Fragrance Reviews from January 2009

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    foetidus's avatar

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    Blue Agava and Cacao by Jo Malone


    I don’t know what to make of this. I get a dose of aloe, and a streak of undetermined sweet which is not at all impressive. And the cacao is there quite strongly, but it is not very like the chocolate-types that I’m used to in fragrances… this is more a dusty, stale cocoa… an indifferent note as far as I’m concerned. I get a cinnamon and a musk from the base, but the orchid comes to me too strongly and not very pleasantly. That orchid is a minor annoyance, but its influence on the rest of the notes negatively influences my appreciation of the rest of the accords. I wish I could appreciate this fragrance more – I was looking forward to it because the juxtapositioning of chocolate and agava sounded interesting to me - almost Aztecian. Unfortunately, I don’t find Blue Agava and Cacao working for me.

    25 January, 2009

    foetidus's avatar

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    Vetyvert by Madini


    It took me several tests to get a solid and consistent idea of this. I don’t know why it was so difficult unless it was that I am simply not used to vetiver this pure. It opens up as vetiver raw (but not rude) and straightforward. I get an unsharp version of it: maybe the version is so unfamiliar to me because it’s in a suspension of oil instead of alcohol. At any rate, it is a vetiver that I find curiously raw and smooth at the same time. It is unique and I can’t compare it to any of the eighteen or so vetiver scents I have tested. I like it, and I love the way it performs off the skin: occasional whiffs of a refined woody-green vetiver… fresh and warm at the same time. It is quite discreet, which doesn’t surprise me because vetiver usually underperforms on me. I do not find any note other than vetiver in the mix and I like that… it gives me another vetiver interpretation to appreciate. Sillage is strong at first but quickly settles down to very light, clean, desirable vetiver note. Its unfortunate lack of longevity changes it from thumbs up to neutral – its sillage doesn’t manage one hour on my skin, but from there it lasts another hour or two as a transparent skin scent – too subtle for me.

    25 January, 2009

    foetidus's avatar

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    Winter by Madini


    In the Madini literature, the blurb about Winter says “pure, cool, and clean.” I don’t agree… On my skin it is strong, unpleasantly spicy, disagreeably amorphous, and cloying. The combination of mint, sage, ginger is just plain wrong. It is linear and, as in all things unpleasant, it seems to last forever. Gruesome…

    25 January, 2009

    foetidus's avatar

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    Chimera by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab


    Like butter cream and cinnamon… The first thing that hits me about Chimera is its cinnamon – it comes on strongly and then joins with the inherent creaminess of the fragrance to create this tempting accord. Of course the creaminess and the cinnamon make it definitely gourmand but it’s not really what I would call foody. It’s very sweet in the background with an amber / honey / vanilla accord, but the sweetness is tempered a little by the resinousness of sweet myrrh that rises up from the heart. Also in the heart I get a strong floral element (honeysuckle) in combination with the cinnamon creaminess. It’s quite an attractive heart accord, but in the end, it is too sweet for me. The drydown is an excellent vanilla / amber skin scent with traces of a dryer, softer cinnamon and the continuing resinousness of the heart notes. The dry down is my favorite part of the fragrance, and while it does not have much sillage, it lasts for hours.

    Chimera reminds me of a couple of other BPAL scents but for sure this is my favorite of the sweet ones I have tested. I’m still working out if it is unisex enough for me to wear – probably not… the honeysuckle note in there gives me pause.

    25 January, 2009

    foetidus's avatar

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    Shanghai by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab


    Also known as "Old Shanghai." What else but green tea for a fragrance named Shanghai? But that’s about all I could predict of the notes: The rest of the top notes are lemony (verbena) and honey with a tiny bit of herbal tang. Besides the top’s verbena, there’s a floral in the middle – I would guess honeysuckle or possibly orange blossom – it’s hard to tell because it’s so subtle. That’s it… it’s a deceptively simple, straightforward tea scent that’s quite feminine, quite pleasant, and counter-intuitively long lasting. Old Shanghai is really is a simple, uncomplicated, not very unique tea scent without too much going for it. Ordinarily I would vote this a neutral but, because of the nicely presented verbena I automatically default to thumbs up. Verbena does that to me.

    25 January, 2009

    foetidus's avatar

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    L'Eau de L'Eau by Diptyque


    Well… this L’Eau is better than L’Eau des Hespérides. At first and for a short time, the fragrance presents a solid citrus / cloves / spice accord that is quite strong, aromatic, and enjoyable. Unfortunately, the enjoyment lasts about forty-five seconds, because that’s about all the opening lasts. Way too quickly L’Eau de L’Eau settles down to cologne strength, revealing a couple of other spices – cinnamon and pepper – and herbs / floral – geranium, lavender, and orange blossom in a subtle, nicely balanced, but short lasting heart accord. Smell quickly with the opening and the heart accord – they’re gone in a flash. It ends with an unoriginal, subtle, and short lasting tonka drydown. This fragrance started out quite nicely but, unfortunately, it has no lasting power at all on my skin – it doesn’t even last an hour. Thumbs down for lack of longevity.

    25 January, 2009

    foetidus's avatar

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    L'Eau de Neroli by Diptyque


    I agree that it is the most interesting of the three Diptyque colognes, but that isn’t saying much. It opens with a nice bit of green in a citrus accord… enjoyable and refreshing… I would even say “beautiful,” but this opening is unusually short lasting: Within ten minutes it has moved to a well-made heart of neroli, orange blossom, and geranium. It doesn’t hold on to the heart notes, either. All too quickly, again, the pleasure is gone. L’Eau de Neroli bases out with an inconsequential white musk – white musk is about the only note my nose can determine, and I hate it when that happens. I am not a fan of most white musk fragrances.

    L’Eau de Neroli is very nice neroli cologne, and this would be important if there weren’t a couple of dozen other fragrances that could be called very nice neroli fragrances. This one doesn’t stand out in the crowd in any way that I can determine. What is special about it is so short-lived that it hardly counts, and what is left is just your basic ho hum.

    25 January, 2009

    foetidus's avatar

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    L'Eau des Hesperides by Diptyque


    Listed notes: bitter orange, mandarin, lemon, petitgrain, red thyme, and African rosemary.

    The salty celery-like note is prominent, but I don’t have as much patience with it as the other reviewers appear to have. The listed notes do not say “celery” but they do identify thyme and rosemary – the combination of which might very well smell like celery, and the herbal note in the opening and heart certainly smells like celery to me. Regardless of its proper label, I dislike it and it overwhelms everything else in the fragrance, leaving no saving grace. L'Eau des Hespérides is quite too unpleasantly herbal / acrid / salty for me. It might have good sillage and longevity, but I wouldn’t know – I scrubbed it off long before I could tell for sure.

    25 January, 2009

    foetidus's avatar

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    Oriental Flowers by Montale


    The first time I tested this I thought that I had a mislabeled sample – the fragrance was strong, aggressively aromatic and extremely cloying. I thought it smelled rather familiar but I didn’t stop to delve into my memory because I wanted rid of it. I immediately washed it off and dropped the sample in the back of the drawer. Four months later I retried it and found that my reaction had halved… it was still strongly aromatic and cloying but nowhere near as annoying as the first time I tested it… and it was even more familiar. I have gone through two sample vials of this trying with various results, I wondered what was in its nature that made it so variable and random. Subsequently I have found that there is nothing inscrutable about this scent, it is just a loud, saccharine, massively floral, medicinally aromatic scent. Except for its extraordinary potency, its opening could be considered rather traditional with its rose, jasmine, and bergamot. From its heart it throws a powerful ylang-ylang and the Peru balsam base comes across in abundance and constitutes almost my entire continuing memory of the fragrance. I think I know someone who wears this. How many times have I walked into the Xerox room and said, “Oh, Allison was just here…” only to be told that she had been there an hour before. Oriental Flowers is that kind of scent.

    25 January, 2009

    zztopp's avatar

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    Héritage by Guerlain

    **This review is of Heritage EDT **

    Notes:
    Top : lemon, lavender, bergamot
    Middle : coriander, pink peppercorn
    Base : patchouli, cerdarwood, tonka beans, vanilla

    Heritage is a spicy-woods fragrance "inspired by men of yesterday, for tomorrows men". In essence, Heritage is a fragrance with a restrained classic "masculine" woody structure for modern times (depending on how modern you think 1992 is now).

    Heritage opens with a citrus-lavender combo...more citrus than lavender, with a prominent lemon note but the subservient lavender note keeps the acidity in check and chaperone the composition to the next phase. A spicy-woods accord slowly blossoms and forms the link to the past. Initially a pepper note sizzles; gradually a smooth cedar note emerges and alongwith a light patchouli note forms a spicy/peppery-woody accord. After a couple of hours a restrained and less vanillic version of the guerlinade accord materialises and forms a cushiony landing pad for these woods on fire. While the construction is competent, there is a certain thinness or screechiness in the juice (or maybe its the high alcohol content). Longevity is good and sillage moderate. Recent releases like L'Instant homme and especially Guerlain Homme should look at their Heritage and be embarrassed of their own weak contributions to this distinguished line. Yes I realise that for some Heritage may elicit the "old man juice" feel but read sentence 1 of this review ... you were warned.

    ** Heritage is often compared to Creeds Bois du Portugal, but apart from a "woodsy" feel, they are different fragrances. BdP opens with more lavender, has a smokier cedarwood component and an ambery-vetiver drydown. The quality of ingredients is higher (richer, fuller), the juice overall more impressive; BdP really is its own animal. Heritage is the Camry to BdPs Lexus, a Saints Row 2 to GTA IV, or Rob Schneider to Ben Stiller if you may.

    Rating: 8.0/10.0

    25 January, 2009

    tvlampboy's avatar

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    Shaal Nur by Etro

    Powdery opoponax, touches of Shalimar and its exotic vanilla-laden goodness and the citrus crispness of Eau du Coq, or perhaps another early, unisex toilet water. There's just enough cedar here to balance things out without making the whole affair too woody.

    Completely suitable for men and women alike.
    A wonderfully tailored fragrance. One of Etro's very best -- no doubt about it.

    25 January, 2009

    BlackAmberMoon's avatar

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    Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermès

    Calming, refreshing, Zen-like fragrance that I love to wear while doing yoga or when I need to be transported to the fresh outdoors. So well done. Enjoy it much more than Mediteranee, which is too bitter.

    25 January, 2009

    Asha's avatar

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    Real Patchouly by Bois 1920

    Bois 1920 Real Patchouly

    Notes: Texas citron, Indian sandalwood, vanilla, amber (from luckyscent.com)

    The first spray of Real Patchouly reminds me of Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe without the heaviness. RP is slightly boozy, but rather than the light fizzy vodka-champagne with heavily cured leather and thick amber I get from Ambre Russe, the booze in RP is more like cognac or bourbon with hints of vanilla, cherry, smoke, wood and tobacco. For me, it evokes the inside an oak cask that was charred and then used to age wine or whiskey. The patchouli is not very forward in the beginning, but it is definitely there, and blends with the booze notes very nicely. There is a sort of cool mentholated note--not mint per se, but it cold be the aromatic effect of the spicy and earthy patchouli. The wood note is pleasant, and mostly smells like cedar with a touch of sandalwood.

    I have noticed with other Bois 1920 scents that there seems to be a house accord which is used in several of the fragrances--it is a lemon, vanilla and resin blend which is very lightly oriental, sweet, warm, and a little powdery. This accord is present in RP, and since vanilla and resin are typically part of amber, the accord is very well placed here. It gives RP a buoyancy and freshness that is often lacking in patchouli fragrances. Into the drydown, the soft lemon and vanilla are mainly a support for the very clear, aromatic wood and patchouli notes. The effect is somewhat diffuse and cloud-like, and simultaneously warm and cool, dry and sweet. This is definitely a "medium" amber, not heavy or dense, but made extremely rich by the beautiful herbal-woody-spicy aromatics that are characteristic of the woods and patchouli.

    25 January, 2009

    Asha's avatar

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    Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue by Bond No. 9

    Bond No.9 Lexington Avenue

    My impression upon first spray of Lexington Avenue is sugar-sweet, fruit and violet over a woody base. The violet is not a candied or edible type, but gives a greenish floral quality to the super sweet sugar cane note. I have seen LA compared to Shiseido Feminite du Bois, so I have sprayed FdB on my other arm for comparison. Sweet--yes. Violet--yes. Fruit--yes. Woody--yes. However, FdB is significantly more sophisticated with its judicious use of candied fruits and violet, and its gorgeous "alternate oriental" base which includes beeswax, cedar and spices. LA has a woody base, but the super sugary top notes are really masking it to the point of near oblivion. In the top and early mid notes, instead of a creamy cedar, I smell the same woodified, synthetic "clean" patchouli that I have smelled in several other designer gourmand fragrances.

    The sugar top note eventually fades, and reveals a sharp vanilla-lavender powder note that I also smelled in Bond No.9 Chinatown. I was not particularly enamored of the baby product effect in Chinatown, nor am I liking it any better in LA. One plus, however, is that the attenuation of the sugar note allows the woody base to come out more, and the base is rather nice, even if nothing ground-breaking. Checking in with the FdB at this point, I find the beautiful blend of fruit, violet and woody base that makes FdB so special. I am smelling the similarities in the woods now, as LA shows a bit more cedar, like the FdB. Still, LA lacks the subtlety and finesse that FdB has. With LA, I feel bludgeoned by sweetness, powder and patchouli. Having said that, I do enjoy LA more than Chinatown so far.

    A little deeper into the development, and LA is starting to resemble FdB more and more. The cedar in LA's base is quite similar to that in FdB. However, where FdB maintains its complexity and subtlety, LA seems more simplistic with its smothering powder note. Still, the drydown of LA has been the most enjoyable part for me. Thankfully, it didn't take too long to get to this point! In the deep drydown, it is so similar to FdB that I think it would be difficult to distinguish the two unless tested side-by-side. LA is sharper, less complex, and thin smelling. The powder note is still present, but not as overpowering as it was earlier, and a faint leather note has come forward. Overall, LA lacks the top to bottom mastery of FdB. It is almost as if Bond No.9 took three parts from a Jean-Paul Gaultier fragrance such as MaDame, one part Sheldrake woody-oriental base, and mixed them without any consideration for blending the composition seamlessly. The result is that LA lacks the irreverent pop-style of JPG and the artistry of Lutens/Sheldrake, and instead seems like a clumsy attempt at modernizing a now classic woody oriental without one iota of true homage to its predecessors. Having said that, I do find LA to be enjoyable enough that I would wear it a few more times. I do not think I would want a full bottle because I do not think Lexington Avenue will withstand the test of time as Feminite du Bois does.

    25 January, 2009

    Asha's avatar

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    Private Collection - L'Ombre Fauve by Parfumerie Generale

    Parfumerie Generale L'Ombre Fauve

    Notes: amber, musk, woods, incense, patchouli (from luckyscent.com)

    On first spray, L'Ombre Fauve smells like a sweet but dilute vanilla-based amber, and has a metallic note that I often smell when incense is used in a fragrance. I must say, this stage is not very pleasant, as with all the other fragrances that have this issue on my skin. To my nose, it smells slightly ozonic or fresh, with only the tiniest hint of smoke. As L'OF dries, the ozone thankfully fades fast. The smokiness increases, and the sweet vanilla, resin and woody base notes come out more fully. When the ozone note has completely burned off, I smell sweet and smoky vanilla, aromatic woods, vetiver, labdanum, patchouli, powder and resins. It sounds like a traditional recipe, but L'OF seems clean and modern. The resins are not sweaty or heavy, the patchouli is peppery rather than dirt-like. Even the smoke smells like it has been scrubbed. And yet, I don't sense that this is a particularly sanitized scent.

    As with many of the PG fragrances, I don't find L'OF terribly complex or challenging. I find I am unable to describe a technicolor note development, because most of the PG scents I have tried vary little over a long wearing. However, I always find that PG fragrances have a fullness that is very satisfying, and they often give a nod to traditional fragrance forms while having some kind of artistic twist to make them new and unusual. L'Ombre Fauve fits this house style perfectly. It is a beautiful vanilla-prominent amber with enough smoky, earthy spice to keep the vanilla exotic and inedible. The longer it stays on the skin, the more the fragrance warms and opens, and into the next day I can smell the luscious vanilla lingering.

    25 January, 2009

    Bigsly's avatar

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    Green Jeans by Versace

    I wish the reviewers who said this was too strong for them told us how many sprays they used, because I used one full spray just above the shirt line and it was a bit too weak (and I'm quite sensitive to strong fragrances and usually only spray once or twice, no matter which fragrance it is). Anyway, this is not "synthetic" or "rough" or "loud" (like Pino Silvestre). It's a very nice blend. I get a lot of the oregano, but because of the blending it smells great (not like pizza sitting next to a cheap pine scented air freshener). It's great for when you want an aromatic herbal experience, and it has an important place in my large rotation. After swapping off my bottle of Pino Silvestre, I was looking for something to replace it and surpass it, and fortunately I was able to obtain a bottle of this at a very reasonable price.

    25 January, 2009

    Noraed's avatar

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    Montana pour Homme by Montana

    Watery, citrusy, musky and refreshing scent.
    It is a Woody - Chypre type of perfume.
    I think it is a special and elegant perfume.
    This perfume used to be called Montana Homme, but when the original Montana Homme got re-launched the name was changed into Montana pour Homme.

    25 January, 2009

    Noraed's avatar

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    Pure Poison by Christian Dior

    Very unique, mature, rich, luxurious and strong jasmine scent.
    It is a Floral - Jasmine type of perfume.

    Top notes: Calabrian Bergamote, Jasmine, Sweet Orange
    Heart note: Orange Blossom, Hydroponic Gardenia
    Base note: Sandalwood, White Amber

    Suitable for ladies more than girls.
    This perfume smells like a bomb of jasmine.
    Strongly recommended for people who like jasmine, but I should warn you, it might be a little too strong.

    25 January, 2009

    JennieJenJamz's avatar

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    Desir De Nature by Yves Rocher

    Okay, I really thought this was lovely, but it didn't stay on for very long at all! Hell, I could bathe in this stuff and it would fade within 30 minutes! Not strong stuff at all, but nice. One of Yves Rocher's best.

    25 January, 2009

    JennieJenJamz's avatar

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    Eryo by Yves Rocher

    Strong? I get a classy cologne that reminds me of Obsession, but not as loud. This is quite subtle. I mean, don't bathe in it! Very elegant. One of Yves Rocher's best. It's lightly dark and woody and warm, but not nauseating as some of these sweet scents are. This is very nice. And it does last!

    25 January, 2009

    JennieJenJamz's avatar

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    Eryo Blue by Yves Rocher

    This is light and refreshing. Not strong at all. I like this and the Eryo. Eryo is better, but this is nice. Kind of aquatic, crisp. Lasts a while too.

    25 January, 2009

    JennieJenJamz's avatar

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    Hoggar by Yves Rocher

    This is too sweet smelling and strong, if using too many squirts. Go easy on the trigger, fellas! But, I smelt caramel? I found this to be similar to Obsession, but not as nice. Too nauseating in the warmer months, so stick to cooler days. It does seem to last a looong time, too!

    25 January, 2009

    JennieJenJamz's avatar

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    Transat by Yves Rocher

    Boring scent. Good for the young guys. But totally forgetable! And it lacks staying power.

    25 January, 2009

    JennieJenJamz's avatar

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    Altikä by Yves Rocher

    My man still has a bit left of this scent. I do smell a slight mint to it, but not much. It's forgetable, really, and the scent doesn't stay on as long as Homme Nature or the two Eryos. Average scent for young guys.

    25 January, 2009

    JennieJenJamz's avatar

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    Néonatura - Cocoon by Yves Rocher

    I totally agree with the Pigeonkiller. I got this for my mom because she likes these thick, dark, musky, incense like odors. I hated it. Okay, loathed. It was way tooooooooo sweet! And it was strong. Mom likes that kind of thing. Just way too much thickness. It reminds me of candy.

    25 January, 2009

    bbBD's avatar

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    Parure by Guerlain

    Ever come across a fragrance that is very nice that, regardless of it not being remarkably gorgeous, becomes a preoccupation? Enter Parure. I came across Parure in my ongoing Guerlain sampling and for whatever reason I am smitten. When discussing classic chypres, Parure is unfairly overlooked and deserves to mentioned along with Givenchy III as one of the best.

    Parure starts off with a bright, cheery bergamot note deepened by plum and a mix of florals. The top/mid fruit/florals are rich and create a wonderful aroma around the wearer. The base appears soon - a little to soon - and quickly one of the richer oakmoss bases I've ever smelled takes over. Most of Parure's life is it's oakmoss/woody base, which in some ways is interesting because most chypre EdTs are usually faded out by the time the base presents itself.

    I recently acquired a small amount of Parure extrait. I'm so glad I did, even though there is only enough to wear more than 1-2 times, because I was able to experience a deeper, richer presentation of it's fruit/floral heart. The fruit/florals mix with the oakmoss as the extrait slowly lingers it's way to the base, and it is during this transition from heart to base that Parure is as it's most gorgeous.

    Parure has been discontinued as of this writing for about two years, but bottles still appear occasionally here and there. I'm on the hunt. For those of us interested in Guerlain's 'bottle history', Parure has a couple interesting notes. First, there is the wild, vintage 'wavy stopper bottle' described in Mr.Guerlain's review in which the stopper nearly dwarves the bottle. My extrait is in a mini-version of this bottle. There was also a version that came in an art-deco style 'upside down pyramid' style bottle (I'm not sure what else to call it) and boxed in a funky orange/yellow geometric 70s-style pattern printed on the box.

    25 January, 2009

    Aznavour's avatar

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    Hanae Mori (new / Butterfly) by Hanae Mori

    To be perfectly honest, this is just a slightly more refined version of all those sugar-sweet 'body sprays' they market towards young girls and women. If you like sweet and pink, then you'll love this. Personally, it gives me a headache.

    25 January, 2009

    Aznavour's avatar

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    Eau d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal

    Uh, it smells like something I'd clean a bathroom with. Then again, my tolerance for citrus (especially lemon) is limited, so I'm not the audience this is speaking to. Citrus-lovers are rightfully agog -- this delivers one whallop of a lemon bouquet, for sure.

    25 January, 2009

    Aznavour's avatar

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    Clair de Musc by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Well, it's musk -- end of story. A refined light musk that would probably layer nicely with other fragrances, but musk all the same.

    25 January, 2009

    Aznavour's avatar

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    Daim Blond by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    A sweet, slightly gristly opening that I don't identify as any fruit in particular -- nor do I want to, because I don't want to be thinking 'apricot' every time I spray this -- then fades to that beautiful suede. Simply luminous.

    But! Sillage is poor, longevity is poor, though I think part of its charm is its subtlety (or weakness -- whatever you want to call it). Not that I don't find it annoying, you know, but I wonder if I would love this so much if it lasted longer on my skin. Probably something about its ephemeral quality makes it more enchanting to me, like it's a scent I'm constantly chasing after.

    25 January, 2009

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