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Private Collection - Un Crime Exotique by Parfumerie Generale

The spice cabinet has been neglected in perfumery. I imagine this has to do with perfume producers not wanting to be pinned down by the literal, the prosaic, the kitchen. From the consumer perspective, I don’t know if there is much of a market for culinary spice perfumery, but the need is probably met by aromatherapeutic products. I know that there are others spicy/bakery/culinary perfumes: Tauer’s Eau d’Epices, Lutens Five O’Clock au Gingembre, l’Artisan’s Tea for Two, but I’ve never tried them.

I do see a train of thought that goes from Estée Lauder Cinnabar/Dior Opium to Serge Lutens Arabie to Un Crime Exotique, though. For each of these, the spice is in the syrup. A syrupy quality in perfume usually implies an overt sweetness. Generally, in terms of nose feel, syrup = sweetness + viscosity + flavor. The flavor might be vanilla, maple, cinnamon, cardammom. The ‘flavor’ is the spice. Crime Exotique skips the implied syrup (Cinnabar) and the overt syrup (Arabie) and takes the spice in a different direction. The touch of syrup that Crime Exotique gives you is firmly grounded in clove, one of the few cold spices. The chilly blast of clove in the topnotes of the perfume surround you at first but subside by about 80% fairly quickly. The syrup goes the way of the clove hurricane, and Crime is soon revealed as a woody perfume. When not drowned in sweetness, spices like clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, even ginger are shown to be characteristically woody in scent.

Un Crime Exotique takes the wood and runs with it. What appeared to be syrup is actually more of a resinous quality that the perfume builds on to make a rich woody floral. The perfume settles into a cool vanillic range that maintains the drying, antiseptic character of the clove, but links it to a floral quality. Parfumerie Generale list osmanthus among the notes.

Un Crime Exotique flirts with the gift-shop candle vibe, but is just nuanced enough to escape. The opening notes of the perfume are a refrigerated blast where clove overpowers virtually all the other notes. The heart is evenly balanced, and the spicy, woody and floral notes move around one another respectfully. The drydown gets a bit grey, non-descript. It smells like a muffled version of Lutens Un Bois Vanille’s cool, woody vanilla. A little blurred, but not bad at all.

from scenthurdle.com
21st July, 2017

Don't Get Me Wrong Baby, I Don't Swallow by Etat Libre d'Orange

Well, flowers! jasmine! lily of the valley! nice orange flower tinge, not over sweet or rather floral rather than cloying sweet, just a bunch of polleny summery exhuberance!

It's really jasminey to me but sweet and clean rather than sultry. The LOTV is also there in force. The 'concept' seems to be some laboured notion that it's a wedding 'put a ring on it if you want to hit it' tale - sometimes I wonder if whoever is behind this nonsense at ELDO (the copywriting, not the perfumes which are often really good) realises that much of their stuff is quite male chauvinist - or is it all too post-modern for criticism?

Anyway, the scent sings of summer, and there's almost a (suntan) lotion thing going on there as well as the bouquet. It's very sniffable, and I'm interested to see how this turns out.

Just went off and read a few reviews and the blurb - I really do not get the comparisons to Diorissimo, unless things in Dior land have changed dramatically since I last got a bottle of Diorissimo. DGMWB is very floral and doesn't have the lovely greenness of Diorissimo at all.

A few hours later and it's a close to the skin fizzy floral with a vanilla/choc/coffee sweetness in the background.
20th July, 2017

Sarrasins by Serge Lutens

Stardate 20170720:

To me this is a best Jasmine fragrance. A jasmine soliflore.

I like jasmine smell but it comes at a cost- fecal indoles. Therefore a jasmine heavy fragrance is generally a pass for me.

The beauty of Sarrasins is that it captures the jasmine and leaves out most of the fecal bits.

And the jasmine is strong.

Borrowing from what jujy54 and purecaramel wrote - Post-coital heavenly bliss in a bed of jasmine flowers


20th July, 2017
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Replica Promenade In the Gardens by Martin Margiela

My sample was far too small and gone too soon. I can write, that I enjoyed this one. I could detect everything but the vetiver. If I ever get another sample I shall "live" with it more, get to know it better. What I did smell of this, it was a medium-weight chypre-style, floral woody concoction full of diffused light. Like a huge, leafy garden in late afternoon. Blooms dangling above me, with a summer heat forcing their scent downward.
20th July, 2017

Boss Nuit pour Femme by Hugo Boss

It's wearable. Not much more. It is a boring, mostly peach scent. The aldehydes are barely there. It falls flat in aroma and longevity. The white flowers are barely noticeable upon drying. Not very creative.

What is it with peach? Do perfumers say, "Hey! Peach is a cheap ingredient. We'll use that!". It seems to be prominent in most designer fragrances these days. Maybe that is the reason I am veering away from designer offerings and am exploring more niche...
20th July, 2017
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Ormonde by Floris

This opening is traditional: jasmine - dominating the first minutes, and complemented by a somewhat bland rose, but soon overshadowed by the grand star of this performance - and what a performance - the oak moss. Natural, intensive, rich but crisp, full but on the harsh side, although the the harshnessIs never as grating as, for instance, in the great Gucci Nobile - Ormonde is a bit less in your face, but only a bit.

In the drydown there are variations in the development: a great and convincing fern impression Is added - how much more chypre can a scent get? The mossy mixture then takes on a transiently greener turn, with a grassy character.

The base develops a pleasant musky undertone, but until the end the oakmoss is dominantly in the foreground, fading out very slowly.

The performance is thundering: strong sillage, excellent projection and a tremendous, astronomical longevity of seventeen hours on my skin! Unbelievable.

This is a wonderful classic fougère that is made for spring, with less emphasis on the floral side but nonetheless well balanced. The oak moss is of amazing quality, one of the best I have come across for a long time. A masterpiece form Floris. 4/5
20th July, 2017

MEM by Bogue Profumo

MEM covers a lot of ground and it covers it quickly. When first sprayed it moves too fast for precise description and feels more like slam poetry than anything olfactory. It’s a 'Tomato-Jasmine Waxed-Sultry-Jam Malted Milk-Tuned Rubber Gasoline-Flame, Drop-The-Mic-And-Howl' sort of perfume. It’s a rush.

MEM is Antonio Gardoni’s discourse on lavender and it is packed with lavender. Lavender is never hidden, but you might give a double-take on recognizing it. MEM combines identifiable clues and completely new shapes and never settles for one definition of lavender. It knocks lavender from its comfortable perch in the pantheon of perfume materials and makes it sing for its supper. Working with a material like lavender has two specific risks. The first is that it is one of the most well-known material in fragrance and is consequently predictable. Trying to make it say anything new is difficult. The second is that changing the rules will always threaten a percentage of people. Dismantling an olfactory ‘baseline’ is like pulling out the rug. MEM might very well find a good portion of its audience in a state of distress or disorientation.

MEM is also something new for Gardoni. His previous perfumes for Bogue were an out-and-out interrogation of 20th century perfumery. (*) MEM doesn’t look to the past as these other perfumes did. It does however share their sense of provocation. These perfumes were conceptual and they were daring. Their success was made more meaningful in large part because they risked failure so unwaveringly. MEM’s risk of failure is just as great. The challenge is not just how to make a novel lavender perfume, it’s how to win people over to ‘The New Lavender.’ Anyone remember New Coke?

As an olfactory object, lavender is weighted down by associations. It’s floral, herbal, medicinal, antiseptic. It’s grand-dad’s aftershave, it’s the grocery store wipes, it’s the pastry from the bakery. It’s everywhere. Gardoni confronts lavender’s dual tragic flaw: familiarity and predictability. Rather than try to ‘reinvent’ lavender per se, Gardoni’s trick is to make it unexpected.

A set of almost tropical floral tones steers clear of typical depictions and frees lavender from associations with aromatherapy, cleaning products and the barbershop. The perfume sidesteps the top-heart-base pyramid without settling for a linear model and the progression of the perfume has a deceptively wandering feel. An expressive collection of woods braces the perfume and a pack of animalic notes come and go as if prowling through the perfume. MEM meticulously avoids lavender’s clichés and none of the old chestnuts (leafy greens, sudsy soap, chilly mothballs, shaving cream) find their way into the mix. By peeling away lavender’s expected characteristics and altering its momentum, Gardoni renders it abstract and bends it to his purposes.

At times the perfume seems to create a broad olfactory milieu and has a striding, environmental scale. But even when it’s impressionistic (sap, soil, metal and sunlight—-oh, an afternoon working in a garden) it’s remarkably specific. The accords pass by steadily, giving the feeling of being taken on a guided tour of the objects in an imagined olfactory Cornell Box. A waxed grapefruit. Carmelized tomatoes. Flowers, champagne, cats and brackish water. A bizarre collection of images? Sure, but also elegant and logical. 

The success of the perfume hangs on building new chains of association—-constructing a new lavender. I don’t get the impression that Gardoni is making an emotional appeal or trying to woo you. Rather, what he gives the audience is a richness, and more important, a clarity of ideas to play with as they care to. Whether or not the odd olfactory images—- coconut woods, grape-soda white flowers, doggedness, clay-rich soil, rubber citrus bark, dappled markings, orange jam, flat beer, leather-soled shoes—-speak to you or not, they have a precision that lets you string together the pieces to suit your own inclinations. I feel like I’ve been handed an extraordinary coloring-book and some crayons in gorgeous hues that I’ve never seen before. There’s no need to worry too much about creating an image—-the lines are drawn. I’m just having a blast discovering these new colors.

The coloring-book analogy might sound ridiculous, but I’ve found a playful mindset is an effective line of approach to MEM. For all the specificity of the perfume, I’m reminded how scrupulously Gardoni avoided getting caught in a single definition of lavender. Lavender enters this discussion as possibly the most overdetermined note in perfumery and Gardoni’s role was to free it. There is an appealing modesty to the way Gardoni helps you find your own lavender rather than convince you of his.

from scenthurdle.com
20th July, 2017

Feu Secret by Bruno Fazzolari

Feu Secret is an exploration of orris, a tricky material to describe in notes. Combined with other components in a composition it has an olfactory range of that lands it squarely in the woody-floral category. Of course orris butter can also make a perfume powdery, metallic, papery, chocolatey or yeasty depending on the angle of approach so to speak. It fixes fragrant materials so that even highly volatile topnotes coast a little bit further into the heart of a perfume.

The woody floral genre has a long history of dowdiness. To most people it is the brown tweed suit of fragrance. Practical, sturdy, steady. Pedigreed but dull. Fazzolari updates the genre and reinvigorates it. He modulates a central iris/violet accord with an astringent cedarwood and an unexpected mix of herbs and aromatics. I struggle to identify the specific aromatic materials, but I recognize their properties. Warm, chilly, piquant, bitter. The hot and cold aromatics temper the orris. They divert the iris note from its anticipated trajectory and allow Feu Secret to break from the tradition of staid woody florals.

The topnotes lead with a papery, chilled iris. This cool characterization of iris is recognizable, but Feu Secret doesn't follow a predictable course. Chanel 19’s acetone, Iris Silver Mist’s frozen carrot and Masque Milano l’Attesa’s cardboard all lean in this direction. Fazzolari’s twist is to play up the common ground of iris and violet notes, painting a spectrum from platinum violet leaf through cyanotic grey iris root to a pale mauve violet flower. In the heartnotes the frost thaws and releases a sweaty note reminiscent of both skin and dough. It’s a transitional olfactory image, but one that gives Feu Secret an intimate feel. By drydown the pairing of orris and cedar create a warm unctuousness similar to creamy sandalwood.

Secret Fire is a term borrowed from alchemy, an ancient practice that summons images of wizards feverishly trying to turn base materials into gold. But alchemy was in fact an organized system that attempted to reconcile the physical world and the unseen forces that acted on it. Think of it as chemistry with a dash of physics and a huge helping of magical thinking. Secret Fire was the much coveted ability of alchemists to harness a material's hidden animating properties and transform it to their will. Alchemists famously chased a ‘universal solvent’ called Azoth that divided materials into their fundamental elements and allowed them to be manipulated by alchemists who possessed the Secret Fire.

Fazzolari’s universal solvent is orris butter. He uses it to reveal fundamental properties and break down the other materials into the classical elements of alchemy. Turmeric ignites and becomes fire. Eucalyptus is a cool plunge into water. Pink Pepper takes flight and dissolves into air while cedar’s roots clutch the soil and become earth. Fazzolari tames the elements and creates a perfume of measured contrasts. His perfumes have a thoughtful, deliberate quality, but Feu Secret gives a glimpse further. In the 21st century artists are the closest thing we have to alchemists and their secret fire is their ability to transform us with their work.

from scenthurdle.com
20th July, 2017

Mon Guerlain by Guerlain

So, what is the recipe for a big-budget, got-to-be-successful, no-room-for-error, if-you-build-it-they-will-come perfume? To judge by Guerlain’s approach: Mix equal parts imitation, predictability and risk aversion in a large bowl. Bake in a lukewarm focus-group until stale. Sprinkle with olfactory least common denominators. Serve in a bottle replete with historical Awethenticity™. Buon appetito.

Am I cynical? Clearly, but I can’t hold a candle to Guerlain.

With Mon Guerlain Thierry Wasser proves he isn’t so much the successor to Jean-Paul Guerlain as he is the heir to Jacques Guerlain. Jacques was known for nicking someone else’s ideas (namely, François Coty’s) and making them better. Wasser attempts a Jacques Guerlain with two perfumes: Lancome’s end-of -the-world-as-we-know-it lollipop, La Vie Est Belle, and Mugler’s iconic poison-apple, Angel. The drag is that Mon Guerlain drowns in the syrup of the former but forgets the atonal war-cry of the latter. Angling between these two perfumes Guerlain casts its net as wide as possible, hoping for a hit that would break all box-office records.

The complication is that Guerlain looks to two perfumes that, though they both got a whole lotta ethylmaltol going on, are diametrically opposed. Angel might have launched two decades of straight-faced gourmand perfumes but it did so inadvertently. It was anything but straight. Angel’s cotton-candy is counterbalanced by an enormous inedible chemo-floral note and an earthy patchouli. It smells sweet, but it’s pure venom. La Vie Est Belle has no nuance, no subtext. It’s pure candy. Wasser’s Mon Guerlain looks for an easy reconciliation of the two perfumes because they are both overdosed with ethylmaltol. He misses the point that Angel, twenty five years later, is still a motherfucking monster. La Vie Est Belle on the other hand is the most vanillla of Disney fairy princesses.

Wasser uses lavender to twist Mon Guerlain into a taffy fougère. Pouring it into a version of the brand’s historical quadrilobe bottle is an attempt to draw a connection to Guerlain’s classic, sweet fougère Jicky, but don’t believe the hype. Despite the deception a list of notes provides, Mon Guerlain has no relationship to Jicky.

from scenthurdle.com
20th July, 2017

Cinnabar by Estée Lauder

Spicy, resinous amber perfumes are a feel-good genre in perfumery. The individual components (vanilla, benzoin, labdanum…) are like prefab bases and can single-handedly provide the blueprint for an Oriental perfume. The risk is the kitchen-sink syndrome.

Cinnabar's topnotes juxtapose a bright, aldehyde/bergamot accord against a boozy amber mix, a trick learned from Youth Dew. The segue from citrus to sweet brings out the matte, rubbery side of amber, but it doesn't jibe well with the vanillic undercurrent and the custard doesn't quite settle. Despite aldehydic jazz hands the topnotes don't have nearly enough torque to dig the spices out of the trenches. Little light escapes the cinnamon/clove event horizon and wearing Cinnabar gives me olfactory claustrophobia. It's a quick journey from the topnotes to the perfume’s next and only other phase, drydown, which lasts from the 30 minute mark until about 24 hours later. Cinnabar does grow less dense as the half-lives pass but it never becomes any less opaque.

Cinnabar might have cribbed some tricks from Auntie Youth Dew, but it should have studied history more closely. The pairing of citrus/aromatics and balsams was the compositional coup of the 1920s. Shalimar and Habanita steered the pairing toward leather and Nuit de Noel and Bois des Isles went the cozy fur-coat route but they all share a similar design concept.

The perfumes of the 1970s and the 1920s had a lot in common. Aldeyhydic florals were chic as hell and bitter chypres were all the rage, but the voluptuous orientals were the shit. Cinnabar and its exact contemporaries Yves Saint Laurent Opium and Lancome Magie Noire reinvented animalsim via spice and opened the door to a new style of oriental perfume that Chanel put on the map with Coco, Bois Noir and Egoiste.

The identity of the perfumer of Cinnabar is not 100% certain, but rumor has it that it was Bernard Chant. For the life of me I can't imagine that the perfumer of Cabochard and Aromatics Elixir didn't know how to square the bergamot/amber circle. If he is in fact Cinnabar's author, I have to imagine that the fault lies in reformulation. Chant was just too good to be credited with the murky version of the perfume available today.

The proof will be in the pudding. I've just found an unopened bottle of the original Cinnabar ("Soft Youth Dew") on ebay and it's en route. It'll go head-to-head with a pristine bottle of YSL Opium that I recently found. More to follow.

from scenthurdle.com
20th July, 2017

cK one by Calvin Klein

A friend brought up CK One yesterday in a discussion. The Calvin Klein names sound the same to me and it only clicked which CK perfume this was when I remembered the advertising campaign. The teenage faux-grunge advertising. Oy.

I’ll tell you how it is that I’ve never smelled CK One before: target marketing works. In 1994 and I was 30, or twice the age of the target audience. I lived in New York and CK One advertising was public. In 1994, before social media, targeting simply wasn’t very precise. Rather than aiming, Calvin Klein flooded. Billboards, television, magazines and newspapers, subway posters. I had to swerve to avoid it. If CK One launched today I’d simply never see it. It just wouldn’t show up in any of my feeds.

CK One was intended for a young audience, but the images were in everyone’s face, so a sort of self-recusal took place on-by-one. The perfume appealed to you or not, depending largely on whether the story being created included you. Imagery that read as cool/aspirational to the 21 year old who found the ads exciting didn’t appeal to me. Thin, world-weary teens playing Peter Pan meets Lord of the Flies? It screamed significance in fashion patois, but the post-grunge styling was years late and a shoddy attempt to cop a style from a subculture. The CK One campaign started a few months after Kurt Cobain killed himself. The notion of Calvin Klein trying to catch some momentum from grunge at this particular time was repugnant.

So I opted out. I was obliged to continue to see the images—I mean, I rode the subways—but that was the end of my participation. The contempt wore off after about a week. Then I just navigated the images until the next thing came along and replaced them—a classic New York experience of my time.

I remember a couple of details about the perfume. It was ‘unisex.’ I was surprised that they made a big deal of it—was unisex that novel an idea? Also, the fragrance was supposed to be contemporary and clean. SO contemporary and SO clean that it was somehow beyond scent.

So I tried CK One ‘cold’ yesterday for the first time. I’ve never read about the perfume itself. I have a bottle of CK One and some 25 year old recollections of the launch.

CK One smells like it was intended to convey hygiene yet go unnoticed. It’s there, but it claims not to intrude into your consciousness. There’s been years of discussion about the contradiction and denial involved in fragrances trying to smell like nothing, so I’m sure applying the notion to CK One is nothing new. But CK One smells like a very specific nothing. It’s conceptual: a ‘clean’ fragrance + a masking fragrance = an impulse of purity. It allows you to feel invigorated without the invasiveness and effort of having to exhibit a clean scent. From the angle of 2017, hygienic fragrances seem very ’90s-specific, but for all I know, CK One invented the approach.

Of course the premise that two opposing olfactory forces will nullify each other doesn’t actually work on a practical level. Instead, you’re left with the remnants of a scent, like dry-cleaning chemicals that cling to your clothing. The perfume ends up locked in a cycle of constantly trying to invalidate itself. It might have been intended to be uncomplicated and undemanding, but it’s no surprise that it smells like effort and tension. (Cute bottle, though.)

It also smells like diet soda and Febreze, which wouldn’t exist for another another 4 years. I give CK One enormous credit for its methodically synthetic tone. It comes across as calculated and legible. I had never smelled it before yesterday, and yet it instantly smelled like an era. If CK One’s goal was to create a new style of fragrance, my experience points out how successful it was.

from scenthurdle.com
20th July, 2017

En Passant by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

En Passant is a consummate spring scent. It balances a cool, aquatic heart with soil-like accents to recreate the tension at the center of lilac—the crispness that doesn’t quite disguise an oily nature. I’ve seen En Passant described as muted and pastel, euphemisms for vague, washed-out fragrances, but there’s too much shadow and undertow in En Passant for it to be considered bloodless. Giacobetti might play with simplicity but she doesn’t settle for it and she doesn’t spare the cream in the recipe. The perfume is padded precisely where it needs to be. En Passant’s semblance of simplicity is a red herring, though. It might come off as spare but it conceals a sophisticated approach and becomes more detailed the closer you look.

A lot has been made of the perfume’s cucumber and wheat notes, how they modulate the central floral accord and keep it from becoming too sweet, too simple. It’s true that the accord is unexpected. And it’s remarkably effective in creating the detail that lets the perfume simultaneously portray a single flower and an entire season. But embedded in the accord like drop of ink in paper is a waxy/nutty, almost tactile facet. It widens the central floral sketch and gives the perfume’s trail weight and momentum.

Depending on whom you talk with En Passant is either an essay on rain, a sort of modern descendant of Après l’Ondée, or a lilac soliflor. Impressionism or representation. Visual art terms only have ballpark accuracy when applied to perfume.

Representation is tricky and the assumption that recreating ‘nature’ is perfume’s highest modality is still widespread. Giacobetti, like Roudnitska before her, challenged the premise. His answer to the question of how perfume relates to nature was to compose a detailed muguet soliflor still life. From her fig perfumes for Diptyque and l’Artisan Parfumeur to her carrots, irises and roses Giacobetti offers a succession of solutions to Roudnitska’s question, as if to imply that there are at least as many explanations as there are subjects. With En Passant, she creates a faithful lilac soliflor at the same time that she offers a more upbeat vision of a rainy day than Jacques Guerlain’s. It’s a fantastic accomplishment for a seemingly simple lilac soliflor.

from scenthurdle.com
20th July, 2017

Je Suis Un Homme by Etat Libre d'Orange

Je Suis un Homme is a bigarade type cologne with lots of clove on opening. I know very little about classic men's perfumes and can't comment on what it resembles. However, the clove makes the first stage more interesting and deeper than a simple citrus burst.

After a few minutes it's nice and spicy but still cooling - it doesn't go cloying like some of the more fougère types.

Later, it gets a bit spicier with some cinnamon or ginger added to the clove, and a bit of the fougère woodiness that can sometimes go headachey on me but ok so far.
20th July, 2017
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Antihéros by Etat Libre d'Orange

Antihéros starts out with a sweetish lavender and a hint of nail varnish remover which thankfully dissipates quickly. The lavender deepens quickly. I like lavender as a smell but never associate it with perfume. I was thinking Antihéros was a bit pale, and took a sniff of some lavender bubble bath that's hanging around the bathroom. The ELDO is much stronger and clearer. Maybe my mind's smellograph for lavender is of the plant itself, dried sprigs of lavender, or lavender oil. In any case, I guess Antihéros is actually plenty strong for a perfume/cologne, as it develops. In fact, it is very simple and quite soapy. In view of the company's self-promotion as iconoclasts, I keep waiting for something crazy to happen, but so far it's linear lavender..
20th July, 2017

Cristalle Eau de Toilette by Chanel

This was and is one of my favourites. I love the almost harsh opening blast, and the citrus, and the oakmoss (maybe nowadays sense memory is playing a part in my enjoyment!). I've loved this for a long long time - it is diamond bright and sharp and clear. There is no gummy sweet musk messing up the drydown so it's a brief pleasure. But the first hour is such a joy that I happily respray. In fact, I dream of facial wipes scented with this - it's almost a scented hanky or smelling salts experience rather than a skin scent. I adore the almost repulsively sharp green icy (and probably very prosaic alcohol) rush which wakes me up and makes me aware that there is elegance in the world. Cristalle, to me. is not a natural object but rather a perfect manmade thing, in the way a cut diamond is a manmade creation of the uncut mineral.
20th July, 2017

Resina by Oliver & Co.

Resina is a lovely mix of (duh!) resins, and is woody and spicy, but it really scores for me because it has a buoyancy lifting it out of more fougère territory. This seems to be thanks to the anis running through it and also to a spicy lift early in its development. This gives the same type of lift as clove but doesn't smell like clove - it must be the mace mentioned in the usual Oliver & Co massive list of notes. I can't remember what mace smells like but remember it as one of the 'Christmas' type spices.

After a bit of internet research, it turns out that mace comes from this weird outer coating on nutmeg, and is lighter and sweeter - this is exactly the feeling I get in Resina - something light lifting the balsamy resins. I haven't seen mace as a note often - maybe due to possible confusion with Mace spray (which the internet tells me is unrelated to the spice - Mace is the brand name). So, as happens with that toothpaste quality to Méchant Loup, Resina is a rich spicy scent which can also be worn in warm weather. It also scores in that it doesn't become overpowering or headachey at all.
20th July, 2017

Séville à l'Aube by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Séville à l'Aube is sweet orange and incense with a nice tarry edge along with some honey. I like it but can sometimes find it a little cloying. It doesn't really make me think of Seville or even Spain, but it is one of the few perfumes that I think only works at night, and outside on a summer's night if possible. In this warm night-scented floral incense vibe, it has a midnight in an exotic garden feeling, but for me it isn't muscular enough to evoke Spain. But then again, there is a certain honeyed orangey tobacco tinged feeling to the drydown that may indeed be Seville.
20th July, 2017

LouLou by Cacharel

LouLou is a lot of fun - very sweet, with loads of oriental spice and something fruity, and tonnes of vanilla. It has a sense of something like a berry flavoured spicy sweet - maybe some sort of nougat or even tea.

It's not really me but I'm happy for it to be me for a day or two! There's nothing not to love about it - and this is wearing it on a very hot and sweaty day - it has a lightness and joie de vivre that stops it being overpowering even in these conditions!
20th July, 2017

L'Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer

I have never regarded L'Air du Desert Marocain as a winter scent, despite its spicy resinous nature. There is something fresh and airy about it. In fact, it does the vast internal space trick better than Timbuktu in my opinion. Yes, it's a spicy (almost foodie), incensy, rosy, woody powerhouse, but it's definitely not a warm winter smell for me. This may be because I've spent some time East of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and the smell is associated with warm sunny weather and clear night skies in my head.

This brings to mind the smell of cedar and cloves and cooking and roses, even if they're not all in there. Oddly enough, when I used to go to Morocco quite a bit, I never thought of actually wearing any of these spicy oriental smells - my weapon of choice while there was always something sharp and fresh and not so feminine - Cristalle for example. I guess I still feel the notes in L'Air du Desert Marocain as an atmosphere or surrounding rather than a perfume, but it's a cloud I'm often blissed out to be walking around in.

Sometimes, I find spicy incense scents have a damp or dank rough edge to them, which may also contribute to my feeling that they are not winter scents. This isn't really present here in L'Air du Desert Marocain, which is beautifully dry, but the coolness is - there's a lovely vetiver streak running through it without a hint of cloying sweetness. That's actually the trick of L'Air du Desert Marocain for me - it's not at all cloying.

And the best part is - it's available in 15ml bottles as part of Andy Tauer's Explorer set of 3 15ml sizes.
20th July, 2017

Jean Marie Farina by Roger & Gallet

Hot hot day - cologne cologne cologne!

This is great to reapply throughout the day to get a bit of freshness, it's a classic cologne which is quite herbal (rosemary) on top of the bergamot citrus opening. It's not overly sweet and has a nice 'catch' or bite from the herbs.
20th July, 2017

Il Libro Degli Agrumi : Verde d'Arancia by Monotheme

Oranges, oranges, oranges.

Wishing I'd put this in the fridge before I put it on. Anyway, it's definitely not going to last long so I'll put it in there now for later refreshment. It's a gorgeous day here and I wanted something uncomplicated and summery, so I got this out. The only note info I've seen is orange peel, but there's more in there - maybe a hint of vetiver and something woody? It really is orangey - both zesty and sweet and has a lovely juicy depth almost like those very very orangey ice lollies from my youth.

It's simple and undemanding and perfect for a slopping around sunny Sunday!
20th July, 2017

L'Ete en Douce / Extrait de Songes by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I've always liked linden blossom in perfumes, and this is a nice summery light floral with grassy notes and a little citrus hint from a dollop of orange blossom, except for an odd impression I get from it and from L'Eau de l'Artisan.

It seems like a chemical sweet smell that reminds me of rubbers (erasers) we had as children. There were two types - the standard almost grainy ones, and these snazzier coloured ones which were almost like a very stiff gel and had this smell which was sweet but somehow plasticky - I spent a lot of time smelling these and being tempted to eat them - they weren't the fruit ones that were supposed to smell like fruit, they just had this odd sweet smell. I've also gotten the same whiff from a deodorant I had at one stage. It's as if the various component notes produce this overall effect alongside the perfume. It does smell like a linden blossom or even like lilac but somewhat hyperreal. I read a review of this once that mentioned the smell of biro ink and it was dead on. Also ClaireV's review mentions gripe water, which has that wierd sweet smell too. So I'm not able to escape this effect and actually appreciate the perfume.
20th July, 2017

Delicious Closet Queen by Etat Libre d'Orange

This opens very sweet with a wave of raspberry violet and a little leather, but has something of a watered down feeling -- like a toy perfume for kids. But it quickly gets spicier. It has good staying power, and remains interesting - the sweet leathery spicy thing is nothing earth shattering but the odd candy note keeps it somehow in tension between a fruity floral and something almost Christmassy. I like it very much but for sporadic wearings.

Of course, it's discontinued.
20th July, 2017

Cavalli by Roberto Cavalli

I was given a gift set of this years ago - looked at bottle (which is so over the top in tackiness by any standards that it may in fact be some sort of ironic too cool for school joke) and shivered. I might never have opened it but curiosity got the better of me. After a couple of wears, I found myself going back to it again and again, drained the bottle and invested in another.

Lesson learned - don't look askance at pink snakeskin printed bottles with plastic snake coiled around the spray end! I've never quite decided if the snake is to keep the little round sprayer in place and then taken off to use the perfume, or if its head should be pressed down to spray.

It's very peppery and quite sweet and fruity floral on opening, with red apple mentioned in the notes, although I get a sort of sweet raspberry very light leather hit off it for some reason. It's more amber and spicy later.

It's very uplifting with all the pepper, and quite light at the same time. I wouldn't say it's a masterpiece, but it's very loveable in its way, and I like it!
19th July, 2017 (last edited: 20th July, 2017)

Passage d'Enfer by L'Artisan Parfumeur

It's a bit odd - sometimes it seems like a floral with some incense , others it's all incense and woods, and others it's like a little sister to Dzongkha - with that incense/wood mixed with a creamy almost meaty smell.

I never particularly like the opening notes, but when it settles I get wafts during the day of something intriguing and complex, which makes me pause.
19th July, 2017

Pierre Hermé : Pamplemousse Rhubarbe by L'Occitane

I got this in a L'Occitane shop a couple of years ago to stop myself buying Aedes de Venustas, as I already had a grapefruit I liked (Pamplelune). I was flirting with the rhubarb thing around then. This was designed in collaboration with a pastry chef I think, and it reminds me of a rhubarb and lemon tart my dad makes from a French recipe. So it's a bit foodie! It's not overly sharp on opening, and manages to evoke sweet grapefruit of all things!

It's a bit sweet for me, but it does the job on a warm day, and it's definitely fruity - but in a patisserie way rather than fruity floral. I quite like, but don't love, it.
19th July, 2017

Fat Electrician by Etat Libre d'Orange

This one is a love of mine, but I think of it more as a cool weather scent despite the vetiver. The sweet gourmandish chestnut paste note makes it quite cuddly, which forms a lovely push-pull with the almost sweaty vetiver. It's great today on a cloudy but warm day. I bought this in preference to Sycomore a couple of years ago and don't regret it. It's a bit more chunky and edgy and has a grounding effect on me.

Late evening and still loving Fat Electrician - it's a vetiver vanilla now that wafts up from time to time - very pleasant and the slight sourness of the vetiver keeps it interesting to the end.
19th July, 2017

Eau des Lagons by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

I bought this while on the hunt for something summery. I must have been in severe beach and seaside withdrawal at the time. It opens with lime and something sweet - almost coconutty but bearable - which is high praise for me given my aversion to coconut scents. It's got something floral and woody as well, and paints a smell picture of being on the water rather than on the beach - it has a saltiness too which adds to the marine vibe. The fruity sweetness also gives a tropical vibe but it's not over the top. All in all I quite like it, and it's great for seaside fantasies on miserable November days.
19th July, 2017

Vetiverus by Oliver & Co.

I love vetiver and this is great, if not a total vetiver monster. It is rich but not over sweet, with a lovely spicy resiny tone which it shares with Resina from the same company. There is citrus in the beginning but it is again rich but not sweet - bitter orange with cloves. The vetiver is always there, and weaving in and out, and there is also a dry woodiness.

Very nice indeed!
19th July, 2017

Jungle L'Éléphant by Kenzo

Passing through airport today I liberally applied Jungle (Elephant - well it's the only Jungle now that Tigre has been discontinued - I've never tried that one). The spicy (but so unlike other spicy perfumes!) opening and middle kept me cheerful through the ever more tedious security checks and waiting around to board. On the 7 hour flight, I very much enjoyed its spicy (clove, cumin, caraway) and aniseed envelope insulating me from the world. I may have oversprayed a bit, but the woman beside me was having her own little affair with Jameson so I don't think I bothered anyone!

It's still going strong 12 hours later waiting for a connection, the spice is still there over some amber-patchouli when snifffed up close.

I really should get a bottle of this, but I think my fondness for it is magnified by our sporadic encounters in airport duty free shops... It's a fantastic brief encounter but I don't know about everyday wear.
19th July, 2017
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