Reviews by Foustie

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    Foustie
    Scotland Scotland

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    Oud Imperial by Perris Monte Carlo

    Oud Imperial, the elegant Oud.

    Oud Imperial, OUD IMPERIAL, the name suggests a big honking, stonking, bombastic, in your face OUD. But it's not. It's really not. I have been surprised to discover that it is a beautifully elegant fragrance with Fougere references.

    I've been spending a lot of time with Oud Imperial. I seem to agree, and disagree, with what others are saying about it. I would like to be able to say that I'm smart enough to detect the published notes, but I can't actually. I don't smell jasmine, or caraway, or sandalwood, or vetiver for that matter. I do smell other notes that may or may not be there. What does that matter? I can only tell you how I find it, whether real or imagined.

    First off, every time I smell the topnotes I think that I smell a boozy rose in there. No one else seems to note that. An accord of boozy rose, geranium and pronounced woody resinous notes that I can only describe as smelling like pine and perhaps fir balsam to me. It's a gorgeous accord. It's deep and woody with the slightest aromatic aspect. I smelll a little aromatic accord in other Perris Monte Carlo fragrances, a little geranium, like a signature accord?

    The heart of Oud Imperial reveals a terrific blend of frankincense and oud, and more woody notes. Then a fascinating burnt wood note, like wood blackened on a camp fire. There is a suggestion of something dark, green and herbal too, and patchouli. There are wonderful Fougere references , and I see that I'm not on my own there, as others have found this too.

    Now, those of you who know me, will know that I am mostly gender blind when it comes to fragrance, but there are exceptions, and Oud Imperial is one of them. Oud Imperial is a mans fragrance in my view. It's not butch though. It is a beautiful mans fragrance. A fragrance for a beautiful man. It is simply the most elegant Oud fragrance that I have ever smelled. It has notes with such strong profiles, strong characters, and yet the whole fragrance is so skillfully balanced, so refined. It is timeless, very stylish, urbane even. I am smelling it right now and oh it is lovely. If a man wearing this were to sit down next to me I think that I would fall in love.

    With no intention of being rude to Perris Monte Carlo, this elegant Oud would be better named Saville Row Oud in my view.





    13 September, 2014

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    Ambre Gris by Perris Monte Carlo

    A dry sexy amber.

    There are no prominent top notes in Ambre Gris but it does open with the briefest "sparkle", which suggests orange to me, particularly on paper. Otherwise, straight away we are into an airy floral accord of rose and subtle geranium. But these early stages are only a prelude anyway, to the heart of this fragrance, which is a beautiful dry, dusty amber with salty notes , a wallop of musk, and something softly animalic. I emphasise "softly" animalic because there is nothing at all skanky about this fragrance, but it is there is definately an undertow of salty warm intimacy.

    The mid development reminds me very much of L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris. Both fragrances have notes of dry, dusty old books, melancholy rooms with old wooden clocks, dust dancing in the light, and both fragrances have something of the body about them. Ambre Gris is easier and more wearable in my view. It has a slightly aromatic feel which makes it more friendly somehow. I imagine at times that there is a little heliotrope in Ambre Gris which plays a lovely part, although it is not listed. The base is a rich ambery/woody/ balsamic/ vanilla. Ambre Gris does wear quite close to the skin which I think is appropriate for this one as it is an intimate fragrance, best shared close up.

    10th September, 2014

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    White Fire by Tiziana Terenzi

    White Fire came as a surprise to me, and what a lovely surprise it is. White Fire is not a hot fragrance, on the contrary, it is a cold one. An icy, steely, airy, fragrance. White Fire is actually a White Floral. So cool that it will make you feel that you are breathing in fragranced oxygen. Smell it on paper and it will make you feel that your nose is cold!

    Take a traditional white floral, take away the density, strip away most of the indoles and anything else that you don't need or want, open it up, expose it to the air, and chill it, and what you will have left is White Fire.

    White Fire opens with a lovely bergamot, then very quickly a cool green jasmine, (only a little indolic), and some dry, airy and cool synthetic woody notes already coming through. The heart is white floral. The listed notes include "Chinese Jasmine", which as far as I am aware is common star jasmine. The jasmine note in this fragrance is not heady or heavy, it is very fresh, like garden jasmine on a cool evening breeze. In fact most of the time the dominant accord in the heart of this fragrance doesn't suggest jasmine to me, it suggests lilac. Lilac with jasmine and perhaps a little orange flower and maybe even lily. All the cool aspects of these flowers. It is a lean fragrance, white, silvery, incandescent. There is a little gentle soapiness at one point, it's slight, but it's there. I like it. In time the floral heart recedes and a woody musk which retains a little of the floral notes, settles onto the skin. It's an easy drydown, the least interesting part of the fragrance to me.

    A word, just in case you think that any of this suggests that this fragrance is "pretty". It's not pretty in my view. It is too cold for that. It's beautiful, and striking, not pretty.

    White Fire is crisp, clear, crystalline, lean, a little magical. Suitable for both the Ice Queen and Jack Frost.

    08 April, 2014

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    Maremma by Tiziana Terenzi

    I enjoyed discovering this fragrance. It arouses my interest and it's unlike anything else that I have tried. I looked at the notes before I tried it and I wasn't sure that I would like it at all, but it just goes to show.......never judge a fragrance by it's cover. So to speak.

    Maremma opens with a bruised fruit accord, which may actually be more to do with the flowers (ylang for example) than fruit. It doesn't smell like blackcurrant (a listed note) at all to me. It doesn't smell at all floral either. It has a bruised fruit peachy papaya type accord. I'm still not sure of the meaning of this opening accord in this fragrance. It is a very dominant accord, and clearly important. But anyway it is transformed when it is joined by soflty balsamic notes coming up from the rear. When the star of the show appears you will know all about it! A dry woody accord takes over. It is a bit like cedar but more deeply pitched, as if aged, matured. It is oak. It smells like it should, powerful, strong, stalwart. Also important to this woody accord is a dry woody Iris. This fabulous woody accord is the heart of this fragrance. On paper there is a very pronouned varnish note like mastic or shellac, and also pepper, but this is not apparent on skin, not on my skin anyway. On skin it is softer while still very suggestive of strength.

    Little accords and pairings come and go. One time there was a little passing accord quite well into the development which reminded me of Habit Rouge, and another was reminiscent of Laboratorio Olfattivo Cozumel, but in the end Maremma is very much it's own creature. The heart of wood continues till it is rounded out and softened by the balsamic amber notes.

    Maremma intrigues me greatly. I do love the woody heart of this fragrance, but overall it is just too complex and unfathomable for me.

    It's a personal neutral for me but I strongly recommend that you try this fascinating fragrance.

    19 March, 2014

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    Jardins d'Armide (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    What a joy this is! I defy any fragrance lover not to react when they smell Jardins D'Armide, even if it is not to one's personal taste. I can't imagine that anyone would find it uninteresting.

    The opening of this fragrance immediately brings to mind sugared almond dragees, every time! That's a bit odd maybe because I don't think that those particular confections have much of a smell actually, but that is the first image that pops up and floats around.

    In fact, if you can imagine sweet sugared almonds, and those tiny candied violets which can be found in Madrid, add some orange flower water, some sweetly aromatic dried rose petals, some geranium soap, old fashioned iris powder, and some soft, billowy (and strangely not sweet) nutty vanilla, then you would be with me on this one. It is so gloriously old fashioned! Underscoring this feast of sweetmeats is a sweetly nostalgic floral accord, built around that lovely old fashioned aromatic rose. In time the fragrance settles into an aromatic accord of rose/violet/iris/geranium/almond (heliotrope?) and vanilla/tonka.

    Jardins D'Armide is certainly sweet and powdery but of course that is it's charm. There is a little brighness too which provides a perfect foil. It is delighful, charming, nostalgic. It strikes me that it was made with unrestrained pleasure and perhaps even a little humour.

    Official notes; (from the OLL website)

    Top notes: Old Rose, Orange Blossom and Iris Powder.

    Heart notes: Florentine iris, Violet Wild, Glycine and Carnation India.

    Base notes: Honey, Almond, Tonka and Musk.

    I am sure that this fragrance will have it's detractors. It won't be to everyones taste. It is very old fashioned after all, and it will be perceived by some as overtly feminine, too sweet, too powdery. But I also think that it will melt the hearts of many. It presents itself as an homage to fragrances past, with little or no compromise to suit current tastes, and in my view it should be respected for that alone.

    Dare I say that it would be utterly intriguing on a man.

    A big hurrah for this delightful fragrance.

    16 February, 2014 (Last Edited: 19 July, 2014)

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    Déjà Le Printemps (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

    An exceptionally verdant fragrance with green herbal notes. It is intensely green, sappy and grassy to open. Then straight into a "wet" green phase which I can only describe as having notes suggestive of Aloe Vera to me. Aloe in a drenched herb garden. There is a mint note and an elusive suggestion of something which seems like fennel/anise to me. There is a note reminiscent of old ivy pulled from a wall which reminds me of the central note in Tauer's Verdant. This leads into green figs and fragrant earth in the mid development. Then the vetiver makes an appearance, and there is an almost inky note. The fragrance is much drier by this stage.

    For some reason I don't often favour fig fragrances as such and initially I found this fragrance to be quite challenging, but it has intrigued me and interested me which is why I have tried it again and again, and I'm enjoying it. There is a lot more than fig going on here. It does remind me of Ninfeo Mio but Déjà Le Printemps impresses as softer and more refreshing. Of the two I much prefer this one. I anticipate that this will be a great success amongst fig lovers, and lovers of verdant green fragrances, of which it is a really lovely example.

    An objective thumbs up from me. Not a personal "must have" but a huge recommendation all the same.

    13 February, 2014

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    Infanta En Flor by Arquiste

    A charming fragrance

    Well, it seems that I disagree with my respected friends/previous reviewers on this one. In my view this is a charming fragrance of great interest. Infanta En Flor opens with a very beautiful bright clean Orange Flower. A stunning opening. It is not heady. It's as clean as very good Orange Flower Water. It is joined by floral notes, notably a green, non indolic jasmine, which adds to the gentle sparkle. It is a very cool fragrance at this stage. The immortelle does not stand out on it's own to me.

    In the mid development the fragrance does become very soapy indeed, which we know is not unusual with orange flower, and I think that this soapy phase is consistent with the style of the fragrance. I don't mind that at all, in fact I find it very pleasant. Infanta en Flor hums along in this way for several hours. It is wearing close to the skin by then. Eventually, a soft balsamic leather emerges, quiet and elegant. After six hours or so, this becomes amber. It is a whisper on the skin by that time (from dabbing, it may be different if sprayed).

    Infanta en Flor is very lovely in my view. A successful composition with beautiful development. It's hard to describe where it sits in terms of genre, and in a strange way I think that perhaps that is why it doesn't get more attention. It smells quite classical but it has a more open, lighter structure which places it firmly on contemporary ground. It has suggestions of Eau de Cologne in the early stages but it has more tenacious foundations than that. It is rich but not in the least heavy. It strikes one as very complete somehow. If it seems like I am heading towards describing it as unique, well, no, it isn't that either. It's familiar. It won't be exciting enough for many people, but I think that it is a grower and probably a long keeper. It is one of the loveliest Orange Flower fragrances that I have tried. Try it if you like your Orange Flower clean and soapy.

    It would be great on both women and men.

    Pros: Beautiful Structure
    Cons: None for me.

    02 July, 2013

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    Sous Le Vent by Guerlain

    One of the most fantastic openings that I have ever smelled. Green citrus and bitters. It doesn't smell like Campari but it makes me think of it. Think about unripe citrus, sherbet, lime. Then it is green and herbal, galbanum, verbena, and is there mint, and basil? Imagine all of that over ice. It hits you like a chill wind. Wonderful! It is icy, bitter, and dry. Something lurks beneath, an animalic tang. No, a twang. I'm only aware of it sometimes. This is quite unlike many of the other rich, dense, fragrances in the Guerlain family. It is much clearer, scalpel sharp, refreshing, upliftling.

    Guerlain say that Sous Le Vent has a heart of Jasmine, Carnation, and Iris, but it's not a floral fragrance. Citrus, herbs, bitters, wood. It would make a great cocktail!

    26 April, 2013 (Last Edited: 27 April, 2013)

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    Lasso by Jean Patou

    What a privilege to be able to try this fragrance, the original version, from the 1950's. Whether it has remained as it was then? Well, there is no way for me to know. I suspect that it has mellowed.

    What tsrikes me about this fragrance every time that I wear it, is that is so beautifully PLUMP. Furrypine set the scene for us. It is a floral leather, not a chypre. It is not angular, nor is it as dense and uncompromising as some of it's peers. It is far more yielding. The flowers are a luscious bouquet but not overwhelming. They are old fashioned. The flowers have melded these days (perhaps always) but it has a Carnation, Jasmine, and Rose, heart, and Iris I think. The leather is both resinous and animalic, rich and soft, and just a bit smoky.

    Lasso, vintage glamour through a soft focus lense, rich, soft, very appealing, and PLUMP!

    26 April, 2013 (Last Edited: 27 April, 2013)

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    Terre de L'Encens by Cloon Keen Atelier

    Terre de L'Encens begins with a surprisingly fresh splash, which gives way almost immediately to the main accord, a particularly peppery frankincense. In fact it is pepper that dominates the early development of this fragrance for some time. The Iris is there but quietly. It brings a dry earthy pillow to the fragrance. This is not a floral fragrance at all.

    In the mid development, Terre de L'Encens is beautifully pitched in terms of dryness. The inspiration for this fragrance is nomadic desert traders. Cloon Keen describe it as having a quality like sand on skin. I agree. It is dry but with an undercurrent of soft warmth and salty skin. It is ochre in tone.

    After some time the pepper gives way to a pronounced caramel note. The labdanum most likely, although there may be benzoin there too. It softens and becomes less dry, more resinous. Iris/ Pepper/Frankincense/Wood/Resins is the overall experience. If it helps, I could say that this is far closer to VC&A Bois D'Iris than it is to Dzongkha.

    Terre de L'Encens is a lovely fragrance. It is well named and well realised.





    10th December, 2012

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    Chypre Palatin by MDCI

    Chypre Palatin is very beautiful. The opening is a notable dual bitter green/fruity accord. Then a fast develpoment into the heart of the fragrance. The more I wear this fragrance, the more I become aware of the most gorgeous cool floral accord (around the hyacinth I would think) which emerges a few minutes in to the development. There is a llittle soapy phase too at that stage, the aldehydes perhaps. This is followed by a more robust floral phase with the arrival of a good dose of Iris, powdery and dry, and rose. That said, this fragrance is never overtly floral, not at all, perhaps because everything that happens here is set over a very solid woody/balsamic/resinous base.

    This heart of dry floral, slightly herbal and balsamic accords lasts many hours. Chypre Palatin wears beautifully. It's one of the most satisfying wears that I have ever experienced. The foundations of the fragrance are a rich, luxurious blend of sweet balsams, resins, vanilla and castoreum. If you awake to this drydown it is like awaking from a dream of a magical encounter which still lingers on your skin. It is hauntingly beautiful. In the mid to late development there is a stage which I sometimes tune into and I really enjoy. It smells something along the lines of scorched paper to me. Today this stage made me think of another dry balsamic/aromatic fragrance, MPG Eau des Iles.

    I agree with drseid. I don't experience this fragrance as a chypre (as I understand chypres anyway). It wasn't what I expected at all. There are no sharp edges in Chypre Palatin. It has a soft, mainly dry, and very luxurious character. This is a very romantic fragrance. I love that Darvant describes it as Baroque. The more I wear it, the more I appreciate it. I can't speak highly enough of it really. I think that it would be beautiful on both women and men.


    Edited 30/04/2014. Reason; still loving and discovering......

    06 November, 2012 (Last Edited: 30th April, 2014)

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    Ambra di Luna by Ramon Monegal


    Ambra de Luna;

    Amber, Labdanum, Jasmine, Castoruem, Sandalwood.

    In my view this is one of those of those fragrances that is more than the sum of it's parts. It is beautifully composed, beautifully balanced, beautifully cohesive. It doesn't lend itself to being picked apart.

    I absolutely concur with Alfarom that the overall impression is of a slightly boozy, (but only very slighty), amber with castoreum right there from the outset. Castoreum is my favourite animalic material. It is warm and soft and reassuring, like resting your head on a warm animals belly, or maybe your lover's. It is the perfect partner for Amber.

    Ambra de Luna is the scent of contentment.

    Imagine maybe a little cabin somewhere, a glow from the fire, a glass of sweet wine or sherry, and someone that you love. Time is slow, you are comfortable and reassured. To me, that is Ambra de Luna.

    It is a beautiful balance of quiet, calm and refined but yet it has a very individual confidence. Ambra de Luna is suitable for both women and men.



    08 October, 2012

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    Sideris by Maria Candida Gentile

    When I first tried Sideris I was really puzzled. It appeared to be so similar to Exultat that I wondered why there would be two fragrances which were so closely related in the Maria Candida Gentile collection. But there is something different in the heart of Sideris.

    The (published) notes;

    Incense, Cystus, Myrrh, White Pepper, Saffron
    Turkish Rose, Ayrshire Rose Splendens
    Sandalwood, Benzoin, Waxed Woods

    What an incredible collection of materials.

    There is a definate relationship between Sideris and Exultat, a definate signature. It is the dry steam, vapourous, ethereal quality. It seems to me that it is something to do with Maria Candida's treatment of the frankincense, which they are both built around. In each fragrance the frankincense is very present but transformed somehow. In Exultat by Violet Leaf and Vetiver. In Sideris by pepper (white pepper), rose, saffron and myrrh.

    Where Sideris differs from Exultat is that the heart of Sideris is rose, a slightly spicy rose. White pepper also wields a powerful influence, and the rose and pepper accord, with the frankincense, safrron and myrrh, is stunning. The drydown impresses me as a creamy, not too sweet, vanilla and benzoin, which retains some spice. Sandalwood is listed too but it is not apparent to me.

    Sideris wears well and has a beautiful trail. In short it is a beautiful peppery incense rose with a soft vanilla/benzoin drydown. Again, as with Exultat, Sideris strikes me as a very contemporary fragrance which may also suit those who prefer a more classical feel to their fragrance.

    28 July, 2012

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    Exultat by Maria Candida Gentile

    Citrus to begin, but an unusual treatment of citrus, not sharp, or clear, but softly clouded, and a little woody. Petitgrain, joined by vetiver and peppery incense. If I say that Exultat is powdery I will have to explain that it is not powdery in the usual sense, rather it has a quality a bit like steamed fragrant rice, but drier. A fragrant cloud.

    The notes are listed as;
    Top; Somalian Incense, Sicilian Orange, Bitter Orange, Lime
    Heart; Violet and Violet Leaf
    Base; "Legni Preciosi", Haiti Vetiver, Texas Cedar

    Don't expect Toulouse Volets or Parma Violets. The Violet is not dominant for me, although I see that it is for some others. What I do detect throughout is a beautifully aromatic quality. I wonder if that is the contribution of the violets and the violet leaf, in concert with the peppery incense, the vetiver and of course the cedar when it arrives.

    Briefly, in my view, a woody, soft, citrus/frankincense/vetiver/cedar with an ethereal aromatic quality. Very arresting, spellbinding. At once classical but yet very modern. Not at all typical of the naturals school. Incredibly beautiful. Sillage and longevity are good.

    28 July, 2012

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    Entre Naranjos by Ramon Monegal

    Entre Naranjos;

    Naranjos. What an appropriate introduction to a Spanish line! This beautiful fragrance opens with Neroli, Orange, Petigrain. The overall effect is of the most uplifting neroli, clean and clear as crystal. The orange is there, and that wonderful slightly woody/herbal quality of petigrain. Lovers of traditional Eau De Cologne will really appreciate the opeing of this fragrance.

    Then it unexpectedly develops into a very soft skin scent. I liked that actually. The Eau de Cologne opening then a twist. Ambergris they say? Well I don't know, but to me an ambery phase which retains some orange and then the slightest hint of patchouli. Delightful!

    After the arresting opening, it is feather light and it wears very, very close to the skin. At first I thought that this meant that it lacked something, but I have tried it a few times now and I have completely changed my mind. You know you can't judge everything with the same yardstick. It is not a powerhouse fragrance and it is not meant to be. It is a whisper of a thing, as light as a breeze. Sometimes it is better to whisper than to shout, and I think that this is actually the very essence of this fragrance. In my view it is obvious that it has been crafted by a deft hand, with very skillful and confident restraint. It is everything that it should be. It is elegant and very discreet. It would make a beautiful addition to ones wardrobe for those times when a beautiful cologne is just the thing for that moment.

    It is completely androgynous.

    17 July, 2012

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    Londa 1005 by O'Driù

    LONDA 1005

    Prelude;

    LAST NIGHT I DREAMED A SELKIE CAME.........

    The Orcadain people live in the Orkney Islands which are located between Scotland and Norway where the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. They believe in a creature called a Selkie, Seal people with human eyes, who come out of the sea and shed their skin to make love to humans. Selkie women are beautiful and the men are handsome. To keep a Selkie you must hide or burn their skin so that they can never leave. One story tells of a female Selkie, who's human husband hides her skin in the bottom of a trunk, but she finds it years later and she leaves him, and she returns to the sea, leaving her husband and their three children heartbroken.

    Selkie men are great lovers. To get one you must shed seven tears into the sea.

    Londa 1005 is a Selkie's fragrance.

    LONDA 1005;
    LONDA is a play on the Italian word for wave.

    The opening of Londa 1005 is shocking, stinky, and in all honesty to me it smells fishy, blood and guts, pungent, a bit stagnant. I find this phase really unpleasant. But does that matter? There are other O'Driu fragrances in which the opening can not be said to be pretty, Vis et Honor is a prime example, but they certainly make you sit up and take notice. That phase does not last long.

    Saripatates has explained that Cardamom in large concentrations can smell fishy to some people. I don't see Cardamom listed but whatever has been used to create this impression, the effect must be intentional in this context.

    The stinky opening recedes and then we have notes of lemon, lemongrass, and bitter herbs which strike a slightly discordant phase of great interest. Then a cool pine and mint accord and the fragrance is transformed. There is something aromatic, reminiscent of Geranium, then vetiver.

    The fragrance ends as the Selkie slips back into the Ocean leaving just a memory....

    This is the only way that I can begin to describe this fragrance, as an experience, a story, rather than a perfume. Is it nice?...well it is not beautiful, it is not pretty, but like all of this line, it is certainly interesting.

    16 April, 2012 (Last Edited: 04 May, 2012)

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    Shooting Stars: Modoc by Xerjoff

    A little, very fleeting but pleasant citrus for a clear opening, before moving very quickly indeed into a velvety soft Iris, made both aromatic and rich by suggestions of the vetiver and vanilla to come, and there is also, perhaps, a little violet leaf. As the vetiver gains ground on the Iris, the Vetiver/Iris accord settles in and at that stage it is very lovely. The Iris then falls away and Modoc becomes more of a peppery incense laid on vanilla and it remains that way throughout the remainder of the drydown. It is still very pleasant but less interesting by that time. Modoc has considerable tenacity.

    I have been wearing this while being unaware that it was classed as a "masculine". In fact it wears as an opulent "feminine" peppery oriental would wear. Would that alter opinion I wonder? If you think Caron's Parfum Sacre you would not be too far away from a frame of reference for this fragrance.

    Neutral rating for the price tag.

    11th April, 2012

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    Tubéreuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Much has been said already about the opening of Tubereuse Criminelle.
    In my view there are two ways to interpret the opening of TC. There is something of camphor, menthol, wintergreen, eucalyptus. I have seen it said that it smells like Dettol or TCP. I think that it is closest to Germolene. If you are familiar with Germolene you are with me, if not, stick with a disinfectant smell.

    Or is it.....is it really? There is another way to interpret this extraordinary opening. Have you ever had a pot of hyacinth bulbs in your house, or in your garden, a vase of longiflora lillies maybe, some jasmine? Have you ever smelled them when they are at their most redolent? I once had a pot of tiny narcissi which filled a whole room with a heady, almost overwhelming, fragrance. At their most fragrant stage these flowers are approaching the boundary of what could be considered to be pleasantly floral. On the breeze they are intoxicatingly lovely. Close up they are pungent and challenging. We can read the opening of Tubereuse Criminelle in this way. It is very clever.

    Sugandaraja describes it as having "a lively cooling sharpness". Yes, that is what I experience, not gasoline or rubber. The first time I smelled it I almost recoiled in surprise. Very soon, I came to crave it.

    I know that many of you will be thinking Indoles, why hasn't she mentioned indoles? Well, I have, but just not by name. I don't like the association of indoles and feces. There is no fecal aspect to this fragrance. When the flowers come they are stunning. They are not pretty flowers. A friend of mine swears that at night, longiflora lillies, cut and in vases, turn their heads and spit. Yes, these flowers are of that ilk. Intoxicating, narcotic, but not stodgy or overbearing like some Tuberose fragrances are. They are cut with that cooling menthol effect. The mid development and the drydown are very closely intermingled. I have never smelled a real Tuberose. I can only tell you that TC smells something like a hyper realistic bouquet of hyacinth, jasmine, lily, gardenia, perhaps even a little carnation, with some ultraviolet light thrown in. But then, finally, as if they have spent themselves, a somehow appropriate, softer, creamier, floral and vanillic ending brings the show to a much quieter close.

    23 March, 2012

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    Leva by O'Driù

    LEVA

    It would be unwise to underestimate Leva, there is more to her than it first appears.........

    Leva is a story. An olfactory story. Screened in fast forward.

    Grapefruit, Jasmine, Black Pepper
    Curcuma, Vanilla, Jatamansi
    Lemongrass, Benzoin

    If you have been fortunate enough to try other fragrances in this range, the opening of Leva will surprise you because it is very different from the others. The list of notes cites Lemongrass in the base but to me Leva begins with Grapefruit and lemongrass, enhanced with ginger. It is a yellow thing, bright and optimistic. Sunny. The notes are very natural, very true. It seems simple, too simple....

    But soon, something happens, something familiar, yet unfamiliar, creeps in, you know that you should recognise it but for a moment it is elusive, and then suddenly you realise that it is JASMINE, but an hallucinogenic jasmine, difficult, not pretty. All of a sudden this simple thing has become discordant, conflicted.

    If you are anything like me, you may find jasmine a difficult mistress. Beautiful and menacing in equal measure. Leva is no longer golden, it is green and white, the topnotes are incongruent with the jasmine, it speeds up, it is uneasy, the jasmine dominates now, it is screeching..... You are about to say STOP when all of a sudden it is OK. The ginger gains ground, it is warmer, it calms the whole, the jasmine softens. Instead of conflict we have harmony, relief.

    Then, a surprising softness, vanilla, benzoin. Now, The Stockholm Syndrome. The captive falls in love with with the captor. The wearer falls in love with the fragrance.....

    Leva was not what I expected. Having experienced Ladamo, I expected that she would be an earth mother, verdant, fecund, but she is not.
    I have tried her several times. Just now I have gone back to the narrative that comes with the fragrance and I can't believe that I see "under the sun" listed as a note (the yellow beginning), and "the nightmare that reveals the pleasure" (the middle). I can't believe it!! Really, I can't believe it. How does he do it?

    11th March, 2012 (Last Edited: 26 April, 2012)

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    Ladamo by O'Driù

    LADAMO

    Wow! Bosky, bosky, bosky.

    The first man. The genesis of man. Don't expect the smooth chested, lithe hipped, Adam of renaissance art. This Adam is the man, a he man. Grrrrrrr. This Adam walks on bare feet in a really bosky terrain. He is a hunter gatherer. In fact, to me this fragrance is more suggestive of a terrain than of a man.

    Dense to begin, opening and drying over time. Black liquorice, a pronounced dry dusty immortelle, fenugreek, ginger, galbanum. A dry bushy terrain. Then wood and tobacco, dried grass, rich and dry.

    On paper in particular the deep drydown of Ladamo lasts a very long time, with a persistent asafoetida note in the end.

    Based on first impressions this reads as an immortelle driven fragrance. But if you take time, try on paper and skin, consider the concept, the notes, you will discover much more. But actually I don't think that the importance of these O'Driu fragrances is in the breakdown of their notes. It is in the emotional reaction to the whole experience.

    11th March, 2012 (Last Edited: 12 March, 2012)

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    Linfedele 1004 by O'Driù

    LINFEDELE 1004

    "Wild Savage Notes", Dill, Orange, Turmeric
    Coffee, Toasted Kamut (grain), Petitgrain, Clove, Patchouli
    Incense, Ylang Ylang, Cardamom, Myrrh, Vanilla

    See Linfidele 1003, but with with cumin, coffee, and toasted notes, which change the character considerably. Again, Cumin is not noted in the short list of notes but it is there in abundance and again we can see it in the longer list. But what does that matter anyway? These are experiential fragrances.

    It is as if an animal has appeared in the expansive green landscape of 1003. The toasted notes bring an animal warmth somehow. It is more pungent than 1003, it also has more depth, more presence. It makes 1003 seem very clean, whereas this one is a bit dirtier. The clove is dominant for a time in the mid development of 1004. The drydown, on paper, has a definate cumin note whcih the 1003 does not have.
    I decided after my first try that I wasn't going to say anything about whether I liked each of these fragrances, or not, or whether I preferred one to another, because what I like is of no importance whatsoever. It doesn't say anything about these fragrances. So it doesn't matter whcih one I prefer, but I do think that there is a choice to be made. LINFEDELE 1003 and LINFEDELE1004 might divide us.

    1004 loses much of the sweat and dirt eventually, (surprisingly, you would think that it would stick around), but it does have a greater complexity in the drydown than 1003, and greater longevity on skin.

    I must say that if 1004 is intended to be the Feminine version of Linfidele and 1003 is intended to be a masculine version then I don't agree with those definitions at all. Preference will be a very personal thing with these fragrances but if we do have to define the two Linfideles by gender then I would say that 1003 is the feminine and 1004 is the masculine.

    11th March, 2012

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    Linfedele 1003 by O'Driù

    LINFEDELE 1003

    The fragrance is accompanied by prose from Charles Baudelaire's "Spleen", a creepy bleak disturbing poem....

    Leather, Laurel, Pine, Orange
    Incense, Galbanum, Tobacco, Styrax
    Juniper, Myrrh, Myrtle, Tobacco, Styrax

    The fragrance itself is expansively green, and cold. I think that it should be tried on paper to fully appreciate that.

    The first blast is refreshing, herbal, slightly bitter, a bit like an herbal apertif. On skin it becomes a bit more balsamic quite quickly, whereas on paper it retains its icy greenness. On me, notes seem to come and go throughout the development, pine, herbs, sage and thyme in particular but there is also juniper, lavender, artemisia, oregano and others listed in the notes. Galbanum clearly plays an important part. Although it does become a bit more balsamic at times (think fir balsam, and it does have styrax listed) it remains underscored with an astringent chill. At times a cool mint comes through and it is quite dominant. Mint is not listed in the main, abbreviated, description, but it is definately there and I did find it in the long list. There are many listed notes that I don't smell, and you might.

    To me, the heart of this fragrance is camphoraceous, piney, minty, herbal with a cold character.

    11th March, 2012

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    Pot Pourri by Santa Maria Novella

    I love this old thing. It really is quite unique in my experience. It is aromatic, camphoraceous, resinous. Very difficult to describe in fact. All that I can say is that is seems to have some, or all, of the following, Eucalyptus, Clove, Rosemary, Lavender, Camphor, Juniper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon. Sometimes I think that I can smell Liquorice, Rose, Immortelle. For a more accurate analysis you may wish to see Odysseusm below, but these are my impressions.

    What I can say with confidence is that in my opinion it is unusual in how it wears. Initially this works like your most refreshing Eau De Cologne. It is exceptionally bracing and uplifting. But then it continues to wear in a lower key, with a quiet confidence. Incense, spice, words like comfortable, comforting, confident, salubrious, all come to mind. That is rather a lot to get from one fragrance, don't you agree?

    SMN Pot Pourri will not be to everyones taste, definately not, but surely it is a "must try" and if you do love it, like I do, I can tell you that it will become an old friend.

    Having commented on the uniqueness of this fragrance I feel that it is only fair to mention Heeley Esprit Du Tigre as I am sure that comparisons will be made eventually. HEDT has a minty opening, after which clove bud oil is very dominant for a time, and yes, here we have some similarities, but not for long.

    07 September, 2011 (Last Edited: 03 October, 2011)

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    28 La Pausa by Chanel

    The one word to describe 28 La Pausa is simply "lovely". It is delicate but luxurious. Modern yet classical. Wearing this will make you FEEL lovely.

    This is the lightest, brightest, Iris that I have encountered. I think that this is because there is Lilac in this composition, which imparts a cut crystal "ting" which elevates the Iris from the earth to the heavens....of course I could be wrong. But not about the loveliness. That is not negotiable.

    07 September, 2011 (Last Edited: 25 September, 2011)

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    Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain

    (Originally posted as a blog.)

    I may need to run for cover!

    In my opinion Shalimar Parfum Initial is a very carefully thought out new interpretation of Shalimar which has been made with respect to the original Shalimar and to Guerlain generally. There I have said it.

    I think that we sometimes have to remind ourselves that new interpretations of classics are not made to please perfume critics. They are made to capture new customers. The critics and purists can smell the original or vintage versions. But if we want Guerlain and Chanel to continue to make these old dames we will have to hope that they can come up with some new kids on the block as well to swell their customer base. It has been said recently that these big houses are aware that their customer group will die of old age eventually. Less and less Guerlain counters are stocking Jicky. The reason for that is simple. Less and less people are buying it. They can order it , but that means that no one can discover it, just come across it, when browsing.

    I think that we need to give these new issues a fair chance. If they are succesful and they create new interest, all the better for all of us.

    Can I first say something about the bottle and the launch generally. I don't normally care a great deal about bottles but a lot of people do, and we know that the whole product is important. But if I have to say something about this bottle, I will say that I think that it is stunning. There has been a lot of comment about the perfume being pink. No. Tommy Hilfiger Loud is pink. The new Shalimar is a muted salmon pink. The cap and trim are a soft dusty blue. The overall effect is lovely, classical but modern, again carefully considered I think. Eyecatching without being vulgar. Clearly respectful to the original design. The packaging and even the sample cards carry this quality through. I would hope that any younger person would be delighted to have and to handle this.

    I got stuck in a long traffic jam with this fragrance on a paper spill. You know I hadn't gone out of my way to sample it. Maybe I have been influenced by the generally negative comments, or more likely by other recent new releases, (not necessarily Guerlain) which haven't exactly set the heather on fire. But I ended up with a good dose sprayed on a spill, and was I glad? This is really lovely. To a layperson (to me) mainly a Bergamot/Iris/Vanilla accord which Guerlains own blurb "ambery floral notes", doesn't do justice. It is not totally easy to start with, good for them. It is Shalimar from the outset, albeit Shalimars younger sister. It is lighter, less complex, as younger sisters should be. As it developed I was surprised and delighted to notice that perhaps twenty minutes in I was reminded of another relation, Jicky. No really. Cleaner, lighter but the DNA is there. Overall I was impressed at just how respectful this new interpretation is. No it is not the iconic standard of the original, of course it is not. But it is more sophisticated than most new releases, and in fact I wonder if it is just a bit too classical for a very young customer. A customer who has been trained towards simpler, fruitier, easier compositions. It is not completely innocent, there is a slight whiff of the risque about it. I have sent a sample to my nieces aged thirteen and fourteen and I am really interested to hear what they say. They are perhaps the customers that Guerlain would want to capture for life.

    Where Shalimar Parfum Initial is perhaps dissapointing is in the drydown, and of course this will be where Guerlain devotees will feel most let down I think. To me it smells like a fairly generic fruity vanilla, not very Guerlainesque, and certainly not nearly as enjoyable as the opening or the lovely mid development.

    Strangely I think that I got the best of this by smelling it for the first time on paper, and I can honestly say that it is the only time that I have actually enjoyed being stuck in traffic!!

    Can I come out now? .

    05/10/2011 I guess that I should have mentioned that the SA was very generous with samples and I had worn it several times before I posted this. I am trying it still, and the only thing that I would add is that (to me) the deep drydown is actually a pleasant fairly dry vanilla.




    29 August, 2011 (Last Edited: 05 October, 2011)

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    Sel Marin by Heeley

    Modern, uncluttered, sheer, translucent, elegant. Utterly lovely. Light, too light?
    I was in a favourite perfume shop in Italy and I had a hankering for lemons and cedar, something cool and airy. Then the proprietor suggested Sel Marin. It seemed perfect. Cool, minimal, airy, very stylish. To me it is a linear fragrance, light lemon, cedar, vetiver a definate salty sea breeze continue throughout. It really is lovely. However.... The Heeley fragrances are Eau De Parfum, and priced accordingly, but I really do find Sel Marin to be so light, so sheer that you may as well spray it in the sea air. It is wonderfully refreshing and uplifting, it is lovely to use as you would a cologne, particularly on a hot day but don't expect to be able to enjoy it for long.

    26/04/2013 I've come back to this review. Initially I gave this fragrance a neutral rating because I felt that it was a bit expensive for such a fleeting fragrance. I would have liked it to have lasted a bit longer. I've reconsidered that. I would still like it to last longer but you know what, it is so good that it is no hardship just to reapply. It comes in 100mls and relative to other new releases it no longer seems expensive.

    There is no getting away from the fact that for me this fragrance is an iconic example of contemporary perfumery. So, thumbs up!

    18 June, 2011 (Last Edited: 19 May, 2014)

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    1804 by Histoires de Parfums

    Pineapple.... I shouldn't like this but I do. "Fruity" immediately makes me think of the profusion of jelly bean flavoured fragrances that are around just now. Maybe it makes you think that too? But put that thought aside. 1804 has a beautiful opening. Flowers and fruit, mainly pineapple and peach. Then the pineapple dominates for some time before a drydown of lovely peachy vanilla with some soft spice, which is very like 1969 from the same range. Too fruity for me to choose to wear it, but great fun to try, and to appreciate. Scrumptious.

    13 June, 2011 (Last Edited: 25 March, 2012)

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    1828 by Histoires de Parfums

    I see that with a very few exceptions, even the positive reviews of 1828 (Jules Verne) are less than wholly enthusiastic. Well, I beg to differ. I find this fragrance enthralling. I have explored a full sample set from Histoire De Parfum. Now; I am no technical expert but I feel confident in saying that the materials and the structure of these fragrances must be amongst the best that I have experienced.

    I spent the day with Jules Verne today. The opening is..... I have to say it, very masculine. Virile, bracing and fresh. Top notes are citrus and eucalyptus. Then; I agree with those respected reviewers who have stated this previously, it becomes oddly elusive for a time. It really does. BUT, the best is yet to come. Other reviewers comment on the development of pepper and spice and others lament the lack of pine, but for me, after a while 1828 releases the most wonderful accord of pine and vetiver. Every so often I thought that I did catch a wisp of eucalyptus in the middle too. But it is the pine/vetiver which I find gorgeous and this stage lasts and lasts. Histoires De Parfum tell us that the pine note is Pine Cone. Would this perhaps differ from resinous pine?

    They also tell us that this Aromatic Hesperide should suggest marine breeze and heath. Well, it is fresh, yes, outdoorsy, yes, and it is cool, very cool, but do not expect ozone. This is way, way further inland. In fact I cant help but think that this is very Northern European. This is a highlander or a viking after washing in a cold river and rolling in the forrest floor. Oh behave now!! But I am sure you get the gist!!

    And there is more! Eventually some lovely calm cedar comes through then finally we are left with amber, the amber that is a theme through several of the fragrances in this line.

    10th June, 2011 (Last Edited: 13 April, 2012)

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    Orange Star by Tauer

    Orange and Amber. L'Air Du Desert Marocain with Orange Sherbet. It's nice.Tauer fans will be able to identify this even if they have never smelled it before. The Tauer signature is very apparent.

    I admire Andy Tauer immensely. I adore L'Air and Incense Extreme and I have them both. I am still discovering other Tauer fragrances. This one, mmmmm, I can't help but compare it to L'Air. It smells a bit, but only a bit, lighter, zingier to begin with; the clementine, mandarin, and orange flower coming together to smell like a big juicy Jaffa Orange, but to me it is very close to L'Air in the drydown and in my view L'Air is more beautiful.

    Orange Star is maybe a bit more playful, younger. Think summer music festivals, warm breezes, love, and twenty first century hippies.

    22 June, 2010 (Last Edited: 08 October, 2012)

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    1740 Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums

    Huge boozy opening. Top notes are listed as Davana Sensualis, and Bergamot, but I get a big blast of whisky and rum!. Very soon after the leather comes through with a vengeance. The leather is strong and old fashioned as with Santa Maria Novella's Peau D'Espagne, then pipe tobacco and a lovely dusty note, the immortelle. This is inspired by 1740 and the Marquis de Sade but for me it conjures images of the early days of motor car racing, or really early James Bond. Booze, tobacco and leather. Not my own favourite of this wonderful range but fabulous none the less.

    08 June, 2010 (Last Edited: 30th April, 2012)

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