Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle. That is Fleurs D'Oranger. An absolute orgy of sparkling, iridescent sequins, glistening megawatt floral notes that seem to dazzle me over and over. This is the Vegas showgirl of Serge's line. All flash, no subtlety.
There is an evenhanded marriage of girly tuberose, pert jasmine, sweet orange blossom, subtle citrus and spicy cumin that is so light and so delicate, it makes you forget that this is a bombshells fragrance. Shades of tangerine, amber and salmon pink are evoked and a glimmer effect comes through the nose. It's fizzy like a cold morning Mimosa.
Orange Blossom by Jo Malone does not compare as it is markedly sheer and filmy compared to this. There is a shiny, firm structure to Fleurs that is hard to achieve in this category of neroli themed florals.
I also love that it can be two things at once. It's sexy that is disguised as cute. I definitely want to wear this on a scooter racing through the French countryside and again in a black satin cocktail dress at a penthouse party. It's a very versatile feminine fragrance, but raciness wins out over sweetness in my opinion.
Funny that this is still considered a unisex product. I would imagine a gentleman would need to possess effervescent good taste to pull this off.
A wonderfully potent and satisfying scent is Daim Blond. So easy, so smooth, so without complication and yet extremely multifaceted.
This is a buffed, matte, dove grey suede sweetened with obvious pinches of iris and apricot. Hidden deep inside is a musk that carries everything long into the finish. There is also traditional leather very clearly glazed over the drydown which lasts for days on fabric and paper. The wear is good and long, not failing. You need not reapply.
The white wood notes that are present throughout along with the musk are very, very woodsy. Many people attest this to smelling like a cleanly sharpened pencil. I personally love that comparison while some loathe it. Without question you have to ride this scent out and let it put on its show. The initial spritz can be a little intimidating.
The lovely Bottega Venetta is suspiciously similar, but not identical by any means. Daim has definitely made an impact if it has already launched a commercial wannabe, even though BV is notably more flashy and textured than this smooth, airy liquid. I have yet to smell Michael Kors Suede which is also rumored to be a starry eyed tribute.
I love jasmine, so naturally I love A la Nuit. Jasmine haters be warned.
This is a blunt, modern jasmine that is relatively indolic, but not as indolic as jasmine heavyweight Nuda by Nassamatto. This is a glowing yet sheer jasmine more forgiving, but not as forgiving as Blush by Marc Jacobs which is so sweet it's almost bug spray.
A la Nuit is a persian princess's garden on steroids. It's almost a soliflore in that it doesn't morph as much as the other Lutens. You just keep getting jasmine over and over. It's actually quite wearable on a hot day and definitely brightened by humidity.
I am disappointed in the staying power though and do suggest you rely on wearing it off of places where it doesn't rub away easily, like the wrist. In the elbow crease, on the shoulders and in the hair would be better.
Chypre isn't a genre. It's a 'tude. With that being noted, I have to admit I don't carry much of the chypre 'tude, but I certainly get it and like it.
Mitsouko is the wonderfully weird abstract scent that is a godmother of hard to categorize perfumes. It definitely smells like all the noted ingredients were baked and dried for an oddly flat, yet soft affect. I remember my first sniff 5 years back was a slam of peach and cinnamon with dirty herbs. Today I get more of a soft melting of the two worlds. The marriage of the peachy floral warmth to the dry green woodiness is clever and cozy, but still a wee bitter for my tastes.
The unmistakable oakmoss and woodsy finish is pleasant and sophisticated like a rich grandmother who buys tailored tweed blazers. She seems like she would be harsh, but she would actually like to take you out for ice cream and shopping.
It has so far settled into the sample paper for 21 hours and has left unmistakable traces front and center. That is staying power people. Mitsouko isn't my favorite Guerlain, but I prefer it to L'Heure Blue which is pretty, but too dry and filmy for me to wear.
I notice that different batches sometimes look....different. Some juices look peachy amber, others pale acid yellow.
Coco is the smoky eyed brunette to No. 5's red lipped blonde. There's a lot less subtlety and more flippant color. Think saxophones in lieu of pianos.
Top notes are glimmering orange and vague segments of southeast tropics. It's markedly warm and sweet (perhaps cloying to some) while retaining a great spice trailer. Floral notes like rose and orange flower are overpowered by the dark gourmand ones that come at the end. The drydown lasts forever and ever. Tonka and vanilla are the big lingerers, very thick and strong.
All spice and syrup, I feel it's the more enigmatic of the 80's oriental princesses. Obsession is too glossy and Poison too fizzy, but Coco is just opaque enough to be the solid winner for its sensible loudness. The wholly recondite sex appeal puts it in the category of covered up eroticism rather than bare skin sexy. Once you remove the shoulder pad and cigarette images associated with its launch, you discover it's truly a modern scent better suited to third dates than boardrooms.
This all being said, I definitely wouldn't wear it. I would however encourage very hot hot Bettie Page types to buy it in bulk.
One of the major fragrances that smells completely different on my skin as opposed to paper is Shalimar.
On paper I get the big blast. A fistful of powdery sensuality anchored with high pitched lemon, dense beany vanilla and bergamot. I'm immediately transported. The after effects are a pleasant dry vanilla with that herbal lavender colored velour that all Guerlains seem to contain. It whispers oriental rather than sings it.
However, on my skin I get a different world inhabited mostly by powdered vanilla. I can't get the citrus. The fade is very fast. An hour after application I have nothing but a barely noticeable hint of sweet baby powder. Why is that? No clue. Whatever it is, it's something in me. The paper sample smells rich roughly 3 hours after application.
I will say that even with my poor chemistry, I still love Shalimar. Never mind that I likely can't wear it. It's so calm and frothy. I love its dainty chantilly creme' in contrast to the fatty pate' of other orientals. It's no wonder this was Rita Hayworths favorite perfume. It's feminine and sensitive, but at the same time bold, plump, vampish.
The batch I smelled was the latest in the newly redesigned black ribbon bottle. I recall a few years ago smelling the classic tassled bottle and noting a distinct bitterness that turned me off. Maybe a louder bergamot in the old batch?
25th March, 2012 (last edited: 27th March, 2012)
Welcome to the entirely too sweet Lolita version of the classically tuned oriental. It's like the buxom little coquette in the lowcut Shalimar dress, all sapphire satin and tassles. The only trouble is that it's sauntering into a high school prom instead of a liquor fueled nightclub.
Top notes are cloyingly fruity, but the orange is a welcome improvement over Coco Mademoiselle's churlish grapefruit. I bring up Coco M only because it is blatantly clear that Initial was designed as a competitor. Rose and jasmine keep things classy while the sweet mishmash of fruit keeps the conversation light. I'm having a hard time finding Iris. The drydown is that modern masculine mix of piercing patchouli and vetiver that is femmed up with vanilla.
The composure is actually remarkable. It's timed out right, symphonic and more long lasting on my skin than its mother. It's aim however is clearly sophomoric. The syrupy citrus is only pleasant from far away. Up close this is like badly applied make up where the peach lipgloss is smudged just so and has too much glitter in it. From a distance it stills looks pretty good. I would actually feel comfortable buying this for my niece.
If you like Shalimar, your first impression of Shalimar Initial will be "Where's the Shalimar"? The answer is nowhere.
Big brownie points for the ultra cute bottle.
Even though it is worlds softer and less dynamic than the original, I will say that this is a crisp, smooth, non-annoying modern perfume.
A lot of reinterpretations of older scents can be real eye rollers, designed to appeal to the easily challenged commercial consumer. This is a welcome exception. While lacking the frothy punch of the real 5, this is markedly pleasant and a good clean way to better reintroduce young people to Chanel perfumery.
Think of the original 5 taken down to a solemn place. A place that is less flamboyant, more reserved and agreeable. Now add a smooth green citrus aspect, hard to identify yet very present. Play up the rose, add a silken soft drydown that hums and you get Eau Premiere.
This is probably the worlds most polite fragrance.
All green florals, powder and cedar. There's something about 19 that is both soft and serious. It must be the marriage of dry, sweet flowers with that friendly woodsy cooldown. It's almost like it's saying "I'm for women, but I will never offend you with cleavage or rouge."
I find it markedly less bold than 22 and 5 which are outwardly feminine, while this is like a gamine tomboy.
This extremely "white" white floral is a testament to tropical flowers.
As few gardenia perfumes smell like true gardenia, this one tends to linger in the orange blossom and jasmine realm. A glistening of tuberose is there, but the sharper neroli notes overpower it. The buttery silk associated with white flowers is very fleeting here and gives way to a more wet and watery dry down.
I personally like the hot and humid aspects of it. It definitely says hello and carries on with an upbeat, girly girl style. I like it, but I don't love it as much as I used to.
The staying power is famously short.
I will admit that Cristalle is a challenging scent. It's a little too green.
That being said, I think it's a great warm summer fragrance. Am I weird? I guess I just associate sharp green with hot weather and I don't mind the bitter. Reminds me of going to my grandmothers swampy lakeside house in 100 degree heat and crawling through the brush to get my frisbee.
If you can't stand things like moss, vetiver and bergamot, you probably can't stand Cristalle. The juice itself is tinged green and smells like a dried out garden. Add some lemony juice and cloying flowers on the vine and you get this bitter greyish green aura.
Think No. 19 with all the softness removed.
I would call this a lighter, more genteel version of Coco were it anything like Coco at all. It's more of an original composition than an update on a former fragrance. The name is just the name.
It's your modern day floral spice scent set off by juicy citrus notes for that commercially appealing "youth" edge. Even though it's a week Chanel (sort of like Chanel for girls who wish not to challenge), it's actually a credit to its genre. If you compare it to most other floral orientals that came out in the early 2000's, Mademoiselle is very smart. It has a sparkling, sharp quality lacking in its copycats and the addition of rose and jasmine keeps it from being a gourmand train wreck. In other words, it could have been another Angel wannabe and it wasn't.
That being said, I will admit I haven't repurchased since my husband bought it for me. He picked it out based on the phrase "It smells like spicey yummies" which I interpret as him liking patchouli. That brings me to another thought. Isn't it funny how all Chanel does to market a scent to youth is to slip patchouli under a lot of sweet citrus? Ever smell Chance?
I did notice that when I wore it friends would comment "who smells like roses?". It always strikes me as bizzare that the single nose people pick up from this is the rose. If I could change anything about this scent, it would be the grapefruit. Don't love grapefruit.
No. 5 is always the smell you have to be patient for. It begins so blunt and rides out so slowly and with unflustered ease, you begin to wonder what's so special about it. I remember smelling it for the first time as a teenage girl and thinking "Dust? Dried roses? Doilies?" Foolish, youthful me.
Now I it's my black boots, my beige sweater and my nude lipstick of fragrances. It seems to go with everything.
The powerful jasmine and ylang ylang that sparkle like matte sequins, the inviting sandalwood finish and the hint of rose are all part of the experience. I find the EDP to be long lasting, but not as whisper smooth as the other formulations. I find myself using the Sensual Elixir like parfum when I go out and applying it before bedtime. It should be noted that the Elixir does have a thrust of vanilla not found in the other formulas.
The drydown is intermittently my favorite part, especially as I go to bed. It's powdery, but cool and not heavily spiced or laden with sweetness. It's almost green, but not as green as No. 19.
Now I wear it almost every other day. It's definitely my "safe" choice as the familiar aldehyde and jasmine scent is not exactly groundbreaking or thought provoking. It's just that aura of simplicity, svelte spirit and the feminine that keeps me anchored and confident.
If you don't like tuberose, you probably won't like Fracas. It's loud, proud and most reliably floral. A tuberose soprano if you will?
Fracas is in fact a rich, velveteen floral that scintillates with shades of iridescent fuchsia. It begins bright, without shyness, slinging piercing bittersweet notes difficult to immediately identify. I now know these to be citrus and bergamot. As it unfolds you notice a buttery warmth that melts into that glamourama white floral attitude that Fracas is notorious for.
The tuberose is then singing Madame Butterfly in perfect pitch. The sharpness of orange blossom, jasmine and subtle hints of other mingled florals amongst well balanced spice brings you full circle into some kind of erotic warmth that is nothing close to girlish, but all woman.
The buttery drydown is always long lasting and I'm a fan of the warm sandalwood finish. I can pull it off in the daytime only in winter, but reserve it for night most of the year. I definitely like the compliments. I also know it's loud, so I'm careful to walk through a single mist.
Without a doubt, she's my favorite fragrance.