Perfume Reviews

Reviews by nosyneighbor

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Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

"Her nature had, in her conceit, a certain garden-like quality, a suggestion of perfume and murmuring boughs, of shady bowers and lengthening vistas, which made her feel that introspection was, after all, an exercise in the open air, and that a visit to the recesses of one's spirit was harmless when one returned from it with a lapful of roses." Henry James, Portrait of a Lady

This quote from the novel that inspired this perfume describes it perfectly. Isabelle Archer, the prototypical Sagittarius, is willful, proud, intellectual, adventurous, lucky and drawn to the exotic. This perfume smells like what she would wear, confident projection, rich with Turkish rose absolute, a heart of dark patchouli, smelling of spice and incense, and admirably tenacious.

Since my husband wears Geranium Pour Monsieur, every time I spoke to a Frederic Malle associate, I was urged to try this. Like the heroine herself, I resisted the obvious best choice until the very end. On paper, it just didn't do anything for me. I knew so many men wore it, that I didn't even want to try it on. It sounded like some old drag queen, campy (camphoraceous), throaty and LOUD. But when I finally tried it on, I was pleasantly surprised to find my skin showed a strong raspberry note with a dry dusty leather, the golden glow of rose without being grandma rose, and a realistic impression of incense like classic agarbatti. Although so many people wear this perfume, I feel like it is my own, and I will finally get a full bottle. I love Dominic Ropion's work for this line, including Une Fleur de Cassie and the new Cologne Indelible, so it makes sense I would finally come around to this scent.
27th May, 2015

Divine Folie by Jean Patou

This is what they mean by "perfume as art". Divine Folie was a statement on the cheap decadence of the party that was the Jazz Age leading up to the Great Crash. Opens with a sharp blast of ylang ylang over some muddled florals with a dash of eugenol and some kind of waxy oiliness reminiscent of waking up in your makeup. It's surprisingly lovely with a madeleine-like vanilla / iris combo, which I presume is where the rose, jasmine and neroli ended up. It lasts for a while, but it's a very close wear.
07th February, 2015

Essences Insensées by Diptyque

With the elegantly retro atomizer, you will go through this juice rather sparingly. Being a limited edition in a vintage 19th c. design bottle, this is a special occasion fragrance. It's light for an EDP, but mostly natural from the mille fleurs harvest from Grasse.

The scent itself is a perfect new mown hay, but powdery and damp enough for the late winter and early spring, the traditional bloom times for mimosa and violet, first on the calendar for florals. A little rose de mai adds sweetness with honey absolute, balanced against the astringency of yerba matte and its green tea nuances. This facet of it reminds me of JCE's Bvlgari Pafumee au The Verte, an old favorite. But the mimosa, violet and heliotrope give it a powdery halo.

25th December, 2014 (last edited: 04th February, 2015)
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L'Eau de L'Eau by Diptyque

This is a perfect cologne for me, kind of a cleaned up Acqua di Gio without Calone, dry, sparkling and warm as the Mediterranean itself. It references the original L'Eau Diptyque, but it actually surpasses its forebear. Both are well-made, neither that original. This smells better and could be worn year-round by someone who likes clean scents.
19th December, 2014 (last edited: 04th February, 2015)

L'Eau by Diptyque

The story goes that Desmond Knox-Leet was obsessed with 16th c. potpourri and kept his own recipes for the fledgling house of Diptyque on his desk. He absent-mindedly played with it throughout the day, so that it clung to his person, and it became his signature scent.

Many Diptyque scents smell like class to me, because they smell like you spend your time in good-smelling places but don't wear much scent yourself. L'Eau Diptyque is perfectly emblematic of this sentiment.

I wish there was more sandalwood, with the cinnamon giving an incense effect with a way dialed down clove, giving just an edge of soapiness. Instead, this is expensive potpourri, but potpourri nonetheless. Maybe fun around the holidays or as an alternative to Old Spice. I prefer the more citrusy flanker L'Eau de L'Eau.
19th December, 2014 (last edited: 04th February, 2015)

Philosykos by Diptyque

Great, all-pupose fig scent. Perfectly unisex, you can wear this to the office, on vaction, or on a casual date, and you'll probably get several compliments. It's green, slightly fruity, milky, woody, with a musky drydown. If you can't smell musk, this will seemingly vanish in the blink of an eye. the top-loaded opening is a thing of beauty, but the EDP doesn't prolong that IMO. Still, gorgeous work from one of the industry's most talented.
19th December, 2014

Chamade by Guerlain

I have a mini of the parfum from the 80s. Just a dab on the wrist produces a nuclear cloud of the most gorgeous scent, the unmistakable Guerlain iris with its bread-and-butter notes, and the jammy black currant. This part of Chamade reminds me of Eau de Camille in its almost cocoa notes. Then there are the white florals, impossible to tell where one begins and the other ends, just a symphony of jasmine and ylang ylang. It is loud, mature and opulent, and I would recognize it anywhere. Dries down powdery, the smell of a woman who went to bed in her make up and woke up alone.
01st September, 2014

Frangipane by Santa Maria Novella

This is such an unusual scent. It smells different on my skin than it does on paper.

The opening is dry and sweet with thyme and nutmeg. Many people say it smells like Listerine. Then there is this sweet bubblegum smell over sandalwood. They all blend very quickly. So, on me, it smells like a beautiful sandalwood with a hint of candy.
01st September, 2014

Jeke by Slumberhouse

Jeke on paper smells slightly sour like many Slumberhouse scents, but on skin, it is a soothing honeyed malt. Creamy vanilla and toffee provide a bed for peat smoke, charcoal and tar, along with more subtle brine, smoked seaweed, anise, ginger and citrus. That's right. Jeke is a scent of rustic autumn smoke that smells like a scotch.
13th January, 2014

Cologne pour le Matin by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Interesting opening that reminds me of a tequila shot with salt and lemon. As it dries down, there is an iris-y orange blossom note then flinty amber and musk that reminds me of clothes just out of the dryer. Another comparison to L'Eau d"Hiver is apt. Great longevity. I work in retail fragrance and sprayed it on in the morning. As I walked home in the cold at the end of a slow day, I was astonished that it was still there.
08th January, 2014 (last edited: 13th March, 2014)

Cherry Musk by Ramon Monegal

Musk can go all over the place, ranging from soapy to downright carnal. If you enjoy the plastic baby doll smell of Mona Di Orio Musc, whatever is in Guerlinade, heliotrope or Kiehl's Original Musk, or Mure et Musc, then Cherry Musk is right up your alley. Just imagine a more powdery feminine Chergui without the tobacco, but same sweetness.
11th November, 2013

The One Sport by Dolce & Gabbana

Safe pick for the youth market

Something a lot of reviews leave out is this is aimed at a youth market -- for the gym, the summer, guys who don't yet know that less is more. (Some never learn that lesson!)

A lot of perfume reviews come from niche enthusiasts, I think, and the tell is the demand for an Extreme or an EDP. But if Sport flankers weren't selling, there wouldn't be so many of them. These are the same people who complain that most movies feature a young male protagonist discovering how awesome he is. That's who is buying tickets to the movies, folks. So it is with Sport scents.

If a coworker asked for a recommendation on what to buy their 16-year-old son for his birthday, I would recommend this without hesitation. The rosemary aka "dew of the sea" enhances the marine notes of The One Sport, blending nicely with the woody spicy notes and fresh citrus. There is a touch of a salty ambergris smelling note, undoubtedly fake but thoughtfully represented.

This could easily be a Creed, but the price is even a little steep for mainstream. You can find it on sale in many places, since it was released in February, and we're reaching the end of summer. That is a big part of The One Sport's charm, too, is its trendiness. Whether it holds up to time depends.

Pros: Respected house, pleasant smell
Cons: Pedestrian, unoriginal, generic"

28th July, 2013

Archives 69 by Etat Libre d'Orange

Archives 69 succeeds in capturing the schizophrenic hermaphrodite ethos of ELDO. Think of it. What are their bestsellers? Perfumes created with androgynous actresses Rossy De Palma and Tilda Swinton. The bilge note from their infamous Secretions Magnifiques makes a cameo appearance. You can smell Incense et Bubblegum masticating at the altar -- and in fact, the sleeve is bubblegum pink.

Yet this is unmistakably Christine Nagel at work here. There are traces of Si Lolita and Narcisso For Her. Archives 69 wears close to the skin, smelling plasticky and resinous, sickly sweet and musky, and it has powerful longevity. Spray it very lightly, but it is quirky, chic, original and edgy, everything you think of this house.
31st March, 2013
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Jasmin et Cigarette by Etat Libre d'Orange

This perfume is less simple than it seems. The hay does not introduce a tobacco note, but it rather pushes the jasmine into the green animal if scent of narcissus with a touch of apricot to sweeten the indoles. Then you get a musky skin scent that creates a floral bouquet with the different qualities of jasmine, giving you a not quite soliflore. The apricot with the tea-like qualities of jasmine are almost like osmanthus. Then the "cigarette" part is a cool used metal ashtray smell that on my skin is bitter like aspirin, evoking the soapy qualities of jasmine and bringing to mind another of this perfumer's creations for this line: Antiheros. The name and the notes can fool you until you spend time with this scent.
22nd February, 2013

Royal Water by Creed

Remember in The Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lecter said to Clarice Starling, "You use Evian skin cream, and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps, but not today." That's my mother. She is one of those people who get headaches from perfume, and she loves eugenols and benzyl salicylate.

On the occasion that she wears anything, she loves Creed Royal Water. It smells like a Pimm's Cup, and for her that's "naughty" because she doesn't drink except the odd glass of champagne. "Just a little touch." How we are related, I don't know lol, but she's a lovely woman and smells great.
17th February, 2013 (last edited: 20th December, 2014)

Rose Oud by By Kilian

If you love a dark rose scent that smells very natural, Rose Oud comes highly recommended. There is a smell like fresh plain yogurt, a tart and creamy rose note married to damp and woody Oud. You feel like you are walking through a bower of roses after it has rained. Nice projection, too.

16th December, 2012 (last edited: 31st March, 2013)

Liaisons Dangereuses by By Kilian

Not rose but strawberry jam.
28th November, 2012 (last edited: 13th March, 2014)

Back to Black by By Kilian

Many note-driven reviews make the mistake of confusing Roman chamomile with blue (Maroccan) chamomile. The former smells like apples and the latter like raspberries. So, the Dr. Pepper note that has been remarked upon is from an absolute, not a synthetic raspberry note that costs pennies. To my nose, unless you smoke a lot and just need to dress up the smell, there is no reason to spring for a bottle of Tobacco Vanilla. It is a purely manufactured parfum d'ambiance. I don't want to clobber people with a smell, but I want to hint at an exciting life. Kudos to Kilian for making a fragrance inspired by Amy Winehouse before we lost her, and what a fitting one at that. This has depth and nuance.
27th November, 2012 (last edited: 31st March, 2013)

Prelude to Love by By Kilian

Too much like 4711.
24th October, 2012 (last edited: 13th March, 2014)

Forbidden Games by By Kilian

The case that this new fragrance comes in is to die for, and what's inside lives up to the packaging. Kilian customers who favor Liaisons Dangereuses (Typical Me) and Love (Don't Be Shy) might fall hard for this fragrance. There is a tremendous fruity opening with plum and a strong apple note. Then the warm jasmine rose heart with lingering peach dries down to a sexy oriental base. This is feminine and pretty.
24th October, 2012 (last edited: 31st March, 2013)

Beyond Love by By Kilian

Scratch and sniff popcorn reminiscent of Jeux de Peau with coconut and tuberose.
23rd October, 2012 (last edited: 13th March, 2014)

Love and Tears by By Kilian

Another gorgeous soliflore from By Kilian, and I may love this more than Beyond Love. It is definitely a fragrance I could surrender to, except Love and Tears is perhaps a little more masculine with the woody drydown and petitgrain opening. The galbanum in the top is wonderfully bold, and the oakmoss punctuates it firmly in the classic chypre tradition. For a jasmine lover, this could be a holy grail. It smells exactly like southern California or the Mediterranean (or I would imagine India) where the vines climb wildly and saturate the balmy evening air with their exotic smell. It also avoids the tea notes of many jasmine fragrances and smells vibrant and alive. The honey of orange blossom and creamy warmth of ylang ylang extend the floral heart infinitely. It has great sillage and lasts forever.
23rd October, 2012