Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 185

Maharanih Intense by Nicolaï

Judging by a number of reviews I've read, I assumed that this was going to be a big, sweet Oriental, but while it veers into Oriental territory I wouldn't have thought of it that way if I had smelled it first without reading reviews. I'm saying this so that people who aren't into oriental scents won't make the same assumptions I did about it before trying it. Descriptions of it can sometimes conjure visions of Guerlain's Shalimar, but Maharanih is nothing like that. It has a huge orange-ish note in te opening but unlike some others have said, it isn't a candied orange as there is something more bitter and dry about it. I get cinnamon, but I don't get cloves. I get hints of sandalwood, but I don't the get chocolate or civet at all. What I do get (I'm testing this sample in one of the coldest February's on record here in DC) is a bitter, dry, almost peppery, woody orange insense scent that is straining to blossom under the weather conditions, but can never quite make it. Even with that, I like what I am getting from it. I think it probably needs to be tested agan during the warmer end of spring or in summer to experience the fullness of the scent, so I'll save my sample until then.
25th February, 2015

Lady Stetson by Stetson

I love Lady Stetson for what is and what it isn't. What it is is an inexpensive, aldehydic woody floral that ended up smelling much better than the cheap, drugstore fragrance assumptions I had made about it before actually trying it. What is isnt, is one of those boring, interchangable fruity florals like the ones that are flying off the department store shelves at ten times the price. I found my full bottle in a thrift store at less than $5, so there was no reason to pass it up. I sprayed it on as soon as I left the store and let it play out on the ride home. I don't like aldehydes and that, and the the fact that it smells obviously synthetic in the beginning, renders the start a little rough for me. Many have compared this to the more expensive Chanel No. 22 and I can see some similarities, in the beginning, but as the aldehyeds in Lady Stetson quickly wear away, what emerges is something that's more warm, spicy woods laced with oakmoss, making it a nice winter comfort scent, where Chanel No. 22 remanis more sweet, aldehydic/floral and spring-like. I have a vintage bottle of Chanel No. 22 pure parfum and to tell you the truth, while the quality of the Chanel is obviously better, I prefer the warm accessability of Lady Stetson, to the prim and proper aloofness of Chanel No. 22.
16th February, 2015

India Hicks Island Living Spider Lily by Crabtree & Evelyn

a slightly fruity, citrusy, and salty lily note, that is nothing spectacular. It may be cute for summer, but that's about it. A man, woman, or child could wear it.
24th January, 2015
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April Showers by Cheramy

Just a very pale powdery floral that lays close to the skin and disappears after about 20 minutes. It was actually created by a French company to fool Americans into thinking it was an American-made perfume. It was created to cater to American tastes, so it's not very complex.
01st January, 2015

Fantasque by Louis Féraud

This review is for a the cologn concentration of Fantasque. When I first put it on my wrists I could barely smell it. However, as it warmed on the skin, the scent unfolded in a way that very much evokes Deneuve (Catherine Deneuve), of which I have a small perfume concentration. But fantasque is a tad, JUST a tad, fruiter. In fact, they smell so similar that if you have been trying to purchase Deneuve and can't seem to spring for the prices that they're charging for it on ebay, this may be a satisfying substitute as it is a beautiful classic chypre full of oakmoss, as well. For an AVON scent, Fantasque (to me) smells of equal quality to the Deneuve and I'm happy I stumbled upon it.
21st December, 2014

Santal 33 by Le Labo

I get iris, leather, sandalwood throughout the wearing as this is a very linear scent on my skin. I don't get any of the spiciness of cardemom. However, I also pick up on the slightly watery, cucumber note. You can tell that quality synthetic materials were used, but it's still hard for me to get past the obvious synthetic undertones of most of the Le Labo scents I've tried so far. The only Le Labo scents where that doesn't bother me is Patchouli 24, Labdanum 18 and Neroli 36, but I'm looking forward to testing the rest of the Le Labo samples I have. If you like iris and leather this is a scent to consider. I'm enjoying Santal 33, but I won't be needing a full bottle.
21st October, 2014

Wrappings by Clinique

This is based on a vintage, 5 ml spray bottle that doesn't indicate the concentration. First, a blast of pine, then lovely oakmossy greeness. Other subtle things are going on, but it's the oakmoss that stays dominant throughout, on me and that makes me happy. I agree that this evokes Vero Profumo's Mito, as I'm wearing both Wrappings and Mito right now for comparison, but where Wrappings is more on the dry side, Mito seems a tad more spicy and has a kind of champagne-like effervescence. Both are wonderful and are working well together. If you are into scents where the floral aspects are obvious and right out front, that ISN'T Wrappings.
21st October, 2014

Equistrius by Parfum d'Empire

It's interesting how the reviews of Equistrius are so evenly divided. It's a quietly seductive scent that lays close to the skin and has plenty of mystery. I don't get any chocolate notes which seem to be listed in the notes for the scent elsewhere and it isn't at all sweet. This as it is a beautiful rendering of whispery iris with soft, suede undertones. I just wish it projected a little better and lasted a little longer. A woman or a man could enjoy this.
30th July, 2014

Black Saffron by Byredo

This is strangly named since I get no saffron whatsoever. What I do get is is a woman wearing a rose perfume, dining on a cucumber salad as she sits next to an ashtray. In the far drydown, it definitely evokes Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather, but to me, Black Saffron is more subtle and less synthetic smelling than TL. Not head over heels about it but it's a nice, unisex scent that can work in any climate.
24th July, 2014

Dioressence by Christian Dior

Darn it! Great perfume makes me feel glamorous no matter what I'm looking like. I'm wearing the same t-shirt and camouflage cargo pants I've been working in for the past three days, but I've just spritzed on vintage Dioressence EDT and with the lock of hair that keeps falling over my eye, I feel like some kind of 1950's femme fatale, smelling of dusty, rosey florals and spicy sweetness underlined with a subtle note of skank on this 90 degree + day in Washington, DC. It doesn't get any better than this.
18th June, 2014

Noir Epices by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Based on the scents Catherine Deneuve lists as her favorites, as well as her own scent, Deneuve, I can see why she likes Noir Epices. It definitely opens with a dramatic flourish of rich spices and mystery that evokes a frozen frame from a Film Noire movie from the 1930's or 40's, along with the dramatic chypres that would have likely been worn back then by the movie's leading lady. However, on me, that wonderful drama doesn't sustain itself for very long and the scent quickly dries down into a soft and creamy, but mildly spicy skin scent and whatever created the chypre effect (JaimeB and PigeonMurderer seemed to have experienced the same chypre faze) has completely disappeared. In all fairness, I am experiencing this scent from dabs from a 1 ml sample. It might be that this is a scent that is best sprayed to get the full effect.
17th June, 2014

Mito Eau de Parfum by Vero Profumo

Octavian Coifan is right: perfumery is an art and all one has to do to completely understand that is to experience any one of Vero Kern's compositions. I'm finally experiencing MITO for the first time after ordering a sample of the extrait from Lucky Scent and now she's created a new scent called "Rozy" (sigh).

I found myself sniffing my wrist over and over again this morning before I could even write this. It has been that way for me with each scent Vero creates. I won't even launch into notes in MITO as everyone else has pretty much articulated that in their impressions of the composition. And while many have compared it to Chanel's Cristalle ( I can see that, kind of), what I'm getting is the same deeply haunting beauty that brings Le Parfum de Therese to mind as to my nose, MITO has that melancholy slightly decayed melon/flowers thing going on and I love it. Currently, I'm reading a book that's a series of vignettes by the writer Andrei Codrescu called "New Orleans Mon Amour", all done in the 20 years he lived in New Orleans (My favorite city in the U.S.). One of my favorite passages from the book:

"A scent of strawberries, verbena and warm chicken feathers lingers throughout the port. In the early afternoon on your very own balcony hugged by the generous magnolia, Tony Green's Gypsy Trio sets up to play. Tony gives the world just what you've been too lazy to provide: rhythm, shape, energy, melancholy and longing."

This is what all of Vero's compositions do for me as they have the ability to evoke a strange state of reverie and moments of longing that leave me melancholy in my inability to put my finger on just what exactly it is that I'm longing for. But I'm okay with that because this is when I feel the most alive.

Even though Onda is still my favorite, I will wear MITO the next time I visit New Orleans. Vero Kern continues to amaze me.

NOTE: This review was actually for the EXTRAIT and I posted it under the wrong concentration.
12th June, 2014 (last edited: 21st October, 2014)

Liù by Guerlain

Liu is definitely similar to Chanel #5 in that the aldehydes feature prominently, especially in the opening. However, Liu evolves into something much drier, woodier and less sweet making it a little more unisex. There's a slightly darker and more mysterious thing going on in Liu and I think it's the hint of oakmoss (which is not included in the list of notes) that I'm picking up on as the scent dries down. Liu lies very close to the skin. I wish it lasted longer and projected more, but it I still find it beautiful and one of the most underrated Guerlain scents.
20th May, 2014
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Jean-Marc Sinan by Jean-Marc Sinan

Think Deneuve and Yves Saint Laurent's "Y", only slightly more mysterious, deep and seductive. The oakmoss, patchouli, coriander, incense opening and the the soft florals over oakmoss drydown are to die for. I thought nothing could top my beloved Deneuve and Y, but I'm starting to think that this one can. I haven't stopped wearing it since I was gifted a vintage EDT mini last week. Now I'm hunting for the parfum.
24th February, 2014

Chypre d'Orient by Molinard

Chypre D'Orient is an overlooked gem! Not one review that I had read before I purchased it could prepare me for the surprise this would be. First off, this is misnamed because there's nothing "Oriental" about this scent. This is a chypre that pays homage to to the classic chypres of the 1930's, 40's and 50's. The real surprise is that Chypre D'Orient is the closest thing to vintage Diorama! It also pays homage to vintage Femme Rochas and Guerlain Mitsouko in that it's both peachy and plummy. Miraculously, there is oakmoss too. So for anyone who has ever wanted to experience what vintage Diorama was, try this before you purchase the reformulated version of Diorama. Dior should be ashamed of themselves for letting Molinard show them up!
13th February, 2014

Fougère Bengale by Parfum d'Empire

This is a little too pale, minty and aquatic for my tastes, but it's not a bad scent at all if you like those kinds of notes. I just wish that there was more tobacco and I'm not getting any of my beloved oakmoss. I can see the barbershop references totally, and it's not a bad thing, but I'm afraid that that reference may make women shy away from trying this when they shouldn't. Personnally, I think that placing scents squarely in masculine and feminine categories is getting a little outdated and senseless. If it works for you you should wear it. My friend (a guy) accidentally grabbed my vintage Norell edp because I had it sitting too close to the tray of "masculine" scents that I own and he, not looking closely, mistook it for Guerlain Vetiver. He shrugged it off and went on out the door. When he came back later he was hooked and now he purposely grabs the Norell from time to time, especially since he receives compliments.
13th February, 2014

Timeless by Avon

This review is for the vintage cologne. Someone who knows that I collect perfumes found a small bottle of Timeless at a yard sale and brought it to me. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I'm really not into Avon scents, so I thanked them and put it away. Then one day, on a whim, I decided to try it and was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it. My problem with Avon scents are that they usually smell of lesser quality materials. My late maternal grandmother could never afford good perfumes, so she wore Avon scents and when I smelled Timeless, I was immediately transported back to her home. I didn't know back then what she wore, but upon smelling Timeless, I knew that this was it. Everything smelled like it My mother had great taste in perfume until, ironically, she became anosmic. I remember her wearing Chanel No.5 and 19, Arpege, and Bakir among others, and even then, I could tell the difference between the kinds of scents my mother chose and the perfume my grandmother wore. Whenever my mother tried to gift my grandmother with better perfumes, she refused to wear anything, but her Avon. Fast forward more years than I care to say, I am wearing Timeless as I have my morning coffee and write this and I'm thoroughly enjoying it and not caring that the materials aren't more expensive (even though this would be killer if they were). This is a strange chypre that seems to straddle many chypre categories and on me it's slightly animalic (which makes me happy),even though there aren't any animalic materials listed...unless it's a slightly fecal jasmine note. Timeless has become one of those cheap, guilty pleasure scents that I wear in secret to satisfy myself, like when I'm home all day or at bedtime.
26th December, 2013

Ruffles by Oscar de la Renta

For Christmas my mother sent me a cache of vintage scents she'd found in an antiques store and ruffles EDT was among them. This morning I am wearing it. The first notes (for me) are creamy, fruity white florals and while fruity floral is NOT a favorite category for me, in this case it's fine because of the supporting notes that quickly follow, like the honey and other florals with an oakmoss note. Oakmoss isn't listed, but it there and it makes the scent veer off into chypre territory which was unexpected and most satisfying for me. This scent definitely has a 1980's aesthetic, in that it's crammed with lots of big notes that seemingly shouldn't be together (caramel and civet?), but somehow the way it's blended makes it work. Strangely it reminds me of Deneuve, but with some slightly fruity notes added.
26th December, 2013

Tea Rose Amber by Perfumer's Workshop

I found it yesterday at TJ Maxx for $5. It's more about the amber than anything else and kind of synthetic starting out, but as it dries down it gets soft and mellow ant turns into a creamy ambery musk. In the store I stood there pondering it for a while, before I decided to place it into my basket, but it was so cheap I took the risk and now I'm glad I did. It's not a great perfume, but if your an amber lover, it is worth keeping your eyes open for, especially at that price.

I don't usually like rose scents but Perfumers Workshops Tea Rose is one I do like. Since the Rose and the Amber were both surprisingly good, I feel like going back to TJ's today to get the Tea Rose Jasmine that I passed on that was sitting right next to the Amber.
02nd December, 2013

Rose by Caron

If you took the honied peppery rose of Parfum Sacre, the soft florals of Bellodgia and the spicy clove-y-ness of Poivre and put them all together, you would have Caron's Rose. Usually rose scents (other than Joy and 1000) are kind of flat and boring to me. But this rose is as thick and rich as scarlet velvet curtains and is in no way a soliflore (spelling?).
08th November, 2013

Tea Rose Eau de Toilette by Perfumer's Workshop

Tart Rose

Any of you who've ever read my reviews, you know by now that I'm not a rose fan. However, after seeing Tea Rose in TJ Maxx from time to time over the years, priced at just $4.99 for 1 oz (30 ml), I finally bought it yesterday. While notes such as sandalwood, amber, cedar, tuberose are listed in some reviews that I've read, on my skin, nothing comes across but the rose. I don't love it, but I can truly appreciate it and it can hold its own next to any of the more expensive rose-centered scents that I've tried (Montales, Guerlain Nahema, etc.). Tea Rose is a good layering rose for those who want to punch up the rose note in other scents. This morning I've layered it with Nahema and the result is an over-the-top rose with the depth and texture of deep red brocade fabric. If you spot this in TJ Maxx, Marshall's or any other discount stores, don't pass on it as it's too good and inexpensive.

Pros: Smells exactly like a rose
Cons: Only smells like a rose"

15th October, 2013

Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Where's the mystery?

With such a great name, I was really expecting something moody and mysterious. This definitely opens with notes of rose, patchouli and incense which is not a combination that I'm crazy about and whenever I see black current listed I get apprehensive, but I withheld judgment until I let it all play out. The scent does evoke that vintage make up smell, which is interesting, but what ruins everything for me is that the overall scent seems a little too synthetic smelling and transparent in the way the L'Artisans can be sometimes. I know that nearly every scent these days is composed of mostly synthetics due to regulations and cost and there's no getting around that, however when they smell obviously synthetic, my suspension of disbelief goes out the window and it's hard for me to imagine I'm smelling something straight from the garden or forest and all I can think of is someone in a lab with test tubes.

11th June, 2013

Intoxication by D'Orsay

Standard French-style perfume

I acquired a tube of vintage nips. Intoxication was among the 4 scents included. The great thing about testing vintage scents from nips is that the scent inside is pretty much as fresh as the day it was inserted into the nip, since they're completely sealed, which means no air can get in.

My impression of Intoxication is that it's an aldehydic floral in the vein of Arpege. It opens with aldehydes and rose. There's also jasmine, citrus, sandalwood, vetiver and musk. There's a very slight powdery quality, but it's not enough to deter anyone who is not fond of powdery scents. It would be a nice find if you came across it in a thrift store, antiques mall or flea market, but there's more than enough Arpege available on the internet that you won't need to exhaust yourself trying to score some Intoxication.

Pros: a safe bet
Cons: no surprises here

07th June, 2013

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

A Beautiful Abstraction

Like most Chanel scents, 31 Rue Cambon is an abstraction of several things: there are hints of florals, woods citrus, pepper, etc., that really aren't there and that's what make scents from this house interesting. I can appreciate them more when I think of them as being composed by the perfumer like abstract paintings. However, I can't agree with this whole "modern chypre" thing. I feel that it's too revisionist and an historical category of perfumery like the chypre category, should not be redefined as a marketing tool. With that said, I love Rue Cambon for what it is.

31st May, 2013

Violet Blonde by Tom Ford

Reading the notes, I would not have purchased this, as any scent that mentions pink pepper isn't of interest to me. However, I received it as a gift from someone who knows that I love collecting perfumes. While I'm not a big fan of Tom Ford's scents, as I think part of his ouevre is way overrated and overpriced and ALL of the ones that that I've smelled come off a little too obviously synthetic, I have to say that I do like some things about Violet Blond. It's sweet, but not cloyingly sweet and the violet notes are just enough so as not to turn me off. It's not great or terribly innovative, but it holds my interest enough that I do reach for it from time to time and I'm usually glad I did. For me it evokes the idea of donning a brand new pair of buttery soft, purple suede pumps with a pair of my favorite jeans and that fantasy is good enough for me. one phase VB hints at Guerlain's Apres l'Ondee.
05th May, 2013

Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

A woman weighing in on Terre d'Hermes: When-o-when are we going to stop defining every scent as masculine or feminine and just wear well-made scents that smell good to us, with confidence, as that's all takes to pull any scent off with panache. Whether you're male or female, Terre d'Hermes is a great scent. I'm wearing the parfum version of it as I type this and I know that if it was bearing a Serge Luten's label, there would be more reviews from women about how wonderful it is. It's all about perception...and marketing.
01st May, 2013

Manifesto by Yves Saint Laurent

From the list of notes you can see that this scent was designed to be just what it is: not bad, not great, just safe (meh). There's nothing new or interesting about it. The mainstream perfume houses aren't aiming to make scents that will be critically acclaimed. They're looking to make lots of sales and the YSL name will be what sells it.
22nd April, 2013

Patchouli Patch by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This is a nice, bright and spicy patchouli. It has the same "transparent" quality that most of the L'Artisans seem to have. I prefer my patchouli more on the dark, dirty side and prefer the smoky drama of Le Labo's Patchouli 24. But again, this is nice and should be in the collection of anyone who collects patchouli-based fragrances.
07th April, 2013

Climat by Lancôme

I had seen images of Climat on Ebay before and didn't know much about it, so I didn't want to risk it. However, A woman at a flea market was asking a fair price for what was left (1/3) of a vintage, 1/2 ounce parfum, a few months ago, so I snapped it up. I'm glad I did. Climat is one of those creamy, old-style chypres that seems to lie somewhere in between the beautiful and long discontinued Deneuve and YSL's "Y". While I am NOT a lover of aldehydes (love Chanel No, 5 though), I have to say that, to me, they don't seem to feature as prominently in Climat as others have mentioned. What does seem to dominate, in a good way, is oakmoss, which, strangely, is not mentioned in any of the previous reviews. It's definitely a floral, but I'm getting some real animalic/woody notes in the dry down. If you're a chypre lover/collector, you should definitely keep your eyes open for a VINTAGE bottle of Climat. Please don't buy newer versions of Climat expecting a real classic chypre because the IFRA will not allow them to make a chypre like this anymore.
04th April, 2013

Pour Une Femme (new) by Caron

Quarry's reviews always seem to be spot on...I should have trusted her on this one instead of blind buying a full bottle. The $30 I sprung for could have gone to something much more interesting. I still love Caron, just not this one.
29th March, 2013