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Let me just preface by saying that I am a beginner and my observations are lacking accuracy in fragrance-vocabulary. My skills at identifying notes are also lacking.

I am about a month in to my fragrance hobby and I had just completed my first swap on Basenotes. My swap buddy was extremely generous by gifting me a huge selection of hand-picked samples. When he asked what I wanted to try, I told him CB I Hate Perfume Black March and Amouage Jubilation XXV. The guy did some sleuthing and added a huge selection of scents that I may be interested and and boy-oh-boy when I read which samples he included was I ever excited!
I'm going to give each a full-wearing and jot down my amature notes and first impressions. Ready?

I didn't know which one I wanted to start with. There were so many to choose from! So I picked up CB I Hate Perfume Black March as it was one of the ones I requested. It opens super earthy and super wet, and quickly dries down to a hint of vegetal florals on me. The first spritz was a surprise, even though I didn't have any preconceived notions of how it would smell. I gotta say, I couldn't stop smelling the cap. I love the top notes, and wish it lingered around longer.

Next up, Serge Lutens Gris Clair. My only previous experience with this scent was just on paper. To really appreciate the progression of this scent it needs to be on skin! It starts off lavender, lavender, lavender! I love it! I smell some almonds in the heart, and after some research it is said that tonka beans can smell like almonds. A tiny hint of cherry, and then it dries a bit masculine. I thought the progression was fun and interesting. This is a great scent.

Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan! Full of woods, incense, sweet, spices, and it smells exactly like Buddhist temples. I noticed that a lot of basenoters wear this one, and often. I really like the scent, but I think I would have a hard time finding occasions to wear this.

The next one is a funny one. I tested Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan with my sister around. Now, even though my sister isn't super into fragrances as I am, she is SO GOOD at identifying notes within a perfume (whereas I just know if I like it or not). I really like Muscs Koublai Khan. I thought it smelled really nice. Woody, sweet, awesome. My sister's first impression? "IT SMELLS LIKE ASS!!" Apparently, civet can be really obvious to some people :P


Hermessence Ambre Narguile is spicy, oriental, warm, sweet and full of cinnamon. The tonka beans are giving me a hint of almond/cherry and I realise how big of a tonka bean fan I am. For myself, this would be a great scent if the cinnamon was toned down a bit. There's just so much of it!

L'artisan Parfumeur Mechant Loupe. Now, I love the name of this fragrance. I think it's perfect. The fragrance itself is interesting. I don't really know how to put it into words but it's a strangely familiar smell to both myself and my sister. For my sister, imagery includes a large forest, rain, moss, and artisan shops. This scent isn't a superstar on Basenotes nor Fragrantica but it's a favourite of my sister and I. Might have to pick up a 50mL bottle.

Wow! I noticed that he included a sample of modern day Guerlain Shalimar and a sample of vintage Shalimar. I think it's a privilege to be given the opportunity to try this. I did this test blind (PS - never smelled any Shalimar) and upon spraying, I knew which one had to be the vintage. The vintage Shalimar is exquisite. If there is one word this scent evokes, it is the word Memory. This is the smell that lingers in the background of an antique/vintage shop, and now I know what it is! I rarely have a perfume take me to a time and place but this perfume does. The modern day formulation is still definitely Shalimar. I think they're close. However there is one thing the modern day version has and it's this slightly sharp scent, similar to eucalyptus. It is very strong in the opening, still present in the heart and then lowers its presence in the base. I'm pretty sure it's what everyone describes as the smell of 'bug repellent' in the modern day version. The vintage perfume is soft, round, and sits closer to the skin. The longer it sat on my skin the more appreciate it.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Thanks to Rubegon for widening my fragrance horizon. I can't wait to see which ones I will purchase a full bottle of.