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  1. #1

    Default The "oriental" fragrance re-considered.

    I wrote this up as a review for the "women's" version of Must by Cartier, but it includes some general thoughts on one what seeks from an oriental fragrance:

    I've tried Obsession for women, and prefer this to Obsession, though I can see the similarities. I have the EdT and don't know if it is vintage or not. It has a separate cap and is rounded on the bottom, so that it can't "stand up," but must be placed on its side (if that helps). I avoid top notes as much as possible, so I can't speak to then. I have no idea what Luca Turin was talking about here, because his review in his "guide" book seems to be for a different fragrance. My guess is that he focused on the top notes.

    The only "problem" is that if you smell it up close on the skin you will get that nasty rubbery smell that a strong amber note produces. Let it come to your nose from a distance and there is no issue. I don't get any strong green, but again that might be a top notes issue entirely. Rather, this is a soft oriental with a hint of chocolate and the slightest hint of an animalic note. There's not much in the way of spices, and it's just a little sweet (compared to today's gourmands). It's the vanilla/amber that dominates, creating a "powdery" effect. I like this one better than most "men's" orientals, such as KL Homme by Lagerfeld, for example.

    In fact, I've been thinking about oriental fragrances lately, because I should really like them, yet I find myself wearing other kinds of fragrances (including gourmand/oriental hybrids, such as the women's Python by Trussardi). Most of the men's ones have too much lavender, or some other note that detracts from the "oriental effect" (KL Homme has too much geranium for me, for example). I do like the heliotrope and cinnamon dominant Diesel Zero Plus Au Masculin, but the first hour or so is too sharp, and then it is a bit weak (though really nice) thereafter. Some of the women's are too floral, too animalic, or try to do too much.

    So, for me, the oriental needs to be focused on the powdery vanillic/ambery effect. There should be at least a hint of spice (and certainly not too much), and perhaps something else that works well here, such as Must's chocolate note. A slight touch of the animalic creates a richer and fuller quality Thus, Must fulfills my criteria for a "model" oriental fragrance. It doesn't have much of a "bite" to it (except perhaps those top notes that I avoided), but I don't think that's what I'm seeking when I want an "oriental," as I'm conceptualizing it. If I want a bit of bite, I have a "publicity version" of Opium for women (whatever that is), which features a strong clove note (no chocolate). Shalimar Light makes a lot of moves, but you end up with strong vanilla and hints of other things after an hour or so. I think there needs to be strong amber in the base for me to take an oriental fragrance seriously, though. I like Shalimar Light for what it is, but it doesn't give me much of an "oriental thrill." I've also tried Shalimar EdC, but that seems to be too much powdery amber and not enough of anything else (once the base is reached).

  2. #2

    Default Re: The "oriental" fragrance re-considered.

    Have you ever tried women's Opium? Any version, EdT, EdP, extrait all do the same trick. It doesn't go powdery like Shalimar, stays the amber/spice route tuntil the very end. Brilliant stuff, after the initial aldehydes burn off, it's all about the base.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The "oriental" fragrance re-considered.

    Suggestions: Habit Rouge edc by Guerlain and Andy Tauer's L' air du desert Marocain.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The "oriental" fragrance re-considered.

    Didn't like HR or L'AdDM, and I gave HR many wearings. My "publicity version" of the women's Opium has strong clove, and the amber is rubbery if smelled up close, but it's what I think of when I want an oriental frag. Must seems to be the beginning of the gourmand/oriental hybrid trend, but that's fine with me. I enjoy it. I don't want to wear an oriental more than a few times a week (I usually have a post-breakfast application and then a different frag after dinner). I think I'm done with frags like Carven Homme and KL Lagerfeld though, because I'm looking for something without an "edge" in orientals (leaving top notes aside, since I avoid them).

  5. #5

    Default Re: The "oriental" fragrance re-considered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    My "publicity version" of the women's Opium has strong clove, and the amber is rubbery if smelled up close, but it's what I think of when I want an oriental frag. Must seems to be the beginning of the gourmand/oriental hybrid trend, but that's fine with me. I enjoy it. I don't want to wear an oriental more than a few times a week (I usually have a post-breakfast application and then a different frag after dinner).
    Sorry, I missed the Opium part of your original post. Here's another stab: Youth Dew. Again the opening has aldehydes that burn off rather quickly, the drydown is a very nice amber/patch/nutmeg, Mazzolari Lui seems to be its great grandson. I use the bath oil version.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 9th February 2010 at 09:43 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The "oriental" fragrance re-considered.

    Oh, forgot to mention that I have the original Prada ("women's), but there is a sharpness to it that just doesn't quit. I'd say that I'm satisfied right now, and I'll keep my mind open to a possible change in preferences. It wouldn't be the first time that happened, that's for sure!

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