Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Wild Gardener

Total Reviews: 310

Aqua Allegoria Flora Nerolia by Guerlain

Neroli, orange flower and jasmin. That sounds like a lovely combination of flowers, and it could be... But this is no 'hello birds, hello sky, what a beautiful day' kind of scent. The delicate neroli and petitgrain head has barely time to settle in when it's brutally assaulted by an indolic orange flower and, I would guess, jasmin sambac with their dominating crunchy dry undercurrents.

The heart of white flowers turns what could be a gentle orange cologne into a perfumey onslaught of indole, its rotting blast of tooth decay sharpened by tiny pricks of incense; these are flowers with attitude, and they bite!

Flora Nerolia is crude, yes; direct in its simplicity, undoubtedly; and it's daring, it couldn't give a damn about the rules. It overturns the structure of the floral by boosting up what is normally a polite modifier (which adds a little smoothness, or in larger quantities backbone to a pretty floral composition) until in the end the indole takes over and dominatinates like a thug.

Flora Nerolia brutally mashes up the gender codes and demands that we ignore them. You can't wear something as challenging as this and remain a perfume innocent for long, you're obliged to abandon easy gender conventions and cross into unknown territory. See it as a virago cologne, or as an old fashioned dandified floral from the pre-gendered age (if you prefer), but you won't find it easy to wear this as an ordinary cologne; that it is not.

It is extraordinary though, to find something as radical as this coming from a perfumer like Jean-Paul Guerlain - who struck me as a conservative, even establishment figure. It seems his inherent sense of rigour went completely over the top this time, leading him to produce a work that's closer in spirit to the iconoclastic oeuvre of Germain Cellier than his grandfather Jacques' romanticism.

Hardly surprising to see that something this difficult should have been culled since Jean-Paul left the helm, and that's a shame. It would make a natural jumping off point from the spiky woods if it were still around, and if a young buck were to dare...

07th September, 2017 (last edited: 20th September, 2017)

Art Collection #08 by Jacomo

Being a spicy extravert #08 is quick to grab the limelight but being composed around what I read as synthetic fruity notes it turns out to be disappointingly shallow. A one dimensional bitter-sweet black tea accord, with mainly black Pepper spice and a bit of woody amber; 'spicy chai' allegedly. It's a superficially interesting perfume but it fails because of its poor, skimpy execution.

As in life, it's often the quiet ones who turn out to have the best stories, and of the two available in one of the many discounters on the rue la Boétie in Paris, it was the least commercially successful Art Collection #02 that I found more satisfying in the end.

For this one, #08 : **
06th September, 2017

Smoke for the Soul by By Kilian

You may be amused, you may be irritated, you may even want to get the bong out, but if you don't know what black hash smells like you won't get the joke.

And that's all Smoke for the Soul is, a joke. A devastatingly accurate portrayal of black hash ; a mere prank, not a mature fragrance idea.

Don't wear it going through customs!

04th September, 2017
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Magic by Céline

Sophia Grojsman's cloudy pink roses are always well made and in this one there's a swirl of fruity nuances around the Milk of Magnesia floral that adds an extra layer of interest.

The real source of fascination, however, comes from the grist of coriander - patchouli in the heart. It's like meeting the cousin of Paris and finding there's something a little masculine about her that reminds you of Aromatics Elixir.

04th September, 2017

Y by Yves Saint Laurent

Another spiky wood - the 'roid rage syndrome of modern perfumery, this time with cough syrup and ginger.

31st August, 2017

cK one by Calvin Klein

CK One : that unmistakable muguet and green tea accord. Luminous and aloof, androgyne and hard ; with its pretentious manifesto 'clean is the new sexy' CK One squared the circle to become the first ever puritan perfume. No mean feat : some mean fume.

27th August, 2017 (last edited: 16th October, 2017)

Men's Club by Helena Rubinstein

Groucho Marx once quipped that he wouldn't join any club that would have him as a member. And after wearing this plain sketch consisting of little more than an orange coloured peppery musk I have to agree with the bandy legged cigar chomper and avow that I would never join this particular men's club if it came with a lifetime's supply of nose plugs.

25th August, 2017

Façonnable Eau de Toilette for Men / Façonnable by Façonnable

Who needs Façonnable when you can layer any old Cool Water clone with the strident piquancy of Cerruti Image and get the same horrible result?

The packaging deserves mention if only because the box - with its fuddy-duddy crest in gold and British Racing Green, and the bottle - ripped off straight from Giorgio for Men just confirm how confused and derivative the whole thing was.

22nd August, 2017

Tentations by Paloma Picasso

Full bodied creamy pink floral with a side of apple pie. Not tempted either way.

19th August, 2017

New West for Him by Aramis

Somewhere inside this spearmint and bubblegum oriental there's an aquatic trying to get out.

Spearmint and sweet bubblegum head up the profile along with herbal and green notes, and because this accord is linked to an oriental base they create an unsympathetic environment for the airy and salty aromatics. How can a perfume be salt watery airy on the one hand and sweet dry and seductive on the other, and still be coherent? Its like trying to catch a sea breeze in a boudoir.

New West for Him was probably, in its oriental phase, rather too feminine for some young men. The spearmint bubblegum note was also perhaps too frivolous for a Youth which was becoming more and more concerned with saving the whale, protecting Gaia - mother earth, and the environment in general. The gourmand direction of NWfH seems instead more attuned to the - by then - passing era of eighties style conspicuous consumption.

It was 1988, the year that - after a massive resurgence in popularity - the Beach Boys were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The same year the Surfing and Sun phenomenon known as Baywatch appeared for the first time on TV, and in perfumery Cool Water was launched. Together with others like l'Eau d'Issey and CK One it would sweep away the old school of Giorgio and Poison with a new wave of puritan perfumery.

In a time when all things marine were influencing popular culture, it was that other, distinctive and more legible aquatic that cleaned up. Cool Water rode high on the wave of an emerging post-eighties backlash that just wanted simplicity and cleanliness from a perfume. New West was too complex, a confused gourmand - oriental / aquatic which failed to articulate the spirit of the times and got left behind, largely to sink without trace.


Disclaimer : This review was done on a 7ml miniature with no box. The thick juice is amber coloured; it could be nearly thirty years old. It may be an original formula - some people say NWfH was reformulated.
On the other hand, this is for sure; in a head to head with vintage Cool Water, NWfH was noticeably different in overall character and clarity of the head notes, and this influenced the slant of my review. WG
09th August, 2017

Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

It's not certain. Exactly where does the sweet and classy charm of this suave 70's style fougère come from? Is it the hint of patchouli mildew that makes an ordinary grey barbershop into something more intriguing?

Knowing La Collection to be a reformulation, the critic resolved to approach the juice in a spirit of objective scepticism. All resistance proved to be futile however as any doubts were effortlessly swept aside by its colossal loveliness - like a gnat in a blizzard.

The easy sophistication of this revised version (composed by Jacques Cavallier under the brilliant art direction of Tom Ford) completely ravaged the heart of the critic.

He is, consequently forced to admit that (whether or not the work was motivated by sly pastiche, retro heroics, or is simply a case of Watch out Azzaro!) todays Rive Gauche pour Homme is not only one of the most classically elegant and civilised masculines on the planet; thanks to the aforementioned fusty nuance it becomes, for the critic, one of the most chic Man Perfumes to be found anywhere in the known universe.

In the light of such a worthy opponent, Azzaro aka King of the Fougères, really should be a tad concerned.

01st August, 2017

Fahrenheit Absolute by Christian Dior

Although Absolute tried to replicate the schwarz und stark gloom of its outlawed ancestor, its completely reconstructed formula came nowhere near to conjuring up the magnificent petrol and violet leaf black hole at the heart of the original that made it such a masterpiece.

In this iteration Fahrenheit takes on the guise of a Haribo motor mechanic - fruit goo and engine oil molasses, cucumber, incense and peru balsam. Then after that, there's a completely novel base of sweet milky-sour myrrh.

Its astonishing how such a composition can, by picking out a few key features and fitting them into a completely different structure, evoke just enough of the old magic to nearly have you believing again.

But, when put head to head with the original they are clearly nothing like each other.

Bringing out a tiny precious sample of vintage Fahrenheit to compare with Absolute has made me sad to be reminded of just what we've lost : as Carrie Underwood laments

Once you've tasted a love that strong,
you can't go back and you can't settle on
anything less, and that's what gets me,
its like having wine after whisky.

27th July, 2017

Lalique pour Homme Equus by Lalique

Pale powdery woods and pear with the tang of juniper and incense.

By amping up the pale/dark and bitter/sweet axes Equus creates enough contrast to avoid the kind of boring minimalism that cedar-based masculines usually aim for.

It's a little crudely done but it works quite well.

23rd July, 2017 (last edited: 13th May, 2018)
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Gingembre by Roger & Gallet

On its own, ginger oil smells flat and dry, not so much like the root and not very interesting, so Jacques Cavallier built on this core material by extending it in a variety of ways.

Gingembre is called an eau but it isn't a citrus - its no heat busting fresh cologne. It is however, warm, balsamic and lightly spiced which makes it feel like an old fashioned Eau de Cologne Ambrée given a make over.

Not bad but it doesn't last.

19th July, 2017

Euforia by Atkinsons

Vinegary rose on a jumbled set of notes, bits sticking out all over. Unpleasantly sour, poorly composed, just plain bad.

Liable to cause hysteria in children and animals.

13th July, 2017 (last edited: 14th July, 2017)

Modern Classic for Women by Brocard

One half of Modern Classic is a shiny warped out syrup of black cherries while the other is matt and pale, a milky praline with vanilla and salty notes and these come wrapped around a core of orange flower and jasmin.

This description may sound banal but in toto the effect is oddly compelling, like a glossy hyper-realist painting that looks like a giant photo; strangely plastic, larger than life.

The balance is great - to begin with, its perfectly judged, but persistence isn't great on skin - its only on cloth that it really holds up. So, if you do want to smell like a fruity nouvelle cuisine dessert on acid get this on your clothes : and as the late great film critic Barry Norman was wont to say ... and why not.

11th July, 2017 (last edited: 18th July, 2017)

What About Adam by Joop!

Blackcurrant bud, grapefruit, tomato leaf; an effervescent rainbow of colours. A bit like a meditation on Eau de Campagne, cut off at the knee and transposed into a cologne.

The tutti-frutti and green acid freshness of What about Adam is a model for how the aggressive top accords of the spiky woods genre (Invictus, Sauvage etc) could have been handled. The impeccable quality - and treatment - of volatile materials is what makes this pocket masterpiece so good. It never allows the sharpness to escalate into an all out assault on the senses (in the way that synthetics do) but keeps them hovering, tantalising, for as long as possible without ever really resorting to the faint amber base.

Every perfumery school should have some WaA to train their young noses on. If they did, perhaps one day, one of them may rework it and take it in a new direction. But in the mean time, Joop! might see the light of day and bring back this rare gem. We live in hope.

07th July, 2017

Bouquet Impérial by Roger & Gallet

A petitgrain and geranium floral bouquet on a base of powdery amber and glossy musk.

There are also some fleeting citrus notes on top and a bitter dark bergamot, with lavender, jasmin (and maybe neroli) floralisers, and even a herbal note comes through in the background, along with a praline-like vanilla that pops out from time to time later on.

This makes for a decent if rather straightforward orange powdery affair, and the quality is ok (except for a metallic undertone that emerges later on), so if there's nothing wrong with Bouquet Impérial why the neutral rating? The reason isn't down to this specific example but to the Amber Eau de Cologne in general.

At first, the idea of mixing Cologne and Amber seems to be a good one; orange - bergamot - amber could potentially be a harmonious structure to build on, but in practice the spirit of cologne and amber are diametrically opposed. The sweet heaviness of amber tends to pull citrus down and rob it of its éclat, the light sparkling notes of citrus are in danger of being submerged by the dense enveloping amber. Instead of a lively contrast they cancel each other out. In the case of Bouquet Impérial, with its citrus sparkle muted and the sensual fullness of amber scaled back, the resulting compromise is largely a middling, bland, dry-sweet powderiness with an orange direction thats somewhere between citrus and amber.

The Eau de Cologne Ambrée enjoyed some popularity in the earlier part of the last century. On the back of new production methods, materials like vanillin enjoyed a massive fall in cost and hence a huge rise in their use by perfumers, especially at the lower end of the market. Amber Eaux were cheap and easy to make and legacy bottles made by obscure brands can still be found occasionally on the flea markets of Paris. I have one or two and they don't smell that much different from the Roger & Gallet, just less finely crafted.

Bouquet Imperial was not bad, if a little dull, but to me this type of Eau de Cologne Ambrée smells stuffy and dated. It evokes dusty images of Tsarist princesses in floor length gowns. No surprise then that this outmoded museum piece has been discontinued.

(For a good Eau de Cologne Ambrée the soap made by Mont St Michel is pretty hard to beat.)

28th June, 2017

Eau de Coty by Coty

For his first job in perfumery, François Coty was put to work to knock up a cologne for a small Paris pharmacy where he was employed as lab assistant. His boss was eventually so impressed with the results that he sent young François off to train at Chiris, a prestigious oils house in Grasse.

Years later, when he came to think about composing his own Eau de Cologne, Coty was already a master perfumer with ground breaking works such as La Rose Jacqueminot, L'Origan and Chypre under his belt. Coty was evidently not content to follow convention and present just another citrus eau to the market, he wanted to strike out in a new direction, and in composing his cologne he brought to it the same level of care and creativity as he had lavished on his celebrated perfumes.

To see what it was Coty produced that was so different from the competition I am going to compare Eau de Coty (1920) with three other venerable colognes that were around at the time and are still available today: 4711 (1792), Roger & Gallet Extra Vielle (1806) and Guerlain's Eau de Cologne du Coq (1894). Even though its impossible to know what the original formulae smelled like (vintage samples are extremely rare and anyway colognes are highly susceptible to decay) its still possible to compare Eau de Coty with the modern versions of the others.

Broadly summarising them, this is how they stack up. 4711 is largely bland sweet powder with a slight citrus tang; Extra Vielle is a pithy citrus of moderate strength over a pale and powdery bland body, and it has a little floral and some pronounced bitterness; and Eau de Cologne du Coq is a delightful sparkly citrus accord with a pinch of herbes de provence, set to sweet powder and florals. This 'good cologne with a drop of Jicky in it' as Luca Turin calls it is definitely the best of the three. In fact the Guerlain's finely wrought citrus head is better than that of the Coty but its base is inconsequential.

Eau de Coty on the other hand keeps its crackling mossy lemon and citrus verbena head largely intact as it transitions into a lovely floral heart not shy of expression. This then fades into the most ravishing sweet brown woody and long lasting base.

One of the strengths of Eau de Coty comes from the quality of its neroli oil, which to quote Wikipedia is sweet honeyed and somewhat metallic with green and spicy facets, and it is these notes which form the core of the profile. Add to this some jasmin absolute, an herbaceous verbena accord and top grade Sicilian lemon with mossy overtones, and you have - broadly speaking, the top half of Eau de Coty.

The real brilliance of Coty, however, was to pair this with a fully worked out base. By this bold move he took a good citrus cologne and turned it into a (more or less) fully worked out perfume structure with a wonderfully satisfying drydown. The base gives the composition the stability of an Eau de Toilette, and truly impressive longevity (several days on paper) while the second half still manages to release the odd whiff of citrus from time to time. This makes the structure logically coherent, but it pays the price for this intransigence - the crisp lemon citrus can feel a little bit out of place against the warm round notes of the base. Like certain other of Coty's works the quality is impeccable but it somehow lacks that final degree of perfection.

Before Coty, even great perfumers like Aime Guerlain were essentially rewriting their own versions of the Eau de Cologne. Each of the iterations referred to here was an improvement on the last but none of them sought to change the fresh and fleeting structure of the cologne. The reason for this reluctance was historical.

In an 18th century book the Manuel de Beauté, Louise d'Alcq asserted that the Eau de Cologne was 'universally accepted' (by polite society). "It bothers nobody" she wrote "its perfume pleases everyone" [quoted from Le Roman des Guerlain by perfumery historian Elisabeth de Feydeau]. The social convention of the time was that cologne was held to be the sillage of the chaste woman while patchouli marked the odour of the courtesan. It was in defiance of this, by then, rather dated idea that Coty dared to combine the wholesome citrus cologne with the dark animalic perfumes of the night. Until then, ne'er the twain had met and he evidently felt the time was right for a rapprochement.

Even though he became a powerful industrialist and one of the richest men in France, Coty always remained something of an outsider [François Coty by Ghislaine Sicard-Picchiottino, Albiana Press]. He seems to have shown an equally scant regard for received perfumery wisdom as high French society had for the arriviste; low born Corsican, merchant in a world of Old Money.

But Coty was self assured and forceful, as well as being a naturally gifted perfumer. The cologne form had ossified, it hadn't really changed since the days of Jean-Marie Farina and Coty was going to shake it up by showing how it could be developed after its initial burst of citrus. To this end he forged a beautiful base of vetiver, patchouli, vanillin, woods, moss, eugenol, and probably elemi resin (along with who knows what else) to complement the citrus and floral accords of the first half.

The resulting composition was Eau de Coty - the first Cologne de Toilette. With its revolutionary dark Perfume base it went way beyond the purview of any previous citrus composition. Not only is it revolutionary its also very beautiful. The further Eau de Coty goes into the depths of its resonant brown base the more ravishing it becomes; a veritable masterclass in base construction.

The innovative form of Eau de Coty, lemon centred citrus on a demerara vetiver base, turned up years later in Lubin's excellent Eau Neauve and the vintage version is a good substitute for those who would like to know what the Coty smells like.

Eau de Coty's influence spreads much further and wider than straight up copies however. It can also be felt in the many fresh cologne type flankers that appear in the summer. More significantly many original compositions have developed Coty's idea further. A few of the more notable examples are CK One, Pleasures for Men, Declaration Cologne and to a lesser extent 1881 for Men.

It is very sad that Coty's brilliantly original composition is no longer known and enjoyed today but it couldn't be made now - the amount of moss would disbar it from production.

This is not only a great perfume, it is historically important too. It represents the birth of a new chapter in the history of perfumery - the point where the Eau de Cologne hybridised into the Cologne de Toilette, which would later give rise to the modern Fresh Eau de Toilette genre. Every fresh summer flanker is genealogically a distant descendant of Coty's visionary work.

As the product of salutary colognes first encounter with the dark seductive perfume, Eau de Coty is Perfumery's missing link.

13th June, 2017

CK All by Calvin Klein

The brisk opening fanfare starts you off with a twang. Not too sharp and not too loud, its a well worked accord of grapefruit and rhubarb that really brings the nose alive.

Its a great introduction, but after no time at all the head starts to break down over the pale and very musky floral heart, and then later a sweet and powdery woody amber follows on.

To be fair the second stage isn't bad but material quality and radiance are both poor. There's a definite chemical aura hanging around for much of the time, and after the initial blast is over it gets pretty quiet pretty quick.

The main criticism is the structure. The profile starts off on a twangy but modulated freshness that's been polished till it shines, but then after than, nothing happens! It goes from bright to bland, with no attempt at development. Most of the interest lies in that first five minutes at the start.

As one wag noted, it isn't so much CK All as CyniK-All.

29th May, 2017 (last edited: 30th May, 2017)

Yuzu Man by Caron

Powdery sweet citrus with a bitter green balsamic-woody support. OK as far as that goes (which isn't far), but the chemical and lime note of dihydromyrcenol simply ruins it.

Man deserves better than this type of strangulated minimalism.

26th May, 2017

Shalimar Souffle de Parfum by Guerlain

Presumably, by Souffle, Guerlain were passing a wry comment on the airbrushing they gave to auntie Shalimar's bumps and wrinkles in order to come up with just another bland sweet oriental.

Its actually not bad, but me I prefer character and body to skin deep perfection.

23rd May, 2017

Climat by Lancôme

Climat (1967) just goes to show that copying a good perfume idea is nothing new.

The difference between then and now however, is that today, Carven would release this darker and sweeter version of their famous classic as Ma Griffe - Le Flanker or some such thing, and they wouldn't wait twenty years to do it...

18th May, 2017 (last edited: 24th May, 2017)

Eau de Fraîcheur by Weil

From the choppy verbena, zesty citrus and dark bergamot start Eau de Fraîcheur quickly retreats into a comparatively dense base of sweet rosy sandalwood. Not a bad accord but alone it lacks definition; a bit like listening to Mozart's aria for soprano 'Se l'augellin s'en fugge' when the treble stops working.

15th May, 2017

Eau de Vetyver by Yves Rocher

Yves Rocher is like a mainstream version of Body Shop and, as you would expect from such an outfit, its perfumes are pretty middle of the road.

Consequently it comes as no surprise to find that theirs was not a raw vetiver. It was a highly embellished vetiver with a veritable panoply of modifiers wrapped around the core: liquorice, with a dark oily smokiness lurking in the background, and sweet powder, and then lemon, bergamot and coriander facets - which lead the supporting cast, and these are followed by spicy, green and woody undertones; this will not be a virtuoso performance by vetiver but a chorus line of voices all singing in harmony. The result is very pleasant, if a little baroque, especially when incense, a rose bouquet, sandalwood, coumarin and finally labdanum emerge to pile up more and more layers on top of the rather shy vetiver.

This makes for a dark and slightly difficult pleasure; which dresses up sweet, spicy, incense, woody and earthy elements within an anise liquorice shell, and so, at the end of the day, it doesn't have a great deal to do with vetiver. Like a vetiver showroom dummy hung with a whole load of garments; the body is vetiver shaped, but there's not much of it on view.

I have criticised its supposed lack of integrity as a Vetiver, but Eau de Vetyver was nevertheless still very fine. Moreish on the nose, and soft centred - but not without a certain dark challenge. Which may or may not - depending on your taste, include the spicy nutmeg accord directly lifted from Cacharel pour L'Homme that came out the year before.

It was an easy and approachable vetiver, and enjoyable, and its a pity its no longer around. Too classic, and classy, for todays market I fear.

14th May, 2017 (last edited: 05th September, 2017)

Graffiti by Roberto Capucci

Harsh oily cardboard rose chypre that wants to be No.22.

06th May, 2017 (last edited: 07th May, 2017)

Hummer by Hummer

If the passing era of classical modern perfumery has been characterised by rich naturals blended with synthetics for power and stability, Hummer can only be regarded as postmodern because there is little or nothing natural about it.

The allergen list on the box includes linalool (lavender isolate), geraniol (geranium) and coumarin (tonka) which looks like a fougère, but what stands out most is the abrasive 'pimento' molecule that takes on the traditional role of oakmoss.

Hummer is built mainly around recessive lavender isolates and cardamom which are no match for the power of the highly invasive pimento. It also has support from camphoraceous notes, a very weak dry amber and a (synthetic) green foliage accord that for some reason contains what smells like mushroom.

This abrasive mix continues in an almost linear and very persistent fashion, probably because of the powerful aromachemicals at work. If it had been made of better stuff this could have been an interesting attempt at a new type of postmodern fougère, but the material quality is so derisory, and its so overwhelmingly harsh that the effect is nothing short of repellant.

Something this bad cannot be considered as any meaningful solution to the disappearance of oakmoss in the new era of post natural perfumery. This is nothing but a cynical parody done on the cheap.

I suppose that, being a novel fougère, Hummer should technically be regarded as a successor to Jicky. Perish the thought.

02nd May, 2017

Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein

Obsession for Men is the perfume equivalent of an 80's soft rock ballad.

Foreigner's song Waiting for a Girl like You is a musical metaphor of OfM's oriental dreaminess. (The track came out five years before but it's still relevant due to perfumery's peculiar temporal dislocation from other arts - an idea put forward by Chandler Burr which does seem to have some merit.)

In my original review I wrote OfM is 'more than just a comfort blanket', now I'm not so sure. These days it strikes me as little more than oversweet sentimental pap.

26th April, 2017 (last edited: 04th October, 2018)

Mary Quant by Mary Quant

Astonishing vinegar and brown paper rose on musky powder; like listening to Kraftwerk's The Model (once) followed by a long stretch of pink noise.

20th April, 2017 (last edited: 23rd April, 2017)

Babe by Fabergé

Being aimed at a younger, if not actually adolescent audience than the traditional wife and mother market, (the original ad campaign for Babe featured the twenty-something grand daughter of Ernest Hemingway), this formula is significant for being a sort of half way house between the classic feminine, and the soon to emerge youth orientated style exemplified by Anaïs Anaïs (1978). The path subsequently followed by these developments leads straight to the fruity floral feminines we know today.

The standout aspect of Babe, besides its dubious patronising name, is the high quality of materials used; in particular, the light but unctuous petally rose at the heart of the composition. The naturalistic feel it gives is what makes the piece so attractive.

Babe opens with a coriander note that imparts an unusually masculine edge to the rather scrappy opening phrase. Its aromatic - herbaceous - spicy influence adds a bitter-sweet quality to the faintly aldehydic, lovely and delicate pink rose bouquet that emerges to take centre stage. This has a sweetly soft pink charm which is sufficient all by itself but is later accented with a hyacinth note that maintains freshness as the coriander fades. Once things are established there is no real evolution and no drydown to speak of. The heart phase, which is grounded on a discrete lipstick and cosmetics base has enough tenacity by itself to last an evening.

The feeling is light, and optimistic, but not vacuous; a go ahead take on the (by then) conservative aldehydic rose - jasmin Grande Tradition typified by No.5. Babe doesn't present any of the usual challenge that the hard feel of aldehydes can bring.

Material quality is good, construction is adequate, and the fresh treatment of traditional themes (aldehydic floral and rose bouquet) is progressive, especially the inclusion of coriander in the development phase. It shows Fabergé had a willingness to move with the times. While old fashioned Opium was knocking 'em dead in the boudoir, Babe was boogying on down in the disco.

19th April, 2017