Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Sniffmonkey

Total Reviews: 47

Baiser Volé by Cartier

I love the scent of lilies - I enjoy Penhaligon's Lily & Spice, Donna Karan's Gold, Frederic Malle Edition de Parfums Lys Mediterannee.... so I bought this (EDP) unsniffed. It smells like hairspray :-/

EDIT: OK, so it’s time to do a second sniff and try to assess this perfume for what it is, rather than what it isn’t: To judge it on its own terms. As I mentioned above, I already own Lily & Spice and Gold, so I should ask myself why I would want another scent that replicates their take on lily anyway?!

I don’t know enough to be able to identify the “hairspray” note – a nostril-tickling, high-pitched effect - that hits you first of all, and that stays around. Is it salycilates or ”solar” notes? It’s like White Linen in terms of this starchy, laundry-sheets effect. Other reviewers have said that it’s an abstract floral, and that helps me to appreciate it – it is indeed an abstract, modernist floral that takes the bitter sap and the dusty pollen and the subtle floral sweetness and rearranges these elements into a delicate, abstract structure, like a snowflake. It also has a salty element that calls to mind Lys Mediterannee. It manages to be – what’s the right word? “powdery” has the wrong connotations, “fluffy” sounds to frivolous, for this soft yet sophisticated scent.

I doubt I’ll repurchase this, but I have added it to my small selection of “no brainer” work-appropriate scents and I shall enjoy wearing it very much this Spring and Summer. Thanks to other posters whose thoughts have helped me see the light on this one. The fact that it is so different from Lily & Spice and Gold is now what draws me to it!

FINAL EDIT: My brain still says "hairspray" when I smell this. I gave it to my sister, and she loves it.
24th September, 2012 (last edited: 13th May, 2014)

1876 Mata Hari by Histoires de Parfums

Initially a fruity rose, with a cumin/civet undertow that I enjoy (this is nowhere near as animalic as The Different Company's Rose Poivre, which is shockingly civet-heavy to my nose). A few minutes in, a strong cedarwood note emerged that jarred with - rather than supported - the liqueur-like rose, and I was ready to dismiss this. 1804, which I was testing at the same time, was my preferred scent of the two at this stage.

However, within a few hours 1804's juicy pineapple dried down to a generic green-floral musk, whilst 1876 blossomed into a beautiful, full-bodied, decollete-and-opera-gloves-type scent. It called to mind Caron's Parfum Sacre, although this does not have that peppery note that some dislike in Parfum Sacre. 1876 is a mature fruity-floral, if you can believe that such a thing exists! Lovely.

On second sniff, the cedarwood note was again very prominent, to the extent that I decided this is like a softer, much more floral version of Feminite du Bois... Still lovely...
20th August, 2012 (last edited: 10th February, 2013)

Eau du Sud by Annick Goutal

My original rating for this scent was a mere 1 star. Not because it's a poor fragrance, but because citrus scents weren't my thing and I found the eau de cologne genre to be uninteresting. Since then, I've come to appreciate green and citrus scents, and I think this is rather lovely for spring and summer days. As others have noted, the citrus is prevented from veering into cleaning product territory by the lovely basil/herbal note. I also definitely perceive a likeness between this fragrance and Chanel's Cristalle. From memory, Cristalle is a little heavier and more leathery due to the presence of the oakmoss.
06th June, 2012
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Mitzah by Christian Dior

Adore this. Maybe it's not the most original scent to hit the headlines, but by heaven it's gorgeous. A cushioned, woody, spicy amber - colleagues mentioned Ambre Sultan and doughnuts when I wore it to work today! It smells luxurious yet approachable. 10 out of 10 from me.
23rd May, 2012

Un Matin d'Orage Eau de Toilette by Annick Goutal

Whoa! This is my most disappointing purchase to date. And ironically, although I do occasionally buy "blind" based purely on reviews and / or lists of notes, I had actually sniffed this before I purchased. I own and love Songes and L'Heure Exquise, but these Goutals are a funny lot. The first time I tried Un Matin D'Orage in Selfridges I recoiled - I found it dry, cardboardy, opaque, unpleasantly bitter with no "body". The second time I tried it I was at Bergdorf Goodman's whilst on holiday in New York, and the lovely sales assistant suggested I try it as I like Songes and used to own Le Chevrefeuille. It smelled like the sweet floralcy of Le Jasmin combined with a muted version of the mouthwatering green of Ninfeo Mio, which I was very tempted by, but decided was just too sharp. I was quite excited and thought I could really enjoy Un Matin...

So, on my return to the UK, having sniffed some lovely gardenias in Florida, I decided to buy a bottle as a reminder of my trip. What happened?! I find my original revulsion has returned! There is something I find repugnant about the opaque, broad bean green of this scent. Is it the shiso? Is there a significant difference between EDT (which I bought) and the EDP? Or am I just highly susceptible to a charming sales assistant?! Sorry, Un Matin. I don't think we're meant to be.
10th May, 2012

En Passant by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I was sure I'd like this, but alas I'm with those who find the sharpness of this lilac unpleasant: on me there's a sour, bitter note that should probably give a "green, true-to-life" freshness but actually smells like a privet hedge. It reminds me of Penhaligon's Bluebell in its bitter green floralcy. But I sometimes want to wear Bluebell!
16th November, 2011 (last edited: 03rd May, 2013)

Lipstick Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

This is very similar to the rose-and-violet combo of Bulgari's Pour Femme, but as it dries down the subtle "waxy" quality comes more to the fore, and bizarrely reminds me of Patou's discontinued Que Sais-Je? Que Sais-Je? is peachy-sweet, almost cloying, but with this wierd, wax/damp cardboard undertone that I find ADDICTIVE!

I'm so glad that this scent replicates it, because I was hoarding Que Sais-Je?, afraid that I'd never be able to replace it. These Malle's don't come cheap, but.... when I've finished my bottle of Que Sais-Je? and used up my Bulgari Pour Femme, I may have to acquire this.
29th June, 2011

Bulgari pour Femme by Bulgari

Very floral all the way. Like Red Theodora, I found this brought Soir de Paris to mind. But I think Soir de Paris is pretty awful - syrupy, sickly, with not enough "air", this is lighter, brighter, eminently wearable. And my boyfriend likes it :-)

EDIT: Have downgraded this to a "no". I becamse too self-conscious when wearing it. It felt cloying and like it was wearing me. I can't stand Oscar de La Renta's Volupte, either, for similar reasons. Both are by Sophia Grojsman - I realised I don't get along with this style of thick-sweet-floral scent, so gave it away.
16th June, 2011 (last edited: 13th May, 2014)

L'Ombre Fauve 8.1 / Private Collection - L'Ombre Fauve by Parfumerie Generale

I acquired a free sample of this from Luckyscent a couple of years ago, and never paid much attention to it - Aomassai, Bois Blond and L'Oiseau de Nuit, also by Parfumerie Generale, captured all of my attention. But having seen jlouismi's description, I had to dig it out and try it.

And WOW! jlouismi is right, this DOES smell like a wild fox covered in baby powder!

I like it! ;-)
10th June, 2011

Dulcis in Fundo by Profumum

SO disappointing! I found nothing like a divine orange ice cream or a lemon syllabub combination of sharp and creamy in this scent. It is like medicine – a sort of powdery, sickly, synthetic orange flavouring that you’d use to make children swallow tablets. Euck! On me this is absolutely nauseating! Sorry.
08th February, 2011

Toujours Moi by Dana

Oh dear. This is LOVELY! It starts off quite rich and deep, as you'd expect from an old, brown perfume, and has a kind of menthol-eucalyptus element over a resinous base, which becomes a sumptuous incense. Not too long after it dries to a delectable, powdery, honey-tobacco scent. So closely did it seem to resemble Habanita, though, that I tried a little Habanita on my other arm, for comparison. Habanita came out VERY vetiver-heavy – sharper and reedier, and surprisingly lacking in the tobacco-nougat aspect that Toujours Moi evokes so deliciously. I definitely get a similarity to Bal a Versailles, too: the same powdery, softly-spicy, close-wearing balsam and vanilla/tonka – sexy yet snugly at the same time. The Toujours Moi, though, lacks the “skank”/old dentures element that you have to get through in Bal a Versailles, which is of course a plus point. I only wish my bottle of Toujours Moi was bigger!

EDIT: I've now added a huge, modern EDC to my little, vintage EDT that can be found in the Art Nouveau-style bottle :-) Incidentally I can't detect any significant difference between the 2, except that perhaps in the ultimate drydown the modern EDC turns to a pleasant cocoa powder. I agree that this is also similar to Tabu, but without the hefty patchouli in the base that Tabu packs.
06th February, 2011 (last edited: 09th June, 2011)

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

A little miffed that Bois des Iles wasn’t on the counter to spritz from in Selfridges, I sprayed this on “just because”, remembering that I had read positive mentions of it somewhere. At first, after a couple of generous, full-pumped spritzes, I could barely smell anything at all, and what I could smell didn’t smell like anything to write home about – in fact it was a bit icky. But after about 30 minutes, HOLY SMOKE! It’s gorgeous! I couldn’t work out how to describe it at all – I couldn’t detect any individual notes. It smelt “expensive”, VERY high quality in that it was understated and yet supremely lovely – it reminded me of a bedroom in an extremely posh hotel where you could smell polished wooden furniture, a silk wrap and the accumulated, ghost-scent of several women's perfumes/accoutrements. Then, it becomes the sweet, softly spicy smell of summer trees in the South of France. It kept rising up around me at intervals throughout the afternoon, and I kept lifting my forearm to breathe in more of the fragrance. Something about this brings to mind the discontinued Que Sais-Je? by Jean Patou - they're both perfumes that had me losing my head and contemplating spending ridiculous amounts, and both are somewhat musty, rich, sweet, fruity scents – almost too much, but compelling in their complexity and their balance of shameless “love me” voluptuousness with demure sophistication.
06th February, 2011

pc02 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke

Hm! 9 times out of 10 I don’t like the scent of lavender – it either reminds me of dusty old lavender bags, or smells too much like a masculine herbal-cologne. But the descriptions I’d read of this “white lavender” scent as soft and sweet rather than slightly astringent or musky, intrigued me. Perhaps this would be a lavender I could love?

I found it a pleasant surprise – sweet but not sickly, floral but ever-so-subtly: a clean, light scent yet one that’s not chilly nor forbidding, but welcoming and gentle. Lavender, tonka beans and a pale, thick, mild honey. Peony perhaps, if I really seek it out, and perhaps a very subtle hint of the “high”, sharpness that freesia has (or perhaps this could be attributed to the bergamot), supporting the herbaceous lavender. Patchouli I can’t detect. The woods are extremely soft – just the lavender stems, nothing more! It brings to mind halva – that kind of dense, powdery, slightly woody sweetness. In perfume terms, it most reminds me of SacreBleu, which I thought of as a floral milkshake.

I find I need to apply with a light hand, though – too much and I’m worried I’m going to walk around smelling like a candy-floss machine… It could outstay its welcome if you’re not careful with it. And it’s very tenacious – I could still smell the light spray I spritzed on in the morning after a day’s work, a 1.5 hour tennis lesson AND a shower!
03rd February, 2011
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Gardénia Passion by Annick Goutal

I came back to this after several months to see whether my appreciation of it had evolved. Unfortunately I still think this is fairly terrible: a strong, vegetable stock-cube aroma, with gardenia room-freshener in the background. Such an oddity! I can imagine that the celery-vegetable note is intended to give a realistic leafy, living plant-type effect, but the celery note is a mixture of green with a saltiness of almost cumin-like intensity, and cumin smells like sweat. In short, the balance between "sweet" and "savoury" feels really off-kilter to me. Not a fragrance I'd be comfortable to wear in company!
19th August, 2010

Ivoire (original) by Pierre Balmain

Phew! I, too, have hesitated to review this. I don’t want to be too negative, but I’m amazed at the difference of my opinion on this one. To me this is indeed “screechy”, the kind of perfume that gives “perfume” a bad name. Boy, is this loud. I mean LOUD! I bought a tiny 7.5ml EDT, which smells ultra-concentrated and very synthetic. I put a tiny bit on my wrists at lunchtime in the office, and felt distinctly self-conscious as the scent rolled out like a tidal wave and dominated our space, which I wouldn't mind so much if it was a great aroma!

It’s a typical 1980’s power perfume, that packs a punch like a handbag-to-the-head. If this speaks of luxury, it’s a 1980s version that thinks cramming in as many notes as possible and then upping the quantities to nose-assaulting level equals luxury. It reminds me of the hairspray/Impulse body spray funk after a day at my girls’ school in 1987, and I’m going to have to wash it off, now…. Am glad it smells good on some, but for me and my chemistry there are so many more lovely perfumes than this.
06th April, 2010 (last edited: 03rd February, 2011)

Cinéma by Yves Saint Laurent

For some reason the name and design of YSL Cinema gave me to expect a green/chypre scent with something of an edge. In fact this is a sweet, powder-puff of a scent - soft, almond-scented flowers on an amber base. It has a close-wearing warmth that always make me think of sun-kissed skin - and reminds me very much of Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang-Ylang, from its buttery floral heart to its play-doh base, although AYY is I think ever-so-slightly saltier in the drydown, and Cinema a little lighter/greener in the heart. Given that I already own Amber Ylang-Ylang, I don't need Cinema to whisk me away to a summer-holiday-in-my-head. Cinema is in the end a little too sweet for me, but it's nevertheless a very pleasant, easygoing scent, which could actually be very sexy on the right woman.
26th March, 2010

Baghari by Robert Piguet

Very disappointed to record that I get no floral-citrus from my (vintage) bottle of Baghari, nor creaminess. Any top notes that remain evaporate so quickly that all I can detect is just a sharp, dry, cumin base. Which is appropriate for a perfume that's named after an Indian village, but not what I was hoping for from this fragrance! I will try a sniff of the reformulated version when I can, as it sounds delicious. However, I'm giving this a "neutral" for now, and have to assume that my bottle hasn't withstood the ravages of time, despite having been kept in its snug, duck-egg blue box.
24th March, 2010