Reviews by gimmegreen

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    gimmegreen
    Netherlands Netherlands

    Showing 61 to 90 of 473.
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    Vetiver Royal Bourbon (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    Find me some jodhpurs! The first thought that comes to mind is wide open spaces and a racing horse. Wild thyme and mint, mossy trees, leather boots, and a galloping, bracing feeling. All this framing the central, rich, vetiver, smoothed down by a touch of sandal.
    Not quite as smoky or dirty as I had expected with notes of cade, tobacco and immortelle listed in the official breakdown. I get more of a vetiver ringed with wild herbs done in a classic barbershop manner.
    Good work, although the progression is inevitably towards complete vetiver dominance – what can I say, it is such a beast. At this later stage I am left with my usual quandary: would wearing a drop of vetiver eo diluted in a carrier oil be less satisfying? I couldn’t answer ‘yes’ with any degree of certainty.
    Suitable both for the great outdoors and a starched shirt office environment.

    07th August, 2014

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    Trayee by Neela Vermeire

    I was sceptical of the ‘scents of India’ spiel that accompanied the first three Neela Vermeire releases – there are so many odours that qualify (leaving aside the stenchy side of the spectrum ever-present in any Indian urban setting), would any single perfume be evocative enough? I needn’t have doubted. One sniff of Trayee and it was obvious that I was in the presence of a transporting creation.
    A quick volley of ganja smoke and the scent of wayside wood fires lifted to usher in gorgeous aromas of Indian kulfis and kheers – milky and sweet, gently wafting the promise of cardamom and saffron. Perfume critic Persolaise was right in noting that Trayee unites ‘the most refined elements of Artisan’s Traversée Du Bosphore and Safran Troublant’ which, to my mind, it artfully juxtaposes with an enticing green, smoky and woody accord, the likes of which I haven’t seen since Ormonde Man.
    It’s complex without being burdensome, rich yet not lacking in subtlety, and deserving of the hosannas of praise that greeted its arrival.
    However, I must add that I find the deep base (about the three-four hour mark) too demure, too similar to the Artisans mentioned and a bit flat, the life seems to go out of it at this stage. One has higher expectations at this price point.

    07th August, 2014

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    Ashoka by Neela Vermeire

    A common thread to the Neela Vermeire collection (with the exception of Bombay Bling) is a certain luxurious milkiness. If Mohur is the most dreamy rose milk pudding imaginable (no, believe me, you do want to smell like one where Mohur’s concerned), Ashoka extends the natural sappy quality of fig leaves into a pool of lactones. The fleeting opening flourishes of pine needles and leather (in the floral mode of Heeley’s Cuir Pleine Fleur) quickly make way for the main event – a sumptuously milky and pale green fig, a thousand-fold improvement on the gaggle of sharp fig perfumes that followed in the wake of fine, fully realized, first-wave creations like Philosykos. Sandalwood (which also has a creamy aspect) and a touch of ambergris in the base make for a perfectly calming and gentle composition.
    It’s a shame that something so beauteous is so quiet, but there you go – that’s another common thread of the Neela Vermeire range. Also, the deep base evolves into a more humdrum woody fig.

    07th August, 2014

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    Oud Assam by Rania J

    A highly civilized oud from top to bottom, and, therefore, lacking in the rocket-to-the-moon madness (and velocity) of some other oud-centric perfumes. Despite the fermented and runny cheese overtures of the beginning, Oud Assam remains composed – perhaps it’s the airiness of the composition or the moderate projection. The progression is towards greater woodiness, with some sweet notes and smoky edges – but there’s not a hair out of place.
    The aura of this fragrance is considerably different to its close-to-the-nose experience. If one relaxes and stops thinking about it, sweet citruses and fresher fougere style elements make themselves known which are not evident if one sniffs sprayed skin.
    Perhaps a good beginner’s oud as it offers a realistic iteration of a certain kind of oud and stays focussed on its main accord, all in a perfume that is unlikely to scare anyone. But I guess it depends on the type of beginner – me, I usually prefer being thrown off the deep end. Joins a select group of ouds one can safely wear around other people.

    26th July, 2014

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    Musc by Bruno Acampora

    Degree is the determining factor explaining why Bruno Acampora’s Musc is special. The immediate impression it gives is of cheap musk oils available on the Indian market which try to approximate the smell of real musk. They manage to harness some of the warmth and sweet sensuality of the real thing and thus bear a passing resemblance – like a grainy video grab of the perpetrator. This Musc takes that odour profile and elevates it into a luxurious and well-balanced invitation. World of difference.
    So apart from this being an accomplished realization of the musk note of a particular pedigree, I should also point out a touch of salty spice (cloves, but not too clovey), some dry amber and quite an earthy, woody patchouli that marries well with the musk.
    Review is for EDP.

    26th July, 2014

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    Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

    A bright, green and sappy lily of the valley – dewy and refreshing. Some wax and plastic around the edges, much like the odour profile of the real flower. A bit not quite right in the opening moments, this settles beautifully and grows more joyful and natural by the hour. Among muguet-centric creations of the past five years, the only other contender (apart from certain stratospherically priced limited editions which we shall speak no more of) is Tauer’s Carillon, but the two are quite different. Carillon invests much more in the brute force of a power chord and considerable architectural complexity. Muguet Fleuri is more in the white floral territory (there’s a lily undercurrent), much more lilting (although it lingers beautifully) and quite single-minded. Apparently successful lily of the valley soliflores are still possible, IFRA notwithstanding.
    Try overdoing this one for the full Sensurround effect.

    26th July, 2014

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    Jardins d'Armide (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    The original composition was 1909 and this recreation has a beautifully nostalgic Roaring 20s feel about it. The Deco mirrored dressing table with a bowl of dried rose petals, traces of rose talcum powder on the floor, the orange blossom hair tonic decanter left open in a hasty moment, nail varnish tipping from a bottle fallen on its side, the musty honeyed undertone of the old powder compact, they’re all there. As are traces of the good time gal or guy who has just left this room, the scent of their sweet skin musk and oiled hair lingers in this space.
    Not for everyone I bet, but definitely for me, although I would have liked the nail varnish to have been toned down a tad. The hefty layer of settled powder, however, is right up my street – you’ve gotta say yes to another excess, as the song went.
    After a few hours the nail lacquer note recedes completely and a lot of the powder has flown, but a superb base reminiscent of many a Guerlain composition emerges from the shadows and takes things to a higher level.

    26th July, 2014

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    Infanta En Flor by Arquiste

    Here’s what this perfume taught me: put orange blossom on a diet of aldehydes and soap and it gains a quite irresistible charm. Infanta en Flor is light and breezy, like a spray of orange blossom scented soap bubbles, with now and again a flash of green in the opening phases.
    It seems simple, it’s familiar, and yet, to my nose, it’s miles ahead of the pack. Immaculate, sophisticated and lovable, with well-judged projection (not too much, not too little).
    If first impressions lead you to think that this belongs in the 4711 line-up rather than a hooty-tooty brand like Arquiste – wait, try again, it’s possible you could change your mind.

    26th July, 2014

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    Cologne pour le Matin by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    Lime accented citrus of little distinction – charming and refreshing for all of 30 seconds after which thyme in the mix gives it a curious dry skin meets medicated emollient smell. Gah! Fortunately has poor projection.

    26th July, 2014

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    Attar Al Kaaba by Haramain

    Voices through a fog at the start, where the traditional rosy attar sweetness seems to be calling in a way that is difficult to pin down. It’s a bit milky, a bit powdery, with all edges blurred. Whereas many attars aim for a major chord that disorients and transfixes by its power and thorough blending of gutsy notes, this one is much more subtle, almost too much so until one gets used to it.
    Upon further acquaintance one gets a classic sandal-inflected rose attar with a faint aura of musk, light vanillic tones, maybe a dab of saffron or cardamom that gives it that diffuse, milky quality. The rose has a slightly fruity, jammy quality, it’s a preserved thing, not garden fresh. If there’s oud in the mix, then it plays the finishing role here – a dab to complete and round out the attar rather than something one immediately picks out.
    Attar al Kaaba enfolds you gently until it becomes a sweet emanation of one’s skin. It is somewhat chaste, a calming perfume rather than a ravishing one. And while it pleases, it also feels somewhat standardized and unexceptional.

    26th July, 2014

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    Le Maroc pour Elle by Tauer

    Quite unlike what I expected having being promised rose and jasmine in the heart of this perfume. Instead the bright headnotes of citrus and lavender merged immediately with a sharp cedar and what Tauer calls ‘balm of oriental woods’ (something resinous and incensy at any rate) to give a curious pickled lemon opening which went via the carpenter’s shop and the medicine cabinet into a drydown that was dry, somewhat more rounded, sweetened slightly, less pungent and urgent. It kind of fits with the ‘le Maroc’ of my imagination (I’ve never been) – dry, powerful, the smell of stalls packed together, selling leather and wooden wares, carpets, spiced concoctions and local cosmetic preparations. Much later an oily jasmine got off its fat backside and made its voluptuous appearance.
    Something of a head trip and a statement, so definitely not a casual perfume.

    03rd July, 2014

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    Flor y Canto by Arquiste

    A limpid, summery tuberose-magnolia combo with a hair spray aura. Wears soft and easy, but too much of a simpleton in cheap attire.

    03rd July, 2014

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    Dark Aoud by Montale

    A bit surprising that this made its appearance so late in the day in Montale’s oud series as it is quite the archetypal ‘Arabic’ masculine scent – variants of which I have encountered emanating from Arab men. Intense, focussed, going ‘Daddy!’ with full-throttle phwoaar.
    The concentration is what will first hit the wearer. This is a perfume that is pretty single minded: it makes a hell of statement with a full-on smoky, spicy, intensely woody, oud accord. Dry, with some sharp (as opposed to creamy) sandal in the base, and with great tonal variation in the overall effect, Dark Aoud is rich and thrilling. It has such an enlivening effect, it’s almost aphrodisiacal. However it does flatten quite considerably after about half a day’s wear (when in terms of volume it is still going strong), by which time a certain post-aphrodisiacal tiredness may ensue. Use sparingly for maximum enjoyment.

    03rd July, 2014

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    Ylang 49 by Le Labo

    Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay Ylang 49 is that it smells as if it were created more than 40 years ago – it has nothing to do with the fruity floral dreck that has cheapened perfumery, nor does it go all aggressive in trying to claim its space. No, this is showing how it should really be done.
    This nectar-like creation (it is supremely sweet but never overbalances) is like being in the soft-bosomed clasp of some kind and beautiful creature – one feels safe and treasured. The gardenia-ylang pairing (with the softest patchouli imaginable) rises like a cloud of abstracted loveliness, like the best aldehydic offerings of yesteryear. It is substantial no doubt but it is also sprinkled with sparkles and is light on its feet. The drier chypric elements are restrained – this does not have the severity and ramrod straight backbone of classic chypres, opting for a much more supple and tender effect. I can’t get enough of this magical haze.

    02nd July, 2014

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    Opus VI by Amouage

    Quite a few of the Library Collection have offered us takes on ultra-dry woody perfumes, however, the Opus VI iteration is quite the best, beautifully judged with all elements falling into place like a weather beaten log section found in the desert that contains such texture and detail that one feels compelled to put it on display. The opening feels like entering the grain of such wood of ages, except here the choicest resins have been rubbed in as well. Cypriol, bay and frankincense add a little parched green and smokiness. The amber at the heart is rich yet polished smooth; with only a slight sweetness, somewhat winey, it emerges bit by bit to complete the composition. With repeated wears this beautiful amber is what the nose recognizes as the defining aspect of this creation.
    Opus VI may not be wildly original, but it bats the competition right out of this particular ballpark. It has a feel of wide open spaces and freedom, like running across a cliff top. It wears creamy and soft while projecting perfectly and lasting long. For this I give thanks.

    02nd July, 2014

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    La Panthère by Cartier

    A dusky, somewhat musty sweetness that suggested hidden depths kept drawing me back to La Panthere whenever I was browsing perfumes. However, when I succumbed to testing it on my skin, all hopes deflated. That bewitching top was gone in seconds to be replaced by an etheric hair varnish and nail lacquer smell that Tocade did much more successfully and an overall fat ylang sweetness of the kind that sank JHAG’s Oil Fiction in the pit of perpetual monotony.

    08th June, 2014

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    Tabac Blond by Caron

    The current EDP iteration is a faded leather with very little throw. Why bother?
    The top is a bit better, a brisk carnation and leather combo, with an ‘I mean business’ demeanour. Underlying it is the kind of smell you get on a coat when the wearer has worn the same perfume for a long time and there is a build-up of the drydown and staleness. Still, not bad in a fuddy duddy fashion. However, minutes in, the dry vanilla joins in to leave one with only a reluctant leather with the occasional powdery waft of the now somewhat wilted carnation. It’s not unappealing, it just refuses to project.

    08th June, 2014

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    L'Etrog by Arquiste

    Continuing in the sheer style which seems to be Arquiste’s default, L’Etrog is structured in three thin layers. A light and airy lemony citrus (without the chemical scrape that louder attempts almost inevitably acquire) floats over a stripped back ‘clean’ woods layer, evocative of bamboo but probably originating from a denuded vetiver. Sandwiched in between are hints of sweetness – allegedly dates but could be anything – which weren’t really essential but one doesn’t mind them, especially as they retreat pretty quickly. The whole impresses for about ten minutes, after which it’s background hum. A shame – many of the Arquistes seem to present familiar elements in refreshed ways but fall victim to this tendency to mumble. Though longlasting, the later stages of the journey are a downgrade: the citrus gets increasingly artificial and the whole thing morphs into one of those green tea type affairs.

    08th June, 2014

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    Oud Imperial by Perris Monte Carlo

    After a booze-and-sweat opening which seems to suggest an immortelle bomb, there’s a swish of the magician’s silk handkerchief – in this case a proud display of some fine, sharp cedar – before the true ink-and-charcoal nature of Oud Imperial stands revealed. Smoky vetiver is pushed to the max, coupled with the dryness of the cedar and there’s some sandalwood singing a classical air in the background. Intensely woody and a touch salty, I wouldn’t have plumped for ‘oud’ right away had I tried it blind, though the rotwood note does emerge later in the perfume’s evolution coupled with some soft saffron-like spice. And the evolution on this one is looonnngg: by the 8-10 hour mark one gets a slightly savoury woody amber in the recent Amouage style, 12 hours or so and further, the ambery sweetness is pretty much centrestage. These later stages seem less inspired but will undoubtedly be loved by many. However, if like me you cannot get enough of fragrant wood notes front, back and centre (not messed about with floral or aquatic notes), then this one offers fulfilment for at least a good 8 hours.

    08th June, 2014

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    Velvet Orchid by Tom Ford

    Tremendously polite, which is not something one can say about its mama, Black Orchid. There’s a curious dissonance at the start where the citruses separate from the creamier, more vanillic, honeyed and mushed up florals that are at the heart of this perfume as if they were enacting some olfactory organ rejection scenario. The floral notes are of the dense variety: jasmines and hyacinths, the pollen laden and fatty narcissus, languid heliotrope, to say nothing of the hothouse orchid accords that supposedly reign, which few will have smelled but most can imagine. Not that these florals are available in any distinct form, they create a rich and heavy core to what remains a pretty muted perfume. A sourish make up note (recently quite in vogue) is on trend but adds little. Whereas something boozy which made my nostrils flare with interest fades out of the mix too soon.
    Funnily enough, Velvet Orchid, with its profusion of notes still leaves me wanting more, it has a curiously unfinished, almost unpolished feel, even though four perfumers were involved in its making. The deep drydown is its most satisfying phase wherein a suede aspect melds successfully with the cosmetic accord taking this into terrain usually covered by iris-centred perfumes.

    08th June, 2014

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    Luzonica by Olympic Orchids

    A down the rabbit hole kind of perfume from the daringly different Olympic Orchids line. Opens with tropical fruit on the turn and turpentine notes – cloying, sweet, dense, with that wild card furniture store whiff. As it settles the fruit mellows, pineapple stepping to the fore somewhat, and the resins get more integrated. Well, this is a pretty unploughed furrow, but a bit headachey for my taste.

    29th May, 2014

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    Un Matin d'Orage Eau de Toilette by Annick Goutal

    Maybe the name has made me suggestible, but Un Matin d’Orage definitely opens for me as a morning scent – like mornings in the tropics, before the stifling heat of midday, where flowers like champaka waft on the air and actually have a cooling aspect rather than the cloying sultriness that they turn on in the evening.
    A soothing rain-cooled start which settles into a slightly more generic, green-inflected, foamy jasmine. Pleasant to wear, somewhat modest, with a hint of stewed vegetables buried deep within the mix.

    29th May, 2014

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    Siam Proun by Olympic Orchids

    This perfume appears to have found the Elixir of Eternal Age, for what opens as a quite unexpectedly good combination of fresh herbal notes sitting atop a citrus flavoured but syrupy amber morphs within the space of an hour into the same combination but now received after the span of years, after it’s been left in the corner of a cupboard next to the mothballs. All the herbs have dried out. Still interesting but I miss the freshness of the start.

    29th May, 2014

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    Scent by Theo Fennell

    Having bought this over two years ago, and having worn it infrequently (though from time to time spraying it into the air just to get a lungful) it is safe to say I have approach-avoidance issues with this perfume.
    I remember chancing upon Theo Fennell’s shop in London and getting a strip (jet black!) sprayed with it and walking about undecided – a glorious burst of saffron coupled with rich oriental opulence that seemed tempting but threatened overindulgence at the same time. I kept the strip and sniffed it overnight and was amazed at how beautifully the perfume lasted and by the next morning felt a trip across the London miles was in order to get myself a bottle.
    But then when it came to wearing the thing, I found its complexity became jarringly intrusive when I was under the slightest of stress, so had to wear it only when I knew I would be having a relaxed kind of day.
    Among the other surprises after the brocaded saffron coupled with a Kiehl’s like white floral (lily mainly) musk of the opening was a whopping drop of cumin which gives the first hour of wear an uneasy staleness. But then, once it has receded, the full glory of this creation is revealed – that wonderful, slightly indolic sweet musk; dreamy, powdery, sandalwood; caressing balsams; dark, clotted notes like patchouli and orchid. The whole thing inflects one way, then another during the course of the wear and invites contemplation like a glass of the most miraculous red wine. I’ve found that giving it time and wearing only a couple of sprays affords me the most pleasure, and am now resolved to visiting it more often.

    29th May, 2014

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    Amyris Femme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    Amyris enters in a billowy, white muslin dress. Light, clean, an elegant marriage of decent quality (ie without the usual chemical screech) citrus and soft florals, it evokes a fantasy summer regardless of when one might use it. There’s a transparency and radiance to it that make it so easy to slip into; it maintains its presence without intruding. Something this subtle was never going to knock my socks off but its gentle mood music is uplifting nonetheless.
    However it loses me at the three or four hour mark where a sweet citrus more suited to detergents is the predominant impression.

    14th May, 2014

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    Amyris Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    Crisp, chirpy, and utterly conventional. The overriding impression I take away from Amyris Homme is of a citrus-rosemary accord common to legions of ‘masculines’ done in an ‘aqua’ manner, dipped in tonka sweetness and sitting on that horribly piercing wood base that is the bane of several designer offerings – here given the glib appellation Modern Woods (put that in your pipe and smoke it!).
    There was a brief redeeming moment when a sandpapery coffee spooned lovingly with the woods but it soon got drowned. I haven’t a clue what amyris blossoms smell like – but on this evidence I’m not any wiser.
    I’m afraid I have to join the chorus that’s singing this is generic designer ware not worthy of MFK.

    14th May, 2014

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    Boutonnière No.7 by Arquiste

    Five minutes of gardenia approximation followed by hours of standard white floral in a transparent and somewhat flat style. Surely not the intended effect of the charming marketing back story.

    14th May, 2014

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    Vetiver Dance by Tauer

    Tauer writes of the ‘dark, raw and almost damp earthiness’ (so true!) of vetiver and the opening of this perfume is petrichor and a gale of grassy greens. Vetiver Dance has a strong floral component, too, (most prominent to my nose is the Carillon-like lily of the valley note) but its use of the rooty, damp, sweet soil qualities of its star is honest unlike the numerous vetivers that are a ghost of the ingredient they purport to represent. Bracing, touched by nature, and wearing much lighter than usual for a Tauer composition (though there’s nothing wrong with either the tenacity or throw of this perfume), Vetiver Dance does it for me. There’s a slight dissonant sweatiness – probably a combination of the sage and cedar – which makes me think that Tauer is making an unnecessary token gesture to the legion of dried out vetivers out there, but it’s not enough to rob this one of its essential joyfulness.

    14th May, 2014

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    Oud Cashmere Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    A dark and rich woody scent, like wedging one’s nose into the midsection of a just split, somewhat rain sodden log. Combine this with the kind of glue used to bind shoe leather and the result is a most satisfying scent. Oud Cashmere Mood may not be complex but it sure is deep. Hints of sweet rot and a slight pepperiness complement the wood beautifully. Does have the airbrushed aesthetic of an MFK offering – but it’s impossible to deny the heartwood and its earthbound pull. Good work.
    Has serious lasting power and a stale version of the scent will linger for days on surfaces it touches – think jackets, bed sheets, heck I even have to wipe down my desk top the following day.

    14th May, 2014

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    Oud Cuir D'Arabie by Montale

    Many leathers try too hard, whipping their bearish chests with herbs and nettles, bathing in great puffs of spice. The effect is a bit like drag gone horribly wrong.
    Montale’s Cuir d’Arabie is a glorious exception – it transports me to a postage stamp sized shop on Bombay’s Colaba causeway packed with row upon row of Kohalpuri chappals (slippers) made of freshly tanned leather. This is leather at its purest, bathed in turps and just come off the factory floor, almost sharp – not the stale and tired thing often encountered in perfumery. It’s like sniffing the inside of a brand new shoe.
    Although the leather is the star here, the oud is no slouch – emerging first as a typically ripe blue cheese fume, it soon softens and reveals its woody, lightly smoked, sweetish character. There’s likely a dab of rose in the mix somewhere, I sense its purr in the later stages.
    This leather-oud embrace has the surety and rightness of Rodin’s lovers. Cuir d’Arabie is undoubtedly strong but curiously it also has a gentle, diffuse halo around it, light as a snow globe cloud.
    Challenging, schmallenging! – this is the perfume of dreams.

    14th May, 2014

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