Reviews

Reviews by JackTwist

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Sycomore (new) by Chanel

One of the finest vetivers on the market. A re-thinking of the original 1930 masterpiece, revisited for the 2008 market.

This, along with the two other vetiver masterpieces, the Givenchy Vetyver and the Guerlain Vetiver, comprise the trio of greats in my opinion.

Here Chanel combines vetiver with sandalwood, tobacco, violet, cypress and juniper to give us a fragrant, light, dry scent that is both sophisticated and long-lasting.

Quite marvelous and along with Cuir de Russie, Coromandel, Bois des Iles and Misia, Sycomore stands as one of the great hits of the Exclusif line.
13th May, 2015

Beige by Chanel

This premiered in 1931 and is just now being revived in 2008.

As other reviewers comment, this is a pretty, sweet, white floral - quite feminine, but intended methinks for the young woman, teens or early twenties.

The hawthorn gives it a fresh straw-like background, reminiscent of artemesia, so that the sweet freesia and frangipani (the tropic's equivalent of tuberose) can frolic.

Very nice indeed.
12th May, 2015

Misia by Chanel

Iris, Rose, Violet, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood.

A simple concoction, and the result for me is a warm leather iris, similar to Lutens' Iris Silver Mist.

The orris predominates and stands firmly in the center of the creation. The tonka and violet are very lightly shimmering on the outskirts.

A toss up between the Lutens and this, both equally fine and very very similar. Price will probably decide which is chosen.

One of the best of the Les Exclusifs.
11th May, 2015

Jersey by Chanel

With all the references in these reviews to the combination of lavender and vanilla, I was expecting something akin to the classic combo of these two notes, Caron's masterful powdery Pour Un Homme.

Instead I get no lavender or vanilla at all.

My nose picks up a linear, warm, buttery, leathery iris, akin to Lutens' Iris Silver Mist, but much much lighter. Soliflore to my nose, and for lovers of iris, a hit. It becomes slightly powdery in the dry down, but still iris all the way.

Odd how different noses smell the same scent totally differently. A hit in my book.
09th May, 2015

Gardénia by Chanel

I have always found the scent of the gardenia flower very akin to the tuberose, and I believe the latter has always been the center of all gardenia perfumes, since gardenia oil cannot be extracted and tuberose oil can. The one does the work of the other.

This is a soliflore to my experience - a very light and gentle tropical white floral with a mix of jasmine to support the tuberose and keep it from becoming cloying. I don't experience the vanilla.

This is quality all the way and for 90 years it's been the best gardenia on the market. Worth the investment.
08th May, 2015

1932 by Chanel

Aldehydes and Iris blast initially, then fade to oblivion within 15 minutes, leaving a plastic oceanic synthetic vibe, that is totally undistinguished.

During the first few minutes the leathery iris had me very interested, but sadly, it did not develop, it just disappeared.

Amazing the number of ingredients in this, adding up to a rather large cancellation of itself.

Not up to Chanel's standard at all.
07th May, 2015

Bel Respiro by Chanel

Chanel's take on the "acquatic floral" genre of modern scent, in other words, nothing at all. As meaningless as the Emperor's new wardrobe. There are literally dozens and dozens of scents identical to this that have flooded the market over the past decade, one more undistinguished than the last.

The acquatic green melon floral effect is rather plastic and has all the sophistication of a hand sanitizer scent.

A waste of time and vastly unworthy of the great house.
06th May, 2015

No. 18 by Chanel

This has a dark, rich, deep rose center that is reminiscent for me of Lalique's PERLES and CORIANDRE.

The musk and the rose geranium combine to create an ethereal, light, but at the same time dense aroma, that is more masculine than feminine, and would be interesting for use when dressing for cocktails and dinner in the late afternoon sun of a summer's day.

I don't pick up the fruity aspects that other reviewers have, nor does my nose register the iris. I have never experienced ambrette seed, and indeed it may be this source that provides rose aspects to match the rose geranium.

Simple, complex, perfectly balanced and a great summer scent.
05th May, 2015

Private Collection - Cuir d'Iris by Parfumerie Generale

I love leathers and I love iris. The name of this scent seemed to be a perfect come hither promise of fulfillment in these two areas. The best iris around is of course Lutens' Iris Silver Mist with its abundance of orris butter, which creates the impression of a soft Italian leather in glove, jacket or purse.

Cuir d'Iris has a smoky harshness to it (the Oud, Patchouli, and Cedarwood), which reminds one of coal tar. It is not warm, sweet and enveloping as a great leather needs to be. It balances a line between a rough, uncured leather and uncured tobacco leaves. The use of the iris is very restrained but constantly present. A warm leather requires some violet in its make-up, but that is not present here.

Some of the early "cuir de russie" scents from the late 1890s and the early 1900s had this harsh, smoky, uncured effect, which made sense in those days of unhygienic body odors permeating society on all levels. This doesn't work for me, but it's a perfectly fine scent for those who want their leather this strong.
07th April, 2015

Orgueil by Lucien Lelong

This is a perfume for the mature woman of the 1940s. A very strong, heady mixture of florals and leather - imagine inhaling the bottom of a woman's handbag of the era, where the scent of lipstick and cologne have mingled with the inner soft leather lining.

It was described by Lelong itself as "fruity with floral and oriental undertones." That about covers all bases without really committing. It may not have stood out above the other of its era, but the scent today is so rare as to make this a remarkable gem.

The name translates as "pride, arrogance," meant to symbolize the French emerging victorious from WWII.

Top notes: Plum, Peach, Sweet Pea
Heart notes: Carnation, Tuberose, Jasmine, Iris, Rose, Cloves, Nutmeg
Base notes: Oak Moss, Sandalwood, Ambergris, Leather

A real stunner of a scent! Vintage is still available on ebay.
05th April, 2015

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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