Fragrance Reviews from February 2010

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    Calèche by Hermès

    This is a perfume for perfumistas and much older women only.
    You know what I mean, right? If you cannot get past cat pee and pampers types-of associations, don't try it. Because just about more than any other "classic", this is a challenge to behold: strident top notes, too much civet, too much powder...
    That said, *I* happen to think it's a glorious creation. And thankfully, it is one of the rare fragrances, which has a sillage that is wholly different beast from the smell on your skin...And the sillage is fabulous!

    It is, perhaps, the smell of Grace Kelly's floor-length fur, hanging in a prestigious coat check while she enjoys a meal. There is something voyeuristic about this smell for me, as if I am the coat clerk at that restaurant, sneaking a smell of something fantastically grand, forbidden opulence, and I life I couldn't ( and shouldn't) understand.
    Also, the fascination with eras gone by is a huge part of my love of Caleche. I feel like I understand history better, knowing this smell. That's why I love so many of the classics. They "take me there".

    I don't really wear it out, as much enjoy it like a fine cognac, in my *private* sphere; As of yet, I just couldn't quite pull it off.

    Please, only buy the Eau de Soie; the Edt is just water; I am serious.

    27 February, 2010

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    Rouge Hermès by Hermès

    I bought this on a whim when I was really craving some of that Hermes lushness, and it was the new offer at the time. Also, upon first sniffs, it sort-of evoked old china dolls, I guess; it has a resinous, old glue and hair quality that captured my old-stuff-lovin' attention.
    But later, I regretted this purchase so much. This is one fragrance that actually "gave me the creeps"! (Usually, I am intrigued by associations with old musty things. I like them!) But to me, Rouge felt really wrong: haunted and depressing... like discovering a papery old dress in a musty attic where someone died. It reminded me of that movie "Flowers i the Attic". I think "Mother" wore this, in "Psycho". Yikes.

    27 February, 2010

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    Balahé by Léonard

    Oddly, with its gentle plum note and its powdery dry down, it reminds me very much of Chant d'Aromes (a chypre!)! I have had the pleasure of comparing the two side by side, and Balahe is, in fact, like the Oriental sister-scent of Chant d'Aromes.

    It's a super complex scent, but another one, sadly, I would have to advise non-vintage appreciators to steer clear of. The opening is slightly challenging, and bitter, especially. But its dry down is warm, and deep.. and very comforting.

    27 February, 2010

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    Pheromone by Marilyn Miglin

    Does anyone remember the buzz around this perfume when it first was released??
    It was the MOST expensive fragrance per-ounce at that time, displacing Patou's Joy.
    It was a landmark, and incorporated "pheromones", the emerging science-Zeitgiest of the late seventies ...purportedly the very basis for sexual attraction.

    The press was so intoxicating, I don't think I knew a woman or girl who didn't procure a bottle. But there was the odd feeling that something was amiss; we weren't talking about it right away (We still wanted to see if had magical powers over men,), but this stuff *really* stank. It smelled like liquor and medicated dog shampoo.
    Eventually, after its grand machine tired out (and we all just stank instead of increased out sex-appeals), "Pheremone" left perfume discourse. It became more or less a dime store/outlet scent.
    I think it's only still around, like Giorgo, because of its little place in history, because it was an *icon*... And maybe some ladies still believe it is enchanting.

    27 February, 2010

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    Oleg Cassini for Women by Oleg Cassini


    The opening is very sweet! And cough-syrupy! But not entirely unpromising... "Maybe it's a Mackie-type Oriental? A *little* dimestore, but sexy?"

    Then...PHEW! It dries down to incense and only incense. Do you know that incense called Black Opium, favored for Rasta shops? That's the one.

    27 February, 2010

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    La Nuit by Paco Rabanne

    I am looking forward to someone's offering a formal list of notes.. But for now, this ultra-animalic contains: honey, leather, civet, musk, civet, leather and rose..LOL

    I cannot think of a more bold stroke in women's animalics. It is very reminiscent of Bal of Versailles, but also is a very powerful, eighties scent-bomb. It is sweet. It is dark, and it is hotter than hell.
    It evokes the eighties to me, grand-style parties with champagne, low-cut dresses, hair in tight buns, spiked,high-heeled sandals...birds of paradise strewn on black satin...

    27 February, 2010

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    Paloma Picasso / Mon Parfum by Paloma Picasso

    I don't like this at all now in its newest incarnation. But I never liked it.
    Everything about it says I should find it appealing: It's dark, unisex, leathery... brash.
    It just smells so cheap to me. Clearly it isn't a girly scent, but even when I imagine it as a men's scent, it's ugly. I would back away from a man who stank of this.
    Also, there is something truly noxious in the drydown, not unlike vomit. I am completely serious.
    If you want a dark, sleazy, earthy gender bender, that is an 'acquired taste', steer clear of this stuff. Get some Magie Noir instead.

    27 February, 2010

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    Bandit by Robert Piguet

    There is a very specific place for Bandit:
    In the boudoir of a woman whose fetishistic, retro fascination with fifties, tawdry-class sexuality is of the Betty Page/pin-up variety.
    This fragrance evokes black, conical, peek-a-boo bras, animal prints, pink vinyl sofas, and bondage restraints.

    Dare I say, it is not my cup of tea?

    Nonetheless, my hat is off to this truly wicked sex kitten.

    27 February, 2010

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    Donna Trussardi by Trussardi

    Yet another unsung classic leather from quality-conscious house of Trussardi!

    I was reluctant to try this for quite a while because it contains ginger, which I categorically detest in perfume. But because I have been across-the-board pleased with all the other offerings by Trussardi, and because I refuse to die having overlooked a single leathery fragrance, I caved. And luckily, not only was I unable to detect any ginger whatever, but I was also incredibly pleased. In fact, I consider Donna to be the best Trussardi had to offer. (Naturally, it got the axe.)

    Donna fills the well-rounded, chypre bill very well. And is a clear contender with some of the great leather chypre ladies of the sixties and seventies, like Miss Balmain, Parure, and the earlier Trussardi original. Like those earlier offerings, Donna has a very classic presence and is clearly a traditional effort; it's smart, it's elegant, and it's very full-bodied.
    The difference is that Donna is less of a chypre, and more of a very statuesque, old-style, floral aldehydic. And should not be overlooked in this genre by lovers of the great old aldehydics, like Rive Gauche, First, and Calandre. It is very breathy and floral and fizzy in the opening (I guess the ginger's playing its role here -- very acceptably). And the leather persona isn't actually present until its drydown, and though obvious, it has a somehow very different, much less overpowering leather personality from other leathers. Rather than remind me of a glove, bag, car, or sofa, this leather calls to mind little perfumed stoles, muffs, or dainty, fragrant watchbands -- delicate, feminine, and intimate things.

    I would classify this as a leather aldehydic, and pressed to compare it to other fragrances, I would veer toward either Patou's 1000 or Van Cleef and Arpels' First, or even Paco Rabanne's Metal.
    That said, if I did not know its release date, and was asked to smell it without any information, I would vehemently ascribe it to the 1970s, and I would be deliriously bewildered, that I hadn't encountered this outstanding, ladylike creation ever before.

    It really is a lovely, sentimental, and well-heeled lady, this one, and stands utterly peerless, as a gentile floral from the 1990s.
    What accounts for its lack of popularity. Who knows?
    I just know that I am incredibly glad for this development in my fragrance repertoire, as it's always life-affirming to be caught off guard by enchantments and to have my expectations so tremendously exceeded.

    Highly recommended for fans of beautiful, old-style aldehydics..Even more highly recommended for people who are bummed about the reformulation of 1000.

    27 February, 2010

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    Champs-Elysées by Guerlain

    Here is what I have HEARD about Champs Elysees: It's cynical. A jaded, bitter, and hopeless act, perpetrated by the too-great-for-the-modern-nose, master perfumer JP Guerlain. He demonstrates that he can crank out a bore, and that he understands what drivel comprises the "best seller". He leaves all artistry and magic out of the quotient... And low and behold, it is a runaway success. Don't we look foolish!

    Here is what I THINK: It is a well-done, classic fragrance. It demonstrates JP Guerlain's mastery in a really impressive way, since he could easily venture into a less-than-"exciting" genre, and raise the proverbial bar! Granted, it is more "accessible" than other Guerlains. But it *will* stand the test of time. It is a classic already, face it.

    And on a personal note: it's the only make-upey, creamy, floral mimosa fragrance I know that I want to smell more of!

    27 February, 2010

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    Bel Ami by Hermès

    My review is of the vintage formulation.

    Men, I feel compelled to do this top-notch fragrance justice.
    You know those perfect, *sweet*, old cars from your childhoods (or from before your birth, perhaps...ahem), which are so marvelous and gratifying, occasionally to see sailing down the street, perfectly-restored, like excess on parade? I am thinking of white convertible Cadillac Sevilles with white leather interiors, the Kennedy-vintage Lincolns with suicide doors.. OR the *even bigger* Lincolns from the seventies with the *two-toned* leather interior! They all had twelve cylinder engines, these marvels, and steering so sensitive, you could just tap the wheel and go spinning! They were sin qua non, they don't, and won't "make 'em like that" anymore, nor ever again.

    Those old cars are what I think of when I sniff 'Bel Ami'. For me, it's like a mini tour into the past, a peek back at the most decadent/ masculine aspects of its era (the eighties). SO luxurious, and sweet, and brazen. You certainly wont find this kind of quality at your department stores today!
    Both titillating and guilt-provoking.

    In fact, just like those old majestic vehicles I mentioned, 'Bel Ami' is *curiosity* -- a treat even. But not necessarily something I would be 'caught dead in'; it's just too excessive! (It's ridiculous, really.)
    Better left to the wistful, formerly-mustached man, nostalgic enough, and cheeky enough to still take it out for the occasional spin, or to the aged gentleman who still garage-parks his and putters in it only to church on Sundays...

    I am pretty sure 'Bel Ami' is responsible for its own considerable hole in the ozone.

    Highly recommended for the scent tourist and memorabilia collector.

    27 February, 2010

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    Givenchy Gentleman by Givenchy

    I actually find this to be one of the most accessible-to-women men's scents out there...
    Here's why:
    GG evokes whimsical associations with nature, woodlands, "elfin magic" and that sort of stuff! I smell fresh herbs and roots and earth,a crude leather shoulder bag, something camphorous and magical brewing...something spicy and sweet, too..hot mead???
    I daresay it's an earthy, romantic, warming, and healthful scent for either gender!!
    I have to mourn the reformulation, though...It's less natural and real in all the exciting ways...
    If you can find an old bottle, it is well worth your effort.

    27 February, 2010

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    Signoricci 2 by Nina Ricci

    My review is of the vintage version.

    At the moment I cannot think of a more appealing, more elegant, fresh-style, old-school gentleman's cologne!
    'Signoricci' is comparable in character to Dior's Eau Fraiche or Dior's Eau Sauvage, but it has an even more thoughtful, even more gentile air.
    It has a slightly buttery, spicy complexity in its opening that is very surprising in this genre. The effort to add "spice" or "creaminess" to fresher colognes all too often strikes me as forced, or antagonistic: think 'Eternity'. But in 'Signoricci', it is delicious, like a lemon tart would be with a big dollop of vanilla cream.

    I love its drydown-phase, too. It has the smell of fine soap and cream.
    And 'Signorrici' evokes the color silver for me, silver wristwatches and Silver cuff links, specifically.
    This is a true gentleman's fragrance, certainly, and wouldn't be appropriate for a showy man. And the gentleman who chooses it would seem especially understated and austere in his style ... yet totally at ease with his lack of show, as he has an undeniable, comforting sensuality.
    I have been wearing this one for myself, and it's really as accessible to women as Eau Savage or Diorella.
    I cannot recommend this highly enough to gentlemen and ladies alike. It's a classic and elegant landmark.

    27 February, 2010

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    Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne

    Ormonde Woman enchants me. I rarely make friends with sharp, almost caustic florals; my skin just makes them sour grapes. But Ormonde Woman is the kind of sharp I cannot stop inhaling. It almost sears my nose with its intensity, and I feel as if it wields a more precise blade, if you will, into my pleasure sensors!
    I think this is a sophisticated and mature scent, but it isn't a powder bomb; it isn't staid; it isn't tame, and it isn't trite.
    The drydown is even sharper than the opening. I keep catching pleasurable whiffs of myself, that refresh my nervous centers like cool breezes on a hot day!
    Some buildings and paintings hold such universal truths for me, it is as if they are proof of a cosmic, universal consciousness, a place we all know, a heavenly ideal..Ormonde Woman achieves that with scent.
    I do not conjure wooded landscapes, though, as many apparently do. I am transported to someplace, clear, crisp and ethereal, and just out of reach... as beckoning as the proverbial "light".

    27 February, 2010

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    Frapin 1270 by Frapin

    I had been wanting to try this fragrance for a long time! I awaited my decant with abated breath.

    And when it did arrive.. I was so disappointed.

    It's really a wonderful smell; it reminds me of hippie import shops in the seventies: the woods, the spices and the vanilla are all very real-smelling, and the overall effect is pretty evocative, too...maybe of an Indian grocery store?
    But it isn't -- to use a cliche -- something I would want to smell like.

    I don't see incense listed as a note, but the drydown on me was pure head-shop. Too bad!

    27 February, 2010

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    Leiber by Leiber

    I am saddened by Leiber's lack of popularity. Could this point to a short life??
    Leiber is an old school Floriental, in the Boucheron vein. Faintly reminiscent of Safari, but softer and sweeter and without the galbanum overload.
    I have such respect for the persons who pushed this classic beauty through the marketing wall. It isn't an homage to old-style Oriental compositions. It is one. And it is a lovely one at that!

    And how could I forget the bottle? It is FABULOUS...heavy, elegant, beautiful...

    27 February, 2010

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    Escale à Portofino by Christian Dior

    This definitely is a landmark, high-quality fresh scent, and it reminds me most of Eau de Lancome. It has he bitterness and garbage-y note of Eau de Rochas, though. And a little of the old-school class of Diorella. This a good addition to the Dior line. It pays homage to great old Diors and its also a much fresher offering than anything we have seen from this house for a long time. So long, in fact, I did a double take, "Oh yeah, Dior makes top notch fresh scents, too."
    Although I have more of this genre than I will wear, this one is bottle worthy and different enough from its genre-mates for me to make the investment.

    27 February, 2010

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    kitsch
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Cuir by Lancôme

    Ravishing. Glorious. Not to be missed.

    27 February, 2010

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    kitsch
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Breath of God by B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful

    Definitely give this fragrance time to develop - the initial smokiness is compelling and I certainly couldn't stop checking to find out how it would change (even *when* it would change!). Compulsive and intriguing.

    27 February, 2010

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    kitsch
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Superworldunknown by B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful

    I found this to be a delicate floral with hints of fruitiness. It was lovely, on a cold, snowy day, to catch hints of this as I soldiered along on busy city streets: it seemed warm and colourful on a cold bleak day. There was no way for me to identify individual notes as it seemed to keep changing. Very likeable, for me. (It must be different on different people.)

    27 February, 2010

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    Diamondflame
    Singapore Singapore

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    Krizia Uomo by Krizia

    Pine woods and lavender. I've smelled a louder more outrageous version of this before in Chanel Antaeus. I didn't enjoy Antaeus and I'm not surprised I like this even less. I love pine and I enjoy lavender, and this one seems well constructed. I can even imagine others enjoying it. But my personal tastes just cannot agree with the composition and the vibes it gives. There are scents that feel 'vintage' and there are scents that simply say 'old'. No prizes for guessing which category I think KRIZIA UOMO falls under.

    27 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 28 February, 2010)

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    Diamondflame
    Singapore Singapore

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    Nautica Competition (new) by Nautica

    Buy a 'generic sport-fresh' formula from a perfume manufacturer's list of hand-me-down bargain basement synthetic leftovers, package it in a fancy bottle with a fancy name, give it a little marketing spin and there we have it - NAUTICA COMPETITION.

    Same old crap. Only different bottle. Why else would they target the 18-25 year-old demographic group? There are significantly lower chances of them discovering this for what it truly is - a con job. But as they say: what you don't know won't hurt you.

    27 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 28 February, 2010)

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    Diamondflame
    Singapore Singapore

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    Bright Visit by Azzaro

    A surprisingly competent vetiver-based aquatic that comes across fresh without smelling at all synthetic. This is an under-rated gem of a workhorse fragrance in the style of Lanvin Vetyver but one that is unfortunately saddled with the burden of an insipid name.

    27 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 28 February, 2010)

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    Diamondflame
    Singapore Singapore

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    Tous by Tous

    TOUS is a fresh floral-musk composition that smells soapy-clean and very pleasant for the first ten minutes or so but gets a little tiresome thereafter. Thankfully the scent evolves enough to reveal subtle floral nuances with noticeable hints of cassia and jasmine, but not so much of the other listed flowers. If only the white musk is less heavy-handed...

    Notes:
    bergamot, coriander, violet, cassia, peony, jasmine, gardenia, rose, iris, cedar, white musk.

    27 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 28 February, 2010)

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    Diamondflame
    Singapore Singapore

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    Hugo XY by Hugo Boss

    Eh, what's this? A Hugo Boss scent I actually enjoyed??

    HUGO XY smells fresh yet subtly woodsy, wisely avoiding the jarring note of synthetic cedar found in many other similarly themed fragrances. And its cool aquatic texture imparts on the wearer a pleasantly invigorating out-of-the-shower feel, making this a decent inoffensive accessory particularly suited for the workplace or even after gym. Longevity however is a little too short, even for me.

    27 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 28 February, 2010)

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    Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

    It's intriguing that in an age of tooth decayingly sweet fragrances, AE is still on the market. But it must have a big and loyal following or Clinique would have binned it. I appreciate AE rather than like it. The worst thing is that I can taste it in my mouth as well as smell it, and that is never good. It's rather dry and formal, and in that genre I already own Miss Dior in several forms, including vintage. For herbal I have Bel Respiro, and for a sweeter and more cheerful twist, I reach for Chamade. There just doesn't seem to be a good reason to buy AE, although I do wish I could pick up those other perfumes as cheaply as AE!

    27 February, 2010

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    cheekyhamsta
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Joop! Jump by Joop!

    Joop! Jump surely has one of the great drydowns in the recent history of men’s fragrances. I find it to be an immediately likeable and very well blended sweet-fruity-woody-spicy concoction with superb longevity (8 hours easily with a few modest sprays) and a wonderfully uplifting and classy sillage that envelopes the user, and I know is generally adored by females. I find that patchouli and what I think is vanilla dominate this scent and make it smell more complex than Joop! Go! (although the latter has the edge in sheer wearability). I agree that it makes a great summer scent and IMO is already a classic, much like other well blended teutonic fragrances that include Bogner Man and Jil Sander Feeling Man. I haven’t noticed any significant difference in smell or longevity between the standard Joop! Jump and the Electric Heat variant (which is the one that I own) other than in the price, the latter being significantly lower :)). Highly recommended, even as a blind buy.

    27 February, 2010

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    cheekyhamsta
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Joop! Jump Electric Heat by Joop!

    Joop! Jump surely has one of the great drydowns in the recent history of men’s fragrances. I find it to be an immediately likeable and very well blended sweet-fruity-woody-spicy concoction with superb longevity (8 hours easily with a few modest sprays) and a wonderfully uplifting and classy sillage that envelopes the user, and I know is generally adored by females. I find that patchouli and what I think is vanilla dominate this scent and make it smell more complex than Joop! Go! (although the latter has the edge in sheer wearability). I agree that it makes a great summer scent and IMO is already a classic, much like other well blended teutonic fragrances that include Bogner Man and Jil Sander Feeling Man. I haven’t noticed any significant difference in smell or longevity between the standard Joop! Jump and the Electric Heat variant (which is the one that I own) other than in the price, the latter being significantly lower :)). Highly recommended, even as a blind buy.

    27 February, 2010

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    Armani Privé Bois d'Encens by Giorgio Armani

    After going into Selfridges for about the tenth time just to get my fix of Bois d'Encens I have had to admit that I really do love this one & must add it to my wardrobe. I've had it a couple of weeks now & find that it actually lasts quite well compared to most modern designer fragrances - not as good as classics like Mitsouko or Coco, but considerably better that Osmanthe Yunnan.

    All in all - recommended if you're looking for an incense.

    27 February, 2010 (Last Edited: 04 August, 2010)

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    jayjupes
    United States United States

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    Curve Connect for Men by Liz Claiborne

    i love this. it has no "statement" and just suits my nose and is comfortable and still "wakey wakey".
    good stuff.
    as i plow through cheapies trying to read and identify and categorize and define and learn what i like, this one is a total winner, outstripping many, but not boucheron or knowing.

    27 February, 2010

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