Reviews by exciter76

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    exciter76
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    Loretta by Tableau de Parfums

    I have been anxious to test out Loretta since its announced arrival online. Spicy tuberose by Andy Tauer?! Loretta seemed to be a sure bet so when an opportunity to test it out—and meet the mastermind behind the creation—came up I seized it. It was a dream to test it out but it was a surreal experience to have Mr. Tauer himself spray it on a blotter strip himself and ask for my thoughts. Hmmm, my thoughts…

    I have to come clean and admit I was not knocked out that first spray. It begins as pure, over-ripened plums with loads of spice. My mind immediately went to Tom Ford’s Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. I love the plums in BOVdF but it has already been done once already. I was too tongue-tied around Mr. Tauer to grab the bottle from his hand and try it on my skin. I brought home a sample and tried again.

    I tried it on freshly showered skin around 8 am yesterday morning. Again, I was met with very spicy plums that had lingered a day or two past their prime. However, Tauer’s genius made its appearance about a half hour later with the transformation from pungent plums to a dried bouquet of tuberose, dotted with orange blossoms and jasmine. Tauer stated he wanted to show a duality of the perfume’s nature and he does it so well with a slightly dusty bouquet of preserved flowers that could easily belong to a Miss Havisham-type of tortured soul. It is at this point absolutely no other fragrance compares.

    A few hours later it was still going strong, but not overpowering, and transmuting once again. This transmutation became sensuously skin-like without resorting to a muskiness and sweet without being gourmand or ‘vanilla’ (both literally and figuratively speaking). There was a strangely beautiful sunbaked-skin note—I swear I think I even smelled a faint sunscreen note—which I can assume came from the ambergris and an ambery, resinous quality that kept things a bit dark, a tad sinister, and abundantly erotic. This feeling of vintage eroticism was not dirty, tawdry, or gratuitous; it was a reminder that every woman is a sexual being, even the Miss Havishams of the world. This phase of the scent stayed through the night into the morning. I’ve since showered and spritzed myself with Loretta, ready to take the ride again.

    I can’t say I am well versed in all of Andy Tauer’s creations but I’ve noticed a pattern where his fragrances may not exactly knock its wearer head over heels initially. The ‘wow’ moments have hit me upon a second or third wearing. Loretta has continued to leave me awe-struck with every wearing. This will be the third day I’ve worn it and I'll definitely mourn the day I finish my sample.

    22 October, 2012

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    Very Sexy Now by Victoria's Secret

    I picked up a large body spray of this fragrance when it came out. Five years later I’m still trying to get through the large bottle. It’s nice and fruity, casual and cute, strong and SWEET. If I could highlight, underline, italicize and make bold the word ‘sweet’ I would. Did I mention it’s sweet? It’s cavity-inducing sweetness. But like any sugary confection it can be a welcomed treat once in a while.

    I’ve tried a few fragrances claiming to have litchi in them but I’d be hard-pressed to find the litchi. Here, the litchi jelly scent hits my nose immediately, followed by a hard candy-like pear, and finished off with a subdued orchid. There are a few other elements but they’re superfluous. Specifically, this is not just any kind of sugary confection; this is a litchi-and-pear cluster of mini jelly cups, the ones that are so prevalent in Asian markets. VSN07 is a pretty fabulous fragrance to have if those little cups are a guilty pleasure and litchi is a must.

    I like those little fruit jelly cups. I even indulge and enjoy a few every once in a while. However, I don’t think I could eat them every day. Just like the little cups, I don’t think I could wear VSN07 every day but I am glad I have it so I can treat myself occasionally.

    10th August, 2012

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    Love and Glamour by Jennifer Lopez

    I know there are celebuscent naysayers who turn a stuffed nostril on all that are endorsed by celebrities. I am not one of the naysayers. Even if I despised Jennifer Lopez, I cannot imagine her donning a white lab coat, tinkering with Iso-E-Super and other extracts, and debating the finer points of vintage oakmoss with Gabriela Chelariu as they collaborated on Glow After Dark. At best, I would suppose J. Lo gives a vague description of her dream perfume and, at the end of the creation process, gives a thumbs up or down. So my endorsement or rejection of a celebuscent is unrelated to my feelings for said celebrity. I am all about what’s in the bottle.

    Say what you will about any of Jennifer Lopez’s fragrances, they all have one common trait that sets them apart from all other celebuscents: longevity. I like most of J. Lo’s offerings—heck, Miami Glow is a favorite of mine. Love & Glamour does not garner that kind of adoration from me but I do like it a lot. It’s thick with guava and a pinch of sandalwood here and a sprinkling of water lily and musk there. Really, it’s guava juice. I love tropical fruits so it’s a win for me. To smell it, one would think it would be a fleeting fancy of a fruit cocktail but, like most J. Lo offerings, it has some heavy-duty endurance. I find this particular scent to be great for the unforgiving heat and humidity that’s been plaguing Southern California. Lately, it has earnestly won me over. There is no such thing as a ‘safe blind-buy’ but I do believe tropical fruit/guava lovers will not be disappointed with L&G.

    19 July, 2012

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    Shedonism by Origins

    I can’t say I’ve tried many tiare flower perfumes because, really, I haven’t. I can tell you l’ve sought them out whenever and wherever I could. Usually, I get my tiare flower/monoi oil fix in the form of bath products and lotions. I have picked up a few bottles of tiare flower-centric fragrances over the years and they succeeded in leaving me sated. They did, however, have a common popcorn note in them. I know that’s all part of the tiare flower experience, but it is a little weird. I just don’t want to smell like Hawaiian popcorn!

    I found my perfect tiare scent in Shedonism. It is a sweet and satisfying tiare perfume, sans the popcorn undertone. There is a little greenery going on—throw in some indolic jasmine and some barely-there fruity sweetness for good measure—but this is practically a tiare soliflor. It’s creamy, long-lasting, simplistic goodness; it has been my favorite tiare fragrance thus far. It’s also a great fragrance for layering, especially for balmy summer nights. Shedonism + Beachy = world's most amazing summer evening scent, ever.

    It has since been discontinued so I do not know what I’ll do with myself once I run out. I’ve written emails to the powers that be at Origins/the Estee Lauder Company. I cannot bear the thought of settling once again for a mediocre tiare scent.

    19 July, 2012

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    Youth Dew by Estée Lauder

    I have a very old bottle of this. It might be older than some of you, dear young members of Basenotes. It’s old. Saying it aloud, it sounds like a putrid bottle of an already hideous fragrance. I promise you, it is better today than it was when I first acquired it.

    I got it when I was eighteen (you can probably figure out my age based on my user name, and thus, can extrapolate an age of the bottle); my grandmother gave it to my mother and my mother passed it off to me. When I was in my teens I obsessed on having random bottles of perfume—whether or not I liked the perfume was completely irrelevant. This was one of those bottles. I hated the stuff when I was eighteen but I told my grandmother I loved it. I got in the habit of wearing it whenever I went to visit her and in that time my relationship with Youth Dew progressed from disgust to mellow indifference. Skip ahead about ten years to a forgotten bottle that has sat in cold, dark abandon. Many J’adore and Coco bottles later I’d forgotten about it. Strange, considering it is an unforgettable fragrance.

    This is going to sound contradictory but it stinks. I love it but it does reek of something mentholated and heavily medicated—I’ll bet the balsam and various greens are to blame for this. Yet, there is something soothing in that muscle relaxant cream scent. It’s strong and for many, it’s hard to stomach. Luckily, as the years have passed, my aged bottle has lost much of its medicated smell and mellowed to a deep, dark, decadently spiced amber.

    Think of this fragrance as a vintage article of clothing—maybe a fuzzy carnation pink cardigan—from the 1950s. It takes a certain kind of man or woman to pull this off. It can be worn with irony or it can be worn with sincerity, in homage to a time passed. I rather fancy myself wearing it with a mix of irony and sincerity. Many comparisons have been made between YD and the spicy orientals of the 1970s and I’d say YD is the forerunner for these perfumes. It is in a class of its own but the similarities are definitely there. This fragrance unfurls ever so slowly, taking measured steps from first spray to last embers of sillage. And, oh, is this ever the sillage bomb!

    I refuse to defend Youth Dew’s honor. It’s been around nearly sixty years and needs no words from me to protect its prestigious/infamous name. I do believe everyone should try it at least once, for history’s sake. If you acquire a taste for it, well, so much the better.

    19 July, 2012

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    Tuscany per Donna by Estee Lauder

    I cannot help but tie this fragrance to nostalgia; I wore this fragrance to my senior prom. Nostalgia aside, this is actually a really enjoyable hearty fragrance. Tresor may have popularized the spicy pitted-fruit floriental trend of the 1990s but Tuscany Per Donna perfected that trend. TPD smells like the 1990s but it encapsulates the best of what the decade had to offer in a bottle.

    TPD is distinctive, redolent with spice-laden stone fruit preserves. There are no spices listed but it smells spiced—I think the spiciness can be attributed to the carnation (I’m not a fan of carnation but it is so irresistible here). It does not take long for the vanilla, amber, and warm woods to imitate the scent of bakery goods—those fruit-filled butter cookies come to mind. It’s blissful! This decadent scent will stick around from first spray to next shower. The sillage and projection are typical of most 1990s scents: strong and sturdy.

    I have an aged bottle—my second one—from the late-1990s that has only gotten richer with proper storage and time. I liked it when I was seventeen but I love it now that I am old (read: evolved) enough to appreciate all its phases. I love TPD for its unabashed personality and its ability to be gourmand at heart without being sickly saccharine.

    08 July, 2012

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    Red Jeans by Versace

    Versace’s Red Jeans has all the scented chronological markers of a mid-1990s perfume: an opening of pitted fruits, a gooey center of traditional flowers of pink, yellow, white and purple, and a base of sandalwood-and-white-floral muskiness. What sets this apart from its contemporaries is its muted nature. While Tresor, Tuscany Per Donna, and Champs Elisées were shouting Red Jeans was speaking coyly in hushed tones. But do not think because the volume was turned down that the impact of what was whispered was diminished—it still packs a wallop.

    The opening is lightly sweetened peach iced tea and rose petals. Then, once the juice dries upon the skin, it transmutes into a powder-free, sugar-free violet, similar to the violet in Bvlgari II. The roses are still lurking around but the heart is a big bouquet of violets. The drydown is familiar, like the one encountered in Happy, Charlie White, and Splendor. I love this white floral/musk base so I’m smitten with the drydown. If you are turned off by the all-too-familiar musky base, run—don’t walk—from this perfume; expect this musk to linger till your next shower.

    I am always shocked and amazed at the going price of RJ—it’s practically being given away. I’ve spent up to seven times as much for perfumes of inferior quality. Just looking at the cheeky bottle, it is easy to forget this is a fragrance from the house of Versace. It is, in fact, a Versace perfume and it is quite possibly one of the house’s best. It is definitely one of the best violet fragrances I have yet tried. Don’t let the bottle or the price scare you away.

    08 July, 2012

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    Live Luxe by Jennifer Lopez

    Let me preface this review by mentioning the fact that there is melon in the top notes, though it's not mentioned here. Generally, I don’t take issue with fruity frags—I have some in my collection and I adore them when the mood strikes. I do get frustrated with the genre when it seems an entire industry has run out of ideas, producing scents that seem all too familiar or too sloppy. Live Luxe falls in the ‘sloppy’ category for me, which is a shame since J.Lo fragrances tend to be of a higher caliber in the celebuscents market.

    I rarely wear this one and I often forget I own it. I donned it this morning and now I am realizing why it remained unnoticed in my collection. It begins with juicy summer fruits, lending hope and promise of a refreshing warm weather scent. However, minutes later an unsweetened, unripened, and still green melon takes over in a big way. As the day wears on the melon becomes sour and more pronounced, annihilating the presence of any other fruity elements and reducing any florals to near-nothingness. It has been seven hours, and, though it is still going strong, I am left waiting for some kind of a base; the scent has since morphed into the mellowed last strains of a cantaloupe rind.

    I can’t help feel like I was promised a summer fruit salad just to have it swapped out from under my nose (pun intended). Fine, take my fresh-cut fruit salad away but don’t replace it with melon rinds! It almost makes for a good spa scent except it’s too bombastic and bitter to induce any kind of calm. I like melon scents but this one completely misses the mark and seems too confused. Look to Bliss or The Body Shop’s Sprit of Moonflower for a far more superior melon scent.

    05 July, 2012

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    Squeeze by Lily Pulitzer

    This was the first in the Lilly Pulitzer trilogy I smelled—smelled out of the nozzle, not sampled or tried on my skin (hell, not even on a blotter strip). It was what drew me to the other two bottles and yet, it was the last one I picked up. I love, love, LOVE hesperidic scents and this one was no exception out of the bottle. How it played out on my skin, well, that was a different issue.

    It begins with candied grapefruit. The grapefruit presented here is sugary sweet, without a bitter backbite and with minimal florals. It stays the course for a few hours then it turns to a sweaty, sour citric musk. The woods smell slightly of pencil shavings, ruining what could have been a nice, if not generic, citrus scent. On the plus side, this is very long lasting and punchy enough to provide great projection and sillage.

    The price is shamelessly low enough to negotiate the odd drydown. I have found layering this with another citrus scent or complementary ancillaries helps take the edge off this scent and its very odd base notes. It isn’t a bad fragrance but the anonymous wood notes really hold this sugary citrus scent back.

    27 June, 2012

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    Dior Addict 2 by Christian Dior

    I have a soft spot in my heart and a weakness through my nostrils for all that is citrus-scented. I’m so vulnerably at the mercy of my hesperidic weakness that I’d buy Country Time lemonade if it was in a plain glass bottle with a spray nozzle. Unfortunately this weakness has caused me to buy some pretty mediocre scents blindly, based on the simple fact that they were citrus florals. I got Dior Addict 2 through a swap with a friend. She was disappointed DA2 was not a ‘pink’ fragrance. This is definitely not a ‘pink’ fragrance, so do not be misled.

    DA2 begins with a boozy, bitter grapefruit—boring and almost worthy of dismissing, regardless if it is Dior or not. In time it redeems itself with the introduction of muguet and it sweetens up with the introduction of fruits-in-a-punch bowl concoction. Six hours later the faint scent of fruit punch, soft florals, and musk linger, leaving behind one of the best drydowns in a hesperidic fragrance.

    If you are looking for a sillage bomb or a fragrance powerhouse, look elsewhere. It is a refined and demure fragrance, with quiet, understated class. Save your Tom Ford BOVdF for the VIP section on Saturday night; DA2 spends its Sunday afternoons sipping mimosas at brunch with the girls, wafting in the breeze ever so gently.

    27 June, 2012

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    Magnolia Blossom by Bath and Body Works

    Let me be clear, it's a simple, linear fragrance. But sometimes simple is best. To add something, anything to this simple scent is to add a daisy to a beautiful bouquet of rich, red roses. It just does not fit.

    Magnolia and nothing but magnolia. It's glorious! It starts out mildly sweet and full of magnolia and ends mild and still full of magnolia. It is among B&BW's finest fragrances.

    Why they discontinued Magnolia Blossom will forever baffle me. Then again, they seem to have a habit of keeping their safest--and sometimes most uninspired--scents for all posterity and do away with their most interesting scents.

    27 June, 2012

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    Azzaro Now Women by Azzaro

    I want to love this fragrance. Really, I do, and in the most desperate of ways. Now is the creation of two of my favorite noses--one of my all-time favorite noses, Annie Buzantian--and it is composed of some of my all-time favorite notes. I have no clue what went so horribly wrong but at this present time it is all I can do to bring myself to even tolerate Now.

    I do adore the work of Annie Buzantian. However, I've noticed a signature pattern in Buzantian's work where she incorporates notes that teeter a fine line of poetically dissonant and uncomfortably discordant. Typically, this fine line makes her creations works of olfactory genius; take the unexpected pepper in Sensuous, the seemingly opposed praline and patchouli in Flair, or the rose bouquet secretly spiked with cognac in So In Love. Somehow Buzantian makes the unthinkable meld in the most lovely way. Sadly she did not perform her usual magic with Now.

    Buzantian and Morillas mixed what should have been the most delicious and decadent tropical elixir: tiare flower, passion fruit, lime, rum. What we are left with is a concoction that cannot decide if it is a men's cologne or a fluffy "I-just-turned-twenty-one-today" tropical drink brimming with over-the-top sweetness. The split personality of this mad scientist's perfume left my nostrils confused and offended many around me. One friend asked if I had gone through his collection of colognes and sprayed myself silly. At times I had to ask myself the same question.

    Compulsively I continue to reach for this fragrance but I know this is not for me.

    27 June, 2012

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    Magie Noire by Lancôme

    I am not a fan of chypres. Plain and simple. I'm certainly intrigued by them and I have some in my personal collection but they are fragrances that often perplex me. Sometimes they even intimidate me. My chypres are the ones I grab most often, just to simply sniff and admire. I don't wear them often. They frighten me a bit in their complexity.

    This is a classic chypre and I would recommend it to anyone who has a chypre obsession. There is a classic 1980s velvet feel to this one, like a vintage thrift store gem you find that somehow everyone else has managed to look over. I'm one of those who saw it and couldn't appreciate it for what it was.

    I loved it when my mom would spritz this on me. I was six or seven and it was one of my mom's favorites. It reminded me of the plastic scent of Malibu Barbie's blond locks. Weird, I know. I got a little older and I asked my mom to please stop wearing it. It made me nauseous so she did. I think a major reason why it did and why I still cannot handle the smell of it now has to do with the heavy-handed manner in which my mom and my aunt wore it. It was just too much, like everything else in the 1980s.

    Like most chypres MN is very strong. I don't know about the composition of it now but the 1980s juice was strong. It is definitely a spritz-the-air-then-walk-through fragrance. If your skin is wet with MN then you've applied too much. I can appreciate its boldness and its complexity but I still liken it to a Godiva chocolate-covered lobster tail in a caviar sauce--too much of a good thing.

    14 June, 2012

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    Magnetism by Escada

    I must confess: as much as I enjoy caramel as a confectionary treat I do not care for it in perfumes. My last rendezvous with caramel before Magnetism was disastrous; I could not scrub Hard Candy off my wrists fast enough. As the old cliché goes, “never say never,” and I am so glad I did not. Magnetism is good enough to make me go back on my word.

    To look at the notes is to go into shock over the sugary overload of caramel, vanilla, and random fruits, not to mention the mishmash of greens and flowers. Had I seen the notes first I would never have considered buying this. It looks frightful but smells blissful. EM begins with a subdued creamy caramel, which is neither too saccharine nor too artificial. The vanilla-caramel sweetens just a tad with the arrival of candied fruits a few minutes after the initial spray. As terrifying as candied fruits may sound, they are merely present to add another confectionary dimension to this cozy comfort scent. The vanilla-caramel is still ever present at the heart but it mellows out, introducing a rich bouquet of varied flowers in full bloom, leaves and stems included. The base is most satisfying, incorporating the romantic notion of candies and flowers but adding an element of carnal seduction with its creamy vanilla and amber musk. Eight hours later I could smell a soft, sweetened, and warm musk; it was my skin but so much better.

    Women will ask what you are wearing and men will trail behind, following the sillage in a devil-may-care fashion. I look weird compulsively burying my nose in my wrist but it cannot be helped when I wear this. EM is just that good.

    01st June, 2012

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    Versace Man Eau Fraîche by Versace

    VM Eau Fraîche smells like a reinterpretation of citric heavy-hitters such as D&G’s Light Blue, Moschino’s I Love Love, BBW’s White Citrus and Azzaro’s Chrome, all of which I adore. It’s certainly more hesperidic than it is woody, with a little bit of spice and an iota of sweetness. There is more of a lemon-rinds-than-lemonade feeling happening here. The lack of sweetness and the woodiness of it all make this a tad more masculine than unisex, but it still feels unisex nevertheless. It has hefty projection and a pleasant amount of sillage, qualities citrus scents sometimes lack. It’s relatively linear from first spray to last drydown but it does take an ever-so-slightly powdery turn in the drydown. As a citrus lover I really enjoyed this one and may spring for a full bottle. VMEF is citrus with panache.

    30th May, 2012

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    Boyfriend by Boyfriend

    Even if this fragrance was not called ‘Boyfriend’ I would probably still recall a young boy from my teenage years. It was the summer I was to turn thirteen and I’d just developed a crush on the boy next door, the one with whom I had spent several past summers as a complete tomboy. He’d been gone a week or so, camping with his stepfather. When he returned I ran out of the house to hug him as if I had not seen him in decades. As I hugged him I inhaled, taking in the smell of sweat, the camping grounds, his days-old hair product, his…everything. To an outsider, it was plain ol’ funk, a teenage boy long overdue for a shower. For me, however, it was that inexplicable essence of Neighbor Boy that made me miss him all the more desperately and brought indescribable joy upon his return. I picked up the rollerball of Boyfriend and was greeted with this repressed memory.

    I love plums as they smell so seductive when they’re used in fragrances; the plum here is seductive but not in a typically vampy way. It’s juicy but not overtly fruity and certainly not too sweetened. The vanillic musk is almost like sweet, mildly perspired skin and the woods are smoky and spicy. (According to a reputable online retailer, there is, in fact, vanilla in the base.) There’s something floral lurking in the background—it’s jasmine, really?—that is purposefully vague, not to cloud up our memories of past and present boyfriends (or husbands). I will agree that Boyfriend is more of a fruity chypre than a floral woody musk, much in the same darkly innocent spirit as Jessica Simpson’s Fancy Nights.

    Boyfriends have come and gone throughout my life but this hearkens back to the first one, back to a feeling I have found to be elusive. Even for a few minutes, I captured that feeling once again through a single sniff of this very subtle skinscent.

    30th May, 2012

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    Design by Paul Sebastian

    The subject of most reviled fragrances was posed in an online forum and someone mentioned how despised her beloved Design was. She gallantly defended its compositional honor, both in her forum post and in her online review. She also sang the praises of Revlon’s Ciara and as a fellow lover of Ciara—another vilified perfume—I trusted her opinion. I promptly picked up a bottle that I was sure had been languishing upon the shelves at TJ Maxx for several months.

    I spritzed my wrist at close range as I sat at my desk. I felt the vapors of this scent take over the room like a fog and I got scared. First thought: “Oh damn, this s**t just got real!” Second thought: “Alright, now that I can breathe, it’s very much like Ciara with a big bouquet of loud white florals.” The second thought brought on a sigh of relief. Just get past the first ten minutes and do not spray at close range—this has the potential to be great keeping those two tips in mind. After the first ten minutes this mellowed out and transmuted into a white floral powerhouse. An hour after that, and for several hours thereafter, Design mellowed once again but became sharp and waxy, like an old school bar of soap. (I’m thinking of Camay or Caress, sharp white florals and detergent.) Depending on your take of vintage soap scents, this is either heaven or hell.

    Design is a top-heavy fragrance; the civet base, which is at the beginning, is anything but smooth and subdued but it fades in time. For a fleetingly brief moment it resembles 1980s queen of over-the-top perfumes, Giorgio. It’s shockingly not a sillage bomb nor is it a projectile missile of a scent unless it is overdone (and with a vintage such as this, it is a very real hazard here). I love soapy scents and I secretly love Ciara so this is an underappreciated work of vintage art that I am proud to have in my collection.

    30th May, 2012

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    Burberry Body by Burberry

    I remember smelling Burberry Body on a co-worker when this first came out. I though it smelled nice but it didn’t exactly leave me coveting a bottle. I wanted to try it out for myself but I just never cared enough to do so. Several months later I came across a sample that was thrown into a bag of loot from Ulta.

    First impression? Does anyone remember the scent of Nair from the 1980s and 1990s? It was a frightfully heady mix of artificial generic flowers and caustic chemicals that could fumigate a house. I had a flashback to the summer of 1989, when I tried desperately to find shaving alternatives and ended up stinking to high heaven for days, upon application of Body. I must confess this was not a happy kind of flashback. I shudder when I think back to that incident and I don’t appreciate it when a perfume dares to stir up bad memories.

    About a half hour later Body attempted to cover up the toxic depilatory scent with a hearty amount sweaty musk and chemical roses. Vanilla was lurking somewhere underneath but it’s not very discernible amid the nameless chemicals, sweaty musk, and room deodorizer roses. This tenacious little bugger stayed on me throughout the day, constantly mocking me for a bad decision made twenty three years ago. Luckily, others were not subjected to smelling this chemical trainwreck as it stayed close to the skin.

    Maybe if I had left the Nair alone I wouldn’t be so harsh on this fragrance but I didn’t and now I am.

    19 May, 2012

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    Aqua Rush by Nautica

    Aqua Rush is a glorified bar of Irish Spring, particularly the Icy Blast-scented one. It’s nice, safe, and work-appropriate—all code for BORING. There is no real breakdown of notes in the traditional form of opening, heart notes, and base notes; this is nothing more than a linear stream of Icy Blast-scented Irish Spring from beginning to end. The projection is mildly medium, the sillage is a whispering trail, and the longevity is about four to six hours; all the makings for a perfect cubicle-mate scent.

    Despite its droll nature I like this scent. It’s definitely gender-neutral in its inoffensive nature; a state of cleanliness is neither male nor female. Cilantro fans will be pleased with its cool leafiness, a welcome alternative to the aquatic standard, cucumber. This is well-suited for summer weather but like most aquatics for summer, it’s still dull. I’ve found Nautica scents to be equitable to body sprays; this is no exception. I’d gladly add this to my collection but not for more than $20. My suggestion would be to wait a few more months till it is in the bargain bin at TJ (TK) Maxx or Marshall’s.

    17 May, 2012

    rating


    Escada by Escada

    Escada 2005 could be the separated-at-birth twin of Victoria’s Secret’s discontinued gem, Very Sexy 2. There’s less sweetness and the juice here is blue, asserting an upscale aquatic vibe, but they are essentially twins. This is great for fans—such as me—of one of the last of VS’s fragrance creations, before they traded in daring sophistication for cocktail cacophonic ‘fumes of late. Come to think of it, Escada could be accused of casting the same fate to their collection, too.

    I’m not a fan of chypres but this is a pleasantly calm one. It’s not bombastic like most chypres that come to mind, but it has staying power comparable to any classic one, like Aromatics Elixir or Magie Noire. The sillage and projection are subdued for a chypre but it lets the wearer’s friends and acquaintances know you are wearing something lightly floral and somewhat leafy. Speaking of leafy, this is cassia-laden (and I love me some cassia). The blue color implies this is a weak, watery summer scent but Escada is perfect for any weather, any time of day or night.

    If more chypres were like this I’d be a bigger fan of them.

    17 May, 2012

    rating


    Sung by Alfred Sung

    I remember my best friend from high school had this on her vanity back when everyone else had Sunflowers and Tresor on theirs. I used to snoop around in her collection as our tastes ran similar. Sung was my favorite in her collection. I believe I even used up her bottle and tried to offer up a rancid bottle of Primo (Kmart’s answer to Giorgio Beverly Hills) in exchange. She was a true friend—she forgave both my overindulgence with her bottle of Sung and my reparations in the form of an insult-in-a-bottle. Fast forward about fifteen years. I had long forgotten the name of my friend’s emptied bottle but I knew the scent immediately. It was about time for a long overdue reunion.

    Sung is a very verdant white floral that I cannot help but associate with white lace. To be exact, I smell lily-of-the-valley first and foremost, sweetened by other white flowers and grounded by woods. It dries down smelling of soft and powdery white flowers, a real gem among rocks for white floral lovers. It has real tenacious staying power and it is quite the sillage monster, a quality many contemporary fragrances lack. It is as precious, as romantic, and as much an anachronism as lacy gloves. It is a fragrance that may seem a bit out of place these days but it will endure fads and whims of the present and find its place among the classics.

    09 May, 2012

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    Shanghai Butterfly by Nanette Lepore

    If D&G Light Blue is a pair of Louboutins then Shanghai Butterfly is a sturdy, well-made pair of Nine West stilettos. Some of us may be coveting D&G but need to watch our pennies. This is the economical answer to satisfying the D&G need.

    The longevity of this fragrance is very satisfying and the sillage even rivals its D&G counterpart. There is more of a sour apple in the opening but it isn't enough to really compromise the likeness to D&G. And to be honest, if I had to choose which bottle I would prefer to display I'd gladly go with the cheeky cyan bottle any day.

    At $10 I am in no position to do any kind of complaining and I certainly do not feel the need to shell out $60 simply so I can have a bottle that says D&G. No one needs to be the wiser!

    However, this is a strange bird of a fragrance. I am learning--online and among friends and family--this fragrance is very mercurial if not downright polarizing. I think I am lucky that this plays well on my skin; my brother's gf tried it and spent an hour periodically scouring this off her wrist. She is still bearing a grudge for the experience. This is not a safe blind-buy unless you can find this for $10 and be okay with the gamble of either loving this or hating this (there is no "meh" when it comes to this fragrance).

    09 May, 2012

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    Nanette Lepore by Nanette Lepore

    Nanette Lepore’s eponymous fragrance reminds me of Daisy’s backwoods cousin. Certainly, Marc Jacob’s Daisy is not a scent I would associate exclusively with the 1% but while there is some level of class and refinement with Daisy, NL is a Pabst Blue Ribbon-swilling downhome gal in cute pink velour sweats. NL is actually very similar to Daisy: both have candied fruits, strong violets, and fluffy roses. Both are strong and long-lasting but the similarities end there; NL dries down to a sweet sandalwood with hints of vague fruit cocktail and generic flowers.

    Analogous to my assessment of NL’s Shanghai Butterfly to D&G’s Light Blue, this is a cost-conscientious rendition of Daisy but definitely not a replacement for it. Sticklers for bottles will fall in love with its tchotchke design or hate it immensely. Since I have both NL and Daisy—and prefer Daisy—I keep NL more for its bottle than for its juice.

    09 May, 2012

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    Voile de Fleur by Tom Ford

    Plums are very seductive fruits and they do not get any more sensuous than they do here in BOVdF. They are dark, opulent, and slyly sinister here. I am over the moon in love with Tom Ford’s misunderstood boozy villain. This villain in velvets also brings gardenias to woo its prey in the cloak of darkness. Its drydown is consistently dark and dense, with heady fruits and berries, spicy sandalwood, and loads of amber and patchouli. Compared to its older sibling, Black Orchid, this is a lighter, effervescent version but it’s still heavy hitter with a secret double life.

    This is a dense cloak of a fragrance with sillage that announces, “The wearer has left the building.” It is certainly a fragrance with a bullhorn! Very much like anyone with a bullhorn, this fragrance is unconcerned with offending others, though it has the potential to do so. I know I’ll be wearing this the next time I go bar-hopping in Downtown L.A. BOVdF was made for upscale nightlife and devil-may-care urban adventures.

    05 May, 2012

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    Mambo for Women by Liz Claiborne

    As summer approaches I have rekindled my borderline obsession with orange blossom scents. I followed some rabbit hole of reviews and came across Mambo. I was sold on the idea of this being a saltless rendition of LP’s Beachy. Even if it turned out to be nothing like Beachy I was still sold on the listed notes of mango, hibiscus, ginger and, mostly, orange blossom. The asking price was so ridiculously low for a 3.4oz bottle I could not resist snapping it up.

    There is a strange, sharp soapiness, akin to Pure Grace or most anything in the Clean line. I have mentioned in other reviews my strange pleasure in soap-sniffing so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it is kind of unexpected given the listed notes. If this is a problem for some, it does pass quickly; if this soap element is what draws you in, prepare to be disappointed. It does not take long for this fragrance to show its true nature as a platform for freshly grated ginger. This is ginger and all else takes a backseat. Scratch that—everything else takes a ride in the trunk while ginger takes the wheel.

    I quite like this ginger concoction as it does not give in to being too sweet or too cloying. I really like the ginger in EL’s Bali Dream but it falls prey to being too saccharine and pop fizzy as it gets cluttered by a clobbering orchid. Mambo does not fall into BD’s similar trap; it is wonderfully sweet and spicy enough without going overboard. I don’t get the mango or oranges; Mambo is far more floral than fruity. J.Lo and her celebrity sisters have cornered the market on over-the-top marmalades so I’m okay with this lack of fruits. It’s really refreshing to have an unapologetically persistent ginger in my collection.

    05 May, 2012

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    Beachy by Lily Pulitzer

    Lilly Pulitzer’s Beachy isn’t really beachy at all. It’s more of a ‘Summer by the Pool’ than ‘A July Afternoon in Huntington Beach’ fragrance, if I do say so. It successfully evokes the essence of summer in a bottle, probably better than most self-proclaimed summer fragrances. I want winter to be over already so I have been wearing this intermittently for the past few months. I have other Summer fragrances but this one has all the conventional elements that take me instantly to a lounge chair by the pool in 80° F weather.

    The salted watermelon in this is not what you might think. It sounds fruity but it is used interestingly to create a scent of water. It is more of a chlorinated watery scent than an ocean or lake water scent. Strange, I know, but probably more accessible to the wearer since pool sides are more readily available than shorelines. It’s persistent, as it stays throughout the composition, but not overpowering. There is also the sweet, warmed scent of sun-baked skin (due to the salt, amber, and a faint touch of toasted vanilla) and faint suntan lotion (thanks to the tropical flower bouquet). The citrus is barely there but acts as a moderator that keeps the suntan lotion note in check and the water element believable.

    Beachy has great projection, is long-lasting, and has wonderful sillage, inviting others to join you for drinks by the pool. I would say this is a perfect scent for year-round—perfect for cold weather months while wishing for warmer days and warmer months to welcome the summer sun. It’s well on its way to becoming my signature scent.

    29 April, 2012 (Last Edited: 05 May, 2012)

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    Tommy Bahama for Women by Tommy Bahama

    One day I was spritzing myself silly at Ulta. I had had my fill of fragrances for the day but I decided to sniff one more blotter strip. I’ve mentioned before my weakness for anything typified as ‘tropical’. I’ve also mentioned the consequences of blindly buying fragrances based on such prejudices in other reviews. This particular time I did not get ensnared in the blind buying trap, only testing out Tommy Bahama. It was fabric-flowers-and-string-lei love at first sniff… on a blotter strip. I vowed to purchase this full price. As fate would have it I found it several months later at Marshall’s for a song and a dance. It was my lucky day.

    I got home, showered, and put on my new big bottle of Tommy Bahama. Immediately, I felt a sense of familiarity and disappointment. It smelled very similar to Bora Bora and Christina Agulara’s Inspire, two fragrances I already had. It also reminded me of some tropical Escada scents along with a faint reference to Estee Lauder’s Beyond Paradise. It smelled amazing and uniquely tropical on the blotter strip but somehow smelled ordinary on me. I was disheartened.

    The real heartbreaker was in the drydown. It ceased to be tropical and turned to an aldehydic, powdery bore. I was far more impressed with the unswerving tropical nuances in Bora Bora than I was with this. To quote Madonna, this long-lasting sillage monster was sadly, “Reductive.” It is not a bad fragrance but I can think of at least five tropical ‘fumes with more originality and better composition from beginning to end than this. I’m glad I didn’t commit to this one at full price, and though this is pleasant, I will not be making a repeat purchase of this one again.

    17 April, 2012

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    Pure Grace by Philosophy

    I have the perfume oil of Pure Grace. It is NOT anything special. I can't even think of anyone to whom I'd recommend this, at least without offending someone as this would be a subliminal suggestion for a much needed shower. I can only imagine this being a suitable match for the white stocking set--either in a clinical setting or for a white stocking fetishist.

    I fall into a different category and this fragrance is for me and my brethren; this is for people in love with the scent of a soap bar. Some people secretly love the scent of gasoline while others blissfully inhale rubber. I love sniffing a new bar of soap. I can't explain it but this fragrance satisfies that strange compulsion. This is not the scent of a fresh shower or clean skin, just a plain ol' bar of soap, sans the wrapper.

    17 April, 2012

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    Breathless by Victoria's Secret

    Victoria’s Secret has a way of taking fragrant gems and trading them in for of-the-moment pop fads and diabetic-shock-inducing confections that last no longer than a year. I understand the company does have to expand and change as its age demographic expands and changes but too often they throw out the babe with the bath water. In this case Breathless is the precocious babe with much potential that got tossed on its rear to make way for something generic and sugar-berry scented.

    At the start Breathless is a relatively authentic orange blossom-y fragrance amplified, thanks to a heavy dose of orange blossom (not listed), neroli, and citruses. Nice, but the same can be said about Sung, Henri Bendel Orange Blossom & Jasmine, Sanborn’s Orange Blossom Cologne and many, many more. Wait it out a few minutes and be rewarded with the most sensual—if not flat-out sexual—your-skin-but-infinitely-better musk. It’s reminiscent of J. Lo’s Glow. However, Glow incorporates the scent of freshly scrubbed naked skin, the towel that is wrapped around the naked skin, the dryer sheet that’s still attached to the towel, the moisturizer on the naked skin, the shampoo, the conditioner … to the point the wearer has forgotten about the naked skin. Breathless is about freshly washed naked skin, out of the shower without a towel, and a significant other who cannot keep his or her hands to themselves. It’s naughty and fun, as should be expected from Victoria’s Secret, purveyors of lacy, silky, sexy naughtiness.

    Breathless is satisfyingly long-lasting and thank goodness for that; I love the subtle sweetness of my skin, but better, here. It leaves a sexy trail that will have many asking, “What is that bewitching scent?” I found myself catching whiffs of this scent, smiling, and feeling a million times sexier than I felt before I put this on.

    17 April, 2012

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    Perhaps by Bob Mackie

    “Perhaps” was a different kind of mainstream scent back in 1997. In 2012 it is still clumsily unique in its own way in context of its time. It somehow got trapped in the transition between the late 1980s powerhouse florientals and the soft fruity-floral “slacker” scents of the late 1990s. If this fragrance was personified it would be an Aquanetted, free-stylin’ pop tart of a girl making the strained attempt to embrace the grunge scene, lumbering around awkwardly in a pair of Doc Martens and sky-high bangs. It sounds cruel, and it is to a point, but it deserves a pat on the back, and a proper wearing, for at least trying.

    It begins with a mentholated fruity slap. I don’t see mint listed but there is a bracingly cold blast of mint flying below the radar, underneath the scent of canned peaches. Oh, and those peaches that were everywhere in 1990s florientals. The peaches really date this fragrance like a vinyl copy of Screaming Trees’ “Sweet Oblivion”: classic, enjoyable, and forever stamped as a 1990s relic. The same peaches that graced Tresor, Tuscany Per Donna, and Liz Claiborne’s Liz made one last appearance here, subconsciously creating a time stamp that will forever read 1990s floriental. If one can find pleasure in the former listed fragrances’ peaches, then the latter’s peaches should present no problems.

    Given a few minutes the peaches share space with freesia and mimosa, giving this a very bright, yellow-floral scent (for a very long time). The sunny yellow bouquet seems to be an attempt to mimic its more subdued contemporaries, such as Happy, Sunflowers, and CK One. It’s nice but it creates confusion—is this going the way of a bang or a whimper? At this point in particular Perhaps is a clumsy 1980s boy toy tripping on her own Doc Marten-bedecked feet.

    The drydown turns to a typical 1990s floriental powderbomb. Again, nice but nothing new, if not downright confused. There are plenty of generic fruits, flowers, and amber. The juice’s duration is incredibly long-lasting, typical of that era’s fragrances (and a sorely missed characteristic in many fragrances produced nowadays). Sillage is tastefully strong enough and projection is just loud enough to let others you are wearing a bad-girl-gone-good.

    So do I love it or hate it? I have been asking myself this all day. I got ahold of a (free) vintage bottle which smells exactly as I remember. I was not over-the-moon with this one back in 1997 and I am still not completely in love in 2012. However, I do have a greater appreciation for this one, looking at it through “graduation goggles,” where former stinkers and powderbomb offenders are at once forgiven for past transgressions. I do like it, but it is much like seeing a former crush sporting a beer gut and a bald spot at the high school reunion—I remember fondly why I liked him but there will not be a happily ever after at the night’s end.

    09 April, 2012

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