Perfume Reviews

Reviews by teardrop

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Total Reviews: 575

Lily & Spice by Penhaligon's

A very sheer & soft lily fragrance, slightly woody & indolic in the opening, with the lightest touch of spice. The most interesting part comes at around the three hour mark, when it's dried down to the distinct "wet stone" note of petrichor. Sadly though, the projection is so low that I have to put nose to skin in order to smell anything, & six hours in it's pretty much gone.
A pleasant enough fragrance, but the performance is annoyingly poor. Another miss from this house for me.
30th May, 2017

Beloved by American Beauty

This is a warm, pretty white floral, mainly tuberose & orange blossom, with a fruity overtone from the orange & apricot notes. Over the first hour, the fruity notes fade, leaving a clean, non-indolic, white floral accord to take centre stage. Three hours in it fades close to the skin, & six hours in I detect a faintly ambery, oriental base.
Nothing unique here, & the performance isn't great, but it's a pleasant fragrance for warmer weather, which I could imagine wearing at work without offending anyone.
30th May, 2017

Alien Eau Sublime by Thierry Mugler

This is a soft, creamy floral version of Alien, falling somewhere between Eau Extraordinaire & Eau Luminescente, both of which share the same tiare note. I don't get the citrus or the galbanum. It becomes a little crisper three to four hours in, but fades fast after this.
I don't dislike it, but I'm just not sure what the point of this flanker is. It doesn't bring anything new to the Alien "universe", & seems redundant in its similarity to the others already mentioned.
30th May, 2017
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Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

My immediate impression is that this smells just like Christmas, with notes of plum pudding, spices & woods. Slowly it dries down to a spiced sandalwood, perhaps less sweet than in Bois des Isles, definitely more spicy, & more on the masculine side. It projects & lasts well, still going after more than twelve hours.
I tried this on a hot day & it felt entirely out of place for me, but I could see myself really enjoying it in winter.
30th May, 2017

Ancient Resins by Aftelier

Pine resin & the warm glow of labdanum produce an aura of dark-green & brown, transporting me to the shady pine woods of a Greek mountainside in the heat of summer. There's a hint of something herbal in here, too, perhaps the sage used in mountain tea, which is used for medicinal purposes, after all. I can see why many describe this as contemplative or meditative; it did evoke a feeling of comfort & calm on a day that was dominated by bad news. The projection is low, but then it is a body oil, & not a perfume as such. Two hours in, it's sweetened a little by benzoin, & later the lemony aspect of the frankincense comes through. It lasts around seven hours before fading entirely.
As an oil, it's not at all greasy & sinks nicely into the skin. I can see myself reaching for this when in need of comfort, & to satisfy my longings for Greece. Its quiet presence is like a voice softly telling me that everything will be alright.
30th May, 2017

Vanilla Smoke by Aftelier

My main impression here is of smoked rubber, underpinned by a very natural vanilla, i.e. not cupcake-sweet. It's very sheer though, not overly acrid. And that's about it. I don't get any citrus, booze or spices. This is far more subtle than I expected, & about as elusive as smoke, with very low projection. It's barely detectable after three hours, despite having applied several sprays, & although it's still there after ten hours, by this time I'm thoroughly bored with it.
I'm fine with vanilla not being sugary-sweet, but I would have preferred much more richness & intensity here. Instead I find myself unmoved, & rather disappointed by this one.
30th May, 2017

Cassis by SP Parfums Sven Pritzkoleit

Yep, it's definitely blackcurrant. Jammy fruit balanced with a little bitterness from the leaves & stems. The "cat pee" note that I associate with blackcurrant bud is thankfully not obvious here, but it does appear about an hour in. It sweetens a little though, just as it fades closer to the skin five hours in.
I am not a lover of fruity notes (except for citrus & fig), & so this isn't for me, but it is well done. I can see fans of L'Ombre dans l'Eau enjoying this one, especially in late summer/early autumn.
30th May, 2017

Oahu - Gardenia by Nomaterra

The opening is a blast of white florals that are not particularly gardenia-like, although after thirty minutes there is more of the creaminess that I associate with this exquisite flower. Here it smells more like lily though, along with an airy, salty sea breeze note. From here there is no further development, it fades close to the skin after eight hours, but lasts a good fourteen hours before fading out altogether.
According to Indiescents.com, where I got my sample, this perfume is made with a variety of gardenia unique to the island of Oahu, using the traditional enfleurage technique. Perhaps this variety is more lily-like than the Mediterranean gardenias I am used to, but this is not the gardenia perfume of my dreams. It is a pleasantly pretty white floral though, & I will enjoy using up my sample over the summer.
30th May, 2017

Suntanglam by SP Parfums Sven Pritzkoleit

This is not your average "beachy" fragrance. Yes, there is a Bronze Goddess-like note of hot, post-beach skin here, but there is much more going on. My first impression is of a combination of that confection known as Coconut Ice, & a Lush shop. But wait; it's not sickly-sweet, it's powdery, sophisticated & gorgeous. Sniffing up close, I detect something dark, terpenic & slightly bitter lurking beneath, as if there's oil washed up on this beach. But what projects is a cloud of powdery loveliness, & on a hot day a distinctly animalic note appears. Three hours in, the darker note recedes, & the tonka takes over, adding just a little more sweetness, but not too much. From around the five hour mark it fades closer to the skin, but is still going after ten hours.
I really love this, & I'm already thinking of it as my "sex on the beach" fragrance. ;) I can see a purchase in my future...
30th May, 2017

Black Orchid Voile de Fleur by Tom Ford

I don't find this all that similar to the original Black Orchid. There are echoes of the truffle note a few minutes in, but otherwise this is lighter, drier & more woody, with hints of creamy fruit. I find it much closer to Velvet Orchid, although it's less lush & more unisex in feel. The most prominent floral here is a lightly spiced lily, & two hours in it all smooths out into warm, creamy, fruity floral reminiscent of Narcotic Flowers by 1000 Flowers, or a less intense version of Isabey's Lys Noir. The projection is much lower than that of Black Orchid, it fades very close to the skin after five hours, & eight hours in it's gone.
I already own & love Black Orchid & Velvet Orchid, & although I don't dislike this one, it doesn't come close to either of those in terms of scent or performance, hence the neutral rating.
30th May, 2017

Escape by Calvin Klein

I remember smelling this everywhere when it was first launched, but never owned a bottle myself. I hadn't smelled it in a long time until I was recently sent this sample by a basenotes buddy. The calone note here is much less oceanic than I recalled, & the melon smells more like grapefruit to me. In fact it reminds me strongly of Armani's Acqua di Gioia, only even more synthetic & slightly turned. There's no development whatsoever; the volume is simply turned down after six hours.
I thought I would enjoy smelling this again, but either it has changed, or I have. I suspect it's both.
16th May, 2017

Gardenia by Goya

Launched in 1937, this is a very retro-style white floral with a touch of green, perhaps galbanum or violet leaf. For me it's dominated by lily of the valley, & is not unlike vintage Diorissimo. One hour in though, it's a much more modern-smelling lily fragrance, gardenia-like in its creaminess, if not in scent, & very pretty. After four hours, it fades to a watery floral accord, & six hours in it's all but gone.
Though lacking in tenacity, this is a lovely spring perfume, & very pleasant while it lasts.
16th May, 2017

Island Gardenia by Jovan

I expected this to be one of those "tuberose masquerading as gardenia" fragrances, but although there is tuberose here, there is also a good amount of gardenia. It's soft, sweet, & not terribly natural-smelling, but it's a pleasantly beachy, sunny scent. It has that vibe of post-beach skin, complete with hot sand & traces of coconut oil. And at the risk of repeating a cliche, it does indeed transport me to a tropical island with blue seas, sunshine & swaying palm trees. It becomes steadily sweeter, & although it appears to sit close to the skin, it gives off nice little wafts when I move. I detect a grassy jasmine in the base, & it fades out completely after nine hours.
I'm not sure whether this is still in production, but there's plenty around on ebay, & if you fancy a cheap trip to the South Seas, this might be just the ticket!
16th May, 2017
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Blonde by Versace

At the risk of repeating what just about every other reviewer has said, this really is a dupe of Fracas. And although it's pretty bombastic in its own right, the tuberose here is actually less natural, less full, less buttery, less in-your-face narcotic than that of Fracas. If Madonna's Truth or Dare was Fracas Lite, this is Fracas Medium. There's a little more citrus & orange blossom here, & it's drier, with a faint touch of woods, but the wafts of scent coming off my arm remind me of nothing else but Fracas. And as I already own & love that one, this one is redundant for me. It does bring a smile to my face though, & I'm glad I got to try it. Although there's little development, the projection & longevity are excellent; it's still going ten hours in.
16th May, 2017

Hypnotique by Max Factor

This vintage fragrance is billed as a floral chypre, with top notes of aldehydes, citrus & spice. It certainly has a retro feel, & I think the top notes must have broken down over time. I don't get citrus or spice here, & only a hint of the "snuffed candle" variety of aldehydes in the opening phase. It's warm & mellow, with a savoury base of oakmoss humming along beneath. The floral notes are difficult to pick out, but I am reminded of an E. Coudray Jacinthe et Rose body cream that I have, which makes me think there must be some hyacinth here. Three hours in, the florals fade, leaving the oakmoss to murmur along by itself. Apparently there are animalic notes here, but they are not obvious to me. Twelve hours in, it's faded to a soft floral base.
Aldehydes & oakmoss are not favourite notes of mine, & so this one isn't really my style, but I'd say it's definitely worth a try if floral chypres are your thing.
16th May, 2017

Casamorati 1888 Fiore D'Ulivo by Xerjoff

This is a bright, fresh, citrussy, slightly green floral with just a touch of bitterness to lift it out of sweet floral mundanity. The effect is like a cheerful ray of sunshine, a breath of spring on a cold, grey day. Although I have spent quite a bit of time around olive groves, I confess I'm not actually sure what the flowers smell like. But this perfume is mostly magnolia for me, along with the grassiness I associate with the best Kalamata virgin olive oil. Fragrantica lists basil among the notes, & I do smell it here; in fact it reminds me of Avon's Lemon & Basil, an old summer favourite of mine. This, too, would be wonderfully cooling in hot weather, I think. Around forty-five minutes in, there is a salty/oily aspect, better done IMO than in Slumberhouse's nauseating Pear & Olive. Five hours in it begins to fade to a crisp, clean & soapy musk base, but still with that citrus overtone. At this stage it reminds me of a cleaning product, albeit a posh, high-end one. It all lasts around twelve hours before disappearing.
I enjoyed trying this one, but the fact that it reminds me by turns of a much cheaper fragrance & a household product will prevent me from spending the amount of hard-earned cash that this house demands.
15th May, 2017

Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker

I get bergamot, not grapefruit, pepper, incense, woods, & a thick, buttery sandalwood here, although to my surprise it's not listed as a note. It's like a cross between Sahara Noir, Santal Blush & Champagne de Bois, all fragrances that I own & love. Like the "sweater melange" of someone who's been drinking bourbon in a smoky club, with cumin adding just a suggestion of sweat, the overall effect is subtle, not too animalic & certainly not offensive. The vetiver is very faint on me.
I am so impressed with this one that it's going on my wishlist. If I sniffed it blind I'd swear it was a Tom Ford, even though the performance is not as good, lasting as it does around four hours on me. For the price, though, it's a standout among mainstream perfumery, & certainly among celebuscents! Easily unisex, too.
15th May, 2017

Tango by Aftelier

In the opening, I get the fizzy-powdery "Refreshers" effect mentioned elsewhere, swiftly followed by the much-discussed "toasted seashells" note. This comes across as both animalic & strangely aquatic, a little like ambergris. The effect is like the contents of one of those orange PVC bags we used to hold our swimming kit at school in the late seventies/early eighties, with a stash of sweeties stuffed inside. It's an odd combination, not actually offensive, but certainly different to anything else I've smelled. Fifteen minutes in, the animalic note fades, & a mildly spiced, sweet tobacco takes its place. At this stage I begin to enjoy it, but I don't get the orange or floral notes here. Two hours in, it morphs into the same sugar-dusted cinnamon pastry accord that I noted in Amber Tapestry. It all lasts a good seven hours before fading.
The reviews for this one are all over the place; it seems to smell different to each person who smells it. It's not one I can imagine wanting to wear, but it's definitely one to sniff if you're feeling jaded about sampling, or feeling like everything smells the same these days. Unfortunately I believe it's been discontinued...
15th May, 2017

Oud Luban by Aftelier

The orange note comes through very strongly in the opening, but it's thick & resinous, more like an orange liqueur than the juice or rind of fresh fruit. Or like one of those candied orange pieces, without the dusting of sugar. After a few minutes the frankincense starts to appear, & slowly takes over, in a dry & dusty fashion, until one hour in, the orange has disappeared entirely. I'm no oud expert, but I detect it very subtly here, more earthy than barnyard-y. Four hours in I get faint hints of ginger & patchouli, but at this point the projection is very low, although it lasts a good eleven hours before fading out.
I don't dislike this one, but nothing about it really grabbed me, hence the neutral rating.
15th May, 2017

Cacao by Aftelier

This smells just like a Terry's Chocolate Orange, with something dark & animalic lurking beneath. That may be the jasmine, but I don't get anything overtly floral here. Three hours in, it takes on a distinctly metallic edge, which makes me suspect the presence of neroli, but otherwise there's little development, & it lasts for over seven hours.
I am not a fan of chocolate in perfume, & so I am not surprised that this one isn't for me. Someone else mentioned the cloyingly sticky fingers & faces of little children in association with it; a nauseating image that only adds to my sense of revulsion.
15th May, 2017

Amber Tapestry by Aftelier

This opens as a fruity, slightly waxy jasmine, quickly taking on the texture & sweetness of crunchy demerara sugar, with a hint of cinnamon. There's a definite gourmand feel here, evoking unctuous pastries & other baked goods. Three to four hours in, it dries down to a sweet, warm & fuzzy base, suggestive of an animal's fur, but not animalic in any kind of dirty or fecal way. There's a slight saltiness deep in the drydown, & it all lasts around ten hours before fading out.
I would say that this is not primarily an amber fragrance, in the same way that Ambre Narguile is not. But it is a similar kind of comfort scent, creating a delicious, golden-brown aura that feels wonderfully cosy on a cold, grey day.
15th May, 2017

Cuir de Gardenia by Aftelier

In the vial this is a sweet, creamy gardenia, but on my skin it's an indolic jasmine, along with the kind of rubbery/plasticky smell that I associate with the interior of a new car. I've smelled this before in Tom Ford's Velvet Gardenia, & it's not a pleasant association for me. One hour in, the rubberiness calms down, & from here it steadily sweetens into a warm & honeyed floral, fading out after six hours. This stage is more pleasant to me, but it's not gardenia, & therefore a disappointment after being so excited to try it. But my wallet is relieved.
15th May, 2017

Un Matin d'Orage Eau de Parfum by Annick Goutal

I have owned & loved the EDT for several years, but it proved impossible to find a sample or tester of the EDP anywhere. Eventually curiosity overcame me & I blind-bought a bottle online. The notes list is very different from that of the EDT, but to my surprise, the two smell almost exactly the same. The only listed note they share is magnolia, & I can only surmise that this is the dominant note in both compositions. If pushed, I'd say the EDP is more crisp, citrussy, green & woody, less creamy than the EDT. It's also drier, less diffusive, & less focussed on the moist & steamy aspect of these dewy garden flowers. The EDP does become creamier after an hour though, & from here the differences are far less apparent. Both have that wonderful aura of a garden after the rain, warming in the sun, the individual notes difficult to define but giving off wonderful wafts of sillage for hours on end, & lasting a good twelve hours before fading.
I have no regrets on blind-buying this, although I do have a slight preference for the EDT. It is one of the most beautiful perfumes I own, & will always have a place in my spring rotation. But I would say that if you have the EDT & haven't tried this, you are not really missing much, & owning both would probably be redundant.
15th May, 2017

Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès

For the first half-hour, this is an aldehydic citrus, with the "off" note that I get from certain aldehydes. After this, it settles into an accord of spring florals, but for me it's not specifically narcissus. And then two hours in, it morphs into a powdery oriental, with a distinctly resinous labdanum-opoponax base. The projection is low, and twelve hours in there's just a trace of soft florals remaining.
I was expecting something cold here, a bracing breath of early spring, but the narcissus eluded me, & although I enjoy a powdery oriental, this one was just "meh" for me.
15th May, 2017

Romanza by Masque

The opening has the same creosote-like note that I got from Soivohle's Violets & Rainwater, but thankfully here it dissipates much more quickly. What emerges is the impression of a leafy, wet garden in early spring, with the still-cold earth beneath. This is not a pretty, picture-postcard garden, but one that has been allowed to grow wild & rampant. There's a rawness here, & a slight feeling of menace, urging one to retreat to the warmth & safety indoors. The narcissus builds in strength, & remains unapologetically front & centre for the duration of this fragrance, giving off subtle but insidiously seductive wafts for hours & hours. In the heart I get something distinctly animalic, & the base is sweeter - not a vanilla sweetness, but a narcotic floral sweetness. The lasting power is superb, with traces still remaining after twenty-four hours on my skin.
This is not my usual style, being a tad too green for my taste, but it is impressive, & if you love narcissus, this one is surely a must-try!
15th May, 2017

Issara by Parfums Dusita

There is both a freshness & an earthiness to this one. There's a crisp, sunlit opening, followed by smooth tobacco, a hint of sage, & an undertone of tonka. Over the first hour, the tobacco becomes smokier, & then comes the best part: the coumarin comes out in full force, with all its hay-like sweetness. There are shades of Chergui here, although this is less sweet & less dense. The projection is excellent for a good six hours, & overall it lasts well over twelve hours, sometimes up to twenty-four on a good day.
I am no expert on fougeres, but I really enjoy this one in autumn, & am very impressed with its performance on my skin.
15th May, 2017

No. 5 L'Eau by Chanel

For me, the citrus top notes barely last two seconds before being overwhelmed by the aldehydes; the type of aldehydes that to me make the fragrance smell "turned". There's also an overly synthetic, plasticky feel here for the first half-hour. After this, the aldehydes dissipate leaving a creamy, floral accord, which lasts a good long while. The florals are hard to pick out, but on sniffing closely I do detect a pale, silvery iris, & a lovely, fresh rose. There's a lot of clean white musk in the heart, & in the far drydown the citrus resurfaces along with a biscuit-like note, giving a faint impression of lemon cookies. The whole lasts around eight hours before fading.
I can see how this one might be regarded as inoffensive, perhaps even elegant, & for the most part I agree. But the quality of the aldehydes here are a deal-breaker for me. I found much more to enjoy in Eau Premiere, & that, not this, is the one I'd consider buying.
15th May, 2017

Sable & Soleil by Phaedon

Luckyscent describe this one as "stark & dry", but this is not my impression at all. I find it light, sweet & cheerful, opening with a mix of salty sea air & lemon blossom. After a few minutes, the jasmine comes through, along with an undercurrent of milky coconut. Two hours in, the tonka note sweetens it further, & there's a faint sandalwood in the base. The projection is low, & after four hours it's only detectable by putting nose to skin, although it lasts a good twelve hours.
I find this one pleasant but nothing special, & the lack of projection frustrates me, although it's possible it might bloom more on a warm day, with liberal application.It doesn't, however, come close to Phaedon's richer fragrances like Tabac Rouge or Rouge Avignon for me.
02nd February, 2017

Aqua Allegoria Ylang & Vanille by Guerlain

According to the notes list on Fragrantica, there is carnation in this one, as well as the eponymous ylang & vanille. None of the reviews here on BN mention this, but I find a definite note of carnation competing with the ylang in the initial phase here. The ylang slowly wins through, joined around forty five minutes in by a creamy, smooth & tropical vanilla. The whole effect is like a soft, warm breath of summer on this cold winter's day. There's no further development, & from here it wears very close to the skin, but it's a dreamy, creamy, not-too-sweet floral that I could see myself enjoying during the warmer months.
02nd December, 2016

Darling by Fabergé

This is an aldehydic floral with a cosmetic-style, powdery rose. For the first hour, the aldehydes are pungent, almost headache-inducing, & frankly rather cheap-smelling. And then it settles into a base of mossy woods, softening considerably after two hours, & pretty much gone after five. There's also a hint of pickling vinegar along the way.
I've seen a review that compares this to the original Le Jardin by Max Factor, a fragrance I owned in my late teens, & haven't smelled since. From my vague memories of it, I can see the resemblance. But my tastes have changed, & neither are something I would want to wear now.
02nd December, 2016