Perfume Reviews

Reviews by babsbendix

Total Reviews: 114

Déclaration by Cartier

I used to wear Eau D’Hermes, and Declaration reminds me of a fresher, brighter version of it. The dusty, dry spices and leather are all there, though it’s as if they serve to provide a backdrop for the silky and refined orange note, the same orange I couldn’t get enough of in Bulgari’s The Vert when it came out. There may be natural orange in here, too, but I’m picking up on a component with crazy radiance and longevity that has neither the bite nor the top-note-only volatility of natural orange oil. I first smelled this note in the Bulgari, so it makes me experience Declaration as being very much ot its time, though I wouldn’t call it dated - it’s far better than can be so easily dismissed.

Like my favorite classic colognes, I think Declaration smells less overtly masculine than it does overtly money! So elegant and interesting and masterful.

But keep in mind that I am sure not one to shy away from a good bone dry cumin note - I like L’Autre, too.
18th June, 2018

Eternity Intense by Calvin Klein

Given what some had said about this having iris and being weird for a Calvin Klein, I held hope that this was an austere, under-the-radar mass-market gem. Doesn't it seem as though this brand has a unique opportunity to offer something like that? I'm so ready for it, myself.

The opening did not disappoint - proper starchy, ballet-shoe-smelling orris. But in warm weather that was gone in 30 seconds and replaced by an apricot-fruity violet/iris accord under the shadow of a looming stormcloud of hot cardboard sugar (I refuse to call this effect vanilla).

The sugariness takes over, though compared to something like La Vie est Belle, it's a minimalist version with relatively a lot of fruity violet/iris. Its warm radiant sweetness was pleasant and longevity from just one spray was great at over six hours in the heat.

Looking for something austere I instead found it to be something that's a reserved kind of fun, maybe what would happen if Insolence were done in the Calvin Klein manner.
24th May, 2018

Calandre by Paco Rabanne

I specifically wanted to say nice things about the current formulation, having purchased it a couple of weeks ago and not worn anything else since.

I’ve enjoyed it as a palate cleanser - it has the appeal of a single clear, unaffected singing voice when there’s been too much bass and autotune. It has no sweetness, yet the florals come in and keep it from being too aloof. I’ve seen conflicting pyramids, though the flowers that come through on me after the opening rose are distinctly rose geranium, hyacinth, and a surprising and heartbreaking lilac.

I once had an older bottle of Calandre, and it was warmer and deeper. Yet I didn’t like it better, for I appreciate the delicacy and sparkle of the new one.
01st May, 2018
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Angel Muse by Thierry Mugler

While smelling and performing like a lovely, quality perfume, it also smells rather like Nutella, meaning I no longer have to choose between the two.

Seriously good fragrance, though, just pure pleasure. Its evolution is seamless and warm, and its relatively calm drydown lets the smell of your skin come through, something I have not experienced with a Mugler before.
12th January, 2018

Modern Muse Le Rouge Gloss by Estée Lauder

Bonne Maman tart cherry preserves are my jam.

And what I find clever about Le Rouge Gloss is that the cherry pie filling and nostalgic iris-y face powder accords that get mentioned a lot are actually in support of the massive jammy rose I also enjoy in TF Noir de Noir and Aerin’s Evening Rose. So these elements may be trendy and something for the marketing, but someone really did work this out as a fragrance - it’s deliberate and of the quality you expect from this house.
Lasts for days.

I could have done without the faux chypre powerful patch edge, though I know everyone wants edge and vinyl smells and it’s just me not being modern with my thinking that naive and sweet are really lovely sometimes.
06th January, 2018

Peace, Love & Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture

The pyramid reads like my dream of a composition. While the resulting frag isn’t that, I do like it in cold weather; horrible and screeching in heat.

Years ago I wore Calyx and Metal, and PL&JC has a sharp, green vegetal edge like those. Actually, it’s pretty retro! Where I can tell it’s modern is the base - it softens some from its brash opening and fades into a pretty hyacinth and stemmy accord, and that’s about it.

Some say it reminds them of Cristalle, one of my great loves. I have an 80s bottle of Cristalle that’s like the fragrance equivalent of a balsamic reduction after all this time. It has no sparkle as its top notes have long ago evaporated, though it’s a fascinating study in how complex and deep and warmly bitter the blend of base notes is - could swear there’s immortelle or even fenugreek!

Anyway, I’d wanted something to give that old juice some lift without significantly altering its profile, and a little PL&JC spritzed over it smells fantastic! One base-heavy and the other top, they align and complete each other and become a formidable dayglo green thing.

06th November, 2017

Animale by Animale Parfums

I didn't wear this one when it was first released, so I can't speak to how the current version may be different from the original one. (I'm assuming that it must have been reformulated over time for reasons of cost or ingredient restrictions, because it's heavy on mossy and woody notes.)

That said, whatever changes may have been made, they've done a great job of keeping it true to the spirit of 1987! I can't smell Animale outside of the heavy context I bring to it as someone who would have been wearing other chypres like J'ai Ose, Diva, Mary McFadden, and Jean Marc Sinan at the time of its launch. So it gives me a powerful nostalgic feeling just in being a chypre from the 80s. Yes, each of those is/was unique, yet the degree of difference between them now strikes me as being about as big as the one between Flowerbomb and La Vie Est Belle today.

The current Diva doesn't smell the same to me as it used to - the components smell cheaper and the rose isn't as glorious as it was. Animale is not that far removed from today's Diva. The emphasis is different, though - Diva is so much about the animalic honeyed rose, while Animale seems like it's going to be complicated when you first spray it, but is basically an animalic chypre accord in the end.

Conventional wisdom is usually to wear a powerhouse chypre like this only in cooler weather. But I find that they can be bitter and off-putting if they don't get a chance to open up and bloom on warm skin. The thing I love about chypres is actually what they do with your chemistry if they suit you. My issue with so many modern American (in particular) fem scents is that they have no intersection with how women actually smell, and seem to be an exercise in masking. I don't need to take on any societal shame, thanks. Plus, if I want to smell like something you plug into a wall, I'll put one of those things in my pocket and radiate "clean linen" or whatever all day. So I actually wear Animale in hot weather - I decant it so I can dab just a little bit - because "Animale" is more the truth of the situation than "Fantasy" when it's 115 out, and I'll own it.

Especially amazing frag when you consider that it's available for around $9.99 at discounters if you hit them on the right day.
22nd June, 2017

Rochas Femme (new) by Rochas

I used to own a bottle of the vintage parfum. While it hadn't gone bad, it was aged, and its topnotes were long gone. It was all oakmoss, dense leather and dry-as-a-bone stone fruit out the gate, and my closest reference was certainly Mitsouko, but Femme was more austere, and had virtually no sweetness.

I was prepared that the reformulated version could be so different or inferior that I'd be disappointed, but I like the EDP a lot. While I can tell that it's the same fragrance, it arrives at nearly the same chypre effect through different means - more mellow spice and labdanum instead of oakmoss (I have real oakmoss oil or extract - I forget its form - and it can smell dusty sweet and quite a lot like aged cinnamon bark. So I think my nose is filling in the blanks because oakmoss and cinnamon may share some chemistry.)

While still not a sweet fragrance, the newer EDP is sweeter than the vintage, and a degree or two closer to being an oriental. For something drier but in the same ballpark I'd look to Goutal's Mon Parfum Cheri, par Camille, which I'm pretty sure is based on Femme.

10th May, 2017

Albert Nipon by Albert Nipon

I don't find this one spicy and woody until it dries down, and even then, it's by no stretch as spicy as something like Opium or Cinnabar, or as woody as, say, beloved Theorema. I have the EDT, and my closest reference is actually Mahora! It's big like that, and the "white floral" smells to me like the mellow, buttery, lovely tuberose in Mahora.

Now - I like the individual high quality components of Mahora. It's a Guerlain, after all, even if it's a suffocating disaster of a composition. Albert Nipon is better as a whole, more modulated and less of a behemoth, and with that floral butteriness and deep, smoldering base, it's just bewitching in small doses. It's certainly potent, even as an EDT, yet it melts into skin chemistry and has the softness of a vintage chypre as it dries down. I'm not sure I would have identified it as an 80s frag, or even as a floral oriental, because it just doesn't fit that neatly into one genre, much like Vol de Nuit doesn't.

I've never seen it listed anywhere, though I also get a fruit note used like the peach in Mitsouko or plum in old Rochas Femme. Not at all a fruity scent in today's terms, I recognize the fruit rounding its personality and bridging its divergent accords, a trick in the background.

Really nicely done, and not at all out of place in my wardrobe of old musty, weird, and powdery classics.

13th April, 2017

Arpège by Lanvin

I found some vintage Arpege extrait, and I would describe it as a softer, rounder, less concentrated version of Ubar. Ubar contains modern components that allow its individual notes to really pop and sparkle and be more articulated than those in an aged vintage fragrance, yet the scent profiles of these two are very, very similar - dominant sandalwood; civet; similar mixed floral heart with discernible lily of the valley. The top notes and aldehydes in my bottle of Arpege have long dissipated, so all I can know of it is a bit of its heart and a lot of its base, which doesn't have the mossiness of a chypre, nor the sweetness of an oriental, and is an elegant animalic woody thing at this point. It's unisex and smells quite of its time in much the way that Vol de Nuit does.

I've always found Ubar to be stunning in both senses of the word. I've kept a leaky sample in a drawer because it makes my office smell nice, but the fact that one drop left in a five-year old carded sample contained in a closed drawer scents my whole office, well...that's a more potent fragrance than I can wear on my person. That said, I've come to have a whole new context and excitement for it through getting to know vintage Arpege, because I can better see what Amouage were trying to do, and they really nailed the classic style in a way that doesn't smell dated, just timeless.
16th February, 2017

J'Adore Voile de Parfum by Christian Dior

First impression was that it's a clean jasmine "department store" floral, really normal. It's for sure not as shrieky as the pillar fragrance in its current formulation, though it's not, to my nose, a soft and powdery iris thing, either. I actually experience it as being super strong, and I'm pretty sure everyone can smell it - not that intimate, even if it's trying to give than impression; it lasts more than eight hours on me. I get a beautiful sweet rose in the very opening that's gone much pretty much instantly, and then it's all clean green jasmine and a great creamy musk. For hours.

The musk in the Narciso line doesn't work on me, so this has been my answer to a ladylike flowery musk thing that smells really good a couple of feet away - I think it's best from that distance. It doesn't have the peaches of The One, though it shares with that D&G a creaminess + persistent green (maybe headache-inducing) freshness all the way through.

22nd November, 2016

Ballade Verte by Manuel Canovas

Ballade Verte is rose chypre-ish, though it's not quite as angular and challenging as it develops as the 80s fragrances it reminds me of. As I first tried it I thought, This is what I can wear when I'm wishing I could experience Scherrer 2 the way I did when it came out. Because as much as I love the memory of Scherrer 2, smelling it now, there's no way.

I've seen the rose in Ballade Verte described as Moroccan, though it smells like an eglantine rose, the ones that grow wild. I might just be smelling rose + violet, because there's a little of that, too. But if you like wild rose, it's not that easy to find in fragrance, and this is a great facsimile of it, front and center.

Potent and great longevity, so go easy.
17th November, 2016

Encens Liquide by Memoire Liquide

I do like this one, though I find it to be more of an accord than a composition. It's an EDP that has a musky, close-wearing personality like an oil, and good, linear longevity like an oil, too.

It's pretty sweet, not caramel-sweet, but amber-sweet. While the incense note is there, and it's true, this is not a dry incense fragrance, but more of a musky amber fragrance with a Japanese incense note. Probably I would be mad for it if it had a little bitter/earthy/smoky counterpoint; black tea and sake are both listed as notes, but I perceive neither. I wouldn't reach for it in warm weather, though it's one of my favorites for a cool evening or rainy day.

Unisex, and layers well.

17th November, 2016
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Fancy Love by Jessica Simpson

From my perspective, Fancy Love stands apart from other inexpensive mass market and celebrity scents for its restraint, lack of sugar, and fizzy aldehydic edge.

While it often gets compared to Burberry Women, I associate it with D&G's The One because both can ultimately be reduced to (tart) peaches and cream. But while The One has a persistent tart, green, and fresh quality that partners its potent, oily musk all the way through, I find that Fancy Love dries down softer and airier than its tart peach opening, and has a character more like an aldehydic floral than a warm floriental - I don't consider it to be a warm scent

Initially I thought that its longevity wasn't so good, though I was wrong. Its longevity is stupid (especially on clothing) but it wears pretty closely.

02nd November, 2016

Angel: Liqueur de Parfum by Thierry Mugler

This is NAUGHTY!

It's got a really pronounced animalic honey/beeswax note. But that seems to have taken the place of some of the patchouli, and I find this version to be smoother and more...intimate isn't exactly the word, but it's lower key. Certainly it smells like a perfume, and basically like Angel, but the honey note gives it a skanky, worn-in feeling that I realize my favorites like Shalimar Ode a la Vanille and Tom Ford's Noir Pour Femme also have. These are perfumes that don't care if I like them, while the original Angel is trying HARD.

The feeling of nonchalance is something I usually associate with the great ones from Guerlain and Chanel. It's like a magic French trick - how can something as drop-dead elegant as No. 5 Eau Premiere or the old Cristalle (or an ancient Hermes bag) just work its way into basically any situation and always be right? But these things just ARE. I think the magic runs deep into the culture, and you can't put it on like an affectation, though you CAN wear the perfume. And I do.

This flanker isn't elegant like that, but it's sure delicious. The pineapple isn't to be feared - it's caramelized, like in pineapple upside down cake, and works with the warmth of the other notes rather than going all tart froot.

Lasts forever, and the fun part is that once it settles in, it smells like you put it on the day before and had a late night.

27th October, 2016

No. 5 Eau Première by Chanel

When the original version had just come out, I actually stopped a young woman in the street to find out what she was wearing - in her wake was the most airy, delicate, magical, unidentifiable floral, and I was confused when she said it was No. 5. I eventually figured out that it was a new release and tried it on myself, though it wasn't as fabulous on me, so I moved on.

I tried Eau Premiere again today, while trying the new L'Eau, and I didn't think that much of it while I was in the air-conditioned store. But about a half-hour later I was back out in the blazing, gritty heat, and it came wafting up to my nose like fairy dust and brought a gentle, civilizing tone to my hectic afternoon.

I came home with a big bottle!
30th September, 2016

I Am Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture

If you've not had a positive experience with a sweet, fruity pop culture frag, move along - there's nothing new for you here!

And I can enjoy some super sweet and even trashy frags, so I always try the Juicys. While I've never worn any of them much, the one I always liked best was Couture Couture, which seems to be the most unpopular with the youth market for being too sweet in a floral way - not sure we've reached the limits of too sweet in a caramel way yet, because STILL they keep coming.

And I genuinely wish I Am Juicy Couture would be the last of this ilk. It's basically a one frag synopsis of Juicy's greatest hits and of the last 10 years in sweet/fruity/floral/gourmand mass perfumery, and now that it's been offered, the only other route to rework this theme would be to deconstruct it, for you're not going to get one that's "better" than I Am Juicy Couture. It has a softness and warmth to it on skin, and is an actual composition that evolves and wears like the EDP it is.

Couture Couture is a bit static to me - so awfully much of that sweet grape-y white floral accord and not much else, which is why I never fully embraced it. I Am Juicy Couture has a similarly sweet white floral heart, but the passionfruit cuts it, and the base, while alluding to Viva La Juicy's caramel and wood, is a more classic (you could say generic) amber thing. Thankfully, it doesn't have the tart fruit/patchouli tension I just loathe about Angel, Viva La Juicy, and Pink Sugar.

When I smelled it today, I realized I've been in my spot in L.A. for exactly 10 years this month. The original Juicy frag was in the air everyplace at the beginning of that 10 years, so it's a nostalgic smell for me even though I never wore it. I designate I Am Juicy Couture as the bookend on this particular period of my life - in a certain way, very over it and tired. Both me and the frag.

11th September, 2016 (last edited: 10th September, 2016)

Cologne du 68 by Guerlain

While deeply, intimately familiar with the women's Guerlains, I am less so with the men's.

And perhaps partly for that reason, if compelled at gunpoint to guess if this were a Guerlain or a Goutal, I would have bet my life that it were a Goutal and now be dead! I have not smelled Les Nuits D'Hadrien in a while, but that's what this reminds me of, Goutal's singular take on citrus in Hadrien or Eau du Sud layered over some vanilla and amber and noticeable immortelle, not Guerlinade. It does have a particular silky smooth character that only Guerlain manages to get, so maybe Goutal as calibrated by Guerlain.

Lovely and versatile, though on me it doesn't read as 68 notes complex.
24th August, 2016

Eternity Summer 2016 by Calvin Klein

There was a fragrance I had in high school, circa 1982, that was mostly a really juicy and tart green accord, and I wore it all summer during my ill-fated first love. His name was Greg, and he was a surfer with blond hair and a 1965 Mustang.

I've often wondered what that fragrance was, and I can only assume it was by Coty, Revlon, or Jovan. It would have been something from Thrifty or Woolworth; I'm ruling out something from Love, because the bottle was rectangular. The cap was tan plastic, I think. So 70s.

Anyway, the Universe always speaks to me directly through things I find in thrift and discount stores that are a response to something I've been pondering, or missing. I saw that Eternity Summer 2016 has a frangipani note, so I picked it up as a blind buy at a discounter being as frangipani is my favorite floral if I had to pick just one.

And I honestly can't smell any frangipani in this year's Eternity Summer, which is a disappointment. But the surprise is that what they're calling "palm leaf" is the same green accord from that elusive drug store fragrance I wore in high school. The frag, on me, is that accord plus the very Calvin Klein musk.

It isn't very interesting. But I enjoy it as a very personal cosmic wink.
08th August, 2016

True Love by Elizabeth Arden

I don't know what's going on with this one in terms of the formulation, whether the EDT I picked up recently at a discounter is the same juice others are reviewing.

But what I have has nothing to do with jasmine and lotus, and reads as a Sophia Grojsman peach/apricot and rose. It goes through a lot of "green" and lily of the valley in the early stages of its development, and that's the phase I like least - it's got that American good girl thing you get with others from around that time, like Jessica McClintock.

Though the heart - I kid you not - is like Nahema rendered a tiny, impoverished infant in its hyacinth-ish green/peach/rose character. I find Nahema to be the olfactory equivalent of being in the Mojave without sunglasses - so powerful and bright and of a certain high frequency that it produces a LITERALLY stunning feeling in my head. I can't wear it because it hurts, though I'm drawn to it on a primal level, just like I'm drawn to the Sun.

So True Love speaks to me, because it's the amount of that particular green/peach/rose accord that I can personally take, and it's ridiculously inexpensive. Of course the quality isn't as high as a Guerlain - please don't think I'm saying it's a substitute - but I respect the craft behind it and think it's really good for an offering at the low end of the market.
28th July, 2016

Nefertiti by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

I tried this one early yesterday evening, and could still smell it when I woke up this morning.

The list of notes says that it's iris and sandalwood, though on my skin it read as VIOLET, maybe even ULTRAVIOLET.

At the time I applied it I liked it but felt it was so potent and so floral it wasn't "me". But that didn't stop me from sniffing my wrist every few minutes, and when that happens, I know it means that a frag may eventually be coming home with me.

Black Phoenix scents are kind of insidious that way.
01st July, 2016

Scherezade by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

"Red musk" to me smells precisely like nag champa incense, really floral as musks go. And Scherezade is basically red musk, so it transports me to the incense display at a San Francisco new age shop in the Haight called Eye of The Day circa 1988. I immediately bonded with it because it smells like my world did when I was at my happiest and everything still seemed possible, though I would suggest that your experience with it may not be as positive, depending on your relationship to red musk/Indian incense. Because that's about all you're going to get with this one! Probably layers really well, but I haven't tried that yet.
01st July, 2016

Tom Ford Noir pour Femme by Tom Ford

Often, the frags that I end up wearing the most don't impress me the most first time out. And so it was with Noir Pour Femme. I tried it at Sephora and I liked it, but I literally said out loud, "Really?" I guess I was expecting something a little stranger and edgier, something unlike what I'd smelled before.

And this goes right to Claire's point - we've smelled this kind of thing before with Organza Indecence and the original Addict. And actually, my lizard brain connected Noir directly to Joop Femme from 1987! For a moment, Noir gave me this big, disorienting, happy/sad whoosh of nostalgia for a very particular moment in my youth, and I didn't get why that was happening. But when I got the nostalgia a second time, I realized it's because it smells like my memory of how Joop smelled on me when it first came out. Just looked at the pyramid for Joop Femme, and they do have a lot of notes in common...Wow.

I was a massive fan of the drydown of the original Addict when it came out. There was a certain green note in it that smelled really toxic to me, so after a particularly bad day with it, I auctioned my bottles. Though its weird burned, thick, narcotic vanilla, that was just the best, and when I learned it had been reformulated, I felt like I'd made a huge mistake in letting it go.

So along comes Noir, and in a way, it's nothing groundbreaking. And also, it's just what I always wished Addict was, and I haven't found anything I like this much in a while, and I wear the hell out of it, and I could go a little obsesso-hoardy with it. My single favorite family is warm amber/resin scents that aren't particularly floral and feminine, and have a little bit of an aromatic edge to them. The ginger and mastic(?) here add enough interest for me, and there's a mellowness and stealth to it that suit me far better than its aggressive predecessors' personalities did. For it doesn't necessarily declare itself to be a prestige perfume - could be a particularly appealing mix of hippie or BPAL oils, or something from Lush. Actually, it's got the resin-y feel in common with their All Good Things, which I also love...

I don't think Noir has the sillage of most of Ford's other scents, though on me, its longevity is stupid - I can testify that two sprays will go 48 hours.
15th June, 2016 (last edited: 17th June, 2016)

Casamorati 1888 Dama Bianca by Xerjoff

I was directed to this one when I posed the question, "What might I want to wear that isn't L'Instant if I'm in the mood to wear L'Instant?"

And Dama Bianca really does have the sort of sweet, radiant, powdery, fluffy-vanilla-and-florals personality I associate with Guerlain. It is, indeed, closest to L'Instant in not having the distinct animalic weirdness in its base of the older Guerlains. The floral here is predominantly violet and iris to my nose instead of the fresher magnolia or lily accord in L'Instant. It's a classic, refined scent, and could have been a contemporary of Bellodgia or something.

I do love it and recommend it - seems to be of wonderful quality - and the price...I'll treasure and enjoy my sample!
01st June, 2016

Sheer Beauty Essence by Calvin Klein

My contribution to Basenotes today will be to review a flanker of a flanker, then.

I haven't tried Sheer Beauty, though I remember Beauty as a potent and clear-as-a-bell non-indolic jasmine, and something more literally floral and less abstract than I would have expected from CK.

And along the same lines, I couldn't imagine what CK would do with a lilac note - lilac is so sweet and heavy and old-fashioned and not CK. It turns out they turned the pear WAY up to lift and balance the sweetness of the lilac and rose. The pear has a juicy freshness to it, though the composition doesn't veer into sharp or sour territory, and is smooth and soft-ish in its impression.

I say "ish", because if this is an EDT, I'd find any higher concentration to be unwearable. Given the potency with which it came out of the bottle, I applied only one miniscule spray six hours ago, and it's still going as discernible pear/lilac/musk. With the name and its lovely pale purple color, and the fact that it's called an EDT, I came to it thinking it's going to have an airy feel. And I think that may be the impression it gives to others who smell you in passing, but the fact that they can smell you...There's definitely some craft going on to convey "airy" when it's actually kind of a beast.

Mostly, though, I'm inclined to be supportive of it because somebody dared to use lilac in a slick, modern scent! The result is maybe a little shampoo-ish with all of that attenuating pear, yet it's attractive in a familiar way, too.

01st June, 2016

Mortal Skin by Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777

I ordered a sample of this, because that list of notes? Just WOW.

But I can in no way make what I'm smelling resemble that pyramid. Early on, and most prominently, I get a tarry-smelling aromachemical and then it dries very quietly into something faintly, faintly sweet and musky that I can barely smell.

Maybe I'm anosmic to it, or it's one of those that wants a particular skin chemistry, or a cultural background other than my own, but...
07th May, 2016

Vêpres Siciliennes by MDCI

I experience this one as sort of one-third early Goutal meets two-thirds Esprit D'Oscar from Oscar de la Renta! I don't mean that it's bad, it's just as if somebody took the natural and excellent quality synthetic components that Goutal would choose for a summery frag, but chose five times as many of them, and then did them up in an ornate and proper lady composition in the style of a good 80s/90s Oscar de la Renta or Boucheron frag.

It opens with a brief crunchy leafiness and grapefruit, almost like a bracing tomato leaf scent, but when you'd expect it to head further into Goutal territory from an opening like that, this massive floral thing happens that reminds me of the tuberose and heliotrope in Esprit D'Oscar. I have a love/hate relationship with Esprit D'Oscar and almost scrubbed this one off because it was in the same floral ballpark, but once I could focus on the cloves and osmanthus and maybe it's plum, I decided, yeah, this one IS good. I enjoyed the rest of the ride from there, which after all that wild action in the heart, coasts as a soft and gentle fruity chypre that's more in the relaxed, barely there manner of a Goutal again.

Really a funny one.

07th May, 2016

Nuit Etoilée by Annick Goutal

I bought the EDP blind when I found a ridiculous online deal, and the first few times I wore it I was underwhelmed. I liked it, though I also felt as if I'd just gotten another bottle of Sables! For the extraordinary opening lasts but a few minutes on me, and I'm left with nothing but the immortelle drydown of Sables. The longevity of that immortelle accord is good, at least four hours.

Now that I've had more time with it, Nuit Etoilee has really grown on me, because its wild and non-perfumey nature fits feeding cats and working in the yard and cooking with aromatic herbs, much of the ACTUAL life I lead. And I recognize a lot of the other notes, even though they're fleeting, from my long history with other Goutals besides Sables - some citrus in common with Hadrien and Eau du Sud, some of the greenery from Ninfeo Mio. In effect, it's a scent that speaks right to me like a friend, even if thousands of other people also wear it.

Have to emphasize the mint, though! It has a cooling effect on my sinuses, and in combination with the other natural essences, has a noticeable physiological effect, uplifting and clearing and calming at once. NE is presented as an elegant fragrance, though it feels like a positive aromatherapy experience, not like something from a department store you wear to impress.
25th April, 2016

The One by Dolce & Gabbana

One sweet, unctuous, musky BOMB! On me, anyway.

I do see why it's been a hit, because when it works with your chemistry, it smells like fuzzy peach + a woman's warm skin covered with a lot of sweet oil, maybe Huile Prodigieux by Nuxe. Somehow it smells primarily fatty and rich, almost disgusting it's so rich, and whatever the listed notes, I experience it as an oozing, molten blob of a scent, unbelievably tenacious but definitely intimate in scale.

It's got an indistinct, amorphous, linear quality, and it's easy to write off when you just smell it from the bottle. But The One is completely about what it can do on skin.

18th March, 2016

Replica Lipstick On by Martin Margiela

I love the replica idea of the Margiela line, and its presentation, but until now, I hadn't liked any of the actual fragrances. Lipstick On grabbed my attention because I love powdery orris vintage-smelling scents.

It has more vanillic sweetness and less pear/plum than HdP 1889 Moulin Rouge, though unless the powdery iris vintage makeup genre is your thing, they're similar enough that you may not need to own both. Or either! I love Moulin Rouge as a smell, but I find that I don't wear it often, because it's so dry and peculiar that I have to be in a particular mood to be around it all day - best lasting power of anything I own.

It's not mentioned, but I pick up on a bit of spicy carnation (eugenols) in Lipstick On. Or maybe my mind is making some kind of association with old Carons when I smell the vintage-y dusty vanilla, because I went off thinking of Bellodgia just now.

It's a weird one, and really about the only feminine I found in Sephora right now that isn't just so predictable, the usual Dolce/Gucci/Tocca clean tuberose and bergamot and vanilla blah. Gosh that isn't a very high bar, is it? But I do like to give credit for bucking the trends in an interesting way, and if this one had remained as quirky and distinct as its opening instead of just going Play Doh vanilla in the end, it would have captured the sort of mystery I've wanted the Margielas to have.
15th March, 2016 (last edited: 18th March, 2016)