Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Midnight_lulu

Total Reviews: 31

Arpège by Lanvin

This rich, resinous, warm glow of a fragrance, is like the olfactory interpretation of a black, velvet cocktail dress. It's a theatrical, grande dame of a fragrance, with memorable personality, while not being shrieking and era-bound. It has the distinct, signature factor of a 1980's scent, like "Poison", with the reserved, whispering softness of a hotel soap from 1933 and the flamboyant, celebratory feel of the 20's scent that it is.

To me, the name "Arpege" couldn't be more perfect for this crackling fireside of a blend. It smells of beautiful places and joyful, social events. It smells like the dry, aged wood interior of a piano, with its polished keys. It salty-dry, yet soapy powdery scent of styrax, feels like a clean woman, dressed in a cedar-stored velvet gown or dress, warming a little, under hot lights. The creamy florals smell like the best, hard-milled, cold cream based soap. The shadowy -- almost murky -- textured greens, like herbally vetiver, evoke the feeling of standing on a veranda, looking out to the moonlit garden and grove of trees (with hidden benches, for snuggling lovers!) below. The dry, smooth, crumbly resin base notes, reminds me of the polished, sweet smell of violin rosin.

While "Arpege" contains some truly lovely, apricot-creamy florals, it's really a scent for those who love woods, resins and shimmering aldehydes. It's similar to "Mitsouko", in that it has a mossy, layered undertone of greens, herbs and tonic but where "Mitsouko" feels more like a bouquet of greens, ferns and incense, "Arpege" is mostly just sweet woods, shimmery, metallic florals and bitter incense.

That lovely, slightly bitter, dry bite is why I would settle on classifying "Arpege" as the quintessential "Oriental", while the wet, earthy mossiness of "Mitsouko" sets that squarely as "Chypre". Both have a similar heft and a romantic, otherworldy presence and feel curated, like a trunk of World travels but "Mitsouko" is sleek cat, mystery, while "Arpege" is glamour -- with a kick of sweetness. "Mitsouko" is Louise Brooks in "Prix de Beaute", while "Arpege" is Janet Gaynor in "A Star is Born".
31st March, 2014

Enjoy by Jean Patou

There is a loveliness to "Enjoy" that's hidden beneath blankets of hedione and cloyingly synthetic berry---you can almost feel the tart and creamy green banana note, struggling against hyper-dry aldehydes in order to reach the surface. I can't help but think "No! That's my favorite part of 'Patou' blends---the banana paste undertone that adds just the right hint of jammy-cream sweetness and honey, without the syrupy-stickiness of it! Don't drown that banana in 'Windex' !" Patou stands apart from other brands by integrating leisure, luxury and lazy-day intimacy into all their blends---"Enjoy" has less of that than the others, conjuring up images of "Victoria's Secret" sensibility and characterless worksuits of the 90's. However, it is, at moments, of a crystalline, chypre quality, reminding me faintly of "Miss Dior Cherie". Other times, "Enjoy" invokes the cool mustiness of a smoker's air conditioned home. Overall, "Enjoy" is pretty, astringent in a vintage face-powder, lipstick and nylons sort of way and not a bad option for people who find the sunshine-baked carnality of other Patou blends, a bit too much to carry off. I can't offer it as a total "thumbs up", as Patou's recent "Sira des Indes" is sensationally delicious and more in tune with the aesthetic sensibility of Patou; Crisp, preppy sportswear with art deco lines, against the hedonistic lushness of exotic destinations and their gourmand delights. If it dosn't smell like an olfactive interpretation of art deco sunbeams or conjure up images of 1920s-30s travel posters, it isn't fully Patou. Thankfully, dry oil and pasty tartness of green banana saves "Enjoy" from being deemed counterfeit.
04th May, 2009

No. 22 Parfum by Chanel

This scent is amazing on my skin---all creamy, powdery florals that evoke bright morning sunshine, lazy days and times gone by. What a difference less aldehydes make---with the aldehydes more subdued here than in "No. 5", "No.22" feels more intimate and old-world, like orange blossoms soaking in milk and cream, dusted over with powdered sugar and nutmeg. Sickly sweet, right? Wrong---something about the oily powderiness of "No.22" stops baby-powder and frosted-cake associations dead in its tracks, allowing it to unfold like a gauzy dress; fresh, linen-like but with the nuances of warm skin. It's one of the few hyper-femme fragrances that doesn't smell fusty-musty or overtly girly to my nose. "No.22" is the smell of a very fascinating woman, who's warm and feminine but keenly intelligent---"No. 22" is enigmatic in it's dual warmth and refined, sculpted beauty. There's also something so nostalgic and evocative about it; Patou's "Joy" has this same quality of emotional timelessness, where it feels like something collective and deeply primal. However, "No. 22" is free of the animalic civet, allowing it a brisk freshness not found in "Joy". "Juicy Couture" would've loved to have been "No.22", with her perfect balance of creamy tuberose (no burnt rubber or indole death, here), vanilla and florals; but alas, J.C. can't help but fall short. If you buy only one fragrance with the intention of saying "I'm a woman", "No.22" is it.
04th May, 2009
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DK Collection Chaos by Donna Karan

...Like camphor (must be the Agarwood note), "Dr. Pepper" soda, plum and pine. "Chaos" opens as a spiced cherry, followed by ebonized woods, to resolve as a dusty syrup with a hint of solar musk. It's fizzy, fuzzy and busy, with a medicinal burst that fools the nose into thinking it's smelling a cosmic supernova. If Vivienne Westood's "Anglomania" had a torrid affair with Thierry Mugler's "Alien", "Chaos" would be the fruit of their labor. It's exciting, intoxicating, outrageous---and a total delight.
25th April, 2009

Sensuous by Estée Lauder

Yum...buttered toast with marmalade and a mug of coffee by a woodstove, while watching the morning sun cover everything with a crisp, golden glow. Very cozy, but with that hint of new-day freshness dawn brings. In writing, this mix sounds like a terrible idea for a personal fragrance; in reality, it's unusual but fantastic---and very wearable. Something about it makes me think of the pastels, faded oranges, ochres and greens of 70's cinema---all that hazy, dreamy naturalness.
18th March, 2009

Sira des Indes by Jean Patou

If "Guerlain" has a gift for designing scents to suit dusk and sundown, the house of "Patou" excells at capturing the essence of dawn and early morning. Permeating through every Patou potion is a burst of shimmering sunshine---not like the loud, bleaching beams of midday, necessarily, but the quiet freshness of a new day. "Sira des Indes", the last magical inclusion in the house of Patou, wears with the same quiet optimism as "Joy" but where "Joy" develops into nylon-stocking, powdery-musk-smoothness after an initial burst of floral notes, "Sira Des Indes" develops into something richer in texture. The bulgar/wheat protein notes lend an air of rolling beads of honey and oil, while a subtle banana adds tart creaminess. It all actually reminds me quite a bit of Serge Lutens "Douce Amere", with that same fascinating contrast between savory and sweet notes; however, "Douce Amere" has more of a dry "cut" between cured fruits and sweets, while "Sira Des Indes" remains liquid and honeyed throughout drydown. It's intoxicating, highly sensual, carnal...but with a freshness that will never allow it to be described as "dirty" (something of a relief to modern noses; those trained to find disinfectant and surface cleaner to be the smell of "sexy"). I loved how this wore on me, so well, in fact, that it's earned "signature scent" status in my collection. Can't beat Patou!
17th November, 2008

Violetta di Parma by Borsari

Perhaps “violet” is often denoted as the scent of fairies, unicorns and other magical critters of nature, as a result of its ability to elusively avoid being continuously registered by cilia---i.e. “now you smell it, now you don’t”. Upon first sniff, “Violetta de Parma”, a blend of violet and iris essences, seems deceptively simple and lovely; so much so, that the velvety, complex development that follows, could nearly shock a wearer with the surprise it inspires. “What is this stuff?” you’ll wonder. “Violetta de Parma” opens with a soft, clear sweetness made more vivid with the crisp tartness that follows; beautiful, if not modern, but unlikely to be placed as a scent that began development in 1815. It feels fresh, avant garde in its simplicity, like something yet to be released. The violet is not candied and while there is a slight powdery kick upon opening, it's not dry. It will feel distinctly floral, but not remotely cloying or particularly definable as a blend. There is a brisk earthiness to it, like that of clean clothes that have hung to dry in the wind. As it dries down, you’ll smell a salty/sweet mineral kick of iris. It will smell, in paradox, delicately clean but “worn in”---sensual. Most fragrances conjure up specific places, times, characters or experiences; there is a place to hang most fragrance memories. “Violetta de Parma”, however, is the strange stuff of dreams; a scent that has no home. Once you’re certain that you’ve placed it, another possibility presents itself and “VdeP” seems to fit that scenario, as well. From infancy to old, old age…hyper-femininity to virile masculinity…soft, then almost violent in its audacity…a mother’s hug, a lover’s breath…dawn, dusk, midnight…oceans, desert dunes…classically French or Italian…but, then, where doesn’t a violet grow? Couldn’t Moroccan candies also smell like this? “VdeP” is exceptional for what it does achieve in “not really getting anywhere”: It is indefinable. Why wouldn’t fairies choose to smell like this?
28th August, 2008

Casma (new) by Caswell-Massey

This gorgeous potion of creamy florals and ebonized spices--smeared with vanillic undertones--has sadly been discontinued. While it was a potent blend, it also had a magical, exciting quality to it---like decadence rolling off black velvet. The new release packaging was charming, too. Very "Gatsby-esque", roaring twenties and unique against the competition. Imagine a flapper with a massive gardenia adorning her hair, wearing a corsage of orchids against black velvet; she occasionally slips licorice/absinthe liquor from a hidden thigh flask, dabs more creamy powder on her nose, fixes kohl and turquoise eye makeup before heading into the big city--search lights rolling and signs blinking--for a night out. "Casma" would be the scent simmering on her decollete and knees. What's happened to Caswell-Massey? Why are they abandoning historical, brand-specific scents that were so packed with character and energy? Sadly, they're heading down the dull, soulless path of "Bath and Bodyworks" and "Victoria's Secret" scent choices. Bring back spicy, passionate "Casma"!
01st August, 2008

Gris Clair by Serge Lutens

As autumn begins its final transition into winter---leaves fall from trees, leaving silvery structures tracing smoky skies, before grayness is dusted over with magical powder---a reflective quiet falls over the land. Bugs have passed and birds prepare for cold, plants go into dormancy. Subtle rains cover the land before air becomes cold enough to mold raindrops into crystalline trinkets. During these days of stillness suspended, it becomes impossible to ignore the inner mind, while moving through the isolating--yet strangely comforting--calmness of November, in places that boast distinct seasonal phases."Gris Clair" captures such a time in all its transitional, ancient-seeming glory; it's like a wet, smoky air that's been purified by a cool breeze. It's haunting, beautiful but not disturbing; sometimes, it seems like a celebration of an alcohol note (like "L 'antimatiere") without the cutting harshness of that burst, but after an initial (and disconcertingly masculine, only to quickly dry down into something more universal) blast of dry lavender, it morphs into a clear, comforting sweetness that reminds one of walking through a historical "living" museum as outdoor bonfires are put out by a soft rain. It's an idealized scent of stories like "Braveheart" and "Robin Hood", where the quiet, magical dankness of Anglo-Saxon land, marries with spiritual sensuality and intellectual beauty in representing lost stories and eras. Mind you, the smokiness of "Gris Clair" is not a dirty, working residue---it's a clean, pulsing haziness, cozy like a wooly wrap but fresh enough to wear year-round. Lavender, to me, is the scent of wisdom and meditation; it can be sensual, but only under the most euphorically passionate, transcendental terms. "Gris Clair" is a surprisingly unexpected scent; it's dry, majestic, yet sweet and cozy. It has a rare character all its own and glorifies one of the most unpopular and misunderstood seasonal transitions of the year. I think this might be a quick buy for those who are sick of the boring status quo of department store releases. Come on, marketing groups and buying public; every fragrance doesn't have to smell like a Malibu beachhouse or international bouquet. There can be beauty and contentment in quiet solitude.
12th July, 2008

Hot Couture by Givenchy

Many years ago, I first tried this in sample form and was struck by the wild energy of this potion. It was powerful (in both statement and diffusion) but not unpleasant. In fact, part of the delight I found in smelling "Hot Couture" is the same quality I've found of all Givenchy fragrances; they all smell distinctly like "perfume"---not some auric cloud of feeling or a perfect imitation of some natural thing, they are paintings, some still wet-seeming, dripping with color and texture. After revisiting this fragrance years later, I find that such is still the uniqueness of "Hot Couture"; it opens in a burst of spicy, yet "tweedy" sweetness, while magnolia prepares the nose for those velvety-wood undertones already evident before drydown. The rasberry is subtle and sweet, while retaining a crisp tartness; dusky-smooth magnolia (with the same dry-sand quality found in Dior's "Dune") mingles with this sweetness and explodes with a buzz before melting into the contemplative, reedy comfort of amber and vetiver. "Hot Couture" has such a magnetic and unique personality, that it melds well with many situations if the personality suits it and smells particularily appropriate on a fitted jacket or evening gown. I find "Hot Couture" best describes the sacrifical femininity that goes hand in hand with high fashion; personally, it makes me think of 1920's-40's films and big band dance halls, when "artificial" was an art--oh, the coiled/cropped hairdos and blood-red lipstick!--and not just about fooling people into thinking you just happened to be bronzed from being on vacation. Noone actually had lips that were naturally such a color...and that's what made wearing red lipstick properly, such an artistic accomplishment.
03rd July, 2008

Eau Suave by Parfum d'Empire

Eau Suave is meant to evoke the era of a lounging Josephine, but reminds me a more of a feisty Napoleon. This is a leathery, spicy rose that is far more masculine in nature than I anticipated. It opens in a burst of mentholated rosiness (think dried eucalyptus and rosebuds), sweet but not heady and significantly soapy but not acrid. It evolves into a cranberry-laced kind of potpurri---think dried cranberries, deep red roses and plum pudding. It dries down like a bitter syrup of cloves, cinnamon and simmering blooms, yet still retains a subtle leathery menthol that would make this a lovely men's cologne.
27th June, 2008

Love In White by Creed

I have a fond relationship with "Spring Flower", so, of course, I jumped to purchase (blind!) my own vat of "Love in White" (MYSORE sandalwood--could it truly be?). Unfortunately, I not only had to nurture a rash after testing this doozy, but also had to beg the place I purchased it from to consider refunding me. I understand the concept of this mix, I really do---seabreeze freshened wax-white flowers, pinned to someone like Grace Kelly, as she yacht-trots along the Monoco coastline---unfortunately, this brew morphs into something bizzare and even violent on my skin. It opens in an almost faint-worthy hesperidic burst of citrus oil, that shoots and blinds the eyes, then dries down into a bitter cheese that remindes me of a really tasty brie, enncrusted with sea salt. So far by account, not lovely but perhaps tasty. However, I wouldn't allow myself to be fooled by the picnic lunch opening, "Love in White" then dries-down into a surprisingly chemical petrol/gas station kind of blend; it's oily, dry and kerosene-like and makes me think of celluloid flowers bubbling in a nuclear meltdown. Congrats to all of you who smell loveliness and virginal purity; I actually felt a bit violated after "Love in White" invaded my airspace.
27th June, 2008

Infusion d'Iris by Prada

Prada Infusion d'Iris is unusual when matched against its peers; lovely, but not something that seems designed for a mass market. This, of course, makes it immediately intriguing. Kudos to Prada for such bravery. That said, this is a shimmering, iris fog of a scent; erotic yet demurely tight-buttoned, sweet but not overwhelmingly so. It's as if the mythical haziness of "The Unicorn Spell" was married with the nostalgic melancholy of "L'Heure Bleue" and "Infusion d'Iris" was born. The iris note in this blend is a subtle mineral-esque powder, the galbanum and vetiver combo add a kick of contemplative reediness/dry grass. The only complaint I could possibly have with this scent, is that the strong inclusion of orange blossom can sometimes turn saccharine-sweet when applied heavily (despite its watery lightness, I find over-applying "Infusion d'Iris" can overwhelm a room). Overall, this is a scent that could appeal to all ages, be unisex for many and has the remarkable appeal of being both historical-seeming yet modern. It's almost like a modern, romantic interpretation of historical stories or legacies. Simply put, "Infusion d'Iris" is intimate sophistication. It's like a magical and memorable dream.
06th June, 2008
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Black Orchid by Tom Ford

Fascinating brew...certainly something to wear while playing old jazz records at midnight. On another site, I wrote that it made me think of chugging mugs of coffee while looking at the stars; that sort of caffeinated rebel-grunginess you feel, after staying awake while most of your neighbors are asleep. Long, tortured nights of creative contemplation or romantic drama. I can also imagine a sort of smoky haziness surounding the scene. Perhaps those nights even run into days without interruption from torment--"Black Orchid" could almost be interpreted as a layering of fragrance on body sebum. The best way I'd describe "Black Orchid" on my skin, is as an almost dirty chocolate---certainly truffle-like (some hints of the murky places where mushrooms grow) and of the earthy dark variety. It's also quite sweet, but powdered over with a heavy duskiness. Potent, strange but not unpleasant. I'd consider it a good replacement for Vivienne Westwood's "Boudoir", as I found that too "dirty-underwear-sprayed-with-perfume" for my tastes. But both have a similar quality of richly fragranced intimacy. This was released in 2006, around the time "The Black Dahlia" film was being promoted. While the film didn't have the massive following expected from such a star-littered cast, I can't help but think that mischevious Tom Ford was intending to ride that film-noir wave. A more sinister interpretation of "Black Orchid": I wouldn't be surprised to smell something like it wafting off the body of some poor, young thing left abandoned in the woods. There is a strange obsessive nature to this concept, the creepy combination of beauty, mystery, crime and death. A must-have scent for Film Noir junkies or those who can't get enough of Gothic literature.
04th June, 2008

No. 5 by Chanel

Chanel No.5 is a very odd creature to me; there is some nostalgia tied to it, as my grandmother wore it as her favorite. Since its release in the twenties, numerous public hand soaps and baby powders have mimiced the popular combination, interferring with modern first perceptions of No. 5----those that weren't spent in 1930's speakeasies and 1950's drive-ins. In fact, the scent was so popular in the early to mid part of last century, that some of those who first wore it at debutante balls are now using it to mask the unfortunate situation of incontinence, i.e., you might pick up "Chanel No.5" wafting from adult briefs and nursing homes. Of course, fragrance isn't simply for the young...but memories and associations remain its core means of communication. For me, an odd thing happens when any major combos of jasmine, neroli or tuberose come in contact with my skin---grubbiness abounds. Not necessarily dirtiness, but the odd sensation of bodily sebum encased in powder. Chanel No. 5 wears grubbily on me, despite the dancing charm of its aldehydes and their playful attempts to fool my nose. With such a saturation, I'd have expected there to be some "cut" or a sharp contrast to oily, powdery florals. No. 5 just stays sweaty and intimate the whole ride through and seems more suited to morning tea than an evening gala. It is lovely in its own way, but remains die-hard feminine without one drop of masculinity with which to inject some carnal aggression; it's like a big, motherly cuddle. I personally prefer a little more androgynous spunk to my poison. If I were thinking along the lines of "skintone, bedspread femininity", I'd find the honeyed mimosa of Guerlain's "Champs Elysees" as a more suitable skin-essence replacement to No. 5's ylang-ylang/rose combo. Either way, I'm sure I'll crave this womanly powder-bomb from time to time and I've yet to be able to dismiss it from my wardrobe completely. But if I were craving Chanel, I'd probably grab for "No. 19" or "Cristalle first".
28th May, 2008

L'Antimatière by LesNez

Couldn't help it; my first impression of "L'Antimatiere" was that it reeked of "The Emperor's New Clothes". "Is this a modern art statement or creative joke?" I thought. I did, however, give it a fresh chance at a later time, leading to a few surprises. First impression "very fine vodka, perhaps even a hint of that french monastic liquor, 'Chartreuse', with it's subtle herbal-ness". As it dried down, I felt a serious sense of deja-vu; it reminded me much of "Egyptian Goddess" (a "Temple essence" brand oil) albeit, in hyper-diluted form. Although I've read about vetiver elements throughout it, I sensed more of the open, mineral-seeming warmth of spikenard or opponax. Perhaps even a dash of young sandlewood. Overall, "L'Antimatiere" is an ambitious experiment that might not be appreciated by most testers; however, it is charmingly subtle and pleasant, and radiates a weird kind of sunny warmth that reminds me of of high-noon sun beating on stone steps, or heated saltstone lamps. This is truly for those that want a total meld-with-skin, subliminally atmospheric scent. I personally prefer a louder scent "story".
22nd May, 2008

The Unicorn Spell by LesNez

For what "The Unicorn Spell" lacks in casual wearability, it makes up for in establishing a mystical ambience. This fragrance completely carries it's mythical mantle and is cooly distant, but not disturbing."The Unicorn Spell" smells of ancient ideals of honor and fundamental goodness. This is the "Joan of Arc" of fragrance or something an Elvin princess would wear. This is what I'd imagine the mythological goddess Athena would smell of. For mortals, through iris-grey haze or misty mineral water, you face the unicorn and accept your fairy tale task or eternal fate; it was already written in the stars. There is a nice usage of violet and iris in this potion--two notes that often veer dangerously toward sugar-syrypy sweetness--and a subtle wetness that makes me think of full-moon nights in dewy forests. 'The Unicorn Spell" is a gracefully charming fragrance but as such, can become an exhausting aura to carry off day-in and day-out. I think I'll save this scent for days when I want to be a more philosophically contemplative and poised to fight battles of legendary ideals.
22nd May, 2008

Fendi by Fendi

Palazzo opens in a burst of soapy freshness; however, it is a smooth, refined soap with very little bite. It reminds me of high end hotel soap, basting on your arm in the blasting sun of a place like Rome or Sicily. In fact, "Palazzo" has similar qualities to D&G's "Sicily" or "Stella" by Stella McCartney; all three boast a crisp aldehydic or rosy-sweet streak that keeps an otherwise soapy fragrance from going sour. Both "Sicily" and "Palazzo" have hints of sweetness that keep the aldehydes from developing into their usual pinchiness--that of something likened to polished marble. No metallic, cool dominance, here...only gentle, subtle incense.Upon drydown, we're left with a smooth, spicy wood that reminds me of "Nag Champa" incense or imported ayurveda soap.

"Palazzo" is a truly lovely fragrance that will leave one with a sense of distinct sensuality; people will guess that it's primarily your skin they're smelling and the impression of fragrance will be minimal but distinctive. It's a sort of tranquil, intellectual scent; I can imagine a monastery or temple smelling of "Palazzo". It's marketed as a feminine fragrance but with it's subtle woody undertones makes it a strong unisex contender as well as a general atmospheric scent. Some people will compliment you outright; others will simply contemplate you as they experience "Palazzo"'s unusual sillage.

"Fendi" fragrances sort of simmer in the background of the mainstream fragrance market, yet are profoundly unique from their competition. As such, "Palazzo" is available and very affordable.
13th January, 2008

L by Lolita Lempicka

This is an unusual scent--super sweet, yet not quite saccharine. Not unpleasant, just a piece of buttercream cake with a slightly citrus air, underscored with a sea-salty note. As the packaging evokes something that would be on a mermaid's boudoir, I'm surprised that the only marine-like quality of "L" is that which is reminiscent of saltwater taffy. This is more the fragrance of an animated mermaid than someone from the yachting set. Despite this, there is something delightfully hypnotic about "L" and I'd consider this a more sophisticated interpretation of the popular squeaky-fresh-gourmand genre.
26th November, 2007

Pure White Linen by Estée Lauder

Every once in a while, after searching high and low for a new holy-grail scent to worship,something unexpected happens: A scent you'd never imagine giving the time of day to--perhaps it's just not usually your thing or it's worn by so many, that you think it might be unnappealing due to overexposure--suddenly gets its chance to take the lead. In a fit of exhaustion, you try this forgotten possiblity and voila; your senses come alive with newfound excitement...the sheer simplicty of the unexpected takes hold.

"Pure White Linen" is exactly that scent. Linen-smelling crispness and velvety, tart smoothness feels tranquil and refreshing when compared to the sultry and aggressive nature of orientals and chypres."Pure White Linen" is a surprisingly elegant and pleasant scent. It's the perfect thing to wear to the office(no more offensive than laundry detergent--but far more refined)and safe enough for gift giving: It's bright, smooth freshness.
15th November, 2007

Summer Hill by Crabtree & Evelyn absolute delight! "Summer Hill" the essence of a fresh summer day. The lily note hums like a flower basking in sunshine against hot grass and dirt. There's a warm powdery feel to "Summer Hill" that lends it an air of warm breezes rustling through flowers. However, this is not the "proper" powder of stiff ladies at Sunday service--it's sprightly and playful. If nothing else, "Summer Hill" will remind you of midday sun and days spent wandering in woods and fields. It's a fond memory of idyllic summers filled with excitement, wonder and happiness.
07th November, 2007

Donna Karan Gold by Donna Karan

A lovely, distinctive fragrance that manages to stand out besides its peers, "Gold" remains typically subtle and smooth a'la Donna Karen, while venturing into a place of mythic anthropology. This is a heady floral scent that never becomes precious, yet a flashy metallic scent that warms into creamy comfort on drydown.

Smooth spicy notes trickle throughout "Gold", so to invoke an image of oxidated metal--much like the earthy spiciness of rust contrasted by its polished predecessor; think ancient jewelry or artifacts. However, the dominent sensation here is that of mature honeysuckle and golden jojoba; the unique, oily sweetness of a midsummer's flower and precious vegetal oils and waxes. While lily is a star player in this scent, the lily here is not of the cold, bouquet-of-purity variety--it's a smooth, velvety lily of cream and green and the result is a warm, rounded scent more reminiscent of hidden flowers of the forest than those displayed in funeral homes. There is also a slight hint of freshness and moisture here which reminds me of midnight dew in a moonlit garden, or the coolness of night air on desert sand.

This unusual scent isn't for everyone...and isn't a "pretty-baby" like many fruity-floral competition. However, it's interesting and references adventure, eccentricity and confidence.
01st November, 2007

Alien by Thierry Mugler

Delightfully bizzare yet, at the same time, familiar and exciting, "Alien" is the brisk, pistachio-like scent of an evening out under a dark, starry night sky or cruising with the windows down and "raisin' hell". It's an experience scent, where another fragrance exists within a fragrance--as part of a story, on a character in a specific time and place. This smells like getting away for a night after an event or holiday...and making out under the stars: Fresh, overly minty breath from spray and gum or menthol drops, perhaps a lingering scent of cheery-sweet cigars and've worn your best, sultry fragrance and it's radiating off your skin...and the euphoric briskness of night air sneaks through cracked windows. This is a modern scent that couldn't be mistaken for any place or time before the 1990's---except as 90's cultural nod to 1950's pulp comics, t-birds, pinups and mod appeal...and, perhaps, medicinal rubs of the 1800's (the kind that smelled more like herbal perfume than medicine). This is the scent of "bad" before people grow up and understand what "bad" really means. Provocative, surprisingly nostalgic and exciting! I root for "Alien" because it's so dang weird and seems to embrace its playful weirdness. How can I snub my nose at that?
01st November, 2007

Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture

Tuberose is a dangerous, dangerous note; added with a light hand, it adds a subtle warm skin sensation to a fragrance...but ladle it in and you have something in close proximity to a horse rolling in skunk cabbage. Harsh comparison, yes, but heed it as fair warning when applying essence of this carnal flower.

As tuberose is the central player in "Juicy Couture"--tuberose flower and tuberose absolute--I slightly recoiled to the possibilities. However, as whipped-cream rich and powdery as "Juicy Couture" is, it never enters skunk territory. Instead, it gives off the weirdest sensation of many different fragrances layered onto unwashed skin. Not dirty skin, of course, but the sebum-buildup of early morning before a daily shower. Overall, not entirely unpleasant, but really odd--like the smell of a girl accustomed to showering three times a day, who stayed out late one night and had to layer on whatever was in her gym bag to catch class in the morning. That will probably sound unappealing to most but "Juicy Couture" isn't necessarily a gag-scent, just very strong, sweet and powdery. In fact, many of the notes were the favorites of the infamous/famous Marie Antoinette (she was a passionate patron of tuberose): If iris, lavender and neroli were added to this scent, it would probably smell eerily like an 18th century french court...with frugally washed bodies included.
31st October, 2007

Luctor et Emergo by People of the Labyrinths

Luctor Et Emergo is a fascinating, provocative scent that will leave the wearer with a profound sense of deja vu--"Where have I smelled this before?" you'll ponder "Why is this so nostalgic and comforting?" Some will only smell the salty creaminess of playdoh that unfurls with an almond-cherry opening; however, this striking sensation only lasts for a short time before LeE develops into something far more complex. At that point, it'll remind you more of old libraries, primary school stages, construction paper projects and holiday celebrations (and to some, the smell of cheery-sweet pipe-smoke in old yachting clubs) than lumps of kiddie-dough. You'll suddenly feel contemplative and calm...

This is the smell of stories set in old estates, castles and wooden ships; salty, sweet, incense-smoky, creamy--overall, the velvety nature of LeE will leave a wearer in a heightened state of awareness, without ever really invoking fruit, wood or mineral. Accept that LeE is an "experience" scent, aching to share a legendary story and you'll have an easier ride.

However, all legends aside, "Luctor et Emergo's" robustly eccentric nature doesn't make it any less accessible(and wearable)to both men and women. Luctor et Emergo is a comforting memory for all and appropriate for all occasions and times of day; it's subtle enough for the office but interesting enough to enfold you during an evening out. The essence of dreams and a perfect companion for an evening under the stars--be it midsummer or winter--drink in one gust of this spicy, woodsy potion and suddenly you're Alice, falling down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.

"Curiouser and curiouser..."

Indeed, but all emotional adventures with "Luctor et Emergo" lead safely back to home.
29th October, 2007

Antico Caruso by Profumum

(I'm reposting my luckyscent review because it describes best what I think of "Antico Caruso"--I couldn't describe it in any other way...)

Antico Caruso" smells like the purest, creamiest luxury soap you've ever experienced---the kind that came in cakes and wrapped in paper, scattered throughout cruise liners (like creamy-tart "Vinolia"--only sweeter) and seaside hotels in the early part of last century. There is even a similar theme between Caswell-Massey's famous "Almond Shave Soap" and "Antico Caruso", but antico is less salty and veers away from the syrupy cherry tone of almond and into a creamier realm of polished wood and hard-soap lather. This is a serenely comforting scent: The almond note gives it a very subtle gourmandesque spirit; however, the opening citrus zing and powdery sandlewood finish make it far to clean to pass as a food substitute. "Antico Caruso" is also, despite masculine references to barbershops and cologne, quite unisex in nature and I imagine many women would find it's unusual non-floral creaminess appealing. It's the smell of "clean" before "clean" meant "disinfectant/detergent". It makes me think of fresh, wholesome days outdoors and the pure simplicity of monestary, abbey or temple settings. If you always hoped for a sweeter, creamier version of "CKOne", "L'Huere Bleu" or you're just looking for an interesting scent to surround but not precede you, I'd suggest "Antico Caruso".
21st October, 2007

Blush by Marc Jacobs

True to its namesake and inspiration, "Blush" is a creamy-floral interpretation of retro peach and nude- colored underthings (in fact, it reminds me of sepia photos, the neutral colored fashions of the 1930's and the dusty summer roads in postcards from that era); It's the smell of clean linen before concentrated detergents---when unmentionables were scrubbed in a washbin with soap and water and put out to dry in the sunshine. Jasmine hints at the scent of skin, while bergamot stands in as the soap. A delightfully subtle scent, with a big dose of carnality to accent its otherwise delicate prettiness.
20th October, 2007

Coco by Chanel

With pulsing, velvet accords and a polished woodiness, "Coco" is, like Guerlain's "Mitsouko", an intellectual scent for a unique character. Although there is the slightest hint of "the 80's" running through its base (one that smells curiously like drugstore "Taboo") "Coco" is, overall, a study in eccentric chic.It's unfussy and streamlined, in the spirit of dapper-waif style---like an unconventionally beautiful dame in a classic suit, with a striking twist or contrast of coloring. When everyone's wearing black, she's in white...when sleek suits abound, she's in Amadeus frock shirts---so outrageously "out of fashion" is she, that it could only be the sign of a true trendsetter; everything she pulls together always seems fresh and exciting.

"Coco's" powder on leather impression is also a seductive play on gender and originality. I'd imagine Katherine Hepburn, Wallis Simpson (Duchess of Windsor) or a 1920's high-society rebel in "Coco". If you want fragrance that evokes sophistication and provocative wit, then "Coco" is your gal.
20th October, 2007

Moschino by Moschino

Moschino is a good example of a fragrance on the cusp of the metallic/oceanic/unisex revolution that would be the 1990's; It has an "open", airy kind of freshness but is grounded by the sugar-sweet floral core that was so prominent in 80's fragrances. It's almost like a mix of two major players of the early 90's: Calvin Klein's "CKone" and Elizabeth Arden's "Sunflowers". That reference might make some reader's stomachs turn, but "Moschino" actually manages to be quite subtle and pleasant, despite a semi-metallic undertone.
17th October, 2007

Mitsouko Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

An extraordinarily exciting fragrance and decades ahead of its time--especially considering the many super-powdery spice bombs of "Mitsouko"'s era. It's a fresh, teasing scent that starts in a burst of Geisha femininity but ends with the power of modern androgyny.

"Mitsouko" opens as a sparkling nectar, with a subtle herbal tone and a dash of "plumminess"(the rose, peach and jasmine combo, perhaps?) that immediately gives it "Eastern Appeal"; although, there is also something of a brisk, Italian cologne effect to it. The Guerlain essence is more subtly evident in "Mitsouko" than in "Shalimar" or "L'Huere Bleu" but the seductive sweetness of the iris, tonka bean and vanilla combo makes an appearance and remains for the entire visit. Then, just as you're feeling a smooth sense of calm and tranquility, the real roller-coaster ride begins...

Suddenly you enter the "chypre" realm of "Mitsouko" and it's a huge rush of energy and silky leather---it pulses with a green, spicy sensuality that hints at the 1920's Western fascination with Eastern art and design; this is Louise Brooks in a green, red and black silk jacket...sipping champagne...eating strawberries and admiring the moonlight on an East U.S. Coast, dance hall veranda.

At first experience, "Mitsouko" might appear severe and overt, but don't let its passionate intensity decieve you; this is a playful, intellectual scent that pours on the charm and charisma. It's hard to dislike "Mitsouko" on account of its utter uniqueness and quirky eccentricity; all oddness considered, you just have to keep this one around because it's such an interesting dandy.
17th October, 2007