Perfume Reviews

Reviews by afartherroom

Total Reviews: 16

Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana

There's a reason this fragrance has been so very popular. It's because it smells good, is exceptionally easy to wear, and is highly versatile: appropriate for day or night, for work or play, for going out to dinner or for just slobbing around the house. Part of the reason for that versatility, I suspect, is the pure simplicity of its concept: it basically comes down to two equally high-pitched and nasal facets--the sharp musky cedar below and the tart lemon/apple above--oscillating against each other to eternity. The result is a kind of olfactory moire effect, shimmery and (to my nose, anyway) quite pleasant.

I suspect that Light Blue may also carry an additional appeal to Americans in particular, due to the strong hygenic associations of its three major notes, each of which, in their own way, can be said to represent cleanliness. Lemon, of course, is very strongly associated with cleaning products, while that tart green apple note is commonly used in the US to scent shower gels, shampoos, and astringent facial toners. The cedar, meanwhile, brings to mind cedar-lined linen closets or cedarwood chests, used to keep stored clothing clean and fresh and safe from moths. Put them all together, and you're definitely appealing to a desire for cleanliness, or "freshness." I tend to associate that desire with American tastes -- we do love the whole squeaky-clean aesthetic here!--but perhaps it is more universal than I realize.

My one criticism of this fragrance is that it can get a bit screechy sometimes. I referred above to both the cedar and the tart fruit facets as "high-pitched and nasal," and while I realize that I'm engaging in an aural analogy there, it's the best way I can think of to describe exactly what I mean. They're both sour, sharp, astringent fragrance types, the sort that can really seem to get all the way up into your sinuses sometimes. Since I enjoy sharp and astringent smells, I'm not bothered at all by that aspect of Light Blue, but I can certainly see how it might get in the way of others' enjoyment. That synthetic cedar stuff in the base (is that the Iso-E-Super people so often talk about?) is also extremely long-lasting and tenacious in a stickily pervasive musk-like way -- should you take a dislike to it, you *will* be smelling it for days, not only wherever you sprayed it, but also on anything and everything that got too close to the original spray. You have been warned.

Sadly, while I enjoy Light Blue on other people, it doesn't behave very well on me. When I wear it myself, the lemon and apple notes disappear very quickly, while the cedar becomes *ludicrously* accentuated; the end result is that I wind up walking around for hours smelling very much like a hamster cage. A *clean* hamster cage, mind you, but still very much a hamster cage. So it's not one that I keep around, but I always enjoy smelling it on others. Quite fortunate for me, that, because this fragrance is so very, very popular that once you know what it smells like, you will find yourself encountering it everywhere.
09th January, 2016

Angel by Thierry Mugler

If there were an intelligent species of alien who viewed us as mindless vermin, much as we view cockroaches, then the poisoned bait they'd strew across the planet in a desperate attempt to exterminate us would doubtless smell very much like Angel.


I don't much care for it when people talk about being nauseated by fragrances (unless they really do mean that it causes a literal physical reaction in them, like a migraine or an allergic response). Saying that something smells so bad that it makes you just seems a little tactless to me, you know? I mean, you're basically telling people who like and wear the fragrance that you think they smell gross. It's just not very polite.

So please understand that when I say that Angel turns my stomach, I am not using that phrase as a shorthand for claiming that I think it smells bad (or that you smell bad while wearing it). On the contrary, Angel smells...well, it smells both good *and* bad to me, both tasty and inedible, and that's the combination that causes all the trouble. It's that particular combination of edible/poisonous that triggers nausea in me, as if it causes some primal part of my lizard brain to wake up and start screaming in alarm. It's a combination that doesn't register so much as offensive or "icky" to me as it does as actively *dangerous,* because that combination of "Yummy...oh, no, but wait--" is the sign of food gone bad, a warning of incipient food poisoning. Or even worse, perhaps it's the smell of deliberate *bait.* It's the evil witch's gingerbread house, the sweetness down the gullet of the Venus Flytrap, the urban legend's Halloween apples with razor blades hidden inside of them. It's an Admiral Akhbar sort of thing: one whiff, and every nerve in my body starts screaming "No, don't go near it! It's a TRAAAAAAP!" It's tainted candy, poisoned honey, chocolate laced with arsenic. If there's amber here, then we are the flies.

Angel is to me what I imagine a delicious-looking wriggling worm with a barbed hook sticking through it might be to a sapient fish. Uhhh, yeah. You guys can have that one all to yourselves, thanks. I...I really wasn't hungry anyway.
10th December, 2015

Snow by Demeter Fragrance Library

The smell of the cold air clinging to people's coats when they enter a warm house on a snowy evening. For me, this isn't quite the smell of snow. It comes awfully close, but it's not quite there. I detect a cloth or wool note in here, which makes it smell to me far more like those snow-dusted coats than like the snow itself. All the same, it is marvelous.

I grew up in the northeastern part of the United States, New England, but for nearly twenty years now I have lived in Portland Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest. I do not miss the hot humid summers of the northeast one bit, nor the slushy muddy springs, but I can sometimes become extremely homesick for New England's cool crisp autumns, and also for its cold and snowy winters. This fragrance is therefore a kind of comfort scent for me. I tend to break it out in the rainy wintertime, whenever I start feeling homesick for what I still secretly think of as "a PROPER winter," by which I mean one that is freezing cold and blanketed in snow.

Demeter sells this fragrance as a room/linen spray as well as a cologne (and a bath gel, and a lotion, and a massage oil, and etc.), and while I purchased the cologne, I've since found that I like it much better as an environmental scent than as something to wear on my skin. If I had it to do over again, I'd just go with the room spray to start out with...although at this price point, it's hardly extravagant to be liberal with spraying it about anyway.
04th December, 2015
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Eau des Merveilles by Hermès

My bottle of this fragrance was given to me by a rather profligate friend who had blind-bought it under the misapprehension that the "amber" of Eau des Merveilles was that sweet, warm, almost edible-smelling accord made from labdanum and vanilla and benzoin and other sticky resinous things. This is not that kind of amber. The 'amber' here is an attempt to replicate the smell of "grey amber," ambergris, which is salty and animalic and excreted by sperm whales. It's a rather important distinction, so let my friend's error serve as a cautionary tale: if you're looking for a sweet vanillic 'amber,' this isn't what you want. There's nothing very sweet in here at all. Even the orange is bitter and pithy and dry, dry, dry. Bone dry.

Dryness, in fact, is pretty much what this fragrance is all about. I've seen beach imagery used to describe this scent, and I find that apt enough so long as one understands that the aspects of "beach" being invoked here are mainly the salty, parched, and even somewhat uncomfortable aspects: the hot hot sand, the sharp-edged dune grasses, salt-encrusted skin feeling increasingly taut and stretched as it begins to sunburn. An orange peel left out in the merciless sun long enough for it to dry to the texture of a tough curl of pebble-grained leather. The bleached white, twisted forms that when seen from a distance could be either driftwood or bones.

But there's life here, too, beside this strange sea. I've never smelled real ambergris, but many who have claim that the ambergris note in this fragrance is remarkably realistic. And I believe it, because there is a strange undercurrent here that feels positively primeval, just as one would expect of ancient, sea-aged whale excreta. It is a warm and animalic smell, one that is immensely welcoming, yet which also suggests saliva-licked skin, or the milky spit-up of a still-unweaned infant. It's a weirdly intimate smell, simultaneously oceanic and mammalian, and whether it registers as appealing or as disgusting to me seems to depend entirely on my mood. The overall effect, however, is to add the sea to this otherwise dry beach -- and yet also to suggest it as a somewhat strange and alien sea, perhaps an ancient one, perhaps even one of those shallow warm primeval seas that predate our existence as a species altogether.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this fragrance. While I find it both fascinating and immensely sophisticated, I also--as already mentioned--sometimes find its animalic ambergris note more icky than inviting. Then there are also some days when I find this stuff to be an instant migraine, and others when it clogs my sinuses. Don't wear this one around people with allergies or people who are in any way environmentally sensitive! There's something extremely allergenic about it -- it's not the oakmoss, I don't think, but one or more other things that combine with the throat-tickling oakmoss to form a kind of perfect storm of immune response triggering.

Many people seem to like this as a summer fragrance, but for me, high heat and humidity make it far more likely that I'll find myself not enjoying its more animalic facets. I prefer this fragrance for the transitional periods bracketing high summer: late spring to early summer, and late summer to early fall.
26th November, 2015

Tiempe Passate by Antonia's Flowers

It would seem that something about my skin om-nom-noms this fragrance. It does a vanishing act on me. I really enjoyed the ten seconds or so that I had after the unusually harsh opening. It smelled like a delicious unisex woody-floral. I was looking forward to the rest of it. And vanished, leaving behind only the faintest hint of soap. And not even expensive soap, at that. It smelled, in fact, almost exactly like a bar of Dove.

Nor was it just my nose. Two of my friends and my spouse, when called upon to sniff my arm, all independently did the same thing: they took a sniff and immediately said "Dove soap!"

Definitely try this one before you buy. If it works on your skin, I can imagine it being soooo wonderful and delicious. But you might be like me, in which case a bar of Dove from the supermarket would be far less expensive.
25th November, 2015

Pink Sugar by Aquolina

So, remember when you were a little kid and you could never get enough sugar, and candy was the best thing of all time ever? And then remember that time some grown-up--maybe a grandparent or a great-aunt or something--offered you a piece of candy and you got all excited...only then to discover that the "candy" in question was actually a plug of some gross rooty old black licorice? Remember how utterly devastating and upsetting that was?

...Yeah. This has got to be the cruellest bait-and-switch in all perfumery.

When you first take a sniff of it in the bottle or the vial, it presents itself as a sweet little riff on ethyl maltol, the "cotton candy" (or "candyfloss" for you Brits out there) aromachemical. It smells great: like spun sugar and carmelized sugar and various vanillaish things and maybe just a bit of red berry. It's a smell that goes straight to whatever part of the limbic system it is that houses your proverbial inner child, and that seems perfectly designed to get that inner child all excited, like a little kid just entering the fairgrounds. Cotton candy! Cotton candy and CARAMEL! Candycandycandycandycandy!!! Yaaaaaay!

Then you make the mistake of spraying it or dabbing some on, and all of a sudden this enormous black licorice and melted plastic hybrid--this unspeakable BEAST--rears up out of nowhere, roaring and rampaging and trampling you underfoot until you're left rocking back and forth, wailing in horror like Nancy Kerrigan after she took one to the knee. "Why? Why??? WHY???!!??"

Seriously, what did they DO to that poor ethyl maltol to make it smell like that? And what could the poor ethyl maltol possibly have done to deserve such treatment?

On the plus side, at least now I know what that black licorice fragrance I've been smelling everywhere for the past couple of years is. It never even occurred to me that it might be Pink Sugar. I'd been assuming that it was, I dunno, Lolita Lempicka or something -- you know, something that is *known* for its licorice note -- because seriously, who would guess that a fragrance called "Pink Sugar" and marketed with all of that pink fluffy cotton candy imagery would actually turn out to smell like a plug of some thick rooty old black licorice? Not I, that's for sure. Crazy old world, innit?

Crazy old world...and a *very* cruel perfume.
23rd November, 2015

Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I've never been much of a fan of sweet oriental perfumes. It's not that I don't care for the smell of vanilla--who doesn't love the smell of a sticky black vanilla bean?--but that personal fragrances based on those notes have a weird way of making something deep within me recoil and flinch away from them. Perhaps I was simply far too traumatized by the 1980s. I lived in New York City at the height of the loud orientals era, you see, and I commuted to work by subway. By *rush hour* subway. So as hesitant as I am to draw the ire of the perfumistos by admitting this, I was indeed one of those people who heaved a giant sigh of olfactory relief in the 1990s, when all of those new cool quiet "fresh and clean" aquatics finally replaced the deafeningly loud warm-spicy-yet-also-sickly-sweet-and-don't-forget-the-absolutely-*filthy*-come-hither-animalics! melange as the prevailing smell of the crowded morning subway car.

I know, I know. I'm so sorry.

Anyway, the point is that I didn't really expect to care all that much for Dzing! As far as I could tell, it looked to be a warm, spicy, candy-sweet, vanillic gourmandish yet also kinda fecal-filthy oriental. All of the things that I thought I didn't care for in a fragrance.

But then I gave it a sniff.

And then another.

And then another...and another...and another...

And then, only a week after my first whiff of Dzing!, I had somehow managed not only to use up my entire sample, but also to shell out more money than I thought I would ever be willing to pay for 100 mls, just to have a great big stonking bottle of this for my very own. I just couldn't help myself. I simply had to, you see, because this remarkably addictive fragrance smells like so many of the very best things on earth: of well-kept stables and tack rooms and warm sweet hay, of a healthy horse's neck when you nuzzle it after a good day's ride and the way that your palms smell after that same day of riding (the leather of the reins combining with your sweat and the fine fresh horse sweat to make something new and strange out of the once-familiar skin-smell of your own two hands). It smells of fresh-cut pine boards, ancient varnish, the tasty salicylated green inner layer of black birch bark; of sarsaparilla and sealing wax; of the inside of a lacquered Chinese false-bottomed box. It's the smell of schoolbook covers made from brown paper grocery bags and decorated with thick and redolent permanent markers, and of the enormous cardboard refrigerator box your parents let you play in when you were very small. It's all of the good smells of childhood and none of the bad: it's fatwood and toffee and that fried dough with powdered sugar they sell at the state fair. It's that funny brown benzoin your grandmother once dabbed on your scraped knee to make a bandaid stick better -- and it's also the weirdly rubbery old bandaid itself. It's dusty boxes in the attic, a forgotten cake of rosin found inside a velvet-lined antique violin case, shelves upon shelves of old used books, the fur behind the ears of a sun-warmed purring cat...

It's all of these olfactory memories at once, and yet it doesn't...quite...match any one of them perfectly. It somehow manages to be both intensely allusive and profoundly nostalgic, while never quite settling on any single precise referent.

And in the end, of course, like all the best fragrances, Dzing! smells like nothing but its own unique self.

I am absolutely, head-over-heels in love with this fragrance, but the thing is, I can also recognize that many of the reasons others have given for finding it gross are pretty much accurate. There *is* a fecal aspect to the smell of even the best-maintained stable, and while I may find that tang of well-aged horse manure to be not only inoffensive but even actively enjoyable, I can certainly understand why someone else might be violently averse to the idea of deliberately scenting themselves with it. Cat fur, similarly, is not a smell that everyone enjoys, nor is attic dust, and I am sure that there are many for whom the words "horse sweat" do not precisely ring out as a positive endorsement of a perfume. And though I've always loved the turpentinic smell of rosin, I've never heard of anyone rubbing it all over themselves in a futile attempt at budget DIY perfumery -- unlike, say, vanilla extract from the kitchen, which very many young people do try to use in just that way.

So yeah, I get what others might find disgusting about Dzing!. Honestly, I really, really do get it.

But to me, it is just hauntingly beautiful.
09th November, 2015 (last edited: 13th November, 2015)

Aël-Mat by Lostmarc'h

Whoah! Be careful with this one if your skin tends to sweeten things! On me, this was a thick, sludgy, sweet, syrupy jasmine, with just a lashing of salt in the background. The salt was a nice touch but alas, it was in no way strong enough to even begin to counterbalance all of that syrupy floral sweetness.

I saw this described elsewhere as "carmelized jasmine," which I found remarkably apt: this isn't an indolic sweetness, but more of a gourmand sort of sweetness. It reminds me of the syrup base that would be mixed with carbonated water at an old-fashioned soda counter. If there were a jasmine soda pop, this is exactly what I imagine its syrup base would smell like.

Way too cloying for me, but then, things do tend to go very sweet on my skin. I can readily imagine this being perfectly nice on someone with a very different body chemistry.
08th November, 2015 (last edited: 13th November, 2015)

Aôd by Lostmarc'h

A pretty, delicate, light floral fragrance with soapy white musk at the bottom. On me, this was far more floral than marine. I only found the faintest trace of sea scent, and it had a way of wafting in and out, which gave the charming impression of it being an actual breeze (while smelling in no way, I hasten to add, like that standard Calone-derived "sea breeze" smell). Unlike everyone else, I couldn't detect the coconut in here at all.

This was too pretty and delicate a fragrance for it to suit me personally, but I did find it extremely pleasant. It brought to mind a balmy day spent not (despite the name) at the seashore itself, but perhaps on an airy terrace overlooking the sea, surrounded by tiny wildflowers. It is a subtle scent and not long-lasting. On me, it stayed very close to the skin and faded well before the end of the day.

I found this a somehow soothing fragrance. I can imagine wanting to have this in ones bedroom, to fall asleep to it. There's a hygienic quality to the white musk as well which makes me think that it would be truly lovely as a soap.
08th November, 2015

Spring Break by Demeter Fragrance Library

This is supposed to evoke a wild and crazy holiday spent oceanside. It fails at this. This is not the smell of an ocean beach. This is the smell of the shower/changing rooms of an outdoor swimming pool on a very crowded day in high summer. It's a melange of inflatable plastic pool toys, sickly-synthetic "tropical"-scented grooming products, sunscreen, chlorinated water, and mildew.

Or at least, so it is for me. I suspect that it's likely something quite different for you -- but very possibly something equally vivid and autobiographical, which is what elevates this fragrance in my mind from a simple "yuck" to a "huh...kinda fascinating, actually."

While I did find Spring Break vaguely repulsive, it was repulsive in a highly evocative and interesting way, and it kept me engaged for some time trying to put my finger on exactly what memory it was triggering in me. I wouldn't want to wear it, and I certainly wouldn't want to smell like it! But at least it didn't *bore* me, and I can't honestly claim that I didn't derive some enjoyment from sniffing away at it.

As a personal fragrance, this gets a big thumbs down from me. As a compellingly evocative smell, on the other hand, it did indeed manage to engage me, so I guess that averages out to a sideways thumb.
18th January, 2014

Suntan Lotion by Demeter Fragrance Library

This smells like 1980s suntan lotion. Specifically, it smells like Coppertone's Bain de Soleil Orange Glacee. That was the one that came in the white tube, with the lettering that would always flake off well before the tube was empty. For a prettied-up and less synthetic (if also more expensive) take on this fragrance -- and one that will also actually last more than thirty seconds on ones skin -- try Bobbi Brown's Beach.

I found the longevity and projection on this one shockingly poor, even by Demeter standards. I had to bury my nose in my arm just to smell it, and it lasted, literally, only a minute before it was gone. Of course, it's possible that my sample just came from an old bottle that had lost its mojo, or that I'm anosmic to some particular aromachemical, etc., etc....but I've seen enough other people complain of exactly the same thing that I suspect the problem here is on Demeter's end. I don't demand endless longevity or (God forbid!) yards of sillage from a fragrance, but there's a bare minimum level of "can this, in fact, be smelled at ALL?" that I do expect to have answered in the affirmative, and this EdC couldn't even clear *that* hurdle. I'm sorry to say that this places it firmly in the "Not Even Worth Demeter Prices" bin for me.
18th January, 2014

Beach by Bobbi Brown

Not an exact copy of the smell of vintage Coppertone (for that, try CB I Hate Perfume's At the Beach 1966) but rather, Coppertone as seen (smelled?) through a hazy filter of nostalgia. The suntan lotion here has been cleaned up a bit, made more presentable, prettified. That high, nasal, chemical sunscreen edge is still in evidence, of course (after all, if it were entirely absent, then how would you even recognize this as suntan lotion?), but it's been toned way down, allowing the scent that the functional perfumers responsible for the smell of Coppertone were probably actually aiming for to come through more cleanly. And what scent is that, once you strip some of the chemical edge away? What's Coppertone, once it takes off its glasses and lets its hair down? Well, it seems to be mainly just jasmine and orange blossom, with a complementary citrus up top. ("Why, Miss Coppertone! You're floral!")

This is a simple scent, and those who tire easily of jasmine or who have a low tolerance for white florals in general may find it just a little bit cloying after a while. It's not entirely linear, though: after a few hours, the flat mineral smell of dry sand finally puts in an appearance -- I had thought that it wasn't going to show at all, but just when I'd given up on the 'sand' note, there it was! The other beachy scents the notes claim, however, elude me. I can't smell any salt water or sea breeze in here at all. That's okay, though: the suntan lotion associations are strong enough that my imagination can halfway fill them in for me anyway.

As beach nostalgia scents go, I far prefer the photorealism of At the Beach 1966, but this is certainly a cheerful summery fragrance, and I'm sure that it will bring a smile to many faces. I see others complaining about longevity, but on me this lasted a good long time -- certainly long enough to see me through an 8-hour workday -- and it stays politely close to the skin.
18th January, 2014

At The Beach 1966 by CB I Hate Perfume

At the Beach 1966 is an extraordinarily accurate -- and extraordinarily *evocative* -- olfactory replication of a hot day at the beach in the northeastern United States in the late 1960s. For those of the right age and background to have memories of such days, this fragrance's effect can seem almost uncanny. One whiff and I can see the schmear of white zinc oxide on my Uncle Joel's nose and feel the elastic around the leg holes of my Speedo chafing me where the sand and salt got caught beneath it. This is not perfume as fashion, but perfume as art. It is a narrative rendered entirely in smell.

The narrative opens with the unmistakable sweet, chemical smell of Coppertone -- not current Coppertone, but the Coppertone suntan lotion of the late '60s and early '70s, back before anyone called it "sunscreen," back when only the palest and stodgiest of middle-aged grown-ups used the bottles that came with SPF ratings. It is a very distinctive smell, and in the context of this fragrance, it operates almost as a chevron pronouncing the time and place in a film might. It is the olfactory equivalent of a title card reading "August, 1966."

Having thus established the time frame of the narrative, the suntan lotion accord seems to recede somewhat, allowing other smells to come forward to share the spotlight. There is a realistic sea water accord, cold and so briney you can practically taste it. A touch of ozone gives the impression of the breeze coming off the water. Then there is the mineral tang of hot beach sand, the organic chalk of crushed shell. There is a dry and sun-bleached woody note: a boardwalk, perhaps, or possibly a set of silvered cedar planks laid as a pathway across some sharp-grassed dunes.

And then, as dry-down approaches, there comes what to me is the most extraordinary note of all: a smell that I can only describe as that of hot skin. Not the smell of sweat, mind you, but the smell of skin that has been heated by the sun. It is a hot sunny skin smell. So compelling was this illusion of warmth, of literal *heat,* in fact, that I actually found myself doing a touch test, just to convince myself that the skin where I had applied the fragrance wasn't really any warmer to the touch than my bare skin elsewhere. Now that is extraordinary.

While the show At the Beach puts on is stunningly evocative, it does not last very long -- not, at any rate, in the water perfume (the absolute might well last longer). In a few hours, it is all over save for a white musk rather reminiscent of dryer sheets, which sticks around for some time after the narrative proper has ended. But that's just as well, really. It's hard to imagine wearing this fragrance the same way one might wear, say, something that you slap on in the morning to smell nice for the next eight hours at your workplace. And frankly, I'm not sure if I'd really *want* to smell like mid-century suntan lotion all day long. A shorter duration seems more appropriate for a fragrance that acts so effectively as a window to another time, another place.

As a memory in a bottle.
12th November, 2012
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Hyle by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

I would be one of those reviewers who found this too iodiney for my tastes. I think I was just expecting something rather more complex from it. Once the first blast of citrus top notes were gone, however, all I could smell was iodine. Iodine and a bit of salt, and that's it. This did make it a passable replication of the smell of salt water, but not a very interesting one. Nor even a *terribly* realistic one, really: yes, the ocean does smell like iodine, but not quite *that* much like iodine! To my nose, something more is needed to achieve a realistic briney sea scent. Perhaps I'm just overly sensitive to that iodine smell, but it really drowned out everything else for me, and I found the effect both overwhelming and really rather monotonous.

Only once the dry-down came, hours later, could I get anything from this but that singular, incredibly overpowering iodine smell. Unfortunately, however, what I got from it then was...well, a somewhat medicinal fragrance quite a bit like that of a medicated pet shampoo that I used to use to wash my dog. I think that was probably the myrtle. Not an unpleasant scent, necessarily, but one with rather unfortunate associations for me.

Eh. I didn't find this unpleasant, precisely, but it didn't impress me much either. I guess I was hoping something more complex and interesting, and ideally far less linear as well. In my opinion, the realistic marine accord has been done much better elsewhere. If you like the smell of iodine, though, then you should definitely check this fragrance out!
29th October, 2012

Aqua Motu / Motu by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

An extremely synthetic and -- to me -- unrealistic beach scent, this fragrance uses an iodiney salt water accord similar to those I've smelled in many other marine fragrances which aim for realistic beach smells. For some reason, however, this one is far less effective on me than others in the same family have been. At first I can indeed smell what I suspect was the intended olfactory gestalt ("Oh, hey! It's briney salt water!"), but after a second or two, that marine accord then falls apart on me completely, fragmenting into a constellation of unrelated and not always pleasant scents: celery, hot vinyl car seats, modeling clay, the smoke from melting plastic.

The overall effect is rather sickening, and while I'm not usually bothered by synthetic aquatic accords -- the much-maligned Calone, for example, causes me no trouble at all -- this particular one leaves me feeling nauseated and headachey.

Fragrances that I've found far more successful at pulling off a realistic marine salt water effect include CB I Hate Perfume's Mr. Hulot's Holilday, and Profumum's Aqua di Sale. Of course, both of those fragrances do cost a whole lot more. I guess when it comes to convincing marine accords, sometimes you get what you pay for.
15th October, 2012

Chèvrefeuille by Yves Rocher

I was given a bottle of this as a gift when I was in high school back in the 80s, and as I never dared give it away to anyone else, I still have it. It is every bit as awful as I remembered it: sickly sweet, cloying, heavy, fake-smelling, and with a harsh alcohol bite that never goes away, even after it's dried down. Seriously, this stuff will make you smell like a lush. It took me years to realize that it was supposed to smell like honeysuckles. It smells nothing like honeysuckle. It smells like nothing natural at all. It smells, in fact, like an encapsulation of every single one of the things that people who say they "don't like fragrance" are really talking about: the harsh alcohol smell, the cheap synthetic buzz that gets up into your nose and stays there, the cloying sweetness of fake floral, the sillage from hell. It's just dreadful.

And on top of all that, it makes me sneeze.
27th March, 2011