Perfume Reviews

Reviews by thekelleybelle

Total Reviews: 64

Oudh Infini by Parfums Dusita

Oudh Infini is the most prim oud fragrance I have ever smelled. Don't let your guard down, though - this is true oud in all of its woody, fecal majesty. The addition of civet makes this a fragrance not for the faint-hearted, and this should certainly be no one's first foray into oud. However, the perfumer accomplishes something quite profound: a clean oud. This is a barnyard that has been recently scrubbed, replenished with fresh hay, and is home to several well-groomed horses.

The pungent primary oud note smoulders alongside a soapy orange blossom, and the entire composition is rounded out with a touch of rose and a hair of civet, just to emphasize that a clean barn is, after all, still a barn. The extrait performs as it should, easily lasting over 24 hours on skin with a modest projection of about 12 inches for the first 6-8 hours before withdrawing closer to the skin.

After trying all of the Parfums Dusita collection, I can say that Oud Infini is the absolute stand-out fragrance for me, trailed closely by Issara and La Douceur de Siam. Give them all a try, though, to find your own. This is a truly outstanding house.
29th September, 2018

Amazon Lily by Nest

Oh, God. I blind-bought this from Sephora after reading the piss-poor reviews on Fragrantica and writing them off as over-exaggerations. The 50ml bottle was marked down to $42, so I went for it.

As you may have assumed based on the red box around this review, it did not go well. The industrial cleaner that I heard about over and over again was too kind a description for Amazon Lily. Imagine an acrid, rotting orange + lime jelly smeared on the metallic surface of a Walmart bathroom stall and then sprayed with straight ammonia. Honestly, how was this a staple for Nest for so long? I generally give skin chemistry more weight than I probably should just to give perfumes the benefit of my doubt, but come on.
23rd September, 2018

Tiffany & Co by Tiffany

Tiffany & Co knows what it is and owns it. A sheer fruity floral, Tiffany reminds me of Bal d'Afrique if you stripped it of its basenotes and left only musk to support the fruit. There's more here than the pyramid suggests: blackcurrant, peach, bergamot, and lemon join the green mandarin, and the iris softens the sourness of the fruit. Laundry musks are detectable but not overpowering in the base, and the whole journey is over in 3-4 hours.

Tiffany & Co. really does smell like the crystal-cut bottle that houses it. Bright, effervescent, and pretty. I wouldn't buy a bottle, but I'd definitely use one if it were given to me and may consider gifting it to a friend or family member in the future.

Fruity-florals get a bad rap, and I can understand the disdain for certain modern fragrances (*cough*flowerbomb*cough), but Tiffany is a well-executed perfume, light and cheery, and perfectly tailored to its primary audience (young women, of course). Carat by Cartier has a similar feel without the fruit: light, bright, and boisterous. Modern perfumery could (and often does) do worse.
11th September, 2018
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Lotus Santal by Thymes

This review is primarily based on the scented body lotion and hand cream. Thymes also makes a cologne-strength perfume which lasts 3-5 hours (and much, much longer if layered).

Lotus Santal is a moderately sweet sandalwood and amber affair with pronounced vanilla and cocoa notes that never turn overly gourmand. There are distinct similarities to Serge Lutens' Santal Majuscule, which I also love. The Thymes is a bit smoother around the edges which could be a good or bad thing depending on your particular taste. I find many SLs to be too discordant on my skin (ex. Fleurs d'Oranger turns into B.O. on my skin but is a wonderful, spicy orange blossom on my husband with just enough stink to balance the whole composition), but I love how Santal Majuscule works on me. Fortunately, Lotus Santal works the same magic at a fraction of the price, so until I have more disposable income, I'm happily hitching onto its wagon.

The body lotion and hand cream are quite luxurious, and the scent lasts and lasts. If put the scented lotion on after my evening shower, I can still smell it in the morning (albeit faintly). I plan to purchase the cologne for layering, and the $40/50ml price will be much kinder to my bank account.
09th September, 2018

Rare Pearls by Avon

God, this one took me by surprise. This is one of four perfumes I blind bought from Avon on a lark having never tried one of their fragrances before. This is a big, stinking, waxy magnolia unlike anything I've encountered before. I don't get any sweetness at all. In fact, the broom flower, pepper, and green notes (and eventually the pinch of patchouli) keep this one from even approaching sweet. The faint traces of honey (and I guess plum? I honestly can't pick it out) help round everything out, but they certainly don't steal any of the limelight.

coveyrun's review gave me the push I needed to give this a try, as I am a born and bred Southerner (well, Texan first, Southerner second) and simply adore magnolias. I grew up around magnolia trees in East Texas, and several dozen magnolia trees line the sidewalks along the path I walk to get to work every day. Needless to say, I may need several dozen backup bottles of this.
08th September, 2018

Rare Amethyst by Avon

Oof, this is sticky-sweet. Plum and violets? Maybe, but I actually get a rather juicy pear. An oversized one, on a stick, held by a toddler who 1.) has bitten into the pear, spilling its juice, and 2.) is behind you on a plane, casually thwacking you over the head with it.

In all actuality, this is eerily similar to Ralph Lauren Woman, but it lacks the hefty tuberose and bittersweet hazelnut that give RL Woman balance. Fruity-florals must walk a thin tightrope to work, and unfortunately, Rare Amethyst is an elephant.
08th September, 2018

Womanity by Thierry Mugler

I have finally found my Mugler. Alien screeches on me, Angel goes stale, Aura flattens into a plastic, cellophane-like licorice, and my skin has devoured all of the Alien and Angel flankers I've tried. Talk about funky skin chemistry.

Womanity absolutely blossoms on my skin. Well, "blossom" may be the wrong word. The initial blast of fig--all overripe fruit and zero leaf--comes roaring off of my skin alongside an almost-but-not-quite-over-the-top fishy/metallic smell. It's basically fig and salt, and it's incredible and discombobulating. Within a few minutes, the monster turns back into a kitten and a bit of green fig leaf comes through to soften the edges and bring me back to blessed reality.

The wood is detectable though clearly not the focus of the composition, but thankfully it keeps the whole squirming thing on the ground.

Just as I was cursing the perfume lords for discontinuing the one f*@#ing Mugler that finally worked on me, I heard that Womanity miraculously and unceremoniously reappeared on Mugler's website. Well hot damn, Thierry. Beam one over.
03rd September, 2018

BR78 : Vintage Green by Banana Republic

This is one of my recent favorites. Indigo by Nest was one of my first "grown up" (ha!) fragrances back when I knew nothing about perfume and had no idea you could identify the notes beyond what the marketing campaign said. Remember the days when you just sprayed and smelled complete ignorance and no expectations? That's where I was in Sephora, spraying on strips with abandon, when I came across Indigo and fell in love. But this isn't a review for Indigo, so I should probably move on.

Fast forward several years, and here I am on Basenotes, somewhere between "newbie" and "seasoned sniffer," and I'm still drawn to many of the same notes that I loved in the first place. It's comforting to know that I still love what I loved before even though my taste has broadened at an alarming rate.

Now, Vintage Green. The four reviews behind this one nail it, so I'll do my best to add value. This fragrance is bright with citrus and fig, yes, but it's the green that draws me closer. There's a particular smell that big tropical plants let off when it's humid and H-O-T outside, and Vintage Green captures that smell. I'm seated by a pool surrounded by dense, green foliage, trying to keep to the shade because I forgot my sunscreen, and I'm drinking iced tea to keep cool. I'm about to jump in the water, sunscreen be damned. Isn't that refreshing?
28th August, 2018

Santalum by Fiele Fragrances

I received a sample of Fiele's Santalum from a generous eBay seller from whom I bought a few decants of vintage Donna Karan fragrances.

This smells like pee. Literally. Like human urine. Wow.

Fortunately, my decants and other samples are lovely or I might have taken it personally.

You've been warned.

EDIT: after about 2.5 hours, the pee smell faded to a soft sandalwood and patchouli skin scent. Not unpleasant, but too little too late for me, I'm afraid. I don't want to spend two hours smelling like pee for any reason, let alone just to get to a fairly basic dry down.
20th August, 2018

Versace by Versace

Versace Signature really does smell fresh and "alive." I enjoy this immensely, and I wouldn't normally call this my style (though I have smelled and grown to love so many scents that it's impossible for me to narrowly identify my style anymore). "Dewy" really is the most accurate adjective to describe it, and the guava and blackcurrant in the background don't stick out as fruity per se; rather, they quietly add to the fresh and dewy impression.

I imagine myself outdoors on a cool spring morning. I'm still wearing a light, flowy dressing gown, and I'm sitting on a small swing that hangs from a tree branch in my backyard as the sun finally rises high enough to become visible in the sky. The ground starts to warm, the dew begins to evaporate, and the flowers on the back porch and in the overgrown garden release a soft aroma that's carried on a cool breeze.

Yeah, this is totally my style.
19th August, 2018 (last edited: 25th August, 2018)

L'Eau d'Issey Or Absolu /Gold Absolute by Issey Miyake

There are actually two completely different perfumes, L'Eau d'Issey Absolue (2013) and L'Eau d'Issey Gold Absolute (2011). This review is for Absolue.

This is quite plastic-like on my skin, but it's not completely horrible. I can pick out lotus and honey, but the composition is faint overall and comes across a bit thin and synthetic. Maybe it would work better with someone else's chemistry. I don't feel the need to scrub it off, but I don't plan on using any more of my sample, either.

I do still want to try Gold Absolute as I'm a big lily fan, and I think I would enjoy that lily/osmanthus combo.
19th August, 2018

Iris Rebelle by Atelier Cologne

The iris/neroli/musk combo here smells to me like envelope adhesive. Funny, I get the same thing from O, Unknown! by Imaginary Authors. It could just be an issue with my skin + orris, but either way, it sets my teeth on edge.
05th August, 2018

Waterlily Sun by Aerin

This is a watery bore. Sour citrus + synthetic green notes on a shaky base of synthetic musk. Sticks around for about 60-90 minutes. If it were a Jo Malone, it might be called "Lime & Pond Water." Almost offensive in its banality.

Save your money and buy Versace Versense or Atelier Cologne's Cédrat Enivrant. Even Target's Water Lily by Good Chemistry is better than this.
04th August, 2018
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Vanitas by Versace

Wonderful for summer, Vanitas EdP is simple but not at all boring. The strong lime top note mellows pretty quickly and blends with a perfectly balanced tiare and freesia heart. The cedar and tonka are whisper-light, providing enough ground for Vanitas to bloom.

At first (and simply based on the notes - I know, I know), I thought it might be redundant to own a bottle of Vanitas when I already own Terracotta Le Parfum, but they are quite different, and I definitely plan to pick up a bottle. Terracotta has a warm, musky sunscreen vibe while Vanitas' white flowers lightly flutter across the skin. Terracotta is a tan woman in a bikini on the beach, and Vanitas is her sister who prefers a white sundress, wide-brimmed hat, and a seat on the patio under an umbrella.

Vanitas EdT is also quite nice. Rose petals, osmanthus, and tea replace the lime and tonka, making the EdT more of a tea rose a la (new) Chloe EdP.
28th July, 2018 (last edited: 31st August, 2018)

Burberry Body Tender by Burberry

This is okay. Pleasant, safe, and better than many in the fruity-floral category. The wormwood gives it an edge, but Burberry Body EdP (the Intense version, especially) is so much better than Body Tender that I don't see the need for this in my collection.

For a brighter version of this, try Brit Sheer. For a better version of Brit Sheer, try Dahlia & Vines by Nest or Nirvana White by Elizabeth and James.
24th July, 2018 (last edited: 25th August, 2018)

Terracotta Le Parfum by Guerlain

Quite simply the best beachy summer fragrance I've ever worn. It's similar to EL's Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent but with better projection and longevity and (presumably) higher quality ingredients. Despite its name, Terracotta Le Parfum is an EdT and performs as such, about 6 hours from start to finish and a skin scent for the final 2-3 hours depending on your skin. Gorgeous.
23rd July, 2018

Jimmy Choo by Jimmy Choo

I find this to be similar to (and superior to) Flowerbomb by Viktor&Rolf. It's less cloying and sickly sweet than FB, but I think this is a classic case of "pick your poison." I prefer fruity-gourmand notes to sugary-gourmand notes by a mile, so I'm not automatically turned off by fruitchoulis. Jimmy Choo is a perfectly acceptable fruitchouli with a juicy pear opening that melds nicely with the not-too-sweet toffee/patchouli base. I wouldn't buy a full bottle, but I'll definitely use up my entire sample (which is more than I can say for my 3ml sample of FB).
14th July, 2018

Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana

I picked up a 1oz bottle of Dolce for a steal, and I'm not disappointed. It is what it is. It shares the same place in my collection as Versace Versense, just without the citrus. There is a note in the background of Dolce that's addictive and keeps it from getting boring, but I can't quite place it. It might actually be the combo of cashmeran and musk, neither of which have worked on my skin very well in the past. If my hunch is right, then I'm one of the lucky ones whose skin works with Dolce and keeps it from getting synthetic or screechy.

Overall, this is a watery, feathery-light, slightly creamy white floral that I will enjoy for the summer but may not repurchase. Definitely worth a try if you find it at a discount. I never would have paid full price.
06th July, 2018

Ralph Lauren Woman by Ralph Lauren

I instantly fell in love with this. The fruity top notes shine at first and then recede over the first 30 minutes. Then, tuberose and orange blossom come forward, well-blended and creamy, alongside a lovely and tenacious hazelnut. The scent is pretty much linear for the remainder of its lifespan (7-8 hours), though the flowers fade slowly until only the pleasant base of hazelnut and woods remains as a skin scent.

Essentially, Ralph Lauren Woman is a semi-gourmand white floral like tons of others out there, but something about it just speaks to me in a way that others from Mugler, Victoria's Secret, Juicy Couture, Lancôme, et al. have not. I already have a full bottle, of course.
03rd July, 2018

Nirvana Rose by Elizabeth and James

On me, this is a photorealistic rose, from the petals to the leaves to the stem to the water in the vase to the slight rot that sets in about a day after the stems have been cut. I was taken aback when I first tried it because I honestly expected something more recognizeably synthetic. I'm still blown away.

I'm sampling Clinique Aromatics in White on my other arm, and it is a wonderful rose/patchouli fragrance, but I can clearly distinguish the patchouli and its rose is much drier.

Both are designer offerings that far surpassed my expectations, and I could see myself owning and enjoying them both. Bravo, Olsen twins. Bravo.
24th June, 2018

BR83: Leather Reserve by Banana Republic

A bit masculine for my taste, but it's a lovely, light, smooth suede/leather fragrance. The citrus fizzles out quickly, but the woody notes are there to stay throughout the dry down. Definitely bring a decant with you because this will be gone in 3-4 hours.

Not at all ground-breaking, but it's pleasant and totally worth it for the price.
23rd June, 2018

BR06: Black Platinum by Banana Republic

Bvlgari Black watered down for summer in the best possible way. They both have a prominent leather note, but the pepperiness of Black Platinum is much airier than the strong tea note in Black. BP manages to be watery, airy, and substantial all at the same time.

BP also reminds me a bit of Prada L'Homme, not because they smell exactly alike (not even close), but because they give off a similar laid-back vibe. Black Platinum is more traditionally unisex than the Prada, but I enjoy them both. Longevity is average and projection is minimal, but I still love it (and its price).
23rd June, 2018

Linen Vetiver by Banana Republic

Fresh, clean, and green with a bit of laundry musk alongside the vetiver in the base. It definitely wears better in the heat as it disappears on me in a cold office environment. My husband runs warm, and this lasts much better on him, close to 7 hours. I prefer Vintage Green on my skin.
23rd June, 2018

Cypress Cedar by Banana Republic

Terre d'Hermès Pure Parfum on a budget. Absolutely addictive, with excellent sillage and longevity. I can't keep my nose away from my arm.
23rd June, 2018

Neroli Woods by Banana Republic

Neroli Portofino Acqua on a budget. A hair less woodsy than the Tom Ford, but still quite smooth and lovely. Easily unisex, much like its big brother.
23rd June, 2018

Burberry Body by Burberry

Burberry Body is an utter delight. In fact, it may be on its way to becoming my signature daytime scent.

This hit the market two years prior to Joy Forever, and they are so similar that one could easily be mistaken as a flanker of the other. In JF, the galbanum keeps the peach from getting overly ripe and really holds the composition together. In BB, the wormwood takes on that same role.

BB sparkles from the first spray and takes it's sweet time to fizzle down to its mid and base notes after about 3 hours (Redneck Perfumisto's "spicy sparks" is quite an apt description). A magic wand, indeed.

EDIT: I have samples of both the EdT and the EdP, and the EdP is where the magic is. The EdT has an added apple note that somehow takes away the sparkle (even though I usually appreciate a good apple note).

EDIT #2: Apparently I had a sample of the EdP Intense, so THAT is where the magic is. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I have a bottle of the Intense version on the way and will use my last edit to let you know if the magic is lost. If you don't hear back from me, that's a good sign.
22nd June, 2018 (last edited: 01st August, 2018)

Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf

Underwhelming, nondescript flowers and vanilla that somehow manage to be both extraordinarily heavy and extremely light. I received 3mls of this as a free deluxe sample at Sephora and planned to give it away. However, it worked okay when combined with a simple, fresh green scent (I chose Verde by Nest). I might try mixing it with a strong, dry wood next (maybe Cypress Cedar from Banana Republic's Icon Collection).

Overall, I can't give it a full thumbs down just because it's boring to me. I can easily understand its mass market appeal. I see this shining on the right person in the right setting (I imagine a high school girl who never wears makeup or perfume dressing up for her first prom), and I'm a full believer of 'to each his (or her) own.'
17th June, 2018

Sexy Ruby by Michael Kors

Pleasantly forgettable. It would benefit from a stronger base, perhaps some type of wood or maybe even patchouli could take this up a notch to pleasantly inoffensive. It's basically a grown up, more expensive version of Dot by Marc Jacobs.
16th June, 2018

Dot by Marc Jacobs

Take one package of Capri Sun and dilute it in 5 gallons of water. Dump it on your head. Dot by Marc Jacobs.
16th June, 2018

Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker

I must be completely anosmic to the musk in Lovely, which coincidentally is its main note. I smell a faint lavender and a weak laundry-esque note (probably from one of the synthetic musks I can smell). No citrus. No florals. No earthiness. No woods. No amber. Certainly no 'apple martini' note.

I had my first allergic skin reaction to a perfume recently, B. by Balenciaga in fact, that may be due to a bit of the juice hitting a fresh cut on my arm. I put a small drop of B. on my skin just to spot test it. I have Lovely on both of my wrists. Guess which one I can smell?

I give this a neutral rating just because I may be missing something that just isn't registering to my nose. But really? One drop of B. versus 3 sprays of Lovely on each wrist? I can't be missing THAT much. *shrug*
13th June, 2018 (last edited: 14th July, 2018)