Reviews by tonileefiore

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    tonileefiore
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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.

    17 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.


    17 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.

    17 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 wadrobe. So, after falling in love with Kilian's 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's Incense Oud.

    When I first smelled Encens Flamboyant from the bottle, I was smitten. Quite sure I had found the Holy Grail, I sadly became disappointed after applying it and witnessing what occured 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 guess I am showing my age but do you remember the ORIGINAL Clairoil Herbal Essence Shampoo that premiered back in the early 70's?? That what I smelled like after an hour or so. No smoky delight, no incense...I smelled like someone's living room on Christmas Eve...pine tree.

    Sadly, I'm gonna give this a neutral for now. I bought a small sampler, so I'm gonna stick with it for a while 'cause I DO like it. Having said that, perhaps incense based fragrances are just not my cup-of-tea.

    08 November, 2011

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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.

    08 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 mysellf 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: 02 November, 2011)

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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: 17 November, 2011)

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    Si Lolita by Lolita Lempicka

    I recently spotted this on a shelf at a local Marshall's with a huge markdown from its original retail price. Thought I was purchasing Lolita Lempicka "L" but obviously not. Snatched "Si Lolita" up and decided to give it a whirl.

    Well, I guess I am one of those types who really likes spicy, woody, floral Oriental fragrances. However, I am NOT NOT NOT a fruity, citrus-y, certainly not "mandarin-or-bergamot" type of gal at all...no, no, no. So, without knowing a thing about "Si Lolita," (like me), one cannot miss the INTENSE opening notes of pepper, spice and ORANGE (mandarin, bergamot)...LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of orange. After 10 minutes or so upon spritzing the fragrance, I could literally taste "orange" in my mouth. It wasn't unpleasant...just kinda weird. And truthfully, I felt a wee-bit choked off by the pink pepper; at one point, both pepper and mandarin almost became cloying, IMHO.

    Had I been near a sink, I probably would have scrubbed. But without available water, I had no choice but to sit and wait. About 20 minutes into the fragrance, I definitely detected the sweet pea & heliotrope notes...very floral and well, sweet. A nice mixture with the pink pepper, orange & spice and a welcome departure from the opening.

    About 45 minutes later, a few deep, soothing and grounding notes of amber and tonka set in...no patchouli, no elemi, which I think I would have actually liked, so as to balance the earlier notes even more so. But there they were...finally...a few base notes to ground and blend everything else together...thankfully.

    As one other reviewer mentioned this is a nice "transparent" Oriental that for me would be suitable to wear in the Springtime or Summer...maybe. I like this fragrance but there is something about the "cheerfulness" in it AND the lack of depth...I think the sweet pea & heliotrope...that I really do not like. Oh, and all that bergamot & mandarin. I like my Orientals to be darker, drearier & definitely more decadent-lolol...more mysterious & brooding...way more comforting.

    There ABSOLUTELY is something in the long awaited base notes (stress LONG-AWAITED) that makes this fragrance hard to abandon; however I wholeheartedly agree with "odysseusm," ie:"...basically, this seems like a floral/green sort of scent, and buttery, harmless but not particularly interesting."

    Definitely not much longevity or depth on my skin. All in all, a wearable fragrance but not quite the "affordable departure" from my beloved "go-to" fragrances (Musc Ravageur & Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie) that I have been looking for. Sigh...

    25 October, 2011 (Last Edited: 01st November, 2011)

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    Dead Sexy No. 06 by Tokyo Milk

    Recently purchased a full bottle of Dead Sexy No. 06 after buying a few Tokyo Milk samples from The Perfumed Court (Dead Sexy wasn't one of them) and thinking they were okay (haven't worn all of them yet, haven't reviewed them yet). Based on the samples, I decided to give the current MOST POPULAR Tokyo Milk fragrance a try because I found a good price on a 30 ml bottle on eBay.

    Uhhh...I guess this is an okay concoction but definitely something that is NOT at all for me. Folks on other fragrance review sites rave about this stuff. I do not want to sound offensive but I imagine this might be an alright fragrance for the under 25 yr old crowd. Given that, I absolutely cannot see this scent being worn or enjoyed by an older, more mature person with a keen nose for fine fragrances & aromas. This is definitely not what I would consider to be a mature, complex or unusual fragrance. And Dead Sexy???? Uhhhh, no. Not by my definition of sexy-smile.

    The opening notes are pleasant enough; to my nose the fragrance is non-complex and pretty linear with a strong opening of wood (ebony, I guess) and lots of sweet vanilla...perhaps a bit of spice (pepper, cinnamon). Unfortunately, as the scent morphs and changes (which it does ever so slightly), the initial heady, rather sweet, resinous scent becomes dull and sorta dies (at least it did so on my skin). What I was left with was a powdery aroma that smelled like a 10 year old wooden table that had some leftover vanilla & milk (cream) spilled onto it. After a half hour or so, the fragrance turned kinda sour one me, almost smelling rancid.

    I am not a fragrance snob by any means but this potion is just a no-go on so many levels. Primarily, Dead Sexy has zero complexity to it, no staying power, zero sillage, few interesting notes (if any) and nothing outstanding or unique to speak of.
    Good news is because the longevity is nonexistent, the entire experience faded away within an hour and a half or less...

    Well, $28.00 lost, which is okay...this one is going into an "Autumn Care Package" I am preparing for my 18 year old niece, who is a freshman in college. Perhaps she will enjoy it. Definitely not a keeper for me.

    25 October, 2011

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    Black Vetyver Café by Jo Malone

    Looked very much forward to trying this fragrance after reading about it here on Basenotes and hearing some positive thoughts about it. Additionally, I bought some pretty nice body sugar scrub and shea-cocoa body butter creram in a (dupe) scent of BVC. So, I thought, "Why not...while waiting for my scrub 'n cream, I'll get a sample of the fragrance from The Perfumed Court to try in the meantime...just to see."

    Well, perhaps in a (dupe) fragranced sugar scrub and/or cream this scent will be pleasant enough. As a cologne or EDT, it is just alright but nothing special. Certainly not a fragrance I would ever purchase or wear on a regular basis, if at all.

    The notes??? Well to my nose-smile-BVC's initial opening is a very pleasant and rather fragrant note of a medium roast coffee...pretty interesting actually. What immediately follows (and I mean IMMEDIATELY) is a moderate middle note of, well vetyver and then...pretty much more of the same and a lot of nothing...at least that is how it landed on my skin.

    Vetyver and coffee...that's it...in that order...on and on MOstly vetyver and little coffee, if any. I was actually hoping for a unique roastier, toastier, nuttier fragrance with less green (vetyver). But...nothing unique here, nothing particularly fragrant. All in all, I found it somewhat bland and boring. But again, I'm the type of gal who likes to smell unique and who likes to know that I am wearing perfume. Subtle, linear-type fragrances aren't my forte; complex ones are.

    Having said that, I think the scrub and cream are gonna be great because I will be able to "layer" other like notes & scents...well, any scent actually. This fragrance is okay but not something I would ever purchase, wear or even recommend to anyone...except for someone looking for a neutral, clean, very linear, barely there fragrance.

    24 October, 2011

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    Tabac Blond by Caron

    I am once again on a quest, this time to find an EDT, parfum or cologne that will not break the bank if worn every day! Creed's Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie and Malle's Musc Ravageur will always be beloved. However, at nearly $250/75ml and $240/100 ml respectively, I must find more affordable alternatives if I wish to wear a fragrance every day...and I DO!!!

    I recently bought several fragrance samples and among them was Tabac Blond. I purchased the fragrance after reading so many positive reviews about it here on Basenotes and I’m glad I did!!

    I feel a bit confused by this fragrance but overall, I think I like Tabac Blond a lot. However, in order for me to purchase a fragrance and wear it often, I have to know that I really really like it, almost love it. I really want to love Tabac Blond but for some reason, I feel ambivalent about the fragrance. Like it, definitely…like it a lot, yes…love it, uh…not sure.

    For me, the opening is quite heady with lots of floral…carnation (of course), iris, ylang-ylang and other floral notes that I would NOT expect from an incense-leather-smoke fragrance. As others have stated, the opening is pure floral, like carnation floral…and lots of it, along with a wee-bit of smoke and leather. I didn’t find the opening to be overpowering or unpleasant…just surprising. Having said that, I wish the floral opening notes remained more prominent and not (as one writer stated) “just there to smooth out the rough edges of the other notes...there’s nothing floral about Tabac Blond.” So true, so true…

    Be careful what you wish for (I, wishing for more incense, smoke ‘n leather, less Oriental floral) because after a half hour or so, Tabac Blond morphed into a relatively nice, albeit mild mild mild solofleur that was positively choking with leather & smoke, perhaps a wee-bit of amber and vanilla, too…but leather…and smoke. More leather, I would say than smoke At times, I found the dry down almost too leathery and smoky for my tastes, at one point even questioning if my eyes were burning & tearing, if my throat was becoming scratchy and if I was having some difficulty breathing due to the overabundance of leather & smoke.

    So, I LIKE Tabac Blond…I really do. It is a welcome departure from the usual and ordinary citrus-floral-amber Oriental. Yes, NOTHING really floral about this fragrance. I’m going to try a few other incense-smoke-leather samples and perhaps pass on buying a full bottle of Tabac Blond…for now. I would like to give Tabac Blond a fair try, which I do not think is possible with a few drops from a 2 ml sample. I’ll try this fragrance again and hope to fall in love.

    24 October, 2011

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    Habanita by Molinard

    I am once again on a quest, this time to find an EDT, parfum or cologne that will not break the bank if worn every day! Creed's Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie and Malle's Musc Ravageur will always be beloved. However, at nearly $250/75ml and $240/100 ml respectively, I must find more affordable alternatives if I wish to wear a fragrance every day...and I DO!!!

    With this new quest, I thought I would revisit an earlier search for an incense, smoke 'n leather fragrance (with some florals perhaps) in lieu of my usual head-y, Old World-ly, grounded in resins, musk, ambers, wood, smoke, etc, Oriental florals.

    So, I purchased a bunch of different samples via TPC after researching reviews here on BN. OMG...I really really really like Habanita, I do!! As others have stated, the initial opening and application is a bit rough, so rough that it actually made me sneeze! Like others, I think the opening accord is quite bitter, very green (perhaps some citrus) with bergamot, peach, other fruits...almost foul smelling! Initially, I moaned, "Oh, no...another scrubber," but based on reviews, I waited and the dry down provided a huge surprise.

    On my skin, Habanita morphed into a warm, very powdery, mellow, soothing sensuous Oriental with LOTS of vanilla, amber, some patchouli, and a bit of warm honey??? After an hour or so, I definitely detected a wonderful floral bouquet of jasmine, lavender, rose, ylang-ylang and resinous wood...but NOT a lot of tobacco or smoke. Unlike many Orientals, the floral bouqet did not completely over power the middle and earlier notes, not at all. For me, all of the middle & basenotes came together and formed a beautifully seductive and pleasing scent.

    Unlike JIE and Musc Ravageur, this fragrance remains close to the body with very minimal sillage. And similar to my two favorites, Habanita's longevity is wonderful... lasted for hours! I can still faintly smell its delight as I type this review some 7 hours later.

    The ONLY problem is that my beloved husband, who LOVES JIE and ADORES Musc Ravageur continually verbalized his distaste all afternoon long for "whatever it was I was wearing." Told my sister, "I smelled like I had slept in a head shop." I said, "What, honey????...you usually LOVE my choices in fragrance." He said, "Not this one...being near you is like being forced to kiss my ancient aunt with her over-powdered face, smudged red lipstick, crooked old hat, stained teeth and days old perfumey clothing-YUCK!" NOT a good visual. Tears of sadness falling from my eyes. Perhaps Habanita will "grow" on him. Until then...

    24 October, 2011

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    Rue Royale by Hove Parfumeur

    Bought this fragrance during a trip in March 2011 to New Orleans when I happened upon "Hove Parfumeur" on Royal Street (they have since moved to Chartres Street). Well, being a fragrance & perfume junkie, I was trolling for the store and upon locating it, I ran in and started partaking in the numerous olfactory delights.

    As is often the case with me, I immediately felt intimidated and uncomfortable about "bothering" the sales gal by trying different scents and fragrances (I know, I know). Anyhow, after telling the gal that "my fragrance preferences lend towards spicy Oriental Florals with lots of woody, resinous, tobacco & smoky notes," I was given a shot of Rue Royale (among other things).

    Maybe it was me but many of the fragrances at Hove smelled very similar and I had an impossible time distinguishing one fragrance from the next. I know parfumeurs have "favorite" or "signature" notes, etc, etc but being in the shop became confusing for me after a brief period of time.

    Well, I settled on Rue Royale and after initially liking it (never loving it), it now sits in the back of my very limited (I am picky) fragrance stash. As another writer said, "Hove guards their ingredients carfeully...it is all top secret," ...and that may be true. However, on their website it states "Rue Royale has hints of musk, a light fragrance, selected by fair brunettes who wish quiet elegance."

    Huh??? To me, the opening notes are relatively strong, almost harsh. I would never consider this a light, airy or musky floral fragrance. It is downright heady. The opening, IMHO is heavy with lots and lots and lots of green, like strong vetiver or mossy oak green. A typical heady, green-floral, there is perhaps lavender, or violet or rose (??) tossed in somewhere in the middle notes (along with spices, like pepper, anise, licorice). And I guess if/when everything dries down, the basenotes contain some very mild, light musk with rose...the only part of the perfume that I sorta like. I dunno. As I stated, it all seems very confusing to me & my nose...

    And that seems to be the problem for me with Rue Royale. To my relatively sensitive & sophisticated nose, there is nothing that stands out or makes this perfume any different or more unique from 1000's of other musky-floral-green fragrancels out there on the commercial market. Some review sites mention a secret ingredient of "Sweet Olive" that is signature to all Hove fragrances. I've never heard of sweet olive and wouldn't be able to identify it :0(

    The price is right at $50.00 for a generous 4 oz. bottle of Cologne; however overall, the Hove House and this particular fragrance is just not unique enough for my tastes.

    22 October, 2011 (Last Edited: 24 October, 2011)

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    Palas Atena by Ayala Moriel

    Just purchased a sampler of six Ayala Moriel perfumes. Out of the lot, this fragrance is definitely one of my favorites. My initial impression of 2-3 other Moriel scents was that of aging and outdated hippy oil. However, Palas Atena jumps ahead as a subtle, beautiful and mature fragrance with harmoniously blended citrus, floral and woody notes. The previous reviewers stated it already. This is definitely a citrus scent with top notes of neroli, orange and cinammon that immediately jump out. I did not find the initial notes to be medicinal just very citrus-y. After 15-20 minutes or so, the fragrance balances nicely with heart & base notes of lavender, jasmine and sandalwood. All around, this is a very pleasant and lovely scent. Not sure if it is a keeper but I am certainly enjoying my sample!

    30th January, 2011

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    Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie by Creed

    WOW-after recently trying many decants and samples to find a "new" fragrance and expand my very limited fragrance wardrobe, I reluctantly spritzed on Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie and I am sold!!!! I think I may have found the number #1 contender for Musc Ravageur. To me, the way JIE wears is very similar to Musc Ravageur but ooooh, so very different and incredibly wonderful!

    I consider myself an animalic, spicy, spicy oriental, musk, woodsy, cedar, amber, resinous scent person, NOT A FLORAL PERSON and definitely, NOT A BIG CREED FAN! So, it was with much trepidation that I bought into the notion of trying samples and buying a few decants of Creed fragrances from a local parfumerie.

    First few tries, well I wasn't too sure at all. The initial Jasmine, slight rose and mild powdery notes confused my sensibilities. But then it started...the incredible mid-notes and wonderful dry-down emerged...amber, wood, sandalwood, some vanilla (not gourmand)...staying power with just enough "closeness to my skin" (so soothing to me), moderate sillage to soothe others-smile...the gentle wafts (just the right amount) of the beautifully combined scents for hours after...HEAVENLY!!!

    JIE is without doubt the first and only floral fragrance I could even consider wearing on a regular basis. I purchased an "open tester" for 20% less than the cost of an unopened 2.2ml bottle, just in case. While I agree that the combination notes make this fragrance unique and not "mainstream" by any means and YES, JIL is not a scent for the masses, for now I am a happy woman! I feel feminine but strong, confident and womanly, unique & different, warm and lovable, approachable & not off-putting and, well I smell GREAT wearing this scent...it feels just right!

    Let the compliments flow!!!

    07 May, 2010

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    Bois du Portugal by Creed

    Went to a Neiman Marcus the other day to purchase a fragrance that they did not have in stock. Sales gal tried to turn me on to a Creed "Unisex" fragrance. I told her that "I wore Santal Imperial, Millesime Imperial and Tabarome Millesime on and off, regularly, for a few years" and upon doing so, decided that many of "The House of Creed fragrances were just not for me...too masculine...becoming too main stream." She insisted, I complied. Can I hear assertiveness training????

    Blecccch...is all I can say! Without knowing a thing about its history, this fragrance conjured up images of an old man, in an old gray wool suit (badly in need of dry cleaning...the suit, not the old man), with an unclean & not regularly washed body, who chain smokes several packs of old Lucky Strikes daily. Now, end the imagery with the old man dousing himself in Ralph Lauren "Polo" (that has turned) to cover up his "odor." YUCK...and the scent would not go away.

    I was out in my acreage several hours after my Neiman Marcus trip and a neighbor came over with his 5 month old baby, to say "hi." I've baby sat the baby who promptly started to cry when I held him. Neighbor said, "It must be that perfume...he's not used to those types of odors!"

    Embarrassing...won't be buying this one, ever.

    04 May, 2010 (Last Edited: 25 October, 2011)

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    Black Orchid by Tom Ford

    Was really looking forward to trying this one after all the hype and all the great reviews here on Base Notes. I really value my fellow base noters...so I couldn't wait to purchase this fragrance and give it a whirl.

    HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT for me! Just your average, run-of-the-mill, non-descript, floral perfume that I have smelled a million times before at the perfume counter of any department store. Floral-y, powdery, almost grandma stuff.

    Definitely not for me!

    03 May, 2010 (Last Edited: 25 October, 2011)

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    Arôme 3 by D'Orsay

    Used to love this stuff until I became more informed about scents, fragrances, those that I REALLY love and those that love me!

    I first smelled Arome 3 on a woman after moving to New York City in 1995. She was exiting a restaurant as I was entering and I couldn't believe how great she smelled! I asked her, "What is the fragrance you are wearing?" She replied, "Arome 3 by D'Orsay...you can buy it at Aedes des Venustas in the Village." Well, off I went, bought up the stuff and wore it daily for a couple of years...I never got any compliments though :0(

    I recently received several samples of the fragrance after a purchase. Yes, I remember it well but now all I can smell is lavender with some moss (maybe vetiver, even)? SCREAMS lavender...that's about it. Reminds me of the diffuser oil I have in my bathroom. Great sillage (obviously), great longevity. A bit too soapy for me now. All I can think of is "Glade" whenever I smell it.

    How times change. It's an okay fragrance but I'm a bit embarrassed to think I wore this nearly every day of my life for a few years. I want to wear a fragrance, I do not want a fragrance to wear me. Arome 3 is just a bit too over-the-top for me these days. Will not be wearing it again...may it R.I.P.

    03 May, 2010

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    mb03 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

    I recently tried a few samples of this fragrance based on Base Notes reviews and a few other sources. Because of what I am currently looking for in a scent, Biehls MB03 seemed like a good bet, albeit a very pricey one! After doing some research and listening to a few converts, Biehl MB03 seemed like an incense fragrance I might want to wear and own.

    I couldn't wait to try this scent when the samples arrived. This is a nice enough fragrance and I like it a lot. Initially I felt rather disappointed after wearing MB03 a few times and overall, this scent left me with a big "HUH...I do not understand all the fuss!"

    While I like this fragrance a lot, I did not find it to be terribly outstanding or unique. With all the P.R. and press about Biehl's "fragrance labs," etc, I guess I was expecting something truly original, outstanding and highly unique. Instead after wearing MB03 a few times, I found myself thinking, "Okay...this is nice enough but somehow, I just don't get it."

    For me, the dry down of this fragrance turned a bit too powdery. I also kept detecting a prevalent note that just didn't sit right with me...a note that almost smelled a bit rancid or odd. Again, the dry down didn't seem to work well with my chemistry.

    For the price, I did not think the longevity was good at all. Also, not enough sillage for my taste. I think if I have to drop $265 on 3.3 ml of an EDT, I'll stick with my beloved Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur. This is a beautiful scent but it just didn't quite cut it for me.

    01st May, 2010 (Last Edited: 17 November, 2011)

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    Passage d'Enfer by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    I have recently been trying to expand my fragrance repertoire and along with my love for animalic-musk-resinous-spicy-"dirty" fragrances, I have realized that I like incense fragrances a lot, too. Having tried Etro Messe de Minuit, CDG Avignon, Heeley Cardinal, Biehl MB03 and Profumum Olibanum among others, I think L'Artisan Passage d'Enfer may just be the ticket for me!

    As other reviewers have stated, due to it's mixture of white musk, chamomile and florals (lily), Passage d'Enfer does lose some of its true incense punch because as others have mentioned, the additional components and notes make this scent "much more feminine and subtle" (a direct BN quote) than all of the other incense fragrances I have tried...and that is precisely what I like about it! Yes, I imagine if you are a true "incense junkie," Passage d'Enfer will smell way watered down and too floral for you...those are the additions that make this fragrance stand apart from the others, I think!

    And that is what I love about this fragrance. Having tried Passage d'Enfer recently after experimenting with the above named fragrances, Passage d'Enfer seems to suit me very well. Yes, I like the other incense fragrances a lot, too but for one reason or another, they just didn't feel quite right on me...I thought the other fragrances smelled too "masculine" on me and definitely a bit too church-y. With CDC Avignon, my husband said, "...the scent is okay...but do you really want to walk around all day smelling like a church?" I DID feel a bit odd wearing the other incense fragrances...something just didn't feel right.

    I think Passage d'Enfer dries down nicely, I did not think it lost its "gothic" effect. I sprayed some on after showering about 7 hours ago and I can STILL smell it as I am typing this...I like the balance of sillage and longevity...perfect for me!

    Unlike some of the other fragrances, Passage is available and affordable! Yes, I like this fragrance a lot and as soon as I can afford to do so, I think it will be an addition to my small fragrance wardrobe!

    01st May, 2010 (Last Edited: 22 October, 2011)

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    Olibanum by Profumum

    I just wrote a review on another incense fragrance I recently tried, as I am trying to expand my fragrance wardrobe beyond my usual animalic-woodsy-resinous-spicy-dirty scents. I actually mixed up some of the information about Olibanum (like pricing) in with the other review (Biehls MB03) and I think that about sums it up for me. Olibanum is a nice enough scent but given all the hype and the hefty price tag, I imagine I was expecting something a lot more exotic, outstanding and original than what came out of the bottle.

    Like Biehls MB03, which I actually liked more than Olibanum, this fragrance is very nice but something didn't sit quite right on me...literally. To me, Olibanum didn't project enough of ANY scent, literally...and perhaps that is the allure.

    Olibanum is smoky...but very faint; leathery...but mild; church-y incense but fleeting (not good sillage...this one wears close to the skin; not great staying power). Floral..a bit; powdery...no. Spicy...yes. The list goes on and on. The dry down smelled way too burnt for me (beyond smoky), which I did not like at all...almost smelled like freshly placed hot road tar.

    To sum it up, Olibanum left me feeling very confused :0(

    This is a nice fragrance but for the price (I actually quoted Biehl MB03 @ $265 per 3.3 ml, which is the price for Olibanum...MB03 is more like $185 per 3.3 ml), this fragrance didn't quite hit the mark. I think there are equally nice fragrances that are more affordable...some that aren't quite as confusing. Also, Olibanum made my eyes and nose runny...not so sure what that is all about :0(

    01st May, 2010

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    Cardinal by Heeley

    I've been trolling around looking to expand my usual fragrance wardrobe a bit. Realized I like incense fragrances but OMG. Heeley Cardinal is nice enough (I guess) but just not for me!

    Frankincense, myrhh, labdanum, amber (or cedar)...church!

    Liturgical and church-y...this is the truest Roman Catholic Holy High Mass or funeral scent I have ever smelled. Somerville Metro Man summed this one up..."swinging censor" says it all!

    I LOVE the incense that radiates from the censor and I love the smell inside of most Catholic and Orthodox churches, I really do. But I do not think I want to walk around all day smelling the way I did upon applying Heeley Cardinal. Something about it just seems too weird and a bit too odd for my tastes.

    01st May, 2010

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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Avignon by Comme des Garçons

    Okay, so I am trying to expand my fragrance wardrobe AND think outside of the box a bit. I am intrigued by incense fragrances and I love the smell of incense at funerals and during High Holy Mass at the Roman Catholic Church. Given this and the many positive reviews here on Basenotes, I decided to give CDG "Avignon" a try...along with Etro Messe de Minuit.

    Despite my husband asking, "Do you REALLY want to walk around all day smelling like a Catholic Church?"...I LIKE this fragrance a lot...I really do! I am not so sure that smelling like a church is such a bad thing-smile.

    Yes, this fragrance totally, 1000% reminds me of the frankincense and myrhh, slightly floral aromas of the incense used during High Holy Mass. There are smoky, musty, musky, dark, mossy, fern-like notes with a wee-bit of vanilla along with the incense throughout the duration of the scent. Something in the mid-notes and dry down make this scent a bit more harmonious with my chemistry than Messed de Minuit. I did sneeze after applying both Messe de Minuit and Avignon...but I think that goes with the territory...pretty strong opening notes!

    I like the idea of a fragrance that dares to be so different and unique. I like this scent a lot...not sure if I could love it...not sure I am ready for a full bottle at such $$$$$$! I think I might just buy a bottle and give it more than a sample try! Definitely different...just not sure where & when I would wear it :0)

    25 April, 2010 (Last Edited: 02 November, 2011)

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    Patchouli Patch by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Pretty, pretty, pretty and unique...unmistakable patchouli but with a touch of difference. Definitely not your basic, overwhelming, hippie patchouli oil that you can purchase from the oil fragrance monger at a local street fair. This is patchouli with warmth, elegance and class.

    This is a definite if you are a patchouli lover (I am not...not a patchouli lover when the fragrance stands alone). I did not get a lot of musk with this fragrance as others have stated. However, the patchouli notes are obviously very apparent throughout. I found this scent to be a very linear fragrance (to my nose, at least), not too complex. Patchouli Patch is a very round, full-bodied, warm, humble, embracing scent. I think the middle notes of vanilla and spice make this scent beautiful without turning it into a gourmand-y mess! Longevity is good...sillage is nice, almost perfect!

    Definitely worth the price and the experience if you are looking for a traditional patchouli fragrance with a twist!

    25 April, 2010 (Last Edited: 25 October, 2011)

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    Nostalgia by Santa Maria Novella

    In my search for a smoky, leathery, unique fragrance, it was suggested that I sample SMN Nostalgia...also, based on the many positive reviews here on Basenotes, I thought I would give the fragrance a try!

    SMN Nostalgia is a great scent but it is definitely not for me. Yes, it is absolutely a leathery, smoky very distinct fragrance and I like it a lot...but not on me. Oil, petroleum, a little floral here and there...very unique, very nice. But forgive me, it is an extremely masculine scent. I don't want to sound sexist but I cannot vision this fragrance working on a woman!

    25 April, 2010

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    Messe de Minuit by Etro

    Okay, so I am trying to expand my fragrance wardrobe AND I am trying to think "outside of the box" regarding my normal and usual fragrance comfort zone. Well, I love funeral and church like smells and aromas...so I thought I would give MdM a try!

    Anyone who doesn't envision Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches when wearing this fragrance has never been in one of the above churches, certainly not a Roman Catholic church during High Holy Mass or a funeral! Incense is what it is all about here...frankincense, myrhh, smoke, sap, some fern, musty, musky...that is what this scent is all about!

    After showering and spraying this on, I met up with my husband for an appointment and I asked him, "What do I smell like?" Husband promptly said, "CHURCH!" My husband and I both agree that we LOVE the "smell" of church in church. But my husband asked, "Do you really want to walk around all day smelling like that?"

    Good question...I DO like the smell...I like the idea of a fragrance so different and unique. In many ways, I find the aroma of Messe de Minuit comforting. But I found Comme des Garcons "Avignon" much more tolerable on me than Messe de Minuit...though I DO like the scent a lot :0)

    25 April, 2010

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    Bal Musqué by Nez à Nez

    Recently tried a few samples of this because I am trying to find a few other perfumes or fragrances to wear other than my usual solo repertoire-smile. I was really looking forward to trying this fragrance because I imagined it might be a similar but more affordable alternative to my beloved Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, my current favorite scent!

    This fragrance is nice but not one I would own and wear on any regular basis! As others have stated, I liked the opening notes very much because the scent is predominantly musk (which I like a lot) with a nice layer of spice (cinnamon??). Based on reviews, I was expecting this fragrance to be overwhelmingly and forever musk-y and very strong at that...but it was none of that...at least not on me.

    About 20 minutes after applying this fragrance, it turned into what I would consider a slightly floral, very muted, muddy, murky, subdued and rather powdery substance, losing nearly all of the initial pleasant musk & spicy opening notes. What started out promising quickly took a rather mediocre and unoriginal turn...at least on me it did. Much to my disappointment, this scent morphed into a real gourmand fragrance on me...after about an hour or so, I thought I smelled like mild vanilla extract :0(

    Lasting power was not great...sillage was rather poor. As I am learning more about fragrances, I am recognizing that I like rather potent mixtures with strong opening notes, animalic scents...not floral scents, NOT POWDERY scents. I like spicy & smoky fragrances with complex notes that are predominantly musky, woody and spicy. I like the wood, spice and musk characteristics to persist and last as final notes, too (not fade away). A fragrance has to have great staying power for me to love it...unique & unforgettable sillage is a huge plus, too!

    Bal Musque is a nice fragrance but it just didn't quite do it for me.

    23 April, 2010

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    Encre Noire by Lalique

    Another sample try of a unisex scent with musk, wood, smoky notes, etc, etc. Well, I like this scent a LOT, I really do. However, I LOVED it on my husband even more! A beautiful, unique, sensuous, round fragrance...just a bit too "masculine" for me to wear on any regular basis :0(

    LOVED this scent from the bottle...warm, round, soothing, relaxing, smoky, sexy. Exotic musk notes with incredible staying power that are rounded out with the perfect blend of smoke, wood...a bit boozy. My nose did not catch a lot of vetiver...this is not what I would consider a green scent...but whatever is in this concoction, man do I love it!

    Splashed some on my husband and WOW...I cannot remember him smelling this great in a long time. My husband kept sniffing his wrists and shirt...he LOVED the opening, mid and base notes of Encre Noire...loved it all the way through!

    Splashed some on me...I am still loving it. However, after trying the fragrance out a few times, I decided (with mighty ambivalence) that Lalique Encre Noire works MUCH better on my dear husband than it does on me. He loves it a lot!!! Sillage is INCREDIBLE...lasting power is supreme...price is great!

    My husband refuses to share scents...thinks that is too weird (I tend to agree). So, I have decided to purchase a bottle of Encre Noire for my husband and perhaps I will dip into it now and again...but I will not be wearing this on a regular basis. While I find this fragrance incredible, it is just a wee-bit too masculine for my current tastes. I sure will be enjoying the fragrance on my husband, though!

    23 April, 2010

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    Magot by Etro

    Thought I would try a perfume favored for its floral notes because I tend to favor scents with musk, spice, wood, cedar...a bit of amber...some tobacco, some smoke, some incense...maybe a wee bit of lavender-smile. I recently bought Etro Etra and loved it, so I thought I would try Etro Magot.

    Uhhhh...sadly, this one ended up on eBay. I guess it was worth a try. Bought a near full Tester for a fraction of the unopened bottle price. Unfortunately, this is simply not for me at all...no way. I cannot say I find this fragrance pleasant or unpleasant. Perhaps I am just unfamiliar with floral fragrances. I just could not wrap myself around this potion.

    Rose, tuberose, lily, violet, flowery, messy, INTENSE. Intense!! Seemed to last forever! Started to hurt my nose! Asked a few people to take a whiff and those who didn't turn away choking said, "Oooooh...I don't think so!!"

    Not a mainstream fragrance by any means (which is a GOOD thing)...not for everyone...not for me :0(

    23 April, 2010

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    Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    I recently bought a bunch of samples to expand my perfume wardrobe. I thought I reviewed Fumerie Turque but somehow, this one slipped me by!

    I REALLY like this fragrance, I do! I enjoy most of the Serge Lutens fragrances, although some of them turn too "powdery" on me during the dry down. Fumerie Turque remained long & steady, no powdery middle or end notes on me...well I like this one a lot!

    Like others, this fragrance landed nicely on my skin with its initial opening notes of tobacco and smoke. Yes, once the original notes settled down a bit and the mid-notes or heart came through, the scent was reminiscent of spiced amber and honey but not in a harsh way (the amber) or syrupy way (the honey). As Vibert (I think) stated..."the scents are there but you do not feel like you are drowning in the stuff...honey and amber." So true!!!

    After an hour or so, Fumerie Turque did lose some of its initial WOW and punch, becoming more one dimensional and less complex...but very pleasant nonetheless. My nose is certainly NOT as refined as some of the other posters here, nor am I as much of a perfume aficionado-smile. I certainly could not identify multiple notes of berries, floral, currants, etc, etc. But the scent did seem to balance into a floral spicy-sweet fragrance that continually produced a lovely smoky tobacco sillage. I liked this fragrance a lot 'cause not once did I smell like an ashtray, something that tends to happen with my chemistry when I wear smoky scents (and I LOVE them a lot, I do...the smoky tobacco scents). On me, this fragrance is very well-balanced.

    Another poster mentioned a Tabarome and yes, Fumerie Turque DOES remind me of Creed Tabarome Millesime (from my memories...I tried Creed TM a long time back). However, Fumerie Turque seems smoother, sweeter, softer than Creed TM and definitely without the intense Vetiver and initial harshness that I recall with Creed TM. For me Fumerie Turque is much more of a feminine scent that many of Creed's products. I like it a lot! It is DEFINITELY on my "buy a full bottle" short list...can not wait to own a full bottle and give it a lengthier try!

    22 April, 2010 (Last Edited: 25 October, 2011)

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