Reviews by iodine

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    Showing 1 to 30 of 88.

    Chocolate Amber by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

    After having bought a precious jar of tonka beans and having experimented their perfect pairing with dark chocolate I have appreciated the tonka- cocoa accord in several variations on the dessert theme. When I came across Chocolate Amber I found the perfume twin of my fondant au chocolat: the blast of coumarin in the opening, with its facets of fresh plastic, hay and tobacco- here reinforced with a boozy, sugary rum like note; the deep, rich dark cocoa, slightly bitter and powdery, though nothing as powdery and granular as the chocolate in Bornéo 1834, for instance- and the woody, slightly oily sweetness of vanilla pods.
    I would define this fragrance extra gourmand, but not in a cavity inducing way, rather in a kind of elegant, sophisticated, “grown up” way.
    My only negative remarks is on longevity- unlike the other, all natural AbdesSalaam Attar perfumes I have tested, this one has a really poor longevity- one hour, more or less. Too bad, as it proves extraordinarily comforting and enveloping while it lasts.

    24 June, 2014 (Last Edited: 13 July, 2014)


    Gardénia by Chanel

    Gardenia opens thick, sugary and cloying like a thousand other generic tropical flowers fragrances, fades quickly into cheap shampoo fruity musky tones to writhe at last in a super synthetic candy-like vanilla. Embarassing fragrance, I spent the whole day of my wearing it (from a sample) wondering where that unpleasant smell came from – me! Nothing like the scent of real gardenias, nor an original or interesting rendition, in my opinion.

    23 May, 2014


    Fiore della Notte / Night blossom by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

    A black velvet flower, blooming in the deep of a dark, musty, cool forest. Being patchouli and tuberose two of my favourite notes, I was curious to smell how AbdesSalaam Attar treated them. The fragrance is at the same time quite simple and deeply mysterious, with the bolder, more carnal and slightly disturbing facets of tuberose lying on a dark, rich, intensely vegetal smelling base of moss, typical AbdesSalaam's resins and patchouli.
    The website suggest to avoid wearing this fragrance at work, due to its power to stimulate a hormonal response: I've worn it in a classroom packed with- mostly male- teenagers and got through safely, anyway!

    22 May, 2014


    Iskander by Parfum d'Empire

    Pleasant,even if rather conventionally “masculine” fragrance, opening with a nice bitter grapefruit note, but soon totally ruined to my nose by a massive amount of what I believe to be Ambroxan, that covers up the other interesting and well balanced notes with its powdery, woody sweetness. A bit boring, in the end, though I can't be too hard with one of my favourite perfumers around!

    17 April, 2014


    Olène by Diptyque

    Indoles- it took me some time to train in recognizing indoles. Not the generic "bad smell" some people invoke, nor the "faecal when concentrated and floral when diluted" as my Organic Chemistry textbook at University stated. As anybody who has smelt them in pureness can tell, indoles smell like naphtalene- not camphor, less subtle and minty and fresh, more gray green, more oppressive and sharp, with a certain bitter inkiness that justifies the comparison with some aromatic components of faeces. I had my initiation to indoles with a lemon flower, then under a wisteria branch, now I can recognize it pretty well even in flowers where other components add to complexity- jasmine, for example. The opening of Olène is a long lasting blast of indoles- Luca Turin says something about their masterly balanced dose in this fragrance. Tiny bubbles of pungent green bitterness covering a straightforward, radiant jasmine. The evolution of the fragrance is quite negligible, only becoming slightly soapy and musky in the drydown, while its projection and sillage are both good (Review based on a sample)

    17 April, 2014


    Dalila by OPSO

    In my quest for the perfect orange blossoms scent this Dalila appeared quite serendipitously last year at Esxence.
    I am not obviously in a position to add much to the exhaustive description Darvant gives above, I will only stress that to my nose the fragrance is almost an orange blossoms soliflore, with each characteristic facet highlighted by complimentary notes: the juicy citruses in the opening, the creamy white flowers in the heart and the gourmand, Neapolitan pastiera cake like, flowery- musky- vanillic drydown. The latter is really the best part of the whole fragrance, being realistic in its gourmandiness but remaining somewhat transparent and never cloying or sticky. It reminds me of other excellently balanced sugary bases: Etro Heliotrope, of course, and also La Traversée du Bosphore.
    A very nice,smooth and easy to wear fragrance, with a good lasting power.

    07 April, 2014


    Tabac by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

    Tabac opens with a mellow, comforting boozy whiff of aromatic plants like those you find in a herbal liquor- wormwood, liquorice wood, star anise. Then the eponimous note emerges, moderately smoky- my partner told me it smelt like the tiny brush you use to clean tobacco pipes!- leafy and moderately fruity- sitting more on slightly sour fruit notes -apricots and plums- than on ripe, sweet , thick ones. The result is elegant, dry and sheer, with a certain freshness. The base notes rely on the wonderful ambery, faintly bitter, resinous accord so typical of AbdesSalaam fragrances, rich in vanilla but never overly sweet. The lasting power is quite good, for a natural fragrance, while the projection is rather poor- after a couple of hours you can smell it only putting your nose close to your skin- a rewarding experience, though! Totally unisex, in my opinion.

    08 February, 2014


    Milano Caffè by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

    I must have been distracted when perfumer AbdesSalaam Attar launched his project on Italian cities here on Basenotes- I would have loved to take part in the development of a fragrance inspired by my home town!
    Fortunately others did and what a beautiful result!
    To be truly honest, this fragrance has a much more immediate and flattering beauty than the city itself- I wish Milan were so warm and spicy and open to the world! AbdesSalaam has decided to catch a very peculiar glimpse of it, through the ubiquitous smell of coffee that oozes from every bar and private house and the lively spiciness of a slice of East Africa in the heart of the city- a handful of streets in the semicentral district of Porta Venezia where a multiethnic community resides since many years.
    The fragrance is smooth, rounded and polished like a coffee bean. It starts rather green, with minty and herbal notes, then gets softer, powdery with a coffee- cocoa accord (reminding me more of the cold remains of coffee in a cup than a steaming hot espresso). There is a certain sweetness , but it never turns gourmand or edible (drinkable, I should say!). The woody and slightly bitter facets of coffee and cocoa are highlighted here, along with a balsamic, resinous quality that I have found in every Profumo fragrance so far. The spiciness is supplied by mostly pepper and cardamom throughout the whole fragrance.The drydown is a deliciously bittersweet, amber, at the same time warm and dry and austere, with hints of a resin with slightly lemony undertones (labdanum?) and cedarwood.
    The lasting power is rather good for an all-natural fragrance, though a certain liberality in spraying is necessary to obtain the effect. The projection is moderate, on the other hand, but most of the fragrances of this line are intended to be this way. The fragrance is indicated as masculine on Profumo website but it’s perfectly unisex in my opinion.

    20th January, 2014 (Last Edited: 06 February, 2014)


    L'Autre by Diptyque

    I love spices- reading about the history of their diffusion in the Western world, discovering the chemistry behind them and, of course using them while cooking. I've recently started making my own mixes- garam masala, pain d'épices mixture, ras- el- hanut- having a lot of fun with my mortar and pestle. Now, as I love smelling the garam masala mixture sizzling in the pan and I love finding fragrant traces of it in my kitchen even a few days after, I'm really ill at ease with feeling like I've rolled in it! Cumin- not too sweaty- a lot of cardamom, fenugreek, something herbal fresh and aromatic (thyme? laurel?) on a thick, slightly oily, sweetish resinous base... Although I appreciate the originality of the formula, the strong association with Indian food makes it unwearable for me.

    28 November, 2013


    parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Ouarzazate by Comme des Garçons

    I love the opening of Ouarzazate, its bitter, dry herbal notes with hints of spices- I'd say cardamom and anise- and even a trace of sweetened tea, enveloping the smoky, yet luminous and light heart of incense.
    Too bad the evolution is very swift and the drydown relies on molecules that, as someone previously stated, have become heavily widespread in mainistream fragrances, hence smell a bit common and banal, in the end, though not unplaesant at all.
    Considering that I'm appreciating only a half of the fragrance I could have given "neutral", but the idea behind the Incense Series is so fascinating, and the whole series so coherent that I won't be fussing over!

    11th November, 2013


    Nombril Immense by Etat Libre d'Orange

    A soft, quite harmless, safe and unsurprising patchouli- musk fragrance. Nothing to get excited about: the patchouli is polished, clean, devoid of its more animalic and earthy facets, the musk, though very prominent since the opening, is not too offensive to my nose- i.e. not too synthetic, nor too unpleasantly waxy smelling. Instead, it gives a "furry" quality to the whole fragrance, that in the end tends to smell a bit stale and weary. Projection and longevity are both quite poor- at least when dabbed from a sample.

    04 November, 2013


    Patchouli Patch by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Autumnal Patchouli

    Patchouli Patch opens marvellously, with a ripe, mellow and smiling Osmanthus note that sublimes the natural fruity, boozy shades of patchouli.

    Then, the flowery- fruity opening deepens with leathery, almost metallic and spicy facets -the official list says star anise, Luca Turin says fenugreek... to my nose it's a kind of Indian spice mix, none particularly detectable- among which an earthy, dry but not too camphoraceus, alas!, patchouli sits royally. The fragrance feels airy and luminous, with a kind of Early Autumn vibe.

    Everything would be perfect if, at this stage, a huge, "furry" musk didn't emerge and slowly overwhelm every other note. It must be my hyper sensitivity- and poor endurance- with most musks, but the rather long drydown isn't welcome to my nostrils, though it never reaches the offensive level.

    It's a pity, as the top and mid notes are truly beautiful and skilfully balanced.

    29 September, 2013


    Mistral Patchouli by Atelier Cologne

    To the Lighthouse

    Forget patchouli, and mistral as well. This fragrance has nothing of the typical patchouli facets- except maybe for some feeble, yet nicely hovering mustiness- and nothing cold or wild, as the eponymous wind is supposed to be.

    Mistral Patchouli is, instead, a sunny, serene, marine - but not in the sense of aquatic- refreshing fragrance. It starts with a sightly dry, bitter, crispy grapefruit and continues with a rather unusual, smooth fennel note (star anise, the official list says). Base notes are, for a change in Atelier Cologne line!, pleasant and long lasting: lemony, salty wood, with the slightly dusty note mentioned before.

    Mistral Patchouli makes me think of an old house by the sea, the smell of empty rooms that have been locked for months suddenly flooded with light and marine breeze that carries scents of plants and woods washed on the shore.

    28 June, 2013


    Oyédo by Diptyque

    juicy coolness

    Oyedo opens with an exhilarating, juicy note- it's said to be yuzu, but for me it's simply a perfect citrus, one I would never get tired smelling. The dripping citrus soon gains flesh thanks to a fruity note- tamarind, the official pyramid lists, but I must admit I have no clue of how tamarind smells- that reminds me somewhat of sweet, slightly sticky, musky grapes. The heart of the fragrance is weirdly enlightened by an aromatic, camphoraceous note of thyme, that adds a touch of iridescent, metallic greenness. The drydown is soft, fruity sweet musk- this is my less favourite part of the fragrance, I'd wish the head and mid notes would last forever... Oyedo is a fragrance I love wearing in hot weather, when it proves uplifting and refreshing. The sillage and lasting power are both quite good.

    25 June, 2013


    Yuzu Fou by Parfum d'Empire

    yuzu & hinoki

    A blast of sparkling, juicy citrus notes, reinforced in mineral, slightly urinous and animalic facets opens Yuzu Fou. The general fresh, sappy feel of the opening is prompted by aromatic, minty, mildly resinous notes that smoothly and impeccably slide in a sweet, green tinged cedar. This phase reminds me the smell of some hinoki (a Japanese variety of cypress) burning sticks I sometimes use.(Only at this point the stated "homage to Japan" this fragrance is meant to be makes some sense to me, but I've never visited Japan, so I can't really tell).

    The lasting power is quite good, a good eight hours in warm weather. A beautiful fragrance, as many others in the remarkable PdE line, maybe more on the masculine side.

    22 June, 2013


    Aloha Tiaré / Tiaré by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

    white flowers gourmand

    Aloha Tiaré opens with a fizzy, sparkling, citrussy note that fosters fleshy exotic white flowers- frangipani and tiaré- while tempering their headiness. The evolution is towards a heart of tropical , pulpy fruit- peach, banana, coconut- and jasmine The drydown is an excellently balanced gourmand vanilla, signature of many fragrances of the house, with the right dose of sweetness that retains a certain resinous, honeyed, slightly bitter quality.

    Aloha Tiaré is a fun fragrance- you could imagine yourself wearing it at a party on the beach, with flower lei, fancy cocktails and so on, but it also proves pleasantly displacing when worn in an everyday context. The sillage and longevity are good, also in hot weather.

    21st June, 2013


    Oolang Infini by Atelier Cologne

    harsh tea

    Oolong tea is a fragrance in itself, combining the typical herbal and woody notes of tea with delicate floral bouquets, with subtle differences from plantation to plantation. I was curious to test this fragrance, but also wary, as I've seldom found a true and good tea note in fragrances. (Moreover, during the nineties, the market was so dumped with self styled tea scented products to discourage every tea-lover in the hope of finding a realistic note).

    Oolang Infini, for the first half an hour seems miraculously able to give a true tea sensation- maybe not an oolong (too much citrus, not enough flowers), but a definite herbaceous, ligneous and slightly tannic scent. Unfortunately, as it often happens to me with Atelier Cologne fragrances, what follows turns out to be a nondescript, rather harsh and thin woody base, that makes me forget the beauty of the opening.

    17 June, 2013


    Trèfle Pur by Atelier Cologne

    leafy green

    I don't like much reviews starting with "this fragrance smells exactly like this other one", but I'm going to except right now: this fragrance smells almost exactly like the room fragrance Sous Les Feuilles by Esteban!

    A fresh, herbaceous, slightly floral opening- tomato stems, sunny citrus, grass and leaves. As usual for me with most fragrances of Atelier Cologne line, the opening is juicy, invigorating, suggestive. In half an hour- count that I'm testing it in a rather hot day, so the evaporation times can be accelerated- a green, sharp, synthetic note makes a solo, to fall then on a rather common woody- ambery base.

    A nice, harmless and a bit boring fragrance, impossible for me to wear on skin, after having used for a long time the aforementioned Esteban room fragrance.

    16 June, 2013


    Vétiver Fatal by Atelier Cologne

    fruity, nutty vetiver

    Here we are again. Another Atelier Cologne fragrance that starts very pleasant, brilliant, quite surprising: fruity- pineapple, grapefruit, almost caramelized nutty notes that envelop a clean and fresh vetiver. After an hour or so, however, the fragrance turns rather banal, at least to my nose. It seems to slump on a woody, slightly bitter base that I guess is widely and commonly used in many mainstream fragrances (i.e. it's the smell that remains in the elevator of my apartment house after my sixth floor neighbour has used it!). Given the price of this line, I'd expect something more... original.

    15 June, 2013 (Last Edited: 11th December, 2013)


    Grand Néroli by Atelier Cologne

    pleasant orange blossoms

    As I've said in other reviews on the fragrances of this line, my appreciation depends on the delicate balance between the beautiful top notes and the rather hurried, boring when not vexing, mid and base ones.

    Grand Néroli succeeds in combining a fresh, fragrant, juicy neroli, tinged with red grape accents with a slightly powdery, ambery base that retains a floral quality for a considerable time. A pleasant fragrance on the whole, clean and sunny.

    07 June, 2013


    Rose Anonyme by Atelier Cologne

    pulpy rose

    I'm not a fan of rose perfumes and I'm not a fan of this house- I think they concentrate too much on the opening of the fragrances, which are generally brilliant and well done, while neglecting the mid and base notes, relying on rather common and cheap smelling molecules.

    Rose Anonyme is, anyway, rather pleasant and complex, with its gorgeous opening featuring citrus, fruit and patchouli to support the rose and giving it both body and freshness. The rest of the fragrance is, at least not too banal, nor too synthetic, but it doesn't move too far away from generic woody ambery.

    07 June, 2013


    Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne

    A due foreword: I am hyper-sensitive to some kinds of musk- once my nose detects them I can't smell almost nothing else.

    Orange Sanguigne, unfortunately, falls in the category of scents that are completely overwhelmed by a most unpleasant, sharp,synthetic musk note that leaves poor space to anything else.

    The opening is brilliant, though: sweet juicy, almost natural orange that turns pleasantly bitter and tinged with neroli. Then, here it is the devilish note- covering up everything. Sorry, this is not for me..

    05 June, 2013 (Last Edited: 11th December, 2013)


    Cuir de Nacre by Ann Gerard

    Opalescent Suede

    At last edition of Esxence I had he chance to meet Ann Gérard and test the beautiful trio of fragrances Bertrand Duchaufor composed for her.

    Cuir de Nacre starts with a perfectly recognizable quote of another BD creation featuring leather, La Traversée du Bosphore- thrilling, for people like myself who love quotes! It lasts only few seconds, then the fragrance veers to drier, more airy and bitter territories. The leather note- more suede than cured leather- is laced with flowers- iris, but also a transparent, fresh, haunting note that I associate to lemon flowers, or magnolia (none of them is listed, anyway). The drydown is very soft spoken, almost evanescent, with a bittersweet vanilla note. A beautiful fragrance, on the whole, maybe not very original and with a modest sillage- it soon turns in a skin scent, rather appropriate though to Ann Gérard idea- perfume as a jewel you wear for yourself, very close to your skin.

    03 June, 2013


    Autoportrait by Olfactive Studio

    Vetiver not extraordinaire!

    The photograph and the concept behind this fragrance- and the whole Olfactive Studio line- are rather interesting, the perfumed renditions unfortunately are not at the same level.

    Autoportrait opens with a faint whiff of citrus and pepper- the best part of the fragrance- that leads very quickly to a overly sweet and unpleasantly powdery heart where a pale, clean, soulless vetiver peeps out. The base notes feature prominently ambrox- one of those widespread, rather abused synthetic woody- ambery molecules that finishes the fragrance with a touch of banal.

    31st May, 2013


    Sumatera by Coquillete Paris

    Soft Spices

    "A patchouli for people who don't like patchouli"- that's how one of the founders of Coquillete Paris presented Sumatera to me, at the last edition of Esxence. She also explained that the particular un- patchouli-ness of this fragrance is due to the extraction of patchouli oil from freshly cut leaves, instead of partially dry ones. To my patchouli lover's ears the fragrance didn't sound much appealing, but turned out to be rather pleasant to my nose..

    The opening is spicy- cinnamon and mace- and somewhat green and cool- minty and camphoraceous. It totally lacks the typical patchouli notes- the winy, the earthy, the musty- keeping only a herbaceous character. The evolution is towards a soft and spicy woody- benzoin heart, that enriches itself in musk and incense tones as time passes.

    A pleasant fragrance on the whole, soft and warm with a touch of exotic, with a good longevity.

    24 May, 2013


    Kiki Parfum Extrait by Vero Profumo

    Gourmand Barbershop

    Kiki extrait opens on a strongly aromatic, balmy and invigorating lavender note that slowly reveals fruity and woody facets, to end in a- slightly burnt- caramel and patchouli base that reminds me a bit of the drydown of Bornéo 1834. Although I admire the structure and the craft behind this fragrance, I can't avoid a certain annoyance due to my strong association between lavender and old barbershop products. I can get rid of this feeling during the whole, long time of wearing.

    It's like the maturity that I usually recognize in Vero Kern's fragrances here is in danger of sliding towards old and stale...

    19 May, 2013


    Mito Eau De Parfum by Vero Profumo

    Lush decadence

    I was in Rome, a few weeks ago. The particular combination of dramatic beauty and sumptuous decadence that this city offers to its visitors was highlighted by the smell of blooming flowers in the air- jasmines, pittosporums, black locust trees, but mostly lemon and orange blossoms. I had with me a sample of Mito and no other perfume could match better that atmosphere.The fragrance is indeed inspired by the garden of Villa D'Este in Tivoli, a town near Rome...

    The opening is prominently green with lemon and galbanum, soon to unveil a heart of lush, luminous white flowers- lemon flowers, jasmine and magnolia. Then, as always with Vero Kern's fragrances, a sense of ripeness almost digressing in decay settles in, rendering the fragrance more shadowy, cool, moist and earthy. The lasting power is great, even with temperatures rising above 30 degrees.

    17 May, 2013


    Rubj Eau de Parfum by Vero Profumo

    Late Summer

    Rubj EDP shares maturity, experience and wisdom with the other Vero Kern's creations, succeeding nevertheless in staying light and brilliant. Its particular combination of fruity and white floral notes is tinged with subtle hints to over-ripeness, decay, vegetable corruption, yet it's sunny and serene like a late summer day approaching sunset. The spicy, cumin facets of orange blossoms, its salty, slightly sour fleshy pulpiness and the honeyed, waxy, slightly bitter drydown recall and enhance the smell of human skin after a long day sunbathing at the beach.

    The lasting power is quite impressive.

    16 May, 2013


    Piment Brûlant by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Piment Brulant is a weird and eccentric fragrance. As the majority of reviewers have pointed out, it prominently smells of red peppercorns, the sweet variety more than the hot one. I personally love peppercorn smell, along with its taste: I particularly like the contrast between the fresh sensation of peppercorn pulp with the hotness of its seeds. I have always also thought that it shares the peppery, transparent freshness of a fragrant bunch of freesias.
    So, the opening of PB is fresh, peppery, radiant, rendering successfully the fresh/hot contrast I mentioned before. The heart is floral- woody, rounded by the subtly sweet creaminess of cocoa. The drydown is light, transparent woods and musk with slightly harsh (and a bit synthetic) spicy undertones resulting in one of the typical signature Duchaufour accord (as in Fleur de Liane or Sienne L’Hiver, for example). The lasting power is good, up to ten hours on my skin, and the cool/warm effect this fragrance provides makes it suitable to every climate condition.

    27 April, 2013


    Patchouli by Martine Micallef

    I find this fragrance perfectly pleasant and also pretty original- I admit I can’t possibly know all the fragrances on the market, niche or mainstream, but the only similarity I’ve found so far is with Maria Candida Gentile’s Exultat (composed in 2009). It opens with a gust of freshness and light, citrus and violet leaf, then deepens and enriches in a beautiful vetiver- incense and- at last!- patchouli heart. Here comes my first complaint: the patchouli, though powerful and full bodied, lasts for too short a time and leaves no further traces… The drydown is sweet and ambery, alas ruined for me by a fastidious and rather banal musky note. On the whole, a fragrance you could enjoy, provided you’re not looking for one in which patchouli is the star note.

    14 March, 2013

    Showing 1 to 30 of 88.