Perfume Reviews

Reviews by gimmegreen

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Total Reviews: 756

The Path by Laura Tonatto

If The Awakening, Tonatto’s other oud-influenced perfume, was despite its merits a bit of a damp squib, this one is a bit better. Here the focus is squarely on creating a woody perfume ennobled by sweet rot. From the opening suggestion of a freshly opened pack of Bata rubber slippers to a much drier settle where bass wood tones overlap – slightly spicy, smoky, leathery and intoxicating – The Path is pretty much on course. No floral, fruity or herbal distractions here, all the layering and depth of this perfume seems to consist only of woody notes pervaded by a wine cellar kind of fragrant mouldiness – it’s the kind of thing that is a siren song for me.
But it has two big drawbacks. The first is its lack of strength in the first few hours. It’s as if Tonatto has taken a quality Arabian blend and diluted it to timorous politeness. Subtlety is fine for certain odour profiles but an oud with such striation and character deserved a more confident presence. But the second is worse – as the hours go by the strength seems to improve a bit, but now there is dissipation of the texturing that was its main attraction, as first we get a few hours of something that resembles a ‘dry woods’ aromachemical (and probably is), followed by said note getting increasingly dusty.
13th January, 2017

The Awakening by Laura Tonatto

I’m afraid I feel I rather slept through this one despite paying it close attention. Described by Tonatto as a mix of velvety florals and oud, it was a must-try for me – Tonatto is a highly skilled perfumer in my book who brings a delicacy of touch to the heaviest of notes and I was interested to see what route she would go down with oud.
Well, the oud, which seems just like trace sprinkles of dusty wood at the start does awaken as time passes. This is quite a clever trick as this is a perfume of great transparency to begin with, opening with tuberose and jasmine presented in such a light manner they are almost aqueous, before the natural greasiness of these blooms creeps up. Sweet violets join the bouquet along with that light woody dusting. The treatment and the florals used seemed like familiar Tonatto territory and I felt she was repeating herself a bit.
But as time went on the oud that was hiding in plain sight begins to stir, first gaining a worn leather aspect and then a quality of wine dregs. All of which has great potential except for the overall low volume of this perfume. It’s persistent alright, and I can smell it on my skin and yet it seems unwilling to fully show itself. Pleasant but a bit vague, which is a shame because sniffed up close it definitely has more merit. Hairspray musks in the mix don’t do the drydown any favours either.
13th January, 2017

Tajibni by Haramain

The juxtaposition of a fruity note with the soil that birthed it works remarkably effectively in Tajibni. The note in question is a rounded and full orange, zesty and inviting. But it’s the contrasting accord of dry earth receiving rain and damp bark and mulchy leaves that made me gasp with joy, it’s that good. According to the Al Haramain website this has been achieved through a pairing of patchouli and immortelle – it’s quite special whatever the ingredients. The mix is handled with a lightness of touch, with powdery heliotrope and muted suede offering understated support to the main players. Naturally the evolution is away from the orange (which fades out entirely) and more towards the soil accord which suits me just fine - but there are enough glints of variation to please other tastes I think.
A successful, unusual, calm composition that comes with a hefty price tag – 140 euro for 6 ml perfume oil at the time of writing.
13th January, 2017
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Atifa Noir by Haramain

Complexity to rejoice in, Atifa Noir is a special occasion perfume that promises worlds as yet undiscovered. Anchored around a chord that is equal parts soil tincture and damp wood, a swirl of fruity notes (golden orangey tones rather than any specific fruit) entices the nose. The rose and black pepper of the mid-section are surely there but fused together into one entity and then further blended into the seductive earth and musty wood accord. Hints of dark chocolate and dry vanilla round it off.
Wearing Atifa Noir is like wearing heavily embroidered clothing – with movement different parts of the pattern are revealed, yet the overall effect is luxurious and hard-won.
13th January, 2017

Atifa Blanche by Haramain

A perfume that seems hammered together rather than composed. The jagged opening nails down screechy aldehydes, cheapo citruses, a jasmine-led bouquet of white flowers and obnoxiously loud cumin – all hurling abuse at each other. I have not come across a more discordant juxtaposition of ingredients for quite a while.
Atifa Blanche does have a long evolution but that doesn’t lift it much. The cumin seems to ebb a bit after half an hour or so and the white florals take on a lily character – here we are skirting the middle ranges of acceptability. But once this phase passes the cumin flexes its dirty muscle again, with tuberose now taking the lead role in the white floral shouting match. One wishes it would fade but unfortunately it has stellar staying power.
Unlovely and unloved by me.
13th January, 2017

Incense Oud by Nicolaï

Patricia Nicolaï pulls out a sophisticated and fresh take on cypriol in this offering. If her Amber Oud was Not An Oud, this is Not An Oud 2, so slight is the presence of anything oudy. But actually this doesn’t matter too much, as the smoky materials that are at the heart of this perfume have rarely been presented in such an uplifting and, initially, green a manner.
As soon as the sprayer is depressed this is a perfume that comes billowing out, a wonderful herbal and grassy rush within which are the smoking embers of nagarmotha, that dry, almost choky yet strangely attractive scent. A touch of almost fruity sweetness emerges for a short while before fading out again. There is an impressive backdrop of resinous, peppery, woody tones behind it whereas the salubrious, somewhat medicinal greens at the start begin to slowly dry out. With time one realizes that a sprightly, clean incense has always been part of the action just a bit submerged in the stronger personality of the nagarmotha. The unity of the whole is impressive; there’s nothing within this perfume’s palette of sensations that seems even slightly out of place.
To present Incense Oud’s quite pungently smoky central statement in a manner that feels so fresh and unforced is further proof, were it needed, of Ms Nicolaï’s exceptional talents. However it must be said that once the perfume has settled a few hours in, we are in the parched, resinous territory that has become familiar to quite a few butch creations of late. A joy for the first two hours, a bit boring thereafter.

13th January, 2017

Ambre Doré by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

I remember reading the notes list when this was launched and thinking that they seemed like a dream combination. Perhaps my fear of tampering with dreams has led to this long delay in actually trying the perfume. By now the dream has dissipated and I can smell Ambre Doré without some imaginary holy grail screeching an operatic wail of disappointment from the wings.
It’s an unconventional beauty. The opening is chocolatey richness, which makes me think there must be some patchouli in this somewhere which, combined with the styrax, gives that impression. But it quickly recedes to make way for a surprisingly feral oud – this stuff is seriously dirty old leather and runny cheese, and it’s ringed by a salty, herbal, resinous halo. From me, this draws the nostrils equivalent of a lip smack. The amber in the base is revealed slowly and it’s a proper grown up barely-sweet amber, not some sickly confection; it has the essential ambery warmth, but has the balmy quality of shoe polish that matches well with the oud, eventually enfolding it until just a residual leatheriness is all that remains of the latter. About 4 hours in it has settled into being chiefly an amber but with a strong resinous cast and a dash of rum to it. And then, late, late, late in the wear, there is that patchouli again, no longer smelling like chocolate, but blending into the ambery warmth.
Ambre Doré has a varied olfactory palette, but handles this richness well. It has medium projection so the strong personalities of some of the notes aren’t shouting at you, and the whole remains harmonious, albeit this is a harmony played on the black keys.
13th January, 2017

Orris Noir by Ormonde Jayne

If there’s a house style to Ormonde Jayne it is ‘wait for it/wait for it/subtle/subtle’. It’s non-pushy, non-showy, confident in itself. There are exceptions in the line-up of course, but those are the perfumes I find misfire.
Orris Noir is a gauzy mélange of buffed notes. Even though warm spices (pimiento, pepper) and resins form its backbone, they are handled in a manner that is smooth and glossy. The soft, mildly sweet, doughy iris is married happily with a gently shimmering myrrh accent – the whole thing seems to tremble in the air around the wearer, until the iris takes on a more suede-like aspect. The abiding impression is of understated luxury, the finest leather but in a shade somewhere between cream and beige with just the hint of a blush.
Orris Noir puts on weight in the later stages, the projection becomes more full-bodied and the oriental richness more pronounced. This is the territory that Ys Uzac’s later Satin Doll captured much more successfully.
13th January, 2017

Les Nombres d'Or : Rose Etoile de Hollande by Mona di Orio

Not a straight rose by any means, this has associations of powder compacts, chemical dust, and a sourish greenness around the edges. Doesn’t sound very appetizing, and yet, as always, it’s in the integration of elements that the skill lies.
There’s only a brief glimpse of the juicy and rich rose materials at the start before they start to morph under the influence of the other players. Most notable to my nose is heliotrope which brings a Nahema-like quality to this creation (alas without the propulsive dynamism characteristic of that perfume), offering powdery, marzipan-like accents, turning the rose away from nature and towards the dressing table. Another major player is a curious pesticide-laden peach note, which imparts little by way of fruitiness, instead drawing one’s attention to the structure and artifice of this offering. It doesn’t seem out of place, probably because it is bedded down on a soft vanilla, just a hint of clove and soothing balsamic elements.
This is a rose that is at once a real rose and a representation of the thing crafted in cardboard and velvet and lord knows what else. It’s an effective juxtaposition – a perfume that seems to be drawing attention to the process of combination that resulted in its creation while still giving pleasure.
Some hours in, in the deep drydown, Rose Étoile de Hollande settles almost completely into Nahema’s lap.
30th December, 2016

Spicy Aoud by Montale

A radiant woody perfume that reminds me strongly of the turbo high that used to accompany the forbidden childhood treat of scented supari. Supari is pieces or shavings of the wood-like areca nut that is then treated with sweeteners and aromatics (quite a bit of menthol that compliments the woodiness), resulting in a product that is chewed far and wide on the Indian sub-continent but has also been linked to oral cancers. That is by the by – I mention it because the scent of supari has a rush to it, diffusing perfectly in the nostrils as if it is intent on pleasuring every olfactory receptor. And Spicy Aoud achieves the same effect and actually smells like the stuff.
Saffron is the spice mentioned in the declared notes and here it is a musk-propelled version, reminiscent more of saffron flavourings rather than actual saffron. This doesn’t matter as the end result is so deeply satisfying. Apart from that there is little by way of any dominant spiciness. The patchouli in the base is sweet and smooth, blending seamlessly into the main vibrant, warm and fresh woody theme.
Montale has been on a bit of a winning streak of late and this is definitely a hit – bold and yet accessible, good for all seasons, versatile enough that you could wear without a thought but equally also pick it out for a special occasion.

30th December, 2016

Or des Indes by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

Turn back the pages, turn back time, disregard the notes. Or des Indes smells more like a perfume base of a certain vintage, than a fully-fledged creation in its own right. It goes on as powder, old lipstick and older soap, and, as Rogalal aptly puts it, ‘doughy suede’ – and there it pretty much stays for me.
Undoubtedly luxurious in feel (it’s the creamiest of cuddles) and rich, what it sorely misses is a contrasting note or accord to play against its blanketing nature. An ambery vanilla at heart, the doughy-pasty quality forces it into beige when it would rather be wearing gold.
30th December, 2016

Bass by Ephemera by Unsound

In Bass Schoen unveils a perfume that comes and lies down with you and instead of waking you up reassures with comfort and warmth – you sleep deeper, you dream richly.
A strange contradiction – wearing it, it feels instantly familiar yet what my nose smells remains elusive. Maybe it is the mastic that is supposedly upfront, a note I have not encountered properly. That disclaimer aside, the beginning of Bass is of a profoundly vegetal bitterness, with a little chewy sweet wood showing through. The sense of vegetation recedes to reveal smoky facets, wood shavings and pencil lead, a glug of booze, something evoking humidity like good quality vetivers can do and, bringing up the rear, a civil leather.
But it’s the whole that counts in Bass, not its parts – and here we have a creation that makes a fragrant bitterness so appealing, it evokes a dark, perfumed bed chamber, where sleep is easy and dreams enjoyable.
Sadly, it’s not all glory with Bass. A few hours in, the deep drydown is disappointingly monochrome: just a pleasant resinoid remnant instead of the palpating dark of the earlier phases.
30th December, 2016

Black IV by AJ Arabia

Maybe one deserves a medal for persisting with the ‘why bother?’ AJ Arabia/Widian line. Because so far it has revealed mostly budget buy juices in the ponciest of trappings. The first thing to note about IV is that it has that ubiquitous cotton candy base that plumps out zillions of fruity florals. You can get perfumes with this stuff in the starring role for 10 bucks and this is not particularly a cut above. Beyond that there are smoothied florals and a hint of something refreshingly citric at the start but which soon fades. It’s not a write off, as the overall feel is easy to wear particularly when a lactonic vanilla peeks through the mix, but I’m sure those more in the know could recommend a dozen thriftier offerings that smell pretty similar for a fraction of the price.
30th December, 2016
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R'oud Elements by Kerosene

There’s something about R’oud Elements that keeps suggesting to me the thought of boiling down a saucepan of M7 to a syrupy spoonful. It’s probably the huge candied amber (that has swallowed what seems like a bagful of cardamom pods) that sits bang in the middle. Or maybe the orangey accents glinting around it. It takes a bit of getting used to as initially it comes across as the loud party crasher to a rather more civilized peppery oud. But once one has made the adjustment (hey, this is modern US perfumery, they like their jujubes), one can make a bit more sense of R’oud Elements.
This full-bodied and pot-bellied amber with a mild-mannered oud in the supporting role has a few other tricks up its sleeve. It’s deodorized itself with a pine-lavender combo that is a curious juxtaposition of lightness against the rest of the notes that feel much heavier and somewhat sluggish. At times it almost smells like someone’s gone at a hallway with a can of air freshener.
Does it work? Sort of, because the projection is moderate. But I felt a bit cheated at getting served up a spiced amber when I thought I’d ordered a novel take on oud.
30th December, 2016

Nin-Shar by Jul et Mad

An expanse of red roses in a wine cellar, two complex delights pleasingly united. The rich and jammy rose of Nin-Shar is beautifully modulated by accents of wine dregs, mould and alcohol-steeped woodiness, which gives the perfume the feel of dark, shadowed places, where the senses quicken, catching emerging details and impressions which then dissolve back into the whole.
Multi-layered and generally ‘noir’ in feel Nin-Shar may be, but it doesn’t succumb to gloominess or torpor. The boozy ripeness of the davana and a powdery, earthy patchouli combining with the rose could easily have dragged it there. But there’s a frisky bergamot tucked away within, that lifts it almost imperceptibly, and an array of smooth, woody notes that offer comfort.
Now for the let-down. Just when one is thinking this rose strewn wine cellar is a place where one would like to spend much more time, it’s gone. After the joy of the first couple of hours, the evolution is towards a more standard issue rose-patchouli job – still fine to wear but no longer striking. But as time moves on the patchouli keeps gaining the upper hand until in the deep drydown it’s all that’s left. And it’s pretty tenacious – it keeps on trucking until I was pretty much fed up.
17th December, 2016

Mississippi Medicine by D.S. & Durga

This is a long-shut cupboard in the wood supplies store – stocked full of preparations to treat your planks, and smoky, tarry polishing products. Although there’s frankincense at the centre of this fragrance, it’s presented in a dark, earthed manner, bolstered by an array of woody and resinous tones. It could have been a dense mess, but instead it breathes and invites you into its frontiers gloom. The pine and bark notes give vigour to the more burnt out elements. The smokiness has the dusty quality of dry leaves burning. The kind of fragrance that seems to be calling out for a sunny winter’s day or when the ‘I want to go live in a log cabin’ mood strikes you (I’ll admit to being visited by it from time to time, usually when I have been desk-bound too long).
Nonetheless, this seems more of a perfume for a few hours than for an entire day, as it doesn’t evolve much except for the frankincense and resins getting more of the upper hand in the later stages with the smoke and woody notes receding somewhat. I found this a bit tiring; but the more single-minded may beg to disagree.
17th December, 2016

Mathi by Dr. Gritti

A tender and youthful rose perfume that comes across as the friendly, if a bit shy, little sister of Une Rose. It has Une Rose’s singular rosiness for sure, along with lifting suggestions of twigs and foliage, but it doesn’t have its fire, vigour and strength, substituting instead a mildness of manner which may appeal to those who find the Malle a bit strident.
Gritti’s declared notes are just rose and honey, and of the two I am pleased to say that the honey is not the cloggy and dense note that has been fashionable of late. What honey there is has a mead-like quality, thin and almost watery, which combines well with the dewy rose. The composition is rounded off with musky traces resembling the scent of clean human hair warmed by a hairdryer.
I love roses of all descriptions. While I can appreciate the technical accomplishment of Mathi, I can’t really say that it calls to me. Perhaps it’s the reticence of its personality, or perhaps the feeling I can’t shake off that quality of the rose ingredients is not quite top drawer.
17th December, 2016

Signature Collection : Lux by Mona di Orio

Lux gives the impression of frantic splashing about in an attempt to swim. The star of its opening is so conflicted it probably needs therapy. This is a lemon that waxes and wanes, one moment tart almost pungent but with some of the refinement of classic colognes, then the next more like some lemon-scented floor cleaner. There are hints of lemongrass and lemon verbena, and then there are none too flattering nods to soap and pesticide-like powder. Some of this is enjoyable but what my nose senses most of all is a muddle, the overall impression demonstrating that there are negative aspects to the adjective ‘undefinable’.
There are resinous components evident from the start but they seem superimposed rather than integrated. The sharpness of much of it (probably the vetiver and cedar bolstering the lemon) gives the impression that a fougere-chypre cross is being attempted, but things get decidedly ambery in the drydown which also reveals some warming incense-like notes, possibly the sandalwood used. When this finally settles some time in and with a significant drop in projection, it is a pretty standard issue vanilla-woody amber. Although I can’t take to it, I don’t find it an absolute flop; some of the ingredients have a richness that makes it worthwhile in part.
17th December, 2016

Intrigant Patchouli 08 by Parfumerie Generale

A ripe to bursting patchouli, a study in brown, black and purple. Inflections of almonds, damp earth, chamomile, and mould within its odour profile providing a substantial and grown-up experience without the headbanging volume. There even seem to be white flowers in the background done in the grape soda Poison manner. A bit like the friendlier sister of Goutal’s Mon Parfum Cheri which, depending on your taste, could be either a positive or a negative – I personally prefer MPC’s high seriousness.
Perfumes that are so full spectrum and ‘dark’ invite reflections on the nearness of fecundity to decay. Except that this one has diffusive musks to let in some air and light, and keeps patchouli’s often notorious sillage at an acceptable level. Until, that is, one reaches the deep drydown a couple of hours in, when the acceptable drops to the just perceptible, and the remaining impression is chiefly of old lipstick.
17th December, 2016

Chypré Vanillé by Montale

Agarbatti vanilla! A kooky idea that works among the fair number of kooky ones that have misfired in Montalés line up. Combining a dark turpy vanilla with the sweet, warming, utterly-synthetic-but-addictive smell of jasmine agarbattis (Indian incense sticks) seems like something thought up by a random perfume generating device
The name of this perfume is a trifle misleading as there is next to nothing chypric about it, whether trad (mossy and arch) or nouveau (patchoulied and sulky). This is the trashy in-law of the Amber Orientals, decked in thrift store bling but kind at heart. Late in the day a beasty musk comes up to the wearer wagging its tail.
17th December, 2016

Tiempe Passate by Antonia's Flowers

An energetic little number that creates a clean musky haze – one could easily slap it into an aftershave bottle and market it as such.
The main theme is an abstract floral laid onto a salty, stripped wood base. It’s executed with a light, airy touch. The ambery depths with their hint of rich sweetness and spice are kept well in the background – one gets little glimpses now and then but they don’t well up.
So, what’s not to like? For one, its sheer casualness which suggests a ten buck refreshing thing picked up on a whim at the drugstore. Second, the quality of the ingredients used don’t do enough to dispel that impression. It would be a good thing at aftershave or cologne prices, but it doesn’t live up to the billing of the brand.
01st December, 2016

Musc Tonkin by Parfum d'Empire

Quite a feat of recreation – this feels like a proper beasty musk: close, warming, sweet, a bit greasy, almost furry. It also has a raw and unbridled facet like the real thing – no-one said it was going to be pretty. But it has the headiness and power that only a few other scents have, saffron and ouds come to mind.
It’s difficult to pick out note accents in a perfume devoted to evoking the sheer complex muskiness of musk. There’s a hint of cumin – that signifier of skin and sweat; there’s bound to be some jasmine – droopy lidded and narcotic; and perhaps something with a rich pulpy, almost boozy sweetness like davana. But ultimately, it matters little. This is a proper musk that just keeps improving during the course of the wear and there are very few of those around. The faint whiff of vulgarity that hangs round any decent musk is quickly checked by the difficult balance of intoxicating aromas achieved here. Run to sample this if you’re interested in the slightest.
01st December, 2016

LAVS by Unum

Terribly high church, this frankincense offering will give nostalgics of a certain bent their fix. Me, I found it off-puttingly chilly, sour, stony and unrelenting. The only place this transports me to has unforgiving floors, clanging metal and blank-eyed statues – someone hand me the brambles and I’ll begin flogging my back.
For the spice horde indicated in the Unum notes list, there’s very little that actually registers on the nose (a bit of ground coriander and some pepper), so the abiding quality of this perfume is its somewhat shrill thinness. Some may consider this a spiritual singularity, I just find it joyless and ungenerous. Even the smokiness seems to pierce like a freezing mist rather than bring warmth and roundness, and the more citric accents of the elemi keep puckering their lips disapprovingly over the wearer.
The citrus-piney olibanum odour is true enough but it’s the unvarying nature of it that is at fault. Something that could smell suitably bracing in a freezing cathedral comes across as posey and stiff on the body, and soon bores.

01st December, 2016

Black III by AJ Arabia

Lurid lime and leather opening, madly unbalanced as it is drenched in a downpour of syrup. Under this unrelenting rain of the sweets it settles to a vanilla-infused leather with the barest hint of something herbal that smells as if it cost cents to produce. Garish beyond words, quite unlike the sophisticated presentation of the bottle and packaging. Yet another triumph of style over substance.
01st December, 2016

Black II by AJ Arabia

Death by goo gourmand that smells like an unholy mix of dime a dozen honey-syrup bombs. This kind of thing is wildly popular among a certain demographic as it is all about ‘smelling sweet’ in the most literal sense of the phrase. But there’s little or no depth to this oversaturated vanilla, just that hopeless feeling of being a bug trapped in something unbearably sticky. There’s a tiny dab of fruitiness at the start, but nothing like enough to keep the sheer cloying horror of this stuff at bay. Eeuurgggh.
01st December, 2016

Aoud Lagoon by Montale

Sunny tropical floral that leads with a feathery tiare note that is soon joined with juicy fruitier nuances, a kind of orange-apricot blend that is a fantasy evocation of osmanthus. This is tropical lite, there’s nothing narcotic or sultry here; the fruitiness has a punch-like vibrancy, at times touched by a sappy vegetal aspect. It’s an aerial, dancing, energizing composition, well-suited to summer but lovely to refresh a chilly day as well. Beats me why they called it an aoud as anything remotely woody is so well-tucked away that it’s not worth the bother searching for it.
Wears much lighter than most Montales, but that gives it a charming breezy quality that a heavier composition would have lacked. Perfect as a casual, daytime scent.
Loses the fruity succulence and moves into more standard white floral territory after 4-5 hours, but that’s not bad going.
01st December, 2016

Le Parfum de Thérèse by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Le Parfum de Thérèse is assembled from disparate elements (many of which, one feels, should clash hideously) that all synchronize from the start to reveal a thing of beauty – not a mosaic, but an organic unified creation. The crucial factor of its success is that though it projects well, Le Parfum de Thérèse feels light – so all the notes that could have shouted at each other instead gently sing.
Chief among the fruity notes is a delicate melon, just about to reach the point of ripeness rather than going over. We’ve all probably had our fill by now of the melon-aquatic pairing, but here the watery note is marine, briny, salty. Among the florals is the ozonic blur of violets but also abstract white flowers coming up behind, an impressionistic lily of the valley among them. There is a curious thyme-like accent that would be totally off-putting except that it marries so well with the worn leather in the base which would also be totally off-putting with the other elements already mentioned except that it is handled with kid gloves and is well aware of its manners.
The trace this perfume leaves in a room is of a diffuse, kindly, sweetness – a fantasy meadow in full bloom just over the horizon, a kind of floral Enya (if that is not too great an insult).
I can easily imagine it’s the kind of perfume that appeals as a signature scent (well, that’s how it started life); it is confident and palpable, refined, but without any suggestion of severity. And it holds a surprise in its later stages – a warm oriental base becomes just about perceptible as the notes blend into each other, speaking in the same civilized manner as the rest.
For all that, I must admit that I would rather admire it from a distance than wear it myself. The memory of the foghorn aquatics that came much later but which I encountered before I met Thérèse interferes too much with my enjoyment of this perfume.
17th November, 2016

Regal Secret by Auphorie

Grassy, lavender-inflected, bright fruity floral whose chief virtue is its delicacy. It has a nice out-in-the-field feel and judiciously deployed citric accents. A drawback is Auphorie’s stingy sample size which meant despite spraying it all on, I was still left wanting more. A shame as there’s a breeziness and a fresh, somewhat tart, juicy feel about this that I would have liked to experience a bit more fully.
17th November, 2016

Narciso Rodriguez for Her by Narciso Rodriguez

Gauzy abstract white floral with a nice peachy voluptuousness about it and a comforting milky undertow. Has something of the siren lure of Rush without the latter’s pushiness. This is squarely mainstream made in the highly buffed manner of 1970s mixed florals, but when it’s done right, hey it’s the kind of perfume to spray on and head to the nearest convivial social gathering.
Smells soft and welcoming to bystanders. Lots of airy musks involved but deployed well in the service of the floral notes. So smoothly executed, it’s a safe buy for purchasers of designer florals, but it also has the ability to remain interesting to those of more particular tastes provided they approach it with open minds.
(Review for EDT.)
17th November, 2016

Black I by AJ Arabia

This is the kind of perfume I often find myself longing for – warm, reassuring woods done in an unfussy style with ingredients that fall perfectly into place. Here we have a sappy, just-cut kind of evocation of cedar, tinged with green, paired with a sandalwood that almost brought a tear of joy to my eye, so long has it been since I’ve come across anything that truly resembles the best of this wood: dry yet buttery, salty-sweet and smooth as satin. There are touches of restrained spice – mainly cardamom which has a natural affinity to woody notes, and an additional musky sweetness in the base to bolster the sandalwood. No baffling complexity, no shock and awe, but oh so satisfying. This is a perfume one doesn’t need to think twice about wearing, it would suit almost any mood.
However, three things check my admiration turning into fully-fledged love. One is the painful price point, two, its restrained projection (it just wears too close to the skin and requires generous spraying to boost it a bit), and three, that it is top-loaded, turning into a sweet woody muddle after a couple of hours.

17th November, 2016