I am so sorry I missed you guys!
Today I met with the dashing and dapper StylinLA for some Beverly Hills sniffing!
Started at Barney's on Wishire and worked with the lovely SA, Jasmine. Here are some things that stood out for me:
Byredo Bal d'Afrique--I was expecting woody and spicy, but got something more fruity. I'm not sure I can tolerate the sweet-sour fruit of this one.
Byredo Baudelaire--woody, smoky incense, but the Iso E Super in the base ruined it for me. Headache inducing.
Byredo White--yes, it really does smell, well, WHITE. Starts with aldehydes with white musk lingering below the surface. I'd say it is somewhat like Le Labo Musc 25 but better. It really is a white, clean, soapy scent, but it keeps changing throughout the development, and this keeps it from getting too boring. The late drydown is a bit more citrusy. Very interesting, so I sprayed on skin and took a sample!
Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles--luscious pine over frankincense and labdanum, a resinous feast that is rich and lasting on paper. In spirit, this reminds me of Profumo.it Hindu Kush, one of my favorites. I may need to revisit this one, thanks to a sample I received from the lovely arwen_elf.
Serge Lutens MKK--what can I say, I love it! StylinLA was not too keen on the animal cage top notes, but to me it smells creamy and leathery. The rest is history as I already wrote a review
Serge Lutens Eau--hmm. Not impressed. However, on the plus side, it reminds me of a higher quality, more refined version of something from Kenzo. Clean and soapy is the theme.
Parfums del Rae Mythique--iris over a woody base, not unlike VC&A Bois d'Iris and perhaps not quite as interesting as TDC Bois d'Iris. Not anywhere near SL Iris Silver Mist, Chanel 28 La Pausa or No.19, but I am an iris junkie, so I sprayed it on skin and took a sample.
L'Artisan Havana Vanille--mostly vanilla, not much tobacco, overall impression is of a sweet and slightly fruity vanilla, nice composition. The fruity characteristic of the tobacco note reminds me of the new Profumo.it Mecca Balsam. However, the L'Artisan is tilted much more toward the vanilla, and as such seems more feminine to me. It is sheer and "low calorie", not overly rich like the vanilla/tobacco of Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. I sprayed this one on skin and got a sample for further testing.
L'Artisan Al Oudh--meh. That's about all I have to say. It had none of the timbre of By Killian's Oud, none of the artistry of Guerlain Habit Rouge EDT's agarwood. It seems like a so-so Iso E Super fragrance with a few oud molecules. This is an oud fragrance for people who hate oud.
We moved on to Saks where we spent the most time at the Guerlain counter. They had some of the boutique offerings, which was a treat!
Guerlain Derby--Oh. My. God. This is heavenly. I would love this on a man, as it is a beautiful masculine chypre. I took a sample, yes, indeed.
Guerlain Cuir Beluga--hmm. Started like a really nice chocolate leather scent, and later turned into an oily, weak leathery amber with a metallic tinge. Not sure I like this one.
Guerlain Bois d'Armenie--chocolate patchouli with dry woods and subtle incense. Interesting in the first two hours, but I did spray on skin and am not overly impressed with the drydown. I guess I just really love the classics from this house. Having said that, this frag is probably my favorite of all the newer boutique fragrances I have tried.
Guerlain Habit Rouge EDP--I already have this one, but SylinLA smelled it for the first time today. I think Jean-Paul Guerlain has got his hooks into Mr. StylinLA--this one is definitely a sleeper that sneaks up on a person with its complex Guerlinade and woody, dusty notes! StylinLA took a sample--good man!
Next was Neiman Marcus where we spent most of our time with the exceptionally helpful SA, Amir (who incidentally loaded us with samples). We spent most of our time with the Tom Ford line, although I did smell the new Balenciaga.
Balenciaga Paris--as a huge fan of Dior Homme, also composed by Olivier Polge, I was keen to try this one. The opening reminds me a little bit of Guerlain Insolence, but much more subtle with a drier violet flower note. The drydown is candied, and is a bit offputting for me, however, I think that this is probably what Insolence SHOULD have been from the very start. Not for me, but I think it could be a very good seller. Nice composition.
Tom Ford Oud Wood--next to this, the L'Artisan Oud smells thin and synthetic. Big, big oud note with lots of complexity, worthy of a sniff.
Tom Ford Black Violet--Amir suggested this as an alternative to the Balenciaga, and he sure was right. Black Violet is deep and velvety, woody and rich. Next to the Balenciaga, it is as if one rules the day and the other rules the night. Interesting juxtaposition.
Tom Ford Jasmine Musk--Meh. Not a great jasmine scent, not a great musk scent. I can't find much to redeem this one.
Last edited by Asha; 23rd February 2010 at 01:50 PM.
I am so sorry I missed you guys!
A really awful day all in all. My mom's glucose measurement was 39 (normal is 80-120) and she was semi-unconscious when I got to her house. It took a few hours for her to stabilize after some orange juice and chocolate, and eventaully she had real food. I did not get home until almost 5:00 pm. This has happened several times in the last three weeks. Actually the same thing happened yesterday morning, except that I was there already.
I am sad I missed the Guerlains. I have never smelled some of the Art de la Metiere and I have been curious about Cuir Beluga and Angelique Noire. I also wanted to try Baudelaire. Oh well, next time!
Arwen, I am sorry about your current situation. Virtual hugs going out.
Thank you for sharing this list. I am heart-broken over the Byredo Baudelaire. I heard so much about this being the best in the line.
"...her fragrance all in my keeping; softly she comes in the night." Lyrics, Gordon Lightfoot, "Softly."
tmp00 and arwen_elf, we really missed you too! And socalwoman had to decline at the last minute too. We will try again next time!
Arwen_elf, that is especially scary about your mom--I hope she stabilizes and that you have a chance to relax after the experience.
Primrose, mine is only one opinion, but the Byredo fragrances are all extremely synthetic, for what it's worth. White has been the only one so far that has held my attention. I'm still not sure it is worth the price, though.
Ooh, how I miss shopping/sniffing with you Asha - it was so much fun when we met years ago @ Scent Bar.
Mike, that was great fun! You know, I haven't seen turquoisewater and lushsoup since then, either. I think it was a year ago in November, and that was the day you infected me with the Borneo 1834 bug
Oh, that Borneo bug is contageous!!!
From Mike, to Asha, to me.
Dashing and dapper?!? Now I have to spend some time in all those same Beverly Hills store for clothes the next time we all meet. Missed seeing more of you there. Sorry to hear about your mom Arwen.
Asha is tenacious, focused and very well prepared for her testing runs. Empty vials and a Sharpie. Impressive. Nearly had to wrestle with a "fill-in" Guerlain counter SA to get her Derby sample.
Indeed a lot of sampling was done. Derby is very nice. HR EdP much smoother to my nose than the EdT. It's tempting, but I'd pop for Derby first. Just wish they sold it in a smaller bottle. After buying some Vintage Tabarome, I'm on a frag purchase diet for awhile, or I'd have grabbed that one.
I got to smell some of the infamous Guerlain's: Jicky, Mitsouko and a couple I'd not heard of with chocolate notes. Asha knows her Guerlains.
I kind of like Al Aoud myself. Not enough to buy a bottle yet. It sits in a nice place for me. Killian's Oud is a killer. A real bite to that one. Got a sample of TF Oud Wood. Sort of in the middle of Al Aoud and Killians Oud.
We also smelled an Angel for Women EdP that is more refined and perhaps more intoxicating to me than the regular Angel. YOW! That one freezes me in my tracks. Can't deal with A*Men though.
AG Duel and Sables were interesting. That maple syrup thing with Sables was a hoot. A nice morning scent with coffee perhaps?
Yeah the MKK opening is like standing next to a horse for me. Hung with the sample card awhile though and I did get some experience of the drydown. It's nowhere near the nasty beast after a few minutes.
Using Asha as an excuse, I was successful in fending off the always persistent Clive Christian rep who seems to insist on spraying my neck with X.
Look forward to doing this again.
Last edited by StylinLA; 22nd February 2010 at 07:36 AM.
StylinLA, what was your impression of AG Duel? I like this scent so VERY much with its leather/tea/iris notes (not to mention the implications of the *name* of the scent, as my trusty avatar was a formidable duellist with both sword and pistol, so much so that men usu. backed down after a challenge. Better to save face and apoligise rather than having a bullet hole in one's body or a cut-up face.)
Duel, to me was gentle and complex, but way too little longevity. I have a bottle and wear this at home...
"...her fragrance all in my keeping; softly she comes in the night." Lyrics, Gordon Lightfoot, "Softly."
In the flurry of testing, I only remember I generally thought it was interesting masculine scent. But when I referenced our directory later, I noted (as you seem to bear out) an unusual number of poor longevity comments and sort of stopped thinking about it after that.
Sorry, I can't elaborate more.
Last edited by StylinLA; 23rd February 2010 at 04:51 AM.
I'm so sorry to have missed this meet up! I was in San Francisco that weekend - sniffed Byredo Baudelaire at Barney's too. I haven't learned to identify and/or be annoyed by Iso E Super so without that nagging at me, I kind of enjoyed it.
I WILL meet with you all in LA one of these days - I had a fantastic time last time and also fell in love with Borneo 1834 after that trip, thanks to Mike.
Glad you had a great time!
Oh, mercy, Asha—your synopsis. How tuned your senses. You're in a league of your own, and I'm just delighted to sit in the stands.
In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.
Gosh, you've got me blushing now, everyone--thanks so much for your confidence in me!
Yesterday we had some really heavy-duty sniffing, and I probably could have lasted longer than the 2.5 hours we ended up spending with the fragrances. However, while at Saks, I decided to investigate whether they had Angel Liquor de Parfum so that StylinLA could smell it. Well, it really roached my sinuses. That, followed by some By Kilian Oud and a couple of Bond No.9's, added up to an overload. After that it was not so easy for me, lol.
Primrose, I really liked Duel--it is in the same family as Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel and Les Nez The Unicorn Spell with a lovely green violet leaf top note. It seemed the most wearable to me, of the three, but I do agree that it faded fast, and had very little in the base to keep it going. The Unicorn Spell is much more intensely green. Grey Flannel is much more harsh and somewhat dated. As baby bear said, Duel is "just right". Some day I'll need to sample it when I can give it my undivided attention.
Last edited by Asha; 23rd February 2010 at 04:42 AM.
Asha and StylinLA- wonderful accounts of your sniffing trip !
Arwen - I hope your Mom is OK !
Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
LOL- Asha did go down in flames with the Angel. Killian's Oud was the end for me. Wow.
For the LA crowd, just want to throw in a "plug" for a store I found while visiting the area that was unexpectedly impressive.
I was recently out in LA sniffing around and found what I was expecting to be some little hole in the wall shop that turned out to be an excellent locale. It's called Beverly Hills Perfumery (http://www.beverlyhillsperfumery.com/) right at Wilshire and Dayton. It's a very large shop with a big selection including many vintages and some of the more famous BN's goodies tucked away. Prices are so so, maybe a little high but there's a good selection and knowledgeable staff (who are quite aware of the BN community). I saw vintage Aramis Havanna for example... also lots of smaller bottles, which is great!
I spent at least an hour or two there chatting with a young guy, part of the family business. Anyway, just letting you know it's there if you didn't already know. a nice change of a stop instead of all those department stores or boutiques.
Tom Ford Splits:Noir de Noir, Neroli Portofino, Lavender Palm, Plum Japonais, Champacca Absolute, Tobacco Vanille ONE LEFT: Italian Cypress, Patchouli Absolu, Amber Absolute, Tuscan Leather, Oud Wood
Most of the time I am very proud of the Basenotes community. Time after time I have witnessed the thoughtfulness, empathy & genuine friendship that members of this community extend to others - oldtimers & newcomers alike. There are other times, however, when egos get the upper hand and civility goes out the window. My philosophy is that I won't say anything here that I would not say if you were standing in front of me. Welcome to Basenotes, each and every one of us. ~ TwoRoads
Thanks! Indeed, I was pointing out that very shop to Asha (they are closed on Sundays). It's fun when the young guy is in there. He's very BN friendly. It's my source for Versace L'Homme. Very unique and entertaining stop for sure. They also have several variants of the lauded Chanel Pour Monsieur that are NOT the concentree version.
I was heading from Barney's to Tiffany's to pick up Tiffany for Men one day and stumbled in there and was overwhelmed.
Sounds like a fabulous excursion Asha! I loved the write ups too: lots for me to consider and sniff at when I have the chance