Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Starblind

Total Reviews: 115

Une Fleur de Cassie by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

If you bashed Rue de Cambon over the head, swiped all her credit cards, and forced her to live on the street for a month, she'd come back to her pied-à-terre dazed and enriched and smelling something like this.

I love this thick, densely florid, armpitty fragrance, but I have to be in my very best, most confident mood to be able to wear it for more than an hour, otherwise I am simply overpowered by UFdC's bombastic personality.

I am often not up to the task, but when I am, this is the only scent that satisfies.
09th October, 2018

Bal à Versailles by Jean Desprez

If there were a God, She would smell of vintage Bal a Versailles in pure parfum concentration.
02nd October, 2018

Labdanum 18 / Ciste 18 by Le Labo

A much more refined version of Musc Ravageur or a slightly tamed update of Shalimar. Either way, I prefer it to either of those and to Helmut Lang EDP as well. This is a scent that will accompany you softly, instead of wearing you or wearing you out. This musky lovely is the platonic ideal of a skin scent, something that others may notice only if they invade your personal space and even then, perhaps not recognizably as "perfume." I am easily irritated by fragrances that stand out sharply and announce themselves to the all and sundry, plus, I am enamored of Labdanum 18's slightly "furry" and animalic nature. This is one to sample if you enjoy scents like Bal a Versailles and other powdery musks (of which there are all too few).
21st September, 2018
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Alaïa by Azzedine Alaïa

Even worse than Narciso edp. Unidentifiable dry florals + a peppery, chemical mishmash that smells more irksome than bland. I'm having a hard time trying to imagine anyone paying money for this and deliberately wearing it.
20th August, 2018

Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez

The perfect iteration of an upscale mall scent. This and Alaia's new frag smell like tear out magazine samples and/or Sephora encapsulated. Bland, uninspiring, and utterly artificial-smelling. A plastic perfume for people who don't really like perfume or want to know much about perfume.
20th August, 2018

Miss Balmain by Pierre Balmain

I dislike Bandit, but I love Miss Balmain. There is something in this one (coriander? carnation?) that allows some light to enter the darkly leathered picture and softens the ice-pick-to-the-nose attitude that leather chypres can exhibit. Miss B is still bitter and mossy and smokey, don't get me wrong, but there are moments of florality and citrus here that make her shadowy, rather than pitch black. I find the combination of rough leather and cigarette pack both mysterious and sophisticated in a rather worldly and sexily androgynous way. Yum!
17th August, 2018

Le Dix by Balenciaga

If I need to feel calm and embraced and beloved and that the world is a beautiful, wondrous place, I wear Le Dix. In the vintage extrait, there is not another fragrance that makes me feel as if I'm dreaming and drowsy in a warm summertime hammock (or perhaps an ancient opium den). This is the most gently, tenderly luscious fragrance I own, and I wear it not to impress or seduce, but to reassure and nurture myself in an interior way. There is something about the creamy sandalwood and musk in its base notes that brings me closer to a state of grace than I can ordinarily come. It smoothes my hair and rubs my back and tells me that even in a dark and dingy world there are quiet places of beauty and serenity that can be entered, if even for brief seasons.
15th August, 2018 (last edited: 19th September, 2018)

Rozy Voile d'Extrait by Vero Profumo

Rozy, what a gorgeous thing you are! This is the scent that turned my mind completely around concerning not only roses, but tuberose, my old nemesis. Here, the waxy floral note is leavened and deepened by a stunning animalic honey and styrax that run throughout the long life of the fume. Plus, beneath it all, is that same darkness that underpins Onda and makes it the stunning, old world mystery that it is. I find this scent both beautiful and also deeply provocative, in the way a suspected witch or vampiress might be. A fragrance for an idiosyncratic individual who lives outside of time and society's constraints. For some reason, this is what I imagine Tilda Swinton's character wore in Only Lovers Left Alive.
14th August, 2018 (last edited: 25th September, 2018)

Miyako by Auphorie

Every scent that I end up truly loving, I dislike on first sniff. Usually, if I adore something after one sampling, I grow tired of it or find it too simplistic in the long run. Miyako is a case in point. My first impressions made me wrinkle my nose. I am not a fan of the fruity or the sweet, and (heaven help me) Miyako is definitely both. In fact, according to everything I thought I knew about my perfume tastes, this particular Auphorie should be my scent-nemesis, and yet...after accidentally spilling an entire sample on myself, I spent the rest of the day in a state of sniffing euphoria. That same night I searched the internet high and low and now own a full bottle.

I'm still not quite sure how this happened.

Edit: After wearing Miyako for about a month, I think I can speak a bit more educatedly about this scent. The leathery base notes are what save this for me and what undercut its initial sweetness. There is a just slightly "off" wooded-muskiness that moves this out of the traditional fruity-floral genre and adds a wondrously odd and dusty/musty angle that I adore. It is this surprising combination of sweet and sour, floral and mineral/animal that turns Miyako into something unusual and, to my nose, divine.
10th August, 2018 (last edited: 28th September, 2018)

Tabac Blond by Caron

My ultimate unobtainium. I love this fragrance so much it hurts because, of course, it is the vintage, rare-as-hens-teeth extrait which makes my heart sing. I care not one whit for the current version (which should be called, as one perfumista noted, Tabac Bland). But the vintage--holy moly--what a gorgeous thing, and tailored so wondrously to my own particular tastes. Tobacco, smoke, and leather, all drifting by in a wondrously warm and woody cloud of scent. Sophistication, sex, and rebelliousness all rolled into one. I have owned two small bottles, the contents of which I doled out in the most minute and careful dribs and drabs. And if I had a cool thousand to toss aside without a thought, I'd go online and snatch up the biggest bottle I could find and wear it mindlessly, while sending out my servants to gather up another bottle. And another. Ad infinitum.
09th August, 2018

Mayura Extrait de Parfum by Auphorie

Oh me, oh my! It's been a while since I last fell for a fragrance this swiftly and completely. Siberian Musk was the last scent that moved me like this, and I'm so thrilled to feel that old infatuation once again. The odd thing is that Mayura reminds me quite a bit of something fashioned by Russian Adam. Its animalic nature feels situated somewhere between Inferno Russo and Ottoman Empire, as do its lush florals and spicy resins. This is genuinely gorgeous stuff that gives me the impression of a velvety-furred panther brushing past some exotic night blooming flowers. Half flora and half fauna. I tried a spray and purchased a full bottle 15 minutes later--something I never, ever do. Wow.

Edit: After having worn this for a while, I would add a caveat about spraying this on clothing. Whatever is most indolic/animalic in this scent is magnified ten-fold when applied to cloth. Proceed at your own risk.
31st July, 2018 (last edited: 15th August, 2018)

Jean-Louis Scherrer by Jean-Louis Scherrer

Because I love costus, the vintage version of Scherrer is a particular delight. It smells like a beautiful green chypre in its early stages and then dries down to a slightly animalic, dirty hair/waxy scalp scent that makes it fascinatingly human and bed-headedly sensual. It is a cousin of Aromatics Elixir and Alliage, but much less bombastic and herbal. And for me, the lingering, final stages are just filthy enough to smell like heaven.
26th July, 2018

Chypre Palatin by MDCI

All chypres call my name, and this one in particular has a gorgeous angularly-green opening that draws me in and holds me tight for approximately 10 minutes. Then, unfortunately, the whole thing collapses like a flattened souffle, and the fun is over. The rest is simply too abstractly floral and powdery for me to appreciate, especially after that glorious beginning. Perhaps if it hadn't begun with such flair. Perhaps if the greenery weren't so attenuated. Perhaps if the majority of its scent-life weren't so "vanilla" and humdrum.
29th April, 2018
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Eau de Protection / Rossy de Palma by Etat Libre d'Orange

For reasons unknown, this reminds me of Aromatics Elixir underlaid with some kind of fecally-musk. By rights, as an animalic and strange-scent lover, I should probably enjoy this, but it's a bit too prickly for me, overall. The geranium and ginger and pepper send it over an edge too far for me.
12th April, 2018

Ubar Woman by Amouage

If I were an entirely different female, I might love this, but Ubar is simply too heavily and abstractly floral for me to appreciate. And the lily of the valley and civet make for a combination I cannot abide. The whole thing is simply too rich and high-pitched and pee-like (in equal measure). If I wore only Chanel and lived in Palm Beach, maybe, but since I wear old Levis and Vans and live in S.F., this one is not for me.
30th March, 2018

Rose de Nuit by Serge Lutens

I adore this weird, wild scent! It smells like nothing I am familiar with, although it triggers distant memories of a rosy, leathery chypre from the golden, olden days. Thankfully it is far less bombastic than Knowing or L'arte di Gucci and contains none of their unending spikiness, either. This is a wondrously animalic apricot rose wearing expensive leather pants while desultorily placing somewhat wilted roses by their dead mother's crypt.

I must have a bell jar.
18th January, 2018

Fumabat by Couteau de Poche

This definitely smells vintage in a sort of 1970's way. It's not quite a headshop--it's more sophisticated than that--but it hints at herbs and patchouli and darkness in a rather attractive fashion. I think the smokey frankincense gives this fragrance some lift, while the muted carnation tips it over into the unisex category. The whole thing sort of winks at leather, in the same way that it flirts at all of its other notes; it simply refuses to be tied down to one firm category of scent. It's skittishness makes it interesting to me; I simply can't quite tell what I'm smelling from one moment to the next. Is it inky or herby? Incense-y or soapy? It's somehow all of these and more. I think males of all stripes may love this one, as well as females who enjoy old school orientals and funky scents like Bandit.
16th November, 2017

Les Déserts d'Orient - Encens Mythique d'Orient by Guerlain

I so wanted to love this: A modern Guerlain that I could get my hands on, unlike the vintage frags that I search and scour the internet for. Plus, it had incense and ambergris--wow, what could go wrong? Well for me, pretty much everything. There is a synthetic and artificial overlay here that ruins the entire scent for me. Its extreme chemical nature gives this fragrance the sharp, almost crackling sensation of static electricity, and it permeates the perfume from top to bottom. I have tried this scent on several different occasions, thinking perhaps that different weather or a different attitude (mine) might change things for the better. Nope. :-(
29th October, 2017 (last edited: 27th April, 2018)

Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum by Helmut Lang

I used to love this scent and actually used up a couple large bottles before deciding that it smelled just a tiny bit sweet in a bothersome way. If the EDC had bit more power, I would wear it instead since I am intrigued by its somewhat more-herbal and less-honeyed nature. Regardless, I received many compliments on the EDP, its thick sweetness just wore me down a bit as the wearing-hours progressed. It is definitely a musk for those looking for something rich and slightly floral and with just a hint of bodily sexiness. It somehow feels thick, as if it is laced with sweetened, almost curdled cream and a teeny, tiny dollop of human musk.

The vintage version is the one to get. The reformulation contains a slightly metallic edge that takes away from the richness of the scent's overall profile.
29th October, 2017

La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens

Both sweet and soapy with an incense-rootbeer combination. Aldehydes aplenty early on, so be cautious in your sprayage. This is an unusual Lutens, and I like it all the more for it. I would love to smell this on a man since it leans more to the feminine side (the juxtaposition of this bubbly anise-filled soda would be so surprising and sexy on a male!). Evidently this scent reminds many people of Mr. Bubble, but since I missed that part of childhood, I notice only its resemblance to a lightly and slightly "churchy" A&W. Nearly impossible to find, but worth the effort.
27th October, 2017

Inverno Russo by Areej le Doré

Russian Adam thrilled and astonished me when he came out with Siberian Musk and Ottoman Empire, both of which are simply stunning fragrances that I am proud to own and love. Of his four brand new Areej le Dore scents, Inverno Russo is my favorite, although I find it surprisingly more challenging to wear than any of his earlier releases. The oud and the musk and the civet render this fragrance decidedly animalic--not stinky or skanky, per se--but in a dark, chewy, chocolate-mixed-with-oud sort of way. And there is even a tiny, almost naphthalene-like note that adds to its indolic character. This rich noir-ishness reminds me of the plush, velvety texture of certain vintage scents by Lanvin and Patou that I adore and miss, although I find Inverno Russo a bit less balanced than these older frags. Here, the darker aspects seem to override the florals--something that is especially noticeable when sprayed on clothing. I have a feeling that the oud Adam used here is partly (or primarily) responsible for this scent's unusual darkness and depth, but there are also some notes here I am unfamiliar with (e.g., Indonesian gaharu boya and betel leaf) that may be contributing, as well. While the beautiful florals combined with the clove and cardamom and sandalwood, recall Adam's own Ottoman Empire, Inverno Russo's far deeper base takes this scent into decidedly different territory. I think many will find IR's oudy and animalic nature compelling, while I find it just a bit too 'bottom heavy' to enjoy as a daily wear.
14th October, 2017 (last edited: 16th October, 2017)

Atlantic Ambergris by Areej le Doré

If you liked House of Matriarch's Blackbird, you should try Atlantic Ambergris. I mention these two in connection primarily as a reference point, since AA is so unusual that it is hard to pin down, label, or define. The two scents are not dopplegangers by any stretch of the imagination, but they share a overall profile that feels somewhat similar. The airy, slightly marine top notes, combined with a highly outdoorsy pine, and a darker oudy, incensed base makes me think of the denser, more urban-smelling HoM scent. AA is definitely lighter in tone and more floral, while Blackbird contains some darker tar-like notes that the Areej le Dore does not. I think this scent would smell incredible on a man, although an iconoclastic female could easily pull it off as well.

Very natural smelling and quite intriguing.
14th October, 2017 (last edited: 15th October, 2017)

Phi - Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer

I SO want to love this one! The opening notes fill me with the sort of delight that makes me immediately refigure my entire perfume budget. A tender rose all tarted up with spicy warm apricot--oh my! I fall in love each and every time I smell Phi's beginning. But then...then some sort of prickly and utterly synthetic chemical note/chord (Ambroxan? Iso Super E?) takes over and overwhelms the entire scent, pushing and shoving like a schoolyard bully anytime a bit of apricot or cinnamon attempts to raise its timid head. It's an unfair fight, and the smell of something unfortunately similar to rubbing alcohol wins by a knock out.

Call the principal. :-(
11th October, 2017 (last edited: 18th November, 2017)

Pear + Olive by Slumberhouse

My very least favorite from Slumberhouse. And that's saying something since I am not a fan of their thick, dense, heavy-footed, pedal to the metal house style. Here, however, it is the sweetness, rather than the density that does me in. I actually feel physically ill when smelling this combination of pear and fig(?) and coconut and cognac. It reminds me of a very cheap fruity shampoo I once bought by mistake. Where, oh, where is the olive?

10th October, 2017

Chamade by Guerlain

If I were a real floral-lover, this is the perfume I would wear. The vintage version of Chamade feels as if you are plunging your entire face into a pollen-filled bouquet of fresh, just-picked flowers. Heady, beautiful, and utter springtime lushness ensues. The ylang ylang is what makes this as glowingly golden and delicious as it is, and I find myself breathing the scent in over and over as if it were a tonic or drug of some sort. The whole thing is almost too radiant for me, and because I really don't wear rich floral scents, I don't own this, but I do adore smelling it from time to time.

Glorious is the descriptor that best fits this fragrance.
09th October, 2017

L'Orpheline by Serge Lutens

Was this one the beginning of the end for Serge? The slippery synthetic slope down which he has continued to slide? This is a frosty sheet of incensed ice, or perhaps in less complimentary terms, the plastic window sheeting meant to keep that iciness out. There is something a wee bit interesting about the spicy, cooling effect of the mentholated incense, but that's about it for the plus side here. Otherwise, it's just another in Luten's line up of transparent chemical coldness.

08th October, 2017

Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal

This has been reformulated and much to its detriment. I used to like (but not love) its slightly vegetal muskiness. It was a berry-sweet, barely there puff-of-a fragrance, with a tiny bit of green thanks to the angelica top note. A somewhat pretty, inoffensive mid-point between clean white musks and far dirtier ones.

Now however, it is nothing at all. Or it is a nothing created synthetically with only a faint resemblance to its original self--which was already faint enough to begin with. This is kind of sad, since it filled a much-needed and right-in-the-middle spot on the musk spectrum.

Don't bother unless you can find an older bottle. (Even then you, like some, may be anosmic to its particular type of musk notes.)
08th October, 2017

Grand Cuir by Parfums Retro

I'm amazed that no one is mentioning the stinkier aspects of this! There is a decidedly animalic component to this 'leather' scent, in fact, it smells primarily like a fascinating combination of soap and stink, squeaky clean barbershop accords and exceptionally dirty leather. There are mothballs galore and a dry down of leathery musk that permeate the entire thing and make it smell reminiscent of 'sinful' feminine perfumes from long ago. The indolic nature of the orange blossom and other florals gives this Cuir a very intriguing and darkly voluptuous bent that I love. Too bad it is now discontinued because I would wear this one myself and revel in its bad-boy attitude.
08th October, 2017

Cuir Cordoba by Keiko Mecheri

Because I am one of those heathens who does not appreciate Daim Blond, I am also no fan of Cuir Cordoba--which is essentially Daim Blond with more violets. This type of scent is my idea of perfume hell (or at least purgatory). It smells like a neo-traditional notion of what a rather prim, rule-abiding, and well-to-do female should/would wear. It stakes no claim and makes no promises; its main goal seems to be smelling delicate, non-threatening, and utterly inoffensive.

Maybe if I were a nun.

Or a robot.
06th October, 2017

Private Collection - Cuir d'Iris by Parfumerie Generale

I would simply love to smell this on a man. Or on the world's most chic and sophisticated woman. (Erin O'Connor or Tilda Swinton might fit the bill.) This is dark leather. It isn't bitter or brutal, but it is black or very dark chocolate in its coloration. It has an aristocratic nose and Vikings somewhere in its heritage. This perfume has a spine of steel and it occasionally mucks out the stalls, and then puts on a a beautifully tailored frock coat and smokes a cigar.

Okay, but how does it smell? Like uncured leather combined with some rooty vegetation, a hint of tobacco and the darkest, richest, bittersweet chocolate money can buy.
06th October, 2017