Perfume Reviews

Reviews by iMaverick

Total Reviews: 240

Vivara (original) by Emilio Pucci

Blessed to find a small mini bottle of the parfum. Very green chypre. Screeches in the very beginning, but settles to a bright sparkling floral chypre, something between Miss Dior and YSL Y, but Vivara is much more herbaceous in the drydown compared to the warm leathery notes in Miss Dior and the warm musky chypre of Y.
28th December, 2010

Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens

Borneo 1834 displays its facets in surprising ways. I kinda feel like it's the refined gentleman's A*Men. There are moments when it smells caramelized and gourmand. There are times when it smells arid and desert-like patchouli, and there are times when it smells of just plain old patch.

It opens very gourmand like, sweet and caramelized, with a sensual musky smell of styrax and a note of dry cocoa like many have described already. The cocoa only makes a brief appearance, for the most part it mostly becomes all patch, punctuated by the note of camphor, or rather mint to my nose, and sweetened by a background of cardamom and vanilla. Bitter notes of galbanum and woody cistus are barely there but laces the base of this scent.

I was afraid that it would be heavily gourmand, but it's not really the case, to the extent that you can wear patch and gourmand notes in the summer with this one.

To my nose, this scent gives me a feeling of ease and exoticism with a modern feel. Quiet for the most part, all except it's gourmand beginnings, and longevity is a bit lacking, and you won't get any sillage unless you possess some form of body heat.
10th April, 2010

Arabian Wood by Tom Ford

For those who are familiar with Arabic scents, you will definitely find its character in Tom Ford's incarnation. Heavy on the rose and patchouli, with a heavy woody tone at the base. The difference is in the concentration, however. Despite it being labeled as an eau de parfum, it's about half the concentration of your typical Arabic eau de parfum. It smells much like an Arabic fragrance I used to own, called Sultan by Swiss Arabiya, or a perfume oil called Shaikhah by Al Rehab.

Since it was created for the Arabic clientele, they would definitely smell a familiarity with the rest of their native scented creations, but they might balk at the price for such a pallid concentration.

I applaud TF for creating an Arabic style fragrance in its classic structure, but it fails to wow me in exoticism and originality. You can have a true Arabic concentrated perfume oil, bottled in a fancy jeweled and gilded flacon, and housed in a satin lined box for under 50 bucks or less (compared to a TF fragrance costing $185), and will last you for a very very long time because it is so concentrated, all you need is way less than a drop that will produce a dense sillage. Let's not forget to mention it doesn't start to dry down until after 12 hours or the math. ;)
13th January, 2010
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Hombre de Flores Narcissus by Fresh

LOL! A men's scent that hides "a little something extra"! A venerable study in floral fragrances for men.

The notes seem "fruity-floral" but really it is narcissus tucked inconspicuously within a spicy, warm, and musky mens composition. For my tastes, I would've preferred the spiciness to be held back to give the narcissus a chance to bloom wider, but I was surprised at how much narcissus was used to give it a not-quite-there center of focus. The scent for the most part is almost all linear with the exception of added warmth on the drydown.

I have to appreciate the fact that Fresh is trying to educate the nose that florals can and should be used in mens fragrances and that it is rather idiotic to think that it would change someone's masculine virility if one was spritzed with an eau spiked with an exotic floral, though I couldn't help but imagine the funny notion of a black and white ad with a man with his hair greased down, groomed moustache, a 3-piece pinstripe suit and wingtips, and fishnet stockings peeking out under the hem of his pants. LMAO!

Hearty thumbs up for the Fresh's will to re-educate.
13th October, 2009

Versailles pour Homme by Jean Desprez

Received a generous spray sample from a cool Basenoter. All I can say is that Versailles Pour Homme comes off with a dark, sophisticated, and sexy character.

The opening accord is the most unique I've ever smelled, strange beautiful and remarkable. As it disappears, there are strong musky (styrax) and green notes. People definitely know that you are not some castrated clone of the modern age--you definitely know what type of person you are and not afraid of telling the world!

Dark and powdery notes emerge, with the zing of pine, the spicy note of carnation, and jasmine and geranium in the background.

The base is warm, woody and resinous, though not as animalic. There are leathery tones to the scent but the effect is more powdery. I look back at the transitions of this scent and this is no doubt a powerhouse scent that should've never been extricated from the perfume world! Scents that also come to mind like this powerhouse would be Patou Pour Homme (also defunct), Third Man, Bel Ami, and Antaeus.
24th August, 2009

Barbara Bui by Barbara Bui

There was a bit of a buzz with this scent and how people really liked the incense in this fragrance. Looking at the notes, I thought it would be a gender neutral type of fragrance. Finding a bottle for cheap online, I bought it blind.

I found it slightly out of my league of tastes. Many say that the incense is the center of attention in this fragrance, but not so with my skin chemistry. The opening is pleasant, with a burst of incense and...uh-oh, a very pronounced note of powdery heliotrope. I thought it would've been subdued. At this point it really reminded me of Kenzo Flower Parfum.

The incense note relaxed significantly, or rather disappeared, and was replaced by musk and very sweet ambery notes.

The drydown is very vanillic on me, very gourmand. It reminded me of sticky and melted vanilla ice cream all over my fingers.

Many call this a skin scent, but to me it is a very noticeable sweet, musky, and gourmand fragrance. It projects a lot on me.

I would call this a pretty and sensual scent. I think it smells a bit fun loving and womanly. I blame my skin chemistry for this. Sweet, floral, and musky notes fly off my skin to create a cloud around me. My skin amplifies this kind of stuff.

The fragrance is simple enough to be layered with other scents, to create an oriental feel to dry, woody, or green fragrances, so it's not a total loss for me.

For those who like vanilla type fragrances with a pronounced incense note, try Roberto Cavalli's Oro. I LOVE IT, and the incense lasts right to the drydown!
14th August, 2009

Costes by Hôtel Costes

For years I wanted this fragrance. I wonder why it took me so long to get a bottle. I REMEMBER! It is dang so expensive. Thank goodness for eBay for the acquirement of a barely used bottle for less than half the retail price.

Costes is a subtle, sharp, but woody fragrance. The balance of this fragrance is impeccable. Therapeutic and makes you feel sophisticated all at the same time. It has a soapy kind of smell to it due to the rose, but it is perfectly tempered by the bay, pepper and coriander.

This is the perfect scent to start you off in the exploration of incense based and niche scents.
03rd August, 2009

10 Corso Como by 10 Corso Como

10 Corso Como--I think I remember passing by the place in Milan. I avoided shopping much in Milan, the prices were freaking me out.

I never heard of the scent until it was hugely raved about here on Basenotes. I was surprised to find it in Neiman Marcus, however when I tried it, I wasn't so enthused...hmmm, sandalwood and incense, love-love-love, why ever not?? Maybe because a 50ml bottle set me back $85. Ah well...

Flash forward several years and the luck of finding a bottle on eBay for less than 50 bucks. Ah! You're talking my language now.

I identify with sandalwood so much. I don't understand how people can compare this scent to red wine, because it honestly does not smell like sour grapes to me. 10CC smells of rich and powdery sandalwood that gets better as it settles to a clear, mind-opening woody scent, that touches the inner senses.

I just realized why I didn't really care for 10 CC when I smelled it at Neimans. I didn't test it on my skin. At least not fully. Smelling it now I have great sillage and you marvel at its simplicity smelling so complex. This is the stuff you love creating a fine mist all over you because it smells so sublime!

Go get some of this!

03rd August, 2009

Halle by Halle Berry

I thought I would be killed by its fig note, but it actually smelled very pleasing. It is probably the mimosa that keeps it from being too too much. Warm, smooth, and bright without being cloying, with a slight touch of green in the beginning. The base is woody, understated and still smooth to keep it from smelling overly masculine. Pretty good composition! Lasts longer than your average celeb spray and fizzle fragrances.
30th July, 2009

Escale à Pondichéry by Christian Dior

Escale a Pondichery is a great addition to the Dior Cruise Collection line. It was rare and hard to find in this day, late July 2009. Its predecessor Escale a Portofino was only available lately at Nordstrom earlier this month.

Escale a Pondichery is a sweeter, juicier take in the line. It opens sweet and tart, with citrus notes married with black tea notes. It reminds me a lot of L'Occitane's Green Tea offerings, but not as sharp or generous with the citrus. It's a good start, because I'm not too fond of L'Occitane's Green Tea.

The juicy citrus notes start to deepen, you catch orange notes and jasmine notes in full bloom. The tea notes deepen with woody notes of sandalwood and the floral facets join with cardamom.

The bottle looks so beautiful with the fragrance clear and the label with silver lettering and borders over a translucent white background and its matching silver cap with its weave design that matches the bottle. It gives a luxurious luminous crystallized and faceted effect. Beautiful!

These fragrances have bold openings, but settle to subtle and mellow skin scents that last about 4 hours on my skin. I find them both undoubtedly unisex, but Ponichery might be too floral for some men, but I find jasmine to be a note that's doesn't strive to take over but support the other notes in the composition. Another classy AND classic creation by Dior that separates itself from its trendy fruity-floral retail offerings.
28th July, 2009

Escale à Portofino by Christian Dior

I purchased this at a Duty Free store in my area in August of 2008, and now it has recently appeared in Nordstrom in July 2009.

Escale a Portofino has an eau de cologne type of nature, and the overall impression is an understated and refined luxury that relates to its namesake of travels and adventure all while carrying your Dior carryons and luggage! ;)

Bright citrus notes open the fragrance that deepens slightly to a herbaceous spice note of mild coriander while keeping its citrus nature. It isn't a juicy citrus, it keeps its rather dry but fresh notes. Later on the drydown, you experience clear, subtle notes of cedar and musk. A staple for me for humid summers. Great for no nonsense perfuming while on the go in your exotic travels.
28th July, 2009

Rochas Femme (new) by Rochas

OMG! This I think is one of the best fragrances for men. I haven't smelled the original, but this reformulation with cumin in it adds the perfect dimension to make it a sensual, dark, and rich, all befitting the sophisticated gentleman who wants an air of mystery. All the notes are kept in check, and the florals never come out into the light. It is spicy, dark, woody, ambery, and rich! This is now one of my beloveds in my collection! I will always need a bottle if I ever run out.
28th July, 2009 (last edited: 31st July, 2009)

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

When I first tried Vol de Nuit, it was from a fairly recent bottle of the EdT, the ones in the gold box with the words Vol de Nuit in white with a black background.

Smelling Vol de Nuit, I knew that I would be a fan of the galbanum note forever, with its scent of bright stemmy greens.

The EdT is very soft and hardly detectable if you don't have much of a body temperature. You need to be very warm in order for the scent to project. It is also powdery with iris, and complemented with woody notes of oakmoss and vetiver.

I had a hard time smelling the EdT, and it seemed to not last very long on me. In a way it did smell like a Guerlain, but it didn't seem to have the boldness and warmth of a Guerlain.

A few years later, I finally own the parfum after being so discouraged by the EdT. The lightbulb went on! It is warm from the get go but doesn't sacrifice the greeness of the galbanum, and you can definitely smell Guerlain's signature vanilla. The parfum is poetry! It is still soft, but at least it is more noticeable. I'm in love again with Vol de Nuit!

27th July, 2009
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Dioressence by Christian Dior

I remember owning samples of this back in the 80s of the EdT. The opening notes were bright and sparkling, that developed into a spicy powdery and floral scent with a woody base of oakmoss.

Flash forward a couple of decades and I've had the luck of owning the parfum, which is much warmer and remarkably different. The EdT is basically fresh, with warm spicy and powdery tones. The parfum is warm and spicy, and in a way reminds me a lot of Opium, but not as overt and smoother. The opening is aldehydic and ambery, sensuous from the start. The heart is spicy with smooth florals with a recognizable note of rose and powdery notes of iris. The base is sensuous and woody with oakmoss and musk. To compare it with a mens scent (yes, guys, you can wear the parfum too), I would say it's much like JHL, but much more interesting.

Try the parfum, you might definitely change your mind for those who didn't really care much about the EdT.
27th July, 2009

Miss Dior Originale Eau de Toilette (previously Miss Dior) by Christian Dior

This is for a review of the parfum. I think think Dior was trying to aim at creating something unusual, but without trying to go over the edge.

The opening caught me by surprise. Screechy, bright, and almost blinding. Bright florals are married with some spicy and powdery notes and aldehydes. It doesn't last too long when it moves into something much more alluring. This part of the composition reminds me a lot of Vol de Nuit or Mitsouko, but not as warm and not as spicy as Mitsouko. The base of the scent emerges pretty quickly with notes of oakmoss and vetiver. The overall effect after its opening is soft and lasts a very long time.

To add "Miss" to the title of the scent probably gives an impression of what youth is all about to Dior which is probably to capture youth's ability to dare and be audacious, and to be different, all without going over the unsaid boundaries of being demure of the time.

Its birth is from a design house, but it now has the characteristic of a niche scent--unusual, not overly complex and doesn't try to overdo. Hearty thumbs up!
27th July, 2009

Cialenga by Balenciaga

I got an old sample of the parfum from a generous Basenoter. The topnotes have gone off, but from what I could make of it, it starts off with aldehydes and a bright floral note, lily I think. The middle notes are spicy and of fresh florals and what I think is a bit of rose. The overall effect is a spicy, soapy, and woody green floral that reminds me a little of Hermes Caleche, although I do prefer Caleche a lot more. Despite its fresher and soapy aspects, I think its much better for one who likes to reflect their more serious side with the love of the outdoors.
26th July, 2009

YSL pour Homme Haute Concentration by Yves Saint Laurent

I remember YSL pour Homme back in the 80s, the EdT concentration, which as a kid was happy to have a couple of samples of. Memorable and refined, it smelled of class, restraint, sophistication, and a bit of the joie de vivre. It smelled like a classic EdC with a woody musky warmth to it.

I didn't realize there was a Haute Concentration version until joining Basenotes. I found a bottle for awfully cheap and thought that I could relive the good ol' days of classic perfumery. High concentration is damn right! Two sprays created a cloud of sharp citrus that could scare away a thick swarm of mosquitoes!

As you get passed the bright citrus, you are invited to its herbaceous and animalic qualities. Normally one would imagine catching nuances of this at the base, but it appears rather quickly. Verbena, geranium, thyme, and musk, create a sharp and sweaty "unwashed" smell that is almost too much for modern standards. Even Kouros seemed to smell more subdued when it came to its animalic facets of its fragrance. Well, I shouldn't say that--I guess I feel that I'm more sensitive to sharper smells.

It does mellow nicely and at this point, this is where the grandiosity of the perfume lies. The hebaceousness of the perfume recedes and the sandalwood, vetiver, and cedar create a calming feeling of freshness.

Definitely a try-before-you-buy scent, but not awfully regrettable if bought blind because it can be had for around $20, perhaps even less. To compare the two concentrations, I think the EdT is easier to wear without feeling you've worn too much and doesn't smell too animalic and smells more cozy.

It's funny you can remember these fragrances after all these decades, but these newer creations leave nothing memorable to be appreciated that its future seems to be bleak. Perfumery should definitely go back to basics.
20th July, 2009

Arpège by Lanvin

I managed to snag a vintage set of 1/8 oz Extrait and a 2 oz bottle of EdT. One has to mourn these classic creations dying a slow death, its discount store dollar value insults the perfume's true worth in terms of artistry.

Arpege begins smelling reminiscent of Chanel No. 5, of aldehydes, powdery rose, iris, and indolic flowers of jasmine, lily of the valley, and tuberose. The aldehydes are not as pervasive as No. 5, and Arpege is less sweet.

After this heady floral aldehyde opening, a chypre tone appears with a clear note of coriander at its underbelly accompanied by green stemmy notes.

Woody and sensual notes come up pretty quickly as the coriander seems to be the only middle note left. It starts to smell much like leather. The base reminds me a lot of Joy (another sad swan song) without the uber-animalic notes of civet and musk. However, styrax seems to be the note that sensually rounds out the base until it exhales a woody trail of sandalwood and patchouli.

Interesting how Chanel No. 5 can stay alive all these years compared to Arpege. Honestly I don't think No. 5 is as interesting as Arpege, though given that No. 5 is definitely "prettier". No. 5 IMO seems to have nooks and crannies that need filling in to help a better transition. I think Lanvin would've stayed in focus if they had the boldness to market itself as the "quintessential" scent of femininity and a sex goddess to go along with it.

The extrait is full and rather bold with coriander, however the EdT is much easier to gravitate to. After the floral aldehyde opening, Arpege makes a great masculine scent.

True lovers of perfume can embrace vintage bottles of this for a steal and be happy that it could be had without killing themselves in a pool of their own buyer's remorse.
08th June, 2009

Armani Privé Cuir Améthyste by Giorgio Armani

I found a bottle of this for insanely cheap compared to its retail value. It begins a bit jarring to me, but you instantly notice its leather notes. I can see the comparison to Daim Blond, and Mauboussin's Histoire d'Eau, but Cuir Amethyste is darker, more mysterious with a much more woodier facet. The violet is dangerously seductive, fearful and exciting at the same time. I find this scent more feminine in the beginning moving its way to more masculine nuances. Black is the perfect color for this scent.
03rd June, 2009

Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

I was expecting Ambre Sultan to be a powerhouse scent, being that it is, after all, an amber scent. But it's really a sensual, nostalgic, and gentle memory it seems.

It begins dark, hazy and powdery, as if one has stepped into a spice market and had instantly frozen in time, the latter being a bit jarring because my senses felt like it wouldn't move any farther than that instant moment. You smell the wooden tubs and bowls that hold rich spices of the faraway orient. Coriander and bay hit a perfect chord to bring out a woody facet of the amber more so than its normally resinous character.

As the scent progresses, the powder fades, honeyed notes appear, making it rich, sensual, and narcotic.

At first, I thought I wouldn't like this scent because of its still beginning, but one really has to enjoy this scent for its different aspect on amber.
18th May, 2009

Histoire d'Eau by Mauboussin

I can totally relate to uandimeme's relation to Serge Lutens' Daim Blond--to a certain extent.

Histoire d'Eau is much like a suede (daim) scent, but the way this scent executes is awfully harsh with this underlying bitter medicinal undertone.

Histoire's lofty notes are very much like Daim Blond, probably because it does smell like the apricot pits of Daim Blond, but pondering on this further, I think an aldehyde note is used rather than a true leather note that's putting this scent into wack and preventing it from giving forth its clarity.

The scent smells better as the aldehydes slowly melt away, but not by much more.
28th April, 2009

Borsalino Panama by Borsalino

Panama seems to be directed towards the older, refined, discerning, reserved, quiet type, much in the way I suspect are the type of clientelle of Borsalino.

Aquatic is the way it is described as the opening of this scent, but to me it is a bitter herbs (coriander in it perhaps?) against citrus--smells of a symbolic Jewish holiday remembering sad days (bitter herbs) with a dash of hope (citrus). As the opening notes calm and fade, floral and very spicy notes emerge with a faint powdery edge to it--ginger, clove and nutmeg on a background of violets. A citrus quality hovers over it, and as it fades, and the spicy aspects mellows, it deepens, with its woody facets emerging at the base. At this point there are so many things happening with this scent--it is a showoff of complexity and execution. Sweeter facets emerge, of rounded, somber woods and resins and a dusty/musty patchouli used in Prada and Angel and a transparent vetiver. There's a bit of a coffee like smell to it too.

It seems a temperature controlled scent. In cooler weather, it seems very much the spicy-green oriental that wears close to the skin. On warmer days, it is high pitched and spicy--almost giving it the impression that it is woody, aquatic, and citrus.

Much going on with this scent, to the point where someone who doesn't study and analyze scents this way might think it just too fussy for them. I'd certainly like to wear this when I have moments where I'd like to stir my senses into a bit of heightened excitement. I wonder if this is what Panama, the city, is all about?
25th April, 2009

Joy by Jean Patou

Joy was this scent of mystery back in my childhood days. I didn't know what it smelled like because the SA would not let me smell it because it was "the costliest" perfume in the world, exclusive in a snobbish sort of way. I guess it would've been an expensive thing to do to have a kid obviously without money to test it. I was lucky to smell it when I asked my mother to test it. I was bowled over--I loved the smell of it, so opulent, sophisticated, and glamorous. I was even more bowled over at finding out how much a bottle of EdT costed, not to mention the cost of the parfum, and the 10,000 bulgarian roses needed to make an ounce of Joy.

In modern days, I couldn't help but mourn at Joy's state of existence lately. It's still a high-end department store scent, but not as exclusive anymore. Its price point has been lowered, I suspect that synthetics have now been introduced to the Eau, compliments of Proctor & Gamble, the new owner of Parfums Patou.

Smelling this new "Joy" smells somewhat watered down and barely there, definitely devoid of its glamor that transports you back into the 30s and 40s. I vowed to find vintage bottles.

YES! eBay had them, and **SOB!!** I cried for Joy's dignity. It seemed the era of Joy wearers have disappeared and I found a sealed 1/2 ounce bottle (ca. 1050's?) of the parfum for under $60 and a vintage EdP for under $40. This was the REAL stuff!

These dark amber vintage items were so beautiful smelling them, they smelled real, and the florals were lush. The smell of roses and jasmine made full with the help of tuberose and a verrry verrrry animalic base.

I don't smell sandalwood, unless it is the green note that I smell, but aside from that, the base almost contradicts Joy's floral beauty. It is also so sexy and skanky in such a good way! I'm definitely smelling real musk and real civet that no modern and everyday woman would even go near in this synthetic fruity-floral cum (excuse the pun) Britney Spears era.

Smelling the earlier incarnation of Joy, a scent from another era of opulence and worth, brings me to an understanding myself--I have a profound respect for other eras where everything has a different meaning and convention. It really humbles me to own and smell such a thing of beauty of days gone by.
23rd April, 2009

Alien by Thierry Mugler

When I first tried Alien, I was terribly put off by the sweetness of the the jasmine top notes. This was a sampling on paper. Fast forward several months, bored to death of mostly everything put out there lately, I tried Alien again--on skin this time...I was feeling brave.

Trying it on skin is a different feel now. The jasmine isn't so in-your-face now, but don't get me wrong, it's still rather potent. As it progressed on my skin, it smelled more and more comforting as the jasmine fades.

IMO it's a play on the Mugler's Angel theme, in modern historical terms. That what was thought as spiritual beings from heaven, it is really about visitors from the outer realms of the universe. These visitors may be quite the angels that were described in ancient times. (And I just might be OD-ing from the History Channel!)

Alien, to me, is a solar scent. Bright, expansive, happy, peaceful, ethereal. It gets better and better as the scent progresses throughout the day. It doesn't get heavier, but lighter, cleaner. The wood and amber in this scent makes the floral sweetness soar as an airy delight of flight.

Now that I own the scent, I couldn't help but think I've smelled something in the same vein. The floral woodiness of Alien was much like another favorite of mine--Versace's The Dreamer. The Dreamer does it with Lily, Tobacco, Tarragon and Amber. Alien does it with Jasmine, a Cedar-like note, and Amber.

Both seem to have equal potency and longevity. Careful with applying Dreamer/Alien on warmer and balmy days. The lily/jasmine expands into a very bold aura around you as I've discovered.
22nd April, 2009

Vol de Nuit Évasion by Guerlain

After about longing to own a bottle of this scent for about two years now, I managed to snag one off eBay, though I had to swallow hard and buy it with a hefty finder's fee from the seller. Yup, she jacked it up to about double the price, but I wasn't about to go abroad to find a limited edition perfume, so it was all good.

First sniff of the top notes was glorious, delicate notes of rose and peach--such a glorious combination! Like a breeze blowing the topnotes away, it segues seamlessly into the heart notes. The texture of the fragrance changes.

Now people say that this smells much like Attrape Coeur--the EdT version. I've never smelled Attrape Coeur/Guet-Apens, and people say that it had nothing to do with the original Vol de Nuit. My nose says different. I do smell Vol de Nuit in the heart notes. I definitely smell its green notes of oakmoss and galbanum, as well as its bitter notes of vetiver, but being less dry and powdery compared to her grandmother. I do smell its powderiness, but the balance has changed at the base with a more pronounced woody and vanillic note to veil the powdery iris somewhat.

The base notes are very persistent and tenacious. The woody notes are so markedly pronounced, one would mistake it for a mens cologne. Because of this, the scent could be unisex, much in the way Fresh Index's Cannabis Santal is--lighthearted in the beginning with deep woody/patchouli vanillic nuances at the end.

Happily, this Guerlain was made truly in the House's style, despite that this is a limited distribution flanker. Now I guess I have to suffer a purchase (probably a decant) and see what Attrape Coeur/Guet-Apens is all about. VdNE is an EdT, but it does have some heft and longevity to it. By reputation a lot of Guerlains do not last on my skin for very long, its woody base doesn't have much sillage, but it does stay around at least 6 hours, a happy plus, for me.

Hope you get to try this wonderful flanker!
27th March, 2009

Habit Rouge by Guerlain

I didn't quite understand Habit Rouge when I tried it for the first time. Got my first whiffs off of the Legere version. Being someone who doesn't care for overly citrus compositions, mainly for the reasons that it can be too sharp or smelling too much like furniture polish. I liked Legere, but I thought it was missing something.

I went ahead and ordered an EdT. A light bulb finally went on. Despite its overly citrus facet, there was something that hid itself underneath. Something very animalic that persisted all the way through. The leather aspect in the scent is more aldehydic to me and all evident is the Guerlinade wafting underneath. Warm, woody, musky, vanillic...spiked with citrus that really doesn't go away until the very final aspects of the drydown in the most classic of Guerlain style.

It wasn't until after 2009 I learned there was an EdP version. Didn't hear much more about it, but all I could think of was why would anyone in their right mind want anything stronger?? The EdT was strong enough. Later on I learn that it is the addition of oud in the scent. Ah, an interesting facet to the mix. I was lucky to snag myself a bottle online, since there isn't any to be had here retail wise. As an initial impression of the EdP, it was again puzzling, as if trying Habit Rouge again for the first time. I definitely smelled the oud, and finally, on my third wearing, I finally understood the addition of oud. For the obvious reasons, it definitely is another addition of a fixative for longevity, but I think the bigger reason is because adding oud suddenly makes it more modern. Of course, its classic lines are kept, but the EdP definitely brought it from the 60s-70s fantastic animalic to the 21st century. I still love the EdT, and Legere is nice, but it's like a castrated Guerlain. Smelling the EdP is like smelling a burning vanilla. Not the creme brulee type, but more like the smoke off vanilla-musk incense. You still smell hints of the animalic aspects, but rather than letting it all hang out shamelessly like the EdT, its ego is finally concealed (even if it's just behind a veil of smoke), and now definitely wearable. Spraying too much of the EdP can be blinding, in the sense that you will only smell citrus and oud. The EdP really reminds me of Montale's Black Aoud, but HR EdP is definitely much more richer and more well done.

I've learned now that there is a l'Extrait version. I don't think I'll be able to afford a bottle right away, but I hear that this version runs more classic like the EdT. Hopefully I'll be able to at least snag a decant until I can find a bottle to snag for cheap.
22nd March, 2009

Citrus Verbena Intensa by L'Occitane

This was my summer scent as well. It came in a small 7/10 oz. bottle. My nose just couldn't accept their Verbena scent, but this, along with some fresh squeezed, juicy citrus just made everything so much nicer throughout the humid day. I didn't realize they had an intense version after buying their huge 6.7(?)oz regular Citrus Verbena, which actually had better balance between citrus and verbena, but would never last over an hour unless you sprayed it heavily on your clothes. The intense spray was a nice thing to carry with me for a definitely refreshing pick me up that lasted about 3 hours with traces of faint cedar that lingered.

BUY THE CITRUS VERBENA SHOWER GEL! Definitely switches off the foul mood at first sniff!
12th November, 2008

Beckham Signature for Him by Beckham

I got a little confused because I thought I was sniffing his original debut fragrance, Instinct. A fresh fougere without being aquatic. The opening fruit notes smelled more citrus than anything, much like SJ's Unforgivable. Then I smelled what seemed like a tamed re-worked (castrated) version of Instinct, slightly mossy without the spicy punch of pimento. The concentration is thin, very thin--go ahead an be generous with spraying because a lot of it evaporates within the first 30 minutes (seems like it's his trademark with all his scents).

Nice, but this has no distinction and originality compared to his former's just okay.
07th November, 2008

Vetiver by Guerlain

Vetiver is one of the notes I am so picky about, most of the time because I'm so wary of its bitter edge juxtaposed to its green citric and earthy qualities, how a nose can play these qualities up or down, usually for my case, playing it down. Other notes, like patchouli, a "sweaty" variety of cedar, and sharp cumin are also notes that can break my attention from the rest of a fragrance composition, and I'm totally put off by the scent--no second chances most of the time. I'm not saying that I won't wear scents with these notes in it, but I'm just picky in the way how it plays its part in the whole composition.

I've smelled Guerlain's Vetiver before, and I was hit left and right by notes that just made me think that this composition was brash and unrefined, starting with its blast of citrus right to its bitter edge that seemed to smell frankly of rubber as many have mentioned.

Trial upon trial, it never seemed to catch my attention, I seemed to fixate in my mind that it smelled brash to me and very un-Guerlain like IMO.

After some years of simply detesting this scent, bored out of my mind smelling newer creations of late, I've resorted to appreciating and re-appreciating classic fragrances. I think I've reached some sort of level in scent preference, and in this instance, trying Vetiver became a whole new vision and appreciation of this scent! Instead of fixating on notes that seemed to jut out at me, I started noticing the other nuances in this scent. Now that I've found peace in Vetiver I'm noticing its deeper, spicy and resinous qualities. No longer too sharp green and grassy, I'm finding it smelling sensual, refined, bold yet reserved at the same time. The tobacco is not the green variety to my nose, but more the spicy aspect of the dried variety, probably because of the pepper and nutmeg. Simply ingenious the way it's blended into the composition.

I didn't purchase a bottle right away, but when I went home and kept taking whiffs of it, I became obsessed. I kept thinking of its scent for a whole week before giving in and purchased a bottle. Funny how the mind can keep an olfactory memory exactly like the way it smelled sniffing it for real. So real that I was obsessed about it all week!

I had plans of waiting to purchase it online for cheaper, but I just couldn't wait any longer. It had to be mine. I'd be in pure ecstasy if Guerlain comes out with a version with even deeper qualities to it. But with the way this scent was composed, it's hard to create a winner better than this original.

I still can't understand why I love this scent so much now, but this definitely has set another benchmark in my understanding of perfumery.
30th September, 2008

Magnifique by Lancôme

Solidified, berried, hard candy. Awful! It's cloud is so thick that there are no spaces in between to breathe real air.
27th August, 2008