Perfume Reviews

Reviews by StellaDiverFlynn

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Total Reviews: 112

Irisoir by Sultan Pasha

Smelling Irisoir, right from the opening, is a deeply satisfying experience to me. The orris is the unequivocal star of the first half hour, an exquisite delicacy of velvety, even buttery richness, violet-tinted woody elegance and just a hint of its rooty quirkiness. At the same time, a honeyed, slightly powdery floral heart steadily grows. Carnation, mimosa, lilac, almond-y helitrope are intricately intertwined into a fleecy bedding over smooth sandalwood and soft balsams, a luxurious, velvety mattress so soothing that the orris could all but fall deep within. This middle phase reminds me quite a bit of L'Heure Bleue, especially the sumptuous extrait de parfum (my reference is one from 90s). But Irisoir has a much stronger presence of orris and less of the anisic spiciness, tonka bean and other oriental elements. As a result, Irisoir feels much more floral in comparison, and more delicate and vibrant as well.

A quiet whisper of peach can be heard throughout the composition as well. It's at first slightly bitter and woody besides its sweet-tart fruitiness, like the flavour close to its stone. When the elegant and enveloping floral heart gradually softens after about 6 hours, the peach gains a bit more prominence. It's now a tender fruity warmth mingled with the dainty, honeyed petals of rose, rendered suede-like thanks to the ever so plush orris. Irisoir maintains this adorably silky skin scent of orris, violet, peach and rose over a discreet salty vetiver until it disappears with a total longevity of at least 10 hours. It mostly stays close to the skin, although it projects slightly during its opening hour.

Irisoir is described by some writers as a close contender to the mythical Iris Gris. As I've never smelt the original vintage version or the reconstructed one in Osmothèque, I can't provide any comparison. But I would say that the peach is more like a supporting actor in this star-studded attar. And the L'Heure Bleue association stemming from its abstract yet nectarous, powdery floral heart, rather evokes to me the perfumery of the early 20s century, like Sultan Pasha himself described it as a tribute to La Belle Epoque. That being said, Irisoir does not feel like a mere copy, but a timeless beauty that truly is inspired by the classic perfumery and moves forward in a certain artisitic direction with the help of quality materials and exquisite blending. I'd highly recommend giving it a try, especially if you are an orris/iris fan or if you enjoy warm floral oriental à la L'Heure Bleue.
29th June, 2018

Scent of Hope by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

DSH Scent of Hope opens with an intense peach note. This peach is no longer the juicy, luscious fruit fresh from the branch, but carefully dried under the sun, having absorbed the warm energy of sunlight. Its sweet-tart flavour and even the discreet bitterness close to the core feel concentrated yet sublimely balanced. This dried fruit sensation is further underscored by the dusty, slightly spicy even anise-y violet, reminiscent of the violet note in Caron Aimez-Moi.

The orris does not manifest itself in a distinctive way on my skin. But after about 40 minutes, when the dusty spicy violet starts to soften, the plush, velvety texture of orris renders the previous dried peach more pulpy again. Underneath the peach flesh, there is also occasionally a papery, even slightly starchy touch, which might be a combined effect of orris and ambrette.

Scent of Hope then maintains this palpable, suede-like peach skin scent during the rest of its development. I can't really discern any other ingredients such as the civet or the moss in it. They help to complete this lavish peach-orris-violet accord rather than distracting from it. The sillage is mostly moderate and it usually stays about 10 hours on my skin.

As I've never smelt vintage Iris Gris or the Osmothèque reconstruction, I can't provide any comparison. When compared to the recently released L'Iris de Fath, the orris in Scent of Hope seems to be more quiet, mostly supporting the radiant peach rather than performing a pas de deux. And it has a stronger presence of a deliciously dusty and anise-y violet in the opening, while its dry down is more homogenous, lacking the multilayers of carnation and green moss in L'Iris de Fath.

Regardless of comparisons which depends mostly on one's preferences, Scent of Hope is definitely beautiful and charismatic. Smelling it really makes me feel sunny, happy and optimistic, thanks to its lush, bright, harmonious blend of peach and orris. Me being a fan of Caron Aimez Moi, that dusty spicy violet in the opening is also a welcoming touch for me. I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you're interested in exploring the magic pairing of peach and orris.
24th June, 2018 (last edited: 26th June, 2018)

Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez

Narciso Eau de Parfum continues the tradition of Narciso Rodriguez's beloved white musk, but this time, contrary to the For Her and Essence lines, the musk in Narciso takes the back seat.

The notes in Narciso seem to be consciously kept undefined and non-realistic. The opening is a dewy, refreshing, even sharp floral that reads more like watery magnolia than gardenia to me, but as a milky, even nutty undertone develops over time, the abstract floral accord gradually shifts towards the direction of gardenia.

Because of its overall nebulous nature, Narciso evolves in an incremental way: the floral sweetness is little by little taken over by an opaque woody amber, further underlined by the prune-like tart-sweetness of rose. While I can understand the aesthetic of deliberately maintaining an artificial, non-natural feeling in a composition and appreciate it in a few innovative fragrances, unfortunately in Narciso, the sharp synthetic cedar, the densely opaque amber, the creamy white musk, and the nebulous sweet floral, all together create an combined effect of plastic doll out of laundry, a smell and an image that I don't particularly enjoy.

The late dry down sees the woody amber fading away, allowing the signature clean patchouli and white musk combination of the For Her series to surface and to stay until it completely disappears after about 10 hours. The sillage is mostly moderate throughout.

Being a fan of the previous For Her and Essence lines, I had high hope for Narciso. But in the end, the Egyptian musk that I find utterly memorable in For Her plays only a minimal role, and the amorphous and intentional artificial interpretation of floral and woody amber, while interesting on paper, eventually rub me the wrong way in execution. Suffice to say that Narciso is not my cup of tea. But I can understand how its opaque, nebulous nature can be seen as a mysterious, enveloping aura. If you enjoy modern clean abstract fragrances in general and are looking for a warm floral ambery musk, you may want to give Narciso a try.
09th June, 2018
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Black Afgano by Nasomatto

Given the hype surrounding Black Afgano, the fragrance itself is surprisingly quiet and abstract in general. It opens with a slightly animalic oud accord and acrid burnt incense, but soon mellows into a dense yet clean musk and creamy tobacco, with a discreet amber warmth humming underneath.

Speaking of the cannabis note, I can't vouch for it as I haven't any experience with any kind of drug substance. But the fragrance does have a faint yet sharp herbal twang which I find similar to that in Jardin d'Ecrivains Junky and Smell Bent Mountain HIgh. While this note is fairly strong in Junky and Mountain High, it's really only a whisper in Black Afgano, which I consider primarily a nebulous tobacco oud fragrance.

The fragrance doesn't have much significant development during its almost 11 hour longevity, and remains mostly close to skin.

Black Afgano is consistent in style with the other Nasomatto fragrances, relying heavily on certain synthetic smoky oud accords which unfortunately is not my cup of tea, although Black Afgano is thankfully not as heavy-handed as their later entries. And despite its hype and mystery, it's not that controversial olfactorily speaking. If you enjoy the latest viril woody amber trend, but prefer a relatively quieter fragrance, Black Afgano might be an adequate option to consider.
08th June, 2018

Angel Fruity Fair by Thierry Mugler

On my skin, Angel Fruity Fair is closer to the original Angel EDP than previous summer flankers such as Eau Sucrée.

Fruity Fair focuses primarily on red berries and the fiercely earthy patchouli that consist of part of Angel's signature accord, and it essentially feels like the original Angel EDP with less tropical fruits and less that deep, almost gooey caramel chocolate. As a result, I find it more streamlined than Angel EDP, but still more dense and more gourmand than the sleek Angel EDT. Moreover, since it lacks the defining note of powdery meringue in Eau Sucrée, I don't find them similar either.

The longevity of Angel Fruity Fair is a solid 10 hours on me, while the sillage is heavy to moderate.

Fruity Fair is of the standard quality of Mugler, which is pretty consistent. However, I don't consider it among those eccentric Mugler flankers that manage to be surprising, innovative yet still retaining the original's signature. In fact, I can't help finding it a bit redundant among Mugler's numerous excellent flankers. Therefore, I think it would be a good option for those who are already fans of Angel but would like a version with less caramel-chocolate and more red berries.
08th June, 2018

Ambre Gris by Pierre Balmain

Balmain Ambre Gris opens with a dash of pink pepper and a massive, sharp, squeaky clean note reminiscent of laundry products, which I don’t particularly care for. But soon enough, the sweet resins and immortelle arrive, and the olfactory landscape of Ambre Gris heads to a more interesting direction.

Benzoin and immortelle impart their languid, caramel-like golden sweetness, with immortelle adding an extra touch of bittersweet licorice alongside with musty myrrh. Despite its enveloping resinous sweetness, the fragrance curiously never feels cloying or overwhelming. Besides a pinch of balmy smoke from guaiac wood, there is also something translating as a cool powderiness akin to iris to my nose that seems to absorb any extra grease.

The most intriguing aspect though, is the initial laundry-like white musk still lurking around, now fully integrated into the resin matrix and behaving like a refreshing breeze over the golden resinous lake. Not only does it lighten the balsamic amber, it also serves as a tantalising radiance to contrast the deeper resins.

The end result is a surprisingly refreshing yet still satisfyingly cozy powdery amber skin scent. Ambre Gris stays comfortably close to skin for a total of 8 hours.

Personally, I don’t think Balmain Ambre Gris aimed at imitating the smell of ambergris, nor does it smell like the samples that I had the chance to test. I’d rather put it in the same category as Hermès Eau des Merveilles, inspired by the intriguing fresh/warm duality of ambergris and reimagining a fragrance around this central concept, even though they don’t smell like each other per se. Although I still struggle with the laundry-like opening on a personal level, overall I think Ambre Gris succeeds in recreating this duality in spirit. If you happen to be looking for a powdery, balmy amber with some freshness and if you don’t mind strong clean musk, Balmain Ambre Gris is well worth a try.
08th June, 2018

Oud Edition by Roberto Cavalli

Roberto Cavalli Oud Edition opens with an oud accord commonly seen in many western exclusive oud fragrances, sharing the leathery, earthy and slight nutty characteristics of cypriol, and devoid of any animalic, musty or musky facets of the oud. A jammy rose discreetly runs underneath, but thankfully never steps out of the shadow. Saffron provides mostly its fuzzy warmth, but none of its tantalising fruity yet bitter medicinal aspects.

The fragrance mostly remains this standard western-style oud, but with one intriguing addition: an incense note reminiscent of clean burnt dirt. Smoky, but not arid or aggressive, and it adds a surprisingly airy vibe to the otherwise dense oud accord.

The perfume doesn't go under any major development. It just becomes more creamy due to the amber and vanilla in the base. The sillage is moderate, and the longevity is around 10 hours.

Roberto Cavalli Oud Edition was released in 2013, right when the oud became so fashionable that every designer brand was producing at least one exclusive oud fragrance. Inevitably, many chose to play safe, only adding minor variation to the common oud accord, which is what this Oud Edition did in my opinion. That being said, this Oud Edition feels surprisingly smooth compared to a few smoky oud fragrances in recent years that rely heavily on certain aggressive, extra-dry woody amber aromachemicals, for which I'm grateful. If you enjoy designer oud fragrances with less emphasis on rose, Roberto Cavalli Oud Edition might be an option to consider.
07th June, 2018

Rubylips by Salvador Dali

Rubylips is mainly a fruity floral on my skin, with a clean, bright patchouli acting as the backbone. The opening sees the red berries dominating over medicinal patchouli, which creates a spiced prune effect prone to many fruitchouli fragrances. Thankfully, since Rubylips doesn’t have notes to imitate caramel or chocolate, the texture is more dry than syrupy.

As time progresses, the red berries are gradually replaced by fresh, slightly aquatic floral evoking waterlily and nebulously a pale rose. Rubylips is now an awashed musky floral gently spiced up by an equally desanitised patchouli. The fragrance does gain slightly more honeyed deep in the dry down, but the overall effect is still a squeaky clean, “shampoo”-like patchouli fruity floral quite ubiquitous nowadays.

The sillage of Rubylips is relatively soft and it can hold up to 8 hours in general.

In itself, Rubylips is not bad at all, and being released in 2004, it does precede many other trending fresh patchouli fruity floral. But at the same time, I don’t find it outstanding in this crowded genre, more like a standard affair. If you enjoy mainstream patchouli fruity floral and can find it at a reasonable price, Rubylips is actually a good deal. But otherwise you won’t miss out much either.
07th June, 2018

Aoud Queen Roses by Montale

Aoud Queen Roses opens with an assertive oud, more rubbery and leathery than musty, animalic or acridly smoky. The oud stays at the front for about 30 minutes, waiting for a ruby rose unfolding its velvety petals before retreating to the sideline.

I was a bit worried at first, that Aoud Queen Roses might subsequently choose the gourmand jammy raspberry-oud-rose path. But fortunately, the fragrance doesn't hesitate to shed most of its spotlight on the vegetal, more natural aspects of the rose: slightly honeyed, but mostly wine-y and tart, with deep red hue of prune and herbal geranium nuances. A medicinal, earthy patchouli is her faithful companion, enhancing the vegetal and wine-like facets of rose without taking away its soliflore status.

When the rose finally grows tired of this dance and fades away after about 7 hours, the patchouli continues to hold on the skin with ambrette, leaving a musky floral trail with a medicinal zing. The sillage is moderate throughout, and the longevity can reach 10 hours.

The development of Aoud Queen Roses is arguably not too complexe, with rose as the center and oud, patchouli and ambrette adding an extra-flavour, all three trustworthy pairings with rose and the execution is well handled. The result is a very effective woody rose, slightly darker than a rose soliflore, but still very recognisably the queenly rose.

Personally speaking, Aoud Queen Roses is not my favourite rose-oud-patchouli fragrance because of its simplicity, as this genre has become quite crowded in recent years and I'd prefer something with a twist or two. That being said, Aoud Queen Roses is still a very solid choice, especially if what you're looking for is closer to a rose soliflore but still has noticeable oud and patchouli in the mix.
06th June, 2018

Night Aoud by Martine Micallef

Micallef Night Aoud opens with medicinal, rubbery oud, and intense, extremely concentrated fruity ylang and peach. The execution of the latter reminds me of the similar narcotic ylang-jasmine opening of Guerlain Samsara extrait and Areej Le Doré Flux de Fleur for example, but in Night Aoud, these undiluted fruity floral sweetness is further paired with the rubbery oud, resulting in a saccharine, synthetic feeling to my perception.

As the intensity of the fragrance gradually diminishes when heading into the dry down, the overwhelming sensation of synthetic sweetness becomes more manageable with time. The oud takes on a fuzzy warmth akin to saffron and its funky woodiness is relegated to the background. The main branch on which the bright sweetness of ylang and peach cling, is now a high-pitched, slightly camphorous patchouli. Although it’s still not enough to temper the sweetness, at least it doesn’t automatically conjures the artificial impression as the combination of oud’s rubberiness and fruity floral sweetness does for me.

Night Aoud becomes more and more enveloping towards the end, thanks to the steady, cocooning warmth of sandalwood, although the sharp fruity sweetness of ylang and peach never truly leaves. The sillage is moderate to soft, and the longevity is around 9 hours.

Curiously, Night Aoud doesn’t feel that dark to me, as its name might suggest. The beaming sweetness of ylang and peach actually makes it feel quite bright and cheerful. The contrast between rubbery oud and hedonistic fruity floral is also an interesting idea, although in practice, the overall effect translates being too synthetic and saccharine for my taste. If you can handle intensely fruity sweetness and are looking for a joyful rendition of oud, Night Aoud might worth a try.
06th June, 2018

Bois d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal

Contrary to Eau d'Hadrien, I can barely smell any lime or lemon in Bois d'Hadrien, only a vague suggestion of a fresh fruity opening. And in a sense true to its name, Bois d'Hadrien indeed feels quite woody. However, these woody notes don't really have any charming characteristics of specific wood, either, but more like an abstract fruity woody note with certain similarities to Cashmeran. And it even turns a bit aridly smoky in the dry down, somewhat similar to the unpleasant effect of certain woody amber aromachemicals quite common these days.

Probably thanks to these potent molecules, the projection of Bois d'Hadrien is rather heavy, and it can cling on skin for at least 10 hours. But in return, I find Bois d'Hadrien lacks urgently the subtle, poetic beauty of previous creations from the house of Goutal. As a result, I would not particularly recommend this fragrance, especially if you happen to be fan of Goutal's offerings before 2012 which feel completely different in style with Bois d'Hadrien.

As a side note, the spray mechanism of the new packaging is much better than the older Goutal sprayer! It gives out a very uniform spray and is much easier to press.
05th June, 2018

Iris Rebelle by Atelier Cologne

The opening of Iris Rebelle would probably put a smile on many iris fans: an almost buttery orris kisses the skin, leaving a subtle smear of her violet lipstick.

However, this phase is sadly very short-lived. Within minutes, the carrot-like earthy nuance of iris briefly makes its turn, before the fragrance swiftly settles into a standard floral woody musk base: a clean, vegetal, ambrette-like white musk with fresh neroli nuance and a vague, slightly peppery woody undertone.

Iris Rebelle then remains this pleasant skin scent until the end. The sillage is mostly soft, while the longevity is around 6 to 7 hours.

Overall, I find Iris Rebelle a very adequate clean floral woody musk, and I quite enjoy wearing it. Although the orris is not as luxurious as I would have liked, its overall transparent, modern approach is perfectly in accordance with Atelier Cologne's "cologne" aesthetics. I would recommend it to those who enjoy iris-neroli fragrances such as Prada Infusion d'Iris, or iris-ambrette fragrances such as Diptyque Fleur de Peau, but would like a more prominent orris note in the opening.
05th June, 2018

Amber Oud by Body Shop

The Body Shop Amber Oud is a fairly simple fragrance. Just as its names indicates, it first starts as an oud note fairly common in today's western interpretations: mostly woody with a hint of sweet berry nuance of rose, and just a tiny bit of animalic suggestion. This oud then turns somewhat nutty and becomes a supporting role to a powdery amber and sweet myrrh.

The fragrance then remains as such until it dissappears after about 8 hours, with occasional whiffs of oud's inkiness and muskiness stirring within the soft amber skin scent after the initial moderate sillage.

Compared to a few high-end western oud fragrances, this The Body Shop offering does feel lacking in nuance and slightly sharper at certain moments. But at the same time, it's far from being as obnoxious and arid as other expensive "oud" fragrances that rely on a stronger olfactory profile of aggressive woody amber aromachemicals. For its price point, it perfectly fullfills its purpose of providing just a small taste of the oud note and being easy to appreciate, nothing more, nothing less.
05th June, 2018
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Una Tira l Altra by Hilde Soliani Profumi

To sum up Una Tira L'Altra, it's amarena cherry in a bottle!

The opening blast is powerful and intense, with the dark cherry juice and syrup splashing all over. However, just short of stepping into cherry cough syrup territory, Una Tira L'Altra soon pulls itself together and reveals a mouthwatering tartness among its boozy, succlent fruity sweetness, strongly evoking amarena cherry to me.

The fragrance largely remains unchanged throughout its 10-hour longevity. It just becomes ever slightly more creamy about 4 hours in, hinting at subtle nuances of vanilla and almond but never fully showcase them. The sillage is heavy during its first hour, and remains moderate later on.

Because of its hefty opening of gourmand, syrupy cherry, and its relatively simplistic approach, Una Tira L'Altra might have a fairly narrow audience. But as an amarena cherry solinote fragrance, I honestly think this is one of the most fantastic ones in the current market, if not the most. If you're looking to indulge your nose with a spoonful of amarena cherry, I'd highly recommend giving Una Tira L'Altra a try.
04th June, 2018

Virke by Svensk Parfym

I’d like to first thank Svensk Parfym for the opportunity to test their first six fragrances.

The opening moment of Virke is filled with tart-sweet lemon and a cool, almost medicinal greenery, of which the combined effect reminds me of frozen lime. Soon, a ripe, rosy/fruity sweetness arrives along with a slightly animalic woodiness in order to complete the olfactive profile of raspberry.

However, with all the pieces of a raspberry puzzle present, I was unable to claim that it smells like realistic raspberry to me. One main reason is that its texture is not juicy and sparkling to evoke the sensation of biting into a ripe raspberry, but a bit dry and powdery because of the prominent woody element, sometimes even a bit reminiscent of lipstick. Another reason is that the rosy sweetness and the animalic woody note employed here strongly remind me of the rose-oud accord in many western oud fragrances. Virke is not as heavy or aggressive as many of them, but the association is difficult to shake off in my mind.

With time, the animalic aspect and the ripe fruity sweetness becomes lighter and more translucent thanks to the infusion of a steamy, clean white musk. Virke becomes a rubbery wood and clean musk fragrance tinged with a light pink hue of raspberry sweetness about 3 hours in, and it remains so until it disappears from the skin. The sillage is mostly moderate, while the longevity is about 11 hours on my skin.

As I've become jaded with many western rose-oud fragrances lazily depending on this kind of raspberry-rose-oud accord, I have certain difficulties dealing with the similar accord in Virke. But I really appreciate the addition of musky animalic note to bring the raspberry alive, as many commercial fruity floral focuses solely on its fruity sweetness and smells more like artificial gooey jam. The strong presence of a dry wood also helps to keep the sweetness at bay. If you're looking for a woody raspberry and don't have the same aversion to a certain raspberry-rose-oud accord like me, I think Virke is worth a try.
02nd June, 2018

Stilla by Svensk Parfym

I’d like to first thank Svensk Parfym for the opportunity to test their first six fragrances.

Stilla opens on me as a lovely, authentic grey-purple lavender. Its gritty, aromatic earthiness, and its resinous sweetness are beautifully displayed in the front, while the squeaky clean, metallic aspects - the kind of interpretations of lavender that I struggle with, is nowhere to be found in Stilla.

The icing on the cake though, is a light touch of eucalyptus. It's finely tuned so that it will not sound the medicinal alarm, but enough to evoke the passing feeling of a cool breeze on an early morning,

About 1 hour in, the initial focus on the lavender starts to blur, as the dry woody base and a steamy, clean white musk permeate the lavender field like a morning fog. As the lavender gradually loses its herbal shimmer and becomes dehydrated, its hay-like dry aromaticness weaves seamlessly into the almost incense-like, grey-coloured dry woods.

Stilla then maintains this aromatic, incense-tinted dry woods and nebulous, silver clean musk for the remainder of the 9-hour longevity. At times, I almost crave for something to pop up, to add a bit of ripple to this tranquil lake of white musk with floating aromatic wood log. But at the same time, it does interprets "stillness" successfully. I get a moderate to soft sillage with Stilla.

After smelling all of the first six releases from Svensk Parfym, I find most of them focus on primarily one accord, but care is taken to showcase them in a vibrant way. Moreover, the transition from the opening to the base takes place smoothly and in an incremental manner, as if the camera gradually moves out of focus. Stilla incarnates this aesthetic perfectly, and this results to a relative linear yet naturalistic fragrance that is easy to appreciate without being boring.

What I appreciate the most in Stilla is its vivid lavender. Not only does it avoid the "masculine sports fragrance" cliché, but also refrains from being too clean and too sweet for my taste like Penhaligon's Lavandula and Chanel Jersey did. Its light touch of the usually polarising eucalyptus is also interesting. I believe Stilla manages to present this note in an approachable way without taking away its personality. I would definitely recommend it to those who are on a lavender quest, or to those who would like a clean aromatic skin scent.
02nd June, 2018

Prakt by Svensk Parfym

I’d like to first thank Svensk Parfym for the opportunity to test their first six fragrances.

I'm surprised by how much I enjoy Prakt, as I usually struggles with the two prominent notes here - blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaves: the intense greenness of the blackcurrant leaves in Diptyque L'Ombre dans L'Eau is too fierce for my taste, while the jammy sweetness of blackcurrant in many fruity gourmand fragrances is too overwheming for my liking. But in Prakt, the crunchy, vibant vegetal greenness and the ripe (yet not jammy at all) musky sweetness of blackcurrant and its leaves, along with the earthy tartness of rhubarb, are in perfect balance. And the fragrance really conjures a vivid image of fresh berries and rhubarb to me!

Prakt turns slightly more woody in the dry down and loses a bit of the dewy feeling in the opening, but it mostly remains this natural, realistic fresh berries and lush vegetations throughout its development and never disintegrate into an abstract clean white musk like so many green fragrances with a promising opening do. I sometimes detect a tomato leaf note, mostly because the vegetal, slightly earthy and wet soil-like greenness and fruity tart-sweetness have minor variation in proportions. If I spray a larger quantity on one sport, there's also a slight burnt note that I encountered and struggled with in certain blackcurrant-heavy fragrances, but it doesn't bother me that much as long as I don't indulge myself too much with the spray.

Prakt has a moderate sillage and lasts about 9 hours on my skin.

I agree with many previous reviews that Prakt is a very evocative fragrance perfectly capturing the joy of picking berries and rhubarb in a lush garden at the end of summer. I've been searching on and off for a green blackcurrant fragrance that has the natural lush greenness but not too forceful, has the mouthwatering musky sweetness of the berries but not too sugary, and remains layered and engaging without falling apart into a nebulous clean laundry base. Prakt is pretty close to my ideal blackcurrant fragrance. Based on my personal experience with Prakt, I would highly recommend it to fans of blackcurrant and green fragrances.
02nd June, 2018

Mauboussin by Mauboussin

My review is based on Extrait and EDP in 2/3 purple top - 1/3 silver bottom - red interior box with Place Vendôme address, which I assume is the original version.

The EDP opens with a blast of plum and mirabelle. They are intensely syrupy and saturated with sugar, which occasionally remind me of the jammy mirabelle note in Givenchy Dahlia Divin. But when amber and earthy patchouli soon burst into the scene, these stone fruits become much more boozy and medicinal, as if someone poured a bottle of plum liqueur on a floor covered with mold and dirt. The combination of boozy plum and bitter, dirt-like patchouli is indeed reminiscent of Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Chéri, par Camille, but Mauboussin EDP is less dry and austere, and is instead more enveloping thanks to the caramel warmth of benzoin.

I have a low tolerance of boozy plum amber, so the initial phase of Mauboussin EDP is quite difficult for me. But once the booziness and the almost sticky syrupy texture calm down after about 3 hours, the fragrance achieves a wonderful balance between dry woody and opulent oriental, with the medicinal and slightly ozonic patchouli being the central force to keep the sweetness of plum and amber in check.

I can see the reference to Mugler Angel because of its earthy and almost sharp patchouli undercutting the rich sweetness, Cartier Le Baiser du Dragon because of both being unapologetically boozy, Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant because of the strong plum note. But Mauboussin is still quite different in smell, because Angel has a much sharper contrast between fierce patchouli and gourmand chocolate while Mauboussin tends to unite them in harmony right from the beginning, Cartier is more almond-y while Mauboussin is dominated by plum liqueur, and Kenzo is much drier and spicier while Mauboussin seems mellower and more creamy in character.

The Extrait has an overall similar olfactory profile with EDP on my skin, but the evolution from boozy plum to the amber patchouli woody oriental dry down takes almost 6 hours instead of 3 hours, and the plum feels more ripe, more luscious and even more boozy, with a more noticeable unctuous caramel undercurrent.

The sillage of both concentration are heavy to moderate, with EDP lasting for at least 14 hours and Extrait up to 18 hours on my skin.

Despite its glowing reviews, I would incline to consider Mauboussin as a quite polarising fragrance and would suggest against blind buying: its concentrated plum liqueur opening can be cloying and its medicinal, bitter patchouli can be interpreted as brash. However, if you enjoy these two aspects and are looking for a rich woody oriental adorned with lavish stone fruits, Mauboussin is definitely worth a try.
11th May, 2018

Galop d'Hermès by Hermès

Upon spraying Galop d'Hermès, the three main player of the fragrance - quince, rose and suede - gallop towards my nose right away. The quince exudes its rosy, ripe pear-like succulence, enhancing the delicate, honeyed sweetness of pink rose petals. The suede employed here, like previous reviewers mentioned, reminds me of the same plush, slightly cumin-tinted suede note in Cuir d'Ange too, with its supple texture occasionally evoking turkish delight along with the tender sweetness of rose and fruits.

Galop is overall linear during its 8-hour longevity on my skin, with these three main notes rotating in and out from time to time and the vegetal muskiness becoming more noticeable about 3 hours in. The osmanthus and saffron sit at the intersection of fruity quince, spicy rose and suede, and they behave more like extension and overlap of these notes among themselves. The sillage is mostly moderate.

Compared to the Hermès fragrances released during Jean-Claude Ellena's tenure, Galop d'Hermès immediately feels richer and more saturated in colour. But at the same time, it's still lightweight enough to fit into the modern Hermès sensibility.

This continuation in style (relatively transparent aesthetics) with a more personal touch (with a more saturated palette) is promising in theory. However, certain aspects of Galop's execution left much to be desired for me. The main culprit is the syrupiness of the fruity note, which at times largely overshadows the rose and the excellent suede note. Moreover, when the tanned aspect of suede is mixed with the strong sugary fruity sweetness, it renders the fruity note somewhat more synthetic, which is not in accord with the luxurious image and price tag of Galop.

With its large portion of sweet, frivolous fruity note providing an easier entry point, Galop would have made an excellent choice for those who enjoy fruity floral gourmand in general and would like to start the exploration of leather/suede note in perfumery. However, with its limited distribution and high price tag, I'd hesitate to recommend it over other more available options on the market.
10th May, 2018

Freak by Illamasqua

On my skin, Illamasqua Freak is a rather amorphous fruity floral with a noticeable woody backbone. There are occasional whiffs of sweet tuberose and jammy abricot, and the woody note sometimes shares a few common traits with synthetic oud, but most of the time, it's an abstract clean creamy woody floral with a surprisingly restrained sweetness in today's mainstream market.

The sillage is moderate to low and the longevity is around 8 hours on my skin.

I was initially very disappointed by Freak, as it's anything but freak or dark suggested by its cheeky marketing prose. However, if put into its context being a fragrance marketed to appeal to a young clientele, Freak is indeed very "alternative" compared to most sugary gourmand fragrances put out by major designer brands. Besides its low level of sweetness, its perceptible woody undertone can make it seem more masculine and "darker" than its competitors, but at the same time, its clean floralcy would still provide a relatively easy access and its abstract nature could also be interpreted as "mysterious" and coherent to its "poisonous flower" theme. While I don't find it a remarkable fragrance, it's certainly a cleverly constructed one befitting to its marketing strategy. If you happen to be looking for a clean woody floral fragrance in a cute bottle, Freak might worth consideration.
08th May, 2018

Theorema by Fendi

Although mandarine and orange are not listed as notes, the candied orange opening of Fendi Theorema EDP is mouthwatering. A honeyed amber sweetness soon sweeps the scene along with a small handful of all spices, among which the fresh woody nutmeg and sweet spicy cinnamon are the most discernable to my nose.

This combination of notes smells quite gourmand to me and is very suggestive of pain d'épices or gingerbread. However, except for its opening 20 minutes, its overall sheer texture and diffusiveness effectively keeps it from being cloying. Moreover, flickers of fresh woody notes invigorate the composition thanks to their contrast with the resinous warmth.

Theorema is more or less linear once the delectable amber warmth adorned with gentle spices settles in. It just gradually becomes more and more abstract and turns into a honeyed skin scent after about 3 hours. The overall sillage is very intimate, and the longevity is barely 6 hours on my skin.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed during my first few times wearing Theorema. I enjoyed the fragrance, but it was not as striking as I thought it would be, probably because it's easier for me to justify the hype with an opulent, highly contrasted fragrance than a relatively gauzy comforting one like Theorema.

But the more I wear it, the more I start to see that its rather translucent approach to a gourmand oriental is actually its strength. It perfectly showcases Christine Nagel's skill to make a perfume satisfyingly delicious and cozy without being suffocating, which is probably the reason why Theorema has such a wide appeal. This type of sheer gourmand being quite popular these days, I imagine Theorema might work quite well if it was introduced in today's Hermès or another designer brand's exclusive collection.

I would hesitate to recommend it because of its rarity, but if you're looking for a soft cozy ambery fragrance reminiscent of Christmas cakes and gingerbread and can sample it at a reasonable price, I think Theorema will worth a try.
06th May, 2018

Eau de Citron Noir by Hermès

On my skin, Eau de Citron Noir is dominated by lemon and smoky notes almost in equal measure.

The opening lemon note is wonderful! Its aromatic, almost herbal peel is the first to greet my nose, and the ripe, juicy pulp soon follows. Its tartness is no longer piquant like that of a fresh lemon, but slightly fermented like the luscious tart-sweetness of confit lemons.

However, the smoky note that appears roughly 20 minutes later, turns out to be a big disappointment to me. It's not the leathery, rounded smokiness of black tea that I had hoped, but the ubiquitous, arid woody amber aromachemicals that are omnipresent in many designer and niche fragrances aiming at a male clientele. I have to admit that this type of ingredients are not among my favourite, but when it's carefully blended within like Mona di Orio Bohea Bohème or Rania J Ambre Loup, at least I can tolerate. However, in Eau de Citron Noir, this smoky note is left in bare spotlight with almost nothing to round its edges, which presents much difficulty for me to appreciate the fragrance in general.

Fortunately, the smoky note finally merges with the lovely lemon note about 1 hour in, and Eau de Citron Noir now maintains this delicious sweet-tart lemon with the acrid woody smoky undertone until it disappears after about 9 hours. The sillage is mostly moderate.

Personally, I enjoy the lemon note very much. Its luscious sweetness balanced by the fermented tartness makes it a rare comforting citrus fragrance for colder months. Sadly, the choice of smoky note is way out of my comfort zone, and its presence actually compromises the beauty of the delectable lemon note instead of creating an unexpected olfactory effect. Therefore, I would recommend it as a warm citrus fragrance, but only to those who are not sensitive to woody amber aromachemicals in general.
28th April, 2018

Archives 69 by Etat Libre d'Orange

Upon wearing Archives 69, I initially thought of it as a regular fruitchouli: ripe sweet plum, rosy fruity pink pepper over a slightly medicinal and earthy patchouli base. However, to my surprise, it doesn't become gooey jammy in texture like many gourmand fruity patchouli does, and it's got a few tricks up its sleeves as well.

Christine Nagel's "rotten fruit" note: an overripe, almost sour mandarine lurks underneath the ripe plum during the opening phase of Archives 69. Its ripened sweetness is a natural extension of the succulent plum, while its sour aftertaste helps to balance the potentially over-the-top fruity sweetness.

Another interesting addition is the camphor. Personally, I don't find it manifests as a distinct element. Rather, it feels like a refreshing breeze blown out of patchouli into the otherwise thick fruity fog. The same goes with the orchid and incense accords. Smell-wise, they feel more like an extension of the fruity notes into floral and woody territories, but texture-wise, they help to maintain a powdery, relatively dry one in order to limit the saccharine sensation.

Besides all of the above, the most interesting part for me, is a prominent balsamic and even slightly cumin-animalic muskiness in the dry down. Combined with the camphor tonality, it actually reminds me of the camphor-cumin pairing of Cadavre Exquis. This combination in Archives 69 is of course a far cry and is extremely diluted and tamed compared to that of Cadavre Exquis, but it still adds an unexpected sensuality to the dominant fruitchouli centerpiece.

Archives 69 has a moderate to soft sillage and a 12h+ longevity on me.

Overall, I still regard Archives 69 primarily as a fruitchouli fragrance, because the sugary plum and the earthy patchouli largely overshadows the other elements on my skin. However, even though these supporting elements only tangentially show themselves, they effectively keep the sweetness at bay. Being usually wary about the syrupy nature of many gourmand fruitchouli, I actually find the slightly powdery texture of Archives 69 much improves its wearability to me. I'd definitely recommend it to those who enjoy fruitchouli combo but would like a few subtle twists embedded within.
25th April, 2018

CiocoRosissimo by Hilde Soliani Profumi

CiocoRosissimo opens with an enchanting duo of rose and chocolate. The chocolate here is like bitter, dark cacao powder, with its dry and almost powdery texture further underscored by the supporting woody base. Contrasting this is the sweet, rich rose, unctuous and decadent like honeyed rose jam and slightly tart, wine-y rose liqueur pouring over the dry chocolate chips.

One interesting element listed here is the grass. Personally, I don't smell any fresh greenness, but rather the sharp, almost spicy aspect that I associate with Leaf Alcohol. Blended with the woody cacao, it actually conveys a nutmeg spiciness to me, bringing in an unexpected dimension to the rose-chocolate duo.

The bitterness and spiciness of chocolate mellow with time, and the fragrance eventually becomes a woody rose with a creamy gourmand undertone and its edge softened by the discreet vanilla.

CiocoRosissimo then remains as such until it disappears after 10 hours. Its sillage is mostly moderate.

I used to love sweet gourmand rose, but lately my tolerance seems to be growing lower and lower, much to my chagrin. Sadly, CiocoRosissimo eventually is a wee bit too sweet for my peronal enjoyment. That being said, I admire the complexity of different notes and the contrasts between them displayed in this fragrance, and would definitely recommend giving it a try, especially if you're looking for a sophisticated rose chocolate fragrance and can handle a certain degree of rosy sweetness.
05th April, 2018

Music For a While by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle


The opening of Music For A While is a beautiful lavender that is simultaneously herbal, earthy, caramelised and oily, which recalls to me a similar moment in the opening of the kaleidoscopic lavender of Bogue MEM. While MEM transcends its material to form an olfactory maze, Music For A While is more straightforward in its overall development.

This wonderful lavender is soon joined by juicy citrus and succulent pineapple, with their mouthwateringly sweet tartness and delectable pulpy richness, as if having a bowl of fruit salad next to a lavender field under sunny blue sky. The lavender soon turns more camphoraceous with time, a quality that is enhanced by the similar earthy camphor facet of patchouli. This also allows a smooth transition from the lavender/fruits in the opening to the patchouli/fruits in the dry down. One possible downside of amping up the camphorous character of lavender is the potential link with something asceptic. I myself get this association from time to time, but not strong enough to provoke a negative reaction from me.

When the lavender finally switches its leading place with patchouli after about 4 hours, Music For A While is now a caramelised fruity patchouli with a healthy dose of ethyl maltol, which is reminiscent of the note combination and the structure of Mugler Angel.Music For A While is of course less bombastic and lacks the gooey texture and the dark chocolate of Angel, but I would not be too surprised if someone decided to make a lavender version of Angel and presented it as such. As for vanilla, I personally don't detect it as a well-defined note, but it probably helps to round the edges of the fragrance.

I got an 11-hour longevity and a moderate to soft sillage.

Overall, I quite enjoy Music For A While and find it solidly done, especially the multifaceted opening lavender. The dry down sits comfortably in the gourmand fruity patchouli zone, which is probabaly the zeitgeist of the last two decades of modern perfumery. While I would not say that it’s the best gourmand lavender, it's certainly a more interesting and more layered interpretation among the recent gourmand lavender offerings. If you happen to be searching for a well-balanced gourmand lavender-fruity-patchouli fragrance, I think Music For A While is well worth a try.
21st March, 2018

Hermèssence Muguet Porcelain by Hermès

I've had mixed feeling with Muguet Porcelaine until recently. I found it a transparent, watery, melon-infused lily of the valley very much in line with the general aesthetics of Hermessence. But there is also a strange fuzzy warmth that makes it surprisingly not as fresh and crisp as other green, aqueous lily of the valley.

It's not until I read the astute and poetic review from Patrice Revillard, the perfumer behind the blog Musque-Moi, that I finally realised : yes, it's the civet (or something with a similar effect)! From then on, everything just clicked and fell quickly into place.

Even though Mr. Ellena himself doesn’t specifically affirm, it’s now impossible for me to smell Muguet Porcelaine without referencing Roudnitska and Diorissimo. The iodine-infused melon can be found in quite a few Roudnitska’s creations, especially Diorella and Le Parfum de Thérèse, while civet-laden lily of the valley is one of the most intriguing characters of Diorissimo (although I perceive it more like an indolic jasmine, despite the intention of its creator).

That being said, the smell, the texture and the mood of Muguet Porcelaine are entirely different, notably because Ellena incorporates these tropes into his haiku “writing” style, contrary to the short story of Diorissimo. Arguably, Muguet Porcelaine doesn’t have much significant evolution. The fairly transparent and watery lily of the valley and melon can be perceived right away, with the civet purring in the background with its furry warmth and a touch of saltiness to complement with the melon. However, the tension between the animalic dirtiness and the floral and fruity innocence persists deep into the dry down, where the fragrance eventually manages to unify these two aspects into a sensual skin scent.

I got a 10-hour longevity and a soft sillage.

I have to admit that I’m not among the biggest fans of Ellena. I admire his vision and commitment to perfumery, and many of them are very enjoyable, but I was rarely awed or emotionally touched by his compositions, even though it must not be easy to transform heavy materials into feather-like airiness. But his latest creations for Hermessence, first Cuir d’Ange, and now Muguet Porcelaine, challenged my preconceptions that perfumes can’t be airy, watery or transparent, and sensual animalic at the same time. And the results are fantastic, even though they sometimes don’t seem apparent at first glance. Therefore, I would highly recommend giving Muguet Porcelaine a try, especially if you happened to be looking for a modern airy animalic floral.
20th March, 2018

Aube Rubis by Atelier Des Ors

I was kindly provided the opportunity to test a few Atelier des Ors fragrances(thank you!), and here are my thoughts on Aube Rubis:

I really enjoy the opening of Aube Rubis: a waxy, lipstick-like iris, followed by earthy, dirt-like patchouli and the equally earthy but also somewhat spicy and aromatic sage. This wonderful bouquet is then dusted with nutty, chocolate-y praline. The juxtaposition of tender sweetness and sharp earthiness is entincing, and it reminds me of the dynamic between patchouli and caramel chocolate in Mugler Angel but in a less violent, more approachable way.

But then...it sort of just collapsed on itself. Out of nowhere, a caramelised amber sweetness, not dissimlar to that in Iris Fauve, starts to permeate everthing. The iris and patchouli are smashed together and become a plum-like nebulous sweetness. Aube Rubis is now a caramelised fruitchouli with occiasional surges of medicinal patchouli, and remains so during its 10-hour longevity. The sillage is moderate throughout its wear on my skin.

To its credit, I find Aube Rubis a more interesting fruitchouli thanks to its dynamic opening, especially the aromatic sage, and it's not among the most sugary fruitchouli, either. But the more or less conventional fruity gourmand patchouli dry down still left me disappointed. I would be hesitant to recommend it unless you're looking for a sweet fruity patchouli and has a sizeable budget.
09th March, 2018

Rose Omeyyade by Atelier Des Ors

Thanks to a blogger friend, I was able to sample a few Atelier des Ors fragrances(thank you!). Here are my experiences on Rose Omeyyade:

The fragrance opens with a big boom of gourmand rose and raspberry. It smells simultaneously jammy and boozy, as if the delicate rose petals are dipped in raspberry jam and rose liqueur, then coated with sugar crystals. The honeyed delicacy and the liqueur aspects remind me of the opening of Lancôme Parfait de Rôses without the geranium-like greenery, while the jammy aspect and the toffee-like thick texture make me think of Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud. While the rose-raspberry combination here is unabashedly sweet and gourmand, there is also a very noticeable fruity tartness that helps to balance the sweetness, which I don't encounter very often in gourmand rose-oud-raspberry fragrances.

The rose-raspberry rampage calms down after about 1 hour, when the woody base starts to insert itself and eventually becomes an equal player. I don't smell oud in a well defined manner, but more like a smoky musky woody element that helps to restrain the jammy sweetness of rose. During the next three hours, it does succeed in undercutting the gooey texture to prevent the rose becoming too cloying. However, as the synthetic woody base grows even more prominent with time, it unfortunately turns a bit too screechy for my taste in the end, even though the honeyed ruby rose liqueur in the dry down is delightfully delectable.

I got an overall longevity of 10 hours and a heavy to moderate sillage.

Because jammy rose-oud-raspberry is not really my jam, my lukewarm response to Rose Omeyyade is to be expected. But at the same time, I find it among the less sweet in the gourmand rose-oud category, thanks to a more perceivable fruity tartness and the dry woody base, and I really enjoyed the honey rose liqueur dry down despite the woody elements turning a bit too raspy for my liking. If you happen to be looking for a gourmand rose jam/liqueur fragrance, I think Rose Omeyyade beig solidly made, might well worth a try.
09th March, 2018

Larmes du Désert by Atelier Des Ors

Thanks to a blogger friend, I was able to test a few Atelier des Ors offerings(thank you!). Here are my thoughts on Larmes du Désert:

As its name indicates, Larmes du Désert is all about resins. Olibanum, myrrh, labdanum and benzoin all make an appearance, but most of the time, they're seamlessly interwoven into each other and merely show a certain facet from time to time.

The fragrance opens with the bracingly cool and stony smoke of olibanum, flankered by the musty sizzles of myrrh and the aromatic woody freshness of cypress. However, Larmes du Désert does not feel as aloof or austere as Avignon or L'Eau Trois for example. Because there is this mild balsamic and fleshly warmth of labdanum and cinnamon-tinged benzoin that soften the overall harshness of incense. There is also a discreet plum-like sweetness lurking in the background, although I don't know where it stems from. As a result, Larmes du Désert is like a fantasy painting of desert, where one can admire the tawny landscape but doesn't have to endure the hardship of an actual desert.

Like most Atelier des Ors perfumes, Larmes du Désert is largely linear during its 10-hour longevity, although the sillage is rather soft except for the moderately projecting first hour.

While I personally prefer an incense fragrance with a more stark constrast between its coldness and warmth, Larmes du Désert is nontheless very enjoyable and solid. Its strength actually comes from the unification of the cold incense and warm amber and its smooth execution. If you happen to be looking for an elegant and verstaile incense fragrance, Larmes du Désert might well worth a try.
09th March, 2018

Tempo by Diptyque

Tempo is foremost a patchouli fragrance on my skin, albeit an exceptionally gentle one at that. Upon spraying, the spicy, medicinal and woody aspects of patchouli are there, but they feel so soft and tender that I start to imagine a baby patchouli if there ever was one. The creamy and gently powdered cacao nuance also makes an appearance, which further stretches the innocent feeling of this patchouli.

Although I love patchouli in general, I very often gravitate towards those more earthy, darker, bitter chocolate type of interpretations of this fantastically complex note. And when the patchouli is stripped clean and appears bright in mood, I tend to find them too sweet for my taste. Thanks to the overall gentleness of Tempo, I didn't find its sweetness unbearable to me, but not far though.

Thankfully, the sage and maté soon come to rescue, subduing the fruity sweetness of pink pepper with their herbal and slightly bitter aroma. Tempo then remains this occasionally medicinal and woody-cacao, but mostly herbal patchouli skin scent until the end. Although the fragrance is not dense, it projects moderately. The longevity is around 8 hours on me.

I personally don't care much about Tempo because of my own preferences regarding patchouli in perfumery. However, being one of the most mild patchouli fragrances that I smelt, Tempo might be a quite friendly start point to further explore patchouli, or an unobtrusive patchouli for daily routine thanks to it retaining the quiet elegance of modern Diptyque fragrances.
06th March, 2018