Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Zhara8

Total Reviews: 40

Euphoria by Calvin Klein

Bright and fresh opening that almost approaches the verge of being harsh. Pleasantly medicinal, in that visiting-an-herbalist's-shop kind of way. It's as if Camphor had a pretty sister who no one knew existed. The heart and drydown tho, become far more conventional, and the Big Department Store notes come in, flop down, and take up the room. The floral-with-fruit-bits finish is not objectionable, but it would be great of all that herbal greenery would hang around a bit longer.

Was hoping to detect the amber notes that other reviewers describe, but they are faint, and not invoking the usual rich and sumptuous vibe that amber normally gives me. Also barely a hint, a woody note, possibly even a freshly-hewn green wood, but in such trace amounts as to almost disappear altogether.

24th November, 2014

Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

Fascinating to find this change over time, so that each time I try it, it keeps getting better and better.

The initial attempt to test Opium (current formulation EDT) resulted in me reeling from a cacophony of loud notes, generic "department store" and little old lady aromas, and just a dash of lemon pledge.

After an hour on this first test, the shock of the jumbled notes wore off and a core of spice, hints of old lumber & warm opoponax made it's statement, but still fighting the the cloying chemical mess from the opening. It was also amazingly masculine to my nose, for such a legendary fragrance associated solely with sultry, sophisticated ladies.

A second test spritz, about one week later, left me at least considering it "interesting," certainly heavy and complex, but no winner as far as I could tell.

I wanted to like this - to love this, to get that half-closed-eyelid bliss that so many women get when speaking of the legendary Opium. In disappointment, I gave it a neutral review in here, and put it away in a drawer.

Today tho, a revelation, a stunning transformation. I tried my supply *one more time* before reluctantly putting it up on ebay, and it had become an entirely different juice.

The experience led with bright citrus/floral notes that popped and receded like quick fireworks. This revealed the core of spice and woods - as if a rare antique chest of treasures were pulled from a hidden shelf. I was enveloped in that mysterious, complex, spicy legend that everyone had raved about. Amazing.

*THIS* this was it - that magical dark myrrh-infused elixir that makes'em swoon. What had changed? The spray, sitting in my desk drawer for a couple of months? Was it my nose's progression from Spring to Summer? Was it the alignment of the stars?

No matter, this elegant, complex legend is staying with me, and my mantra of test, test, test, remains tested and true.
13th November, 2014 (last edited: 03rd August, 2015)

Halston by Halston

Obtained what was reported to be manufacturer's sample vials of the original formula of the famous Halston. I remember older girls in school swooning over the spritzes they'd snuck from their mom's bottle - it was seen as the ultimate in adult sophistication, like sneaking a cigarette or keeping a pair of 3-inch heels in your locker that your parents didn't know about. I have no actual memory of sniffing it tho, and picked up these samples with hopes of catching the "real deal".

The first thing to hit me was a powerfully metallic aroma, followed by some medicinal notes, along with a tiny hint of that 'stale old bottle of perfume at the thrift store' unhappiness, but thankfully, not a lot of that. It's a loud number, tho - almost big 80's.

About an hour in, things have settled just a bit, and a soapy, herbaceous complexity comes through, riding on a wafer of fresh hewn cedar. To me this seems quite masculine, enough to make me wonder if I wasn't sold the men's version. Will have to investigate, as the vial is printed "Halston Cologne," with no gender mentioned. It doesn't take much imagination to picture this as the seed for later, more audacious unisex herbal frags, like L'artisans Timbuktu.

Five hours in, the base has worn down to that same initial sharp metallic note, now only much fainter, and that complicated herbaceous matrix continues to convey a certain type of affluence; Spearmint, vetiver and patchouli, definitely, perhaps a hint of musk under it all. Not one for my permanent collection, not really melding well with my own chemistry, but glad I gave it a whirl. It does make it's unique statement, even now.

11th November, 2014
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Far Away by Avon

Powdery Oriental with a heap of grown-up, non-gourmand vanilla. I don't get the peach and coconut that others have mentioned and that I was so very much hoping would be prominent. A hint of ladies leather gloves, a significant provision of vanilla orchid, and a generally unobjectionable mix of florals all draped over a muted amber base.

There's no whipped cream here, and in the reasonably-priced category of fragrances, the domination of foodie vanillas and fruity florals lets Far Away stand apart. Definitely a romantic scent, not something I'd expect in the office, but definitely comforting & sweetly snuggle-worthy for recreational occasions. I'm normally one for very heavy, strong amber statements, but this softness is a pleasant diversion.

The sweet vanilla is reminiscent of several powdery-vanilla-centric Italian niche market scents that demand ten times the ransom of Far Away. I could easily see someone enjoying the shower gel and body talc of Far Away, then topping it off with most any Farmacia SS. Annunziata numbers, or iPF Talco Delico, etc. Harmonious transition guaranteed.

05th September, 2014 (last edited: 13th December, 2014)

Live Colorfully by Kate Spade

A stunningly unobjectional floral. Loudly lacking in any sharp, noteworthy, or distinguishing characteristics, this dramatically mild number will etch itself into your memory for literally dozens and dozens of minutes. Heavy on the "rich" notes, this frag will no doubt be ethereally enveloping young women wearing reasonable-height designer heels and classic sweater sets that they paid too much for. The entire olfactory experienced is understated in that over-the-top, hedge-fund kind of way.
Not to say that it lacks staying power, if there is one thing above average about it, that would be the duration of it's lingering indistinctive flower/vanilla/musk melange.

Certainly not a risk taker. Absolutely for the woman who wants to stand out by fitting in.
28th August, 2014

Eau d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal

To say that Eau d'Hadrien takes me back to childhood is of course meaningless to most, and might lead some to erroneously assume that I was reared on a lemon farm.

In fact, I had the distinct privilege of growing up in poverty as to material goods, but rich in imagination-stimulating catalysts such as books, music, and scent. Spices from my father's culinary activities filled the house, a hint of of green slipping in from our rural surroundings, and in the summer, when the lack of air conditioning was most piquant - a cloud of Love's Fresh Lemon was just the thing. At least it was at the time.

Sadly, Loves Fresh Lemon is today nothing of what I remember. Delightfully, Eau d'Hadrien is a closer representation - and includes an excellent herbal base that lingers for a considerable time. The herbal base in particular invokes the happier notes from the yard, the kitchen - while other reviewers say "woody" - I'd have to disagree - herbs here, I'd swear it. Maybe even a clipping or two of privet hedge as well.

Not easy to make citrus, especially lemon, in any way complex. Les Parfums de Rosine has done it well with Un Zeste de Rose, but of course rose is the star in that number. Eau d'Hadrien makes the lemon the star, but it shares P.dR's ability make that note share nicely with a complex set of other notes - no mean feat.

There are other frags that will lighten and brighten your summer with more intrigue, but sometimes one isn't seeking intrigue, but instead, simplicity, well done. Find it here.
08th March, 2010

Chocolat by Il Profumo

Almost no noticeable chocolate, in fact when I first tried this over a year ago I detected none at all. Upon re-visiting Il Profumo Chocolat recently, the chocolate emerged for me. The chocolate that does waft through in small measure is the 80% pure cocoa single origin stuff. The kind that bites and leaves an assertive tinge of sour on the back of the tongue, as if coffee, not candy.

Make no mistake, candy is truly here - this is candy from that Asian grocery from the far side of town, it's candy that your aunt brought back from her trip around the world.

Spice, yes, but not your garden variety cinnamon/clove that usually pops up with the word "spice." Nutmeg, jeera perhaps; great mysterious hints in the background.

Sweetness, yes, and perhaps a tiny trace of incense. Once you graduate in the world of gourmands, and seek the unusual sweet, the complex sweet, the sweet that has had an interesting journey and collected many aromas of a fascinating storage, then pick this one up.

Complex, interesting and dark - I couldn't wear this everyday - the plum and hot, sticky notes are too singular for daily wear. But a fantastic little number for the days you feel.... different.
05th March, 2010

Un Zeste de Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

Unexpectedly complex, as citrus is such an olfactory bully that it can easily reduce a frag. to just the loud bits of pith and peel. Une Zeste de Rose keeps the rose a steady constant - only giving the citrus enough room to brighten, but not overpower. Others on the list have used the word "youthful" or "young" to describe the effect. I must agree, this is not a drawing room rose, instead definitely a young beautiful outgoing rose. Brightness abounds, but without any loss of depth. The layers of tea, musk and (gray??) amber provide tiny, understated anchors, while letting the rose, citrus and just a hint of the gardenia soar. The final result is much like flying a neon colored kite using ornate Victorian scatter pins as tail weights. This frag makes me crave summer in a most ferocious way. I shall have to re-visit it in warmer weather.
26th February, 2010

Tea for Two by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Such a true black tea fragrance, so complex, so reassuring, so delightful - and surely that's tobacco as well? Leaves just packed from curing, not yet smoky - but full of the promise or smoke. To be smoked, a precognition of smoke, intuitive smoke awareness. A velvet smoking jacket, porcelain cups clinking against saucers..... but no tea party here - instead this is Mycroft's afternoon cup in his favorite cordovan leather chair, just opening a freshly stocked humidor.

The problem? While Tea for Two might give the aroma of the Diogenese Club, it does so only in the faintest of whispers. This is scent of a letter written on stationary that only momentarily resided in Mycroft's desk. This is a slip of air escaping the foyer of the club out into the street on a rainy afternoon, only to be drowned out mere inches outside of the door. Tea for Two wears as close to my skin as a stocking, which is barely any fun for me, and certainly not the faintest trace of a clue for anyone else to find.

. . . . . . . .

saaaaaayyyy...... now *THERE'S* an idea: Tea for Two Extreme.

20th February, 2010

Forever by Alfred Sung

Alfred Sung the original scent was an absolute favorite of mine in my late teens - a cool and original white floral, very unique at the time.

I looked forward to forever, and found it to be so utterly........ ordinary.

nothing wrong, mind you, a perfectly pleasant and forgettable scent for a soap or a fabric refresher, or... ... what was I talking about again?

Oh, yes, Alfred Sung Forever. Kinda forgot.

Just another sweet floral. I expected more.
23rd December, 2009

Musc de Java by Les Néréides

Musc de Java brings cheerful fruit, specifically, berries, to the powdery sweetness of musk. Sounds simple, but could also go horribly, horribly wrong. There are musks and there are musks. My own love/hate affair with this particular glandular secretion (now all synthesized, no doubt) has me loving the richness, the decadence, yet also quickly growing tired of it's overpowering tendencies, as well as it's propensity to develop a "just barely turning stale" note on my skin. Sadly, both musk and berries have had some ugly turns with dime store renditions. When reading the notes for this number, one almost immediately pictures a bottle that arrives with a free teddy bear keychain and a coupon for ear-swabs.

With those biases clearly in mind, I plunged in and found Musc de Java to be redolent with a childlike cheer, sweet, but thankfully not at all cheap or junky. The berries are a soft round drop of Chambord, which is in dramatic contrast to other musk and berry offerings out there - for example MPG's Fraicher Muskissme and L'Artisans Mure et Musc, both of which have their own grand merits, but are quite quite different frags. In contrast to their bright fresh fruit hearts, Musc de Java lets the title character have all the glory.

Powdery, the musk has great longevity on me, long after the berry notes have faded away. Certainly, each will have their own experience with this one, (musk always lingers powerfully with my chemistry), but I'm pretty sure that the very pleasant, very gentle overall effect will be universal. Not so sure about that Unisex designation - this is a pretty fluffy little frag. I suppose the drydown drifts a little bit more into the androgynous zone, but there are certainly none of the harsher male notes here. Enjoyable, with a cling that could become cloying if applied carelessly. All around, a quite, quite nice one.

and no teddy bears.
22nd December, 2009

Opoponax / Impérial Opoponax by Les Néréides

The first thoughts that hit me when giving Imperial Opoponax a first sniff was "ahhh - there's the other half."

For years I have reveled in the earthy, spicy and absolutely unconventional delight of Oriental Lumpur, another fine selection from Les Nereides. While it doesn't bother me in the least that Oriental Lumpur has nary any other fragrance save the spices themselves, many others have commented that it "doesn't smell like perfume, it smells like a spice cabinet." That personally is the olfactory bees knees for me, but not for everyone. I've even heard complaint that O.L. "doesn't smell complete."

Imperial Opoponax completes things. I've no doubt, if you were to layer the two together, you'd come a lot closer to a high-end commercial frag, say a Creed or a Hermes. Les Nereides could pour into the same vat these two masterpieces of the niche market world and take on the mainstream if they found the inclination. For all the bold top notes of spice, spice, and um... spice that appears in O.L., Imperial Opoponax is all rich lingering basenotes - heavy, resinous, slightly powdery sweet, but always on the masculine side of it. A true deconstructed work of art.

Not enough can be said about the masculine aire that is here in the sweetness. Resins and the essence of a wood-paneled library with glowing burnished mahogany carells, a vanilla that is indeed the raw pod and no candy, and of course the title character, balsamic, golden, and even a bit boozy - myrrh.

Wonderful lasting power, discreet yet omnipresent silage, rich and unique sweetness with a classical power not frequently seen these days. Here's hoping that availability of Imperial Opoponax increases just a bit on this side of the pond. great stuff.
22nd December, 2009

Tangerine Vert by Miller Harris

Miller Harris Tangerine Vert gives you exactly what the title implies - tangerines and greenery. There's is some cheering to be done for the quality that is very apparent - these are spot-on representations of a tangerine and some pleasant leafy notes, but then again, it's just a tangerine and some pleasant leafy notes. These notes are linear, simple, and go away somewhat quickly, especially when you consider how long a pile of peels from the real thing will keep a room richly, citrusly, fragrant.

Singlefloras (singlefruits?) can be magnificent soloists, center stage divas of the highest regard. Then again, they can also be surprisingly un-interesting, depending on the rendering.

I can see this scent being very valuable in a Soylent-Green type future - a frag put into tree museums along with pictures of the (at that time) extinct tangerines, allowing one and all to know what "a real tangerine" once smelled like. Beyond such documentary usage, I don't get it.

16th December, 2009
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Amarige by Givenchy

Amirage - with references to it's Big 80's smell in other reviews here, I found myself puzzled as to why I hadn't any memory of it. Then I see the 1991 issue date and even more questions are raised. Is this a big 80's scent? It's big, that's for certain.

Also puzzling - the reference to tuberose. Givenchy's own packaging calls this gardenia, mimosa and musk, which are certainly the notes that jump out at me, but tuberose? Well, if you say that it's tuberose, I'll believe you, but I'm getting gardenia and mimosa myself.

The musk is synthetic, but playing a minor supporting role. There are other white flower-plus-musk numbers out there, MPG's Jardins Blanc for example. However, for Jardins Blanc, the musk is completely different, and MPG has several other florals in the mix - perhaps none of that mimosa either. Bottom line tho: you are certainly reminded of one when taking a whiff of the other. Those who enjoy that other big 80's white flower frag Sung, yet find it too transparent, or perhaps too futuristic, youthful and spacey, might find Amarige the grounded, grown up version of big white floral.

I'd love to find the leather note in Amarige that others have detected, but it eludes me. There is a rich base, and a slight hint of a dew-drenched grassy stem, an attempt at non-foodie creaminess, but the VOLUME of the entire frag is just so overwhelming that I struggle to find definition. Not to say that volume is a bad thing, but one does have to be in the mood for it.

Florals are not always my scene, I'm more a dark amber and spice kinda gal, and Amarige certainly is all floral with not even a hint of spice, not a trace of darkness. But I'm also a fan of stand-out, big frags, and this one surely does it. Possibly my favorite of the Givenchy house, and definitely a big, big classic.
11th December, 2009

Ambra del Nepal by I Profumi di Firenze

So this is the one that started it all for me. It was my awakening to the idea that perfumes are more than just something that you dodged as the vampire-like saleswomen in the department stores aimed their chemical blasts in your direction. Something other than what you settled for after rummaging through the clearance bins at the discount store. Something other than the heavy, sickly oils that at first seemed so charming when you entered the gift boutique, but became one-dimensional and tiresome almost immediately after bringing them home.

Is my great epiphany any reason at all for you, the poor reader who suffered through that abysmal first paragraph, to try Ambra del Nepal ?

No, but the superior craftsmanship of i Profumi di Fireze most certainly is. Ambra del Nepal is a masterpiece - a perfect balance of sweet rich amber, cardamom in it's most non-foodie role, and a vanilla so elegant, so pure, so very removed from the ice cream and cake vanillas so routinely offered up by others - there is a point at which I simply sigh and again repeat the word "masterpiece".

There are other cardamom-amber scents roaming around, and at least one other "amber of nepal" out there, but there is one other key ingredient in iPF's Ambra del Nepal, found also in Vagniglia del Madagascar, Talco Delico, Musico et Ambra, and several others from this fine house.

What is that amazing base note, that lingers so richly, yet ever elusive of analysis? No one to my knowledge has yet coined a phrase for it, and I'm feeling rather ambitious this evening, so why not: "Firenzenade". there ya go. The signature note in so many of their magnificent fragrances. An indescribably feminine note, yet never girlish, never vampish, never too frilly. What is it? Some hint of ethereal talc, some restrained vanilla blend, and some medieval touch of freshly hewn blond wood, some ........ ah, there it goes again eluding me.

Ambra del Nepal is a continual adventure in layers and development throughout the hours of superb silage. Deceptively simple, rich without gluttony, depth without becoming overpowering. A fantastic niche frag, so sadly hard to obtain here in the states.

oh yes - did I mention the word "masterpiece" ?
03rd December, 2009

Piment Brûlant by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Ian Anderson could easily compose a followup to his Habanero Reel with this one. Perhaps it'd be called the Piment Brulant Jig. A bright fragrance, a dancing fragrance. One I'd regulated to summer use only, but today is in the 30's and a spritz of this dazzler is just what's needed to combat the cold; not even a bit out of place with my suede and jamawar.

The pepper that is front and center here is not quite a bell - but it is spot on for the nearly inedible Aja Dulce - a pepper that looks just like a scotch bonnet, but is instead quite sweet, with zero heat. What the Aja Dulce does have in habanero-like proportions, is an overwhelmingly perfume-y flowery flavor that makes it useless for anything other than a novelty candy or perhaps an oddball canape. Piment brulant is it's own novelty candy, and embodies this unique, standout individuality of the Aja Dulce perfectly.

It also is one of those few fragrances that very noticeably morphs on my skin, becoming amplified, richer and deeper the longer I have it on, and noticeably different from it's aroma on inanimate cloth or paper. Short phrase - it works with my chemistry, everyone should test first.

The chocolate does not come out for me. Instead, it is this amazing rare variety of capsicum, a hint of raspberry, a touch of 12-year old Scotch with all it's complexity and depth, and perhaps some unisex 'clean' notes... a few indescribable bits, and all around terrific. I definitely hope it's around for a long time, but these unique quirky jewels are not made for mass appeal.

Another one to horde.
03rd December, 2009

Néonatura - Cocoon by Yves Rocher

The best of the cocoa-patchouli numbers out there. Angel is of course the most famous, but in my humble opinion, too sweet and reeking of that mass-market artificial smell that gives away the fact that the stuff is synthesized by the tanker-truckload. So too, B&BW's Chocolate Amber, which may or may not claim a patchouli note, but is clearly in the same "non-candy cocoa" category.

Neonatura Cocoon on the other hand, has the dusky cocoa mystery done just right. In fact, the mystery is minimal, and it even dares to be happy, and just a tad comforting. Dry, dark cocoa powder and oakmoss, softened with perhaps a bit of musk? The patchouli is of the best quality, traveling as a mature and well-mannered companion to the other notes, not the attention-seeking eccentric that it can sadly become in other frags.

Definitely appropriate for everday wear, non-offensive for the office, and unique enough to make people turn their heads inquisitively.

This could easily be a niche market fragrance, poured into a more interesting bottle and saddled with an outrageous pricetag. Il Profumo's overly complex Chocolats would have some serious competition if that happened. Instead, Cocoon cheerfully defies expectations for it's cost, and delivers a clever and unique treat for mere pennies.

hrm. At least Yves Rocher is in France. I guess we can forgive it for being affordable as long as it makes up for that sin by being French.
11th November, 2009

Onyx by Sage Machado

Onyx is so well named, and as Ms. Machado is first and foremost a jeweler, an understandable occurrence. This fragrance, like the stone, is an under-appreciated delight.

For all the discussion of the coconut, Onyx is primarily a dark, opaque, tobacco scent, and one that stays rich and stately, avoiding the unfortunate sour turn of iPF's Tobacco, and miles away from the harsh, over-done pseudo-complexity of Aramis Havana.

This tobacco is softened, surrounded in cottony down by a lady with gentle fingers, and then carefully placed into a packing crate padded with shredded coconut husk. This isn't suntan lotion coconut, and it's not the sweet flakes from a macaroon. It's the coir, the husks, the earthier essence of coconut, and it compliments, not overpowers. The vanilla also avoids any foodie associations, letting the oakmoss and musk show it how to live a meaningful, productive adult life away from the bakery and teeny-bopper toiletries.

I'm giving away no secrets to say that this absolutely one of my favorite frags ever, and that House Machado is at the top of my list in general. With that said - Onyx stands out as a misunderstood scent - years of mass-market foodie frags have tainted it with stereotyped expectations. Let go of those expectations and let yourself indulge.
11th November, 2009

Amber by Sage Machado

I keep a tightly sealed dark blue glass jar with a chunk of pure unadulterated amber from a chemists' supply. On moments when I need a smile, I reach for that jar and get a whiff of the Real Deal. Of all the other amber frags out there, only Sage Machado captures so perfectly that single exquisite note. And unlike a lump in a jar - I can actually *wear* Sage Machado Amber.

Yes, there are supporting notes - gentle traces of blonde wood and faint hints of orange rind, but Ms. Machado has so perfectly subdued them, letting the star ingredient do what it does best: shine. glow. burnish.

I meant to elaborate further, but what else can be said? Simply one of the best ambers ever.

11th November, 2009

Bois Farine by L'Artisan Parfumeur

An amazing and unique comfort scent - flour, sweet white flowers, sandalwood, and...flour??!?

Not necessarily gourmand - for who would eat raw flour? This isn't even the floury smell of fresh baked bread - no, no yeast here at all. Nothing toasted - this is fresh milled raw flour. Sugar? look somewhere else. This is a bakery, not a candy shop.

Ah, but certainly a comfort scent - the fresh start of a recipe, the beginning of a quiet afternoon busily baking. The fragrance of being productive and creative. When other scents give you the final product of cookies or cakes, this gives you the prelude, the launch, the mis en plas.

So rare for L'artisan to put out a fragrance that is so casual and comforting - this is a delightful piece. So sad that the cost takes it out out of reach, else it would be a staple of my scent wardrobe.
11th November, 2009

E.N.C.O.R.E by Alfred Sung

Alfred Sung Encore is a fragrance for a woman who plays hardball.
Encore is not playful.

Warm, yet not too friendly. Reserved, yet not meek. Strong, yet not dramatic. It is a daytime fragrance for a business executive who just happens to be a woman.

While the flowers are calmly present from opening to drydown, a stern, burnished wood and ever-so-faintly spicy note take over in the middle, and drive this number far away from any dreams of romance.

For all the serious sandalwood, there is no mistaking this for a male or even a unisex scent; it's clearly a woman's wear item. The rose, tuberose and jasmine are present - they are simply contained. No flirting allowed - the flowers in Encore must sit down and behave themselves.

Encore is slightly dated, if only because such dry and serious oriental florals (designed for women competing in the business world) did not really exist until the 1970s. Encore entered the market almost 20 years after the first of these 'office fragrances', and clearly is a progressive refinement of Charlie, Albert Nippon, and some of the other, earlier scents climbing the corporate ladder and banging on the glass ceiling.

For myself, I prefer scents that jump for attention a bit more than Encore. For all it's even-handed blending and moderately-high quality of ingredients, it does remain just a tad quiet, buttoned up and dry. Still, one of the best of this category.
11th November, 2009

Mitsouko by Guerlain

There's been a hesitation for me to write about this amazing chameleon - as others have posted here, there's something about Misouko that can not easily be defined.

Peaches? Oakmoss? Those are both reportedly in Calvin Klein Obsession, and that frag has always made me smile - but I couldn't even begin to guess that they appear in Mitsuoko. Certainly there's no hint of the cashmere envelope of amber that enriches Obession. And yet there is no mistake - Mitsouko is rich. Heavy. Weighty.

If pressed, I'd say that on me, this is almond toasts - the most expensive ones you can possibly import, and herbal distillations rendered by a turn-of-the-century pharmacist ... and a base of ... oh my, I just can't say.

Leather? perhaps - and sueded leather at that. But only perhaps. Gueralinade? Not the guerlainade that has become familiar to me in the drydown of Shalimar, Spiritulese Double Vanille, and Samsara. However, there is some rich base here in the drydown.

Too many memories are being conjured up by this frag, I suppose. I never knew the name of it at the time, but I'm certain now that this is what aroma surrounded my grandfather's second wife - a brash, energetic woman who wore colorful clothes, big hair, and bright red nail polish - much to the horror of the rest of my family, all fading into obscurity in their tasteful beige and navy and unobtrusive toiletries. Ah, but Emily (she insisted that she was too young to be called "grandma" and she was right) - Emily always stood out. Sometimes jarring, quite synthetic, but in the end, affable, outgoing and unapologetic.

Hrm... I think I just found the right descriptors for Mitsouko.

At least for today it is. I'll wear it again next week, and undoubtedly my mind will change again.
10th November, 2009

Cara by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

Jordan Almonds, marshmallows, very very fresh play doh, and a general light, happy aroma - maybe just the faintest trace of orange spice cookies? Now THIS is what Child should have smelled like. Certainly pulls the best bits from my childhood memories. very nice, although wears close to the skin. Worst of all, this sweet, gentle fragrance disappears rather quickly. Ha! Just like the few and fleeting moments of childhood happiness.
28th October, 2009

Idole d'Armani by Giorgio Armani

A dark fruit. A fruit that makes a lascivious sound when you bite into it. Very green, sweet, yet grounded. The patchouli, ginger and spice definitely steer this scent out of fluffy territory - no spun sugar cotton candy here. Instead, the sugar is a dark, sticky syrup; almost a venom.

The synthetic notes are not bashful, but they oddly enough give a lushness, a poshness. Indeed this is a large designer fragrance, and no niche-market bohemian. But as far as mass-market designer fragrances go, this is quite a winner. Complex, grown up, and deep with fruit and leaf and that ever-present dangerous syrup. Overall, a very pleasant surprise.

Hillary Duff With Love is at home on the shelf next to a bottle of Armani Idole - both have taken the current trend of sweet fruity frag.s and given them a diploma and a stock portfolio.
23rd October, 2009

Oropuro by Laura Tonatto

Musk, Amber AND Civet all in one? How naughty! Well, not really - the Bergamont is a strong scrubbing presence throughout this racy number, and the whole mix has a unisex appeal and a refreshing summer and spring zing that makes it right for multiple locations, even in the office (use a light touch). Wrist-sniffing addiction is a certainty; I can close my eyes and channel a tuxedo-clad Marlene Dietrich in this one.

As with other concoctions by the famed Nose, this Laura Tonatto fragrance has a wonderful rounded softness in the background that speaks of cashmere and trust funds. Even if the civet is synthetic, it and the vanilla do a good job at presenting themselves most naturally. This soft, barely-there vanilla joins the rich comforting amber for a quiet, ethereal background that makes Oropuro a true cut above. Just lovely, redolent with old-time glamour, and disarmingly racy.
17th April, 2009 (last edited: 28th October, 2009)

Burberry the Beat by Burberry

Vetiver, tea, musk, very unisex, a bit of spring, but not especially original. Nothing sexy about it - which is surprising given the musk note - then again, it is a very synthetic musk. other fragrances might be peeking in and out here and there.... bluebell??? who could tell over the big domineering tea/musk/generic citrus aromas? cardamom is an absolute fav of mine, but undetectable here. Pink pepper? I know that's the hawt little ingredient for 2008, but where is it in this mix?

Could be a high end Burberry scent, could be the fragrance added to a man's deoderant stick, could be gym locker deodorant for a high-end raquet club. overall, this one gets a "meh".
16th April, 2009

With Love... Hilary Duff by Hilary Duff

What a beautiful bottle, and even the box I received was frilly and fantastic, although I noticed that other versions of it are coming out in less fancy packaging.

However, we're here to talk about the juice inside, and it's taken me a while to put this one together. At first try, I detected no spice, and it came across as a nice melon/fruit floral, with only a very slight hint of annoying aquatic notes taking it into the spa/salon/toiletries realm. The candy note quite pleasant, not overpowering, and not so strong as to make it too girly. My conclusion upon first sampling was that it was a "rich teen" fragrance, smelling richer than it's price tag, but indeed a young fragrance.

Something, however, haunted me. There's a note there that reached for a memory. I couldn't place it, but somehow I *knew* it. After quite a bit of searching, and waiting and sampling With Love again on a different day, it finally hit me:

In the early 1990's, there was popular suntan oil, that despite it's brown plastic bottle and cute palm tree logo, had no noticeable coconut. No coconut at all, and instead was all exotic fruit aromas. The internet thankfully yielded the name in no time: Hawaii Blend Tropical Blend SPF 15.

And THAT is exactly what Hillary Duff With Love heart notes are. A clone of this suntan oil. Must be the mangosteen. Not a bad thing, actually. But definitely curious.
06th January, 2009 (last edited: 23rd October, 2009)

Elixir des Merveilles by Hermès

The Hardy Boys hid in the old warehouse for what seemed like hours, waiting for the mysterious man from the luggage company to come back. "Maybe he won't come back at all." Frank said, shuffling his feet on the bottom of the crate. His shoes kicked up fragments of the wood; it was rough-hewn and easily released bits of fragrant sawdust. The crate also smelled of the spices it had contained at one time. It reminded Frank that it had been quite some time since they had last eaten. "Maybe we should just go home and try again tomorrow."

"We have to stay just a little longer." Said Joe. "We have to find out why he was digging out behind the old Merveilles house last week, and if it has any connection Sally's disappearance."

Joe had to admit that things had become rather uncomfortable. Huddled together inside the rough wooden shipping crates, the boys were getting tired, cold, and hungry. They dug through their pockets looking for something to tide them over. Joe had some hard candy, and Frank had a big, succulent orange he had saved from lunch.

"This will have to do for dinner." Said Joe, solemnly, and peeled the orange, releasing it's pungent oil into the dusty night air. He pulled up the collar of his borrowed jacket, which still faintly smelled of his father's favorite soap. "I wish Dad was here." he thought, but kept those thoughts to himself. He did not want to let his brother know that he was scared.

They ate the orange and the candy slowly, silently, as if even the sounds of their chewing would somehow give their location away, hidden as they were in the pile of old spice crates. Together, they waited. Darkness fell.
05th January, 2009 (last edited: 06th January, 2009)

Tuscany per Donna by Estee Lauder

After much anticipation, (spicy carnation? fruits of Italy? sounded so promising!) I find this stuff to be utterly......... ho hum.

Very Dept. Store, very ordinary, a faintly pleasant floral/orchard note in the drydown, and a faint, distant reminiscence of Albert Nippon, which I used to like. Also a faint, distant reference to Fendi's original scent, which I detested. Tuscany per Donna is quite loud and lasting, so at least one gets one's moneys worth, I suppose. Although it's a '92 launch, it makes me think of the big hair 80's in a totally major way, a decade I adored, and yet this represents like the totally most bogus part of the eighties, like just too Nancy Reagan, like I am so sure, y'know.

Very, very glad I got the little bitty tester vial instead of a bottle.
31st December, 2008

Enjoy by Jean Patou

ENjoy opens as a generally harmless floral, then hints at a heart of richer florals with fruit, but quickly transitions to a drydown that surprises, in a very bad way.

To preface what I'm about to write, please let me first say that I'm quite the fan of animalic notes, even ones that others consider too rude for modern day consumption. however...

The drydown of ENjoy smells dirty. That's right, I said it - DIRTY. It smells of human sweat, and not in a good, sexy way. It smells of human sweat in a stale, covered-up-with-cheap-deodorant kind of way.

The fruit notes that make Sira des Indies so enjoyable are but a mere hint in the opening of ENjoy, and the floral that comes into play is not distinguished, not memorable. Surely this esteemed house could have done better. The drydown fails altogether, with the stink of synthetic musk, really failing to blend. There is no harmony here.

Now I normally adore the "dirty" scents, with Shalimar being at the top of the list, but this - this is just wrong. Done well, animalic aromas whisper "come hither." ENjoy simply mutters "eeuw. go bathe."

Ah well, as they always say - test first, test first, test first.
29th December, 2008 (last edited: 06th January, 2009)