Perfume Reviews

Reviews by zubi

Total Reviews: 15

Rose The One by Dolce & Gabbana

Watery sweet fruity floral at first spray. Does not open very originally. Rose comes through. Very watery, and although I could see myself wearing this (at least if it stays like this), after having tried Les Parfums de Rosine's take on the rose, I feel I have grown out of synthetic florals like this. It develops beautifully; some citrus and another soft white flower and juicy fruit stay in the background. Very modern, a little cold - nice for a wedding or a spring occasion where you want to smell lovely and not overpowering. This is just not for me; I suspect this will appeal to people new to perfume, or department store fruity floral perfume lovers. The heart develops into purely soft white flowers, but nothing jarring - all very average. Bleh. As some reviewers said, "Where is the rose?".

Verdict: To Ebay this one goes!
11th August, 2012

Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani

I loved this fragrance at one point, simply because I felt that it had a masculine, empowering tone which made it different from my other scents. I used to ADORE this because I felt that it was unique and original. Would I still feel the same now? Test notes below:

I note now that I must have sensed the lemon, which can make a scent seem masculine. As with most department store frags, it is a very sugared lemon. I also sense a sugary synthetic mint note (I usually don't like peppermint in my scents, but because this note is synthetic it may explain why I don't mind it too much). Some herb is coming through, like pepper, it makes the frag smell messy, like an accidental spill. Very aquatic; more watery than usual mainstream frags. I see that Fragrantica lists "sugar" as a note; not surprised. Something smells "off" now; I suspect it might be the synthetic mint note combining with something. This is a perfect fragrance for someone who wants to stay in the department store fragrance realm, but have something slightly different than the rest. It is different, but only in the mainstream realm. Compared to niche brands, this scent is just another one that'll be forgotten. It develops BEAUTIFULLY into some sort of burned brown sugar scent which I adore.

Verdict: The longevity (which is poor compared to the scents I am now used to) makes this hard to keep.
11th August, 2012

Vera Wang by Vera Wang

I LOVE HER DESIGNS!!! Now, my love for her designs does not mean I will be biased when it comes to her fragrances. Here are my test notes:

Aldehydes, fresh fruity smell that is clean and pretty memorable - not because it is super original, but simply because it truly is a pretty fragrance that suits its purpose. This fragrance was marketed as a bridal scent, and I believe the nose behind it completely understood what Vera was after. Her designs dazzle; the perfume and make-up of the bride should therefore be a little less loud, just to balance things out. Also, a bride should be remembered for her *self*, not just one aspect of her look.

The fruit goes, and makes way for more aldehydes. Then, lotus, soft rose, and other flowers with a light or white feel come through to the front like a beautiful bouquet. Very well blended, soft, and really (I cannot say it enough) perfect for a wedding. This is a great scent for someone who does not want to blast everyone with their fragrance, but would still like a recognisable but classy scent.

If you do not like aldehydes, you might sneeze with this one! It reminds me a little of Elie Saab le Parfum, not because it is similar (I find this scent prettier, weaker, and less in-your-face) but because of its aldehydic content. This one is very feminine, very classy. It is a gorgeous soft scent, and if I was not more into complex frags and gourmands, and less into clean scents, I would have kept this.

It develops into a white floral heart, which I admit would be great for white floral haters like myself as it is not too much. It then gets a minty quality. Alas, this bridal perfume will not be the one I wear with the matching gown.

Verdict: Off to Ebay!
11th August, 2012
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Chloé (new) by Chloé

Juicy opening. Switches to creamy flowers (but delicate, and still watery in that typical fruity floral fashion). Smells like soap. May have gone off, something in this makes me a bit queasy. The bottle is in terrible condition, like it rusted somehow, which makes no sense as it has just been sitting on a shelf. Maybe it did go off though... A bit of greenness in this one. Scrubber. Cannot place synthetic note.

Verdict: I hope this was just off, and not how Chloe actually smells. Happily donated on Basenotes to someone who was willing to test if it was off.

EDIT: This did not go off. It is just definitely not for me. The Basenoter I sent it to was very happy with it, and his mum stole it from him as it reminded her of the Chloe she used to wear. Yay happy endings!
11th August, 2012

Attimo by Salvatore Ferragamo

Fresh lemony burst, then pear sorbet - yum! Then, after 5 minutes, it is just another fruity floral. I would have loved it if it were a little more like Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, where that "soli-fruit" (lol) note stays on and on (and realistically too!). Unfortunately, this one turns into another fruity floral with that cheap fruit-aldehyde note I seem to sense in every mainstream (not entirely well-crafted) department store frag. It dries down to a yummy brown sugar, just like Acqua di Gioia, but lasts a little longer. Gasp! Will this be my fruity floral keeper? Only if it lasts longer than 2-3 hours.

Verdict: After the short yumminess, it dries down even further to a skin scent that smells of plastic. I like some sillage, and would have preferred it if that pear stayed. Bye-bye!
11th August, 2012

J'Adore L'Absolu by Christian Dior

Luckily for my nose, this was not a fruity floral in the way the perfumes I tried before this in the "30 days" series were, strictly speaking. This is more a floral with a whisper of fruit (there is a difference!). It opens with a green and fresh feeling, which I liked. White florals then chime in with the green stems, still present, which I liked surprisingly (I do not love white florals). I can sense the tuberose at a comfortable level in the background (I DEFINITELY do not love tuberose). No fruits detected, except when I inhale very deeply with my nose touching my skin. I find that very interesting, as it balances the scent out from becoming one big thick white floral.

It continues on like this and doesn't change much on my skin. I find it quite bland, and the fact that it is well-blended is now more of a disadvantage to me than an advantage, simply because I would have liked some contrast. Put in something dark, or more woody, or darken *something* in the base!
11th August, 2012

Idylle by Guerlain

The bottle is interesting. It's been compared to chocolates, a bike saddle, golden drops, and an upside-down shoe heel. It is nice from far, but far from nice. In images it looks chic, in real life the plastic chips away and you realise that your diamond was actually a piece of glitter reflecting the sun. I am not shallow enough to judge a perfume by its bottle, but this little tidbit of information about the bottle runs parallel to my feelings on the juice itself.

Idylle starts with a fruit burst that is pretty yummy. I can definitely smell a soft white flower with that fruit - and then suddenly the fruit is gone (though it still wafts at times); closer to skin I can only smell a white floral. Whereas J'adore is classy and boring, this one is sparklier but soft (a white floral hater could love this). I do get aldehydes (or is this scent just hurting my nose with cheap synthetic ingredients?) and find this lovely and blended well. But that's just it - it's another Vera Wang (maybe more bold), J'adore (brighter), and Attimo, but with slightly different notes. I would even say it's got a lot of Miss Dior Cherie (vintage) - which may be why I like it - that raspberry note is probably the culprit. It is admittedly the best I have tried in my fruity floral range this week - but that is not saying much.

It's just another fruity floral for the young and/or unaware perfume admirer. It's a gorgeous one, but not memorable enough to keep. It does not deserve Guerlain's name on it! Some proper Guerlinade as a base (or anything a little more worth the high price of this fragrance) would have made this a keeper, or at least some sort of nod at the fact that this perfume house is full of classics. I understand they are trying a new direction, but then at least put some contrast to the notes, so my brain stays challenged. Contrast, people, contrast! Is that too much to ask?

Verdict: Yeah... No. If perfumes were actresses, this would be Jessica Simpson. I prefer me some Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, and Audrey Hepburn, thank you.
11th August, 2012

La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens

This fragrance opens with a soapy note, very very soapy. Like, to the point where you feel *clean*. I catch myself impatiently waiting for some Sergian notes. I am currently in a very gourmand phase, and this is not very gourmand or dessert-like on my skin. Can we say "disappointment"?

Suddenly a thick syrup note pops through, as if to say "fooled ya!"
- "Yesssss," says the pig in my nose, "FOOD!"

I can smell a woody scent in the background, as though the bitterness of PURE incense resin is present. I do not know what real myrrh smells like, and presume it isn't sticky sweet as some myrrh/incense scents like to make it, so this feels real. This woody note disappears as fast as it came, and like many other SL scents I have tried, this one seems to be a chameleon. The notes come back and disappear again, like some mysterious nimble bellydancers who simultaneously work as ninjas.

It has a note of garbage bag on my wrist, which I'm not loving, but when I smell the inside of my elbow (where scents bloom, in my opinion), I smell a cologne-like masculine coolness that I like. I realise now that this "soapy" quality I initially sensed is brought on by a white flower I do not recognise. It could be jasmine (according to note list), as this is a note I am not familiar with (I know - how is it possible?).

There is a greenness to this that is slightly bitter, but I think this is a scent that, on me, is dominated by a floral. It seems pretty linear for the first half hour, but then some anise-like scent comes through. According to this review, this scent is very true to myrrh, but since I know nothing about it I cannot say what I think of this matter.

After a bit, the sandalwood and spices come through, and I feel myself nodding and smiling with recognition. Hello Uncle Serge! The usual gourmand aspect is different, but still exists - I can sense a slight burned overly flavoured vanilla pudding. Yum!

I will have to say that I like this one quite a bit, and could see my see myself wearing it. It would be my first white-floral dominated scent (even though that aspect is less strong during the drydown). I read here that it is recommended to dab this one, and not spray. I do agree that this could be too heady and just "too much" if over-applied, and due to its "coolness" could definitely see - and love - this on a guy.

To conclude, this is a scent that has a coolness to it that reminds me of white flowers with dew drops on them on a crisp summer morning after a storm. I like the slightly bitter medicinal anise-like note in the background, but perhaps that is because I like very bitter dark chocolate too. Besides, bitterness is good for you. ;)

Note: The more time passed, the more I caught myself inhaling deeply when my arm was close to my nose. Warning: This scent - like a lot of Serge Lutens fragrances - grows on you! The more hours that pass, the creamier this one gets. I cannot comment on sillage as I really did use a few drops. Obviously, due to dabbing the sillage would be lower than if spraying.
11th August, 2012

Golden Cattleya by Olympic Orchids

Opening: What is that yellow goodness? I see an edible yellow creamy flower infront of me; there's a gourmandy sweetness that is probably the honey. Some have said that this is the honey scent for honey haters; I don't care who it's for - it is scrumptious. Some may find the opening too sweet (I doubt it), but for me this opening is HAPPY. There is joy dabbed onto my arm, and I'm confused as to how she managed to capture and bottle such an emotion.

The bright yellow honey opening softens to become a creamy yellow satisfaction - like the calm bliss after meditation (please let me find more synonyms for "happy" soon). It's almost as though Ellen realised that too much happiness can be draining, and slightly diluted it to become a constant emotion that just fills you with a much more peaceful and confident .... "happiness" (sorry, no thesaurus near me. And I'm too absorbed in this perfume to google anything!).

The new confident but soft flower that shows up after the opening, is dripping with a few dewdrops of a caramel honey, but it's not too sticky to become cloying, as there is a green stalk that prevents this flower from becoming a barbie-like pink juice (Did I mention the juice is also yellow? What fun!). This part wafts beautifully through the day, making you go "Ooh! What's that?? Oh, oops, just me." This stage of the fragrance reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in a way. I could see her wearing this during her fun goofy days - her beauty is very understated, but once you notice it, by GOD do you notice it! I never understood the hype, until I watched a movie with her in it. Her eyes! The purity and innocence in the moments where she smiles is something that will stay with me forever.

I'm supposed to be explaining all the notes and how the drydown is, but I just cannot. "If it ain't broke don't fix it" - and if it's perfect, don't analyse it. Some things are purely beautiful, and (okay I'm getting emotional now) just should not be described as being anything other than a work of art that carries a little piece of spirit/soul/energy in it. Just as the photographer in me cannot describe why Audrey is beautiful through analysing her features, I cannot explain the beauty of Golden Cattleya by listing its notes or how they react to eachother. The joy I feel is something that is a gift, from Olympic Orchids to me. Would you question someone if they gave you a button to make you happy, or simply enjoy it with all the gratitude in the world?
11th August, 2012

Incense Rosé by Tauer

Opening: Cardamom comes out pretty strongly - not my thing. it gets blended prettily with some sort of herb and a very strong rose. Im a Rosine girl, so this is a new type of rose - Rosine roses are juicy - this one is a drier yet more mature and subtle rose. I can smell an incense that is not dry - the kind I like. It is definitely dark, and blended beautifully. There is a mustiness that is either orris or patchouli, which makes this the "noir" I would have liked to see in Chanel Coco Noir. The wood playes along nicely in the background, and to be honest, this is not a perfume that I am skilled enough to continue naming notes of.

Heart: There is a cumin-like thin note in the far background, which could be a herb or note I am not familiar with. It balances out (very well, might I add) the entire musty and damp earthiness, which is slightly dried by the cedar, and sweetened by the rose (now a background player). The incense reminds me a lot of that nice sweet incense in real life - not the dry and smokey incense one finds in a lot of "incense-based" perfumes. I get more incense in my inner elbow than on my wrist, where the herbs and rose remain. My wrist is also making the orris go a little carrot-like - but not enough for me to be put off.

There is a lemony sourness that is putting me off, it could simply be a herb, or the bergamot. If this were to stay like it is doing on my inner elbow, this would be a love. On my inner elbow, the rose has stood in the perfect place, and is mingling gorgeously with the very dark wood and incense. THAT is what I call a blend! But on my wrists it is staying as a herby carrot with lemons :( I shall try this one again while going somewhere, and see how it wafts (a telling factor for a full bottle).

Drydown: The woods take over with the incense. The darkness is still there, but there is a powderiness that makes this part the most "perfumey" of all stages. There is something in here that reminds me of a Serge Lutens scent, but I just cannot put my finger on which one. This is not because it is gourmandy or odd, but because of a combination of woods and flowers, I think. It is not at all similar to any SL scent, but the feeling I feel is similar. Perhaps I am in love and do not realise it. ;)

For now, I shall enjoy being transported away to an abandoned temple somewhere, where roses from a previous wedding are still scattered on the cobbled stones around the temple. The sun is setting, and there is a mustiness inside the temple, mixed with the ever-burning frankincense and the herbs that spilled from recent ceremonies. The wooden furniture (very little of it) that I see is so old that I can almost smell it. I am in the East, but where, I cannot say. All I do know, is that I will keep inhaling this scent to feel close to something that feels familiar, yet foreign.

Bottom Line: I would say that this could definitely be put in the "classic" sector; there is something in here that just screams timelessness, even though it has some modern and unusual notes. Just not sure it is for me.
11th August, 2012

Iskander by Parfum d'Empire

It opens with a full chorus of juicy citrus fruits; my nose is not knowledgable enough to distinguish the difference between them. It is pleasant, and sour but not TOO sour. It reminds me of the realistic juiciness in the opening notes of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, though that is simply a grapefruit singing a scrumptious solo tune. The opening notes are a teenage boys' choir - not quite loud and bassy like the men's choirs, but also not screechy like 8 year old boys.

A dry spice come through in the heart, with a slight sweetness in the background. It is dry, and combats the wetness and freshness of the citrus fruits. The citrus isn't like washing liquid, but real and juicy. Later on, the many different citrus notes disappear to leave just one not-too-sour one behind. I like how it quietens down, and becomes a soft cloud of faint woods, soft/dry citrus, and some earthy yummy sweetness that I cannot name (probably musk). I cannot point out the soft, delicate flower in here, but I can sense it somehow. As with all of the PdE fragrances, the blending is so well done by Marc-Antoine Corticchiato that you will find it difficult to truly point out every single note. Finishing the act, an almost-salty spice or dry wood comes through, making this a true chypre.

I like this quite a bit, and would say it is the best citrus scent I have ever tested (though I haven't tested many). The notes blend beautifully, and each note rears its head once in a while to remind you that it is still there. Iskander is very airy and light, so you will probably need to use this one with a heavier hand (unless you want it to be a skin scent). This is a very masculine scent (though a woman can pull it off, as the drydown is delightfully soft) and I know I am going to be keeping the rest of this scent for a certain special man to test. Let's hope he likes it... because *I* do.

I might buy it before he does, anyway. ;)
11th August, 2012

Prada Candy by Prada

It opens with that caramel taste that you get when it's stuck in your teeth, that juicy sticky caramel. But it has a fruitiness in the background, almost like there is fruit water somewhere there. It is interesting how the caramel is ambery and is almost too sweet, but this is balanced out pretty well by the wateriness that feels like a mist of water drops has somehow mixed with it. Please note: This is only from the wafting - I haven't got to how it smells close to skin yet!

When I put my nose close to my arm, I get the familiar dry licorice wood of Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille in there, and there's something almost salty in there. It must be the dryness of the wood that is making me think of salt. Either way though, the scent is much rounder and fuller on skin than it is when it wafts. I will be honest; on my skin, the wafting could get cloying for a fussy person near me. Other reviewers disagree, but then everyone's skin is different.

It dries down to a drier vanillic resin. The caramel is always present, but I find the drydown (which occurs pretty quickly) very very similar to Un Bois Vanille (yes, I'll keep mentioning this one), but with a slightly saltier and less rounded drydown. I do like this part, but because I have something similar, I keep wishing the juicy caramel lasted longer. It's just as well though - I might get a toothache if the sticky caramel stage lasted too long.

I will say this: The fragrance doesn't change too much on my skin, but it does do something very unfortunate; it gets eaten by my skin in a very short time. Now, this would be alright if it were a cheap fragrance, but it's 50 Euro for only 30 ml!!! Now that would be worth it if there was a) many hours of pleasure and b) some sort of complex development - but there isn't.
11th August, 2012

Jubilation XXV by Amouage

It's interesting to note that the ad design always matches the fragrance in my opinion. The fragrance does have a sparkle at the top that is light but always present. It is not a dark scent (hence the moon shining), but it does have a depth to it that is cool and mysterious. Anyway, enough about the ad. Let me break down the scent for you. :)

It opens with a freshness I'm not used to in Amouage. It wafts a sweetness I like. I immediately sense a syrupy back-of-the-throat sweetness similar to the one in Parfum d'Empire Aziyade, Amouage Memoir, and good licorice scents; not in your face, but lightly trailing along in the air like a mini fairy godmother. Closer to skin I smell the spices, and an oudh-like wet wood. The musty patchouli comes out eagerly on my skin. I am not a patchouli hater - many are - but I am not a patchouli lover either. Patch, for me, is like one of those things in life you know is just wrong, but can't stop enjoying. It has an ancient feeling that appeals to the primal instincts, and together with the gorgeously blended resins and that sweet syrupy fruit trail still popping in once in a while, it smells like I would like my man - or myself - to smell.

I actually find the Jubilation 25 (for women) to be drier, spicier, and less appealing. This has a sweetness that is countered by the spices from Jubilation 25, but only a bit. I'm not in love with how it is on my skin (when I sniff it close) when it first opens, but the wafting it provides is heavenly. I think the way the sweetness sometimes disappears may cause some women to stray away from it, if they prefer their juice sweet. There is a beautiful balance between sweet and spicy woods, and there definitely is a "power" in here that one could describe as masculine.

It dries down to a powdery soft wood that reminds me of an oil I love called Sirius Black. It also has immortelle in it, so that might be it. The woods and the musk combine at the base to create a skin scent that is cool, rounded and a total chameleon. I dare you to try to name notes with this (or any Amouage in general, as they are so skilfully blended) - different notes keep showing up, which I consider to be the sign of a beautifully crafted scent. The sweet wafting continues, and to be honest - I'm not sure I want to keep analysing this one. It's so gorgeous that I keep feeling inadequate with my little perfume knowledge.

The big question is: would I wear it though? Yes, PLEASE. It's very classy, definitely not in your face or rebellious - yet so unique. I'm not sure if it is FBW (full-bottle worthy) yet (Memoir comes first!), but I will definitely be pulling this sample out of my boyfriend's closet more often. I think I might put my Jubilation 25 in there as a replacement - and then if he doesn't like it, I'll say "Gosh, yes, that Jubilation is horrid! Maybe it's your skin." ;)
11th August, 2012
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Sacrebleu Intense by Nicolaï

I get cinnamon, but the horrid thing is that on my skin it smells like a cheap cinnamon candle.

You ever been to a candle store, and then felt a bit yuck after smelling a tonne of candles? That's this scent on my skin, unfortunately. :(
12th June, 2012

Insolence Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

The Edp needs to be classed as a different scent. I doubt I'll ever love the EdT like I love - and live for - the EdP. It is truly a scent that I love with all my heart.

It is a classic in my wardrobe; it has a warm sexiness about it that just makes you say YUM when you smell your arm. I bury my face in my arm multiple times during the day when I wear this scent. I'd call it a dark evening or winter scent, but a powerful sexy woman could pull it off in the summer evening or during a sexy lunch date. It is pretty loud, but in a creamy floral way. It truly melts in my skin, and all I can say is... Yum!

EDIT: A few months later, and I'm not so in love. It lacks complexity that I admire in Serge Lutens and Amouage. I fear I have outgrown this one.
24th May, 2012 (last edited: 11th August, 2012)