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  1. #1
    mtgprox05's Avatar
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    Default Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    This is a continuation of Rogolal's personal notepad for sampling (just kidding bro! ). But seriously, even if you don't have anything that your sampling, but you see a review of something you've tried, or want to, chime in, share your thoughts. It is a message board is it not? I'll start things off.

    I've got some time to waste here at school so here's my review of.....

    Amouage Ciel for Men

    Let me get this out of the way first, I like this, because with all the negatives that are following it's going to seem as if I don't. I was really hoping upon hope that I would like Ciel, considering one of the other fresh scents in the Amoauge line-up, Arcus, I detest, as banal synthetic fruit and windex. Ciel, seems to have a far better reputation though, so I wasn't too worried. The opening is mostly lavender and fruit to my nose (what fruit? I haven't the slightest clue), and it shared a similar "dusty" characteristic with Reflection Man, that I thorougly enjoy. I am NOT a fan of lavender, in fact I generally hate it, but it was really quite pleasant in Ciel, because it didn't have the piercingly herbal quality that is typical to the note. All in all, it was quite unique, definitely fresh, and smelled pretty damn good. Unfortunately, that's where my positives end. Because, I literally could barely smell it within the hour. Surprised at how light it was, I reapplied via the sample dipstick a couple of hours in, and the same thing happened again, it was all topnotes, which even they were quite light. I find the topnotes quite magnetic and attractive, certainly natural smelling, and would even consider it for a purchase, had it maintained any semblance of dynanimism throughout the (very short) life of the fragrance. I'm interested in seeing what happens if I OVER-apply, but I generally don't need to do that, and at the prices Amouage charges, I don't really think I can afford to treat this as a dollar-store EDC, if you know what I mean.

    The packaging, color of the juice, press marketing, listed notes, everything is spot on. It's bright, cheery, definitely reminiscent of spring, and does all of this without and obnoxious ozone notes. I'm going to chock the underperformance of this frag to either A) skin chemistry or B) anosmia to many of the notes, because on my skin, it feels incomplete. If it works on yours, it's damn beautiful stuff.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Copying my own post from the end of Feb samples:

    Sampling two Chanel Exclusifs and will be trying a few more in days to come.

    Cuir de Russie edt: Very light and sheer, but elegant. I like it, but not sure I love it. I'll definitely return to the sample again but today I'm getting violets, butterscotch, and supple leather. Despite the caramel, it is not as warm, rich or buttery as I would like/was expecting. I think I need to try it again with fewer expectations. The leather is not anywhere near as bold as Knize Ten or even the opening of Cuir d'Iris, but it's a bit more realistic and "tangible" than Balmain's Jolie Madame (which I own and love and CdR reminds me of to some degree). Edit to add: *It's starting to get more animalic and rich as it evolves*

    No. 22: Holy mother of god this is good. I am a diehard fan of No. 5 (parfum and Eau Premiere especially) but this is close to perfection. All the clean elegance of Le Monstre but brighter aldehydes up top (they fade, do not fear them), whiter florals that should signal innocent purity, but instead scream mischievious delight and sex to me (think naughty school girl) and that black thread of incense like the seam up a 1940s silkstocking.



    If you know my posts or wardrobe, you know I throw gender distinctions in perfumes to the wind, and although some would say 22 is more feminine than 5, I would have play contrarian here. The incense (apparently some people don't smell it, thankfully I do) makes this one very unisex post-Dzongkha, CdG, etc. I like things like Fracas and Diva and Nahema because there is a femininity to them I enjoy donning every once in a while. No. 22 feels to me more like No. 19 or Bandit or Mitsouko--sure it's marketed to women, but it's a damn good masculine scent as well in this guy's opinion.

    It really is achingly, hauntingly beautiful. I want a jug, but will probably have to settle for a decant or a split. *sigh*
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    --Anonymous Ancient Greek Love Lyric

  3. #3
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Hey folks - thanks for starting the thread.

    OK, so I really panned Cereus Pour Femme No. 12 a few days ago (cheap watermelon-flavored candy). Thankfully, the other two Pour Femmes are actually quite a bit better.

    Sunday, I tested Cereus Pour Femme No 3.



    This one is pretty much their magnolia soliflore.

    I have to admit that I don't know what magnolias smell like, so I can't make the obvious comparison, but if they smell like No. 3, they're pretty edgy.

    There's a green watery floral note at the heart of No. 3 that's kind of like a watered down lily of the valley, but topped with pepper and played out over an odd indolic accord that smells kind of like salty leathery skin. There's also an ozone quality to this - not the "ozone" used to describe aquatic notes or the "ozone" accord in some Creeds, but the actual smell of ozone, like the smell inside an overheating computer.

    I can now see why CDG uses magnolia in some of their weirder scents - it's pleasant, but with a combination of both brutally synthetic and very human musk notes.

    All in all, this is really interesting and compellingly gross, but I just can't imagine actually wanting to smell like this.

    Recommended for those with a taste for the weird.
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  4. #4
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Yesterday, I wore the last of the Cereus line, Cereus Pour Femme No. 9.



    An intelligent fruity floral with a masculine streak.

    The notes said black currant and Bulgarian rose over musk. That's a classic recipe, used by everyone from Quelque Fleurs Royale to the new Valentino, so I was pretty sure I knew what No 9 would smell like (grandma rose, for the record). Oops. I was wrong.

    The top is actually a spicy citrus. Sort of like peppery grapefruit and orange with a splash of fruit punch. There's also an herbal grassy property that makes the opening almost manly, in a modern way. With time, it opens up, getting more rosy-soapy in the background while the fruit punch and spices morph over time. It kind of reminded me of a masculinized L'Ombre Dans L'Eau.

    About 6 hours in, the silage reminded me of Mure et Musc. Smelling my arm, it was more like the smell of blueberry pie filling over white soap.

    Most niche-friendly men could easily pull this off, and it's easily one of the more interesting takes on the fruity floral that I've tried. If you're interested in trying something fruity that doesn't smell like something a little girl would wear, it's worth a sniff.
    Last edited by rogalal; 3rd March 2010 at 04:30 AM.
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  5. #5
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I tested (finally) YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme.



    I'm not completely sure this lived up to the hype, but I was expecting this to dance around and cure cancer based on all the love it gets. In actuality, it was more like the top of a classic frag over the base of a niche.

    The top was very much a powerhouse accord (but at modern strength). Kind of a bright herbal (in an 80's way) lavender explosion that smells instantly familiar but unplaceable. I figured it would do the 80's thing and dry down into a predictable chypre base, but instead it went on a boozy (thanks to some creative patchouli) piney vetiver kick. In the silage, I kept thinking I was smelling Fou d'Absinthe, but it was some sort of a trick.

    All in all, I get why this is so popular. It's got the top to appeal to fans of classics (with the masculine classiness that entails), but cleaned up/toned down for modern wear. At no point does it ever smell cheap in the modern, synthetic way. Part of me thinks I'd rather just wear Yatagan or something else classic and good, as opposed to wearing this type of recreation, but classics can be polarizing, with many people not wanting to smell like their fathers. Rive Gauche can give someone younger that shot of old-school class without just smelling old.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by mtgprox05 View Post
    Amouage Ciel for Men


    The packaging, color of the juice, press marketing, listed notes, everything is spot on. It's bright, cheery, definitely reminiscent of spring, and does all of this without and obnoxious ozone notes. I'm going to chock the underperformance of this frag to either A) skin chemistry or B) anosmia to many of the notes, because on my skin, it feels incomplete. If it works on yours, it's damn beautiful stuff.
    Color of the juice? I take it you have a sample from the old bottle then, with the blue juice? I've only tried the new stuff which is a very light yellow color. It lasts forever and a day, going from the lavender/fruity opening you mentioned to a lily/spice heart and an excellent light/bright vetiver drydown.

    I'm thinking you must be anosmic or even suffered olfactory fatigue (it happened to me with Dia which I thought faded in about 2 hours on the first wear. On subsequent testing I detected it 12+ hours later!). Sometimes it just takes awhile to adjust to a new fragrance, too. I often note poor longevity the first time or two sampling a fragrance. I don't know exactly why that is, but it's happened regularly enough to me (and some others from what I've read) that it seems to be a genuine phenomenon.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    More samples... this time from Sonoma Scent Studio. Believe the hype. These are great, high quality, hand-crafted fragrances.

    First, Champagne de Bois: A very interesting No. 22 meets Samsara. Sweet, sticky, lightly spiced jasmine and sandalwood almost in a gourmand way, but I've never seen jasmine or sandalwood on a menu. Very impressive.

    Winter Woods: It really is a crisp outdoor scent of a neighborhood where several homes have hearth-fires crackling and their chimneys have scented the wintery air. It reminds me a lot of one of my favorites, Gucci PH. I think I like this even better.
    I offer you perfume,
    More for its pleasure than for yours;
    You perfume perfume.

    --Anonymous Ancient Greek Love Lyric

  8. #8
    mtgprox05's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Color of the juice? I take it you have a sample from the old bottle then, with the blue juice? I've only tried the new stuff which is a very light yellow color. It lasts forever and a day, going from the lavender/fruity opening you mentioned to a lily/spice heart and an excellent light/bright vetiver drydown.

    I'm thinking you must be anosmic or even suffered olfactory fatigue (it happened to me with Dia which I thought faded in about 2 hours on the first wear. On subsequent testing I detected it 12+ hours later!). Sometimes it just takes awhile to adjust to a new fragrance, too. I often note poor longevity the first time or two sampling a fragrance. I don't know exactly why that is, but it's happened regularly enough to me (and some others from what I've read) that it seems to be a genuine phenomenon.
    Yea the color of my juice is very light yellow as well. I was just going by the old packaging in pictures. I'm going to keep retesting it to see if we can get the longevity up.
    <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

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    Granted, we've known each other for some time. It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine. ~ Common Sense

  9. #9

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Only a few hours in, but initial impressions of Chanel Bel Respiro and Bois des Iles (edt's):

    BR: Bright, diaphanous, gauzy green floral. Lovely, but perhaps too light and breezy. I will retest. Plays with the abstraction of herbs and flowers very well. It's a quite "natural" but self-aware synthetic scent, if that makes sense.

    BdI: Also light (these exclusifs are killing me... all so well done, but somehow watery and minimalist inspiring lust for edp or parfum versions) and quite sweet. Aspects of Egoiste, but also 5, 22, CdR keep popping into focus. Right now best description is Egoiste with more aldehydes rather than citrus, iris rather than rose dominant, and better/more? sandalwood. Slight gingerbread associations, but no full-on assault of that accord quite yet.

    22 is still my favorite so far of what I've tested from this line.
    I offer you perfume,
    More for its pleasure than for yours;
    You perfume perfume.

    --Anonymous Ancient Greek Love Lyric

  10. #10

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Continuing my quest to usurp Rogalal's position as sampler extraordinare (kidding--a mess of samples arrived and I can't seem to try them in a leisurely fashion... I have a real quest for springy green florals in a thread on the FFD board and that is exponentially increasing the sample list as well, so soon there will be even more commentary soon).

    The last of my Chanel exclusif samples from this order is Coromandel and I decided to make this a patchouli-palooza by (re)sniffing SL Borneo 1834 (also from a sample) and Givenchy Gentleman (from my wardrobe) along side it.

    I love patchouli and I could easily see owning all three of these. Whenever vetivers are discussed I always say my favorites are Guerlain Vetiver, Chanel Sycomore, and Encre Noire because they exist in my mind on a kind of vetiver continuum. Coromandel sits right in the middle in my new patchouli continuum as well. Not ranked in preference, but rather in impressionistic mood.

    Vetiver and Gentleman--cheerful, everyday, dress up or dress down, casual or formal, dependable.

    Sycomore and Coromandel--reek of elegance, pitch perfect, subtle and refined.

    Encre Noire and Borneo--dark, brooding, and slightly sinester. Rich and unctuous. Just shy of overthetop.

    Much less (if any) chocolate in Gentleman; perhaps some cocoa powder with the cinnamon. Very herbaceous.

    Creamy white chocolate in Coromandel, but with a fruitiness that dark chocolate sometimes has.

    And dark, bitter, sinful chocolate in Borneo. That fruit-note is somehow drier (dessicated/roasted?) and overripened.

    I don't own Sycomore (we'll see what happens when Vetiver and EN run out). And though I tend to gravitate to extremes, it would be a real toss up between the classy Coromandel and the hedonistic Borneo. One or both will eventually find their way into my collection as both are stunning.
    I offer you perfume,
    More for its pleasure than for yours;
    You perfume perfume.

    --Anonymous Ancient Greek Love Lyric

  11. #11
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Antaeus, you're making me look lazy....

    Today I continued my testing of stuff I really should have tried before with Gucci Envy For Men.



    Am I the only person smelling lavender in here?

    Lavender is one of those notes that can simultaneously smell woody, spicy, bright, dank and dusty, and almost leathery, all at the same time. It certainly does in Envy.

    The top of Envy is an explosion of herbs, capped with that famous ginger. It's a confusing smell, simultaneously REALLY bright from the ginger and the lavender mixing, but also quite dark and dusty and almost leathery. It's like a traditional aromatic fougere with the volume and brightness turned up to 10, so the darkness lurking in the background is subtly exposed.

    Ginger as a note starts off really loud and fades quickly, and it basically makes Envy do that, too. I had to spray enough to make the topnotes uncomfortably loud in order to be able to really study the heart and the basenotes.

    The meat of Envy is a decent, chocolatey patchouli, which peeks out under the lavender as the ginger fades, and keeps going deep into the base, where it meets up with a nice woody incense for a while, and then eventually pairs up with its chypre-buddies, vetiver and moss.

    Here's the thing, despite my fougere-meets-chypre description, Envy doesn't have that classic smell. The brightness of the topnotes is more oddly loud than classic, while the mixing of gourmand patchouli and lavender is much more of a 90's post-a*men combination than a 70's thing. In the end, Envy reminds me more of A*Men than anything else - not that it smells like A*men, but that it has that same patchouli that wants to be gourmand but isn't quite allowed to because the lavender keeps dragging it back into perfume-land. I find that quite confounding in A*Men, and it's keeping me from falling for Envy (really, I just don't like lavender that much, honestly.)

    Recommended for younger folks looking for something with the refinement of a classic , but that doesn't smell old (though I think Rive Gauche did that better than Envy). Or for lavender fans looking for a kick in the pants.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Antaeusintheair View Post
    More samples... this time from Sonoma Scent Studio. Believe the hype. These are great, high quality, hand-crafted fragrances.

    First, Champagne de Bois: A very interesting No. 22 meets Samsara. Sweet, sticky, lightly spiced jasmine and sandalwood almost in a gourmand way, but I've never seen jasmine or sandalwood on a menu. Very impressive.

    Winter Woods: It really is a crisp outdoor scent of a neighborhood where several homes have hearth-fires crackling and their chimneys have scented the wintery air. It reminds me a lot of one of my favorites, Gucci PH. I think I like this even better.
    Thanks for the review of 2 of my favorites from the line. I get those impressions myself, with Champagne coming across like a Chanel classic and Winter Woods a very comforting cold weather scent. Exceptional quality indeed. I'm still smelling Ambre Noir on my skin and it's already in its 12th hour...
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  13. #13
    Hollandaze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    I usually post anything I give a full wearing on the SotD threads since I don't own many bottles at all. So I'll post anything I just spritzed or dabbed a droplet or two on my arm for sh*ts and giggles.

    Dior Fahrenheit - Oh my God, I've never smelled this before, but the gasoline top note is just WAY too much. It took over an hour before it settled down to a softer, gentler scent. It's kinda sweet and quite green. That dry down is pretty impressive.

    Tom Ford Grey Vetiver - Whoa, citrus top note. It almost seems as if it'll sting my nose, but the vetiver quickly prevents it from doing so. It's been about 10 minutes and it's developing into a soapy and musky scent. Not a bad interpretation of a vetiver fragrance. Not sure it's worth the price tag when Mugler Cologne, Guerlain Vetiver, Encre Noire and Original Vetiver, can be had at a cheaper price (okay, the Creed's a bit more expensive, but c'mon, for an extra $20-25 I can get a 2.5 oz of OV).

  14. #14
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I tested another can't-believe-it-took-me-so-long scent, L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme.



    In cooking, have you ever cracked fennel seeds? They simultaneously smell kind of bready and doughy, quite green (like fennel fronds), a bit woody (in a petitgrain sort of way), kind of like licorice (as fennel does), and spicy in a dusty, dry way. It's an amazingly nuanced smell and it's the heart of L'Instant pour Homme.

    The fennel seed is paired with moss and a pinch of vanilla and some citrus to brighten the top. At times, a chocolate/orange/moss combination that reminded me of a toned-down Elixir De Marveilles came up under the fennel seed. It dried down to a very light Guerlinade.

    For lack of a better description, L'Instant Pour Homme smells very Guerlain. This same fennel seed is used very well in L'Heure Bleue, where it combines with the orris root to make that distinctive bready smell. This same sort of fennel seed/citrus/vanilla mix is also the basis for Cologne du 68.

    My only problem is that both L'Heure Bleue and Cologne du 68 do it better, in their own ways. The creative twists and turns of 68 make L'Instant look like a simplified sketch - 68 does everything L'Instant does, but also goes through phases of masculine flowers, woods, incense, and ends with a perfect, stronger, boozier Guerlinade. And L'Heure Bleue is simply magic that can't be touched.

    If I'd smelled L'Instant first, I could easily have fallen in love with it, but it's very nice character references two of my 5-star favorites, and it's good, but just not that good.

    Recommended to Guerlain fans (duh) or designer fans looking to get in on the classic-smelling Guerlain action without jumping into the uber-expensive exclusives. But seriously, if you like this, you should really hunt down a sample of Cologne du 68...
    Last edited by rogalal; 5th March 2010 at 06:25 AM.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I sampled another BN must-try, L'Anarchiste from Caron.



    An interesting experiment in intentional artificiality.

    The top of L'Anarchiste is pretty distinct. It's a bright citrus that smells lemony, but not actually like lemons. It's coated with a weird artificial-smelling sheen that's almost plasticky. The odd thing is that - much like MI, which is similar to this in theory - it smells almost richer for its artificiality. While M.I. brings its plasticky lemons down to earth with violet leaf, L'Anarchiste uses pine. Artificial lemon and pine are the smells of most cleaners out there, so it must have been really difficult for Caron to not have L'Anarchiste come out smelling like wood polish. Oddly, the suspect plastic/metal note is what keeps the fragrance rooted in perfume and not cleaning products (though the silage was distinctly soapy).

    Given time, the plasticky weirdness burned off and the pine faded to a basil-tinged mint. This period was my favorite part of L'Anarchiste, because it smelled like lemonade with a chiffonade of mint floating in it.

    The base, while quite faint, smells like mint-infused tea.

    All in all, I appreciate that Caron took the idea of synthetic freshness in a completely unexplored direction with L'Anarchiste, which manages to smell "clean" and "fresh" without resorting to any overplayed stereotypes. But I'm not a big fan of this level of artificiality, even when it's done with creativity, so I don't think L'Anarchiste is ultimately for me, even though I really enjoyed the second half of the scent.

    Recommended for fans of M.I. or GIT or the new-style Creeds, as well as fans of tea scents or the Acqua Di Parma-style lemon-topped colognes.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    D.R. Harris Traditional Cologne

    Light, orange tree, Portugal type scent--probably the best Portugal I have yet tried even better than Crown Royal and Trumper. The opening is a light orange followed by blossom and a little clean musk.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by bokaba View Post
    Light, orange tree, Portugal type scent--probably the best Portugal I have yet tried even better than Crown Royal and Trumper. The opening is a light orange followed by blossom and a little clean musk.
    I've never heard this classification before and I'm intrigued - what's a Portugal scent? Is it a specific kind of citrus scent or something?
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Sampled Acqua di Parma Profumo for chypre SniffnSpeak... here's what I had to say about it and chypres in general. This is the purest example of the chypre accord I've tried (without leather or fruit or oriental basenotes or too many individually noticeable florals). Really soft and beautiful and earthy fresh.

    This is described as a dry, floral, woody chypre and it has the magical and ghostly bergamot-labdanum-oakmoss accord with florals, patchouli, styrax, civet, and spices. It is very soft and inviting... it feels like a fuzzy blanket and is quite elegantly balanced, with no particular note louder than the rest. Strangely it is both very natural and simplistic to my nose, but it also recalls classic grand parfumerie and supposedly boasts over 300 ingredients. I love it.

    Chypres in general smell fresh and clean to me without recourse to the aromachemicals that we associate with soaps, detergents, deoderants, and aquatic/sport colognes. I think that is why they fascinate me. They are just strange and different enough to warrant curious investigation, but also familiar... what I mean is, the accord is natural, but doesn't occur in nature. It is Other; it is man-made without being completely synthetic--a combination that is more than the sum of its constituent parts. Whether chypres smell like the forested hills of Cyprus, I do not know. But they smell both rustic and refined, evocatively old and inspiringly innovative, and most in my experience, from the fruitiest floral chypre to the dirtiest leather animalic chypre defy any specific gender association/categorization... they just smell good!
    I offer you perfume,
    More for its pleasure than for yours;
    You perfume perfume.

    --Anonymous Ancient Greek Love Lyric

  19. #19
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I tested Bulgari Blu Pour Homme.



    Bulgari Blu is a strange sort of post-modern version of perfumery. Inherently synthetic, but in a pleasantly “clean” way, it just doesn’t seem to follow the rules.

    On me, the smell on my skin after spraying was much like the beachy herbal base of Acqua di Gio, with its basil and herbs paired with salt to give it an intelligent aquatic quality. At the same time, the silage reminded me of lily of the valley, which is more green and wet than floral. It was also sort of fruity and pear-ish.

    Given time, the whole thing came together into a strange herbal fruity creamy soapy smell, all buried under some sort of unidentifiable chemical that smelled kind of like the freshness of fabric softener. By the base, the smell on skin was kind of citrus and kind of woody, but very soapy and still all buried in a sort of pleasant chemical stew reminiscent of a warm blanket fresh from the dryer.

    True to the strangeness of Blu, the reviews are all over the map. Some say aquatic (which elements are), while some say spicy and oriental (which makes sense with the spices-over-creamy heart), and no one seems to really love it. I’ll echo that sentiment. There’s nothing really bad about Blu (even with its soapy artificial notes, it never smells offensive or cheap), but nothing about it is very endearing, either. If you’re looking for a fresh clean-laundry anti-perfume, Issey Miyake’s A Scent does it better, and Chanel’s Cristal Eau Verte does it best.

    Recommended for, hmmm – not really anyone. If you like Blu, check out A Scent or Cristal Eau Verte. If you like the aquatic herbs, check out ADG. If you like the spicy creamy fruity heart, try London or even Le Male.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Profumo.it Cologne d'Empereur--hope I don't fall for it because it's so expensive!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Annick Goutal Neroli

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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    This evening, I've been testing DSquared He Wood.



    To He Wood's credit, it starts life as a niche-worthy experiment, though it ends sadly with a cheap-smelling whimper.

    The top is a really daring mix of violet flowers, violet leaf, lily of the valley, and woodsy vetiver. It's an interesting and odd combination - violet can be very bright and borderline feminine, while violet leaf (like the heart of GIT or Cool Water) is pretty musty and strange, especially paired with the lily, which makes everything come off as kind of melony and wet. The vetiver is dark and moody, making for a weird push-pull between the really happy girly violets and the really dank, fetid other notes. It's an odd experiment in greens (the juicy lily vs the dark vetiver) with the screech of violets adding another layer of weirdness.

    Then, given a bit of time to come together (and let most of those violets burn off), it all meshes into a weird almost-copy of calone. The lily apes the melony notes in calone, while the violet leaf simulates the aquatic herbs and the vetiver creates the backbone of seaweedy dankness that bottoms out calone. It's odd and quite unexpected that these disparate notes should come together to recreated an amped-up version of such a familiar mens scent ingredient (for those unfamiliar with calone, it's the main ingredient in Fierce, so it's that odd rotten melon/herb smell you get walking past an Abercrombie store at the mall).

    Given a few hours, the whole thing kind of self-destructs. There's a lingering calone-esque smell on skin, but not much else. Usually, vetiver and cedar have good staying power and I expected them to steamroll through and be the basenotes, but alas, no.

    So, I'm left with the theory that they really only called it He Wood for the bad childish pun and the cool bottle, if not the actual scent.

    I'm also left with that sinking feeling you get when something starts out promising, if a bit weird, and then just sort of falls apart. Somehow, the disappointment almost feels worse than if something were just a piece of crap right from the start. The perfumer, Daphne Bugey, has done some decent work for Kenzo, and the top and heart of this are clever enough that I give credit to her for being better than He Wood turns out to be. I know this is a total niche-snob thing to say, but I assume they had a really low budget for ingredients and the suits at Diesel (owners of DSquared, and certainly known for crap scents themselves) wanted that budget focussed on the topnotes, so they just let the basenotes peter out lamely.

    All that being said, He Wood is actually quite creative and worth a test the next time you're at a Sephora with some empty arm space. Aquatic woodsy vetiver? Even if you know it's going to be a trainwreck, you know you're curious...
    Last edited by rogalal; 13th March 2010 at 05:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Dyptique L'eau Neroli

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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Alright, Rogalal and mtgprox05, I see we have some more participants to this thread. With your encouragement, I'm finally going to join in as well. I've gotten in a routine of wearing my regular rotation from Sunday-Friday, and sampling on Saturday when I'm at home. Anyway, today's sample was Clinique Happy from a decant given to me by a very generous fellow Basenoter.


    I still have a fairly unrefined nose, and I am not good as picking out many individual notes. Beyond knowing the notes that are common between the fragrances I like, I'm not sure I want to get good at picking them out either, because fragrances are more about the overall experience for me.

    As far as Happy goes, the overall experience is still mixed after this my second sampling of it. SirSlarty describes it as having "a very orange and lemony freshness to it without smelling too much like floor cleaner." He is mostly correct, but only after the top notes have faded on me. I've read where many describe the opening of L'Eau D'Issey as sharp or harsh. I don't get that at all when I wear it, but I sure do with Happy. It has a very astringent start that is hard for me to take.

    After the first 30 minutes or so it does settle down into a much more pleasant fragrance, and begins to live up to it's name. It does become a more bright, uplifting scent. Overall, I would give this 3 stars on my scale, which means it is wearable only (if you can get past the harsh opening). For me though, L'eau par Kenzo achieves the "happy", uplifting vibe much better, and I definitely prefer wearing it over this one.

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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawk Lee View Post
    Dior Fahrenheit - Oh my God, I've never smelled this before, but the gasoline top note is just WAY too much. It took over an hour before it settled down to a softer, gentler scent. It's kinda sweet and quite green. That dry down is pretty impressive.
    This was my reaction to Fahrenheit exactly Rawk Lee. I tried it a few months ago, but I totally got the gasoline accord too. When I smelled my arm from a distance it was quite nice (but still not for me). When I smelled it up close, though, it was way too harsh, and way too much. I may like this on someone else, just not on myself.

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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    While I'm at it, I guess I'll go ahead and post my thoughts on my sample from last Saturday - Tommy Bahama.



    Recognizing my new-found hobby/obsession for fragrances last year, my wife got me a gift set of mini bottles of Tommy Bahama fragrances for Christmas which included the original, Set Sail St. Barts, and Set Sail South Seas (but unfortunately not Very Cool which I liked on the card from a tester).

    Anyway, I have tried these on a couple of times, and liked them all okay but not really enough to want to wear them out with any regularity. They don't really fit my style or normal category of fragrances. Tommy Bahama Signature was nice enough, but probably just not for me...or so I thought. In the past I had only left them on for an hour or so before washing them off or showering and changing frags to really start my day. Well for this wearing I let it sit for longer, and I'm glad I did.

    This is one that just gets better and better for me the longer its on and the further it progresses. The top notes are nice, but though I appreciate them, aren't really my cup of tea. The middle is better, and certainly wearable. The base/finish is what really grew on me fast though. As I said, I'm not good at recognizing individual notes, but I think it was the patchouli i was really digging. By the time I went to bed I was thinking this was a keeper, and I was wanting to wear this again. Yes, that's right, it lasted all day.

    I recommend trying this one, and if you do and don't like it at first, don't write it off until you've given it a full wearing. You may miss out on a really great experience.
    Last edited by Tarheel Golfer; 14th March 2010 at 03:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    TheGolfer, thank you very much for posting. It's funny, I'm with you on Happy, but the opposite of you, if that makes sense - I love the topnotes that you hated and I didn't care much for the drydown, which you liked. There's something about the super-sweet candy orange top that really appeals to me, but I didn't care for the other fruits after the oranges faded. And I ended up preferring (and buying) L'Ea Par Kenzo Pour Homme, too.

    Today I wore Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Royale.



    Quelques Fleurs Royale holds a special place in my heart as the first real life obviously-for-women perfume I ever bought. From the roses on top to the pretty frosted pink cut-glass bottle to its epic old-lady silage, this really changed how I viewed my relationship with scents and my full acceptance that I no longer gave a crap what other people thought of my scent choices.

    Quelques Fleurs Royale belongs to the genre of epic, loud, oriental femme powerhouses (Opium comes to mind). Ironically, it's not very floral. There's definitely some grandma rose going on, but it meshes with citrus in the topnotes and serves more as a brightener than a main focus. The central point of Fleurs Royale is a spiced Oriental heart, made of an intricate mix of what I think is amber, patchouli, buttery benzion, and vanilla, all dusted with dessert spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger). It all comes together to form a sort of extra-buttery butterscotch over amber that gets a bit more chocolaty with time and occasionally resembles a perfumey chocolate-dipped graham cracker.

    There's a cassis note that's in the background, but goes a long way to make the whole thing smell quite dark. It also plays against the citrus/rose combo. Cassis can get kind of funky, and it does here, in true old-school perfume style. There's a sort of hidden muskiness that never really stands out or smells gross, but that nevertheless gives a sort of forbidden skanky tone to Quelques Fleurs Royale that makes it smell much more at home in the 1940s than now, though the majority of the composition is quite niche-friendly.

    All told, Quelques Fleurs Royale is pretty linear, but mostly in that it's so ridiculously strong that it actually takes a couple of days to tell its whole story (the next-day skin-scent of raspberry jam over chocolate is worth waiting for). For all the silage-and-longevity fanatics out there, I personally dare you to wear more than a couple sprays of this.

    Recommended for fans of classic feminine orientals. While it doesn't tell its story as deftly as, say, Mitsouko, it should still appeal to fans of big, classic patch/amber combos. Also, If you're a fan of big ambers like Ambre Sultan or big resinous orientals like Lutens' Santal de Mysore or even the new Costume National Homme or B*Men, you may find this more feminine but appealing.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I tested Balmain Ambre Gris.



    Wow, Balmain Ambre Gris. A favorite of in-the-know experts and the BN heavy-hitters. A former Mtgprox05 obsession. Proud owner of a praise thread on the womens board. And I just don't get what makes this special.

    Kind of like the generic ozonic/fresh mens scents, there's kind of a generic base in a lot of currently-popular womens' scents. When I pass a lady on the street or the bus who smells like perfume, 9 times out of 10, it's something sort of vanilla/musk with a touch of amber and sandalwood, with something sort of floral and cinnamony in there too. To walk down the street in the city, it would seem that this is the universal drydown of almost all common favorite female scents. It's sort of gourmand and sort of oriental, sweet but not too sweet, floral but not too girly.

    After passing a couple of women on the street this morning and thinking I was smelling their generic-smelling perfume drydown and then realizing it was me, this was all I could think of wearing Ambre Gris today.

    It was pretty linear on me, a densely-layered mix of amber (of course), vanilla for sweetness, powdery iris for playful girliness, lots of cinnamon, petite white flowers on top, a quiet pinch of something green for roundness, and some citrus (later echoed with gaiac wood) for brightness. It's deftly put together, and it's 90% basenotes from the top down, so the longevity is great. But I can't help but feel like I've smelled this before.

    Ambre Gris just felt common. I don't mean that in the insulting, classist way, but in the literal way: It had the familiarity of something that's already known and popular, with no ground broken or anything to set it apart from the pack.

    I'd recommend Ambre Gris to someone (probably female) looking for an office perfume or something to wear that's going to make people notice her scent while not really standing out. If you're looking for a nice amber but have found you don't care for the medicinal weird ambers, this might be perfect. Or if you're looking for a winter-friendly answer to Juicy Couture's Couture Couture or its ilk.

    But really, the genres Ambre Gris reflects have been done better, in my opinion. As a gourmand, it lacks the dense luxury of SDV or Tobacco Vanille. As a sweet amber, it's nowhere near the amazing Ambre Narguile. As a deftly-spiced oriental, it can't hold a candle to Mitsouko or L'Heure Bleue. As a mix of all three, try to score a sample of Guerlain's collectors item 180 Ans - it genre-bends the same way as Ambre Gris, but does so with more panache.

    Sorry folks, this is just my opinion...
    Last edited by rogalal; 17th March 2010 at 02:12 AM.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Yesterday, I tested Ulrich Lang Anvers 2.



    Ulrich Lang as a house sort of confuses me. Anvers and Anver 2 are tributes to some random Belgian art dealer, with Anvers 2 in particular being a tribute to the look on his face in a specific picture of him standing by a tree. I'm assuming the random guy is Ulrich Lang's gay lover, or else this is a really weird case of epic creepy stalking. They seem content to occupy the grey area between haute parfumerie (Lutens, Malle, L'Artisan, etc) and the better modern designer fare. In a way, this is probably because Ulrich (a former L'Oreal executive) isn't a perfumer - he leads the (uncredited) perfumer, but isn't creating the scents himself like most one-person houses do.

    On me, the primary smell of Anvers 2 is that combination of rose, berry, and patchouli combining to make a flowery jam smell (this makes me think of Lutens or Egoiste). There's a bright green quality to it, too, as well as a sort of cinnamony spiciness and a wetness coming from violets. Oddly, they refer to this whole combination as a rhubarb accord, apparently. I guess that makes sense, but it's hard for me not to pick out the familiar notes when I've smelled this combination so often. In an interesting twist, it's quite buttery, too (from benzion, I think). Unexpectedly, the heart went very leathery. When that faded, strangely enough, the buttery cinnamon patchouli from the top stayed around long enough to be the basenotes, making them quite similar to the topnotes with that weird stopover at leather in the middle. Into the evening, the butter and cinnamon and the gourmand-ish patchouli combined to smell a bit like fresh-baking cinnamon rolls.

    Recommended for Egoiste fans who are looking for something more modern. Or guys looking for a masculine, easier-to-wear Feminite Du Bois with the aldehydes and feminine weirdness taken out. Or guys looking for the step beyond designer scents, but not ready for the big jump into girly nichey craziness (though I'd personally recommend Anvers over Anvers 2 to this crowd - it was a favorite of mine at that stage). All that being said, I personally think your time would be better spent learning to love Egoiste or Feminite du Bois...
    Last edited by rogalal; 17th March 2010 at 02:53 AM.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    Today I tested Balmain Ambre Gris.



    Wow, Balmain Ambre Gris. A favorite of in-the-know experts and the BN heavy-hitters. A former Mtgprox05 obsession. Proud owner of a praise thread on the womens board. And I just don't get what makes this special.

    Kind of like the generic ozonic/fresh mens scents, there's kind of a generic base in a lot of currently-popular womens' scents. When I pass a lady on the street or the bus who smells like perfume, 9 times out of 10, it's something sort of vanilla/musk with a touch of amber and sandalwood, with something sort of floral and cinnamony in there too. To walk down the street in the city, it would seem that this is the universal drydown of almost all common favorite female scents. It's sort of gourmand and sort of oriental, sweet but not too sweet, floral but not too girly.

    After passing a couple of women on the street this morning and thinking I was smelling their generic-smelling perfume drydown and then realizing it was me, this was all I could think of wearing Ambre Gris today.

    It was pretty linear on me, a densely-layered mix of amber (of course), vanilla for sweetness, powdery iris for playful girliness, lots of cinnamon, petite white flowers on top, a quiet pinch of something green for roundness, and some citrus (later echoed with gaiac wood) for brightness. It's deftly put together, and it's 90% basenotes from the top down, so the longevity is great. But I can't help but feel like I've smelled this before.

    Ambre Gris just felt common. I don't mean that in the insulting, classist way, but in the literal way: It had the familiarity of something that's already known and popular, with no ground broken or anything to set it apart from the pack.

    I'd recommend Ambre Gris to someone (probably female) looking for an office perfume or something to wear that's going to make people notice her scent while not really standing out. If you're looking for a nice amber but have found you don't care for the medicinal weird ambers, this might be perfect. Or if you're looking for a winter-friendly answer to Juicy Couture's Couture Couture or its ilk.

    But really, the genres Ambre Gris reflects have been done better, in my opinion. As a gourmand, it lacks the dense luxury of SDV or Tobacco Vanille. As a sweet amber, it's nowhere near the amazing Ambre Narguile. As a deftly-spiced oriental, it can't hold a candle to Mitsouko or L'Heure Bleue. As a mix of all three, try to score a sample of Guerlain's collectors item 180 Ans - it genre-bends the same way as Ambre Gris, but does so with more panache.

    Sorry folks, this is just my opinion...
    Believe it or not, I actually agree with you. I've fallen out of love big time. I find it too strong now, and too linear. I went out with some buddies last night, and per usual at least one mooched off my collection, he just happened to randomly pick Ambre Gris. It was pretty trying stuff, just getting bombasted with that straight amber/coconut/sandalwood all night long. I haven't worn it in a while because it's just too boring to me now. Oh well..

    By the way I have a MASSIVE sample pack from Luckyscent I received the other day, and I hope to start to get around to.
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