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Natura Fabularis : 2 Violaceum by L'Artisan Parfumeur

L'Artisan's new(ish) Natura Fabularis ("nature mythology") series looks interesting to me, because anything new from this house looks interesting to me; but, to be honest, I also feel a little disappointed that this house has succumbed (once again, if you count the Explosions d'Emotions) to the temptation of putting out a more-expensive/higher tier line. When perfumes houses do that, it's hard to shake the suspicion that their other products may be getting less attention from the folks who hold the purse strings; and in L'Artisan's case, I really hope not. After all, this house has one of the best back catalogs in the business, with at least a dozen perfumes that literally smell like nothing else on earth, all of which also happen to be well-made and almost shockingly wearable. I would consider it criminal if the quality of any of those were to decline.

In the meantime, there's Violaceum. All the NF perfumes appear to be explorations of a single note; and, true to its name, Violaceum smells like violet--for a while. It starts off with some promise--the unmistakably peppery bite of violet leaf (does anyone know if watercress and violets have any sort of kinship? Just a thought) in a sort of dank, moist accord suggestive of dark fairy-tale forests. Then it shows a little bit of violet blossom proper, tamped down by a decent whack of iris. L'Artisan's blurb about Violaceum says something about the connection between food and perfume, and claims that Daphne Bugey includes a carrot-and-saffron accord along with the violets--but honestly, I just smell iris, which gets more diffused and chalky the way iris does. Also, ifthere's saffron in here, I can't smell it. The drydown smells both moist and dry, suggestive of the aroma freshly turned black soil. And that's it.

The violet part pretty much ends within the first 30 minutes (at least on my skin), leaving a kind of shadowy self in the iris materials. It's a nice enough scent--elegant, dark, and slightly suggestive of leather, sort of (inasmuch as iris reads as "leather" in perfume vernacular); but I'm not sure I understand why it needs to exist, exactly; and the perfume's somewhat desultory vibe doesn't really help much. What is it trying to do? As far as I can see, L'Artisan doesn't really have a straight-up violet fragrance in their book, which is why I was drawn to Violaceum. But it seems like the house kind of wasted a bullet here. L'Artisan's collection includes almost nothing that smells like anything else out there on the market, so why put out such a relatively pedestrian take on violets? There must be 40 or 50 perfumes out there in the world that offer some variation on the violet/leather idea, and very few of them have offered much improvement over Jolie Madame.

It's possible that L'Artisan could be aiming at something instructive concerning ionones, the scents of violets and iris. After all, ionones derive from carotenoids, the familiar orange pigments we all know from carrots, so a perfume presenting a spectrum of ionones from top to bottom, violet blossoms to carrot roots via iris, is a nice idea (although I have no idea how the saffron fits in); and it seems to fit with the mildly didactic vibe of the Latin names and laboratory-bling of the bottles. Still, if this is what's going on, it doesn't make the perfume itself any more interesting--it's still iris and violets and not much else. I suspect that the Natura Fabularis collection aims at pleasing the Jo Malone crowd, who seem all too willing to shell out ultra-premium prices for one-note perfumes with the mute button on. After all, the packaging looks exquisite and quite chic (and it has bees! I love bees), with mostly straightforward names for the compositions--clearly designed to need as little further explanation as possible.

If the brief asked for a simple, understated scent with some good talking points for the sales staff, then Violaceum succeeds; and if you might be looking for an earthy, nonfeminine violet, it's worth trying out; but it doesn't ring my particular bell. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe I'm bummed because it's not trashy enough--I like my violets slutty, tarted up and tricked out with fruitier ionones along with the dry. And L'Artisan already offers a better, more distinctive take on ionones and saffron in its grievously underrated Skin on Skin, a perfume containing luxurious gobs of iris butter and loads of saffron, which seems to conjure sweet but not cloying phantom violets--a perfume as bizarre, and as gorgeous, as anything else in this house's formidable lineup.
30th April, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Bracken Woman by Amouage

The top notes have to major components on my skin: firstly, a nice, pleasant mixed wildberry-fruitiness and has a nice sweetness with it, and, secondly, a fresh, green fern impression that is expressing the aroma of fields of fern rather well. A delightful opening.

The heart notes are clearly in the floral realm, with lily and narcissus evident, but the latter is a bit attenuated and uneventful; the lily develops better on me. What is an intersting turn at this stage is a well-expressed chamomile tea background, which provides an interesting and original twist in the transition to the base notes.

Towards the end a soft and generic leather develops, and there is little convincing smokiness here; maybe it is a leather in a no-smoking area.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and six hours of longevity on my skin.

Pleasant is autumn, this creation is interesting and well-made, albeit a tad generic at times, with the base being quite dull. 3.5/5.

29th April, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Bracken Man by Amouage

The opening is given a nice freshness with lemon and bergamot, and a deeper and spicier compoenets owing to nutmeg, clove and whiffs of pepper. Freshness mixed with an unobtrusive spiciness. Pleasant.

The drydown starts with nice touches of a cinnomon that is only minimally sweetened, and later on it adds a floral component, with a somewhat generic and sterile lavender impression mixing with a geranium that is not really a bright geranium, but a more darker version of this floral note.

Thr base turns spicier again, thanks to a fairly crisp patchouli mixed with the cedar again. There is an added darker musk evident towards the end, but it is very tame without any truly faecaloid component.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a very good seven hours of longevity on my skin.

As previously commented upon, by its components this spring creation mimics a traditional fougère with some interesting additional twists. As a fougère is lacks important components - there is no genuine oak moss here, and some phases are a tad generic in nature, but overall this is a well-crafted sanitised attempted chypre with some interesting twists. 3.5/5.
29th April, 2017
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Eau de Iceberg pour Femme by Iceberg

Fruit punch, love juice. Just add vodka. Inexpensive. A masterpiece of frivolity.
29th April, 2017

Chapeau Bleu by Marina Picasso

I just cannot get into this one. It's an oddball. I feel like I am walking through the halls of a faraway institution for the criminally weird. My brain registers something "off" with this perfume. Perhaps I got a bad batch. I can layer this with almost anything else, then it is tolerable. The only redeeming quality is the artsy bottle.
29th April, 2017

Alabaster by Banana Republic

Simple. Fresh. Floriental. Lotus greets me at first. Then the rose settles in after ten minutes. After a few hours I get a light musk. It isn't complicated - it is what it is.
29th April, 2017

Fragranza Verde by Morgane Le Fay

A hard-to-find fragrance. A lovely summery green scent where cucumber, freesia, apple, and rose shine. Smells like a garden after a soaking rain. Clean. Unisex.
29th April, 2017

Muse de Rochas by Rochas

I wanted to love this, but... It is terribly weak on my skin. I barely detect the mango, musk, peach, vanilla, and orange flower. All the other notes never make their presence known. You could wear this out in the woods camping. I seriously doubt any insect would even know you are there. Sorry, Rochas - you failed on this one.
29th April, 2017

Rima XI by Carner Barcelona

Stardate 20170428:

This one starts good. I get something boozy akin to Lubin Idole (my fav). But the magic disappears in 30 seconds and all I get is the smell of buttered popcorn in movie theatre. That is a really unpleasant smell. Thankfully that butter popcorn accord goes away after 45 mins and what you are left with is a badly reformulated baldessarini dry down.
The weird thing about this fragrance is that it has borrowed heavily from 2 of my all time favourites ( Idole and baldessarini) and has done a piss poor job.
Please avoid this and get the other 2.
28th April, 2017

Le Gemme : Gyan by Bulgari

A dark resinous masculine fragrance of indescribable beauty. Bvlgari Gyan (from Le Gemme new precious line) is the veritable essence of metropolitan "black" velvety luxuriousness. The subtle fresh cardamomish fruity/floral spiciness, combined with a more traditional patch-centered chypre musky accord, provides a quite classic "under-twist" (a glorious background in part a la Estee Lauder Youth Dew, Cartier Panthere, Armani Onde Mystere, Gianni Versace, Fendi by Fendi or classics Van Cleef&Arpels) in the body of an extraordinary modern glistening light oriental. The floral presence is soapy-spicy a la Dior Addict but far more dark, humid, piquant and precious. Super lush and glamour, perfect for a gala night in the top down town lounge club. A velvety spicy-floral indonesian patchouli is the main protagonist of this moonlight-dream. One of the most sophisticated perfumes ever tested on skin. A modern masterwork for Bvlgari straight from the Jacques Cavallier's olfactory wisdom.
27th April, 2017 (last edited: 29th April, 2017)

Rose & Dragon by Carner Barcelona

Stardate 20170427:

This one is fun. Starts amazing. Rose plus some greens. Which it turns out is strawberry note. Rose is very mischievous, overpowering and floral and it needs someone to ground it. Oud,Patch, Woods have been the stoic ones in the relationship. Strawberry is a recent lover and does work well.
Unfortunately, the strawberry note here is the cheap artificial one (candy, shampoo) and so after 10 minutes it just drags the whole thing down. Making it a scrubber.
But wait couple of hour and that artificial note goes away giving way to some dirty green wood and late on some oudy note. This is the best part of this fragrance.
27th April, 2017

Casamorati 1888 Lira by Xerjoff

Stardate 20170427:

Xerjoff has been a house that I always wanted to like. The bottles are great and I like their names. Unfortunately, all the Xerjoffs I have tried have been meh.
Lira is no different. Smells like my favourite chocolate Ganache cake that I used to get from Mangia Bakery in midtown Manhattan. And like the cake, Lira disappears quickly.
I would save the money and get the cake.
27th April, 2017

Seyrig by Bruno Fazzolari

Dear Mr. Fazzolari--

I'm writing this review to beg you: please bring back Seyrig. I foolishly waited until today, April 26 2017, to finally get around to my sample. Then I fell head over heels in love with it. And then I discovered that Seyrig was a limited-quantity only production, and that there is no more to be had for love nor money. I shed actual tears over this--something that I have never done over a perfume before.

I love aldehydes, and I love ylang-ylang, and the combination of these in Seyrig is transcendent, somehow rich and buttery and light and fizzy all at the same time. Wearing Seyrig feels like being enveloped in a delicate mousse. There are only two other perfumes I know of that communicate a similar sensation--Chanel No 5 and Chanel No. 22, both famous perfumes known for their masterful treatment of aldehydes. Seyrig belongs in their company; it's that gorgeous.

Having experienced Seyrig, and having been left bereft and sleepless by the discovery that it's all gone, all I can do is write this passionate declaration of love, and beg for its return. (Well, that, and explore your other perfumes, of course, which I will be doing toute suite). I have sent you a message through your website, but I feel like going public might increase the chances that somehow, someway, I won't have to go through life without a substantial quantity of this gorgeous perfume. Please consider taking pity on an abject lady in Texas.

With my most sincere thanks,


P.S. If there is anyone out there in the perfume universe who can bear to part with some of their Seyrig, please consider helping a sister in her time of need.
27th April, 2017
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Italian Bergamot by Ermenegildo Zegna

Zegna Italian Bergamot is a pure lemon bergamot that has a bit of bubbling life that other lemon or bergamot perfumes miss on. The slight sweetness and almost edible, candied lemon smell is delightful. There is a clean buttoned up clarity to this that works with the Zegna brand nicely. This fragrance is immediately knowable as a high quality product. It may cost a bit more but is worth it.
27th April, 2017

Bergamote 22 by Le Labo

Opens with beautiful dry woody tart lemon citrus scent. From very early on this scent shows its dry mineral base which may be white musk and vetiver. The unique quality of Bergamote 22 is the cooling bone dry lemon, yes bergamot aroma that lasts for quite a long time for a light summer citrus. No bergamot is listed as a primary note which gives me a clue that by reconstructing the aroma of bergamot with petitgrain for dry woody orange, grapefruit for tartness, and vetiver for green tinged base of the bergamot construction the perfumer was able to reassemble bergamot with more density than is there by nature. Petitgrain+grapefruit+vetiver=a big bergamot scent. Also a very dry base. This is the best smelling lemon fragrance I've tried.
27th April, 2017

Italian Citrus by D.S. & Durga

On opening you smell a nice combination of lemon and mandarin orange citrus that is juicy and bright. Shortly after there is an abrasive light note, violet, that adds some disruption to the smoothe bell toned ring of the citrus. Other than for character I don't know why this note is here because it is a disruptive presence as the scent is strongly influenced by cooling dry violet and dry rasp of musk ambrette. This plus the other woods in the base add a dry woody finish which separates this citrus scent from its opening warmth. This is a very different take on a summer citrus that I like overall but recommend testing before buying.
27th April, 2017

Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Vanilla pods and saffron steeped in milk, wafer biscuits, rice pudding, eggnog, zabaglione - all these could be positive associations, especially for lovers of lactonic gourmands. It's possible that some people might even want to actually smell like one of the above custardy confections (although I'm not one of them).
Much less do I want my wrists smelling of a baby's breath when it's just finished breastfeeding.

DVN does have an accord of skin at times - there's saffron and a faint rubbery note in common with L'AP Skin On Skin and a furriness that's also present in Dzing! These are, once more, positive associations.

But then there it is again - milk-sweet babybreath, except this time the baby's on the changing mat with a damp diaper.

I'll be the one in the shower.
M.Malle, you disappoint me.
26th April, 2017

Mojave Ghost by Byredo

I felt compelled to leave a few notes on Mojave Ghost because there are so many negative reviews for what I think is a very innovative and fresh - in every sense - fragrance. Named for the Mojave Ghost flower which grows in very dry desert areas the fragrance resembles the flower in concept only but that works because the scent is very dry and ethereal, ghost-like and also hauntingly dry in a mystical desert floral manner. The opening smells like a light sugary melon ball syrup shaken with magnolia flower essence which is an extremely light sweet floral but there is a slight purple slash of violet that sends a small dark cloud over the sunny sky. This light airy floral is carried outward on an inflationary burst of synthetic cedar and ruggedly sunny ambroxan. The result is a dry sun baked desert air scent with a slightly brooding reclusive floral tone.

Though very different in name, Mojave Ghost reminds me a bit Gendarme which is similar but has a less dry slightly greener presence. The primary limiting factor of Mojave Ghost is that its floral essence causes it to lean slightly feminine in character. Otherwise it is good for a 7/10 rating.
26th April, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
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Armani Privé Sable Or by Giorgio Armani

The first few hours are floral in nature, nearly completely dominated by a rich and complex iris impression. It is smooth, rich and develops smoky undertones. In the drydown touches of a herbal spiciness are added - an interesting opening phase.

The second part sees the earlier notes dwindle, apart from whiffs of smokiness that linger for a while longer. The core of the socond phase are benzoin and vanilla. At first I get the benzoin to an extent that it raised fears in me that it would take over recklessly, but then the vanilla came to the fore, and its dominant role relegated the benzoin into an accompaniment that accentuates rather than overwhelms the vanilla. Whiffs of woodsy connotations are present at times.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a magnificent thirteen hours of longevity on my skin.

This pleasant wintery scent, in the second stage rightfully descibed as nigh-gourmand by Lovescully, is a bit unimaginative in the second half, although the quality of the ingredients is quite respectable. The performance is excellent. Overall nothing brilliant, but nice. 3.25/5.
26th April, 2017

Tardes by Carner Barcelona

Stardate 20170425:

The gourmand floral opening that worked very well for me.
Luca once mentioned that Habanita was great until he read the notes and realized it is vanilla and vetiver. Now all he gets is those 2 notes and not the combined accord.
I suffer the same fate with Tardes an the likes - once I could smell the olafactory symphony, but now all I get is cherry pie and shampoo. If I squint (and during drydown) I can still get that accord. But the magic is gone.
Still a mild thumbs up for me.
26th April, 2017

El Born by Carner Barcelona

Stardate 20170425:

Don't like this one. Has similar accords as one of the Afteliers. Fig one perhaps. Just dislike it. Rotten fruits up top and too dry and dusty later on.
I think fig is not for me.
26th April, 2017

Sweet by Lolita Lempicka

This is a doppelganger for Black Sugar by Aquolina. It stays sweet, sugary-sweet throughout its time on your skin. It is hours before I notice the musk and wood notes. Very long-lasting. Hummingbird magnet.
26th April, 2017

Mandarine Glaciale by Atelier Cologne

Orange zest . . . and hairspray! I really like most of Atelier Cologne's photorealistic fruity scents, because they smell fresh and zingy and their citrus notes last longer than almost anything else out there. I think Orange Sanguine in particular is a brilliant snapshot of cold orange juice, pulp and juice and all. In Mandarine Glaciale, a strong note that suggests pure orange zest, complete with its bitterness and pungency intact, gets a bit lost underneath a wall of aldehydes that just won't quit. To my nose, the aldehydes exactly replicate some of the cheaper hairspray formulas I used to coat the inside of my bathroom walls back in the 1980s. So, the overall effect comes off a bit sticky and smothered, at least to me. But I suspect that personal experience may prejudice me in this case, so I won't engage in any further dissing of such a well-intentioned, unpretentious scent. Smell for yourself and decide--AC is nothing if not generous with their samples.
25th April, 2017

Jubilation XXV by Amouage

I purchased this scent because I wanted an "all season"
fragrance which might evoke a different emotion as temperatures rose and fell. Certainly, in the store, Jubilation XXV was fascinating. Unfortunately, on me, this fragrance lasts about an hour, and the sillage forces me to stick my nose in the crux of my arm. I am disappointed.
25th April, 2017

Revillon pour Homme by Révillon

Thumbs up for this 1977 release. It's rich and full bodied in the opening. It has a mossy green tinge, and smells like it was made from quality ingredients. It seems like an unobtrusive kind of smell, not a typical cologne smell to me. It almost smells like someone may have been working in the prep kitchen, with smells of food, soap, and leather. This is not a must-have for me, but I'm happy to have had a few wearings. This reminds me of Caron Yatagan, which I think I prefer.
25th April, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom

Gucci Première by Gucci

Review of the Eau de Parfum:

Asomewhat attenuated bergamot with a fruity undertone gives way to a white flowery impression, which develop into the central accord of this composition's heart notes.

Later on the fruitiness morphs into a white musk component, an in the base this impression lingers towards the end.

I get moderate sillage, limited projection, and three hours of longevity on my skin.

Looking and this sping scent, the opening notes are quite clear, but very, very generic. The later stages are very synthetic too, equally generic and, additionally, quite bland and weak on my skin, never developing fully to an extent that results in a convincing or even a mediocre overall impression. 1.75/5.
25th April, 2017

Hermèssence Ambre Narguilé by Hermès

Very nice apple pie scent. it is great for fall and the colder months. It is inspired by hookah smoke, and when you get the mindset to smell the hookah then you really can appreciate the artistic touch behind this scent. JCE is a living legend and some will only realize this years from now. I was between this and buying Poivre in Paris. The ladies at Hermes kept telling me how "sexy" it smells on a man so I decided to get it, to be the ultimate reminder of my trip to Paris!
25th April, 2017

Established Cognac 66 by Krigler

Made in 1966 (I'm sure....) I think the history of Krigler is made up. However, this does not take away from the utter brilliance of their fragrances. The marketing ploy can be backed up by the extremely original, high quality fragrances that the house offers. It makes one wonder why there has to be all of this "history" with the fragrances when they can hold their own without it.

Anyway, a blast of banana bread. This starts drying down into a banana ridden oak barrel stuffed with cinnamon. Boozy and very intriguing. Original and high quality. Supposedly made in 1966 inspired by 60s London, which is totally fitting because it smells like an old Bond movie. Smokey, boozy, and mysterious. Great scent.

If i'm completely off base with my thoughts of the history, please let me know and tell me any proof you have of the company being older than the mid 2000s. I've told myself if I find any proof of the history I will buy a bottle of America One 31 solely for the historical aspect and my love for New York.
25th April, 2017

Mary Celestia by Lili Bermuda

Bottles 1039 and 1082.

If you missed out on this then you're out of time. Limited to 1864 units to commemorate the year of the ship sinking, it has sold out.

Blast of grapefruit drying down into a rosewood heavy, very pleasant fragrance. Very neutral, very inoffensive. Lasts surprisingly long for how light the fragrance seems. Bottle comes in a Bermuda cedar box. The bottle itself is adorned with a replica of the commemorative coin that circulated Bermuda.
25th April, 2017

Coney Island by Bond No. 9

One of the most unique scents in the Bond line. Starts with a lime "margarita" then it develops into the reason I bought it, the caramel, chocolate, salty scent that has a smell that you can truly taste. The salty smell also gives off a feeling of being at the beach where the salt just lingers out of the ocean into the air. Real neat stuff. I don't like the first 30 minutes or so on me, but when it calms it's really nice.

If you're lucky enough to catch the guava notes then you will be truly blown away by this one.
25th April, 2017