Reviews by JackTwist

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    JackTwist
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    Gift of An Empress by Lengyel

    To quote from The Perfume Encyclopedia, "Laszlo Lengyel was born in Hungary in 1889 and died in 1986. The original company had been established in St Petersburg, Russia in 1733. He opened branches in Paris in 1926 and at East 16th St, New York in 1929. He was also a 'nose' for Max Factor."

    Gift of an Empress is a jasmine-dominated white floral that is in turn dominated by aldehydes that brighten and sweeten the scent. This is very feminine and very much fit for a young woman to wear. It is quite old-fashioned, but for those into vintage scents, it may please today.

    One can find it on Ebay every so often.

    20th March, 2015

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    Fulfillment by Lengyel

    To quote from The Perfume Encyclopedia, "Laszlo Lengyel was born in Hungary in 1889 and died in 1986. The original company had been established in St Petersburg, Russia in 1733. He opened branches in Paris in 1926 and at East 16th St, New York in 1929. He was also a 'nose' for Max Factor."

    Fulfillment is hard to define as to type. There is warm sandalwood and cedar here, but also a menthol-like note that is both warm and cool at the same time. In today's scent typing, it comes closest to a wood, but that menthol note almost bumps it into the chypre category. Best to say it balances between both.

    First Edit:
    It is very close to Jean-Louis Scherrer's first scent, known both under his own name and as Scherrer #1 from 1979, and considered one of the great chypres.

    Intriguing, exotic and wonderfully heady and rich.

    Still available from time to time on Ebay. Worth seeking out.

    Also seek out Lengyel's true chypre, Imperrial Russe.

    19th March, 2015 (Last Edited: 20th March, 2015)

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    Impériale Russe / White Christmas by Lengyel

    A remarkable chypre, very close in character to Coty's original, dark and warm with vanilla and amber notes that envelop one in a rich and luxurious cloud.

    To quote from The Perfume Encyclopedia, "Laszlo Lengyel was born in Hungary in 1889 and died in 1986. The original company had been established in St Petersburg, Russia in 1733. He opened branches in Paris in 1926 and at East 16th St, New York in 1929. He was also a 'nose' for Max Factor."

    Imperial Russe was his most famous scent, originally presented in a complex Russian icon bottle by Baccarat. It was later re-issued as White Christmas.

    They don't make them like this anymore. One of the truly wonderful vintage perfumes and still findable on Ebay.

    18th March, 2015

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    Dashing by Lilly Daché

    The eight scents of fashion designer, Lilly Dache, are little known today. Almost all stem from the year 1941.

    Dache lived from 1893 to 1990. She was French-born, but based herself in the USA at 76 East 56th Street New York. She married the perfumer Jean Desprez (a Coty executive) in 1931. Her signature design was in the area of fashionable women's hats.

    Her Dashing is a heady, rich chypre, with notes of lily, muguet and tuberose dominating. There is rose and jasmine here in the heart as well. The base is made up of civet and castoreum, all combining to make this one of the richest and most floral of chypres. The sharpness of the muguet and the warmth of the animal notes balance each other beautifully.

    A real masterpiece of perfumery. With a husband in the employ of Coty, how could it not be. Bottles of Dashing show up occasionally on Ebay and are well worth the purchase.

    18th March, 2015

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    Acqua Classica by Borsari

    For years this was my go to summer citrus scent. It felt eminently sophisticated and masculine and has been around at this writing for 135 years, which attests to its success over the past century plus.

    There is a burst of Sicilian Lemon at the opening and it is truly bracing and joyous. My nose tended not to pick up any dry down for many years and it is only now that I can perceive it. It is a dry, slightly bitter, oud-like dry down, which I now find most unpleasant.

    My nasal development over years of scent exposure makes this no longer a scent I love or even like, but this is due to the changes in me, not the scent, one of the most deservedly successful and popular summer and citrus scents of all time.

    Every man should try this and make up his own mind.

    17th March, 2015

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    Tapestry by Mary Chess

    Tapestry is described in the Perfume Intelligence directory as an oriental, but to my nose it is a rich white floral, sumptuous and deliciously sweet.

    The scent primarily puts jasmine center stage and surrounds it with soft hints of peony and orange blossom. Too bad the actual notes are not available.

    It is a very light floral and so can easily be worn in casual settings. It is also appropriate for office wear as it stays close to the skin and is completely inoffensive.

    Mary Chess toilet waters are finally beginning to appear on Ebay and are well worth sampling. She created her own scents from natural ingredients under the auspices of Taylor's of London.

    02nd March, 2015

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    Yram by Mary Chess

    Yram actually dates from 1938, not 1930, as stated above.

    This is a very light spicy toilet water that is remarkable only in that one finds it difficult to detect any individual spice notes, despite the over all effect of a spice combo.

    It is so light and weak in comparison to other Mary Chess toilet waters that though it is her signature scent, being named for herself, spelled backwards, it fails to excite or interest me.

    24th February, 2015

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    White Lilac by Mary Chess

    My one quarter ounce of toilet water had never been opened.

    It is quite strong and true as a soliflore, almost parfum strength. Silghtly sweet and light, as opposed to the heavier scent of purple lilac.

    The scent of lilac has almost gone out of favor. Very few perfumes created after 1950 featured this as a soliflore, although Basenotes does provide a list of half a dozen or so niche houses who currently offer scents with white lilac center stage.

    Old-fashioned, comforting, truly lovely and feminine. Mary Chess' version is among the best I have experienced.

    23rd February, 2015

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    Strategy by Mary Chess

    Strategy is a classic floral chypre from its era, the 1940s.

    Most reminiscent of Schiaparellis's Shocking and later in a toned down version, Molyneux's Vivre.

    Rose, Jasmine, Honey, Civet, Ambergris, Castoreum, Musk

    A heavenly floral tobacco honeyed scent.

    Although a copy of Schiaparelli's classic, still a delight on its own.

    22nd February, 2015

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    Rêve De Grasse by Fragonard

    This is a very light and sweet white floral, dominated by jasmine (of course, the premier scent emanating from Grasse), supported by tuberose and musk.

    I have been unable to find a release date for this scent.

    My source is a one ounce parfum released in a small metal bottle with a gold wash.

    It is so very light that I would recommend its use for a very young or very slim woman.

    A perfectly lovely early spring morning scent, appropriate for office wear.

    17th February, 2015

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    Yanky Clover by Richard Hudnut

    This is a very refreshing herbal splash from the mid 1940s.

    It has an anise-like scent, due I assume to the presence of tarragon as a major ingredient.

    In regard to the other reviewer on this page, paloma 54, my experience with R&G's Le Jade is entirely different. That scent is a green chypre, quite similar to Homme de Gres, but using lime rather than lemon as its heart note, hence the green color and name reference.

    Yanky Clover is nothing like it, according to my nose, so beware of thinking you can substitute one for the other.

    If you do find Yanky Clover on Ebay, I do recommend you try it. It's quite unique.

    15th February, 2015

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    Twelfth Night by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    Like DHS's Michelangelo, this is a very strong, dark, super masculine scent.

    Look at the ingredients, no floral or fruit notes to lighten the effect - all resins and leaves.

    This begins with a very bitter wood and turpentine blast, but like all DSH scents, one must let it calm down before judging it. The oak moss, olibanum, myrrh, patchouli and juniper berry all add up to a slightly nutty incense masterpiece that is also reminiscent of a rich tobacco.

    All brown and green and earthy - even after it loses its bitterness, it never loses its strength - one of DSH's best masculines.

    13th February, 2015

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    Murmure by Fragonard

    Grace Hummel in her Cleopatra's Boudoir page tells us that Fragonard often copied other successful scents and gave them new names.

    Murmure was intended as a copy of YSL's Opium, according to that blog, but something tells me Murmure came first. I have not been able to find a release date, but my one ounce gold metal container looks like it is from the 1950s or 1960s.

    In any case, I get clove, cinnamon, amber, pimento, apricot and the above named orris, rose, jasmine and patchouli, as its notes.

    Definitely a soft, warm oriental, secondary to Opium, which is far richer, more luxurious, and more concentrated than Murmure.

    A decent version or copy of Opium, so if the price is right and you are a fan of Opium, it would be worth your while to pick up a copy. Quite available on Ebay as of this writing.

    12th February, 2015

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    Parfums des Beaux Arts Michelangelo by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    This is a very masculine scent, resinous and woody, deep and dark. The cedar wood and tobacco absolute are most prominent, the latter giving the effect of a very strong Cuban cigar, rather than the vanilla and cherry notes of pipe tobacco.

    Oakmoss and vetiver are here as well.

    The opening is quite strong, almost overpowering, but it does all calm down in a few minutes to a warmth that although never forgetting its initial strength, does become more manageable. Hercules tamed in effect.

    This is uncompromisingly masculine and would cause a sensation, I believe, if given more exposure in the niche men’s fragrance world.

    12th February, 2015

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    Si Jolie by Fragonard

    According to Grace Hummel of Cleopatra's Boudoir, Fragonard (in addition to creating its own scents) has a number of copies of noted scents under new names.

    Their Si Jolie is a copy of Patou's classic 1929 Joy, with its sharp green muguet and rose notes over a dense floral bouquet. I have been unable to find a release date for Si Jolie.

    My bottle is a small gold metal bottle of one ounce pure parfum. It is s quite exquisite and strong, as is the Patou, and since the latter is quite expensive, if one is able to find Si Jolie at a reasonable price (it is discontinued), one should certainly grab it.

    I found this with two other Fragonard copies, Reve de Grasse and Murmure and will also be reviewing these in the coming days.

    11th February, 2015

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    Green Water by Jacques Fath

    An excellent and refreshing citrus/herbal fragrance from the forties.

    The bright citrus combination of bergamot, lemon, orange, and petitgrain is classic, here supported with an herbal array of clary sage, basil, lavender and peppermint. Dazzling in and of itself, but given some weight and warmth with the tonka bean and musk.

    Simple, elegant, très sophisticated.

    The closest thing to it in my experience is Borsari's Acqua Classica, which came much later in time.

    Deserving of its niche in the history of men's fragrances.

    10th February, 2015

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    Luna Rossa by Prada

    Incredibly simple, and incredibly boring.

    Except for the unusual addition of spearmint, this is a generic men's scent, no different than thousands created from the 1990s onwards.

    So inoffensive as to seriously lack any character whatsoever.

    The mint dries to redeem it, but can't rise above the other bland ingredients.

    Not awful, just not interesting.

    10th February, 2015

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    Fath de Fath by Jacques Fath

    Fath de Fath was the sixth fragrance released by Jacques Fath. His third release, Iris Gris, has become a legend of the perfume world with its expert mix of orris root and peach.

    Fath de Fath has a lovely, warm, powdery quality to it. The primary heart floral I can make out is heliotrope, which rests on a base of amber, vanilla and labdanum.

    There must certainly be many more ingredients, but this nose can't single them out. The effect is quite nice, typical of the 1950s, and one of the first to bring vanilla and amber to the forefront.

    Seek out the vintage only. The reformulation of 1993 is nothing like the original.

    08th February, 2015

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    Cathedral by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    A superb incense blend. I am most familiar with such blends, having frequented a number of monastic communities as guest and purchased same.

    The olibanum (frankincense), myrrh combination here is beautifully balanced and “true.” I also detect cedar, amber and a cinnamon note. I like this far better than DSH's Adoration, which seemed to me like a not quite realized stop on the way to achieving perfection with Cathedral.

    Cathedral is dry, yet warm, and most appealing for both sexes. Quite a fine and subtle olfactory achievement.

    07th February, 2015 (Last Edited: 17th February, 2015)

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    Fleurs d'Oranger by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    If you love neroli, you will never find a more concentrated fragrance totally devoted to this most delicate of flowers than DSH's Fleurs d'Oranger.

    Two nerolis, sourced from Tunisia and Egypt, combine with sweet and bitter orange notes, orange flower absolute and float over beeswax, vetiver and ambergris.

    It's almost ethereal, with its high olfactory range, like a beautiful theme played in the violins and arcing upwards to hold in flight, hovering, the lark truly ascending.

    Beautiful, very feminine, quite subtle.

    07th February, 2015

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    Piment et Chocolat by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    An exceptional gourmand scent and one of the few truly successful re-creations of cocoa.

    The spiciness of adding red chiles to hot chocolate, a treat both for the nose and the palate, only came into mainstream knowledge with the successful film, CHOCOLAT (Juliette Binoche), and now we have an equivalent for the nose alone.

    Pimento, Chiles and Paprika float above Clove, Nutmeg and Cinnamon, resting on Cocoa Beans and Chocolate. It morphs into a dreamy, tobacco-like warmth that is irresistible

    Another triumph for DSH!

    07th February, 2015

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    Le Smoking by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    Complex and multi-layered, this is a truly daring scent.

    It steps outside the comfortable realm of pipe tobacco, warm, cherry/honey humidor – and strikes out for the cigarette no man’s (or woman’s) land, where more than one attempt to duplicate or improve the iconic Caron Tabac Blond has failed miserably.
    Le Smoking succeeds admirably.

    First a bitter blast of what seems to me a mix of patchouli, vetiver and actual cigarette smoke, it certainly grabs your attention. It then rounds these edges, removing the sharpness and adding a sophisticated, amberish warmth that nevertheless does not abandon the central cigarette smoke accord.

    Most creators in the past have gone for the obvious re-creation of the unburned cigarette tobacco, but Le Smoking revels in the actual smoke, rising from a lit cigarette.
    The effect is that of a nicely perfumed woman, sitting in a Mediterranean hotel lobby, smoking a very fine gauloise. If Audrey Hepburn were a smoker, it would be she, Givenchy hat and veil in place, waiting for Cary Grant to join her for a tisane.

    Unique and quite splendid!

    07th February, 2015

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    Adoration (Milan) by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    This begins rather harshly with an unpleasantly sharp turpentine/linseed oil/menthol burst that made me sad, thinking, oh, no, a DSH scent that I will not like at all.
    Patience, patience.

    Always wait until the dry down. The amber and rose calm the raw frankincense/myrrh blend that I was initially smelling and warm it considerably.

    Though a bit strong to my nose, it does quickly become eminently wearable, though it would seem more suited for men than women.

    Not for everyone, but definitely a must try for those loving incense based scents.

    07th February, 2015

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    Amuse Bouche by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    The initial burst of berries reminded me a great deal of Mugler’s Angel, that gourmand original that changed the map of scent, introducing center stage fruit salad to the list of perfume types.

    Then the warm, supporting notes of sandalwood and vanilla entered, rounding out the experience. I like this better than Angel. It is not “neon,” but buttery and cuddly.

    I am reminded of those Christmas scents in the air of clever shops that make you just want to buy and buy. This would be outstanding as a room refresher.

    One of DSH’s happiest scents.

    07th February, 2015

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    Café Noir by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    My nose immediately detects cinnamon and cedar, even though the latter does not seem to be part of the scent’s make up – I’m referring to the booklet that comes with The Passport To Paris collection.

    The coffee emerges slowly, still mixed with cinnamon.

    It somehow smells like Christmas morning to me – not a bad thing. Olfactory memories have a life of their own.

    A lovely, warm, gourmand.

    07th February, 2015

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    Vers la Violette by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    A violet leather? How unique. Why has no one thought of this before?

    Modern perfumery is after all only 130 years old – you’d think someone would have gone down that road.

    The amazing thing is that it totally works. At first, I was skeptical. I got a blast of green violet, but then just turpentine and wood for about five minutes. Then the heart settled in – light, dry violet and the subtlest of European leather scents, which arm in arm stroll down the aisle to the altar.

    Very unisex in its dryness. The orris works very well to support the violet. Hmmm – might an orris leather be next?

    Another triumph – so unique I am telling all my olfactory friends.

    07th February, 2015

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    Passport à Paris by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    A wonderful tribute to both Jicky and Fougere Royale.

    The scent combines lavender and patchouli as a pungent base (fougere) for the amber, vanilla Jicky overlay.

    This is a lovely balance of fougere and Jicky elements. The amber and the vanilla are standouts, floating delicately over the fougere base.

    07th February, 2015

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    Caravan Spice by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    A richer, deeper, rounder version of DHS's own Indus.

    Here the oils are blended more heavily than with the Indus composition, the latter seemingly a blend of fresh ground spices. Here I get the feeling of the great perfumes from the 1940s – heavy, sophisticated, mature.

    Notes include: Amber, Cedarwood, Cardamom, Carnation, Coriander, Vanilla, Bulgarian Rose, Jasmine with Frankincnese, Myrrh, Parchouli and Oakmoss as base notes.

    Indus for the young, Caravan Spice for the mature. Both excellent ambers spice orientals.

    06th February, 2015 (Last Edited: 17th February, 2015)

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    Vanilla Bourbon Intense by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    Vanilla ice cream with a bourbon-infused caramel sauce. YUM!

    One of those dangerously successful gourmands that may have friends, co-workers and family nibbling on your neck – it could be a good thing, depending on who you let near you.

    There is a nice dark, bitter undercurrent – patchouli? – that roots this and gives it character.

    Top notch vanilla parfum.

    06th February, 2015

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    Ancient Air by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

    A sharp blast of patchouli and cedar wood, almost turpentine-esque, quickly mixes with olibanum (frankincense) and myrrh to become a fragrant wood/incense scent – very masculine – I cannot conceive that this would successfully be worn by a woman.

    There is a celeriac note that weaves in and out of the above to give it an interesting twist, reminiscent of Millot’s Insolent.

    One of DSH’s strongest scents.

    06th February, 2015

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