Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Starblind

Total Reviews: 149

Phoenix Fougere by The Rising Phoenix Perfumery

Very herb-laden and somewhat citric start. VERY zesty (for lack of a better word) and intriguingly eye opening. It then reveals some additional florals that are definitely not sweet, but somewhat pungent and bitter (in a good way). Is this bergamot? Petitgrain? Neroli? Argh! Jasmine is probably the only floral I can identify for sure. Man I am lousy at talking about fougeres. This is a genre I have very limited experience with. Regardless, I know that I would very much enjoy smelling this on a man. In the drydown things get a bit deeper with an added tonic bean (or maybe patchouli) base that I enjoy.
02nd October, 2017

Musk Rose by The Rising Phoenix Perfumery

Simply stunning (and I don’t even like rose!). There is something so lightly oudy and lifting and diffusive at the opening that the whole thing simply soars. Then the rose comes in, but it’s a beautifully fruited rose and it’s very gently, lightly sweet like a spiced plum pudding or lemony chiffon custard, but minus any sticky or cloying gooeyness. (Is there saffron or henna in here?) The musk keeps this scent warm and intriguing and delectable. This is not a gourmand at all, but it is utterly ‘tasty.’ I cannot imagine a single person who would not fall in love with this (including me). Toward the end, it takes on a deeper (slightly plastic/rubbery) tone that I am a tiny bit less enamored of.
02nd October, 2017

Green Velvet by The Rising Phoenix Perfumery

Lime-y, but soft with a sandalwood drydown. A little bit woody and a lot bit lime-y. It’s not strident, but it’s probably more citric-oriented than I am used to. It feels a bit linear to me, as if it could use some contrasting notes to add interest. Now that it’s been on for a while, some woody notes are surfacing (cedar, eucalyptus?). I think males might be more into this than females. It’s just a bit sharply angular for me, but still intriguing.
02nd October, 2017
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Gold Man by Amouage

This is, without a doubt, the thickest, most regal scent I have ever encountered. It smells like Arpege, but irradiated and then pee-ed upon by a roomful of civet cats. It is truly glorious. Rosey incense with pristine lily of the valley, all infused with the most unctuous of animalic civet. It is powdery, yes, but powder with a purpose--the purpose being to drug or stupefy the florals into the most heady, languorous repose. This is the scent of someone who does not work or toil, but merely exists in a glorified state while others scramble to do his or her bidding. Wow.
02nd October, 2017

Scandal by Lanvin

After having had the pleasure of smelling the vintage versions of both CdR and Scandal, I can only say that while both are stunning works of perfumery, I still find Cuir de Russie a bit more interesting. Scandal, while rich and leather-laden, warm and slightly indolic, is not quite as dark and layered as the Chanel, plus, it is a bit soft and fleeting. This doesn't mean I wouldn't pass on the chance to own it, but I'm not going to be selling my left kidney to do so. The Cuir de Russie, on the other hand...
02nd October, 2017

1000 by Jean Patou

Dark and luscious and full to the brim with florals of all kinds, but more importantly, oak moss and a wee bit of civet. This is a deeply vintage smelling chypre that somehow seems much more moist and round than any chypre I can think of. It is also the only scent containing osmanthus that I like. It's a tiny bit ostentatious for me, but I like to wear it with a sweatshirt and levis to mix things up a bit. 1000 is richly elegant and yet its dark violets and stemmy green notes keep it interesting and less baroque than you might expect. I love it and should wear it more often than I do!
02nd October, 2017

Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Because I am not a fan of gourmands or of sickly sweet fragrances, I cannot like Musc Ravageur, and believe me, I have tried. The top notes always fool me into thinking I can wear and enjoy this scent, but nope, the dry down gets more and more cloying and claustrophobia-inducing, and soon the cinnamon and syrup and stickiness becomes too, too much, and off I go to the washroom. I love the lavender and I love the actual musk, it's the cloves and vanilla that kill me in this one. I have occasionally smelled this on a person standing a ways away from me and then I can almost (almost) enjoy this cinnamon bun of a fragrance, but if it is anywhere closer, I cringe.

I would move far, far away from any male wearing this scent. To a different building, preferably. This is the ultimate-trying-way-too-hard-to-be-sexy frag.
01st October, 2017 (last edited: 14th November, 2018)

Mitsouko Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

This is the scent I want to be buried in.

I know it sounds like hyperbole, but I can't truly examine or analyze Mitsouko's beauty, and it is only with the most vague and inadequate descriptors that I can even speak of it. Each evening, come rain or shine, I run with my whippet through the enormous walnut orchards by my house, as the sun slowly sets. During the fall (my favorite season), the walnuts ripen and finally shed their skins, and the fruit drops to the ground. The skins, the shells, the still-warm earth, and the fading leaves on the trees--all of this is closely reincarnated in Mitsouko. The perfume's dark, velvety oak moss and its walnut-skin bite of piquant green create in me an almost melancholic introspection that suits my artistic nature down to a T. It's autumnal tone and notes that mimic moist, rain-soaked dirt speak to me in the same way that black and white films and photographs do. Its beauty is an aching, longing kind that will never be totally fulfilled, and it is all the more lovely because of this. Somehow Mitsouko seems to find the commonalities between the human body and the natural world, all the while speaking to a deep, nameless emotion that those who have lived long enough, share.
01st October, 2017 (last edited: 30th October, 2018)

Tabu by Dana

Wowsers! In high school there was a rubric by which you knew what kind of girl you were/were dealing with: girls who *wouldn't* wore Chantilly or Love's Baby Soft, girls who *might* wore Ambush or Woodhue, while girls who *did* wore Tigress or Tabu.

Tabu was and still is a highly provocative perfume. Wear it with caution and little else!
01st October, 2017

Skin Musk / Bonne Bell Skin Musk by Prince Matchabelli

I am very fond of this perfume oil (in vintage form) since I wore it all through high school. At the time it seemed like a dream-scent, warm, diffusive and just slightly musky. In fact, it was primarily a sandalwood scent with a layer of greenish musk threaded through it. It smelled cleanish and yet highly attractive, a 'your skin but better' fragrance that wafted gently and urgently through all my class periods and on into my boyfriend's '74 Barracuda. Smelling this scent takes me back to a very specific time and place, one in which I'm glad I no longer live, but filled with vivid and nostalgic memories, just the same.
01st October, 2017

Shalimar Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

Think Mae West and Sophia Loren and Rita Hayworth all rolled into one. Pure and utterly rich plushness and rounded, generous bosoms and a warm, talcum-ed girdle. The grande dame of all perfume-land and one of the few scents that I love, but cannot wear. She is truly beautiful and utterly much so that I feel as if I am wearing a satin negligee and pink feather boa whenever I put her on. She is more of a woman than I ever could be and almost too hot to handle, so I smell her from a distance and enjoy her all the more that way.

The scent for which the term va-va-voom was invented.
01st October, 2017

Norma Kamali Incense by Norma Kamali

Old Testament incense of majestic and god-like proportions. If Noah took this on the ark every animal ended up smelling of it. This is more of an experience and less of a perfume to actually wear. A black hole of a fragrance, it is utterly dark and somehow organic-smelling, like something you'd uncover in a peat bog or find buried under the floor of an abandoned warehouse. I would never wear this, but I loved having the chance to smell it, and this is lucky because it is now simply IMPOSSIBLE to find.
30th September, 2017

Gaïac by Martine Micallef

Simply too thick and sweet and sticky for me. I have tried Gaiac several times now, thinking that perhaps THIS time I would enjoy wearing it, but no such luck. If only this scent were layered with bergamot or neroli or some lighter, fresher woody notes to leaven its monotonous wall of sweetness. It feels as if there is no air here, no breathing room, and no movement between notes. Those people who are attracted to honey-like woods will probably find something to love here, but Gaiac's linearity and slab of cloved gooeyness is just too cloying for me to enjoy.
30th September, 2017
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Rêve en Cuir by Indult

Well, hmmmm. That about sums up my feelings about this scent. It isn't repugnant or dreadful, but it does absolutely nothing for me, either. The name is also somewhat bothersome. I cannot find leather. Cloves, random spices, sweetness are there aplenty, however. This scent, although surely put together with consummate skill, strikes no chord in me, other than the one that says, 'Sephora.' In its mish-mash of suede and gourmand tendencies, it seems aimed at offending no one and pleasing only those who want to be barely, vaguely scented. It is neither here nor there, utterly unisex and inoffensive, but carries a hefty price, nonetheless.
27th September, 2017

Private Collection - L'Ombre Fauve by Parfumerie Generale

This is a gorgeous combination of (as many have already noted) amber, patchouli, and musk. The furrily animalic portion of this which is evident in the scent's early stages smells incredibly sensual. To others it may smell like wet laundry left too long in the machine, to me it smells like all things warm and sharply mammalian. Unfortunately, I get less enthused about L'Ombre Fauve as time goes on and amber stands up and takes center stage. This is a matter of personal taste because I am an amber-phobe, but for those who are not and who love to smell like sexy, sweet, and slightly musty powder, you are in for a treat.
26th September, 2017

Onda Parfum Extrait by Vero Profumo

If Chanel's Cuir de Russie is the horse you rode in on, Onda is the musky undergrowth you had to stomp through beforehand and the tack room you end up in afterwards. Dirt, wild and dank vegetation, and redolent leather all combine to form one of the most unusual and daring scents I own. Onda is not only dark and loamy and vetiver-laden, but it is complex and strange, and includes notes I'm fairly sure I've never smelled before in perfume, e.g., mace. Most folks are going to find Onda a bit too 'ugly' or scary since it's even darker and more animalic than vintage Magie Noire. In fact, it does smell like something a druid might cook up in a clearing in the forest on All Hallow's Eve, or what I imagine the tannis root from Rosemary's Baby smelled like. And because I am a complete animal and pagan, I love it!
26th September, 2017

New Sibet by Slumberhouse

One of the stranger scents I've had the pleasure of wearing. In a way, it reminds me quite a bit of a somewhat medicated Cuir Cannage. There are definite connections between the two and their overall texture seem similar, although New Sibet is even more odd and striking in its fuzzy ashiness. It fairly buzzes with a leathery iris and slightly animalic spices. Everything hums and practically radiates off the skin. It is slightly metallic, but not in a way that annoys or is cold. Instead it is a scent that feels heated and dusty, as if a soldering iron had been taken to it. Fascinating!
25th September, 2017 (last edited: 10th May, 2018)

Crêpe de Chine by Long Lost Perfume

The original version in parfum concentration is heaven in a bottle. This is the richest and silkiest of flowery green chypres with a decidedly vintage air. My bottle is ancient, and to newer perfumistas, it probably smells that way too. I, however, love its old-fashioned temperament. It is perhaps, the softest (and yet, spiciest) chypre I've ever smelled: green and creamy with an incredible deep base of patchouli and musk that goes on and on. It is the most round and dreamy and evenly balanced fragrance I own, but I can only wear it occasionally, since my own temperament is somewhat bent and spiky and with this on, I feel almost in disguise.
25th September, 2017 (last edited: 04th May, 2018)

Bracken Woman by Amouage

I have to quit trying scents that contain narcissus and expecting to love them. There is just something about this note that overpowers every other in each perfume I've tried. And since I do not love narcissus, I do not enjoy Bracken. I think many others will love it though, and I might possibly, too, if the chamomile and leather and smoke played more of a role here. The sweetness of the berry note is also bothersome. Amouage scents rarely smell like something a young twenty-something should wear, but this one does.
25th September, 2017

Sballo by Bruno Acampora

This is another gorgeous and dense fragrance from the Acampora line, and by dense, I mean DENSE. The hay and tobacco here are rich and thick and massively resinous, and I would love to smell it on someone else standing a few feet away. This dark chypre smells wondrously vintage, like something a glamorous brunette from the '30s or '40s would wear, and I would love to wear it myself if it didn't wear me. It goes on forever and its woodsy oak moss is stunning. It's simply too redolent and potent for me to wear without being overly conscious of it every second. If you love vintage scents that smell like you're standing in the middle of a hay field while wearing a deeply warm chypre with massive projection and duration, this is your baby.
24th September, 2017 (last edited: 30th April, 2018)

The Party in Manhattan by The Party

If this one lasted longer, say more than an hour and a half, I would buy it in a heartbeat. This is Mitsouko + cumin and/or Jubilation with some of the frankincense dialed down. It is a gorgeous rendering of a classic fruity chypre and I adore its opening stages and its animalic underbelly. Unfortunately, it is one of the most fleeting scents I've ever had the pleasure of not being able to smell, and this makes me very sad because it is VERY lovely. It is so vintage-y and funky and ephemeral that I find it fascinating and frustrating in equal measure.
24th September, 2017

Black Gold by Ormonde Jayne

I was captivated when smelling the opening notes of this fragrance; it seemed sophisticated, unusual and obviously constructed with the very best materials. In fact, I was utterly fascinated by Black Gold's top notes which smell of exotic wood, oudy lacquer, nutmeg(?), and some type of fruit, combined with juniper and sage and sparkling hints of citrus. This beginning was so enticing that I shocked to discover that the dry down--while apparently filled with amber and genuine sandalwood--was decidedly less fascinating. In fact, if I'm honest, I'd say it was horrifying. There is something in this scent's latter progression that reminds me of the woody dryness of a CdG scent combined with a dreaded note so sharp and piercing and (I'm sorry!) synthetic smelling that I was forced to take a bath after 2 hours of wearing this. There is elegance and real artistry at Black Gold's onset, but the latter stage (which goes on forever) reminds me of certain strident and highly artificial 'masculine' scents from the '90s. I'd give this a thumbs up for the opening and a thumbs down for the dry down.
22nd September, 2017 (last edited: 23rd September, 2017)

Ferme tes Yeux by JAR

This is an animalic-lover's wet dream (or maybe just mine). Either way, this is the pinnacle of lush, opulent, gorgeous danger--a panther silently stalking through a dense and fuggy jungle of stargazer lilies, jasmine, and yang-ylang. The vegetation is overripe, decadent, and civet-laden thanks to the menagerie of musky mammals hidden in the foliage. Think Rousseau and Gauguin's jungle paintings brought to luxuriant, odiferous life. I adore this scent and will never own it since it is FAR beyond my (or any normal person's) price range. One of the most beautiful and sad realities of my perfumed life.
22nd September, 2017

Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca by Guerlain

This is the first non-vintage Guerlain I've smelled and I must say that I am not impressed. The fact that this sample accompanied a decant of ancient and gorgeous L'Heure Bleue didn't help. Wearing the two Guerlains on opposite wrists was like having a threesome with Daniel Day-Lewis and Huey Lewis. The comparison was, indeed, odious. The AANB is highly citric and smells like neroli and petitgrain and about a hundred other similar fragrances touted as antidotes to the summer heat. If a ubiquitous and feminine citrus fragrance is what you're after, then is probably as good as any, and undoubtedly a bit better than most. After all, it is a Guerlain.
22nd September, 2017

Ma Bête by Eris Parfums

I love this strange little beauty! There is something about Ma Bete's vintage-y plushness that makes me want to wrap myself in it over and over like a warm and silky fur coat. The indolic jasmine combined with spicy woodiness make this scent deeply seductive and surprisingly chic, while its animalic essence adds a honeyed, slightly 'skanky' attitude that I adore. I swear I smell costus and civet in here--two notes that I love--and these combined create a naughty furriness that gives this fragrance its signature 'beastly' bearing.
19th September, 2017

Kiehl's Original Musk by Kiehl's

Not my favorite musk by a stretch, but an excellent one for those whose ultimate musk scent includes quite a few flowers and a only pinch of something animalic in the base. This is a 'dirty' musk at its least offensive and could be worn by anyone, anywhere, and anytime. There is something here that smells a bit synthetic or sharp (that I think others might call 'clean' or soapy). This note bothers me no matter how many times I try to wear this, but I'm pretty sure this is a personal problem that won't disturb anyone other than me. I've heard that many famous folks wear this: Julianne Moore, for one, and each of them, in turn, describes this musk as attractive and enticing, and yes, clean.

A surprising discovery: this smells somewhat like vintage Arpege with a slightly more synthetic musk.
18th September, 2017 (last edited: 13th February, 2019)

Naja by Vero Profumo

I greatly admire this perfumer/house in the same way that I admire Bogue. Vero Kern's scents are always vastly original and striking, if not always entirely wearable. I think Onda in its original extrait form was one of the true greats. I wouldn't rank Naja up there with Onda, in terms of unique and vivid oddness, but it is quite a bit more approachable, and for many wearers, this will be a plus. I love its opening: the deep punch of tobacco, but am slightly less enamored of its segue into melon and osmanthus. This is merely personal taste, and if you are a lover of these two notes, you will be a fan. For me, the combination of tobacco with osmanthus is a bit too sticky and powdery-sweet, and I miss the strength and depth of the animalics that can often be found in her fragrances, and that keep me sniffing all day in anticipation.

18th September, 2017 (last edited: 11th August, 2018)

Jubilation 25 by Amouage

Jubilation 25 is like the mash-up of two of my favorite scents: Mitsouko and Diorella (both in vintage form). But, it contains a rather heft dollop of cumin that makes the whole thing sing in a slightly different, more animalic register than the other two. How this scent's genuine elegance is maintained while also referencing a rather sweaty human is a mystery, perhaps aided by leavening effect of frankincense and tarragon and lemon. This is my favorite Amouage, by far, thanks to its competing, but contrapuntal elements of lightness and dark, sophistication and sweat, chypre-likeness and orientalism. The extrait is my preferred poison. It is slightly deeper and more rich than the EDP, and it lasts a bit longer, too. Gorgeous stuff!
17th September, 2017

Nuit de Noël by Caron

Soft and silky and utterly sumptuous, this velvety chypre/oriental smells like sweetened nuts and tender moss and romantic incense. In other words, it smells deeply, gently vintage and completely unlike anything else. The pure parfum in the black 'flapper' bottles is the version to sniff. Here all the floral notes (primarily ylang-ylang and rose) blend so beautifully with the low-toned alto-notes of oak moss and anise that it's as if your skin itself is simply radiating a lovely and tender essence--one that marks you as warm, beautiful, grown up, and female. There is something in here that also hints at seductive, swirling smoke. This is a rare beauty, and along with Tabac Blond, one of Caron's absolute best.
16th September, 2017

Shem-el-Nessim by Grossmith

This is the fraternal twin to L'Heure Bleue. Evidently, the original Shem came first, along with L'Origan (if this matters). Regardless, they are all very closely related in form and style, and if you love one, you will probably be interested in taking her sisters for a waltz or two around the Edwardian ballroom, as well. The Grossmith is a slightly more airy and herbal take on L'Heure, and I find its additional geranium notes rather lovely. It is not as heavy and sweet as the Guerlain, substituting a sophisticated, almost stellar radiance for L'Heure's velvety marshmallow warmth. Roja Dove and Luca Turin both love Shem-el-Nessim (if you care), and I do, too, although I would wish for an increase in its projection and lasting power, especially at this particular price point.
15th September, 2017