Reviews by JackTwist

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    Mollie Parnis by Weil

    Who was Mollie (Molly) Parnis?

    "Molly Parnis (1903?-1992) was a New York fashion designer who designed clothing for the First Ladies, as well as the uniform of the Cadet Nurse Corps in WWII". This according to Wikipedia.

    "First Lady Mamie Eisenhower wore a “silky purple Molly Parnis dress [with] a Peter Pan collar” to her sixtieth birthday party in 1956.

    Barbara Herman devotes a mention to this 1978 Weil scent that is rarer than hen's teeth. An edp decant was gracefully sent me by Basenoter jujy54 - my thanks to you.

    Here are the notes:

    Top: Galbanum, peach, plum, orange blossom, anise, coriander, gardenia;
    Heart: Carnation, tuberose, lily, rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, heliotrope;
    Base: Sandalwood, patchouli, osmanthus, tonka, amber, civet, musk, vetiver, styrax.

    The peach, the plum and the orange blossom, supported by tuberose, hit you right off and you are in olfactory heaven. Barbara Herman found that for her this morphed into a "candied tartness." She labelled this as a fruity floral chypre. I can't disagree. This most closely resembles for me Piguet's Fracas. I don't get the "humid mushroom" note that Herman found in the dry down.

    No matter. This is a heavenly scent that settles down on you like a silk scarf as the dry down continues. A shame that neither the designer nor the scent are remembered. One of Weil's very best scent achievements.

    02 September, 2014


    Calvin Klein by Calvin Klein

    Calvin Klein's initial scent from 1978 (almost a hundred have followed in the 36 years since) remains his best. Amazing that this is out of production.

    This is a spicy, warm fruity floral chypre that manages to be at the same time, deep and sophisticated as well as joyful and bright. Barbara Herman's first scent, which as a child she found reminded her of apples. She delights in its "fruity top notes, the depth and warmth of its spicy, musk base." The dry down is as she so aptly puts it "autumnal and sophisticated."

    The notes are correctly given above in the Basenotes profile, so I won't repeat them here. This is a keeper. It is quite hard to find on Ebay due to the fact that a search for the name brings up thousands of hits for all Klein's other scents. Try adding the words "original" and "vintage" to the search. Pricey, but well worth experiencing.

    It bridges the gap between the bright fruity florals of the 1980s and 1990s and the serious chypres of the 1940s and 1950s. Stunning.

    02 September, 2014


    Ambergris by Houbigant

    A slightly musky, mainly green scent, far more concentrated in the original oil version, than in the currently available diluted Monsieur Musk, now put out by Dana.

    Don't spend hundreds on the original oil, now as rare as hen's teeth, until you've picked up a bottle of the Monsieur Musk and tried it out - sells in department stores for under $20.

    31st August, 2014


    Mink & Pearls by Jovan

    This is correctly described by Barbara Herman as a "classic green leather chypre."

    Warmly animalic and at the same time fragrant with spicy florals (carnation) and a quiet green (narcissus).

    It is a throwback to the 1940s and 1950s and a surprise coming as it does at the end of the 1960s.

    This is quite simply the best fragrance from Jovan I have ever experienced. It's so well balanced and so deeply rich and complex, one would swear it came from one of the great design houses - it's very Schiaparelli and Lelong - not a drugstore fragrance chain.

    I have 1/8 oz. of the pure parfum.

    Top notes: Hyacinth, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Bergamot
    Heart notes: Jasmine, Narcissus, Jonquil, Rose, Carnation, Tuberose
    Base notes: Patchouli, Castoreum, Amber, Tonka, Moss, Leather, Musk

    Seek it out on Ebay and be amazed at the quality and beaty of this stunner.

    31st August, 2014


    Macassar by Rochas

    Barbara Herman describes this as a "stunning leather/wood chypre."

    Well, it certainly stuns, that's for sure. This is extremely harsh and unpleasant with the strength and power of undiluted turpentine, which it resembles.

    The Patchouli and Cedar are overwhelming. Note below that Herman's notes for this scent are markedly different from those Basenotes provides above.

    The bitter green artemesia opening mixed with pine is quickly followed by a sweet cedar heart, but the dry down which proceeds from that almost immediately is just awful to my nose (I have a 10 ml vintage decant). It's a wonder men who wore this were not stoned in the marketplace.

    I've loved all the other Rochas fragrances I've tried: Madame Rochas, Mystere, Moustache, Tocade, Byzance, but this one is for me a clunker.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Artemesia, Pine
    Heart notes: Jasmine, Carnation, Patchouli, Geranium, Vetiver, Cedar
    Base notes: Leather, Oakmoss, Castoreum, Amber, Olibanum, Musk

    Practically a reference poster boy for the "Powerhouse Scent Award" of 1980.

    First Edit: As I wear this, I find it comes down to pure, unadulterated harsh green vetiver and nothing else. Forget all the other ingredients listed - they could all be lies as far as I'm concerned. This is pure harsh vetiver. I can smell nothing else. I love vetiver, but could not recognize this initially under the other harsh notes until they had worn off.

    29 August, 2014 (Last Edited: 03 September, 2014)


    Estée by Estée Lauder

    An innocuous drugstore floral chore, of no real value to the world of scents, but not really bad on its own and given its pedigree.

    I have sampled both the pure 1968 version and the super 1969 version. As mentioned in Jon_Remy's review, the only real difference is in the concentration and strength, the second probably called into being due to reviews of poor sillage and longevity for the original.

    Barbara Herman found it "sweet, spicy and powdery," but found the jasmine "cloying, followed by spicy carnation." She believed it to be "too powdery and floral for modern noses."

    I found it to resemble a number of other drugstore scents of the 1960s, all of them pleasant, but none of them outstanding, Charles of the Ritz to Matchabelli to Revlon. It's generic, pleasant, but not worth your trouble seeking out.

    Top notes: Coriander, Jasmine
    Heart notes: Rose, Muguet, Carnation, Lily
    Base notes: Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Amber

    28 August, 2014


    Musc by Bruno Acampora

    This is the opposite side of the coin from the justly celebrated Muscs Koublai Khan of Serge Lutens. That was animalic, dirty, and drop dead sexy with its heady warmth and honeyed depths.

    Acampora's Musc is, to borrow adjectives from Barbara Herman's description, "sharp, earthy, green, camphor with a decided mushroom note." It certainly is complex and odd. For those who love green scents you could hardly get greener than this.

    It's not for me - too pungent, too sharp and green. I far prefer the Lutens, but to rate it objectively, it certainly is a fine musk and deserves a thumbs up.

    The Ashley Houbigant White Musk and the Coty Wild Musk, popular drug store brands, contain hardly any of their title ingredient and should be avoided at all costs. Acampora's Musc is expensive - $220 for 10 ml of the oil and $135 for 50 ml of the edp. For the latter concentration it parallels the cost of the Lutens.

    So far it would seem that the Acampora line has produced 10 scents in 40 years, stretching from this first hit in 1975. I'd be curious to sample his others, now that I've had a positive introduction to his first.

    28 August, 2014


    Jungle Le Tigre by Kenzo

    Most unusual and most original.

    This is dry and woody with a subdued fruitiy/floral mixture of Ylang Ylang and the apricot note of Osmanthus. The green dry grassy scent comes from the combination of the Davana grass and the unusual Oud-like Massoia wood, which is peppery as well.

    The warm dry down of amber and cinnamon sneaks in under the ever present top and heart notes, which hold their own.

    Very masculine and although not exactly sexy, quite intriguing.

    Its partner, the Junge L'Elephant, is quite different, more outgoing and exotic, and rather unisex in its appeal.

    This has become quite expensive since its being discontinued. I purchased a half ounce eau de partum on Amazon and will treasure it as I certainly can't afford the $100-200+ prices of full bottles on either Amazon or Ebay.

    Very worth a try. One wonders where Kenzo would have gone with this series, making use of native African materials in creating original scents. A shame they gave up on it.

    26 August, 2014


    Moon Drops by Revlon

    What an original and highly unusual scent!

    It goes on like gang busters, is quite concentrated, and quite loud.

    The initial blast is mint, mint and more mint. Odd in that there is no mint in any of the ingredients. One would swear peppermint was involved here. I have smelled lilies that were this intense and similar in their minty ripeness, but again there is no lily ingredient mentioned in the notes.

    Beneath it all is a honeyed floral chypre base that is quite nice in the dry down.

    For Barbara Herman, this is a "sensuous base of balsamic and woods with the sharpness of muguet and ylang ylang." I certainly get the "sharp." This accounts for the "honeyed ripe fruit" aspect Ms. Herman also realizes and its "decadence."

    Top notes: Gardenia, Peach, Raspberry, Bergamot
    Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Muguet, Ylang, Carnation, Orris, Honey, Tuberose
    Base notes: Sandalwood, Musk, Cedarwood, Moss, Styrax, Amber, Benzoin

    It's hard to react to this. It certainly does not deserve a thumbs down - it is original and it is intense and pleasant to the nose. Similarly, it does not deserve a thumbs up as it is a difficult scent to pull off. So, the neutral.

    Do try it, by all means. It's rare to come across something this original in vintage scents from the 1970s. You may just love it.

    26 August, 2014


    Gauloise by Molyneux

    What a delightful find!

    A warm "rosy floral," as described by Barbara Herman. This is certainly unisex and one of the few rose scents men can wear easily - think Pehnaligon's classic Hammam Bouquet.

    There seems to be a controversy as to whether this was named after the "popular French brand of cigarettes" or the direct translation as the essence of the "Gallic woman." The resemblance of the bottle design to the actual cigarette package design tends to shift the question one way, but if one considers that the cigarette itself was designed as expressing the other argument, you have it both ways.

    There is an interesting tobacco scent underlying the rose bouquet. This takes its unique place alongside Caron's classic Tabac Blond, as being specifically geared towards the woman who smokes cigarettes - a tobacco quite different from the pipe or cigar variety aimed at men.

    Quite a gem and luckily still available on Ebay.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Coriander, Hyacinth
    Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Tuberose, Muguet
    Base notes: Musk, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Amber, Civet

    25 August, 2014


    Jovan Sport Scent For Woman by Jovan

    Barbara Herman found this similar to Lauder's Alliage with its "sweet, sour candy" notes due to neroli and galbanum. She found a "fresh, green, floral heart with moss, woods and amber base."

    It goes on quite smoothly - green florals with amber woody warmth. The herbal addition of marjoram and angelica add a dry, outdoorsy cushion for the florals.

    Although nice, it is in no way unusual or outstanding. Just another pleasant scent from Jovan, now discontinued.

    Top notes: Galbanum, Bergamot, Neroi, Marjoram, Angelica
    Heart notes: Rose, Hyacinth, Geranium, Ylang, Carnatio;n, Orris, Lily, Jasmine
    Base notes: Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Musk, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Amber, Civet

    You can find it on Ebay.

    22 August, 2014


    Audace by Rochas

    This is certainly one of the old school green floral chypres. However, it veers away from the animalic (typical of the period) toward the floral. There is a menthol-like note that envelops it in coolness, much like the similar note used in Scherrer #1.

    It reminded Barbara Herman of Sikkim, Fete and Aramis. While I don't get the last reference, I do get the first two. Very much like Fete, which followed.

    A subtle, sophisticated balance between the floral and the chypre base, at first it may seem to be simply a floral melange, like Rochas' classic, Madame Rochas, but the chypre quality comes forth with the heart notes and the dry down.

    A great shame that it is discontinued.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Juniper, Galbanum
    Heart notes: Rose de Mai, Jasmine, Orris, Carnation, Violet leaves, Jonquil
    Base notes: Oakmoss, Pine, Patchouli, Amber

    22 August, 2014


    Jovan Woman by Jovan

    Definitely a chypre to my nose, neither a woody floral, nor an oriental.

    This is spicy, warm, animalic, but with a fruity floral overlay that never lets it get too serious about its base notes.

    Jovan succeeded brilliantly this time, one of their very best scent creations.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Geranium
    Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Ylang, Orris, Carnation
    Base notes: Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Musk

    Beware the re-formulation. Look for it on Ebay in the vintage bottle - curved black top, glass straight on one side, curved in on the other.

    Well worth seeking out - and so inexpensive.

    21st August, 2014


    Bill Blass by Bill Blass

    Barbara Herman labels this a "floral chypre with pineapple." She found it "fresh, happy, with an approachable warmth - a floral with personality."

    I agree, with reservations. This is a typical light fruity floral of the 1970s and it does have more personality than most others of its drugstore distribution variety. The pineapple and hyacinth give it a bright, not overly sweet, glow, while the oak moss and amber give it a warmth, which grounds it.

    It is nice, distinctive from its competitors, but still lacks anything in the "special" or "unique" category that would put it in my thumbs up slot. You can still find this inexpensively on Ebay.

    Top notes: Galbanum, Pineapple, Hyacinth, Bergamot
    Heart notes: Tuberose, Jasmine, Ylang, Carnation, Orris
    Base notes: Musk, Sandalwood, Cedar, Amber, Oakmoss

    21st August, 2014


    Jitrois by Jitrois

    This is a truly unique scent, so rare to encounter, and it is a great shame it is discontinued. Barbara Herman notes the fresh, sharp, green – gardenia opening. This is quite impressive. The green notes at the opening and heart of the scent are bracing with a soft dryness supplied by coriander.

    The dry down is warm and animalic, which makes this a cross over between green floral and floral chypre. Again as Barbara Herman notes, it has a dissonance - "green sweet gardenia and mossy, leather base" which recalled to her the classic Bandit. The leather was appropriate as it was the designer's material of choice.

    The odd bottle is worth mentioning. One side is rippled and rough, as if a wind had gotten to the glass before it hardened. The other side is smooth. There is a wavy top as well.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Gardenia, Coriander
    Heart notes: Jasmine, Carnation, Muguet, Rose, Orris
    Base notes: Patchouli, Leather, Moss, Castoreum, Amber, Labdanum, Civet

    Well worth seeking out on Ebay.

    First edit: The more I apply this scent, the more the dry down reminds me of Puig's excellent men's scent, Quorum, so I now no longer find it unique, just in a wonderful class of sweet chypres.

    20th August, 2014 (Last Edited: 03 September, 2014)


    Aviance by Prince Matchabelli

    It seems significant that the great perfume writers (Dove, Turin and Sanchez, Herman) have practically ignored the proliferous house of Prince Matchabelli. Only Herman reviews one scent of theirs and that is Aviance.

    This is quite an unusual scent. There is a bright green floral opening, then the heart reveals what Herman correctly identifies as a "milky herbal tea" effect Tonka Bean and a chypre-like base of Vetiver, Musk and Moss ground it.

    It can correctly be labelled as a floral chypre with its mix of greens, florals and woods.

    All that said, it is not outstanding in any way. As a drugstore scent, it is no better nor worse than others of its ilk. Despite all it has going for it, it never rises above pleasant.

    Top note: Bergamot
    Heart notes: Rose, Muguet, Jasmine, Orris
    Base notes: Sandalwood, Vetiver, Moss, Tonka, Musk

    20th August, 2014


    Enjoli by Revlon

    A generic floral of the drugstore variety - innocuous and completely unmemorable, as are so many of the scents from the 70s decade.

    Reminiscent of Via Lanvin and others of its ilk, very light, almost a non-scent.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Peach, Hyacinth, Galbanum
    Heart notes: Tuberose, Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Carnation, Orchid
    Base notes: Sandalwood, Musk, Cedar Oakmoss, Amber, Vanilla

    20th August, 2014


    Nuance by Coty

    This is so light and inconsequential that it is, like Coty's Wild Musk, a non-scent.

    I have sprayed repeatedly and heavily and can hardly detect anything more than a very very light wood and violet scent.

    It surprises me that Barbara Herman calls this "loud," the total opposite of my experience. She calls it an "old lady scent," which does a disservice to an area that I actually admire a great deal. This list of notes below are all wasted as I am left with only the lavender and violet.

    It reminds me most of Elizabeth Arden's SUNFLOWERS, another "nothing" scent. We are entering the Emperor's New Clothes area of scent manufacture.

    Top notes: Lemon, Plum, Peach
    Heart notes: Rose, Neroli, Volet, Cinnamon
    Base notes: Lavender, Moss, Vanilla, Musk

    Not worth spending a penny for - even a sample's worth.

    17 August, 2014


    Weil de Weil by Weil

    An excellent green floral - bright and fresh.

    Barbara Herman found the opening bitter, but I do not. After the first burst of freshness, the base notes give it a spicy support with the help of a generous burst of coriander.

    Too bad this is discontinued, as it is one of the better green florals I have experienced.
    Look for it on Ebay, where it is quite affordable.

    Top notes: Galbanum, Gardenia, Hyacinth, Neroli
    Heart notes: Rose, Orris, Jasmine, Narcissus, Ylang
    Base notes: Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Oakmoss, Musk, Amber, Coriander

    17 August, 2014


    Empreinte by Courrèges

    This is a dry, slightly fruity, chypre that is rather unique in my experience.

    Very subtle, a bit animalic (I'd swear there was civet in here, but it must be the castoreum that is so center stage).

    The peach, plum and melon notes do not dominate, but just lift this scent lightly aloft. The coriander and castoreum dominate. It is worn very close to the skin and as such would be a subtle magnet for intimate relations.

    The notes are listed above in Zut's review, so I won't repeat them here.

    This has been around for 43 years. It must be doing something right. It is certainly unisex in my opinion. Worth a try seeing as how it is quite inexpensive as well as being quite lovely.

    15 August, 2014


    Via Lanvin by Lanvin

    This is pleasant green floral, pungent at first and therefore interesting. A combination of violet and orris give it a powdery effect at the heart.

    It quickly dries down to an amber/cedar where the cedar is too prominent for my comfort. Better if the amber had taken precedent.

    Not bad, not great, just a nice, acceptable scent.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Violet Lemon
    Heart notes: Muguet, Jasmine, Orris, Carnation, Rose, Ylang, Narcissus
    Base notes: Vetiver, Cedar, Sandalwood, Musk, Amber, Moss

    15 August, 2014


    Geminesse by Max Factor

    This is a very interesting scent, coming as it does in the mid-1970s, as it belongs more in the late 1940s-early 1950s.

    A fine balance of florals and mossy chypre base.

    Quite unusual and worth seeking out on Ebay.

    14 August, 2014


    Imprévu by Coty

    One of the most successful (artistically) of the later Cotys (along with Masumi), this rosy and green floral delight is most reminiscent of their earlier masterpiece, L'Origan, with its decided but subtle clove/carnation note, though neither of these is listed in the breakdown.

    The dry down is a gentle warm orris/sandalwood/oakmoss mixture. Sophisticated and classy.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Coriander
    Heart notes: Rose, Geranium, Muguet, Orris, Honey
    Base notes: Sandalwood, Tonka, Cedwarwood, Oakmoss, Musk, Vetiver

    Worth seeking out on Ebay.

    14 August, 2014


    Babe by Fabergé

    As Barbara Herman accurately reports, this is a "floral chypre with light florals and raspberry, spice from carnation and amber, and an earthiness from vetiver, sandalwood and oak moss."

    It goes on like a wonderful old fashioned chypre from the 1940s (Shocking, Replique), but that sadly evaporates within the first ten minutes, and we are left with just the memory of those honeyed florals, as it dies down to a dry musk without any distinction whatsoever.

    This may have been one of those drug store scents, cheaply offered, that had a small concentration of really fine oils and the rest left to alcohol and aldehydes.

    A cheat and a dismal failure.

    13 August, 2014


    Eau Dynamisante by Clarins

    This starts off with a bright, fresh, lemon, supported by a dry petit grain.

    It then dries down to a pleasant, though unremarkable, herbal and dry spice mix.

    Top notes: Orange, Coriander, Caraway, Lemon, Petit Grain
    Heart notes: Rosemary, Carnation, Cardamom, Thyme
    Base note: Patchouli

    A refreshing summer splash, but nothing at all remarkable in the world of scents.

    13 August, 2014


    Yendi by Roberto Capucci

    To my nose another of the non-scents.

    It has a musty herbal opening, reminiscent of decaying flowers, then nothing.

    None of Barbara Herman's reactions fit here: "Fizzy citrus, bright florals, musky dry down."

    So light and inconsequential, it evaporates as you are trying to smell it.

    13 August, 2014


    Magie Noire by Lancôme

    An oriental chypre that manages to be both light and dark at the same time. Dark in that the honeyed rose and cassis come together with the depth of a rose chypre, but this does not result in a powerhouse experience and that is where the lightness comes in. It is not overdone - it simply floats.

    It is this balance that makes the scent one of the most original and greatest of the rose chypre type.

    Barbara Herman extolled its "narcotic honey, rose, tuberose mix with ripe berries." Turin gave it 4 stars and called it a "dry woody," which is way off base. He also compared this to vintage Rochas' Mystere, which is a truer statement.

    Top notes: Cassis, Bergamot, Hyacinth, Raspberry
    Heart notes: Honey, Jasmine, Muguet, Tuberose, Narcissus, Orris, Oriental Rose
    Base notes: Patchouli, Castoreum, Civet, Vetiver, Musk, Oakmoss, Benzoin

    Be certain to obtain a bottle of the vintage, as this has been re-formulated, and not too well at that.

    13 August, 2014


    Inouï by Shiseido

    This is very green, but also a bit acidic (thyme and juniper) or medicinal, as Barbara Herman describes it. Pine lightens it as does the jasmine.

    I was not won over by Inoui, finding it interesting in its fruit/floral/herbal combination, but not memorable and not really that significant as a scent in and of itself.

    One experiences more the chemical than the natural in the ingredients.

    Not awful, but not good.

    12 August, 2014


    Fête by Molyneux

    Barbara Herman correctly describes this as a "fruity animalic chypre." Bringing together the sweetness of plum and peach and balancing it with the animalic trio of civet, cumin and leather, this becomes a come hither, but no further, scent that is both sophisticated and naughty at the same time, giving off sweetness, but promising a meeting in the hayfield later.

    Top notes: Caraway, Plum, Peach, Bergamot, Rosewood, Cumin
    Heart notes: Lilac, Orris, Jasmine, Ylang
    Base notes: Sandalwood, Benzoin, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Civet, Leather

    This is a unique and lovely scent. The bottle is a gorgeous and delicate tower. A great shame that something this fine is discontinued.

    12 August, 2014


    Coeur de Parfum / Parfum Rare by Jacomo

    So many different "takes" on this scent in the reviews on this page thus far.

    Barbara Herman described the effect as: "Animal, fruity, floral chypre," which just about covers every scent base. Drydown was described as "ripe, spicy, mossy to rotten leather."

    Jacomo does "green" very well. I found their Silences to be an exceptional green floral. However, I am not as impressed with Parfum Rare. I get woods and moss, no fruit, no florals, no spices, in fact no leather, rotten or otherwise.

    Herman's note break down is significantly different from the above on Basenotes:

    Top notes: Cassis, Marigold, Bergamot
    Heart notes: Jasmine, Tuberose, Rose, Muguet, Orris, Ylang
    Base notes: Patchouli, Leather, Benzoin, Styrax, Olibanum, Amber, Musk, Moss

    It's dry, woody and mossy on me - of no particular significance, but not bad.

    11th August, 2014

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