Reviews by charlie.gund

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    charlie.gund
    United States United States

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    Coco Noir by Chanel

    I don't know much yet, but I have come to recognize the "exalting" properties of Chanel fragrances. I'm glad I have, because Coco Noir exalts me six ways to Sunday. The whole composition is beautiful, but I find the musk-rose accord most beautiful of all. To be honest, I can no longer remember the opening citrus—I'm overwhelmed by the beauty of the incense-and-rose that persists, endlessly. Other reviewers have found it masculine, but I think the rose and jasmine are perhaps too seductive, and the musk is perhaps too white, for men to wear successfully. Rather than being masculine, I think Coco Noir is serious—thoughtful, deep, and powerful. I imagine that the woman who wears it must be too.

    14 May, 2013

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    La Vie Est Belle by Lancôme

    Traumatic memories of too much Tresor in years past have left me very wary of Lancome; but this very lovely fragrance has won me over. The dusty powder of the iris—which can go so very wrong (as it does, I think, in Tresor)—is kept in check by the damp sweetness of all the gourmand notes, which are themselves restrained almost to abstraction. Tonka bean gives the whole composition a comforting gravity. I do not like it one bit, but I can't stop smelling it. That's a winner.

    14 May, 2013

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    Gucci Première by Gucci

    The official list of notes tallies well with my experience. The opening citrusy accord is quite lovely and sheer; the white flowers emerge beautifully through its freshness. Later on, however, all that remains for me is a sort of inert musk—I can't quite find the wood—under which a limp remainder of orange blossom is, sadly, quite crushed. It is by no means unpleasant, but it doesn't live up to the promise of those first few seconds.

    14 May, 2013

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    Girlfriend by Justin Bieber

    Good heavens: I admire the charity of JTD's interpretation, but what his erudite nose identifies as a "stagnant marine note" I can only read as—I'm so very sorry—acetone. I imagine a tween "Belieber" removing her purple nail polish while drinking grape Tang. It is a poignant scene, but not a fragrant one.

    14 May, 2013

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    Dot by Marc Jacobs

    After reading about JTD's niece, I revisited this cheery scent. I'm glad I did. Cheery berry; the dragonfruit and honeysuckle resolve, for me, into something like watermelon bubble gum, but in a very appealing way. It's not at all unpleasant and would be just right for a many a happy young person.

    14 May, 2013

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    Lady Gaga Fame by Lady Gaga

    After an opening that suggests something interesting may develop, it doesn't. Later, the smell recalls a tween with freshly washed hair who is chewing grape bubble-gum and texting about boys. The black juice in the sinster bottle ought to be viewed from a distance. Just don't open it.

    14 May, 2013

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    Incense by Ava Luxe

    While the incense isn't as potent as some may wish, I give it a thumbs-up: it's what I wanted from CDG Incense Avignon but didn't get. That frag I found unhappily, severely literal; this one is much more restrained about its frankincense, which it allows to develop gradually through layers of cedarwood, leather, bergamot, and chamomile. The overall impression, for me, is warmly resinous -- serene rather than severe. If it has any deficit, it's the oddly Estee-Lauderish quality that I am finding common to Ava Luxe frags -- the warm amber at the end of the day seems to me just slightly too fuzzy. Still: some incense make me contemplate my mortality, while this one makes me smile. I like it.

    09 March, 2011

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    Tricorn by Caswell-Massey

    I can't imagine anyone in the twenty-first century who would wear Tricorn *naturally* -- it is distinctly old-fashioned. The medicinal quality many observe contributes to this effect. Some people may remember Balsam di Malta, an antique dental astringent -- the powerful benzoin accord with which Tricorn begins smells startlingly like that. Yet that opening dries down quickly, leaving behind what Redbeard calls "creamy wood": an enduring amber-cedar-sandalwood-cinnamon glow, warm but unsentimental. Like it.

    09 March, 2011

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    Cuir / Cuir de Russie by Piver

    Griff calls the overwhelming mandarin "metallic"; I'd say it's more blunt and fuzzy, like a skein of polyester yarn wrapped carefully around a ball-peen hammer. The carnation is squashed to a sad pink pulp (some of its clove seeps out, however, in the squashing). The rich or ancient leather-or-wood notes that others have found I can only discover after hours, long polyester-hammer hours, sitting very close to my skin, almost as though it were a postcard sent from the gift shop of the antique sawmill Quarry so beautifully describes. "I wish I were there, too," I say sadly to Quarry; but my nose will not take me there.

    This is a good fragrance to have on hand if, for instance, you are staying in Paris in the winter in an apartment with no hot water, where you consequently bathe perhaps not as often as you might like to. Piver's Cuir de Russie is so powerful, so straightforward, and so absurdly durable that you will never walk out of the house feeling unkempt. Not fascinating, perhaps, but certainly presentable.

    11th April, 2008

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    Youth Dew by Estée Lauder

    I urge all those who smell a rich old lady to give Youth Dew another chance, with more careful attention. She may be rich, this lady, she may be old (she wasn't always), but she is wiser than you know. The initial shower of assorted spices suggests that she may possibly be benign, even kindly; then, the clove and rose recall the grand passions of her youth; finally--you must pay close attention--the benzoin drifts up from beneath her polished manners like a prophecy (tricky to interpret, undoutedly true). Among my favorites.

    11th April, 2008

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