I could not tell any difference between this and a zillion other spicy orientals.

I'm so glad I revisited.
This is really, really wonderful. It has that same rum-raisin cinnamon candied fruits goodness going on that Ambre Narguilé does, but the sweetness is toned down with a is softly spicy heart, unisex teetering on the edge of masculine. There is a smooth milky quality about it that makes it intensely comforting to me.
04th September, 2009

Café Vert by Il Profumo

I may be a coffee fiend, but I admit I do not know what the unroasted, green coffee bean smells like. So IF that is what Il Profumo was going for, I cannot tell you if the likeness is any good. If however they were aiming for the coffee we all know and love - then they failed. Pleasant as Café Vert is, coffee it ain't. What it IS is a green floral with what I swear is green tea. Smells astringent, clean. Like any given green tea body mist or shower gel, only in EdP formulation. I am unimpressed.
04th September, 2009

Bahiana by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Light Blue clone! I'm sure this scent must have redeeming qualities, but I simply can't get over the eerie similarity to D&G Light Blue - and I needn't reiterate how I feel about Light Blue.
It's grating and pointy-sharp and I don't want it on my skin or anywhere near me. All citrus and splintery wood, not at all the tropical cocktail I had anticipated.
04th September, 2009

Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

Let me start of by saying that I dislike the puerile gimmicky-ness of both EldO's marketing and scents. That said, JeC is an example of where an unusual pairing of notes actually *works* as a personal fragrance. Yes, it basically smells like a jasmine bud in an ashtray, but this is also a scent that paints a picture. It's what a film noir actress would smell like: her heady floral perfume mixed with the lingering scent of tobacco on her fingers.
I kept going back and forth on this one, but I declare it wearable. Proceed with caution, though, YMMV.
04th September, 2009

Sienne L'Hiver by Eau d'Italie

Unusual. Sienne opens on a sweet-and-sour, very recognizable violet leaf note. I enjoy it in theory, but find it hard to actually *wear*, and that's one of the reasons I would not buy this, well constructed though it undoubtedly is. Violet leaf is astringent and sour, and I've seen it compared to everything from black olives to green beans, but for me smells closest to pickled jalapeños.
Anyway, the violet leaf does calm down and the rest of the fragrance is an excellent, gentle mix of mildly sweet spices and resins.

Not for me.
04th September, 2009

Musc Maori 04 by Parfumerie Generale

Plasticky jasmine & eau de chocolat faux. Scrub. Repeat.
04th September, 2009

Cannabis Santal by Fresh

First thought: who filled my sample with Angel? Blegh-syrupy chocolate and patchouli.
I don't know which marketing genius cooked up the name of this scent, but its namesake ingredients are nowhere to be found.

04th September, 2009