Reviews by From Smoke

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    From Smoke
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    Showing 1 to 26 of 26.
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    Vanille Intense by Nicolaï

    Vanille Intense Experience Diary:

    First Spray: Confusion! Clamor! Chaos!

    5 mins. in: Coming in to focus.. sweetness... Caramel? No. Creme Brulee? No...

    10 mins. in: That's it! It's licorice! Very high quality, smooth, dark, rich licorice.

    BAM! BAM! BAM!

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present... Jaipur Homme, by Boucheron."

    (And it stayed that way for the rest of the day)

    WTF?

    Now, I like Jaipur Homme quite a bit, but I don't expect to find it 1. wearing the label "Vanille Intense" and 2. being offered at a niche price.

    Conclusion: This fragrance is like paying Lalique to reproduce your Tupperware.

    Recommendation: Although obviously of good quality materials, this is a seriously mislabeled fragrance. It should be called something like "Licorice Vanille Pour Homme" As such, it's fine-- but why spend the money on niche when good versions already exist in mass market?



    26 September, 2011

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    Vanille Tonka by Nicolaï

    Vanille Tonka Experience Diary:

    At Spray: What lovely limes! So luscious! So bright and fresh!

    1 min. in: Well, that's done. No surprise, citrus seldom lasts but it was delightful

    1min. in continued: Where is everybody? There's a party somewhere, but not here.

    5 mins. in: Two parties! A top notes party (sweet) and a base notes party (dry) no blend.

    15 mins in: Now we've got mingling! Par-tay! Great quality ingredients and balance!

    30 mins. in: Beautiful silage: A golden song of Orange blossom and Vanilla.

    1 hour in: What's that dusty bit on skin? Growing... growing... not to my taste...

    2 hours in: It's the cinnamon! not loud but inescapable. tainting everything...

    3 hours in: Everything fading. Sickish cinnamon going with the rest. fading.

    4 hours in: Largely gone-- what a ride!

    Conclusion: Beautiful structure, beautiful citrus top note, beautiful silage (possibly the best I've ever smelt) but the cinnamon (dusty, hot, throat-closing) doesn't sit well with me. Pervades the fragrance and makes it a (regretted) no go.

    Recommendation Recommendation Try more PdN work pronto!

    25 September, 2011

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    Ambre Noir by Sonoma Scent Studio

    My Ambre Noir experience diary:

    At spray: Wow! Sweetness blast! Honey, sugar, candy Amber.

    5/10 mins. in: Prickly! What's that? Pepper? Peppered Candy! Fun! A little gritty/flinty/crunchy

    30 mins. in: Balance. Zen beauty. Rich amber with a peppery lift, flinty pencil shaving base.

    1 hour: Pepper fading, Pencils growing. Clear modern woods. A touch Ormonde Jayne.

    2 hour: Pepper gone, woods keep blooming, growing colder, impersonal, loosing interest.

    4 hour: Harsh modern synth-like drydown. Dull. Chemical woods. Memory of amber fading.

    6 hour: Faint tickle: pepper, amber, woods,

    Conclusion: It seems to be a good quality product. For the most part it has a good balance and the 30 min. to 1 hour span is lovely. The modern woods seem cold and impersonal to me, lacking character or individuality. I'm not wear it, it's not wearing me, we're just somewhat adjacent each other.

    Recommendation: Support independent perfumers! Buy some and judge for yourself!


    24 September, 2011

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    Escale à Pondichéry by Christian Dior

    Well, this is certainly a boat that sailed without me.

    After what seems like 10 seconds of light "Citrus" Escale a Pondichery on my skin turns into a death-match between a tired "Tea" note and a harsh industrial "Woody-Amber". It's as though a cheep dupe of Elizabeth Arden Green Tea were trying to strangle the dry-down of Versace Bright Crystal.

    This is my first "Eau de Windex" experience and it's remarkably unpleasant.

    To each his own.

    24 August, 2011

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    Labdanum by L'Occitane

    A pleasant scent. It moves smoothly from Citrus/Spice, to Labdanum, to Vanilla.

    On the whole it is more "Sweet" than "Warm".

    Considered as a feminine it is a little more spicy and darker than many vanilla based fragrances at this price point.

    Considered as a masculin it is possibly overly sweet, especially in the mid-notes.

    26 July, 2011

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    Poudre d’Orient by Le Labo

    "I'm fading... fading... fading..." Pd'O seems to start diminishing from the first spray out of the bottle. Just moments after application it feels like I'm standing next to someone who sprayed on a nice perfume a few hours ago.

    Balance seems to be a problem. At times the Violet Leaf is very loud and the Suede Musk is very quiet (that odd quiet of a loud noise heard on a bad speaker). The Violet Leaf seems like it's trying to scream and the Suede Musk is being stuffed down its throat.

    The odd volumes and the lack of development give Pd'O a strangely synthetic feeling. Although the notes themselves are largely pleasant, there is a great deal of "white noise" around them.

    18 May, 2011

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    Fleurs Blanches by L'Aromarine

    Fleurs Blanche is a pleasant, light, "White Flowers" fragrance with many interesting vegetal touches to keep it from being cloying.

    The packaging/bottle is charmingly retro-- Art Nouveau

    The price is agreeable

    The scent is long lasting and (on my skin) cycles between lilac, hyacinth, and lilly of the valley with each sniff.

    It's often described as a "young girl" scent, but why play into stereotypes? White flowers are for everyone: chic guys, burly dudes, sexy grannies. Sometimes contrast is the most exciting element of all.

    In short, Fleurs Blanch is a interesting white flower fragrance which is neither cloying nor heavy-- rather a "Fracas" for spring.

    14 March, 2011

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    Eau Lente by Diptyque

    While delightful, "Eau Lente" seems more like a smell than a perfume.

    The warm, spicy melange seems more like a room-spray or a pomander-- pleasantly fragrant, but not particularly connected to the skin.

    The rich scent and the subtle yet lasting notes would seem to indicate a hight quality product, but the lack of a personal connexion makes this less interesting to me as a body fragrance.

    12 January, 2011

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    Ninféo Mio by Annick Goutal

    Petitgrain Pain, Pure and Plain.

    I have not yet learned to love Petitgrain, and on me Ninfeo Mio is a plentiful petitgrain profusion.

    I spray "NM" and for half an hour I get a confused citrus jumble, then the "Big P" comes in: Powerful, Propulsive, and Prodigious.

    It smells high quality but far too intense to be pleasant. The chemical quality is overwhelming-- like an industrial detergent, or a scouring agent for the sinuses.

    I don't blame "NM", I blame myself-- my lack of experience/sophistication, my personal chemistry, what have you.


    If you're a Petitgrain Purist, you'll be in a pleasant and plentiful paradise.

    If you're a Petitgrain Penitent, you'll be persecuted, punished, and probably polished off.

    13 July, 2010

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    Pour Un Homme by Caron

    I have a completely emotional reaction to this fragrance.

    First lavender makes me feel clean: not just washed, but cleansed, made better, refreshed and improved.

    Second, the vanilla makes me feel snugly: warm, inviting, baby-blanket innocent cuddly. I want to hug myself. I feel like I'm being hugged-- that other people I like want to hug me too.

    For me this fragrance is all about calm, relaxed intimacy-- like sitting on a picnic blanket leaning against someone you care for and watching the sun set over a river. You could talk, or not, or sing, or whisper, or laugh, or simply watch the sparkle in the warm dusk.

    Trust, Love, Trust love.

    These are the emotions this fragrance brings up in me.

    18 June, 2010

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    Harajuku Lovers - G by Gwen Stefani

    H - Hopelessly
    A - Air-Headed
    R - Rubbishy
    A - Annoying
    J - Juvenile
    U - Undeveloped
    K - Know-Nothing
    U - Unfortunate

    L - Laughable
    O - Over Priced
    V - Vapid
    E - Embarrassing
    R - Ridiculous
    S - Scent

    G - Gack!

    20th May, 2010

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    Marescialla by Santa Maria Novella

    Marescialla is a fascinating blast of perfume history. Spicy and warm it truly lives on the body in the way some of the older perfumes do-- sometimes blending with our human odors, sometimes masking them, or running parallel to them.

    Wearing Marescialla makes me think of the ancient ways we humans used to perfume ourselves: wearing coronets of herbs, keeping spices in personal pomanders, having sprigs of green pinned to our clothes or braided in our pockets.

    The shot from the bottle is strong and medicinal-- making the link between Farmacie and Parfumarie perfectly clear. You may wonder if you've made a terrible mistake, but be brave and patient, after about half an hour the herbs and spices balance out and I'm rewarded with at least eight hours of gorgeous herbage.

    There are no floral notes. There are no "Sugar" notes. There is no vanila. There is no modern smoothness to the composition. What you get is a thrilling whiff of olfactory history-- as exciting and romantic to some as it is off putting to others.

    07 May, 2010 (Last Edited: 26 April, 2012)

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    La Haie Fleurie du Hameau by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    (in Bable Fish French)

    Ce parfum est avec du charme.
    Il est simple et assez.
    Il est malheureux que la simplicite soit si chère.

    25 April, 2010

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    Ambre / Amber by L'Occitane

    Ambre is like a good-hearted but not very interesting friend-- so kind, so warm, so eager to please, without a sharp tone or a bitter note in their body, but yet... tiresome? No. Fatiguing? No? Dull? Not exactly. You want to like them more because they're obviously so well-meant, and after all isn't warmth worth something in this cold cruel world?

    And like such a friend Ambre is sometimes most delightful in retrospect. The next day and a shower later Ambre finally had the faintness to have a little mystery, a little withholding mixed with all that ambery generosity and it was.. an intriguing memory.



    24 April, 2010

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    Secret Mélange by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    Straight out of the bottle -- Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! Delicious, delightful spicy orange, what bliss!

    First hour -- Orange, Clove, & Love! A nice balance of lovely things. Obviously high quality materials. Christmas Potpourri in a bottle.

    Second hour -- Everything fading, a flatness coming on,as Foetidus says, it seems to be an odor, not a perfume. I feel like I'm wearing high-quality room-spray.

    Third hour -- Sadness. Depression. All top and mid notes gone. Strange base note is all that's left (some kind of patchouli? an herb?) smells plasticky, cold and unpleasant, starting to trigger sinus headache above the left eye-- ick.

    It all started so well and then, well, c'est la parfum, c'est la vie.

    12 March, 2010

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    Samsara by Guerlain

    Ah, Samsara, I adore you-- even though I know I shouldn't.

    Yes, you're cheap and stonkingly synthetic, yes, you're "B-Grade" Guerlain, yes your bottle has the tragic ugliness of a shampoo container, yes, you've been saddled with some of the more moronic ad-copy in high end perfumery... but, oh, you kid!

    You tell me things I want to hear.

    When you're with me there's no Jasmine or Ylang, only powdery narcissus and milky sandalwood on a luxuriant vanilla-type base.

    Hours and hours of sweet, sexy whispers.

    You're a guilty pleasure. You're the triumph of pillowy delight over taste.

    You're too bad to celebrate, but too indulgent to resist.

    I'm ashamed of you, but that won't stop me.

    I'm yours.




    06 March, 2010

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    Spanish Amber by Pacifica

    This is an amber soliflore (soli-note?) of medium range.

    The benefits of this fragrance is the precision of application control.

    Middle and lower end Ambers can be difficult to apply-- too sweet, too heavy, too light, too thick, too much variation over time. "Spanish Amber" is easy to apply and neither grows nor shrinks much during wearing. It has about a 6 hour duration, and for that time it smells pretty much the same and at the same volume as ten mins. after application.

    That's the good news.

    The bad news is that same quality makes "Spanish Amber" really... amazingly... boring...

    It's not bad, it's simply unchanging in a way that makes it seem more like a scent for a soap that a perfume.

    05 March, 2010

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    French Lilac by Pacifica

    This fragrance is a good, strong stink.

    It is a Lilac soliflore with a pleasant, bottom-heavy blatancy.

    No multiple notes, no time development, just a vibrant, midrange quality Lilac.

    And sometimes, that's just what you want.


    05 March, 2010

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    MV3 by M.A.C

    A little touch of leather... hmm.. what it can do!

    Amid all the fruities and sugaries MV3 comes off as... what is this? A touch of darkness? A touch of sophistication? A touch of leather?

    It's still mainstream and reassuringly commercial, but it has something more.

    I can imagine this as a gateway drug luring those who are innocent simply because they are inexperienced.

    "Come away from the 'Pink Sugar'" it cries. "Put down the 'Flowerbomb' and dance with me!" it breathes.

    "Let me whisper to you of 'Musc Ravageur' and 'Cuir de Russie' and the sad sexy story of 'Cabochard'" it intreats.

    Will they listen?

    Will they give in?

    Will they feel a little touch of leather on their skin?

    03 March, 2010

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    28 La Pausa by Chanel

    Meh.
    What is the point of quality without personal enjoyment or longevity?

    Yes, this has all the Chanel "Les Ex" swank.
    Yes, it's basically spray on money.
    Yes, it's beautifully balanced.

    But...

    1. On me it smells like cold celery pie left out in the rain. (Those would be the green notes and dough notes and watery notes of the iris root, respectively.)

    2. The whole production plays through in somewhere between 3 to 4 hours, which is mighty fleeting for this kind of moolah.

    28 February, 2010

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    David Beckham Pure Instinct by Beckham

    Mainly muddled, mostly moss middling mutant masculine

    23 February, 2010

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    Green Tea and Jasmine by L'Occitane

    This is a charming scent and for about the first hour almost a photo-realistic representation of jasmine green tea, which I find delicious and delightful.

    Starting in the second hour the scent slides from jasmine green tea into fresh tobacco leaf, still green, but a little darker and herbal, not as flowery.

    The scent is neither overtly masculine or feminine. It projects lightness and refreshment.

    The strength and longevity is somewhere between eau de toilette and flower water.

    This brings up my main complaint about it-- charming though it is, it's overpriced by about 50%.

    L'Occitane seems to have a tight grip on their distribution (good for them, not so good for impoverished scent fiends) so there seems to be little chance of getting GT&J for less than retail.. and the scent, although pleasant, is simply not worth the asking price.

    Especially when light scent sprays like Heritage Products Flower Waters are available.

    17 February, 2010

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    Dior Addict 2 by Christian Dior

    Wow, that was.. timid.. and fast.

    I'm a man who likes light florals as a change from the traditional masculine fragrances now and then, but wearing this perfume was like trying to balance petals on my pulse points on a breezy day-- pleasant for about 30 seconds and then "Whoop!" gone.

    I experienced no silage and laughably short longevity.

    Are there even heart or base notes in this thing?




    11th February, 2010

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    Encre Noire by Lalique

    Two stacked black cubes: one glass, one wood. What do they hold? What mysteries swirl within these cubes of night?

    The first sniff: burning, smokey, cold yet intriguing.

    The inky allusions pile up: the inkwell bottle, the blackness, the acrid smell of the ink, the cedar of sharpened pencils, a bit of gritty graphite.

    Then the longeurs: out of the bottle on to skin and its... fine. Fresh. A little bland. A little flat, like a photo which catches your eye, but when examined closely isn't as interesting as you thought at first. A little disappointing.

    Then time passes: the whispers begin. didn't it just smell deeper than before? What was that bit of silage--so smokey! Wow, this thing is not going away... a bit of deep woods warmth like laughter in a shadowy forest...

    More time passes: another curl of fragrance.. burning temples.. ancient cities... wow, it's still going, like a swimmer reaching out for a long pull in inky water.. not even beginning to feel tired hours later.. drifting... dreaming... the black water of the Nile... the cedar shavings packing precious antiques...

    History is written in Encre Noire.

    06 February, 2010

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    Casmir by Chopard

    Casmir has a lovely name and a charming bottle.

    To my nose the opening is a blast of cheerful synthetic banana, which so surprised me that I laughed out loud (no bad thing).

    No one else I had smell it smelled the banana so perhaps that's just the way my brain processed the coconut mango vanilla melange = banana pudding.

    After about an hour on my skin the heart note floral and vanilla combo take over and the effect is rich and high quality.

    After about three hours the base-note darkness starts to deepen the edges of the golden vanilla cloud.

    For a man like me this is certainly an under the shirt fragrance. One shot to the sternum and you have a gorgeous private party for you and anyone special enough to be that close to you.

    06 February, 2010

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    Infusion d'Iris by Prada

    It is light with a translucent quality.

    It would be an good scent for a man looking to get away from the usual lines.

    30th January, 2010

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