Perfume Reviews

Reviews by msveronica9

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Total Reviews: 48

Sotto La Luna Tuberose by Tauer

The only online reviews of SlLT I could find were so negative, I wasn't in any rush to seek it out for myself. However, when I saw a partial bottle for sale on eBay, I took a leap of faith. I'm so happy I did, because I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

Some reviewers have compared this new Sotto la Luna to the first one, Gardenia, claiming they're too much alike to bother owning both. I concede they share a commonality (in addition to Andy's legendary 'Tauerade'), but they're certainly not interchangeable. SlLG has a noticeable candied gardenia in it. SlLT does not.

I can't say that I smell tuberose in SlLT. I have worn many different kinds of perfumery tuberoses (Fracas, Tubereuse Criminelle, Caron's Tuberose, Poison, etc.), but none of their familiar notes are discernible here. Perhaps I need to smell a real tuberose blossom before my brain 'clicks' to this aspect in SlLT? In any case, I don't care, because SlLT simply smells wonderful (and nostalgic) to me!

None of SlLT's listed notes stand out to me: they are so harmoniously blended. It simply smells like a particular memory: a hazy vision of being a child standing in the vestry of the local church our family once attended, St Mark's Church of England in Leopold, Aust (built in the 1860s). Being a non-Catholic church, there would not have been incense (it wasn't until my adulthood interest in perfumery that I discovered 'incense' accords - which I adore - but cannot associate with churches, or even smoke!).

So, to me, SlLT is the smell of the interior of an old, but regularly used, Anglican bluestone church, and whatever was inside it a century after it was built.
04th February, 2016

Daphne by Demeter Fragrance Library

I bought a small roller-ball of the perfume oil. It smells pretty but doesn't remind me of daphne flowers... more like rose geranium, unfortunately.
26th January, 2016

Winter Kitty by For Strange Women

One could never mistake this artisanal oil for a mass market fragrance; it's chewy and dense, and intended for pulse-point dabbing.

But oh how interesting and shapeshifting and delightful.

The minty top note reminds me of Guerlain's AA Herba Fresca. I get a hint of fir, too - just the right amount (avoiding any Pine-o-cleen effect!). There's a wonderful central accord that's like a combo of frankincense and confectionery musk (which I guess is the incense, rose and vanilla), but the fir, mint, vetiver and woods keeps Winter Kitty out of purely gourmand territory.

The longer it's on my skin, the more the various notes blend together until no particular note dominates.

I really like this, and I can't stop sniffing my wrists :-)

Update: the drydown is *gorgeous* - reminiscent of a vintage spicy oriental.
11th December, 2015
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Guirlandes by Carven

According to Google Translate, guirlandes in French means either tinsel or garlands in English. I'm thinking garlands, because this scent is quite a bouquet of spring flowers - hyacinth and LOTV being the most noticeable.

The advertisements by Carven read 'Le premier parfum', aiming Guirlandes squarely at teenaged girls, ie. 'their first scent'.

The style of this fragrance seems to be a continuation of the 70s 'Eau Fraiche' trend - a fresh, green, aldehydic, chypre with a smattering of nitromusks.

I enjoy this one very much in EDT form: it's quite a perfect retro scent for spring and summer. However, I recently acquired a small spray of parfum, and found this version to smell disturbingly sour - perhaps Guirlandes parfum doesn't age as well as the EDT?
01st June, 2014

Jean Nate by Revlon

Like a summertime long ago

With well over a thousand different scents in my arsenal, why do I keep coming back to this one?

As a collector of vintage, I was really curious to know what this 'drugstore classic' smelled like, so I purchased a tub of talcum powder plus a pair of partial bottles of Eau de Cologne Concentrate (all vintage, Charles of the Ritz era).

I'm not sure if this scent was as popular in Australia as it was in America during the 60s/70s, but upon breaking open the paper seal on the talc tub, I was gripped by an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for that era (the time of my tweens, when summers seemed endless).

When the sun is shining, and particularly when I'm going to be wearing yellow, I often reach for my Jean Nate talc and EdCC immediately after showering. In fact, it's one of very few scents I keep in the bathroom. I'm hard pressed to think of anything else in my collection which perfectly captures the retro sunniness of JN.

I think JN is unique in its scent. Others have compared it to 4711, but it doesn't remind me of a traditional cologne - it's much weightier. To my nose, it's a lemony, powdery fougere with a floral heart of geranium, rose and carnation. A true retro delight.

Pros: refreshing, comforting, sunny
Cons:

25th June, 2013

Koto by Shiseido

This was a blind buy based on my interest in Shiseido fragrances, and several positive reviews on Fragrantica.

Koto's notes, as listed on Fragrantica are: aldehydes, citruses, herbs, spices, narcissus, gardenia, orris root, jasmine, lily of the valley, jonquil, rose, moss, patchouli, leather, amber, vetiver and castoreum".

Straight out of the box, when I sprayed Koto onto my sleeve, I thought it smelled like candied swampwater (!) ie. a slightly sugared version of that bitter, dank, moss/vetiver/leather smell I recalled from my old enemy, Bandit EDT. Oh dear.

However, the next day I thought I'd give Koto another chance, and sprayed some onto the back of my hand. I actually started to like it! On skin, the bitterness is barely noticeable: Koto is a quite presentable green floral chypre after all. It's actually not too dissimilar to Nude by Bill Blass (1990), or even YSL's Y (1964).

As far as I can tell, Koto is only available in EDC strength. It has a fair bit of 'oomph' upon initial application (aldehydes, herbs, moss and vetiver at the forefront), but after half an hour or so, Koto becomes a delicate, powdery skin scent (orris and amber?) which lasts for several hours.

I think this is a good 'retro' fragrance, and I really like the way it morphs from spiky to soft, but I'm only giving Koto a neutral because it seems a bit redundant next to other, similar fragrances in my collection.
03rd May, 2013

Eau Divine by Divine

This scent bursts forth with a pleasantly fresh, tangy fruitiness. If you like fruity florals that are not sticky-sweet, Eau Divine could make for an enjoyable, everyday summertime spritz. The top notes of tangerine, star anise, ginger and rose hip work well together, and for me are the main players (I don't notice any of the other listed notes).

I give a neutral rating because, after about an hour or so, the fragrance loses its tang and sadly takes on a 'pepperiness' which I've encountered in (too) many department store fruity florals.

Sniffing and snuffling the skin where the scent has been applied does stir up some of the original delicious fruity notes again, though.
13th March, 2013

Mickey Mouse by Disney

I can't believe I have a 50ml bottle of this! It was recommended to me by a fellow Basenoter (in the BN chatroom (whatever happened to that?)) as a rather nice citrus scent with great lasting power.

I really don't like the gaudy yellow and red packaging - but then I'm absolutely not the target demographic. The name is subtitled "Thanks": I can imagine it being purchased by parents on behalf of their children to give as a present to another child - perhaps as a thank-you to a party invitation.

There's nothing about the presentation to indicate that this scent is 'masculine' or 'for boys' (unless the absence of pink is enough to suggest that?). However, the scent itself could be considered 'training wheels' for the kind of scents a man might later buy and wear.

Official notes are lemon and lime. I can detect something akin to lemon verbena, and the lime is rather like that used in candies. There is a welcome absence of herbal notes, which for me can push a 'unisex' citrus scent over the edge to 'masculine' (eg. Dior's Escale a Portofino and O de Lancome). So sue me, but I'd rather wear this Mickey Mouse than Guerlain's Philtre d'Amour! And so, I keep this hideous-looking scent in my bathroom, handy for times when I just want a quick spritz of something citrusy clean.

Lasting power is good. It's made in Italy, and allegedly not tested on animals - yay!
03rd September, 2012

Joop! Berlin by Joop!

Outrageous eBay prices for this scent compelled me to snap up a mini at the first opportunity. Curiosity now sated. Berlin is an 80s style fruity floral (ie. lashings of juicy stone fruits over sweet white florals). There's also an alleged 'caramel' note in this composition, but it's not very evident to me.

I actually don't mind Berlin for this style of fragrance. It's not as overpowering as other 80s nose-busters, and the drydown is really quite lovely. However, it doesn't smell unique: I'm sure, somewhere in my collection, I've got at least one smellalike 'twin' for Berlin.

According to Fragrantica, Berlin and Senso by Ungaro share many of the same notes. They don't smell exactly the same (I did a side-by-side comparison), but if you know what Senso smells like you'll get an idea of Berlin.
18th August, 2012

Graffiti by Roberto Capucci

I had it in my mind that Graffiti was a highly desirable vintage gem: there must have been a time when I saw bottles of this going for a fair price at auction. Well, if this fragrance has its fans, they're not much into writing about it online: I could find out almost nothing about Graffiti via the web, except for mumsy's review, and a very astute (but not very complimentary) review here by sakecat22:
http://sakecat.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/parfums-capucci-graffiti/

Taken together, I think these other reviewers have really nailed Graffiti's notes. Myself, I can definitely smell the (slightly harsh) green chypre opening, soft aldehydes, woody violets -plus a certain 'cardboardy' quality.

For me, the best thing about Graffiti is its violet heart (coz I generally love violetty frags). This middle phase is reminiscent of one of my vintage faves: Faberge's 'Straw Hat'. But even in parfum form, Graffiti lacks the intensity I would expect (I have tested two separate parfum minis, and they are similarly subtle) - especially given the lively name.

I considered giving Graffiti a neutral rating because, while pleasant enough, I probably won't be giving it another thought after hitting the 'submit' button on this review. However, its launch year of 1963 (my birth year!) is enough to tip the balance of my opinion to positive.
02nd June, 2012

Jungle Gardenia (original) by Coty

I can tell that this is still a much-loved fragrance. Not by the reviews, but by the high prices even the small, plain, bottles fetch at online auctions. I am guessing many of today's buyers of this hard-to-find scent have been devoted fans since their youth, perhaps with raunchy tales to rival Cathodera's.

Apparently the 1995 re-release by Coty was not up-to-scratch. For a fabulously detailed article about the history of Tuvache and Jungle Gardenia, this is a must-read: http://www.timelessperfumes.com/Jungle%20Gardenia%20Perfume.htm

The above web page and the Perfume Intelligence (PI) database both date the launch of Tuvache's Jungle Gardenia to 1932, not 1950. According to PI, Jõvan created their own perfume called Jungle Gardénia in 1950, which may explain the date confusion.

PI describes the original JG as: "A crisp floral parfum with notes of bitter orange oil, Clary sage, cyclamen, heliotrope, tuberose, tarragon, violet leaf, gardenia, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang-ylang, oakmoss, benzoin, sandalwood and musk."

Ever curious about the vintage classics, I managed to acquire a small spray parfum of original JG. To my nose, this fragrance is just as much (if not more) about tuberose as gardenia. The first time I sprayed, I got a big whiff of 'Fracas'. But on subsequent applications, I found JG to be more distinctive, with a heavy, medicinal edge (maybe from the herbs?). Actually, there's a certain note in JG that I've also smelled in Lutens' Tuberose Criminelle -a note which I liken to the scent of purple passionfruit flowers (truly).

This stuff is really growing on me the more I spray and inhale. Gardenia or actually tuberose, this is an intoxicating white floral.
13th May, 2012

Darling II by Fabergé

My 1991 copy of the Haarmann & Reimer 'Fragrance Guide to Feminine and Masculine Notes' really has a lot to answer for. I frequently ponder its many photos of bottles (from the timelessly elegant to the quaintly dated), arranged alphabetically within key style categories. This book is serious fuel for my inner hoarder (which also loves the adventure of an unsniffed vintage purchase). What joy it is to put a little tick next to each pic as I acquire an example of the juice!

Which is why I just bought a bottle of Darling 2 (sic). Darling II by Fabergé is pictured in my H&R guide right next to its sister fragrance Darling. They are both in the Floral/Fruity category and share some notes. In addition to the notes listed in the above pyramid, H&R lists for Darling II: 'green note' and cassie in the top, cyclamen and jasmine in the middle and amber in the base. While H&R doesn't give precise launch dates, but both D and DII appear on their genealogy chart between 1980 and 1985.

OK, so what about this bottle I just bought? It has very similar physical features to the Darling II bottles I've seen pictured in the H&R guide and also on the Perfume Intelligence website. However, my bottle's typeface is all wrong, there's a 2 instead of a II, and there's no sign of the Fabergé logo. Instead, the maker appears to be 'FSP - 22 rue de Marignan, Paris' (I visited that address virtually and it looks like an apartment building). Bah!

The Fabergé cosmetics company changed hands several times in the 1980s, so it's possible that the rights to produce the Darling fragrances were purchased by an obscure company. Or perhaps this is an unauthorised 'smellalike' (copy)? I'm inclined to think the latter.

So what does it smell like? It's no fruity floral in the modern sense - there's something sharp and vegetal in there like some unpleasant herb, almost drowning out the sweeter floral notes. (I have smelled a few other frags with a similar kind of vibe, and those are usually green chypres from the 1970s). I thought the juice might simply have 'turned', so I asked a friend for her opinion. She said it smelled like a shampoo or body product.

Summary: my version of this fragrance smells like a bad shampoo from the 70s. But it's probably not the real deal, so don't base your purchase on this review (and make sure you get a bottle which actually says 'Fabergé'!).
30th April, 2012 (last edited: 07th September, 2012)

Sunny Frutti by Escada

I hunted down a mini of Sunny Frutti for my perfume library because I'd read somewhere (Turin?) that it was a milestone of sorts: apparently it kickstarted the late 90s/2000s trend for uber-fruities.

In this case, first does not necessarily mean best, because I can smell something off-puttingly sour in the Escada fruit bowl.

If SF contains the same notoriously unstable 'pear' aromachemical as in Goutal's Petite Cherie (which is frequently reported to 'turn'), this might explain the sourness. So, given the possibility that my mini is less than fresh, I will just give SF a neutral rating and speculate on the juicy delight that it might once have been.
01st April, 2012
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Black Jade by Lubin

An exquisitely well-blended scent: at once light and shadow. I wish I could say more about the notes, but no particular 'ingredient' dominates for me. However, if I was blind-sniffing Black Jade, I'd say I could smell juniper berries (possibly absconded from sister fragrance Gin Fizz?).

Despite the name and an abundance of heavy-sounding notes, this is not a black/dark fragrance at all. Just like the jade green cap colour, BJ has a subdued freshness which would be suitable to wear for most occasions and seasons, even warm weather. It's like a muted ‘eau fraiche’ with extra complexity.

Interestingly, I recently met a lady who claimed to be allergic to almost everything under the sun, yet could spray Black Jade directly onto her skin without a reaction. If I was in a similar predicament, I could think of worse things than committing to this particular scent. But for me it's not quite special enough to pay full price for a bottle, no matter how sensuously rounded that bottle may be.
01st April, 2012

L'Eau Neuve Inédite by Lubin

If I may quote directly from my sample card:

"With a top note of rose water, fresh and pure like a Sicilian orange, Inédite is a sweet, spicy creation adorned with a floral accord of heliotrope, lilac and rose, and topped with a fruity note of nectarine. Vanilla, iris and patchouli transform the sweet seduction of dragée sweets into an aroma of spices. Exuding sensual Circassian beauty accented with notes of cinnamon, pepper and coriander, cedar and musk base notes make its Eastern-inspired foundation even more irresistible."

L'Eau Neuve Inédite is subtitled 'Dragées of Aziyadé', and it's easy to visualise pastel-hued sugared almonds while smelling this deliciously subtle fragrance. There's a hint of pencil-shavings in there (possibly from the cedar), but I find this enhances the composition. Citric fruitiness is noticeable in the initial spray, then the florals blend seamlessly with spices, woods and musk to create the enchanting dragée effect. After several minutes, if I wave my wrist around I get wafts of rosewater - nice!

To my nose, this is pleasantly understated, delicate and feminine fragrance.
01st April, 2012

Folie Douce by Grès

I have a bottle of Folie Douce in the EDT, and would love to chime in with another positive review, but sadly cannot. By no means is this a terrible fragrance, but to my nose it starts off beautifully then falls flat after just a few minutes.

As the wonderful Hillaire has noted, Folie Douce is primarily a sweet, creamy mimosa fragrance. The effervescent opening notes are indeed reminiscent of Champs Elysees - and I do love that scent! However, Folie Douce’s sparkle disappears way too soon, leaving somewhat flat, sickly sweet dregs (blackcurrant plus ylang ylang?).

When the basenotes kick in, things improve somewhat: the dull-sweet, 'fruity' aspect is joined - and somewhat tempered by – notes of sandalwood, cedar and musk (notes according to Fragrantica).

In summary, a potentially lovely scent, but I just can't love its middle phase.
30th March, 2012

Fleeting Moment / Fuite des Heures by Balenciaga

I have an ongoing obsession with researching and buying fragrances online. Judging by the prices bottles of Fleeting Moment attract at auction, I flagged it as one of the most desired vintage Balenciagas. Nevertheless, I eventually managed to snag a micro mini of extrait from a trusted seller for just a few dollars.

Expecting something feminine, I was immediately struck by FM's 'savoury' qualities: its top notes are predominantly herbal (rosemary and lavender) -and if I had to assign a gender to this fragrance it would be 'masculine'. After the herbal blast I think I can smell the dark green note of pine or fir, then woodiness (patchouli?). It reminds me of a tamer, galbanum-less Bandit.
...
OK I just looked up this fragrance on Fragrantica and read that Fleeting Moment was composed by the legendary Germaine Cellier! No wonder it invoked my memories of Bandit. According Fragrantica, FM is classified as a chypre with "herbal and green notes, anise, aldehydes, flowers that are dominated by jasmine, thyme, violet, woody tones, leather, amber" (seems I was confusing rosemary/lavender with thyme).

If you like Bandit you might also like Fleeting Moment, but I have to give FM a neutral thumb because I am not at all partial to this style of fragrance.
24th March, 2012 (last edited: 07th September, 2012)

Trophée by D'Orsay

Vintage D'Orsay extraits appear to 'age well', and my mini of Trophee is no exception.

Firstly, I'd like to point out that Trophee (the original at least), was marketed as a masculine. I found several examples of 1930s/40s advertising for this scent, all targeting men. Plus, many of the old Trophee boxes I saw online depict the silhouette of a man wearing a top hat.

I've worn my (1930s?) Trophee several times to get a feeling for its notes... not an easy thing for me as a relative beginner. Overall, it is a subtle, dry scent - perfect for a discreet, elegant gentleman (or lady!). I would describe it as leathery (in the manner of saddlery leather or freshly tanned hides), with a subtle floral nuance (no particular flower, just an idea of floralcy). A wise perfume friend who tried a sample from my bottle said Trophee revealed ambergris in the drydown, as indicated by a "salty marine oily vibe" (which I didn't notice, so I assume that's a subtle aspect of ambergris).

Even though it's not a 'me' scent, I give Trophee a thumbs up because it is indeed beautiful, and 100% wearable in modern times by fans of elegant, sophisticated fragrances.
23rd March, 2012

Balenciaga Paris L'Essence by Balenciaga

Fragrantica lists the main accords for this scent as "ozonic, watery, green". If I'd seen that list beforehand, I wouldn't have bothered testing L'Essence - usually I can't abide anything ozonic/aquatic/watery.

But I like L'Essence (EDP) very much! Yes, there's a cooling, slightly cucumbery aspect to this scent - but it doesn't seem to feature the obnoxious aromachemical Calone.

Is it a green scent? Not in the sense that it contains galbanum (it's no Vent Vert!), but yes it's definitely got the green of violet leaves. The vetiver and 'forest notes' are comparatively subtle.

L'Essence should be equally lovely on men or women: it's got a clean, 'modern', vibe - perfect on a summer's evening. It doesn't develop much with time, just fades away discreetly.

Having said all that, I personally prefer the original Balenciaga Paris for its emphasis on violet's lovely flowers.
23rd January, 2012

Parce Que! by Roberto Capucci

I agree with bbBD that Parce Que! is a floral aldehydic fragrance remarkably similar to (vintage) No. 5. parfum. I recently 'won' a 1/2 oz of PQ! pure parfum for a song, and only just managed to dislodge its 'frozen' stopper.

Side-by-side, these two do smell subtly different: there's a 'wet bark' note in the Chanel that's absent from the Capucci. It could be that my No. 5 sample is not as fresh as it should be, but if I had to choose which smells better, I would have to pick the PQ!
22nd January, 2012

Ma Dame by Jean Paul Gaultier

From reading the many positive reviews of Ma Dame, I really expected to love this scent. I'm no hater of fruity florals, and the notes sounded quite delicious.

However, today I finally got myself a sample and spritzed liberally to find... ugh... lemony cucumber? As far as I can tell, there isn't supposed to be a cucumber note in Ma Dame, so perhaps that's just how my nose is perceiving the vinyl/plastic note to which others refer.

Anyway, this cucumber hater is glad to have just bought a sample and not a whole bottle.
26th December, 2011

Ispahan by Yves Rocher

I grabbed a bottle of this with high hopes - the exotic name and dark blue packaging looked so enticing! Maybe I got a dud, but this (EDT) has such a subtle aroma, it's taken me many tries just to form an opinion. This has gotta be the lite-est oriental out there! I can definitely smell a certain spice/resin note that's also in Opium, and the rest is a soft, powdery mimosa. Ylang-ylang and vanilla are listed as official notes, but they don't stand out for me at all. As the previous reviewer noted, this would be safe for the office - or any occasion where you'd rather be wearing Opium but need to tone things right down.
07th October, 2011

Chimere by Prince Matchabelli

I used up a small bottle of this 'drugstore cheapie' in my late teens. While I couldn't recall the fragrance itself, the mere sight of Chimere's distinctive bottle sparked yearnings to smell it again.

So, I was very excited to get, as part of a job lot, a couple of mls of EDC in the original bottle! The scent was still fresh and instantly recognisable (but no particular memories from the '80s came flooding back, unfortunately).

Tourmaline was spot-on in her note description of Chimere, but my assessment of this fragrance is not so harsh. I don't mind that there's some sweetness to take the edge off the chypre accord. Chimere smells a little plasticky at first, but when that settles, the citrus notes come to the fore and are actually very nice against a background of patchouli and perhaps a touch of incense.

Overall, this is a subtle and quite pleasant fragrance which shouldn't embarrass you in public.
24th September, 2011

Folavril by Annick Goutal

I bought Folavril blind, because it's hard to resist grabbing a bargain Goutal. My initial impression was that F isn't readily distinguishable from other Goutals featuring citrus, herbal, green and tomato stem notes.

However, I just sprayed some Folavril on my arm to smell it properly and - quelle horreur! - it's like I've rubbed a damp handful of laundry detergent powder into my skin. The sour-detergent smell is particularly obvious with my nose directly over the sprayed area. I'm sure it smells like an actual detergent I've encountered which has an intense fake-lemon note.

My eyes were starting to redden, so I tried washing Folaril off my arm, but even soap wouldn't budge the detergent note. Tenacious stuff!

Having said all the above, Folavril's general sillage is actually quite lovely (the offending detergent note must have limited projection), so I'm thinking that this *could* be OK if sprayed only on the lower half of my body.
24th September, 2011

Kai by Kai

Gardenia + LOTV + Tiare '/. 3 = Kai.

Kai is potent, linear and tenacious: good or bad qualities, depending upon whether you like this blend of white flowers. I do, but I'm not sure when -or if- I want to personally broadcast their aromas so loudly.

I have Kai EDP and a tiny sample of the oil. I found it laughable that the little card which came with the oil announced "kai is different on everyone". To me, this fragrance so 'fixed', I think it would be unmistakeable on anyone -or anything- it was sprayed upon.

I can't imagine Kai blending in with a wearer's personal chemistry - it's way too strong and un-human for that. In fact, Kai could be successfully employed to disguise minor lapses in personal hygiene.

01st September, 2011

Gauloise by Molyneux

I find it interesting that a fragrance with this name and style of packaging turns out to be a feminine. The Perfume Intelligence database describes Gauloise as a "fresh green mossy woods powdery-floral aldehyde", and that agrees very much with what I smell.

Gauloise is a popular brand of strong cigarettes produced in France since 1910. The styling of the flacon in the photo (an open cigarette packet), leaves little doubt that this fragrance pays homage to its namesake tobacco sticks. As such, I was initially surprised that Gauloise (the perfume) had no discernible tobacco note - but if it was targeted at smokers, I guess there'd be no need. This fragrance may have been designed to compliment (and probably freshen) the ashtray odours of the person wearing it.

The strangeness (to my eyes at least) of this fragrance's marketing highlights the decline of smoking culture worldwide, which is no bad thing. But it's a shame that Molyneux's Gauloise is also fading into the past, because it really is a delicate, beautiful scent (if rather fleeting, at least in EDT form). If you love fresh aldehydic florals and come across a bottle of this almost-forgotten treasure, I urge you to give it a try.
01st September, 2011

Cavale by Fabergé

On a high after a couple of successful blind purchases of vintage Fabergés, I decided to take a punt on Cavale. I bought a partial bottle exactly like the one in the photo. If I hadn't seen other pics of this fragrance in parfum form, I'd swear there'd been a mistake in classifying Cavale as feminine. To my nose it smells quite masculine* (or at least unisex). Not to mention the style of the bottle and the name.

I could not find a list of notes for Cavale, so I'll have a go at describing them myself.

Cavale opens with strong lemony notes which remind me of Guerlain's Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat. I can also smell verbena and/or lemongrass. These top notes are soon joined by vetiver, herbs, patchouli and moss. I'm sure there's a floral heart, but I cannot distinguish any particular flowers. I agree with the previous reviewer that Cavale is a chypre.

I was going to give a Thumbs Down because I wouldn't want to wear this fragrance. But the more I smell Cavale, the more I think that it's not such a bad example of the style, and the longevity of those lemony notes is actually quite impressive.

*There are a number of other, somewhat similar, scents marketed as feminine which I think smell distinctly masculine - eg. O de Lancome, Malone's Lime Basil & Mandarin and Choc de Cardin - so please regard my assessment as highly subjective.
30th August, 2011

Germaine by Germaine Monteil

On eBay a while back I saw a pure parfum of Germaine going for a song - and I'm now kicking myself I didn't snap it up. But then (as now), I could find no online reviews of this fragrance to guide me. Recently I acquired a mini cologne just like the foreground bottle in the photo above. Ignoring a slightly acetone-tainted opening (to be expected from a vintage cologne), I find Germaine to be a fresh, green, floral chypre of delicate beauty (nb. Perfume Intelligence describes it as a 'green floral').

I've no idea what Germaine's official notes are, but I smell a galbanum and lemony/lime citrus top, followed by non-indolic white flowers and/or crisp rose over a mossy base. I don't detect any herbal notes, so to me it's more feminine than unisex.

Personally, I adore this style of fragrance, so it gets thumbs up from me. On the other hand, it's not particularly distinctive, and somewhat similar to other 'fumes of this type, such as Quartz by Molyneux, Deneuve and Rabanne's Calandre. Still, it's quite gorgeous to my nose (and I reckon would be even more gorgeous in parfum form).
27th August, 2011

Liz Claiborne by Liz Claiborne

Liz Claiborne's signature fragrance is from an era when fruity florals were lush and juicy - not the watery, peppery, pink, modern kind. Despite LC's former popularity, I'd been quite oblivious to its existence until my recent 'tour' of classic fragrances from the past (via blind purchase of minis and partial bottles online).

Another reviewer compared LC to the original Lauren, and I agree that they are both lush, sweet, green florals with a dash of ripe fruit (in LC's case, peach and citrus*). But where Lauren has a clean, almost shampoo-like quality to its freshness, LC's freshly cut flowers bring with them a waft of planty funk (perhaps due the marigold, ylang-ylang, jasmine and/or narcissus* notes?).

I like this kind of scent, but don't rate LC a favourite from the genre. I'm giving it a thumbs up, however if I could control the position of the thumb it would be pointing to 10 o'clock.

* notes as per Fragrantica
05th August, 2011

Histoire d'Amour by Aubusson

I'd long wondered what kind of scent HdA's distinctive flower-topped bottle contained. And thanks to a mention on this site's "Unsung Treasures' thread, I finally purchased a mini to find out for myself.

Expecting HdA to be a floriental like so many other 80s scents, I was quite suprised to discover that it's a chypre. I absolutely adore HdA's opening blast of sparkling citrus and galbanum (one of my fave perfume notes), and for that alone I will probably buy a bigger bottle when next see a bargain.

I wish I'd been able to blind test this scent, because its romantic name and super-feminine bottle may be fooling my nose into reading it as more floral/powdery than it actually is (and here I defer to the greater experience of the previous two reviewers). The more I sniff and ponder HdA, the more I register its herbal, woody aspects. Still, I would place it to the feminine side of unisex.

A friend said of my wrist where I'd applied HdA: 'it smells like one of those expensive ones'. Take a bow, Aubusson.



04th August, 2011