Saturday, 13 June, 2009
Welcome to the 2009 3x3 Blind Sniff Round 4: Smoke and Mirrors
I have heard from everybody now, and would like to start Saturday, 13 June.
Three participants will put their noses through the paces with the mystery fragrances, three "main" ones for the 3x3 and a fourth for a bonus round. The players are:
My backup and partner in crime will be Dimitri, the Sorcerer of Scent I have provided Dimitri with samples of the same fragrances, and will supply notes to him via PM. I am 9 hours away from the EU's time zone, so the two of us should have most of the clock covered during game days.
Each of the designated sniffers will post their sniffing impressions:
-- general likes/dislikes;
-- family (fresh, oriental, floral, fougere, etc);
-- particular notes;
-- fragrance development;
-- color and viscosity of the liquid;
-- what it reminds them of; and these are just suggestions!
Think of anything which can potentially relate to the theme--some of my reasoning for selecting the fragrances is subtle, so try to think outside the box! For each sample, I will post a photograph which will give a clue for that particular fragrance.
Every reader may ask questions here on the thread, fishing for clues as to the identity of the fragrances. If there is something I feel connected with the contents of the vials, I will comment. The more clues there are here, the easier it is for everybody to attain the goal--to identify each fragrance. If you think you know what we are all sniffing but not very sure and want to avoid embarrassment, please send me a PM. If you are absolutely positive, go ahead and post here. There are no prizes involved.
Last edited by Asha; 13th June 2009 at 02:26 AM.
Saturday, 13 June, 2009
Last edited by Asha; 13th June 2009 at 02:37 AM.
ooooooooohh.... does this mean I can dig out my little parcel from its secret hiding place on the tall shelf in the back of the closet?? Or shall I wait till midnight?
Asha, I love the theme, it sounds quite intriguing...
<3 ... I'm blind crazy in love... <3
Well, if you start sniffing tonight, I'll never know
I'd like posting about Sample A to start tomorrow. The EU folks should be up in a couple of hours. If Wordbird starts posting early, it may be around 1AM for the US east coast people, anyway.
So let's say after midnight North American Eastern Time is fair game!
Last edited by Asha; 13th June 2009 at 02:51 AM.
*furiously scouring away SotD to prevent cross contamination*
Midnight EST it is!! Gotta get in all the epiphanies I can before 6pm. After that, the smell of donuts and coffee are gonna get in the way till later that evening.
Come to think of it... if there are donut or coffee notes in this stuff, that would be thoroughly sneaky ... smoke and mirrors indeed!
Last edited by exquisitely me; 13th June 2009 at 02:59 AM.
<3 ... I'm blind crazy in love... <3
I was flabbergasted when I saw the name of the round. My favorite category! Something that is there and is not, at the same time, an illusion, a figment of one's imagination, only in sample A it has to do with Oranges - like in Etat Libre d'Oranges which does not really exist or does it?
Anyhow, Asha made it interesting with pictures as clues (or, again, are they really?) and a Bonus Sample that she has not breathed a word about (!) yet, so for you readers it is going to be more fun as we have not three, but FOUR samples to sniff and talk about.
EM, please do not worry about the times of your posting, we are all working odd hours and WB is working 24 hours a day being a mom. We wll wait -- or speed up -- if need be!
First impressions are always right, they say, here are my first:
This is a gorgeous and sweet woody-iris-incense scent, where iris does not get powdery at all staying transparent and orris-y during the whole duration. I would not be surprised if there were words "Bois" or "Iris" in its name. I might also be wrong, but somehow it does not feel French to me, I would say more Italian with Japanese edge. SMN Citta di Kyoto?
An EdT? A light yellow in color (lighter of all the four samples) and my first thought was "Duchaufour" -- Timbuktu-Dzongkha kind but more ethereal, sure is fuzzy and comfy enough with foody feel (bag of marshmellows anyone besides me? something that is there and not?) -- will be very sniffable and snuggable on a man.
There are a few dozen irises on the market, but I can't wait to wear more of A after I get up!
Okay, so I'm just gonna go by what my nose says...
Light citrusy "eau du cologne" opening, reminded me right away of... those little wet scented hand-wipes that come in individual packets... same lemony (not just citrus, and not orange) fresh smell. I'm not sure I know what neroli or bergamot smell like, but there are other familiar but unnamed citrus nuances in there with the lemon...
I thought I got flashes of light floral smells... was a point where I could have sworn I caught peony in there (but that's smells like a citrusy rose to me), and another where I thought spring florals, but couldn't settle on any flower.
Iris didn't occur to me because I think of it as a rooty/earthy/camphorous/powder kind of smell... I definitely caught something in Sample A that I associate with the smell of soap, and I tend to misread iris like that. So maybe... And perhaps a little benzoin? That's about as incense-y as I could claim to smell.
The bright fresh lemony softness fades quickly (disappearing act??) and it becomes almost straight soap to my nose. Specifically, its a bar soap that I fell in love with, one whose scent has been driving my crazy for months. I'd love to find out what the heck is in there, so I can't wait to see this one figured out. Sillage is pretty light, longevity is light, I agree with EDT.
I keep thinking I smell shades of other things... so I'll put a dab somewhere far from the sample, sniff them each... and find out I'm completely nuts... This base is being difficult for me. Its a mild creamy soap... so what's the cream... tonka maybe? i guess it could be sandalwood, but that seems a little rich for this. I've heard people call iris buttery sometimes... *shrug*
Light Citrusy Floral, Clean Soapy Finish. Pretty, inoffensive, and I'm not really getting any timeline or region for its creation. If Twolf's right about the iris, I'd suspect it was more modern. I'm thinking its a higher end scent because it feels more... "filled in" than a cheaper citrus fragrance. At least department store quality. No idea if it would be niche. Don't get anything challenging or particularly strange, but wouldn't rule it out.
Think I'm gonna have to sleep on this one and try again tomorrow morning.
(and yeah, almost NO associations with the theme yet... working on it...)
<3 ... I'm blind crazy in love... <3
Good morning/evening to all participants and players,
As you can see, with a great degree of drama and with impressive slight of hand, Asha has whisked the red satin cloth off her first perfume riddle... happy sniffing everyone!
Well the title of this round of blind sniffing explains why I have smelled incense smoke a few times this last week when walking into my bedroom! That little package of mysteries Asha sent has been giving me hints, maybe?
Now I have very carefully avoided reading the other two blind sniffa's comments before I type this, so forgive me if I either say something completely different from them or utterly fatuous. My nose really isn't so good. But I'll try to contribute meaningfully.
Anyway, very excited this morning, I grabbed a pen and paper as I opened the package at last and took out Sample A.
The juice is a pale yellow colour. OK, no clues there.
Taking the cap off the little atomiser - wow! This is strong! It's a very 'perfumey' smell - a slightly bitter, tangy green and slightly floral 'old school'. Maybe this is a chypre? I guess it might be a stronger concentration - maybe edp? Maybe this is a classic? In honesty, I wouldn't try this perfume based on sniffing the atomiser. (My bad, I know.)
Spritz cautiously on left wrist. Great, it's good, not a scrubber. (Gosh, wouldn't that be awful? Having to walk around all day in a scrubber!) This smells to me like Bette Davis or Marlene Deitrich giving you a hard stare in a black and white movie from the 40s or 50s. It has so much in it that I don't think of as 'modern'. And that's not a criticism. Initially, I'm guessing it might be a classic from that era - something French and terribly classy. (Dior sprang to mind, but this doesn't smell like any Dior that's around now.)
On the skin I get a slightly bitter, tangy green that reminds me a bit of Vol de Nuit, so I think it's Galbanum, which I've never smelled on its own. This is coupled with a nice light citrus note.
I have to say I find this kind of scent less appealing than most. I guess I'm over-simplisitic in my tastes and find the slight bitterness in this difficult. Having made that confession, I have to add that this perfume is very nice. I like the 'oldfashioned' 40s vibe to it. It smells intelligent and feisty, like a classic movie queen. You could be Kate Hepburn wearing this roaring green dragon.
And then - whompf! There's a really fast transition into the heart. Incredibly fast, actually. First a hint of powder comes in - fair enough in an old school perfume - but then the tangy green dragon disappears!!! (Oh! I get it! This is the Smoke and Mirrors bit, right, Asha? The magic trick?) And ta-da! Here's the bunny popping out of the hat! The perfume has changed completely and is now smooth, slightly woody, powdery, soft and white as the bunny's fur.
And smoke? Well, there could be a whiff of smoke in this. It's very close to the skin and so it's hard to tell, but there might just be a hint of incense. That would be that old dragon reminding us she was there, maybe.
I couldn't tell you what this is, because I know I've never smelled it before. But it's really good and very very clever.
[added after reading Twolf and Exquisitely Me's thoughts]
Oh, Iris! Ah, I see. That's the powder then. And I see what you mean about the gently woody element.
But am I the only one who got a big green start?
Last edited by Wordbird; 13th June 2009 at 10:46 AM. Reason: read the others
Are you, Sniffers, sure we are talking about one and the same scent?
Strong vs light
Powdery vs transparent
Last edited by Twolf; 13th June 2009 at 11:05 AM.
Good morning all
Interesting ideas so far, I must say! I think I'd like you three to ruminate a bit more, give the fragrance some time and maybe try it on both skin and paper so you can make more observations about the development.
The magician does not reveal his tricks
Ha! See! Twolf agrees with me that Italian perfume smells like Italian perfume. Really enjoying watching you guys go!
There is a singular joy in the experience of receiving perfume by mail. It is one of life's great little pleasures - one that more should have the pleasure of knowing.
hmmm.... Twolf, you've got me wondering now.... *carefully re-reading label, comparing little bottles together for color* No, I'm fairly certain we're each smelling the right bottle.
I think maybe there's some sense to our different reactions. For example, I most definitely got that green blast Wordie mentioned, but it was right out of the sprayer and was gone so fast I wasn't sure I ever caught it at all... thought I was just whiffing a puff of alcohol before it had a chance to breathe.
There were a few point that my memory echoed "Shalimar," which I know smells nothing like this, but it was the "fullness" of it that I was talking about. Because there was a citrusy opening in Shalimar that transformed into all those other smells I couldn't identify, but felt "solid" and "perfumey." So I definitely get that vibe too, Wordie, and while I wouldn't have thought about it in the terms you used Twolf, but I think we may all be on the same page with that. I'm gonna re-spray now that I've read all the comments and thought about it carefully. I tend to have drastically different reactions between 1st,2nd, and 3rd testings. (THANK YOU for the well stocked little sprayer Asha)
I'm particularly loving the references to magicians and disappearing, cause this one certainly moves fast!! And I have tried spraying on a card, but maybe need to try clothing... card was too slow, skin was too fast. Gonna pay more attention to this incense possibility and try to read past the less than helpful "SOAP" association.
<3 ... I'm blind crazy in love... <3
Updating... my initial impression of lightness was a knee jerk reaction to the bright (but not really sharp) citrus opening... lemony still, but with room for more, possibly the orange in the picture ... herbal greenery could be those unidentified familar notes I was smelling... not so strong as the galbanum I've smelled in other things, more like a complimentary touch of it to complicate the lemon. And I keep thinking I get bergamot, without fully knowing what that smells like. Its not quite a candied lemon... but maybe lemonade? Lemon scent sweetened with neroli?
No citrus at all Twolf??
As the citrus fades, I'm still pretty sure there are some unidentified florals... not violet or any of the brighter spring flowers (lilac, freesia, hyacinth), and not really getting indolic florals either... something though... magnolia? peony? something on the edge of rose... whatever I'm smelling right now is right up my alley, transitioning beautifully, slower now since my skin is much cooler than last night.
This part between "floral" and "powder" is where I got stuck at "soap." Its pretty...
This is so much more powdery than the first time... iris, benzoin, possibly both...
My suggestion of it being modern was based on the iris, ( which I thought was more prominent in newer stuff?? ) but this is reminding me more of the Guerlains... I'd swear I've smelled something like this... (hence the frantic compare testing last night). I don't want to try it by Shalimar again for fear the differences will drown out the similarities.
After my mystery floral(s) go back into the hat, I'm left with something very soft, and not quite creamy... powder still there, but more towards ... was that the faintest whiff of patchouli? or some earth/moss/root smell? ... no ... it couldn't be ... for an instant yesterday, thought I caught it there too ... then I sniff and its right back to powder and smiling coyly.
There's something in that base that feels thicker, creamier ... and I think there may be a touch of something incense-ish in there unless its residual sharpness of the powder ... and wood: not the resinous aromatic kind (cedar, pine, cypress), but then again it doesn't feel as rich as sandalwood or rosewood either. Those two seem downright buttery to me. Unless its just really toned down sandalwood, kinda like that "clean white patchouli" in newer scents.
And there's the lightest touch of sweetness... tonka? vanilla? leftover bits of my mystery floral? (lol, take my "lightest touch" with a grain of salt, after all, I love Flowerbomb and Miss Dior Cherie and Aomassai )
<3 ... I'm blind crazy in love... <3
Will post my detailed impressions after Wordbird, not to make her feel left out and not to influence (like with orris-iris and incense), but I definitely AGREE with some certain 40's vibe, yes to that, but only in the early stage of A's development.
Still have not found any connection with the picture for this scent -- a huge orange slice erupting giving light to the dark earth? But then, again, I suck at Guess the Fragrance by the Picture Game (forgive me my OT: I told people there I think the rules should be revised for that game!).
Wordbird and Exquisitely_Me: I read that you do not think you have smelled this before, but does it remind you of something else / some other fragrance you have smelled before?
Besides the notes, sniffers, we need to voice our opinions about the Category: EM thinks it might be (at least!) a department store level, I would say Niche, Wordbird what say you? What about the quality of the ingredients? Natural vs Synthetic or what?
A's pyramid according to EM (I think I will agree with a lot of it, but again, let's wait for Wordbird):
Top: citrus (lemon, neroli, orange, bergamot?)
Middle: magnolia, peony, rose, iris;
Base: benzoin, incense, tonka, patchouli, sandalwood.
Any fruit? Leather? Moss? Amber? Vetiver?
Asha, is there a significant difference in how A develops on the skin and on a piece of tissue? Are any of our guesses correct (notes, locales, names)?
If you ladies don't mind me throwing my two cents in, I'd like to respond to Exquisitely Me and her "SOAP" association.
For my nose, sometimes OAKMOSS comes across as soapy or powdery, esp. in a vintage or mid-upper level quality frag.
That's all I wanted to say Hopefully it's helpful!
Keep up the great work sniffa's, I'm excitedly reading along...
You all are doing so well with your sniffing!
To answer your questions, Twolf--there is no Iris in the listed notes that I found. However, I agree there was a carroty note early in the development, so it could simply be that it is not listed in my pyramid.
The structure suggested by EM is very good, indeed--in the right direction. A couple other things that WB and EM said were taking them in the right direction, too, but if I say what those things are, I might give too much away!
Skin vs paper--the paper simply slows down the top note development a bit, and that may help in identifying some of the notes.
Last edited by Asha; 13th June 2009 at 08:39 PM.
I have received a few PM's with guesses--so far this one is still eluding everybody
Oakmoss! I'd never have thought... Thanks Ubu!! :wave: Never knew exactly what that smelled like, and its controversial inclusion/removal in the vintage titans has kept me curious. At all related to my vision of iris? (earthy, rooty, camphorous, powder)
So no iris in this one?? (or at least not prominently enough to make the note list) Hmm... apparently this magician conjured an iris note out of thin air!
YAY!!! So happy to know I'm in the right direction!! I worried that I'd be stuck on "wet wipes and soap" for the rest of this sample.
Wordie, she says you're up to something too... maybe that green dragon of yours... gonna spray on a tissue, see if I can get anywhere with it. As for the bunny part of the development (hehe, love that!! ) does it remind you of anything? You mentioned woods too... I was taking a stab at some but only after you two mentioned it. Still not even sure I smelled wood, so what was it like?
Twolf, I can't wait to hear your full description... there's plenty of notes I haven't been able to smell in anything (especially leather), and a good chunk of 'em that I've never been exposed to. Fortunately you and Wordbird have more niche exposure, and can contribute more points of reference.
I'd also love to hear more about both of your takes on the incense, since I didn't pick up on it. Heavy? Light? When did it appear? Is it like a particular kind of incense? Do you notice it consistently or does it come and go? Any relation to my phantom patchouli?
Okay, off to work!! Can't wait to see what you guys come up with while I'm out!! Be back around 10:30!
<3 ... I'm blind crazy in love... <3
OK Wordbird, it is after 8 am where you are! Hope all is allright with you!
Hi guys. Sorry to hold things up - here at Mum's my internet access is kind of limited. But it's cool. I'll try to get online a bit more today so I don't hold everyone back.
I definitely agree this feels like a niche fragrance. It also feels like it has a lotof naturals in it, or if they are synthetics, they're good ones and cleverly used. I like synthetics, but this has nothing like e.g. Bronze Goddess or Secret Obsession, or even Un Jardin en Mediterranee; all perfumes I like but in which I can definitely detect aromachemicals doing jobs like lifting, adding radiance etc.
I got the incense in the base - beautifully close to the skin and gentle. Maybe a touch of Frankincense, but not powerful or harsh, so although I have never smelled it on its own, perhaps Benzoin?
Because of the speed and completeness of the transition between the top and heart, I suspect this is a modern fragrance, because that's such an interesting technical accomplishment and it's not something I associate with older perfumes. I may be wrong. (Probably am!)
What does it remind me of? I would say the top is easiest to associate with others - that green, herbal tang is like a particular bit of Vol de Nuit, and for some reason, classic Diors keep jumping to mind, but I don't know why. I don't like most of the old Diors, apart from Dioressence (that's the skanky one, right?) and I haven't smelled them for ages. When I say tangy green, I don't mean anything like the slap of Bandit.
The heart is gentle. Lorenzo Villoresi just leapt to my mind. It's not anything like Teint de Neige, but it has something similar to the feel of it - the warm gentleness and naturalness, perhaps? Or maybe I'm picking up on Twolf's hint about Italy. What I read as 'powdery' might actually be creamy, now I think of it (told you I have a rubbish nose!). But I did find it very light, so I can see the comment about transparency.
The incense base is so gentle, close to the skin and smooth that I have really racked my brains to think of something it reminds me of. Sadly, I have a tendency to go for all-out stonkers where incense is concerned (Black Cashmere, Nu, Avignon), so subtlety is kind of lost on me. Maybe Passage d'Enfer? That's pretty much the most gentle incense I can think of. Oh and what's that INUX one that Patty on Perfume Posse called 'Horse Incense'? It's a Giacobetti. Maybe that one, kind of. (Something Ether?)
OK, I will admit I have a memory of a review from Tania in The Guide of a perfume that does exactly this trick of moving incredibly quickly. I've been trying to remember which perfume she said it was, but all I can think of is MCDI. But surely they do big bosomy things, nothing is strange and subtle as this?
It's definitely not by Ellena, Roucel or Bourdon, that much I can say. It doesn't have Ellena's synthetics, Roucel's bravado or Bourdon's fruit. I've smelled most of the Frederic Malle line and it's not one of them. It's not British or American. I don't think it's from Parfums d'Empire, Etat Libre d'Orange or Villoressi, or even from Parfumerie Generale. I don't think it's from L'Artisan - I think it's from a smaller company than that. It's not a Montale or a Comme des Garcons.
So to sum up:
Lots of naturals
The name that springs to mind is: Bernard Duchafour (sorry, probably spelt that wrong) and his Sienne en Hiver range - is it called Parfums du Doge? That's Italian, so makes sense. I've never smelled any of those. So that's my guess. (And I bet it's sooooooo wrong!!!)
Finally, I'll give you Small's thoughts. I bent over her yesterday to help put her shoes on. She said 'What do you smell like?' I asked 'Do I smell nice?' 'Oooh YES!' came the answer. So now you have to tell me what it is!
Good! You woke up!
Yay! I am awake at last!
And I have a definite guess at what this is.
Based on my deductions as to the niche house it might be from and after digging through the descriptions on the database here, I think it's Eau d'Italie by Bertrand Duchafour, with Baume au Doge as my runner-up guess.
Gotta go to work, more later!
Do not believe it is a Duchaufour scent -- I mentioned his name in post #6 this same thread and Asha/Dimi left it without a response. But, on the positive side, I DID think it was a Duchaufour scent at the beginning.
Our collective guess of EdT was left without a response either, so I am changing it into EdP.
That floral note that I though was iris -- is it a lily? (Technically, the whole development of A is similar to that of Passage D'Enfer without "the cold stone" accord, do not you all agree?)
While I am at work, please let it dry down on you. What does it end up with besides fluffy bunnies? On me the base notes are: musk (hahaha), vanilla, vetiver, cedarwood (another sweet wood, could it be hinoki?).
Mr.T said about A: "It is weirder than that weird one (CDG2)". Is there anything else weirder than CDG in general?
Last edited by Twolf; 14th June 2009 at 11:21 AM.
This has been a delight to read... I love all of your in-depth analyses of this scent... some of your collective observations have actually shifted my perspectives on this one too!
Wordbird, great that you're here! Without divulging too much at this point, you've touched upon something that is heading in a similar direction to that which ExquisitelyMe noted in an earlier post. I'm impressed!
I'm not sure how much Asha would like to reveal at this point, so I will quietly wait in the wings and observe from the side of the stage. She is the ringleader after all, responsible for running this theatrical circus of smells!
Last edited by Sorcery of Scent; 14th June 2009 at 11:36 AM. Reason: typo
Oh dang! I was so proud of my deductive reasoning, I was sure I'd hit on the answer!
Right. I'm going to start all over again and read-alonga-sniff to see if I can spot whatever it is that Exquisitely Me and I have inadvertently noticed without noticing we noticed it. Ha!
Good morning all--I see you've been busy while I slept
Twolf, the notes list I have does not contain Lily, but some of the basenotes you listed are there. The PM's I received this morning did not contain the answer to Sample A.
As Dimitri said, there is something similar that both WB and EL mentioned early on, and it was going in the right direction. WB also mentioned it again this morning.
I'll be around today for the most part--off to hunt for a box to send some smellies to another BNer. Talley Ho!
Last edited by Asha; 14th June 2009 at 02:38 PM.
Ooooh!! Can't wait to dive in again today, but I'll be out til after 10pm today, so I'll have to wait a bit, but I can't wait to see what everybody comes up with!!
(don't mind me not guessing, i haven't the foggiest idea what most of your guesses smell like, so I can't even compare, and this isn't like anything I've ever smelled, the most i'll catch is a familiar note, but i'll give the database a whirl tonight )
See everybody later!! I get to go to work today!!!
<3 ... I'm blind crazy in love... <3