Perfume Reviews

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Total Reviews: 123

Nina (new) by Nina Ricci

I don't know what people expect from a fruity floral, that they seem so disappointed it's both fruity and sweet.

'Nina' is an unequivocally fabulous fruity-floral composition that has tons of recognizable character and bravado, and I daresay if Etat' had produced it and called it 'Bubblegum et Cigarette', it might have garnered a whole different following.

I haven't seen a lot of mention of the bold tobacco note in this perfume, which is surprising, since... by gosh, it's there! And it so sexily both fleshes out and makes risque in its contrasting associations, Nina's adorable, Japanese-style bubblegum, somewhere-between-strawberry-and-sour-apple top bit.

My sensibility further interprets the whole vanillic/ sugared bit not as 'caramel' per se, but as very delft way of uniting its almost-bitter, dark floral/tobacco bit with its bright, fruity aspect, and organizing all of its sensory 'events' into one remarkably cohesive, long-lasting, high-quality scent.

A four-star fruity-floral. If you are into fruity-florals, do not pass this one up!
16th February, 2011

Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland

A total surprise, this one.
A five-star fougere in the style of Paco Rabanne's original scent for men. But this is somehow both more refined and more modern. It's almost as if Amouage has done their take on the classic fougere.
It's very soapy and has a tinge of sweetness that rounds out the drydown. It lasts for days.
I really cannot recommend this one enough, and I cannot think of a better scent for you guys right now.
23rd January, 2011

Memoir Woman by Amouage

Memoir is a modern peppery rose chypre in the spicy and very unisex vein of Keiko Mecheri's Oliban... or even Balmain's Balmain de Balmain.

This one hits a lot of marks simultaneaously for me.

Firstly, I love pepper in fragrance; it is always a major player in my imaginary fantasy chypres. I am so pleased to report that the pepper note in Memoir is the most enduring, flavorful and celebrated I know in women's fragrances, and the clove and cardamon notes don't do more than soften and sweeten the pepper's voice. I wouldn't have done anything differently, you know, if I was a masterful perfumer. :)

And, I am even more excited to relate the incredibly fulfilling but not-noxious role of fenugreek in this fragrance. When I had imagined what fenugreek might 'do' to a fragrance, before I tried Memoir, I of course conjured curries; I imagined Memoir would have the heavy, maple-syrupy quality it can have weighing down an already heavily Oriental-seeiming base. However, the fenugreek in Memoir is leafy and green, and it only lends a filmy element of the 'exotic' to the very clean and clear spicy presence of Memoir. And I LOVE it.

Finally, dries down to a very flashy, spicy, mossy base, I almost cannot reisit pressing my nose into... not a world apart from Ubar. (Funnily I could have seen Memoir Woman better as Ubar Man .) And I found its longevity to be the best of the house.

I'd say the best creation of the house since Dia (save the re-do of Ubar), IMO, I see it something of a redemption following Epic, and I cannot wait to have a bottle.

It's just so cool. Amouage has made a proper chypre. And they didn't make it all Amouagey by overegging the franckinscence and powder; rather they made it all Amouagey by way of its stand-out quality, distinctive character, and proud elegance.

Fantastic, this one... and long-awaited.

Five stars.

21st September, 2010
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Jazz Prestige by Yves Saint Laurent

Among those, for whom the pursuit of the now-obsolete olfactory treasures has become a source of constant fascination -- nay, dare I venture? -- obsession, the discovery of a still-boxed, fresh, full bottle of Jazz Prestige would be comparable to a car-boot-fare scenario, in which Steve Buscemi's 'Seymour' discovers a mint copy of an early John Coltrane album released on the original 'Prestige' record label.

Indeed, in Terry Zwigoff's remarkable, Ghost World (2001), we would see 'Seymour', the vintage-loving music collector, first admire the album's sleeve and 50s artwork; witness his thorough inspection of the disc for any scratches, etc., feeling the weight of 'old' vinyl as it slipped carefully from its inner, paper sleeve into his vigilant-yet-delicate grip and, finally, get to see him playing it on his old 'Hi-Fi' equipment. Escaping into 'the sound of the day', marveling at the 'sheets of sound' from Coltrane's tenor as captured by analogue -NOT digital - recording techniques. Buscemi's trademark over-crowded teeth breaking into an inexorable, easy grin to the infectious “swing” of the music.

Such is the quality of Jazz Prestige, a sadly discontinued bottle of pure “hard-bop” perfume, and a master class in olfactive intricate harmonies and delft key changes, that twists and turns just like Coltrane's solos, as the 'nose' in question threw everything but the proverbial “kitchen sink” into this creation and managed somehow to 'pull it off'. With engaging outcomes!

So, I cannot help imaging a film, an ‘alternate-universe’ Ghost World, in which the 'Seymour' character is like me and into perfumes. Buscemi's Seymour, with his fascination with all things lost, and disthymic, laconic tone would provide the perfect commentary on vintage scents!

For the benefit of the lost-yet-inquisitive 'Enid' (Thora Birch), after judiciously spraying 'Prestige onto both their wrists…

"You see...right off it’s citrusy and bright: “aromatic. green.”, and kinda deeply floral, oddly, with that heavy, ylang-ylang head note...and don't be fooled by the box, this is a unisex fragrance despite the 90s, bull***t, marketing-label crap. we go....this baby becomes an 'Oriental', smell all the pepper and spices?...but here....check this out now...yeah, you get the 'apples', but wait for the chypre dig the 'leather', right? That's genius; leather chypres were really cool in the 50s/60s because of a guy called 'Chant'...but here's the thing: this is no pure chypre either...tell me what you think in a couple of hours, when this dries'll get a pure fougere...that's right, the coumarin-oakmoss- tonka bean vibe that made Paco Rabanne famous...only this is a thousand times better. Yeah, most numbskulls just know Paco and Drakkar, but to make an oriental-to-chypre-to-fougere that lasts...well, this is just… this is just pure class!

“No please, friend...take it: it's for you!"

For Andy
27th July, 2010

Vie de Château by Nicolaï

This a unisex offering, from her "eau" line. Not strictly for women, neither in in feel nor intent.

This is hands-down my favorite Nicolai, a perfectly-executed, refreshing leather chypre. It smells like an homage to 'Cabochard' and 'Diorella', yet totally modern; that is, it's much more modern-smelling, to me, than its 1990 birth date.

Much in fact, like PG's 'Corps et Ames', attended with a 'steadier' hand and a greater appreciation of tradition.

I find VdC's cool-vibed, yet-passionate attitude totally beguiling. And I cannot seem to get enough of the actual DELICIOUSLY-heady uniquely- "light" leather smell.
It's a spot-on 'soft' leather, with a whimsical, romantic twist of wet woods, animalics, herbs and sunshine.

I experience it associatively like horse-riding across a sunny meadow, then slipping away from view under a rich canopy of beech, where bluebells and damp leaves make a lush bed of the earth....
and then deciding to dismount, delving deeper into the mossy wood, where the smell of my horse and her saddle at my side seem to steam up in unison with the enchanted mist of the sheltering bog, offering me not only the conviction of belonging in such a dark, wise, and mythical wood, but also the comfort of my steed's life-force, and dependable warmth.

It's great one, Vie de Chateau. An overlooked classic.

9.5 out of 10
17th July, 2010 (last edited: 27th July, 2010)

Vert Pivoine by Histoires de Parfums

In my humble opinion, this line has three stand out creations: Colette, Casanova, and this one, Vert Pivoine.

I am rarely captured by simple floral scents, but this one is just right. A very mature, clean and meticulous, clear, peppery-floral scent, which smells to me like it would fit better alongside Delrae's prim and gorgeous line-up than here alongside the other, more plush and daring Histoire scents.

Extremely wearable and oddly versatile; I'd never feel too girlish or too flouncy in this one. Its sophistication is really astounding.

I get a bit of a poppy vibe off this one; if it were called "Poppy Fields", I might like it better than I do, trying to 'find' the likeness to the ephemeral peony reality.

Nonetheless, one of the few-on-earth clear, linear florals I wil ever drop 180USD on. To me, it's that good.
14th July, 2010

Ciel Man by Amouage

6 negative votes? Really?

The only frustration I have with the Amouage line -- apart from the yucky Epic duo -- is that a few totally unisex wonders are market to either men or women.
Ciel Men is one of these. (Lyric Women is another.)
Anyway, this is a soapy, sandlawood-y, creamy Oriental of the best possible quality. If Czech & Speake 88 is very good, this one is off the charts.
I can't really add descriptive stuff to this bunch of reviews, but I do hope I can convince some other women to take and interest in this very fine, plush, warm, and clean scent.
03rd July, 2010

Private Collection - Corps et Âmes by Parfumerie Generale

What an oversight in the perfume community. I do understand these PG PC ones are hard to get to and hard to sample, but this fragrance is extraordinary.

A true chypre-lovers chypre. And here I have been jadedly pondering the possibility that there are no new chypres out there to wow me anymore.

This has a very woody, bracing sort-of men's chypre facet (think Chant's creations) and almost too-woody base, but also a very floral sillage, that is almost delicate and seems to pop away from the on-skin fragrance.

Its rosy heart is dark and dirty and ties the hard leather base to the flightier floral aspect with the mediating aplomb to create a unified, riveting, very-noticeable, fatale of a daring chypre.

It bears a clear kinship to both 'Knowing' and Tom Fords 'Arabian Wood', with its slinky darkness and its soapy granular quality respectively.

Fantastic. Recommended. Five Stars.
02nd July, 2010

Mémoire d'Homme by Nina Ricci

GAG, I really hate this.
A super-synthetic aquatic ginger scent ...perhaps perfect for the all-smiles, life-lover type, who finds 'magic' and 'beauty' in all things insipid and mundane.
17th June, 2010

Douro Eau de Portugal / Lords by Penhaligon's

Oh, WOW! I just got some of the vintage of this stuff, and I am bowled over. I am not typically able to write concise reviews, but...
This scent combines the Latinate, full-bodied Majesty of Czech and Speake's Cuba with the simple, citric good-breeding of YSL's original PH. And it's just divine, in an all-man, lavender-soapy, yet-stately way.
17th June, 2010

Homage Attar by Amouage

Before I wax ridiculous about this Seraphic unguent, I'll share the description of notes in my Amouage 'booklet', which I received as a 'complimentary gift' ...for blowing the appropriate amount of dough at the Harrod's Amouage boutique:

'...dominated by rose taifi, (which is) the finest quality of oil extracted from the petals of a rose. Complimenting this,the finest silver frankincense, tayyiba, (which is) a beautiful blend of jasmine and sweet amber, Silver oud and al andalus, (which is) a subtle blend of citrus and sandalwood.'

Perhaps this is the most beautiful scent in production on earth. At least in the top three or four.

Lovers of the Amouage are predisposed to adore this one, as it's not only an homage to ancient and traditional Middle-Eastern perfumery, but also a nod to specific popular scents in the Amouage line, most notably Dia Women (the crisp, variety of unsweetened, soap-ish rose), Silver Cologne Men (the very subtle use of citrus and frankincense), and Jubliation XXV (the undertones of authentic, salubrious oud). I consider it a true unisex scent, if anything leaning a tad toward the 'masculine' end of the gamut.

I am not sure another popular fragrance exists that speaks to the ancient art perfumery or illustrates the divine healing potential of scent in this way. To me, it smells fit for a deity. I imagine Lord Siva would smell like this: strutting toward his retinue coolly, loose-hipped...wearing a garland of roses and beneficently waving his nimble, attenuated and enlightened, perfumed hands over their prostrate forms. Or Aphrodite: stretching, recumbent and languorous in her dazzling and lush cradle of irresistible seduction. It's so redolent that after applying just a few small drops, it's aroma literally fills the room with a gorgeous cloud of scent that stimulates the imagination and soothes my being.

I am inspired mystically, too, and I imagine that Homage's aroma-therapeutic qualities must be extraordinary (Applied before bed, its ether draws me into the most delectable inexorable slumber, in which I have the most soaring, healing dreams :)). Homage, with its cool, camphorous oud note and crystalline clarity, might be the ideal, magical, olfactive panacea. If an angel or sprite... or other supernatural well-wisher... gifted any afflicted mortal with an unction to heal the proverbial heart or disaffected soul, it would surely smell just like this....:)

Homage is presented appropriately in a stunningly-crafted burled wood box, lined with royal purple velvet, which is a beautiful showpiece for any boudoir.

A true treasure.

And if you tend to experience perfume as an inspiration or journey you must not miss out on this.

30th May, 2010 (last edited: 31st May, 2010)

Mandarine Mandarin by Serge Lutens

You got 'Mackie' all over my dreamsicle!...
"You got your dreamsicle all over my 'Mackie' !"...
~~Gassp~~~ " Wait a minute!"

One has to wonder if the ton of fatty aldehydes and food-grade orange was an afterthought: Sheldrake having just created a solid-quality, symphonic, if-unoriginal nineties-era Oriental realizes it's in dire need of an outre make-over and begins to toy with 'fruity' notes.

I actually adore this one (because I already loved Bob Mackie's *incredibly-similar*, fruity-Oriental classic 'Mackie'), even though it's actually a sneeze-inducer with its INSANE dose of fatty aldehydes. I think it's a commendable, lascivious and cheeky creation, -- both in how it evokes a certain blowsy, Eurotrash, retro aesthetic and takes typically-demure 'fruity florals' into a wholly uncouth territory.

However, if you are looking for the ne plus ultra of cost-prohibitive, 'unisex', orange-candied, traditionally-complex, luxe Orientals... look into Nicolai's Biblical 'Le Rivages des Syrtes' for MDCI instead. She took Sheldrake to school in this particular showdown.

And it you this stuff, but woefully cannot afford any, 'Mackie' is only like 25USD at your local Ulta mart. Another very-similar fruity Oriental is Yves Rocher's Shafali Fleur Rare''.You won't be disappointed. These are even the same color :).
23rd April, 2010 (last edited: 30th April, 2010)

Power by 50 Cent

I was incredibly fortunate to have received an early preview of this scent from African American, 'Rap' music superstar, 50 Cent.

However, I felt culturally at a disadvantage to review my sample of this scent sans perspective, as I possess an admittedly noblesse oblige (and thus potentially too forgiving) lens!

Therefore, I called my friend, 'Snoop Dogg', a cultivated 'perfumisto' (I doubt this fact surprises anyone who has poured over the lyrics of 'Sensual Seduction', with its Machiavellian overtones.); thankfully, he had a truly probing and sociologically-sensitive take! I have transcribed our conversation 'verbatim', in the first instance. And below that, I have also provided a 'de-shizzolated' (plain speak) version, for those of you unfamiliar with his 'lyrical stylings'.

Snoop: I be all in da bafroom waxin my shizzle fo i back playin in da shee-eets. All smoking in bed, baby and back to slee-eep. Wat da f%#@ you need?!

Me: I am super sorry, Mr. Snoop. I was "freaking" (I am marginally versed in Ebonics. ) about Fih-ty's new fragrance, 'Power'...Can you shed some light? Put me on track?

Snoop: F&%$ dat SH&%@!! Go all up in Dre! Dogg seductin, freak!

Me: I am sorry, Sir..ahem...Sire, is that *good*? An endorsement? Sorry, Sire.

Snoop: Yeah, you betta 'Sire' Dogg, white-girl.. wif yo liddel a*% booty:
Dat mutha*&%$@ got no Street Cred.
Da Dogg, he wear da fo-da-reel *Shizzle* (mellower now). Dogg kno da juice. HAW-ston (sic), Zee da Fohtee... makes all da ho-nee come ta mee-ee. (humming, apparently composing in his head) Baby, Dogg need da smoke a bendarome. --dial tone-- (At this point he ended our our conversation.)

Translated (De-shizzolated) Transcript:

Snoop: I apologize; I was indisposed, and I am getting ready to call it an evening. Is it terribly urgent?

Me: I am super sorry, Mr. Snoop. I was "freaking" (I am marginally versed in Ebonics. ) about Fih-ty's new fragrance, 'Power'...Can you shed some light? Put me on track?

Snoop: Lord, that is a lot to take on at this hour? And a loaded subject... for me in particular. Could you run this by my colleague and fellow rap music icon, 'Doctor Dre'? Instead? Possibly?

Me: I am sorry, Sir..ahem...Sire, is that *good*? An endorsement? Sorry, Sire.

Snoop: I appreciate your addressing me honorifically, especially in light of our cultural differences -- not to mention your deviation from my physical ideal.
I have difficulty giving him (50 Cent) credit for his merchandising efforts, when I fundamentally doubt his credibility! He strikes me a bit of a 'put-on', not to mention an opportunist! I would even liken his marketing machinations and all of his recent sensationalism to those of someone I think is universally iconic of non-authentic musicality and flagrant greed: Yes, Sean Combs.
Moreover, I don't think it's a good scent! It smells too animalic, too synthetic, and too pungent.
I myself, as you know, prefer the classics, having a broad knowledge base -- scents like Halston's 'Z-14', which has a proven track record -- at least for me -- of engendering admiration and compliments. (humming) Listen, I really do need to be hanging up; I have some personal matters to attend to before I retire...
19th April, 2010
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Encens & Bubblegum by Etat Libre d'Orange

The place I take my son for bubble tea doubles as a cutesy, Japanese gift shop, hawking all the usual suspects: the full Sanrio latex-stinky accessory line, soapy mango-scented Hello Kitty erasers, and lots of vibrant jelly candy and fruity ball-shaped bubble gums. It happens they also market (and burn) a rather charming, modern, square-shaped, mini incense line, which offers such innovative, culturally 'exotic', new scents as 'Santa Fe Sunset' & 'Tropical Banana', and 'Parisian Rain'.
Anyway, 'Ensens et Bubblegum' smells just like -- exactly like -- that shop! From the rubbery Keropi galoshes, to the cellophane-wrapped peach gum, Strawberry Pocki, and tropical-fruit inspired joss-sticks!
18th April, 2010

Amoureuse by Delrae

Manuel Canovas makes a gorgeous candle that smells just like this scent. It' comes in a luxe blue shagreen-effect box, and is called 'Nuits de Serendip'. I loved it so much, for a while I actually saved my pennies to buy these extravagant candles to scent my home (before I discovered cheaper 'Goldleaf 'candles). So, when I smelled 'Amoureuse' today, I was a little dumbfounded by the nostalgia blast. It even seems to replicate the snuffed wick and wax effect.
It moreover reminded me of a quirky friend from then used to actually wear the pink shagreen Canovas ('Palas d'Ete) room spray as perfume, her rationale being that at 75 bucks a pop, it was basically a fine fragrance, so what? ...

Anyway, good times.

And for me, at least, this is more of like, a wearable fine room spray... or rather, I love it, but might like it even more as a perfect home scent. :)
18th April, 2010 (last edited: 27th July, 2010)

The Party in Manhattan by The Party

It is unsure whether it was Amouage or MDCI -- or whether is was a collaboration of these two established, quality-driven houses -- that secretly backed this incredibly-risky nine-figure undertaking.

That is, the super-clandestine, super-elite, Parisian-nobility's Anubis Priory’s perilous invocation ceremony...
which reanimated the great, iconoclastic scent-innovator Bernard Chant and re-assigned scintillating perfume-genius and lover of sensuality Guy Robert, each into his own youthful, delft-fingered, Patrician-nosed host.

The project: to create a perfect chypre, without regard to cost, totally-unisex, which expressed "lush formality".

Robert, feeling rejuvenated and nostalgic in his new, nubile form, looked to his father’s masterpiece, Chanel’s ‘Pour Monsieur’, whose ruination saddened him. And as an homage as well as in an effort to revive the original glory of the juice, he replicated ‘Pour Monsieur’s’ flawless, astringent clarity and unisex balance of chypric mossiness and tonic tartness. To that he further incorporated as much rich, luxurious aldehydes and roses and fruits -- in his signature style, ala Amouage’s ‘Gold’ and Rochas ‘Femme’ -- as he could without taking it into excessively "feminine" territory.

Chant, both challenged to revise Robert’s already-perfect creation without taking it over the top, and totally disgusted by the latest ‘version’ of his own masterpiece, ‘Cabochard’, adroitly and carefully incorporated his own trademark lasting, aromatic, citric-leather accord into the most-special juice. Acutely aware, too, of his impermanence and impending return to the beyond, he made very sure it was his best work yet. The unisex nature was totally, thus established.

The culmination of this supernatural mission was as perfect a perfume as the world had seen in many years. It was a bold, supremely-elegant, sensual fragrance that suited and reflected various dashing personages, from sylphine 'vamps' to gallant noblemen. Its masterful congress of natural notes and sumptuous, old school quality bespoke not only its momentousness, but also something else... something that could only be described as an ‘enchantment’.

To steer clear of any suspicion of its unnatural, pagan origins, marketers attributed its recognizable, 'yesteryear' disposition to its having been “inspired” by an ‘anonymous fragrance from the thirties’.

Needless to add, this bewitching, otherworldly brew is sold as “The Party In Manhattan”, and it ought have an undisputed featured position on every vintage scent lover’s dresser.

08th March, 2010

Escale à Portofino by Christian Dior

This definitely is a landmark, high-quality fresh scent, and it reminds me most of Eau de Lancome. It has he bitterness and garbage-y note of Eau de Rochas, though. And a little of the old-school class of Diorella. This a good addition to the Dior line. It pays homage to great old Diors and its also a much fresher offering than anything we have seen from this house for a long time. So long, in fact, I did a double take, "Oh yeah, Dior makes top notch fresh scents, too."
Although I have more of this genre than I will wear, this one is bottle worthy and different enough from its genre-mates for me to make the investment.
27th February, 2010

Leiber by Leiber

I am saddened by Leiber's lack of popularity. Could this point to a short life??
Leiber is an old school Floriental, in the Boucheron vein. Faintly reminiscent of Safari, but softer and sweeter and without the galbanum overload.
I have such respect for the persons who pushed this classic beauty through the marketing wall. It isn't an homage to old-style Oriental compositions. It is one. And it is a lovely one at that!

And how could I forget the bottle? It is FABULOUS...heavy, elegant, beautiful...
27th February, 2010

1270 by Frapin

I had been wanting to try this fragrance for a long time! I awaited my decant with abated breath.

And when it did arrive.. I was so disappointed.

It's really a wonderful smell; it reminds me of hippie import shops in the seventies: the woods, the spices and the vanilla are all very real-smelling, and the overall effect is pretty evocative, too...maybe of an Indian grocery store?
But it isn't -- to use a cliche -- something I would want to smell like.

I don't see incense listed as a note, but the drydown on me was pure head-shop. Too bad!
27th February, 2010

Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne

Ormonde Woman enchants me. I rarely make friends with sharp, almost caustic florals; my skin just makes them sour grapes. But Ormonde Woman is the kind of sharp I cannot stop inhaling. It almost sears my nose with its intensity, and I feel as if it wields a more precise blade, if you will, into my pleasure sensors!
I think this is a sophisticated and mature scent, but it isn't a powder bomb; it isn't staid; it isn't tame, and it isn't trite.
The drydown is even sharper than the opening. I keep catching pleasurable whiffs of myself, that refresh my nervous centers like cool breezes on a hot day!
Some buildings and paintings hold such universal truths for me, it is as if they are proof of a cosmic, universal consciousness, a place we all know, a heavenly ideal..Ormonde Woman achieves that with scent.
I do not conjure wooded landscapes, though, as many apparently do. I am transported to someplace, clear, crisp and ethereal, and just out of reach... as beckoning as the proverbial "light".
27th February, 2010

Signoricci 2 by Nina Ricci

My review is of the vintage version.

At the moment I cannot think of a more appealing, more elegant, fresh-style, old-school gentleman's cologne!
'Signoricci' is comparable in character to Dior's Eau Fraiche or Dior's Eau Sauvage, but it has an even more thoughtful, even more gentile air.
It has a slightly buttery, spicy complexity in its opening that is very surprising in this genre. The effort to add "spice" or "creaminess" to fresher colognes all too often strikes me as forced, or antagonistic: think 'Eternity'. But in 'Signoricci', it is delicious, like a lemon tart would be with a big dollop of vanilla cream.

I love its drydown-phase, too. It has the smell of fine soap and cream.
And 'Signorrici' evokes the color silver for me, silver wristwatches and Silver cuff links, specifically.
This is a true gentleman's fragrance, certainly, and wouldn't be appropriate for a showy man. And the gentleman who chooses it would seem especially understated and austere in his style ... yet totally at ease with his lack of show, as he has an undeniable, comforting sensuality.
I have been wearing this one for myself, and it's really as accessible to women as Eau Savage or Diorella.
I cannot recommend this highly enough to gentlemen and ladies alike. It's a classic and elegant landmark.
27th February, 2010

Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

I actually find this to be one of the most accessible-to-women men's scents out there...
Here's why:
GG evokes whimsical associations with nature, woodlands, "elfin magic" and that sort of stuff! I smell fresh herbs and roots and earth,a crude leather shoulder bag, something camphorous and magical brewing...something spicy and sweet, mead???
I daresay it's an earthy, romantic, warming, and healthful scent for either gender!!
I have to mourn the reformulation, though...It's less natural and real in all the exciting ways...
If you can find an old bottle, it is well worth your effort.
27th February, 2010

Bel Ami by Hermès

My review is of the vintage formulation.

Men, I feel compelled to do this top-notch fragrance justice.
You know those perfect, *sweet*, old cars from your childhoods (or from before your birth, perhaps...ahem), which are so marvelous and gratifying, occasionally to see sailing down the street, perfectly-restored, like excess on parade? I am thinking of white convertible Cadillac Sevilles with white leather interiors, the Kennedy-vintage Lincolns with suicide doors.. OR the *even bigger* Lincolns from the seventies with the *two-toned* leather interior! They all had twelve cylinder engines, these marvels, and steering so sensitive, you could just tap the wheel and go spinning! They were sin qua non, they don't, and won't "make 'em like that" anymore, nor ever again.

Those old cars are what I think of when I sniff 'Bel Ami'. For me, it's like a mini tour into the past, a peek back at the most decadent/ masculine aspects of its era (the eighties). SO luxurious, and sweet, and brazen. You certainly wont find this kind of quality at your department stores today!
Both titillating and guilt-provoking.

In fact, just like those old majestic vehicles I mentioned, 'Bel Ami' is *curiosity* -- a treat even. But not necessarily something I would be 'caught dead in'; it's just too excessive! (It's ridiculous, really.)
Better left to the wistful, formerly-mustached man, nostalgic enough, and cheeky enough to still take it out for the occasional spin, or to the aged gentleman who still garage-parks his and putters in it only to church on Sundays...

I am pretty sure 'Bel Ami' is responsible for its own considerable hole in the ozone.

Highly recommended for the scent tourist and memorabilia collector.
27th February, 2010

Champs-Elysées by Guerlain

Here is what I have HEARD about Champs Elysees: It's cynical. A jaded, bitter, and hopeless act, perpetrated by the too-great-for-the-modern-nose, master perfumer JP Guerlain. He demonstrates that he can crank out a bore, and that he understands what drivel comprises the "best seller". He leaves all artistry and magic out of the quotient... And low and behold, it is a runaway success. Don't we look foolish!

Here is what I THINK: It is a well-done, classic fragrance. It demonstrates JP Guerlain's mastery in a really impressive way, since he could easily venture into a less-than-"exciting" genre, and raise the proverbial bar! Granted, it is more "accessible" than other Guerlains. But it *will* stand the test of time. It is a classic already, face it.

And on a personal note: it's the only make-upey, creamy, floral mimosa fragrance I know that I want to smell more of!
27th February, 2010

Donna Trussardi by Trussardi

Yet another unsung classic leather from quality-conscious house of Trussardi!

I was reluctant to try this for quite a while because it contains ginger, which I categorically detest in perfume. But because I have been across-the-board pleased with all the other offerings by Trussardi, and because I refuse to die having overlooked a single leathery fragrance, I caved. And luckily, not only was I unable to detect any ginger whatever, but I was also incredibly pleased. In fact, I consider Donna to be the best Trussardi had to offer. (Naturally, it got the axe.)

Donna fills the well-rounded, chypre bill very well. And is a clear contender with some of the great leather chypre ladies of the sixties and seventies, like Miss Balmain, Parure, and the earlier Trussardi original. Like those earlier offerings, Donna has a very classic presence and is clearly a traditional effort; it's smart, it's elegant, and it's very full-bodied.
The difference is that Donna is less of a chypre, and more of a very statuesque, old-style, floral aldehydic. And should not be overlooked in this genre by lovers of the great old aldehydics, like Rive Gauche, First, and Calandre. It is very breathy and floral and fizzy in the opening (I guess the ginger's playing its role here -- very acceptably). And the leather persona isn't actually present until its drydown, and though obvious, it has a somehow very different, much less overpowering leather personality from other leathers. Rather than remind me of a glove, bag, car, or sofa, this leather calls to mind little perfumed stoles, muffs, or dainty, fragrant watchbands -- delicate, feminine, and intimate things.

I would classify this as a leather aldehydic, and pressed to compare it to other fragrances, I would veer toward either Patou's 1000 or Van Cleef and Arpels' First, or even Paco Rabanne's Metal.
That said, if I did not know its release date, and was asked to smell it without any information, I would vehemently ascribe it to the 1970s, and I would be deliriously bewildered, that I hadn't encountered this outstanding, ladylike creation ever before.

It really is a lovely, sentimental, and well-heeled lady, this one, and stands utterly peerless, as a gentile floral from the 1990s.
What accounts for its lack of popularity. Who knows?
I just know that I am incredibly glad for this development in my fragrance repertoire, as it's always life-affirming to be caught off guard by enchantments and to have my expectations so tremendously exceeded.

Highly recommended for fans of beautiful, old-style aldehydics..Even more highly recommended for people who are bummed about the reformulation of 1000.
27th February, 2010

Bandit by Robert Piguet

There is a very specific place for Bandit:
In the boudoir of a woman whose fetishistic, retro fascination with fifties, tawdry-class sexuality is of the Betty Page/pin-up variety.
This fragrance evokes black, conical, peek-a-boo bras, animal prints, pink vinyl sofas, and bondage restraints.

Dare I say, it is not my cup of tea?

Nonetheless, my hat is off to this truly wicked sex kitten.
27th February, 2010

Paloma Picasso / Mon Parfum by Paloma Picasso

I don't like this at all now in its newest incarnation. But I never liked it.
Everything about it says I should find it appealing: It's dark, unisex, leathery... brash.
It just smells so cheap to me. Clearly it isn't a girly scent, but even when I imagine it as a men's scent, it's ugly. I would back away from a man who stank of this.
Also, there is something truly noxious in the drydown, not unlike vomit. I am completely serious.
If you want a dark, sleazy, earthy gender bender, that is an 'acquired taste', steer clear of this stuff. Get some Magie Noir instead.
27th February, 2010

La Nuit by Paco Rabanne

I am looking forward to someone's offering a formal list of notes.. But for now, this ultra-animalic contains: honey, leather, civet, musk, civet, leather and rose..LOL

I cannot think of a more bold stroke in women's animalics. It is very reminiscent of Bal of Versailles, but also is a very powerful, eighties scent-bomb. It is sweet. It is dark, and it is hotter than hell.
It evokes the eighties to me, grand-style parties with champagne, low-cut dresses, hair in tight buns, spiked,high-heeled sandals...birds of paradise strewn on black satin...
27th February, 2010

Oleg Cassini for Women by Oleg Cassini

The opening is very sweet! And cough-syrupy! But not entirely unpromising... "Maybe it's a Mackie-type Oriental? A *little* dimestore, but sexy?"

Then...PHEW! It dries down to incense and only incense. Do you know that incense called Black Opium, favored for Rasta shops? That's the one.
27th February, 2010

Pheromone by Marilyn Miglin

Does anyone remember the buzz around this perfume when it first was released??
It was the MOST expensive fragrance per-ounce at that time, displacing Patou's Joy.
It was a landmark, and incorporated "pheromones", the emerging science-Zeitgiest of the late seventies ...purportedly the very basis for sexual attraction.

The press was so intoxicating, I don't think I knew a woman or girl who didn't procure a bottle. But there was the odd feeling that something was amiss; we weren't talking about it right away (We still wanted to see if had magical powers over men,), but this stuff *really* stank. It smelled like liquor and medicated dog shampoo.
Eventually, after its grand machine tired out (and we all just stank instead of increased out sex-appeals), "Pheremone" left perfume discourse. It became more or less a dime store/outlet scent.
I think it's only still around, like Giorgo, because of its little place in history, because it was an *icon*... And maybe some ladies still believe it is enchanting.
27th February, 2010