Reviews by gimmegreen

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    gimmegreen
    Netherlands Netherlands

    Showing 181 to 210 of 442.
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    Felanilla 21 by Parfumerie Generale

    Custard in a plastic bowl, with someone irresistibly chic serving up the first spoonful.
    What a gorgeous iris this is, vegetal yet tinged with sweetness, smooth as silk and new plastic. It’s bounded by perfectly judged vanilla – dry as a husk, almost tobacco-like, a tad bitter and warm. The iris-vanilla heart accord is the main show here for me. Other aspects that count are a touch of hay for air and openness, and a tiny drop of amber to bed it down. Has an altogether effortless loveliness about it, let down somewhat by its refusal to rise much above one’s skin.
    Over time the vanilla steals the dance with the amber amping up, so we are left with something in the Shalimar mould with shades of Tauerade. This late stage is less original, but still pleasant to wear.

    14 January, 2013

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    Cartier de Lune by Cartier

    Peppery trill to open, followed by the most generic floral wash. This perfume is meant to be ‘ephemeral’ according to the advertising – well, one can’t say we weren’t warned: it’s barely there and yet annoyingly still there as the day wears on. What Cartier declares as ‘the wonder of white flowers in the moonlight’ is mainly a vague pinkish rose and what passes for lily of the valley in the mainstream. The musk in the base smells like new vinyl flooring or what one imagines ozone might smell like. None of this is actively unpleasant; it’s just completely unremarkable, the perfume equivalent of budget white bread.

    14 January, 2013

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    Greene Street by Etro

    Ah – suddenly I’m half my current weight, 20 years younger, not a grey hair in sight, and striding through a buzzing neighbourhood wearing an open-necked, crisp white linen shirt. Any perfume that makes that fantasy pop up is doing something right.
    Greene Street has a sense of dynamism about it which I suspect comes from a well-judged balance between fresh tones (some of them green) and the depth charge of spices. Add to the mix powdery and soapy facets, and I’m probably making this sound like a real no-no. But the end result is salubrious with a capital S, enough to put a spring in my step and ready to take on the day. Its volume is also well-judged, present but not overwhelming.
    I’m not making any claims that Greene Street is wildly original; I’m sure better educated noses will identify a dozen fresh spicy ‘masculines’ which it reminds them of. It just does well what it does.

    14 January, 2013

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    Secret Oud by Caron

    Underappreciated on the perfume forums, Secret Oud carries on a Caron tradition of perfumery marvels that stay off the mainstream radar.
    If you like your oud packing a mighty (synthetic) wallop, this isn’t for you. If you can’t bear something going by the name of oud which doesn’t touch the (rather squidgy) bases of faeces and stilton, this is so not for you.
    Some have complained of this perfume vanishing after a couple of hours; I get a full day’s wear, no problem.
    The opening of this beauty rings a perfect oudy note, a hypnotic sweet woodiness that unfurls around the wearer with swirls and eddies – an olfactory fractal. There is a hint of turpentine, a touch of saffron, but mainly this is the wood of dreams – warm, comforting, a cupboard I’d happily get locked in. The evolution is towards greater roundness and gentleness, with the resinous aspects relaxing and receding and a diffuse rosiness spreading like a faint blush.
    Does this do something radical and unexpected with oud? No. Secret Oud takes the mesmerizing lure of its main accord and showcases it calmly against sympathetic supporting tones with a breath-taking sophistication. It is reminiscent of Middle Eastern attars, but remains a ‘Western’ perfume in its balance and light touch. It is old money through and through, polished and elegant, with no desire to raise its voice. It stands naked because it quite without flaw.

    26 December, 2012

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    Hothouse Flower by Ineke

    A lily-jasmine fragrance, clear as a pane of glass. A few verdant touches (which also read a bit like nail polish remover) at the start make it airy and it does a nice cool-warm thing, making it an option in most weathers. I approach white florals with caution as they tend to tip me over, but I find Hothouse Flower to be quite without consequences. An undertone of buttery, coconutty creaminess doesn’t burden the overall mood of simplicity and light.
    All the fun is in the first few hours, however, after which this flower is headed straight down a pretty crowded tuberose alley.

    26 December, 2012

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    1889 Moulin Rouge by Histoires de Parfums

    Like Joan Crawford about to throw a major wobbly, this is all caked make-up (plenty of lippy, please) and fruity alcohol at the beginning. Its audacity in telling the consumer ‘You will like me’ is total but quite right; it makes me chuckle at the absurdity of wearing something like this, yet had me in its dishevelled embrace from the off.
    The overall lowish volume is probably a result of balancing the two main actors, patchouli, which tends to holler, and iris, which prefers to whisper. But they are contained successfully, casting a range of powdery, dusky, earthy, doughy tones at each other. The grounding notes of vanilla and leather in the base are similarly subdued giving a feeling of warmth and sensuality without being overbearing, like lovers touching skin on skin while drowsing together. So far, so disarming.
    Great for about four hours, after which this is mainly rubbery and faintly sweet.
    (I have seen this compared to Annick Goutal’s Mon Parfum Cheri par Camille. Important points of difference are: Cheri is much heavier, more formal, stately and dark as a blackout; its patchouli is much denser, earthy and vegetal. I love it, but have to find occasions to wear it; Moulin Rouge on the other hand requires little preparation – just wear it and laugh.)

    26 December, 2012

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    Gold Woman by Amouage

    This one bore a family resemblance to Nahema (particularly in the drydown), so I had to go and spray them side by side and compare. There are differences of course – Gold is less sweet at the start, has none of the explosive velocity of Nahema’s top, has the clean frankincense (that rapidly fades) which is the Amouage signature, has a greater suggestion of sandalwood in the base with none of the almond. But it still smells derivative and without the exuberance of the earlier creation. The white florals were a bit lost on me, this being mainly about the aldehydic rose, so the huge bouquet that others get from this was flung beyond my reach. It’s lovely, no doubt about it, and belongs to a pull-out-all-stops school of perfumery that occasionally can achieve such grandeur.
    On second thoughts…
    On the other hand, given cool weather and clean skin, this blooms beautifully and offers a little glimpse of heaven. I have been truly surprised by how this claims its own space over repeat wearings – becoming reassuringly familiar without losing its luxurious feel. All comparisons with Nahema seem beside the point now.
    On third thoughts…
    I spray on wayyyy too much one day (spending it at home on my own) and am in pulsating bliss. I walk through the rooms feeling ‘I am da Gold bomb’.

    20th December, 2012

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    Poivre Piquant by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    L’Artisan seem to specialize in soft, soft, soft skin scents that work beautifully on the days when one doesn’t feel like wearing something ponderous. This is about as piquant as a cherub’s kiss, though there is a petulant burst of pepper at the start. But it turns good-humoured almost instantly to hop, skip and jump gaily over a cuddly and playful milky-soapy-floral accord. An all-weather scent which is distinctive enough to become your own rather than blend into a lake of bland.

    14 December, 2012

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    Silver Cologne by Amouage

    Unabashedly perfumey with all lalas out. The opening blast can be overpowering: rich, warm fruity tones, sumptuous florals, soft powdery woods (sandal mainly), and plenty of lift. However, this kind of all out thrust can only work at the amplification at which it is encountered here – water it down and it becomes something second rate and pointless (a bit like listening to Sun O))) with the volume turned down).
    The languid heart accord of ylang and heliotrope lends a solemn air to what is a pretty slinky beast. And the base, which seems to have the best of old school Guerlain powders shimmering within it, retains an air of mystery. Silvery it is, in the sense of the mercurial play of light on the pelt of a black jaguar, a creature of potency and grace. Curiously, seems to freshen as it ages on the skin.

    14 December, 2012

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    Patchouli Patch by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Powdery, silky patchouli with impeccable manners, despite a hint of booze on its breath. No obnoxious ‘look at me’ tantrums; instead a sweet subtlety underpinned with a slight touch of sweat and wood. Refined, relaxed, wears like an aura. May possibly disappoint patchouli die-hards.

    14 December, 2012

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    Oud by Robert Piguet

    An ‘almost but not quite’ kind of scent that has glimpses of greatness but doesn’t get close enough to realizing them. This seems to be a problem with quite a few of the new Piguets when measured against the stature of the first reformulated releases.
    To elaborate: there’s a brief burst of something green and perhaps even a bit of aldehydic fizz which is an unusual treatment for an oud theme; the oud itself is quite subdued, purring softly in a corner rather than emerging from the lavatory or ripping off its shirt in a clumsy come on; there are sweet balsamic elements. Something sophisticated is being attempted here but the results don't quite gel. Once the drydown is established one is left with a curious sweet and medicinal/plasticine smell – perhaps this is the band-aid scent which some people complain about in ouds but which I had never encountered before.
    Great longevity and reach, now if only the juice excited me a bit more.

    14 December, 2012

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    Alyssa Ashley Musk by Alyssa Ashley

    Pleasant but, like fake snow, utterly devoid of character.
    The ‘cleanness’ of white musk with its laundry room air is mainly to blame, here paired with body lotion florals (mainly a powdery rose) and, if you try really hard, a minuscule amount of something that reads as a green citrus. Sweet and bland, would be just fine as a deodorant, but is something of a disgrace to the idea of a perfume.

    14 December, 2012

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    Casbah by Robert Piguet

    Heavily spiced creations can be too much for me, even in cold weather. It’s their dusty, pungent, staleness that becomes too great a weight to be carrying around. Combining heavy floral notes with spices is sometimes redemptive in a knock-out way, more often it just envelopes the wearer in a miasma.
    Casbah takes a different route and I was surprised at how much I liked it when I first smelled it on a card. On my skin it quickly scattered pepper and nutmeg but with a green marigold-like vibrancy that complemented and lifted the spices. The incense is not smoky, but sharp. The iris provides a vegetal cushion. Were it not for the overall dryness, this would convey a spice forest mood, one I could quite happily visit from time to time. In its animation and its array of sharp notes it offers a different turn to the spice route.
    However, flattens considerably after a couple of hours into a subdued, almost floury, nutmeg which is a bit of a yawn.

    14 December, 2012

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    Cardinal by Heeley

    An airy, cool, virginal, sour incense. It’s a peculiar thing to do to incense, the harbinger of warmth in numerous middle eastern perfumes, but here resolutely crossing a chilly stone floor. Turin remarks on the citrus in this, but to my nose the sharp notes appear to be from the edgier parts of the cedar-vetiver spectrum.
    Anyhoo, this is yet another clever, curious composition from Heeley, if bearing his trademark aloofness and linearity (though towards the end of its active life the progression is towards the vetiver base). I imagine the days when my dirty mind will be in tune with this fragrance’s supremely chaste aura will be few and far between, but there is much to like here.

    14 December, 2012

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    Bois Noir by Robert Piguet

    Straight-down-the-middle woody, which balances sharp, dry notes with sweeter aspects nicely, and has a natural feel. Unfortunately that’s all there is to it. Still, it’s a relief to come across a woody perfume these days and be reminded more of the real thing rather than the nostril-drying super aromachemicals so frequently encountered. Bois Noir could be comfortable everyday wear for the unadventurous and is probably safe to wear on a flight, but for those of us who seek the furthest vistas of perfumery’s horizon, there’s bound to be a ‘so what?’ moment pretty soon. A lovely wooden chest, but don’t go seeking the mystique promised by the ‘noir’ appellation. Wears light but perceptible.

    26 October, 2012

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    Jubilation 25 by Amouage

    Sometimes a perfume of such concentration and so resolutely un-modern requires a degree of daring from the wearer, the vogue (admittedly only among the perfume cognoscenti) for smelly ouds notwithstanding. Opens with a strong desert spice trader vibe – plenty of smoke, incense, sun-baked wood, dry myrrh, and what seems like a cinnamon-cumin combo lurking at the fringes. This is parched and powerful – the floral notes are pretty muted on my skin, but the smoke is glorious, harking back it would appear to the origins of the word ‘perfume’. I must admit initial wearings left a not entirely favourable impression. At first I thought it edged a bit too close to the souk territory of Lutens, but over the day Guerlain’s Mitsouko seemed a more persistent shadow. However, that addictive smokiness and the bitter-sweet myrrh kept calling me back and I made my peace with its contradictions: the call to spiritual purging that the temple ingredients seem to be offering, which exists side by side with an almost opiate luxuriousness.
    Certainly far butcher than the ‘male’ companion scent, which jumps to please with a wagging tail, and which I admit I wear more readily. But this is a tremendously layered composition, leaning with haughty composure over the abyss of excess.

    26 October, 2012

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    Interlude Man by Amouage

    A really smoky, lightly peppered, dry and savoury frankincense, on a serious desiccated woods base. I don’t get the Interlude backstory at all, of a quiet moment amid the hurly burly of chaotic modernity. Umm... no. This settles pretty firmly into its stride right from the word go and is pretty monolithic. The richness of the ingredients is a given and the salty edge of the oregano is a novel idea, but I find myself struggling to get beyond ‘like’ on this. There just isn’t the variation in tones and shades that make the best Amouages so memorable, instead one has the dense main accord, like it or lump it, like a boulder carried by a glacier. I find myself tiring of it at the end of a day.

    26 October, 2012

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    Timbuktu by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    What a heavy trail Timbuktu has left, particularly in the niche world, where numerous perfumes have taken up aspects of its central shimmering, dry woods accord. Many an Amouage could step out of its bejewelled vestments and stand naked before the mirror as a relative of Timbuktu. But whereas an Amouage creation is often about richness and mellifluous density, Timbuktu is all transparence and sinew. Many austere woodies strain for its magic but collapse like a jenga heap when they overdose the overtly chemical.
    Timbuktu’s initial impression is a bracing swirl of incense, myrrh and sweet vetiver, with a good pinch of cardamom, some sandal, and a slight milkiness around the edges. It’s warm, comforting but there’s no flab to it. The progression is toward increasing dryness, sunlight falling on a fragrant wood floor as a curl of incense smoke rises from a corner, and while the overall feeling is of an assured natural simplicity, the aromatic components seem to be in constant motion if smelled up close. Stellar so far.
    The deep drydown (after about a half day’s wear) takes on a soft, sweeter and creamier aspect, still great to wear but considerably different to the main act.

    17 October, 2012

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    Piment Brûlant by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    I was dreading the density of a chillies-and-chocolate combo. Would this be like slathering oneself in stinging mud?
    However, the wearing experience reminded me not to take notes lists too seriously, for this is mainly a cool and airy green floral. The chilli here is sappy and aromatic, just sliced, but fortunately without fire. This aroma was always there in the real thing but it’s one of those things one takes for granted unless reminded of its qualities in a novel and poised context.
    The floral sweetness adds an elusive dimension – the faint scent that certain flowers not known for their scent have, like some kinds of tulips that have a trace of musky saffron lingering within their cups. Here the note is supposedly poppy.
    Disregard the spices, they are all but imperceptible. The chocolate and cocoa are a waveform in the air. The totality sparkles – stimulating and calming at the same time.
    A caveat: this perfume will not impress those more used to strong fragrances. It’s perfect, however, for cool days of clean air.

    10th October, 2012

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    Lonestar Memories by Tauer

    On a blotter this opens a wide starlit sky, the rush of woodsmoke, a certain weary night mystery. I couldn’t wait to wear it. After a beautiful tarry beginning with much smoke and leather in evidence, in summertime this more or less expired to a whiff of latex on my skin, with occasional glints of something or other that might tease the scent receptors. In cooler weather it settles to a luxurious but fairly quiet, smooth, new-from-the-shop leather. I was so willing to fall in love with this one, but it isn’t the grail of smoky perfs that I was hoping it might be.

    10th October, 2012

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    Blanc Violette by Histoires de Parfums

    This violet has the dubious distinction of being soft and shrill at the same time. All things violetty have been thrown at this perfume – including the green of its leaves (supported by a touch of anise) – but to little avail. There is a roughness to the composition which is surely unintentional, making it more suited to a product like washing up liquid. It’s powdery like a violet scent should be, but somewhat lumpy about it.

    10th October, 2012

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    Alien Essence Absolue by Thierry Mugler

    Whereas the original can be death-by-jasmine if worn when one is not receptive to it, Alien Essence Absolue is altogether a more abstracted affair. A burnished woody amber, it comes across as a ball of appealing sweet notes that one wants to do unspeakable things with. There are hints of booziness, bubble gum, the cashmere woods spliced so neatly onto the vanilla, that the impression is one of roundedness, cosiness, an insistent nuzzling.
    There’s a density and impenetrability about it that will frustrate noses after something a bit sharper; it remains something warm and golden behind a pretty smudged lens.

    10th October, 2012

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    Opus V by Amouage

    After encountering one too many lacklustre orris creations, I was struck by the beauty of Opus V’s opening chord: subtle but insistent like a lover who knows how to go the distance. The union of the soft, pale, delicately sweet orris with the sheerest touch of booze and an almost creamy oud note is divine. Please someone, find a way of prolonging this, bottle it and bring it on the market.
    For Opus V soon goes down another path, which is ultimately less rewarding. The oud becomes brasher and gains in prominence and is preserved in the ‘dry wood accord’ mentioned in the official list. This latter is stuff you will probably have encountered before; it seems to dry out the nasal membranes and has an addictive quality like glue fumes. There is a hefty dose in Opus V which results in a wearing experience a bit like a drugs high, but it does seem a bit of a cheat after the artistry of the top.

    21st September, 2012

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    L'Âme soeur by Divine

    Aldehydic veils cloak the start of this light-as-cologne creation; there’s something fresh, metallic and sharp in the mix, like violet leaves. The aldehydes soon subside into wispy powders, with a nice ‘wide open’ sweetness (possibly gifted by the coumarin-heavy liatrix?) balancing the sharper aspects. The main event, however, is a fruity, pretty watered down, raspberry rose. Has a classic French perfume feel what with the aldehydic haziness (shorthand for ‘sophistication’ for the French it would seem) and generally abstracted air, but this also drags it into the ‘nice but nondescript’ category for me. The overall feel has a nodding acquaintance with Chanel No 5 and Baghari, but without the dynamism of those fragrances. Long lasting. Also exists in an extrait version which I haven’t tried.

    21st September, 2012

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    Hippie Rose by Heeley

    Now here’s a surprise from Heeley, a rose with plenty of murky undergrowth, resolutely old-fashioned, turning its face against the soapy, clean or simply loud characteristics that tend to dominate recent rose fragrances. I wouldn’t have expected it of him – so many of his other perfumes place the emphasis so strongly on the clarity of notes, they sometimes skirt banality.
    This hippy is out in the garden: a mature rose among mossy, herbal aspects; there’s a hint of licorice that bridges effortlessly with a dark, rooty patchouli. The patchouli is beautifully judged, its presence is central but well contained, it’s no yawling feral beast. This is the kind of fragrance that rises to the nostrils as a perfectly formed accord; there is a completeness to it that resists too much picking apart of notes, one grasps it immediately and is satisfied. Or at least I am! Pretty linear once the top settles.

    21st September, 2012

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    Déclaration by Cartier

    Help, mother, my head is being squished between turbo-oranges. And the vetiver-cedar note is giving me a septum piercing. Ellena tends to focus on the driest, sharpest aspects of vetiver, for some reason, disregarding the wonderful warm earthy-sweet spectrum that’s available from this magical ingredient. A perfume that would seek to make of forwardness a virtue. No doubt all that Iso-E Super in the base contributes to the sense of sheer thrust this thing has.
    For what it is, it’s impeccably constructed despite its brashness (well, I suppose the name is a warning), but it scares the daylights out of me.

    14 September, 2012

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    L'Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer

    This opened like Bvlgari Black’s incense-loving sibling – smoke, rubber, incense, a bit of spice around the edges. Soon settled into a resiny amber of no great distinction, some sweetness and tremendous dizzying persistence. Underwhelmed.
    Numerous tries brought little variation to this sequence. I wish I had more detail to offer – but my nose doesn’t latch on to much detail in this; it is undoubtedly strong but without much by way of layers, and has the muddied feel of some ‘natural’ perfumes.

    14 September, 2012

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    Songes by Annick Goutal

    I love Guerlain’s AA Ylang et Vanille; the langour and voluptuousness of the ylang coupled with the warming comfort of vanilla. Goutal’s Songes uses high quality absolutes of these two notes to bridge a heart of exquisitely creamy jasmine. The ylang has wonderful rubbery and banana facets. There are other tropical highlights of frangipane and tiare, but despite great richness and depth this perfume is not overbearing (of course, one needs to spray judiciously); it’s a reverie, a smile through a sigh, mood music for a lazy Sunday.

    14 September, 2012

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    F! by Fragonard

    The mellowness of the herby start had me thinking that Fragonard had finally made a ‘masculine’ of some distinction. No such luck – five minutes in, and we’re in familiar chemical toilet territory.

    12 September, 2012

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    Iris Rose by E.Coudray

    Well, definitely more iris than rose at the start. When the rose does emerge, it is a Brosseau rose, muted and misty. While the composition is appealing, it is so wan that one could bathe in the stuff and it would still fail to lift above body lotion strength. Plenty of ‘white musk’ in the base, slipping the whole thing effortlessly into the generic.

    12 September, 2012

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