Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JessicaGrace

Total Reviews: 81

Eau de Gucci by Gucci

Do not like! An opening of well-blended but very insistent flowers -- no discernible notes, just a floral melange and a little lemon. Quickly gives way to honey scent with a distinctly urinous edge. This is the part where I start to feel guilty for inflicting this scent on people around me. A few hours later, starts to smell strongly like maple syrup, the cheaper kind, then joined by an ugly musk.

I dislike this so much, and yet it smells so familiar, I almost suspect I have previous unpleasant associations with it. It came out when I was a baby. Perhaps it was a favorite of someone I didn't like very much. Anyway, I'll be swapping my mini away as fast as possible!
19th October, 2010

Fracas by Robert Piguet

Sigh. Another iconic perfume that I just don't get. On me, Fracas smells a little minty, a little camphoraceous, a bit chemical, and then nothing. It fades down pretty fast to something that reminds of the powdery smell of chemically scented bug spray, stays there for a few hours, and disappears. I've tried applying heavily (against all the advice on here) and the same thing happens. Guess this one just isn't for my skin.
12th July, 2010

Mystère by Rochas

I have a little vintage mini, not sure of it's condition. On me, a very dry cooking-spice note dominates the top and hangs on into the heart. Coriander is listed; I would have guessed cumin. No other note makes it through the fog. I smell like a sink full of dishes at a noodle house.

Eventually, some florals worm their way into the mix and soften the cooking-spice a little bit, but by this time the scent as a whole is fading. Remains dry, and would make a decent masculine. I don't smell enough moss to identify this as a chypre.

Overall, not a favorite. I was surprised to see it compared to Magie Noire in "Perfumes: The Guide" as that is scent that sends me straight over the moon. Perhaps my sample has aged ungracefully or maybe coriander is just too difficult a note for me.
16th June, 2010
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Yendi by Roberto Capucci

I was immediately reminded of Ivoire, and it turns out the two perfumes have more notes in common than they do differently -- hyacinth, bergamot, raspberry, orris, orchid, cedar, sandalwood, and even a few more I think. They are both sprightly greens with vibrant fruit and wood tones. To me, Yendi is the improved version, with a silky smooth progression where Ivoire was sometimes soapy and a bit clunky.

Just wonderful. Wish it was easier to come by. I'm intrigued to hear about Rochas Globe, as that one seems to be still around and quite affordable.
15th June, 2010

White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor

I was in middle school when this came out, and when I tried it on my wrist today I realized I've smelled it a hundred times before. It must have been one of the nicest scents available in the little country town I grew up in -- the smell is indelibly associated with friends' moms and "older ladies."

It's hard to be analytic about this. The one note that stands out is a slightly caramelized banana...but this is about as tropical as the dessert bar at Luby's. Very powdery and getting sweeter over time. If it had lasted longer it would have bothered me more. Wearing it makes me feel like I'm wearing someone else's clothes.
11th June, 2010

Ysatis by Givenchy

To me, a melange of flat, undefined woody notes with a top layer of excess sweetness trying to give it character. There was a phase toward the beginning where I briefly smelled salty rose and creamy lemon. That was nice, but fleeting. One of the least interesting perfumes I've smelled in a long time. Possibly I'm encountering the reformulated version. I've heard the original is better.
08th June, 2010

Enjoli by Revlon

Based on nothing more than the release date and the look of the bottle, I was expecting this to be some sort of disco-era sharp, plasticky amber/musk awfulness. I was wrong. This is really quite a pleasant, well-balanced, soft floral. Despite all the notes listed, I smell mostly jasmine (the pretty-pretty variety, a la Chanel no. 5), orange blossom and vanilla. How can you go wrong with that?
14th May, 2010

Samsara by Guerlain

I'm relieved to see Samsara has other fans -- so many people of exquisite taste dislike it so much. Me, I love it. Applied lightly, it doesn't overpower, but retains a "thick" quality to the florals, like a cordial made of narcissus and jasmine. The sandalwood has a near-gourmand quality, as in Guet Apens. Yes, it's narcotically sweet, and there is faintly "trashy" tone to the jasmine, but that tone is in Chanel no. 5, too, and (to me) that's what makes it great. Seductive. Enough sensuality to derail anyone's quest for the surrender of earthly pleasures that is nirvana.
06th May, 2010

Amazone (original) by Hermès

Nice, casual, unimpeachable. In my opinion more of a fruity green than a green chypre, despite the alleged oakmoss in the bass. Sparkling pear at the top fades down into a faint, undefinable warm/cool bottom. Reminds me a little of Galanos. Totally pleasant, but to me unnecessary in a world that already contains Chamade and Chanel no. 19.
03rd May, 2010

Glamourous by Ralph Lauren

Perhaps fairer than saying this smells like fancy hotel soap would be to say that many fancy hotel soaps have been formulated to smell a lot like this: citrusy freshness, some unobtrusive white flowers, and an "exotic" ingredient, usually (as in this case) ginger. I agree with those who say this is pleasant and warm and also those who say this is easy to forget.
11th April, 2010

Jil Sander No. 4 by Jil Sander

The opening is my favorite part -- a vivid, fresh, green rose with a buzz of galbanum like the prick of thorns. The green and tweedy parts of the scent get swallowed up by the emerging lushness of rose, honey, and purple fruits. From here on out your enjoyment of it is most likely determined by your tolerance for damascones and sweetness. Maybe too sweet for me, but really nice.
09th April, 2010

Givenchy III by Givenchy

Very smooth and balanced, no notes leap out of the composition, though the florals in the heart definitely tend toward white -- definitely jasmine and lily of the valley. Not a strong fragrance and without overt silage, but it puts an ambience around the wear that is crisp, impeccable and rather unapproachable. Comes off very clean at first, but some moss and indolic quality of the jasmine contradict the first impression.
09th April, 2010

True Love by Elizabeth Arden

I'm surprised how much I like this. I certainly never would have put it on any must-try list -- the name and the packaging are a bit schmaltzy for me -- but it's not bad at all. My overall impression is of lightness -- not faintness, but buoyancy. Sweet jasmine and maybe a little rose. I also smell iris + heliotrope (not listed in the notes here, but I've seen it elsewhere) that somehow combine to smell like...cake batter!

Youthful and old-fashioned at the same time. Cute and prim. I don't think this will turn out to be "me" but I'm certainly enjoying it at the moment, against all expectations.
07th April, 2010
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Bill Blass by Bill Blass

A discrete and sunny floral, very soft and warm. As with other "flowerbomb" perfumes of the era, I find it difficult to pick out individual floral notes except jasmine and something creamy and slightly tropical that I'm telling myself is yling ylang. Pineapple is listed in the top notes and though I don't seem to smell it overtly, there is general impression of rounded fruity notes.

Unlike some contemporaries, this stays close to the skin. Overall impression is pleasant and open, like a friendly smile. My only complain is that the very final stages of the drydown do take on a slight whiff of stale urine, but the whole thing is so faint by then, I doubt anyone else would notice.
07th April, 2010

Gucci No. 3 by Gucci

Opening is very dry cooking spice -- coriander is the note listed; I would have guessed cumin -- that softens as florals. predominantly rose, take over in the heart. The moss/civet/patchouli base makes itself evident early on and gets funkier and funkier, with a strong punch of rooty/powdery iris taking over from the rose.

Not my kind of thing at all, but I can tell it's nice for what it is. Rose chypres sound like such a good idea, but so far I haven't found one that works for me. I didn't care for Rose de Nuit, either. For what it's worth, I find this richer and smoother than RdN, so fans of the Lutens might want to check it out.
30th March, 2010

Norell by Norell

Dark, pungent greens through the soft focus of aldehydes -- like a photograph of pine forest through a Vaseline-smeared lens. Lovely warm woody/ambery notes, too. The drydown becomes a bit soapy and rough -- my least favorite part. Depending on my mood, this can smell hopeless outdated and generic or charmingly retro and agreeable. Today -- arguably the first warm day of spring -- it is perfect.
09th March, 2010

Parure by Guerlain

This review is for the vintage edt. It is with great sadness I report that I am simply unable to smell this one at all. The opening is promising -- dry, pungent rose -- and begins fading instantly. For a minute I think I smell a ghost of ripe fruit. Drydown is oakmoss and dry rose petal potpourri. Sad. The descriptions of ambery-leathery-rosiness had me drooling. I envy the people for whom this does it's magic.
09th March, 2010

Private Collection by Estée Lauder

An enjoyably bitter opening - citrus peels, galbanum, and sharp pine. There's a dissonant vibration between the pine and galbanum, like a minor chord, that keeps things interesting. With lemon AND pine, there's some danger of Private Collection straying into household-cleaner territory, but it never gets too close for my comfort. In the heart, lily of the valley and polleny hyacinth emerge, surrounding and softening the top notes, but the weird central accord hangs on a good long time, giving the scent a bracing briskness. The bottom is warm and powdery, comfortable without losing the scent's freshness -- a lovely transition from sharp, green top to golden, resinous base.

A bit too strange for everyday, but I give it points for being like nothing else I've smelled so far.
17th February, 2010

Le Dix by Balenciaga

I came by a mini bottle of the vintage parfum for a song. I'm afraid the top notes have burned a little, so this review may not be accurate to what others experience with the fresh juice. I get no lemon or peach in the opening; instead there is a "burned sugar" note that seems to be common with older parfums that have gone off. So from the beginning this is rather heavy -- caramel, smoke, and violets. The feel of it is formal and dramatic -- a swooning Southern Belle type of violet.

The scent does freshen a little bit in the heart with a very pretty jasmine, which I'm guessing is what draws the Chanel no. 5 comparisons. But Le Dix still retains a lot of formality and a sense of confinement, whereas to me the magical quality of no. 5 is it's easy naturalism. If I picture no. 5 as a pretty girl lounging outside on a warm spring day with not much on, Le Dix is dressed for a dinner party in purple taffeta.

The violets are strong and sweet (on the verge of stuffy, but not unenjoyable to me -- I love violets in their various manifestations) and hang in all the way to the drydown, which is violets over a strong, dirty-but-quality vanilla that reminds me of Shalimar.

Interesting and impressive. I hope to compare it to a recent version, or a more jealously protected vintage, someday and see how much of the smoke and caramel and swoony weight is the real stuff and how much is simply the result of age.
09th February, 2010

Safari by Ralph Lauren

I find this sweet and mild, with a smooth, almost oily texture. Rather heady at first, with upfront green and galbanum notes, that soften into a heart of honey, jasmine, and rose. Elegant and well-behaved, I think this would be an excellent perfume to wear at work or in company and would make a safe gift. Although projection and silage are moderate, the lasting power is excellent. Dry-down is a rather generic vanilla. It's hard for me to imagine anyone being offended by this soft, pleasant scent. If it has a fault, it might be that it's almost too easy to wear -- there's none of the bite or intriguing bitterness here that make my favorite green scents so memorable. That's a perfume-snob's complaint, though. This is a very nice way to smell.
26th January, 2010

Cabochard by Grès

I got my sample of vintage Cabochard from one of the better-known decanters, or I'd almost think it was watered down. I can't smell it at all. I get a sweaty note, like cumin, and maybe a little leather. But very, very faint. Darn. I was so excited about this one.
20th January, 2010

Knize Ten by Knize

Weird. So many reviews warn not to over-apply this, and I was expecting a powerhouse. Maybe I got a bad sample? I smell a little bit of astringent green and a little bit of soft leather, and something tart and powdery that makes me think of Sweet Tarts candy. Within minutes on my skin, it's all gone. My fleeting impression is of something well-mannered and melancholy, but really -- there's nothing there!

19th January, 2010

Ivoire (original) by Pierre Balmain

At first this disappointed me. I had heard it called a green chypre and compared to Chanel 19, which I adore, and was looking for something similarly chic, aloof, and complicated. Ivoire suffers by the comparison; on first test I found it cheap and sanitary.

I liked it better when I gave it a second test on it's own terms. After the alcohol burns off the top, it is sweet like skin freshly scrubbed with soap, with a recognizable hyacinth note that I love. It is green, yes, but barely a chypre, with no mossy or funky notes. Galbanum warms up nicely over time. The drydown is mild sandalwood and a fruity note that reminds me of a raspberry lotion I had as a pre-teen.

It's a fresh and cheerful scent that reminds me of a cleaner, simpler time in my life. Wearing it now makes me a little sad. I took a nap yesterday with my Ivoire-dabbed wrist against my nose, listening to the neighbor's children play outside and dreaming of someone I'm not anymore.
19th January, 2010 (last edited: 31st January, 2010)

Bandit by Robert Piguet

When I first applied Bandit, it went on my skin quietly enough. Ten seconds later...WHOOSH!! It's raw and rough and exhilarating. The leather is strong stuff, with the queasy note of dirty engine oil that normally sets my stomach on edge, only here I can't get enough. There's something meaty and savory going on here. Despite that, this stuff isn't unbearably butch, like I was afraid it might be. I can't pick out the listed notes of jasmine, rose, and neroli individually, but there is enough floral stuff softening the leather and vetiver to make this actually quite comfortable to wear. The experience of wearing Bandit is bracing, but never unsettling.
18th January, 2010

Miss Dior Originale (previously Miss Dior) by Christian Dior

Aw, how sad. I am smelling this in the reformulated version, which is so muted that I had to spill my sample all over myself just to get a whiff. What I can smell of it is very nice: a lemony, aldehydic opening; a nice galbanum note that does what galbanum is supposed to do, that is to say, starts out resinous and astringent and warms over time into a glow like candlelight; enough moss and patchouli in the base to smell satisfying like old books and dusty attics.

But (and this is a big but) it's just so faint. Moderation in perfume application is a virtue, I know, but I do want to be able to catch at least the occasional waft, or what's the point? I have to bury my nose against my wrist to know that I'm wearing this at all.

Now I'm obsessively hunting for vintage bottles online like a lonely girl looking for a date on Saturday night. This could be The One!
17th January, 2010 (last edited: 17th February, 2010)

Tabac Blond by Caron

This is for the reformulated version, EDT: For the first ten minutes after dabbing on my wrist, all I could think of was a little old lady with a gruff voice whose been using L'Heure Bleu to cover up her pack-a-day habit for the last 30 years. I can't imagine this as a masculine at all. Too much powder, too much orange blossom, too much carnation and iris. As with L'Heure Bleu, I feel I'm sinking into old, scented face powder and drowning. This is the silage; close to the skin, the sunnier, grassier notes emerge -- much more bearable. This warm hay & vanilla stuff is alright, but the icky sweetness of the top notes lingers. Overall it feels hopelessly dated -- not to the 20's, sadly, which would be nice, but to the Big Perfume era of the late 70's and 80's. Not dykey, not daring, not dark, not any of the things I wanted it to be.
12th January, 2010

No. 22 Parfum by Chanel

Very "white" -- jasmine, tuberose, powder, vanilla, aldehydes like dry champagne. Classy stuff, no doubt, but somehow leaves me cold. There's a soapy note, and a relentless cleanness to it. The crisp, chic ambience reminds me a little of 31 Rue Cambon, but that one has more notes that remind me of warm skin, and I prefer it.

I see how others -- especially fans of white florals -- would like it, but when there are so many great Chanels (No. 5, No. 19, Bois de Iles, Cuir de Russie) I don't feel any pressing need for this one.
02nd January, 2010

Rochas Femme (new) by Rochas

Weighty and ponderous even in it's top notes, where cumin is rounded out by ripe fruits. I like it, but I also like the smell of sweat, so there you go. I agree with the reviewer who called it "muddy" although I find density to be one of it's charms. Like an awkward friend that you love anyway. It's the dry-down I don't like -- I get whiffs of a plasticky amber/leather/musk that reminds me of a generic men's scent. Other times I smell dried fruit, which is nice. But that drugstore-cologne thing is annoying. This is the reissued EDT. Perhaps the base in the original was of more quality.
17th December, 2009

Bois des Îles Parfum by Chanel

Delicate and graceful as a fine gold chain, without sacrificing it's strength, or the integrity of it's internal structure. The almond and spice notes smell delicious rather than edible. The sandalwood in the base has a texture like fine-grained wood polished smooth. Angelic. It could comfort me in any mood.
17th December, 2009

Jolie Madame by Pierre Balmain

Re-issued Jolie Madame: Sometimes the opening is full of dark, wet greens; other times it is a full slug of sweet violets with a melancholy anisic edge that reminds me of a richer, more technicolor Apres L'Ondee. There is a strong sense of juiciness, without any definable fruit notes. Florals and soapy neroli make a "classic perfume" scent in the heart, violets still sweet and very powdery, with a loud rasp of vetiver, leather and civet underneath -- like a beautiful woman with an astonishing husky voice. The drydown lasts for hours and is my favorite part -- a violet impression over a rather masculine leather and spice. The overall feel is retro, grande-dame perfume with an unexpectedly toughness.

Vintage Jolie Madame: So strange! The first time I tried this, it did smell like a smoother version of the re-issue, and I was looking forward to wearing it again for closer analysis. But today ALL I smell is neroli, and it's awful....goes on sweet and harsh like children's cough syrup and stays unpleasantly "clean" all the way into the drydown, where it fades and warms just enough to be bearable. I waited several hours and reapplied and had the same experience all over again. Has my nose gone crazy? I'll test again someday and see if it's the same...for right now, my thumbs-up is for the re-issue.
15th December, 2009 (last edited: 16th December, 2009)