Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JackTwist

Total Reviews: 1274

Ylanga by Coryse Salome


The banana-like scent of Ylang Ylang is center stage here, supported by a very light vanilla. The Jasmine and Tuberose do not overwhelm, which reveals a mastery of the blending art.

I find no spices to speak of and it would seem the citruses have worn off with time. No matter. It is a lovely sweet, fruity concoction, which seems to be quite unique for its time. I have not as yet come across another fruit oriented scent from this era of perfumery.

Top notes: Neroli, Bergamot, Lemon, Orange Blossom
Heart notes: Ylang, Jasmine, Tuberose, Muguet
Base notes: Spices, Clove, Oak Moss, Patchouli, Vanilla

It is hard to think of an occasion to wear this. It strikes me as more of a fun, personal scent, to be worn about the house. Lovely and unique.
15th March, 2018

Organdi by Coryse Salome


Perfumista and collector, Alexandra Star, tells us that “Salomé was established in 1909 by Marius Cartier and sold perfumes, cosmetics and toiletries at his shop at 8 place de l'Opera, Paris. Salome was affiliated with Cartier.

“Coryse was established in 1919 by Maurice Blanchetat, also in Paris and also sold perfumes, toiletries and cosmetics. He purchased the perfumery Salomé in 1929 and the two companies merged into Coryse Salomé.

“Gauze,” “tissue,” and “organdy” are all terms, which may be applied to organza-like fabrics. This is the image that Organdi perfume sums up – a sheer beautiful light feminine silk fabric!”

Top notes: Bergamot, Neroli
Heart notes: Orange Blossom, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang
Base notes: Sandalwood, Musk, Vanilla, Civet

This is an unusual scent, with an autumnal feel to it. Florals deeply saturated, yet light, and floating over a solid, unctuous slightly bitter base. The impression is that of a crisp autumn day walking in the woods, boots moving through fallen leaves.

It has the feel of a floral chypre. The musk and civet really hold the florals down, so they don’t float away. These two are masterfully blended.

It is a scent for nostalgia, for wistful remembrance. Quite stunning and quite rare.
15th March, 2018

Cuir de Russie by Vonna


Perfumista and Collector, Alexandra Star, tells us that “little is known about the perfume house called Vonna, as they faded into obscurity after WWII.”

The Perfume Encyclopedia lists seven scents for the house. In addition to Cuir de Russie, there are: Frisco, Neu, Neu d’ Iles, Chypre, No. 11, and Vonna, all launched in the 1930s to early 1940s.

Ms. Star goes on to say: “On a label affixed to a Vonna Cuir de Russie bottle was a badge that reads 'Produits de Scientifique de Beaute de Vonna, Cachet de Garantie'. History tells us that in 1926 the very similarly named Academie Scientifique de Beaute was born in Paris. The company, which is still family owned to this day, was founded by the French pharmacist, Georges Gay, and they claim to have opened the first scientific beauty academy to train aestheticians in 1928.”

"Without comparing it to anything, the Vonna CdR smells strongly of leather. But a side-by-side comparison of a 1930-40 era Chanel Cuir de Russie reveals the Vonna is a much softer leather scent than the Beaux/Chanel version, making the Vonna seem like an almost suede-like, more modern rendition of leather. This is indeed a softer and surprisingly supple and turn of leather."

The Vintage Perfume Vault reports that: "Vonna's Cuir De Russie opens fittingly with an over-dose of orange blossom. I say fitting because the fleshy orange blossom petals that fall from our orange trees this time of year have a naturally leathery, almost petrolish tone with an almost narcotic, honeysuckle-sweet nectar scent. Along with orange blossom, Vonna's leather seems to have been cured in a vat of violet petals, thanks to a heavy touch of ionones, no doubt. It dries down to an ultra-smooth, almost sweet tonka-suede nougat that maintains its leather character while becoming more and more powdery; you can detect it on paper 24-48 hours and long beyond. All in all, Vonna’s Cuir de Russie is a fantastic leather perfume for the vintage collector, if you can find it."

Top notes: Neroli, Orange Blossom, Violet
Heart notes: Orange, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Juniper
Base notes: Leather, Cedar, Vetiver, Balsam, Labdanum, Musk, Patchouli, Amber, Sandalwood

I have a heretofore unopened half ounce of the perfume with gold string still attached and stopper firmly stuck in the opening. A little hot water and gentle coaxing finally liberated it.
A warm blast of amber and violet greets my nose, supported by a superb musk. The orange notes seem to have faded with time. It is a very gentle, feminine leather chypre with slightly bitter notes of nutmeg, rosemary and juniper. The cedar, vetiver and sandalwood provide the warm, woody base notes, again softened this time by balsam, labdanum and patchouli.

This has neither the pungent birch tar notes of cuirs from the 19th century, nor the polished, somewhat sweet notes of the Chanel version. It almost waffles on the fence between leather and pure chypre, sometimes leaning in one direction, sometimes the other, during its extensive dry down.

Certainly a treasure and worth searching out!

15th March, 2018
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Fraicheur de Jade by Payan

Payan – Fraicheur de Jade (1918)

“Since its creation in 1854 by Mr Payan, the Honoré Payan company has produced and sold perfumes, toilet water and essential oils in compliance with the purest tradition of the French perfumery and Grasse. Since 2002 the company has been partnered with Parfums J. Rigaud to perpetuate the craft and family character of their products with the same concern that has emphasized product quality and satisfaction to their customers for over 150 years. The company still operates to this day in Provence.” Quote from Alexandra Star, Perfumista and Collector.

Fraicheur de Jade was launched in 1918. Notes include Violet, Apple, Pear, Rose, Lily, Bergamot, Jasmine, Vanilla, Sandalwood, and Tonka Bean.

It is a very light, spring-like scent with a decided bent towards violet, but with delicate apple and pear notes added to the sweet freshness. The name translates to “Freshness of Jade,” which is an odd name for a perfume, unless Payan was trying to indicate a green, spring impression, which is just what the scent communicates.

The presentation is in a beautiful crystal bottle, which is in and of itself more interesting than the perfume.

15th March, 2018

Fleurs de Tabac by Silka


Silka was established by Maurice Roussel in 1900. It produced refined and sophisticated perfumes and cosmetics with original names. The company was shut down during WWII, but reopened and finally closed in 1950. Silka produced some thirty scents between 1912 and 1920.

Art nouveau jeweler Lucien Gaillard, a friend of Lalique, designed a number of bottles for Silka. Other bottle designers for the firm included Georges Chevalier and Julien Viard.

The first tobacco perfume was Piver’s Tabac in 1900. Roger and Gallet followed in 1910 with their Cigalia. Other important tobacco scented perfumes include Caron’s Tabac Blond (1919) and Cherigan’s Fleurs de Tabac (1929).

Silka’s Fleurs de Tabac premiered in 1946 as one of their very first post-war perfumes. I am experiencing a half ounce bottle of parfum, which still had its original plug. The scent is a very warm chypre-like amalgam of several notes. It begins with a very citrus-oriented top of orange, neroli, lemon and bergamot prominent. The emphasis on orange gives it a lovely sweetness.

As the heart unfolds we get the slightly Russian leather effect of birch and a powdery combination of tobacco leaf and tarragon. The base is as much that of a cuir de russie as of a tabac with the round, mellow warmth of myrrh, vanilla and ambergris, made animalic with civet and leather notes.

The blending is superb as no one note stands out. The overall effect is that of a warm, rich, mellow chypre, reminding one at the same time of leather and tobacco. It is remarkably unisex by today’s standards and is a real treasure for connoisseurs of both of these accords.

Top notes: Orange Blossom, Orange, Neroli, Lemon, Bergamot
Heart notes: Tobacco, Tarragon, Birch, Carnation, Orris
Base notes: Frankincense, Myrrh, Ambergris, Patchouli, Civet, Leather, Vanilla

15th March, 2018

Cyclamen by Nissery


Nissery was a Paris house in operation from 1920 to 1929, during which time they produced 17 scents. They later merged with Mury.

Cyclamen is a flower with no discernible scent, yet over 45 perfumes named after it are listed in the Perfume Encyclopedia.

Nissery’s Cyclamen was launched in 1922 and in the words of perfumista and collector, Alexandra Star, “it is now extremely rare and almost impossible to find. While cyclamen essential oil is impossible to extract from the flowers, the odor profile of this lovely scent is created from an aldehyde note replicating the refined, light, clean and mysterious scent of cyclamen flowers.”

Top notes: Rose, Carnation, Lilac, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley
Heart notes: Neroli, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Heliotrope
Base notes: Sandalwood, Vanilla, Musk

The initial impression is that of a freshly opened humidor, containing fragrant pipe tobacco. It is very warm and vanillic. The floral medley is so well blended that no particular note stands out.

Osmanthus, also known as tea olive, has a fruity aroma, reminiscent of peach and apricot. I believe it is this that adds the complex tobacco fragrance to the mix. The Nissery Cyclamen is a lovely scent and highly recommended if you’re lucky enough to find a bottle on line.

Now I am intrigued to experience other scents named after the Cyclamen flower.

Note: Upon further applications, this reminds me almost identically of R&G’s Cigalia of 1912, one of the first tobacco scented parfums.

15th March, 2018

Albert Nipon by Albert Nipon


The Nippons were American designers, whose creations for women were sought by top celebrities in the 1980s. Notoriety ended their careers when Albert was convicted of fraud and tax evasion and had to serve a term in a penitentiary. The firm went bankrupt eventually.

Only two scents emerged from this house, one in 1983 named simply Nippon and a re-formulation in 1985 named, Albert Nippon.

This is a spicy, warm oriental, much in the vein of Tabu, Tuvache and Youth Dew. I get a good deal of cinnamon and carnation in the heart. As it dries down a green note enters to give it a freshness.

It is not as heavy or strong as Opium or the above named orientals. It is much more balanced and subtle. As such, it is recommended. Bottles are still available for sale on the Internet. Be certain you buy one of the originals in the distinctive bottle with the tied bow motif. Quite affordable. One of those forgotten scents from the decade of the 1980s that proves a most enjoyable vintage find.
03rd March, 2018

Violette Précieuse by Caron


I am reviewing a decant of the original vintage formula and must confess that I can hardly smell anything at all. It may be due to the age of the juice.

At first I get a very very faint green mint note with a subtle woody undertone. This is most probably due to the restrained use of vetiver and iris. I detect a caramel-like note, which may be immortelle. As raspberry was not a note used at the time of the original formulation, it is not present here.

Even into the heart and dry down I get no violet at all, not even a hint of it. There is some orange blossom here, but again very restrained and only giving a hint of sweetness.

I must give it a neutral, as there is hardly anything here to smell, and what there is, while not being offensive, is certainly nothing to write home about.
18th January, 2018

Fall Flowers by Guerlain


An oddity, which is hard to explain. First of all, the notes given are tuberose and gardenia, the last of which is created in the laboratory due to the impossibility of extracting the scent from the flower itself.

Second, neither tuberose nor gardenia are fall flowers. One would expect a dry chrysanthemum or aster chypre with this name.

Third, why yet another tuberose perfume? Are there not enough out there?

All this aside and taken on its own merit, Fall Flowers is a decent take on tuberose, tempering its unctuousness with a dry green effect that brings it down many notches from screeching to warm and wearable.

Decent, but the raison d’etre still eludes me.

12th January, 2018

Ciao by Houbigant


I can find no information regarding the intended audience of this scent, re men, women, or unisex. I would consider it to be unisex.

This is very similar to Molyneux’s Fete (1962) with its dark chypre quality and the unmistakable “dirty” note of cumin. There is amber here as well and most probably sandalwood and patchouli.

There is a light floral mix floating over this basically “base noted” scent, but no particular note stands out as identifiable. It is sensual and mature in nature and eminently wearable.

A decent dark chypre for those into animalic notes. Still available on the internet from private sellers.
11th January, 2018

Violettes du Czar by Oriza L. Legrand

Oriza Le Grand began in 1720 as a house bound to the French Court, although its prestige as an international house of perfumed products did not begin until 1811. Their Doubles Violettes du Czar originated in 1862, but was revived for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, from which my vintage sample is derived.

Le Grand was the only house named as official purveyor to the Russian Court and this entirely original take on the violet scent is nothing short of stunning. The idea of doubling the intensity of the violet oil and combining it with a Russian leather is so unique as to boggle the modern olfactory mind.

What a hit it is! The subtlest of orris suede leather notes, combined with amber and musk perfectly suggest leather that has then been rubbed with pure violet oils. The only other intense violet I have thus encountered has been the Egyptian Shimy Brothers’ version from the 1920s.

This is for the true violet lover and right up there with the Shimy as being one of the very finest this nose has ever encountered.

I have no idea how the recent re-formulation and release (2014) stacks up to the original. I am wary of the Guaiac wood as it did not exist as an ingredient in perfumery in the nineteenth century and always puts me off with its bitter and stringent oud quality. Also the modern version is so inexpensive, I doubt any real violet is used, only a chemical equivalent. I must say the modern bottle is quite beautiful and the packaging exquisite.

If I do experience the reincarnation in future, I will edit this review.

For the time being, I rate the vintage as a true classic – one I’ll bet Guerlain wished it could have been responsible for. By the way, there is a 1.35 oz. bottle of the vintage out there on the internet.

20th December, 2017

Les Violettes by Lubin

According to the Perfume Encyclopedia, Lubin created at least seven perfumes with the name "violet," their first released in 1890. This release, dating from 1925, is just what it purports to be - true soliflore violet, aided as usual in this particular treatment by violet leaf and orris to enhance its dry, powdery beauty.

No chemicals here, just the pure violet. It is quite gentle and wears close to the skin. It is most reminiscent in my nose to the Berdoues classic.

Seemingly quite rare, but occasionally obtainable on the internet.

A beautiful addition to my collection of scents centering around my favorite flower.
19th December, 2017

Kypre by Lancôme

Lancome – Kypre review (1935)

Following the death of Francois Coty in 1934, his former employee, Armand Petitjean, founded Lancome with five initial scents, all released in 1935.

Kypre, a play on “chypre,” is categorized as a soft leather chypre. It is said to be Petitjean’s favorite of his own creations.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Plum
Heart Notes: Jasmine, Rose, Cistus, Labdanum, Violet, Orris
Base Notes: Ambergris, Patchouli, Oak Moss, Musk, Civet

This is a stunning floral chypre with rich, plummy notes and a large amount of both rose and jasmine. The classic chypre combo of bergamot, labdanum and oak moss firmly entrench it in that category. The very light use of the animalic ambergris, musk and civet give it a complexity that is sensually intriguing. The orris provides a soft, powdery suede-like leather vibe.

A real stunner and a real rarity on the internet, but luckily still available. A must-smell for all chypre lovers.
04th December, 2017
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Devilscent #2: The Main Act by Olympic Orchids


Olympic Orchids tells us that Devil Scent Two is “a spicy, woody, animalic scent.” I was happy to see that for once oud had been left out and the use of spices and synthetic animalics had me hoping. How naïve of me. The nasty, bitter oud note has been replaced with, you guessed it, a nasty bitter agar note.

Once again what could have been a lovely spicy animalic chypre-like scent is dominated by this sharp and thoroughly unpleasant accord. Both oud and agar resemble ammonia/spikenard/tea tree oil to my nose. I fear for the noses of today and what is being done to them. This agar accord destroys every other note and renders them undetectable. A shame after all the work and care that went into making up this composition.

A big whopping thumbs down on this nasty scent. How apt is its name, for it may go to the Devil with my blessing.

Released 2012. 20 Notes: three different kinds of labdanum, tolu balsam, black agar, woody accord, musks, synthetic castoreum, synthetic civet, cistus oil, frankincense, rose, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, cinnamon leaf, immortelle, cade, davana, leather .
03rd December, 2017

Devilscent #1 : Foreplay by Olympic Orchids


16 Notes: three kinds of synthetic oud, woody accord, black vanilla, tolu balsam, labdanum absolute, synthetic musk deer accord, Africa stone tincture, ambergris tincture, synthetic civet, beeswax absolute, frankincense, African bluegrass, giant arborvitae wood from the Pacific Northwest, and cinnamon leaf.

I am one with reviewer Flathorn on this page in recognizing a lovely wood structure ruined by the use of nasty, bitter oud, a note I despise and yet one that is vastly and inexplicably popular. Olympic Orchids’ Blackbird was ruined for me by the use of this note, and so is Devil Scent One.

This is certainly rich and deep with a sweetness that mimics florals without their being present. The scent is strong, but oddly the projection is weak. This is a power house scent right out of the 1970s, so should be applied lightly.

Olympic uses high quality oils and resins and its wood notes are particularly vivid and true to life. The center of Devil Scent One is the combination of synthetic civet, synthetic musk, beeswax and frankincense. If only perfumer Ellen Covey had stopped while she was ahead. The blending of this house is always stellar and Devil Scent One is no exception. Without the oud, this would be stunning. Alas, this is not the case. I urge Ms. Covey to reformulate this without the oud and release it under a new name.

02nd December, 2017

Kingston Ferry by Olympic Orchids


Olympic Orchids tells us that Kingston Ferry is “an aromatic, aquatic, and woody fragrance inspired by the scents from land, beach, and water at a Pacific Northwest ferry dock.”

12 Notes: salt air, rhododendron, lavender, tarragon, chamomile, heather, cedar leaves, sea-weathered wood pilings, diesel fuel, madrone, seaweed, sun-dried driftwood, charred firewood.

Kingston Ferry begins with a sharp green herbal blast of tarragon and lavender, accompanied by the somewhat sour scent of drying paint. There is a minty note as well, accompanied by the sharp, clean, dry aroma of spikenard/tea tree oil.

It does not evoke for me anything resembling land, beach, water or docks, and I’ve had a good deal of exposure to that world over the years. KF does not strike me as a wearable scent, simply an interesting combination of oils that is more academic than useful.

It is not terrible, just odd, so I give it a neutral rating. Not good, not bad, simply not something I would want to smell like.
01st December, 2017

Woodcut by Olympic Orchids

Olympic Orchids – WOODCUT

Winner of the 2015 Art and Olfaction Award in the artisan category, Woodcut
Is pure and simply a “woody” scent, concentrating on three resins, pine, cedar and oak. The latter is a new entry into the perfume world, to my knowledge, and adds a roundness and depth to the overly familiar pine-cedar duo.

With the description of caramel, burnt sugar and vanilla, I assumed these would be provided by immortelle, but I seem to be mistaken in this assumption. I truly do get these three separate effects without the garam masala heaviness that immortelle can impart.

I appreciate the total absence of the bitter oud resin most commonly used these days in wood scents. This ruined the effect of Olympic’s Blackbird for me, and is happily not present in Woodcut.

I like it. It is true to its description and is both warm and subtle. A restrained and welcome addition to the genre. Although released as unisex, it is much more masculine to my nose than feminine.

Released 2014. 8 Notes: Fractional distillations of pine and cedar, oakwood absolute, tolu balsam, olibanum, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla.
30th November, 2017

Blackbird by Olympic Orchids

BLACKBIRD (2013) – Olympic Orchids

According to the Olympic Orchids blurb, “This fragrance celebrates the dry season and the warm, peaceful days of summer in the Pacific Northwest, …
The powerful scent of tawny dry grass, fir and cedar trees baking in the sun, releasing their sharp, incense-like resins, and juicy ripe blackberries with their jammy, musky sweetness…a juxtaposition of dry ambery-woody notes with just a touch of juicy fruit.”

Blackbird was a finalist for the 2014 Art and Olfaction Awards.

Released 2013. Notes 8: Himalayan blackberry fruit, dry grass and leaves, elemi, cedar wood and resin, woody-amber accord, fir balsam absolute, musk.

My first impression is that of yet another Angel flanker. The berry note comes on strong, as does an acrid oud-like note that is off-putting. The resins and woods are harsh, not warm and inviting. Happily, they fade to the background pretty quickly and one is left with a rich, jammy, blackberry gourmand that remains pretty constantly dead center.

An unusual combination of scents, since picking blackberries in conifer forests is not a past time common to most people. I am not a big fan of gourmand scents, as I believe that food belongs on the table, not smeared over one’s body, but I must admit the quality of the oils used by Olympic Orchids has been consistently high, and this is no exception, being a strong rendition of the given note combination.

It is the bitter, acrid supporting note that makes this unpleasant for me, so I can only give it a neutral rating.

29th November, 2017

Salamanca by Olympic Orchids


According to their web site, Olympic Orchids’ Salamanca is for lovers of “leather, hay, hot sun beating on dry grass and water evaporating from wet stones.”

It is named after the Spanish university town, lying between Madrid and Portugal.

There are 10 notes: hay, tonka, mitti (clay), vetiver, immortelle, helichrysum, labdanum, opoponax, leather, yellow mimosa.

The scent itself begins with a strong blast of vetiver, which is quite pungent. As it calms down, it makes way for the leather accord. The effect is of vetiver oil rubbed into saddle leather. Equestrians would I imagine be in ecstasy at this point. I wait in vain for the other notes to emerge, but what I get is a mélange of notes suggesting wood smoke.

It is quite unmistakenly masculine. I can’t imagine a woman successfully wearing this or wanting to. It’s for strong, rugged personalities. There’s nothing sophisticated or erudite about Salamanca. Perfect for the outdoors man. If into hiking, camping or rock climbing, this might be an excellent choice.

My spouse responds to the mitti, making Salamanca for him an exercise in potting dust.

A most interesting and unusual fragrance with limited use potential, but of quality nevertheless.
28th November, 2017

Kyphi by Olympic Orchids

Olympic Orchids – Kyphi

Kyphi is the oldest fragrance creation in human history and is the first for which the ingredients are known. Although used for centuries in Ancient Egypt, the earliest surviving recipe committed to papyrus dates from 200 B.C. with an update in 40 A.D.

Kyphi was created in many forms, from incense to unguents and most popularly as oils rolled in wax and placed under the headdress or wig, so that the warmth would melt the oils, which would then stream down upon the neck and garments.

The classic 16 ingredients of Kyphi are:

Frankincense, Myrrh, Labdanum, Beeswax, Calamus, Spices, Raisins, Honey, Juniper, Cardamom, Cypress, Spikenard, Cassia, Cinnamon, Mint, Mimosa.

Olympic Orchids’ 2011 restoration is 100% natural and contains the following 15 ingredients:

Frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, labdanum, beeswax, spikenard, henna, lemongrass, wild orange, calamus, cassia, cyperus, saffron, juniper berry, and spices.

Notes of the original not listed in the new version are the following: raisins, honey, cardamom, cinnamon, mint, mimosa. However, the unspecified “spices” in the new note tree may contain cardamom and cinnamon. At least my nose detects their presence, as well a powdered ginger. Notes that are in the new version, but not in the original are: benzoin, henna, lemongrass, wild orange and saffron.

What does the new Kyphi smell like? Most intriguing! It begins with a blast of excellent frankincense, softened by a honeyed mix of myrrh, benzoin and beeswax. This gives it a slightly gourmand impression, fortified by the lemongrass and wild orange. Restrained spices, unspecified, add a dryness to the citrus elements. This is not a sweet scent, but warm and powdery nonetheless. The pencil shaving notes of cyperus further add to the overall dryness.

Kyphi is what I imagine an ancient kitchen might have smelled like, its warm air filled with the pulverized powder of spice pods. It is a delicious scent and seems so new and unique, it is sobering to realize its inspiration comes from the first recorded fragrance creation.

I highly recommend Kyphi for all lovers of spice and incense laden fragrances.
27th November, 2017

Devon Violets by Aidees


Aidees’ Devon Violets marketed in the UK under its own name and also did a thriving business for US based department stores, allowing them (such as R. H. Stearns of Boston, MA and Wanamaker’s of Philadelphia, PA) to release their scents under the stores’ names. The flacons were the same in all cases, lovely round clear bottles with white and yellow flowers, along with green stems and leaves, painted on the exteriors.

Devon Violets perfume is made from real violet flowers and leaves. Production began in 1880, and faded out around the time of WW II. In addition to its Devon Violets, Aidees also released Cornish Violets, Welsh Violets, Sussex Violets and Scotch Heather.

My stoppered bottle of parfum opens with a very strong concentration of violet, somewhat sharp, experienced only one other time with the Egyptian Shimy Brothers’ violet oil of the 1920s. Soon however the sharpness diffuses and I am left with a still strong, but now very true and beautiful violet scent. I do not find this powdery or “old lady” at all. There may be some orris present as well, lending it a soft suede impression.

Happily, one can still find these beautiful bottles of Devon Violets for sale on line from private sellers. It is one of the very best soliflore representations I have ever experienced and I highly recommend it for all lovers of violet.
21st November, 2017

Feu de Bengale by J. Lesquendieu

Although just recently (2015) the house of Lesquendieu has been revived with five released scents, sporting names from the original line, there is no indication if an attempt has been made to totally recreate the older fragrances, or simply go with new concoctions and attach old names to them.

Lesquendieu, for the record, released 21 scents between 1900 and 1953. The year for Feu de Bengale is not given in the Perfume Encyclopedia listings.

I have a bottle of vintage Bengale and can report that the first impression if of rose, amber and musk. This remains linear. The scent is quite strong and in my olfactory memory is almost identical to Raphael’s Replique of the 1940s.

For the record the note tree for Replique consists of:

Top: Bergamot, Lemon, Cardamom, Neroli, Coriander, Clary Sage

Heart: Ylang, Muguet, Jasmine, Mimosa, Tuberose, Heliotrope, Coumarin

Base: Oak Moss, Olibanum, Amber, Musk, Vetiver, Patchouli

As such, it is one of the most memorable and extraordinary floral chypres of the past century, one of my personal favorites, rich and sumptuous. Its unique scent has up until now been unchallenged. Not knowing the date release of Bengale, one can’t know for certain who copied whom.

Still, if you find vintage Bengale, be aware you are really buying Replique under a different name.
20th November, 2017

Jasmiralda by Guerlain

It is unclear why Guerlain had the urge to create a scent in honor of Victor Hugo’s gypsy heroine of Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) in the year 1917. The novel debuted in 1831 and although there was an early 1911 silent film version, the two other silent versions (Esmeralda and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) were not released until, respectively, 1922 and 1923.

This gorgeous scent opens with a fresh blast of jasmine and vanilla, sweetly intertwined, and oddly reminiscent of the luscious L’Heure Bleue of five years earlier. The rose is supportive, never intrusive, as are the lovely violet and musk. The orange notes of neroli and orange blossom add to the initial sweet impression.

The stars are however the jasmine and the vanilla/tonka bean combo, which continue to weave their way through the heart and dry down, where the civet mischievously joins to add an animalic impression, bringing this already luscious parfum into the realm of sexual intrigue.

A quite superb Guerlain creation, particularly for those who are fond of jasmine and vanilla, but also for those in love with L’Heure Bleue.
19th November, 2017

Hiris by Hermès

Hermes Hiris is a rival in my list of olfactory delights to Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist. A blast of purely beautiful, dry, suede-like orris greets the nose on first exposure. This deepens, but slowly, with the coriander and hay notes very subtly supporting the orris. The reserved use of the cedar and almond woods gives it a slight edge, but never permits it to become bitter or off-putting.

I await the honey and vanilla dry down, but for me it never arrives. No matter, I am happy with what I have.

Orris based scents, when properly done, are entirely unisex, in my opinion. Depending on body chemistry the genre can seem cold and aloof, or warm and earthy. Hiris seems equally at home with both men and women.

As a rival to Iris Silver Mist, Hiris comes out ahead due to its very affordable price in comparison with the Lutens, and its availability since the Lutens has up until recently only been available as an import from Europe.

To summarize one of the very best iris based scents available, expertly balanced and blended and a joy to own.

18th November, 2017

Le Baisier du Faune by Molinard

The short-lived craze in the 1920s to create animalic chypres, devoted to the image of the mythical Greek faun, did spawn an iconic scent, Guerlain’s Bouquet de Faunes, perhaps their greatest achievement and today the most sought after of all their discontinued scents. This devotion centered around Debussy’s ballet and tone poem, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, as choreographed by Diaghilev and danced by Nijinksy.

Molinard’s interpretation is a complex mixture of heady florals and strong animalics. In fact the four standard animalics of perfumery (civet, musk, castoreum and ambergris) are all outstandingly present.

Upon applying, the ambergris is very strong, but is soon tempered by the other base notes. Sandalwood is practically lost to the animalic quartet. However, the beautiful floral quintet of rose, jasmine, ylang, muguet and gardenia does manage to lighten the effect somewhat and subtract from the over all heaviness of the base to balance the blend.

A very beautiful chypre, although not in the singular class of the Guerlain masterpiece. The Molinard is still very much worth seeking out for lovers of vintage perfume.

17th November, 2017

Origan by Valory

There is very little information available about the house of Valory (not to be confused with the house of Valroy with 8 scents released in 1900).

Valory seemingly created one scent, Origan, in 1928.

The original was of course Coty’s 1905 creation. In the early 1920s Myrurgia and D’Orsay both created versions. I was unaware until the past summer that indeed almost 50 “Origan” perfumes have been released since the Coty original (the Perfume Encyclopedia lists 47).

It is also interesting to note that the name “origan” translates to the herb, “oregano,” yet the original formula contains no herbal oils whatsoever. The “effect” of the formula notes, the “impression,” was that of a spicy herbal note, but no herbs were actually part of the formula.

The following quoted paragraphs are from an article currently on Basenotes, concerning the recent recreation of the Coty original and are presented here as background information.

“According to perfumer and perfumery historian Will Inrig, the ‘origan’ accord is a combination of several key materials: bergamot, neroli, linalool, benzyl acetate, jasmine, methyl anthranilate, carnation (itself a base made of ylang ylang, eugenol and iso-eugenol), rose, bouvardia (a base of methyl ionone, cinnamic alcohol and hydroxycitronellal), and amber (resinoids combined with coumarin and vanillin). It was widely used in perfumery, much like amber, chypre and fougère accords. That is “until perfumers started calling the genre ‘floral orientals’ in the 1970s.”

From: Ostrom: Perfume: A Century of Scents

“L’Origan is perhaps more important in perfume history than any of Coty’s other creations. It gave birth to the floral oriental (or floriental) family, based around the sweet powder of orange blossom and heliotrope with the spice of nutmeg and clove. Ostrom tells us in her book, Perfume: A Century of Scents, that “L’Origan was such a hallmark because, as well as being available as an extract and eau de toilette, it was used to fragrance numerous other products, becoming the smell of the pursuit of beauty itself. In particular L’Origan went into an early deodorant powder […] and, later on, Coty’s famous Air Spun face powder.” It was the precursor to Guerlain’s beloved L’Heure Bleue, beloved by perfumistas around the world for its old-world magic.”

Comparing the notes for the original Coty composition and the D’Orsay, which I reviewed recently, I note that the original Coty top notes were Bergamot and Neroli, to which D’Orsay added Mandarin, Coriander, Pepper and Peach. To Coty’s heart notes of Carnation, Jasmine, Rose, Violet and Ylang Ylang, D’Orsay added Orris and Orchid. To complete the expansion of the note tree, Coty’s original base of Coumarin, Vanilla, Iralia and Dianthene wer augmented by D’Orsay with Cedar wood, Sandalwood, Benzoin, Musk and Labdanum.

So, D’Orsay incorporated all of Coty’s original notes, but expanded the profiles, making their take (Royale Origan) even more complex and rich.

Now, coming to the Valory, we find a concentration of animalic notes, more evident than the floral. I detect cumin, civet, amber, vanilla and a very dry musk. This is a personal body scent with the over all effect of sweat (in a good sexy way) and leather. I would classify it more as a leather chypre than a floriental.

It is quite unique in my olfactory experience and a real “turn on” for those into leather and animalic chypres. I will now be searching the internet for more of this gem. Highly recommended and worth seeking out.
15th November, 2017

Kobako by Bourjois

Kobako was launched in 1936, and is classified as a Chypre Floral fragrance for women. The nose behind this fragrance is Ernest Beaux, the same perfumer who created Chanel No. 5. Kobako is Japanese for "Scent Box," which often contained incense, powders and oils.

Top notes: Bergamot, Neroli, Vanilla, Jasmine, Rose
Heart notes: Magnolia, Galbanum, Cloves, Cinnamon, Carnation, Tonka Bean, Lily
Base notes: Civet, Benzoin, Frankincense, Amber, Oak Moss, Musk, Leather

My sample is of the vintage and unlike the other review here from the Osmotheque, this contains no impressions of suede, leather or cinnamon that stand out as such. My impression is that of an enormous floral melange, the overpowering combo that in today's terms, is designated as an "old lady's perfume." This is not a chypre.

Therefore, I am baffled. Osmotheque should be definitive, but the reality of what I am inhaling has nothing to do with that description. Bottom line:
an old-fashioned "big" feminine floral. Decent, but not remarkable to my way of thinking.
31st October, 2017

Tabac by L.T. Piver

Piver’s Tabac is listed in the Perfume Encyclopedia as the very first scent on record named for “tobacco.” This would mean that it outdistanced the former record holder, Roger and Gallet, whose 1910 Cigalia has been considered the first in this arena, by a decade.

I have obtained a one ounce bottle of parfum in an early 20th century sealed presentation and am now trying to comprehend it.

The bottle sniff tells me it is a leather, not a tobacco, scent, smelling as Piver’s Cuir de Russie does. Yet their CdR was not released until 1939. Once applied to the skin it has more of a fougere feel to it, though not of the typical fougere blend. It is very light and sweetly dry, so tobacco leaf could certainly have been its source. It does not have the cherry pipe tobacco scent Cigalia, Habanita, and other “tobacco” scents have.

So, although it broke new ground, it is not as densely concentrated as either Cigalia or Habanita (1921) or the many other “tobaccos” that followed. It must have been designed for men, since ladies did not smoke, at least not in public, in 1900. Tabac Blond was twenty years down the road.

The dry down, in its blend of leather and tobacco, is a softly smoky scent, worn close to the skin, as of a leather pouch holding torn tobacco leaves. Very interesting to my nose and were the formula known, very worth a revival.

Highly recommended if you can find it.

28th October, 2017

L'Heure de Nuit by Guerlain

I am a big fan of L'Heure Bleue and recently became a big fan of Apres L'Ondee, both uniquely related in a fragrance category which seems to only exist in the world of Guerlain. After 1246 Basenotes reviews, I could safely say I have never found another scent that resembles either of these two icons.

Now, however, Guerlain itself has produced a third. L'Heure de Nuit begins with a dry anise predominating the initial impression. Then begins a very close approximaton to the original L'Heure Bleue. Nuit has far fewer ingredients than Bleue, but only the peach is "new." All others were part of the original Bleue formula (18 ingredients as compared with Nuit's 10).

Nuit is therefore less complex than Bleue, but close enough to approximate Bleue's effect to a lesser degree. The question is why would one want to pay three times the price for Nuit, when Bleue is better and less expensive?

The projection is great and the longevity excellent. A perfectly lovely homage to the original, but if anything, Nuit should be less expensive than Bleue in order to attract an appropriate audience.
27th October, 2017

L'Art et la Matière : Bois d'Arménie by Guerlain

I too would swear that there is a great deal of pure vanilla in Bois, although not part of the note tree. I have never encountered Copahu balm, so cannot speak to its influence here.

Whatever gaiac wood is present, it never intrudes, thank goodness, as I can not stand the heavy use of both this and oud in modern scents. I'd swear there is myrrh present as well, but perhaps it is the Copahu I am smelling.

Bois is amazingly rounded and sumptuously subtle. Guerlain once again reveals its masterly blending techniques. The over all effect is that of an incense vanilla with a slightly sweet dry quality, very restrained, very beautiful, and one of the very few modern incense scents (outside of the Serge Lutens line) that I have admired. More masculine than unisex to my sensibilities.

Bravo Guerlain! The first modern Guerlain for which I would consider shelling out the cash for a bottle purchase.
26th October, 2017