L'Heure Promise is a simple scent, but it grew on me. It opens with a really lovely, natural-smelling iris, then unfolds into a soft, clean sandalwood with iris and musk. It makes your skin smell as if you just scrubbed it in sandalwood soap. I completely understand why anyone would object to paying a lot for this, but I find it a pleasure to wear when I'm in the mood for something clean and relaxing that doesn't smell generic. It's a soft scent, but I've been surprised when people have commented on it -- it turns out to have a lot of sillage.
This is a lovely labdanum-based scent. In fact at first I found it too close to straight labdanum absolute, but after wearing it more I appreciated the citrus and other incense notes. I love that it feels very warm, but bright and cheerful at the same time. Such a nice antidote to heavy, brooding incense scents. I could see how incense lovers would find this too thin, but I appreciate its wearability. I found myself reaching for it more this winter than any other incense, and I'm guessing it works well in warm weather too.
If you prefer vetiver as an accent note, this is probably not for you. If, however, you sometimes want to huff vetiver like glue, this is definitely worth trying. I'm in the latter category and I love this stuff. It begins with a big VETIVER bang! Very much like a powerful straight vetiver oil, but with an earthy complexity to it. Then I get a salty, marine-like vibe, as if the vetiver roots were plucked from the earth and now washed up on a shore. Not as harsh, though, as the iodine note in Goutal Vetiver. Over time, a very powerful grapefruit note emerges, which is strange because grapefruit tends to be a topnote and I don't get much citrus in the beginning. As it dries down it reminds me of a darker version of TDC Sel de Vetiver. I find vetiver very relaxing, and this is practically aromatherapy. I don't mean that as a criticism though -- here the simplicity seems deliberate, and I don't think I could get the same powerful effect by simply dabbing on vetiver oil.
I smell and citrus and lavender sweetened with vanilla and amber. Although the notes sound promising in theory, I did not like this at all, in fact the ambery sweetness almost made me feel physically sick. Oddly, it does fit with the idea of a Cassanova: the mix of stereotypical masculine notes with over-the-top sweetness. But the result is cloying and not something I'd want to smell on a man. For a better take on a sweet citrus cologne, I'd go for Dior's Cologne Blanche.
When I first sampled this, I thought it was nice and moved on, and the sample sat in a box for months. But once I had a chance to give this fragrance a good spray, I appreciated it much more. What seemed a little weak or bland in the sample vial becomes gorgeously natural and subtle when sprayed. It is a bright vetiver but also a smoky, and of course there are beautiful salty overtones. The citrus is very toned down; it doesn't feel like a generic cologne. Instead, it feels natural and raw. This fragrance is genderless to me.
And can I add that the perfumer is CELINE ELLENA, not her father as is listed in the directory? Let's give the lady her due.
This fragrance really highlights the osmanthus note beautifully. I have a small vial of osmanthus absolute, and the smell reminds me of the skin of an overripe apricot—very warm and fruity with a rich leathery base. Comparing the two, OI captures the osmanthus well but lightens the richness of the flower with tea and a bit of citrus, while leather and musk in the base punctuate the natural leathery tones. The result more sparkling and nuanced, but very true to the innocent sensuality of the flower.
One of my recent favorites from Jo Malone. I love vetiver scents, but I find that many of them either turn into men's cologne or don't really meld with my skin. This begins as a simple, energizing vetiver-citrus, but it gains some warmth and spice in the base as it dries down. The notes list nutmeg, but it reminds me of the cardamom and myrrh that warms up the base in Vintage Gardenia. In any case, the warm, softly spicy drydown really grounds this scent for me. Women who find other vetivers too brash should check this out.
I ended up buying this fig over Philosykos (even though that scent is fantastic) because I was looking for a warmer fig for winter, something without Philo's cedary sharpness. This scent is very green, but it is also sweet and milky, and approaches a gourmand fragrance. Sometimes smelling it actually makes me hungry. As much as I like this, it never really "settles" into my skin, as I prefer a fragrance to do. It always smells exactly the same the entire day, like something that is on top of my skin rather than emanating from it. I still give it a thumbs-up but it is not the staple I thought it would be.