Reviews

Reviews by iodine

Advertisement

Chamade by Guerlain

I guess Chamade stands as THE origin of my passion for fragrances. I recently found, in my childhood house, the box of minis and samples I began collecting since the age of nine or ten. Among a bunch of beautiful Guerlain miniature- Shalimar, Eau de Guerlain, Samsara, Mitsouko, Chamade- the only one that was almost finished was Chamade. Hence, I must have loved it, back then. After months of wearing the last tiniest drops from the precious, early 80ies vintage vial, and testing the current Chamade in various concentrations, I reached for the EdP. I'm not an expert on reformulation matters, so I trusted some people that granted the substantial goodness of this version (Luca Turin and Victoria Frolova, to cite a few) and decided that, since it was able to move me, again, it was right for me.
There's not much I can add on the notes or on the feel of such a widely known fragrance. To me, it smells of early spring days, when bulb flowers start pushing- hyacinths and narcissuses (LT mention narcissus in the Guide, hyacinth is officially listed- the two flowers share the same time of blooming and definitely share some facets, the oily, waxy ones, for example) and green things begin sprouting from the dormant soil. The green- floral opening turns into a soft, slightly powdery (better, pollen-y), resinous drydown, glowing quietly for hours and hours. Chamade has become my go-to fragrance, the one I can spray on when no other appeals to me, the one I find myself always happy to perceive, as I move, as I take off my scarf, or my jumper.
30th April, 2015

The Unicorn Spell by LesNez


This morning I was shelling some peas and this fragrance came immediately to my mind. Its green, woody, green beans odd sweet opening used to put me off from further sniffing, but today I'm finding it much more gentle, much softer and much more on the barely sugar coated violet side than I remembered. A violet fragrance that successfully avoids the cosmetic, powdery- lipstick- soap association and sticks to the vegetal, the woodsy, the frost covered grassy feel, on the same wavelenght of L'Artisan Verte Violette. A nice fragrance, for violet lovers.




04th April, 2015

La Liturgie des Heures by Jovoy


What happens when a Messe de Minuit takes place in Avignon Cathedral? That must be the question buzzing in the head of the people at Jovoy when they started thinking about an incense fragrance for their line. And the answer is, of course, La Liturgie des Heures! It starts coniferous and rock mineral like Avignon, though it displays immediately a darker, richer, deeper and even sweeter side: more myrrh, more resins. A grapefruit- bitter, sour, mineral in a slightly urinous way- note that immediately reminds me of the Etro fragrance hovers on the whole development. The drydown is more mellow, fizzy resinous, compared to the CdG fragrance, and, most important of all for me, it seems to be lacking the woody ambers that I find so bothering in Avignon.
In short, an enjoyable take on the church incense theme, though not much original.
02nd April, 2015

Helium [2He] by Nu_Be

Plum crumble. After a quickly vanishing whiff of fresh fruit, the fragrance falls heavily and lastingly on a pleasant, but really boring and conventional spicy gourmand base, with no evolution and no further surprises. One could argue that this stability has to do with Helium being a noble gas, but, come on, we are talking about the element that constitutes 27% of the mass of the Sun- there's a bit of irreverence in making it smell like a fruit cake!
23rd March, 2015

Carbon [6C] by Nu_Be

C as in cardamom, or in cookies or in caramel or in caries…. Rather sickly sweet, spicy, somewhat dense and flat fragrance on the gourmand side of the spectrum. A variation on the oriental- spicy- woody- ambery, as smelt in thousands of fragrances- Malle's Dries Van Noten, just to name one, caramelized sandalwood included. Rather boring and conventional and, once again, with very little relevance to the concept of the brand and the spirit of the element that stands at the roots of every form of life, at least according to my own personal view of it!
23rd March, 2015

Coromandel by Chanel

Coromadel starts with a creamy fizz of aldehydes, citruses- bergamot- and white flowers- lemon blossoms- intertwined with terpenic, volatile notes announcing patchouli. Patchouli is definitely there, not too earthy, not winy, rather dry and herbaceous and- for the bliss of my nose- soundly camphoraceous. But it's like you have to break through a thick, sweet, creamy crust to reach it. It reminds me of those slender, elegant citrus peels dipped in chocolate, their taste a perfect balance between sweet and bitter, aromatic and sour, zesty and rich, their texture velvety and crunchy at the same time. This shell lasts for the whole development of the fragrance, showing at a certain point a green, harshly sweet, slightly jarring note- maybe some aromachemical I'm hypersensitive to. The lingering of this note makes me love Coromandel a bit less unconditionally than I could, but every time I bury my nose closer to my skin, the gorgeous patchouli is there, uplifting and calming. In the drydown, the shell melts in a creamy, musky, chocolate-y amber base.
A great fragrance, with a powerful sillage and excellent longevity.
22nd March, 2015

Lithium [3Li] by Nu_Be

Lithium, the lightest metal in the periodic table- soft, white, slightly scaly, giving a beautiful crimson light when heated. What has it do do with a rather pleasant, yet conventionally niche spicy- woody oriental fragrance? As I've already said in H review, the team at nu-be must have a sensitivity towards chemical elements very distant from my own, hence my uneasiness in smelling fragrances that mismatch so badly their name, in my opinion.
The problem, here, anyway, is not the name. The fragrance itself is so safe, so nice, so predictable that I don't get the point of it.
22nd March, 2015

Hydrogen [1H] by Nu_Be

The beginning is exhilarating: sparkling citruses and fruit- grapefruit and pear mostly- bubbling and fizzing like a primordial hydrogen cloud bursting to give birth to heavier elements. Only, this particular one takes a short cut, yielding immediately some cold, sourish metal, accompanied by a hefty amount of ozone. This fragrance certainly has all the lightness of the smallest element in the periodic table, but after a promising opening, and past an awkward calone phase, it quickly settles on a rather conventional fruity musky vanillic base found in so many niche fragrances- ELDO is the first example coming to my mind.
Too bad, a line of fragrances entirely based on chemical elements has always been one of my brightest fantasies, but it's clear that the- super nice, it must be said- creative team behind nu-be don't share my personal sensitivity on elements.
22nd March, 2015

L'Eau d'Ambre by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This fragrance has been to my first untrained, later a bit more skilled nose THE archetypal amber. Nothing exceeding, here: not too aromatic or fancy the opening, not too sweet and sugary the development, not too dark and animalic the base. A green, spicy geranium on top, a core of vanilla, a nice round patchouli in the base. I can see how people looking for an amber with a bolder, more distinctive character- more animalic, more aromatic, sweeter, spicier..- can find excellent alternatives on the market, but this fragrance remains the perfect one, for me.
It's a scent I associate with end of year festive days, I feel its warmth and composed sweetness as a source of golden, mellow light, so easy and comfortable to wear, yet elegant and subtle.
04th January, 2015

Essences Insensées by Diptyque

Weird sweet, powdery, woody mimosa scent, with the usual high-too high, to my sensitive nose- dose of aromachemical typical of most Diptyque fragrances. This one certainly has some graceful and pleasant aspects- mimosa with its powder, wet cardbord, paper glue and green facets, a most appealing candied, creamy vanilla note that makes its way through the nose with a curious delayed effect, nice light spices- but a screechy, synthetic feel keeps hovering on the entire development of the fragrance, ruining much of the grace and balance.
A fragrance that mimosa lovers should try, anyway.
02nd January, 2015

Araia by OPSO

Pleasant, conventionally feminine fragrance, opening with some fresh citrus notes followed by nice powdery, sugary flowers- I read violet, heliotrope and osmanthus in the pyramid- resting on a base of rose tinged, sweet, uncomplicated musk. Nothing new, nothing exciting, just a correct and simple scent.
09th November, 2014

Edgar by OPSO

Totally agree with Darvant's review: nice, conventional and rather boring essay on the masculine theme, with some awkward short cuts to obtain the effect- i.e. a massive amount of the usual, ubiquitous synthetic woody ambers. Edgar smells like a thousand other masculine fragrances- I would add a strong resemblance to some Parfum d'Empire creations, Yuzu Fou and Iskander in particular , I can't see a reason to choose it.
09th November, 2014

Patchouly by Etro

Etro Patchouly is so far the best approximation of my ideal patchouli- my landmark being Lush solid deodorant Aromaco, whose “perfect” take on patchouli is still to be found in an actual fragrance or in patchouli EO.
The opening is not camphoraceous enough to my taste- but I guess my love for that note isn't that common!, but reasonably green and cool, with hints of mint, geranium leaf and a fresh rose. Then patchouli gorgeously displays its facets of walnut, crunched dried leaves, freshly dug earth and also some interestingly bitter inky notes. No sweetness, no boozy notes, only an elegant and refined dryness and depth.The base is a powdery, soft amber- musk leaning on sandalwood, enveloping, comfortable and long lasting.
A beautiful fragrance, perfectly unisex and great in cool weather.
29th October, 2014

Norne by Slumberhouse

A precious tiny vial- miraculously escaped from a theft during its long way home from LA to Italy via Switzerland in my sister in law's's bag- delivers a dense, sticky (REALLY sticky, but maybe its due to some evaporation occurred in the meantime), dark green juice. The expectation is high, 'cause I love pine scents and the appreciation of Slumberhouse here on Basenotes is so enthusiastic...
OK, it does feel like having a walk in a dark, mysterious forest- BTW I love the name!-... just after having had an intense painting session, with the pungent, orangey smell of turpentine still lingering on clothes... And- hey, those people camping must have burnt their bacon! And- don't touch pine resin, it will glue your hands and hair together! Anyway, it smells so beautiful here...
If I could get past the green sticky stains on my décolleté, the fleeting but definitely present smell of roasted meat- or burnt tyre, the poor availability in my country and the price, I'd say I've found a great forest fragrance. The drydown is beautiful, rich, deep, mossy and it definitely reminds me of my true holy grail in the forest scent category- AbdesSalaam Attar's Hindu Kush. I guess I'll be sticking to it.
15th October, 2014

Indu Kush / Hindu Kush by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

A blast of pines and hesperidic notes in the opening, fresh and balsamic at the same time as only terpenes could be. This forest on the slopes of Hindu Kush is sun kissed- though high and, hence, cool-rather than misty or shady. The resins glisten and melt into a perfect blend of spices- none particularly prominent but all together conveying a green, peppery, resinous feel.
Under this coniferous top a thick, cooler bed of moss lies, slightly bitter, reinforced with a dark, earthy patchouli. The heart and base of HK play around a rich incense note that stands out among the signature resins blend of AbdesSalaam Attar fragrances.
A superb fragrance, rather simple in its composition yet rich, complex and profoundly meditative. One of the best scents on the forest theme, in my opinion, definitely one of the most beloved in my own wardrobe. Totally unisex, with good projection and lasting power.
03rd October, 2014

Chillum by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

A smoky, fresh or even cold take on sandalwood, this weird fragrance.
The opening is almost foody, with smoky notes reminding me of Tyrolean speck or other seasoned meats- not exactly how I would like to smell in the morning, or ever. The evolution is centred on sandalwood, restrained in its natural sweet and caramelized facets by some astringent, cold notes- I read there's ginger in the composition. The drydown retains some smokiness in the rich, slightly powdery woody base.
In a line of fragrances that I love, Chillum is maybe my least appreciated, though I can imagine a sandalwood lover finding some interest in this fragrance.
Both projection and longevity are moderate.
27th September, 2014

Jasmin de Nuit by The Different Company

The Different Company line has always left me quite cold, none of their fragrances has ever really struck me, JdN itself was a huge disappointment, when I was looking for a more realistic jasmine.
Then, last July, after a holiday in Kefalonia, where I could smell jasmine literally everywhere, I decided to revisit some fragrances I had overlooked and fell for Jasmin de Nuit! It's not the flower itself- to be truly honest I barely can detect it, one could mention tens of more meaningful fragrances in this respect- but the particular association with spices- cinnamon, cardamom, aniseed, a hint of clover and mace- that enhances the natural stink of jasmine to create a smooth, soft animalic feel. The fragrance is quite linear, not evolving much in time, revealing a creamy musk-vanilla base in the drydown, well reminiscent of cookies, as other reviewers suggest. This particular aspect proved decisive for me getting a full bottle of JdN: the second more ubiquitous scent in Kefalonia was cinnamon, generously sprinkled on cookies, pastries and cakes (and also savoury dishes). A spritz of Jasmin de Nuit and, instead of in greyish Milan, I'm having my morning walk to the bakery in Karavomilos!
04th September, 2014

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.
24th June, 2014 (last edited: 13th 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.
23rd 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!
22nd 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!
17th 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)
17th 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.
07th 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.
08th 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: 06th 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.
28th 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.
04th 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.

29th 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.

28th June, 2013