Thanks for the birthday wishes, all. Actually my birthday is today, the 30th.. was just forced to celebrate earlier due to my g/f and my schedule.
Some new thoughts on more of the scents, and a few revised thoughts, too. Please note that these are all based off of testing on paper!
Wazamba - good but the fruitiness in this is a bit syrupy. Actually, I noticed this in Aziyade and also in Fougere Bengal also by this house. They all have a syrupy sweetness to them. I prefer my sweetness lighter and airier. Hopefully they'll really transform on skin. The only other scent from PdE that I had tested earlier, Iskander, did NOT have any kind of thick syrup sweetness. It was a rather dry herbal orange blossom.
Aziyade - you can smell the lemon and a sort of cherry/pomegranate note along with a big dose of syrupy sweetness. It sort of smells like a glass of cherry coke with a fresh cut lemon nearby. Ok, maybe not a glass of cherry coke, but a box of the pure, undiluted syrup concentrate. The scent does smell very lush and could call to mind the scent of a sultan's feast with his harem nearby. I'm just hoping the spices come out more on my skin, as I thought this was one I would love. I really want to like it (the notes list is still amazing.. I mean, c'mon: pomegranate, crystallized date, almond, orange and prune, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, Egyptian cumin, carob, frankincense, vanilla, Madagascar vanilla absolute, patchouli, musk, cistus. Yum!) edit: I also pick up a liquor like note in the opening. I understand the comparison some have made to margaritas.
Idole de Lubin: This really smells like coca cola to me in the opening. There's a hint of some rum in there, but I have to stretch my imagination to get the "Captain and Coke" vibe, and that's just as well as spiced rum is definitely not my thing. I had a sample of this long ago and found the cedar note in the drydown to misbehave on my skin - it ended up smelling vaguely of vomit - so I'm hoping that won't be the case anymore. So far I like it a lot more than I remembered liking it last time. (You might be wondering why I'd order a sample of something I've tried and didn't like. Well, I've really come around on some of Olivia G's other creations.. I really like Dzing! now and think Navegar is an understated masterpiece, and my nose has changed so much that I thought I should give this one another chance, especially after seeing it recommended in the "smells like cola" thread. I love the smell of cola!)
Ulrich Lang Nightscape - a silvery, cool patchouli indeed. Patchouli for the 21st century. This one seems like it will be minimal but excellent.
Al Oudh - a rather flat smelling oud/rose combo. Despite smelling a bit flat on paper, it does smell good. There are hints of M7 in here, too. It smells a bit like some agarwood chips I recently picked up. It smells good but, on paper at least, it doesn't seem to break any new ground or rise above other similar scents.
Sienne L'Hiver - cold, brooding and introspective. I don't know how else to describe what I smell on paper. There is a hint of something sweet and thick that smells like white chocolate. Something cold and thick that smells like a woody/rooty orris note. It feels like I should be able to see my breath while smelling this. Rather enchanting as an atmospheric piece. Not something you'd wear for anyone but yourself.
Durbano Amethyst - a huge dose of pepper in the beginning practically obscures the raspberry and grape notes. It smells like a huge dose of iso e super and was irritating my sinuses, although it didn't smell bad at all. Actually, the juxtaposition of the airy/ethereal/peppery iso e and the sweet, yogurty, thick berry notes was really really interesting. There is a bit of a mineral accord ala Terre d'Hermes, too, which makes complete sense as this scent is supposed to represent the amethyst gemstone. On paper, after the pepper dies down it becomes a light and airy berry and vanilla with hints of mineral still present. Interesting although a bit feminine. I look forward to having my g/f test this.
Gianni Campagna - Terre d'Hermes with reduced citrus. Sadly, the iso e super does not seem to have been reduced, which I was hoping for, as it's just too much for me in TdH. I love the scent profile but it irks my sinuses every time I wear it. Maybe it's not just iso e but whatever else contributes to the mineral note, I'm not sure. Hopefully on skin this will fall somewhere between Red Vetyver and TdH, as that is what it smells like on the card. Perhaps it will be enough of a tweak to be wearable for me.
Passage d'Enfer - I just noticed that on the card, a few hours after applying, it shares a strong similarity to the sweet gingery note in Dzing! Not entirely surprising as these are both by Olivia Giacobetti. Yes, there is a definite similarity between the two. That same accord is tweaked heavily but present in Navegar, too, providing that subtle spicy sweetness that seems to hide in the background throughout the whole development of the scent. I happen to love that accord and wouldn't mind it showing up tweaked, in the same way Creed re-uses but always slightly modifies their ambergris accords, in more scents of hers. Anyhow, the scent starts with a light and airy lily note that is slightly soapy and I picked up only hints of incense. Not as feminine as I thought it might be.
Amouage Opus II - still amazing to me. After the wonderfully bracing, cool green and yet spicy golden opening (the artemisia and absinthe) that is tinged with whisps of a purple note weaving in and out (the wonderfully rendered lavender) the heart becomes a cool spicy floral. A nice dose of cinnamon that is modulated by the florals but the florals never really come front and center. The florals fade in the drydown as a dry woody note begins to emerge. This dry woody note smells amazing - it smells of the paper of old books. Not musty, just dry and comforting. The whole scent still has a cool air about it but there is a hint of warmth that keeps growing as the base emerges. It evoked thoughts of heading out into one of those cold and windy winter days, perhaps to do some christmas shopping, then coming home and being surrounded by the scent of the Christmas tree over in the corner, cinnamon sticks in your warm cider, flowers on the mantle over a crackling fire. Now free of your obligations and any reason to head back out into the blustery cold you curl up on the couch under a blanket and dig into an old book, the sound of the whipping wind against the windows now a comforting white noise reminder of just how lovely this moment, and newfound warmth, is.