Perfume Reviews

Reviews by actiasluna

Total Reviews: 22

Eau de Russe by Crown Perfumery

This was marketed as a masculine but to me it's more along the lines of a unisex (this time really... I find many scents marketed to one gender or the other unisex but this one is definitely unisex, it has no "gender-specific hit" to my nose). I think it actually reminds me of a Guerlain in its construction and it's somewhere between Jicky and L'Heure Bleue on my skin. The overall impression does have a "leather" effect but it doesn't smell like leather... if that makes any sense at all!

It's a pity that the Crowns are all discontinued, but as of this writing some of them emerged on a few online sites and are being snapped up like crazy by those in the know.
08th May, 2011

Oudh Noire by Angela Flanders

This scent, according to a coworker, contains all that is embodied in a well-heeled old estate full of antiques. A slightly musty but refined start, with definite earthy overtones, makes one think of libraries full of old volumes and drawing rooms furnished with very old, fine woods that have been lovingly oiled and cared for over time.

This is indeed a darker sort of scent, one that lends a slightly mysterious and old-school-sophisticated air to the wearer. I choose it on days that I want to be perceived as someone who really knows whereof they speak.

Old money, wood, patchouli, and definitely a unisex treat.
24th December, 2010

Anthracite by Jacomo

Anthracite (which incidentally I love) comes across to me as a vaguely fruity floriental... I get a slightly fruity topnote but nothing in particular... it's not as fruity as some Diors (the Poisons for example... and even Dune, which is airy and fruity and woody all at the same time.)

Anthracite has a good deal of "body" (read sillage) through its development. The fruit in the topnotes is somewhat tempered by a bit of bitterness, heat, and spice that keeps the topnotes from becoming sweet. That fruitiness is somewhat overshouted by the floral which is present even in the topnotes and certainly makes this scent "make a statement!"... the floral keeps that statement at a fairly high pitch (but not an obnoxious level) through the heart, and the blend in the drydown is quite spicy, dark, woody, and musky. I believe that this scent is a great one for unisex potential and Bigsly's review supports this claim.

The powerhouse nature of Anthracite is probably the reason it was discontinued, what with the trend toward fruity aquatics with white musk bases these days... however this scent smells absolutely FINE on anyone with a bit of maturity who is looking to make a scent statement that will make an impression. Its longevity is also quite good. Glad I nabbed a bottle just as it was discontinued.

29th October, 2010
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E.M. Ca' d'Oro by J Peterman

An exotic scent with notes of bergamot, musk, amber, almond-hazelnut, sandalwood, and patchouli. That's the ad hype a la J Peterman and it's pretty spot-on, the bergamot does make an appearance albeit brief, and then the rest of the notes come on strong. And beautiful. There is a warmth and a depth to this scent that says both "niche" and "quality"... and the drydown is musky, ambery, woody, earthy, and wonderful.
31st July, 2010

Cabotine by Grès

I am usually not much of a fan of flowery scents. (as one office mate called it, "FLOWERDY")... however, Cabotine is an exception. There is a lovely greenness to the top notes that is refreshing, and the middle notes are flowery indeed, but in a very good way to my nose, fresh, not too sweet, not generic perfumey at all... and I would bet that the vetiver in the base is what helps anchor all the ingredients that make up this scent. I do get the impression it's a MUST TEST FIRST as there are enough other reviews that say it turns horrible on the reviewer's skin... but my own experience says that this is a winner... and an affordable one as well. (check out your TJ MAXX's, they have a lot of it in right now (July 2010) for "a song"... I like it very much and needed something green and "flowerdy" for the summer, and Cabotine is it.
02nd July, 2010

Vetiver by Guerlain

Guerlain Vetiver is one of my all-time favorite scents. I have both the new and older formulations, and find myself reaching for both of them quite often. But the new formulation IS different. I feel that the reformulation has a little less balance than the vintage, a little bit more citrus forward in the top, and skewed so that the nutmeg note comes on stronger than the rest of the spice. Perhaps a tweak to meet the current trend toward FRESH and CITRUS... Still, the reformulation is a great hot weather scent as it is a little "fresher"... but the vintage formulation is the classic grassy, spicy, woody, slightly humusy/earthy vetiver.

A side note about the GV scented all-over shampoo: I wish I knew where I could find an endless source of the old formulation's all-over shampoo, as it is the best product I've ever used on my hair and skin... it smells amazing and my hair is so shiny when I use it... I purchased the reformulation version which is quite different, both in smell and in how well it works... the new formulation is harsh and dries my skin and hair, whereas the old formulation was, well, perfect.
06th June, 2010

Poison by Christian Dior

I resisted the Poison craze of the eighties as at that time I was deep in my resisting the mainstream mode ...scent-wise anything but natural patchouli and musk oils repulsed me, and I must be one of the only people who did not buy perfume, hairspray, mousse, or gel during that era. Only recently have I come to appreciate that there is indeed a place for a sweet wine-grape heady floral chypre like Poison in my scent wardrobe. I have to be in the mood for it, and I have to wait for the drydown, as the topnotes are a little too out front (six yards out front at first!)... but there are days when nothing but Poison will do. Thanks to our own Le Grand Duc for the sample! and as MG says in her review, it's baroque and deep... and wonderful in small doses.
06th June, 2010

Pavlova by Five Star Fragrances

I have a Payot vintage bottle of the stuff, and it is QUITE lovely. Fragrantica lists the notes as: top notes, mandarin orange, cassia, raspberry and grapefruit; middle notes are tuberose, jasmine, hiacynth, neroli, ylang-ylang and geranium; base notes are sandalwood, musk, vanilla, oakmoss and vetiver.

The most impressive thing about this scent is how seamlessly the notes are blended... it gives the impression of a soft, sweet wall of fruity floral wrapped around a warm and earthy base. This never goes cloying or too sweet on my skin and I am so happy that Brielle had a bottle on offer! It is what I would consider a gorgeous romantic feminine scent with tons of class.
05th June, 2010

Émeraude by Coty

I loved Emeraude when I was a kid... and wore it as a teen, probably in its least expensive form. When I received a bottle of vintage Emeraude PDT (which is the parfum version I understand) recently, and a good-sized bottle at that, I suddenly remembered why I loved the scent. (not that I ever really forgot.) The warm lushness of the scent, the way it lasts and lasts and lasts... this is nostalgic comfort for me.

I do see the similarities with Shalimar, and find this smoothly warm in similar ways as well... I agree it isn't as deep as Shalimar, but then again, if I have a day when I need the Emeraude magic, what I'm going to be recalling is my formative years as a young woman, a little lightness and innocence where with Shalimar it's a bit more... mature and sexual. (to me, anyway.)
09th May, 2010

Femme de Montblanc by Montblanc

For me this is definitely a two-stars-only scent. The fragrance pyramid is accurate... I would say it smells more synthetic than natural, which always screams "mall scent" to me.

If I'm in the mood for something light and innocuous to wear to work, I might reach for this. It is gourmand all the way, pineapple and chocolate seem to be the most obvious. A cardamom lover, I did not get a rich cardamom note from this at all. The heart notes are somewhat overwhelmed by the gourmand, pineapple stays and stays. I did not get much cinnamon except perhaps in the fleeting moments of the top.

It's a nice scent, as I say innocuous, and at times the raspberry/chocolate with a pineapple twist come to the fore... I'm unsure about the mixing of woods, amber, and musk with those gourmand scents, it can be a little ... not quite nauseating, but sometimes close. So I'm divided. With that slightly odd combination of spice/herb, floral and gourmand and wood... It is ambitious.

I never get peach, perhaps the pineapple and peach smell too similar in this.

It's not a scrubber, but I have to be in a certain mood or this just gets sprayed over with my tried-and-trues.

I have to say that the heart notes may be floral, but to me this is gourmand all the way.
17th April, 2010

E.M. Rajasthan by J Peterman

The J. Peterman catalog naturally describes this in evocative terms... I love this scent as it has a warm start and a warmer finish...

Spicy sweet top... tea and cinnamon, milky honey...almost clover.

Mid reminds me of Galab Jamun... a syrup, sweet but not too sweet, with a spicy core... there are hints of cardamom's' slightly citrusy but definitely "like perfume in the mouth" explosion when you bite into a cardamom seed... this isn't a gourmand but is more incensey, maybe myrrh.

The base is actually greener, with the cardamom and a little ginger coming up... a sweet incense base with vanilla perhaps. It's somewhat floral, almost a rose, possibly a tea in the base as well... as the base develops there is a slight (very slight) powdery but still beautifully sweet (again not TOO sweet) honey, maybe beeswax... benzoin, and myrrh coming to the fore. Spice, subdued cinnamon and nutmeg...cayenne... This is similar to a masala tea to my nose on the drydown... just enough bite to feel the pepper, ginger... cinnamon... nutmeg... cardamom... sweet, resinous honeyed, beeswax and masala tea. Sweeter on the drydown than the top or mids... I am not a fan of sweet scents but this one I make an exception for.

Longevity on me... I thought it was just a few hours, but this afternoon (the next day) I still have a lovely trace of it on my skin. (And on paper, the drydown 24 hours later smells to me JUST LIKE quality Gulab Jamun, or perhaps fresh cinnamon rolls with a sweet, buttery spiciness. Not gourmand... but I do keep mentioning food!)

Aptly named, but oddly if evocatively described by J. Peterman. Or is it that everyone gets a different impression? ( I think so.) At $40 for a 1 oz. spray EDT it's not a bad deal at all. I wear this when I'm feeling LANGUID...
23rd March, 2010 (last edited: 24th March, 2010)

Ma Griffe (original) by Carven

Vintage versus reformulation. (refinements to this review to come)

Vintage: More powdery top notes, a tiny bit of citrus/bermagot. Sweet and dry.

Followed by the floral heart. Jasmine and gardenia and ylang-ylang for sure in the vintage. WIth the powdery undertone.

Basenotes ... the cinnamon (very light) tonka bean and vetiver start fairly quickly on me (dryish skin) and are pleasant. As they develop the powderiness that was present in the top persists, which may be the "old-fashioned" element to this scent.

I would not wear this every day, but it is lovely in its own way.

Now: the reformulation: aldehyde heavy, not as powdery. Almost eye-watering in comparison to the vintage. Not as refined, but not awful.

The reform. heart is still aldehydic and not as "pretty" floral as the vintage. As the heart develops it smells a bit more like the vintage, but there is a "darker" note to it that says to me the base is coming through.

The base...a heavier cinnamon hit, still a vibrant greenness to the scent. This vibrancy persists without the powderiness of the vintage, and makes the drydown softer, a little "darker"... and more modern than the original.

I like it, and could see wearing this.

(the ideal combo? A spray of each, on alternate wrists. It "vibrates". The strong aldehydes of the new and the powdery top of the old... the more beautiful heart of the old... accented by the sharpness of the new... the powdery base of the old with the dark shimmering softness of the new. IMO, that works.)
16th March, 2010

Maya by Scents of Time

Tonight, testing Scents of Time Maya. So far, the top notes hit me with a dark chocolate and jasmine. No copal incense, with which I am very familiar, not in the top. The heart notes are showing up already, I get the vanilla... jasmine...still dark chocolate. Perhaps the copal is the "dark" to the chocolate, as it is definitely not presenting its resinous pungence/sweetness. We will see how the base develops. The top/heart notes are intoxicating though.

Sillage is moderate and definitely night-blooming jasmine with traces of the chocolate, at least in the heart.

Closer to the skin the vanilla and jasmine are fighting for domination of the chocolate. I think the heart notes are just now emerging, to be honest.

More on this scent as it develops.

Into the heart notes now and it smells almost fruity...sweeter than the top notes, nearly candy-like. (actually somewhat cloying and unpleasant, one element of the heart on my skin smells like that nose-hair-singeing restroom deodorizer... sharply fruit-candylike.) ... Hoping this passes. Further from the skin it is more pleasant fruity/jasmine ... and hints of the chocolate.

(still more later.)

Still a little to sweet candy for me, the less desirable notes have quelled somewhat. In the sillage which is still moderate I am getting the chocolate and jasmine and really do smell copal now. Vanilla is in the background but that "vanilla extract sweetness" may be the reason for the near-cloying heart.

Close to the skin this is overpowering, but it is pleasant just wafting up.

Drydown... I don't think we're there yet.

Ah... I've been trying to figure out what the drydown, which seems to be settling in, reminds me of. It's Mole! To be more specific, Mole Poblano. As I know it, anyway.

Not bad, Not sure I would like this scent all day. (may come back and revise.)
12th March, 2010
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Monk by Michael Storer


Smells like the New Orleans French Quarter at Halloween. Without the booze and garbage/sewage.

MS lists the notes as: Top: Acacia flower, bergamot orange, bitter orange, galbanum.

Middle: Linden blossom absolute, blond tobacco absolute, frankincense resin, beeswax absolute cysts oil, ambrette seed, cocoa absolute, Bulgarian rose absolute.

Base: Aged Indonesian vanilla, tonka bean absolute, civet, sandalwood, Texas cedarwood, benzoin tincture, jasmine absolute, birch tar.

Hmm. Imagine a cocoa-butter-laden tourist in a cathedral with the incense burning full-on. That's the top notes (and this was the first perfume that has caused me to sneeze, although just once) ... Within minutes there is a different character to this scent.

The cocoa fades to ...a jasmine-tea-like frankincense and tobacco, as if the tourist left the building and a pipe smoker came in that tourist's place. I am getting the civet shimmering at the borders now, a little animality to the above combo. Airy and sharp animality? Yeah. Just at the edges. Nothing bergamot though, which is odd... perhaps it's covered up with the cocoa and frankincense and tobacco.

There is indeed a leathery (bookbinding leather, which conjures up yet another cathedralesque image for me) undertone to the early middle notes... a kind of wild dance between the "sacred and profane" seems to be going on here. Dry onionskin paper and leather laced with incense.

... and still a hint of cocoa butter but more cocoa than butter... seem to come to the front as the drydown progresses. Warm and soft, still with the leatheriness beneath, and the touch of tobacco as well.

It is dark, and I can understand why it's been called a Gothic scent. But sweet and warm and dark Gothic, like a New Orleans courtyard. With a little whiff of a good Nag Champa incense floating in from time to time. Must be the tobacco, sandalwood, and tonka.

The drydown has a lovely sweet/acrid woody/civet edge to it. Just before that stage, there is a wonderful slightly sweet leather that rises to the top, before settling to the musk/civet (still slightly sweet but definitely animalic, in that good way Basenoters love).

I am liking this, as it is such a complex scent... a "long-term commitment" of a full, long day of discoveries!

The initial review was based on a sample... edited to reflect further contemplation of a partial bottle later. Sometimes there is a "musty funk" to it at the top that for some might seem offputting... when the Civet seems much more apparent in the top, but other times it is for the first few hours "all about the cocoa." The scent settles down nicely and the Bergamot shows up better in the FB spray. (it showed up not at all in the sample).

This is a scent I love more, the more I wear it. With generous application I am certain it would turn heads on a night out, as its sillage on "normal" (5 sprays) application it leaves a formidable (and gorgeous) wake. It is a favorite of mine for bedtime. And even on days I forget to apply it sparingly, it gets favorable comments at the office.

07th March, 2010 (last edited: 06th January, 2011)

Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel

I love Coco Mademoiselle and wearing the EDP always gets me compliments, or comments like "wow, something in this room smells amazingly good." There is a classic, classy sophistication and clarity to Mademoiselle. It has a rather tea-like middle on me, which could be the lichee-rose-jasmine ... and the middle and basenotes stay, and stay, and stay. For my tastes it is not too "floral" and doesn't shout I"M WEARING PERFUME... but is an element in the room. Which means nice sillage and great longevity. A Pitch Perfect work scent!
04th March, 2010

Aramis by Aramis

I absolutely love Aramis. (Disclaimer: When I was in college, a friend brought me a green bottle she said contained some decanted perfume. I asked her what it was... "Aramis, I think" was her only answer.)

That particular scent has haunted me over the years, and I have not found that exact scent yet. Perhaps the original contents of the bottle... which was globe-shaped at the bottom, had a tall, narrow neck, was about six inches tall, and might have at one time contained balsamic vinegar... had affected the scent. The image that comes to mind is that of a hoofed satyr. (hey, it WAS the 70's!)

That said... Aramis, and particularly Aramis Classic Reserve, are wonderful. On my (female) skin, the topnotes are both citrus and herbal, and wonderfully energizing. The strong topnotes settle down after about a half hour to something comforting and as much as I would like to describe it in fragrance notes, describing it as my childhood in the sage and pinion pine of Colorado, dry, lovely, aromatic notes... does it better.

The base notes are definitely smooth, soothing, leathery, mossy, with some hints of patchouli but not as earthy, and amber or sandalwood. And I can still smell it, some sixteen hours later. (the Aramis Classic Reserve, which seems both smoother and richer than the drugstore/dept. store Aramis).

The closest thing I've found to this is the J. Peterman line 1903... which has its own merits and is different but somehow feels the same, a woody fougere by JP description.
02nd March, 2010

Patchouli Empire by CB I Hate Perfume

Even though the initial experience of this was an accident (I dumped a good third of the bottle of PE absolute on my clothing and skin) ... I am impressed with the scent. Not impressed enough to give this the thumbs-up, but impressed. Even with what Caltha has accurately stated an "aromatherapy oil" smell, or perhaps a bit of a head shop patchouli oil effect. The citrus lightness and patchouli earthiness were a little too obvious in the 5 ml spill... I'm presuming they'd be a little less imposing with a realistic "dose". After a wardrobe change the top does have a lot of black tea/citrus/patchouli (and yes, a little black pepper). The resulting middle was mostly patchouli, peppery, piquant... still a little "sixties" in effect... and the drydown has left a sharp but still patchouli in essence, with a woody, not unpleasant, much more mellow than the top, fragrance... but still patchouli in almost every way.

(By the way the patchouli scent has not washed out of the spilled-on clothes yet, but has faded from the floor.) My impression remains neutral, as the end effect was not much better than the aforementioned patchouli oils.
26th February, 2010 (last edited: 02nd March, 2010)

H.M. by Hanae Mori

I have to say that the sample test branded this as my "most likely to smell in the mall" type of scent ... (whether or not it's available in malls is unknown, as I don't go to malls.) The top notes were pleasant, clean, sweet but not too sweet... but TOO soon I found the scent cloying and synthetic, caramel-chocolate much like convenience store flavored coffee...without the coffee. Not heavy but annoyingly sweet, and somewhat one-dimensional. Mirror air-freshener, convenience store incense one-dimensional. Perhaps that's only on my skin...too strongly synthetic, too sweet, too artificial-flavory.

All things considered, this scent is not for me.

I agree with Dane at peredepierre... "HM (Hanae Mori) - cotton candy from hell."
25th February, 2010 (last edited: 27th February, 2010)

Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens

With an opening of lovely pipe tobacco (fresh, not smoky) that is quickly followed by a more bitter smoky smell, this is intriguing and very odd. The incense and not-too-sweet honey soon follows and is intoxicating...tempered with the bitter smoke, and leather... and yes, a little rose. As NillaGoon pointed out, the scent a few inches from the skin is much different from close up... the ash/smoke is more prevalent close. FT's longevity is good on my skin, and the base of amber and honey keeps me sniffing the back of my hand for hours. There's a hint of sex to this one, particularly in the middle, that put me in a slightly altered state. The leather that showed up as the top notes faded and the middle notes rose persists to the base. Woke up with hints of FT on my skin this morning, wanting to try this one for mystery at the office tomorrow.
22nd February, 2010

Black by Bulgari

Tthis opens with a New Tire (rather than burning rubber) smell that is to my nose, pleasant. No Lapsang Souchong tea, though I do get a hint of the bergamot and jasmine. Within half an hour the rubber smell morphs to a rubber/leather with a sweetness behind it... sandalwood and not much of a hint of the cedar that is supposed to be there. Not strong sillage, at least on my skin. I would swear I smell myrrh. With the drydown, I get a pleasant sweet amber/vanilla, but not much of the musk. This is actually rather a good office scent, but may need to grow on me to be more than passing strange.

(Edit: I like the leather in this and use it when I need "MOXIE!" ... This is a keeper, for those occasions when my OOMPH needs a boost.)
20th February, 2010 (last edited: 17th March, 2010)

Infusion d'Iris by Prada

I had very high hopes for this, given the tester experience. Sadly, whatever was in the tester was not what was in the bottle. This is so faint on me I can barely smell it. Perhaps some other time of year (as this is written in winter) it will show its true colors. The drydown shows some promise but is still pretty faint.
09th February, 2010 (last edited: 20th February, 2010)

Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa by Acqua di Parma

This was my review when it was working well on my skin: Unisex, to me, anyhow. Wonderful citrus top notes, lime (more than lemon), bergamot...quickly morphing to what smells on me like incense...but with a green "edge" to it. Sweet but still citrusy, gingery... and in just a few moments, the leathery, woody stage begins... and the lime seems more orangey as it fades. Musk and still the citrus, some smokiness, woodiness...then leathery, smoky and spicy, which lingers for a few more hours...with a little powderiness on my skin. Very nice. (I tend toward scents designed for men, they seem to to better on my skin.)
09th February, 2010