Reviews by mikeperez23

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    mikeperez23
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    Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

    Perhaps the gentlest Hermessence in the line up, one could easily dismiss this as JC Ellena minimalist-by-the-numbers, meets Iso-E Super. What a pity that would be.

    After wearing this a handful of times, something 'clicked' and I finally understood what this fragrance was saying to me. The pepper notes, a cross between a freshly ground white peppercorns and dried twigs, is one of the smoothest I've ever worn and seperates itself from the culinary and sneeze inducing aspects of certain pepper scents (Rose Poivree, Piper Nigrum) while also incorporating a fascinating and delightful whiff of handbag leather. The longevity is very good - I smell it across an entire day if I over apply it (more than 6-7 sprays).

    Don't expect to get compliments from across the room wearing this. It's for ones personal enjoyment and yet I must admit smells very sexy, up close on skin.

    26th May, 2009

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    Turtle Vetiver Exercise 1 by LesNez

    I know...the name Turtle Vetiver Exercise No. 1 sounds a little kooky - but here's the deal: This guy, Michael H. Shamberg (an American filmmaker) decided to create a network of people, projects, ideas...etc and called the entire project 'Turtle'. Isabelle Doyen, from Les Nez Parfums, decided to create a fragrance. 'An Oultlaw Perfume in Progress', she's calling it.This is: hard core vetiver!

    Have you ever been to a marine theme park or zoo filled with sea life in large aquatic tanks? Here and there, the observation areas are rocky and slightly damp - walking into them your nose is filled with the smell of standing water, salt and...a humid, almost tangy rock smell. If there are sea animals present - sometimes there's a whiff of animal presence in the air also...but very faintly. The top notes of TVEN1 smell just like this. Turtles! In a watery pond area! Duh. The mental connection made me smile.

    Of course, I've smelled my share of vetiver fragrances that feature a rough-edged compost-soaked vetiver note (Vetiver by Etro and Vetiver by Annick Goutal) and dirty, root prominent vetiver (Route de Vetiver by MPG) but TVEN1 smells like rocky, muddy vetiver. Wet dirt. If you're familiar with Dirt by Demeter and many of Christopher Brosius' creations (CB I Hate Perfume) that feature dirt, you've smelled this accord. But what's interesting is that the dirt slides deliciously easily into the vetiver note - all of time churning out a Disney-World's-Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-rock-salt-pond-water aura.

    Longevity is great - I applied some this afternoon and could still smell it later this evening.

    There's not a fruit, tobacco, citrus, floral or wood note in sight. Which honestly, for this vetiver lover is quite refreshing. Of course, the flip side of this is, you might find this a little...boring. Not me. I'd love a bottle!

    Les Nez has made it clear, this scent is named Exercise No. 1 because there will be other vetiver exercises, with a different formula, released in the future for the project. For now there are only 80 bottles of No. 1, $99 for a 50 ml atomizer. Samples are $10 (2.5 ml).

    22nd May, 2009

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    Elixir by Penhaligon's

    I love the top notes and Galamb_Borong describes them perfectly in his review. The cinnamon has been melted, it seems, to the other spices, eucalyptus and the rose/incense.

    When it dries down is when it started to become a scent I didn't like anymore. I think there's a certain aldehyde Giacobetti used, that rubs my nose the wrong way. It tickles my nose when I smell it, then it slights burns it a little. The effect it gives to the fragrance is a shiny almost glossiness. I really wanted to the spice and incense to be warmer...not shiny.

    Subsequent wearings confirmed it for me that I do not like it.

    Nice, admirable and yes I agree...a wonderfully modern oriental. But, not for me.

    22nd May, 2009

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    Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice by Guerlain

    The quintessential Christmas fragrance - the fir, pine and spices all add up to give off a dazzling interpretation of the smells of the holidays.

    I must admit that I didn't grow up near a forest. But I have Christmas trees in my home during the holidays and I know what a live tree smells like (up close): the resins, the needles, sap. Winter Delice manages to capture that.

    It also gives off an almost sour incense resin effect, after a comforting gingerbread accord fades. I think this is what makes it more unisex - and is what I love. But I would not recommend it to someone looking for an incense prominent scent.

    To me, Winter Delice is so much more about the wood, the spice and the overall feeling of 'Christmas in a bottle.'

    Hurry up and get yourself a bottle - this stuff is discontinued.

    24th November, 2008

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    H&M by Comme des Garçons

    A healthy dose of fizzy cedar is the first note you'll detect when applying H&M.LOTS of cedar! Not as brutal as the ‘axed wood plank’ (or pencil shavings) of Gucci Pour Homme, but softened and diffusive (as if electrically charged by those crazy odd numbered aldehydes Turin speaks about - that smell like a snuffed out candle, mixed with cedar). It’s quite an unmistakable accord and without sounding too vague, it smells very Comme des Garcons-ish. Whatever that means! No living tree actually smells like this - in the ground or chopped up. It’s a synthetic replication of wood. Virtual wood, if you will.

    It’s after a short while, that I noticed the incense – sharp, spicy, and oddly metallic. Have you ever sniffed real stainless steel cutlery, perhaps locked away in a cedar chest – right before you polish it with stainless steel cleaner? That smell. The non-smoky metallic incense gives the cedar notes a slight ‘gothic’ lift, but maybe this is just my olfactory association run free?

    Comme des Garcons does incense accords extremely well (Scent One: Hinoki by CdG x Monocle is one of my favorite scents of 2008 and Avignon and Kyoto (Series 3: Incense) are just classics). The incense in H&M is the best part of the fragrance. I tend to avoid metallic incense scents (Nu by YSL actually hurts my nose when I smell it) – but this incense is not sharp and has a slight tanginess that blossoms into a sweet/spicy combination atop a weird synthetic accord (thinning agent?) that CdG have utilized before in Soda and Skai (Series 6: Synthetic) . As the fragrance fades away (4-5 hours later) I smelled a tiny bit of dirt covered vetiver.

    I can’t help comparing H&M to a scent that features cedar / incense and synthetics (a little more effectively): the discontinued Rush for Men by Gucci. The similarity is unmistakable.

    No new ground was broken with H&M. The scent is simple and I’m very surprised it’s not more edgy. The H&M department store customers (and CdG fans) will most likely attribute just enough ‘irony’ and ‘weirdness’ to H&M to give it an instant cool factor – but me personally I find it’s off-the-cuff strangeness rather accessible. The plain, clear glass bottle (the same exact bottle used in the Energy Series [Lime, Grapefruit and Lemon] by CdG) is much less stylish than the adorable, white die-cut ‘swiss cheese’ box it comes in. For the $35 price tag, it’s also remarkably affordable for a limited edition CdG scent.

    20th November, 2008

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    Dans Tes Bras by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

    Dans Tes Bras is floral, salty, slightly synthetic (aldehydic) and fleshy.

    I like violet notes, but this violet note is almost chemically treated in a way that it radiates a fuzziness to it. Nothing close to the musky, civet-heavy barbershop vibe of Midnight Violet by Ava Luxe – or the sharp, pungent violet leaf notes in Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene and Narciso Rodriguez for Him. Rather the violet emanates like a gas behind a wall of synthetic diffused notes. Have you ever walked into a bathroom where someone has sprayed hairspray just a second before you walked into the room – and the air seems charged with ions and almost has a taste that hits the back of your throat? Well, DTB smells like that. Not the smell of hairspray (for that note, see Cuir de Russie by Chanel). But instead the smell of air, that has had hairspray diffused in it. With violets.

    As it warms on my skin, DTB gets slightly more tangy. I think an online review I read mentioned ‘a field of mushrooms’. This description is close but I think it reminds me of the smell of an algae encrusted fountain, in a garden. Perhaps chlorophyll or something akin to mildew, yet dry (not watery or aquatic). Then, the strange accord recedes a bit on my skin and combines with my own skin smell and gives off a blindingly accurate recreation of salty, human skin. Fascinating!

    I used to work cutting grass, as a summer job, during my high school years (I hated it!). In Miami, all landscaping jobs can be grueling due to the sunny, rainy and humid weather. I remember the smell of my clothes throughout the day while working in the hot sun, saturated with sweat and then drying in the work van on the way to the next job. Only to become saturated with sweat all over again, when we started the next job. Not the smell of sour body odor - but very much a sweaty body, dried by the sun.

    The entire duration of the scent is close to the skin, with extremely below average sillage - yet average longevity. When the scent disappears from the surface of my skin, all I could smell was whiffs of the Cashmeran or white musk (I can’t figure out which one it is, since some musks I can’t smell…), with all of the other notes completely gone.

    It’s impossible to compare this scent to any other scent on the market. However, lovers of the perfumer Geza Schon and his stripped down fragrances (Escentric 01 and Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules; gs02 by Biehl) or Christopher Brosius’ strange accords (Chanterelle Mushroom accord by CB I Hate Perfume or Cumming by Alan Cumming) should definitely try DTB because I think it was created with the same sense of fragrant 'vagueness'.

    Perhaps the only drawback for many will be finding a time/place to wear Dans Tes Bras. Me? It smells so wonderfully innovative, I plan on getting a full bottle (or atleast one of those travel size bottles) and wearing it whenever I damn well please.

    23rd October, 2008

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    White Patchouli by Tom Ford

    It's almost as if the patchouli note has been hard wired to the rose in the top notes. Rose scented patchouli, if you will. That same tangy, cool feeling to my nose appears. Camphor perhaps? But instead of staying with the rose, the scent widens and encompasses a much more shimmery woody effect.

    For a Tom Ford scent, WP is extremely subtle. It's diffusion is almost immediately to the space, just outside of your personal space. When I spray it on, it feels like I have a 'cloud' of WP all around me, rather than one emanating up from my skin to my nose (this same effect is achieved by L'Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer - I have no idea how the perfumers do it, but it's magical!). Which is strange - because I am very surprised that Tom Ford came out with a subtle fragrance!

    The other notes (bergamot, white peony, jasmine, ambrette seed) I don't really smell. Although the fantastically warm drydown (which almost smells 'brown' - if that makes sense) contains some coriander, although not quite as 'nutty' as that note can be. This corainder note seems more polished and slightly sweet. Clean! Nothing like the dirtiness of Voleur de Roses by L'Artisan or Cannabis Rose by Fresh (or Black Orchid for that matter).

    The longevity of this is above average. Sillage (as I mentioned above) is below average, which is fine with me, as I usually don't like to leave a trail of scent behind me when I'm wearing a woman's fragrance.

    The White Patchouli bottle and packaging are top notch (as I tend to expect from Mr. Ford). Even if the white, ribbed glass bottle does look a little like Godiva White Chocolate liquer. :)

    23rd October, 2008

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    Roadster by Cartier

    I have been a fan of fragrances with mint, for quite some time now. Mint is prominently featured in many men’s fragrances and I think it’s a ‘love or hate’ note. Either one enjoys the bracing, vivified effect from this sharp, pungent herb – or it negatively conjures up olfactory images of aperitifs, mouthwashes and toothpaste.

    Roadster, the new men’s fragrance from Cartier (by perfumer Mathilde Laurent [Shalimar Light and Cologne du 68 by Guerlain]), marketed as a mineral fougère - mixes notes of bergamot and mint with vetiver, patchouli, cashmere wood, cistus labdanum and vanilla. I’m not sure if Cartier (or the men out there Cartier is trying to sell to) fully understands the mineral fougère categorization. Nonetheless Roadster, smells wonderful.

    The top notes are dominated by a soft, yet instantly recognizable ‘green’ diffusion of galbanum. I admire this entry (being a fan of ‘green’ fougères like the classic country cologne Devin by Aramis) and can appreciate the oh-so-smooth transition to the next herbal explosion of mint. Mint is tricky (sharpen it too much in a lackluster scent and it radiates menthol), but this mint is subdued, slightly cool to the back of the nose when sniffed and slightly foamy. I’m reminded of the smell I taste, when swallowing mint infused bottled water.

    Unlike some mint fragrances that tingle and cool my skin when applied (Booster by Lacoste by the masterful Jean Kerleo; the limited edition Feuille Verte by Creed; Eau d’Orange Verte Refreshing Body Gel by Hermes) – Roadster’s cooling properties happen only in my nose. It eschews the typical ‘sport’ vibe of mint and uses it in a more sophisticated, modern version of ‘fresh’. This makes sense, since Cartier chose to release this scent right before autumn and the arrival of cooler weather (when a cooling mint fragrance wouldn’t be appropriate).

    The base notes are slightly woody (very faint) and sweetly vanilla prominent. Ms. Laurent’s past work for Guerlain shows in the dry down. Complex, blended, subtle whiffs of the fragrance combine with the mint, vanilla and woods in a very unique accord: a fresh baked, delicate vanilla and cream pastry with a steaming hot cup of herbal mint tea. I found myself catching whiffs of myself all afternoon when I first tested this – inwardly smiling.

    21st October, 2008

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    Coach The Fragrance by Coach

    Starts out REALLY GARDENIA-ish. I didn't get the violets, and maybe I got the lily (not sure) but definitely a soft velvety (not powdery) white floral note. I got NO guava (which sucked, because I was looking forward to the guava).

    An hour or so after application I got the honey notes, the gardenia faded and it became much more 'herbal'...sorry to be so general. The middle was my least favorite part.

    The dry down then immediately turned soapy & then a very faint sandalwood that disappeared as soon as my nose left my skin. 2-3 hours it was gone.

    I'm disappointed. I think Coach was trying to still remain serious with this scent, while also appealing to the young fragrance wearers of today (or should I say, of the demographic that buys Coach bags...). However it's just not complex enough for me to add to my Wardrobe.

    04th October, 2008

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    Purple Patchouli by Tom Ford

    Easily the strangest of Tom Ford's Private Blends.

    Like, White Patchouli (Mr. Ford's mainstream womans fragrance) this scent features very little patchouli and much more bizarre accords. Decomposing fruit, fizzy and sweet violet notes (not barbershop oriented, rather something confectionery).

    Smell yoursefl one minute and it's dark, brooding and formal. The very next minute, the scent has moved to floral, bright and effervescent. Then, a whiff of woods and patchouli. Slightly chypre-ish in nature.

    I detect very little sillage from this scent and it has poor longevity.

    A very fun (and expensive) journey, if you're up for it.

    04th October, 2008

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    Oud Wood by Tom Ford

    I approached Oud Wood with some skepticism. Tom Ford's M7 by YSL I disliked instantly, when I smelled it (regardless of the tons of compliments I received wearing it).

    OW reminds me of the top notes of Film Noir by Ava Luxe but instead of transitioning and sweetening or smoking (like FN does), this just stayed smelling like rubber. Latex gloves. Inflatable river raft industrial strength rubber.

    Upon a more closer sniff to my arm...raspberry. Weird combo. I thought it'd evolve more, so I waited. It stayed as rubber-raspberry all through the dry down. A linear rubber raspberry scent - who, but Tom Ford, could create this combo for a luxury mens fragrance?

    Perhaps my nose perceives the oud as raspberry/rubber - but IMO this scent suffers from a lack of skillful blending and comes off as TF's version of Bulgari Black at 4 times the price.

    04th October, 2008

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    Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford

    I joked when this was released, that the name Neroli Portofino sounds like a condominium complex. I kept secretly hoping that I wouldn't like this, since if I bought a full bottle of it and people smelled it and wanted to know what it was, I'd have to say this silly name out loud.

    I think NP is best summed up by calling it an Eau de Parfum formula of a classic neroli eau cologe (like 4711) I love eau colognes and while most of them are designed to wear very lightly with no 'oomph', which is disappointing since I want citrus scents to last. I thought that was impossible.

    Well NP has this. I used to have difficulty differentiating neroli and orange blossom but ever since I tried NP now I understand completely how different neroli is. Just so fresh and bracing.

    The scent has very little complexity and doesn't really 'develop' at all. It lasts longer than the eaux de colognes, of course, but not much more longer than 4-5 hours.

    At it's price point (upwards of $150 a bottle), it's hard to fall in love with NP over other 'more affordable' neroli fragrances (Neroli by Czech & Speake comes to mind).

    04th October, 2008

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    Serge Noire by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    The top notes are a blend of dry smokiness and resinous incense (not frankincense...well, shall I say not burning frankincense, but the incense resin itself and some other kind of pine based almost citrus spiked incense) - very dry. At the very edges of the incense is a wonderful spice accord. Not the candied 'Red Hots candies' of Rousse or the candied ginger from Five O' Clock Gingembre. No sweet spice. Rather, the smells of a fresh ground nutmeg pod.

    As it dries on the skin, the scent actually gave me the impression it was 'warming' my skin. I even looked at my skin the first time I tested this, just to check that I wasn't having a skin allergic reaction to the scent (I wasn't). But, the olfactory impression of warm skin and spice is uncanny. There it was, buzzing atop my skin.

    When I have Christmas parties at my house, right before the guests arrive I usually grab a few whole cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and boil them in a shallow pan of water - to fill the house with a fresh spicy scent. Once I left the pan on the stove idle for too long. I rushed in, the spices burning and sticking to the hot pan because it ran out of water. I am reminded of this smell, the first hour of wearing SN.

    The honey notes come and go, in amidst the incense, spice and resins. Not too strongly, and almost imperceptible at times - but still enough to link the scent to my impression of a Serge Lutens scent. The honey's skillfully blended and it's not sweet. It's one of my favorite parts SN.

    The longer one wears the scent, the more sweeter the spice starts to become. It starts to really smell like cinnamon at this point (yay...I love cinnamon!!) but because it occurs at this stage of the dry down it is a subdued and restrained sweetness. Not candied or syrupy but 'textured' and skin hugging.

    I enjoyed the longevity of the scent. Almost five to six hours later my skin smelled up close, revealed the incense: dark, filled with hints of ash (less smoky than Avignon by CdG...more warm), almost raw. However my skin, smelled from far away, revealed the spice and oleoresins: freshly ground, nose tickling..

    In India, ground nutmeg is smoked. Imagining a burning, nutmeg scented, hand rolled cigarette. I am certain wearing Serge Noire comes close to replicating this olfactory experience.

    This scent is amazing.

    03rd October, 2008

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    Aqua Allegoria Laurier-Réglisse by Guerlain

    I'm sad to report I'm somewhat disappointed in this one. Partly due to my preconceived notions about what a Guerlain bay leaf/licorice scent should smell like - and partly due to its similarities to other scents I've smelled before.

    The top notes remind me instantly of a sugared cocktail drink (something pastel colored, mixed with vodka in a high stemmed cocktail glass...shaken not stirred). I've smelled this before, I thought. It took me a while to figure it out - this is the house note (base) for most of the fragrances by Fresh. I have owned a few Fresh fragrances (Sugar Lychee, Pomegranate Anise, Cannabis Rose) and that opening sugary, fruity, transparent combination is unmistakable.

    It is a scent that can be easy to like - but to me smells very 'done'. The two times I sprayed it on (in Sephora and at home) elicited a 'you smell good' response from others around me. You think that would make it easy to give this scent a good review. But I expected a scent much more complex and less 'fruity floral' (like every other scent in Sephora')!

    The scent tones down it's opening 'sugar' note slightly when the middle/base notes arrive, but by then the bay leaf (not very spicy, to this bay leaf lover) and a very fruit flavored licorice appear, rather than the black licorice accord utilized so well by other fragrances. Neither is enough to keep the scent from teetering gently into shower gel fragrance territory. I get absolutely no amber, and the violet arrives at the very end (I detected it by sniffing my arm up close).

    If you admire the scent of licorice scented, sugary cocktails perhaps AALR is for you.

    I personally, expected much more from the house of Guerlain.

    03rd October, 2008

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    Kenzo Power by Kenzo

    Power is, ‘on paper’, a fragrance that easily entices my curiosity: The perfumer is Olivier Polge (Dior Homme, The One for Men, Flowerbomb); it’s a floral fragrance marketed to men; the shiny, stainless steel ‘sake inspired’ bottle is modern, sleek and just gorgeous.

    What struck me at first, when I carefully read the box was Kenzo released this scent as an Eau de Toilette Fraiche. Most men’s fragrances are usually released as an Eau de Toilette first, and then if the scent is popular they’ll roll out a flanker product (Light, Summer Version, etc.) With Power, they released the ‘lighter’ version first. Which got me wondering: Has anyone ever done this before, in a men’s release?

    The top notes, immediately upon impact with my skin, smell fruity, powdery and creamy. If you know me, you’ll know that I find this mixture oddly uncomfortable. Perhaps the only way I could describe it is: powdered cherry soy milk. If there was such a thing. Once my skin warmed up, the fruit became more subdued and the creamy powdery aspect of the scent transitioned into a much more floral scent. Let’s talk about those ‘florals’. Like Flower by Kenzo (their woman’s scent) Power attempts to recreate an ‘imaginary’ flower smell. So, what does this imaginary flower (for a man) smell like? A few things: sweet, sugar sprinkled iris; a little violet, but extremely light violet notes; powdery floral notes – reminiscent of something slightly edible (remember those purple and yellow flowers made out of icing that you see on wedding cakes – that smell).

    A man uncomfortable wearing iris (as I mentioned in my review of Infusion d’ Homme) or other flower prominent scents (Fleur de Male by Gaultier, Insense by Givenchy, and Saville Row by Richard James – to name a few) will probably not enjoy Power. Having said that, I think men and women who love subdued floral fragrances will adore this scent. I am amazed that Kenzo chose this as a masculine (rather than releasing it as a unisex) scent.

    Once the fragrance has warmed on my skin, the florals pull a ‘Houdini act’ and poof (!), they’re gone. Replaced by a very hushed woody base with a touch of powder. There is a drop of something aquatic also in the base, but I can’t put my finger on it. I’m reminded of the watery woody He Wood by DSquared₂ - whitewashed woods floating on sweet, cool, lightly floral water.

    Which leads me back to my first statement – yes, this scent has enticed my curiosity and my nose but I can’t imagine wanting to own a bottle. I’m reminded of a few scents that I’ve tried over the years, fragrances that the guys and gals over at Basenotes go bananas over. I hunt down a sample, try it, sample it a second time, put it away, re-try it a third time…you know the story.

    I find it extremely admirable that a designer house is marching into the masculine fragrance world with an extremely flower prominent scent. Big thumbs up! But still…

    Power is a scent I want to love. But I don’t.

    03rd October, 2008

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    Vanille 44 by Le Labo

    The top notes were almost non existent the first and second times I wore it - a light sprinkling of aromatic (mint?) that has a slight 'ozonic/fresh' accord that had me a little scared but faded nicely into a kind of icy synthetic note. Something you might smell in the outer edges of those Sherbet Series that CdG does. Not the most 'typical' top notes right? But then, this is Le Labo were talking about...

    The weird top notes above do feature vanilla - but it is almost peeking out from behind the other notes. Pops its head up ever-so-often to let you know that it's there, but it is an entirely different animal than other 'luxury vanillas' (Tobacco Vanille by T Ford or Spiriteuse Double Vanille by Guerlain). No hint of any gourmand sweetness, yet the vanilla note has a syrupy quality to my nose. Have you ever sniffed the top of a Light Corn Syrup bottle (used for baking)? I'm thinking the vanilla note has this kind of olfactory effect. Not vanilla extract - rather something that smells vanilla prominent and yet holds it's sweetness in light, transparent folds. If I'm not making any sense, my apologies - but this is a tricky note to describe in words.

    After some time on my skin it replicated 'Guerlainade'. My first thought when I realized this was, Oh - well of course Le Labo released this in the Paris, France Le Labo boutique. Those French (who are incredibly familiar with Guerlain) will 'get' the vanilla note. Perhaps that's an incorrect assumption but I must say at about 2-3 hours on my skin the vanilla note positively radiated off of my skin - all of the time at a low hushed, very close to the skin aura. It has the subtle skin vanilla scent done well, albeit a very low longevity (5 hours max).

    Oh yes...the bottle is about $500 for a 100 ml bottle. And can only be bought at the Colette store in Paris, France. Well, isn't that special!?

    03rd October, 2008

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    Hermèssence Brin de Réglisse by Hermès

    Brin de Reglisse, a lavender/licorice scent that is part of the Hermessence Series of boutique exclusive scents by Hermes sadly suffers from shockingly low longevity.

    The scent: I LOVE IT.

    The lavender (reputed to have been dissected by the perfumer Jean Claude Ellena into an entirely different molecule minus a few notes) is fantastic and extremely vegetal. For those who do not like the smell of celery - steer clear of BdR, because you can smell this almost immediately upon application (I found it extremely comfortable). The flat and starchy lavender then highlights the oncoming licorice notes just right. The black licorice is not gourmand (like Yohji Homme) and not anise-oriented (well...like many mens fragrances...the new Diesel comes to mind immediately) but licorice in all its pastel, chewy aroma.

    In the middle notes I detected a slight confectionery note that reminded me of white chocolate. It strikes that yin/yang between the dry herbal note and that sweet candy note. I got absolutely no orange blossom. I think I might have smelled the hay note, but my nose is sometimes anosmic to hay so I can't be certain. And then...it disappeared in about 1 hour. The next time I wore it I intentionally over applied - I think I sprayed it 20 times (no kidding). It lasted about 2 hours. Then, in the same fashion, it completely disappeared from my skin. I tried it at night, at the end of the day. Same thing.

    I would like to look past this and recommend this scent - but based upon the price (Hermessence scents are luxury priced) and the fact that other more affordable Hermes scents (Kelly Caleche, for instance) aren't burdened by such issues, I cannot.

    03rd October, 2008

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    parfums*PARFUMS Luxe: Champaca by Comme des Garçons

    Do you ever find yourself taking a LONG time to get around to certain samples you have? I mean, you're excited about trying it; you've heard many comments on BN about it, etc - but something keeps you from actually breaking open the samples and trying at already! This happened to me with Champaca by Comme des Garcons.

    I received the sample a while ago (along with the Luxe Series, Patchouli). A Basenoter told me they sampled the Champaca in Paris and found it really feminine. This didn't stop me since I already own Guerilla 1 by Comme des Garcons which prominently features champaca among it's other odd notes (pear, saffron) and uses it to odd effect (it smells like the inside of a butcher shop). But Champaca does not have one odd bone in it's $265 (for less than 1 oz) body. As I found out, Champaca is pretty great:

    The top notes are indolic white flower of the A La Nuit, Carnal Flower variety. I get tuberose and it's bright white. Some angelica tempers it but overall the white floral is enhanced mostly by the pepper (the notes list white pepper and bird pepper [?]) The pepper is perfectly blended with the florals. Let me say that again: The pepper is perfectly blended with the florals. I sniffed my hand at least 15 times to get the floral/pepper effect. As I said before, the florals are bright - so the combo with the pepper gives it an uplifting pungent effect. It also 'butches' up the florals a little.

    As it progresses it gets creamier. I can't say I'm a fan of creamy florals, but coming off of the bright peppery top notes, the creamy floral is welcomed. Of course, this is when the star of the show, the champaca flower, truly shines. It's extremely strong without being 'meaty' like Guerilla 1. For a few seconds it got a little 'blue cheese' indoles, but then that part faded and it went back to its creamy, floral, complex self.

    This scent smells expensive. Hard to convey in words, but the overall effect of something wild and something natural (ironic, no?) left me with a feeling that how I smelled was something very rare. Another blogger mentioned that this scent would fit in perfectly in the Armani Prive line and I agree.

    The white musk drydown was not my favorite, but the hints of champaca notes that stayed all the way to the base notes made it special. I could swear there's iris in the dry down but it doesn't seem as if iris is an official note.

    The bottle, oddly, looks like an Atari joystick. Ignore this, if you're a white floral lover, and head straight for the juice!

    03rd October, 2008

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    Infusion d'Homme by Prada

    The extremely iris prominent top notes (dry, almost brittle and throat parching) feature just a pinch of neroli slightly overpowered by a pure soap accord that appears almost immediately. It is extremely soapy. Fans of soapy scents will be thrilled: it smells bubbly, aqueous and floral. The first time I skin tested this, I missed the soap accord and my nose zeroed in on the iris. Repeated wearings, especially on warm, humid days revealed the soap. I am reminded of the biting, almost lye-based hand-milled soap notes of Puro Lino, or the green/flower accents of White Linen by Estee Lauder.

    The iris/neroli/soap combo dries down revealing a light, transparent vetiver mixed in with the top notes. The light whiffs of vetiver made me wish for a stronger vetiver presence - the iris wears very strong and linear on this fragrance. I smell no incense or benzoin in the dry down, with only the slightest woody accord (cedarwood?). It is a more evident vetiver accord than Infusion d’Iris, and although I wouldn’t classify this as more masculine (although many women might do this), I think it just smells more crisp and starchy.

    Overall it manages to evoke a freshly showered feeling, awash in flowers.

    The scent is not groundbreaking, in terms of fragrance releases, but it is much better than the large number of aquatic, marine and synthetic men’s fragrance clogging department store shelves. I applaud a designer scent that is not afraid to be flower prominent...

    Longevity of Infusion d’Homme is average. It stays quite close to my skin when I wear it and when I wanted it to wear stronger I remedied this by overapplying it. Perhaps the ancillary products (bar soaps, shower gel) might extend the sillage?? But, then again, showering with products that are scented to smell like a ‘fresh shower’, sounds a little ridiculous doesn’t it?

    03rd October, 2008

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    Tom Ford Extreme by Tom Ford

    The initial top notes smell nothing like Tom Ford For Men (which to me, is a good thing, because I disliked TFFM). I can't even believe they're marketing these under the same name! Once the bracing, slightly turpentine-ish initial effect faded, a musk note appeared that took on a much more smooth, sophisticated character. My initial impression was of a few things: leather shoe store (you know like the smell of Florsheim with all of those leather shoes on display?), shoe polish, tobacco (not smoke - tobacco, there's a difference) and musk (a very dry, very textured musk...animalic in a 'fur coat' kind of way). The leather/shoe shine/tobacco/musk combo is pretty much where this scent stays for quite some time. But oh, what a place it is. Just as nice as any of Tom Ford's Private Blends that I tested. I would compare it to the 'feel' of Tobacco Vanille, Oud Wood and/or Tuscan Leather - but, this one's different enough to have its own signature accord.

    The oud note popped up here and there. Oud and I have a love/hate relationship. I either love scents with it (Black Aoud by Montale) or they kind of gross me out (M7 by YSL). This scents oud is peeking out from underneath a blanket of musk. This works perfectly to keep the medicinal/burnt effervescent rubber note in check. At certain points I'd take a sniff of my arm and 'get' the oud note strongly (which had me worried - I thought it would have an M7-ish drydown), and then the very next sniff, the oud would be gone and it was just musk. Quite magical.

    The drydown is when the regular Tom Ford for Men notes arrived. Lemon oil, not quite as sharp as the top notes of TFFM, and the musk mixes with the lemon so that its musky lemon oil. Then the more synthetic 'musk' basenotes arrive with a little bergamot (or some other herb) thrown in. When this scent dries down completely it's gone! This is the same thing that happens with the regular. However, by the time this happened I was sufficiently wowed by the journey to the basenotes drydown, so I didn't mind.

    This scent shares a similar vibe to the Private Blend scents: Very formal (this is not the scent for casual wear), sophisticated and wonderful sillage. It almost makes me wonder if this juice was slated to be put out under the Private Blends line and Tom snagged it for his own scent? In fact, I will even go as far as saying TFFME smells like something Tom Ford himself would wear.

    03rd October, 2008

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    Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia by Estée Lauder

    The top notes come racing out the door and have a very strong floral blast in the opening. I love neroli and the neroli and lilac [sorry I got just a teensy bit of rosewood] pack quite a punch!

    Not a very 'green' scent, if that's what you were expecting (unlike the super green original Private Collection by Lauder). Just bright, airy and with the volume turned up high.

    The middle notes are my favorite - my nose started to be able to tell the difference between the tuberose and the gardenia at this point. Maybe a little lemon (or some other citrus) shows up at this point and the gardenia becomes slightly 'creamy'.

    Dry down was a little linear, but that slight vanillia-ish bourbon note was nice, if a little spice-less. Not a hint of powder anywhere.

    Sillage is embarassingly strong. Longevity is above average and perhaps the parfum will ramp up the longevity even more.

    I know someone out there is asking themselves - is PCTG a Unisex scent? I think it is. I approached PCTG warily. Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle and it's coconuty spicy tuberose was 'thick' on me. I felt like Carnal Flower was wearing me. So I asked a few people (non-fragrance people) if they thought the PCTG smelled too 'feminine' on me (including my husband) and everyone of them said no. A friend said it smelled really 'clean' to him, like I'd bathed in an expensive soap, which confused me. But I took that as a compliment. :)

    I decided to stop trying to second guess everyones reaction to it and JUST WEAR IT again and again (office, first thing in the morning, to bed). In the heat - it surprised me. It didn't really blossom like I expected it to. Very surprising. Maybe Ms. Lauder (Erin, Estee's granddaughter who is marketing the PCTG herself) doesn't want a scent that is to be worn outdoors?

    The scent smells like it has been very well thought out. It's serious. I think it smells like real absolutes of the flowers. Perhaps its not, but these floral notes seem crafted and complex. Classy too.

    Which, happily, is what I expected.

    03rd October, 2008

    rating


    Domenico Caraceni 1913 by Domenico Caraceni

    It seems as if at one time on Basenotes, the male discussion board literally exploded with discussions on Domenico Caraceni. Many on Basenotes talked highly about DC, so my expectations were pretty high. I also love rose scents. Falling in love with DC seemed like a no brainer, right?

    Well...it's not that simple:

    - The top notes of DC open with what I can only decribe as aromatic pungency - some Basenoters have described it as boozy, and I can see why. The combination of frankincense (yes, right in the top notes - charging out of the gate) and petit grain give it a grain alcohol-ish aura. Not extremely pleasant but not off putting either. It is incredibly bright and anyone who would take a hard sniff of their skin right after applying DC will most likely recoil back in pain.
    - The rose and geranium notes arrive and boy, are they DARK. I thought No. 88 was a dark rose scent, and it is. But in my opinion DC is much darker. Of course, it's a gentlemanly and conservative kind of darkness. Confectionery roses, in all of their glory. PLEASE do not take these descriptions as me saying DC and No. 88 are similar. They are not. However the geranium / rose accord when it arrives, strikes the same 'shadow', if you will. It's quite unmistakable.
    - At about an hour or two on my skin, the scent really gave off a lot of sillage. Simultaneously, the scent became much more melancholic and 'sad'. The color I associate with this is dark purple. I imagine this is perhaps the saddest fragrance I've ever smelled. I remember some talk here on the board about DC and it's 'aromatherapy' aspects - so perhaps I'm not alone in this.
    - I didn't get the 'new magazine smell' that some Basenoters mentioned - to me, that description sounds like glue, ink, paper, etc. I couldn't smell any of these accords in DC.
    - I don't agree with some online reviews that mention a chypre-like quality in DC - to me, I smell no amber or mossy notes. Supposedly there's tobacco in the middle notes? I didn't smell any either.
    - Caraceni makes suits (in Italy) and yet, I don't think DC smells like a well tailored suit at all. Perhaps the perfect scent for a funeral, or a night going out to a Goth club - but Italian tailoring? No.
    - The first time I wore DC, I thought it smelled powdery. I hate powdery scents. The 2nd and 3rd time I wore it, this powdery effect was nonexistent.

    Do I respect and admire this scent? Yes. The way this fragrance transitions from top, middle and base notes is quite fascinating. Many 'classic' scents achieve this well calibrated sequence of notes so the perfumer who did DC (?) knows his stuff! Plus the scent literally reeks of quality, without coming across as too high brow. Which is not as easy as it sounds.

    Do I want to own it? No.

    03rd October, 2008

    rating


    parfums*PARFUMS Series 6 Synthetic: Skai by Comme des Garçons

    Wow - what an incredible spring scent with a just a hint of...subversiveness to it.

    Most of the CdG scents are known for their fleeting longevity, which I always handled by over applying. Skai, however, is different. You do not need to over apply it, to get it to stick. Today's application was over applied and I almost got nauseous from the intense synthetic smell. Note - go easy on the trigger with this one.

    So what does it smell like?

    - PVC, albeit a very clean PVC smell. Like an outdoor pool, fresh out of the wrapper that you just blew up and set out on the backyard lawn
    - Citrus notes, but fizzy in character. Have any of you ever drank those effervescent vitamin c packets that you add to water and they bubble up like Alka Seltzer when you add water? The lemon flavored ones smell a little like the citrus in Skai, with a more white grapefruit kind of tartness to it
    - A slight sweetness mixes in with the aforementioned notes - but it not gourmand at all rather a very synthetic sweet gaseous smell (nitrous oxide?). Like Tar (also in the Synthetic Series) Skai gets its sweetness from a very standardized industrial smell.
    - The drydown is even better than the top notes - much more muted sweet synthetic notes but with a constant fresh undertone to them. I am reminded of flavored waters that are popular now. Water with natural lemon flavor (unsweetened). If this had a smell, it would smell like your skin does, with Skai on it.
    - The official notes mention leather, however I smell no leather in Skai. Neither do I smell cardamom.

    If you've been meaning to try one of the Synthetic Series for the first time, I highly recommend Skai. It doesn't just smell oddball and strange like many of the Comme des Garcons fragrances, it also manages to tackle the 'idea' of freshness in a very unique, cerebral and subversive way.

    03rd October, 2008

    rating


    parfums*PARFUMS Series 6 Synthetic: Tar by Comme des Garçons

    When I was growing up as a kid, I got really really bad headaches and nausea from the smell of roofing tar. Tar, the CdG scent, walks that line between [I]headache inducing[/I] and [I]uniquely interesting[/I] very carefully. Here's the thing: it smells less like that boiling hot tub of smoky tar that roofers use to tack shingles down with - and much more like [U]asphalt[/U]. You know, the smell of a fresh paved road.

    The drydown (as some others here on BN have mentioned) is a extremely smooth and silky interpretation of a very industrial and synthetic smell. Almost sensuous, I dare say. It is incredibly linear (tar, tar and just more tar). Sniffing your skin up close and your nose is filled with that warm asphalt smell. Comforting, if you will. Smelled from afar, as the scent rises up to meet your nose, the smell is softer, rounded and slightly petrochemical-ish. Think...a toned down 'dried paint' smell.

    The second time I wore Tar, I intentionally over applied it - to really amplify the 'asphalt' note on my skin. Of course, it worked - but then I got a slight headache (it seems my nose couldn't tell the difference between real tar and Tar!), so I won't do that again.

    03rd October, 2008

    rating


    parfums*PARFUMS Series 6 Synthetic: Garage by Comme des Garçons

    It smells like brake pads.

    My dad used to sell/deliver auto parts when I grew up (those big large white trucks, filled with belts, spark plugs, etc - he drove that for a living). The industrial smell of those auto parts is permanently engraved on my consciousness. I half expected for Garage to give me an oil/gas/lubricant note, but no it was PURE brake pads. Fresh out of their cardboard box in all of their shiny, sticky, metallic smell. Most mechanic garages I have smelled smell like lubricants and oil but a few very well kept mechanic shops or auto parts stores smell just like this.

    I wore it once, at night to a smoky bar. When I applied it, the top notes were extremely sharp (as I expected) but didn't go into headache-inducing territory. During the night I ran into two people I know. No comments: good or bad. Maybe it was the average sillage and they didn't smell it? Maybe they just thought my scent was something else in the bar?

    In the mid dry down its plastic notes are quite self-overwhelming and it does that olfactory trick that Odeur 71 does where the smell of the fragrance actually sucks all of the oxygen from around your body - so that your personal space becomes actually 'absent' of smell. Anti- smell. I was grinning to myself, because I love it when scents do that.

    Will I buy a full bottle of this? Not sure yet. I need to try the other four scents in the Series to answer that. I'm going to wait a while and test again.

    03rd October, 2008

    rating


    Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Iris Silver Mist has allowed me to attain a giant leap forward into understanding, appreciating and encompassing the iris note in all of it's facets.

    The top notes are rooty-tooty (beet root?) and carrot smelling. A little dirt, but definitely cold dirt. The iris note interwoven at this point does have that classic 'lipstick' smell that only I get from iris, however (maybe I'm used to it already, maybe this scent is different?) it isn't quite as powdery as other iris scents (Dior Homme, Hiris, Prada Infusion d'Iris). I find the dirt provides just the right backdrop to the iris scent. It's incredibly hard to describe in words, because it smells nothing like other scents that smell like dirt (Route du Vetiver, Dark Earth, Dirt by Demeter) - no other scent captures the smell of cold dirt like ISM.

    The middle and base notes allow the scent to really fill out and deepen to a resolutely iris absolute accord. It not only smells more like iris, the smell is more wide-angle (iris HD!) - I swear I got the visual image today of how clouds might smell in the sky. Not ozonic. Just airy, ethereal... I hope I'm not coming across as too artistic and fluffy in my descriptions, but this scent really does evoke a feeling of serenity and meditation in me. Long stretches of time today, I thoroughly enjoyed moving around my office in articulated silences - in awe of this scent swirling all around me. It also manages to avoid being sweet on my skin, although many reviews I've read about ISM mention it as a gourmand. Strange.

    Longevity is excellent, sillage is above average - fans of Dior Homme should love this, since I think it smells entirely unisex.

    I must say that personally, I prefer a much greener iris note (Le Labo Iris 39) - but after several wearings I now own my first bell jar of ISM.

    Fantastic!

    03rd October, 2008

    rating


    Sa Majesté la Rose by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    I have always been naturally attracted to the scent of a rose (in nature and in fragrances). Due to smelling so many different rose scents, I discovered how different rose scents can be. I guess you could say, ‘A rose is not just a rose.’

    Sa Majeste la Rose is one of the few rose fragrances that manages to achieve an olfactory sensation of wetness (or dew resting on rose petals) when I smell it. What does ‘wet’ smell like, you may be asking? Well, that’s a hard question to answer.

    The first spray recreates quite realistically the smell of a refrigerated walk-in cooler in a florist shop. Metal door (rivulets of water dripping down its side), cold concrete floor, and water filled buckets filled with roses. In contrast, there is NO garden of roses as strong as the top notes of SMLR. This sharp, almost tangy top note is neither demure nor dainty – it’s rather heavy. This Moroccan rose absolute top notes is slightly fruity and as it rests on my skin the scent takes on a much more natural on-the-vine rose scent. I love this part of the scent – because it reminds me of smelling a fresh rose, by sticking my entire nose inside the petals of a rose and inhaling.

    I have never been a gardener, but I naturally always appreciated the scent of a rose garden, or a vase full of fresh, cut roses. Tons of products that are ‘rose scented’ are marketed to primarily women here in the U.S. It’s no coincidence then, that smelling a product scented with rose conjures up not only memories of flowers I’ve smelled, but something altogether feminine. It was with this preconceived notion of what rose should smell like (and who should wear it) that I began to really appreciate SMLR.

    I must admit, there is the smallest hint of powder in the base notes, but not enough to bother me (a powdery scent hater). I smell more honey in the base notes, rather than the top notes (rare for a SL scent) and it’s a gentle touch of honey that doesn’t disrupt the rose notes at all.

    The longevity of SMLR is fantastic. At the end of the night, I can still smell small whiffs of it on my skin, from a morning application.

    It is said that SMLR is one of Serge Lutens personal favorite scents (along with Ambre Sultan and Clair de Musc) from the export line. This does not surprise me at all.

    03rd October, 2008

    rating


    Tuscany per Uomo Forte by Aramis

    I wore Tuscany (regular) so much growing up that I felt obligated to atleast sample Tuscany per Uomo Forte.

    The scents are strikingly similar, and took me almost an hour into the middle and base notes to realize any difference in the scents. The signature crisp, lemony herbal top notes are still there (my favorite part) but the wood and spice notes that arrive later on tend to give it a shorter diffusion and less longevity. Not worth it, IMO.

    There are only a few times when a scent like this is appropriate for my wardrobe these days. If I should need a well done, 80's fougere - the regular Tuscany would do just fine.

    03rd August, 2008

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    Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford

    This was one of the first of Tom Ford Private Blends that I instantly loved.

    It is sweet, spicy and comfortable and yet still manages to be formal and luxurious. What I love most about this scent, is the olfactory association I have with this scent: pipe tobacco. The smell is not someone smoking a pipe (TV has no 'smoke' notes) rather the smell of the unlit pipe tobacco itself. It conjures up visions of a distinguished gentleman, masculinity and heritage. It is also just sweet enough to keep the tobacco accord from smelling too sour or harsh.

    I must wear TV lightly applied (it lasts exceedingly long) and in cooler temperatures (somehow wearing this in the heat/humidity proved nausea inducing). In addition, the scent is extremely linear. Tobacco, then vanilla, and then spices (that remind me of gingerbread), a very quick whiff of dried prune and then a slight beeswax accord - and that's it.

    Fans of Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain or Ambre Narguile by Hermes should try this one.

    26th May, 2008

    rating


    Baie de Genièvre by Creed

    My first olfactory encounter with juniper berries was Baie de Geneivre. 'So, this is what it smells like!', was my first thought.

    However, who could have imagined how that crisp, aromatic and very tailored accord would blend so skillfully with cinnamon leaves? Incredible. Not so much as spicy as some cinnamon prominent fragrances that I love, BdG's cinnamon leaf note is subtle, muted and diffuses on skin and in the air like a fine cornstarch talc powder.

    I think the effect of formality and stiff formalness that the scent presents itself with at the top loosens itself up as it dries down to a pleasing and light almost eau-de-cologne base note. I also treasure this as a Creed scent that does not have a strong prominent ambergris base note.

    BdG should appeal to lovers of spicy fragrances, who want something brighter than JHL, yet more serious and conservative than Comme des Garcons Eau de Parfum.

    26th May, 2008

    Showing 31 to 60 of 91.




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