Perfume Reviews

Reviews by rbaker

Total Reviews: 1714
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À la Rose by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The orange in the opening soon gives way to he rose; a gentle, bright, soft and airy rose that becomes a touch richer as time goes by. There are whiffs of violet and white lily with other more ephemeral florals mixed in, but the rose remains the centrepiede until the end, when a rather perfunctory touch of a woodsy tone briefly appears. The rose impression exudes only mild sweetness on my skin.

I get soft sillage, adequate projection and a - given this scent's lightness unexpected - impressive longevity of eleven hours on my skin.

A lovely summery light yet somewhat linear rose composition whose main forte is the high natural quality of the ingredients used. For the lover of discrete rose fragrances. 3/5.
27th July, 2016
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féminin Pluriel by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

There is a pleasant floral concoction from the beginning, but it not well structured and developers into a bit of a floral blur suffocating a discrete rose that shines through at times. Iris - a bit, jasmine - a bit, but I mainly get lily-of-the-valley combined with a nonspecific white floral mix plus some aldehydes.

Later on a bit of the iris returns and a strangely sweetish-smooth vetiver is added too.

The sillage is soft, the projection adequate, and the longevity an excellent nine hours on my skin.

Pleasant in spring and not bad, but a touch to muted and inadequately structured, especially in the second half of its development. The potential is there though. 2.75/5
26th July, 2016
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Amyris Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The opening is a bright-ish citrus and herbal note that is a tad on the undifferentiated side, and is soon joined by an iris impression that is agreeable not not particularly distinguishing itself.

Later in the drydown the whole combination thins out, and at times it is rather generic and uninspiring. Then, after the first five hours or so, a twist towards the gourmand occurs. It is heralded by a very restrained balsamic note, a darkish-green balsam that is very fine, neither ceremonial nor spicy, and not very medicinal either.

Then a cocoa arrives, later with a light chocolate undertone, and a well-behaved vanilla with a teeny-weeny but of oud - an olfactoric microscope is needed to detect the latter. This is the most convincing part of this product's development, smooth, round, neither cloying nor intrusive - as a matter of fact this always remains a restrained and at times nearly faint fragrance.

I get moderate sillage, a somewhat limited projection and an very impressive eleven hours of
longevity on my skin.

This autumnal scent is a bit of a mixed bag then. At times too generic, and times very well done, especially the second half, which seems to be composed of good-quality ingredients. Overall 2.5/5.
25th July, 2016
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Fico d'India by Ortigia

The fruity core and the cedar - these are the two main components in this creation. In spite of some slight difference there is a good fig note present, and the balance between fruitiness, sweetness and acidity is achieved well. Hints of Cantaloupe and forest berry are also present at times.

The cedarwood is on the darker side, with touches of spiciness. This spiciness is more accompaniment to the wood and never pushes itself into the foreground. Not peppery, not balsamic or ceremonial, more an extension of the spicy aroma that is inherent to some darker cedar notes anyway, and towards the end with a lightly powdery whiff, a modern contemporary powderiness, not a traditional barbershop

The sillage is moderate, the projection good, and the longevity six hours.

A somewhat linear composition for warmer autumn days with few surprises, but made of high-quality natural ingredients and deserving a try if you like this sort of fragrance. 3/5.
25th July, 2016
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Oud Silk Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Yes - another rose & oud product. After all, no-one ever thought of this before?!..... The age of oud....

Still, the oud here is of a nice quality, and whilst strong, on my skin it is never to intrusive or cloying. Not that this a discrete oud; it is clearly present m and out in the open - this is no Royal Oud. And whilst having the distinct edge and aroma characteristic of oud, is is a comparatively rounded version of this wood impression.

The rose is pleasant and, unlike in many other rose-oud clones, is not overwhelmed by its counterpart and an equal partner most of the time; at times the rose is even a bit up in front. This rose is medium dark, smooth with touches of depth and texture.

Throughout the development I get a herbal undertone at times, with hints of weak tea towards the end.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good, and the longevity adds up to nine hours.

A pleasantly balanced rouse-oud creation made of high-quality ingredients but limited in its originality. 3/5.

24th July, 2016
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APOM pour Femme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

This starts out as a sweet and soft floral composition. Initially the orange blossom is laced with a rich and super-smooth ylang-ylang, but after the first few hours it is the orange blossom only.

This then lasts for the rest of the development. Towards the end whiffs of caramel are in the air at times, as are somewhat generic woodsy vibes that remain the least interesting part of this olfactoric trio.

The sillage is moderate to strong, the projection excellent - apply sparingly- and the longevity a very impressive eleven hours.

A soft and rich spring floral scent that is not too synthetic and is based on an agreeable orange blossom. 3.25/5.
23rd July, 2016
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Amyris Femme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The opening has a discretely fresh undertone - courtesy of some hints of citrusy vibes and a light and non-earthy vetiver - but it is mainly a floral note that is centred around a nice iris note. Whilst rich, it is an elegant iris, with a green undertone and not too sweet at all. An unashamedly floral affair.

The drydown brings in an incense that, again, combines richness with elegance. It is a light and ethereal balsamic tone; a far cry from the heavy solemn and ceremonial frankincense others have used and use. This is the incense antithesis to Amouage's splendid Interlude.

Yes, there is some oud in the base, but very discretely incorporated into the whole mix; think of the oud in Royal Oud - that's how discreet it is on my skin, just a touch more synthetic.

Towards the end the incense and the green and balsamic characteristics were off and what remains is the iris that, gently, fades into the night.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent, and the longevity an amazing fourteen hours on my skin.

A scent for spring evenings, well-blended, not without an original and never too cloying or annoyingly synthetic. 3.25/5.
22nd July, 2016
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Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Strong is the opening blast: strong in harsh, chemically-skanky-civety animalism, brightened up up by a fairly screechy benzoin. Soon the sweetness of an agreeable honey aroma is mixed in, and it is the combination of the animalistic scratchiness with the gourmand more that creates the tension that provides this composition with its drive and development.

Further down the track an incense tries to develop, but the benzoin rather brutally suffocates it. With time the harshness mellows and the honeyed impression gradually comes to the fore. A couple of hours before the end I am getting mainly honey with the animalistic side having morphed into a nice backdrop to the product of our flying friends.

On my skin the sillage is strong, the projection huge and the longevity a stunning fifteen hours.

This wintery scent is based on the original concept of animalistic vs. sweet and that is executed very well. The major drawback of this loud attention-getter is the overly synthetic nature of its ingredients, which results in a laboratory potpourri of questionable quality. Overall thus an average score. At least there is no lab oud.
21st July, 2016
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Cologne pour le Matin by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The opening is a combination of a lovely bergamot with an equally nice citrus-lemon note. They are not refreshing blasts, but more invigorating breezes and nonetheless exuding a discrete brightness.

The drydown develops with pleasant lavender core, which is not spectacular but still very agreeable, and a floral herbal matrix - iris, thyme, hints greenness - provide some additional facets. These heart notes are agreeable albeit not particularly exciting. There is not much development after that, and these notes are fading out gently.

The performance is decent with moderate sillage, adequate projection and eight hours of longevity.

This summery scent creates a bit of a conundrum: whilst clearly not a bad product, the second part is not really rising above pleasant mediocrity and so this is not deserving an unequivocal thumbs-up. The first fresh-ish part, however, is nice, and the fact that it lasts for over half the time of the development on me makes me push it - just - across the line to a barely positive score. 3/5.
20th July, 2016
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Aqua Universalis Forte by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Right from the start do I the core notes of a delicious jasmin with rose. Initially there is a touch if background freshness, the result of bergamot and whiffs of lemon, but these are shaken off soon to lay bare the floral heart of this creation.

It is the jasmin that is most impressive. Intensive, full of natural richness and smooth. It is combined skillfully with a fairly bright rose, not the dark and velvety type bit more of an elegant and optimistic rose impression, with the slightly woodsy hints of rose stems further down in the development of the middle notes.

The other component is a basket of white flowers, and I am getting an especially prominent muguet. It is fairly sweet, grows to merge with the other florals and takes over in the base. This whole floral mix is sweet, but never intrusive or cloying; it is an elegant sweetness.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and a splendid longevity of twelve hours.

This spring scent is unashamedly floral, pleasantly sweet and lovely. It is a bit linear and not supremely creative, but very well blended of excellent ingredients. The great performance is one of its fortes. 3.5/5
19th July, 2016
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Panorama by Olfactive Studio

The opening is that of a fresh summer meadow. Bergamot, fresh grass, a touch of citrus and leaves of bushes aound fields of grass in the sunshine - beautiful, bright, capturing the sun.

The drydown adds galbanum and an herbal touch, mainly a nice myrrh by with minimal spice. In the drydown al the sunniness is gone and replaced a very restrained vanilla background with a superimposed beautiful balasamic note; the latter is light, a touch airy and neither dark nor boozy. There is discretely balanced sweetness that fits in well with the balsamic impression.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and an astounding fourteen hours of longevity, with the balsam gently fading at the end.

A gorgeously summery green scent, a bit on the light and airy side, but very well blended of high-quality ingredients and performing splendidly. 3.5/5
18th July, 2016
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Amber Extrait by Roja Dove

A lovely opening combining a deep geranium-cum-bergamot. This is a soft opening without any freshness, and although a hint of a ripe mandarin is there I do net get any refreshing tone.

Very soon a rich note of drinking chocolate arises, but then the core of this scent develops: a smooth vanilla with a soft and soft ambery undertone. This amber is soft, smoothed by the vanilla and lacks any harshness or smokiness. Then a gentle and soft coumarin is interlaced with transient whiffs of sandalwood and with the vanilla, and this all is drenched with a restrained layer of benzoin.

I do not get much further development after that, and the base sees this pleasant mix taper very slowly.

The performance is stellar: moderate to strong sillage, brilliant projection and an astounding fourteen hours of longevity on my skin.

This is a bit of a misnomer as the amber, whilst part of the fabric of this creation, is not in the foreground of its development. The sweetness, courtesy mainly of the excellent vanilla note, is never overwhelming or cloying. This is always smooth, very smooth.

Whilst quite linear in the second half of its overall trajectory, this is nonetheless a delightful composition, very well blended out of top-quality ingredients and displaying tremendous performance. 3.5/5.
17th July, 2016
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Every Storm A Serenade by Imaginary Authors

The fresh wood notes of the spruce in the opening phase is just delightful, and a bright vetiver enhances this uplifting perception. Mind you, this is not a deep and heavily rich wood note; it has no shadow and no booziness and is more reflective of an an Procençal forest in early summer. The vetiver is also bright and lacks any dark and earthy characteristics in my skin.

The drydown with the marine twist is nice but less convincing. It is gentle and somewhat withdrawn and lacks the direct and intestive sea notes that is delivered, for instance, by Erolfa and Bergamotto Marino.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and six hours of longevity.

A lovely bright summery wood composition with a marine bent and limited longevity, but composed of ingredients of excellent quality. 3.5/5
16th July, 2016
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Les Indes Galantes by MDCI

The bergamot and the pleasant almond note together make a nice opening. The drydown with its cinnamon adds just a hint of sweetness and adds nice depth. At times touches of subtle spiciness are apparent, and probably courtesy to clove and whiffs of discrete white peppers and an underlying web of coriander. A very gentle spiciness that is.

In the second half of its olfactoric trajectory a pleasantly sweet vanilla gradually moves into the foreground. Touches, mere glimpses of a smooth new nappa leather and some labdanum-based undertone are drowned out by the vanilla and by benzoin towards the end.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a wonderful thirteen hours of longevity.

This is a lovely winter warmer, albeit based in a concept that is not particularly original but overall well executed and beautifully blended out of high-quality ingredients. Overall nice, performing very well and not intrusive; this is a balanced composition. 3.25/5.
15th July, 2016
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Ambre Impérial by Van Cleef & Arpels

Smoothness- this is the core concept that runs through his creation like a golden thread. The opening notes bis a smooth and rounded amber, in the opening blast a touch fresh courtesy of the bergamot. This amber is - well, smooth and soft and warm.

The drydown adds a - smooth, you know? - tonka impression, and the base a slightly waxy benzoin.

There are also woodsy moments, which come and go from the heart notes on, and add some additional interest.

The performance delivers moderate sillage, excellent projection and a stupendous fourteen hours of longevity.

A bit unoriginal but safely designed as a crowd pleaser with enormous longevity, the main drawback of this wintery scent is its generic, somewhat synthetically impersonal nature. Worth trying if you like amber fragrances, but I wouldn't hold my breath. 2.75/5
14th July, 2016 (last edited: 15th July, 2016)
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Italian Cypress by Tom Ford

Sure, a whiff of citrus-orange hits you at the beginning, but after a few minutes this is getting serious. A boozy wood emerges, a rich, dark tapestry of dark greenness, with the undertone of damp forest grounds and the earthy smell of coniferous aromas in the air.

In the drydown the cypress developed slowly but convincingly, and I am also getting some herbal undertones with occasional minty glimpses, like the sun rays breaking through the dense roofs of tree tops in the autumnal Šumava.

Yes, there are clear reminiscences of the vintage version of Polo Green, especially the old bottle I picked up from an old shop in Dunedin many years ago, but this TF is richer and boozier than the Ralph Lauren. Other similarities are found with Bogner's Deep Forest, with Torrente's for Men - without the spice and amber - with Monsiour Couturier and with one of my perennial favourites, Dunhill Blend 30, but Italian Cypress is quite linear, more straightforward, less rich, a bit less textured and less nuanced than those Greats are.

What Italian Cypress shares with these scents is that it is made of top-quality ingredients and how beautifully it is blended. This bears the hallmark of TF in his heydays at Gucci, when GPH I was released, before TF departed to set up his own shop and before Gucci focused on becoming a juvenile olfactory candy store.

The sillage is moderate, the projection excellent and the longevity a stupendously sensational sixteen hours on my skin - now THAT is longevity!

A great autumnal product of impeccable traditional craftsmanship, which is given a contemporaneous makeover. This is indubitably one of Tom Ford's finest. 4/5
13th July, 2016
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No. 33 by Penhaligon's

No. 33 starts with a soft and fruity mix of citrus - mandarin and orange - with a gentle coriander, but soon an extraordinarily smooth cardamom joins in. There is a whiff of sage, and a warm and very rounded hint of cinnamon that provides added softness.

The drydown sees a good lavender not added in, and a small floral bouquet with a slim rose impression and deeper geranium and a slightly boozy ginger. The ginger is unusually dark and subdued.

The base takes a turn to a slightly sweet vanilla merging with a mild fresh Virginia pipe tobacco and a touch of cedar, all a bit well-behaved and maybe a bit unoriginal, but it all blends in very well.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and a superb eleven hours of longevity non my skin.

Overall a lovely autumn warmer, not intrusive, maybe a tad unoriginal but displaying excellent performance. 3/5.
12th July, 2016
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Freetrapper by D.S. & Durga

Apart from an initial hint of bergamot the main component at the outset is a warm osmanthus note. Soon, however, the incense soon takes over. It is smooth, warm and comforting incense, quite balsamic at times but neither sharp nor peppery. It is not a highly ceremonious version either. Down the track it assumes a gently balsamic undercurrent and the result is very nice.

Later on woodsy components are added, and on my skin the osmanthus is quite strong, yet it manages to blend in very well with the incense; this is a convincing combination. The only less exciting components are the wood notes, which remain somewhat indistinct on my skin.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and an impressive nine hours of longevity.

A lovely winter blend made of good-quality ingredients and displaying good structure and texture. 3.25/5.
11th July, 2016
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Bowmakers by D.S. & Durga

From the beginning there is incense, wood and a slightly balsamic hint. Maybe this is alluding to the violin-making art and craft. The incense is soft, rounded, has a very mild resin characteristic at times, is more contained that intrusive and, on my skin, is never a burning or smoking incense; nor is it a haughty ceremonial frankincense.

The woods include mahogany, whiffs of pine and, further in the drydown, a nice cedar impression that increasingly grows in structure in the base notes.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good and the longevity nine hours.

A lovely wintery wood-incense-based creation composed of high-quality ingrendients that performs well. It is one of the rare incense-centred scents that is quite wearable in the office without exposing others to intrusive incense notes. 3.25/5.
10th July, 2016
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Siberian Snow by D.S. & Durga

The opening notes starts with labdanum combined with a touch of brightness, courtesy of a minty aroma that is more deep than spritely refreshing.

Later in the drydown the labdanum merges with a warm and comforting incense that pairs with a whiffs of white pepper and a styrax that at times displays a mildly waxy characteristic. The incense is fairly rich but not too dark, and lacks any high-church ceremonial flavour.

Further down the track of development the incense and styrax combine with a medium-dark opoponax and a soft and smooth amber. All these component mix together and the result is quite beautiful at that stage; this constellation of great blending lasts for several hours on my skin. The final stage is more mundane when the base is mainly left with a somewhat flat musky nose.

He sillage is moderate, the projection very good and the longevity eight hours.

A winter scent that, unusual for a fragrance today, improves with development and at times is quite convincing. I would settle it right between and positive and neutral score overall, but the decent development shifts it - just - into the thumbs-up range. 3/5.
09th July, 2016
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adr_ett by Nomenclature

The opening note is pear-centred, with an Helvetolide®-created fruitiness that later on takes on a very gentle bright spicy undertone.

In the later stage an somewhat dull ambery note combines with a faint tonka; this is quite a colourless mix.

I get soft sillage, limited projection and two hours of longevity on my skin.

This laboratory manufactured spring scent's synthetic nature is evident, with a pleasantly fruity result in the beginning and a generic disappointment after that. 2.75/5
08th July, 2016
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Mississippi Medicine by D.S. & Durga

The opening blast with a floral notes with aldehydic touches, and an incense note, and the latter soon takes over. It is a frankincense with, especially initially, a balsamic undertone that could be described as mildly medicinal at stages.

In the drydown a woodsy pine accent appears, but it is soon pushed into the background when the birch tar sets in, which has a distinct burning and smoky characteristic on my skin. Gradually it is fading out over time, like a fire that moves further away in the distance.

The sillage is moderate, the projection brilliant and the lovebird and excellent nine hours.

A warm incense winter scent with a burning and smoky characteristic, made from high-quality ingredients and well blended. 3.25/5.
08th July, 2016
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Cowboy Grass by D.S. & Durga

There is instead a lot of grass packed into this product, and I get it straight from the beginning. Initially a brighter fresh grass with elements of it reminding me of Geoffrey Beene's Bowling Green at times, enhanced by bergamot; it develops characteristics of dried grass and hay further into the drydown. Thyme, basil and whiffs of sage mean that later on a herbal mix is added that further gives the grass core some interesting nuances. At stages I get a nigh-balsamic aromatic undertone that is rather pleasant.

The base very much belongs to a vetiver impression that starts developing at the earlier stages of the heart notes and grows stronger in the base. It is a fairly earthy vetiver that it not too dark and not as gorgeous as Molinard's gold standard vetiver, but nonetheless it is quite convincingly done.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good, and the longevity is a brilliant eleven hours on my skin.

Great in spring, a nice country scent that is well made and performing excellently. Not only for cowboys. 3.5/5
07th July, 2016
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Pure Poison by Christian Dior

The beginning is jasmine with a slightly hesperidic undertone, but the core of this creation is floral, pure floral. Gardenia -thinned out compared to older samples - orange blossom, hints of geranium and white of a very slimline non-waxy tuberose make up the first phase in its development.

The drydown and the base are a conglomerate of ambroxan, an nondescript white musk and a very generic patchouli, rounded off by a small amount of benzoin. Very much pure advanced biochemistry laboratory but without any originality in the latest version.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and seven hours of longevity on my skin.

Very generic in the second half especially, a pleasant spring scent that in never unpleasant and its sweetness surprisingly uncluttered, but overall nothing exciting in the contemporary edition, which is like Poison Lite compared to the older version.

This poison does not cause pain and does not kill, but it does not delight either. 2.5/5.
04th July, 2016
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Blossoming Honeysuckle & White Tea by Molton Brown

This is a good honeysuckle impression that strikes me from the start: sweet, all right, but not too synthetic in expression and with a sweetness that is not traversing into an intrusive sweetness. The honeysuckle lacks the brilliance of Creeds Chevrefeuille, but it is respectable indeed. A touch of bergamot with ripened mandarin succeed in keeping it all in balance.

The drydown displays the white tea; somewhat faint and delicate as white tea often is, but a suitable follow-on to the top notes. A jasmine that is pleasant but not overwhelmingly excellent leads into a base that is characterised by a somewhat nonspecific woodsiness and a touch of tonka - again not very sweet.

The sillage is moderate, the projection adequate and the longevity five hours.

Gently and sweetly floral with vibes of clean delicate purity. 3.25/5.
03rd July, 2016
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Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise by Molton Brown

The white-floral theme dominates from the word "go", with muguet and a fairly convincing magnolia-blossom greeting me with a restrained sweetness at the beginning. The other component to mention is the rather lovely anise-cookie flavour that gradually rescinds on the way into the drydown.

Later in the drydown a white tea is evident, rather gently and with some friability. Additionally, a very nice ylang-ylang appears and blends in well, but it never becomes a dominant component in this mix. Still, overall his is a pleasantly balanced composition with genuine elegant sweetness that lacks any plasticine and any candy-like characteristics on my skin.

The sillage is moderate, the projection good and the longevity five hours.

A nice spring scent without pretenses and well executed out of good floral ingredients. 3.25/5.
03rd July, 2016
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Mandarine Gingembre / Mandarin Ginger by Durance de Provence

The name says is all, it's mandarin and ginger galore. Whilst that sound rather monodimensional, the mandarin is not very sweet and quite well done. The ginger is nice too, and changes from an initially bright variety to a more herbal and slightly earthy variety. There is just enough variation in this composition to prevent it from being uninteresting. The ingredients are of high quality.

The sillage is good, the projection too, and I get five hours of longevity on my skin.

A pleasant well-balanced summery scent, not a refreshing blast but summer-like bright and well done. 3.25/5.
02nd July, 2016
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Chance Eau Fraîche by Chanel

The white floral core is dominated by a nice jasmine, that is embedded in the floral grounding. In the opening phase a lemony impression provides additional zest, but nonetheless it is not so much a refreshing opening blast but more of a restrained tanginess that I get in this phase of its development.

The base is the usual mix of ambery vibes with patchouli and somewhat nonspecific woody tones also present. The base is really quite mediocre.

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.

As a spring creation not bad but the base is not one of Chanel's finest. 2.75/5.
02nd July, 2016
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Chance Eau Vive by Chanel

The top notes are citrus-based, with a grapefruit that is on the ruler side and not very acidic. This is combines with and orangey note. Overall a pleasant dyad if top notes, albeit not very natural or particularly vivid. There are grapefruits and there are grapefruits; there are oranges and there are oranges.

The base broadens the gamut of ingredients my adding a light, generic musky undertone, with additional components of a synthetic-generic vetiver and inclines if a faint sift patchouli.

Moderate sillage, good projection and six hours of longevity.

Now the top notes if this summery scent are all right but the rest is not convincing and smacks of lack of creativity. And unlike in other Chanel products the quality of the ingredients is not stellar either.
Overall middle-of-the-road. 2.75/5.
02nd July, 2016
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Chance Eau Tendre by Chanel

This is a floral concoction that in the top notes has a touch of ripe-pear-infused citrus added to it. Otherwise we are talking floral, mainly white florals with a somewhat generic jasmine. The base has the usual light musky note with nonspecific woodsiness, and more florals that are fairly generic.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good, and the longevity on my skin comes to six hours.

Not bad, for spring, not good, fairly generic and unexciting. 2.5/5.
02nd July, 2016