Reviews by gimmegreen

    gimmegreen's avatar
    gimmegreen
    Netherlands Netherlands

    Showing 181 to 210 of 403.
    rating


    Rosa Flamenca by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Constructed with typical Rosine refinement, Rose Flamenca accents the rose heart with cooling, airy, orange blossom and successfully integrates the jasmine (a note that can easily overpower). An ideal summer weather wear you’d think – except that despite a liberal dousing, this struggles to be audible.

    25 August, 2012

    rating


    Reflection Man by Amouage

    The shapelessness of this leaves me a bit at a loss for the right descriptors: white flower miasma, not-quite-eucalyptus chest rub, bubble gum (hence the Le Male comparisons), chlorinated swimming pool water, sweet el-cheapo synthetic musks, napthalene, this perfume has them all and then a few. But it remains vague (not elusive, there’s a difference), somewhat sweetish and when there’s a glimpse of the sandal in the base one breathes a sigh of relief. To its credit, about 3 or 4 hours in this does cohere and becomes quite comforting but Amouage can do so much better. Lasts forever.

    25 August, 2012

    rating


    Epic Woman by Amouage

    Heavy orientals are, for me, the perfume equivalent of wearing too much make-up, or eating too much cake... or wearing too much cake.
    The amber and musk of the base wore too close, there seemed to be a teeming crowd of rich ingredients thoroughly blended in. Then there was the cumin up front on this one and I thought, Betsy, this is just tooo much. But persistence has its rewards, and while they may not be orgasmic, they do offer a fine, high quality, wearable fragrance for cool weather.
    So while the start has the usual spicy density of rich orientals of a certain pedigree, I found the experience about two hours in, when the fragrance thinned a bit, to be the most compelling. A shy soft rose began to poke its head above the blend, and the spice subsided somewhat into the warm woods and vanilla. This epic creature had shed some of her more opulent garments and had become more of a flesh and blood person one could hold close and squeeze.
    (For others who can’t abide cumin; the note does fade quite quickly here, about half an hour in.)
    On subsequent wearings, the fragrance sang to me right from the start sometimes. I imagine the mind remembers the beauty that comes later on and projects it forward into the experience of the perfume.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Patchouli Antique by Les Néréides

    Headthrobbing memories of friends who wore hippy juice have made me give patchouli a wide berth. However, this fully rounded offering won me over. The striking thing about it is its maturity – an impression of being aged to just rightness like an exceptional liqueur, opening with a gorgeously mellow rum and raisin note behind which a voluptuous patchouli makes its entrance. There is dust and must, but everything is rounded and warm and comforting here – perfect for winter wear.
    A scant application lasts the whole day on my skin which normally chews up underpowered fragrances.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Eau Rose by Diptyque

    An entrancing top on this one – nectar like and vibrant as a living blossom. A light and natural rose of the open pink-petalled variety that I will stop to sniff whenever I come across a bush. The fruit notes are subdued, with mainly the lusciousness of the lychee coming through gently to my nose. The emphasis is on the dewy and fresh (hedione, white musk); and on the sweet (geranium and honey notes), although there is enough tartness in the mix to keep it lively. The first couple of hours is reminiscent of a cleaned up Une Rose, with none of the twigs and roots and dirt that make up the surround sound of that creation.
    Good longevity and becomes more of an emanation of one’s own skin as the day wears on. The evolution is towards a blurring of contours.
    While I find much to admire in this composition, I miss richness or a twist to give it more force of character; as it stands I’d love to smell of this for a couple of hours after my shower, not for the whole day. But it remains a well done rose.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain

    Impressively grown up opening – all skidding tires on asphalt, rum and smoke. After that serious bit of fan waving, the reveal is a vanilla that is very close to food essence. Tasty and comforting for sure, but makes me long for a touch more complexity. Lasts as long as your day.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Nuit de Cellophane by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    This had such a ‘just picked’ opening (fresh cut stems, dewy flowers, slightly tart fruit) that I had to try it on my skin – where it quickly turned into a heap of white flowers put through a blender. From springlike frolic to laboured tread. Still, the quality is there, even if the march ends abruptly after 3 or 4 hours.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Je Suis Un Homme by Etat Libre d'Orange

    This is Imperial Opoponax lounging on a leather sofa smoking an Indonesian clove cigarette. Which probably makes it sound more interesting than it is. This is Old Reliable rather than Take Me On The Carpet NOW; wears y-fronts not a jock strap – more’s the pity. The drydown where a rich frankincense-heavy accord banishes the candied orange of the opening is a marked improvement.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Diabolo Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Why do the rose and the mint refuse to join hands and dance an airy minuet? Instead they race at each other across the floor, missing each time. Could it be that pesky pepper making their pants itch? Fortunately that’s gone rather quickly, followed by Monsieur Mint, leaving our demure rose turning into body lotion. There’s no doubting the quality of materials used in this one, but I’ll sit it out.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Ubar Woman by Amouage

    ‘There’s a lost horizon/ Waiting to be found’ went the song about Shangri-La. Well, I’ve found it and it’s Ubar. A work of heart-piercing beauty, in which it seems a chorus of perfumery’s lost greats sing out in unison. You will have encountered glimpses of Ubar in dozens of remembered perfumes that either no longer exist or have changed beyond recognition. And here it is, thrillingly new and yet ancient.
    This has to be the first intense floral that I felt like spraying to excess; I almost had to tie my hands down. It’s like a rare, exceptional vintage, where the intoxication results from its divine flavour rather than the alcohol content.
    Ubar has natural florals in abundance, with indolic and animalic elements that would send the ‘clean’ brigade running, and the most precious sandal in its base. But there also seems to be a constellation of other notes suspended in perfect harmony. Truly the music of the spheres.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Phul-Nana by Grossmith

    A vital, bracing start, all orangey citrus with the warmth of tuberose – like a whole spa experience sped through in a matter of seconds. Then the flowers bloom, opened up by the bergamot at the top and the cedar of the base. There’s a kind of throwaway, effortless luxury to this which many aim for but few achieve. The heart is what makes this all so worthwhile and heavenly. Sadly only average projection after quite a few sprays. The end is reminiscent of those wonderfully subtle hair-oils of yesteryear.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Mimosa by Czech & Speake

    So Old School it should be an exhibit somewhere. A well-constructed jasmine-tuberose combo with plenty of indolic unease and an underlying murmur of the kinds of bone dry spice mix one found in a multitude of perfumes of a certain age which have (with a few exceptions) since hit the dust. Shakes off the indole and gets creamier with time and ultimately soapy (which is the closest this gets to mimosa), but I’ll pass.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Iris Poudre by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    I find this creation to be like an interloper which has unceremoniously booted out the original occupant of this name – for this is not particularly heavy on iris nor is it powdery to any great extent. Instead, soon into its development something that reads awfully like a Guerlain accord comes to the fore: a bit of indolic jasmine with the sharpish sandalwood typical of that house and some vanilla. Before that, the opening is subtly lit with aldehydes and brightening fruity tones. Ultimately the thing heads off in a soapy, musky direction with a much cleaner jasmine still lingering.
    But what of the iris? Where is the powder and dust? The playdough? The butteriness? The vegetal otherness? The solitary hauteur? The iris here couldn’t be bothered; it is sitting somewhere in the back concentrating on its knitting.
    The final result is pretty soft and seamless, easy to wear, but I can’t muster much enthusiasm for it.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Al Oudh by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Act 1
    Oh. My. Goodness. This is exceptionally well done.
    As the cumin rose from my skin while trying this on, I felt ready to give up before it had had its proper spin. But there are rewards, at times, for not being hasty. In the next few minutes the cumin settled into the composition and became just a twinkle among the more carnal notes.
    For something this spicy and sharp, Al Oudh has a remarkable sparkle and buoyancy, almost as if it had been lifted by aldehydes. This is the smell of the dream lover’s bed but it’s also a leaping buck on the horizon.
    There is so much going on here: a wonderful attar-like elixir tucked deep in its core – smoky, sweet oud and rose united with the dust and tang of myriad spices; then an entire arsenal of propulsive, sharp and warm notes – cedar, incense, myrrh, with just a stroke of sandal; and then that extra something that can only be called French magic, a refining, lightening touch that sets the entire thing afloat and shimmering.
    I find spicy orientals a challenge; this is one, and yet that is not all it is. It’s like being kissed simultaneously by someone who wants to yank off your smalls and do the dirty and an angel who wants to bathe your soul in light: one feels twice rewarded, twice blessed. Thank you, Duchaufour.
    Act 2
    About 4-5 hours later, the base scent disappoints. The mystery of the attar and the oud has faded, the sweatiness gains the upper hand and the whole sinks somewhat into stale spicy oriental shorthand mode. Of course the volume has also ebbed making it less noticeable, but at this stage Al Oudh is not something I would choose to wear. The magic is played out.

    22 August, 2012

    rating


    Sables by Annick Goutal

    There is this lovely family-run perfume shop where I go and buy giddy florals and ransack samples. The mama of the shop must look at me and think, ‘What a waste!’, because she inevitably gives me a few big bold bruisers to sample as well. Sables is one of them.
    Its audacity is about the only positive I can think of.
    Certain smells are shaped by culture. In India, where I grew up, we eat fenugreek greens – they’re bitter and pungent and delicious. Afterwards, when you sweat, it smells like Sables. I have yet to find an Indian who will claim to love the pungent scent of fenugreek sweat. I suppose the comparison is with asparagus-influenced urine – interesting, but you wouldn’t rush to douse yourself with it.
    The first few seconds of Sables promises much more – a ravishing mix of herbals lifting the sweaty immortelle; but after that it’s all the things people say: sugar, bacon, maple syrup, fenugreek. To which I’d add a salty edge (I suppose the bacon covers that). The pepper in the mix is a further annoyance and the drydown is just a stale version of the heart. Its rich and piercing spiciness seems to have been an object lesson to Serge Lutens.
    Not for me. Give me a different version of audacious.

    20th August, 2012

    rating


    Oriental Lounge by Different Company

    The smell of curry leaves defies description – pungent, herbal, metallic, somewhat caramelized; and yet someone reading those words would probably be completely surprised if they sniffed the real thing for the first time. No other scent comes close. To me it is the major chord of South Indian cuisine – the tempering of many dishes with curry leaves and mustard seeds in hot oil, to which additional tang is added by tamarind, and subtlety and creaminess by fresh coconut. The surface of the leaf has volatile oils which jump up and dance upon heating.
    How on earth would Celine Ellena integrate this note that clearly belongs in the kitchen rather than upon the body? By masking. The curry leaf is glued firmly to the bergamot and together they approximate cigarette smoke – not terribly appealing if you already share house space with a smoker. Underneath is a base of tonka and amber which takes gradual steps forward all the time, and the fascinating bit of this fragrance is how this sweetness interacts with the florals, spice and woods over its evolution. Ultimately it’s all a bit too lived in for me, like yesterday’s perfume on yesterday’s shirt – I’d rather put it in the wash.

    20th August, 2012

    rating


    Little Stars by Olympic Orchids

    Opens like a chest embrocation, with a spiciness and hints of ylang emerging from it. There’s also some undergrowth greenness, a forest floor feel, which would be most tempting if it weren’t for the overriding impression of essential oils. Might work better as a soap (of the anti-bacterial variety).

    20th August, 2012

    rating


    Honour Man by Amouage

    The main lesson of Honour Man is that there’s pepper and there’s pepper. There’s the stuff that gets up your nose and makes you sneeze and then there’s this which makes the nostrils flare with bliss, a complex dancing thing that introduces a lovely, light and pretty classy geranium and vetiver accord. A sharp frankincense-cedar accord keeps the wearer on their toes. I’ll agree with those who complain that perfumes like Honour Man represent the mainstreaming of a line known for OTT riches; this does not proclaim difference, but then it doesn’t need to. This is mainstream in the most suave and distinguished way, a perfume of restraint and elegance. The whole experience of wearing it is clean, cool like a fresh shirt and pretty enticing. I felt I could happily wear it day after day, until I did just that and found my interest flagging. The drydown is curiously fougere-like with a wisp of laundry musks trailing around it. My main grouch is that it wears pretty close to the skin and has a half-day life; can’t justify the expense for that.

    20th August, 2012

    rating


    Chrome by Azzaro

    With Chrome, Azzaro created the perfect functional going-on-holiday-leaving-my-brain-behind scent that was watery and cool with a nice sour citric edge and which held up well under sun and higher temperatures. That is the extent of its charms and it was enough for the millions who bought by the bucketful.
    It annoys me with its out-of-the shower cleanness, its poverty of ambition (especially as the citrus seems to be half-way decent) and the aura of an outdoorsy bore it projects. Base is the usual synthetic smelling woodsy herbal soup common to mainstream ‘masculines’.

    20th August, 2012

    rating


    Rush by Gucci

    A message from a friendly planet with a glitterball moon. It’s odd and it’s right and it makes one yearn to travel the galaxy and search out where this came from.
    Cloaked in plastic milkiness, a heart of chemical peach and pared-down dirt-free jasmine pulses, its fluorescence filtering through the whiteout.
    This is at once etiolated and full on – the scent equivalent of Debbie Harry’s vocal on Heart of Glass. And just as swoon worthy.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    Womanity by Thierry Mugler

    They got so much wrong with Womanity, from the clunky name that defies attempts to pronounce it naturally, to the thrift store goth metalwork on the bottle coupled with baby pink juice, to the near-fatal blow: announcing it had a caviar note. This last truly frightened some, with kneejerk reactions of ‘Ewww, this smells of fish’. The suggestibility of the human mind even got some others to claim this was eau de pudenda; if that’s the case then I can only say, as Germaine Greer once did, ‘Lady, love your c***.’
    Unlike a creation like Secretions Magnifiques which deserves every horror heaped upon its head, Womanity appears to be quite a misunderstood thing. It breaks new ground in two ways: it is a departure from the maximalism of Angel and AMen and so strikes a different pose to what is expected of a Mugler perfume at this stage in the game, and it offers a novel pathway to the dead-end the fig note had run down after the early brilliance of creations like Philosykos which made later fig fumes seem somewhat derivative.
    In Womanity the proposition was of a fig that was clean and light to begin with, all foliage and sap, nestling on a deepening sweetness that appears to my nose to be more a fruity fortification of the enticing fig leaf smell rather than the odour of the fig fruit as such (which has vegetal characteristics that are absent here). There were no coconutty distractions, instead what lay beneath the structure was a solid but unobtrusive woody note, providing firm and inconspicuous support like an underwired bra. What appeared to be frost on its surface was fine crystalline salt, a marine tang that seemed to freeze the perfume at its various stages (though its slow evolution after the headnotes can give the impression of linearity) and yet freshen and sharpen it and make it something to savour. The salt provides Womanity’s central contrast between its luscious, tasty aspect and its abiding cool, cooked-up-in-a-lab face.
    So what we have is a cool, sweet and salty fig fume which has brilliant tenacity yet feels light and wears well in summer; a wonder no-one else thought of it before. True, it has more of the vibe of something poured from a test tube rather than plucked from a tree. It has clear, defined contours, rather than hidden depths. I recall Chandler Burr’s first reaction to it in that BBC documentary. Startled look at camera, before re-sniffing his forearm and announcing with big smile: Does [pause] Not [pause] Disappoint.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    Charmes et Feuilles by Different Company

    Utterly charming. One of those ‘What is it?’ scents, but so light and breezy, you give up trying to figure it out and just go with it. The herbs are airy and abstracted and they encircle the lightest of jasmines in a cheerful green dance. What Miyake’s A Scent could have been if it had been structured better. Towards the end of its cycle a cardamom note develops that makes the wearer smell like a milky pudding; the only miss-step.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    Red Cattleya by Olympic Orchids

    I love the audacity of the tropical fruit punch opening – an unreal juiciness, a bit like those boiled sweets that are so concentrated that they embody the idea of fruit rather than the reality. An all-weather scent that will lift spirits in winter. Whereas some of the Olympic Orchids have headache-inducing projection, this one is more polite. There’s a hint of musk in the base, but I miss the subtlety a touch of wood may have added. On the whole this is a top heavy composition, with little by way of a grounding base – so when those fruity notes start to turn fuzzy some hours in, one is left with pretty indistinct sweet slop.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    Nombril Immense by Etat Libre d'Orange

    Here patchouli trades in her furry velvets for chiffon and sandalwood rises from its usual metallic compactness to a mousse-like frivolité. Turning dense notes airy and light is Nombril Immense’s little trick, and it strikes one as pretty clever for about two minutes. Ultimately there’s nothing distinctive here. The base is baby powder bedding down for the night with a lavendery cologne.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    L'Homme de Coeur by Divine

    What a joyous opening – the juniper gives an impression of crushed needles of conifers, one could be lost in a forest. This is obviously not an effect that is easy to achieve otherwise it would be much more widely prevalent, and it must certainly not be confused with what usually passes for ‘pine’ and the like in scents. This is surging, vital, rich. (There is also a faint trace of cat piss, but it doesn’t bother me in this instance.)
    The iris here is surprising too, rising gently from within, lending depth, dryness and a certain softness without any suggestion of powder. The picture shifts subtly all the while until the woods and vetiver that are the backbone of this perfume come into view.
    A refreshing, life-enhancing creation. It isn’t strong, so perhaps best for days when one hankers for a lighter perfume. Longevity around 4 hours for me, after which the barest trace lingers.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    Heat by Beyonce

    Candy floss (with a little burnt sugar) opening, merging into syrupy fuity-floralness, a small coconut interlude, finishing sweeeeeet. A concoction for the child woman. However, the times they are infantilizing – the ubiquity of this stuff is scary. Could also be the low price point, of course.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    Divine by Divine

    This is the way to do a white floral: with elegance, evolution, balance, not the hammer to the head that is more commonly encountered.
    After a quick burst of peachy fruit, the coriander (that trusty bridge between fruity and floral notes) ushers in a soft tuberose overlaid on a gorgeous musk. All the elements of this perfume stay in balance over time whether they are in the ascent or receding. Slowly the tuberose gains in presence backed by rosy floral notes of Amouage Gold quality. It’s soapy, it’s a bit greasy (animalic seems a bit too strong a term for something this refined), it’s old school to the roots of its dyed black Hedy Lamarr hair, it’s not wildly original, but it’s pretty near perfect.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    Chergui by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Trying this first in winter was a mistake – all Chergui revealed then was a slick of sweet, with some tobacco for definition. Nothing out of the ordinary.
    In warmer weather, it responded differently – with first a light glorious sweet hay-like accord, roomy and fresh, followed by an earthing tobacco, the sweetness just right and not cloying, with no hint of the staleness that can plague some tobacco notes. A balmy, vegetal sweetness, which can probably be attributed to iris, clinched this. Supremely comforting, perhaps a bit unadventurous, but also without the distractions of jarring, unbalancing notes. Doesn’t have quite the trail of other SLs, which is a shame – it deserves to.

    08 August, 2012

    rating


    Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    A rose, roots and all, is how the person in the shop described it to me as I tried it on, and my first impression was of finding the holy grail of rose scents. Till date well over 400 aroma molecules have been discovered that comprise the scent of roses, so there is plenty of room for variation, and those who pooh pooh the idea of rose soliflores or of smelling like a rose should really know that a rose can be suggested in thousands of ways.
    Une Rose made my senses tumble, it was like stopping after spinning round and round in a rose garden – the earth, the roses, the grasses, the leaves all seemed to weave in and out while I tried to steady myself. What fine drunkenness! I held on to that for over a year before finally buying.
    Well, familiarity showed a somewhat different creature.
    The earthy scent that had so captivated me seemed to be much more subdued than on first impression (or maybe it was an unfortunate difference in batches), a certain sharpness to the rose which brightened it considerably seemed to be more in evidence, and at times there was that uncomfortable feeling of tasting the perfume at the back of my throat. So, not quite the miracle I had waited so long for. But I have always loved the rose-geranium combination: it’s ballsy, piercingly sweet but with tart edges if done right. The geranium not only brings additional honey but foliage and refreshment. And in Une Rose, the wine dregs rounding the creation carry it so much further than the blended flowers of other, lesser perfumes. The woods in the base could have been better, with more depth, there seems to be something quite like Iso E Super lurking in there.
    I can now see that this isn’t quite as perfect as I had thought. But love rarely is, and I still love this with a passion.

    02 August, 2012

    rating


    Rose Praline by Les Parfums de Rosine

    Small mercies – this doesn’t smell like a chocolate coated Turkish delight. What seems like an odd pairing (chocolate and rose) is executed with the usual sophistication of this house. The gentle cardamom unobtrusively lifts the experience and the fragrance settles for a while, to my nose, on an unusual somewhat vegetal accord (the tea influence?), curious and subtle. An hour or so in, it’s a light chocolate and musk, the rose having gone into retirement. Interesting but a little too ‘languid’. Also, too much of a skin scent to be really enjoyable.

    02 August, 2012

    Showing 181 to 210 of 403.