Thanks for the quick reviews. At least those were samples you bought blind and not full bottles. Please share more once you get your next samples in.
I just bought a round of samples from Luckyscent, including their Summer Pack, just to expose me to some different ideas. When they arrived I masked the names on the vials with tape, mixed them up, then numbered them and took notes while trying them. All of these are just first impressions from the first try, not from full wears.
One thing I notice now, doing these blind, is that I notice the colour of the juice more. It was important to me to smell each frag without expectations on what note to expect, or preconceptions of how to interpret those notes, and free from the name and image marketed with the scent. I’d wished that I done this with my last couple batches of samples.
7. As clear as water. It starts soft, soapy. redolent of white flowers, and slightly green becoming fruit sweet with a natural, mouthwatering juicy winter melon note. Feels feminine, pefume-like, reminding me of Hiris based around something other that iris. As the green-ness becomes stonger in drydown, it becomes more like avocado – unpeeled whole avocado, touched with a whisper of salt and tinged with a slight bitterness - I suspect that this is Mare. The composition fuses or devolves into that more typical haze of synthetic freshness, like a greener cousin of the Hermes Jardins, a perfumed aquatic Jardin de Gio, with that edge of harshess that some of the L’Artisans have; sweet, dewed, melony, underlaid with a touch of creaminess like Crabtree & Evelyn’s avocdao soap: Creative Universe Mare.
8. Amber blooms from the vial almost as soon as it is unstoppered. A pale tawny color suggested oriental, but I can’t pull any distinct notes from the initial blast of the Lutensesque ambery sweetness. I think of Le Dandy, Douce Amere. This was never my style of oriental, with this brighter, higher pitch. There are spices in there, pungent, but smothered in honey. As it dries down the honey receeds, and that pugency peeks out, floral and bitterly spicy, like a mound of fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg – not the candy cinnamon of Envy, but incence-like. Further, it coalesces into the image of a fragrant floral honey, dusted with fresh ground, bitter spices: Maitre Parfum et Gantier Fleur de Comores.
13. A more solid light amber in color. This one is very soapy. As strongly soapy as Mugler Cologne this is a floral soap, a very nice floral soap, the scent of a shop dealing in fine perfumed soaps. Very dry, otherwise it would be out of the shower fresh (is there a soapy aquatic?) - it is very much like unwrapping a bar of dry soap and getting hit with that initial outtburst of fragrance. I don’t know the different notes of flowers to deconstruct this, so for me this is just that dryly pungent melange of flowers that we equate with soap. It softens nicely as it dries down, probably the best soapy fragrance I’ve been exposed to: Jala St. Barth
1. Very odd. This one is as clear as water, but the scent itself is a shock. I reflexively pull away from it. Have you ever watched a cat approach something uncertain? Sweet, very sweet in a stomach turning way. There is a note here that is very repellent, some kind of musk perhaps. There is something unpleasant beneath the sugar and flowers on top – or it may just be the flower itself. I have to wash this off right now (it proves to be painfully tenacious): Kai Eau de Parfum.
10. At the first drop, cinnamon, vetiver, vanilla, powder. Sweet. Lightly confectionary, like something dusted with powdered sugar – the way confectioners sugar hangs in the air. Very smooth, a light gourmand. There is an undercurrent somewhere between marzipan and amaretto, which becomes cakelike in full drydown: Pi Fraiche eau Legere, hah: Parfums de Nicolai Maharadjah.
12. Dried apricots, followed by that Ellena-like perfumed Jardin bloom. It becomes more peachy - Jardin de Chinoise? A lotion-like element arises, and the drydown smells like moisturizer: Ebba By Sand.
4. The brief initial wash of amber becomes peppery, floral. This is strikingly peppery, perhaps with a touch of smokiness. The color is dark amber, bespeaking its bad intentions. It is still ambery sweet beneath the peppery freshness, an intersting juxtaposition. It reminds me of a sample of L’Instant PH which I had which had a prominent peppery note, but which was absent in the full bottle and a subsequent decant (the latter two were identical in fragrance). This is smooth and abrasive all at once, it is fascinating and it is hard to stop sniffing at it: Idole de Lubin.
11. It starts with something a little funky on top of a cheap soapiness. It reminds me of Kai without the cloying sweetness, though some sweetness comes in as the drydown. Something a bit oriental, amberish, but light – like a very distant cousin to Geir; very distant. Theres a touch of something iris-like beneath the funkiness, but my growing queasiness tells me it is not worth exploring further: Parfums de Nicolai Pour Homme.
3. This one opens with freshly watered flowers. There’s a green, celery-like note, possibly vetiver. That slides back under a sweetned haze of white flowers, to re-emerge again. At a guess, a light vetiver and soft, too sweet florals. I've never come around on vetiver before, and it may be time to give up: Parfums de Nicolai New York.
4. By process of elimination and its rose colour this has to be Padparadscha: a bit of amber, smoky, very spicy but with notes I find off putting – perhaps a little too pungent, smelling like a spice rack. It reminds be a bit of that peppery spiciness of Idole, but lacking support. Its sweetness is thin, un-nuanced and unintegrated, the pungency of the spices burns the sensory palate. It softens a bit in drydown, but on the whole an incomplete, imbalanced oriental: Satellite Padparadscha.
5. At first it is like putting on water – nothing. Then very light, some melon. Some distant florals. It becomes more feminine, more florally perfumed. I’m getting quite sick of these sweet melony aqua fragrances – this one is Acqua di Giovanna. It is so light it disappears even when you are looking for it: Mark Birley for Men.
9. Coconut! Milky and green.The smell of a whole coconut – only lightly sweet, not a coconut confection. The scent becomes a little play-doughy, with some saltiness. It doesn’t go anywhere from there, just play-dough: Mazzolari Marina.
6. This is play-dough straight out of the vial – and strongly so. Amber, dusky and darker than the light yellow color of the juice would suggest. Some muted florals, but playdough. I’ve had the playdough problem happen before with another amber (Ambre Sultan): Calypso Figue.
2. This one is creamy, starting like moisturizer. It is joined with an alcoholic lime citrus note, and a candy sweetness. It brings back a faded memory of Zima and it drys down into a bad mixed drink involving Red Bull: Ebba by Sea.
On the whole a dissapointing run, I’m feeling I should change my name to Serpent the Younger. But it does show the value of samples. I hate spending money on them, but there are at least two here that I was tempted to buy full bottles for based on the descriptions, and those would have been very disappointing puchases. I’m going to give a few full wears, but I don’t see any full bottles or even decants in this group. Still, the jasmine-centered Jala has pointed me to try things in a different direction. Time for more samples…
I loved the way you did this. I wonder if I would love a fragrance for its own, and not a name associated with it. That way, no preconceptions.
I really liked this as well and enjoyed reading the reviews! Come back with more.
Great idea to mask them! I thought about doing the same with my big bunch of samples...prejudice and expectation often ruin the true olfactory experience.
I'm wearing Jala right now and am really enjoying the drydown period. From the reviews of this I've looked at since, this point is mainly jasmine, so I'm making a list of the better jasmine soliflores to try out. So far I've got:
Lutens A La Nuit
before I shove off entirely since I got a direct question from Carlos about jasmine de nuit, I will also offer my little rebuttal to the "aqua di giovanna" comment about mark birley!
I mean I knew that a beating was awaiting our team but never counted on an attempted castration! I am new enough that I dutifully attempted a search for "giovanna" before I understood that this gal's name was an attempt to compare MB to the reviled-by-the-upper-tier-of-basenotes aqua di gio!
WELL, I happened upon a bottle of aqua di gio today and when squirted it on my hand I sort of shuddered: it was definitely similar to MB right out of the bottle. I heard piper laurie's words "They're all gonna Laugh at you!"
HOWEVER!!! the drydown is in the words of some of our most discerning, "COMPLETELY DIFFERENT"!!! MB is not this awful "fresh citrus" thing in the end (heck gio smells more like cdg Soda than like MB in the drydown) instead it's incensey and much darker and not pungent with ginger or whatever. It's decidedly "sexy clean" and not "squeaky clean" fresh as a lemon slice or whatever. . . !!
(I responded on the Jasmin thread, then moved it over here: )
Ha ha, I'll have to send Mr Birley an apology note. As far as the "Giovanna," that is only that it was more floral to me.
I gave it a full wear today, and it actually seems like it would be a good office scent, which is what I am looking for, so I am going to get a decant. I think its turn in my first impressions series had it come after a lot of very sweet womens aquas, so I was pretty burned out on them at that point. And of course, since the scent is so light I had to wear a bit more to get the full experience.
Anything from these first impressions that wasn't actually repugnant, will still get a full wear or two.
Part of my thing is that I really love strong dark orientals - but the truth is they have never worked for me for daytime - not even in winter. Daytime/office fragrance for me is about completing the morning toilette and the confidence of knowing that you smell good. This means a lighter, fresher scent. I can still have my "cake" scents in the evening. I find Idole interesting, but as I took a quick whiff this morning as I considered putting it on, it was like: I can't wear that to work!
One thing I can give Birley a thumbs up, after wearing it today is the total lack of chemical harshness which is prevalent in so many other fresh scents. It is very smooth and very natural. It may be a little on the sweet side for me, but it is worth exploring a bit further with a decant.
Last edited by Carlos; 29th August 2006 at 01:53 AM.
I think a nice thing about mark birley is how you have to use a lot then you have this drydown good ness all over you and just the right sillage if you just spray yourself everywhere and your clothes.
well good, I like the restoration of mr b's parts that seems to be happening. this is after all a creation of Pierre Bourdon, and it's not something made for mass consumption, so, likely it's not "just another" anything! Maybe there was a desire to do something in the vein of miss gio, but... in a very subservsive way perhaps...
idole, not for work. unless maybe what's left over on you from the night before.
ok I am going to make one more post and then I gotta go, butI am going to shout from the rafters about a deal I got. . .