Reviews by rorygory

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    rorygory
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    Private Collection - Psychotrope by Parfumerie Generale

    Psychotrope fits this mysterious, rainy spring mood I've been feeling for the past week or so. I love what I think to be the name, after looking it up in French: "a substance having an effect on the psyche," "antidepressant," and "hallucinogenic." The top is all green, jasmine, and a kind of freshness that smells like the rain outside my window. The florals then come forward, jasmine, cyclamen, and violet, followed by an effortless drydown to a leather base, almost reading as vinyl, with a subtle hint of musk. These unusual notes complement each other harmoniously, and despite the dark, strange, leather base, the whole composition reads as elegant and sophisticated. The overall effect is beautiful and unnerving.

    16th May, 2012

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    Perfect Kiss by Creative Scentualization

    I received a sample of Perfect Kiss Eau de Parfum in a swap. The company appears to have changed its name from Creative Scentualization to Sarah Horowitz Parfums. The notes are listed on Lucky Scent as "jasmine, honeysuckle, amber, dark chocolate, sandalwood" and the fragrance claims to leave one "smelling positively edible."

    I definitely notice an "edible" scent on the first application, but to my nose it is an unpleasantly strong fruity-vitamin scent that occurs with the collision of the shrill jasmine, cloying honeysuckle, and extreme amber. Strong amber scents don't sit well on my skin, but I do appreciate understated amber notes. I often enjoy the smell of amber notes abstractly and on others, such as Thierry Mugler's Alien and Alien Sunessence. This amber, though, is too much, and the other notes compete with it instead of complementing it.

    As the top notes fade a little, it does settle down into a more acceptable amber/chocolate/sandalwood base, but it still feels like the notes are shouting over each. The ingredients have a warmth that smells expensive, not like the screechy synthetic feel that cheaper scents can suffer from. Nonetheless, these notes sit on my skin instead of blending into a pleasant drydown. Maybe it is a matter of chemistry, but Perfect Kiss is far from perfect on me.

    10th May, 2012

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    Après L'ondée by Guerlain

    Certain scents are difficult to explain but easily inspire the adjectives "breathtaking" and "heartbreaking." Après L'Ondée is one of these scents. Gaia, the Non-Blonde describes smelling Après L'Ondée in parfum "like entering a dream. It can be familiar, like a memory you can't quite place but you know you've been there, maybe in your subconsciousness."

    Like any other art form, at its finest perfume can convey a distinct idea or emotion. The more complex the idea, the more moving the artwork. Après L'Ondée means "after the rain shower," and between the floral, herbal, earthy, and watery notes, it literally translates as a garden after the rain. Yet there is something more to this scent, that inspires consistently more romantic reviews. At its debut, La Liberté said it had "something of the melancholy of a poet's thoughts." (Monsieur Guerlain). Turin's review is also full of dark metaphors, describing the base accord as a "funeral", but for the fact that "Guerlain suffuses the whole thing with optimistic sunlight by using, as in so many of their classic fragrances, a touch of what a chef would call bouquet de Provence: thyme, rosemary, sage. This discreet hint of earthly pleasures is what makes Après L'Ondée smile through its tears."

    Après L'Ondée does smile through its tears, for the scent of the earth following the rain parallels a feeling of calm after the passing of grief. The sadness behind Après L'Ondée makes the beautiful notes all the more real, precious, and poignent. This scent brings you deep within your own reflections. It is undoubtably one of the greatest perfumes ever made.

    09th May, 2012

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    Stoned by Solange Azagury-Partridge

    Stoned is a ridiculous scent. When I first received a decant, I wasn't instantly smitten, but over time the absolute decadence of it has endeared it to me: it comes in a red crystal decanter, claims "diamond dust" as one of its ingredients, and is named "Stoned". I mean, really. The nose behind the scent is Lynn Harris of Miller Harris, who created it for the London-based jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge.

    What initially put me off is that on first application, Stoned has what Lucky Scent refers to as " an incredibly attractive retro quality to the fragrance, making it reminiscent of the luxurious perfumes of the past." Tina Sanchez also touches on this in Perfumes: the A-Z Guide, saying "This hybrid of Habanita, Shalimar, and Vanilia attempts the ultimate amber oriental by combining features of past greats." These are both colorful ways of saying that Stoned has something of an old lady vibe.

    When I first smelled Stoned I was used to clean, sweet department store florals, and the old lady quality was way too much. Despite my initial horror, what saved that little decant of Stoned from being sent out in the next Makeupalley swap was a delicious, warm, rosy vanilla skin scent that emerged hours after I applied it. Baffled but intrigued, I put the vial back on my shelf and forgot about it.

    Revisiting it now, the first application is still stuffy, all labdanum, treemoss, bergamot and heliotrope, like a large, old woman wearing ornate jewelry and a mink coat. Yet after 20 minutes or so, these notes become a luxe backdrop to the rose, jasmine, and sweet vanilla, giving the effect of keeping the ornate jewelry and mink coat but replacing the wearer with a Helmut Newton-style Amazonian model. Put a drink in her hand and you have the amazing bourbon vanilla skin scent drydown.

    All in all, if I had an extra $285 to throw around, I could think of worse things to spend it on than a red crystal decanter of Stoned.

    24th April, 2012

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    Magdalene by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

    In the bottle, what first strikes my nose is a sharp, green rose note. BPAL roses are really unpredictable, though- they can range from absurdly stuffy to hysterically shrill to utterly deranged. This is an unexpected BPAL rose, with a pleasant, rather "normal" floral roundness, a reasonable, refreshing greenness, and an unusual depth.

    On first application, Magdalene has a burnt note that reminds me of the off top notes of my vintage Le Galion Snob. There is something about these burnt chemicals hovering over an otherwise pleasant floral that I really love. It's like a synthetic rebelliousness, a shabby chic dress, the chaotic beauty of imperfection.

    Magdalene then settles down into one of my favorite BPAL rose scents. Everything about the description is true: roses, orchids, labdanum; stirring yet gentle; love and devotion mingled with heart wrenching sorrow. The order of words is important here- it is first, love and devotion, then sorrow. The sweet, gorgeous floral notes are grounded by the labdanum, and it is the conflict between them that makes the emotion of this perfume so expansive.

    It reminds me of a more gothic take on the same expansive conflict present in Guerlain's Après L'ondée. Après L'ondée is a play between wet, tearful florals: rose, iris, and heliotrope; and the grounding bouquet de Provence: thyme, rosemary, and sage. The result is revelatory: it is the shift from rain to sunlight, from tears to a smile.
    Whereas Après L'ondée has a holy, transcendent quality to it, what I love about Magdalene is its shift, not to clarity, but to darkness. Après L'ondée's play between sorrow and hope seems to pray that hope will conquer. Magdalene, on the other hand, lets the darkness in, and the play between love and sorrow suggests that sorrow will win. The scent passively, but seductively, accepts this idea, and dries to a dark, rosy labdanum. The entire experience is sexy, complicated, emotional and beautiful.

    14th April, 2012 (Last Edited: 09th May, 2012)

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    Badgley Mischka by Badgley Mischka

    Impulsively and regrettably, I swapped a full bottle of Hypnotic Poison for a full bottle of Badgley Mischka, unsniffed. It was spring, and I wanted a change. I already had a bottle of Hypnotic Poison parfum, and felt the EDT was going unused. I wanted to shed my heavy, gothy, rosey, tuberose, and decadent notes for something just as sophisticated but sweet, fresh, fun, different. The review in Perfumes: the A-Z Guide made Badgley Mischka sound like the perfect fit- a gorgeous and sophisticated fruity floral.

    I can be traditional in that I love unabashed, feminine florals, many of which do fall into the "fruity floral" category. However, I don't particularly like fruit notes except for peach, and only when it is an accent, not the focus. Badgley Mischka is all fruit, as Sanchez says, "a big, breathtakingly gorgeous fruity top note". Well, the adjectives work if you like fruit, but if you don't, replace gorgeous with stressful and you have my reaction upon receiving a full bottle in the mail. I immediately had swapper's regret, and have missed my Hypnotic Poison EdT ever since.

    Today my Badgley Mischka is once again headed out for swap, and I've tested it just to remember my reaction. Anything is easier to appreciate when you know it will soon be gone, and so this time, I notice the jasmine middle notes, and the patchouli base and woody dry down. As far as fruity florals go, this one really is sophisticated, and would stand out among the other department store fruity florals as chic, subtle, and glamorous. However, those fresh, fruity, synthetic top notes still nag me, and I will not regret sending it off to someone else who will hopefully appreciate it more than me.

    12th April, 2012

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    Vanille Extreme by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

    I agree with Aznavour- this smells like sugary, boozy, vanilla cupcakes. It's synthetic in an edible but not natural way, like cupcakes from a box or frosting from a can. Tasty!

    17th October, 2011

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000