Fragrance Reviews from September 2005

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    Mûre et Musc by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Mure et Musc is a great summer fragrance. It’s a blend of mostly citrus and blackberry. It’s very tart, but the citrus does a good job of sweetening it up quite a bit. It doesn’t last terribly long, so I opted to get the Extreme version, which also has less citrus. Mure et Musc is a very fun fragrance. It could bring a smile to almost any face.

    20th September, 2005

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    Passage d'Enfer by L'Artisan Parfumeur

    Passage d’Enfer is a great incense fragrance. It’s one of the few incense dominant fragrances that isn’t too heavy or oppressive; in fact, this one is incredibly short lived and close to the skin. It smells like slightly damp incense with lingering floral notes. The nature of this incense fragrance makes it a bit more ethereal than most others. I will say that I find this fragrance rather flat and dull. I also find it too short lived to give it a thumbs up; 15+ sprays and its gone within an hour.

    20th September, 2005

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    Rochas Lui by Rochas

    Rochas Lui is a great fall fragrance. It’s a nice woody, almost Oriental fragrance. Some have said it’s like Habit Rouge light, but I don’t really get that. It’s very understated and very well mannered. It’s a great swiss army knife of a fragrance.

    20th September, 2005

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    John Varvatos by John Varvatos

    John Varvatos is a fragrance that really ‘grinds my gears’. I went through the employee training for this fragrance, and I’ve mingled with countless reps for this fragrance, and this fragrance is all marketing. It’s a basic sweet leather fragrance with a fruit accord (They say date). They say this is the first fragrance to use Agarwood, which isn’t true, and I would also like to point out that there is nothing that smells even remotely like agarwood in JV. It’s sweet, and the leather doesn’t really make its presence known, but the entire scent wears pretty close to the skin. Basically, this scent is nothing new or groundbreaking. The packaging is very nice, though. The bottle with the leather band.

    20th September, 2005

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    Cavalli Man by Roberto Cavalli

    This is awful. At first, it smells like orange juice mixed with acid. It’s acerbic to the extreme. It dries down to a formaldehyde and orange juice blend. The only good part of this fragrance is that it lasts for about 1 hour.

    20th September, 2005

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    Eau Torride by Givenchy

    Eau Torride is not the most masculine fragrance on the face of this earth, but it’s a great unisex summer fragrance. It’s a wonderful fruity fragrance that is really much different than most other fruity fragrances on the market. This one smells a lot like peach to me, but don’t see peach listed on the pyramid. It’s relaxing and refreshing. What a combo.

    20th September, 2005

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    Island Kiss by Escada

    This is like wearing Fruit Punch, or Cool Aid. Just being around this makes me feel like I have been covered in a sticky sugary punch. This is just awful, and to add insult to injury, Escada keeps rehashing this every summer with a couple tiny modifications.

    20th September, 2005

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    Ralph Cool by Ralph Lauren

    I got a bottle of this for free, and I am not one to turn down free fragrance. I ended up giving it away. It’s a very boring melony floral fragrance. Nothing unique or interesting about it, and it smells flat and almost cheap. It would be great for a teenage girl.

    20th September, 2005

    Mario-K's avatar

    Poland Poland

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    Jaguar (new) by Jaguar

    Really classy summer scent... Beautiful bottle.

    20th September, 2005

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    Le Roy Soleil Homme by Salvador Dali

    I like this one a lot.. it's very 'juicy' because of the strong synthetic citrus aroma. It's light and comfortable though, very enjoyable to wear in warm weather. Cheerful. Energetic and bright.

    20th September, 2005

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    Ma Griffe by Carven

    This was the lecture that the Baron de Charlus delivered to the Society of Perfumes in Paris on the subject of Carven's Ma Griffe: 'Mesdames and messieurs, this delicate, sensitive scent, thoroughly wearable by gentlemen as well as gentlewomen, how it is redolent with the pure juice of air, sun, grass and flowers! How it can bring calm and hope to a troubled soul! I know for a fact that my poor friend Marcel, when he is feeling especially etiolated and defeated by life, will often retreat to his bed, pull the covers over his head, and spray liberally with the kindly and calming Ma Griffe. After several hours of this marvellous therapy, he emerges with a new spring in his step, a sparkle in his eye, and a positive effervescence in his aura!'

    20th September, 2005

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    Ébène by Pierre Balmain

    An eccentric, unusual fragrance and definitely unique. It puts me in mind of other such quirky scents such as Evyan's The Baron and Caron's Third Man. I'm not suggesting that these three scents smell alike because they don't. It's just that they all share an eccentricity which certainly stops them from being boring. I don't much like the small of Ebene but I admire its unusual blending and composition.

    20th September, 2005

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    Lalique pour Homme Equus by Lalique

    A rather unusual woody fragrance that to my nose has certain affinities to YSL's M7. There is a brooding, ominous quality to both of them. A vaguely medieval setting but lost in the mists of time and legend: Gothic shadows, dark deeds in dark forests, echoes of Grimm's fairy tales, frightened peasants, possibly vampires and death.

    20th September, 2005

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    Or Masculin by Bourjois

    An overlooked gem? A golden brown juice that somehow also has a golden brown smell. Soft, deep, rich and luxurious, it reminds me rather of JHL by Aramis. The ambience: a gentlemen's club with oak panelled walls, deep leather armchairs and rumours of quiet authority.

    20th September, 2005

    Allen-on-Holiday's avatar

    United States United States

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    Gucci pour Homme by Gucci

    I have read all the reviews about it smelling like pencil shavings, and I noticed that, too, but I don't that's a bad thing. This seems like a classy fragrance (or have I been fooled by the name?), although the drydown of musk and vanilla has too much vanilla in it for my taste. Either way, it's spicy and woody, and that's good. I would prefer it without the vanilla, but with cinnamon instead: now THAT would be masculine! --Allen-at-home

    21st September, 2005

    Artisankey's avatar

    United States United States

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    Jil Sander No. 4 by Jil Sander

    Jil Sander No 4 is one of the most unusual fragrances I feel I own. It has such a range of moods and while I don't wear it all the time I've worn it successfully in every season feeling that it's probably best in autumn and winter. It's also lovely on a rainy day when the humidity accentuates the "bloom" of the
    floral heart. I think of it as a very bold, strong fragrance. The EdP and parfum are similar enough with the parfum being richer and closer to the body. Just a few drops is really all you need. I find it romantic and elegant and plenty bewitching.

    I've seen it classed as a Floral Fruity and it does have fruit in the top notes, however, it's not the watery-light fruit of summer-time but the fruit of mulled ciders, red wines, peach cobblers and plumy puddings. As it moves into the heart it gets a bit brighter and begins to show its floralcy. Indeed, it is a riot of flowers with violet, rose, tuberose, jasmine, heliotrope, ylang-ylang, carnation, and orange
    blossom. On me I tend to notice the orange blossom and jasmine, yet the overall effect is more like sitting in a temperate climate garden on a languidly humid evening. The notes are clear with not a hint of muting or powder and they pop out at you like jewel-toned roses against a dark, leafy backdrop. Then, No 4 softens and starts to darken. The moss begins to come out against the sandalwood. It
    gets drier, less flamboyantly floral and the spice of the carnation and pimento begin their exotic dance. Into the finale, the roses, jasmine and other flowers move to the background and settle into the skin, leaving a flowered base for the rest of the elegant dryout.

    You have to be a floral lover to truly appreciate this one. It also doesn't hurt to have a bit of an open mind as this one has been described as "avant-garde." While I'm not sure I'd go that far I feel it pushes the nose a bit and creates a very dramatic entrance.

    Notes I have for it:

    Top Notes: Light rose, geranium, peach, plum, galbanum. Heart Notes: Violets, jasmine, rose,
    tuberose, heliotrope, ylang-ylang, carnation, tarragon, myrrh, pimento. Base Notes: Grey ambergris, moss, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, musk.

    21st September, 2005

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    Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden

    After the magnificent Blue Grass, Green Tea is my favorite Elizabeth Arden scent (though in all fairness, Red Door runs an extremely distant third for me and Sunflowers isn't even a starter, despite the fact that I wore both regularly for years.) This gets props for its deceptive simplicity; it's so fresh and clean that you'd never guess at all the notes it's got packed in there. Yet it's exactly these notes that keep it from being as bitter and blandly washed-out smelling as a used tea bag, as simpler green tea scents sometimes have the tendency to become. The little quirks here of extremely tart rhubarb, sprightly and springy celery seed (just a little, too; no dreaded celery overdosage here), and anise-ish caraway and fennel are all detectable if you really close your eyes and focus on what you're smelling. They also help the scent maintain its body well into the wearing process so that you're not faced with rapid fade-out. This is just sophisticated enough for all-around wear if you're so inclined; it certainly works for low-key occasions but can also be worn for more formal ones.

    21st September, 2005

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    Cinnabar by Estée Lauder

    Sweet Cinnabar - I will always think of this as Opium on training wheels, a gentler take on a heavily spiced oriental and one without Opium's stalking, brooding darkness or intensely binding, almost engulfing base of half a dozen competing resins. In the very early Eighties, when I was still quite the tomboy and just starting to dabble in "grown up" fragrances, I started out by sneaking sprays of my sister's Cinnabar and then, once I had gotten used to it, turned to swiping off my mother's bottle of Opium for a new, more thrilling and dangerous-smelling fix. Cinnabar opens more aggressively than Opium and in a less insidious way; instead of sneaking up on you in the louche way Opium does, the Cinnabar's brighter and friendlier, more upfront with its spiciness. Opium says, "Psst, come here, I've got something to show you" where Cinnabar's all "Hi, I'm a spicy sweet fragrance - nice to meet you!" Note to note, the two fragrances are not that far off from each other at all, but Opium's got a dash more of something here and something there that give it many more directions, like a seductive maze. With Cinnabar, you can pretty much tell where it's going, all the way through the spicy opening to the rich floral heart to the quite soft amber-benzoin based drydown with accents of incense and patchouli. No animalic basenotes here either, which further defines this as a refined lady's version of Opium. So, in short, when in situations that call for restraint, reach for the Cinnabar; save the Opium for when you really want to walk on the wild side.

    21st September, 2005

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    Dream by Gap

    Yikes - fragrances like this are why I have such negative connotations of freesia as a note. Gap Dream, which combines freesia and citrus notes and possibly also a touch of orange blossom, is a loud and unsubtle scent, about as dreamlike as going to sleep next to a construction site. I have no problem with mass market, affordable fragrances - and in fact consider quite a few of those out there to be true gems - but this one is a nightmare and I'm puzzled as to what Iw as thinking when I bought it in the first place, as there are other Gap scents far better than this. There's not any nice or graceful way to state how cheap this smells and how tenaciously it clings. And on top of all that, I have terrible memories of the first time I wore it, on a marathon all night, all day, multiply flight-delayed business trip to Lexington, Kentucky during one broiling Fourth of July weekend. Well, I will say this - the fragrance kept on going long after I did! It took two dry cleanings to remove its essence from my suit. Anyway, if you must have a scent from the Gap, look instead to the chain's new Scent Editions line, as the fragrances in that are a major improvement over this one.

    21st September, 2005

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    Cocktail by Jean Patou

    Created in 1930 by Jean Patou to mimic an apertif, Cocktail is a fruity chypre, smooth yet crisp and topped with a bracing twist of lavendar and a cooling, tonic-like petitgrain. The mellow, relaxed fruitiness is derived from the floral notes and most particularly a honeysuckle note that is uniquely Patou, not too sweet and not too humid. Other notes include hyacinth, jasmine, rose, amber (possibly - depending on which source you consult) and, of course, oakmoss. This is an enjoyable scent to wear, sophisticated in such an easily languid way, like having cocktails at dusk out by the tennis courts before getting all dressed up for a big formal dinner. Not that I myself live that way - but I can certainly pretend when I wear Patou Cocktail! Like all great fragrances, Cocktail indeed has the power to transport, and the delightful splash bottle just heightens the sense of traveling off in your mind to another place, another time.

    21st September, 2005

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    Câline by Jean Patou

    In very much the same family as other spicy-ish, mossy-ish, fresh greens Ma Griffe, Coriandre and Ivoire de Balmain, Caline is a great one to add to your collection if you're a fan of any one or all of those scents. Me, I don't love any of these, and Caline's no exception; the coming together of certain combinations of notes disagrees with me and that's the case here with the meeting of basil AND iris AND moss AND coriander. There's an odd sense of viscousness I get from this and I just don't care for it. That being said, I refuse to give this a negative review because I consider it a classic; just because it doesn't agree with me does not, in this case (or the case of any of its smell-alikes, for that matter) cause me to regard in any lesser way. Call me biased, but Patous, Carons and Guerlains can do no wrong in my eyes! Besides, I've only worn this a few times and think I could grow to at least like it, if not love it, once I got used to its particular nature.

    21st September, 2005

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    Fraîche Passiflore by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    Mango, mango, mango! In all fairness, mango is not even listed as a note in Fraiche Passiflore, but it sure smells like it's in there and very prominently so. I'm guessing it's the result of the seriously syrupy sweet, tropical-tinged passion fruit note (that's what the passiflore stands for - passion fruit in, I take it, French) meeting with a clean-ish musk basenote; the actual mango fruit has always, to me, had a juicy yet clean, ever-so-subtly soapy flavor to it, if that makes sense. The other notes said to be present here - peach, raspberry, tagetes, jasmine, pimento, sandalwood - barely make it onto the radar, making for an extremely simple and linear scent that's all about, yes, mango! It's really nice, infinitely wearable and well suited for something like a great weekend getaway to the Caribbean, South Beach or even your local ocean spot. Simple and easy, totally uncomplicated and slightly addictive once you get in the habit of wearing it.

    21st September, 2005

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    Soie Rouge by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

    As carnation in large doses is often wont to do, the carnation in Soie Rouge just pretty much ends up trampling everything else to dust in this fragrance. You get peach and apricot and carnation and then pineapple and musk and carnation and then more and more carnation with not a lot else left to stand up to it. If you enjoy straight, largely unadulterated carnation, go for it; the fruit notes of Soie Rouge are oddly artificial anyway (odd particularly because MPG generally handles fruit notes so beautifully) so you don't really miss them a whole lot once they're gone. But for my money, Caron Bellodgia is a much more interesting carnation scent, made far more mysterious than carnation ordinarily shows itself to be thansk to a brush with a dark, incense-y accord and a smoothing dose of vanilla. Soie Rouge is perhaps my least favorite MPG though I would not call it a bad fragrance, just rather plain.

    21st September, 2005

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    Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop

    Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. Thank you, Gertrude Stein, for so succinctly describing Perfumer's Workshop Tea Rose, which is just that. A rose. That's it. Straight rose fragrances don't agree with everyone - they can go musty, dusty, sourish, overly florid or warm or all of the above, and Tea Rose can definitely have these tendencies until you get used to them and then just start thinking of them as part of the overall rose experience. This is a very deep scent, ridiculously potent and extremely tenacious; what I enjoy doing most with it is using it as a layering element when I want to change it up a bit with a different, more complex fragrance. Try a touch of Tea Rose on top of a very smoky incense fragrance, an almondy-powdery heliotrope or a very sweet, warm, fruit-and-vanilla blend. Additionally, because of its relative longevity and affordability, Tea Rose holds many scent memory associations for me, especially from my college years. It's happily youthful and hopeful in that regard, a simple scent from - well, a not so simple time, come to think of it, but that's okay. It's still a winner in its humble little way.

    21st September, 2005

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    Puma Woman by Puma

    Puma - love the shoes and this scent, though the scent lacks a certain level of hip downtown sportiness that the shoes and other Puma products have. Basically, Puma Woman is a sheer, very feminine fragrance, one that starts out happily fruit-laden - with peach, melon, quince and blackcurrant - with a twist of mint. This is a nice touch; if you've ever eaten ripe fruits with a little fresh mint leaf mixed in, you'll know how splendid a combination it is. From there the composition gets a tad ordinary as it moves into white peony and bamboo leaves, but never fear, because the drydown is worth the wait. It's a soft, positively sensual blend of white musk and praline with just a little sandalwood. A beautiful skin scent, not unlike one of my newer favorites, Body by Victoria. Actually, Puma Woman's drydown is even more gorgeous than Body's, a touch sweeter and more nutty, albeit not as noticeable or lasting. If you like strong and assertive scents, Puma Woman would likely not be a good candidate for you, but if subtle is what you seek, check this out. It's very underrated and probably something you can wear without smelling it one everyone else, as I virtually never hear anyone talk about it.

    21st September, 2005

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    Sweet Honesty by Avon

    Every girl should have this at one point in their life. It's the perfect fragrance for a young woman who wants to try wearing perfume. It's sweet, powdery, and pleasant. This was my very first perfume way back in 7th grade and I loved the way wearing it made me feel. This would be an EXCELLENT stocking stuffer for a young teenage daughter, niece, granddaughter, etc.

    21st September, 2005

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    Kingdom by Alexander McQueen

    Kingdom is very interesting. One of Kingdoms most distinguishing characteristics is the heavy handed use of Cumin, other than that, I don’t really see where its merits lie. Maybe I am missing something? I find the opening to be a harsh and sour floral accord that dries down to a combination of cumin and sandalwood. Personally, I think Eau de Hermes is a much better cumin based unisex fragrance. The harsh floral opening of Kingdom is really off putting, and I don’t really think the drydown is anything special.

    21st September, 2005

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    Blu pour Homme by Bulgari

    I think Blu is a powdery acidic mess. If they could power sulfuric acid, it would smell exactly like Blu. This fragrance is one of the only fragrances that makes me thirsty and agitated. This is just a very unpleasant fragrance.

    21st September, 2005

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    Bulgari Black by Bulgari

    I love Black! This is a great soft leather fragrance. It’s not at all harsh, or herbal like many leather fragrances on the market. Instead, Black is a soft, rubbery, smoky leather fragrance. The biggest downside to Black is the bottle; there is a defect with the spray mechanism and it’s very common to have it fail completely. I ended up swapping my bottles, because I fell in love with Nostalgia by Santa Maria Novella, which is, imho, slightly similar to and much more interesting than Black.

    21st September, 2005

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    Burberry for Men by Burberry

    This is a pretty basic and, well, rather unoriginal fragrance. London starts with citrus and dries down to a sweet woody base. My biggest issue with London is that everything just kind of blends together into this ‘blah’ kind of fragrance. It smells pretty synthetic, and doesn’t really inspire or evoke any type of response at all. It’s just there.

    21st September, 2005

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