Reviews by JackTwist

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    JackTwist
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    Premier Figuier by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Darvant in his/her review on this page describes the stages of Premier Figuier perfectly. The dry pungent opening, the creamy coconut middle, the nutty milky dry down.

    Supposedly this deserved its name as being the first scent to primarily focus on fig notes. As such, it is an admirable original. Unique and totally likable.

    Turin gives it 4 stars - it deserves 5 - and thinks Miss Moneypenny's daughter might wear this well.

    A perfect scent for summer wear, especially towards cocktail time on the terrace above the beckoning ocean. Whenever I wear it, I think of Bermuda.

    The Lili Bermuda scent company could do well to initiate a fig scent of their own. Until then, this will do nicely.

    Highly recommended and respected for luscious originality.

    26 June, 2014

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    Laundromat by Demeter Fragrance Library

    I must admit I was dreading this, after reading Barbara Herman's description of it:Hot clothes coming out of the dryer - and its ingredients: Muguet, Mint, Starch, Balsamics.

    Actually, though this is not bad. It's a sweet rendition of air freshener, dryer sheets, old fashioned sun tan lotion. In fact, it resembles the last more than any of the others.

    I guess you would call this the epitome of the 90s decade's "clean" scents. Unfortunate name, though. I would have chosen something like "Au Soleil," which is closer to the sun tan lotion reality of the blend.

    Worth a try - not great, but at least decent. If only they would change that name.

    26 June, 2014

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    Crescendo by Lanvin

    Typical floral chypre of the 1940s - only this is from 1965, not 1960 as stated above.

    It is ambery and spicy and quite lovely. There is a slight menthol aspect to its background, which does not displease. I could see how it would have failed in the 1960s, being a throw back to when perfume was of high quality and complex.

    Notes include iris, carnation, hyacinth, tuberose, frankincense, amber and unidentified spices.

    Barbara Herman gets a tinge of leather and tobacco, but I sadly do not.

    In any case it is quite beautiful and worth trying to find. It's only negative aspect is poor longevity. I sampled the pure parfum extract - it fades within an hour.

    25 June, 2014

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    Safari by Ralph Lauren

    What a happy scent!

    Barbara Herman nails it, describing it as a green floral with sweetness and fruit.

    It is very bright, best used in spring or early summer. It radiates joy with its perfectly balanced ingredients, none of which take center stage, all of which support each other in radiance.

    Most appropriate for a young lady in her late teens or early twenties.

    Odd name, but nonetheless a winner from Lauren. Very feminine, not at all unisex.

    24 June, 2014

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    La Rose Jacqueminot by Coty

    A truly unique and wonderful rose creation.

    There is an amber, caramel, burnt sugar sweetness to the base that reminds me very much of Caswell Massey's discontinued Vetiver.

    The rose is quite fragrant without being at all heavy. The depth comes from the supporting materials.

    This was re-issued in 1983 in parfum, edt and edp and can still be found on Ebay, although the parfum and edp strengths are much rarer than the edt.

    Very worth a try and if you are a rose fan, one you simply must purchase.

    23 June, 2014

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    Trésor (new) by Lancôme

    This is everything Barbara Herman and Luca Turin claim it to be - powdery apricot rose with a musky vanilla dry down, worthy of Turin's 4 stars.

    The sandalwood, violet and iris combine to give it a dry green opening and structural support but the gourmand effect of the rose, heliotrope, orris and apricot is its delicious
    heart.

    A fruity floral scent that works due to its restraint and balance.

    23 June, 2014

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    L'Eau D'Issey by Issey Miyake

    Supposedly this is the one that inaugurated the whole melon acquatic scent craze that spawned hundreds of direct copies, all smelling like very little indeed.

    I am not a fan of this melony, woody, acquatic, although it is as well done here as in any of its imitators.

    Barbara Herman's list of ingredients differs somewhat from the list above:

    Melon, Orange Blossom, Lemon, Peach, Rosewood, Tagetes
    Cyclamen, Muguet, Rose, Jasmine, Orris, Carnation
    Cedar, Amber, Musk

    She describes it as starring Calone, the chemical that resembles the cucumber and melon note. She describes its green leafiness, with whiffs of seaweed and salt.

    Turin describes it as a melon floral and gives it three stars, noting its green floral bouquet, and green melon acquatic notes, warning however that it can resemble Windex
    in the dry down.

    I review it as neutral, since despite its originality at the time, it doesn't amount to much in my estimation.

    22 June, 2014

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    Jungle L'Éléphant by Kenzo

    Even if I had hated this scent, I would have given it thumbs up for originality alone - water in the desert of perfumery these days.

    This is a totally unique spicy oriental. The vanilla, heliotrope, mango and cardamom blend beautifully into a "new" scent experience. I am totally delighted.

    What is even more exciting is the fact that this is totally affordable ($30-50 range) with a unique square bottle topped by an elephant figure.

    This is as well balanced as Opium and as classy and subtle. A total surprise and one I would not have known about had it not been for Barbara Herman and her book.

    If you love orientals, you will be mad about this one!

    20th June, 2014

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    Asja by Fendi

    Fendi, it seems, enjoyed copying other successful scents and marketing them as their own. Theorema is Mugler's Angel with a twist.

    Asja is Laurent's Opium with an added roundness and a bit more emphasis on the clove note. Truly, I find these two to be almost totally alike.

    Barbara Herman found this a berry-scented oriental, carnation/cinnamon balanced with a
    sandalwood balsamic base.

    Top notes: Bergamot, Peach, Apricot, Raspberry
    Heart notes: Rose, Carnation, Muguet, Jasmine, Orris, Orchid, Cinnamon, Honey
    Base notes: Vanilla, Benzoin, Styrax, Cedar, Sandalwood, Amber, Musk

    As with Theorema I am giving Asja a neutral rating as both are fine on their own, but points are taken off for the lack of originality.

    19 June, 2014

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    Theorema by Fendi

    Mugler's Angel - take two.

    It is very berry, just like Angel. It does try to do a variation by adding a creamy vanilla based benzoin dry down, but it still remains a rip off of an original. I would not classify this as an oriental, but a gourmand fruit.

    According to Barbara Herman the notes are:

    Top: Citrus, Orange Blossom, Nutmeg, Pepper, Cardamom, Rosewood, Rose Hips
    Middle: Jasmine, Rose, Osmanthus, Ylang-Ylang, Cinnamon, Spices
    Base: Benzoin, Guaiac Wood, Sandalwood, Amber, Patchouli

    She finds all manner of notes in this: peppery, smoky, dirty edge, leather, earth, but I can't get past its utter resemblance to Angel. Hence, the neutral review.

    Nice on its own, but a rip-off, nonetheless.

    18 June, 2014

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    Miss Balmain by Pierre Balmain

    This is an excellent dry chypre, light, restrained and sophisticated. It reminds me very much of Gres' Cabochard, my favorite chypre.

    Having said that, the name is quite odd, leading one to think this to be a light floral, fit for a teen-aged girl or a young woman. It would be properly named Madame Balmain, as another reviewer here notes, because this is meant for a mature woman, not an inexperienced girl.

    Barbara Herman notes it reminds her of a light version of Bandit, but I find that scent to be far too harsh to agree. She does also note that in the dry down, greens and florals emerge, which I find to be the case.

    Turin describes this as an "herbal leather," which I also find acceptable, reminding him of leather, cigarettes, powder.

    Top Notes: Coriander, Gardenia, Citrus, Thujone
    Heart Notes: Carnation, Narcissus, Orris, Jasmine, Rose, Jonquil
    Base Notes: Leather, Amber, Patchouli, Castoreum, Moss, Vetiver

    If Cabochard ever disappears, I may switch to Miss Balmain.

    07 June, 2014

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    N by Lucien Lelong

    This is a light floral leather scent that is quite unique in my experience. The balance between the two is extraordinary - I am sampling a vintage cologne version.

    It is the effect of leaked floral perfume at the bottom of a leather hand bag - a scent that has sat for a while and perhaps been transferred to a handkerchief, itself lain at the bottom of that handbag for many months.

    I am quite impressed with this and am sad that it is no longer in production. The Perfume Encyclopedia dates it at 1928 and a parfum version release in 1933, not 1924 as stated above.

    Very worth seeking out.

    04 June, 2014

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    Cuir de Russie by Lubin

    Barbara Herman described this rarity as "sweet, spicy and dark." It certainly is all those things. Like their strong and pungent Peau d'Espagne from the 19th century, this one is not for the feeble nosed.

    It is a dark leather, using jasmine, ylang ylang and a strong cinnamon note that in the dry down lends it a cloying character, that can be unpleasant to some noses. If you've ever stood next to an obese person, who is sweating in the summer heat, you know what I mean.

    It made me think that in 1900, when this debuted, it was way before the cleanliness epoch of the 1920s, and animalic notes in perfumes, redolent of body odors, were more in vogue, or at least not objectionable to the early twentieth century nose.

    As interesting as this scent is, I doubt it would be successful today. For me the best leathers available remain Chanel's Cuir de Russie and Knize Ten.

    Still, if you get a chance to experience either this or the Peau d'Espagne, it is to your advantage to do so.

    04 June, 2014

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    Dioressence by Christian Dior

    Barbara Herman describes this as a spicy, floral chypre with an initial green note. Heady and intense – for experienced women, glamor, cigarettes and champagne.

    Turin describes it as an Orienta l"Green" Chypre – 4 stars

    Ingredients as per Ms. Herman:

    Orange
    Jasmine, Geranium, Cinnamon, Carnation, Orris, Ylang, Tuberose
    Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Vanilla, Musk

    My sample was a pre-reformulation edt. I found it a warm, slightly spicy, light chypre – reminiscent of Breathless (Charbert), but with no lasting power - longevity nil. What I got of it was lovely and tres sophisticated, but sadly gone in an instant.

    03 June, 2014

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    Cigalia by Roger & Gallet

    Coming in 1910/1911, this would seem to be the very first "tobacco" scent in the history of perfume, anticipating Caron's 1917 Tabac Blond by six years, although the latter has the reputation.

    This is a warm pipe tobacco scent, as opposed to the slightly acrid cigarette tobacco scent of Tabac Blond. One has the sense of opening a humidor and inhaling the mellow, slightly cherry/slightly vanilla scent of fine tobacco.

    A shame this one is discontinued - it is quite a fine chypre. Still available on Ebay at affordable prices and worth seeking out.

    19 May, 2014

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    Pretexte by Lanvin

    This is a very rich, very warm perfume. I sampled the pure extrait.

    It is a leather-amber chypre, very much of the 1930s school of scent. It contains notes of castoreum, rosewood, hawthorn, narcissus, iris, oak moss, patchouli, amber, rose.

    I don't care for either of Lanvin's other trio members, Arpege and My Sin, but I love Pretexte. Too bad the others are still out there and this one is discontinued.

    I'll be searching for a vintage bottle of Pretexte on Ebay. Very worth experiencing.

    16 May, 2014

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    L'Âme soeur by Divine

    Turin gave this three stars and termed it an aldehydic woody, with scents of tobacco, wood, sweat and metal.

    With descriptions like that one would expect this to be a masculine scent, yet it is marketed for women. I too find it to be masculine and not in the least feminine. Although I don't get the metallic and sweat references, I do get the wood, which eventually in the dry down lets the rose peek through. The other notes are not apparent to me.

    Dry rose tinged wood - is the wrap up! Undistinguished, though pleasant.

    15 May, 2014

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    L'Être Aimé Homme by Divine

    Another excellent men's scent from Divine.

    This one is a spicy herbal woody concoction that smells quite unique to my nose.

    I love the zesty initial burst of lavender, ginger, basil and celery. The cardamom grounds it with the sweetness of the immortelle and the roundness of the amber anchoring it further.

    The base of cistus, patchouli, vetiver and sandalwood sits warmly in the background, the sandalwood in particular combining with the dry celery, cardamom accord to bring it from an herbal/spice down to a wood/spice.

    Again, quite sophisticated, unusual and a fine men's scent from this house.

    For the record, I loved their L'Homme Sage, but did not care for the dry characterless iris that infused their L'Homme de Coeur."

    14 May, 2014

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    Eau Divine by Divine

    The tangerine, anise, ginger accord is quite sophisticated and refreshing.

    The sweetness of the neroli hovers over the cardamom and violet heart with a spicy nutmeg note intertwined.

    The ambergris, labdanum, musk base gives a skin warmth that makes the dry down especially appealing.

    Like any eau de cologne, longevity is brief. This genre is meant to be a summer splash, to be applied frequently.

    One of Divine's best and very enjoyable.

    14 May, 2014

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    L'Homme de Coeur by Divine

    Turin gives this four stars and calls it a "woody iris." On me it begins soft and powdery, but with a slight edge, reminding me a bit of a slightly musty attic - this must be the angelica. The iris heart is pleasant and the base notes support it without overpowering it. The ambergris adds the smallest amount of sweetness to the dry down.

    A very pleasant scent, but not striking enough to earn a thumbs up.

    12 May, 2014

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    Le Jade by Roger & Gallet

    This is from a sealed 4.2 edt bottle from the 1950s.

    A superb citrus chypre, quite similar to Homme de Gres, but whereas the latter used lemon, Le Jade uses lime, thus the green color and jade reference.

    Obviously, the Gres borrowed the idea from R&G, and whereas the Gres was my favorite citrus chypre up until now, the R&G ties the vote.

    A shame this went out of production - a superb men's scent.

    05 May, 2014

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    John Varvatos by John Varvatos

    Despite it many exotic ingredients, this smells like the generic "water" scent with the cloyingly nose-splitting dry reedy aoud note that pervades so many of these non-scents.

    I washed it off half an hour after sampling it and poured the remainder down the drain. The sink was not happy.

    05 May, 2014

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    Signature pour Femme by S.T. Dupont

    Light, fruity floral of no distinction. Lasts better on clothing than on skin.

    Harmless, but hardly noteworthy.

    02 May, 2014

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    Bambou (original) by Weil

    The original Bambou is a woody oriental in the same vein as Tuvache, Tabu, Sirocco and Youth Dew.

    There is also a cocoa-coffee effect, noticed by Barbara Herman.

    The re-formulation comes in so many varieties of bottles it's almost impossible to blind buy the original, which I find to be quite rare. However, I finally managed to secure a sample of the vintage and it is indeed in the same rich, resinous, dark oriental vein as the four mentioned above.

    It seems Dana started it all with Tabu in 1932. Bambou followed in 1934, then Sirocco same year 1934, followed a decade later by Tuvache and finally Youth Dew. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the genre is indeed rich and sensual, proceeding you into any room you enter. The vintage Bambou is however more restrained and closer to the skin than the others.

    Note: The reformulation is nothing like it, being instead a copy of Guerlain's rose and muguet dominated Nahema, than an attempt to go the oriental route.

    The original date of release is 1934, not 1984 as stated above.

    Notes: Lavender, jasmine, rose, carnation, muguet, cedar, tonka, musk, sandalwood.

    First Edit: On repeated wearing, I find it to be also describable as a dark, rich leather.

    30th April, 2014 (Last Edited: 12 June, 2014)

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    Ambush (original) by Dana

    I agree with Mysticman that this is very close to Dana's CANOE - like that 1936 classic, this is a fougere with pronounced lavender and bergamot notes. Odd that Dana would put this formula out with a new name and attempt to lure feminine buyers twenty years after Canoe's debut . It may be that Canoe was such a hit and more with men than with women, that Dana wanted to regain the lost lady audience.

    It still doesn't seem right for women - still seems to me that fougeres belong with men alone. One type of scent that is never unisex. Still one of the great fougere formulas, regardless of what Dana does with it.

    Barbara Herman's note breakdown follows:

    Top - Lavender, Bergamot, Lemon, Clary Sage
    Heart - Geranium, Rose, Carnation
    Base - Vanilla, Heliotrope, Tonka, Sandalwood

    29 April, 2014

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    Meteor by Coty

    Barbara Herman loved this tuberose-dominated floral chypre, but I am sadly unimpressed. I so wanted to like it - the strong red color, the vintage bottle of pure parfum, the reported blend of tuberose, jasmine, rose, musk and civet.

    Alas, it starts off very Crepe de Chine-like - a very warm, animalic chypre, then resolves into an unremarkable (to my nose) floral melange without a dominant tuberose.

    The warm woodiness seems to me a combination of sandalwood and vanilla, nice but unremarkable.

    Another vintage Coty that sadly for me does not live up to its packaging.

    23 April, 2014 (Last Edited: 19 May, 2014)

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    A Suma by Coty

    The greatest of the leather orientals!

    This is a warm, sweet leather oriental, that combines the best of its predecessors, from which it unabashedly copies, Jicky, Emeraude, Shalimar.

    It combines bergamot, lavender, vanilla and civet in a perfect balance, eliminating the "edges" from this trio of predecessors, and it's a great crime it is discontinued.

    Search for it on Ebay and fall in love with it!

    23 April, 2014

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    Tuvara by Tuvache

    A review of the edp of the original Tuvache Tuvara.

    This is a delightful, soft, "light" oriental, halfway between Tabu (1931) and Youth Dew (1952), both of which it resembles mightily. The original Tuvara premiered in 1948.

    A lovely mixture of Chamomile, Lavender, Myrrh, Labdanum, Vanilla and Musk.

    Obviously, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Tuvara copied Tabu, but made it lighter. Youth Dew copied Tuvara, but added the depth back in.

    If you like either Tabu or Youth Dew, you will love Tuvara.

    22 April, 2014

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    Galoré by Royal Secret

    I was not impressed by Galore.

    It is for me a typical floral melange of the period, with Muguet predominating. It did not remind me of Mysticman's trio, Bandit, Shalimar of Chanel #5, but that is my nose compared to his.

    I got no dry leather or amber in the base, in fact, I got no base at all, just the soft lingering floral notes. This from a vintage 1/2 oz. of parfum.

    Perhaps my bottle is "off." In any case, with two such divergent reviews as his and mine, you'd best sample or buy a small, inexpensive bottle to see how your nose and skin react before you decide. Always a good thing to do, in my opinion, re any scent you are intrigued with.

    18 April, 2014

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    Vétiver by Piver

    A vetiver blend that goes very lightly on the actual vetiver itself, which may make it a good choice for a summer scent for those vetiver lovers, who prefer not to reek of it during the warm months.

    I get a green, suede-like scent on opening, but the blend soon takes over. The dry down is a nondescript wood fragrance.

    Perfectly pleasant, but not for the true vetiver aficionado.

    18 April, 2014

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