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  1. #1
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Adventures in designer land...

    Well, today me and my mom took a trip to The Bay and spent some time at the various perfume counters. Mothers are a wonderful prop for a man looking to investigate women's frags, as the SA's go for her like sharks after fresh meat, leaving me more or less free to explore while they tried to sell her everything under the sun. ( As it was, she had a near miss with several counters threatening to give her a makeover ).

    Our first stop was the Estee Lauder counter, which was curiously abandoned by it's SA. One I'd come to try, Knowing, was there and was duly sprayed on me and mom. Mother was not terribly appreciative of how it smelled but graciously guinea pigged so I could see how it smelled on her, too.

    Knowing I quite like, but it's not the rose chypre I'm looking for. It may be a flaw in my olfactory abilities, but neither me nor my mother smelled any trace of rose here. However, the comparison to Rose de Nuit is somewhat accurate in that they both have a very nice mossy animalic base ( a little-known classic mossy chype in the designers - how long till this gets discontinued!? ) Knowing is a very nice chypre but more straight-forward than RdN, and not floral to my nose. I think a man, even a man who's afraid of women's frags, could wear this easily.

    It smelled different on me than on my mother. On her the oakmoss note was louder and the citrus very subdued. She didn't like it, but she's not a chypre fan...

    We looked for but could not find Youth Dew Amber Nude, another I'd meant to try.

    Moving on to Dior, me and mom both tried on the much celebrated flanker Hypnotic Poison. Poison Pina Colada, perhaps? This was a benzoin coconut gourmand overdose... unpleasant for both me and mom. It's not sickening so much as bland and far too redolent of sunscreen.

    The big surprise was Poison - I actually liked it. I think it's something I'd wear all of once, but I do want that opportunity. I only smelled it on the card, but it's tuberose-jasmine blown up larger than life and filled with grape crush. If this was niche, I'd be pointing the finger at Etat Libre D'Orange. It has that tacky-yet-glorious vibe that Jasmin Et Cigarette has.

    The chipper SA told us Hypnotic Poison was the third generation of the Poison family, which is somewhat like being told Lady Gaga is Satchmo's granddaughter. These fragrances are really NOTHING alike, something even my relatively fragrance-inexperienced mom noticed right away.

    In among the testers stood Miss Dior, looking forlorn and old fashioned in amid the various Poisons. I tried it on paper almost out of some strange feeling of sympathy for frags gone by. A very nice old-fashioned chypre. I'll be trying it again, though I suspect like most classic chypres it's suffered death by reformulation.

    Miss Dior Cherie is it's Stepford-wife counterpart, all modern, fresh, acceptable - and bland.

    Of course, upon spying a Jicky EdT tester and a Guerlain counter my attention was drawn elsewhere ( I've never tried it before ). Not a fan of Jicky on paper. It fades to something that reminded me of those lemon flavored things they give you at hospitals when you're not allowed water.

    L'Heure Bleue EdP is weird, in a good way. I must try this again on my skin rather than on paper before I decide anything about it.

    Shalimar EdT is surprisingly different from the EdP. Interestingly my mother hated this and said it smelled like paint thinner.

    ( I'm not thinking too much about these Guerlains as I have a sample set of the line in parfum form on its way. I do plan on returning and exploring the other concentrations though. )

    To be continued!

  2. #2
    Asha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    GB--Knowing has an extremely long and drawn-out development--in an hour or more, the floral comes out a bit more. It has amazing longevity too--12 hours or more.

    Shalimar EDT, I find it smells horrendous. Reminds me of baby wipes--bleck. I love the EDP and parfum.

    And Jicky...love it. It needs to go on skin! The stronger concentrations do have alot more lavender, I find. They may be more satisfying than the lemon-drop quality you got in the EDT.

  3. #3
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    GB--Knowing has an extremely long and drawn-out development--in an hour or more, the floral comes out a bit more. It has amazing longevity too--12 hours or more.
    You're right! This fragrance definitely has three distinct stages on me. Citrusy chypre top notes, lasting about an hour; very nice oakmoss heart, my favorite part of this fragrance, lasting till the six hour mark; and a powdery floral base lasting to till it fades, which is about fourteen hours on me ( it's just about gone now, as I write this ).

    I quite like this but I'm unsure as to whether I should buy this. A L'Arte di Gucci sample is coming in the mail, which, if it hits the spot, will be a big purchase, and I've read on the reviews that Estee's Private Collection is like this but greener, so I'm going to have to head back tomorrow and try that, too... decisions, decisions.

    Either way, Knowing definitely gets an - admittedly kind of unexpected on my part - thumbs up.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    I thought I liked Knowing, but last week was sitting next to someone who smelled of sharp yet musty, unappealing, no-rose chypre, and asked (in a pisitive tone, of course) what she was wearing: Knowing.

    GB--I think we have similar scent tastes. I have had the same reaction to all of the scents you mention, especially the Diors and the Guerlains (I can't quite remember how I reacted tot he Poisins--havent' sniffed in a while). [I do love other Guerlains and Diors].

    Asha--Yes, amazing how different the Shalimars are!
    Last edited by Nostalgie; 25th April 2009 at 12:55 PM.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post

    Shalimar EDT, I find it smells horrendous. Reminds me of baby wipes--bleck. I love the EDP and parfum.

    Asha, thanks for that comment about Shalimar. I think my sample from Sephora must be the EdT, because it does smell just like baby wipes! I was so disappointed. I really must try to sample the other concentrations.

    Galamb_Borong, sounds like a fun trip! I, too, was disappointed with Hypnotic Poison, especially after all of the rave reviews. I didn't get the coconut/sunscreen that you got, but to me it smelled like an overwhelmingly synthetic, plasticky vanilla.

    Do try L'Heure Bleue again! I've just been introduced to the EdT (thanks to Arwen!) and it's really amazing. She tells me the EdP is even better.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Shalimar EDT: Dissenting vote here. Tried EDP at dept store, went "Meh". Tried and bought a 30 ml Shalimar EDT on sale, and every few days I spray it on my sleepwear so it's what I wear to bed.

  7. #7
    Asha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Quote Originally Posted by rem_dreams View Post
    Asha, thanks for that comment about Shalimar. I think my sample from Sephora must be the EdT, because it does smell just like baby wipes! I was so disappointed. I really must try to sample the other concentrations.

    Galamb_Borong, sounds like a fun trip! I, too, was disappointed with Hypnotic Poison, especially after all of the rave reviews. I didn't get the coconut/sunscreen that you got, but to me it smelled like an overwhelmingly synthetic, plasticky vanilla.

    Do try L'Heure Bleue again! I've just been introduced to the EdT (thanks to Arwen!) and it's really amazing. She tells me the EdP is even better.
    To be fair to those who love the EDT, I know it works for most people, so I suspect I have a skin chemistry issue.

    I also got my EDT sample from Sephora (I confirmed it later by checking the bottle on a later trip to the store). When I wore it, it smelled glorious for about 10 minutes and then descended into baby wipe scent. I thought to myself--HOW can this be so highly acclaimed when it smells this way? It was after I tried the stronger concentrations that it clicked.

    Incidentally, I bought a package of CVS store brand facial cleanser wipes, and they have that strong vanilla baby-wipe smell too. Kinda makes me not want to save two bucks and stick with the brand-named version

    Oh, I forgot to mention to GB--Youth Dew Amber Nude is discontinued. It is available at some EL counters but not all. I have seen it online, too.
    Last edited by Asha; 25th April 2009 at 02:47 PM.

  8. #8
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Interesting to hear the various impressions of Shalimar! I think one day I'd like to try to entire line in succession, going from Shalimar Light to EdT to EdP to Parfum.

    In other news, I think I'm dangerously attracted to Poison. It's so delicious! I'd never tried it because of its sickly, tacky, and yes, frankly poisonous reputation, but while it is tacky and overblown, it's also fascinating and complex ( fruity-musky-spicy-gourmand tuberose-jasmine? ) I'll have to try it on my skin before I decide anything, but my nose is practically pasted to card I'd sprayed it on.

    Maybe it's because I was born after the vogue for this had ended, but I have no bad associations with the overuse of this scent that everyone else seems to have. Not sure where I could wear it though. I have a feeling thing is a fragrance I'd have to enjoy in solitude.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    Shalimar EDT, I find it smells horrendous. Reminds me of baby wipes--bleck. I love the EDP and parfum.
    I sprayed my sister with Shalimar EDT at a Sephora and she said the exact same thing -- baby wipes! I wonder if the EDT has always had that note?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Hey, fun read.
    I was told the youth dew amber nude is discontinued. I'm not sure the SA was knowledgeable, but that was what he said.

    I was surprised that I liked both Shalimars last time I went to Macys. But not so much that I was tempted to buy either. I didn't try either on, just sprayed them on cards.

    I'm curious how your love affair with Poison will progress. I hope you'll keep us posted.

  11. #11
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Returned to give Knowing another try and compare it side-by-side to another Estee Lauder, Private Collection.

    Initially, Private Collection is the far more impressive fragrance. It goes on cool, vegetal, tart and yet dark, if these words can convey a smell to you. I think there's a great galbanum note here, but I could be misidentifying it. It's almost like Diptyque's L'Ombre Dans L'Eau, except it doesn't smell like pee ( a subtle difference that can really make or break a fragrance, I find ).

    At the same stage Knowing is a fairly nondescript powdery citrus.

    After about half an hour, a curious role reversal happens with the two fragrances. The mossy side of knowing comes to life, and the green of Private Collection gets buried under an avalanche of powder. It's almost a little sad seeing the fascinating top notes of Private Collection disappear; like watching an emerald sink into a silo of baby powder.

    Needless to say, as Private Collection rowed the failboat to Pampers island, it's not a fragrance that interests me.

  12. #12
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Now I will forever think of those sorts of fragrances "rowing their failboats to Pampers island"!!!
    What a metaphor! LOL

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    GB, you might like to try Aliage or Azuree if you haven't already. And for something completely different, White Linen.

  14. #14
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Azuree and Aliage sound quite interesting... I guess I'm beginning my exploration of chypres in earnest with Estee Lauder. Rather unexpected.

  15. #15
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Tried Poison on my skin today - I like it even more! Actually, it changes from a floral to a musk fragrance on me. I'll be posting a full review over on the men's forum tonight.

    Some others, tried on paper, ranked from least to most appealing:

    Tendre Poison - Um, just plain no. Smells like bug spray!

    Pure Poison - Actually the most pleasant of the younger Poisons, and there's actually a slight resemblance to the original here. A light, virginal jasmine-muguet-white floral to my nose, lightly citrusy. Not remarkable but not offensive. A plain white dress instead of Poison's funky goth outfit.

    Diorella - A complex-smelling mixed floral. Some fruity notes and a hazy bouquet of flowers. I detect lilac but there are others.

    Diorissimo - a reserved muguet-laden chypre. A very pleasing yet simple green-floral combination.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 27th April 2009 at 03:07 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Interesting to hear the various impressions of Shalimar! I think one day I'd like to try to entire line in succession, going from Shalimar Light to EdT to EdP to Parfum.
    (
    That sounds like a good plan - I have yet to find a concentration of Shalimar that I can love. But it's OK because my Mum swipes any spare bottles I leave lying around

    As for Jicky, please please put it on your skin!!!! That way the civet can come out and bounce around under the lavender and lemondrops and do the funky warm/cool thing it does. I love Jicky edt in the summer (well, any time, really). Beware of heavy-handed application with the edp - it has more civet in it and if you go crazy with the spritzing, it can leave you... well... a tad over-done! (OK - smelling like a cat's bum.)
    "A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." Coco Chanel

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  17. #17
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    I will definitely give Jicky a chance on my skin.

    Today I smelled a whole bunch on paper. A lot of men's this time but a few women's, too.

    Porsche Design Essence smells like nothing. Cool, non-descript nothing, like someone was trying to do a fragrance interpretation of refrigerated air.

    For the first time I smelled Aqua di Gio, which, on smelling, I realized I'd smelled a thousand times before.

    After reading so many glowing reviews, Eau d'Hadrien was disappointing. Not bad at all, just a very plain lemonade note. Eau du Sud I quite liked though, despite being a similar genre. A nice, warm neroli-citrus that slightly reminded me of CdG's Anbar.

    Mandragore was sweet and slightly baffling. I don't know how else to describe it.

    Azzaro Pour Homme I quite liked. It's an old-fashioned spicy oriental in a good way. I want to try this on my skin, and soon!

    Was unimpressed by Dior's Eau Savage. I can't remember what it smelled like, just that it didn't stand out.

    Tried some of the male Guerlains. Vetiver is one the few fragrances that smelled exactly how I expected it to - a grassy, citrussy, light vetiver. Nice, but not my style. Habit Rouge was surprisingly sweet, warm and almost gourmand. I want to revisit it before I decide yes or no.

    John Varvatos was a very pleasant sweet, herbal leather. Suffers a lack of distinction though - I already know far too many fragrances that do what it does better and bolder ( Idole and C&S Cuba came to mind ).

    Visited the classic Opium, one of the few fragrances I remember from my pre-fragrance days. Me and my mother both hated it then... but today, I found that it was quite enjoyable in a Youth Dew-esque way. Don't love it though.

    Alien... Look who's been cloning Poison! Actually, it makes Poison look kind of subtle, really. Take Poison, remove the oriental elements and ratchet up the grape notes by a factor of ten. Attack of the killer grapes! Sickly stuff. ( Guilty admission: I do like the bottle, though! )

    Also, I will add a quick note of thanks to Linda, the SA at the women's perfume counter in The Bay downtown who gave me a bunch of samples.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Tried Poison on my skin today - I like it even more! Actually, it changes from a floral to a musk fragrance on me. I'll be posting a full review over on the men's forum tonight.

    Some others, tried on paper, ranked from least to most appealing:

    Tendre Poison - Um, just plain no. Smells like bug spray!

    Pure Poison - Actually the most pleasant of the younger Poisons, and there's actually a slight resemblance to the original here. A light, virginal jasmine-muguet-white floral to my nose, lightly citrusy. Not remarkable but not offensive. A plain white dress instead of Poison's funky goth outfit.

    Diorella - A complex-smelling mixed floral. Some fruity notes and a hazy bouquet of flowers. I detect lilac but there are others.

    Diorissimo - a reserved muguet-laden chypre. A very pleasing yet simple green-floral combination.
    I just thought I would give you some impressions of the vintage versions of these, because they are all so different now than they were in the past.

    Poison was a smack you in the face, sticky sweet, tuberose, mixed with a Molotov cocktail. It did not give any type of a floral impression per se, but it was "dynamic".

    Tendre Poison was a fabulous fresh, green, "spring-time in a bottle" scent; lots of personality.

    Diorella was a woody, floral, spicy, herbaceous, a true wonder. Fresh yet dark as it wore through the day. Occasionally touches of citrus would tickle your nose.

    Diorissimo was a fabulous muguet and jasmin masterpiece, touches of green yes, simple never. It used to be one of the most sophisticated jasmin scents around; the muguet softened it, so it would not be too ice princessey.

    Truly worth smelling the vintage formulas of these.

    Oh, as far as Miss Dior, the original (from the 40's) was sublime, perfectly balanced, not as severe, the 70's and early 80's versions were not too bad-a little heavier on the chypre theme though and not as much patchouli. The 90's repackage was not bad either, definitely more toned down. From what you have described, it seems they have lobotomized their classic original. So sad. To go from sublime, to a sad relic of a bygone era.

    You should definitely try Jicky in the extrait or EdP versions, huge jump away from the EdT.

    Shalimar really should be experienced in the extrait first, it really will delight your olfactory system.

    L'Heure Bleue in EdP, is glorious, but needs to be experienced over the course of a few hours or more.
    Last edited by Brielle87; 1st May 2009 at 02:50 AM.
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  19. #19
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adventures in designer land...

    Well, to be fair to all those fragrances, these were brief, on-card impressions at a mall. I reserve judgment on everything until it's been on my skin a day. My descriptions may not all be due to any drastic reformulation!

    That being said, as I'm rather new to designer fragrances, it can be a touch saddening to find something lovely only to learn it's a mere ghost of what it was. I'm reminded of some of listening to some of the great opera singers of the late 19th century - usually the only records we have are of aging voices, poorly recorded on primitive technology, but they still give a fascinating glimpse at what was, even though they rarely make pleasant listening.

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