Reviews

Reviews by tourmaline

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Brocade by Avon

Beautiful & vibrant, predominantly white floral bouquet with ylang, jasmine, etc. on a musky base. Reminded me a bit of Casaque.
25th January, 2015

Calèche by Hermès

I can't speak for the modern version, but vintage Caleche is a very singular & strange scent - I find it disturbing. It's often spoken of as a "sister perfume" to Madame Rochas, because perfumer Guy Robert created both of these aldehydic florals in the early '60s - and while both smell very unique, they don't smell all that similar to each other. Original Madame Rochas was powdery & deeply feminine with lush florals on an earthy, mossy base. But Caleche is crisp & sharp, it's primary accord seemingly composed of 2/3 aldehyde & 1/3 lemon.That's an oversimplification, but it really is very crisp & cold, and fairly linear. The aldehydes are ratcheted up to a high degree and the effect is cold & strange, to me at least. I have not smelled any other perfume that smells like this. Every time I wear it, I note how pretty it is, but it makes me a bit uncomfortable. It's like the really good-looking guy in the room, whose standing by himself, taking stock of everyone. Then you lock eyes with him, and you tingle as you realize how gorgeous & strange his eyes are, but you also feel frightened - like something's just not right about him. There's something unsettling about him that you can't put your finger on. To me, that's Caleche. A very unique and pretty accord, but just really weird & unsettling smelling.
I'm reviewing the vintage parfum.
17th November, 2014

Surrender by Ciro

"Surrender" was Ciro's most popular perfume, and I can understand why. It's a powdery chypre in 1930s style. Like similar chypre perfumes of this era (such as Vol de Nuit, original Presence de Houbigant, Aphrodisia by Faberge, etc) it hums with a salty, subtle sweetness from pinches of ambergris & vanilla, which push it ever so slightly into oriental territory. But it's not sweet enough to be considered truly oriental IMO. Surrender has very subtle florals and maybe even a drop of bergamot oil amid the main accord of powdery oakmoss/ambergris/vanilla/musk. Some might think it smells a little bit musty, or perhaps just old fashioned or motherly. It's mellow & powdery, lovely & harmonious.
07th November, 2014 (last edited: 08th November, 2014)

Coeur-Joie by Nina Ricci

Starts with a rush of maybe orange blossom, jasmine, violets, then gets softer, moving into a more powdery base similar to No. 5. Very lovely bouquet, but not a "must have" for me: I prefer Germaine Cellier's Bandit and Fracas, both of which pack a wallop in different ways. As gorgeous as Coeur is, it doesn't push any boundaries or challenge the status quo.
10th April, 2014 (last edited: 01st July, 2014)

Bandit by Robert Piguet

Guys, I have the pure parfum with the box with BANDIT in capital letters that was produced in the 90s by Alfin. The one that the review below me claims does not smell good...

What on earth? I think it's gorgeous! Although it is the pure parfum, it actually smells exactly like vintage Bandit EDT. They smell just the same to me. Both of them - vintage Bandit EDT & my Bandit pure parfum produced by Alfin - are lacking in the bitter green, high pitched feminine topnotes of the vintage, original pure parfum concentration. But it's lovely just the same, and 100% identifiably Bandit.

If you love those bitter green notes, seek out the old, vintage pure parfum. But if you are not as crazy about those feminine, high-pitched green notes, then you should seek out the vintage EDT or the pure parfum produced by Alfin (which has BANDIT in all capital letters) as those are lacking in the bracing, screeching green notes.
27th December, 2013 (last edited: 29th March, 2014)

Robe d'Un Soir (original) by Carven

Wow. This is one of the most beautiful perfumes I've smelled. I own a small bottle of the vintage pure perfume, and I am very struck by the refinement and gorgeousness of this scent. This is a subtly sweet, powdery, woody scent. The aldehydes are mercifully minimal and subtle, but still there, enhancing the beauty and elegance of the notes. This reminds me very much of vintage Sortilege, but I think this is somehow more beautiful. I will need to do a side by side comparison. Glorious!
28th April, 2013

Tasha by Avon

Tasha is a very soapy, aldehydic floral. It is very pretty. I believe the distinctive woodiness in the drydown was influenced by Magie Noire (this came out the very next year). Very dated by today's standards. It smell sort of '70s cheap in that distinctive Avon way, but it's a nice sunny, bright fragrance just the same.
24th December, 2012 (last edited: 07th April, 2014)

Infini by Caron

I am reviewing the vintage pure parfum.
Starts out with sharp, aldehydic, classic florals. Very pretty. Then slowly, a smoky leathery note of isobutyl quinoline combined with now-obsolete nitromusks emerges. I don't care for this rough, smoky/leathery accord which was so popular in several famous classic fragrances, but I know that many find it interesting and even love it. I enjoyed the lovely floral beginning but did not care for the rather smoky/leathery drydown.
18th November, 2012

Rumeur (original) by Lanvin

This is of course for the vintage version.

I have tried two concentrations: the Eau Rumeur (which is EDT) and a small official sample vial of Rumeur parfum. They are VERY different from each other. The Eau Rumeur is heavy on the aldehydes, and is a normative aldehydic floral along the lines of vtg Baghari or even vtg White Linen. Very aldehydic floral and not all that original. The fragrance in the small vial of parfum is completely different. It is a very spicy (I agree with others that it smells a bit ginger-y) suede or leather-y perfume. Somewhat medicinal smelling but quite unique and nice. I would never in a million years think that My Eau Rumeur and my Rumeur parfum sample were the same fragrance or even related. They smell totally different. I'm not sure if the parfum sample I have is in great condition or if it once smelled entirely different than it does now...
06th August, 2012

Interlude by Frances Denney

I am really mystified by this fragrance. It is an oriental, but that moniker does not really describe it well or do it justice. Although the deeper oriental basenotes of resins and musk are clearly there, the fragrance is given a very distinct personality by its gorgeously smooth floral/citrus notes. The unique harmony of rose and soft citrus create a very beautiful and original impression, belying its categorization as simply an "oriental". There is almost a chypre effect here, like dried flowers with moss. This is a really special fragrance, I think it's unfortunate that Interlude is not more widely known. I *never* see this one mentioned on perfume message boards, which is just weird as it was very popular back in its heyday of the 60s and 70s. And with good reason. To my nose it's nothing like Youth Dew, Tabu, or other more typically heavy orientals. Interlude is floral/citrusy, chypric, autumnal, with a subtle oriental base. Very gorgeous.
27th July, 2012

Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

I am female, and I completely agree with the reviewer down below who said Kouros smells like a locker room. It really smells just like that. I have been inside men's locker rooms a few times before (don't ask...) and Kouros smells like the steam from the showers, the sweat from the bodies, the urinal cakes, and the deodorants sticks. Kouros perfectly balances shower-fresh clean with raunchy sweaty body. Now, as a woman, do I find the smell of Kouros attractive? It is pleasant and definitely interesting. But here's the thing: if a woman thinks you are good looking and attractive to begin with, she will most likely be down with whatever scent you are wearing assuming you don't completely reek of it. But if a woman does not find you good looking or attractive in general, no fragrance is going to turn her around and draw her in. Guys really need to accept this. There is no cologne that is going to make a woman want to sleep with a man if she's not attracted to him already in other ways. Sorry guys. Anyway, back to Kouros. It's a pleasant scent, smells like a PE locker room at a high school (which I think is what they were going for i.e. Kouros = a male youth), fascinating balance of soapy clean and sweaty dirty, I give it a thumbs up, and I even think that daring women can wear this!
16th July, 2012

Câline by Jean Patou

A dominant aldehydic, bitter citrus accord, edging into subtle rose/jasmine florals, and finishing with a purring animalic base. So fascinating that this scent was originally intended for teenagers and young women, because today it just smells so incredibly old fashioned - a fragrance that is clearly of the pre-80s world - made before someone decided that all fragrances needed to be syrupy sweet and fruity-floral.
07th April, 2012 (last edited: 19th December, 2013)

J'ai Osé by J'ai Osé

I am reviewing the later EDP version. Starts off with a smoky, almost acrid, herbal-tinged gust of high-pitched florals & patchouli, then dries down fairly quickly into a gorgeous true leather scent. At moments, the drydown reminds me of Cuir de Russie parfum....at other moments it reminds me a bit of the medicinal suede + apricot accord in Donna Karan's signature perfume. But it doesn't smell identical to either of these. But it is leathery. This is a somewhat unique scent, sort of dangerous smelling, and ahead of it's time. I can envision it perfuming the air of many nightclubs in the late 70s and early 80s.
24th February, 2012

Vivage by Louis Féraud

Somewhat sweetish chypre-floral, rather similar to the 1980s reissue of Coty Chypre and also Shocking You by Schiapparelli, but cheaper smelling and less interesting than both of those.
08th October, 2011

Alma de Alma by Madini

Very beautiful oriental. Citron and green notes up top, undergirded by an Obsession-like vanilla-amber base, with an animalic civet-y whisper to it. Glorious stuff, would also work amazingly well on a man. Sillage is heavy-duty and strong, like all Madinis... just a drop is all that's needed.
27th February, 2011

Ambergris by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

Starts off smelling like bad breath. Honestly, that is just what it smells like. I expected something salty and marine, but that doesn't describe the smell accurately. This is not the smell of the ocean; rather it is the smell of bacterial colonization, of stagnant water, of decaying teeth and gums, of roadkill, of morning breath. In a word, of putrefaction. Which makes sense, as ambergris is literally the loogy (a hard nodule composed of fats, proteins, plaque, & mucus) of a whale that has aged and gone rancid for many years. Is it disgusting? Kind of.

After twenty minutes or so, this bad breath scent dissipates and the fragrance gets much softer and a bit sweeter, yet very hard to detect. I have to put my nose to my wrist and really concentrate to smell anything at this point, but I do get hints of dry tobacco with that slightly sour bile smell playing gently at the edges. The creamy and subtly sweet drydown of Miss Dior parfum (vintage) is supposedly composed with real ambergris, and I can smell just a bit of that same mysterious magic in the drydown of the real Ambergris tincture.

Sniffing real ambergris tincture is a revelation, so fascinating to think that our fragrance forefathers plucked this substance off the seashore and tweaked it to complement and fix other notes, resulting in compositions that are truly beautiful. And in smelling the real deal, it's apparent that it was primarily the FIXATIVE qualities of ambergris that were deemed so valuable; I am deducing this by the fact that there are - mercifully - no perfumes vintage or modern that smell realistically of ambergris. I have also noticed that when layered with other perfumes, ambergris tincture softens the perfume's notes, lassoing them and reigning them in, blurring their sharp edges. I'm glad I sampled this, it is fascinating but not appealing.
22nd February, 2011 (last edited: 09th October, 2012)

Chimere by Prince Matchabelli

This is a chypre from 1980, and it really straddles the line between the dry, bitter, classic chypres of the 70s and before, and the fruity-florals of the 80s; there is a chypre citrus note up top, but it is slighly sweet (as if there is some grapefruit or sweet mandarin among the bergamot), and off-puttingly so for this classic chypre lover. Composed of a cheap floral heart and dying down to a dusty, nondescript moss/woods base, this is a fairly bland, mediocre scent and it's no wonder that it did not succeed.
10th February, 2011 (last edited: 02nd December, 2011)

Jean-Louis Scherrer by Jean-Louis Scherrer

I have a pure parfum mini of Scherrer (unsure of time period). The top notes of this fragrance are immediately reminiscent, if not identical to, the original and distinctive green beginnings of Givenchy III. Then as the minutes pass, Scherrer begins to smell very much like a muted version of original Bandit or EL Azuree, a bitter twist of sharp floral notes which echo the formidable green classics that came before it. It is dark, mossy, green, foresty, and beautiful which, while adding nothing terribly original or unique to the chypre genre, plucks out and compiles all of the best aspects and accords of its predecessors into one perfume. Stunning, it is a favorite of this avowed chypre lover.
25th January, 2011

Jean-Louis Scherrer by Jean-Louis Scherrer

I disagree with the reviewer below who said that there is an 80s note in Scherrer; I assume she was smelling the big rosey damascenone materials which became de riguer in fragrances of the late 70s and 80s. I have a pure parfum mini of Scherrer (unsure of time period) and there is no 80s syrup to be found here. The top notes of this fragrance are immediately reminiscent, if not identical to, the original and distinctive green beginnings of Givenchy III. Then as the minutes pass, Scherrer begins to smell very much like original Bandit or EL Azuree, a bitter twist of sharp floral notes which echo the formidable green classics that came before it. It is dark, mossy, green, foresty, and beautiful which, while adding nothing terribly original or unique to the chypre genre, plucks out and compiles all of the best aspects and accords of its predecessors into one perfume. Stunning, it is a favorite of this avowed chypre lover.
25th January, 2011

Mink & Pearls by Jovan

This is a very unique fragrance. Definitely an animalic chypre, with castoreum. It has a warmth and full-bodied yet subtle sweetness in the floral heart which combines nicely with the raunchy animalic notes. My gosh, i cannot think of anything that this reminds me of because it's very unique. If you like vintage Quadrille, and other scents of the late 60s like Norell, Fidgi, etc. you may love this.

I find the pure parfume a bit too "bright" and high pitched, the EDT spray I have is darker in color and smells more deep & basenote rich. So I put a drop of each conentration on my wrist and I'm in heaven. Very special vintage chypre.
13th January, 2011 (last edited: 21st October, 2014)

Jovan Woman by Jovan

If you want to get technical, Jovan Woman is an oriental (it's listed as such in my old H&R guide)...but the scent definitely has the spirit of chypre ALL over it, even if technically it does not fit into that most precisely defined of fragrance categories (i.e. chypre = bergamot + labdanum + oakmoss). This is a very unique scent and very pretty. Sometimes when I wear it I get an initial blast of vintage hairspray, but over the course of half an hour or so, it settles into a beguiling and distinctive warm, soapy, rosy/geranium-y, spicy/woody scent of woman. It is a complex and bewitching scent, sexy & womanly, and it smells unlike anything else out there. This drugstore beauty is one that I always have on hand.
13th January, 2011 (last edited: 26th June, 2014)

Y by Yves Saint Laurent

Mea culpa, forgive me Fragrance Father, for I have sinned. I originally wrote a scathing review of "Y" because after briefly sampling both vintage EDT and vintage parfum, I found the scent to disappear very quickly on my wrist. And this is true: After some gorgeously elegant green and fruity top notes, the scent seems to vanish, even in the strongest parfum concentration. But I reacted too soon with disappointment. The truth is, I do get soft wafts of it coming up from my wrist at random times, and when I do I am very bewitched and entranced. The drydown, light as it is, is a lovely whisper of rose, civet, and a bare hint of patchouli, set against an oakmossy chypre base. I can forgive "Y" for drying quickly down to such a subtle state, because the gentle caress of this beauty is all the more precious for its illusory nature. Sublime is the word. Chypre lovers, this is a must-try. Just be patient with it: Like the rare event of a butterfly landing on your shoulder, bask in the precious, fleeting moments of this perfume's perceptibility.

13th January, 2011 (last edited: 23rd January, 2011)

Chipre by Madini

I'm a classic chypre lover - my faves are Ma Griffe, Madame Rochas, YSL "Y", Mitsouko, Magie Noir, Shiseido Zen Classic, etc., all vintage versions if you please. Madini Chipre starts out with a well integrated bergamot wrapped inside an accord of indistinguishable florals and a peanut-buttery benzoin. Then in drying down further it moves into oakmoss territory, a very powdery, perfumery oakmoss + amber accord that is pretty but slightly more oriental than chypre; this drydown reminds me a little of that of Toujours Moi. I was not a fan of the beginning...but I can admit that the drydown is very pretty in a deeply powdery way. This does not smell of a chypre to me, more like a powdery oriental.
07th January, 2011 (last edited: 27th February, 2011)

To A Wild Rose by Avon

The vintage description card from Avon describes this scent as floral & mossy. I would agree with that. The rose in this is very subtle and of the classic, old fashioned variety, which in this case means that it's not realistic enough to be immediately identifiable as rose. The old-fashioned synthetic rose is undergirded by moss as well as a slightly piney note. It is very pretty smelling and extremely unique. Not cloyingly feminine, this would smell pretty good on a guy. I enjoy this fragrance a lot, and reach for it fairly often.
03rd January, 2011 (last edited: 19th December, 2013)