Perfume Reviews

Reviews by onaluna

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Total Reviews: 45

Roses et Reines / Rose des 4 Reines by L'Occitane

Screechy. Synthetic and sneeze-inducing. Not at all like the old L'Occitane rose fragrance, which was a velvety, realistic rose.
06th June, 2015

Mandarin Tea by Love&Toast

No tea (camellia) notes, can't detect the rooibos. A light orange blossom with a whisper of fruit. Very, very light, but fun to wear, and you can't beat the price. Great for a person who doesn't want to smell "perfumey."
15th May, 2015

Juniper Gin by Love&Toast

Fresh, light and dry. Cristalline citrus, light woods and pure, naturalistic juniper berry.

A delight to wear when you don't want to announce your perfume — definitely for personal enjoyment. It's as refreshing as drinking an ice-cold gin and tonic on a muggy day.
15th May, 2015
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L'Emblem Rouge by En Voyage Perfumes

I won a small vial of this (plus a small "l’Eau de Emblem Rouge ") in a draw, and it was divine — complex and gorgeous, with an incredible, true rose heart. <3

I hope Ms. Waddington brings it back!
15th May, 2015

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

Citrus, pepper, salt, rocks drying in the sun, dry wood and warm skin. In that order. An enduring favorite.

Do we need another view of TDH? Probably not, but I will say, as a woman, that every time I wear this in public, I get compliments — from women. One neighbor fell so hard for it, that I gave her a mini and a decant. So sexy, cheerful, uplifting, and IMO, genderless. (In fact, I was surprised/disappointed that it's marketed as a men's fragrance.)
15th May, 2015

Violin in the Attic by For Strange Women

Glad "For Strange Women" is getting some play here at base notes, thanks to Ody.

Violin in The Attic: I love this fragrance!
This does evoke the dry, smoky quality of old, heat baked wood. Frankincense suggests a crackled oil varnish and the light terpenes of dried, curling rosin. These arid notes are complemented by a rich, full, mix of balsam, amber, and cocoa. The wood oils are a gorgeous mix.

And Ody — über masculine? Mais non! Über cool! ;)
17th March, 2014 (last edited: 15th May, 2015)

Moss & Ivy by For Strange Women

Moss and a very special, bright variety of sweet basil give this a lush, green smell, sans any dry or weedy sharpness. Ody's review is accurate, IMHO.
17th March, 2014

Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford

Smoky, salty, herbaceous, green, grassy, lemony, dry but alive

Smoky, salty, herbaceous, green, grassy, lemony, dry but alive.

22nd June, 2013

Sandflowers by Montale

An ethereal sketch of sand, sun, and air

Out of the bottle, it's airy, warm sand smell is lovely. But hitting my skin, it goes floral-sweet. That note seems out of place. It's really a sketch fragrance, and a rapidly dissolving one at that. That can have an appeal, for fans of light perfumes. I wish it were dryer.

I bolstered it with Frankincense rivae EO on one arm and Aveda Australian Sandalwood on the other.

The sandalwood oil completely blanketed the scent of Sandflowers, but the latter boosted the strength and longevity of the former.

The frankincense aired it out, and gave it a hot, resinous top note. Like resin in the sun. Might make a great layering scent, but still not fond of the clunker of a flower note.

Pros: Pleasant, non-intrusive
Cons: Fleeting, sweet flower note unwelcome

17th June, 2013

Tamboti Wood by Susanne Lang

Great blend of dry and warm, cozy woods

Airy cedar and the smell of a sandalwood trinket over a warm, mellow wood base. Cozy.

Gets very light a couple of hours in. Blends beautifully with my Aveda Australian Sandalwood.

Pros: Good for layering, smells natural yet smooth
Cons: Doesn't last long, might be too linear for some

17th June, 2013

Eau d'Italie by Eau d'Italie

Alive and green

When I first smelled this, the weather was cold and the vial smelled of a crisp, starched shirt. I put it aside. Now that it's hot and humid, it feels perfect — complete, but not dense. Alluring, but fresh. How Duchaufour combined clay and fresh air is beyond me.

There's zesty green, dry bergamot, sunned tiles, and something akin to clover stems. Perfect — green and sprightly throughout.
02nd June, 2013 (last edited: 15th May, 2015)

Tirrenico by Profumi del Forte

Ouzo on a rock, by the sea

Cool, but sunny Tirrenco opens up with dry, bitter orange peel and a very stark ouzo (or, if you prefer, vodka infused with fennel bulb). There's an undercurrent of salty detritus, washed up on a rock, dried by the cool sea air. It's a cleaner marine smell than the "decaying matter" of Sel Marin.

This also has light, chalky notes that bring to mind smooth sea pebbles. Remarkable! On some days, this mineral note appears more as plasticine modeling clay or tile grout, but still blends well with the natural seashore notes.


Something about this takes me back to the beaches of Barcelona, when the city was preparing for the '92 Olympics, and smoothed bits of demolished buildings (tile and concrete) would wash up on the shore.

The fennel is moderate, but present throughout all but the very last stages. The sea note rides through the whole progression. After hours, I'm left with a mild, salty skin scent.

The only thing I don't like is when the jasmine peeks through. I'd like it to be dryer and starker, because the mineral notes are fascinating.

Pros: Paints a place picture, light and inoffensive.
Cons: Sweet floral peeking through seems out of place.

19th May, 2013

Arso by Profumum

Burnt sugar+conifer+incense.

Smoky leaves (sometimes, it makes my eyes water!), burnt sugar crystals, smoldering frankincense and some scrub pine branches thrown on top. A touch of toasted cedar. Could be a sacred scent for a pagan or a forest dwelling mystic. Enchanting.
16th May, 2013 (last edited: 15th May, 2015)
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Ambre Vie by House of Matriarch

I can't begin to decipher what makes this amber so good, but it positively dances.

Nothing sticky, treacly or headshoppy about it. It has a light breath of honey, like the most delicate honeycomb, and smooth, natural elements.

The Matriarch site says: "Liquid gold; intense, yet subtle. Vintage broom sweetens the blend to just-shy of gourmand, yet it's not overtly powdery like synthetic ambers."

That's spot on. It has depth and complexity, but everything is married well, and it all smells very luxe.
20th April, 2013

Cristalle Eau de Toilette by Chanel

The classic, amber EDT is gorgeous.

It does have very tea-like elements, but it doesn't resemble so-called tea fragrances of today. Agreed that the bergamot is much like a good Earl Grey, but with less pucker.

The overall fragrance is light, but not without complexity. The dry citrus notes smooth out to lightly sweet hyacinth, with an underlying hint of tannins. That the part that's very much like fine tea — a floral cloud, covering a bitter, mildly astringent edge.

It was new and sparkling in the seventies, and it stands out for its depth and sophistication now.
18th April, 2013

Black by Bulgari

This has one of the coolest bottles ever. And a great name. I expected so much.

The rubber note is tame and short-lived, and then it mellows out to a bland. musky vanilla.
18th April, 2013

Osmanthus Oolong by Providence Perfume Co.

What is going on here? Something in these top notes distinctly resembles a smell I get when I enter my neighborhood Chinese grocery store. It's somewhere in the middle of tangy fruit, flower and spice. It was bursting and unexpected.

What followed was ... champaca? It smells that way, and it brings to mind complex and heavily flowered East Indian perfume oils.

And then: a full, gorgeous blooming of osmanthus, with it's own interplay of fruit and light blossom notes. There's tart, slightly metallic apricot here, as well.

I don't catch much of the tannins nor the smoke that others mention, but it's not an overly sweet mix, which is good. The dry down is satisfying and comforting, with lightly honeyed beeswax that goes straight my heart.

Also, for me it doesn't translate to osmanthus tea (dried osmanthus to my nose smells like sueded peach, round and soft with lactones). Still, it's a gem.
09th April, 2013 (last edited: 14th May, 2015)

Siam Proun by Olympic Orchids

There's nothing raw about this fragrance. It's all caramelized with honeyed edges.

And it's mostly amber. An amber which goes a bit treacly on me. My personal preference would call for more thyme, more lavender, and more orange. But these all stay at a tame level — and well blended into the mix.

The opening is smooth and very distinctive — a rich, unusual liquor. There are no mass market perfume smells here; neither the signature incense of head shop amber. Its singular and fascinating.

I could develop a craving for this masterful rich blend, were it not for the predominance of the amber. I'm just not sure how to feel about it: the amber is syrupy and omnipresent for a few hours, then it softens to a pleasantly sweet skin scent, with touches of herbs. More hours in, and it mellows to something sublime.

The cough drop comparison is interesting, but I'd argue that it's closer to Ricola mixed with Smith Brothers Honey. Thyme and syrup, with vanillic overtones.
07th April, 2013 (last edited: 08th April, 2013)

Kenzo Amour by Kenzo

Not just pudding, but instant pudding, with it's powerey vanilla flavoring.
07th April, 2013

FlowerbyKenzo by Kenzo

Cloying, sweet, nondescript powder. The smell is the polar opposite of the elegant, spare packaging. And red? Red isn't the color I think of for this. There's no passion or brightness in this mix. It's more like melted, rainbow colored sherbet mixing with leftover sheet cake.
07th April, 2013

Jack Black Signature Black Mark by Jack Black

Fresh and prominent woods (outdoorsy cedar, not hamster chips).
Sexy and natural.
06th April, 2013

Kingston Ferry by Olympic Orchids

Opens with an anbesol/motor oil mix, then becomes a saltwater aquatic that takes a while to shake the ointment smell. And oddly, it does make me think of boats docked at the harbor, with the smell of gasoline, engines and seawater (minus the rank fish smell; a fresh, clear seawater, if you will). A bit of nice pine comes through.

Not wearable for me, but it was fun to sample!
05th April, 2013

Arizona by Olympic Orchids

I was going to give this a neutral rating, because the opening struck a wrong chord with me. Something resinous and balsamic was anesthetizing the lively evergreen note. Reading what the earlier review by rogalal, I'd be inclined to imagine it was the unfocused quality of some naturals.

Anyway, about an hour into wearing this, an intriguing perfume appeared. There was that jammy conifer, along with dry and freshly cut wood, and a hint of smoke.

The dry down artfully evokes a nature walk, and I like that.
04th April, 2013 (last edited: 14th May, 2015)

Violettes de Toulouse by Parfums Berdoues

My sister bought this for me in the late 1980's, after a trip to London. It was inexpensive back then — maybe $10-15.

I was charmed by the "hatbox" package, with the verse in the Langue d'oc dialect. And the scent was natural smelling, like actual candied violets.

It's still charming. Light and ephemeral, it captures the smell of Parma Violets.

Agreed with 30 Roses, that it's not powdery, nor is it earthy like iris root can be. Think of how violet candy smells, and this is it.
04th April, 2013 (last edited: 02nd September, 2014)

Vanille Insensée by Atelier Cologne

Like raw vanilla bean and spice. Haven't tried it alone, but it pairs beautifully with LaVanilla "Pure Vanilla," which has some patchouli in it. Together, they're as satisfying as a hot cup of fresh black coffee.
31st March, 2013 (last edited: 13th April, 2013)

Mistral Patchouli by Atelier Cologne

After reading the notes, I get it now. This struck me as a very "white" patchouli, cleaned of skank and earth. It's nice, and would be good for a young fella to wear to the office. It's modern, no heavy oriental spices, smooth and inoffensive but not weak. In fact, it's tenacious, so a dab or two will do.
31st March, 2013

Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermès

Very fleeting, thin as water, with no sparkle to the fruit notes. The tea note is as delicate as some green teas, but not a photographic representation. There are no tannins (kind of wish there were), but thankfully no crashing sour so-called "tea" notes.

It feels like a soft veil of peach, overtaken by white flowers, then ... POOF! Nothing.

But pretty. Very pretty. It's a "kind" perfume, but I wish it emphasized the precious osmanthus more (makes me want to try to add some osmanthus absolute to it). Has this line been "dumbed down" a tad to have a wider appeal? I get that feeling.

I prefer Ayala's Kinmokusei for it's lush, fruity otherworldly take on osmanthus.
30th March, 2013

Chant de Bois by Le Labo

This reminds me of a stylish gal in the early seventies, with brown suede boots, a floppy hat, clean hair and a suede hobo purse. I can smell her waxy lipstick.

Rich in patchouli (beautiful, intoxicating patchouli), laced with sprightly greens, citrus rind, and a light, spicy floral quality. A little bit of powdery wood in the dry down.

The solid is potent, but the brass container leaks green (and a metallic tang) into the cream. I prefer the liquid.
27th March, 2013 (last edited: 14th May, 2015)

Vanilla Blackberry by Lavanila

This was so lush, juicy and dark at first, but the blackberry essence goes boozy/rancid quickly. Sad.
23rd March, 2013

Pure Vanilla by Lavanila

Pure vanilla rounded with smooth patchouli. Rich, balsamic, very slightly floral and not too sweet. Infinitely wearable. All natural, so no synthetic headachy vanilla. Yay!

Mixes nicely with the vanilla incense fragrance by Atelier.
23rd March, 2013