Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Luthien

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Total Reviews: 10

Dior Addict by Christian Dior

I have had a mini of the original edition of Addict for years. But I disliked the scent for a long time and only kept the mini for the bottle. The fragrance seemed to evoke images of creepy tropical plants in my mind.

Recently I got the urge to revisit it in the process of finding the ideal spicy vanilla fragrance. Despite my previous dislike I remembered it would fit the bill. Now I can't understand why I didn't enjoy it sooner. All my favourites are strange dark orientals. But I got there in the end.

Obviously, the quality and lasting power are amazing even with the most conservative application. What caught me by surprise was that Addict feels like a darker moodier version of Chanel Allure EDP. I compared their respective notes - they do have several in common: orange blossom, jasmine, woody notes and vanilla. Where Allure is luminous and sunny, Addict is gothic and strange in its beauty. (That dark strange quality is also very prominent in Dior's Hypnotic Poison Elixir.) But I detect a "family" resemblance unlike Allure's official relative Sensuelle.

I'm happy to have finally seen the light about Addict. Maybe it's good it took me this long. It's no longer used by every other person, so I get to enjoy it in peace. Even better I found a partial bottle of the original formula on ebay for pennies, considering what it is. Happy days!
17th May, 2015

Dolce Vita by Christian Dior

If I had to describe Dolce Vita with one word it would be "golden". This is regardless of the bottle and packaging.
I have a strong connection with south eastern Europe. Dolce Vita manages to incorporate many naturally occurring from that part of the world very artistically. There are the aromatic wood notes, sweet fruit as well as spices. The result is quite abstract and not at all edible.

Ultimately, this may not be entirely high-brow, but not everything has to be. It is still much further away from being trivial. In fact when following up on several comparisons with Serge Lutens' FdB many people found it unworthy of that comparison, especially in its most recent edition.
I discovered the fragrance in 2007 and sadly didn't buy it until now. But I find it unchanged apart from a now relatively short life-span on the skin.

To me it's extremely beautiful, very unusual in the current boring climate, and definitely a happy scent.
17th May, 2015

Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf

When I first heard of the name Flowerbomb I knew to give this one a miss. Full-on florals, which the name implies, are the one category I just don't do. A while later I smelled a dry/woody only slightly sweet fragrance on a colleague. It was fairly low-key and rather pleasant. She told me it was Flowerbomb. After that I tested it myself and found it wouldn't work for me. But on other people, especially on that girl, I found it rather pleasant. I can only conclude now that I must have come across a statistical cluster of people with a very light trigger finger.
Come to think of it, that girl must have had an unusual body chemistry. On her the old Dior Addict seemed to have a woody/cinnamon quality which is usually doesn't have.

We have since moved to a different area, one where every other female seems to use Flowerbomb. And they're not shy in the application of it. I'm in a public facing line of work, and at least once every day I get almost knocked down by a veritable force field of this stuff.
So while I started out as on the fence about Flowerbomb, it is now what garlic is meant to be to vampires.

Often one can appreciate a fragrance just for the idea and artistic effort, even if they don't work for everyone. In this case the end result smells exceptionally shallow and cheap. Nothing seems to even aspire to reflect the listed notes. It only consists of generic artificial sweetness and equally fake shallow patchouli.

Normally I'm content to avoid trivial fragrances and don't bother reviewing them. But with the obnoxious omnipresence of this stuff I just have to.
17th April, 2015
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Alien: Le Gôut du Parfum by Thierry Mugler

This version is my number one among all the Aliens. Though there is a lot to be said for the original - for all its blatant nature, it is essentially a simple clinical if unusual scent. I wasn't ready to enjoy it. After receiving a sample of the Taste variant, I was hooked. The caramel gives it a rich sweet velvety quality while remaining a concept rather than an "edible" aroma. Like the original EDP, this doesn't "feel floral" despite the strength of the jasmine note. And also like the original, Taste finishes of with a dry-ish wood/amber base. In fact, it took this version for me to fully appreciate the original Alien.

By comparison I rate this more highly than the 2009 Liqueur edition. Whatever was added to that one only makes it sweeter, rounder, softer. The overall effect is more floral, a more typical female scent. For all its beauty it doesn't quite achieve what I'm after.
Taste manages to retain the stark weirdness of the original and be rich and cosy at the same time. A true masterpiece.
18th March, 2015

Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka

I don't generally believe in the concept of a "signature scent". And yet that's exactly just what this has turned out to be. It isn't even my absolute number one for just smelling wonderful. Regardless of how rarely I use it, that spot can only ever belong to vintage Opium.
When I first smelled it I didn't care for it, didn't dislike it, but most importantly I just couldn't forget it. That alone says a lot for a piece of art - it engages and challenges the person sampling it.

I categorically disagree with anyone claiming that you have to like (eating) liquorice to enjoy this perfume. While I detest the edible variant, I consider a well-done liquorice fragrance note extremely intriguing. In fact, many things are not equally suited to being both good scents and flavours.

About two years and several revisits after first smelling this I was finally ready to make it my own. While the liquorice is certainly prominent, it is quite different from the edible variety. The composition is quite dark, both herbal and earthy, as well as very comfortable to wear. At the same time it has a strange transparent clarity to it - I'm afraid the original advert got it 100% right.
I have to admit I'm becoming susceptible to the dark fairytale this perfume and its bottle are telling, quite an admission in my old age.

In a sense things come full circle on the Opium reference - both these perfumes go far beyond being perfumes. They have a story behind them and in them.

I find myself longing for this fragrance more often than any other in my collection when it comes to selecting one. So far I'm only familiar with the original version. I haven't yet tried the reformulated one. Apparently it's a fairly worthy successor. I may well sniff it out. But I sleep better for knowing I have a sizeable stash of the original.
10th March, 2015 (last edited: 18th March, 2015)

Chance by Chanel

When Chance was first released I was put off by the girly themed advertising and packaging. It seemed unlikely the content wold be anything other than trivially feminine.
But around 2008 I was exploring all the Chanel fragrances for the sake of completeness (The commercial ones, the exclusives were not available in the city).

I was completely unprepared for the crisp herbal fragrance Chance turned out to be. As another reviewer commented the notes would easily hold their own in a male marketed fragrance.

Superficially it's clear why some would compare chance to Coco Mademoiselle. But where Coco M can be rather screechy, Chance is both more unusual, better behaved and definitely superior. Between the citrus and herbal notes Chance created a very warm and sunny impression. Visually it brings to mind a slightly chilly sunny spring day.

At the time I was sampling Chance EDP. For some reason I held off buying it at the time. Now I decided to revisit but thought I'd compare the EDT while I was at it. It turns out Chance must have been reformulated. In the EDP musk seems to dominate and distort the whole thing. The EDT smells more like the scent I experienced years ago, even if it is a little thinner.
It's probably still good enough to buy a used bottle cheaply for old times' sake. The danger of reformulations makes a case for instant gratification in the fragrance department. It can easily be too late otherwise.
22nd January, 2015

Allure Sensuelle by Chanel

I'm rating this as neutral because it's not outright awful, but it simply doesn't work for me. I tried to move on to this when my husband got tired of smelling the regular Allure on me. I liked this well enough on a paper strip; on the paper it seemed to have some similarity with the original.

On the skin it feels completely disjointed, as if wearing two separate mismatched fragrances. Thanks to the facet structure the fresh aquatic side is quite persistent while the richer notes are there from the start. But they don't blend or even cooperate.
In contrast in the original Allure the different notes seem to take their turns, but they also work with each other as a blend. The notes in Sensuelle behave like oil and water. And as other reviewers commented it feels neither refreshing not warm. The strengths of the respective characteristics are equal and consistently battle each other for the duration of the fragrance. I'm giving this one a miss.
22nd January, 2015

Very Irrésistible by Givenchy

I still sometimes wonder what possessed me to buy this back in the day. I can only explain it with ignorance, though I knew even then that floral just wasn't my thing.

I'm giving it a neutral rating because it's wrong for me. But it does its thing very well for what it is. In fact it's well above most standard floral scents, especially rose themed ones. I would attribute that extra bite to the star anise note which is distinctly interesting. At least originally the lasting power was impressive too; I haven't tried it in many years.

I kept wearing it occasionally for a good while and might even have kept if the bottle hadn't leaked in my favourite bag. After smelling a force field of this for weeks things could never be the same, and I passed it on.

But again, it's well above most of its kind (say Bvlgari's rose themed EDP & EDT) and manages to be neither too girly nor ladylike.
25th December, 2014 (last edited: 31st December, 2014)

Alien Essence Absolue by Thierry Mugler

This is my second favourite of the "enriched" Aliens, with Taste of Fragrance being number 1. But even so, the dark earthy notes in this version make it an extremely close competitor with its greater depth.

The jasmine note is there for most of the time, preventing the composition from being plain and sweet, not that the vanilla not is plain in this case. In any Alien the jasmine is more abstract than truly floral which is just as well for me. The contrasts of the notes are exceptionally well blended. A real beauty.

The bottle is rather ugly by comparison to the rest of the series. What's wrong with the concept of a faceted gem? One announcement of this perfume described the bottle as a drop of liquid gold - a pleasant enough description, if not well rendered. Others welcomed the arrival of a "feminine shape". Do some women really need constant reminders in that quarter from everything they own?

But back to what matters, the bottom line is still a five-star-rating for the content of that ugly bottle.
25th December, 2014

Omnia Crystalline by Bulgari

It seems unfair to to judge this scent as lacking in character since "neutral" is exactly what it aims for.
After a hint of citrus I can detect the Nashi fruit early on - both it's light fresh taste and crushed ice texture are translated well. I'm not aware of a bamboo scent, but this fragrance portrays it well with its quiet low-key wood notes.

Generally I mostly enjoy more full-one fragrances. Maybe that's exactly why I like this as a break from them. In humid weather, or when I'm working on one of my head colds this is also perfect - fragrant but quiet.

For all that, I find it very long-lasting. It doesn't project very far, but on the skin it lasts many hours.

I've also found it to be the perfect counterpart for my husband's Armani White, much more so than Armani's own female counterpart. Just to clarify, I don't care which gender something is marketed to, but White only smells "right" on him. But I'm delighted to get a close enough fix with Crystalline.

25th December, 2014