L'Ombre dans L'Eau is one of the most realistic rose scents that I have ever experienced. It begins with a gorgeous, yet extremely sharp green accord of berry leaves and rain. It's an exact impression of a spring garden at dawn, just after a late night thunderstorm has washed the leaves cold and clean. The rose emerges from these leaves, dark and vivid, without any mitigating warmth or sweetness. The cool, hard quality of these leaves and petals is often remarked on, and I get the sense that it often alienates fans of more traditional roses. It's lifelike, without a trace of sentimentality. I personally like it quite a lot; powdery, sweet, and motherly roses have been done well and often, and at this point they can seem like the olfactory equivalent of background noise - too common to merit any special attention. It's unusual and refreshing to find a rose that is so uncompromising and clear.
Miss Dior is exceptional; it's very much a classic, with a cool leather chypre composition that ties it to another time, but it's also extremely contemporary, and can be worn easily and well by any woman. I've noticed that many chypres and leather fragrances share this ageless quality - they have a certain aura of strength, intelligence and poise, which prevents them from ever seeming "dated." I'd classify Miss Dior as Cabochard's demure, dressed-up sister. It opens with slightly sharp green top notes, predominated by sage; I like this part quite a bit, but can see why it's off-putting to those who don't like sharp angles in their fragrance. However, it quickly opens up into a lush, faintly powdery bouquet of gardenias over a mossy leather base. This phase of the perfume's evolution should please anyone with a nose on her face; it's a perfect balance of delicate femininity and sophisticated restraint, and it really does seem to echo the perfect (never equaled, in my opinion) "New Look" of Dior's first collection. I've had the opportunity to wear both reformulated and vintage Miss Dior, and I will admit that the vintage is better; the leather (my favorite note) is deeper and more noticeable, and there is an animal darkness in the mix that I really do love. The new Miss Dior is thinner, fresher, and a bit sharper, but it's still wonderful. I've heard a few disparaging "old lady" comments about Miss Dior - and getting this from an SA is like pulling teeth, as they keep assuming that you "really" want Miss Dior Cherie - but it's the only fragrance that my boyfriend (a man in his mid-twenties) has ever described as "sexy." If you understand the appeal of vintage chic, and would rather smell like Lauren Bacall than Paris Hilton, then you can wear this.
Omnia has the potential to be a truly great fragrance, but on my skin, it never really works. The base notes are gorgeous - a warm, creamy almond, with hints of cocoa powder and orange - and the heart contains some very pretty and (to my nose) nostalgic masala chai spices. However, the top notes are too peppery and aggressive for my taste, and they take quite a while to settle into the sweeter and more subdued notes that characterize the rest of the fragrance. (I should mention here that I wear Tabu, and love many heavy orientals - if something is "a little too peppery" for me, it's probably peppery enough to cause convulsive sneezing fits in the vast majority of the earth's population.) The black tea notes are also problematic; while I love the bitter, smoky smell of tea, I just don't find it wearable. It turns sour and dirty very quickly, and when I wear it, I always have the nagging feeling that I need a hot shower.
If you've been blessed with the chemistry and the temperament necessary for tea and pepper, "Omnia" may be great for you. Unfortunately, it's wasted on me.
Stella reminds me of walking through New York in autumn, just as the sun is falling over the horizon and the dusk casts a luminous Byzantine gold over the landscape. This is an elegant, restrained fragrance, with a heart of deep, dusty tea rose. The amber adds warmth and sophistication to floral notes that might otherwise be girlish or overly delicate. Stella has an aura of intelligence, withdrawal and reflection, perfect for the first cool days of fall, for gallery hopping, or for visiting your favorite used book store. My only complaint is that the scent is relatively short-lived, and its subtlety precludes the sort of sillage that I like. Keep it for yourself, for days of seclusion and peace.
This is a dark, fiery scent, with an intimidating opening and a really lovely drydown. As many people have noticed, the civet is pronounced and a bit overwhelming, and when I first apply it, there is a strong smell of burning incense, accompanied by a heavenly smell of freshly peeled oranges. It's a remarkable experience, but not exactly wearable. However, as it dries, the orange and incense begin to harmonize, and even the civet retreats into the background, providing a fabulously dark undercurrent, like cellos playing a deep, elegant counterpoint to the melody of the incense smoke and neroli. In a few moments, the scent begins to smoulder, playing the fiery opening theme in a softer, subtler key, and the people around you will have to lean in to feel that heat. I can't think of anything more seductive.
This fragrance is actually named after Anais Nin, the avant-garde novelist who became famous for her erotica. Since I love Anais' books, I had to try this scent. I wish I hadn't... it smells like cheap scented soap. Wearing it is like being beaten over the head with a bunch of lilies. Sweet, light, feminine, and absolutely sickening... Anais Anais definitely doesn't deserve its name.