Fragrance Reviews from September 2005

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    Vétyver Haiti by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

    My attendant scarcely knew what to say. "Um, that is certainly from left field! What on earth is it?"
    "Why, it's Vétyver Haiti, and it certainly is different, I'll say that much."

    This vetiver is unlike any I've tried before. It is both soft and creamy, but also somewhat dark, spicy, and earthy. It is quite strong when first applied, but not at all sharp like Route du Vetiver or Vétiver de Puig. There seems to be a maté-like note as well, and it has pretty longevity to boot. A very interesting take on vetyver and certainly worthy of a try.

    Wicozani

    29 September, 2005

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    New York by Parfums de Nicolaï

    What IS that you're wearing, Sir?, my good man asked, continuing with "In the 90 minutes you've been getting ready it has changed character three times!"

    New York is a chameleon scent on my skin. It opens with a large but very short-lived dose of citrus (think YSL PH Haute Concentration for initial impact, though not longevity). This is followed by entry into a surprising powdery phase that begins to subside after 90 minutes, but never disappears entirely. There is cloves and a touch of thyme, cinnamon, black pepper, and pimento in the midnotes, and amber and vetiver in the base. The amber is deftly handled, the scent never getting very sweet on my skin. Overall, it is artfully blended, and with the exception of the citrus opening no other feature stands out besides subtle, discrete harmony. This could be a good thing, or for some people a not so good thing. Definitely try to sample before purchasing.

    Wicozani

    29 September, 2005

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    wicozani
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    parfums*PARFUMS Series 4 Cologne: Vettiveru by Comme des Garçons

    That's a clean, green scent, Sir! Are you wearing your Coriolan again?

    Vettiveru is a very nice vetiver scent. It is quite straightforward, with a clean, soft vetiver note throughout, accompanied initially by what seems like both green olive and soft floral notes. Now five hours later it is still noticeable, and the base remains predominantly vetiver with perhaps some cypress or cedar, and incense. The character of this vetiver scent is strongly "green", as opposed to "brown", and indeed the greenest vetiver scent I've experienced. This will be a good thing for lovers of "green" scents. Overall, an intriguing and arfully prepared vetiver.

    Wicozani

    29 September, 2005

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    Original Vetiver by Creed

    Going old school today, eh Sir, with the old soap-beneath-the-armpits-for-deodorant-trick?, to which I replied "You'd think so, only this is a highly regarded recent frag from our dear old friends at Creed!"

    OV on my skin is a soapy citrus frag with only a modest hint of vetiver. After the first 15-20 minutes the soapiness starts to recede and the vetiver steps forward, only to reverse course after another 20 minutes. The soapiness is intriguing, and on initial application I didn't think it would last very long. However, it acquitted itself very well, as it deepened and hung on nicely with excellent sillage; truly a well-crafted scent. Overall, however, there is not much vetiver. I do not like it as much as my dear Guerlain Vetiver, but any vetiver fan should search this out to try it, based on its depth and sillage alone.

    Wicozani

    29 September, 2005

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    Anna Sui by Anna Sui

    A raspberry-apricot-rose extravaganza that is so very fruity and sweet - a little too sweet for some tastes, perhaps. The fragrance both opens and continues with these notes, initially enlivened with a little bergamot, and create a nearly raspberry jam-like aroma, eventually becoming just ever so slightly powdery thanks to the tonka that sits in the base (along with cedar and sandalwood.) Fans of Rochas Lumiere will instantly connect with this fragrance, though the Anna Sui is actually even more fruity and slightly less "perfumey" than the Rochas. Anyone who wears or likes Cassini by Oleg Cassini will also find Anna Sui to be cut from the same cloth - though somewhat less florally than the Cassini. As for me, I find this fragrance to be just over the border of a bit much; one very discreet spray is much more than enough. I like it, don't love it by any means. Once in a great while it's kind of nice.

    30th September, 2005

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    Sui Dreams by Anna Sui

    Reminds me of what we used to call "orange drink" - a not-really-soda, not-really-fruit- punch thing that fast food restaurants sometimes served in place of orange soda. It was beyond artifical tasting and had a little sharpness to it. Sui Dreams recaptures this in a fragrance - the topnotes of tangerine and orange bitter really stand out and set the pace for this fragrance, which dries down into a softly vanillic, powdery, orangey scent that smells just like - yup, orange drink. Like the beverage, nothing in Sui Dreams smells quite real, as in natural; and in a way that's part of its charm, though the routine wears thin over time. Very much a lightweight scent, nothing incredibly moving or provocative about it. It's fun to throw on now and then but not the kind of fragrance I find myself suddenly dying to apply. It's just sort of - there. Notes are: top - bergamot, tangerine, orange bitter, peach, freesia, peony, rose, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, skin musks.

    30th September, 2005

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    Sui Love by Anna Sui

    Ambiguously fruity-floral is about the only way I can think to describe Sui Love. As with its predecessor, Sui Dreams, every element of this fragrance seems to have been cut with either some water or powder or both, because all of it just seems to be rather hazy. And for all I know, that's what Anna Sui had in mind; it's not a bad thing, just something unfocused and indefinite. I guess it either appeals to you or it doesn't. You certainly won't offend anyone with this fragrance either, it's that gauzy. I like it but never, ever find myself thinking, "Hey, Calchic, why don't you wear some Sui Love today? It's that kind of day." Maybe I'm just not the ideal wearer Anna Sui had in mind, either. Notes: bergamot, passion fruit, osmanthus, pink pepper, jasmine, marigold, rose, water lily, tuberose, orange flower, violet, vanilla, ambrette seed, musk.

    30th September, 2005

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    Eau de Charlotte by Annick Goutal

    Eau de Charlotte is just love in a bottle. In fact, it's a bit like a very sophisticated take on my adolescent fave, Love's Baby Soft, as it's got a somewhat similar powdery, baby-blanket embrace to it. Much more interesting, though, and much more feminine to me. Wearing it always makes me wish I had a few Victorian-pretty, lace-embellished off-white things to pair with it, as it just calls for that mode. At the very least, it requires a cream-colored sweater in some plushy, fuzzy yarn; it's just not appropriate to me to wear Eau de Charlotte with an all-black ensemble or anything too severe. Don't get me wrong; I can't (afford to) and don't "dress to suit" the vast majority of my fragrances! But Eau de Charlotte is so very dusky-sweet and delicate that I do honestly save it for those days when I'm doing the fluffy sweater thing. Fortunately, I do a lot of knitting and can make my own "Eau de Charlotte wear." (Yes, I am a weirdo!)

    30th September, 2005

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    Diorella by Christian Dior

    Diorella is perfectly nice but I just can't help finding it wanting in comparison it to my revered, adored, beloved Cristalle - which is not even a very fair comparison since I find Cristalle to be most perfect in its EDP form, very different from its EDT form as well as from Diorella, which only comes in the EDT. Diorella is actually closer to being a cool, mossy chypre than the warm, tangy, eensy-bit leathery Cristalle I wear. The Dior's got fruity-crisp topnotes and not a lot of florals, and I find as such that it doesn't hold up well on my skin. Staying power can be neglible with Diorella, though your mileage may vary. I can't say I dislike this fragrance or that it's bad in any way; it's just a chipper lemony chypre that I could easily live without, one I'll always relegate to permanent bridesmaid status because I'm just so ridiculously partial to Cristalle EDP.

    30th September, 2005

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    Wild Musk by Coty

    Really a nice fragrance; next to Jovan Musk, my gold standard, Coty Wild Musk is probably the best drugstore musk out there. (Alyssa Ashley is my number three, in case you were wondering!) I think the name "wild" captures this well; for some reason, my overly active imagination conjures wearing this while lolling around on a bearskin rug and wrapped in big cozy blankets in front of a big crackling fire at a lodge way out in the woods somewhere. It's got that sort of a feeling to it - snuggly, very warm, a teeny bit smoky. It's got vanilla and musk and, it seems to me, some very slightly spicy resins. And it's very much a personal, close to the body fragrance; I wear it in oil form and it's very subtle. Not a clean musk at all, not a terribly animalic one either. It's pretty much the ultimate "comfort musk" in my book.

    30th September, 2005

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    Sand & Sable by Coty

    Sand and Sable represents my first real appreciation of tuberose, that kind of "a-ha" moment when you find something that really, really speaks to you on an intrinsic level. Though there are also gardenia and jasmine at work here, as well as a peach note and some green flourishes, what grabbed me the most from the beginning was that buttery, rich, velvety, in the least bit sweet call of the tuberose. I remember trying it on at some drugstore and walking up and down the aisles sniffing my arm and thinking, "what IS this stuff?" I was fascinated with it. A number of years later, when I first encountered Fracas - same thing. Sand and Sable's a very good introduction to the whole tuberose-gardenia subcategory best defined by Fracas, Versace Blonde and several other dryer, almost champagne-like yet rich combinations of these and other notes. I would recommend it to anyone who either already loves this type of scent or wants to learn to love it.

    30th September, 2005

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    Vanilla Fields by Coty

    To my nose, this vanilla got left out in the fields, because I can almost not make it out in this very powdery, florally fragrance. I think Coty uses a very light, not terribly warm vanilla in its fragrances to begin with, and it doesn't stand out well at all in Vanilla Fields. I think of this as a mostly jasmine scent with just a little bit of vanilla and maybe some green top notes as well as something lightly clean and powder-like in the base - possibly a very light and clean musk. I ahve repeatedly tried to get myself to like Vanilla Fields, just because I'm such a vanilla fanatic and want to believe there's no such thing as a lukewarm vanilla, but to no avail. This will never be what I want it to be! Not a bad scent, though, so it gets a neutral rating.

    30th September, 2005

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    Vanilla Musk by Coty

    Outstanding stuff - high end purists may balk but this bears a not-so-far-removed resemblance to the beloved Collection by Escada fragrance, in all seriousness. The cross-action between the musk and vanilla here give off a cola-like vibe with a lightly effervescent citrusy fizz (cola and mandarin being two of Collection's defining notes, it makes sense the two scents would seem alike.) And Vanilla Musk has the same almost nuttyish sweetness to it that Collection has; what it doesn't have is Collection's tuberose richness or tonka-Bourbon vanilla pipe smokiness. Not a problem, though; this fragrance dries down to a slightly spicy sandalwood richness of its own, and it's really nice. This is a great one by Coty and smells like way, way more than its pricetag.

    30th September, 2005

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    Dark Vanilla by Coty

    Coty's handling of vanilla is suspect to me. The brand does so many things so well, but other than Vanilla Musk, it's never produced a vanilla fragrance that I've found even acceptable, much less good. And being that vanilla's one of my most-loved notes, this saddens me as I'd love to find a great, readily available drugstore vanilla (that is, besides Body Fantasies Vanilla - which is quite good) that I could just drench myself in when I felt the need. Dark Vanilla won't be fulfilling that role for me, that's for sure. Said to be a blend of bergamot, jasmine and vanilla, Dark Vanilla is to my nose a pairing of cheapish, low quality vanilla and very oily coconut. I have cheap hair oils that smell better than this stuff, I'm sorry to say. Bergamot - nada. Didn't show up for the party. Not sure it would have made a difference anyway. Another bad vanilla bites the dust.

    30th September, 2005

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    Dulce Vanilla by Coty

    Badly overripe, overly sweet, cloyingly bad and chokingly cheap smelling. Dulce Vanilla is said to be composed of coconut, caramel, amber, raspberry and, of course, vanilla. Had I gotten even two of those notes coming through in a semi-palatable way, I would have been satisfied. I innocently tried it on expecting something creamy-caramelly and dulce-de-leche like. What I got was fruit reek, the worst kind of cheap perfume smell, the kind that just dogs you in your dreams long after you've finally managed to sandblast it off your skin. This and something called "Delicious Feelings" by Gale Hayman are two of the most pernicious, awful things I've ever smelled in my life - and I've smelled a lot, a lot! Avoid this like the plague, unless eau de sweet-hot garbage appeals to you. You have been warned!

    30th September, 2005

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    Aqua Allegoria Ylang & Vanille by Guerlain

    A good, tropical vanilla-floral with a bad opening, one that can variously take on smoky-bitter, candle waxy, gluey and artificially buttery aspects. I can't begin to imagine where those offputting nuances have their sources, as the notes here - ylang ylang, iris, jasmine and vanilla - just don't usually have it in them to be so hostile. Then again, ylang can sometimes run bitter, iris can get all sorts of weird, jasmine has been known to throw a certain oily-fatty cast and vanilla certainly has a pipe-smoke edge to it in some incarnations, so maybe the semi-rude prelude to what one naturally expects to be a soft, sweet, gentle-flowing fragrance does have explainable origins after all. And once you get beyond all that, you do indeed get to something nice; not mind-blowingly great, but nice. The vanilla is dry and a little nutty and of the type I've come to think of as "tropical" vanilla - Calypso Vanille's vanilla note is indetical to this one. If you do NOT like gourmand vanillas, this fragrance is an excellent choice. I'm giving it a neutral because it's not to my taste.

    30th September, 2005

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    Halloween by J del Pozo

    If you're expecting anything remotely reminiscent of jack o'lanterns, woodsmoke, bobbing for apples, even anything vaguely resembling autumn in general - keep moving, because you won't find it here! The color of the juice, a very lilac shade of purple, is a dead giveaway. Halloween is an aquatic, ozonic floral - about as anti-autumn as you can get. The topnotes? Lime, green banana and "seas of Alaska." That must mean something glacial. Got it. Other notes include magnolia, lily of the valley, tuberose and pink pepper. Actually, the fragrance itself is nice enough, so long as you understand what it's about; it's pleasantly different from the usual aquatic fruit-florals, has a little more character to it. I can't think of anything else it closely resembles, but if you're familiar with Coty Ghost Myst (which I actually don't like, and which is also very innappropriately named as it's about as ghostly as Mickey Mouse) and Herve Leger, which has a strangely surreal sense of smelling not quite of the natural world (i.e. synthetic - but in an interesting rather than jarring way), Halloween comes off as a hybrid of those two. It really and sincerely does; I have all three and have done the experimenting myself!

    30th September, 2005

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    All About Eve by Joop!

    Let's face it, apple is just not a really exciting note. Perhaps because it smells so familiar, it just doesn't have the same impact as other notes do. And so apple scents, at least to me, can seem boring after a while - not very challenging, not very provocative. All About Eve is one of those, particularly because this already pretty mellow note of apple is further rounded off with a very soft-focus cinnamon, a cozy vanilla, a light and airy jasmine and a velvety, just barely earthy vetiver. The whole composition just envelops you, soothes you, doesn't get sharp, doesn't change, certainly doesn't turn on you. And yes, that gets dull after a while. But then, in my case, I'll stop wearing it for a while and then, all of the sudden - start thinking about it again. It may be super-soft and none too challenging, but you know, some days you just need to go with that flow. Some people find this fragrance to be as blend as fruit-scented shampoo but sometimes that sort of blandness just really works for me!

    30th September, 2005

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    Jovan Musk by Jovan

    My favorite drugstore musk if not favorite musk in any segment. If you love the smell of Breck shampoo - heck, if you even remember the smell of Breck shampoo - then you must, must try this musk. (Some feel it's more like Flex shampoo from Revlon - and I can see, or smell, where that's coming from though I find/found Flex to be just a little spicier than Breck or the Jovan Musk itself.) It's clean and balsam-y sweet and a little honeyish; I've read that there are flowers among the notes and I'd have to guess they were of the white floral variety. You can wear this alone - I use the oil version - or with other fragrances or layered with scented lotions, what have you. There's very little it doesn't smell good with and on its own, it's just glorious. No musky noxiousness, no heaviness or oiliness whatsoever - honest. A musk among musks.

    30th September, 2005

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    Jovan White Musk by Jovan

    Another fabulous musk from Jovan! While the regular "plain" musk from Jovan is my favorite from this brand, the white musk runs a tight second. This is soft white musk, pillowy and a teeny bit baby powdery and sweet - much different from a fresh white musk, which is often more sparkly, zippy, not sweet at all, tending more toward soapy-fresh. The Jovan version is full of honeyish florals - jasmine, honeysuckle, ylang ylang - and this bouquet rests on a base of amber, woods, aldehydes and, yes, musk. And the complexity comes through in the fragrance, too; it amazes me sometimes as to how some of the really inexpensive drugstore scents out there seem to be so much more thoughtfully blended that much higher-end products. We all hear that from time to time and Jovan White Musk really takes that point home. Where this musk truly shines as as a layering scent with vanilla - either another vanilla fragrance or a vanilla body lotion, anything from a drugstore brand (St. Ives is nice, as is the one from Body Fantasies) to something like a Molinard vanilla. It's so incredible smelling a combination that it must be tried to be believed.

    30th September, 2005

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    Fire & Ice by Revlon

    Inspired by the hot-yet-cool red lipstick of the same name by Revlon. Does the fragrance run hot and cold as well? Not really, at least in the sense I'd think of hot and cold smelling, something like fiery cinnamon and cool mint, which might not actually smell all that great together! Very mouthwashy. For this scent, "Sharp and Sweet" might be a more descriptive name, as it blasts out of the bottle with one of those very nose-tingling types of orangey-vanilla-sandalwood salvos. I used to despise fragrances that opened this way and consider them a bit tacky until I realized what I was smelling; now I don't have much of an issue with them. They're just heady is all. From there, Fire and Ice burns down to a warm, pretty decently balanced oriental that offsets a tuberose-magnolia heart with woods, spices and maybe a little musk. If you've ever smelled or used Emeraude by Coty, Fire and Ice is a nearly identical fragrance, with the only difference being Emeraude's heart of jasmine. Fire and Ice is still pretty easily found online; I don't see it much in regular drugstores but online retailers seem to have plenty of it.

    30th September, 2005

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    Jasmine & Rose Honey #2 by Trish McEvoy

    Is this still around? I haven't seen it anywhere in a while, though admittedly I haven't been looking all that hard. It's actually one of my favorite floral fragrances, perhaps the one very Sambac jasmine-intense scent that I've ever really been crazy about. And the rose honey - well, if you are a fan of Nahema and/or Ombre Rose, this is certainly one to be tried. I used to receive endless positive comments on this fragrance; it's got a warm, engaging sense about it, a genuine inner glow. Sounds corny perhaps, but there was just something about it that reached out and drew in people - even those people usually a little on the dour and/or reticent side - and made them smile. Very linear, with maybe a little lemony something in the opening notes, but not at all boring thanks to what seemed to be extremely high quality, very long-lasting ingredients.

    30th September, 2005

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    Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Some Serge Lutens fragrances I like, some I actively dislike. But a few remind me of Chevy Chase's character in "Caddyshack" when he says, "There's a subtle perfection in everything I do." Serge Lutens and Co., you've done just such a subtly perfect job with Ambre Sultan. Now, I love amber in all its incarnations; I've never met one I didn't like, in fact. But this one is special - endlessly resinous, palpably viscous, almost binding in its beauty. It's got to be one of the best quality ambers available anywhere; it just smells expensive. And unlike some of Lutens' other "weirdly clever" topnote juxtapositions - which can at times seem like they're just trying way too hard to be strange - I love the spicy-savory arrangement of herbals here, the oregano, bay leaf, coriander and myrtle. They evoke the souk with its overflowing, fragrant spice stalls and that just adds to the whole experience of wearing this fragrance. I daresay this probably is and will be one of my favorite, most prized ambers. C'est parfait.

    30th September, 2005

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    Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca by Guerlain

    For me, this is just another case of nice but not as nice as...fragrances. Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca runs a very second to the ultimate grass-lemon-mint-herbal fragrance in my lexicon, L'Artisan L'Eau de L'Artisan. And for subtle reasons too - though ones that end up making all the difference in the world. Big thing: the type of grass note most prominent in each. L'Artisan's is fresh-cut timothy hay grass in the field, the truest grass scent there is to me, a little piquant, very fragrant, barely sweet. Herba Fresca's is just too sweet for me, more clover than grass. (Admittedly, I'm a bit of a freak about these things - I grew up with horses so I have very specific ideas about what grass, hay, etc scents I prefer.) Why this is an issue has to do with the way this note carries through the composition and plays with the other notes involved; the purely grassy grass in the L'Artisan just works better with the mint, lemon and basil notes - all of which are also in the Herba. The Herba Fresca's cloverish grass just comes off as too sweet for me in this context. Honestly, though, most more normal and less obssessive individuals would not be bothered by this. So please don't let my weird review stop you from trying this fragrance! Also to note - The Body Shop has a scent called Minteva that is close to being a carbon copy of Herba Fresca.

    30th September, 2005

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    Alyssa Ashley Musk by Alyssa Ashley

    I have nothing but love for Alyssa Ashley musk. Close in character to my number one drugstore musk choice, Jovan Musk, Alyssa Ashley is shampoo-ish (think Breck, Wella Baslam, Revlon Flex) with notes of balsam and maybe a tiny touch of soap. What makes the Ashley different enough from Jovan to merit having and loving both is a touch of powderiness and a little, almost barely perceptible trace of spiciness (don't think "spiced musk" though, because it's not like that at all.) It's just a little softer than Jovan, with the little spicy warmth a bit reminiscent of the also-great Coty Wild Musk. Given the fabulousness of this fragrance (which I wear in oil form, by the way), I'm dying to try the Ashley rendition of vanilla. I need to track that down one of these days it's got to be amazing!

    30th September, 2005

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    Un Bois Vanille by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Meh - this vanilla freak is underwhelmed. Serge Lutens' legions would probably draw me, quarter me and roast my remains at the stake for this, but if you think you might want to try this particualr vanilla type on for size, save yourself a jillion dollars and start with a $5 bottle of Body Fantasies Vanilla Sugar Fantasy, available at drugstores everywhere. No, of course it's not as good as the Lutens - but profile-wise, it's not all that hugely different a scent. Both are cool, woody vanillas dashed with coconut and sandalwood; the only major compositional difference is Lutens' addition of a black licorice note, which makes his vanilla a little darker than the Body Fantasies. And if you just can't stomach the idea of comparing caviar to tuna, then at least look into Calypso Vanille - which again, brings together low-warmth vanilla with coconut and a bit of wood, though the orange blossom and greens throw a slightly more tropical feeling to the Calypso. And if you still can't deal with anything other than high-end, at least check out Annick Goutal's Vanille Exquise first and possibly save yourself a few dollars - though the Goutal is thinner and more plasticky and in fact thoroughly unpleasant in many ways. Or else just go ahead and take the plunge on Bois Vanille, but don't go into it expecting anything very rich, warm, fragrant or gourmand. This is as much wood as it is vanilla and it's just not all that enticing.

    30th September, 2005

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    New Musk for Women by Prince Matchabelli

    New Musk is basically a tuberose-musk blend, a fragrance combination that can also be found in Body Fantasies Tuberose-Musk Fantasy. Both fragrances are made by the same company, Parfums de Coeur, and so are in all likelihood built around the same base of ingredients. However, they're not completely identical; the Body Fantasies version, which is very nice on its own, is a little bit sweeter and more florally than the New Musk. Conversely, New Musk is muskier and cleaner. Some find it comparable to Coty's Sand and Sable and I get the resemblance to some extent, save for the fact that Sand and Sable's musk-less. Both are similarly not too sweet, though. Those who like the "buttery" quality that Sand and Sable captures so well should find the New Musk pretty nice, too.

    30th September, 2005

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    Fresh White Musk by Prince Matchabelli

    A crisp and sparkling rendition of white musk and one that wears on hour after hour; beware overapplying this one as it can be a bit strong and even a bit sickening in overlay large doses. Unlike other creamier, sweeter white musks, Fresh White Musk has very little that's mellow or sweet; it's supposed to be a blend of white floral and musk but I think it's a little too soapy to fit that description. Extremely clean, extremely fresh, quite nice. But again, watch with application' I have a little bottle of this but the sprayer mechanism is on the aggressive side, if you know what I mean. A good deal of fragrance releases when you apply, so either hold the bottle out and as far away as possible when spraying or else do an air-spray-and-walk-through routine. You'll be glad you did.

    30th September, 2005

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    Touch of Pink by Lacoste

    Woo-hoo - finally, a fruity floral that breaks form the banal pack and shows a little rebellious streak! I love this fragrance to death because it's got a zesty-earthy edge to it that breaks up its otherwise typical, though very nice, arrangement of fruits and florals. The blood orange top note itself has a little zip to it, and the coriander leaves and cardamom bring the spiciness for sure. But I have a feeling the "secret ingredient" is carrot seed, which imparts an almost patchouli-like zing to the composition, something that's dry, earthy, clean and spicy all at the same time. It's just great, and doesn't get all rotten-hot and B.O. like in its blending with the jasmine, violet and vanilla notes. There's nothing "pink" about this scent whatsoever - it's not girly, frilly, pretty or delicate in the least. Of course, there's a time and place for all of that, but not when you're wearing this fragrance. Very sportif, it makes me feel like grabbing a racquet and hitting the tennis courts - yet it's classy and elegant enough to wear for a post-game lunch or cocktails, too.

    30th September, 2005

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    Daim Blond by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    I'm not head over heels with Daim Blonde yet, but it's growing on me. As a rule, most leather scents don't really do it for me; I don't mind a minor flourish of leather in a fragrance if it's done in an interesting way, but when it comprises the main story - well, something about that is off-putting. Of course, Daim Blonde is about suede, which is not all that much like leather in scent; actual suede is not nearly as highly scented as leather, largely - I think - because it's not tanned and finished like leather is. In fact, I think suede actually is brushed, untanned leather; I'd look that up but I'm too lazy! Anyway, back to the fragrance - the somewhat elusive qualities of what suede, one of very fine grade, actually does smell like are illustrated here in a way that provokes thought, at the very least. I like the way iris kind of headlines the composition, as it is itself an elusive note, soft yet with a sharpness, powdery and nearly sweet but also earthy like dew-soaked dirt. It's this and that, just as suede is raw and animalic but also plush and purely luxurious. Subtle, very subtle. The entire compositon comes together seamlessly beyond the iris, such that I can hardly pick out precisely what I'm smelling. I consider this a "me" scent, something I wear purely because I know how fine it is even if it's so enitrely subtle that those who detect it on me don't give it a thought. In that regard, it's like an extremely, extremely expensive round of hair salon highlights, the kind that are so meticulously executed that they look natural and effortless, as if your hair color really does look that way on its own. You can't tell where the natural leaves off and the craftsmanship comes in; Daim Blonde is like that to me.

    30th September, 2005

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