Perfume Reviews

Reviews by bbBD

Advertisement
Total Reviews: 363
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Jazmin by Norma Kamali

A terrifically lush, bright jasmine soliflore with ample sillage and longevity. Not particularly indolic, instead this jasmine is clean with a lightly green undercurrent. Fantastic.
21st September, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Shalimar Eau Légère Parfumée by Guerlain

Shalimar Eau Legere takes the spirit of Shalimar and puts it in a more compact package. The initial citrus topnote is not unlike the lemon top of Habit Rouge. Nearly immediately a creamy vanilla joins the picture, slowly building in strength until the combination of citrus and vanilla approximates a lemon-custard desert. There's something in this citrus/vanilla accord that approximates the legendary citrus/vanilla/opoponax of the original - it refers to it - without actually being Shalimar. Shalimar Eau Legere was later re-introduced as Eau de Shalimar, but if you can find an Eau Legere bottle go for it because the original formula is richer and creamier. Thumbs UP.

18th September, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Chergui by Serge Lutens

Pretty much a classic Sheldrake/Lutens. It's big, bold, rich, and smooooooth. Chergui's honeyed tobacco is reminiscent of Fumerie Turque but except for leathery notes there's a lovely tea note joined by spices and incense (the latter becoming more evident as the perfume progresses). Everything is so lusciously blended that no particular note stands out, but rather it presents as a whole, much like Sheldrake's Coromandel (Chanel). As you'd expect sillage and longevity are top notch. It's obviously subjective but even among a line of similarly styled fragrances there's something special about Chergui that stands out, making it one of my favorite Lutens. Thumbs UP.
15th September, 2010
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Patou pour Homme (original) by Jean Patou

It is a rare moment when I jump on the bandwagon with a crowd claiming a perfume to be "the best" in any category, but there's really no way around the simple and clear fact that Patou Pour Homme is on the short list of greatest masculines ever produced. Personal taste may dictate that it's not your #1 favorite masculine, but if it's not in your top-3 I suggest the following: put your sample away. Then spend a couple years sampling hundreds of other fragrances before coming back to PPH. This is not a fragrance for someone new to perfume or without a taste for the bold.

There is little to add to the actual note reviews that precede this one. With your nose planted into your wrist you will note the what is so amazing about PPH's construction: the major notes of each phase (lavender into patchouli into labdanum/sandalwood) seemingly progress independently from the accompanying notes of the phases (citrus, herbs, pepper, incense, leather). As the perfume progresses the various notes mingle in and out with each other. And while this intricate dance progresses forward if one wears PPH a general monolithic aroma of herbal/woody/leathery warmth surrounds you. The progression moves slowly over many hours and winds up in a leathery base that I believe to be the intersection of sandalwood and amber.

It's taken me nearly two years of sampling and wearing to get my head around PPH for long enough to articulate this review. Given the rarity it's a special-occasion fragrance for me, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't look forward to those occasions as much for wearing PPH as the occasion itself. Thumbs UP.
31st August, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Eau de Cologne Impériale by Guerlain

To review Imperiale as one would review a contemporary fragrance misses the point entirely. One can hardly apply current standards of review to a perfume pushing 150+ years old. Imperiale is a true historical artifact and a glimpse into perfumery past. That it remains in production is a nod to the grand history of Guerlain and its place as the matriarch of French perfumery. It will not last very long on the skin, it does not contain any exciting or novel citrus/floral accord, and it is not going to replace your current favorite citrus cologne of choice. In fact, the next time you enjoy your favorite cologne you can thank it's great-great-grandfather Eau de Cologne Imperiale.

So how does one enjoy Imperiale? It so happens that Imperiale was my father's 'signature scent'. Years after I became interested in fragrance I made an uninformed comment along the lines of "well it doesn't last very long." My father explained that he doesn't want to small like any fragrance all day, but rather splashing on Imperiale after a shower was his morning 'wake up refresher' - part of feeling clean and awake and ready for the day. Given its bright and bracing lime-centric citrus topnote blast this makes perfect sense to me. Thumbs UP.

29th August, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Eau Sento by Iunx

A beautiful woody fragrance that manages to capture the the aroma of a wet forest - the wood notes are vibrant and joined by subtle mossy notes. Although largely linear, I pick up on some mildly spicy clove-like notes that emerge after an hour or so. Longevity is not so great with L'Eau Sento, but it's not poor enough for that to detract from the quality of the perfume.

Thumbs UP.
28th August, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Patchouli by Réminiscence

Reminscence Paris' patchouli soliflore is pretty much the gold standard of patchouli perfumes. The raw earthiness of the patchouli note is present but balanced by a hint of amber and a touch of sandalwood. It's certainly sweeter with less of the dirt/soil aroma of say, Farmacia SS Anunziata's Patchouly Indonesiano (my favorite patchouli) but far less sweet then the almost vanillic Patchouli Leaves (Montale). There's a radiant quality to Reminscence by which one can simultaneously detect different facets of the patchouli note at the same time. For a little more ooomph (sillage, longevity, etc.) try the eau de parfum "Elixir" version.

Not that I should have to say this, but if you don't love patchouli you should probably avoid this perfume. Thumbs up.
17th August, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Attrape Coeur / Guet-Apens / Royal Extract by Guerlain

Reading through the reviews of Attrape Couer I'm struck at how differently people experience this perfume. Some people smell Mitsouko, others smell an animalic, dirty floral while others experience A/C as being nearly gourmand. My own personal experience with A/C represents this same wild variation, and it has taken me years to finally wrap my head around it. When I first sampled A/C the combination of vanilla, amber, iris, and citrus presented itself to my brain as a lemon-meringue like gourmand. As my nose developed and I became more attuned to Guerlains A/C's floral notes became more evident. The accord that I had initially experienced as simply gourmand I now experience as a stunningly intricate floral/oriental. Driven by a sweetened rose note the heart of A/C is rounded out by violet and softened with a delicate powdery iris. This heart presents itself slowly as initial hints of citrus fade, but the vanillic topnotes apparent from on application persist throughout the life of the fragrance and eventually meld into a classic Guerlinade-and-amber base. Personally I don't find any similarities whatsoever with the classic chypres like Mitsouko. Rather I draw the connection between powdery soft iris/violet perfumes like Apres l'Ondee and vanilla-heavy orientals such as Shalimar.

In early 2010 Attrape Couer fell victim to IFRA restrictions on oakmoss. Interesting that it should contain so much oakmoss such that it could not be reformulated without it, especially since one does not experience oakmoss distinctly. I suppose this goes to show just how useful oakmoss is in the structure of perfumes and just how much we are losing in its absence.

A comment on A/Cs many versions over which there is often confusion: Initially released as Guet Apens, this perfume was also released in a 250ml bee bottle under the name "No.68" (which is a different fragrance from the later "Cologne du 68"). The same perfume was also produced in EdT strength under the name 'Vol de Nuit Evasion'. Despite different names all of these fragrances are produced from the same formula. Any variation in color or aroma between Guet Apens and Attrape Couer is the result of variations in natural materials and not formula change. Info from perfumeshrine.com (not affiliated).

Thumbs up, up, up.
12th August, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Pois de Senteur de Chez Moi by Caron

Years ago I was working out a swap with someone and I randomly asked for a sample of Les Pois e Senteur de Chez Moi, knowing nothing about it. At the time I wasn't really able to appreciate or grasp its artistry so I filed it away with other Caron vintage samples "to be explored later". A few months later, chatting with my father I learned that my grandmother's one and only perfume was Caron Pois de Senteur. I brought him the sample and my father got teary eyed, the strong olfactory connection triggering memories of his mother. From that point I began my search for a true vintage bottle even though it is still available from Caron boutiques as an urn parfum. Apparently it's a very good seller.

During the months I spent searching for a bottle I caught the vintage perfume bug and have explored the classics of the 20s and 30s, gaining appreciation and context for Pois de Senteur itself. Analyzing PdS, it is a gorgeous ambery floriental - very lush and very full. On opening a sweet but mild amber is immediately noticeable. Amber is soon joined by a delicate melange of floral notes. I've never sought out a note list but I detect rose, jasmine, and I believe lilac - all of which lay under a soft blanket of powdery iris. I may be off with these notes, but what I can definitely attest to is that the floral accord is wonderfully balanced and well blended such that no particular note stands out. There's also a resinous, sticky feel to PdS and I wouldn't be surprised if there's some opoponax in there along with the amber. The floral and amber notes are present throughout the life of the fragrance. From late topnotes through the midnotes the florals stand out a bit more and amber becomes more prominent in the base. Having sought out bottles for some time and having purchase bottles that turned out to have perfume that had turned, I can attest to the fact that different bottles age quite differently. In my searches I've come across 'perfect' examples of this perfume. In its perfect form, PdS gives off tremendous sillage with just a couple drops on the wrist, and longevity easily reaches near 24 hours, with floral/amber aroma hints wafting off the skin for even longer. (note - a common problem with Pois seems to be that it 'thickens' over time, damaging the topnotes and leaving a very amber-heavy base.)

To analyze this perfume in its proper historical context one can immediately recognize how it competed with the original Coty Emeraude and Guerlain Shalimar, the former being closer in aroma to Pois because of its amber/vanilla sweetness. This is a gorgeous, classic floriental in the grand classical French style. If you're not familiar with vintage perfumery and you sample PdS it's probably not going to come off as the show-stopper I'm describing. For those into vintage perfumery I strongly suggest seeking out a true vintage sample.

As I write this, in front of me sits a sealed, mint condition 1920s Baccarat flacon of Pois de Senteur (complete with original box) - the spoils of years of hunting. Both the beauty of the perfume and the connection to my grandmother place it among the most prized bottles in my collection. (Thumbs up)
29th July, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Acqua di Genova Colonia by Acqua di Genova

I received a freebie sample of this in a swap and gave it a test without thinking much of it. I've been pleasantly surprised over the first (and subsequent) samplings, which is no small feat given that I'm not muc§h of a traditional cologne fan. As another reviewer said, there's no big surprises here. The mix of citrus to florals is superb and the subtle rose and jasmine take enough edge off the sharp citrus such that the composition is very balanced and very smooth. Longevity is much better then the typical cologne and the woody basenotes clearly distinguishable. I prefer Genova to most of its counterparts (AdP for example) - it's no Eau de Guerlain but it's a thumbs up regardless.
12th June, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Eau de Guerlain by Guerlain

Allow me to enthusiastically echo the sentiments of the reviewers below. Over time I'm less and less inclined to wear, or even enjoy, citrus-heavy fragrances. Even in the heat of summer I find most citruses too sharp, and most modern citrus scents feel laden with cheap aromachemicals. When I am feeling the need to wear citrus there's only a small handful of candidates for me to reach for, and Eau de Guerlain is at the top of that list.

The lemon/verbena/bergamot topnote accord is a perfect blend between citrus-sharp and fruit-sweet. Supporting and giving breadth to the citrus notes is a healthy dose of jasmine, and twinges of herbal notes and a hint of petitgrain fill out the very full 'cologne effect'. Unlike most colognes that are ephemeral on the skin at best, Eau de Guerlain persists for a few hours and dries down with just a hint of sweet amber and mossy/woody notes.

If you're going to own one traditional eau de cologne, make it Eau de Guerlain. Thumbs UP.
04th June, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Aoud Gourmet by Martine Micallef

Aoud Gourmet is a very clever oud/gourmand. It's not all that different from Micallef's own Vanille Aoud but instead of a rich, creamy vanilla balanced by a subtle oud note this perfume presents a marzipan/almond/vanilla accord accented with a moderate dose of oud to counter the gourmand notes' sweetness. By way of comparison Aoud Gourmet is in the same league as Montale's Red Aoud, but I find it much more wearable and the oud note less prominent. As with the other Micallef ouds, this scent is tremendously well balanced and the oud note melds into the surrounding accords.

Sillage, longevity, and price are all on the high end of the spectrum for sure. If forced to choose I would likely prefer Vanille Aoud, but I don't feel that owning one precludes owning the other by any means. Thumbs up.
23rd May, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Magazine Street by Strange Invisible Perfumes

I've been working my way through the SIP line and having gone through 60-70% the one perfume that stands out from this excellent line is Magazine Street (followed closely by Fire & Cream). I found myself going back to my decant over and over, buying another decant, going through that one, buying a parfum sample, using THAT up, and finally buying myself an EdP bottle. Basically what I'm saying is that I have a very high standard that a modern niche perfume must reach to be bottle worthy, and Magazine Street exceeds this standard.

Magazine Street represents the very rare fragrance that comes off as complexly layered while in fact being deceptively simple. Vetiver intersects with patchouli such that neither note is evident on its own as the inherent qualities of these notes simultaneously balance and complement each other. The sharpness of vetiver balances with the density of patchouli as the earthy qualities of each peep through. A hint of vanilla lurks in the background that keeps the vetiver/patchouli from being too earthy and adds olfactory texture but never adds what one could call sweetness to the composition. Without being related to vintage chypres in any structural way, Magazine Street mimics the layered density of that genre, down to the olfactory vibration that vintage chypres provide. The fragrance is largely linear but this is not a bad thing in the slightness. I will enjoy the opening accord for as many hours as it stays on my skin.

Sillage is appropriate for this type of fragrance and longevity is very good. Comparing the EdP to the parfum, the parfum is slightly more dense but I'm not sure it's so superior to the EdP to justify the massive per/ml price increase. In an increasingly crowded field of modern niche offerings, perfumes like Magazine Street stand out waaaaay above the rest of the field. Thumbs UP!
20th May, 2010
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Audace by Rochas

I can honestly say I'd never seen or heard anything about Rochas Audace before I randomly came across a bottle on eBay by looking at 'sellers other items'. A little research yielded minimal info but I found a mini that wasn't expensive so I took a chance on a random blind buy. Glad I did because I was impressed enough to pick up more of it (also not expensive).

Audace is a classic leather/floral chypre. Old school and fantastic. The PdT (which seems to be the most available concentration) is very dry, with a leathery/floral topnote accord and essentially no citrus. I get hints of jasmine and perhaps a touch of rose underneath the leather in the midnotes and healthy oakmoss base that presents itself almost immediately on application. To reference Audace with other fragrances you may know, imagine a cross between vintage Miss Dior EdT with vintage Caleche parfum and a hint of Diorling and you'd be pretty close to Audace. The EdC, being from the old school, is not a watered down version of the perfume but rather a fresher style of composition. The leather is a tad more subdued and the bergamot component of the chypre structure is noticeable in the topnotes. Sillage and longevity are good and the oakmoss base is untouched. The parfum version has a smoother leather note and the floral heart/base is particularly reminiscent of the floral accord in Caleche.

If you like vintage chypres you have to find yourself a bottle of Audace. Even if you're just new to vintage collecting and don't want to make a major investment in a bottle like Diorling you should consider giving Audace a try. Major thumbs up.
17th May, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Hermèssence Vanille Galante by Hermès

The greatest flaw of Vanille Galante is its unfortunate name. When it was announced I eagerly awaited its release, my mind hoping for something along the lines of Ambre Narguille but vanilla-based and intended to compete with Guerlain's SDV. As we all now know, VG couldn't possibly be more different from this expectation, and it seems that many people initially shared my disappointment. I put my 15ml bottle away, to be explored later - and I reserved judgment until 'later'.

Make no mistake, this is a floral - and quite a pretty one at that. Ylang-ylang intertwines with lily in a delicate and ethereal manner, creating the feeling that a sheer veil of fragrance is on your skin. VG doesn't perfume your skin, it melds into it. There's no question that vanilla is dusted into the composition, and after about 2-3 hours the composition arrives at a slightly custard-ey vanilla base that lingers for another couple hours.

I have to wonder if Vanille Galante would have been better received had it been given a name that presented it as a floral. There's a lot in a name as it creates expectations - expectations that were apparently not met with this perfume. The sillage is particularly discrete. This is skin scent and when I wear it I cannot smell it on myself (a fact that will turn most people off from this scent), but longevity is respectable. If you're looking for a heavy vanilla you have many other options - avoid Vanille Galante. Thumbs up.
10th May, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Alliage by Estée Lauder

Sourcing a top-quality perfume classic doesn't always require tons of dough or spending weeks hunting down a rare vintage - sometimes it just means a trip over to the mall and a $30 outlay. Alliage is a simple but remarkably solidly constructed green/floral chypre. The green notes are photorealistic, the jasmine/galbanum provide a bitter counterpoint to the sweet peachy topnote, and the whole shebang is wrapped up by a wonderfully rich oakmoss that presents itself upon application and gives this perfume a fuzzy olfactory texture.

Alliage is still easy to find at most Lauder counters at most malls. Today's formula is a bit toned down, with a brighter peach note and a less encompassing oakmoss note (presumably they are using low-atranol oakmoss or a substitute). Also, the vintage formula has a 'true' middle stage of development featuring a sweet rose note that fades into the oakmoss base that the modern version seems to lack. Still, even with the superiority of the vintage Alliage the currently available formula is far superior to 98% of what's available at your typical Macy's.

Collectors should absolutely keep a bottle of Alliage around as the standard green chypre against which all others are compared. Thumbs way up.
09th May, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Sous Le Vent by Guerlain

I have been transfixed by Sous le Vent since first sampling the re-issue years ago, and I have finally been blessed with a vintage EdT flacon. I'm still exploring the vintage perfume and will perhaps edit my review someday, so for now consider this review to be of the re-issued SLV (which is soon to be discontinued due to its ingredients).

From a house full of legendary chypres (Mitsouko, Parure, etc.) Sous le Vent is my favorite. The opening is lushly green yet with enough subtle carnation/clove to give it a hint of spice. The green notes never recede, and in combination with a soft and powdery iris this accord creates a soft blanket of olfactory texture over the 'chypre accord'. The chypre structure is not hidden, with hints of bergamot in the opening that gives way to subtle woody, mossy notes. Particularly beautiful is the interplay between the green notes, floral notes and oakmoss that persists for much of the life of the fragrance. Although I've only worn it today, I can tell already that the basenotes in the vintage EdT are somewhat differently structured as I'm experiencing a mix of spicy clove/carnation and oakmoss that is not nearly as distinct in the current formula.

There's no question Sous le Vent is a subtle fragrance. No bold sillage here, but this is a very good thing as it would totally inappropriate for such a subtle and layered scent to broadcast itself. It is a soft beauty. What SLV lacks in sillage it makes up for in longevity. One night a couple weeks ago I found myself utterly amazed at the gorgeous fragrance on my hand, but for the life of me I couldn't recall what I had applied. It finally dawned on me that I'd sprayed a couple zaps of SLV about 10 hours earlier.

As students of Guerlain know, one can often take a few different scents that have common themes and 'categorize' them with each other. Shalimar, Jicky, and Mouchoir de Monsieur, for example are all lavender/vanilla/citrus. Sous le Vent largely stands as an independent entity. Though Chamade is similar in it's subtle greenness and Apres l'Ondee with its powdery iris - Sous le Vent doesn't quite mesh well with these as a family. Whether you like chypres, green scents, vintage style grand perfumery, or if you just like subtle, classy and gorgeous fragrances Sous le Vent is a must-try. I can't say that those new to fragrance will necessarily be able to grasp how much is going on or appreciate that how these subtle layers make a coherent and unified whole, but for those with trained noses I can't think of too many fragrances that I'd recommend more.

Two thumbs way up.
07th May, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Eau de Givenchy (original) by Givenchy

I purchased a mini of the vintage-formula Eau de Givenchy a few years back and never gave it much thought. On first sampling it seemed to fall a little short - not quite pungent enough to be a proper citrus cologne, not as textured as a chypre, and a tad too fruity to be 'green' scent. I came across this mini a few weeks ago and much to my surprise I greatly enjoyed the sampling. With a more sophisticated nose I can now see that what I once interpreted as 'not quite' is actually restraint and balance. Eau de Givenchy manages to straddle being a citrus/green/floral very well without any one component dominating. The slightest hint of fruity notes adds the right amount of sweetness without getting close to ditzy territory.

This is a simple summer-type scent so don't expect a master work of perfumery, but for what it is Eau de Givenchy is excellent. A couple weeks of careful watching on eBay yielded a 60ml vintage bottle for under $10, and even if you're not so patient vintage 100ml bottles can be plucked for around $30. Do not bother with the Mythical re-issue. Like the other re-issues (Vetyver excepted) it doesn't come close to the original.

Thumbs UP.
01st May, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Cologne pour le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Cologne pour le Soir is remarkably simple yet brilliant in its simplicity. Simply stated it presents a dark and smoky rose balanced by a subtle vanilla/honey sweetness. The benzoin note is wonderfully resinous and enhances the fragrance's smoky texture. You may read this and think this is a heavy scent. It is not. In fact, it is very wearable in warm weather and casual scenarios. For a smoky floral to be both rich yet easily worn is particularly unique. The fragrance is linear but this is not a bad thing as ultimately it fits into the 'cologne' simplicity concept. I intend to wear this as an alternative to citrus fragrances this coming summer.

Two huge thumbs up.
20th April, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

No. 19 by Chanel

For years I've always been somewhat indifferent towards No.19. My reaction drifted between appreciative of its dry greenness while also being unmoved by its lack of ooomph. All of this indifference was utterly obliterated today when I got my hands on some true vintage EdT (the box being marked "March 1981" by the retailer that first owned it). Dark, green and brooding, this No.19 is as woodsy and mossy as any fragrance I've ever experienced. A crisp green opening is soon joined by subtle florals - hints of rose and jasmine - that emerge in the heart before a smooth, mossy leather base emerges and hovers lightly over the skin for hours. No.19 is as dry as a perfume can be, and by today's standards it is more masculine then almost anything you'll find at the mall men's fragrance counter (while also wearing well as a mysterious feminine on the right kind of woman).

Do yourself a favor and source some real vintage No.19 - you'll be glad you did.

Thumbs up up up.
11th April, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Mitsouko by Guerlain

How does one possibly review what is clearly among the greatest works of perfumery every created? You don't. I need not heap praise on the chypre that defined the genre more then Chypre de Coty ever did.

Instead, let me briefly plug the vintage Eau de Cologne formula of Mitsouko. These EdCs are often overlooked. Instead of just being watered down versions of the EdT, these EdC formulas are unique compositions. The compositions themselves are lighter and less dense, but that doesn't mean the sillage and longevity are any lighter or reduced. I recently acquired Mitsy in EdC and it may be my favorite formula. Unlike other formulas the bergamot component of the chypre formula is very distinct and mixed well with the peachy top/mid notes, making a bright and sunny citrus/fruity opening. The bright citrus/fruit opening moves over the next half hour to the classic mossy/woody base. As it moves to the base quickly, one can experience the 'chypre base' for a long time, a real treat for us chypre fans who are used to just getting a hint of oakmoss as our perfumes fade off the skin.

I would never tell anyone to turn down a bottle of vintage Mitsy parfum - never. But if you get a chance to pick up a Mitsy in EdC, definitely treat yourself.

Thumbs UP.
09th April, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Diorella by Christian Dior

On first sniff Diorella became one of my favorite fragrances, and I've never felt that I could review it in a manner that would do the perfume justice. My perfume writing is still not good enough to fully describe Diorella, but I will attempt to describe it nonetheless.

Studying Roudnitska's work one easily finds a common theme that runs through a number of his creations. This theme is found in Diorama, Diorella, Dior-Dior, and Le Parfum de Therese. Of these, Diorella is the most well known and most common, and this popularity exists for a very good reason. There isn't a scenario for which one cannot wear Diorella, whether it's formal or casual, whether the temperature is warm or cool - and it works equally well on men as it does on women. Although infinitely versatile, there is something to be said for being doused with Diorella on a warm, spring evening. Wearing it is like having a little liquid happiness that makes everything you do while its on just a little more special.

At its heart Diorella is a chypre, though Roudnitska thoroughly buries the chypre accord under a pile of notes and accords. This is part of Diorella's genius, because the underlying chypre structure provides a depth to the composition and increases the longevity of the distinguishable notes while still wearing very differently then the common chypre. The opening accord features the 'overripe melon' note that Roudnitska uses in many fragrances, and this note is paired with peach, lemon and honeysuckle (with jasmine lurking underneath). This citrus/fruit/floral "overripe melon" accord has enough sweetness to smell lush and rich while never crossing over into anything resembling ditzy or girlie. While the overripe melon accord never fully recedes, it fades slowly and gives way to a rush of green and subtle floral notes before settling into a mossy/woodsy base.

A comment on reformulations: I have not yet smelled the newest incarnation of Diorella, recently completely refurbished and rebottled along with Dior's other venerable classics such as Diorissimo and Dioressence. Reports from trustworthy friends indicate that while it may be a nice fragrance in and of itself, it is a new fragrance under the Diorella name. I'd be willing to wager that this is because the original's underlying chypre structure, though not distinct to the nose, is a critical factor in why Diorella smells the way it does. Without oakmoss Diorella simply cannot exist as we knew it. If one compares older Diorella versions to each other, the earlier versions are slightly more bold and more full. If possible I recommend seeking out the earliest possible bottling, such as the old splash bottles with houndstooth labels and caps. This is not required, and I've personally gone through nearly 100ml of the 'final real formula' Diorella in the last year or so alone.

Two thumbs way, way up.
06th April, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Angel: Liqueur de Parfum by Thierry Mugler

This of this Liqueur de Parfum formula as 'Angel for grown-ups'. It's unmistakeably Angel and all you either love or hate about it, but with a distinctly woody depth and noticeable booziness that persists throughout the life of the fragrance. Whereas Angel can feel plasticy at times (especially the newer formula), the LdP is smooth and rich. Sillage is nuclear and longevity is silly long. If you don't already like Angel you're not all of a sudden going to like this, but if you're down with the Angel concept you should check this out.

Thumbs UP.
27th March, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Parce Que! by Roberto Capucci

A pleasant but unremarkable aldehydic floral with a gentle woody drydown. The perfume is remarkably similar in vibe to any number of Chanels (particularly No.5), in large part because of the aldehydic opening. It is perhaps not surprising that Parce Que! is lost to history as it doesn't offer much that is unique except the funky triangular shaped flacon.
26th March, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

180 Ans de Création by Guerlain

Good things come to those that wait, right? Upon its release in December 2008 to 'friends of Guerlain' (read: those that spend a LOT in the boutiques), I could only sigh and hope that someday a bottle of 180 Ans would grace my shelf. Last year I jumped on the chance to pay nearly $30 for a tiny 1.5ml decant from TPC when they first offered it. Nearly a year and half later, a little bit of luck has put a full bottle of 180 Ans on my shelf. It's not the same as receiving it as a gift from La Maison, but I can enjoy the fragrance nonetheless.

As Mr. Guerlain describes, 180 Ans presents the Guerlinade accord. Unlike most Guerlain perfumes containing the accord, in 180 Ans it is front and center from application through the base instead of only being a basenote accord. Various notes accompany the Guerlinade through 180's stages of development On application one experiences Guerlinade with a strong dose of tonka, almond, and a hint of citrus underneath. The subtle citrus fades fairly quickly, and there is a floral heart that gives some breadth the Guerlinade. I wouldn't have initially noticed the orange blossom in the heart, but a later fragrance* has allowed me to pick up on the orange blossom that enhances 180. The drydown is pure Guerlinade, a la Shalimar/Jicky/MdM. Although there's not a whole lot of sillage (which would clearly be inappropriate for such a delicate scent), the longevity is incredible and a couple sprays easily last 8-10 hours. 180 Ans really comes into its own when worn (as opposed to just sampled), and like Cologne du 68 the intricacy one smells when closely examined gives way to a wonderful overall aroma surrounding the wearer.

* In January 2010 Guerlain released Tonka Imperiale into the L'Art et la Matiere line. Smelling Tonka Imperiale, I immediately draw the connection to 180 Ans, to the point where I almost get the sense that 180 Ans was the basis on which Tonka Imperiale was created - the starting point of sorts. Tonka Imperiale is certainly much more potent with a rich, boozy tonka/orange blossom accord laid over a Guerlinade base. It does not have the subtlety or delicacy of 180 Ans, but they are certainly related perfumes.

Thumbs up!
25th March, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Garofano by Santa Maria Novella

I've been on a huge carnation kick over the last few months and accordingly I've been sampling every carnation-named and carnation-containing scent I can get my hands on. As expected, Santa Maria Novella's soliflore interpretation is among the best of the dozens, if not THE best. It is airy and transparent on the skin while still being quite noticeable and having good sillage. The lightly spiced carnation note retains some of its green and floral nature without being overly floral. This is a perfect alternative to citrus for warm weather, and I fully anticipate owning a bottle before the weather gets too warm this year. Plus SMN makes Garofano soap that's potent enough to scent the whole bathroom long after your shower is over.

There is often some confusion as to why so many carnation fragrances contain clove-like notes (CdG Carnation, Prada No.2 Ouelette, Floris Malmaison). The dumbed-down explanation I received from a perfumer friend of mine is that the chemical structure of carnation distillation is very similar to that of clove's, therefore a high-quality carnation scent with natural essences will likely smell like clove. In this fragrance, the 'cloviness' is less then that of CdG Carnation, but more then say, Malmaison). Thumbs way up.
22nd March, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Ambre Nuit by Christian Dior

I have great affection for Dior perfumes, and Ambre Nuit's predecessor Bois d'Argent is one of my favorite fragrances of all time. It was therefore with great anticipation I awaited Ambre Nuit and I quickly procured a decant after it was released.

I regret to report that this fragrance is not worthy of the Dior Homme label or being grouped with its three high quality line-mates. It is a cheap amber-scented aromachemical and little else - little development, cheap construction. This should be a drug store scent, not a Dior Homme exclusive. Disappointing.
16th March, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

Quand Vient La Pluie by Guerlain

As JaimeB mentions (and as others have as well), QVLP recalls Apres L'ondee with it's heliotrope and violet heart and modernizes it. On first wearing one cannot help but notice the large dose of sweetened praline, giving the composition a sweet but slightly nutty aroma. Subtle florals and a hint of citrus seek to balance this sweetness but never quite do, instead filling out the composition and giving it breadth and depth. On drydown a subtle patchouli lurks as the perfume transitions to a classic Guerlinade base.

Released in 2007, QVLP was among the early Wasser-created Guerlains and is very much in the floral-gourmand style that defines his work for Guerlain. In fact it may just be the best example of this style and clearly foreshadows Wasser fragrances like Tonka Imperiale and Mon Precieux Nectar.

QVLP's presentation is worthy of comment: Instead of coming in a bottle, QVLP ("When the rain comes") is offered as part of a sculptural presentation. A large block of crystal, the bottom of which is etched like a tree's leaf, contains a removable (and refillable) 'bubble sprayer' (in which the perfume sits) that rests in the crystal. To the eye the sculpture presents an interpretive "drop of liquid sitting on a leaf" - meshing with the name of the fragrance as well as further connecting itself to Apres L'ondee ("after the showers"). Truly a unique piece of visual art that both accompanies the artistry of the perfume as well as looks fantastic on the shelf among the other Guerlains....

I don't have enough thumbs to put up!
16th March, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

9 Benjoin by Prada

Given how the other major designer houses (Hermes, Chanel, etc.) and even Guerlain have been capitalizing on their in-house 'niche' lines, it is hard to understand why Prada doesn't do the same. They've put the effort into releasing ten unique compositions, nearly all of which are next-to-impossible to find. I've now tried nine of the ten, and while I don't personally enjoy all the fragrances they are all excellent compositions, worthy of sampling.

With such limited distribution there is little by way of reviews or commentary on these parfums, heightening the mystery. Perhaps you've opened this basenotes page looking for some info on No.9 Benjoin (Benzoin), which has no reviews at the time of this writing. As the at-this-time-sole-reviewer I am telling you to do whatever you can to get yourself a bottle of this perfume - stock up if you have to - because this is amazing, amazing stuff.

There's two things going on here. First is the smoky/resinous/sweet note of benzoin (along with a hint of vanilla). The second thing, which I suppose is what they refer to as 'Bitter orange tree'), is a potent vegetal/green/woody note that contrasts with the smooth benzoin. On application the vegetal note is overpowering - to the point of being uncomfortable. The discord between this note and the underlying benzoin creates a very tense composition, yet for whatever reason the perfume in its entirety is very compelling, and I find myself with my nose dug into my hand, not wanting to miss a minute. As the fragrance progresses these two discordant accords merge, the vegetal note mellowing and the benzoin/vanilla growing, until a very comfortable base establishes itself. The base resembles a very smoky, slightly musky and resinous vanilla, and the base persists for many hours.

I'm going to guess that No.9 Benjoin isn't going to appeal to everyone, despite my plea to purchase it. If you've purchased it on account of my review and don't like it, you can just drop me a line and I'll take it off your hands :-) Two huge thumbs up!
09th March, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States

En Avion by Caron

I'm hard-pressed to explain why Tabac Blonde gets so much adoration while it's sister-leather fragrance, En Avion, is hardly ever mentioned. Still in production, this perfume endures and personally I prefer it to TB. Certainly it has survived reformulation better then TB.

There's a whole lot going on with En Avion, but to summarize it is a leather/floral fragrance in the grand classic tradition of this genre. Whereas leather is only one facet of TB, along with a buttery rich floral/tabac heart, En Avion is all about the leather. Hints of rose, carnation, clove, orange blossom, jasmine, and amber all appear from time to time, but really these various notes merge to create the olfactory image of a glove-smooth leather. Sillage and longevity are tremendous, and a couple sprays of parfum on the neck leaves me enveloped in a leathery aroma-bubble all day. I have both original 1930s-vintage parfum and early '00s parfum. The original stuff is of course preferable - perhaps stemming from some now-verbotten ingredients that add depth and richness. However the new formula isn't bad, it's faithful to the original, and it's certainly much easier and less expensive to source.

Whether you enjoy vintage perfume or you're a fan of leathers, En Avion is a hidden gem that deserves your attention. Thumbs up.
09th March, 2010