A less interesting, less complex Lolita Lempicka (of which I also am not a fan). It's softer and less headache inducing than Lolita, but it lacks the stuff that would make me reconsider my dislike of it (the interesting smokey chocolate note that makes me keep sniffing my arm in wonder, hoping I'll give it another chance but just can't stomach the strength of it). La Petite Robe Noire has that same sickeningly saccharine powder-cherry that gets on my nerves, and that's about it. There's nothing "noire" about this fragrance, and on my 33 year old self, it screams, "I don't wanna grow up...I want a cherry pixie stick...waaaah!" How is this a Guerlain?? I'll stick with Shalimar and Jicky, thank you.
On first spritz, I'm reminded more of a "darker" Coco Mademoiselle than the original Coco - I find this disappointing because I wanted the spiciness of Coco but richer and darker (is that possible? So perhaps my expectations were flawed from the start because I like the original Coco so much!). When I think about it, I'm not sure there is much "noir" here. It's got that cloying fruit of Mademoiselle. About halfway through, I start to like it a bit more. It does become darker and slightly muskier, but it's still not intriguing. This one might even remind me more of Bath and Body Works' Black Amethyst than the similarity I found between it and Coco Mademoiselle. It's not that it smells cheap or severely off-putting (the previous reviewer is right that this is well-blended), but it doesn't grab me the way older Chanel fragrances do. I'll say this for it: the longevity is amazing, and I can smell this hours and hours later...but does that matter if I'm not enjoying it when I enjoy so many of Les Exclusifs so much better? The final dry down is quite nice and more reminiscent of the original Coco, albeit lighter and maybe more wearable for some who found Coco too heavy (yes...LIGHTER, yet labeled "noir"...so confusing). And the bottle is fantastic. It's not a scrubber, but for me this is more of a flunker than a flanker - an unnecessary addition to the already confusing mix-of-a-flanker that is Coco Mademoiselle (something I once liked in my mid 20s but as I've gotten older can't stand). This couldn't have been difficult to put together with the base for it obviously being all Mademoiselle. Polge must be laughing all the way to the bank with this one.
I LOVE this fragrance! I've been tempted to write Demeter and ask them to make a "Warm Kitty Fur" or "Cat in the Windowsill" fragrance or something because I love the musky smell my kitties have after they've been sitting in the hot sun. Well, this is it! I must have found this one through one of the basenotes threads about cat fur...who knows? But I like minimalist woodsy fragrances on my husband, and he likes them, too (is it weird that I want him to smell like a dusty warm cat? hah!). He's not a fan of heavy spice on himself (but he loves it on me!), and he's been trying to find more woodsy colognes that he can tolerate, but I often steal this one to wear for myself, too (yay for true unisex fragrances). This one is just strong enough without being overpowering, and the longevity is decent on the skin - although very close to the skin after a few hours. It does have a dustiness to it, but I don't find it as musky or animalic as most labeled as such (I'm thinking of the strong civet in Jicky). This and Atelier Cologne's "Bois Blonds" are two favorites of his now, and they have similar dusty-woodsy attributes that we both find attractive.
Horribly synthetic. Starts with a pleasant enough floral that reminds me of Ralph Lauren's Romance "Always Yours" - generic but okay for a mass-market floral. The horror, on my skin anyway, starts about half an hour later when it morphs into a sporty cheap masculine cologne/aftershave/men's antiperspirant. I kept sniffing around my couch, thinking that my husband must have fallen asleep after his alarm went off this morning and had gotten some deodorant on the couch or something (which I was going to promptly tell him to try a different scent!). Then I realized it was my arm! Ick. Seriously not a fan of this one.
At first, I really loved this - and my friends and mom love it, too. It's very similar to Tocca's "Stella," but more simple and linear. But then something happened, and now I can't get past what others here are calling the "candied" aspect of the blood orange. It's just too sweet and becomes cloying after a while. It's great for a quick pick-me-up, but I don't like spraying this directly onto my skin. I do recommend the bodywash, though - it's wonderful and the fragrance isn't as sweet.
I felt the need to add my thoughts on this BBW offering because there are so few by the company that I care to even think about. I have to give this one a thumbs up because of the value and the interesting qualities of this fragrance. I have the discontinued eau de parfum (the one in the inkwell/paperweight-looking bottle). I've been selling several fragrances on ebay these days simply because my collection has gotten out of control (bye bye Coco Mademoiselle!), and this BBW fragrance keeps going in the "for sale" box....but then I end up taking it back out again and again. I don't gravitate toward it as much as my other fragrances, but each time I sniff it I'm intrigued by it. I usually prefer woodsy or "green" fragrances, with the exception being my love of jasmine and iris (mmmm...Chanel iris a la 28 la pausa!). And fruity fragrances are generally on my "absolutely not!" list. P.S. I love you is a fruity floral that blows my mind because, while I generally don't wear it out, once in a long while I enjoy spritzing a little on my wrist and sniff to lighten my mood. It's mellow, unexpectedly complex, and makes rose more interesting. Upon first spray, it's bright and cheerful. It isn't headache inducing, the dry-down is warm and sexy incense, and all the while strangely comforting. Sexy and comforting? So strange! I saw another review on another site that described the rose as winery rose, and I have to agree: there is an interesting wine note that I love (perhaps the described "sparkling riesling" note? but more of a red smell to my nose, not riesling). All-in-all, it's interesting, it's wearable, and those who like complex rose fragrances will really like this one - too bad it's discontinued!
One of my least favorite Chanel fragrances, I'm afraid. I guess the name is appropriate - nice, easy to work with, but nothing special. On me, it's linear, sweet and soapy freesia. It's not a scrubber, but it isn't one I'd ever buy for myself. Perhaps the pure perfume would change my mind, as this is a review for the EDT from Les Exclusifs.
Vetiver can be astringent for some, but I absolutely adore it...and Sycomore is a wonderful rendition of vetiver! Before trying Sycomore, I had found a fragrance from Bath and Body Works that has been discontinued called "Indian Vetiver" (to all you vetiver lovers: if you can find this on ebay, I recommend you grab it because you can't beat the price for a good, long-lasting vetiver!), and I realized I loved this exotic grass. Interestingly, Sycomore reminds me of that BBW fragrance, but has MUCH more depth and complexity. When first applied, I get a much darker, woodier smell; however, the dry down is full-blown fresh vetiver...almost identical to the much less expensive "Indian Vetiver." Also, Sycomore has greater longevity than most of Les Exclusifs.
I'm disappointed in this one. At first, I thought "woah, this reminds me of summers at home on the beach!," but then came the dry-down. YUCK. There is something very "off" and rancid about the dry-down that I can't quite put my finger on. Although, like all Demeter fragrances, Salt Air didn't last too long, there was still this lingering, dull sickening smell that turned my stomach a couple of hours later. Bleh. Maybe this would work for me as a short-lived room spray to bring back memories of my hometown, but I want it nowhere near my skin!
31 rue Cambon, Bois des Iles, and Cuir de Russie are head-to-head in the race for my affection! I love woodsy-florals, and 31 rue Cambon is so interesting and beautiful. As with all Les Exclusifs, I wish it had better longevity.
28 La Pausa is a lovely woodsy/green flowery iris with a citrusy-vetiver dry-down. It's easy to wear, but it still has character. One of my favorites from Les Exclusifs.
So...much.....alcohol. I can't tell if I like the actual sandalwood scent because it is covered up by the overabundance of alcohol smacking me in the face upon first spritz.
Okay, 30 minutes later and I finally smell a hint of sandalwood...a very good sandalwood, but not good enough as a body fragrance. I have to literally stick my nose on my arm to smell it. I'd rather use a higher quality, stronger-smelling sandalwood oil. Disappointment.
I like Coco Mademoiselle for what it is - immature, silly, and oddly spicy-sweet in the dry-down. It isn't my go-to Chanel fragrance because I prefer the darker, woodier "mature" fragrances, but I respect Mademoiselle as a kind-of compromise when considering the newer grapefruit fragrances being produced. I find it light and fun, and I always get compliments when I wear it (albeit, those compliments are coming from my college students! haha). It's not the most sophisticated, and I certainly wouldn't call it sexy, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I'd call it a young, happy fragrance : )
iMaverick's review is spot-on, and I feel silly even adding to it! Chanel 19 was the first Chanel that I fell in love with, and it was the reformulated pure perfume. I don't think I would have given Chanel n.5 another chance if it hadn't been for the instantaneous love I had for 19 and then Coco. THEN I snagged the original french formula n.19 parfum on ebay, and....wow! What an amazing fragrance! On me, the original 19 is VERY earthy, mossy, and dark with little flower. The reformulation is lovely and more floral, but it doesn't have the same mysterious power of the original oakmoss formula. I swoon when I catch a whiff on my wrist hours after application. People must think I'm crazy when they see me constantly sticking my wrist to my nose! : )
As for the EDP, I'm sorry to say that it smells rancid on me. Bleh! It's harsh and oily smelling...so strange. The EDT is much closer smelling to the reformulated pure perfume, and I use it the most because I save the original perfume for when I need a special pick-me-up. Wonderful stuff!
A personal story: a colleague of mine, who is rather off-putting and distant in her demeanor, recently sat next to me while I was grading papers. She rarely speaks to anyone, other than the pleasantries of co-workers who aren't close but respect each other. I can't envision her as a fragrance-lover - she's all business and theory. Suddenly, she grabs my arm and says, "I'm so sorry, but what in the world are you wearing?! Not to scare you or anything, but I want to take a bite out of your arm (*insert funny munching sounds here*), you smell so yummy!" This is my Ormonde Woman pure perfume story...and I can't say much else about it because to analyze such a unique fragrance would destroy the magic : )
04th December, 2009 (last edited: 11th January, 2010)
Okay - so I had to give my opinion on this 'popular for the masses' fragrance. You have to give Bath and Body Works a little credit for this one. I have enjoyed a couple (and I do mean no more than 2 or 3) fragrances from BBW, besides my love for the Scentport plug-ins (sandalwood vanilla rocks!). I admit to having an off-again/on-again love affair with Japanese Cherry Blossom (hey, the hubby finds it hot!) Being the snob that I am, I probably would never wear these fragrances when going out...like "out out," and probably not even to teach undergrads who honesty don't care about my class nor my perfume. However, I like a spritz of a nice smell after the gym or in my car...or even when cleaning the house. Would I want to waste my Coco Mademoiselle during these moments? No. Is Black Amethyst close enough to remind me of Coco Mademoiselle without the guilt of "wasting" my Chanel? Yes.
Black Amethyst has more depth than many perfumes in the same price range, and on me I get all middle and bottom notes which is really great. I know the top notes are supposed to be comprised of fruit and melon or the equivalent of those, but I don't smell those notes one bit (thank goodness!). The first sniff is a little sweet (although again - not fruity nor melony) for my tastes, but it is the same with Coco Mademoiselle for me. In contrast, the dry down has a much deeper earthy pitch to it without losing any sexy (albeit younger) femininity. This is much more complex than I ever would have imagined from BBW, and I now feel like a snooty jackass for having scoffed the idea of trying it for so long.
You can't write off a perfectly nice (I didn't say "amazing") fragrance because it is a bit of a rip-off of some other favorites. Any pleasant smell has a time and a place, and while I don't love this fragrance I will still give it a thumbs up simply for the low price tag on a surprisingly lovely fragrance for those times when you just don't care to bring out the big guns, or those times that we all have when we just can't splurge on the pricier stuff. Black Amethyst - you are a-okay in my books!
Awwww....poor Cleopatra. This perfume has gotten a lot of negative flack on many sites for its simplicity. It does smell like a light dusting of jasmine to me, but I'm perfectly happy with it. When I'm not in the mood to wear something complex and heavy, I always reach for this fragrance. People who dislike perfume tend to be okay with it. Best of all, this fragrance doesn't smell as artificial to me as some, and it reminds me of my inlaws' (who are from India) jasmine plants. I used to pick the flowers off the plant and crush them between my fingers just to get my jasmine fix. Now I can just spritz a little of this delightful fragrance and breathe deeply. I guess it is different for different people, but I got very little musk and spice from this one (not that I would complain if I did!).
I have mixed feelings about Nahema. I sometimes like it, but I sometimes cannot get past the waxy melted crayon smell. I could almost give a hesitant thumbs up (a slanted thumb, perhaps?) because, well....I rather like the smell of crayons! : ) However, I'm not sure I want my wrists to smell like rose-scented crayons. It's a tough call. There isn't anything offensive or daring about the perfume (therefore some would find this a complete thumbs down because of being 'boring' or not unique enough or something), but I have to agree with those who have said it is shallow in comparison with the likes of Joy, which is just...well...joyful!
My absolute favorite perfume! Of course, my husband would say, "Every perfume you own is your 'absolute favorite'!" Maybe he is right. A favorite fragrance for each individual - and often fluctuating - mood. But no, seriously...this is a wonderful woodsy floral with perfect balance, and it's definitely at the very top of my list. I own many Chanel perfumes, and I find this to be the most wearable.
I had tried a sample of the newer formulation from the Les Exclusifs line and fell in love. Recently (maybe there is a god after all??) I found an older bottle of the EDT (a full and unused 3.4oz!! woohoo!) on ebay for less than $100. I'm comparing the two as I type, and I must say that the newer Les Exclusifs formulation is very similar but perhaps more flowery and less musky? The older bottle's color is definitely darker. The older formulation makes me think of my beloved Jicky with extra sandalwood and less possibility of offense due to civet overload.
Surprisingly I am enjoying the newer formulation a little more at the moment. Maybe it's because I had fallen too hard for my first whiff of the newer Bois Des Iles from my recent Exclusifs sampling. The iris is breathtaking in these newer formulations. One day I'll have to spring for one of those enormous 200ml bottles!
I've tried this fragrance in the EDP version several times, and I just cannot force myself to appreciate it. I wanted to - I find the name, the bottle, the history....EVERYTHING about it fascinating.........except for the smell. And it kills me. No seriously....the smell could kill, and not in a good way!
I'm not afraid of aldehydes (I'm a Chanel girl and get my kicks from 5 and 22, and I love vintage Joy which is chock full of aldehydes AND peaches...a combo I thought I'd never like 'cause i hate fruity+flower fragrances), and I can handle spicy animalic scents (Jicky and Shalimar are favorites of mine). Unfortunately, Jicky, Shalimar, and Nahema are the only Guerlains that have befriended me so far. L'heure Bleue and Mitsouko do the same thing to me. They make me sick to my stomach. Literally. I've never had to scrub a fragrance off of my wrists before puking until trying L'heuere Bleue. It isn't the "skank" factor that many perfumistas laud and that many fragrance lovers just can't get past. I can enjoy "dirty hippie" smells like spice, sweat and musk...and the ol' "morning after" smell. It isn't the "old lady" factor. Most "old lady" perfumes (powder and all) are awesomely sexy to me, and I usually prefer vintage. I'll never understand the statement that a perfume can be "out dated." Fashion never really is. Think about all the inspirations we take from the past and mix into contemporary fashion...just like literature. Classics are classics! But then again, I find many classics over-rated as well....Dickens, anyone?
So, here's the kicker for me: Mitsouko smells an awful lot like mint bubble Orbitz gum on me. Or maybe it's something from Trident? I forget. Smells like a waxy-based, nauseatingly fruity menthol. I swear it does...maybe mixed with a little cough syrup?
UPDATE: Okay, so I became ever-so frustrated at my failed attempt at Mitsouko, and I stand by my review of the EDP that I submitted years and years ago - it has a weird sweet peachy-cherry note that bugs the hell outta me and reminds me of waxy cherry bubble gum. However, out of sheer desperation to understand this one, I purchased a decant of the vintage pure parfum, and I now see what the hubbub is all about. It's fascinating, really - complex, interesting, provocative, and nowhere as sweet and sickly as the EDP. The dry down is a wonderful spicy woodiness that lingers on the skin for hours and hours - love it! Lucky me, I found a bottle of the pure parfum on ebay for a reasonable amount, and it smells even better than the sample - much less fruit, albeit making it a little less interesting. I've heard that the parfum has been through a number of reformulations, and I have no clue which one I bought, but it's a favorite now. I think I might be a convert! But I'm still giving a neutral because the EDP is just that bad on me!
28th July, 2009 (last edited: 09th March, 2012)