Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Starblind

Total Reviews: 149

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
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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

Chypre Mousse (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

One of the very few scents about which I vacillate even while I'm wearing it. I can love and hate Chypre Mousse both in the space of 5 minutes' time. Put it on, wash it off, put it back on again. Is it a bag of vegetables liquefied and left rotting in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, or a druid's magic potion found beneath a giant, spotted toadstool? I can never quite make up my mind. Its dark-green complex strangeness reminds me of Onda, while its odd minerality makes me think of the original L'air de Rien.

Whatever it is, one thing is certain: it is ODD and almost enchanting. And for me, that is good.

I think.

06th October, 2017

Nuit de Bakélite by Naomi Goodsir

Next to Yatagan, this is one of the most truly vegetal scents I've put my nose on. All manner of green leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, and buds grow and thrive here in a profusion of herbal and slightly peppery undergrowth. Tuberose (thank heavens) is only an incidental player here, adding merely a tiny bit of florality to the intense and almost bitterly green nature of this fragrance. I am reminded of two other new scents, Dryad and Naja, and if you mixed the verdure of the first with the smokiness of the second you might come up with something close to the Goodsir. This is definitely not a clean green or a springtime green or perhaps even a green that any of us is familiar with. Instead, it is a noir-ish green that hides a tiny sting or snakebite--the scent that vaporized into the air when the serpent wound around that very first tree and flicked its tongue at the hapless, round-eyed couple.

Strange. Intriguing. Provoking.
06th October, 2017

Absolue Pour Le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

This is the top entry on my 'love-but-can't-wear' list. I think it's the screechy benzoin that keep me from being able to have this on my body for any real length of time. The cumin and smokey incense and urinous honey are no problem; strong animalics are my thing, but the intense and DENSE sweetness here just kills it for me. This is thickness to the extreme and it creates a sort of impenetrable wall of scent that makes me feel subsumed beneath or inside it. I have no sense of self left when I wear this, but become part of some all-consuming beehive Borg that controls my every move. And it takes over for simply forever.

Frighteningly beautiful and arcane. Like something ancient priests would wear to ward off bad juju.
06th October, 2017

Diaghilev by Roja Dove

I don't want to admit how much I love this scent because its price point is completely and truly outrageous. So much so, in fact, that I will never buy a full bottle of Diaghilev even though I (theoretically) could. I will never buy anything that Roja makes for just this reason, although I doubt that he is crying tears over my abstention. Okay, now that I got that off my chest...

The scent itself is wondrous: a truly old-school chypre that smells like Mitousko to the third power. I breathe in its fumes like a dog smelling fried bacon, floating off in a haze of gorgeous peach-laden oak moss, jasmine and rose, and just the right hints of cumin and civet. It definitely smells old fashioned, so stay far away if hard-core vintage scents are not your thing. I could wear this quite happily most days...if I were a millionaire and didn't object to RD's business principles (or lack thereof).

Edit: Now that I have worn nothing but vintage Misouko for a month, I find that my infatuation with Diaghilev is just that. Roja's scent misses the contrapuntal notes that the Guerlain provides in spades. Diaghilev is simply a bit too sweet and mellow, while Misouko is greener and much more layered and mysterious. Mitsy operates in both the upper and lower registers of tone, while the Dove fragrance stays static in the alto range. It provides only the low notes of a cello, while Mitsouko brings the whole string quartet.
05th October, 2017 (last edited: 28th December, 2018)

Muschio Oro / Gold Musk by Santa Maria Novella

In my fever of musk trying and buying, I foolishly ignored the reviews that mentioned this scent's soapiness. Its extreme soapiness. But now that I've smelled Muscio Oro up close and personal, I can only add that this is one of the most radiantly, soapily clean scents I have ever experienced. It is not only soapy (did I mention its soapiness?), but it is dazzling and sun-bright in its approach and attitude. I had a root canal done while wearing this scent, and received a compliment from my endodontist, which was kind of an amalgam of my experience. I felt both beautifully and sharply, stingingly CLEAN.

A blinding beauty. Wear your eclipse glasses.
05th October, 2017 (last edited: 07th April, 2018)

Kama by Ava Luxe

Wow. This one almost defies definition or depiction. (But I'll give it a go simply because it fascinates me so!). This is akin to a month's worth of mentholated cigarette butts sitting in an cedar wood ashtray, in the unopened, utterly curtained attic room of someone who needs a shower and a root canal. And I love it!

If only my husband wouldn't object so vociferously, I would wear this all winter long. There is something so oddly comforting and reassuring about this scent that it calms me every time I put it on. It's like that old thrift store coat you bought nine years ago and that mostly hangs in your back room closet. Its fur collar has collected the musky odor of various bodies and perfumes and a tiny bit of naphthalene, and it smells the way a crowded urban cafe does on a cold afternoon right before it begins to snow. Smoke, stale perfume, musky body odor, coffee, and too many humans packed together closely. The scent of humanity, preserved and entombed.

One of the more truly strange and weirdly enrapturing scents, ever. For animalic lovers only.
05th October, 2017

Bandit by Robert Piguet

I love chypres, but I now realize that leather chypres are simply too much for me to handle. Azuree and Cabochard and Aramis and Bandit all make me want to run for the hills. Each one is too bitter and too loud and too harsh, while mixed unconvincingly with powdery florals that do nothing but jar and point out the dissonance between the two divisive camps. There's a war going on here, and I don't want the battle to take place so near my clavicle. Eeek.

I have nothing but admiration for those who wear and love this perfume because it is such a ballsy interpretation of a feminine fragrance. I just can't join these militaristic ranks myself.
05th October, 2017

L'Animal Sauvage by Marlou

Simply beautiful! A soft, well-rounded, and delicious animalic fragrance that speaks gently and carries its warmth and fur on little padded feet. Plus, it is blended so gorgeously that I cannot even separate out the individual notes. If pressed for an analogy, I would say that L'animal is something like the smiling, dimpled lovechild of Muscs Koublai Khan and Helmut Lang EDP (wearing a slightly damp diaper!).

Edit: after wearing this for several months, I find that the dry down contains a note or group of notes that bothers me a bit. I cannot figure out what the offender is here since the only notes listed--orange blossom, violet, sandalwood, patchouli, civet, musk--are all ones that I love, either singly or combined. I'm guessing there must be some synthetic fixative (or something) involved that rubs me the wrong way as the hours go by and the top notes drift away. YMMV.
05th October, 2017

Beloved Woman by Amouage

During the opening moments of this scent, I am fooled into thinking I could love the herbal and almost-harsh rose and grassy notes that rise up to meet me in a whoosh-y aromatic cloud. I am a sap for just this kind of beginning: a bittersweet greenness that is both creamy and tart and undergirded with resins and something approximating patchouli. But within minutes, the whole thing collapses in on itself and all that is left is a sharpness and a synthetic...something that give me no pleasure whatsoever. Amouage can do better than to give us a weak and decidedly inferior imitation of Aromatics Elixir.
05th October, 2017
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Arpège by Lanvin

I'm a fan of anything vintage-leaning and indolic, so needless to say, I am an admirer of Arpege. The powdery aldehydes occasionally give me pause, but the animalic aspects of the vintage version of this scent are luscious and dark and sophisticatedly retro. Amouage's Gold Man and Arpege seem to be singing the same song, and it's a refrain I love to hum along with under my breath. I don't wear either of these two very often, but each time I do, I am impressed by their amazing combination of the delicate and floral with the deep and animal.

Delicious, but perhaps an acquired taste in these squeaky clean and candy floss-times.
05th October, 2017

Muschio / Musk by Santa Maria Novella

In my frenzy to try every musk fragrance in the known world, and after reading rapturous reviews mentioning extraordinary creaminess, butterscotch nuttiness, and old world relatives, I sent off for my very own sample and discovered...maple syrup and sun tan lotion...but quite lovely maple syrup and sun tan lotion, I admit.

I was slightly disappointed, it's true. But I think that those who love shy, slightly sweet, definitely creamy scents approximating a light, unassuming musk, will enjoy this SMN fragrance. Just because I am looking for something somewhat more growly and furry doesn't mean you are too.
05th October, 2017

Pot Pourri by Santa Maria Novella

This scent's name should be taken very seriously. It does, indeed, smell like the ultimate ur-potpourri. And if you like smelling like Claire Burke's original home fragrance, here is your chance. I would love to smell this on someone else, preferably a male. But after having tried this myself a few times, I found that I am just not quite up to wearing a fragrance this fervently resinous and herbal for an entire day. I actually feel this way about most incense-heavy scents, so take that as you will.

I think that anyone intrigued by old-world scents that smell highly natural and aromatic should give this a whirl. Plus, you will smell like no one else in the room, or building, or general area.
05th October, 2017

Marescialla by Santa Maria Novella

This is another one of those scents that I really admire, but cannot wear. I need to start a thread on this topic since most BNers claim that if they love a scent, they wear it. I only wish this were true for me, too.

Anyway, this is a BOMB of a fragrance and I mean that sincerely. Herby, spicy, smokey, medicinal--this one smells like something you'd mix together in a huge cauldron in the middle of the forest. And it lasts forever. It is as earth-bound and organic-smelling and darkly green as a witch's brew, and just as potent. I adore smelling it from the bottle, but I daren't spray it on, unless I feel like becoming Hester Prynne for the entire day and night.

Try it if you dare!
05th October, 2017

Iris Poudre by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I was really hoping to love this one because Iris Poudre sounded like just the kind of thing that would up my sophistication game. I have a decided lack of floral aldehydes in my perfume repertoire, but wanted to change all that after falling for Amouage Gold. Here, I thought, was an even more classy, glamorous scent that would prove that I have good taste after all!

No such luck. I really like the opening foray: the citric aldehydes bubbling away and the delicate florals that make me think of Chanel, but soon something I could not recognize or name started to make me go increasingly squinty-eyed. This note (or notes) smelled chemical and synthetic in a highly unpleasant way--a scratchy, irritating melange of...something. I still don't know what this/these woody-ish base notes are (ebony??), but I do know whatever it was ruined my interest in this particular Malle. Oh, well, I'll always have Une Fleur de Cassie.
05th October, 2017

No. 18 Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Stir these ingredients (pear slices, pencil shavings, a tiny, tight-assed rose, and the wee-est mouse dropping of sour musk) all together in a metal bowl using a metal spoon. Then leave in a sterile, air tight room until nearly all of the moisture has had a chance to dissipate. Put the remaining mixture into small, square shaped bottles and call it Chanel No. 18.

04th October, 2017

Acqua di Parma Profumo by Acqua di Parma

The most sophisticated and lovely chypre I've ever smelled. This scent is slightly more delicate and less fruited than Mitsouko and less exuberantly animalic than The Party in Manhattan or Jubilation 25, but more beautifully balanced than any of those mentioned. I bought a full bottle of the vintage version and wore it repeatedly until I got depressed about its lack of sillage and longevity. (I seem to have this problem fairly frequently.) If only it lasted a bit better and made its appearance a bit more known, I would continue to spend all time seeking out those impossible to find (and ridiculously expensive) maroon boxes, just to revel in its perfect pitch and refined elegance.

Stunningly lovely!
04th October, 2017

Oudh Infini by Parfums Dusita

This is an amazing scent and one of those very rare ones that I admire enormously, but cannot wear with any consistency. I love it when I first put it on and then as the hours go by, I start to feel almost weighed down by its thick animalic potency. It smells like chugging melted ice cream feels--that's the only way I can describe it. The oud is thick and barnyard-y and the florals are deep and beautiful, and for the first half hour I am in love. Salome by Papillion strikes me similarly. These are complex, deeply sensual scents that take the musky and mammalian to a level that even I can hardly bear. I would love to meet the person who can wear these two scents with casualness and flair. Even more, I would love to BE this person. Very sadly, I am not.

Edit: Well, once again, I am forced to eat my own words, although this time, I am quite happy to be doing so. Lately I've been wearing Oudh Infini with the greatest of ease and appreciation. I have no idea how this transition came about, but what once smelled way too goat-cheese-y, now seems creamily rosey and dreamily, sexily, skin-scented. You might even say I am edging toward infatuation. A slightly horrifying thought at this particular price point.
03rd October, 2017 (last edited: 25th January, 2018)

Jarling by JAR

When my son was little he had head colds and earaches every other minute, and I spent a good number of hours in the doctor's office and pharmacy procuring an purple-y pink antibiotic that tasted exactly like Jarling smells. Okay, maybe not 'exactly,' but close enough that when I sampled this I was suddenly back in my old rickety, two story house in Idaho, rocking a croupy child back and forth in a steamy bathroom.

When I imagine the person who loves this scent, I see a mid-thirties female with long, manicured nails. She wears white, lacey clothing and buys a lot of underwear at La Perla. She keeps her house VERY clean.

Mimosa. Almond. Heliotrope. Marzipan. Diabetic coma.
03rd October, 2017 (last edited: 04th October, 2017)

Eau d'Hermès by Hermès

If I could smell just one fragrance on the opposite sex, it would be this. In vintage form this scent does something to me that no other one does. We don't need to discuss this at length, suffice it to say, citrus and cumin is a provocative combination.

I wear this myself if I'm feeling...lonely.
03rd October, 2017

Vol de Nuit Eau de Toilette by Guerlain

Ingrid Bergman in a bottle.
Beauty that exists without effort or artifice.
Solemnity and joy, together.
The softest, most tender buds of green.
Regality as lovely and ephemeral as a powdered moth-wing.
03rd October, 2017

Room 237 by Bruno Fazzolari

This scent is definitely not in my wheelhouse, and yet I am a fan of its wonderful weirdness. I love scents that confuse and confound, that trick the wearer into looking one way while a rabbit is pulled out of a hat. Here the sleight-of-hand includes a misleading opening that speaks of cleaning fluids and vinyl shower curtains, while also sliding notes of dirty hair and musky skin out from under its sleeve. This juxtaposition of squeaky clean soap with the unshowered, bedhead note of costus creates a fascinating dissonance that I love, but that will probably not appeal to many.

Intriguing and unusual. Definitely NOT mainstream.
03rd October, 2017

Feu Secret by Bruno Fazzolari

I hardly know how to describe this scent. It is truly a study in contrasts: deeply-rooted iris that is also sweetly doughy, combined with bright, airy notes of eucalyptus, turmeric, and pink pepper. It feels almost like magic when a scent can be both mentholated AND musky (How does Fazzolari do this?). The fragrance somehow reads both cool and hot, earth-bound and sky-borne, vintage and modern. Feu Secret is intriguing in the truest sense of the word; I cannot pin it down or even categorize it adequately. It doesn't seem to fit into a category with which I am familiar. I simply have to keep sniffing.

Utterly unisex. This would make an incredible signature scent for a complex, ambiguously interesting person.
03rd October, 2017

Le Sillage Blanc by Parfums Dusita

This is one of the sharper and more angular greens scents I have tried. And my neutral rating merely reflects my own personal tastes in this genre, rather than the scent's quality. I adore chypres: their green openings and their darker, oak mossy dry downs. Here, however, I am put off by the piercing bitterness of the galbanum and herbs that run all the way through Sillage Blanc, in the same way that Bandit feels like a dagger in my throat when I wear it for any length of time. I need a bit of something soft or rounded or skin-like that would add notes of contrast in order to keep me interested. Sharply linear scents such as this weary me and make me a bit angry. And I am already angry enough as it is.
03rd October, 2017

Bois des Îles Parfum by Chanel

(When I can smell this) it smells like I have died and gone to the most beautiful spicy, creamy sandalwood heaven! The ylang ylang and sandalwood combo put me into some kind of wondrous stupor from which it is doubtful I will ever return. Bois des Iles is utterly delicious and delicate and reveals a vintage Chanel's typically smooth sophistication. Unfortunately though (and this is a large drawback for me), I can barely smell it. I even bought the parfum in hopes of gaining some kind of projection and/or longevity, but no such luck. I am genuinely sad about this because I can envision wearing BdI as a signature scent of sorts, if only I didn't have to huff like a maniac to catch even a whiff of its gorgeousness. :-(

I have to give it a thumbs up for its sheer beauty, with an emphasis on 'sheer.'

Edit: Just received a vintage bottle of the parfum and am swooning over its even dreamier, woody beauty. This also has enough depth and projection to keep me in a happy daze for quite some time. Smells like true love!
02nd October, 2017 (last edited: 15th February, 2019)

Alba by Profumum

If you're a female who wants to offend no one and smell somewhat conventional and stereotypically 'pretty,' this might be your scent. Alba smells like a hundred other scents that contain some sweet, slightly nutty and amber-y notes, and that slowly die down in a hush of girlish powder. It is not harsh or bothersome or dreadful in any way, it simply smells like the makeup department in a Bon Marche or a hand creme from CVS.
02nd October, 2017

Palais Jamais by Etro

If you miss the vintage formulation of L'air de Rien, try Palais Jamais. They are not identical, PJ is somewhat more citrus-oriented, but they definitely share that hazy, oak moss-y, halfway-between-organic-and-human feel that makes both of them such unusual and impossible to define scents. PJ has a bit more of a tea note going on, while L'air contains more dusty incense. I would also say that the Miller Harris frag lasts somewhat longer than the Etro. Regardless, if what you're after is an earthy but edgy, bohemian scent, this one has your name written all over it.
02nd October, 2017