Reviews by gimmegreen

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    gimmegreen
    Netherlands Netherlands

    Showing 61 to 90 of 366.
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    Oud Stars : Zafar by Xerjoff

    With its mix of diarrhoeal emanations and burnt rubber at the top Zafar exerts a car crash fascination that had me craning my neck to see more. So, the very first time I tried it, I had to go back within minutes and give myself a few more sprays after having initially settled for three.
    Let’s be clear: I’m not inclined to masochism and find the likes of Secretions Magnifiques unbearably ugly. With Zafar what reeled me in right away were notes of a rare distinction present from the start. For one, there was the most basso profundo radiant wood I have encountered in a long time. It has its echo in cheaper variants like Swiss Arabian’s Dehn al Oud, but in reality there is no comparison; whereas the SA offering has a monochrome and flat density, the wood note here shimmers with myriad gradations. There is mould and rot at its heart, but of the most enticing kind – a death wish granted were it not for the fact that it makes one feel thrillingly alive.
    A haze of white florals wavers over the surface, wispy, undefined, bringing out curious facets to the main player. There is a concentrated, palpable black pepper note that gives things another twist for a while (those with an aversion to pepper do not fear, it does fade out after coming right up and breathing in your face). A layer of crisp, almost apple-like freshness contrasts with the oud’s depth.
    For those worried about that squidgy bodily extrusion mentioned at the start, it was gone in less than a quarter of an hour.
    Once we reach the base some hours in, Zafar is a beautifully modulated, deeply fragrant, unsweetened and dry wood – that’s pretty much it, the other notes have pretty much flown. It’s lovely, but I find its trail pretty modest which seems a shame for a material as hypnotic as oud.
    PS: appears much flatter if worn in cold environs, so best saved for pleasant or mildly warm days.

    14 November, 2013

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    Volutes by Diptyque

    An altogether too humble offering from Diptyque, Volutes seems at first an essay in dryness as an iris and sawdust accord with mild leather accents faintly prickles the nose, later beginning to breathe a bit with a touch of sweet sweat (honey, immortelle and suggestions of resins and spices). All this discreet, powdery, dry sweetness is heading in one direction: a mild and comforting tobacco. While there is nothing in the composition I dislike, I can’t get past how underpowered it all is; the feel is of wearing a scented body lotion rather than a perfume.
    Review is for EDT.

    14 November, 2013

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    Shooting Stars: Nio by Xerjoff

    Nio – or the lemon that ate the wearer for breakfast. If mouth puckeringly fresh citruses are your thing, Nio will not disappoint with its lime and lemon overdose. The usual culprits are there in the supporting cast: some neroli to tame the acidity, soft, barely there spices and a touch of dry vetiver to root things. At the top green notes resembling foliage help it breathe. A finely judged entry into the summery cologne genre – which also means that similarities to cheaper options are unavoidable.
    The deep drydown spotlights a sweet and inviting cedar note with the citrus pretty much fled.

    14 November, 2013

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    Glam Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Strange how a pretty sophisticated juxtaposition of a range of notes gives an overall impression of something that may come as a free gift in a child’s toy. This is pretty much a violet scent (of the sweetie variety), with accents of dry rose, pepper, raspberry, ripe litchi, soft leather and stack paper, not to mention the airy, filler musk that is in almost everything these days. I enjoy how the notes peek through the violet cloak, but ultimately this fails to register as something worth much consideration.
    The deep drydown is more interesting – a peppery violet – but by now Glam Rose is a skin scent.

    14 November, 2013

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    Aoud Lime by Montale

    My first encounter with Aoud Lime was while innocently browsing the shelves in a perfume shop. The owner walked over for a chat – but was preceded by a wave of fragrance that demanded, ‘Jump my bones, we must procreate.’ Quite unsettled, I quickly gave such wayward thoughts a mental spanking and enquired as politely as I could what he was wearing.
    Well, nothing could compare with such a knockout first impression and trying it on myself doesn’t bring on the same urges, I’m relieved to report. The top of this is pure sugandhit supari or scented betelnut, something that many a schoolchild gets hooked on in India, leading to a lifetime love affair. As the perfume evolves it gets more jagged, the woods note gets brusquer, daubed on in wild imprecise strokes, parting company slightly with the attar- like sweeter tones. It’s a good disjunction and gives Aoud Lime a rough and edgy feel; though search me why it’s got lime in its name. What it may lack in sophistication it makes up in a certain rakish brashness, though the deep drydown is quite mild, in a sweet woody fashion.
    While not one of Montale’s all-time greats, Aoud Lime is a composition that pleases in all its stages.

    14 November, 2013

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    Amber Oud by By Kilian

    Calling out to the synthetic equivalent of Cambodian oud: you’re supposed to be in here somewhere.
    If one can get past that missing element, this is actually quite a comforting woody amber. It has a beautiful cedar note, like the perfume that issues from a freshly split log, a scent that makes one want to curl up and just be. I’d be pretty surprised if there isn’t some vetiver in there bolstering that effect. And then there’s amber: warm, vanillic, not overly sweet. The combination is simple (to the nose) but feels assured and right, like a melody that works from the opening bars.
    My grouse is its somewhat demure trail which subtracts greatly from its pleasure.

    11th November, 2013

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    Straight to Heaven by By Kilian

    When I first tried it, I thought I’d finally found a killer cedar fragrance only to realize it was one of those ‘five minutes of fame’ jobs where after the top notes fade one is left with something zipping quickly down the scale of pleasure. So, briefly, that top: turbo cedar laced with swirls of sweetness, hints of booze, powerful but gauzy at the same time, like a steroid-pumped bodybuilder doing the dance of the seven veils.
    But then, what one is left with is mainly a much flatter cedar bolstered with plenty of screechy woody aromachemicals (the kind that pierce the nose) and some residual sweetness. It’s still pretty pleasant to wear, but about as exciting as a check shirt.

    11th November, 2013

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    Lumière Noire pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    Lumiere noir PH gave the entirely welcome first impression of something quite out of its time, belonging to the gutsier classics of an age when perfume was unabashedly perfumey, certain loved notes hadn’t been ‘recommended’ out of existence and there was less of a need for a yappy top to sell product.
    All that being said, do not expect a heavy, cloying creation – its trail is polite not overbearing. And there’s nothing wrong with Lumiere Noir’s top either – it just doesn’t yap.
    What it does have is an air of formality, a confidence in its own exceptionality that doesn’t require tricksiness. And yet it is a perfume for everybody, definitely not just for chin-strokers going ‘hmmm’ – it’s the light, sure touch that makes it so.
    To mention the rose-patchouli combination is almost banal, so transformed into something greater and gauzier are these elements. Those who think they can’t stand either, may be pleasantly surprised. Indeed, it gives a cumin hater like myself not the slightest bother, even though the note is clearly present. It’s this introduction of familiar notes in a manner that seems renewed and a little strange that is perhaps its secret.
    The key to this creation seems to be the artemesia, herbal, with a bitter aftertaste, creating the kind of asymmetry that is essential to artistic success. Along with the meaty aspect of patchouli, it brings musty, skin-like associations, giving Lumiere Noir a touch of the corporeal and making the end result something that merges with and emanates gloriously from the wearer’s person. The more one wears it, the greater the love.
    Crying out to be released in a stronger concentration.

    11th November, 2013

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    Derring-Do for Men by Ineke

    The Ineke line has delivered disappointment after disappointment – and Derring-Do is no exception. A buffed, synthetic, citrusy aquatic of bargain basement quality with a dialled-up fougere twist (clearly deriving from the hideous lineage begun by the likes of Cool Water and Escape). There is an emperor’s new clothes feel about it. Such stylish packaging and imagery, a striking name, and yet the scent is clichéd and ill-executed. Made me feel bilious, like I’d overdosed on fruit punch.

    11th November, 2013

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    A Taste of Heaven by By Kilian

    Comes on as a green lavender – bright and sappy, stalks just snapped from the bush. A suggestion of buttoned up floral notes and powder takes this straight into traditional ‘man cologne’ territory. What with that and the aromatherapy associations of lavender, this is not my idea of heaven, but in its field it is a solid entry. The wormwood in the heart is the main twist, musty, almost sour and off – I wish more had been made of it, as it blends back in the mix a bit too soon and one is left with a somewhat soapy lavender.

    11th November, 2013

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    Sel Marin by Heeley

    Wafting in on a lemon’n’leaf breeze is an aquatic that won’t choke you up. Does the seaside really smell like this? I’m not sure – particularly as the salt of its name is actually not that evident in Sel Marin, but it has that airy, spacious quality, going easy on the lungs, that most aquatics aspire to but few achieve. A hint of sweet cardamom plays above clean musks, dry algae and a touch of vetiver in the drydown. Has a lazy, unobtrusive presence. Late in the day the impression is of sun and sea kissed skin but without any hint of sweat. Sillage by then has shrunk to next to nothing.

    06 November, 2013

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    Oud Stars : Mamluk by Xerjoff

    Maluk wins me over each time I try it, because, truth to tell, the thought of a supersaturated honey fragrance breeds no anticipation in me. However, I end up enjoying it, despite my prejudices and preferences. For a warm scent it wears surprisingly well in all weathers.
    The honey is the main event in Mamluk, rich, unctuous, supersweet; but also, it would appear, buzzing with pheromones, like being part of the hive and rubbing up against one’s hairy cohort. It’s this influence from nature that brings the honey theme alive, because Mamluk’s makers also load it up with caramel and fat, nectar-laden jasmine. Such a combination would normally make me shudder, but somehow along with its excess there’s also a smoothness to the composition that makes it unforced and quite enticing. Underneath this lazy river of honey there is the merest dab of dry oud and some pretty piercing musks that brighten the more torpid notes.

    06 November, 2013

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    Eau de Campagne by Sisley

    I remember when I first discovered Eau de Campagne as if it were yesterday, though it was likely over 10 years ago. I had been dutifully trying out various designer ‘masculines’ in a shop and having a ‘Is it just me?’ moment, because they all seemed to be blurring into one another. Then the sales assistant picked up a bottle that looked as if it had been designed by the owner of one’s neighbourhood pizzeria and handed me a sprayed card. Oh yes, this was IT! There was no way I was walking out that shop without it. It was singular in a way the others weren’t and – despite my coming to it decades after its creation – free from cliché.
    Today it is the perfume I have gone through the most bottles of. I love what it does to me, I love it despite its shortcomings.
    There are times when I have been walking in untamed meadows overrun with an abundance of vegetation that the urge to somehow merge into this setting, be wild and natural, a scuttling, slithering thing, comes upon me. Eau de Campagne brings that feeling home.
    Its opening salvo of bitter greens – tomato leaves, basil, grasses, glints of mint, and goodness knows what other foliage – makes the lungs expand with pleasure. There are curls of enlivening lemon zest here, a mossy undergrowth keeping things sharp, and a suggestion of flowers hiding under the tall grass. This gorgeous impression remains, though the progression is away from the sap and juice of the opening towards a dryer herbal territory, and several hours later a bit of soapiness and the chemical undergirding becomes a touch more evident. What doesn’t change is the feel of something uncultivated and open – truly a scent of freedom.
    It is remarkable that J-C Ellena pulled something so fully formed and with such a marked personality out of the bag right at the start of his perfumer’s career.
    One does need to spray liberally, which doesn’t bother me one bit. I think Eau de Campagne is probably the reason I plumped for the name gimmegreen here on Basenotes.

    06 November, 2013

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    Amaranthine by Penhaligon's

    Sweet milk and cardamom – amaranthine opens like some kind of dream pudding. It resembles a number of L’Artisans in the foamy, soft-focus realization of its notes and the discretion of its presence. The whole thing undulates, hanging on to its milky sweetness for the course, but sometimes inflecting towards a faint, waxy green, then moving languidly towards a jasmine dusted with garam masala, with several tiny changes in between. At times the spicing gets a tad heavy and dirty for such a wispy creation but then it shifts again and rights itself. It’s an invitation to laze and daydream. The deep base seems similar to late stage Safran Troublant.

    06 November, 2013

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    After My Own Heart by Ineke

    Cool, almost aquatic, green lilac, refreshing and uncomplicated, but unfortunately saddled with a huge dose of fluffy synthetic musks which drag it into budget designer clichés. If you can overlook the musk, it’s a shorts-and-sandals kind of scent which is light and lifting for a few hours before turning into lilac soap.

    01st November, 2013

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    Oud by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    It took me a while to be won over by this one. A distraction was my earlier experience of the Robert Piguet Oud (a not entirely successful, somewhat medicated sticking plaster and plasticene creation) which seemed to have taken its cue from this perfume. A second problem was its smoothness – this thing is buffered to an inch of its life, it can be difficult to get a grip on something so supremely cushioned. But over the length of a day I was impressed by its persistence and found myself enjoying it for what it was.
    Thus I have returned for repeat wears. In trying to do some justice to its essential nature I came up with numerous descriptors that would suggest a degree of amorphousness – fog, milkiness, a mauve on mauve painting – but ultimately found they were not true to the experience. So I have to settle for the rather more prosaic judgment that this perfume has presence but is unemphatic, not something many of us expect from an oud; it has plenty of volume but is resolutely not operatic.
    So apart from the extreme roundedness of its oud note what else maintains the equanimity? There’s a solid but muted patchouli doing the groundwork here; somewhat sweet, with plenty of backbone, but not piercing or vegetal or earthy. I think the elemi mentioned in the notes list is also an important player with its range of tones (pine-like, lemony, balsamic) half-revealed, dabs in a pointillist landscape swirling in musks. The spice is briefly peppery to begin with, but later has more of a dry wood aspect that marries perfectly with the oud – it is a low murmur. A somewhat gummy sweetness that is a bit of a Kurkdjian trademark sits easily in the mix.
    On the scale from cool to warm, this is almost exactly in the middle, just a touch towards the warmer end. Its wearability is not in doubt and I do enjoy it; it’s the airbrushed smoothness that wrongfoots me. I’ll leave it to those who can embrace that more readily.
    Funnily, more is more with this oud – I found the experience went up quite a few notches when I sprayed myself a bit more liberally.
    Traces on my scarf smell heavenly the following day.

    26 April, 2013

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    Cruel Intentions by By Kilian

    Well turned out, radiant, sandalwood that opens with a smokey shimmer of oud. That’s pretty much it (ok there’s a touch of sweet rosiness in there, too, if you must be picky), but sometimes it’s best to keep a good idea simple. The oud quickly settles (hides?) within the sweet woody chamber in which this perfume cocoons the wearer. Surprisingly moreish. Nothing sharp about it, so all cruelty is probably down to an overactive imagination.

    26 April, 2013

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    La Vie Est Belle by Lancôme

    With a name like that you’ve got to be aiming at putting a smile on the wearer’s face, and to its credit La Vie Est Belle, even while showing all the telltale signs of design by committee, is a good stab at conveying the spirit of optimism in olfactory terms.
    First, it gives people what they like. There’s something sweet for our diabetic age: patchouli, praline, tonka, treated in a carefree, candy floss manner. Images of Isabella Lwin romping on a beach against a dayglo sky, singing I Want Candy come to my mind (‘You’re the guy the doctor ordered/ So sweet you make my mouth water’). There are tart, bouncy, fruity notes for contrast; shorthand for youthfulness, it would appear. The floral notes are light, abstracted and stripped of indolic portentousness, so white floral haters can approach without fear.
    Second, it disdains obvious complexity and depth; nothing is going to weigh down its tread. Of course the perfumers (three were involved) would probably disagree, it likely takes considerable fine tuning to balance the notes.
    On that question of balance, it would be remiss not mention the iris, which is calmly right at the centre of this perfume, bringing a touch of something vegetal and aloof, around which revolve the other tailwagging puppy dog notes.
    Does it make me go, Oh wow just what I’ve been waiting for? No. There are way too many of these kinds of creations out there; it’s a kind of Disneyfication of perfumery aimed at women. Nonetheless, it is skilful in what it does and many will take it to their hearts. It’s also the kind of perfume one could safely gift to someone who likes wearing perfume but doesn’t have pronounced tastes.

    26 April, 2013

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    L'Être Aimé Femme by Divine

    The story of an innocent, lily-centred light white floral gently corrupted by sweaty immortelle. At first these two facets of the perfume are quite distinct and somewhat at odds, but pretty soon the immortelle softens and meshes, adding depth and grounding to the feathery florals without weighing them down too much. Some nice leafy notes at the top as well. The result is more than the sum of its parts and has a pleasing lived-in feel about it: a relaxed, everyday kind of perfume.

    18 April, 2013

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    Oud Stars : Najaf by Xerjoff

    An oddly appealing fruity tar opening, the apricot-like osmanthus note a bit bilious under a blast of darkness and smoke. There’s a Lonestar Memories kind of daring about the tar effect; here the feel is less smoky, more leather-of-ages and a richly cured tobacco mixed in with the deepest notes of tire rubber and petrol. Much later this evolves in a more woody direction. The lack of floral distractions is a big plus and wearing it gives instant access to the fetish dungeons of the mind. In that sense it’s raunchy in a very specialized kind of way (not everyone will read it as such) and I shall drain the 15ml discovery set sample before too long. After a drop in volume an hour or two in, Najaf re-emerges as quite a comfortable plumped out leather, the osmanthus now fully integrated. This is a perfume of pretty impressive evolution – the next day what’s left, though faint, moves into sweetish Arabian attar territory. Thoroughly satisfying, even if not quite achieving greatness.

    17 April, 2013

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    L'Homme Sage by Divine

    The squareness of this homme’s jaw is unmistakeable – it ticks so many of the ‘masculine’ boxes it is a small wonder it doesn’t veer into travesty. To its credit, it remains calm and contained without displaying bullish urges. This one’s a gent.
    After an easy opening of bright, powdery, slightly bitter, spiced mandarin (banish all notions of New York, this smells entirely different), a truly complex creation reveals itself. It shapeshifts successfully, now revealing a fir facet, now some patchouli and woods, a flash of leather, spice and incense – oh and did I mention resins? Again, it does this quite naturally without going into maximalist overdrive, but funnily enough for so much changeability the overall feel is a bit too trad for my tastes. My nose encounters a minor problem with some of the resinous tones which bring a cheapening whiff of the hardware store. I can see how the warmth and overall discretion of this perfume will please many. The deep drydown (after about 4 hours of wear) is a bit of a blanket, even and fuzzy, though also quite comforting.

    17 April, 2013

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    Oud Stars : Gao by Xerjoff

    Gao is full-throttle excess, and should probably carry a health and safety warning for those of a weak disposition. A crazed, almost unhinged, composition of earth, smoke and wood tones, it offers the wearer the power and still focus that is at the core of the whirlwind.
    Opening with the most intense saffron as yet encountered in perfumery combined with a strong dry and warm oud, this is the genuine article alright, completely Arabic in inflexion, heady, hypnotic and rich, paying full respect to its precious components. As the saffron becomes milder over time, the smoky resinous aspects of nagarmotha (cypriol) complement the oud wonderfully, assisting the opening up of a wide spectrum of rich and dry woody tones that rise singing from the skin.
    Whereas the dry woody category is getting a bit crowded of late, this perfume is way ahead of the rest of the class – for one, it doesn’t seem to have the nostril scraping aspect of many of these perfumes, it’s pure, rugged, pleasure all the way.
    Of all the Oud Stars this is the one that delivers something novel, edgy and thrillingly wearable – if one sprays sparingly.

    17 April, 2013

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    Colonia Intensa Oud Concentrée by Acqua di Parma

    I had a most positive initial response to this – bracing orangey freshness, a glorious coriander note (that perfect bridge between florals and woods), and some pretty limber oud; it felt as if Acqua di Parma had given us that mythical creature a lively oud. But then most things can make a good impression in the ultrabling Harrods perfume halls.
    Trying it in the dog-eared comfort of my own home I am less impressed. The notes from the first time around are all present and correct, but there is a hefty dose of things that smell obviously synthetic, the kind one encounters all too frequently in ‘fresh’ designer ‘masculines’. They do subside in the course of the wear. The oud on closer inspection has that medicinal quality of the Piguet oud release, as if one were sniffing a treated sore. The deep drydown is fuzzy with musks and heading in the soft-suede-with-citruses direction. I dare say the totality of it makes an agreeable impression on the bystander, but it’s not quite right for me.

    17 April, 2013

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    Aventus by Creed

    A conformist, conventional fruity-woody that hits that spot right in the middle of the taste spectrum that ranges from zzzz to way-out. If we’re saying that sweet fruit notes played over a sweet and comfortable wood backdrop is the ultimate for the 21st century man, then, boy, this poor creature really cannot bear too much reality.
    Aventus’ top and heart are pretty immaculate (albeit unadventurous), the base less so. There’s a sparkling bergamot in the top and juicy sweet fruit (nope, that pineapple is nowhere near as distinct as some would have you believe) to which are immediately added some floral rounding and that right-down-the-middle wood note, sweet, reassuring, the kind that is the golden mean for mainstream masculines. It’s all pretty seamless, offering brightness, comfort, safe ‘masculine’ signifiers. It has an energy about it which makes me think how well this would suit young people, for whom fitting in is often such a big deal. That’s unusual as I tend not to think of perfumes in age terms.
    To its credit, apart from the bergamot which is fleeting as usual, Aventus manages to hold on to much of the other notes; still, the laundry musks at the base let it down somewhat. Quite a room filler in terms of its trail but not obnoxious about it. Easy to wear, but by that same token it ain’t going to be taking a walk on any wild side anytime soon.

    17 April, 2013

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    Rose Oud by By Kilian

    After initially being wowed by the sheer rosiness of this one, I’ve found myself cooling to its charms a bit. One of the reasons is that there is a cheaper copycat out there which is rougher and brasher and at times seems to win out – Dueto’s City Love. But another reason is my perception of how the rose is realized in this perfume has shifted – from an intensely jammy Indian style rose note to something a bit more talced and musty. The opening is sourish and sharp, but then the rose gets much sweeter and cuddlier. This is overlaid on a damp and musty woods note giving the feeling of an attar uncorked in some antique boudoir. The oud could have been a bit more assertive in this composition; truth be told something identifiably oudy emerges very late into its life. Smell your clothes the day after wearing this and you will wonder where that lovely oud you can now perceive was hiding.
    Despite such reservations, this is luxurious, easy to wear and has an unaffected beauty.

    12 April, 2013

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    En Avion by Caron

    Goodness, talk about jetting straight into the clouds. This perfume has plenty of thrust, catapulting the wearer into a thick, sweet fog of powders, soap, unctuous skin creams and brushed metal. It’s easy to overdose on, but draws me magnetically to its ample bosom of excess.
    The impression of its opening burst is of accumulation – like being in the presence of someone who wears the same strong perfume day in day out, so that it has impregnated their jacket in layers of differing age. Seekers of the fresh and clean proceed elsewhere; this perfume was created in the 1920s and despite reformulations smells like something from a distant time.
    Of the perfume itself it seems almost pointless to single out notes, so overwhelming is its sweetness at the start. (Sanchez’s nose seems to be completely off when it alights on a ‘lemony rose’.) As it settles, the clovey spike of carnation emerges from the mix, subtly herbal and green at first, until a proper clove comes into view. But all the while rich florals swirl and eddy over a dry, powdery base: there are glimpses of honeyed lilac, heady orange blossom, syrupy rose, all engaged in a furious dance of the molecules with every movement of the wearer. Transporting.
    PS: After a couple of hours En Avion, while continuing to smell divine, does subside in volume (as also brightening considerably and returning to soapy abstraction), so don’t let my emphasis on its power put you off trying it.

    09 April, 2013

    rating


    Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    The most magical thing about Dzing! for me is the transparency of its main vanillic accord. All associations with wintry heaviness are abandoned, instead this wonderful, undoubtedly sweet, haylike vanilla is whipped up to a feathery lightness on the best soapy musks to be found, with a subtle suede-like leather coming up gently through its pores.
    The wowza and shazam of L’Artisan’s write up of this one is little in evidence in the wearing of it which is supremely comfortable, not daring or shocking; I ain’t been to no circus that smelled like this. There are hints of papyrus, wood shavings and the smell of old objects (you know the kind of blunted, difficult to define odours that seem unique to certain antique things) in the mix, which bring both mystery and comfort. Dzing! just feels right from top to bottom. But the bottom is considerably thinner than the top – mainly a clean cedar with the vanilla tones all but gone. A gem, but somewhat shy on the projection front.

    09 April, 2013

    rating


    Olympic Rainforest by Olympic Orchids

    I have a hard time getting past the strong eucalyptus start of this – put to better use clearing blocked sinuses. It does soften over time to include balsamy, pine needle like scents with sweet myrrh just under the green. But the eucalyptus vibe remains and gives me the vapours.

    09 April, 2013

    rating


    Javanica by Olympic Orchids

    Some of the Olympic Orchids offerings are just too dense and gunky to make the transition from intriguing ideas to successful perfumes. Javanica has an altogether lighter touch and a more mainstream feel but has a trick or two up its sleeve.
    A refreshing and pleasing citrus and spice opening starts proceedings. This is familiar territory marked out by a legion of colognes aimed at male buyers, except Javanica’s citruses have none of the chemical screech of those offerings and the nutmeg is radiant and lively, not a dusty bore.
    But then, hey presto, the opening morphs seamlessly to a dreamy vanilla ringed with light floral sweetness. This phase keeps shifting all the time as frankincense and rosewood ascend in one’s perception. Rosewood which is a woody note inflected with floral and spicy tones is an inspired choice, rounding off the composition and no doubt reminding the perfume’s creator of the scent of her beloved orchids.
    Sadly a few hours in, all that’s left is a faint creamy vanilla with a trace of spice.
    While appreciating the deftness of its execution, I found Javanica a bit short on presence.

    09 April, 2013

    rating


    Messe de Minuit by Etro

    A scent of atmosphere. The dank smell of an empty church, all dark corners and cool, almost-damp surfaces. The smoke of the service has dissipated but what lingers is the scent of frankincense grains, herbal, a bit sharp, accented by aged citrus tones (mainly sour orange) and mould. Perhaps one has to be in the right frame of mind for this, but I found it short on invigoration and long on gloom. All a bit too sepia for my taste and somewhat lacking in heft. As an evocation of place it is near perfect, however its success as a perfume is less certain.
    Nevertheless, it is skilfully made and I can see that some inclinations will find it just right.

    09 April, 2013

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