Reviews by tonileefiore

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    tonileefiore
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    Black Aoud by Montale

    So...this is my fourth Montale experience and I hate to buck the trend but I just do not get it. I really want to LOVE one of Montale's offerings because I am searching hard for an affordable dark rose fragrance. And I like oud when blended (not as a solo note). Unfortunately, this fragrance is a major no-go for me.

    In one word, this fragrance seemed "messy" when applied. Like others, I was curious about Montale's "ouds" and I hoped to experience a few fragrances...try to understand the hype. Like ALL the Montale fragrances I try, the opening of Black Aoud smells like an aldehydic, alcoholic, almost medicinal concoction that literally hurts my nose. Sensing a headache, I feel confused & dizzy...almost sick. I can barely tolerate the development of this fragrance on my skin because for nearly 30 minutes, Black Aoud is all over the place but consistently harsh harsh harsh...LOUD and almost vulgar.

    After 20-30 minutes, I detect a bit of rose and BOAT LOADS of patchouli (which I really dislike as a primary note). As others have noted, Black Aoud is a loud, over-whelming, synthetic rose-oud fragrance that is not dark, rich, complex or mysterious. Resinous patchouli...that's about it. Pretty linear in the end with little development and no complexity.

    But unlike the other Montale fragrances I tried, the longevity on Black Aoud is strong and silage is pretty high. Hate to say this but I had to scrub, eventually shower and wash all my clothing. And still, this fragrance persisted.

    The house of Montale and I do not get along. This is another definite pass.

    20th March, 2015

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    Aoud Damascus by Montale

    Thought I would try another Montale fragrance, as I am in search of an affordable, resinous, "dark rose" (with oud, which I like a lot but not as a stand-alone note) fragrance. I guess I am missing something because I do not get what all the excitement is with Montale fragrances but this is just another "no-go" or "meh" for me.

    I agree with RennGrrl that Aoud Damascus is a relatively common woodsy-rose-oud fragrance and rather "old school" in nature with a "been there, done that" character.

    This is my fourth Montale try and like the others, I found the opening notes extremely harsh, almost aldehydic and very synthetic in nature. Overwhelming rose notes (which is alright 'cause this IS a rose fragrance) blast onto the skin with no mercy. Montale fragrances actually hurt my nose. With lots 'n lots of rose, frankincense and spicy notes try emerging. The entire potion is quickly grounded by a resinous wood. That's about it. After 90 minutes or so, it was all over...done.

    Expecting great silage and incredible longevity, I experienced adequate silage but poor longevity. Also similar to RennGrrl's experience, the entire concoction landed as a powdery, rather linear, cloying rose fragrance that ended quickly.

    Perhaps it is just my chemistry but Montale fragrances and I do not seem to get along. This is a pass.

    20th March, 2015

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    Les Nombres d'Or - Violette Fumée by Mona di Orio

    Soooooo...not quite sure about this one & the jury (the one in my mind) is still out! But the fragrance DID grow on me after a few days. Still, I'm giving it a "THUMBS UP" after wearing it.

    The opening of this fragrance is a bitter, sour, earthy citrus-fruit approach that is akin to an orange peel thrown on a dirt pile. Bergamot-yes. Oak-moss-definitely! Opening notes are quite sour and acrid...not the best, frankly.

    Eventually, mid-notes develop that (for me) are not quite lavender but GRAPE. At one point, I detect notes mimicking Stewart's Grape Soda in the most definite way!!! Eeeeeeew, I thought. Definitely detecting notes of leather, some tobacco...but dry, old grape SODA!

    After an hour or more and with continued development, violet notes emerge but not in the way I hoped for or imagined. Not dreamy, dark, Gothic, mysterious or complex, this fragrance dries in a rather linear, faint, dusty violet manner.

    The fragrance definitely lands with slightly acrid, somewhat (very faint) citrus-y violet notes. What's interesting though is a smoky, gray cloak that embodies the violet fragrance, toning it down and balancing the violet out in the nicest way. Also, for a rather "linear" dry-down, this fragrance is "still" complex and quite lovely, actually.

    This is NOT a sharp, potent, shrill or pitch-y violet fragrance. In general, this is a very subtle, gentle wear. I applied a LOT to detect any fragrance, which isn't a good thing. And with all this said, silage is low and longevity isn't great. And the price? YIKES!

    Guess I was expecting more of a flowery incense fragrance, which this is not. Smoke-yes. Violets-yes. Cashmere-yes. Incense-no. But please note: this is NOT our grandmother's violet perfume! This is different & unique! It's the reason I love niche fragrances!!!

    Reminds me of a cloudy, gray day. Don't think I will be purchasing a full bottle of this at the going retail price of (what???) $350.00/3.3 ml.

    19th March, 2015

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    Incense Rosé by Tauer

    This fragrance is the real deal and IMHO, the reason why niche perfumes & their designers/creators are so special (way beyond commercially prepared & marketed mainstream fragrances). This is a very unique, special & beautiful fragrance. In general, I like this fragrance a whole lot!

    I eagerly awaited a rather large sample of Tauer Incense Rose and applied it on a few consecutive days. I did this after (sadly) experiencing a few Montale fragrances. The opening is quite strong and to my nose smelled like fizzy wet earth, dewy grass and citrus. Upon application, I detected lots and lots of bergamot, clementine & orange that was well blended with fresh green grasses (definitely vetiver), earth and a little bit of spice (cardamom).

    The opening quickly morphed and the well-blended fresh, dirty-green, citrus fragrance developed into a barely detectable mustiness, which I imagine was the beginning of the oud & cedar notes. Quite resinous, this was not my favorite part of the development; however continually changing, the fragrance continued to amaze.

    It takes a while and (for me), it was difficult to detect; however after 45-60 minutes (or more), the musty-woody almost moldy aroma receded into the background giving way to one of the most gorgeous antique, dark, dewy, dirty rose incense fragrances I have ever experienced.

    On my skin, the dry-down and basenotes remained pretty constant with wood, patchouli, frankincense, resin and rose notes. The darkness prevailed, which I liked a lot. For several hours, I detected faint but pleasant wafts of creamy & subdued patchouli, frankincense, cedar-wood & spicy dark rose...all perfectly blended and balanced, practically harmonious. Fortunately on my skin, any ambergris or amber that is present never choked out the other fabulous notes.

    Unlike many other reviewers, Tauer Incense Rose played very close to my skin with minimal silage. Of course, longevity was great.

    Without doubt this is a gorgeous fragrance that is never vulgar or cloying. Not certain yet if this suits me (or my pocket book) but I really do like Tauer Incense Rose a whole lot.

    In conclusion, I too will say this is NOT a fragrance that is suitable for everyone! Give it a try because it definitely is worthy!

    18th March, 2015

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    La Liturgie des Heures by Jovoy

    Ugggghhhh...I do not want to go against the grain here. And I love my fellow Basenoters, I really do. I especially love reading Darvant & Colin Maillard's reviews (and others). But I gotta go along with my buddy, Odysseusm on this one. Awful! And after my FOURTH Jovoy try...I'm done.

    Perhaps my nostrils are cluttered with my last (latest) Jovoy (Psychedelique) try prior to La Liturgie but I am detecting AMBER...again! C'mon Jovoy! Because of the quality ingredients evident in Jovoy fragrances AND the staying power (longevity), I REALLY want to love ONE of this house's fragrances; however, I'm done.

    Well, if it's all "in my head," than it's all in my head; but I swear this fragrance opened with notes of sweet, cloying AMBER and if not, definitely some sickly sweet, granulated something...some sweet gourmand note, perhaps. Trying to push through the opening, I felt dizzy with confusing mixed notes of God knows what...incense, myrrh, smoke, berries, jam, jelly, fruit-cake. I don't get it. I literally felt nauseated and as if I was developing a colossal headache.

    After several hours, I couldn't bear it anymore, so I had to scrub...and scrub and scrub and scrub.

    And f course...like all Jovoy fragrances...I could not get this one off. Finally washed all clothing and took a shower.

    I'm done trying Jovoy fragrances :0(

    15th March, 2015 (Last Edited: 16th March, 2015)

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    psychédélique / Psychedelic by Jovoy

    Purchased a sample of this EDP and wore it all day. I'm not disappointed in the fragrance; not in love. In general, I had another "meh" experience.

    I am beginning to think I may be anosmic to rose & floral notes (notes I seek in darkness, only when combined with wood resins, musk, earthy notes), ESPECIALLY when rose is blended with dense woods (oud, amber), or strong plants (patchouli, vetiver) or spices, I fail to detect ROSE!. Once again for me, the promise of a "complex, rose & floral patchouli fragrance" ended on a linear, rather singular note...straightforward patchouli.

    Psychedelique definitely opens with a sweet, STRONG, candied-booze note (like many Jovoys) and I even thought I detected honey and chocolate at one point (honey...a note I REALLY dislike in fragrance). Within literally 5 minutes or less, the fragrance develops into a very heady, deep, dark & STRONG patchouli, again with notes of amber, candied honey & a wee-bit of musk...very bold & dark, rich. After 15-20 minutes or so, I "thought" I detected some rose or other floral but the notes (if present) seemed fleeting.

    Throughout the dry-down, I may have detected wafts of that elusive floral...a very deep, dark resinous rose cloaked in amber & smoke, almost incense like...but wafts only...not sure. As the fragrance evolved, I smelled patchouli & amber over any other note or scent.

    Silage is great, projection is great, longevity is superb...again rather typical with all Jovoy fragrances.

    I wouldn't say I loved this fragrance and I definitely didn't dislike it. Not sure but it is definitely on the "Neutral" side...initially thought about giving this a "Thumbs Up" but couldn't do so..

    Going to try the fragrance again on another day, with another mood. All-in-all, this is an alright fragrance; however for me, it developed into a very linear, non-complex patchouli that reminded me of the stuff we all sniffed 35 years ago in head-shops.

    14th March, 2015 (Last Edited: 20th March, 2015)

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    Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    I imagine there is not one perfume I would (likely) not adore that is designed & manufactured by Frederic Malle. I'm on another quest to expand my limited "signature" and "go to" fragrances, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur and Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile (to name my favorite two). I like incense, I like vintage rose, I like musk, I like patchouli; however as I've often noted, I do not like solo scents or linear fragrances one little bit. I prefer dark, moody, complex fragrances with a few precious notes that play on my skin and favor my nose (and others' noses, especially my husband's).

    IMHO, this potion is about as perfect as the above mentioned notes can get. Definitely the Holy Grail of a rose-incense-patchouli-wood-musk fragrance. Diamond flame said it well: a lush rose opening obscured in a cloud of incense and smoke with an under current of black currants.

    Lush, luxurious, rich, enigmatic, fragrant, delightful, passionate, complex, sexy. What more can I say??? Like all FM perfumes, silage is divine and longevity is great.

    I LOVE this stuff! So why am I having trouble justifying $395.00 for a 3.5 ml flacon? I'll make it last, I swear I will!! Ugggghhhh...seems like such an indulgence. One of my VERY FEW vices...expensive niche perfumes.

    I am going to try Ex Idolo "Thirty-Three" before I purchase this fragrance. Thirty-three has recently been compared by some as a "less expensive" PoaL. Waiting for my sample to arrive. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it does; however, I sincerely doubt anything compares to this divine delight. Seems to me NOTHING can hold a candle to this stuff.

    Thanks, Frederic Malle.

    08th March, 2015

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    Mandragore Pourpre by Annick Goutal

    I am happy I waited a long time (throughout the day) to review this one! A few hours make a whole lot of difference! Mandragore Pourpre grew on me, it really did...especially when my husband returned home several hours after I applied it and said "VIOLETS...I smell flowers and violets." Who would have thunk?

    Someone on another perfume review website summed this fragrance up with "Dies before it gets started!" And YES...that was my INITIAL impression. But oh no...surprise surprise. So, I waited with eager anticipation for this one to arrive in the mail. Happily spritzed on a generous application from a large-ish 2 ml sample. And then I waited some more.

    Opening notes of STRONG anise and BLACK pepper...not pink peppercorns...black pepper immediately emerged upon application! Strong anise, black licorice & black peppercorn definitely dominate the opening. Okay. But wait I did...and within 10-15 minutes, the perfume seemed to settle down onto my skin as I anticipated the emerging mid-notes, base notes and dry-down.

    This IS a pretty fragrance and yes, it IS hard to describe...perhaps because while there SEEMS to be a whole lot of nothing going on, there IS a lot of subtlety occurring.

    Unfortunately, I found the mid-notes to be somewhat harsh & unpleasant...not my favorite part of the application. The mid-notes struck me as dirty, earthy and nearly animalic...dirt & moss...little green and lots of dirt. Is this perhaps the much referred to and nondescript aroma (smell) of the elusive Mandrake Root (mandragore)?

    The dry-down, which takes at least 30-60 minutes is where this fragrance literally blossoms. Ditto to what others have stated. Not at all perfumy or "BIG," Mandragore Pourpre landed as a soft, powdery, peppery, slightly dirty anise fragrance with faded floral notes. Definitely subtle, the fragrance wears very close to the skin. As "happyscent" stated, I did detect wafts of this 'n that throughout the morning; however not one single not ever seems to dominate this fragrance (after the opening).

    Unfortunate for me, I never detected base notes of patchouli, nor did I ever note frankincense or incense or smoke of any kind. Still undecided about this one. More WITCH than GOTHIC, this is a pleasant, very unique interesting fragrance. I can definitely see how this might become someone's "signature" scent.

    07th March, 2015

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    Mon Parfum by Martine Micallef

    Uhhhhhhh...yeah...no. Not at this price!

    Tangerine, orange blossom, vanilla, fruits, patchouli, musk, toffee. Notes come, notes stay (shortly), notes go. A pretty, gentle, delicate, utterly feminine fragrance. Lots of orange blossom, lots of tangerine. Dries down to a warm, creamy, fruity vanilla scent.

    Wears completely close to the skin. Zero silage, zero staying power. Barely detectable. Totally unforgettable.

    There are thousands of fragrances on the market exactly like this one for a fraction of the price.

    This is definitely a pass.

    04th March, 2015

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    Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone

    Eagerly awaited the arrival of this (rather large) sample of Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud. A very very pretty & easy rose & oud wear. I could see this one becoming a real hit with someone just experimenting with oud fragrances.

    Overall, this is a lovely fragrance but disappointing. Not much to say. Opens with moderate oud & rose notes...some spice (clove). Remains pretty constant through dry down with oud, rose & clove. A bit creamy in the end, which I suppose is the praline.

    Fell rather "flat" on my skin. Pretty but not great. Not much projection or silage, which I like in a perfume. I do not want to be over-bearing when I wear perfume; however, I want to know I have some fragrance on (especially at these prices, which are moderate actually).

    Longevity is average to not great but typical based on my experiences with EDP in this price range/category. Wears close to the skin. Definitely great for someone who is a bit shy about wearing perfume, especially an oud. Delicate all the way. After 30 minutes or so, I could barely tell I had applied perfume.

    A lovely perfume. Just not distinctive enough for my tastes. Do not think I'll be purchasing this one.

    04th March, 2015

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    Aoud Roses Petals by Montale

    Overall, this is an alright, extremely wearable & easy introduction to oud and a "rose-oud" fragrance. With that said, this perfume lacks anything outstanding or memorable, IMHO.

    “Aoud Roses Petals” definitely opens with sharp, highly detectable, intense citrus & SPICY notes, which generally are not my favorite opening notes (or notes in general). Within minutes, this perfume with its sharp & spicy opening morphs into a light, fragrant, somewhat synthetic, almost cloying (not "dark") rose oud fragrance with lots of spice and citrus...way to spicy and sharp for my tastes.

    The oud is not intense, resinous, earthy, dark or over-powering in any way but definitely the STAR of this fragrance. The rose is dainty & light. Someone mentioned the rose in this fragrance as being "high-pitched," which I think is an apt way of describing that note. When wearing this, I DO detect oud but more-so, I detect oud & lots of spice...almost some vetiver (which I dislike). Some rose is detectable but definitely in the back seat. Spicy oud seems to dominate this fragrance from top to bottom. And cedar...I definitely smell cedar in the end.

    I like this fragrance but I certainly do not LOVE this fragrance. Montale Aoud Roses Petals is just a bit too spicy, GREEN, vegetal and distant for my tastes. The thoughts this fragrance evoke are not comforting, romantic, warm or soothing. I do not feel "wrapped-up" in, or "held" by this potion. While wearing this, I feel very un-feminine and unattractive. After an hour or so, this fragrance smells too "masculine" for me...perhaps I would like this scent more on a man than I do on myself. Aoud Roses Petals doesn't project or signify who I think I am (and who I want to project) in a fragrance. After a while, I smelled like I was wearing Clairoil Herbal Essence Shampoo...The Original Scent.

    This Montale just never seems to settle down on me & onto my skin. For me, this perfume is not compelling or cozy, not moody or dark. When I smell this fragrance, it smells green, active, intense, sharp & blinding. For me, this fragrance never "grounded."

    I do not think I will ever own this scent...I just do not like it enough. May move up the scale and try Montale Black Aoud or Montale White Aoud. As an aside, I like Tiziana Terenzi "Gold Rose Oudh" and Maison Francis Kurkdjian "Oud Silk Mood" a lot more than this fragrance.

    03rd March, 2015

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    Rose Oud by By Kilian

    Other reviewers have summed it up nicely and said it all. A nice enough rose oud with a rather sweet, jammy berry & herbal opening. Saffron & cardamom (not my favorites) rip through before the fragrance of a rubbery & resinous oud prevails. Spicy mid-notes seem mis-placed at times and appear a bit odd at first.

    The basenotes and dry-down are light, airy, unremarkable notes of rose, herbs, moss. Not a heavy or dark "antique" type rose-oud. More of a light, airy, unremarkable floral-oud scent.

    Like other "By Kilian" oud's (and most oud perfumes, EDP, etc) this EDP is made with synthetic or lab-created oud, due to the problems and expense associated with utilizing natural agarwood resin (oud) in fragrances. With that said, neither By Kilian's Rose Oud or Oud Incense smell synthetic to me. But I've never sampled true, natural agarwood (oud) fragrance (scent). At least I do not think so!

    In conclusion, I imagine this is a nice enough rose oud fragrance. Longevity is just alright (nothing in comparison to Incense Oud) and per usual with Kilian, silage is good. Just didn't do it for me. Not remarkable or memorable enough for me to put out nearly $400 on this one.

    03rd March, 2015

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    Rose Aoud by Martine Micallef

    I think PigeonMurderer summed this one up perfectly. Extraordinarily ordinary, I cannot imagine paying the price tag for this extremely average and rather forgettable rose oud perfume. Smells very singular, FLAT and simple on me after a very short time. No vanilla, no chocolate, not much oud...just some mild rose. For the price, I would expect a fragrance with much more complexity, intrigue, longevity & silage.

    This perfume opens with an extremely sharp, almost harsh medicinal note that dissipates within minutes. A fleeting note of ambergris follows, as do weak notes of synthetic smelling oud and "any-kind-of-ordinary" rose. Oud on this does not last at all and within minutes is (barely) detectable. Sadly, after 10-15 minutes, this much anticipated aoud fragrance morphed into a mere hint of a "rose solofleur.".

    Longevity is poor; silage is weak. Perhaps it is because I tried this one on the heels of Tiziana Terenzi "Gold Rose Oudh" and Maison Francis Kurkdjian "Oud Silk Mood;" however, this rose oud feels pale, faint, singular, fleeting & weak in comparison.

    An alright fragrance for some...just not my cup of tea (rose). Sorry...I couldn't resist!

    03rd March, 2015

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    Oud Silk Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

    I eagerly opened my latest perfume sample shipment and tentatively applied Maison Francis Kurkdjian's Oud Silk Mood after reading mixed (many negative) reviews here and on other websites. Anticipating the perfume's arrival, I deliberately did not apply any other perfume that day because I wanted to experience this expensive perfume in its full glory. Surprisingly, I really LOVE this fragrance; however given the hefty price tag, I may be forced to move on to similar rouse oud perfumes and rose oud blends, such as those produced by Jo Malone, M. Micallef, Montale and Tiziana Terenzi (to name a few).

    I am NOT a perfume expert and I especially am not an oud expert. I've never smelled the true scent of a natural agarwood tree. With that said, I experienced and owned Killian's Incense Oud. Recently, I decided to re-explore floral ouds. I hope to find a floral (rose) oud that I can wear & enjoy on a regular basis...a departure from my favorite scents, Creed's Jasmine Imperiatrice Eugenie, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur and Acqua di Parma's Magnolia Nobile. I like floral scents...I do...but I'm picky and I do NOT like solifleurs. I also do NOT like fragrances with straight or singular mossy and/or wood (resinous) notes (VETIVER, patchouli, amber, sandalwood, aged rum-oak barrel, etc).

    MFK's Oud Silk Mood is a gorgeous fragrance but IMHO, you MUST wait for the dry-down! For me, the basenotes and dry-down are what make this fragrance stand out and shine. Even someone like me with limited perfume knowledge can tell this perfume is created with some fine ingredients...oud, rose, papyrus and chamomile...that's about it. Lovely.

    I warn the opening notes are intense, loud and almost vulgar...rubber, SMOKE & metallic notes jump out of the bottle, onto the skin & through the nose, showing no mercy! After initial application, I thought "Uh oh...oh no...this is gonna make me ill...this is gonna be a SCRUBBER!" All I could smell after initial application was something akin to burnt rubber...oud!

    Within 10-15 minutes, this EDP exposed its true glory with the longest lasting & loveliest wood (oud), musk-y, dark rose notes I have ever experienced. After 30-60 minutes, I could not stop enjoying the glow of the most gorgeous Bulgarian rose & wood-y oud fragrance I have ever experienced! MY husband kept commenting, "You smell GREAT when you walk by...is that the SAME PERFUME you HAD ON about 1 hour ago??? The SAME one??? Really??? You smell great...nice!" Silage!!!

    One Basenotes reviewer, who gave this fragrance a decidedly "thumbs down" review called this fragrance "cheap, synthetic, dark, odd, etc with 'urban glossy darkness' & pretention, etc." I can understand this reviewer's experience, I really can because that is (sorta) the way this fragrance opens.

    But give it time and delight in the dry-down. This EDP is long lasting and is a beautifully warm, comforting floral (rose) & resinous fragrance. Silage is great & really pleasant. Not sure I have the budget to spring for a full bottle. And unlike By Killian, not sure if this MFK fragrance is worthy of its hefty price tag. I'm going to take some time in the near future to re-experience "similar" fragrances, as mentioned above.

    Definitely worthy of a sample try, if you like rose & oud AND you can wait for the dry-down!!!

    02nd March, 2015 (Last Edited: 18th March, 2015)

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    Poppy Flower by Coach

    Recently read about Coach's relatively new "Poppy" line of perfumes. Thought I may have been purchasing Coach "Poppy Wild Flower," which sounds a bit more suitable for my tastes. Realized I bought Coach "Poppy Flower" instead. Gave it a try.

    This EDP lists ivy, grapefruit and mandarin as its opening notes, which proved so true. Upon initial application, I smelled exactly like someone doused me with grapefruit juice than squeezed fresh oranges all over me before throwing the skins in my face! Pungent, astringent, sharp & strong citrus notes prevailed, almost choking at points. I could actually "taste" the bitter opening notes in my mouth as I (obviously) inhaled them through my nose/mouth. As reviewers on other websites recommended, I "waited-out" this phase, which initially seemed worthwhile...and it didn't take forever.

    After 10-15 minutes, exceptionally pungent, mid-floral notes blazed through with jasmine and something as sweet as honeysuckle noted. The floral notes were tolerable and a nice transition from the overwhelming citrus I experienced during the opening. A few minutes later, as the dry-down began, I thought all was going to be well when the most pleasant & distinctive caramel and vanilla notes blasted through. As I walked into a supermarket to pick up a few items, I thought "Well...this IS interesting...this may be a nice citrus-floral gourmand I can tolerate." I was wrong.

    A few minutes later while shopping, I detected the most rancid & sour note on my skin and clothing. As an aside, I ran into someone I know and gave them a hug. Doing so, I was a bit embarrassed & very self-conscious 'cause I actually thought I smelled offensive. Amber, CHEAP MUSK, VANILLA, sandalwood? I continually sniffed at the collar and sleeves of my (new) sweater jacket and the fragrance smelled like a baby had vomited sour milk onto my shoulder & wrist...the scent was that bad.

    I hoped I was wrong and waited for the base notes to settle down...for the dry-down to continue. Sadly, on me the dry-down was horrendous. Sour, warm, nauseatingly rancid, dry milk with a tinge of cheap amber is what I smelled like. And it was 10F degrees here today...cannot imagine this stuff in the summer-time.

    Well, I CAN say longevity is good 'cause I returned home, scrubbed my skin...scrubbed some more and washed my new sweater jacket. The fragrance turned that bad.

    Bewildered, this 1.7 oz/50 ml purchase is now on eBay. I NEVER sell open perfume on eBay but I hope to recoup some of the $59.00 I paid for this blind purchase. Disappointing. It's a pass.

    28th February, 2015

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    Ambre Premier by Jovoy

    After sampling this fragrance several times, I confidently purchased a 100 ml bottle of Jovoy "Ambre Premier." Thought I (perhaps) found ONE ADDITIONAL dark, exotic, slightly floral, complex, enigmatic, earthy fragrance I could actually wear on a fairly regular basis...and love. Could it be???

    Uhhhhh...yeah...no. I think I was wrong! What happened????

    Feeling a bit excited when I first experienced this fragrance, I thought I found a "new favorite," a new "signature scent." Hoping this was the "Holy Grail" to add to my very limited wardrobe of much beloved perfumes...Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur and Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile, to name two...I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my purchase. Gosh, I applied a sample of this concoction several weeks back and I loved it...loved it more and more with each passing moment! Thought this was a beautiful fragrance.

    I am not a perfume expert by any means; however with my sample I experienced what I thought was a perfect and precise blend & combination of scents and notes, which made me fall in love with Ambre Premier. The notion of "beautifully blended" kept coming to mind as I wrote my initial review. Amber, citrus, smoke, incense, patchouli, vanilla, rose, woods...loved it all!

    Surprisingly, my full decant of this fragrance opened with the STRONGEST boozy, spicy and fruity notes I'd ever imagined...fruit? Following an opening that I (originally) thought set the stage for the "best is yet to come," the intense opening notes seemed to last forever. After the initial almost harsh opening, the sweetest (almost cloying) scent of amber began to build...and unlike my sample, the amber built & built & built and built. By and large, I am NOT a big fan of predominant amber scents; however I do love amber when the right amount blends and balances with other exotic notes.

    Unfortunately, the amber never pleasantly matched (as I previously experienced) with dark, dreamy vintage rose along with hints of patchouli & smoke. At one point, I thought I detected a wee-bit of rose but only as a mid-note...fleetingly, the rose was gone. Sadly, after loving the blend of notes and scents during my sampling, the amber notes (matched with a wee-bit of vanilla accord) just never seemed to balance out...or go away.

    Again, I am NOT a huge fan of singular or predominant or solo scented perfumes...not at all. And I REALLY dislike solo amber fragrances, I really do. Feeling perplexed, I cannot fathom what went wrong. What happened to the complexly blended fragrance of Ambre Premier that I originally experienced?

    In all fairness, I DID wear this perfume after a day of experiencing a sample of Frederic Malle "Portrait of a Lady." Did that sully the water, er...I mean the fragrance of Ambre Premier? Did I get jaded so quickly?

    Eerily reminiscent of my experience with Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe...uggggh! Very similar fragrances, IMHO.

    For $200.00, this is sadly another sell on eBay.

    26th February, 2015 (Last Edited: 07th March, 2015)

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    Explosions d'Emotions : Déliria by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Uhhhhh...yeah...no! What exactly is this?

    After I got past the incredibly offensive opening notes, which I imagine are the metallic & rum scents, all I could smell was something akin to a pistol that was removed from an old leather holster. Uggghhhhhh!

    Throw in the horse's rear-end (a$$) and you'll get the complete picture. WOW!!! Took me several tries to get past the incredibly offensive opening notes. Actually felt nauseated. Gun metal & leather on me.

    Cotton-candy? Candy apples? Toffee? Where? Got more offensive during its dry-down. Refrained from scrubbing but my-oh-my.

    Just not for me.

    26th February, 2015

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    Chia by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

    So disappointed in this one! After having such high hopes based on many reviews-especially the positive reviews here on Basenotes-I was so let down after wearing Farmacia SS Annunziata Chia over the course of several consecutive days.

    I am once again experimenting in hopes of expanding my "go-to" wardrobe of heavy, earthy, musky, woodsy, resinous, spicy fragrances. Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur and Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile are among my two favorite fragrances. I recently delighted in a few cotton-candy, vanilla, sugary, almond, confectionary body cremes; so, I thought I'd try finding similar fragrant notes in a niche perfume...something different to wear throughout the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

    Chia is a nice enough vanilla/floral fragrance but for me, it begins and ends right there...as a nice enough, vanilla floral fragrance. I guess I was perhaps expecting something more exotic from the special house of Farmacia SS Annunziata. My experience is that the perfume is nice enough but just flat...there is nothing notable or unique about it given what one might expect.

    Out of the bottle and throughout the opening notes, Chia promises to deliver. Extremely pretty, light, sweet, a bit citrus-y, fruity almond-y & feminine, I felt hopeful upon initial application. Opening notes include loads of sweetness with scents of sugar, cotton-candy, almond, a bit of citrus and other saccharine delights. A delicate floral touch-rose-nicely rounds out the fragrant complexity throughout the very brief opening notes of this perfume.

    With all that said, the dry-down and the base notes are where this fragrance falls flat & deeply disappoints. Definitely within 15 minutes, on my skin Chia sadly turned into a rather ordinary, usual, typical vanilla gourmand with a few hints of orange blossom & almond. Also on my skin, Chia turned incredibly powdery during its dry-down, a characteristic somewhat common to many floral gourmands (in my experience).

    Chia has good silage and average staying power. In summary and IMHO, Farmacia SS Anuziata's Chia is a relatively ordinary, vanilla-musk-floral gourmand perfume, neither complex nor exotic. I love niche perfumes but this one isn't my style. If I had to sum things up, I would say this perfume is just too child-like for my tastes. After 30 minutes of application, Chia almost smelled like baby-powder on me...I swear I smelled like a freshly powdered baby's bottom...not good imagery.

    I imagine for the price of Chia (if not a bit less), one can find something similar (if not nicer) than this relatively pricey perfume. Very disappointed.

    26th February, 2015

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    Vince Camuto by Vince Camuto

    This is an odd one, a fragrance that leaves me feeling frustrated and a bit confused. I had high hopes and big expectations for this one after reading so many positive online reviews. I bought this blind, 3.5 ounces @ a mere $29.99 on Amazon...apparently from a reputable perfume retailer. I'm glad I did not pay more for this because after "trying" it and wearing it for a day or two, I do not think it will be one of my go-to fragrances.

    With so many identified "notes" and so much allegedly going on, this perfume seems to do nothing once it settles down on my skin. Initially out of the bottle, I definitely detect the "rum" scent, an aroma that I generally do not like. In fairness, the opening rum notes are not over-bearing or intolerable as some "rum" fragrances can be. The opening notes are not unpleasant...just very very PRESENT, as others have stated. And as an aside, a reviewer on another site noted, there IS something a bit strange in the opening notes that definitely attacks the nostrils...not necessarily unpleasant...just strong, present and a bit odd...alcoholic...hey, I think it's the RUM!

    The middle notes and dry-down are where things get too weird, confusing and frustrating for me & my tastes. Yes, amber comes through as does a heady mixture of MULTIPLE florals (definitely rose, jasmine, osmanthus), powder, musk, amber, vanilla, etc...everything. I do not detect a lot of patchouli or leather...notes I wouldn't mind! At any rate, the middle notes or mid-phase of this potion almost smell a bit funerial to me...something I definitely do not like...almost old-lady like.

    Fortunately, while still a bit confusing, the dry-down and base notes are not so bad because everything seems to calm down into a lot of, well...nothing really. After 30-45 minutes or so, I am left with a barely detectable aroma of boozy, powdery amber & rum...a wee-bit of Bulgarian rose, perhaps (which is nice). Actually, the dry down and base notes are quite pleasant but almost unrecognizable and non-detectable...frustrating for me after suffering through so much-smile.

    This fragrance has good silage and great longevity, as it seems to last for quite some time. And while silage is good, on me this fragrance plays close to the skin (which given how I smell, may be a good thing).

    Some reviewers on other sites describe this fragrance as "rich, sensuous, unusual, enigmatic, very feminine, exotic, etc," which are not words that come to my mind after I sampled (wore) this for a few days in a row. While pleasant enough and not offensive, this Vince Camuto scent is extraordinarily ordinary on me.

    I guess I'll use up the bottle, using it here and there, etc when my much beloved fragrances run low.

    25th February, 2015 (Last Edited: 26th February, 2015)

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    Antico Caruso by Profumum

    I've again attempted to expand my (very limited) perfume and EDT wardrobe. Sigh...I guess I do not do well with change and apparently there IS a very good reason I have such a limited "go-to fragrance wardrobe"--smile. With that said, I have taken somewhat to the new trend of sweet, spicy, cotton-candy, almond, sugary vanilla "gourmand" type scents. Such scents seem to be a nice departure (especially for spring & summer) from my heavier fragrances that consist of oud, musk, resins, sandalwood & other woodsy oils, etc.

    Well, obviously sampling Antico Caruso was NOT an effort to find a "sugary" scent but a feeble effort to explore another dark, exotic, resinous fragrance. As others have stated, this is a non-complex scent that settled into two notes on me, well actually ONE note...powdery amber...period.

    Trying to avoid doing so, I definitely detected the "barber shoppe" aroma among the opening notes. I detected an herbal & nearly medicinal accord in the opening notes, perhaps some citrus, too. Within minutes, the scent rapidly transitioned on me and I definitely detected some almond that was pleasant enough...just not PRESENT enough for my tastes.

    And finally, as others have already stated, sadly on me the dry-down of this fragrance landed as a simple, very ordinary linear note...not almond (as many have stated) but to my senses, the final note was AMBER...and a soapy amber, I'd say! Maybe I'm sensing sandalwood (which I like quite a lot) and not amber. But I think I can detect sandalwood from amber. Antico Caruso definitely landed as amber...simple, non-complex, kinda ordinary amber.

    On the plus side, longevity seems GREAT with this fragrance 'cause I applied it several hours back and it still smells quite song. Silage also seems to be quite strong as there are wafts of this stuff throughout my entire house right now. I actually caused one of my poor cats to sneeze when I hugged him a few minutes ago-lololol.

    Nonetheless, I do not like the end results of this one on me. Traveling with it from its opening notes to its end was pleasant enough. But in the end, this fragrance feels (smells) too ordinary for me and way too masculine given my current preferences. Think I'll pass this on to my dear husband and see if he'd like to try if out for a while. Glad I got a tester/sample. Many thanks once again to Lucky Scent dot com!

    25th February, 2015 (Last Edited: 26th February, 2015)

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    Love Hope Denim by True Religion

    I recently plucked this item from a shelf at Marshall's. After reviewing "Love Hope Denim's" notes online, I "blind purchased" this fragrance for a fraction of its retail price of $39.00. With spring & summer arriving, I'd like to depart from my usual "heavier" go to fragrances. As an aside, I bought a jar of Philosophy Pink Almond Candy Body Souffle a while back and I recognize I like the fragrance a lot. I'm not a "main stream" fragrance lover,preferring niche fragrances over all others. However, I realize I like almond-y sweet, cotton-candy kinda scents. I am NOT a gourmand-y fragrance lover; however I do like wearing creamy, vanilla, musk, caramel, fruity Oriental blends now and again.

    So, after springing for Prada "Candy" (based on its notes and reviews) and not loving it (I used the 1.7 oz during a cruise...will not purchase it again), I bought True Religion "Love Hope Denim." Really, there is not much to say about this fragrance. In general, it is a very straight-forward, sugary, sweet, cotton-candy, caramel & vanilla, musk-y sweet delight.

    Initially, I detected a definite synthetic aroma to this EDT. After initially spraying the fragrance on me, I thought, "Uh oh...this is gonna give me a colossal headache...this is NOT gonna work." However, I sprayed this on while driving home from Marshal's; so, scrubbing the fragrance off was not an option-smile! I had to give the fragrance some time to develop. After detecting an overwhelmingly strong (almost harsh) mixture of fruit...a real fruity aroma...not one particular dominant note...perhaps strawberry & raspberry...the EDT settled down and became tolerable...actually pleasant. After 10-15 minutes or so, middle notes of almond, vanilla, caramel and (slightly burnt) sugar definitely sparkled through...and the fragrance is not so bad! After 30 minutes or so, this fragrance is actually fun & pleasant!

    Some folks compare this fragrance to Prada Candy. Much of what is written is true because "Love Hope Denim" varies from Prada Candy with top notes that are DRASTICALLY more fruity than Prada Candy. Thankfully, once on the skin this EDT settles down with incredibly delightful notes of caramel, vanilla, musk and (slightly) burnt sugar. While I do not agree that the base notes make this concoction more "adult" like than Prada Candy (as cited by another reviewer), I do agree that after 30 minutes or so and unlike Prada Candy, this fragrance is not dominated by a "powdery" note. This fragrance remains more airy & light than Prada Candy. With that said, I still think the final aroma and notes of this EDT make it more of a "young gal's" scent and not a scent I'd describe as elegant, mature, unique or unusual.

    Love Hope Denim sits close to the skin, so silage is not great. For me, longevity is moderate because the aroma waned after a few hours or so...say 3-4. I found myself spraying Love Hope Denim on me once again, so I could make this review as realistic as possible! And I must say for what it is, the fragrance IS growing on me!

    A simple, non-complex, linear fragrance that easily competes with many of the recent "fruity, cotton-candy, sugar, caramel, vanilla, musk" scents out there, I think I'll keep this one. Doubt I will buy more, however when this bottle is gone. A pretty good blind purchase. Definitely worth the discounted price.

    20th February, 2015 (Last Edited: 11th March, 2015)

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    Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile by Acqua di Parma

    Cannot believe I overlooked reviewing and rating this wonderful perfume, as I've owned it and worn it now for nearly three years. Came upon this during a 2012 trip to Epcot Center in Orlando. Stumbled across the display at the Italy or Venice area and was over-taken...immediately in-love. Do you know that heady, over-whelming, wonderful olfactory sensation one experiences when entering a high-end parfumerie or a unique & spell-binding candle-shop in a tiny European town or Big American City? THAT is what got me...those fragrances...that fragrance...it was instant love.

    As others have stated, Magnolia Nobile begins quite citrusy, which I normally do not like...I actually dislike fragrances with strong, opening citrus notes. After settling in and simmering down a bit, the magic of Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile begins! The more this fragrance settles down and remains on the skin, the finer it becomes! Staying power is great...sillage is super, too. A little does the job. Over-doing the application can be over-powering.

    Again, thinking I would dislike such a "floral" and citrusy scent, magnolia is dominant; yet the mixture of citrus (lemon & bergamot), floral (rose & jasmine) and woods (amber, musk) make this perfume truly unique.

    The scent, IMHO is very feminine but not trendy or juvenile, not hip or lively. While this doesn't smell like the top drawer of grandma's dresser, I would call this a more mature and "lady-like" fragrance...not a fun and playful one. I like the fact that Acqua di Parma does not make dozens of "trendy" fragrances; the perfume maker chooses to perfect, develop and modify the "tried and true" base and basic notes.

    As the Acqua di Parma website states, "this perfume DOES have a distinct structure that is enriched with surprising notes." There are opening notes of bergamot, lemon and citron that develop with rose & jasmine. The dry-down is sandalwood, patchouli...a hint of vanilla.

    I absolutely love this stuff! It definitely ties as #1 with my other "go-to" fragrance, Frrederic Malle Musc Ravageur. Completely different fragrances but similar in so many ways!

    29th January, 2015 (Last Edited: 20th February, 2015)

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    Prada Candy by Prada

    As others have stated, I'm not sure what prompted me to buy a 1 oz. bottle of this at $68 but buy it I did. Overall, I like this perfume, I really do. It is a HUGE departure from my usual "go to" perfumes; however in general, I like Prada Candy a lot.

    Preparing for an upcoming cruise, I didn't have the time or the usual money to buy my beloved Aqua di Parma Magnolia Noble or Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, etc. So, off I went to Ulta to seek out perfumes. With the Caribbean in mind and having recently used some Philosophy creams, I had candy, cotton-candy, bubble gum, pink and something sweet on my mind. Initially, I was torn between Candy and Vince Camuto Amore but I settled on Prada Candy 'cause I disliked Camuto Amore's more floral dry-down.

    This fragrance is very warm, dry, a bit powdery, simple & sweet. Like others, I fail to detect much of this scent after I spritz it on myself; however others DO smell it and seem to like it. Uncomplicated, the dry-down is definitely a tacky caramel base. There is musk, vanilla...the usual sweet gourmand array of today's latest "pink" perfumes. Unlike others, I do not find this fragrance overly strong, intense or sickeningly sweet in any way.

    I must reiterate (as others have stated) that Candy is a very wearable, unoffensive, simple & pretty perfume. I cannot see a young child or teen wearing this...in a funny way, it seems too "old" to be worn by a young person. With that said, I think it will be fine for the cruise and for the upcoming summer. Will see how I feel after using a 1 oz. bottle. Not sure I'd repurchase it at this point in time.

    29th January, 2015

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    Juozas Statkevicius / Josef Statkus by Juozas Statkevicius

    I've recently re-embarked on a search to expand my very limited (but much beloved) fragrance wardrobe. I have always loved mixed incense-based fragrances but never quite felt comfortable wearing one...that is until I met Kilian's "Incense Oud." As an aside, I absolutely fell in love with Incense Oud and was fortunate to purchase an open bottle from someone who bought it and hated it. Having said that, I was eager to find a contender to Incense Oud, given that Incense Oud costs $395/1.7 ounces...quite a lump of cash.

    After reading many reviews, I had high expectations for this fragrance by Josef Statkus and while it didn't disappoint, I wasn't quite taken by it. IMHO, it is going to be very difficult, if not impossible to locate a suitable substitue for Incense Oud-smile. But that having been said, this fragrance is nice. However, agreeing totally with bayKAT, some note in the drydown did not agree with me and really turned me off. Primarily because of the drydown "meltdown," the fragrance didn't quite hit the mark. Disappointment.

    The opening is nicely done with a pleasant incense accord that is exotic, luxurious and not church-like...a factor I dislike in incense fragrances...churchiness-smile. Loving amber, jasmine, some patchouli, vanilla and musks, I patiently waited for any of these notes to emerge. The core floral, incense, woody and amber notes did eventually play through the initial burst of intense incense. However, on my skin and to my nose, the core notes never fully emerged and certainly not to the degree I'd hoped for (I like complex fragrances, especially florals, wood & musk mixed with incense).

    I do not know if it was benzoin, coriander, cashmere wood or something else; however despite being a faiirly linear scent, a rather foul aroma wafted about 20-30 minutes into the wear. Frankly, the aroma faintly smelled like urine and I thought I must be having olfactory hallucinations after experiencing such pleasant opening & middle accords.

    A completely different animal than Incense Oud, this fragrance is waaaay too masculine, animalic, musk-y, linear and uneven to be something I would ever consider wearing. The fragrance seems to lack the sensual complexity & intoxicating sillage that I require in perfumes, especially incense-based ones. For me, this Josef Statkus fragrance is a pass.

    17th November, 2011

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    Café Noir by Ava Luxe

    Bought this fragrance as a sample, more or less out of curiosity. I have been attempting (once again) to expand my very limited "go-to," must have fragrance wardrobe. I was recently intrigued by a few mocha-coffee scented body cremes that I purchased for moisturizing, etc. Saw a few reviews about Cafe Noir and thought I'd give it a try.

    This is a very interesting and different fragrance with opening notes of coffee, as others have stated but not your fresh brewed cup o' coffee aroma...more of a coffier or a gourmet coffee shop scent. I agree with all the comments made prior. The opening coffee note is strong and impressive. The following smoky, floral, spicy, creamy and woody notes blast through in a bit of a confusing swirl. My nose did not detect a lot of lavender, normally a note that I love when mixed with something else-woody or earthy (otherwise, lavender is waaay too medicinal for my tastes). Somehow, it all works out and Cafe Noir is a rather intriguing fragrance.

    As stated by others, this is not at all a gourmand scent but a dark, mysterious, smoky, spicy & nutty (like in coffee bean) fragrance. Would I wear this? No. Do I like it? It's okay but something I'd never ever purchase or wear...would rather smell it as a candle or a room fragrance versus a perfume. Just doesn't quite hit the "parfum" mark, IMHO. Not the signature scent I'd prefer to wear.


    17th November, 2011

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    Midnight Oud by Juliette Has a Gun

    In a new quest to expand my very limited "go-to" fragrance wardrobe, I decided to re-visit incense based potions 'cause I really love the smell of mixed incense a lot!! Not being a fan, however of the "church" incense scents, I decided to try fragrances with oud, mixed "incense" notes and a host of other elements listed as fragrant notes.

    Additionally, I recently purchased an open bottle of Kilian's "Incense Oud," after sampling the fragrance and falling in love! However, with a price tag of $395/1.7 ml, I hoped to find a more affordable alternative. Additionally, detractor's of Kilian's IO cite the absence of any true "oud" in the ingredient notes, as well as the perfume's aroma. So, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to sample JHAG "Midnight Oud" as well as a few other oud fragrances.

    After sampling "Midnight Oud," I, uhhh...I think I understand what pure oud fragrance is all about. Yet, after closely reading other reviews of this fragrance, perhaps I do NOT know what a REAL oud fragrance smells like after all. Truth is, I'm confused; yet after sampling "Midnight OUd," I am not sure that I WANT to know what a true or truer oud IS all about. I simply didn't like this fragrance.

    I am not a parfum or oud expert by any means; however on my body, this fragrance wore as a completely linear oud scent. I positively and without question identified the dark, earthy, dirty, woody, resinous scent of fungally infected agarwood tree bark in this parfum. I feel like the odd person out here and I certainly do not wish to offend any of my fellow Basenoters who LOVE this fragrance. Having said that, to my nose the opening of this fragrance is a wee-bit odd (perhaps this is the saffron or rubbery note some reviewers mention), very heady, pungent, heavy (like, almost oppressively so) and loaded with oud...lots and lots of oud.

    The JHAG Website describes this fragrance as "...heavy oriental notes of traditional ouds represented in a very wearable and refined manner...a bridge between the perfect balance of rose-chypre-patchouli and the purest oud perfume note." With exceptional longevity and lots of sillage, I primarily smelled linear oud notes throughout the entire wear of this fragrance-opening, middle and base.

    At one mini mid-point (approximately 10-15 minutes after application), I detected a rather pungent, animalic, dirt & dirty, foul, musk-y kinda urine note that others have cited, which fortunately didn't linger (although I thought I was gonna have to scrub for a few moments there). Morphing back to its overwhelmingly linear oud note, I did not find Midnight Oud to be a bridge between much of anything even faintly resembling rose or patchouli, nor did I find it to be very refined, complex or wearable.

    I imagine that for pure oud lovers, this fragrance might be a real winner. Also, "fragranceluvr" summed it up nicely by describing this parfum as "trendy & fun versus elegant or urbane." For my tastes, Midnight Oud is not complex enough, waaaay too masculine and not a fragrance I would ever wear. If you've experienced Kilians "Incense Oud," you may understand my sentiments. Just alright, "Midnight Oud" is simply not for me.

    17th November, 2011

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    Encens Flamboyant by Annick Goutal

    I am again attempting to expand my very small, go-to, Oriental-floral-musk fragrance wardrobe. So, after falling in love with By Kilian Incense Oud at $395/1.7 ml, I decided to try other alternative (and more affordable) incense fragrances. I think that for me, trying to do so is going to be like downsizing from a Ferrari to a Yugo...though I've never owned either. But I think you get my point...not an easy transition if you've tried Kilian Incense Oud.

    So, this is an Encens Flamboyant retry for me and I must say, my tastes have changed somewhat. When I first smelled Encens Flamboyant from the bottle (a few years back), I was smitten. Quite sure I had found the Holy Grail, I sadly became disappointed after applying it and witnessing what occurred as the hours passed.

    I loved the opening...complex yet simple and familiar...an identifiable incense with some pink pepper (or some peppery note) and smoke. Not enough pepper to make me sneeze but incense with a real twist and the requisite smokiness. While these pleasant and agreeable notes remained with me for quite sometime, the fragrance seemed to (sadly) morph into a musty, sour balsamic note after an hour or so. Very disappointing. I smelled like a fairy lost in a fir tree forest.

    This time 'round, I experienced the same opening notes and pleasant development as I did the first time. As an aside, I have a mixed "like affair" with many of the Annick Goutal fragrances...some are downright weird. Having said that, I found the dry-down to be much less harsh, less fir-tree/wood forest like this time. Unable to stop sniffing at my wrist, the landing consisted of balsamic notes that were much less "sour," more balanced and more spicy than what I previously recall. Several hours in, I still detected a pleasant, albeit faint incense/smoke note.

    Still not 100% sure about this one but I'm enjoying it more as the day progresses. Silage is pretty spot-on (no one seems to be complaining) and longevity is great...6-7 hour application today and the fragrance is still going strong.

    At this price range, I'm also re-trying L'Artisan "Passage d'Enfer." Also going to give Jovoy ANOTHER try...La Liturgie des Heures. Sadly, I can no longer locate Etro "Messe Minuit"...it's out of production. Out of the many incense fragrances, next to Kilian Incense Oud, Etro Messe de Minuit was my favorite.

    08th November, 2011 (Last Edited: 15th March, 2015)

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    Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    I will keep this brief because so much has already been written about this fragrance. I agree with zztops review of this potion in many ways. Do not know what I was expecting but overall, MKK just left me feeling very blank and well...neutral.

    Fortunately, I sensed none of the animalic, fecal, dirrrrty, unclean nether-region notes with this scent, as others have cited. MKK went on as an overall basic, rather pleasant, floral oriental musk that remained quite linear. In short time, the fragrance minimally waned into a rather basic, non-descript, uhhh woody musk scent but that's about it. Sorta like Jovan Musk squared (to the third degree).

    Not appealing nor repugnant. Not much of anything on me. Generally, I like many of the Serge Lutens fragrances but this one left me simply feeling blank.

    08th November, 2011

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    Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire

    As I sat down to write a review about my experience with Ambre Russe, two words kept coming to mind...confusing and blech! Sorry, I do not want to offend all the admirers of this fragrance but I absolutely hated this scent. On me, it was awful.

    The opening is very very intense and heady with aldehydes, amber, booze (I didn't detect champagne or vodka...to my nose, it smelled more like bourbon) and more amber. Amber, amber everywhere is what my nose detected.

    After a few minutes, the amber never passed but I was overcome by the most nauseating & cloying aroma of syrupy sweetness, like honey. Something hit me that was so cloyingly sweet, I actually felt sick to my stomach. Now, I would never describe amber or most resins as being "sweet;" so this is where my confusion set in. I thought, "Oh my...what is that note...what is that sweet aroma?" Together with the amber and spices, the thick, syrupy, honey-aroma hit hard and I actually felt like I was literally going to be ill.

    Then finally, up rose a few notes of what smelled like stale, old tobacco & stale smoke. Church Incense? Russian Leather? Smokiness? Where??? When??? Are you kidding me???

    Like Creed "Bois Du Portugal," Ambre Russe actually conjured up one of my most unpleasant childhood memories. When I was a young girl of 5-8 yrs of age, I recall regularly visiting my humble maternal grandpa with my wonderful mom. Of course, I wanted to greet my grandpa with a big hug but I always remember dreading it and recoiling upon doing so, ONLY because of grandpa' stench.

    My grandfather was of course, an old man who enjoyed drinking cheap bourbon, whiskey, rye and home-made red wine. Given this, my grandfather always reeked of cheap booze, which I hated. Grandpa chain-smoked Lucky Strikes, pipes & cheap cigars, so he also always smelled like the bottom of an ashtray. Sadly, grandpa had neither the ability or desire to bathe on a regular basis, so he always had that unclean or "old clothes" smell with the faint smell of incontinence. Well, prior to our visits, grandad "touched up" by dousing himself with a cheap men's cologne, surely to make himself "smell better." The results were disasterous...the apartment was stifling and rarely aired out...I think you get the mental picture.

    I recall telling my sweet mom that "I was afraid" of old grandpa. But I don't think it was grandpa I feared but visiting him and subjecting myself to those horrible, awful odors and grandpa's unforgiving stankiness.

    Sadly, as sweet as he was, Grandpa stunk and so does Ambre Russe. Just awful...this fragrance actually makes me cringe.

    01st November, 2011 (Last Edited: 07th March, 2015)

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    Incense Oud by By Kilian

    OMG…perhaps I am simply drinking from the Kool-Aid but I am in love with this fragrance! After searching high ‘n low for an affordable incense fragrance AND an alternative to my two beloveds…Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur and Creed’s Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie…I stumbled upon a few intriguing reviews about Kilian’s Incense Oud. I decided to purchase a small sample from Lucky Scent and the rest is history.

    Now, before you laugh, I will say “DEFINITELY YES…”Incense Oud is an “alternative” to my two other “go to” fragrances.…DEFINITELY! I am pretty particular when it comes to the fragrances that I wear! But an “affordable alternative”…NO!! So I’d best savor this jar and keep on looking. However, I am almost ashamed to say that I am in love with this scent!

    Knowing little to nothing about oud, I guess it doesn’t matter to me that there isn’t actually any oud listed in this potion (leaving me confused by the name). Nonetheless, it is hard for me to describe this incredible mixture’s aroma & fragrance because to my nose, it is simply divine!

    When I received my sample from Lucky Scent, I opened it in my car as I was going through the rest of my daily mail. I had forgotten about ordering the scent and when I sprayed the sample, it was love at first whiff! My first thoughts were, “Oh my…this is some beautiful stuff!!” Then, I glanced at the packaging insert and immediately thought, “Oh no…I hope this isn’t the stuff that goes for $395 a bottle.” Alas, it was and it is.

    As an aside, I’ve recently decided to re-try fragrances with strong incense notes because I feel like I need a change from my usual Oriental Floral Musk based juices and I've always wanted to really LOVE an incense based fragrance. Kilian’s Incense Oud is different from the usual incense fragrances, some of which I've tried and disliked...they are all listed in my Basenotes Wardrobe. This incense fragrance is soooooo heavenly, it really is.

    The opening is warm, enticing and somewhat pungent with definite spicy & floral notes including pepper, cardamom and rose. The opening does not force me to sneeze and clutch my throat, as peppery-citrusy-floral openings tend to do (recently tried Lolita Lempika’s “Si Lolita” and I thought I was going to need CPR). Anyhow, while some may call Incense Oud “weak,” after 10-15 minutes or so, I actually find the opening to be incredibly comforting and smooth, in some ways very inviting. To me, the opening is almost like meeting up with an old friend or wrapping oneself in a cozy afghan or blanket. This fragrance simply smells like something special.

    After 1/2 hour or so, the spices & florals settle in and a wonderful mixture of wood (cedarwood, sandalwood, oud-lol), incense (patchouli???), smoke, and musk rises. Nothing I read about in all the reviews could prepare me for the dry down or the base. Sitting very close to the skin and without much silage, there is obviously something in the sum parts and ALL the notes that makes this some pretty complex and incredible stuff. If I had to describe the dry down in a few words, it would be “smooth, relaxing, and almost meditative.” This is definitely not an over-powering fragrance. This is a sophisticated & subtle incense fragrance that is not at all reminiscent of being at High Holy Mass or in a head shop (characteristics that I ordinarily dislike in other incense based fragrances).

    Sadly, within a few hours, all of the wonderfulness simply fades away on me. And like so many other reviewers have cited (on Basenotes and other fragrance review sites), I have two complaints. First one is that for the price, I wish the fragrance had more longevity on my skin. I’d say that after 3-4 hours or so, the whole incredible experience is done & over; time for another costly spritz or two or four! Second complaint, of course is the hefty price tag. I snagged my 50 ml bottle from someone who sold it on eBay after buying it and hating it. I got fortunate. But at a regular retail price of $395/50 ml, I better enjoy the entire experience while I can. I will not be able to luxuriate in Incense Oud for very long.

    FINALLY figured out how to refill the very lovely glass embossed spray bottle that contains the original EDP purchase. I'm gonna have to make it a point to (very occasionally) afford the $195 refill bottle from Saks or Neiman Marcus. I LOVE this stuff! Sigh…

    30th October, 2011 (Last Edited: 17th November, 2011)

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000