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  1. #1

    Default Ordered a bunch of samples, mostly rose-related

    Unlike probably most of the people here, I'm more interested in making perfume than collecting it. Still, I'm certainly no master perfumer yet.. and even if I'm making my own stuff, it never hurts to have some inspiration and examples.

    Accordingly, I've sent off for a handful (figuratively speaking) of samples.. mostly in the direction I'm trying to go with my own blending experiments. Who knows.. maybe one of them will be exactly what I was trying to make the whole time (though I have doubts).

    The list:

    Idole de Lubin
    Balenciaga Portos
    Serge Lutens Chene
    Czech & Speake No. 88
    Montale Black Aoud
    Donna Karan Black Cashmere
    10 Corso Como
    Domenico Caraceni 1913
    Le Labo Rose 31
    L'Artisan Voleur de Roses
    Clinique Aromatics Elixir
    Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta
    Guerlain Heritage EDT

    Reviews to follow as they arrive.

  2. #2

    Vivek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Ordered a bunch of samples, mostly rose-related

    I'm a fan of Colonia Assoluta, Aromatics, Rose 31, 10 Corso Como, Black Aoud and Chene. Also, I love Idole de Lubin

    Good choices, would love to hear what you think of them

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ordered a bunch of samples, mostly rose-related

    Great choices,i really love the AdP Colonia Assoluta & Black Aoud.
    Currently wearing: The Dreamer by Versace

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ordered a bunch of samples, mostly rose-related

    Hi there,

    Well - I am making my own perfumes too. But I also really like to enjoy perfumes as well. Smell them, trying to analyse, see what the concept it can have, read about fragrant pyramide and commercial version of concept.

    What I read in perfumery books and courses is that it is very common in this branch to learn from "the Masters" by smelling, analysing and trying to copycat (for educational purposes).

    But it also fun just to mix raw materials and see what the combination smells like.

    My first Chypre perfume I made from mixing and modification of two other Chypre formulae. It did try what effect it makes on people. If interested you can read about it at

    Have you found Yahoo groups of hobby and professional perfume makers already?

    Currently wearing: Thé Vert by Yves Rocher

  5. #5
    Mikey Q's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Chicago area

    Default Re: Ordered a bunch of samples, mostly rose-related

    I'd add Rose Poivree to the list...a softer and more complex version of VdR to me. Completely different drydown. RP is way more versatile to me.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ordered a bunch of samples, mostly rose-related

    The samples have started arriving.

    Guerlain Heritage:

    My first test is the Heritage.. and, since they're so often equated, I've got Zino on the other arm. They are very similar, but there are differences. Zino has tonka and light woods, which give it a drier, fresher mass market character, while Heritage has labdanum and some spice instead, more amber-perfumey and slightly animalic. The Heritage seems to have more richness and depth, which I like, but I'm not sure that I prefer the scent of the labdanum.

    An hour later, they haven't changed much. The Heritage is still richer and more perfumey, and I'm starting to make out (or imagine) other things: hints of patchouli and vanilla. The Zino is still drier, and is beginning to exhibit its own vanilla. Both of them give me the impression of a certain aldehyde (can't remember which one at the moment, but it's kind of an orange soda effect). I don't get the patchouli, but IME Zino's patch is like a phantom, here one wearing and gone the next. Eventually I get a little more rose from Zino, which I think lends it some depth, but it's a bit late to the party.

    13 hours later, both have faded away. I was sleeping for a good chunk of that, so I can't really report on the drydown, but I assume both were well into their development by the time I went to bed.

    I would say that the Heritage is the higher-quality scent, but I still prefer the Zino by a narrow margin. They ARE very similar.

    Aromatics Elixir:

    Immediate impression is of harsh powder, very dry, geranium, a bit of a metallic quality that makes my teeth hurt. Reminds me of Rive Gauche PH, only without the anise. After a few hours, the powder settles down.. still there, but no longer aggressive. The metallic quality is gone, replaced by a woody/herbal character and - if I'm not mistaken - some kind of salicylate (orchid). Bone dry throughout. I prefer drier scents to sweeter ones, and am often annoyed at how sweet many perfumes smell, but there's no way I could wear this; I can't even appreciate it, let alone like it.

    Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta:

    Opening is classic cologne - citrus, lavender, and rosemary. It's sweeter than I expect due to florals. About an hour in, I find it has a strong stinky-musky animal note and a hint of something.. either wintergreen or anise, I don't know which. The sweet floral is certainly ylang ylang, and at this point, I'm reminded of Old Spice. There's a green note balancing the musk and florals; I don't know what it is, but I recognize the effect. The sillage on this one is a monster; thankfully I'm only wearing a small amount. A few more hours in, the florals have turned into a kind of candied rose. Even now, 12 hours later, the stinky musk is almost as present as ever, and I wonder (with my admittedly limited experience) if this is a typical Italian perfume trait. I couldn't wear this one either, but it seems like a high quality scent.

    Czech & Speake No. 88:

    The first thing I get from this is a rather harsh, scratchy jasmine, with some underlying richness (I strongly suspect indole now) and a subtle vetiver that grounds it and lends it some backbone. After an hour, the jasmine softens and lets some other floral notes through, possibly rose or geranium and (I suppose) the frangipani. The vetiver is a little noticible, and its wild, spicy side is emphasized here.. perhaps this is why some people think it smells "crazy". There's little or no development after that, though the scent continues to last for hours.

    Once this scent started drying down, I felt that it was very well blended.. full and smooth, with nothing missing or out of place. Unfortunately, it's more of a jasmine-ish scent than a rose scent, IMO, and not something I necessarily want to wear.

    Black Aoud:

    Very dark scent on first application, no notes stick out but it's kind of a leathery rose. The rose is absolutely not powdery. I can't really smell the oud, it seems to be acting strictly as a modifier to darken the scent. After a few hours, the musk and patchouli are more apparent, and it takes on a slightly winey quality.. but again, no notes are prominent. Minimal development overall.. very linear scent, with a very long lifetime (over 24 hours).

    I really wanted to like this one.. and, at first, I did. But the longer I wore it, the more it started to seem incomplete, and then even boring. It reminds me of when I was younger and I used to look at the adult magazines at a nearby bookstore; they were exciting at first, but after a while, it's like, "oh look, even more boobs. Yawn."

    Balenciaga Portos:

    The first thing I noticed when I put it on was a blast of quinoline.. a dark, bitter, leathery green, something like the taste of burnt food or the smell of hot tar. After about half an hour, the quinoline let up enough for some other notes to come through.. at this point, it reminded me of a darker, drier Kouros. An hour in I picked up notes of cinnamon, coumarin, patchouli, some kind of citrus, and possibly bay laurel and tobacco, but by that point the scent was already weakening.. and before long, this supposed ultra-manly 80s powerhouse had been reduced to a pleasant but unremarkable blend of soft cinnamon and moss.

    Donna Karan Black Cashmere:

    At first I wasn't able to pick anything out except labdanum and murky, indistinct darkness, and half an hour later, it had turned into orchids and bugspray. Some time after that, it began to sweeten, but unfortunately the effect was to turn the bugspray into an overripe banana. Certainly nothing like incense. Had I been lied to?

    A few hours into the wearing, I finally realized what it was: not incense like in a church or eastern temple, but the kind of cheap, mass-market incense that's intended to smell like heavy perfume! Clever.. but not at all what I hoped for.

    YSL M7:

    I used to have a sample of this, a couple years ago, and at the time, I quite liked it. I lost it during a move. The point of getting another sample, then, was not to test or review, but to have something to wear when the mood struck me, and as inspiration for a sort of copycat blend I used to work on (and should again, really).

    However, it is not as I remember it, so you get this review.

    Initial notes are vanilla and rosemary. Odd mix. An hour in, I notice some kind of dark wood - perhaps oud or vetiver, but it doesn't really smell like either one - along with powder and some kind of sweet animal or caramel note. By two hours, the rosemary has gone, and the scent has turned almost gourmand on me, with malty caramel and vanilla notes. There are hints of musk and something earthy or rooty which could be vetiver or possibly the mandrake.

    It's much too sweet and foody for my tastes, and if I ever thought it smelled like oud, I no longer do. Disappointing. OTOH, this has renewed my interest in that copycat blend (which was not as much of a copy as I thought, and gratefully so, now).

    Le Labo Rose 31:

    Rose and cumin dominate the opening. The rose is a slightly plasticky phenethyl alcohol type, not a rose otto. After an hour, sour citrus, sharp herbal notes, black pepper, and wood notes appear; after two, the cumin, citrus, and herbs fade. The overall effect is strikingly chaotic, like some kind of Frank Gehry architecture or experimental electronic music: original, possibly brilliant, but can you actually like it?

    10 Corso Como:

    Primarily sandalwood at first, with hints of sweet synthetic fir and cumin.. but I think the fir is Givaudan's Black Agar. The cumin might be from Texas cedar. It's leathery, but not sharply so. Over the course of the next hour, the fir and cumin depart to make way for a big dark musk and (I think) castoreum, which was probably the leather note from earlier. Development largely ends here, though the castoreum fades more slowly than the rest. I never detected any significant rose in this one; if it's in there, it's acting as a modifier only. I want to like this, but it lacks some balance or grace.

    Domenico Caraceni 1913:

    Opens with citrus, rose, and jasmine, with some green notes in the background; I imagine juniper and tobacco, but it's impossible to be sure. At this stage it's very reminiscent of No. 88, though without the vetiver or the scratchiness of 88's jasmine. After just an hour, though, an army of Verymoss has invaded. It secures the entire scent, sending out patrols of sillage. Overwhelmed, the flowers cower in a corner, hoping to avoid notice. Sadly, there is no justice; the Verymoss lasts for hours, by which time, the poor flowers have starved to death, leaving a corpse of very bitter and slightly sickening vetiver. After all the hype, a disappointing scent.

    L'Artisan Voleur de Roses:

    This is a strong (one might say uncompromising) patchouli and rose scent. There's kind of a sharp, unpleasant booziness, like rotting fruit, but it settles down quickly, revealing some dark fruitiness along with the rose. The patch isn't overly peppery or earthy, so it lends a wine-like character that works well with the rose. It retains this scent for the next few hours, although it gradually becomes drier as the rose and fruit fade and a subtle vetiver (maybe vetiverol) comes forward.. so it's all the more surprising when VdR takes a twist at the end, revealing kind of a leathery musk. The final scent is a bit dated, kind of a "my dad/granddad wore that when I was a kid" scent, but it's nice if you don't mind that. This one could actually be my favorite of the bunch. I'm not likely to wear it, but it's a really good example of what my own efforts could (and perhaps should) produce.

    Serge Lutens Chene:

    Lemme ask you something. How would you like a perfume that smells like a forest? Now, think carefully. I'm not talking about some kind of idealized fantasy juice with romantic, virile woodland notes and the sound of a French horn in the commercial. I'm talking about smelling like you accidentally fell into a forest and got it all over you and had to go home reeking of forest.

    If that sounds good to you, Chene is your scent.

    The opening is unmistakably fir. There are other notes, cedary wood notes with a resinous or saplike greenness to them, but the primary note is fir. An hour in, oakmoss (the real thing, or something very close to it) becomes apparent. Over the next several hours, the fir slowly fades and is replaced by coumarin, becoming something like a classic fougere drydown. There is no musk (that I can smell), no fake ambergris, no aldehydes or "perfumey" notes, just a natural woody scent throughout. Honestly, I think I could reproduce this myself (or at least get in the ballpark) using primarily natural materials that I have on hand, and I wonder: is this such a masterful feat of perfumery that it simply looks easy, or is Serge Lutens charging people an arm and a leg for something I can concoct in a garage?
    Last edited by Xplo; 11th April 2008 at 07:19 PM.

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