Fragrance Reviews from December 2010

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    MOONB's avatar

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    Agua Lavanda by Antonio Puig

    I challenge anyone to dislike Puig's lavender water. What's not to like? A cologne that smells of fresh Spanish lavender, herbs, and sweetened by a gentle touch of tonka and moss in the base? Truly divine stuff. The scent is brisk, green, ephemeral, and put simply, it smells amazing. Get the 7 oz glass splash, not the stuff that comes in plastic.

    25 December, 2010

    MOONB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Le Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier

    Of all the heavily synthetic department store frags I've tried, Le Male stands alone as the obnoxiously flamboyant imbecile who makes all the other low brow offerings seem deep, sophisticated, wearable. What's with his sailor outfit? This the Village People here? And while I'm at it, am I to assume that a large percentage of the $90 price tag is attributable to the soup can packaging? Nice to see the focus is on the fragrance. This guy is better left in 1996.

    25 December, 2010

    MOONB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop

    Tea Rose is fascinating in that it eschews the bottom-shelf trend of making a soliflore smell sweet and musky (read "girly"), and goes the opposite direction with obvious enthusiasm, and to some success. Instead of transparent nectar and fruit over a white musk frame, the synthetics articulate an old, dry, almost fetid flower - one with considerable presence and staying power. There is something masculine in how the dankness is allowed to persist on an otherwise-uninspired rubbery base. While the flower smells competent, its pairing with cheap and plasticine basenotes is less than stellar; the sparse composition threatens to cloy within an hour. And cloy it does. Wear sparingly for the pleasant "old rose" effect, and keep a nostril on the silage factor. This site says Tea Rose is feminine - I say it's fine for men, and a true bargain to boot.

    25 December, 2010

    MOONB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Fahrenheit by Christian Dior

    Fahrenheit, like Grey Flannel, was a fragrance that I put off trying for a long time. I felt it was right there with Cool Water and Polo as one of those "blah" scents, the kind you've smelled a million times on a million people over the course of millions of parties, pow-wows, and Pinot Noir tastings. Well okay, maybe not Pino Noir tastings. But you get the idea.

    Of course, upon trying it, I found Fahrenheit to be different from anything else I'd smelled. The burst of petroleum and violet leaf from the top, joined later by sweet violets and honeysuckle, was quite enjoyable. The petroleum note persists through the drydown, lending the fragrance a perverse masculinity in the face of all those nectared flowers. The black tar smell is unique, a little dirty, and finds tension with the greener elements in the middle and base. I love violet, and enjoy honeysuckle, so Fahrenheit is my "other" Grey Flannel. There are some similarities - violet leaf, violet, and oakmoss are shared themes here. But while Grey Flannel broods in its wet, earthy shade, Fahrenheit blooms brightly. Two thumbs up.

    25 December, 2010

    MOONB's avatar

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    Quorum by Antonio Puig

    As '80s as it is, Quorum should come with a user's manual; the current formula is temperamental and tricky to use. When I first tried it last summer on warm, sweaty skin, it smelled of brutal cigar tobacco and cumin. A dry, dark, foreboding scent if ever there was one. Then in the fall I gave it another go, and found it to be more citrusy, green, and wearable. Maybe Quorum needs cool, dry air to work. There's also the question of how much to apply: with more than four spritzes, the cheery grapefruit top becomes saccharine and cloying. With two or three spritzes, the composition of grapefruit, woods, and tobacco remains balanced. In this dosage, and in low temps, Quorum is a winner, and smells manly and wonderful.

    25 December, 2010

    manicboy's avatar

    United States United States

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    Aramis 900 by Aramis

    Rich in rosewood, carnation, & patchouli, A900 feels bigger, bolder and deeper than it should. The patchouli is prominent but Chant did a clever thing here in blending in rosewood to make this really earthy and natural without the headshop feel. Similar to Guy Robert's Equipage where the rosewood dominates, there's a certain laidback and quiet ease with which A900 operates despite it's 70's birth-date. Brother to Aromatics Elixir but approved for men. Quite simply, Autumn in bottle. Spray some on and see the leaves turn to a deep orange. Haunting in the best way possible.

    25 December, 2010

    manicboy's avatar

    United States United States

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    Catalyst for Men by Halston

    Catalyst is a really a monument built on sage and cloves. If you don't like either, then it's best you move politely along. If you long for bold spices, then Catalyst is your frag. There's nothing polite in this frag as the sage really hits hard in the opening blast. Cloves follow with the 1-2 punch and rounds out with a surprisingly light wood/musk accord. This should have came out in the 70's but it came out in, shock, 1994. Out of step and in your face, finally a powerhouse frag that your children can claim as their own.

    25 December, 2010

    manicboy's avatar

    United States United States

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    Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin by Lolita Lempicka

    A rather simple blend of anise and vanilla that at first seems off-putting if you don't like anise. But the anise gives way to the delightful vanilla and praline that smells exquisite and certainly doesn't last long. A strong first few hours then nothing. If only Menardo could have figured out how to prolong the drydown, this could have been a masterpiece. Spray it on a fabric to prolong the glory. Despite this, I give LLaM, a positive review.

    25 December, 2010

    Johnny5's avatar



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    Blue Sugar by Aquolina

    After extensive use, the common theme for me is lack of longevity (about 4 hours on me) and projection. The lack of projection is not a big deal really, because I don't want to walk around smelling like a candy store to everyone in a 10 foot radius anyway. As for the longevity, it goes from the top notes to the noticable overtaking of the basenotes in about 2 hours. Then, about 2 hours later I really have to wonder if I used it that day or not. There is usually lingering hints of tastiness on my clothes the next morning, but it's faint. The Mandarin, Patchouli, and Lavender usually don't even show up for me, it's generally a long but quick shift from top notes to base notes. But the short time I have with the base notes are better than the initial application IMO, a very delightful experience.
    Don't misunderstand, I LOVE this fragrance simply because it's unique and smells wonderful, and I have gotten some good comments about it. I just would like it more if it lasted a few hours longer. However for the price, it's well worth it. If you like SWEET, I don't see how you won't enjoy this one.

    25 December, 2010

    scentsitivity's avatar

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    Ambra Nera by Farmacia SS. Annunziata

    A rich, complex amber. Somewhat powdery, particularly in the opening and tending toward feminine. Not for me, but certainly worth considering, particularly for a lady in my opinion.

    25 December, 2010

    scentsitivity's avatar

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    Balsam by Agraria

    I am in a minority here. Smells like cheap shampoo to me.

    25 December, 2010

    GRIM's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Michael for Men by Michael Kors

    At the antipode of unisex colognes for sure, the tag-team combinations of pipe tobacco/suede & dried fruits/dark plum make it a boozy leather scent that screams masculinity.Cloying by nature, this makes it perfect for use during the colder seasons.
    I see this one as the daddy of Dirty English.

    25 December, 2010

    MOONB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Aqua Velva Ice Blue by Williams

    As it is a bottom shelf aftershave, I don't want to pick on Ice Blue. The smell is pleasant enough, with a generous dose of mentholated mint and mossy amber. There are some facets of this fragrance that don't seem to work very well - I really can't identify it, but something in the middle lends a darkness that doesn't work. Perhaps a synthetic leather note? The drydown is rapid, and this is gone in an hour, so it doesn't matter. Worth it if you like alcohol-based aftershaves, but unfortunately sold in plastic now.

    25 December, 2010

    MOONB's avatar

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    Clubman Special Reserve by Pinaud

    Gotta agree with Shamu here, although I don't know if I would go so far as to dismiss other leathers. But for the money, Special Reserve delivers, and then some. I don't know who said it first, but recently I read of this being compared to the smell of an old, freshly-oiled baseball glove. That couldn't be more dead on. From the bottle, SR is a disaster. You get sugared spices and monstrous patchouli that seems impossible to wear. Application to skin brings things into focus - the spices assemble rapidly around the oakmoss and patchouli, with coumarin and bone-dry cinnamyl alcohol preserving the touch of sweetness at the scent's core. The result is a soft leather, dry and clean. I can't say if this blows hundred-dollar leathers out of the water, but I'm certain it could be decanted into a square glass Domenico Caraceni atomiser and sold as "Gentlemen's Club" for $120.

    25 December, 2010

    MOONB's avatar

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    Clubman by Pinaud

    I purchased my 6 oz bottle of Clubman 2 years ago, and am currently halfway through it. I enjoy wearing Clubman, and reach for it often (I only shave once a week), but it's awfully strong. The density of the scent could be toned down a notch. However, if you're looking for something that captures that just-got-a-haircut smell, Clubman is it. There is no other. It dries down to the barest hint of rose, oakmoss, and talcum powder. It's a good aftershave, but also merits use as a cologne. At $1 an ounce, you can't go wrong. Unless you put too much on, in which case someone should arrest you on charges of disturbing the peace.

    25 December, 2010

    nans's avatar

    Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi

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    Ambra del Nepal by I Profumi di Firenze

    Creamy, sweet amber and vanilla...but not cloyingly so. It has a slight smoky, dirty quality to it, that makes sure you don´t just smell like vanilla cake. I love this in the winter and at one time my neighbor at the table remarked on the lovely smell (everybody had to sniff after that). The best remark of the evening: "it smells like a real women, not sickly girly sweet and not stinky fierce like other women perfumes"!

    25 December, 2010

    scentsitivity's avatar

    United States United States

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    Raw Vanilla by Coty

    This start out doughy to me but that goes away quickly. A slight metallic note follows. All of this on top of a woody vanilla with tropical tones to it. Not my favorite, but I think it would be wearable. Certainly affordable.

    25 December, 2010

    le mouchoir de monsieur's avatar

    France France

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    Nuit de Noël by Caron

    How heart warming it is to consider that in 1922 Ernest Daltroff called his latest creation "the Night of Christmas," or, as it is said in English, Christmas Eve. The hush that spreads over Paris on December 24th is something one should make a point of witnessing at least once. A certain inference we can make, those of us who have again and again walked through it, sometimes under the snow, is that, in 1922, France was so very much more French. Today and for as long as I can remember, the people of France have shown a very specific "Christmas Spirit," unlike that of other Catholic countries. Apparent is neither Italian exuberance nor any other kind of wild fervor, but more a kind of reverential distance, steeped in formal Orthodox Faith. In France, on the Night of Christmas, there is a sense of holiness that is palpable, and...touching. Caron's "Nuit de Noel" is appropriately dainty in its flight: Strangely evocative of the Angelic, it is the scent of frozen evening air gently wafting through full bodied red roses, somewhat overblown. This chill fades over the course of the flight, giving way to a kind of olfactive Divine Liturgy of incenses, with a resinous benzoin in the staring role. Ernest Daltroff must have suffered from a touch of nevrosis, for there is a kind of chaos remarkable in all of his creations, and not just a small dose of melancolia. Nuit de Noel is united to all the other Carons by it's shady cacaphony of notes, so many that the whole is somewhat perplexing, resulting in fragrances so intricate, they defy analytical description. Where Guerlain was always organic, Caron was kaleidoscopic. The name Guerlain also carried with it, and still does to this day, a vague tinge of bas bleu "compagnard" that Caron could never suggest, thus the myth of "Grandes Dames wore Caron and Coquettes wore Guerlain." Realistically, and from an intrinsically French point of view, this comparison should be interpreted more as "Paris High Society vs. life in the Provinces," or perhaps a kind of self-imposed exile from the norm.
    It is safe to say that in 1922, very many considered Caron to be a more informed and refined choice of perfumerie than Guerlain, as difficult as that is to imagine today. When Couturier Patou entered the fragrance arena in the mid twenties, with blends available strictly to the clients of his Haute Couture salons, it is also likely that more Caron devotees jumped ship than did fans of Guerlain. Caron compositions are more like those of Patou, their density and overwrought structure having little in common with "Guerlinades." None of the Caron fragrances have aged particularly well, Nuit de Noel being no exception: There's a depth to it, a kind of neo-gothic romance that's all powder, silk, swan's down and rouge: A very Grande Dame indeed, perched at her dressing table surrounded by dozens and dozens of red roses, burning pastilles and furiously applying make-up, en route, perhaps, to a funeral on Christmas Eve, or so it appears to us today. Then, this emotional and highly dramatic depth was considered the very height of chic, much in the way wan fragrances that smell of watermelon are today. Admittedly, there is something slightly disquieting about discovering a charmeuse-clad Lady powdering her decolletage, arms, hands, face and neck on the alter of a Catholic cathedral in the midst of the solemn and Holy things that manifest on the night of Christmas: Thus is the confusion of Caron, an abstraction born of nevrosity, the hallmark of Ernest Daltroff. No Caron worthy of its name would ever just give itself over, for these are fragrances that could aptly carry the coveted banner of "bewitching." Acting very like the other Caron Greats, Nuit de Noel is a kind of stain: It never goes away-and must "wear off," a process that can last for days, over multiple baths, and noticeably vary each time it is applied: The same bottle of Nuit de Noel may wear differently from one day to the next, inexplicably, surprising the wearer as no other perfume I have ever experienced: Something about it is obviously overly reactive to body chemistry, itself an unpredictable mystery perhaps more easily explained and understood from a purely medical perspective.
    Only the flight, a two hour affair, which itself has an identity all its own, could be considered remotely "wearable" by today's standards. For the rest of its 20 plus hours, Nuit de Noel will most definitely not go unnoticed. This is a Great Perfume with complexities that are guaranteed to be misinterpreted and very sadly not remotely understandable to most modern noses: Rather than evoking the sublime and holy hush of a snowy Paris night at Christmas, it may awaken memories of a funeral parlor engaged in a very religious open-casket wake, or, alternately, a silent movie-era vampire drama, both veiled in heaps and heaps of make up, and a dim, candle-lit gloom. A very solemn hymn is Nuit de Noel--and the enigma of a wildly attractive and ultra-chic sensation of a scent, no doubt considered daring and sexy in its time, that somehow ended up being conceivably the perfect choice for a dignified and pious woman in morning desirous of solitude. One of the last commercial perfumes to have retained its bottle and packaging unaltered to this day, and a beautiful bouquet of quiet, introverted thoughts, Nuit de Noel is a treasure for being the very precise illustration of a reverent culture that is out of the question today. Hopefully, we will find it in our hearts to be thankful for it, and, in the True Spirit of Christmas, be wonderstruck, if only for a mere fleeting instant. From deep within the blackness, and through the chill of a cold winters night, a distant and alien star mysteriously shines: Do you see what I see?

    25 December, 2010

    rickbr's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    Lauder for Men by Estée Lauder

    At first, i thought that this could go on a pee-animalic direction, but (thanks God) it didn't went it it. Lauder for Men is an elegant aromatic chypre on my skin. At first i get a short blast of clary sage, the same way that Dior Jules open. But then, the clary sage relaxs and gives space for the dry,green, mossy aroma of galbanum to appear. But galbanum didn't dominate the scent too, and then i get a dry berry aroma, that balances the mossy and sage facets of the opening. It's clear a classic and complex opening, something of high quality and that you barely see this days. Then, the scent seems to diminute a little it's voice and goes to a mossy, woody, patchouli base. The heart notes are almost absent on me, i get only a short smell of carnation, that goes away and gives space to the base to reign on skin. While smelling it, i got intrigued that the compositon in it's overall aroma reminded me of something. Then i was able to identify it: this is the father of Guerlain's Coriolan. But the father has more flesh and bone than his son, and last more and more noticeable on skin. I think it's one of the best 80's fragrances that i have tried so far.

    25 December, 2010

    Francop's avatar

    Spain Spain

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    Montaigne by Caron

    Fantastic winter scent; heavy and sweet but refined and warm.

    This concert notes of jasmine, vanilla and sandalwood produce the greatest of symphonies for hours...

    An absolute treasure for a scent lover...big thumbs up...!

    25 December, 2010

    Grottola's avatar

    United States United States

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    Original Vetiver by Creed

    Original Vetiver is a clean, soapy, buttery-rich vetiver fragrance with a bright citrus opening to help boost the vetiver and a warm base of Sandalwood to enhance its smooth masculinity. Of course, this is definitely a concentrated fragrance and lasts a while on me, and the sillage is great as well. If you're looking to get into vetiver fragrances, this is a great place to start, but be aware of the price tag; however, I think it's worth it. This is a soapy, clean and fresh vetiver that is very accessible and enjoyable. It's not my FAVORITE vetiver, but it's very nice! Even people that aren't Creed fanatics, like myself, can appreciate Original Vetiver. When you want a clean, fresh, and soapy fragrance, I'd look no further than this - go ahead and treat yourself, this one is worth it. The matching Hair and Body wash is also very rich.

    25 December, 2010 (Last Edited: 02 January, 2011)

    MOONB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Paris by Yves Saint Laurent

    Paris is an old-fashioned violet and rose perfume for women, with some potential on the right man. The blending is superb, there are powdery notes, enlivened by aldehydic action off the top, and a supremely abstract red rose blowing through the middle like a breeze through an indoor Parisian cafe. In fact, the whole fragrance is of this, the way air smells after it wafts and collects everyone's perfume. The only thing missing is cigarette smoke. Paris is likable, retro, and alluring. It's time it made a comeback.

    25 December, 2010 (Last Edited: 04 January, 2011)

    blueyezz's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Sycomore (new) by Chanel

    I’ve been on a quest to find my perfect incense fragrance and I may have found it in Sycomore.

    From the monochrome architectural box to the tactile flagon with minimalist label and magnetised stopper, everything about this is quality.

    On me this is a linear scent, rarely straying from the grassy, woody vetiver, incense and unlit cigarette tobacco those dry/moist-magic materials suggest.

    There is a simplicity not given to flights of fancy or historical recreation like other frags in this line. When I wear it I feel like I radiate a warm aura of smokey, pungent intensity.

    To my nose this comes from the same incense-y family as Ormonde Jayne Man, but without the cloying sweetness. It could also be compared to Malle’s French Lover, which goes flat on my skin but can be intoxicating on others. C d G’s Avignon is a too literal for me, no interpretation, just High Mass and pew polish. Beautiful in a church - and extraordinary to have available to sniff from a bottle - but too fancy-dress for me to wear with confidence.

    I wear Sycomore more than any other fragrance in my collection. Sillage is average and a couple of sprays lasts about 6 hours, which is fine for an edt and remarkable on my perfume eating skin.

    25 December, 2010 (Last Edited: 07 January, 2011)

    Grottola's avatar

    United States United States

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    Escada Homme by Escada

    Escada Homme is a warm, ambery booze fragrance that is very masculine and comforting. Of course, like most men's fragrances before the aquatic boom when masculinity and projection went out of style, it lasts a long time and projects well.

    So, is this what the old Nicole Miller for Men smelled like?

    25 December, 2010 (Last Edited: 09 January, 2011)

    Grottola's avatar

    United States United States

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    Tiffany for Men by Tiffany

    Tiffany for Men is a classic masculine fragrance that I'm glad to own. I have to be in the mood to wear it, but it never lets me down. It's a very floral, powdery oriental like Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentrée (released the same year and also by Jacques Polge), however it smells more refined and classy. I usually hate powdery fragrances, but this one is tolerable and complex.

    Tiffany for Men can be a doozy for many fellas, but when approached with an open mind it's not so bad, and will most likely grow on you over time.

    25 December, 2010 (Last Edited: 08 February, 2011)

    Grottola's avatar

    United States United States

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    L'Eau D'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake

    I don't like Issey as much as I used to. Even though it's much better than Acqua di Gio, it's still a headache-inducing chemical mess, and certainly nowhere near my top choices for a citrus fragrance.

    25 December, 2010 (Last Edited: 07 March, 2011)

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    212 Men by Carolina Herrera

    This fragrance is to die for (again, only in Summer). It reminds me of fresh cut green grass. So pleasant and at the same time so modern, even after 11 years, it smells great on me. Sometimes, i couldnot get enough, so I even wear it in winter, mostly when I am at home.
    Ladies love this but the downside is that this is one of the most popular colognes and almost every young man has this. That will not stop me from buying this. Great refreshing smell and lasts decent hours (5-8).

    26 December, 2010

    jackrumorz's avatar



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    Allure Homme Sport by Chanel

    This fragrance has been around for a while but I never got this because Chanel is mostly expensive. I got this only a month back. I was so disappointed by Chanel after trying Bleu De Chanel, that I did not even try this while testing the Bleu. Then, a friend of mine was wearing this for a meeting early morning one day. It was so pleasant and he said it was allure homme sport. I knew I had to get this.
    I tried it and it was great, ladies loved me. I went out and bought a 3.4oz bottle. Totally worth the $76 price tag. Again, it's chanel, so it's a little creamy in the base notes. Top and heart are very sophisticated, very classy and a definite white collar material.
    This will not get you popular in the club or bars, also, I would say this is for a little mature audience, people over 28-30 in age. I would buy this again because I am draining down the bottle and it's not at all over-powering.

    26 December, 2010

    jackrumorz's avatar



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    Essential by Lacoste

    Ok, let me first say, please do not be scared to try this for the neutral rating.
    That being said, I prefer 212 Men by Carolina Herrera over this. This is along the same line, fresh clean cut grass with a hint of citrus. The real problem is that it gets lost after 3 or so hours. Although, Lacoste claims a new technology that will re-project the fragrance if we start to sweat or our body gets warm/hot due to physical activity. So, you can't wear this in offices because it dies fast. I own a bottle of this, this is not offensive at all, even if you apply 4-5 sprays, so I use it in the summer evenings or during workout.
    To me, a $60 cologne for workout or just evening use is expensive. If you plan to buy this, please try both 212 Men (original) and this. Your taste might differ than mine.

    26 December, 2010

    blues singer's avatar



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    Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel

    I have worn this fragrance for to 32 years..wow. I was discussing with my son today who is 22, his experience ala Al Pacino with a woman at a cocktail lounge recently. (he loves this story) He met an older woman, and as she was leaving he held his hand out like the gentleman he has grown to be. and she hugged his neck briefly. He put his face close to her neck and in that moment as I am sure he will every single time he smells this scent his whole life (as his mother has worn it his entire life) he inhales, leans very closely to her ear and whispers.. Anais anais......quietly. ahhh so sweet. She virtually swoons and he says.(and yes he is gorgeous, a german gyspy..) ahhh the scent of a jazz bar, the scent of unknown things the scent that will fool a man, .. when he thinks he has you pegged... the undertones the essence, the basenote of the mystery of this scent comes forth.. She of course hands him her room key(how could she not?!)and he declines.. my son. a jazz blues guitarist. his mama a jazz singer. a blues singer my whole life. My child says mama, that smell is like home, and love and warmth and beauty and Paris. I took him to the factory there. or was it Nice? or GRASSE..well France!darnit
    so. we make an experiment this Christmas night... WHAT is it that makes this smell so very compelling.. what is the mystery that has held me captive my entire life, hence my googling the overtones undertones of this scent that is part of me,.and my child. I couldnt explain it.. I tired to before I found the answer.. I said "Steffen I always think I wont like it anymore, or that I wont be swept away every time I smell it.. I've tried to wear other perfumes throughtout the years. well not that much yet. this is the way I descibed it. so clean so floral and yet WHAT was that undertone that made it umm not patchulesque.. but something... something like incense. Now I know. how could I have not?.. sandlewood. yes of course.. How brillant is that? an otherwise boring old lady scent... the sandlewood changes it all. It fools you. it encaptures and compels.
    I have a tattoo of that flower. If you knew me Im not the kind to wax profound over perfume.. maybe a sunset, mayhap the look of love in one I love as well. but perfume. Yet.. that is the way of it. In this lifetime it will be the scent of me, my memories my loves.. and in my sons and his children as he told me tonight(naturally he gave it to me for my Christmas present.) he said"mama, I will keep your bottles and I will show my children and they will know how my mama smelled and how much I love you. mom. My grandchildren will know much like my son does about my mother.. something intimate and singular to me..
    and yes sister, who posted before me,with such eloquence, it does indeed smell like a smokey jazz bar in Paris and yes the fishnet stockings would naturally be there. and yes. there is more to us than meets the eye.
    Merry Christmas all.
    May you meet Mystery at every corner, with joy and expectation and may there be more to you as well.. than meets the eye.
    sweetly
    sara

    26 December, 2010

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