Perfume Reviews

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Reviews by Chestnut

Total Reviews: 21

Histoire d'Eau by Mauboussin

This was a blind buy, with no regrets. The first blast (one spray will suffice) is rather briskly masculine to my nose and maybe a bit artificial. In a sense, this reminds me of my other Mauboussin favorite (the eponymous one) in that it gets better and better for hours -- it really lasts. And as the elements evolve they get racier and brighter, till the tangerine begins to recall the transparent sweetness of my favorite Christmas fruit, clementines, the cardamom gives off an almost skin-like warmth, and the listed "leather" -- whatever that means -- recalls the refeshing, mysterious scent of a carton of cigarettes. Can you tell I love this?

Side note: Though this is marketed as a feminine, to my nose, this is one of the most gender-neutral perfumes I've tried yet.
13th March, 2009

Bigarade Concentrée by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

My first impression after spraying is a vivid olfactory hallucination of fresh-peeled orange -- the oils in the air like a prism of citrus. It's amazingly uplifting: floral, fresh, green, bitter and sweet. This is a perfect winter scent, and in fact I don't enjoy it (being a northerner who associates oranges with ambient cold) in summer. The fleeting orange peel experience is followed by a beautiful drydown of woods, oriental spice and rose (I don't get the listed hay, but that's probably just my nose). It took me a few years of wearing it -- maybe until getting to the end of the bottle -- to pick up on the cumin but now I do really smell it and could perhaps do with a tiny bit less. Still, this is, to my nose, on the slightly femme side of unisex, though perfectly plausible for a man as well. It's transparent and delicately zingy until it suavely collapses into the pillowy drydown. My only complaint -- and it's major -- is poor lasting power. Very, very poor -- less than 2 hours on me. Still, not an absolute deal breaker, but only because I love orange scents madly and this one is unique.
01st January, 2009

Din-Dan by Lostmarc'h

I liked the first whiff of this. Then something changed and it really didn't want it on me anymore -- from playful, very sweet lemon it started smelling a bit too flowery/soapy. After a half hour I absolutely had to wash it off. I love citrus but this was way too girly and flirty for me.
15th December, 2008
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Alma de Alma by Madini

I got this as a generous extra when ordering a Madini sampler. I guess I am really a musk-hater. For me this is a wallop of musk, followed by powder and about two hours later, light citrus. As the citrus moves forward, the musk recedes and gets subtler. Since I'm a muskaphobe, I guess this this not my Madini, even though it's more pretty than skanky, comparatively subtler than some of the animalic heavy hitters.
08th November, 2008

Eau Illuminee by Delrae

It's interesting that men so far are predominating in these critiques. This is a unisex fragrance that does, in some ways, strike me as more M than F, particularly at the strong, sour beginning. My husband loves it on me, but it's a bit challenging in its heavy greenness. I don't know green fragrances well, so this may be naive, but what I think distinguishes EI is the way it combines heavy opulence with cold, tangy greenness. It reminds me of the thick mercury coating on an antique mirror, or looking into a faceted emerald. To my nose it is a little too formal to smell entirely natural, although the herbal freshness is paradoxically quite intense. I think this is the Delrae that was inspired by San Francisco's box hedges? It doesn't smell a bit cat-pissy, but it does suggest something of trimmed boxwood's structured verdancy. A perfume I have to own, though may not often wear.
07th November, 2008

Le Parfum de Thérèse by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

This soo beautiful and so totally not me. Very vivid, deep and transparent, feminine in a brilliant French way. I like the melon here, even though I don't even like the smell of real melon. The violet, another note I usually don't enjoy much, evokes the velvety texture as well as the chromatic vibrance of violet. I love the leather in this, which is very strong -- a real illusion of oiled saddle leather. The whole thing has a very Parisian, mid-century quality, like a technicolor movie starring Martine Carole. I'd buy some to wear at home for fun, but my husband doesn't like it, so it would have to be very occasional and clandestine.
29th October, 2008

Patchouli 24 by Le Labo

First off, this shouldn't be classed a woman's fragrance -- it's wearable by both, in that it is wearable at all. The first blast is strange -- liquid smoke -- and the friendlier drydown is where it's at. As others have noted, not a patchouli scent. To me, it is about comforting vanilla -- not the syrupy version (which I also like) but an unusually dry scent that makes me think of toasty cotton, autumn leaves and especially biscotti. I bought a large decant -- may never use it up because it's so specifically suits a certain mood, but it's unique enough to want on hand if you enjoy it.
25th October, 2008

Shisha by Ava Luxe

Well, if you need a baseline for "scrubber" Shisha's perfect. And watch out, because you can't get it off. What was I thinking? As tdi says: urine -- or worse, the ancient residue of sneaker-dust and powdered urine on a NYC subway staircase. No smoke, nothing but foul, one-note uric acid and some awful, artifical reek. IMO, this scent would be perfect for someone whose favorite fantasy involves humiliation in a disaffected toxic chemical plant. Just don't wear it in public
23rd October, 2008

Amoureuse by Delrae

I think this is an incredible fragrance, even though I'm kind of ambivalent about it's femme-y extravagant white flower heart, which on me last for a very long time. I love white flowers but they aren't me -- the wrong kind of "sultry" I guess. To make matters worse, my husband absolutely loathes this. So I shouldn't be thinking FB, right? But the drydown, which like some unbelievably sexy varietal honey that not only smells -- well, honeyed -- but occasionally vividly plantlike and green, makes a very good case for one. (This is honey without any pee note.) If you love tuberose, jasmine and honey, I don't think it could be easy to top this.
27th September, 2008

Sin by Ava Luxe

Decades ago I had a fun but dissolute "friend" who liked to smoke opium. It had the most amazing smell, one I've never forgotten though I experienced it only a few times. It was resinous, vibrant, medicinal, vegetal, sobering and bordering on tannic. A powerful odor a spoon could stand up in. You could see how that smell snaking out of doorways would operate on addicts as a kind of deadly flytrap. Needless to say, when I noticed Ava Luxe's claim that its "Sin" smelled like opium, I couldn't resist a sample. Does it? No relation. I can't say exactly what it does smell like -- sort of green-y, dirty-fresh (musk). To me it's uninteresting. I have really enjoyed other Avas, however. Maybe this one was destined to disappoint.
17th September, 2008

Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I admire this. Don't get any animals or sawdust, to me it's about reading an old newspaper in a French cafe while eating a vanilla biscuit and opening silver cigarette-box wrapping. Makes me feel smart and sexy, alert. But what I don't like is the way its just vanishes before I've had time to ask for the check! Make this last twice as long and I'll spring for a couple of bottles.

This does smell a bit like Black, but on me I like this a lot better.
17th September, 2008

Kama by Ava Luxe

This is now called Kama -- I emailed Ava Luxe. It may be a toned-down version of the original, not sure.

I am not a musk-o-phile -- this is the first musk-centered perfume I appreciate. I own MR, bought to please my husband who likes it, and can't bring myself to wear it. I loathed L'air de rien and MKK, yet enjoy Kama, which recalls aspects of each. Kama seems fresher and suaver than all of these to me; there is something delightfully mentholated that floats above the fragrance when you first apply it, before it dives back down in to keep everything secretly civilized. After a while it takes on an amber-y aspect. I'm still not a musk-person, don't find it bedroomy-comforting or -provacative as many do, but there is something about Kama that makes me think I ought to have a bottle.
16th September, 2008

10 Corso Como by 10 Corso Como

Well, I guess individual chemistry does play a big part here. Trebor says 10 CC could turn out to be a nightmare and in my husband's case it did. We didn't get anything fresh or genuinely woody. In fact, it didn't smell like anything organic at all. The juice isn't especially potent, still, as it developed it stayed harsh, flat and horridly sweet, as offensive as acetone. Can't imagine this on a woman and wouldn't want to smell it again on a man, but maybe its just my man? Or my nose?

The bottle is cute, I agree.
16th September, 2008
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Ilang Ivohibe 15 by Parfumerie Generale

Uh-oh -- I'm first. Well, I can't resist -- this is one of my favorite summer fragrances, perfect for all but very humid heat. This is sparkling with citrus ("california" orange) but fattened with the almost waxy counterpoint of ylang and vanilla. Jasmine is listed -- can't say it's not there, but my nose is not attuned to it. Somehow the blend of orange and ylang suggests an idealized, honeyed lemon. I used to get these great lemon-banana crepes in Biarritz, and this evokes that cafe desert, including the ambient sunlight and sea-scape. The sunny top notes are carried on a base of warm woods that makes the whole thing feel richer, not overly candied or frilly. However, it's still lightly feminine, even girlish, without smelling inane. Like most the other PG frags I've tried, this one has a sort of luxe hippy vibe, with no officious perfuminess.

I compared this to MPG's Fleurs des Comores, another ylang-heavy, summery scent. F de C was greener at first, with a clearer banana illusion, then more simple vanilla, and much less long-lasting. In contrast Ilang delivers lots of citrus and wood. Great sillage and lasts forever, unlike many of PG's otherwise appealing frags.
15th September, 2008

Iris Oriental / Iris Taïzo 14 by Parfumerie Generale

I adore this -- this combination of cool iris, warm wood, spice and honey is incredibly sexy to my nose. It smells rather direct and richly natural without obvious. It's hard for me to distinguish the "jinkoh wood" from what I think of as sandalwood -- in any case, the wood scent is just about equally weighted to the iris. I'm sort of a urban boho type -- and I guess my favorite sorts of compositions are simultaneously sophisticated and relaxed. A lot of PG's scents fit this esthetic -- the kind of fragrance that to my nose recalls Maria Schneider's style in Tango, like yes she's a little disheveled, a hipster gamine, but also snottily chic. It's sort of stupefyingly nice -- I like to douse myself with it and radiate! Strong sillage and moderate duration on me.. My husband likes it too; that said, to me it isn't exactly unisex, which probably wouldn't stop me from being tempted to nuzzle a male friend who was secure enough to smell that good.
13th September, 2008

L'Homme de Coeur by Divine

My husband tried this and we both disliked it intensely. We had just sampled Dior Homme the night before and much prefer the iris in that. Maybe I object to the iris/juniper combination? To me, this smells similar to the old-fashioned bitter-sweet reek of certain perfumed toiletries, like Joico hair pommade or cheap French liquid shower soap. Obao or something. When the woody notes appeared we liked it better, but still were not seduced.
09th September, 2008

Sublime by Jean Patou

I love this -- not only the experience of smelling it, but the sort of stylishness I feel it represents. There is something sweetly lemony about it -- maybe ylang? -- that, along with the somewhat contradictory green note cited by Foetidus, gives sparkle and lift to the ambery sweetness of the base. Florals, citrus, vetiver and vanilla -- a rich Oriental that never feels vampy or swanky or over the top. It seems both alertly feminine and hiply unisex, the kind of perfume I'd feel comfortable wearing everywhere. I do find the opening slightly jarring but within twenty minutes it all comes into perfect focus. My only complaint is that on me the EDP is not sufficiently lasting. I seem to note this problem more often than most people, so maybe the fault is mine and not Sublime's.
09th September, 2008

Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens

I agree with tigrushka -- this smells like vanilla pod. It's not a fragrance with lots of cards up its sleeve -- it has an almost idiot-savant quality -- but if you like your vanilla rich and warm and toasty, supported by polished wood and something fresh and sharp and silvery, you can't not enjoy this. I just got some for my husband, who's not especially metrosexual, but is French and doesn't work in an office, so maybe he can get away with wearing a "woman's fragrance". Anyway, he briefly falls into a kid-eating-a-cupcake revery when he sprays it on, and I think it's because this vanilla is smart enough to get away with being a bit infantilizing.
01st August, 2008

Azurée by Estée Lauder

Is the disparity listed by Basenotes and The Perfumed Court due to there being two distinct versions currently extant since Tom Ford's revision? I just received this today as a sample -- not sure which one I received but might be the original. I definitely don't pick up on anything as potentially edible as orange blossom or coconut. Rather, this strikes me as the kind of Gloria Swanson-style scentbomb that could inspire health-conscious cities to ban perfume. I am a woman of "a certain age" who tends to appreciate dark and demanding scents (though, I admit, I am mixed about chypres and vetiver). But this one is actually turning my stomach! It's fascinating to me how scents with any intensity listed here draw such divergent reactions. The "leather-ette" middle is now becoming slightly more tolerable, but for the sake of my poor, disoriented cats I'm going to hop in a shower!
01st August, 2008

Idole de Lubin by Lubin

I enjoyed the dry, sunny spiciness of this -- seemed like a good, dark summer scent, sort of sexily unisex and bohemian, and somehow simple-seeming, though I guess it's actually pretty complex. I even like the campy exoticism of the name and silly bottle. However, Idole naggingly reminded me of a scent I prefer: PG's Coze, and on comparing I found them quite similar, except that Idole lacked the percolating, teasing, beady note that makes me love Coze. I sampled them together -- after a two hour air-conditioned car ride they had both vanished. (I comfirmed this with my sniffers). Seductive but terribly fleeting and sadly I'm old enough now to know better.
27th July, 2008

Sables by Annick Goutal

My husband has been wearing this every day, exclusively, for something like two decades, so it's impossible for me to be objective about it. (Lately I've been getting him to sniff other things. His new fave -- Eau Noire!) That said, I do adore this, though I agree it never truly washes off and is pretty hard to detect without nose to skin contact. Still, it's odd and yummy and makes me want to keep figuring out how maple syrup and kelp can possibly smell so compatible. I don't get the "explosive" beginning on him. Maybe chemistry is a big factor here -- his own smell can be sort of darkly burnt-leaf-ish and the Eau Noire works perfectly well on him too.
27th July, 2008